Friday, January 11, 2008

In the midst of it...

This is but the briefest of messages to the world today.

The storm I had anticipated has arrived, and things in my world are so disrupted that I could not begin to tell you right now.

I don't know where I will be living in a few week's time. I currently don't have internet access, so don't know when I will be back online next...very soon, I promise you.

My life is full of uncertainties, but I can tell you this: I have made the right decision, and in moments of clarity I experience pure pleasure at the thought of the future.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Weekly Winners, Sunday Meme

Welcome to the first Weekly Winners photo meme for 2008 - thanks and kudos to our Founder, Sarcastic Mom aka Lotus.

I wonder where we will take each other travelling with our images this year?

We had a new, small, furry addition to the household this week, who rather hogged the limelight. :)

As you can see, everyone is rather taken with the little guy.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

What next? Fire? Famine?

First, there was this:

A tropical storm with golf-ball sized hailstones swept through Lismore in early October 2007. We were just about to leave the local shopping centre after doing groceries when it roared in like a train. That is the road the boys are looking at, 5 minutes after the storm hit.

Have a look at those rear windscreens...they're gone!
Driving through town afterwards was startling - everywhere, cars sported smashed front and rear windscreens and massive hail "dimpling", the streets were littered with leaves shredded from the trees by the force of the hailstones, houses had whole walls full of smashed windows and local landmarks like the old Post Office clock were badly damaged. Lismore was declared a natural disaster area, and millions of dollars of insurance claims were made.

Then, at the end of October, came this (as regular readers will remember, see here and here for story and more pictures):

(Image by Tim Hollis. I don't have an external shot, 'cos we were under it!)

Once again, our village as well as the Lismore region was declared a natural disaster zone (another hailstorm ripped through the whole area after our tornado), and we marvelled at Nature's power and destructive force.

And this morning, I wake to the first glimpse of sunshine since Christmas Day as this area has been subjected to days of torrential rain and gale-force winds (leaks in the house still not fixed since that tornado were sorely tested, and I have buckets and bowls in all sorts of unlikely places, and the four-poster bed in the middle of the room away from the worst of it), to see this:

(Image from ABC TV)

The Big Feller and the wee man are out looking at the extent of the flooding right now, but I grew up round here so have a pretty good idea what it's like out there. I hope the Big Feller might manage to take a half-decent photo so I can share it with you...his photograpic skills (cough, cough) are a little lacking.

Once again, Lismore is going to be declared a natural disaster zone. Even though the rain has eased at the moment, there is still so much water coming down from the mountains that source the local rivers...right where we used to live, actually.

So you can see why I am wondering what else the universe has in store for us at the moment? I don't want anything else to happen, and superstitiously wondered about the wisdom of choosing that post title.

Maybe the storm will be an internal one. Things are NOT good with me and the Big Feller. There are changes coming which may rip through our emotional landscapes with a force of a tornado.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Aussie Bloggers, and other new beginnings.

Apart from having both husband and child at home all day every day at the moment seeking distraction and entertainment (does the phrase "what are we doing today?" come hard-wired with the Y chromosome?), I've had a couple of other distractions.

Most recently, the new website Aussie Bloggers and its already excellent community forum (Aussie Bloggers Forum) has provided much amusement and enlightenment. As they say in the intro,

"We are passionate about blogging and helping other Aussies. If you are an Aussie who is already blogging, or thinking about it - then you've found a new home...".

The site aims to:

"* provide a resource for new bloggers
* provide assistance in a welcoming (non-threatening) environment
* promote networking of Aussie bloggers
* promote the visibility/credibility of Australian bloggers and the Australian blogosphere."

Based on my experience of the last few days, they are on a winner, as we say down here.

The blogosphere often distinguishes itself by the particularly helpful and close-knit nature of the relationships that are formed between bloggers. Forgive the touch of patriotism, when I say that perhaps nowhere is it done better than by Australians.

Snoskred, Meg, Andrew, Lani, Kelley and many others who are working very hard to get this site ready for its launch date of January 21st have, I'm sure, already begun to see the fruits of their labours as the Aussie blogging community rolled in the "door" of the newly opened forum, and made themselves at home with a great deal of appreciation and bonhomie. Over 270 bloggers were online at once on the forum's first night!

The quality of information for new and more experienced bloggers, the support, the good humour, all make this forum a great place for bloggers to connect and network with other bloggers.

Oh, and did I mention that all nationalities are welcome? Already people are popping in from all over the place. Whether you are an Aussie or not, if blogging is your thang then drop on by.


The other distraction is a new blog I have in the pipeline. (Having the brains of all these great and experienced bloggers mentioned above readily available for the picking has been a great piece of synchronicity...not to mention a faintly obscene image! *grins*) I'll not say too much about it yet, but it is a bit of a departure from this one - it is both less and more personal, and I hope will reach out to a whole lot of other people to form a blogging community project of a different kind. As soon as I have the domain name sorted out, I'll tell you a little more. Watch this space for further developments.

Why I decided to start this new project right when I have less personal time due to the holidays is anyone's guess - I love a challenge, okay?


Oh, and my littlest and newest distraction is sitting on my lap. His name, if you ask the wee man, is Stuart Little - and if you ask me, it's Fergal, because I just cannot call a cat Stuart (I know too many 2-legged ones, too.). The boys brought him home yesterday. Nine weeks old, but he already strikes me as an old soul. He has immediately made himself a computer-lap cat - if I'm on the computer all day, then so is he. The wee man is a bit frightening for him (and me! - I am soooo sick of saying "leave him alone!"), though he's holding his own.

It's been over 2 years since my last cat Pepi died (of old age), and three and a half since my very special little blue boy Bilbo died (too young - taken by an eagle at 18 months old! He is a whole post on his own, and one I owe it to him to write.) I guess you could say I have been in mourning for all that time, not ready to have another cat step into those spaces.

Recently, the feelings have changed and I'm ready for that kind of company again. Cats suit the introvert in me - we can appear aloof and independent to outsiders at times, but reveal ourselves in our wacky humour and affectionate companionship at home, in safety. I think everyone who doesn't "like" cats just hasn't met the right cat yet. Bilbo illustrated that amazingly; he won over everyone he met, regardless of their assumptions about cats.

I'm not asking Fergal to fill those paw-prints...just the small cat-shaped hole in my soul which has been empty this little while.

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