Thursday, February 25

Small Vanities.

I suspect everyone has small vanities.
Little things they like to keep perfect, or as near as they can get.

One of my small vanities was my fingernails. When I was young, they were frequently admired. Not my hands, though. Just the nails.

I seldom wore nail polish, as I could never stand the suffocation my fingers seemed to feel, with the varnish cutting off the air supply.

My nails are not so nice now, they are not as smooth or strong as they were. I no longer consider them a 'vanity' matter.

Once upon a time, my slim figure and small waist were vanities to be proud of.
Now I try not to think of them, gone forever, as they are.

In fact some days I rather feel I resemble a Troll who has lost her bridge!

I have a social family event coming up, and am wondering how to make myself presentable.

Which brings me to another small vanity.

I have a nickname I am comfortable with, I feel more 'myself' in this name.  I dislike my given name, I don't feel 'me' in that name. I really really dislike my second given name!

Noone, apart from older family members call me by my given name, thank goodness.

In the social family event, my daughter asked if I would be a Witness for her, then she mentioned it would involve my full 'real' names being used and read aloud publicly. She was worried I could not stand this to happen.

I told her it is a small vanity, and I could never be so 'vain' about it as to let it alter her plans.

One by one, our vanities seem to go, as we age. My handwriting used to be nice and neat. Now it is barely legible, even to me! Thankgoodness for computers, and typing.

A family story which delights me every time I think about it, concerns my father, and his grandfather.  My Great Grandfather was, apparently very vain about his nose. I have no idea why. Perhaps he considered it to be much better looking than other noses in the family. There were some honking large noses about, to be sure, but I am not sure which side of the family they came from. Perhaps it was his, and he considered himself very fortunate to have escaped the large version himself.

When my father was a child, he was weilding a knife for some reason, which family legend has never really explained. Greatgrandfather was a very skilled cabinet maker of some great pride and perhaps he was instructing the young grandson.
As he was instructing the youngster to "Never cut up Boy! Never cut up!" my father gave a huge lunge upwards with the knife to sever some cord, (as near as we can tell from the legend!) and lo! He cut his grandfather's nose!

Of course his Grandfather was so horrified he never forgave the boy, and so he fell out of favour with both his Grandparents, because his grandmother, who was married to the grandfather with the princely nose, could never abide my father nor his sister, and she frequently referred to my Aunt as "The limb of Satan".

My father, aged around two,  once almost hung himself on a cord of a blind on a French door, and apparently Greatgrandmother thought it hugely comical, as he hung gasping for air, off the step at the verandah.

There were older siblings, who were in favour, and later younger siblings who were also in favour. I have no idea why the middle two were so disliked.

Family stories can be so fascinating. I wonder how I will be remembered, when I am gone.

On a hike to a medical facility, I noticed this strong funghi growing up through the detritus on the ground.

I was quite amazed to think how much strength it had, to push aside the twigs.
The life force is very strong.

This post took hours to do. I could not find the photo of the Great grandparents. I could not get the funghi to upload.  My connection keeps dropping out. So frustrating. Grrrrrr.

Sheryl Crow. Every Day is a Winding Road. One of my favourite songs.

Sunday, February 21


Warning! This is a Rant, so feel free to ignore it, if you wish.

It seems the older I get, the more I am prone to rant!

Now I know language is a living thing, and is apt to change over the years with usage, and altered meanings for certain words. (GAY not being the least of them!)

Whatever happened to TWICE???  Or even THRICE??  Both perfectly good words, meaning respectively two times, and three times.

Now it seems to be all "two times" which irritates the crap hell out of me! In this age of abbreviated all sorts for texting and other uses, why say two times, when twice would serve as well.
I realise young people have probably never heard of 'thrice' and would be hard pressed to understand what it means. But when, oh when, did TWICE go out of vogue??

Another rant concerns the seemingly brain-dead persons who leave idiot comments on lots of my posts, which are either advertisements or 'Asian language' of some description, which I cannot understand. Nor do I wish to understand.
I wonder if anyone has any advice for getting rid of these serial pests for ever? I have tried 'deleting sender', but still they keep coming. One post in particular keeps getting these stupid comments, which I delete every time. I wonder is it the Title of the post, which has attracted the moronic commenting. I wont repeat the title here, in case that causes a flurry of further moron's comments!

I have never wanted to use Word Verification, but it seems I might have to resort to that, if these pests keep dogging my posts!!GRRRRR.


Further news about Gom is not good. He has been feeling well under par, and after initially responding well to treatment, is now not doing so well.
He is to see a Specialist as soon as possible now, as our GP admits he is stumped as to the reason for falling blood counts.
We realise there is no cure for his condition, but our GP felt with managed treatment, Gom could still live to a decent old age.

So, I am ignoring the totally bald patch on the front creeper on our front wall, where some overzealous Gom went seemingly mad. It will grow back- eventually.
I am ignoring the snide comments about my driving and parking abilities.
I am remembering all the fun times we have had.
I am remembering him in his role as Happy Young Publican Husband.
I am remembering all the really brilliant things he did, as a Publican, and Husband, and Friend, and Father.
We can still laugh together on good days.
I try to bite down the bad bits, and realise none of them are life threatening... though the sanity may be tried & the sense of humour may temporarily vanish.

Simon & Garfunkel, Bridge Over Troubled Water.

Friday, February 19

Whilst Out And About..

Yesterday, whilst having a 'moment of distance' from Gom, I decided to take myself for a small tour of Op Shops.

One, which I deem a very worthy cause, is messy, untidy, and seems to contain the dregs of everyone's "Too lazy to take it to the Dump"  mess. I feel sorry for the organisers, and the cause. I try to purchase something each time I visit, but yesterday, I just could not find anything I felt worthy of  purchase.
It is a shame, because it is for a Priest- yes, don't faint, those of you, who know how anti any 'Religion' I am! This man does nothing but great work, trying to save the teenaged 'lost'. He runs a farm style property, where these lost and damaged teens can learn to love. They are given animals to care for, and responsibilities that give them a sense of pride and achievment. They are taught about love, and self respect, along with respect for others. Often their lives are transformed.

I know this Priest has almost thrown in the towel, more than once, but his valuable center has provided salvation,  for so many precious young lives, who would have been otherwise lost. He relies on donations to keep the facility up and running.
I have private issues with the greed of his 'Church' and the wealth they continue to hoard, and boast about! lo, the man in the million dollar 'Frock' laced in gold, with slippers and a silly hat! how much does all this crap cost?? How much poverty could be alleviated with this combined amassed wealth?in this world. !!
I will not use this Blog as a forum for my disgust and anger.
Suffice to say, I moved on, with regret and visited another Good Cause op shop.

Clean, organised, tidy, and well run, with very fair prices, for goods on sale.

It was then I was afflicted with the most distressing chest pain. I wont elaborate as to it's progress. I lurched about the shop, hiding in corners, pulling faces, and testing myself, to make sure it was not a stroke. If anyone had observed me, they would have thought me quite mad, grimacing at the wall, poking my toungue out, and lifting my arms, to prove it was not a stroke I was experiencing. The pain seemed to indicate something else altogether, however. 'Blinding' springs to mind.

I knew I could not drive the car, feeling like that, so I lingered on, pretending to inspect unseen goodies on display. Eventually, after 15 minutes I felt confident enough to drive the car.

I have long wanted to photograph some "Art Works". They are often spectacular, and very detailed. They seem to change quite frequently, as I suspect rival 'Artists' destroy and deface the lovely works of others. Which is a great pity.

I have the feeling that the owners of the Business commisson these paintings, and are probably as disappointed as the artists, when they are defaced.
The art is, of course for a business, and it is a popular place for young lads- and girls, I hasten to add, -for Birthday Parties etc.

It is not my wish to advertise the company, but I give you some of the Art decorations.

It is not altogether my style choice, but I do so admire the ability! How good is this!
Of course, I can't read a word of it, but that is not the point I guess. The fearsome Dinosaur would surely strike fear into any defacer's heart?
This particular wall changes regularly, and so I will try to get updates from time to time.

Today has been a really pleasant day for me.
I have had phone calls, messages,  and a lovely lunch, so I will retire very tired & well satisfied.

Stars, Janis Ian.

Friday, February 12

The Smell of Childhood

Today, for some reason, the smell of Jam came drifting into my nostrils, in my computer room.

To be more accurate, the smell of cooking Jam. I could smell fruit simmering on the stove, in an old Aluminium preserving pan, which was a treasure, belonging to my Grandmother. It was huge, to accomodate the thousands of pounds of fruit stewed or simmered in it's vast interior.

Of course the thousands of pounds of fruit, were not all put into the pan together. There were peaches to be made into jam, should they be too 'smashed' or unsightly, to be preserved. Only the best looking fruit made it to the preserving jars, so they looked beautiful on display, in jars of large capacity. Were they Mason Jars? The screwtop lids were carefully washed, recycled, and the jars washed, and sterilised for the preserved fruit or jam. There were also jars, with glass lids, and rubber seals, which were clamped shut, with metal fasteners at each side of the jar. The rubber rings could be purchased at the local Variety Store, or Gocery/Hardware Store.

There were small self sealing tops, which were placed on top of the Jars, before the Screwtop lids were sealed down. 'Perfit Seals'? Small metal discs, with a rubber ring around the outer edge, which presumably the heat and vacuum, sealed. I remember my Grandmother bought them in packets, and carefully took them out, to use on the still~hot jars of fruit.

The Jam was usually capped with Cellophone tops, which were bought in bulk, and they were wet, as in dipped in water,  before being placed over the jars of hot Jam, then fastened with rubber bands. Many jars of Jam, plum, apricot, peach, nectarine, blackberry & apple were 'put up'. Into the large Welsh Dresser, which lived out in our Porch, and was the home of the Preserves, throughout the Winter months. The cottage was too small to accommodate the large wooden Welsh Dresser, so it had to live out in the Porch. I remember it with awe. It was so beautiful. I wonder whatever became of it?

Then there were the Jellies, which were the more complicated 'Jams' made from the fruit. These were carefully dripped through muslin, which was tied, & suspended from a stick or wooden spoon, which was laid across a large bowl, so the juice could drip into the bowl. No touching and definitely NO squeezing was permitted, of the Muslin bag, or the resultant liquid would be cloudy. Clarity was of paramount importance, in the making of a good Jelly. I remember sometimes encountering old stockings used for Jelly Bags. Not Pantyhose, you note, as they were not invented then, back in the day!

If the season had been bountiful, we would have Blackberry Jelly in the Winter. Truly a taste to die for!! A luxury, of pure, rich,  fruit filled flavour, the like of which will never be found today, unless there is some person out there, making the Jelly from pure Blackberries.   If not, the Blackberries were mixed with Apples to make them go further, and a lesser conserve was the result. Still delicious, you understand but not the same richness of pure Blackberry.

Our Laundry room, which was then called the Washhouse, in my Grandparents' modest cottage, was the site used for the dripping of the muslin filled bags. It contained a large Copper, which had been the primary washing aid, until our Mother purchased a 'new fangled' Washing Machine. It had a mechanical wringer, which was truly a wonder, and resulted in the removal of the old clamped on wringer, between the two concrete tubs. There were two concrete wash tubs in the Washhouse, along with the copper.

The toilet was in a small alcove off the Washhouse, and so we passed the drippng Jellies on the way to the toilet. I suspect the bag was lightly squeezed now & then, by a passing child or two, just to see if anyone noticed!

I do remember the taste and smell of those Jams & Jellies were much superior to any commercial varieties available today. These days, I never eat Jams, and rarely try Jellies.

Once the Copper was retired from active washing duties, it became the receptacle for gifted bottles of beer and wine, and occasionally, my brother or I would sneak a bottle of beer,  out of the toilet window, to drink in secret, behind the Chookhouse! And we would pretend to enjoy the stolen bottle! Really, back then, it seemed horrible!! We kidded ourselves it was lovely.

Looking East last night, the sky looked so soft and gentle.

Looking West it was promise of gold. Beware false promises.

It was not entirely false. The day was mostly fine... & bleedingly HOT!
But Thunderstorms ensued and the humidity level reached screaming point!!

But I do love the sound of hard rain on the roof. Knowing I am safe and dry! One of Life's Free Treats.

Joan Baez, Forever Young.

Monday, February 8


I hope it is not the "Last Roundup".

Life seems to continue to 'wrestle' me to the floor.

As I lie there, metaphorically speaking, in impotent rage, I feel as though my 'control' has, or is, being taken from me.

I have tried the idea others are adopting. Instead of 'resolutions' they are choosing 'words'. To worship, or live up to, or down to, or something...
I have tried to think CALM. In a very loud thought box.

I feel as though something has shifted, somewhere in the scheme of 'things'.

I have always thought I was one to "Go with the Flow". This has seemed true for much of my life.
Now I find myself wondering if I am perhaps a thwarted, or frustrated "Control Freak".

I am tired of not having the choices. I want more freedom. I say that with trepidation, being mindful of 'what could have been' just so recently.

"Careful what you wish for... you might get it"

Gom is definitely on the mend. He has begun meddling again, in the 'things' I have stored in various handy locations, ready for when I need them in a hurry.
It is driving me insane again. He gets hurt, and then offended when I try to explain to him, just why I find this so upsetting. The end result is neither pretty nor comfortable.

I just seem to gripe gripe gripe lately. I think Euthanasia Packages sound bloody appealing  quite a good idea, just recently, as avalanches of the brown stuff seems to overwhelm us.

Look at this little fellow, who is our Nice Neighbour's resident frog. He has been seranading us all in the night, as he calls for a mate! He is in the center, so if you click he should be visible.

See the little Goldfish in the pond. They survived a recent fright, & no doubt are happy to still be alive and swimming! Most of them have been bred & raised by Mr & Mrs NN.

Other news includes Honey's nose. She grew a small wart, which of course grew, to a large wart, as I knew it would. She had one similar removed from her ear, recently.
See the stitch there. We need to go & have that removed on 15th- someone I am fond of has a birthday this same day! Honey did not seem to care that her 'Beauty Spot' was removed. It had begun to annoy her, so it is well gone!

Meanwhile the newly slender~appearing hound, is also reluctant to be the photographic star. He is missing his walks, but Gom is still too weak to take him out.

We have been on several excursions one of which was to Woy Woy, which was the home of Spke Milligan's mother. Spike Milligan frequently visited her at her home, and he also frequently poked fun at Woy Woy. (I do believe he once referred to it as the ar*ehole of the world!) This offended quite a few of the locals of course, and so, when a new footbridge was built alongside the vehicular road at Brisbane Water, a great many locals became incensed when it was named "Spike Milligan Bridge".

If I remember correctly there was an outcry when the Library was mooted to be named after Spike Milligan.
I rather liked his humour, and enjoyed the Goon Show on radio when I was young. I show my age with that revelation.

Woy Woy was a very fashionable beachside resort during the '20s and '30s. It seems hard to believe now, as it is not exactly a wonderful expanse of wide, or sunny sands. It does have a quaint personality of it's own, though it is hard to picture the bathing beauties up from Sydney, revelling in the therapeutic seaside water and air.

There is a local Fish Cafe, called Fisherman's Wharf, where the fish and chips are locally 'famous', and I must agree, rather delicious. They also sell wonderful fresh fish. However, small bank loans are needed to purchase most varieties! Or the gifting of first born children.

Gom and I lunched there, and a Pelican strutted about, begging for scraps. Foolish Gom tried to hand feed the Pelican. He almost lost his hand, and blood was drawn. With no malicious intent, I hasten to add. Nor was Gom injured. The blood taker did far more damage, when she took his latest blood test.

Poor me, I have to be on a special diet for 3 days, prior to having a BSL (which I thought meant  B*ll Sh!t Level  - only kidding!) test. I have to have, among other foods, 3 serves of fruit a day. As you can see, I am suffering!! 

My goodness, the stone fruit is wonderfully sweet this year. Costly, but very tasty.

I should not finish on a grumpy note.... but what is it with hair??
In our society, it is just not fashionable to be seen with hair legs, or armpits, or chins for that matter!

I am sure there are societies out there in the world, where bodily hair, other than head hair, is perfectly acceptable. Sometimes I wish I lived in one of those Societies.

My problem is leg hairs. I swear, I have tried every method available. The simple shave was the best option, before I got knee~challenged!

I have tried the lotion, guaranteed to banish all hair, leaving a smooth silky finish. Well, Bosh! is all I can say. It leaves stubble! More stubble than shaving used to leave.

Then I decided to try the Wax option. Holy Moly! The very first time, caused red bumps & lumps. Residue needed a special slimey/sticky/greasy cloth to remove said offensive 'wax?'
"Be assured" the pamphlet* said, "no soap and water is going to remove this residue" What!?, are they proud of the fact???!!

* Well, words to that effect!

The result was not good. Stubble stubbornly remained.
I foolishly persevered, trying again to use the wax. No hair was removed this time, but most of the sticky wax was left gleaming on my still hairy legs!!
After Labour Intensive scrubbing with the 'remover', most of it came off.

All I can say, is, I am glad I do not have facial hair to deal with. Nor does it matter much about my leg hairs, but I would have expected something to work!
Of course, it goes without saying, no hair came off!
I can't afford clinics for expensive waxing. HELP!!
I won't insert hair pics to offend everyone. Now that I think about it, why is hair so offensive??

Rod Stewart, I don't want to talk about it.

Tuesday, February 2

Thieves Abound- or Bounders Thieve.

Picture Meggie & Gom, sound asleep.
On second thoughts, don't picture that... it might involve snoring, and possible nakedness.

Bloodcurdling growls come out of our little Honey, followed by frenzied barking, as she leaps from the bed, & bounds down the passage.
Leo is a little off guard, and begins to bark furiously too.
Gom leaps from the bed, & rushes out to see what the commotion is all about. ( Yes, now that you ask, he was naked, as it happens, but he said not to tell anyone!)
We suspect some unwary Moggy may have strayed into the back yard, so lights on, & a good look about.

Nothing to see, then Gom realises the dogs are bounding down the stairs growling and barking.

He unlocks the front door, still naked, and ventures outside,  to discover there has been someone in our car. They have pawed through the trash  tissues and dockets leaving them strewn on the seats. No joy there, not even any stray coins!
We don't have any fancy Mod Cons. Not even a CD player. No GPS system for us.

Then Gom notices the garage door is open & realises the would-be thief or thieves have been inside the garage. Not that there is anything to take, most of the contents are junk, and we could not imagine opportunist thieves racing down the road bearing a lawn mower or a weedeater, or leafblower.

On ringing Mrs NN this morning, we learn that their car was not touched, but our Young Next Door neighbour had his GPS stolen. His tenant, had his car searched too. (?? what tenant? we never knew there was a tenant. Perhaps we have been blaming the wrong person for the dooff dooff music at the weekends!)

On consulting other neighbours, who park along our frontage, we find their cars were untouched.

I blame myself for leaving the car unlocked. I also left the garage door unlocked. Doors to upstairs were locked. We have been very lucky. The area we live in, has not had any burglaries, or thefts. We become complacent I guess. I have locked away the car inside the locked garage tonight.

Thank goodness for the noisy dogs. When I thought about it, I rather wished we kept a very large Alsation in our Garage. On the other hand, I am a softy, & would not like to have a dog I could not have in the house.

Gom is getting better slowly, but has a way to go. He has another blood test tomorrow, but unless something shows in those results, he does not have to see the Dr again for 3 weeks.

The cough has not gone, but is very much less intrusive, so we seem to get some sleep.
Apart from thievery of course.

A lovely friend made us a Calendar, using photos from my blog and  some of my photo collection for the top of each month. When I saw the sky pictures it reminded me of how few I have taken lately.
We have had so many grey days, with little blue, but plenty of high cloud, and no colour in the sunsets.

This was possibly the last nice one we had- well, visually, at least.

I really wished I could have just lay down on those feather pink clouds and floated away.

Don McLean, Castles in the Air.