2011 February

God I missed you guys!!!

It’s the morning of the last day and I must admit I don’t miss keeping up with hmm-hmm at all. She hasn’t made it into any of the papers or sites I’ve been reading and it’s rather nice, this world without hmm-hmm screeching and whining.

That said, I can’t even put into words how much I miss my daily roster. From The Mudflats to IM, PA, hmm-hmm-gates and all the links in between, my regular reading material has been sorely missed. Tomorrow you can bet I’m staying all day in my jammies and bunny slippers, drinking pots of coffee and catching up!

There are a couple of very good Splotch stories in the comments of the previous post. You should have a sticky beak. Apparently, we’ve all experienced these Ophthalmic Migraines in one form or another, we just haven’t known what to call them 🙂

My big purple splotch is down to the size and shape of a rice bubble, transparent, and while it continues to hover in my line of vision, it’s not nearly as annoying as before. Thank goodness.

 However, it has made me think of making a tray of Rice Bubble Treats. Soul food from my childhood the ingredients of which I’m not ashamed to admit can still, occasionally, be found on my shopping list. Although in the US we called them Rice Krispies Treats.

When I was first introduced to Rice Bubbles in Australia, I was told the following story. There’s no moral, no car chase, no quiz at the end. It’s just a cute story called:


The Littlest Rice Bubble

Once upon a time there was a giant factory that made nothing but Rice Bubbles. Big, little, short, thin, round, stubby, tall – Rice Bubbles. One evening a new batch of just-born Rice Bubbles were spread out onto a huge drying rack and tucked away in a corner. The big machines were all shut down for the night, the lights went off and all went quiet.

The Littlest Rice Bubble woke up in the dark. She realized she was on the very bottom of the rack and wondered what one could see from the top where there surely would be more light. She wiggled around to get a better view – and her brave journey began.

The Littlest Rice Bubble wiggled and wriggled and squirmed and rolled and wiggled and wriggled and wiggled some more and squirmed and jiggled and wriggled and just as she got to the top of the tray all the lights went on, the machines began to hum and suddenly all the Rice Bubbles on the rack were upended and dumped into a humongous vat with thousands, if not millions of other Rice Bubbles and… The Littlest Rice Bubble found herself again at the very bottom of the Rice Bubble pile.

The Littlest Rice Bubble pulled herself together, took a very deep breath and determined not to give up. She wiggled and wriggled and wiggled and rolled and wiggled and squirmed and wriggled and wiggled all the way to the top of the vat. Finally, poking her little head through the very top of the heap she proudly looked around just in time to see the big, big vat tilt sideways, spilling its delicate cargo into hundreds if not thousands of brightly coloured boxes.

And in her box, The Littlest Rice Bubble realized she was once again – at the bottom of the pile. So she sighed a big sigh and began anew… she wriggled and wiggled and wiggled and squirmed and jiggled and rolled and wriggled and wiggled all night long until she’d made it to the top of the box.

The Littlest Rice Bubble was both happy and sad for while she’d made it to the top, she still couldn’t see anything because the box was sealed shut. But just then a miracle happened. She could feel herself moving, and something undid the box lid and suddenly there were bright lights and music and someone laughing and giggling but as she turned to get a better look, the box upended and dozens if not hundreds of Rice Bubbles went tumbling down into a big yellow bowl. Oh no! At the bottom again!

This would not do! The Littlest Rice Bubble pulled up her socks and wriggled and wiggled and wriggled and squirmed and jiggled and wiggled and wriggled and rolled and jiggled and wiggled and… well if you want to hear more you’ll have to wait. It’s a cereal, after all.


This is my new friend. I’ve named him Splotch because that’s what he looks like. A splotch. A giant purple splotch. With a pink halo.

Splotch was a gift to me from the little man who lives inside the special camera at the Ophthalmologist’s office. My doctor used him to get an image of my right lens/retina and since the little man takes his job very seriously and wanted to get it perfect the first time, he flashed a light into my right eye I’m guessing twenty times the light of the sun.

That was Thursday morning. When Splotch was still there on Friday arvo, I called my doctor who told me to come back straight away. I thought he was going to have a nice chat with Splotch and tell him to move on. Instead, he summoned the little man inside the camera who flashed a second light directly into my right eye almost as bright as the first one because, well I’m guessing because the two men decided they hadn’t killed enough brain cells the first time.

But when the exam was finished, the doctor assured me Splotch was just an Ophthalmic Migraine who would, eventually, move on of his own accord and I simply needed to wait him out. Ophthalmic Migraines are apparently painless, unlike temporal ones, so if I just kept Splotch in the dark and didn’t give him anything fun to look at, he would fade away into the sunset in a few hours. Or maybe days. The doctor wasn’t actually sure.

By Saturday evening I was so bored from sleeping and lying in bed listening to television I decided to try some editing. (I owe the nice lade who puts money in my bank a bit of time from not working on Friday.) But no matter what I did or how I moved my head, Splotch just refused to get out of my road. And the little clothes horse kept changing his shirt. First he was purple with pink trimmings, then yellow with blue and orange trim. Sometimes I could almost see straight through him but he’d figure out what I was up to and  lunge back into his dark purple shirt, making me blind again.

The game of squint and seek left me with a bonified headache so I gave up and went back to bed. This morning I got up, looked out the window and this is what I saw…

Oh goody. He’s still here. I decided to ignore Splotch and read the news.

Squinting, blinking, shaking my head, peering around corners, cussing, nothing seems to discourage this little guy. And if he’s still here in the morning I’m supposed to call the doctor back so he can tell me all about Plan B.

At least… there better be a Plan B.

There are several places on the net to make donations to Queenslanders whose lives have been tragically interrupted by the December  –  January floods and Hurricane Yasi. I’ll get to them further on. This particular bit of fundraising touched me the most though and I’m anxious to share it with you.

Qld is a huge tourist state. Much of the state’s income revolves around tourism. Films are made, songs are written, slogans created. Sometimes a song catches on and rather than writing a new one each year, whole campaigns are created around a newer rendition of the original. Love You Queensland, for example, (just the one line) has been aired on television for as long as I can remember in that little ten second slot between shows and commercials that display the channels call number. The whole song, however, has morphed many times. It’s rather like watching someone take your favourite stuffed chair and recover it every year. It’s always the same, just different.

This particular rendition was created with added flood footage. It is perhaps one of the best testaments to the spirit of Queenslanders.

If you purchase the song for itunes, the money goes to flood relief. (Visit www.harvestrain.com.au for more information)

Love you Queensland:

How beautiful is that…

More links for donations, flood information:

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh’s Disaster Relief Appeal.  Lots of government info on this site.

Courier Mail – Sunday Mail This is a wonderful site – It’s called Helping Hands: Queensland Recovers and it has everything all on one page. Where to donate, where to give help, where to get help, where to find people, where to get advice on rebuilding your broken home or business and finally, this little gem that I think is brilliant:

Back In Business live map  Across the country, from the flooded areas to the burned sites, this map allows you to see what businesses are back up and running. It’s interactive, allowing the public to both view and add information. The huge banner says Tell your customers you’re trading again!

Then… I found this on Crikey and was riveted. A diary-like writing by a woman who watched the water rise as she packed up the family house and all of her memories. But it should come with a warning – something like ‘Tissues rated – two-box read!

I’m enjoying my she-who-must-not-be-named break, by the way, although I miss IM, Mudflats, Shannyn, PA, Palingates and P&K like crazy. Oh and all your glowing comments on the sites about (hmm-hmm) I miss all the wonderful snark! Although I noticed my skin looks clearer, my eyes are no longer bloodshot and I’m pretty sure my blood pressure is more normal than it’s been in a couple of years.

Is it possible to get indigestion from watching someone on youtube? I must remember to ask my doctor…

17 days to go 🙂

Edit: Hahahaha – I misspelled the word ‘flair’ in the title., making it ‘flare’ by mistake. And nobody caught it either! Where’s the spelling/grammar police when you really need them!

It’s been really quiet for the last few hours. Yasi has been downgraded to category 4 and slowed which – on the surface – looks like a good thing. But while the reduced speed lowers the size of coastal waves, it also means the winds stay in any one place longer, leaving more damage in Yasi’s wake.

The reports of the past few hours have mostly revolved around power outages, panicked calls from people who now want to be rescued after refusing to evacuate earlier on… and the fact that the core of Yasi shifted south by more than 125 km on landfall, a natural phenomenon that cannot be predicted with any degree of accuracy. It amazes me how the meteorologists can so accurately predict as much as they do.

The roof blew off an evacuation centre in Cairns but no one was injured. Those who stayed behind in Cairns are no doubtedly saying thanks to whomever it is that runs the universe for letting Yasi slide ‘a little to the left’, leaving them all a bit more breathing room.

Sky News Australia is the best bet for gleaning accurate and constant up to date news on Yasi (either on cable or online) as she continues to dig further into Northern Queensland.  As I connect this link the new report says Yasi is now a category 3. That’s good news 🙂

Now that first light is here I’m sure the visual reports of Yasi’s destruction will be coming to all the airwaves. But I hope not too many venture out into this mess as the winds are still strong and gusting and the outdoors is chockers with flying debris.

My sunrise was so calm it was eerie. I stood on my back porch and took this photo:

Facing north it’s hard to imagine that these innocent-looking clouds represent the outer edges of a massive monster that has terrorized hundreds of thousands of Queenslanders for the past five days straight. It’s also hard for me to imagine that these cloud formations over my backyard are part of a storm that reaches almost the entire length of my state.

In the coming days I’ll add links for making donations – the folder is just over there > with the links already in place for last month’s flood victims.

I should mention that the government did one Hell of a job preparing people and whole towns for this event. 50 Energex volunteers have been standing by south of Townsville, prepared to rush in as soon as the sky is clear to fix downed powerlines. Another hundred are on standby ready to fly in as they become needed.

4 Navy ships are on the water, prepared to act as command center to coordinate emergency and clean up services and outfitted with medical supplies and personnel – just in case.

400 Army troops are stationed in the areas and have already helped by doing the doorknock to urge people to take shelter rather than stay in their homes and to assist the transfer of our oldies from nursing homes in Yasi’s path.

The Air Force took charge of evacuating Cairns hospitals, transporting hundreds of patients to the safety of Brisbane hospitals. It will be their helicopters in charge of search and rescue.

Australian pollies all earned their pay this week – and most deserve bonus cheques on top, in my humble opinion. Qld Premier, Anna Bligh, with the hands-on assistance and full support of Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard showed the world how governing is meant to work:  The needs of the citizens come first  and the politics step out of the way so that can happen.

And to my readers and commenters, in case I’ve not said this lately, thank you for all your kind support – you are all so very much appreciated  – OzMud

12:30am Thurs 3 Feb 2011

Grabbed some sleep and woke to the sound of rain on my window. Hubbs was sitting up in the lounge watching the updated wideos streaming live from Cairns. Only one problem – the storm has shifted and now the storm centre was crossing the shores some 125km south of Cairns – and of all the live reporters with satellite trucks and video feed equipment .

Yasi’s storm centre is actually touching down closer to where those people from Cairns had been evacuated ‘to’. Almost like the storm was chasing us rather than the other way around. How’s that for irony.

Here’s the latest from BOM (Australia’s Bureau Of Meteorology):



Tropical Cyclone Yasi, CATEGORY 5, will continue to move inland in a west-southwesterly direction towards the Georgetown area during the morning.

As the cyclone crosses the coast, an EXTREMELY DANGEROUS SEA LEVEL RISE [i.e. storm tide] will occur between Innisfail and Ayr, peaking between Mission Beach and Lucinda.

Higher than normal tides exceeding the high water mark, and damaging waves will continue between Cairns and Proserpine until at least the morning high tide.

VERY DESTRUCTIVE winds with gusts up to 290 km/h between Cairns and Ingham and the adjacent ranges will extend inland and gradually weaken.

The VERY DESTRUCTIVE CORE of the cyclone will take up to 4 hours to pass.

DESTRUCTIVE winds with gusts in excess of 125 km/h between Cape Tribulation and Ayr will spread inland overnight.

DAMAGING WINDS with gusts to 90 km/hr are occurring in remaining coastal areas between Cape Flattery and Proserpine, and are forecast to extend through to Mt Isa during Thursday.

Winds are forecast to gradually ease about the east coast during Thursday morning.

FLOODING RAINS will develop from Cooktown to Proserpine tonight and gradually extend inland.

BOM’s full accounting can be read here.

Will updatge as news becomes available – OzMud

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