Monthly Archives: April 2010

Priorities

Even if it’s only temporary, a priority this weekend was to put the netball ring back up on the post in the back yard.  (Next job is to figure out where it will go once we have to make way for the extensions. With the post concreted into the ground, there’s a bit of effort involved in that little project!)

(It was taken off while branches were crashing down around it last week.)

Netball Dad has the perfect method to get the girls practising their goal shooting. He starts shooting goals himself.. and within minutes anyone who’s home has come out of the woodwork. The sound of thudding balls is, apparently, irresistible.   (Then, his work done, he often then retires.)  I would have taken a photo of that today, too, but my camera battery died.

Round 1 of netball started yesterday. There goes my life for the next few months!

DID YOU KNOW?  – The height of a netball ring is the same as a basketball hoop, but in netball the diameter of the rings is 3 inches smaller. And, of course there is no backboard.

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Filed under miscellaneous minutiae

Puppies and gumblossoms.

Bet you’ve never seen that blog title combo anywhere before.

I’ve been sidetracked with pre-Round 1 netball madness.  (Round 1 is this Saturday, and on top of trying to get the website updated, I’ve been trying to get the handbook done, ready to be printed out tomorrow. And wondering why I’m doing this.

And yesterday, with Himself taking a rare day off, we spent hours debating bathroom and plumbing supplies, and the colour of carpet… But that’s a whole other story.

The fallout from the hours I’ve spent on the computer compiling the netball handbook has been – suddenly this afternoon – pains in my upper arm.  Oh dear. Hello RSI. I emailed the wretched thing off tonight, so the smart thing to do (especially according to a certain husband, while rolling his eyes) is to give the computer a rest for few days. (Guess I’m not cut out for a job spending hours wrangling a computer mouse then am I?)

But just before I do that, I bring you … PUPPIES!

The lovely cattle dog owned by the next door neighbours had seven puppies in the early hours of yesterday morning. I went for a visit today – and even though my eldest daughter thinks cute puppy photos are a dime a dozen, I took a couple anyway.

Pretty cute, huh?

Although I think the cute factor will be ramped up somewhat once their eyes open and they start getting around.

And I’ll have to start fending off the ‘can we get a puppy’ requests.

As it is, this afternoon Ms 16 (who is clearly cut out for a career as a union organiser) said “Hey Mum, can we get a horse?”

While I was in their yard, I took the opportunity to take a photo of OUR gumblossoms.


They are going to be sensational soon.

I might just have to keep going over for a visit to take update photos of both the puppies AND the flowers.

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Filed under australiana, miscellaneous minutiae

The things we do…

And the things we don’t.

I wish I could say I had an active and fulfilling weekend.  We really should have been getting stuck into the kazillion and one preparatory things we need to do with the house.

A bike ride, or some decent exercise of some sort would have been smart too. But it didn’t happen, unless you count a 5 minute walk to the corner shop to get milk late yesterday. (Can’t count a spontaneous meal out, just the two of us, when we found ourselves ‘sans’ kids for Saturday night either!)

I did pin Himself down to going through the list of queries from my meeting with the Designer last week. And late yesterday afternoon he did finally drag me out to be his ladder ballast while he pulled down a rickety old pergola from the side of the house.

None of which was particularly physically active on my part.  He might have wrestled with some rusty nails, and I might have reached up and taken the joist, and tweaked it off the other bearer. But no.. not calorie burning in the slightest.

More of the paperbark came down on Saturday, but showers of rain interrupted that.  Plus it is/was a fair size tree.  Did I mention that the young guy next door was doing the job for us? So it’s not a rush job, as such. We also have some more trees in the front yard that we will now get him to do – particularly now we’ve seen that he does a good job.  (More nature deficit disorder for me…!)

We discussed, a bit, our grand plan for The Renovations – weighing up Owner Builder-ing vs paying a Builder to do the whole job.  We have decided to do it as Owner Builders, though we will still get a Builder to do some parts.  The driving factor here is saving some money – particularly on a complicated job of both extensions and internal renovations – where a builder will just automatically put x% on to cover contingencies.

There is also a bit of ‘grunt’ work that we can either do ourselves, or pay the neighbour to do – like jack-hammering up existing concrete. Taking up the slate floor. Etc.

It will have to be done in well thought out stages, so apart from doing the required Owner Builder course, there will be a fair bit of project management involved.

Guess who will have to do a lot of that?  Though I tend to doubt my logical abilities in that area. (While Himself essentially works in project management.)

Meanwhile, though, I have a bit of a deadline looming with the start of the netball season. I’m the bunny who thought up the idea of a handbook for all players – hence I’m the bunny that does it every year.

And the website – also this bunny’s idea – has been looking “meh” for a while, with a lot of pages overdue for an update – never mind the look of it.

So what do I decide to do this weekend?  Redo the website.  Of course I did!

I made compromises with myself.  I could have used the opportunity to really teach myself a whole lot more about doing a decent website- consolidating what I started to learn in the course I started last year – and taking the time to figure out the stuff that ultimately blew my mind and made me ditch it. Some commonsense prevailed, and I’ve just smartened it up a bit. Because there is only so much of my life I can afford to give to my kids’ netball association!

So it’s gone from this:

to this:


In my head there is a better looking site design, but only if I didn’t sleep for a month in order to teach myself all the web design skillz that I don’t yet have a handle on!  My lovely daughter whipped up the banner for me (though I added the netball figure with my meagre photoshop skillz).  The green, if you are wondering about my colour choices in the first place(!), is the association colour, and up until last year was the colour of the association skirt.  We changed the skirt to black last year – with the green confined to a subtle strip down each side of the shirt.  Another reason to change the background!

Anyway…  someone tell me it’s an improvement. Even if it’s a lie!

So I have a big week ahead of me. Finish getting information onto the website. Finish the handbook.

We have a meeting with the Designer on Wednesday – and I’ve managed to convince Himself that he has to take a day off work so that we can get around to the various shops – bathroom fittings, light fittings, oven etc…  Some final choices need to be made, although there are some things we will be telling the designer to just not worry about. (Like paint colours for the girls’ bedrooms! And the letterbox. Or even a front fence!)

I will endeavour – now that it is starting to happen – to tell the story, as it evolves, of  The Renovation.

Meanwhile, I should get off my backside, stop blogging, and start doing!

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Filed under miscellaneous minutiae, renovation rescue

In the name of progress.

The greenie in me is sad.

We have started getting some trees lopped down in preparation for our extensions.  Even though we live in a patch of suburbia, on an averagely small suburban block. (About 680 sq m) – we’ve still had trees around us. And I like it that way. They provide some privacy – screening from the neighbours. Shade. General ambience. And birds.

So it goes against the grain to get rid of any. Well – the native trees anyway. I couldn’t give a stuff about the others – or the tangle of shrubbery (as per our Valentine’s day pruning epic…)

The time has come, though. Time for some of the bigger trees to go.

Five years ago we cleared along that back fence :

but neglected to poison the shrubs we cut down

and it all grew back. And up.
(Where the heck did those casuarinas spring from?!)

So, back to the future – I mean the present-  the gum tree – to the right – is not actually in the way of the extensions – but it’s been sick for a while – presumably something like dieback.  It’s also right on top of the sewer line that runs along this side of our back fence – and we’ve had some root blockage issues there – so there really wasn’t a choice . It had to go. Even if every other time it died back, and we thought ‘oh dear, I guess we’ll have to cut it down’  it would get all this new growth and provide nice shade on summer mornings.


Like tree euthanasia, really.
So I’m coping with that one going.


We also have to make room in that back left corner of the yard –  (like for a trampoline that I had the genius idea of buying last Christmas) – so a couple of scraggy casuarinas in the left corner came down too.

What I’m really sad about though, is the paperbark tree closer to the house. My paperbark.  From our bedroom verandah – and indeed our bed – you feel as if you are up in the treetops with the birds!

And, given that it’s on the north side of the block, it makes good shade.

But it’s right in the way of where the new lounge room is going.

And even if the walls could have been designed to miss the trunk, the roots would wreak havoc with the foundations.

So…


The rest is coming down tomorrow.
(Other random smaller trees along that fenceline have also got the chop.)

I’ve been a bit emotional about it all day today.
Sad.

The only plus (and you’ve got to find pluses, don’t you…?) is that now I can see OUR gumblossoms, that, in their quest for the sunlight, have been adorning the neighbour’s yard.

And on the agenda will be planting nicer native shrubs in other places around the fence line to make up for our environmental vandalism.

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Filed under australiana, renovation rescue, wah!

Chuffed.

The thing I love about blogging  – both reading and writing them – is that you get the opportunity to share other people’s worlds, and their passions in life.

The obvious plus is that internet brings us closer to people from across the other side of the world in a way that you just couldn’t do when I was growing up.  The whole penpal/snail mail thing, while wonderful, just doesn’t rate in comparison.

Something I didn’t quite anticipate when I embraced the blogosphere was feeling so passionate about other Aussies doing their thing in their little patch of the country.  In hindsight – ‘well, duh!’ – Australia is a diverse country! What did I expect?

I don’t know exactly … what I do know is that even when I’m reading about someone’s life in another part of my own country that is so very different to my life (in regional, coastal suburbia!) I still get this ‘chuffed’  feeling –  of a sort of Aussie pride.

So I’m really CHUFFED to introduce – and heck, yeah, to promote! –  a new Aussie blog!

I’m doing the whole fanfare thing, because I’m also chuffed that Cheryl is a local cycling friend – and so she doesn’t live very far away from me at all – barely 20km as the crow flies. And she says that my blogging has inspired her! I’ll take any kudos I can get, frankly…  But I also can’t wait to read and see more about her little slice of life that is so very different to mine.  She calls a kangaroo her ‘daughter’ for heaven’s sakes!  You can’t get more Aussie than that.

Her blog, as you’ll see though, promises to deliver a whole lot more than just furry marsupials! Cheryl is a very inspiring woman who has been through the mill, but come back out fighting!  I also watched her throughout her cycling journey, and am so proud of what she achieved!

Anyway…  choof on over and say g’day. (And then I’ll hit her up for a couple of coffees!)

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Filed under australiana, click on over

A precious weekend.

You know.. I think I’m a bit of a homebody.  Oh, I love to travel, as you know.  But it’s hard to beat a sunny, autumn  (mid-school holidays/pre netball season madness) weekend at home. Just me, him and the kids – and that beach just over there!

I just had one of those weekends, and I loved it, loved it, loved it.  (Ack.. did I just channel that SYTYCD guy?  Help me!)

Himself arrived home on Friday night after a four-night work trip. Nothing like a bit of absence to make the heart a bit fonder, I guess. Once upon a time a four-night mid-week trip would have been nothing. Pffft! In comparison to 4 weeks (6 weeks. 3 months…) – meh!  But we stopped all that three years ago, saved a marriage, and, obviously, get to enjoy a whole lot more time together.

School holidays – when we don’t go away – can be characterised, around here,  by a bit too much sloth.  Friday afternoon, though, Ms 16 kept a pinky promise  we made with each other (with some sort of ‘thumb lock’!)  and went out for a ride on our road bikes.

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Filed under awesome, miscellaneous minutiae, on yer bike, our beach

Oh dear, still feeding my soul…

When all else fails, head for the beach (AGAIN) and get a dose of Mother Nature, I say. (And hope not to bore people silly while I’m at it – with three beachy posts in a row, sheesh…)

Since our visitors left I haven’t had much energy or motivation to do anything. I blame all that pre-visit cleaning.  (And, yes, it is a bit tiring having visitors in the house.)  And just general school holiday laziness.  Blah!

I did hit the shops today with the girls.  One of the downsides to living in a beachside region is that things tend to get a bit crowded during the school holidays.  I’m not into crowded places. The parking area at the major shopping centre in town was worse than it was leading up to Christmas!   And the Food Court was full. And noisy. Blah!

It was very tempting to just sloth when we got home.  But I finished the last of the chocolate (that I liked).. and decided that perhaps I should walk it off. Post-Easter (self-disgust) resolutions, and all that. Plus the sound of the Wii was going to make me kill someone pretty soon.

I struggle to find the words to express how lucky I am to be this spoilt.
That all this is just a couple of hundred metres from home.

Who could complain about having this setting for a daily walk?
(I just wish I did make it a DAILY one.)

It’s never boring …

I don’t know..

Time of day… the light.
.. the clouds…

Even though I like having the place to myself…
there is often something special about what others are doing on the beach.
I like people-watching. (As long as they aren’t too close to me!)
I’m a bit self conscious about standing there and boldly taking photos – but I managed to snap these ones off.

I’m not into fishing myself..
But there’s obviously something about it that sings to those who do it.

Sometimes it can be something about the clouds that completes a possible picture  –
a picture that I try to capture in a mere snapshot..


Or it’s the reflections in the late afternoon light.
And the patterns in the wet sand as the tide recedes.

Even the contrail from a passing jet.

(“Contrails” – that’s a new word I learnt today! I had to skype Mr Knows-a-lot, and ask “What do you call those streaks in the sky that planes sometimes make?.. Ah!.. vapour trails.. uh huh.. or  condensation trails.. Ohhhh “Contrails”. How about that…!)

It’s always different – no matter how often I take myself down there.
Hope it was different enough for you too… three blog posts in a row is a bit tedious I know.

You realise it’s all your fault that because I sat down to blog it all, right away, it’s  now 7.30,
and I haven’t done a thing about dinner yet!!

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Filed under our beach