Dreams are made of this

Last night, Peppercorn, now aged two and one quarter years, was having trouble sleeping. Her parents both had work today. So I gathered Peppercorn up in her Grobag/sleeping bag and carried her out to the balcony overlooking the river.

it was raining and we could hear the rain joining the river and see the lights of the high rises in the CBD disappear behind mist and fog. An event centre on the opposite river bank had string of lights, ending in a bright blue light that dazzled Peppercorn.

She cuddled into my arms and we chattered very softly under she started to yawn and rub her eyes, ready to settle back into sleep.

i know she won’t remember our night time moment, but I know I will for it was so precious. The city, the river and the rain as we sat together in the night shadows. Feeling very, very grateful and lucky today.

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It doesn’t take much to make a good day for Mr FD and I, now that we are more mature. Today, we had to drive to the city for my appointment with the cardiologist.

No one tried to kill us on the road, and when we didn’t miss the turnoff to the hospital and wander around the suburb lost. In the car park, we found a free car park on the first floor. Then, I remembered to note the area we were parked in and that we had to go to the four floor to access the hospital entrance.

Once in the hospital we walked by the pharmacy and ohmygodohmygod there was the exact soft toy I had been hoping to find for months for our about to be born grandchild, to match his older siblings soft toy we had given her at her birth (Petite Fille). The coffee shop had lovely fresh food and pretty good coffee that we didn’t have to rush through before my appointment. The coffee temperature was just right, unlike the airport which always has coffee way too hot to drink before we have to board.

In the doctor’s office, I had barely to wait five minutes and I was in. The doctor remembered I was a teacher, well, maybe it was in his notes, but he cared enough to  read his notes and ask me how the teacher was today.  I received a fantastic report after months and months of blood pressure problems, so I am grateful for that. I don’t have to return unless a new health issue arises. YAY!

No problems with paying our parking fee on the return to the carpark. And when Mr FD broke a piece off a creeper growing over a stone wall, only one old couple saw us and had the grace to laugh. It is one of the joys of being mature, having the courage to break a piece from a plant and sneak it home. Well, maybe not sneak, but it did ride home with us and is not ensconced in six plant pots. Saving the earth, one stolen cutting at a time.

No one tried to kill us on the way home, and when we stopped by the local butcher we snared some great meat bargains.

As I said, it doesn’t take much to make a great day, and that is a good thing.

 

P.S. I off to the city tomorrow on baby watch. I will be with Petite Fille while her parents are in hospital.

 

 

 

Sunday going down

home 2

The rain has been pouring down for the last couple of hours, and the fire is lit. Our family are all home, Petite Fille tucked up in her bed.

It’s Sunday night, so no hope of a cosy sleep in, but it is a pupil free day, so that is about as much as can be hoped for. Five days of work and then two weeks of semester break. Almost there.

 

End of vacation blues

There goes those two weeks! New school term tomorrow, and I honest to the Big Whatever have done no preparation beyond wadding through my email inbox. Deleting emails took an hour, and by that time I was so over school that I closed my school laptop and put it in the car, where it can languish until tomorrow!

I am covering a colleague’s ICT class for four weeks so will be refreshing my coding skills. He is not a man to introduce anything new, so I can trust that nothing has changed in the unit since I taught it last year.

Over the break, I have had swarms of ideas running through my head for the library, but I need to sift and filter (do sift and filter mean the same, or is one more intense. I hope so, since my word choice!) I have neither time, energy nor assistance to do a lot of big picture stuff, but I will just try to do what I can do, one day at a time.

The manga and anime club kicks off this term with Manga Tuesday. Initial interest was about 40 students, but I expect that to be somewhat less when the day arrives. I am allowing the students to run it, as while I stock the graphic novels, I really don’t know the genre at all, so I am praying some of the older, or more enthusiastic students take up leadership.

Missing my Perth based Peppercorn.

four months

ready for swimming lessons!

However, home was where Petite Fille was waiting, with a butterfly cake that she had decorated with flowers. It was an earl grey tea cake with chocolate lavender icing. Yes, it was yum!

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Blessed.

looking back to the present

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Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, January 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It all comes down to this

FD Christmas 1

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

fully expecting the sky to fall

frightened

A most unusual day.

During the course of one day, I received four very generous and honest compliments about the LibGuides site that I have spent the last couple of months building and adding resources to, for students and teachers.

At the same time, Minerva, my erstwhile assistance, received two compliments.

It it wonderful to know that we are helping people, and that our skills are appreciated, but it has left us both waiting for that inevitable smack in the back of the head that always seems to follow a good day.

Paranoid? Perhaps. However, I dare anyone to tell me that they haven’t experienced  having an “ego building” day only to have the Big Whatever bring them down not long after.

Speaking of the Big Whatever. Today, we covered the 10 commandments in class. It was only when I was knee deep in the lesson content that I realised that I was going to have to explain “Thou shall not commit adultery” to 11 and 12 year olds. I mean, there is no way of knowing if they all even know “the facts of life”!

I ummed and ahhhed my way through what I hoped was a politically correct explanation, hoping my description would pass the dinner table conversation of students and parents, mindful that a number of families are blended families. I shouldn’t have worried, for one of the back row boys piped up and said “Oh, you mean don’t mess around!” The other students nodded their heads in solemn agreement.

Then, it was onto coveting your neighbour’s wife! I took the feminist view and talked about the language used and how it could be viewed that a wife was just another belonging. It was a much more satisfying discussion as far as I was concerned!

A most unusual day.

the revolving door policy

team meeting inspiration. Verner Panton . 1963-64

You know how you have an empty nest, then a kid comes back, and then maybe goes away again. and maybe another kid will nest again for awhile? Well, this weekend we got a kid, a husband and a grandchild; for six to nine months.

Daughter, husband and Petite Fille’s home is undergoing major renovations. It means they need to vacant for the project. They had somewhere to moved to, but on the day of moving things went majorly astray, and with little more than a phone call we found ourselves welcoming them back home.

Because we haven’t had time to prepare, we are presently bursting at the seams, with our stuff and their stuff, and we all know how much stuff a toddler travels with! I have had to rescue a stuffed lemur from Augie Dog’s jaws more than once today.

Over the next week or so we will sort through things and move furniture around and maybe Son will have to move rooms, so that Petite Fille can be in her own room and near her parents. We have yet to discuss that one with Son… it is his birthday today and we thought we would allow him at least another day in ignorance.

This afternoon I was sitting outside in the late afternoon shade as Petite Fille played at making mud dams out of the pebble path Son had crafted so meticulously a few months ago, while son-in-law, Mr Boy, cooked sausages and potatoes on the bar-b-cue. Daughter1 was in the kitchen cooking more vegetables, and Mr FD was watching football on the television.  Son and his mate were playing computer games. The parrots were performing their afternoon socialising and Augie Dog was asleep by the patio door. The thought occurred to me that I am an incredibly lucky woman, to live where I do, have the family I have and to be gifted with this precious time with our granddaughter, Petite Fille.

Now, someone just remind me of that thought over the next few months. I suspect I may just need some intense reminding from time to time…

great story

Carrying my place with me

 

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I don’t know why taking the rubbish out to the bin led to my comment, but as I walked back through the front door, I couldn’t help remarking to Mr FD that “we really do live in the best place in the world.”

For those new to the flock, Mr FD and I decided on a tree change just over two years ago. We moved from a large, two storey house in a Brisbane suburb to live in a small “village” about an hour’s drive from the city. Our home is smaller, more manageable to suit our downsized lifestyle, and has the textures of brick and natural wood we love. Every room has a view of trees.

We have a tall cathedral window in our living room that gives us a floor to ceiling view of tall towering gum trees and our garden, as if there is nothing between us and the world outside. In fact, it does its job a little too well, as once or twice a week we hear the bam! of a bird making contact with the glass. We joke that one day the window will break and then we will replace it with a huge stained glass STOP! sign window, to warn the birds.

Living here means that I have a 40 minute drive each way to teach every work day, but that is a small part to play for the joy of living where we do. (And we traded my car in for a hybrid to alleviate the fuel issues). I can walk onto our patio any morning and watch a variety of birds catching their early worms, or maybe follow a wallaby making its way across our lawn. Our trees are old and very tall, and as I write this blog, sitting near the open window, I can hear the wind blowing through the branches of the gums. Just hear the serenity!

Our property is just over an acre on the side of a hill, and so we have the added gift of sweeping views across the valley. There is even a lake to be seen in the distance. Surrounded by trees, the front road is hidden and we can pretend the rest of the world has ceased to exist. I do, for days on end, when not interrupted by the need to go “out there”.

Add to that, our first family dog, a cream, golden retriever named Augie, who arrived as we did, and the cup really does runneth over.

“We really do live in a beautiful place,” I said.

Mr Fd replied, “Someone from overseas wrote to me that they were sorry for what happened in Sydney (a terrorist siege that resulted in the deaths of two innocent hostages) and I said, that though there are horrors vested upon us, on the whole we do live in the best country in the world.”

The best place in the best country in the world, that is where I live.

 

When you leave a beautiful place, you carry it with you wherever you go.

                                                            Alexandra Stoddard

 

Just putting this into words, has made me realise, that living here has made me a better person. I am no longer concerned about image, or ambition. I have slowed down. Now moments mean more than things. It would be nice to think that I am also a kinder, more forgiving person; mellowed a little, but at the very least, I am happier and so very content.

I wish to you all, that in 2015 you may find your little piece of paradise. If you have already, that you may hang on to it tightly and let it fill you, heal you and make you the person you wish to be.

Flamingo Dancer.

via Flamingo Dancer blog

the morning after

crown

I have a bad case of crown hair.

This year, we were going to go Christmas crackerless, but Daughter1’s mother in law brought along a box and so we sat at the table wearing paper crowns. By some strange coincidence, of the eight people assembled at table, seven wore yellow or orange hats, and one a pink crown. Me. The power of my glorious aura even reaches out to Christmas crackers!

Daughter2, feasting with her future inlaws, sent a glorious floral table arrangement that was and is, just sheer joy to gaze upon, and finished our table beautifully. Just by chance, I had selected apple green linen napkins for the table and the same green was echoed in the flowers. More of my magnificence!

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Petite Fille, sat on her chair, wishing all a “Merry Christmas” and hit repeat once she realised the attention it gained her. Recently, she has been making duplo dogs, and every “dog” was not considered to complete without the addition of one last block, which was deemed a “party hat”. So adults with party hats, surrounding her was the cause for much declaring of “party” and “hip hip hooray” with the appropriate arm throwing head high. The gin and tonic pre lunch, and the selection of wines during lunch meant more adult gusto as the meal went on.

The roast was a failure, as despite hours of “correct” cooking was still deemed “raw” at slicing, so back into the oven, but there was plenty of ham to go around. Once the shame of it all would have spoiled the event for me, but now I just laughed and shared the story. I did feel superior though, due to not over catering. There was one little container of left over sweet potato and pumpkin at meal’s end; not the dozens of little bits and pieces of previous years which meant a search through cupboards for odd containers and much use of glad wrap. The fridge is not groaning under the weight of leftovers, hooray!

The sticky fig pudding (egg free) with caramel sauce was to die for, and a couple of people went back for seconds. Mr FD and Son finished it off as their main course, Christmas night. The dishwasher washed into today, but it is all cleared and packed away now, ready for stage two. Daughter2 and Her Beau arrive on Monday when we shall party again with more family.

The addition of Petite Fille has made Christmas, Christmas again. She finds such happiness in small things – her glee at stroking Augie Dog, eating her first cookie (be it a chickpea cookie!) and having her two grandmothers in the same place at the same time (that took some mind altering processing!) was a gift I hope I never forget.

Boxing Day afternoon and I am still in my pyjamas. There were long phone calls this morning, with Daughter1 and my Sister to recap the day. Sister was with us for lunch, but we still found things to talk about for two hours this morning!

I hope that you found peace and happiness in your days. Blessings to you all.

Thank you for being my friend.

hug

But don’t think this will get you out of a “sticking” should you require it…