Holey moley, Batman, two posts in one day….

A friend posted a question on facebook asking what you do when someone you don’t know sends a facebook friend request. She was concerned about offending someone she once knew but couldn’t remember if she didn’t accept their request. My response turned into a bit of a rant so I thought I’d post it here rather than as a reply to her post.

Ignore them. If you don’t know them, or don’t remember them, or just don’t want them on your friends list any more, then why should you be friends with them? Your facebook account is your facebook account. If someone knew you and really wanted to be friends with you, they’d include a note to remind you who they are and where you know them from with their friend request. There are plenty of other people out there who’d happily friend them.

I’m pretty ruthless when it comes to facebook. I have my security locked down tight (an ongoing battle with all the changes facebook makes). I don’t accept friend requests from anyone who’s name I don’t recognise and happily delete anyone who posts a lot of what I consider to be crap. If I change my mind and decide I don’t want you knowing anything about what I’m doing I’ll even block you so you can’t see anything that I post to anyone on facebook, even if you’re a friend of a friend.

I do pretty much the same to anyone who emails me jokes or cutesy pics or anything else I consider spam. I let them know just once that while I’d love to receive personal emails letting me know what they are doing with their lives, I am not interested in the junk mail; then if they do it again I blacklist them so their emails are treated as spam. I think it’s particularly offensive of people to send these types of emails in the workplace. And if anyone shares my email address with their friends when they send out group emails I let them know in no uncertain terms just what I think of people who give out other people’s email addresses without permission.

Fly me to the blue moon and decades come and go, but not yet…

Catching up…

On New Years Eve there was a blue moon.  Nice…but not in Australia or New Zealand. We don’t get to have a blue moon until the end of January. It’s all explained in this post on the Aussie Organic Gardening blog.

On New Years Eve we were booked on a redeye Qantas flight from Perth to Sydney, leaving Perth at approx 11pm, connecting with a flight to Coffs Harbour the next morning.  That turned out to be not so nice.

Early that morning we did the online check-in thing. No worries.  That night, a few minutes after we left home for the airport, I received a text message saying that our flight had been cancelled and to call customer service. We were still close to home so we turned around and came home. While I waited on the phone for customer service, I logged onto the Qantas website and discovered that we’d been placed on a Jetstar flight that was due to leave Perth at approximately the same time at the original Qantas flight. We headed back to the airport. I never did get through to customer service.

Surely Qantas could have given us more than a couple of hours notice that they were cancelling the flight. If there weren’t enough passengers to justify the flight they would have known at least the day before. Yet we had been able to check in that morning. We chose Qantas because we wanted leg room, pillows, blankets, adjustable headrests, seats that lay back a reasonable amount, movies, food and drinks. Jetstar are a cut-price airline and provide none of that – not even a drink of water –  unless you pay for it. We had already paid in our ticket price. We got none of it. When we got to the Jetstar counter to check in we were told we might not even be able to sit together. It turns out there were plenty of seats and of course we could sit together, the check-in lady was just being nasty.  We had to call up to get our frequent flyer points allocated – that wasn’t done automatically. I asked about compensation – nothing scheduled, but I could write a letter to Customer Service and put our case if we thought it was strong enough. Sounds like a lot of hassle for us, but I probably should do something.

It appears that if we hadn’t had to connect with the Coffs flight we’d have had a choice of either flying Perth-Melbourne-Sydney or Perth-Brisbane-Sydney on Qantas.  We had a most uncomfortable, sleepless, flight but at least we made our connection and had a very enjoyable 2 weeks with mum in Nambucca Heads. More to come on that later…

On the topic of the end of the decade…

There has been much celebration in the media of the end of the first decade of the current millenium.  The only problem is that this year is the final year of the decade, not the beginning of a new one. You may disagree.  You may say to me that ten years have passed, since the turn of the century, but I’d say no! You see, I think we celebrated the new millenium a year early.

The years on the Gregorian calendar are not counted like birthdays. A baby is not one year old until he has lived for a year. He has a zero year where his age is counted in months. There was no year AD zero. The first year of the first millenium wasn’t counted in months – it was year 1. This means that a year hadn’t passed until the end of year AD1. Therefore the millenium wasn’t over until the end of year AD2000, and by the same reasoning the decade won’t finish until the end of this year.

You still may disagree. That’s ok. Here’s some info. Until you’re convinced, I’ll sit on my side of the fence and you can sit on yours. Time will continue to march on no matter how we count the years.

2009 in review

My intentions to blog regularly started off well, but died a slow death. Ah well, they were good intentions.

Front Yard Nov09

Front Yard Nov09

We started the year with mum here. We thoroughly enjoyed her visit but it was inevitable that she’d go home – as she did in mid-January. Then in February we got the not-unexpected news that Stephen’s job would move to Brisbane. Most people in the technical department have been given a ‘move to Brisbane’ ultimatum. At first we were told we’d have to be gone by the end of financial year, then it was by the end of the year. We decided we’d better take a look at BrisVegas to see where we’d like to live. We spent a nice 2 weeks in Redcliffe and decided that we’d like to live in Sandgate. You can read all about the trip here. Of course, the type of house we’d like in Sandgate would be ridiculously expensive so after we came home we settled more on the area between Caboolture and Burpengary. We could get a nice house on and acre (or more) in that area for what we could sell our house here for. As it turns out we won’t be moving – at this stage anyway. Stephen will probably have to work fly-in/fly-out of Telfer as a result. It’s a price we’re not very happy to pay, but our choices are limited, so we’ll give it a try. We wouldn’t mind living in Brisso, but we’ve only been in Perth for just over 2 years now, so it’s a bit soon for a move – tho’ I would prefer to live on the east coast.

In April I started going to Tai Chi.  I used to do Tai Chi many years ago and I’m really enjoying it again. It’s far more challenging than most people think, especially as you advance though the levels and the moved become more complicated and take more coordination and balance. Bev, the instructor, is great. She’s very patient and very encouraging to everyone.

Back Yard Nov09

Back Yard Nov09

Our garden has grown like crazy. It’s been a great success. The native plants have flowered and grown and given us a great deal of joy. Oh sure, there’ve been a few failures, but not many when you consider that we’ve planted over a hundred different varietes on our small suburban block. We think that both front yard and back yard are looking pretty spectacular. Our attraction of birds into the yard progresses slowly, but it does progress. Hopefully over the next year we’ll see more differing varieties as the plants get larger and offer more shelter. Of course we overplanted so the spaces would fill in faster so we have to keep on top of the pruning if we want things to keep looking nice and not get too tangled and woody.

Veggie Garden Nov 09

Veggie Garden Nov 09

The veggie garden has been both abundantly productive and challenging. There’s always something ready to harvest. We grow organically with no chemicals. The only things we spray are Bt for caterpillars, soapy water also to combat caterpillars, occasional horticultural oil on the citrus and pyrethrum for aphids on the roses. Ok, that’s roses, not veggies, but we keep it all organic. oh, and there are the mousetraps we’ve had to use recently to catch the rats who’ve been competing with us for our veggies. We are not growing veggies to support a rodent population. We’ve caught a few small ones, but not as big as the large rat I found dead in an empty water bucket! We’re not using greywater at this stage. I have doubts about the true safety of ‘greywater safe’ detegents and have heard many stories of deaths of trees, roses and shrubs thanks to the mid-long term use of untreated greywater that has supposedly only had ‘safe’ detergents added. Installing a greywater treatment and dispersal system isn’t an option for us in this yard. It would mean digging up the yard to install and is a very expensive option. And of course you can’t use untreated greywater on food crops, so it would be no use on the veggie garden, which is where we really need the watering help. Perhaps by next winter we’ll have some rainwater tanks put in. We just have to figure where we’d put them. We really have very little room for a realistic size of tank capacity. There’s not much point in putting in a piddling little tank that’s going to fill in a shower or two.

Rose Garden Nov09

Rose Garden Nov09

The Brisbane trip was our only holiday this year. It has been almost 3 years now since we had a ‘real’ holiday. I wasn’t working for much of the year, thanks to the economic downturn, but now have a quite good, if somewhat frustrating, job as a technical writer, writing training manuals for a company that does training for the mining industry. The people are nice and I’m close enough to walk from home if I really want to, though riding my bike is the planned option.

Honeyeater in Grevillea Georgiana

Honeyeater in Grevillea Georgiana

We have explored the Perth surrounds a little. The day trips haven’t been frequent, but have been enjoyable.
We visited Yanchep National Park, which is a small park close to home.

Yanchep National Park

Yanchep National Park

We drove up to Toodyay and then home via Gingin. A lovely day wiith WA’s famous wildflowers starting to come into bloom.

Toodyay

Toodyay

We spent another long weekend at Margaret River where Molly and Kaz had a ball chasing rabbits.

Chasing Rabbits

Chasing Rabbits

We spent a pleasant day in New Norcia, the Benedictine monastery town. We’d been planning to visit for a while, but it’s definitely not a place to go in the summer – it’d be way too hot and there’s very little shade.

New Norcia Monastery Gate

New Norcia Monastery Gate

The biodynamic festival at High Vale Orchard was very enjoyable. It’s easy to see that in another couple of years that will be huge.

High Vale Biodynamic Orchard

High Vale Biodynamic Orchard

Our girls are still healthy and happy at 9 years old – loving the beach and digging holes in the back yard. They are dogs after all!

Quinns Rocks Beach

Quinns Rocks Beach

They do have their own digging patch but prefer to dig the lawn just outside their sandpit. Molly has developed a particular passion for hunting bees – she does love flowers in the garden. Kaz still has to be as close as possible to a scratching hand or a rubbing foot – she does love attention.

Kaz

Kaz

Molly

Molly

We’ll be spending a quiet Christmas at home and then we’re off to visit mum for 2 weeks in the New year. – the only holiday we currently have planned. What 2010 has planned for us is anyone’s guess, but we do know that it will be interesting!

Deb and Stephen - RMS Christmas Party

Deb and Stephen - RMS Christmas Party

Merry Christmas to all!

Oop poop a doo-doo…

What is wrong with those dog-owners to don’t pick up after their dogs? I just don’t get it…and obviously neither do they; but in a different way, altogether.
The dog-friendly beaches, parks and walks in our area all have doggy-do disposal bags and bins. But people still let their dogs crap on playing fields and paths.
Don’t go thinking that it’s ok to scoop the poop into a bag and leave it on the side of the path, or tied to the fence, or tossed into the bush either. Those of us who visit those areas frequently know just how long those bags have been there – you’re not picking it up on the way back.
Don’t go blaming the council for not providing enough baggies either. How hard is it to put a couple of plastic bags in you pocket before setting out? It’s your dog, it’s your responsibility.
I pity the poor kids and adults who play cricket or footy in the park near us. The fields are always scattered with droppings, some reminicent of the dinosaur mound in Jurassic Park! Well, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but maybe not to the kid who slips in it when he tries to catch the ball.
We’d never go out without at least 3 supermarket bags in our pockets for our 2 golden retrievers – those little yellow doggy bags the council provides just wouldn’t cut it for our ‘dinosaurs’!

As we read on a walk somewhere recently “pick up your dog poo”.

Your dingaling, your dingaling, I want you to play with your dingaling…

Few things get me more riled up than bicyle safety.
I get really cranky about drivers who don’t show respect to bike riders – how would you feel if you hit someone on a bike? Of course it’s not only the drivers that need to show more respect. There are some bike riders who could be a lot more respectful of cars on the road.
I’m both saddened and angered by the numbers of kids I see riding to school without helmets. These kids aren’t always on their own either, they are often riding with parents – who also have no helmets. How would you feel if your chilld suffered a head injury because they fell from their bike and hit their helmetless head? Why don’t the schools police it? Wouldn’t they prefer to reduce the seriousness of any injury experienced by their students on their way to/from school. Why don’t the police police it? It’s the law. Whether you’re 2 years old on your first bike or you’re 102 years old on your latest bike you should be wearing a helmet. Get those toddlers into the habit even if they aren’t going onto the road yet. No helmet = no bike!
I get a real bee in my bonnet about cyclists who don’t use their bells. Just ask anyone who’s been out walking on a shared pathway with me! If I’m walking, whether I’m wearing my iPod or not, I’m not going to hear you come up behind me on your bike. I could, for any number of reasons, step sideways, right into your path. Ring your bell to warn me you’re coming! Your bike isn’t roadworthy if it doesn’t have lights and a bell. The bell isn’t just there for show. It’s not painted on (like Russell Kirkpatrick’s car indicators). Not too long after we moved to Perth a pedestrian died after being hit by a cyclist on a shared pathway. How would you feel if you were that bike rider? If, heaven forbid, you don’t have a bell on your bike go out and get one, and in the meantime when you approach a pedestrian call out to them “bike on your right!” to warn them that you’re passing.