Wednesday, January 31

Beliefs & Fads

I have a running 'debate' with one son.

We have tossed this about for years, & I admit I have changed my mind a few times of just what I do or do not believe.

I definitely don't believe in Creation.

I definitely don't believe in Evolution.

So where does that leave me?

My son says I must believe in one or the other.

But, I just cant. Neither seem to be rational, or convincing. There are too many holes in both streams of thought.

I need to read more about this fascinating dilemma. There are more people 'daring' to 'come out' and admit they dont believe in a GOD.

From time to time my son sends me articles from various sources. One particular one, was of an interview with Richard Dawkins, who has written a book 'The God Delusion'. I would like to read the book.
Has anyone out there managed to read it yet?

And now for something completely different.

Tupperware parties, Jewelry parties, Lingerie parties.... you name it.

I have never hosted one of those, but I once hosted a Cosmetic Party.
It was in the 70's when such things were all the rage.

I actually used the particular makeup they sold, & liked it, so foolishly I agreed to hold the 'party'.
I am usually the one, at such gatherings, who declares out loud, when they are trying to sell hideously overpriced 'astringents', that you can buy Witchhazel at the chemist for peanuts, & it works just as well.
Or I testdrive something, on the spot, & it proves not to come up to scratch.
I once offered to be 'made up'. The result was something so fearsomely clown like, I screamed at my own image in the mirror in the hall, before I realised it was me.

As for jewellry, I was the one who didnt get the order, or when it came it was not what I had ordered. It was overpriced, & looked like a sheltered workshop effort with wire & a pair of pliers.

And after my Cosmetic party, I never hosted another! The salesgirl was busy showing everyone the lovely soap-on-a-rope that was so popular back then. Holding it aloft, & swinging it about. Telling everyone what a lovely gift it made.

Our son came into the lounge, & said loudly, "My Dad has got one of those, he wears it on his willy to the shower!"
There was a shocked silence, then I burst out laughing, & so did everyone else.

Luckily his Dad was not at home, or I am sure he would have been very embarrassed- or not!

Anyway the Party craze seems to have died a natural death. You dont hear of them these days. They didnt ever suit me, I like my 'things' yesterday, if I make my mind up to buy something. Not in 2-3 weeks time, when I have forgotten all about wanting/needing it. I am not sure how such things are run these days, if they still exist.
In those bad old days, you paid your money before you received the goods, & then, you had a terrible time trying to get the money refunded, should you be dissatsified.

And the 'rewards' for all your efforts, & provision of 'supper'??
One of my friends recieved a plastic egg poacher thingy for being hostess- she threw it out in disgust, & was cured for life, of being 'Hostess'.

Tuesday, January 30

Old & New

Here is the new quilt top. Now all I have to do is get it backed & quilted. I have made the whole quilt top from my stash. I have had the green fabric with bugs & butterflies for a while now. I had to hide it, because SG became obsessed with it, & wanted to play with it every time he saw it. I think I will use it for the backing too, as I have plenty of it. It was a bargain find at a garage sale, & I had intended to use it somehow for SG.

This next pic is of the first larger quilt I made SG & he loves it. I used a pattern of Ruth Buchanan's -again! I find her quilts are so friendly & have enjoyed making every one I have done. Her original quilt was called Aunt Ena's Quilt, I think, from memory, & was featured in one of the excellent Aussie quilting mags- either Patchwork & Stitching or Australian Country Threads. I like those mags, & they have been rich sources of inspiration for me over the last few years.

This pic is a bit dull, but the quilt is really bright, & I drew the insects, children etc myself. It can be used as an I Spy quilt too, as I put as many little picture fabrics into it, as I could find.
Now I am planning my next 'adventure', & am thinking I might do something with stars again. I have such a large variety of scraps, - GOM says I could make quilts till I die, & still never use them all. (I am assuming he is thinking I will live a long life?)
We still dont have our car, & so I might be calling upon DJ later in the day, for a lift to the shops. We have run out of potatoes, & so I cooked Buttered Wine Rice for tea last night. I love rice any old way, but GOM is not so keen, though he does like the wine rice.
I dont have a pic, but here is the recipe.
BUTTERED WINE RICE.
90 g (3 oz) butter
1 medium Onion finely chopped
1 cup rice.
2 1/2 cups of hot water.
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 chicken stock cubes
Salt & Pepper to taste.
Saute chopped onion gently, until onion is golden brown.
Add rice, stir 3 minutes.
Dissolve stock cubes in hot water.
Add 1 cup of chicken stock to pan & stir until nearly all liquid is absorbed.
Add remaining stock & wine, bring to boil, reduce heat.
Simmer gently, covered for 10 minutes.
Season to taste.
I usually use basmati rice, or a long grain rice, but short grain rice makes a more 'gluggy mix' if that is what you like.
School is back for most of the children today, so I hope all you 'first time' mothers dont weep too hard.
I can still remember the empty house, & the cry I had once I got home again, when my last little 'baby' went off to school. They looks so ridiculously small, dont they? You want to rush back, & take them home with you. It all seems too soon!
But in the blink of an eye they are grown, with babies of their own! And your heartstrings tug just as much when the first grandchild goes bravely off to school... well mine did!


Monday, January 29

Tagged

I have been tagged by My Float to do the Six Weird Things about myself.

I must admit I have had a lot of enjoyment reading other people's weirdnesses.

I dont know where to start- some days I am all weirdness- totally.

Other days I just seem boring norm.

Here goes

1. I really dislike the colour red. Not red food, like Tracey. But clothing in red, or decor items. I have a friend who loved red passionately, & she had a red kitchen. It made me feel somewhat panic stricken to be in it! From time to time, I tell myself I will wear red, & I have even bought clothing in red- but I cant bear to wear it. I like to use red in my quilts, but not as the major colour. My mother used to make me a red dress each year, when I was a small child. I once cut my finger really badly on a barbed wire fence, & I screamed all the way home, & my little red-with-white-dots dress, was just all red when I got home. I have never forgotten the horror of it.

2. I have had little 'brushes' with cancer cells. I had to have a tumour removed from my left parotid gland (which is the one which gets infected when you get mumps!) These tumours always turn to cancer apparently. I dont like the hole that is left, but the scar has disappeared! And they cut right down the front side of my ear, & under my jawline! I dont like the sort of numb feeling that never goes away, or the sight (on Xray) of all the little metal staples they left inside the wound.

3. I have a growing harmatoma in my left lung. It has been there since at least 1989, but was not discovered until 1995, so it is not going to kill me. Well the Drs dont seem to think it will. It just sits there, quietly growing.

4. I had an umbilical hernia- which by the time they operated, had become something else again! (The secret life of your body!) Requiring extensive repairs all down my left side of insides. I noted some bloggers reported their problems with health matters or broken bones etc, all seemed to be on one side of their body. Mine would seem to be all on the left.

5. I dont know if this is really weird, I dont suppose it is, but I was born without once gram of sporting interest or talent in my entire being! I loathe it- all of it. And when I had to participate, my face goes redder than beetroot, & remains that way for about 3 hours afterwards. Why would any normal person put themselves through that?? I just dont 'get' "Sport". Ever.

6. I couldnt bear to think of life without music! I love music ranging from classical to country & western (if that is the other end of the scale?) The only form of music I am not so keen on is jazz, but only certain types of jazz. I once went out with a man who loved jazz, to the extent he would go to those little dark gloomy caverns that were so 'cool' in the sixties, & he would sit in the candlelight, & get positively frenzied in his twitches & jerks, & he really ended up looking as if he had uncontrollable little seizures. I had to stop going out with him, because I just couldnt take any more smokey little caves with twits jerking & shuddering. Quite put me off jazz for life! I do still like the fun jazz though, or what I like to think of as fun jazz- is it 'trad jazz'?
Oh but I dont really like Heavy Metal or Rap- to me that is just noise, black noise. And I dont mean anyone's colour of skin when I say that!

I do have another weirdness, it is about people who harm children. I once plotted & planned to actually try to get to the court to kill a father who had murdered his little child, in a drunken stupor. I was convinced he needed to be killed so he could never ever do such a thing again. And he will, there is nothing surer, & he will find another stupid girl who will let him. Dont get me started. I cry every time I read of a child being abused- the ones who die are the lucky ones. And that is a major crime.


I wont tag anyone for the Six Weird Things, but if you do it, let me know, & I will come to read your 'weirds'!

Saturday, January 27

New Project

In spite of having days when I thought I would never get the urge back, for my quilting, it has suddenly returned.
I call this Frog dance, but it is just one of the patches in the new quilt top. I fussy cut some patches, & decided to make them into bright stars.

SG thinks they are delightful, & is calling it 'his' quilt, & seeing it would be ok for a boy, I guess I will give it to him.

This patch with the fish in is my favourite- I am very disappointed with the colur in the pic- the star points are purple, not blue!

And here are some of the patches laid out on our bed- after the dog has been romping all over it!
It is still hot & humid, but I seem to feel a little more cheery, for some reason.
We had a great morning out with friends, who took us off to some out of suburb garage sales, & a drive by the ocean- it smelt wonderful, & looked even better.
DJ came to take GOM out to look at new washing machines- hers, which is only 4 years old, is not worth repairing. Does not seem right, but it is true. A Simpson, & she says she wouldnt have another as a gift!
The shop was closed, & so they came home without having viewed any! Long weekend off, I suppose.
Almost time to be thinking of an evening meal. Too hot to think about cooking, so salad seems to be the best option.
Enjoy your weekend!



Friday, January 26

Collections

Do you collect 'things'? I have developed a collection of owls. This pic shows just a few of them. My son often gives me a new one, & my daughter has given me some nice ones too.

For some reason I have always been intrigued by owls, & I love pictures of Barn Owls, in particular.
In N.Z. I used to lie in bed at night listening to the cry of the Morepork- which is what it sounds like, "morepork, morepork"! (I dont know it's correct name.)


I was very interested to see the Frogmouth birds at the Australian Reptile Park, they look so owl-like, & they are quite tame, we could get very close to them, & look them in the eye!


Perhaps I was what was known as a witch in a former life. Or, if you believe in reincarnation, perhaps an owl??

I once tried some 'past lives' hypnosis, in my quest to give up smoking. Which may sound like a very odd thing to do, but the hypnotist I went to, was convinced we do certain things in this life, because of our past lives. So off I went, on a few 'journeys' to see who I might have been.


It was very interesting, & certainly the 'lives' I found felt very real, whilst I was reliving them!
In some I even cried, & felt pain, heat & extreme cold- as in dying in a snow storm, but I ended up feeling lovely & warm as I actually 'died'.


In one, I was regarded as a witch, because I would not marry a man designated to be my husband, & I used herbs for treating ailments. So I was put to death for being such a wicked witch!

It is very difficult to describe the sensation of living a 'past life'. I am still unsure whether I believe it, but the feelings were very real. My son scoffs totally, & says it is all the mind playing tricks- which could well be the truth.

I eventually stopped smoking but I tried for years to give up the habit, & in that journey to smokelessness, I tried acupuncture, - several times, hynosis, again several times. Finally the gum did it for me, but I ended up addicted to the gum, so I then did the patches to get off the gum! The patches did work!! And, because I had long since given up all the rituals associated with smoking, I found I didnt have those habits to give up. Only the dreadful addiction to nicotine, which must be among the worst addictions there are.



My DJ loves pigs, & she has a large collection of all sorts of pigs- from porcelain to the stuffed fluffy variety. SIL knows how to get in her good books- he buys her another pig!


GOM doesnt really collect anything, though he has some elephants we hoped might bring good luck. I think they must be non working elephants, because we dont seem to have had much good luck from them!


We are still car-less. I was quite disgruntled that the repairers didnt bother to let us know we would not have the car for the long weekend. It is Australia Day here, so a holiday. We are stuck home. I would have liked to have a walk along the beach.

I have done some sewing though, so I suppose it is not time wasted.

Thursday, January 25

Observations

Just some pretty pics to start the day.
A Grevillea I planted soon after we came to live here. I am so thrilled it has actually lived, & the birds enjoy it immensely. I can see it out of my kitchen window, & I watch the birds taking the nectar. There are several different birds that come to feed, but the most common ones at present are Blackheaded Shrikes- I am told this is what they are, by some dinky di Aussie friends.

And this is a bract on one of my Bromeliads. I used to dream of owning one just like this, when we lived in New Zealand. (Proof- dreams can come true!) They were very expensive, & I doubt they would have survived in the cold Southern City. However they almost grow wild over here, & I noticed my SIL had some in her garden in Auckland.
This one is growing at the base of a Bandana Palm, & there is Devils Ivy trying to grow up the trunk of the palm. I have pulled some of it down, but it is very determined once it gets growing! And at least it makes for green foliage in the hot garden, & perhaps provides some shelter for lizards to hide amongst.
DJ & I seem to have been born with similar powers of observation. We will notice the odd quirky little things going on about us, & later compare our observations, & are always amazed to find we have taken note of the same odd little things.
We would often travel home by train, after working in a coffee shop GOM used to own & run. We always seemed to notice the oddities going on about us, & in some respects it could be a curse of sorts.
The man with the immaculate, grey, knife creased trousers, & grey slip-on shoes- & filthy, naked ankles!
Or the boy sitting in the corner picking his nose furtively, & surreptitiously smearing the snot on the sides of the seat!
Another child, quietly licking the streams of snot as they poured out of her nose.
A woman sitting knitting, who kept holding the knitting up, & shaking it at everyone, as if to say, "Look at Me! I am sooo Talented, please applaud!"
A man pretending to read a newspaper but secretly checking out the breasts of all the girls who got on & off the train. His mouth moving as if... what??
Another man, in business suit, immaculate white shirt, tie neatly tied. And a huge tuft of gingery hair sticking up out of his collar! Was he a werewolf?
A large dark woman with a small whining child. It suddenly wailed loudly to everyone's surprise- except DJ & I - we saw the mother pinch it viciously!
A young couple wispering in a seat, close together, fumbling at each other. She, suddenly pulling away, as he took what might be called 'a liberty'.
A battered, world weary, shattered looking man, who fell asleep, & slept right past his station, & woke swearing & cursing when he realised his mistake.
The youths full of bravado, swearing loudly, possibly using forbidden words for the first time, watching for reactions from fellow passengers. Obviously hoping to get a rise from someone. But we all sat & studiously ignored them.
A young mother with a very small new looking baby, holding the poor little thing upon her shoulder & almost bashing it to death! I think it was meant as a soothing pat, but almost winded the poor little thing.
The grandmother took over... & proceeded to do the same! Why do people do that??
And when we reached our destination, seeing the naked & surprisingly clean looking, exposed buttocks of an old woman who seemed to live permanantly at the station, & lived in filthy rags, & muttered constantly to herself.
She did not expose herself deliberately- her old trousers just fell down, but not to the ground.
She was well known to all in the district & even had a nickname.
When I read in the local paper, of her death from cancer, I hoped she had had someone with her at the end.
Yes being too aware can be a curse. You can often see things you wished you never did.
And sometimes see things that are so beautiful they almost break your heart.


Wednesday, January 24

Fiery Sunrise, & Another Holiday.

This was the scene for Sunrise at 6am.
It is now 7am, & we are having a thunder storm, with RAIN! Yippee!
Sad thing is, I dont think it is going to amount to much, & dont hold out much hope any of the rain will be beneficial for our dams.
There is no sign of sky, only clouds. A very different outlook!
As I stood out on the balcony, facing the east, I looked at the red & thought of the old rhyme,
"Red sky at night
Shepherd's delight.
Red in the morning
Shepherd's warning!"
It usually seems to hold true.

Yesterday's memory trip brought another holdiay to mind.

This one was with my 'weekend friend' SJ, - she of the car- knapping.
Her older sister, V, had married a farming man, & they now had 3 children, & had moved over to the other side of the North Island of New Zealand, close to what used to be known as Mt Egmont. I think it is now known as Mt Taranaki? I am so ignorant of my own country of birth! I am ashamed. I am sure my brother will correct me here, if this is incorrect!

SJ & I had often stayed with V & R. when they lived close to our little town, but now they had moved away to the other side of the Island, & we had not previously been to stay with on the dairy farm where they were now living.

As I have previously said, SJ's mother was away a lot, & she didnt often go into town. She had an account at one of the dress shops & SJ could go & choose her own clothes, -within reason, of course!

She decided she had to have a new bathing suit for the holiday, so off she went & got herself one of the latest models, with the whole of the back done in shirring elastic- dont laugh! they were the height of fashion then! I think we were about 13, so womanly curves had begun to develop. Her mother was not told of the purchase- "I will worry about that after the holiday" my friend declared.

We travelled by bus, & it was a long journey. We made several stops along the way, some 'comfort stops' at small towns, & some food stops, also in small towns. I remember my dear Aunt met the bus at one town, & provided us with drinks, & some food.

One of the food stops proved the wrong thing, for a child sitting behind us, & she vomitted all down the back of my clothing! We were by now, close to the snow capped Mountain, it was evening, & very chilly. I had to remove my sodden & putrid cardigan. My friend took off her cardigan & gave it to me, so I would not be cold, & assured me she was not cold. As I say, she was generous to a fault really.

Anyway we were collected & taken off to the farm by V & R, with children. It was the first time we had met the new baby, who was about 9 months old.

We would get up early in the mornings & go with R to the milking shed, & help with the milking. It was a lot of fun, to we 'townie' girls, & I have never minded the smell of cows. We loved cleaning out the cowshed after it was all over & done, & even the smell of cowshit seemed honest, somehow.

R had a stubborn old horse, who knew that he only had to go up the hill once in the morning, & once in the evening, to get the cows in for milking. We were allowed to take the horse & ride him during the day. But he would not go up that hill , no matter how we urged or threatened him. And sometimes he would just stop on the side of the road, & nothing we did could coax him to move until he was good & ready. I always remember thinking he must have been laughing his head off at us!

R also had an old ricketty little truck, that he used about the farm, & of course, SJ, being crazy about vehicles of all types, was keen to drive it as often as she could. So between the horse & the truck, and helping V with the children, we had very full days. The weather was perfect summer, with clear blue skies, & hot days, which didnt seem to be as humid as the East Coast of the Island, which was our home.
I suddenly remembered I had this old photo of the old truck, complete with SJ at the wheel! I had one of the horse somwhere, but cant find it at present.


V & R had some friends who lived close to some Thermal Hot pools, & so we were promised a trip to the pools. As it was so hot during the days, we often wore our bathing suits all day, & it was fun to hose each other off, over in the cowshed at milking time, while cleaning up.

V had to go & have some teeth out, & so we were to be responsible for looking after the children, & preparing meals for a day or so, till V recovered.

One morning when V was feeling better we were off over at the cowshed again, & after the milking was over SJ decided to ride the stubborn old horse again. He really didnt want to go anywhere, having recently gone up the hill to get the cows, & he stacked on of his, "I refuse to move" acts. So SJ slid off down the side of the saddle.

A look of horror came over her face, & she turned around. There, in all it's pink, plump, round glory, was her bum! Fully exposed to all the world! She had snagged her suit on the buckle of the stirrup, & it had shredded, & shrunk the shirred back of the bathing suit. Leaving her complete cheeks hanging out.

I am ashamed to say I howled with laughter! I thought it was the funniest thing I had ever seen. She was furious with me, & panic stricken, as we were going to go swimming in the thermal pools that evening.

She was appalled to think R might have seen her bare behind, & I walked close behind her, sniggering of course, all the way back over to the house. V had gone back to rest, & SJ sneaked into the room where the sewing machine, & was trying desperately to mend the huge rent in the backside of the suit. But of course, shirring elastic is very unforgiving, & there was no chance of mending it.


Finally she had to confess to V, what had happened, & V laughed uproariously too.


SJ had to borrow a very unflattering bathing suit for our swim in the hot pools. And she had to go home & tell her mother what had happened to her new & expensive bathing suit.
And it took her a long time to forgive my uncontrollable mirth. Every time I thought of that for years after, I would burst out laughing.

Well, I am being hounded to get off this. SG has unexpectedly arrived & we are going to have to take him to Pre School. They are opening later, so DJ had no choice but to bring him up here, as she had to go off to work.


**PS I have added the pic of truck since some fake 'comments' came in, & also a nice comment from Diana.
I cant seem to delete the annoying comments, so if anyone knows how, please let me know!

Tuesday, January 23

A Holiday Remembered.

When I was 10 years old, my father came to visit, to ask my mother if he could take me to spend a couple of weeks of the Xmas School Holidays with him. He was working on a farm, & the prospect of spending time with him was very appealing to me, as I didnt get to see him very often.

He was a tall man- & seemed a lot taller, to a 10 year old! His hair was fair, & he wore it cut very short. He had large blue eyes, which always looked a trifle sad, & his skin was very fair, so had a ruddy glow on the cheeks as he spent a great deal of time on horseback out on the farm.

I was so excited to be going, & couldnt wait to get on our way. I had never spent very much time with my father since our parents marriage had ended, when I was about 4 1/2 years old. He came to visit from time to time, but of course that does not leave room for bonding, or really 'knowing ' someone.

And though I was eager to go, truth be told, I was somewhat in awe of him. I can remember standing at his bedside & just watching him sleep, when he came to stay. I was so curious about this man I loved, but hardly knew.

My mother seemed a little reluctant to see me go, but she packed my bag for me, & off we went.
I was not very pleased when my father stopped the truck in town, & said he had to collect 'a lady, you will like her.' I had expected to have my wonderful mysterious father all to myself, & I felt a burn of disappointment.

However, B seemed nice enough, & we set off to travel what seemed to me, to be a long journey to the dark & cold farm house, where I was to spend the first week of the holiday.

The old house had bare wooden floors, with no mats or linoleum. I was told I would be sleeping in B's brother's bedroom, & was assured I would 'love B's brother, R, everybody loves him'.

I was terrified, & the room had thin, tatty old curtains, & the moon shone in the gaps & I lay in terror watching the huge old wardrobe which stood in the corner of the room. I dont know why, but I felt the that B's brother was hiding in it, & he would emerge, wanting his bed. My feet seemed to be frozen, & they would not warm up- even though it was summer time, & cant have been cold. The bed seemed uncomfortable & very strange compared to my cosy bed at home.

There were huge old pine trees surrounding the house- which my brother tells me would probably have been macrocarpa trees- & they creeked & groaned in the wind. It all seemed terrifying to me that first bleak night. I dont think I cried- I was too terrified. And in the morning when I crept out very early, I didnt let on that I had been petrified. I was told there was cereal & milk for breakfast & I could help myself- which was something I never had to do at home! Our Grandmother always got our breakfast for us.

My father had a lot of working dogs, which he kept tied up at night, & in the morning he would untie them all ready to ride off to work. I had never had anything to do with dogs really, apart from the farm dogs belonging to my Uncle. And they were never 'domestic' and we were never encouraged to touch or talk to them. They were purely functional dogs, & were for work purposes only. I do remember my Uncle was very fond of his dogs, though, & often entered dog trials. As did my father, but I cant remember going to any dog trials with my father.


The dogs were so excited & boisterous when they were first let off the chain in the mornings, & I was terrified of them! So, my father told me I was not to be afraid of them, I was to be brave, & he made me let them off their chains, (which was not easy, when they were so excited, & kept trying to leap on me!) & he showed me not to fear them, & also taught me I was to be the boss of the dogs- not the other way around. It was a lesson that has stood me in good stead all my life.

There was another family with young children living on the farm, & I became friends with the other children, & we passed our days playing under the Macrocarpa trees, & in an old house, that was derelict, & falling apart. There were huge old Blue Gum trees- not sure what type, but that is what everyone called them, & they had wonderful odd shaped nut pods that looked like little pots with lids on them. And they flowered & smelt of eucalyptus in the heat.

My father's friend B was to become my Stepmother later, but of course I did not know that then. We got along quite well- she was not too much older than me really! I loved to draw, & she seemed to be quite talented too, & she showed me a few techniques for drawing trees that really impressed me.

I eventually met the brother R, who was so popular...but, I was always very wary of him. Not for any real reason, but it seemed my first fear filled night was always associated with him, in my young mind. I think he was a nice man- he was certianly a very large man, & one of my half brothers resembles him.

I remember that holiday as filled with sun, & visits to the hayfield to take food for the haymakers, bumping along in an old truck. And the wonderful smell of the hay, & the dust & heat of it all. In those days the hay was baled in the old oblong bales, & taken by trucks to the hayshed. Which was another rich & wonderful smelling place, which always seemed so mysterious & so hot in the summer, & so warm in winter. Haymaking season was labour intensive in those days, & there would be many hands to load the hay bales, & to stack them in the haysheds. The women were expected to make scones & sandwiches & take plenty of cold drinks & flasks of tea for all the workers.

I remember the mother of the other children vividly, & I suppose B must have joined in with the food preparation, & serving, but I dont really remember.

After I had been there for about 2 weeks, we had to move to another house on the farm, for some reason. I can remember the moving, but not the reasons why. There were no Macrocarpas around that house- which seemed even older than the first one, but the huge old Blue Gums were close. And there was no toilet inside in that house, so we had to use an old outside dunny- which was scary to me! I tried to never have to go out at night!

Sometimes my father would take me on his horse, & ride off around to check on the sheep. I always love that, because I felt I had him all to myself.

As the holidays were nearing the end, apparently my mother was becoming frantic, as I had not been returned home. She told me in later years that she didnt think my father was 'taking' me, but just felt he was reluctant to return me. She sent my Uncle to collect me, & I must have blocked the leaving from my mind for I seem to have no memory of saying goodbye at all. Nor of the trip home with my Uncle.

I think it was to be many years before I saw my father again. I remember being totally distraught when I learnt of my parents divorce, when I was about 12. A cousin told me, & I dont think I ever really forgave my mother for not telling me first.

And in my childish heart, they were always going to reconcile one day.

It has made me very conscious of not lying to my children, & I have always told them, not to lie to me- finding out the truth made me feel so betrayed & desolate. I have tried never to make my family feel like that, even if the truth hurts, it is better than that awful betrayal a lie can be.

Monday, January 22

Awful Reality.

Yesterday our garden Temperature Gauge said it was 50 degrees Celsius in the corner, where it sits. The one on our fridge in the kitchen declared it was 30 degrees, & that was with the curtains closed, & the airconditioner roaring away.

My lovely Birds Nest ferns, which had been looking nice, got burnt. A flourishing tree fern also got badly burnt. It is heartbreaking to see plants you love, get so badly damaged. I know some would say, they are only plants- but to me they are more than that. And any that actually live for me are extra special!


I have spent the morning bailing out a tub full of rinsing water from my washing, & I used the water to give the plants a small chance of survival.


I also watched a programme about Global Warming. It is so depressing, - the arrogance of big business in Amerca makes my blood boil.
It is all ONLY about MONEY & sod the people.

The North American Natives, whose land is crumbling to the sea as the ice melts, & they are losing their homes, & will now have to relocate to the mainland. I could just sit & weep, to think that man's greed can be so great.

It makes me think it seems a futile exercise for us to do our little bits, thinking we can effect change. Somehow it is like a mouse raping an elephant.

I watched footage of President Bush, "swaggering" strutting, grinning that seemingly vaccuous grin-- I just can't voice the dreadful thoughts that went through my head, and what I think of a man such as he.
I know- the "Puppet" answer.. but it doesnt answer it all...does it??


O hell, I promised myself not to rant about any sort of Political items or events. I dont want to get into it all on here.


I want flowers & bright colours, & some cool breezes, & some beautiful rain!


I dont want to have to think about the fact that fires have closed the F3 down to Sydney, & even the trains have been stopped, because of the smoke.


I dont want to think of how badly we need water, - yet councils conitinue to approve the building of more high density housing blocks.

I need to change the way I am thinking about things.

Sorry for such a miserable post. I couldnt seem to help it.

Sunday, January 21

I just couldnt resist!!

I received this in an email from Nice Neighbour this morning, & it made me laugh out loud. I just couldnt resist putting it here on the blog.
I hope it brings a laugh for you too!


TO: ALL STAFF
FROM: THE MANAGEMENT
DATE: OCTOBER. 1994
SUBJECT: EARLY RETIREMENT
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Due to the current financial situation, Management has decided to implement a scheme to put all employees over thirty five (35) years of age on early retirement. This scheme will be known as RAPE (Retire Aged Personnel Early).

Personnel selected to be RAPED can apply to Management for the SHAFT scheme (Special Help After Forced Termination). The situation of employees who have been RAPED and SHAFTED will be reviewed under the SCREW scheme (Scheme for Retired Early Workers). An employee may be RAPED only once, SHAFTED twice but SCREWED as many times as Management deems appropriate. Employees who have been RAPED can apply to get AIDS (additional Income For Dependants or Spouses) or HERPES (Half Earning or Retirinig Personnel Early Severance). Obviously employees who had AIDS or HERPES will not be SHAFTED or SCREWED any further by Management.)

Employees staying on will receive as much SHIT (special High Intensity Training) as possible. Management has always prided itself on the amount of SHIT it gives its Employees. Should you feel that you do not receive enough SHIT please bring this to the attention of your Manager. He/She has been trained to give you all the SHIT you can handle.

Yours sincerely,



THE MANAGEMENT


I know it is not exactly funny in some respects, as early 'retirement' has been forced onto far too many able, talented people.

It is breathlessly hot outside, & I am cringing indoors with the airconditioner roaring.

I have been listening to old favourite music. In particular Janis Ian.
My brain is having a little holiday, due to heat- or else I might be lying to myself again, & it is just laziness.

So here is a quote from one Janis' songs, 'Aftertones'.

Sometimes its all too much to say aloud
the sound's a shroud
the meanings crowd
Sometimes the words are painful to the ear
They disappear and nothing's clear

Til all that's left to see are aftertones
I take them home
We live alone
But I remember chains of melody
It pleases me-this song's for free.


I love most of her music & feel she writes beautifully.
My daughter & AAG both enjoy her music too, so she is still 'current' in our family.

I cant remember a time in my life when I wasnt aware of music.
My Grandparents had an old Gulbransen Magic Eye radio, it was a huge piece of 'furniture' & stood on the floor in the lounge. My brother & I would get into trouble, because we loved playing about with the tuning of it, watching the 'eye' swell & shrink. It came with a shortwave frequency band, & we also used to love the high pitched weird sound effects we could get playing about with that also.

I think it never occurred to turn it right down, so we always got caught out when we tinkered with it.

I remember a lot of classical music, & expect that might be where I gained my love of classical music. I do remember my mother hated sopranos though, she always called them "Screeching Hussies!"
Her absolute favourites were tenors, & in particular Irish Tenors.
I loved Richard Tauber, & once went out with a man just for his collection of Richard Tauber music!

Well, I can smell food, -- GOM is loose in the kitchen, so I had better go see what he is up to.

Saturday, January 20

At Play.

These two pics of SG were taken in the lounge last evening. It is not often he settles to such quiet play, so I just had to grab the camera. He looks so thin in the pics, but he seems to be very healthy - in spite of telling me "I dont eat vegetables"We had him for a few hours in the late afternoon, & he was so happy. He is usually such 'high maintenance' to care for, but he seemed to be particularly happy yesterday, pottering about with his blocks, making houses & garages.

Here he is on the floor, with GOM's foot close by, ( yes, it was attached to the leg, & not disembodied & just placed there for effect!) & Leo's tail, a floor cushion, & the dog's basket of toys. I heard him tell Leo, when he attempted to sneak a block, "Dont even think about it!"


We had a great morning, went to a garage sale promising 'material, & sewing items'. Got some good bits & pieces for when the quilty muse arrives back. Now all I have to do is wait for COOOL to wash & iron them!


I also got another 'tired' & 'retired' Teddy for the Hug! He is a sheepskin old chap, & has a music box, which has ceased to work. I am sure with a bit of TLC & a new ribbon, he will look comfortable among the other refugees.
His poor old nose has been 'loved' right off his face! No, Leo didnt do that, it was already missing! along with a chunk of his arm fur.

Later, we went out with a friend for about an hour, & I foolishly left new 'Old Ted' on the table. When we came home Leo had brought him downstairs. Thank goodness he didnt eat him!
Or maul him to death!
When my children were small, (& not so small, too) it was a habit of mine to make up stories about toys & 'things'. I can even remember some of them, & so can my adult 'kids'. I wish I had written some of them down, but some of them are still in my head.


It is fearsomely hot here today. There is a little breeze, which just about saves it from being one of those 40-something days.
It is 30 degrees C in the passage, even with the aircon going in the lounge end of the house!

Friday, January 19

Advice

Have you noticed that most people- including me- only take advice when it tallies with what they have already decided, or tallies with what they want to hear?

This is a quilt top I have had 'finished' for some time now. It is made using one of Ruth Buchanan's quilt patterns, called Gathering the Harvest, and was published in Patchwork & Stitching Vol 4. No 1. I have taken a pic of it from both angles to better show the design. It turned out very 'pumpkin' coloured to me, so I have decided to call it Pumpkin Soup, which I love. I dont have as much contrast in fabric colours as Ruth had, so I wondered if it needs another border, to offset the busy one, or perhaps highlight the centre further. I have been thinking in terms of a dark brown 1" band?? So what do you think? Or should I just bind it in a dark brown? I have fabric from the final border, which I had intended using for the binding. The way it is now, is just as Ruth made it, but as I said, she used more of a contrasting fabric than I have.

I had laid it out on our bed, & GOM took a great fancy to it, suggested I get it finished & use it for our bed as a topper. I am not sure about that, but the more I look at it, the more I like it. I had gone 'off ' it a bit previously- hence it got put aside.
Anyway, I would like any opinions, please. I dont guarantee to take the advice but another point of view is always welcome.
I find it is always surprising too, to see how different things can look in a photograph.

Which brings me to another 'gripe' of sorts.
Those lovely appetising pics on the boxes of 'convenience food meals'. They always look so nice & tempting. So you tell yourself they will make a nice emergnecy meal, for when you are tired & really hungry in a hurry.
And inevitably, they turn out to be major disappointments. All gluggy, with none of the shining indgredients which seemed to be included in the photo meal.
I have been very tempted to write to the manufacturer, with photographic evidence, demanding they replace my 'missing ingredients'!
And yesterday, I read with amusement Keryn's mention of Cat food. We dont have a cat, but we have noticed with amazement the delicious varieties of 'gourmet' food in tins for dogs. I stand & read all the delicious sounding meal titles, & am ashamed to find to myself salilvating at some of them. As Keryn pointed out, they are probably offal, at best with fish waste included.
I love the way they have lightly sauteed this, & a lovely sauce of that, over the 'meal'. And when you open the tin, you can see wisps of dill, & slices of cheese, or fish, with diced carrot- sorry Aunty, for the mention of carrots!
And every time I buy something like that, -only when they are on special- I feel I have been manipulated in the worst way. Dogs -or cats- cant read, so who are they 'tempting', making meals with names like that!! Just stealing the money out of your very pocket is what they are doing. GRRRRR.
I might add, I quite often make my own versions of 'gourmet meals' for our dogs, using much the same ingredients that are supposedly in the tinned variety! A great deal more economical, even so.

Thursday, January 18

Lying to Yourself.

I suppose we all lie to ourselves, at various points in our lives, and for various reasons.

If we have a dispute with someone, we justify our reactions & reasons, so we dont feel guilty, or at fault.

I suppose it is a natural human trait. (And, do you say, TRATE or TRAY? We always disagreed about this in our family, & according to various dictionaries we consulted, either pronunciation was said to be correct!)

But I digress. I have perhaps been lying to myself about reasons for not getting on with my quilting.

1. It is too hot.
2. I have SG to look after, & I cant sew when he is here.
3. I have other more pressing duties to attend.
4. Friends drop by, & so I need sit and talk.
5. GOM wants to watch a DVD, with my company.
6. My hands just SWEAT all Summer long, so I cant hand sew.
7. Now that GOM is retired, I put off sewing to spend more time with him.
8. I have books to read.
9. I am lazy!
10. The planets are misaligned??


All of the above are true, (or, in the case of the planets, I have no idea) but I am sure I could overcome most of them, if I was determined to get on with my sewing.

I prefer to lie to myself, & tell me I am having a creative 'lull'. Or 'Quilter's block'- haha, what a terrible pun.

I really dont know what the answer is, but I am sure, if my life remains cyclic, as has been the way of it, as far as creativity goes, I will return to my creative activites sooner or later.

I have a 'hug' of adopted, abandoned, pre-loved, bears to dress too. I have great ideas for their clothing. I want to knit for some. Which is another activity that is only for winter, due to the hands problem.

I have several bear patterns calling to be made up. I am paving my road to hell with all my 'good intentions'.

But, I also tell myself it is ok. SG wont be a little chap for long- & the sewing will always be available for tomorrow, when he is grown & gone. I am glad of the chance to spend time with him, while he is young. A lot of grandparents dont get that chance.

I do find he can be trying, some days. He is not a child who amuses himself, he needs company, or he gets very bored, & into mischief. I do find there is a difference between having him by choice, & needing to have him, because both his parents are working. It doesnt happen that often, & once his Pre School goes back, our times to have him will be a little less.

The truth is, I am not really doing much to replace my sewing.
Our airconditioner is functioning again, so I can actually get the house reasonably cool. We also have plenty of fans to use- one for each room, if necessary.

I have learnt not to lie so much to myself, over the years. And also, perhaps more importantly, not to be so hard on myself, if I fail at something.

Noone gets up in the morning & thinks "Today I will be a S**t", or "Today I will be a failure".
Do they??


I am sure we all do the best we can, whatever our circumstances. I think we have to have both sides of every situation, to really appreciate light/dark, happy/sad, busy/slow, production/hiatus.

Well, this is a strange post. It sure was a surprise!
Hope you all have a nice day.

Wednesday, January 17

Cubby House Magic.

Do you sometimes wish you were little again, & your world was small & dark & secret??
We have had SG here for several hours today, & this is his quilt of choice, for making Cubbies, Rocket ships, Racing cars, etc. He loves this quilt above all others, & regards it as his 'special quilt' for making all of the above. Here it is draped over a chair, with Honey sneaking out from underneath, in the chair.And here it is, with Leo deciding to join the photo shoot!

DJ gave me a voucher for wonderful fabric, which I regarded as the perfect gift. So I made this quilt, knowing that SG was on the way- though, at that stage we didnt know he was 'he'. DJ specified I was to make this quilt 'for myself' & not for any one else. So, Imade it, imagining a grandchild who might one day enjoy it, might one day get some joy from it, the same as I had, in it's construction.
The fabrics are wonderfully bright, & it makes a good "I Spy" quilt, when the mood is right. It is also a good 'dirt' fabric blend- small accidents are not easily 'spotted'- haha.
SG has always loved this quilt, & it has always seemed to act as a soothing influence on him. I called it "Just for Fun" & noted on the label, it was 'made from the "perfect gift", of fabric'.
When SG was a baby he was often fractious, & cried for no apparent reason. I found whenever I covered him with 'Just for Fun', he settled, when it was cold, & if he fell asleep in my arms. I would just sit, & cradle him until he awoke.
Sometimes it would be hours later, before he woke, but at least he was happy, & slept soundly.
It must be a 'loveable quilt', as the dogs seem to love it as much as SG does, & they love to leap onto it- not always with SG's approval! Especially when he is building a cubby!
He loves this quilt, for no apparent reason, but perhaps his little soul percieved it, in contstruction, filled with so much anticipatory love?.

Tuesday, January 16

Who Are We, Really?

This is a pic I took last evening. It reminded me of the old Wild West Movies, - the ones with Smoke Signals, from the Indians. Perhaps it is the dry earth, sending out signals begging for rain. On the extreme right side of the photo, there is a lone, feathery little branch reaching up. It is our Jacaranda tree, which has sulked ever since we moved here. I think it must have had about 5 flowers on it, in 8 years. I am sure it must be lacking something. Of course GOM's suggestion is, "Let's cut it down". Over my dead body! haha.

I am very interested in Genealogy. My mother was very keen about it, & when a cousin decided to do some 'family tree', research, & writing, she provided him with all sorts of names, dates, photos etc. She was very disappointed when she saw of copy of the result of his work. Dates were wrongly quoted, & much of the information she had provided had been altered, & misquoted.

Another cousin on this side of the Tasman did a Family Tree, also. He had access to records in England, & tried to trace the original man, sent to Australia in disgrace. Much of his work covered the Aussie side of the family, but some of it crossed to the NZ side. None of it tallied with the other version.

Is this how myths begin? 'Family lore' stories are wonderful to listen to, but there is always a sneaking suspicion they may be altered to suit the teller of the tale, to extract more mirth or shock.

While I was in NZ recently, I learned a very interesting story of a family, who it would seem, are not who they thought they were.

I will do my best to retell the fascinating tale. It is not our family, but I guess it could be anyone's family.

We will start with Mr & Mrs B. They married, around 1942, & had 2 children, eldest a son, 2nd a girl. They lived & worked on a farm, owned by another man, we will call Mr D. After some years, (not too many) Mrs B gave birth to twin sons. After a further couple of years, Mrs B again gave birth to twins, this time a son & daughter.

I am not sure how old Mrs B was, when she gave birth to any of her children.
Mr D who owned the farm, had a teenage son, of 18, whom we will call Young E.

After the death of Mrs B, who died somewhat suddenly, but not really young, it was discovered that the twin sons, were in fact not Mr B's offspring, but were fathered by Mr D. I am not sure how this information was disclosed, but I have the feeling it was in the will.

But wait- there is more... As the family were reeling with this news, which was a total stunning surprise to all the children of Mrs B, it was also disclosed that the second set of twins were fathered by Mr D's son, Young E.

This caused terrible rifts in the family, & the male sons in particular were shocked to the point that they have never really got over it, & there is bad feeling among them. Why, I am not sure, but I suppose it would be quite shattering to learn you were more or less your brother & sister's uncles!

And not only that, but your elder siblings were in fact, only half siblings.

And, as if that wasnt enough, when old Mr B died, it was discovered he was not really Mr "B" at all! He had been born before his mother had married Mr B snr, so goodness knows who he really was!

I know this is a true story, as one of my half siblings married the eldest son. All these revelations have come about in the past few years. It is easy to laugh about it all, but I suppose it would not be easy to laugh if it was one's own family.

I dont think it would be considered a good plot for a book - it would surely be deemed too far-fetched by half?

And a side interest to it all, is the fact that one of the eldest twin sons married a Mormon girl, & she is right into the Genealogy of the family. I cant help but wonder if they have corrected all the information they had previously, -& innocently- provided as being correct.

My aging Aunt has told us tales of there being some mystery in our family, & GOM's father was not really the son of the man who he grew up believing was his father... so we are not really who we thought we were either!

Wonderfully intriguing!

Monday, January 15

In the Blink of an Eye..

These little succulents are in my SIL's garden in NZ. I have some the same over here, & poor specimens mine are, compared to hers. I watch the weeds flourish & fail to understand what cosmic force causes all my 'plants', that I want to live, to curl up & die, yet the 'weeds' burst forth with viguor! Are they not all plants together?? How does the 'force of nature' know which ones to kill off?

I had been eagerly awaiting my little Autumn Crocuses to flower. They looked so healthy this year, & were flourishing. The Garden Vandal mistook the brave leaves for grass-- & yanked them out!! I could have wept, but anger prevented me.

In the blink of an eye, today was gone.




It was a beautiful day really. Fine, not toooo humid, & lovely beach weather I am sure.




I am not sure where it went. I paved the road to hell again, I guess.


Full of good intentions.



I wrote several blogs in my head, designed further of my latest quilt plan, & found a really nice sounding Creamy Chicken Soup at Judy's Sunshine Quilting. I really wanted to make it, I had all the ingredients... but of course it is far too bloody hot here!



Gom took the car to see about the repairs- which wont be started until next week, & will take approximately the whole week. We wont get a loaner this time.

Never mind, yesterday was nice, spent in good company with plenty of laughs.

I got to see my grandchildren in the morning, & friends in the afternoon, so not a day wasted.

Sunday, January 14

A Minor Bingle

On Friday evening, GOM sustained some damage to our car, as a result of a minor 'bingle', as they call them here.

As he was reversing from a carparking space, another vehicle reversed into the back of our car. The driver leapt out, apologised, took full responsibility, & told GOM to "Get it repaired, I will pay."

No one was hurt, though GOM was understandably shaken, & not best pleased. The other vehicle was a large Ute, which did a large amount of damage to our car, & little, or none, to the Ute.

Gom duly rang the Insurance, and was informed that, though the other driver admitted full responsibility, because both vehicles had been reversing, both would be considered to blame.

We are to get the car repaired, pay the excess, then if they manage to get the money off the other driver, they will reimburse us the excess. I dont know how we go about our 'No Claim Bonus' but as we have had the top allowance for a number of years, I hope we dont lose it.

Ever since we got our first car, very early in our marriage, & didnt have it insured, I have always to make damn sure we have had insurance on our cars.

Somehow, no matter how hard you try, you never seem to win with Insurance companies. There are always loopholes, & hidden subclauses, whereby they won't have to give you your full dues- or what you understood to be your full dues!

Over the years we have had a number of cars, naturally. And naturally enough have sustained a few 'hits' & prangs,- most of them not our fault! GOM once had an accident on the eve of us moving into our very first house we bought. You can imagine how upset I was! And it meant the MIL got to 'help' us move...my gosh what a terrible ordeal!


We, foolishly, had not fully insured our car. The ordeal we went through to get it repaired was unbelievable. We were scraping the barrel of course, financially, with it being our first home purchase, so the cost of repairs to the car were not easy to come by. Though it was not GOM's fault, & he had a written statement from the other driver, admitting liability, & agreeing to pay for all damages, on sobering up the next day, the other driver decided he was reluctant to pay.

The repair man would not let our car leave his yard, until payment was recieved. And for that he told us,
"No, the gifting of your first-born will not be enough. Please open your mouth Sir, while I extract two back teeth!
Oh, I see you have several back teeth missing already. Well there is nothing for it, I am afraid, but I will have to take a limb."
And other wounding suggestions, along those lines.


I was not so calm in those days - I seem to remember some phone calls I am less than proud of today! Besides we had a new baby son, & nothing was going to remove him from us!!


We eventually got our car, after tears, threats & pleas. And I made damn sure there was plenty of insurance on it!! Or thought I did!
GOM is inclined to be of the 'manyana' school of thought...there is always tomorrow....


Which was really unlucky, because I was involved in a really bad accident in that same car, where I sustained 5 broken ribs, & the complete writing off of the vehicle. It was before the days of seat belts, I had two small children in the car, & was hit by a huge laden truck, speeding through the lights- the RED lights.

No one is quite sure how I lived through that, or how the children sustained nothing more than a scratch each. I always made them ride in the back seat, & that proved to be good policy, as the whole of the front passenger area of the car was smashed to pulp.


Our next car was purchased for us by our Boss, & it had a very colourful life. It got stolen twice, was pranged into, several times, but always came back & was always damn well-insured. It had belonged to someone we knew, & he always said he had regretted selling it. It was a Holden, & was such a reliable car. I am not a 'car' person. As long as it has a motor & some seats & wheels it is ok by me.

That old Holden's biggest problem was GOM's habit of travelling everywhere on 'E'. It became a traditional joke at the Hotel, that GOM, who was HYPH in those days, only drove on 'E'. Many is the time we sat for hours while he walked or hitched to get petrol for it! I could never understand his lack of foresight. But, looking back it did make for some hilarious tales to share.


After two death defying car accidents in my life, I am a very nervous passenger, & now, also, a reluctant driver. My first bad accident was in a small car as a passenger, & we got hit head on by some young drunks. My face was badly cut, I nearly lost an eye, & it took a long time for my knees to recover. I was only 17, so I guess I was lucky, as there is really very little scarring. Young skin heals amazingly well.


Last accident I was involved with, an old man drove straight into the side of me, & I had DJ with me- she was 8 months pregnant with SG, & she leapt from the car, & ran to the man, screaming in 'colours'! I grabbed her & got her into the car, calming her down. She was my first priority. Luckily noone was hurt- except our car, which was 'new' to us- we had only had it about a week!


As it happened it was an OMEN. That damned car was nothing but trouble & an endless pit for money. Needless to say, we got rid of it, & bought a Toyota, which is so reliable. But now we will be on the merry-go-round of repairs, & who pays. Bummer! I hope we get a loaner car, but suppose we might not. Last 'loaner' we had was a terrible manual thing, that was so stiff in the steering I couldnt drive it! It turned out our GP had a loan of it also, & she & I compared notes on what an awful car it was!

PS. ** I just did this personality test thingy from Mrs Goodneedle.
It wouldnt seem to come out in the little window, like it usually does, so I have just pasted it on here. A bit of a laugh.

You Are An INFP
The Idealist
You are creative with a great imagination, living in your own inner world.Open minded and accepting, you strive for harmony in your important relationships.It takes a long time for people to get to know you. You are hesitant to let people get close.But once you care for someone, you do everything you can to help them grow and develop.
You would make an excellent writer, psychologist, or artist.

Saturday, January 13

Stolen Meme

I fell over in our garden this morning, & landed awkwardly, knocking down a trellis, & suffered lumps & bumps, & felt an utter fool! I will have to remember I am not as young as I like to think, & the dud knee WILL let me down!! I need to stop pretending it wont!
Luckily, GOM came to my rescue, as I just thought I would lie there quietly until I could resume thinking. He picked me up, made me a cup of coffee, & told me to rest! Bless him!



I pinched this off Lissa, @ stuffandjunk.

I really enjoyed reading hers, so here goes for mine.


1. What did you do in 2006 that you’d never done before? I sarted a blog!


2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? What New Years Resolutions?? Never make them.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? No. But I wish someone had!

4. Did anyone close to you die? No, thank goodness.

5. What countries did you visit? New Zealand

6. What would you like to have in 2007 that you lacked in 2006? Some cash to flash!

7. What dates from 2006 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? My trip to NZ from Nov 18th -Dec 2nd. My brother's 60th Birthday.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? I managed to still keep breathing, & laughing... some of the time.

9. What was your biggest failure? Dont regard anything as a failure any more!

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Ummm, cant remember...

11. What was the best thing you bought? Some antique hand made lace!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Mine -for not strangling the garden vandal!

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Where on the world stage would you like me to start... or maybe even closer to home?

14. Where did most of your money go? Just on living. Oh, and the dogs.. always up for thousands of $$$. but for the money, you get unlimited, unconditional LOVE!!


15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? My trip to NZ & seeing so many people I love.

16. What song will always remind you of 2006? Leonard Cohen's So Long Marianne.

17. Compared to this time last year are you:
a.happier or sadder? About the same
b.thinner or fatter, Sadly, fatter.
c.Richer or poorer? Same.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Laughing. can never get enough!

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Eating

20. How will you be spending New Years? Well that one is gone... with friends laughing.

21. Did you fall in love in 2006? Same man, same love.

22. How many one night stands? In my dreams?? haha.

23. What was your favorite TV program? Sopranos.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didnt hate this time last year? Why waste energy hating someone??

25. What was the best book you read? Until I find You, by John Irving.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery? Martha Wainwright

27. What did you want and get? Any thing I got, I wanted.

28. What did you want and not get? Cant have wanted anything bad enough- nothing springs to mind.

29. What was your favorite film of this year? I used to know the anser to this...

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? Good grief it was so long ago.. I cant remember. Would have been with family.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Losing some of the weight that has crept up on me.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2006? HAHAHAHAHAH!

33. What kept you sane? My dogs!

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? What is to fancy about any of them?? None.

35. What political issue stirred you the most? The whole damn fake thing!

36. Who did you miss? I wish I could say noone. My mother.

37. Who was the best new person you met? A queston for a fool. You need to get to know someone for them to be 'best'... dont you?

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2006. The more we are different, the more we are the same.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. 'At the age of 37, she realised she'd never ride, through Paris in a sportscar, with the warm wind in her hair'
I think of that song every year, -it encourages me to do things I might not otherwise do.

Now I'll take my lumps & bumps off for another rest!
Hope you all have a great weekend. Shame about the lack of sun for the beachgoers!

Friday, January 12

Envy

Does anyone out there in blogger land suffer from 'comment envy'??
I sometimes go onto a blog where I enjoy the content, laugh along, & think to myself, well I will just make a light, or admiring, comment.

And then I see there are 29 before me, so I decide they dont need my ha'penny worth, & I become a 'Lurker'. Which means you watch & read, but dont comment.

I have seen on some blogs it has been de-lurker week, or something along those lines. Encouraging folk who heretofore only 'lurked' to come out of the closet, as it were, & comment.

I see lots of 'weeks for' things, & I wonder, -is there some secret blogging society out there who notifies bloggers of these 'special weeks'?? And, if there is, why dont I get notified?? And how late in the week is 'too late'??


On completely different tack, (& an illustration of how flea-like my mind can be) have you ever, or do you now, take note of the clothing 'styles' of your colleagues?


I used to always notice the dress style of the men who worked in our offices, when I was employed by a Swiss owned company. We had so many men of European origin employed there, it was very interesting to see the various styles of the different males.

A Mr Green, who originally came from Yorkshire, was always so sartorially splendid, I was moved to compliment him one day. He was totally startled, & so I enquired if his splendour was due to the fact that he lived in a household of females. Having one wife & three daughters. He admitted it was his wife who chose his ties, suits etc, but assured me it was not without his 'approval'.


I found the best dressed to be a man of German origin, who had the most gorgeous bum- & believe me, I am not one to admire mens bums as a general rule. But his wife was an artist of some talent, so perhaps she deserved the credit. I was never bold enough to ask who chose his suits! He, being the 'Financial Controller'- & not one ounce of spare flesh upon his body!


I was not really surprised to find the Australian males were the least 'snazzy' dressers, -but they won hands down for cheeriness. Or, most of them did. The PM, was an uncouth, ill dressed, crotch scratcher- it was so embarrassing we female staff wondered if he had contracted 'crabs' or some other hideous disease. No one ever found out, as they sidled out of his office as fast as they could!


As for sheer charm, the Frenchman, who was neither well dressed, nor goodlooking , took the top award! I swear that man could fake interest in a discussion of an electrical insulator!



And the award for pomposity went to the MD- he was Swiss. And an immaculate dresser, -but somehow 'sterile', if you get my meaning. I mean no disrespect to the Swiss, for my direct boss was a Swiss man, who was the most even tempered, laid back, calm man, I have ever met. And his style of dressing was more casual, & he was married to a very lovely Indonesian woman, so perhaps she influenced his 'style'?


Oh well, how much do 'clothes maketh the man'? I think not much any more?

Thursday, January 11

WIP s & other unfinished items

This is a pic of one of my WIP's. A WIP is a work in progress, for you nonquilters. I have about 4 wip's now, I am ashamed to say. I love the bright colours in this one, & have even bought the fabric to make the borders. Work ground to a halt with the coming of the hot weather. And... I am thinking of starting another, before I have finished this! It seems to be something most quilters do. Though I did promise myself I would never do it, I find I have, anyway. When I first started on this quilting lark, I was introduced to it by my daughter. She has about 17 WIP's!! I have finished off some for her, & done the quilting for her on my machine. Now she is so busy she doesnt seem to find time for her quilting, but I try to remind her to take some time for herself.

My first effort was the quilt I called Four Seasons, that I made out of Charm Squares. Next, I made this quilt that is pictured. I made it from a pattern by June Gilchrist, & loved every minute of making it! It gets used a lot by SG when he makes cubbies, & it has lived for some years on the back of a chair. Now it is in the blanket box- hence it's wrinkled state.

I refuse to be 'precious' about my quilts, & like to think they are being used- & abused a little- & I really make them for enjoyment & comfort.
GOM gets upset when SG takes them outside, but they can always be washed!
It seems I have always 'made' things, knitting crochet, sewing & stuffed toys, & of course, my beloved dolls. I used to make cloth dolls to sell for a bit of pocket money when I was first married, & GOM used to be such a help. He would sit with a knitting needle & stuff the long legs of the floppy bed dolls that were popular then.
Later I made little dolls for orders, & I never made much profit, but I did enjoy the process. My DJ still has her little 'Sally' I made her, even though she is a bit worse for wear these days!
When I was a teenager, I used to make myself clothes on my grandmother's old treadle. I also remember trying to fix the belt on it once, & put the wire hook through my finger. I never let on, as I wanted to go out, so I hid the fact that it was a nasty wound. It got infected of course, & I was lucky not to lose the tip of my finger!
When I was a teenager, I decided I wanted to be a nurse- well, I had probably decided that long before I was a teenager!
So my friend of the car-knapping, & I became St John Ambulance Cadets. I loved everything about it, & all the things we learnt. The classes used to be held in the old Courthouse. It was a lovely old wooden building & I used to often sit & wonder about what had gone on, long before we used it for our classes.
There were cells, & this is where we used to have our pracitcal exams to pass to the next level. One of our very loved local Doctors used to take us for our exams, & examine our bandaging techniques. I remember coming second in my class, & felt very proud of myself.
In the summer the St Johns cadets from several districts about, used to go to a camp at Mt Maunganui. I cant remember the exact location of the huge buildings we used for barracks, but I do remember the fun & the excitement we used to have. One of my cousins, from another town used to come to the camp, & we used to get together, but it was more a case of being with the friends you spent most time with at your home base.
I remember we used to get prizes for the best kept cubicle, & we WON! one year, anyway. I was a bit fearful of the high bunks, but I would never let on about that! Silly me, for I always seemed to get a high one allocated to me.
We used to have to prepare the food for all our meals, & take turns at doing all the chores about the camp. At meal times we would hoard cheese & bread, & in the night, after lights out, we would have cheese & bread ball fights, flinging the lumps about in the dark at the other cubicles & down the 'boys end'.
I was never a 'joiner' really & Brownies or Girl Guides never appealed to me, but I love being a St John Ambulance Cadet.
I don't really remember when we stopped being cadets, but I suppose we must have just 'grown out of it.' And discovered boys, no doubt.


Wednesday, January 10

Think happy thoughts, think happy thoughts...

Think Happy Thoughts!

These lovely pics were taken by Nice Neighbour, of their beautiful orchid. When it flowers, it perfumes the whole neighbourhood with the smell of vanilla!
I asked if NN had some pics, so she obligingly provided me with these.

I find I have mixed feelings about orchids- there is something vaguely sinister about the look of this one, but the perfume is nice, so I am not sure what I find disquieting about them. Mr & Mrs NN seem to have the magic touch with plants, including the orchids.

One of my wishes, when I was a child, was to learn the piano. Of course, we didnt have a piano, nor was there space for one,- nor could my mother have afforded one, or the lessons. But that didnt stop my childish heart from yearning to learn.
I used to spend weekends at a girlfriend's house, & they had a piano. My girlfriend had no desire to learn, though she had had some lessons, & was somewhat of a Tomboy, in that all she cared about was cars. She had 3 older brothers, & an older married sister. She was by way of being 'an afterthought' as my mother used to say.
Her mother was a lovely woman, with a wonderful sense of humour, & we had some great times, laughing. Her father was a strangely silent man, who had a skin condition- something like excema, which was probably caused, or exacerbated, by the fact that he worked in the Dairy Factory. I am not sure what he did, but I know he was a very clever man, & I suspect he was something to do with getting the balance of the cheese correct. He was a Scientific Mr Big at the factory.
As we got older, my girlfriend's mother was frequently away, nursing her ill mother, & so my girlfriend & I virtually 'ran wild' at the weekends. Dear old Mr C would retreat into his world of itching, & reading, & we would play loud music, & dance about in the lounge, & my friend would study her brother's books about cars.
Girlfriend's father owned an old Morris Oxford - I think it was. Not a car person, & was never really 'into' them the way my girlfriend was. My girlfriend could drive, & I am not sure how she learnt, but suppose one of her brothers taught her when he was home. One of her older brothers had been killed in Korea, another lived in Australia, & her nearest brother seemed to be away a great deal, doing what, I am not sure.
He got his pilot's license, & I remember he took us for a flight over the Mt Maunganui area, once, in a small Piper plane, to help get his hours up for becoming a commercial pilot. He owned a motorbike, & was speed mad, as was my girlfriend.
When we got to be about 15, my girlfriend used to sneak her father's car down the rather steep driveway, & then we would push the car down the road, & she would start it, & off we would go! I think the first time she did it, I was terrified. I kept expecting the police to stop us, or her to crash the thing. She drove fairly well, considering, & we never did come to grief.
As the driveway was so steep, we had no chance of pushing the heavy old car back up again, so she would roar up the driveway, on our return, & roar into the garage. I dont know if her father ever knew, but reason would seem to say he must have! Or else he was totally deaf! Nothing was ever said though, so she continued to do it, when she dared.
I was a relatively 'good' child, as far as school went, & didnt truant -until my final year of High School, & that was only in Study periods, when about 6 of us used to cycle off to a river & swim in the lovely cool water during the steamy, sleepy, heat-laden, lazy, summer afternoons. I can still remember the smell of the grass, and the smell of the river, with the tall basket willows on the banks. And the smell of the bracken, tangled & tall. It would be so golden & hot, & we always wished we could just sleep, lying in the long grasses, after our swim. Of course we had to return to put in an appearance before the school day finished. And then get all hot again, cycling home from school!
My friend of the car-knapping, was an out-of-school friend. Not sure why, but it just seemed to work out that way. She was never in my class, -apart from our first year at school- & so we just didnt spend time together at school. On some of our nighttime excursions she would speed down shingle roads to the beach, & we would swim in the ocean in our underclothes! Even in those days, we seemed to be reluctant to strip off, though it was usually just the two of us.
We are probably lucky we didnt drown, as it was a somewhat wild ocean beach, with a heavy undertow in places. I look back now, & think we are probably lucky to still be alive! I dont know if her mother knew the half of what we got up to, while she was away nursing her mother, but she never said anything to us. Nor did her father, who was probably just glad we fed him, & left him in peace with his books & his itch.
My friend never did very well at school, and I suppose largely 'wasted' her education, as far as academic achievments go. But she became a nurse, & later the Matron of a Hospital, & is now a very High Poo Bah in a Hospital Board.
She always had a wonderful, generous warm heart, & would give a friend anything, unconditionally.
She married a wonderful man, & had 2 lovely children, & now has 4 wonderful grandchildren
And yes, she is still my 'buddy'!

Tuesday, January 9

Dont you hate it when....

You think you have everything under control.
Things are not going brilliantly, but it is not flying about, or splattering...

Then someone turns your fan on! And of course the proverbial flies everywhere, & most of it lands on you!

We have had SG here for the morning/afternoon, & he has been full-steam energy, & just exhausted us! I feel as if I am a washed out limp piece of paper! Almost disintergrating.

Then the dunny decides it is not going to flush properly. And SG tells us 55 times that "We need a plumber!"

We have now dealt with a flood in the bathroom & unpleasant thoughts about what it might be that is flooding UP! Gurgling heralded the end of the blockage, but it has been an occasional thing for a while, so we DO need to get the plumber back. And chop every privet out of next-door's garden!

And dont you hate it when some FREAK says something like Cackulate, when he means calculate!! GRRRR. ON TV!!

I know my grammar has slipped a lot since the death of my mother, who was an aboslute stickler for correctness. But I hope I still pronounce words correctly.

And didnt you just hate that sodding little Goodie TwoShoes you had to share a class with. She never said a wrong thing, & you could tell by the look in her sly little eye, she lied, but she would say ANYTHING to get into the teacher's good graces. And the teacher never even realised! The whole class was aware of what a brown-nosing little swine she was, but noone bothered to speak up.

Over the years we had several, & I often wonder where they are today- probably the company manager!

I used to get regularly beaten & threatened by a girl called Julie. I have never forgotten what a nasty vicious girl she was, & I was terrified of her. She was older than me, & she used to lie in wait for me, if I was walking the long way home from school. Her father was a Bank Manager in the town, & supposedly they were a 'nice family'.

I recently got in touch with some girls I had gone to school with, at the same time, & learned they had been neighbours of Julie's. They were just as terrorised by her, & it turned out her brother -who I never knew thank goodness- was cut from the same mould. Sadistic & cruel. But the girls next door are convinced the father beat the mother, so perhaps that explained things?? These days I try to give the benefit of the doubt. But occasionally, I dont want to !

Consequently I never liked Julie as a name, & still dont like it.

And that is another thing... names. What is it with these clowns calling their kids things like TAYOALUH, & BRYNNDAWENDAH. Perhaps I exagerate a little, but I cant help but feel sorry for the children. It is not so much the names, but the sometimes ridiculous spelling that I object to.

What IS in a name, I guess?

I just seem to be all disgruntled, - is there such a word as gruntled??haha.

I seemed to get a glimmer of my old lust for creativity today, & of course felt frustrated at not being able to give it all my attention. I did attempt some sketches while SG was watching some cartoons, but I have got the scale wrong, so now I will have to try to reduce them on the photocopier.

If they turn out, I will keep you posted, as they say.

PS. **This is an edit to say I had another bloody balding yesterday, by a hairdresser, who obviously had a terrible Xmas & New Year, so she took it all out on my head! She had a face like thunder throughout the whole process, as much as to say "I DARE YOU TO SPEAK!"

Even the GOM was shocked & was moved to say, "She made a bloody mess of it didnt she?"
Of course that made me feel a LOT better! Here I was, in public, with hair clinging to every available surface, & every time I moved, I got showered with more!
Ye gods, now I will be cringing indoors until growth occurs!
This could, in some measure, explain why I am feeling so grumpy & & grouchy.

Monday, January 8

Wondrous

These pics were taken from our balcony last evening.

At risk of boring everyone stupid, with my continuing pics, from the same spot, I find I am constantly amazed at the changing vista of the sky.

I consider myself truly lucky to have such a spectacular view to admire. I dont think I ever noticed the sky quite so much as I do since we have lived here.
I swear, that looks like a giant eye, peering down upon us! What do you think?
I should have rung my friend to come to take some pics, as she has a lovely new camera, & is very interested in taking unusual photos. The trouble is, the scene changes so quickly in the evenings. Possibly by the time she got her car out, & drove up here, the chance would be gone, even though it is only 5 minutes by car.
The most spectacular sunsets I have ever seen, were while we were on holiday in Phuket. I had always dreamed of seeing one of those fiery red sunsets, so they were a dream come true. We were surprised at how suddenly it got dark once the sun went down.
Living in the South Island of New Zealand, we had long twilights, & when we came to live over here, I missed those beautiful twilights. They could be a curse in Summer, when you wanted little children off to bed, & daylight saving was in force. It didnt get dark until almost 10pm.
I recall my Grandmother, who came from Yorkshire, telling me of the long twilights they used to have in England, in Summer.
Yesterday afternoon, it was hot & sticky, & we had a few sprinkles of rain. I went & collected DJ & SG, & brought them here for the afternoon. SIL was working, so we had the whole afternoon to talk & just 'be'.
I find it very difficult to bath Leo these days, as he is a very strong & sturdy dog, so DJ gave me a hand. I had done Honey, & she is easy, she is so little & quite light. Leo was reluctant at first, but DJ got him 'under control' & he looks very handsome today. Needs a bit more work on his tail, but at least he is lovely & clean.
All my reminiscing about childhood memories is still swirling about in my head, so I can feel more posts coming, about the past. My Beloved Brother rang me last night from NZ, & we laughed about various things we recalled.
When our Grandparents got their own house, it was new, & was built on a 1/4 acre section of land, which was on the road frontage of a farm. My uncle was a Returned Soldier, & he got the chance to buy the land. The owner of the farm, was a very nice man, & he subdivided 3 Quarter acre sections of land to sell to Returned men.
My uncle was young & unmarried, & he very generously gave the land to my Grandparents to build their house upon. When he got married, he built a Bach, which was a 2 room dwelling, behind the main house. He & my Aunt lived there until they had had their first son, & built their own new house, closer to the town.
My Grandfather put in a huge vegetable garden, & we always had plenty of fresh vegies, & there were fruit trees too. Peaches, Nectarines, & Passionfruit, Tamarilloes- which were known at Tree tomatoes in those days! There was the dreaded choko vines, & the huge Scarlet Runner bean frame. I loved those beans, but only when they were young, as they tended to be stringy as they got older, & could be very off-putting. To this day, GOM does not like beans, as, his mother used to salt preserve them for winter, & they had them all winter long! My Grandmother never did that, we always seemed to have plenty of other vegies for the winter months.
There was a chook house, with a large 'run', up at the back of the section, & my grandmother kept several hens. They used to lay plenty of eggs, & I remember going to feed the, chooks, & collect the eggs. My Grandmother would mix 'layer mash' for them, & of course we always gave them the vegie scraps. I still swear those eggs tasted better than any 'shop bought' ones today!
Our Grandmother had a lame leg, with a stiff knee, due to a bad break she had suffered, so she used a walking stick, but she still used to get out in the garden & though she couldnt bend her knee, she could get plenty of gardening done.
My brother had a young playmate who lived on a farm further up the road, & he & my brother used to sneak tobacco off the father, & they tried out their first cigarettes behind the chook house!
And once, we sneaked a bottle of beer out of the toilet window, & drank it up behind the Chook house too. (It was not nice at all, but we pretended it was great!)
The back of that Chook house could have told a tale or two!
On a trip back once, to the old town, we visited our Grandparents house, & quite surprised to find it still there. It was a small house, but the young couple who had it then, were renovating, & they said they had bought it because it was a very sturdy & well built house.
The sky is sullen & grey this morning, but it seems to be very humid & hot again. I think there is hope for rain, but who knows??