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!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Glentana - might miss it a bit

I got up early this morning, and this was my view from our deck:

It made me start to think about how fortunate I was that I got to live in a place like this:

Then I thought about our anticipated move to Cairns, and the adventures we would be having there--settling into our new home and community, and exploring everywhere to our heart's content...and in these quiet moments, with only bird song and the breeze in the trees, I knew that as sad as it would be to leave this little piece of heaven--there is more to discover.

I only hope that whoever lives here next, understands and listens to this place.  It has so much to offer!

"You have got to be kidding me!"

Remember when I told you about how I was a security guard for the Grocery/Department store--Giant Foods?  Well, once I graduated from university and finally made it back to my hometown, I took on substitute teaching positions and eventually another job with Giants, which promised me a good pay packet for what the job demanded.  I wanted to make as much money as fast as I could, as I wanted to travel out to the East coast to apply for teaching positions, and of course, would need the financial backing to do this. 

So, when Giants decided to stay open 24/7, I was picked as the check-out chick who would work the 11:00 pm to 7:00 am shift.  It involved being the only check-out chick unless it got very busy, when I would call for assistance from the Night Manager--pretty cinchy job, which also involved stocking shelves within the front eye-sight of the front of the store. 

Well, I had worked this shift for a while, and was falling into the routine of not sleeping at night, and eventually learning how to sleep during the day--perhaps I was fortunate that I still lived with Mum and Dad, on their quiet little acreage, and they both worked all day--so I could sleep in the quiet zone.

But this story is about what happened one night during the early morning hours of one of my night long shifts.  It had been a fairly busy night, and I had collected a lot of cash in my register's drawer.  I had previously bagged a supply of counted cash into the store's vault, and my drawer was growing in bills once again.  I would get protective of these takings, as though it was my money, and always ensured that I counted correct change, and used caution when opening the drawer at night in front of customers, only allowing the drawer to open far enough for me to just reach the contents--no need for them to see all of the contents. ( I guess my past involvement with this store and this neighbourhood made me more observant and cautious than was always necessary).

On this particular night a young guy, about 17-18 years old had come into the store and wondered around.  He had on a pair of jeans, it was about 4:00 am and while it wasn't a hot summer night it was coolish, and he had on a t-shirt, with another t-shirt over that one - cut very short--just below his elbows.  He wandered around and left.  I was busy with customers, and the only other employee in the store at the time was Eugene, the night manager, and he was doing stock take in the back room.

About 15 minutes later this guy came in the store again, walked around and then walked past my register area as if he was looking for something.  I looked at him, and don't why but signalled the bell under my lane to let Eugene know that I was concerned about a customer.  The young kid disappeared into the store.  Eventually all of the other customers left, and I was debating going back to my shelf stocking duties again, when suddenly I was rushed by this guy with his 'infamous sawn-off' t-shirt over his face, pointing a small hand gun at me "Give me all of your money", he demanded. I looked at him somewhat surprised, and said  somewhat loudly so that Eugene would hear me in the back: "You have got to be kidding me!"

"Look-I'm not joking around here--give it to me!"  He had his gun pointed at me, in a quivering hand and his other hand was outstretched as though he was waiting for his change.  I decided to stall, and use his nervousness as a way of hoping that Eugene was calling the police from the back room. 

I started to reach for the $1.00 bill drawer and pulled out a few bills at a time, saying things like: "Why are you doing this--I saw you earlier. You're not going to get away with this!"  I just kept on slowly pulling out single $1.00 bills, and he stood there shaking and waiting with his outstretched hand.

"Hurry up--I need to get out of here--you're so damn slow!"  By this time I still hadn't heard any sirens--so grabbed a few $5.00 notes, stalled a bit longer as if determining change correctly and threw 2 $20.00 notes down on the lane before slamming the cash drawer. "Christ!  What are you doing ?" he screamed at me as he grabbed the money from my hand and the bills laying on the lane and ran out the door.  Sweat had been running profusely from his brow--I knew he was scared and I had just decided to play him, hoping my stall tactics were helping the police, who hopefully were on their way!

As the would be thief fled, I grabbed the register mike and yelled out to Eugene for help saying we had just been robbed.  Eugene came running up, and I asked him if the police were on the way. "Well-no."  "What--why not--Man I stalled forever! What were you doing back there?"  "Being quiet", Eugene yelled back at me.

I grabbed the phone in the office and dialled the police phone number that I had phoned so many times before, and they arrived very quickly.  By this time it was getting close to dawn, and the regular customers and delivery men would be in soon.  I sat in the office and told the police about the kid, and within a short period of time they caught him--stupid kid!

I just walked past Eugene and shook my head--so much for my stalling plan!

Footnote:  That morning, Charlie Fitzmorris reminded me strongly (Once again) that the money wasn't mine but had been the property of the store--and as such was not worth me being shot--"Never do that again, Jan. Promise me!"  "Yes, sir", I replied--the police officer at the time just grinned at me and shook his head--I think over time he was beginning to know me too well.....

Monday, October 11, 2010


I had made all sorts of plans to start work on packing up 'stuff' in the house today for preparation for whatever renovations need to take place for our family home in order to get it ready for the sale market--but yesterday I hurt my back while shifting deck furniture and as a result, my left knee is the size of a --well- it is very swollen.  So, as a consequence, I have watched - much to my surprise - 2 very sad dog movies on my subscription TV network.  Am I melancholy?  What do you think?

So, dear reader, be prepared--you are about to find out about Missy--my poodle/terrier cross which I received as a surprise 'get well quick gift', after having my tonsils removed - back when I was about probably 10 - 12 years old.

Bandit the Poodle Mix Pictures 392019

After I got home from the hospital, my throat was so sore, and I was a miserable mess of self pity, as I lay in my bedroom on that hot summer day--waiting to be given something cold and soothing for my poor, sore throat, in my listless ol' 'Woe begone me' state.  Then suddenly Mum yelled out to me to come downstairs because there was "Someone who I needed to meet!"  I was amazed and shocked that this mysterious person couldn't understand my plight, and of course out of immense sympathy - at least make the effort to march up the stairway to meet me instead!  But, I pulled my pathetic body out of bed, and groaned as it made its tortuous descent down the stairway.  Out on the back porch steps Mum sat on the lower step while some of our neighbours stood around looking at something small which was apparently sitting on the ground below the lower step.  I approached, a bit curious--then I saw her---a gorgeous, very small bundle of white fur and big black eyes---She just stood and quivered with excitement at all of the attention--I was introduced excitedly to Missy-- the newest member of our family--a cross between a poodle and a terrier---and my saviour from self pity!

I instantly found my voice, my sore throat was a thing of the past, and I discovered love - true love--for a puppy of such small stature!

Missy was very clever, and we discovered that though she fretted for the first few nights as we settled her into her cardboard box, swathed in old towels, in my 'old' playroom just off the kitchen in a small alcove, she still whimpered and sought attention, usually in the middle of the night.  After a few attempts we discovered that one of my old fluffy dogs, and a ticking wind-up alarm clock nearby was enough to keep her settled during the night in order for us all to get some sleep. 

That summer, my Mum and Dad took my sister, Joyce and I to Nisswa, Minnesota, for a week of living in a rustic, lakeside cabin where we fished, played board-games, and occasionally went into the local ommunity for treats  and maybe a game of bingo--but mostly we just didn't have access to the 'real' world.  We didn't have TV or radio access by choice, and avoided newspapers.  Joyce and I spent a lot of time playing with Missy who had been with us for about 2 months by this stage.  Missy was very clever, and in just that week we had taught her to sit on command and to lay down and to roll over.  Her favourite trick though was to sit up with her little paws outstretched in a begging type manner--because she always knew laughter and a treat would soon follow.  Missy was small--but huge in energy and spirit.

When I was about 14 Mum and Dad bought a new home on a 1 acre block just outside of town.  My sister Joyce got married that same year and there was a lot of commotion.  Amongst this commotion, I eventually settled into a new school, and started to ride a school bus for the first time.  We were a small community of kids, who all looked after each other and knew important stuff about each other, like when we happened to sleep in, how to make the bus driver wait--because we knew that all of our 'crew' would arrive eventually!  Well, our house was just on the ridge of  'Dead Man's Curve' as it was called.  So--in the early mornings I had to use good caution crossing the highway to get to the assigned bus-stop across the highway from my house. Missy would run up to the back of the couch in the formal living room of our home and sitting on the edge of the couch's back, would peer out of the window and watch me walk down the white pebbled driveway to the road, and wait until I boarded the bus, before she would start her day.

At 3:15 in the afternoon, without fail, Mum said that Missy would once again run into the living room, jump on the back of the couch, and look out of the window facing the highway and the bus-stop and wait for me to come home.  When she finally saw me get off the bus, she would start her excited dance and wait, her whole body quivering--ready to greet me as I walked in the back door.  We were such good friends.  We explored everywhere together. 

Our neighbours had a bit more land which also included a small pond, and occasionally Missy and I would wonder over there to see what we could find.. They had 2 red setters who were show dogs, and occasionally they would follow us around with their silken hair wound up in plastic bags getting oiled, I guess, for their next show.  I think they envied Missy and I.  We just had fun - got dirty a lot, and then came home.

Life was pretty good.  I was making some good friends in my new school, Missy had her routine, and everything was settling into a comfortable happy zone.  Easter was approaching, and I was going to read a passage in the church celebration.  On Easter morning, we had gotten up early to let Missy out of the house for her early morning 'duty' and we were having fun looking at what the Easter bunny had left for us in our baskets!  I started to get ready for church, when I noticed that Missy hadn't come back and scratched at the door to be let in the house again.  It was a rainy Spring morning, and I opened the back door and called out for her.  But she didn't respond. I shouted out to Mum and Dad to say that I didn't know where Missy was and grabbing an umbrella, I went out to look for her, calling out loudly "Missy" "Missy, where are you girl?" 

Worried, I was now down by the highway, and still could not see any trace of her - I walked up towards the infamous Curve, but couldn't see any white ball of fluff anywhere!  By this stage my voice was probably becoming a bit more frantic, and I was yelling loudly "Missy!  Missy Girl!  Where are You?  Please, Missy--where are you?"

Mum and Dad had been phoning the neighbours to see if Missy had wondered over to any of the other properties, and Dad was then walking down the driveway towards me, when I heard a whimper.  It was Missy!!

She had been hit by some force and thrown down into a deep ditch next to our driveway.  She was muddy and bleeding but still managed to half-wag her little muddied tail as soon as she realised that I had found her.  She had somehow managed to climb up the deep ditch and get to the top so that I could see her. I gently picked her up, yelling out to Dad that I had found her.  He helped me put her into the backseat of our family car, carefully wrapped in towels to keep her warm, while we drove her to the Vet to see what help we could find for her.  I sat in the backseat with her, holding her--willing her to be OK.  But before we made it to the Vet--she just died in my arms.  The Vet confirmed her death.

But that was Missy for you.  Even in her last moments she used all of her strength to find me - to let me know that she loved me.  She was the greatest of gifts and One I will never forget!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Squirt - my little buddy!

Since living in Australia, I have always been fascinated by all of the wildlife, including the fantastic colours of the birdlife here.  I fell in love with the parrots, and finally after time I became the proud owner (if one can ever 'own' a parrot) - more like inviting them into your life to share and learn.

7 Years ago, on our wedding anniversary, my local pet shop phoned me to say that my baby lorrikeet was ready to take home---she was mature enough to feed and respond to activity--(and to squawk and to make messes--which she freely showed us!)  Hence her name--Squirt!

She lives in a large indoor aviary in our central hallway, a somewhat long and spacious area with lots of light and plants.  Her 'home' is in the corner, next to the laundry room. so I talk with her a lot as the day progresses.

She is developing a vocabulary, and what fascinates me is that she often knows just when to use each phrase.  In the morning ,when I pull her large pink sheet away from the front of her aviary, (as I 'tuck' her in each night to keep the hallway lights away from her), she greets me with "Wake up!" We then start our day with "Hello Squirt!"  (She always refers to herself in 3rd person). Sometimes I will also get the 'wolf whistle' which we give back to each other! Then, depending upon her mood, we go through: "Wake up Squirt", "Strap!  Come on, Strap!" or "Hello!" in various intonations--could be just the basic Hello, or one of surprise, or happiness.  If she likes her new food varieties that I put in her dishes she'll yell out: "Hello!" in a very drawn out way --sort of like--Hello--what is this we have today!  If she's very excited about her food--(she loves sunflower seeds and also oranges and apples)--she'll sing out: "Like it!"

It's been a journey--and while the rest of the family merely tolerate her--I am having a lot of fun.  She is definitely my bird--she will bite and try to nip at people if she doesn't know them and they try to invade her space, and occasionally she has been known to bite both Chris and Maddie---but she is gentle with me.  On the odd occasion that she has tried to nip at me--I take my index finger and tap her top beak, and tell her "No!"  It seems to work

She has some small. colourful, plastic balls which lay on the floor of her aviary--at times I will sit and play with her.  I open the aviary door, and toss the balls to her, or put a ball into her outstretched claw--she will climb to the top of her area, sit on a perch and throw the ball back at me--sort of like fetch - only in reverse -  I think I am the fetcher!

She is always happy to see me, but hates it when I take clothes out of the washing machine to hang on the clothesline.  She squawks at me the whole time, then is contentedly quiet again once I come back into the hallway from the laundry deck. As I mentioned earlier, the upper level hallway where her aviary is situated is long and wide, and houses many plants due to the wonderful sunlight which fills that area each day.  Apparently these plants belong to Squirt, which she is very protective of, and she squawks her angry yell at me each time I touch a plant or do any clearing of plant debris or cleaning of them.  This is our one big contention--she swears they are in her territory and so are her domain, and I keep telling her that they are in my hallway and my domain--we have just agreed to disagree--it's just one of those things!  We all just have to put up with her attitude when it comes to anything in that area.

Sometimes when she is especially noisy or naughty I have to put her in time-out.  I pull her pink sheet down over he aviary and tell her that I will open it again when she has settled down.  Yesterday, I noticed that I had forgotten to release her sheet from her night-time tuck in, until about 2:00 pm. I just felt terrible. When I had discovered this, I opened up her aviary immediately and apologised to her--her response: "Hello Squirt! " Then a dance as I filled her water dish.  Wow!

She also loves cuddles--if I ask her if she wants a cuddle, she will jump up onto her main perch, and turn her back to me, with her head down--this is to let me know that she would love a cuddle.  I rub her tummy gently, and stroke her head and back. She just stretches and if a bird could purr--that is what she does.  She's a good friend, who I think will live with us for many years--I hope so!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Countries and distances

I recently had a Skype webcam link-up with an old friend from my high school days in the States!  What an experience--and I hope to keep connecting with him via this facility and to other friends--a great communication tool.  But what my friend and I did realise was that perhaps the earth's distance from our two connection points may not have been working in our favor at times--sometimes a good- then bad connection - but a good experiment!
That got me thinking about life and friends and distances - ok--serious topic--you can shut down now. 

But really--When I first came to Australia I moved from one side of the planet to the complete opposite side and opposite pole--I guess just as far away from Iowa as I could go!  I learned to live in this culture, and its climate, and it was all of my choosing!  I left close friends, and very close family ties behind, and just left - and except for holidays--never returned to my hometown, or my family or my friends or to my accustomed way of life.  Wow! I just shifted. I just woke up one day and said " My decision is that I want to live and work in Australia, I want to live this life, and I want to be this person I am developing into". That was very bold of me--but very selfish at the same time--as the years have gone by and my children have gotten older--I realise only too well how selfish that was of me to take that action--But--what an adventure I have had!

I have been trying to decipher what the differences there are between the USA where I grew up, and Australia--other than the obvious-geography, plant and animal life and climate--there is one subtle difference that is worth noting. In Australia, a continent on its own, a lone island of immense size, the population is mainly focussed on the coastal and inland communities.  But then there those people who choose to live in the Centre and Outback, including the Far North, who deserve everyone's respect--they do it tough--but that is really why I chose to stay here. 

I love that attitude--the one that says--"..of course I can bloody do that!  Because--who are you to say I can't!"  The Government in all countries tries to--but if we are wise enough, and choose our leaders well enough-we will still be able to  do "Whatever we bloody want, Mate! She'll be right!" 

The necessary factor is to choose those 'wise' Leaders who also understand that inherent human quality of Freedom - Freedom to choose, freedom to try, freedom to struggle, freedom to fail, but most of all--freedom to win--to succeed at the life you have really chosen.

For me, Australia gave me this freedom--I hope that you find your freedom spot in such a country and a timeframe that enables you and empowers you without anyone's help, just your spirit.  I hope you find that Freedom of spirit that makes you know that you are alive because of the life you have chosen, and not just because it was the life the you were given.  The giving and choosing makes a big difference!  Bear in mind though that the choosing also brings sadness and loneliness at times, as loved ones can be so far away, as it was when I started my adventure those many years ago.  But now, with Skype and the internet and MSN and email--we practically all live next door!  Enjoy your life choices--live them!!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Ghosts of children's laughter

After my episode with the wardrobe and asking whatever was there to go away, life settled down again. (refer to the blog: Ghosts - the beginning). Then one morning while everyone was at work and at school, I was walking from the middle hallway of our home into the large living room, and as I passed the bathroom/toilet alcove at the base of the stairs going up to Bronwyn's room, I heard music and children laughing.  I stopped and turned around and listenend--there was definitely a low rumble of music and I could hear excited talking.  Thinking that Bronwyn must have left her clock radio turned on, I climbed the stairs to her room to turn off the radio - but no--just silence in her room.

"OK!  That's strange!", I thought to myself, as I turned and came back down the stairway.  I couldn't hear anything anymore, so I shrugged my shoulders and just went on with my day. 

Well this became a common occurence, and after awhile I accepted the fact that that particular section of the house was in a strange 'time-warp' zone.  I never felt threatened, it just made me curious. At times, the girls heard it too - we just accepted it.

Then, a few months later the girls each had a friend staying over for the night.  Bron and her friend, Emma,  had gone up to her room as the night went on, and were talking and listening to music, and Lauren and her buddy, Melanie, had gone down to her room to go to bed (eventually).  Knowing that everyone was safely tucked away, I went to bed and fell asleep.

The next day I found out that our 'visitors' had decided to have some fun too!

Apparently, while Bronwyn and Emma were in her room, their bedroom door was shut, but she could hear what sounded like Lauren and Melanie running up and down the stairs to Bron's room, and giggling outside of her doorway, as they sat on the loft landing.  She yelled out to them to go to bed, and was getting impatient.  The next thing she heard was what sounded like the two younger girls jumping on the couches downstairs and laughing.  Through her door, Bronwyn yelled at them again, and told them to go to bed, or she "would tell Mum!".

The noise continued, so she burst open her bedroom door, to a darkened living area downstairs below her loft level.  Still a bit angry and frustrated with what she was sure was Lauren's cheeky behaviour, she stormed down the lower back stairway to Lauren's room to tell her to stop it!  But both Lauren and Melanie were sound asleep, and it appeared that they had been asleep for quite some time.

Confused, she went back upstairs, closed her bedroom door, locked it, and then after a while she and Emma went to sleep.

The next morning I heard all about the night's events as Bronwyn and Emma excitedly told me about what they had gone through, and I wondered about what kind of 'visitors' we had in our home!  They were certainly playful!  These occurrences continued again in various forms, but only occasionally.  Finally I decided that I had to walk through the affected area and tell our 'little friends' that we lived here now, and they needed to treat this home in a more respectful manner. I felt almost sorry for them, but in time, they settled down.
However, as time went on, I discovered some interesting facts about this property and its history -- but that's a whole other story!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Ghosts- the beginning

When we first moved into this house back in the late 1980's, our two girls at that time were aged about 10 and 8.  They each had their own bedroom, and all 3 of our bedrooms had large floor to ceiling built in wardrobes with mirrored, sliding door fronts.  During the day, I was busy unpacking, and setting up this home, while the girls were at school, and John was at the office or on the road seeing clients.

I have mentioned that this house is built on levels and rather large--so there was a lot for me to do and to explore.  Another area of the house is what I call the 'Pit'.  I don't go there if I can help it.  It is a room which is accessed through a small door in the lower family room area, which once opened leads down a large step to a large room which runs the extent and width of the main living area on the first floor of the house.  It has a dirt covered floor, and at the time housed the compressor for the main air-conditioner for the house.  There is a large fluorescent light attached to this room's celiling, and there is natural light streaming into the room during the day from the open wall access at the far end. However, this space has always made me feel uneasy, and I have never liked that space, and for the most part--I just avoided it.

All seemed well in the rest of the house except for one thing.  At night when we were all in bed, in our middle level bedroom at the back of the house, Lauren in her room across the hallway from our room, and with Bronwyn asleep in her bedroom on the top loft level of the house, there would suddenly be noises. At about 2:00-2:30 am each morning,  I would be awoken to the sound of all three mirrored wardrobe doors appearing to be opened at random times and then rattled and slammed shut.  Occasionally I would sit up and try to watch what was happening, but everything would go quiet again.  Sometimes, in fright, I would wake John up, who for some reason could always sleep through this noise! In the morning I would ask the girls if they heard anything during the night, and sometimes they agreed that they also had heard the loud banging. 

Months passed, and this banging still occurred occasionally until one night when I had had enough!  John was out of town seeing clients, and the girls were asleep in their beds.  I woke with a start to hear all three wardrobe doors banging and slamming.  I sat up, turned on my bedside lamp and jumped out of bed.  I then turned on the ceiling light.  By this time the house had gone quiet again.  I yelled out: "This house is mine not yours.  You are not welcome.  Go away!"  I then, shakily, with my heart beating rapidly went out into the dark hallway and turned on the light in the lower bathroom, and repeated this message.  I went into Lauren's room, where she was fast asleep, turned on the light and repeated my message.  I went into every room, nook and cranny in this house including the loathsome pit and repeated this message with all the lights on in the house by the end of my mission.  I then went in reverse and turned each light out, saying to the intuder that : "You no longer live here - we do.  Go away!"

Eventually I made it back to bed, and the house was very quiet, and I, after some time, fell into a peaceful sleep.

To this day those wardrobe doors have never banged again--occasionally there will be an attempt, during the daylight hours--I usually just look at the relevant offending door and say: "Give it up!  Go home!"  It all stops then. 

This is our home now.

But this was only the beginning!


I had a ghostly visitor a couple of nights ago...

The house we live in has quite an interesting and varied past - I will go into more detail later, but as a result--there are occasionally some 'ghostly visitors' who pass through and share our space.

Our home is a largish one, built on various levels, but mainly concentrated on about four levels -split into a ground floor access, a first floor level, a second floor loft with stairway access from the first floor main living area,  and a lower level access towards the back of the house, split by a few stairs from the first floor access--sound confusing--it can be for the first time visitor..

Anyway, the other night I was in the kitchen facing the kitchen window which in the reflection of light in the darkening night, revealed the living area behind me.  I could see the reflection of the large screen tv, and the soft glow of the side table lamp next to my lounge chair.

Chris was downstairs in the family room playing with his newest media equipment--a device which is capable of converting old fashoined LPs into CDs.  The doors were shut from that room, to cut out sound levels, and I was working at the kitchen sink.  Maddie was on her way home from work and I was on my own in that part of the house at that stage.  

Suddenly in the mirror image reflecion from the kitchen window, a man walked through the lounge room, as if he knew where he was going, and just walked straight past me as seen in the kitchen window's reflected image.  I didn't pay much attention, as I assumed it was Chris--although I wondered what had possessed him to walk straight by me and disappear again, without saying anything.

I turned and walked into the lounge room, but there wasn't anyone there, so I walked out onto the front deck, assuming Chris must have decided to go out there - but there was no-one there. Just me.  I thought that it was strange that he would have come suddenly upstairs from the family room, walked through the main living area, and disappeared again down the front stairs just as quickly without any reason.

Maddie arrived home about then, and we started our night, and I just shrugged off the uneasy feeling I had just had.  The next day I asked Chris what he had been doing and why he had walked through the lounge room like that last night, and he said he hadn't--he had been downstairs the whole time.  That made me wonder who it might have been!  I had looked at the image so briefly, noting it was only a man dressed in a combination of dark and neutral coloured shirt and pants/shorts? walking as though he had a mission to accomplish.  The image was crystal clear and in no way threatening or worrisome--but in hindsight--very curious. 

It made me wonder--I wonder if he 'hangs' around here, or if he was just 'lost' and walked through our lounge on his way to somewhere else..I wonder if he has gone, or if I will see him again.