Tuesday, 20 December 2011

It's almost Christmas

Feeling a bit unsettled lately. There is so much sadness and badness in the world. I have a lovely friend who has family troubles, another whose husband has just passed away after a long illness. Another whose mother may be forced to sell up due to an influx of refugees. Lots of angst in the world.

I really just wanted to try to bring some positivity back. So this is for all my friends and friends I haven't met yet. I want to send you love, peace and happiness this Festive Season, whatever religion or belief you carry. I am a Christian, a proud Christian, and I believe personally that this is a time to remember that God loves you, and that I love you.

We should be casting aside our troubles, and focusing on a new beginning in 2012, and taking a few moments to remember those less fortunate than ourselves. Reach out to the person next to you and tell them they are a valuable human being, smile when you walk past someone in the street, and phone that friend or family member you just haven't had time to contact in ages.

Believe me, positivity starts with you. So here's my bit. Have a Merry Christmas, may your days be filled with peace and love, and may God bless each and every one of you.


Monday, 19 December 2011

Almost there...

Wow, this year has certainly flown by. So busy getting Christmas out the way I just realised on the weekend I have to get myself organised to get up to Gladstone for mum's 70th birthday in March. We can't all afford to go, so for Dobby and I, flights into Rockhampton are going to set us back close to a thousand dollars. Into Gladstone itself will add another two hundred.

So, once there, we then have to book a little car, because we'll need to get around. Then, we'll need somewhere to stay. Accommodation is scarce as hens teeth up there at the moment. One of my best friend's will be away, the other only has a single bed.

And I believe my sister will be staying with mother so that rules that out. Sigh. Expensive birthday present! But, we made it up for Dad so we cannot afford not to go for mum.

So, this week has been busy. At work I was furiously getting caught up to date. I decided that because I'll be away as long as most of my customers, I am not going to stress about getting everything done. It will sort itself out. My big concern is getting November up to the accountant, but I can't do anything further with that (always waiting for people!). So, if its ready, it's ready. If not I do both Nov and Dec and take it up when I come back.

In other news, I had a couple more appointments to do with this trial I am doing for osteoarthritis. On Tuesday I had to go for a ECG. That was all good. Thursday I was to go up after work, but she called and asked if I could go at lunch time. Boss said ok, so off I went.

I had to fill out a form, have a blood pressure test, then in to get my needle in my knee. It hurt like a bitch, but what made it nice was the doctor, Martin. He wad from Argentina. Yummy!

I am not sure if I got the placebo or the real thing. From the x-rays they took, it looks like I have some issues on both knees, so I have been using my left knee as a guage. If the pain in the right is better than the left, perhaps I did have the real thing. Hard to tell, cause as any sufferer will tell you, you have good days and bad.

On top of this I have had serious issues with my back, which actually make my knee pain pale in comparison. I had a back x-ray (which cost a fortune and showed nothing, as opposed to the knee one, which was free and actually showed something!). Apparently there is no cause for my extreme pain. I have had two physio sessions. Each one makes some difference but over the days between it gets bad again.

I had to go back to the knee people on Friday for a quick ECG again, and some bloods. But I had to wait half an hour for the blood nurse to come back from a difficult patient. I hate that feeling, when you're supposed to be at work and something is taking your time. It's a guilt thing I guess.

Anyway, it's all good. Dobby had an appointment on Saturday with her psychologist. They both seem to think that she has the tools needed to deal with her anger. We'll see. But she did say that Dobby can come back anytime, she'll be happy to see her. I was lucky enough to grab a few minutes with my doctor and he burned off 4 sun spots. Two of them came up in HUGE blisters. Painful they were. Okay now though.

After her appointment I took her to a friend's place for a sleepover. That kid, you know, is always wearing jumpers and jeans, and it's the middle of summer!

I managed find a carpark at the local KMart and stopped in to pick up some cotton sheets for the van, a tri-pillow, and a light summer comforter for our bed. The frog blanket needs a wash and the only other one is a heavy winter doona. I put the sheets on the beds in the van and got that much done ready. Not much else to go now.

Anyway, Fluffy and I had a barbecue to go to. I wasn't really up to it, but we went anyway. The weather has been nasty so it was quite wet and stormy. The little room was crowded but most of our caravan crew was there so it was fun. It degenerated into a food fight (wouldn't expect anything else from our lot!) with peanuts and Jatz crackers being the projectiles of choice.

Fluffy went to work on Sunday so we left about 10.30. It was nice to have a couple hours spare time on Sunday morning. I stripped and remade our bed, but it was raining so the washing I did do had to go onto airers inside. Typical! So I settled in to catch a couple of episodes of Dexter. Just getting into it and it was time to pick up Dobby.

I took her shopping to pick a diary for her to write in (as per her psychologist) then home to face the rest of the housework. Although I did get most of it done the floors still need a vacuum. That's about it.

Now this week I just have to do the shopping for our trip, make sure the cat has food and kitty litter out ready for the lady who is coming to feed him, and I'm done. I sure do need this holiday. Four days of sitting and doing nothing at one caravan park. Then take the van across to another, meeting up with some of the club, get that set up, then bring Dobby back to town to meet up with her friends. She gets a week at Streaky Bay. We get five days with the club, then leave the van there and come back to work. The friday after we'll go back and stay the weekend, then bring the van back Sunday.

Really looking forward to it. Not sure what internet time I'll have to update here, so this may be my last post till we get back. I'll be on Facebook though! Catch ya soon!

If I don't get back here, Hope you all have a very Merry Christmas, and a happy and safe New Year! xxxx

Sunday, 11 December 2011


So now I know no one reads my blogs! I wrote an epic one and only got two comments. Sheesh, people! BTW, thank you to the two people who do read this :-)

Anyway, this week has been full on, and sadly next one will too. Not with interesting stuff, worth blogging about, just busy busy.

Last week Dobby had a trip to the zoo, and her final Cadets meet. Sadly, her zoo adventure gave her nasty chaffing so she could hardly walk, so had to forgo Cadets. She doesn't go back now till the end of January. Next year she has agreed to make the commitment to go as often as possible. With some gentle persuasion!

This weekend was nice. We had a send off bbq Saturday night for one of the caravan club members, before which I had a physio appointment, but more of that later. The party was fun, a few of us dressed up. We had 3 arabs, two ladies with burkas, a lady with a Dr Livingstone type outfit, and 3 soldiers. It was a great night, but a late night.

Saturday I was woken by the builders across the road at 6.30am. After not getting to bed till after midnight, I was none to pleased! But I had plenty to do. Dobby had to be up at Blackwood to the doctor by 9am, then we headed to maccas for breakfast. Then home to clean the house in preparation for visitors for nibblies and bbq at 4. That was a great afternoon. Just us and another couple. The weather got cold just before they left, around half nine.

Today was pure bludge day. Dobby and I went to the shop for some purple tulle (but that's a whole other story) and a Khris Kringle gift for her for school tomorrow. We took longer to get served at Spotlight then we did to find what we needed. Goodness it was busy. Needless to say, my back was killing me!

I have decided to partake in a medical experiment. It's to trial a new drug for osteoarthritis. It entails an injection in the right knee of a human stem cell product, and monitoring for the next month. We won't know if we have received the drug or a placebo, and nor will the people injecting us.

So last Thursday I went for a screening session. It involved filling out a quick questionnaire, and going for an x-ray on my knees and a blood test. I found out that I have bone on bone in both my knees. No wonder they are a tad sore.

The irony to all this? I am actually far sorer in my back. The pain level in my knees sits around 4 during activities, but otherwise doesn't bother me that much. I have difficulty standing up from seated on the ground (or in the tub) and I cannot kneel, and stairs hurt, particularly descending.

But lately my back has been so painful, it's brought me to tears of frustration. I finally made the time for a physio visit. He made me cry too! He gave me some pressure treatment and then acupuncture, and I have to go for an x-ray. I am going to have to schedule that for Tuesday, unless I am lucky enough to be able to get in Monday.

I also have to go back for an ECG on Tuesday morning before work. Then Dobby has her guitar on Wednesday, I have to go at 4pm for the injection Thursday, followed by a physio appointment, then back for a follow up for the injection on Friday after work, followed by a trip to the hair dresser! Whew!

Then Dobby has a doctor appointment Saturday lunchtime, after which she may be going for a sleepover. Saturday evening is a bbq for us with some of the caravan club folk and others.

I think I need a holiday!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen!

At last, the post you've all been waiting for! The Annual SAPI Caravan and Camping Club Christmas Party!

Well, what a weekend it was. As part of the committee, I had a small role to play. I had to organise the cake that traditionally Santa cuts, but sometimes the club president does. Plus another to cut up and pass around after dinner with a glass of Port. Just a tradition that has been part of the club for many years.

This year I wanted to do something nice. So I found a boxed cake from Coles for $16, and asked my lovely friend Eve to ice it. See, recently, Eve and her daughter Kez had done a cake decorating course. So I asked if they wanted practice. As Kez would like to do it for a profession, she readily agreed.

There is the result. And I have to tell you, it went down a treat. It even got a mention at the farewell morning cuppa, where it was cut up and passed around.

But, first things first. There was a bit of preparation go do. As you know, Terry was a recent addition to our family. But to work properly he needed some modifications. So Fluffy got the electric brakes put in, then put the reverse camera in. He was not sure where to put it, as he didn't want to make any modifications to the duco. So he devised a little stand thing, which goes on the tow hitch. Clever man he is. I don't have a pic of that, but needless to say, it looks great.

Anyway, the big day arrived, and Fluffy took Friday off work so he could go up in advance. Dobby wanted to go too but being the bad parent I am I made her go to school. Horrid, I know. I was able to finish at 2.00 pm so I had time to race home, get the washing in, have a quick shower, pick up a few last minute bits and pieces, and head off to pick up Dobby.

My sat nav decided to take me the long way around, and as we got to the edge of town, it told me to keep right. Well, sadly "right" turned out to be a right turning lane off the highway and I ended up on another major road that went all the way across the northern suburbs. I had no choice but to keep going, adding another fifteen minutes onto my journey.

Anyway, we made it to Riverton about 5.30, and did the rounds, greeting everyone.

The park is a lovely little one, which was quite full. Fluffy had gotten us a nice corner block, and I parked Shazza across the way.

Another couple, their three kids, and us 3 made our way to a small pub a few minutes walk from the park and had a lovely meal.

Fluffy hadn't put up any decorations, and I didn't feel like doing it that late, so I thought perhaps we wouldn't this year. So I put them away.

Saturday we had morning we had morning tea, then we were pretty much left to our own devices. Some members used the bbq for breakfast preparation. As we were sitting close by, we decided to use the bacon I had bought and do the same. No eggs. They fell out the fridge and ended up scrambled all over the floor. Fluffy did a wonderful job cleaning those up.

He cooked the bacon crispy, just the way I liked it, and I made bacon sandwiches. He scored a couple eggs from the family we had dinner with, so he added those to his sandwiches. Yummo!

The rest of the day was slow. Some of the boys (big and small) decided to kick a ball around, which kept them active and amused for a while. Then at 1 it was kids club, which was a round of activities designed to tire the kids out. They had knock over the Santa face games, water games (which deteriorated into a "get wet" session, instigated by the adult helpers of course), and many other little activities.

Our neighbour Sally decided to decorate her van (just a token effort but it still looked festive) so I thought I would get ours out afterall. The aim was, each family was given two sheets with a list of each family. Two columns were for a score (1-5) for day display, and night display.

I found that I really was hopeless. I didn't know where to plug stuff in, or how to hang the lights, and I didn't have a step high enough to reach the awning.

So I went to see Fluffy and he was good enough to come back and help me. We put lights like a little runway from the front up to the van door, flashing coloured lights around the edge, and a table with a knitted Inspector Gadget with a red bottle and two glasses on a Christmas table cloth. We also hung the solar lights we won two years ago on Dobby's tent.

Then we bought out the big guns. We have a blow up Santa on a motorbike, which has a little air compressor inbuilt to keep him inflated. He also has lights inside him.

We were satisfied.

Eventually the boys decided to go up to the pub for a drink/to set up the tables for dinner. Fluffy had a shower and Sally drove him up to join the others, the lovely girl.

At 3.30 we had a special visitor...

No one knew how he was arriving, and all the kids were waiting out beside the side entrance to the park, singing Christmas Carols. Eventually he arrived...

He teased the kids by doing a couple of laps up and down the roadway outside the park before coming into the park itself, and parking behind our vans.

The kids were so happy! They all sat at Santa's feet and received their presents, and sat on Santa's lap for a photo. Then the ladies. We all had to sit on his lap too, as did the men! It's a big game for most of them.

Then Santa was presented with a lovely bottle of Jacob's Creek red wine, and he made is way back out.

Then it was happy hour, and everyone kicked back and relaxed before dinner.

Dinner was at the other local pub, and it was fantastic. We had a room out the back, all to ourselves, and they put on a hot roast dinner for us, with 3 types of perfectly cooked meats, roast vegeies and gravy. Dessert was either apple strudel with icecream, or mini plum puddings with icecream.

Throughout the evening we had a raffle. We bought $10 worth of tickets, and won 3 lovely prizes. One was a fluffy white 2011 Christmas bear. Man, I had to keep my eyes open. Everyone wanted him! Another was someone's leftover easter gift, but it was still lovely. It was a plastic tube of blue and pink wrapped chocolate eggs, with a small fluffy bunny on the lid. Dobby claimed the bunny. The other was a gift box containing a wine bottle stubby-type cooler, a box of chocolates (Irish Cream filled!) a tube of apple martini mix, and a red plastic cocktail glass. Lovely!

Afterwards we made our way home and I cut up one cake, and bought the good one out for the president to cut.

We all walked around and rated everyone's vans. It was great to see such an effort.

Sunday we all started packing up. The committee held a meeting at the van of our secretary. She is notorious for sleeping in, it's her thing, so we all gatecrashed while she was in bed. She was expecting us so made sure she had clothes on...

After our meeting it was morning tea time. I cut up that fabulous cake and everyone raved over it.

During morning tea the winners of the decorated van were announced. There were 4 main players. They did only two prizes, but announced winners for best night, best day, runner up night and runner up day. We scored runner up night, which was nice.

However, the two prizes were for the best amalgamated (added up total) score. It was very close, with first and second scoring 176 and 175 respectively. We all knew who would win, but no one expected second place!

The winning van had a stuffed Santa sitting in a chair, with lots of fluffy toys and dangly bits hanging around. Looked so good that a lady driving through bought her elderly mother through, dragged her out of the car, and got her to stand beside the stuffed Santa. She took her photo. I wandered over and offered to take her photo with her mum. She gratefully accepted.

Anyway, I digress. At night, though, this van also had plenty of flashing colourful lights. I did look good.

So, to get second place was a real honour. Considering we weren't even going to bother this year! We were stoked! Prize was a box of 4 spicey sauces. Just what Fluffy loves! I think I'll keep them in the van for Christmas. Maybe I'll put one in for him!

Anyway, when all was said and done, it was time to go. We bade our farewells, Dobby and Fluffy in Terry, and me in Shazza. Although we took different routes, we made it home at the same time (literally! He came down one end of the street as I came down the other!)

We put the van on the lawn and did what we had to do, then called it quits. Dinner was hot chips and the last of the bacon (made into bacon sandwiches of course). Now it's cuppa and hot tub time.

Hope I didn't bore you too much.

Monday, 28 November 2011


I'm not really sure what to blog about this week. There hasn't been anything exciting happen. I have done most of my Christmas shopping, got it in boxes ready to go, but need to add just one or two little things before I can send them. That has to wait until Wednesday (payday).

I spent some time on Sunday going through my filing cabinet, culling several years worth of useless rubbish. I had made some progress, when Fluffy came home and helped me. We got through it in no time. Then paid Dobby $10 to sit there and tear it into bits for the recycle bin.

Fluffy has been getting Terry ready for his first big adventure. He got the electric brakes fitted last week, and has installed the reverse camera and screen himself, plus the cable for the camera attached to the caravan. He also bought himself a small CB radio in readiness. I think we're set to go.

Chrisco hampers arrived last Wednesday. I told Dobby on 3 occasions to only open the red ones. When I got home she had opened every single one. Food was everywhere! She had just opened them and left the stuff all over the place. She had even helped herself to some of the food. We had a huge fight, and of course she blamed me for not telling her not to open the green ones. Sorry, what part of "Open the red ones" didn't she get??

So, I had to hide a lot of snacks or there would be nothing left. I gave her one packet of chips and said pour yourself a bowl, and put the rest away for tomorrow. When I got home she had eaten the whole packet. And she wonders why I get cranky??

Anyway. I put a lot of things in the caravan in preparation for Christmas holidays and the caravan rally this coming weekend. We have also bought a small popcorn machine and a children's Christmas stocking for raffle prizes. I am quite looking forward to this one. It's our annual Christmas rally. Hopefully I will have some great photos. Note to self - MAKE SURE YOU TAKE THE CAMERA!!

Dobby and I had morning tea with my lovely friend Marg on Sunday, and her friend gave me some Miller's teeshirts and pants. The pants don't fit (cause my butt has expanded heaps) but the tops will be lovely for the caravan. One is a brown and black striped number which I think I'll wear for our Christmas dinner with some black pants. Hope it's not hot, although this year we decided to cater and go to the pub instead of hiring a hall. Should be a lovely evening.

We have had a huge rat problem lately. Rats living in the tree beside our house, and down the back in the rubbish pile. So we bought some bait packets and put them up on the roof where they climb and in the tree. We haven't seen any dead ones but we know they have eaten the bait. On Sunday Roger caught 3 mice. The first he brought inside and the dog stole it. The second he brought inside and lost, which freaked Dobby out - she was disgusted! Eventually he must have found it because later when I was sweeping the dining room I found it dead beside the table and Roger sitting guard on the chair above. The third he didn't get to bring inside. Fluffy shut the door before he could. Then he dropped it and the dog scooped it up and ran away with it. Fluffy disposed of that one.

Last night Fluffy and I were sitting on the back patio enjoying the peace and watching TV. But we had more fun keeping an eye on the huge rat that was hanging around Ozzie's kennel. It kept going in behind it. Looked like it had some kind of deformity too, seemed to be limping. Anyway, it went behind the kennel, under the cupboard beside it. That's the last we saw of that one.

So, this week will be getting the last of the van ready (putting the last few things in, making sure the fridge is working and full etc). Fluffy is leaving early Friday to go up to Riverton, and Dobby and I shall follow Friday afternoon. Not sure what time I am finishing work, but it will take us about two hours to get there, so we'll probably go straight to the pub for dinner once we get there. I do like doing that. I don't get to ride in Terry on the trip up, but all the setting up and stuff is done before we get there. Only thing is, I don't like driving long distances by myself. I tend to get tired...

Anyway, hopefully next week's post is worth reading. Plenty of pictures then, including the mouse Roger was playing with inside!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011


I was going to wait till the weekend to post this, but it looks like I'll be pretty busy, so I'll update a bit early. Most of you know this story already, but who cares!

So, remember how I said in my last post that we looked at the car on Saturday, and fell in love? Well, when we told the salesman we bought Shazza from he was quite upset and disappointed that a fellow Ford dealership could be so rude.

On Monday we found out that he had gone in search of this vehicle. He decided to purchase it himself (well, the business did), from Moughan Thiem Ford. They would not budge on the price (I'm not really surprised, it was a good price), so our sales guru bought it for their agreed price.

He arranged for a truck to take it back to Rebel Ford in Elizabeth, and they put it up on ramps. Turns out it had no rego, and the two front bearings (or was it bushes?) were cactus, so at their own cost, they fixed it up. They gave it a spruce up, and called Fluffy with the good news.

Over the phone they arranged to pay out our current loan, and refinance (at a better interest rate so we are actually paying less than we were), and it was all done.

Then last night, John, the salesman, brought his partner Samantha over and delivered:

Terry! John named him for us so we kept it :-)

I was just on my way out to take Dobby to Cadets when they arrived, but apparently they all sat at the table out the back while the paperwork was signed and details finalised.

They all had a few drinks and Fluffy even handed over one of his prized Spanish port bottles (well worth it too I might add!). When I got back we talked a bit more, then eventually they took our 380 and left. It was terribly sad to see her go.

John told us that one of his workmates bought our Fairmont, which was nice as it's going to a good home.

Fluffy and I then decided to go to the Maccas not far from Dobby's cadets, and sit and eat dinner. As Fluffy had been drinking I got to drive Terry first (feels privileged!)

We picked up Dobby and came home. Everyone was so happy to have Terry.

So it just goes to show what a little "can do" attitude will achieve. We were so upset that we missed out on our dream car. Fluffy had been looking for months for something, and this last few weeks we feared we just wouldn't find what we wanted. I tried to reassure Fluffy by telling him you'll know the car when you see it, and that's exactly what happened. We knew it as soon as we saw it.

We were so lucky to find someone who is genuine, and who seemed to really want to help. All the team out there were friendly and funny, and it made the whole experience pleasurable.

The offshoot for that is, although the car yard is way across the city, we are prepared to take both vehicles back there for servicing (they are right across from a shopping centre so no drama really!). And they have a rewards program. If we recommend them to someone and they buy a car, we receive a spotters fee.

We joked last night that we were going to drive up and down Port Road, past Maughn Tiem Ford beeping, waving and yelling "Look At Me!" haha.

Well, I'm sure I've bored you enough. I really just wanted to share our story. Sometimes things really do go your way!

Oh, and Dobby got her uniform last night too, what do you think?

Monday, 14 November 2011


Well, today's probably not the best day to update my blog. Feeling rather down, cause, well basically I have a teenager! Anyway, I'll try make it interesting for ya.

So, this week saw a lot of changes. Fluffy has been surfing the used car sales pages for months, looking for something different to tow the caravan with. The Fairmont is a 2000 model, and won't last forever. But we still owe a bit on the Mitsubishi. Ideally, we would like 4WD to cope.

So he got a payout figure from the finance people, and we did some math, and figured we could spend a certain amount. He hit the pages with renewed vigour.

We were also deciding on what to do with the existing cars. Do we trade both in on a replacement, and look for something cheap and nasty for Dobby and I to drive, with the view to give it to Dobby when she has her license? Yes, probably.

The last couple of weeks have seen us look at a couple of possibilities. One was a Mercedes 4WD. Very nice. Diesel so the KM wasn't too important (they are considered not run in until 100,00km). We ummed and aaaahed, then kept looking.

Next to consider was a little blue Holden Barina for Dobby and I. Good price, low KM, neat little unit. So we decided to trade in the Fairmont and pay cash for the difference.

As it will be Dobby's, she has decided it's practically hers now. Pfft. I don't own a car now it would appear :-). Anyway, she has given her a name...So, Meet..... Shazza

It's a manual so it will be easy for Dobby to learn properly how to drive in. She loves it, and it's lovely to drive. We paid a deposit and made arrangements to pick it up Saturday.

But, with a caravan rally looming, and one we have to attend, the hunt has stepped up for a replacement for the Fairmont.

We looked at two Jeeps, but were advised that being short wheel base they would struggle with our heavy van, even though the tow capacity is supposed to be more than capable.

We looked at a Hyundai Taracan, but have balked at the $6000 replacement gearbox that a lot of this model seem to experience.

Next on the list was a Nissan Pathfinder. Nice vehicle. We took it for a drive, and it's quite nice. Close inspection shows it's been knocked around a bit, but overall a nice tidy car.

We were offered $14,000 for our Mitsubishi. Twice.

Then Fluffy found The One. We showed up on Saturday all set to sign the deal. We were looking at the most magnificent Ford Territory. A sweet blue colour all over, black suede look upholstery, low KM, and around our price range. Took it for a test drive, and were so excited. It has a cargo cage at the back, all the bells and whistles, turbo, looks real mickey mouse.

BUT they were only prepared to offer us $9000 for ours. What?? How can two different people offer $14000 and he only advise $9000. Wayne told him that's an insult. The smart alec, whom I might add we had to wait 15 minutes for because he was in the loo, just said, "well, if you think you can do better somewhere else, you're welcome to do that". So we did. We just walked out. We were all prepared to buy that car.

We were all almost in tears, let me tell you.

So, we went to pick up Shazza instead. The saleman there was very sympathetic. Another Ford dealer they are. And let me tell you, they were sooo nice. They bent over backwards to make our Shazza experience pleasurable.

They took Fluffy out to show him another Territory, which paled in comparison, though. They said if they don't have the car for us, they'll do their best to get one just like it.

He took Fluffy for a drive in this other Territory, too, and they have agreed to match the $14000 for our old car.

We agreed to think about it. Fluffy phoned the sales rep yesterday saying he had seen another similar vehicle, and the bloke told him they would have a look to get him something similar.

Well, after all this we had to then drive Dobby (in Shazza) to a sleepover way down South. So, we drove from home to Hahndorf, from Hahndorf up to Elizabeth, back home briefly, then down to Seaford Rise and back home. Felt like we were on the road all day!

Sunday, Dobby was away, and Fluffy went to work. I was invited out to a friend's place. We have only met person to person once, but been Facebook friends for some time, and she has a blog (check it out). I got to meet 6 of her friends, who are all mad keen quilters. I felt a bit odd barging in on their Christmas party, but I was welcomed, with gifts, laughter, great company, and great food too. Lots of it! Khris even made us all table runners and matching coasters. Now, I'll tell you, she asked me on Thursday what colour dining room I had... so that's how quickly she made my runner set! We had games as well, and the prizes were all things she had made. I scored two little bags, a pin cushion, and our Secret Santa Sisters gift was a basket of all sorts of goodies. So lovely!

Then by the time I got home Dobby was home. The evening was quiet, until Dobby started to get naughty. She wouldn't do something, can't remember what, so I threatened to take her laptop off her. She protested, got very nasty, and it turned into a fight. I ripped the laptop out of her embrace, and the mouse USB got broken in the scuffle. So Fluffy got mad too. Well, perhaps my mood may have misread him, but I thought he was angry at me for breaking it. I got that impression anyway, so we had a fight too.

Dobby called me all sorts of lovely things and stormed off to bed.

This morning was no better. She couldn't find a shoe, which had gone down behind her bed. She was throwing things around, and swearing, and blamed me for throwing it there (for the record, I didn't).

Anyway, I think I came to work to escape today. Hopefully the end of day will bring some good news. Keep you posted...

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Visual art

So because not much has been happening (and SOL will be busy for a few days so probably won't get to read this post anyway) and also because I don't think anyone else actually does read them, I have decided to put pictures up instead. Next week I'll actually have something to blog about I hope.

So, enjoy the visual experience....

Monday, 31 October 2011

Apologies in advance

So, I got nagged by SOL that I had to update my blog. Pffft. Well, here it is. Updated. Happy? No? Oh, well I'll have to trawl through the fog that is my mind and see what I can come up with.

Lets see. Well, Dobby is now an army cadet. She should get her uniform Tuesday week. The week before our holiday she missed out on being accepted in her chosen netall team, so we decided to focus on Cadets. The first Tuesday back we hit the Southern Expressway and lobbed up at the Lonsdale Barracks. There are closer ones, but this is where her friend joined a few weeks ago.

We sat through the information session, and although she was given the chance to stay, Dobby chose to go home.

On the Wednesday we had parent teacher interviews. Seems Dobby is failing year 8. Time for action. One of the key points we discovered is that Dobby just doesn't put any work into exams or trying too hard. No surprises there I guess. So it was agreed that she would do some revision before any upcoming tests.

First one was a maths exam. She got an E in her end of term report. She sat the test on Monday and on Wednesday we found our her score. I am pleased to announce she got 84%, a B. Yep, my child is suddenly a B student. *Is proud*.

Anyway, just before we went for the interview she informs me she was having second thoughts about Cadets. I told her I wanted to see a list of reasons she should join, and a list of why she shouldn't, then I'd discuss it with her.

A couple days later she has decided to join after all. Seems her biggest worry was that she would feel she needed to join the Army after (something she has given thought to) but her real dream is to be a beautician, and joining the arm would get in the way of that. But then she realised that she could be a Cadet and still study for her dream. Well done.

Anyway, all that aside, not much else has gone on. I went and got my facial and toes done again on the weekend, followed by what was supposed to be a quick coffee with a friend. However, we ended up having lunch and a long chat. Seems she is going through a very tough personal time at the moment, and is quite down. Sigh. I tried to be supportive, and I also tried to explain that the reason she probably feels abandoned by her friends is that people who haven't gone through or aren't going through what she is, tend to not want to get involved, and therefore distance themselves. She thought that that wasn't the case, was it? Don't you always want to be there for your friends. Well, yes, but to a point. Now I feel obliged to check in every day to make sure she is okay. REALLY don't need that right now, but I will anyway. Because she is my friend and I do care.

While I was with my friend, Fluffy had to take Dobby for a follow up doctor's appointment. We took her for repeat blood tests and a mini medical for cadets last weekend, so this was to get the blood results. Previously we had approached the doc to find out why Dobby gets so angry. He diagnosed mild stress, but her thyroid was also a tad slow so he wanted to repeat that test.

He found that her thyroid has settled down, but she's still under stress so he has recommended a visit to the psychologist to give Dobby some help. I was supposed to phone them today but forgot to bring the card in. He also wants to see her again just to repeat the psyche test in early November, just before she goes. Guess we'll see how that goes. She had a friend over on Friday night, so she had to clean her room Thursday. We never thought she'd do it, but she did. And with little fuss. Good for her.

I also scored a laptop from work. I little white Macbook, which was the boss's. However, the screen doesn't work properly. So I tee'd up with our geek to get a friend here in Australia to look at it. I asked him to check out a link to a screen on ebay, which he did. So I bought it. $125 or so.

Then it sat here at the office for weeks and weeks. Finally, the geek suggested we could fix it ourselves, if we looked up on the web how to do it. It really wasn't hard.

So I took it home over the weekend. Fluffy opened the website, then followed the steps. We got stuck though because two of the screws were fixed too firmly in place. Even broke his little screwdriver set. What to do.

Luckily I have a lovely friend who's partner fixes computers for a living. So we phoned up and asked would they mind bringing over his tool kit, and staying for coffee and nibbles.

While he was there he said we've got it this far, may as well finish the job, so he installed the new screen too. Bless him! Dobby is very happy, and has a laptop sitting nicely on her desk now. All for $125 and a cup of coffee! When I asked him did he want a couple bottles of red, he said no thanks, he had plenty and it was a good excuse to catch up anyway :-) awwww!

I took some photos on the weekend, just playing about. If I get a moment I'll put them up.

So. This last two weeks has really been about Dobby. She has joined cadets, gotten a B in a math test, cleaned her room, had a friend over, had a doctor's appointment, gotten a new computer, and made extra money because she has kept her room reasonably clean. Good for her, she's also been on pretty good behaviour. Maybe we are seeing a short turning point?

Fingers crossed...

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Home sweet home

Okay, so hopefully this time this blog will work. Last time I tried to write one with my iPad, but while it let me write the title, it wouldn't let me enter any text in the proper place.

So lets try again.

Before I get into the holiday stuff, on Saturday I finally finished Bertha. What do you think?

I love her, actually. She's pretty cool for a first attempt I think.

Well, our holiday began on Sunday 2 Oct, with a flight up to Brisbane. We were supposed to move our clocks forward Saturday night but were so busy making sure everything was done we forgot. Luckily we had plenty of time, even with the car arriving fifteen minutes early.

The flight was uneventful and once we collected the hire car, we made our way out to see Fluffy's brother Dog Man and his partner. It was lovely to see them again, but once we were ready to leave we noticed that the rear right tyre was flatter than it should be. So the boys reversed it into the yard, pulled out the compressor and pumped it up.

Then it was back to town to visit my sibling SOL. She greeted me in her (un)usual way - fluffy dressing gown cause it was cold! Yes, the first few days of our trip were actually quite cool. Anyway, we called the hire car mob and they sent out the RACQ to change it.

Which meant, of course, that we could not take that car up to Gladstone to see the rest of the clan.

Then, us girls headed into Red Rooster for dinner fixings, getting up to all sorts of silly business on the way. The same girls then sat in front of the telly to watch crime night, through which we chatted most of the way. Poor Fluffy was left alone to watch Underbelly. I thought MOTH might keep him company so was rather surprised that he locked himself away back in his office. Poor Fluffy ended up just going to sleep in the chair instead.

Back into town we go on Monday morning. What fun we had, waiting, waiting. The lass behind the counter was concerned because it was taking so long. I think we were there nearly an hour. There were no cars available, and people were getting stroppy. The problem with us was that we wanted it for a long time, and they only had short term cars around. Most were due for a service, or like the one we eventually got, due to be decommissioned. Once the car was found, we then had to wait while it was washed.

The original car was an SS Commodore, late model in dark green. I loved it. It's replacement was a Ford XR6, equally nice but with a few more KM on the clock. She had to change the return date or the computer wouldn't allow it to come out. She was so apologetic, but I told her we expected there to be problems because we were just "drop-ins" so don't feel bad. The young bloke who brought our paperwork out to us said "you're out here waiting, so why don't I bring the car to you" which I thought was lovely, saved us going looking for it. He even reversed it right up to us so we could pack up the boot.

Eventually, all was sorted and we were on the road. A quick stop at Sippy Downs to hand over our tax to Steve and Jo, and then stop start traffic most of the way up home. We arrived late afternoon, to find the old place we used to live almost unrecognisable. Lucky I took the copy of the receipt they sent us too, because it had recently changed hands and the previous owners had not marked our payment into the books. Naughty!

We let everyone know we were there, and headed up to the old Caltex servo for dinner. That place sure has changed, and not for the better. Meal sizes were smaller and prices were double! Mum and dad came down and met us for dinner.

Tuesday we went into Tannum Sands to see Fluffy's parents. It was also Fluffy's birthday, but his folks forgot. He was not surprised.

After lunch we went up to see my folks. They gave us each a card with some scratchies and $50 inside. Nice!

I think we ended up with takeaway for dinner that night.

Wednesday we took mum and dad up to Mackay for the night. It was a long drive (no one bothered to tell me Mackay was a day's drive away from Gladstone when I suggested the trip).

This is us mucking up in the car...

We stayed in a posh 3 bedroom apartment, on the 10th floor, of Lanai Apartments on River Drive.

Here, Fluffy ponders the view...

The room was fabulous, and mother got to have a soak in a bath, which she can't do at home. We took a walk down to the local shopping centre before taking some time to relax. Dobby opted for a swim in the hotel pool,

while Fluffy waited nearby...

and after mum's bath and a quick shower for the rest of us, went to dinner at the Metro.

Noisy place, but lovely food and service.

Here are a couple of photos I took from our room just before we went to dinner:

This is the pool by night, from the balcony outside the lifts on our floor.

Thursday we had breakfast in the room then headed back to Rockhampton. We decided to stop at the big shopping centre there for lunch and a bit of a look around, getting back to Gladstone about 4.30pm.

Friday was a quick grocery shop, and an outing with cousins Elder and Teen for Dobby. Boy, those girls get up to some mischief. Dobby was not impressed... lol. Anyway, Friday night was party night. I put out lots of food, and as I did it in shifts, because people were arriving at different times, I found myself too busy to actually sit and spend time with everyone. But, I had lovely visits from Kerry and Esmond, my old Sunday school teachers, Rat and Wally and their husbands, Toni and Laurie, and Wally and Daff, our old neighbours who still live in the park.

It started about 4 and the last guests left by 8.15, so not a late night. Elder bought Dobby home when they came, about 4 or so, but made the mistake of telling the office they were coming to a party. I mean, a group of pierced teens, telling you they are going to a party in your park, would you be impressed? Of course, the park phoned me to check. And Dobby couldn't remember her site number either....

Anyway, it was all good.

Saturday we took Dobby up to Granny's for the weekend, and Fluffy and I headed into town to see what has changed. The main thing that struck us was that there were no familiar faces around anymore. And the amount of high visibility shirts and trucks that were around. The highway is full of truck after truck, after truck. That's all you see on the roads.

We visited the Auckland Point lookout, and spotted this storm brewing. I took heaps of photos but I'm sure you don't need to see all of them.

This is one of the best ones:

And this...

When we headed back to the caravan park, we were amazed at the water across the road and debris around. Turns out the storm we saw above swept through where we were staying with mighty force, and of course we had accidentally left the windows open. Fluffy's side of the bed near the window was all wet, and indeed the water had gone under the bed and pooled over my side of the bed!

This is the back patio, were the party guests were all seated the night before:

And this little pond was not there before either!

Needless to say we made sure the place was secure before leaving after that. Saturday afternoon I left Fluffy alone for some quiet time and went to see Moose for a Monty Python fix. I met her cats Bobby and Torana (a stray Rag Doll who has made herself a home under Moose's front stairs). While we were there Rat stopped by with her mum to check out Moose's Garfield collection.

Saturday night we had lazy tea, and Sunday was spent just quietly by ourselves. I think we went back into town for a look but not much else.

On the weekend, though, Dobby noticed a discharge from her belly again. So on Monday, while she was in town with Granny, Grandad and Aunty Tanya, I managed to get her an appointment at Granny's surgery to get some anti biotics as a precaution. I think I'll get Fluffy to take her back to her doctor this week so we can get it checked to make sure it's all good.

Monday afternoon we went down to see Fluffy's folks again and they gave him a fruit cake his dad had made. Very nice it was too! Still have a little bit left...

Monday night we had dinner with Rat and Wally and their husbands. It was lovely. Lots of laughs and Wally took a couple of photos. I'd love to see them, too, if she gets them up on FB at all!

The rest of the week was spent just visiting people and resting when we could.

Thursday it was time to stop at mum's to do the last load of laundry. While we were there dad's sister Joan stopped by on her way up north... to.... Mackay. Haha. So we had a cuppa with her, leaving just after she did and heading off to say goodbye to Fluffy's folks. We went back to pack and have a bite to eat, then back to pick up the washing and see my folks and sister Moose after dinner.

The plan was to leave at 7am on Friday morning, and it was 7.01 when we drove past the reception office. Nicely done!

As I had only had a cup of tea for breakfast, I didn't get far. I had to stop at Granite Creek for a loo break. Then poor Dobby was feeling car sick before Gin Gin. I found a chemist up the main street of Gin Gin, and got her some Quells. She also sat in the front seat for the rest of the trip, and slept most of the way to Yandina.

One thing we did get out of the car for, was a bad accident at Gympie. There had been a head on between a ute and a truck. The ute driver was being attended to and all traffic was diverted around the site. We had to go up over a hill, and like heaps of other people decided to rubber neck so Fluffy could have a smoke. But before they freed the driver the firies made everyone move on. We found out next day it wasn't a fatality as we thought, but the poor fellow had multiple injuries.

We made a couple of small stops but nothing major until we got to the Ginger Factory at Yandina. We had a late lunch, and when I was paying for it, the checkout girl handed me some tickets, saying "you almost forgot these too!" I thought they were complementary or something, but realised much later that someone before us had bought them and paid for them.

But when we thought they were freebies, Fluffy and I decided to use the train trip tickets, while Dobby stayed behind. The tour goes for about 15 minutes and is a dinky little steam locomotive with open carriages behind. An older group of people were in the seats in front of us, and one gent was giving cheek to Fluffy. Made it fun. I took a pic but won't put it up here because I have so many already.

Just near the factory is a customer of ours, so we stopped by and had a look around his establishment. He and his wife Jan had visited in January, and Fluffy and I took them out to dinner. So we were pleased when they returned the favour and offered us a bed at their home.

Their property is located up in the hinterland near Gympie, and it was so quiet. Totally restful. John cooked a barbeque, and Jan and I prepared the food. We ate outdoors in the cool.

We went to bed fairly early, but were woken at 4.30am by a huge storm. I stood at Dobby's window trying to catch a photo of lightening, but could only get this...

I think I need practice. Anyway, once the worst had passed we all went back to bed. Then breakfast about 9, and back on the road.

We decided to stop at the Ettamogah Pub on the way into Brisbane. That was fun. The place is beautifully made of wood, and is quite interesting. However, people kept texting me, and the house sitter called me (at which time I had difficulty getting off the phone to him). So I didn't get the proper look I would have liked.

Here's a couple of pics. The pub pic is the wrong one - the sky is too light, but I have been having issues uploading so won't change it now.

We scoffed a quick pie then headed into Petrie to see Pork Chop.

I haven't seen her since Wally got married, just before Dobby was born. SOL and MOTH came too, and they also brought dessert. We had cheesecake, a fruit and custard filled pastry concoction something like eclair but in a round ring, and a lovely sponge based fruit flan. Followed by crackers, cheese, kabana and ontions. Yummo!

Pork Chop's partner is a computer whizz, and had a media centre he showed Fluffy. Fluffy was taken, and as Mark had one downstairs, Fluffy bought it for $300. It is fully loaded with over 4,000 movies, television series, and other bits and bobs. Great invention! Pork Chop had also made me a lovely bag so I slipped my iPad and purse in that.

We made tracks about 2.30 or so and headed toward the airport and the DFO factory outlet shop. We were very good, and didn't spend much. I bought Dobby a little pink zircon necklace and myself crystal earrings (total $44) from the jewelers, and Dobby bought herself a hoodie. That kid's obsessed with hoodies. While she was paying for it I noticed my wallet was missing! Crap, mad dash back to the last shop and luckily there it was. Whew!

When we were on our way back to the airport, we saw this...

According to the news tonight it was pretty fierce. The airport was closed temporarily but our flight wasn't affected.

Our plane taxied down the runway just after 7pm, and we arrived early, just after ten Adelaide time. Our driver was so lovely waiting patiently for us. Home to drop the stuff, play with the very excited dog and cat, then bed just before midnight.

I was awake first at 8.30. The others didn't surface for some time. Today was unpack, defrost the big freezer, a couple small loads of washing and a huge grocery shop.

Then of course this. Tomorrow it's back to work, and no doubt feel like I need another holiday!

Thanks for reading, I hope I didn't bore you too much with all the pics :-).

Monday, 26 September 2011

Happy Birthday to me!

So, this one is only a quick one, and I am not sure if I'll be able to update for a while. I reckon I'll manage something though.

This week has been a catch up week. I managed to catch up here at work, and I even had time to go for lunch with the boss's wife on Friday. The only thing left to catch up on now is the housework.

Saturday was my birthday, and as is often the case, I got spoiled. You will remember I received the iPad last weekend, so this time it was just the stuff for the day. I was given a lovely bottle of bath salts, some perfume, another perfume gift pack, and another bottle of bubble bath/shower gel. Plus, a heart-shaped box of chocolate cherry liqueurs. Yummo! Mum also sent me the most beautiful box filled with scrap booking bits and bobs. Plus, I was well-loved on Facebook to boot! I didn't do much of anything at all, which added to the fun.

Dobby had a friend over Saturday night, and on sunday that friend's mother had a Flashengeist licquer party. Lovely stuff. Check it out here. There were only the hostess and three others of us, but it was very nice. I ordered a couple of little things for myself! Even though I don't drink!

Then back home to pack. Before we left Dobby was packing and we realised she didn't have anything that fitted, so it was a very quick dash to KMart for some shorts and a couple of tops. And a couple of tops for me too :-).

Now I have this week at work, and that's about it. A visit to the hairdresser tonight to trim the wild mane, the house sitter is stopping by tomorrow to meet the animals (and Roger and Oz!) and guitar Wednesday will round off the week. Saturday will be spent furiously cleaning and making sure everything is ready. Fluffy booked the car today, and we were pleasantly surprised at the cost. I also bought travel insurance to make sure we'll all good.

So, I'll do my best to stop by but you might not hear much of me for a bit. Most of you, though I will be seeing in person, so consider yourselves warned! I'm on my way!

Monday, 19 September 2011

Checking in

It's been an incredible few weeks for me. Remember how I said I was training the Boss's wife? Well, that takes most of my work day, then it's a scramble when she goes home to catch up. I am way behind but hopefully that will sort itself out tomorrow when she's not in. I may even be where I should be tomorrow!

For quite a while it seemed that my life was a round of work and house work. I never seemed to catch up either way. That in itself can be quite stressful. Then Fluffy went away for a week.

But first, I must tell you about our weekend away. The weekend before last we went to Blanchetown with the caravan club. Turned out that the only families to go were committee members! So we had an impromptu committee meeting instead of meeting through the week.

Dobby bought her friend Sarah with her, which was nice for her. Because Fluffy was going away on the Sunday afternoon, and we couldn't take the dog, we decided to just go on the Saturday morning and stay in a cabin overnight.

It was soo cold, though. But the small intimate gathering made it fun all the same. Plenty of time to sit and chat, and a pool room with a TV to keep the big kids occupied. Apparently there was a pants-down game of pool the Friday night....

Anyway, we arrived kind of stars, which was good fodder for a bit of ribbing. See, the week before Dobby and I had our photos taken for a newspaper article on the joys of caravanning. We made sure to wear our SAPI shirts, much to the joy of the committee members. Lots of pats on the back for that! This is the result...

Of course, this opportunity couldn't come up when I was thinner and looked good. No, it had to arise when I looked like the caravan I was modelling and had crazy old-lady red hair! Haha.

Never mind, it was a bit of fun.

So, after the weekend we drove home, got there just after lunch. A quick pack and relax for Fluffy then off to the airport. He was off to Melbourne for a training course for work.

Dobby and I made a trip to the video store, then called out for Chinese takeaway, something we don't buy when Fluffy is home as it's not his forte.

Later that afternoon we get a call. "I'm pissed off," says Fluffy. Why? Work told him they'd book his room and he could pay for the taxi, claiming it back when he gets back.

Only, they booked him a room $80 away from the venue! Each way! First, the taxi dropped him at the wrong Quest hotel. Then, when he booked in he found he had nowhere to eat. Not a place within walking distance! He found someone nearby who would deliver, only to find that when it arrived, his fish and chips were literally swimming in a half-inch of water! He threw it out..

So on Monday he phoned the chick who booked it and told her to change it. She did. To another Quest hotel only marginally closer than he already was. So $40 for taxi's each way. And again there was nowhere to eat. He didn't. On Tuesday morning he went to the McDonalds across from the study venue for his first meal since, well, Saturday night really.

The finally booked him a room at the pub across from the venue. They didn't choose it because it was, well, a pub. But, as he said, I don't have to pay taxis, and I can get a great meal (booked to the room, I might add, as it should be!).

He was so stressed and upset that he thinks after all that he failed the course. How rotten for him!

And for us during that time, it was just as stressful. Dobby was on her worst behaviour, acting out and being a very difficult child. With the stress at work, and her at home, I was on a knife edge for the whole week. Then, when Fluffy phones, she tells him "we're doing all the housework so it's clean when you get home". He answered that see, it's up to him to keep the place clean.

I really took offense to that because the house was a mess because Dobby was just so darn hard to shift! She left a trail of mess behind her and resisted every attempt by me to get her to clean it up. I often did it for her, only to turn around and find it back. It was a terrible week.

And Fluffy wasn't due home till Saturday evening, even though the course finished Friday. Luckily for him he was able to change his flight. They even did it for free, even though they weren't supposed to. It was very good to see him, and he bought us gifts - heaps of Smiggle pencils for Dobby and a book on the Kerobokin Jail in Bali. Looks like a great read too.

Anyway, I also spent Saturday morning swapping around our bedroom. I like it's new look, and Fluffy does too.

Sunday morning we were all sitting outside in the warmth (it was an unseasonable warm weekend here) and I told Fluffy that I had been giving thought to buying an iPad. I don't like to get caught up in the techno hype, but had been thinking of a laptop. The one I wanted, though, was way too expensive.

I thought all I would use the iPad for was for books, and I already had a reader (like a Kindle) for that. Then, I realised that I could put small movies on it so it might be handy to take to away with us.

On the Sunrise program we were watching we saw an internet place that had cheap electronics. So he decided to do some research on pricing. Yes, this place was cheaper, but he wasn't sure he wanted to pay all that money at once. He found out that Dick Smith does interest free, so next thing we're all piled in the car and I now own an iPad 2. Plus he spent a small fortune on a cover for it, which is sooo pretty. It's cream leather, with pale cream suede animal print inserts. Very swish! Well, not sure if it's real leather, but it looks nice anyway.

So then it was home to play with that for a bit. I put heaps of music and photos on it, and a couple (but not many yet) apps. I also found some movies to load on it, but apparently they take all night...

Anyway, today and tomorrow at work we have some people from Sydney over so I've been dealing with them, helping Mrs Boss learn, and still run the house. Hopefully tomorrow will see me up to date, and I can afford to slow down a bit, and not do any overtime! Not much each day, but enough anyway.

Not much on this weekend, but I'll try to find something to blog about!