Monday, 19 November 2012

Untitled No 1

I can never think of anything witty to title my posts so I give up.

This week has been interesting.  Kind of.  The usual work stuff, of course.  Archiving.  Well, finishing the archiving.

I had done most of it is preparation of Rocket's visit from interstate Melbourne Cup week.  But as he got called home I didn't get it finished (I had planned to get his help with the last bit).

When I finally got some time, I finished it off and got that all ready.  He flew back in on Saturday.

However, Friday afternoon I got a call from the school.  "I have something to tell you that you may not like.  Dobby left the school at lunch time and did not sign out or return to the school.  We have looked around the school grounds for her but she's not here".  Great.  Her dad was never at school so how do I handle this one?

I called her.  No answer.  Called again.  Many times.  Eventually she sent me a message "I'm in class, what do you want?".  Hmm.  No you're not, says I.  Where are you?

Turns out her friend and her thought it would be a good idea to take off after their excursion.  Silly girls.  She told me some sob story about having a fight at school with the other girls, not being friends, and wanting to leave the school.  I got upset, because I don't know how to handle this type of situation.

Anyway, when I got home I stuck my head in her room and said when she's ready to talk come see me.

Later, she did.  And we had a very good, adult, conversation.  She told me the truth.  There was no fight, she and her friend just decided to leave.  This is the same friend who she has been with when she's broken curfew - 4 times.  I pointed out this was number 5.  She knew.  But she likes this girl.  After speaking to the girls mother, I now understand the lass has some mental health issues.  She likes Dobby as she seems to understand her and have patience with her where her other friends have turned their backs on her (she is quite high maintenance sometimes, but hopefully medication will sort that out in the near future).

Anyway, I told Dobby that if she wants to continue her friendship she has to take responsibility for doing the right thing and making the proper choices.  She has said she will.  Today she had to face the principal, and was given a three-lesson internal suspension.  It goes on her previously clear record and she's saying she has learned her lesson.  Guess we'll see.

Anyway, over the weekend, this friend asked if she could go stay with her.  Actually, her mother did.  This friend was upset because she felt she had convinced Dobby to wag, and gotten her in trouble.  I felt it was probably good for them to get together, under the careful eye of the mum.  And besides, I wanted some time alone with Fluffy.  Works for everyone I say.

We dropped her off after lunch, and set about looking for a new camera bag.  Fluffy suggested a back pack.  My problem is that with my joint issues I struggle with heavy bags and stuff.  So he suggested the back pack because we could all carry it.

We found one, which hold a laptop against the back part, then has space at the top for other stuff (my ipad, purse, and other stuff will fit in this), and the camera equipment goes in a bit at the bottom of the front section.  You have to lay the bag down to get to the gear or it will fall out, but it's a great idea.  The bag is black, with yellow interior.  Comes with a good warranty, and she gave us $5 off.  Nice.  Fluffy also bought me a little zipped pouch thing to hold SD cars, card reader and notebook.

Then we went home to relax.  I took my time to get ready, and we tarted ourselves up and set off for the Perfect Cup cafe in Melbourne Street.  Rocket was flying in at eight in order to pick up the stuff and car early the next morning.  We decided, Fluffy and I, to have dinner first.  This place is part of the Meridien Hotel, where Rocket was staying.

Parking was minimal so being the cheeky people we are, we used the motel car park.  Well, we were meeting someone who was booked into the motel so why not?  We were told before hand that there were two large groups having functions so meals would be late.  We didn't care - we had all night.  We found a lovely plush leather lounge and got comfortable inside.  The waitress set a table for us outside, but it was right outside the party group.  The weather was perfect so we just sat in the little bar area for awhile and had a drink (bottle of merlot for the man and juice for me).  Our starters arrived while we were sitting there, so we ate them there.  Very nice.  It was a share plate, with chicken tenders, salt and pepper squid, spring rolls, and another roll cut up.  Very, very good.  Would do as a meal on it's own.

Eventually when the sun had gone down a bit we ventured out to the patio.  Our meals came not long after - steak for him and Cesar Salad for me.  I couldn't finish it.  We had not long finished when Rocket told us he had arrived and was on his way.  I told him we had bought the lobster and a few bottles of champagne and charged it to his room, was that okay?  No worries, he said.  Heh.

After dinner Fluffy and I went back to the quiet bar area to our previous seat and Rocket saw us when he walked past.  He came and said hello then checked in.  He joined us, had the last glass of wine in Fluffy's bottle, then told us to put our meals on his room tab.  Nice!  Then he bought another round of drinks.

The bar area closed at 9.30pm so we packed up and walked down Melbourne Street to The Lion hotel. This place has won awards but it was packed.  Outside though, we found a relatively quiet table area.  The boys had to line up to get in the door so they bought double drinks and eventually, after I had thought they had picked up a couple of birds, they returned to the table.

We had a lovely evening, and it was only when Rocket said he was getting a bit chilly that we realised it was almost one AM.  A lovely evening.  We walked back to the motel and he used his gate key to let us out of the car park, bidding us farewell and expressing his gratitude for a great night.  He said that after the last week (with the accident last week and all) it was the first time he had relaxed and had a drink, and actually laughed.  We felt honoured.

Sunday morning Fluffy and I just sat around and relaxed.  I was even still in my jammies at eleven.  We just sat outside and did nothing.  We even talked a bit.  When I say that, I mean, we are not great conversationists.  We just enjoy each other's company.  But we seemed to have plenty to chat about.  It was very pleasant.

But all good things must come to an end and after I made us lunch we headed off to the shop and to pick up Dobby.  She had a good weekend, although she did realise she probably should have spent the time doing an assignment.  Sigh.  Some things never change...

Wednesday, 14 November 2012


Sorry, just felt the need to clarify something about my little rant last weekend.  After reading my blog back, and reading feedback, it seems I have not gotten my point across correctly.

You're right, Sparkling Merlot, it's not about me.  It was never actually intended to be about me.  I didn't mean that my friends didn't support me, just that when push comes to shove, I thought I could count on people to get on board and make a donation.

I did want to raise $300.  I thought I had enough friends and contacts to make that happen.  That's what is disappointing.  If all my friends or relatives (who could) donated $5 that would be that much more that could have been given to the Cancer Council.  I am disappointed that people didn't seem to care enough about the cause to help.

That was all I intended.  Every dollar raised is a dollar more.  And I am glad to have done my bit.  I am just saddened that people who couldn't make it to the fundraising night didn't make the effort to help out online.

Okay, nuff said, it's time for dessert.  Night folks!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Am I a bitch...

to be somewhat disappointed with people?  Let me start from the beginning.

As you may know, I hosted a Girls Night In this weekend, to raise money for Breast Cancer Research.  The daughter-in-law of a very dear friend of mine has gone through this, and in fact her sister is still going through it.  When she found she had it she urged her sister to get checked and the results were positive for her too.  Luckily they both seem to be winning the battle.

Anyway, I decided to do my bit and host a Girls Night In.  I had visions of a group of ladies, having a drink, sharing some laughs, dancing, sharing nibblies, and having a good night.

I even sent out the message to my interstate friends and family, so that people who couldn't come could help the cause by donating online.  But I seriously think there is something wrong with me.

One by one, they all declined.  Initially four ladies said they would come.  One of those dropped out.  One of the attendees invited her mother (luckily).  A couple others sent messages to say they couldn't come.  Most just ignored me.  Including my interstate folk. 

Close to the night a lovely friend donated online in case she couldn't make it.  She and another friend did make the effort, meaning I had six ladies actually attend on the night, and one who stopped by on her way home to make a donation (of $50, thank you very much!).

I had been worrying what to do with 6 raffle prizes (one didn't bother to drop off her promised goods, so I had to go out and buy something small to add to the pool), and only 4 ladies coming.  My Nutrimetics lady dropped off a $60 face cream and some raffle books, telling me to pre-sell them, and offering 10% of sales if I got a few orders.  Luckily this was just before the last rally.  My wonderful support team spent around $70 on raffle tickets and donations, which kick started me off. 

On the night, there was a small enough gathering that everyone had plenty to talk about.  Three ladies won prizes, with the other three going to club members.  Everyone said they had a good night, which is the main thing. 

But what really bothered me was, that from the 144 ladies I invited, only half a dozen turned up, and only a dozen even answered.  Three people donated online, and one of them was me.  Surely it wouldn't have been too much trouble for my interstate friends to donate $5 (not you, SOL, you're excluded from this rant x). 

I set my goal at $300 thinking that with all my friends this would be easily achievable.  Apparently I don't have as many friends as I thought.  I came in under $250 from online donations and raffle sales.  I can't decide if I'm grateful, or hurt that I mean so little to people.  How could I possibly have thought people would actually want to come to something I held, or to support me by donating, anyway?  I am so grateful to the ladies who did (both at the rally and the party).  That meant the world.  But if every one of my friends who could not make it donated, I would have reached well over my goal.

Anyway, enough said on that topic.  I just needed to get it off my chest.  Note to self - no more parties or gatherings of ANY kind, cause people just don't care enough to come. 

In other news, I had the interstate boss in town last week.  He brought his Toyota Prado and trailer over, with the view of taking back archive boxes (and helping to clear some space in my office).  He arrived Monday afternoon, and we killed a couple hours chatting while I was doing some work.

Tuesday morning my local boss went to a Melbourne Cup luncheon, and wouldn't be back for the rest of the day.  Sydney boss took me to lunch.  We were still eating and just on our second round of drinks (juice, thank you!) when he got a call.  He was obviously distressed, and I knew the news wasn't good.

While on the phone, we left the restaurant, he paid with one had, and we raced back to the car.  In a break between calls he told me that there had been an explosion back at the site in Sydney.  Turns out they had been venting a tanker trailer, and without following certain safety procedures (from the look of it), they had brought it back inside and started working on it.  Vapours have then ignited when a forklift drove by and the young fellow working on it was badly burned from a flash fire.  Luckily a nurse working near by ran up and immediately put the hose on him to cool his burns.

Needless to say, boss was distraught.  He continued to make calls, and in fact I made him pull over and finish a call or the police would have pulled him up for sure. 

We raced back to the office in record time.  He packed up his gear, booked a flight (with me standing over his shoulder reminding him to click here, click that etc).  Back to the motel to check out, and back to pick me up. 

He drove to the airport and told me to just take the car and use it.  He would rather it be driven.  So I drove it back to the office.   When I phoned him later he said to just keep driving it.  So  I have had it all week.  My little Shazza is still parked at work...

No word yet on when he'll be back but I suspect probably Monday or Tuesday.  The fellow who got burned is in the burns unit with burns to his nose, ears, and exposed skin on his arms and legs.

The irony?  He was going to be let go next week.  I think that added to boss's distress.  The guilt factor.  When I spoke to him on the Wednesday he thanked me.  What on earth for?  I had felt like a spare dick - totally helpless and unable to do anything.  No, he said, I kept him grounded.  Must have been all the idle chat I kept him tied up with on the way to the airport, and all the "Rocket, deep breath" I kept saying.

So, anyway, it's been a rather stressful week, with the party to worry about and how everyone in Sydney was faring.  They are like a family over there.  I have worked closely with them for the last five years, and have met a few of them too, so I feel like I know them all very well.  It's been very distressing for them to the point they had counselors in over the weekend to speak to them all.

Well, not much else worth rabbiting on about.  Thanks for letting me rant.  I promise to be more positive next time.

Sunday, 4 November 2012


So this weekend the club went to Balaklava.  It's a lovely little town north of Adelaide.  Very strange to drive though - I got lost on both occasions I went foraging.  Odd.  However, it has all the mod cons - Foodland grocery store, pub, Thrifty hardware store, Ford car sales yard.  And this take away/tobacconist/bakery/pizza shop.  Wonderful junk food.  Quite well priced too.  I didn't  cook this weekend...

So, I knew we only had about a ninety minute drive, and we are on daylight savings, so we didn't bother finishing work early.  We were all home by 5 and on the road by 5.25.  Would have been earlier but Fluffy was busy trying to get his CB to send.  He could hear me (I guide him out of the tricky driveway) but he couldn't answer.  Must get that looked at.

The drive up to Balaklava is long and boring.  There are miles and miles of nothing.  It's all farm country.  There was clouds (well, it was actually pretty much overcast) so the promise of a lovely sunset was there.  But nothing really grabbed me by the time we arrived.  The caravan park was tiny - probably only about 15 sites.  We held 9 of them, plus there were a few permanents.  The whole area seems to be a community centre.  There is a small building with a squash court and tiny kitchen/hall area.  Very tiny.  The toilets were in this building, accessed by a single door that opened into a hallway with the handicapped toilet at one end, and the Mens and Ladies branching off to the right.  Quite an odd set up but I liked it.  It wasn't open and in fact, one could walk between them all with no problem if one was so inclined.  There were only two showers and two toilets but that never seemed to be a problem.  They were very clean and serviceable.

Behind the toilet/kitchen/squash court is a playground, and beside on one side is the swimming pool (sadly only open Dec, Jan and Feb, cause we would have ALL been in there Saturday otherwise), and on the other side is the bowling green.

These pics were on the pool shed and the squash building.

We were not the last to arrive - The Palace arrived after us.  The Queen and her husband were not sure if they were going to make it.  Queen's dad is very, very ill and it's just a waiting game.  But at the last minute (literally) she decided that's it, we're going.  I'm so glad she made it, she has been under tremendous stress.  It was good to see them.

After we had set up Dobby and I went in search of sustenance, finding the above mentioned take-away.  Burger for Fluffy, chips for Dobby and a piece of fish for me and we're back.  We had dinner then went to join the other folk around the fire.  Not that we needed a fire.  I think it was more symbolic of the gathering herd.  Now that fire season is in, or will be soon, we will have to gather around something else.  Perhaps a full esky?

Dobby piked out quite early for her (not other big kids to hang with, she got bored).  I went at midnight.  Fluffy wasn't too far behind me.

Saturday we rose to a warmish day.  Rain threatened, though, and Fluffy and I decided to put a side on the awning.  But angle it out to give more room.  He wanted to use the solid canvas, but I suggested perhaps the mesh one.  We used the mesh one.  I'm glad we did, because the rain didn't last.

I wandered about and took some pics.

Queen's daughter drove up.  Apparently she has been having a very rough time lately and everyone was quite concerned for her welfare, but she seemed to enjoy her day with us.

The day warmed up.  We had club game after morning tea, and then spent the day sitting in the shade under trees.  That pretty much summed up the day.  Of course, we all got sunburned.  Typical.  We forgot what it was like to be hot, it's been so long.

Happy hour saw other friends join for a couple of hours.  They borrowed another camper's bbq and stayed for dinner.

I am hosting a Girls Night In to raise funds for breast cancer research next weekend.  I had been very worried because only 5 ladies are coming.  I have somewhere between 4 and 6 raffle prizes planned, depending on if the last two follow through.

So I took the suggestion of my Neutrametics lady (who donated a skin cream valued at $60 plus 10% of any sales on the night), and thought the rally would be a good chance to pre-sell tickets.  I took a couple of orders and sold heaps of tickets.  I have kickstarted my fundraising with $70 raised from the weekend.  Have to be happy with that!

It came over cloudy again Saturday evening and we thought we'd get rain (see photo below) but we only got a few drops.  Enough so that I put the camera away but not enough to shift positions.

Anyway, late in the evening on Saturday, we had a bit of an incident.  A young lad from the family camped behind us started to cry quite badly.  Investigation found he had been bitten by Ozzie.  Oh crap.  He's never done that before.  After seeing to the boy (luckily the skin was only grazed and lightly bruised) he was okay.  Turns out that he was running past our van and Ozzie ran to play with him, nipping at him as he does (well, probably at the ball the fellow was going for) and misjudging his nip.  Fluffy was very distressed and we were both terribly embarrassed.  It quite ruined the whole weekend.  The family were so good about it.

Sunday morning they came to see Fluffy expressing their concern because the lad who was bitten was worried Fluffy would get Ozzie put down (once they bite you can't trust them).  They wanted to stress that it was only an accident - he did not go for the boy in anger, or attack him.  They also wanted to reassure Fluffy that the boy was not frightened of dogs and held Ozzie no ill will.  In fact, he came over, sat down, and Ozzie quite happily curled up against his lap (as he does when anyone sits on the floor).  They were friends.  Whew.  We were very concerned.

Beside our caravan was a gum tree, and there was a flock of parrots in it.  They started quite early in the morning and frankly, I cant' think of a nicer way to wake up.

So, we were all heading off after a lovely breakfast cooked by the park.  The park was not actually manned as such, but the caretaker came by each day to clean and check we were all okay.  His wife and daughter cooked the breakfast - eggs, bacon, sausages, tomato and toast.  They provided everything from butter, sauce, food, to plates cups and cutlery.  It was lovely.

We were home by one, and had the first load of washing out half an hour later.  I have spent the day just putting through two loads of laundry (I left the 3rd in the machine) and doing not much else.  I had done pretty much everything early Friday morning before I went to work.  I should iron before I go to bed so Fluffy has work uniforms, but that's about it.  Sometime this week I need to vacuum, and that's about it.

After breakfast the ladies had some leftover cut up tomato and some eggs.  I scored six eggs, and a colander with about 8 tomatoes, halved.  So for dinner tonight I cooked chicken rissoles, poached eggs, toast, and I put the tomatoes into a shallow dish, drizzled oil and balsamic vinegar over them, added a little sprinkle of cheese, and cooked in the microwave for about 8 minutes.  Very nice.

So, now I am going to run a bath and then I think it will be early nights all right.  This week sees my boss from Sydney in the office.  He wants to take us to dinner Tuesday night so he can meet Fluffy and Dobby.  That will be nice.

 So, until I decide to blog again, TTFN.