Sunday, February 27, 2011

GONE TO LUNCH

Today we were invited to lunch at Henry and Janelle's home in Fig Tree Pocket, a leafy suburb of Brisbane. Those invited had all worked in Papua/New Guinea so we all had something in common to chat about.

Unfortunately, I didn't get a shot of everyone who attended. Here is (L to R) Colin, Josephine, Joseph, Ros, Denis and Bob sitting under the umbrella as it was extremely hot today.

Henry and Janelle have a tropical garden. They have both been sick too. Henry has been treated for cancer and Janelle has just had an operation. We couldn't believe they didn't cancel the lunch. Luckily their daughter got everything organised in the kitchen.

It was lovely to cool off near the pool, we should have taken our togs. I am sitting with Ros who has also been very ill with throat cancer and the aggressive treatment since we last got together. 
It is so sad to hear of our friends getting ill. Since our first reunion of ASOPA students back in 2002, we have lost  friends and many have been ill. The joys of growing old. 
However, today we did enjoy relaxing by the pool with friends and partaking of a delicious seafood lunch and a glass or two of wine.

Friday, February 25, 2011

CANTALOUPE AND A NEW TOY

I splashed out and bought myself an early birthday present. A macro lens. So I went into the garden to experiment but I can see I have a lot to learn as the photos are not in focus or crystal clear like they should be. Naturally, I was disappointed as I wanted them to be perfect the first time. Anyway here is my first try.

This tiny cricket insect was about 1cm/1/2 in. long. It was sitting on a rock melon/cantaloupe leaf. The little black dot to the right of it is going to be dinner.

Yum Yum!

All gone.

How long are those antennae?

The rock melon bud.

Rock melon flower

Tendril

Stem.
Hoping I can get them much sharper next time.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

DISASTER DOWN UNDER

Our hearts go out to the poor people of Christchurch, New Zealand, who have experienced the worst damage from an earthquake ever. It was such a beautiful city, now a pile of rubble. There are 98 dead and 200 missing. Searchers are still looking for survivors 3 days later. Many have been dragged out with amazing stories of survival. However, there are too many tales of heart ache.
These teenage children have just been told that their mother would not have survived the destroyed CTV building, where she worked as an announcer. The building had gas explosions and fire.
 The destroyed CTV building

The iconic old cathedral lost its steeple and sustained awful damage. Many people were killed inside.
(photos from Courier Mail site)
Floods, Cyclone Yasi, bushfires in WA and now an Earthquake in neighbouring NZ. What's next, down under?

Monday, February 21, 2011

A WEEKEND SURPRISE

It was Bill's Birthday this weekend and our eldest daughter, Carol, came from Sydney to celebrate her dad's birthday. It was such a wonderful surprise. Her husband, David, had actually been in Brisbane on a job during the week and Carol thought it would be fun to join him and us for the weekend. Carol had been working in Auckland, NZ all week. She then flew to Sydney, swapped work clothes for holiday clothes and then flew to Brisbane. (Talk about a jet setting family)

 On Friday and Saturday they were happy just to sit around and chat after their hectic working week. We enjoyed the quality time with them. On Sunday we had a birthday lunch at our favourite chinese restaurant, Kam Koon, in Springwood. It was the hottest day of summer so far 35C/95F, we were glad of the air conditioning in the restaurant.

 Then it was time for them to pack up and return to the airport and Sydney. David had a hire car, while he had been here working. He has been making an information audio, with interviews, sounds, and music for the history of the Power House Theatre building.

Carol, is designing a big building in Auckland.

Bye, bye lovely couple. Hope to see you again soon.

 In the meantime the other two/three, Sonya, Bernie and Fox, are still waiting for USA customs to deal with their visa.  The visa has been approved but they have to fly back to Sydney from Melbourne for an interview and sign the papers. It has taken them 5 months of waiting so far. They have given up their apartment and are now couch surfing until they can get on a plane for LA. It is all a bit unsettling for Buebli.

Friday, February 18, 2011

CLOSE UP IN THE FOREST

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, we went to the local forest with the camera club to practise taking close up shots. I don't have a macro lens so tried using Av setting with the tele lens, but not very successfully. The okay ones are below and the many blurry ones are in the trash.

dragonfly

Swamp algae

Dead Bracken Fern

Black berries of some kind.

"What you looking at Mrs?"

Wallaby eating a leaf. Love its paws and eyelashes.

Its a shame weeds are introduced into the forest but good for a shot.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

HUNTING IN THE FOREST

We belong to the local U3A (University of the Third Age) Camera Club and this week we went photo hunting in Daisy Hill Forest. We are so lucky that this forest is only a 15 minute walk from home or a 3 min drive.

 There are many hiking tracks through the forest but we chose an easy board walk through the Melaleuca  swamp. Melaleuca trees sometimes called paper bark trees like having their roots in wet ground.

 Roy has found a moss covered log to shoot.

 We were concentrating on close ups today it was fun watching the happy snappers searching for shots.

 Then we strolled through the picnic area. You can tell we have had lots of rain. I have never seen the park so green. Everyone commented on how relaxing, calm and serene it made you feel.

 We spotted some wallabies. They don't come into the picnic grounds as much as they did in the dry season, obviously they have plenty of grass on the forest floor. That is also the reason that Fat Butt doesn't visit me as often.

 "Don't shoot the wallaby!"

 A table waiting for a picnic.

We had a picnic sandwich and a cuppa before we made a group photo on the amphitheatre steps usually used by school classes and other groups for seminars on the environment.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

BIRTHDAY BEAR GOES SWISS

We belong to a group of friends who celebrate their birthdays together with Birthday Bear. To understand the Birthday Bear tradition read here. Next Sunday is Bill's Birthday but we celebrated a few days early because Chris and Bob who left our group to travel around Australia blew into town after cyclone Yasi drove them out of Townsville. They hitched up their caravan and headed south. They are here for a few days before moving on.
Photo by Mary
Birthday Bear is dressed in a Swiss outfit and playing the Alphorn, with two trumpets at his feet. Funny that. Bill is Swiss and has an Alphorn, and he played the trumpet.

All the following photos by Ann. (I forgot my camera???)
Bill was happy to see his Swiss Bear especially with a bag of Swiss Chocolates, that he brought for all of us since it was Valentines Day too.

We girls, who all worked at the same school for years, were pleased to see Chris again. (middle front)

The boys have all become good friends over the years too and they were pleased to see Bob again.(front left)

We all had dinner at Sunnybank Hotel. Where many others were celebrating Valentines day.

After dinner, bear gave me a nuzzle as I carried him to our car because Bill was too shy to be seen carrying a teddy bear. Thanks to Ann for dressing Birthday Bear this time.

Monday, February 14, 2011

REMEMBER ME

We received a packet in the mail a few days ago and inside was a tiny pair of shoes that I recognised as belonging to our little grandson, Fox. With the shoes was a little note:

 "Dear Grossvati and Grandma, I hope you like my first shoes as a gift to remember how small I was when we left for America. Come and visit me soon in LA. Love Fox!"

 I remember them from when he visited us last year from Sydney.

I hope you will still reach out for me next time we meet. I love you Fox.

His mum and dad are taking him to LA to live for a while. (I hope a short while)

 The last time we cuddled him was in December, in Rye, Vic. where his mum and dad were married.

Aunty Carol and Uncle David were very sad to say goodbye to Fox in Sydney last week as he and his parents left for for Melbourne before continuing to LA. (They are still waiting for the final documentation needed to go to USA for work.)

So now the little shoes sit next to an old photo of his mummy on the dressing table in the back room where we still have his cot for when he visits us. I hope he hasn't grown too big for it before he visits us again.
Just as we were rejoicing having both our daughters back in Australia, one leaves again taking our precious grandson with her. Oh well I guess that is payback time as we did it to our parents too.We can count on our fingers the number of times Bill's parents in Switzerland saw their only grand children.
I must put away the tissues and get ready to go out and celebrate with Birthday Bear.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Variety Club Youth Choir Flash Mob 'I am Australian'


"On Saturday just gone, at Karrinyup Shopping Centre (Western Australia) the Variety Club Youth Choir organised a FLASH MOB where they all were incognito in the Food Hall, and started standing up in groups singing "We are Australian"
The purpose was to raise money for the QLD floods. Each time it is clicked on, money is raised thru google ads, SO PLEASE WATCH!!!!!! It is a beaut way of suppporting those poor Aussies over on the other side of our country."


This  came via email from Western Australians. Thank you from the Eastern State of Queensland, especially as you have had bad bush fires in your state burning over 50 houses. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

SUCCESS AT LAST

For ages I have tried to grow African Violets without success. My friends kept giving them to me and I kept killing them but for some reason this year I have had success.



The Begonias have also flourished this year, the plants are old, I just cut them back when they stop flowering and then they come back again the next year. I love these sort of plants.
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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

BEAUTY IN THE BUSH

During our hectic four days trip to Mornington Peninsula, Vic, I managed to sneak an hour to myself for a walk through the bush. This was some time between the Christmas party and  the wedding. It was nice to just wander along looking at the plants and listening to the birds. I don't know the names of all the wild flowers, but that is not necessary to appreciate them.
While the others snoozzzzzzed I set of down the path outside our cabin.

Sun shining on an acacia tree (wattle)

Wattle is our national flower emblem. The green and gold of our country's colours.

Fluffy seed pods.

A dead branch splashes colour onto the scene.

So delicate.

Beyond the path.

Looking towards Antarctica.