Wednesday, March 22, 2023

When Life Gives You Lemons

you're supposed to make lemonade or something  In my opinion these platitudes are more harmful than good. All we can do when things are a mess  - and  it doesn't matter if it's health problems or a personal tragedy - is to try to survive and I find part of survival is finding small moments of joy where you can.

With that cheery beginning in mind here are a few of my moments of joy lately.

Mr Three has been spending more time with us lately - it's the last year before he goes to kindergarten and he starts to have a busy social life. We're having great fun playing silly games. This is a magical age when pretending is the way to go so when he tells me we scurry through the house pursued by crocodiles and tigers - oh and biting plants just for good measure - to the safety of the boat (my bed). then we creep back to the family room before we're under attack again and have to seek safety on my chair. This is all very bemusing to Pisces who is intomore into tangible toys.

While I've been sitting here I've been being distracted by the afternoon procession of birds at the birdbath. I made sure that the birdbath is clearly visible through my study window so I can watch them when I should be working. A few minutes ago there was a flock of New Holland honey eaters - around ten of them were splashing in and out of the water before flying off.  Now there's a red wattle bird trying to manage an uninterrupted drink and the resident willy wagtail isn't putting up with that. He's about half the size of the wattle bird but it's given in and decided he's too annoying and flown off. Mr Willy Wagtail is now spending his time alternatively bathing and strutting on the side of the birdbath. I've seen him take on a bird as big as a raven and drive it off. Foolhardy? Well, he usually gains his objective so I guess not.

I invested in some raised garden beds at the beginning of summer. It's been getting harder for me to get down to garden these days and theses Vegepods are at waist height so much easier to maintain. I'm now harvesting chard, basil, and capsicums regularly from the pods. While the pods are a very good thing the area doesn't compare with the vegetable garden I used to have so I have a few  plans in the ground - cucumbers and various herbs mainly but when I fractured my wrist gardening was out of the questions. It was a very long three months of healing and rehab my but arm is functional again and I I'm - at last  - able to get out into the garden.

The abundance of capsicums and basil means I have the additional pleasure of converting some of my harvest to meals for  the future. This means we have portions of home made pesto and vegetable stew in the freezer. The cucumbers are coming in, too, and I look forward to enjoying them for months to come. 

I didn't get a chance to put in things like pumpkins or squash at the beginning og summer - for obvious reasons - but more in hope than anything else I threw a handful of butternut squash seeds into what is usually a flower bed outside the back door and they have emerged and and are growing very fast. Butternut squash are known as pumpkins here for some reason and keep very well so I'm hoping for  at least some to carry us over the winter. Besides butternut plants are attractive enough to fill the space before the self seeded winter flowers come up - and they have spectacular large, golden yellow flowers so that's an additional bonus.

Miss Nearly Seven and her Dad called in last weekend. I hadn't seen her for a few weeks - you have a very busy social life once you're in school - and she's had a growth spurt. She's all long limbs and missing teeth while her big cousin Miss Eleven is now not much shorter than me. Given I'm a shorty I suspect they'll all tower over me eventually.

I've been making time for writing in among everything else that takes up my t me. I'm still working my way through some short stories. I have no idea where they are all going to end up  - if anywhere - but I've now finished to first draft a bunch of of them and I'm thoroughly enjoying writing them. 

I got a text from Virgo earlier in the week. Miss Nearly Seven and Mr Three wanted to come over after school and wanted Virgo to leave. I suspected plans were afoot and I was right. After a few games there were requests for  Poppy Biscuits which are just BBQ Shapes but thse little cracker biscuits are very popular among the younger set. Then a few minutes later there were whispers in my ear. Could they please have ice cream? This is something have at home but there's something special about ours apparently. Since I don't want them to not want their dinner they each get a small - and I do mean small - scoop of whatever I have in the freezer. What's hilarious about this is that they would be given exactly the same thing if Virgo was here but apparently it's much more exciting if they think it's a secret.

One last note - Pisces has been out and topped up the birdbath and a flock of little brown birds - which after searching through my trusty field guide I've managed to identify as weebills - fluttered in as soon as he moved away. They didn't get long before the willy wagtail shooed them off and proceeded to have a very thorough bath himself. No sooner had he left the little birds were back noisily skimming through the water then fluffing out their damp belly feathers on the fence before they go back again.

Wednesday, March 01, 2023

And Still They Come

 They are ants. I feel as if I'm living in a version of Groundhog Day where instead of reforming myself I just have yet another invasion of ants. I'm not alone in this battle  which isn't actually any consolation.

We've always had ants  doing anty things in the garden - like undermining the pavers and putting up neat little piles of sand everywhere and anywhere. Annoying - and the under paving excavations are starting to be quite a lot more than annoying but that's another story. These ants were coastal brown ants and have been around in some form or another for as long as anyone has built houses on the Swan coastal plain. They are as I said generally only annoying but in the past couple of years things have changed.

There are some new ants on the block. These are tiny - and I mean really tiny. Generally I can't even see them unless they move. Even Pisces who eyesight is much better than mine struggles at times. These little blighters - and I'm trying to be polite here - are like the invaders in the song, Close the Doors I posted about a few days ago. Now I think about it the ant apocalypse may be what has set off my obsession with such songs. 

But enough of that and on to my battle with these little pests which currently they seem to be winning. Every day I get up to a trail of ants coming in from somewhere new. My kitchen is wiped over diligently after any use, everything edible is kept in sealed containers and the bin is emptied at least daily. It does no good whatever. I've tried every natural way of detering them and none of them work. They just keep coming. I don't want to use insecticide in the kitchen near foodstuffs  - although Pisces did give in and spray where the bin is kept the other day and I don't blame him.

Because they are so tiny their ability to enter the kitchen has opened up a whole new lot of problems. They'vecome in behind the glass splash back  and no sooner did I block the first hole than they were coming in through another. Whether the silicone seal on it was not done well enough or as I suspect they've chewed through it who knows. They've come in inside the cupboards which are supposedly sealed, they wended their way along the edge of the tiles , down beside the oven and then around to the sink. 

Today though they really excelled. My lovely cleaner J. was in the kitchen when she saw them and yelled "There's hundreds of them" which might be a slight exaggeration but there certainly a lot - all over the cook top and coming out from under it. The cook top has been kept wiped over scrupulously - it actually shines - and I've even scraped  under the edges to take away anything that could attract them. So how did they get there? Why were they there? Was it some sort of ant conference where they were making plans on where to go next? Who knows. J. entertained herself by going back multiple times and killing as many as she could and I turned on the burners for ten minutes in hopes of driving them out. We shall just have to wait and see I guess.

So if I come up with more songs about "things" invading people's live you'll know why.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

I've Tried toWrite a Sensible Blog

Really, I have - but I keep finding nonsense filling my brain. So here's a selection of what I've had in there over the past week. 

Let's start with Stanley Holloway's recording of The Lion and Albert. This was a favourite of my Dad so brings back all sorts of memories.

Then there was this novelty song by Phil Harris The Thing.

 Another bit of musical nonsense was this - Close the Door here performed by The Stargazers.

I did manage one  more cultured piece of music. It's Orinoco Flow sung here by the original members of the Irish group Celtic Woman. I've been trying to get a playlist organised for an upcoming event and and this is right at the top of my list. Enjoy.

Saturday, February 04, 2023

Earworm Songs

 I'm working on getting rid of a lot of "stuff" which is cluttering up the place and for some reason some earworm songs seem the right accompaniment. They date from the forties and fifties but were still on air while I was growing up.

first up is The Little Blue Man sung here by Betty Johnson. She was the original singer but there were a bunch of later covers.

Then there's this Mairzy Doats - and I have to tell you I had to look hard to find this original version by the Pied Pipers which dates from before I was even thought of.

Then how could I forget this The Purple People Eater  sung by Sheb Wooley and this says it is the official video.

Enough? Probably. Listen at your peril (but they are amusing).

Saturday, January 14, 2023

A Perfect Storm

 as they say - or would if they  (whoever they are) could.

 So what do I mean by that? Well, we've had a series of medical problems - and that's the nicest way I can think of putting it.

It all started when as a result of my failing vision I had a fall - and it wasn't just any fall, no siree. It was a doozy. I landed on my right - and dominant - wrist and may have said a few words my cleaner didn't think I ever would. She and Pisces came racing from various parts of the house and helped me off the floor. My wrist was already swelling by then and I was pretty sure I'd broken something. The pain was excruciating and I put an ice pack around it and made a quick phone call to Virgo to see if she could help. It wasn't ideal timing since she was doing the school pick up run but she managed to get child care sorted. Long story short and after a trip to - and a long wait - at urgent care, yes, I had broken my radius near the wrist. With a cast in place and a referral to a specialist the next day we all went home.

The specialist confirmed what I had known as soon as I saw the x-ray - it would need surgical repair. I was booked in for surgery and went home to wait armed with a bunch of heavy duty pain killers. Surgery happened and after sporting a spiffy red and blue splint for a couple of months - much delight to Mr Three who said it looked like I'm a racing car driver. I'm not convinced. I've been  seeing a hand occupational therapist to try to get as much movement as possible back. I never knew such folk existed - and that's despite there an OT in the family. I'm close to where I was before the break now and I'm still diligently doing my exercises so I'm hopeful all will eventually be well. I'm only just back to typing normally which I'm very happy about.

With my wrist under control I was hoping other things would at least stay as they were. Unfortunately that was not the case with us finding out the day after I came out of hospital that Pisces who has some health problems his own is no longer permitted to drive - I haven't been able to drive for several years due to poor vision so this is a serious blow. Then there was an appointment for me with the eye specialist with more bad news. I knew already that things were not great - since the middle of September I had noticed a dramatic decline in my vision but - had hoped for better news than that to find out my central vision is just about gone.

All of this is taking some adjusting to so blogging may be a bit patchy for a while as Pisces, Virgo and I work out ways to cope with all the changes.

Monday, December 26, 2022

Seasons Greetings to You All!

 It's been a torrid few months around here - if I don't decide it's all better forgotten I'll fill you in some time - so for now I wish you and yours all the best of the season and with a New Year that treats you well.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Well That Was Not Fun

We've been without house internet access for nearly a month and the house phone which comes through our ISP has also been non-functional. This has meant I could only get on the internet via a Personal hot spot using my phone  which is not ideal. It chews up data and I only have a small amount of data on my phone - I've had to go to a higher and more expensive plan just to do the essentials like the grocery shopping and to see if I could find anything that might help. I've tried everything I could think of as well as every suggestion I could find on the internet. Nothing helped.

No-one seemed to know what was actually causing the problem. Our ISP checked our router  - and said it was working perfectly. They contacted the NBN (the National Broadband Network) and  technician spent some hours putting temporary patches on their cables. This is because we are on the aging copper wire system that should have been fully replaced when the NB came into being - I won't go into the details of why this didn't happen except to say it became a political football. This system is starting to fail and there's now a rush on to retrofit it with the modern fibre system but with so much to be replaced we have to wait our turn hence the temporary patches.

Unfortunately none of this helped us. But then - after nearly three weeks of being sent back and forth between the two companies - with the help of a very patient man from my ISP - I had the internet. We were on the phone for over two hours trying one fix after another. As I can't see very well these days I had to get Pisces, who is a complete computer illiterate, to read things out and which led to some interesting moments. We got there in the end, thank goodness. Phew. Then the next morning we discovered our phone was out again and the internet was gone - again. 

Since then - after another marathon session with a technician lasting nearly three hours - we have now had working internet and a phone for a few days without any outages. The only problem was that now my airPrint printer still didn't work. You'd think it would have been fairly simple just set it up again but no. I tried and tried before giving in and calling support. The guy was initially helpful but when he couldn't get it to work - and to be fair we'd been on the phone for over an hour at the time - he told me that I should get in touch with my ISP to check my router password. Not helpful because I knew I had the correct password. 

As I scrolled through the website totally frustrated another number came up as the company contact. I took a deep breath, tried it  - and success! A very helpful woman worked through the problem with me and finally - finally everything was back in working order. Yay!

This is why I'm at last able to blog - I didn't forget you . Truly. I worked out that altogether during that month I spent close to fifteen - yes, 15 - hours trying to get the whole mess sorted. So far it's back and I have everything possible crossed that it stays that way.