Sunday, December 29, 2013

Put on your High Heel Sneakers

My grand-daughter came home from her school trip to the US wearing this footwear that reminded me of an old song from the Rolling Stones.

High Heel Sneakers

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Nothing to cry about

A little boy was very happy today when he discovered he had lost something.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Sweet Christmas

It was a sweet Christmas at our house

Hoping that your Festive Season was similarly sweet

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Please call me Madam

Although Oxford Dictionaries Online ( defines Guys as "people of either sex" they define a Guy as "a Man". How contradictory is that?

I am not a Man. 

The common usage of the plural "Guys" is another Americanism that has crept into our Australian language over the last ten years and its use annoys me intensely. Someone close to me, when I objected to her use of guys said "Well, what should I say?" That depends on the context, there are many alternatives one can use: buddies, chaps, class, colleagues, crew, fellow Australians, fellow ..., friends, gang, girls and boys, ladies and gentlemen, madam, mates, members, mesdames, sir, sirs, staff, students, supporters, team." There are many alternatives.

I am not alone; after commencing this post I turned to my mate Google to see if I could find others who agreed with me. The first article I read, Fight hamburgerisation; dig up some old Aussie lingo
from  the Sydney Morning Herald of  February 1, 2010 expressed my feelings far more eloquently than I. I give a similar answer to the person quoted in this article when someone asks me where the "Bathroom" is. I go to the bathroom to bathe; in fact many bathrooms in Australia do not even have a toilet.

Would all you guys out there please be a bit more creative with your language and, please, call me Madam.

Definition of guy in English


Pronunciation: /gʌɪ/
Translate guy | into French | into German | into Italian | into Spanish


  • 1 informal a man:he’s a nice guy
  •  (guys) people of either sex:you guys want some coffee?
  • 2British a figure representing Guy Fawkes, burnt on a bonfire on Guy Fawkes Night, and often displayed by children begging for money for fireworks.


[with object]
  • make fun of; ridicule:she never stopped guying him about his weight

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

From the Archives - Do not tip

Going through some old holiday snaps I knew for certain that this wasn't in the USA, not because of the bilingual sign. There is another big clue.

A gentlemen's convenience in Ankara, Turkey

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Across the carpark

No visit to our favourite Chinese Restaurant, Dural Terrace, is complete without a journey across the carpark to McDonalds to indulge in a 30 cent ice-cream cone. Following are two pics from Saturday's outing.

No need to consult a menu - we know our favourites
Nearly all smiles for 5 ice-cream eating Ballboys

First $1000

This morning I have a big smile on my face because I have reached a milestone in my support of the charity Kiva. As you can see from my lender portfolio page below I have now lent $US1000 to entrepreneurs in third world countries for an investment of just $US332; that money has helped 40 people improve their lives.

My latest loans were to Sulita in Samoa and Ana Elizabeth in El Salvador. It gives one such a buzz to help out these workers who don't enjoy the lifestyle we take for granted in Australia. 

At the moment generous benefactors are supporting free $25 loans to new users to try out Kiva. It will only cost you a few minutes to help some one out. Here is your invitation: 

I am a member of the 275 member Genealogists for Families team on Kiva made up of genealogists from around the globe (but with a strong Australian representation) who loan because "we care about families (past, present and future)." When you join Kiva we would welcome you to our team.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Learning about Transplants

It is no secret that I love reading. Having just ploughed through a book (Committed: a sceptic makes peace with marriage by Elizabeth Gilbert) I really did not enjoy I looked on my bookshelves for something that might restore my faith in books and reading.

A recently purchased tome jumped out at me. How to deliver a liver transplant was just the medicine I needed. This story of a young girl from Queensland who fell into and became hooked on her medicine is told in a conversational tone. I felt that I was with Kellee on her journey to becoming a transplant surgeon. As well as giving me a lesson in anatomy the book brought me close to tears of laughter and sadness as she related stories from her journey.

It has been returned to my bookshelves and is waiting for another family member to read it.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

From the Archives - Forbidden City

There was a lot of work going on in Beijing's Forbidden City when we visited in 2005 and there were many signs warning tourists of dangers and telling them what not to do. This sign was an apology for any  inconvenience caused to tourists.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

From where I sit...

Through my window
....I look out a window onto our back garden that contains quite a few Gum (Eucalypt) trees.

This morning I glanced out and saw one of the many  Kookaburras that inhabits our garden sitting on the branch of a tree. The photo I took of this proud bird is not too clear as my window is rather dusty.

What immediately came to mind was the Kookaburra song I learnt as a child :

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree,
Merry merry king of the bush is he.
Laugh, Kookaburra, laugh, Kookaburra,
Gay your life must be!

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree,
Eating all the gum drops he can see.
Stop Kookaburra, stop Kookaburra
Save some there for me!
Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree,
Counting all the monkeys he can see.
Laugh Kookaburra, laugh Kookaburra
That's not a monkey, that's me!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

From the Archives - Runaway Cows

While out driving in Bowmore on the island of Islay in Scotland in 2004 we came across this message from a local farmer.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Hanging my Head in Shame

I call myself a reader but this year my reading activity has been abysmal.

I record the books I read each year in Librarything tagging them with Read 2006, Read 2007,....Read 2013 etc.  The stats for 2006 and 2007 are high because when I was working I had access to lots of picture books and I was able to read these quickly in morning tea and lunch breaks. Looking at my statistics I see that I have really dropped the ball in the last few years. I hope that my lacklustre effort in 2011 is an error and that I just forgot to record what I read.

Read 2006 (110)
Read 2007 (124)
Read 2008 (67)
Read 2009 (75)
Read 2010 (91)
Read 2011 (18)
Read 2012 (26)
Read 2013 (36)

I lay the blame for this on the internet. I spend more than an hour each day engaged in reading but it is not the sustained reading that one gets from books, it is more like reading articles in newspapers and journals. I am just reading short bits and pieces that are educative and informative and I am learning from them but it is not the sustained reading one gets from books. 

Over the past few weeks I have made an effort to read for an hour or so each night and have thus added a few more titles to my tally for 2013. 

The last book I read is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society  that has been sitting on my bookshelves for way too long. This was an excellent book that drew me in, tugged at my heartstrings and gave me a history lesson. Simply told through a series of letters it chronicles the journey of young author, Juliet Ashton, to Guernsey to meet with members of a literary group with whom she has been corresponding. 

Read it.

Friday, October 18, 2013

From the Archives - Under Renovation

From time to time I am going to post a picture from our travel albums.

Today's photo was taken in January 2004 in Bratislava, Slovakia when The Hotel Danube foyer was being renovated.

Friday, October 4, 2013


On my genealogy blog last week I wrote a post about my favourite season, spring. When looking for photos to illustrate that post I realised that I hadn't taken any snaps this spring season so I grabbed my camera and went for a stroll. Unfortunately it was too late to get decent photos of the camellias or azaleas but I found a few plants still in bloom.

No words are needed to describe why I like spring, these photos are explanation enough.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


We've been trippin again and so the blogging has suffered. I spent three days at a genealogy conference in Canberra and then two days doing research at our National Archives and National Library so I didn't take many tourist type photos.

Although the weather was beautiful I didn't even visit Floriade as the lure of records in the archives and library was more appealing than the beautiful display of flowers at Floriade.

Conference Venue - The Hellenic Club
Reading Room - National Archives of Australia
Newspaper and Microform Room - National Library of Australia

Monday, September 16, 2013

Words with Friends

As a child I loved playing Scrabble with family members whom I now realise probably let me win more than my fair share of games. I was very excited when someone in my Dad's family gave me my very own Scrabble set (which I still have) as a birthday present when I was about ten.

Over the years I haven't played much Scrabble probably because Mr Geniaus doesn't share my enthusiasm for word games but I have always enjoyed wordy activities. Before I retired I mentioned to a friend that I might join a local Scrabble Club for a spot of activity but I never did because Words with Friends came into my life. It is a Scrabble type game that one can play on an iDevice, an Android device or via Facebook on a PC.

I love WWF because I can get a Scrabble fix without ever leaving home and I can play it in my own time and at my own pace.

My elder daughter got me hooked, then I started playing with her Mother-in-law; that would have been over twelve months ago. My list of playmates has grown but is not huge and contains a nice mix of people from my life. Among them is a colleague from work days, a distant cousin of my mother, my best friend, my 12 year old grand-daughter and her younger brother, a couple of geniemates and now my younger daughter. Because of spelling issues I don't play with any of my friends from the US but restrict myself to opponents who use The Queen's English.

We all  play at different times and at a different pace, with some opponents I have multiple games on the go and with others just one. Some mornings when I open up the app I find that I need to play a dozen moves and sometimes there may be only one or two. I usually check the app first thing in the morning and last thing at night and, depending on my activities, once or twice during the day.

I can recommend Words with Friends as a great way of giving the brain cells a workout.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Helping Hand

Kiva gives you the chance to make small loans to borrowers working to start businesses and improve their lives. I’m already lending on Kiva and thought you'd like to join me with a $25 Free Trial. Redeem your Free Trial while they last!

Pictured below are some of the people I have helped; looking at his gallery makes me realise how fortunate I am and how easy it is for me to make a difference to their lives.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Grandparents' and Grandfriends' Day

Mr Geniaus and I had a super time with one of our little men at Grandparents' and Grandfriends' Day on Friday.

The Grandpaparazzi were out in force
Kindergarten takes to the stage

The Ballboy becomes a Bellboy
BobBob enjoys a maths challenge
And I love that he shared my catering secrets with the world

Reminder - don't fill child's mouth with food just prior to photo

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Cookies, Crisps, Juice and Strawberries

Mr Geniaus and I have a special outing planned for tomorrow. We were thrilled that we were able to accept the following invitation.

Although the young gentleman who issued the invitation will have his school lunch we'll be taking along a few extra goodies to share with him.

Cookies, Crisps, Juice and Strawberries should do the trick.

St Jude

In my very short career as a nurse I was looked after by a nun, Sister St Jude. She informed me she had taken that name as St Jude was the "hope of the hopeless" and that's what she considered herself to be.

I just finished an inspirational book "St Jude's" by Gemma Sisia who happens to also be an ex-student of my Alma Mater, Vinnie's. I remember when I was on the staff of Vinnie's that Gemma came to address some of the girls; it must have been my day off as I missed out on the visit.

When I saw Gemma's book at the recent Galston Rotary Book Fair I purchased it as it was on my "To read" list. I couldn't have predicted how much I would enjoy the book and how touched I would be by the guts and determination of young woman who has set up a school, The School of St Jude, for poor children in Tanzania. In her book Gemma constantly referred to St Jude, the saint to whom she prayed when things seemed hopeless; she called the school St Jude because of all the support she has received from St Jude.

I commend this book (available from St Jude's Online Store); the story of how Gemma started with just $10 and a dream.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Do you struggle to finish each book you start?

As a reader who rarely gives up on a book I found this infographic from GoodReads shared by Stephen of Stephen's Lighthouse quite illuminating. Only 38% of those in the sample read right to the end.

Stephen caame across the infographic here:

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Father's Day

Today, the first Sunday in September, we celebrate Father's Day in Australia. It is a time when families get together with their Dads and when, those of us who are a bit older, think of the special times we hared with the Dads that are no longer with us. I dug into the family album to find some snaps taken on Father's Day of the Fathers in my family.

Father-in-law 1986
My Dad - 1994
First Grandchild and her Dad 

Another new Dad

The brand new tshirt says it all 


Mr Geniaus loves plants

and silly cards

They are all Dads now

but they are kids at heart

Last year there was a Christening

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