Saturday, June 30, 2012

Strange white spider

A few weeks ago I was in my study early one morning, when I noticed a strange looking thing on the edge of my opened I investigated.  It was a white, almost transparent spider with a large balloon type thing on its back. 
I studied it for a while, then just walked away.  But I started to get a bit worried.  I had never seen anything like this before, and wasn't sure if it was poisonous or not--so I photographed it, which is what I usually do with anything I'm not sure about, (snakes, birds, spiders, etc) then sat down again at my desk.  I watched it for a while, and then thought that maybe I should get rid of it.  (First of all--you have to understand that I have a real phobia about spiders, I mean--I get scared, and don't like them in my close proximity!) 

I will tolerate spiders as long as they are not being in my area and could be harmful--we have so many of those here in Australia! In our old house, before moving here, we used to get very large huntsman spiders.

Anyway, these were fairly large spiders and I used to make a deal with them--I think I have written about that before--sort of like a spider wrestler--as long as they stayed in their own space--up at ceiling height, I would live with them--come into my zone and they would be 'goners'....

It usually worked, and they kept to themselves--but occasionally I would get a cheeky one, and well, I am bigger than they are--I'm not a killer though--Chris does my dirty work--unless I'm on my own, and have a very large tin of bug spray! I spray it until it is covered and then make a distance between it and me--sometimes I wonder who the spray is going to kill first!  You know when the tin says odorless--odorless to who? Someone without a nose?

Anyway--back to my white spider story - you guys distract me in my need to explain stuff!

I really didn't want to kill this spider, as it was small, and I didn't know anything about it, but it wouldn't cooperate and climb onto my shovel and brush thingy, so in desperation I got some paper towel, and loosely bundled it, and just grabbed the spider and put it in our kitchen rubbish bin--I figured it could probably wriggle out of the loose hold on it, and eventually make its way to freedom..that was my reasoning anyway--(You may not know how much courage and bravery it took for me to do this, but it really did!)

I have tried to do research to find out if it was poisonous or not--what I have found, if my research is correct, is that it can give a painful bite..but still I wonder....really kind of a cute little guy--now remember my phobia--I really am being generous in my outlook!

Monday, June 25, 2012


When Madison was growing up, she couldn't say Bronwyn's name, so it ended up being Gronwyn.  Unfortunately for Bron, the name stuck, and we used to call her by that name quite a lot.
But to make it even more painful I used to stand at the bottom of the stairs to her bedroom, and when she was going to school, and wasn't up yet, I would shout out: "Gronwyn, get out of bed! Gronwyn, wake up!!"
Still of Danny DeVito and Anne Ramsey in Throw Momma from the TrainI knew that would irritate her, and it did, and she usually got up just to yell at me...but at least she was up!  But to make it even more irritating I would imitate the voice of the Mother in 'Throw Momma From the Train'

In 2000, Bron decided to fly to the States and spend Christmas with my sister and her family in Michigan, so that they could have a white Christmas.  I know she was looking forward to it, so with a girlfriend in tow, they headed off.  I was a bit worried for them, as it was so close to the 9/11 incident, and I knew that they had scheduled New Year's Eve in Times Square in New York...but I bravely waved good-bye at the airport, and set about getting her Christmas parcel ready so that it could be sent in time.

For fun, I decided to try to find a portable (cordless) recordable alarm clock.  I finally found one, and my evil plan began!  I recorded a message on the alarm clock which said, irritatingly:
"Gronwyn! Wake up! Gronwyn! Are you awake yet Gronwyn? Wake up!"  I sounded as irritating as Momma, and happy with my result, wrapped it in pretty paper and ribbon, and packed it in the box with her other presents.

The parcel arrived a few days before Christmas, and my sister put it in her study to wait for Christmas, but there was a strange noise coming from the package at times!  Just not all the time!  Finally out of curiosity, she showed Bron the package, and they talked about it, then one night, the strange noise happened again!  Bron was there this time, and she opened the box containing all of her Christmas surprises, including Christmas bon bons for the Christmas dinner table, and other fun things. Once the box was open and she took out the presents, and one of them started to make a muffled noise again...

Looking at those in the room, she decided to open it, as it was close to Christmas, and everyone was curious now.  So cautiously, and with a bit of a smile on her face, she unwrapped the mystery parcel, and discovered the 'mystery' present.  It was the alarm clock!

By some strange quirk, it had turned itself on, and everyday at the appointed time, (which happened to be closer to night-time there, it chimed out the same annoying wake message that I had recorded.  It apparently had been doing this on its whole journey to her....

Can you imagine the strange looks on the postal workers faces if it occurred while around them? After 9/11, I'm surprised the parcel wasn't ripped open and investigated as it made its journey to her!!

I laughed when she told me.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


ZookeeperLast night Chris and I watched the movie - Zookeeper!  I enjoyed it so much I was really laughing  out loud - what a great movie for freeing the spirit and making anyone forget about life and any hassles for a while! 
What I loved most I think was that the animals were recognised as being able to talk, and the humour that occurred because of it!

I talk to my animals all the time- and in their own way, they talk back to me. 

Yesterday when I was playing ball with Strap I told him I didn't want to throw the blue ball anymore and preferred the pink one - so he brought the pink one to me.  --Now you can't tell me that he doesn't understand perfectly what I was saying...meanwhile Squirt was yelling out in the background--"Strap! Hello Strap!"

The other day when Chris and I were at the zoo, I bought a soft toy replica of a black cockatoo, which calls out in their bird song, when a button is pushed.  This morning I went out to the patio to see and talk with Strap and Squirt, and pushed the little button on the black cockatoo while I was standing in front of Squirt's aviary.  She acted miffed and ruffled to begin with, then she just stopped and actually hung upside down to study his face.  She suddenly said "Hello!"  I loved it...she was trying to make friends!

I so much love animals and their wisdom....sometimes I think we just need to stop, take a breath, and learn from them.  What a more peaceful world it would be....

Friday, June 15, 2012

Strap discovers his worker dog spirit again!

We have discovered that we have nuisance birds here - they scavenge and eat all and everything, and even raid Strap's food dish.  They are classified here as a pest--but it is hard to get rid of them   That is-- until today!

Strap suddenly discovered his inner dog voice and right of herding, and he hunted them straight out of the patio, and then later when they flew up to one of the palm trees, he just sat there and watched them, daring them to come down to his territory--it was fun to watch, and also good to see him running around again.  He had become a bit too complacent, if you know what I mean!

I believe these pest birds are called Indian Myna birds---they just invade!  We still have other bird life here--but these guys are a real nuisance.  I used to love feeding the birds when I lived in Rockhampton, but won't put out any kind of food now, as these horrible things just flock in!

The local council and other groups are attempting to do bird traps to help rid the area, as they are deterring some of our more preferred and precious bird groups from nesting in the area. They are real interlopers and should never have been allowed to be an introduced bird species!  So that's just great--we all know that now!  Similar to the cane toad stories--but that truly is another story!

Anyway, Strap was running around chasing them away and then coming back to our glass doors for us to say: " Good Boy!  Keep it up!" He would then tear off again, and chase them, with that determined border collie look in his eyes--we haven't seen that look for a while!

Squirt got all excited and yelled out: "Hello Strap!" and other comments, and we had fun watching him.  Squirt included!

It was great to see him take control again - something he hasn't wanted to do for awhile...transition period maybe - from a larger property to just an acre--who knows- but our spoiled friend was a happier chappy today--great to see!

You know, if and when  anything happens to these guys I will miss them so much--they are such characters!  I love them to pieces, and know it is given straight back to us! 

Life can be grand can't it!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Snake necklace

Writing about snakes in my last story reminded me of the time I was getting ready for work, and one of my necklaces fell from my wall mounted hanger and then started to wriggle across my dressing table....I didn't have my glasses on at the time, as I was putting on eye make-up with my special mirror, and just stood there for a few seconds while I tried to work out was what going on!

Then I realised!  It was a snake!  Mind you it was a smallish and slender one, but had disguised itself as one of my necklaces!  Now that's just not playing fair at all!

So I grabbed my glasses very quickly to get a better look, and YEP - a snake!  In my mind I kept thinking it must be a tree snake, as it had somehow come into the house and somehow climbed onto my necklace holder--but hold on!  It was on my necklace holder--I mean there are limits--do I go into their private chambers? NO!   Well--action had to be taken--but what to do?

So I ran upstairs to the kitchen and grabbed our large butcher knife from the drawer, and then holding the knife carefully, ran back down to our bedroom and the snake was still there!  On my dresser, where I had my make-up and jewellery and my stuff!  Not his!  So, using all of my will-power I struck out at the little wiggler--still not sure if it could have been a baby brown snake and somehow ended up in my necklaces--I don't know--when one is kinda scared I guess common sense sometimes escapes!  Anyway--I hit him--about 3 times with the knife--after a while I realised he was dead and then the adrenalin went away, and I had snake blood and guts on my dresser table--YUCK!  So I got cloths and disposed of the snake and the blood and the mess and wondered if the dishwasher could wash the knife's blood off Lady Macbeth's guilt over spilt blood "Out Out damn spot!"

But I looked at the clock and decided I had better contemplate that problem at work, as it was really getting late now!  I think that was the first time that I ever felt sort of sorry about killing a snake--mainly because we just never know if they are poisonous or not! 

If it makes any difference to the snake--I totally scratched and marked my dressing table top with that butcher knife, and it has left life long scars...guess it sort of serves me right--but why did he think he could live life as a necklace--Stupid snake--should have known better--I know my jewellery!!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Going to the zoo!

Lemur sun baking--something they do daily
This one's for Neil--My roomy for two years while I finished my last two years of my four year degree -I was studying to become a high school teacher, and Neil was studying for primary.  As a result  I was often her guinea pig and troublesome student.

I really remember the 'Zoo' unit - I have had that song stuck in my head ever since....

Anyway, here in Cairns, we are lucky enough to have a lot of zoos--tropical, natural Australiana, jungle safari, butterfly enclosures, venomous, and well--you get the idea...
But Neil was determined to take me to the zoo all those years ago, and so we were inundated with zoo pictures, songs, rhymes, - you name it....I mean --I love zoos--always have --but WOW! That was one zoo study plan! Obviously--- because it has stayed with me all these years!  Neil, you must have been a fantastic teacher!! 

Chris and I recently went to one of our local zoos - the  Cairns Tropical Zoo.  We had such a fun day playing with and photographing the animals, and really just enjoying the beautiful sunshine--we are well and truly into our first Winter here in Cairns, and I travelled around the zoo all day in a summer ruffled shirt and sunglasses!

 (Maybe I've mentioned that I love living here??  This morning for example is glorious--the sun is shining brightly and the animal life and bird song surrounds us.  Best place in the world to have a Winter!!)

This is a wedge tailed eagle - truly an elegant bird - and we had a front row seat for the show!  It was a free flight bird show, and featured magpies, a white barn owl, this eagle and a was fun as they swooped low over our heads.

A cotton-top tamarin monkey
We then to see the Nepalese red panda and by lunch-time we were smack dab in front of these cute little monkeys.  Because they are so small they are becoming endangered, as in their natural habitat they are caught and then sold as pets, and easily replaced if not cared for properly.  They are at times forced to become street performers, (maybe I made that up...) but it isn't a good life for them.  But what we found to be so much fun was watching them choose their tidbits of food from the bowl that was being offered to them.  They just patiently sat on a branch and sorted through the pieces of fruit and sultanas and picked carefully what they wanted.  Then held the piece of food in their small hands and ate it gracefully.

By this stage it was time for the snake presentation and show.  The snakes were amazing, and we witnessed a black faced python (who just slithered around on the enclosed stage area, then the scary death adder, who quite frankly looked more like a lazy fat lizard--but the venom isn't lazy and as a result they are quite content to wait for their prey to come to them, as one bite, and they have dinner!

I was fascinated by some of the tales that the snake handler told us, but after a while found him to be more of a 'know-it-all' rather than a good showman.  Especially when a young boy of about 9 would ask him questions, and would be dismissed rather flippantly.  However, then he brought out his taipan!  Now Chris and I have had experiences with taipans, especially those that decided to enter our home!  I have written about them in the past, but he handled this taipan really well!  He took it out of a container, with his long snake staff, and while holding the large snake's tail walked his stage area, and demonstrated it's agility and speed of movement.     

After that experience we went into the snake house to see the displays, and I discovered a very large taipan---sure was happy that we never had to fight with one of these of this size when we lived in Rocky!  After that we went to see the crocodiles and alligators on display.  There was still a lot
more for us to see, but we were
feeling a bit walked out, and
decided to save the rest of the zoo for our next trip back there.  It is a great place to bring our visitors - so will discover more then.

So in the words of the song by Peter, Paul and Mary:

We've been to the zoo zoo zoo
So have you you you
You came too too too
We been to the zoo zoo zoo

Enjoy this clip of Peter and Paul having fun with this song! -

Saturday, June 9, 2012

She did it to me again!

Remember when I wrote about Squirt being such a Drama Queen and playing dead at the bottom of her aviary?

Well she did it again today.

I ran out to her aviary when I saw her, because I had just been out there about an hour earlier, throwing a ball with Strap and talking with Squirt, so didn't know why she would so suddenly die on me!  When I noticed her, she had just been laying in a corner of her aviary, on her back with her feet up in the air, toes closed in, and her beak sort of open. 

But guess what--she faked me out again!  What a character she is...

Well later today I researched a bit about bird behaviour and discovered that often if a pet bird is content and comfortable, it will sleep on its back. This is something a wild bird will rarely do.

So I watched them.  And guess what- they watched me......

In our family room we have a leather couch which is visible from the patio, and I have just noticed that on the times that I decide to lay down and rest or watch TV, both Strap and Squirt do the same thing!  It's like--"OK - She's laying down...we don't need to guard or play - so nap time!"

Well, thinking back on it - I had been laying down, Strap was under the BBQ cover and Squirt was on her back!  We were all resting in the afternoon. And I disturbed them in my panic!

I know better next time I can relax a little bit - but when will I know if I, for real, have to give Squirt mouth to beak resuscitation?

Friday, June 8, 2012

The sweetest kind of love

You won't believe this, because I just watched it and I'm not even sure I believe it!
For about 8 months now, our border collie, Strap, and our lorrikeet, Squirt have lived in close proximity, and have competed fiercely for attention.  They both live on our covered patio area, outside of our family room.  Squirt needs to live there, as she is in her enclosed, large aviary, but Strap has a whole back yard which is fairly spacious to run in, and yet still loves just being in the patio area.  He will only make a foray into the lawned areas when he is A- Chasing his ball, or B- doing his daily doodies (as my Mum used to call them)!

But today, Strap and Squirt became friends.  I mean really made friends with each other!

It was early this morning and the day was still very quiet.  Dawn had arrived, and the day was stretching out and waking itself up. In the new light, I looked out onto our patio and saw Strap once again approaching Squirt's aviary, something I had noticed that he had been doing for the past few days.  He sniffed at it a few times, and then just stood there, looking inside.

Then I witnessed the most amazing thing. As Strap stood there with his nose pressed against the aviary, Squirt walked down the front bars, and hanging upside down, (which is what she does when she is wanting or liking something), she poked her beak through the bars of the aviary and with her dark tongue 'kissed' Strap!  Strap loved it, and stood there for more.  They spent a few precious seconds together and Squirt 'kissed' him one more time. 

I wanted to have my camera to document this, but was afraid to leave my spot at the door, as I knew I would then miss it all.

After about a minute, Strap went to lay down under the BBQ cover, next to Squirt's aviary, and Squirt just walked up the bars of her aviary and swung down onto her rope swing for a nap. 

It was honestly the most amazing and lovely thing to witness.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The man in the window!

Some years back now, I hadn't been feeling very well, and was laying on the couch in the lounge room in the house I have written about - the one that was built on various levels and had a history of strange 'ghost' like things occurring within it.

I feel like it may have been a Sunday, as we (the two girls, John and I were home--in my memory it felt like a lazy day ).

Anyway, I had not been feeling well for a couple of days, and decided that afternoon to just laze on the couch and watch some TV.  The girls had grabbed the two large pillows that I kept in the lounge, and were laying on the carpeted floor in front of me, and John was sitting back on one of the lounge chairs.  It seemed very peaceful and restful, and after awhile, I found myself fast asleep.

I woke up a bit later, and knew that John and the girls were still there, but from my angle on the couch I could see a man in a suit up at one of the dormer windows looking through it, and directly at me!  Now I knew that a man in a suit at that window was practically impossible. First of all, it was a very hot summer afternoon, so why would anyone be wearing a heavy suit, and that dormer window was at roof level, with no flooring or any capacity to just be looking through it at that height--that would have been 3 storeys high!

1014 Yaamba Road, Rockhampton City, Qld 4700At first I was shocked, then frightened.  I tried to call out to my family--but it was like I was frozen!  I could not make a sound or move, as hard as I tried!   I struggled to move my arms or even just let out a sound, but my body wouldn't cooperate.  Meanwhile, the man in the window was still just there.

I started to really feel scared, and just didn't what else to do.  I wanted so much to yell out, to get everyone's attention, but no one was noticing the panic I was going through.  I looked away from the man and after about 30 seconds, looked back again.  He was gone. And I could move!

I yelled out then! John was asleep in his chair and woke with a start--I don't remember what the girls did--I told them about the man, and John checked outside quickly to see if there was anything obvious--the man would have had to use an extension ladder to get up to that window.  Of course, there was nothing.

Everyone tried to convince me that I had just dreamt it--but I didn't. I was honestly frightened, and paralysed! Unable to communicate.  I know it wasn't a dream. 

But, what was it? A ghostly visitor or a visitor from another sphere?  I've often wondered.....

Refer to another blog I wrote back in 2010:  I think it is talking about the appearance of this same man!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The photo frame.....

I am writing this today because as I sit here in our new home and unpack even more boxes (Do they ever stop--where did this stuff all come from!) I came across a double photo frame of my 3 gorgeous daughters.

This photo frame is now sitting on top of my printer here in my study.

It holds so many memories for me of other times, innocent times, happy times, some sad, but memories all the same.

The double frame includes a photo of our baby Madison, and then Bronwyn and Lauren.

So much has happened since these photos were taken....deaths, marriages, celebrations and funerals. But as families do, we hold on and hope for a brighter tomorrow, and sometimes, if we are patient just enough -- it happens.

But often when I look at this little photo frame holding so many memories, I at times get sentimental, then just smile and remember the best of days!