Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Don't fence me in.

I had a visit from Mr Next-door Down-the-hill this afternoon. He is going to be away for the next month and wanted to talk to me about the dividing fence. Basically, he is happy for me to get some quotes and try to induce someone to fix the fence but he wants to be there to clear away the greenery on his side of the fence.

I told him that the building companies all go on holidays from Christmas until the end of January so I said that I would wait until early February and start getting quotes. [Note to self - go and see the council building inspector to see exactly what my rights are, since the fence is, for me, a pool fence].

No sooner had he gone than there was another ring on the doorbell and it was Ms Next-to-next-door Down-the-hill. She said that her dividing fence between him and her was also teetering over and she wanted to have it replaced at the same time and, as well, she would like to replace her back fence and her front fence as well. She is on a Green Title so that involves the other occupant of the block. So that makes four of us. HELP !!!!!!!!

I have until the end of January and then all hell is going to break loose as we try to sort out who has what done and who pays for what. For me it is fairly simple but everyone else will be dealing with two people and it is, hopefully, going to be a big enough job to tempt someone to do it. The finances are going to be interesting, though ...

Now for your cyberflirt hint for today:

If you describe yourself as articulate, make sure that you know how to spell it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Fencing around the problem

The ivy which grows up the fence between me and my downhill neighbour finally pulled the fence down during a storm a couple of weeks ago. I had mentioned to him several months ago that the ivy was becoming a big problem and when the fence finally went over he told me that he had obtained some quotes 'about three months ago' and I got the impression that he had accepted the quote without any input from me.

I sent him a written request for a copy of the quote and it turns out that it is dated 15th September, valid for 30 days. So now I don't know where we are ...

Mr Downhill next-door is away most of the time and will be absent, except for a couple of days over Christmas, until the end of January. I have tried to get in touch with the fencing contractor who supplied the quote but so far no luck ... except that he has (or someone has) opened the email I sent him. I also sent a hard copy via snail mail as he didn't return my phone call.

He specified that he needed a clear run to do the fence and the amount of creepers, trees etc, next door is daunting. Mr Next-door brushes it aside as being no problem but if he isn't here I can't order someone to cut all the stuff back.

I need to go to the council and see what I am, and am not, allowed to do in these circumstances because the fence in question is my pool fence. The Next-doors have propped it up again but it is going to have to be replaced; but just how, I don't know. My plan is to speak to the fencing contractor and see exactly what his position is on the subject, go to the council and see what my position is and then go and ask Cousin B if he knows of someone who can do the job. At least anyone he recommends will have some sort of a track record and the one who gave the quote is so elusive that I am afraid that he will take the 50% deposit and disappear.

And here is your cyberflirt hint for today:

Keep a photo to send to prospects.

I notice that it doesn't actually have to be a photo of me; some of those Russian scammers are gorgeous. You might want to borrow one of them to enhance your prospects...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Wii woes

A couple of weeks ago, D3 pursuaded me to buy a WII fitness package. I have been diligently doing a 30 minute workout each day and it is getting up my nose a bit. It keeps on telling me that my balance is poor - as though I didn't know that already, and that my right leg is weak which I am also woefully aware of. I hurt my hip about three months ago and it is getting better slowly but some activities still hurt - walking up stairs is the prime problem. I guess that I just have to keep on exercising and stretching it until it comes right again.

Summer has finally arrived and my pool, although the chlorine levels are very high and the water is still a bit cloudy, is swimmable and yesterday I had my first swim of the season. It is nice to get back to it and, since we no longer have summer time to trouble us, I can get back to swimming as a form of exercise. We have had three (or is it four) referenda on summer time and each time the result has been a resounding "NO" but the government doesn't seem to be able to take no for an answer. For the last three summers we have had summer time for yet another 'trial' and during that time the sun shone at the wrong angle onto the pool, making it almost midday before I could comfortably swim. On account of the turbulence from the swim jets I have to do backstroke and look directly upwards so the position of the sun becomes critical. Now I can safely swim from about 10.30am.

Today's hint on how to make yourself irrisistable in cyberland:

Choose your name carefully to reflect your personality and interests.

minnie the pink ozcat??? OK - I like cats but the rest is a long story ...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I've got the unicorn by the ...

Esmé, the unicorn, has been put into an induced coma pending an increase in capital. She is being fed via a naso-gastric tube and is snoring happily.

Meanwhile I have given her a kitchen disguised as the bottom of a lily pond, a flower garden with a flowering cherry and a garden seat and I have increased her veggie patch which, despite the snow, is growing apace.

Now for your hint on how to attract anyone, anywhere, on the world wide web:

Do not ask a person to describe his or her underwear.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The loveliest of all was the unicorn ...

D3 pursuaded me to invest in a Webkinz toy - http://www.webkinz.com/ - and I have been a slave to the wretched thing ever since. It eats like a horse which I suppose is logical since it is very horselike, and it needs to be stroked and entertained to keep it happy. All this needs money and I have to build up enough capital to not only feed her, but build her rooms and furnish them. My dilemma at the moment is that I bought her an extra room but am not sure if she needs a kitchen to prepare the vegetables which we are growing in the virtual garden or if a study with a TV would make her happier. I have a while to decide ... it is snowing in Webkinzland at the moment.

There are ways of making money and I have all but given up on Freecell to play arcade games to earn money for Esmé. Some of the games are fun and take quite a bit of concentration and I tend to stick to them. Webkinz are really children's toys but a lot of adults have them.

I am sending a polar bear to Little Bro for Christmas because he and Bro'swife went to Canada recently and photographed a large number of polar bears - or photographed the same one many times; they all look big, white and hairy so who knows. I am a bit afraid that he will let the poor thing starve; according to the news of the day they are short of food and are eating their young at the moment.

I am being given a Siamese cat for Christmas so I need to get Esmé firmly established before I add to my cyberfamily.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Scanning the Newspapers

I have discovered a new and interesting pastime which is occupying my spare time, and a bit more, at the moment. The National Library is electronically scanning archived newspapers from all around the country and putting them online. The scans are not all that they could be since the newspapers are, some of them, over 100 years old so the public can log in and proofread and correct them. The original scan is in a separate window for comparison. It is a bit like reading and correcting typoese, which I am very good at so I have decided to try to complete one article per day.

I have been searching for my forebears (and correcting their details) and so far have found a divorce which I never knew about - and even not the marriage for that matter - of my great uncle Clarence and have finally found the mysterious wife of my great uncle Dudley. I have been searching for her for years.

I first heard about her - as did the rest of the family - when Uncle Dudley (my grandfather's twin brother) died and his will became known. It transpired that he was a very wealthy man. This fact was not fully realised by the rest of the family because he had lived a very reclusive life, avoiding his family in an extremely executive way. Maybe the vagaries of Uncle Dudley could be explored more deeply in another entry sometime.

Anyway, when the will was read he had left £20,000 to his 'other sister-in-law' by which I mean, not my grandmother. Anyway, Auntie Jeanette was to get the income for life and then the principle was to go to the Salvation Army, which infuriated her. The rest of his estate was left to his divorced wife if she was still alive and if not the money was to go to the Salvation Army. *grin* this infuriated the rest of the family, not because they had missed out on the money but because he had married and divorced without bothering to mention it to his relatives and this was the first that they had heard about it.

Anyway, thanks to the newspapers I discovered the report of the divorce and from there, with some help from the community board of www.genealogy.com we traced her and her very short-lived marriage which lasted a bit over two years.

Both my uncles did the divorcing, accusing their wives of adultery, and since both of them must have been rather strange men the women were probably happy to be freed to pursue their own happiness.

However, I still can't find any trace of my great great grandfather Edward Davies. He seems to have managed to transport his family to Australia from Wales, set up a successful business and vanish without a trace along with all his works. I have found one mention of a daughter - sister to my great grandfather, also Edward Davies - a Mrs Baldwin, but can't find any mention of a marriage and I still have no names. It is very frustrating!!!!!

And your cyberflirt hint for today ...

Develop carpal tunnel syndrome

I really must read the book to find out why that is such a good idea - it is really rather a painful affliction.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Chaos at COTA? NEVER !!!!!

OK kids - here is your next helpful hint from the book "Cyberflirt" (ISBN 0-452-28054-0).

Choose Option D in the questionaire

I said last time that they are rather strange ... you were warned.

Because Himself is 'down south' this week COTA phoned me to ask if I could double up with two clients tomorrow. As I have a client with depression and memory problems I needed to know if she would be one of the double-ups as she needs gentle handling and full attention. The booking clerk said not to worry and that she had just cancelled Himself's client, that I was fully booked until the end of next month when we go into recess ... except for the man who was coming in on 10th December for four (4) hours of Excel because he wanted to get a special project finished this year.

I had told her that I had agreed to teach him Excel, although I wasn't all that happy about it as my spreadsheets have come down from my very first computer with only minor adjustments. I can create new spreadsheets and suspect that he wants to create a template on the cheap. But four hours all at once, when I am supposed to be having a break, was all a bit much and she hadn't consulted me about it. If she had then we might have been able to work out a compromise since all the 'guides' are fully booked until the end of next month - except Himself who only does two hours per week and has no clients on 30th November.

I suggested that Himself could give the man two hours on 30th but he has paid for four and wants all his hours this year. *sigh* Not my problem - I am only a volunteer. One of the difficulties is that the person who does the bookings is not there on the days I go in and things are usually in a dreadful muddle with no-one quite knowing who is coming in - or even if they are coming. There is surely a better way ...

Monday, October 12, 2009

I have hauled out a book called CYBERFLIRT ...

I have discovered my list of things to do in order to "Attract anyone, anywhere on the World Wide Web". From time to time I will post a hint for those looking for romance. Some of them don't make sense but obviously they did when I copied them out so here goes:

Make sure that you are female.

Hmmmm - that is fine if you actually ARE female and are looking for a man but not so good if you are a man looking for a female. I see that I need to read the book again because the next one makes no sense at all. Next time ...

Yesterday I got the all-clear from The Embroiderer. Everything is in place and none of his stitches have broken so I have been discharged unless any more problems turn up. Yeah ...

Himself is back from overseas and has had to take over from The Doctor at COTA whose wife is still in need of rehabilitation. It is quite like old times but I don't know what is going to happen when The Doctor is able to come back but that is unlikely to happen until next year at this stage.

I have been trying to keep ahead of the weeds growing in the garden and failing dismally. The weather has warmed up and it is still raining every so often so they are popping up all over the place. D2 came to stay for one night while her apaartment was having its floor sanded and she spent a day tidying up. She does a great job but tends to leave everything heaped up and needing sorting. Never mind - she cleared the paths and chopped back some branches which were in the way. She also went around the paths with a bottle of glyphosate spraying each individual weed so now I have to wait to see which ones die and which she missed.

I was reluctant to spray the paths on account of Boy-cat but she has no such hang-ups. He went off his food so I have put him onto soft stuff which he seems to prefer now. The problem is that the one I bought the most of is the one which he doesn't like all that much but it is what he is getting anyway because the vet is out of the preferred food. He has enough body fat to carry him for a few days and when he is hungry enough he will eat it.

Family Tree Maker has sent me FTM16 which I hope will allow me to upload my main tree which hasn't been upgraded since 2007. I'll install it as soon as I have backed up all my trees onto the laptop. The laptop is currently upgrading itself so it is going to be a while before I can get onto it and if FTM16 doesn't allow me to upload then people will just have to contact me for any additional information. I have recently been contacted by a descendant of the brother of my great x 5 grandfather - 1706 in Hamburg. I posted a request for information about his brother who died in British New York in America. The most remote relative I have so far connected with. She promised to send any information which she has but hasn't done so - perhaps because she really doesn't know what happened that far back but I would like the info for my Samler tree if she can get it.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Chaos at COTA

Last Thursday was chaos at the computer lounge; so what is new!! Next Thursday could be worse ...

The Doctor's wife is ill and needs extensive rehabilitation so he didn't come in and I was on my own. The problem was that nobody had told the Thursday receptionist, and whoever it is who does the bookings had canceled two of the clients with just a light pencilled crosses next to their names. I arrived to find that there were six client records laid out for me although I only had time for four - I have doubled up before but that is not at all satisfactory, least of all to me since it makes me feel as though none of us has achieved anything. Anyway, only four clients turned up so that was OK. However, one of my clients wasn't able to make it (I had two new ones) which means that there is going to be an extra one if he is back and everyone else turns up.

Now The Boss Lady has gone on holidays. Himself is arriving back from overseas tomorrow evening and has agreed to fill in for now. Thursday morning was always his spot but he has been away overseas for most of this year and The Doctor had replaced him. I am not sure if anyone has been told that he only works mornings so tomorrow I am going to have to phone and make sure that no-one is booked in to him for the afternoon but I suspect that between us we will have seven clients. Boss Lady said that she would organise things from home since she will be checking her email on a daily basis and hopefully she has made sure that no-one is booked for him in the afternoon.

And the clocks on the computers have gone haywire again. They are four minutes fast and refuse to be corrected. They were working for a while but they are obviously determined to do their own thing. I sometimes think that the whole setup is bewitched but perhaps non-profit organisations are always this disorganised ...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Coins and stamps

Last Tuesday I went into town and met up with a representative of the Stamp and Coin Auction House, Stanley Gibbons, or its Australian counterpart.

I was hoping that I could sell my father's stamp collection and my mother-in-laws coin hoard. Father went through a period where he bought a block of four of every new issue of stamps and for some reason he passed them on to me. I think that he did it as an investment because the stamps in those days were extremely uninspiring, not to say boring.

And my mother-in-law's hoard of coins. (I have been reading about dragons lately and hoard is really the only way to describe it.) When my sister-in-law and I cleaned up her house ready to sell it we came across money stashed all over the house to the extent that we used to take time off at lunchtime to take a big bag of coins and notes to the bank where one of my cousins worked and she was happy to count it all out and put it into my mother-in-law's account for us. She also hoarded stamps; not in any sort of organised way and for years I have been raiding her collection when I was short of stamps

However, what was left over was a huge heap of pre-decimal coins dating back to 1910. I put them into an album, filling in as many gaps as I could (face and obverse of each coin).

The Stanley Gibbons man wasn't interested in any of the stamps and advised me to use the decimal ones on my letters. I will probably never need to buy a stamp ever again and the kiddie collectors will probably lap them up.

However, he did take the coin collection which he said might bring in about $100. It was either that or bin them so they have gone off to be auctioned. Someone, somewhere, might love them; I certainly didn't want them.

And, hopefully, someone is coming tomorrow to take away my exercise bike which I have always hated and which I most certainly won't take with me when I move. My proper bike will be coming to Claremont although I recognise that the chance of me riding it ever again is pretty remote. ... but I love it!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

About Boy-cat

Boy-cat will be turning 15 in about a week. He had a 'senior cat check' last week and passed with flying colours. We already knew that his kidneys are not what they were but they have not deteriorated over the past year. The vet now has a cat blood pressure monitor and he looked so cute with the mini-cuff on his arm. He, himself, didn't think that it was particularly cute but his BP is spot on. There is no sign of incipient diabetes so he is generally in good health except that he is getting stiff and arthritic and I suspect that he is in some pain.

Unfortunately, it was medication for arthritis which damaged his kidneys so I am going to need to consult with Doctor Dave about how we can keep him comfortable. This was brought home to me a couple of days ago when I came home from helping an ex-client with her computer to find that the house alarm had gone off. It makes a terrible noise and always sent both cats heading for the hills at double speed. When Boy-cat finally made it home again this time he was not happy and was obviously hurting badly. He is much better today and the sun is out and the day is relatively warm so he is outside soaking up the heat at the moment.

But this has decided me that I will not be taking him with me when I move. He has been an outdoor cat for 15 years and it will be at least another two before I move so I think that he would be distressed by a change of domicile and being confined in a penthouse. He hates using a litter tray and will only do so if there is absolutely no option. If caught short he prefers the plughole of the spa bath but in the new place there will be no steps down into the bath. To make things even more difficult, he is finding it harder to squat to pee and does it standing up. This is not possible in a litter tray unless he turns around and looks out as he pees, otherwise he misses the tray altogether, even though it is one of those enclosed ones.

So, if I still have him in mid-2011 I will have him euthanased as I have come to the conclusion that it will be kinder to him to do this before, rather than after, the move.

This has resolved one of my most pressing problems about the move and I can simply make the most of the time we have left together. I might add that, since he has more or less got over the death of Girl-cat, he has been spoiled rotten ... to the degree that I sometimes find myself standing up to watch TV since he has realised that if I turn on the TV or boil the kettle I am probably going to sit down and he is going to climb up into my lap and go to sleep. He knows that 'no' actually means that he is not to get onto my lap and is very good about that but he is very good at making me feel guilty. *sigh* and I am supposedly an alpha-cat, too ...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Ovarian Cancer

I subscribe to an online medical site which posts the latest information on a variety of subjects and, in my opinion, is one of the best medical sites on the internet.

Today I received a gynaecological update and it included seven (7) clues to ovarian cancer. This is the one cancer which I fear above all others because it is not easy to detect and by the time a diagnosis is made the survival rate is very low.

So, for any female readers of this blog I am listing the seven symptoms which have been found to be associated with ovarian cancer:

1. Abdominal distension
2. Urinary frequency
3. Abdominal pain
4. Postmenopausal bleeding
5. Loss of appetite
6. Rectal bleeding
7. Abdominal bloating

Abdominal distension, in particular, warrants urgent attention. Abdominal distension is a progressive increase in abdominal size. Bloating is an intermittent increase and decrease.

There you have it. If you think that you have these, or some of these symptoms and in particular abdominal distension - SEE YOUR DOCTOR ... now.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Facebook and my mobile phone

I am having problems with my mobile phone and I really need to learn to use it properly. The trouble is with facebook. Every time I make a post (and I now own a group with 38 members) I have to type in one of those random words which are so hard to decipher. To stop doing this I need to give them my mobile number and they will text me a code to verify my account. My problem is that I can't find the code and I have tried to do it several times. The phone signals a message and I diligently try to locate it only to find that I am making phone calls, which I try to kill before they connect. D3 received one in reply to a message she sent a couple of years ago so now I am too scared to even sit down and try to work out how to find my way around the phone which seems to have taken on a life of its own. The book of words is less than useless and seems to assume prior knowledge of mobiles, which I haven't got and never will get at this rate. D3 says that she will show me but she works and has two kids and it is hard to find the time. Maybe I can take her out to lunch and we can have a working session ...

I originally got the phone so that I could phone for help if my car breaks down at night - or even during the day since Telstra seems to have a policy of removing all the public phones and planting them up and down Bayview Terrace in Claremont, where one trips over them every few metres. ... and I can make calls from the mobile if I need to - it is just that it is doing its own thing now and I am in danger of making nuisance calls while I try to retrieve my message with that elusive code.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

... and yet more about facebook

My bookcrossing group on facebook now has 34 members but is not doing very much. I have discovered that when a person becomes a 'friend' then all his/her posts anywhere in the system feed into your 'wall' and there is one whose messages I have had to hide. This is not the one I mentioned previously whom I have also hidden; my wall was becoming like a wall of meaningless graffiti with most of the junk being of no possible interest to anyone except the person who wrote it. I think that twitter is the best place for that boring, meaningless, egocentric stuff. One day I will go there and have a look at KRudd's twitter - his genius for obfuscating is legendary.

I will probably wait a while and then gently remove myself from the Woodlands group and the family name group and just keep an eye on the bookcrossing group since I own it and the members of the group deserve a bit of supervision and an occasional announcement; I owe them that much.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

More facebook

After joining facebook and putting my name up at the Old School Site nothing happened. Nothing at all. Obviously no-one is going to admit being that old ...

So I joined the group of people who share my surname. That was a couple of days ago. There are a lot of members but again - nothing ...

However, this morning, just before I had to rush for the train to go and teach computer to Senior Citizens I did a search for a group dedicated to Australian Bookcrossers. There were heaps of bookcrossing groups in a variety of languages but I couldn't find an Australian one so I very rapidly started one and then left for the day. When I got home, to my amazement there were eighteen new members. Yeah!! One person also told me a link to "bookcrossers down under" which I hadn't thought to put into the search engine. It has heaps of members but doesn't look all that active.

*grin* now that I have my group I don't know what the heck to do with it. This was supposed to be a learning exercise and I can see that I am going to have to learn very fast.

One member of a forum I visit has 'offered' himself as a friend but he has verbal diarrhoea of the twitter variety. I am getting heaps of messages posted by him, each about five words. I don't want to upset him by blocking him so hopefully his enthusiasm will die down but I am not holding my breath. He claims to 'network' with several hundred people on facebook and twitter. Ouch!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

An interesting legal dilemma

There is a case going before the courts today regarding the 'right to die' issue.

A forty-nine year old man was knocked off his bicycle a couple of years ago and became a quadriplegic. He is now in a nursing home with a tracheostomy and a tube directly in his stomach for feeding. He is totally helpless and in great pain. He wants to be allowed to die.

Here is the crunchy bit. The nursing home wants clarification before they stop feeding him which is the only way he is likely to die in the near future. He wants them to stop feeding him so that he can starve to death. If the nursing home stops feeding him would the law consider that to be 'assisted suicide'? If the nursing home continues to feed him are they guilty of assault and battery? What is their duty of care in this situation? Do they force him to live out the rest of his natural life against his will or do they accede to his request to be allowed to die, and stop what is, in effect, force feeding?

Just to muddy the waters still further it has been revealed that he once attempted suicide before he became a quadriplegic.

I suspect and hope that he will be allowed to end his life but it is a legal minefield. Without artificial aids he would have died at the time of the accident so no-one can say that it is God's will that he should be forced to live, as God obviously did her damnedest [gmail's spelling] to gather him in when he was knocked off his bike.

And that leads to another dilemma. If he dies now, will the person who was driving the car be liable to a charge of manslaughter? That person has a big stake in having him kept alive.

Whatever the outcome, the judgement is going to set a precedent and I am glad that I don't have to make a decision on this case.

I will post the judgement when it becomes available ...

Edited to post the judgement of the court:

The court has ruled that the patient has the right to accept or refuse food; that feeding through a gastric tube constitutes a medical treatment and in Australia people have the right to refuse medical treatment. He now has that option but is following up the possibility of going to Switzerland where voluntary euthanasia is legal.

Is it really THAT long?

A few days ago I joined Facebook for the same reason I experimented with twitter and found it severely wanting. However facebook has a bit more scope and I have enlisted D1 as a 'friend'. I also discovered their search engine and thus was able to find their chat groups which don't have any sort of tag that can be easily found. In fact, as far as I can see, there is no way of finding one's way to their groups except by putting "groups" into the search facility.

I searched out and found some groups connected with my old school and joined the most official-looking one of them and posted asking for any others from the Class of 19**. so far there has been no response and I suspect that many of my generation are not all that computer literate and would shun Facebook anyway. Or they have had the same reaction as I have had, which is "OMG - did I leave school THAT long ago." Scary stuff ...

Monday, August 3, 2009

Down with google chrome

I have had google chrome as my default browser for about a week but was constantly irritated by the lack of tabs so that I was forever closing things which I didn't mean to. Then today I found that I couldn't right click and create a shortcut any more, and I love shortcuts. So I uninstalled it.

That is when I thought that I had completely messed up the works: every time I tried to open a link or a shortcut I was asked what program I would like to use and although I selected IE and said that I wanted that program to open the link, the next time the same thing would happen. And then I found that hyperlinks didn't work at all and I was preparing myself to phone Techie and get him to come and take away the body but googled (yes, I googled google) 'google chrome' and found that a heap of people had had the same problem and one of google's employees had posted a 'how to fix the problems associated with uninstalling google chrome'.

It worked!!! Yeah ...

For anyone reading this blog here is what you do:

Open Internet Explorer/click on the Tools menu/Select Internet Options ->Programs

Click on button Make Default (I had to click on the box which asked the computer to tell me if IE is not my default browser). Click on Apply.

... and suddenly everything works again

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Spinning back into control

Today I had a holiday from the Computer Lounge so The Doctor would have had to cope with the lady who wants to send anonymous emails. All power to him; I will be interested to know how he went and if she tried that suggestion on him. And even more, I want to know if the computers have been fixed as The Administrator was writing out a cheque to pay the techie to come and fix them ... not before time.

I decided that, instead of wasting time today I would try to get done some of the things which I have been promising myself for months so I dusted off Himself's vinyl-to-CD machine and processed a couple of records and - more to the point, I unwrapped my spinning wheel, greased it and started plying the bobbins of spun fleece. I managed one of the two because my rhythm was way off and the wheel was stiff. As well, I couldn't get the tension right - something which needs some serious attention. The wheel is actually supposed to have a double drive band but I have converted it to Scottish tension because it is easier to control ... but the tension screw keeps on loosening itself. I need something better than a toothpick jammed in to stop it moving. And moths have been at the fleece so everything is now in plastic bags with naphtha flakes. Once I have plied the second skein I can start on the black alpaca which has been sitting in its bag for years; home grown by Rosemary1 and her alpaca, Clare.

I must see if D3 wants to come to the Royal Agricultural Show with me in September and see if we can buy a couple of fleeces as I would like to get back to spinning and knitting. One day I will commission a sideways wheel for myself; one day ... !

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Bouncing off the walls

Yesterday afternoon I realised that my balance was off and I was feeling nauseous. This has happened before and last time it happened I ended up in hospital so I phoned D2 for help and retired to bed. She arrived and gave me an injection of stematil, after which Boy-Cat and I curled up together and slept for 15 hours. I got up at one stage and had a bite to eat and a quick shower and I was vaguely aware that he got up a couple of times during the night but we both woke up much refreshed this morning. I was still bouncing off the walls a bit but that has improved during the day and I am back to normal again.

Obviously, it was an attack of the short-acting Menière's Disease, rather than the long lasting functional labyrinthitis, which is cheering because I can cope with an occasional day in bed but not months and months of feeling dreadful; and I have all the medication I need - it is just that it is impossible to give myself an injection when I can't focus my eyes.

Boy-Cat has decided that I need looking after and since he no longer has his little sister to curl up with I am the one in the firing line. Whenever I sit down he climbs into my lap, he tells me when it is time to go to bed and then crawls in with me, orders me to groom him after his breakfast and generally lets me know that he has my welfare at heart. He is a lovely and loving cat but it all gets a bit much and I have had to deal out a small amount of 'tough love' to give myself some quality time. I hate doing it but it has to be done or I'll never have a moment's peace ...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Email mania

I had a real doozie of a client at the computer lounge yesterday. She was supposed to see The Doctor but the Boss didn't want to get him in for just one client so I got her instead. As usual, I asked her what she hoped to use her computer for and she said that her main aim was to be able to send emails. Later, it transpired that she wants to be able to send anonymous emails to expose corruption. She doesn't want the emails to be traceable to her. I said that it was impossible, that all the online email hosts made the users agree not be send nuisance emails and that an anonymous email was likely to be sent straight to the spam folder, but she said that all people had the right to expose corruption. My response was that if she is not brave enough to put her name to the accusations then her emails would probably never be read.

We shall see. I certainly won't help her to open an online account and if she managed to do it on her own at some stage then I won't be in any way responsible.

My other client is a sweetie but her computer, which she brings in, is a messy mish-mash and I can't sort it out, particularly since she can't connect it to the network. She lives close by and I may pay her a visit and see if we can get things working better. Her twelve-year-old granddaughter phoned her IP and sorted out her password (the one she had was impossible to remember) and perhaps the grand-daughter could sort out the rest for her. One of her problems is a trial version of MSOffice which is about to run out and that is the email which she has been using. She can't understand why she can't keep on using it ...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Grrrrr ...

The roof on my shed has been leaking for some time and eventually I decided that, with all the rain we have had recently, it was time to get it fixed. I got a couple of quotes and organised to have the job done. However, with all the rain the contractor was very behind with orders and it wasn't until today, five weeks later, that the work was eventually done.

Notwithstanding, on 14th July, I received an 'overdue' account. Fearful of my credit rating I phoned the company and they assured me that it was a computer error. Today, an hour after the work was completed, I received another, rather threatening, 'overdue' account, posted on 17th July. Again I phoned the company and was told that they had received 'quite a number of similar phone calls'. The accounts are generated automatically, according to the woman I spoke to ... but wouldn't you think that they would have something in place to tell the computer when a job has been completed!!!

The weather has been very wet - with gales, hail, thunder and lightning - just like the old days. I really don't believe in this "global warming' which has morphed into "climate change" which covers all eventualities. We are just coming out of a mini-ice age which peaked in about 1660. Naturally the world is going to warm up. *sigh*

Our fearless leader has cooked up a carbon credits scheme whereby polluting companies buy the right to spew out pollutants and then the Federal Government compensates them so that, in fact, the government is paying them to pollute and will be paying out more than it gets from the sale of carbon credits. In effect, us taxpayers are paying companies to pollute ...

This is a great place to vent. *grin*

Monday, July 6, 2009


This week we are having a Council Collection and at the weekend everyone along the street was busy putting garden cuttings and unwanted goods on the street verges. The scavengers were out in force so we all started early to give them time to go through our stuff and take it away before either the council or the weather beat them to it. I chatted to several of the scavengers, including one man who wanted a particular part from my dead microwave oven. He didn't take the whole oven as I had expected but ripped the back off and raided its insides. Most of the good stuff went early - so much better to recycle like this than to have it taken away and used as landfill.

Mr Next-door from up the hill said that he felt an obligation to put stuff out to be recycled. I must say that I don't feel that strongly about it but spent some time making hard decisions about what I would realistically take with me when I move, and parting with some much-loved items.

The next-doors at the back - I don't know their names - have some olive trees in their driveway which they keep clipped on their side but allow them to grow uncontrollably over my roof and gutters. I have tried several times to speak to them about their responsibility to keep their leaves out of my gutters but they never answer their bell. So, last week I dropped a note into their letter box and asked them, in view of the fact that the council would remove the cuttings, to clip the trees on my side.

I didn't expect any response as I had assumed that they must be 'grey nomads' who went north over winter but this morning a huge truck with a mulcher on the back arrived in the back lane and, although I haven't looked yet, I think that the trees have been removed altogether. Yeah!! They are messy and definitely not suited to a narrow garden bed between a stone wall and a driveway so perhaps my note prompted them to get rid of them in order to plant something more suitable.

I, for one, am not sorry to see the last of them.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Stormy weather

After two days of gales down on the beach front the wind swung around to the south and the storms finally reached my house this morning, with rain, hail and lightning, at about 5.00am. I had unplugged the computer last night but hadn't turned off the power to the modem so I got up and did that, decided that it wasn't going to be much fun down at the beach and went back to bed for an hour.

When I got up I discovered a very large, very dead rat in the passage. I don't know how Boy-cat (aged 14 years and 9 months) managed to catch and kill it - he only has one canine tooth left and is unable to do the killer bite any more - and we haven't had a rat for years. It was wet and he was dry so it may have been baited: he didn't attempt to eat it, thank goodness, but was very pleased with himself nevertheless ... So was I.

Perhaps he is starting to get over the loss of his sister.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Vale Girl-cat

OSHPOSH BAST-RA (24th September 1994 - 23rd June 2009)

Oshposh Bast-Ra (Girl-cat) was born on 24th September 1994, daughter of Cadem Earl of Ambrose and Tijuana Cher, and with her brother (Boy-cat), came to live with me when she was twelve weeks old.
She was a super-friendly cat with a very loud purr and some odd and endearing habits: She liked to sit behind the off-side back wheel of visitors' cars when they were about to back out of my driveway, and she liked to run widdishuns round the toilet pedastal when it was flushing. Like most Burmese cats, she liked to crawl into bed with me in the early hours of the morning and used to put her cold little paws against my back instead of her warm furry body; she thought that using the garden for her toileting arrangements was "not nice" and would come inside to use the litter box. She loved people and always helped any tradesmen who came to the house; she liked to garden and used to sit on the weeds which I was trying to pull up, telling me that they were hers; she liked to jump into the empty laundry basket after I had hung out the washing so that she could be carried inside; she liked to eat Boy-cat's dinner and he would politely stand aside so that she could do so - she weighed six kilos when she died.
As she and Boy-cat grew older and less active they spent most of their time curled up together, asleep, in a nest of cushions on the spare bed. He is missing her dreadfully and can't understand why she isn't there any more. Her death was sudden and unexpected and we are both having trouble coming to terms with it. She will be missed by all those who loved her ...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Girl-cat is dead ...

Girl-cat died as she was coming out of the anaesthetic ...

It never rains but it pours ...

We are having a particularly wet week and yesterday it rained steadily almost all day and I had to go out in it because I had an appointment to have a mammogram. It had stopped by the time I was finished but it was rather chilly - the max. was about 14ºC. Today is also cold and wet but we are having 'showers' instead of 'rain' so one can time one's runs.

Girl-cat is in hospital on antibiotics and a drip. She has been off-colour for a few weeks with a snuffly nose and not eating, which is most unusual for her but I figures that she had enough body fat to last her for the duration. However, yesterday she spent the whole day on the spare bed after refusing her breakfast and wouldn't even get up for her dinner so I took her to the vet (it was her second visit - I am not so heard-hearted that I would let her sweat it out for too long, after all, she is nearly 15). Anyway, her teeth are in a dire state and she was dehydrated, so she was admitted last night so that they could put her on a drip and start antibiotic treatment and today she is to have her teeth scaled and any too far gone to clean up will have to come out. Poor baby!

Boy-cat hs fretting and last night he followed me around like a shadow and every time I stopped he needed to be carried; when I tried to put him down he just climbed further up onto my shoulder. He is not so bad today but still wanting a lot of attention. Girl-cat should be home tonight and hopefully will be feeling a lot better. *sigh* I could buy another two Burmese cats for what I am going to have to pay for her teeth to be fixed but it is to be expected that old cats need more veterinary help and are therefore going to become expensive. ... and the stock market is down again.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Bare midriff ! It is winter for goodness' sake ...

I saw my doctor for a general checkup today, part of the government's initiative about preventative medicine. She told me that the latest buzzword is Vitamin D and that, with the slip, slop and slap campaign, very few Australians are getting sufficient vitamin D and that, in order to prevent osteoporosis, I should bare my thighs and midriff to the sun for thirty minutes every day ... and there was me thinking that my pre-dawn walks along the seafront would give me enough sunlight. I am not sure how I am going to do the sunbathing thing; strip off in the backyard on the stroke of noon? That is fine on a day like today when it is sunny and warmish but what am I supposed to do when it rains?

So now I have to have a blood test, a bone scan and a mammogram and hopefully all will be well until the next time ...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

More mentor muddles

Yet again I was given the wrong information regarding the number of clients booked into the computer lounge ... I think! I arrived at 10.45am ready to see my first client at 11.00am only to have one of my clients meet me at the door, on her way out. I am not sure if she was booked in and nobody told me about it or if she came in on spec because she needed some help. Anyway, The Administrator did whatever was necessary and, despite the horrible weather, everyone else turned up on schedule.

But I spent the day opening online email accounts and unaccountably had problems with Yahoo which refused to open the new mailboxes. With one of the mail boxes we opened it and activated it and then signed out to give some practise in putting in user name and password ... and it said that the user name was still available and did we want to open an account. *sigh*

With the last client, at the receptionist's suggestion, we went to hotmail and had no problem at all except that it has morphed again and I had problems finding the links. The "sign out" link is in the smallest print possible, for some reason; perhaps they want people to stay with them and take up their offers of chat, instant messaging, meeting new friends etc. I hate microsoft!!!

Himself phoned me from Canberra to say that he had replied to an email I had forwarded to him from Bosslady and, five hours later it hasn't arrived so yahoo has probably eaten it.

The email was from someone governmental who wanted us to promote their 'First Click' program and said that she supposed that "the vollies" probably knew something about computers but that we might benefit from playing around with the program in our spare time. The Doctor was really annoyed at being described as a vollie and I was really annoyed at the assumption that we didn't know everything there was to know about computers. Incidentally, I am a qualified First Click teacher and I refused to continue with the program past the training because I was horrified at the cost and the limitations and didn't want any part of it.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

That portrait ...

Today I saw the portrait which I commissioned from William Boissevain of Boy-cat. Second-wife brought it and the framer around to compare it with the portrait of Girl-cat. It is matching but not the same and it looks just like him; I am thrilled with it. The frame won't be quite the same because Girl-cat's framing is no longer available but I am not fussed about that as long as they are either very different or in the same sort of style. Hopefully I will have it soon and will have to decide where to put it and if I want it next to the picture of Girl-cat. If I decide to do that she will have to be moved along the wall a bit, I think ... It is only temporary anyway, if I am going to be moving in a couple of years.

The stock market is up so I am not feeling quite as fragile about the new apartment; with luck I'll get my price for the house in 2011.

According to Boss-lady, I have a full day tomorrow and maybe she has got it right this week and I will actually have four clients. The Doctor only has two ...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Winter time

Yesterday was the first day of winter. Hard to believe - I was running around in a tanktop and the temperature reached over 26ºC [that is about 80ºF] and the rain and thunderstorms which were predicted were nowhere in sight. It did rain a bit last night but it was gentle and silent.

Luckily, the rain held off for the six hours needed for the poison spray to, hopefully, work on Mr Downhill Nextdoor's ivy. He didn't plant it and it is not his fault that it has pulled the fence over almost to the point of no return. And he chopped it off at the base but it takes more than that to get rid of the stuff. We have both agreed that the fence needs to be replaced but it is going to make a mess of his garden and there is no way that a new fence can go in while the ivy is clinging to the old one. In fact, if we can get rid of the ivy it might be possible to simply replace the fenceposts.

I have cut back most of the creepers on the back fence and mulched the results. The top and the honeysuckle which has grown through the fence into the back lane can be dealt with using my hedge cutter but the growth in my backyard needs to be done by hand. It is a horrible job and one which I put off as long as I can but if it isn't done annually it become a horrific task with the honeysuckle becoming dead and woody underneath, whereas, if it is done every autumn then it looks both tidy and fresh.

There are other jobs which need doing but they are beyond my capacity and I will have to get professional help to deal with them. And it is coming into weed time ...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I'm ready to throw in the towel

After today at the computer lounge I am just about ready to spit the dummy and resign; I suspect that The Doctor is thinking the same. Last week neither of us had any clients in the morning and in the afternoon I had two and The Doctor had only one. He was making dissatisfied noises then and today he had to come in for just one client.

As for me, I was emailed and told that I had three clients, one at 10.00am, one at 11.00am and one at 12.30 pm, finishing at 1.30pm. What actually happened was that when I arrived I was informed that my 12.30pm client had phoned to cancel but that my 1.30pm one was still coming. My 1.30pm client???? Then my first [10.00am] client didn't turn up but the second [11.00am] one turned up at 10.00am so I gave him a lesson and had the prospect of sitting doing nothing from 11.00am until 1.30 pm.

The receptionist (who is strictly a Thursday volunteer and none of the muddle was hers) phoned my afternoon client who was not in, and left a message on her answerphone to ask if she could come in an hour early. She arrived home just before noon and, bless her heart, grabbed her gear and came straight in. She didn't arrive until 12.45pm so I still got off early ... only not as early as I'd hoped. And I just missed a train and had to wait 15 minutes for the next one. Not a good day.

The only bright part was that The Doctor stayed and ate his lunch with me so that I had someone to talk to.

This is the sort of muddle which happens all too frequently. I enjoy teaching computer skills but it is all such a waste of time and there has got to be a better way of doing things. The problem seems to be that the first class is free but the clients are booked for four weeks of lessons. I think that if they don't turn up for their first, free class, then they should go straight to the bottom of the list and the next in line should be given their slot; especially if they don't phone in with an excuse. They are supposed to be phoned and reminded the day before so to have forgotten is not an excuse.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Money,Money, Money

I have just spent an hour or so counting out my small change into $10 lots to take to the bank before disaster overtakes me and the 5c pieces are withdrawn. I still have some loose change but have bagged $80 which I will be glad to get rid of. There have been some protests about withdrawing the 5c pieces from circulation because of rounding up and down but I figure that it all evens out eventually and the 5c pieces are totally undesirable as they take up space and are pretty useless; what can you buy for 5c these days???

We have had a couple of very cold days but today was nice and sunny and I got my washing dry so I'm not complaining about the weather this time.

I drove over to the Self's place for dinner last night and every time I approached a red light my car sounded an alarm which was quite deafening. I hadn't noticed it before and thought that it was maybe one of the fancy beeps which I seem to be constantly discovering in the car. But it didn't do it on the way home and it didn't do it today so presumably it was just something getting bitter and twisted in the works. It is due for its second service in July so I will mention it then and they can check it out. I also tried turning on the cruise control but immediately hit a red light and had to brake so it automaticallay switched off again. *sigh* One day I'll actually find out how it works. I must ask D3 - she drove Second Wife's car for a while and it had cruise control so she probably knows.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Winter is definitely here at last

I went for my morning walk along the seafront this morning and realised just how sheltered my house is from the fury of the gale. It hit me as I topped the last ridge before the beach and almost blew me over backwards. I had problems keeping my feet on the path as the gale was coming from the side and kept blowing me across and onto the grass; the tide was right up and there was no beach ... the waves were crashing over the path below the Indiana Tearooms. There was one brave (or foolhardy) swimmer and three board riders out braving the very rough sea with its crashing waves - a far cry from the usually quiet pre-seabreeze ocean.

The "iconic" pylon, which Our Colin is about to waste $125,000.00 in an attempt to repair it, was almost covered by the high seas and the waves crashing across it had pushed the pole on the top to what looked like an unsustainable angle. It would be better to spend Our Kev's money on something more useful like bicycle paths.

We have had quite a lot of rain and the temperature is dropping. It looks as though I can pack away my summer clothes at last.

Altogether too much of a good thing

Winter seems to have hit with a vengeance today. Not that it was at all cold but the wind was nasty and there was a lot of rain. Of course, it had to be the day I go into town to teach at the computer lounge. The wind blew down a few trees over the overhead cable for the trains and the Fremantle Line was shut down this afternoon. Instead we had to catch a bus and considering how long the train is, to send one very old, rather small bus was not good organisation. Not everyone at my stop managed to get on but I squeezed myself in and was thumped by the door every time it opened. That was better than being left standing waiting for the next bus whenever it turned up. The bus took ages; it was slow and we managed to catch ever single red light so that I didn't get home until 4.00pm. However, the driver was cheerful and unfazed about having to wait while people struggled forward to get off.

As expected, with the dire weather forecasts, both The Doctor's and my first two clients didn't turn up so we sat and chatted until lunch time, whereupon my first afternoon client arrived 45 minutes early, so she had to wait while The Doctor and I had our lunch. She hasn't a computer and wants to learn to use one before she buys herself one but unless she can practise she will not get very far. I told her that if she was definitely going to get a laptop then she should do it now. She had great difficulty in following instructions and then tried to pursuade me that it would be more convenient for her if she could start her lesson at noon. I said that it was my lunch time and suggested that she should bring a book ...

The only good thing about the weather today is that it is supposed to be worse tomorrow.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Rain at last ... ?????????

It actually rained for about 30 minutes this morning and now it is bright, warm sun again. As soon as the rain stopped I went out and 'wettasoiled' the whole front garden. I had the Wettasoil all ready and waiting because the bottle says that after treating the soil one should water it in. Hopefully we will get some more rain to do that for me. The forecast is heavy rain and thunderstorms tomorrow and more rain for the rest of the week. But I am not holding my breath ... the Met. bureau has been predicting rain on and off for weeks. They probably have a book running on who gets it right.

I had my hair cut this morning. Mr Scissorhand has himself a nice setup with his new salon about five minutes walk from his home. Hopefully he will stay around for a while now that he is married and has become a householder. His flits to other parts of the world is the reason he did hair-dressing in the first place but when he absents himself for two or three years I have to find someone else until he comes back again. I have been following him around Perth for about 25 years now; on and off ... He is back to cutting the whole family's hair again now that D3 and GB2 are back with him.

There are some fairly major roadworks at the end of the street at the moment and I had to take a detour to get to Scissorhand's place. Even then I was faced with a lollipop lady. From the pegs which went in last week I think that they are rounding off the corners of the intersection. Hopefully they are not going to put in yet another roundabout as we already have several within the short stretch to the beach and it is going to make the opposite corner difficult as it is steep and badly banked. Now that the Ds no longer go to kindergarten I don't have to negotiate it but I always found it a hard one as there is a stop sign and steep hill start. For me it will be downhill and beat all the other cars into the intersection. Vrooooooom!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Down with Daylight Saving

Western Australia has just had its fourth referendum on the question of daylight saving. With the first three the referendum came after a one-year trial and the 'No' vote was about 53%. This time we had a three year trial and the 'No' vote is going to be higher, around about 57% I think. The pollies are going to keep on trying until they get the result which they want but, like date rapists, they can't seem to get it into their heads that 'no' actually means 'no'.

I have told the cats that they can now reset their stomachs because we won't have another trial in their lifetimes and, yeah, I will be able to use my pool for summer exercise again. It has been languishing for three years because I can't, in all honesty, spend every morning in bathers waiting for the sun to get high enough in the sky to shade the pool. I had seriously thought of having it removed if the vote was for permanent summer time in the future, and plant a tree in the hole. But hardly worth it if I am only going to be here for another two years. Neither was it going to be worth it to keep the pool in good condition but unused for two years, pending the sale of the property.

Still no rain and we are going into winter at the end of the month. The weather prophets are predicting rain for all the coming week but I won't hold my breath on that one; they have already reneged on Thursday rain and it will be just a matter of time before they change their minds about the other days in the coming week.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Loving families

Yesterday I was contacted by a half third cousin who had discovered my family tree on the internet. He is descended from my great-great grandfather's first wife and I am descended from the second wife. But it gets a bit more complicated than that; funny goings on in a respectable family. A grand-daughter of the first wife married a nephew of the second wife. Not incestuous at all but when I first started to try to work out the rather tortuous relationship it certainly looked that way. To make matters worse, the nephew's sister married her deceased aunt's husband (not my great-great grandmother but one of her sisters) ... illegal in Australia so they had to go to America to be married. One of her descendants told me that she wore him out within the year, married again and had a family.

The most distant relative who has contacted me is a fifth cousin. One of the prolific Pidwells, of course. I have a huge family tree from American and Canada and another one from New Zealand as well as the family tree from Rhoda Pidwell who emigrated to Australia and from whom I am descended. She was one of my great-great grandmothers. It was her brother who went to Canada and then to America. The New Zealand branch goes back even further to one of Rhoda's cousins.

The Selfs arrived back a couple of nights ago and yesterday Himself picked up his car which, fortunately started straight away. I was a bit concerned because I had hardly driven it at all and was concerned that the battery might have gone flat. The battery on Herself's car did go flat but that wasn't my problem; it was farmed out to another friend.

Today is cold and sunny and I have been progressively putting on more clothes as the day goes on. Still no sign of rain and it will be winter in two weeks. Himself's car was dusty again. It needs to rain ...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I finally ran green lentils to earth ...

I found my green lentils at the local fresh food market which has a very good specialty and continental section. [Note to self: try the caramel and salt chocolate]

The Selfs will be back from overseas late this afternoon and as I will be at the Computer Lounge tomorrow I have suggested that Himself should meet me there when I finish and come back with me on the train to pick up his car. I washed the cars again over the weekend and his black one is dusty already but that can't be helped; I am not going to wash it again. I just hope that it runs. I have been very bad about taking it for a run to keep it turning over - the gas conversion makes me feel uncomfortable even though it is supposed to run perfectly well on petrol.

I am not sure what is going to happen at the computer lounge. Himself usually does Thursday mornings but The Doctor is trying to stake a claim as he prefers Thursdays to Mondays. However, it is not my problem so the men can fight it out between themselves.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mother of God !!

My mothers' day present from D1 is 'Mother of God: a History of the Virgin Mary'. Topical and date-appropriate anyway and it could be interesting, being a medieval history of the Christian church and its influence on Western thinking.

The Selfs will be back at the end of this week and I am going to have to give Himself back his vinyl to CD machine before too long and I have not been good about working through my records so yesterday I went onto Amazon.co.uk and looked through their CD collection. Five of the records are now on CD, including 'Free as Air' which I have been trying to get for many, many years but since it was never as popular or well known as 'Salad Days' it has, until now, been unavailable on CD. I had my vinyl copy professionally copied to CD but the record is almost 50 years old and the reproduction wasn't all that good. So, Yeah!!

I now have several parcels winging their way chez minnie, including 'Pride and Prejudice and the Zombies' which people have been laughing about on Librarything.com. Also three vampire books by Paul Magrs. I don't normally read vampire books but they are a very popular genre. I must say that the archetypal vampire book, 'Dracula', was pretty boring but I imagine that gothic literature (?) has advanced since Buffy and all her works.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Runtime Errors

I spent the better part of yesterday afternoon on the phone to Trend Micro. Yesterday morning I started getting 'Runtime Error' messages every time I opened Outlook Express and it was starting to annoy me so I took the error message at its word and contacted Trend Micro. The first person I talked to said that he needed to put me on hold to check something out but gave me the job number 'just in case something happened' ... which it did! I was disconnected.

I phoned back, armed with the job number, and spoke to a different person who really didn't know why I was getting the messages. So we tried uninstalling TM and re-installing it. Still I received error messages so she also said that she needed to check on something. I told her not to put me on hold. She eventually came back and said that there was a patch for the problem and she would email it to me and then talk me through installing it. She did that; Still the error messages!

At this stage she said that she really didn't know what else to do and she would send me another email with instructions for me to extract some log files to send her so that the TM team could examine them to find out what was going on. At this stage I decided to phone Techie but got his message bank. He didn't phone back which is starting to be par for the course with him anyway so I didn't have any unreal expectations that he would come and fix the problem.

Then faint memories of this having happened before started to seep into my mind and I noticed TM's shiny new toolbar which had installed itself yesterday morning. Hmmmmm ... I disabled it and guess what !!!!!! No more runtime errors. So I have a toolbar which I can't find a way of uninstalling and which I don't want and which, from memory, didn't ever work anyway. End of problem ...

Monday, May 4, 2009

Well, well, well !!

The letter which I wrote to WA Newspapers on 17th April was published in today's 'Letters to the Editor' and I received a call from a man in Dalwallinu who was so impressed that he decided to tell me so in person. I was touched and pleased ... especially since I had expected flak.

I spent the morning cleaning my study in the faint hope that I wouldn't sneeze quite so much when I am at my computer. I must admit to slacking off with the bookshelves and CDs - only doing a quick dust instead of pulling everything out and doing a proper job. Maybe another time when I am not about to haul out most of the furniture and fittings in order to vacuum properly.

Now that I have finally got my bookshelves under control it will be easier to clean in the future but there are still books which I will probably have to get rid of. Yesterday I took a load to the 'Save the Children Fund' op shop in Mosman Park. One of the Librarians at the Cottesloe Library told me that they have a table out the back of the shop, in the car park, and he always leaves his spare books there. I hope that they enjoy my selection; there were some very good books among the lot but I can't take every book I own with me - I need to be able to fit them all into my current bookshelves . The next job will be my cookery books! Maybe the Ds might like to have a look through them first.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

He who dies with the most toys wins ...

Opinion on the ABC news page seems to think that all that defense spending is necessary so I guess that is the general consensus among the reading classes. The exception was one poster who suggested that we only need to protect 15% of our coastline, to the north, unless we should be worrying about the Imperialist Emperor Penguins to the south.

The uproar about the swine flu is settling which is a GOOD THING because I decided to do my bit to buy in some iron rations in preparation for the siege, so I went to the local health food shop and asked if they sold green lentils, only to be told that they only had dried ones. *sigh* and I am almost out of them. Not sure where I bought them originally so I'll have to keep a lookout and buy up when I find some. Obviously they are not a stock item here in the West. I must ask D2 - she uses them too.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Has our Government gone crazy?

Kevin Rudd's government is starting to seriously scare me. We have already been told that the budget, which comes out this month, will be $50 billion in deficit and now our Kev is going to spent "hundreds of billions of dollars over the next 20 years" on boy toys for the armed forces. How are we going to pay for it?? Raising taxes, of course. The armed forces have been told to save $20 billion to help pay for their toys but there is still going to be a huge amount for the taxpayers to fork out.

Peter Costello is lurking in the wings and I suspect that as soon as the 'feelgood' reaction to all the money which has been thrown at the middle tax-payers [those who have such small incomes that they don't pay any tax didn't get a cent] he will challenge for the Liberal leadership and, please God, he will win the next Federal election before our Kev totally bankrupts the country.

I had a letter from Multiplex this week saying that my apartment will be ready in mid-2011. The first stage will be finished in July and demolition has started to clear the area for the second stage. We will be allowed in to measure up before we move in so that we will know if our furniture fits.

Two Australians have been diagnosed with swine flu but they are in England. Nevertheless, some government people have suggested that we should stock up on basic foodstuffs like bread and baked beans. The panic, created by the media, seems to be dying down and there have only been seven deaths in Mexico and one in USA.

The official finding on the refugee boat which blew up seems to be that it happened while the boat was being refuelled, but the motors were diesel and it seems fairly clear that someone spilled petrol all over the deck; so what was petrol doing on board? It served a purpose though ... all those on board were taken straight to mainland Australia - at great personal expense, though; some of the men were very seriously burned and five died.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swine fever

Today I had my annual flu injection but nearly had to pay for it. I was supposed to replace the serum Iused but when the pharmacist tried to charge me I complained that I was over 'a certain age' when, of course, it is free - one of the few benefits of getting older - from the government. The pharmacist was trying to be helpful, telling me to drink orange juice (gives me hives) and take echinacea, which, from memory isn't the best thing for me either. I've never had a reaction to the flu vaccine so I assume that it will be no different this time. I can't imagine what a combination of echinacea and orange juice would do to me ...

The news is full of the 'pandemic' caused by the swine flu with the media giving it a great deal of air time. I'm not sure if it is a ploy to make us think that there is something worse than a few hundred refugees arriving in small boats, with our fearless leader telling us not to panic and that the government is doing everything to prevent it getting into Australia. I believe that seven people have been diagnosed with it here already. At least it seems to be killing (in Mexico only at this stage) the young and fit, which lets me out.

[message to self - go for a morning walk along the sea front and breathe in all that ozone].

Friday, April 24, 2009

Troublesome cats ...

This morning I was woken up at 4.05am by the sound of girl-cat up-chucking on the Persian rug in my bedroom. Not at all amused, I staggered up, chased her outside with (I confess) a toe up her butt and proceeded to clean up the mess.

This cat is obviously one who maintains a grudge; when I arrived home after doing some shopping today I found that she had very neatly thrown up on the rubber thongs which I keep on the front veranda. Nowhere else ... just on, and exactly on, my thongs.

No word from the RAC person dealing with Himself's International license so either his letter has arrived or everyone has given up and gone about their business.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Today was only a two-star day

Today was 'one of those days'. Thursday is Computer Lounge day and I had assumed that I would be having the same clients as last week since they usually book for four straight weeks; but no! I had three new clients and the last one for the day, whom I actually did see last week, cancelled. So I got off an hour early.

Himself asked me to chase up his International Drivers' License progress but the RAC was all full up and I had to leave a message with a robot. The person I needed to speak to has phoned back but hasn't received the paperwork so nothing can be done at this stage. She will phone again tomorrow to let me know if the paperwork has arrived but it was sent last Friday, express mail.

I tried to phone my stockbroker but was faced with another robot - this one expendable as the rest of the staff were doing a fire drill. He will check on my problems and get back to me tomorrow.

Tomorrow Rosemary2 is coming to coffee so I'll probably roll up the Persian and make a cake. I don't want cake crumbs on the Persian ...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Today I washed the cars ...

... so now they LOOK respectable even though they are living together.

Friday, April 17, 2009

This is the backlog from my previous blog

1. First entry ...

Three weeks today since I had surgery and I am only just starting to feel the real niggles and the peripheral pain. This is probably partly due to
lack of exercise and lack of stretching.
I am not allowed to do more than short, stressless walks, not allowed to drive a car and not allowed to do more than gentle housework, i.e.
cooking and sweeping. I am wondering if ironing is allowed because I will start to run out of things to wear by the weekend.
However, the surgery, hopefully, has been a success in which case all the grief will be worth it.
This entry is very boring and nothing much is going to happen within the next three weeks; sorry about that ...
Posted: 1:49 PM, 25/3/2009

2. I'm feeling almost normal today

I began converting my vinyl records to CD today, starting with my Scott Joplin records. I managed to record the second side of The RedBack
Book before the first side which doesn't matter at all but will probably do it again and get it right; I have plenty of blank CDs.
The Real Estate agent from Caporn Young phoned me this evening 'just to keep in touch'. That is OK ... I'll probably let him sell my house.
The stock market seems to be looking up although I expect some more bounces before it settles. Fingers crossed it is over the worst.
Posted: 9:54 PM, 26/3/2009

3. OMG !!

I never thought that I'd enjoy doing the ironing but after almost four weeks of enforced inactivity is is nice to be
a) doing something physical,
b) doing something meaningful.
I am happily prepared to take all day over it if needs by, doing a few garments at a time and then taking a rest break. My ironing is accompanied
by Scott Joplin rags which, thanks to a magic gadget lent to me by Himself , I have copied from vinyl to CD. I have tried to do the right thing and
buy the CDs but obviously Scott Joplin will not get any air space until they do a remake of The Entertainer.
The day before yesterday, Friday, we had our regular Lotto lunch. As I can't drive yet I was picked up and dropped back by Max The Toenail who
doesn't work on Fridays anymore and, morover, who's work ethic has been ground down by government bureaucracy and who doesn't really care
much one way or other and is quite prepared to take a long lunch if it suits him.
Yesterday the grandbabies and their parents arrived for a very late morning tea and tomorrow I am having lunch with daughter No.2 so I am
having quite a busy social live after all.
My friend Himself and his wife, Herself, married off their daughter yesterday in Wales. I hope that the couple will be very happy and that the
weather was good; I braided my hair for good weather but it doesn't always work ...
Posted: 12:03 PM, 29/3/2009

4. So much for braiding my hair

The weather for the wedding in Wales was cold with occasional signs of sleet. Since then it has been sunny and warm. Sod's Law, of course.
Posted: 11:53 AM, 31/3/2009

5. All is well with my surgery

I saw the surgeon today and everything is as it should be but he told me that, as the surgery was so complex, he wants to see me again in six
months. Hopefully, things will still be as they should be; I've certainly noticed a difference.
I have talked to Second-Wife about having a picture painted of Boy Cat. Boissevain is now in his eighties and if I leave it for too long it might be
too late and I would regret it. I can't really afford it - or that is the way I feel - but it is something which I feel that I need to do. I have been busy
trying to print off photographs and get the colours right ... not easy. I have ended up with one which I printed as a trial on a piece of scrap paper.
The colours are correct for the Boy and hopefully Boissevain can fit him onto the chair. Maybe I can get a better photo of him before the end of
Easter but he is not very co-operative and I'd rather have a picture of him when he was in his prime. Oh, well!
Posted: 8:54 PM, 9/4/2009

6. Back to normal; back to COTA

At last I am allowed to drive and 'resume all normal activities'.
I have washed the kitchen floor, vacuumed about half the house, done the ironing and yesterday I put in a full day teaching at the computer lounge
at COTA. I never thought that I would enjoy housework but it needs doing and I am enjoying the exercise if not the means.
I was going to take Himself's car for a drive today but the windscreen is so dusty that I couldn't see thorugh it very well and decided to use my own
car instead. However, I backed Himself's car out onto the verge and back into the carport so that should keep it ticking over for a bit. I think that
Himself and Herself will be home again in four weeks, albeit they will be off again to the Eastern States shortly afterwards so I am not sure what
arrangements they are making as regards the dog, the cars and the housesitters.
I had a word with Second-Wife and she is going to ask Willem Boissevain to paint a matching portrait of Boy-Cat. I dropped in some photos of
him and now I just have to wait for my painting. He is into painting wild animals at the moment ... not sure that Boy-Cat qualifies but I am assured
that he will do it anyway.
Second-Wife has also offered to help me sort and hang my pictures when I move into the apartment in a couple of years and I have gratefully
accepted her offer. Looking at the plan, there isn't a lot of wall space as the whole of the South side seems to be glass. However, using a Art
Gallery system I can put them up without having to make holes in the walls, thus maximising the space and enabling me to move them around.
Posted: 6:40 PM, 17/4/2009

7. OMG 2 !!!!

I wrote a letter to the West Australian Newspaper today regarding the explosion on the latest refugee boat and Kevin Rudd's comments about
people smugglers.I have just had to confirm to the West Australian that I am actually the author of the letter so perhaps they are going to print it and perhaps it is a
little controversial?????

Here it is:

"I can see a perfect win/win situation for a lot of people in my solution to the problem of people smugglers. Perhaps the Federal Government could lease some planes from Qantas and fly all the asylum seekers directly from Indonesia to Christmas
Island. This solution would put the people smugglers out of business, ensure that asylum seekers are safe during their journey to Christmas Island, prop
up Qantas' falling profits, save the government the cost of border controls and give Kevin Rudd some wonderful photo opportunities as he
welcomes plane-load after plane-load of would-be refugees to Australia. Cynically yours - "

Introduction to my blog

I will copy and paste the entries I made on my previous blog which I have discovered is not open to my family unless they actually join. I know that they will not do this so I am hopefully now at a blog which they will be able to access.