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!!!