Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Christmas on Lord Howe Island

Welcome to my blog. It's been a couple of weeks since I last updated it. Thanks for being patient.

For the last week my family and I have been staying in paradise, otherwise known as Lord Howe Island (LHI).

LHI is a little island about 800km NE of Sydney, Australia. It is made up of the very old remnants of a volcano and is surrounded by coral reef. Less than 300 people call the island home and there is a cap on the number of visitors allowed on the island at any one time.

Looking south across the lagoon to Mt Lidgbird and Mt Gower 

Our family has visited this magical place a few times before. The first time for the Husband and I was on our honeymoon, over 21 years ago. Every time since then we've taken the kids. This was their 4th trip and our 5th. Every visit is different and we discover new things each time, despite the island being pretty small and most of it unaccessible, densely forested mountains. (The highest mountain is over 800m above sea level, which is about 200m higher than Canberra.)

We arrived on LHI on Monday 21 December and left the following Monday. Our week encompassed Moo's 19th birthday and Christmas Day.

Lagoon Road

Christmas Day with a LHI twist

The day started normally, with a traditional breakfast of pancakes. Then followed some Christmas present sharing. We brought our own tree and decorations with us. Weight limits for the flight over are strict, so we had to be careful about the size and weight of presents, as well as the tree.

A pause in gift giving while the Husband and I went to church. Church was a 5 minute bike ride from our lodge to the church. The congregation was a mix of locals and visitors.

Leaving church on my bike, Christmas morning

Back to our lodge (Ocean View Apartments - we've been staying there ever since we first brought the kids to the island and now wouldn't stay anywhere else) to finish gift giving.

Lunch was great. All the other guests of the lodge had lunch at one of the restaurants. We couldn't be bothered with a heavy meal so we stayed at the lodge and had the place to ourselves. Lunch was whatever we could throw on a BBQ. Bacon, haloumi cheese, onions, pineapple, and a few sausages of course.

After lunch was time for a quiet sit to allow the food to digest and time to look over our presents.

I normally find Christmas afternoon a bit dull and a bit sad. Our family is so, so small (only 4 or 6 celebrate it together out of a possible 8). There isn't the noise and activity and hours of eating and talking and making merry that the Christmas hype leads us to expect. This year, however, was different.

This year my little family of 4 went rock-pooling. We spent about an hour and half exploring the rock shelves at Middle Beach. It was brilliant. We found sea hares, sea cucumbers, hard coral, hermit crabs, giant clams, soft coral, fish, star fish ...... We stopped because the tide was coming in which covers the whole of the rock shelf.

Pink coral, Middle Beach rock shelf

On our way back to the lodge we stopped for a swim. It was low tide so the swimming wasn't that great off the jetty but at least we did it.

Another bucket list item ticked off - snorkelling on Christmas Day

Dinner was cold roast chicken on burger buns followed by chocolate for dessert. We played a couple of games that had been under our little Christmas tree.

Christmas this year was so, so special. Everyone got along, there was no tension, and everyone pitched in and helped. Then we got to spend it in on LHI doing very LHI things - bike riding, rock pooling, swimming.

Hanging out with the turtles, Old Settlement Beach
Jumping off the jetty

Swimming in the rain

Other things we did on LHI

  • swam with sea turtles
  • swam with reef sharks
  • snorkelled at Old Settlement Beach, Lagoon Beach, Ned's Beach, Comets Hole, Horseshoe Reef, Erscott's Hole and the Sylphs' Hole
  • rode bikes
  • walked a lot
  • ate wonderful food (can you eat too much fresh sea food?)
  • got rained on
  • viewed coral 
  • got friendly with sea hares and hermit crabs
  • poked giant clams
  • took photos of nesting sea birds
  • got rained on
  • paddled on the lagoon in kayaks
  • got rained on while paddling on the lagoon in kayaks 
  • spent time with the Husband, Moo and BoyBoy
  • looked at the view
  • jumped off the jetty
  • swam - in the lagoon, at Neds Beach and in the pool at our lodge
  • I also had a 2 hour spa treatment at a Day Spa. 
  • sat on the deck just doing nothing much

Things we did very little of

  • did not drive a car
  • used the internet very sparingly
  • did only basic clothes washing
  • not much cooking
  • didn't draw much, which surprised me
  • very little shopping

Happy New Year to all.

Miss L

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Diva 248 - give the gift of Zentangle

Hi and welcome to my blog.

If you are reading this you have probably come here via the IamthedivaCZT blog spot. If not, please let me know in the comments as I'm interested to know.

I have been blogging for only a couple of months and have been participating in the weekly Diva challenges for just as long. There are a couple of things that really make the Diva and her challenges stand out for me.

  1. I love reading about her family and seeing photos of a place that I have no experience of
  2. I learn new skills, tangles or strings each week
  3. I learn from what other people do in response to the challenges. I often file these away in my inspirations folder for later use.
  4. I like the immediacy of the way the Diva has set up the response section of her website. I might visit her site multiple times so I can see what other people have added before I start, then look again after I've submitted my link, and then again later just browse and see where the links take me. 
This week the Diva asked us to think about giving the gift of Zentangle. From my humble point of view, I am the recipient of the gift of Zentangle. 

I am so grateful to:
  • Rick and Maria for sharing this wonderful, versatile, accessible, creative medium with us
  • people like the Diva, Adele and Linda Farmer for putting the time and effort into websites, blogs and challenges that keep us all hooked and drawing
  • Shelley Beauchamp CZT for letting me come and learn from her earlier this year
  • Kathleen Murray CZT and Beckah Krahula CZT for publishing Zentangle books that keep pushing my skills and providing endless inspiration for my drawing
  • Readers of this blog. Your visits and comments give me encouragement as well as an unexpected sense of belonging to a community that is spread across the world.
Thank you all so much.

This will be my last post for a while as I'm off on holidays soon to a place with no internet or mobile phone coverage. However, this place has lots of sheltered beaches, palm-fringed and filled with coral and tropical fish.

To end this post I've chosen a cute photo of my dog Milo dressed in his best. Milo is a 9 year old pure bred Kelpie. 

Happy Christmas to you all. Happy holidays to any non-Christians. Happy end of the year for non-Christians and people who will be working over the next couple of weeks.

Miss L

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Diva 247 plus my son's Year 10 graduation

A major milestone was reached this week by my son and his friends. They have finished high school.

In the ACT that means they have finished Year 10 and now go on to college. After college it is work or further study. Last Friday was their final day of school. Last night was their graduation - not a big event at my son's school but significant nonetheless.

Tonight is their Formal. This is their end of school party. They dress up and are treated to a rock star greeting when they arrive.

My son chose to wear a purple suit jacket. The jacket has enormous personal significance for him. It is his story so I won't tell it here. However I will say that it represents personal growth, overcoming fears and learning to trust himself and other people.

Anyway ....

The arrivals at these events is part of the fun. Students can spend a lot of time working out what car to arrive in. A lot of money can go into this as well. For BoyBoy and his friends the cost was less than $4.

Here's why.

Their Formal arrivals vehicle was a cardboard box car, complete with wind screen, headlights and number plate. It was manufactured in our garage over the past couple of days.

The boys walked it to the venue from our house. They passed the venue on the other side of the road before lining up with other cars to take their turn arriving.

I was in the crowd as they came by. I was a very happy and proud mother when I overheard people calling out and laughing.

Diva challenge 247

Here are my attempts. Not great but I have had other things happening this evening!

Thanks for viewing my blog and leaving comments.

Miss L

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Diva #246 - Monotangle tree

This week's Diva challenge was to create a monotangle using a tree as our inspiration.

Here's what I came up with. 

This tile features Ahh and meant to reflect the weather where the Diva is. While the Diva and her family experience snow, in Canberra it is day 1 of summer. Today we had hot winds, 34 degrees, and a total fire ban. Then there was a dust storm to top the day off. It is cooler now that a southerly change has brought cooler winds and some rain.

This tile features Tripoli. I finally seem to be getting a consistent shape of these little critters. 

My last tile features Cruffle.

Below is a monotangle of Cruffle that I created some months ago. It was part of a collection of monotangle teapots that I framed. One set is in my house while another set I sold.

I hope you enjoy these images. Please leave a comment.

Miss L