A little bit of this and a little bit of that…

The temperature was much more pleasant today. Down around 30°C (86°F). You feel like getting things done. And I felt like getting a little bit of housework done (just a little bit, mind you). This involved packing the Christmas tree and decorations away. I discovered that the knitted Santa that made had made us several years ago had gone AWOL. Over the Christmas season he usually sits on the bookcase with Mrs. Claus. This morning he was missing, I soon found him, though. He’d gone outside to play in the sandpit with Anzac. It was into the washing machine for a good bath for Santa. He came out as good as new!

Santa, washed and clean and none the worse for wear

Santa, washed and clean and none the worse for wear

While I was packing everything away I decided to give the reindeer antlers one last try on the dogs. They were less than impressed but I did get a few photos.

Kaz Reindeer

Kaz Reindeer

Anzac Reindeer

Anzac Reindeer

Last week when Stephen went to buy his seafood he also came home with a kilo basket of Casa Ricotta. Very nice, but when and how were we going to eat that much ricotta? Well, today he decided to bake some. After a bit of recipe research he added fresh herbs and packed it into a ramekin and into the oven it went. Oh my…

Ricotta ready to bake

Ricotta ready to bake

Finished freshly baked ricotta

Finished baked ricotta

In the meantime we had given the dogs a half marrowbone each. Kaz always buries hers almost straight away so that it can ‘ripen’ a bit. Trouble is, she forgets where she’s buried it. Anzac is top dog when it comes to bones and he won’t let Kaz out of his sight when there are bones around – in case she ends up with one and he can’t find the other – or, heaven forbid, she ends up with his bone! He spent quite a bit of time in one of the nests they’ve dug under the wattle and grevilleas either working on or protecting his bone.

Anzac in his nest

Anzac in his nest under the grevillea and wattle

Anzac with bone

Anzac under the bushes with a bone - taken from a different angle

We are pretty slack when it comes to inviting people over for a meal. We have great intentions but time tends to get away from us. And we do worry about Anzac jumping on people. It’s something we’re trying to tech him not to do but we don’t have very many visitors and the dogs get very excited when anyone does visit. Anyway, back to us not getting round to setting a date to invite friends for meals. It works about better sometimes if people just drop in. That happened today. Isaac and Karen called to check that we were home and then dropped in for a coffee. And we shared the delicious baked ricotta on some crackers. It was lovely to see them and they got to meet the pups.

The moral of this story is: if we’ve been saying that we’ll have to have you over for a meal but haven’t got round to setting a date, then just call us up and say “I’m on my way over, I’ll be there in half an hour”. Just so long as you’re not going to be upset if there’s a bit of dust and dog hair around the place, we’ll all be happy!

We managed to grab a couple of ripe passionfruit for ourselves (before the dogs got to them) and had them on ice cream tonight. They were only small but chock-full of pulp. Yummm Yummm

Passionfruit

Passionfruit

Lunch, computers and OCR

I hopped on the train today and went to visit a friend for the day. We had a delicious lunch and great conversation. The time flew by so fast; too fast. Lynne was also kind enough to go through some of her business set-up with me. It’s all quite daunting when it boils down to reality. She has certainly given me plenty to think about!

Earlier in the day I made it to the post office and had a copy of my passport verified for my GDID enrolment. I got that emailed off. I’m committed to it now! I also put a USB modem in the mail for my mum. She’s been on dial-up. We’re hoping that with a broadband connection she’ll get a lot more use and enjoyment from her computer. My sister is organising a new computer for her when she visits after Christmas. Mum’s computer is about six years old and she’s been getting a lot of blue screens and now it won’t even turn on. Between us we’ll get her organised with a new computer and a faster Internet connection.

While I was still on the train on my way home I got a call from a friend who wanted some help getting the text out of a pdf document. He’s a friend who would do anything if we asked and I was more than happy to help.  I had him email it to me so I could see what needed to be done. It turns out that it was a scanned document so the text was really a picture of text, which is why he couldn’t just copy and paste it. My copy of Acrobat is crashing when I open it and I haven’t had a chance to look at why. I opened the document on Stephen’s computer and ran it through the OCR on his Acrobat. That got me most of the text and it didn’t need too much clean-up; it did miss a page in the middle, though. And Acrobat is a bit clunky to use for simple OCR. I then Googled free OCR programs to see what was out there. I ended up downloading FreeOCR from cnet and ran a page of the document through that. It was a very quick and easy process and I really like the way that FreeOCR has a split window so you can see the original document and the extracted text side-by-side. You can easilyedit the text and export it to Word. Of course there are always problems with OCR. The quality of the extracted text depends on the quality of the original image. But if you’re looking for a free OCR program and you’re on a Windows platform, I don’t think you can go past FreeOCR.