Sunday, February 26, 2012

Fireplace stories and memories...

Remembering all of the incidents surrounding my latest story about clowns, it brought to mind  unusual incidents that occurred after Lauren died, and Chris and I took our other 3 girls overseas for a trip - which may have been much needed at that stage.

Laurie's cremated remains were in a box and resided on the mantelpiece of our fireplace which was situated in our main living area.

Our home was always open and welcomed any of her friends who wished to visit her, even in our absence, as sometimes it gave them relief to just sit and talk with her (For those who haven't been through this kind of experience, this probably is making you raise your eyebrows and wonder about us all--but believe me --it was all just a part of the grieving process).

When she was alive, and she had slumber parties, I used to light candles in the fireplace area, and at midnight, on the girls pleading, I would tell them ghost stories by candle-light.  Silly stuff, I know.  But they loved it!  The more scared they could get, the more they screamed and laughed and begged for more.

Well, this story is about Lauren and the fireplace and her friends.

We were told about this incident on our return  home, and I thought it was lovely and could understand their need to do it.

While we were away, Lauren's memorial birthday occurred, and not wanting to let her feel forgotten, her friends arranged a gathering in our home, around the fireplace, under the mantelpiece, where Lauren's ashes rested.

They brought candles and placed them in the empty fireplace, lit them, had some food and celebratory drinks on Lauren's behalf, and told stories--something that always happened in that spot!!

They remembered her. They re-told old stories, and reminisced, --I think they also did this late in the evening - not sure if it was midnight, but it was in keeping with tradition of story telling.  Something kind of scary happened while they were there-and I may have my facts confused, but I think in the kitchen, a corner lower cupboard suddenly opened, and one of my gravy boats fell out and crashed on the floor.  Needless to say, the girls were petrified - they blew out the candles--cleaned up what they had brought into the room, and left as quickly as they could.

When we finally returned home from our journey, some of the girls told us about that night, and about how scared they were.  We talked about it, laughed a bit, and agreed that it was either the house, or that Laurie just wanted to have fun with them too!

For some reason, that story and that memory always makes me feel happy. 

Like knowing the true love of friendship was holding them all together on the night, and the re-enactment of the fireplace stories by candle-light was a tradition that really meant something.

They were good friends, who loved their dear friend.

Friday, February 24, 2012


I don't know why clowns bring up such scary images for us - but hey--they do!  I am writing this blog for a special friend of my eldest daughter, Bronwyn.  Ange - this is just for you!

When Bronwyn and Lauren were small, their Aunt gave them two  framed prints of clowns to hang in their room!  These clown prints hung there for years, before finally I think Bron told me that they scared her.  Really bothered her.  So we took them away....

As time went on, we moved from that house and moved into our home in Rockhampton.  Life was good - except for the odd noises I have told you about and the thing with the alcove leading up to the stairway to Bron's bedroom.  Strange sounds, and children noises....

But the topper was the times that her friend Ange would come to spend the night, or even if she was just there for a visit--she just absolutely avoided that area, and if she needed to use a bathroom etc, she would use the one on the lower level.....

Anyway, one night we hired out the movie 'It" which was written originally by Stephen King.  It had a scary clown, and in keeping with Friday night tradition, we turned the lights down low, and got prepared to get scared.  At the time, we really did get scared, and I started to understand the clown thing.

It became our family quote--
"Do you want a balloon, Georgie?" 
" Do they float?"
"Oh, yes, Georgie.  They float!  Everything floats down here!"

(Refer: movie clip:)

I began to understand why Ange was disturbed by clowns - sometimes you just don't know if you can trust them, can you!

Then Bart Simpson of all people, excuse me, characters stated:

"Can't sleep. Clown will eat me"

Well, that was it!  Not only did we live in a somewhat sceptical ghost wise house, but now clowns were invading our imaginations.

Anyway--Ange this blog was for you--I do understand.  Just check under your bed each night!
Good Luck!

PS: Garlic doesn't work!!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A 'Gorillas in the Mist' moment....

I woke up early again this morning,and after a while I wondered outside to sit on the garden bench in the front of our house. I have to admit that at about 6:30 am the views I had looking down from this marvellous seating area were breathtaking!  I thought instantly of the old movie - 'Gorillas in the Mist' because that is the type of forest growth that we look upon!  It is so lush with its various shades of green trees and shrubbery, and this morning, the mist was gently rising from the rainforest hills in front of me, and the mixture of greens on green was overwhelming. I know I sound gushy--but---it was one of those moments!

So I went inside and grabbed my camera, which is my best toy at the moment, and played with it outside as we shot away!  I will try to show the impact of the morning if I can....

These photos were all taken from about 6:30 am, through to various times until about 7:00 am.  Amazing experience to watch the fog appear and then disappate as the morning started to smile on us.

Since moving here, I just can't stop smiling.  I think when I was born in snow country God must have said "Oops!  I did it again!" Because, I have now found home. And it is mine.  I love it here!!

Thank you God.  It took you awhile, but you pulled it off for me! (With a bit of strong work and incentive on our behalf, I must admit!)  But--Good is good!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Squirt, our true Drama Queen!

For many years my family has labelled me as the largest Drama Queen, and I have had to endure their ridicule while I flailed away at them with my arms demonstrating my emotions, and have quietly tried to only react to things when I thought no one was watching--OK!  So I react!  Let's not make a big deal out of this!  Geez!  (If you think I am a Drama Queen, you should see Maddie--oh no...Drama Queen in waiting no more--she is the real thing!)  But....

This morning, when I was up early, walking my legs to make the tingling and jerky feelings in them settle down, I looked out onto the patio, and Squirt was laying at the bottom of her aviary, inside her fruit bowl and it looked like she was having convulsions - I was so frightened.  I quickly ran out to see to her because I thought maybe I had forgotten to give her fresh water and it has been hot lately.  I just thought to myself "Oh, Squirty, I can't lose you now too!  Please be OK!"
But by the time I got to her aviary she was sitting up and grinning at me--not joking--this lorrikeet grins!

Next thing I knew she was up on her cuddle bar, with her back turned towards to me, which means, 'Give me a cuddle!'  No siree--I wasn't going to fall for that trick.  But I did take her water dish, which by the way did have water in it, and refreshed it and put it back in her aviary.  I just told her that she gave me the scare of my life, and walked back into the family room.  I swear she was grinning at me as I did so.

So the day progressed.  I managed to get back to bed and had a bit more sleep, then had breakfast and was deciding what to do with my day.  Chris finished his breakfast, and feeling not quite up to par yet decided to get another hours rest, which I thought was a good idea, and I debated doing the same - (we both aren't sleeping very well). 

Well, he had just gone into the bedroom, and I decided to just lay down on the couch and watch a bit of telly, when I walked by the glass doors out to the patio and Squirt's aviary.  She was laying on the bottom of the aviary, on her back, with her beak sort of open, and her legs in the air, with her claws sort of tucked in.  She looked so dead!  I thought, "No!  Squirty!  What has happened?  Why are you now suddenly dead?"  It just didn't make sense!  I struggled with the clasp on the sliding screen doors, and raced out to her aviary, only to see her sit up, look at me with a grin on her beak, and fly instantly up to her cuddle bar again.  I refused to give into her demands.  But I had to admire her style.  She really did look dead!  I wonder how she learned to do that?? 

Footnote:  After each one of these tricks she flys up to her special mirror with bells on it, and checks out her expression--I think she has been practicing for a while now!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Life is good!

I'm in a reflective mood today.

I spent some time early this morning sitting on the bench in front of our house, just observing. Nature is right you know.  What is burnt, bombed, destroyed and devastated--regenerates, if given time and the need is there. Look into the past- all of the devastation that has hit this poor earth should have destroyed it. But it hasn't.

Instead it has created these marvellous feats of nature -

Bending trees, Gryfino forest, Poland
Lena Pillars Russia- along the Lena river
Sunset from inside a wave

Danxia landform, Zhangye, Province of Gansa, China

- maybe just because it had the power to do it. I like that thought.

As a person I too have been burned, and felt as though I was destroyed at times, and have felt the deep devastating loss of loved ones. But you, know - I will survive too! 

There was a saying once from 'Someone' that stated: "What doesn't kill you will only make you stronger". Useless words at anytime, when you are going through it - but also very true.  I am so much stronger, and even wiser for going through these difficult and often devastating life experiences. 

I always choose to keep only the good memories, and have the innate ability to not focus on the bad things that may have happened in my life.  It's not called deflection, or lack of feeling, or any other sentiment. It is nature. She never remembers in a hurtful way. She just keeps going. If that means growing spectacular trees and landscapes, to the smallest crawling lizard I have ever seen --She will do that!

It is when you feel that you can't go much further, and then further is just a short distance away--life is like that.  We push ourselves so hard to achieve, and that is good, but recognising our achievement and making sure that it hasn't hurt nature or other people is vital.

Nature doesn't celebrate herself--she celebrates beauty and life, and sometimes rewards us with miraculous visions of beauty.  Life is like that. 

Storm, Montana, USA 
The hard times may happen, and extensive damage and destruction to our surroundings and sometimes our souls may occur.  But given time, and faith in a future ahead, nature will begin to win out, and time and belief and strength of purpose will heal it all. Or at least make a great big step in recovering.

What is lost in life, may be lost forever, but what might be found is always something wonderful to look forward to....

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


A friend of my youngest daughter, Madison, said something today that really brought back a strong memory but sort of in reverse.  This young girl who is very intelligent, and works in a trendy clothing shop as she goes to university, stated that a customer in the shop whistled and click their fingers at her to open a change room for them. She felt they were rude and rightfully so. People of all sizes and ages can be incredibly rude.  But this brought back a huge memory of a time when a good girlfriend and I had a similar experience while out shopping one day.  Sort of in reverse though.

We were probably about 15-16, and were doing some shopping in the city area of our mid-western town which was based alongside the Mississippi river as it wound its way down the countryside.  We had money in our pockets, and were seriously on a mission to make a purchase, but just wanted to spend our time looking at what fashions were available.  We were having fun on this rare shopping expedition, and entered a local exclusive dress shop in a good mood and smiling.  We were dressed as typical teenagers, similar in style to what is probably being worn today, we were very exclusively shunned.  But we persevered.  At one stage I took a dress from one of the racks and asked if I could please try it on, and was told: "I'm sorry dear, all of our dressing rooms are full. Perhaps another time...."  Looking towards the dressing room area, I could see that they were empty, and this was just an outright lie!  It wasn't long before we got the idea that they just wanted us to leave.  We weren't considered worthy. 

That was when I came up with the plan. About a week later we returned, but this time in very trendy clothes, and with a very haughty attitude. We entered the shop and laughed at some of the clothes displayed on the mannequins, stating how horrid they were, and wished we could find something in this town that suited us.  Finally we each chose something and we were shown straight away to the dressing rooms.

We both kept the shop assistants busy running back and forth with clothes and styles, as we either tried them on, or just frowned at their choices.  We were the only people in the shop, and we needed time for the plan to brew a bit longer....

After a while the store became a bit more busy with a few more customers beginning to look around.  So, looking at my friend, I smiled  and after the preening, and  the previous trying on of very many dresses, and accessories we both looked at each other amongst the mess which now lay and hung around us, with the sales ladies standing by, and just stated that all of these fashions just weren't up to date, and none of it suited our style. 

As we left the store, we commented somewhat loudly that this seemed like a below par shop with above par prices, and we would be telling our friends not to bother entering.  The sales ladies were busy collecting our discarded items, and the new customers soon followed us out the door. 

Mind you, we never went back - really didn't want to.   But we heard that the attitude of the shop had changed, and a more youthful look was being pursued. Good.  Hope they also updated their attitude!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Cloth nappies and kids

Bronwyn, my eldest daughter, recently wrote on Facebook: "Give away.. 1 x 4.5 yr old boy. Normally pretty good... But this week he's drivin me NUTS!!"

I really smiled at that!  It brought back a memory of mine of when she was almost 3 and Lauren was beginning to crawl and move around, so she was maybe 8 months? 

We were living in our first home, an old farmhouse with patterned tin walls. It had been very rundown, but with a bit of work, we had managed to make it bright and cheerful, and the nursery was very colourful with a vinyl floor for easy cleaning and hygiene.

On this particular day, both Bronwyn and Lauren were at their worst behaviour.  Bron was being a bit demanding of my time, while Lauren just didn't care.  I belonged to her alone, and that was all there was to it!  I was trying desperately to please both of them, and keep harmony, but was reaching my limit of patience. 

I was in the lounge room with Bron, playing a game with her wooden building blocks, when Lauren woke from her nap, and started fussing.  "Bron", I quickly said, "Try to make Mummy a big mountain, and I will be right back with Laurie and we can watch her knock it down!  Would you like that?"  Bron smiled, and started work on her 'masterpiece' straightway.

I went into the nursery and picked Lauren up from her cot, and was in the process of getting ready to change her cloth nappy when I heard a crash from the kitchen.  I quickly sat Lauren on the floor of the nursery, and ran down the hallway to the kitchen only to find Bron laying on the floor stunned, with a chair tipped over, and the broken cookie jar on the floor beside her.  Apparently she had wanted a teddy bear biscuit and being so grown up decided to help herself, but over-balanced and tipped the chair over which she probably hadn't dragged close enough to the side kitchen bench, and fell in a splot on the floor.  She sat up and looked at me to see what I would do, then decided to cry.  I tried to comfort her, while scolding her at the same time, when I heard a crash and splash in the nursery.  I asked Bron to follow me, and I found that Lauren had crawled over to the nappy bucket, where dirty cloth nappies were soaking in a cleaning solution, in preparation for the washing machine.  In the midst of this mess, she layed there smiling and splashing in the large puddle of dirty nappies and water solution. 

I stood in the doorway somewhat shocked, and said in a stern voice to Bronwyn:
"Bronwyn! Run outside quickly and play with your tree swing and your sandbox, and do not come back inside until Mummy says you can!  Now go!"  She started to cry, and I just yelled, "Go! Now!"  I knew if I didn't get my frustration under control I would probably spank her over the broken cookie jar and now Lauren's mess!  Probably just generally out of tired desperation!

I then grabbed Lauren and placed her in the empty bathtub in the lower bathroom, where I would deal with her in a second or so, and went up to the nursery to clean up the mess from the dirty nappy water, and the slosh on the floor.  I refilled the nappy bucket with fresh cleaning solution, and put the soaked nappies back inside for a further soak.  As I went back down to the bathroom to clean up Lauren, walking through the kitchen, I looked out the window to see Bron sitting in her sandbox and crying out "I want to come back inside!  I don't want to be here!"  I just closed my ears and tried to count to ten.  I think I made it to three, and then just ignored the noise and crying, and started to grab Lauren out of the bathtub, minus her drenched clothes, cleaned her up, and carried her back to the nursery. 

I had dressed her in a clean jumpsuit, and had started to take some of her favourite toys from her shelf, when I heard a loud scream from outside!  I jumped, and left Lauren alone with her toys.

Bronwyn had fallen from her swing, which fortunately was very close to the ground, and had hurt her pride more than anything else.  She was upset, and probably angry with me for making her 'Play outside!'

I went to the back door, and called her to come inside, and she just sniffled, then started to head up to the house.  I knew the rest of the afternoon was going to be a struggle for me, but I tried to put on a brave face.  Suddenly I heard a loud crash from the nursery, and then just quiet.  I ran up the hallway, only to find that Lauren had decided to go 'swimming again' and had once again knocked over the nappy bucket.  I just stood there in shock and disbelief looking at the mess on the floor once again, and than at the smiling wet kid laying in the midst of it, when Bron suddenly appeared by my side in the doorway. 

"Lauren's a bit dirty isn't she?...My knee hurts."

I stood and looked at her, tried to give her a reassuring smile, which I'm sure was more of a grimace, then without a word just quietly walked into the nursery, picked up the nappy bucket, carried it to the bathtub, and started all over again. 

Believe me, I really do sympathise with Mums when they say they had a bad day!!