An Aussie Visitor

On Easter Monday there was a kitty commotion. Grumpy is our door guard, and sometimes she behaves like there is a cat outside and there *is* and other times she behaves that way and I can see nothing at all. But this time, there was quite a sight to be seen! And she was freaking out. I looked out the window and dropped everything I was doing, ran out the back and told The Other Half to put down the hose and follow me.

I’d read on Facebook that a property nearby had a resident Echidna and it had dropped in to visit.

It climbed up on the windowsill to stare at Grumpy, and you can see Grumpy was Not Amused, or perhaps just not sure what the heck this was. But it did not just want to visit us in the front yard, and promptly went and dug under the fence. Seeing what was likely to happen, we had already locked the chooks up. The minute this thing climbed under the fence, the girls went crazy, side eye-ing, bagerking and clucking up a storm.

It was starting to get dark, so something had to be done. Lucky we have a country farm boy living here, and lucky he is a welder and had some serious gloves handy. You do not want to handle one of these creatures without major protection.

The first thing they do is try to dig themselves in. They are very determined creatures, but so is The Other Half.

This lovely creature was relocated back to the property it lives on. :)

Aussie Culture, country life

Public Holiday Friday


Australia has many public holidays throughout the year but the most hotly disputed of them all is “Australia Day“. For many years it was a celebration of Australia but then some people realised they were celebrating what some native Australians call “invasion day”. And now there is a big discussion about changing the date.


Of course there is opposition to changing the date. All these arguments will go on forever, and probably nothing will ever change. That tends to be how things roll in Australia. There is still discussion about becoming a republic which we had a vote about in 1999, that is nearly 20 years ago now!

For the most part it feels to me like Australia Day has become a day when “Aussie Pride” Australians drink far too much and make a mess of the place. Or they drive around in their Made in Korea vehicles with Made in China Australian flags flying from the windows – many of which end up littering our beautiful country.

Me personally I feel that I no longer wish to celebrate this day with other people. Even worse in a tourism area, the place will be packed. Beaches, walks and running will sadly not be on the agenda today. So we will Delicate Nirvana quietly at home instead.

If you do celebrate Australia Day, I wish you a happy one. :) If you do not, I wish you a happy public holiday. If you are not in Australia at all, happy Friday to you! ;)

Aussie Culture

Only In Australia


Seen today at Bunnings, which is a local hardware store.

Due to our lack of rain, recently the local kangaroos have been heading into the more populated areas in order to eat peoples lawns. :) I wonder how they would react to these “twinkle” kangaroos if they met them on a lawn somewhere? Would they recognise it as another kangaroo?

Aussie Culture

Sunday Selections Week 34


Today I will like to share with you our lovely new vast vista of concrete. It will probably look a bit boring to you. I have to tell you, it is most definitely NOT boring to us. This has greatly improved our life. The area we got concreted was formerly gravel and potholes and one heck of a mess in wet weather.


The concrete was done in 3 separate pours because there is a large rectangular area with a side triangle out the back which needed quite a bit of shaping and a drain put in. In the above photo you can see the triangle, and you can see the area which has some of our old gravel there. I am thinking this might be a great area for a cactus garden – inspired by River.


This is the drain side and you can see my Polo is happily chilling out in her new and much improved home.


There were also two pours for the driveway itself – one for the back half, and one for the front half. This photo shows where the first pour and second pour meet, taken from the laundry door facing the back of the property.

The laundry was a room where gravel regularly got tracked in. This meant doing the laundry 99% of the time you would step on a piece of gravel. I can tell you that stepping on one piece of gravel as a surprise to yourself is akin to stepping on a lego with bare feet, which I am sure has been declared a form of torture by multiple governments *and* is almost certainly used in some cultures as a replacement ritual for the ritual of stepping on hot coals..


This view is taken from the laundry door and shows where the second and third pour meet. Our gates had to have some work done as one of the concrete trucks got bogged out there and ended up hitting the fence, sending everything out of square and the gates no longer met in the middle.

The laundry which opens onto this area is the entrance to the house which we use the most. This is the best place to bring in groceries without worrying about a cat escaping, plus, you can pull the car boot (trunk for our US friends) right up next to the door.


Here you can see the concrete sealer shining in the sun. The driveway sparkles like a *Twilight vampire! YAY!


This final shot shows where the new concrete and the old driveway at the front of the house meet. The old driveway is white concrete with one of those colour spray ons over the top. For the new driveway, the concretor suggested adding some grey colour into the concrete itself to match the spray on – it would last a lot longer and work better for everyone. I think it turned out much better than the original driveway.

Every day this week I have gone out to open the gate for the other half when it is his home time, and every single day, I have found myself trying to step *up* to the old concrete because I am so used to stepping up right there. When I go out the laundry door, I find myself hitting the concrete much earlier than my body expects the ground to be there. It is a massive change and it is taking some getting used to.

Would you like to join in? The rules are very simple:-
1. post photos of your choice, old or new, under the Sunday Selections title
2. link back to River at Drifting Through Life, somewhere in your post
3. leave River a comment so that she knows you’ve joined in and can come over and see what you’ve posted.

* No Twilight vampires were harmed in the making of our concrete driveway. :)

Weekly Wrap Up –

This week I was quite determined to stay at home and go absolutely nowhere, after two weeks of “Toodling” and “Gallivanting” with holidays and my Aunt and Uncle visiting. Don’t get me wrong, I loved having them visit – it is just lovely to sit still in one place after so much travelling about.

Last Sunday we did the fortnightly shop, and I settled back in at home intending to write quite a few posts for the blog(s) and chill out with the kitties, some colouring in, NYPD Blue, a little Lumosity game I have become quite addicted to, and catching up on my reading.

The LCN Jig, It May Be Up.

I spotted this in my feedjit earlier today –


I guess we’ll have to wait and see if they keep using the same name. That particular post continues to get a lot of views and comments here on the blog

Did you miss a post this week?

Monday – I told you about my holidays.

Wednesday – Sipowicz Says #1 – quotes from NYPD Blue will be a monthly feature here on the blog for the foreseeable future.

Thursday – I mentioned that 7 would be airing the first episode of Mr Robot. You might want to circle back and read my angry comments that I left on Friday while waiting for the show to actually air, for your own amusement. :) Can you guess how many minutes it was delayed by? Did you catch the show? If yes, leave a comment over there, I would love to know what you thought of it.

Friday – we revisited the Six Feet Under finale.

Over to you –

Did you get up to anything interesting this past week? :)

Aussie Culture, Happy Snoskred, Home

My Chinese Aunt


You may recall my post about My Uncle from a little while back. Now, here is the story of how I got a Chinese Aunt as a surprise to myself.

First of all, there was a relationship misfire. My uncle brought out a lady from China and moved her in with my long suffering Aunt and Uncle, with whom he had ended up living before he left for China. They stayed for 3 months and it was quite the nightmare. She clearly could not handle many of his OCD tics, nor could she tolerate the amount he was drinking which at the time was quite a lot..

The fact that he was quite determined to learn zero Chinese, the fact that he dumbed down his English to things like “I no like” or “It is the Up Money”, the fact that he had little money and he wanted to hang onto as much of it as he could, even to the point of denying this poor woman a bag of peanuts while he bought a bottle of scotch a day and as much red wine as he felt like.. plus the fact that he made this woman do everything for him including emptying his ashtrays.. I am assuming none of this was awesome in her book.

So they went back to China, where she unceremoniously dumped him, and he went looking for a new wife to be. After a while he did find a lady and they moved in together, and thus began his three years of living in a country where he did not speak the language at all, and he resented the fact that she spoke Chinese with her family, plus he was irritated that he couldn’t read any of the menus at restaurants, nor did he like any of the food.

After three years they decided to return to Australia, even though it meant she had to leave her excellent long term Chinese job, plus now she was in a country where she did not speak the language. She does get English lessons with her visa but he is the one who has to organise it and he has not managed it thus far, even though I have given him all the information to do so. She could not easily get a job doing what she used to do, so now she works too many days a week at a local Chinese massage place.

My Chinese Aunt is fantastic and we all love her, even though some of us do have a concern that she’ll be out the door once she gets her permanent residency – and I would not blame her if she was, to be honest. She has a daughter to a previous husband and there is already talk of her daughter and her daughters husband coming out here to live. chtoes

My Chinese Cousins toes in the gorgeous white sand.

So I also have a Chinese cousin. They visited here a little while back and we took them touring about a bit, they loved it. Even though I do not speak Chinese and the daughter has only a little bit of English, we communicated very well. I took them for a day at the beach and it was amazingly gorgeous there – the water was crystal clear, the sun was shining, even *I* went in for a swim.

I’ve told my Uncle to his face that I would find it difficult to tolerate him, and I’ve told him he needs to seek some help for his depression and OCD which just a few months ago had his wife in tears during a family visit and writing “depression” and “anxiety” in Chinese on her phone and translating it to English for us.

I fear if he does not deal with his issues, she’ll be gone faster than he can blink – just as the previous ladies were. We’re not talking a little OCD, we’re talking things like turning a computer on and off for an hour, or checking many times that his cigarette has been extinguished.

I do believe that the spousal visa system needs tightening up. Just my opinion. There are way too many people from other countries married to our older Australians whose marriages last *exactly* the amount of time it takes to get permanent residency here and not a day more.

I think the easiest way to fix this would be for permanent residency to take a much longer time than it presently does, which is 2 years at the moment, or a requirement that if the partner leaves before a certain amount of time – 10 years, I think would be fair – their permanent residency is revoked as well.

Aussie Culture, family

Phone Addiction


I made a comment on Ask A Manager a while back.. Part of my comment said –

My thought is – pick up the phone and call to schedule interviews….If you suffer from call reluctance or lost your tongue to a cat, at the very least, TEXT these people.

I had ticked subscribe to comments when I posted so I knew I would receive any replies.. I certainly did not expect very many.. And I went to bed because it was bedtime.

The next morning, I was somewhat shocked to receive a large number of replies and the majority of people were saying they would never text someone to schedule an interview. As the conversation went on, I became aware of a large gap between how Australia does things and how America does things which was deeply surprising to me.

I think I have managed to identify some of the reasons for this gap thanks to the discussion.

Firstly, you can easily tell in Australia if someone gives you a mobile number. The prefix will always be 04XX. In the US, they cannot tell – mobile and cell numbers look identical.

Secondly, it appears that some US plans charge people to receive SMS – I get free unlimited text with my phone plan and I have never heard of anyone being charged to *receive* an SMS here, though I know people sometimes get charged higher SMS fees for sending them to competitions.

Thirdly, it seems from the replies I received that not everyone in the US has a smart phone and many people are still using older style phones. Here in Australia out of all the people I know, maybe two of them have older non smart-phones. It is easy to update your phone here without having to pay any up front fees, you just go on a contract for 12 or 24 months.

Fourthly, some employers in Australia are using SMS to communicate with their employees. There is a system called MessageNet which allows employers to easily set up rostering, sms groups and reminders.

This concept seems complicated so I will give you an actual example – let us say the local Mcdonalds wants to let all their employees know when a shift becomes available. In the old days, a staff member would have to call every staff member and let them know, and ask them if they wanted to work the shift. They would have to leave voicemails if someone did not answer. If you have 60+ casual staff members, calling all of them can be time consuming.

With MessageNet, you can easily and quickly send one SMS to all your staff, saying “Shift available 12/4/15 from 4pm to 10pm call X number to claim this shift” – and within minutes of sending that SMS, it is likely a staff member will call in and claim it. The other possible business uses for SMS are enormous and potentially save time, money, and hassle.

And finally, SMS confirmation has become a big thing in Australia. It started out mostly with banks and online transactions sending confirmation codes to your mobile, but it has not ended there.

I now get many appointment confirmations via SMS. My hairdresser, my doctor, my psychologist, my employment agency.. all of them will send me an SMS on the day before my appointment. I have to reply with Yes to confirm my appointment. This is actually brilliant and something I encourage greatly. I am certain this has cut down hugely on missed appointments and helps businesses to reschedule when someone has to cancel.

I track my prescription medications via a phone app that my pharmacy uses. I find most pharmacies now have one of these apps. Not only does it alert me when I have 7 days left of medicine, but within the app, you can set up a daily reminder to take it.

These days, I even order our pizza via a phone app. Our local wood fired place has an app of their very own, and it is brilliant. I can even order salad at a local healthy food place via an app.

I Am Not A Slave To My Phone –

But even with all these awesome apps and sms notifications, I am *determined* not to be constantly tied to my smart phone. How does one manage this? I try to keep some degrees of separation. Here’s how I roll –

– I don’t use my phone in the car when I am driving. EVER. It only takes a few seconds and you’re dead or you’ve killed someone else. If you do use your phone in the car, please, I am begging you, STOP doing that.

– I don’t have apps like Facebook or Twitter or Instagram installed. I did have Facebook once but I uninstalled it when they updated their messenger app so it would put peoples profile photos on my phone desktop, which was downright spooky and a bridge too far for me.

– I don’t have a lot of games installed on my Samsung Galaxy. I still have my iPhone and that contains my phone games – but that phone does not have a sim card. I find it useful to have degrees of separation between games and phone – this is very awesome for me.

– My phone does not go to my bedroom. It has a home and a charging station next to my recliner. This gives me sleep time free from buzzing and phone noise. It also means when I wake up, I get me time instead of phone time.

– I have a block on my phone between 10:30pm and 8am which turns all noise on my phone to silent without vibration, so there is no way I can hear any phone noises or buzzing from the bedroom.

– I have a camera ability on my phone, but I also have a cute little Panasonic Lumix which I use for photography, so I can keep photography and my phone separated when I want to.

– I deliberately do not have every email account I use hooked up to my phone. I select which email accounts I want to be able to reach me if I am out and about and I can turn them on and off easily.

– The Other Half and I use an app called Kakao Talk to communicate with each other for free. There are other apps you can use for this, too. The major benefit for me is this – messages from him have a very specific tone alert so I know when he is messaging me.

Toxic Relationships

It does worry me that some phone-using people – in particular younger generations of people – seem to be heading down a potentially not great path into a toxic relationship with their smartphone and in some cases their tablet. I’ve been to restaurants where people are sitting there doing stuff on their phones instead of being in the moment with each other. I’ve been to movies where people cannot resist the pull of the phone.

Nev Schulman from Catfish wrote an article on this subject – The Reasons Why Your Cell Phone Is Slowly Killing You. Of most concern to me is the new generation of hunchbacks we are creating.

I also saw this article –Trying to Live in the Moment (and Not on the Phone) – after reading it, I decided to install the app Checky. It turns out that I check my phone on average 15-20 times a day. At least 2-5 of those will be replying to messages from The Other Half. One of those will be turning off my medication alarm.

Live In The Moment

I was already thinking about living in the moment for a few different reasons –

– seeing so many photos of the 747-400 coming in to land at Illawarra Airport where almost everyone there has a phone they are holding up, taking either still images or video.

– seeing people at various events using their phones to capture moments which they would never bother to get an actual camera out for.

– seeing people using phones in social situations like restaurants and cinemas.

How do you handle your smart-phone usage?

Aussie Culture, internet, life lessons, things to remember, Worried Snoskred

NSW Election Day


If you are in New South Wales, the polls have just opened. :)

I’ll be working in a polling booth again today. My apologies for not being around so much this week, I’ve been working on the training and getting organised.

It is a super long day and it’ll take me a couple of days to recover from it, so I won’t be around too much, at least not until Tuesday or so.. :) Have an awesome weekend everyone!

Aussie Culture, elections, politics