Friday, December 26, 2008

Lava Lamp

Big events like Christmas have been difficult for all of us since my niece Isabelle passed away as it always feels like someone is missing, no matter how good the day is there's just something not quite right about it.

This year I invited the family to my place as I had never had Christmas at mine before - I even put up a tree for the first time in about 5 years!

Like a lot of Aussie's we went for the seafood and cold meat lunch and it was really relaxing as we sat outside and chatted - and ate... and then ate some more!

I missed Belle not being with us but it was lovely to have Madeleine and Mason, who both give good hugs and kisses! At the end of the day everyone was relaxed and there was no fuss or drama - and you can't ask for more than that!


Some of the family opening presents!


Mason with a mouthful of his Aunty's 'white Christmas'


Madeleine happy to receive a charm bracelet from Aunty


The gate is normally used to keep Sandy in her area of the house!



Mason, Madeleine and Isabelle. A beautiful present Noel gave to Danielle. Each big picture contains 18 separate pictures - believe me it took him some time (and a lot of mucking around on the computer) to find 3 pictures that could be broken down like this... and the results are just lovely.


I finally own a lava lamp! How very retro of me - but I have wanted one for ages.


I asked Aaron for some plants for the garden, which he bought and planted for me, however this beautiful necklace was completely unexpected!



Aaron and Ella, crashed out after a long hot day!

Hope you all had the best Christmas you possibly could!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Downtown

I had to work a half day on Christmas Eve but like some of my work colleagues I decided to take 'my' children to work with me - in this case my niece Madeleine and my nephew Mason!

We had a bit of time to kill from when I finished work to when their parents were due to pick us up (they had to have a scan to check for spina bifida as Danielle is 16 weeks pregnant). I decided to take the kids down to a park not far from where I work and we all had fun!

Maddy used my camera to take photos of the trees


the leaves


and central train station!


I was also treated to a dance routine and some hand stands!


Very photogenic!


A gorgeous pic that maddy took of Mason!


I just love his big brown eyes!


Mason and Aunty!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Big Thing

My lovely nephew Mason turned one last week!

After the traumatic year he's had - 2 major surgeries to correct a bilateral cleft lip and palette - it's wonderful to see him putting on weight and looking so healthy... and happy!

Sitting happily in his new Thomas chair


A Thomas book to read while sitting in the Thomas chair!


The cake!


Enjoying the attention as we all sing Happy Birthday!


About to take his first bite of his cake


With his sister Maddy and friend Inari

Happy Birthday Mason John!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Tiger Tiger

I have been doing some work in my back garden as I'm putting in a pool - not a lovely expensive in-ground pool but a much cheaper 5m round above ground pool. The thing is regardless of the cost of the pool the council requires a specific type of pool fence - which is going to cost twice as much as the actual pool!

A few people have told me not to bother putting up the pool fence, seeing as I don't have any children, and just hope the council doesn't fine me. Knowing what we all went through, and continue to go through, losing Belle I could never knowingly choose to do something which might cause harm to someone else.

Imagine how I would feel if I came home from work and found a neighbourhood child floating face down in my pool because I chose not to put up a fence? Who could live with themselves after that?

Unfortunately the pool won't be in for Christmas as the fence has to be ordered and then council approved before the water can go in... but it's far better to be safe than sorry!

In the meantime I am clearing the area where the pool is going to go - an area used as a dumping ground by the prior owner of the property and ignored by me until now. Due to my neglect the weeds have completely taken over (which doesn't bother Sandy) and I should probably be embarrassed to post any photos of it in its current state, however I am looking forward to putting up the 'after' photos at a later date.

The back corner of my yard after day 1 of clearing the area!


Sandy investigating bugs and insects in the long grass


Sandy stalking me in the long grass




My little tiger pouncing on her prey!


After a long hard day we all need a place to hide away from it all.


Some curious bystanders watching me work away


Lizard eggs I uncovered when I was removing bricks

Sunday, December 7, 2008

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

I've decided it's time to have a Christmas tree again. Christmas has always been my favourite time of year. I love buying presents for other people and I normally spend hours wrapping them and writing out cards etc.

My house has always been festive with stockings, wreaths and decorations hanging up and I won't even say out loud what my postage costs are to send presents to my dear friends in the United Kingdom. Then I got Cinders.

Cinders was the first pet that I got as an adult, a male kitten approximately 6 weeks old who came to me on Boxing Day - a Christmas present for myself. Living alone I thought it would be nice to have a cat for company, I imagined him purring away as he curled up on my lap. Cinders and I had a very different idea about how we were going to co-exist. His idea was that I would feed him every day and then leave him alone, with the exception of a few occasions when he wanted his neck scratched.

Cinders chewed the bedside tables & wooden photo frames, he scratched anyone who tried to pick him up and he not only attacked the Christmas tree the first year I had him but during the night he tore open the neatly wrapped presents underneath it and then proceeded to eat the tinsel - thereby costing me a fortune at the vets!

Sadly, Cinders went to animal-heaven on my birthday last year as he had cancer, he was only five. I knew he was sick as he'd mellowed to the point of sleeping next to me on the bed and sitting on my lap whenever I sat down. He hadn't mellowed completely though as he still tormented Ella whenever he could and I'm sure she did a feline-jig when she realised she was suddenly the only cat in the house!

As naughty as he was I still miss Cinders but it does mean I can finally put a Christmas tree back up! Last year I spent Christmas in the UK and wherever I went I bought a decoration, or two, to put on the tree this year. I had such fun looking at the decorations as they came out of the box as it brought back memories of the places I went and the time I spent with friends. I'm not a fan of tinsel anymore so the tree looks a bit dull during the day but it has four sets of lights on it so really comes to life at night.



I bought this one in Harrods, obviously, with my friend Cheryl


From the Disney shop in Cardiff, while out shopping with Amanda


From the Christmas Shop in the Cotswolds, with Rachel


From an after-Christmas sale in Wolverhampton with Louise


A harp from my trip through Ireland

I have been watching Ella to see if she is going to try and play with any of the baubles but so far she has been good (unless she attacks the tree secretly when I am at work). So far she's used the branches to give her face a scratch and she's sat on the presents a few times (she has a thing for paper and plastic bags) but she actually hasn't attempted to play with any of the decorations... yet!

Me? I'm not doing anything wrong!


I'm just checking to see if it's a real pine tree... sniff, sniff. Nope, it isn't.


I can see one for Aaron, one for Mandy... how come my name's not on any of these?


If people decorating their houses with lights and Santa's aren't a big enough give-away that Christmas is fast approaching there's always the red flowers of the NSW Christmas bush! Australian natives have been used as decoration since last century but this is the first time I have seen mine flower, seeing as I wasn't at home last December when it flowered for the first time - my Mum told me how pretty it was as she cut loads of it and had it in vases around her house.

A boatload of Christmas Bush being rowed towards Sydney for sale in the markets
[Sydney Mail 23 December 1882]



The other major sign that it's almost Christmas is the Christmas beetle! When you suddenly feel something crawl down your shirt or buzz loudly into your hair, there's a good chance it's a Christmas beetle. Mostly active at night, the Christmas beetles have been swarming around my kitchen window and front door, as they are attracted to the light. While I have seen a few green and black beetles the majority of the ones lurking around my house are the common golden brown ones.

Christmas beetles are something I remember from my childhood as I was quite scared of them when I was a kid. While they don't scare me anymore I did let out a squeal the other night when one buzzed passed my ear!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Shelter

I was doing some gardening this morning and I spotted a scrappy looking birds nest in my jasmine - the main materials used seem to be twigs and the stuffing from one of Sandy's toys!

The jasmine is wound around one of the supporting posts of my undercover area so it's a strange place for a bird to make a nest, especially as Sandy spends most of her time there during the day and she chases away any bird that comes near her.

Sandy has suddenly developed a fascination for getting under the house, I'm assuming it's because it is cooler under there, and it's now an ongoing battle between the two of us as I block up the gaps under the house and then she finds a way to get back under there again! I wouldn't mind so much except for the fact that she comes out dirty, there's probably redback spiders under there and on Thursday she came out bleeding as she went head first into something, probably a nail, and has a puncture mark on her face an inch deep!

The other main problem is that while Sandy can work out a way to get under the house she can't get back out again so she gets stuck and has to spend all day there until either Aaron or I get home from work! The upside is that she hasn't been spending her days chasing birds so one of them has been able to build a nest in the jasmine!

I'm not sure whether the nest is a work in progress (it looks a bit haphazard) or it's been abandoned but I am pretty sure there aren't any eggs in it but it was too high up for me to investigate without getting on a ladder. It would be lovely to one day see some baby birds.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Salt in the Rainbow


As we grow up, we learn that even the one person that wasn't supposed to ever let you down probably will.

You will have your heart broken probably more than once and it's harder every time. You'll break hearts too,so remember how it felt when yours was broken.


You'll fight with your best friend.


You'll blame a new love for things an old one did.


You'll cry because time is passing too fast, and you'll eventually lose someone you love.


So take too many pictures, laugh too much, and love like you've never been hurt because every
sixty seconds you spend upset is a minute of happiness you'll never get back.


Don't be afraid that your life will end, be afraid that it will never begin.


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Hold Back The Rain

This blog is a week-in-review type post as I have been so busy I haven't even had time to check my email let alone update my blog!

Last weekend I went to Madeleine's end of year dance concert, which was fabulous despite the antics of the supposedly funny MC's (rude and inappropriate humour which was just plain dull). My favourite dancers, besides Madeleine of course, are the little kids that are probably only 18 months to 2 years old - they're so cute in their little outfits looking at each other to try and work out the next dance move!

On Friday night Aaron went prawning with his mates and couldn't understand why I wasn't interested in joining them - midnight in cold water up to my armpits holding out a net??? Thanks but no thanks! Instead I stayed home where it was warm and comfy - until he got home and decided to use my body heat to warm up his cold limbs!

This morning Noel, Danielle, Madeleine and Mason dropped by for a visit so I took Mason out to play with Sandy as he seems quite interested in animals and not the least bit scared of them! I did pick up Ella so he could give her a pat but she's not the patient sort of cat and I was a bit worried she was going to swipe him, whereas Sandy is used to children and is very tolerant - she was also happy to clean up any left over food on his face (but don't tell Danielle that).

This afternoon the two girls from next door, Ashley and Elizabeth, asked me if I would give them $2 each if they washed Sandy for me. Sandy was due for a bath but the weather had been awful lately so I hadn't had a chance to do it myself so I readily agreed.

Of course dogs can always sense when something they don't want, like going to the vets or having a bath, is about to happen and they quickly disappear so it took me a little while to get Sandy on her lead.

Although Sandy doesn't like the water (yet she jumps into the lake whenever we go for a walk) she loves being brushed and towel dried so she ends up semi-enjoying the experience!

We've had rain off and on for the past few weeks so I was happy it was a beautiful sunny day as Sandy's fur takes a while to dry and she hates me using the blow drier on her!
Without warning the sky darkened and it looked like rain - and there's me with a line full of washing!

It's supposedly summer in two days time but I have my doubts about a hot Christmas this year as we haven't had any really warm weather yet, in fact it seems to rain every other day!


Ashley, Sandy and Elizabeth

A clean Sandy eating her treat


The heavens opened up

Friday, November 21, 2008

Water Babies

This video was forwarded to me this morning and I think it's absolutely gorgeous! I had to share!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Afternoon tea

My lovely friend Corinne is doing a course in ceramics and after some gentle persuasion, along the lines of ‘can you make something for me’, she made me a very groovy teapot!


My funky new tea pot


Chai tea and some home made biscuits; what more could a girl ask for?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I Wanna Take You Higher

In my back yard I have a very handy - but very ugly – garden shed. I decided to grow sweet peas over the front to make it look a bit more attractive but after I’d already planted the seeds I was told by several people that I’d planted them in the wrong spot.


Despite being told they weren’t going to grow I was still hoping that by Spring I’d have a lovely display of sweet peas so I made sure they received lots of sun and water and slowly my seeds grew into seedlings. Over the past few weeks I’ve been watching the sweet peas grow higher and higher and then finally the first flower appeared!


I’ve been told that if you cut the flowers it actually produces even more so I’ve given a bunch to my Mother and I keep a fresh bunch on the dining room table. Spring is such a lovely time of year.




From little things big things grow!


I love the variety of colours


So delicate and pretty


My yesterday, today and tomorrow - which I had been told was planted in the wrong spot!