Tuesday, February 27, 2007

too good not to link...

I haven't laughed so hard in ages!

Lucidiocy left a comment today, and when I traced my way back to her blog I found this story. Absolutely hilarious.

So if you need a lift, I heartily recommend the most embarrassing moment I've ever heard of! Enjoy!

two sets of rules for me please!

There's not much use having a bike if you don't ride it, so yesterday, after slathering myself in sunscreen (a rare occurrence - I hate the stuff), I pulled it out of the garage and set off for a friend's place twenty minutes away with a couple of good hills in between.

I'm no great bike rider - it's been a number of years since I've ridden any significant distance. Actually my last real foray into cycling was some time ago in Ireland when I set off on a full day affair around Dingle Peninsular in the rain. Despite the rain, the scenery was beautiful. Rolling hills of the greenest green imaginable dropping dramatically away into the sea, and stonewalled fields dotted around with sheep. Incredible.

Beautiful it may have been, but I still have flashbacks to the struggle to move forward in the wind as giant raindrops lashed my face. At one point there was a warm, welcoming pub where I dripped puddles of water all over the floor while sipping on Devonshire tea. When it was finally all over I had the joy of discovering I'd developed a pilonidal sinus.

My problem yesterday was not with wind, rain or pilonidal sinuses - it was the traffic.

I'm rather timid when it comes to cycling on the road with scant protection around my body while hulking metal frames whiz past me at speed. I'm also too embarrassed to ride on the footpath (besides it's illegal!) so I face something of a dilemma. Where can I ride?

My solution yesterday was to dismount, walk through an underpass and trudge along the road for a couple of hundred metres until I reached a place where I felt the road was safe enough! I then jumped on the bike and boldly set off proper.

This post is testament to the fact that I survived the ordeal without being knocked to the ground. Most cars politely cut a large track around me, leaving plenty of room to spare... except for two who sped past me in a narrow space where I had no where to go. Scared though I was, I kept my nerve and didn't wobble into their path at all!

I got to thinking about cycling and driving and realised I live by double standards. (In this and everything else!)

When I'm in the car, I slow down and allow cyclists plenty of space, but inside I get annoyed. "Hello??! I'm trying to get somewhere quickly here! Do you have to get in my way?" As soon as I can I swerve around them and speed down the road.

When I'm cycling, I ride along thinking, "I'm entitled to this road just as much as you are, so don't get shirty with me! Just slow down and you'll be able to get past me in a minute." As the cars swerve around me and speed down the road I hurrumph at their impatience.

I've noticed the same thing when I'm walking along a footpath. As a driver I grudgingly allow pedestrians right of way, muttering to myself about how I should have the priority here. When I'm the pedestrian I wait for the car to pass, thinking all the while of road rules that say pedestrians have right of way on footpaths. I can't win and neither can anyone else! There seem to be two sets of rules running tandem in my mind!

Ultimately I'm just plain selfish - I want my own way all the time. Driving or cycling, walking or driving - I'd like to go first thankyou.

So that'll be two sets of rules for me please! One to suit me in every set of circumstances thanks!

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

can somebody please tell me how to respond?

My dad got married today. Not to my mother.

I don’t quite know how to behave. What does a daughter do when her dad finds somebody new to hitch up with? Is there some protocol I can follow? “Smile now. Offer congratulations at this moment. Step forward and welcome your new stepmother with a brush on the cheek. Smile some more.”

Can somebody tell me how I should feel? Mostly I feel like weeping. Weeping for what isn’t. Weeping for what never really was, but should have been. Weeping of a broken heart shattered by pain.

This journey into family breakdown began when my mother decided enough was enough, and left my father. I fully support her decision – 30 years of abuse is a long time. That was four years ago, but in reality the journey began long before Mum left… it began before I was born, and was travelled every day of my life.

Growing up, we had a semblance of normalcy as we played happy family for the outside world. We did the things families do – fun excursions to Royal Australian Navy ships, visits to the Royal Easter Show in Sydney, scrubbed faces and best dresses in church every Sunday. We knew how to act when we were on show: smile and laugh in the right places; never give away the traumas experienced behind closed doors; jump to one another’s defence if anyone dares to hint something might not be quite right.

To everyone else we were a tightly knit family - on the inside we stuck together because we were brainwashed and cowed.

In my mind our family was like a magnificent Faberge egg. Gilt and beautiful on the outside; a fabulous specimen of fine art. Hollow on the inside with no real substance, no nourishment.

Somewhere along the way each of us became gradually aware that life in our household was not what it should be. Where there ought to have been love and laughter we were at odds with one another; unable to relate meaningfully; tearing each other apart as we struggled to survive the onslaught to our souls.

Despite all of that, when Mum left I was devastated. The pretence was over. Before she went there may have been wounds and pain, but technically we were still a family. Now there could be no pretending. The treasured Faberge egg fell to the floor and smashed into a million pieces, and with it, my heart.

You’d think that after four years I might have worked through some of the pain. I have (all credit to God and his infinite love), but like Humpty Dumpty, things can never be put back together again. Especially when I want them put back the way they should have been right from the start – with love and respect and patience and generosity and joy.

I’ve learned to accept that there will always be places in my heart that will never heal, that will never recover from the tearing. Mostly I hide the wounds, sometimes I uncover them in order to allow myself to feel the pain, occasionally I reveal them so I might offer healing to others. (Henri Nouwen, The Wounded Healer)

So where does that leave me on this day when my father has married another woman?

Obviously in pain!
Constrained by how I think I should feel:

Millions have walked where I now tread… I am not the first to experience the advent of a stepmother. This is normal for the world today so surely I can accept my reality amongst the greater reality and respond graciously with a welcoming smile?

Besides, since when was my father ever accountable to me? He is his own person. He makes his own decisions. I am a child, and children don’t tell parents what they should or shouldn’t do. Let him make his own decision and live with the results. It’s not my business. Butt out and let the day pass without too much bother. His life, not mine!

This normalising tool sounds good in a counselling text but it does nothing for the ache in my heart. It doesn’t hide the feeling of betrayal. It doesn’t give me back my family.

Deep down inside, my Faberge egg has been ground into dust. If it could have been put back together before, it certainly can’t be now.

Ah the pain.

I don’t know how to behave. I haven’t figured out the protocol. All I know is that once again I feel terribly wounded. I can only sit with that pain until the way forward becomes clear.

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

raindrops are falling on my head

This morning it was bright and sunny - another hot day in a string of scorchers in northern Tasmania. Then mid afternoon the rain clouds started rolling in. Big, bulky, black clouds. Thunder and lightening did their thing across the sky, and then it started.

First a drop here, a drop there. Then a little harder. And then it absolutely pelted down!

My friend and I sat looking out the window in amazement... rain? Heavy rain? We've forgotten what it's like. Coffees finished, we took off outside, hoping our umbrella wouldn't attract a lightening strike, and racing to the vegie shop for tea time supplies.

By the time we came out of the shop we stepped into a different world. The rain was still pummelling the ground and anything else in its path, and the street was awash. Roads were rivers with gutters as banks, footpaths were rivulets and islands were... islands in a sea of murky runoff. Manholes spurted water like fountains. Navigation was tricky, and in a few short moments we were drenched.

But it was wonderful. Water. Drenching rain. I could have stood in it and let it run down my face, soak through my clothes, shrivel my skin. Except I'm far too sensible and I didn't want to ruin my friend's car!

Is this the end of the drought? Probably not, but we've had rain every week for three weeks now - and the scientists declared today that El Nino is over. We're at least heading in the right direction.

And after all the rain...

... a beautiful rainbow. Perfect.

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100 ways with 100 zucchinis

We did it! We grew 100 zucchinis! Well really it was our six plants grew 100 zucchinis - and counting. We didn't do much more than plant, weed and water. Easy.

'So what do you do with 100 zucchinis?' I hear you ask. Well, yes, that is the question! What do you do with 100 zucchinis? Here is my answer so far:
  1. Chocolate and zucchini cake
  2. Ratatouille
  3. Give several to the neighbours
  4. Zucchini soup in industrial quantities, frozen for a cold winter's night
  5. BBQ zucchini
  6. Grate and freeze for later use
  7. Take some to work for anyone who wants them
  8. Orange and zucchini cake
  9. Stuffed zucchini (with red lentils, onion, tomatoes, garlic)
  10. Zucchini bread. Double the recipe and freeze the extra loaves.
  11. Offer as many as possible around at church
  12. Zucchini bars (haven't tried these yet, but the recipe sounds good)
  13. Steamed zucchini with carrots and beans
  14. Sliced raw zucchini with a yummy dip
  15. Sauted peeled zucchinis
  16. Fish on a bed of potato with zucchini
  17. Carrot and zucchini muffins (still to cook these)
  18. ...
... OK I'm running out of ideas here! So far I've only had to throw three a way - they were fairly big and I kept promising to use them in something. They just went bad before I got to it. I much prefer the smaller ones.

Is it possible? Are there really 100 ways with 100 zucchinis? Any ideas welcome... pass this on. Ask your blogging friends to visit and make suggestions! I need you to help me get to 100. Please. I have too many zucchinis. (Could this also be a blatant attempt to rake in more readers?)

Together we can make it to 100!

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007


OK. Now I'm starting to feel swamped.

Every day whizzes past more quickly than the day before, faster and faster and faster.

Every night I feel overwhelmed by all that I have not achieved.

Oh, I'm still doing the good housewife thing - cleaning, grocery shopping, cooking, more cooking, washing. I'm still going to work and earning a dollar, trying to maintain motivation and put in my best effort.

It's just that I've hardly done any study, while modules and assignments and readings and reflections seem to be coming out my ears.

The little study I have done has been very challenging - counsellors must be self aware in order to help clients so I'm carefully analysing my attitudes and behaviours against the literature's definition of best practice... scary!

Three weeks ago I was sure I could counsel friends and patients adequately - this course would simply help me to develop and hone my skill. Now that I'm analysing and reflecting on myself, I'm wondering if I might not have so many counselling skills after all! Add to that all the warped motivations I've discovered in my heart, and I think I might need counselling myself. Again.

Maybe I'll stick to being a good housewife after all! It might be tiring, but it sure is easier! And with a cupboard stocked up like this...

and this...

...I think I do a better job of grocery shopping than counselling! (No points for guessing Frank and my favourite food!) Or should I hope I do a better job at counselling than I do at grocery shopping?!

I don't know the answer to that one, but I do know sleep will help me sort things out so I'm off for some shuteye!

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Monday, February 19, 2007

how 'ugly betty' got the better of me

Sunday evening seems to be my body's natural slow down time - rest and relax in readiness for the coming week. It takes inordinate amounts of energy to motivate myself to move anywhere, so I usually move as far as the television and stop there for the night - a habit spawned by months of Australian Idol viewing. Before you start thinking 'how dare she watch television on Sunday? She must be totally addicted to that trash,' it's almost the only night of the week I indulge, and this week I had a particular reason for doing so: Ugly Betty.

When I first saw the previews of Ugly Betty I thought it looked like the dumbest show ever produced and I was not inclined to view it. Ever. Not in a pink fit.

Then I started noticing all the good reviews - I even found a blog (long since lost) that extolled the virtues of Ugly Betty. I like to think I'm an independent thinker but, truthfully, I'm easily swayed by the popular press - if they give Ugly Betty good reviews it must be good. I decided I'd at least check it out (to decide for myself of course).

So there I sat last night, taking in the premiere of Ugly Betty.

It was cute, it was funny, and somehow, ugly Betty got under my skin! As the episode predictably built to the point of Betty's gigantic humiliation at the photo shoot, the floodgates of my eyes burst open and I found myself bawling!

Where on earth did that come from?! I know I used to be rather dorkish and was humiliated on numerous occasions, but that was years ago in early high school! Come on Cecily, pull yourself together! You've dealt with that one, changed your image, moved on...

No amount of self talk seemed to help. As the ads rolled over I stumbled into the kitchen with tears flowing down myself, sobbing for Betty's pain... sobbing for my pain... sobbing for the pain of everyone who is judged by their appearance and found wanting.

There was Betty, so keen, so eager, so willing to help - but so ugly, and all people could see was her ugliness. How shallow is that? (Remember though, this is TV. I'm sure she'll blossom as the show progresses - she was already looking better by the end of episode one!) How many times is her story played out in the world around us? How many times do I judge people based on how they look or walk or talk or dress?

Oh what a shallow, cold world we live in! I hope I remember not to judge people by their appearance; that I can remember to value people for who they are, not for what they look like or how they dress. I'd like to kick the image-conscious games we play; to rise above the superficiality of western society and see people's hearts; their rich, wonderful souls.

I'm not sure if I'll watch Ugly Betty next week - it was a bit too painful in both a personal and 'this is so predictable' way. But I'm glad I watched it last night... it's good to think about these things!

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

back by popular demand (or 'too slack to study')

Due to an overwhelming number of requests, I have decided to come out of my mini-hiatus in order to continue regaling you with stories of life on a small island. Your positive feedback and support has been encouraging and inspiring to say the least.

Besides, with a little bit of organisation I'm sure I can work, cook, clean, wash, meditate, make cards, organise church music, sew, sleep, exercise, spend time with Frank, cultivate friendships, study and blog! Shouldn't be too hard surely!?!

I didn't do much study today anyway... it was hot (32C degrees) and sunny, I couldn't concentrate and the beach was beckoning us.

We made the spontaneous decision to take advantage of one of Tasmania's few hot days by heading to Green's Beach for the nicest swim I've had in ages.

Usually, no matter how warm it is at home, at Green's Beach it's cold and windy, but today it was beautiful and warm with a light breeze. Our only issue was with the tide - we had to walk half a kilometre to even dip our toes in the water!

The flat sand banks extend quite a way out to sea, so the waste-deep shallow water warms to provide a refreshing dip without the usual freeze of the southern waters. Being on Bass Strait rather than the ocean, there was hardly a wave and we just puddled around in the water enjoying ourselves. Fish and chips and ice cream from the harried owners of the corner shop (experiencing their busiest day of the year) topped off a lovely afternoon.

I promise to study tomorrow. Really. I will! (If I don't go to the beach again that is, since it's supposed to be another scorcher)

And for the record, I did do an hour or two of study this morning!

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Friday, February 16, 2007

no more excuses

A parcel arrived by registered post this morning, spelling the end of blogging freedom for me.

My counselling text, "Basic Personal Counselling. A training manual for counsellors." by Geldard and Geldard was delivered into my hot little hands.

I'm delighted - I haven't been able to start my study properly without this basic text (ask the university bookshop why it took me so long to get it in the first place!), so I'm relieved to have the book in the house and be able to get into things.

Sadly this spells the end of blogging at will. I have no more excuses for not studying... the text has arrived, and I simply cannot waste any more time on the internet.

So it's goodbye then, until next time, when my assignments are complete and uploaded to the lecturer - so long, farewell, aufwiedersehn, goodnight.

(Oh. Well. At least until I need a study break anyway. That'll be tomorrow!)

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

my sweet valentine

I thought we had an agreement.

No Valentine's gifts!

We've just finished with Christmas, New Year (not that we gave presents for that one!), birthday, and wedding anniversary all within a month of each other. We're over the lovey dovey gift thing - who wants the pressure of wracking the brain to think of yet another imaginative present?

And besides, Valentine's Day is all a bit contrived! What's the point of giving beautiful gifts for one day if you're rude and abusive the rest of the year? We work hard at having a good relationship all year, one that transcends the confines of a prescribed day of love. We try and give love and affirmation and support and service to each other every day. ( We don't always succeed mind you!)

So that was it as far as I was concerned. No presents. Easy. Valentine's Day celebrated with a heartfelt kiss.

I was wrong. Things began to slowly unravel late last night.

At 9pm Frank had to 'urgently' visit a friend to fix their vacuum cleaner. I know this was genuine because he called an older lady at five to nine to tell her he couldn't possibly fit the repair in today, he absolutely had to come right then. So off he went, and when he came home he went straight to the laundry. I thought nothing of it - I figured he just needed to soak some work clothes.

Oddly, as soon as he got up, he was back in the laundry this morning. I don't wash Frank's work clothes so again I assumed he needed to do something with them. (He claims they are too dirty for me to deal with, and upon observing a couple of buckets of soaking clothes I have to agree - I've never seen anything so filthy!) His laundry visit was completely out of character for a work day though...

...and then our my Valentine's plans came completely undone because in came Frank with a dozen red roses and a beautiful card declaring his never ending love!

It was beautiful. He is beautiful. (Have I told you before that he's nigh on perfect? This week anyway?!)

And I feel like a mean skin flint who wouldn't indulge in a Valentine's gift. Sigh.

In truth he forgot we'd agreed not to do anything - but forgetting to not do something was so much nicer than forgetting to do something! In this case anyway.

I'm so blessed. (And next year the onus is on me to forget to not do something)

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Monday, February 12, 2007

poop deloop

If you're not a nurse, you may not want to read this post. If you should choose to continue reading, please don't say I didn't warn you.

This post is about poo, a topic all nurses are very familiar with. A topic we discuss to death over meal breaks. A topic that has become personally rather dear to my heart in the last two days.


Yesterday I had green poop. Full on green poop. I thought it rather odd and continued on my merry way.

Today I had green poop again - two occurances more than doubled my concern. Some action seemed required - after all, I haven't eaten that many zucchinis in the last few days. Close, but not enough to green up my output. Surely? (Frank was delighted that I did not serve any zucchini tonight. I made zucchini bread instead) Something is going on!

First stop, the internet, source of all knowledge (apart from God, of course, who is the source of all knowledge without dud pages full of crap). "Green Poo" in Google produced a mere 1,660,000 results - bound to be an answer there!

And bingo! The second page I went to suggested that green poop is the result of imbibing too much blue food dye... the author has gone so far as to conduct an experiment, pouring varying amounts of blue dye down unsuspecting friend's throats before observing the result. (I have included the link, but I do not vouch for the safety of this site. Enter at your own risk!)

Blue dye. Blue dye? Blue dye??? When have I eaten blue dye? I generally eat a pretty healthy diet...

... and then it came back to me...

Last week I broke cardinal rule number one, and went to the supermarket feeling hungry. There I spied 'Happy Feet Cola Penguins' and they looked so cute I bought them, breaking cardinal rule number two. (They were 99% fat free - does that make it a less serious misdemeanour?) On arriving home I remembered Frank would be very late, so tea might not be until 8pm. I opened the 'Happy Feet Cola Penguins'... cardinal rule number three gone by the wayside. Plonking myself in front of the television I munched my way through more than half the packet. Oh dear... that was cardinal rule number four!

The next day I happily consumed the rest of the packet. They really were delicious...

...and you can see how cute they are! How could I resist? (Yes, I took a photo before I ate the last four, so I could share their cuteness with all of you, totally ignorant to the significance of the little critters)

I've just rummaged through the rubbish bin and found the packet. Ingredients include bucket loads of sugar followed by colours 171 (innocent white), 122 (red), 102 (yellow) and you guessed it... 133, brilliant blue FCF!

Case solved. My green poo is the result of a complete lack of self restraint in the consumption of 'Happy Feet Cola Penguins'. I shall rest easy tonight knowing that I have not overdosed on zucchinis and nor do I have a deadly disease. I shall also probably never again purchase Happy Feet lollies... unless I can't resist their cuteness of course.

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

why I love macleans toothbrushes

I've been rather partial towards Macleans toothbrushes for years now. So partial that even though they don't fit in my toothbrush travel cover, I still use them.

I love their flexi-head... though I admit I did flex one so far once that it snapped right off. Not in my mouth, thankfully. The shape of the toothbrush and the feel of the bristles on these brushes somehow feels nicer than other toothbrushes as they skim across my teeth. (Now is not the time to extol the virtues of electric toothbrushes - I am serious about my manual number)

I'm not sure that many other people share my enthusiasm for this most excellent toothbrush - fewer and fewer shops seem to sell them, and I am reduced to sifting through multiple misplaced brushes in the hopes of finding just one dream brush. Either that, or everybody loves them and they sell out just as I decide I need a new one.

Well yesterday I found a new reason to love my Macleans toothbrush - it's the perfect shape for cleaning the plughole of any sink!

I've always used old toothbrushes to clean the bathroom, but this was no ordinary sink cleaning day. Yesterday I discovered that the design of this toothbrush allows it to split and fit between the grate holes of the sink. No superficial scrub that leaves gunk in the gaps - this toothbrush got right down inside the gaps and cleaned out all the slime. Incidentally, it also pulled out the whole grate and I was able to clean half the drain as well - not pleasant at the time, but much nicer for cleaning your teeth over!

I'm now sporting sparkling sinks with pride - all thanks to Macleans toothbrushes! Ahhh, I love cleaning bathrooms.

Disclaimer: I realise there are numerous serious, unhappy events being played out in multiple locations around the world. I apologise if this post appears trite in the face of such personal tragedies. I in no way intend to minimise the pain others are experiencing, I'm simply relaying a story from my world that made me smile.

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Friday, February 09, 2007


Spam annoys me silly, but for some reason memes don't raise the same degree of ire in me.

Spam demands a response when it plops into my inbox. Sift and delete, sift and delete... or, if they're particularly captivating, forward... it's all rather time consuming. Memes don't ring out with the same degree of urgency. They are posted and I can take them or leave them. Engage or ignore. Respond or let lie.

One year my cousin sent out a 'questionnaire' spam that ended with: 'Person least likely to respond'. She selected me, it became a self-fulfilling prophecy, and to this day I have done nothing with that email (oh - I might have deleted it). In fact I've done nothing with most of the spam that flits across my monitor, save deleting it.

So now would seem an appropriate time to break the habit of a cyberspace-lifetime and respond to a meme-ory invitation. There's no pressure and I feel almost drawn to engage - because I don't have to, but I choose to. Because I want to prove I can break the cycle. And because Robyn is my friend.

OK, here goes... meme-ories of my blog.

most serious post:
guatemala, waxing and the enormous gulf between
A post that reflected on how truly charmed my life is. Too often I slump into the depths of despair, eaten up by thoughts of all I do not have. This post provided me an opportunity to take stock of what I do have, and to give thanks.

most romantic post:
not enough containers (or 'someone's gotta do it')
I still haven't written that romantic blog revealing my Frank as the best husband in the whole wide world. Call me starry-eyed, but he's nigh on perfect. (This week, anyway!) This post will have to suffice - the lines might not ooze romance but the location was perfect for weaving a magical web of delight around us. (contented sigh)

'all about me' post:
This is a tricky one - I must admit to having something of a love affair with myself. Consequently every post is about me, one way or another. And a post devoted to my blog about me? Well that takes the cake!

If you really want to visit some of my more self absorbed renditions, you could try australian idol eat your heart out, or the enigma of age, or revealing meme, or even 32 today. Whichever you choose, you can't miss just how much I like talking about myself.

funniest post:
vegies for sale - and bugs as well
So he was funny and made me laugh. But I don't mind poking fun at myself either - let it all hang out for everyone to see! If you'd rather laugh at me than the funny man you could try sprung or smashing through utter exhaustion.

And if you have as warped a sense of humour as I do, watch this - no one ended up commenting when I posted it so I'm guessing they didn't find it funny, didn't get it and didn't know how to tell me... no matter... I still laugh every time I watch it. Hehehe.

Alternatively, if you have no interest in reading any of these posts - that's fine! In the spirit of memes you are free to engage and respond. You are free to ignore. You are free to flick to the next blog. No pressure at all!

Gotta love those memes.


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

blogging on my mind

I dreamed about blogging last night. Not sitting at the computer typing up a post... this was far more exciting - actually meeting people from the blogging world.

It was all a little weird, because initially Mrs Kennedy of Fussy fame (and the initiator of NaBloPoMo no less) featured strongly in my dream. (Mum, and anyone else who prefers to avoid bad language, please do not try and find this site... to protect your sensibilities I have deliberately not linked)

Mrs Kennedy posts and 50 people dance to her tune with a comment. I can only dream of reaching such dizzy heights of blogging fame - although it seems I can also dream of meeting Mrs Kennedy in the flesh. I met her last night and I was quite chuffed by the whole affair. Fancy her stooping to the lowly levels of the blogosphere that I inhabit! I recall the excitement and disbelief I felt.

Only the children were wrong... my dream blogger had two children. Mrs Kennedy has but one! And the dream blogger's hair was long. Mrs Kennedy cannot grow her hair for trying - in fact she has a 100 day photo record of a recent attempt ending in failure.

My mystery dream blogger turned out to be a woman called Margaret... she had an interesting blog address that featured 'ret' (short for 'Margaret' of course) at some point. Unfortunately it was all a construct of my mind, and I can't quite remember that blog address to check it out!

Hmmm - what does this say about me?
  • I have a rich dream life
  • I have high blogging aspirations
  • I spend too much time blogging
  • I have low self esteem (after all, Mrs Kennedy never did end up associating with me)
  • I secretly long to meet all my blogging pals
I leave it for you to decide which is correct.

Hint: in multiple choice, 'c' is statistically most likely to be correct...

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

tripping out

If you count on your fingers, Tuesday to Sunday is only five days, but to me it seemed much longer! Days stretched into years as last week's study jaunt transformed into an exercise in time travel.

Not only did I journey to another state, I travelled to another time.

Nine years ago I left Newcastle to see the world, but surely it was just yesterday that I boarded that plane and flew away? Wasn't it last week I said goodbye to my friends and moved on? Surely it was just the other day that I launched out on my own?

The local radio station (good old KOfm!) only confirmed my delusion - same hosts, same songs, same sound. At the beach the same youths hung out at the girl's change room door, jockeying for attention with their skateboards and tanned torsos. Cicadas chirped, flies hovered, mosquitoes stung, beetles... beetled, magpies warbled, galahs squawked, rosellas flitted, hibiscus bloomed, blue bottles threatened, waves broke. So much flora and fauna I'd simply forgotten about in my time away - and there they all were in NSW, just as they always have been. And the space, the wonderful space - hours of driving with no end in sight. So much room to move - I'd forgotten that feeling.

So many memories flooded into my mind - wearing cicada nymphal skins on our jumpers as a gory badge; avoiding the swoop of aggressive magpies without falling off our bikes; school friends; university days; the hospital on the beach where I commenced my nursing career; swimming with friends in the surf; favourite haunts about town; family outings before we were torn apart. Everywhere I looked another picture of the past flashed before my eyes. It all felt rather surreal and I gloried in the memories, breathing deeply of long gone days.

Yet at the same time, everything was different and slightly uncomfortable. The hill where I walked home from school had shrunk; roads seemed wider and they didn't lead where they used to; new buildings replaced old; friends had children - and not just babies, grown children; trendy cafes adorned every corner; new suburbs had cropped up. It was all familiar, but not quite the same.

I ended up feeling quite disorientated. Where was I? What year was I in?

At one point I walked into McDonalds and there I stood at the counter, observing other customers and waiting my turn. As the orders flew back and forth I looked on in amazement - everyone could speak English! They even had Australian accents!

Oh - that's right, I was still in Australia.

So now I'm back home in little Tasmania... only now I'm not sure if this is home. Sigh. So wonderful to have a home everywhere, but so confusing! I'm rather thankful I have the hope of a forever-home when I die - no more moving around and no confusion then! For now I'll keep drifting back and forwards, enjoying the best of everywhere, catching up with wonderful friends, reflecting on memories, creating new ones and appreciating the many beautiful places I've been able to experience.

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

home again

Yay... I'm back home again after an incredible journey and a fabulous time. More about that when I have a chance to collect my thoughts a little better. For now, here is a brief precis of the trip...

On Tuesday I flew to Sydney and hired a car to drive to Armidale. It took a lot longer than I expected... 9 hours including numerous stops along the way (Stop. Revive. Survive) and I was especially appreciative of the free upgrade from a small car to a super duper brand new Subaru Forester! I also love the Australian countryside and find gumtrees to be beautiful, statuesque trees, so I drank in the scenery, mostly watching the road of course, and enjoyed the drive.

In Armidale I spent three days at the University of New England, learning counselling skills. A lot of them I knew already, but I need lots of practice in developing them! Especially the skill of silence... that one doesn't fit anywhere in my counselling tool kit!

The University was lovely, set on the edge of the city, I met lots of nice people and generally had a great time. This picture is of one of the University buildings - I think the original? Not sure, but it was a nice building. Our classes were held in a rather non-descript portable building from the 1950s... oh well, still a place of great learning!

On Friday I drove down Thunderbolt and Bucket Ways to Newcastle, my former stomping ground... the drive was absolutely gorgeous (I've promised to take Frank back for an extended visit exploring the mountains).

Friday evening and Saturday were spent catching up with family (Luke included) and friends (thankyou Robyn!), meeting the potential stepmother and other such exciting and challenging events.

More important than any of that was the swim at a warm beach! OK, it wasn't really more important than meeting people, but it was so delicious to stand in water and not freeze - pity about the waves that kept knocking me over.

I forgot to put sunscreen on, so didn't dilly dally getting knocked around, instead wandering around remembering my past life and eating yummy ice cream from the New Zealand Waffle Shop.

And today was the homeward journey - driving to Sydney, goodbye to the very nice car, struggling through crowds of people all trying to book in their luggage and hello Frank, I'm glad to be home!

I've had a ball - a holiday without it really being a holiday. All ready for work tomorrow.

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