Saturday, 15 December 2007

A little slice of heaven

So, we've found it! A beautiful little property up North at Heathcote (between Bendigo and Seymour). I have contravened every law of buying real estate by falling in LOVE with this place the moment I saw it online. It's got just about everything we were looking for, although it's a little smaller than we had planned. This is made up for by the fact that it already has 2500 olive trees on it, comes with a machinery shed which houses a tractor, picking equipment, slasher, grader, generator, caravan etc and has a bore and two big dams. Oh, and a grain crop for a starter income. If we don't get this place (we're making the contract subject to getting a building permit for a house) I will seriously cry. The olive grove is looking a little neglected of late, however I'm sure that we can get it happening again. There is a little black scale on some of the trees, and they all need a good watering (we're also in the process of getting the bore water tested again as it hasn't been done since the start of the drought) but the prospects are good. And it's only 1.5hrs drive from Melbourne so we will actually be inclined to head up there on weekends until we can build and move permanently. No photos at this stage, but we're hoping to have it all sorted by the end of Jan, so I will post some then. I don't want to jinx us!

Monday, 12 November 2007

Uploading pics from MotoGP and stuff.

So, as promised about a month ago (already?! Holy rusted metal, Batman!) here are some of the photos from Philip Island MotoGP. Also, a couple of really cool videos that I took. The racing motorbikes is the 250cc race, not Stoner's efforts as we couldn't get NEAR the fenceline for that one, as we set up camp on the hill (we had binoculars instead :D), but the crowd shot is from the 500cc race. Not that you can see the racers, but I wasn't trying to get them.

So without further preamble, here they are:
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Chuck attaching his birthday present - a tank bag. GREAT investment (wish I'd bought me one at the same time *sigh*)

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Pitstop! Funny how the cold weather gets to you after awhile . . .

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Angel of heat and coffee, number one. I don't know the guy behind the counter's name, but I want to thank him for giving us coffee and helping to defrost our frozen hands!

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Angels of heat and coffee, numbers 2 & 3.

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We made it! And it was just starting to rain again as we pulled into camp.

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Angel of heat and coffee, number 4. Without this guy, we would have been setting up camp in the dark and the rain, then trying to reheat pasta sauce and cook pasta with frozen hands. Paul, you're a legend.

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Our spacious wing of the tent that Paul brought down. Can you tell he takes his family camping alot? :D

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Camping ground by daylight. There were some pretty amazing structures around, let me assure you! If you can make out the bus behind the 4WD and tents in this photo, that's not the Stoner family camp, it was inhabited by a family of five (mum, Dad and 3 kids under 5) who had brought with them the sandpit and trikes as well!

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Specifically our camp site by daylight. This is taken from the door of our tent looking through the "kitchen" to Sue's tent and the motorbikes beyond.

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Our structure for keeping the wind off trackside. It worked a treat too, but I was still frozen! Hence the big jacket and the water/wind proof pants over my jeans! Fashion is not a consideration when I go camping!

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Just a shot to check out the capabilities of our new camera. Keep in mind that a) we bought it the day before, so I didn't actually have it on the right setting for super fast photos and b) that these guys are doing 300 kph plus at the point on the track (having just come out of Doohan's corner) and I'm pretty impressed with this photo. I like our new camera.

And here's the videos that I took as well:
The 250cc bikes.

The big boys!

Note the difference in the noise level from the bikes between trackside and our shelter? Yes, this was deliberate ;)

Saturday, 3 November 2007

It's just too good to be true . . .

Well, after an unexpected week-long trip to Honolulu, it's just too good to be home again! I can't complain about the food in America enough! :D The reason for the trip (for those of you who don't know) was that on his way home from the business trip from hell (read post below), Charles suffered from chest pain and thought he was going to die from a heart attack, so his plane was diverted from San Francisco to Honolulu and I got a phone call at 1am to let me know. Of course, being so early, there wasn't much I could do about it then, but when I woke and let immediate family and his boss know what had happened, the company he works for had put me on a plane and organised accommodation in Honolulu for me so that I could just be with him and I have to say, it was truly appreciated and thanks so much to all his bosses and workmates. Even though they probably don't read this blog!

Anyway, while Charles was away, I had done some further research into country properties for purchase and decided that up around Seymour in the Strathbogie Shire looks really good. They have water (big bonus these days!) and are the only GROWING shire in Victoria according to the ABS. Also, quite a few younger families around apparently. And it's only about 80mins drive from Melbourne on the "new" Hume Freeway, which is pretty easy going. We had planned a jaunt out that way for this Sunday but, given exams and the interruptions of last week, have ruled it out for the moment. We can't go next weekend as we're off to a friend's 30th birthday party in Neerim South which is a part of the world I've not been to before, so it should be nice. Will be good to see said friends anyway, and meet the newest addition to their family, seeing as he's now about 6 months old!

My grand plans for our slice of heaven (?) :D are to turn it into a CSA farm. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and if you search for the term then there are plenty of hits, most of them American. If they are enlightened enough to know about CSA, you'd think they would have some decent food?! I guess land is at a premium in Hawaii though . . . I also managed to find this YouTube contribution which helps to describe it:

I've never tried embedding things before, so I hope that worked! I know it all sounds kind of idealistic (and as some of the comments on YouTube say, very communistic!) but I think it would be an awesome way to farm because you get to go back to nature (I would love a biodynamic farm), everyone gets healthy produce, it helps save the planet, if we found somewhere to farm up around Seymor then we'd be conforming to the 100km diet for people on the fringe of Melbourne (which is only going to continue to grow) and it helps to iron out some of the fluctuations (especially the negative ones) of farming. I really think it's the way of the future for food production. And with that in mind, I can't wait to give it a go. Oh, and so I've decided to change my uni course again to reflect this ;) I'm going to do Agricultural Sciences instead of Animal Science. It's not such a huge change, I'll get credit for everything I've studied so far except this semester's Biochem and, when I graduate (it will happen, I swear! LOL), I will actually have a Bachelor's degree and a Diploma in Agribusiness, which will look good. Although somehow I don't think that the Biodynamic philosophy will be looked into all that much . . .

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Catching up, catching up . . .

Greetings and Salutations! I wanted to post photos and video from our recent trip to Phillip Island for the MotoGP, but our new camera had to go overseas with Charles in order for us to get a rebate on the GST, so I haven't got the pictures. But I can describe the weekend: AWESOME!! However, it must be pointed out that in our usual organised way, we forgot the tickets. Luckily we were only in Springvale when I discovered this, but it had taken us as hour to get to that point due to the traffic. On the up side, it only took us 20 minutes to get back home again to collect the tickets! But that did mean (for those of you who know what the Eastern Freeway is like and what the weather was doing that day) that we got totally soaked in the rain twice, instead of just once :s

On the second attempt, we decided to head straight for the South Eastern Freeway via Hawthorn so that we could bypass Springvale Road altogether. Good plan, until we got onto the freeway because the first round of traffic we'd encountered in Springvale was the 3.30 school rush. By the time we got onto the SEF it was the 5pm peak hour rush. I don't think I've ever been on the SEF in peak hour before, and let's just say it was an experience! Thank goodness we were on the bikes because it meant we could do some traffic weaving! It's good to be filthy biker scum ;)

By the time we arrived at Phillip Island it was 7.30pm and we were frozen despite stopping at the rest stop just outside Noble Park to get a MUCH needed cup of hot coffee. Thanks to the Noble Park Lyons Club guys, whoever you were, your services were much appreciated! We got to defrost in the trailer as we waited for our wristbands which would get us into the campsite, then we rang Paul who had travelled down earlier in the day with his daughter Katie and set up camp for us :D He also took most of our gear in his support vehicle. He gave us directions to the campsite and we finally arrived to be greeted by various smiling faces and the Taj Mahal of all campsites! I think we have some photos. Mind you, it wasn't the most impressive campsite there, but it was definitely comfortable. I think the winner of most impressive went to the family of 5 (mum, dad and three under-5's!) who had pulled up in a tour bus! With pushbikes and mobile sandpit to keep the littlies happy. Mind you, there were plenty of big "kids" out and about on pee wees too :D

Saturday we wandered off to the track about 9.30 and spent the day watching the practice laps and so forth. We had set up our shelter so that we were mostly protected from the wind, but as there was little sun it was quite chilly still. I wore my waterproof pants over my jeans for extra warmth (as they're windproof too) and with the dri-rider jacket I was pretty OK. I still managed to get a bit sunburnt though as there was glare coming off Bass Straight which I completely forgot about. Charlie and I were pretty pooped from riding in the night before (and not having slept too well as we were on a slope!) so after lunch we went back to the campsite and had a nap until we were woken by everyone returning from the track. That night we went for a wander over to the trackside campground (we were at hillside) and watched the band for a bit but we weren't really into it. Plus, although there was plenty of alcohol around and to be had, we couldn't drink that much because of still being on our restrictions (can't wait for next year, though . . . :D)

On Sunday we were up bright and early again and I cooked pancakes for everyone before we headed off to stake out a possie trackside. We were in much the same place as last year and where we had been on the Saturday (for those of you who know the track, we were pretty much opposite the big screen at Doohan Corner (turn 1)) but the crowd was so much bigger this year. I have some video of everyone standing for the race, it was pretty amazing. We got down to the fence for the 125's to check out the capabilities of the new camera and I'll post the results as soon as they return. Chuck fought his way through the crowd again to get some photos from near the fenceline as Stoner and Rossi et al streamed past as well.

After the race, we wandered back to camp and started packing up. We didn't want to leave too early because of all the traffic but we didn't want to leave too late either as we had a dinner appointment with my aunt and uncle in Endeavour Hills on our way home. I think we left about 6.15 and managed to be in EH by 7.30ish, which was when we planned to be there. The ride back was less hair raising than last year, probably because we have a bit more experience now and maybe because there were less hoons abouts? Certainly I didn't hear that anyone got deaded on the way there or back this year (unlike last).

Then, after we'd returned, we realised that the medication that Charlie needed to take to Canada with him the next morning was still in the support vehicle, so I made a quick trip up the Eastern to Donvale in order to reclaim our stuff from Paul's place. And then it was definitely time for bed!

We managed to get Charles onto his flight to Canada on the Monday, but I reckon he wouldn't have minded a bit if he hadn't made it! He's been ringing me with updates and from what I can tell, it's been the trip from hell. Firstly, he couldn't claim the GST back on the camera because they won't let you do that if there's less than an hour until your flight leaves (he had 30 mins). Then when he arrived in Canada, he found that the airline had lost his clothes bag and his laptop which he'd taken as checked luggage. The place he's been staying in is a serviced apartment complex, not a hotel and they wouldn't accept his luggage, they could only have it delivered to their head office. So when it turned up, Chuck had to pay CAD$41 to go and retrieve it. The building he's staying in has had the heating turned on because it's supposed to be cold in Canada at this time of year however it hasn't been, so he's been roasting in 27 degree heat and not sleeping well because of it (and on top of his jetlag!). All in all, I think he's quite happy to be on the plan today and will be back in Oz Monday morning, which I (and the cats) will also be grateful for, it's been a bit lonely around our house this week.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Meccano Boy

Yep, it was madness to sell off the collection back in '03 but there you go. While I'm generally not comfortable with atavistic impulses, this one I'm indulging big-time. It's really rather fun translating the shapes in your head into the steel framework, wheels, tracks, motors, drive train etc.

This is a hell of a lot more eductional than nintendo, and the engineering is still sound.

The ATV Ceilidh's posted pictures of has evolved a bit in the last couple of days, and now has Ackermann steering (look that one up). It's going to be a model of an M3 halftrack which if I'm lucky will be recognisable.

Ah well, back to work.

Saturday, 29 September 2007

Can you say "mecchano"?

Well, it's official. He's having a second childhood. Or preparing for a first child, anyway (and no, I'm not pregnant yet, thanks for asking!).

Yes, with all the talk around here of making babies and future plans, Charles has started to lament the fact that he sold off his Mecchano back in 2003. So, what's a man to do? Rummage through the wonder of eBay of course! He's currently bought 4 sets in varying degrees of completion and has spent this evening building (for those of you who know him, this will come as no surprise) a tractor. That's right folks, he's got his battery pack and gear boxes in place and, ok I admit it, I made the steering mechanism :D

I present the latest addition to the collection:
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The Tractor!
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He's been driving it around the living room but unfortunately our digital camera is too old to do videos or I'd post one of them too :D However, I do have a classic photo of one of the cats' reaction to the interloper:
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I might add that nothing much phases this one!

Charles also has a never-used secondhand steam engine on it's way from the UK. Just because he could (although I have to admit, it's pretty cool stuff).

In other news, my holiday is nearly over as uni starts again on Monday. I had 10 days off for the mid semester break (because I usually have Thursdays and Fridays off anyway, so that lengthened it for me) and there's only a few weeks to go until the exam period. We shall see how that all pans out.

Charles is off to Canada on October 15 for a week with his work because they want him to learn how to setup a software application so that he can teach other people at his work here how to use it. It's a Canadian application, which is why he is off. I asked him to bring me back a moose, but I think it might tip him over the limit for excess baggage! I bet moose fluff would be cool to spin though, but there could be issues getting it through customs . . . It will be the longest we've been apart since we met pretty much, so that could be interesting. But at least they don't want to send him off the week before because we intend to go the the MotoGP at Phillip Island for our anniversary on October 12-14. He was ready to make heads roll if the boss wanted to send him os for our anniversary! Can you see why I love this man? He's all about family.

We had a lovely dinner with Annie and Kris last night, so they were well fortified for their day of house hunting today. With Melbourne's housing shortage the way it's going I think Kris will have his work cut out for him, but I hope it all goes well. I guess the worst case scenario is that we could move to Glen Waverley earlier than expected and Kris could move in here, although I think Annie would want to join him in that case!

Oh, and for those of you overseas who haven't seen or heard the news yet, Geelong won the Grand Final for the first time in 44 years by a record margin of 100-and-something points. Despite this it was an interesting game to watch because of the Cats' skill display, although Port Adelaide seemed to go home at the end of the first quarter when they were 30-something points down. They didn't kick a goal beyond the first quarter, I don't think! But I'm sure if you care that much, you can read about it in the Age or somewhere. That's all I have to say about it.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

So much for regular updates . . .

I know, I promised. But it seems as though life is all about Uni at the moment and nothing interesting has happened. But I bet I could think of some stuff.

Like I bought a new spinning wheel. I realise that this isn't the most interesting of topics for the majority of you, and that you'll have no idea of the significance of buying it because it's got a double treadle mechanism. But I can mention it, right? Darn tootin'. It's my blog :D Anyway, the reason I bought it is because it's got a double treadle mechanism, which means that you use both feet (each on its own treadle) to make the wheel go around. This is good because it stops me getting a sore hip on one side (bad when you're only in your mid 20s, trust me!) and means that I can stop and start treadling with a lot more ease, so I don't unravel my spinning. The only problem that I could see with the wheel was that it only came with one bobbin, but I bought a coupld more for it (although I'm not sure if they fit or not yet). It's a horizontal Ashford Traditional wheel, for those of you who might be interested, so it's easy to get parts for and I'm thinking of investing in a jumbo flyer so that I can spin thick yarn as well. My other wheel (a Tara double drive, upright single treadle) is great for lace yarns, but neither, at the moment, will do super bulky stuff.

Also, we have just invested some money in a new shmotorbike! It's beautiful and we picked it up today. Essentially its for me, but I'll let Charles ride it too, because I think he quite openly covets it over his bike! Not that his is bad or anything, its just mine is bigger and a little newer and SHWEEEEEET! And yes, I backed it into a post in the carpark at uni today. On the first day I owned it. In my defence, I a) currently have a cricked neck and can't turn my head as far as usual so I didn't see the post and b) this Eliminator is about a foot longer than my Suzy was and a LOT lower (being a cruiser as opposed to an old school upright type bike), so the brakelight cover was just at the right height to crack open. So yes, we picked it up today, and I made it unroadworthy within a couple of hours of owning it. So my mission for tomorrow is to find a new brakelight cover and get a cosy for it. Here's some photos of "The Beast" (even if it is only a 250 still!):

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The damage isn't too bad, all the pieces sort of popped into the brakelight cover, so if the worse happens and I can't get a new cover tomorrow in the city, we can tape the pieces back together so that Charles can go riding sometime on the weekend. We had thought about not getting a new bike for me as it's only 10 months until we'll be able to get bigger bikes, but we wanted to go to the Grand Prix in October (it's our wedding anniversary, we're going to camp all weekend!) and we needed two bikes to go to that because you can't go to see Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi in the car, it just doesn't work. Although we are grateful to our friend Paul who is taking his car (and our stuff so we don't have to ride with a tent etc on the back!).

What else? We chopped down the old plum tree in the backyard and now there's a lot more light coming into the lounge which is good. We even managed to do it (ourselves) without any bits of tree landing on Charles' head, which was a bonus. I planted a vegie garden and I think things have started to grow in it which were specifically planted there! It's very exciting because it's generally believed that I have a black thumb. Oh, and we bought an olive tree, a Manzanillo called "Manny", which we hope will be the first of many. We're still thinking about purchasing some land and starting an olive grove sometime in the future, but we're waiting to see whether any good land comes on the market in our preferred area (up around Mansfield) now that the interest rates have gone up. We're not in any hurry, let's put it that way.

So that's about it really. Uni ticks along and hopefully I'm passing everything. I guess I'll know soon enough. I can't wait for the mid-semester break, which will be in two weeks time, 3/4 of the way through semester. Go figure. It's either too early in 1st semester (due to Easter) or too late in 2nd semester. Still at least it's on the way. It will be nice to have some time off and I'd love to go away for a bit, but I suspect I'll be madly trying to do assignments *sigh*

Speaking of going away, we managed to head up to Sydney for the weekend back in mid July to catch up with our crazy English mate, Tom. He'd been back in Australia on a work contract for a while, but was about to head back to the UK, so we decided on the spur of the moment to head up to see him before he left. We figured it was a lot easier to get to Sydney than to Milton Keynes for a weekend! And probably a lot more interesting too . . . ;)

It seems like a large proportion of our friends are heading off on their "Grand Tours" this year as well. Hayley left for the UK in Feb (and I believe she's due back at some point fairly soon), Scot and Sarah left last week for the UK via Thailand, Europe and Mexico for 12 months and Sam is about to jet off next week for an undisclosed period of time in the UK as well. I would love to go and live overseas again, but I don't think it's in our near future as Charles is very happily settled at his work, I'm still studying and mum has kittens at the thought of us moving interstate, let alone internationally! Although I'm trying to encourage Charles to think about going to visit Thane and Emma in China next year before they return to Australia as well. I'd love the chance to practice my (incredibly) rusty Mandarin.

Monday, 18 June 2007

Taking a study break

So, I'm 2/5 exams down and I'm taking a break from studying for Micro (which is tomorrow). I was checking my emails and came across this one sent from my good friend Alice. It didn't say anything, but it had the following pictures attached to it. I think they're awesome, so I'm sharing them. I don't know where they came from originally, but if I did I'd give credit where credit is due because, well, you'll see what I mean.

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket I thought this one was real butterflies on the paper when I first saw it!
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket I love the water in this one.
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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket These two are just so intricate, it's amazing!
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket This is one of my favourites, because the cut outs from the page in no way look like the 3-D image that's been produced. I can't imagine how much time and fiddly cutting these would have taken!
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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Note the change in the shape of the footprints . . . ? :D
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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Just WOW . . . (my second favourite)
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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket This is my third favourite. Again, because of the intricate cutwork.
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Friday, 1 June 2007

End of assignments relief

Hello, hello! I finally have a little time to update on what's been going on now that I have completed all of my uni assignments! The last one was handed in today, so now all I have to do is get through 2 weeks of swat vac, 5 exams (yes, that's right, I'm doing four subjects this semester . . . :D) and I can have a couple of days off before I go back to work! I will be undertaking enrolment jobs in the Humanities Faculty again this year, but in the middle of the year because they've decided that mid-year intake is good and they need more staff to cope with it. But hey, it pays well :D

Got news last night that my step-cousin and his fiancee have just had a baby but I don't know the flavour yet. My aunt is due to have her first any time now and my friends Stu and Eb just had their first as well on May 24th (just found out today). Congratulations to everyone! Something tells me that there was baby dust in the air back in August . . . too bad it wasn't headed our way *sigh* I'm being the wife from hell (according to Charlie ;D) and encouraging him to quit smoking to see if that will help our babymaking efforts. So far he was off the cigs for three days and was so horrible that we decided he would go back on them! It's not going to be as easy as we suspected. At least I'm finished smoking (having Charlie quit for even a few days made it easier for me) and I've got to say, I'm not sorry to not be standing out in the cold and RAIN (yes, you read that right!) in order to get a fix.

Been checking in on Craftster to take study breaks and came across a blog called Mason-Dixon Knitting. How did I not know about this before?! Was scrolling through the links on the sidebar there and came across the wonders of YouTube in the form of this Mum, Thane, you'll love it to bits :D I just can't believe that someone would go to that much trouble! Mind you, it IS the Bayeux Tapestry . . .

Well, I'm off to hunter/gatherer some dinner for the cats and us as Charlie will be home from work soon. Well, in another hour or so. But I don't know what we're having, so I'd better go and look. Then I will be veging out this weekend in preparation for studying next week! And the week after! And then doing my exams! You get the idea.

However, I just have to mention that part of the veging out involves going to see Pirates of the Carribean III on Sunday with Tim and his ex wife and their boys because we haven't seen Tim for ages and taking his boys made it acceptable for Charles and I to see a kid's film and now its ended up that we get to meet his ex wife too . . . I'm not quite sure how that happened, but I get to experience Gold Class cinema for the first time! Sad, I know. How long has it been available? Let's not go there, OK? :)

Right, dinner. Before Cujo chews my leg off . . .

Thursday, 17 May 2007

It's RAINING, it's pouring . . .

And yes, the old man's been snoring. After having been laid up all week so far with a NASTY stomach bug, I think he deserves some serious rest too. It all started on Thursday apparently. Charlie caught PT to work and had a normal day. Started feeling crook on Friday, was tired on Saturday but well enough to cook for Leo and Joanna who came for dinner (they and I are all fine, by the way). Sunday he did some more knees up running around activities and Monday he looked like death warmed up so he stayed home from work. Tuesday he was worse, and managed to drag himself to the doctor (luckily it's only a few blocks from our house, I wouldn't have wanted him driving too far in his condition!). Turns out he's practically dead with a blood pressure of 106/50 . . . So he sent me a message asking me to come straight home from uni (after my Biochem prac) and when I got there, I promptly turned around and went to fill his prescription! Four tactical nukes in the form of some very serious antibiotics later and he seems to almost be himself again. But Wednesday and today have been spent asleep on the couch. We'll see how he pulls up tomorrow.

So yeah, it's been raining cats and dogs today. It would be the day I didn't take my brolly to uni (because it was clear and sunny when I left this morning!). Luckily I drove today as I wouldn't have wanted to be waiting on the bus stop, in the rain, wearing a white shirt :s No jumper 'coz of the nice weather, see? :D

I took some photos as proof!
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket If you look closely, you can see the raindrops on the washing line. Guess who had washing out?! The ladder is up because Cujo is all in favour of climbing onto the roof to sun herself and not being able to get down. She doesn't much like the rain though!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket One of the three plants that are actually growing in our backyard. I don't count the plum or casurinas because they're well established . . .

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Another of our plants that are actually growing. The fence is there to keep the chooks off as "Milton the Monsterior" is the only truly green thing they can get at in the yard.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket We may actually get some lemons this year! Although I think I'll have to attack it with the steel knife (when I have a steel knife!) to encourage it to grow some more first.

In other news, our oldest cat, Lottie, passed away last Saturday. She was about 23 and had outlived 3 owners! She's been off colour for a couple of days, and we went out shopping in the morning, came back in the afternoon and she was dead under the Jag. She'd had a good run though.

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RIP Lottie
1984 ~ 2007

Thursday, 3 May 2007

Yes, we're still alive out here

Man, I really need to do more regular updates on here, or I'll forget what's been happening!

So, uni has been MAD as we come towards the business end of semester. I had a Biochem test the other week and passed, so that's a bonus. I'm finding it interesting, there's just SO MUCH STUFF we have to know. But I've upped the study roster to include more hours, so I think I'll cope OK.

For Entomology, we had to make a bug collection with 15 orders and 25 specimens in it. I managed, only by buying a stick insect (order Phasmatodea) from the petshop and killing it. I felt really bad about that, he was kinda cute. Here's some photos of the (almost) finished product (before the stick insect went in):

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Major thanks to Mum and Charlie for helping with the bug collection! And getting excited about the project when I just couldn't :D

I've also had prac write-ups for various subjects coming out of my ears, so I'll be knuckling down over the weekend to knock those off. I had a couple of days off this week with a dodgy ear infection, so I managed to cover a couple of them and get a little crafting time in too. I made something for a swap I'm involved in on the Crafster forums but I've given my partner the link to my blog in case she wants to find out a bit more about me, so I can't post pictures until after she receives it.

Chuck started a new job back at the beginning of April and is having a ball! He's working for a company that he used to work for back in about 2000, and is now getting to do al sorts of interesting management and ideas and infrastructure stuff. He tells me there's no sitting around the office being bored like his last job! I'm not entirely sure of everything he does around the place, but I'm happy that he's happy.

Our 2 year anniversary was back a couple of weeks as well, so we went out for dinner, but the real treat that I'd organised didn't happen until last weekend. We went to see Cirque du Soleil's Varakai which was awesome! Although they try to make the show have something of a storyline, and I couldn't follow this one as well as I could their "Quidam" which was on telly a few weeks ago as well. I think this one had something to do with Icarus and A Midsummer Night's Dream and Under the Sea - it was odd, but good. We went to the matinee which was a nice change too.

That's about all for now, I have to go to uni and do another prac at 10am, so I'd best get going!

Oh, and I forgot to mention that we finally laid Lucy to rest yesterday as well. She's now lying peacefully next to Umberto at the Kew Cemetery, so it was a bit of an emotional afternoon here. We're doing ok and I suspect things will get back to normal fairly quickly now.