Thursday, January 29, 2009

Guilty Secrets!

When I was little, my mum would come back from her weekly grocery shopping trips with a treat! It was always a chocolate bar, a packet or lollies or something as equally sweet and tempting. Now, before you all email me, telling me about the issues of food rewards and obesity etc - which I'm well aware of - I have to say that these little treats are still remembered with great fondness. Her theory was that if she had to suffer that painful experience of grocery shopping, then we all deserved a little celebration for it!

As an adult, I still use that whole theory. Sometimes, we just need to reward ourselves! And while I generally (and genuinely) do try to avoid rewarding with food treats, there are still times when a tasty morsel of something that I wouldn't usually buy just happens to find its way into my shopping trolley.

Last week, I found myself emulating my mother's practice!

It had been a long week....and was coming to the end of a long school holiday. After, months!....of listening to children play (loudly), fight (loudly), demand (loudly!) and do the usual kid things and being in a grump with Dear Husband who was avoiding mowing the incredibly long lawn (still waiting for that one, btw!), I headed off to grocery shopping!

Now, grocery shopping is something that I am no fan of. So, I guess it was not unexpected that when I saw one of my very favourite fruits just sitting on the shelf and looking appealingly at me, I threw a few handfuls into a bag and whizzed them through the checkout!

And I guess it comes as no surprise then that despite ice-cream and other assorted foods melting in the car boot, I sat in my car in the car park and devoured that little packet of lychees while enjoying the absolute silence of my own company....a pretty rare experience round here!

Do I feel guilty? You betcha! But sometimes, for the sake of a mother's pure sanity, we have to make the most of the little opportunities that we afford ourselves! And in the end, I came home a calmer and happier mother who began enjoying her family all over again!!!!

Image courtesy of Luc Viatour;

Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Australia Day!!!

Enjoy your day, no matter where you are or what flag you prefer!!!!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Oi! It's Quiet Round Here!

It's so quiet around here that if you listen carefully, you can hear......well.....ok, the sound of the new Imeem song on the player that I put there to celebrate our upcoming Australia Day weekend!

And when it's Australia Day, it also means a couple of things:

1) The weather is blawdy hot!
2) The one-day internationals (that's cricket for all of you non-fans!) are in full swing.
3) The kids start heading back to school and
4) I have to go back to work.....*sob, sob*!

Yes, it's 'Goodbye holidays and hello early morning wake-ups' all over again! Not to mention sport sign up and week-end taxiing to sporting venues just around the corner!

So, due to the sudden on-set of the above-mentioned preparations, all has been very quiet on this little blog site. Well, quieter than usual, I guess. And even on this holiday weekend, my plans are really to work, sleep in and organise back-to-school things for the kids!

I hope that all of you have something fabulous planned though. Be it bbqs, beach or spending time with the family, enjoy your Australia Day weekend!

Oh, and in case you are wondering, the imeem player keeps saying that this is John Williamson singing. Sorry, but it's my understanding that it's Rai Thistlewaite from Thirsty Merc, doing his best Seekers impression!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

My Poor Mutt-Dog!

Problem: One swollen and closed eye! My poor doggie!
Cause: No idea! We saw her like this yesterday afternoon and rushed her to the vet who speculated that she knocked her eye into something. She had fluro drops put in her eye so we know that although there is a superficial mark on her cornea, it isn't a scratch from a claw or anything that simple but should heal in a few days, thankfully.
Solution: Eye cream that has to be inserted 3 times a day and one very annoying lampshade halo! Oh and not to mention a whole lotta TLC!

Problem: Due for his second puppy needles!
Solution: Take him to the vet with you when you rush Ruby down there and 'kill two dogs with the one stone...or vet visit!'

Cost for both.....$180! Yeeeouchhhhhhh! However if you, like me, are coming off a 'Marley and Me' high, you will know that they are so worth it!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Who Likes Cricket???!!!!

I do! Especially if it's a 20-20 game at the Gabba on a balmy summer's night!

Last night, Australia played South Africa and so, being the cricket-lovin' family that we we trotted! And yes, the Superteen seriously did wear this hat!

Some of the Nine commentary team prepared before the game began. Yep, that's Shane Warne
and Michael Slater to the right!

It was a big crowd of around 37 and a half thousand people. Unfortunately, the Gabba grass has been hit with some disease, hence the yucky patches on the field!

South Africa batted in the first innings and set a total of 157 runs!

Can any of you non-cricket playing people understand this scoreboard? Lol! (Here is a quick lesson: That is the South African batting innings. The important numbers are the two big ones in the bottom right hand corner. It means that South Africa at that stage were 3 for 46. That means that 3 players went in to bat and were out and so far the team had made 46 runs....runs, being how many times they'd run between those stump thingies! Understand??)

Here is a picture for all of you Tasmanians! Although, personally, I prefer the very hot Mr Ben Hilfenhaus to look like this!
At half time, the crowd saluted Matt Hayden who announced his retirement from competitive cricket that day!
He made an honour lap of the oval for us to cheer was a standing ovation by all!
In the second innings, the game was close. It was hard to tell if we would win or not. Until Michael Hussey, Ricky Ponting and co started batting strongly!
Yaayyyyyy, we did win! The final ball was a massive 6 (that means that the batsman hit the ball, on the full, over the fence and into the crowd)!

Michael Hussey was named Man-of-the-Match!

*sigh* And that's it for international 20-20 cricket in Australia for anther year! Never mind, though! The One Day Internationals are about to begin!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Tasmania....the Final Recount! (That Means 'Part 3' If You Are Keeping Track!)

After a night in Hobart, we set off to Port Arthur. It's actually quite a pretty hour and a half trip to visit the convict ruins. Once there, we settled in for the day, listening to the guided tour, visiting the restored structures and taking in the scenery.
One highlight of our visit was a small cruise across the bay to the 'Isle of the Dead'. The 'Isle of the Dead' tour costs extra on entry to Port Arthur but is well worth it. Here we walked around the isle and listened to our guide telling stories of the former inhabitants, whose graves we stood beside. To be honest, it wasn't spooky at all, but rather very very fascinating! Oh, and on our way back across the bay, we saw a lone seal swimming in the water!

Unfortunately, in more recent times, the media reports from Port Arthur have focused on sadness and violence. The tour though is all about its convict history and if, like me, you are a history buff then you will find it an interesting place. The old buildings have been lovingly restore and you do get a real understanding of the life that prisoners at the time had to endure.

After a stop at the museum and gift store at Port Arthur, we headed north. This was probably our longest drive on the holiday so it was nice to do a few stops, including the Tessellated Pavements just north of Port Arthur.
Our stop that night was the beach side, eastern-coast township of Bicheno. We were fortunate enough to do the Penguin guided tour. Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to use flash photography, so my picture below relied solely on the guide's flashlight to get any sort of light on the pitch-black night.
Day 8....after a night in Bicheno, we ate a quick breakfast at the local bakery and drove around to see the Bicheno Blow Hole. Unfortunately, we were there at low tide, so we didn't get very exciting 'blows'! But the rock formation on the beach is fascinating.
After Bicheno, we headed north and stopped at Natureworld to glimpse some Tasmanian Devils. These little creatures look so cute in the real, however, I've been told that they can be very vicious! Luckily, they were on the other side of the barrier from us!
At Natureworld, I couldn't help taking this photo of the inquisitive ostriches! Do you think they are ready to have a chat with Miss Nine?
After this, we headed back to our relative's house for some rest and family time before heading back to Brisbane. I have so many reflections of this holiday that it's hard to put it all into words. To be honest, there were so many places in Tasmania that we didn't get to see, however the whole week was so jam-packed that I was exhausted on my arrival back in Brisbane. There were many highlights (including just catching up with my wonderful relatives!) and there is nothing that I would change. Perhaps, we might even head back there again in the not-so-distant future!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Tasmanian Tales.....Part 2!!!!

Day 4 in Tasmania was a highlight of our trip. We trekked west-ward with my wonderful rellies (who also gave me a break from driving....God bless them!).

First stop was the town of Sheffield where we bought old biscuit and chocolate tins for my collection from a closing-down museum. (Ok, not a delight to drag onto the plane home but I left that treasure to DH!). While in Sheffield, we also had tea and scones from a local store and Miss Nine had her picture taken with a pet Llama!

After Sheffield, we ventured past the Promised Land.......can you believe it!!!!

We ended up in the town of Lower Crackpot (I kid you not!!!!) to try the garden maze walk. Now, this maze is one hellova site....lots of hedges making amazing (sorry the pun!) mazes to walk through. On the way, you stumbled across miniature villages like this one. I think that this was the Little Pigs' cottages!

From Lower Crackpot (which still cracks me up!) we kept going until we reached Cradle Mountain. I really don't think that words describe this amazing place but it is so pristine and tranquil that recommending a trip there to anyone who ventures to Tasmania is probably an understatement. Oh, and yes, that is snow around the top of it! Go figure....snow in January! Who woulda thunk it!!!!

On day 5, we decided to have a quieter day around Launceston. The Cataract Gorge, which is close to the city, was an interesting place to visit and is home to quite a few of these pretty peacocks. Obviously, there was a girl peacock around, cause all of the boys were putting on an incredible show.

You can get the chair-lift across Cataract Gorge for a small price. It's a pretty place and the suspension bridge made it all the more prettier. After the Gorge visit, we went to the city where I once again saw Twilight. I know. I'm a Twilight addict!

Day 6....we drove to Hobart! We were fortunate enough to visit the Cadbury factory and have a short talk before heading into their store where, being chocolate lovers, we spent a fortune! After that it was off to our motel apartment where we had this delightful view of the Tasman Bridge!
One thing that DH wanted to do was the drive up Mt Wellington, which overlooks Hobart. Here is where I shamefully admit that, although I don't fear heights, I do have a fear of driving on narrow roads, around hairpin bends with drops that resemble the view from an airplane and so, at 1000 metres above sea level, in a fit of shaking knees and jelly legs, I turned the car around and chickened out! This is the only photo I got of our ascent cause I was so darn scared! I'm sure that the view from the very top was magnificent but you know is my sanity!

Finally, after Mt Wellington, we drove to the Superteen's place of interest......Bellerive Oval! On a walk around the oval, I snuck my camera in a gap in the fence to get this snazzy shot!

Stay tuned for the third and final entry on our trip to Tasmania soon.

Friday, January 9, 2009

There In Tasmania.....!!!!!! Part One!!!!

If you have wondered what had happened to me, wonder no more! I have been on a jaunt to Tasmania to visit my aunt, uncle and cousin and to have a jolly wonderful time to boot!

Now, you know that the omen for a fabbo holiday is good, when you are sitting at Melbourne airport waiting for a connecting flight to Launceston (Launnie to the locals, apparently! Lol!) when this man walks very weary looking Wil Anderson! Now, I just love Wil Anderson but no, wasn't tempted to run up and crash tackle him to the ground in search of an autograph....or to tell him that I once had an interesting dream about him! But hey, that's for another day!

Our first stop when we did reach Tasmania was Launceston. Or actually south of Launceston. We spent time with family and rested in preparation for Day 2.......the little drive north where we saw a lighthouse at Low Head and drove across the Batman Bridge! Ok, this was the best pic I could get of it but still, it was interesting at the time!
After driving up the eastern side of the Tamar River, we headed across to the western side and visited the town of Beaconsfield. Now, like many others, we knew Beconsfield because of the recent mine collapse and so, visited the mine itself, although sadly didn't have time to do the full mine museum tour.
After Beaconsfield, Miss Nine was desperate to trip up to Beauty Point and see Seahorse World and Platypus World. Sadly, Seahorse World don't like you taking photographs, but this little guy was one of the residents of Platypus World.
And so were these guys.......incredibly cute Tasmanian echidnas!

On day 2 we headed north-west. After stopping at Anvers Chocolate Factory, and meeting up with the delightful Theresa we lunched at the local pub in the town of LaTrobe. I asked for a Chicken Kiev meal, expecting a prepackaged, overheated, typical counter meal. Instead, I got this:
After that, it was onto Stanley where we climbed 'The Nut' (which is actually a mountain-slash-extinct volcanic core) via a chairlift. Hmmmm...ok, so we didn't actually climb it, but I'm sure that we thought about some stage!
So the first two days in Tasmania were eventful. The most common thing I've been asked is if I found it cold. Compared to Queensland weather the answer is definitely, yes! But probably not as cold as I expected. Ok, I admit that I donned puffy jacket, beanie and scarf on numerous days but hey, it was good to get an extra wear out of our winter wardrobe.

Also, stay tuned to this spot cause I'm doing another couple of entries about my Tassie holiday.