Changes

Life moves fast doesn’t it? taking the saying from Ferris Bueller’s day off and things change around us rapidly. Besides having to survive over 40 degree celsius heat with no electricity over the weekend. I have had lots of things change and some are permanent and others aren’t either way they have made me reflect and think about making changes to compensate.

I have had 3 friends battle significant health issues since December and sadly one of those friends we had to say good-bye to, the other two thankfully are still fighting on and inspiring many to change how they think and feel about their own health issues. I have had a male friend start to identify his weight as a problem and he is bravely and weekly putting this out on Facebook and from my recollection he is now approx. 25kg’s lighter and looking to lose another 20 or so more. He is inspiring others and I have told him he should blog about it as a male he would not be alone, but as a male they commonly don’t share this type of struggle never alone post the weighing scales weekly – what an amazing bloke, he makes me stop at the fridge door and ask myself why am I eating? Weight is something we all have a battle with mostly don’t we?

I have another friend who has had an episode of gout and referred back to the battle of one of our other friends saying it’s nothing compare to what she is going through. I did agree but it all becomes relative doesn’t it? But it was lovely to read and see that people wish to share, these are men and women from my high school days and it makes me feel part of their lives following our 1st reunion over 12 years ago. Facebook is great for this type of thing.

I look around me and see our farm and see how hard we are working in this drought and I know others are doing it tough, the business I opened in December is now virtually non-existent, it is 4 days per month, I had such big plans but living in a rural community where people spend money on food for stock rather than themselves I now need to wait it out till we get a break, it is distressing.

I also woke this week following horrific heat wave over 3 days to see that the beautiful Pete, my nearly 17-year-old Golden Retriever’s smoky eye has whitened up and he is having problems seeing. I have started eye drop treatment and hopefully it will help him either get better or retain the sight in his good eye. I don’t want him to suffer any pain, so I am lucky to be able to get medical advice over the phone and by text. I know that he will not live forever and I will be sad when he goes, but as I said to dear daughter, he can still find his water and food bowls. He needs a little bit more intensive care than previously.

This year has started with challenges and I hope doesn’t end with them, I love winter and am looking forward to cooler weather, happier news and great times with friends.

 

 

Changes

We all have sacrifices and we all have issues and goals we want to achieve and sometimes we work through them and other times we know no matter how hard we push, sometimes we know we aren’t going to get there.

People always amaze me and perhaps I need to take stock or inspiration from some of them. How they push through and I know it looks un-seemingly but the majority of life’s hurdles are difficult to rise over. We as people do rise over most things, we look to others for support, advice and guidance, whether we take any of what people say on board or not. Sometimes when we talk with people we want to make it about ourselves and other times we are happy to listen, how does one find that balance?

I have three friends (that I know of) who are facing major health challenges at the moment and all I can do is sit on the side lines and be part of the audience. It’s difficult as some are interstate and others in my own state and now wanting family and close friends around them. The best I can offer is to send emails, quick text messages and offer to do what I can if they need anything. Crazy you say with you living so far away from the epicenter of their hospitalization, but I can keep others informed of their recovery and struggle so as to stop many people jumping on face book or contacting the family when they are under stress.

When you read about what they are going through you have to take inspiration from them. you don’t have to look far in your friend network to see heroes, be inspired and to offer support. This week a dear old school friend asked for help, he is struggling with weight issues, mental health issues and stuck his hand up and asked. The comments that have come back are wonderful, we all want to know and assure him, he’s going to be ok, we will do what we can and what we have been asked and I can’t think of a braver person to put it out there, “I need help”. I also admire from him the fact he has recognized this is the point in his life where he has invited change, to embrace it and to seek out solutions  from those that love him, amazing stuff. We all have our secrets, our wishes whether they to be thinner, richer, married, single, and all matter of many things, even as simple as no drought. (my wish)

One of my lovely cousins Mandy gave me good words of advice once and stood herself up and circled in front of herself and said, “this is my bucket of shit and I don’t want you to have my bucket of shit as you have your own, we all have buckets that every now and then we want share some of it, but I don’t want yours and I don’t want you to have mine as it’s mine and different from yours.” I agree, we need to own our stuff and we also need to share it and we need to put our hands up when it gets too hard and ask for help.

Everyone has challenges and wants change it is the brave that go seek it out and invite others to share the pain. To those I love having struggles, I’m sorry and I can only help if asked and help I will.

 

Your life is an Occasion, Rise to it

Quote by Suzanne Weyn, isn’t this a great saying for a Sunday? and I have thought about this a lot in relation to most of my friends and family and related it to the occasions of our lives. I must say I am in awe of all of you, what you do and how you live your lives.

I don’t think it’s till you get older that you  begin to view your environment, surroundings and friends with a different eye, different from “annoying brothers & sisters, ‘needing a best friend (even if you are a twin and already have one) wanting a boyfriend, looking at getting work, finishing school, partying, studying and then a career. Much of ones early life is spent fairly self-absorbed, education is the main focus and those people who surround you during this time play the biggest part in shaping who you are, who you don’t wish to be like, who you admire and how you wish to become.

I grew up in the non social media era, no mobiles we had landlines and pay phones, no internet we made face to face arrangements, cameras were used and photographic film was the norm, you took it off and pictures were processed. Nothing really was ‘right now” it was more can I get that to you in a couple of weeks, how would we cope now?

Moving into the latter ages of 20’s and 30’s things change we look further than we thought we ever would, partners come and go, children are born and one looks to providing and caring for an extended arena. we then share more occasions and invite more people in and we start to look to how we can help others, school fetes, school fund-raisers and charity fund-raisers.

I say this as I can list ones, friends have supported, friends have organized (including myself) and friends have attended I know an amazing bunch of you out there and believe you all do Rise to the occasion of your life and others, I know those that have walked km’s, ran marathons, done sausage sizzles, high teas, created cookbooks, sold raffle tickets, donated to causes and volunteered.

Catherine house, Hutt Street Centre, Keith Hospital, Mater Children’s hospital, Women’s & Children’s hospitals, moon bears, Heart Kids, RFDS, Juvenile Diabetes, DiabetesCancer Council,  leukemia, Brain Cancer, more schools than I could list. You have helped organise and turned up to Charity quiz nights, silent auctions, Auction evenings, football club fundraisers, High Teas, you’ve sold raffle tickets, given salvation army, bought the Big Issue, given to Christmas appeals / trees, given goods or money to bushfires & flood appeals and no doubt there are ones I can’t even think of.

It takes one to come up with the idea, people to support it and the brave to do it. But we know as we get older life is precious, those that have, do, those that can, will and those that watch miss out. I’m always good for an occasion, I’m up for it, happy to help if I can and happy to attend if I can. I am lucky because I can see from my face book page so are the people in my life,

I know that when I have asked, people have answered and when I am asked, I most certainly do, in fact I now look for charity direct, schools and places where 100% of the money goes to the people who need it. For those with little money to donate my mother once told me, when I was a single mum, donating your time can be worth more than the money you could give as all it will cost you is your time. Doing this in my daughters school made me friends for life, gave me a sense of perspective and lots of laughter and pride. My Life is an occasion, I feel I do rise to it do you?

champagne

 

 

Today is brought to you by the letter X

It beginning to look a lot like Xmas isn’t it? It is coming up to a hot summer in Australia and as much as I dislike excessive heat, especially our 40+ degree Celsius or 104+ Fahrenheit. The land is needing a drink (so early in the season) and I have gotten as far as getting the tree up, discovering the lights don’t work and have come to a dead stop (with the tree)

However, I have managed to get to Adelaide shop, wrap gifts, and now have boxed them to go to the post office tomorrow to get them sent to nieces and nephews in different states in Australia. It has installed the Xmas spirit back into me and I am determined to get the tree finished today so that I can feel like its Christmas.

Its been a struggle to get to this point so far, many things have stepped in and taken over, there’s always the farm, study, work, worry about family and friends and life seems to be getting busier and a little bit harder. The cost of living is taking it’s toll on everyone and this year with rainfall being lower this year than last farming is becoming a bit harder as we become a little bit older.

I love the ceremony of Christmas, the tree, the presents, spending time with family and friends and being able to take time off the farm as limited as it is. I loved the Christmas Pageant in Adelaide and took nieces and nephews to it when my daughter was too old to go. I miss the pageant as we no longer even get it on TV as we live rural and apparently it is now with a commercial TV station so it can’t be seen outside CDB. The pageant is the time Father Christmas comes to town and it rings in the yule tide season, I normally wait in putting the tree up so that family birthdays are celebrated without the interference of Christmas. It is something I still do despite the fact we don’t live in the same house together anymore.

I have also delayed this practice this year as I have struggled to find Xmas cheer, I don’t know why but I have. But I am determined to do it today as yesterday a dear friends Aunty (whom I have met) was killed by a hit run driver, the police have since found the driver and charged him, a small comfort to the grieving family. I send all my love to all those involved, to be filled with sorrow at this time of year must be difficult.

But it is time to celebrate life and it’s offerings, as we never know when it will change and we miss the things we can do now, rather than delay.

I hope that you all have a great Xmas and a happy and safe new year, may 2015 bring everything one needs to be happy, healthy and content. This is a precious decoration that my daughter made in reception and annually it gets dragged out and placed on the tree. We had lots of fun making it along with her reception class (aged 5 yrs)

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I’m Bored.

We were lucky enough yesterday to have friends drop in and spend the day with us, they have two boys and one brought a friend. The youngest two seated themselves on the couch and happily played with electronic toys and games (until the power ran out). we then got power and commenced lunch. It is nice to share a day with a good girlfriend and seeing as we had such great weather it was also lovely to sit outside.

Her husband and teenage son went in search for the farmer if for nothing else but to assist him and for male company. So the BBQ was cooked, wine poured, beer cans opened and then it was time to sit, but from the inside of the house came a statement I haven’t heard for a while “I’m bored”. I did laugh and I wasn’t surprised how two country boys who are normally active can sit for hours without being bored. “Ok” I said and went and got a cricket bat and tennis balls, “come on time for backyard cricket then.”‘ With happy faces they came out side and looked at the lawn “we don’t have wickets” “yes use the tin can for one and the step-ladder for the other.”I ventured, necessity being the mother of invention also I didn’t think they needed to be inside watching a DVD which was the next option.

So off they started, it wasn’t long till the teenage boy joined in and then the farmer. The farmer was a great cricketer in his youth and won many awards for his ability. So the afternoon started to shape up to become a little more fun for the boys, Dad of 2 boys joined in and then myself and their mum, here is where it became competitive. It reminded me of my brothers and the fun I had on the beach as a young girl playing cricket. Once the farmer started hitting balls all over the place, rules came in – 6 and out was to hit it on the roof, into the dog kennels or any other place that required a concentrated effort to retrieve the ball. Once the boys gained confidence but also lost stamina, they would like to sit till they considered it their turn to bat, so the rule came in, no fielding, no batting and bowling didn’t count.

We then went to one hand one bounce and then ”tippygo’ I was never good at batting but played anyway – I got six and out for hitting the ball onto the roof where it still sits today.  but I am happy to field. There was shouts of “bum before”  similar to “leg before” but different you can get the picture, no shouts of LBW more of “run just run” “don’t forget to say crease” and lots and lots of laughter. Self stumping was also a problem when it was discovered the stumps would somehow be moved into the batters crease. The adults outlasted the children and it was a fun time had by all. It is a great way to spend an afternoon, good friends, good food, good wine and enough exercise to break up the afternoon.

They all ended up staying for dinner and a couple of the neighbours called over for a drink. The two young boys, ready to go home and happily packed up their things and went as soon as they were asked. We talked about easter and making some ‘stumps’ for when they came then. I love days like these and the people who come to enjoy our company, I could do with more of them, it is nice to have friends who understand the isolation of the country, the work load of the farmer and the need to come offer help and then once the jobs have been done, time to sit relax and enjoy life.

Back to normal?

Here we are it’s Monday and it feels surreal that we had a fire here only 4 days ago and a really big fire at that. But now that it’s over and I have cleaned ash out of the house it’s back to the business of getting things done. First call, insurance company to inform them we had a fire and that we will be requiring their assistance as we lost fencing.

Yesterday I called Telstra to let them know we had no landline to be told that the exchange was damaged in the fires and they will be out to fix it as soon as they were able and it was safe to do so, they were hoping to have it complete by Wednesday this week. They have redirected all calls to my mobile and given us a tag so that when we call out it is charged at the cost of landline rather than mobile, they are doing all they can for fire victims.

We have had friends call, text and email us that saw me on the TV in other states, it has been nice to hear from everybody as they showed concern. I have had face book and twitter messages that have meant a lot and spoken as best I can standing in the one spot in my kitchen that you get mobile signal from, with the people who I love and care about.

Part of the bonus of the fire (if you can call it that) is that having the sprinklers on for days at a time we have luscious lawns surrounding the house and we have let the Dorper Lambs in to eat it down. As I sit and type they are baaing at each other and eating as much as they can. It is a lovely noise to listen to, no longer is the UHF on the emergency channel, nor the radio giving us fire updates, I like the silence today, I have a breeze blowing in and the sun is shining, all looks good in my little world.

I have managed to clean the house of the ash and the place looks incredibly tidy, one thing I have been doing as I go is taking pictures of all of the furniture, pictures and nick knacks in each room, should we ever lose the house to fire we would have a pictorial diary of our contents and things. The other thing for me is to now look at getting rid of some of it. Why? you ask, well these are the things we would leave behind and do we want to keep them around us now? Things like bookshelves full of books one only reads once, DVD’s that sit around waiting to be watched more than twice, items we have kept “incase” we need them, well after this fire, I have realized we don’t. Everything I wanted was packed ready to leave with me and it wasn’t a lot, photo’s of my daughter as she was growing up – before digital.

It is amazing how two people can accumulate so much but being alive nearly half a century, you do gather stuff, now is the time to start getting rid of it, give it away and or sell it. I did this 14 months ago after the last fire, so now it is time to do it again. It will take a while but it is something I will be doing so that we can reduce the fire load in the house. Have a great Monday, here are some of our Dorpers in the yard see they really are grass-fed.

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Where there’s smoke….

We are no longer surrounded by smoke, we have clean smelling air, I look to our west, north and east and no longer see smoke clouds, it’s a relief. Also last night husband and CFS volunteer was in by 11pm and asleep by 1am, he is currently still in bed – he has had 6 hours of unbroken sleep. That is the longest he has slept for over 4 days, he sleeps and I keep the phone by my side of the bed, the uhf radio in the house kept on the emergency channel has been silent for the same amount of time and no longer are the fire trucks and private vehicles racing up and down our road, it seems we have got the upper hand. PHEW!!!

What is left behind after a crazy fire storm like this is the remnants of ‘normality’. I have in the oven unfinished roasted vegetables which will go to the chooks today. He came home from fighting the fire and just as he was about to head back out the skies burst with rain. The temperature dropped and so did that alertness that we both had been living for the last 3 days and he asked for a roast vegetables and meat for dinner, he has been living on sandwiches and rolls that he has taken as he has run out of the door to get to another fire or nothing at all depending upon the time and location he was fighting a fire.

With the rain came more lightning and a ground strike and fire – it was 6km’s away on a neighbours property. From the start it was all talk of asset management, that is protecting the house, they knew they would lose the paddocks of feed and fencing so the house needs to be saved and off they went, these people, farmers, friends, strangers all working to put out the fire and save what they could. They come from near and far to assist, some have had no sleep in the last 24 hours and others perhaps 2, some are fresh to the cause but they work in unison and as a team putting out a fire.

Now having watched it first hand up close and in the safety of my husbands direction I can appreciate these volunteers  more. It doesn’t make me want to go out and become one, it just makes me grateful there are those people who do this, race into fires to assist themselves and each other. I again could see the orange / red glow of the fire from my front door this time it still makes me anxious, not for me I was safe but for all of them out there fighting.

We all know it’s going to be days before the Ngarkat fire goes out and most people (including me) will spend time checking our boundary for spot fires. We know we are lucky we are not under threat any more but there are others who are and some have lost homes and a life was lost in Victoria. Nothing is worth losing your life over, make your plan, tell people your plan and stick with it. Leave, get out of harms way if not for yourself for those brave people out there who have to fight the fire, not try to save your life because you wouldn’t leave. Today I shall put away my fire plan, all our important documents, re display my jewelry and unpack the clothing.

Where’s there’s smoke there was a fire or there is the start of a fire or there is a fire, it’s just different degrees of adrenaline. Never walk away from smoke, kick sand over it, pour water on it or call 000 and report it.  Your actions could help save the lives of others, animals and help CFS volunteers know that they are not the only ones on constant look out. This was our flare up yesterday, unbelievable.

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