Tuesday, May 30


Hi all,

Sorry for the break in posting. I've been having a terribly homesick few days and have been laying low. Working on getting over it now though!

It's Memorial Day here (a public holiday), so I've only spent half the day working (from home) which has been lovely! Memorial Day is the unofficial start of Summer (school's out) although I'm sure it started months ago! It's a big day for picnics here and someone was telling me that they used to picnic at the cemetery and decorate the graves. They may have been pulling my leg but I've heard of stranger thing here!

The exciting news is that I'm off to Portland (Oregon) tomorrow until Friday. I'm collaborating on a big 5 year grant application with a group there, so we'll be working hard (I have a sinking feeling it may even be due June 1!!). Portland is above (north of) San Francisco and below Seattle. Everyone tells me it's stunningly beautiful, so I'll be sure to take lots of photos. It's also cold, which I'm REALLY looking forward to. I can't wait to put on jeans and a jumper! Weird huh. Not sure how much net access I'll have but I'll try to keep blogging.

I went to see X-men 3 on Saturday with a group of the guys here, and it was excellent. Much better than 2. I can see how die hard fans might be a bit upset by it, considering the number of characters either killed or 'cured'! Entertaining though :) And if you do happen to go and see it, make sure you stay through the credits to the very end.

After the film I intended to go home (because I was crashing a birthday party), but ended up going out to dinner with everyone. It was good to be with a big group of people my age but draining as well, in terms of not really knowing anyone. I think that's what made me sad, missing those connections that you have with people who know you and already accept you. Anyhow, we had a good night. It was a Mexican restaurant but I stuck to my guns and stayed off the margaritas, and it made a huge difference... I even enjoyed the food! I thought Australia had a big drinking culture but it seems that everything really is bigger in Texas. Think I'll stick to a quiet glass of red thanks.

Yesterday I had an evening BBQ with one of the Australian families here. They have two small boys so it was lovely just to play in the pool, eat delicious food and hang out. We had amazing a Alaskan king crab legs, bbq'd prawns and a delicious white fish called halibut, kind of like blue eye. I've just learned that
"Halibut are a strange fish. They spend the larval part of their lives swimming upright, with eyes on both sides of their head, but soon one of their eyes
migrates to the other side of their body, and they live the rest of their life
as a flatfish, staying at or near the bottom most of the time."
They're also HUGE and really, really tasty.

No other news that I can think of. I'd better go dig out my warm clothes and pack! More news soon.

I miss you all ^_^

Friday, May 26

Hammering in my head

No matter how warm it is outside or how tempting they may appear, margaritas are EVIL!

Tequila is EVIL.

It's a learning curve.

Thursday, May 25

Help, I'm stuck in an omega block!

We're having what you may describe as 'perfect weather' at the moment, but it feels very strange... It's consistently a dry 35 degrees each day, dropping to no cooler than 20 degrees at night. Mostly clear skies, almost no humidity. It's been like it for nearly two weeks and not looking like it'll change until Tuesday at the earliest. This is what my google desktop weather has looked like for the past two weeks:

same old same old

Apparently where stuck in what's known as an Omega Block. It's where there's a big, omega shaped front over the whole of the US, where the weather from the southwest is forced north, towards Canada, then moves down to the southeast, and once it sets in it takes ages to shift. The folks under the block (that's us) get dry weather and only light winds until it shifts. Which means it stays hot! It's funny watching the news because after nearly two weeks of this the meteorologists are so bored! I feel sorry for some of the other states though, because the block has brought them nothing but persistent rain.

I wonder if there will be more storms or if storm season in over. If it it, it sure was brief (ok, and scary too). And while we're on the topic of storms, I've included a video I took during the hailstorm that scared the beetles out of me. I was huddling in the dark so there's not much to see but you get the idea. Only thing it doesn't really show well is how terrifyingly LOUD it really was.

The hail storm

Wednesday, May 24


It may not be very interesting news but I finally have a table! I've been looking for one for ages, but they were either too hideous, too expensive or some combination of the above. However, I found one on craigslist the other day, from a student moving out of her apartment. Bit of a scary drive to try and find the place! It's a basic ikea table and it's light and movable and matches my other stuff... and it was really cheap! (there's a lot of ands in there!) I even got to fold down the seats in Petey. That car is cool! (I have to pinch myself almost everytime I drive it)

Anyhow, I went to unnamed department store tonight to pick up a couple of chairs and when I got home I realsied they only charged me for one! I felt bad, but I figure they're a multinational and they can afford to give me one $30 chair. So, not only was the table a great deal but the chairs were only $15 each. yay.

The apartment looks a little more complete now. I'm having Matt and Tom over for dinner thursday night so it's perfect timing. Last time I had guests we sat on the floor and I don't even have a coffee table so it was dinners in laps. I'm going to attempt a prawn laksa (I say attempt because i'm not familiar with the brands I have to cook with) but I'm worried that the coconut milk may not be up to scratch. Oh well, I'm sure it'll be fine! I'll let you know ^_^

My new table

The other great thing about the table is that when I'm at home I work off the 'built in computer hutch' in the kitchen, which is about the same height as the benches, but I only have my little ikea stool to sit on...talk about uncomfy! Now I can move the laptop to the table, spread out and work in comfort. Oh no....I can't believe I've just given myself no excuse not to work at home!

Tuesday, May 23

The local wildlife

Texas apparently has more bird species than any other US state or province, and not just because it's so big but also because of migratory paths from Mexico etc (listen to me sounding like an expert...Ha! Thanks google) I found a bird checklist for my county (Bexar, pronounced bear - I'm still not over that) which means now I really do need to get myself a bird book. I've been saying that for ages but buying a bird book also means buying binoculars at some point, hence the hesitation, but I guess I could get them later. There's also the fact that I can't pick which guide is a good one. There's a national geographic one that has photos instead of drawings so perhaps I should check it out. I've seen all sorts of cool birds just off my deck, including the bright red northern cardinals, hummingbirds, some kind of pidgeon that looks like it's wearing a t-shirt (a white-winged pidgeon I think) and even what looks like some kind of vulture! There are other big birds of prey but I can't make them out too well, and some small, green bird that I really like but haven't come close to identifying.

Texas also has some pretty cool looking mammals, but I'll probably only get to see most of them in some kind of park or zoo. I would like to see a pocket gopher though! There are nine different kinds!

It turns out that my squirrel friend is an Eastern Fox Squirrel. I've calmed down on the feeding front but it's hard not to feed him when he looks so cute! He's been doing acrobatics for me, hanging upside-down off my deck railing or climbing up and sliding back down, over and over (perhaps he's loopy too!) The other morning he was sitting on the edge of my potplant looking through the door at me.

And on further study of the fox squirrel I've discovered that not only can you hunt them (why??) but in my county there's no closed season and no bag limit :( I'm going to try and pretend I didn't read the hunting section.

Ok, after some consideration I figure we eat kangaroo and wallabies, and non-aussies get upset about that, so I perhaps I shouldn't pass judgment on the whole squirrel hunting thing (but they're smaller than rabbits...what's left after you shoot them??) I tried to find out what squirrel tastes like and track down some recipes and I found this incredibly funny if slightly off colour list of squirrel recipes. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 21

Petey gets a bath and Jac gets noodles!

It's 11pm, 28 degrees, and there's a cricket or cicada or something in the tree outside my window making a terrible racket - inconsiderate arthropod.

I spent today (Saturday) on my own, but I did manage to leave the house! In fact, it gave me the opportunity to do (attempt) some things that had been on my list for quite a while, which required me to be brave and navigate the back streets of this crazy town!

I'd made a list of a few Asian grocers that I wanted to try to find, a Japanese supermarket in particular, so I got out the Rand McNally (street atlas - Tori Amos sings about it so it must be the cool one), fired up google earth, and worked out a plan. Turns out they weren't that hard to find- only problem was I didn't know which side of the road they'd be on and they were all buried within small 'strip malls' (a group of shops in a strip, usually with only one entrance to the small car park) so they were hard to spot from the road. My strategy was to turn into the first driveway I can across that looked close to the right spot. I was foiled once by a bus and confused once by a fireman holding a boot above his head (I now think he was collecting donations).

The Japanese supermarket was excellent and they not only stocked everything I needed for perfect soups, including gorgeous white miso paste, they also had the best frozen udon, just like the ones Toshi used to use (for all you lucky people who remember). Soft but chewy, perfect for tying knots and grossing out your tablemates (ok, so I never had outstanding table manners and everyone has to have at least one party trick!)

The other big Asian market was on the wrong side of the road and by the time I realised where it was I'd hit a nasty looking intersection in totally the wrong lane for going back, so I've filed that away for an after work visit where I'll be on the right side of the road! Last one was Tim's oriental seafood market where they had boxes of live crabs that looked like blue swimmers but without the spidery legs, a Chinese bbq section (whole duck only $10!!!) and TONNES of other yummy stuff. It was chef Jac heaven! I finally found a bamboo steaming basket, although nowhere near as good as the ones at Wing and Co back home. It'll do though. Found tom yum and laksa paste (not sure why I'm craving soups here when it's so hot but I am) and a bunch of other yummy stuff. I was conscious of the frozen udon in the car (40 degrees out) so I didn't stay too long, but Tim's is pretty easy to get to so I'm happy ^_^

After going home and unpacking the tasty treats I decided some washing was in order, both the car and my clothes. Car was a little scary. You pay for it with the fuel (at the bowser itself, no people involved!) then drive around the 'gas' station complex for a while until you finally stop in desperation and wave your receipt at someone sitting in a tent asking them what it was you bought and where you go to redeem in. Tent dude sends you behind a building to another tent, where dude with spanner comes out and removes your aerial (and tells you to return to the other tent later if you want it back...OF COURSE I WANT IT BACK!) then you drive one wheel of your car onto a tiny blue target and suddenly your being dragged into the total perspective vortex where neon signs tell you exactly what is being done to you and at which time. My favorite was the "tri-color wax" sign (written in way more than three lurid neon colours) just before pink, blue and yellow goo is sprayed all over your car! Anyhow, after retrieving the aerial (and having one of those terrible 'should I be tipping you for putting that back on even though I didn't ask your buddy to take it off' moments, parting with cash and getting the shock look of 'you didn't need to tip me' in return I made my escape in a very clean Petey. Phew!

Now you too can share a completely uncaptivating moment from "Petey gets a bath and Jac goes quietly loopy"

Aside from all that excitement and high adventure I also went to the normal, boring old supermarket, had noodles for both lunch and dinner (cold soba noodles for lunch, hot udon noodle soup for dinner) and watched Earthsea which stayed consistently lame throughout the whole film. Oh, and I did my laundry, sitting on a table singing my lungs out the whole time. Did I say I was going quietly loopy?

As always, all emails, blog comments, medical advice and visitors are welcome and appreciated. I miss you all. Perhaps a little too much at times, but I'm coping in my own ways ^_^

Saturday, May 20


This is still the best thing I've ever found online:

Drum Machine

Make sure you have the sound up and a fast connection though. And be prepared to click on things at the start to get it going. It's beautiful and amazing and well worth the load time.

And if you're ever online and bored (after you've exhausted reading the blog that is) and you feel like you can't find anything new to look at, try a random website generator like this one. They very rarely hit on anything interesting but at least they take you somewhere new! You never know what you'll learn. Oh, and this one may not be censored so be careful (the censored ones seem to take you to church or school websites 90% of the time).

Slow news day

Hello dear friends,

It's a slow news Friday but I still wanted to say hi and let you know I'm thinking of you all. Mum and Dad are selling the house and moving out in a few weeks so my thoughts are with them and their fiesta garage sale this weekend. If anyone is in Devonport tomorrow grab the paper and look them up! They're in East Devonport but they'll strike me down for saying that and try to convince you it's actually Ambleside!

G&K, do you guys have any electronic copies of yr wedding pics? If you do, could you perhaps email me a couple, or any pics of my favorite niece. My screensaver is made up of photos of much loved people and places, but it needs a bit of an update. That goes for the rest of you too, any new pics would be lovely! As long as they're decent! (yes Mungral, that was directed at you.)

No big plans for the weekend. I'd love to get out and about and see more of this strange land, but I think I need some time to just chill out at home. There's something about this incessant heat that makes me not want to even hop in the car, let alone walk anywhere. It's been 95 (about 36) for the past week, and looks like next week will be the same, if not hotter. It's dry and clear and the nights aren't getting below 70 (21 degrees) at the lowest point, which sounds ok until you try to sleep. Tried not using the AC and keeping the doors and windows open but it doesn't really work. I've never been very good in the heat though...

There are a couple of Asian supermarkets/grocers that I'd like to track down so that may be my quest for Saturday. I also HAVE to wash Petey because he's filthy from the *%$@ dust. That may be a never ending battle though. I hate the idea of getting up the next morning to see the once clean car covered in the stuff, but it's getting hard to see out the windows now!

Have a great weekend! ^_^

Friday, May 19

Great news!

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to let you know that my PhD comments are back! I haven't seen them yet, all I have is a digest email from the Menzies, but here's the gist of it:


We received notification of acceptance of your PHD thesis today... There are only very minor modifications required (reviewer one - 6 minor changes, reviewer 2 - about one page of minor changes) which are due by the 9th July.

Comments were excellent such as:
'substantial contribution to the understanding of genetics of glaucoma'
'pleasure to read'
'whole heartedly support her receiving the degree'
Ms Wabbit (and her advisors) should be commended on performing such outstanding research'.

So well done!
You can have a full-on Texas celebration (not sure what that entails)...

Yay! Hopefully it won't take me long to get through the corrections and then it's done! Yehaw. I got a little over excited when I got the email and called Jo on the mobile...ouch! But what the hey, this isn't going to happen twice!

I wish there was some way to catch up with Michele, Jim and Alison to celebrate, but we might have to save it up. I'll have a celebratory pear cider and wings at the Flying Saucer on Friday... oh wait, that's what I do every Friday!

Thanks so much to everyone who supported me and put up with me throughout the PhD. I don't think there's any way to explain how full on it can be and how much of your life it takes over. There are so many different connections, obligations and pressures. It's a seriously tangled web and it's still too early for me to say it was worth it but I am proud of myself for making it through, and so very grateful to everyone who helped, even if it was by not asking me about it and just being my friend. Sometimes you need that more than anything.


Thursday, May 18

My new friend

I have a new friend who has been coming to visit me of a morning!

Cute huh?

Ok, so I may have been leaving out some treats...

Do you think I can feed him rabbit mix? Is there anything good or bad to feed squirrels? Do they get lumpy jaw from bread? Does lumpy jaw even exist???

I bought some of those bird seed blocks that you hang in trees and they've been good because he can't steal them, he has to eat them slowly. It's also a pretty impressive climb up to my balcony! He's dedicated.

He did a little happy dance for me this morning so I though I'd share the love-

Perhaps I'm going a little crazy living on my own...

Jac and Andy do downtown

As y'all know, I had my friend Andy some to stay after Kath left last week. I'm so spoilt! But I can only assume they really did come to see me since I can guarantee that neither of them came to see San Antonio in all it's yellow dusted glory!

It was great having Andy to visit... He made me gin and tonics, did my laundry and even unlocked all the bonus monsters in Rampage (PS2 game). On Saturday we braved the drive and decided to head Downtown and wander the hear of San Antonio. I'd only been downtown at night and I'd never driven there myself. It was tricky because parts of the freeways were closed on the weekend, and no-one was sure which bits, so we planned a path through the backstreets, that was quickly foiled when we got within a mile of the city because they'd also shut the access roads that lead under the freeways! We couldn't work out why but we drove at random (Kath wins on the navigational front, sorry Andy) and eventually broke through. Parking involved finding an open air spot, working out what number it was (markings seriously in need of a recoat) then poking some folded notes into a numbered slot corresponding to the park and hoping! No receipt...very odd.

We wandered aimlessly for a while, disconcerted by the fact that the city seemed empty, then I remembered that it all happens below street level on the riverwalk - phew, no weird end of the world scenario. Bought a chocolate bar so that we could get some cash out then realised it was a bad plan on a 95 degree day! We grabbed a cartoon map of the city from a hotel lobby and tried to use that to find the Alamo (remember I told you it's really small) but luckily we were being followed by a city tourism lady in a scary aqua uniform who intervened with a real map and far too much enthusiasm. Went to the Alamo and felt like we'd gatecrashed some religious pilgrimage. The grounds were lovely though. Jo and Tony, you guys would have been interested in the various interp work. Some of it terrible and some pretty good.

The Alamo
The Alamo.

Andy outside the Alamo
Smile Andy!

After that we wandered the Riverwalk. It's pretty! A bit touristy in terms of the businesses and stuff but that's ok.

We spotted this funky SAPD police boat on the riverwalk... looks like LEGO to me!

This is the stage of the outdoor theatre that's on the riverwalk...

Out damn spot
...and the amphitheatre style seating on the opposite bank.

We then decided to get some lunch at Joe's Crab Shack, which seemed like a great plan, until they turned the music right up (Stayin' Alive) and the serving staff line danced their way through the entire song!

After that experience we fled the riverwalk and headed across to the Mexican Market where we bought Mr Squiggle and I ordered a cantaloupe fruit cup that tasted like mashed cucumber. Refreshing though!


I'll finish the tour with some random shots of downtown San Antonio. I like it. It feels like being inside a John Brack painting, but I think I've said that before (it's still true - except for the riverwalk and that's just weird).

downtown buildings- courthouse and tower of life
downtown apartments - kinda cool

downtown street + andy

Every city has a controversial sculpture! Most of them brightly coloured.

It may not be the world's prettiest or spunkiest city but it's growing on me...and it's far from the worst!


Tuesday, May 16

Mr Squiggle

There's been a new addition to my household. Yup, I finally have my very own squirrel! He's called Mr Squiggle and Andy and I picked him up at the Mexican Market in Downtown San Antonio. He's "actual size" and very cute. Made out of clay and glazed.

Happy Jac ^_^

Mr Squiggle

More Mr Squiggle!

Saturday, May 13

Happy you you to you

Happy Birthday Alastair!

I found the URL of those "Natural Curiosity" etchings that I spotted in Anthropologie. It turns out there are six of them! I like the algae best, but they're all pretty amazing. Though you and Jean would enjoy having a look at them.

Hope you have a wonderful day. I'll have a G&T in your honour this eve ^_^

table cape

Postscript- Also a big Happy Birthday to Bun, but I don't think she's a reader...yet! *insert maniacal laughter here*

Friday, May 12

Scribble #7

eerrr arrgghh

I was paying attention in the seminar, honest!

Mug shots

I realised there were no photos of people on the blog and since I haven't asked for permission to put anyone else up I figured I should at least put up some of me.

Ok, so really I was bored at lunchtime and playing with my webcam and picasa, so that you can enjoy multiple pics of my ugly mug.

eek...it's Hideous!

Listening to Triple J and writing a grant. I'm using track changes in word and now there are more little red boxes pointing to things than there is original text. Looks a little like some kind of public transport map... It's making my head hurt!


Thursday, May 11


Just when I was think San Antonio was starting to look a little less ugly when compared directly with sin I happened to glance at the webcam of Hobart at 7am this morning... and it just blew all ideas of beauty out of the water!

I understand that it's seriously cold at the moment so breathlessness could simply be a symptom of severe hypothermia, but oh boy. I miss it.

so pretty

Getting warmer

It broke the 40 degrees Celsius barrier again yesterday and stayed above 30 all night. To make it worse at the moment it's really humid because we've actually had some rain! It's about 40 out there at the moment, but a cold front is due to move through tonight so that should bring us back into the 30s at least!

The good thing about the warm weather is that is seems to produce pretty spunky looking clouds that just boil away quietly. They're quite something to watch. Also, there are big wildfires in Florida so I think we're starting to get a bit of the smoke coming through, making everything pink (which is a change from the usual yellow of the San Antonian rock-dust).

Glitter and Zombies

Just a little catch up on some seriously old news! A few weeks ago I was treated to the night life of downtown San Antonio. Somehow after work drinks turned into an 'exploration' of the local nightlife. It was a great night! One of the bars, called Zinc, reminded me of hanging out in Melbourne. They had great beetroot crisps and good tokay. We sat outside because it was a hot night (even at 3am) and fiesta was on so there were a lot of happy people cruising around covered in badges and balloons and other fiestery kinda stuff.

For the grand finale we ended up in a 24 hour Mexican restaurant which I'm sure is where all good Christmas decorations go when they die.
Exhibit A - Tizzy!
Somehow I ended up ordering deep fried oysters and enjoying them! I love most of the food in this place but mexican is the one I'm the least keen on and usually try to avoid! It was oysters or beans - no choice really ^_^

I got home around 5am! Luckily it was a long weekend so I had plenty of time to catch up on my sleep.

Then, last week, a few of us from work decided to go to the Rob Zombie gig that was on in a place called the Sunken Gardens in town. An amphitheater inside a park inside a quarry, I think! Tom was a big supporter of the venue so even though I'm not a huge Zombie fan, I was keen to go and see the place and have a night out. The gig was supposed to open at 6.30 (there's an 11pm curfew in the area for noise) and Lacuna coil were billed to play first. I was looking forward to seeing them. However, San Antonio being San Antonio meant a huge hail storm swept across downtown at about 5.30 pm burying everything in about 10cm of ice and bucketing down on top of all that! The sunken gardens flooded and they had to pump water out, but the show went on! Eventually... They let us in at about 9. Sadly, no lacuna coil, but Rob Zombie played a short, fast set and it was lots of fun. The crowd were great, high energy, it was packed! We got pretty muddy but we had fun.
Rob Zombie
The crowd going off

My friend Andy is visiting at the moment (he arrived at 4am last night - his train was supposed to get in at 11.30pm!) so I'm guessing there may be another tour of downtown by night on the cards in the next few days. I'll skip the mexican food this time.

Wednesday, May 10

The weather

I just looked at the web cam for Mt Wellington (6.30am) and it looks like there's quite a bit of snow!

And the weather here... well, I just checked the warnings to see if there's a storm due tonight and the current warning reads: NOW...THROUGH 6 PM...HEAT INDICES WILL REMAIN AROUND 100 DEGREES. PERSONS SHOULD LIMIT OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES, AND DRINK COOL NON-ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES.

Got to love this place. Next they'll be reminding us when to breathe ^_^

An adventurous weekend

Sorry for the break in updates. I've had Kath visiting so haven't been moping about the house at night updating the blog. She's gone home now, but I'm not moping about the house (actually...I'm at work). It was so lovely to have a visitor and to have someone else in the house. Somehow it has made me miss Jo more... perhaps it was realising how lovely it was to have another person in that space (which is a good thing!)

Kath's visit forced me to be adventurous, especially on the driving front. I only got turned around twice on the way to the airport to pick her up! Luckily I have the one way road system and 'turn-arounds' worked out. Kath is a good navigator (but that didn't help me getting to the airport).

We did lots of shopping, including taking a trip out to one of the outdoor malls called "La Cantera" that turns out to be very close to home. It's where the beautiful people shop and there are some great stores there. One in particular, called Anthropologie, I totally fell for. It was like a shop that had been designed specifically to please Jo and Jac. Clothes and home wares - all perfect! Jean and Alastair, it also had some books that you would like, including the one shown in the picture which is actually a box containing a whole lot of etchings - gorgeous! It's one of a set of three (maybe more) - including one on Algae that Kate would like ^_^

how cool is this stuff?


We went into a department store where we probably couldn't even have afforded to buy a hankie, but it was pretty inside. Above the escalators they had thousands of butterflies and bits of mirror hanging down. A dusting nightmare! Hil would have loved it though.


They also had the coolest chandelier (I don't even know how to spell that!) in the dining section made out of campari bottles. Neat idea and it looked great, although it doesn't really come out on the pic.

On Sunday we drove out to the "hill country" to a town called Fredericksburg. Heavy German influence overall, but the main part of town was very tourist oriented so lots of leather and cow boy stuff for sale. And a lot of the generic american tourist junk that I can't really describe but it's unique, usually ostentatious, and should be avoided! We found a few cool shops, including a kitchenwares place (still no sign of a humble egg cup or a good teapot - my quest continues) but I tend to like kitchenware places wherever they may be. Anyhow, we gave up on the main street and headed out to a herb farm for lunch, which was lovely, and it wasn't too hot to sit outside either, which was even better! Then we wandered the herb gardens and headed out to a wildflower farm where they grow plants for seed. They didn't have much in the fields at the time but they have a lovely nursery. They'd been hit pretty hard by the hail storm though. I bought some herbs for my deck (need a pot now) and we had some peach icecream made from local peaches (seems to be a big peach growing area so I must remember that next season). I also bought some chili pickled okra just because and it's yummy! This place also had a butterfly house so we wandered in there for a while. Two had just hatched (if that's the right word) and I can't remember what they were called but they were HUGE! It was pretty amazing and the chick who worked in there really knew her stuff (volunteered after she caught us complaining about how useless the guide brochure we'd been given was).

After we walked out of the butterfly house we spotted the coolest green lizard on the fence! The photos probably don't do him justice but he was like a mini iguana. Bright green and perhaps 15cm long. Amazing. The best thing was that when we got home I spotted one exactly the same in the tree off my deck. yay, another creature to look out for. His tail is seriously cropped in the pictire, it was longer than his body and very straight, like a skewer! He also had a strip of tiny white spots but I'm not sure if they show up in the pic.

green machine

That's probably enough blathering for now. Until next time!

Saturday, May 6

General update

post-hail innocence


As you have probably guessed, my laptop is now fixed so I'll be catching up on correspondence and the blog over the next little while.

Also, I have the phone on at home, and since none of you appear to be psychic I'll email the number. If you don't get it and you want it, just let me know. You can call me on this anytime, and it doesn't cost me (unlike the mobile). I also get cheap rates to Oz so it's all good ^_^

My dear friend Kath is coming to visit me today! Yay. She's in the US for a conference and is swinging by dear old San Antonio (there's a reason no-one calls this land God's country or anything like that...) which means I have to work out how to get to the airport form work, and how to get home from the airport. But I'm sure it'll be fine. My only worry is the second storm they've predicted for 4pm this arvo. Pray that it'll hit AFTER we're safely home because I've seen how Texans drive in the rain. One word - Badly. It's like they've never seen it before, which they kinda haven't.

I just looked at the doppler and it's pretty clear so here's hoping.

Matt, who lives not far away from me, just showed me all the hail dents in his car from last night! It's pretty badly dented. Poor Matt has had such a bad run of luck lately (ie. passport/visa stolen etc). I went and had another look at Petey and he has a few small dents on one side of the roof, but nothing worth getting worked up over. If it lowers his resale price, so be it, that's a while off yet. He was mostly parked under a tree (hence being covered in debris) but perhaps debris is better than dents, so may stick near the tree...although that has it's own dangers.

I'm so used to hail being tic tac sized white stuff that you get all excited about and can stand outside in. What an adventure ^_^

Dark and stormy night

We had one of those freak Texan thunderstorms last night (that seem to be less freak and more norm at the moment). I had been watching the lightning off in the distance and it was lovely, pink and orange and blue fork lightning that sometimes went up instead of down. At that point it was still really hot, a little windy but no rain.

Luckily I was watching TV at about 10.30-11pm and heard the storm warning beeps so I had time to get the chairs off the deck (well, I got drenched just doing that). My little rosemary bush was not so lucky. The wind was wild at that point and it was bucketing down. The lightning was constant and all around me. I pulled up the doppler on the net and there were two separate storms closing in on my side of San Antonio, and there were purple patches on the doppler meaning hail! At that point the power went off (luckily I already had a candle on) which meant no more tv or net updates, and then the storm really hit!

There was so much wind and water, it started coming in under the windows. The rain was horizontal and blowing straight at my living room and bedroom windows. The lightning was really green and hung in the air for a few seconds. Then the hail started and it sounded like someone was pelting large pieces of gravel at my windows! Just a few bits but it was so loud and sounded like they would break each time. And when I'd just got brave and thought I could cope with that it went from a few pieces at a time to absolutely pelting chunks of ice everywhere. I could see the windows bending with impact. It was so loud it hurt even with my ears covered! I was too scared to go near the windows because kept visualising them just shattering! I took my candle and hid behind the alcove wall in the sitting room with my fingers in my ears. Scary.

When I got kinda used to it, and trusted the blessed windows a little more (they're tough!) I got the camera out and filmed some of it. Still couldn't hear myself speak though. I remembered I'd got a free jogging radio with my hair product so I hooked that up in case there were warning updates (they had been speculating tornados earlier) but it was pretty hard to hear much with the static from the constant lighting. Seems like out area was dumped on pretty hard and the power was out all over the place but they couldn't say much more than that. Anyhow, it calmed down after midnight and I eventually crawled into bed (near the window but the hail was less wild then) and hoped it was passing. I pulled the covers over me and slept!

In the morning there were bits of tree stuck all over everything and huge pools of water (it flash floods really easily because the ground is so dry). I had to pick half a tree worth of twigs out of my car but no damage. A fair bit of water came in under the windows but I think that was just the angle and force of the rain. Everything looks so clean now, all that yellow dust is gone, except that everything is covered in bits of tree and leaf chopped up by the hail.

It was kind of fun in a terrifying way. Think I'll be braver next time.

Friday, May 5

It's Boo's Birthday!


Happy birthday dear one. I wish I could be there, but my thoughts are. Have a wonderful day.

x me.