Sunday, December 26, 2010

Santa asked me to write this

In our family I have a strong connection with Santa, who told me he tries to pick a person from each family to act in his place when it comes to putting special surprises in the Christmas stockings and things like that.  He always tells me what he wants me to do, and I always try to comply.  I assume this tradition gets passed on for each family.  In this case, I think he chose my youngest daughter, Madison, as his next contender for the role.  The following little 'story' is in Santa's words (who by the way, is very tired, and deserves a very big rest!).

" I came down the chimney one night in this special home to find a 'Santa' hat on the hearth of the fireplace, with a silly light glowing and twinkling  on its fur covered ball, welcoming me to this home.  The welcoming message next to it was written by a small young girl named Madison.  I smiled, left my presents, drank her cold Milo milk and went on my way.

The next year when I returned to Madison's home, there was a very sad note attached to the same Santa hat, saying that she was very sorry, but somehow, during the Christmas holidays my Santa's hat had stopped twinkling and the light had gone out. I smiled at her innocence and strong belief in me, and left for her instead my own hat, with a note saying that I decided to take the old hat away.

The next year, when I came down the chimney in Madison's home, I noticed that she had left my Santa hat on the hearth, thanking me for the honour of caring for it over the year.  I smiled again, and knew that I had picked a true believer.  She had said to me in her note that while she loved having my hat, and it was very special to her, she would understand if I took it away to keep my head warm.  I put my finger to my nose and just grinned as I read her message, drank her cold Milo, and laughing with a lot of joy, I decided that as she was such a believer, she deserved to be a keeper of my favourite hat, and with that I left.

The next year when I visited Madison's house, I noticed that my old hat was still sitting on the family's hearth with a very big Thank You Note, written by Madison (with the help of her Mum), and it told me how happy and pleased Madison was to have my hat and my trust.  I knew then I had met a special believer!

Madison is now almost 19 years old, and each year when I visit her home, my old hat is still there on the hearth, waiting for me, telling me that she still believes in me.  Bless her, and bless her family!!"

Ho!  Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Early morning visitors

Click on picture to enlarge it

Yesterday morning, quite early, I looked out of my kitchen window and this is what I saw.  Even though I have lived with kangaroos in my close environment for all of these years I still get excited when I can see them acting naturally in our environment.  We have been able to develop an area of peace and a refuge on our property, and as a consequence we have been lucky enough to have a lot of wildlife sharing their time with us, including a varied species of parrots and other birds, and kangaroos, occasionally an emu, and other great creatures who stop by on their 'way through'.

Click on picture to enlarge it
 I love the fact that we have families of kangaroos living on our property and they come and go as they please. This particular gathering was a family consisiting of a male roo, a female and their adolescent 'joey'.   We have noticed that this 'family grouping' exists, and that even grandparents are included.  Great to see the bond that forms!

But my attempt to get some photos disturbed them, as I quietly stood on the front deck with my camera.  They stopped, stood and posed briefly for a short time, (mainly because all of our animals here love having their picture taken!) 

But then, just as quickly they decided it was time to leave this human area, and go further down the paddock area into the bush.

Click on picture to enlarge it

High Flying Act!

Mid last week our builder, 'Wazza' repaired the woodwork around a windowsill up near the peak of the cathedral ceiling in our living room.  It made a spectacle to watch the assembly of the scaffolding but the actual repair job, which with its dramatic scaffolding build-up, ended up being fairly minimal, and was completed very quickly! 

Click on photo to enlarge
Click on photo to enlarge
Today the painters started work on this large living room.  As this room has these cathedral ceilings, it meant they had to climb and scale this large scaffolding to get to the ceiling area and relevant windows.  It was amazing to watch them move so agilely, but eventually I had to leave the room because my tummy was doing flip flops imagining them working from that height --but they did it! It was so interesting to see them in action, as the room is fairly large, and they were flying through the work, and fresh paint was suddenly appearing on the old tired surfaces. 

Click on photo to enlarge
We've all been through these big jobs together, with a lot of mess and disruption, but it seems to be falling into place.  Last week this was what my dining room looked like and yet we still have managed to get it somewhat settled, and have put up our Christmas tree in front of one of the windows.  It has been an interesting renovation experience to go through, and there has needed to be so much team coordination behind the scenes to make sure that everyone was working on the 'same page'.  But tomorrow our re-upholstered antique chairs arrive for the dining room table, (which is currently hiding under an onslaught of 'stuff' that is important, but we don't where to put it...')  We have ordered carpet for the bedrooms, and set a laying date. We have anticipated a tiling date frame for those floor surfaces, and have either already installed the new bathroom vanities, or have them on order.  As long as the main schedule is adhered to we will accomplish this renovation with the least amount of pain--but exhaustion is becoming a common occurrence here. 

But on a bright note, on Friday our new latte coloured lounge suite arrives, to mix in beautifully in our new cream/latte living room.  It is all falling into place at least on this level of the house.  I'll keep you tuned in ...

Friday, December 17, 2010

Renovations and staying alive

All the painters, plasterers, builders, electricians and all involved left me alone today by 11:00 am.  (The painters started today around 7:00 am--usual time for them, but not my favourite get up time!).  It is Friday here--usually a close-early day for painters anyway--so I suddenly had the day to do what I wanted for a I showered, actually styled my hair and put on make-up and remembered what it was like to be a female, and not a worker in plaster,dust and paint, and building materials---it felt good!

I did my only second day of Christmas shopping and had a blast!  I felt good to be out--out of the house and its mess--out of any current building hassles, and just enjoyed people and my interaction with them.  It was fun!!

I had some great chats with seasonal stall holders in the mall, you know the ones.  They come back every year at Christmas and set up their jewellery or gold chain stalls, or candle and scents, etc--anyway it was like  meeting old friends--I was remembered (maybe I'm unforgettable--make note to self).  Anyway, it was great to actually stand and talk about their craft with them and discuss options and business---got small gifts from them--kinda nice--good to see them back!

I went on to somewhat successfully buy what was on my 'List of things to buy for people' list, and came home feeling very exhausted, but happy with myself and my day.  Even though I have been so sidetracked with our renovations, and haven't had much time to spend, as I usually do, devoted to Christmas and its fun--everyone kept commenting on my smile and my happy attitude--saying that if they were in my shoes they would not be as confident that our home would fall into place for Christmas day---but I  have faith in my builder, my painters, my upholsterer (who, by the way has created some very stylish upholstery for our antique dining chairs), my plumber, my electrician and all of the others who have so readily supplied their services to us!  I keep telling them I love them, and work with them as much as possible to make it all easier--I think we all collapse at the end of the day!

Anyway--today was fun for me.  I enjoyed talking with my 'community' and of course, naturally enjoy the infectious happiness of Christmas anyway!

I hope you are enjoying this joyous season as much as I am!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Just having an early morning chat

Click on photo to get an enlarged view
I got up very early this morning, and before going back to bed, I looked out from the dining room windows to see these two kangaroos happily sitting on our driveway, 'chatting' about their proposed day and what they had gotten up to last night.

Click on photo to get an enlarged view

Couldn't resist, I had to try to get a photo...


Saturday, December 11, 2010

When do you want to do this??

This has been a very exhausting week in our household, the family room downstairs is almost painted and complete.  As it stopped raining on Thursday, I  washed, line dried  and folded the large woollen-blend curtains from there, ready to be re-hung.  A mammoth task!

On Thursday morning this was the general atmosphere here:

Eric, our painter told me that his men would start stripping the wallpaper in the dining/entry area upstairs that morning.

"You're going to do it when?"

"This morning."

 "Like now--as in I need to shift all of the furniture and remove the stuff from everywhere in there?" I queried in a somewhat surprised and frantic tone, thinking how would this happen in a quick manner.

"Yep.  In about an hour".

"An hour? OK.  I had better go get Chris."  (Thinking to myself--oh, yeah, this will need super patience and skill today--little of which my tired mind possessed at that moment.)

Somehow Chris and I made the miracle happen, and the room was ready for the invasion of the strippers---wallpaper style!.

By Friday we were still stepping over wallpaper shreds, and dealing with our driveway bobcat driver who was trying to make our driveway resemble once again a surface that could be driven on---this current rain has not been a friend to us, our track, or the many trucks that have created new and varied ruts everywhere.

We have had the floor tiles delivered, as well as a new rut created.  Our antique chairs have been picked up for re-upholstering, and our front yard looks like a war-zone--with planks for scaffolding laying on the lawns, and the painter's van parked by our entry way, and paint tins and 'things' involving paint scattered like wildflowers in the Springtime (Just not as pretty.)

The radio is blaring music and background noise, and on Friday I escaped to the front deck to have breakfast and think calm thoughts.  New carpet quote for bedrooms is organised, and a laying date in early January has been organised.  Sleep is really wanted, but Chris and I do more building errands, and buy groceries to sustain us all for the next on-slaught.  The wallpaper strippers will be starting their strip act in the bedrooms next, and I just have to stay a jump ahead of them.

I haven't seen the carpet or the top of the large bed in the spare room for over a month now--somehow I need to make those areas clear before next week, so that work can progress in there---just feel like packing myself into one of the boxes and getting some sleep--maybe next year....

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Toys - the lifetime friends

A few nights ago I watched the movie Toy Story 3 on DVD. This movie was about a child growing up into a young man heading away from home to the next stage in his life, and leaving behind his toys (his great friends as a child) That movie reminded me very much of my 'special friends' as a child.

When I was growing up I discovered at a very young age, the magic ability that some toys have - I learned from my most favourite 'friends' that there was a magic bond that formed, one that, if special enough, stayed with you forever. I was one of the lucky kids who had a room in my home which was totally dedicated to the creation of a place for me and my toys--my playroom. It held shelves of my toys and children's furniture upon which was placed my treasures and some of my most loved 'friends'.  It was not unusual for me to spend hours in this little room, playing and creating stories.  There wasn't an Ipod, TV, or computer game in sight.  Just my gifted 'special' friends and me.

Old ToysEvery night I would go into this playroom and take my special friends from their place on various shelf spots, and lay them safely on the floor, so that at night when everyone was asleep and they 'came alive', they wouldn't hurt themselves jumping down to the floor.  In the morning I would talk to them and wish I could know the stories of their adventures during the night.  I would then put them back on their shelves, and begin my day.

Yesterday, my youngest daughter, Madison, and I sorted through boxes and collections of things which had been stored in her attic like wardrobe.  I found a couple of old 'friends' who had travelled with me to Australia from my childhood, and happily hugged them when I realised that they were still here with me.  The bond is still there--it always will be.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The latest on Squirt!

Because of all the renovations going on here, we have had to temporarily move Squirt, (our lorrikeet) to the lower bathroom, as it has been almost completed and is her sanctuary for awhile!

What has been so interesting to watch though is her behaviour!

Normally, if anyone invaded her space when she was in the central hallway, where she ruled the house, she would squawk loudly at them or me, and protest any invasion of her personal space.  But since we have moved her, she has dealt with plumbers near her cage area, and action all around her, and hasn't protested at all!

There have been nail guns shooting close by, and furniture moving, and doors slamming, and she has remained as calm as can be.  She would occasionally say "Hello!" to the plumbers, but I think they had enough on their hands and really didn't talk to her much.

All week she has been amazingly on her best behaviour, then the guys all went home for the weekend, and on Saturday morning she started:

"Hello!  Hello, Squirt!  Squawk! Wake-up! Squawk!  Jock!  Hello, Strap!" 

The words and phrases just kept falling out of her mouth--like she had been restraining herself and could finally let go.  Then, I worked it out!  She had been on 'Best Company Manners', while all the guys were here--plus she is a natural flirt and could sense fresh talent!

Once they were gone, it was like she could take off her tight girdle and just let go--and so she has --all weekend!

It will be interesting to see how coy she is when the guys all show up again on Monday!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Monarch Butterflies - little miracles!

As a child growing up in Iowa, some of my 'playmates' were Monarch butterflies.

Monarch Butterfly
  I would be amazed at their fragility, and even as a child I    
  loved their beauty and larger size.  They seemed more
  friendly than any other insect I had found.  Well, lightning
  bugs were pretty special  too--but they'll get their own story

  Anyway...I especially loved the times when the Monarch was
  slowing down (sadly because the poor thing was
  probably reaching the end of its life cycle), and I would be
  able to coax them onto my forearm or finger. Their spindly,
  black legs would grasp and hold on, and as they moved, the
  tickling sensation of  their fragile legs and my ability to be
  so close to such a beauty of nature was a wonderful sensation. I followed them everywhere in the garden, and discovered some that would stay with me for a long time during the day.

Out of curiosity, I recently did a search on them and discovered that they have an amazing life cycle-

Here is an excerpt from one of my readings - the full web-site is attached below - no wonder these guys amazed me so much:

The total time frame for one butterfly's life cycle (one generation) is about 6-8 weeks . . . egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly. It grows inside the egg for about 4 days. It then munches milkweed and grows as a monarch caterpillar (larvae) for about 2 more weeks. The caterpillar's life inside the chrysalis (pupa) lasts about 10 days and its wonderful life as an adult butterfly lasts from 2 - 6 weeks.

February/March - hibernating monarchs in Mexico and southern California reawaken, become active, find a mate, begin the flight northward and lay their eggs. Finally they die. These special monarchs have lived about 4-5 months through the long winter.

March/April -the 1st generation monarchs are born -egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, adult butterfly;

May/June - the 2nd generation is born - egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, adult butterfly;

July/August - the 3rd generation is born - egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, adult butterfly;

Sept/Oct - the 4th generation is born - egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, adult butterfly . . . but THIS generation does not die. It MIGRATES south and lives 6-8 months in Mexico or Southern California. They begin awakening and mating in February/March of the NEXT SPRING, and then lay their eggs! Withered and tattered from their migration and hibernation . . . they finally die.

The cycles goes on as the new baby caterpillars are born each spring and the cycle continues throughout the year into the next spring. MAGICAL and AMAZING!


House renovations, massive rain season and Christmas preparations.  Yes. I know I'm alive!

On Monday our builders came and loaded up all of our unwanted furniture from around the house, and after two very large trailer loads, had left it at a monthly held auction site (We'll see what that result will be later--some of the pieces were nice--so--hopefully someone else will enjoy them.)  That action at least emptied out some much needed space in order to get ready for our proposed renovations.

On Tuesday morning, we had a plant filled, tiled central hallway which housed our noisy and opinionated lorrikeet, Squirt.  By mid-day Tuesday, Squirt had been re-located to our lower bathroom area, out of harm's way, and the plants were stored safely downstairs, while the tiles on the central hallway floor were ripped up.  It didn't take long to discover that we were in trouble.  A small infestation of termites was found in the floorboards, and a pest exterminator was summoned immediately.  He discovered a small nest under that area of the house, treated it, and inspected the rest of the house--giving us a clean slate.  But we waved goodbye to the hallway floor completely.  By Tuesday afternoon, we had a safe, termite proof protective flooring installed, and we waved goodbye to those little chew-mongers!

On Thursday morning we  waved goodbye to the functioning of any water to our bathroom vanity in the middle bathroom as they shut down that plumbing, and proceeded to destroy the vanity in the lower bathroom, in preparation for the new one being installed.  While installing the new vanity, and what should have been a quick job for the plumbers turned out to be a 4 hour marathon as water difficulties and leaks kept appearing--but the end result was worth it!

Friday morning signalled the cutting away of the rain damaged ceiling area in the family room, downstairs, and a new ceiling fitted.  The vanity in the middle bathroom was removed and new tiling surface was laid in the hallway, with the middle bathroom tiled floor being removed and the special flooring surface laid there also.  New doors in various areas were ordered and connections were made with the tiler and painter and plasterer.

At the same time, the removalists arrived early in the morning and took our packed boxes of books, teddy bears, precious goods, and other keepsakes to our storage space in Yeppoon, where we have stored our other furniture and antiques from our beach house. 

During this entire week we have all battled massive rain storms and today was the ultimate.  Roads around the area are cut, with rivers flooding and massive downpours predicted for quite sometime.  The guys were so wet, but they kept working, with squelching boots and still amazingly a good sense of humour.

During this week Chris and I worked into the night cleaning up the days dirt and mess, and packing things for removal or disposal. We have organised new tiles for the bathroom, hallway and new (to be) laundry room. we have designed and ordered a new vanity for the middle bathroom, chosen 25 new kitchen knobs for our kitchen cupboards, picked up a new cable extension for our satellite TV, and have made the mammoth decision to celebrate our last Christmas here in the family room, downstairs.  Talk about breaking tradition!

For the next month we will be living in a painter, wallpaper removal, tiling environment--but hopefully it will all end before Christmas, and we can all say a blessed prayer!

I'll keep you posted....

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Show and Tell

During the week after Lauren's death, our house was filled on a continual basis with her friends and ours, as we worked through our grief and shock together, and then we started our story sessions--our remembrances.  We would find ourselves laughing, with tears streaming as we wiped them away.  During this time frame there seemed to be an on-going communal planning process happening in our lounge room, as we listened to suggestions from her friends on how we could handle her funeral(s). We planned a formal mass observance at Holy Family, our local parish church, and then an additional service at the crematorium.  There are so many details I could go into - but this prelude to this next story was as an introduction and perhaps an explanation regarding our views on how we handled her death. 

While we all missed Lauren, and mourned her intensely, each in our own way, we also celebrated her, which was emphasized strongly during the wake after her funeral. That afternoon, many musicians from competing bands and groups in the local community all joined forces, shared equipment and amplifiers, and held a mini-rock festival on our large front lawn.  There was food and drink, and music and stories.  During all of this afternoon, Maddie, who was one week into her 7th year, was invited and encouraged to take part in the music by Lauren's friends and fellow musicians.  She loved the drums the best! 

A few weeks passed, and one morning I walked through the lounge room here at home, on my way to start breakfast, when I saw Madison sitting on the floor in front of the television.  She was sitting on the skateboard she had shared with Lauren, with Big Ted (her favourite teddy bear on one side of her), and Lauren's box of ashes propped on the skateboard on the other side of her, with her arms around both companions.

I hesitated, then asked:

"Maddie, what are you doing?"

"Lauren and me are watching Rug Rats"

"Oh. OK.  You look like you're having fun!"

"Yeah.  Hey, Mum?"

"Yes, Darlin'"

"Could I take Lauren to Show and Tell today?"

"Maddie, I think Laurie would have loved that, but something tells me that maybe your teacher, or some of your classmates might not maybe we should just leave her here for now, OK?'

"Oh...OK.  Mum, could I take our skateboard instead?"


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Early christmas reflections

You know, for some reason, I am always so reflective leading up to Christmas.  Christmas would have to be my number ONE holiday - a time of year of such joy and giving--but leading up to it for me is almost painful.  You don't understand that do you?  I don't blame you--I almost don't either.

Maybe if I explain by saying that I don't just have emotions---I FEEL emotions when I acknowledge them. Physically and emotionally.  Especially at this time of year.  I always have- even as a child.  While my friends were making Santa lists and happily dreaming of 'Sugar Plum Fairies', I was concentrating on - OK- what I wanted for Christmas, but also worried about how children in the world would feel if they didn't get any Christmas surprises. I mean, Santa was special, but even he could make mistakes! Even as a kid I thought too much!

My way of coping with this 'syndrome' was to lay under our Christmas tree, which in Iowa was a real pine tree, and look up at the lights on the tree, and contemplate--Alright--I wasn't a normal kid--but, today who is!!  As the years passed, and I survived and enjoyed each Christmas holiday, and eventually had children of my own...a funny thing happened.  My second daughter, Lauren became a contemplator--and it was not unusual to find her laying under our Australian artificial pine tree, looking up at lights, and thinking about 'things'. 
I used to ask her what she was thinking about, and she would just tell me: "...I feel safe here, Mum.  Just want to feel it's quiet."  I knew what she meant, so I would leave her alone.
So, as we begin this wonderful holiday season, I wish you all much happiness....and then maybe a spare moment to contemplate--on your life, your happiness, and what yet you could do...maybe a random act somewhere...for someone.  Not everyone has a Christmas tree.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Lauren's Sundays

I've written about *Lauren a few times. 

Anyway, in one of my last blogs ('Packing up memories') I spoke of her Sunday morning DJ radio spots- and it's special meaning for me.  She was a young girl who at the age of 17-18 approached a local community radio station  and said that she wanted to have a radio spot, and would they give her air time.  It was a radio station which usually focused on soft music, leaning towards old rock and easy listening.  In fact, it often played more classical music--depending upon the DJ's focus.  Most of the volunteer DJ's were middle-aged and in a very different zone from Lauren's world.

Lauren was a punk musician in the making, and was a different breath of wind to this radio station.  For some reason, they said yes.  She started out with an easy listening Wednesday, late afternoon drive time radio program.: 4:00-7:00 pm.  Sometimes I would bring pizza to her into the studio, or phone in requests in the beginning--then suddenly she had an audience.

 By the age of 18, she had added the Sunday morning easy listening time slot to her radio program schedule. In this time slot, from 9:00 to 11:00 am, she played my music--music from the 70's.  Often she would dedicate songs to me.  But my best memories of Sundays would be after the radio program- she would stop at the local markets in town and buy 'stuff' from the pensioner's stands, with her meagre savings (She loved the pensioners and the stories they would tell her.  She often sat with them and found out how their week had been)  Then she would buy a 20 cent ring to give to someone.  She loved 20 cent rings!

She would then come home, grab her little sister Madison, who was 5-6 years old, and they would go skate-boarding in the closed parking lots of the local shopping centres.  Madison adored her, and vice-versa.  They had quite a bond!

Lauren was heavily involved in the underground music/punk music movement in the local community, and as she had two bands, she performed in a lot of venues and local night-time events.  Sometimes she would DJ a wedding or party, anything she could do to keep involved with music and people. 

Then out of the blue, one day the radio station decided to have a leap of faith, and gave Lauren her own radio spot--'The Smelly Show'--which aired on Thursday nights from 9:00 - 11:00 pm.  In this time slot Lauren aired her preference for punk music, and promoted young local talent, with pre-recorded interviews, and introduced new up-coming talent in the area.  She also interviewed travelling music legends prior to their concert performances, faking an intro to them with her 'Smelly bags" - airplane sick bags which contained our local city's promotional material and always a tape of someone's music! 

She never stopped--she was hosting three radio spots, studying full-time at university, was involved in two bands, held down a part-time job, and still did photography and wrote music. 

But most of all, on Sundays she was mine.  During her Sunday morning radio program, while she played my kind of  music, she would occasionally drop a one-liner to tell the local radio listeners how much her Mum meant to her--she always referred to it as unconditional love.  Sundays were days for Lauren and I- but others were always invited to come along!.

*(Lauren died in a tragic car accident at the age of 19, on her way to a rock concert festival. She died one day after Madison's 7th birthday.)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving - a time of reflection

Many of my American family and friends will be sitting down together on Thursday, 25 November, to celebrate Thanksgiving, an American tradition.  A time for giving thanks for what you have received in your life and a time to appreciate your family and those loved ones in your life (at least, that is what it always meant to me.)

In Australia, we don't have that tradition, probably due to the fact that we weren't rescued as pilgrims by friendly native Indians, showing us how to survive in the harsh environment at that time and sharing their supplies with us that first harsh Winter.---although I'm sure the Aborigines could have and probably did help early settlers learn survival skills in these harsh Australian conditions during its early settlement time!

Some years ago, I came up with the idea of a 'Thanksgiving Under the Stars' dinner party, as in November we are entering late Spring/early Summer climates here.  I have held several of these 'feasts' outside under our stars, with the last one celebrated about 2 years ago---when I baked a large ham, and a lamb.  ( In Australia turkey isn't a favoured meat--so never makes the menu that often!)  This was all served with many accompanying vegetables, sauces, gravies, and desserts--I have taught myself to make pumpkin pie from scratch - it's the pioneers and me, Baby! - all laid out on a large table on our front deck.  I had set up the long tables for our friends and family, with candle-light and decorations, and about 16 of us dined and laughed under the stars that night, to good food, good company, maybe some good music, and lots of was a fun night- and a chance for us all to give thanks to each other and our extended families. 

So, I wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all, and may you all find time somehow, sometime to give thanks to each other!

Packing up memories

We are about to have some work completed on our family home, and then it will be re-painted and freshened up for the sale market.  In the process of doing this we have come across many memory makers--photos of family trips, photos of my three daughters as children, and at various stages in their lives as they were growing up.

I have found cassette tapes of my daughter Lauren's radio shows - mainly her Sunday morning show, during which she would play music that was my kind of music--music of my youth.  Sundays were special for this reason.  Some of these tapes were given to me by her radio station after her death.  As a bit of a memorium.  I have also found video cassettes of her recording her first CD with her band, and other videos of other local bands in the area at the time, on which she would sometimes appear.  All really good keepsakes.

Lauren - her last Christmas with us

Both my Mum and my 19 year old daughter have passed on, and yesterday I carefully wrapped my Mum's cut crystal pieces--her serving bowls, candy dishes, sweet bowls, and other special pieces in bubble wrap for storage, as we make our plans to move from this family home.  I had already carted these pieces from Michigan, USA to Queensland, now they are getting ready to travel again.

I then turned to Lauren's art pieces--her life size guitar sculpture, her pottery dragons, and her other pieces of artwork.  Each piece was carefully wrapped in bubble-wrap, and placed with care on top of a soft blanket in a very large plastic container, for its planned journey to our next home--somewhere in Cairns--we still have to make those final decisions. 

'Lauren's Guitar' sculpture- stylised by Madison Liston
For now, my pieces of memory of my two very much missed people will be put safely in storage, until we make that next journey to our new home.

Chris, Maddie and I are very busy packing things into boxes, and sorting through what to keep, what to give away, and what just needs to be thrown away--it is sometimes a difficult journey emotionally for me.  While Chris and I are excited about starting our next adventures in Cairns, we are also sad to be leaving this home. There is a lot of of us which we have put into making this a welcoming home, it holds a lot of memories.

Madison will be moving down to the City to go to university - a big step in her life, and at about the same time, we will be moving to Northern Queensland - about 1,718 kilometres away from where she will be. (3 days by car, but only about 2.5 hours by flight).  So this is a big upheaval in all of our lives---but despite the sadness which can't help but be felt, there is also great excitement---and we're taking our memories with us---that's the best part---we all have adventures ahead of us!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Rainy days lately...

On a typical rainy morning lately, this is what we all go through, when waking up.  As we leave the bedroom, Chris opens the back door to check on the dogs and the weather and I head up the small set of stairs to start my day, and think about breakfast.  At this time I also uncover the pink sheet from Squirt's aviary, and Squirt and I start our daily conversation. She lives in our usually sunny plant-filled central hallway--so rainy days are foreign to her--unfortunately, Jock and Strap, our two border collies don't have it so good!  They have been living in the rainy elements lately, and don't need much encouragement to come inside to the dry, lower  hallway, and unfortunately, cream carpeted bedrooms!

(Snippet from yesterday's conversation as I attempted to uncover Squirt's aviary and start my day...)

"OK, I'm uncovering you, Squirty. --Hello, Squirt!"
"Allo--Hello, Strap!"
"No. Let's not call the boys--their feet are very dirty---you should see the mess they made on our bedroom carpet yesterday when you called them in!"
"Hello, Squirt!" I say, as once again I try to get her attention away from the poor, wet boys and just try to talk with Squirt, my very colourful, and very cheeky lorrikeet.

 "Let's just talk about you today..." 
"Hello, Squirt - (squawk!) Squirt! Strap! Strap!"
"No!  Not Strap--we don't need him to come inside today...just Squirt. Do you want a cuddle?  Yes?  OK - Up on your perch! Good girl---No!  No biting!  That's my good Squirty!" (I say, as I  gently tap her beak)--"We don't like biting do we?"
"Strap! Hello, Strap!"
"Squirt--stop it!  We don't want the boys to come inside--stop calling them!"

Suddenly the sound of the back hallway screen door is heard opening, and the sound of dog claws hit the tiled floor..

"Squirt!  I told you this would happen!"  I had to turn and go back to the bottom hallway, only to find Strap already inside, and Jock standing with his nose holding the hallway screen door open, eyes up- looking at me expectantly.

"Strappy Boy--sorry mate--I know you hate the rain--but go outside again please--you're a mess--you're full of mud--good boy--outside now!" 

Suddenly the dejected look of his black and white face meets mine, and with his head down, he slowly opens the back screen door and heads outside, with Jock standing just outside the back screen door - knowing now that they won't get away with coming inside.  Not only do they leave their dirty feet calling cards, but the wet aroma of rain dog fills the lower hallway for the time being!

"Squirt!  See what you did!  It's OK for you--you're in a dry aviary--the boys aren't--it's not nice to tease!"
"Hello, Squirt!"
"That's right!  Good girl--just Hello Squirt!"
"Strap! Strap! Strap! Hello, Strap!"
"Squirt! Stop it - they cannot come inside!"
"Strap! Strap! (Squawk) Strap!"
"Squirt!  Stop it! "

Once again I hear the back screen opening, and I know it's the boys--if nothing else, they are persistent!
"Squirt! I'll talk with you later!"
"Boys, No!  Go outside! I really give up - Sorry boys!" 
Heading back towards Squirt's aviary, I mumble under my breath:
"Stupid Smart Alec bird! Stop hanging upside down and looking at yourself in your mirror - you know what you did!" (Why is it that Lorrikeets know how to smile--at least this one does!)

"I'll talk with you all later--it's too early for this!"

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Stick by me

Last night, when scrolling through the myriad of TV channels to find 'something to watch', I came upon one of, what I would call my classic films- 'Stand by Me' - based upon a short story by Stephen King, which highlights the relationship of 4 boys in their pursuit to find the unfortunate body of a dead kid hit by a train.

This movie has always been our family favourite, in the first instance because of its underlying King-like death presence and the possibility of not knowing what was going to happen as a result, but more so the over-riding strength of friendship in a time of troubled youth. This classic theme eventually confirmed it as a family favourite, because--how did one ever find better friends than those you had as a child?

Somehow, we do.

I don't know about you, but I sometimes wonder how that happens.  I mean, the first best girlfriend I ever had was a young girl who was 3rd born in a family of 4, about my age, and a neighbourhood childhood life mate.  She was about 4-5 and I was a year older---we were people who could defend ourselves against the travesties of neighbourhood game squabbles and big brothers!  We were strong!

We had so many adventures together--the bad ones because of my curiosity - like the day I tasted freshly dropped tar by the City Council on the street past our house, because it looked like liquid licorice.  ( I know--don't imagination will be the death of me!)  In order to get the tar off my teeth, we sat together in her backyard, in the tractor tire rimmed sand pit, and scrubbed at my teeth with her brother's toothbrush, mainly because we thought it might work, but mostly because he was a bully and needed to have his toothbrush treated this way!  I don't remember what eventually worked--but those methods--especially sand and tar were pretty awful!

Her Dad had a car which didn't seem to get driven very much, and to my memory looked like a gangster car like in one of those old black and white movies that came on TV. In my memory it was grey and boring, and had great rounded edges with lots of metal space.  It needed help--maybe if it looked better--they would drive it more often--so my trusting friend Kimmy and I decided that all of the half used paint tins in the garage were probably put there to eventually make that poor, sad car look much better!  I have vague memories of painting sections of the car with large brushes - I had seen my Dad remove paint tin lids with large screw drivers, so I sort of was was the expert here.

Anyway, after working fairly hard to cover the dull gray car with pink, blue and yellow paint, in patterns we thought might help it to feel more accepted and driveable, we were finished. We stood back and surveyed our work, and a dark cloud flew through my brain. 'Maybe this had been a bad idea!  Maybe we shouldn't have done this!'  But I soon dismissed this thought, put the lids back on the tins of paint, and went on with another adventure with Kimmy. 

Later on that day, our artwork was discovered - instead of the praise that I thought would be heaped upon us, we were thoroughly disciplined. I don't remember this part very well--something to do with blocking out unpleasantt memories.

Well, the day came when Kimmy's family decided to move to California!  I remember jumping out of bed early that last  morning, so that I could run down to their house to say goodbye, but it was empty, and they had already gone.  I was devastated, and just sat and cried.  Kimmy was my first loss of friendship - there would be others, but at that time even sitting in her sandbox with Randy's toothbrush in my pants pocket didn't make the hurt go away.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Conquering my fear of horses

As I stated previously, my friend, Jackie, had a horse which she stabled at a really nice horse - I guess you call them - Stabling yards?

I always admired the way she would move in amongst all of them while they were in the main yard (corral).  I could never do this--something about their large size, their ability to kick me if they wanted to, and the fact that I didn't like human given 'horse bites' - so why would would I want a real one?

Well, Jackie used to say to me that the only way I was ever going to get over this fear was to just jump in, and let them rub against me, and crowd my space--I would learn to push them away, and become the boss---so I practiced this process at times when I was with her.

Well, one day, I knew she was at the stables, and I decided to drive out to see her and her horse and 'practice' a bit more.  But when I got there, it seemed quiet all around, and the only horse in the yard was a large beautiful dark coated beauty (in my mind it was a black stallion--but that's after years of making this memory a really good one!)

Suddenly I had no fear, and as I have always talked to animals I called this most handsome horse over to the yard's fence, jumped up on the wooden bars, and rubbed his ears and forehead - something I found out later that some horses just don't like!  Anyway, after talking with him for a while, and still not seeing Jackie, I just jumped the corral fence, and stood in the yard with this magnificent large animal.  I kept talking to him, and rubbing his side and neck and wondered where everyone was, as I wanted to show how brave I was being!

Suddenly I heard yelling, something like:
"Oh, God! Get out of there! Quickly!" I looked around to see what was going on - a few people were running towards the yard - in the background I think I saw Jackie.  I just kept on talking to this gorgeous horse, and rubbing his neck.
"I mean it now blondie--move!"
"What?' I replied. I assumed the blondie reference was being pointed in my direction.
"He's attacked several people today--get out!  It's not safe!"
"What! Are you yelling at me?"
"Crap! Get outta there!"

All the yelling was upsetting me, and my gorgeous new friend was becoming agitated, so I apologised to him, gave his neck one more rub, and jumped up on the yard's wooden fence lines--soon I was out of the yard and looking quizzically at everyone and all the noise--somewhat surprised at all the commotion.

Apparently when that horse had arrived earlier that day, he had been agitated and kicked at and fought against the stables' owners and some of the other horses--he had been left in the yard on his own for everyone's safety.  No-one had told me--I was brave now--I just wanted to prove it!

It hasn't stopped me from talking to animals though--I think we have a connection--he and I felt quite connected - pity about the others!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

"Hot August Night" - Springtime Style!

Jackie's red convertible held so many memories I have to quickly include this one!

It was Springtime again, probably the same year as I spoke of earlier when Jackie and I had shared our Golden Os with nature (This one's for Jackie) - and we were driving to Macombe Illinois to see a live Neil Diamond concert - 'Hot August Night'!  There was lots of excitement in that little red car as we sang the songs, and talked about being at Macombe University for that night--(If memory serves me correctly, I think we were probably squatting on the floor of Jackie's sister's college room that night, after the concert)--anyway--we just couldn't wait to get there!

It was at the time when Neil Diamond was at the height of his career, as far as we were concerned, and the concert didn't fail to impress Jackie and I!  It was brilliant, and we excitedly fell asleep that night, giggling and humming his songs under our breath while Linda shouted at us to "Go to sleep, and be quiet for God's sake!"

The next morning we eventually got into our little red convertible, and probably after a good feed of donuts, we headed back home along the freeway.  As it was a nice Spring day, at least compared to the dismally cold dreary, snow covered Winter we had just come through, any sight of grass and sunshine was an improvement.  So, being of good Iowan stock, we decided that the trip home would be even better with the convertible's top down!

Now, picture this--I had on my Winter suede jacket, albeit--not buttoned, but probably a jumper and jeans--it was still just early Spring--but Neil Diamond singing to us on a cassette as we drove for the few hours to get home, just made it all worth while!!!

The next day we both woke up in our respective homes with sore throats (probably from all the singing--couldn't have been the weather!) and went to our part time-time jobs at Giant Foods, barely able to talk---but we rasped our way through the day--still remembering the concert, and knowing that it had all been worth it!!

Just for you--Neil Diamond!

This one's for Jackie!

I don't know what made me think of this today, but the memory kept playing around in my head, so decided to add this wonderful little memory to my ramblimgs here...

When I was about 18/19 I was going to college in my hometown, studying for my first two years there before heading off to university to finish my 4 year degree.  During my second year, my good friend, Jackie, also decided to attend this college.  We were free spirits, and sometimes prone to snap decisions - usually resulting in innocent, but 'against the rules' behaviour.

On this particular day, I arrived a bit before 10:00 am for one of my first classes that day and was just parking my car outside of the college's back gates, when suddenly parking across the street from me was my friend Jackie, parking her red, 1965 Ford Falcon convertible. I think it was a Ford Falcon--it was red anyway!

 We had always had so many adventures in that car, which usually carried a bale of hay in the boot for feeding to her horse which was stabled just outside of town.

Anyway, without saying a word, I locked my car, jumped in hers and said that I could afford to skip this class if she could skip hers--it didn't take us long to decide.  We loved to go adventuring, and loved driving through the countryside, especially if the weather was good enough to put the top down.

After a short time of driving around town to check out our 'haunts' we decided to stop in at one of the local take away burger spots which was famous for its onion rings.  We went in to order, full of ourselves, ordering what we thought was 2 orders of golden Os (onion rings) and cheeseburgers--we had tried to show off and order in fast food lingo--but the sting came when we finally got our order and somehow our order had grown to 4 orders of onion rings and what seemed like a large bagful of other oddities.  (Probably the counter staff taking their revenge on us for being so stupid in our order!)

Knowing that we couldn't possibly eat this amount of food and still function, we headed off into the countryside, with the top down, and opening our bag of food, we yelled out to the wildlife as we saw it--"A Golden O for you, and a Golden O for me!"  We ended up at one of the Mississippi river access points along our route, (the river which ran through our town),  and pulled off the road to sit down with our 'mistake' of food, and share it with the fish and river creatures. 

It was a glorious sunny day, the beginning of a promising Spring after such a snowy and cold Winter.  This had all seemed like a good idea when we started off, but after finally emptying our food bag, we decided that we would drop off the bale of hay at the stables, check on Jackie's horse, and head back to class.  If I missed one more World Civilisation class, I would be never catch up!

It had been a fun spur of the moment adventure, and I suffered with onion ring over-exposure all through my 2 hour lecture that afternoon.  I imagine the people sitting around me also suffered!  But still---I wouldn't have missed the adventure for anything!  Onion rings--definitely--adventure--never!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

We have lift-off!

For almost the past two years we have had two breakers on our electrical switchboard of our home that would not work.  As a consequence, we have been without ceiling lights during that time frame. 

At first it was frustrating, because we could not find an electrician who would spare the time to travel to our property to look at the situation.  So I started installing lamps--floor lamps, table lamps, hanging clip-on lamps--we have a mixture.  During this time frame, we have held major events and parties, all by lamp-light!  At night, candles play a large part in our living area, as the ambiance of candle light and lamp light is really very calming and relaxing!

Intermittently I have attempted to find an electrician who would assist us.  But came away frustrated every time. Then yesterday out of the blue, I found an electrician who agreed to come to our home at 2:00pm that afternoon.  He found the problem - it was broken springs behind the breakers--the only reason the breakers would not work and 'kick in' again.  Amazing.

While he was here I ran around turning on lights everywhere to check it all out!  It was like Christmas in here--everything was so bright!  Happily Chris and I thanked him, took some business cards from him to pass the word, and cheerily sent him on his way.

Last night I turned on the ceiling light in the kitchen, and felt almost blinded by it's brightness.  That light was soon turned off, and only the lamps used.  Chris and I noticed as the night progressed, that though it was great to have access to this bright light capacity, that we preferred our lamps and candle ambiance. 

So, not much has changed here - but it's nice to know it could if we wanted it to....Life is funny.

Monday, November 8, 2010

My early morning buddies-think I'm going to miss them....

I was up early again this morning, seems to be a routine thing now--maybe it's because I love the solitary peace of just me and nature, and believe me, here on this piece of property I have a lot of nature around me.

Anyway, in this peacefulness--it was about 6:00 am, and the day was yawning and stretching its skyward arms.  I sat at one of the tables on our front deck, when a Honeyeater jumped down from one of the palm trees that grow through the floor of our deck, and in which it makes its home, and sat at the table across from me, quizzically tilting his/her head ( I still don't know how to tell Mr from Mrs) as if to say--what treats do you have for me today?

  Well, I tried to explain to him that it was still early, and I hadn't checked my pantry yet--when suddenly a relative of Big Boy's family stopped by, and sat on the deck railing sort of asking me the same question--both of them tilting their heads and looking at me, as birds do, out of one eye.  In case you are new to Big Boy and his antics--he comes from the magpie bird family--and while they usually swoop and attack humans during breeding season, we are very much loved and respected here---they follow us around, sort of like pet dogs--kind of funny to watch a trail of them walking behind me when I am outside--but they walk with their wings folded, and heads down,---looking and waiting.

 Anyway, today, this particular Big Boy descendant just sat with this huge enquiring look on his face until I went into the pantry to see what I could find.  I finally came back with a couple of my favourite biscuits--a fruit and nut spice roll--no banana today--but we'll see what happens later.  I broke the biscuits up and threw them off the deck onto the lawn, (as we don't encourage them to eat from the deck--even though they still fly up here with their bits, and choose their spots to sit and nibble).

Nature is wonderful.  You just have to take the time to see it and enjoy it--it's nice to know that Big Boy's legacy is living on, and that the family of Honeyeaters is spending at least their 6th season with us in their palm tree....

I'm back--and it feels good!

My last blog was out of character for me, and I have had a lot of people asking me how I am and is everything OK...

Yep-- I will be fine.  In fact I will survive!

Just for you (and copyright people please forgive me if I am doing this link incorrectly)--but just for you--

My theme song!

Gloria Gaynor at her best--and my upbeat gotta dance to it--feel good theme song!  Enjoy:

Friday, November 5, 2010

Why I love my friends!

I have been going through a stressful time lately, for all sorts of reasons, and at one stage I was feeling very sad and prone to tears a lot.  I wanted to fight this feeling, but the sadness I was feeling was almost overwhelming.  (Doesn't even sound like me does it?)

Well, guess who pulled me out of it--my friends.  Poor Chrisco, my darling husband suffered through these few days with me, and as I write and communicate (even when I am sad), my dear girlfriend also wrote back to me every day --several times a day, and then I noticed something...

Suddenly friends I had not heard from for a while, just out of the blue, started to send me messages, and kept asking how I was, and as a result, I started to feel connected again.

This sad and upsetting period, which even affected me physically, made me stop and think.  Really, in a bad time those who care for you the most are those who probably you wouldn't suspect are out there thinking of you.

I hesitated writing this in my blog, as I am trying very hard to keep this blog upbeat about my life and my happiness.  But this particular entry is about my friends-the ones who are always there--the ones who have strong faith in me, and the ones I love. The real Jan will return, maybe tomorrow.....

Meanwhile, please have a good day!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

OK - But just because it's Halloween!

Many years ago, I was staying at the home of what would eventually be my future husband's family home.  It was Halloween night, and just for fun I had  suggested that we hold a makeshift 'Ouija" night. The rest of this large family made fun of us, but we were determined! We (being a collective of sisters, (aged from 9 years to maybe 20+) sat ourselves up in the top formal lounge room, which was hardly ever used.  This room was sort of considered off  limits- and only used on important or formal conditions, so using it for this experience made it seem even more important for our night. 

The room was largish, and consisted of a old wood panelled fireplace, some old, dark wooden furniture, and a small table which we pulled into primary position in front of the fireplace.  The fireplace had not been lit, (but that would have really added to the experience).  It was a still, warm night outside, after such a sunny day.  We sat up our makeshift Ouija tiles upon the room's small table, and gathered chairs all around.  We used 'Scrabble" letters, and scraps of paper written with the words 'Yes' and 'No', placed in strategic positions, and used a sherry glass as the pointer.

We started off having a fun night and asked silly questions, until suddenly the game took a serious turn.

The 'being' who had apparently taken 'control' of the sherry glass started to tell us stories--very quickly, involving a member of that group of sisters, who, he claimed, he had apparently known in a previous life.  Then suddenly the game started to become very scary.   'This person' bantered and responded quickly, then somewhat menacingly to our questions.  I accused my future sisters of cheating, and he still just kept talking!

Picture this. We were a group of young females, sitting in a room, not much used, in a large farmhouse, behind a wooden closed door off the central hallway--everyone else in the house had gone to bed. We were alone, and had only a few lit candles as our main light source. We had previously turned off the lights to create an atmosphere for our game. Suddenly we were beginning to experience fear in a room where only just previously we had been laughing and having what we thought was good Halloween fun!

'T', as I called her, gave up playing, as the 'Communicator' was becoming more aggressive in his answers.  She explained in a somewhat disturbed and urgent voice that she had experienced some reactions from this 'person' before, and had always been afraid of what she heard from him on other occasions.  It involved a past from long ago, and the death of her close family members through a tragedy.  

Once 'T' gave up and wouldn't play any longer, I accused her younger sister of cheating and moving the sherry glass to answer the questions too quickly.  But she denied it, and after that, I just made so much fun of her and the game and the 'spirit' that we had invoked.  I just said that this game was all phooey, and was ready to walk away.  Suddenly, before my fingers could barely keep up with the action- the sherry glass guided itself across the table in front of us.  We were all amazed--as it seemed to be moving by itself.  It spelt out very quickly -  "Get you!" and then actually picked itself up unaided and through itself at me!

The wooden door from the hallway passage into that room, which had been closed, opened and slammed shut very loudly, and the quiet night blew up a squall of wind outside the solo window of that room!  One of the girls jumped up and opened the room's door, to see if anyone had actually just slammed it, and was trying to scare us--but no-one was there.  The rest of the large farmhouse house was dark and quiet.

The candle flames became very bright and burned in very tall flames. We looked at the candles, and at the door, and all of us felt so scared.  It was as if we had really talked with someone who should not have entered this room.  One of the candles suddenly then just blew out--as though someone had blown a breath on it.  We all screamed in unison I think, then turned on the lights -  we threw the make-shift ouija tiles on the floor- blew out the rest of the candles, and all scrambled into our beds. I haven't touched or gone near a "Ouija" experience since that night!

Happy Halloween everyone!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The brown cardboard suitcase

Old brown cardboard suitcase Stock Photo - 3435796When Lauren, my second daughter was about 4 she used to have issues, and sometimes these 'issues' would result in her decision to run away from home.  All of a sudden she would run into her bedroom from outside, grab a small brown cardboard case, and start to stuff the contents of her first dresser drawer into this little case.  (This resulted in only her knickers filling her case.)

The first time she did this, I tried to reason with her--but she showed determination. 
"Lauren--what is wrong?"
"Everything--I have to run away!"
"But why?"
"'Cuz I just have to, OK?"
"Laurie--I am going to miss you." 
"I know--but I have to go!" 
"But it may be dark outside soon.."
"That's why I have to hurry"

With that she grabbed her little case and ran outside the front door.  I watched her struggle with her little case as she determinedly strode towards the top corner of our street.  I waited a bit longer, to see what she would do-then gave in and went after her.

"Lolli-pop - are you OK?"
"What's wrong?  I thought you wanted to run away"
"I do- I just can't cross the street without your hand"
"That's OK.  Let's go home. You can run away another day, when you are older a little bit more."

Another time something must have happened while she outside 'playing' with her sister and the neighbourhood kids. She suddenly rushed into the house and didn't even stop to grab her little brown case--she just took the whole top drawer of knickers out from the small dresser and started to head to the front door.

"Lauren",  I called out.  "Are you OK?"
"Why do you have your drawer in your arms?"
"I'm running away again"
"Oh - how long will you be gone?"
"Dunno--probably for the rest of my life!", tears sparking in her eyes
"Well, you'll probably need money then--how much?  Is $2.00 enough", I replied trying to stay calm
"Yes-that's a lot."
"That's fine then--here you go--you can pay me back if I ever see you again later in your life."
"OK" she replied, as she stuffed the money into her drawer.
"I'll miss you"
"Me too""
With that she opened the front door, and headed through the front yard to the front gateway area.  I watched her from a window, but she just stood there, holding the small drawer.  Quietly I opened the front door and walking towards her, I said softly,
"Are you OK?"
"No!", she whispered as a tear ran down her little cheek.
"What's wrong?"
"It's dark outside."
"I know--do you want to come back inside and we can plan your trip for another time?"
"Do you want me to put your drawer back into the dresser?"
"Would you like a warm bath?"

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My favourite things

If I were to list my favourite things, the list wouldn't go in any order--it would have to be random, because, really --life and thoughts can just be random---but, this is the beginning:
  • Love - love of and for my family and my friends
  • Green--I love green grass and smell of freshly mown lawns. 
  • Teddy Bears- I became a real collector about 11-12 years ago--Our home now resembles a very up-market teddy bear toy shop---but each one has such character and personality!
  • My blue convertible - I have always driven either a "sensible " or a "family" car all of my life--so buying my little blue convertible just for me has been a really great treat!
  • The smell of freshly popped popcorn--and knowing that it is going to be enjoyed while watching a good movie while sharing the popcorn!
  • Surprises---even better if I'm the 'Surpriser'!
  • Freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, and the smiles on peoples' faces
  • Laughter - lots of it!
  • Clean sun-dried bed sheets!
  • Animals and nature--their strange and wondrous way of being and existing
  • Burning candles nightly--red. pink and white - for purification of our space and the integration of love--but mainly because--I love candles!
  • The early morning anticipation of each new day
  • Butterflies--or 'Flutterbies 'as Chris says
  • Dragonflies--especially the one that sat at our swimming pool all summer while we splashed around--always fluttering around the same plant, while I 'talked' with it!
  • Christmas and its wonderful spirit of love
  • Children's smiling faces
  • The joy of giving gifts
  • A good friend's shoulder on sad days
  • The smell of freshly baked bread
  • Tulips!
  • Jason's stuffed, poached chicken
  • Rome!
  • Venice!
  • Not having to live out of a suitcase any longer!
  • Packing a suitcase for our next adventure
  • Looking at our proposed new home
  • Childhood--especially my own--so many memories
  • Dogs - the closest thing to a human friend that one could have
  • ...just knowing that this list really does just go on and on...
Hope you write your list--I may add to this one--you may have to check back from time to time!! :-))

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A sort of tribute...

Five years ago on the 18 October, my Mum passed away. 

I had been thinking of writing a tribute to her in memorium, and you know what?  I don't want to remember the day she died - it is too sad--I'd rather remember the day she was born and celebrate her then - with many happy and funny stories, because, believe me, she was a funny lady. So, any tributes will have to wait until 6 June - I think that is fair enough!

But this whole tribute thing got me to thinking and remembering ("Uh, oh, you say--always a dangerous thing to do in her case!").  I thought to myself, "Why do we celebrate them when they are gone?  I mean - they're gone!  We can't celebrate with them any longer, just about them.  I think I'd rather honour them in a positive manner--birthdays are good for honouring!"
So - I thought I would tell you a story about how I deal with death, and celebrate life.

When I was a child, I was terribly religious and sometimes at night I would lay in bed and ask God all sorts of questions.  For example, I wanted so desperately to talk to Abraham Lincoln--my hero--long time dead though.  Sometimes in my most serious moods, I would want to die just so that I could go to heaven and get the talking over and done with, and have my questions answered, and then - Hey, Presto! - wake up alive again--(I know--I was a strange child--but I talked to God about a lot of these things!)

Well, as the years passed, I came to accept the fact that my quest for answers would just have to wait, and as Abe was dead, and there were lots of other interesting people by this stage, I decided that their entities would wait for me, and I'd have my dialogue with them when it was my time--kinda like making an appointment, but not knowing when to show up!

Since I was this small child, a lot of my family members have passed on, including my beloved Mum, and my daughter Lauren who was only 19.  Because I had so many questions about life, and curiosity about how some people accomplished what they did - I imagine that Lauren and Mum have had their mouths to God's ear, asking these questions on my behalf! 

I can imagine them asking the questions, and going on quests for answers, giggling as they explored and discovered answers---I can also see God sitting there, holding his head in his hands, covering his ears, as they chattered away, saying such things as:  "If you think we talk alot--wait until she gets here!"

I bet he's re-scheduled, and I'll have a much longer adventure here before I visit there!  You just wait and see!