Monday, July 28, 2008


poor wombat has been a bit of a stress case the last week or so (i realize she doesn't look like it in the picture-- other than the fact she has one eye on the camera-- but i mostly take pics of her sleeping or playing). we've got rescue remedy that we sometimes give her but i'd never really taken time to see if it does actually help. the last few days she's been excessively nervous about almost everything. this afternoon when i got home she had a bit of a traumatic experience with her poo (a hair was involved) and after it was over (and during the events) she was SO shivery and nervous. when the hair was gone i gave her a couple treats but she still wouldn't calm so i gave her a drop of rescue remedy on a treat and then we just sat on the floor while i patted her. within a couple minutes she was completely relaxed. i decided we'd go for our walk. we ran into a spoodle not far from our house but she was amazingly calm about the whole thing. after she spotted it she actually was able to turn away from it for several seconds and as it got really close (we were on one side of the street, it was on the other walking towards us with its person) i just said "sit". i just talked softly to her and then said you get a treat for this. i didn't expect her to respond right away to that (the dog was just opposite us now) but she turned to me and took the treat! after she swallowed it she got up and we moved on and the spoodle was forgotten! she was so relaxed (especially for a smaller dog, although it was a very calm dog too). i decided to look up the use of rescue remedy for dogs just to see if its actually safe (it does have alcohol in it) and found several sites supporting its use and then when i clicked on the rescue remedy site i realized they also now sell rescue remedy for pets (alcohol free). maybe this will be a good thing for wombat. after the last few days i was starting to think we might need to get some kind of medication for her to calm her before she ends up having heart failure from stress.

Friday, July 25, 2008

another random meme to kill time until dinner (which zac has to get home first to make it)

Do you like blue cheese? yep but i only ever have it when someone else buys it
Have you ever smoked? nope
Do you own a gun? nope
What flavor Kool Aid was your favorite? never really liked kool-aid much
Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? no. i just get annoyed with all the waiting (usually i get in to see the doctor about an hour after my appointment was scheduled
What do you think of hot dogs? veggie dogs are great
Favorite Christmas movie? a christmas story
Favorite thing to drink in the morning? coffee!!!!!
Can you do push ups? yep.
What’s your favorite piece of jewelry? engagement ring and wedding ring (they fit together nicely)
Favorite hobby? anything outdoors
Do you have A.D.D.? no....
What’s one trait you hate about yourself? worrying about stupid little things
Middle name? lynne
Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment: when's zac home for dinner? i should probably move the dog since she's sitting on the couch and not on her mat. mind is blank.
What do you worry about the most? stupid little things
Current worry? hmmmm......
Current hate right now? cold weather (especially in the mornings)
Favorite place to be? warm places
How did you bring in the new year? with friends and temperatures in the 30C (still at midnite)
Where would you like to go? somewhere warm (like back to cape trib)
Do you own slippers? yep (wearing them now)
What shirt are you wearing? 4 (and a fleece jacket)
Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? never done it
Can you whistle? yeah but not actually a tune, just kind of a dog call
Favorite color? blue or silver
Would you be a pirate? nope. boats don't like me. i like them but half the time i end up feeling a bit sea sick within an hour or 2
What songs do you sing in the shower? i don't sing but i usually have kids songs from work going thru my head
Favorite Girl’s Name: not sure. i like several
Favorite boy’s Name: not sure.
What’s in your pocket right now? a mint (in a packet) and lip balm
Last thing that made you laugh? kids at work
What vehicle do you drive? gt transeo 4.0(bike. but it sounds like it could be some cute little car)
Worst injury you’ve ever had? bike accident when i was doored. or maybe breaking part of my tooth off on our trampoline (on the bar) when i was 7 or 8
Do you love where you live? yeah. i wouldn't mind slightly warmer winters though
How many TVs do you have in your house? 1
Who is your loudest friend? they're all pretty equally loud
Do you have any pets? our big boof of a dog
Does someone have a crush on you? my husband
Your favorite book(s)? johnny cash autobiography, not sure what else but there's a few good ones.....
Do you collect anything? dust
Favorite Sports Team? melbourne demons (they aren't doing so well this year)
What song do you want played at your funeral? something fun. maybe a bit country......

only in oz

outside my door is the music from the ice cream man's truck (and when he pulled up the streets i heard the screams of several children as they ran over from the park). only here could the ice cream guy actually sell enough ice cream to make it worth his time in winter (its only about 13C but it's the ICE CREAM MAN!!! and you have to buy his overpriced ice cream, even if its not actually "ice cream weather"). funny cuz this morning it was not even 2C with the wind chill and it was FREEZING!!! now its actually pleasent enough for the ice cream man to come around and i just got back from an extra long walk with the dog (where i was pretty warm by then end with my 5 layers).

Thursday, July 24, 2008

braving the cold

today is my first r.d.o. since we've been back. i have a long list (in my head-- i really should write it down though) of things that i want to get done today. most of these things involve biking around a bit (a 6 or 7km loop in one direction and then a 4km loop in the other). not a big deal except i'm really starting to not like my bike in winter. its already 10:30 but with the wind chill its still less than 5C outside! walking in this weather is fine (especially cuz its nice and sunny today) but when i bike i get that cold air coming at me. to bike to work this week (which is too short a trip to actually warm up on) i've had to put a nice big winter jacket on, gloves, fleece headband to cover my ears and i even wore thermal pants under my jeans one day (and i wear 4 or 5 layers under my jacket that mostly get left on all day). one of my co-workers was asking if i had a balaclava. i just kinda laughed thinking it was a joke but i think she might try to knit me and her son-in-law (who has also been riding to work lately) balaclavas now (which, after yesterday, i'm thinking might not be a bad idea other than it'll freak people out as i'm riding along in full skiing gear). i think i might just have to brave the cold and get out there and get stuff done (or i could just walk the whole 6 or 7 kms and take my time.......)
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Wednesday, July 23, 2008


we have a kid at work who just hasn't talked this year. she started a term late because her family was back home in china for a couple months and when she started her dad said he though she had kind of forgotten her english since she hadn't used it in a long time. the second week she said a couple things to us (even was a little bit cheeky just like her big sister was when we had her a couple years ago) but then just stopped talking to us (both staff and other children). she'd get her point across when she needed to but wouldn't speak. her family said she was speaking both english and mandarin at home all the time. we would hear her singing along with the group when we did songs but she would never speak. another child told me one day that she played with her when she saw her at the park and she spoke then and and asked why she wouldn't speak at kinder.
i was quite like her as a child. people who tried to make me speak or speak louder just made me do the opposite (i was a bit of a spiteful child i guess) so i figured it's best not to push her or make a big deal out of it.
yesterday morning i walked into work and my co-worker stated that the child had been talking to our new placement student all morning (who just happens to be chinese). i assumed my co-worker meant she was speaking chinese to her. she wasn't. she was speaking english!!! later in the morning the student told the child to come show me a drawing she'd done. when she walked up to me i asked her what it was (it was a very obvious drawing of a house) and the child just said in plain english "a house". i had to try not to act shocked that this was the first time she'd spoken to me in months so i just asked her if she wrote her own name on it (which she had and i didn't even know she knew how to write her name). she continued to talk to us and other children all afternoon (even after the placement student left) and it was so cool to hear her voice (and the funny little things she'd say, much to the surprise of all the children around her).
today she started coming up to teachers and telling us things (like that she has play dough at home and in lots of different colours) and when she left she just kept singing the word "bye" to me and her dad was beaming that his child was finally talking to us all.
i think the fact that we didn't make a big deal of it (at least not in front of her, we've been chatting and laughing about it in the staff room a lot) made it easy for her just to keep talking once she started and not feel like we were really focused on it.

perfect ending

after camping for 7 nites and staying at 2 different hostels we decided the last 4 nites would be at a resort (it was our honeymoon) so i booked us into the mantra treetops resort in port douglas. it was sooo nice. we got a deal with breakfast included. i assumed this meant a table of muffins and cereal and maybe some bread and a toaster. it was actually a full buffet breakfast with tons of vegan and veggie things. i had my standard plates every morning of hash browns, steamed mushrooms, grilled tomatoes and sometimes a bit of scrambled egg. i usually filled myself so full of these things that i barely had room for the nice bowl of fruit and yogurt i intended on getting. zac would do the same (but no yogurt or egg of course). the resort was a couple kms from the main strip in town but we had already spent 5 days in town so we bought a 3 day bus pass and just went in once a day (and we walked in along the beach one day just cuz the bus drivers were a bit scary in port douglas and the buses only come every 30 min).
me in the kinda cold resort pool (it was a few degrees colder than the ocean which was around 24C):

at the swim up bar (where we got mango daiquiris and coronas):

view of pool towards the bar the perfect afternoon (beer, good book and a poolside lounge chair):
our final full day in queensland we didn't leave the resort (except to make the 4 min walk to the beach for a quick swim in the warm ocean). zac got a massage. i just lounged by the pool, swam, read and drank beer and a pina colada. we had a great dinner at one of the resort's restaurants (the poolside one) and took in some of the cartoons of foxtel cable (we missed our cartoons during the trip). we were pretty relaxed by the time we got home. it was also great because our friend who had taken great care of wombat while we were away (and stayed at our house) took the time to clean the house, do the laundry, make the bed and bring us buckets (yes, we each had a bucket) of our favourite meal from the restaurant he was working at (but as of 3 days ago he is very happily no longer working there!!!) before he had to go do veggie pickups for fnb. oh, he also stocked us up with some breakfast foods (bread, soy milk and muesli) and came back after fnb with some left over veggies for us. it was sooo great to come home from a holiday and not have to worry about all that usual stuff .
here's some final sunset photos (on the inlet in port douglas):

great barrier reef

while in port douglas we went out on calypso to the great barrier reef. unfortunately it was a bit cool and windy the day we went but it was still a great trip (and calypso was a great company to go with out of the MANY choices available). zac and i both decided to take the travel sickness pills offered before we left the dock (some friends did the same trip a couple years ago and one got sea sick and had a horrible time, the other said it was the best day ever). i'm glad we did because i was starting to feel a bit off by the time we got to the reef (about a 90 min trip in rough waters) but i was ok once we stopped. our boat included wetsuits in the price (some of the ones we looked at offered wetsuits as an extra fee) so we both took them (the water was 24C but with the wind and lack of sun it was kind of cold). we planned on buying a cd of the photos taken by the boats photographer but 2 snorkeling sessions (out of 3) into the trip, the only photos she had of us were on the boat so we decided to buy one of the crappy disposable cameras (they did have a couple underwater digital cameras available for hire but they went quick and at that time we thought we'd get the photographers photos). i was surprised that we actually got a few photos that looked ok with the disposable one (especially since i was being tossed by waves on the surface every time i tried to use it)
zac checking out the reef below: some little fishes:
me swimming over some coral:
not sure what i'm doing (underwater doggie paddle?):
i had a lot of trouble trying to get down in the water (and even more trouble trying to stay down to check out things)
more coral (i was actually trying to take a picture of a huge school of fish (like the one at the very top) but i think i missed (it was hard to look thru the lens with the mask on and i was being tossed by the waves as well... not great photo conditions)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

more animals and the sanctuary

here's a good shot of a cassowary at the sanctuary:
it was neat watching him eat. he'd take the chunk of fruit and put it in his mouth then just swallow it-- you could see it moving down his throat!! kinda gross but i'd assume his stomach is kinda big under all those feathers and will take care of it. they're pretty amazing looking birds although they look like they should have died out with the dinosaurs (and they're kinda scary after having those 2 come at us)
another really cute little wallaby (i think its a swamp wallaby):
the second time we were at the sanctuary we rode bikes. we decided to ride back along the beach:
so much fun!! we road down and back along 4 mile beach a couple days later cuz it was so fun but we discovered riding down the beach was actually quite a workout because of the way the wind blows (especially on a rusty old bike with no gears) but after a good hard ride down, we had another fun ride back up again.
4 mile beach from a lookout point:

what nightmares are made out of

when we went to darwin a few years ago zac had nitemares for months afterwards about crocodiles. this time it was my turn to have nitemares. these to salties at the sanctuary were amazing. the second time we went it was warm and sunny (the first day was cloudy and it rained a bit) so the crocs were out of the water and we got to look at them up close (the cause of my nitemares)
the little (in comparison to the other one-- still pretty huge and wouldn't want to meet it in the wild) one was quite active and walked around a bit (moving into the sun as it moved along). it was amazing watching this giant lizard move itself!
this guy has been the subject of my nitemares:
he was MASSIVE!!! and those teeth! we kept going back to his area (he/she was sunning herself just next to the bridge we were on) and starring at him-- the HUGE feet and scales and teeth. really amazing!
there were also a bunch of freshwater crocs (slightly smaller than salties and a little less aggressive but still deadly) in a pond near the salt water ones: they were quite active moving around on their sand mound and crawling in and out of the water. its amazing when they swim because unless you're looking VERY carefully, you probably won't see them. you see some of the algae moving a bit (looks like it is just a current) and then if you look really closely you'll see 2 little eyes and the tip of the nose above the water.

rainforest habitat

while in port douglas we decided to go to rainforest habitat animal sanctuary. with our entry we got 2 days re-entry so after taking the port douglas bus to the sanctuary (its just on the edge of town--a whole 4 or 5km from the main strip) we decided to bike back 2 days later with the free to use hostel bikes.

i loved the grasslands area filled with wallabies and kangaroos roaming around:

that doesn't look very comfy for the joey (but lots of them were doing it):zac and one of our wallaby friends:
me and one of the wallabies:
i got zac to take a bunch of photos with me and some wallabies and even a big red kangaroo but unfortunately i forgot to mention to zac that the setting was on center auto focus so all the photos (from both days) have a crisp clear background and me and the roo or wallaby are a bit blurred (except the one above)
a boyd's dragon like we saw on the nite hike:

Monday, July 21, 2008

eillis beach

when we came down from kuranda we planned on spending a nite camping somewhere between cairns and port douglas. we ended up at ellis beach. this campsite definitely had the best view of all the ones we stayed at: the view from the beach back towards the campground (and straight up into the hills just beyond the campground):
sunset at ellis beach:

more queensland photos

mossman gorge:
it took me ages of playing around with the camera settings to get a good smooth water shot (i probably could have done it a lot faster but i didn't want to get the manual out). we did a big walk/hike at the gorge and then sat by the swimming hole for a bit (i didn't think it was warm enough water to go in but there were lots of people in the water)

our campsite at kuranda:

we slept in front of a wall of bamboo plants. they made really cool wind chime noises when the breeze blew but we were both a bit scared of them dropping on the tent if the wind picked up. kuranda is in the hills outside of cairns and gets quite "cold" at nite (i think it might have been down to 9 or 10C, maybe only 14C but i was FREEZING. that was the only time on the trip i put close toed shoes on in the evening and i slept in multiple layers with the sleeping bag zipped up over my head. the town of kuranda was pretty cool though-- an old hippie town with great markets.

st. andrews cross spider:

it looks pretty deadly with its body and web in an 'x' shape but i looked it up when we got home and apparently it's pretty harmless. usually it sits right over the 'x' in the web but it had moved when i finally went to take a photo the morning we were leaving.

zac learning to throw a boomerang:
we decided to go to an aboriginal cultural centre on the way down from kuranda. it was kind of disappointing-- very tourist-y and marketing the whole aboriginal thing. we did learn a few things about the aboriginals of the area though and got to learn how to throw boomerangs and spears:

more rainforest photos

my favourite sign from the trip: in case you can't read the small print it says "chill out not flat out" (you can get t shirts with this sign and that saying on up there). the sign is actually "enhanced" from it's original. all the other signs like these 2 just have a hump for the top one because there are random EXTRA LARGE speed humps along the road thru the daintree so people slow down and hopefully avoid hitting cassowaries and other animals.

strangler fig tree:

these trees have no trunk. birds deposit strangler fig seeds at the tops of other trees. the roots grow down the tree wrapping around the trunk. eventually they kill off the host tree and stand on their own roots! this one is hollow inside because the host tree died long ago.

pushkin the fruit bat:

this little guy lives at a bat sanctuary cuz he'll never be able to fly again (wing injury). he was soooooooo cute!!

small skink on a trail:

bush turkey: these guys were everywhere! at nite and especially early in the morning at cape trib (and kuranda) we'd hear rustling outside the tent. it scared us a couple times (especially with zac's irrational fear of crocs up there-- he's scared of finding them in places they don't really go) but it would just be bush turkeys walking past thru the bushes or around the tent.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

not so cute and cuddly

i still have more photos and stories from queensland but i just came across this article on a kangaroo mauling a woman.
they may look pretty cute but they can get really aggressive (and apparently for no reason other than a person being in what they've made as their territory)


while in cape trib zac found a new obsession: coconut smashing.

zac kept talking about wanting to get a coconut and smashing it to get the juice and "meat" out. i didn't think he'd actually do it (he has a habit of talking about stuff he'd like to do but never actually taking steps to make it happen). one afternoon he started looking under the coconut trees for good coconuts and he found one that sounded right so he brought it over to a sign and started banging the outer shell to break into the inner part where the coconut lives. after 10 minutes or more he finally got in. then he had to break into the inner shell (trying to be careful so the juice could be saved). another 10 min and he was in the coconut! it still took us ages to break off little bits of the meat to eat and we lost most of the juice but it was pretty good. we also got a backpacker intrigued enough to try smashing his own coconut.
the next day zac wanted to do it again. here he is smashing the outer layer:
still trying to smash the outer layer (funny cuz at this point the same backpacker from the day before walked past and saw zac still smashing away at coconuts and me still sitting there with the camera. he just walked away laughing to himself): finally inside!
that second coconut was my favourite of the 4 or 5 zac smashed over the rest of the trip. he's still talking about getting more coconuts to smash only now he's gonna have to buy them from the supermarket and he's a little sad they won't have that extra outer layer for him to work thru.

cape tribulation

after 2 nites in daintree we moved up to cape tribulation campground (cape trib is still part of daintree national park, just a bit further north). our camp site was only separated by a thin strip of forest (mostly palms) and we could hear the waves at nite. the town had a little more to it (even an iga express with reasonable prices and a HUGE pub--the only local pub--that was part of the backpackers. we got to see lots of animals in cape trib.
a monitor lizard: there were 2 of them. they hung around a picnic area just off cape trib beach with a couple of bush turkeys just waiting for picnic tourists to drop some food.

boyd's dragon:

we saw the boyd's dragon on a nite hike (a guided one-- no way i was going into the rainforest on my own at nite!). we actually saw 2 of them that nite.

our first real croc:

this salty was just hanging out on the beach across the river from where we got on a boat to do a croc cruise. we met our cruise guide up on the roadside and he told us to follow a small path off the road down to the boat. he said "the boat is first one you come to. board up the ramp but don't go in the water. don't worry there's no croc's there-- she's on the other side of the river"
the 6 or 7 of us walking together (somehow i was leading the group) were a bit scared as we went down this path thru mangroves. we got on the boat and looked across the river and there she was-- just sunning herself on the beach (zac had binoculars with him so we got a really close look at her while we were waiting for our guide to come down and take the boat closer to her).

we also spent a lot of time just hanging out at the beaches (myall beach and cape trib) while were there and relaxing in the shade reading books.
4x is the beer of queensland. we drank a lot of it while we were up there.