Category Archives: Uncategorized

MarySmith’sPlace ~ # Islay #CancerUpdate#42

Sending my thoughts to family of Mary Smith and wanting to share her journey back to Islay where my Johnston and Campbell roots hail from.
Best wishes,
Rowena

Mary Smith's Place

Thanks to Wee-sis, she and I finally made it to Islay together for the first time since we left the island in 1961. My last visit to the island where we were born was over twenty years ago although Wee-sis has been going more recently.

I spent the weeks before we went terrified I wouldn’t be able to go because cancer cells would suddenly multiply or my throat would stop working or something. In fact the worst that happened was a filling coming out (M&S salted caramel Florentines – delicious but not recommended if you have dodgy fillings). I was able to get an appointment to have a temporary filling put in.

The after our return I had an appointment to meet with the oncologist and tried, mostly successfully, to put it out of my mind and not dwell too much on the decision I knew I had to make…

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Weekend Coffee Share – Christmas 2021?

Welcome to Another Weekend Coffee Share!

If ever there was a Christmas where I’ve been inclined to agree with Scrooge that Christmas is: “Bah, humbug”, this is it. This has been a year of so much tragic death for me and those around me, and none of them have involved covid. However, then I remember Christmases that were also tough like being fired just before Christmas and having to front up to the family Christmas unemployed and feeling like a failure…the family member voted least likely to succeed. Then, there was the Christmas I was still recovering from brain surgery after being diagnosed with hydrocephalus and not knowing if I would ever rise to the surface again. Ditto with 2012 when I started chemo to treat my auto-immune disease a week before Christmas and had my second treatment on Boxing Day. Then, there were the Christmases of recent breakups where my heart was raw and broken and I thought I’d never find Mr Right. Well, fortunately he appeared on NYE 1998 at a friend’s party watching Sydney’s famous fireworks extravaganza albeit from behind the Harbour Bridge and back to front. With covid infections soaring here, and a premier refusing to make the hard decisions, this Christmas is becoming seriously derailed, and it might just as well be cancelled.

However, a friend gave me a book: “Choose joy”, and I was incredibly encouraged by that. In fact, I’d even decided to print that out on my dymo labeller and stick in on my computer monitor where I spend so much of my life. However, and I’m quite sure what to make of this, the Dymo came up with an error and refused to print. What does that mean? Am I condemned to dwell in the dungeons of despair for eternity just because my labelling machine can’t rise to the job? I don’t think so. I will have to find a texta and sticky label and create my own joy.

That’s particularly important right now. You have probably heard that six children were killed in Devonport, Tasmania after their jumping castle was blown away in a freak gust of wind? Well, my husband Geoff is from North-Eastern Tassie and his Dad was from Penguin, right near Devonport. Geoff’s family on both sides has been in Tassie since early settlement and they had huge families which have spread like wild fire. I watch the TV coverage and I see people who look so much like my husband and his family that it’s eerie. Meanwhile, a close friend of ours was one of the counsellors helping families and children at the school. She has worked so hard to not only get her qualifications, but also hone her communication and connections skills with troubled and traumatised children over the years and we’re so grateful that she’s there to help. We are also praying for her and her colleagues in addition to the families, children, teachers from the school and the company which rented out the jumping castle. If you’d like to read more, here’s a link to my post: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2021/12/20/responding-to-tasmanias-jumping-castle-tragedy/

Meanwhile, I’m trying rather unsuccessfully to get the place ready for Christmas, especially as we may now be having Christmas at home. We did that for the first time last year and it was good for a change, but we were really looking forward to catching up with my Dad’s extended family which we haven’t seen for two years thanks to covid lockdowns. They have just vanished over the last two years, along with my parents, and I’d really like to reconnect. I also don’t want to have Christmas at home and go through all of that. A beach picnic is looking good if that’s what comes to pass.

Meanwhile, I do have some great things to share. Good news.

Firstly, our son passed his learner’s permit and is now legally allowed out on the road with an instructor. That was a huge effort. Thanks to lockdown, there was a huge backlog with the bookings, and so we had to drive him to Maitland to get tested, which is a 1.5 hour drive each way. Obviously, that was a big deal and both Geoff and I went with him for support. I was trying to be patient, but I was concerned that he hadn’t done enough study and it was all going to be a huge waste of time, followed by massive disappointment. However, we had a great chat on the way up and managed to get him decked out with new clothes beforehand. So, as he pointed out before he sat the test, it wasn’t an entire waste. However, he passed. I think think we’ll clock that one up to divine intervention. He confessed afterwards that he hadn’t done too much preparation.

We also had our daughter’s end of year dance concert last night. This was the last of three dance concerts in the last two weeks. It was absolutely enchanting and such an emotional journey. It was absolutely swept away through moments of sadness, joy, incredible steps twists and turns and brilliant choreography and storytelling all after 4 months of doing dance via zoom for four months with these covid lockdowns. Congratulations to them all.

Lego Santa Loves Christmas Cake. This pic is from a few years ago and fortunately this years one isn’t quite so burned.

As for me, I’m still beavering after on my research project of WWI on the home front and making great progress both in terms of output and my understanding. Still beavering away on Ethel Turner although she’s currently on the backburner. I also managed to get my Christmas cake made. So, now I just need to make space for the Christmas tree. It might be easier to soar to the moon, but you never know.

Well, on that note I’d like to wish you all a Merry and blessed Christmas inspite of whatever’s conspiring against that.

Love and God bless,

Rowena

This where the little yellow man crash landed – my first impressions of Bethlehem.

PS I forgot to mention that I went on an impromptu trip to Bethlehem via Google Earth during the week. It was hilarious. The first thing I spotted on the map was KFC and after landing in front of a garage door in an alleyway, it wasn’t long til I found myself cruising past KFC and a Coke sign. Gee what did I come all the way to Bethlehem for? However, I eventually managed to find some more historic sights beyond all the souvenir shops.

Finally something historic.

Weekend Coffee Share – 29th November, 2021.

Welcome to Another Weekend Coffee Share!

I am in denial. Surely, there has to be more than 26 days left before Christmas? Unfortunately, these aren’t even full days and only the crumbs left usually after someone else has chewed up all your time denying that time honoured tradition of making your own Christmas cake, making decorations and squeezing as many parties in as you can back-to-back and even double-triple booked if you can pull it off somehow. Of course, having kids and having to double as Santa has modified things more than a little, but they add so much to the Christmas spirit you could hardly leave them out. Indeed, in so many ways children are Christmas, and as a Christian, the baby Jesus is ideally at the centre of everything, although I have to admit I struggle. How could the day that’s meant to focus on him be so incredibly distracting? Anyway, last year there wasn’t much of all of that Christmas hoopla to complain about anyway, and I don’t want to whinge to much or we may end up locked down or seriously restricted for Christmas 2021. No. Please delete all my whingeing. Yes, indeed! I’m really looking forward to Christmas and catching up with my large extended family. With covid restrictions, we couldn’t see them last year, this Christmas is going to be really special!

An Australian Christmas, Pearl Beach, New South Wales.

Do you have any plans for Christmas? Any special traditions? Perhaps, it’s a bit too early to talk about plans, but December seems to go so quickly that plan needs to shift gears into action very soon.

The tragic Christmas tree at Geoff’s work a few years ago.

However, all of that hasn’t stopped me from remaining neck deep in my research. Actually, I’ve managed to submit a 1000 word story to go into the Friends of Ethel Turner (Australian author) newsletter. I was really pleased to get that done, because I could feel myself chickening out. I’m sure many of you know that feeling all too well. You come up with an idea, which seems like a piece of cake, but as you delve into it becomes harder or more challenging than you thought. You want to run. Hide. Give up. Not such a good idea after all, but in the end you persevere, and you get it done. Indeed, you might even get a red tick and VG (very good) in the margin like I did writing my stories back in primary school.

Now, I’m chasing Ethel Turner through Europe. She went on a six month holiday through England and Europe in 1910 with her husband, Herbert Curlewis and children Jean and Adrian. She had a series of photographic essays published when she returned, and I’m currently reading through them and saving them onto my computer. I am particularly interested in her impressions of Paris. I spent a month there in 1992, which was special at the time, but has come to be an indulgence as time’s gone by and I haven’t returned. I also enjoyed reading about her struggles converting currency as they swept from country to country, and I remember what that was like and I loved the wide variety of coins, especially as a young child. I haven’t been back since the Euro simplified things, but lost something special in the process I feel. The coins family brought back and coins I brought back myself, are still very special to me- my treasure!

Unfortunately, reading about Ethel Turner’s travels are the closest I’ve got to travel for awhile. Indeed, with Zac the dog parked on my lap so much, it’s hard for me to even get out of the chair.

It is his fault, I’m sure!

The other rather demotivating influence on my exercise levels has been the weather. As you may be aware, I live in Greater Sydney and it’s been raining solidly for what seems like an eternity. As it turns out, we’re experiencing a  La Niña event, which increase the chance of above average rainfall across much of northern and eastern Australia during summer. Just when I was thinking of heading out in my bikini…NOT!!! Anyway, it’s looking like I’ll be needing to invest in a yellow raincoat this Summer.

This coming Friday is the beginning of dance concert season. I love watching my daughter dance. However, this is not a privilege which comes without a cost and that’s not just in terms of dollars and cents. Last night, I was sewing the ribbons and elastics onto her pointe shoes. I don’t know why these blessed things don’t come with all of this paraphernalia already attached. It’s not as though the ribbons have to be tailored to my daughter’s foot and petite ankle and it would be much easier for a heavy-duty machine to penetrate the leather at the back than my delicate fingers. Of course, the ballerina could sew on her her accoutrements. However, in between juggling school, dance and working at McDonalds, she doesn’t have much spare time. I, on the other hand, have eternity. Didn’t you know?

By the way, I was reading about Jesus washing the disciples feet just before I was asked to sew up the pointe shoes. However, I’m not so sure that being my daughter’s servant is what Jesus had in mind. These thoughts were echoed on the bedroom front.

However, it’s been a tough year for her with her health and lockdown. Sometimes, it’s nice to have someone take the edge off the pressure, and we could all use a fairy now and then. An extra set of hands. At the same time, I could use a bit of help from her too…and her brother.

Meanwhile, the Productivity Manager is ensuring it’s difficult to get out of my chair. By that, I’m referring to our dog Zac, who seems to pour himself into my lap and stay put until his sister, Rosie appears with a ball, and then he’s off standing a metre or two behind her ready to pounce.

The other productivity issue around here involves dog hair. It’s Spring and with three dogs, the fur is floating in black clouds all over the house. Lady’s fur (cavalier x Border collie) comes out in tufts, while the pups fur mainly snows although Rosie loses a bit of felt. I’ve read comments about corgies shedding so much you can make another dog out of the discarded fur, and I’ve thought the same with dear Lady and co.

Well, on that note, I’m going to head off. I’d love to hear from you!

Meanwhile, you might like to join us over at the Weekend Coffee Share, which is hosted by Natalie the Explorer https://natalietheexplorer.home.blog/

Best wishes,

Rowena

Mum’s Taxi Revisits Mt Penang Gardens, North of Sydney.

It’s been quite awhile since you’ve heard a peep let alone a loud beep from Mum’s Taxi (AKA the Tutu Taxi). Being in lockdown for the last almost three months and throughout the last 18 months, I’ve literally been able to hang up my keys, stay in my pyjamas and write to my heart’s content. As blissful as that might sound for any writer, writing in lockdown is quite different to being a poet ensconced in your ivory tower. So, it was hardly no prison cell and I was allowed outside for exercise and could go walking along the beach, bushwalking or visit my friend in his social bubble. However, it’s not the same when park benches are covered in red tape because you’re not allowed to sit down, everyone’s wearing masks unless they’re exercising, and you have to QR code to enterjust about anywhere. So, it was with a mixture of jubilation, trepidation and continued isolation, that the people of Greater Sydney welcomed Freedom Day a few weeks ago.

Anyway, on Tuesday our daughter told me I was driving her up to get eyelash extensions. She paid for them. I wasn’t going to spend out money on that. I’ve never been a fan of fake eyelashes. However, she wears them for ballet concerts, competitions etc and so I guess once you’ve crossed that bridge, it makes more sense.

However, what she didn’t tell me was how long it was going to take. Now, I should’ve been prepared to hang round for eternity. After all, isn’t that what parents do for their kids? Wait?!! I’m not into all this cosmetic beauty stuff and how it all works. However, I did take a book, my journal and regretted not taking my SLR and just having the camera on my phone.

I started walking around looking for a park bench in the shade to read my book. By the way, I was reading Julia Baird’s: Phosphorescence: On awe, wonder and things that sustain you when the world goes dark. It’s an absolutely brilliant book, and what I’d describe as a “slow read”. I wanted to savour and enjoy almost each and every word. So, it’s taken me a very long time to finish it. Indeed, I started reading it in September last year. Honestly I thought it had been a year or even three. Here’s one great quote from the book:

Life is tempestuous and life is precious, and recognising that those two things are twinned is part of the secret of the truly phosphorescent.”

Julia Baird

There wasn’t much left to read, and I seemed to finish it off in about an hour. Of course, there was that great sense of regret you have when you finish a book you love and wave goodbye to your new best friend. Although I immediately decided I was going to start back at the beginning again. I really want to etch this book into my psyche and remember it all. It’s filled with stories and quotes from numerous thinkers and poets and it’s so very me. It’s like exploring a fascinating and exhilarating world, and I have also made a note to self to head out on a night kayak run with my husband and experience the Phosphorescence first hand for myself.

After finishing my book, I walked around the gardens regretting I hadn’t bought my digital SLR. However, the camera on my phone didn’t do too bad a job. Yet at the same time, I wondering whether photographing wildflowers in a man-made garden really counted, especially after going on some magnificent bushwalks and photographing the wildflowers actually in situ and in the wild. Isn’t it just like photographing lions in the zoo rather than heading off to Africa? The photos still look good. Indeed, they probably look a lot better, but they’re simply not the same.

Anyway, while I was there reading my book, I glanced up and noticed what appeared to be a class or two of young kids running down a steep, small grassy hill. They were having an absolute ball, and there is something so liberating about running fast down a grassy hill as a young child which almost feels like flying and you’re about to take off. Apparently, when I told friend about this my face was so animated that he asked me what childhood memories it brought back. There wasn’t anything specific and I can’t remember a lot of hills, but the exhilaration is still with me and perhaps I should sneak in there after dark and let myself go.

Reading my book and watching all those kids running must’ve done my head in, because yours truly who has been to this park a couple of times before, got lost and couldn’t find the exit. Indeed, I found myself stuck inside a maze. This is what happens when you’re exploring man-made garden instead of the bush. The bush is simple. You go in. You come out. Well, it is where I’ve been going bushwalking but these are hardly complicated hikes. Of course, I blame lockdown for this. So many everyday kills have been neglected and have rusted away. Indeed, I’m sure four months of solid repetitive research and writing at home has literally rewired my brain and done all sorts to my neuropathways. Indeed, while being so focused on a lockdown project so I’d have something to show for all that time might actually prove a mixed blessing.

Anyway, two hours later, my phone rang and I was summonsed to pick her up. We were going to go for a bushwalk together, however, it was now raining and so we raided a local bakery and had lunch in the car looking out onto the beach.

My daughter’s glasses on the dashboard looking out across our local beach.

And yes, the eyelashes certainly looked spectacular. Not completely ridiculous either, but not the sort of thing a hibernating bear requires. I’m actually looking forward to going to the hairdresser next week, and guess who is coming with me…

Looking out at the beach through the rainy windscreen while eating our lunch.

Have you been on any good walks recently or read any book books? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Best wishes,

Rowena

Weekend Coffee Share: Byron Bay – Back to Earth.

Today, I was trying to find my very first Weekend Coffee Share post and got as far back as this post covering our trip to Byron Bay date 15th October, 2015. That means I have at least six years worth of these online weekly diary posts. What an amazing time capsule of our family life, and in the course of these posts our kids have grown from12 and 10 to 17 and 15. Such a difference!
I hope you enjoy!
Best wishes,
Rowena

Beyond the Flow

If we were having coffee right now, I would never get to sleep.

So, I’m drinking a decaf tea served in a Tim Tam mug by the way. If you haven’t tried Australia’s favourite biscuit which is best eaten as the “Tim Tam Explosion” (one of the more polite terms I’ve heard), you haven’t lived. By the way, this is where you bite off both ends of the Tim Tam and dunk the end in a hot drink and suck through it like a straw. The chocolate melts and if you’re not careful, you’re Tim Tam falls in the drink and drowns. Such a waste!

This is an exceptionally rare packet of Tim Tams. The tray isn't empty!! This is an exceptionally rare packet of Tim Tams. The tray isn’t empty!!

Returning home from Byron Bay is never good but the fridge/freezer had seemingly died but miraculously returned to life once it had defrosted and the new fridge had been ordered. But the…

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Whale Watching – Pacific Whale Foundation

I was so exciting to go whale watching vicariously from my couch in the Sydney lockdown. I have never been to Hervey Bay but it’s now on my bucket list. Absolutely breathtaking. Thanks so much Joanne for sharing and making my day so much brighter!
Best wishes,
Rowena

And Anyways...

Hervey Bay, on Queensland’s Fraser Coast, is known as one of the best places in the world to watch humpback whales. Yes, you read that right – in the world. Don’t believe me? The waters off Hervey Bay have been scientifically recognised as a rare stopover site for migrating humpback whales and was the world’s first Whale Heritage Site. It’s where the whales stop, stay, and play during their winter migration. Rest and relaxation whale style. It’s also where mums bring their young – a safe place to nurse and teach them before heading back to their feeding grounds in the Antarctic. For young whales, it’s also a place to flex their muscles.

Twenty years of scientific research has proven that Hervey Bay is the only genuine stopover in what is one of the longest mammal migration journeys on the planet – a 10,000-kilometer round trip from the southern ocean…

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Weekend Coffee Share 12th July, 2021.

Welcome to Another Weekend Coffee Share!

Well, just as well we can share coffee online, because there’s not a lot of coffee sharing going on in the real world in my neck of the woods at the moment. We live in one of the most undesirable places in Australia right now , Greater Sydney, where that dreaded pestilence, Covid 19 Delta variant is on the move. 77 cases and one death were recorded today (Sunday) and they’re expecting over 100 tomorrow. So, it’s our turn to not only eat humble pie, we have to stay home and eat it alone or with members of our own household. The dogs said they don’t mind sharing humble pie with me, but hey don’t know what that is and are thinking more along the lines of meat pie.

So, how was your week?

I’m going to be honest with you, and say that the last six weeks for me have been really difficult, and if they hadn’t been difficult and if I wasn’t grappling with difficult emotions, there’ll be something wrong with me. I have had four close friends die in the last six weeks. One was 76 but the others were early 40s, 50, and 60 and they all had school-age kids. Sometimes my grief is focused on my friend, and what they are missing by dying so young, and in one instance it was right out of the blue and she and everyone who loved her, had no warning. It was such an enormous shock. She had a lot of much closer friends than I, but losing her still felt like being hit by a tonne of bricks. A few days later, I found out one of the closest friends I’ve ever had had passed away from cancer. She’d mentioned something to me about being sick a few years ago, but I had no idea she was fighting cancer. Her funeral was held last Thursday and due to covid restrictions, I watched it via live stream sat home. It’s something which is becoming more familiar, and it’s emotionally easier than being there. I didn’t cry until the end when they played the song she had as the ringtone on her phone: “What I did for Love”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxyaIYWpS3g I have ask my daughter if she would put a dance to it for my friend’s mum. My friend used to dance and I think it would mean a lot. Well, it would mean a lot to me anyway.

Meanwhile, it’s been school holidays here. Our daughter has been making candles and decorating them with crystals. They look quite pretty and I should post some photos. She’s also been doing some cake decorating and making things out of moulded clay. The dog has also appreciated some walks. I say dog because she only took Rosie because Lady keeps stopped all the time and Zac takes off like a bat out of hell. By the way, I should mention that Zac was the perfect therapy dog during my friend’s funeral. Geoff picked the sleeping Zac up and put him on my lap and said: “this is a job for a dog”. I should mention that Geoff held my hand as well.

I almost forgot, but my daughter and I went out and fed the local ducks, which we haven’t done for years and years since she was such a little girl. It was wonderful.

I am making good headway with my researching and writing up of the WWI soldiers’ bios. Over the last couple of weeks, I’m been writing the actually bios up so it’s really gaining momentum. I was stoked to find out that the nephew of controversial Australian ranger Ned Kelly served in WWI and so I’ve written up his story, which will add a bit of life to it, don’t you think?!!

I also went for a week to the beach this afternoon, which you can read about here: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2021/07/12/my-lockdown-walk-ocean-beach-greater-sydney/

So, how has your week been? I hope it’s gone well.

Anyway, I need to get to bed.

This is another contribution to the Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Natalie the Explorer https://natalietheexplorer.home.blog/

Best wishes,

Rowena

Weekend Coffee Share – 20th June, 2021.

Welcome to Another Weekend Coffee Share!

How are you and how was your week?

My week seems to fall under one very simple word – stressed!

As you may recall, our daughter was in hospital having tests last week, and since she’s come home she’s generally improved and is having more good days than bad days, although can’t always arrange the good days where they’re needed most, and is still needing to get her head around changes to her diet, which will hopefully settle things down as well. She has a condition called gastroparesis, and has been having a tough run of it lately.

Our daughter at the Sydney Eisteddfod

Anyway, where some of the stress crept in this week, was that she was due to compete in a jazz dance duo at the Sydney Eisteddfod today, and there was a huge question mark about whether she would be well enough to go. Dancing at her level is full-on. So, she’s not just pointing her toes and smiling at the judges. The dance is fast paced, acrobatic in a sense, very precise and clearly demanding top physical fitness. It is also a duo. So, if she didn’t compete, she’d be letting down her friend and this is her very best friend who she’s known since she was a baby through playgroup. It’s a very personal, intimate thing they’re doing together, and to miss the premier competition would have been very disappointing. It also starts redefining her as “sick person” and “dancer” as more of a dream, and that was also something to be cautious of. We were leaning more towards pulling them out. However, they went well in class yesterday and so Thunderbirds were go!

They were on, and the madness was back on with the addition of a fairly extensive detour to buy some new jazz shoes which pushed the departure time forward by a couple of hours. I didn’t feel like a detour. Indeed, to be perfectly honest, I just wanted to stay in bed. The weather was wet, freezing, and horrible. I don’t cope well with wet, freezing, and horrible. That’s code for staying in bed. Or, at the very least, staying home. Yet, off we went. However, the performance went really well, and although they didn’t place they scored an impressive 87.

Geoff and I having Vietnamese in Chatswood with our invisible friend. The food was divine. I’d been seeing Vietnamese food on Masterchef this year and pining after it. Now, I’m a definite convert and will definitely be back!

Meanwhile, Geoff and I caught up with a school friend and had Vietnamese for dinner. Tickets to watch were highway robbery and I was also concerned about covid as cases in Sydney are almost at double figures and we need to be careful.

We spotted a few unnatural kangaroos out and about in Chatswood

+

Last week, my son and I attended the funeral of a dear friend, Tom. He’d had a stroke a four months ago, and you could just imagine his horror when he comes to and found he was paralyzed on one side. It was cruel. However, it gave him extra time with his family and the opportunity for a slow, lingering goodbye, even if his passing was ultimately a relief. We’ve been friends with Tom and his wife or about ten years. They’re in their mid-70s, but fostered two children as babies who are the same age as our kids, and all the kids did dancing together, which is how we met and the kids used to ride their bikes together and we talked. You can get quite close to people in these most simple of circumstances. Anyway, our son reconnected with his friend via our Church youth group and they have a very tight group of guys. He rang our son just after pop had the stroke and I went round as well and we were right in the thick of it and drove my friend to hospital after the ambulance had gone. So, needless to say, by this point, we were tight.

Even though Tom had reached a good ag, led a good life, and t was a relief to see him released from a body which was no long his friend, a funeral is still a funeral. Unless you’re a robot, you’re not just going through the motions. There are memories, grief, sadness, joy – a real kaleidoscope of emotions. Then, there’s also being confronted by death, which is obviously very different from having a friend move away (which also happened last week). The funeral was held at the grave side and was right near the entrance to the cemetery and I was watching hearses coming and going, which was a macabre and almost troubling experience. After all the cemetery is an airport for the deceased – a one way departure lounge and of course, this was very different to visiting the old cemeteries for my family history research and there’s been no one new for 50-100 years and you’re talking to the birds.

However, in between all these thoughts, I focused on a stunningly beautiful Autumn tree, which was decked out in all its splendour and even though it was a cold, Winter’s day, the sky was a dazzling blue and the fusion of intense colour was absolutely magnificent. although I know Tom is now spirit and has gone to heaven to be with the Lord, being human and still of the earthly realms myself, it was rather comforting to think of Tom resting there looking up at that beautiful tree and just being. It was a very pretty spot to spend eternity and he might also enjoy watching the people and the cars come and go. Welcome in the newbies. He would have loved that.

On Saturday, I went to the dance studio to watch the singers perform. It was magic and such an antidote to dealing with hospitals and funerals. I do try to do that. Throw in something uplifting in the midst of the stress. While it might not seem appropriate to enjoy yourself when someone you love is very sick, dying or gone, you need to be able to pace yourself so you come out the other side and most of us don’t have the luxury of going down for the count.

Anyway, as you can tell it’s been a pretty deep week I’d better get this posted before cut off.

The Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Natalie the Explorer https://natalietheexplorer.home.blog/ and here’s the link: https://fresh.inlinkz.com/party/6112e69b786a4bd8a9178dd0c5fe1ade

Love and blessings,

Rowena

Thursday Doors – Kirribilli, Sydney.

Welcome to Another Thursday Doors!

Today, we’re heading down to Kirribilli, located smack bang on stunning Sydney Harbour. Indeed, the Sydney Harbour Bridge is parked here with one foot in Kirribilli, and the other planted across the water in Miller’s Point. Not unsurprisingly, the Bridge dominates Kirribilli with its sheer physicality, but also in terms of sound, whenever a train rumbles across all that steel with its echoing, idiosyncratic roar.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge viewed from Kirribilli today. In so many way, the bridge is the gateway (or door) into Sydney.

In a sense, our trip to Kirribilli represents the opening of an invisible door. This door marks the dividing line between the safety of home, and the more risky context of Sydney and Covid 19. Although there hasn’t been a case of community transmission for over a month, clusters have seeming sprung up out of nowhere, but usually connected somehow to the hotel quarantine program. While contact tracing does a fabulous job of identifying potential spread, it doesn’t actually prevent you from catching it. It only tells you after the fact. Due to my auto-immune disease and associated lung fibrosis, I am at a heightened risk of catching the virus if it’s around, and also having a more dire outcome. So, for me, caution makes a lot of sense, especially with the vaccine around the corner so I don’t have to lock myself away forever.

However, there’s also a risk that avoiding medical treatment for these conditions could also be harmful, and all my specialists are located at Royal North Shore Hospital about a 15 minute drive North of Kirribilli, and I often go to Kirribilli afterwards as a reward.

So, that’s how I ended up having lunch with my husband, Geoff, in Kirribilli and comin across this really beautiful and richly ornate door as we walked down to the water’s edge.

Isn’t it something?!!

However, even to the most one-eyed door lover around, it still couldn’t compete with this…magnificent Sydney Harbour.

The thing that particularly struck me about Sydney Harbour today was just how empty it was. It’s usually a hive of activity with ferries criss-crossing the waterways and people moving around on the foreshore. There could well have been one of those towering cruise ships in port, as was often the case before covid. Sydney Harbour isn’t usually this empty, even on a weekday.

Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed our trip to Kirribilli, and I apologize for being a one-door-wonder this week, but hopefully this is a sign of things to come and I’ll soon be able to get out and about more and venture further afield.

This has been another contribution to Thursday Doors hosted by Dan Antion.

Best wishes,

Rowena

Life ain’t been no crystal stair…

Good morning All.
I came across this post on my phone as I was waking up this morning. We’ve had a couple of really hot, humid days here and my breathing’s been really bad. It’s been tough.
I also try to impact some wisdm into my kids, who are now teenagers, so even catching them on their way out the door can be difficult and what does mum and dad know anyway? Enough to know we need to apply the KISS principle when talking to our kids…Keep It Simple, Stupid.
This poem is an excellent encouragement.
Best wishes,
Rowena

The Sunstone Journal

I was around 13 or so when I first read this poem by Langston Hughes. I remember thinking… wow, now there’s someone who’s telling the truth about life!

Around this age is when childhood starts to end… innocence gives way to experience. It’s a sad thing if you think about it… the loss of innocence… having to come to terms with the black and gray areas of life.

This poem gave me a lot of comfort during that time in my life and ever since then when my life has gotten crazy and out of control.

I always marveled that Hughes chose the image of a crystal staircase. Why this image? Why not a vase or something… silly kid thoughts, right?

Now that I’m in adulthood I know that a crystal staircase is what makes a poet a poet and what transforms a good writer into a great writer.

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