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