Category Archives: Health

Keep Breathing…Friday Fictioneers.

“All my life,” Melissa sighed to her therapist. “I’ve been peering through the keyhole too afraid to live.”

Phillippa was trying hard not to yawn. Dumping clients was hard. Never mentioned the “F” word.  It was all about “finding a better fit”.  Being a “therapy drop out” wasn’t good for their self-esteem.

“Anyway…”

Suddenly, Melissa became strangely animated, even possessed. “I finally attended a writer’s group this week and read one of my poems. Thought I was gunna die. Then, I heard you counting and this other voice saying: “Breathe, Melissa. Breathe. You can do it.”

“It was actually me.”

This has been another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. This week’s image was provided by © Shaktiki Sharma.

This week, I’ve spent a bit of time researching my grandmother who was a concert pianist and I’ve been thinking about that experience I had as a child of almost looking through the keyhole into her adult world. There was definitely a “them” and “us” policy and children should be not seen AND not heard. That suited us and we’d round up change for lollies from the adults and disappear with our stash.

Yet, there were those times I distinctly remember peering into this adult world and watching through that metaphorical keyhole. Nothing quite like being a spy!

By the way, I’d also encourage comments about when therapy doesn’t work and what that was like. Personally, I’m a lousy one for taking action but I’m currently working through that with my physio. Or, should I say, I’m “walking” it out.

Hope you’ve had a great week!

xx Rowena

 

 

New…the Christmas Cake Work Out.

Tonight, I’m announcing the Christmas Cake Workout.

Launching a weight loss campaign with only two sleeps til Christmas, has to be the definition of insanity. The ultimate in reverse psychology, going against the flow, being “unique” and dare I say (drum roll)… being a real “individual”!

Yet, that’s me. I’m always blazing my own trail, without the slightest regard for wherever the flow is going. No wonder I often end up “all by myself.”

So, this afternoon  I found myself doing the Christmas Cake Workout.

You must think I’ve got rocks in my head thinking that eating Christmas Cake is going to give me that elusive bikini body. After all, Christmas Cake with all that butter, sugar and boozy dried fruit, is  guaranteed to turn you into a pudding instead.

So, this is a good time for me to point out the fine print. It’s just a minor detail, but with the Christmas Cake Workout, you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

Success is all in the mixing. Indeed, it’s mixing this huge, monster cake which builds up serious muscle. I can guarantee you’ll be lifting weights at the Olympics afterwards. The mixture is so dense, that just getting the spoon through is hard going.

Given that we’ve only got a small family, you’re probably wondering why I was making a Christmas Cake big enough to feed the entire Australian cricket team and the WAGS (wives & girlfriends). We’re not huge fruitcake fans and certainly have no desire to eat Christmas Cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner, especially after Christmas. Indeed, I much prefer chocolate cake and I only have a few slices of Christmas Cake for tradition’s sake.

So, what on earth was I thinking?

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Preparing the Dried Fruits.

Well, to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t thinking. I should’ve known that 3 kilos of dried fruit, 8 eggs and 500g of melted butter, signified a huge cake. Indeed, the cake also called for an entire cup of brandy, which either makes it very big, or a seriously heavy drinker. I’d be sozzled if I drank all of that!

Well, the story goes that this recipe was on the back of my Christmas cards. It was quite different to my usual Christmas Cake recipe with walnuts and grated apple in the mix, and looked quite interesting. As I said, it called for 3kg of dried fruit and I thought I’d venture out of my comfort zone and added some dried figs. At this point, I was still well short so I also added some dates. This cake was starting to sound quite exotic.

Anyway, depending on your viewpoint, you could say making this cake was serendipity, divine intervention or meant to be. That’s because Lady, our scoundrel of a dog, ate almost all of the Christmas Cake I’d made using my mother’s recipe. We were just lucky that my Dad has a peculiar aversion to cinnamon and I’d made a dozen smaller cakes for him. They’re all that’s left. So, he’ll now have to share. Sorry, Dad!

Anyway, getting back to the monster cake, the dried fruit and brandy have been stewing in my largest mixing bowl in the fridge for the last 2 days. It might not be a bath tub, but it’s big…and it was full. No room for any other ingredients whatsoever.

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So, I decided to mix all the other ingredients together in my large mix master bowl and then split it into three equally large bowls. I divided up the drunk fruits and started stirring. Heave-ho! Yes, those biceps were already starting to pop!

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That’s why I’ve called this process: “The Christmas Cake Workout”. This stirring was seriously hard work. In  the end, the mixing spoon couldn’t cope. There was no alternative. It was a case of using the equipment God gave me. I sunk my hands deep into the dough, using my fingers to blend the mixture through the fruit. Once mixed, I managed to get all the dough into one bowl, even if it did require 3 tins to bake.

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They now need to rest for three weeks, making them post-Christmas Cakes. Or, perhaps even a cake for next Christmas. Howzat! Imagine being a whole year ahead with my Christmas Cake…

I must’ve wandered into someone else’s life!

Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!

Love,

Rowena

 

Accessing Schools Spectacular.

Last Saturday night, our family attended the NSW Schools Spectacular held at Qudos Bank Arena, at Sydney’s Olympic Park. Schools Spectacular is the largest variety show in the world and features students from NSW Public Schools and guest artists. Our daughter was performing in the 3,500 strong mass choir and I was really looking forward to a fantastic night out.

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However, as a someone living with disability and chronic illness, I naturally had some reservations. Large crowds throw up all sorts of unpredictablities  for me. It doesn’t take much for a simple fall to have major consequences…a broken foot a few years ago being case in point.

However, despite these hazards, I carpe diem and seize the day. I get out and about and I would move heaven and earth to see our daughter perform.

There were simply concerns about THE HOW and that meant reducing all the unpredictabilities. It’s not rocket science. It’s just like making sure you pack a water bottle on a hot day. However, I usually have a lot more variables to consider and most of them are unpredictable. We have to think on our feet.

That’s also because I’m on my feet using a walking stick, not in a wheelchair. I thought I’d better point that out because it makes quite a difference to the types of accessibility problems I face.

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The Finale.You can feel he electricity, can’t you!!

As much as we all loved and enjoyed the performance and can’t wait to see it all over again on TV next weekend, we did experience some difficulties accessing and leaving the venue.  After trying unsuccessfully to have my needs accommodated at the time, I’m sharing my experiences with a view to implementing change through greater community awareness. After all, people living with disability and chronic illness are entitled to a fun night out, without needing to advocate for disability access rights!

To give you an idea of what it is like for a disabled person with a walking stick to attend a big concert, I thought I’d hobble you through the highs and lows of our evening.

Starting out with the positive, I have a companion card. This entitles me to a free carer to accompany me to a huge range of venues. This meant that as my companion, my husband’s ticket for School Spectacular was in a sense free. However, it also meant that he was also his wife’s keeper and he was on duty  (Confirmation that there’s no such thing as a free lunch!).

Secondly, we were able to get subsidised disabled parking a short walk from the venue. I can’t overstate how having a Disabled Parking Permit opens places up for me. Of course, it’s great to be close to the venue. However, that proximity also reduces unpredictabilties, producing something of a protective bubble. There’s still that element of risk, but it’s much reduced. This allows me to lead something close to a “normal” life.

However, on the down side, despite having the Companion Card and disabled parking permit, I was deemed capable of queuing up with the crowded throngs to get through the security check. Given that the show had 5,000 performers, the crowds were phenomenal. So, we’re not talking about a trickle. Such crowds pose a genuine risk to my physical safety and my concerns have nothing to do with being “anxious”!.

I politely asked the ticket office about disabled access and was told that everyone had to go through the security checks. But I wasn’t asking to by-pass the security checks. Nor would I want anyone to by-pass them. Obviously, they’re critical. However, there should have been a way for people with disabilities to by-pass the queue and go straight through the checks. I was using a walking stick, had a Companion Card and a Disabled Parking Permit.  So, these people at the ticket office knew I wasn’t well. They could’ve walked me to the front of the queue and helped, but instead they stuck to their officialese.

That’s when I donned my political hat. Not because I couldn’t wait for the queue to die down or take my chances in the crowd. I did it because there should have been decent disability access. Somebody needed to speak up for those who can’t or struggle to speak up. I clearly expressed my right to disabled access and was bluntly told the queue was the only way. I spoke to the supervisor and received the same rule-driven response.

Of course, I was the problem!

We were naturally unimpressed (read understatement!!)

However, very soon our experience dramatically improved.

Having made it through the security check, I confronted a metal turnstile and wasn’t feeling comfortable. This time the staff member asked me if I could get through and guided me around the turnstile. My husband and I almost hugged him, thanking him profusely for his attitude. It was such a welcome contrast to the people at the ticket office who had their rules, which clearly made no allowance for disabled people.

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So far so good. We made it to our seats and really enjoyed the performance. It was superlatively sensational and we want to thank and acknowledge all those beautiful performers, the teachers, and everybody who put so much into this incredible event. In no way do I want my concerns about disability access to lessen what was a truly unforgettable experience.

Naturally, after the performance was over, we had to get home.

As I said, we had a very convenient Disabled Parking spot. However, we hadn’t anticipated that being on level 1 would make it incredibly difficult to exit the car park with all the cars pushing down from upper levels. While there is a sign warning that it takes an hour for a full car park to empty, for many people living with disability or chronic illness, that’s a very long time…especially if you’re stuck in the queue for an extended period.  There are seriously disabled and chronically ill people who can’t wait around in a car park for an hour to exit. These families live on a very short piece of string and need to get home like a bat out of hell.

As we were parked right next to the toilets, my husband decided we were better off waiting and staying put rather than getting stuck in the stationary traffic stampede. This gave me a chance to watch the panicked pandemonium. It was like someone had yelled “FIRE” and everyone had to get out immediately, right now and the thinking part of their brains was definitely switched off. At one point, we saw people converge on one exit point from five different directions, which clearly wasn’t “legal”. Drivers behaved like crazed maniacs in a case of:  “Just get me out of here. I don’t care about anyone else.”

While I was watching all of this, I came up with an idea.

What about if the people with Disabled Parking Permits were allowed to leave first and other motorists had to give way?  It would probably cause an outrage, but it wouldn’t hurt most people to wait an extra 15 minutes or even half an hour. However, knowing we could exit a venue quickly would provide seriously disabled and chronically ill people with much greater community participation.

What do you think?

For our family these recommendations also have further application. My Mum had bought a ticket to the lunchtime matinee concert but seriously put her back out and couldn’t attend. I’d actually encouraged her to have a go, because I thought the venue would help us find a way. However, I’m glad she stayed home because it would’ve been too much. She would’ve needed a lot of extra support and as much as catering for one little girl’s Grandma isn’t much to ask, that crowd was brutal and to be fair, she’s nowhere near well enough.

My intentions here are not to criticise or throw stones but to raise awareness. Let you travel in our shoes for a night and open your eyes to our struggles. Before I became aware of my own disabilities, I never thought about such difficulties either. I was young and only thought about number one too. However, all I ask is that you open your eyes and respond from your heart, instead of your rule book. Have compassion.

I am not talking about making huge changes, but together we can move mountains. Not just these mountains, but all sorts of mountains which make it harder for anyone to fully participate in the seemingly simple things of life.

Okay. So where’s your shovel? Let’s start digging!

xx Rowena

Further Reading
Here are some other posts about living with disability:

Beyond the Flow: A Wheely Good Night at the Opera House

Beyond the Flow: Forgiving the Unforgivable (your chronic illness).

Living in a limited world: NHS Cruelty

Caring for Mum.

Yesterday, I shared about finding out my brother’s cat, Archie had passed away. What I didn’t mention, was that my Mum’s in hospital with acute back pain. Although we initially joked about it being like a holiday with a room to herself and meals arriving like magic, the reality is different. Even with a brilliant imagination, you can’t keep pretend that you’re lying by the pool when you’re in agony, in hospital and you don’t know why or how it happened. One day, you were you and the next day, your back seizes up and you’re in excruciating pain and you’ve become someone else. What happened?

Except for me, these questions are being asked in the third person. What’s happened to Mum?

 

 

If you asked me to describe my Mum, I’d tell you that she loves the beach and looks great in a bikini. Because when I immediately picture my Mum as my Mum, she must be about 30 and she’s wearing a bikini and she’s full of beans. She’s playing tennis, swimming at the beach and driving us all over the countryside to piano, violin, ballet and she’s nowhere near a hospital. Indeed, even my grandmother running round the shops needing some kind of harness to keep her under control. She was getting around with the same speed as my toddler son whose now 13 and attached to electronics most of the time these days and now much, much easier to catch.

I’ve shared about this weird sensation about time before. That just because we’ve aged, it doesn’t mean that our idea of who were are or those close to us, has aged along with the physical body. I know for me there’s definitely a huge disparity and I remember my grandmother telling me that she didn’t recognise the old lady staring back at her. That was someone else and her true reflection was simply hiding somewhere behind the glass.

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I haven’t been prepared for Mum to grow old.

 

Mum has been our rock through my health crises taking in the kids for 7 weeks when I was first diagnosed with dermatomyositis. She had two traumatized, very active kids and it was very intense for Mum, Dad and my brother.Yet, they were there. They were my strength when I clearly had none…physically or emotionally.

So, it’s hard to come around to the idea that Mum, indeed my parents, are drifting into the elderly category. Where it won’t be Mum taking me or the kids shopping, and we could well be taking her. That instead of her visiting me in hospital, it’s us visiting her. As much as I’m glad to be well away from hospital these days, that doesn’t give her permission to sign up. Moreover,  it definitely doesn’t give The Patron Saint of Hospital Admissions permission to come after her. It can well and truly leave all of us alone thank you very much!!

I guess what I wanted to write about and tap into is this sense of unfolding grief we often experience these days when older family members and friends have protracted medical treatments. We watch their strength, personality and even memory get chipped away, chipped away ever so slowly and you and they both know that they’re not how they used to be, and yet they’re still here. Indeed, I had two grandparents live with long term Alzheimers and by the time they died, I had almost run out of tears. My grief had been used up along the way.

That’s because there is grief along this journey, even though there’s also that gratitude and relief that they’re still here.

So, now while I’m feeling rotten about Mum being in hospital and knowing how much pain she’s experiencing, I still feel in a sense that I have no right to grieve. She’s not dying. She’s “fine” only she’s actually along way from being fine and we have no crystal ball about what this means. My son still expected Mama to pick him up from school this afternoon. After all, that’s what Mama does and has been doing on Wednesdays ever since he’s been born almost 13 years ago. She’s been here…an hour’s drive away hail, rain or shine because she loves us. Moreover, given my health problems and uncertainty over the years, she has been their rock. The net that catches my kids when everything’s falling apart and there’s no ground to land on. She hasn’t been there only support but she’s definitely been there.

I had to remind him that Mama is in hospital.

Mum and I didn’t get on for many years and we’re very different people. Being an extreme extrovert, she often tried to reign me in…something I didn’t understand until I was doing the same with our very extroverted son. Obviously, nobody explains all of this to you when you’re a kid. Yet, the yin and yang between introverts and extroverts is something I need to understand with family. After all, opposites attract and it’s understandable that there’d be a mix throughout the family. Having that understanding has been critical for better relations.

So, even though Mum doesn’t let me write about her, I needed to share my anguish, my gratitude that she’s not worse and to provide a space for you to share these complex and challenging emotions. I am very lucky to be 47 and to have both my parents alive but I also can’t imagine a world without them in it. They’ve been here forever just like the air I breathe in and out.

Not that I need to think about that now but at the same time, I feel the need to acknowledge this partial grief and concern for my mother being in so much pain. It’s very hard to think about her suffering, but being there for her, means embracing it head on and being her daughter…not a coward.

I would like to open up the comments section for people to share their feelings and reflections about parents getting old, losing a parent and please link to your posts. I am thinking of you and send you my love and prayers!

xx Rowena

PS Despite the seriousness of Mum’s situation, there’s still opportunity for humour. When we told our son that Mama was going for a bone density scan, he asked if she was getting carbon dated. Well, at least I was laughing!

 

 

Weekend Coffee Share November 5, 2016.

Welcome to another Weekend Coffee Share.

The weather has well and truly witched gears and we’re definitely heading into Summer. While a max of 25º C is not considered hot by our standards, it was hot enough and the sun was out in force.

So, when it comes to beverages, I recommend something cool now you’re popping in to join me Down Under.

Unfortunately, the change of seasons also means a changing of the guard at home. The Winter gear is going up into the roof while the Summer gear’s come down. Right now, it looks like the house is falling down with crates and piles of clothes everywhere. Having kids, this changing of the guard also means checking sizing and ditching piles of clothes. This all requires thought and discernment…as much as I might feel like sticking the lot in a bag for their cousins, I need to go through the lot piece by piece. It’s painful!!

Added to the usual pain of sorting things out, I’m also trying to reduce the amount of stuff we have in the house. If you know me and have been to our place, you’ll probably think I’m lying through my teeth. You saw me bring another couple of bags of stuff home from the op shop last week. However, in my defense, they were largely presents. I love it when I find “new with tags” at the op shop, especially in the lead up to Christmas. Not only do I get great value for money, it spares me the pain of dealing with the Christmas hoards. Christmas shopping is brutal.

Anyway, obviously I’m not very good at being ruthless but I’m trying. So far, I’ve managed to fill two large garbage bags but don’t let this fool you. I’m definitely NOT a declutterer but I do need to keep an eye on the ever-rising tide or I’ll cross the line. We all know what that line is called.  It doesn’t need to be named and shamed.

How was your week? I hope things went well.

Our week was weird.

Monday night we went trick-or-treating around the block. Halloween in Australia is almost a non-event but we saw a few groups of costumed kids roaming around after school and a few knocked on the door but you’d definitely say it was a bit of a fizzer. The scariest thing we came across on our travels was actually a plover. That’s right…a bird. If you’ve never encountered a plover, these birds are seriously scary. Not only are they very agro, they also have poisonous spurs in their wing tips  and heaven help you if you approach them while they’re nesting. They’re savage. The plovers we came across had two chicks so we didn’t need to run into any skeletons or ghosts. The plovers were enough.

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Anyway, that just about sums things up

Thursday morning, my daughter had a rehearsal for School Spectacular in Sydney. The Schools Spectacular is an Australian variety show featuring more than 3,000 students from across New South Wales and was performed annually at the Sydney Entertainment Centre before in moved and has now moved the the former Olympic site at Homebush Bay this year. Highlights of the Schools Spectacular are broadcast each year by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.Miss will be performing in the combined choir and we joke that being a tiny speck among the multitude is what gives school “specktacular” it’s name.

Although our daughter is only a speck in the production (this year, I’m going to make sure I take my binoculars and I might have a chance of spotting her), that doesn’t mean she misses out on all the rehearsals. At the moment, she’s rehearsing once a week in Sydney but in the week of the concert, there are two days of rehearsals followed by two days of performances. That’s a lot for a 10 year old. However, she adores singing and I think all the kids and their teachers get through on hype and Adrenalin. It really must be an incredible experience performing in such a huge choir and feeling all those voices echoing all around you. Moreover, there are solo and small group performances and the talent is incredible. So many Australian success stories had their start at “school spec”. It’s a stellar performance.

Anyway, Miss had her first Sydney performance on Thursday morning and needed to be on the train platform at 7.12 AM. Usually, Geoff drops her off for these early morning starts and I think that’s his usual train. However, he had an early start which left yours truly responsible for getting her there on time. While this is not impossible, I am not at my best early in the morning. Moreover, I know that Murphy’s Law has my number on speed dial. If something can go wrong, it will.

This is why I set the alarm on two different clocks and it was just as well. As we all know, alarm clocks can be tricky things. There are blackouts, battery fails and then there’s me. I’m enough to muck up any alarm but I did get Geoff to meticulously double check both clocks before he went to sleep. All was good on the alarm front.

Yet, somehow my alarm clock gained an hour during the night. So, when it went off at its 6.00AM, all the rest of the clocks were reading 5.00AM. While the explanation might seem obvious and that it was okay to go back to sleep for another hour, I wasn’t quite so sure. I felt like I’d ended up in a surrealist  dream somewhere in between time and I didn’t know whether I was Arthur or Martha. Meanwhile, both kids and the dogs had woken up. All back to bed. Put the alarm forward an hour and prayed we’d get up on time. Fortunately, the rest of the morning went smoothly and after dropping both kids off, I went back to bed.

Thursday night, I had my second of lyrical dance class. I really look forward to my dance classes every week but my back went out on Thursday and I was feeling crooked, twisted and stiff…not to mention in pain. Naturally, when you’re struggling to move at all, it’s only wise to consider whether you should be pushing your body or letting it rest. Since my of our dance class involves stretching, I thought it could help and decided to give it a whirl.

Well, you just try do a contract, high release and goodness knows what other steps when you feel like you’re either going to snap or get stuck like a statue in between positions as every single part of your body seizes up. Not that I was catastrophophising, but dance is new to me and I had no idea how far I could push my body without payback.

Of course, there were no dramas. My back is still tender but the dancing helped along with walking the dogs along the beach yesterday and I’m starting to limber up a bit. Phew!

To update you on the progress of the Sunflowers I am growing which are descended from seeds salvaged from the MH17 crash site in the Ukraine, I planted the first lot of seedlings in the veggie patch this week. I  must admit that I’ve been feeling rather like their mother. So I’ve found it surprisingly hard to plant them outside in the garden. After all, I’ve really been looking after them well, bringing them inside every night and watering them ever so gently with the spray bottle. They’ve been my babies and just like I wonder how my kids are going when they’re camping outside with Scouts (particularly as the weather is usually bad and there’s good cause to be concerned. Well, at least if you’re their Mum!), the seedlings seemed very vulnerable being out there in the dark. So, far so good. I planted 12 seeds. 6 sprouted and 5 are still growing well. These aren’t exactly fabulous odds but when you consider that one sunflower produces thousands of seeds and initially I’m only needing a sustainable crop. That said, I would prefer to have enough seeds to give some away and help keep the memory alive of all those who were tragically killed. I also feel the sunflowers have a secondary message, reminding all who hear their story about the importance of love, compassion and helping a stranger.

Unfortunately, writing has had to take a back seat with needing to organise my daughter’s actiuvities…school spectacular, dance concert, tutoring to prepare her for entry tests next year. I am just a parent, not an event organiser and I really struggle with all of this. I have multiple diaries running when I have so much on…the week to a page, moves into the day to a page with everything mapped out. Alarms, buzzers and being mindful of time spent online, all necessary evils. Fortunately, I love the performing arts and am happy to do it and wouldn’t be without these end of year concerts. I just wish I could click my fingers and it would all magically happen without all the steps along the way. I’m sure I’m going to forget something. Luckily, her teachers look out for me and flag me down when something’s missing…Roweeee’s personal reminder system. Well, not quite!

Well, the cool change has now arrived and thank goodness the house has cooled down before I go to bed.

How have you been? What have you been up to? I look forward to hearing from you!

This post has been part of the Weekend Coffee Share over at https://parttimemonsterblog.com/https://parttimemonsterblog.com/https://parttimemonsterblog.com/

xx Rowena

 

 

Weekend Coffee Share October 1, 2016.

Welcome to another Weekend Coffee Share.

How patient are you? I could get you a cuppa now or you can wait until the Mars Bar Slice has set. Or, you can be like the kids and I can cut you off a piece still dripping with melted chocolate. They were heading off to bed before it set and who can wait til tomorrow for Mars Bar Slice? Have you tried it? It is wickedly good.

I hope you’ve had a great week. What have you been up to? You know there are no secrets around here. Well, there might be a few but no one can dob us in, can they?!!

We have just got through our first week of school holidays and Geoff took the week off work. We are having a “staycation”. Well, three of us had a staycation, while we dispatched our son off to a three day beginner’s sailing course during the day. Next week, both kids will be doing a three day sailing course, despite my daughter’s concerns about Australian wildlife lurking under the waves. It doesn’t help that there’s been another shark attack at Ballina, near Byron Bay this week. To be honest, a shark would be pretty daft to swim around a noisy a group of kids. The din would be enough to send them swimming away to save their own sanity.

Tuesday was a huge day. I had a half-yearly check up with my lung specialist as well as lung function tests, which seem designed to make me cough and cough until I almost expire but then I’m free to go. The appointment and the tests went as expected…no better, no worse. See you in six months. That’s a good sign, considering where I was! Much to be thankful for as well!

After my appointments, we’d planned to go sailing at Palm Beach with my dad and the kids. However, while I was coughing my lungs out in the machine, the wind had built up steam as well and was gusting at 30 knots. There wasn’t even much discussion. The Captain had spoken. No sailing.

“Not happy, Jan!” (This commercial is really worth seeing. It’s hilarious! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2akt3P8ltLM )

Anyway, I compensated by heading out into my parents suburban jungle of a garden with my camera and photographing fallen camellias, a striking tree without any leaves and my feet walking through the forget-me-knots. I ended up lying down in the grass using my camera bag as a pillow and listening to the wind tinkling through  the leaves. I don’t know when I last lay down in the grass and watched the clouds pass by. Most of the time, we don’t have much grass in our garden at home and when we do, it can be quite a jungle.

I must do it more often. I rarely even sit down at the beach. I’m always walking…and throwing Bilbo has ball, of course. You try telling a Border Collie he’s had enough. He doesn’t know the meaning of enough…especially when it comes to chasing balls and food.

Anyway, after roaming through the garden, we drove up to Brooklyn on the Hawkesbury River on the way home and played explorers. Funny how we managed to find a fish & chips shop. We only ordered chips but then a couple of chickens and roosters wandered in, giving a different interpretation of “chicken & chips”. Actually, they were all rather fond of eating chips and it’s certainly a much better alternative than being served up alongside them on the plate. Indeed, you could say they were rather demanding…”Chippies!!!!”

You can read more about our Day Trip to Brooklyn

We usually eat pretty healthy food here but school holidays are a different story and surely I deserve a bit of time off as well, especially given the persistence of “The Cough”!

So, after picking our son up from sailing, we headed over to Avoca Beach and had fish and chips and a fisherman’s basket for dinner. Not sure I’m really pleased about finding this place because the seafood was exceptionally good. I want more and I can see myself sneaking back and making  devious detours. I wonder if I keep eating fish and chips, whether I’ll be able to swim like a fish? After all, people keep telling me anything’s possible when you put your mind to it. What do you think?

My husband thinks I’m crazy but he hasn’t had me locked up yet.

Rainbow Lorrikeet

Making the most of where I am. This photo was taken in our backyard…a Rainbow Lorrikeet in a bottlebrush tree. It could so easily be described as just “a bird in a tree”.

Inspiration hit hard last night so I’ve been scrambling away researching, writing and things are coming together well. Stay tuned and I’ll keep you posted but the story is based on my explorations in my parents’ garden. A simple theme but profound about the amazing things lurking right under our nose, while were longing for foreign fields. Making the most of the moment. With my health issues and having the kids and not being able to travel overseas, I am good at this. Blogging has really helped because it’s given me a greater appreciation for what I have here because it is exotic and amazing to someone over there.

I finally watched “Eat, Pray, Love” the movie this week. My husband wasn’t a huge fan and disappeared but Bilbo came and sat on my lap most of the way through it and didn’t complain. Mind you, that could have been because he was asleep.

It’s been a few years now since the book came out and my friends and I were reading it when our boys first started school. That was 7 years ago. We all had young kids and there was no way we could just take off and leave them behind for 12 months. However, I do remember drawing a line in the sand and deciding to explore local places and I’ve followed through on that right up to our day trip to Brooklyn this week. You don’t need a pot of gold or endless time to travel. Indeed, travelling and exploring are a mindset and it doesn’t really matter where you are because you’ll always be turning over fresh stones and looking for what’s lurking underneath.

I also remember refusing to accept mediocrity and that started with moving to a new cafe. We didn’t look back.

BTW, I almost forgot to mention that I joined in with 1000 Voices for Compassion this week, writing Compassion: It’s Complicated. No matter how much I try and help people, I’m forever making mistakes and letting people down and I think we all need to be more forgiving.

The clock here goes forward an hour sometime during the night and much to my horror, this is where we gain an hour to lose an hour. It’s never made any sense to me. By Monday morning, things usually make sense but you need to watch out if you work Sundays or head to Church. You can easily get caught out.

Anyway, it’s time for me to stop rambling and philosophising  and to click on the Publish button and get some sleep.

Hope you’ve had a great week and please share your news!

This has been another Weekend Coffee Share. You can click through to the Linky to read some other posts or to join in yourself.

Love & Blessings,

Rowena

 

 

 

 

 

 

Courage At The End

Most of us have not had the privilege of caring for the dying. I was so moved by this beatiful story of caring for a loving husband and wife at the end xx Rowena

Sidereal Catalyst

They had hospital beds side by side in their apartment at the nursing home where they lived.  She had end-stage bone cancer, barely holding onto life.  He was diagnosed with failure to thrive, the only thing he was holding onto in this life was her.

She had weeks to live and every moment was wrought with pain.  They both had 24-hour care and the hospice nurses used everything at their disposal to make her comfortable.  Her words were barely audible and she was bed bound.  She had to be moved every few hours to avoid bedsores but every movement was agonizing.  He was constantly concerned about her, wanting to be near her, hoping to depart this world at the very moment she did.  He made that clear, announcing that he did not want to live a moment past her last breath – though his health indicated he would.  

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