Covid-19, Beginning of our 5th week of Voluntary Self Isolation…

[FX: best Texan drawl] Well, howdy, y’all! How y’all bin keepin’? [/FX]  😀

As stated above, this is the beginning of our 5th week, locked in all nice and snug with Ching, Satai, and Auric and Dapple (the birds don’t count, as their job is to stay outside, eat lots of expensive bird seed, and to keep Ching and Satai agitated amused twice a day when Julian goes out to give them (the birds, not the cats) their breakfast and dinner) Actually, it’s not always “snug”, and this has always been a bit of a bone of contention between Julian and myself… He sits around, perfectly happy and comfortable, in short-sleeved polo shirts, while I sit around, miserable and shivering, in long sleeved woolen jumpers! 😕  Satai feels the cold too, poor little baby, and looking totally miserable, he huddles himself into a small loaf-of-cat, with his fur all fluffed out. Julian fumes in exasperation, and says “It’s 23C in here! It’s not cold!” The other night I got up to get something, and as I walked past him, shivering as usual, I put my fingers on his cheek… he reared backwards in protest, saying “Oww! You’re cold!” in a totally astonished voice! I just looked at him, with a somewhat tight-lipped and sardonic smirk 😛

Anyway, we’re all well here – humans, fur babies, scaled babies, and feathered friends. Not much to do really – play WoW, read, munch on Easter Eggs (Happy Belated Easter to you all, by the way!)  Julian has been going out approximately every ten days or so to get top-up shopping, like milk, bread. Wood Frog, a fantastic “boutique” sourdough bread shop, is still open at Doncaster, and are actually doing home deliveries to certain areas! The guy at the shop (kiosk, really, in the middle of the central aisle, up near Coles) didn’t know if they did our area too, but that he’d ask his boss – so I can still have my very favourite toasted sourdough Fruit Loaf for breakfast every second day! (I have cereal with half a sliced up banana on the other days)  We’ve been doing quite a lot of shopping online, too, and having it delivered. We used to have things delivered to our PO Box, but since Julian’s only going out once every ten days or so, we’re now having it delivered to our door – much more easier! 🙂  Oh, one thing Julian has bought – it hasn’t arrived yet – is a ruddy electric hair clipper! A very good friend of ours, who also happens to be the best hair stylist this side of the black stump, hasn’t been able to come over and cut our hair as he usually does, because of this wretched Covid-19 business, so now Julian wants me to shave his hair with this new pair of clippers! His hair has grown quite long, and it’s irritating his scalp and driving him crazy, but I’m totally terrified of attempting to cut his hair!  😳

And that’s about all the news from this little fortress in the suburbs – each day seems to merge with the next, and sometimes it’s a bit hard to even remember what day it is – but we’re MAAU* 😀 We have our computers, our World of Warcraft, e-readers, music, cats, fish, birds, and eachother to entertain us, and we’ve had a few conversations with Lee, Kate and Mitta, via Facetime, which works really well 🙂 so life, as they say in the classics, rolls along as it pleases. I’ve just had another Warfarin blood test done this afternoon, so it’ll be interesting to see whether my INR has gone up (bad!), down (but only a little!), or stayed the same (not really good – as it was still too high last time!)

So that’s it from me for another week or so! 😀 But don’t worry, I’ll be sure to let you all know of anything new or exciting happening chez nous (or “con noi”, for our Italian readers 😉 ) However, until next time, remember to bee good, to look after yourselves, and to always drive carefully…. but above all, don’t forget that cats have 32 muscles in each ear, to help them ignore you! 🙂  Ciao for now – moi! 😀

*MAAU = Muddling Along As Usual

Covid-19, Beginning of our 3rd week of Voluntary Self Isolation…

Greetings all! 🙂

As stated above, this is the beginning of our third week cooped up with two overbearing and disgracefully demanding slave-drivers (Satai and Ching) in a rather messy, and rapidly becoming more messy by the day, house, because Kelly, our usual Cleaning Lady, is off in her own state of voluntary self isolation… so today, Julian is going to have to get a clean handkerchief, tie a knot in each corner, pop it on his head like a mob-cap, and turn himself into a “Kelly Mk 2” and do a bit of dusting and vacuuming. Be that as it may, after a week of gritted teeth and a somewhat-demented flurry of preparation (my teeth were gritted, because Julian was in such a somewhat-demented flurry of preparation!), with some trepidation, our “drawbridge” was finally raised, and our portcullis lowered for the duration (apart from a weekly top-speed scurry, masked and gloved, to procure perishables, such as fresh fruit and vegetables (if and when available!), bread, milk,  and eggs, etc.)

Week 1 was a doozie – we’d rung Dorevitch to see if we could have someone out to do my regular Warfarin blood tests, as I was over 70, wasn’t in fabulous health, and we didn’t think it would really be advisable for me to sit around in a (usually very crowded and busy) clinic waiting to have my blood taken. “Certainly!” they said – but we’d have to get my doctor to authorise it.. but they’d try to have someone out the following week anyway as I was already two weeks overdue for my blood test.  As we were going to see Dr. B. the next day to get a few repeat scripts, we also asked her to arrange for Dorevitch to send someone over to do my regular Warfarin blood tests. She made a note to do so, we got our scripts, and we had a brief chat with Dr. B about the Covid-19 situation. She’s very, very busy, and very, very worried about it all, and from then on, she said, she would mainly be doing home visits, and phone or video consultations. She was expecting to receive a delivery of flu vaccine that week, and said she’d come to our place the following Wednesday to give us ours. I said I didn’t want one. I’m 70+, and have never had a flu shot, or had the flu, ever, and that I didn’t want to spoil my stellar record. She and Julian both ganged up on me, saying I was going to have a flu shot whether I wanted it or not, if only to try to prevent a “false positive” if I got sick (i.e. if I’d had a flu shot and got sick with “flu-like symptoms”, it was much more likely to be Covid-19 than the flu, and I’d be treated appropriately a lot faster than if they just thought it was the flu at first)

The next Tuesday, a nice young gentleman from Dorevitch arrived to take my blood test. Good-o! Next, we received a call from Dr. B’s clinic to say that she’s arranged for someone from Dorevitch to come and do my blood test on Thursday. Julian and I looked at eachother, a bit bewildered… Oh well, we’d ask Dr. B about it when she came over the next day to give us our Flu shots. The results from my blood test came in that evening. NOT good. Short explanation: people with normal blood, that doesn’t start clotting at the drop of a hat, need to have an INR [International Normalized Ratio] of around 0.8 to 1.2 (i.e. the higher the INR the thinner the blood) Because I have a tendency for my blood to clot abnormally fast, my INR should, ideally, be around 2.6… it was 3.6!! WAY too high! Hmm… I’d been wondering why I was getting so many bruises when I hadn’t been doing anything that would have caused them! My Warfarin dosage was changed to a very complicated dosage, alternating amounts every night, so I made a handy-dandy chart so that I’d be able to get dosage right….

Wednesday morning arrived, and so did Dr. B, to give us our flu shots… we told her about the visit from Dorevitch the day before, and that we were apparently going to get a visit, organised by her good self, the next day (Thursday) as well?… what should we do? She was as mystified as we were, and we all thought that as they’d sent someone on Tuesday, maybe the Thursday one wouldn’t be sent? Oh well, we’d wait and see. I had my [censored] flu shot; I was not happy! 😕  I also felt a bit cheated… I didn’t even feel the needle go in! 🙁

So Thursday dawned, and around mid-morning, the doorbell rang… it was, of course, someone from Dorevitch, come to do my blood test! A young lady, this time. Julian explained what had happened, but she decided to go ahead and do the blood test anyway – err… When I saw about half a dozen empty blood tubes in the dish, where there is usually only the one, I was a bit taken aback. I shouldn’t have been – this wasn’t the first time that Dr. B, in her wisdom, had decided to run some other blood tests on me, at the same time! 🙄 Oh well… We got the Warfarin results that night – and as it turned out, it was probably a good idea, after all, to have the second blood test so soon after the first. In three days, my INR had gone down from 3.6 to 3.4! Of course, my dosage had to be changed yet again, from a terribly convoluted, complicated dose that needed a chart to follow how much warfarin I had to take each night, down to something much more simpler, thank heavens! So much for making complicated charts, eh?! 😕  I presume that the other, extra blood tests were OK, because I haven’t heard anything to the contrary. I’m sure that it there’s anything amiss with any of them, either Dr. B or the clinic will let me know toot sweet! 🙂

I have another blood test scheduled for Tuesday, tomorrow… I’m starting to feel a bit like a pin-cushion! 😕

Anyway, apart from all of that blood testing business, we’re both well, a bit frazzled, I suppose, and of course, we tend to spend a lot of time playing WoW, especially as Blizzard have a Bonus 100% experience gain going until April 20th… (means you level up twice as quickly!) 😎  and watching my very favourite eldest daughter streaming on Twitch. I’ve also been doing lots and lots of online jigsaw puzzles, and lots and lots of online crossword puzzles, as well as a lot of e-reading, so I definitely haven’t been bored! Julian alternates between playing WoW, mundane office work, cooking, doing the laundry, and a bit of cleaning, as well as his weekly top-speed scurry, masked and gloved, forays into the nasty and dangerous Covid-19 riddled great outdoors.

Julian has bought the cheapest Apple 10″ iPad that he could find, so that we can Facetime with Lee, Kate, Dr. B… and anyone else who wants to talk to us via Facetime. So far we’ve spoken to Lee and Neale, Kate and Terry, and Julian’s sister, Mitta. So far, it seems to work quite well (naturally, I try to duck out of sight of the camera, cos I usually look pretty messy – so don’t expect to see me on Facetime! 😉 )

And that about wraps it up from me for the past three weeks! 🙂 I’ll keep you all up to date on happenings here at “chez nous” (or “con noi”, for those who prefer Italian! 😉 ) as things happen (or don’t happen!), so I shall bid you all to remember that a balanced diet means a cupcake in each hand. Do try extra hard to bee good, take care of yourselves, and above all, to drive carefully! ciao for now, moi! 🙂


I should really be posting this in “Recipes”, I suppose…

and I will, at some vague time in the future. However, yesterday I was looking at some photos of a delicious sounding cake that a friend sent to me, and I realised that it looked very much like a cake which used to be somewhat of a staple in my family… It’s a very versatile cake, and stupidly easy to make – here’s the recipe!



This is a type of Polish Tea Cake – I think the “authentic” Babka recipes use yeast, but this one doesn’t, so it’s not really a traditional Babka, and it’s not quite as “chewy” as an original Babka. But it is really yummy. This particular recipe was given to my mother by the mother of a friend of hers, who had escaped out of Poland as the Nazis were marching in. This cake is incredibly easy to make, and goes down well with everyone – there are lots of variations you can make, too!

You will need:

114 g (4 oz) of melted butter
1 and a ½ Cups of white granulated sugar
2 Cups of Self Raising Flour
3 eggs
½ a Cup of milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla, lemon, or almond essence

And this is what you do:

Mix ALL the ingredients except the flour in a Vitamizer or Blender, blend well, then add it to the sifted flour. Mix well with a wooden spoon. Place the mixture in a greased ring tin and bake in a 185°C (370°F) oven for about 30 minutes. Test with a skewer – if the skewer comes out clean, the cake is ready, however it may take 45 minutes or longer, depending on your oven. Invert onto a cake rack to cool, then put the cake onto a plate and dust with icing sugar.


Only half fill the greased pan with the mixture. Place teaspoonfuls of (dry!) Nescafe, or (dry!)Cocoa powder and sugar*, or Cinnamon and sugar, or chopped walnuts, or chopped mixed peel  (teaspoons of marmalade are really nice, too) – or whatever you like (within reason!) evenly around the tin on top of the mixture. Do try not to get any of these dry mixtures on the sides of the tin, as it tends to make the cake stick to the tin when you’re trying to turn it out! Carefully pour the rest of the mixture over your sprinkles and bake as above.

To serve:

Cut into generous slices and serve with coffee or tea as a special afternoon treat – or whenever you feel like a little something….


Do not, under any circumstances, use powdered Drinking Chocolate, unless you want a horrible cake with yukky lumps! You can, however, dust the finished cake with Drinking Chocolate instead of the icing sugar!


The Continuing Saga of Ching and Satai…

and time marches relentlessly along…

Well, last week Ching went to have his six monthly dental checkup. Ching has always been a somewhat “lazy” eater, much preferring to slurp up his wet food and “vacuum up” his pussy biscuits (that’s “Oral Prescription” kibble to the non cat-owning hoi poloi) , rather than chew it. This led to enormous problems with his teeth, needing six-monthly veterinary supervision – and yesterday, unfortunately, massive surgical intervention involving the removal of six teeth, and the loss of a seventh tooth, which literally fell out when the Vet touched it! And he’s only two and a half years old! 🙁  (sigh) Well, at least he’s kept his front teeth and fangs….

According to the Vet, this is a fairly common problem with Burmese cats. It seems that their immune system’s over-enthusiastic attack on oral bacteria not only kills (some of) the bacteria, but also damages their gums to the point where they develop ulcers, which erode the tooth – and bone – below the gum line… leading to a large amount of pain – and eventual tooth loss. 🙄

And now to the Satai problem…

As many of you know, shortly before his first birthday, Satai inherited the fairly rare breed-specific condition called “Bengal Polyneuropathy“. It took a while to work out what was wrong with him, but eventually we were sent off to a really good animal neurologist who confirmed the diagnosis, and put him on steroids. He’s completely recovered now, thank heavens, but the whole process from go-to-whoa entailed a massive number of visits to quite a few different Vets. Satai hated going in cars anyway, but all those trips to lots of different Vets were understandably extremely traumatising for him.  I don’t often go out, but when he sees me putting on my shoes, he runs and hides (usually extremely well, and by the time we manage to find him, he’s terrified, and we’re running a lot short on patience!) because I always went with him whenever he went to the Vet. Now, of course, if we’re just going “out” somewhere, we don’t bother to go looking for him, and that’s usually fine… Last week when Julian took Ching up for his dental examination, I stayed home, and the day proceeded as normal. Julian and Ching came home, and the pattern of our lives just muddled along as usual. Yesterday however, Ching had to be at the Vet between 8 and 8.30 am so our morning was slightly out of kilter… well alright, extremely out of kilter… no breakfast… the cockatoo’s and fish didn’t get fed… mummy and daddy were acting strangely and running around like chooks with their heads cut off… Ching ran and hid. Satai was bewildered, but mummy wasn’t putting on her shoes, so he was safe, wasn’t he?! After a lot of fruitless searching (and a lot of bad words, because by now they were starting to be a bit late) Ching was captured, unceremoniously basketed, and whisked off, and sensitive little Satai was scared… Daddy came home without Ching! Without his big brother there for him to bully, Satai ran off  and sulked in the Library all day. Daddy went off about mid-afternoon and came back with a very vocal and very strangely smelling Ching (all those strange chemical smells! and what’s more, his neck, and both of his front legs had bare patches on them!) Satai was upset, confused, and quite a bit scared. Dinner time arrived. Ching was ravenous – he’d been “nil by mouth” since 10 pm the night before. We’d been told that he was to have raw meat cut into 1 cm pieces, and as they both adored raw red meat, we decided that Satai could have some too, instead of giving him his usual half tin of ordinary cat food. Ching, despite his sore mouth and stitches, scoffed the lot. Satai refused to eat at all. We eventually managed to get Satai to eat a few “lollies” (Greenies) but he was very upset and unhappy – we wondered how he’d go overnight (we wondered how they’d both go overnight!)

We needn’t have worried – Ching, despite his recent surgery, played a noisy game of “chase the mousie” up and down the corridor outside our bedroom until about 1.30 am when he nestled up in the crook of daddy’s knees. Satai assumed his now customary position on the top of my legs, and the rest of the night passed peacefully…

Brrriiiingggg” – the alarm clock went off, and we slumbered on for a few more minutes 😉  When we eventually got up, it seemed to be “business as usual”, “seemed” being the key word there! We’d decided that Ching would have some more chopped up raw mean (a beautiful piece of lamb backstrap, if you must know) and half of a Dine Tube “treat” – Satai would have his normal breakfast. They were both hungry – Satai specially so because he’d refused to eat his dinner last night. Now, normally, both cats mill around my legs, playing fisticuffs and biffing eachother over the head (why, I have no idea!) while I’m getting their food ready. They started off that way this morning, but I soon realised that Satai had vanished, and that Ching was sitting there sedately, waiting for his breakfast. Most odd! 😯   I finally finished preparing their breakfasts – Ching was there yowling for his, but there was still no sign of Satai. I called him and called him – what was going on? Did he somehow think that after what happened to Ching yesterday that it was probably his turn today, and that we were trying to trap him with….food?! …Anyhow, still no show!  Julian went looking. Would you believe, he was hiding under the bed? Right at the back, where it’s almost impossible to reach him?! 😕  Grrr! Ching was getting frantic by this stage, so we fed Ching, and I put Satai’s in the pantry. Julian fed the fish and went out to feed the birds and I retired to the Den. Shortly thereafter, I spotted Satai skulking past the door to the Den… looking for his breakfast no doubt, so I went and retrieved it from the pantry, and took it to him in the Library, where he was already sitting on his dinner box, waiting for it. As usual, he cleaned his bowl, and now he seems to be back to his usual self, mooching around me begging for “botty pats” (he stands with his tail towards me and I briskly pat his flanks in a clapping motion. He loves it, and can stand there for 10 to 15 minutes, smooching my desk lamp, and getting patted!) No wonder I never get anything constructive done!  🙄

And thus endeth today’s episode of The Continuing Saga of Ching and Satai…  🙂



Winter’s log, earthdate 201710.19

Greetings All! 🙂 Well, it looks like I’m back again – probably not quite as often, or as prolifically as I was before I took a nice, long break (and well-earned rest from writing every night!), but at least back in the picture – here and there, and now and then… off and on… I’m sure you get the picture 😉 If you want to read all about Winter’s Grand Diet, fantastic recipes, and the “prequel” to this blog, you’ll find it here

So, where to start? Well, to start off with, the excruciatingly detailed and in-depth documentation of my “Grand Diet” has finally come to an end – not because it didn’t work, or because I gave up, but simply because I achieved my goal – going from 134-point-something kg in 2014 to under 65 kg the year before last… not too bad a record for an old codger like me, eh? 🙂 I have put on a bit of poundage since – my actual goal was 70 kg, even though I went under that for nearly six months – I’m now at a much more healthier 73 kg, and with luck and due diligence, I hope to hover somewhere around that weight indefinitely. If not [shrug] I shall simply hop back onto my Optifast diet – with modifications – until I go back down again… Hey! Don’t knock it! It works! Yes, yes, I can hear some of you grumbling from the sidelines “That’s yo-yo dieting, and it’s not good for you!”, but our introduced “modifications” make it more like a “cutting down on things we shouldn’t be eating anyway”, than the ultra-strict Optifast diet I went on when I weighed 134-point-something kg, back in 2014. Yes, it was drastic, but it was either the Optifast “Intensive Level” diet (which you’re not supposed to remain on, but I did anyway…) or the permanent removal of 3/4 of my stomach – and since that would require surgery, and I’m permanently on Warfarin, that probably wouldn’t have been a very wise choice… So there you go… no more grizzling about weight fluctuations, or weeping and wailing if the scales don’t show a marked weight decrease every morning – but do expect plenty of food tips, yummy recipes, and lots of foodie-gossip! 🙂

Secondly, if any of you follow Julian on Facebook, you’d know that we’ve been going through a hellish nightmare for the last month with our beautiful little darling, Satai!

On or around September 12th, we noticed that he seemed to have hurt his back legs, as he was only walking a few steps, then flopping down and resting a bit before getting up again. We thought he might have pulled a muscle or tendon in his back legs, or something, because he loved getting up onto the vanity unit in the en-suite and playing “splashies” with a dribble of water in the hand basins (Julian would turn the tap on for him while I weighed myself) We thought that this would right itself after a few days, but it didn’t – in fact, it got worse, so we took him up to see the Vet (Dr. Rod)  Dr Rod had a good look at him, agreed with us that maybe he’d pulled a tendon, but took x-rays of his spine, hips, and both back legs – which showed up as being perfectly fine, which was a relief, as this was about the age that hip dysplasia usually reared its ugly head, and I was concerned that that could have been the problem.

He continued to deteriorate so well before his followup visit, we took him back to see Dr. Rob., and by the end of the month (September) he was barely able to walk, was having trouble using his litter box (to his credit, all through this terrible time he never once made a “mess” outside his litter box – not that we would have blamed him or been cross with him if he had – the poor baby could hardly walk! He’s such a brave, good little boy!) Another set of x-rays was taken, to see if there was any change in what they showed – but no-one was surprised when they didn’t. We were advised to take him down to SouthPaws in Moorabbin for an MRI or CT scan, to see if there was any soft tissue damage, or maybe a slipped disc. Poor Satai – he hates going in cars, and he’s terrified of Vets – but, down we went, and talked to a lovely young Vet who watched him walk/hobble/creep/stagger around… He was walking (if you could call it that) with quite a big hump in his lower spine, and his tail either drooping or dragging along the floor – luckily he didn’t seem to be in any physical pain, but it was dreadful to watch, and I was beside myself – not wanting to let go of him, but wondering if we were doing the right thing or if we should… er… “end his suffering” – it even kills me to write that, you know?!

She was a clever young Vet – had done her homework very thoroughly! She tested his reflexes (yes! Vets have a miniature hammer thingy that they tap the cat’s knee with to see if it jerks like ours do – it does! 🙂 ) She said that they’d do the scan if we wanted to go ahead with it, but she didn’t think there’d be much point. She felt, after her observation of him, that he had “inherited Bengal Polyneuropathy”. It’s a Bengal associated condition, and more prevalent that I would have thought! Certainly no-one ever mentioned a word of it to me when I was investigating the possibility of getting a Bengal! – anyway, there is another variation of this condition found in other breeds of cat – but as you can imagine, it’s pretty rare! She recommended that we take him to Care, in Collingwood (of all places! Talk about from the sublime to the ridiculous!) to see a Neurologist, Dr. Sam Long.

Satai was left there to undergo electrodiagnostic testing, again under a general anesthetic, where they measure the time it takes for a signal to go from one muscle to another, the results of which were consistent with demyelinating disease (i.e. the Bengal (or other cat) Polyneuropathy) We picked him up early that afternoon. Dr. Sam seemed very much taken with Satai, who by this stage couldn’t control his back legs at all 😥

Basically, what happens in this condition is that the sheath protecting bundles of nerves (that control the back legs) from the spine start to wear off – or de-laminate – causing the function of those nerves to be disrupted, and making walking difficult (to put it mildly!) And… it can sometimes… recur. Well, that’s the bad news… but there is good news, too! Apparently 86% of Bengals who get this recover, if not completely, then certainly enough to allow them to live a normal, healthy, and happy life. There’s no treatment, as such, and no “cure” per se., except time… and there’s only one way to ascertain whether or not it is the Bengal inherited condition or not, and that’s to do a fairly painful biopsy requiring stitches and restricted movement while the cat is recuperating – but as the Neurologist said – what Satai has is either the Bengal inherited condition, or it’s the other, rarer “ordinary cats” version, so there’s little point in doing the biopsy. He’s put him on 0.8 ml of Prednisolone twice a day (with food) for 14 days, then once a day for 14 days, then once every second day for 14 days…

Next Monday Satai will have been on the Prednisolone for 14 days, and he’s due for a follow-up visit to see Dr. Sam at 11.00 am. I think Dr. Sam will be surprised, and very pleased! Satai isn’t the uncoordinated, half-crippled little cat that he saw a fortnight ago, he’s almost completely back to the bouncy little teenager he used to be before he was struck down – he runs around, pounces and wrestles with his big brother Sal, and with a little help from Mummy and Daddy strategically putting chairs and other low objects in “useful places”, he’s even able to get up onto the cat stand next to Auric and Dapple in the lounge room, and up into the Penthouse here in the Den. He’s climbing, but not scrabbling, he can stand up on his back legs, but he’s lost an awful lot of muscle bulk in his back legs and they’re not quite strong enough to jump up very far, though he can jump down from benches and such… Scratch that! I just heard a gentle “thump” of a cat landing on the two cabinets next to my desk – I turned around, and there was Satai – he’d jumped up! 😀 The first time he’s jumped that high since he got sick! 😀 Oh, he’s so clever and beautiful and brave and gorgeous! I’m so happy I could cry! 🙂

So there you have a potted history of Satai’s Great Illness! At the moment he’s busy shredding a ball of paper that Julian wadded up and threw for him – there are little bits of torn-off paper all over the floor! 😀

It’s his first Birthday on Saturday… 🙂

And now, the pictures…

“…but I *know* the toy lives in this drawer!”


“See! I *knew* the toy was in there! Gimme!”


...two brothers cuddling...
…two brothers cuddling…
“Wait! Was that a bird that just flew past??!”




And finally, the first loaf of bread that Julian’s made in over a year! (not bread-machine made, either! “A Mano”! 🙂

and yes, it tasted just as good as it looks!
and yes, it tasted just as good as it looks!


So there ya go! 🙂 I’m back with news, opinions, musings, recipes, and photos… so take care, all of you – drive carefully, bee good, and remember – biology gives you a brain, life turns it into a mind… ciao, all! 🙂





Winter’s log, earthdate 201704.18

05.37 pm

Well, it’s a wee bit late to be starting to write, but I felt that I owed you all a bit of an après Easter catch-up…

Pre Easter – two horrible things happened…


Well, it wasn’t really my fig tree per se., it was the fig tree “backdoor” – that is it was growing on the property behind us, but had (lots of!) branches hanging over the fence (and through the fence!) and from which we regularly plucked deliciously luscious ripe figs, when they were available. Alas, the house was sold a few months ago, and was demolished the week before last. When we knew that the house had been sold, we also realised that the beautiful, big, healthy, and very fruitful fig tree would probably be… “demolished” too… cut down… murdered… Well, we hoped for the best, but expected the worst… and sure enough, last week, after the house itself had been razed, the fig tree was also “removed”. The demolition and removal workers even broke a hole in our back fence with their damn digger, as they were attempting to remove the fig tree’s roots! It was a beautiful big tree, too – big and strong and healthy… green and shady in summer…  ah well, I suppose that at least I’ve still got my very own fledgling fig tree, sturdily growing in our back yard, sheltered by our large storage shed.

The other horrible thing was…

I broke one of my implants! I’ve just come back from my Prosthodontist, to see if they can fix it – which they can, but…  it’s complicated. I’d actually broken this tooth twice before – the first time, I did pretty much what I did this time – broke one side of my lower right molar (the “buckle“, I think it’s called) completely off! Dr. N. looked it up in his notes, and sure enough, five years ago I’d done the same thing (in fact you could actually see remains of the cement used to repair it, on the broken bit of tooth (which isn’t really “tooth” at all, it’s porcelain, as are the rest of my implants!)) So… what to do this time? Option One: I could leave it as it is – it’s reasonably safe, the broken edges aren’t sharp enough to be causing me any discomfort – but of course, it’s not as strong as it ought to be (there’s really only about a quarter of the tooth left) and it’ll cause a lot more trouble if left to its own devices. Option Two: I can have it rebuilt from the bridge up. This would mean unscrewing the bottom half of my teeth and sending them off to have the new molar made from scratch. I’d be without bottom teeth for a week! Now, this might be bearable (who am I trying to kid!) and I’d be left with a brand new tooth that would be as good and as strong as they were when they were first screwed in. Option Three: I can have that particular section of my lower implants unscrewed (the last three back teeth from the lower right hand side, including the broken one) and sent off to be repaired, just as I did five years ago. Depending on when they were sent off, it’d take three or four days. I could have had them removed and sent off today, but they wouldn’t have been collected until tomorrow afternoon, so the “repairers” wouldn’t have received them until Thursday – one day until the weekend, then next Tuesday is ANZAC Day, so I’d have been lucky if I got them back before that weekend! OK, so I’d go in early on Monday morning to have them unscrewed, they’d (hopefully) go off that afternoon, etc., etc., but even if they did come back by the Friday (which would have been a bit “iffy” anyway, what with ANZAC Day, an’ all!) Dr. N. was going to be Lecturing all day that Friday! Arrgghh! Well, the best laid plans of mice and men, etc… Anyway, the upshot of it all is that I’ve gone for Option Three (the repair job) but I’ll go in Monday week (May 01st) to get them unscrewed and sent off. They should be back by Friday, May 05th., so hopefully it’ll be a case of “all’s well that ends well”! 🙂

Easter was good though! 🙂

Our Hot Cross Buns from Ferguson Plarre were really yummy! (and still are, as we still have enough FP HCB’s for another three breakfasts!) The kids came over for luncheon on Sunday, when we had slices of roast turkey breast roll – cold, because we’d cooked it the day before, slices of slow-cooked corned silverside (also cooked the day before) some delicious home-made potato salad (my very own original recipe, too!) commercially bought quinoa tabouli salad (cos we haven’t found a good recipe for it yet to make our own) and a loaf of lovely fresh sourdough bread from Wood Frog, over at Doncaster. For dessert we had a yummy chocolate Mud Cake, with cream, and some Baklava, which my very favourite eldest daughter and her husband brought with them… all of that was followed up by very nice coffee, and lots of loose chocolate lollies and eggs.

Guess who didn’t have any dinner on Easter Sunday night! Not even a piece of fruit, or some yoghurt! 🙂

And now my dinner tonight (pasta) is ready!  I’ll be back to finish off later on…. 😉

 09.48 pm

And here I am again, after a lovely dinner of farfalle, with our own fully organic, home-grown tomatoes in the form of a delicious and home-made tomato sauce (passata) and a sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan to complete the dish! For dessert I had a brown Nashi pear, and a lemon CHOBANI yoghurt, which I was cruelly forced to share with two greedy little cats, Sal and Satai! Mind you, Sal doesn’t like the lemon yoghurt ones that much – he prefers the Le Rice, whereas Satai likes all yoghurts, no matter what flavour!

Well, I managed to struggle through Easter fairly well, trying to eat only on one side of my mouth, but usually forgetting and finding myself chewing vigorously on a quarter of a rear bottom molar instead of a full one, when I’d hastily and guiltily shove the food over to the new “chewing” side again… But then I’d think “Oh well, a mouthful of three-quarters melted, and half-chewed chocolate isn’t really very hard, it should be alright”, and shift everything back over to the damaged but normal “chewing” side. Anyway, we asked Dr. N. this afternoon if I had to try and avoid chewing on the damaged side, or if I could chew on both (sides) and he said – not terribly enthusiastically – that it’d probably be alright… if I was careful! …so I am!

We’re busily munching our way through all the left-over Easter goodies, in preparation for our big Optifast Diet once we’ve eaten up all the left-over chocolate, remaining Hot Cross Buns, Easter Eggs (I still have two big ones to go – Julian only has one left, but he eats a lot faster than me!) and Toll House Cookies, which were my very favourite youngest daughter’s “IOU” Birthday present to me, that I received on Sunday, along with half a dozen of her famous home-made Hot Cross Buns (which, unfortunately, are all eaten now! 😥 ) I’ve found my old Optifast notes, charts, and eating plans from 2014, so it’s just a matter of updating them a bit, and doubling up the quantities… I’m not exactly looking forward to it, but on the other hand, I’m not dreading it, either… and I have to admit, my weight has “spiked” more than somewhat, over these last few weeks of gratuitously stuffing myself with chocolate, until I’m almost (almost!) at the point of not wanting to even look at chocolate again for… oh, I don’t know? Ten minutes? Give or take a few seconds… 😉

So anyway – that’s really about it from me for tonight, as we haven’t really been doing very much, being still in our “Coasting-Through-Easter-And-Trying-Not-To-Think-About-It-That-Much” mode, but no doubt by next week, we’ll be up to our eyebrows in “thingz” again. Oh, one thing of note – we’ve been watching Netflix lately, particularly “Stargate Atlantis” – we’d watched almost all of the Five Seasons of it, and were just four episodes away from the end of Season Five and the final dénouement – the last of Stargate Atlantis forever – when Netflix’s contract with the distributor ran out, or whatever, and the show was pulled! Julian was forced to go and download them “elsewhere” so that we could find out how it ended (which was pretty lame anyway, but we wanted to see it, after investing that much time in watching the ruddy thing!) So we got to see the ending, and then we went mooching around Netflix looking for something else to watch, and nothing else really appealed… so this evening we had a look at Stan, and found what I hope will turn out to be a good series – “Forever” – I’m pretty sure that the Stan blurb said “2 seasons”, but just about everything I’ve read about it in the past five minutes says there’s only one season – so, who knows? Anyway, the first episode was quite good! 🙂 I’ll let you know how it goes, if we keep watching it…

As for what’s happening tomorrow, well, Julian has an appointment at the Dentist in the morning, and I have Sean coming over in the evening, but apart from that? I have no earthly idea… but, drop in again tomorrow night, or the next, and I’ll fill you all in on our comings and goings! 🙂 Until then though, please do try very hard to bee good, remember that behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes… and don’t forget to keep cool – or warm, as the whim takes you, to look after yourselves, and to always drive carefully – but above allplease don’t forget to stay safe! 🙂 ciao, all! 🙂

Winter’s log, earthdate 201704.11

05.16 pm

My goodness, it’s been a long time! Sorry about that everyone, but… better late than never, right? Well, I was going to go out today, to get Easter Eggs to give to everyone on Sunday, to look for a new computer chair for Julian (for his very belated Birthday present!) and an equally “very belated” joint Wedding Anniversary present (which was only last December!) of a suitable “Blanket Box”, “Footlocker”, chest “thingie”, or whatever they’re really called – to go across the foot of our bed – something that we can store “junk” in, or lazily drop our clothing on top of, when we can’t be bothered going and looking for a coat hanger upon which to hang said clothing. But it was (*insert expletive here*cold this morning, and The Age weather information paragraph said to “take an umbrella today”, and as is my usual want, I got cold feet, and chickened out of the expedition. Instead, I busied myself with dithering around for most of the morning, not doing anything terribly constructive – unless you want to call cleaning out three rather well-used cat litter trays, and vacuuming most of the cat hairs off one of our wheelie stools¹, “constructive”! Julian is on a campaign to “cat toy-proof” the house, by inserting appropriate sized pieces of timber underneath all the chairs, couches, cabinets, dressers, and anything else that the cats love to bat their toys under – probably only for the fun of seeing “Daddy” down on his hands and knees with a torch and a long stick, trying to find and retrieve the various toy balls, mice, and feathered trinkets for them. It’s quite amusing to watch – I’m quite sure that you’ve all seen cartoons of cats crouched by a mouse hole, peering intently for any sign of movement? Well, it goes something like this – and both cats do this, by the way – they play ecstatically with their catnip-laced toy, batting it around, chasing it, scrabbling for it, until they finally manage to get it underneath a heavy piece of furniture. Light furniture just doesn’t do it for them – no, it’s not allowed to be anything that’s easily movable, it has to be something large, heavy, and unwieldly! Once the toy is in place under the heavy piece of furniture, they crouch there, staring into the darkness under the couch (or whatever the toy has been batted under!) until one of us notices – which is usually pretty quickly, because they wait until we’re around to do it. Once they know that they have our undivided attention, they turn around and look at us with sad eyes – “I’ve lost my toy!” – they seem to be saying, then they crouch down again, peering intently under the furniture… because they can see their toy, but they just can’t reach it – their little legs just aren’t long enough! This is obviously a job for “Super Daddy”, so Julian sighs, gets up, grabs the torch and a long piece of gardening trellis bamboo (which actually used to be the main part of Sal’s very first toy, only we “un-toy’d” it when Satai “accidentally” ate a little piece of curly Christmas wrapping ribbon that had been tied onto the end of it, and which he then promptly sicked up onto the carpet, so it was deemed to be an “officially dangerous toy” and, as I said earlier, secretly “un-toy’d”, when they were both asleep that night. It was Sal’s favourite toy, too… 😥 ) Where was I? Oh yes, Julian is either kneeling or lying on the floor, with his torch and his long “reaching stick”, and fossicking under the couch for the Lost Toy – the two cats are totally fascinated at seeing what’s under the piece of furniture by torch-light – it must look so exciting and enticing to them – and they’ll sit there peering under the torch-lit couch (or whatever) even after their toy has been found and returned to them… 🙂 Cute little guys…

So Julian is methodically working his way around the house, stoppering up all of the under-furniture-gaps with lengths of snugly fitting timber. Poor cats – no longer will they get to see the enticing and fascinating fairy-land expanses under the furniture by torchlight, once he’s finished!

After lunch, I played a bit of WoW, and then went hunting new – yes, you guessed it – WordPress Themes and Templates. I found a lot of them too, but I didn’t like them that much, so I’m sticking with this one for a bit. One of my favourite Net places to visit these days is Creative Market – a fabulous place for extremely reasonably priced fonts and graphics of all sorts – and every week they give you six  FREE whatevers. Sometimes fonts, sometimes graphics, but usually a mixture of things. This morning, one of the free items on offer was a new WordPress Theme, and from the sound of it, was almost everything I was looking for in a Theme or Template – almost too good to be true! So I gleefully grabbed my free download, and set about installing it. Uh-oh! The installation failed… because the most important part of the Theme, the CSS Style sheet, was missing! Looking at the home website of this wunnerful Theme, it said that their friendly staff would be very happy to install it on my computer for me… What?!? Give some total stranger access to the inner workings of my private computer?!? Because with this set up, everything’s on my computer, not the data base of a commercial entity like – and you can bet your bottom dollar that they’d never be stupid enough to let anyone from a third-party “free” Theme organisation anywhere near their files! They had to be kidding, right? No, apparently they weren’t – so I waved goodbye to my free, “almost perfect” Theme. It wasn’t Creative Market’s fault – their clients offer them items to give away once a week – it’s not their fault if one of those freebies is shonky! :/

Well, tomorrow my very favourite eldest daughter will be over, so I won’t get another chance to go off and buy Easter Eggs until Thursday, but that’s OK – say lar Vee, as the French say! 😉 We’ll spend a cosy afternoon inside, watching episodes of our favourite TV shows! 🙂

And now, for your enjoyment…

the two boys, flat-out sleeping
the two boys, flat-out sleeping!


Brothers in Arms - after a Big Brother bath, Satai's fur is all wet and curly!
Brothers in Arms – after a Big Brother bath, Satai’s fur is all wet and curly!
our beautiful little boy...
our beautiful little boy…
what appears to be a large, grey balloon with a stripey tail, is, in fact, Sal's big grey bottom, with Satai's tail dangling in the breeze! The Penthouse now seems to be a bit of a tight fit for the two of them together!
what appears to be a large, grey balloon with a stripey tail, is, in fact, Sal’s big grey bottom, with Satai’s tail dangling in the breeze! The Penthouse now seems to be a bit of a tight fit for the two of them together!

10.25 pm

And now it’s a lot later than I wanted it to be 🙁 I’ve been trying to mess around with getting the photos all neatly in a line across the screen, but I dunno how! So I’ve had to make do with a straight line up and down the screen instead! Grrr!

Anyhoo, I’m gunna call it quits for tonight – hopefully I’ll get a chance to add in a bit more tomorrow, or Thursday night, depending on what time my very favourite eldest daughter goes home tomorrow… but that’s about “it” from me for tonight though! Yes, my weight is continuing to rise, but at this point, I don’t give a damn – so eat, drink and be merry and all that – let them eat cake, says I! All the cake they want,  cos Easter is only a cuppla days away, and after Easter…. we Optifast! But do look in again tomorrow night to see if I’ve written anything new, or added some new photos of the boys (and I really mustn’t leave poor Auric and Dapple out of the pictures, either! More of them next time, too!) Until then though, do try hard to bee good, and don’t forget that to succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone, and remember to always drive carefully, to look after yourselves, and to keep warm – or cool – depending on your preferences – but most importantly, please – don’t forget to stay safe! 🙂 ciao, all! 🙂

¹Wheelie stools. We have two of them – old computer chairs with the backs and arms removed, leaving just the seat and the base – marvelous for scooting around on tiled surfaces, and even “passable” for getting around on carpet. Their only problem is that they’re cloth upholstered, so things like cat hairs stick to them as though they’d been super glued on! One of the wheelie stools lives in the Library, but despite a lovely couch, and a felted “cat cave”, Satai likes to sleep on the wheelie stool. It was originally upholstered in dark charcoal grey… which has now become more of a nice “taupe”, or “ecru” colour. I’m brushing and vacuuming it every morning when I’m doing the cat boxes, and I’m s-l-o-w-l-y getting it back to its original colour… but it’s a bit like “one step forward, two steps back”, because Satai still sleeps on it, every time he’s in the Library! :/

Winter’s log, earthdate 201704.04

04.32 pm

Well, I’m finally back! Lots of thrilling and exciting things have been happening – even though it’s been fairly quiet around here, but as you can see, we managed to survive the various calamities and disasters that might have befallen us, had we been rash and foolhardy enough to go out and do anything mildly adventurous! Anyway, if any of you have been checking in to see if I’d actually written anything for a change, you’ll have realised that I was still somewhere around because of the periodic changes to the Template and the Header graphic – so, surprise, surprise – this time the Header graphics and the Template are the same – but I’m writing, instead!

Lemme see now, what have we been up to… I had my Field Test (to see if I’m getting Glaucoma, cos my mother, and her mother both had it, so chances are I’ll end up with it too – Glaucoma can be nasty like that sometimes!) My new glasses arrived – early too, for a change – we hadn’t been expecting to get them for at least another four or five days. I was supposed to book myself in for the Field Test when I was notified that my glasses had arrived, but I was very anxious to go and pick them up, and the Optometrist wasn’t there that day, so I picked up the glasses anyway, and made an appointment to have the Field Test later on that week. I haven’t had a Field Test done for about four or five years (naughty me! 😳 ) and things have changed a bit in the interim. It used to be that they’d put a patch over one of your eyes (because you have to do this test one eye at a time) sit you in a sort of a little hooded booth, give you a small push-button hand-held thingy, and tell you to stare straight ahead at a fixed light. The Optometrist then leaves the room and starts the machine, which begins to flash seemingly random pin-prick lights, here, there, and everywhere. You’re supposed to click the little push-button thingy whenever you see a light flash, and it can become quite fraught sometimes, as some of the lights are bright and fairly obvious, and some are so faint and brief that you’re not really sure if you did see something or not, so by the time you get around to pressing the little button thingy, thinking “Yeah, I think it was a light”, the next light is flashing at you! If you click too many times in quick succession, the machine speeds the sequence up alarmingly! Well, that part of the test is pretty much the same, except you’re not put in a little hooded booth, this time you’re just put in front of a nice gleaming new machine – and go through the same routine. Then you’re taken off to another machine where once again, one eye at a time, you have to look at a glowing “cross-hair”. Once you’re staring at that, they get you too keep staring at it as they move it to the side of the screen, and then you stare a bit more while they do other stuff which your eye automatically tries to follow, but when that happens, they get annoyed, and you have to do it again, without your eye trying to follow the distraction. Then you’re taken back to the original room where they take some photos of your optic nerve, to see if there are any bulges or misshapen parts around its perimeter. The whole thing takes about 40 minutes. The results of all of that were “Your eyes are actually in pretty good shape for someone of your age!” “Someone of my age!” Hmm! I don’t have to have another Field Test for twelve months, because the pressure in my eyes is fairly good, but next time, the Optometrist told me, the test will take longer, because she wants to put some drops in my eyes to try and let a little more light in, as my just beginning to form cataracts are making the insides of my eyes a wee bit murky for taking photos of anything.

After that, we had lunch, and I went off to have my Warfarin blood test done, the results of which we got later that afternoon. My INR has gone up again – a bit too much on the high side (2.8) for my liking, but they (Dorevitch) seem pleased enough with it to keep my dosage the same, and they don’t want to see me for another six weeks!

Julian harvested the last of our extremely prolific tomatoes on Saturday, and pulled everything out of all the vegetable beds except for our one remaining crown of rhubarb – which is almost ready to be harvested too – in preparation for planting our Autumn/Winter vegetables. It’s really the season for planting things like spinach, silverbeet, kale, brussels sprouts, and lots of other “leafy greens”, and we would be, but I can only eat a little bit of those sorts of vegetables – as much as I love spinach, silverbeet and brussels sprouts, I can’t eat any of them very often. They’re very high in Vitamin K, which is why they’re so good for you, but they muck up the way Warfarin works, so people who take Warfarin are told to avoid them, where possible 😥

From the tomatoes that Julian harvested on the weekend he made a very small tub of our extremely delicious “passata”, which we used last night. No, we didn’t have pasta with home-made tomato sauce (“passata”) we had home-made hamburgers – but with a bit of a twist! 🙂 Well, you’ve all heard me rave on about our wonderful and delicious Lamb and Harissa Lasagne with Feta and Oregano, I’m sure, so I thought that maybe Julian could make lamb hamburgers, with a touch of Harissa in them, because home-made hamburgers are really delicious (the last time we had home-made hamburgers, they really were “ham” burgers! Julian made then from pork mince, thus putting the “ham” back in the “hamburger”, and they were absolutely fantastic!) and of course we know for a fact that Harissa goes beautifully with lamb, so the “lamburgers” with a touch of Harissa, and some of the latest batch of home-made passata were duly made, and then I thought – why not warm up the rest of this tub of passata, and spoon it over the lamburgers and the mashed potatoes before they went to the table? Which is what we did, and (*Winter preens proudly*) it looks like I’ve come up with another culinary Star Dish! This one (made up by me!) is well and truly a “Keeper”! 🙂

My very favourite eldest daughter isn’t going to be able to get over this week, unfortunately – she has a couple of uni assignments due, and already has an extension on one of them – but she did come over for a few hours yesterday. Julian picked her up at Deakin and brought her back here, where we had lunch and chattered for a bit, but there was no time to watch any of our favourite TV shows before he had to take her home again. Sean came over though, and once again I’m looking human 🙂 Julian and I watched the last ever episode of “Stargate Atlantis” last night 😥 I wish they hadn’t decided not to run it for another Season (*pout*) so tonight we’re going to have to watch something else on Netflix – probably “Stranger Things” – I’ll let you all know how it pans out!

Auric and Dapple are getting really big now – we have a small triangular hole in the glass “lid” to the tank-proper (just above the water line, but underneath the wooden tank cover – approximately ¾ inch, or 2 cm big) where I drop in their food (teeny little pellets of algae that look remarkably like dry caviar!) Because they were really quite small fishies when we first put them in the tank, we were a trifle concerned that they might try to jump out of the tank through the hole, so we covered said hole with the clear plastic lid of an old CD case. When I go to feed them, I slide it over the glass so that I can get at the hole, and then slide it back again when I’ve finished. It’s worked well – only now the two little fishies are quite big little fishies, and I don’t think they’d be able to fit more than their mouth and a bit of their heads through the hole, even if they were trying desperately to escape! There’s one thing about the tank that concerns us though – and that’s the fact that we’ve noticed green algae growing underneath the inside silicon seal in the back right hand corner of the tank! Surely the algae couldn’t grow there if water wasn’t getting through the seal somehow, could it? And if water is getting through the seal, what does it say for the chances of our tank remaining (a) watertight, and (b) a clean, healthy environment for our two not-so-little fishies? Any thoughts or ideas about this small problem greatly appreciated (as long as it’s polite! 😉 )

Sal and Satai are still being their usual adorable, annoying, and amusing selves – I’ll have to get some photos of them both for you – Satai is no longer a kitten – he’s now taller than his Burmese brother, but very lean and leggy, instead of being short and chunky. I have a small white plastic “foot-step” for getting into high cupboards under my desk, and when he was little, Satai used to love playing under it, as though he was pretending to be a turtle, or something. He’d hide his toys under it, then dive in after them – he had so much fun with it… 🙂 Now, of course, he’s sooo much bigger, he doesn’t fit under it any more… He still likes to put things under it though, and play with it, but he can only get his head and shoulders under it, and occasionally he’ll get down there and peek cheekily up at me, as though saying “Look Mum, I can still be a turtle!” Well, that’s what he was doing yesterday – I looked down, and there he was, all hyper and cute, peeking at me from under the “turtle shell”, with his whole back and tail hanging out the side of it. I laughed – he was so sweet… and then he spotted Sal, playing with something over by the couch! He was instantly riveted! Sal was playing with something that he (decided that he) wanted (for himself!) Without a single thought of where he was, or what he was doing, he took off, complete with “turtle shell” on his head and shoulders! It was so funny to see – if he hadn’t knocked the “turtle shell” against the desk leg, he probably would have just kept on going – but it bumped the desk leg and my handbag, which happened to be sitting on the floor there, and the plastic “foot-step” bounced off him, making him stop and pause for a second “Hmm… who was that masked turtle-shell?” and then off he went again. By the time he got to Sal, Sal had stopped playing with the toy anyway, Satai had forgotten what he’d been running over for, and they both tumbled down together in a mock-wrestling match-come-mutual bathing licks. I tell you, never a dull moment around here with those two! 🙂

My dinner is almost ready, so news on my bourgeoning weight will have to wait until tomorrow. So that’s about “it” from me for this evening – do drop in again tomorrow night to see if there’s any news of my weight and what else we got up to – but until then, do try hard to bee good, remember – to succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone – and don’t forget to always drive carefully, to keep cool – or warm, depending on the outside temperature, and to look after yourselves… but above allplease don’t forget to stay safe! ciao, all! 🙂

Winter’s log, earthdate 201703.29

05.47 pm

Well, not much has happened today, really – it has been a very quiet day here at Stillwater, despite the fact that Kyle, our lawnmowing person, was here mowing the grass, and making whipper-snipper type noises for most of this afternoon. This morning I played WoW – sometime in the wee small hours of the morning, Oz time, Blizzard’s new 7.2 patch went live, so that had to be downloaded first. It wasn’t very big – we’d been expecting something a lot bigger, but – oh well, we shall see what it’s like. There was also a new version of Windowblinds, the UI skinning utility with which I can “prettify” the boring and totally unimaginative Windows screens – so I downloaded that too, and ran it – hmm… I’m not sure that I like it all that much – visually, it’s very different from the previous version – but… and I’ve been thinking about this a bit since this morning – all the changes are really only cosmetic! Yes, it looks very different – but it still does exactly the same things – it’s just done up in nice, new graphics, and presented in a slightly different manner! And for that I paid a whole nine dollars?! Sheesh! 😉

So, while I was busy mucking around with Windowblinds and WoW, Julian was outside in the garden, harvesting the last of our tomato crop, pulling all the old plants and vines out, and preparing the vegetable beds for the autumn/winter crops that we hope to be planting soon – er, that is when we can decide what we’re going to plant! “They” say that Brussels sprouts should be planted around now, and I’m really very keen on Brussels sprouts – the trouble is, I’m not supposed to have them too often (apparently they interfere with the way my Warfarin works, which is a very big no-no if I want to avoid dying from a blood clot!) We shall have to consult “The Box That Knows Everything” to find out what we should, or can plant, for our autumn/winter crop! Any (polite) suggestions, anyone? (*Winter looks around hopefully*)

So, because that’s about all that happened today, I shall write you all a short(ish!) revue of the new Dyson “wand” vacuum cleaner that we purchased about a week or so ago… I’m thinking that I might make a copy of my revue in order to send it on to Dyson – but I don’t think they’ll appreciate it!

As you all know, I clean out the cat litter trays every morning, and as those of you with cats, or familiar with indoor cats will know, the “clumping” kitty litter gets into everything! It seems to be almost frictionless, the way it bounces and rolls along the floor in every which-where direction, the moment you even look at it!  Anyway, I’d been using a very el-cheapo “powered” carpet sweeper, which really did an extremely good job of sucking up all the slippery little granules of kitty litter, and about the only reason I was dissatisfied with it was because the very tiny container for the guff it swept up was difficult to get at, almost impossible to remove, and even harder to put back in again. I wanted a proper cordless. “wand” vacuum cleaner, quick, light, efficient, easy to empty, etc., etc., etc. As usual, Julian did his homework well, and about the only type of “wand” vacuum that would tick all of those boxes was… you guessed it, the Dyson!

The Dyson wand-type vacuum seemed to be exactly what we wanted – we were going to get the V8 model… but please, do yourselves a favour, and go and look at their “Features” page – at what it says, halfway down the page, about its balance, ease of handling, and what this vacuum cleaner is capable of. In the end, we got the V6 “Pet” model (because it supposedly picks up pet hair better than the others) as the V8 one was simply… too heavy for me to manage properly! It’s the V8 featured in the link above, where one picture shows a pretty young thing supposedly vacuuming up dust, or cobwebs from around the ceiling (or whatever) I cannot believe that that’s a photo – it has to be a very good “artist’s impression of” – because unless she works out with weights at the gym for six or seven hours every day, she wouldn’t be strong enough to do that! Even Julian had trouble with the V8’s weight! OK, so the V8 was too heavy, and we got the V6 (there’s a V4 too, but it doesn’t come with as many brush accessories) Now, it’s lithium battery-powered, and their charge is supposed to last for about 20 to 40 minutes… unless you use it in its “default” Turbo Charged mode, when you’d be lucky if it lasted between ten and fifteen minutes!

Oops! Sorry, dinner’s ready! Back anon…

09.45 pm

Yeah, anyway, after two days of grizzling because I could never manage to finish all the vacuuming I had to do, we finally read the manual (yes folks, occasionally it is necessary to revert to some of those quaint olde worlde customs, like reading the manual! 😉 ) found out about the “Turbo Charged” mode, and corrected our… er… tha mistake. The dust chamber, or whatever it’s called, works fine – it’s easy to remove, easy to empty, and easy to put back – but instead of being able to turn the machine on with a simple “On/Off” switch, it’s got a trigger switch that you have to keep pressed…. That’s right, you have to keep the trigger depressed to keep the vacuum running – the minute your finger loses even a little bit of pressure on the trigger, the machine turns off. WHY, for goodness sake??!! It’s not as though it’s a light, “hair” trigger, that requires very little pressure to keep it depressed, it’s a fairly robust trigger that needs a fair amount of pressure to keep the machine running! An “On/Off” switch would be completely appropriate in this instance! So with its totally unbalanced, heavy, unwieldly motor at the top of the “wand” part to maneuver around, whilst keeping a tight grip on the trigger, it’s not the easy, effortless, cleaning machine that Dyson advertise! In fact, I could even go so far as to mutter something under my breath about ‘false advertising’?

Oh well, let that be a lesson to all of you out there in Reader-land! Do your homework on “The Box That Knows Everything” first, then add a good bucketful of salt! I fear the fame of Dyson’s name has gone to its head, and it’s relying on that to sell its products, rather than actual skilled engineering, innovation and quality. All things considered though, now that we’ve tamed the Turbo beast and the amount of charge is getting me through the vacuuming I need to do every morning, it’s working quite well. I’ve even becoming a bit of a dab hand at keeping that idiotic trigger switch depressed, while switching between my right and my left hand, at the same time as I’m carrying my brush for getting kitty litter out from between the carpet and the skirting board! 🙂

Maybe I won’t send them a copy of that report… hmm… Anyway, once again that’s about “it” from grizzly me for tonight – tomorrow it’ll be “amusing tails of the cat” – or perhaps “the cats of amusing tales”? Chi sà? Do drop in again tomorrow night though, to find out all the latest chez nous (f’rinstance, after testing some of the Ferguson Plarre Hot Cross Buns for breakfast this morning, we’ve decided to order our Easter Buns from them! They’re just as yummy as the Wood Frog HCB’s, and a lot cheaper!) …and please hurry up Easter, as my weight keeps going up just thinking about Easter Eggs and Hot Cross Buns (oh! I forgot to get Julian to ask them at Ferguson Plarre if they made Simnel Cakes! Bother!) But until tomorrow night, please keep trying to bee good, don’t forget – life is not about how you survive the storm, it’s about how you dance in the rain – and remember to look after yourselves, to always drive carefully, and to keep warm – or cool, depending on the circumstances – but most importantly, please – don’t forget to stay safe! 🙂 ciao, all! 🙂

Winter’s log, earthdate 201703.28

05.23 pm

Yes, yes, I’m still alive and kicking – mind you, I don’t do the Cancan quite as well as I used to “when I was young and charming”, but that’s a story for another time! 😉 Julian and I have been fairly busy over the past few days, as well as getting in a bit of extra WoW time, along with our usual Sunday foray into Northrend – so lack of evening time has sort-of stymied my nightly Episodic Updates – and tonight I was too busy constructing what I hoped would turn out to be a viable Header option, and it seems that my theory was right! It did work! Yayyy me! 🙂 Lessee now – on Friday night we decided that sleeping in on Sundays was all well and good, as well as being very enjoyable, but it meant that we also lost a great deal of valuable WoW time, so from now on, our sleeping-in day will be Saturday, and we’ll get up at our usual time on Sunday, so as to be able to get in more WoW-ing. So we slept in on Saturday, then after a slightly latish breakfast, Julian went off to do the usual “Saturday shop”, while I got stuck into WoW, sorting out my “new-look” Saurfang Horde girls. After lunch, we decided to have a “short sortie”  into Northrend, which somehow managed to take up the entire rest of the afternoon – so there I was with no time left to write my blog afterwards! Sunday, of course, was our Officially Dedicated and Designated WoW Day, so once again, I was left with no time in which to write anything. Roll on Monday… :/ Well, Monday rolled around, as it usually does, and the weather fell all to bits, didn’t it!

Our cleaning lady was here in the morning, terrorising poor Sal and Satai with the noisy vacuum cleaner – hmm… you know, I don’t think Auric and Dapple really care much about the vacuum cleaner one way or the other! Strange, that… surely they can feel the vibrations in the water – but I must say that the house looks a lot better after the cleaner’s visit! (I was quite aghast at one point! Satai was being his usual naughty self, so Julian threw him a screwed-up envelope, to distract him for the moment and to keep him occupied – far away from him! Satai was thoroughly delighted with this somewhat spindled and mutilated new “toy”, and proceeded to vigorously chew and rip up the crumpled-up envelope up into little itty-bitty pieces of “confetti”, which he then happily scattered all over the lovely, clean, “just vacuumed” carpet! Gesturing towards the “confetti” strewn, previously clean carpet, I said “Julian! What did you do that for?!? Kelly’s just finished cleaning this room, and now look at it!” *rolls eyes*) After our cleaning lady left, Julian went off to finish off Saturday’s shopping (that is, to get the rest of the items that he’d forgotten to get on Saturday, plus more cat food, our lunch, and a new tidy bin for the kitchen, because I’d pinched the one that used to reside there for my bathroom!) He came back with all of those things, plus a very nice surprise! My very favourite eldest daughter, who’d managed to get caught in a rainstorm on her way home from uni! She was soaked through, so we dried her off as best we could, and gave her some lunch. After she’d dried out a bit, and had a play with the cats, Julian drove her home, and by the time he got back I had less than an hour before Sean was due – and after he’d left, well… dinner didn’t take very long to prepare, because we had the first of our four lots of absolutely delicious left-over “Lamb and Harissa Lasagna with Feta and Oregano” that we’d had the other night (the recipe makes five lots of “meals-for-two”, which is very economical!)

While he was out on Monday, Julian received a message that my new glasses had come in! I was supposed to book in for what’s called a “Field Test“, to be taken when I came in to pick up my new glasses, but the Optometrist who tested me the other day wasn’t in today, and I was sorta-kinda in a hurry to get my new glasses – so I’ve booked the Field Test for Friday morning.  I was due to have a Warfarin blood test on Thursday, but I’ll have it on Friday instead – one day later won’t make any difference to the results (unless I eat a whole bowl full of Brussels sprouts the night before! Then it will! 😉 ) after my Field Test – we can pick up the Dry Cleaning on Friday too, so it works out well all round! 🙂

I think we’re supposed to be having a “day in” tomorrow, though Julian will have to go out to get more cat food. The problem with the cat food is that Sal and Satai are both still supposed to be on “kitten” food, and the supermarkets don’t sell much of it – at least, not the sort that Sal and Satai like – but there’s a Pet Barn type place up at Vermont South next to Aldi that has a Dine kitten food that they like – the trouble is, they never carry very much stock, so we’re forever having to go up and buy what few tins they have, as we have two voraciously hungry teenage cats to feed, and we don’t want them to start eating us! I’ll have a look online later to see where else it’s available – after all, all cats start out as kittens, so someone must have a goodly supply of kitten fodder available! If not, we might have to get the Pet Barn type place to order it in for us! :/

Anyway, Julian is already cooking dinner, and I’ve pretty much caught you all up on what’s been happening around these parts. We bought our next lot of “test” Hot Cross Buns this afternoon, from the Ferguson Plarre shop in the big complex on the corners of Burwood Highway and Blackburn Road – we shall have them for breakfast tomorrow morning, so you’ll receive my report on them tomorrow night. Anyway, that’s about “it” from me for this evening, as I have to go and feed Auric and Dapple! Do drop in again tomorrow night, as I will be here (promise!) to regale you all with tall tales and true from this side of the black stump! 😉 Until then, please do try to bee good, remember that the future is now – it’s time to grow up and be strong, because tomorrow may well be too late, and don’t forget to always drive carefully, to keep cool – or warm, depending on the outside temperature, and to look after yourselves… but above allplease don’t forget to stay safe! ciao, all! 🙂