Wednesday, August 15, 2012



So once again it'd been yonks since I have posted, but at least I have interesting stuff to write about. I'm going to be better at this.
Spent all of July travelling, 10 days in Spain, then the rest in Sweden and Norway. Fantastic!!!
Lets start with Spain, shall we.
                                                      Old terraces

Rob's mum Sallie, has a time share thingy and had enough points or whatever you get when you have one of these, to book a place in Spain for a week. Seemed liked a great idea so the family got into it, and we met up.

On the Mediterranean

The rest of the gang spent the couple of weeks before hand doing other trips around Europe before going to Spain. Rob and I flew in that day. We landed in Barcelona Saturday 28th July, Sallie was flying in later that day so we stayed around to pick her up and drive down together.  Thinking we would need something to keep us entertained and awake, a Gaudi designed complex, Colonia Guell looked pretty cool so we tried to find it. We started well and then got totally lost in the burbs of Barcelona. After driving around and around, getting hot, bothered and snippy, we found a green park with a big tree to relax under and have a well needed nap.  Of course when it was time to go back to the airport we saw signs to the bloody place everywhere...

It took 5 hours to drive down to Albir, the little town on the coast. The autopistas toll roads are great. Not cheap but you can really hoon on them. We got there around 10pm, finally found the place and Laura and family were there with food and sangria.
I love my in laws, we live in the same town so meeting in Spain was hardly a reunion. more of a longer invite to dinner. The kids are great, at 11 and 14 they haven't quite reached the grumpy teenager stage yet, and any moments they did have were few and far between. I'm 5'6 and the midget in the family.

                                                     The family

The next day was decreed a day of rest. It was about a 10 minute down the hill to the beach and main part of town. The beach is all pebbles and the Mediterranean Sea a perfect coolness. Albir, is still very touristy, but has none of the highrises and congestion as the bigger towns of Alicante and Benidorm.
After a swim and a jetlaggy siesta we went back into town to watch the Euro Soccer Final between Spain and Italy. Found a cafe with a outside table and TV and watched the fun. I really don't care much for sport but it's hard not to get into the spirit of the moment. There were many cheers as Spain trounced Italy 4-0. The crowd went wild. Flags, cars driving around and around honking, fireworks in the streets and general high spirits. I imagine being in a similar place in Italy the mood would not have been so jubilant.

                                                     Espana for the win

The next day we headed up into the mountains. Everywhere is terraced with stone walls. Many of them look old and not maintained anymore. It would have been a huge job to build them by hand and I imagine It's not very economical to use many of them anymore.  A lot of them still have olive, almond and other trees growing on them.
Castles a top lonely peaks seem to be everywhere as well. Even driving down from Barcelona you can see the outline of keeps and walls, and you just want to get up there and explore. A lot of them must not be restored and ever visited, and it would so cool to get to them. We tried, we really did. The two roads that we worked out were possible defeated our little rental cars. Next time I'm renting a Jeep.
 We did get to see 8000 years old cave/rock paintings at ........They were beautiful and right next to a huge cave which must have been used by the local peoples for 1000's of years. I love the sense of history and being connected when you see art like that, makes them more real and probably not all that much different from us today.
                                           Cave and view from the rock art

8000 year old macro schematic art

We did manage to storm a castell de Guadaleste, not quite the dramatic isolation but still pretty cool to check out.
                                                       Castel de Guadaleste

Culture aside the next day as we spent a wild and soggy time at Aqualandia Water park, Benidorm. Good fun once I stopped gibbering. We all have a blast.

                                                      Water park o Fun

More to come and plently of pic at my Flickr

Monday, March 19, 2012


It's been 2 months since I posted...I keep thinking of things then never doing anything about it. I think Facebook replaces some of this, doing little updates there seems to do the job. I do like my little blog though so I will try and be more regular.

This morning's blizzard

One of the reasons I haven't in the last month or so was that a friend back in Australia died suddenly and I wasn't sure what to say.
Wee Jamie, he was big, loud, generous and funny. A great cook and mixed a mean cocktail. He made the Tavern at Festival a better, rowdier place and sometimes completely crazy. He will be missed and always loved.

This winter has been very dry, hardly any snow at all and none on the ground for weeks. On Wednesday I was standing outside in a tshirt and comfortable. This weekend a huge storm has rolled in and it looks like we will get a couple of feet at least. Everyone was geared up for Spring and now we have to dig our snow stuff back out.
The new foster pups are not sure about the whole thing, but the big dogs love it.

Car retreat

Had a week off classes for Spring Break and I'm guessing the Uni and College will be closed tomorrow- Monday due to the snow. Dang it I want to go back. I know some people who are doing blah classes like Chemistry and Math are stoked, but I'm doing Ceramics (again) and Spanish.
I have things to make and glaze! I have being bringing home clay and making things, having a great time. I've made a bunch of beaker style mugs, using wine bottles as a form to wrap the clay slab around. Wait till they harden up then carve designs into them. I'm having a fun time doing this and want to get them to class so I can fire and glaze them.
Probably will avoid driving too much for the next day or so, and I still have clay, so there is always more beakers to make.

Beaker mania

Rob and I signed up to do a 5km obstacle course race with Zombies. It's called Run For Your Lives and I'm excited. It's not till October and so we have time to train. Rob really wanted to be a zombie but they were all taken. Maybe next time we will sign up earlier and do the zombie thing. Fun, fun, fun!
Also excited about our summer holiday. Spain for about 10 days and hanging out with Rob's family, then we head off to Norway and Sweden for some hiking and viking. It's going to be awesome!!

Every thing else is doing well. Pottering along, only working part time which is suiting me just fine for the time being. Overall not too bad. Happy and healthy.

Monday, January 09, 2012


Then I LOLed

Bemused Darwin is bemused

6 humans, 3 dogs on a 12ft raft floating down the Verde River, AZ. Great arvo. Towards the end we let the dogs off so they could run on the bank and have the best swim eva.

Monday, December 26, 2011


Thanks Amanda for live Tweeting Christmas Day. Made me happy and homesick.
The videos are wonderful and I cry every time.

Thanks Rob for getting me the CDC's Zombie shirt. Mucho awesome.

About to drive him to the airport. He is off the CA for 2 days. To visit his Grandma and a whirlwind visit to the cabin in Volcano. Me and the beasties will hang aboot here.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Santa Skully wishes a wonderful Christmas and new year and beyond


My birthday passed and was good. 39 and still kicking. Went to dinner,with Rob, Mike and Laura, it was their 17th wedding anniversary the same day so was fitting to celebrate together. The night was bitterly cold...bitterly I tell you, god damn cold. Food, drink and company all above par so who minds the freezing the nads off, if I had them they would be frozen.

Presents from my wonderful sisters. 'Have you Tribble spayed or neutered' t shirt. Giant Koala, dog toy Playpus- which Darwin loves! Thank you all.
Darwin loves the Platyus, for the most emo neurotic dog. When you come home she grabs it wiggles and teases through out the house, you have to play to try and grab it, when you do you throw it, she fetches back twice then gets bored. The wiggly excitement is worth it.

Crossfit is doing well, though I have lasped a bit since the nutritional challenge ended. Getting stronger though. Back squatting 115lb this month, last month I could only do 105lb. Doesn't sound like much but I'm happy.

Finished my classes, pretty sure I got an A in Cultural Anthropology. We had 4 exams, I don't know the result of the last one but on the other 3 I got 96, 100 and 102. I was worried that she just marked easy but people almost failed so ..yes I understand all the world's cultures now, totally! and I must say it kinda makes me sad how horrible we are to each other across the board. Monkeys with shoes.
Ceramics 1 was so much fun I'm taking it again next semester along with Spanish. Want to do Pysical Anthro as well...time and work wise two classes works so I think I'll take that one in the 'Fall' as we call it in these parts.

My coil pot- the tall one which totally became something else that planned ( having 6 inches cut off cause it got too weak to support itself almost made me cry) and my wheel bowls. Technique is not a natural thing to me so that's why I'm taking the same class.

Rob's birthday was a couple of days ago. On Monday I was in my last Ceramics class and a couple of friends mentioned baking cakes for birthdays....omg baking! cakes! ya know it never occurred to me to bake a birthday cake for Rob. I don't bake much, except for a roasty now and then...mmm roasty. So then I got all excited and went to the local crafty do all shoppe Michaels, that shop has so much stuff. In the event of a zombie invasion and Super Walmart was out of my reach then Michaels with its wreaths, scrapbooking and hard core bead section is my next choice to fashion a gnarly zmobie smiting weapon from. Its cake decorating section alone is enough to give the brainz eating dead a pause. I was there for quite some time pacing back and forth trying to work out what the hell I needed to decorate a cupcake with. In the end I chose some coloured sheets that you can cut out made from stuff that is 'edible', pens with 'edible' ink that you can draw on icing with, 'edible' gel icing and' inedible' candles.
The chocolate cupcakes were from a box, which handily gives you high altitude baking tips, more water and add some flour. The icing was coco, milk and icing sugar for the choocy ones and lemon juice with icing sugar for the non choccy icing, all eyeballed and well tasted. I have not had so much sugar in such a small time frame in months... I got a slight buzz, but I had to keep checking the lemon juice was just right.

Rob turned 42 so in the spirit of the day the theme was non-debatable.
(next year 43 pfft means nothing, no cupcakes for youuu)

I spent a happy afternoon decorating, looking up Vogon poetry and what the two versions of Marvin looked like.

Christmas is nigh, and despite what the Fox fundies want the rest of America (the world is not important) that us atheists love the Christmas, there is no war, get over yourselves really...its embarrassing. This song makes me crazy homesick and Tim Minchin pretty much mirrors my thoughts except he does it in clever song form.

This is Roo who so proudly brought this yellow 'pastry' thing home. She was all proud to present it us like we wanted the disgusting thing. It had holes on the bottom where the contrail mind control ickor is pumped in. For an being who will happily eat shit, she seems most discerning.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Happy November....where did the last few months go.
Lets see we carved pumpkins and went Steampunk equse for Halloween, had foster pups, went to LA for a awesome concert 'The National' at the Hollywood Bowl. It's been a pretty good time all round.
Steampunk ish.....

These are our current set of fosters. They are boxer mixed with toad. There are 13 in the litter, all but one is tan, and it looks like a little Rottweiler. They were handed in to the Humane Society, who promptly called us as we have better facilities to deal with them. They are all in foster for the next few weeks.
The toadlings

We got 6 inches of snow the other night, and it's thinking about snowing right now. All very pretty but probably will be gone in a week unless we get another storm.

I've been going to a Crossfit gym (they are everywhere) since the start of the year. It was on and off for the first half though. I got sick, went to Australia, got sick again, so I only have been regular about going since August, and now I'm there 3-4 times a week. I'm really enjoying it. It's totally different from normal gyms, which really helps the motivation. It's expensive but you basically have a personal trainer each session. When I was sick, a couple of the trainers emailed and texted me asking if I was ok as they hadn't seen me for a bit, which was really nice and makes you feel like part of a heavily buffed community. Every day there is a workout which everyone does, scaled for weight and ability. You learn proper weightlifting techniques, gymnastics and how to move correctly and safely. Grunting and dropping weights are encouraged. You learn how to drop weights in a safe way so not to break yourself or anyway else.
When I'm at work I feel pretty strong, can lug around dogs and food without much effort, when I'm at Crossfit not so much. It's not a race or a competition with the others, but still you compare yourself whether you should or not. It's silly cause a lot of the women have been doing this for yonks and are freaking amazing, and so little old me is not even in the same day though.
For the last two months they ran a nutritional challenge. (the rules are here if ya interested) It was $100 buy in with a chance to win your money back and some prizes. All food was logged and you got the most points with the paleo/zone combo. I got enough points to get $75 back, lost a few kilos and didn't miss the grains. Both the zone and paleo diets are pretty sensible for the most part, I don't buy into the whole paleo thing of absolutely no grain, rice, pasta and cereals....I don't think they are the scourge of civilization, and like anything in moderation they are fine. Just to see I didn't eat them for two months, except for rice once and some bread...damn Rob and his baguette making weekends.
Considering how much we used rice and pasta for our dinners, cutting them out wasn't that hard and I have to say I didn't miss or crave them. I will start eating them again, but probably not as much as before. Big thanks to Rob, as usual was wonderful, helped me zone my meat and veges and didn't tempt me (much) with point losing noms.
The other part of it was doing two workouts at the beginning and end and see the improvement.
One was 'Cindy' which is 'as many rounds as possible' (amrap) in 20 minutes of 5 pullups, 10 pushups, 15 squats. I can't do pullups yet so I did jumping pull ups and pushups on my knees.
The first time I did 13 rounds, 5 pullups and 8 pushups to fail. My noodley arms could not do another pushup to save myself. I did it again on Thursday and did 18 rounds, and as tired as I was I could have done more. Sometimes it's hard to see any progression, but that showed me that I have gotten stronger and fitter which is the whole point, it's nice to see.
Crossfit Total is three weightlifting movements- back squats, shoulder press and deadlift. You have three attempts increasing the weight each time and you record the highest poundage for each lift and that's your total. I just did it this morning and increased my weight on each. 105lb on back squats, 59lb on shoulder press and 182lbs on the deadlift making my total 346. Again trying not to look at the woman next to me deadlifting 250lb....I'll get there.

All in all it's a good thing and I do feel better overall.
White Horse slab box, pre fired and cracked.

It hasn't been all grunties.
I've been doing a Cultural Anthropology and Ceramics class at Coconino Community Collage. Both are really interesting and making stuff out of clay is always fun. We started out with pinch pots, a slab box and a coil pot and now learning the basics of the wheel. Also mucking about with different glazes is pretty cool and you never quite know how it will turn out. I'm thinking of re doing the class next semester to get better at the basics. My slab box I carved the White Horse of Uffington on it. It cracked in the kiln so we patched it up and I'm hoping it will hold. I can always make another.

Raku glazed pinch pots

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Had the cutest little foster pup a couple of weeks ago. Matilda the blue.

I have a huge soft spot for cattle dogs, so she was twice as adorable. Not tempted at all. We only had her for a week cause we went floating down the San Juan River for 4 days.

It was all a bit pleasant and fun. It was from Bluff to Mexican Hat, Utah, about an 4 hour drive from home. Only 27 river miles so we had plently of time to kick back. It also had one of the easiest shuttles ever. Only 20 minutes each way so nobody had to drive for hours back and forth to leave cars at put in and pull out spots. 6 adults and 4 kids drifted along. The water was running about 800cfs, which meant it was very shallow and I don't think there was anywhere that was above waist deep. We didn't have to drag boats though so that was good. In July it was running at 8000cfs, which would be a whole different beast to run. There are 3 rapids class 2-3, I hooned through in a kayak only ping ponging off rocks a couple of times. I was nervous at first then wanted more once I was through and realised how much fun it was.

The are some awesome petroglyphs, pictoglyphs sherds and pueblo buildings dotted along the banks. We visited River House which was beautiful. It was built and inhabited around 900-1200 and you can still see the paintings on the walls.

It was a year ago we did the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, this was a tiny taste of that. I could totally be a river rat, there is something very serene and joyful about floating along and living on the banks. Water fights and rapids definitely add to the fun.

I'm doing two classes at Coconino College. Ceramics 1 and Intro to Cultural Anthropology, so far good fun. Ceramics is great. We are making pinch pots which we will play around with glazes, and eventually progress to the wheel. Our first project was to make two pots then join them together and make something else which was alive (now dead). I was going to a capsicum or something, but on the river trip I found a complete fossil of a mollusc, a perfect little bivalve. It was alive right, just a few million years ago. So I have pottered a shell....It's kinda cute so far.

Rob is in CA, near Sacramento for his cousin's wedding today and to see his Grandma, then driving down with his Dad to visit his other Grandparents in Santa Barbra. They just celebrated their 72nd wedding anniversary. (She is 105, he is 95).
He was going to drive back tomorrow night, but then I found out that The National is playing at the Hollywood Bowl tomorrow night. I'm a bit of a new fan, Kate got me into them on our NZ roadtrip. So tomorrow I'm driving to LA, about 7 hours, meeting Rob, going to the concert with him, Alyssa and Jesec and driving back Monday. It will be good to see A & J and they have a bed we can crash on. A slightly silly but otherwise perfect plan.