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February 8, 2016 / diannegray

Writing and working and caring for the elderly

Half way through a Skype meeting for work (two Fridays ago) I heard my mother-in-law yelling out for me. I dropped everything and ran next door to find my father-in-law lying on the kitchen floor. He had slipped over and broken his leg. After the ambulance call, trip to the hospital, organising a walking frame and wheelchair and everything else that goes with an 80 year-old with a broken leg, I finally sat down on Tuesday and got back to my meeting (but everyone else was long gone – gee wiz, I wonder why).

Good organisation is the key to juggling work and writing and caring for the elderly. I try to be organised, but things can go very haywire, very quickly.

A typical day

I get up at 5:30am (this used to be 4:00am, but I’ve been sleeping-in lately). I get all my writing and blogging out of the way by 9:00am. At this time I visit my parents-in-law and chat with them about their day. Now my F-I-L has a broken leg this also means organising doctor’s appointments and food for them now that he can’t drive anywhere. (M-I-L doesn’t drive as she is in the early stages of dementia).

After 10:30 I get into my ‘paid work’ writing articles for government websites and meeting with co-workers online (the best job ever!)

The craziness continues until evening – making sure everyone is fed and I’ve taken the dogs for their hour-long walk to the creek and into the mountains (this is a great mental health break!)

Then I fall into bed exhausted by about 8:00pm. I used to be a night owl – I wonder what happened?

On a lighter note – a frog jumped into my mouth before the broken leg incident. I’m sure it was trying to kiss me, but there was no handsome prince on the other side of those lips. It jumped at my face just as I’d finished taking its picture. I was saying hello to it (I’m lucky I wasn’t yawning at the time).

Kissing frog

The guilty party AKA The Kissing Frog

The Kissing Frog looks big, but he’s actually quite small (about 1/4 the size of Jazzman).

How can you resist those eyes?

Back to the grind for me.

xxxI hope you have a great week!xxx

January 26, 2016 / diannegray

That’s what the doodle-do

When I watched The Big Lebowski many moons ago, I began referring to people as dudes as a bit of a joke. Over the years the word dude snuck its way into my silly vocabulary and stuck there.

Remember that dude, who…? I’ll say to friends, or some dude cut me off in traffic…

I didn’t realise how dude-ified I’d become until last weekend.

The setting: Sitting on the Writer’s Nook having a post-dinner wine with hubby and talking about a person we don’t know very well who was about to invest in something stupid.

Hubby – Should we tell him it’s a stupid investment?

Me – We barely know the dude

Hubby – I guess, but if it was me, I’d like to get advice on the risks

Me – We’re in no position to offer advice – we’re not experts in the field

Hubby – (concerned) But if we can see it’s stupid, why can’t he?

Me – Look, the dude will do what the dude will do. It’s not up to us

Hubby – Did you say doodle-do?

Me – No – I said the dude will do what the dude will do

Hubby – (laughing and pointing at me) You said, the doodle-do what the doodle-do!

Me – (embarrassed) No. I said the dude WILL do!

Hubby – doodle-do, doodle-do, doodle-do. That’s what the doodle-do! (he’s such a tease!)

This conversation was enough to put me off using the word dude for the rest of my life (when I stop laughing about it). In the end the man didn’t go through with the investment because someone else told him how stupid it was.

On a less embarrassing note…

…meet my new friend Jazzman (even he was laughing at me during the conversation about doodle-do). I called him Jazzman because I was listening to a jazzy Van Morrison song when I first saw him.


Hello – my name is Jazzman


I’d be a great piano player

I took a photo of him using the flash a few nights later and he looked like he belonged in a horror movie. Poor Jazzman!


What the hell have you done to my eyes?

xxx Have a great week! xxx


January 6, 2016 / diannegray

Resolutions after difficult Christmas

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas.

I know we all say that and it begins to sound like lip service after a while, but I truly mean it. There are people who really struggle though this season. I attended a funeral over Christmas for the father of two of my dearest friends. It certainly wasn’t easy…

But we’ve lifted our heads now and are all looking up for 2016. Life goes on and enjoying time with the people we love is a resolution worth sharing.

On a brighter note – the finches emerged from their nests (two out of three nests) around the RUC over Christmas and I managed to get photos of the little cuties.

The first photo was taken hours before this little fella was run over by a tractor! He’s one lucky little guy because he managed to survive and is now flying around like he owns the place. Hubby named him Elvis, because of his cool hairdo.

Red Finch Elvis

The following is a pic of all the chicks that emerged from the nest with Elvis. When I took the shot I wasn’t sure how many chicks had been in the nest, but when I zoomed in I found four – three females and a male (you can tell the difference because the males are strikingly red and the females have more grey). I’ve tried to circle them so you can see them.

Four finch chicks2

The next little cutie came from another nest where there were two males and one female. We named this guy Bluey because he’s so red (hey, it’s an Aussie thing).

Red finch on fence smaller version

And here is Bluey’s brother Mango (I named him that because the mango hanging from the tree kept getting in the way of the shot). I think Mango is my favourite! He looks like something out of a cartoon.

Red finch and mango smaller version

The males are a lot braver and get out more than the females so it was very hard to get a good shot of the females. They wouldn’t stay still long enough in one place (but I’m still trying!)

Welcome to 2016!


December 21, 2015 / diannegray

Do you see what I see?

During the famous birthday week back in November we went into the city (like Ma and Pa Kettle) to meet some friends for Yum Cha.

During the drive, hubby said to me, Wow! Look at that!

Me: What?

Him: That! Right in front of us.

Me: I can’t see what you’re talking about

Him: Right there! (Pointing at the road ahead)

Me: Stop it! There’s nothing there.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I took a picture with my phone and I still couldn’t see it. I’m pretty sure you won’t either, so I’ve circled it for you. Ummm, how could I have missed it?


Okay – so I thought it was just a building…

…but when we pulled up further down the road I saw it was a ginormous boat


I would love to have jumped aboard that boat and gone sailing off into the sunset, but alas our friends were waiting at the Yum Cha place (and I must say it was the best Yum Cha I’ve had in ages).

Since it’s Christmas week I thought I’d leave you with a couple of nice
***Arty Bits***

The first is a cute flower I saw the other day. It looks like it’s praying.
Let’s hope it’s praying for peace on earth this Christmas (and it works)

Praying flower for Christmas3

The second is called The forest of my mind (need I say more?)The forest of my mind

xxx Have a wonderful Christmas and a happy, safe and prosperous New Year xxx

xxx I want to see you back here in 2016 xxx

December 14, 2015 / diannegray

Chicky babes

There’s been more chirping around the RUC in the past few weeks. I’ve got two Red Finch nests on the side of the house and those little cuties make a lot of noise demanding food. I haven’t climbed up the side of the house to take pictures of them for two reasons:

1. I don’t want to disturb the nests because the parent birds are very sensitive to interference and may not come back if they think I’ve had my big mug peeking into their nests

2. I’m too clumsy on a ladder and I don’t think you want me to break a limb trying to get a pic for you.

These are what the parents look like, so you will have to imagine how cute their offspring are. I’ll try and get a pic when the chicks are learning to fly.

I was very excited the other day because I found something extraordinary. Most people don’t get as excited as I do over birds, but this one is special. The Torresian Imperial Pigeon used to be prolific in this area, but were nearly pushed to extinction in the 19th and early 20th centuries. They were thought of as pests and were easy targets for recreational shooting. They also have a large breast (like a chicken) so were eaten regularly by early settlers.
Believe it or not, this is the first time I’ve seen one and here it is hiding in the tree outside the RUC.

Torresian Imperial Pigeon
After I spotted the pigeon and calmed myself, a family of plovers wandered into the yard. They have three chicks so I got a nice shot of one.

Plover chick

Then a fledgling of indeterminable species called out to me from a tree to my left. Its mouth was still open and screaming when I took the pic.

Sheesh – I feel like Dr Doolittle sometimes. Maybe they’re trying to tell me something!


Okay, as if my day wasn’t already full of excitement I saw this calf in the paddock of a property close by and wanted to take it home give it a cuddle.

During the afternoon dog walk I spotted these two very pretty butterflies mating (wow – life is SO full around here).


Now I’m off to have a pre-Christmas wine.

xxxHave a great week!xxx

December 5, 2015 / diannegray

There’s a rhino in my shoe

Before I bore you tell you about the incident with the rhino in my shoe, I have to give a big shout out to Sheila Hurst for her wonderful review of my novel The Everything Theory. We spend a lot of time and love on our stories and it’s awesome when others read them and love them too. Thank you, Sheila!😀

…now back to the rhino in my shoe….

I was happily getting ready to do some gardening last week until I went to put my foot in my gardening shoe.

I haven’t seen one of these beauties in a long time.

WARNING: Big Beetle (don’t worry – they’re completely harmless)

Rhinoceros Beetle1

Rhinoceros Beetle2

I looked after the beast cute little fella for a couple of days because he looked like he had been in a fight with another male. The males try to throw each other out of the trees by using those enormous pincers on their heads. One day I might get a video of the battle. But in the meantime this guy needed a bit of TLC. I named him Lonely Luke, nursed him back to health and put him in a safe tree where he is still sitting. Hopefully, he will win his next battle and with it the heart of the lady rhino beetle whose honor he fought so valiantly to defend.

When I finally got into the garden after my beetle nursing responsibilities. I saw the bees on the sunflowers. I knew you’d want to see this awesome sight too, so I took a snap.

It’s full size here because it’s a little more attractive and easier on the eye than Lonely Luke.

Sunflower with bee

Below are my two attempts for my ***Arty Bits*** this week.

The first one is called In The Deep

In the deep

…and the second one is Sunflower (of course!)
I was intrigued when I zoomed in on the sunflower and saw it was full of miniature flowers with stamens. Click on the picture and take a better look if you have the time.


xxx Have a happy, sunshiny, singing, dancing week! xxx

November 23, 2015 / diannegray

The week of the day of the birth

It’s been very noisy at the RUC in the last few days. The reason for this cacophony of sound is the onset of fruit (namely lichees and mangos). These sweet suckers attract all sorts of creatures. A few months back the trees were alive with bees (and we should all love those humble little honey makers) and now its birds. Okay, no jokes about the birds and the bees.

The birds currently taking over our airspace are Rainbow Lorikeets. They usually arrive in the hundreds the week of my birthday – but this year they’ve arrived in the thousands.

It’s nice to be so popular:)

I tried to photograph them, but because of their colour they are virtually invisible in the trees. So I thought I’d take a short video to show you just how noisy these beautiful creatures are in the wild. I’m taking this from the front porch of the RUC so I am about four metres up. Imagine how hard this would be if I was at ground level – these trees are TALL.

It was also raining, so the squabbling birds were competing with the sound of the rain.


Notice how noisy they are? The trees are filled with them, but they’re so hard to see.

After I took the video, a lone lorikeet sat on a branch away from the others and let me take a shot (isn’t that always the way). I named this lone lorikeet The Introvert.

The Introvert

At sunset I noticed the sky had taken on a very pink hue. I took a photo but it’s not nearly as spectacular as how the sky looked in ‘real life’.


My birthday is this week so I’ll be celebrating with family and friends (and, of course, the birds).

Father-in-law and hubby are both on the mend and all news is good on the health front. A huge thank you for all your best wishes in the comments in my last post. They worked!

xxxx Have a great week! xxxxx


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