Friday, June 27, 2008

School Holidays...!!!

Am looking forward to having Myles and Matilda home for the next two weeks...I love the time they are on school holidays, especially the days we just dag around at home.

It saddens me to hear parents complain that their children are going to be "under their feet" or "in the way" when school is out. We often have a "PJ Day" for the very first real day off, that is the Monday of the first week. The kids sleep in then get up and snuggle on the sofa in their PJ's and I cook pancakes and hot chocolate for breakfast. Sometimes they choose to get dressed, other times they have a shower and then put fresh, clean PJ's back on. It's not quite the same in Queensland as it was in Victoria, PJ Day is much more cosy when it's freezing outside. Don't get me wrong, it has been cold here at night, last night was 6 degrees, very cold indeed.

These holidays they have a bit of a list of "things to do"...some will get done, some they are only dreaming of...
  • Go to Dreamworld
  • Day at Mooloolaba Beach
  • See Prince Caspian at cinema
  • Shopping with "the girls"
  • High Ropes course at Thunderbird Park
  • Meeting new cousins
  • Sleeping in
  • Clearing out the hallway cupboard
  • Go to the library
As for me...I'm hoping, hoping, hoping that my special friend LISSY and her family will pack their camper and point the car north. I so want to be able to walk & talk and drink coffee with her. I met Lis online and she and her family have become very dear to me. Their beloved husband & Daddy has been fighting cancer for the last year and a half, it's almost 12 months since his bone marrow transplant. It's been a difficult time for them all, I am in awe of their courage.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Waxing & Waning...

Have you ever noticed how the moon seems to wane faster than it waxes..?? I watch the moon nightly, I like to know exactly where we are in the lunar cycle. Since adding the lunar phase widget to my blog I have watched it even more intently. Common sense tells me not, how silly it is to even suggest that it could happen this way.

So does it happen this way..??

Does it wane faster than it waxes..??

Monday, June 23, 2008

Is It Just A Man Thing..??

When John & I moved in together and relocated to Queensland we had some difficulties with the carrier that came to collect our container. Originally we had specified a date, then five days before hand they phoned and said that they had to pick it up in two days.

So 5pm on Friday was it...!!!

Two days...!!! That was three days earlier than we had you know how much can be achieved in three days of packing up a house..?? My house was already packed and vacated, most of our things safely in the container. I was exhausted after doing that single-handedly, and hadn't quite planned on having to pack up John's house too, most of which hadn't been done. He has so much "stuff"...accumulated over many years and most of which never sees light of day. It was hard work, really hard work and we were just exhausted. John has moved many times in his life but has never moved himself, a removalist has always done it so he really had no idea of how long it was going to take to pack.

Lunchtime on Friday comes and we had measured out the container and found we had a place for everything we wanted to take...fantastic.

Well, it was fantastic until the carrier showed up at 2pm instead of 5pm as arranged. The container had to go. We ran like lunatics to throw everything into it that we could...the driver was getting impatient and very antsy as he was due to be elsewhere. He showed us his manifest and sure enough, it said 2pm for our pickup...tried to phone the office but no joy, they had gone for the weekend it seemed. Eventually we could fit no more in the container, none of it was packed as we had arranged and we could not fit it all in...had we had the time to pack it properly it wouldn't have been a problem. Thankfully we remembered at the last millisecond to throw the trolleys into the container.

There was some kind of elated relief as the container disappeared around the corner leaving the detritus of our lives spread across the front lawn. A few calls later and we had a storage locker close to John's house so the next day or two was spent doing a final pack up.

Of course this left us with a problem...where to sleep..?? Kids were all deposited at their respective grandparents homes for a few days farewell visit and John and I hightailed it down the highway to Melbourne to stay at the Sofitel.

Reception staff were taken aback when we arrived to check in...we were filthy and I'm sure we didn't smell too good either. It had been a stinking 37C degrees (that's 98.5 for those still on the Fahrenheit scale). It was utter bliss to walk into our room, the cool of the room was just heavenly. A long bath with a gin & tonic in hand was the order of the day for me, then dinner at the restaurant while watching a storm roll into the city from the 52nd floor, just stunning. I loved that man so much for thinking ahead and making the booking...we had 3 nights there. We worked hard during the day at the house but to go "home" to the Sofitel and it's amazing view was just heavenly.

Fast forward 18 months to now...

Our things in storage arrived this week...we decided that yes, we would get them sent here and not have to pay storage fees any more, probably a fiscally prudent decision.

John started unpacking it on Saturday and my mostly tidy home just disappeared under piles and piles of John's lifetime of accumulated "stuff"...there is no other word for it, well, no other nice word for it anyway. I was too overwhelmed with the piles of it to do anything to was just taking over. I'm struggling with his need to hang onto so much of it, it's an aspect of his make-up that I haven't encountered before. John is (usually) a very practical, no-fuss's part of what attracted me to him...this just seems to fly in the face of that.

I understand that he is probably hanging onto a lot of it for sentimental reasons. For those of you who don't know, John's wife (and the boy's Mum) died 11 years ago...I have to be respectful of that but still...this goes waaaaaaaaayyy beyond that. I don't know what will happen to it when he is no longer on this planet, I can't see the boys wanting any of it.

I feel very overwhelmed, very much like my home has been taken over. Matilda commented last night that she felt like she was living in someone else's house (but was referring to our changing the living room around). She nailed it in one does feel like I am living in someone else's house. We talked last night about new curtains for the living area...need a trip to Spotlight to choose fabric...might also sew some cushion covers for the floor cushions and do a trip to Ikea for some bits & pieces to "lift" the room.

Meanwhile, I'm still coming to terms with the hoarding and inability to get rid of things. Is this a "man" thing..?? Do women do it too..??

Can anyone shed any light on the subject...if so I would be most grateful.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Word of The Week - week 25

voluptuory -

1. (n) A person devoted to luxury and the gratification of sensual appetites; a sensualist.

2. (adj) Voluptuous; luxurious.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

News Story...

This news story saddens me greatly...

I have no in peace little babies.

Refugee Week 15th - 21st June, 2008.

How very timely...

I received this (highlighted in red) in an email a last week. The email was from someone I used to work with and was sent out as a group forwarded thing.
It was good to know that our new government upped the quota to 300,000 immigrants next year. No wonder they did not raise the aged pension. They need the money to support the new immigrants.

Can you believe this ??????????

It is interesting that the federal government provides a single refugee with a monthly allowance of $1,890.00 and each can also get an additional $580.00 in social assistance for a total of $2,470.00.

A single pensioner who, after contributing to the growth and development of Australia for 40 - 50 years, receives only a monthly maximum of $1,012.00 in old age pension and guaranteed income supplement.

Maybe our pensioners should apply as refugees !!!

Lets send this to all Australians so we can all be ticked off and maybe we can get the refugees cut back to $1,012.00 and the pensioners up to $2,470.00 and enjoy some of the money we were forced to submit to the government over the last 40 - 50 years

Please forward to every Australian to expose what our elected politicians are doing - to the over-taxed Australian.

The person who sent this to me could not possibly lay claim to knowing me well. Had she known me well she would have realised I would find it offensive. I seethed with anger and my skin crawled when I read was meanhearted and downright xenophobic. I understand that she did not write it but merely forwarded it but surely by doing so she was agreeing with the sentiment expressed...(not particularly articulately either I might add).

We are so very fortunate to live an a country of abundance, we are wealthy in so many ways and as such have an obligation to extend the hand of warmth & friendship to those in need.

How much more needy than refugee status can you get..?? These people who have been uprooted from their homes, families and countries, many have had to travel long distances to safety by foot or worse still, in an unseaworthy vessel crossing treacherous waters. They are desperate and disenfranchised...have been witness to atrocities committed to family members by soldiers, other humans. Parents have seen their children murdered, children have borne witness to their parents violent deaths. They have left their lives, their homes and possessions, some have nothing more than they clothing they stand in.

Do the authors and forwarders of such emails really think people come to our country in such horrific circumstances to rip off the Australian Government and get rich quick..??


You can read some stories at the Oxfam website...both heartwrenching and heartwarming.

Monday, June 16, 2008


I just logged on to add a new post...our Parental Control Device didn't like that and blocked me out. It stated that the website I was trying to view contained matter suitable for adult viewing only.

I wonder which post..?? Perhaps the conception one..??

It has amused me no end...

My Scrabble friend Lynda has rejoined the blogging world...go and say hello to her here.

Lynda and her husband adopted their daughter when she was 13, she tells it like it is. Their story is heartwarming.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

One Perfect Winter's Day...

Some days everything just goes right...

We had a day like that today...left John at home, rather unwell, but also needing some quiet time to finish an essay...(he's completing his Masters in Public Administration this year...finally). The last six weeks or so has been really full on with study so on the weekends I have been taking Matilda & Myles out on Sunday afternoons to give him the space he needs to get work done. We would, of course, prefer to have him with us but that will happen soon enough.

Today we headed up to the Sunshine Coast...Myles & Matilda had been wanting to visit Bellingham Maze for some time so today was it. It was fun but didn't hold their interest for very long...I think they are getting a bit old for some of the activities they enjoyed when younger. They did enjoy the bird aviary though.

After leaving the Maze we drove to to Mooloolaba on the was a gorgeous day, around 23 degrees (that's 73F for those of you in the USA), clear & sunny...we just love the Winter climate in Queensland. Of course, when at the beach what else do you have for lunch but fish & chips..!!! We found a fish shop that sold fresh fish as well as takeaway f&c's, collected our order and headed to the beach. They were truly the best f&c's I have ever eaten, the surroundings helped of course though.

*Note - the photo above isn't mine but is of Mooloolaba Beach

It was a perfect beach day, gentle breeze, not too hot to be in the sunshine & lots of smiley happy people about. Matilda & Myles changed into their swimming gear and spent the next hour and a half being dumped and jumping through the waves. More than once I wished John was with us, I really miss him when we do something special and he's not there...his absence is palpable.

We headed home around 4.30ish with two exhausted, sandy, damp kids in tow...both had warm jackets to put on and clean dry towels to wrap themselves in. They were very talkative for the first part of the trip home...we have decided that a beach day at Mooloolaba is a must for the next school holidays, with a little more preparation this time. I hope it's as much fun...part of what made today so special was that it was (mostly) very unexpected. We had planned to head to a beach but beyond that there were no expectations. That we found a perfect beach, ate fabulous fish & chips and that the weather was glorious was just luck.

I cooked a pot of Chicken & Vegetable Soup, I had brewed the stock yesterday and chopped all of the vegies last night so it was just a matter of putting it all together and whizzing up some bruschetta to have with it.

Exhausted now, off to bed...I have been dozing in front of the television hence the lateness of this post.

Night all.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Fifteen Years Ago Today... darling baby daughter Matilda was conceived...!!!

12th June, 1993...

It was central Hobart, the start of Winter on the Queens Birthday holiday weekend and Geoff & I were looking forward to getting up and going to Salamanca Market followed by a trip up the mountain to see the snow. He had flown over from Melbourne the night before and we had been out to dinner for fragrant Thai food, then called in at our local pub for a Guinness or three and stumbled home just as the first snowflakes of Winter were falling in the city.

We woke to a snow blanketed was so still and silent outside. The air in my bedroom was that cold that our breath was foggy...I got up, laid & lit my bedroom fireplace and got back into bed. We lingered a little longer and they rest they say, is history.

Geoff is no longer in our lives, in fact he disappeared shortly after we learned Matilda was on her way. It's sad that he chooses not to be a part of Matilda's life, she is a remarkable young woman and I am very privileged to be her's sad for her and sad for him, sad for his sons who have a big sister they don't know, sad for his parents who don't understand his actions.

I wish him nothing but well though, for sometime I was angry, then ambivalent. Now I think of him with fondness and often give thanks for the parts of my life he introduced me to, but thanks especially for my daughter.

Matilda Rose Elliot was born 12th March, 1994...nine months to the day from her conception.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Well, what will they think of next..??

For many years now I have been highly allergic to shellfish. They have rather a nasty effect on me, sending my heart into an irregular rhythm called atrial flutter. So much so that I need an ambulance trip to hospital to have it shocked back into normal sinus rhythm as it won't respond to medication. My heart quite likes being in flutter, it's quite a stable rhythm

About 5 years ago I had a surgical procedure to prevent it recurring.
Of course, the best method to stop it recurring would be not to eat shellfish, that's obvious, but sometimes they are hidden so sneakily, especially in Asian foods and pastes. Occasionally I have eaten something that contains shellfish and really know about it afterwards, I feel uncomfortable and my heart tries hard to go into flutter.

Fast forward a few years...

With my current back & sciatic problems it was suggested I take the new wonder compound glucosamine. Fantastic idea, except that the major ingredient in it is shellfish. Well, guess what I found today..?? A vegetarian, plant-derived glucosamine, suitable for vegetarians/vegans and those like myself, who cannot tolerate shellfish. What's more, it contains the same amount of glucosamine as the fish based products and even more importantly, it doesn't cost any more..!!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Word of The Week

Inspired by red-faced Victorian MP Jason Wood...ouch...!!!

You can read about his gaffe here

mal-a-prop-ism (n): act or habit of misusing words ridiculously, esp. by the confusion of words that are similar in sound. instance of this, as in “Lead the way and we'll precede.”

A Labour Of Love...

***Disclaimer...the lasagne pictured is not mine, although I'll admit, mine was a fair representation.

Wednesday afternoons/evenings are tricky here with kids sporting commitments and it makes for an interrupted evening meal. 5pm I take Myles to footy training, that finishes at 6.30...the round trip is about 20-25 minutes depending on traffic. I come home, make the final preparations for dinner then head off and pick him up, at the same time dropping Matilda at her 6.45pm cheerleading class. I then drop Myles back home and head back to pick Matilda up. Her class finishes at 7.45pm...mostly I take a drink, my book or The Australian crossword and my phone and wait in the car park...I usually manage a quick phonecall to stay in touch with friends. We fly home, really hungry by this stage and have dinner while watching Spicks & Specks. Last night I worked out that the time taken to do all of this was an hour and forty five minutes and 37.5 kilometres...phew...!!!

I like to be ahead of myself and try and have something ready that needs very little attention right at serving time. Our family has some pretty specific dietary needs...Josh & Myles have a number of food sensitivities and cannot have egg, dairy or nuts (with the exception of pine nuts, but they are seeds). Josh is also highly sensitive to eggplant, Myles has never had it but it's a sure bet he will be. Matilda is vegetarian but eats fish, dairy & eggs and I am highly allergic to crustaceans. John is the only family member who had escaped. As the boys have got older they are less sensitive and can have some dairy and egg.

All of this makes meal preparation "interesting" to say the least, last night I made a vegetable lasagne from the ground up, although I will own up to not making the lasagne sheets this time and used prepared ones instead. It is a labour of love...a labour intensive meal indeed. The vegetable sauce simmered for two hours through the afternoon, it smelled divine, ( or so the dorky Optus Representative who keeps coming to our door to try and get our custom back, but that's a whole post on it's own, told me)...the kids said that they love coming home from school when there are cooking smells. Matilda told me that she feels that I love them lots when she can smell dinner cooking.

Last night it just "worked"...the sauce/pasta/bechamel balance was exact...when the lasagne was cut you could see perfect layers, the salad was filled with greens from our garden and the potatoes golden & crunchy.

There is just enough leftover for my lunch today.

Life is kind sometimes.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Working On A Perfect Smile...

Matilda got her braces on her teeth today...!! She was both excited about and fearful of the day. She has beautiful teeth, has managed to get to 14 and not need a filling and once her eye teeth pop into place her smile will be gorgeous again.

She is in a little pain this evening, says her mouth feels "tight" but nothing paracetamol won't take care of. She has always taken excellent care of her teeth and now has a very detailed, comprehensive plan mapped out...we have a new electric toothbrush, various types of floss, picks, brushes, wax etc. She'll do well once she gets the hang of it and into a routine.

Her treatment is going to cost a bit under $5000.00...$4660.00 to be precise. This is the total fee for the entire package, no hidden extras. I know it will be worth the dollars spent in the long run. I wish I had been able to have the opportunity to have orthodontic treatment, I guess I could now but one in the family at any one time is enough. My Mum was a sole parent with 4 kids, there were no extra dollars,let alone dollars for orthodontic treatment.

The thing that really irks me about the whole deal is the pittance that Medibank Private will refund. Matilda's lifetime orthodontic benefit will be $2400.00, almost half of the total cost. I also discovered today that unless I ask for it at the end of her treatment they will only refund $1350.00...(that's $400 for 2008, $450 for 2009 and $500 for 2010...once treatment is complete a letter from the orthodontist will entitle us to the remaining $1000 or so) tells you this though, you have to know the right questions to ask and unless you get told which questions are the right questions, you just don't get the refund. I have been asking myself whether it's really worth having private health insurance, certainly not if it is just for orthodontics. Matilda had to have two teeth extracted last week to make space for her eye teeth to slip was $175/tooth...outrageous...!!! Total refund $35.00/tooth. Medibank Private can expect a huge number of claims from our family this year...we are going to get everything we possibly can get back, we don't pay this for nothing.

Photos to come...they are still on the camera...