a little gardening and where on earth have i been?

Tomorrow is the first day of spring. Not that the weather has been told. Its sunny one minute, pouring with rain the next, frost in the morning, warm in the afternoon… Pretty normal really.

The garden is confused. Plants flower. Then the frost gets them. So they flower again, The frost comes again and gets what survived the previous frost. Pretty normal really.

The garden isn’t the only thing that’s confused. Annabelle (the goose) has laid eggs. On top of last year’s dead eggs which I never got around to removing from the nest she abandoned.

In fact we’re not sure she’s actually laid new eggs on top of the old ones or if she decided to give the stale eggs another chance… either way, she’s gone clucky. Too early.

The place is a mess. Muddy and wet. Seeds I tossed out are growing and blooming between the frost bitten plants. The grass is growing and the weeds are growing faster. When walking across the yard I sometimes just can’t resist picking up the grandpa weeder and ‘just grubbing out that obnoxious weed that’s just staring me in the face, laughing at me’.

An hour or so later I put away the weeder and go into the house.

In the good news department, my new hyacinths are up. And the tyre retaining wall is filling up as the plants grow.

I put more wire up for the hardenbergia so it can spread across the carport wall.

Even the dogs got into gardening – digging new holes where pretty succulents used to grow.


I’m trying to get the garden done in short spurts, a bit here, a bit there. There’s just so much to do. And so little time. Which is why I haven’t posted. I just haven’t felt like writing, watching TV is all I want to do at the end of the day.

That and exercising my fingers.

With the broken finger now healed I can do almost anything again. My fingers are very stiff and sore and my left hand has only 1/2 the strength of the right,but I’m grooming again and I’ve started doing things in the workshop again. Finally.

One of these days I’ll be organised and have time to do it all.

In my dreams.

z

what language does your phone speak?

This afternoon I ran into a problem I’ve had on numerous occasions with my phone. I was in my car, using bluetooth, to make a call. I hit the ‘phone’ button on my steering wheel and the phone said ‘Main Menu’.

I said “Call Amanda”.

It said ‘Would you like to call Pam?’

I said “No.”

‘Would you like to call Tourist Information?’

“NO!”

‘Please press the call button to select from the following names: Brian. Mano. The Japanese Embassy.’

“Cancel.”

Lets try again…

“Call AMANDA!”

It said ‘Would you like to call Pam?’

“NO.”
‘Would you like to call Mom?’

“NO!!! Cancel.”

‘Sorry, I don’t understand that request.’

“Cancel.”

Lets try again…

“Call Ah-MAN-DAh!”

It said ‘Would you like to call Pam?’

“NO.”
‘Would you like to call Steven?’

“NO!!! Cancel.”

‘Sorry, I don’t understand that request.’

“Cancel.”

At this stage I asked Wayne to help. I pressed the phone button and he said (in an INDIAN accent): “Call Amanda”.

It said ‘Calling Amanda’.

I mean, really.

Its like that message to text thing some phone services offer.

Have you ever got a message from them that makes sense?

You say “Hi, I’m calling about the table you have on Gumtree. Please call me back this afternoon”.

The message the guy on the other side probably says “Hi I’m talking around me cable pull have up tree. Please collar after you.”

I don’t have a typical Australian accent, but I really am not that hard to understand. I speak English. As a native speaker. With a mostly northern American accent… you wouldn’t think technology would have such a hard time understanding me.

But its not just me it doesn’t understand. The amount of times I’ve received incomprehensible texts (which have been conveniently converted to text for me by a helpful phone provider) makes me wonder if they aren’t just having a joke at our expense…

z

passing the time not so productively

So, other than pondering the big questions in life (like is DIY worth it) what have I been doing with myself since the circumcised finger incident?

In short: not much.

Today I managed to make the bed almost entirely by myself. I had to call in reinforcements to pull the last corner of the fitted sheet down… But I was able to wrestle the doona into its cover all by myself.

I call that a victory.

Other than that I’ve been doing a lot of computer stuff. My mouse hand works fine.

Things like a heap of pics for my dog grooming:

And some self promotion for the radio show Wayne and I do:

Or, my favourite:

I’ve taken to wrapping my splint in neon coloured vet wrap.

I’ve been bored.

Tomorrow I’ll try to take some photos of projects which have been finished for a while but lack photographic evidence.

Plus, I finished a gift for Wayne’s workshop which I can photograph and share.

I can do that now cause I got batteries for my camera.

z

DIY – is it worth the bother?

Seriously, I’ve been thinking this for a while now… in fact its a thought I get every time I go shopping…

And let me say right now, this is in no way an advertisement for Kmart (though if they’d like to throw some money my way I’d be more than happy to take it!)

Why bother making our own stuff when Kmart, The Reject Shop, Big W, Target and just about every other big store sells the stuff we pin, make from scratch or make over from curbside finds.

And (usually) for less than we can make them for!

We spend hours and often $$ making these things when we could walk into Kmart and just buy. No muss, no fuss.

I mean, I’m a fan of old, rusty, crusty and broken, so I’m not a big fan of cheap new imitations… but if you make things to sell then this is what you have to compete with. And not everyone has the same passion for old dirt as I do.

How about some examples? All items on right are from the Kmart website.

Ladder shelves are a big thing, pretty and practical. Image on left from Pinterest.
Who doesn’t love cement lamp bases? Image on left from Pinterest.
Trendy pegboard shelves… Image on left from Pinterest.
 Cement planters. Image on left from Pinterest.
 Come on, haven’t you been tempted to make one of these? Image on left from Pinterest.

Test tube bud vases… Image on left from Pinterest.

If I didn’t love old things with authentic scratches from many years of use, rust from being treated with a healthy amount of disrespect, and antique grime, I would be decorating my house with this stuff.

So what if it breaks in a year or less? Just buy a new one. Or something else. Just means you can re-decorate again!

So where does this leave us DIYers?

I don’t know.

I will still make, remake and revamp old stuff. For my own home and enjoyment. And maybe there’ll be enough people out there who appreiciate the real thing with all its not quite perfection.

But sometimes I’m tempted…

Like this faux cowhide rug. I plan to buy this soon as I have some spare cash.

So its not real… it’ll look pretty cool on my couch.
z
PS. Notice the new banner? Like?

canberra

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade they say.

So, you’re prepared for lemons – you set up a lemonade stand, line up some sugar and get your juicer ready.

But life sends you prickly pears instead – and not a knife and fork or armoured gloves in sight!

I’ve been in the country capital (Canberra, not Syndey, for my American friends) and have been for a week and a half now. Feels like 5 weeks…

Oh, there are no direct flights to Canberra from Hobart any more, so I had to take 2 planes, and by the time I stepped off the plane I was sick with the flu.

I arrived late afternoon only to find funds hadn’t cleared in my credit card and I was in trouble hiring the car I’d organised. I was ready to sit down and cry. But the great guys at Redspot Car Rentals (HUGE plug for them, they’re wonderful!) worked it out for me and I was soon on the road.

I’ve been sick the entire time I’ve been here, only really starting to feel human today. Wonderful. I came here to see my brother who is sick and guess what? I gave him the flu too. As if he didn’t have enough pain already.

I gave it to my cousin Mayia who I’m staying with as well as a few other members of the family.

Share and share alike.

Sigh.

I’m only telling you this so you know why the silence. I have a ton of projects to share which feel like old news now, but they haven’t been written up or shared cause I’ve been too sick and have limited access to internet.

So, I’m fine now. Almost. Surely. And I’ll be back to flood ravaged Tasmania soon to see if our driveway is still there.

And then I’ll catch up.

I promise.

z

my first big love

You got it.
My first big love was David Cassidy.
On the way to the radio station to do our show today* we swung past the community market and I found this in one of the stalls. When I saw it I said “Oh, David Cassidy! I had the hots for him real bad when I was 13!”
To which the stall holder said “And still do!” as I oohed and ahhed at the photos and memories.
I guess he was right. You never do get over your first big love. How can you get over that smile with that one crooked tooth, those long dark eyelashes and those beautiful brown eyes?
I’m guessing never. He set the standard for the type of guy I’m a sucker for: deep brown eyes, long lashes, a mouthful of (big) teeth, with at least a couple of crooked ones in there. Dimples are a bonus but not a requirement.

But get a load of this book! Seriously. I’d have killed for this when I was 13.

“How to make David happy” is just one of the amazing articles in it. I bet the owner of this book read it like a bible and slept with it under her pillow. I know cause that’s what I’d have done….

This one takes the cake: “How David wants you to look”! 

But look at the photo of David in his corduroy trousers that end about half a mile above his ankles and his platform boots.
The seventies really were the era of fashion best forgotten.
This stuff is priceless. Did they do this sort of thing for every teen idol back then? No wonder the guy hit the skids. Who can live up to this sort of marketing!
Sheesh.
Anyway, it was a great trip down memory lane, with a bit of nostalgia for the feelings of adoration only a teen can feel for her favourite star.
*I mentioned a radio show. Its been a few weeks now that Wayne and I have been doing a 2 hour show at the local station on Sunday afternoons. Between 12 and 2pm. We play (or should I say *I* play) rockabilly, country, some hillbilly, some country swing, some rhythm and blues, some big band stuff. Pretty much the type of music you can dance to or tap your feet to. The stuff I used to dance to when I lived in Melbourne and used to go dancing 3-4 times a week.
We’re loving it!
Sunday is our day now. We sleep in, have brunch out, do the show, lots of laughs and great music, and then follow up with some coffee in town and perhaps bump into old friends. What a great way to spend a Sunday.
If you aren’t in range of the station (and lets face it, who is outside New Norfolk?) you can catch the show online at the TYGA FM website.
So there!
🙂
z

just sayin’ hi

These are not my dogs, this photo just makes me smile. Its just so darn cute!

So, what’s been happening? Well, it snowed.

Now, to a large percentage of the world that’s no big deal. A nuisance even. But here, in Magra, Tasmania, its not something that happens often so its exciting.

We’re down low here, not far above sea level, and it doesn’t snow down low in Tassie often, so you can imagine we got all worked up about it. At least I did.

So did the horses…

And the dogs…

I’d never seen wallaby tracks in snow before.

Unfortunately, even though we got snow, it wasn’t enough.

I still had to go to work.

So, other than the exciting-making white stuff, what else have I been doing for weeks on end of blog silence?

Wayne has pulled through back surgery and is back to his normal clumsy self.

I’ve been busy with work projects and personal ones for the Salvaged Art competition coming up in September.

I’ve been working on a couple of home projects which I will finish one day, at which point I will share them. Its kinda hard to finish things when working full time and grooming in my spare time.

Did I mention I’m working full time at the moment? I started about the same time I pulled the blog disappearing act.

I have no idea how I used to do it in the past. (The doing keeping up, not the disappearing.)

Maybe I managed to fit more into each hour back then. I was younger and faster…

Then again, I didn’t have horses and dogs and ducks and chickens and geese to feed twice a day. And wood to bring in for the fire.

Plus I lived alone in a 1 bedroom flat, I was only responsible for my own mess and for my own self. I worked, roller bladed, went to the gym, danced rock’n’roll and had a social life.

Hm.

Something is wrong with this equation…

z

something to smile about

We’ve just had a week off. A whole week, sandwiched by a weekend on either end and a public holiday on Monday… That’s a whole lotta time to ourselves!

You’d think I’d have tons to share right?

Well, you’d be wrong.

It all started last week when I had to use my day off to drive a whole lotta stuff into the city and to the gallery where Wayne had organised work take part in an exhibition. Then I drove into the city both Saturday and Sunday cause Wayne was the only person who put his hand up to man our part of the exhibition. That meant I spent two days in Hobart… not bad in itself. I watched a couple of movies and had coffee out and did some shopping… But they were days not spent at home, working on… oh… I dunno… anything!

Then, on Monday we had to go back into Hobart to take down the exhibition… more driving in to the city, a whole day pretty much gone.

We live about 30min or so out of the city, more in traffic. But going into the city always blows out. You try to do as much as you can “while you’re in there” and one hour turns to two and so on.

Tuesday grooming and a great playdate with a friend and her poodle. Fun. We all enjoyed that. Wednesday grooming again, all day. Thursday (yesterday) another drive into the city to pick up the Art From Trash entries this time, ours and work ones.

And today… we had an appointment at the tax man.

All bad news I’m afraid. And that’s for last year. In about a month it’ll be more bad news.

sigh.

So, you’d think that having spent only half a day out today, I’d be champing at the bit to get out into the workshop to make something. Anything.

But no. I’m sitting here, near the heater, trying to keep warm. Tasmania turned the cold on for the first day of winter and hasn’t let up since. Big frosts every morning, pea soup fog all day… Lovely.

I’m just too weary to go out there and work in these conditions. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe the next day.

Eh. Who knows.

Meanwhile I’ll entertain you for a bit. Will that do?

I love words, language, etc. So its no surprise I love these:

The Washington Post’s Mensa Invitational once again invited readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supplying a new definition.

Here are the winners:

1Cashtration(n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.

2. Ignoranus: A person who’s both stupid and an asshole.

3. Intaxicaton: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

4.Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

5. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future. 6. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

7. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high .

8. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn’t get it.

9. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

10.Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

11.Karmageddon: It’s like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it’s like, a serious bummer.

12. Decafalon(n.): The gruelling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are
 good for you.

13. Glibido: All talk and no action.

14. Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

15.Arachnoleptic Fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you’ve accidentally walked through a spider web.

16. Beelzebug(n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

17. Caterpallor  ( n.): The colour you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you’re eating.

And how about an absolutely amazing website:

Or the funniest ad ever:

Or maybe this is:

This is funny but also hits cute and sweet:

How about some funny images:

Hope you had a chuckle or two.

z

ripped off – an angry post

I am angry, in case you haven’t guessed it.

On Wednesday afternoon I lost my wallet and some lowlife found it and went on a shopping spree using my cards.

How did they do that without my PIN? Paypass and Paywave of course! This nifty newest convenient way to shop! Now, for purchases under $100 you don’t need a pin! You just tap and go!

The problem is that ANYONE can tap and go with your card! And to the scum of the earth like the people who found my card, this was wonderful. All they had to do was make sure they visited as many shops as possible in the shortest time possible (before I realised my wallet was missing) and make as many purchases under $100 as they could.

I left work at 3pm on Wednesday as I had a meeting to go to. On the way I stopped at the house of an old guy who sells plants in his driveway, just around the corner from work. I’d been by in the morning and had him set aside a ton of plants for me.

I parked the car, picked up the bags of pots, paid him and put the pots in the car, leaving my wallet on the car and forgetting it there as I drove off.

I’ve never done something this stupid before.

I was at the meeting by 3.20pm.

By 3.20pm the lowlife scum had already found my cards and started their shopping spree.

First they visited Woolworths where they made 4 transactions on the one card. Then they had lunch at Banjos. Then the bottle shop for booze, and the gas station for fuel.

From there they went into the city center and visited Target, Jetty Surf, Red Herring among other places and made multiple purchases on both cards.

Then they went to Moonah to another bottle shop and Harris Scarfe.

From there to Glenorchy to another bottle shop (all up over $200 worth of booze), the shopping center where they made multiple purchases in many shops.

Their last stop was the Bridgewater McDonalds where their $66 dinner purchase was declined.

All in all, in three hours they visited 20 or so shops and, between my Mastercard and my Visa, they got over $1000 worth of stuff.

Not bad for THREE HOURS work.

And all in transactions under $100 each.

I think that surely, if I was a shop assistant and saw someone using the same card for multiple small transactions, warning bells would go off. And my credit card is bright orange, not a common card at all. It stands out. I read a forum on this subject and found comments from people who work in shops where they’ve suspected something was up – in most cases they just let the suspects pay and leave without notifying the police or bank.

While this was going on, I had no idea my wallet was even missing. I had my meeting, then drove home, stopping at a friend’s for a visit. I heard my phone beep, saw a message to call BankWest but planned to call when I got home. When I got home I fed the animals, mowed the lawn and totally forgot about the message.

In the morning I remembered and called them – getting online at the same time to find $500 worth of transactions I had not made. That’s when I realised I couldn’t find my wallet. First thought was that I’d forgotten it at the plant man’s place, but later on I remembered putting it on the car.

I immediately called Bank West and cancelled the Mastercard. They had suspended it by then, however not before $736.63 worth of transactions had gone through.

I was angry, upset, disbelieving, violated. Maybe its cause I’m honest and honest people just don’t think like that… we can’t see ourselves doing something like that so we’re surprised when others do.

I had a playdate for Romeo with a couple of other poodle friends but I stopped at the police station to report the lost wallet/stolen wallet. After all, the wallet contained everything! They said that since the cards had been used it wasn’t just a matter of reporting a missing wallet, it was fraud. However, without transaction details they couldn’t make a report.

It wasn’t till I was at the playdate and said to my friends “at least they can’t use my debit card and access my savings account without my PIN” that I realised they COULD.

And did.

Cause of course my debit card is also a VISA card and it has paywave.

So on the phone National Australia Bank. I wanted to know if they’d used that card. Without being able to answer the security question (what automatic deductions do you have on this account – I knew I had one but couldn’t remember what) they wouldn’t give me any information. Even when I could tell them exactly what my last purchases were prior to losing it, and what payments went in there regularly… Cause I may have been the person who’d stolen the card.

Like the person who stole the card would care about anything other than a balance! Just a simple Yes or No answer was all I wanted.

I was in the city without access to the internet so I went to a friend’s house and logged on to internet banking… . About 10 transactions on that account, approx $250 at that stage. I printed them out for the police.

I couldn’t print out the Mastercard transactions cause they’d closed that account already. Bank West sent me a list. This list had transactions on it that hadn’t been on my online banking in the morning.

They visited 20 or so places and made over $1000 in purchases… All because they could use Paywave and Paypass without a PIN.

(I keep saying ‘over $1000’ cause I’m not sure of the exact amount.)

When I asked the bank to give me a card without the tap and go feature I was told that no one makes credit cards without it any more and it cannot be disabled.

At least with National Australia Bank I was able to get them to issue me a plain debit card, not a VISA, as my replacement card… no chip, no paywave.

Everyone says “hey, you’ll get it all back, the fraud protection on the cards will cover it”. That may be so… but if they’d had to use a PIN this wouldn’t have happened at all. I wouldn’t have to wait 4-6 weeks for my money to be refunded.

I’m angry. I work for my money. I have 3 jobs. It was very hard for me to save to the point where I actually had some money in my savings account and I’d paid out my credit card. Now I wish I hadn’t bothered! If there was no money in my account and my credit card was still maxed out, they wouldn’t have been able to go shopping with my money!

Not long ago credit cards here went from signature to requiring a PIN. I thought that was a great step in security.

Then they bring this in. I just don’t see how this can be more secure.

I’ve done a ton of reading and its all about how fast and convenient this new system is, how much faster and easier we can now spend our money, how its much safer cause no one can scan your card when its in your bag, or duplicate your magnetic strip… That the new chip technology gives each transaction its own unique number or some such, giving the new cards an ‘added layer of security’.

Like this:

What about security?

Although you can make a contactless payment with up to 4cm reach, most credit card companies require you to tap your credit card for the transaction to go through, ensuring you don’t pay for another person’s sale. Even if you do accidentally tap your credit card twice on the terminal, you won’t be charged because every transaction generates a unique authentication code which cannot be used again.
The wireless technology can be concerning because no pin or signature is needed for a sale to be processed. Not to fret – all NFC cards use the latest chip technology, which come with secure encryption (cryptographic key) technology to protect you from thieves who might try to ‘scan’ the wallet in your pocket.
There’s not much stopping a thief from hitting up the shopping centre with purchases under $100 at different outlets but as with other payment methods (e.g pin, signature), most credit cards provide a zero liability policy. This means that you will be covered for any unauthorised transactions, with 100% reimbursement. Some providers state that you must notify the institution immediately in order to get your money back.

Source

Now have a look at this article by the Financial Obudsman Service… particularly look at this line which baffles me:

A customer can only be held liable for unauthorised contactless transactions if:
1. Their card was misused, lost or stolen. 
2. They knew that their card was misused, lost or stolen.
3. They took an unreasonably long time to tell the card issuer about the misuse,
loss or theft of the card.

HUH?… how else would there be any unauthorized transactions on your card if it wasn’t misused, lost or stolen????

If you’re not tired of reading, most articles about this flashy tap and go system are upbeat and positive, like this one. Some, like this one, are a bit more balanced as they include the cons, but again, its more about the positives.

Personally, having just been through this violation, I fail to see the positives.

I fail to see how not having a PIN is in any way a more secure way to do things.We should have the chip and a PIN, which is how I use my cards. That’d make sense.

Maybe we just need to be given the choice on if we want our cards to have a tap and go option.

Maybe banks should let people make up their own minds and let them enable or disable tap and go, even it must be available on their card.

I’d like it disabled on my cards please. I know a lot of people would like that too.

I should have replacement cards in a week or so and my ‘dispute’ should be resolved (favourably I should hope) in 4-6 weeks. Till then I just have the fun part of replacing my driver’s license, library card, membership cards, health insurance card, medicare card, etc.

z

stubborn? never!


Wayne likes to read.

Wayne likes to read all the time.

Wayne has tons of books.

We don’t have enough bookcases for all the books Wayne has.

I like to read.

I have some books.

I also have a Kindle which has tons of books on it.

I prefer to read on the Kindle as its light, easy to hold, easy to read and I will never run out of books while I have access to the internet.

I bought Wayne a Kindle for his birthday in January… He had told me repeatedly that he did not want a Kindle, that he would never use a Kindle and that I better not ever buy him a Kindle.

Did I listen?

No.

Obviously.

Cause I used to feel that way about Kindles. I liked the feel of a book, I liked the smell of ink on new pages, I liked turning pages. Then I bought a Kindle cause taking 15 books to Greece with me on holidays just didn’t appeal to me.

I love my Kindle.

When Wayne ran out of books to read before Christmas he was grumpy. He was reduced to reading cereal boxes. He even read some of my books and that’s saying something. He wanted to read Game of Thrones (I have the box set) but found the type too small to read comfortably.

So I bought him a Kindle Paperwhite (like mine, cause I love mine!) to surprise him. I got him a case for it, I even put Game of Thrones on it.

(Ulterior motive: The books are so long I figured he’d be hooked on both the Kindle and the series by the time he finished book one!)

He flat out refused to try it reminding me how often he’d warned me not to buy him one. It sat on his bedside table gathering dust for weeks. He kept finding books to read: the dregs he’d overlooked on his first pass over the bookcases, what he could scavenge from friends, whatever, as long as he didn’t have to give up his principles and try the Kindle.

Then the day came… He was desperate. He asked me to show him how to read the Kindle.

He’s been using it non-stop ever since. He takes it everywhere with him.

He hasn’t said a thing to me, but I heard through the grapevine that he loves it.

Men.

What can I say?

z