Wednesday, January 30, 2008

just 3?

at that's my answer the question to go for today is: What three things are on your desk right now that shouldn't be?
there's a lot of stuff there right now that shouldn't be (even though i semi-cleaned it the other day) but here's my 3 things:
2 tennis balls (i think i took these away from the dog a couple months ago.....) not sure what the photo in the corner is doing on the desk, its a photo of me holding/looking at a baby wallaby at work last year

my plate from my sandwich at lunch (i even did all the dishes after i ate but i must have missed this one since it was next to the computer instead of the sink)

charlotte the chicken. i won her at zac's cousin's husband's 30th. i don't remember why but i do remember that his cousin told me she was glad the vegetarian won it cuz they were gonna get a plate of meats as the prize but as she's a vegetarian i think she decided the stuffed chicken would be the prize (it lives on the desk only cuz we haven't found a better place for it and if its within wombat's reach it will probably end up in 1000 pieces)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


this is kind of a girly post so you may wanna skip this one if you're not into girly stuff.
for a while i've been looking at environmentally friendly alternatives for tampons. pads aren't my thing so the idea of reusable pads (and the cleaning that goes with that) doesn't appeal to me at all. in my searches i came across the diva cup. it's a silicone cup that will last indefinitely (but i think i'll replace mine every year or 2 just for hygiene reasons). they're safe (probably a lot safer than tampons), easy to use (after the first few inserts/removes) and way more convenient than tampons. they're canadian made (although i think i got mine thru a u.s. distrubutor-- the happened to be on sale AND had free international postage!) and they seem to be widely available at drugstores in north america (they've got a store locator by city or postal/zip code on the diva cup website).

Saturday, January 26, 2008


i'm a huge procrastinator. its one of the things i'm best at. we now have 4 weeks today until our wedding. we haven't finalized anything other than the menu. i have a friend of a friend that's supposed to be making my dress. key words are: supposed to. i met her once. 10 days ago (after about 2 months of forgetting to call her and then about 3 weeks waiting for her to get back to me to arrange to meet). we discussed stuff and planned to meet again a week ago to choose fabric, finalize the design and get measurements. that never happened. i've been calling and smsing her since then. no response (i've been told by both her and our mutual friend that she is HORRIBLE at returning calls). today i decided i better get a backup plan (even though i've looked for wedding dresses and couldn't find anything i liked). i did a search for dresses on ebay (which i'd done a few times). i had a list of 10 or 11 that i liked and were a good price. one that i really liked was ending this afternoon (it was more of an evening dress but it was pretty much exactly what i had in my head for the style, just a slightly darker colour than i intended). there were no bids and the starting price was VERY reasonable (especially since it was a well known melbourne designer who has a shop near us with VERY EXPENSIVE wedding dresses in it). when i still hadn't heard back from by dress maker 5 minutes before the auction ended i decided to buy it (the other thing was that the measurements were pretty much perfect for me and i might not need to get any alterations done). i'm still gonna see if this girl is willing to make my dress but if that's not going to happen i do have a dress i'll be happy to get married in (and if i do get one made, the ebay one will just go back on ebay and i should be able to get more than i paid no problem). now we just have to finalize our vows, rain back up plan, the band (which i'm very excited about if we can get it to work), the guys suits and shoes, and lots of small details.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

dog listener

a friend from back home got us this book as an early wedding gift and it arrived in the mail yesterday. i read the first 6 chapters by the time i went to bed (and probably would have just stayed up all nite if i didn't have to work today). its really good and i'm excited to try these things out with wombat (once zac reads it too so we're both working together with it). basically instead of looking at dog obedience from the point that we are the human and the dog should do what we say and learn our language (which a dog will never fully do), we need to look at how dogs communicate and do it their way to be effective. once we start using the dog's way of communicating we can establish dominance in the our pack and make the dog listen to us without having to use force or yell. the first 4 chapters are pretty much background on how she came to these thoughts and tested them out on her own dogs (and she was fairly skeptical of the whole thing but she tried it time and time again and it worked). i'm hoping that by using her methods we can get wombat to fully realize she is not the alpha of the pack (i think she knows this a lot of the time cuz we do do things like make her eat after us and go thru doors after us but i think on walks she may still belive that she's leading the "hunt"). anyway, we'll try it out and see how it goes. we don't really have anything to lose if it doesn't help (although it is gonna be REALLY hard to ignore her and not make eye contact or talk to her any time we arrive home for a few minutes-- zac already called me cruel tonite cuz i ignored her when i came in).

Monday, January 21, 2008

trying to narrow it down

i'm working on figuring out what more i can do for the environment at home in a way that zac will help with too. he's happy to do basic things like recycle, compost, put grey water on the garden and turn off electrical things when they aren't in use but things like cutting down on consumerism and buying more locally produced food and other items are harder to do (especially for zac but i struggle with it too).
i think my biggest issue is plastic. first of all, it's plastic that generally fills our rubbish bin (wrappers from tofu, rice cakes, crackers, cereal and other things we buy). zac also tends to get unnecessary plastic bags from shops sometimes just so we have something to line the bin. i bought a roll of biodegradable plastic bags but zac still seems to find it necessary to bring home plastic bags from shops occasionally (even though he never needs them for what he bought cuz he's usually got his panniers or a backpack with him). we could look into cutting down the amount of overly packaged stuff we buy too (there's a lot of bulk-buy places starting to pop up everywhere and most of them you can bring your own containers to fill too).
buying locally produced items would also help the environment a lot (i.e. buy more in season fruit and veggies grown near here). other things we might need (like clothing) could mostly be bought from local crafts people or second hand.
i could also go completely vegan (not just dinner time vegan) which would benefit the environment and the animals that are raped for my cheese. i don't think i would have much issue going vegan at home, it would mostly be when we go out that the things that sounded the best to me on the menu would most likely be something involving dairy.
those are a few of the ideas floating around in my head but i think i just gotta take it one step at a time and pick one spot to start......


ever since we got wombat (just over 13 months ago) she's had all sorts of lumps and bumps come and go. she gets all sorts of little and big button tumors (like this one) and zits (i think they might be kind of a heat related rash) but they all seem to go away (even the HUGE button tumor). she has ALWAYS had a bump on her back near her hip. the vet checked it and said it doesn't seem to be anything but just always keep an eye on it and bring her in if there's any growth to it or it starts bleeding or anything. we've just gotten used to feeling that bump any time we pat her down her back (and you can see it sticking up with her short fur). last nite she was curled up on my lap (she likes to think she's a lap dog sometimes, especially if the wind makes scary noises) and i ran my hand down her back. there was no bump. i took a look and the bump was completely gone!!! it didn't get scraped off or anything it just went down. there's a tiny bald patch where it was but the skin looks fine (not like it was cut off or something). it just went away! its kinda nice to pat her without that lump. now she's just gotta get rid of the half dozen little bumps that have come up behind her ears in the last month or so.....

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

saving the world one click at a time

i've found a couple sites that will donate money to charities just by either people clicking on the site or by playing a game.

the first is ripple. you can go to the page and click on an item and by viewing the ad appears on the page (for me its always a coopers beer ad, i think this may change depending on where in the world your server is) the sponsor donates money to the charity listed. it also has a facebook application you can apply and cool links to add to blogs (note the link under my about me section-- you can click there and a donation will be made). ripple also has a search engine (powered by google) and for every search done, the sponsor will donate a small amount (but it only works from the ripple homepage where you see the sponsor name below the box where you type in your search words, if you do it again from the results page, no donation is made (even though the ripple logo is there, the sponsor name isn't-- its all in the faq's on ripple). you can even add a ripple search bar or a little ripple button to a google search bar to make it easy to do ripple searches. a quick easy way to help food, water, education and money to those who need it.

another way (that's a bit of a time waster but if you're gonna waste time it might as well be for a good cause-- and it might even make you a little smarter) to help feed people is free rice. basically its a vocabulary game. you click on the right definition for a word and for every right answer 20 grains of rice are donated (well a sponsor of the site will donate the equivalent amount for that many grains thru the united nations world food program). the game automatically adjusts the vocab level based on your right and wrong answers so any vocab level can play and the more you play the more words you may learn and the higher vocab level you'll get to.

i HATE banks

i'm sitting on hold with a bank in the US right now-- in the last 15 minutes i've talked to 3 different people in 3 different departments and now i'm hold while the 3rd person discusses my situation with his supervisor. i have no idea what has actually happened with my account which think is what's making it hard. i tried to log into my online banking. it kept telling me there was an error with my user name or password (i was using the correct ones!!). then it locked me out for too many incorrect tries. fortunately they added an online verifictation system to unlock my account-- i just needed to type in my card number and some other info about my account. unfortunately it said my info was incorrect. arrrrrggghhh!! this meant i had to actually call the customer service center (last time i did this-- i do it over skype-- i had to yell into the mic for them to hear me and there were huge was horrible!). i figured my account had been closed (they sent a letter to my mom last year saying if i didn't reply back by october 31 or something, my account would be closed-- i had replied but i figured either my reply didn't make it to them or they just closed it anyway since there was no recent activity). the first person i talked to (who i could hear well and she could hear me too) said my card was closed (what the heck does that mean "my card is closed"-- not expired, it doesn't do that until next year, but "closed"). she transferred me to another area where i sat on hold for a minute and found out that my account is open but my card is closed (which i knew by this point). i asked if i can order a new card. she had to transfer me to a third person. when i couldn't give this person details (like the exact amount in my account) because i'd been locked out of my online account and i quit getting paper statements sent a couple years ago he had to put me on hold to discuss with his supervisor.
while i was typing this up a bank manager got on the phone with me and verified some other personal info about my account (like when it was opened) and then she gave the ok to have a card mailed to me (actually to my mom). i didn't want to go thru the hassle of unlocking my online account with them (i figured i'd have to be passed back to someone in the first department) so i'll just wait until the new card gets to me and then i should be able to easily unlock it over the phone or internet (and then next time we're in the u.s. i'll get the small amount of money out of there and close the account for good!).

Sunday, January 13, 2008

our idiot dog

while we were gone for the weekend we left poor wombi at home. not by herself but with a couple baby sitters. friday nite she had zac's mum who was in town and then saturday a friend came over for the nite and stayed with her (and even stayed at our place until we got home early afternoon!). i think she had a pretty good time (especially with gary who she abused for his kong throwing abilities). but we did have issues just before we left and after we came back. before we left zac decided to take her to the park across the road. he got her ready and started to walk across the street. she sat, put her paws in front of her and refused to move (just like in the photo from paynesville where he's trying to make her go in water). she wanted to go in the truck (which she'd seen us packing up) so after several unsuccessful attempts at trying to get her to cross the road zac gave in and put her in the truck:

she was convinced she was going somewhere so zac drove her the 50m to the next park down the road (and then when he got there, there were a couple dogs playing off lead so he couldn't take her out so he drove her home).

when we got home today he tried to take her to the park and the same thing happened. i figured it was cuz i was standing in the front yard too and she thought i might leave without her so i tried to coax her across the road with zac. i think we got her 2m further then she stopped right in the middle of the road and refused to go forward. i opened the truck and she jumped in and sat down. we decided we would drive her down to the other park again (this soooo goes against what both me and zac think about vehicles). while we went into the house to grab the keys and shut the door she just sat there staring at us thru the window with this weird look (not her normal panicked look when we leave her alone in the car but more like "you better get back here right now and drive me somewhere!!!!"). we got in, she hopped into the backseat and layed down (for the whole 50m drive). she had a good run around the park with zac and then we drove home. she was satisfied, went in the house, got a drink and went to sleep in her chair.
zac said her love of cars almost makes him want to buy one just so he can make her happy by driving her around to nowhere.

spring water and vegan banquets

we went up to hepburn springs this weekend just to relax (and zac loves the vegan banquet saturday nite at the place we stay at). we stayed at the continetal house- a "vegan life sanctuary" as it says on their website. unfortunately i don't have pictures of anything (other than a few duck and duckling shots at daylesford lake) because of a very unfortunate incident with our slr camera. saturday afternoon we were heading off on a bush walk. zac insisted on putting his water bottle in my bag after he filled it with spring water. i was hesitant cuz i'd hurt my shoulder and my backpack was already bothering it without the extra weight. i put it in and 50m later i felt my back getting really wet, really quickly. i threw the bag down and started pulling everything out, including zac's now empty 1L water bottle. the not so tight lid had opened and spilled thru my bag. my camera was in it's case but with the zip open so could get it out easily to take pictures. i pulled the camera out and water POURED out of it. i was not impressed. it doesn't work at all. we toke it into the city on the way home today. its costing us (well, zac cuz he's not allowed to buy cds for MONTHS now) $88 just to get a quote on repairing it (that money will go towards the repairs if its worth going ahead with it). so in a couple weeks we'll know if its repairable otherwise zac is gonna be saving up a lot of money (no more new instruments or cds for him for ages) to get me a new camera.
other than that incident bringing down the mood for the rest of the weekend (happened early saturday afternoon), the weekend was good.
we brought our bikes to attempt some trails there. we failed. there's some really good intermediate mountain bike trails but i'm not an intermediate mountain biker. i also don't handle steep uphill well (slight slopes up i can do no problem and small steep hills i can do but i forgot how hilly daylesford/hepburn springs is. we did try though. twice.
we also had a good swim in the lake. i miss lakes. there aren't any right around melbourne that you can really swim in and this one is great. warm (once you get in), fairly clean (although zac thought it was disgusting but he doesn't like lakes at all for swimming) and good grassy spots to relax on the sides.
the vegan banquet is at the conti on saturday nites. we always to the full banquet deal for $25 (soup, main and dessert) and its always AMAZING food. i like that it's not just a chef and people hired as kitchen staff that do it all but the staff (and sometimes the WOOFers who are staying there) cook up the meal.
daylesford/hepburn springs area is a great place just to get away from the city for a couple days though and there's lots to do and lots of places to do nothing at too.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

heat and ikea don't mix

we've had zac's dad's ute (pickup truck in north american talk) for the week so zac decided we should spend our last ikea voucher from our engagement party (just over a year ago)-- it ended up getting left behind when we did our big ikea shop last year with all our vouchers. we wanted to get a shelf for the laundry room since we're really lacking storage in there and after i get rid of the dryer on freecycle sometime in the next week or so. i also wanted to get some kind of bamboo or brush fencing to cover up the corrugated iron to help keep our yard from getting to ridiculous temperatures (not at ikea but in the same mall complex).
wombat and i spent the entire day inside in front of the personal cooler (well i was in front of it, wombat would wander past every once in a while but spent most of the time just laying on the floor panting) and i got thru planning some of the detail bits of the wedding--- 5 hrs i spent doing that and i don't have much to show for it. it was 40C (104F) all afternoon and it was still 40C when we left for ikea at 7:30! the windows were down but hot air was blasting in as we drove along. zac exhausted before we even left (i say its from the long busy week, lack of sleep and 2 late nites in a row-- he says its from the hours of driving he did last weekend) but ikea seems to do something to him and sucks the energy from him as he walks in the door. he also hates the place. he made sure i knew exactly which shelf i wanted before we went in so i didn't have to stand there checking out every shelf. i kinda wanted to look around a bit but i knew that wouldn't happen with him around and i figured if i sent him off so i could look i would find him collapsed on a bed sleeping (when i stopped to look at one of the maps just to see where the shelving/storage section was he dropped on the bed next to him and had trouble getting back up). we found the shelf, wrote the pick up isle number down and continued winding past all the stuff to get to the pick up area. we get there and there's a big blank spot where our item should be 8( we didn't bother asking anyone for help (zac REALLY wanted to get out of there by that point but just picked up a slightly different, nicer looking but smaller shelves, shelf unit). the overnite low for tonite is 30C (a repeat of new years-- except i don't have any reason to stay up until 4am so i may have to leave the personal cooler on for most of the nite or i'll just end up lying there not sleeping and that's not fun).
i think my brain is a bit fried from the heat and i don't know how much i just typed actually makes sense but i'm too tired/hot to look it over so it is the way it is.

i just looked at the weather forecast and this is what it says:
Forecast for Thursday evening:
Fine. A hot, oppressive night with strengthening northerly winds.

Precis: Oppressive night.

Monday, January 07, 2008

some weird reasons people visit my blog

the only reason i ever really look at my stats counter is to see what search words people use when they find my blog randomly.
here's a few things people have looked for when they found my blog:

butt scoot-
Dog scoots on carpet and then licks it

i think those 2 searches probably were refered to wombat's incident on my quilt i made last winter. still not impressed with what she did that nite (and zac is still laughing)

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree in Japanese
i'd like to learn that song in japanese too....don't know how it relates to anything i've written about on my blog though

Pink mild itchy spots random places on body
probably should check out a medical website, not a blog. and maybe see a doctor.

“put your socks on” expression
i thought that was just something people did, not something that was used to express something.
Picture of dog curled up asleep on
i got lots of those (asleep on chairs, couches, beds, blankets, dirt, cement...) they came to the right place)

words that you thought were words+bombs hit it

clever girl goes blog
Telling a girl she is very smart

impulse buys

is somebody shopping for an impulse buy?

black beans canned Australia
where to buy milk from cruelty free cows australia

i seem to be the place to look for advice on where to buy some things in oz (although i don't know any cruelty free cows that run a dairy-- and i don't think any cow milk could be completely cruelty-free. like zac says "meat is murder, dairy is rape" but i'm sure they were looking for milk from free-range hippy-cows that are at least treated well during their exploitation)
also-- i've found another place in melbourne that sells canned black beans. and its very close to home. a health food shop on the north part of lygon street (i think its 483 lygon st).

east gippsland lakes weekend

we took lots of pictures while we were in paynesville. most of them ended up being of wombat. here's a few of them.

teenage and adult swan on raymond island:

koalas on raymond island:

an echidna on raymond island (we watched it walk across the road but by the time i got the camera out it didn't show its face again-- but i did get close enough that i could have touched it).

looking like she's enjoying the water (she doesn't mind putting her toes in most of the time but that's about it):

not enjoying the water (she was in up to her belly a minute before the photo):

GQ pose by the water:

wombi exhausted from playing in the "park" (denise's backyard):

happy hour drinks and chips on the main strip by the lake:

more GQ posing:

trees at sunset and dusk:

driving pose (trying to check out the front seat, pant and sleep all at the same time):

lucky dog with an ice cream cone (a treat she got when we left her with zac's mom and nana for the afternoon while we went to metung):

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Friday, January 04, 2008


we arrived in paynesville late last nite. wombat isn't really welcome but she has no where else to go and she's our child so she had to come. denise told us to bring her around the back first and let her run before coming into the nice new house. there's no fence on one side of the yard so zac was just gonna run with her on lead in the yard. we'd talked to wombat a few times about being on her best behaviour here (i don't think she understood much of it). she tried though. zac walked over the small bridge to get to the back yard grass. wombat went around the side of the bridge-- right into the frog pond!!! it was dark and zac had no idea the pond was there. wombat somehow missed that one too and went straight in right up to her neck in water! it was pretty funny though but she had to get towelled down a lot and cleaned before she was allowed in the house. i was still laughing at the sight of her going into the pond (and she HATES water!) when i went to bed. she's not very good with first impressions. ever. then when she came in the HUGE house i think she thought it was a park and even after we took her around on lead to sniff everything she still felt the need to run up and down the house on the hard wood floors cuz there's so much room. fortunately she's a bit more settled about things today .
pictures will have to come later (we took her koala spotting and to the beach on raymond island this morning) cuz i didn't bring the camera cable.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

weird time of year for summer

this time of year still seems a bit weird to me in australia (i guess it is only the 5th christmas/summer i've had here). first the christmas season seems a bit weird with warm weather. for the canada club christmas party a few weeks ago we dripped with sweat as we all sat in a small-ish un-air-conditioned hall and feasted on a potluck lunch and then played baseball (while some aussies played cricket 100m away from us). we all felt horrible for poor santa who made an appearance to bring some early gifts to the kids at the party (he really needs to lose the fuzzy suit in australia). the shops all play the same christmas tunes from the northern hemisphere that talk about snow and sledding and winter (and a few aussie ones about kangaroos leading santa's sleigh and aussie 12 days of christmas.....) but they don't really make sense when the air conditioners are blasting and everyone is walking around in shorts and singlets (tank tops).
i was wandering around the shops today and saw a couple things that seemed a bit odd until i thought about it a bit. first i saw an employee in a shop fixing up a large barrel filled with australian flags. my first thought was "that's a lot of flags. is he just trying to fill a gap left from christmas merchandise?" i realized a couple min later (when i walked down an isle filled with australian flag paraphernalia) that australia day is in a few weeks. i walked into another shop where employees where boxing up what was left of their christmas stuff and putting out binders, pens, notebooks and other school supplies. it seemed a bit weird to replace christmas stuff with that until i remembered that this is summer holidays. kids will be going back to school in a month (and i'll be going back to work-- with a whole new group of kids).
i wonder if christmas in summer will ever feel normal.....

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

the cool change is coming as i type!!!

i've been sitting here sweltering since i peeled myself out of bed 2 hrs ago. i even gave up on the air conditioner (after laying 2 feet away from it and watching an episode of flight of the conchords on the laptop for 25 min). i was just about to write about the 40C temp that has been with us most of the last 24 hrs (it did drop to 28 at some point during the early morning-- it was still 30C at 3:30am according to a plant nursery we passed on our 7km ride home after we decided it would be faster to ride than wait 45 min for a train). i looked at the weather graph page and discovered an almost vertical line going down. a minute later a cool breeze started coming thru the windows!!! its here!!!
i was actually contemplating going up to the mall just to sit at some generic mall cafe with an iced coffee just to feel air conditioned air on my body. now its nice enough that we can head up to a beer garden (are pubs even open during the day on new years day???) and enjoy a nice cool beer outside (although i think zac is a little hungover-- my brunch of chickpeas with coriander and lemon made him feel sick just smelling it but maybe that's just cuz it was chickpeas with coriander and lemon.)