Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Advice from Dolly

It is a fabulous day today. Tropical, sunny, hot, breezy. My home has returned to normal, close enough. The harbour is busy. The sea is sparkling. All is right in my world.

I saw this interesting advice from Dolly Parton and think it is worth sharing. Dolly is such a hard worker with an eye for making the best of things. I admire her. Gotta love those wigs and the costuming. (Rule number 8 is a stunner.) I think Rule number 9 was written with me in mind. Now if only I could achieve that tiny waistline; more effort required on my part.

1. If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain!
2. Find out who you are and do it on purpose.
3. If you don’t like the road you’re walking on, start paving another one.
4. Don’t be so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.
5. Smile, it increases your face value.
6. We cannot direct the wind but we can adjust the sails.
7. You’ll never do a whole lot unless you’re brave enough to try.
8. There’s no such thing as natural beauty.
9. I’m not happy all the time and I wouldn’t want to be because that would make me a shallow person.
10. Some of my dreams are so BIG, they’d scare you.

11. I’ll never harden my heart, but I’ve toughened the muscles around it.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Still in cyclone mode

This photo is from Sky News.
My building is the blocky one on the right.
We have been watching the weather like hawks. Patchy rain and storms, thunder and lightning, strong winds, big clouds, and periods of blue sky and sunshine. A mixture. It is only a Category 1 cyclone.

Alessia has changed direction slightly. We are now expecting gale force winds between midnight and dawn tonight. The worst will be near Port Keats, and we will just get the tail. Schools will be open tomorrow and it will be business as usual.There is no need for anyone here to go to a public shelter. Different for Port Keats of course.

My home looks like a plant nursery with as many plants inside as could be done. The outdoor furniture is now cluttering the lounge-dining room. The verandah looks naked and small.

The shops have done good business as we all made sure we had our cyclone kits ready. What are we expected to pack? Here is one list that was suggested by the local newspaper.

The photo is from NASA.
We get excellent weather forecasts.
Fuel for the car.
A waterproof torch with plenty of batteries, candles and waterproof matches.
Portable radio.
Blankets or sleeping bags.
Strong plastic bags.
10 litres of water per person.
Special needs and medications.
Change of clothes.
Books, games, playing cards.
Masking tape.
Portable stove and cooking gear.
First Aid kit.
Copies of important family documents. Copy of the household plan. ????
Pet supplies.

Then they expect you to carry food for five days as well. It is all itemised as ridiculously as that list above.

My summary: pack the car with your camping gear, insurance documents, and your passport. Count your blessings.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Cyclone Alessia 2013 and me

This map shows the predicted path for Cyclone Alessia. It has been developing over the last few days, off the West Australian coast. It might strike us, but I doubt it. Nevertheless, we are already on Cyclone Watch. This means we prepare our kits and get ready.

I must bring in the pot plants and outdoor furniture from the verandah this morning. Anything that can not be brought inside must be very firmly anchored in place. This is a big job.

We live 22 floors up. You haven't lived until you have watched the cyclonic wind and rain from inside a high rise building, heard the noise, and waited for the glass windows and doors to smash. The glass does not break of course; it is thicker than in ground level houses. The doors and windows shake. The building shakes a bit. The wind roars. Anything outside is whipped into submission. Then you look down at the street and everything seems so calm down there. You wonder why you are apprehensive and you wonder if your name is really Sir Cowardly Custard.

It is predicted that Cyclone Alessia could strike Darwin on Monday morning. That sounds like a long time to prepare, but there are building sites with equipment, animals to be considered, homeless people, and a range of business and transport issues. All buildings here are constructed to a code, even garden sheds. They are firmly anchored from the roof to the ground. The big problem is debris of course. There are official Cyclone shelters for people who live in caravans or who have substandard accommodation. We are advised to be self sufficient for up to 72 hours, although here in the city area conditions are better.

Yesterday I went to Spotlight. So did hundreds of other women, all planning on sewing through the weekend. The DVD  sales will be pretty high today as well I expect. And beer, lots of beer.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Laugh time

It is an overcast, slightly wet day here. Lovely. No air con needed. Comfy. My sister sent me some funny photos. I hope they make your day as good as mine.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Locals helping those in need

The local Filipino community held a fundraising night on Saturday to raise money for recovery from the typhoon.

It was a fabulous success with more than $20 000 being donated in just the one night. Some of that money will go to the Red Cross to be used through official channels. Some money will be taken by local people when they travel to villages and towns and will be used directly to assist people. They will go first to areas where our friends have family members. Direct help with a personal touch does much to lift the morale of people faced with such tragedy.

We have many Filipino people here in Darwin. Almost everyone has a Filipino friend or work colleague, neighbour or family member. Single men who live and work in isolated places bring back Filipina wives. They seem to me to be a hard working people in general with a wonderful sense of adventure.

Among all the volunteer acts the Darwin Rondalla performed in the concert on Saturday night. This is a mainly ukulele orchestra which has been running here in Darwin for more than 60 years. The members are Filipino. (By the way, in Darwin this means that someone in the family has this ethnic heritage. There are no ghettos here and everyone intermarries.)

Everyone is happy to help the thousands of traumatised and grieving people who have been affected by the typhoon which struck the Philippines with such ferocity. The stories coming to us are shocking. The international response certainly restores my faith in human kindness.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Highs and lows

I did not get to this age without learning the hard way. I carry baggage you do not see; well, I hope you do not see some of it. I suspect that the better a person's memory is, the worse living with some of those memories might be. If Life was easy then it would hardly be worth living at all.

In my community homelessness and alcoholism are visible. People sleep on footpaths, even in the day time. Violence is visible. Teenagers think it is fun to damage cars parked in driveways. And so it goes. It is very easy to be a victim of minor crime and end up losing hope.

I know I am lucky. I had resilient parents who demonstrated personal strength. I know how easily good things can be ripped from you, never to be regained. I found new ones, when this happened to me, but I see around me people who have been unable to do that. Maybe they have been kicked in the teeth too many times.

Right now many people in our city are fund raising for the relief effort for the Philippines. The typhoon caused massive damage. Pictures of desperate people appear on our news broadcasts. A large medical team left from Darwin and has already started work.

I wonder how so many people will rebuild their lives. Do they feel thankful to be alive or are they feeling despair because of the loss of the world they knew?

It could have been me. It could have been you. Sometimes it is.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Need a night out??

I was sent this photo on Facebook.

My friends know I like a funny turn of phrase.

After I stopped laughing I found out a little bit more about this place.
Yes, you can go there for a night out. They serve meals and have entertainment every Saturday night. Heaven knows what a minnow shot is. The mind boggles.

Big Dick's Halfway Inn is on Cup Tree Road, Gracois Mills, in Missouri in the USA. It is on a lake called Lake of the Ozarks, which is actually more of a billabong, in an area known as Blue Bat Cove. This pub is not actually old and heritage listed; it has been running only since 1990.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Book review

I found this book, The Dead Fathers Club by Matt Haig, at a book exchange. This is where you bring a book and swap it for a different one. Not exactly a second hand bookshop, as sometimes there will be no money changing hands. A swap shop. The customer gets credit for books brought in and some book exchanges allow that credit to accumulate.

So I picked this novel by Matt Haig. It is his second novel and it appears that his first was very well received.

This is actually a young adult or teenage book. Not really intended for adults. But it was a light read for non-thinking time.
The style is modern and engaging. Punctuation adds to this effect. It is set in the present day.
The characters are well drawn. The writer is very accomplished indeed. It is the people rather than the scenes that are important to the story. The voice is a teenager's perspective.

What is the story? A boy's father has recently died in a car accident. The family runs a small pub in England and lives upstairs. The boy is an only child, about fourteen years old. He sees his father's ghost who talks to him and gives him instructions. Things do not go well. The adolescent boy grows emotionally, due to his skewed perceptions and a series of events.

Would I recommend The Dead Fathers Club? Not generally. I feel a teenager could become depressed if they read this book twice, although there is much to discuss and consider. Deep soul searching. Interpretations of love and values. If you have a host of bad memories then it is disturbing, worrying. If you are vibrant and happy it would be interesting and light. Events in this book do not lead to a happy outcome.

Monday, 4 November 2013

English language fun

Words are my stock in trade. For years I taught using words. I tutor with words. I am not so clever that I can play Scrabble or do huge crosswords, but I like words.

I found this and thought it might be fun for other people too.

English is an interesting language. If we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

English was developed by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all.

There is no egg in eggplant, neither apple nor pine in pineapple.

Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat.

Breadfuit trees do not produce bread.

When the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

English muffins weren't invented in England nor French fries in France.

The bandage was wound around the wound.

Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.

I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

English  has been keeping students busy for years.
The farm was used to produce produce.

The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

We must polish the Polish furniture.

The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.

They were too close to the door to close it.

A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.

To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

You can make amends but not one amend.

He could lead if he would get the lead out.

The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.

A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

I did not object to the object.

You fill in a form by filling it out.

An alarm goes off by going on.

The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

Nobody winks while taking forty winks.

How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. One moose, 2 meese?

When we speak of mouses we always call them mice. Why, when we speak of houses, why don't we say two hice? One index, but two indices.

Why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught?

If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

Why doesn't 'Buick' rhyme with 'quick'?

Sunday, 3 November 2013


Sometimes I feel useless. The chips are down. My spirits are low. Life is heavy.

Then the next day I wake up and my entire perspective has changed. The sun is cheerful. My home is sheltering. My worries are ready to be overcome. I can do it. At least I can do things well enough to be me.

I was bogged down by a computer problem a few days ago. So hard. Aaagh! I tried for hours.

So I went to visit my friend who makes her living from computers. Problem solved. But as Sandra worked on my computer she noticed some of my collection of strange photos. (Idiosyncratic rather than strange.) Soon Sandra was chuckling outrageously. This one particularly amused her. I thought I had shared it before, but maybe not. I hope you get a chuckle too, just like Sandra.

Today Life is just right. A cheerful day, spirits raised. My marriage is not the clubs and spades type; we are well matched and will go on for the rest of our days. Two hearts beating together, not the same tune but similar. I hope you have the same good fortune.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Built in kitchen appliance

This photo shows a built in kitchen appliance that might initially appeal to many Aussie households. Except for the price tag, and the ethical issues. I have this permanent idea in my head that wine is a luxury item and if thirsty I should drink water.

If people have beer fridges outside and wine fridges inside then why not have this little number to keep the cook happy.

Who needs four bottles of wine opened and ready to go? Are there really people too lazy to pour a glass of wine from a bottle for themselves. What is the environmental cost of running such an appliance?

Here is a review I found on the internet:   The Dacor Discovery DYWS4 WineStation allows for opened bottles of wine to be stored and preserved for up to 60 days. The home wine-serving station uses argon gas to stop oxygenation and allows opened wine bottles to be tapped and always available with a press of a button (and a glass). The unit measures about 20 inches across, stands less than 30 inches tall, and has a depth of 16 inches. It can be used in a standalone countertop configuration or it could be installed as a built-in. (So yes, some commitment required; not to mention its approximately $5K price tag.)
Read more:

I have never seen this appliance. I do not know if it is readily available here in Oz. This is not a paid sponsorship or anything like that. I would not buy one. I was sent the photo and I investigated the idea. Now I am sharing with you how the too-rich spend their money.