Saturday, December 31, 2011

Farewell 2011

What a year it has been:

A year that started in floods, then a trip to Disneyland to celebrate Elizabeth's 21st birthday. A year of renovations, house improvements and health issues.

A year where our youngest child became a teenager and our oldest became an adult.

This year has been strange - it feels as though it has been a bad year, but in fact it has been an amazing year.

I have published my second book of poetry, received an honourable mention in a photographic competition; learnt to lay floors, build and paint walls and have written my third novel. 

I have a book contract to publish my first novel in 2012 and all of my family are alive and well.  We all have our health, despite minor issues that have cropped up and been resolved, and I am blessed to have the amazing life that I live

So tonight as the year winds down - here are my blessings:

My beautiful husband Ivan - who I love more than I did 23 years ago (not that I thought that possible)
My three amazing children - Elizabeth, Matthew and Sarah - I love you all and am so proud of you.
My parents Dorothy and Brian - who are still young at heart and so full of energy that they amaze me every day - I love you Mom and Dad
The rest of my family - my brother and all my in-laws and nieces and nephew - I wish you all a wonderful 2012.

To my friends (you all know who you are) scattered around the country and the world - thank you for your friendship, for your time that you share with me and for the things we have shared together.

And as this year closes I thank God for my life.

2012 - here I come - watch out!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Rain Storms and Lost Dogs

Ivan went out to empty the bins after a heavy rainstorm and was greeted by this lovely Staffie on our front verandah - she has a collar on and a phone number - which we phoned - no reply.

The kids and Ivan took her on the lead around the neighbourhood, without success, so we phoned the pound and got some advice.

Just before taking her to the pound for the evening we tried the number one more time and found that she is staying just up the road - the people have been out looking for her and were currently 30 minutes away at their daughter's house (number on the collar) hoping someone would call. They were so grateful and have just collected this sweet dog called Shenzie.

So our year has ended with a good Christmas and a dog rescue - good deed for the year.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Fun

We had a wonderful Christmas Day yesterday with lots of great food, good company and some wonderful presents. Here are a few photos from our day.

I love books and Mum and Dad gave me this great set - 'The complete works of Banjo Patterson & Henry Lawson'

Fairy Magic happened in our house

My new fairy

Ivan, Elizabeth and I sharing a cuddle

Cleo enjoying the paper - we had as much fun watching her play as unwrapping the gifts

Matthew and I sharing a special moment as we gave him his Banjo

Brian with his gift from Elizabeth

Matthew bought Sarah a Chocolate Fountain which we all enjoyed

and I love this photo of Mum enjoying a strawberry dipped in chocolate - it was fun.
Christmas 2011 was a good one for our family - hope you had a good one as well.

Happy Boxing Day

Today instead of sharing Christmas photos with you first - I am going to share something even more special - the talent of my amazing Dad.

My Dad Brian is a wonderful man - he is so amazingly talented and gifted. He has a wonderful sense of humour that is wicked and funny (he gave that to me); he has drive and determination beyond most people I know and a sense of humble grace that many in the world should share. He can also fix, make and do anything that he sets his mind to.  He has built a 3-story garage, a sailing yacht, cupboards, fixed walls, doors, floors, plumbing etc., etc., etc.  The list is too long to mention and then there is his carving. . .

Well that is something to behold - so here are just a few photos to share his amazing new achievements:

Toad, Ratty and Mole from 'The Wind in the Willows' by Kenneth Graham

Toad of Toad Hall



So Dad, if you read this I want you to know that I love you and am so very proud of you - you are an inspiration to me - and your talent is amazing. Congratulations on your beautiful work.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Only 2 sleeps to go!

 All of my Christmas wrapping is completed and I am so excited to give the gifts that I have chosen for everyone - finding that special something is wonderful and the feeling of Joy on Christmas morning when you watch the face of your loved one as they open the gift - is beyond special.
 There are gifts beneath the tree - some for the neighbours and some that we will open on Christmas Eve - it is our tradition to open gifts from friends at this time, so they can be appreciated.
And of course the Nativity scene is waiting for us to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus - 'Away in a Manger' is one of my favourite Christmas hymns and it reminds us that this is a celebration of a wonderful tradition passed down to us from the Three Wise Men who came bearing gifts.

My gift and wish for you all is a Joyful Christmas and a Happy and Safe New Year.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

On the 'whatever' day of Christmas . . .

we went to the Ballet.

This has been a strange and wonderful week.

First of all Sunday I took the two girls to the youth ballet to see 'The Nutcracker' - just beautiful.

Then yesterday I spent a couple of hours in the city getting my root canal finished - at 2pm i didn't think I would make it to the ballet, but a couple of hours sleep meant that I felt better and I love drugs - just Nurofen but it sure helped.

Here are a couple of photos of us all dressed up to head to see 'Swan Lake'

Sarah, Elizabeth, Beverly, Dorothy & Brian all dressed up

The Girls

And a photo with Ivan, who didn't come to the ballet, but had his photo with his girls
Now in keeping with this strange week, we received the programme at the ballet, and discovered that it wasn't 'Swan Lake' well not as we know it.  It was the story of a Russian ballet dancer in the time of the last Csar of Russia. She falls in love with Nicholas and it is based on their story. It did have scenes of Swan Lake in it; but I was furious - everyone had come along to see Swan Lake. Nothing in the advertising had hinted that it was anything but the traditional Swan Lake.

Well - I am so glad and blessed that we didn't know that it was an adaptation, otherwise we would have missed this amazing ballet performed by the Queensland Ballet. What a FANTASTIC evening of dance and theatre. The performances were outstanding, especially the dancer who performed the role of Rasputin.  What an evening of pure bliss.

So on this 'whatever day of Christmas' my True Love gave to be . . . an amazing evening at the ballet.

And a tooth that's healing really well.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

On the First day of Christmas

On the First Day of Christmas my True Love gave to Me . . .

A King Parrot sitting in my Tree.

Dressed in Christmas Colours

This one is empty

And so is this one

Okay enough photos - I just want to eat!
Wishing you all a Christmas filled with Joy and Love and amazing gifts - as beautiful as this one that nature gave me this morning.

Monday, December 19, 2011

6 Days and counting

I am getting really excited - it is only 6 days to Christmas morning.

Yesterday we started our Christmas week with a lovely day.  Leslie and Frank(family friends) came up to pick up Margaret, who was staying with Mum and Dad.  I haven't seen Leslie since I was in my teens and she hasn't changed. The lovely thing was that she said the same about Me!  It was wonderful to talk to someone from my childhood and she remembered my beautiful doll Belinda - perhaps the only person in the whole world who would remember this doll. 

The girls and I then went to see the Brisbane Youth Ballet's performance of 'The Nutcracker' - a truly magical way to start the Christmas week.  The performance was excellent and the costumes out of this world.

Today we are all having our haircut - with our lovely friend Hayley. Matthew is then working this afternoon and I have some chores to do, including putting in the application for a new sewerage system - oh what a lot of S**t!  Still we have hopefully found a good company that is going to fix the problem for once and for all, in late January.

I also need to call the Termite Man as we have discovered a huge nest on one of the wooden posts in the pool filter cover box. Just another chore for the day.

Tomorrow - Tuesday I am spending the morning in the city having my tooth fixed - then coming home, picking up the family and attending the ballet - Swan Lake.

On Wednesday I have a day at home and on Thursday I have to take Matt for his final orthodontic appointment of the year.

Friday is cleaning day and Saturday is my favourite day of the year - Christmas Eve. I love the anticipation of Christmas.

So my week is busy, but filled with lovely (and not so lovely) things to do. Counting down the days with Joy.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Root Canal Verdict

Oh Well It is only Money!

Today I went and got a second opinion from a completely new dentist regarding my tooth - and he recommended that I see an Endodontist - specialist. This is because the root has calcified - whatever that it???

Anyway his recommendation was to the specialist who I was originally booked in to see - his words
 "He is the best!"  So I guess, I will be spending Tuesday morning in the city having my root canal completed.

I am now on 2 courses of antibiotics simultaneously and pain killers 3x per day - feeling groggy and frustrated - I hate toothache.

Luckily it should all be better before Christmas and then I can tuck into my roast Turkey dinner.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Sounds of Silence

I have a sore throat and a very sore tooth.

For the past month I have had a tooth that has twinged when I bit on it, and although I had it checked out at my recent check-up, it hasn't improved.  So Wednesday went back to the dentist who referred me to the Endodontist (specialist) - well yesterday he decided I needed a root canal.  This first appointment has left me $600 out of pocket and with an even more painful tooth.  Now he wants another $2100 on Tuesday to complete the work. 

Now I have private medical insurance, so I phoned them to ask how much I would get back and discovered that they will generously give me a whole $466 of the $2100 - I wanted to sit down and cry. So I began phoning around. First of all I found a lovely dentist who is going to give me a second opinion on Saturday (as to whether I need all this done at all and if it has to be done by a specialist) and if I do, I have found another Endodontist who will do the whole thing for between $1600 & $1900 depending on the work required. Still a shocking amount of money; but a little better than before.

I am so annoyed and upset about the whole thing.  Dental treatment is so expensive and is considered a luxury in this country.  We have a wonderful medical insurance scheme that covers health costs, but dental is not covered. And as I have now discovered even if you pay the extra insurance premiums to have private health cover, you will still be out of pocket more that 60% of the costs.

So why the title - Sounds of Silence

That is because to add insult to injury I have a sore throat. Maybe, a leftover from the Whooping Cough, but possibly my reflux playing up or throat thrush - Yuck and boo hoo! Feeling really sorry for myself. 

Am going to need a Gastroscopy in early 2012 to check on reflux and in the meantime have some tablets and painkillers.

I want to indulge in all things yummy and tasty and enjoy Christmas, but with a sore throat and a tooth and is 'broken' I am on a pre-Christmas diet - oh well that is a really good thing I guess.

So maybe, I will just follow the words  "Silence is Golden - Shut up and get Rich."

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Pressure Cleaning

A few months back I bought a pressure cleaner to clean our patio.  I have been so busy however, that I haven't had a chance to use it and with all the rain, it has also been too wet.

Today they predicted a hot, windy day, so I dragged out the cleaner.

Our patio is beautiful and big, but over seven years, it has got dirty, really dirty. Brushing and regular blowing have not been able to clean off the mould that began growing, but with my pressure cleaner today - it is now clean again.

If my arms are sore tomorrow, I am going to know why?

A great before and after shot

We even have a great patio attachement to do the floor, although I think we may have made it worse, cleaning off the worst, but leaving some areas a little stained.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Do you believe in magic?

I believe in magic and today a miracle occurred; it was a gift given from the most magical place on earth - Disneyland.

Our family is very blessed to be travelling to Disneyland in January 2012 for a 10 day holiday - yes, we are spoilt - a whole 10 days.

We had booked into the Disneyland Hotel and fully paid for our accommodation in early November (taking advantage of a good exchange rate). Making some separate enquiries on Friday I emailed the Walt Disney Travel company regarding our booking.

Today I received an email back from them telling me, that since I had made our booking there had been a promotional special, and during the time we are going to be with them, our accommodation would cost $1175.00 less than they had originally charged us; and as a result a CREDIT of $1175.00 would be paid back into my credit card this coming week.  They then sent me a new invoice, showing me the reduced amount and the credit.

Now, I have heard of companies, asking for more money, but who ever offers to refund you, if a special happens after you have paid for something.

I have always believed that Disneyland is the most magical place on earth and this amazing company has just proved that it is.  Thank you Disneyland!

Friday, December 9, 2011

14 Days and Counting

Tomorrow it will be 2 weeks until Christmas Eve - for me the official start of Christmas. I love the anticipation of Christmas Eve, knowing that the following day is Christmas Day, makes Christmas Eve even more special.

I have begun wrapping gifts and today even posted off my two parcels to friends in other parts of the country. All my baking is complete and I feel as though the festive season is in the air.

Ivan took the girls for a walk around the neighbourhood tonight to see the lights - we are one of about 5 houses that have lights up for Christmas and when they returned - they all agreed that ours look pretty good. What a lovely feeling!

The next two weeks are filled with special things - I have a dentist appointment - oh goodie! A sore tooth that is going to need a filling - so that I can enjoy my Christmas dinner and hopefully lots of chocolates. I also have a hair appointment, so that my Christmas photos will be pretty.

But, seriously I am also taking the girls to see 'The Nutcracker Ballet' on Sunday 18th and then on Tuesday 20th we are going to see 'Swan Lake' - the joy of the Theatre at Christmas.

I have two weeks of Joy ahead with nothing that I have to do, have to achieve, or have to buy. Everything is ready and I am going to relax and enjoy it all.

How are your plans for Christmas coming along?  Are you counting down yet?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Away for so long!

Hi everyone,

I have been away from my Blog for so long that it signed me out and I needed to remember my password to sign back in - now that was a challenge.

So here I am finally back blogging:

I can breathe - it is so exciting and such a blessing.  In fact I am beginning to feel well again.  Have woken this morning after a full night's sleep, well almost and feeling a lot more refreshed.  Don't feel that every breath I take is accompanied by the need to cough.

So what to do today - well I could just rush back into my life full speed or I could be sensible and enjoy the lessons I have learnt from the last couple of weeks and that is to take life slowly, enjoying the experience.

I have really taken this lesson on board and am loving the slower pace of this December - spending real time with the children, playing games, doing baking together and loving life.

So I have scattered lawn fertiliser over the back garden in the gentle soft-soaking rain - what bliss - and I didn't cough.  Dressed up in a warm tracksuit afterwards - yes it is summer, but yesterday was our coldest December day since 1888, so track pants and top it is, and am now contemplating some serious digital scrapbooking and relaxation.

What a blessed life I lead.

Friday, December 2, 2011


I have discovered that 'breathing' (without coughing) is something to really be treasured.

I have 'Whooping Cough' and no I am not whooping - but coughing - yes I am.  Adult whooping cough is horrible and how young children survive or cope with it is beyond me.

Saturday night I developed a sore throat, Tuesday a visit to the doctor - 'just a virus' - Thursday another visit to the doctor and finally antibiotics to treat 'whooping cough'.

I am in bed for the second day and feel 'crap' - I can't rest, am coughing until I throw up and am exhausted. Someone told me this is the 100 day cough - I hope not.

So this post is about Me, feeling sorry for myself.

I guess I will appreciate breathing freely, when this passes - as I know it will.