Tuesday, December 31, 2013

merry holidays!

Some people wonder if it is possible to have a 'normal' Christmas season in the tropics. Well it is once you accept that this is the new normal.
have a seat under this palm tree
and look for activity in the Bay while you have a coffee...
We have some traditions, like hanging up Matthias' retired bicycle as our decoration. This bike was worn out by a series of trainees from all over Germany and I always think of them when we light it up.

We find it amusing to dress up the dogs for photos, but then the costumes have to be hidden away before they get destroyed! 

doh. Izzy

just you wait... Sheila
We got a bunch of friends together for way too much food and a quiet bike ride around the local streets looking at lights. This is another tradition now, we can't seem to get by without it.
that's me in the green lights

just because it is the tropics doesn't mean we can't have over the top light displays.
 Our newest tradition is a daily walk at day break. Greyhounds wake up ready for action. The rewards are great though, this is Christmas morning.
These holidays I seem to have perfected doing very little. We had a full Christmas dinner after a very quiet day. Love a big turkey spread. And rum balls, Australians have rum balls. I soak my fruit in rum for a couple of weeks so they are super rummy.

everybody on a laptop, dogs sleeping, the usual...
flowers from the Canadians is another tradition! They smell wonderful.
It has gotten really hot, 35 yesterday, looks about the same today, so I am sitting in the air conditioning so my dogs can stay cool, and I am a bit bored but at least I am blogging! I wish I had gone for a ride today but by knees and joints seem a bit inflamed by this heat, so I didn't. And I am up to week 5 in the annual Couch to 5 k attempt to become a runner, and I really don't dare. Bummer.

Thursday I have to cycle though because it is back to work, which will be a bit odd after a few weeks of slouching around. Hoping to get back in the habit of a long ride before going to the office. Glad that I can cycle with a dodgy knee. 

It has been a year that turned out well for all of us at Casa Hound. Work enough for everyone, good health all around, two lovely dogs who needed a home and some special attention have found their place. Hope we do as well in 2014. Hope you all do well too.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

almost Christmas!

I have been getting reminded that I really should blog, and I say I will but I never seem to get aroundtoit. Sorry Mom and Dad! I'll get lots of photos and stuff up over the hols. Everything is very good here, the summer is really lovely so far (Carol, this would have been a good year to come over :p)

a perfect Christmas tree worth stepping onto hazardous ground to photograph.
Me and Izzy in the garden. I neglected to get my hair cut this year. Don't worry, I had a prune a few weeks ago. I have better things to spend my money on, like dogs!

Look how sweet!

Bikes! Yikes! I got a grant which let me hire a part time mechanic, and then I needed to hire another because one wasn't enough! We have done up 50 bikes for the JCU Green Bike program, and a LOT of them were returned for a $20 return on a $50 purchase price, plus many more as well! We should have over 60 to sell on O-week, which is a very big deal. 

Here is a very nice shot of Tess, I had to nip up to Cairns for the launch of a map series I designed and worked on with the Wet Tropics Management Authority.

They are vegetation maps which "match" the topographic maps so they are easy to use in the field (the veg map is the top one)
Me and Mike, the Cartographer for WTMA. It was a huge team effort to create a 54 map series, and it is a shame that Karsten, my German student who did a ton of work on this was unable to be with us. 

Best Christmas decoration on the street!
So it has been a very huge last couple of months, and I confess to being a bit done in by it all. I have had a couple of weeks to recover and am starting to get some energy back (just went for a run!). Have a very Merry Christmas everyone, I'll be thinking of you all.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

suddenly summer

Suddenly it is hot. Spring is never much here, someone just trows a switch somewhere and the heat comes on. It is tinder dry and that special smell of 'autumn leaves' confuses my seasons.
lizards and snakes are on the move. This was a big guy, a good metre long

Kapok are spring. They are everywhere on the hills.

New spring outfits for my girls.

I told you it was hot! Izzy surprised me when she plunged into the river and had a lie down.
 And spring time is orchid season. All my neglected orchids bloom and life is sweet

The local golden orchid is a big plant

My best bunch of amaryllis 

Vanilla orchids! SO many more than last year, Scott is out every day pollinating. Fingers crossed for lots of vanilla pods.

I am loving getting kitted up in the mornings and not worrying about being cold. I love summer, even here.

Friday, September 20, 2013

save my soul

Why are we here. What does it matter if there is an election, and you vote (after DAYS of research) to find that you are not normal. Some weird ass, fringe dwelling, tree hugging, greyhound obsessed cycling weirdo. Get off my road!!

Australia is now spun back to the 50s, and I can't even remember the 50s. So where do I live now? At a University that is struggling for relevance in a new paradigm? In a world where women are too dumb to matter? Advocating for cycling to a government who is hell bent to build bigger roads for cars, against all the science? And a MSM baying for the blood of cyclists. To what end? To have us all drive a car? How has it come to this. I often think, as I ride out into this hard world, of the battles fought in The Lord of the Rings.
"Théoden: So much death. What can Men do against such reckless hate?
Aragorn: Ride out with me. Ride out and meet them.
Théoden: For death and glory.
Aragorn: For Rohan. For your people.

And so it is. And so I will, because it is all I can do. For my people. We exist.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Spring has arrived

Now that Izzy is ours we can spend up big at the Vets to try and clear up the canine lupis on her nose. So far I think she is looking a bit better. I don't like the cortisone treatment though, and will be glad to see the end of that. It has knocked her around and she isn't her usual bright self at all.
and so it begins...
 Meanwhile things continue apace in the world of cycling at JCU. I finally seem to have gotten the pumps in my workstations repaired. I gave up on the supplier and had a local manufacturer replace all the hoses with proper stainless steel clad unpinchable ones, which is what was promised in the first place but never delivered. My next workstations will be fully locally made. Dumb southerners...
A happy customer. He is newly arrived from Europe and takes this kind of thing for granted.

The typical student bike, a cheap department store mountain bike. He seemed keen when I told him we would give him 20 bucks for it when he leaves, and keep it going.
 And then it was Super Tuesday! A day of counting bikes from 7am til 9am. Love doing this, such fun. About 60% of cyclists past my spot asked if I was OK or needed help. How very nice. And about 90% said good morning.


Super Tuesday pretty much marks the start of spring here. We have local native golden orchids in bloom. My yard is as brown and dormant as I have every seen it. I guess everything was exhausted after a couple of years with no real dry season. 

so cheery!!! Blooms rise up out of a patch of brown.
 My Aussie family has been visiting the old country and sent me some magic baking powder when they got home. All you Canucks, check out the perfect fit in a bottle cage. Scott discovered this when he picked up the gift from the Uni. This empty one is now a stylish Canadian statement as well as a holder of tubes and tools.
 If you have to go vote, go in style and enjoy the ride. I numbered every box on every ballot and remain unrepresented in my local area. I thought I was so normal!
And then there was a trip to the beach. I love it when it heats up.

bravely getting their tootsies all wet. Sheila won't pee on the grass if it has been sprinkled the night before. The wet season will be interesting.

Izzy is now utterly ruined, she jumped up and had a lie in my bed!

Just another beautiful morning with a special gathering of the pelicans

A bold little lorikeet at work
 That's it from me!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Things cycling

there has been much funding proposal writing, and this is what we got:

Green bikes  http://www-public.jcu.edu.au/atjcu/JCU_127228

Austcycle training provider  http://www-public.jcu.edu.au/news/atjcu/JCU_127444

me with helmet hair  http://jcnn.com.au/spotlight/4727/

launching the green bikes by helping a local

There has been a Parliamentary Inquiry

There is probably more, but this is what I remember from a few frantic weeks! All good stuff though.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

living stylishly with greyhounds

For ages I have been looking for some fabric or wallpaper to tart up Patrick's 19 year old fridge. Then last weekend I scored a single bed doona cover set for $9.00 from Woolworths of all places! This is just the retro look and colourway I had in mind!
fabric is still wet, hoping it will not show the dark bands of the silver mac tac when it dries, but whatever. Very funky fridge. happy.

 And then I had fabulous fabric which also matches my decor (like Mother like Son) which I thriftily sewed up into doggy doona covers. Patrick donated a faded double bed flat sheet in charcoal to the cause, which made a perfect slip cover for dog beds made from a cheap foam single bed mattress cut in half. The doona cover had a pillow slip included, the bit left from the fridge made a bolster, and the rest of the cover made a perfect slip cover for two double bed doonas folded into a quarter.
I laid here and read a book while Sheila hogged the couch. Very comfy!

Izzy did spend a lot of time here today. Looks as good as it feels!
And then there was time for some walks~
Izzy on her first walk with no muzzle. Very happy! She loves her new green kit, and look how shiny!
Sheila is looking just amazing as we head off on the monthly GAP walk. She is shiny and sleek and no bones! Some may suggest we have *ahem* gone too far...
We adopted Izzy last week, and she has had a professional teeth clean as part of the process. OMG! Her teeth were so brown and terrible and now she is gorgeous!!!! Note to self, make dental appointment...
Greyhounds love other greyhounds. The monthly group walk is very exciting
Sheila is a big rangy girl, but she was small compared to this amazing Great Dane! He weighs 94 kilos!!
So that is a quick dog centric update. Stay tuned, there will be cycling things very soon!! Lots has (and is) happening in the BUG and you will be told!