Tuesday, April 26, 2005

(*) I feel fine

OK OK, so how am I REALLY...? Honestly - I'm going really good - about 7 out of 10 - really! I've had a good healthy time to grieve over mum's passing (it's 3 weeks already!), and I'm honestly feeling fine about it all. I had such great conversations with both mum and my brother while mum was still around, which really helped me to sort thru any hidden issues I may have been harbouring, without me realising it. So, in many regards, I'm feeling really quite fine with it all. The funeral was simply - the BEST funeral I've ever been to! A really nice celebration of mum's life - you don't often hear people laffing at your mum's terrible jokes at a FUNERAL now, do you?! So, it was a positive time for all of us.

I FINALLY got to have that mediation with M this arvo - was it about Xmastime I was first talking about doing it? She kept putting it off, but finally got around to doing it - and it was positive. Not much is gonna change, in one sense, but at least feel as though we have both finally listened and heard each other in regards to the boys. It's not the way I'd like it, but I'm happy enuff to compromise about stuff to keep things stable for everybody - especially the boys. The lady we had as our 'mediator' is an old friend of both of us (she's a trained counsellor as well), and that really helped us to be able to talk easily without her getting defensive - which has always ruined it for me in the past whenever M and I try to dialogue about stuff. So, sure it was tuff, but it was another positive. So, yes, I'm not going too badly - for a change.

I've got some temporary work packing about 5 bizillion plums at a local orchard for about the next 3 weeks... it's tedious work - but it's WORK! It'll pay for rego, and a storage space for mum's furniture for about until the years' end. Mum's 'estate' wasn't huge, but it'll be enough to pay off my Uni debts and pay about a 75% deposit on a small place of my own! At last! I'm very happy living out here in this town, and now that the boys have their own place now, I'm happy to reside and stay here. If that's where the boys are, then I'll stay relatively close. Anyway - I'd NEVER be able to afford anything in Sydney anyway - plus you'd never get me to live back down that way all the same!

So, if I sound a little bit happy (yes, I know it must be a shock! lol), then it's because I am. It's a nice feeling. It's been almost 4 years now - isn't it about bloody time things started to feel a bit clearer for me?!? rofl.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

1. What season are you in right now? Early Autumn... it's a little cool at nights, but lovely warm sunny days
2. Do you celebrate anything special this time of year? ANZAC Day
3. Name 3 things that come to mind when you think of spring (or your current season)? Autum... running thru piles of fallen leaves; getting out the blankets; putting the cooling fans away.
4. In the current season, about how many hours of the day are daylight hours? About 12.
5. Do you do any 'spring cleaning?' Yes, I admit that just recently I've got a bit of a 'cleaning' thing happening... but them I've gone and had all this stuff passed on to me from my late mum's flat! lol
6. Do you wash your own car or take it to the car wash? Oh, I'd rather wash it myself... it gets a more thorough clean.
7. Do you hang your laundry out on a clothesline on nice days? Absolutely - even on not-so-nice days - our clothesline is about 60% under-cover!

...and the following is optional; although I do encourage you to participate:

8. Post a picture that reflects the current season where you live.

Week 116

I say ... and you think ... ?

  1. Detachment:: uncompassionate
  2. Regard:: Caring for your neighbours
  3. Community:: Chest
  4. Strike three:: You're outta dere!
  5. Congregation:: back-view of sleeping heads
  6. Generous:: time-sharer
  7. Pretention:: what, moi?
  8. Pregnant:: inability to stand unassisted
  9. Drinking:: straw
  10. Brilliance:: sunset

Monday, April 18, 2005

(*) Quite close

I've managed to pick up a few weeks' casual work at a local fruit orchard, working in the packing shed. It'll be a bit of $$ to help with upcoming car rego!
I received this email from an online friend this arvo... I'd encouraged her that her writing of her work thru her blog had helped me with my own mum's funeral, and they replied...
"The main reason I'm emailing you is that I was astonished, and very moved, to read your comment saying that my blog had an influence on the way you thought about your mum's funeral. You know, I guess I'm naive, because it never occurred to me that putting my writing on the web could create such an influence. It amazes me - not that you'd never heard of a non-religious funeral celebrant (very many people haven't, and I'm sure my blog hasn't made much of a dent in that) but that my decision to write about my work in a blog could make a difference to something on the other side of the world. I know that's what the Internet is for, but somehow it's still mindboggling!

But most of all, I know I said this already but I'll say it again, even more so now I know that my work was a factor in the process (albeit a very small one) - I'm so glad it all went well."
Who'd have thought that blogging could work in ways such as these? Whoo hoo!!!!

Sunday, April 10, 2005 (I must have missed this one!)
1. On what day of the week were you born? (If you need to find out, click here.) Thursday.
2. Were you born in the morning, afternoon, or evening? 10.30 in the morning.
3. How many siblings do you have? Brothers or sisters? 1 10-year-older brother.
4. Do you (or did you) ever wish you were an only child? And if you ARE an only child, did you ever wish you had brothers and sisters? My brother, being 10-years-older than me, and leaving home when I was 8, helped me feel as tho I was an only child for most of my years. It's only been in the last 10 years or so that my brother and I have become quite close.
5. Did you (or do you) dream of having a big family of your own? Three boys - altho I always wanted a daughter to spoil too! lol.
6. In your opinion, which is (or would be) easier to raise; boys or girls? Boy - as I have three, I'm slightly biased! lol
7. In looks, do you favor your mother or your father? As I've got older, definitely my dad.

Sunday, April 17, 2005
From the time you get up in the morning until the time you go to bed at night, how many different digital/electronic devices do you use on any given day? Please consider listing them, as it would be interesting to see what everyone comes up with!
Clock radio
CD-payer - radio
Answering machine/fax
Video clock
Remote control
Mobile phone
Automatic garage door opener
Car radio
I'm sure there are others, but I can't think of any right now...

...and an optional random question, because I just cleaned my mouse... How often do you clean your mouse? Do you mean to tell me you can actually clean them...?!? lol

Week 115

I say ... and you think ... ?

  1. Great escape:: Barbed Wire and Steve McQueen
  2. Cluster:: General?
  3. Wrong place, wrong time:: I should have been born in 1954!
  4. Guided:: Hitch-Hiker
  5. Forensics:: Ooze!
  6. Pros:: Provite
  7. Safety deposit box:: Now, where did I put that &%$#@ key?
  8. Quadrant:: little plastic maths thing I no longer have
  9. Precisely:: exactly spot-on
  10. Who are you?:: Keith Moon RIP

Sunday, April 17, 2005

A dot on the horizon


Friday, April 15, 2005

So, who will be the new Pope?

So, who will be the new Pope...?

No offence directed at any RC bloggers, naturally.
(Thanx TangerineStar for the pic!)
OMG... I've been trying to write more poetry again... "somebody stop me!" lol They're just mental excercises, really, nuttin too serious.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

(*) Sweet and innocent

I had a good vent with my brother yesterday, and I feel a whole lot the better for it today. He's sensible enough to let it wash over him, and we were laughing again when I rang him tonight. He was going thru some of mum's photo albums, and sorting some of them out to pass onto me - whoo hoo! There's a whole heap of great pics of me as a kid - I looked so sweet and innocent... whatever happened to...? lol

I'll be seeing the boys twice next week (whoo hoo - school holidays too), AND - M agreed to the date and time to meet with myself and a neutral mediator in about 2 weeks time - thank goodness! (About bloody time...)

Well, I wanted to write about mum's funeral last Wednesday - it was such a positive experience for me. I know mum would have appreciated the service greatly.

My brother, his wife ("C") and I went to see mum at the funeral home on the Tuesday arvo before the funeral the next day. C was away when mum died, so she was anxious to have a more positive final memory of her, rather than of mum sitting gasping for breath. The 'viewing' was at the same location that I saw dad after he died, so I knew what to expect. What can I say - mum looked really great! It's the best we'd seen her in absolutely ages! They did such an amazing job to make her look so natural-looking and vital. She actually looked like she did before she got really sick, which was nice to remember again. It's never the nicest thing to see your last remaining parent in their coffin, but seeing mum looking so relaxed, peaceful (asleep) - and not fighting for breath - was such a relief. She sure looked a million-times better than when I saw her last, and that was on Friday night after she had passed away.

My brother and C ensured they stuffed me with an awesome baked dinner that night, as I stayed over at their place that night - and I couldn't possible refuse such famous hospitality now, could I??? C is one of the great magicians in the kitchen, you know... Afterwards, my brother and I sat and watched "Finding Nemo" on DVD - just relaxing and having a laff together. It's so wonderful to be able to do that, you know. We finally hit the sack, making sure we were ready for a 10am funeral next morning.

We arrived together at the Leura Crematorium about 20 minutes early, and I was able to see and chat with some rellies I literally haven't seen in over 10 years! Mum's sister had come down from Cairns in far-north Queensland, and I also saw my cousin - who I hadn't seen since my wedding day! That was really positive for me. Altogether there was about 30 people in attendance - a few of mum's friends from the retirement village and old friends, and a few family. Our small family keeps getting smaller, I quipped to my cousin, and she smiled understandingly - her dad passed away also a few years' ago too. My brother wore dad's medals on his right-hand-side chest on his jacket - and I wore dad's ribbons on mine. I felt so proud with them on. It really helped me in some way. My brother and I were pall bearers, and I was really quite surprised at how heavy the coffin was - it was obviously just the wood, because there was practically nothing of mum when she slipped away. My brother and I were feeling relieved that it was all happening at last, and we relaxed - as much as you can - as things got underway.

We had a funeral celebrant (mum wasn't a religious person), and she did the most fantastic job of facilitating a wonderfully warm, sensitive and compassionate celebration of my mum's life for us all. My brother and I placed a large candle with mum's name on it in front of her coffin, and we quickly whispered that I should light it, and he could extinguish it later. Handed the long matchbox, it took me three strikes to light the match - and then the 15-or-so seconds it took for the wick to actually catch seemed like minutes to me. My brother and I quietly smirked that "it was dad stopping the candle from lighting", we smiled to ourselves in jest, to ease the moment for ourselves. My brother read the absolutely best eulogy I'd ever heard at a funeral - he'd written it himself, and it was really funny, which is what mum was like when she was at her best. I haven't been to too many funerals where people felt comfortable to laff in remembrance. Good stuff. Then I read Psalm 23 from the Bible (as mum had asked me to) - it was her favourite passage. I used the family heirloom bible, with a frontspiece signed and dated 1832 - a very special item to use at such a precious occasion. I'd practised reading it a few times, and I was fine with it, but it wasn't until I got upto the lecturn-thingy that I realised that the ancient print was so tiny-tiny that I couldn't read it without holding it almost right upto my face! It was a mixed blessing - at least I didn't have to look around at people as I spoke (as I may have lost it - my tears... and my place! lol), and it gave me the calm to read it slowly and purposely. My brother was astonished - he'd never heard me 'public speaking' before, and he was really exited by the way I'd read it... but it's not as tho I haven't read the Bible in public before, you know... I used to do it for a living a few years' ago! lol.

The part when I finally did loose it was when the celebrant offered flowers to mourners, who had the opportunity to place them on mum's coffin, as a form of goodbye. Well, I went up and placed one on the head of the rosewood box, touched it gently, and sat back down. I felt fine and happy with that. Nice touch, I thought. Then the friend who came with M came up with flowers, a photo and letters from each of the boys to place on mum's coffin. M is quite large so late in her pregnancy, and she didn't feel comfortable walking up the front. Yes, the boys each wrote a private letter to "Nanna Rae" to give to her - no-one else read them. Isn't that absolutely precious? (tear break...) Along with flowers the boys picked from their place that morning, a recent picture of the boys was also placed on the outside of mum's coffin. What finally made me 'loose it' was the large child's-handwritten "Nanna Rae" on the envelope next to the flowers. I just fell into my brother's lap and sobbed for about a minute, as he held me. (Another tear break...) That was so precious for both of us.

Then - it was all over. We extinguished the candle, they played an amazing song that I tried my best to ignore, so I wouldn't totally loose it again, the curtain closed, and we slowly filed out, everyone tinged with mixed emotions and memories of a really nice lady. Mum, like dad, chose to be cremated, and both of them will be 'together' (in a sense) with their memorial plaques side-by-side at the same venue. It's a beautifully light and lush garden on the side of a hill, overlooking beautiful Blue Mountains bushland. It'll be a place to be able to bring the boys to again and again in the future years. For me, mum and dad won't be 'there' (as such), so I don't really consider it their 'grave' - it's just a site where those left behind can have a point of focus to remember with gladness those who have left us. (I'm not going to even attempt to untangle my own confused theological issues about the hereafter here! lol)

A few people came back to my brother and C's place for light refreshments - I ended up out on the back deck with the 'smokers' bludging a smoke! I don't smoke, but I needed one to just calm my nerves a little bit, I think! (I can't explain it! lol). Anyway, we just sat around in the warming sunshine enjoying the peaceful solace of my brother's place - it's in a beautiful bush setting in Katoomba. You'd never have realised that only the day before, the weather was cold, wet and foggy! The sun shone the whole day - what a relief. When I got back to my brother's place, I went upstairs to get into my 'civvies' again. I totally lost it - I just missed my boys so much. I wished they were there in some aspects, but of course I knew it was best (at this point) for them not to be there - and JD is old enough to make his own decisions about things like that, and I totally respect him for that. I was just momentarily selfish - I wanted my boys with me so I could hug them forever! I managed to pull myself together, slip on some comfy pants and get the shoes off, and went back downstairs to have a cuppa and a sandwich.

Unfortunately, M decided that day to play a few of her childish 'games' with both myself and C and my brother - and totally ignored my physical existence thruout the whole day. That's her problem, and it didn't worry me at the time. It wasn't until the day before yesterday that her actions suddenly got to me, and I was able to give a good long rant and loud vent of my anger to my brother. Needless to say, I had a great time hanging out with my brother's sister-in-laws (who are very cool people), enjoying the sunshine and greenery together. Catching up with my uncle and aunt (mum's sister) was really great - we haven't been in the same room at the same time for over 10 years, so it was good to actually talk, rather than the occasional letter between us! lol. About 20 years' ago, they used to live about 40km's from this town, so we were talking about all the changes around here since then... like the new traffic lights and roundabouts (just kidding...).

Before we knew it, the time had crept around to almost 1pm, as people started to make their moves. M had come with a girlfriend, who thankfully drove her up and back, so we all said our goodbyes. My bro and C were going to have a nap, so I headed off back to mum's flat/villa, to pick up a few bits and pieces that she wanted me to have. While I was up in that direction, at least I could get some bits into my car. It wasn't weird going into mum's empty place, and she not being there - as I'd stayed there a few times when I visited her in hospital, and it was just kind-of the same feeling. I didn't stay too long, and packed-away a few kitchen utensils and some linen/manchester I could find use for (which mum wanted of it all), a few photos my brother and I had discussed about - and also the stereo with a turntable. I was excited about this - in a childish way - because, as I said in yesterday's post (I think), I have all these records but nothing to play them on. I've only got a little car, so the big furniture and white-goods that mum wanted me to have (to set-up my own place with) will have to wait for a little while yet (no dramas - I've nowhere to put it yet!)

I had the quickest trip back home I'd ever had - there was just hardly any traffic along the way, and I was unpacking the car by 4.30. Sure, I was emotionally tired after the past week, and I just kind-of stumbled about when I got home. I bit the bullet, and was naughty - I rushed out and got some hot chips and had hot chip butties (hot chips wrapped in buttered bread) for dinner! Stuff it! lol.

It's been a week since the funeral, and I've honestly felt fine about mum's passing. Mind you, I've caught myself going to ring her at the hospital to see how she is... but that's probably just habit, I guess. But, no, the general feeling is one of relief and release - not only for mum, but for myself too. It's funny to realise I'm an orphan at 40 (I'm not being phececious (?) saying that, OK?), and it's strange not having both mum and dad around to just be able to chat with, but it's also a sense of release that I can kind-of get-on with my life at long last. I don't how how to explain it, Paige. It's just a sense that one huge chapter in my life has closed, and something new and exciting is just around the corner. Hmmm... what or how that is, I have absolutely no idea, naturally!

Mum didn't have a huge 'estate' - my brother are happily splitting everything 50-50 (just as mum wanted) - we're not bickering over anything of mum or dads! Life's too short anyway, you know? No, my brother and I are really fine together about that sort-of thing. One of mum's wishes for me was to i) get a car (which she did by helping me enormously late last year with the purchase of my little car), and ii) to have a place of my own. Once we manage to sell mum's villa/unit, I'll have about 80% towards a place of my own to live here very comfortably. A 20% loan towards owning property certainly won't kill me! At least I'll be out of debt at last - spending 2-years at Uni has set me back... well, I've not got a lot of cash flow anymore (let me put it that way...). So, maybe the new start will be finally having a place of my very own to call 'my home' sometime in the next year or two? Who knows?

Thanx for listening to me prattle and rabbit-on, Paige - I guess that's what you're here for, in one sense. I don't have many 'pen friends' that I write to nowadays (unlike I used to), so this has been wonderful being able to put thoughts and feelings down in some basic way. Thanx! Typos and all! lol

Pic links:
Mum // Dad // My brother // Ix and Seb // The boys and myself

On This Day...
Born: Jack Cassidy (Jefferson Airplane, 1944); Al Green (muso, 1946).
Events: Handel's 'Messiah' first performed in Dublin, 1742.
Useless Trivia: James W Rodger's last request, before a firing squad in 1960, was a "bullet-proof vest".
My Soundtrack: Crowded House "Together Alone" CD.
Weather: Glorious sunshine, lightest NE winds, practically cloudless low 20's. When will the cold weather come...?
How I wished I'd have played the fool
And danced and sung and been cool
There would have been nothing neater
Than to appear with Benita
And John on morning 'Playschool'!

Email: mal [@] maljam [.] cjb [.] net
Message Board: http://malboard.cjb.net

"Excuse me, which way is the stage?" (Audience member, lost at Altamont, 1969.)

Poetry - at some god-forsaken hour!

I know when I'm tired, online, late at night... I either fall asleep, surf around for crap - or start attempting to write poetry! Ack!
"Somebody stop me!"

"The Fence Post"

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

(*) Water cascades down

From since I awoke,
I always knew that when this
Time came, I'd be right.

Oh, "She'll be right, mate,
Don't you worry about me,
I'll be fine," we choked.

Those ties that bound us
Are now forever broken:
Where to go from here...?

Nine years have passed already since my dad died... and that time has gone like 'that' (snaps fingers).
My brother and I realised last week... both mum and dad died on Fridays in April at c.6pm... oooohhh! lol. Here's a pic I received recently and quickly scanned tonight, taken when dad was awarded his OAM in c.1986 (I have to check that date again...) What's an 'OAM'? An 'Order of Australia Medal', which dad received from the Governor for his services to youth thru Scouting. Here's a pic of my mum, my Nan (no, it's not the Queen Mother! pmsl!), and myself and my brother, all taken at the same time c.1986. Whenever I see that pic of myself, no-one believes it's really me! I've changed so much. Time does that, doesn't it?

Here's a pic each of the three boys in their wedding suits... time doesn't stop for them, either.

I was able to pull two casual shifts working at the local Bathurst Royal Show last weekend. Here's two pics of the front gates I was working at for two of the three days, collecting tickets and monies from visiting show-goers. One of the local High Schools runs as one of its' programs a Circus for its' students - very kewl! Apart from heaps of rides and sideshows (the Show is the biggest outside of Sydney), I managed to catch a few displays before my feet gave out on me. Here's a cake that defies description, and a small selection of local veggies that was part of a HUGE display! Here's a small selection of some of the very kewl rides... 1 2 3 4 , and a great old steam tractor farm engine that puffed and wheezed away, but looked really cool - can you see its' external radiator, where the water cascades down the outside? The weather was absolutely perfect for all three days, and at a guess about 60,000 people came along for some fun in the country sunshine. Oh... and this dog was found "Not Guilty" at the Dog Trail, you know... (groan...!) They had the 'Racing/Diving Pigs' as well, but I never got to actually see them thru the gathered crowd (it was shoulder-to-shoulder people on Saturday!), but could hear it all anyway lol. I had a great time myself - having a free pass for all three days was a huge bonus, and I was fortunate to have my 'breaks' at the same time the Holden 'Stormriders' Precision Racing Team Utes did their high-speed stuff around the showground circuit! (They do all their practising in Fords, you know... pmsl). And then, from one extreme to the other, there was the Vintage Sprint cars - that needed to be towed back to their car-parks behind a quad-bike, as they need to be jumped-started... they looked like a kids' ride roped one behind the other... amazing stuff. I had a weird moment when, as I was walking around on the Saturday arvo, the sound of a bagpiper playing 'Amazing Grace' powered over one of the PA's - I almost 'lost it' - that's what we had played, complete with piper, at dad's funeral! The Saturday night fireworks I could see from home - they lasted more than 20 minutes filling the skies with colour, sound and smoke. I was glad to get home on Sunday arvo - all those km's of walking around collecting tickets and parking cars wore my poor feet out - I jumped in a rare bubble bath as soon as I walked in the door... and promptly forced myself to not fall asleep in there! Yeah! Like a good medicine, is the ol' bath! And I had no trouble with the 'carny's', even if they do smell of cabbage... (Thanx Austin! lol).

Here's some pics I've found on my net travels recently... these first two are of the area I grew up in around Sydney NSW, a suburb on the Northern Beaches known as "Allambie". It was only a few km's from Manly and the sea. The first pic highlights the different locations in the area - and it's sure changed a lot since I lived there last in the mid '80's. This last pic is of my old Primary School - by the look of this, it has hardly changed since I left in 1976! (Thanx to airviewonline.com.au for the pics).

Crowded House
I was very saddened to hear of the sudden unexpected loss of ex Split Enz and Crowded House drummer and good-guy Paul Hester the other week. All the good ones get to leave us too early... The Crowdies are one of my Top-5 groups of all time, you know!

Random thought... one of the things my mum wanted me to have of hers was the stereo - it has a turntable! I've got about 150 records, but've been without a turntable for about, oohhh, 7 years!!! Whoo hoo! The stuff I've been listening too... the memories that comes flooding back from certain records or songs... who'd believe that I actually have an original 1968 Atlantic copy of Iron Butterfly's "In-a-Gada-Da-Vida" LP?!? Ack! PMSL.

On This 12th Day of April...
Born: Herbie Hancock (muso, 1940); David Cassidy (singer, 1950); Tiny Tim (singer, ?).
Died: My dad (1996); Harry Secombe (2001); FD Roosevelt (1945).
Events: The Beatles first No.1 single "From Me To You" released 1963; Yuri Gagarin becomes 1st man in space, 1961.
Useless Trivia: My goldfish will never ride a skateboard.
My Soundtrack: Paul Kelly "Songs From the South" CD
Weather: gloriously sunny low 20's, almost cloudless, light SE wind.
An act that'd be hard to follow
Your pride you'd just have to swallow
It's got a great beat
And turns up the heat
It's the In-a-Gada-Da-Vida drum solo.

Email: mal [@] maljam [.] cjb [.] net
Message Board: http://malboard.cjb.net

"Excuse me, which way is the stage?" (Audience member, lost at Altamont, 1969.)

(*) The change in daylight

Greetings Paige. I got really angry this arvo, and I was lucky enough that my wonderful brother, on the end of the phone listening patiently to my loud venting, guided me thru some of my emotion. I didn't realise I was so angry - it's about my ex, as usual. She's playing too many 'games' again - and not just with me this time. But - I'm not going to vent stuff here now. I did that late this arvo. But I'm still pretty upset and agitated about it all though. Yeah - agitated's the right word, I think...

I've been going really really well after mum's funeral last Wednesday (honestly!) I was able to have a good howl at the time, and it really helped me in lots of ways. It still seems a bit 'surreal' in some ways... I still have to stop myself from ringing her! lol. I'll write about the funeral another time... for me, it was definitely the best funeral I've ever been to. I guess the anger I experienced this arvo was just bubbling away somewhere deeper below the surface, and I hadn't really been too aware it it recently, with the week that was! I wonder why, with all those mixed emotions...?

I finally rushed out and paid a great low $$$ price for "The Incredibles" on DVD today too... and, watching it once again, I still think it's the best thing Pixar's done (ie. A Bug's Life, Monsters Inc, Finding Nemo etc). I'm sure the neighbours' a block away could hear me laffin'... and I don't care!

Am I Homer J. Simpson incarnate? Well... you be the judge... a few months' ago I threw the old phone books out (well, I mean, they went into the recycling box...). A few weeks' later, I couldn't find the Operating Manual for the fax machine that sits atop our phone books, could I...? You're right... I knew you'd guess it... I must have thrown the %$#@! manual out with the phone books, didn't I? Big D'OH! It wasn't until the change in daylight savings time the other week that the need for the book was rather acute - I couldn't figure out hell-or-high-water how to change the time on the things' clock! BUT - thanx to a bit of inspired surfing, I actually managed to find and download a free copy of the operator's manual! Whoo hoo. So, I quickly printed out a copy of the first 2 pages - they have like a "Quick Reference Guide" for dummies... it's just what I needed! Needless to say, the time on the clock/fax/answering machine is set right, now...

My housemate has finally been forced to succumb to the whole mobile phone thing... her mum got her a phone with a pre-paid account (a hugely cheaper way to use a mobile/cell), and she's already texting away... but, it's not as bad as it sounds... she's not going to be sending SMS's 24/7 while 'Big Brother' voting is running again... pmsl! She's a journalist, and has never had or wanted a mobile before now... isn't that amazing in this day-and-age of instant information technology? And her mum thought she could use it in an emergency... silly mum! (Just kidding... Mr & Mrs W are really nice. They've stayed here a few times, and they even sent me a Sympathy card - isn't that lovely?) smiley

Week 114
I say ... and you think ... ?
  1. Horrendous:: Morning breath shattering shining shimmering mirrors
  2. Home video:: blurry shaky happy memories
  3. What a girl wants:: who knows!
  4. Grounded:: Active, Neutral...
  5. Trusting:: Acceptance
  6. Simplistic:: black-and-white worldview
  7. Buzz:: Lightyear (To infinity - and beyond!)
  8. Balcony:: great views over town
  9. Roar:: The German army (!?! lol)
  10. Hooker:: LJ (Thank you, Mr...)

weebl & bob weebl and bob have updated their loony silliness yet again...

Have a Merry Christmas... BUT... be careful.
Oh the joys of Christmas!
From the Australian Bureau of Statistics...

(*) 31 Australians have died since 1996 by watering their Christmas tree while the fairy lights were plugged in.
(*) 19 Australians have died in the last 3 years by eating Christmas decorations they believed were chocolate.
(*) Hospitals reported 4 broken arms last year after cracker pulling incidents.
(*) 101 Australians, since 1997, have had to have broken parts of plastic toys pulled out of the soles of their feet.
(*) 18 Australians had serious burns in 1998 trying on a new jumper with a lit cigarette in their mouth.
(*) A massive 543 Australians were admitted to casualty in the last 2 years after opening bottles of beer with their teeth or eye socket.
(*) 5 Australians were injured last year in accidents involving out of control scalextric cars.
(*) 3 Australians die each year testing if a 9V battery works on their tongue.
(*) 142 Australians were injured in 1998 by not removing all the pins from new shirts.
(*) 58 Australians are injured each year by using sharp knives instead of screwdrivers.

And finally:
(*) 8 Australians cracked their skull in 1997 after falling asleep ( passing out ) while throwing up into the toilet.

YEP! Its great to be Australian!

(Thanx Raven)

Then there's the revenge of the greyhound racing bunny... arrgghhh! (Thanx Broomhilda for the loopy pic!)

Here's a whole page full of POINTLESS SITES for you to sit and scratch your head and wonder why on earth...? I mean, it's not as though you've got anything else you really should be doing now, is there? lol
Been online for 1 whole year!!!

Thoon fishie sends his dancing, bubble-blowing and splashing aquatic greetings to you Paige, in his watery tank of rectangular and wet proportions. His conversational skills remain minimal, at best, yet his aptitude in attempting the seemingly impossible has been rewarded in the continuance of his daily feeding schedule - much to his enduring endearment. Whilst Whitey and Edward remain observantly patient at their everlasting posting, astride the plump-yet-comfortable bedtop pillows. There is nothing their small plastic eyes do not miss, altho when the time comes for them to report their observations to myself, it will be time to don the white jacket with the long sleeves that tie neatly and securely around the back... now, where did I place my medieval medication again...?

On That 8th Day of April that was the day I originally started to write this post but never got around to finishing...
Born: Julian Lennon (muso, 1963).
Died: Pablo Picasso (artist, 1973).
Events: Buddha's Birthday (Japan).
Useless Trivia: Picasso was the most prolific of all painters, with a career which lasted 78 years.
My Soundtrack: Monty Python "I Like Chinese"
Weather: yet another gloriously sunny and warm low-20's
There was a musician named Mace
Who plugged in his electric bass
The wire it was damp
And blew up his amp
He plays somewhere now in outer space

Email: mal [@] maljam [.] cjb [.] net
Message Board: http://malboard.cjb.net

"Excuse me, which way is the stage?" (Audience member, lost at Altamont, 1969.)

Monday, April 11, 2005

(*) All is well

All is well with me. It's been a positive week, and mum's funeral was the best funeral I've ever been to - and I'm not exaggerating either! lol. I'll write again soon... been busy working at the local Show, and I'm just plain tired.

Monday, April 04, 2005

(*) A mighty good climber

The weekend before last, the boys and I had a wow of a time hanging out together - gees, I needed that so much! We firstly went to check out the flick "Robots" (which I'd rate personally about 3/5), then we hung-out together at the big local park in the middle of town for a few hours, just being together, playing some games, laughing, goofin' about - you know, boy stuff! Lots of fun. It's always like a good medicine for me to be with them. I took these two pics at their front gate - the two younger ones were trying to pull silly faces (naturally!) It was a bit of a breakthru in a way - M let me pick them up from their place! I had been wondering how all that would kinda work out, but it's bloody great! (My little car hasn't skpiied a beat with all the driving lately either - I'm so grateful).
In the park, we played Boules - trying to toss great big steel balls nearest a jack - and a passer-by took this great pic! Here's JD, myself (yes, I have put on that much weight over the last few short months! D'oh! lol), Seb & Ix. There were no forced smiles there...
Here's a really great pic - taken by JD of his two younger bros. It's in a giant greenhouse in the middle of that same big park... that's IX and Seb - who just happen to be wearing my favourite colour! And as the games continued, Ix, then JD, noticed something very unusual perched atop a huge 120-foot-tall pine tree - it's a blue plastic milk crate! Whoever managed to place it there was either a mighty good climber - or a really good shot! hahahaa.

My mum had been finding breathing quite difficult, and she managed to spend a few days sitting up in a chair beside her hospital bed, which helped her feel more relaxed. Basically, her kidneys were failing, and her heart wasn't keeping up with all the build-up of fluid. She was responding well to treatment, but she knew she wouldn't last too long. I managed to spend quite a bit of quality time just sitting being with mum during those last two weeks, as she grew weaker and weaker right in front of my eyes. It was really awful seeing her like that. She really didn't want things to drag on and on for her, the way she was. At one point, they were considering trialing her for palliative care, possibly at home, but she really didn't have the energy left to successfully do that. Two days' before she slipped away, as I was sitting chatting with her, she gave herself a bit of a scare when she found she couldn't breathe properly, so she had to have the oxygen mask level increased a bit, and she slowly calmed down enough to relax. The whole time during that incident she sat and held onto my hand... she was simply scared at feeling so awful. Poor mum. I admit I found that pretty hard... I wanted to scamper for a bit there for a while, but it didn't take long for her to settle down again and feel comfortable again. Then she was so cute - apologising for being such a nuisance! lol.

I stayed overnight a few times at mum's place while she was in hospital. The hospital was 130 km's from here, and mum's place was only a 25-minute drive from the hospital. I last saw her on Thursday morning, sitting up in her bedside chair and sleeping peacefully. She looked very thin and weak, but she was relaxed and comfortable, which made me feel a bit easier. Later that day they transferred her to another ward in the hospital, where they could keep a closer eye on her. They gave her some medication that helped her to relax a lot, and she slept for the first time in a long time.

For some reason, the hospital couldn't reach my brother, and at about 6pm on Friday I got a call from the hospital to 'come as quick as you can'. I quickly rang my brother, who was only about 30-mins away from her, and I threw some things together. 5 minutes later, the phone rang again. She had slipped away as quickly and simply as that. I think that as she felt so relaxed, it gave her the chance to finally 'let go'. I finally arrived down there by 8.45, and my brother and I sat together beside her for a little while. Obviously we felt both sad and upset, but mainly an overwhelming sense of relief and release for ourselves and for mum. At least she didn't have to struggle for breath now. It was quite surreal in one way, as I kept turning to her, expecting her to join in the conversation too!

My brother and I went back to his place for the night (his wife was away in Brisbane, and didn't get back until the next day). For the first time in 40 years, my brother and I sat down and shared a few beers together! We'd been meaning to do it for a few years, but we smiled that it wasn't until that moment that we'd had the opportunity! This was truly the best experience for me - just talking and talking with my brother over a few casual cold beers, feeling like some kind of weight had been removed from us both in some way. The best way I can describe my brother and I just relaxing over a few beers together was it was a time for us to 'deflate'. Before we knew it, it was 1am! We both slept like logs I think.

I picked the boys up on Saturday from their place, and went to hang-out for a little while at a nearby town park. I told them that 'Nanna Rae' had passed away, and they took it very well, appreciating things in lots of ways. We spent about an hour playing a bit of hit-and-giggle cricket before I took them back home, and JD was very interested in the whole 'what happens next?' procedure with his nan. So it was good to walk thru things with him that way. Talking with M over the past few days, they have responded quite well to it all, which is a plus. We've agreed that the younger 2 boys shouldn't really go to the funeral (we'll do some other things for them down the track a bit), and JD is old enough to decide for himself if he chooses to come to the funeral or not. That's fine - we don't want to force him into something he's not feeling comfortable with.

The funeral is on Wednesday morning at Leura, Blue Mountains. Tomorrow afternoon, my brother, his wife and I are going to the Funeral Director's to see mum and say a final farewell to her. I'm happy doing that - my memory of mum is seeing her sitting up sleeping in her chair, rather than when she'd slipped away laying peacefully in bed. My sister-in-law was away when it happened, so she said she needs to say goodbye that way, and that's great.

My involvement in mum's funeral is firstly as a casket bearer, then she asked me to read Psalm 23 from the Bible. I'll be reading it out of the family heirloom bible, which is signed and dated 1832! It's a cremation service with a funeral celebrant (mum wasn't really 'religious') at the same place where dad's service was held, so I know what to expect in lots of ways. Mum and dad will have memorial plaques next to each other just nearby, which'll be lovely - a place to be able to take the boys to as the years pass.

Naturally I'm upset, but I'm not a sobbing mess. I realised after dad's passing 9 years' ago, I'm one of those people who just seem to hold it all together during the first few weeks, then loose it in a big puddle of tears a little later. That's fine - I'm quite aware of the process of grieving I seem to go thru, so I feel fine feeling as quietly comfortable with it all as I am at the moment. I don't mean to sound so blasé about it all, but it's 'just my way' at first. I had to confirm with my brother that my silly jokes and one-liners are 'just my way' of getting thru those first few hours after she passed away... we had some good laffs and giggled like silly kids there for a while - it was really quite cute. Letting off a bit of steam, I guess.

I realised I entitled that other posting "A tattered coat upon a stick"... that's one of my cryptic references to my favourite author George Johnston, when he was at the end of his life. Mum was just an 'empty shell' of the mum and woman we all knew at the end, so it's nice to have precious memories of her full and diverse life to remember and celebrate. We are all quite happy that she got a final wish - things didn't drag on and on for her the way she was.

Thanx for listening to me rave on, Paige. I guess it's been a type of therapy just to write and talk things thru as they've been happening to and around me.

A few funny asides in the midst of all these things happening... I finally got an appointment with our counsellor for M and I to work thru some mediation issues together... tho we'll probably postpone it again! I mean, I haven't even been able to tell M I got that call about it on Thursday! lol. Then I managed to pick-up two days' work at the local Show over this upcoming weekend, and the initial meeting was tonight! Oh well, in spite of everything that's happening - life just keep going on! That's life!


Monday Mutterings

I'll write a newsy blog soon - probably tonite. Thanx Paige.

Sunday, March 27, 2005
Let's have some fun! More fill-in-the-blanks!

1. Boxing Day is more fun to celebrate than any other holiday - sitting sipping orange juice in front of a fan watching the Melbourne cricket test!
2. The last vacation I took was to Brisbane QLD - visiting Raven.
3. The next vacation I plan to take will be to Kiama NSW - birthplace of Charmain Clift.
4. I'd really like to be more employable!.
5. I can't remember the last time I no comment! lol.
6. The book I last read (or am currently reading) is The Dam Busters by J. Falconer.
7. The last program I installed on my computer was Netscape.
8. When it comes to food, my weakness is a plain small-shop hamburger!.
9. I really look forward to spending time with my boys.

Sunday, April 03, 2005
The following questions all begin with where you live...

1. ...did you have to turn your clocks forward one hour this weekend? No - here in NSW we had to turn them BACK an hour! But - stoopid me - I put them FORWARD an hour again - I was TWO hours fast for a few hours there! D'oh!
2. ...what is the price of gasoline? 109.9 cents/litre
3. ...which natural disasters, if any, do you have to worry about? Giant mushroom-headed Martians attacking on a full moon...? None here - we are very lucky.
4. ...do you have a local newspaper, and if so, do you subscribe to it? My housemate WORKS for the local paper, and brings one home for free each day! Whoo hoo!
5. ...do you subscribe to a local cable company for television viewing? Nope - free-to-air here.
6. ...what is the speed limit on your road/street? 60 km/h in my street, but 50 km/h about town.
7. ...how far do you have to drive to the nearest post office? I can walk to it - it's 4 blocks away! The nearest post box is 1 block away.
8. ...what is the average temperature in April? Low 20's. (Low 70's)
9. ...what is the average temperature in December? Mid 30's. (Mid 90's)
10. ...are your four seasons drastically different from one another? Sure are - we get all 4 seasons in one day out here - ANY time of the year! Stinking dry heat to almost snowing! Ack! lol

Week 112
I say ... and you think ... ?
  1. I’m waiting:: crying, waiting, hoping (Buddy Holly)
  2. Speak:: and be recognized
  3. Roger...:: Ramjet
  4. Knock knock:: headache
  5. Hybrid:: Blogging
  6. Can’t believe my eyes:: it's a pink electric flying whale!
  7. Hooked:: on the 1960's.
  8. Pontificate:: solemnity
  9. Slime:: crime
  10. Unwelcome:: telemarketers at dinnertime
Week 113
I say ... and you think ... ?
  1. Renewal:: up for review
  2. Someone to talk to:: anybody!!!
  3. Count:: Down
  4. Expiration:: the end of all perspiration
  5. Upload:: photos
  6. Publish:: website poetry
  7. Holy:: $#it!
  8. Change in the air:: here comes the setting sun
  9. Titillating:: Dr Strangelove
  10. Glorious:: sunsets from the beach

Sunday, April 03, 2005

(*) 'A tattered coat upon a stick'

Just very quickly... my 75-yo mum passed away 6pm Friday. It was peaceful and didn't suffer. All is well - I am very well and we are all feeling relieved. Will write more soon.