I am thankful for so many options in my life

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In reality, I am a bit grumpy about having so many options. I believe I should be thankful and I will blog my way into convincing myself.

Today I tried to find a poem to express how I am feeling at the moment. I couldn’t find one. I am puzzling over living “in community”. For example, my sister and her husband live in a small farming community. They have lived there for many years. They are well-known and have many friends. When our father, and later, our mother passed away, they received lots of support from friends and neighbours.

I left my home town a long time ago and have moved around a fair bit. I tend to have a few close friends and don’t know many people in the wider community/city or town. Hardly anyone knows when there is a crisis in my family. A few years ago I lost my sister-in-law to suicide. After getting this terrible news, I  wanted to get out of the house and walk to clear my head. I stopped and spoke to my close neighbour at the time, but didn’t share the bad news. I don’t know why – perhaps I didn’t want to bring sadness to his day.

Is this something we all struggle with? Do we seek close community with others when it suits but remain isolated for most of the time? I found my home town to be claustrophobic – every one knew every one elses’ business. So the support is there when needed but it can also be intrusive. Can I happily live my  life without engaging in community of some kind? Or is it a lonely or selfish way to live? So that is what I am puzzling over today!

I promised some gratitude in today’s blog so here goes: I am grateful for:

  • a loving partner to share my life with
  • three intelligent, kind and good-looking sons, two wonderful, beautiful and amazing daughter’s in law
  • two gorgeous grandsons
  • a home to live in peace with friends and neighbours in close proximity
  • never having to go hungry or thirsty
  • not being burdened with financial difficulties
  • the ability to see and visit friends and family
  • good health, vision, hearing, mobility
  • a good climate with a lovely beach close by
  • transport and good roads
  • freedom to vote for the political party of my own choosing
  • freedom  of speech
  •  excellent health facilities close by
  • technology at my finger tips
  • a temperate climate
  • being able to express myself through this blog
  • being able to read, write and further my education
  • free to have spiritual beliefs of my own choosing without oppression from others

I could keep going  – it got easy once I started thinking about it 🙂

I am also very grateful to you for taking the time to read and sometimes comment on my blogs.

Thank you 🙂

 

Lorraine

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Weekly photo challenge – Family

Christmas pudding from Bracknell, Berkshire.

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I first met my new mother-in-law in 2004. We immediately clicked with each other and enjoyed each others’ company. She passed away in 2008 and we do miss her and often talk about our happy times with her. 🙂

For many years, she kept her family well fed with a variety of puddingsBread Pudding, Spotted Dick and the most popular of all, the Christmas Pudding. Her two sons made her smile when they worried about who would cook the puddings after she was gone. I put my hand up at the time and we agreed she would teach me how to cook them. We didn’t get around to doing the Spotted Dick though 🙂

The first one was the bread pudding and I was able to produce one nearly as good as her’s. The Christmas Pudding was a different matter. I joked about being her apprentice. I went to her home and she showed me, step by step, what to do. Well the last two Christmas’s were sadly, spent without her. After she died, I inherited the apron, pudding bowls, cooking scales and mixing bowls.

It was a big responsibility to have on my shoulders (but I loved it really). I guess I will never quite make the puddings as well as her’s but I am sure she is happy that the family tradition is continuing. My daughter-in-law recently asked me for the recipe and I was delighted to share it with her. I wonder if she will pass it on to her daughter-in-law, at some future time.

Sharing and continuing family traditions is one way of celebrating being a family. Traditions can build a stock-pile of happy memories. I bought the ingredients for this year’s Christmas Pudding and I will keep the family tradition going.

Homemade spotted dick pudding.

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A slice of home-made bread pudding.

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If you would like the recipe you can find it at https://allaboutwordswa.wordpress.com/mums-favourite-recipes/
The original recipe is getting a bit tattered, as you can see!

Recipe for Christmas Pudding

cheers
Lorraine
 

Greenglades

The tree-fern

“CHRISTMAS SPECIAL” – was the title in the real estate paper for the first house I ever bought. That was in December 1978. I found the original advertisement yesterday. I saved in a folder titled “1980’s memories”. I am glad I am a bit of a hoarder as I found some gems (smithereens :-)) that could be useful for future blogs 🙂

The ad went like this:

CHRISTMAS SPECIAL

 BELGRAVE $2500 Deposit ($47 weekly) Lovely treed secluded block slopes to creek boundary. Small cottage, ideal for retired couple of young couple starting off – $22,950

Wow! If only it was that price today. It was a lovely little home on a very big block of land. The land was covered in lovely tree ferns and camellia trees, maiden hair ferns, azaleas and much more. Belgrave is in the Dandenong Ranges within commuting distance of Melbourne.

Although the price seems very low today, the interest rates at the time got up to 17.5% and we were on a very low wage. The house was over seventy years old with wood stove and open fireplace for heating. I had one child at the time and another born while we were living there. I fell in love with it at first sight. It even had a name – “Green Glades”.

During that period I took on a real homemaker and healthy food specialist role! It was a lovely home, apart from the possums who lived and fought each other in our roof. One day a possum scratched so hard on the interior wall, it actually poked its head into our lounge room. That was pushing  the friendship a bit too far!

In early 1980 the opportunity arose to go to the Northern Territory (Numbulwar) for a 12 month stint. We decided to rent out our little cottage during that time. We were only away a short time when we received an urgent message to call the real estate agent. It was bad news – there had been a fire. Some sparks from the open fire landed on the carpet and set it alight. It is amazing the house wasn’t burnt to a cinder.

We made the hard decision to put the house on the market. It sold very quickly and we were sad, yet relieved we didn’t have to worry about it anymore. The house is still there – I’m told it has been renovated in recent years. This house still appears in my dreams today – in varying states of repair. It has etched itself in my mind forever.

Some places are like that, aren’t they?

cheers for now

Lorraine

The courage to love

 

 

 

In February 1988 I began to wonder in despair if I would ever find love again. I wrote these words:

I had the courage to love

I was touched by its exhilaration

I was encompassed by its arms

But no – it was only an illusion.

The deep needs of my heart found a home in imagination.

Why does love make such a difference?

It is so bittersweet.

So many tears have been shed;

Yet I still have the courage to love again.

 

It not hard to fall in love with “love”. It is an exhilarating experience and life can seem so empty without it.

I hope you experience much love in your life today.

Lorraine

Clowning around

Today I will share another poem with you. This one is by Phoebe Hesketh and is titled “Clown” in Poets and Poetry by Sadler/Hayllar/Powell. What emotions arise in you as you read it?

CLOWN

He was safe

behind the whitened face

and red nose of his trade,

vocation more certain

than doctor’s or priests

to cheer and heal.

Hidden away from himself

he could always make us laugh

turning troubles like jackets

inside out, wearing

our rents and patches.

Tripping up in trousers too long

he made us feel tall;

and when we watched him

cutting himself down,

missing the ball,

we knew we could cope.

What we never knew

was the tightrope he walked

when the laughter had died.

Nowhere to hide in the empty night,

no one to catch his fall.

 

 

The Clown is often depicted as sad, lonely person – a tragic  figure. He has his uses in entertaining us and making us laugh. I wonder if we all take that role on at times when there is sadness underneath but smiles on the outside. I am sure we do –  I know I do.

cheers for now

Lorraine 

Smithereens

Cover of the first edition of Poems of Passion...

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In looking for inspiration today for my blog, I browsed many poetry books. I love poetry and enjoy reading it anytime. I was looking for poems that express great passion and emotion. I want to write the occasional blog on what the poems say to me.

 I believe poetry provides an exquisite opportunity to express some of the difficult or intense emotions.

Today’s poem is quite different, however, I thought you may enjoy it. It is called Smithereens and by Roger McGough. I found it in Poets and Poetry by Sadler/Hayllar/Powell.

SMITHEREENS

I spend my days

collecting smithereens.

I find them on buses

in department stores

and on busy pavements.

At restaurant tables

I pick up the left-overs

of polite conversation.

At railway stations

the tearful debris

of parting lovers.

I pocket my eavesdroppings

and store them away.

I make things out of them.

Nice things, sometimes.

Sometimes odd, like this.

by Roger McGough

As I develop ideas for my blog, I have my ears and eyes open to what is happening around me. Sometimes an idea strikes and I must write it down straight away. It is fun, isn’t it?

cheers for now

Lorraine

A ‘girlie’ moment

Lancome Tresor

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I love perfume. In fact my favourite is Tresor by Lancome. I tend to buy it when there is a special on as it is expensive. I like it when you pay the normal price but get a free gift valued at around $70 to $100. Well, I used to like it, I should say.

That was until the day I bought it and there was a free gift, BUT, you only got the ‘free’ gift if you bought two other items. I scanned the shelves for what other two cosmetics I could use. One of them was an eyebrow pencil and I can’t remember the other one – not important. What a shock I got when I found out the pencil  was $24.95 – FOR A PENCIL! I had gone too far to back out, so I paid up and felt really silly with my idea of getting a bargain.

The above incident happened about ten years ago. I still have that eyebrow pencil and it is about one inch long. I think I may have got my money’s worth. Time to buy a new one. I looked in the chemist and they were $20 plus so I checked the supermarket and got one for $15.00. Not much of saving but I felt I had redeemed myself from my extravagance ten years ago. That was until I got to the check-out. The woman scanned the pencil and commented that I could get six of them for $10.00 from the Price Savers store, but it was too late. It was already through the check-out.

The check-out woman and I talked about our experience with expensive eyebrow pencils. We got into quite a chat about it and I felt like we were old friends by the time I had packed my trolley. It was one of those moments in our busy lives where we sometimes meet a fellow traveller along life’s way. It made me smile and my heart was touched. What a gem 🙂

Happy travelling

Lorraine

PS this could be interpreted as a hint of what I may like for Christmas 🙂

 

The new family in town

Today I am reflecting on a very sad day in 1983. I was living with my husband and three sons in Fitzroy Crossing in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. My youngest son was just a baby of a few months old.

We had been living there for about 9 months when a new family from Victoria came to town to work with the same organisation. They had four young children and their youngest was 5 years old. It was a hot December day, only a frew days after they arrived, and they went to the river for a swim, with a group of people from the church. I thought it was too hot and decided to stay behind with the baby.

The day progressed in its usual pattern until some time after lunch and there was a loud knock at the door. A local school teacher was there, obviously in shock, and said “There has been a drowning!” You can imagine my shock and horror at his words. He was quick to assure me that my other two sons and my husband were ok. He told me that it was child from the new family who drowned. Tragic. Unbelievable.

The little 5-year-old girl, had got into difficulties and was drowned. My husband and others tried to rescue her but their efforts were to no avail. They rushed her to town and to an ambulance but it was too late. Her parents were devastated. We all were.

The next day I went to visit Belinda’s parents. They were sitting outside in the shade of a beautiful tree coloured with yellow flowers. It seemed like such an idyllic scene but it was far from it. What do you say to someone who has experienced such a loss. They were thousands of miles away from any friends or family. I can still see their faces today, reflecting the depth of their pain. How could they go on living their lives as they had before this happened?

So sad! I don’t know where they are today. Their other children will have grown up and may have children of their own now. I hope so. I hope that they experience a lot of joy and comfort in their lives. They showed great courage in the face of disaster.

I couldn’t get this story out of my head today. I felt like I needed to share it, either for myself or for someone else who reads it.

All good wishes

Bad hair day!

The barber

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Yesterday I had my hair done (coloured), as I do on a fairly regular basis. Nothing unusual in that? Well, it nearly became exciting.

My hairdresser is located in a small shopping complex not far from my home.  I was a little early and placed in front of the mirror straight away and the magic chemicals (hair dye) applied to the roots of my hair to hide any grey ones creeping in unnoticed. With that done, they put a timer on for when it needed to be washed off. I think it was for about 30 minutes.

The “boss” hairdresser went to use the tap and discovered there was no water. It turns out that some work was happening on another unit in the building and they turned off the water for the ALL the shops. They couldn’t isolate the water supply to just one shop. It only got worse though, because they then discovered a burst water main. It was flooding the car park and there was a bit of a panic.

Meanwhile the clock is ticking down on the timer for my hair treatment. I tried to be cool and suggested we could get some bottled water from the nearby supermarket. People were coming and going with promises that the water would be flowing in 5 minutes. Fifteen minutes passed and no water arrived. I was getting a little uncomfortable however the clock ticked down and it was time to remove the colour. Hurray! Just in time! The water was flowing again.

As the hairdresser led me to the basin, a burly Aussie bloke poked his head in the door and said they had to turn it off again straight away. He was quite chatty and even amused, not realising (or caring 😦 ) about the havoc he was creating. Well, the long and the short of it (pun?) was that my hair was saved from a disaster, just in the nick of time.

The salon owner told me about another time when this happened. On the previous occasion, she agreed to go with her customer back to her house to wash her hair (very flexible country people here). They arrived at the house and the woman had lost her house keys! It was crisis time  – their solution was to wash her hair using the garden hose on the front lawn of her house. I said to her, “that would make a good story”. Well, she is too busy to write so I thought I would take advantage of the tale!

cheers

Lorraine

What new skills would I like to learn in 2012?

Emmitsburg, MD, March 10, 2003 -- EENET - one ...

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I reflected on this topic and my head was spinning! Probably because the ideas that I came up with were nothing new. I have spent a few decades trying to improve myself. This involves being brave enough to keep learning practical and technical things. I have a thirst for new knowledge and leap at the opportunity to gain it.

Other ideas included:

  • self-acceptance – isn’t it ironic that including this in my list means I am not self-accepting 🙂
  • learning to deal with difficult people – this doesn’t mean I have to turn myself inside out to accomodate them. It means I find a way of relating that doesn’t minimise who I am. I have the tendency to see it as my responsibility to change to enable smooth relationships with others. I want to stop doing that and find a better way or relating.
  • I would like to become better at being in the present – mindfulness, better focus and less concern about the past of the future.
  • My listening skills could improve as well – the previous point would help to bring this about

On the more practical side of things, I would like to learn how to:

  • improving my writing skills – I am enrolled to do a course next year
  • expand the range and quality of cooking that I do
  • improve my capacity in the computer tasks I do at work

So, that is my list. What would you include on yours? I would be interested to know 🙂

Cheers

Lorraine