Just about to go to class….

Here I am, off to Gothic Stories:Terror over Time.    See ya later!

image8 241x300 Just about to go to class....

Waiting for class

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Uni results, semester 1

Yesterday was results day, and while previously the uni has said results would be released at 4pm, sometimes they’ve been available earlier … nope, not yesterday.  The servers crashed at exactly 1600 as eleventy squillion students all tried to log on at once.  I got through at about 4:30 to find….


High Distinction.

After the misery of the early part of the semester, and the terrible days when I only managed 100 words of the 2nd essay (which was worth 40% of the entire mark) over the course of an entire day…  I am EXTREMELY PLEASED. And relieved.  I have managed to get through Introduction to English Literature (ENL1000).

And now I can move on with some confidence to the next English Literature course, which is at second year level (the only offering at first year level did not appeal, so I decided to take a chance at the 2000 one) Gothic Stories: Terror over Time.  We start with Dracula…

image6 e1405135802848 224x300 Uni results, semester 1

The gazanias seems to survive where other things don’t – hardy little plants!

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At last… the office!

image4 e1404974465678 224x300 At last... the office!


It’s been a VERY long time since we’ve been able to use this room. Depression, bad backs, depression, inertia … but this was the semester break that somehow made the difference.  The Horn sewing cabinet is folded up but the machine inside is still accessible should I want to sew (this has not been possible for the last (AHEM) years while the room has been out of commission) and while there is still some minor putting away of things needed, I have a DESK again. No more writing essays cramped on the day bed (ow my back) or in the arm chair (see previous); no, I’m back on my proper office chair, and once I get set up ergonomically again, my neck and shoulder pain should improve.

The  rug in the photo came from one of those places that overlocks offcut carpets from houses and is by far the nicest quality carpet I think I’ve ever had in a house.  Cost us $140 for 1.6 x 2.6 metres, looks grey in the photo, is sort of grey brown, and you know what? I don’t care one whit about the colour, it’s soft and warm underfoot, and will keep the cold winds from blowing through the floorboards.  Luxury! (None of the rest of our house has carpet, although there is a smaller rug under the sofa in the lounge room – the wind does tend to whistle through this house.  Or you could say we have good air exchange.)

Tomorrow is officially uni results day for semester one.   I know I’ve passed, I just want to know my final grade.

image5 e1404975986905 224x300 At last... the office!

  The bees love this spiky grevillea

I don’t know the variety of this grevillea but the tiny wrens and finches love darting in and out of its spiny leaves. The silvereyes (about half the size of a sparrow) almost hover like hummingbirds at the crimson flowers. at his plant was one  of the tube free ebies we got at the town nursery with our rates notice probably five years back, and it is obviously well suited to the area. So far we haven’t had much luck with growing it from cuttings though, but that’s more down to our novice skills than the hardiness of the plant, I suspect.

Another cold night coming.  I’m very glad of the thermal t shirts on nights like these!

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So it’s been a long time…

… between posts.

A whole semester, in fact. It felt like a very long semester at times, partly because I went through a patch of very bad depression near the start of it, and really struggled.  I was studying Introduction to English Literature, which sounds like it should be a doddle after three units of Creative Writing – but it really isn’t.

image2 290x300 So its been a long time...

Even being familiar with the first texts we studied (a couple of sci-fi short stories, then HG Wells’s The Time Machine) didn’t help, since the Black Dog had me so firmly in his maw that all I could do was moan and try to fend off his teeth and wipe the drool away.  It was Not Good.  A new prescription from the Very Helpful Psychiatrist did make a difference, but not before I had to ask for an extension for my first essay and bother a Good Friend in Canberra for help because I was Hopelessly Lost on how to tackle it.

Still, we got through.  And luckily, part of the course was little open book exams on the computer, six of them to eventually make up 30% of the course mark, rather than one big exam at the end of the semester. And I got the full 30% there.

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new fleecey circle on top of the ottoman = bliss

Wuthering Heights: I loved it!  With the surprising revelation that Heathcliff was very likely black (son of a slave, coming from Liverpool, there are references in the text and enough context from the Brontes to make it plausible…); Edgar Allen Poe (“The Purloined Letter”) I did NOT enjoy so much but ended up writing part of my second essay (worth 40%) on; the other part of the essay was on Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes story “The Dancing Men”.  Then we had a week on Shakespeare’s sonnets (only a week because our lectures and tutes were on Mondays are we got hit with a lot of public holidays and so missed classes).

I don’t know the full results yet, but I know I’ve passed well. Full results come out next Friday. O week for Semester 2 is on the 14th.  So for Semester 2 I’m tackling “Gothic Stories: Terror over Time”.  Wilkie Collins’s “The Woman in White”; Toni Morrison’s “Beloved”; Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”; Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining”, and selected episodes of season 1 of the TV show “True Blood” (more vampires, but sexy Southern American ones!)

I’ve started reading “The Woman in White” and it’s delightful in a high Victorian melodrama way – Italian Counts! asylums! hopeless loves and rescues! a (female) cousin with a moustache! Bad Baronets!

Meanwhile this is day 19 of the headcold from hell. It *is* getting better, just very slowly. Chai tea seems to help.  It had been stopping me from sleeping to the point where things got rather desperate, but we’re hopefully – HOPEFULLY – getting back on an even keel now.  We shall see.

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Allie leaves home

allie 257x300 Allie leaves home

Allie’s publicity shot…

Allie left home today.  Went to what should be a very nice new home where there a lot of other birdies with a lady who has other cockatiels and budgies and sulphur cresteds… we will miss his chatter, but we can’t keep everyone.  Bub and the little two (now called Salt and Pepper but very difficult to tell apart) are starting to venture out of the nesting box but are a few weeks away from being weaned yet.

In other news: our washing machine stopped working yesterday.  After much turning it off and on again and cursing at the rotten thing, we went and bought a new one. I’m hoping the technology has improved over the last 11 years and the new one will be quieter and a little bit kinder on the clothes.  The price for delivery included hauling away the old one, so at least we’re not left with the old one cluttering up the yard…

Poor Mr Beloved has a real shiner – all purple-y and green.  He had a possible skin cancer cut out on Wednesday, 6 stitches – ouch!  He goes back tomorrow to get the stitches out the the biopsy results, but the GP was pretty confident she’d got the whole thing.

I have a eustachian tube/middle ear infection thingummy and am deaf in my good ear, which is a bit of a bugger. My balance is off – I feel like elevators are going sideways.  Not a huge problem in a town where the longest elevator ride I generally need is 4 stories, but still disconcerting.



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They grow up so fast…

2014 01 29 bib and bub 300x201 They grow up so fast...

Bub is the one with more yellow and pearl; Bib is in foreground with more grey

As you can see, the big two are already quite feathered…

2014 01 29 little two 300x225 They grow up so fast...

The little two

And the little two are well on their way – those feathers are breaking out of the sheaths already.  It’s almost impossible to tell the little two apart, I think they’re going to be pearl greys like Allie.

2014 01 29 connie little two 300x156 They grow up so fast...

Connie is ever curious about anything little – she wants to kiss the babies!

Connie gets very excited whenever the babies come out of the cage.  Puppies, smaller dogs, baby birds – Connie just loves anything little.

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Best Dog Toy EVER!

A Retriever Pose 300x251 Best Dog Toy EVER!

Reminding us that poodles were, after all, bred to be water retrievers

Since it’s HOT again this week we decided we’d get Miss Connie a paddling pool.  After an initial wariness, she remembered that poodles are water retrievers and was straight in after her ball (or as she prefers to call it when she has her mouth full, her “bloggroggrogg”).  She has special toy poodle size ‘tennis’ balls from the pet shop, and when they’re wet, they’re Even BETTER.

entry by steps 300x183 Best Dog Toy EVER!

She worked out how to use the step…

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It’s not really for CLEANING the dog, though…

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You can make the ball roll around for ages…

When the bloggroggroggs can be rolled around in the water for ages, they get even better still.

drippygotcha 300x225 Best Dog Toy EVER!

Soggy bloggrogg ahhaa!

And then you can take them out and demand that they be THROWN while they’re all soggy, which means the humans get sprayed with water too, oh yes.

Happy 300x178 Best Dog Toy EVER!

A ball, in a pool!

high dive 300x225 Best Dog Toy EVER!

The empty side is just as much fun – you can climb from that!

She spent about 2 hours hopping in and out this arvo, having a lovely time, before eventually deciding she’d had enough and consenting to come inside to have the mud washed off.  There is absolutely NO POINT in washing the floors while she is playing with the pool!

(We have a lot of dirt and not a lot of lawn: the 2011 flood (and then the 2013 Australia Day “rain event”) washed a lot of our topsoil away and Mr Beloved is working hard to sheet mulch and re-vegetate areas, but for now: heat + dirt + running dog = dirt gets dragged into her pool.  We’ll let it settle overnight and see how it goes, but I think we’ll be bucketing it off to the garden and refilling it tomorrow.  Small price to pay for keeping the poor old dog cool.)

I also expect the magpies and butcher birds will use it when Connie doesn’t.

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What a difference a week makes…

What a difference a week makes in the lives of baby birds.  Feeding around the clock will do that I guess…

2014 01 19 big two 300x225 What a difference a week makes...

The big two now are getting their quills – and getting cheeky!

The big two are already losing most of their yellow feathers and looking quite grey. And their little quiffs are starting to grow in.  They look adorable.

2014 01 19 little two 300x225 What a difference a week makes...

The little two only had one eye open each today. Still covered in baby fluff and still quite white.

As you can see they’re quite well fed – lovely full crops, and they’re standing well (although the full crops and lack of coordination as yet means they tend to roll rather than stand on softer surfaces.)

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All four together – there’s only a week or maybe 10 days developmental difference between the two pairs – what a difference!

We haven’t named any of these babies yet because we weren’t sure how many would survive. But so far it’s looking good. The parent birds are eating lots of extra seeds and lettuce to keep up with the demand.

In other news – we’re about to have another week of heatwave after a week of lovely mild temperatures. I’m not looking forward to it. 32 in here already today. And the shops are starting to sell WINTER clothes!

We had the plumbers in during the week to do some work around the house (haven’t got bill yet though, ouch) – replacing some old pipes that went from under the house to drains, moving a pipe that for some stupid reason had always stopped the back screen door from opening all the way (making the back steps a bit unsafe, especially when you’re negotiating them with a basket full of wet laundry) – well, I know the reason really, it’s because the laundry (and hence the back door and step etc) were only added on in the 1970s, so that’s the way it Just WAS… ARRRRRRGH – anyway, it’s finally fixed so I don’t have to worry about either of us taking a tumble there because we had to sidle through the door awkwardly now.

And that’s about it for now. More birdy photos later in the week.



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In which we are outnumbered

2014 01 14 two sets 300x224 In which we are outnumbered

yellow twins and teeny little white babies

Bolly and Dorian have done it again – but we’ve never had four eggs all hatch before. If you click on the picture to enlarge it you’ll see that one of the white babies is so new its feathers weren’t even properly fluffy yet.

And we still have Allie.

And Yarrow the flood bird who never got tamed.

Plus Mr Beloved’s troop of black and whites: juvenile butcher birds Pip (of great expectations) and sibling Squeak, who bring their parents Swoop and Butchie; and juvenile magpies Pie and Bone (although as I’m typing this an unknown young magpie has just turned up. Word is spreading.)  All of that lot turn up for shreds of strasburg sausage tossed to them – the butcher birds catch it on the fly; the magpies turn up and sing for it.

We’ve had some hothothot days (nearly 40C) but this week has been cooler.

Not much else happening – I’ve enrolled for my one subject I think I can manage at uni, but the first class isn’t until the start of March. It’s an English Literature unit.

I’ve tried to fix comments on the blog – if they’re still not working, please drop me a line on caity at caitymakes dot com.

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They’re all mad out there, you know…

So… I’ve still been having trouble sleeping.  The terrible cough has settled back into a somewhat-fixable-with-ventolin asthma cough, but it still gets disturbed enough by the CPAP machine wind that I can’t use my CPAP machine, so I AM A ZOMBIE.  It’s not fun.

Consequently my mental state is not brilliant.  Hence my lack of posts.

Allie bird is nearly weaned. Cockatiels are weaned at 8 weeks. Allie was hatched November 1, but is still SCRAAAAARTCHing for food from Bolly whenever he gets a chance, even though he is quite happy eating seeds and pellets and lettuce by himself as well. Bolly is sitting on a new egg already…

2013 12 17 Allie 300x225 Theyre all mad out there, you know...

Allie outside the cage, looking very grown up

We’ve been eating more salad-y things now the weather has been heating up.  Mr Beloved has been keeping an eye on the bargain shelf at the supermarket, so the other day we had a lovely posh lunch of prosciutto and fetta salad – for less than what some people would spend on a fast food hamburger.

2013 12 17 lunch 300x225 Theyre all mad out there, you know...

I went into town today (Mr Beloved dropped me in and picked me up) and it was INSANE!  Apart from essential grocery runs to the local shops we are now officially AVOIDING THE SHOPS until it all calms down again.

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