Saturday, April 30, 2011

Here's proof - I'm not princess material

Okay so I'm sure that I won't be the only person posting about the royal wedding today - after all it's everywhere we turn at the moment, television, newspapers, facebook and it will be for weeks to come as it's talked about and dissected minute by minute.

So many rules - it's a wonder how this marriage ever eventuated. All 1900 guests were sent a 22 page rule book of the do's and don'ts of acceptable behaviour for the royal wedding - are you serious?

I guess I felt sad because of all the rules surrounding the royal wedding. In my mind a marriage is meant to be personal and intimate and it's meant to be the celebration of the start of a couples new life together. I love this couple for their realism and their ability to be so down to earth and yes I know being a member of the Royal family demands certain rules but.......(deep sigh here)

Anyway here's 10 reasons why I will never be a princess.

1) I'd want to wear pale pink because I look disgustingly washed out in white or cream

2) I'm a hugger, so I'd find it hard not to hug or touch any member of my new family without them initiating it or giving me permission to do so

3)  None of the guests were allowed to get drunk at the reception, which would mean that none of my friends would turn up (well a few would)

4) I'd have bare arms, there would be no lace or covered arms for me

5) Flowers in my hair would be a must - hang the tiara

6) I wouldn't be able to resist telling the step mother-in-law that she didn't read her rulebook which said that no guests were allowed to wear white or cream and upstage the bride (even though I'd be in pink)

7) I would have cried during the ceremony (apparently no show of open emotion is allowed - at a wedding? - how is that possible, I always cry at weddings)

8) When my husband kisses me for the first time as a married couple then I'd want him to act like he bloody well means it, not just a chaste little kiss which fits the rules.

9) I'd want my guests to share in my special day not be seated almost a kilometre away at the back of the church.

10) I love bright coloured flowers and gerberas are one of my favourite flowers so probably not suitable for a princess bouquet.

So there you go, that's why I married my hubby, because I would have failed princess school.

Want to play along with Six Word Saturday, it's easy? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing.

Friday, April 29, 2011

I'm not a morning person

There are people who bounce out of bed at a ridiculous hour with unlimited energy and then there are people who drag theselves out of bed and spend the first several hours of the day in a fog. I'm one of the 'drag themselves out of bed' people.

Over the years I've tried to be a morning person, I really have. It's much more conducive to be a morning person when you have children and work a 9-5 job but I've realised that you can't be what you aren't.

Sure I've had brief moments of being a morning person, like when we've gone camping and I've rolled out of bed at the crack of dawn. More because the birds are usually screeching and the sounds of nature and my family have woken me than a desire to be up. I do honestly love the early morning when the sun is coming up and everything is fresh and new but my body just won't accommodate me.

I am quite simply a night person, my creativity fires up when the sun goes down and that's when I get some of my best writing done. It's nothing for me to sit up till 1 or 2 in the morning tapping away on the keyboard. All well and good this week when I'm on holidays but next week I'm back to the drag myself out of bed scenario.

Hubby is a morning person (frustratingly so sometimes) and at times I wonder how we co-exist. He'll bound out of bed at 5am and be bright and alert, his favourite shift at work being a 6am start. Ergh! It will take the alarm, snooze button and numerous calls from him to get my body into gear and out of my cosy cocoon.

Two of my three boys are night people, the youngest is still to be determined but he has leanings towards being a morning person. Late nights and school holidays on the X-Box are messing with his normal patterns so it still remains to be seen which one he will eventually become.

So what about you - day or night person?

I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day. ~ Vincent Van Gogh

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Bittersweet moments and my journey so far ...

I'm almost there, I've written in excess of 10,000 words this week and all that remains on my first book is a few chapters to wrap up the story. I'm both exhilarated and dismayed as the end looms near. Writing a book has been my dream for almost thirty years and I say dream because a goal is something I set myself and plan towards.

Writing a book has never been a goal because I never truly believed that I could do it (sad little sigh here at my lack of faith in myself) It's been an eye opening exercise as the words have flowed from my fingers in their hurry to erupt onto the screen. Over the years I've had so many false little starts and there's always been that little voice inside my head which has said you're not a writer, who are you fooling?

But July last year something monumental occurred, well monumental for me anyway. Big changes were afoot and I also discovered blogging. I wrote my first post on this blog called Stuck in a Rut and it was not long after this first post that I discovered my job was being made redundant. So while I'd made the decision to spread my wings this was really a kick in the pants that forced to me to get out of my rut.

I started off slow with maybe a post a week and by December I had begun to pick up speed. Blogging reopened the creative doors that had firmly been closed since I graduated from uni in 2007. I started writing my book towards the end of November with only a scene in my mind and a very vague idea of what it would be.

Now here I am 71,000 words later with an almost complete contemporary romance written entirely by me. Yes the story is fictional as are the characters but there is still so much of me written within it's pages. I'm not sure how you write a book without putting your personal stamp on it. It still remains to be seen whether It is publishable but that is no longer a concern, because at least I've done it.

I will be sad to let my characters go because ironically they've become close friends as I guide them along the path to realising their dreams and growing through their experiences. Much the same as the process of writing and blogging has done for me. It's helped me to grow, and has brought some incredibly wise and interesting people into my realm who comment and interact and make me think about the world in different ways. Thank you all for assisting my journey so far.

So you see, it is a bittersweet moment as I near the end of this journey. The truth is that now I know I will have to do it again because the sense of accomplishment is second to none and there are still so many words waiting to be set free.

So what about you, have you accomplished something which you never thought was possible?

To achieve the impossible; it is precisely the unthinkable that must be thought ~ Tom Robbins

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The value of doing the honourable thing

13 year old MM came home yesterday with the news that he'd lost his wallet whilst out riding with his friends. Despite me driving him back along the way he'd ridden and both of us walking the entire length of the bike track they'd ridden down, we were unable to find it. He was somewhat upset at the loss of $30 which for someone his age is quite considerable. Lets face it these days none of us can really afford to lose $30.

Today I was reassured that there still are beautiful and honest people in the world - a phone call from the police station to say his wallet had been handed in complete with the $30. So a big heartfelt thank you goes out to the wonderfully honest couple who found it and handed it in, you've made a 13 year old young man very happy and taught him the value of doing the right thing.

Hopefully when I take him down later to collect it we will be able to get their details so that he can thank them himself.

It's amazing how small little things like this can boost your belief and your faith in people. Hubby once found a bumbag with wallet and mobile phone in it and quite a considerable amount of money with identification indicating it belonged to an 18 year old lad. He did the right thing and contacted the owner, whose mother came round to collect it and thanked my hubby. The owner of the bumbag - not a word. If that had of been my son, he would have come round and done the thanking himself, even if I had to physically take him around myself.

It all comes back to my belief, however skewed some might say it is, that what goes around comes around. It's something that I continually try to reinforce in my children. How have you had your faith in human kindness restored lately?

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty. ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Monday, April 25, 2011

Tackling fear head on - because I can!

Finally starting to feel normal again, shoulder is starting to settle down and 'touch wood' children are behaving themselves at the moment. I have spent two entire days doing absolutely nothing - and do I feel guilty, not at all.

Got another 2800 words written yesterday, so am happy that the words continue to flow. Will get some more written tonight hopefully. I considered taking the boys up to Renmark to see my family for Easter but with all the drama the last few weeks I just didn't have the energy. Now with all the beautiful weather we've had, I'm a little sad that I didn't.

I've done my bloghopping this evening and visited the newest writer on World Moms Blog, from there I flitted over to her own personal site Mama Wants This to have a peek. One of the intriguing things she'd written on her blog was a letter written to her fear which came from a prompt on The Red Dress Club.

I found this subject interesting because I would have to be one of the biggest worriers in the world, I think part of this goes hand in hand with being a mother. I understand fear and wonder what my letter to my fear would say. I'm sure I could write an entire book to my fears.

One of my greatest fears is not being in control of things in my life. Having suffered from anxiety during some tough times following an ectopic pregnancy I can fully appreciate how scary our fears can be (more about this here if you're interested)

My greatest fear back then was that something would happen to me that left my children vulnerable - for example I got paranoid about driving with them in the car in case I had an accident and was hurt which would leave my babies to the mercy of strangers who came to assist. Lets face it when I look back on the things that I feared or worried about they seem quite silly and irrational. At the time though the fear was all consuming.

My greatest fear these days is something happening to one of my children. It's no longer debilitating to the extent that it stops me doing things but it does continue to cause me unecessary stress. I know they are growing up and I can't protect them from everything. Lets face it, with their father no one could ever say that they've been wrapped in cotton wool or over protected and deep down I know that's a good thing.

They've been brought up to be strong and confident children and I've always told them that they can do anything they put their minds to. All three of them sometimes astound me with their resilience and their fighting spirit, they also make me incredibly proud. I can even live with the little chuckles they occasionally have about mum worrying about them and I also tell them that I will never apologise for worrying about them. It's who I am.

I am stronger in myself these days and face majority of my fears head on, it still doesn't stop me feeling overwhelmed sometimes or prevent my stomach churning, but I can face up to them most of the time. Isn't there a saying 'what doesn't kill us can only make us stronger'?

So I will continue to face my fears because I read somewhere that the things that we fear most are also often the things that will help us grow and learn the most. I will also try not to worry quite so much because it's amazing how exhausting worrying can be and nothing ever happens that's as bad as what I imagine it is.

What about you, what do you fear?

Many of our fears are tissue-paper-thin, and a single courageous step would carry us clear through them. ~ Brendan Francis

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Land Down Under - Beautiful Beaches

If you’ve been following my Land Down Under posts, you’ll have seen some of the amazing places that Australia has to offer. All previous posts are available via the Land Down Under tab on my blog. I've mentioned before on one of the posts about Australia having roughly 50,000 kilometres of beaches. Up to 85 per cent of Australians live within 50 kilometres of the coast and no part of Australia is more than 1000 km from the ocean and a beach.

So I couldn’t let the chance pass by without showing you some of the most amazing beaches that Australia has to offer. Mind you I'm only showing you six of them, which is pardon the pun, a drop in the ocean when you consider there are almost 10,000 beaches in Australia. Anyway throw on your swimsuits and come for a tour.

Bondi Beach (Sydney, NSW) – is located roughly 7km from the Sydney CBD and is one of Australia’s most well known beaches. Bondi or Boondi is an Aboriginal word meaning water breaking over rocks or noise of water breaking over rocks

Cable Beach (Broome, WA) – is located a short drive from Broome on the west coast of Australia and is 22 kilometres of pure white sand and turquoise water. It is considered world famous for its magnificent beach and camel rides at sunset are just one of the popular attractions that the beach has to offer.

Cottlesloe Beach (Perth, WA) – located just 15 minutes west of Perth this beach is popular for its superb beach, terraced lawns and numerous pubs and restaurants overlooking the Indian Ocean.

Whitehaven (Whitsundays, QLD) – is located along the Whitsunday coast in Queensland and truly fits my ideal image of a beach, with 6kms of the purest white sand and turquoise coloured water. It is a nature lovers haven with no nearby pubs or shops just unspoiled views as far as you can see.

Wineglass Bay (Tasmania) – is located in the Freycinet National Park on the east coast of Tasmania, the park is about 2½ - 3 hours drive from either Hobart or Launceston via the Tasman Highway.

Bells (Victoria) – is located 71 kilometres south-west of Melbourne and is one of the best known surfing beaches in Australia. Every year on the Easter weekend they hold the Rip Curl Pro surfing competition at Bells Beach which brings the worlds best surfers to Australia.

The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever ~ Jacques Cousteau

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Six Word Saturday - Happy Easter

Easter for me = family and relaxation

It's Autumn in Australia and the sun is shining today, what a beautiful weekend to relax and enjoy time with my family and friends.

Below is a poem that I found which sums up my week and is exactly what I need to keep reminding myself. To all my friends and family who have stood beside me through some stressful moments and kept me going - I love you all. Hope everyone has a wonderful Easter break.

Never Let Go of Hope
Written by Jancarl Campi

One day
you will see
that it all
has finally come together.

What you have
always wished for
has finally come to be.

You will look back
and laugh at what has passed
and you will ask yourself,
"How did I get through all of that?"

never let go of hope.
never quit dreaming.
never let love
depart from your life.

Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air, but only for one second without hope ~ Anon

Friday, April 22, 2011

I'll paint you a rainbow

What happens when you have an old shoulder injury and you sleep with your arm curled under your pillow and don't move for 6 hours? You wake up like I did at 4am this morning and can't roll over. My shoulder feels like someone has pulled it out of its socket, rotated it 360 degrees and then poked it back in the socket. Not good at all!

When I'm stressed I feel it in my neck and shoulder blades and its been getting progressively worse all week - silly me, because I should have gone to the chiro this week, I go fortnightly but thought I could cope with it until my appointment next Thursday. See I'm an adult and I still get it wrong. Now I have an Easter 5 day break ahead and nothing is open. Such is life!

We have friends coming for dinner tonight so I have been madly cooking and cleaning all day and now I'm about ready to curl up and go to sleep. Hopefully a couple of relaxing drinks tonight and the pain will ease up.

I have holidays for the next 11 days, so I plan on relaxing and getting my act back together. Reading, writing and not much else is all that's on the agenda. I'd also like to get out in the front garden next week but we'll see how the shoulder goes in the next few days.

I'm not feeling very inspired today, so I'd like to share this poem with you. It's written by Grace E. Easley and you can find it and others here.

I'll paint you a rainbow

I'll paint you a rainbow to hang on the wall,
to brighten your heart when the gray shadows fall.
On a canvas of joy outlasting the years,
with a soft brush of sweetness to dry all your tears.
I'll paint you a rainbow with colors of smiles
That glow with sincerity over the miles.
On a palette of words I will tenderly blend
Tones into treasures of sunlight and wind.

I'll paint you a rainbow that reaches so wide,
Your sights and your sorrows will vanish inside,
And deep in the center of each different hue,
A memory fashioned especially for you.
So lift up your eyes, for suspended above,
A rainbow designed by the fingers of love...

This art of resting the mind and the power of dismissing from it all care and worry is probably one of the secrets of energy in our great men. ~ Captain J.A Hadfield

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

When boys become men.....

See, I finally have proof that I’m not the only abnormal person. Thank you to Heidi and Stacy (fellow non-chocolate eaters) for pointing out that I'm not the only one. You wouldn’t believe the strange looks you get when you say you don’t eat chocolate. Mind you, my family of males do their bit and eat enough chocolate to keep chocolate makers globally in business.

I arrived home from work yesterday to discover that 13 year old and 16 year old MM’s (who are currently on school holidays) had been hard at work in the front yard. An overgrown tree which was smothering the whole front garden had been cut down, plus all of the massive palm fronds on the trees at the front had been cut back. They had tidied everything up and had piled all of the cut branches into the trailer ready to be taken to the dump.

Then I heard the finer details and cringed in horror. Firstly 16 year old had shuffled the cars in the front yard around. He‘d then hooked the boat (the 4.5 metre long boat) onto his father’s car and moved it down the driveway so they could get the trailer from the back yard to the front yard – the boat had been in the way. He had then reversed the car and boat back up the driveway – I struggle to reverse my car in a straight line, let alone a car and boat. This is the ‘learner’ driver who has had his learners permit for 3 months!

They then proceeded to cut back all of the branches with their father’s chainsaw. When I raised my concerns to my son about this, he commented that there was no problem they’d used the smaller chainsaw not the big one. Oh, I feel so much better knowing that. That’s like comparing a small shark to a big shark – they both still have sharp teeth.

No wonder I’m going grey. I think I would have preferred not to have this knowledge. Granted the boys use a large variety of tools under their father’s guidance and are very responsible in their actions, but this has always been with adult supervision. Yes, he has shown them how to use them safely and he trusts them, but gees maybe this is pushing it a little!

When I questioned why on earth they were doing these tasks without one of us at home, all hubby had to say was ‘they shouldn’t have told you’. Yes back to the old ignorance is bliss, what mum doesn’t know won’t hurt her.

My hubby has always treated the boys like this and has the belief that if he shows them the correct and safe way to use everything then they will be fine. They probably do things that would make most people cringe, including me. They’ve driven scissor lifts on building sites and can competently use chainsaws, lawnmowers and whipper snippers; plus all varieties of power tools and welding equipment.

16 year old MM also drives the forklift at his part time job and the drivers who come in to load up often ask for him over the experienced forklift drivers because they say he’s better at it. Strangely enough I have more faith in their ability to use these tools then I do in my own but.... I still worry (lots)

There’s also the three against one scenario in my house, so what hope do I have???

Someone says, "Boys will be boys"; he forgot to add, "Boys will be men” ~ Napoleon Bonaparte

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I'm a 'Versatile Blogger'

My hubby can be a challenging person to live with sometimes (not that I'm the best person to live with at times either) but he always comes through when I need him to, especially when I least expect it. He has helped lessen the burden that I've been carrying regarding my eldest son which has made my step somewhat lighter and restored some of my positivity. I'll point out at this stage that this is my son, not biologically his and their relationship has not been without it's issues over the years.

Eldest son still has a way to go to sort out the mess he is in but hopefully our assistance will lessen the stress and help him sort himself out. Now on to more positive things - guess what I got yesterday - an award (very exciting!)

Thank you Debra @ Writing with Debra, it was a nice surprise after the week I've had. There are rules associated with the award which are...

1) A link back to the person who gave you the award...

2) Tell 7 random things about yourself...

3) Award 15 recently discovered bloggers

4)  Contact each blogger you want to pass the award on to and let them know you’ve done so, and let the giver of your award know you accept it… or not.

So following those guidelines, here we go.

Seven random things about me:

1. I don't eat chocolate (don't hold that against me)
2. I have a son, hubby has a son and we have 2 sons together (always too much testosterone in my house - although only 2 are still at home)
3. I'm a salad and vegies sort of girl (but not a vegetarian)
4. I have written just over 60,000 words on my first novel
5. I love travelling
6. I have one brother
7. My first grandchild is due in June (surprise, surprise - it's a boy!)

Now to pass this awesome award on to some of the entertaining bloggers that I visit on a regular basis: (not sure that I can do 15, but I'll give it my best shot)

Recover your Joy - Louise is inspiring and restores my faith in human nature. Her blog is a must for anyone needing a pick-me-up
My Little Life - this is a new one I've found and Mama M is a mother of 5 (that earns my respect to start with) but she's also entertaining to read
Show my Face - Love Cate's Six Word Saturday and I've become a regular visitor  (I know it's sad when my Saturday nights biggest enjoyment is visiting other blogs - my hubby works 2 out of 3 weekends so Saturday nights aren't big in my social calendar)
4 What's on Heidi's Mind - Heidi always has a good supply of favourite things to read about and things to try
5 Kloppenmum - relatively new to me and I love this blog, lots of awesome advice on mothering 3 boys (now that I can identify with)
6 Oikology - originally found this blog after searching for instructions on creating blog buttons. Carrie also has some very creative things she makes and explains on her blog.
Calm Blue Ocean - I originally found Fi's site from the comments on another blog, she was witty in her comment and of course shared the same name as me.
Stacy Uncorked - I've only recently discovered Stacy and was enthralled by her story leading to the birth of her 'Princess Nagger'
Brenda's Writing Blog - This blog I've been visiting for a while, Brenda has 4 kids and is a writer which obviously interests me and keeps me going back to see where she's at as opposed to my progress on my book.

Okay 9 is my limit, but they're all fun and enjoyable blogs which I enjoy visiting - I'm a big believer in quality outweighing quantity. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked

Monday, April 18, 2011

You learn something new everyday

After yesterday's post, guess what 16 year old MM came home with last night? Another go-kart - we got rid of the last one because there was nowhere around where we live that they could ride it safely. Safe being the key word here. Why on earth couldn't my children just bring home a stray dog or something simple?

I got a lovely award from Debra today for being a 'Versatile Blogger', but more about that on my post tomorrow (I'd already written this post when I discovered it)

It's true that I try to be a positive person and consequently I read a lot of success books and positivity books because that's what interests me. Despite all of this, at the moment I feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders and I'm finding it very hard to be positive. Eldest MM is going through some tough times at the moment and I'm driving myself crazy worrying about him.

The 'realistic' side of me knows that worrying won't fix the problem, yet the 'mother' me won't listen to the realistic side because the mother me is stronger. I love that he knows he can talk to me when the going gets tough, but the burden of that is sometimes overwhelming. Yes he is an adult, yes he needs to sort out his own problems, so why can't I make my brain pay attention and realise that he is the one who has to find the solution.

These days I realise that I like my world to be ordered and with some structure (it must be part of getting old and being responsible). There are days when I wish I was one of those people who could just say 'what will be, will be' and who go about their lives without a care in the world. I like everyone around me to be happy and when they're not I feel like I need to fx it.

What makes a 'fixer' personality, I googled this and was amazed by what I read, you can find the article that I read here but one line stood out 'This role is generally seen in overachievers / perfectionists - who are often first borns or only children'. Ahem, yep that's me, I'm a perfectionist and a first born. Probably the only line that didn't apply to me in this article was an inability to make decisions. I can make decisions but I tend to feel sick in the belly when I'm not comfortable with the decision I have to make.

Before I wrote this post I didn't even know there was such a thing as a 'fixer' personality. I'd never really thought about it. I bounded into my former HR role because I guess my boss recognised that's what I was good at doing, fixing things and making people feel good about themselves. Everyone expected that I could fix things and I always did. If something needed to be organised or fixed then I was the go to person.

Now that I've read a mountain of articles on the topic, I'm not sure that it's a good thing at all. Ergh there is definitely truth in the saying 'ignorance is bliss'. From all my reading I have discovered that I need to listen more and not try to 'fix' everything, because sometimes people just need a sounding board - how was I to know that slipping into solution mode was not healthy for me or even the other person?

Now I have to go away and figure out how to 'fix' myself and not everybody else. No wonder I sometimes feel that I have a ten ton weight on my shoulders, it's because I'm carrying everyone elses garbage as well as my own. This post turned out a lot deeper than I originally planned - but you know what, I'm sure some of you are 'fixers' too.

An individual's self-concept is the core of his personality. It affects every aspect of human behavior: the ability to learn, the capacity to grow and change. A strong, positive self-image is the best possible preparation for success in life. ~ Dr Joyce Brothers

Sunday, April 17, 2011

This scares the '#@*&' out of me

This is hubby and 13 year old MM's latest project and lets be honest - it scares me stupid. A motorised bicycle complete with fuel tank and accelerator.

Bikes are not meant to go as fast as cars for obvious reasons and it's for the same reason that you can't get your license (to drive solo) before you're 17 in Australia - because speed is dangerous.

Living in a house full of males means it's a foregone conclusion that I will be grey before I am 40. No correction, I will probably be bald because I will have torn all of my hair out from worry and stress.

We are a household of four cars, five if you include hubby's work van. See this is another 'boy' thing, cars and things that go fast. I have my car, hubby has his car and we have recently bought cars for both of the boys who are still living at home. Understandable for the 16 year old who has just got his learners license, but why does the 13 year old need a car? Because that is the next project, to do up the car, even though he won't be driving solo for another 4 years.

What is it about boys and machinery? We've had the motorbikes and the go-karts, those I could just barely accept. Cars and teenagers though, they do my head in. It doesn't help that hubby is a mechanic and this is what he does. Why couldn't they be interested in safe, normal things that didn't cause my heart to race?

When I try to voice my concerns I am shut down by all of the males that surround me (family and friends) who remind me that's what boys do. Right about now, tutus and ballet shoes would be much more comforting.

My children are quite sensible - granted, but it doesn't remove my concern. Very little seems to scare my children and I used to joke that I spent half of their childhood in the emergency department from all the accidents and mischief they got up to.

What about you, what do your children do that scares the bejeezus out of you?

Your children tell you casually years later what it would have killed you with worry to know at the time. ~ Mignon McLaughlin

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Six Word Saturday


Today I realised that no matter how old your children are - you never stop worrying about them.

When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child. ~ Sophia Loren

Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials. ~ Meryl Streep

A mother is one to whom you hurry when you are troubled. ~ Emily Dickinson

There's nothing like a mama-hug. ~ Terri Guillemets

Mother - that was the bank where we deposited all our hurts and worries. ~ T. DeWitt Talmage

Youth fades; love droops; the leaves of friendship fall; A mother's secret hope outlives them all. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

It's not easy being a mother. If it were easy, fathers would do it. ~ From the television show The Golden Girls

Want to play along with Six Word Saturday, it's easy? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing.

Land Down Under - Awesome Adelaide

If you’ve been following my Land Down Under posts, you’ll have seen some of the amazing places that Australia has to offer. All previous posts are available via the Land Down Under tab on my blog. This week I'd like to take you on a quick tour of my home city Adelaide. Population: estimated 1.2 million

I was 13 when we moved to Adelaide, it was the first time I’d lived close to the beach and having come from Kalgoorlie (a mining town on the edge of the desert) it was definitely a change of scenery for our family. Our first visit to the beach was on a summer’s day, 24C and what these days I would call a beautiful day. Back then we were freezing (keep in mind we’d come from hot, dry desert weather) and strangely enough we were the only ones in jeans and jumpers that day.
My home state is one of the most amazing places in the world with beautiful countryside and fantastic things to do. Come on a tour of my home (most of these places or events are within an hour drive of the main city centre)

I spent my teenage years growing up in Glenelg, which is 5 minutes from the beach, half an hour from the city and has the most magnificent beaches and one of the best shopping areas in Adelaide. Glenelg is a tourist area and Jetty Rd is one long road lined with shops and plenty of restaurants which are all close to the beach. For a kid from the country, Glenelg was a dream come true.

These days I live south of the city, and if you’re a wine lover than you’ll love the McLaren Vale Region which is just a short distance away from me. Mclaren Vale is home to more than 57 wineries and hosts one of my favourite events every year. The Sea and Vines Festival is held in June each year and more than 20 wineries provide seafood meals perfectly matched with wines. It’s a huge 3 day event with plenty of live entertainment and it’s a challenge to see how many wineries you can get around to, or not, sometimes you get comfortable at the first one and don’t end up leaving. The Barossa Valley to the north east of the city, and the Adelaide Hills to the East are also home to many wonderful wineries.

Adelaide is truly a beautiful city and while all cities have parklands, Adelaide is a bit different? They had a vision when they designed Adelaide and where most cities grown in all directions haphazardly, Adelaide was designed with wide streets, large public squares, a river dividing the main city core from an attractive, elevated residential section to the north; and all surrounded by 700 hectares of parklands. Amazingly even today the entire city centre is still surrounded by a magnificent greenbelt of parklands which was a remarkable sight for me when we moved from Kalgoorlie with its red dirt to Adelaide.

Adelaide is renowned for being a city of arts, culture and heritage with an abundance of food and wine festivals and cultural events.

Bay to Birdwood
On the last Sunday in September each year more than 1,500 historic vehicles line up to take place in a historic drive up through the Adelaide Hills to Birdwood. Cars eligible to participate in this event must be manufactured between 1 January 1956 and 31 December 1977. People line the streets to see all the cars and it’s a fantastic family day out with all the cars gathering in Birdwood, with food stalls and family fun.

Tour Down Under 
The Santos Tour Down Under has grown to become the biggest sporting event staged in South Australia. Bike riders from all over the world come to Adelaide to participate in six gruelling road races through the Adelaide suburbs and surrounding countryside. Last year's Tour attracted 770,500 spectators, including thousands of interstate and overseas visitors.

Clipsal 500 
Every year Adelaide comes alive for the Clipsal 500 which is Australia's largest domestic motor sport event, featuring the country’s best V8 supercar drivers who come together for four days of fast paced racing around a track that is erected in the middle of the city centre. It’s basically a massive four day party with racing during the days and concerts every night. The 2011 event was attended by a massive crowd of 270,800 patrons over the four days.

Fringe Festival
The Fringe Festival is the largest in the southern hemisphere and offers a huge twist of quirky fun. The Adelaide Fringe originated in 1960 as a movement of artists who performed and operated outside the main Adelaide Festival of Arts program. Today there are hundreds of shows and thousands of artists who take part. The Festival traditionally begins with an opening night party in the Adelaide city centre, allowing thousands of people to sample the theatre, street entertainers and buzzing atmosphere.

Adelaide Writers’ Week 
Of course this is one of my favourites and occurs every two years. This is the oldest literary festival in Australia and for over 40 years the Festival has created a place where writers can connect with the community.
Writers’ Week is a celebration of words, one that promises to surprise, delight, challenge and entertain, bringing some of the world’s finest minds to Adelaide for a week of discussion and debate. Readers from across the cultural spectrum hear writers discuss fiction, history, biography, religion, economics, culture, the environment, food, film, comics, poetry and picture books.

'There's no place like home, there's no place like home, there's no place like home'  ~ Dorothy Gale, Wizard of Oz

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Stress Relief

I can’t figure out why my Google follower’s widget keeps coming and going – does anyone know how this works? Some days it shows up and some days it doesn’t, which is extremely frustrating.

Five more working days and then I have eleven days of relaxation (if you include the weekends) The boss has decided we should have the week following the Easter weekend off and who am I to disagree with him.

I have over 60, 000 words now written for my book, so eleven days might be enough for me to get close to completion which would be an added bonus. I’ve been a little slower the last month, but have still been writing. The break will also coincide with the second week of the boy’s school holidays, so even better.

News on the project is that the appropriation request (which is what is used by our company for all expenditure) has been signed by the company directors and final sign off is expected at the 2nd May Board meeting, which ironically will be the first day back at work following our relaxing break. Good timing I say.

We are quietly optimistic being that we are at the money sign off stage. A project generally doesn’t get to this stage unless they are planning to go ahead so fingers and toes crossed because there are a lot of people waiting for a decision to be made. It secures my employment for the next four years (not that this has overly concerned me – because should the project not get underway they have discussed moving me to another role) but this project will provide an amazing new set of experiences and education for me.

I got a verbal blasting from a co-worker today at work which left me feeling rather uncomfortable. I’d followed the correct process (I’d asked what the process for a certain task was when I first started) but is it the right process if some people don’t know about it or choose to ignore it?

The person’s reaction was totally uncalled for and subsequently his Manager is going to speak to him about it. The way he reacted left him looking like a fool but it didn’t change the way it made me feel and it highlights how such small and minor things can get blown out of proportion so easily and cause massive rifts in work relationships.

It made this little ‘stress reliever’ which I discovered even more relevant. Hope it puts a smile on your face too.

How to handle stress……….
                                                           … Picture yourself near a stream.
        ...  Birds are softly chirping in the crisp, cool mountain air.
        … Nothing can bother you here.
        … No one knows this secret place.
        … You are in total seclusion from that place called ‘the world’
        … The soothing sound of a gentle waterfall fills the air with a
            cascade of serenity.
        … The water is clear.
        … and you can just make out the face of the person whose head you
            are holding under the water!

                            There now…….feel better?

Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths. ~ Etty Hillesum

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Eggs - travaganza

No opinions to share with you today, but with Easter coming up I thought I would share with you the amazing works of art that my wonderfully talented mother creates. All of these are made from eggs.

Egg artistry is the art or craft of decorating eggs and is rapidly growing in popularity. Any bird egg can be used, but most often the larger and stronger the eggshell is, the more favoured it is.

Goose, duck and hens' eggs are usually "blown" - a hole is made in either end and the contents are blown out. The egg is then either carved, dyed, painted, appliqued or otherwise decorated (using a number of different techniques).
Some eggs, like emu or ostrich eggs, are so large and strong that the shells may be carved without breaking. Decorations on emu eggs take advantage of the contrast in colours between the dark green mottled outside of the shell and the shell-underlay.

Egg Artsistry originated from the wonderful creations of renowned Russian artist and jeweller Peter Carl Fabergé who made exquisitely decorated eggs.

My mum started egg artistry many years ago and has since written books, won numerous awards and now gives lessons online and travels overseas for Egg Shows in the US. She obviously took all of the 'patience' and 'creative' genes and left none for me, because while I have created jewellery boxes from eggs under her guidance, I'm not at all a crafty person.

I have a marvellous gazebo made from an ostrich egg, complete with a wedding couple that 'dances' which was the key feature at my wedding and is now housed in a glass case in my lounge room.

All of the ornaments on my christmas tree are also decorated eggs. Mum started a tradition many years ago of creating a specially designed 'christmas egg' for each of my children every christmas to hang on the tree. One for every year of their lives - including a super special one for their first christmas.

My mum's website is here for anyone interested in having a peek.

Cheers, Fi

The line between a decorative object and a work of art is a matter of critical judgement ~ Marlene Fitzgerald-Moore


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I'm opinionated - you don't say!

I can be argumentative, self righteous and opinionated. If I believe in something or someone strongly enough, I'll fight to the death. I had a very heated conversation with one of hubby's friends yesterday (actually I often have these strong discussions with his mates)

Our discussion last night came from watching Conviction Kitchen - which for any that haven't seen the show, is about a group of people with criminal convictions who are given the opportunity to turn their lives around, learn the skills of working in a restaurant and get off the criminal merry-go-round.

My argument was that any person can change if they want to. Okay so maybe I have a romantic view on things and I've been told more than once to take off the rose coloured glasses. But I still believe strongly that anyone can mess up and still make good with their lives.

His opinion is that no-one can change, that a person is what they are born and that it's an inborn trait, it's part of their genetic make up and once they've stuffed up they will always stuff up. For such an intelligent man (and he is) I find this the most closed minded comment I have ever heard. What a sad and sorry state this world would be if everyone had this opinion.

If everyone believed that there was no hope of changing themselves and their lives, and they were what they were born - then we wouldn't have the Oprah's and Albert Einsteins etc etc in the world today.

My belief and I will fight him to the death on this one, is that anyone can change their lives or themselves if they want something bad enough. Anyone can mess up, once, twice or numerous times and still have the capacity to change and turn their lives around.

I do agree that the person who continually makes the same mistakes will not change, but only as long as they believe that they can't.

What are your thoughts on this subject - are we all doomed by our genetics or do all of us have the capacity to change, no matter what our circumstances if we are prepared to make the changes necessary.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Follow me, or not!

I follow a number of well written, entertaining and interesting blogs, I follow them because I like the content. I find myself intrigued by how many blogs I visit which have comments along the lines of 'I'm following you, please follow me back' What's this all about? It's almost like saying I like you and want to be your friend, so please be my friend back.

You can't make people like you, you can only be yourself and people will either like you or they won't. I certainly don't expect those blog owners that I follow, to follow me back. I would hope that people that follow my blog do so because they like what I have to say, and if they don't well so be it. I can't force it.

My blog is purely for me, it's where I write about what interests me, what amuses me, what annoys me and basically where I voice my opinion. I love that people get something from it but that's just an added bonus.

I'm sure that there are some people who may be enraged by what I've written here, but so be it. Before you leave a mindless comment on a blog why not put some thought into what you write and instead respond to what the person is posting, then they are more likely to come and visit your site of their own volition.

Same when you talk to people, listen to what people are saying to you, don't just wait for your turn to speak. Engage in the conversation because that's the key to winning friends and influencing people (one of my fave books)

It all comes down to communication. We talk to people to discover more or to have our own say on something they might have said or done, so why should it be any different on a blog. Be individual and be true to yourself, both are the keys to being a good communicator and becoming the sort of person that people want to be friends with.

Can I just point out, to all of those who do comment on my blog - I love your comments (both here and on Facebook) and I appreciate the value you contribute to what I write. As a blogger it's nice to know that you are reaching people and that they value what you say. No 'follow me back comments on my blog', and maybe that says something, or not.

Don't ask people to follow you or expect others to like you, give them a reason to want to follow you or be a friend with great content and intelligent and thoughtful communication.

Would love to hear others thoughts on this practice, be they good or bad, agreeing with me or not - everyone is entitled to an opinion.

It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.~ Herman Melville

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Why do people stay?

I used to have the best job in the world, working with some awesome people. So what happened to change all of that - the economy and a big change within the management team. Last night a former employee and also good friend started a Facebook page for all of us who used to work there and no longer do. We either left through redundancy or the need to spread our wings and search new horizons, within 26 minutes there were in excess of 30 members and the number is still growing as people find out about the page.

Don't get me wrong, I have a good job now - I followed the General Manager to a new place of employment, but what I miss most is the friendship and the camaraderie that existed in the place. I miss that in my new job. So many of us from the old place are still good friends and what was forged in that place was a whole heap of lifelong friendships.

I've been out of there for 8 months, yet I still feel the pain of what is happening to those that remain. Being the HR Coordinator in the place meant that I knew everyone and that it was a part of my job to help boost morale and keep the lines of communication open for all those who worked there. I worked as much for the employees as I did for the company.

It's often said that if you don't like your job then life is too short to stay somewhere you're not happy. Yet so many of us stayed because of the sense of 'family' that existed.

The Facebook page was a brilliant idea because it means that so many of us can re-connect and maintain those friendships that were a huge part of our everyday working life. Now people are talking about the need to organise a big reunion. As the former head of the Social Club Committee, the idea holds a lot of appeal, so I will be looking at the best way to make that happen.

What about you - what makes you stay in your current workplace? Is it an awesome job, the people you work with or simply a way to earn a dollar?

A friend is one who believes in you when you have ceased to believe in yourself. ~ Anon

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Six Word Saturday

Some days I just feel old

So here are some one liners about old age which put a smile on my face

* The little old gray haired lady you help across the street is your wife.
* Everything hurts; and what doesn't hurt, doesn't work.
* Your back goes out more than you do.
* It feels like the morning after when you haven't been anywhere the night before.
* It takes twice as long to look half as good.
* Your knees buckle and your belt won't.
* You and your teeth don't sleep together.
* The clothes you've put away until they come back in style... come back in style
* When happy hour is a nap
* You can't remember the last time you laid on the floor to watch television
* You finally got your head together, now your body is falling apart
* Your memory is shorter and your complaining is longer

Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter. ~Mark Twain

Want to play along with Six Word Saturday, it's easy? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here
. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Land Down Under - Inventions

Australians are responsible for some life changing inventions and also some wacky and wonderful inventions - here are a few of my favourites.

If you’ve been following my Land Down Under posts, you’ll have seen some of the amazing places that Australia has to offer. All previous posts are available via the Land Down Under tab on my blog, I hope you enjoy the tour.

Hills Hoist – the Hills hoist was invented in Adelaide South Australia by Lance Hill in 1945. It was an invention borne out of necessity; his wife wanted something inexpensive to replace the line she was using to hang her washing on. It was made popular because of the winding mechanism which allowed it to be raised and lowered by turning a handle. The Hills hoist today is an Australian icon and many Aussie kids have fond childhood memories of swinging on mums clothesline.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Project Manage Your Life

I have been immersed in Project Management for 8 months now and it has only recently occurred to me that the principles of Project Management are basically the same as for Goal Setting (I knew there was a reason why I took to Project Management so well).

The five stages of Project Management are typically

1. Define
2. Plan
3. Execute
4. Control
5. Close

So it’s easy to convert those five stages to the steps involved in achieving a goal.


o What is the ‘as is’ picture. What are your capabilities now, what can you do now. (This is important because there’s no point having a goal of running a marathon in four weeks time if you are currently extremely overweight and get puffed walking to the letter box)

o What are your strengths and weaknesses?

o Then consider the ‘to be’ picture, what is it that you actually want to achieve and what is your life going to be like once you achieve this goal.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Shock, horror - I've become my mother!

Old age creeps up slowly for a while and then all of a sudden it up and slaps you in the face, it’s the realisation that you sound just like your mother and worse still, you understand why you are doing and saying the things you are to your children.

As an adult it’s hard to recall the angst of being a teenager. As you get older, your priorities change and what was life or death to you as a teenager suddenly seems so trivial as an adult. How do you maintain a balance when talking to your children, because while you vaguely recall the agony of being a teenage, you now have the worries and concerns of being a parent?

I often feel like life is one big marathon and I’m never going to finish the race. There are days when I breeze along, nothing touches me and I have the energy to run up mountains without pausing for breath. Then on other days I feel like I’m dragging a ten ton weight behind me and I don’t have the energy to scratch myself.

The last few days have been the ten ton variety and it hasn’t helped that I’ve been battling a cold (lovingly shared with me by the MM’s). Today I feel a little lighter because some of the weight has lifted and home is starting to feel somewhat normal again, largely because MM son has lightened up. I’m relieved that he is talking and socialising with us again and a lot of his anger from the weekend has lessened.

After all the drama of the last few days I realised that I didn’t mention about my new button on the sidebar. I’ve seen them on lots of websites and have wanted to create one for quite a while. I visited 5 different sites before I actually found instructions that worked or made sense. Making the graphics for the button was the easy part (this I can do) it’s the techie stuff with html that does my head in.

If you want to create your own button for your blog then Oikology 101 is where I found my info. The blog owner is a creative stay-at-home mum who has lots of interesting and creative posts on her blog. Her home page is here and the button information is from a post several years ago and can be found here.

Cheers, Fi

A person is not old until regrets take the place of dreams. ~ John Barrymore

Monday, April 4, 2011

Teenage stupidity must be a family trait!

My first blog post is up at World Moms Blog today, so if you get a chance pop by there and have a look. The irony hasn't escaped me that the post is about being a mother and the challenges you face, especially after my post here yesterday and the dramas with my son. I wrote the 'challenges' post several weeks ago and wasn't sure where it was on the blogging schedule, so to find out it was going to be up today seemed almost like devine intervention.

Home is not a very happy place at the moment. Hubby is disappointed and angry. MM son is just plain angry. Youngest MM is keeping a low profile and staying out of the way. Me, I'm just incredibly sad, disappointed and unsure of how to fix everything. Trying to get older MM to talk and explain what he's feeling is hard; because he's angry at himself, at us and at the world and just wants to be left alone.

Last night there was a story on 60 Minutes about teenage mothers who have achieved something with their lives and avoided the welfare merry-go-round to set an example for their children. Amazing how everything around me at the moment seems to remind me of my life.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

An Error in Judgment

There are days when being a mother seems to be an incredibly difficult and thankless task, these are the days when I feel like I’m doing it all wrong. The phone call came at 2am this morning and let’s face it, any phone call at that hour of the morning is seldom good news. Thankfully no-one had died, which is always my first fear. Unfortunately it still wasn’t good news; the phone call was from the local police station informing us that our son had been arrested for property damage.

So off we went, stunned, bleary eyed and sleep deprived, to face the serious error in judgment that our 16 year old son had made. Neither his father nor I spoke on the drive there, besides the fact that I was too preoccupied doing some pretty heavy mental bashing on myself on where I had failed as a parent.

Sixteen year old MM had told me he was sleeping at a friend’s place, and I had believed him. So how did he come to be at an out-of-control party at 2am? An error in judgment on his behalf and also an error in judgment perhaps on my behalf for believing he was where he had said he was going to be, sleeping at a friends place.

What did my MM do wrong, besides being somewhere that he shouldn’t have been and without our knowledge? He’d tried to avenge an injury suffered by one of his friends. See when too many young people gather in one place then things can rapidly go wrong and that’s what happened. A friend of his was hit in the head several times with a baseball bat. I don’t know the circumstances, or the why of what happened to his mate.

I do know that following his mates departure to the hospital that MM son decided to avenge his friend’s injuries by kicking in the boot of the car belonging to the person responsible for inflicting the injuries. Not a bright move and definitely an error in judgment which resulted in his arrest.

While I am embarrassed, no perhaps mortified is a better word, by his behaviour; there was a small measure of relief that his criminal offence wasn’t purely property damage for the sake of it, as in graffiti or malicious damage. Learning the error of his ways is a big lesson for my son, who is now faced with bail conditions prior to a court appearance in several months time. They are conditions which will keep him in the house between 9pm and 7am and which will require a written letter from his employer to amend his bail conditions because he starts work at 5.30 am on two days of the week.

As a parent it is hard to except that we have gone wrong somewhere in raising our children. Would I have done anything differently, probably not? I trusted that he was going to be where he said he was going to be. In reality though, I had little control over peer pressure and other parents who delivered the boys to this party in the first place. Will I do things differently in the future, most certainly so.

Will my son learn from his serious error in judgment, I hope to god he does.

I seriously considered not publishing this post because I am incredibly embarassed by my son's behaviour. But, this blog is about what life throws at me and unfortunately there's the good and the bad in being a mother and I felt that I wasn't being honest with myself or my readers if I purely posted only the 'smiley happy moments'.

Its days like these that I truly miss the toddlers that my boys once were. Looking back, life seemed to be so easy, you tucked them safely up in their beds at night and they were there in the mornings. You knew where they were at every second of the day and had control over their actions and their behaviour. It’s when they become teenagers and you no longer have complete control over where they go or who they associate with that life seems so incredibly hard.

When you make a mistake, don't look back at it long. Take the reason of the thing into your mind and then look forward. Mistakes are lessons of wisdom. The past cannot be changed. The future is yet in your power. ~ Hugh White

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Six Word Saturday

Good things are worth waiting for!

I have to keep telling myself this, in fact it's become my mantra because quite simply I hate waiting for anything.

The big things on the horizon that I'm waiting impatiently for......

1)  The birth of my first grandchild. He's due in just under 14 weeks.

2)  Approval from the Board of Directors of the company I work for to kickstart our project that we've been preparing for since the middle of last year.

3)  Our trip to Bali in November. Hubby and I went for the first time last year (without the kids) and have promised we will take them this year. It will be their first overseas trip.

What about you, what are you impatiently waiting for?

Want to play along with Six Word Saturday, it's easy? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Land Down Under - Creatures

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Australia has an abundance of native wildlife, animals which are unique to this country. Some of them are cute, some are dangerous and some are down right ugly. Here I bring you the most popular and as always my comments and personal experiences about them as well.

If you’ve been following my Land Down Under posts, you’ll have seen some of the amazing places that Australia has to offer. All previous posts are available via the Land Down Under tab on my blog. I hope you enjoy the tour.

The Good

Koala - The koala is possibly one of the best known Australian animals and its name comes from an Aboriginal word meaning 'no drink'. Koalas normally get all of their fluid requirements from eating the leaves of the eucalyptus tree; obviously this poor little guy hadn’t read the rule book.
This poor little fellow was on my next door neighbour’s front verandah last summer. We’d had two weeks of plus 40C days and he spent 2 days on their verandah alternating between sipping from the water bowl they put out for him and dipping his hands in the water.

Koalas have soft, thick, grey or brown fur on their backs. The fur on the stomach is white and they have large, hairless noses and round ears. Adult koalas measure between 64 to 76 centimetres in length and weigh between 7 and 14 kilograms.
Koalas have strong, sharp claws and long toes to help them climb. The front paws have two thumbs to help them grip branches strongly. The second and third toes on the back legs are joined together to form a grooming claw.
Koalas are generally quiet animals but communicate with each other through a variety of noises which range from sounds like a loud snore, to a burping sound and even a loud bellow.

Kangaroo - The word 'kangaroo' is from the Aboriginal word 'gungurru' for the grey kangaroo. However, the English settlers  used the word, which they pronounced kangaroo, to refer to any of the kangaroo family.
Kangaroos feed at night on grass and other low growing plants. Kangaroos drink water when they find it, but can go for long periods of time without drinking.
They may look harmless but these animals have amazing power in their tails and back legs. They can support themselves on their tails and kick a person a large distance. The red kangaroo is the biggest of all the marsupials. A male can be 1.5 metres long with a 1 metre long tail. It can weigh 85 kilograms. Females are smaller. The grey kangaroo is smaller than the red kangaroo.

Possum -  The Common Ringtail Possum is about the size of a domestic cat and is grey with white patches behind the eyes and on the belly. They have orange-brown tinges on the tail and limbs.
This little creature is cute and can be quite sociable with humans. Destruction of natural habitats means these animals have adapted to living closer to people, despite their cute appearance though they can be quite bothersome. They get into peoples roofs and live in the walls of houses where they can cause havoc.
No matter how cute they look it is wise not to try and feed them as a friend of ours discovered despite being warned not to put his fingers near it. After a few beers too many he thought he could befriend a cute innocent little possum with an apple. Hate to say I told you so.
Possums are very agile and like to hang out in trees or other high places they use their long white tipped tails for gripping branches when climbing. They can also use their tail for carrying nesting materials. They have a soft, high pitched twittering call

Wombat - I love these little guys, they look like fat little bears but are in fact marsupials.They eat mainly grasses and roots and live in large burrows up to 30 meters (100 feet) long. Wombats are extremely strong and very capable diggers. It’s said that if you accidently hit one on the road in a car that these solid little creatures can cause the car to flip over.
The average wombat is about 1 metre (40 inches) long and weighs about 25 kg (55 pounds). Their colour varies from a sandy color to brown or black to grey. Their lifespan is anywhere from 5 years to over 30 years.

The Bad

Crocodile - Australia is home to two different species of crocodiles, both of which are native to Australia but are very similar in appearance to alligators.
The freshwater crocodile is found in inland freshwater areas of the Australian tropics and occasionally in the tidal portions of rivers. Male freshwater crocodiles grow up to 3 metres in length, although females are much smaller, rarely growing longer than 2 metres. Both species mature at around 15 years of age.

The saltwater crocodile is found in estuaries, rivers, lagoons and swamps of the Australian tropics. Saltwater crocs are also found off beaches, and even a considerable distance up rivers and creeks in this region. Saltwater crocs can grow to a very large size. While females can grow up to 4 metres in length, males can reach 7 metres in length and weigh over 1,000kg.

Freshwater crocodiles eat smaller animals that come to drink at the waters edge where as saltwater crocodiles are capable of ambushing and killing cattle and horses as they come to drink at waterholes. Prey can also include wallabies, pigs, and even other crocodiles.
They are fascinating creatures but are definitely best viewed from behind the safety of a fence or within the safe confines of a boat (which is how we saw them in Darwin)

Brown Snake - Of the 10 most dangerous snakes in the world, 8 of them are Australian. The second most deadly snake in the world is the brown snake which is approximately 1.5 metres long. Bites from this species of snake have caused death within minutes, rather than hours or days, with even a baby brown snake potentially delivering enough venom in a single bite - to kill 20 adults.
This snake is found throughout most of the eastern half of Australia. They feed on small creatures, such as mice and rats, small birds, lizards or even other snakes. The Brown Snake has a narrow head in appearance, with a slender body. Their colour may range from beige to silver, cream, brown, light tan to orange, dark brown and some times even black.

The Ugly

Yabby - A true Aussie childhood involved catching yabbies from dams and rivers. Yabbies are a type of inland freshwater crayfish found in Australia. They have smooth shells and range in colour depending upon the colour of their habitat (mud, silt, water etc)
Yabbies usually grow to a length of up to 150 mm depending upon conditions. Their eyes are on the end of little stalks and they also have 3 sets of antennae which provide them with the ability to touch things.Yabbies have gills like fish so they can "breathe" under water and like most crayfish they have 2 large "pincer like" claws at the front.

Goanna - Goannas were named when white people first came to Australia and saw large reptiles that they thought were a kind of iguana, hence the name goanna. The goanna is not an iguana, but a species of monitor lizard. Goannas climb trees, swim, run fast, and can stand on their back legs.
The goanna is about 160 cm long altogether. Its head and body measure about 70 cm. Its body is flattened; it has strong legs with long toes and claws. It has a long neck. It can give a fierce blow with its long tail. It has a tongue rather like a snake's, which it flicks in and out. We had one cross the road behind our car when we were in Kangaroo Island and they’re an awesome sight to see.

I hope you enjoyed meeting some of our Australian animals, next week I’ll introduce you to some of our 'iconic' Australian inventions.

"If you talk to the animals they will talk with you and you will know each other. If you do not talk to them you will not know them and what you do not know, you will fear. What one fears, one destroys." - Chief Dan George, Tsleil-Waututh Nation