Monday, December 31, 2012

FROM 2012 INTO 2013

I would like to send love and best wishes from my other half and myself to all my blogging friends.  May the new year bring you everything you are wishing for yourselves.  I have always joked that 13 is my lucky number so I am hoping the new year will indeed be lucky for everyone, including me and mine.

We had a hot Christmas and we are ending the year with a VERY HOT day.  It got to 42.1C (108F) today and at 5.20pm it is still 38C (100.4F) in the city.  Those on the coast are enjoying a sea breeze but even there the temps are still well into the 30Cs.   Wherever you are I hope you are keeping warm or cool, whichever the case may be.

I'd like to thank all those that visited my blog this year even if you didn't leave a comment.  Comments are always appreciated even if it to tell me I am a silly old duck!!  I know I don't have many followers, but those I do have mean the world to me so thank you so much for staying with me.  It is very much appreciated.

Until next year.  xxx


Saturday, December 29, 2012

FAMILY MEMBERS.....MY 2 GRANDSONS

Both my grandsons have birthdays this month.  The eldest of the two (L) was 30 on 20th December and we all went to his mum and dad's home for a quiet afternoon tea on the Sunday before his birthday to spend time with him and wish him well.

Watching gifts being unwrapped on Christmas Day by his oldest sister and youngest niece (apologies about quality of photo).


"L" is very tall and has fair hair and is quite good-looking too.  He is a quiet person but has quite a sense of humour and is a very serious thinker.  I noticed him and MOH having a very serious conversation recently which they both seemed to be enjoying.  That pleased me.

I don't see "L" as often as I would like but single young men live quite a different life to we oldies and he is always busy with his work these days.  Although he studied intensely at university he has actually found his niche in the hospitality industry and, after working in that industry for several years, is now managing an hotel in Nedlands and we hope he will do well.  We also spent time with him at our granddaughter's home on Christmas Day so great to see him twice in the one month.

My younger grandson (J) will be 24 tomorrow and as I've not seen him for close to 11 years I am not even sure I would recognise him if I met him unexpectedly in the street as in the only photo I have of him he is about 17.  They can change quite a lot in 7 years.  This photo I believe was taken with one of his friends at the time of their school graduation celebration in ca 2005. 



He is the son of my own son who on my 70th birthday took it upon himself to divorce himself from all our family (including his own father) so my daughter and her family have not seen or heard from him and nor have I or MOH.

I believe "J" did very well at university and has a good job.  He no longer lives at home but shares accommodation with friends.  I still send him birthday cards but have not heard one word from him so obviously he has been told not to make contact or maybe he just doesn't want to or can't be bothered.  I cannot answer for what he does.

I am fortunate that my daughter-in-law, unbeknown to my son, keeps in touch with me via email about 2 to 3 times a year and through her I am kept somewhat up to date with what their family is doing.  She has sent me photos via email as the children were growing up for which I am most grateful.  It is still not the same as seeing them or even talking to them.

I know there are many disfunctional families out there but we are yet to understand why this situation developed in our own family.  Hopefully before, or even after I am gone, the truth will come out and perhaps there will family togetherness again.  One can only hope that this will finally eventuate.

In the meantime we celebrate "L's" birthday with him and content ourselves by sending "J" a birthday card wishing him all the best and hope it will have some meaning for him.

Monday, December 24, 2012

SEASON'S GREETINGS

May I take this opportunity of wishing those that visit my blog a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and a happy, healthy and safe NEW YEAR.

I appreciate the few folk that have stuck with me over the past year.  I love to have you visit and I so enjoy visiting your wonderful blogs as well.

Please keep safe over the festive season and enjoy yourselves with family and friends.

MOH and I travel down to our eldest granddaughter and her hubby's home for Christmas Day tomorrow which I know we will enjoy as we always have a wonderful time each year and now with the addition of our third great-granddaughter it will be even more special.  There should be a dozen of us gathered together and while we enjoy ourselves we will all be thinking of B who will be enjoying her first Christmas Day in Alaska. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

WEATHER STRAIGHT FROM HELL

We had anticipated that we were going to have a hot Christmas in Perth this year but I got the shock of my life when I checked out the BOM site just a few moments ago.  It reads thus:

Monday 24th..34C (93.2F); Tuesday 25th..39C (102.2F); Wednesday26th..38F (100.4F); Thursday 27th..39C (102/2F); Friday 28th..38C (100.4F), Saturday 29th..38C (100.4F); Sunday 30th..37C (98.6F).



All I can say is WOW!!!!  We are going to be the hottest capital city in Australia including Darwin in our far north where Christmas Day is forecast to be only 34C (93.2) and they are used to heat up there.

Our cousins in the eastern states are all going to be sitting down to their Christmas dinners in lovely cool conditons.  They may even get some rain if they are lucky or perhaps that's not so good if you are planning to be out of doors.

I'm now wondering what it will be like at new year.  Obviously the heat from the west will travel across to the eastern states and they should have hot weather by the end of December for their new year.

The other thing that concerns me is what is the temperature going to be on 2nd January which will be my 81st birthday?  My past few birthdays have been very hot so we have stayed home and had a lovely lunch provided by my daughter while sitting in the cool of the airconditioning.  Could we perhaps have a sudden cool change????   They say be careful what you wish for and so I am not wishing for that as, knowing my luck, it could well turn out to be 40C.

The family say I become obsessed with the weather during our summer months and I must admit I do as I really do not thrive on hot weather.  I seldom mention the weather during our winter except perhaps to celebrate if we have much needed rain.  My ideal temperature is about 20C (68F).

I have managed to survive during some very hot summers and I am sure I will do the same this time but gee, snow would be lovely.  : )

 
 Oh, how beautiful that looks!!  Well, one is allowed to dream isn't one???

Thursday, December 20, 2012

I MADE A NEW FRIEND TODAY

A friend of my husband, whom he worked with many years ago, always calls in to see us at this time of year usually bringing a gift of a bottle of wine.  He came this afternoon and brought Jim with him for a visit.
Yes, Jim is a beautiful golden retriever (in fact he is Jim #3 as Gerard has owned 3 of them now).  In came Jim and immediately lay down right at my feet.  Apparently he is quite fussy with whom he makes friends so we decided I must give out the right type of pheromones that attract dogs.  Anway, Jim obviously decided I was OK.  I of course began to pat him and stroke his head and every time I stopped I got a nudge from his nose to tell me not to stop doing it.  He is so good that when I said 'No more' he just lay down with his head resting on my bare foot.

We once had a golden retriever.  Emma was 7 when she came to us and we had her till she was 12 when she was so ill she had to be put to sleep.  She too was a beautiful dog and Jim bought back such lovely memories of her.
Gerard is a great bloke and we are always so pleased to have him visit but it was a double bonus today to have Jim along as well.  They stayed for about 90 minutes and I fell in love with this beautiful dog.

We are far too old now to own a large dog as they do need a daily walk.  I can't walk far and although MOH's heart is always in the right place I just know he'd not be able to walk day after day no matter how good his intentions were to begin with.

We are both hoping Gerard will call again, sooner rather than later, and if he brings Jim for another visit they will both be very welcome.

FOOTNOTE:  Gerard will never let us give him anything but last year while visiting us he mentioned that he had to buy some tea-towels (he is a bachelor).  Many years ago I used to collect tea-towels and even exchange them occasionally with penfriends.  I remembered I had a very large pile of brand new tea-towels so I brought them out and chose two that had dogs on them and gave them to Gerard.  This year I did the same thing and two more tea-towels have found a new home.  I have had most of this tea-towel collection for over 25 years now but they are nearly all made of linen and of course are still brand new.  Gerard went off happily clutching the new additions to his kitchen.  It has been great to find something that he wants.


A BIG SHOPPING TRIP (FOR ME ANYWAY)

Yesterday we went shopping as there were some things I couldn't buy online (what a fantastic idea that is for someone like me who can't walk for very long) and although I felt I was a dismal failure MOH said I did very well.

Yes, I had to buy myself a Christmas bear!! I began doing this in 2009 so now I have 4 of them each with their little red hats with the year showing.  I think the family feel I am a little silly but I have always loved teddy bears and when I was quite young and we didn't have much money I was given an old teddy bear when I was 6 by a boy who had 'outgrown' his teddy.  I loved that bear for years.  I have my bears lined up on top of a 4' bookcase at the back of our living room.  I wonder how many I will eventually have?  I am hoping family member will take one each one day as keepsakes.

I found a delightful shop that sells tea and all the things that go with tea making and the most fabulous cups and saucers, teapots etc.  MOH was off claiming refunds from Medicare and HBF so I had time to look at these fabulous things which was fun in itself.  Also had a rest on the seat of my walking frame as I had to wait for MOH to catch up with me.  I love to watch people so was able to indulge myself for a while and these days there are some very interesting people around.  Much more so than when I was young so many to look at and wonder about.

When trying to find a good Fisher Price toy for our youngest great-granddaughter and we were discussing the pros and cons of this toy or that a lovely young woman with a little one in a stroller stopped and said "that one is really good for that age" and then another young woman added her opinion as well and said she agreed.  It was so great that these two young women should bother to take time to help out a couple of oldies with their advice.  Solved our problem and made us realise there still are some really nice people around who care about others.  The chosen toy is terrific.  One of those that makes different noises when you press on its hands or feet and I am sure it will delight our g/gdaughter.  No, it is not the one in this picture but I thought this rather cute too when I saw it but not early as much fun.

We then went to a different shopping centre where we indulged ourselves with a cup of steaming hot coffee and a large lamington WITH CREAM each.


 Afterwards we spent more time finding last minute bits and pieces and I think we are now done but we can't think what to buy each other.  I have already bought MOH a couple of new knit shirts and some t-shirts but can't think of anything else.  I keep suggesting different items but he says "No, I don't need that" so perhaps just keep loving each other a lot which at our age is so very important.

All in all I am proud of myself in being able to keep on my feet (with frequent sit downs) for so long.  Oh, I do miss the days when I would delight in window shopping and just going for walks for the sake of walking but at least I'm still here to have a grizzle about it and I did manage yesterday and not too stiff today which is a bonus.




Tuesday, December 18, 2012

OH NO!!! NOT ANOTHER HOT CHRISTMAS DAY

Just checked the long range forecast and wish I hadn't done so!!!!  Christmas day (they say) will be 38C (100.4F) and here was me hoping for a cool day.  The temperatures have been going up and down in Perth of late and I had my fingers crossed they would go down next week but, because my hands aren't very supple these days, perhaps I didn't cross the poor old fingers hard enough.

I am fortunate in many ways though.  The family now consider me old so they don't burden me with having to do too much but perhaps provide plates, napkins etc. which I am always pleased to do and I will make any salads or similar that they need.  I wonder if they'll need Christmas crackers?  Must ask them about that.

It is one sure thing though, that we will all enjoy ourselves as the past few Christmases have been truly wonderful and now with an extra great-granddaughter to share it with, it will be truly special.  We will of course miss our #3 granddaughter who will be celebrating in the snow in Alaska but she will be with us in spirit as I am sure we will all be in her thoughts.

There are still a few gifts to be brought and cards to send....boy am I running late this year but I am still trying to boost my Christmas spirit and finding it hard to do so.  I have no idea why this is.  My age perhaps?  The difficulty of moving easily and getting things done?  Does anyone have an answer?

Never mind though....I truly am looking forward to spending Christmas Day with my dear MOH and our lovely family regardless of what the weatherman throws at us.....although I WOULD prefer rain.



Monday, December 17, 2012

WOW! FOR ME THAT WAS A BUSY WEEK

As I quite often don't go out for a week or even longer (except to our exercise group on Wednesday mornings) this past week was quite exhausting, albeit interesting.

MONDAY:  Man from Cockburn Care came to do our front lawns.  Didn't really mean I was involved but was glad to take some of the burden off MOH's shoulders.

In the afternoon I had an appointment with my physio.  Explained I was having lots of pain at the sides/back of my rib cage.  She found the problem and boy was it just a tad painful.  Seems when my lower back is bad I tend to lean forward which puts pressure on the muscles between my ribs.  Of course I didn't know I had muscles there but apparently we all do.  After about 25 minutes of work the relief was tremendous and has lasted all week.

TUESDAY:  I had an 11.00 appointment with a nurse at Silver Chain and they have moved from North Lake Road (about 5-7 mins drive from our place) to a new posh building in the backblocks of Jandakot.  We have stupidly not updated our street directory (they are not as easy to buy as they once were) and the mud map sent was anything but helpful.  I googled the address and was able to work out which way to go but......when I said to MOH "I think we could have gone right there" he of course turned right there.  It was not an alternative route at all and a road that went on for quite a few kilometres till the next main road.  Not having an up-to-date street directory meant we had no alternative but to retrace our 'steps' and continue on the road I'd meant us to be on in the first place.  The worse of it was the number of huge trucks on the same roads.  It is a very new area so there is loads of building going on.  Fortunately we were only 5 minutes late but we had the same 30 minute drive to get back home again.

WEDNESDAY:  Exercise group at 9.30 a.m. and we had a great time as it was also the break up party for the year so champagne (or champagne and orange in my case) plus mince pies, Christmas cake, strawberries and other little chocolate delights.  We resume on 9th January and I am determined to exercise at home from now one. I promise myself I will.

11.30am  Our lovely hairdresser arrived to cut both my hair and MOH's hair.  For many years we went to her home but they have sold up and she has decided from now on she will go to her clients rather than them come to her (at least until she knows where they will be living in the future.  They are now in a large caravan in her mum's back garden.)

2.30pm  Appointment with my gastroenterologist as some blood tests I had done recently showed I am low in iron with the 'ferritin' being really low.  My GP is concerned there is internal bleeding so am booked for a colonoscopy and endoscopy in March next year.  I guess it best to be sure than sorry but quite honestly I feel it is all to do with the diabetes and other problems that may be causing the low iron.

THURSDAY:  "A FREE DAY" I thought but then realised we really should do some Christmas shopping so off we went to Big W (using my trusty walking frame) and managed to find a few things we wanted and followed it up by an enjoyable afternoon at our favourite cafe.

FRIDAY:  The second Friday of each month MOH goes to a nearby library to meet with half a dozen people who are interested in poetry.  They call themselves The Dead Poet's Society (perhaps you guessed that one) and as this was their last meeting for the year they were asked to bring partners.  We all took platters of different foods and after selected poems were read out and discussed we chatted about different things and then enjoyed some nibbles and a non-alcoholic wine (Edenvale Sparkling Cuvee which was quite pleasant although I've read bad reviews about their still non-alcoholic wines).  All in all we spent a really great 3 hours and I thanked them for having me.  We then went into the library itself and found a few DVDs to take out as the TV programmes themselves are pretty grotty right now.  We don't watch much TV but like to settle down of an evening and watch a couple of shows or a DVD.

SATURDAY:  We both more or less rested to revitalise ourselves after what had been a very busy week; well for us anyway!

SUNDAY:  Off to afternoon tea at our daughter and son-in-law's home to help celebrate the 30th birthday of their son (our grandson).  Once again very pleasant to spend several hours with family.

TODAY:  Final appointment of 2012 with my physio....worked on lower back and she does some wonderful work and I can feel the relief immediately and am now walking more upright.  She is so helpful in keeping me reasonably mobile that we always give her a wee gift at Christmas to say thank you.  She loves a certain blue vein cheese so two packets wrapped up for her today.  She knew immediately what it was as it was cold from being in our fridge and we hope she gets a lot of enjoyment when she eats it.

The above may not seem a lot to people who are active but believe me a few hours out and about and I am ready to relax in my recliner with my feet up.   We still have a wee bit of shopping to do before next Tuesday but some has been done online and it's so easy to go the post office to pick up the parcels.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

REMINISCING...THE DAY I NEARLY BURNT THE HOUSE DOWN

I was thinking today of various incidents that happened over the years and this one came to mind for some reason.  In 1968 MOH worked for WA Rope & Twine in Mosman Park as paymaster, shipping clerk etc. etc.  and the house next door to the factory became vacant and it was offered to us with the proviso that MOH open the gates to the factory each morning and secure them in the afternoon.  The rent would be $6/week.

We accepted the offer as previously we had been renting a house in Claremont at $20 per week and MOH's salary when we first moved in there was only $50/week at that time so things moneywise were a wee bit tight.  I had then had to return to the workforce but we were still not that well off financially with two children to bring up and care for.

This house in Mosman Park was a very nice weatherboard house with large rooms and a front verandah right across the house.  It was quite basic but comfortable once we had cleared the cockroaches out of the laundry where they had apparently been breeding in the base of the copper (that was what you heated the water in to do your washing back then).  Also the bath was not much chop as the Italian man who had lived there previously had used it to crunch his grapes to make wine so the paintwork had suffered somewhat. We all preferred showers anyway so that was no real problem and at least it was clean.  The toilet was in the back garden but this didn't really present a problem either as there was at least an outside light.

After several weeks of getting it all cleaned up we all really enjoyed living in this house as it was only a few hundred metres from the ocean so we were assured of a wonderful sea breeze on hot days and it was quiet as there were only a couple of other houses in the street.   This changed somewhat after a couple of years when a truck transporter firm took up resident a couple of hundred metres up the road but apart from when they decided to load up cars in the middle of the night they were really no problem.

As MOH now worked next door to where we were living and I worked in an office in Cottesloe (the next suburb) he would quite often pick me up at lunchtime and we would go home so we could perhaps prepare things for dinner that night and other little chores that needed doing.  One day I decided I would pop on a large piece if corned beef to simmer which would be ready for dinner.  I don't like pressure cookers and of course there were no microwaves in 1968.  MOH drove me back to my office and that was that...except it wasn't.

A couple of hours later one of the workers from the factory ran into the front office and said to MOH "There's smoke coming out of the window at the side of your house".  With this MOH hotfooted it to the house and there on the stove was an incinerated piece of corned beef and a saucepan glowing red!!  I had obviously forgotten to put the stove on simmer before returning to work and needless to say we did not have corned beef for dinner that night nor did I ever again decide to cook corned beef or anything else while I was absent from the house.

I know how devastating it was for mum and dad to return to their farmhouse after camping out overnight elsewhere on the farm to find their house burnt to the ground with all their precious possessions gone forever.  I have always had a fear of fire and this incident made me realise how easily mistakes can be made when all could be lost.  I have always been so grateful to the chap that noticed the smoke in time to raise the alarm.  I was also glad we had left the window open so the smoke could be seen or the result could have been far worse than it was....just one ruined saucepan.

FOOTNOTE:  The Rope Works is long gone along with adjoining properties and in their place is a beautiful retirement village.  Strangely enough, in exactly the same place that the weatherboard house stood, is where Mr Burton, my boss from the Cottesloe office, now lives in that retirement village. Tis a small world.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

IT REALLY IS BEGINNING TO FEEL MORE LIKE CHRISTMAS

Until yesterday I had no significant feeling of Christmas approaching at all.  MOH and I talked about it last week and wondered why this is so.  He was of course born in England so the weather is all wrong for him but I was born in this State nearly 81 years ago so should the weather make a difference to me?  Unfortunately it does as I really dislike summer and hot weather and we've had a few hot days recently which reminds me of what the next few months will be like weatherwise and I go sort of numb just thinking about it.

Yesterday I received wish lists for our three great-granddaughters so I got online and ordered several gifts and today I printed out letters to various friends to go with their Christmas cards.  I have now written out 4 cards but have many more to do over the next week.  I know I am going to be late with those to the UK and the US but quite a few friends and rellies will receive Jacquie Lawson e-cards which are very beautiful and I know people love to receive them.  If someone can accept an email then they now rarely get a card by snail mail unless they are very, very, very special.

One reason I send the e-cards these days is because I have real trouble writing for more than a few minutes because of my poor old hands....arthritis.  I am sure MOH would help me but he's sort of not into that sort of thing so I refrain from worrying him about it.   He's a great reader but not a great writer.  I do make him write the cards to a special friend of his and that always takes him about a week to do.

All this is getting me just a wee bit more into the Christmas spirit but only just.  When I asked myself again why I realised that one answer is the restrictions we now have on our diet and how we also have to watch our weight which wasn't a problem years ago.  We used to begin to eat mince pies quite early in December and now we don't.  We'd often have a Christmas cake which would be gone before Christmas Day but now we don't.  We would look forward to all the good things we could eat over Christmas but now we don't (well, perhaps just a bit).  We do enjoy our Christmas dinner but now make sure we don't have all those left-overs that once we ate afterwards right through to New Year....pudding, custard, cream etc.  Are we really that good? Well, most of the time we are.

That does sound terribly grim doesn't it?  I shouldn't 'talk' like that because we should be so thankful we life in such a wonderful city in such a wonderful country where we are free to come and go as we please and say what we think (within reason) and most of us have roofs over our heads and 3 meals a day.  I think to be thankful for these things alone perhaps makes me feel good more than just the thought of Christmas approaching.

I know I am looking forward to sharing Christmas with my family as I don't see enough of them during the year as they are all so very busy and we will eat things we shouldn't but we will not feel guilty doing so because after all it will be Christmas day when we celebrate the birth of a man who I feel lived a very good unselfish life.  I am not religious so that side of the celebration is not there for me but as my mum used to say "If everyone lived their life in the same way that Jesus did then the world would be a much better place".  She was not very religious either but she did a lot of good for other people in her social work so let's celebrate the birth and life of a wonderful man born all those centuries ago and look forward to doing so on Christmas Day.

Friday, December 7, 2012

FAMILY MEMBER #9....MOH

Yes I would count my other half as family member #9 as he came along after my two children.  I have spoken about what a great other half he is and how wonderfully well he cares for me and I know at times I must be a darned nuisance but he never complains.  He has his faults of course but they are so minor I have no reason to criticize him at all.

He was born in a small village near Coventry in 1929, went to the local village school and then attended the technical school in Coventry.  There was a dreadful shortage of teachers during the war years in England but he got quite a good education.  It was unfortunate his parents were unable to afford to send him to a grammar school but those are the breaks in life.

As a child he lived through the dreadful blitz on Coventry.  The family cottage was only 5 miles outside the town and although damage was done in close proximity to their home they escaped unscathed.  MOH remembers going the next day with his mother and father into the devastated city to seek out family members all of whom thankfully escaped injury.

He had several good jobs in Coventry, and also spent two years in the British Army (national service) most of which time was spent in Germany with the occupation forces after the war.  He had many and varied experiences in that country, not all of which were very pleasant, and he saw saw so much sadness during his time there.

MOH married in 1954 and he and his then wife emigrated to Australia in 1960.  They lived in Adelaide, South Australia for the first two years but neither enjoyed life there so it was decided to move to Perth.  They had spent the day here when their ship docked on the way east and both had liked what they saw here.

Unfortunately their marriage was rather rocky and his first wife decided she no longer wished to be married so they separated and divorced several months later.  They had no children.

I met him shortly after that happened when he became a casual friend of the family.  It was after I had left my first husband that MOH and I began to see each other and realised we had a lot in common and finally we married.  My children got on with him quite well and he was a very good stepfather to them for which I was very thankful.

Not long after we first married he confided in me that he had always wanted to further his education but his first wife had not encouraged him to do so at all.  I knew he had an enquiring mind and a fantastic memory for anything he had read or heard,  and decided if that was what he wanted to do then do it he should.  He sat for the adult matriculation examination and scored high enough marks to be admitted as a part-time student at our leading university....the University of Western Australia.

How we handled both of us working full-time, looking after two part-grown children and his attending university I will never know but we did it and he eventually received his degree with a double major in psychology.  I felt very proud of him and was so glad I'd encouraged him to take this big step in his life.  It didn't increase his career chances (he was a little old by then, being in his late 40s) but it was the fact that he had done it that really mattered to both of us.

We've had our ups and down over the past 46 of so years and we've never been rich at all (in fact the exact opposite at times) but we've nearly always been there for each other and these days I know I would have trouble existing without him.  This has definitely proved in my case that the second time around is certainly the best.


OUR LITTLE CAR HAS BEEN MENDED

Yesterday our dear little car came back from the car hospital.  It had been unkindly rear-ended by an elderly man who I doubt should still be driving.  We were stationery at a GIVE WAY sign and waiting to give way to 3 cars on our right (as you do in Australia) when BANG!  Pushed our poor little car forward a few feet and of course she stalled.

I had an appointment in 10 minutes time so I wasted no time at all in getting out and asking the driver of the other car what he on earth he thought he was going.  He said he didn't see any cars coming and thought the way was clear.  You can see why I feel he should perhaps not be holding a driving licence any more.

It took me several precious minutes to finally demand that he give me his name and address with him all the time said 'there is no damage' when there WAS visible damage.  Turned out (his son-in-law told me) this man had a huge excess on his comprehensive car insurance so no wonder he was reluctant to give me any of his details. This did not surprise me as he said he'd had a couple of other 'bumps' when I pointed out damage to the front of his vehicle.

The long and the short of it was we lodged our claim, found out all details of the other vehicle and the driver, got a quote from a very reliable repairer near our home, took the car to the GIO assessment centre who accepted the quote we'd received and advised the work could go ahead.  The other driver lodged his claim so we will have no costs whatsoever to pay which is a big relief to us of course.

It seems the rear bumper (or what they call a bumper these days) had been pushed into the body of the car so the whole rear (what I call the skirt) had to be replaced and the total cost was around $AUS2,000.00.  You don't need to have much damage done these days for the cost of repairs to be high.

We were without a car for nearly 4 days and one doesn't realise how isolated one feels being car-less.  We have no friends we can call on (most are deceased and others live about 40+km away) and there is only one neighbour we could call on in a pinch in an emergency.  We did a big shop last weekend so had plenty of food (made sure there was enough for Precious too of course) and fortunately no mishaps occurred necessitating transport.

MOH was picked up yesterday afternoon to collect our car and while there they did a minor job on the front of the car at no cost; that's how great this particular repair place is.  When he got back home MOH called me out to look at the car and although it is now over 8 years old it had the look of an almost new car.  They had not only repaired it well but had cleaned the car inside and out.  I can't praise them enough.

This is almost certainly the last car we will ever own so we have to look after her very well.  It is a comfortable little car and one I can get in and out of very easily and you sit high enough to have a wonderful all round view which is also important when driving these days.

Fortunately neither of us were the worse for wear following this minor crash for which we are thankful, so all's well that ends well and we have our little friend once again sitting in the carport.

Monday, November 26, 2012

DEDICATED TO ANYONE WHO IS PERHAPS A LITTLE LESS SYLPH-LIKE THAN THEY ONCE WERE AND OTHER THINGS

This is a poem (by a lady named Maya Angelou) that I came across recently and it certainly applies to me (except my shoe size has gone down rather than up).  I enjoyed the humour of it and hope others will too.

MY YOUNGER DAYS

When I was in my younger days I weighed a few pounds less;
I needn't hold my tummy in to wear a belted dress.
But now that I am older, I've set my body free;
There's the comfort of elastic where once my waist would be.

The inventor of those high-heeled shoes my feet have not forgiven;
I have to wear a size nine now but used to wear a seven.
And how about those panthose?  They're sized by weight you see;
So how come when I put them on the crotch is at my knee?

I need to wear these glasses as the print's been getting smaller;
And it wasn't very long ago I know that I was taller.
Though my hair has turned to grey and my skin no longer fits,
On the inside I'm the same old me......but the outside's changed a bit!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

FAMILY MEMBER NO 8...MY SON

I am asking myself should I also mark my son as an ex family member?  It is nearly 11 years since this man decided he no longer wanted any contact with me or any of the family including his own father, his sister and her family not to mention his step-father of whom he was always very fond.

None of us really have any idea why this happened of, if they do, they are not telling.  Suffice to say I can only tell the story of my son from his birth until he was about 44/45 years of age.

He was born in September of 1955 and once again this baby was 4 weeks premature.  Unlike his sister he had some respiratory problems so was kept in a humicrib for the first few days of his life.  He was a plump baby at birth but apparently had fluid in his body caused by me suffering from what is now called pre-eclampsia....high blood pressure and severe fluid retention.  He lost 5 ounces of weight during the first week so when I took him home when he was 10 days old he looked a little like a skinned rabbit.

He was a good baby and slept well with no problems of colic or the kind which was pleasing but he was a terribly shy baby and this shyness carried on well into his childhood.  I think he was what one would call a 'mother's boy' who clung to me in any situation that frightened him.  I remember when he was a toddler visiting a friend who lived close by and as we arrived at her front gate her mother-in-law was just coming out the front door.  Now Steve would normally have been quite happy to go in that gate as we'd visited numerous times but when he saw a strange woman coming out he just lost it and screamed and screamed.  He was terrified and it was not until she had gone that he would venture into that garden, let alone the house.   I remember my mum telling me I was also shy but never to that extent.

School was another hurdle that we had to get over as he developed tummy pains which were to all intents and purposes quite real.  I took him to my GP who suggested seeing a child psychologist at PMH (the children's hospital).  The psychologist asked that Steve's father attend the next time but he refused as he said "no shrink is going to tell me what to do."  Great help he was!!  This doctor was very understanding and we devised methods of making it easier for Steve to accept school much better than before.  He did quite well with his lessons and had several friends but not as many as his sister had had when in primary school.

Even at age 12 he was still terribly shy so another trip to see a psychologist and fortunately this time his step-father came with us and was very helpful.  It was decided that joining the Boy Scouts would do Steve good so we arranged with the chap that ran the local Scout troop that he should join them.  MOH (his step-father) drove up to the hall on the first night but Steve wouldn't get out of the car.  MOH got him out without harming him and then in a fireman's lift took him through the front door of the hall saying "Here's a new member of your Scout troop."   It was one of the best things we could have done as from then on Steve seemed to be able to stand on his own two feet much better than previously.  In later years he told his wife that "If it wasn't for P..... I wouldn't be who I am today."  (He admired his step-father and they always got on quite well.)   I find it a great pity that thought didn't stay with him in later life.

Steve had many good jobs and was always eager to learn more to help him with his career.   Quite honestly I don't know what he is doing now but I believe he has quite a good position.  He and his wife have built a couple of new homes and where they are now is a beautiful home on 5 acres which sadly is only several kilometres from where we live.  We have not seen either Steve, his wife or his two children for close to 11 years which is a huge loss to me.  My grandchildren were at school when I last saw them but are now in their 20s and I'm not sure I'd even recognise them if I met them.

This photo was taken of Steve holding his little daughter back in 1986 (the other person is yours truly.  They were much happier times for all of us.

I could say a lot more than I have about how helpful he was at times and that sort of thing.  We have a substantial pergola at the front of the house that he built and a smaller one at the back.  He seemed capable of putting his hand to anything and I'll always be grateful for the things he did for us.




Monday, November 19, 2012

MY NEW ROSE

I am so pleased with my new baby rose (Chameleon) as already she is showing me all her beautiful different colours.   I had to show her off as I am surprised that she would be flowering so well so soon.  This from someone who recently decided (along with MOH) that roses were too much trouble to look after for we two oldies now.  I feel that with the floribundas they should be OK and I can actually see 2 or even 3 of these lovely roses in a row on our front patio.  I recently saw a very unusual and beautiful hybridT rose called "Julia's Rose" and if anyone is looking for a different rose I'd recommend it.  It is a rather unusual colour and apparently is available in both floribunda and climbing types.  Just a suggestion but well worth googling if you are looking for more roses for your garden.          



 


Monday, November 12, 2012

FAMILY MEMBER NO 7 --- MY DAUGHTER

I think the few people that follow my blog also know who my daughter is and as her writing is much more prolific and entertaining than mine I don't really need to tell you very much about her.

She arrived 4 weeks premature and was a delightful little bundle that weighed 5lb 8ozs (don't ask me what that is kilograms) with very little hair and no eyelashed or eyebrows.

I loved that baby before she was born, especially as there was a risk that I may lose her during my pregnancy; I loved her so much when she was born and I still love her very, very much but I'm not sure I tell her so often enough.

She was a child with a lot of confidence and was popular with her teachers and the other children, particularly at primary school.   She has done well in her working life and certainly has done more than I ever achieved but then I am not the artistic type.  I think that talent was inherited from her dad as he was quite artistic so something good did come from that first marriage of mine after all.

I often feel sad when I think of her as she has health issues that I can do nothing about except be there for her as much as I possibly can and if she does need advice I will try to give it to her without appearing to tell her what she should do.  We are all different in the way we handle issues in our lives....she is she and I am me and although we are alike in many ways we are still two different people.

I am always grateful to her for the 4 grandchildren she presented me with and love all of them in different ways as they too are very different from each other. 

All in all I am proud of my daughter, the man she married and of my grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

There's not a lot more I can say about this girl of mine except that I love her and care so much for her.

FAMILY (EX) MEMBER NO 6 (Part 2)

Continuing on with the saga of marriage number 1.  I would consider the first couple of years as being reasonably happy.  We lived in 2 rooms in 3 different houses, sharing conveniences, which worked out pretty well.  I had a couple of good jobs so of course with work and housework my time was short and first hubby, who was not particularly inclined to do much in the house, couldn't understand why I couldn't always be going out and about.  Occasionally he went out on his own....I didn't ask where he went as I thought perhaps it best not to.  During our second year of marriage he actually went of boating with a friend and left me home on my own.  I, of course, was not expected to feel any jealousy at being left on my own for my 23rd birthday.

A little after 2 years of being together our little daughter was born and I sometimes think that brought with it more problems although I could never put my finger on what was actually wrong.  When the baby was a year old we moved into a very old 2 storey house that belonged to hubby's grandfather.  No real conveniences to speak of but we made do.  My big worry was having a very active one year old child and a set of stairs.  I used to have to carry her up and down and somehow managed to keep her away from the stairs so no mishaps.

2 years after the birth of our daughter our son was born.  He was a tiny baby (both babies were 4 weeks early) but eventually grew into a big boy who at 12 months weighed 2 stone (28 lbs).  I then had to carry him up and down all the stairs and I often wonder if that is why I have back problems today.

Hubby from then on mostly spent most nights down in his workshop so it was the children and I in the house and he down there.  I have to admit we were short of money as hubby wanted to go shooting and fishing and also had a movie camera which meant buying films for it.  I tried to put away separate amounts to pay bills but he would keep borrowing so it was always a battle to keep up with paying bills as they came due.

I was completely fed up with the life the children and I were leading so I left and we went to live at mum's for several months.  Hubby pleaded with me to come back to him and made all sorts of promises to right the problems that had beset us, one of which was to build gates at the bottom and top of the stairs so I wouldn't have to worry so much about the children.  I think of the few conditions I had set before returning to him that this was perhaps the only one he actually complied with.

I won't go into all the details of the many things that went wrong as quite honestly I don't really want to relive them again and, to keep this story short, I will just say that eventually the marriage was definitely breaking down again until one night when I was doing some ironing he so got to me so much that I felt if he didn't stop baiting me I'd throw the iron at him.  I am, and never have been a violent person, and the feeling frightened me. The only thing I could do was walk out the door there and then before I did something I'd forever be sorry for.

I walked around in the night for hours and eventually ended up at my mum's house.  I kept custody of my children (I would not have stayed away if I didn't have them with me) and he and I eventually divorced.  As you know I have had a good marriage now for 45 years and he (my ex) has now been married 3 times.  My daughter has recently told the story of her dad's recent marriage so I won't go into that here.

Don't get me wrong.  I know I must have been partly to blame for the breakdown of this first marriage of mine as it does take two to tango.  Perhaps the blame lies with me for allowing myself to marry him in the first place, after the warning I got from mum and JT,  but had I not done so I wouldn't have had 2 beautiful babies.  Something good usually comes out of something not so good so am thankful for that.

Friday, November 9, 2012

FAMILY MEMBER (+ EX MEMBER) No 6 (Part 1)

I felt I had to include this man in my list of family members as, after all, he WAS the father of my two children so at one time WAS a big part of my/our lives.

I will not hold my punches here and will try to tell it as best I can so forgive me if at times it sounds a trifle one-sided as you are of course only reading my side of the story.

It was quite by accident that I went out with him.  Actually before that  we had lived next door to his grandparents (we were on one corner and they on the other) and in all those 5 years I am not sure he visited them very much as I never noticed him at their place at all.  Probably teenagers don't take much notice of what is happening in their immediate neighbourhood.

Another chap I knew, and went out with casually, had a brother who was getting married and, as he was involved in the wedding ceremony but did want me to be able to go to the wedding, he asked AGL (who had an invitation to attend the wedding but had nobody to take) whether he would like to take me.  I had known the bride and groom since I was 15 but had lost touch with them over the past couple of years so no invitation for me to their wedding.

We went to the wedding and a very nice wedding it was too and it all started from there.  Mum and Dad had built a new house and we were due to move in shortly after I'd attended the wedding and Mum always said we moved and AGL moved in too.  No, he didn't live with us but may well have done as he rode his bike (young people didn't have cars back then) over almost every night. You could perhaps say I was taken out of circulation by his sheer determination in seeing me all the time.

We did go out occasionally when he would borrow his step-dad's car and we'd even take mum for a drive on weekends occasionally (Dad was usually off playing lawn bowls) but much of the time the evenings were spent at home listening to music, the radio or perhaps playing cards or similar.

One day AGL and I decided to buy a block of land (gee, things were perhaps getting serious although I'm not sure if it was just him or me as well).  For some reason my mother looked on this big step as putting the cart before the horse and mentioned that perhaps we should thinking of getting engaged if things were serious enough to be buying land.

Looking back on that now I can see the stupidity of the whole thing but I guess in those days things we tended to go along most of the time with what our parents said as we though of them as knowing so much more than we did.  Boy, how that has changed now.

We got engaged on 18th July, 1952(had a lovely diamond engagement ring bought for me) and set a wedding date for the following year on 18th July, 1953. 

In between times mum and dad gave me a lovely 21st birthday party in the Mt Lawley tennis club hall with dancing a a delicious supper.

Several months before the wedding a friend of mine from school days was up in Perth and she came to our place for dinner one night and although I had told AGL that she would be there he still insisted on cycling over as usual.  JT and I had so much to talk about that I guess we rather excluded AGL from our conversation but he kept being a nuisance and I eventually turned around and gave him just a light tap on the cheek and tried to explain that JT and I hadn't seen each other for ages and could he just let us have this time together.  With this he flounced out of the room and slammed our front door very hard as he left.  Mum came to see what on earth had happened and she and JT then proceeded to sit down and talk to me about whether this planned marriage was the right thing for me to do.  I knew AGL was a very jealous person and in my heart I think I did realise perhaps I was making a mistake but I've always been a fairly sort-hearted person and I knew he would be very hurt if I broke of our engagement so decided not to heed the sound advice I was being given and go ahead with our plans.

The wedding took place as planned and we had a brief honeymoon as money was scarce and we found place to live consisting of a kitchen and a bedroom/sitting room and share bathroom and laundry.  I think we had enough cash to buy ourselves a broom and dustpan and brush and little else.  A friend had given me a pantry tea so we had sugar, tea, flour and similar items to start off with which perhaps was just as well.  Anyway, we didn't starve.

One incident shortly after our marriage brought home to me just how jealous this man was.  I had received an invitation to a friend's kitchen tea and he wanted to know when we would be going.  I had to explain that it was for the girls only and he was horrified that I would even contemplate going somewhere without him.  I then wondered if perhaps I should have listed to Mum and JT.


This story is turning out to be rather lengthy so I think I will tell it in two parts so as not to bore the hide of anyone who happens to tune in here to read what I've written.  Watch this space!!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO TUESDAY?

Here I am back again about this damned vertigo that has been plaguing me but yesterday was the absolute limit and I am back to my GP tomorrow and I really am going to insist he listen to me and if he can't suggest anything to help then I need to be referred to somebody that can help.

I awoke yesterday fairly early and sort of felt all was not right but went back to sleep and when I woke a couple of hours later I knew all was definitely not right.  I once again had the staggers when I got out of bed.  I immediately took a stemitel and popped back into bed for a couple of hours.  Have to lie there with my eyes closed so I don't see the walls whizzing by although not as bad yesterday as previously, thank goodness although anything is bad.

I did eventually decide to do my insulin injection and get up and sit in my recliner and have some breakfast.  The stemitel definitely stops the nausea thank goodness and I am able to eat.  Stayed there through lunchtime (with Precious asleep on my lap most of the time) and had a sandwich but still the items in the room wouldn't keep still so can't read or watch TV.   Thank goodness for my little portable radio.

Mid afternoon I decided I would do some rearranging of genealogical files I'd been wanting to do and was able to gradually get on with that for a while.  I also turned on my computer but wasn't really in the mood for doing much there.  The movement on it didn't do me much good.

I then thought I'd see if I could find somewhere on the internet the manouvres I had heard of for curing vertigo and I did find one that seemed quite simple.  I had to lie on the bed on the 'bad' side for 30 seconds, then turn and lie on the 'good' side for 30 seconds and then sort of hang my head (on the good side) looking down towards the floor (without falling off the bed), also for 30 seconds.  Amazingly enough it did seem to ease the vertigo and within minutes it had stopped.

Was this sheer coincidence or had this manouvre worked?  Hard to say but I definitely was able to walk OK although, as in always the case after even a short 3 hour attack, I was incredibly weary.  Fortunately it was the turn of MOH to cook dinner last night so I could continue to take it easy.

Today I woke up at 8.45am and when I got up everything was back to normal balance-wise and the room was completely still but it took several hours to feel really good and so far (it is now 7pm) all is going well and I do actually feel quite good.

My problem?  I just don't want to continue to lose whole days out of my life as I just cannot afford the time!!!  There are things I have to get on with.  One day this house will have less junk in it.  That is a promise I've made to myself and nobody can fix that except me.

Monday, November 5, 2012

MONDAY MUSE

It's funny how sometimes something comes to mind and you wonder where that thought sprang from.  I was sitting looking at our cat asleep on the chair near me and I got to pondering about how the food we feed our animals has changed over the years.

I have had a cat or cats nearly all of my life and I realised that up till about 15 years back we always made sure our cat/s had a saucer of milk each day or cream if there happened to be some available.  Now, of course, it is said that milk is not good for cats.  I certainly don't remember any of our cats suffering from drinking milk and they all seemed to enjoy it very much.  If they wanted water I think they would find a source somewhere in the garden but I am sure we didn't leave water out especially for the cat/s.

Precious always has a bowl of water on the washing machine and one outside the back door which is refreshed daily.  She drinks a lot of water but not to the point of it showing she has a problem.  She just appears to enjoy drinking water.  Occasionally she has been allowed a small amount of cream which she also enjoys but as we have it so infrequently in the house I doubt it does her any harm.

Many years ago cats were also fed bread and milk by people that didn't have a lot of money or even perhaps Weetbix and milk or something similar.  I think we also used to give them liver (wonder if that was bad for them?) and there were no tinned foods for cats and certainly no 'bikkies' whatsoever.

Many things have changed over the passing years but the difference in the way we feed our cats (and even our dogs I guess.....we haven't had a dog for a few years now) has certainly changed.  We had to find a brand of cat food that Precious would eat every day and she always has a small bowl of 'bikkies' available as well.  She has her favourites there as well.

Once again here I am just thinking aloud as I often do these days.   Sign of someone with not enough to do perhaps?


Saturday, November 3, 2012

MY SATURDAY

Today began normally and then it got worse as I got bogged down in trying to do too many things at once and theng got myself upset and frustrated and all that stupid stuff.  Anyway I finally got over all that with the help of my other half who tries to understand but being still so able to do stuff himself probably finds it difficult to know what I am going on about at times.  Sigh!  He does try though, bless him.

Then I had brilliant idea and remembered those fantastic photos of the chameleon rose that my daughter placed on her blog a short while ago.  I rang the local Dawsons Garden Centre and the lady on the other end said "Yes, we have some in stock".  She asked would she put our name on one and I of course said "Yes, please and my husband will pick it up this afternoon".

MOH had to pop out to the shops so on his way home he collected the rose for me and it is quite small but has some buds on it and even a couple of them are opening and showing the delightful yellow with the pink edges.  I can't wait till it grows a little larger and has all the different coloured blooms on it.

I will repot it (or MOH will....another frustration of mine that I just can't do those gardening chores I once did) and there is a place on the edge of our front porch where I will place it so it will get the sun but if it gets too hot during summer I can pop it behind the shadecloth to keep it cool.

We had given up on roses as being too much to look after but I feel this floribunda rose is going to be easy to care for and will give us so much pleasure every time we look at it.  I just know I will love it 'cos it has yellow in it and yellow always makes me feel happy so what more can I ask for.

Also today we had some much needed rain and as MOH did put the sprinklers on the front garden last night (our watering days are Tuesday and Friday) the extra 'watering' today will do the garden a lot of good.  There are a few potted plants waiting to be planted so perhaps tomorrow could be a good day for 'us' to get that chore done too. 

Isn't amazing how spring does tend to get you moving (who me??) or at least give us inspiration about what we would like to get done?    Note to self:  Just keep that thought in mind woman and no more getting bogged down like you did this morning!!

As you can tell by the above I was once again just 'thinking out loud' so hope some of it at least makes some semblance of sense.  It's amazing how writing stuff down does clear the old head.

Friday, November 2, 2012

FUN ON FRIDAY

It's strange how our thoughts often fly backwards to days of yore.  I have recently been wondering at the strangeness of our spring weather in Perth and the extremes we have experienced over past weeks.  Daytime temperatures up to 36C (96.8F) and down to as low as 18C (64.4F) this coming Sunday. 

Spring always is a time of constant change but it is also a time you begin to wonder "Do I pack away my winter clothes now?" or "Is it time I got out my summer clothes and freshened them up ready for the hot weather?"  Right now it means swapping from light clothing and then back to warmer wear every few days especially for my poor other half who feels the cold much more than I do.  For a couple of days he is wearing shorts and then it's back to the good old track pants around the house.

All this reminded me of a dear old lady I knew years ago.  She was my first husband's grandmother and she and I were great friends.  I would often wander down to her place for a visit and we would sit and have a cuppa and she would tell me what Perth was like in the late 1800s when she was a child here.  I used to be enthralled in all she had to tell me and I would try and imagine it as it was in her youth.

One of her favourite expressions during autumn when the weather would begin to cool down was "Summer 'nicks' off and winter 'drawers' on".  I often think fondly of Gran and can still hear her saying that with a grin on her face. 

Saw my dermatologist this morning and he zapped a couple of spots and told me I have to pop back when MOH sees him in February as he is little concerned about a 'spot' on my nose.  I also had an appt with my physio who worked on my poor old neck (painfully) but did it a load of good and has freed it up (considerably). 

After all the medical stuff I felt I needed a good laugh and it was thinking about Gran that was just the medicine I needed for a bit of fun and some oh fond memories.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

THINKING ALOUD ON THURSDAY

The thing I am thinking about is Halloween.  What got me thinking about this was the fact that a very young girl rang our front doorbell last evening with the words "Trick or Treat".  My husband gave her a few coins and asked if there was anyone with her to which she replied "No."  This worried us as it was dusk and the idea of a little child out on her own at that time of day seemed irresponsible.  There are very few young children living in our area so we wondered how far she had come.

Thinking further about Halloween today I realised that when I was a child I am not sure we had even heard of the event as way back then not a lot was heard of goings on in America and although my Mum and Dad both came from the UK neither of them ever mentioned it.  I am not sure it was celebrated in the UK back in the early 1900s.

I myself have no feelings about it at all and prefer to just ignore it and hope others enjoy it if they so choose.   I  am not into ghosties and all those nasties so that is why perhaps it doesn't appeal to me.  I notice a lot of the catalogues we get in our letter box were full of lots and lots of things you could buy for Halloween (both clothing, novelties and food) so I am wondering if it is just another so-called "celebration" to make money.

Gee!!  Am I sounding just like an old fuddy duddy.  I never try to stop anybody having a good time as long as they consider others when they are doing so but if little ones are going to go out trick or treating I feel it would be much better for them to go in organised groups or at least have an older sibling with them, or a mum or dad who could perhaps wait for them at the gate of the house they are visiting.

Do you celebrate Halloween?  Would be interested to know if you do and what you think about it?

NOTE:  It is not only now that many people know little of the world outside their own boundaries.  I had a Facebook friend ask me the other day whether we celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia and when I replied we didn't and explained why she then went on to ask if we celebrated Christmas!!!  She is obviously a well educated lady from the way she writes (on her messages) but as is often the case little seems to be known about those in the antipodes by those in the northern hemisphere.

Monday, October 29, 2012

HERE WE GO ROUND AGAIN

Sunday 8.30am  Time to go to the loo.  Sit up in bed.  Damn and blast!!! (or as my mum used to say Jam and Plaster!!).  Oh hell!  Not again!!!   Make it to bathroom and then find Stemitel and take one and manage to get back to bed without falling over and waking my other half.  Well it is Sunday and a sleep in is always great.

Finally ended up lying in bed with eyes shut for nearly 3 hours as opening eyes immediately produced merry-go-round effect of walls spinning round and round.

Tried massaging all my neck and back of head.  Did this help this time or was it a mere coincidence on Wednesday that I seemed to come good almost straight away?  As these attacks seem to take up to 3 hours to abate and last time I didn't do the neck/head massage until that time there is no answer to that question.  Maybe it is my ear after all that is causing the problem.

After I eventually get back to near normal it then takes at least 3-4 hours to feel 'right' so a full day almost totally wasted.  My co-ordination etc. is out of whack for some time afterwards.  At my age you just can't afford to 'waste' full days!!

I am making an appointment to see my GP this week and will insist he please refer me to someone who can perhaps either tell me exactly what is causing this awful vertigo or at least be capable of treating it in some way.

It is not only distressing for me but I know it is very upsetting for MOH who feels so helpless and he can do without this extra stress in his life.  He has to worry about me enough now without this added burden.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

THE WISDOM FOUND IN MY KITCHEN

I am sure many people today have magnets on their fridge or plaques on their walls and I am no exception or am I just hanging on to things we did in the past?  Anyway today I decided I should remove the magnets so I could clean the fridge door properly and I was amused and quite delighted by some of the sayings on them.  I thought I'd share a few words of wisdom with you:

"When everything is upside down, rest if you must but don't quit."  (Never give up)

"Cultivate your sense of humour.  Laughter hides in strange places."  (It surely does)

"Before you borrow money from a friend, decide which you need more."  (Great advice there)

"You have achieved success if you have lived well, laughed often, and loved much."  (Oh, yes!!)

"A true friend is the greatest of all blessings."   (I am fortunate to have had some wonderful friends)

These are probably more about me:

"I may not always be perfect, but  I'm always me."  (at least I always try to be me)

"I thrive on chaos."  ( You will never know how true that is.)

"This is a self-cleaning kitchen.  You eat...you clean."  (Wish that were always true)

These next two were given me by a dear friend who has since left this mortal coil.  I think they are self-explanatory, especially the first one:

"You'll always be my friend - you know too much."  (Yes we did confide a lot in each other)

"Annoying the cook will result in smaller portions."  (That is actually a small mirror with the words written on it.  I think my friend bought it at a Paddy's Market on her way to visit me one day.)

This final one is on a plaque and is something my other half and I try to live by every day if we possibly can:

To be in love is to help out and share;
To listen and care;
To give and receive;
To trust.....and believe that the someone you love, loves you.



A MOST UNPREDICTABLE DISEASE

I was first diagnosed as a type 2 diabetic back in mid-1996 and for a year or two managed quite well by changing my diet a little and doing some mild exercise which I fortunately could do back then...I could actually walk still.

Over the years I've gone from taking tablets to recently using insulin as well as tablets, still watching my eating habits reasonably carefully but the exercise has dwindled to a minimum for the simple reason I can only walk very short distances and can't stand for more than a few minutes.

Since I began using insulin my weight has gone up 5kg which I can ill afford to have happen as I was quite a hefty person to begin with.  My other half has actually put on about 8kg since he began using insulin last year and unfortunately the insulin for some reason causes the weight gain to be around one's mid section which has happened to both of us.

"OK" I said to myself "You've got a bit slack during winter so it's time to cut back on food."  I had begun to have two rounds of sandwiches for my midday meal which, with the bread we use, is about 60gms of carbohydrate and 45mg should be the maximum for that meal.  Yesterday for lunch I had one round of chicken and tomato sandwich (and very nice it was too) and felt good about myself.  That was 30mg of carbohydrate.

I try not to eat between meals although MOH and I often have an orange late afternoon.  Yesterday we didn't have an orange and by dinner time (we eat quite late) I began to feel rather uncomfortable and decided to do a BG test and yes, I was having a hypo (low sugar) attack.  4.2 is low for me and there I was with a fast heartbeat, shakiness etc. etc.  I immediately had a couple of spoonfuls of raw sugar and a peppermint which helped no end and I managed to do the salads for dinner while MOH took charge of the steak.

We discussed should I do my insulin injection before dinner as I usually do and the consensus was "NO.  Definitely not".  I tested a couple of hours after dinner and my reading was 8.8 and I had yet to take my diabetes medication.  We both decided I should not do an injection at all but to take my tablets as usual and hope for the best.

I had quite a good night's sleep (except for next door having their darned pool pump going full bore all night) and when I got up this morning I did a BG test and got 7.2 which is a little high for me first thing in the morning but not all that bad.

What I can't understand is this:  If I do my usual insulin injection before dinner I am quite likely to have a BG reading next morning between 6.0 and 7.0 and yet here I was not doing my injection at all last night and yet still having a reading of only 7.2 this morning.

I do not see my endocrinologist till next February so who do I talk to about this?  I could book into see a diabetes educator but they are so rigid in their rules I doubt I would get any helpful answers so I just go with the flow I guess but today for lunch I had 3 slices of bread which is more than I wanted to eat but just didn't want to experiences another hypo 'cos they are certainly very unpleasant.

I have written this post more for my own personal satisfaction than anything else as writing experiences down helps me consider them more seriously.  My question is to myself: "How are you going to even begin to try and lose some of that excess weight if you can't eat less without having a 'low'?  Is there anyone I can talk to that will help me?"  I really think these are questions I will have to try and answer for myself if I possibly can so wish me luck.  Trial and error may be the only way to go.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

THE W's OF WEDNESDAY

WELLNESS...Wednesday morning my other half and I attended our exercise group where we did stretching and balance exercises and of course did weight training.  We always have a great time and enjoy the company of the other lovely oldies in the group.  We try and go every week and we also know we should be doing more exercises at home.  Note to self:  Just make sure you do!!!

WELCOME...our daughter came to us for a bite of lunch yesterday and it is always a delight to have her pop in but....

WORRY....I am saddened by the fact that she is not her usual cheerful self and I am worried about her.  I know her health problems are really getting her down.  Sure, we can talk about them but there is little one can do except talk.  None of our experiences are the same so what works for one doesn't necessarily work for another.  I can only hope that these issues will resolve themselves in time and the pain doctor she is seeing about her back can find some way to really help her.  She needs to get the stress out of her life but when you are in pain and have medical worries that is not as easy as they often make it sound.

WOES...I was sitting here at the computer just mucking about and sort of felt not quite right.  I eventually got up and realised my legs didn't want to do what I wanted them to do.  I'd not noticed until then that things about me had begun to move.  I went straight away and took a Stemitel and then began the doozy of a vertigo attack, the worse I've had so far.  I managed with the help of MOH to get to my bed and lie down.  He then covered me up because for some reason when this happens I get really cold.  I daren't open my eyes even for a minute 'cos the walls of the room were whizzing round so quickly it was a bit like being on a merry-go-round. 

Another thing that happens with these vertigo attacks is I seem to have the need to 'wee' more frequently and on the third time to the bathroom I realised while sitting there that the base of my head was very sore. This is an area that my phsio has to work on quite often.   I started massaging it and eventually it felt much better.  The strange thing was when I got up I was a lot less disoriented although still not too steady on my feet.  I got back to the bed where MOH did more massage on my head and I lay there for a further few minutes.  Even stranger was the fact that although there was mild movement of objects in the room it was only a short while later that I was able to get up and walk quite steadily and go and sit in the living room with my feet up.  MOH cooked our dinner which I was able to enjoy and even watch TV without a problem.  (Precious was also a lot happier as she could cuddle up on my lap).

The above all happened over about 4 hours and I am now wondering if this vertigo is not caused by an ear problem but from something that happens in my neck.  It just seemed so weird that the vertigo stopped so suddenly after us massing my neck/head.  Seems I am going to have to pursue that line of enquiry with my doctor and hope he can provide an answer.

Monday, October 22, 2012

I MISSED HIM WHEN HE WAS AWAY TODAY

MOH left this morning at 11.30am to go to the University of WA to join other diabetics to talk to students about how the disease (both types 1 and 2) had affected their lives over the years.  We both used to do this until several years ago it became too difficult for me to walk about too much so since then MOH has been going on his own.  Today they spoke to about 50 postgraduates who are now commencing a second degree.

Today he had to be there well before lunch as they were being invited to a special lunch before the talks began.  He said he only ate a tuna sandwich and some salad keeping in mind his sugar levels and his increasing girth.

He was saddened to be told by the professor in charge that there would be no need for any of the volunteers to go next year to the uni as the curriculum is being changed and she is not even sure if these gatherings will be ever be arranged again.  That means today would probably be the last time MOH will be able to do this as in two years time he will be in his 85th year and possibly a little old to spend even half a day there and certainly not a full day which it usually is.  Time certainly has a habit of marching on.

I feel I must add this point.  The professor walked MOH back to where he'd parked car which I thought was very nice of her and on their way they talked about students in general and a comment the professor made got me to thinking about the modern attitudes of people.  She said these days they had to try and convey the message to university students that they must learn to be polite to people and have concern about others and not just themselves.   I thought that said a lot.

I said I missed him today even though it was for only 6 hours but I suddenly realised I am reluctant to do too much when he is not around as I seem to be unsteadier on my feet of late.  I certainly don't dare to venture outside into the garden on my own.  I'd not realised how dependent I am on this poor man and yet he must have time to himself and not have to be here all the time.

He always makes sure he takes the mobile phone (turned on) so I can contact him should I need to and he will ring me to check on me if he feels he needs to.  That is the only time the mobile is in use unless the two of us are out together.

Perhaps I should try and get myself a smaller walking frame I can use in the house, and the garden for that matter.  The one I have is a 4-wheeler and has  a seat and is too large for our small house.  Our friend Richard suggested I buy a copy of Quokka and see if any smaller frames are advertised for sale.  That I definitely will do tomorrow.

This all gives me further food for thought.  We do so want to stay put in this little cottage of ours even though it causes work we don't need, so persevere we both must to try and work out a way we can end our days here without causing too much grief to ourselves or others.

Here I have just been thinking aloud or 'writing aloud' perhaps but it helps me to put it in writing.  I feel there is a lot of thinking to be done over future weeks to get our lives organised properly.

A PAIN YOU CAN'T EXPLAIN

I don't know if any of you are old enough to remember an advertisement for pain killers when they spoke of it being good for 'the pain you can't explain'.  The pain they were of course speaking about was period pain which was something you just didn't talk about back then.

The pain/s I now speak of are those that seem to come and go and you can't really explain just what they are.   You can't go running to the doctor every time you feel a new pain and yet you wonder why it is there.  Surely if there is a pain there is something causing that pain.

Do you just ignore it and hope it will go away and not return?  With this osteo I have that begins at the top of my neck and continues right down through my joints to my big toes (so far my elbows are fine) I am obviously going to get the odd pain that wasn't here before on top of those that are there all the time.  Are the new ones part of the arthritis?  You just don't know do you and hope that's all it is.

I am definitely not a hypochondriac ... these pains are so real but you can't help wondering WHY?
I am positive that as one ages the doctors nod their heads and say... yes, you have to expect these things as you get older ... and you wonder if they eventually do give up on you.

I think this happened to my mum.  She had been hit by a car when crossing the road near her home when she was about 72 and spent 7 months in hospital.  We were first told she wouldn't live and then that she wouldn't walk but knowing the determination that woman had all her life we took that information with a pinch of salt.  Not only did she live, she also walked with the help of her walking sticks and that with one leg about 4 inches shorter than the other.  The right hip was so badly crushed they couldn't put it back together nor I gather do a hip replacement.

Eventually she moved herself into a very good retirement village where she had her own self-contained unit and with assistance from Silver Chain and the like she managed very well.  The thing that worried me was the doctor who used to call on patients at the village.  I never felt he took mum very seriously and of course with the injuries she had sustained plus other problems he perhaps just nodded and said yes, these things happen as people age.  He once sent her off to hospital with a note written on the back of an old envelope.  They promptly sent her back home without doing anything for her.  I feel they had no idea why he'd sent her to them  She eventually had to go to hospital again but that time didn't come out again.

After mum's death my daughter and I had the task of clearing out her unit and we discovered so many medicines, both prescription and over the counter, that I decided to make a list of them.  It covered two columns on a quarto sheet of paper.  Mum's main cause of death was a bleeding ulcer.  They operated and I was warned not to be too hopeful.  Quite honestly I think Mum had had enough and decided to call it quits.  A sister in the hospital told her she couldn't go and live on her own again and I am sure that the threat of losing her independence was too much for her.  I feel her condition should never have got as far as it did and I am sure all those medicines contributed to the ulcer.

I telephoned the doctor's surgery to let him know that Mum had died.  I spoke to his receptionist and told her what I wanted to speak about.  At that moment the doctor must have walked into the reception are as I heard the lady tell him that mum had died and would he like to speak to me.  His reply "No, I can't see any reason to."  I doubt he realised I heard his reply but it stays with me to this day.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

SOME MODERN TECHNOLOGY CAN BE A PAIN IN THE BUTT

I know that many technological advances in recent years, especially medical ones, have greatly advantaged the human race but there are times I wish we could go back to 'the good old days'.

A case in point are these 13 or 1300 numbers we now have to contend with when telephoning a business establishment of any type.  First of all local calls from our landline cost us 18 cents but these 13 and 1300 calls cost us 30 cents each.  I find this extraordinary and it is not really to our advantage at all.  You are answered by a recording giving you sometimes up to 6 different choices depending on what you wish to talk about.  There is not always a clear choice and occasionally you are fortunate enough to actually be allowed to speak to a consultant if there is a button for that but sometimes there is not so you take pot luck.

After you make your sometimes quite dubious choice you are then put on hold and quite often are told how important your call is to them (doesn't that make you feel all warm and fuzzy? not) and bombarded with lots of voice over advertisements or a terrible choice of recorded so-called music.  I must admit though the other day when on hold I did listen to some beautiful piano music and was a little disappointed when I was finally answered.  That was a bit tongue in cheek but it was nice music!! 

There are other pitfalls with these 13 and 1300 number though and here is a case in point.  Last Tuesday MOH took my car (well it's our car but it's in my name) to the RAC for it's regular service.  He unfortunately was held up in traffic getting there so just missed the shuttle bus they use to drive people to their homes so had to walk a distance to wait for a bus and then a fairly long walk home from our local bus stop.

That of course has nothing to do with the telephone problem but I just mentioned it as poor MOH was a trifle worn out when he arrived home.  The point is am making is the fact that by about 4.15pm we had heard nothing from the RAC about them collecting MOH to take him to the service centre to collect our car.

We telephoned their 1300 number and asked to be put through to the service centre in Myaree.  For some reason we weren't but through so the waste of a call.  30 cents down the drain.  The second time we were put through but the service centre was engaged and then the line just went dead.  60 cents now down the drain.  We rang a third time and this time a very nice lass said she'd do her best to put us through but then came back and said she couldn't get through but took the name and number and said she'd have the service centre ring us back.  We received no return call so now 90 cents down the drain.

By this time it was well after 4.30pm and as the centre closes at 5pm MOH and I decided a taxi was the way to go as we needed the car early the next morning.  Fortunately the taxi arrived in good time and cost MOH $20 (that included a generous tip of $1.70...well in other words MOH didn't bother waiting for the change from the $18.30 fare).  When he walked in he was told the car wasn't quite ready but oh, yes they would have sent the bus to pick him up from home!!!  How on earth were we supposed to know that when we'd not heard anything from them all day nor been able to access them by telephone.

To make it even worse when they emailed me on 31 August to set up the service for the car they offered a $35 discount of the account if I booked it in for service before 31 October, on top of the usual 10% discount for RAC members.  When MOH paid the bill the chap behind the counter said he knew nothing about that offer so no extra $35 discount.

I decided this wasn't good enough so thought I'd ring and hope to sort it out.  I eventually found a direct number to the service centre but twice telephoned and didn't get through.  I was given two choices: to book for a car service or enquire about a service.  As neither were really applicable I chose the second choice.  The phone rang and rang but there was no answer.  Eventually it was a Telstra recording that said "The number you are calling is not responding.  Please check the number and call again".  Now how on earth did that happen.  I did that a second time and exactly the same thing happened.  36 cent down the drain this time.

Next step was to ring the 1300 number again and I spoke to a most helpful lady and when I explained about not being given the $35 discount she said that was just not on and she tried to get through to the Myaree service centre but they didn't answer her either!!!!  She took my name and membership number and said she would have somebody ring me next week to sort this out for me.  She couldn't have been nicer or more helpful but once again no answer from that service centre even from the RAC themselves.  We were now a total of $1.56 out of pocket.  That may sound a small amount to most but when you are on an age pension you have to watch the cents as well as the dollars and when none of that expense is your fault it rankles somewhat, plus no results except, hopefully, from the final call.

There are a few (not nearly enough) organisations where you can use 1800 numbers which are free to call.  One would think that really big businesses could afford to use the 1800 number rather than the 13 and 1300 numbers which the majority use.  It would not only make it cheaper for customers to telephone them but would also make their clients/callers think much more kindly of them.

I know I've gone on just a wee bit about this but it was such a frustrating time and I wonder if others too are disgruntled about using those 13 and 1300 numbers and also constantly having to make sometimes ridiculous choices about what they want to talk about and then the waiting to get through.  Maybe it's just 'cos I am old and remember the days when you spoke to a switchboard operator (a real human being) whom the firm she worked for told her she was the first callers had to do with the firm or department so she had to always be polite and on the ball.  How wonderful it was back then.  I know 'cos for 7 years I worked a switchboard (among other duties) of a quite busy firm.  The boss actually told me that on several occasions his callers had complimented him on his switchboard operator.  I felt proud that I spoke to people politely and helpfully which was a good introduction to the firm I worked for.

Friday, October 19, 2012

AT TIMES I FEEL SORRY FOR MEN

That may sound strange as it seems so many women these days are against the male of our species and at times I can understand why and others not.

What I am talking about here is size....yes body size.  Now I am a quite tall, large lady and since using insulin my girth has increased by about 4kg and unknown cms which makes me rather statuesque especially side on.  I am fortunate in finding some loose fitting summer dresses that don't fit tightly and I also wear loose fitting tops during winter. We women don't need a fly in our trousers so mine all have elastic waists which fit nicely.   I am not any smaller wearing that style of clothing but I feel I don't look as grotesque as women who wear tight fitting clothing and look like advertisements for Michelin tyres.  That may sound rather bitchy but it is true.  I do try to see myself as others see me but I guess others "frankly don't give a damn" to quote Clark Gable in "Gone With the Wind".  Maybe there are so many big women around these days many have given up caring what they look like which is rather sad.

My daughter is a little on the large side as well and she too has always dressed according to her size and to me always looks very elegant, much more so than I ever do.  She seems to have a flare for choosing the right clothes for her.

What is all this leading up to, you ask.  Let me explain. MOH who has been using insulin for longer than I have and who always had quite a good waistline has put on about 14cms around the middle and now has a paunch, something he never sported before.  He has gone up two trouser sizes and because he is not very tall needs a short or stout fitting which seem unavailable today.  This means if he can find trousers to fit around his waist they will be many cms too long.  I know for some reason men these days wear their trousers with wrinkles galore around their ankle but neither MOH or I think that looks terribly elegant.

Now with track pants and their elastic waists MOH is still wearing those he's had a while as they S.T.R.E.T.C.H but he now has about 3 pairs of good trousers in his wardrobe that just won't do up any more because they don't stretch.  If only men could buy good trousers with elastic waists as we ladies can all his problems would be solved but he can't so it looks as though the trusty sewing machine will have to come out and new trousers will have to be shortened to a comfortable length for him.

Men's casual shirts (polo shirts and the like) also tend to rather hug their bodies and unless they wear sports shirts hanging out they can't hide that bulge as we can with our flowing tops.  Casual shirts are fine in summer but usually you have to IRON them...shock horror.....we put the iron away several years ago as we both wear drip dry.  I offered to buy MOH a couple of nice Hawaiian shirts that he could wear hanging out and I can't explain the look that came on his face.  You had to be there.

All of this may sound a little nonsensical but I do feel for the poor man as he is now becoming conscious of this body problem he has whereas I've been conscious of mine for many years although now it is of course getting worse although I've not put on any weight now for about 2 months so perhaps it has really stopped going up.  One can always hope.