Silence – not what it used to be

Everything was sailing along nicely till the past week. Graham and I have settled into our new surroundings and love our home and garden.  He’s been on holidays and enjoying just being at home and being able to go off on mtb rides. And SES on dutythere the problem began.  He had a crash last Tuesday and is now in hospital for an unknown amount of time. He’s had a spinal cord injury and it’s still too early to tell how long he may be unable to use his right hand and arm, or some other limbs.  Some improvement daily, but very slow. There is still bruising and swelling so it won’t be till that goes down that they can see what damage might be longer lasting.

He’s being shifted to a rehab hospital today to begin the process of learning to walk again – his legs do work, although the right one is weak, but he’s not able to hold his own weight as yet and needs a frame.  And his left hand can be used but his right one not.

When we are home together we sit comfortably in our silence together. We don’t feel the need to talk all the time – just to be there, together, doing our own thing, reading, writing, surfing the web, and so on. But now with him not in our home, the silence has turned into something I don’t like.  The radio is on, and so is my computer, but he’s not here…

It’s not like it is when he’s away somewhere – I can ring him, text him, email him and know I’ll hear back from him. But he can’t use his phone at the moment so even if I try to ring or send him a message, he’s unable to answer or respond.  The silence has become something almost overwhelming. I miss him terribly.

Value your life partners and their company, no matter how much noise, or how little noise they make. There is comfort in companionship and knowing your loved one is within reach.  I need a hug.

Posted in My Thoughts | 4 Comments

Australia and its floods

I want to say thank you to all those who have been contacting me from interstate and overseas, concerned for our welfare, and that of our daughters.

We are all safe and not in flood’s way, thankfully.  I know that so many others have not been so fortunate.  It is so strange to have such wet weather during our summer season – at least in the south eastern part of Australia. The north eastern part of Australia often has heavy rains at this time of year – monsoonal weather, although never as intense as this – at least for a long, long time.

For around 13 years we’ve suffered a drought here in Victoria and summers have been harsh, hot and unforgiving. It was almost 2 years ago we had those awful bush fires.  The CFA is anxious that everyone still remain alert though – with all the rain, it means a lot more fuel has grown, when we do get the hot dry weather.  In the meantime, when we do hear the CFA sirens it usually signals either a car crash on the wet slippery roads, or a tree fallen onto a house or something else.  Even on our own property we’ve lost many branches and during 2010 in the heavy rain and winds we lost 5 gum trees just in our park area.

I have two sisters, a niece and nephew all in Qld.  One sister and my nephew have been stranded in that surrounding roads were blocked by floods. While they were safe in their respective places and their homes untouched, they couldn’t go to work or leave their towns because of the floods. The waters are now receding and they’re able to travel further now.

We do know of a family in Rochester, a town that had to evacuate just 2 nights ago and we haven’t yet heard if they’ve been touched by the floods. And there are still flood warnings happening in our state, mainly along the major river lines.

So, once again, thank you very much for your concerns and offers of help.  If you would like to contribute in some way, then you can donate to the Queensland Flood Appeal or keep an eye out at Google in case there is one set up for Vic.  We were amazed to see some of the areas affected by floods here in Victoria are places we drove through often whenever moving back and forth between South Australian and Queensland.

Postnote:  I’ve heard from the family in Rochester.  Their daughter and partner have lost everything – their house had the waters halfway up the walls and they were in another state when they got word it was imminent.   This daughter is my niece from my first marriage.  If you want to assist Fiona and her family in any way, please get in touch with me so I can forward contact details.

Posted in Family News | 1 Comment

Update on my garden

Well, my tomatoes are growing and changing colour.  woo hoo!  I’ve staked one of the bushes with a small branch that’s fallen off a tree nearby. Hubby thinks he might have some stakes somewhere but since this is only a small tomato bush, I’m not worried.  The other bush hasn’t progressed as far yet, although it does have some tomatoes on it.

The potato plants I transplanted suffered a couple of hot days without rain but I watered them each day and they have survived and are now standing straight.  We’ve had rain again which helps.  The broccoli and parsley are growing well too.  Got lots of weeding to do in that area still but our weather has either been very hot, or very wet, so not really a good time to work in the garden. Perhaps on the weekend.

Our neighbour is giving me some salvia plants she’s potted (she’s with the Salvia society and her garden is filled with them) so I need to find a spot for those as well – I know how big they can grow.  There’s something special about gardening – it gives you a good work out. Did you know 30 mins of gardening is equivalent to 30 mins of a brisk walk?  And there’s something satisfying about inspecting your work and seeing it grow, almost before your eyes. I love it!

Posted in Family News | Leave a comment

Happy New Year for 2011

Happy New Year to all my readers – even the spammers 🙂 who seem to delight in constantly targetting this blog.

I hope that this new year will be a constructive one for you and will reap the kind of results you are looking for.

We had such a lovely day today. Graham and Dave went for a ride with some of their MTB mates and then when they came back, Angie turned up, with a young puppy in tow, that she is babysitting for a friend.  Together we went next door to visit our neighbour Trudi and her son and spent a lovely afternoon listening to her reminisce and tell us stories of life where we live over 40 years ago.

I wonder if people only really value what the elderly have to say when they themselves get older?  Although I remember loving listening to my grandmother tell stories of her past.  Trudi reminds me of her in some ways.

We’ve been getting to know her over the past year and sometimes I go over to fix her computer. Graham sometimes mows her lawn with his ride-on mower. And I often traipse over there to take photos of her garden and the birds there.  In fact I made her a calender with photos of her own garden, and some of her statues too (she’s a clay sculptress) and we gave it to her today, as she was unwell for visitors before Christmas. She was delighted with her gift, it brought tears to her eyes.  I wanted to see her reaction and was suitably satisfied to watch her as she turned each page to view the next month.  A gift that will be in use for the next year!

If you read my photoblog and commented last month (December 2010) you might also end up with a calendar – one lucky commenter certainly will!

Here’s to a new year and more memories in the making!

Posted in My Thoughts | Leave a comment

My gardening project

I’ve begun a vege patch in our vast garden. Just one small corner that needs a lot of clearing. We have broccoli and small tomatoes growing so far, planted a few weeks ago. Something’s been eating the broccoli so I have sprayed it but the leaves have been looking more like swiss cheese.  The tomatoes are going great though.

Today I cleared away a sticky weed that grows over all sorts of things and uncovered a bottle brush bush in full flower.  And lots of white lillies which I’m now removing. We have tons of these plants all over our property so a few won’t be missed.

Below is what the garden looks like at the moment and also some of our tomatoes.  I plan on updating you now and then of my progress with this portion of our garden.

Posted in Gardening | Leave a comment

Another year draws to a close…

Well, it’s been an interesting year.  We’ve settled into our new home and been here almost 14 months. We love it here. We feel like we’ve come home, after all this time.  The evenings are beautiful and Graham and I love to walk around our property, or take chairs outside and just sit, enjoying the peace, the colours, the breezes and the bird sounds.

Graham on the mowerI love it when he’s mowed the lawns with his ride-on mower. The lawns smell so sweet. You open the front door and take a big whiff of the air.  At our previous home you would have smelt petrol fumes and other things but here in the hills it’s fresh air, lawns, flowers, and it’s beautiful.

Double Delight RoseWe’ve got a strawberry plant that has grown considerably under our fig tree and is producing fruit well. We’ve got tomatoes, broccoli and potatoes growing also. I’ve planted around 13 rose bushes since we shifted in and some of them have the most gorgeous aroma.  We need smellovision so I could share it with you.

Our grandson, Oliver, has now turned one and we had a triple birthday celebration at the beginning of this month with Graham, Ryan and Oliver all blowing out candles for their joint birthday cake. Well, not Oliver really, but he was in the middle at the table between his dad and grandfather.  It was a special night.

Business has been very slow for me this year. Not sure why.  I just haven’t replaced a major client I had last year and have had lots of small jobs instead.  Hoping and praying for a new regular next year. Just 5 hours a week would be good.

My passion for photography has increased a great deal and I’ve participated in two projects this year:  Project 365, taking a picture a day, except I always take tons more and I estimate I’ve probably taken over 12,000 photos through the year. The other project is Project 52 – a picture of the same thing each week over the year, to see the changing seasons. I’ve taken a photo of our pergola in the garden most weeks, but have forgotten sometimes.  I’ve also participated in a photography competition being held for a calender next year and was one of the 9 winners out of 230 entrants.  Naturally, I’m thrilled.

Graham is almost ready for retirement and figures he will probably work for another couple of years but I guess we both wonder if he will wait that long? Guess it depends on how things pan out at work.  I’m not ready to retire yet but I must admit that the photography is enticing and I want to be outside more and more.  Probably a good thing, I need to get more exercise so it’s a good thing to do outside.

The rest of the family are well.  Mel’s getting lots of work at home and is very thankful to God for this.  She and Ryan have settled into their new home very well and Oliver loves it. They live only 15 mins from us further up the ranges.

Meredith and her friend Sara returned from ACT earlier in the year, and after a few months at our home, found a flat in St Kilda and now live there.  Sara is working and Meredith is studying at Uni.

Christine has been in her own home over a year now, in fact probably around 18 months in the country north of us and travels between there and here every week as she teaches horse studies part-time at a suburban TAFE.

JonasAngie and Ben continue to do renovations at their house which is also 15 mins away from us in the opposite direction and are surrounded by a menagerie of animals. Their Bengal cats are gorgeous.

Graham and I joined the Baptist Church not far from home and were surprised to find a man there Graham used to work with 12 years ago.  He was delighted. I found someone I knew at the church, not knowing they went there and was pleasantly surprised to see the Pastor was someone I’ve known of for many years and never thought I’d meet.  In his past life he was a singer (beautiful voice too) and theatre actor, and here is this man, the Senior Pastor of our new church!  We’ve settled in there, I’ve joined the music team and sing, and also assist with the website and occasional photography. I’m not happy unless I’m involved in some way, so I am and that’s good.  And Graham is enjoying the services and making new friends and feeling like he’s in a place he wants to be.

And so our first full year here in Selby is ending and we look forward to what the future may bring.  While life without our Mirri will never be as it was, we do find that our new life here is bearable and enjoyable. More grandchildren (we hope), retirement not that far off, new things to try out and see, a life in the hills in surroundings that bring us much joy.

We wish you, our family and friends (and those others who read this blog), a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  May you also grow a better understanding for the reason for this season and know that our Lord Jesus Christ is there for you also, as He has been for us, even when we’ve experienced very difficult times.

Posted in Family News, My Thoughts | Leave a comment

WordPress Themes for Christmas

Sometimes it’s just in the way you key the words.  I was looking for a Christmas WordPress theme for this blog and another blog I write. I love how easy it is to change the look of my blogs!

I searched on ‘Christmas WordPress Themes’ and kept finding the same ones all the time, tried a few and couldn’t find just the right look.  And then it hit me I should change the words I’m searching on so tried ‘WordPress Themes for Christmas’ and came across a whole lot more.

By the time you read this post I’ll probably have gone through a dozen changes, looking for something that is right for here, but at least I’ve had fun with it.

Posted in My Thoughts | Leave a comment

Drivers not getting the message

There was a story tonight on NineMSN’s ACA about young drivers not getting the message and in particular they were talking about the use of mobile phones.

Actually I don’t think it’s just the young drivers as I see LOTS of older drivers using mobile phones, from truck drivers, through to mothers taking kids to school, to couriers and men in high value cars.  I’ve even been in taxis when the drivers have answered their phones and carried on an intense conversation while driving me to my destination.  Do you think that made me feel safe in the car with them?  Not!

It’s a lot of people really that aren’t getting the message and yes, they are distracted. I don’t know that hands-free will make a lot of difference either, especially if a driver is trying to text a message back or look up a number to call.  The reality is the phone should not be on at all when they are driving.

Perhaps they need a new slogan:

“Switch off phone before you leave home,
switch on again when you reach the other end”.

I usually have mine on silent or I’m sitting on it in my back pocket – either way, I don’t touch it till I’ve gotten to where I was going.

Posted in My Thoughts | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

3 generational birthday

I don’t know how rare this is but I do believe it’s very special.

Today, 1st December, is my husband Graham’s birthday.

It’s also my son-in-law Ryan’s birthday.

It’s also his son (our grandson) Oliver’s first birthday.

Three generation of males in our family – all with the surname Thomas, sharing the same birthday.

We have a family birthday celebration on the weekend. I think that’s pretty special, don’t you?

Posted in Family News | Tagged | Leave a comment

A Sunny Day

I sometimes wonder if anyone reads these posts but I get occasional comments from people some weeks later about something I’d written.  So I guess that’s good.

Today is one of those beautiful Spring days in November.  Not cold, not hot, a bit of a breeze, blue sky, no clouds (at the time of writing this).

I’d been working hard this morning and by 2.30pm thought I should go outside and get some fresh air… with camera in hand of course!

I got to the end of my street by the roundabout and turned around, as I often do, to retrace my steps, only to have a lady say hi to me.  There’s not often many people around when I’m out walking but today there were quite a few cars travelling up and down the road and people outside doing things.

The woman told me her son was just shifting into the house we were standing outside but that the van was stuck and he was trying to call for help. Their driveway is really steep – and I mean really steep and he couldn’t back the van up the driveway now it was empty of stuff they’d moved.  Another woman joined us from next door and he talked us into sitting in the back of the van so it would have some weight in it as he tried to back up.  I wasn’t sure if this was a good idea or not and prayed for protection. I had visions of us falling back out, or getting legs trapped or something as he had the back door up and open so he could see out the back as he reversed.

He tried 3 times and apart from us all getting covered in rubbery smoke, no mishaps and the van could not make it over the final hump at the top.  He was stuck and had to resort to calling a tow truck.

I went on my way and enjoyed the scenery and hoped these people would get their problem resolved.  At least they’ve got a lovely day and it’s not pouring with rain or stinking hot. And the environment is beautiful but I can appreciate the anxiety of wanting to get it all done. We were there just over a year ago.

I love that I can take country walks right outside my own home, or even on my own property.  I’d longed for that for such a long time.

Just some of the locals who watched me walk by. Thought I’d save the dignity of the guy whose van is stuck by not taking a photo 😉

Posted in My Thoughts | Leave a comment