Saturday, October 27, 2012


The ESA Ladies gave me all the balloons to bring home for the kids.
It's funny how kids act when they see balloons - every time is the first time.

Friday, October 26, 2012


Who Mucked Up Muck Up Day? is an article which naturally appeals to me. But I stop to wonder - was high school really all so relaxed? Am I reminiscing with my golden glasses? Weren't we all just as stressed as the current generation? And then I REALLY look and decide YES, it was better. We really were a lot freer. No major wars were being fought so entry to the forces looked like a good career choice and entry to uni was easier.  The pervasiveness of electronica was yet to come so there were fewer distractions and surveillance was in its infancy hence you could still get away with a lot. If you mooned someone then they'd moon you back - now they report you to police for exposure (My court case comes up next week BTW  ;-P  )

Monday, October 22, 2012

Movie Non-Review

Killing Them Softly.  Brad Pit playing with Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms - this movie really needs a LOT more than chips. I suggest a laugh track and some very heavy drugs. I won't be seeing it.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

4 Kittens

Yesterday the cat dropped her litter. This time she chose a far safer place to have them - in the footwell of the Suzuki. I'm not  big fan of cats but these ones are very gentle with the kids, have been able to avoid the dogs and provide excellent vermin control. Let me know if you would like one.  :-)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Monkey See - Monkey Do

Miss Disco Jj posing for the camera.
Miss Chicken Legs trying to compete.

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Unfurnishing Movement

I'm going to see if I can coin a new term called, "Unfurnishing".  We've all heard of decluttering where we get rid of junk, but let's take it a step further and get rid of the necessary furniture too OR let's lower people's expenses by making it acceptable to just have a few good pieces instead of cramming it with chairs and tables and other miscellany. Let's see if I can do it - it will be a fun linguistic exercise to see if I can promote this meme into the regular English vocabulary.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

I crack me up

I am trying to emphasise the lengths to which a bowls club goes to save electricity, do you reckon this will get past the censors, "We roll our grass by hand."

Monday, August 20, 2012

Not a Badger

We were down the back paddock walking the dogs when Spook found something very exciting. Kirk & I wandered over expecting it to be a snake but it was the echidna - again! Both dogs thought they would  have a nip but a snout full of spines changed their minds.

We have a lot of termite mounds on this property and I have noted over the last few years the echidna is gradually pulling them apart and vacating their residents. During a Wildcare course many years ago I heard of a bloke who was looking after an echidna.  Naturally it burrowed out of its box but then it pushed the fridge out of the way to rip a hole through the floor to get out.

It could almost be a Goodies sketch: Bill dressed as pest control man turns up at a suburban home and unloads a box of echidnas which set to work eliminating all the termites. He nods confidently to the bemused family and they appreciate the method, until the echidnas start to pull the place apart. His confidence turns to panic as he realises how strong and determined they are. Final frame is the family in the shredded house looking like the aftermath of Cyclone Tracy.

If I am reincarnated...I want to come back as an echidna with road sense. Do what I want, go where I want and no one capable of bothering me.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Purge Time Again

Caraselle Silicone Egg Chair Egg Cup in Orange

We have some major expenses coming up so it's time to pull out the Sweet F.A. Budget and stash some cash.  So for the next month we'll be purging the pantry. The menu is already looking pretty weird as I look for ways to use up the infrequent ingredients. The odder things this week will be; roast chickpeas, dahl, fried polenta cake, quinoa pudding, honey bran cookies, zaru soba and udon.

Thinking of've heard of couch potatoes but what about Egg Chairs? Michelle kindly bought a set of these for our family. Skye is very amused and is demanding we use them NOW.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Worrying trend...

As you know a National School Syllabus is being implemented. This is great because now we can travel between states and know the same content is being taught each year.

As each syllabus subject is published it is accompanied (eventually) by a set of lessons which are optional for use in the classroom. The distance education schools have also published their version of these lessons and because it is so comprehensible the Bundaberg schools have decided to use this as their teaching manual for every day.  I find these lessons all disappointingly "vanilla flavoured" (where as I like to include LOTS of nuts) but if that suits them, so be it.

Today I was talking with my friend, Sam, who teaches grade 4. This effort to teach exactly the same thing in exactly the same way to all the kids in each grade has been very successful.  When a child comes from another school she can check the their notebooks and find THAT lesson on THAT day (give or take a day I suppose). And it has been great for those kids who are suited for school - they are rising to the challenge and their English & maths levels have markedly improved (don't ask what happens to the unsuited kids).

So what is the worry?  In order to keep up with the demands of the syllabus subjects they have sacrificed art. Luckily a few teachers, like Sam, are kindly doing art before school because it is one of the truly pleasurable subjects.

In Gin Gin primary the obsession with outcomes has intensified. They have not chosen to implement the model class programs but instead have removed music from targeted grades so the kids can take practice NAPLAN tests. Music teachers are directed to administer a test to their students every week.

This IS a temporary situation because by 2014 both of those subjects will be mandatory...but it still worries me because we have assessment driven education pulling one way and the imperative to deliver a high standard comprehensive education pulling the other.

 I give you two countries' education systems to ponder; Korea and Finland. These diametrically opposed systems are competing for top place in the OECD. They both turn out excellent students but one is competitive and the other cooperative. One exam-based, in the other kids don't even see a standardised exam paper until they hit 15.  Korea has some of the longest study hours in the world - Finland the shortest.

"Education in South Korea Overview
It's hard to find any article with a positive viewpoint about how Korea manages to be on top, much like Japan was until 10 years ago "Hypercompetitive Education SystemAlthough Obama seems to like it..."Obama says S. Korea's education, Internet outperforming US"

"Education in Finland"  Overview.
"Finland's Education System is Top; Here's Why"
"Why do Finland's  Schools Get the Best Results?"

Monday, July 30, 2012

I want to drive this bus

Certainly beats a tea cozy. I reckon Bernie could knock one of these up in a couple of days.

Apparently this is called Yarn or Wool Bombing and if you google it there are some very remarkable example of this frivolous art.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

I'll say it again

It's the wee hours and I have finally dragged myself away from the child to get some work done - but of course I am procrastinating (BIG grant with VERY short time frame). Just as I left Bundy Skye proceeded to wail, and wail and wail! She had an ear ache which come on very suddenly. I warmed her up in the shower, plugged her with panadol and stuck her to bed but she was still unhappy. So Sean put on "Sheepies" (Sean the Sheep) and the pain stopped. Ahh the miracles of popular media. It's amazing. Kirk can be screaming his lungs out having ripped off a leg (well you'd think that is what happened) but I just clean him up and turn a video on - instant pain killer. Maybe they should put televisions in labour wards?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

See Food And And EAT It!

Last weekend Michelle, myself & the kids had lunch in Sugarlands where a Japanese takeaway has opened. I bought 3 mixed boxes of sushi and the kids ate faster than I did! Yes, they were probably hungry but they decimated the raw fish on rice with vegetables bound up in seaweed leaving me with mere leftovers. Why is this so?

Maybe it's because I am such a stingy mother - I send them to daycare with cut up bits of veggies & cheese, dried fruit and leftovers from dinner so they just get used to it.

At a previous daycare one of my friends confessed that when they dropped their kids off, they all used to check out what Kirk & Roh had for lunch. I gave them things like vego-lasagne, beef jerky, sushi rolls, laksa, full cobs of corn - whatever was edible - but much of it was waaay out of their experience for what was classed as normal food for kids. I found this pretty amusing and wondered what their kids ate every day.

Currently Skye goes to Anna Glover's for daycare. She is Indonesian and they don't "dumb down" food for kids - eating hot sambal is normal. But last week she said she was floored when a kid pointed to the veggie sticks & asked Skye, "What are those things?"

So this week I shall pack an extra serving of veggie sticks for him. I wonder if he will like them?
 I won't be taking any bets,

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Badger Badger Badger Badger


I bought an oyster mushroom log from a bloke at the Old Bus Depot Markets in Canberra. These mushrooms have grown at an impressive rate and they were bursting out of the packaging a week from when I bought them. YumYumYum!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

The scenery in my head just got worse

A friend sent me this article on a new vaginal (actually vulva to be precise) bleaching cream and my jaw dropped with the whole idea of PROMOTING vaginal bleaching. Can you imagine what that stuff would do to your pH let alone that very sensitive epidermal layer? [shudder].

Woman: "Does this cream make my flaps look white?"
Man: "NO, but this one will!" ZiiiP!!

Holy F*K!  (get it? You know - white=purity..umm...ahem...(cough))

Indian freak show ringmaster: "Come on and see our freaky albino pussy...oh sooree...I read dat wrong....correction... See and come on our freaky albino pussy!"

And let's face it - men don't spend a lot of time looking at it. They're built for fun, not photography.

However she has a point about the turkey giblets. When a woman says her man makes her laugh - I promise after a few years of marriage she's not talking about his jokes.  [cue Puppetry of the Penis- the only thing men will do to theirs is draw a face on it ...and visa versa]

Girls do a lot of stupid things to draw attention to their fannies but if you have to rub it with a chemical cocktail to make your man notice you own one then you're probably with the wrong guy....or he's not really a guy...ya know what I mean... like that comment guy, Armit, who doesn't like the real fruity odour of women - yes we get a bit festy but he should try things from our angle.

You know, the cream probably does not whiten anything - I'm betting it has a little bit of stimulant in it and the instructions say, "Massage cream in thoroughly as many times a day as you like and immediately you will become more attractive to your partner." [oh GOD! The scenery in my head just got worse]

....Why is there coffee splattered all over my monitor?

Monday, May 14, 2012


Go and look at the MaKey!! MaKey!!  

Use this neato circuit board... To make tunes on bananas (and they're funny, right?) and hundreds of other things.


You KNOW you want it!

So go to Kickstarter and BACK IT 
so they can get it into production!

Kickstarter Blurb: MaKey MaKey is an invention kit for the 21st century. Turn everyday objects into touchpads and combine them with the internet. It's a simple Invention Kit for Beginners and Experts doing art, engineering, and everything in between. It comes ready to use out of the box with everything you see above: MaKey MaKey, Alligator Clips & USB Cable.

Who you gunna call?

 I was looking for SES road accident clean up procedures and found this instead:
Crime Scene Clean Up!
 I live in a very sheltered world!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Pull out that 2nd brain

New Scientist Articles on the benefits of bilingualism.

YAY! I can substantiate what I keep telling people. Here's an article I wrote from Stepping Stones now up on Gin Gin Home Educators

Friday, April 27, 2012

That Janis song again

The army is LOANING seven F111s for display (see Dept of Defence). Imagine having one of those in the back yard for the kids to play on? If you could actually fly them, trips down south would never be the same however using them as a commuter vehicle might be showing off. Perhaps a Bushmaster would be better for that daily trip to Bundy.  Thanks to Grant Geddes for this website...the reason he knew about it was because he wanted to score 2 troop carriers for their SES group. 


I was watching a news article about the restoration of a WW2 bomber and they commented that a lot of the pilots died in training crashes. And it made me wonder if any reports of my grandfather's RAAF air crash was on the web somewhere. And yes it was in the archives of the Sydney Morning Herald 16/2/1938 and again in the Canberra Times. Grandma's story goes that there was nothing wrong with the aircraft and they thought the pilot had had a "touch of the sun" from playing tennis that day and therefore was delirious and passed out. But as Mine was strapped into the seat behind the pilot there was nothing he could do.

My grandfather died in 1974 of a stroke so I have only the memories my Grandma gave me. My name for him was, "Mine" because when people used to ask, "Who's that?" I replied, "He's Mine" so Mine he became and that is the name we always used for him.  Grandma regularly told me that story and how extensive his burns were, how the doctors pumped the cigarettes into him "to steady the nerves" and how eventually they had to move to Qld for his health. These days that sort of injury would earn him a discharge but he was too valuable for that, especially with another looming world war so the RAAF looked after him until he was ready to return to work. In the articles he is billed as a fitter but later in his career he rose as high as was possible for a person not of the upper classes.

I remember everything in their Qld home was painted blue and white - EVERYTHING except the floor and the bricks. And his workshop was in perfect order - you could always find stuff. Nuts and bolts were all graded and in labelled jars. Tools had their spot in the garage. Dad tells me Mine ate peanut butter sammies for lunch for 40 years. And you knew what day of the week it was by what was on the dinner table. I forget exactly now but the menu was steamed chicken & white sauce on Saturday, grilled chops on Tuesday and I'm sure my parents can fill in the rest.  Oh dear. It's 1am and we have a busy day ahead. Goodnight.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Eureka Stockade - NOT!

One of my grant clients, the Curra Country Club, has had a coup. A group of blokes snuck in during the night,  changed all the locks and the next day locked the management out declaring themselves the new committee.  So! Their bank account is frozen, they have very little idea of what they are doing and - after the elections on Saturday - the Gympie Regional Council will be on their tail. No doubt they think they are very clever and fighting for freedom, yadda yadda yadda, but all they had to do was stack the next AGM in July if they wanted a change of management. I shall watch the progress of this with interest!

Saturday, April 21, 2012


This guy came wandering through this week

Kirk spotted this echidna on our way out last Tuesday night. He was cleaning up the ants in the cracks in the stairs. He pretty much ignored us and Spook wisely stayed away from him which makes me think he has  encountered an echidna before (hehehe).

PLEASE don't do that in public

My husband.
Kahki camouflage shorts.
Blue & white old-man-plaid shirt.
BRIGHT native Ghanian bucket hat.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Knockin' them over

I said I would try to get all the 1/2 finished sewing projects completed and so far so good. 
I completed a dog bed for Jessie, a 14 year old cattledog but she scratched it to pieces while making herself comfortable so now I have fabric scraps covering the lounge room floor (People keep telling me she's a dingo but it's illegal to keep dingos so she is MUST be a c.a.t.t.l.e.d.o.g.) . Oh well, win some - lose some. So I shall mend it and give it to Spook and I'll probably felt a heap of raw wool into a shade cloth cover which I trust she will not be able to destroy.

I also finished my crochet experiment with bread bags. I now have a plastic basket which I plan to use for wet swimming gear. Crocheting bread bags was interesting but it was a lot of effort for insufficient result. IF my dogs did not chew things I could make springy, flea-free beds for them know...they're right up there on the scale of destruction they cause to homes - floods, fire, tsunamis and dogs....maybe they should be included in insurance?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Next Challenge

I'm continuing the Scroogezilla habit as strictly as possible because it makes life easier AND now that my craft room is well ordered and I can start SEWING! Obviously my next challenge is to complete all the unfinished projects. I think, realistically, I can average one a week.  First I'll make a heap of bags for Angels for the Forgotten and then marsupial bags from Rachel's old flannelette sheets (thanks Rach!).  That should move a lot of the material out of the cupboard.
Mum, how many would you like and what sizes? Or would you prefer hemmed box liners?


Ghetto Hikes

This guy leads urban kids on hikes. He likes to write down what they say at Ghetto Hikes.

“I’mma sneak one dem tadpoles in De’Shawn’s ingredients bag, or whateva you call it… trail mixers.”

“I’mma tape a Kudos bar on Raymond’s back… We get attacks by a bear or sumthin, he gunna eat his ass firs

“Mr. Cody, me n’ Patrice gunna poke holes in the top of dis tent. My mama gunna be pissed if I come home stuffocated.”

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Whitegoods revolt

The microwave's turning pin has broken so it don't go round no more. No biggie - but annoying. So, for the the last 3 months the following items have died...
  • freezer
  • washing machine 
  • mower
  • oven & a stove element
  • camera
  • PC speakers
That's enough to make any animist deeply paranoid.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Still going

I'm into month 3 of my buy nothing challenge and am easily managing to shed something every day. We even managed to avoid buying a wedding present because Sean gave his friend the gift voucher which was originally the end of year work bonus. In lieu of a card we stuck the voucher to a some sort of computer circuitry (A computer card! Boom! Boom!). 

However today we're breaking again to buy a camera - a water resistant, SHOCK resistant camera because I can not satisfy the home education registration requirements without being able to take photos of the things we do.

P.S. 5 April: Bought a heap of art materials today and flippers yesterday. Oh well... time to cull all those winter clothes I pulled out of storage.

The Chosen

I read The Chosen by Chaim Potok months ago and I MUST find the novel again because its plot and themes are like those jingles that get stuck in your head - it won't go away!!

Quickie explanation: Two boys are growing up on either side of Judaism (modern & fundamental). They struggle with the burden their cultures place upon them and one makes the decision very painfully to walk his own path as opposed to the one determined by tradition. Potok (a rabbi) is not advocating one throws away tradition but demonstrates that one needs to engage actively with the issues and make a very conscious decision. There are layers upon layers of themes, motifs and information shoe-horned into this slim novel. Very interesting for me were the descriptions of Jewish life in post-war America, of which I was barely conscious, and how Zionism created the Westbank-Gaza conflict.

Damn it! I borrowed that book from someone...who was it?! Obviously I should have stolen it instead.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Busines logo tweaks

Recently my office gave the grant writing division a new logo. Now we have a picture to go with our job title. Isn't it sweet? But then I thought..."But not all grant angels are women." So I tweaked it a little.  And then it occurred to me that we're not all angels either, so I had to make a few more changes. And then I thought...even that does not suit me because I'm not one of those cute, sexy, little devils...I'm a subversive creature who works in its cave at night, digging for gold - AH! I must be a goblin. So I sent my tweak back to the boss. She laughed and said she'd sack me if I used it.  ...sigh...there ain't no truth in advertising.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

In for a penny

 Mum has commented on my previous post, "ET phone home", that she does not think that a child of an atheist should be attending a Christian activity. This is a fair call however my making light of his ignorance about religion does have a serious side.

Firstly, to clarify, this activity is open to the public. Anyone is welcome to attend and I am sure they would be delighted to greet people of any religion walking through their doors - they are honestly accepting people (note the difference between "accepting" and "tolerant"). Also these days there are plenty of other-faith and non-faith people attending private Christian schools but that is a post for another day.

So why am I sending Kirk to a Christian activity at all? Just like every one else - we value the education! It is not possible to be fully conversant with world culture if you are not aware of biblical history, the role religion plays in our society and how it has shaped our metaphoric language. Three major religions; Christianity, Judaism & Islam all share that founding Middle Eastern culture and a very large amount of the "lore" is based on the same documents. Yes, I could easily teach him all this myself, but then it would just be a history lesson. He also needs to understand the context and the culture wrapped around it and nothing beats direct experience hence, "In for a penny, in for a pound".

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What dinosaur are you?

Apparently I am the fat, lazy dinosaur who likes to wallow like a hippo!

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Again. More of it. It is nearing the end of March when normally the paddocks would be starting to dry off, instead the weather is akin to monsoonal latitudes with the brief patches of sun accompanied by heavy mugginess, relieved only by the breaking rains which go on all night. Nevertheless, it's no drama - people here don't mind when nature gives them a holiday.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Bert Hinkler would have killed for this mechanism.

ET phone home

ET (aka Kirk) encountered earthmen for the first time at Kids Club, which is the modern incarnation of Sunday school. He watched in sceptical amazement as the excited children sang praise songs on stage.  Fortunately they project the words up on the screen and when he read "My god is a great big god !" He decided that since he didn't know what or who a god was he would just reverse the word because THEN it made a lot more sense.

Friday, March 16, 2012

GPS 1 : Tourists 0

The Tokyo students wanted to take a day trip to Stradbroke Island and believed their GPS unit would be able to guide them there. The GPS forgot to mention the 15 kilometres of water and mud between the mainland and the island. Read more 

New expression

"...testing (a crocodile's bite) is like dragon slaying by committee, often involving ten or more people to test a single animal," Greg Erickson, Florida State University
Crocodiles Have Strongest Bite Ever Measured, Hands-on Tests Show National Geographic (March 2012)

I HAVE to use it!!

The police phoned today

The president of the Bundy Rodeo Committee is missing. A paramedic found his motorbike & helmet in tact but nothing of the man. Somewhere out in cyberspace there is contact information for the Historical Society with my number on it so I received a call from the police asking if we had any old mining maps showing the mine shafts. I called Wendy the current president & curator who said "Quite likely" and went off to look and in the meantime I searched online for anything relevant...and I dare I say that I very quickly struck gold  This has ALL the registered mines in Qld, including the abandoned ones. I was mildly surprised at how many abandoned mines are around that area so I suppose it is quite possible the bloke went to see what he could see. The geography is not rough but with two good wet seasons the bush is pretty dense now. Fingers crossed but after 4 days now I think they would be lucky to find him alive.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

It's UGLY!

There are hairless cats and dogs, so of course someone had to invent a hairless guinea pig. The only advantage I can see is you don't have to peel it.

Oh but wait! There's MORE! I am overjoyed!

Ooohhh what an excellent website!!! 

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Scroogezilla weakened yesterday and allowed Kirk to buy a Ghanian bracelet from Isaac. Well, that's pretty good - I've gone 5 weeks buying nothing but that bracelet. Sean, however has made a few purchases with the mower and the stuff for the band. Mind you, culling gets easier and easier!


Yesterday we went to Hippy Di's Festival. When the requisite belly dancers came on stage (I was off having a massage) Sean tells me that her eyes opened wide, her jaw dropped and she pointed to the dancers stating loudly, "Titties! Titties!"   Should I have weaned her sooner?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Don't Kill the Pygmies!

Thankfully Sean HAS fixed the lemon mower because the grass in the paddocks is over the X-Trail's bonnet. Not that I mind but it's sometimes hard to avoid running over the dogs.

OH! And today I met donkeys. I like them. Hey Rach! How do you feel about teaching donkey riding lessons?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Homeschool Group Calendar is Up

See Gin Gin Home Educators to know what the homeschool group are doing each week. I'm using the blogger platform because it saves logging on somewhere else or making another website.  The KISS principle wins every time :-)

Hey, Strawberry Shortcake!

Blueberry Muffin's here for breakfast! 
This is not my child. 
But she looks suspiciously like this one... she must have escaped from TV land.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

That Time of the Month

It's amazing what a little pressure can do to my productivity. Normally I will spend a good week tinkering with the wording of a grant, finely tuning the nuances, clarifying the points and culling redundancies. But when the pressure is on, I finally pull my finger out and it all falls into place.


This week Sean had to buy mower parts (cue: native drums) and there was a HUGE pack of washing powder on special in IGA so I grabbed it. Haven't done the cull yet due to it being that time of the month* but I am expecting couch surfers tomorrow so I'll do it when I clean the bedroom.

On the topic of washing powder, about 15 years ago washing balls came onto the market. They claimed to clean your clothes without washing detergent. They appeared to be inert, some were made of ceramic and others were very obviously just basalt rocks in a plastic cage. The sellers tried to tell me that the balls had some sort of magnetic property which made the water molecule smaller so it could penetrate the cloth better (Here comes a Charlie!).Nevertheless, it made me think that if these people were still able to wash clothes without washing powder (a) those people obviously did not have kids and (b) washing powder in itself was overrated.

SO! I experimented with how little washing powder I could use and still successfully wash clothes. My conclusions after a few months were; YES, if you worked in an air conditioned office like Sean, you certainly can discard washing powder BUT you might like to pre-scrub the collars and chuck in a little vinegar to deodorise the effects of stinky male armpits. However if you were a massage therapist who worked at a mud farm like myself then NO!  Massage oil, mangrove mud and fish guts have particularly penetrative properties and will not come out even in hot water without some chemical assistance.

Once Kirk was born, people gave me LOADS of advice - one of the best parts was from a lady around the corner who raised 6 kids with cloth nappies, "If you soak the nappies in Nappisan then don't bother with washing powder as the residual will give the kids nappy rash."  So again I experimented and found that I didn't even need to soak the nappies in Napisan. I discovered if I dry pail the pissy nappies the urine converts to ammonia so I don't have to use Napisan at all and 1/2 the recommended amount of detergent suffices.  Note also I generally use an eco-wash so there are no brighteners or bleaching agents so the nappies come out clean but not retina-piercing white.

*That time of the month" means lots of grants are due.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Story of my life...

Last week, I opened the PO box, stretched up and shoved my arm inside, feeling around for stray mail that I can't see.  I then jumped up and down a couple of times (yes, very amusing for onlookers) to verify I hadn't missed anything and then I noticed there was a note taped on the other side, sticking down so the post office staff could read it. It was bent inwards and although upside down it was legible so with great curiosity I dragged myself up to the level of the box and read it. It said, "Two short ladies live here."

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Month of Rejuvenation

This is turning into a month of rejuvenation. Not for myself unfortunately (far from) but for appliances. Earlier this month we involuntarily bought a freezer and a washing machine. This week the stove needs new parts (for god's sake it's only 16 years old!), the speakers on Kirk's computer died (damn, it's not like he uses them on full bore), and the mower needs the starter motor and fuel pump replaced (can you say "Lemon"?). It appears the whitegoods are revolting....  "Computer! I know your keyboard is starting to be faulty and you're getting slow in your old age but you know I love you very dearly, and want you to continue working indefinitely!" friend is selling a wood cooker...but I really don't want to light a fire every day...

Friday, February 17, 2012

Sweet Relief

The response I get in highschool when they see me coming for their relief teacher is "Oh no, it's HER! She's gunna make us do work!" Usually followed by a series of expletives. It's better than the response another teacher gets, "Woohoo it's Miss ** - Bludge time!"

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Scroogezilla Revisited

Week 1 of the the Buy Nothing Challenge has not been very challenging so I'm going to add another dimension; I'm also going to shed an item every day - this does not include garbage - and when we HAVE to buy something (eg mower parts) I will shed 2 things for every 1 that we buy. Stuff should also go to a new home if possible and not just be dumped on Lifeline. Now it's a challenge.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Born a rev-head

Kirk has taken possession of an old, electric whipper snipper which, thankfully, has no powerhead so essentially it is useless. But in the hands of a mini-rev-head the sound alone evokes from him evil genius laughter.  I'm sure he's thinking about strapping it to the canoe...hey...yeeaah..."Oh Kiiirrrk!"  [sound of two evil geniuses cackling].

Garbage Guts

This morning I cut up a 5kg fillet for smoking. Naturally Kurgan was on hand to help. Half way through the process I called to Sean, "Go get me another dog, this one's full."


A friend was shopping at the markets with me and asked about some leafy stuff I bought. The Philipine name is malunggay (in Tagalog) and it is similar to spinach and is it is just 1/5 the price. However it is very twiggy so if you're a lazy cook like me, your diners have to pick the sticks out of their curry.
I looked it up online years ago and had a laugh as it sounded like a miracle plant - much like the Neem and Aloe Vera - largely overrated as it is here:   I think people mistake the intake of better nutrition as the agent of cure but with the right building blocks the body largely cures itself. (Hippocrates had something there). 
To me malunggay seems a better deal because you get 4 products in one, being a tree it only has to be planted once unlike spinach which needs to be planted annually,  and from what I see it needs little care and can cope with bad soil and drought.  One day I'll get around to asking one of the Philipine ladies for a few cuttings.

There's your lecture for the day... 

Saturday, February 11, 2012


As I drove towards town this afternoon, I saw a police helicopter land at the showgrounds....bad.
As I passed the hospital hundreds of cars, police & SES were gathered there...very bad.

This evening I discovered it is the Lawrence family grandfather who is missing. Their grandfather is a spritely 88 year old man who has dementia and was last seen heading north along the highway....catastrophic.

His large family literally CARE for the people of Gin Gin. They work as fieries, ambos, counsellors, teachers, foster parents and chaplains.  They are ALL open minded, non-judgemental, unassuming people who work incredibly hard. I hold them in the highest regard. Darren Lawrence performed Rohan's funeral (his first as a chaplain), his family prepared the church and were on hand with food and support the whole time (+ months afterwards).

The search resumes tomorrow 6am, a lot of people are going on horseback because it is all bushland north of there.

Sigh...and our day started off so lovely with the baby music class - run by the Lawrence family girls.


Friday, February 10, 2012

One for Rachel

From Highly Irritable ;10 things to do before you graduate University 

 Sigh...Yes, uni at 18 was sooo much more fun than uni at 25 ... actually uni at 25 was no fun at all. However TEACHING at uni was GREAT - it's so cruisy compared to normal jobs.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Adjective. When something is so boring you go barking mad. eg How is the introductory IT subject? Borking!

Crash Test Dummy

Yes, it's permanent pen so I'm glad Sean is taking her to the swimming lesson tomorrow.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Snip Snip Snip

So what ELSE can I cut? 

Bathroom: I've pushed down the usage of toiletries down massively - I have not bought anything for months. One bar of soap in a jar of water refills the soap pump at least 20 times which far outlives a bar of soap going squishy on the sink. I hang the shower soap in a net bag so it does not dissolve  down the plughole. We rarely use shampoo - hot water each night seems to be enough. I am still using up moisturisers people gave me for Skye 2 years ago and will make my own in the future. I make my own deodorant (bicarb & peppermint oil). Installing the butt gun (bidet) cut our dunny paper usage to 1/5. Toothpaste: tiny squeeze & lots of brushing. Shaving: optional. Hot water is free but if we had shorter showers then the pump would not have to run as long.

Laundry: I MIGHT use a box of laundry detergent every 8 weeks and I am currently sorting our towels and putting away the excess so the kids can't drag them around the house to provide me (now THEM) with more washing. Also I'm going to keep a tighter control over their clothes to reduce the kids need to wear clothes at all?

Cleaning: I am conservatively using up the odds and sods in the cupboards, some of them since the previous owners moved out 8 years ago - although I think this says more about my negligent cleaning habits than my frugality.

Kitchen: Maybe we can eat more Arabic & Indonesian dishes where everyone shares from the same platter rather than making a mountain of dirty dishes? AND I'm going to put away all the extra cutlery & crockery. That one will be hard because I always seem to have a house full of visitors. I suppose I could also cut down on hot drinks and hot, buttery toast because those appliances cost a fair bit to run...

Electronics: Sean already turns off the unnecessary things at night and I work with just one desk lamp.  We don't have a TV or stereo system but we do have computers running all the time but that should change when Sean farms out the server and maybe I can discipline myself to only turn the computer on when I sit down to work at night (Hard!)

Climate control: The fans are on constantly during summer but maybe solar panels would cool the roof even further and negate that completely. Also we could move outside earlier instead of turning on the fans or just get used to the heat!  In winter I have started to sit under an electric rug instead of turning on a heater and maybe I'll move the whole family into one bedroom next winter so only so heater is required.

Food: I don't think I can get more frugal in this department without ceasing to eat completely - with the exception of bread and cheese I make everything from scratch.  Mind you,  I  CAN make the bread and cheese from wheat and milk but that costs more than buying it. I suppose we could cancel the wine subscription - but then we'd need to turn up the heat in winter.

Transport: Another tough one. It is hard to cut the miles living here and I am out 4 days a week with kids activities. I NEVER "pop down to the shops" and we try to organise all the homeschool activities on one day. Also it is common sense to take care of the cars properly so we do not skimp on maintenance. HA! It took me 7 years to wear through the first set of brake pads so my driving can't be too bad but maybe I can turn off the air conditioning and drive even more slowly. Perhaps I should take more care about where I buy fuel and at what time of day and start keeping he fuel vouchers from the IGA.

Anyway, PLEASE feel free to give me more ideas! I would be very appreciative  :-)


With a new freezer & washer, swimming, soccer & vet fees plus car repairs all amounting to a rather ouchy sum, my next personal project will be to buy NOTHING for the rest of the year.  Food, transport, electricity & education are acceptable.  My kids won't object - they'll be too busy washing clothes.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Wishy Washy Memories

The washing machine died 3 weeks ago and I finally replaced it. I loaded it the minute it arrived home and the kids watched the whole process exclaiming and squealing in delight... Bunch-a dags! They won't be squealing when they have to do the washing themselves!

My first machine after leaving home was a twin tub (TT) in Japan (1993). I always hold the rinse water for the next wash and one very cold winter the cat, Arbuckle, jumped onto the machine thinking the lid was on and was shocked to find himself crashing though an icy crust. Do I need to describe his reaction?

The next washer was a late 70s TT from my grandma, followed by Sean's mum's TT Whirlpool - an early 70s (?) vintage - which washed so violently the clothes looked like they were trying to escape (socks were regularly thrown clear across the laundry). It was FANTASTIC! But soon I inherited Nana's top loading automatic and Sean kept repairing it until the only things which kept it running were washing line pegs and wire. When Nana had a stroke and she and Pa moved into nursing homes their newer machine came to live with us and I suppose we wore that one out too.

Around 2004 we moved to Gin Gin where the property owners had left behind their monstrous top loader which used 140 L with every wash. Now we were on tanks I choked at the water consumption. However my sister moved in and introduced us to front loaders. How curious! How DID the water stay in? Did it wash as well as a top loader? Was it as fast as a top loader? The damn thing used just 60L for the whole cycle so when Sean moved to Kingaroy I sent the white elephant with him and  *BOUGHT* a washing machine. OMG! *ME* SPEND MONEY?! And it wasn't a cheap one - it was an $800 whoopty-doo-scrub-yer-jeans-and-polish-yer-dog front loader.  Was I impressed? You bet! And I was sooo thankful for it because we then entered 5 years of severe drought and right at the end, when the rain failed completely, we were still able to wash nappies. MOST families ran out of water early that year and the kids were showering at school (or going to the public pool a lot more regularly! BLEAH!)

Anyway the Bosh has died (only 7 years old!)... and I replaced it with a twin tub.  NO, I am not nostalgic for manual washing but right now my wallet us firmly sewn shut. The TT cost 1/3 the price of a regular washer and can wash 3 loads in the time it takes a front loader to do one. It is simple enough for Sean to fix, uses the same volume of water as a front loader and if it is anything like its predecessors it will last 50% longer than an automated machine. And yes....EVEN A CHILD CAN USE IT.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Thankyou Gambling Addicts!

DUDES!!!  I WIN - AGAIN!!!  I just scored $20,000 for a shed for SES, $5,000 for solar panels for the Curra Country Club and $32,000 for Blackbutt State School for pool heating. All courtesy the gambling fund.

SO! Over 2011 I brought in $300,000 for Wide Bay-Burnett community development.  I'm waiting on two more grants to be announced from last year and if I can score just ONE of then my hit rate will be 50%
 What would REALLY make my day would be to score the $1.5 million medical centre we applied or last year but we'll have to wait until May for that announcement.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Run like a muppet

A year or so ago I would exploit the innocence of my boy and say, "Show us yer nuts!" and he would put on a crazy act. This fell out of use for obvious reasons. However recently Kirk and I saw the latest muppet movie and noted how much Skye resembles them when she runs. So now our cue for "do silly stuff" is "RUN LIKE A MUPPET".  Gales of laughter guaranteed.

Dance with Wolves - Plays with Pigs

The Dutch are very into animal rights (but they still eat them) and are looking for ways to prevent boredom in mass farmed pigs. Some researchers are experimenting with computer games for pigs where they interact with people via a touch screen hooked to the internet.

Could you imagine kids playing this game and then being served porkl? "OMG! You're eating Clementine.  Booo Hoooo Hoooo!!!" or maybe it could go like this, "The damn pig beat me! Bahhahahaha! BUT I WILL HAVE THE LAST FORK!"

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

If you don't like the way I drive...

...stay off the pavement, and the out of the paddock and definitely don't go anywhere near the creek! Bob's Pajero ROCKS ...and tilts and spins and slides....  I wonder if I can keep it?

PS: Changed my mind! Drinks like Noah and its gearbox is just as shagged!

Monday, January 9, 2012


I walk the dinosaur....

Sean lent my car to friends while theirs is being repaired so I am driving Leo's* dinosaur - an automatic Ford Falcon GL Wagon. This morning pottering around town it started to overheat so I drove it VERY carefully to a mechanic. It seems there may be a blown gasket. Sigh.. it looks like another "interesting" week on the way.

Post Script: Bob is offering to loan his Pajero for the week - mmm...a serious time :-)

*Who is Leo? Algerian-French guy on a working visa. We met him via Isaac & he left his car & gear with us so he could travel light to Catherine for work. He must have struck gold because now he is in Fiji. 

Why I love Nat Geo

Nice Purse :-)
This was in National Geographic's favourite shots of December.  My first thought was, "What the hell is that purse doing there?" My next was, "Brave man!" At least he won't misplace his valuables.

Kirk & Friend

Ross took these photos of Kirk being very much  himself. 

"Distractable" is an understatement

Some people say, "Take time to stop and smell the flowers" but being easily distracted means I eat them instead.

Reading Cosmos magazine tonight has taken me on a really enjoyable journey... Their article on synaesthesia (sorry can't link as it is in the digital subscriber section) has prompted me to wonder if my friend who sees auras actually has an unusual form of synaesthesia? So possibly people are not actually putting out an aura - rather her synapses are cross wired and when she interprets their emotions it shows as a coloured field around the person.

And from there it was all tangential...Looking for support about this idea I came across the  Periodic Table of Swearing and then a blog about the benefits of being bilingual.  Apparently bilingualism makes you better able to apply theory of mind (guessing what other people are thinking, empathising etc...) and this gels well with my personal theory that ALL kids should be sent overseas after highschool for at least a year and this would stop all wars because it's very difficult to make war when 1/2 your population is shagging the enemy. (When you stop seeing people in 2D and understand they love their kids as much as you do it is impossible to make war on a population).

THEN on the same blog site I discovered the Navajo Indians' taboo of eating fish. This reminded me of an account I read over 20 years ago of an early Tasmanian explorer's encounter with an aboriginal woman when he was fishing (pub. date approx early 1900s). He offered her some fish but she expressed revulsion and rejected the offer. He concluded that native Tasmanians did not eat fish so I wondered if there was any confirmation of this in modern anthropology. Reading this article, The Polemics of Eating Fish in Tasmania, it looks like this question is still far from settled and there is a tousle over that the lack of evidence (ie lack of fishbones in the ancient middens) does not mean people are not eating fish however the subtext is about anthropologists quibbling over whether dropping fish from the menu represents a step back for their society having lost the knowledge of fishing or a fine tuning of their needs as richer fare was available for less effort. I speculate that the anthropologist's emotional-ethical pre-disposition towards the native people may affect which side of the issue they stand on. (At a stretch I could say that this phenomenon is similar to that issue of empathy & theory of mind attributed to bilinguals ;-)

I eventually regained my original track, and there were plenty of studies of the various types of synaesthesia but no studies supporting my idea about aura readers although someone beat me to the hypothesis and has suggested an emotional synaesthesia. I wonder how many aura readers would submit themselves to such a study and what would their conclusions be - those of the scientist and the subjects?

Post Script: While I was writing this post an old friend rang and raved on for a couple of hours. He was very drunk and in a very deep funk as his uncle died last week. Sigh...c'est la vie...