Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Memories

I have been wanting to write about my favourite memories of Christmas, so have been trying to determine what memories about Christmas I like the best, and to tell you the truth, they are so diverse and so far spread internationally that I can't choose.

I loved my childhood Christmas' with the smell of turkey or baked ham roasting in the oven, and waking up before dawn and having Dad turn on the Christmas lights, before we could come downstairs, and yelling out " Oh, look what Santa brought!"  I would almost jump down the stairs three at a time, with so much excitement, barely able to contain myself. 

When I was a small child my parents didn't have a lot of money for big expensive presents, but somehow at Christmas time, it all just happened.  There she would be, a new doll for me to love and maybe sitting in a small pram, or there may have been a dollhouse, or a huge box of wooden Tinker toys  (remember those?), which Dad would turn into a ferris wheel, or a windmill!   It was always such a magical time.  I remember one year I received a cowgirl outfit complete with cowgirl boots, and Joyce was given a Pinocchio string puppet--I was fascinated by that puppet!

There are just so many happy memories, those of my teenage years, and young, innocent love, and hope, and then university and life-long friends, and then my first years in Australia. 

Maybe one of my funniest memories was one year, when Mum and Dad came for a visit to Beulah, when we lived on the farm.  Beulah was a very small rural community and very community minded.  Bronwyn was about 4 and Lauren was just 2, and as was the local small town habit--the whole community gathered at the local pub, and waited for Santa to arrive on a firetruck!  (Reindeer can't take the heat of an Australian Christmas, so sometimes Santa has to be helped by the local communities.)  Anyway the pub put on a big bbq, on the pathway, and the beer was flowing, and people were laughing and a piano had been found and brought outside where it was cooler than in the pub, and there was music and excitement. 

My parents had never seen such an uproar of anticipated excitement, and the night was buzzing.  Santa arrived in a local fire brigade truck, dressed in the full suit and regalia (poor thing) it had to be about 36' C and handed out lollies to the kids and "Ho Ho Ho'd" all over the place!  At one stage someone had to tuck his 'belly' back in again, as it came loose, but it was all good fun!

As the night progressed my new sister - in -law had convinced members of the community that we had just discovered that we were in fact real sisters, well step sisters at least, as my Dad had been in Australia during the War and lo and behold, she suddenly arrived!  (Mum knew nothing of this, as well)...It wasn't true of course..but so much fun to see the look on every one's faces! Even Mum's! Dad went along with it, and Mum kept looking at my sister-in-law suspiciously for a while--we soon filled her in though.  -- She still didn't smile a lot though, now that I think about it!

There are still so many happy memories, ones of all our girls and their surprised faces on their Christmas mornings, the ripped paper and squeals of excitement, the first Christmas I had with Chris which was also sadly, the last one we had with Lauren, but all in all -so many wonderful memories--I could go on and on, but I won't (Thank Goodness, you say!)

I just hope you have been blessed with wonderful memories at this time of year, and wish you so many more!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Having fun with the wonderful people here

I have to tell you this story.  It really sums up why I am having so much fun living here. 

Chris and I were shopping at our local grocery store, and I had disappeared to the cold deli counter to get a bit of fresh roasted beef for our home-made kebabs that night.  I was standing there at the deli counter trying to decide if I wanted what was on display, when the young girl behind the counter began to call the next number for customer service:

"Number 87.  87!  87?  OK, number 88.  88!   88?"

I smiled at her and was trying to decide quickly what I wanted to do, when the wonderful man standing next to the ticket stub giver machine, turned to me and said: "I think this may be your ticket."  I smiled at him, and realised that my indecision was solved.  "Thanks!  I appreciate this!" I replied, again smiling at him and waited my turn.

Suddenly I heard: "Number 89. Number 89!"

I quickly looked at my number stub, and seeing 89 called out: "It's me!  Wow! I'm the winner!" 

I suddenly then realised that I had said that out-loud and laughed, and then realised that the girl behind the deli counter and the kind gentleman who had handed me my winning number were also laughing - hopefully with me, not at me!!  But who could blame them!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Elsa - Our Red Dog!

Chris and I watched RED DOG last night, a great Australian movie about a very loyal and honest red kelpie.   I have owned kelpies, and they are amazing dogs.  Very intelligent, and agile, strong, loyal, hard-working, loving, and in this case, as per the true story, loved by the whole community.  It was a beautiful movie, full of sentiment and humour, and told in a very dry, Australian humor style.  I would recommend it.

But that put me to thinking - while I have owned kelpies, who I will always speak highly of, at the same time I became the surprised owner of a red Australian terrier, who was eventually named Elsa, (like the famous Lion at the time), because by the time we were introduced and I decided to bring her home, she had a mane of blond/red hair and the most trusting and loving eyes.

I was teaching in Rainbow, Victoria - in a high school that was amazing, due to the community, the students, and the whole experience of working with them.  One particular Spring day, I was teaching my class of 8th graders, who I have written about before, and noticed that one of my 'kids' was feeling very low, sad-like, and didn't respond much in class.  It was late morning, and we would be breaking for lunch soon. 

At the end of class-time, I pulled her aside and asked her if she was troubled, and she just broke down:
 "Oh, Miss. Me Dad is gonna put down our last puppy today, if I don't find a home for her!"
"What?", I replied.  First of all I had never heard of someone deliberately putting down or killing a puppy for a reason like that, but kept calm, and replied: "But why would he do that?  Puppies are so cute!"
"Oh, Miss, she really is, she's a bit of a runt is all - not her fault, just the runt of the litter, the other 4 went to good homes quickly - this one is just not wanted."  She started to cry then.

Well you know what happened! Of course I asked her to bring the puppy to school after lunch!  This wonderful, caring student  knocked on the door of the teacher's lounge towards the end of lunch time, and had this small bundle of reddish blond fur in a box.  I sat on the veranda with her, as we lifted the puppy out of the box.  (You know what happened don't you, of course you do - I fell in love with this bundle of fur- she may have been the runt - but she was going to be my runt!)

I phoned John, my new husband and explained that I was bringing home a friend for Ivory, and then had to go to my next class.  I left my new puppy in the staff room and assigned everyone responsibilities until I could make it back there again--they begrudingly took them on, and on my return after my last class I noticed that my new pup was out of her box, and happily playing with balls of wadded up paper rolls and some staff members were sitting on the floor next to her---I just had to smile!  I knew then I had made the right decision!

On my drive home, with my new pup in her box, on the passenger seat, where I could clearly keep a good eye on her, I talked to her about her new home and told her all about Ivory, and the adventures she would have.  She just sat there and looked at me, occasionally scratching at the fleas that I knew she must have, and listened very intently.  She was showing me her best manners.  Sometimes this didn't always happen, but she tried!

I got home and proudly carried my boxed treasure into our home, and John was there to greet us.  I think he was surprised at how small she was, but she showed him that she had spunk and I explained in a whisper about the 'putting down' threat, and I think he understood straight away.  Ivory was curious and came inside to look into the box.  She curiously sniffed the puppy, and then just sat and looked at her, as I lifted Elsa out of the box.  They both just sat and stared at each other, then touched noses.  After that, I think they decided that a good friendship could be a good thing, because that is what they became - best friends! I still think to this day that Elsa was the best name she could have had! Courage like a lion, and yet loving!  That was Elsa!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Why we eventually had a phone line put upstairs when I was a kid!

When I was growing up, all of my grandparents were, what my children would say today: Ancients!  They were very much older than other grandparents, probably because both of my parents were the babies of their families and separated in years from their siblings.  That was OK.  I loved my grandparents, but then, I was just a kid, and didn't have to worry about them, or carry the responsibility of care for them.  My parents did.

Well, I have to tell you this story - it's kinda sad, because it affected my Grandma (Mum's Mum) and her failing health, but in a way it was a funny story, because it was like the old Charlie Chaplin movies, only this time it was my Dad being banged about and hurt.....

It all started very early in the morning, or very late one night - all I know is that it was dark, and I woke up because I heard furniture crashing in the kitchen downstairs, and my Dad yelling! At first I was scared, because I thought that maybe a burglar had broken in and was going to hurt us, and that was why I heard the furniture crashing and Dad yeling. But it was only Grandma. Or rather a phone call she had made while I had been asleep.

From what I have been able to decipher from the events, the phone rang downstairs in the dining room, when all of us were upstairs in our beds, sound asleep.  Somehow either Mum or Dad woke up and heard it, and Dad jumped out of bed, and started to head towards the stairway, but slid on the throw rug at the top of the stairs, and started to fall downstairs.  He caught himself by grabbing onto the stairway railing, and once he gained his balance, ran down the stairs, with the phone ringing loudly all the time. 

In the darkened kitchen, he tried to run through to the dining room, but stubbed his toe on one of the kitchen chairs, and as it tumbled over, he stumbled and just caught himself from falling over it.  He lunged into the dining room, and nursing his sore back from his stairway incident, and his sore foot from the kitchen incident, he jumped to the phone and its incessant loud ringing.

"Hello!", he yelled into the phone.

"Come quick!  I'm dying", my Grandmother replied urgently.

"So am I!", Dad yelled into the receiver, and then yelled out for Mum to talk with her 'dying' Mother.

Apparently Grandma was dying all the time, and would often call at all sorts of times of day, to let Mum and Dad know how she was doing.  She went on to live for quite a few years after that night --but I have always loved that story--sort of made all the crazy times then more real.

The next week a phone technician arrrived to put a new phone line into my parents' bedroom on my Mum's side of the bed......

Friday, December 9, 2011

My mystery healer

My second daughter Lauren died when she was just 19.  She was driving her car, and it was a pretty bad accident - anyway--don't want to go into those details...the purpose of this story to tell you about the power of certain cats- I'm convinced they enter my life for a reason....

I had gone back to work at the university, but still had black days.  Lauren had been so special to me, and sometimes I just wasn't sure how I could still go on--but I did.  There was just a particular day at work, when I was having extreme difficulties, and was almost hyper-ventilating.  My boss gave me the office mobile and told me to take a walk around the campus and try to relax and deep breathe.  He gave me the phone just in case I got worse, and needed help...

I finally ended up sitting down at a table with a bench, under a shady tree, in a very quiet spot, and just tried to concentrate on relaxing my breathing, and concentrate as much as I could on positive things.  I was still in a lot of emotional pain, which I knew would take me a while to conquer.

I just sat with my eyes closed, and tried to breathe.  I suddenly felt a gentle, soft touch on my arm.  I opened my eyes only to see a grayish/black cat peering straight into my face.  I just sat there and looked back.  I think I started to cry then, but my heavy breathing had eased, and the mystery cat just sat there, looking at me, while she kept her paw on my arm.

After awhile, my tears went away, and my breathing pattern was normal again.  I just opened my eyes and gave my mystery cat a sort of lop-sided smile.  She just still sat looking at me intently, then layed down next to my arm, which was spread out a bit on the table, and just started purring.  We both just sat there.  Eventually I rubbed her back, and I spoke quietly to her, and then we just sat.  For some time. Just the two of us. 

Mystery Cat then got up from the table, looked me straight in the face, paused, and then jumped down from the table and ran across the lawn.  Her job here was done.

It was a fascinating experience, and my turning point. In her own magical way, she helped me to heal!


As I mentioned in my previous story about Champs and her unfortunate poo accident, I had, before then, been allowed to be in the company of Ivory.  I use the term 'own' a cat loosely, because I really don't think one ever can. They are so independent, and they will eventually decide whether they want to waste their time with you, or decide if it is really worth it all!  Anyway, that is the way I have always viewed their world.  (I don't think I'm too much off track there!)
So to go on with the real beginning of my story, I was newly married, and was still teaching at the local high school, a job I loved.  I was home that night, deciding I had better start thinking about food for dinner, when John arrived with a small, white kitten/cat in his arms.  He had been as his parent's neighbouring property, and noticed this poor scrawny, white farm cat with the sunburned ears, and a  the scared look on her face, as she tried to evade the sheep dogs who ruled there.  Feeling sorry for her, he thought instantly of me, and knew that I would nurse her back to good health, and love her company, so ... I became a cat/kitten carer/possible owner.  This was from the man who disliked cats!!  He also forgot to run the cat issue past Elsa, my Australian terrier - lucky for all of us that Elsa was a free thinker and easy going!

So, yes, I did nurse her back to good health, and her ears healed with special lotions, and I discovered she loved bubble baths! I know - you're saying: 'What! Cats don't like water!' But you are mistaken! She loved them! In fact, so did Elsa and they would jump around in the bubbles and smile a lot! You're now saying:

'What you talkin' about girl', aren't you:
'Dogs and cats don't have baths together! They are supposed to hate each other!' 

Well- we didn't face those issues in our home - maybe they just felt the concern and love and after such rough beginnings, loved any sort of attention!  Remind me to tell you about how Elsa entered our lives and home!

Anyway, I had certain towels for them and would gently lift them out of the tub and wrap them in their towels and then take them out onto the front veranda to dry them off, and brush them.  It was always special time for the 3 of us!  Elsa never did the doggy roll and throw of water, until I had her on the veranda and took off her towel - I always appreciated that, and told her so.

Ivory and Elsa were best friends and slept together at night in the small back room, and shared their food, often deciding to eat and swap food, each preferring the other's choice that had been offered.
But the one thing that stood out in my mind about Ivory, and set her apart from any other cat I had ever known, was her ability to zone in and understand, I mean really understand my emotions.

As I was a new permanent resident recruit to Australia, I didn't realise how homesick I could become.  And believe me, I got pretty homesick.  I mean for the first year, while I was just teaching and travelling, it was a breeze!  My family was back in the US, and I could always go home!  But during my second year, when I actually decided to get married and move to Australia permanently, it really didn't hit me until later.  Like a few months later, and then.....well.....I was here, and my family was there!  It was difficult.

One particularly bad afternoon for me occurred at a busy time in our lives.  I think John may have been involved in harvesting, and I was alone in the house except for Ivory and Elsa.  In order for me to call my parents, just to connect and say hello, I had to book the call through the local exchange operator, (who didn't provide this service on Sundays except for dire emergencies) and wait for the local exchange operator to phone me at the selected time and make the physical phone connection to the US.  My home phone didn't have numbers--it had a turning knob--I don't even know if that makes sense to you, in today's world of mobiles---but I really had to plan ahead to be homesick. This particular day, homesickness attacked me, before I could plan for it!!

I started crying, and ended up sprawled across my just freshly made bed, and cried a lot.  Knowing that I couldn't do a thing about how I felt, and knowing that the decision to live overseas at the time, was solely my own decision.  I couldn't even blame anyone!  It was a bad day for me. 

As I lay there crying, and wondering how I could pull myself together, I suddenly felt a quiet thump on the bed.  A very slight movement.  I opened my eyes and Ivory was staring into my face.  I looked at her as I dabbed my eyes with a tissue, and then just layed there.  She just kept looking at me --intently.  She eventually layed down next to me, and just put her paw on my arm, and started purring.  I still felt pretty miserable, but I just layed still and listened to her purring.  It was almost like a vibration as she breathed against me, and kept a soft tone purring away.  After a while, I started to realise that I was just being silly, and that I needed to 'Buck up!' as they say, and opening my eyes, noticed that Ivory had sat up and was looking intensely at me again.  We both just stared at each other, in a very quiet house, and then I reached out and rubbed her back and said a quiet 'Thank you' to her, and she just as quietly hopped down off the bed, and went outside through the doggie door.

I felt better.  Much more calm, and gave myself a good talking to.  I never had a dark day like that again.

That must be why cats are so important in our lives!  At least Ivory was!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Apparently you can't take cats for walks!!

Lilac TortieIn what I refer to as my former life, when I lived in Emerald, and I was married to John, (who is now deceased), I owned a cat.  A Burmese to be exact!  I named her Champers, as she was just a blush colour of champagne!

 I had never really 'owned' a cat before - I had co-habited with two cats when we lived in our first home, a rented farm house in Kenmare, a very small settlement of 1,000 to 5,000 acre properties.  Ivory, named for obvious reasons, was brought home to me by John as she needed to be rescued as a kitten, she had been beaten up by property sheep dogs and had severely sunburnt ears. And then there was Charky--a cat of many dark colours who had a lot of bushy and furry family ties, and had just decided to live with us. I learned early on that you never reason with a cat--they are who they are, and they do what they do. Enough said. Don't question it! (To be honest, my Australian terrier, Elsa, was a puppy and just as confused--she loved cat food, and tried very hard to climb trees, and Ivory adored dog food - I guess they swapped roles for a while - Charky soon sorted them out!)

Ivory and Charky so deserve their own story, so I am just moving now into a further moment, in which Ivory and Charky were left behind us.

 As time went on, we moved to Emerald, Queensland, and one magical day I was introduced to a Burmese kitten, and Hello!  She had me at her first roll of her blue eyes and her soft purr.  I was instantly in love with a cat - even I couldn't believe it!  I brought her home as soon as she able to be mine.  At the time I also still had my Australian terrier, Elsa--who deserves to have her own story - so just concentrate on the cat mainly in this one - but Elsa plays a part - probably the cause of why I almost wet myself from laughing so hard in public--but hang on---I'm not there yet in my story!  Believe me--it will be worth it!

 It was a Sunday, and John and I had taken the girls to church, and were just relaxing, when I came up with the absolutely great idea of taking Elsa and Champers for a walk with the family!  Now it was mid afternoon in a sleepy town, and we were all still dressed in our Sunday 'best' and we had Elsa on one leash and Champs on another leash. It seemed really quite normal.  We walked around the block and stopped and said hello to friends, and just as you see in the movies, it really was all very idyllic.  Except, for Champs, who appeared to suffering bowel problems. She would only do the poo deed in her box. And her tummy had been rumbling for about 10 minutes when we thought we had better head home.

 I had Elsa happily running along on her leash, and John had taken over Champ's leash from Bronwyn, who couldn't keep this uncomfortable cat in check.  ( I have to interrupt this story to explain to you that John, deep down, hated cats.  He loved dogs, and would never see any animal injured, but to be actively associated with a cat went beyond his comprehension, his understanding of life, and now his sense of smell!)

 Anyway, we were about two blocks from home, and John, who by this stage was now carrying Champs to speed up the process to get home, for her bowel release, walked ahead of us.  Remember - he really DOES NOT like cats.  Elsa and the girls and I sped up our walking pace to help him, when suddenly there was this unusual cat yowl, and unfortunately, Champers pooed all over the front of John's good church shirt!  As we were behind them, all we heard was Champs wailing, and John yelling and holding her out from him--we  later arrived to the ugly scene.  I started laughing then!

 I know I shouldn't have - it was disgusting!  It smelled really awful, and Champs was all beside herself, poor thing--she didn't mean to do it!  But the look on John's face- priceless!  He smelled so bad!!  He just looked at me, and left Champs with me and the girls.  I did mention that he doesn't like cats? Well- This clinched it.

 No--what really clinched it was when, as she was pooing on him and he kept running for home,  suddenly the neighbourhood dogs caught up on the scent I guess and there was a whole parade of dogs after him!  It was so funny! 

 Anyway, John didn't know what to do--and we arrived shortly afterwards, followed by the neighbourhood dogs.  Bron chased them away, and I did what any good wife would do.  I grabbed the garden hose and hosed the cat poo off the front of my husband's shirt!  In the backyard, amidst the laughter and the pants wetting and the swearing and the smell.

 By this stage, Champers had settled into her zone and was calm again, and after some time, cleaned herself and got back to normal.  Elsa just layed on the back lawn and smiled most of the afternoon.  I think she even smiled in her sleep.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Funny memories

If you have been reading my blog, you will know that my Dad died in late October, and there will be a special memorial service held for him amongst friends and family very soon.  I have written my eulogy to be read out at his service, but in doing so, I have re-lived some old memories, and some special ones just keep popping into my mind!

Mum and Dad came to visit us in Australia, and were here for their momentous 50th wedding anniversary at the end of December of 1991.  I had planned a big surprise for them, which included an unexpected money tree with gifts provided by all of their friends and family, on that day - it was totally unexpected, as they had come here to escape any expected hoopla--and lo and behold I got them!  As we surprised them with their gold painted branch money tree, filled with well wishes and cards, and gifts of money and other things, they were gob-smacked!  They both had wet eyes, and smiles of delight and surprise as they opened the surprises on their tree!  It was well worth all the secrecy and the work involved in organising this surprise!  As I paraphrase a clip from 'Love Actually' - "50 is a lot of years, David!"

Now for some reason, our family then was used to dancing and performing.  John and I danced a lot, and the girls danced and entertained anyone who would sit still long enough, dressed in costume, or just on a restaurant dance floor!  It didn't take a lot of coaxing. (Don't know where that drama queen tendency came from......) anyway, it was just normal activity for us to be crazy fun, and do these things.  So it only stands to reason that when New Year's Eve came about, during the same year of Mum and Dad's visit, that I was prepared.  (Now I don't know about you, but waiting for midnight when you HAVE to is sometimes so boring and painful that a good dentist's visit is sometimes preferred!) But I was prepared!

I had previously purchased fake wigs, crazy glasses, nose masks - like elephant noses, and bull's noses, as well as hats and noise makers (loud ones!) and although fireworks weren't allowed, I had BOXES of sparklers!  As the night drew on, and we were playing charades and any game to keep us all going, including Bronwyn and Lauren who were only 14 and 12, I pulled my box of stuff out, and Dad and Mum and the whole family spread it out and chose their 'costume', including hula skirts and whatever silly stuff I had put in there!

Well, we ran around the house getting 'ready for our unveiling' and just before midnight on New Year's Eve, we all appeared and cracked up at each other, as we saw each other in costume.  At midnight we blew the horns, threw the streamers and went outside to light our sparklers--we made so much noise both with laughter and horns, that even if the neighbourhood acreages hadn't planned to celebrate, they couldn't help but have heard us that night! 

It is one of my favourite, silly memories.

Monday, November 28, 2011

My love for animals

When Maddie visited us recently, we took her to about 3 different zoos here.  Our first zoo, was a smallish, but very interesting venom zoo, in the Kuranda village. It displayed a lot of the most venomous snakes and spiders found in the local area and surrounds within Australia.  One thing that really fascinated me however, was that they had a collection of Australian tarantulas (about 500 - or was that 5000, can't remember!) in their laboratory, (didn't even know that Australia had tarantulas, which worries me a bit,--but they were milking them for their venom, as it assisted with the treatment of Alzheimer's--isn't that fascinating!!)

We then spent a morning a few days later, at a zoo on top of the local casino, which was built within a huge dome, and housed many of Australia's wildlife, including many unusual birds, a few snakes, and some crocs and alligators.  The birds flew freely, and I had so much fun playing with them, and got a lot of good photos.

But then, one hot, and steamy day as it turned out we went to a Safari Wildlife zoo, and saw so many wonderful animals, in a natural, safari atmosphere, and I took some great photos of my wonderful lions, amongst many other wild animals.  I find lions to be so amazing!  But picture this - my ankle wrapped up in a support bandage, and wearing sandals, which were the only shoes I could put on over the bandage, and walking for kilometres around this zoo--up hills and around!  Tried and tired me out, in the hot sun - but was worth it!!

This lion's name is Makumi, and he is the leader-king of his fairly large family.  He and his partner have parented many of the lions that now exist within this safari zoo, and he definitely is the King of his own domain.  He is pictured here eating some meat and bones from an animal's meat, that was provided for this purpose.  He took his time, and watched his lioness' and children hungrily choose what they wanted, and then, with purpose, put them in their place, and chose the best bits of meat for himself, sometimes taking it, as is his right in his kingdom, from whichever lion he desired.  Sounds selfish I know, but an amazingly large, healthy and dominant lion!

I loved the whole day, despite my pain, and limped around everywhere!  We spent about 6 hours there, and in the end the zoo keepers planned our interesting and informative walks at feeding times around my inability to quickly walk up and down the pathways--making the distances shorter, and more direct.  I appreciated that!! 

But I would still go there again - and will, believe me!!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

My Dad

My Dad passed away in late October.  It happened in the US where he lived and enjoyed life, had a wonderul woman companion and friend (after the loss of my Mum) and was active and still drove his bright red cadillac, even though he was 94!  That in itself is a good epitaph!  I hope someday that someone says that about me!  Not that I drove a red cadillac, but that I was active!!   If you want to throw in the cadillac you can, OK!

Anyway, I am supposed to be writing a memorial for him, to be read out at his memorial service soon. I don't know what to say--"He was my Dad!  I loved him!!"  Not good enough - he was much more -OK here comes another story!!!  Maybe this will help me write something.....

I was about 10 years old, sitting on the circular lounge, with my sister sitting next to me, and my Mum sitting in a lounge chair close by.  I was sort of watching TV, and just enjoying leaning against my sister, because it felt good.  It was night-time, and we were watching a funny show on tv. 

Suddenly I looked up from the TV and there was a  very scary, strange looking, almost glowing face staring back at me through the window, at the wall directly facing my Mum's chair!  As the window was on angles, when I screamed, my sister didn't understand why out of the blue I did that!  We all jumped up! Instantly!

It was a face with strange hair on it, and it just looked at us!  Kind of a creepy look!

Being a Mother, and probably defensive, Mum ran out to find this villain, closely followed by my sister.  Mum returned very quickly, as I cowered on the couch, afraid to move, and told me not to worry.

"What or who was it"  I asked.
"Your Dad!"
"Yes, your Dad!"

I looked at her strangely while Joyce walked back into the house laughing--because she was laughing, I relaxed a bit--still worried though!

Apparently Mum had trimmed her hair in the upstairs bathroom, earlier that night, and didn't remove her hair from the hand-basin.  When Dad was upstairs later, he saw the hair and placed it on his bald head.  Very quietly, he had come down the back stairway doorway, into the kitchen, and grabbing a torch, went outside to the side of the house.

Standing very quietly, and not making any disturbance, he suddenly held the torch under his chin and looked thrrough the window which was just close to the TV.  That's when I saw this creature!

I can laugh now, but I don't think I laughed then.....and I don't think Mum left her hair laying around after that....

He was a funny man.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


This coming Thursday, 24 November is Thanksgiving day, a holiday which is celebrated in the US and Canada, but for separate reasons and on separate dates.

It has never been celebrated in Australia, but I always liked the idea of serving lashes of food, and having friends all around us, so I came up with the idea of 'Thanksgiving Under the Stars!'  As it isn't a holiday here, we celebrated it on a date that suited all of us, and loved it, because it was a time for us all to be together.  We used to spread the tables and chairs out on our large front deck which stood at the first floor of the house, with nice views of the countryside, and then we would add all the special trimmings---special lighting effects, and table settings, with a large serving table off to the side. 

We usually invited a group of about 12, a good mixture of laughter and fun.

I usually cooked all of the main meal items, which never included turkey!  Not really a Lynch family favourite, and not really that popular here.  So I usually baked a leg of ham, similar to my Mum's recipe, and I usually also roasted a leg of pork or a lamb.  There were all sorts of vegetables, but more geared to Australian tastes, with roasted pumpkin, and cauliflower au gratin, with steamed greens, and various other assorted offerings. 

Our friends provided the appetisers and starters, and desserts.  It was fun, and while there was work involved, as there always is in preparing for a good night, it was always worth it!  I will forever carry those happy memories with me.  The laughter, the good food, the atmosphere, and the love.

I wish you all love with your family and friends.  Show them that you love them.  Create your own 'Thanksgiving' activity--it is a good way to show them how much they mean to you, and for them to do the same. 

Enjoy it all!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

My Tawny Frogmouth!

If you aren't from Australia you may not know what a Tawny Frogmouth is - it is actually one of the most interesting looking birds I have ever seen.  And the first time I saw it, I thought it was the strangest thing I had come upon.  I wasn't sure what it was!

Just recently we took Maddie to the Cairns Wildlife Dome, which sits above the Cairns Casino.  Very interesting place--and no--still haven't placed a bet--wait!  I did ! 2x$1.00 coins in the slot machines--didn't win - however--until I knew how to play those, apparently I had won a lot - just didn't know it, and didn't collect it!  (Stupid Jan!)

Anyway--back to the Frogmouths - at the Dome I was able to get a photo of a great looking Frogmouth:

Isn't that the most unusual bird you have ever seen? 

I first stumbled upon this critter when I lived in a town called Emerald.  I had gone out to the side of my driveway to put rubbish in my bin, and saw a feathery, brown/grey thing just sitting next to my bin.  It actually frightened me!  Now, remember, I have lived through mouse plagues and huntsman spider plagues, but had not yet been as scared as I was, or as surprised when I saw this creature!

As it turned out, the poor thing was a baby Frogmouth and had apparently fallen from its nest, or wandered too far from Mama.  I became fascinated with its docile manner!  I wasn't sure what to do to settle it--it really did appear to be confused and scared, so I went into the kitchen and found some small bread pieces, some small bits of fruit, and even some small pieces of mince meat, as I wasn't sure what this 'creature' would eat!

I went back outside to the side of the driveway, and it was still there.  Very quietly and gently I laid out my food offerings, and spoke in a quiet voice to this 'thing', which I had deduced was just a strange looking bird.  The strangest looking bird I had ever seen. 

I just did a bit of research right now, and thought you might like this tidbit:

To avoid detection during the day, tawny frogmouths sit upright, completely motionless on branches in trees, with their heads tilted up and eyes closed to slits. Their plumage is finely streaked and mottled in grey and brown, and in this posture the birds look just like broken branches.

If a frogmouth is disturbed, it may adopt a threatening pose, fluffing out its feathers, showing its wide orange eyes and opening its beak in a wide froglike gape to reveal its yellow throat, hoping to appear intimidating.

This little guy was not showing any signs of threatening pose, he was just scared and confused. So I protected him with branches, and left him alone.  I checked on him throughout the morning, and he had attempted to nibble at some of the food I left him, but as the day grew longer, he eventually moved away... I never saw him again, and wished him well on his journey--sure do hope he found his family--he looked like he needed them!

Friday, November 18, 2011

My compliments to drivers in Cairns!

Today I ventured out again in Blue, my beautiful blue convertible, who by the way, has an injury and her air conditioner something, a condenser or compressor, or something else beginning with a C just doesn't want to help us anymore.  The C thing is letting down the team.  In most cases, a team like Blue and I might get upset, thinking about the cost of surgery and the time Blue will have to be off-road, but you don't know Blue like I do - she is a trooper!  (Anyway, I have somehow verged off my original topic, so I will swerve back onto the road of reason again-Notice how I am writing about drivers and hence cars, and roads- as per my title, and I have made my descriptive whatevers fit in!  That's called corny writing!)

Anyway, Blue and I pushed the button to lower the window on my side of the car, the driver's side, since I was driving, (duh!) and somewhat on the passenger's side, as too much wind makes my hair blow in front of my eyes, and that is not a good thing when I drive!  Anyway, the fresh air really felt good, and the trip into the shopping centre was kind of fun.  Blue and I sang along to the radio, and sometimes, when we didn't know the words, we faked it, or made them up.  I forgot at one red light that my window was down, and discovered I was enjoying my own singing, until I noticed the car in the next lane to mine, and the strained looks I was getting - I think they didn't know the words either, and they were trying to listen closely to my words.  Anyway, the light turned green, and Blue took off!  She is such a show-off!  She loves it when she makes everyone watch her race ahead.  I keep telling her that she doesn't have to race each time, but she won't listen.  I think she is a show-off, and since she already has surgery ahead of her, I sort of gave her free reign to her feelings today!

Anyway!  The reason I wanted to write this was so that I could tell you about what a considerate group of Cairns drivers there are here!  I know that I am still somewhat new to finding my way around here, and although I think I know where I am going, (well, I tend to know that part pretty well), sometimes I'm not sure which lane I should be in, for the upcoming intersection, or how soon that intersection is looming ahead.  So, I have to change lanes, sometimes quickly. (So--big deal you say- 'I do that all the time in my car, which by the way probably isn't as great as Blue, but I do it all the time anyway!')  First of all, I feel sorry that you have to change lanes in a car, which isn't as great as Blue, but let's move on...

Anyway, again, today I had to quickly cut into lanes twice while driving and on fast roads, going like 80 kilometres, I don't know if that was the speed limit, but that is what everyone else was doing, and why in a situation like this should I be the Girlscout, and make them slow down.  I went with the crowd!  I was reckless!  I drove 80 klms and I was fast!  But not in the school zones - I was a Girlscout there!  Strictly 40 klm!!

Anyway, for the third time-- I wanted to write this, because I wanted to compliment the drivers on my roads today.  They were excellent.  I don't think it was obvious that Blue and I were somewhat novices on their roads, we put on a pretty good drive ourselves, but when necessary - these Cairns drivers were excellent!  They didn't speed up just because we needed to jump into their lane, sometimes they slowed down and just let us gently glide in--now that is such class!

I applaud you Cairns drivers on the Stockland Shopping Centre roads through to Redlynch turn-off and beyond!  Blue and I made it home safely, and we actually had fun with the wind in my hair and on her wheels. 

Rock on Cairns drivers!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The little treats just keep coming!

Our new leather couch arrived on Tuesday.  It is an ivory colour and blends in beautifully in the kitchen/family room.  Today our new high back leather chairs were delivered, same colour as the couch, and they really look good surrounding the smaller antique table in the kitchen dining area.  A good blend of old with modern.

It is fun settling in, and buying ourselves these treats. This will all have to end soon.  Then reality will hit, and we will close the wallets and put away the cards, and begin to live here normally.  But this part I knew would be fun, and well - I think I am just going to love it all!

I think we both feel that we are still on holidays - especially after all the hard work we had to go through to get here!  It's like the wonderful enjoyment of waking up each morning on an extended  holiday without having to leave home.  Only this time, I am unpacking things, rather than packing them!  (I hate packing suitcases- would just about do anything else but that!)

Stay tuned - who knows what tomorrow will bring!!

I think I'll go sit on our new couch, and just smell the leather - sometimes it seems I may never grow up--it's the little things in life that give me so much fun!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Haven't been writing a lot lately I said, I haven't written much in the last few days for two reasons --our youngest daughter is visiting here from university, the same one that loved the Carl/Kurt stories and had the very SPECIAL Santa hat given to her by Santa himself.  It has also been difficult to get my Mojo back after writing the last blog I wrote about my Dad.

But here I am...calling my Mojo--"Yoo hoo--Mojo! Ya there?"


"Maybe it just takes some time to find my Mojo - but I'm here...just waiting!"


"Ahh, c'mon!  Don't be such a baby--just because I took a little time off, now you are sooking??!  Unbelievable!"


"OK then, be that way! I'll be fine without you!  I can write without you!  I can do anything without you!"


"Really?  You really want it to go this way? I thought we had more going for each other Mojo!"

"What? What did you say?  Well, maybe.  OK. I'm not sure if that is really the way to do this....I mean it seems   kinda silly....Really?...hummff...well, OK."

"Mojo said that if I didn't ignore him he would always inspire me, so I apologise Mojo- you're right!  Besides, how could I have even done this without you!!"

Looks like I'm back!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Love, Your Dad, Norm

At the wonderful age of 94 my Dad passed away just recently, from some cancers that had developed in his body, and maybe just a wee bit of old age raising its head. He was always--ALWAYS-- a determined man, and he was determined to make it to 95. Sorry , Dad.

I hesitated, and still hesitate a bit, to write about his death on my blog, but I am honest here, so will try a draft version - if you are reading this - I decided to make it live.

It happened about 5 days before we were scheduled to fly out to our new home. Movers were coming in and life was in a turmoil. I received the phone-call from my sister somewhat late on a Thursday night, (20 October) - early morning her time, to tell me that Dad had fallen asleep earlier that morning while in care, and did not wake up. At least it was a pleasant way to go! I know that inside he was churning with the want to get out of care, and get back to his gym, even if he could not really do it anymore. His body grew older before his mind did.

Over the time of my blog I have written quite a few stories about Dad. Maybe I will link them, as I write a few more memories of him.

What used to make both Chris and I smile, was when Dad would send a card or letter, and sign it:

'Love, Your Dad, Norm'.

 It was like he needed to remind us of who he was--such a funny man. When he turned 89 he brought my sister, Joyce to Australia to visit us, and it was such a treat! We took them everywhere in our area, and they held 6-8 foot long pythons, much to my sister's obvious fear, but did it all the same! They went to a crocodile farm and saw Huge crocodiles in their habitat, and I think my sister discovered a new respect for my new country. Dad was very happy that she was able to do that, and to see how I lived. He talked about that trip often to me.

I think I may just link some of my stories that I have written about my Dad below, and if you are interested to know what a caring, kind, and forever changing man he was, complete with his vitality for life and living, you may wish to read them, (if you haven't already)!

He may be gone, but he will never be forgotten! Not my Dad!!

My Dad, almost 93 years young:

Happy Birthday, Dad:

Stories about Dad - the lunch box!:

Stories about Dad- his lunch menu:

Dad's strength:

Happy Father's Day, Dad!:

Dad's Worming Tongs:

Monday, November 7, 2011

Jock has left the building

At about 8:30 am this morning, Jock died.  I discovered him after a very restless night for both Chris and I.

We have spent the last two hours burying him, with Strap laying under a tree watching the activity.  Not sure if Strap really understands what has happened. Both Chris and I were teary, and said our goodbyes - I'll write more about Jock later, but suffice to say, that if you never knew him, you missed out on an
original dog who was really his own self!

Suffice to say - a GREAT dog has passed.  He was an unusual dog, a one of a kind, and yet the word obstinate comes to mind.  He constantly stayed true to his own dog self--that was for sure!!  But he was loyal and oozed love. He will be missed. Greatly!


Jock on a wet Christmas morning, receiving
his Christmas present!
Our poor Jock is not doing well at the moment.  After we air-freighted both Jock and Strap, our border collies,  to Cairns they were both a bit shell shocked and wouldn't leave our sight.  But within a few days Jocky was going strong and exploring his new territory.

But for the last few days he just hasn't been himself.  He is usually a bit lazy, remember he was the one who fell in love with his reflection in his water dish, and realised he would never have to work again.  He would just live a life of leisure and be waited upon--after all - he was a glamour dog - they aren't meant to get dirty or wear themselves out--(that was his theory and he was sticking to it!!)

Jocky has always reminded us when it was dinner time by knocking on the back door, or crying out - (mentally thinking to himself:  "Put some food in my tummy --and do it quickly!")

But for the last two days he has just picked at his food and is laying around more than normal.  He is almost 12 years old, so I guess we have to expect the worst.

But I choose to think of Jock as he always was - determined, obstinate, spoiled, and yes, very pretty!  He doesn't just have a white chest, he has a lion's mane!  He was a wonderful dog who loved smelling my flower bouquets, and always checked out my shopping packages, sometimes making me spread them out on the lawn so he could see what the latest fashions were...he was/is a one of a kind, who unfortunately, we may only have with us for a very short time.

Jock trying very hard to be patient as he
asks for help to unwrap his present!

Strap's face is hidden!!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Doing chores - does that mean we are home?

We have been in our new home for about a week and half now.  Still feels like fun and still trying to find things in boxes that are in various rooms, but we are sort of settled.  Have to make up beds and make final arrangements for all of the other bedrooms, but almost there.

Our youngest daughter, Madison, arrives next Tuesday, from Brisbane where she has been studying at university.  It will be good to have her with us for a while.  (Only a week unfortunately!)

So, today is my day of concentration on her room.  Part of it will be fun as I get to set it up and decorate it, but the other part is the unpacking of more boxes, and finding  a place for everything.

I guess that means we are home.  I mean like this is really our new home, not just place we are visiting for a holiday!  We are discovering chores - like cleaning, and mopping floors, and cleaning bathrooms.  Those sort of things you do when you are at home and not on holidays!

Chris is out cleaning the pool, and I'm about to start with my chores.  Think I will try to make a game of it - should find some good ol' dance music and put it on the sound system!  That sounds like a plan!

Excuse going in search of music...

Have a good day!  Join me in a dance if you get the chance!

Friday, November 4, 2011

I did it!

OK!  You have to really know me to understand this story.  But I have no sense of direction. Literally doesn't exist!  (Maybe it's a handicap??) Who knows!!  Anyway, today I chose to drive my beautiful blue car into the a major suburb of Cairns to go shopping.  Boy!  Have I memorised building landsights or what?

I don't do well with street names, in the left brain ear, and out the right brain ear....but a building or obvious land site--I remember forever!  (Lord help us if they ever tear it down!)  I did my long drive today by building land-sites, and the knowledge that I was brave enough to do this!

I am not an adventurous driver.  I drive in safe zones, and prefer to be driven.  I have always preferred to be driven - I would have made a much more youthful Driving Miss Daisy from an early age--but then reality hits and one has to conquer these stupidly held mental handicaps (that at least I carry around with me.)

Anyway, I did it!  I did it Big Time!  I not only knew what I was doing, but predicted when I needed to change lanes and felt confident and assured.  Was I cocky or what!!

Then I got out of the car, and limped all the way into the shopping centre!  Stupid painful ankle.  Even had my ankle brace on and everything.  Still managed to get smiles from people though, so wasn't doing too badly!!!

I was complimented a couple of times and made to feel good.  One young gentleman asked if I was from Sydney, as I didn't look like a local--(felt like telling him that I haven't been a local since I left Burlington, but he wouldn't understand!)

One thing I have noticed though - I mean, I talk a lot, (hence the blog---out of sympathy for Chris so that he doesn't have to hear me talking all the time about my thoughts, even though I know he will deny he doesn't do that and loves me talking---yeah - you know how it goes....they love you, but suffering is suffering, I say!) Anyway, back to what I wanted to tell you.  People from Cairns don't quite know how to take me.  I talk to them. I mean I really talk - to them.  Obviously that hasn't happened a lot yet - not personally, I guess. So I surprise them!  I kind of like it!  We'll see what happens as time goes on - I have a tendency of wearing people down.

Aren't you glad you are just choosing to read me! Imagine if I could talk with you all the time!

I'd love it!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Taking a day off!

I was up early again this morning, this time about 6:30 am.  I fed Squirt a new treat I found in her bird basket, and brushed the dogs and gave them fresh water.  I cleaned the bird feeder and water dishes, and filled them again with water, and placed scraps of bird feed on the tray, including sultanas and various seeds.  Haven't seen a bird since!! Go figure.  (Try to be nice to someone, and what do they do--not respond...............precisely!)

So, I decided to take a day off today, from unpacking boxes, shopping, doing errands or making telephone calls.  I spent a lot of enjoyable time on the computer talking to family and friends, and then just did what I wanted.

It has been such a lazy day, that I don't think I'll do it again for awhile.  My ankle and foot hurt like anything, and I haven't done anything today!!  Don't get it!!  Are they angry that they weren't allowed to hurt me as I limped around town on my normal errands and shopping trips as I discover things here.  Are they upset because I called a day of rest?? Get real!!  Stupid ankle.  Why doesn't it just heal already.  I'm sure my body and my ankle and my brain and my pain analysers, would really enjoy that.  The poor pain analysers have been working overtime reminding me of every pain my body has, on a constant basis.  Thanks, guys.  But enough already!!

Tomorrow I plan to be busy.  Very busy.  And if the pain analysers come with me, they better come prepared! Those are fighting words, boys!!!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Jock and Strap -- poor sookie babes

Today was a somewhat live able day weather - wise.  We turned on the ceiling fans, and went about our business.  But, woefully, Jock and Strap sprawled their border collie bodies against the sliding glass door wall and lay there looking pathetic.  Finally I had had enough of their feel sorry for me attitude!  One would think they were teenagers instead of mature men dogs - what sooks!!

I had previously turned on the ceiling fans on the patio for our two gentlemen, but no - that just didn't cut it!  I suppose they wanted their gin and tonics or ice teas delivered to them - being the gentlemen dogs they are - but hey!  Get real!

So I moved outside with the broom and swept away all the doggie hair and dirt that had accumulated, put Squirt's large cage on wheels out on the brick walk-way, in the shade, and hosed down the patio, refreshing it, and then set upon the living critters!  I called Strap to me, and holding the hose on a gentle squirt totally wet his body, like I used to do to my kids on a hot summer day - he just stood there smiling!  Just smiling!  I wet him really well--he then ran off and rolled on the lawn and there was still a smile on his face- he couldn't fool me!!

Then stopping the pressure on the hose, I called Jock over to also receive the same treatment. Now Jock, if you have been following my blog, would never, I mean never, allow his person to be squirted by a garden hose - how common! But, slowly and hesitantly, he came towards me, and just stood there while I gently soaked him. He loved it!  He wondered away somewhat mystified by what he had just experienced, but was not in disagreement with his treatment by me.  He approved.  Surprised even me.

Squirt was next - I held the hose as though it was just gently raining into her aviary/cage, and she loved it.  She actually sang in the shower!!  She jumped around and came back for more.

I love these guys - they are all so individual, and yet fit into our family so well. We all respect each other, and after today, I think I know what treat they may like best!  I love spring!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

We have arrived - Part 2!!

It has been 5 days since the movers arrived.  Now beginning the 6th one today.  The kitchen is almost totally unpacked--heaps of loads of laundry have been done on my new washing machine, as I unpacked towels and/or sheets etc. wrapped around 'treasures'.  These clean towels have now been placed in my linen cupboard, and still I unwrap boxes. 

             We bought a new tv and surround sound system for the media room.  It was set up yesterday -              good  sound - great screen!

My ankle injury is taking vengeance on me, and flares up like fire by the end of the day - stupid ankle--stupid injury!  Hint:  Don't hurt any body item before planning on taking on a huge moving exercise - it's not a great idea, and really slows you down!  We went shopping for essentials for the house the other day - cool stuff like- mops, buckets, brooms, cleaning stuff, all the great stuff,  so much so that when you get home, you can't wait to play with them--Yep!  That's how I felt, as I limped around the house.

Today, I am determined to finish the kitchen unpacking, and start on the media room, with the de-cluttering of boxes, and the setting up of the 'environment'.  I want it to be the kind of room, where at the end of the day, one just goes to and relaxes.

I really want to take a day off to just go play, and visit all the wonderful areas that are here, and are really the reason we decided to move here.  But a couple more days of determination will see us clear enough to live here, with just some simple unpacking to be done after that.  Roll on those days!!

The dogs are still a bit sooky and won't leave the glass sliding door patio area outside of the family room.  It's like, if they can't see us, we have deserted them again, and will most likely put them on one of those scary flying machines again.  But, slowly but surely, they are taking baby steps away from us.

Squirt on the other hand is trying to organize a live-in bird fest.  She talks and sings all the time, and now the birds from all around come here, and sing back --really kind of nice....I'll have to stock up on birdie treats for her big party!!

I'll keep you informed on our progress - but surprisingly, we really have accomplished a lot - Please God - just give me strength to keep on keeping on!!

Check with you later...........

Thursday, October 27, 2011

We have arrived!


We are now in Cairns!  How exciting!

We have had to transport 3 vehicles, 2 border collies and a lorikeet by air, and ourselves, including the moving van which held the best of our belongings from our 2 houses etc. It has been quite an exercise--but we did it!

The moving van left yesterday about 2:00 pm, and we wearily unpacked the box which held our clean sheets and bedding.  I thought if we made up our bed first, we could then collapse from exhaustion when we needed to and not have to worry about doing it then. (Smart thinking, huh!)

We have our privacy, which is good, but we are in a friendly walking distance from our neighbors.  Squirt, our lorikeet is in 7th heaven!  She is finally outside on the shaded patio, which even has ceiling fans!  She sings all the time and I think in time will teach the various birds around us, to speak also.  She talks all the time!!  If a bird could smile, she is grinning madly!!

But our 2 border collies, Jock and Strap are struggling a bit.  The trip by air up to here has thrown them a bit, and they just lay around a lot.  Strap especially doesn't seem interested in doing much other than lay and relax, like a good Southern Gentleman would, you know??!

I hope that in time that they adjust, and begin to enjoy their new life.

It should be fun for all of us!!

Things to do list...unpack a zillion boxes...yay!! (Not!)  (Insert smile showing pretended enthusiasm.......)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My Size 9 catastrophe!!

After my bought of accidents recently - ('Oops, I did it again' ), I was telling my daughter Bronwyn about my shoe sizing catastrophe from last year.  She was laughing so hard - that's what happens in our family when one of us gets hurt--we laugh--kind of like watching the ol' Charlie Chaplin films I guess- once it has been determined that the family member is OK, we just crack up at their discomfort---well this had her really cracking up!

I had been out shopping one day, and my shoes were feeling tight and my feet were really hurting, so I went into one of those less expensive shoe stores, with grocery type shelves of shoes, and tried on a pair that just felt so good.  I told the salesgirl to wrap up the good leather shoes I had been wearing, and I wore the new beauties home.  They were a size 9, and I usually wear a size 8 shoe, but perhaps my feet were swollen from all the shopping I had done, as they felt great!

When I got home, I put them in my cupboard until the next time, and went about putting my shopping away.

A few weeks later, I had a big shopping day ahead of me, so I grabbed and size 9s and jumped in my car.  It all started out innocently enough:

I had been in a large discount department store, in a major shopping centre, and was coming out after paying for my purchases, carrying a bag, and giving some smiles to people as I walked quickly to my next shop - when suddenly, my foot slipped, I slid across the floor in front of a lot of people and fell straight down on the floor with my purchases splaying out in front in me!  Embarrassed, I got up, collected my bags, and stood- looking at the floor like one does, trying to find a way to blame it- not me!  I hurried on, and went to my next shopping centre, for my next errand.

This time I had purchased my items in another large well known department store, and was walking along the shopping food court, when whammo-bammo--I slipped and fell again - this time straight onto my bottom!  My feet had just slid and I fell as if in slow motion!  I sat there stunned for few moments, looking once again at my packages sprawled out in front of me, and was a bit embarrassed again, but getting used to it somehow, and smiled at offers of help as people near by jumped up to assist me.  I brushed myself off, this time looking at my feet and mentally asked them what they were playing at!  I had always treated them fairly!
I limped a bit to my car, trying not to touch my very sore bottom, and putting my packages in my car's boot, I did a sudden side-ways slide to the driver's door!  I was beginning to suspect these size 9-ers may be the culprits!

I had one more stop at another well know grocery store in a very busy shopping area.  I was carrying one of those little red plastic baskets with my small array of groceries in it, when I got about mid-way down an aisle, with a young lad standing on a tall ladder-type stand, stocking shelves.  I looked at him, and tried to quickly go around his ladder, before the lady coming towards me with her huge grocery cart blocked my way.  But no!  My size 9-ers decided to have one more go--I slid a full foot on the floor and then dropped straight down on my face, catching myself with my basket in one hand and my other hand protecting my face which had a pair of glasses on it!    
I decided to just lay there for a while. Maybe everyone would just go away, and I could get up and leave quietly. But no!! They all gathered, with the young lad asking if he could help me as he started to descend his ladder. I sat up, and with as much dignity as possible, replied in a quite matter of fact tone:

"No, I'm getting used to this today!"

I stood up--inspected my front, brushed off my knees, checked for blood--appreciative that physically I looked OK---just stupid, and gathered my red basket and by now limped to the check-out!

I laughed all the way to my car!

People kept looking at me, and I just kept laughing.

I got home, walked in the door, barefoot this time, put my shopping in the kitchen, quietly gathered a bag from the cupboard, put my shoes into it and put it in the spare room for the next charity shop delivery of goods.

What a day!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dad's Worming Tongs!

In my tribute to my Dad, in "Happy Father's Day, Dad",  I wrote about  special electronic worming tongs that he used..  They need further explanation, as Dad and I used to have fun with them.

I have done a bit of research on the making of these tongs, and from what I can understand, they were powered by a car battery.  All I can really remember, as I was fairly young, was that Dad had made them, and they had block wooden handles with metal sticks/prongs inserted into the wood.  From the metal area near the wooden handle there were wires, which I am assuming must have connected to perhaps the electronic source, (ie: car battery).

Anyway, all I knew was that they were fun, and I always looked forward to the dusk evenings when Dad would bring them out for worming.  He would normally do this on a Friday night, especially if we had just had a good rain, as the soil in the back yard would be moist and a good conductor for zapping those ornery worms!

That usually meant that the following Saturday would be a fishing day!

Sometimes Dad would water the lawn to create the moisture, and then I would know that there was a strong possibility that the worming tongs would make an appearance.  I loved them for some reason!  Call me strange!

When it was just Dad and I , we would sometimes play with them, and he would chase me playfully around the back yard, threatening to zap my legs.  (He got me sometimes, and there was a zap!  Not a dangerous one - but a zap all the same!)  While he was doing this, our next door neighbour, Bud, would sit on his back step, and watch us, occasionally displaying his pocket knife, which he always threatened to use to cut off my ears - so no escape there (What a wonderful neighbourhood I lived in!  A zapping Dad, and a ear lopping neighbour!!)

Sometimes, for distraction, I would tell the neighbourhood kids that Dad would be worm zapping, so after Dinner they would appear, and wait for Dad to set up.  We all had worm gathering tins - filled with moist soil, so that when a worm jumped out of the ground we could gather them.  Sometimes Dad would threaten all of us with a zapping, and Bud would just watch, grinning, while he polished his ear lopping pocket knife.

It was fun, and usually meant that a good fishing day was going the occur the next day - sometimes Mum and their friends all came, and we went to Lake Geode- for a picnic and fishing.

I love those memories - much better than the computer games the kids play with today!

Friday, October 14, 2011

We are moving - finally!

For the past few weeks we have been busily packing boxes and making arrangements to move not only our earthly possessions, but also our 2 border collies and 1 spoiled lorrikeet.  Adding to that mammoth task we are also transporting 3 cars, and as we are moving a fair distance away from our current address, we have decided to move our animals and us by air, while the rest of our 'stuff' follows us by transport.  It has been a large undertaking, and yet - it appears to be being accomplished - thanks to great professionals who know how to handle even the trickiest problems, and somehow make it all appear simple.

There has just been one hiccup---Me!  If you read my previous blog about my current bout of injuries, you can just imagine what it has been like for me to try to pack boxes and show enthusiasm, when sometimes, it has hurt just to breathe or move.  Stupid accidents!

Well, yesterday I was in the spare bedroom, which had become our 'storage' area where Christmas ribbons go to die, and yesterday's treasures have suddenly become today's problem.  Do you have an area like that?? I used to think it was a good idea -- it isn't. If you don't use or want something that instant in your life - don't have it!! Get rid of it. Don't save it in case you change your mind - just don't hold onto it, because maybe one day you 'might' want it! If you haven't wanted it ever, you probably never did!  Does that make sense?  It sure does to me now! Wow! Now that was knowledge that I could have used over the years!!!

So, yesterday, as I sat on my 'bum' (Aussie speak for using the human bottom as a cushion), I discovered a lot of this stuff.  Some of it, I must admit I was glad I kept.  Like letters and cards from friends and family celebrating birthdays in my life with their wonderful, love-filled sentiments!  I must admit, as I sat there on my 'bum' which was turning a bit numb by this stage - remember --IT was the one I fell straight down on after that fateful shower episode! Refer to:

Anyway, as I sat there, and the tears of sentiment crawled down my cheeks, I was very touched, and felt loved and fuzzy that these wonderful people loved me enough to have written all of their wonderful sentiments to me.

But enough of that I said to myself, as I reached for another tissue, and put them all in my saver pile.  My discard pile was growing larger, and I was feeling like I was finally accomplishing something until I managed to stand up. PAIN!   

Now, since all of my fateful accidents, PAIN has become a pretty common companion, but yesterday, it introduced a new symptom--MAKE EVERYTHING HURT ALL TOGETHER AT ONE TIME!

So, I had to call it quits then.  I am forever confident tho', and today is a new day - and so far, I think things will get accomplished, and by hook or crook - We will be moving according to schedule - poor ol' Chrisco may find tho' that he is packing more boxes than he originally intended!!  

Don't you just love life!!!!! 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Oops! I did it again!

About 4 weeks ago, I was in the kitchen and reaching into a lower cupboard, suddenly discovering that I had released the fury of two very heavy stainless steel saucepans.  As they jumped out of the cupboard and onto my feet, I also discovered that my reactions, while still fairly swift, just weren't protection enough.  As the heavy saucepans fell towards my feet, in my panic to get away from the falling little devils, I jumped back and apparently put all of my body weight, or at least a good majority of it, on my right heel.  Mistake!  Bad mistake!

Well, this resulted in bandaging and icing, and a very swollen ankle, which eventually resulted in a very bruised and swollen heel.  The result--a very sore heel which was swollen, tender, and needing to be raised--as the girl at the Chemist shop said - above my heart level--and as I don't do yoga and have trouble raising anything above my heart level unless I lower my upper body to a ridiculously low floor level stance, my heel became the bane of my life, and the saucepans in question were relegated to the cupboard to indefinitely live out their days in regret!!

So in time I started to heel.

A week or so later, I was in town, and noticed that Blue, my lovely little convertible needed fuel.  Now I normally go to a very quiet petrol place which has become a favourite of mine.  Since I don't like pulling fuel--this station is quiet, and peaceful, and Blue and I like it there!  Well, this particular day my fuel was very low, and rather than risk trying to make it go my favourite stop,  I pulled into a larger, more commercial truck stop petrol station.  All was going well, and I had finally paid for my fuel and was heading out to Blue, when whammo!  I fell off the curbing just outside of the entrance door to the shop! Fell in slow motion, inescapably unable to stop the fall, and landed on my left side.  When I got over the shock and embarrassment of the fall, I sat on the curbing which had tricked me, as it had suddenly appeared and sent me flying, and I surveyed my wounds.

I had a badly grazed and bleeding left forearm, a wrist which was swelling while I looked at it, and very sore ribs!  I was a mess!  No one came to my rescue and I eventually got off the curbing, and holding my bloodied arm, limped to my car.  Blue looked at me sympathetically, somewhat embarrassed herself, and we drove home.  Shopping trip had abruptly ended for the day!

It has taken quite some time to recover from those injuries - but I am recovering and can finally put weight on my ribs, and my large gross scabby arm is healing very nicely, thank you very much!!

About two days ago, I slipped my feet  into my thongs (flip flops) and headed out to the garage to wash my car--Blue had been neglected lately and looked like it.  As I was spraying water on her with the hose, and getting rid of the dust and grime, my hose suddenly became lifeless, and I discovered that it had disconnected itself from the tap.  Water there was spraying everywhere, and Blue and I stood there with a hose which did not give forth any water.  Drat!  I tried to fix the connection, stepping into the mud and fighting back the spraying water, and eventually just gave up.  But before I could go back to Blue's half finished dirty surface, which was now turning from a dusty back end to a dirty muddy back end, I stepped up into the garage, and my right heel, which had eventually started to feel better, suddenly screamed out in pain, as it descended on a large pebble and cut through new pain thresholds!!  Yelling out and kicking at a bucket that I only wished was there - I limped painfully into the house - angry that an old injury was once again raising its horrible head! Not happy, Jan!

I limped for a couple of days, tried to raise the painful heel to above heart level, finally conceding that just resting it on a pillow would do, and thought about all of my injuries.  What a run of bad luck!

Then yesterday, after my shower, I noticed a lot of water on the bathroom floor. I put my towels down on the puddle, and decided to use my left foot to move the towels around and soak up the offending moisture, when whammo- bammo! I slipped and fell straight onto my backend!  Talk about pain!  Not only did I yell out in disgust at my predicament, but then just sat there wondering what else could possibly happen to me.

It is now very early today--my bottom isn't as painful, my left ankle and heel are feeling fairly good, and my left forearm  bloody cuts and grazes are healing.  I can laugh without the pain of damaged ribs, and my left wrist, though tender is healing.

But it is still early--who knows what may happen today--I'm going in search of a large box of cotton wool--may just wrap me up in that for a while..............