Thursday, December 17, 2009

Merry Christmas

Hello, Dear Blog Friends,

Just thought I'd take this opportunity to wish you all a Very Merry Christmas, and a Safe and Prosperous New Year.

Hope you get to spend quality time with your families, or special friends, and have the opportunity to have lots of fun, and even fit in some relaxation time !!

Please remember to not drink and drive, and if you are doing any travelling during the holiday break, please drive carefully, and stop regularly to revive yourself ... Stop, Revive & Survive (isn't that what all the ads say these days ??)

Looking forward to getting back into the blogging world in the New Year (yes, I know I have been saying that for quite some time ... just bear with me, it will happen !!).

So, until next year, stay safe ....

Take care,

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Happy Blogaversary To Me !!

Hi There,

I know it's been awhile, and I'm not going to make any excuses ... suffice to say, I am here now !!

And, it is my 4 year anniversary of my first blog post today, the 28th of November.

Wow, 4 years of blogging (although during the past year the posts have been few and far between !)

I still remember the excitement, and hesitation, on starting this blog. Wondering if anyone would actually read what I wrote, wondering if anyone would comment. It has been an incredible experience, this whole blogging thing, and I feel sad that I have not continued it with the gusto that I began. But, I am still here, and I do still regularly read many of your blogs via my google reader (although I don't comment as often as I should).

I just want to say thank you to each and every one of you, who have made this blogging experience so incredibly special to me. You are all wonderful, amazing people, and I feel so very special to have "met" you all.

I hope to still be around on the blog scene for some time yet, even though it may be sporadically !! So, keep an eye open for those rare updates to my blog ... you may even find something interesting to read or look at !!!

Enjoy your weekend everyone ...

Take care,

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Bushfires / Wild Fires

Just a little, quick post, to let all my Canadian friends know that I am thinking of them, and hoping that they are safe and well away from the terrible fires we are seeing reported on the news over here. Your support earlier this year when this country was going through the same thing was amazing ... I just hope that we can be just as supportive to you all.

Stay safe and take care,

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Bambi The Beautiful

I took this photo, and a couple of others, a few hours ago ... just as the naughty kitty stole my computer chair !!

She is wearing her winter coat, and sporting a layer of winter blubber, too !!! She looks absolutely healthy and gorgous (although I am a bit annoyed that I forgot to put on red-eye on the camera, and one of her eyes looks a bit odd !!).

Thought you might like to see how she is looking these days, as it has been awhile since I posted a current picture of her.

Hope you have been having a great weekend. Mine is almost over.

Take care,

Friday, July 10, 2009

Catching Up ...

Oh My Goodness, it has been such a long time sinc I have posted to this blog, and I sincerely apologise for that. Life has gotten in the way (and, I guess, so has Facebook !!). In one way, it is fortunate that so many of you, my blog friends, are also on Facebook, so we haven't really lost contact at all. For those of you who are not on Facebook, I will be by your blogs soon to see what you have been up to !!

So, on to what I have been doing since early March ....

As you may have been aware, we have been looking for ages for a new camper trailer (that was the reason we sold our permanent site at Bonnie Doon). We constantly looked on the internet, on the Trading Post, Ebay, etc., to see if there was any of the particular type (a Track TVan) that we were after, at the price we wanted to pay. By pure coincidence, Hubby was online on the Trading Post, when all of a sudden, up popped a new advertisement for a TVan. Turns out it was exactly what we were after, with all the accessories that we wanted, AND at the price we wanted to pay !! The only problem was, it was in Cairns, and we were in Melbourne (for all you non-Aussies, we are basically at the southern end of the country, Cairns is almost all the way to the north). We rang the people and discussed the camper with them ... decided it was for sure what we wanted. Next, we had to figure out our finances and options ... and decided we would go for it. We sorted out the money, booked airfares to Cairns, arranged a hire-car (with a tow-bar) and off we went. We flew up to Cairns on Monday 23rd March, early in the morning, arrived and collected our hire car, and headed off to collect our camper. It was love at first sight !!! After spending an hour or so with the sellers, who explained numerous things about the camper, we were off. We started driving home straight away (it was going to be over 3,000 kilometres till we got home !!). First overnight stop ... Townsville ... 348km (we didn't go hugely far, as we were very, very tired, after the excitement of the past couple days, and the early flight). It was hot in Townsville ... very humid ... something we weren't used to, as the weather was starting to cool in Melbourne at this stage !! We had picked out a lovely caravan park, and met some nice people. We had packed bedding, so we were able to sleep in the camper at night, saving money on accommodation. We ate on the run, at Roadhouses, McDonalds, KFC, and wherever. Not particularly nourishing, but filling, none-the-less !! Next morning, very early, we headed off again, stopping as little as possible (only for nourishment, petrol, toilet stops ... nothing much else). We got just over 870km, to Banana (south of Rockhampton), where we stopped for the night ... it was a very basic caravan park, but it had showers and toilets ... what more could we ask for. Next morning, again very early, off we went again ... this time we made 1014km to Dubbo, where we once again overnighted (this time in another really nice caravan park). Another early morning, and we headed for home ... 874km later. It was total madness, driving such distances in so little time ... we left on Monday, arrived home Thursday night ... OMG, were we tired. We had left Chicky at home with my parents ... didn't see the point in taking her out of school for a week, just so she could spend it sitting in a car !! But, we were soooo happy, we had our TVan, and it was just perfect ... it is what we have been wanting for quite some time, and we were excited to have finally gone one of our very own.

Our hire car and camper in a caravan park in Townsville

Next up, early April, and it is the school holidays. We had booked, months ago, a week in a resort in Bright (using our Timeshare). Of course, by this stage, we only wanted to go camping in our new camper, but the holiday was booked ... so off we went !! It was a great week, we took along a friend for Chicky, and we did a lot of exploring. We explored Bright; went driving around the district, doing a bit of 4WDing; went for a drive up to Mt Buffalo, found a lovely bush camping area up there; went to Beechworth, checking out all the history there, and lunched in the Beechworth Bakery; went to Albury / Wodonga, vising the Hume Weir ... sad to see how little water is in there ... less than 10%. We had a wonderful time, took plenty of photos, and did a lot of relaxing, too.

Autumn trees as we drive into Bright

We returned home the day before Good Friday, quickly unpacked, then repacked, and packed up the camper for a brief trip over Easter into the Victorian High Country. Chicky had made arrangements some weeks before we got the camper, to stay with a friend a Bonnie Doon, and was hesitant to change those plans, as she wanted to catch up with friends at the caravan park ... we weren't overly happy that she wouldn't be joining us, but understood her reasons. Anyway, after dropping Chicky off at Bonnie Doon, we headed into the High Country, to a lovely spot in the King Valley, near the King Hut. We had a perfect spot, on the banks of a flowing creek/river, in a gorgeous part of the country. We stayed here for 3 nights, constantly missing our daughter, but we had a lovely time. We were out of mobile phone range, which distressed me a little, as we couldn't keep in contact with Chicky, particularly on Easter Sunday ... but we all survived, and all had a great weekend.

Hubby enjoying a beer by the fire at our campsite in the King Valley

Late April brought Chicky's 15th birthday ... she had a bit of a gathering / party at the local roller skating rink, with a bunch of her friends. We also had a family day here at home, to celebrate her birthday. We kept it all fairly simple ... next year, her 16th, I imagine will be a big one !!

Not sure if I'd mentioned it at any stage, but I have joined Curves, a women's only gym. It is great fun, and I am trying to go as often as possible. Sometimes, the motivation isn't there, and I really need to push myself ... but life's like that sometimes. I am starting to see results, and am very happy with the program. I would recommend Curves to anyone.

I am still happily scrapbooking away ... currently, I am working on Chicky's dance photos ... it is great fun, and I enjoy the challenge of making every page different, and coming up with new ideas.

It was Hubby's birthday in late May ... we didn't do much, just a family gathering.

I went for an audition for Who Wants To Be A Millionaire Hot Seat ... ummm, that's all I'm going to say about that one !!

I have been majorly obsessed with the Twilight movie and books ... couldn't help myself, they are very addictive books ... read them twice through (there are 4 books, and they are all over 500 pages each) ... and have watched the movie a number of times. Can't wait for the next movie.

I am still working, only a couple of days per week ... just casual data entry ... but the social aspect of the work environment is great, and the girls (and guys) I work with are lots of fun.

Just last week, we had 5 days camping in Echuca (we were hanging out to use the camper, and decided that although it is very cold ... the middle of winter ... we would give it a go !!). We chose a nice caravan park, with a powered site (so we could take electric heaters !!). We had a great time. We explored new, and old, Echuca; went for a paddle steamer cruise, with lunch on board; went mud bashing in the Barmah Forest (well, it was just a drive, but as it had been raining, the tracks were very muddy !!); caught up with friends from Kyabram; and came home via Cobram and Yarrawonga, exploring our old camping area (Dead River Beach). We were horrified, when in Yarrawonga, to see that Lake Mulwala was empty. We also came home past Lake Nillahcootie (also extremely low), and Lake Eildon (last count, it was around 14%). Very sad to see how the drought is affecting the water levels. Although, it is great to see that the countryside was very green, due to the fact that we have had some rain throughout the Winter so far.

The PS Emmylou ... we had a wonderful lunch cruise onboard

Umm, what else can I tell you ??? Might leave it there ... I've probably bored you enough with my rambling writing for now.

Hope you are all doing well, and life is treating you as well as it could be.

Love to all of you, and your families ...

Take care,

Sunday, March 01, 2009

A Drive Through The Fire Ravaged Toolangi State Forest

We decided to go for a drive to Yea on Saturday, something we do quite regularly, as there are some lovely shops and things in Yea. Anyway, it was the first time we'd been through the area from here to Yea since the bushfires started 3 weeks ago. I guess curiosity got the better of us, and we wanted to see for ourselves what had happened out there. We knew not to go to any of the townships that had been destroyed by the fires ... the police were at the entrance to the roads heading into them anyway. It wouldn't have been fair, as the people who lived there would probably be there, trying to rebuild their lives, and certainly wouldn't want (or need) sightseers hanging around. So, we just travelled through Yarra Glen, via the Melba Highway, to Yea. The roads were quite busy, with a lot of traffic going both ways.

We were horrified by what we saw, once we got out past Yarra Glen, and toward Dixons Creek. The fire had destroyed so much, and you could see how hard the people must've fought, to save their homes. Many sheds and outbuildings, fences, and the like were destroyed, but from what we could see, along the Melba Highway, most of the houses were saved (I can't imagine what it was like further in toward Kinglake, though ... ).

Once we entered the State Forest, into what we call The Slide, we were stunned by what we saw. The whole forest was wiped out, the tree trunks were blackened, the leaves (when there were any left) were all brown and crispy, and there was not a single blade of grass or anything remotely green remaining ... just bare, scorched earth. It was just awful. This used to be a beautiful, lush forest, with a river running deep down beside the road (which we'd never seen, due to the abundant vegetation). We were able to see how steep the hills were, alongside the road (once again, this was never that evident, due to the amount of trees and shrubs and the like that covered everything). I've got to say, I was sitting there, with my mouth open, aghast at what I saw. It is so, so very sad.

As we got to the outer edge of the forest, there were patches of green, which the fire obviously had missed. And heading out toward Glenburn there were big blackened areas, and smaller green ones. Unfortunately, the fires don't seem to have hindered the progress of the North-South Pipeline ... they were busy working away, and have completed heaps more since we were out that way last.
We knew the Glenburn Hotel had been destroyed, but it was so sad to see. This hotel used to always be busy, with bikers, and drivers alike, stopping for a quick drink, or a meal, or a catch up with friends. It was a great little pub. Now, it is just ruins. Again ... so sad.

The remains of the Glenburn Hotel

We kept driving, through to Yea, where we stopped for a drink and a nibble, then turned around and came home, through that devastation once again.
It really makes you think, how difficult it must be for the firefighters, and what an amazing job they do. They have been fighting these fires non-stop now, for 3 weeks ... they must be exhausted. And the poor, poor people who have lost everything (not to mention those who have lost family members). I pray that it rains soon, so the poor guys can have a break, and our state can start the long road to recovery.

What looks like ash in the foreground, is actually burnt hay bales.

Take care,

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I Am Still Here ... Only Not Very Often !!

Hi everyone !!

Thought I'd better update my blog ... it has been long overdue. I think the last post was a Christmas one ... duh, it is now February 10 ... oops !!

We had a wonderful Christmas, and a great New Year, and 2009 has been pretty good so far.

In case any of you have been seeing the news reports on the devastating bushfires here in Victoria, and were wondering if we were OK ... well, we are !! Fortunately, we are in the suburbs, many kilometres away from the fires. Although, we are very familiar with many of the areas that have been devastated by the fires, and know people whose properties are still under threat from the fires ... please pray that they will be OK, and the fire will turn away from them. One of my blog and facebook friends is currently going through a horrendous time, as her brother-in-law has been missing since Saturday ... his property is within one of the areas devastated by the fires. My thoughts go out to all those people who have lost friends, family members, pets and/or property ... I really cannot imagine what they are going through. It is a terrible time for all, and so very tragic. It is all the more horrific when you realise that some of the fires were deliberately lit ...

A friend of mine posted the following pic on her Facebook, courtesty of the Herald Sun website (I think) ... thought I might share it too ...

The fire fighters, and emergency services personnel are doing an amazing job, in terrible conditions ... but this photo says so much more.

I'll try and blog more often, and I apologise once again for not visiting your blogs often enough. As I've said before, I do catch up on many of them via Google Reader, although don't always comment. If anyone is interested, here is my Facebook address ... ... drop by, or add me as a friend ... I'd love to share another cyber world with you, too !!

Take care everyone,