I have just been visited by Trick or Treaters (see previous post).
October 31, 2007
OK. This is Australia. The Land Down Under. We do Australia Day. We do NOT do Halloween. Just so you know. SO WHY DID I SEE KIDS OUT TRICK OR TREATING?????
October 30, 2007
My husband’s best mate passed away early yesterday morning. His 20 year old daughter found him, collapsed, not breathing, no pulse. What was he doing? What were his final moments like? Did he know what was happening to him?
Ray was a gentle giant. He had a very traumatic childhood. He left school at a very young age, and was illiterate. He looked like a mad biker. He was a mad biker. He would give you the shirt from his back. I’ve never met anybody else for whom that cliche could hold true. He was covered in self-inked tattoos. He never physically harmed another human being. He tormented the life out of his wife. He had a wicked, wicked sense of humour. He had a penchant for practical jokes. He smoked like a chimney. He rarely drank alcohol. He very rarely swore. He was very quiet, unless he knew and liked you. He adored his daughter and her boyfriend. J was the son he never had. He loved and honoured (and tormented) his wife, every single day of his life. He loved his dog.
He played Playstation 2 games. He watched Star Trek DVDs. He rode bikes and drove 4WDs. He collected knives. He always wore black. He had what could only be described as an evil giggle. It took me years to learn that I was being baited. He got me every single time. He rolled his own smokes. Every morning, he would take his dog ‘out bush’ for a walk. They would be gone for hours, man and dog, exploring, enjoying their time together.
He will be farewelled by those who love him on Monday. There will be no flowers. He will be missed.
October 27, 2007
We arose at dawn and hit the showers. Upon boarding the tour bus, we departed for the rhino enclosure. The flies were like a cloud around our faces, despite the aerogard. We fed the lioness, met up with some cute apes who serenaded us with their morning song then fed the bongo from the Congo (I kid you not!). What is a bongo? Good question. A bongo is an enormous antelope-esque creature with massive antlers upon its head. It is surprisingly gentle and graciously allowed us to feed it some sliced bread. Be warned: it possesses a very long tongue and is not afraid to use it!
We returned to the lodge for a sumptuous buffet breakfast, loaded up our gear and headed for the bike shed. Yes folks, this arse on a bicycle! Funnier than falling off a horse (see September’s "What was I thinking" post). Despite the rain, and the fact that I am seriously unfit, we enjoyed our casual cycle around the zoo. Twice. Each loop was 6km, not to mention the 15km of tracks. Did I mention we did it twice? In the rain?
Naturally we then had to experience the souvenir shop, where Mollie purchased several stuffed toys. When will she outgrow stuffed toys?
We had a fantastic day and I would thoroughly recommend the experience to all.
October 26, 2007
What an amazing trip we’ve had! It was a real pleasure to get away from it all and spend a few days together. No phones, no televisions, no disruptions. We headed west for around three hours, arriving at Dubbo in time for a counter lunch at the pub. Next, we hit the zoo, where we cruised around looking at the giraffes, the elephants, and what seemed like 100 different varieties of deer. After a quick coffee, it was time to check in!
We were met by a welcoming committee, who loaded our luggage into hand drawn carts, and led us to our tent. What a tent! Five star luxury all the way, with a queen size bed for us, and a nice comfy king single for the Mol. A heated ensuite completed the comfort factor: we were all set.
The tour guides split us into two groups: we were with two other families, and to our relief (and probably theirs), the seniors had their own bus. We headed out onto the ’savannah’, where we hand fed giraffes and witnessed the tiger feeding. We got up close and personal with Yum Yum and Cuddles, the elephants, then continued our tour. What an awesome time we had, seeing areas of the zoo that most people never see, and hearing the tour guide talk enthusiastically about his charges. Before we knew it, we headed back to the lodge to get ready for dinner.
We headed up to the ‘Main House’ to partake in the evening meal. I indulged myself with asparagus and goat’s cheese bruschetta (a dish I hope to make at home….it is SO easy, and would impress even the harshest critic!) to start, followed by the trout, then the apple and rhubarb crumble. Yum! Daz had the soup, the trout, and the bread and butter pudding, whilst Mollie enjoyed chicken schnitzel with chips and gravy, followed by ice cream with strawberry topping. We were very impressed with the standard of the food and the service.
Despite our full bellies, there was no time to rest: it was straight back on the bus for the evening tour. We went spotlighting, and were fortunate indeed to meet Mr Happy, the hippopotamus, so named as his personality is the exact opposite of happy! We continued our journey, visiting Suzy the wombat, Puggles the echidna (who likes to be patted….seriously!), and the galapagos tortoise. Truly magnificent creatures. As we returned to the lodge, we spotted a family of possums climbing a tree. Mum had bub on her back, closely followed by dad. Amazingly, the kids were absolutely delighted to witness this spectacle! All the incredible experiences they’d just had, and they were most impressed to see Poss!
After a quick nightcap, it was time for bed. We had to be up early the next day for the pre-breakfast tour!
October 22, 2007
I’m not scared! Yes, folks, we’re heading out to Dubbo to the Western Plains Zoo. I’ve booked us into the Zoofari Lodge, at an exorbitant rate, for a ‘genuine’ safari experience. Put it this way, we have no chance of going to Africa anytime soon, so this is the next best thing. For roughly the cost of a monthly mortgage repayment we get one night of luxurious lodge accommodation, a 2 day zoo pass, a three course dinner, buffet breakfast, and most importantly, three behind-the-scenes guided tours of the zoo. For an animal lover like Mollie, this will be a dream come true.
A few years ago we visited Canberra Zoo. It was only recently opened at the time, but it was pretty amazing. We did a behind-the-scenes tour there, and were able to hand feed tigers and bears, among other things. One of the few benefits of having an only child is that we can afford to do these things from time to time. I’m sure if you had a large family it would be difficult, if not impossible, to offer such experiences. Anyway, we all thoroughly enjoyed it, so we’re looking forward to ‘doing it’ at Dubbo.
Mollie is an animal lover from way back. When she was 3, we swam with ‘wild’ dolphins at Akaroa, in New Zealand. She was so tiny, she had to wear two wetsuits! At age 5, she swam with dolphins at Seaworld, and was most disappointed because all she really got to do was sit on the jetty with her feet in the water! A bit tame, compared to the Akaroa experience! Last year, we went back to Seaworld so she could swim with sharks. This was more satisfactory for her, as she again donned wetsuit, flippers, snorkel and mask. Daz joined her, but I was the official photographer (where are those photos?). Oh, I forgot about the diamond python experience at the Reptile Park when she was a pre-schooler. Daz took her into the enclosure to be photographed with the 3 metre snake wrapped around her. It weighed more than she did!
October 19, 2007
As you can see below, I have had my first Blog Tutorial from the Master at Three Ring Circus. Boy, am I going to have some fun now! I should have asked her to show me how to get the photos from my phone onto my laptop….
October 18, 2007
That’s me. My blog is so boring, so pathetic….and it’s because I have NO idea what I’m doing. I see other blogs out there and I have BLOG ENVY.
People have cool links. I don’t know how to do this. People have photos. I had photos way back when I first started, now I’ve forgotten how to compress them so they’ll fit! I followed an awesome link at
My Little Drummer Boys to a stick figure sticker site. I did my own stick figure family, but could I copy it and paste it to my blog like she did? NO! I couldn’t even work out how to let people comment on here! I was whining because nobody was commenting, when actually nobody COULD comment, because of my settings. I tried to place the Great MOFO Delurk link on here and couldn’t even do that. Blog envy.
My friend Tiff, from Three Ring Circus (see, I told you I don’t know how to link!), is giving me a much needed blog tutorial, straight out of the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) school of Blogology. I feel sorry for her, because she seems to think I have a clue. Ha! She’ll be sorry.
However, I am determined to improve. There are some brilliant sites out there, and some of those people must have started out as clueless as I am right now (right?). At least I’ve learned how to save some of the sites to my favourites, so I don’t forget where they are! Dear me, my 10 year old knows more about this stuff than I do. It was Mollie who introduced me to You Tube for heaven’s sake (I LOVE You Tube). How embarrassing!
October 16, 2007
Clayton’s have sent me a letter confirming my offer of employment. There is a 12 month probation period! Hello? 12 months? Who ever heard of a 12 month probation period? Even the police don’t stay on probation that long. And, I have to go to Sydney for 8 weeks for training. I’m sure I would have remembered that if it was mentioned at the interview! There’s no mention of WHEN I have to go to Sydney, or whether it’s for 8 consecutive weeks, or whether I have to travel down and back every day, or if it’s a block do I get to come home for weekends like a prisoner on day release. Do they pay extra for the inconvenience/travel/additional expenses associated? And, sorry, 12 MONTHS PROBATION??? I don’t recall selling my soul to the devil…
October 15, 2007
Well, the deed is done. I have turned my back on my employer of the last 5 months to accept the Clayton’s Job. I now have just over two weeks of R & R before I begin the next phase of my working life. After all these years, I will be commencing a job I really, really want. The job I have studied for over the past 6 years, the reason I commenced my studies in the first place. WHAT HAVE I DONE?
What happens when you achieve something you have always wanted? Can it possibly live up to expectations? What if I hate it? What if I’m really, really bad at it? I feel ok about it. I didn’t really enjoy the call centre. There were times when I actually hated it. Many times! The money was good, the people were awesome, but at the end of the day, there were some major drawbacks. The travel, for one thing. 100kms per day, five days per week. The scheduling…5 minutes per hour for a wee break? Are you serious? The stats, the pressure, the targets. I sure won’t miss any of that! The 30 minute (and 30 minutes only!!!) meal breaks. The incessant "this is Tracey, how can I help you?" up to 70 times a day!! Packing my meal in a plastic container to heat up at work. Coming home when Mollie was already in bed. Actually, remind me what I’m missing?
The Clayton’s Job, meanwhile, is within walking distance of home (as if I’ll actually walk! It’s a comforting thought though). It pays $5000 per year more (and that’s just the base rate). And the work itself appeals to me (ask me again next month!!). It HAS to be better, it just has to be. And if not, well, I survived unemployment before, I’m sure I’ll manage it again if that becomes necessary! C’est la vie.