Sunday, 31 December 2006

Home Sweet Home

We are home at last!

Amber is making a good recovery, she is now free from those gory drains she had protruding from her belly. She had the last two taken out on Wednesday. The nurse gave her a sedative 30 minutes before they took the drains out because they were a bit worried about how hard she would fight them while they were trying to remove them. 20 minutes after the sedative... Amber was sitting up in bed chatting, watching TV and colouring in, apparently she was supposed to be a bit sleepy and relaxed! Anyway they decided to go ahead and take the drains out.

I have never seen anything like it before, I have never seen Amber so upset before, it took 5 of us to hold her down while they removed the tubes. She was so strong and fought it so hard - kicking and screaming. It was like something from The Exorcist movie, it was like she was possesed! After a big battle they got the tubes out.

She spent the next couple of days having regular blood tests and being monitored. On Thursday she had more tests - ECG and an Echo to make sure everything was ok before we brought her home. Friday morning she had more blood tests and a chest x-ray - which was clear and we were told we could go home after we collected her 4 different medications from the pharmacy.

It was a very long trip home and when we finally arrived we were all exhausted. I am still unpacking now! I can't believe how much stuff we had packed into our car!

Amber is doing very well considering what she has been through. She has lost a bit of weight and strength, but so far there have been no complications, no signs of infection either! On Tuesday she has to see our GP to have some stitches out, the dressing taken off of her incision, more blood tests and a general check up. And in two weeks time we have to go back to Sydney to see the cardiologist for a check up.

It is so good to be home and have Amber home and well!

.... Just another day ....

Wednesday, 13 December 2006

Fingers Crossed - We Are Off

We are leaving tommorrow for Sydney. I can't believe I am sitting here blogging rather than finishing off the packing of our things ready to go!

It will take us most of the day to drive there, so I think we will probably arrive sometime in the late afternoon - early evening.

Friday morning Amber has the pre-admission clinic - they want to do blood tests, an ECG, chest X-ray and other delightful things like that, apparently it will take about 3 hours.

Then, the rest of Friday and the weekend we have to ourselves to do what we want. Shopping sounds like a good idea until you remember it is Christmas time soon and the shopping centres will be full of crazy Christmas shoppers, not to mention all the Christmas brainwashing that goes along with it - the decorations, trees and of course that bloke in the red suit that I have been trying so hard for the kids to avoid. You have to remember this is our first year of celebrating Hanukkah and not Christmas and it is a huge change for the 3 girls. They would normally at this time of the year be having their photos taken with santa. Jade has had to deal with all the other kids in her class doing their Christmas drawings (they made Jesus celophane windows the other day!), while she does something else the teacher has prepared. It has been pretty hard for her in the sense that she is the 'odd one out' so to speak - BUT we have Hanukkah that goes for 8 days not 1!! She is very excited about Hanukkah and very proud to be Jewish.

Anyway, back to the topic - it's not like me to get sidetracked! lol!

Monday, Amber has her surgery. I am not sure how long it takes but apparently she needed a 'big time slot', so I am guessing the actual surgery will take quite a while. She will the be in the Intensive Care Unit for about a week and then I am guessing another week or so on the ward - as long as everything goes smoothly and there is no infection or any other problems.

So there you have it, that's what's happening. Keep your fingers crossed for us. I will update as soon as I can, probably when we get back.

I hope everyone has a Happy Hanukkah!!!

.... Just another day ....

Wednesday, 6 December 2006

At Last Some News!

I have been waiting all morning for the lady from the cardiac department to call and let us know either way whether Amber's surgery had been put off for a week or not. All morning I have wanted to call and ask, but I have shown restraint(!) and not called, she said she would call, so I just needed to be more patient.

Anyhow, at about 1pm today she rang, bearing good and bad news. First up the bad news, Amber's surgery has been put off for another week... the good news is she has re-booked our accommodation at Ronald McDonald House to accommodate the new surgery date - which makes the bad news not so bad! I feel a lot better about it now, at least we know what is going on.

So, now we leave next Thursday the 14th instead of tommorow with the pre-admission clinic next Friday and surgery the following Monday. You all now have the pleasure of listening to me kvetch for another week! Woo hoo! Lucky you.

.... Just another day ....

Tuesday, 5 December 2006

Surgery Date Update

Just a quick update from yesterdays surgery drama. I rang the cardiac department this morning to try and get an answer (they said they would have an answer yesterday but never rang me back).

When I rang she had to ring the surgeons office to find out the answer and said she would ring me back. She rang back about 10 minutes later to tell me there is no news - they are waiting to see how the boy with the cold progresses before they make a decision. They will let us know tommorrow (Wednesday - the day before we are supposed to leave!) It seems they never were going to let us know on Monday like they said they would.

We have explained out situation (about 20 times - my husband is not as passive as I am!) - how much it takes to organise accommodation and how far we have to travel, but it makes no difference at all. They say they understand how hard it is, but I know they have no clue.

Anyway, there is nothing we can do but wait until tommorrow now, it is in their hands.

***** UPDATE *****

Ronald McDonald house have confirmed our accommodation! Thank goodness!
Now we just have to confirm the surgery date tommorrow.

.... Just another day ....

Monday, 4 December 2006

I Have Been Tagged... Thanks Yaakova...

Alright, so I have been tagged... (thanks a lot Yaakova) maybe this is a good thing, it will give me something else to think about for a while! I am not sure it will be too exciting, I have never been overseas or anything like that... my teenage years were pretty wild though! Lol!

The ones that are bold are the ones that I have done...

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said "I love you" and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby's diaper

21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse of the moon.
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football
(we don't play touch football but I have played Aussie Rules)
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class

71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party

75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo (BB: came too close to this one!)
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an "expert"
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone's heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears (BB: Ah, nose, lip and labret/chin)
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one "important" author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair (BB: every colour of the rainbow!)
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head (BB: partially... and was grounded for it!)
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone's life

Wow, that wasn't so hard after all! It was kind of fun actually!

Oh and by the way, Mottel has reminded me I was supposed to tag someone else... so I tag Mottle, RaggedyMom, and of course I couldn't go past... BagelBlogger!

.... Just another day ....

Surgery Stress!

Those who read my blog on a regular basis would know that we are taking our daughter Amber(5) to Sydney for open heart surgery at the end of the week. It is a 5 hour drive in the car (with 3 kids under 6 in the back seat!)
Last time we went to Sydney for Ambers previous surgery appointment we had our accommodation cancelled only a couple of days before we were due to arrive which was a major problem, but we found an alternative (which ended up costing us a fortune).

Amber has been booked in for what is hopefully her last open heart surgery for the past 10 weeks. We have had our accommodation at Ronald McDonald House booked for 10 weeks (same place that cancelled last time). They had asked me to ring a couple of working days before we arrive to confirm the booking. So I rang this morning. She hadn't checked the books yet and asked me to ring back later this afternoon. It is quite stressful not knowing for sure if you have somewhere to stay or not, but I thought ok, I can wait a few more hours and ring back.

In the mean time I needed to find out when Amber needs to stop her Asprin (blood thinner), so I rang the cardiac department to ask. The doctor needed to be paged to ask him about the Asprin, so the lady from the Cardiac department said she would ring back with the answer.

A few hours later she rang back and told me the Asprin needed to be stopped today - 7 days before the surgery. Oh and one other minor detail... the child who was supposed to be having surgery this morning was sick (a cold or something) and couldn't have surgery and they might do his surgery next Monday instead of Ambers! Amber's surgery may be put off for a week, she said she would ring back today and let me know either way.

I couldn't believe it. We have had to arrange so many things in preperation for going to Sydney, the accommodation is one of the big things but then there is all the other things like paying bills in advance, taking Jade out of school for 2 weeks to go to Sydney, arranging to have her school report sent to us because she wouldn't be ther to pick it up, taking Amber out of Preschool for the rest of the year, and the list goes on and on. As we will be away for at least 2 weeks it is quite a big task.

I couldn't help but think, why couldn't the child who was to sick today have their surgery in 2 weeks (on the day Ambers surgery might be pushed back to) rather than the day Amber has been booked in for for the last 10 weeks?? Or why couldn't this child take the surgery day of another child who lives more locally? I know this child also has heart problems too, but it just doesn't seem fair. We are under so much stress as it is without having to deal with 'maybe' accommodation and now this.

As it turned out the lady from the cardiac department never rang back today to let us know what on earth is going on. I haven't been able to think about anything else all day. All I have done is watched the clock wondering when she was going to ring... but she never did. I suppose I will have to ring in the morning to find out what is happening.

I think it is fair to want to know what is going on when it is only 2 days before you arrive and I can't ring to confirm our accommodation until I know what day her surgery will be!

.... Just another day ....

Saturday, 2 December 2006

Words I Really Don't Like

I really don't like to use the word 'hate' when speaking about someone, I feel that it is such a strong word, so even though I would like to in this post I won't. I will use another word such as:

I dislike the amount of time our landlord spends at this property.

I dislike that whenever I go out the door he is in my face.

I dislike that whe I get in my car he stands there and stares at me waiting for me to wave 'hello'.

I dislike that everytime I go outside to do something I hear 'Hello Danielle' and have to respond - no matter what my mood may be at the time.

I dislike that he said he wouldn't be here very often when we signed our lease.

I dislike that he feels it is ok to come into our backyard whenever he likes.

I dislike that since I started keeping a record he has been here 11 out of the last 14 days.

I dislike that he invades our privacy and our space.

I dislike that he hasn't installed the fire alarms that became law 9 months ago.

I dislike that he hasn't fixed the leaking roof we have complained about for 4 years.

I dislike his attitude towards us and that he is a control freak.

I dislike that he still has his mail sent here - to the same letterbox as ours so he sees everything we get sent.

I dislike the fact that even though he won't fix things/install the fire alarms he will still try to ask for a hefty rent increase in June. (they don't know we are moving yet)

I dislike that whoever we talk to in this poxy little town is a friend of his and therefore every word we say about anything goes straight back to him.

I dislike that everyone in this town thinks he is so wonderful - because he is not when you have to basically live with him in your face.

I dislike I feel like I do and he has such an effect on me.

I dislike him being here ALL the time and I wish he would go away.

.... Just another day ....

Friday, 1 December 2006

Happy 30th Birthday To Me!

Well it's official, I am now 30 years old as of today.
No more being 'in my 20's', I am now in my 30's! Wow, that sounds kind of old! lol!

I woke up this morning with a sore hip and was having trouble walking normally when I thought to myself, 'Is this what it is like being in your 30's?? Imagine what it will be like in my 70's or 80's.'
Anyway, the girls made me some lovely Birthday cards and my Grandparents (from Melbourne) sent me some beautiful perfume and my husband is buying me the necklace I want when we go to Sydney (there's nowhere to buy it around here!) and I have had the Happy Birthday phone calls bright and early this morning. I have all my Shabbos cooking and cleaning done, I have even watered the garden and cleaned the pool, so the rest of the day should be pretty relaxing! It is supposed to be quite hot here to day, so I might go for a swim later.

Have a great weekend!

Shabbat Shalom

.... Just another day ....

Wednesday, 29 November 2006

What Would You Take?

Blogging may be a bit sporadic over the next couple of days, why you ask?? The answer is simple... take a look and you will understand. It is kind of hard to concerntrate on blogging when the smoke is so thick it is making you choke and your eyes hurt.

It has made me think though. This fire is pretty close, too close for comfort. The winds here whip up so quickly and can then die down just as suddenly as they arrived. Going into worry mode, I was mentally deciding what I would like to have handy incase we have to leave rather quickly. I have all the family photos in shoe boxes and albums in a cupboard next to the front door. I have now added all our birth certificates to that cupboard.

I have so many things that I am attached to but couldn't possibly take all of them if the house was at risk of burning down. We have a house full of antique furniture which could never really be replaced, but stating the obvious, we couldn't take it. It is a hard decision and if this fire keeps going I will pack a few bags of things... just incase.

What would you take? If you had to leave your house not knowing if it would still be standing when you returned, what would you take with you?

.... Just another day ....

Friday, 24 November 2006

Palestinian Granny Suicide Bomber - Photos

I think everyone has read the stories in newspapers and in blogs over the past day about the Palestinian granny suicide bomber in Gaza, so I won't go into to much detail here again, but I thought I would post these few photos of Fatma Omar An-Najar from before the bombing.

Below: In this photo released by Hamas, Thursday, Nov. 23, Palestinian Fatma Omar An-Najar is seen before carrying out a suicide bombing next to Israeli soldiers in the northern Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian grandmother blew herself up near Israeli troops in northern Gaza yesterday.

Above: An undated photo shows 57-year-old Palestinian suicide bomber, Fatima al-Nejar. The mother of nine blew herself up near soldiers. (Reuters and AP have between them reported her to be 57, 64 and 68 years old... so take your pick)
An army spokeswoman said soldiers spotted bomber al-Nejar near the Jabalya refugee camp in northern Gaza and threw a stun grenade at her, detonating the device. She was killed and three soldiers were lightly wounded.

Above: Relatives of Fatma Omar An-Najar, grieve at the family house in Jebaliya Thursday, Nov. 23. Hamas claimed responsibility.

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.... Just another day ....

Tuesday, 21 November 2006

Iranian Man Burns Neighbours Car For Having Parties

An Iranian man reportedly set a neighbor's luxury car ablaze to stop him from throwing parties and entertaining poorly-veiled women.

"Every night, my neighbor had parties and invited badly-veiled women... I burned his car to teach him a lesson," said the 24-year-old arsonist identified only as Soheil, according to the Etemad-Melli newspaper.

"I had warned him several times but he did not listen," he said after his arrest for torching the 40,000-dollar Japanese Nissan sedan - one of the most coveted cars in Iran.

The man could face six months to three years in jail, the report said. Under Iranian law, people are banned from holding parties with unrelated men and women socializing without respecting the Islamic dress code, which requires women to cover their hair and body.

Police often raid parties and offenders can face lashes and hefty fines.

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.... Just another day ....

Ian Thorpe Quits Swimming

Ian Thorpe has today announced he has retired from swimming. To me, this is a shock because he is still so young, but at the same time, it seems like it has been so long since he has swam due to illness and injuries.

Thorpe has done a fantastic job representing Australia in the sport of swimming and Australia is very proud of him!

Well done Thorpie on an incredible career!

Australia's greatest Olympian Ian Thorpe has announced his retirement from competitive swimming.

The five-time Olympic gold medallist, and multiple world record holder, has told a press conference in Sydney he is quitting the pool at the age of 24.

He told today of the dizzying heights and setbacks that marked his career as he announced that he is stopping his professional swimming career.

He said swimming was no longer at the top of his priority list, saying there were things that were important in his life.

Thorpe said he made the decision on Sunday shortly after deciding he would not compete at next year's world championships in Melbourne.

"As of 2.53 on Sunday afternoon I decided I would not be swimming the world championships,'' Thorpe said.

"I also made a very difficult decision that day that I am actually going to discontinue my professional swimming career.

"I'd been working towards this decision for quite some time. I'm a 24-year-old, and I'm only just 24 as well.

"I'm young enough to still see the new challenges and be able to accept them within my life.

"I'm also old enough now that I realise all of these accomplishments that have got me to this place in my life.

"I also know there is a lot of people out there that want me to keep swimming.

"I only hoped that I wanted to swim half as much as other people want me to.''

Thorpe is regarded as one of the greatest swimmers of all time after winning 11 world titles, five Olympic gold medals and setting 13 individual long-course world records.

Worn down by the grind of training, he took a year off after winning the 200 metres and 400m freestyle titles at the 2004 Athens Olympics and his comeback plans were thwarted by illness, injury and waning motivation.

He had a three-month sojourn in Los Angeles this year in a bid to revitalise his swimming.

Thorpe said he had felt in peak physically fitness during his time in LA, but also began to question his future in the sport.

"One other thing happened in LA, as I got physically fit, my mind also got fit, I started asking a lot of questions.

"And I started to look at myself as a person. That begged another question: What would my life be without swimming?

"It's been a security net for me. But what it's meant is I haven't balanced out my life the way I should.

"So I realised I had to prove other things and let swimming take a back seat at this stage.

"I'm looking at a next phase, and that next phase means I am realigning the most important thing for me to do.

"Swimming falls somewhere short, which is never the way it used to be.''

On the possibility of a comeback in the future, Thorpe said: "I won't rule it out, I never rule anything out, but it's not going to happen.''

He did not want to reveal his future plans.

Of his decision, Thorpe said: "It's emotional because I see my entire swimming career flash before my eyes.

"I've had a great career. It isn't the best time to be walking away from the sport but it's my time.''

Ian Thorpe celebrates after winning the gold medal in the men's 200 metres freestyle at the Athens Olympic Games.

.... Just another day ....

Thursday, 16 November 2006

The Australian Drought - Photos

I can't believe I haven't posted for almost a week!
I have been rather busy with the girls. Amber started the kindy start program at the local school on Tuesday. She had a great time and can't wait until next Tuesday when she can go again!
Next Tuesday is also her Birthday, she will be 5 years old.

Yesterday I did the usual driving backwards and forwards, Mum's taxi routine with Amber at preschool and Jade at school. And today I have to take Amber to a friends Birthday party. I will probably do some shopping while Amber is at the party.

There has been alot of talk about food prices increasing in NSW beacause of the drought. I can't believe how expensive fruit and vegetables are already without them going up even more - inparticular, Bananas $12 a kilo and Grapes $17 a kilo. So, speaking of the drought, I thought I would post some photos of how rural Australia is suffering.

Above: Cattle scrounge for fodder on a drought stricken property near Toowoomba. Australia's worst drought in living memory is threatening the booming economy of the driest continent on earth, driving global warming and nuclear power to the forefront of political debate.

Above: Salt-infested dams can be seen in the drought-effected farming areas on the outskirts of the Western Australian capital city of Perth. Australia is already feeling the brunt of climate change with a five year drought devastating rural life and eating into economic growth, severe early season wildfires and record unseasonable temperatures.

Above: A farmer feeds his cattle on his property near the New South Wales town of Gunnedah, located 370 miles northwest of Sydney.

One Australian farmer commits suicide every four days, defeated by the country's worst drought in 100 years which has left them with dust-bowl paddocks and a mountain of debt, says a national mental health body.

Above: The Pejar Dam, in the heart of sheep grazing country and a water supply for the city of Goulburn, about 150 km (93 miles) southwest of Sydney, is seen almost empty.

Above: Sheep scratch for feed on a drought-affected farm near Cowra, about 260 kilometres (162 miles) west of Sydney.

Above: Grazing cattle raise a cloud of dust as they scratch for food on a drought-affected farm near Goulburn, about 170 km (105 miles) southwest of Sydney.

This drough is turning much of Australia's farmland to dust and is pushing the once-top grains exporting nation closer to importing wheat for only the second time in its history.

Picture was taken through a car window during a dust storm.

Above: Sheep stir up dust as they move across the dried-up water basin known as Lake George, located 20 kilometres (8 miles) north-east of Canberra November 10, 2006.

Living in the world's driest inhabited continent, Australians are used to wild schemes promising deliverance from drought and precious water. But with Government officials saying last week that the drought gripping Australia could be the worst in 1000 years, emergency plans are being drawn up to secure long-term water supplies to towns and cities.

Previously it was thought that the drought effecting more than half the country's farmlands was the worst in just 100 years, and with rivers disappearing and a searing spring, desperate farmers are being asked to pack up and open a 'new agricultural frontier' in the tropical north.

Influential lawmakers want farmers to abandon marginal irrigation lands such as the Murray-Darling river basin, which sprawls across three eastern states and covers an area the size of France and Spain combined.

Above: Drought ravaged Gayngaru wetlands of Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory.

Australia's worst drought in recorded history will cut its wheat crop to its lowest level in 12 years and cut economic growth by around 0.7 percent.

Above: The knarled remains of a mangrove lies testament to the devastating effects of salination in the drought ravaged Northern Territory.

Above: Graphic on rainfall in Australia.

Australia, already the world's driest inhabited continent, is in the grip of its worst drought in 1,000 years, a leading expert told the country's political leaders at a crisis summit.

Above: A Sydney Catchment Authority employee stands on a sandbank at Warragamba Dam showing the water level in the lake west of Sydney, at 16 meters (52 feet) below where it should be.

Sydney's largest reservoir that provides water to Australia's largest city of 4 million residents, officially slipped below 40 per cent Thursday, Nov 2, 2006 as the effects of Australia's drought continue to diminish major cities water supplies.

Above: A sign shows the level of full capacity for Sydney's Warragamba Dam.

Above: A New South Wales fireman.

Firefighters in Australia's most populous state are bracing for more trouble as temperatures soar to near record highs, scorching the drought-ridden region further.

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.... Just another day ....

Friday, 10 November 2006

Amber's Pre-school Photos

Just thought I would upload a couple of photos. Amber's pre-school had a photographer visit a few weeks back. These are the photos he took of Amber. We were quite happy with how they turned out.

Have a great weekend.

Shabbat Shalom

.... Just another day ....

Wednesday, 8 November 2006

A Busy Time Ahead

As the day of Amber's open heart surgery draws near, I am starting to feel more and more nervous each day.

We received the paper work in the mail with all the hospital admission forms and other bits and pieces. Her operation is on Monday the 11th of December which we were told by the surgeon last month, but now we have been told that she has to go to their pre-admission clinic on the Friday before as well. Amongst all this paper work it mentioned that if you live more than four hours away, which we do, the pre-addmission clinic was optional.... unless your operation is on a Monday, which Amber's is.

Considering the trouble we had last time we went to Sydney with finding accommodation and having our 3 month booking cancelled where we normally stay only 3 days before we were due to arrive (because they didn't have any rooms avaliable), I am quite worried it will happen again this time. I have booked in for a 2 week stay, I do still have to ring them a few days before we arrive to confirm they have room for us.... fingers crossed!

What we have now come to realise is that Hannukah is right at the time Amber will be in ICU - bad timing, but there isn't anything we can really do about it. While on the topic of Hanukkah, I have placed an order with for approx 15 Jewish childrens books and 5 Jewish childrens CD's to add to the girls presents for Hanukkah. It ended up costing us about $400US.

I also received Amber's school enrolment forms in the mail this week. They have now all been filled out and handed in at the school. The school has a 'kindy start' program to try to help the kids get an idea of what goes on at school in preperation for the comming year. The program runs from 1pm - 3pm for 3 Tuesdays in a row and starts next Tuesday. I am not expecting any problems with her starting school, she has already spent the past year going to preschool 2 days a week and hasn't had any seperation problems or anything like that. In fact, I am usually lucky to even get a goodbye before she runs off to play with her friends!

The kindy start program finishes just a week before we have to be in Sydney for Amber's surgery, then once we get home from that it will only be a couple of weeks before she starts school! Wow! How time flys - not long after that we will be moving to Sydney to start our conversion! Woo hoo!

.... Just another day ....

Monday, 6 November 2006

Haveil Havalim #92 At Jerusalem Games

Haveil Havalim #92 is over at Jerusalem Games this week, Yehuda has done a great job putting it all togeather. So if you haven't had a look already, click on the 'Jewopoly' picture (original pic courtesy of Bagel Blogger!) above and pop over to Jerusalem Games.

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.... Just another day ....

Just Too Cute Not To Post!!

Aawww.... This was just too cute not to post it!

One-year old elephant Tarak enjoys his first birthday cake made of rice and cereal with his mother Khaing Hnin Hnin and his aunts Dunja and Manari at the zoo in Hanover last week.

Happy Birthday Tarak!

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.... Just another day ....

Saturday, 4 November 2006

Minor Fast Day's Funky Jewish Tee's

Like many bloggers, there are blogs that I read on a daily basis. Everyday I learn something new about the people who write these blogs.

One of the blogs I read daily is Minor Fast Days which is written by Akira. Now, I knew a few things about Akira already from reading his blog - I know he's a Japanese convert, he lives in NY, he is married and he and his wife Ellie are expecting a baby very, very soon.... BUT, what I have just learnt is that not only do they feature in this months JVibe under 'Real Life', but they are actually the creative minds behind a VERY cool t-shirt company!

For all your hip Jewish t-shirt needs you must check out They have a large range of jewish t-shirts, hats, bags, mugs, badges, stickers and magnets!

There is something for everyone!

Check on the picture below to go to

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.... Just another day ....

Friday, 3 November 2006

I Am Glad There Is NO Jewish 'Festival' Like This! - Warning: Graphic Images

How glad am I that there is no Jewish festival like the Vegetarian Festival in Phuket last week!

The festival celebrates the local Chinese community's belief that abstinence from meat and various stimulants during the ninth month of the Chinese calendar will help them attain good health and peace of mind.

The participants also feel the gods take over their bodies during the festival, manifesting supernatural powers and then perform self torture in order to remove any evil brought upon themselves and to bring the community good luck.

Are these guys crazy??

Above and below: A devotee, his cheeks pierced with skewers, joins a
procession in celebration of the Vegetarian Festival...

Above: A Thai man, his cheeks pierced with a spear.

Above: A Thai-Chinese devotee cuts his forehead while marching in a rally.

OUCH! Looks pretty painful and just a tad NUTS to me!

.... Just another day ....

Wednesday, 1 November 2006

Sculpture By The Sea - At Bondi

'Sculpture by The Sea'

Bondi, is an annual event held along the coastal walk from Bondi to Tunnamurara in Sydney. (For those who don't know: Bondi and its surrounding suburbs is where most of the Sydney Jewish community live.)

It is Australia's largest annual outdoor 'free to the public' exhibition of contemporary sculpture attracting over 400,000 visitors each year. For three weeks sculpture by the sea features sculpture designed by artists from around the world.

This year is the tenth annual exhibition, featuring 108 artists from 15 different countries and will run from tommorow 2nd - 19th November.

Here is a sneak preview of some of the sculptures and some of the artists adding their final touches.

Above: I think this one is my favourite: Catherine Higham's "Banksia Refusiphila"

Above: Bill Ogilvie's "Little miracle"

Above: Bjorn Godwin's "Pavillion/The Daily Double"

Above: Jarrod Taylo's "Structural Wind"

Above: Charmaine Grace's "Vortex"

Above: Chris Leaver & Emma Parker's "Amphitrite falls"

Above: Margarita Sampson's "Big Mamma & the kittens"

Above: Bronwyn Berman's "Wind spiral II"

Above: Professor Phillip King's "It's a swell day for stormy petrels"

Above: Peter Tilley's "Uncertainty of an idea"

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Monday, 30 October 2006

An Update On Sheik Alhilai

A little bit of humor thanks to The Australian news paper.
Oh, and by the way, incase you haven't heard the latest development in the on going saga of controversial Muslim cleric Sheik Taj Aldin Alhilali, during a meeting today at the Lakemba Mosque to decide his fate... he has collapsed and had to be taken to hospital.

Sheik Alhilali became ill last week after sparking controversy over his comments in a sermon which compared immodestly dressed women to uncovered pieces of meat.

He has a history of past medical trouble and suffers from asthma, which seem exasperated in circumstances like his current ones... if you know what I mean.

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.... Just another day ....

We Love Israel!

If you haven't already come across the blog We Love Israel, have a look.

They have some wonderful pictures drawn by Israeli/Jewish children like Shalva who is 7 years old and drew the picture above.

.... Just another day ....

Friday, 27 October 2006

Corn & Capsicum Fritters - Another Tasty Recipe!

As you may realise, I like to cook... suprise, suprise. Last night I made these corn and capsicum fritters and they were delicious! So, here is the recipe for those who would like to try them. This is a milchig recipe.

~ Corn & Capsicum Fritters ~


310g corn kernels
1 red capsicum (bell peper) seeded & finely chopped
1/2 cup self raising flour (or plain flour plus half a teaspoon of baking powder)
1/2 cup grated cheese
1/2 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup chopped basil leaves
4 Roma tomatoes, halved
1 tbl spoon oil
8 slices salmon
50g baby spinach to serve


1. Preheat oven to moderate, 180C (approx 370F)
2. In a medium bowl, combine corn, capsicum, flour, cheese, milk, egg and basil. Season to taste.
3. Place tomatoes and salmon in an oven proof dish, drizzle with oil and season to taste. Bake for 15 - 20 mins until tomatoes begin to collapse.
4. Meanwhile, heat a large greased frying pan on medium. Cook 1/4 cup measures of corn mixture for 2 - 3 mins each side until golden and cooked through. Drain on paper towel.
5. Serve fritters topped with tomatoes, salmon and spinach.
6. Last but not least... Enjoy!!

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Thursday, 26 October 2006

First Photos! Madonna And Her Adopted Baby David

Madonna and child ... first picture of the star with David Banda,

who she is adopting, plus her children Lourdes and Rocco.

There has been so much talk over the last few days of Madonna's adoption of baby David. There are many different ways of looking at the situation - 'if it wasn't Madonna would the addoption have gone through so fast, if at all?' 'Is she doing it because it is trendy right now?'

But then, there is also the fact that she is saving a child from a life filled with poverty, disease, no education and not much hope at all.

Anyway here are the first photos of Madonna, her family and her new baby.

Guy's new guy... new Daddy Guy Ritchie with his son.

From Malawi to London... Baby David arrives in the UK to a media frenzy.

Spreading the love... Madonna jetted into Malawi earlier this
month in support of the Raising Malawi charity.

The Father... Yohane Banda, father of Madonna's newly-adopted son.

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.... Just another day ....