Monday, February 28, 2011

round the world -- Super Pit (Kalgoorlie)

RedNomad has a travel linky going on at her blog, which I'm joining in. She asks us to pick one post from our blogs which has something travel-related -- a holiday destination, a local sight etc. -- so we can all do some armchair travelling!

Fabio and I lived in Kalgoorlie for a few years, which tends to happen when your life revolves around mining.
And the thing that people MOST want to see when they visit Kalgoorlie is the Super Pit (or the brothels, but I'm not going to advertise those, even inadvertently)
If ever you get to Kal, go to the Super Pit. Seriously.
Take a tour if you can.

Also -- if you click on the photos, they'll come up a bit larger, to help you see the details.

This view is years old. The viewing platform gets moved regularly as the Pit extends.
In the right foreground, you can see some little white dots. This is a blast pattern being drilled. 
It's where the explosives will go.
You can also JUST see something that looks like a tiny white crane.
It's actually a huge piece of machinery that does something to do with the drilling.

Another view of the 'bench' that's being drilled ready for firing. 
The tiny dots are machinery and vehicles.

And a close-up.

Fabio, the kids and my sister, looking from the viewing platform. The mesh is there to stop drongos from climbing over, and also to protect the public from flying rock.

If you look at the first picture again, you can JUST see a tiny yellow blob slightly above the centre of the photo. This is it, in close-up.
Looking carefully, you can see tiny people moving around in front of that enormous yellow thing.
There are a couple of dumpies (huge dump trucks) in the background as well.

A dump truck, with a 'normal' sized vehicle parked in front of it. See the different colours in the dirt? And the 'benching'? It's a pretty amazing sight.
I wish you could be taking this virtual tour with Fabio -- he knows what all the machinery is, and what it does, and knows all kinds of cool things to point out. 

MMM Monday -- Art Deco

Art Deco really floats my boat. I don't know why. I just love the lines, the elegance, the craftsmanship.
If I could, I'd build or renovate a house in this style and fill it with furnishings like these.

image from Art Deco Clocks


image from Tarraleah Cottages in Tassie where I'm TOTALLY going to stay one day.


image from Retro To Go


please contact me if these are your images, I don't remember where I found them.


image from Art Deco Style


If you love Art Deco buildings, like this one

go check out Davids' blog, Art Deco Buildings. He posts pictures regularly, of buildings from around the world.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

at the end of the day, it's all good - Sunday Selection #8

Joining in on Sunday Selections once more, using photos from my laptop that might otherwise never see the light of day.

I do love me a good sunset. So peaceful. so beautiful.....

This was taken from the deck of a houseboat, on the Murray River in SA, in 2008.

These two were taken on our beach, last night. It's been so hot for nearly two weeks, and every evening there are crowds of people on the beach enjoying the cool breeze.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

my spidey senses are tingling

Late last night, thanks to the unrelenting heat and humidity, I decided to have a shower before bed. Luckily, I turned on the bathroom light. Often I don't -- our ensuite is the size of a shoebox and the light from my bedside is enough to see by. But last night, light on.
And I looked down to see the worlds' most optimistic spider had spun a web at just above ankle height, and was waiting in it to catch me.
"Wait a minute," thinks I. "That's a very familiar shape..." and sure enough, when I leaned closer, I could see her big red markings.
I found a glass jar and caught her, accidentally knocking one of her legs off in the process, which annoyed me no end as I actually really like redbacks and most times would rather let them go than kill them.
So I guess now I can add 'spider torturer' to my List of Accomplishments.

Anyway, it occurred to me well after that I should have taken a PHOTO of her clever trap! I thought briefly about a re-enactment but I just really couldn't think how to spin a web (which, yep, accidentally destroyed during the capturing process) so here's one I took just before letting her go.

Isn't she beautiful? apart from her missing leg, that is....

Friday, February 25, 2011

the fine art of fighting

(image from luigi diamanti)
For some reason, my beautiful, sensitive, funny, clever, and creative boy has trouble making friends.
I don't know why. He isn't a bully, he's loyal and friendly, he loves to share -- but kids just don't like him.

This does seem to be a family trait though -- his dad and I were the same, and so were nearly all his siblings. Once we make friends, we keep them for life -- but we tend not to have a large circle of friends.

We've tried all kinds of tactics in the last 7 months -- inviting people after school and on weekends, getting to know other parents, joining in on activities etc -- but no go so far, and to make things worse, there are about 8 boys who live in the two streets here, and they only rarely allow him to join in their games.
It's breaking my heart to watch him go off to ask if he can play, and coming home trying not to cry because they've told him to get lost or they'll bash his head in.
One later apologised because his mum read him the riot act, and they have made up. Since he lives over our back fence, that was something of a relief, and I'm very grateful to his mum for intervening.

But still. Clearly we needed to try something new.

So I rang the local karate club, and last night took Mr9 for his first training session.

And he LOVED it.

The kids are all friendly and helpful, because Sensei says so. They greet one another, sit in a circle, and talk about what they learned at school today. There are kids aged from 17 or 18 down to one tiny little 5 year old, from several different schools, and they all get along well. Because Sensei says so.

They train pretty hard, and there's no time (or tolerance) for mucking around -- and Sensei demands instant respect, without raising his voice or using A Tone. He clearly loves what he's doing and is a born teacher.

I'm not about the fighting. I'm about my boy learning some focus, some self-respect, some discipline, some confidence, and some physical skills.
And if he can make a friend along the way, that would be just fine too.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thursday Themes - Tools of the Trade

In my other life, the one where the children are at school and the housework is ignored, I couldn't manage without these. They are my go-to tools -- the ones that help me create scrapbooking LOs and papercraft projects, like wedding invites and birthday cards.
They are -
- Fiskars paper trimmer, and awesomely sharp scissors that stabbed me in the leg
- T!m Holtz design ruler (which has grid markings AND little holes to help with paper piercing and stitching), T!ms' Distress ink and applicator, his rubber stamps and his embossing powder -- why, yes, I am crushing on T!m, how did you guess? but his products are so damn GOOD.
- collection of pens, including white gel pen and my Zig Writers
- Versacube ink in Pinecone -- everyone should have this colour. Everyone. The world would be a better place.
- double sided tape and glue dots -- no more sticky glue up to my elbows. (my dad superglued his forearm to the kitchen table one time when he was making fishing lures. Luckily (?) he had a razor blade handy, and cut himself free. A millimetre at a time. This has nothing to do with papercraft but it's pretty funny.)

So what tools do you use every day? what could you not manage without?

Join in by writing a related post, and be as creative as you like.
Make sure to link back to me in your post, and make sure to leave some love on at least one other persons' post. The link should be open till midnight Friday.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Gone with the wind. And the rain.

Some of my regular readers will remember my Cyclone posts, which you can find here and here and here and then this post-cyclone post with the photos of my poor sisters' house.
Yesterday I rang her to see how the insurance/house-hunting/clean-up is going, and we talked about how the rainforest is just.... gone.
Her home was in the middle of one of the most lush and stunningly beautiful places you could imagine, with a staggering variety of plant and animal life.

Now, it looks like this.

Mile after mile after mile of the forest is gone. There is no shelter, no water, and no food for the native wildlife.    Cassowaries have started roaming to find food, and this puts them in danger of being hit by cars or set upon by dogs.
Some species could be lost altogether. They rely heavily on the kindness of volunteers and donors right now.
You can read more about that here, on Facebook.

The roads have been destroyed. Again. Whole sheets of bitumen lifted up and thrown aside, the roadbase beneath ruined. Drainage pipes under the roads are clogged with debris, have been shifted or broken. Some of the debris comes from broken houses, and some of it is asbestos, requiring specialised attention.

The cost to some local councils will be tens of millions of dollars, just to repair the roads. Again.
Because this happens regularly. Not on such a  grand scale, of course. Yasi put on a real show for the people who live here. But cyclones and flooding are a part of life in North Queensland.

The cost in lost tourism is huge. People come to see the rainforest. They have no reason to come, now. Except for those faithful grey nomads and winter visitors, who travel up every year and who are determined to do so again, to support local industries and help keep people in jobs. Bless you, every one of you.

The cost to locals, in terms of lost businesses and unemployment, is staggering. Crops are gone, produce is gone. Southerners, city people,  laugh over Bob Katter and his passion for banana farmers, but the truth is that's a $400 million industry. Gone.

Yet the locals are getting on with it. Many who were thinking about selling up and moving on before Yasi are now determined to stay, and re-build. Back-packers, hired on to pick fruit before Yasi, are now staying on to help with the clean up. People are helping one another, offering goods and services where needed. They're mostly patient, and appreciative of the many emergency services personnel in the area. They've tolerated the rubber-neckers, the media, and even the politicians.

Just don't mention the flood levy to them.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday Selections #7 - seaside Sundays

If you'd like to join in on Sunday Selections, head on over to Kim at frogpondsrock.

We used to spend lots of weekends in Esperance, and this is where we went every Sunday morning. 
Can you feel the serenity?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

help me, I'm blogging

So, I've learned heaps this week, about how to increase my blog traffic, how to promote my blog, even how to tweet! (Sort of.)

I've had a lot more people crossing my blog, and added a number of new followers, which gave me a real lift. Now it's up to me to make my blog something that readers will want to re-visit.

Daunting, much?

One of the things I know I can do is to make it visually appealing. Or at least not a problem to physically look at.
So I would like some feedback from YOU, Dear Reader.

How does my blog look to you? Is it easy to read? Do the colours combine well? Are the various typefaces OK? Are there too many distractions in the sidebar?
I know my siggie needs an overhaul, and I'll get to that one of these days.

I'd love it if you could take a moment and let me know if you think I should make any changes. I want to make this a place you enjoy visiting.

Thanks :)

PS I just put up a button for Thursday Themes and it needs some work -- but if I have to look at Photoshop once more today I'll cry. I'll fix the wording and my siggie sometime. Later.

Friday, February 18, 2011

next Thursdays Theme is....

Two posts today! And I'm only on my second cup of coffee....

This is just to let you know what NEXT Thursdays' theme will be....


No matter what you do, whether you're a full-time mum, retired traveller, employed outside the home, even a street-walker, you use tools to get the job done.

So let's see a post about the tools of YOUR trade. What do you use that you couldn't do without?

You can use pictures or not, link to old posts, whatever floats your boat.

Remember to post this NEXT Thursday and then come here for the linky.

squeeze and hold, baby.

People are often shocked when they ask me how many kids I have, because I don't know how to answer.
And this is why (it's complicated):

1. I have been pregnant 8 times

2. One was a blighted ovum, hence no actual child.

3. I was still sick as a dog for the whole 13 weeks though, before I had a miscarriage.

4. I had 7 actual live births, but my boy, Levi, died at 48 days old, of SIDS.

5. Which leaves me with 6 living children.

6. Of which, only 3 live with us as the other 3 are now grown-ups.

7. There are 2 step-children in the equation as well but they don't live with us.

So how many kids do I have? I have no idea. You tell me.

I had every one of them (the ones who are mine, that is) by pushing them out.

This is the result.

Two of my boys were 10 lb babies. Whatever that is in kilos. I don't care. One had a head like a bowling ball. One was just fat.
Levi was 9lb 10 or so but came out with his arm stretched up beside his head as well.

Is it any wonder I have *ahem* problems when I cough or sneeze?

Thank God for Dr. Kegel.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thursday Themes!

This is an idea that's been brewing in my head for a while, and I had a look around to see if anyone else was using it. If you know of another similar (Australian) meme, please let me know.

So here are the rules:

Each Thursday, if all goes well, I'll post a theme for the day. Join in by writing a related post, and be as creative as you like.
Make sure to link back to me in your post, and make sure to leave some love on at least one other persons' post. The link should be open till midnight Friday.

Todays' theme is Art Attack.

We all have items around our home that are decorative AND have a story behind them. Maybe the vase Great-Aunt Marjorie left you, or a picture you bought on holiday, or that lumpy clay thing one of your kids made you for Mothers' Day.
I want you to have a look around your home and find THREE things that you could conceivably call ART, and write about them.

And here are mine:

I found these in a op-shop, and instantly fell in love. I Googled the names and eventually found the studio where they were made, and contacted the artist. She e-mailed me back and said she would get back to me with the details of who the knight and his lady were, but I never heard from her again.
I have them hanging above the bedside tables in our bedroom. I like to imagine that they were deeply in love and lived happy lives. Probably not, but I can dream.

So what do you reckon this is? I think it looks a bit like it wants to be an owl.
I found it one time when we were out bush-bashing.
Western Australia has a massive history of mining towns that dried up and disappeared, and rummaging around the sites can unearth some pretty interesting stuff. Alas, we have never found anything valuable, but I just love this melted lantern frame!

Probably not (strictly speaking) ART, but this gorgeous old sapphire pendant came from my great-grandparents to my grandmother to me. One day, I'll get a chain made for it, hopefully before it's time to pass it along to my daughter.

We'll call this one a test run, I think. Tomorrow I'll post the theme for next week, so you have a chance to prepare for it, if you'd like to join in. Thanks for the suggestion, Maxabella.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

five facts about Chuck Norris

1. There used to be a street named after Chuck Norris, but they had to change it, because NO-BODY crosses Chuck Norris and lives.

2. If you spell Chuck Norris in Scrabble, you win. Forever.

3. There is no CONTROL key on Chuck Norris's computer. Chuck Norris is always in control.

4. When Chuck Norris enters a room, he doesn’t turn the lights on. He turns the dark off.

5. Google won’t search for Chuck Norris because it knows you don’t find Chuck Norris, he finds you. To prove this fact, go to and search for “Find Chuck Norris”. Be sure to hit the “I’m Feeling Lucky” Button.

(disclaimer :- I am in no way responsible for any consequences that may arise from you Googling Chuck Norris)

I know heaps of people don't 'get' Chuck Norris facts. That's OK. Just smile and wave as you pass by.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

the elevator pitch.

Yesterday I put my ego in a box (large) and tried to ignore the butterflies in my tummy, and signed up for a 31 Days To Build A Better Blog course at Aussie Mummy Bloggers.

First task? sell yourself.

Major freak out. What is my blog about? who am I writing for? What do I want from my blogging experience? so many questions, so few brain cells...

oh, and plus? I have to use Twitter. I have a feeling I'm going to asking for lots of help.

Anyway -- elevator pitch -- we have to write something short and snappy that tells you, the Reader, something about the blog. So mine is here:

When I was a kid, people used to say I could talk underwater with an apple in my mouth. Not true. I never put my head underwater and I don't much like apples.

But it turns out I do have a lot to say, and no-one much to say it to. So I blog.

Most of it is just stuff I might tell you over coffee -- only if we were having coffee, I would let you say something too. Honest.

And I've also put it up at the top, in my About Me page.

Feel free to leave (thoughtful and kind) comments. Helpful would also be good. Especially if you know how Twitter works.

Monday, February 14, 2011

no hearts and flowers


Valentines' Day.

Normally, this is a day I love, and I like to spoil my man and be spoiled in turn.

But today, it's just another day for me, because my husband is away (again). It doesn't matter, really, because we celebrate our marriage every day and a special day is like sprinkles on the icing on the cake.

But today is not 'just another day' for some pretty amazing women whose blogs I've been reading this year. Women who've lost their soulmates and are having to learn to live life without their other half.

How do they do that? how do they get out of bed every day and face life, knowing how cruel it can be? How do they learn to live again?

I often think of these two lines from Sleepless In Seattle.
"Well, I'm gonna get out of bed every morning... breathe in and out all day long. Then, after a while I won't have to remind myself to get out of bed every morning and breathe in and out... and, then after a while, I won't have to think about how I had it great and perfect for a while."
"Well, it was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were supposed to be together... and I knew it. I knew it the very first time I touched her. It was like coming home... only to no home I'd ever known... I was just taking her hand to help her out of a car and I knew. It was like... magic."

There's nothing you can say to someone who's lost love like that. Nothing in all this world to ease the pain or help them forget.
And on a day like today, when others are celebrating their two-ness, I offer you women my love, my thoughts, my prayers.
It's not enough.
It's all I have.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

and the winner is....

I had my beautiful assistant (The Princess) draw the winner of the two Joanne Harris books I wrote about the other day ....

.... and the books will be on their way to RED NOMAD, just as soon as ever I can get an address!

Not to worry -- I have plenty more books and thus more chances to win something. Watch this space....

Sunday Selections -- the Barossa

I'm joining in on Kims' Sunday Selections photo meme for the first time. I've been a bit nervous joining this cos I'm not a good photographer. But this is a subject I think most of you will appreciate!

In 2008, Fabio and I took the kids to SA, and holidayed with his family on a houseboat, and on the way back we drove through the Barossa and that included a visit to Wolf Blass. I know. It was awesome.

For some reason, I love taking 'road' pictures. This one has been treated to a Photoshop action, but I can't remember which one cos it was so long ago. Anyway, it's a section of highway on the way from Victoria to Adelaide.

Oh, the anticipation....

I do like stone walls. And this one is clearly worth a second look!

I'm assuming those are wine tanks. Full of wine. :)

The Wolf Blass eagle, isn't he magnificent?

They've carried the eagle theme to the heights of style. LOVE this entry!

One of the beautiful winery roads (looking out the rear window, for a change)

This is Chateau Yaldara. Nice, huh? We bought the most amazing olives here, and Fabio had a beer. He was a very happy chappy.

Another part of the Chateau. The restaurant is down on the right.

Lunch at Chateau Yaldara. Cost us about the same as eating at Maccas, no kidding. We could see and hear the little creek running over rocks just outside. And the food was very good.

Us having a cuddle at the Chateau main steps. Probably the closest we'll ever get to a romantic European fountain picture.