30 January 2007

Back to work

I started back at work today. It was great to see my friends and there are no students until Thursday so it was a gentle start. I feel so tired though. I feel positive about 2007 and am looking forward to the teaching I have. This year it will be mainly year nine students and one year 7 class. It should be quite interesting. I am teaching a couple of new subjects, which is always a good challenge. I am mentoring a first year teacher and I am quite pleased about that. All in all a pleasing first day.

28 January 2007


We stayed in Wollongong for a week. Our accommodation was basic but central. We stayed at Keiraview Accommodation. It is university accommodation and it was clean and the people were really very helpful. It was really noisy at night,I am not accustomed to being inner city any more.
Wollongong is a large city with a beautiful beach basically. I loved the rock pools and the beach. The shopping centre was as all shopping centres are, only useful if you want to purchase something. My favourite shop was called "Something for Doris", such a cool name and a nice lady. I didn't purchase anything there, but enjoyed my browse.
The art gallery was good, but I was looking specifically for my cousin's artwork, I had hoped his collection would be on show, but it wasn't, so I was a little disappointed in that. There were some really cool rooms inside that building. There was a great supermarket across the road from the place we stayed and I bought lotus moon cakes and ate them for breakfast. I liked them.

Rock Profile
Balcony at Keiraview

26 January 2007

Wollongong Trip - Cooma to Nowra

We left Cooma quite late and had to shop for socks at Rivers as Andy hadn't packed enough! We drove to Braidwood for a late lunch in the park and had a stroll down the historic streets there. They had a great display on the local National Parks and Architectural features of the town, which had buildings from many eras.
We headed through Morton National Park on our way to Nowra. It was like driving in the clouds and we stopped and checked out a beautiful waterfall in the late afternoon.

We camped on the river at Nowra and read and had an early night. I was woken a couple of times by young people celebrating New Years Eve, and the next day I waited for the decent hour of morning to arrive before phoning my kids to ensure they had survived the revelry.

25 January 2007

Wollongong Trip - Mt Kosciusko

We spent our next day at Kosciusko National Park. Andy wanted to do the walk to Mt Kosciusko, which was a 20km round trip.We were departing from Charlotte's Pass.

I opted for the walk to the glacial lake, which was 8km return. I think I stopped about a km short. It was really steep and being as unfit as I am I kept looking back at the steep downward slope I had come down at the start and knowing that was going to be at the end, wore me down mentally. Andrew’s walk was a round trip so he had to come up that climb at the end and admitted it was the steepest part of the walk.

As we headed back to Jindabyne to go through on our way to Cooma, a hail storm struck. It was amazing that only a few days ago we had been worried about bushfires. I believe the bushfires eventually got to Kosciusko National Park earlier this month.

We stayed in a motel at Cooma as we were tired and the thought of camping didn’t appeal.

Driving to Charlotte's Pass from Jindabyne clips are here and here

Lookout 1, 2 and 3

Walk clips 1 and 2

Leaving the National Park

The Hail Stones

24 January 2007

McNaughts Comet

Last night we saw the comet in the sky and it was a thrill. My son was away from home so I phoned him and via our mobile phones heard the joy in his voice when he spotted it as he and his friends had also rushed outside and searched the skies. It was great.
I remember when the kids were little I would wake them in the early hours of the morning to go outside and look for this or that heavenly body passing in the night skies. It was fun. I adore seeing a shooting star.
This picture on flickr (which I have not participated in at all, but must one day!)captures what we saw brilliantly. There are a pile of pictures on flickr here. Some of them are quite amazing and wonderful.
I got out my binoculars Andy gave me for Christmas last year, they are great and had a good look at it. It was fun. It was a wow moment.
Jonathon Cainer discusses the astrological significance of the comet in his 2007 The Year Ahead Article among other things.

23 January 2007

Wollongong Trip - Omeo to Jindabyne

At Bairnsdale we found there was no accommodation as the DNRE (Department of Natural Resources & Environment) and the CFA (Country Fire Authority) were in town en masse. We moved on towards Bruthen and finding nothing there either, headed for Omeo. The road was splendid in the afternoon sun and I enjoyed the drive in that open golden light. Gentle, rolling, hills, clear, smokeless sky and bitumen underneath was a respite from concern for me.

Omeo is a beautiful town. I found it quite a surprise. Nestled in these smooth, brown hills with clean distinctive buildings, we found a unique and effective accommodation for the night and enjoyed our brief time there.
Does anyone know what this amazing plant is?
There were lovely plants and I got up early and had breakfast in the local bakery surrounded by CFA brave souls who had also filled that town to protect from the surrounding fires. I read that Omeo had been severely affected by fires in 2003. There were posters on the wall describing the effects of a great firestorm that had ravished the area and then the flooding rains that followed had created harmful environmental consequences as unprotected topsoil had washed into the water supply.
From Omeo we headed towards Jindabyne on an amazing road that passed along the Snowy River. The road that passes through Suggan Buggan is one that has to be experienced to be believed. It is a slender dirt road that winds along a cliff that looks out onto vast treed ranges. There is no room for error on those roads. We stopped at one point to take photos after a few kms, and a weary driver stopped to warn that it seemed to go on forever, he looked tired and concerned and wanted to know how much further he had to go on this road. He had traveled from Queensland and was heading towards Tasmania. I had already began to feel queasy from the height and his stress made a deposit in my mind! Andy remained his usual calm self and loves the challenge and adventure of roads like that.
Entering Jindabyne was majestic. The lake is vast and it is surrounded by mountains. It is quite a big place really although much of the commercial nature was subdued as it was summer and it is the snow that draws the crowds in places like that. We attempted to get a spot at the caravan park, yet it was booked out. We searched for landmarks from the film we had recently seen, ‘Jindabyne’(which I loved and will possibly write about later). We stayed at a ski lodge and it began raining and we were glad we weren’t in the tent.
Road to Omeo
A glimpse of Omeo
The Lookout

Interesting Dirt Road just out of Omeo

Suggan Buggan Road (beginning)

Trip to Wollongong #1

We took almost a week to arrive in Wollongong on the 1st of this year. We experienced a range of weather. We left the smoky Latrobe Valley on December 27th, although we had intended leaving on Boxing Day, we were delayed by a day. Heading towards the hills, literally, we passed through Seaton on our path towards the ranges. Many of our planned routes were closed due to the bushfires that were burning and we saw lots of smoke and burnt out areas.
Our first night was spent at a delightful creek where we had our first swim. It felt invigorating to wash off the dusty, smoky aura that had surrounded me. The chill of the river water had me breathing deeply.
We camped here for the night. I must admit I felt nervous as I could hear in the distance trees falling in the bush. I heard 3 or 4 and that was enough for me. At some point during the night gentle rain fell on the tent and this soothed my fears enabling me to sleep deeply.
The next day we headed back on the dirty, churned up 4WD track heading across a river crossing first then up a hill. The road had been graded, probably due to the fires and we had some difficulty with it. We headed towards our planned route towards Mt Angus, hoping to make the Moroka River that night. The road became totally impassable with huge trees blocking the road entirely. We found another path, and from there we headed to Bairnsdale with the intention of staying in a motel and revisiting the route from there. We were tired. It had been challenging. My challenge was fear. I was apprehensive about the fires and the roads and the heights, Andy had to do all the decision making and concentration on driving. The road was the worst we had traveled on and the car, hit rocks underneath on two occasions, once causing damage that he had to repair. I am pretty blessed to have such a competent companion.
The video links below are of the creek we camped by and the roads and countryside we travelled through on that first day.

Rough Road
Burnt Bush

21 January 2007

Law of Attraction Stories

This photo of a beautiful beach at sunset in Austinmer was taken at the end of a wonderful day I had during the week we spent at Wollongong. Lots of magical things had happened and I felt really happy, grateful and peaceful.
Peak Performance has a good story to support your thinking around the laws of attraction. Don't we all need as many triggers to think like this as possible?
Steve Pavlina discusses Gratitude and states

"When you feel grateful for existence itself, you move from doing grateful to being grateful. At this level you finally activate the Law of Attraction because you’re broadcasting gratitude all the time. It becomes part of your identity. Ultimately you attract circumstances that resonate with who you are."

I looked up my wish list today on Froogle and found that I had actually received everything that was on my list. I was quite astounded and as I looked back over it I reflected that I had a range of things; from things I knew I would probably get, to things that seemed quite impossible at the time. I also noted that the 'things' had come to me in all different ways and it would have been unlikely for me to predict how they would come, at the time. The point is that I decided I wanted them, I made the list then forgot about it and it happened. I've made a new list needless to say. I want to apply that elsewhere!

20 January 2007


Last night I watched this movie,Chumscrubbers. My son recommended it to me and said it was like Donnie Darko as he knew I'd really enjoyed that. He finds great movies!
Andy and I found this movie quite disturbing, because we can see the reality in it. It was scary to watch and scary because you can recognise so much of our existance in it. I was just saying to my friend the other day how I really don't know what my kids life is like, but I just have to trust them. I really try to stay in good communication with them but I know there are times I don't succeed. I don't think I am as extreme as the parents in the movie, but I am confident that some of us are some of the time. If you are a parent, you should watch this.
It also speaks to me of the drug culture in our society. I really find the ADHD drugging of children disturbing. I am not an expert and I probably don't have any qualification to say that, but I just feel it's not right. It reminds me of that other great film 'Thumbsuckers', it had one of the same actors in it as well as a host of other great names.
I found this little clip on MSN that discusses the parent angle in this film, you might like to watch that too.
On a lighter note, this blogger found this to comment on, which is another aspect of the film that was lighter and more enjoyable.

Summer Viewing

I haven't watched many films this summer, whilst we were away we mainly watched our new 'Battlestar Gallactica' DVDs that Andy got for Christmas. Season one was great and I am now looking out for season two. When they were on TV, we didn't always catch them because they were on late, so having the DVDs has been a great way to see them, no ads!
I really enjoyed the ABC show 'How the Hell Did We Get Here?'The Baby Boomers Guide to the Movies'. It was a top 20 of Australian Films and I had seen most of them and truly enjoyed the show. It reminded me how much I love Australian film, even the older films that were mainly included in this list!
We went to the cinema at Woolongong to see 'Casino Royale'. I wasn't keen, because I'm not traditionally a big James Bond fan, but I did enjoy this film. My favourite James Bond was always Sean Connery but this new guy gives him a bit of a nudge. The cinema was looking a bit sad though. It felt dirty and dusty, so lucky it was a good film, or I possibly couldn't have sat through it.
I saw 'Children of the Revolution' on pay TV at the motel we stayed at in Kiama. It was Aussie and quite funny. It's an Australian movie from 1997 and had Rachel Griffiths in it,among others.
I was delighted to see another Australian movie on the guide 'Dalkeith'. It was based on a story from the Traralgon old peoples home by the same name and I had always wanted to see it. I was seriously dissappointed though and couldn't watch it all. Too stereotypical, although the reviewer I have linked to was more positive.
At Ulla Dulla I watched the new TV series 'Men in Trees' and loved it. Andy dislikes the main character, but I'm sure he will tolerate it for me! I am going to watch this series, I can tell. It reminds me of my old favourite 'Northern Exposure'.
PS. Tomorrow, when hopefully I have uploaded the clips I want to include, I will share some tales from my trip.

19 January 2007

Holiday Reading

I was limited to taking 2 books away for my holidays. Andy works hard to keep what we take away to a minimum, which is good common sense, but a challenge for me when I read so much. I took Isabel Allende's Ines of My Soul and totally enjoyed it. It was kind of violent though in parts. I enjoyed the character Ines though and as always enjoyed the way Allende writes.
The second book I took, one that I had already started was 'The Tesla Legacy' by Robert G Barrett. I have always been interested in Tesla, since I read about him years ago in Linda Goodman's book 'Star Signs'. I am looking forward to seeing the movie 'The Prestige', David Bowie, whom I am a fan of, is playing Tesla in this film. It looks like a great film anyway and I love fantasy. Hugh Jackman is another of my favourite actors, he's an Aussie too!
Anyway getting back to the book,it was a light and easy read with lovable characters and some interesting ideas. Andy read it also and agreed it was a bit childish in parts but still enjoyable.
I finished these books in Woolongong, so set out to find some second-hand bookshops on the way home to fulfil my need to read. My first find was 'Maestro' by Peter Goldsworthy in a fabulous second-hand bookshop in Kiama, where we stayed on the first night of the trip home. My son Tom has it on his booklist so I thought that would be a good buy. I loved it. I was quite surprised by it to be honest. I have read 'Keep It Simple Stupid' and thoroughly enjoyed that, yet found this to be a very different style. It deepened my love of Baci chocolates! I intend to read all his books this year.
Maestro was a short book, so my next find was 'The Moon and Sixpence' by W. Somerset Maugham in an op shop at Bateman's Bay. It was a very hot day and we had walked the streets in a frustrated search for a second-hand bookshop. Eventually we found the op shop and I couldn't see anything that interested me and Andy recommended this book as one he had loved. I thoroughly enjoyed it. In the beginning it was a shift in concentration because the language is less contemporary, but once into the story and characters, I couldn't tear myself away. It is a real journey. This book is freely available from Project Gutenburg here,as are a number of Maugham's other novels, which I will also read this year. In fact after this experience these holidays I think I will get some ebooks one of my memory sticks to take on holidays. The problem is when you are camping it's a challenge.
My final book purchase was from the shop in Mallacoota that has lots of second hand stuff and a range of books. I found a book there called 'Briar Rose' by Jane Yolen, which was another enjoyable read, but unfortunately I consumed it too quickly and was without a book for our last night at Orbost.

17 January 2007

Dry and Hot

Driving home yesterday was the first time since we'd left Gippsland, we were surrounded again by the smoke. It was hot and the countryside looks so dry. We didn't experience the extreme hot weather in NSW. It was pleasant to be away from the smoke and the heat. The neighbour who collected our mail for us said it's been hot and smoky during the weeks we've been away. I'm glad I've had a break from it.

Home Sweet Home

I am home. I love returning after a long holiday, especially when I've done a bit of camping, everything seems so comfortable and easy! I will write about my trip as I have handwritten daily since I have been away and have many little stories to tell.
I have returned home to my son having two broken hands and a black eye. He fell over and broke his hands outside a shop in town. Whilst he was away a cricket ball hit him in the eye. I am concerned about him.
I spent the afternoon transporting the stuff from the car to the house and have yet to do all the washing and proper unpacking. My family and friends called around to catch up so the afternoon was mostly pleasantly spent and now the work lies before me.
I have heaps of email and feeds to scan and mostly delete, because I feel I would never catch up. I have a pile of snail mail to work through. I read 5 books and saw a few movies whilst I was away so I'll also be mentioning them down the track. I will start today uploading some of the video I took on this trip, on to Revver.
We travelled through the hills to Woolongong and spent a week there and home via the coast. It was a great trip.

04 January 2007

Greetings from Woolongong

I am on holidays. I am quickly writing a post from Woolongong as I did last year from Broken Hill. I like this city. It has beautiful beaches and the weather has been great. The journey here was sensational. We went to lots of National Parks and saw beautiful countryside. I have lots of videos to share when I get home.
Happy New Year all.