Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Ponderings...

I have been fairly ill this past month..so haven't written much- but as I believe I am turning the corner in my newest challenge race, it has made me reflective....

Christmas is almost here, which just happens to be my most favourite holiday, and not feeling well enough to conquer the shopping festivities, I must admit that Chris has done a remarkable job of buying the needed presents for others.

We love buying and giving gifts to others--it probably is to us what this holiday is all about--appreciating our family and friends.  We love giving--I currently give to various charities, and when we moved and just gave so many of our belongings away, the look on the faces of the recipients was priceless.  The act of giving makes us feel happy and more so because in a lot of cases the recipients couldn't believe their luck in what we gave them - from furniture to surfboards to wooden children's play sets--it is the smiles that make us so happy.

So in this spirit I ventured out recently and found some good presents for family, and met many Christmas elves along the way--when one is happy in life it is amazing how others react--I love the smiles and well wishes and the joy that surrounds us when we shop.

Do this one little trick for me--when you are shopping this year, as it is always hectic, remember to smile at strangers, and always have a kind comment for shop-keepers.  It is amazing what a smile does.  I taught this to my youngest daughter, and she also admits that she is so surprised at the reactions she gets!  Sometimes the smile leads to a conversation, or a helpful tip on where to find a difficult gift--you would be amazed.  I try to do this now, year round.  Just try it--you will feel so good for doing so.

Well, we still have a bit more shopping to do, but I am sure that this will be a great Christmas for us all - enjoy your lead up to Christmas--I sure do intend to!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

KFC

I have no idea what possessed us--but this cute little chicken popped her head up one day, while we were in the pet store looking -- really for nothing.. We had no intention of buying a pet, but thought it would be fun to go in and have a look!  Before we knew it...we were the proud family owners of a little yellow chicken...so small, so defenseless, and so able to wrap its little
baby chick claws around our hearts!

We took her home and bedded her down in a cardboard box in our large central hallway.  We put in some shredded paper for her to try to make into a bed, and a small container of water.  The pet shop people had advised us on what to feed her, by memory I think it was special pellets.  Then we just sat there on the floor admiring her, and trying to decide what to call her.  At last it hit us!  KFC!  A perfect name for a perfect little chick.

At the time we were taking weekend trips down to our beachhouse, so it was only natural that we would take KFC with us!  She was just a baby and needed our attention.  KFC would sit in her box on the backseat with Maddie, and all 4 of us would head off.  Night-time on a Saturday night there, usually meant that after dinner we would head downstairs to watch a video we had hired. So settling ourselves on the couch, there would be me, Maddie squeezed in next to me, so that she could hold and rub my hair--her sleepy thing, and Chris, with KFC on his shoulder.  She would snuggle into Chris' neck and doze, sometimes having little accidents on his shirt, but we just cleaned him off.  She was KFC and our baby!

This went on for a few weeks, and then KFC started to 'chicken-fy'--she grew longer legs, and her lovely yellow fuzz was turning into a rich brownish coating of feathers.   Our girl was beginning to grow up!  She graduated from her box to a largish wire cage which I had used at one stage for a pet cockatoo.  She still lived in our hallway, but as she was getting older she wasn't quite so convenient for travelling. While we still loved holding her and cuddling her, it was a new stage of development for her and us!  As time passed she graduated to living outside in a bird aviary that we had.  After we decided that we liked the idea of having more chickens, Chris built a chicken yard, and KFC's aviary became a refuge from the weather for the newly arrived chickens if they ever needed it...it was in there that they laid their eggs.

KFC, being the first chicken, obviously was boss, and she taught the other fledglings how this world worked--of course she was very partial to us--she was our first born chick!  At the time Jock was our only Border Collie, and he and KFC were fairly good friends.  Each morning as either Maddie or Chris emptied the 'chook' dish into the chook house, (a combination of vegetable scrapings and scraps from the meal on the previous night), Jock would stand guard as the eggs were gathered, and then nodding to KFC, he would leave the pen with his majestic tail in the air.  What attitude!

Life continued this way for a while, until it was discovered that I needed surgery for a fairly serious condition, followed by a long recovery at home.

During the recovery period, I would often walk outside in the back garden to get some sun, and to talk to the 'girls'.  It was at this point that I noticed that KFC wasn't her usual self.  She often sat by herself on the ground, and just seemed quiet--not her usual behaviour. 

For a few days I would wander into the chook yard and just sit with KFC, rubbing her tummy and urging her to lift her head and walk around.  For a while she would do just that, but eventually she would just lay down again.  I remember spending a lot of time with her, and talking to the other 'girls' as I did so, explaining that they needed to take care with KFC, and to nurture her.  When I held KFC in my lap, while sitting on the ground in the chook yard, she would be so happy, and try so hard to be her old self, but I knew that when I left, she would just lay down again.

Unfortunately the day arrived when KFC just didn't wake up, or try to move..she just quietly died.  The other chooks looked at her, but didn't bother her or go near her--I like to think that they too were sad at her loss.

We buried KFC in a small plot on the far side of our driveway.  Somehow, even though I enjoyed our other chooks, and even taught Red how to climb a small ladder of branches I had put in the wire mesh of the chook yard, and then taught her to jump off the highest branch, which was a great trick--it wasn't the same as having KFC greet us everyday...some pets are very noticeable in their absence.  That was KFC!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Baseball and Prunes


When I was about 10 I chose to go to a camp run by my church, instead of going to the Girl Scout Camp that some of my friends were going to - don't really know why- maybe because it was a long distance away from home, and I was definitely my own individual--guess I just wanted the challenge.

A few kids from my church came also--but I was put in a cabin with about 6 other girls and didn't know a single one..suited me just fine.  I could invent me if I wanted to--but mainly I just wanted to relax and have fun, and not be forced to build campfires, or try to earn more stupid cloth badges--I was definitely getting sick of that!  I earned a badge for roller skating!  I had been roller skating for half my life already--and on the real ones--the key lock on sort!  Why did I need a badge to prove it!

We had 6 single beds in our cabin-and we were each responsible for making our beds, and taking care of our belongings--that was OK.  I knew about this stuff--I tried to make my bed one day, and make it so tucked in that I could drop a coin on it and it would bounce--like in the army--but I didn't have a quarter.  Maybe if I had a nickel the 5 cent part may have worked in my favour, but my thin, small dime didn't do anything but just lay there--I figured a bouncing coin test needed the weight of a quarter, which at bed making time wasn't easy to come by!  Anyway, the 10 cent piece didn't bounce as I had hoped, but my bed was tight! (It's worth noting here that our cabin won first place in neatness--I think by the end of camp we cabin - mates all tried to bounce our coins--must have been some great army trick!)

The only problem with going to a church camp was that at times there were sort of bible lessons-which was OK, because they were like stories and sometimes they were good stories, but the main problem was a girl who always sat behind me, as we sat on the floor under the covered area.  As it was a camp, there were always bugs, and in this covered area, there were a lot of Daddy Long Legs.  Now I HATE spiders--even more so back then.  So this girl - no- this yucky awful girl would make sure she would find a way to sit behind me, and she would capture these spiders, and pull their legs off, and throw their bodies at me!  It was awful, right!!  And this was in bible class!  I mean --who was this girl!  After about the third day, I couldn't take it anymore, and I just jumped up and yelled out loudly that this girl was killing God's Creatures and torturing me with them.  The whole place went quiet--briefly..then I just ran out.

Well, the girl was given a "a good talking to" and I was calmed down...but told that if I didn't want to attend the bible classes every day, it was OK--that was a good thing I thought--so I explored a lot when I didn't like the idea of the story that day...pretty good camp experience so far! 

In mid mornings, after our cafeteria hall breakfasts, we would have these bible classes, then go off to play sport--especially baseball. I wasn't a good batter, but I was a terrific runner and would often play outfield .....  It was fun. It reminded me of home where I played as a kid with my neighbourhood friends, and was the chosen runner, instead of batting--some kid would bat, and if they were lousy runners I would run for them---made sense to us!

Well, back to breakfast - every morning as we sat down at our assigned tables set out with cutlery and breakfast dishes, along with jugs of juice and milk, there were also small bowls of prepared fruit pieces by each plate.  On this particular day, the chosen  fruit was prunes.  We were expected to eat all of our small fruit pieces--but prunes weren't going to be a good fruit choice that day for a lot of the campers. Me?  I loved prunes!  So I offered to eat as many of the tables' prunes as I could so that we could be excused--and I did--just never knew what the consequences would be.

It was the game of the week that day--we were almost winning--but suddenly my tummy started to rumble, and I felt funny. I was in my usual place in outfield, and was waiting for a ball to come my way, when suddenly I just knew that something else was about to come my way.  I shifted nervously from foot to foot, and knew that I was in trouble....the toilet block was just off to the left of the field, and I was hoping like anything that this inning was going to end soon--but it just kept happening--I was fidgeting more and more, and the uneasy feeling I had wasn't getting any better.

Suddenly I just threw my mitt down on the ground, threw my arm up in the air and ran like mad to that toilet block....just in time! There was a major explosion from my backside as I skid onto one of the toilets--it was like I had just made my own home run! By the time I emerged from the toilets, the game was over, our team had lost, and I was told by the coach that eating over 25 plus prunes was never a good idea before a game. I sort of knew that by then, but all the same--it was a lesson--bet the girl scout camp wasn't giving away badges for learning that!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

It's the small things.. sometimes literally

Today I went shopping to do some errands and hopefully find what I wanted in a few shops.  As I was walking through this Centre a small 2-3 year old boy, while holding his Mum's hand kept turning around and looking at me.  Finally I couldn't resist, and just smiled at him--Wow! What he smile he flashed back at me.  I kept walking and thinking 'What a cutie' then started thinking again about what it was I was really hoping to find on this shopping trip--the sad thing is, I now have to carry a list with some items written down, so that I don't forget to remember, you know what I mean.

Anyway, while standing in the main Centre, I suddenly was grabbed on my lower legs, and this little boy was just hugging them and smiling up at me. I was surprised and looked around for his Mother, and she was standing off to the side, smiling. I looked at her quizzically and just smiled back at this little 'love child' and finally said:

"Thank you darling, everyone always needs hugs--I will carry your hug for me today and it will make me smile! Now run over to Mummy and tell her that she is very lucky that you are her little boy!" 

He smiled at me, and ran towards his Mum. I smiled at her and watched them walk away, waving as they went..

What a rare gift that little boy gave me.

While thinking about him and still smiling, I entered the local K-Mart store in that Centre, hoping to find some kitchen item, but no--they didn't have it....so I wandered down to the dvd/blu-ray section to see if there was anything there that looked interesting. While standing and looking in the alphabetical dvd aisles, I noticed a young 5-6 year old girl who appeared to be following my movements.  I stopped  looking for dvds and just turned and looked at her. 

"You're pretty she said" with a big smile on her face.  I was amazed, and just suddenly smiled at her saying quietly to her:

"Thank you for saying that - You are very pretty too!"  And with that simple statement between us girls--she smiled and ran off to find her Mum..

Kids--their complete reactions to me and life in general always just amaze me!





Sunday, September 30, 2012

Thinking about life...

For the last few weeks I have gone through what one can only phrase as a "Living Hell".  Some weeks ago I was prescribed a very strong antibiotic for a skin irritation on my lower legs--it was a 5 day medication--after about the 3rd day I started to react to this medication--(my doctor was OS so I was going to whatever doctor in that practice could see me).  I suddenly started to develop a horrible itchy rash on my arms, which only wet cloths and patience could handle---I was running out of patience....I went back again, this time to a different doctor (only one available), who prescribed a rather strong corticosteroid cream for my arms--rather strong was the word!  My arms have been burned very severely!  I would call it a chemical burn!

Anyway--this is where my body has been and my mind at times as I have tried to deal with it all.  Pain is an awful thing, and those who go through it on a constant basis have my full understanding...

I noticed this morning however that my arms are beginning to heal--thanks to good ol' wet cloth treatments and Aussie's own Savlon! But it has taken weeks to get here...so after my early morning fruit and vitamin intake program, I went back up to bed to try to get some more sleep--but -- nope!  Wasn't going to happen...so I sat on our bedroom deck and surveyed our surrounds and must admit, that we do live in a paradise, and I have to keep reminding myself of that.

Sometimes it's not easy, when there is pain or frustration involved..but I guess one just has to look forward and know that it won't always be this way..and in my case, I can see the corner and perhaps it is just about ready to turn

I originally started to write this blog in order to celebrate my life, and those in it, and to appreciate each happy memory, but as my blog has shown..along life's way, there are struggles, and stresses (both physically and mentally) and then there are celebrations!  It is the celebrations we all need to remember and write about..no one cares about the struggles--maybe just that you had them--makes you seems more human perhaps.

Anyway, I dedicate this story to you--to the celebrations, the happiness of life, and the acknowledgment of any struggles you may have gone through--

You are a strong person, and someone who can light a pathway for another one person perhaps!

Love your life too!~

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The black suited brigade - part 3

A few years passed  and it was discovered that my constant back pain (which I always blamed on a badly managed gymnastics accident at school), was getting impossible to deal with.  On a summer holiday on the Sunshine coast, in desperation, we had found an unusually gifted chiropractor who really helped me.  After x-rays it was discovered that I had dissolving discs due to spinal pressure, and that with a bit of manipulation, it was able to be relieved.  However, it wasn't resolving the disc issue in just that short time.  So..after returning home, and still suffering, it was decided that I would live near this chiropractor for at least a month and receive the hopefully healing treatment I needed.

I moved into an apartment near Cotton Tree, on the Moloolaba coast line in southern Queensland.  I had no vehicle purposely, as walking was going to be my new best friend.  I received very frequent treatments from this chiropractor, who was helping me to release the pressure from my damaged discs, and lived just a short walk away from the beach purposely, so that walking on the loose sand would strengthen me.

After about 2 weeks of this lifestyle, it was apparent that Lauren, who was only 3, was a handful for John to try to manage. As he was running our business and Bronwyn had just started school, Lauren just didn't fit into the normal daily routine, so it was decided that she would come and live with me in this temporary home. 

The apartment had a main but poorly lit internal, cement staired stairway that lead up to the apartment, which was a 2 level apartment, with 2 bedrooms etc on the lower floor, and the kitchen and living area on the first floor.  It wasn't very swanky but I made sure it was clean, and it had all I needed.  There was also a second stairway which was narrow and even darker, and it led from the ground to my kitchen area level, and to the flat across the way from me, but no one lived in the other apartment. When I had first arrived, the kitchen window didn't have any curtains or window coverings, and being on my own in a strange place, it bothered me that people could see into the kitchen at night-time etc. So one day I bought some inexpensive material and and hand-made some curtains for that window.

One night I had gotten Lauren to sleep, and I was watching TV. Suddenly there was a knock on that very dark stairway's access which led to my kitchen door landing.  As I was basically on my own, I just tried to ignore it, making sure the door was securely locked.  But the knocking continued.  This went on for a few knocks. Finally I went to the never used door, and with the chain lock secure I called out: "Who is there?  What do you want?" I was very frightened as no one had used this stairway before and I didn't know anyone who would want to use it to talk with me.

"We just have news to tell you, and need to share this with you now."

"What news?"  I yelled through the locked door. 

"We need to tell you about the inevitable future and how it will affect you!" 

Did this mean that my apartment was going to change and this was management, or what were they meaning?  Now this was about 8:00 pm, in a dark stairway, and I was completely alone.  I was feeling somewhat frightened!

Through the chained crack in the door I yelled at them: "Go away!  I don't want to hear anything from you!  Do you know what time it is?  If it's important you can tell me in the morning!"  I peered through the crack in the chained doorway and tried to see who was talking, but in the darkened stairway it was very difficult....

"But we just want to talk with you about your future and the possibilities of eternal life when the world ends" Then I knew! You guessed it - "the black suited brigade" was there! This story again!

Angrily, I opened the door, and yelled at them: " I have just called the police and they are their way to arrest you for harassment. (bit of a stretch of the truth) so I suggest you leave quickly and never come near me again.  I can't believe you idiots!  You are insane!  I don't need you and I don't want to hear anything you have to say!  You just won't learn, and I refuse to put up with any more of your propaganda and hype!"

They started to protest, but I was really angry this time, and slammed the door quickly and very hard,  just as one of them was quickly reaching for it to try to get in.  I hope I hurt him. 

All I can say is if this is how they want to spread their version of Christianity, they have definitely lost the plot.

God help us all!



Friday, September 28, 2012

The black suited brigade- part 2

You read previously about the invasion of my peace and privacy by the 'black suited brigade'.  My husband, after reading this story, said I acted more polite to them than most.  At the time, I didn't think about how I was treating them - they were just invading my space and I didn't like it.  He said he would have been more rude to them, but I guess I wanted to make them suffer in the hot sun while they carried on with their constant liturgy- I thought that was a good punishment for disturbing my private space.  Even though it was obvious - they just wouldn't leave. After I felt as though I made them cook enough in the hot sun, I bid farewell- so - yes- did I handle them politely- perhaps not.  But they were dealing with me now!

A few years later, I was a very happy and contented Mother of a 2 1/2 year old and a small baby.  It was mid afternoon and I had just settled my young daughter in her 'feeding chair', a small wooden rocker, (which by the way still exists in my study), and she got ready to 'feed' her baby - a much loved doll. I was also settling down to quietly breastfeed my baby girl, so that we could all try to get some nap time that afternoon.  Suddenly there was a loud knock at our wooden kitchen door.

I hadn't even heard a vehicle drive up the long gravel driveway of our farming property, so I was a bit worried and yet perturbed at this interference at the same time.  I told Bron to stay where she was, and holding Lauren in my arms and covering myself up, I quickly went down to the kitchen door to see who was standing on the other side of the glass door window.  But- guess who!!  It was 'the black suited brigade' standing at my door.  Was I irritated?  You betcha!

I opened the door, saying "Look..I'm not interested and as you can see--I'm very busy and preoccupied here!"

But they wouldn't take no for an answer!  So, as you can imagine, I was really beginning to boil inside---I always have hated anyone's invasion into my privacy--but these guys just would not give up!  By now Lauren was hungrily crying, and Bron, frightened, had started to wander down the hallway, to see what was going on. 

Yelling out above Lauren's incessant crying, I quickly called out to Bronwyn: ' Darling. It's OK. Mummy has to deal with this --just go into your bedroom, and play with your toys, and I'll come get you soon. OK?"

"OK, Mummy", she replied as she headed towards her room. 

I was feeling desperate with a crying and screaming baby by now, I felt I was forced to invite this 'black suited brigade' into my house as I couldn't just keep standing at the door with Lauren crying in my arms.

As soon as they got inside inside they started: "We are here to let you know that the world is coming to an end, and we just want to know if you are prepared?"  Now I was angry.

"What are you playing at?" I said somewhat loudly to them.  "I cannot believe that with all that I am trying to contend with here, that you now say something like that!  Are you insane?"

"Ma'am, we just are trying to help you to get ready and make sure that you are prepared for what may lay ahead"

"Ready? Ready?" It suddenly hit me what I had to do.  Holding Lauren in my arms I went over to the kitchen counter, and opening a drawer took out a large butcher knife.  I knew they were watching me, as they had stopped talking.

"OK.  If I have to get ready as you say, then we should probably start with this one. If the world is really coming to an end, I don't want any unnecessary suffering to happen to my children, so we might as well end her life now, as quickly as possible". 

With that I pulled out the large butcher knife and then continued:"Which part do you want to do?  Hold her while I slit her throat as one would do to a lamb, or do you two want me to hold her and you do the killing?"

I held out the knife, and waited for an answer.

They were shocked. Which is what I wanted them to be.

"Look.  We're sorry.  Perhaps we came on too strong, or you have taken the wrong reaction, but it is OK.  None of us have to do this!  This world isn't coming to an end right now.."

I was so angry it was all I could do not to shout at them--but calmly, I looked at them and simply stated: " You are idiots!  How many homes and people have you done this same routine to?  How many people may have reacted for real just like I did?  You are so lucky that I knew what I was doing, and was hoping to teach you a lesson.  Now get out of my house and never come near me again, or anyone else.  You are useless, and not a good representative of anyone.  You are dangerous, and need to be stopped.  Now leave.  I despise what you are doing!"

They quickly ran out the door, and I watched them as they jumped in their car, which their god must have paid a lot of money to own, and left.

I gently held Lauren, and shaking just a bit, went back into the house, and putting that stupid butcher knife away safely in its drawer, I started up the hallway to find Bronwyn, and settle us all once again for a quiet afternoon.

(It is worth noting that I was a drama teacher!)




Thursday, September 27, 2012

The black suited brigade!

I will probably make enemies as I write this, but one has to remember that never at any stage have I ever invited the 'black suited brigade' to come to my home and try to preach to me.  I have my own beliefs and my own religion- 'Thank you very much!'  I just never needed them to remind me of the upcoming world's end, or any other shock tactic they ever wished to choose.

My first episode with the 'black suited brigade' was when I was in my mid-twenties, and newly married.  I had a day off from teaching, and I was just in the process of giving a bubble bath to our puppy Elsa (a red Australian terrier), and our adopted cat, Snow ( a deserted and then found struggling kitten with sun burnt white ears, who John had found a bit battered on his parents farm). They loved the bubble baths which always surprised our friends and family!  I would let them play in the tub as I put on my bikini, then would gradually and safely empty the water and bubbles while rinsing them, and then holding them gently, I would wrap them in the towels that were laying waiting on the bathroom floor and while wrapped in towels, I would carry them out to the front veranda, on our rented farm house.  Just us and the privacy!

On this particular late morning, I heard a car coming up our country road to our house, and then park outside of our 6 foot high front gate way.  Without even knocking or singing out, these two black suited strangers suddenly entered my front area, where I had been just sitting and enjoying my time with my two pets, my frosty coke and ice, and the morning sun.

As I was only in my bikini, I was already feeling insulted by their behaviour, and then they opened their mouths.  Then I was angry!  My two small pets were frightened and Elsa was trying very hard to be a good guard dog--she wouldn't let them come very close to me and as they moved, she nipped at their feet- which is normal behaviour for this sort of terrier.  That suited me just fine, so I didn't call her off. 

They continued to stand there in the hot sun and started to profess the end of the world usual liturgy and I just sat, sipping my large icy coke and let them talk themselves out.  I was hearing about the end of the world coming soon, and was I prepared, etc...the usual stuff.  When they ran out of breath and bible passages, I sat there very calmly and slowly quoted a bible verse right back at them, defeating their arguments. They were a bit stunned and clearly thrown off--but I just smiled and told them that as a child I had attended for many years a Baptist church and had been very involved in bible study until about the age of 13-14.  I knew my stuff!

They continued to stand in the hot sun, trying to convince me that only what they were saying was correct, and I just quoted bible verses back at them, while I sipped my cold drink and sucked on the ice blocks....this went on for a while...Elsa kept her guard watch and never wavered, but Snow was obviously bored, and eventually jumped off the veranda and lazily strolled over to the  'black suited brigade', sniffed their shoes, and with a dismissal that only a cat can do , she haughtily walked away. 

Eventually, I noticed that my icy coke glass was empty, so I suddenly stood up, called Elsa to come to me and announced. "Well, my cold drink is empty and I am very bored with you, so I am now going inside.  Don't come back--in fact don't approach anyone else here in this community...we don't need or want you.  Goodbye!"  With that I just walked in the front door and securely locked it.

Get ready for Part 2 - yep that means it just kept happening...


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Mercury poisoning

When I was somewhere between 2-3 in age, I must have hurt myself, and as all Mothers did, my Mum put Mercurochrome on that injury --only to discover that I was allergic to mercury!  I ended up with mercury poisoning, and to hear her tell me the story way back when, it was pretty serious!

All that I remember from that experience was that I was left on my own in a big room, in a hospital, with large windows and I was in a baby's cot.  It was made of dark wood, and all I remember doing is trying to get out of there! 

There were nurses (I guess) but they looked like Nuns, and it appeared that I was in a Catholic hospital, (but of course I didn't know that!)  In an attempt to make my hospital room more friendly, there had been a few stuffed animals put on the wide window sill of my room.  So at one stage, after much maneuvering, I managed to climb out of my cot, and dropped to the floor, and of course proceeded to that window sill, in order to better inspect these rare treasures!   I climbed up onto the window sill, and started to reach for the toys, when the nun /nurses came into the room...they panicked and grabbed me, probably surprised that I was after all a crafty and very smart baby-"Don't fence me in sister!",  I thought as they grabbed me!

This was apparently a trick I learned very early on in my own cot, and Dad and Mum had to keep trying to figure out how to keep me from escaping.  Apparently I don't like the look of bars--good thing I have never been arrested  or put behind bars--who knows what I would have done---but there I go again, getting off the subject--where was I?  Oh yeah--well--what right did these nun/nurses have to show me the toys and not let me have them?  Maybe this was a prison!!

It makes me wonder if the window was open and there wasn't a screen--ooh!  I could have fallen!  But major pay-out to Mum and Dad for my death--why does my brain think this way sometimes!  Because it does is the answer...I'm sure there must have been a window screen--so why did the nun/nurses panic?  Too many law suits that month?

Anyway, after that episode I was actually tied into my cot with a net over the top so that I couldn't escape..I was still alone in this room, and I still don't remember any toys to play with. I do remember trying to learn how to untie these nun knots--but they were tricky, and they had a few more years of practice at it that I did!

Finally my Mum and Dad came to take me home, but do you know what I had to do before they could rescue me from this nun/nurse crazy house?  I had to do a poo in a special potty. C'mon..a poo! Can you do a poo on cue?  I'm rhyming and I don't even mean to!  Hey!  I was so young--but I was so determined to escape this nun/nurse place, that I must have obliged, after probably much inspection, and lots of discussion, my poo passed all tests ... so my poo and I were released and free to go home.

To this day, when doctors ask me if I am allergic to anything I always mention mercury--they look at me quizzically, wondering why in the world I would say that or even know it, and still I have my reasons! :-))



Monday, September 10, 2012

Early morning--just me and the quiet

 
I woke up early again--my feet have been doing a lot of jumping again.  Stupid feet!  I think it is the sudden change in the weather--they are great barometers--just not my best friends at the moment!

I use this time to think about things, and after all these years there are so many memories and hopefully many new ones to create as I go forward.  I have had such an interesting life, with a lot of adventures, and at times, a bit of sorrow--but it has balanced itself out with good friends, loving family and precious moments.  I guess I'd have to add there has been a lot humour here to!!  Humour plays a large part in my psyche.  It makes me feel good. So when I say to Chris, as I have been lately, "I don't feel a lot of humour today" It makes us both sad.

I have been suffering from a side-effect to an antibiotic which was prescribed for a rash that appeared on my legs.  After almost finishing the medication, which had various agressive side effects on me, I suddenly started to develop a rash on both of my arms.  This rash became more painful than the original complaint! The doctor prescribed an ointment, (probably afraid to combat with yet another antibiotic) and I am gradually healing--but it had been especially annoying.  Don't you just hate that!

Before I went to the doctor we stopped at a chemist shop last Sunday in desperation, and he prescribed for me a stronger anti-histamine, combined with creme which contains amongst its healing agents  - calamine lotion- the good ol' stand-by! It has been these two products that have really come to my rescue.

At the moment the rash on my arms is clearing - it's about time!- and I am beginning to feel my ol' self again.  I have missed me.....

View from the front of our home
It is just past dawn, and I just grabbed my camera and took some photos of my immediate surroundings around our home-- I just can't explain how peaceful and beautiful it is to live here...we feel blessed every day.

I hope you enjoy the photos, as the trees and flowering shrubs change here, I will include them...but for now- except for my stupid kicking feet, I'm going to try to enjoy what this day brings.  I hope you do too!


This beautiful flowering shrub grows underneath
the palms outside of my study window
These are our Shrinkles, which originally belonged to
Chris' Mum. We love them as they are so whimsical!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Soa Soa


We recently went to the Cairns Tropical Zoo--which is becoming a favourite of mine, and I got the opportunity to once again observe and spend some time with one of my favourite 'inmates'!  It is a Soa Soa or Philippine Sailfin Lizard.  Now in reality I am not a great fan of either snakes or lizards but I do like admiring the large or unusual ones while I am safely protected by the glass enclosure...but somehow this lizard affected me differently.  He has both times I have had the pleasure of interacting with him.
He has such personality and really responds to movement and me!  When I was there the other day I gently touched the glass cage wall and he stopped and looked at me, and then as I moved my finger he followed it, very quickly!  I had so much fun playing with him!  At one stage as he moved backward and forward in his glassed enclosure, he even tried to climb the glass to get a better view of me, or what I was doing....he would then stop and raising a leg and paw, would 'wave' at me as he stared at me, as much as I stared at him.  I especially loved it when he did that, and I was flat out trying to remember to take photos of him at the same time....
 
When I started to spend so much time with him, and was making him respond to my actions, other people in the area began to slow down and stop to see what I was doing.  He would stop his actions and just sit still, and yet when they left, and just I was alone with him, he would start to perform again for me.. I had so much fun with him!
After awhile, Chris and I decided to leave and catch up with Flip and the grand kids who were busy feeding the kangaroos,  so I sadly said goodbye to my Soa Soa, and he watched my every move as I yet again took another photo of him, promising him that this wouldn't be my last visit!  He watched me start to close my camera, and just stood transfixed....I knew then that he was very photogenic and wanted more photos, so I obliged..this is a photo of him posing--and believe me, he was posing!
 
I promised to come back to see him, and just as I was turning to leave a young couple came up and started to see what I was looking at. I explained to them that if they took the time, this little guy would attempt to talk with them to, and putting my finger against the glass where his nose was--I said goodbye, and he instantly put up his leg on the glass, as if to say good-bye for now....What an interesting guy he was--now he could very easily turn me into a lizard aficionado!!
 
 
 
 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Lemon drops

Grandmother : The elderly woman with the grand daughterOur 3 grandchildren and Flip are visiting us for about a week, and it is lovely to have them here. It has made me reminiscent of my Grandma Julia, with her small, rounded, black leather bag, with the handles you held in you hand, not over your shoulder! She was much older than I, and along with the handbag, she had strong lace-up black leather shoes. She usually wore mid-calf light-weight patterned dresses, and with her once blond hair, now totally snow white, it was cut short and trimmed to her face. On special occasions she would put on her little black hat, in which she would insert through her hair a hat-pin. I used to love watching her do that, wondering how she never stuck it into her head....

On special Sundays she would come to our house for the normal chicken or beef Sunday roast. We usually ate this at about 1:00 pm, after Dad had gone to pick her up and bring her to our house for the day.

Eventually when we had all eaten enough, and the adults had rested enough, and Joyce and I had finished washing and drying the dishes enough, Dad would say:

"Who's up for a family drive?"

I loved family drives, they meant that we would drive around town, to have a look at things, stop perhaps at one of my favourite parks, and maybe later on, even get an ice-cream!

It's strange, but I don't remember Joyce coming on these family excursions that often. In my memory, I had Grandma all to myself, and would eventually end on laying on the car-seat in the back seat, with my head on Grandma's lap, when I had seen enough of town.  I now was just waiting for my ice cream treat, from the local Dairy Queen!

I spent a lot of time then, talking to Grandma, who was a bit deaf, and I would have to yell a bit more than normal, but that was OK--I didn't mind.  I liked talking to her, a lot.  Maybe it was because she never ignored me, or talked over me, or thought I was 'just a child!'.  So I talked even more, without her interrupting me, while Mum and Dad sat in the front seat, listening to the local radio station and commenting on what changes had taken place in town, since the last drive... when I think about it now, Grandma probably couldn't hear or understand what I would say, and during the process, would open her small, rounded, black leather hand-bag, and search for another one of my favourite treats.

Brach's Lemon Drops - 9 ozShe would find the sugar coated lemon drop in her Brach's plastic
'candy' bag, and would drop a lemon drop in my mouth, for me to
suck on. I still can taste them today, a bit tart, but with a nice sugar
coating! (Now that I think about it all, she probably did that to stop
me from talking, but I bet it didn't work...once I was on a roll, it
was just - 'Look out!')
We would drive down towards the Mississippi river area, but just off on the side of the road, not far from the City's Burlington Hawkeye newspaper and practically across the road from a large food commercial grocery store, was my favourite Dairy Queen.  A small white building which had glass serving windows that delivered ice cream treats of any description--including my favourite - chocolate frosted in a cone!

But bu the time I got back into the car, I would be squirming and trying to get the ice-cream off my shorts and shirt, as I rubbed away with my hands at the mess, and then re-rubbing them again onto a cleaner area on my clothes.  Grandma sometimes would open her black hand bag again, and pull out an embroidered, lace-edged handkerchief, and would attempt to get the goo off my face.  Her handkerchiefs always had a faint fragrance of lavender and something else - something light scented and sweet.

We would eventually arrive to Grandma's house where we would help her out of the car, and Dad would help her get settled into her home.  I usually came with also, so that I could play with my favourite tortoise shell based turtle ornament, and the very small porcelain thimble that could fit the finger of a fairy!  When Grandma was all settled and probably breathing a sigh of relief to be escaping me, I would give her a big squeeze hug, trying hard not to hurt her too much, and a kiss on her cheek, and look forward to seeing her next time! 

My Grandma was a special person to me, and I was determined that I would soon be teaching her to sing and dance -- but that's another story!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Sometimes it's hard to be positive...

The reason behind creating this blog was to write about positive experiences and even memories that have always made me smile, in a hope that it might make someone else smile for a while, and hopefully forget about any troubles that they may be going through.

But then I developed RLS. Restless Leg Syndrome.  It is an inherited disease, passed down from my Father's side of the family. (I wonder if my Swedish Grandmother had this?  She always favoured her legs as if they were an issue--but being a private person, she wouldn't have talked about it - at least, not with me.)  But some of her daughters and my Dad eventually developed it, and now I discover that my sister, and possibly her daughters have it or or showing signs of this debilitating and frustrating ailment.  There is no cure. That's it!  There just isn't--

As a result of RLS, legs jump in the night during sleep, due to uncontrollable leg muscle spasms.  I woke Chris up so many times in the past two years it had been a crazy time.  I didn't develop this syndrome until about 2.5 -3 years ago....Stupid legs I call them!  Anyway, last year after some amount of research on my part, and gathering all of the positive feedback and results I could, I discovered an intensive vitamin program that really works.  My legs have stopped jumping and my interrupted sleep patterns were beginning to improve--Sometimes I was getting up to 5-6 straight sleep hours--something I hadn't had for a long time.

Then the foot spasms started to occur.  This happened about a month ago...I'm lucky to get even 1-2 hours sleep straight--I wake up with burning feet, and they jump up from my ankle!  I got up very early about 3 mornings ago, as my feet were jumping and convulsing all over the bed....As I walked down the stairs I noticed that the front part of my ankle area as it connected to my foot was so sore, and tender to touch.  Obviously the convulsing had taken its toll on them. 

It is not a nice syndrome.  I just never knew about it.  Nobody ever really talked about it!  Nobody in my family had ever prepared me for what I could be going through--so here I am..battling with it. 

I have talked with my doctor, checking to make sure that the vitamin program I have designed is healthy and not harmful to me, and he agreed that my intensive vitamin program was healthy and couldn't harm me, but that there was little he could do to assist me, other than offer the same medication as one would for Parkinson's Disease.  Which by the way, only disguises this ailment, and often makes the side-effects worse, once going off the drug..

So here I am - each night I hope and pray that I will sleep longer--even 3-4 hours straight would be an improvement.  As you could guess, this is taking it's toll on me.  I have to push myself during the day to find the energy to keep going, and going back to bed after my first intensive vitamin program which needs to be taken with food, (which consists of fruit containing the potassium I need), usually means that my sleep pattern takes me into mid-morning or mid-day, depending on what kind of night I have had. 

Good thing I no longer have to go to a full-time job--I couldn't do it!

But I will conquer this - I am determined--there is a chance that my 2 daughters could inherit this, and this is why I am doing so much research, and testing it on me.  I don't want them to go through what I am going through.  I want to give them a solution.  I will, I know I will.

I'm a fighter and a survivor, and I will find a workable solution. Then the sun will shine again inside me, and I will fight these nasty dragons back to where they came from!  Believe me...I will!



Saturday, August 11, 2012

My Apple Tree

When I was a little girl growing up, we had a tree in our backyard that had the greatest branches for climbing- I'm not sure what kind of tree it was--I guess as a kid I never noticed--maybe it was an apple tree?  But He - and yes the tree was a He - became one of my best friends! 
Picture of a good climbing tree
As my sister was 9 years older than I was, I hardly ever remember doing things with her when I was young--she was usually involved in being with her friends, which is fair enough- and even though I lived in a neighbourhood with a lot of kids - even they weren't always available to play- their parents were taking them on a holiday or they were going to the dentist or doctor or to visit their Grandmother - or they had to have a nap--I've already talked about the nap stuff - so sometimes, it was just Tree and Me!

Well, we had a lot of adventures together, and sometimes these adventures could go on all afternoon, until the kids in the neighbourhood came looking for me.  Sometimes they joined in and we built tents with old blankets and sheets on the lower branches, and planned an Indian uprising, or a pirates treasure hunt, but sometimes they just climbed up on the branches and sat in the tree with me. Some silly ones tried to be Cheetah from Tarzan and usually ended up falling off the branch they were swinging on, squealing like a monkey.  I don't remember any of us ever getting hurt on Tree.  I think he looked after us--me especially.

When I was about 7 or 8, my parents gave me a 2-wheeler bike for my birthday. It had been a bike previously owned by my sister, but Dad painted it red, and put on a new seat, and bell, and made it special just for me. (There is a story there too - about fire departments and smells--but that can be another day.....)  The only problem was it was a 26" bike and I wasn't.  I had never ridden a bike before, and this one was huge!  So, when Spring finally arrived, and the snow was gone, I would lean the bike against Tree, and Dad would hold onto the back of it, as I climbed Tree and sat on the bike.  I felt scared and wonderful at the same time--it took some time, but Dad helped me gain my balance, and we biked around the backyard, until he didn't have to hold onto the bike any longer, and it was just me!  One day I travelled out into my neighbourhood, and with Dad following, I only fell down once, scraped a knee, but let it bleed, and he helped me climb back on...eventually- I was a bike rider! A real bike rider!

As time does, I got older and maybe a bit more grown up, I might have been about 10 years old by then,  Tree and I would read a book - My favourite was Alice in Wonderland, and Tree would love it when I read out loud. I think He loved the voices that all of the characters had- and I loved reading to him.

I had made a lot of other friends by then, but I always took the time to remember Tree. I liked how He always listened, and I told him a lot of secrets and we worried together over problems, but no matter what  - He was always there!

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Witch in the Fireplace

OK...I am writing this story for Madison, my youngest daughter.  It doesn't paint a very nice picture of me, but in my defense, I blame it on the excess stress that I was going through with my husband and his cancer and my demanding hours at work at the time...still...that's not a good excuse.  But in reality, let's face it, at times my very active imagination can go too far and make me think and tell crazy stories.

The problem was that I was Maddie's story teller.  She loved them. So when I would get home at night from work and this little 4 - 5 year old had been bathed and fed, I would sit with her on the couch in the living room, and while she sat extremely close to me, rubbing my hair between her fingers (She loved my hair--it was sort of her security blanket), I would make up stories for her.  It was during this time that I discovered the Witch in the Fireplace!

Remember now, that I am telling you that I was probably...well almost certainly.. cruel.  It's not that I wanted to hurt her, I loved her!  I mean I was right there with her...but so was the Witch!

We had a red brick fireplace in our living room, and the couch that Maddie and I would sit on while watching TV, faced the fireplace.  Suddenly one night, during my story telling time, the Witch made her appearance in my imagination, and this is what happened:

In a very Witchy voice, the Witch suddenly screeched out in her high pitched somewhat piercing Witchy voice - "Hello there my Sweety!  I have just taken your Mother to my secret place in the Fireplace, and the only way you will ever see her again is if you kiss me on my Witchy cheek!"  Then with a wicked Witch like laugh her screech would rumble around the room!  Maddie just stopped holding my hair and stared at me. 

It never occurred to me at the time that she would believe that her Mother really was gone, and she was sitting next to the Witch who took her!  She was so scared, but that didn't stop that evil Witch who was now having fun.  "Come on Madison, give us a little kiss --show Witchy how brave you are!"  and then that same evil Witchy laugh would ring out again! 

By this stage Maddie's lower lip was starting to quiver, and she cried out very urgently:  "I want my Mummy!  Where is she?  Why did you take her?"  (Now mind you I was sitting directly next to Maddie, and I should have been ashamed of doing this to her--but all of my story telling over the years in all of my character's voices, had her convinced that at the moment the thing sitting next to her was a Witch!)

"C'mon deary, time is disappearing, and if you don't kiss me soon--you will never see your Mummy again!" With that another Witchy laugh would ring out.....

Keeping the Witchy voice going, that evil Witch would urge Maddie to kiss her, and that only the magic and love of that kiss would bring her Mummy back from the Witch's hold within the fireplace!

So, looking at the Witch, with by now a couple of tears beginning to brim in her eyes, she leaned over and very quickly kissed the cheek of the Witch sitting next to her!

"Oh, no Madison! You did it!  This ol' Witchy never thought you could be so brave---Oh no!"

And with that the Witch's squeaky, high pitched voice was replaced by her Mummy's yelling out:

"Maddie!  You did it!  You kissed that horrible creatures' cheek--you are so brave--thank you for loving me so much!  It was so scary in there---I just never want to go back!  I love you so much and missed you--I thought I would be in there forever!"

After that we kissed and hugged, and I held her for a long time.

(I know, I know!  I was a horrible person!  But her imagination kept urging me on---it was as crazy as mine!)

So--years later we talked about it, and I had to agree, my Witchy story was as cruel as my sister's Boogeyman story had been to me - but at the time it was so much fun!  I know - take me away!  Examine my crazy brain at the time.  But it happened....history repeating itself...Oh, God! I hope not!!

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Boogeyman

When I was a little girl I shared a bedroom with my sister, Joyce,who was nine years older.  For nine years she had ruled the roost, lived life her own way.   Then one day, my parents brought me home and she suddenly had another intruder thrust upon her.  She has told me that in the beginning she was excited to have a little sister, but was soon pushed to the side by aunts and relatives, and told not to touch the baby, and be careful of the baby and don't hurt her!  Over time, her resentment against this so called baby began to grow, until finally she tried to take revenge.  She was caught supposedly trying to throw me down the staircase, and thank goodness, she was caught in time! (I'm not sure if that is fact or fiction--but it adds to this story!)

As the years passed, she sought revenge in much more imaginative ways, but the major revenge was the Boogeyman!  He lived in the closet of our bedroom, a rather large walk-in closet that not only held our clothes but also had a roll-top desk in one end, but also a large trunk which my Grandmother had brought over from Sweden when she and her family emigrated to the USA.  It was in the further end of the closet, and the light didn't get down there very well.  The whole closet was lined with dark wooden wainscoting walls, with silver insulation backing them.  The small bits of silver insulation would 'peek' through the wainscoting in certain areas, and this was described to me by my sister as 'Fairy dust'.  I was fascinated to know that these walls were the entrance to fairy land! In my very own closet!  I was probably about 4 or 5 when these stories started, so I believed everything that Joyce said.


But while the idea of fairies in my closet fascinated and excited me, there was also danger. Joyce told me that hiding in the trunk in the other end of the closet was a Boogeyman, and a very scary one at that! She told me about how he really didn't like me, and that I should never go into that end of the closet or even attempt to open that trunk. If I did he may jump out and try to grab me, and hurt me really badly. When he got angry he would turn many awful colours, and could even try to eat me! So although it was exciting that there were possible fairies to be seen in one end - the other end of the closet scared me to death!






One particular day stands out in my mind.  We were both in our bedroom, and I was just sitting on my bed, playing with one of my dolls.  Joyce suddenly announced:  " I think I'll go to Fairy Land today.  I think they are missing me!"

"Oh really?" I replied, "Would you take me too?  I really want to meet them--please!!"

"I've already told you...they don't really like you..I think it's because you are taking up too much room here."

"But, I won't!  I'll do anything. I promise!"

"Well, I'll ask them. If they say it is OK, I'll come back and get you straight away, but if not - well--I'll just stay there for a while and play with them and eat their Fairy sweets."

"Oh, Please, Joyce!  Tell them that I'm just little and won't take up any space anywhere--I just really want to meet them - you know that I believe in them and love them so very much!"

Smiling, Joyce just warned, "Well, I can only do what I can do! But remember about the Boogeyman!  Don't go into the closet, and whatever you do--don't go anywhere near that ol' nasty looking trunk!  I know he doesn't like you, and it's getting harder for me to get him to stay inside there, and not come out and get you during the night!"

With tears running down my cheeks, I cried out " Please don't leave me.  I'm scared! Don't go!"

"But I have to!  The Fairies keep calling me in their fairy voices!  Can't you hear them?"

I sat and listened very closely, and then really crying now I blubbered " No!  I can't hear them.  I can't hear anything except for noises in there...."

"I'll have to go quickly now--I think the Boogeyman is getting angry--I'll have to try to put something on the trunk to keep him in there---don't go anywhere near there--I mean it!"

And with that she was gone.  She opened the door to the closet, turned on the light, then closing the door--she yelled out "Go away!  You're a nasty thing!  Don't hurt my little sister- she can't help it she is here--go away!"

Then it was quiet.  Very quiet.  I sat there for a long time, and listened and waited. Nothing happened.  I was so scared.  What if the Boogeyman had eaten Joyce because he hated me so much!  I really didn't know what to do....I wanted to run and get Mum, but she would be busy watching her Soaps, and I knew she wouldn't believe me.  I just layed down on my bed, and cried, and hoped that if I stayed very quiet, the Fairies would know I was a good girl, and they would let Joyce come back and get me....I waited, and I cried.....

But a lot of time passed, and Joyce was still gone.  I was getting scared that something had happened to her.  So, getting up and wiping my eyes and nose with my arm, I carefully and very quietly opened the closet door--the light was still on, but I couldn't see Joyce anywhere--I very carefully looked down towards the trunk, but couldn't see anything different.  If the Boogeyman had eaten Joyce wouldn't there be a bone or hair or something left?  I looked as hard as I could without getting too close to the trunk, just in case. 

Then I came up towards the Fairy end, where the light was.  There was more Fairy dust on the floor, and I figured Joyce must have been rescued by the Fairies!  I was happier now--I knew that if I went back and sat down very quietly on my bed, she would be back and take me to Fairy land with her.  So I went quietly back to the bedroom, and shut the closet door behind me.  I sat very patiently on my bed, trying very hard not to cry anymore, so that the Fairies would like me, and I waited ...and waited.

After a long time, Joyce opened the closet door and holding a lollipop in her hand, she smiled and said:

"I tried very hard to talk with the Fairies--especially when they came to help me fight with the Boogeyman!  Boy! He really doesn't like you!  Anyway, the Fairies helped me get him back into the trunk, and then they took me away!"

"But why didn't you come back and get me?" I sniffled, looking at her with tears starting to run down my cheeks again.  "I was being very good, and very quiet!"

"They just said No!" she replied, licking the lollipop and said "Sorry!  I'll try again next time.  Just don't go near that trunk ever!  The Boogeyman was very ugly this time!"

"But why don't the Fairies like me?" I asked in a shaky voice, "I'm not a bad girl!"

"I dunno.  They just don't --c'mon--let's go downstairs and see what Mom is doing"

With that, she was up and heading for the stairs. "Oh, and by the way -- don't say anything to Mom--the Boogeyman doesn't like her either!"

Then she was gone, and I quietly followed, wiping the tears on my arm again.


At times I think though, that I still hear the fairy laughter, and the boogie man sometimes snorts in the dark corners at night.....no matter where I am!


Footnote:  After thinking about it, I decided to include the fact that the Joyce that was then in my childhood, isn't the same Joyce that exists in my present life.  She is loving and caring and understands what damage she did to me.  Doesn't excuse it though!  There are other stories of other things that she did over the years--but I think that you get the idea from this one!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Birthday for our first born baby!

Just recently Bronwyn celebrated her birthday..we as a family love birthdays and celebrate them with love, and gifts and balloons and fun--She was in Rocky, but still had the presents to unwrap, which we left when we were there recently.  It sounds as though she had a great day--as it always should be--each year needs to always be celebrated...but there are memories of birthdays with her that were fun, exhausting, and sometimes a struggle...



...OK..since you asked nicely, I'll tell you..

When she was being born, it started out on the 14th of July, but her Dad's birthday was on the 15th!  He really wanted to have her born on his birthday, but hey!  What could I do about it, I mean when the baby wants to be born - well then, it just happens...but the day dragged on, and the night rolled on into late, exhausting hours.  It suddenly became close to midnight, and holding his breath, John looked at his watch more than he looked at me, or what I was going through--suddenly the magical hour of midnight appeared and he shouted out in excitement: "OK, Jan--let her rip!  It's the 15th!" Not the best words he could have used, and at that stage, if I could have reached him, I really would have hit him--but a few hours later she was born, and our first-born baby was finally here!  It was a great celebration!  ( I have to insert at this stage, that as he held her for the first time, he went pale, and almost fainted--the nurses grabbed him and her, and rescued the moment! I'll never forget it!)

As both John and Bronney shared the same birthday there was always noise, excitement and (for me, a lot of work!)  There was once just one cake, and then eventually 2 cakes - one for Bron and her little parties, and one for John and family and friends--eventually we worked out a system, and still managed to celebrate each birthday somewhat separately when it involved family and friends.  But just for us, it was a great morning of presents and laughter and balloons.  It was fun that they shared the same day, and we always tried to celebrate the specialness of it all.

As Bron got older, she loved having birthday parties, and I always tried to theme the parties to whatever her current fad of toy or happiness was.  We had Strawberry Shortcake parties, Cabbage Patch kids parties, etc, and associated games for all the kids.  I always tried to provide the same themed party prizes, and each guest went home with their own party present along the same lines. However, I still at that stage did not understand the party bag.  The little bag of lollies and things you hand to each child as they leave the party.  During Bron's parties, I had a large bowl of lollies for the kids to help themselves, and as I stated I provided a present for each party guest.  But without the bag of lollies at the end- it was a flop of a party according to them...took me a while to realise what I was doing wrong, err right, but wrong--you know?!

But the party games were a great challenge--not to create, or even have happen, but to control Bron from trying to win each prize!  She always was (and still is!) very competitive - (even she would admit it), at games, and especially games with prizes--she wanted them all!  Not the point of the party games really though, was it!! 

So I would distract her, or trip her, or do anything to let the others win, until at one party she got angry and wanted the prize.  I had to interfere, and make up a reason why the other 'winner' should have the prize, and pulled Bron aside and told her to stop competing--well--that was like adding fuel to the fire--she went crazy!  Eventually I just gave up and gave the other prizes to the kids who hadn't won yet--for best smile--best runner, anything--and just kept Bron away from the prizes.

After that particular party, I had to pull her aside and tell her what a disappointment her attitude had been, and promised her that because of it, she couldn't have a party the following year.  It killed me, but I kept my word, and I think it made her think about it all..because the year after that she understood and was happy to share the prizes--just hated not being the winner!!

Now I haven't ever tried to claim that I am a great cake maker--actually I suck at it.  I can bake them--sure--but make them pretty and successful?  For kids? Not really..I remember one cake at one of Bron's parties--I was baking it as I decorated the room for her party--always a lot of work to decorate and make it just party great!  Anyway-- eventually the two layers of cake had baked and I had them out to cool--still had to decorate them and add final touches to the party.  Well- the clock ticked on, and the party environment looked great, but the cake refused to cool fast enough, so decided to just go forward anyway,  I made the butter frosting, added the pink food colour and started to frost the layers.  It seemed simple enough, but when I tried to put the two layers together, the top one kept sliding off, and settling on a slant.  Try as I did, it just wouldn't cooperate--(I think it was possessed by the horrible anti-party thug- horrible things that they are.They creep in and try to destroy anything nice that is attempted, humphing under their thuggish breath, "Humph!" they rumble out, and even slobber and grab at dirt if they can reach it - horrible things!) So, desperate, I found some toothpicks and put them ever slightly in the bottom layer of cake and settled the top layer onto them.  Holding my breath, I waited.....the top layer stayed in place!  I finished decorating the cake with the relevant figurines and candles for the party theme, and placed the cake carefully in our cold room.  Whew--it was a relief to have that over, just as the first guest arrived!

Well the party rolled on, and it was eventually cake and photo time, I 'proudly' brought the cake out, which had so far been cooperating, but couldn't figure out how to remove the toothpicks from the cake.  So placing the cake in front of Bron for the photos and candle lighting, we eventually cut into it, and served it out.....with my warning: "Kids!  Eat around the wood--it is in there somewhere!"  My warning didn't scare them, and they ate happily, if not messily--probably occupied in looking for the wood!  I think they thought it was another party game!

As Bron got older, and moved out into her own home, as a single young woman on the go, birthdays still were a big thing!  A big part of the celebration was always the balloons and the pre-set-up!  We, as a family, always hung the relevant amount of balloons to the persons age--by this time Bron was 20 something.  I was stuck at work in a late meeting, and Bron was away or at work, so it was up to Chris to do the decorating.  We must have had a key to her house, as he let himself in, set down our presents, and started blowing up the balloons.  He had the balloons hanging from her lounge room ceiling and around, along with the streamers. I came over after my work finished, just in time to see him complete it all!  It looked great!!  We went home with big smiles on our faces knowing that Bron would get the big surprise when she got home.

As I said, Birthdays are a big thing in our family!!







Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bear with me guys!

I have two blogs coming--working on them simultaneously (whew! That's a big word!)  Both are totally different from each other- but hopefully worth waiting for..life here has been crazy lately!

"How can a person write!", she said to herself!

I promise--could be worth reading.....maybe a memory jerker--maybe scary!  Who knows!!

Luv ya!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Strap and Squirt and their peculiar lttle ways

I really love Strap and Squirt, but they sure do know how to work me to play on my sympathies, and get their own way--most of the time anyway..sort of like when our girls lived with us.  I usually always gave in, and Maddie especially really knew how to work me. I used to tell her that it's not fair when she used her eyes in the Puss in Boots (Shrek) sort of way--but she did!  And I would be :"Doomed as doomed could be, you know!"-Ed Grimley

Well, Strap does the same thing. 

His key position is to sit at the back patio doors and look through the glass at me, especially when it is just me in the room.  He really plays me.  Because he sheds so much hair, I am not letting him come inside so often, unless I really have planned a good cleaning day, when it doesn't matter, because I will clean it all up soon anyway! 

But on normal days, he just and puts his nose against the glass even, and with his eyes, asks me why
I'm not playing with him!  Guilt!  He's a good guilt Master! (I wonder if he was a good Jewish Mother in a former life) - Sorry if I have insulted any Jewish Mothers - but you know what I'm talking about!

Look at those eyes--c'mon! I'd have to have a cruel heart to refuse that look!  9 times out of 10 - Strap wins!  Don't you just hate that!  I mean, I should know better, Maddie knew I should know better, Strap knows I should know better, --but do they care? No!  They have their eyes, and their not afraid to use them!

Eventually, I usually give in, and agree to play ball with Strap.  This involves me throwing his favourite colour of ball - yes- he chooses his favourite colour of ball each day, based maybe on his mood and all.  (I know , you are telling me that dogs only see in black and white tonings- yea yea--but this is Strap--who knows with him- he identifies everything by colour!

We went down South recently for family issues, and to stay with Bron and family while we dealt with the other issues.  Before we left, I made sure that Christine, our wonderful animal person would be available to feed and look after Strap and Squirt.  She is brilliant- she comes in, plays with them, and then feeds them and leaves, when she knows they are OK.  Anyway, with the note I left for her, I included a new purple tennis ball, for her to give to Strap.  Apparently it was the only ball he would play with.  He has days when he will only choose his pink ball. even if we throw the blue ball!  He now has green, pink, blue and purple...I'll test him out on his choices--but he hasn't disappointed me yet in how he chooses his balls. He kills me!  There's some deep intelligence there, hidden by the eyes! Darn those eyes!

Anyway, as soon as Squirt sees me outside, she starts to use all of her language skills- dredging up old phrases even - anything to get my attention - so while I am throwing balls for Strap to bring back directly to me, Squirt is squawking:
"Wake up!" "Strap", "Squirt", "Like it!" and whistling like mad...any sound she can think of--and I am repeating them to her--it is often chaotic out there--but fun!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Strange white spider

A few weeks ago I was in my study early one morning, when I noticed a strange looking thing on the edge of my opened door...so I investigated.  It was a white, almost transparent spider with a large balloon type thing on its back. 
 
I studied it for a while, then just walked away.  But I started to get a bit worried.  I had never seen anything like this before, and wasn't sure if it was poisonous or not--so I photographed it, which is what I usually do with anything I'm not sure about, (snakes, birds, spiders, etc) then sat down again at my desk.  I watched it for a while, and then thought that maybe I should get rid of it.  (First of all--you have to understand that I have a real phobia about spiders, I mean--I get scared, and don't like them in my close proximity!) 

I will tolerate spiders as long as they are not being in my area and could be harmful--we have so many of those here in Australia! In our old house, before moving here, we used to get very large huntsman spiders.

Anyway, these were fairly large spiders and I used to make a deal with them--I think I have written about that before--sort of like a spider wrestler--as long as they stayed in their own space--up at ceiling height, I would live with them--come into my zone and they would be 'goners'....

It usually worked, and they kept to themselves--but occasionally I would get a cheeky one, and well, I am bigger than they are--I'm not a killer though--Chris does my dirty work--unless I'm on my own, and have a very large tin of bug spray! I spray it until it is covered and then make a distance between it and me--sometimes I wonder who the spray is going to kill first!  You know when the tin says odorless--odorless to who? Someone without a nose?

Anyway--back to my white spider story - you guys distract me in my need to explain stuff!

I really didn't want to kill this spider, as it was small, and I didn't know anything about it, but it wouldn't cooperate and climb onto my shovel and brush thingy, so in desperation I got some paper towel, and loosely bundled it, and just grabbed the spider and put it in our kitchen rubbish bin--I figured it could probably wriggle out of the loose hold on it, and eventually make its way to freedom..that was my reasoning anyway--(You may not know how much courage and bravery it took for me to do this, but it really did!)

I have tried to do research to find out if it was poisonous or not--what I have found, if my research is correct, is that it can give a painful bite..but still I wonder....really kind of a cute little guy--now remember my phobia--I really am being generous in my outlook!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Gronwyn

When Madison was growing up, she couldn't say Bronwyn's name, so it ended up being Gronwyn.  Unfortunately for Bron, the name stuck, and we used to call her by that name quite a lot.
But to make it even more painful I used to stand at the bottom of the stairs to her bedroom, and when she was going to school, and wasn't up yet, I would shout out: "Gronwyn, get out of bed! Gronwyn, wake up!!"
Still of Danny DeVito and Anne Ramsey in Throw Momma from the TrainI knew that would irritate her, and it did, and she usually got up just to yell at me...but at least she was up!  But to make it even more irritating I would imitate the voice of the Mother in 'Throw Momma From the Train' 

http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi436076825/

In 2000, Bron decided to fly to the States and spend Christmas with my sister and her family in Michigan, so that they could have a white Christmas.  I know she was looking forward to it, so with a girlfriend in tow, they headed off.  I was a bit worried for them, as it was so close to the 9/11 incident, and I knew that they had scheduled New Year's Eve in Times Square in New York...but I bravely waved good-bye at the airport, and set about getting her Christmas parcel ready so that it could be sent in time.

For fun, I decided to try to find a portable (cordless) recordable alarm clock.  I finally found one, and my evil plan began!  I recorded a message on the alarm clock which said, irritatingly:
"Gronwyn! Wake up! Gronwyn! Are you awake yet Gronwyn? Wake up!"  I sounded as irritating as Momma, and happy with my result, wrapped it in pretty paper and ribbon, and packed it in the box with her other presents.

The parcel arrived a few days before Christmas, and my sister put it in her study to wait for Christmas, but there was a strange noise coming from the package at times!  Just not all the time!  Finally out of curiosity, she showed Bron the package, and they talked about it, then one night, the strange noise happened again!  Bron was there this time, and she opened the box containing all of her Christmas surprises, including Christmas bon bons for the Christmas dinner table, and other fun things. Once the box was open and she took out the presents, and one of them started to make a muffled noise again...

Looking at those in the room, she decided to open it, as it was close to Christmas, and everyone was curious now.  So cautiously, and with a bit of a smile on her face, she unwrapped the mystery parcel, and discovered the 'mystery' present.  It was the alarm clock!

By some strange quirk, it had turned itself on, and everyday at the appointed time, (which happened to be closer to night-time there, it chimed out the same annoying wake message that I had recorded.  It apparently had been doing this on its whole journey to her....

Can you imagine the strange looks on the postal workers faces if it occurred while around them? After 9/11, I'm surprised the parcel wasn't ripped open and investigated as it made its journey to her!!

I laughed when she told me.



Sunday, June 17, 2012

Zookeeper

ZookeeperLast night Chris and I watched the movie - Zookeeper!  I enjoyed it so much I was really laughing  out loud - what a great movie for freeing the spirit and making anyone forget about life and any hassles for a while! 
What I loved most I think was that the animals were recognised as being able to talk, and the humour that occurred because of it!

I talk to my animals all the time- and in their own way, they talk back to me. 

Yesterday when I was playing ball with Strap I told him I didn't want to throw the blue ball anymore and preferred the pink one - so he brought the pink one to me.  --Now you can't tell me that he doesn't understand perfectly what I was saying...meanwhile Squirt was yelling out in the background--"Strap! Hello Strap!"

The other day when Chris and I were at the zoo, I bought a soft toy replica of a black cockatoo, which calls out in their bird song, when a button is pushed.  This morning I went out to the patio to see and talk with Strap and Squirt, and pushed the little button on the black cockatoo while I was standing in front of Squirt's aviary.  She acted miffed and ruffled to begin with, then she just stopped and actually hung upside down to study his face.  She suddenly said "Hello!"  I loved it...she was trying to make friends!

I so much love animals and their wisdom....sometimes I think we just need to stop, take a breath, and learn from them.  What a more peaceful world it would be....

Friday, June 15, 2012

Strap discovers his worker dog spirit again!

We have discovered that we have nuisance birds here - they scavenge and eat all and everything, and even raid Strap's food dish.  They are classified here as a pest--but it is hard to get rid of them   That is-- until today!

Strap suddenly discovered his inner dog voice and right of herding, and he hunted them straight out of the patio, and then later when they flew up to one of the palm trees, he just sat there and watched them, daring them to come down to his territory--it was fun to watch, and also good to see him running around again.  He had become a bit too complacent, if you know what I mean!

I believe these pest birds are called Indian Myna birds---they just invade!  We still have other bird life here--but these guys are a real nuisance.  I used to love feeding the birds when I lived in Rockhampton, but won't put out any kind of food now, as these horrible things just flock in!

http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2012/05/28/3512724.htm

The local council and other groups are attempting to do bird traps to help rid the area, as they are deterring some of our more preferred and precious bird groups from nesting in the area. They are real interlopers and should never have been allowed to be an introduced bird species!  So that's just great--we all know that now!  Similar to the cane toad stories--but that truly is another story!

Anyway, Strap was running around chasing them away and then coming back to our glass doors for us to say: " Good Boy!  Keep it up!" He would then tear off again, and chase them, with that determined border collie look in his eyes--we haven't seen that look for a while!

Squirt got all excited and yelled out: "Hello Strap!" and other comments, and we had fun watching him.  Squirt included!

It was great to see him take control again - something he hasn't wanted to do for awhile...transition period maybe - from a larger property to just an acre--who knows- but our spoiled friend was a happier chappy today--great to see!

You know, if and when  anything happens to these guys I will miss them so much--they are such characters!  I love them to pieces, and know it is given straight back to us! 

Life can be grand can't it!