Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Below is a photograph of a Green Tree Frog (Litoria caerulea) which is the second most distributed frog in Australia.

Now, the more observant individuals will have noticed something amiss.

Yes! That Green Tree Frog is no where near a tree!

That Green Tree Frog is sitting on our shower curtain.

This is not an unusual situation. Our family has showered with frogs, on and off, for decades and we don’t like it at all.

Picture this. You are naked, wet and soaped up with one eye on the frog. Now I say frog, as in singular, but that is not always the case. More often than not it is frogs, as in plural.

Showering naked, except for a touch of froth here and there, whilst a frog looks on is most unnerving.

Showering as a frog hops and flops about that small enclosed area is extremely terrifying.

So, as you closely track the erratic movements of these green pests, parts of your anatomy are inevitably overlooked as you hurriedly soap up and flush off the most important bits.

Your only concern is to finish your ablutions before a cool clammy amphibian loses direction and flops upon your naked body.

Now, much has been said about frogs and our environment.

You know that guff about how the presence of frogs and their health and their happiness is a gauge of the health and the happiness of our environment.

Well, in our part of the world, the environment is far too healthy and far too happy with far too many healthy and happy frogs.

There was a time a few years ago when I counted up to 15 frogs of varying sizes in about our old toilet cistern.

Okay, the old toilet cistern did have a loose lid but that wasn’t an open invitation for all the frogs in the neighbourhood to come from far and wide to take up residence in our toilet.

And I am well aware why they have come to live with us. It is all about easy fast food for lazy amphibians.

We live on a farm which means that there are an enormous number of insects that flock to our windows at night, attracted by the house lights.

All these lazy frogs have to do is to flop up out of the toilet and onto the external walls and windows of the house to indulge in a veritable smorgasbord from the insect world.

One year the health and happiness of our environment became more than I could bear so I got a bucket with a lid and I captured a very large amount of these green pests and relocated them to another part of the farm that could offer them water and sanctuary.

It culled the number for a while.

A year or so ago, we replaced the old frog friendly toilet cistern with a brand new unit. I had hoped that the neat fit of the lid to the cistern would mean that the frogs would be unable to take a dip in the cistern and this would curtail their attraction to our toilet and shower room.

Alas, my hopes were quickly dashed. The frogs still live in and about the toilet and shower room.

They also continue to deposit their usual copious amounts of frog poo all about the room.

Today, as I entered the room, I was met with an extremely unpleasant odour. The toilet was flushed so I immediately knew what the problem was.

I lifted our seemingly well sealed cistern lid and my suspicions were confirmed. There, floating about in the water was a decaying frog.

How, when and why it died is of no concern to me.

How I was going to remove it was the immediate challenge.

So I fiddled about the internal workings of this new cistern and finally managed to extract this putrid being.

Then I had to spend the next few hours trying to convince my lurching stomach to calm down and not to throw up my breakfast.

Green Tree frogs are not one of my favourite creatures residing on the farm.

Friday, March 09, 2007


Recently I toyed with the idea of writing a book that would help people to attain financial freedom. The working title was “Two Steps to Wealth”.

You can read about this flight of fancy on my part by clicking upon this link.

Well, I haven’t gotten very far with the book. One reason is that I have no idea about financial matters beyond the advice to stop spending recklessly.

The other reason is that I haven’t been given an incentive to scribble something down because, to date, no one has forwarded on Oprah’s personal mobile number to me. I had hoped to launch my book on her show.

Lately I have been thinking that the concept of financial freedom may be greatly overrated.

I have two words to explain this hunch. Howard Hughes.

Howard Hughes ended up with an enormous amount of financial freedom. And where did it take him?
Into a self-created prison because of his Obessive-Compulsive Disorder where he faded from public view and became an eccentric recluse.

The most bizarre piece of information I found from Wikipedia was not the bit about him not cutting his fingernails and hair but that the first doctor to examine his body diagnosed the cause of Hughes' death as neglect.

Yep, financial freedom may not be all its cracked up to be.

Now, I would like to introduce to you my latest idea for a self-help book that I hope I can flog on the Oprah Show.

Again, if I am able to make an appearance on her show and “talk the talk”, I expect to sell millions of copies and then find myself with lots of financial freedom.

I know, it was a bad thing for Howard, but I have a lot of family and friends who will pull me into line if I start to go weird.

My new book will be called “My Excellent Tips for Permanent Weight Loss”.

Usually, readers will check the covers of these self-help books to find out what qualifications the authors can produce so that the reader can feel confident that the advice is legitimate.

So let me outline my qualifications. I am a human being who eats food, I am not overweight and I have a university degree in Psychology. So there!

This is just an introduction to my book so I want to be brief and therefore I will list my tips in point form.


This is very important.

Okay, I know that by the time you are born your choice of parents is null and void. But what I am trying to point out to you is that you are a product of your inherited genes.

An ideal parent would be the Australian-born supermodel Elle McPherson. She is very tall and naturally thin. And she looks good in a bikini which is not a bad thing.

With Elle as your parent, there is every chance that you will be tall and therefore you will have lots of places to put your weight.

Danny DeVito is a good actor but he would not be an asset as a parent. He is short and, hence, there is less room on his body to disperse any excess weight that he acquires.

What I am trying to tell you here is that you should take a look at your parents and your grandparents and any other relatives because what they have passed on to you, in terms of genes, is your baseline.

Accept your inheritance and don’t have unrealistic expectations about how you will be able to change your body weight or shape.

Very, very few of us will look like Elle. All we can hope for is a healthy and normal weight version of the body we have inherited.


Eat less if you are overweight. Simple advice.

There are a number of ways to do this. The best advice is to use a smaller plate when you are piling food upon your plate. Remember the old saying, “Your eyes are bigger than your belly” and heed it.

Also use smaller glasses when drinking beverages.

The other crucial tip is to eat slowly.

Wolfing down large amounts of food and beverages may be exciting for your taste buds and your brain but it is going to really piss off your stomach.


Yes, water. That stuff that God gave us.

Stop guzzling down all those “sugary, caffeine loaded and Lord knows what else are in them” drinks.

And don't go drinking some "sports drink" or "energy drink" after walking from your car to the shop and deciding that you are thirsty and you need to become part of the advertising image you saw last night on TV.

The 'sports drinks' are special cocktails that are designed for athletes so that they can rehydrate and replenish elcetrolytes, sugar and other nutrients to compensate for their depleted supplies after strenuous training or competition.

"Energy drinks are designed for people who are energetic. They are meant to give a boost of energy to people who have already spent energy.

'Energy drinks' and 'sport drinks' aren't designed for some sedentary clown.

Water contains no calories. So respect water.

Having said that, red wine is a great source of antioxidants which are good at destroying those free radicals running rampant in your body with a view to possibly causing some sort of cancer.

I don’t know what that means exactly but if it means you can drink wine with your meals then it must be a good thing.


Now this is the most controversial advice I can give you but it is the best advice I can give you.

Why? Because knowing that you can eat whatever you like, whenever you like, frees you from that damaging mindset that says losing weight is all about deprivation.

I am not alone with this theory.

A number of years ago, I actually witnessed a guest (with a book to flog) on Oprah’s show who uttered this very same advice.

When she said it, I called out from my recliner rocker lounge chair, “Right on, Sister!”.

Then I heard a very audible and communal gasp from the audience.

I was so disappointed with them. How little faith they must have in their self control when it comes to food?

It is that sense of deprivation that leads to binge eating and those unrealistic promises to “go on a diet” next week.

You don’t have to “go on a diet”. What you eat IS your DIET.

Restricting your calorie intake by forcing yourself to eat food you don’t like will NEVER work.

Always eat what you want to eat but think about what you eat before putting it into your mouth.

If you want a chocolate biscuit then eat it guilt-free. When you don’t feel guilt you are more likely to only eat one or two.

If you think you shouldn’t eat chocolate biscuits EVER, then you will find yourself guzzling down a whole packet of chocolate biscuits and promising yourself that you will “go on a diet” next week.

Again, and I know I am labouring the point here, my tip is to eat a little amount of those bad foods you like to eat BUT make sure you eat a lot of the foods that you know are good for you.

Simple advice but it will ensure that you will eat sensibly for the rest of your life.


This is my last tip.

Those cantankerous six-pack bearing personal trainers have a lot to say about how often and how fast and how long to exercise.

My tip is to just move you body more than you usually do.

Walk up the stairs instead of taking an elevator, that is, providing that you aren’t heading to the 32nd floor.

Find a remote car park that means you have to walk a bit to go to work or the shops.

Basically, walk more than you usually do.

I don’t believe in jogging. Jogging has to be a health hazard. It must be hurting peoples' feet, ankles, knees, and hips.

And I do believe jogging does great damage to breast tissue.

If you are unable to move your entire body due to being frail and infirmed then simply fidgit. Wriggle your fingers and toes. It is all about burning up calories.

Well, that is enough for now.

Again I send out the plea, does anyone out there have Oprah’s private number?

I am sure that if I knew that I could discuss my tips on her show it would give me an incentive to expand upon my excellent tips for permanent weight loss and come up with a decent sized self help book.

Thursday, March 01, 2007


I recently spied a butterfly visiting our Geisha Girl (Duranta repens) blossoms. So I grabbed the camera hoping to capture a good photograph that I could share with the rest of the world.

I searched a guide book on butterflies and I feel quite certain that this is a female Papilio aegeus aegeus or Donovan Orchard Butterfly which is found throughout much of Queensland and other Australian states.

The guide book also told me that the larvae commonly feed on cultivated citrus trees and on a number of native plants.

You may notice that the potplant contains a lime tree.

A while ago my husband was concerned about the grub like pests chewing on the leaves of my precious lime tree. Those pests have sinced metamorphosised into these beautiful delicate creatures.

I followed the butterfly about my garden in an attempt to capture a good photograph. It finally settled and spread out its wings as if it was posing for a fashion shot.

Below is the male Papilio aegeus aegeus. He also seemed content to pose for this photo.


"Bub n Bill" on cups