31 August, 2006


Or am moving. The move is still underway (and will be until I can fully understand my 'new digs'). Some things are still to be sorted - like why most of my photos didn't transfer perfectly. But so far, so good. The new site - do, do, DO check it out - is at http://purplegiraffes.wordpress.com. See you there.

29 August, 2006


I didn't really get fired...

26 August, 2006


For the last company picnic,
management had decided that
due to liability issues,
we could have alcohol,
but only one (1) drink each person.
I was fired for ordering the cups.

24 August, 2006

Am in a hurry to get to work (not that I want to get to work, just that I have so much to do). I've been in a hurry all week. Haven't got anything done. Wasn't going to do the TT today, but I haven't done one in so long. So, this is short, but it's thirteen things that I must do - but will I ever get them done??
  1. Vacuuming. Oh, my God - my house is so full of dirt and dust.
  2. Quilting. Just a few blocks, but it is important that I do them this week.
  3. Clean the bathroom. I remember doing that once...
  4. Wash the dishes - that have been in the sink a day or two.
  5. Dusting. Does that chore ever end??
  6. Buy some food to eat - there is almost nothing in the house.
  7. Pay bills - if I still want a phone and power and all the other conveniences/necessities.
  8. Clean the car - it's still covered in bulldust from last weekends trip.
  9. Fill the car with petrol - should I continue to wait for petrol prices to come down?
  10. Email all the people I have been neglecting to email.
  11. Iron all the clothes that are piling up all over the spare room.
  12. Wash all the clothes that are piling up all over my bedroom floor.
  13. Put it all off until tomorrow...

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

23 August, 2006

I can grow stuff

This is the orchid that my mum gave to me as a graduation present a while back. It has been through some ups and downs - wet season, dry season, neglect season (inflicted by me and never ends - sort of like winter in Narnia but here it's more of a constant drought). I even had one stem come out of the pot so I just left it on the pumice stones in the pot to die, but it's still growing - with no support from any root system at all (those clever epiphytes!!). Makes me smile when I think of all those passionate orchid growers who have greenhouses and fertilizers and fume cupboards and lighting and heating techniques - and all my orchids need to thrive is abuse.

22 August, 2006

paint and flowers

I'm glad everyone liked the drawers. Or everyone who commented at least. If you didn't like the drawers, you can leave a comment too. I was a little wary about the colour (but hey, the drawers cost me $2 - I couldn't really lose, no matter what I did). The colour I was aiming for was a really deep blood red. So I bought Taubmans brand "red siren." But as I only wanted a sample pot, I got the salesman (with the Billy-Ray-Cyrus-mullet, but that's another story) to mix it in Wattyl paint because Wattyl have 500ml sample pots whereas Taubmans only give you 200ml pots and I thought I would need more than 200ml to cover the drawers several times over. Anyway, the colour didn't come out as deep as I wanted and in real life it's actually a very deep pink. Which does look fabulous in the right circumstances. But not with my red quilt. So I'm thinking of doing a "Jackson Pollock" to it - in darker colours. I might mix some dark brown with it to get the right colour. I'll show you the result.

In other news, Blogger has been driving me nuts lately, and WordPress is looking more and more attractive. Stay tuned and be prepared for a diversion in the future. Or not. I am just all talk at this stage.

And finally, a picture taken on my walk home from work this evening:

21 August, 2006


Nothing to talk about today. Except...

I made some microwave popcorn about a week ago. Anyone have any suggestion of how to get rid of the popcorn smell that emanates from the microwave each time I open the door?

Oh, and here is the latest garage sale find. From this:
To this:

Guess I did have something to say, after all.

20 August, 2006

The longest post ever

So, I told my boss on Tuesday that I felt an illness coming on that would probably peak on Friday and I wouldn't be able to make it in. This was my way of requesting a day off. Friday morning I figured that I should really do something with my long weekend, so at about 10:00 I threw a heap of random stuff in the back of the car (painting stuff, thermal clothing, esky, tent, sleeping bag and such) and headed off. I got three blocks away then turned around and came back for my computer. I thought that I would take heaps of photos of the trip and would run out of space on my memory card (since the 2GB card I ordered won't arrive before the end of the month) so I could download pictures while I was away. I filled the car with food and petrol and headed west, deciding along the way to visit Ravenswood.

Ravenswood is a lovely little mining town which had it's heyday around the early 1900s. It now has a permanent population of 100 people and another handful of miners working at the nearby gold mine. It is the closest thing we have to a ghost town around here (and almost every building is said to have it's share of ghosts). It's a very beautiful, very historical, very dry and dusty town - good for a visit but what sane person would want to live there???

After a few hours in Ravenswood I jumped back on the highway and headed south - to Burdekin Falls Dam. My line of work has a lot to do with this dam but until Friday I had never seen it. The good (though late) rain we have had up here meant that water was spilling over the top of the dam up until about a month ago. The significance of that didn't really register until I got there and realised that if you want to keep going south from the dam, you have to drive over a road at the bottom of the dam. Which might prove a bit hair-raising when the dam is over full. And impossible since the road is gated and locked when this happens. There is nothing at the actual dam except a caravan park. Not even a shop. It is very pretty, but it felt quite desolate. This was where most of the wallabies were found (I took many, many wallaby photos).

By this time it was about 4:00 and I decided to head home - back the way I came. Cattle grids are on the road to the dam spaced about 5km apart. So the cattle between these grids are not fenced from the road. I'm not sure what age a cow is when it develops road sense, but calves sure don't have any. They'd see or hear the car approach and fly into a major panic, running off, then on, then off the road again. I started to suffer a bit of cow (as opposed to road) rage! There were also the little peaceful doves that take their road sense cues from the calves. They didn't seem to mind that a car would race at them at 100km/h. Sometimes they would reluctantly fly away with only moments to spare. One decided it was perfectly happy where it was. Don't know how happy it was after I saw a mass of feathers in the rearview mirror. I felt both bad and angry that I'd just killed a peaceful dove - but it was unavoidable. So then I started honking the horn (and slowing down a lot, of course) as I approached the animals - which just freaked them out more. It was at this time - coming on to dusk - that all the animals were coming on to the road for warmth. As well as the birds and cows, there were reptiles and wallabies - and roadkill, with hawks on the road eating said roadkill. It was like driving through a minefield. I got back to Ravenswood and was heading to Ayr when I realised it was going to be a few hours on dirt road in the dark with unfenced animals. This was when I was thankful that I had packed the tent and sleeping bag and such. I turned around and went back to Ravenswood to camp for the night.

The next morning, after chatting with the caretaker of the campground (which doubled as the town's cricket pitch) I headed east - to Ayr. I stopped off at White Blow - a huge quartz outcrop. This was meant to be really interesting and unique and the geologist in me would have been fascinated. But while there, I realised that the geologist in me was long dead because I just thought it was a big white rock. I also went to check out the gold mine - a huge open cut hole in the ground with miners working 24 hours a day. The trucks were big, the noise was loud (especially in the middle of the night) and the slag heaps were long. Again, the geologist in me was not resurrected and and I am now comfortable with the fact that rocks bore me.

I continued east, slowing down for dopey cows and stopping now and then to take pictures. After about an hour, the car suddenly started to move with an occasional - but regular - thud . I thought I should pull over and make sure I wasn't dragging a cow that I had unknowingly run over along the way. But what I found was worse. A flat tyre. My first response upon seeing this was to whine, "Oh, man?" My second response was, "I gotta get a picture of this."

Now I know the theory of changing a tyre. I've seen it done many times. I unloaded the boot, got the shiny spare out and the even shinier jack (which I had to take out of some packaging, indicating that this was the first time at changing a flat tyre for both of us). I chocked the wheels to keep the car from rolling, I set the jack in place ready to raise the car after I had loosened the nuts. Then I tried to loosen the nuts. I tried to loosen the nuts again. And again. I got out the manual to see what I was doing wrong. I was doing everything right. But I am SO WEAK!!! The nuts wouldn't budge. The manual did say that because the wheels were alloy, they had locking nuts and I needed a nut key, but they looked normal to me, and there was no nut key anywhere. I sat in the dirt and pondered. The last cattle station I had seen was about 5 km back. There was no mobile phone reception and even if there was, I hadn't charged my battery. I got up and tried the nuts again. Then I tried turning them the other way. Nothing. I think I may have sworn. I took more photos. Then a van showed up. I flagged it down and in it was an elderly couple. The woman didn't get out of the car. She spent the whole time glaring at me. The man did get out and had the same problem with the nuts. Which I must admit that, in a sick way, I was a little glad of. He must have been about 80 and I would have felt ultra weak if he could move the nuts and I couldn't. He then got out his own super-4-way-nut-loosener-thing-that-has-a-special-name-but-I-don't-know-it. And loosened the nuts with ease. I then jacked up the tyre. And neither of us could get the bloody wheel off the car. We stood scratching our heads for a while. I'd have sworn more, but I was now in company and I didn't want this man to drive off in disgust at my foul mouth. We tried pulling and pushing and kicking but nothing got the wheel off. Then a couple in a 4WD towing a boat came from the other direction. They got out (this time the lady smiled instead of glared - the other lady was still sitting in the van) and the man used brute strength to yank the wheel off the car. I felt like saying, "thanks very much, I can take it from here," but the "boys" decided that they both needed to put the spare on. So I stood there chatting with the lady about fishing while the men fixed my tyre. I don't think I have ever felt like such a helpless, pathetic girl in all my life. The old guy then said that he'd follow me all the way to the bitumen (which is the direction he was going anyway) another hour away. So, tyre fixed, I thanked them all, reloaded the car and took off. Slowly. With no music. Listening for a second flat. I couldn't stop and take any more pictures because I had the old man and his scowling wife following me. But I got to Ayr and saw a tyre place so pulled in. They repaired the flat and changed the wheels back and spent forever trying to get the jack and spare tyre back in the car the way they were meant to be. And they charged me $20, which I thought was nothing and next time I have a flat I'll go back to them because they were really nice, even though they are an hour from town. But hopefully that won't happen for a LONG time.

After all that, I drove home totally exhausted (but not too exhausted that I couldn't post pictures yesterday) with an aching back and vowing to steer clear of dirt roads for at least a week.

Now the pictures. First, yesterdays shots were, from the top:
  • Rusted cars outside of the (haunted) Imperial Hotel in Ravenswood.
  • An old chimney at Ravenswood.
  • A butterfly at Ravenswood.
  • A pelican at Burdekin Falls Dam (I'm really stating the obvious with these captions, aren't I?).
  • The lower Burdekin - taken from atop Burdekin Falls Dam.
  • A wallaby near Burdekin Falls Dam.
  • Ditto above.
  • Sunset between Ravenswood and Ayr (this was when I decided to turn around and not risk hitting cows/wallabies/hawks on the dirt road to Ayr).
  • Typical northern cattle (Brahmin) - they do better up here in the heat than the regular cows you find in the south).
  • Gumnuts.
  • A cane train at the mill, queued up ready for processing. The smell of molasses was heavy in the air here.
  • The flat!!

And todays pictures:

  • A windmill at Ravenswood.
  • A thistle at Ravenswood.
  • A baby magpie warbling away - Ravenswood again.
  • Another Brahmin cow. Don't you love those droopy ears?
  • Burdekin snow (ash from burning the sugar cane).
  • One carriage of sugar cane waiting to be processed.
  • The spare tyre on the car (this was taken at the tyre shop while the flat was being repaired).
  • Fire on Castle Hill as I drove back into town. I still don't know what was going on, but the city was pretty smoky.

19 August, 2006

I went for a drive yesterday (day off) and ended up spending the night camping in Ravenswood as it was getting pretty late after visiting Burdekin Falls Dam and Ravenswood. Had a great time and am now exhausted. Will talk about it later but, in the meantime, here are a few random pics of what I saw.

And yes, that is my tyre, covered in bulldust and flat!!

18 August, 2006

In the hope that this puts an end to the bat debate...

A message to Val and Kerri and all those others who can't stand the bats:
This is what I'm talking about when I refer to bats. Fruit bats. Flying foxes. They're one and the same (to me). Yes, I have seen them in the Botanic Gardens in Sydney. And I saw them in Charters Towers last week and I see them electrocuted on the power lines all the time here in Townsville and I can even hear a couple fighting with each other in the trees outside my window right now. It is, after all, 3am. What am I doing blogging at 3am??? I have the day off tomorrow. But I digress. I know the bats can be destructive, and I know they can crap everywhere. But come on. Look at these faces and just dare to tell me that they're not cute!!

17 August, 2006

Remember this? I sliced the top off it and it became this:
A glorious mixture of pumpkin, mushrooms, beans, corn, onion and marinated tofu. With noodles thrown in afterwards. Yum.

15 August, 2006


I have been meaning to post about this for a while. A few weeks ago I saw "Ten Canoes" at the movies with friends. This is a film that should be a MUST SEE for every Australian. Nay, a MUST SEE for everyone that reads my blog. I insist. It is fabulous. One of the best films I have seen in a long time, even though I slept through the middle of it.* I won't go into an extensive review of the film, but you can read about it here. And here. And even here and here. And do you know what? They even had fart jokes thousands of years ago in Australia!!

This picture is a little dodgy - it's a photograph of the brochure I picked up at the cinema when I saw the film. GO SEE IT!!

*Note that the sleeping through the movie had no bearing on the entertainment factor: I should just not go to a 9:30pm viewing after a large meal, several glasses of wine and being one of only four people in the audience.

14 August, 2006


Miss Eagle tagged me for a meme. I'm very excited (I like being tagged). But this one is a tough one. It's a garden meme adapted from a book meme. And "Tanya" and "garden" are not often uttered in the same sentence (unless it is to say something like, "Tanya doesn't own a garden and should never have a garden because she is not the best when it comes to gardening."). Anyway, I'll have a go.

1. Name one plant that changed your life.
Anthurium – the first time I discovered that flowers could be more interesting than roses and carnations. Though my mother has always referred to anthuriums as “a penis on a plate.” Think I’ll leave that statement alone…


2. Name one plant you've planted more than once.
I bought a plant (I’m crap here – have no idea what it’s called but is really common as an indoor plant down south, and up north it does well inside or outside) several years ago at a market for a dollar or two and it just grows like crazy. I’ve re-potted it about four times, have split it and now have this thing growing in AT LEAST eight places around the house. It’s insane (but I love it).

3. Name one plant you'd want on a desert island.
A mango tree. Or a coconut palm - all your sustenance in one big seed. And coconut milk can be substituted for plasma (no kidding) so I could perform operations on myself while I’m stuck on the island. Okay, maybe not. I’ll stick to the mangoes.


4. Name one plant that made you giddy?
Not sure about giddy, but gymea lilies give me conjunctivitis. And tiger lilies are my favourite flowers ever – I love them. And the scent of frangipanis is heavenly.




5. Name one plant that wracked you with sobs.
Apart from cactus? Or stinging trees in the north? The big red cedar that was destroyed in Cyclone Larry – it was hundreds of metres tall and hundreds of years old and was one of the last red cedars in the rainforest in north Queensland and now it is no more. I didn’t really cry over it.


6. Name one plant that you wish had been grown.
A money tree (derr!!). Seriously, my backyard isn’t big enough for anything that I would truly love – but an avocado tree that bears huge delicious fruit is always on my wish list.



7. Name one plant you wish had never been grown.
All the pests that are threatening our native vegetation – lantana, siam weed and prickly pear are all problems up this way.




8. Name one plant you are currently growing.
Looking outside my window right now I see a birds eye chili plant. Self sewn and very productive – am never short of chilis.


9. Name one plant you've been meaning to grow.
That big avocado tree.


10. Now tag five bloggers.
I can’t think of FIVE – so anyone who wants to take part, feel free.

13 August, 2006

My sister has started something

When my sister visited a couple of months ago, she was very much into looking at houses for sale and visiting open houses and such. This has rubbed off on me and, though I'll not be in the housing market in this lifetime (will house prices ever drop??), whenever I see a sign saying "Open House," I take a look. Yesterday I saw such a sign and took a look inside and was quite impressed. The agent then sent me to another open house around the corner. I saw this one and fell in love. It is EXACTLY me. It is adorable. It is here. Does anyone have a spare $350,000??? There are pictures on Flick (I uploaded until my quota was reached, so there are more pictures but I'll have to upload them next month - blame me for being cheap and just going for the free Flickr account) as well as some on the website, but they only go a small way to explaing why I adore this place so much. So yeah, if you've the dollars, let me know and I'll send you my details and a big thank you :)

12 August, 2006

More on the road train

I'm kinda glad we came upon these 3-carriage road trains (at the same time) when the highway had just changed to two paved lanes instead of one paved road with a bit of a shoulder either side. They don't even slow down for each other!!

11 August, 2006

Tripping around

I'm back after a week tripping around the Burdekin. I had a heap of fun (even if I did have to work now and then during the week), mainly because I got to see places I haven't visited before. And now you get to see them as well. These pictures are slightly out of order because, well, I suck. But anyway...

Eungella Dam. The dam is down to about 12% capacity. We drove down to the bottom of it, where I took this picture - my guess is it should be about 20 metres above it's current level.

The view from Eungella Historic Chalet. I am in the picture, sitting on the hang gliding ramp. Which, surprisingly, hasn't been used much since a girl jumped off and died about a year ago. I can only assume she was wearing the appropriate gear. The view from this place was stunning. It was, however, freezing!!!!! It was very rustic (read: no insulation, so very cold rooms and a whisper could be heard in the next room) but was nice to stay at once the wood fire was roaring and the red wine was flowing. Eungella is in the rainforest and is lush dairy farming country (or it was until deregulation forced most dairy farmers in the area out of business). Over the ridge there is very little rain (and is where the dam with no water is (above)).

Eungella is famous for platypus. Is the plural platypi or platypuses? Either way, we saw several. This was the best shot I could get of one (they're not all that accommodating for tourists with cameras, but they're cute all the same).

In the same river, the cockatoos were making one hell of a racket. It was evening and they were screeching in the trees and occasionally coming down for a drink.

This jabiru was between Eungella and Collinsville (back in the dry country). The road, a shortcut, was a 4WD track and the bird was standing by one of the few waterholes in the area. Around here there were a lot of parrots too, but they were too fast for me to take a decent picture of them!!

Charters Towers. This building is now a cinema but was once a bank. Famous for a murder that occurred there in the early 1900s. The (very simplified) story goes that the manager of the bank had his pay cut and no-one was willing to tell him why, so he shot the chairman of the board. There is a room upstairs (not open to visitors unless you ask to see it) with a painting of the scene. The real attraction, though, is the table that all the board members were sitting around at the time. It still has a blood stain in the wood where the victim fell. I took a picture of it, though I'm not sure whether to believe that the stain is actually blood or not.

Charters Towers cemetery. This town is renowned for gold and at one time was about ten times the size that it is now (maybe not ten times, but it was much bigger - that's a fact - and ten times bigger sounds impressive). There were (and still are) many mines around the area. If a miner was killed in a mining accident, his headstone would look as though it had a corner taken from it to indicate it was a life cut short. It took a while for us to find these headstones, but once we found one, we saw many of them. This was a grave of a father and son - the son died several years before the father. They both died in mining accidents. The wife/mother died soon after the father.

On the way to Belyando Crossing - a town that consists of a roadhouse and a tennis court. And is the only place of significance for at least 100 kilometres. For much of the way the highway is one lane. And the road trains don't get out of your way if they approach - they only show a small courtesy to other road trains. This was one that we were following for ages. It was pretty small - only three carriages (not sure if that is what they are actually called). The biggest I saw had five carriages!!

The last of the sunset (and a power line) at Belyando Crossing.

A very bold bird. Not sure what type. Maybe a wattle bird? Whatever he was, he wanted my cup of tea!!

Bougainvillea. Just coz I thought it looked nice.