Saturday, October 31

Surprise Reactions

It is now over fourteen years since my mother died. I find that very hard to believe.

I cried, at the mention, or thought of her, for five years after her passing.

There are times when I still miss her desperately.

I can remember her telling me the same thing, about her mother.

I guess, we never, ever, get over the loss or our mother, if we had a close relationship.

My Beloved Brother has just had a series of surgeries. Not related. But one of those 'patches' ~ or 'batches'~ which seem to attack us from time to time.

He is recovering, well, from his second surgery, which was less serious than the first.

He mentioned that he keeps 'smelling' our mother with him. In his vehicle. In his house, in the Hospital, both before, & after his surgery.

I know what he means, & I too 'smell' our mother in times of stress. Or even, in times of relaxed contemplation.

After our Mother had died, & I had returned to my home in Australia, I was driven, you might say, to plant growing things.

I was beyond the age to have babies.

I longed for living things. I longed for new creation.

I longed for a baby to cuddle. I would wish my children would produce more grandbabies, for me to cuddle, & confirm, the continuity of life.

I am told this is not unusual.

It is all about the primitive urge to produce life, to keep on living.

Reproduction. Such a Primitve urge. We really have little control over ourselves, if we think about it.

The Human Condition, seems bound to want to reproduce.

I planted pots with lots of plants. I grew from branches of wonderful plants existing in the garden. I had lovely success, & I rescued plants from 'Death Row'.

This Brunfelsia was one such rescue. I took it from a seedling in our rented garden.

I look at it now, beside this Strelitzia, which we bought, & planted, when it was very very small. How proud it seems now.

This strange & slightly Magical plant is flourishing in our garden. I cannot find the name of it, though I have searched the Internet. It is a very pretty pale pink & I love it for living in spite of me!!

Here it is beside another Brunfelsia, which a kind neighbour gave us, when we were redesigning our garden bank.

As I was out there, taking photos, I saw these holes in the bank under the Maple. I hope they are from Cicadas, hatching out.

I hope they are NOT funnel web spider lairs!!

When we redid the garden, we were advised there were several Funnel Web spider lairs! I am such a coward...

I really have no idea what these next plants are. I bought them at a Garage sale, & they have continued to live on the bank, in the shade of the Grevillea, & various other trees.

The slugs seem to adore them, so they never get very large, or vigorous!

I suspect that death, will always awaken an urge to live on, & we will contine to follow that urge throughout the ages.

Joan Baez, Luba the Baroness.

Tuesday, October 27

Green Springy Bits... and Pieces.

This has thus far, been a very odd Spring. It has been the wettest October for blah blah blah. You know the story, every day there seem to be some new record of the hottest, dryest, wettest etc...

The green things seem to like all this rain.
The Basil is flourishing!

Lunch out was without incidence of bums or other annoying appendages. The fish was so fresh it was fantastic.
The lettuce are delicious.

SG came for a day.
"Nan" he said, "My tummy is sore. I think it is my body telling me it is missing school!"
"Oh?" said Nan doubtfully...
Then there was a popping noise.
"Oops" said SG.
"Ah," said Nan, "I think your body is telling you it needs a poo!"
SG raced off giggling. "Yes!" he said.

Why do my violets thrive, so?
With narry a bloom.
But I see they are now minted!

I have not tried the blood & bone.
I have been told dogs will try to eat it, and will become very ill, should they do so!

All this rain suits the strawberries. At least they are flowering.
I just hope we get enough sun sometime soon, to set the fruit, and ripen the berries.

It seems a most curious thing.. the larger more vigorous plants do not seem to be flowering, or doing much growing.
However the smaller ones, are positively flourishing!

Attending a fund raising Rumble sale, Jumble sale, call it what you like.
Looking at assorted rubbish donated goodies. Grabbing a couple of good quilting magazines. Upon asking the price, from a young girl clutching bags to contain the goods, the girl is accosted and accused of "Taking our bags! Look, you've got our bags.What are you doing?"
The poor girl, blushing deeply, meekly tells the accuser, that she is a volunteer, & she is, in fact, helping!
She places my magazines into a bag, & I make my way round further tables.
I overhear several b!tch sessions taking place, about how 'disorganized things are' and how 'someone should have told her' 'what does he think he is doing' 'who told her she could..', etc etc.
Always the same story in every club or gathering.
It is partly why I remain a non joiner.

My cooking is benefitting greatly from the herbal growth.
This wonderful Oregano, was a gift from friends. It died down but has made a splendid comeback! I love it in salads too.
There is a chive plant in there too, doing it's best to survive.

On clickage, you can see a little pink flower on a shrub- well I thought it was a shrub, but it is turning out to be much larger than I anticipated.

It is growing up to the Maple, & the Allamanda is desperately trying to beat off competition on the fence.

You are now looking at a $20 mushroom!!
Doesn't look like much of a mushroom does it?
The story is, I bought a mushroom garden in a box, some time ago.
I did all the right things, & sat back to watch my garden flourish.
Except... you guessed it... it did not flourish.
Thus far, this is the one & only mushroom to appear.
I know it must be my fault somehow, but I am beggered if I know how, or why.

In the Supermarket, a woman was having a very lively discussion about the merits of various packages of meat..... which was fine. Until I noticed she was totally alone! She seemed to be talking to the meat! No, she did not have a mobile phone in her hand or anywhere that I could see.
She seemed quite unconcerned, when she noticed that I had noticed her. She made her choices, them moved on, to talk to the breads, and bread rolls.

Here for your viewing pleasure is a delightful photo of young O, with his proud Dad. They were at the local Tractor Show.
Peas in a pod?
His mother, had a wonderful time, watching people's faces, as she told them she has named her son after a tractor!

Not for any particular reason... just that I love Bob Seger.
Roll Me Away.

Sunday, October 25

Blasts from the Past.

Sometimes a scent or a song, or even a colour will suddenly send me right back to a former life, with a former me, feeling just as I did way back then.

One such song, is Boys of Summer, sung by Don Henley.

I was a shop owner back in that life. I could please myself what I served and how. I had a menu of 'healthy' foods, most of which I prepared myself, fresh, each day in my shop.

I had a Silver Torana car, which I loved driving, & I would have the radio playing loudly on my way to & from work.
One of the hits of that time was Don Henley's Boys of Summer. So every time I hear that song, I am instantly transported back to the freedom of my own car, my own shop, my own hours of trading.

Occasionally Gom would come to help me in the shop. Sometimes our Daughter came & helped me. I had one assistant, a girl, who worked part time, & she & I got along very well. We both loved the same music and both had the similar senses of humour.

She was married to a lean, mild looking man, who periodically turned into some type of Swamp Monster, for want of a better term. He did not drink, but he would turn suddenly into a fiend from Hell, and beat his wife. She would run to her Mother in Law's house, with her two children. Her MIL would slap, & hit, her son, when he came rampaging after his wife.

It seemed incredible. I would never have believed him capable of such lunacy, if I had not witnessed the broken teeth, the black eyes, the bite marks on her body. The scratches.

Her tales of splintered wardrobes, shattered mirrors, sounded farfetched.
His rage seemed to somehow, completely transform him, and give him incredible strength. As I said he was a smallish built man, who seemed so couth, so sane.

Everyone advised her to leave him. Each attack seemed to escalate. She finally did leave him, before he killed her. They remained 'friends', unbelieable as that sounds. I don't think even he knew what demons drove him.

She came to visit me, when I was another person, living another life entirely. I was so happy to see her, and see how well she looked.

The life and times of the Boys of Summer had passed by then.
Boys of Summer had meant a new house.
A son staying before he left for his Overseas Experience.
Another son, gaining an apprenticeship he really wanted.
That same son meeting the girl, who was to be the one of his dreams, for the next seventeen years. We loved her too.
Our Daughter, leaving a huge hole in my life, as she went back to live in New Zealand.

As in Fairytales, the world turned, our lives dramatically changed.
I sold my shop.
I found another life as an office worker. I became another me, happy enough.
Then our lives changed again.
I became another me, entirely different to any other, previous 'me'.

The Boys of Summer, didn't sing in this new life.
I no longer had my lovely house.
I no longer had my beloved Silver Torana.
On Saturday nights, nerve shattering music invaded my life, shattering more than my nerves.
I broke.

From the ashes came a new me.
I can listen to Boys of Summer now, and recapture the wonderful feeling of driving in my car, the happiness of that era.
I can see past the sadness, the sounds of other music, and still feel the joy of that music .

Don Henley, Boys of Summer

Monday, October 19

Five Random Words.

Today, I am playing Five Random Words. My words were chosen by Violet Sky., at my request, so it is an optional game.
I like these games. I never know what I am likely to come up with, until I begin to write.

Well sometimes I think about it, and do have an idea, but often it is not until I am in the process, that it flows.

Boats tend to make me rather nervous. I seem to have a type of motion aversion/sickness. I once travelled on the InterIsland Ferry from Wellington to Lyttleton. It was an overnight journey, with hard bunks to sleep on. I spent most of the night sitting on the edge of the bunk, watching the horizon through the porthole. It was the only way I could prevent the feeling that I was about to vomit. I rocked & rolled for days after that trip. My sense of balance was well & truly out of whack. The service no longer runs, but I would never have wanted to repeat my night of sailing.
I have done the InterIsland trip from Picton in the South Island, to Wellington, in the North Island. That is a much shorter trip, but depending upon the weather, it can be rather unpleasant, or quite mildly enjoyable. Cook Strait is notorious for being unpredictable, so it is not always plain sailing, so to speak. Not very pleasant with small children though! Nervous mothers and boats do not mix!
I did think I would love to go on a cruise, but we never did. I have been on Yachts, sailing in Auckland Harbour. I have wished I was anywhere but on the yacht! I have ridden on the Harbour Ferries on Sydney Harbour. Mostly those trips have been pleasant.
I once went for a Dinner Cruise, on a Chinese Junk, in the Harbour at Singapore.
My brother & I once travelled on the RiverCat up the Parramatta river, & that was a lovey trip. Much more pleasant than a stuffy train.
I have ridden on boats on the canal waterways on the Gold Coast. I detested the smell, and the noise.
No, you can keep your boats, I will always prefer to fly.

As it happens, I am rather particular about spoons. Which spoons for what purpose. Gom is inclined to eat his icecream with a soup spoon, if that is the first one he enouncters in the cutlery drawer. As far as I am concerned, the only use for soup spoons, is to eat soup. Dessert spoons are for dessert. Teaspoons are more versatile, I will use them for all sorts of things, from cups of soup to sneaking slurps of Chocolate spread from the jar.
Has any one else noticed how there is a dearth of Tablespoons these days? Once upon a time, any self respecting canteen of cutllery contained at least two large tablespoons. Now they are like hens teeth, ...unable to be found except in the set of measuring spoons. Or at Garage sales of deceased Mother's odd collection of utensils, which the family regard with disdain.
I still wonder where the teaspoons of my life have all gone. I suspect they must sneak off with the odd socks, to dance in some secret dimension. How else to explain their mysterious disappearances?

Language is a tricky word to write about. I have only one language, English. The English I know and speak is not exactly the same as the English others speak. Much of it is the same, but there are the words which have grown over the years and generations, and have come to mean different things, in different countries, though we may all speak 'English'. Even in New Zealand, where I grew up, there are regional differences in the use and meaning of certain words.
Then there are the 'colourful' language words, some of which are universal I suspect. Some words regarded by the English as 'swear' words, are quite meaningless as such to another person from a different language speaking background. A Dutch friend once told us how he could never understand why anyone would want to use the term bullsh!t as a swear word. He said to him, it simply meant the feces of the bull, and therefore was unremarkable.
My mother often complained about the improper use of terms in everday use. We could not convince her that language is a living thing, and therefore is constantly evolving with time and use.

Ah yes, beards. Not everyone's choice. My brother has a full beard, which he grew when he was quite young, and he has only shaved it off once since he first grew it. Our mother had nagged at him for years to get rid of it. She used to hate finding hairs in the handbasin, after he had trimmed it up. It seemed no matter how careful he was, there were always some hairs to be found. I don't know that his wife cared one way or the other. She had only ever known him with a beard. When he did shave it off, everyone was horrified, including himself. When he had first grown the whiskers, he was a very thin man. When he eventually shaved it off, he was a much larger man. I think he frightened himself, as much as anyone, at the stranger who looked out from his face. Of course, he regrew it, and I am sure he will never take if off again.
I don't recall ever going out with a man with a beard. Gom once grew a short lived moustache when they were 'in', back in the day.

Last word. Potatoes. We love our potatoes, and would hate to be without them. We like them most ways you can cook or eat them. In New Zealand we also had Kumera, which were the equivalent to Sweet Potatoes here, in OZ. The sweet potatoes they call Kumera over here, just do not taste the same.
We were suprised when an Australian girl bemoaned the fact that her NZ inlaws were feeding her potatoes every day, and she felt this was causing her weight gain. We grew up with potatoes being a daily accompaniment to meals, and never felt they were 'fattening'.
I still love the New Zealand South Island potatoes the best of all. I am not sure why, but perhaps it is the soil, or the fact that it is colder than the North Island, but somehow, they just taste wonderful.
Though my MIL & I were worlds apart in every way, she could cook the best roast potatoes I have ever tasted.

So that wraps up my five words.
Violet Sky got hers from Ian at and I still think so..
I am sure, if you would like five words from either they would oblige.... or I would be happy to provide five words if you would like some.

Crowded House, Distant Sun.

Friday, October 16

Life's Little Grumbles.

Not so many of the Life's Free Treats. Recently, they have been mixed with Life's Little Grumbles.

Our Daughter has been having crap vehicle car troubles again, so we lend her our car, so that she can keep her job.
Gom walks Leo most evenings, so he is fitter than I am. On the other hand he does not have a buggered worn out knee. Plus, Honey is getting older like me, & her little knees have problems too.

He walked down to the shops for luxuries staples, such as bread, & milk.

One day we decided we were both a little stir crazy, so we hobbled- me walked-he, down to the local Pub, to have lunch.
It was rather a windy day, so we were helped along on the way down, with a back wind, & the fear of falling branches!

As it happened there was a large crowd for lunch, including a 'party' of some sort, which consisted of a lot of aged people- around our age, actually, but we won't dwell on that.
I always endeavour to sit in a corner, as I abhor sitting in 'alleyways' where the constant stream of 'traffic' bumps my chair, or the waitress whizzes past with precariously balanced meals, in danger of landing in my lap.
Gom however, seems to think in terms of economy, & chooses to sit at a table for two, where possible, regardless of where it is situated.
So, here we were, seated next to the longest table of the Party Of Elders, henceforth to be referred to as POE.

Most of the POE had actually finished their meals, so it was time for coffee, & chit chat, & visiting each other, about the table. Some played musical chairs, which was fine. However some chose the "lean-over-and-poke-your-bum-out" option.

One elderly man chose this option just after my meal arrived, so I spent most of my mealtime with a large bum to the left of my face. I kept thinking he would realise, & remove himself, or at least redirect the aim of his rear! Alas, he seemed totally unaware of anyone but himself. I felt peeved & wondered why, so many elderly seem to feel they have the 'Right Of Way' just because they are .... well, old!

Of course, mentally, I was standing up and loudly berating him for his ignorance! Asking would he mind removing his bum from my face, while I enjoyed my lunch?
I am a coward.

I spent a good deal of yesterday in a Medical Center, with our GD.

She was far from well, (So looked nothing like the above pic!) & spent a lot of time asleep, lying on a series of chairs, with her head in my lap.

We were at the center for 3 1/2 hours, in fact. It is a very large Center, & she was depriving noone of a seat. There is a LOT of seating. At times, it does get full! Most people check in, then take off for a couple of hours.
I wont dwell on what I think of the Center. We are lucky to have G Ps we really trust, who will see us in reasonable time, & appointments are available, with reasonable waiting times. It is GD's choice to go to the Medical Center.

As I sat & watched the -extremely slow- passing parade of really elderly & bent/slow, I wondered what it is, that keeps old people clinging so determinedly on to life. Even when the quality of it all has ceased to be of much value, to outside appearances, they still have that urge to live.

To sit, and spend hours, literally, waiting to see a Doctor, for perhaps 2 minutes, tops, for young ones, it seemed like a waste of productive young people's working lives.

That same time spent by the elderly doesn't matter. What else have they got to do with their time? I know that sounds a little harsh, & let's face it, I am getting on myself, so may change my thinking here.

Our son was thinking the same thing, as he attempted to attend a Medical Center close to his work, yesterday, only to find it completely clogged with really old folks, who were most likely just suffering from old age, all clamouring for attention, at the not-yet-opened-doors of the Center.
He took his injured hand, & returned to work.

The Birthday of Small Grandson was celebrated by his family. His silly sister insisted on going to work, after she finally saw a GP. He told her have the day off, but no, she wanted to work, so she was absent from her small brother's 7th Birthday.
Here he is with Gom.
He was teaching Gom the intracacies of Electronic games. He knows far more than we will ever know, even at Seven!

He was excited about his cake, so he stood on the kitchen stool to admire it, then blow out his candles, and make his wish!

David Gray, Babylon.

Monday, October 12

Mood or Moon Swings.

How quickly one's mood can change, given different circumstances, or events.

Or maybe, the weather changes the Moods. The Barometric Pressure, exerting it's influence upon the body.

The tidal ebb and flow, infuenced by the phases of the Moon.

This pic, was taken around 15 minutes ago, which was 7pm EST in Australia.
We are about to experience a thunderstorm.
Leo is acutely aware of this change in pressure, weather, call it what you will.

He can sense a thunderstorm long before we can. He becomes anxious, and somewhat distressed. He often seeks comfort from a friend of ours, with whom he is wary/distant at other times. He often comes to seek comfort from me, when he is most often Gom's dog, exclusively.
Honey is totally indifferent, & the electrical storms bother her not one whit.

We have been having rain, and rather coolish weather. Not unusual for this Spring Season, which tends to be very fickle and unpredictable, most years.

About a week to 17 days ago, we had a very hot, dry spell. The result of this was the pot of Lobelia on the balcony, turned into this pot of moss!

See, the dying remnants of the Lobelia. Poor things.

Another picture of ruins, the result of Leo Tap Dancing on this small garden in a pot.
The lettuce was killed outright, the rocket recovered to an degree, but the parsely hangs in the balance... ruins.

On a happier note, this continues to delight me, in spite of large neglect. It is lovely with bloom, at present. It has turned it's faces from me, but I suspect that is because I turned the pot around. At least it still lives!!

Here, I can't be a total failure. These seeds I sowed of Italian Parsely would appear to be thriving. I realise I am going to have to try to transpant them, so they can survive, & further thrive. Wish me luck....

Here, the basil & thyme appear to be happy. I know they would love more sun, but the CCTPPO* is at work, I fear.
Ever since I planted my seedlings, we have had rain, with little sun. I see the strawberries I have planted, have had a few flowers.
The tomatoes are not flowering, but there are promising looking buds.

This pretty little Heartsease is doing it's best to provide a little cheer.
And here, the lettuce that remain appear to be happy. The tomato in the centre seems to be flourishing. I am keeping my fingers crossed for sun, & survival.

Our little Grandson will turn 7 this week. He is so excited.

I can't really remember being 7.

I do remember being 8, as that was when my Grandfather died. A very strange time, with hushed voices, & no information forthcoming. I don't recall his funeral at all, and I know I did not attend. I suspect it was thought, back in those days, not a place for children to be.

I find it strange to think we were not allowed to say our goodbyes to our Grandfather.

We had lived with him, for most of our lives, my younger brother and I.

CCTPPO. Longtime readers here will know, this stands for Cosmic Conspiracy To Piss People Off. It is surprising how often it kicks into being....

Thom Yorke, Black Swan

Tuesday, October 6

Where was I, when I was interrupted?

Long time, no blogging.

Seemed to fall off the blog wagon, somehow, & have not even been catching up with reading.

Nothing spectacular happening. Just life & all it's attendant warts, & blips.

We had a weekend of rain. It was our Labour Day holiday long weekend. We live in a 'Paradise', that is the long weekend destination of many. How sad for them to come here, only to be met with rain, rain, & more rain. The whole three days. And yes, you guessed it, today is gloriously sunny!
A couple of the days were downright chilly too.

Ok for us, we could rug up, & watch DVDs & read.
Yesterday, we had a lovely lazy laid back visit from our Daughter J, & our Small Grandson. We consulted cookbooks, & he read the desserts, while we read the savouries.

Remember this?

Well, in the end, it was not the bugs that got them.
It was naughty Leo, using it for a step ladder, the better to see us over the fence, when we went out.
He tap danced all over them, & trampled the lettuce to death, almost killed the rocket, & some parsley I had added, has a very doubtful future.
He is very lucky I love him so much, or he might have been residing in the dog's home for the lost, by now! Grrrr.
We had another dust storm, the weekend before last. It was not spectacularly orange or red, but it was equally invasive. And dirty! And choking! And eyestinging!
This weekend's rain has done a lot to help the plants. However it did not deep cleanse my house.
We had our 12th Anniversary of living in this house. I can still remember the joy I felt, when we moved in. I still love it, even though it has it's faults. I am content to live with those faults. I am happy living in this area. We have lovely neighbours, so there is plenty to be grateful about.
It is Spring down here in the Southern Hemisphere.
There have been some tragic events unfolding, in Samoa. Also in Indonesia.
Our hearts go out to all the lost, the lonely and the damaged.

On a very much lighter note, here is a delightful photo of O.
I remember the joy I got from feeding the little orphaned lambs, saving their lives.

Here is O on his mother's back. Rural life in New Zealand!

I must thank my cousin M, for sharing these photos with me.

I have been pondering the fact that my quilt making has screamed to a halt. I did get a top backed & quilted, & bound, to finally become a finished quilt. Small Grandson grabbed it with glee, & took it off before I got a photo! Never mind, I have shown the top before, it was an I Spy.
I have 3 projects in the being-sewn-together stage. I have some hand work that I have added a few stitches to, but on the whole, I have been reading more than anything.

I did have 2 days where I seemed to sleep all day, and night. Who knows why.