Friday, December 22, 2006

xmas cheer

thats two posts in a row with an X as a substitute for a real word in it. is that some kind of blogger record? probably not

also its a little bit sarcy that title. i have about as much xmas cheer within as the grinch. i hate the crass consumerism, it reminds me how i have no family to hang around with, and the mall becomes impossible to negotiate. and then theres the neighbour from hell....quick update, had to call police last night because after an afternoon of yelling insults at me over the fence (no i dont know why) and then a domestic with husband when he gets home, she comes and starts pulling palings off the fence and throwing them at the house, yelling insults and threats like "now theres a big gap and if your dogs get in here im going to kill them". i dont know what sort of medication shes on (or perhaps should be on a larger dose of) but shes blaming my dogs for ripping down the fence (cos dogs do that) and getting into her yard when the fence shes referring to is on the other side of the carport which is further separated from the backyard by another fence with padlocked gate. i know cattle dogs are clever but im pretty sure he hasnt worked out how to undo padlocks just yet.

so i called the police. they were pretty good. she ended up yelling at them and they took her husband away - there is obviously some other history there. he was trying to tell her to leave the fence alone and at one point told her she was so crazy she should be on a current affair! funny if it wasnt also true.

anyway very anxious about the whole thing and feel like i cant even go out in my own backyard. i rang the real estate agent this morning who was very good and supportive and asked if we wanted to move out which of course i dont, too expensive, inconvenient etc. she said she would just tell the owner they needed to fix the fence and worry about getting the money out of the neighbour afterwards. she said they might get colourbond so then i "dont have to look at her". nice idea.

and at least we are going away tomorrow so thats great! perfect timing. we are spending 10 nights up at riverwood downs, a moutain retreat kind of thing near barrington tops, camping with some of our dog sport friends. cant wait. seafood christmas by the river under the stars. *sigh*

we arent back till jan 2 so will post pix after that. hope everyone out there has a great christmas and new year and hope to catch up in the new year when things are a little less hectic (laughs hysterically).

have a good one
k xx

Monday, December 18, 2006

uriarra xing

i know im doing a phd and everything but somedays im really not very smart - when we first got here i thought that sign (uriarra xing) was some reference to a long ago chinese presence in the area (perhaps in the gold rushes?). ok you can stop laughing now. of course it means Uriarra CROSSing, a place where the road crosses the Molonglo river (or is it the murrumbidgee?) and you can take the dogs there and have picnics and its very nice.

anyway im going crazy here at home, only a few days till holidays and i have this last bit of the chapter to do and i just sooooo dont want to do it. hence the two blogs in one day.

then earlier today i heard about all these parties and uni bar gatherings at wollongong and i felt very sad and angry, isolated and forgotten about and sick to death of being on my own all the time.

so i took the dogs out to uriarra xing.

it was lovely out there, there was no one there when i got there, just the birds and the wind whistling through the she-oaks and the river rippling past. the water levels have fallen in the last year but not as much as i thought and the water quality was very good. the dogs had a great time swimming and chasing lizards and rolling in kangaroo poo and in the dirt.

poss is much more self-sufficient than jem, he kept looking for a stick for me to throw and she just ran through the water making waves which she then bit at, swallowing too much river water which she then came and threw up. nice one poss. but shes very pretty!

i sat under a tree and read some of my primary sources that i collected two years ago and am supposed to be basing this chapter on but havent read yet.

of course the beautiful scenery and the lovely cool river were slightly distracting so i didnt finish and i had better go do that now. (dont ask about the guy with the beard, no idea, im reading a different story called The Larrikin Residuum - this is from the Bulletin in January 1882).

at least theres cricket on tv - im crossing my fingers the english cricket team can stay in long enough to get a draw (not likely) - i know this is very unaustralian of me but my favourite cricket team is 1. the west indies who i saw when i was a kid and 2. anyone who can beat the arrogant aussies. yes i know i should be deported. i would most definately fail an aussie-values citizenship test.


making kasundi

we had a very rare weekend at home and i think we were both at a bit of a loss! i feel guilty these days if i just do nothing, although i am looking forward to "doing nothing" and not feeling guilty for 2 weeks from this friday when we head off on our christmas camping trip to riverwood downs (near barrington tops) with all our flyball friends and dogs.

so this weekend we got the camping stuff all ready, piled up in the garage, made lists of things we need, checked the supply crates, all that stuff.

we did a flyball demo on saturday night at the canberra capitals basketball game, that was fun.

watched a few dvds - kenny, pirates of the carribean 2, jindabyne. all good (that was our bi-monthly fix, which is about as often as we are home on weekends).

and i made kasundi, yummy indian-spiced tomato and chili relish, goes well with the ham off the bone.

this is what it looks like in the pot:

this is the finished product, three hours of simmering later. i got 5 and 3/4 jars.

today i have to write up some notes on the contributors chapters for a book i am helping to edit and also go some way to finishing up chapter three of the thesis which i want done before i go away and then there will only be three chapters left to do by the end of march.

there has been no knitting either, sorry.....

k xx

Monday, December 11, 2006

yes we have no bananas, and other freaks of nature

we did have though, for a couple of days last week. this is what they looked like:

i blog about this because it is but one of a series of freaks of nature i ( and many others) am experiencing. firstly, no bananas for AGES, not since the cyclone in qld. i bought these ones because they were 5.98 a kilo as opposed to the now usual 12.98 a kilo. im sorry for not supporting the farmers in their hour of need by buying expensive bananas, but it wouldnt have been the needy ones being supported anyway. so we had bananas last week and they were fabulous.

second freak of nature. canberra in december. as if canberra itself isnt freaky enough it now has to be the hottest driest place ive ever been in my life. except for maybe moree in the 80s in february. but i cant get over how everything has died. even if i were to sprinkle and/or hand water when i was allowed, the soil on this property is so dry none of its going in. i am scandalised everytime i see a green lawn or flourishing garden. it should be a sign of your concern re the drought to let your lawn die. the truth of the matter is there wont be any water to DRINK soon, but go ahead, knock yourself out. die thirsty, have a nice lawn. please.

the other freak of nature is my next door neighbour. shes been a pain in the neck since we got here, with one domestic after another. a few weeks ago we went out to help because there was screaming in the street, she has two young boys and a baby girl, and their grandmother was trying to take the baby girl away because the mother has been trying to get herself sorted out (which of course i fully support). but theres no way im going to let children get in the middle so i (bravely) sent trent out to ask if they needed help, only to have him be abused ever since as the f***wit neighbour who "just rents". what sort of world is it that some people who obviously need to be institutionalised think they are better than someone else because they are renting off a bank while others rent off a real estate agent?

crazy neighbour has now rung said real estate agent complaining about our wild, neighbourhood terrorising dogs. lets put aside the fact that she only knows we're renting and whom from because i gave her the real estate agents card so she could ring to get the fences repaired (which havent been), and now thinks she has a licence to ring said real estate agent whenever the mood takes her. lets just focus on the fact that i dont have wild neighbourhood terrorising dogs - they bark less than any of the other dogs around here, they have never got out of the yard unattended, never bitten anyone, and now i have to justify their existence to the real estate agent. i tried to explain to her that one complaint from a crazy neighbour does not a valid noise complaint make. i also explained to her that a half pipe skateboard ramp in crazy neighbours backyard was a little more noisy than the dogs.

so whatever little joy i was getting from living in the freaky burbs of canberra has been destroyed. cant wait to leave the place. sorry for people who were born and bred here but my time out here on the western frontier, in the place that is neither city nor country, that has a pond you cant even swim in, and is in threat of burning down every second day over summer, has been less than ideal.

i must admit that this disenchantment is enhanced somewhat by spending a weekend in sydney. once upon a time i couldnt wait to get out of sydney, thinking people rude and the lifestyle crassly materialistic. (laughs insanely). now i cant wait to get back. we had a lovely time at the flyball comp on sat night and jem ran really well with his new kelpie team who all did really well for a new team with lots of issues. it was great fun. we stayed over at jo's menagerie and then sunday went and hung out in sydney park (near st peters) in the arvo and the dogs had a lovely time with all the other lovely relaxed well socialised sydney dogs (as opposed to the uptight canberra dogs and owners) (sorry, cant help myself). then we went to the flyball clubs xmas party, with more lovely dogs and people, at which jem got the award for the fastest wombat in flyball and possum got the 'shes so pretty' award. teehee. great fun.

but the best part was for lunch on sunday we got pork rolls. yes thats right, pork rolls, from the famous hot bread shop at mascot. they were the best pork rolls ive ever had largely because its been over a year since i had one and is the one single thing i miss about sydney most. if someone in canberra will tell me where i can get one here i promise to take back every mean thing ive ever said about the place!

(aka, cranky pants)

Monday, December 04, 2006

dead grass and critical theory

well where has the time gone? i have been so busy the last two weeks it makes my head spin. first i had to write then deliver a paper at a critical theory conference at a uni in sydney (not mentioning any names) which is where i have been since last tuesday. what an experience that was. it was a postgrad conference and the people organising it were all postgrads and they were without exception really great people, so friendly and open and very very clever. i am very glad i met all of them and hope to stay in touch for the future. my paper was very well received, got some great feedback, esp about the application of theory to history and about the historical phenomenon im studying as well. i learnt a lot from the keynote speakers and from the postgrad papers. mostly from the postgrad papers, in terms of critical theory, its complexities and applications. from the keynote speakers i learnt that once you get a "dr" in front of your name you can turn into a right wanker. esp if youre a theory boffin. even more so if you are into 'continental philosophy'. given that this is a public blog and i would like to earn gainful employment in the tertiary sector at some point, i will say no more.

in between we have been doing lots of dog training for jems first flyball competition back with his old team, which is this sat. the other dogs have needed to get used to having a rabid cattle dog around and we dont expect to run great this coming weekend but there is definately some potential for the future. also miss possum has been doing some flyball training and runs like a flash. we hope to be able to get her to do it with other dogs around at some point too!

on my return home i found the lawn and the vegie garden dead. not just dry but completely dead. grass brown, lettuce wilted. tomato plants shrivelled up (thanks to the frost not two weeks ago, and now water restrictions and continued drought. we have a gardener and a landlord who expect us to waste water on keeping the lawn green. i refuse, its immoral). so this is what we get stuck with:

i have to admit its very depressing.

i did finish my first lace washcloth, here it is:

its wool not cotton so isnt really a facecloth. the plan is to make heaps and sew together for a blankie. the pattern is from, its a nice easy one.

i havent had time to read anyones blogs for two weeks but will try and do that later today.

k xx

Monday, November 20, 2006

real work

of course i dont mean that rounding up sheep is the only real work in the world, and of course im not doing it for a living (although i would drop everything right now to be a proper sheep farmer, drought, flies and all) but it always brings me back to earth to go hang out in a hot and dusty paddock workin' sheep with me dawg :)

here are some pix of the weekend.

day one: possum goes crazy and kylie has to 'get after her':

everyone watches kylie get after her:

thats chance and chloe the dogs, with georgina and will on the ground, john, robert (mr-instructor-australian-champion-we're-not-worthy), nathan and michelle on the fence and pete with matty. i suspect they are very busy dissecting what im doing wrong. thanks guys.

day two: things are a little calmer and possum and kylie discuss tactics for dealing with this mob.

in the background are the other people working with jenny in the ring - possum and i have progressed to the paddock where everything you dont know is amplified six hundred percent.

here is possum contemplating her sheep:

and here is possum going toe to toe.

i wonder if this is the sheep who took off later and bashed into me with his devilish cloven hoof. i have a huge bruise over my ribs. possum also ripped open her shoulder while scrambling out of the water trough which she insists on jumping in for a drink even tho its too deep for her and she just about drowns. so we are the walking wounded, but very pleased. even tho things didnt run as smooth as they did last time at michelago, it was good because i managed to work through her craziness and get her to work real nice and soft for me on sunday. im getting more confident and learning to watch the sheep more, and we're still aiming for a trialling debut in march, so alls good.

had a bbq at jo-the-vets place sat night and watched michelle drink too many jim beams and do some bootscooting and tell us how when she was born she fell head first in the toilet. explains a lot. but we love her really.

great fun. exhausting. i do have some knitting to report on but will save that for tomorrow.

k xx

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

water falling from the sky

i think they call it rain. this is what it looks like over the backyard:

i also tried to get a slowmo of the icey stuff that fell out of the sky earlier.

suffice it to say its been raining on and off for a few days and its lovely but still nowhere near enough. i love the fact that its november and today its as cold as winter - snow at thredbo and the winds coming straight from there. brrrr. we have turned the gas off so i had to drag the oil heater out of the garage.

meanwhile i am staying warm by ploughing through this pile of articles i have to read and make notes on for some research assistant work im doing:

thankfully its all to do with gramsci (italian communist) who i am using in my thesis so its worthwhile reading. princess possum is keeping warm on the lounge behind me. her inner-devil-dog is revealed!

should a dog who will need to work for me this weekend really be lounging around inside? my instructor would have a cardiac event if he saw this. yes i am off herding again this weekend so no SnB again, and probly not another free weekend the rest of the year. god i cant believe its gone so fast.

speaking of wool, i am still working on finding a lace pattern i like, this is the current attempt "falling leaves" from the debbie bliss book.

i think i need to do it on smaller needles but i want to make a rug and im not doing a rug on 3mm needles. anyone got any suggestions for a lace that will look ok worked bigger?

fingers crossed for more water from the sky.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

bloomin' marvellous

firstly apologies for the lengthy silence. had a very busy week last week with a chapter deadline which i technically-speaking met, i just need to tidy up the conclusion today. and then a two day trip to wollongong for a workshop and meetings. i was so absent minded after that that i forgot that i had made arrangements to go to taphs and pick up an old spinning wheel she doesnt want and is giving to me for free. a free wheel and i forget all about it. not a good sign. let alone the rudeness of just not showing up at the agreed time. now that i am closer to 40 than to 35, i can not seem to remember anything if its not written down. my sincerest apologies to taph, grovel grovel grovel.

anyway here are some pix of the amazing rose garden after the little rain shower we had this morning:

and some pretty close ups - firstly the big pink nice smelly one:

and the rare orange one that doesnt flower a lot:

and the prettiest one:

whatever was bothering the roses before when they firt started has mostly passed, perhaps it was too hot, or maybe they just needed a bit of water from the smidge of rain we've had lately.

and here is the wild vegie garden with overgrown rocket and coriander:

the lettuces are doing great, the tomato plants are growing well but the leaves are quite dark and brittle so maybe they are missing some nutrient or too much water?

meanwhile i finished my lace practice square. i like the effect of it, but you cant see it clearly in this pic:

this is the chocolate wool that margie gave me and it is just too coarse to actually wear as a garment. i dont think it holds the lace pattern well either, looks too bulky. i might try a simpler lace and make a big lap rug out of it or something for those cold days at herding.

speaking of which, we are off to sydney to do more of that next weekend, and i just found out that my instructor robert yesterday won the australian yard dog championship down in victoria, so im lucky to be learning from the best!

hope all are well. and that, as they say, is your bloomin' lot.

k :)

Friday, November 03, 2006

i think its called knitting

it was a dark and stormy night when margie (who will be sorely missed)walked into starbucks dragging a large garbage bag. anyone want some yarn she asks innocently, as if she doesnt know whats about to happen. kylie is sitting there minding her own business flicking through taphs collections of b/g knit patterns, thinking about what she might knit for herself one day if the urge ever takes her again. she hasnt even bought the socks-shes-not-working-on, because she has no intention of working on them. she has bought things for the swaps, red loopy for taph, hand dyed angora for spider (kylie liked the idea of the angora which she bought from the nundle wool mill, but when she tries to knit it little wafts of white and pink hair float up her nose and make her sneeze).

she doesnt think she wants any of this yarn that margies giving away but someone says something about 10 balls of chocolate coloured wool, right about at the same time that shes holding a pattern for a lace cardigan, and its free, and then its in her hands, and in her basket, and well what are you supposed to do?

no one knows what sort of wool it is or what ply even so taph, evil woman, says, again innocently, why dont you knit a tension square. kylie never does these, so the thought hadnt occurred to her, and no sooner does she say oh thats a good idea, than taph has handed her back a pair of garish green plastic needles she had donated for swaps and a tension square of something that feels like handspun chocolate coloured wool is being knit.

meanwhile kylie got attacked by a lamb. naughty lulu. lucky possum wasnt around.

today at home there has been a blackout and i (that is, kylie) could do no washing or vacuuming or writing, so was forced to pick up said tension square, unravel it and start trying to work out how to knit lace. i have a debbie bliss book that has lace patterns, found a nice one that is a 6 row repeat and not too hard, so have tried that a couple of times. i foresee the usual problems with this, my inability to read a pattern correctly (hence knitting row 5 instead of row 3) and my inability to keep track of what row im on (hence knitting row 6 twice).

but its been fun, this thing called knitting. (i have no photos of it to prove it because my camera has run out of batteries). next week i promise.

now the power's back on and i must go do housework.

k :)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

todays harvest

just thought you might like to see all the roses i picked this morning. sorry pix are a bit blurry:

close up:

they smell noice
k :)

lunch ladies

went to wollongong yesterday and met up with 'the ladies' (you have to pronounce that like 'the ladies' from little britain!) for post-birthday celebratory lunch - it was also karens birthday last friday and rochelles tomorrow so it was a multiple celebration. we went to diggies down at north beach - this was the view from our table:

here are 'the ladies' - me (wearing lovely hand made beads from darwin which were a bday present from deb), deb herself, karen, genevieve, annie, rochelle and erin. claire was there too but she had to leave early so missed the photo op:

this is deborah, karen and genevieve:

this is annie, rochelle and erin:

this is me with lovely little olive maisie rose, genevieve and annie's brand new daughter. awww cute .... apparently she had had only one boob for lunch (im quoting annie there) so she was chewing on my finger and was grumpy till she got the other boob. well you would be wouldnt you?

we had cake made just for us, a chocolate flourless cake. it was awesome and was quickly demolished:

it was lovely to see everyone, to be by the beach, to eat swordfish and chocolate cake for lunch.

now i must finish another chapter.

k :)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

stuff with sheep

there was a yard dog trial out at binalong yesterday, we went to have a look.

brad from bobbora station (where we do some of our training) was judging and 'young rob' (to differentiate him from 'old' robert, our herding instructor) was competing - here they are both in the ring:

just to prove there were actually sheep in the ring as well here is another one of rob, i think his dog was still in the race:

here are some pix of other competitors whose names i dont know:

this is the trialling i hope to be doing with possum in the new year, so it was good to watch other people. no one really had an easy time of it, the courses were complicated i thought, in and out of pens and races, lots of gates to open and close.

it was a fundraising day for the binalong swimming pool, they also had a shearing competition:

and there was a dog high jump we were going to enter possum into but it was getting late and trent was tired and i was getting sunburnt.

so we came home.

only three more weeks till i get to go herding again myself. *sigh*


ps we both managed to stay awake for the big night out on friday, dinner at pangaea was really very good, we had three selections from the 'first flavours' menu - peking duck pancakes, tempura prawns and cajun chickn wings and for mains i had the moreton bay bug and chili linguine and trent had a very nice piece of steak - we were going to do the dessert thing cos they had profiteroles but we were full so we opted for choc tops at the movies instead. 'the departed' was really very good, although i think marty got sidetracked with the action part at the end and should have stayed with the character development slower moving first half. fun though.

Friday, October 27, 2006

birthday girl

yes thats me. i woke up this morning to a sloppy dog kisses, a lovely cup of coffee and this beautiful present - my van gogh posters from amsterdam properly mounted:

this is 'butterflies and poppies' painted in 1890 just after he had got out of the asylum and moved to auvers-sur-oise - painted maybe less than 2 months before he died. in reality it has much crisper colours, the light in this room is terrible and i have propped the painting up against the wall because im not supposed to hang anything. (we'll see about that). i love this one for the detail and the lightness of it, some parts of the canvas dont even have paint on them.

and this one:

this is 'wheatfield with crows' probably my favourite painting ever. it was the second last painting he ever did, probably only a week or so before he killed himself, and is presented in the museum as his masterpiece - again the colours in the real thing are brilliant. i love the path in the middle going nowhere but also maybe towards the sun, and the brilliant yellow fields with ominous skies and crows, loneliness and hope all at once. seeing all of these paintings in the one place was really overwhelming and the museum was so well put together, you get a real sense of his whole life journey, his always searching for something, how lost he was most of the time and how unappreciated he was in his life, which seems amazing now!

anyway it is lovely to have them out of their groovy little blue box:

and to be able to look at them all the time. i was too busy in amsterdam wandering around and writing postcards to write down my real impressions of the place and i have been thinking of doing that in retrospect before i forget what it was like. its nice to remember it today tho.

also today i have been swimming which was fun but now i have water in my ear, did the grocery shopping and am supposed to do some housework before going out for dinner and then going to see 'the departed', although i am now tired from swimming (and my inner princess objects to housework on a birthday). trent woke up at 2am this morning for some reason so hopefully we can both stay awake! its terrible getting old.

hope you are all having good ones