Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wanna buy a good second hand congenital heart defect?

I don't know if you do this, but for me when a friend, acquaintance, or someone I love is diagnosed with an illness I get on my computer and Google it to get some basic information so that I know what is going on.

Of course it's dangerous, because it is often the worst case scenario that is presented, without any of the specifics of their particular case. But at least I get a bit more of an idea.
So on hearing a pretty way out diagnosis, I Googled and was working my way through what seemed to be fairly authoritative sites when I noticed a strange thing...
You see, I've often noted that there are sponsored links to the right hand side of the screen.
I've always marvelled that whatever item I'm Googling for, eBay seems to have, but this is ridiculous!

What the?

The chance I'm simply longing to get a Ventricular Septal Defect of my very own (even at bargain prices)?

... Approximately None!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Nothing to see here, people!

I had a plan.

I've been driving to a little town 25 minutes up the road for an early morning prayer meeting each day this week.

The scenery of paddock and farmsteads, broken down sheds and forested hills, overcast skies and dramatic spot-lighting has been breath-takingly beautiful and has been restoring my soul after some really busy days.

I decided that this morning I'd take my camera and take some shots to share with all my bloggy buddies. And it was absolutely gorgeous this morning.

Unfortunately I fell back to sleep after my Beloved went to the shower. So instead of taking the 15 minutes to surface from deep sleep, then get going, I woke with a start 30 minutes after I should have been vertical, knowing I had to rush to be gone.

So how much time did I have to take photos on the way?

... Approximately None. But it was beautiful! I promise!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


We had a few heavy showers yesterday.

Most of this afternoon was steady rain.

The tank overflowed.

The drainage line in the paddock behind us was wide and deep.

The water was over the road to the little town I need to drive to first up tomorrow.


I have spent a considerable portion of my life waiting for rain.

My town here has had maybe two decent seasons in the last 20 years.

All the rain everyone got from the cyclones was patchy around here, in fact rain often goes around my town.

But this afternoon was glorious, and the chance I didn't enjoy it?

... Approximately None!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Dating Evidence

Last year I did some posts which had pictures my Grandma sent to me when I was a good deal littler than I am now. There are plenty more to come, it's just that I needed to scan and crop a new batch and I haven't had time. But it's my day off today, so I decided that I should use some of it to add to my collection.

After this week's post about Chair Grandma, you would know that it was Cuckoo Grandma who sent me these picture letters.

You would also know that she was not mentally unbalanced. She just had a Cuckoo Clock. Mind you, in my opinion people who have noisy, chiming clocks of any description have got to be either good sleepers or a little bit nuts.

Sometimes when things were busy, or when there was other interesting stuff that she could send, she wouldn't have to draw at all:

In my last post I was attempting to date the letters. This one has a newspaper clipping with the date on it! We're in May 1976, people! I was 2 years old and my little brother was 2 1/2 months (which explains why he wasn't getting letters yet).

And the chance that I'm not enjoying having to find inspiration for a post today?

... Approximately None!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Not doing the housework could actually prove fatal...

Further to some of the comments regarding cleaning being over-rated from yesterday's post...

On Monday afternoon I went and got some groceries. This was pretty essential, and we now have things to eat.

(That wasn't what I was talking about with the fatal thing. I could certainly go for some days without perishing from lack of food. My Beloved does not have as much stored up for later, but even he'd last a little while.)

When I brought the groceries in, I dumped them on the kitchen floor so that I could sort them and put them away.

(Putting them away was a really good idea. It doesn't always get done, and then I find dead fruit a week later. Putting things away may not stop fatalities, but it does mean that I don't have to throw away food)

I discovered that there was some form of liquid on the floor under some of the packets, then was amazed that I hadn't smelt it before. So I dug out the bottle of ironing spray that had a loose top, regretting not getting the environmentally insensitive pressurised bottle.

(And being very glad that I hadn't remembered my cloth shopping bags, so I'd said 'yes' to plastic and the back of the car wasn't awash and pongy. I'm wonderfully consistent in my efforts to save the world.)

I cleaned up the spilt liquid with paper towel and went on my merry way. I did think I probably should wash the floor properly, but who has time to do that?

Let's jump to an entirely different topic for a bit.

(Humour me, okay)

My Beloved works in the glass windows, security screens, awnings and blinds business. This means that he picks up lots of scratchy stuff in his work boots. We have polished timber floors. So, being an absolute sweetie, he always takes off his boots before he comes upstairs.

This means that he walks around inside with his socks on much of the time.

(You can see how these stories are going to intersect, can't you?)

I was serving dinner last night when my Beloved came into the kitchen to get glasses for our drinks.

The patch which I had mopped up, but not washed properly, is right at the corner where someone entering the kitchen has to pivot and change direction to get to the cupboard where the glasses are.

The chance that he actually killed himself?

... Approximately None, but it was a pretty spectacular (and successful) attempt at regaining his balance. I reckon the only reason he didn't stack it was due to his wing span - you know how tight rope walkers have that balancing pole thing? I would have stacked it for sure.

By the way, it turns out that the ironing spray has a warning. "Aviod any accidental spraying on hard, smooth floors as they could become slippery" Whad'ya know! Total inundation seems to have the same effect.

And the liklihood I've washed the floor yet?

... "Sweetie, I'm just serving dinner, would you like to come and make drinks?"

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

It's all a matter of perspective...

Jen's Perspective.

Dogs are the funniest creatures. If you have a chance to watch them on any given day, they will be lying sleeping, then get up, go for a wander, come back to exactly the same spot and lie down again for another sleep.

Or maybe they will do a random sniff around the room.

Or change sleeping locations.

Or wander up to their drink bowl, decide they don't want a drink after all, and wander off again.

It all seems very restless and without purpose.

The LBD's Perspective

Humans are the funniest creatures. If you have a chance to watch them on cleaning day, they will be working in one room, then go for a wander and pick something up, come back to exactly the same spot and put the thing they just picked up in some cupboard.

Or maybe they will do a random shuffle of stuff around the room.

Or change dusting locations.

Or wander into the kitchen, decide they forgot to pick up the water glass from another room, and wander off again.

It all seems very restless and without purpose.

And the chance that I don't appreciate the humour of this situation?

... Approximatley None!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Remembering Chair Grandma

I have been incredibly blessed in my life that I not only had a full set of 4 grandparents for most of my primary school years, but that I can remember three of my great-grandparents as well. Family is important to me, and I find the cross-generational stuff wonderful.

And given the fact that I had four Grandmas for my earliest years, it was not unexpected that I would have special names for each of them:

I had Horsey Grandma (my Dad's Mum) who used to bounce me on her leg and sing the "Horsey, Horsey clippety clop" rhyme for me. (Someone had to give the Hippomanic gene a start in life!) She used to object to being called that, until she heard that I used to call my other grandmother...

Cuckoo Grandma (my Mum's Mum) because she had a cuckoo clock. She was the one who sent me letters. She was not in anyway mentally unbalanced.

Then there was Little Grandma (my Mum's Mum's Mum) who was not precisely tall.
And there was Chair Grandma (my Dad's Mum's Mum) because she was pretty much chair bound when I knew her.

It is amazing that I remember Chair Grandma. Firstly, it's amazing that she lived long enough to marry and procreate (particularly as my Grandma was her youngest). Then it's amazing that she lived long enough to see her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Then it is amazing that I have any memory of her, given the fact that she died a few months before my second birthday.

You see, she was from a reasonably well-to-do family on the Northern side of Sydney. As a single young lady she once went for a job, and stipulated that she would not be available on Thursday nights, because she wouldn't miss prayer meeting. The lady doing the interview laughed, because girls who went to prayer meetings didn't usually do the sort of evening work that was on offer. Innocence is not always bliss.

She (and her sisters) were devout in their expression of their Christian faith. They used to visit the slums as part of their charity work, and Chair Grandma contracted TB from exposure to this environment.

The good thing from my perspective was that she was sent to family in the country to get all the clean air, fresh food and all that (which was about all you could do for TB back then). This was where she met my great-grandfather. She was a good horse woman and they used to get lost together to enjoy more time with each other as they courted.

She had three children out of about (I think) 13 pregnancies. This must have been heart-breaking. My Grandmother was the post World War One bub (yet another chance for me not to exist if my great-grandad hadn't got through the war) and the end of the family.

Chair Grandma had really bad anaemia, and all that could be done for it at that time was for her to eat mushed up raw liver. Blerrchh!

But she was a survivor.

Mum and I used to visit her at the home very frequently when I was little. I remember her shadowy figure sitting in her armchair beside a window. I couldn't describe her features, but I remember her. Apparently, when we visited the staff had a game to see if they could distract me as I single-mindedly waddled towards her room, shrugging them off with "I'se busy".

The strange thing is that although I couldn't describe her features I remember taking my Grandma (Horsey Grandma, if you needed reminding) to visit her older sister in her nursing home. When I walked into the room, my aunt was sitting in an arm chair beside a window. I got goosebumps. When we left, I had to ask Grandma whether her sister looked like Chair Grandma, or was my memory faulty? Yep. Spitting image. No wonder I was freaked out.

I also remember her lying in her bed (on the other side of the window). This image is vaguely troubling to me. Mum says the only time that Chair Grandma was in her bed was the week she died. I was so troubled that Mum decided not to take me back, but how was she going to explain that to me? Chair Grandma died before it was time for our next visit.

When Chair Grandma died, my great-aunt suggested to my Grandmother that she should keep Chair Grandma's good watch for Jennifer. So the once I was all grown up Grandma had the watch cleaned and gave it to me. It is a lovely cheery ticking watch (you know, has to be wound up each morning) that I've worn for good ever since. And occasionally, when my other watch ran out of batteries or the strap broke, I'd wear all the time.

I like that it's delicate and elegant. Dainty. Classic. Timeless. I like it because it has a bright, cheery tick, even when life wasn't going well in one part of my life or another. And I like it because it reminds me of Chair Grandma.

The sad part of the story happened yesterday. A couple of weeks ago it stopped. I could coax it to start again temporarily by some gentle tapping, but the tick was loose, not the crisp, cheery tick it should have been. I took it down to the local watchmaker to get a quote to make it tick merrily once more.

Yesterday the girl at the shop told me that the balance is broken, and it is so old that they don't make them anymore. It can't be replaced.

I asked her if it was possible to get whatever it needed machined especially. She checked with the watchmaker, and yes, it could be done, but it would cost in excess of $400 because it would be a once off. It could cost even more.

So today I went down to the shop to pick it up. I felt a little like I was going to the Vet to pick up my dead pet for decent burial. It' s only a thing, and it doesn't mean my memories are gone. I couldn't put it in my handbag, I had to hold it as I walked back to the car.

And the chance I wasn't repeating, "it's only a thing, it's only a thing" to myself?

... mmm.