Friday, December 31, 2010

2011 The Year of the Great Move

Here it is on all its glory. I know that it is about 231 sq.m. and that the colour scheme is "light" as opposed to "dark" and that it has the extra room which is NOT a bedroom and that it has one bathroom less than the four bedroom apartments but the rest will be a mystery until I am allowed to go in with a measuring tape after the 'hard-hat' stage is over.

I hope that all my readers (I suspect that I am the only one who reads these pages) have a very happy and prosperous New Year.

Some reflections on the last year

Looking back on 2010 I see it as a year of losses. In September I had to have Boy-Kitten put down after what appeared to be some sort of stroke which paralysed his tail, and to a degree, his back legs. He didn’t want to be picked up and wasn’t eating or drinking. He was euthanased at home which saved him from even more trauma but I spent a bad night waiting to see if he would improve. While waiting for the veterinary team I put him onto my bed and he gave a very brief purr and a quick lick to my nose. It nearly broke my heart.

My house is to go onto the market in a couple of weeks and I no longer feel that it is entirely my own. The garden has been raked, weeded and mulched and the house and paving bricks pressure cleaned. The senior elf told me that by the time that they all finished there would be no spiders left but I suspect that was a promise like the one Bob Hawke made about children living in poverty because the box beams in the shed and carport are covered with cobwebs and I have bought some special spider spray. They are also starting to make their presence felt again in the weatherboards.

Himself finished his thesis yesterday, it has been bound and, along with a CD of the whole thing, it is off to Malta tonight. He certainly cut it fine and I had him over here a few days ago because his printer was insisting that it only wanted to be a fax machine and I offered the use of mine. He printed out a draft of Chapter 4 and I proof-read it. Then sense prevailed and he took the whole thing to OfficeWorks to be printed which happened much faster than my printer could have managed; he needed four copies. (Note added later - I have seen the consignment form; it is on its way to Malta via courier.)

I’ve not seen a lot of him this year while he worked on the thesis. Thursday mornings at COTA, of course, but little else. COTA has moved back to the city and although it is all rather crowded in the new place, at least it is more accessible and the shopping is better. The main problem at COTA is that people are buying new computers loaded with Windows7 and the COTA computers still have XP (which I prefer) so I have to take in my Win7 laptop and dongle.

Settlement for the new apartment is supposed to take place next April and I have spent some time trying to get a postal address, to no avail. Somebody, somewhere, must know what it is but the Claremont Council ignored my query and then the council offices burnt down. However, Oldest Friend said that postal addresses are usually allotted when a development is approved so I can’t understand why it is such a dark, dreadful secret. The apartment looks very uninteresting from the outside but can only be seen from a small stretch of the highway and a small part of the Hungry Jacks car park so I probably won’t need curtains. Herself is going to help me to measure it all when we are allowed in. Until then I am not sure how much of my furniture I will be able to fit and how much I’ll have to sell. D3’s husband says that it is more than twice the size of their house but the problem is going to be a lack of solid walls to hang pictures or put things against.

This time next year I will be in a different place. I have lived in this house for 47 years and it will be a big change but hopefully next year will not be as disruptive as this year has been.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Peace, perfect peace

No elves today so I went out and trimmed the coprosmas in front of the front room which were pressing hard against the wall and totally blocking the window. The head elf is going to have a fit when he sees it - I cut it back hard but not as hard as I would have liked because the two bushes were getting very straggly and untidy. Now the wall will have to be polished - it is very grubby.

Then I gave a haircut to the creepers on the outside of the back fence. Much easier to do it now while the honeysuckle is tender. I didn't cut it right back to the fence as I usually do in May or June and hopefully I won't be here when that needs to be done.

I lived on chicken broth and lemon jelly today and both Oldest Friend and himself dropped in so we drank Iranian tea which is quite sweet and doesn't need milk, which I am not allowed at the moment.

Tomorrow I go into hospital to be prepared for my colonoscopy and hopefully I'll be home again on Thursday in the late afternoon.

D1 is arriving on Friday evening and is being collected by D2 so I don't have to drive out to the airport and attempt to park there. The treadle sewing machine is being collected on Tuesday by D3's niece who wants if for some reason so I need something to put the TV onto. D1 can help me to shop. D2 is taking the worm farm when there are enough of us to pack it up and transport it.

It is all go and I am still not sure when I will be moving and exactly when Mr Realty is putting the house on the market. The oven is being cleaned on 10th January so hopefully it will be after that.

Hopefully Himself will take the chainsaw, the hedgecutters and the mulcher and then I will have to wait until I can measure up the apartment before I will be able to decide which pieces of furniture will be coming with me and which will have to be sold.

I am so glad that Boy-cat is not here to see his garden and his house so disrupted; he would have hated it.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

My house has been taken over by Christmas elves

I haven't had the heart to add to this blog since Boy-cat died but so much has been happening that I am going to lose count of what is going on if I don't get it down in cyberland.

Firstly, my hip, which I injured last year, flared up again and having it re-injected with cortisone didn't help so I had it done again under ultrasound which has been moderately effective but not perfect. Before the second injection I was on crutches which is very limiting so I tended to sit around and feel miserable. However, that is pretty futile so I went to see my physiotherapist who has given me some exercises to do to build up my gluteal muscles on the right side to make up for the fact tht there is one less muscle in working order on that side.

Then there was the estate agent!

The date when the house is to be put onto the market seems to be creeping closer and closer to the first week in January as he gets things organised. He gave me a lecture on the psychology of screwing the last possible cent out of any hopeful buyer who puts a hand up and it is really quite scary. Fine for the seller but the buyers should never be told these things or they would opt to rent instead.

Anyway, on Friday morning (today is Monday), at 7.30am the elves arrived to tidy and polish the house and garden. The garden has been raked, weeded and mulched within an inch if its life and actually looks very nice ... except that leaves are already falling onto the mulch and there is no way I am going to go around and pick up every individual leaf.

Now they have started pressure washing the walls of the house and i have been rushing around with a towel trying to catch the drips before they destroy the curtains and carpets. Opening the curtains seems to have modified the spraying, at least around the windows and I hope that they will be careful up in the eaves because I don't want the ceilings to fall in.

All is well - the chief elf is here ...

Friday, September 24, 2010

Vale Boy-cat

Oshposh Umberto
Bertie the Boy-Cat was born on 24th September 1994 and euthanased at home on 23rd September 2010, the day before his 16th birthday. His sire was Cadem Earl of Ambrose and his mother Tijuana Cher, and with his sister, Girl-cat, came to live with me when he was twelve weeks old.
He may possibly have recovered from what was probably a stroke but it would have meant hospitalization, on a drip and probably being catheterised. I would not let that happen to him at the end of his life and I couldn’t have cared for him at home. Although he was slightly improved at the end, he purred and gave my nose a quick lick, he would not tolerate being picked up, was not eating or drinking and his hindquarters and tail appeared to be partially paralysed so that it was hard for him to sit and difficult for him to lie down unless his tail was moved to his right side.
He was a beautiful cat; the only known Burmese cat with a beard - a small goatee which had been there ever since he was a kitten. He was talkative and very affectionate, preferring to be carried around the house if he could persuade me to do so. He knew my timetable and encouraged me to stick to it, and the sound of the kettle or the TV would always bring him because he assumed that I was about to sit down and provide him with a lap. However, he was timid with strangers, unlike his sister, and invariably disappeared when the grandbabies or strangers visited.
In his youth he was an enthusiastic ratter until he broke three of his canine teeth and was no longer able to perform the killer bite. His first few rats were not dead when I found them and I had to finish the job for him, but after practising on a bowl of bananas (he bit every one just below the stem) he never missed again and used to bring me several dead rats per week.
As he grew old he became very vocal and chatted all the time, developing more and more words and sounds, but he also became very demanding so that he had to learn the meaning of the word “No”. He was very good about this, always asking permission before he jumped onto my lap or into the empty washing basket. He liked to be carried inside in the empty basket after helping me to hang out the washing. And he always said ‘thank you’ when I opened a door for him instead if making him use the cat flap.
He used to sleep on my bed and in the early morning, when the temperature dropped, he would crawl in with me and curl up to sleep against me. Just before my alarm went off he would wake me by walking over my pillow and always supervised my stretches when I returned from my morning walk.
He will probably be my last cat, the most loving of all my cats, and already there is a big hole in my life. I miss him.
Goodbye Boy-Kitten - I loved you so much.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

So many books ...

I have finally sorted through my books and have about 100 to be donated to the Save the Children Fund; I am just waiting for some boxes which I will, hopefully, collect from Himself on Saturday night when I go there for a party to celebrate a couple of things. I have asked for, and been promised, the boxes which the wine comes in as they are just the right size, i.e. not too heavy when full of books.

My new Kobo e-reader arrived a couple of days ago and I have set it up and bought my first e-book which I am enjoying. It takes a bit of getting used to and I miss the 'bookish' feeling but I have to be realistic about the number of books I can take with me and the number I will be able to house in the new apartment which, according to the powers that be, will be ready in the first quarter of next year. I AM NOT READY.

I have shredded all the old financial records and used paper and I can actually see the floor of my study again - and the bookshelves are half empty. The next job is the storeroom/laundry and although it will be a hassle it will not be emotional and I cleared it all ten years ago when I had the house painted so it will not be too bad. I just have to be firm with myself and get rid of the stuff. There is a council collection in November and I can put out any junk I have left.

I have been good about exercising and have bought myself a new pedometer but am having problems adjusting it as it seems to read either high or low so I have put it back to the default setting and at least I will have a comparison and some sort of a record. I'll do the WII a couple of times per week because I was amazed at just how fit it kept me after I hurt my hip and couldn't walk distances any more.

I phoned Big Sis today but received no reply so she was either out, ill or dead. We are not a very close family and last time she ended up in hospital on life support it took the authorities five days to find out who her family were.

CYNOPHOBIA [n] The morbid dread of dogs. Condition of cats and postmen.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Down for the count ...

Today is election day after a short and extremely boring campaign. The opinion polls show both major parties almost neck to neck with the probability that the Ranga will win. Both sides are pretty dire but I would prefer the Budgie Smuggler to get his nose past the post as the Ranga's big new tax on the mining companies will affect my shares.

I have started back on a walking programme as Little Bro said that it was the way he lost quite a lot of weight in quite a short time. I used to walk along the beach most mornings until I sprained my right hip, after which I started doing the WII Fitness instead as it is easier on my hip. However, that is getting better and the WII certainly didn't cause me to lose any weight ... a point which it made very clear to me every morning when I weighed in. Little Bro used a very fancy pedometer to count his steps; I had a very cheap pedometer which counted my steps very nicely but yesterday, after I had worked out how far I needed to walk, it died and I realised that it was like a throwaway watch - when the battery dies you buy another one. I might lash out and get myself an electronic one which has a USB connection to keep a record - or I might simply keep walking from one surf-club to the other one and home again, which takes me about 75 minutes.

However, I have lashed out and bought myself an e-reader which should arrive from Melbourne early next week as it was posted on Wednesday. There arae about 1 million books in e-reader format but most are books which are out of copyright. Nevertheless, I have no objection to re-reading Rider Haggard, Conan Doyle, Wilkie Collins and John Buchan and hopefully a few more will be made available as time goes on. Already the 'Girl' books are in e-format as is Dan Brown's latest book whcih I tried to read in paperback form and managed to get to about page 120 before it bored me almost to death and I gave up on it. His books are getting longer and duller and more oriented to America and all its works, both esoteric and masonic.

The reason for the e-reader is that I am getting rid of my books and Cyberflirt is one of the books which has to go so no more hints for now but I might slip in an odd word every so often.

And here, from The Completely Superior Person's Book of Words by Peter Bowler, is your word for today:

MERKIN: [n] A pubic wig for women, or, to quote Grose's Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue 'counterfeit hair for women's privy parts.' Do not ask the author to explain this. The lexographer's duty is merely to record. To others remains it to remark, with Ambrose Bierce, "Can such things be?"

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Books, Books and More Books

I have spent the last five days sorting through my books with a view to donating most of them to charity before I move house as the plan of my apartment doesn't seem to allow a great deal of room for bookshelves.

As a replacement I have ordered an E-book reader which is on its way from Melbourne and should be here next week.

I have been having a lot of fun browsing through the e-books which are available. There are almost two million books listed but most are out of copyright with only about five new releases. However, here are quite a number of old favourites such as John Buchan and Conan Doyle, Rider Haggard and Jules Verne, most of which I haven't read since I left school; and a great number by Charles Dickens which I have never heard of and which I suspect never actually made it past the first printing.

The finishing date of the new apartment seems to be being advanced somewhat and I am not sure what to believe but I heard a whisper when I was having my hair cut this morning that David Jones has paid out big bucks to the builders to get the building finished earlier than planned. That means that I might have to think about putting this house on the market within three or four months. Hence the need to severely prune my book collection. It is not easy ...

I went to an OT who specialises in hands today and now I have several little splints for my sore finger, just about one for every occasion. At the moment I am trying out the computer one which holds the joint steady when I type and so far it seems to be working well and I can touch type again - except that I have got into the habit of not using the little finger on my right hand so I am a bit all over the place at the moment. Hopefully the splints will solve the joint problem because it is quite painful.

And I am finally learning how to use my mobile phone to text - I think!

Friday, July 16, 2010

If two wives are good ...

My half-third cousin who has been collaborating with me to sort out my great-grandfather's family thinks that he has found the elusive Anne Thomas, while I think that I may have unearthed Mary Morgan, from whom my cousin is probably descended. However, since the only concrete evidence we have as to Anne's existence is the possibly doubtful memory of my great-great aunt Charlotte, or Charlotta as she appeared to prefer, listing her half-brothers (gone missing; possibly dead) and their mother (Anne Thomas) on her father's death certificate we have a long way to go to actually verify them and that is not going to be easy as none of them is where they should be.

As my cousin remarked "They must have hated their descendants.".

And it is official ... I have healthy hair! I was complaining to my hairdresser that my hair was growing too quickly. He said that it takes something like 23 enzymes to grow happy hair and that only happy hair grows fast. Nice to know - I guess. A rather useless piece of trivia.

There was a terribly bad hair day yesterday at COTA. I had been notified on 7th July that I had three clients booked for yesterday and that Himself had two. As we received no further information we both turned up before 10.00am only to be told that Himself's clients had both cancelled and two of my three had done the same thing; my only client was booked for 1.30pm. Himself went home and I hung around until 1.40, decided that my only client had decided not to come and left. She turned up about 10 minutes after I left, according to an email I received from a very sympathetic receptionist, with the excuse that her bus was late. Twenty minutes late??

A bit of cat trivia from I book which I received for my birthday:

"Everything I know I learned from my cat: When you're hungry, eat. When you're tired, nap in a sunbeam. When you go to the vet's, pee on your owner", - Gary Smith

Friday, June 18, 2010

Silence is golden

For six days, just recently (two days?) I have had no voice at all, just a sort of strained whisper if I had to make myself heard. I had laryngitis and suddenly being unable to use the telephone and to have difficulty even face-to-face is incredibly frustrating.

However, not feeling up to doing much I got on with my genealogy research and of course,
sod's Law came into effect and my computer stopped being very co-operative. I was able to bring up web pages eventually but it took a couple of refreshes and was very slow. I defragged, error checked, switched off my modem at regular intervals and eventually emailed my IP who emailed back that they had checked and tweaked my settings and that it was nothing to do with them.

Strangely, things went a bit better after that and after another try at turning my modem off, lo and behold, I suddenly had a co-operative, fast computer again. And my voice is back, albeit sexily husky at the moment so I can use the phone, email and surf again. Life is good ...

Your unusual word for the day [I hope that there are scrabble players reading this]:

Pyknic - [a] (Pronounced the same as picnic.) Short and squat in build, with small hands and feet, short limbs and neck, a round face and domed abdomen. "I see that he has the true pyknic build," you remark to Althea about her new and proudly displayed baby; 'strange - I thought that was always inherited. Heavens, I don't suppose ... ?'

Thursday, June 3, 2010

It's a wise child that knows its own father

I have had a big breakthrough in my family research. the Davies branch of the family has been a mystery for years. From my great grandfather down I had a great deal of information, but his parents and siblings were a total mystery and with only his father's name, Edward Davies, and his trade to use as a tool it was all pretty hopeless trying to trace my great great grandfather.

And then someone on came up with a will which named his wife and three children. My great grandfather was not named but I had chanced on a scanned newspaper item in which he visited Melbourne and stayed with his sister Mrs Baldwin. A clever researcher with data from Victoria found that one of the daughters named in the will had married three times and the third husband was a Mr Baldwin so I had the connection. A death notice confirmed his wife's name and also that of his parents so I was able to go back another generation to my great great great grandparents.

A lucky strike in the 1841 Wales census found them and several siblings so I thought that I had it all.

Then I received an email from a Davies who said that he was descended from my great great grandfather through his first wife. First wife?? There were two sons by the first wife (J. and W.) and on the second marriage certificate of one of the sons his mother was named as Mary Morgan. That was fine until my half cousin sent me a copy of my great great grandfathers death registration which added another daughter for the second wife, guessed at some of the children's ages (I suspect that those very rackety girls had stretched the truth a bit), and named the first wife as Anna Thomas.

So now I have two first wives unless, heaven help me, he had three wives. The family seemed to believe in multiple marriages so it is possible I suppose. One of the daughters had three husbands and a fiancé so why couldn't her father have three wives?

I am assuming that the family of J., the son who married twice, had their mother's name correct and that it was Mary Morgan but where does Anna Thomas come into the scheme of things.

The second brother from the first marriage has a rather unusual name and I think that I have found his marriage registration. I have ordered a copy of the certificate and am keeping my fingers crossed that his mother's name will be on it. I will work with Mary Morgan until/unless I get information to the contrary because I can't find any records of a marriage for either of the girls to my great great grandfather.

I can't commend the researchers on the genealogy board enough. The almost always come up with the required information if it is there to find and with the archived newspapers now being scanned and put on line, albeit with some very quirky errors, there is a lot more information out there. I chanced on one marriage entry between some man and his "fecund" bride. It took me a minute to realise that in the original article she was probably a 'second' daughter.

The word of the day is not in my book of unusual words so I looked it up on the Concise Oxford dictionary:

fecund - prolific; fertile.

Friday, May 28, 2010

If it seems too good to be true ...

My new computer is very nice ... I think. I set it all up, turned off my modem and tried to install Blink only to find that the instructions didn't work. So I phoned the Blink people and spoke to a very nice man who told me that I had been sold an outdated version . No doubt that is why it cost me $20 instead of $99.99. However, he said that all was not lost and it would work just fine if I changed some of the settings. He talked me through it and I wrote down the instructions so that I could install it in my other two laptops.

That night I turned the computer on and nothing happened; nothing at all except for a pretty test pattern. I have a five-year warranty so I wasn't particularly worried but I had problems sleeping so I got out of bed and tried to fire it up. Still nothing but I noticed that there was a very quick message telling me to hit the Esc key for the start-up menu. I did this and was given the option of system restore or reload. I did reload and because I had made a boot disc, there was a backup copy on my hard drive and it reinstalled itself again.

Then I had to reinstall Blink and the instructions which I had written down were not explicit enough so I had to phone the Blink people again and another very nice man talked me through it again. Hopefully it is now stable and I won't have to go through the process again. But the first thing I did after Blink was back was to create a restore point, just in case.

I can't use Win 7 for my Family Tree Maker without downloading a patch and that would make it incompatible with what is on the other computers. I know FTM of old - it is incompatible with earlier versions ... and there is no version yet which is Win 7 friendly so I will not be able to pass minimegs on as I will need it for backup.

Himself had a try on the new one on Thursday as he only had one morning client and he pronounced it a nice computer. But I don't think that he looked at the mailbox which is different from OE.

Now for your Cyberflirt hint for the day:

All the most successful flirts know a little something about everything, and can speak charmingly and intelligently on virtually any subject that matters to his conversational partner.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Yet another computer?

After struggling with the COTA computer for yet another series of lessons for Seniors I finally bit the bullet and, since Hardly Normal is having a four-day 'big' computer sale, I decided to bite the bullet and get a new computer with Windows 7. After reading up on Windows 7 I discovered that it is very difficult to upgrade from XP to Win 7, so instead of converting minimegs I now have four computers. I have named this one minerva after my first three computers as I no longer had a minerva and it is the historic name from which almost all my online names, and the names of my other computers, originate

The one I bought is a compaq and I also bought an extended warranty, Trend Micro because I don't like Norton, and Blink so that I should be able to access the internet from COTA. Not sure how it will all work with my wireless network here at home but if all else fails I can get Techie2 or Techie1 to come in and sort out the mess if I get into too much of a muddle.

Meanwhile - having got things going I am now in the process of making backup discs so that I can go back to the original settings if all else fails. No longer do you get a disc with your computer - you have to make it yourself and this one is taking all morning and three DVD discs.

Hopefully I will be able to transfer my Digger program and FTM onto minerva because XP will not be around forever.

Your Cyberflirt hint for today:

What goes around in cyberspace comes around. Be aware of the kind of signals you are sending.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


This morning the power went off for the fourth time this year so, once again I phoned the Electricity Company to report it.

The message I got as a recorded message was as follows:

"Currently there are no faults in the area of Postcode 6***."

OK, fine, I live in that postal area and the impression which that message gives is that we are the only ones in the state of Western Australia who still had power. Western Australia is about five times the size of Texas so someone has really stuffed things up with that message. Anyway, I pressed button 1 and waited for a real person to come online, getting the same message every 30 seconds or so.

Eventually I got to talk to a real person who commented that there had been several calls from my street and that he would organise for a crew to investigate. Twenty minutes later we had power again.

I am still shaking my head about the recorded message. Why pick on a particular postal area unless there was a problem and, if this was so, why were we reassured that we had power when obviously we didn't or we wouldn't be phoning to complain? Weird are the ways of bureaucracy ...

And here is a word for Scrabble players:

Aeaeae: [a] Magic. As in aeaeae artes, the magic arts. The only all-vowel six-letter word know to the author. The derivation is from Aeaeae, which was the surname of the legendary pig-fancier Circe and the name of a small island off the coast of Italy, said to have been her place of abode. Useful for unscrupulous players of parlor word-games. If taken to task for using it in such circumstances, you say: "Well, yes, strickly speaking it is foreign, I suppose - at least in origin - but, surely, it's a word everyone knows, isn't?"

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Brickwalls and forebears

For years, ever since I started researching my family, I have been trying to track the family of my maternal great-grandfather with absolutely no success. The really frustrating thing is that the family settled in Victoria, Australia, and there should have been some records in the Births, Marriages and Deaths for the state. The trouble is that he had a very common Welsh name and the only fact which I knew was that my great-great-grandfather had the same name as my grandmother's father and that he was a tanner. That should have been enough - but it wasn't.

Now suddenly there is information coming in from all sides and I am trying to sort out what is relevant and what pertains to other men with the same name. It is very confusing but better than a blank wall and eventually I might finally find out who everyone was. I don't even know my great-grandfather's mother's name, or his siblings.

Genealogy is a funny thing: information seems to come in fits and starts and suddenly you can move forward a step or two before finding another brick wall which might take years to crumble. I could put some guestimates onto my family tree but I prefer to verify everything. There is one slightly shady area and I have inserted a caveat there, as the tree which I took the information from had a very muddled part to it and only the fact that cousins had married enabled me to sort out the relationships.

And now a word which I was sure must exist but had never heard of and which I needed to know:

"Ante-jentacular [a] Pre-breakfast. Goes nicely with post-prandial (after dinner)." I have an ante-jentacular cup of coffee every morning and needed the right word to describe it.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

hopefully the last mention of my hip

I had an ultrasound to my hip last week and yesterday went back to the rheumatologist. the outcome is that I have ruptured the gluteus minimus tendon and the inflammation has caused a large bursa. All things considered, it has not been so very painful but I have had a cortisone injection into it and hopefully it will become painless. I will, of course, continue exercising and stretching it; stretching is my only hope of maintaining full range of movement.

For Mothers' Day D1 gave me a dictionary of obscure words and instead of giving you cyberhints I thought that I would slip in an occasional interesting word. The one I am giving you today is not all that obscure but the commentary which goes with it appeals to me. [Taken from 'The Completely Superior Person's Book of Words by Peter Bowler].

"Antipodes [n] Diametrically opposite. The term has hitherto been used quite incorrectly to mean Australia. The author is glad of this opportunity to set the record straight by explaining that the antipodes are in fact the British Isles - a place on the very underside of the earth where wiry little pale-faced men and large plump rubicund men hang upside down, wearing cloth caps and bowler hats respectively. The preference for tight-fitting headgear derives from an obvious necessity."

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Down with Mercury

Well, my TV well and truly died. It was the LCD control and that part is no longer available. The TV was not quite four years old.

So I went out and bought another one; bigger and better with an extended warranty and a surge control. It doesn't need a set top box so I have offered the one I have on FreeCycle and so far have had about 20 responses. How does one choose from a list of people whom one doesn't know from Adam. Certainly, a couple were rather abrupt and assumed that I would let them have it just because they wanted it. Those people are on my never never list. I have offered it to someone who is coming to collect it on Saturday morning. If that arrangement falls through there are plenty more to choose from. I've emailed everyone and said that it has been promised. The moderators on FreeCycle don't like people posting a "taken" until it has actually been collected.

And Yahoo has never been so slow ... it took ages to send out the emails because, other than harvesting the addresses, each had to be done separately although I pasted the message.

I turned up for the MRI scan of my hip on Sunday evening but when I filled in the questionnaire I realised that the tiny piece of stainless steel wire in my right ear made me ineligible as the MRI is, of course, a huge magnet and it could rip my right ear right open. So no MRI. I will be seeing the rheumatologist again in about a week and I guess that we go from there. I had a CT scan of my sinuses done ten years ago and will take the plates with me for her to see. However, even if the wire doesn't show I know it is there and can't risk upsetting my balance; the consequences are too dire. If I have to put up with a painful hip that would be preferable. At least my pinky finger is much better and the capsule seems to be unthickening. The alternative is to see if the ENT specialist still has my original 40-year old notes. He probably has since he had to do some surgery on the left ear ten years ago and I last saw him in 2006 - archived probably, but still available. They would almost certainly document exactly what was done and with what. Probably ...

I did my WII with the new TV this morning (the TV was only delivered yesterday) and couldn't believe the brightness of the colours compared with the dead set. Watching the news doesn't give the contrast but seeing something which I have been looking at since before Christmas I could see the difference. It is startling!!

Your cyberhint for today:

Many men are just as put off by women who leer, insinuate, curse, post lurid messages and photos and indulge in other forms of vulgarity, as women are by crude men.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

More Mercury Mayhem

Three days ago my TV was taken off to be fixed or trashed, depending on its state of health. The man who collected it said that four or five of that particular brand had died in the last couple of weeks but that mine was showing slightly different symptoms so it just might be fixable. Next time I'll get an extended warranty - four years is too young to die.

I can still do my WII because I know the routine off by heart but somehow it is not the same if I can't try to run past all the other runners on the screen ... and cheer whenever one trips over and bites the dust.

I saw the rheumatologist during the week. Naturally my hip was feeling a great deal better but I realise that it is going to take ages if left to itself so I am off to have an MRI scan next Sunday evening and we will go from there. However, she injected my sore pinkie finger and hopefully it will remain sort of improved. It is not perfect and the joint is obviously in a dire state but less pain would be good. She said that she really wondered when she got a referral for a hip along with an X-ray of a pinkie finger so I had to explain about being asked if I had any other joint problems which could be looked at while I was there.

Not much else exciting. I will actually have a client at COTA this coming week - I have had none for the last two weeks but with Easter, ANZAC Day and school holidays, a lot of grandmothers will have been grandbaby sitting. And talking of grandmothers, my neck-to-knee bathers have arrived and I am very pleased with them. They are exactly what I wanted - just like the kids wear to keep the sun off when they are swimming but bigger. The sad thing is that because the heater on my pool is not working I can't road-test them yet; not that I am going to need them until I move house.

I had a letter from Multiplex saying that the units will be ready in the middle of next year so I need to get serious about deciding what I am going to take with me and disposing of the rest. That is going to be hard - I love my furniture and had a lot of fun buying it but it won't all fit.

And of course, there is the problem of Boy-cat and his refusal to use a litter tray ...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Planetary mayhem

D1 tells me that Mercury had gone retrograde and it is upsetting communications worldwide. Funny - I thought that it was a volcanic eruption in Iceland. However, my TV has died and I am waiting for the service people to let me know when they can come and collect it to give it a heart transplant. I can do without the TV - there is nothing worth watching - but I am missing doing my WII. Blame Mercury if I get unfit because I certainly can't walk very far without my hip starting to hurt.

I am seeing the rheumatologist the day after tomorrow and hope that she can fix it for me. My GP asked me if I had any other rheumatic complaints while I was about it so I showed her my right pinkie finger so that has gone on the referral as well and I was sent off to have it X-rayed. Not that it shows anything much but it is painful too so maybe something can be done for it as well.

The weather has turned hot again - 29 degrees C yesterday and hot again to day. I sweated it out yesterday morning and cut back most of the creepers from the inside of the back fence and sometime when the sun is in the right place - which means at dusk - I will use the hedge clippers to cut back the creepers which are growing into the back lane. I am not so fussed about them as the trucks going past tends to limit their growth outwards and I don't feel that I have to make them look particularly tidy. I'll have to mulch the clippings, of course, and that is a horrible job but I cheer myself with the knowledge that I will only have to do it one more time and then it will be someone else's problem.

And now for your Cyberflirt hint:

Save your most intimate secrets for someone you know personally.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Brrrrr ...

Today is cold! Sort of cold anyway, compared to the weather we have been having up until now. The thermometer attached to my air conditioning says that it is 20 degrees centigrade. I don't doubt that outside in the sun it is a good deal warmer but it is a sign that winter is on its way. I thought about turning on the heating but keep remembering my last power bill and instead go and put on another layer of clothing. I should go out and sit in the sun.

On Thursday I decided to get myself a pair of elbow crutches because using a walking stick was giving me a sore hand, so I am now the proud owner of a pair of ergonomically designed crutches. Naturally, having forked out for them, my hip is feeling a lot better - about back to what it was like before I re-injured it, but I suspect that a lot is due to taking the weight off it for a while so I will continue to use the left crutch if I have a lot of walking to do or if I have to climb hills or stairs, both of which make the hip hurt.

I am back to doing my full WII workout; for some reason jogging on the spot doesn't bother the hip but it doesn't like being stretched and will stiffen if allowed to. That would be a recipe for disaster as it would be easier to injure. I will be seeing my doctor in three days and feel a bit of a fraud but I really do need to find out exactly what is happening in the joint and to get it right or it is going to put a damper on any future plans to travel.

Your cyberflirt hint for today:

Words which send the message that I'm "Iffy" -non-conformist; loner; excitable

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


The hip which I sprained about six months ago has flared up and I am hobbling around with a walking stick. I can't see my doctor until next week but contacted D2 who is an emergency physician and she has told me to take strong anti-inflamatory medication, painkillers if necessary, and keep using the stick to keep the weight off the sore hip. Then I need to ask my doctor to refer me for an MRI and then see a rheumatologist - she can recommend a good one and can get me an immediate appointment. So I am almost immobilised and it is very irritating; I want to be out in the garden; I want to do a bit of retail therapy; and I don't want to stop doing my WII because it will start moralising at me about the benefits of regular exercise.

And speaking of the WII - I accidentally set my weight goal for 2 kilos up instead of down and although it recognises that I am just in the overweight class it is concerned that I am losing weight and therefore moving further away from my goal. I can't find a way of re-setting my weight goal except by either putting on the weight so that I reach the goal I set, or by waiting out the time limit, when it will ask me to set a new goal. Aren't computers wonderful ... there is no arguing with them.

... and your cyberflirt hint for the day:

Even if sex is on your mind, keep it out of your profile.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Unitarian Jihad Name Generator

Yesterday I pulled the fridge away from the wall, took off its back and vacuumed it within an inch of its life. Hopefully it will work better now. Last night I was a bit concerned because it seemed to be running almost all the time but today it has settled down and I think perhaps that one of the doors may not have been properly closed.

I spent yesterday afternoon at reading the book reviews for this book:

... which are very funny, and the reviews for the "People who bought this book also bought" products. It is also worth looking at a few pages inside the book. It is self-published, of course and costs almost $140.

The URL was posted on the site by one of the Happy Heathens. They are a very funny group and I enjoy their posts more than those of another group called The Pedants Corner who are frighteningly intelligent and delve into the intricies of English Grammer. I thought that I had mastered English Grammar but this lot are scary.

The Happy Heathens also posted the link to a Unitarian Jihad Name Generator and I shall endeavour to post the widget here:

My Unitarian Jihad Name is:

Sister Incendiary Grenade of Reasoned Forgiveness.

Get yours.

I rather fancy the name - one is given a choice.

The only other thing of note which has happened here is that the pool heater has broken down again, this time for good, I suspect ... but yesterday the weather turned cold so I won't be swimming again until next summer which gives me plenty of time to get it all fixed.

Next summer will be my last spent in this house. I have lived here since 1964 and since I was able to renovate it to my liking it has been a happy, comfortable house and I shall miss it. However, I am looking forward to moving to Claremont where I will have the train line on one side, the bus route on the other and almost 200 shops just an elevator's ride below me. And river views ...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Egg on my face

After crawling around the kitchen and laundry floors with a spirit level, lifting the vinyl and generally proving to myself that the puddles on the kitchen floor could only have come from Boy-cat, I shut the kitchen door the other night, put his food and water in the family room and denied him access for the night. Lo and behold, next morning there was another puddle.

It had to be the fridge, so I put a towel along side it on the floor and sure enough, it became damp. The fridge is not dripping into the drip tray and I am going to have to pull it away from the wall again and remove the back so that I can see what is going on with it.

Meanwhile, Boy-cat is enjoying the extra attention which I have been giving him, is eating better since he came home from hospital, is growing his winter coat and really looking very sleek and healthy. Bless him! Now that the mornings are getting cooler he comes into bed with me at some stage in the night and I wake up with a warm bundle curled up against me. I am going to find it hard to give him up but his refusal to use a litter tray and his enjoyment of the garden and lying in the sun (my apartment will face south and there will be very little sun) make me feel that it would not be wise to try to take him. D1 has suggested a sandpit and that is an option but it would have to be filled with clumping litter and I am not sure that he would use it. However, it is a thought ...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Stormy weather

Yesterday afternoon Perth had a really severe storm. At about 3.00pm it was almost dark and at about 4.00pm all hell broke loose. For over an hour we had almost continuous thunder and lighning which flickered all around with forks coming down at odd intervals. With that came very heavy rain and hail. I was sheltered from the wind which reached over 100kph so I was lucky, but suburbs are blacked out and several schools were closed today. Streets were running rivers and cars were broken down throughout the city. D2 said that it took her over an hour to drive the couple of km from her work to her home. The drought has broken with a vengeance but the forecast if for more dry weather.

Boy-cat sat on my lap for the duration and except for a couple of very loud, very close, claps of thunder when he jumped, he bore it very well. Not so D2's cat. She had left all her sliding doors open and when her neighbour went in to rescue the cat he was cowering under the bed, which was wet, as was the floor, with potplants tossed around and pictures flapping. The kind neighbour rescued the cat and closed all the sliding doors. A nice neighbour to have.

I have hot water in the house again but now I have to have the pool heater controls replaced since the sensor no longer works and the unit is so old that there is no replacement part available. I suppose that this is going to be the story of my life for the next 18 months until I sell the house.

Boy-cat did a huge pee in the kitchen so I have rubbed some citronella onto the doors and moved one of his food bowls into the area. Now the whole house smalls of citronella which is a horrible smell. He is fast running out of brownie points: We are not amused.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Boy-cat is home again

Boy-cat came home after 36 hours in hospital waiting for him to pee. He did a large one overnight but missed the litter tray so eventually Doctor Yoko had to untrasound his bladder and put a needle in.

The results show that his kidney function is marginally better than the last time it was checked so the special stuff he is eating now is obviously working, and there is no sign of diabetes of any sort, thank goodness. Basically, he is as healthy as could be expected considering that he is almost 16 years old.

So the fence is sorted and the cat is sorted ... now it is the hotwater. Yesterday morning I realised that the valve which opens to allow the overheated, overflow water to run out has gone yet again, allowing the tank to flow through and since it was a weekend I have had to turn off the water to the solar system and my two options are cold showers or a bucket wash which I have done before on numerous occasions and which work well. So it is cold showers in the morning and a bucket wash at night. I could turn the hot water back on again while I shower but that is a terrible waste of water and we are in drought at the moment.

I used to have a cold shower every morning when I was at boarding school because the boilers were not stoked until 6.00am which is when us seniors had to get up. The water was never more than lukewarm and in winter I used to come out shivering. I figured that with cold water at least I would be glowing by the end so I used to go in tummy first to get over the shock faster - and it was a shock; Adelaide in midwinter is very cold and so was the water. However, I did come out glowing and as an extra bonus I found that I no longer caught colds. Science has finally caught up with me on this one and discovered that cold showers strengthen the immune system.

Your cyberhint for today:

Do not reveal your age but do not lie about it.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Boy-cat and vintage cars

Boy-cat is in hospital at the moment while everyone holds their breath and waits for him to pee. I took him along this morning together with the contents of the puddles on the floor - two separate samples. Dr Dave tested the newest one and said that it had the chemical consistency of distilled water and that if it really was pee then Boy-cat probably had diabetes insipidus which is easy to treat in dogs and people but never been heard of in cats.

The second sample yielded up a few white blood cells which Dr Dave said could have come off the floor. True - but that particular bit of floor has been washed a number of times. So now we just have to wait and he is capable of hanging on for 24 hours if the alternative is having to use a litter tray. I'll bring him home tomorrow regardless, and if he hasn't peed by then I will just have to follow him around with a dish and try to catch him in the act. Dr Dave and Dr Yoko have even gone so far as to postulate him carrying mouthfuls of water from his bowl to the puddle point ...

D2's 1965 Porsche has arrived from Melbourne and we have all been invited around to pat it tomorrow. She can't drive it yet because it hasn't been registered and it will be about four weeks before that can happen. However, she obtained a special license to drive it home because the Porsche people are finding it a distraction and there really isn't room for it. Would you believe that she "took a wrong turning" and managed to lose herself on the way home. She said that she didn't lose herself so much that it would look suspicious if she was picked up but she has been so excited about it and was desperate to drive it. It is going to be a very conspicuous car so she will be noticed when she has it on the road.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sorry about this ...

The insurance assessor has been and written a report. If accepted I will get back half the cost of the new fence minus 25% depreciation, the cost of replacing the pool-pump shed and, with luck, replacing the brick paving. The builder came and had a look this afternoon. I realised that I didn't care so much about getting the money as having someone else organise to get the paving put back. Like a load of bricks lifted off my shoulders.

The cat and the unicorn are doing well albeit on a most unsuitable diet; the cat eats cabbages and the unicorn eats hamburgers. I have so much money that I have a cherry grove, a jacaranda grove, a cold room, a hot room and a brothel, as well as a garden for each of them and veggie gardens. ... and I have gone back to playing Freecell.

The weather is finally getting cooler so I will start to get the garden straightened out and as soon as I am sure that the birds have finished nesting I will get someone in to trim back the trees so that they all look good next year when the house goes on the market.

Boy cat is deteriorating. He has started peeing on the kitchen floor when I am not looking; always in the same place and he gets quite upset if I put something in the way so that he can't do it. I know why he is doing it and why he is doing it there and that is not what is worrying me. The real problem is that it is so diluted that it seems to be indistinguishable from water. I have scooped some up and put it in a specimen jar for the vet and am currently just proving to myself that it couldn't have come from the dishwasher, the washing machine or the fridge (we have had five power outages this summer so I thought that perhaps something had melted and leaked out). He has to be groomed morning and evening because he is too stiff to groom himself properly but he is such a loving and lovely cat that my heart is breaking and I know that I am going to have to make the decision to euthanase before too much longer ... I am just putting off the inevitable.

And on that sad note - your cyberflirt hint for the day:

"Get a Home Page and register it with a search engine"

It would be a good idea to get yourself a new name at the same time; it is good to be anonymous.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Hopefully the last of the fence

The fence finally went up last week and I now also have a new pool pump-house which matches the fence and looks very smart; not difficult since it was pretty ramshackle and I was only waiting to get it fixed when I knew what the fence would be like.

It all happened in rather a rush. I got some quotes and was waiting for the only fencer who had actually been recommended (he didn't turn up so probably a good thing that I didn't wait for him). Anyway, Him Nextdoor arrived home and came in to see what I had been doing. I recommended the one which I thought was the best quote (a man named Mints - English, very large, very black and absolutely charming) and Him Nextdoor grabbed the quote and said "Lets do it" went off and organised Mints and an extra two metres so that the fence went right to the back boundary.

They arrived on time and worked in 42ÂșC heat and had it done in two days. The pool shed took another day and now my auto pool heater isn't being auto any more and someone is coming to fix that, hopefully this coming week. In the meantime it works on manual so I don't have to swim in cold water.

Now I have to tackle the Insurance Company. I phoned two days ago and found myself talking to Tasmania who transferred me to Melbourne who said that someone would phone me back yesterday - but they didn't. This is a service which boasts that it processes claims 24/7. Now it is weekend so I'll have to start again on Monday. It will not be the end of the world if the Insurance Company refuses to pay but when I move house I'll change to the people who insure my car.

I feel that I must report that the unicorn and the Siamese kitten are well and spend most of their time happily sleeping; Not a green nose in sight.

Instead of a cyberflirt hint today I would like to share a slogan on a T-shirt being sold online:

"I was an atheist until I realised that I was God."

... and I'd like to recommend and one of their groups - The Happy Heathens. They are very funny ...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Him Next-door arrived home earlier than I had expected and suggested that, as our both Insurance Companies had said that they would pay half the cost of the quote, we should go ahead as soon as possible, which meant NOW as he would be here for about a week and could clear away all the debris etc on his side of the fence. I gave him my favoured quote and he went straight away and phoned the company of choice and arranged for them to start next Tuesday and to continue the fence right to the back fence which means that he has a lot of fittings and fitments to remove as well as all the greenery.

I phoned up to check that the arrangement I had made that my pool pump switches should be left in situ was still in order, which it is, so all I have to do now is to clear the little tool-shed at the back - mainly old paint cans which I have never got around to throwing out. I have also agreed to pay the 50% deposit and Him Next-door will pay the rest. Hopefully the quote, along with the receipt, will be enough for the Insurance Company but it is not a huge sum of money anyway. The payoff is probably that the contractor will send along a carpenter to build a new pool shed which is fine by me as I had intended to replace it when the fence was up - so that it will match for when I sell the property.

I feel a little bit bewildered; the fence saga has gone on for so long that I can't believe that it is going to be so simple after all.

And now your Cyberflirt hint for the day:

You must sign in with an ISP

I would have thought that was obvious - unless you use an internet cafe ...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Don't fence me in

I am having a really interesting and eye-opening time trying to get viable quotes for the dividing fence.

First of all was the man who assured me that he could do any clearing of vegetation, deal with the electrics and told me that Colorbond was cheaper than Pinelap. He isn't in the phone book but is in the online yellow pages so he has some credibility ... except ... he uses a yahoo mail address, his quote was extremely undetailed and he put the price of Colorbond higher than pinelap. Hmmm - may be trying to break into the fencing business and is starting small but I'd hate to pay him a 50% deposit and have him do a runner. He has much to learn about quoting.

Then there was the man who said that he could give me a quote over the phone and asked me what was the lowest quote which I had received so far, so that he could come in lower. I have nothing on paper from him and he hasn't looked at the problems on the site - yet!

I emailed the fencer who gave a quote to Him-next-door last September who claimed that his 30 day quote was still valid but I've emailed him and asked for an up-to-date quote for the insurance companies and could he add his price for Colorbond. No reply from him so far.

And lastly the one who came this morning; only does wood and brush fences; said Colorbond is not suitable for this suburb but looked closely at the shonky electrics next door and said that a water and powerline search would be needed; prepared to give a separate quote for clearing the fenceline next door; said that it would be easier to work from my side; and would send around a carpenter to quote to build me a matching pool pumphouse after the fence is replaced. Also noted the position of the power points and the outside toilet. So far he has my vote.

Himself says that there is a fencer living around the corner from him and that he seems to be good at his work. He will find out the man's phone number so that I can contact him. That would be good because no-one seems to come recommended so far.

Your cyberflirt hint for the day?

Always take a list of prepared questions into a private chat room.

Friday, January 29, 2010

More Unicorn Stuff

For Christmas my grandbabies gave me another Webkinz toy to keep the unicorn company. The new addition is a siamese kitten called Tuulikki and she doesn't eat as much as the unicorn. However, I have sorted out the money problems and now have more than I need so I am creating a Jacaranda forest. I think that both cyber animals fade out of existance on Christmas Day this year unless I add another one. There is a pink and brown baby dragon which has rather taken my fancy but I am firmly resisting - for the moment, anyway.

Mr Next-door-down-the-hill should be home tomorrow so hopefully he will get onto clearing the fence line and with February looming I need to start getting quotes for the new fence.

On a more serious note, Boy-cat is starting to show his age and has just finished a course of four injections to help with his arthritis. He is being spoilt rotten at the moment and my aim is to keep him as comfortable and happy as possible for as long as possible but not take him with me when I move next year. I have discussed this with the vet and he is in full agreement with me that it would not be kind to confine a free-range, very elderly cat, in a penthouse where he would be forced to use a litter tray - something he hates - and no access to a garden or a sunny spot to sleep: the apartment faces south so will only get sun on the balcony in the early morning and the evening. It is going to be hard to let him go ...

... and now your cyber hint for the day:

Never describe yourself as a beer can collector.