Sunday, January 29, 2012

My stupid legs

You know sometimes my legs cause me so much grief as they jump all over the place that at times I wish I could really do something serious about them.  At times they cause me to lose a lot of valuable sleep....."Janice" (That's my Mother talking!  Ever notice that when you were growing up, if they brought out the full name, you were probably in trouble!) "At least be glad that you have two legs to complain about--think of those who don't!!!"  Well, I tell ya what - last night I would have traded my legs for just about anything else - "OK, Mum--doesn't mean I'm still going to do it - just felt like it then".

I have inherited a family trait - I call it crazy leg syndrome - mainly because they make me go crazy!! In the middle of the night they will just decide that they don't like the temperature of the room, or that they have been laying too long, or that they are just bored - but they jump!  I mean they really jerk! Sometimes I even kick Chris - I'm sure that one is out of my control...! Right?  Anyway, last night was a whopper.  I went to bed earlier than normal thinking that a good sleep would help me. And it did to begin with, then I woke up---er, rather, I'd like to re-phrase legs woke me up.  I got up and walked around the bedroom for a few minutes, hoping that it was just a circulation thing, but they didn't think that was enough.  I refused to start the day at 4:00 am, so went back to bed, and tried very hard to sleep, but by 5:00 I admitted defeat. 

I went down the 16 steps to the rest of the house (I know there are 16 steps because I count them on the nights when I am tired and climb them to go to bed - Note to self: Get A Life!)

Anyway, here I was, up, at 5:00 am - 'Alone Again Naturally' (Sorry--just a good way to work in that song title) anyway-- I drank a lot of water, and washed my face, and brushed my hair, and gave myself a good talking to, and then walked a lot all around the house. By 5:10 I still felt rotten - OK- so walking a lot doesn't take a lot of time- leave me alone--I haven't had a good day!! Geez!

So, I drank more water--I read somewhere that water cures a lot of stuff - probably in the Good Water Digest (It exists--somewhere, maybe!!)--but anyway that is what I did.  I try not to take drugs, and as I had only taken a cramping drug about 6-7 hours earlier, I felt it was too soon to try to take anymore.  So, I walked some more, until I could recognise that I had feet, and not just lumps, and then sat and tried to read - as it was still dark, and I had difficulty reading the words in my book in the lamplight available, I gave up, and walked some more. I guess you can get the picture. I was really having a fairly horrible time.  "Yes, Mum, I am grateful that I have two legs--just not these two!!"

At about 6:00 am the sun was beginning to shine through, and I enjoyed watching the world around me come to life.  There were birds flying around, singing, and stealing Straps dog biscuits from his bowl while he laid there asleep, with quiet legs - lucky dog!  Squirt was even still asleep.  I couldn't understand.  I mean. I was awake!  Why weren't they?  But I stayed quiet, and didn't disturb them, but I thought of the whistle in my desk drawer, and then began to hear my Mum in the background giving me more advice on not being a nuisance, so just started walking again.

Eventually I got bored, and walked outside and did stuff. You know, like put rubbish in the bin, and kick stones to see if my feet were still alive--they were!  And didn't like some stones- Huh! Served them right, I thought.  Anyway, after some time - let me re-phrase that - After some hours, my legs were beginning to feel tired - Ahhh, poor things. So, I took some pain killers, and went back to bed.

I have felt pretty ordinary all day- probably due to my poor sleeping pattern.  I am determined to have a good night's sleep tonight. So, look out legs.  I will contemplate life without you.....Ok--I won't do that...but I will do something....I know---I'll talk you death! Live with it!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Just had a birthday!!

I just turned a wee bit older--not enough to get worried about, but enough that if I was easily capable of being depressed I'd be looking back to the times when I was younger.....lucky for me, I don't look or really act like someone who is normally this age, unless one is a moviestar, or has gazillions of $$ and can pay doctors to assist the process--I guess I just have good genes--thanks Dad!

Anyway, yesterday was my official birthday, and I had a lot of lovely friends phoning me,or Facebooking me, including family, and wishing me a happy day--it was a lot of fun.  I was spoiled as usual by my loving husband, Chris, who gave me some lovely gifts - and (here is where I go commercial)--he bought me a Charlie Bear - which is a special limited edition of a handmade bear, which is really taking off here--anyway, my Charlie Bear - Phoenix is his name,was so desperate for love - I just had to have him and bring him home.  He seems content.  He's still a bit like - 'Where am I?  Is it OK?' He sits and watches everything at the moment, ..he'll settle soon...(You think I'm crazy don't you?) I'm not.

But of all the gifts that I received there are 3 that stand out for very special reasons. 

When we bought this house just recently we realised later that its pool is very deep--I mean DEEP! Well, I grew up on the Mississippi, not the Pacific Ocean, so my swimming skills aren't strong--I mean the mud alone in the Mississippi could keep you afloat--I learned to water-ski there in one afternoon--impossible to sink! 

But our pool-- I mean--Whoosh--Straight down! 

So guess what Chris bought me for a birthday present - a purple pool noodle!!  You don't know what that is do you...I'll describe it--It is about as tall as I am, (everyone keeps telling me I'm shrinking) and it is made of styrofoam (I think) anyway--it is a long floating noodle that bends.  So as long as I have that around me in the pool or at least can hang onto it, I won't drown!  But just to make sure, he also bought me the bright yellow inflatable water wings that kids wear on their arms when they are just starting out in water....but these are at least for 12 year olds - which should fit me.....Crazy I know!  But what fun!  And! I'm going to use them!

But today I also received a card from my youngest daughter, Madison, who knows that I need nothing and didn't know exactly what to get me for my birthday, so she bought me a Chicken Family, from Oxfam, which is going to Laos and will be giving families a much needed income, food supply and a further benefit by the breeding of the chickens.  I phoned her and told her how clever she was, and that it was a very treasured present!  I hope it does do some good!!  I really like the idea of my birthday present being something that could possibly help someone else!

That's it, really...just thought you would like to know..

Our family LOVES birthdays, they are such a celebration of the person.  I feel as though I have been very well celebrated!!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Strap - taking over

When Jock was alive, Strap was a part of two.  These two border collies, though a few years apart, were the best of mates, and lived on our 20 acre property, 'fiercely' guarding their domain.
Then we moved.  We left our 20 acres of space, and moved to a wonderful home in a lush tropical area on about 1 acre.  We had both dogs transported up here by air, and watched them settle in, filled with curiosity, a bit of exhaustion from their ordeal, and general feelings of curiosity as they roamed around discovering their new surroundings.  Jock then started to struggle, and noticing a change in his behaviour, we contacted a vet in our local community, as Jock was such a particular dog he would not let us put him in a vehicle and try to take him to a vet.  He always physically just refused to cooperate.

Unfortunately for us, he died that night, just before we had arranged for the vet to come here to see him.  So that left Strap in charge!

After Jock's death, Strap was a bit lost for a few days--but happy to be with us, and as he watched us with Jock towards the end, and saw that he was dead, he still perhaps wondered what would happen next.  We buried Jock, and Strap watched on from a respectable distance, and then we started our life together, without Jock.

Strap soon settled into a more somewhat spoiled routine, as he was now the only dog.  He was getting baths more regularly, and spent a lot of time laying in the covered patio right at the back door, so that he could keep an eye on us, (and of course lay under the patio's ceiling fans away from the sun and the heat -- we didn't raise a dumb dog!!)

As time now has gone by, Strap has wielded his way more and more into our lives, and now gets to come inside to the family room and lay down at our feet for awhile so that he can get rubbed and grab a bit more attention.  Jock and Strap used to be outside dogs only, until the day in our other home when I incorrectly taught Jock how to open the back swinging screen door.  Then they would come inside at their pleasure, and lay in the back tiled hallway, to escape the heat.

Now, as soon as Strap knows that he has permission, he will run through the back sliding screen door as Chris opens it, and wait expectantly at my seat on the leather couch, so that he can get his rub-down and attention.  If I am already sitting there, he will run in and head straight over to me, then slide down on the floor in front of me, and lay on his right side, waiting for his attention rubs.  I usually rub him under neck and then he grabs my arm with his paw and rolls over onto his back, and waits for me to rub his chest and tummy.  He has me worked out!  The only thing is, he is a long haired border collie and is shedding his heavier coat in this warmer climate, so leaves a lot of hair behind in his wake.  He'll then sit up, and look me straight in the face, and if I give the signal, he will jump up and put his two paws straight into my lap as though hugging me, and look straight into my face, as I rub his ears, and share a cuddle.  If Chris is also there, he will then jump down, and move over to him, sitting at Chris' feet, and wait for his cuddles from him, and when he feels that he is loved up enough, he will then just move away, and head straight outside through the opened screen door, and settle in for a nap.

When we lived on our other property, he would get very vigorous with his barking as either the horses in the back paddock would wander past, or the young kids on their bush motor bikes would ride past.  He would bark loudly and tell them all to 'Clear off, now!  We don't want your noise or your silly horse smell anywhere near here!'  And then he would chase them behind our property's fence line, as he kept his eye on their 'doings'.

Since we have moved here though, he has been more laid back, and hasn't taken on that guarding role as much.  We often have trucks arriving here, making deliveries, and he doesn't even move from his position of 'guard' at the back family room door.  He's not the barking alarm he used to be.  Until that is, an early morning, about 3 days ago.

Our neighbours were having some sort of heavy machinery work done at their place, and while I couldn't see the equipment through the trees and shrubs, I could hear it clanging and chugging away.  Well, Strap was not impressed, and ran over to the sound, and up the hill for a better view.  He still wasn't happy, so set about telling them about his disturbed state.  He barked very angrily and aggressively at the machinery, ordering it to go away -NOW!  As he kept insisting on issuing his angry barks in their direction, I went outside to investigate.  I called him to me, and while he hated being called away from 'His job', he regretfully came, rumbling under his breath. 

"Strappy!", I said calmly, "It's OK.  It's only the neighbours doing something- it's fine!  It's early! But it's fine!  Go lay down and relax - don't worry!"

Well, Strap was having none of that - he looked at me uncertainly as if to say - 'Don't you know that I am guarding?  This is dog's business--now you go inside and let me get back to work!'

Knowing I wasn't going to win this round, I went to the open sliding screen door,as I headed back into the house, and beckoned Strap to come inside with me.  Somewhat reluctantly he did, and we went through our rubbing and cuddling ritual before I let him go outside again. I reassured him that there was no danger outside, and that he could relax.  During our cuddle he stared me in the eyes just to check that I was telling the truth, then jumped down and went outside....he chipped a few more barks of disgust in the neighbours general direction, and then gave a disgusted sniff and grunt and laid down in his guard position at the back door.  He was soon asleep content in the knowledge that he was still the King of his property, and beware any intruders who invade his space!  I think he was smiling as he slept. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I'm attuned to little kids and babies

Never in a million years would I have described me as clucky.  I'm basically not!  Children all have their place, and while I have never minded looking at them or admiring them, I just have not ever been the kind of person who wanted to hold them or do much more than just look!  (This statement is coming from a woman who had 3 beautiful daughters, and now has 3 georgous grandchildren--all of whom I have loved and cuddled and never thought a thing of it - they were mine to love!)

So, you can imagine my surprise when I have noticed my uncanny ability to attract the attention of children all around me. They smile and respond and laugh at me, and give me big honest smiles.

This all started about 2 years ago- I think I've witten about this before  the fact that a baby or young toddler would be travelling with their parent on an escalator, and I was behind them.  All of a sudden I would receive enormous grins and sometimes delightful laughter- out of nowhere!  Now as I am the first proponent of saftey and stranger danger (although in these cases I certainly wouldn't have classed me in those areas), I immediately try not to attract this child's attention--or if I do I make a comment to the parent about how wonderful their child is, and then wander off to do my shopping.

Well, this attention from these children is happening even more now.  I can be anywhere!  In a grocery store, a shopping centre, an escalator, an elevator, - anywhere--and these children turn to me, and sometimes try to reach out to hold my hand.  I am trying so hard to not respond to them or encourage them, as I am sure their parents would appreciate that, but sometimes it is so obvious, as they run screaming up to me, and grab my legs, that I have to respond!  Sometimes I just can't help myself!  They can be so cute!  I don't know why the attraction - perhaps it's my aura at the moment- whatever- I am starting to like it!

I now try to comment to the parents, and tell them my name, so that I'm not a stranger, and while I don't encourage these small children, even babies sometimes, I still get the grins and the laughter, and even the reaching out by these cherubs of small people.

One day, I was in the grocery store, in the ice-cream aisle with my little red basket, and it was very busy.. a little blond haired girl was walking with her Mum and Dad and singing, and saw me.  She just made a bee-line towards me and started to talk and dance all at once.  I laughed, and immediately told her parents how wonderful she was, and that I too had small grandchildren.  But this little girl wouldn't leave me.  She wanted to know what I was buying, so I put my basket on the floor, and she looked through it all, then turned to me with a very serious face, and said:

"You don't have any lollies, but those oranges look good!" 
"Thank you, darlin', I think they do too! Your Mummy and Daddy are waiting for you", I said, pointing to them.  She stopped and looked at them, and then hugged my legs. 

Kinda gets me sometimes!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Friday the 13th!

We have all just experienced a recent Friday the 13th day,. (Nuts! I bet there is a special pinch and a punch moment for one of those, it can't just be for the first day of the month!!) Anyway, I was about to write about it - the meaning etc.and how it can often bring good luck ...then I heard that my youngest daugher's apartment got robbed while she was asleep in bed!  I mean, how awful! Really--what a violation from mankind!

My blog is usually very upbeat--try not to make it a forum for bad stuff - but this has really ticked me off.

Why do people think that they have the right to actually climb buildings and break into apartments, then steal, and think it is OK?  WELL--HELLO--CREEPS--IT'S NOT!!!

No one, I repeat, NO ONE should ever steal from my child and think it is OK.  If I was in the vicinity, believe me - I would track your thieving hide, and stop you from ever harming or stealing again.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Curiouser and curiouser

OK.  I've always had an active imagination.  I mean I questioned everything, and talked to everyone to find out the answers to my life's queries---as a child I think I told you that I never napped, but 'visited' my neighbours in my neighbourhood.
These generally were the women who were somewhat grandmotherly in age, but I think they were as curious about me as I was about them.  Maybe it was because I was the only kid around who wanted to spend time with them and ask them about my life-long questions.....sometimes they had the answers, but mostly they were as curious as I was.  I used to tell them sometimes that I was jealous of them, because they would probably meet Abraham Lincoln long before I could- refer to my blog:  A sort of tribute - -

When I would say that, I thought I was sharing an important thing with them, and I was excited for them, but they never seemed as excited.  Perhaps Abe didn't mean as much to them.  Whoever did though, they would have an opportunity to 'talk to' long before I ever got to heaven.  In those days, kids just didn't die until they were old.  Unfortunately, and mainly sadly, times have changed - but I'm getting off the subject.....

Anyway, in my quest for my answers I explored my neighbourhood and spoke with as many people as I could.  In those days, there wasn't such a thing as strangers - at least not there.

Eventually I became old enough to have a library card, and after 'doing my time' in the children's section, reading all the regular books put out for my age, I began exploring the rest of the library - the larger collections where there were novels and texts and maps and things far more interesting than what I was allowed to read.   I used to grab one of these books or maps and take them into the reading room, which was a room with long tables and green shaded lamps, and had a clock on a mantelpiece that would chime every half hour, and then chime out the chimes according to the time on the hour.  Sometimes I would just stop and wait for the clock to chime, so that I could watch it, but sometimes I was so busy reading that I forgot to listen.

(I now wonder why I was allowed to spend so much time in that library - I don't remember my parents being there--maybe, out of frustration they would just drop me there, do their shopping and come back and get me.)  Anyway, I never had any difficulty doing what I wanted to do there, and  also discovered Civil War exhibit rooms upstairs in private rooms, with unlocked doors, and walked around mystified by the knowledge that was in this building.  I knew I could find my answers here.

I would try to check out some books from the adult area, but the librarians there weren't as friendly as the ones in the children's section, and when I would then take my book to the children's librarian, she would look at me perplexed, and tell me to go choose a better book.  As a consequence, I had to do most of my reading in that reading room, and try to find my answers in a way that would make sense to me. 

I think my curiosity started, way back when I was about 4 or 5 and my Mum introduced me to Alice in Wonderland!  In Alice, I found a kindred spirit, and as I got a bit older and began to read about her adventures in Wonderland, and then Through the Looking Glass, I knew that I was right to be curious. 

As I have gotten older, I have been fortunate enough to better define my queries, and have some of them answered sufficiently.  But not imaginatively.  Sometimes, it's the imaginative answers that are the best.....I think so anyway!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Putting the Christmas decorations away

We are finally putting all of the Christmas decorations away today - safely wrapped in tissue and put in strong plastic containers until next year.  This is always difficult for us, as it means that it is the end of that wonderful feeling that only Christmas can bring.  The feeling of overall joy and excitement and the secrecy of planning and giving of gifts.  Both Chris and I love this time of year so much.  We often go overboard and gift a lot, to us and lots of others, but it is that part that is so much fun!!
The part we don't like is the putting away of the tree, its beautiful decorations, and the other decorations spread throughout our home.  But, it is something that can't be put off any longer.

On a sad note, and I am sorry to mention this, but I think of it each year --As Lauren died on January 2, 1999, when we arrived home that day to deal with everything, we were surrounded by the tree and decorations and all the opened presents still under the tree.....
It was just too much to look at and take in at such a very traumatic time. 

I can't remember clearly, but I think that the next day, Chris and Bronwyn's boyfriend at the time, began to dismantle everything and pack it all away.  I think Bron and I tried to help--but I had a lot of difficulty actually functioning that day, so wasn't much help.  But they did it all and we cleared the house, in preparation for the onslaught of people and flowers and funeral arrangements that were looming in front of us.

One memory though that stands out in my mind, was that on Christmas day we had given Maddie a new trampoline to jump on, one of of her very own, as her sisters' old one was beginning to really show its age.

I remember the laughter that day as we all had a go at jumping on it, including Lauren and James, who had spent Christmas with us, and we laughed and giggled at how silly we all looked.

Maddie had fun that day, and we really all had a great Christmas!

After Lauren died, that poor trampoline sat in the middle of the back yard for a very long time, and was just ignored.  It wasn't it's fault - just held too many memories.

Sort of like taking down the Christmas tree every year.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Do you know what I'm Loving?....

Living in Cairns, ---ok, let's narrow it down - here in my wonderfully beautiful suburb, narrow down a bit more you say?  Ok. Here in our new home.  Yes.  I think after so many years of 'stuff' it is finally wonderful to wake up every morning in a very beautiful room, and think to myself, 'What do I want to do today?'  Then, the bonus, lay there a bit longer and luxuriate in the idea of what it might be, and if I really want to do that or something else....  Yes. I was made for this life, and now...I finally have it.

Don't get me wrong, Chris and I still drive ourselves hard, and work hard at what we want to achieve, but sometimes the sheer luxury of just being is....immense!

This must translate into my body language, because, as I have adopted my local shopping centre as my own, and try to do as much business there as I can, I am finding that the shops and shop owners are picking up on my attitude and presenting the same attitude back at me!  I Love it!

Ok - Just for example--I decided today to go into the one dress shop in my local shopping centre, and have a look and maybe buy something--first off, I was surprised at the great prices, then when choosing something, the size I wanted was always available-bonus!  Well to make what could be a long story --short--I bought a strapless dress and a cute dress/coverup/flowy thing to wear with white leggings.  I am very trendy you know....:-))

Anyway, I struck up a conversation with the shop owner, (because we all know by now that I am not shy and I do love talking with people) and we had a Wow! of a conversation.  I discovered a lot about her and her land holdings, and she knew, once I sort of approximated the house we purchased, just what and where it was!  Small world this.

Anyway, I feel as though I've made a new friend.  This is a good thing.

Friendship is a good. 

My life is good.

May you always enjoy yours!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Friends with problems

Over the past year I have had some dear friends who have had some black moments.  Times when they felt depressed, or blocked, or unable to figure out how to reach for a goal, when it all seemed just too difficult.  I can understand their feelings, I guess we all could understand those feelings when we really think about it - but it has troubled me as I thought of ways to try to get them to understand their own worth, and that the fight was worth it all...

I have had black moments, and probably will experience more in the future - we can't protect ourselves against those- they will happen.  The secret is to know the warning signs, and to let those signs signal to you that you need to prepare for the onslaught - because it will happen.

When you reach that brick wall, or that day when you just feel like not getting out of bed, or that day when everything you do just makes you feel worse.  Go with it.  Don't beat yourself up!  At some time in your life, you are allowed to be depressed, or uninspired, or feel like you are a failure (even though deep down, really, you know you aren't!)  That day will pass- trust me.  After that first day of feeling this way - seek out your friends- talk to them--let them know how you feel--I am sure there will be one true friend who will help you - because they are your friend - and they want you to feel better.  If you can't find that friend straight away, make a decision to seek one out from your past--sometimes they are the ones who knew you the best anyway - trust me - there is always someone who cares very much about you.

Just recently I wrote about a memorium to my deceased daughter, Lauren.  It has been a popular blog, and a lot of people have responded to it.  I think one of the reasons that they have, is that although her death is of course very painful to me, I have always chosen to remember the good times, and instances that showed what a wonder she was.  And believe me, she was!!

We are all wonders and we need to celebrate that a lot more.

I celebrate you right now - because you are curious, and you want to interact, and you cared enough to read this simple little blog.  Good on you!  You're doing really well, and I wish you a great day!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Lauren's memorial day...

In 1999 my precious second daughter was killed in a horrendous car accident.  I don't want to talk about that..

Today is the sad day when I remember what she meant to me and the fact that she is no longer physically in our lives  However, her wonderful spirit and lust for life and all it could achieve does live on.

This is a photo taken of Lauren on Christmas day, 1998.  By January 2 1999 she was dead.

I have written a lot of stories about her over the years, and I thought that as a memorium to her today, I would try to include links to these stories here:

A sort of tribute - October 21, 2010:

The brown cardboard suitcase - October 26, 2010:

Packing up memories - November 23, 2010:

Lauren's Sundays - November 24, 2010:

Show and Tell - November 30, 2010:

Memories - January 4, 2011:

Trying to feed Squirt!

I really had to laugh yesterday.  Even though I know I have to give Squirt's aviary cage a good hose out, and give her a shower in the process, I just decided that for that moment that a replacement of new seed and her special powdered honey mixture, would suffice.  As I started to remove her water dish so that I could fill it with fresh water, Strap decided to take a very strong interest in everything I was doing.  He followed me into the house while I filled her water dish and placed it on the table outside close to her aviary.  He then followed me inside again to see me get her food containers from their storage area, and almost blocking me, wanted to sniff them, and looked at me enquiringly.  I told him that Squirt needed attention too and not just him, but his nose was beginning to get out of joint---I could almost see the jealousy or very severe curiosity at what I was doing for Squirt. 

In the end I had emptied the old seed and filled her dish with new fresh and more appetising seed, into which I had also put almond flakes as a treat, and then refilled her other dish with her 'special' honey mixture which she loves so much, and had Strap underfoot the whole time.  Each movement I made, was stopped by him as he insisted at looking into each dish, and then at my face as if asking: "Why is she so special all of a sudden!  I'm the one who plays ball with you, and licks you whenever I get the opportunity, and smiles at you all the time!  You don't feed this stuff to me!"

I tried not to laugh at him, but told him to just be patient.  I just kept working on Squirts food, then started placing the bowls back into her aviary. When she saw the new seed and the honey mixture dishes, both sprinkled with the slivered almonds, she looked at me almost with a smile on her beak  and yelled out "Hello!" in the funny Monty Python accent which means that she is very happy.

As she was exploring her fresh food dishes, I started to go back into the house, looking at Strap's confused face, which had a bit of sadness and 'woe is me' attitude spreading across it!

I smiled and went inside to his treats drawer, and got a couple of treats.  I went back outside and asked him what he was fretting about. He saw the treats in my hand and obediently sat immediately.  I laughed and let him sniff them, and decide which one he wanted first.  He couldn't decide, then took the smacko, grinning, but spat it out straight away and looked straight at my face. 

"Strappy--what's wrong this time?"

He just kept sittting there, looking at me, and not at the other treat, but I knew what he was thinking...'Why decide now? If I can have both, I can eat them when I'm good and ready...' So laughing, I rubbed his ears and gave him the bone biscuit, and he spat it out too.  I looked at him, and shook my head, and went back into the house.  He stood, looking at me as I did so, then layed down with his treats, between his paws, and started to enjoy!

They are so much fun to watch.  Each day brings a new personality trait our way.....