Lots of birthday’s, and very tiring days

We have come to the end of our birthday blitz, with my brothers birthday on Tuesday, and him going back home, and back to the depths of winter, after a small break for him in lovely warm north Queensland.

On Sunday it was Jack’s birthday, and I did, only for the second time, the crazy thing of a birthday party. It went well……., but a few truths about things were also unearthed, we discovered our thief, the one who broke into the cars and stole a few things off the verandah, is the brother of one of the boys who came, this brother was trying to case the joint while he picked up his brother. My superhero senses noticed it straight away.

Anyhow, 2 of the boys I have decided are bad news, and have told Jack to steer clear of them from now on. I also discovered talking to his teacher the next day back at school that he has been led astray by these boys, so between me and Jack’s teacher, we are implementing Plan A, divide and conquer, Jack is a good kid, and smart, but he is very easily led.  Last night I gave Jack the drum, and today he implemented a few tactics to get some better friends. He had 3 boys over on Sunday, and the third boy was awesome, very polite, and smart. I also found out the following day that the nice boy, lost his mother a couple of years ago, so Jack has more in common than he realises.

My birthday was last Thursday, a week ago. I have officially turned the age of the meaning of life, the universe….everything………….42. Hahahahahaha!!! Yes, I am a Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy fan, well, sci-fi in general is my thing. Jack got me a golden elephant statuette, and 2 T-shirts, one with Iron Man, and one with the DeLorean from Back to the Future. They go well with my 2 Star Wars T-Shirts and my Doctor Who one !!! I also got some gift cards, so have bought myself a brand new cotton doona cover, a new body pillow, a small usb radio for when I am working outside in the garden and my nearly ready art studio, aaannnddd, I can’t remember what else right now, but I still have dollars left on the gift cards, so it’s not finished yet.

Jack got a huge amount of Lego from me, from my big score the other week, $1000’s of Lego for $80. He got some gift cards as well from Mum and Dad, and he combined them, and was able to buy a Lego Train Set, as well as a couple of smaller kits, and he will be buying a Lego Thanos Minifig as well. My brother also got him a larger set of the Marvel Spiderman Lego, with Spiderman and Venom and a couple of their battle machines.

Yesterday, we said goodbye to my brother, taking him up to the airport in the morning, and for most of the rest of the day, we collapsed in a heap. When you have a visitor, combined with back to back birthdays, you go out a lot. It is exhausting when you are fit and well, it’s something much worse when you have a debilitating health condition. So yeah, I am a bit run down right now.

I decided I needed to have the therapy of gardening today, so after I took Jack to school, I went out, weeded all the vege gardens, planted the next lot of tomato, capsicum and bean seeds (so we have continuity of production), got some other gardening done, and then set my attention on trying to finally get my art studio set up.

Dad still has a bit of stuff in the shed, but I got the shelving all in the right place, vacuumed out the dirt and rubbish all over the place, and reorganised the shelves with all my bits and pieces. I also had to seal up a wall joint, as once I moved one of the shelves, I discovered daylight coming down one corner. I used silcone, then ran sealing tape over it as well to make sure. There is also a little bit of sealing work to be done across the bottom as well, so I will need to get a couple more tubes of silicone tomorrow to get that all sorted. I have a fair bit of the framing timber to build the framework for the lining of the shed, so once I have a bit more energy, I will have to get some lining boards too.

Anyhow, I must get off to bed, it will be the earliest for a week, but I really need it.

Goodnight.

Andy.

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From the Photo Archives: Some Sunsets..

I thought I’d go for another instalment of photo’s from the archives. Here are some fiery, and not so fiery sunsets for your viewing pleasure……..

2012 Bridgewater Bay

This first one is at Bridgewater Bay, SW Victoria.

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This was taken in 2014, on my way back home from Warracknabeal, in Victoria, near The Grampians. I timed my return to be in this area at sunset……..

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…….and this is one of the shots of The Grampians. The lenticular clouds were amazing above the mountains this particular day.

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I also got this shot, with the rocks illuminated rad, with grazing sheep. Looks much better blown up big, this photo.

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Not one of the most photographically great photo’s, I hate having so much man-made crap in the way of a sunset, unless it suits, but this was the sky on fire, right out my front door a few years back, in Heywood, Victoria.

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This was out my Mum and Dad’s front door at Narrawong, Victoria.

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A little better shot a few months after my other front door shot at Heywood. Almost a painted sky.

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One of my all time favourite shots, I was coming back home from a day out to The Grampians, and this just presented itself. I actually had to turn the car around as I caught it out the corner of my eye as I was driving past, and by the time I got the camera out and set up, I thought I would lose it, but it just lasted for ages.

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This sunset was at the Lee Breakwater in Portland, Victoria. I tried so many times to get the perfect shot with a seagull, and this was closest.

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You will see a few shots at this place in coming posts, it’s at Bridgewater Lakes, in SW Victoria. That’s the Southern Ocean right there, and there is no other land once you leave that beach until Antarctica. Looks warm, was bloody freezing !!!!!

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This was the same day, it’s very misty due to sea spray, it was roaring that day, both wind and surf. The sea is about 500 metres away and about 100 metres below, and the ground was still vibrating with the crashing of the surf.

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And yes, another on the same day at Bridgewater Lakes, with…….the actual lakes !!

 

2016 Phillip Island (31)

This was taken at Phillip Island a couple of years ago, while not as stunning colour-wise as the other ones, I actually like the muted colours.

2016 Narrawong (19)

Another less fiery one, this time at the Surrey River In Narrawong. The reflections just made this. Was expecting a much more lively sunset, but alas, it didn’t happen. Still like this shot though.

2016 Condah (68)

A very plain Jane shot, simple, but I love it. The rays emitted from the horizon were amazing. This is at Condah, in SW Victoria.

2016 Casterton Sunset Storm (6)

This shot came at the tail end of an unsuccessful storm chase, I was chasing storms that just didn’t seem to want to play ball. On the radar, they looked to be moving my way, but they were dissipating and reforming just a little further away constantly, and as much as I drove, I got no closer to any real action. Roads that don’t go directly anywhere don’t help. But, I got this sunset near Casterton, complete with some stars.

2015 Condah (2)

I had this shot, taken near Condah, as my computer desktop image for a while.

2013 MacArthur Windfarm (4)

And to round the sunsets off, how about some renewable energy ?? This is the MacArthur Windfarm in Victoria.

I hope over the coming months I will get the opportunity to gather a few more images around this area  of sunsets, it just so happens that most of the time, it doesn’t work out well with it being dinner time and all.

Anyhow, I hope you enjoyed this lot, until next time, have a nice day, or night, whatever it may be in your part of the world.

Andy.

Meltdown

Today I had a freaking huge meltdown. I am one of those people that doesn’t go off much, I am the calm and collected one, but when I go off, I go off. It’s a family trait, my Mum and Brother are the same.

For weeks my mother has been in this mire of self pity, she also has fibromyalgia, but instead of accepting it and getting on with life as best as possible, she has immersed herself in the internet, the tv, food, and just self pity. She’s put on weight, I did also, I was in a bit of a funk as well, mainly because she has been and it tends to drag those around you in as well. I snapped myself out of it after a week, but she had got to the stage where the internet and TV was more important than putting the empty milk container, or tuna tin, into the recycling bin after she’d emptied it, which was like 12 inches below, under the bench.

Jack has also been not listening and doing the basics of the things I expect, I don’t expect much, but it’s not hard to put toys away after you use them, or put the washing IN the basket, not right beside it on the floor. Now we have a new family member, a younger dog, in the house, leaving shit everywhere is just asking for disaster. He’s also been just, pardon the bad language,  fucking plain rude to me, and I destroy myself making sure he has as good a childhood as I can manage, which, is much better than most able bodied fathers do with their own children.

There is a bunch of other things that have accumulated, like Mum saying she won’t put up with Dad’s shit anymore, but not really making it clear to him. He is a petulant child all on his own, and he is just so full of shit, and his own self importance. He probably won’t ever stop being a shit, but letting him think it is okay, is just becoming an enabler to his crap behaviour.

Yeah, yeah, I’m venting. I let fly this afternoon, at Mum and Jack, I told Mum outright that I was sick of her wallowing in self pity, that leaving rubbish within inches of the bin was just fucking bullshit, and that I am in agony ALL THE TIME, and am severely fatigued ALL THE TIME (she isn’t even remotely as bad with fibro as I am yet, she even admits it), but I still get off my arse and do shit, even when physically I feel destroyed.

In the time she’s been in the wallow, I’ve painted the side fence, installed solar security lights, still stuck to my laundry schedule (she’s run out of clothes a few times, as she has just not bothered to keep to her schedule, and she only has to wash her own clothes and bedding, I do 2 peoples stuff, and the extra kitchen and bathroom washing), done the lawn mowing several times (Dad just doesn’t bother, he sits arguing with strangers on Twitter all the time, another example of his shitheadedness), I get Jack to and from school every day, make meals, take mum out shopping when she wants (she doesn’t drive), I am just a fucking slave, and it is just too much. I really just feel that nobody realises I am actually a human being, I’m just the car driver, the home help, whatever. I am at the point that I don’t even think a holiday would help me not feel this way.

When I made dinner tonight, just after I exploded, Mum actually got up and started doing some stuff. Jack did too. After dinner, Jack made sure he put his dishes in the sink, and mum got straight up and washed them. It’s nice, but really, should it take you losing your fucking bananas to get others to help out ?

We all live here, shit, shouldn’t we all do our bit? I’ve even had some thank you’s from Jack, but, I told him that right now, all I can see that is is that I lost my shit and it’s not genuine, just I guilted him into it, and that for me to believe it, it needs to continue. I am sort of over window dressing, it needs to be genuine, and I need to not be a fucking slave.

Being as ridiculously unwell as I have been recently, doesn’t help. Fibromyalgia unwell, everything else is fine, since I have been getting flu shots and taking probiotics, the respiratory illnesses have become a thing of the past. This week, I have had to sleep from when I brought Jack home from school, until dinner was ready, 3 times. I have also felt like my head was going to explode, it’s not pain, just pressure. Body pain has been ridiculous, and as much sleep as I get just doesn’t do much at all.

Well, I am going to stew a bit more, try and sleep, and see you all later.

Andy.

 

Fur baby

Tomorrow, we are going on a 150 km round trip to Mareeba, to visit a Dog Shelter. We may have found a new member for our family.

This is the first time we have decided to go down the shelter dog path, and Max, the dog we will be looking at, is a cross between a Pomeranian, Staffordshire Terrier, and Chihuahua. He looks beautiful, all white, and is apparently good with kids, so on the face of it, sounds perfect for our family.

It’s been nearly 5 months since we lost our beautiful girl, Smudge, the Jack Russel Terrier, a dog that had been a part of my life, through good and bad (even the ex bad) for nearly 17 years. It is still in my mind, how we lost her, until she had her stroke, I had never heard of a dog having a stroke. But, despite all that, the memories of the joy she brought will stay with me forever.

Tonight, after I tucked Jack into bed, I went out and retrieved the dog carrier out of the shed, cleaned it all and reassembled it, as we had it in 2 parts, we used to use one half for Smudge’s bed, with a nice high loft pillow and a blanket inside. It is now reassembled, hopefully with no lingering scent of Smudge (I don’t want Max doing anything in it because of another dogs smell, if we end up bringing him home)  and is in the boot of my car. We, Mum and I, have kept it hush hush from Jack, as if we go there and he doesn’t fit us, then there won’t be disappointment, but also, it will be a hell of a surprise if we rock up to pick him up from school with a dog !!!

Anyhow, short and sweet tonight, I need sleep, last night was the second night in a row I have been woken around 4.15am, last night it was 2 cats brawling right outside my bedroom window !! The night before the smoke detector. Hopefully tonight it will be a good, full night sleep.

Andy.

From the Photo Archives: Buildings and Man-made Structures – some of my favourites

I have been doing a major re-order of all my photography recently, and as such, have re-discovered a number of photo’s that I think are worth sharing with you. It’s been a useful exercise, most of my photo’s are now easier to find, and seeing I have been suffering so much with the fibromyalgia, it helps take my mind somewhere else for a little relief.

Well, enough of the gas bagging,  welcome to my show !!!!

2011 Portland Botanical Gardens Caretakers Cottage (2)

This first one is of the caretakers cottage at Portland Botanical gardens. I have a love hate relationship with this photo, as it turned out so well, but I hate how it’s postcard perfect.

2010 Cape Nelson Lighthouse

This one, and the next, are at Cape Nelson Lighthouse, near Portland, Victoria. The below one is the entrance to the lighthouse tower.

2012 Cape Nelson (5)2010 Merino

I love old abandoned buildings, this old Petrol Station just got me, it’s at a small village called Merino, in SW Victoria.

2012 Casterton

Jeffreys Cordial Factory, at Casterton, Victoria, the birth place of the Kelpie breed of dog.

2012 Portland Old Town Hall and War Memorial (2)

This is the old Portland Town Hall, with the war memorial in the foreground.

2012 Portland Whalers Bluff Light (2)

Whalers Bluff Lighthouse, in Portland, Victoria, a stout little lighthouse, because of it’s high elevation it doesn’t need to be tall, but very pretty.

2013 Heywood Railway Station

Another of the abandoned buildings, there are heaps of these across Victoria, this is the Old Heywood Railway Station, in SW Victoria.

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I believe this was a Lutheran Church, it is located in Heywood, and was one of my first attempts to photograph buildings at night.

2015 Bessiebelle (2)

A school bus shelter, with Jack as the muse, near Bessiebelle in SW Victoria. I call this “Waiting for the bus that won’t come”. There are heaps of these, sitting unused all over the place in Victoria.

2015 Bessiebelle

Another abandoned building in SW Victoria.

2015 Hamilton Skene Woolshed

Skene Woolshed near Hamilton in SW Victoria. Very impressive building, with solid bluestone walls.

2015 Morgiana

This is another old woolshed, but I don’t think much wool has been clipped here for a long time, this was at a locality (not a town to be seen) called Morgiana, in SW Victoria.

2018 Narrawong (5)

This was an old settlers shack in Narrawong, Victoria, just down the hill from my parents old place.

2016 Melbourne Exhibition Building (2)

The Exhibition Building, in Melbourne. I believe it is UNESCO listed.

2015 Melbourne (12)

Another Melbourne landmark, Flinders Street Station, with a modern Tram in front. I love the juxtaposition of this shot, modern and old, with a touch of AC/DC !!!

2012 Melbourne

Another building shot in Melbourne, I loved the difference in the old and new architecture. So much more style in the old, the other is just a boring box.

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This little boathouse is in a Memorial gardens in the Dandenong Ranges, east of Melbourne.

2015 Werribee South (2)

A wooden breakwater at the mouth of the Werribee River at South Werribee.

2019 Paronella Park (3)

And finally, a recent one at Parronella Park.

I hope you enjoyed these shots, I will get some more up in another theme when I am in the mood.

Andy.

Chillagoe, a bit of catching up

I hadn’t realised that I had been so tardy in getting these up.

We went on a big outing a few weeks back to Chillagoe, which is west of Cairns, about a 3 hour drive. It is an old mining town, mainly tin, but other metal ores were also mined around the place as well. It is also one of Australia’s biggest sources of marble.

Below, a few photos of the day………

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This is the site of the old abandoned smelter. Back in the 1990’s, when I first went to Chillagoe, you could walk right around those old structures, nowadays, it is all fenced off, with quite a well designed viewing area, and signage telling you all about the place.

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This is one of the 3 Chimney’s at the site, this was apparently the main on.

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This is a different perspective of the site, showing all three chimney’s the one in the centre was for the powerhouse.

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Even in the wasteland around the site, these beautiful flowers were trying to make a go of it.

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This was where the ore was crushed in the first stage of processing.

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A closer up shot of the powerhouse chimney, which was a different design to the others, it had flat sides, whereas the other two were round to the top.

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After touring the old smelter site, we headed a further 30 km northwest, on the hunt for fossils. Apart from a small piece of petrified wood, we only ended up with a few nice pieces of jasper. This is the Walsh River, beautiful cool and flowing water, and it is so remote out there, it was just serene.

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Another shot of the Walsh River from the road crossing.

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Red termite mounds and Brahman Cattle, you certainly know you are in Northern Australia when you have that view.

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It takes a fair bit of gravel road driving to get out to Chillagoe and beyond, and there are these amazing limestone tors all around Chillagoe. The dirt and dust, and the occasional 3 trailer Road Train is worth the effort.

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One of the truly massive limestone caves that dot the area. In the 1990’s we went into one called the Donna Cave, with all those stalagmites and tites, and they are amazingly beautiful, it’s amazing what happens when you just add water to limestone, and wait a few thousand years !!!

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The limestone ranges, with those red termite mounds that are synonymous with Northern Australia. I’ll leave you with the below closer shot of the scene above. This trip made me realise just how much I love the Savannah Grasslands and Woodlands across northern Australia.

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Andy.

Perpetual Zombie

One of the hardest parts of Fibromyalgia is the constant, and unending fatigue. Yeah, the pain is bad, its horrendous actually, especially when you find yourself in the situation I do currently without a GP. I have been without proper pain medication now for many weeks, because of the fatigue, I really can’t remember how many, because when you are suffering from pain and fatigue, each day, each hour, each week just melds together. ( I just checked the box, I kept the last empty box, and seeing I took it as directed by my doctor, it has been about 6 weeks since I last had any).

The fatigue is crushing. I have actually had solid 8 or 9 hours sleep at night a fair bit recently, but every morning I get up, it is a drag up, not get up. My brain seems to take at least 30 minutes to boot up, so I am in a daze, and thankfully, I seem to have mornings so down pat right now that I manage on auto pilot. (Except for 2 mornings ago, when I clear slept through my annoying alarm going off right next to my head for 45 minutes, only waking when Mum came in and woke me, and I managed still to get Jack to school in time !!)

Most days I wake tired, really just want to stay in bed, get myself going somehow (willpower, that’s all I’ve got) and then, once Jack is at school, I come home, and then fight myself not to go back to bed. Most days I don’t, today I did, and slept for 4 hours. I just couldn’t day, just couldn’t face it, just couldn’t do it. I gave up today.

It really sucks trying to struggle through EVERY day. I force myself most days. I don’t know if it is a good thing or a bad thing, but even though I feel out of it most of the day, I try and achieve something. I am successful achieving something the majority of days, even if it is just 10 or 15 minutes of some task. At least it is something. If I have a day like today, where I achieve zero, it is devastating on a mental level. I try not to have days like today.

Walking around in a constant fuzzy headed way is not fun, when it first hits you, in the early stages of the worsening phase of Fibromyalgia, you honestly feel like you are losing your mind. Eventually, instead of fighting it, you realise that just going with the craziness than ensues from having a fuzzy brain is so much easier. If I start saying something, and it begins to come out all wrong, I just go with it now. I speak gibberish just to make light of the situation. I am not saying I am crazy, I have all my mental abilities still, I’m not an airhead, it’s just that the body doesn’t always cooperate, and now I have decided that instead of getting all stressed out about it, I go with it, because stressing out about it will just make it worse. Getting over frustrated by it doesn’t help either. You will get frustrated by it, I still do, but I quickly snap myself out of it with a bit of zany.

Funnily, the only time I seem to not have issue is when driving, luckily. When I was younger, I could drive for 36 hours straight, and not once feel the need to sleep. I love driving, it gets me going, so maybe that’s why. The longest stint of driving I did was for nearly 42 hours. No, I wasn’t on Ice, Speed or any of that sort of stuff, I did smoke a bit of pot at the time though, but even that didn’t send me off to the fairies like it seems to for other people. I don’t have typical reactions to drugs like others. For instance, caffeine has this incredible ability to put me to sleep. Weird, isn’t it. It’s the same for all the drugs they caution you may make you drowsy. Never happens for me.

I really don’t enjoy being a Perpetual Zombie, but I have got so used to it now, this is the norm, even though it is far from normal. I can’t believe I can do the things I do even in this state, but I must say, I must have something amazing ticking away inside me that makes it possible. I said willpower, and maybe it is, I want to live still, and being able to contribute, how ever small that contribution is, to making a life somehow, is really important. Without that, what is there?

Andy.