Friday, December 14, 2007


Hello! Is anybody there? 

Let me introduce myself!  I am Willow, but you can call me Pussy-Willow for short. I chose my owner five weeks ago when she came to the Cat Haven; since then I've kept her very busy as my personal assistant and entertainment centre. I heard her say she was getting behind in her blog and that doesn't sound very nice at all. She was sitting at the computer at the time, so I thought I'd take a peek...

First I checked out the little red light at the top of the screen, then hit the mouse around a bit, and before you could miaow 'cat biscuits', here I am, on the screen!

All this walking on the keys has tuckered me out. I think it's time for another snooze...but...

I am THE CAT - and you must remember that!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Dinosaurs Alive!

Dinosaurs Alive - 3D!
We ducked, screamed and threw our hands up in the air, trying to avoid being swallowed by the dinosaur which snapped at prey heading straight for us!

At the top level of Luxor's pyramid, the entrance to the IMAX theatre lured us with promises of extreme experiences. Climbing even higher via steps and a long, winding ramp, it felt like entry to a Disneyland ride!  
The theatre's 7-story screen and 30,000 watts of sound from 6 sets of speakers created a realistic world from long ago, into which we were drawn. Wearing 3D glasses, and facing the screen quite closely from several steep rows of seats - almost vertically aligned - the effect was complete, and we knew when a bar came up and locked us in our seats it was too late to run! A disembodied voice warned us not to try and move from our seat, but if anyone felt giddy or wanted to leave at any time, they should just raise their hand...

That was fun!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Spring Mountain Ranch State Park

Still within Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, we visited the Spring Mountain Ranch beneath the Wilson Range. At 3,800 ft, the area is much cooler than Las Vegas. Water for this once luxurious retreat and working ranch is sourced from some of the many springs in these mountains. This was also the area of the Paiute Indians.

Earlier, before being shown through the ranch, our guide had primed us to ask to see "the secret room". In the bedroom, what looked to be just another wardrobe door opened into a hallway. One step up while ducking your head, and following the hall led to a whole suite of luxurious living quarters.

Past owners of the ranch included Chester Lauck of the comedy team "Lum & Abner," German actress Vera Krupp, and famous billionaire aviator, Howard Hughes.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Red Rock Canyon

Calico Hills (
La Madre Mountains in background)

Calico Hills (fossilized sand dunes) — Turtle Head Peak

Mt Wilson cliffs (3,000 ft)

Joshua Trees

September 7

We included Las Vegas in our itinerary so we could take a trip out to the nearby Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area in the Mojave Desert. With my new digital camera, I was keen to photograph the area's
unique geological features and colourful cliff faces of red, cream and gray layers of sandstone and limestone.

As part of a very small group tour, our guide was a senior local who interspersed geology lessons with local history, legends and stories of the desert and Las Vegas, which enhanced our half-day experience. At around 100°F outside, three or four bottles of spring water on ice (for each person), were very welcome after photo stops and walks. Later, packed lunch boxes which included the best filled ham or turkey sandwiches I've ever eaten, were handed out.

Next stop: the Spring Mountain Ranch.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Vegas Delights

I love the dancing fountains at the Bellagio, a half-hourly free show ,
choreographed to popular music and lights in a man-made lake.

All this takes place on a surreal strip of highway entering from and
leading back into the Mojave desert!

September 5-7

This is our third time in Las Vegas, and again I feel it is amazing to arrive and experience—and a relief to depart!

Gambling holds no interest for us, other than to make our eyes, ears and minds boggle. We have forgotten the energy-zapping heat and gritty, blasting winds. The soliciting card pushers are more prolific and ’in your face’ than ever as we weave our way along The Strip. Fancy pushing cards into hubby’s face while his wife is on his arm! As if!

But there is something about the sheer size and boldness of the themed architecture of the hotels/casinos, and their fantastic light displays at night! There is so much to entertain and amuse without spending a dollar, let alone the availability of world-class shows.

Where else in the world can you walk into a Sphinx and sleep in an Egyptian pyramid? And this after watching an erupting volcano, riding to the top of the Eiffel Tower, watching gondoliers on the canals of Venice, walking among the statues and fountains of Italy, through King Arthur's Camelot and by New York cityscapes, with roller coasters zipping and screaming high above (and sometimes through) hotels.

Hotels with their several thousand beds are like mini-cities in themselves. A map of our hotel is essential to find our room. Once inside, with no sense of night or day, finding your room can be a challenge equal to a car trial without the car, as weary travellers interpret and misinterpret their bearings and multiple choices of lifts (elevators)! But it does get easier after a few days...

Against this backdrop, a much hoped-for meeting fell into place against many odds and did not disappoint – in fact it was my highlight!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Things to keep your hands off when in Vegas...

So that's where they went!

Lux Bus to Vegas

Driving through Mojave desert from Los Angeles to Las Vegas

September 5
After long flights, six hours in a luxury coach being pampered with creature comforts and plentiful refreshments was just the ticket!

Time taken to book in baggage and security check: 5 minutes.
Time taken to disembark and retrieve baggage: 2 minutes.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Hawaiian collage...

Evening entertainment, Polynesian style

"I know your face, but just can't put your name to it!"

The water came further up than we've seen before ~

~ both at high and low tides.

Sunset at Paradise Cove luau

Hawaiian Aloha

Hanging out in Hawaii

September 1-3
Hawaii is a great place to relax, recover tired bodies and feel romantic under the palm trees swaying in the Trade winds. The air is perfumed with tropical blooms, waves lap the shore, and our world is bathed in the honey-light of tropical sunsets.

We haven't swum yet - whilst Hawaiian beaches have warmer waters and wonderful tropical, balmy nights, it is our own Perth beaches that have spoiled us for white sand and clear waters.

Well, must go and crack another macadamia...

Perth to Hawaii

Sunset - on flight to Hawaii

August 31, 2007
After two beautiful flights totalling 15 hours (21 hours in transit), we arrived in Honolulu just 3 hours after we left home. That is, we left Perth in August, arrived and left New Zealand in September, then reached our first destination in Hawaii back in August!

By another trick of the International Time Zone, we will be away for just 33 days but will receive 3 months of in-flight magazines!

Air New Zealand excelled again with service. Perth to Auckland leg was all seats full, but Auckland to Honolulu only two thirds full and we could move around and stretch out. It makes a huge difference on a long flight. On this leg, the flight attendant handing out immigration cards for USA was explaining to passengers continuing on to Alaska that they'd need to fill in immigration cards for Canada. I quietly informed him Alaska was part of USA, in fact the 49th State, which initially caused him some confusion. But he back-tracked and apologized to the passengers he had mis-informed. From then on whenever he served us he'd good-naturedly say, "Ah, the troublemakers!" and we'd all have a good laugh. This attendant proved to be a real asset to his crew mates and passengers, with his friendly banter, sense of humour and attentive service.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Home from travels...

...up from jetlag we have almost caught, and return to circadian rhythms are trying!

AustralianNightOwl currently hooting at 7.00 am but falling off perch at 11.00 am and 6.00 pm! Disconcerting to early-bird husband but pleasing to cat receiving multiple meal times!

Please by stand for postings new on our travel...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Welcome to our World

...with love from Grandma

...and Grandad

Looks just a little bit like his Grandma?

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Congratulations Sharon & Daniel!

To Daniel and Sharon – a son
John McCarthy ROSS
born 21st June 2007

First photo, under an hour old, John weighed in at 10 lb, and is
a handsome baby with his full head of thick hair.

[And I didn't say that just because I'm his Grandma... least I don't think I did!]

Well done, Sharon and Daniel!


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Last Shopping Trip – with my sons!


Time: Some 15 years earlier than my last post.
Place: Another supermarket.
Company: My two sons, then in early teens and extremely self-conscious in public.

Me, spying a familiar face as we pass in the aisle: “Oh, hello, nice to see you!”
Familiar Face: “Hi to you too!”

We pass one another again in the cereal aisle, exchanging nods and smiles.
Sons: “Please don’t stop and talk, Mum! Anyway, who is she?”

Next aisle, we face and pass one another yet again, like jousting knights riding trolleys with squeaky wheels.
Me: “It’s been ages since I’ve seen you; how are you?”
Familiar Face: “Well, thank you. How are you?”
Sons (aside): “Mum, you don’t know her – don’t keep talking to her.”

Me, to sons: “Yes I do. I typed assignments for her some time ago.”

We arrive at adjacent checkouts.
“Family well?”
“Yes, great; yours?”
“Yes, good thanks.”
“Well, see y’later.”

Outside, there she is again, in her car ready to drive off. As she lowers her window, on impulse I ask, “Did you get a good mark in your final assignment?”

[Now-not-so] Familiar Face: “OK, now I KNOW that I DON’T KNOW you!”

[Sons, shrinking in total embarrassment, silently vow to devote the rest of their teenage years seeking revenge!]

Thursday, May 03, 2007

"Who do you think I am?"

...Scene: Supermarket, locked in a checkout queue. I spot Jim further back in the queue.

Me: “G’day Jim!”

‘Jim’: “What did you just call me?”


“Do I look like Jim?”

“Yes, you do.”

“Do you think I am Jim?”

“Well I did, but now I [am extremely embarrassed and] see I have made a mistake!

‘Jim’, to at least four people standing between us in the queue: “Do I look like Jim?...I don't feel like Jim...I wasn't Jim the last time I looked..."

Help! Get me out of here! turn at last…

Monday, April 30, 2007

Formally Relaxed!

Entering data into the new and clever data base software has been interesting — even more so as the developer has a laid-back approach...

Saturday, April 28, 2007

How about a Sextillion or 70?

...Night skies in the great Australian outback are simply awesome! Sleeping under a sparkling dome of a sextillion or 70 stars has always been a soul-reviver for me. Memories return of laying in my warm sleeping bag next to slow-burning embers of a campfire, breathing the fragrant scent of the bush, and trying to keep my eyes open as long as I possibly could to watch 'falling stars' or spot a satellite or two tracking across the heavens. All too soon sleep would take over, but periodically throughout the night I would wake for a moment to glimpse the changing position of the stars with the rotation of the Earth.

I recall when as a child growing up in Melbourne in 1957, I stood with my grandparents, parents and brother and watched Sputnik as its trajectory took it directly overhead.

Launched by the Soviet Union on 4th October 1957, Sputnik was the first man-made object to orbit the Earth, which it did in 98 minutes. It was only the size of a large basketball.

Experiencing this historic event sparked in me my life-long fascination with the heavens and spaceflight, and my spiritual heart beats faster as I ponder distance in light years, the wonder of creation, of our planet Earth, and my minute yet unique part of history. I yearn for my tiny contribution to make a difference.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Attention all dogs!

Dogs, just in case your owners can't read...

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

R.I.P. (Rest In Pieces) Murray!


Here lie the bones of Murray the Cod

Who died not from the hook on a fisherman’s rod,

But thrived for years in a fish lover’s tank

Until this week when he keeled over and sank.

Poor Martin did all for his pet that he could –

And with herbs and a sauce he sure tasted good!

~ Noella Ross 2007 ~

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Moose in town - Anchorage


These photos were taken at noon on 4th March, by a friend in Anchorage, Alaska. The moose were trying to find shelter close to his condominium from the strong winds which were creating a wind chill factor of -35°F (or -37°C).

It was really cool to get these while we, on the other side of the globe, were melting down in temperatures around 42°C (108°F)!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

10 lines from me

I must remember to remove my glasses before I put eyedrops in my eyes!
I must remember to remove my glasses before I put eyedrops in my eyes!
I must remember to remove my glasses before I put eyedrops in my eyes!
I must remember to remove my glasses before I put eyedrops in my eyes!
I must remember to remove my glasses before I put eyedrops in my eyes!
I must remember to remove my glasses before I put eyedrops in my eyes!
I must remember to remove my glasses before I put eyedrops in my eyes!
I must remember to remove my glasses before I put eyedrops in my eyes!
I must remember to remove my glasses before I put eyedrops in my eyes!
I must remember to remove my glasses before I put eyedrops in my eyes!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Hot Night Delight!

At the end of a hot summer’s day, what better way to cool the body for a good night’s rest than a spot of stargazing from under the Southern Cross, afloat on the cooling waters of the backyard pool, palm trees gently swaying in the breeze… I am a tiny dot in this wondrous Universe, yet I have my place in it.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Fire Training

At work I attended the hands-on demonstration in Bush Court on how to use a fire extinguisher.

We froze the bases of several trees with generous amounts of carbon dioxide.

Now I know what to do next time I have a hot flush — just pull the pin and aim...

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Healing Flow

Tonight I attended a short remembrance service at the hospital chapel, along with about 30 others who were also grieving the loss of a family member at the palliative care unit in the past few months. The Chaplain, gifted with a deep understanding and sensitivity in this area, had the knack of touching hearts and releasing feelings so healing could flow.

It was good to have supper together, bonded by our shared experience of bereavement, and to have faced the challenge of returning to these familiar buildings and garden which had become so indelibly imprinted on our lives.

The quiet love and support from the beautiful staff and volunteers knows no limit! Religion is irrelevant—this is God’s Perfect Love
lived out for the dying and the living at this place.