Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Is it safe to come out yet ?

After innumerable trips up and down the Highway, and with the help of a few good men ... and women ... Nadie and The Boy, and their goods, chattels and livestock [ aka the grandkittens Sumi and Suki ] are here.

Not quite what you'd call squared away yet.
That's still a work in progress

Monday, January 17, 2011

mainly for my overseas friends: the floods

I'm aware from comments here and on Facebook, just how much coverage overseas has been devoted to the recent & ongoing flood situation, but I also know that my overseas friends don't really have a way of measuring the sheer SCALE of the disaster... or indeed any way of knowing where I am in relation to those scenes of devastation.

just so's you know:

Not just Queensland - which copped the worst of it - but also vast areas of New South Wales, Victoria [ which is where I am ] and even Tasmania have experienced flooding.
You look at a map of Australia and we're talking almost the entire eastern third of a country that is not that much smaller than Continental USA [ if you don't count Alaska ]

I'm one of the lucky ones.

Nothing worse than a bit of storm water through the big shed, and the frustrations of trying to get down to Melbourne the other day ... which by the way I succeeded in doing not too long after the last missive.
The creek that forms my neighbours-over-the-road's back boundary rose enough to cut about 100m of the dirt road that leads to the Pyrenees Highway, so I had to detour in and out the 'back way', but get through I did without risking life or limb.

Now, in a water related segue, according to my understanding [ via the Almightly ABC* ] the insurance industry apparently differentiates between 'stormwater' which is what came down the hill and through my shed, and for which I and many others are covered, and 'floodwater' which is what happens when a creek or river overflows its banks, and for which almost everyone is not insured.

Bloody semantics!

Am I alone in thinking that it totally stinks that people who have faithfully paid their premiums year in year out, thinking that they were covered for any and all eventualities, are now finding out that they will be refused their claims ?

and off the soapbox now

* National Television Broadcaster

Friday, January 14, 2011

change of plans

It stopped raining a couple of hours ago.
so I packed Dave, Bear and a load of cleaning products into the car, and set off for Melbourne.

In case you're unaware, Nadie is currently trying to clean and pack for the immanent move up here.
I think we can agree that moving house is stressful at the best of times, but imagine trying to do it with both arms in splints! [ work injury, long story ]
Hence the maternal visitation last weekend to lend a literal helping hand or two at the Pre-Move Garage Sale, and theoretically again today to do a spot of cleaning & bring back the Grandkittens.

That was the plan
but you all know about the best laid plans o' mice, men and Catsmums, don't you ?

things 'gang[ed] aft aglay' in a big way

all ways to & through Castlemaine currently cut by storm water to some degree ...

Police were diverting traffic away from one sheet of water, only to have those cars intercepted a bit further on by another lot of constabulary and sent circling back to the first lot ... and so on ...

I didn't have my usual desire to pull over and take photos, even though some of it was quite spectacular. I've just seen a little too much television coverage this week of people's lives and livelihoods being destroyed.

so here I am back at home
feeling fairly b****y useless

will try to get out to the Calder again later

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sorry if I worried anyone

No funny/witty posts tonight.
It's been a long and mostly negative week

Last weekend was excruciatingly hot.
I got badly sunburned [ sunscreen, hat, shade sail, the whole nine yards, and still I got scorched ]
I lost the stone from my engagement ring.

It took 5 days to get the Christmas stuff down and semi squared away

It's been raining pretty much constantly since Sunday.
The weather [ or possibly all the packing/unpacking ] is playing havoc with the FMS.

Like everyone else in the country I'm sick at heart about the incredible scale of the losses of Queensland floods, and trying not to whinge about the fact that my big shed just got inundated for the third time since September because it seems so paltry stacked up against what those poor people have to endure.

So that's it

Family and friends in Queensland are flooded but okay
Tomorrow - if the roads are passable - I'm going down to Melbourne to collect the Grandkittens.

Expect feline hostilities to commence shortly after my return!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

an omission rectified

While she didn't exactly take me to task, my darling girl did express some surprise that I hadn't shared photos of these recent interesting garden visitors:

this moth was about 7.5 cm or 3" long, and presumably asleep clinging to the flyscreen.

I didn't manage to catch him awake but you can still see his beautiful barred wings

and this impressive mantis/stick insect thingy got him/her self trapped in my bug zapper, but managed to escape before I had to do something drastic like dismantle the thing to free it.

He/she was quite happy to hop a ride on my hand to the slightly more salubrious surroundings of a eucalypt and stayed there long enough for a photo session.

and The Girl herself took this last pic of one of my occasional guests ...

this totally weird, spiky, little spider, the Spiny Spider, Austracantha minax.

Despite numerous attempts, I've never quite managed to catch her in focus, even in macro, probably because she's really tiny ... about a centimetre across.

If you're wondering why I'm calling it 'she' with such conviction, the males are even smaller.

Anyway, Nadie had a go at taking the shot from a bit further out and I just cropped in closer.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

booklist 2010 and breaking news

Back in August, Ms Gayle of Mangofeet - based on shared tastes - suggested Lois McMaster Bujold as an author whose work I might enjoy.
She was right
so I'm giving you my completed list for last year and, if you can be bothered wading through it, please feel free to suggest other authors that you think might be a good fit.

I haven't included textile or art titles as I rarely read every word of those so they don't count

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - JKR
The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown ( disappointing )
Loving Richard Feynman - Penny Tangey ( Young adult - okay except the weak ending )
From Dead to Worse - Charlaine Harris
Living Dead In Dallas - CH
Green Mill Murder - KG
Blood and Circuses - KG
Ruddy Gore - Kerry Greenwood
Urn Burial - KG
Raisins and Almonds - KG book 10
Death Before Wicket - KG
Away With the Fairies - KG
Murder In Montmartre - KG
Queen of the Flowers - KG
Murder In The Dark - KG
The Persian Pickle Club - Sandra Dallas
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency - Douglas Adams
The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul - DA
Cocaine Blues - KG
Forbidden Fruit - KG book 20
Dead Until Dark - CH
Club Dead - CH
Skin Trade - Laurell K Hamilton
Seventh Son - Orson Scott Card
Red Prophet - OSC
Prentice Alvin: OSC
Alvin Journeyman - OSC
Heartfire - OSC

Crystal City - Orson Scott Card
The Fire Rose - Mercedes Lackey book 30
Dead to The World - Charlaine Harris
Dead As A Doornail - CH
Definitely Dead - CH
Dead and Gone - CH
Phoenix and Ashes - ML
The Wizard of London - ML
Swallowing Darkness - LKH
Shakespeare’s Landlord - CH
All Together dead - CH
Shakespeare’s Champion - CH book 40
Shakespeare’s Christmas - CH
Shakespeare’s Trollop - CH
Shakespeare’s Counselor - CH

Inkspell - Cornelia Funke
InkHeart - Cornelia Funke
The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club - Gil McNeil
The Lover’s Knot - Clare O’Donaghue ( had trouble finishing this one … too contrived )

Handfasted - Catherine Helen Spence
A Knight Of The Word - Terry Brooks
Running With the Demon - TB book 50
The Patient’s Eyes - David Pirie
The Night Calls - DP
The Dark Water - DP

Jane Bites Back
Jane Austen Ruined My Life ( MEH! )
Turn Coat - Jim Butcher
Dirt Music - Tim Winton ( IRL bookclub )

The Science of Discworld 1
Last Continent - TP ( reread)
The Jerilderie Letter - Ned Kelly ( IRL bookclub ) book 60
The Magicians - Lev Grossman
The Sweetness At The Bottom Of The Pie - Alan Bradley

The Childrens Bach - Helen Garner ( IRL bookclub )
Jingo - Terry Pratchett ( reread )
Grave Surprise - Charlaine Harris
An Ice Cold Grave - CH
Grave Secret - CH

Grave Sight - CH
The Curse of Challion - Lois McMaster Bujold
The Paladin of Souls - LMB book 70
The Hallowed Hunt - LMB

Love In A Cold Climate - Edith Warton
Twighlight - Stephanie Meyer
New Moon - SM
Eclipse - SM
New Dawn - SM
Beguilement - LMB

Dead In The Family - CH
Unseen Academicals - TP
The Science of Discworld II; The Globe - Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart, Jack Cohen book 80
Legacy - LMB
Passage - LMB
Horizon - LMB

Real Murders - CH
A Bone To Pick - CH
Three Bedrooms, One Corpse - CH
The Julius House - CH
A Fool & His Honey - CH
Last Scene Alive - CH
Poppy Done To Death - CH book 90
Good Omens - Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman
Dead Man’s Chest - Kerry Greenwood
Devil Bones - Kathy Reichs

Oryx and Crake - Margaret Atwood

so suggest away!

and now to the breaking [ momentous ] news:

No, nobody's pregnant as far as I know


[drum roll please cos this is happy news ]

My son-in-law has snagged a job transfer to Bendigo and so, within the next few weeks, he, Nadie and the Grandkittens will be moving in Chez Catsmum for a period as yet to be determined but not less than 6 months, and possibly considerably longer.

happy dance!