looking back to the present

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Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, January 2011

It is five years since the devastating Queensland floods. Five years and the body of my cousin has never been found. Three people are still missing from that horrible day.

Life does change in an instant, a minute, an hour, a day. However, no matter how often we are reminded of that, we still forget to make the most of each of those days. To appreciate what we have, to show our love to the ones we too often take for granted. To be grateful and to live that gratitude.

A couple of times I have had major health issues – an eye tumour, cancer, and each time I know that I am lucky to not only survive, but to prosper. If I am honest with myself however, these intrusions in my life soon lose any impact they might have had on the intentions I might have had to live “a better life”.

I never stick with the healthy diet, or the bucket list, or stop to smell the roses more often. Just like every other person in the world, my life is soon sucked back into the drama of a very mundane every day life. A job I like some days and hate on others. Chores and a must do list.

Sometimes, at night in bed, I wonder about how I allowed myself to lose the plot so easily; but is it me, is it them, so many people who depend on me…

Sometimes, as night in bed, I wonder where the final resting place of my cousin may be. I wonder why the universe is so, and why we have allowed this world to be as it is.

I have more years behind me, than in front of me now. I try to tell and show the people I love that they are indeed loved. I try to nurture a peaceful heart, for I feel that if I can have a peaceful heart then I can judge my life a happy one and I won’t have regrets. I will have had it all.

The richest woman in the world

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No, I have not run away, I have been in the City visiting Petite Fille. One morning we went to the State Library and GOMA.

As soon as I walk into the children’s play area of the State Library I always have such a pang of desire to be a little person’s Librarian. I have such envy of what a large budget and a team of creative artists can do for a Librarian!

Petite Fille had great fun making peg people and playing in cardboard houses.

I am not one of those Grandmas who take over a child’s craft project. If Petite Fille wants to cover her peg lady in wool hair from top to toe she can. As well, she can wrap the whole lot tight in an arm’s length of sticky tape if the whim takes hold.

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We had morning tea in the garden cafe at GOMA and I walked with Petite Fille through the water feature. At first she was frightened and held my hand as we walked over the stepping stones. As we retraced our steps a few times, she gradually let go of my hand. I walked beside her, then behind her, until I quietly stopped and waited as she walked across herself, unaware I was no longer following. We both clapped our hands in joy as she realised “I did it!”

It might be a small thing to others, but it was a very special moment for me. It makes me happy just to think of her happy little face as she experienced overcoming her fear and experiencing success.

The next afternoon her parents went to the movies and dinner, leaving Petite Fille and I home alone. I wore pink fairy wings, a blue tiara and danced with my magic wand with Petite Fille. We also built a house with two chairs and a blanket under which we shared tea.

Petite Fille stopped mid fantasy and said,”Grandma, I like playing with you.”

Earlier, she had told her mother that “Grandma is my very best friend.”

The gift of a three year olds love – what more could anyone want in life?

A time it was, and what a time it was,

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I am working on the theory, that as the allergy rash is marching its way around my body, that eventually it will have no new territory to colonise and will simply get to the top of my head, or the tips of my toes and move on. It’s a theory.

At the moment it is itchiest in those inaccessible areas like my back, especially my shoulder blade areas, so I am rubbing my self up and down door jambs like a crazed pole dancer.

Better  to suffer now, than in two weeks time when school returns.

Ugh, already having stress dreams about going back to work. Looking forward to seeing Minerva and various colleagues, but not many of the students. Trying to reframe and organise my procedures and thought patterns, plan a few fresh initiatives so I can leap out of the starting box, so to speak. I guess every day is one day closer to the end of the school year, but I am getting too many years behind me and not enough in front of me to really find comfort in that thought.

I spoke with Baby Peppercorn on the telephone, tonight. She ignored me, as only a four week old baby can. Her Mummy is coping quite well, now that there are no grandparents and Peppercorn’s Daddy has gone back to the mining site. He is away four nights a week, and home for 3, so not intolerable. Peppercorn’s paternal grandparents arrive next week, so there is backup on its way!

Life just seems to be romping on. Christmas over, New Year over, Peppercorn four weeks old, Petite Fille will be 3 next month. I will be 58 this year. When I started blogging I was still in my forties! Feeling maudlin now, so perhaps it is time for a shower and a cup of tea.

Goodnight.

 

it’s a little bit like this…

face time

The to do list has been filled with “me” items. Not the enjoyable kind like going to lunch or a spa date, but rather going to the dentist, going to the doctor and having some waxing done.

The waxing was so I could go to the dentist. There was no way I was going to lie under those bright lights without having the eyebrows and chin tamed! My hairdresser said that she never would have thought of doing that before going to the dentist, but as she is only twenty something it was obvious that she wouldn’t have too. Sadly, her teeth are also rather crooked, so I don’t think a dentist has ever been high on her list.

So much maintenance and it only gets worse as we age.

I have also been suffering with an itchy allergy rash. I spent a morning sneezing and blowing my nose, thinking I was coming down with a  cold, and blaming the filthy air on planes for transmitting germs, but next day I had no sneezing and a clear nose. However, a red, itchy rash has been moving across my body ever since. Maybe, it was the shock resulting from my actions to clear the clutter from our bedroom, or maintaining the decluttered kitchen!  None the less, I have been walking around in an antihistamine fog for the past two days.

It means not much has been achieved. Mr FD and I did spend time with my sister, who is a much nicer person than I, and his sister, who is a much more confused person than he (yes, it is possible). News from Perth is that Peppercorn slept from 10pm to 6am last night, but is very clingy and whingy during the day. A good little baby, really.

Tomorrow, there are no maintenance appointments scheduled. It may be  pyjama day, or not. I am off to visit Petite Fille for a couple of days on Thursday – I promised I would play special games with her and read her stories, so Granny needs to rest up to keep pace with a very energetic three year old!

In the doctor’s surgery, I heard a mother being asked “How long until school starts?” and she replied, “Not soon enough.” I wanted to interrupt with my reply of, “Too soon”, but managed to keep the inside words inside. We go back to work on January 20th (student free days) with a bizarre two day conference that we all have to attend. It requires an overnight stay away form home. All I can think of is how all our budget requests will be denied this year as each school has to cover their own costs. Wonder if the students’ parents know?

Red Shoe Project 2016 or Creativity + Minimalism = 2016

red shoe project 2016

A couple of years  ago I attended a teacher librarian’s conference in Hobart, Tasmania. There was several keynote presenters, several of whom were authors. I noticed a common denominator. Red shoes.

The majority of the female presenters (there were a couple of males represented, fear not, though education and librarianship are heavily dominated by females) wore red shoes. The obvious conclusion for me, was that creative people wore red shoes. Therefore, I wanted to be creative, I needed to wear red shoes.

Eventually, I found the red shoes that suited me. They didn’t turn out to be magic shoes of creativity, but I really didn’t think that I would ever click my heels and go to Oz. Aus maybe, but never Oz (sorry little joke for me, as I am Australian! Okay very, little joke…)

What my red shoes are however, is that creativity is a mind set. A mind set that I need to cultivate and nurture. It ain’t going to happen if I don’t!  When I look down at my shoes I am reminding myself that I can be what I want to be, and that, yes, I can do it!

So,  fast forward to the New Year. My mantra or theme for 2016 is Creativity + Minimalism = 2016. I don’t have any hard or  fast plan as to what form that will take, but my goal is to be pursue creativity in all things – personal  and professional life which naturally includes my interactions and relationships with others. Our home will be crafted into our absolute sanctuary where we can live simply and slowly.

I acknowledge that this will be more than a year long journey.There will be good days and bad days, probably good weeks and bad weeks, if not months!  I can make a solid start in the next few weeks while the school vacation continues, after that the road will have more twists and turns as I return to work, but I will be kind to myself and just try my best.

 

be-sure

Home again, home again, likety split

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Home again
Home again
Lickety split
Where does the time go?
Where does the time go?

Home in The Village; Baby Peppercorn far, far away. Tired from our cross country journey and quite positive I won’t see the New Year in, well, not consciously anyway!

We had a blessed three weeks with our new grandchild. I was to babysit Petite Fille tonight, but that family came down with sore throats and so cancelled their plans. I shall have to wait to see my “big girl” for another few days.

I returned home to Son who had done a few handyman jobs around the house, and sorted through some kitchen drawers and cupboards to tidy them as a Christmas gift to Mr FD and I. I couldn’t have asked for anything nicer! Our aim is for a simpler life in 2016, as I am sure many are hoping and wishing for as well, so Son’s efforts have been both a gift and a motivation. Tomorrow, tomorrow.

Poor Mr FD was almost strip searched again. Since his knee replacement, he appears to have become a target. I was always the one who was pulled aside for a wanding previously; because mature, grey haired, angle saxon women are sure terrorists. However, now he seems to be their target, despite wearing shorts and parading his knee scar! They had him take his runners and socks off as well.

When we were sitting on the plane, Mr FD made the comment that it was a wonder that they didn’t search his shoe heels for bombs, and I shushed him. Seconds later a little old lady from behind us tottered up the aisle towards the cabin crew and I was sure she was reporting him, but no one ran down to thrown him into the aisle and bind him with plastic ties. No surprise to anyone that Mr FD has the penchant for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.

He also tried to use earphones to listen to music on his iPhone or iPad and didn’t connect properly so three seat rows around us got treated to Mark Knofler as well. I signed to him that I could hear the music and he discussed the issue with me in a loud voice until I ripped the earphones from his ears. Well, I thought it was the earphones he seemed to speak loudly ALL THE TIME.

We had a middle and aisle seat, but no one claimed the window seat, so I slid over and pretended I knew him not. I don’t think I fooled anyone, least of all me.

Does anyone else find airline food extremely salty? Son-in-law the food technologist explained some time ago that salt and sugar get added altenatively until the “flavour” is achieved. Since trying to reduce salt and sugar, I notice the salt in processed foods more and more. I guess the positive is a lessening desire for “bad” food. Notice, I said, lessening, not non-existent!

Son-in-law the engineer, Peppercorn’s Dad, is a man of his own heart. He does not view that a man’s barbecue as equal to the size of his penis. (Should I be discussing my SIL’s penis in public? Or private for that matter!Smallish pun. Ooops double entendre pun!) Anyway his manhood is not invested in the size, or brand of his barbecue.

Hence this is his barbecue:

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And this is what he cooked for us last night – included marinated steak, chorizo and nectarine for a start.

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One night he created a delicious rolled roast, another night spare ribs to die for. More than a hidden talent! Both our son in laws are superb cooks – we are blessed. Or at least our stomachs are!

The young men in our family are gifts. We won’t speak of the “old” men.

More to share with you, but tomorrow is another year and soon enough. To sleep perchance to dream…

 

 

It all comes down to this

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The baby is asleep in her crib, her Mama and Papa have gone out to have lunch while they still have baby sitters, Mr FD is napping and I am watching an old version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer with Burl Ives as the narrator. Life is pretty good.

My children always called the 23rd of December, Christmas Eve Eve, and I think it was probably the day they enjoyed most – so much preparation and anticipation. On Christmas Eve Eve, they would decorate boxes with Christmas drawings and pictures in which to store their gifts after opening. They would also help with making Christmas treats. The best thing was the marathon of Christmas shows on the television that they would dip in and out of all day. Ethel Merman, Burl Ives, the classics. Good times.

This morning I spoke with Petite Fille. We have made a time to face talk on Christmas morning. This is the first Christmas Petite Fille really “gets” Christmas and so her excitement is such a wonder to share. She will spend it with her cousins, my sister’s grandchildren.  Our Son, home minding Augie Dog, will join them as well.

A new Christmas baby, healthy and happy, and a growing, loving family means we are truly blessed.

We wish you a happy Christmas too – filled with the love, peace, serenity and wonder that you deserve. Take care, dear friends, and  remember to have that second helping of pudding. A third helping if you choose. Just enjoy and be grateful.

 

P.S. My Christmas Fruitcake having survived the interstate plane trip has been voted “the best ever.” Half eaten already!