Wednesday, December 31, 2008

wombat's week

wombat had a great time in paynesville. her "grand'dog'ma" had the side gate up so wombat was free to roam the yard when she felt like it and stayed out when we weren't home (she's always had to be locked in the laundry while we're out in the past). unfortunately there was a bit of a mozzie problem and when we came home to check up on her christmas afternoon she was covered in huge lumps. they went down by evening though and she didn't seem bothered by them.
we took wombat to eagle point to swim a few times. we discovered she isn't much of a swimmer. she tiptoes out as far as she can get and as soon as she put her head forward to get the ball or stick her head goes under and her butt comes up. she's a bit top-heavy in the head area.

she loved playing fetch in the backyard though:

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

paynesville and beyond

some photos from around paynesville.
the last lite of the day over lake victoria:

the lake had algae that glowed when stirred up (phosphorescence) so we went down a few times to see it. the first nite we took wombat. the sand on the lake shore had the algae and when she walked little glowing footprints would appear for a few seconds. the second nite we went out on a friend's boat. there was a aqua/greenish spray along the sides of the boat and what looked like 2 blue flames shooting off the motors in the back. i had seen phosphorescence in the ocean but never as bright as this-- it was pretty amazing.

sailing (or just sitting on the bow while we drift along):

some clouds:

a koala on raymond island (the island is covered in koalas):
seagull on a pier:
lakes entrance (i've never seen the beach so busy but i've also never been there on a hot day in the middle of christmas):
pelican feeding in metung (a guy feeds them every day at noon):
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christmas festivities and dogs

zac and i got to have 6 days in paynesville over christmas. it involved a lot of food, drinks and time to relax. i think i've figured out the secret to getting thru the festive season without feeling horrible from too much food: grazing. for 3 days there was a pretty constant supply of food and drink. when we had christmas lunch and boxing day dinner (a second christmas dinner for some family that arrived that day) i just had small portions (and continued to go back for more over the next few hours). i probably still ate the same HUGE amount of food but at least i felt good (and i still haven't gained back the weight i lost from pneumonia)
christmas day also involved a few rounds of bocce (stupid hats optional):

the poor (overdressed) left over turkey:

sha and alice (it was probably alice's last christmas-- she's pretty old and feeling her age):

ziggy, sha and axel at the beach:

axel went for a BIG swim after this photo was taken, shaw and ziggy just swam in the shallow bits. poor wombat had to stay at the house cuz she doesn't like other dogs (she did get to meet her cousins axel and ziggy the next day thru a car window. she seemed ok with them but they were a few metres away from her).

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Monday, December 22, 2008

the sky is on fire

i haven't changed the colour in these photos or used a filter or anything. this is actually how the sky looked a few nites ago. the air was yellow/orange-- it was weird.

the clouds:
i took this one about 10 min after the first few shots:

i should have gone down the road to a park where i could have got pitures without houses and telephone poles.
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Sunday, December 21, 2008

finally summer (again)

it finally feels like summer again. even though yesterday it was only 20C it felt a lot warmer in the sun. today was a nice hot 29C and tomorrow is supposed to be in the 30s (with possible thunderstorm when the cool change comes in). at this point christmas is looking like it'll be in the high 20s (although may be slightly cooler where we are in paynesville but still nice and hot). the idea of a hot christmas still is weird but i do want to have a HOT one (the warmest it's been over the last 5 christmases i've celbrated in oz is about 23C).

Saturday, December 20, 2008


i finally finished work and now have 4 (much needed) weeks off to relax and recover. the end was pretty hard. on top of just being tired and over it all there were staff issues (which i stayed out of as much as possible cuz the team in my room was getting on well), tired kids, a lot of good-byes in 2 days, late nites (the annual staff-committee christmas dinner ended up being after work on the last day of kids. we still had to get up the next morning and go clean up work), way to much so-good-but-so-bad-for-you food, too much alcohol, too many late nites....... i woke up this morning with a bit of a cold. i'm sure it has to do with all of the above. i took some zinc tablets and multi-vitamins and so far this morning (in the hour i've been up) i've managed to keep away from the very tempting treats laying ALL over the place. of course we're going to celebrate christmas with a bunch of family today so i'm sure i'll end up not eating right again. i am gonna be in bed early tonite though. hopefully that'll kill the cold and i can just relax for a few days.

Monday, December 15, 2008

not for me

this is why we don't live in canada (the white stuff at the bottom of the picture). it's pretty to look at but i wouldn't want to be there. and look how dark it is (its 2:30pm there!). the sunset is 4:18 (and still setting a bit earlier each day for another week!). its sooo cold too:

from the weather network website

(i like the "feels like" temperatures)
i'm happy with our "cold" day of about 18C today.
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Sunday, December 14, 2008

new action figure group

during group time the other morning, the teacher was talking about the nativity scene and pointing out to the children that we have a wooden one they can play with over on a shelf. one of the kids put his hand up then called out "i have a Jesus set at home too!" somehow the teacher managed to not laugh while she asked him if his nativity had donkeys and camels and other animals.

when missing out on tickets might be a good thing

its barely stopped raining more than a few minutes or so at a time since it started raining friday afternoon. meridith is this weekend. if i had joined the ticket line 5 or 10 minutes earlier than i did, we would have had tickets and we would be there now. i'm sure we'd still be having fun but everything would be very wet and muddy and i'm sure i would have been very cold most of the weekend (even though i would have packed many layers and all my waterproof gear).
instead of being outside and braving the rain we stayed inside and watched way too much tv. i watched an episode of the whale wars and a doco on the jonestown massacres before zac got up. we watched the entire 7th season of the family guy (the dvd just came out here), some of the special features and an episode of the hollowmen. i don't think i'll be watching much tv for a while after the amount my brain took in yesterday.
by 9am yesterday we'd had 36.2 mm of rain (the highest 24 hr rainfall since feb 06). we've had another 22mm since then. hopefully this will top up our very low water storage areas a bit but unless this kind of rain continues for days or weeks i think we've still got a big water problem.

2 years

yesterday marked 2 years that wombat has been living with us (and makes her about 3 years old). the other day i was looking at this post about her when we first got her back for good.
it doesn't seem like she's much different than she's always been but looking back i guess she has learned a few things.
i love this photo (taken 2 years ago):

she NEVER would sleep like that now!
she knows basic commands a lot better (except "heel" which she's still just a big, pully ox when we go out a lot of the time). she also understands a lot of random phrases and words:
*go to dog's bed (when she's on our bed)
*on your chair
*car ride (which she only gets maybe once every couple months but knows the word and bolts to the door even if we were just discussing it between us and not her)
*meat (and we refer to the landlord's mum next door as the "meat lady" cuz she brings around leftover meat for wombat occasionally-- now wombat is conditioned that any time the doorbell rings it means the meat lady is bringing over the good stuff. she was very disappointed that my hands were empty after some random rang the bell yesterday wanting to discuss green energy with me)
there's probably more words she knows but these are the ones we use often.
she knows the general routine of the day and settles fairly well. she'll demand walks if she thinks they're due to her. she demands food if i eat my dinner and then get busy and forget to serve her as soon as i'm done. she knows she needs to wait for the people to eat first before she gets served (and she's getting good at understanding us going back for seconds and just lays and waits until we tell her it's time for her dinner instead of running to the kitchen as soon as one of us stands up). when we pick up her kong (she also knows the names of several toys and will go get the right one (usually) when you tell her to get a specific one) and put a bit of peanut butter inside she runs out the back door (while we're in the kitchen) and sits and waits for her kong to be brought out to her (what we do a lot of the time before we leave). i guess that means she doesn't have anxiety issues with us leaving or she would run and hide when we peanut butter up the kong.
she's a good girl. hopefully over the next few years she'll learn to trust us even more that we won't let other animals hurt her and she doesn't need to be afraid of them.

Friday, December 12, 2008


its supposed to be summer. its been mostly grey and on and off rain for a few days. above is the rain radar (funny how right around the airport in the centre is a clearing in the rain). we're just above the dot marked "melbourne" (the city centre). i don't think the rain is going anywhere anytime soon. we would just stay home and curl up on the couch with dvds but zac's work christmas party is tonite. its always a good one (although last year's party got the organization banned from hiring the fitzroy lawn bowls again). i'm kinda sad that all these chrismas parties are happening with grey and rain even though summery weather makes it hard for it to feel like christmas is near. i like being able to wear summer-y things to the parties (if we decide to brave it and ride in tonite we'll be arriving in full rain gear-- jacket and pants as well as winter shoes).
tomorrow is supposed to be rainy and stormy most of the day. i plan on staying on the couch watching the entire new family guy dvd that just arrived in the mail yesterday.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


last nite we went to the mountain goats gig. it was in this weird new venue that's more of a niteclub than a place for a band like mountain goats (or teeth and tongue who opened for them) but it did have lots of good places to see the band (and stupid bright lighting that was shining in our eyes on and off thruout the nite). we were right near the front and after a few people shifted i could actually see the band (that's been a really big peeve of mine lately and has actually made me not go to shows--- i ALWAYS end up with some really tall guy RIGHT in front of me and can't see a thing). unfortunately 3/4 of the way thru mountain goats set i suddenly got liteheaded. this used to happen occasionally at gigs (i've passed out at few gigs too). most of the time i've assumed it was smoky rooms but that hasn't been an issue since the smoking ban finally came in. it hasn't happened for several months or more. it was weird because usually it comes on slowly and i spend 5 minutes or so trying to convince myself i'm alright and then it gets bad and i move to the back of the room and find somewhere to sit. last nite i was fine and then suddenly the lites that had been going around for the song that was ending just started to really annoy me and make me dizzy. i looked down so i wouldn't see them. the feeling wouldn't go away. i looked up so i could get air. that didn't help. i told zac and turned and started pushing my way back thru the crowd. i found a space several meters from where we were that was open and had a fan blowing. i thought i'd be ok there but after a few seconds i realized i needed to sit. i started going back further and zac followed. just before i collapsed i found a step to sit on in a spot where security wouldn't tell me i was in the way and needed to stand. i sat for a couple minutes, felt fine, stood up, got dizzy, sat down for several minutes, stood up and felt fine the rest of the gig. i was sad we had to move from a spot where i could actually see (the new spot was kind of behind a mirrored post) but the gig was still good. not sure why i occasionally get these dizzy spells (there could be several reasons) . at least it doesn't freak zac out if i pass out (i think the last time i passed out he was so calm about it that it kinda scared the other people around him).

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

something a little different

when i arrived at work this morning several kids were working on things at the pasting table. as i looked around i realized most of them were making angels with large paper doilies that had been cut into quarters (that was the dress part of the angel. they cut out circles for heads and some added limbs or hair or wings). most of these angels were also covered in glitter (we managed to go the entire year without glitter at the pasting table and we've just brought it out as a treat for the last couple weeks). one girl came up to me with a doily piece that just had black and red circles drawn on it with texta. i was a little shocked that her angel dress wasn't in "pretty" colours like all the other ones and didn't have glitter on it. then she told me "its a pepperoni pizza slice!". i was impressed--- something different. she went back to work and i was talking to other children. a while later she came up to me holding 4 doilies taped together in a circle with red and black. she'd made an entire pizza. then she went to the box collection and found a big cereal box. she layed it on it's back and cut open the top so it opened like a pizza box. then she put her pizza inside. its looks pretty good. it was cool to see someone come up with something different (and un-christmas related) when all their classmates are making the same thing.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

east brunswick

we went to the east brunswick for dinner last nite (me and some co-workers). one of my co-workers is vegan (although not strict vegan-- a vegetarian allergic to dairy and plain eggs) and the other 2 are meat eaters so we figured this would be a good local place where everyone could easily be happy. we all ended up ordering basically the same thing. 2 vegan "chicken" burgers and 3 real chicken burgers. the vegan chicken definitely looked much better than the actual chicken (one meat eater described her real chicken as "spam-like"). the vegan "chicken" was REALLY greasy (deep fried) though. it tasted good but my stomach didn't like it afterwards. i was a little sad that the tandoori "chicken" (we all started using quotes when talking about vegan "meat" vs real meat) wasn't available (it was on the specials menu) because it sounded really good. i think i might have to get the "cheeseburger" next time (zac got it once and i tried it-- soooooo good!). with $10 meals on mondays there's no reason we aren't going there more often (i've only been 3 times and always with meat eaters who are disappointed in their meat meals).

Sunday, December 07, 2008

its true

the biggest search term that leads people to my blog is "mountain goats hooves fall off". its all because of this post. when i tried to find out if that was actually fact, i couldn't really find anything. finally, yesterday someone left an anonymous comment with a link to this site. down the middle of the page there's some facts about montana. towards the bottom is this:(click to enlarge)
now i wanna know what happens to the goat if he looses his hooves (i'd assume they wouldn't survive long).

impulse control

last nite was zac's band's second gig (i was still sick and didn't make it to the first one). i was impressed. it was at glitch which is kind of a mini theatre/bar so the whole evening was bands playing while old road movies were shown (with the sound muted) on the screen behind them. unfortunately it was too dark to get any decent photos.
zac also hasn't set up a myspace page yet for the band, which goes by 2 names: impulse control (slower, instrumental noise stuff that they did last nite) and tombstoned (loud, screamy, noise sort of stuff). the slower stuff is a bit like our short-lived band flint but without drums and some added noise stuff like chains and distorted screams.

Friday, December 05, 2008


we finally went out to celebrate zac's changing of jobs ( from over a month ago)by going out for dinner at the morrocan soup bar. i forgot how much i LOVE that place (its been ages since we've been there). i was kind surprised at how "empty" it was, especially for a friday (it was only about 3/4 full when we left about 7pm). i think it was because of the heat (i did say to zac when he suggested it, that it'll be hot in there-- fortunately it wasn't because it wasn't that crowded). usually you have to get there right at 6 when they open (or even wait outside before 6). we got the banquet (as always). basically the menu is spoken (although i've never actually heard it cuz we just go for the banquet every time) and it's all vegetarian. the banquet starts with a small glass of mint tea (with a lot of sugar) then an entree (appetizer to north americans) of assorted dips and pita bread. the mains are an assortment of rice, lentils, cous cous, salad, veggies and my favourite (the only non-vegan part of the meal): some sort of yogurt dish (plain yogurt, toasted pita bread broken into small pieces, chick peas, smoked paprika and i think slivered almonds--- sooooo AMAZING. i gotta find a plain soy yogurt so i can make vegan at home). finally dessert: small cookies or other sweets and turkish coffee. i think this time is the first time i haven't walked out feeling over full (just nice and full) which is weird cuz they actually did bring out an extra plate of food for zac to substitute for the yogurt dish (that doesn't always happen). i only got the yogurt one because (besides being soooooo good) i'm trying to re-build up good bacteria in my body that would have been killed off with the masses of antibiotics that i was taking (lots of yogurt--although the soy yogurt i get also has live cultures, tempeh, and miso).

Thursday, December 04, 2008


the other day i was outside with our group at work. we have to wear sunhats as part of the sun smart policy. mine is a straw hat similar to this one:i went into the other room to talk to one of the staff for a minute. the group that was in session is one that i don't know the kids very well (they're only there a few hours 3 days a week and they don't usually do activities with our group). i started talking to the staff person and a child walked up in between us. he looked at me then laughed. then he said (between laughing) "you look like a farmer!" the staff person just got this shocked look on her face, not really sure what to say to him. i just laughed and said "i guess this is the kind of hat a farmer would wear."

Friday, November 28, 2008


most of wombat's come from the soft toy section at savers (its actually value village-- the font and colour on the signs, the tags and even the layout of the store is the same and it actually says "value village" on their gift vouchers). last nite i went up there and zac specifically asked me to get wombat a new toy to destroy. i searched thru the soft toys looking for one that wasn't new looking that wasn't more than $1.99 (they start there and the prices go up). i found i small cow that i wasn't too impressed with but i decided to get it. later (i spent an hour wondering in the quiet store), i was wondering thru the furniture section in the back and noticed a large shelf high up FILLED with gigantic soft toys. i noticed one massive bear was tagged $1.99 (it was WAY to big to go on my bike though). i d shuffled a few things around and found a pretty ratty looking nemo and he was only $1.99!!! (and i could squash it in my bag). wombat has never had a toy this big. it's been pretty funny watching her with it.
carrying nemo:

chewing nemo:

resting with nemo:
we gave her nemo at lunch today (before that we just left nemo on the back of the couch and told her "gentle" and "for later". she actually listened (i even left her alone with nemo while i showered 5 minutes after showing it to her and placing it on the couch). nemo is still pretty much intact. a couple of his fins are looking pretty chewed and a bit torn and the eyes are pretty slobbery but i think its actually a bit challenging for her. i think i'll be shopping in the furniture section of savers for her toys from now on.
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grey and rainy

after the hot weather, the thunderstorm and the humidity now we've gone to mild, grey and drizzly rain. it'd be good if it would at least rain hard because this drizzly rain is a bit useless.
we had big plans for tonite too. it's my first weekend i'm drinking again (for 6 weeks while i was sick and on medications) and we made plans to go celebrate zac's new job and ending of his old job (which happened a month ago-- the the peak of me being really sick). we were gonna go for a drink after he finished work then head to the morroccan soup bar as soon as it opened at 6 (the ONLY way to get a table there, especially on a friday nite) then we'd meet up with a friend for drinks or something after dinner. the grey sky finally broke into rain just before i left work (but not hard enough rain that i actually wanted to go to the effort of putting on the rain gear i had in my bag). now our pre dinner drinks and meal out have turned to pizza and beer on the couch. hopefully the rain/drizzle will stop and we'll still meet up with our friend later tonite. maybe i should put up the christmas decorations while its nice vancouver-y christmas weather.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

what are they doing?

we have some pretty strict water restrictions in melbourne (basically cars can only be washed in commercial car washes that follows restrictions, lawns can only be watered during a 2 hr period, twice a week and not with drinking water.....). after the past 2 rain storms (today and the other day) i've heard the neighbour's back hose spraying (on what sounds like the cement ground they have). why would someone feel the need to water the pavement and why would you feel the need to do it directly after rain? i'm pretty sure they don't have any rain tank (i'm not actually gonna peer my head over our 6 foot fence) which would mean that's good water that's just running down pavement and eventually ending up the the creek.

if you don't like the weather.....

in melbourne they say "if you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes". if i'd done that today i wouldn't have had nearly as much fun.
in the last 5 minutes of my shift at work we heard a couple rolls of thunder and a few large drops of rain fell. i had taken my rain gear out of my bag at lunch because if it wasn't raining at the end of my shift i was going to the supermarket and i didn't want my bag filled with rain gear. if it was raining i'd just go straight home so it wouldn't matter if i got a bit wet. even though i saw the dark clouds, heard the thunder and felt a bit of rain i decided to take my chance at the supermarket. i was hoping the storm would pass while i was inside. i came out and everything was a bit wet but not like a storm had come thru. the moment i had my bike unlocked and started walking along the covered sidewalk to the road HUGE drops of rain started pouring down. i thought about waiting undercover infront of the supermarket because i knew the storm would pass within 10 minutes but what would be the fun in that (and there was a kid busking with his violin and he wasn't very good-- 10 minutes of that after a day of kids yelling and crashing things wouldn't have made me a happy person). i got on my bike and rode the 5 minutes home thru the storm. i actually really like riding in rain when its warm and i'm on my way home where i can change out of wet clothes. i passed a bike rider going the opposite direction at one point and we both smiled as we passed-- we're definitely having more fun than the people in the cars with rain pelting their roofs, echoing in the inside of their car. i swear, the INSTANT i rolled my bike under our carport the LARGE, POURING DOWN drops of rain turned to a light spring shower. by the time i changed out of my dripping clothes the rain had stopped completely. the photo above is the tail of the storm just after it passed over our house.
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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

up and down

after freezing for most of the weekend and monday (i actually got my winter jacket when i came home for lunch) it was nice and warm again today. even though 25 was the forecasted high i don't think a lot of people really believed it after 3 very grey and cold days. a lot of the kids were overdressed today. i was a little bit warm too(i'd put a long sleeve shirt under my tshirt and was too warm most of the afternoon but never made the effort to go take it off). i definitely prefer being too warm over too cold though.
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Sunday, November 23, 2008

puppy eyes

unfortunately the focus isn't quite right but she's pretty cute anyway.
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Saturday, November 22, 2008


just over a week ago it was in the 30s. now its FREEZING (almost literally). i bet its the same temperature in vancouver right now (and just as grey and rainy). i don't mind one day like this in december cuz it actually feels christmas-y but its too early to put up christmas stuff now. its also my first weekend that i feel almost completely normal again and i was looking forward to a big long walk in the sun, coffee and beer gardens (i'm still not drinking but hanging out there with friends is fun anyway). at least we're getting some much needed rain. i wouldn't mind it to be 5-10 degrees warmer though.

its hard to tell in this photo (i couldn't get the camera settings right quick enough) but its raining and hailing and the little white spots over the bins are hail stones bouncing up after hitting the bins:

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