Sunday, December 26, 2010

The "eats" are coming out of my ears!

You know, I've never been a stickler for traditional breakfasts... I just figure that if something tastes good, and is basically good for you... it's all fair game - no matter what time of day you eat it.

Which is why I'm having an open faced hot turkey sandwich and green bean casserole for breakfast this morning.
With some antipasto and sesame crackers.
Okay, so maybe the last bit is a bit too much for breakfast, but I'm afraid that still haven't gotten out of the habit of cooking (or buying, for that matter) for a crowd.

It's a habit that comes in darn handy I guess, when you have a large family or lots of guests... but when you're basically on your own, with just a growing boy (and an extremely fussy eater at that) you can end up eating leftover Christmas dinner for a week - or throwing a lot out.
And that's something that just doesn't sit well with me.
I figure "waste not, want not".... even if the Boy turns his nose up at twice stuffed sweet potatoes with cranberries and walnuts at 9am.

When my kids were young, we always had "Pick 'n Pull" at least once or sometimes twice a week. Where for dinner, they would just go to the fridge, pick out whatever leftovers they wanted to eat, pull it out - re-heat - and eat.
Hence the "Pick 'n Pull".

It's something that works well if you have a large family and lots of holiday leftovers.

But when you don't really have enough family members on hand, eating large amounts and/or a variety of holiday leftovers - whether it's for breakfast, lunch or dinner - well... it can get pretty tiresome after a day or two.

This is my second day of turkey sandwiches for breakfast, and leftovers in general.... and so far, I've only managed to really finish off the olive dip.
And some chips.
Oh... and a box of Ferrero Rocher, if I'm gonna be totally honest.
But it was a small one, I swear.
And I only ate it because I was watching "The Bone Collector"on TV... and looking at Denzel Washington always makes me hungry.

You know what? I think I might throw some of this leftover stuff out in the yard - and give the animals and birds a late Christmas treat, eh?
Because quite frankly, I'm just about turkey and veggied out.

So for dinner tonight, it's gonna be corn flakes for me.
Maybe with a scoop of ice cream on top.

Because the food in the freezer needs to be pared down a bit, too, you know.
And I don't want the ice cream going to waste. ;)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

That's another one down...

I know that most of you are celebrating Christmas as I write this, but here in Oz, we're a day ahead of y'all and for us, Christmas is now a thing of the past.

I kind of have mixed feelings about it, because this was my last Christmas in Australia.... and although it was a good one in a lot of ways, in other ways, it was like I wasn't even fully present - if that makes any sense to you.

Probably not, since the workings of my heart and mind are an enigma to even myself at the best of times... and the things that I fully expected to dread seemed to go smoothly, and the things that are pretty much second-nature to me now, seemed to be odd and off-kilter to me.

Oh, don't get me wrong... it was a good Christmas.

I was blessed to be able to spend my grandsons "early Christmas" watching them open their gifts on web-cam, and I felt so blessed to be "there" with them - if only in a small way.
(they alternate between their parents houses, and this is Josh and Becs' way of ensuring a complete Christmas morning and a full day with their presents, before them going to their fathers' and the evil step-mothers house.)
So, I got to spend over 91 minutes watching the boys tear into their gifts, and listening to their squeals of delight... and their sharing their joy and excitement with their gifts with their Grummie and Grumpy ...
And it done this ol' heart good ... let me tell you!

Then later that day, (the day before Christmas Eve to you all in the N. hemisphere, but Christmas Eve itself, here in the S hemisphere...) the Old Guys daughter and her boyfriend showed up - thoroughly and completely making the Old Guys day! It was the first year since Skye was about 2 years old, that he's managed to spend any actual "Christmas" time with her - and he was simply walking on air!
After years of "not nice stuff" that we've all been through with her mother, it was truly a wonderful and blessed time for the Old Guy and Skye - and for all of us.

Then yesterday ( remember...Christmas Eve to y'all - but Christmas day for us here in Oz) was a joy as well, with the Boy opening his presents early, before heading over to spend the day with his mum, and then the Old Guy and I just sort of lazing around watching a video, (okay, snoring, if you really need to know) while waiting for the Boy to return - and for guests to arrive for a late-ish "Christmas dinner".

That went well too, and I thoroughly enjoyed it - although there was a bittersweet aspect to it as well, since it was my last Christmas - probably ever - with Jenn and her family.
We ate and talked... and then we nibbled and ate and talked some more... and after they left, I ended up going to bed sometime well after midnight - feeling full of joy and contentment.
And Christmas cake.

It was good.
I keep telling myself that anyway.
But mostly, I was left with the feeling that it somehow wasn't real - or complete.
It was kind of like having an intense craving for prime rib and all the fixin's... but ending up with a McDonald's' Happy Meal instead.
Yeah, your belly's full and you've had enough to eat, but it's only make-do and a stop-gap measure while waiting for the real thing.

Maybe that's just me....or maybe it's how we all feel after all the wind-up leading to the holidays... and the inevitable let-down of emotions afterwards.
I don't know.
All I know is that once The Boy heads off with his mum this morning, to spend some time with his grandma in Melbourne, I just want to cherish the quiet time - and catch up on reading blogs.

Oh... and maybe I'll eat some of this leftover Christmas cake too...
With a giant dollop of Brandy custard. ;)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas, everyone!!


The true joys of the Christmas Season...

After some "not to be disclosed issues" with the Boy the other day, he was assigned the abhorrent (to him anyway) task of preparing dinner for us all.
Kind of like a punishment, so he could see what I go through ... and hopefully so that he would gain a little respect and understanding about what I do for him on a daily basis.
That was the plan anyway.

And I have to admit that he did a bang-up job of it... not burning anything, not swearing even once, or banging the pots and pans... and once it was all prepared and ready, of actually going to the extent of arranging the food artfully on the plate.... reminiscent of Master Chef Australia or one of the world's finest restaurants.
Which is nothing like how I do it.

Me, I'm more of a slopping it on the plate, and licking off the drips kinda gal...

Anyway... I was out in the patio, decorating for the Christmas dinner we'll be sharing with friends tomorrow, when I was called to the table...
Only to find the Old Guy and the Young Boy sitting expectantly with their meals in front of them - and actually waiting on me.

Like being patient and everything.
I no sooner sat down, than they each grabbed one of my hands, and then the Boy garbled out the fastest and most succinct "Grace" I've ever heard in my life... but hey, it was lovely that he even did it - ya know?

So in the middle of eating, (yummy Chicken Parmigiana and steamed fresh veggies - oh my!) Boy turns to me, and asks if we could go for a drive to look at the Christmas lights.
Ughhhh... I'm tired after working a 12 hour day, I have heaps of things to get accomplished before Christmas Eve, I'm still a bit miffed about the aforementioned "not to be disclosed issues", and the timing isn't the best in the world... but hey - it IS Christmas...



So I say yes.
We'll head out (*sigh*) as soon as it starts to get dark.

And then wonder of wonders, I start feeling excited about seeing the lights myself, (the Boy bouncing around and singing Christmas songs like he's 8 years old, really, really puts me in the mood) and we sit down and plan our route - so we're sure to catch the best lights.

And this is what we got :









Disclaimer. There are NOT my actual photos, but are a visual representation only. I was afraid of my camera flying out the window, so I resorted to web images which are far clearer than anything I could have taken at speeds of 60 km's or more an hour. And Christmas lights and decorations viewed from a speeding car leave a LOT to the imagination.
As you can see for yourselves.
And besides, I was too dizzy from the lights whipping past my eyes to focus on much of anything.

But it doesn't really matter, at all... because in the end, THIS is what it's all about!


Perhaps 2010 has been a hard year for you, and I think we all wonder if 2011 will be any better.
Whatever your situation, may you find hope in the One who came to live among us that first Christmas night.
May 2011 bring happiness and peace to you and your family - and to our world.


Merry Christmas to you all!




Sunday, December 12, 2010

I'm still blue in the face...

Remember that post a few weeks back, when I asked you to pray that I get my little house, so that I could move back home... Home to where I belong?
Where my heart is?
This one... remember?

Well, thanks to one of you not praying quite hard enough, it didn't come to pass.
No... I'm joking.
So I take that back - it's not your fault at all.
None of yous'. It's actually the fault of some cashed up - 'we have more money than sense' - idiot from a local community.
Valley Springs to be exact.

Now if you're from Valley Springs - or happen to know someone who is - I apologise for the disparaging comment... knowing full well that not all Valley Springers are idiots.
Just some of 'em.
Or one in particular, anyway. No, make that two...

The day of the auction dawned full of hope and happiness... and with all our little ducks in a row..

Prayers said. Check

Laptop charged and waiting to communicate words of joy and congratulations with a "she's been holding her breath for so long that she's now turned a delightful shade of purple" Mama in Australia... Check.

Cashiers check made out to the maximum bid amount... which was approximately double what we figured that it needed it to be... Check.

Celebratory beverage on hand, waiting to be used to ermm... celebrate when the auction was done. Check.

So... with said little ducks all in a row, I spent a sleepless night tossing and turning, planning on being on the computer at 4am, well in advance of the 10am start of the bidding. (there's 5 hours difference between California and here, basically meaning that as I'm eating my breakfast, they're just sitting down to lunch there.)
The plan was that I would turn on old Bessie here at approximately 4:30, but because of the aforementioned sleepless night, I had been sitting here and eyeing the clock and saying "c'mon, c'mon, c'mon".... from about 3am onwards.
Planning things in my head.

Planning the new kitchen that I wanted installed, looking over all the photos of the house, and mentally re-landscaping the yard and garden, and choosing new posts for the porch - which would need to be replaced asap.

So I waited happily...
And waited...
And waited...

Only to receive the following message from my son's friend (and real estate agent) Donovan:

4 bidders, cutoff hit, 56,4. Sorry.

WHAT?

I didn't get it???
I didn't get it!
Oh sh**, oh sh**, oh sh**!

Then ensued some fast and furious messages back and forth:

Donovan: Wanna offer 65 to winner? From josh.

Me: can we do that?

Donovan: If you have money its time to offer it, yes we can if want. Yes or no?

Me: Yes! No! Yes! I mean No! That high?

Donovan: What do want to offer at max.

Me: Make it 60. Are they aware of the illegal septic that will need to be removed from the neighboring property immediately, or of the drug-using squatters that are currently in residence and trashing the place as we speak ... or the fact that a haz-mat cleaning team will need to be brought in because of the druggies?

Me again: Hello? Are you still there? Hello?? HELLO? Donovan? Josh? Where ARE you?? Talk to me! I'm going crazy here... what's going ON???


At this point, whimpering unashamedly, (as well as rather piteously) I decided that since I had left it all in the hands of God... maybe He knew better than I did.
After all, he knew what I was asking for, because dozens of people had been adding their prayers to mine... and this seemed like a pretty clear "no" on his part.
So I would just buck up immediately, take a deep breath, square my shoulders and realize that my dream wasn't necessarily what God had planned for me - and let it go.
HIS will...not my will be done.

Okay, so goodbye, sweet dream...

Goodbye, dreams of my son walking a mere 70 feet, to bring his mama a cup of coffee in the mornings...
Goodbye, dreams of my grandsons joyfully running down the driveway to spend time with their loving Grummie...
Goodbye, all thoughts of the beautiful walnut kitchen cabinets with white imitation-granite counter tops that were the exact configuration and layout that we needed... that Josh had found on craigslist for only $1,000.
Sob... sniff sniff...

And then I heard a "ping" !!!
Josh was on 'instant chat' on face book...

It seems that the agent who had bid for their client (the winning client - damn them) had never so much as looked at the house. And neither had the client so much as looked at the house - or property - bidding solely and wholly on the place as an investment property.
More fools them, eh?

Once they (the real estate agent and buyer) found out that there were humongous drawbacks - as well as expenses - associated with the property, it's been intimated that the client may not be as interested as they thought they were.
Unfortunately, they signed an agreement with the county prior to bidding, that meant that they were legally required to go through with the sale...
But they may very well offer the property to us for their buying price... plus the real estate agent fees involved.

They'll let us know this week.
You know..."may very well offer" doesn't sound entirely optimistic, but it's the best we can hope for at this point.

So I posted a status update on face book:
UPDATE! It's not over 'til the fat lady sings, so I may not have lost the property in Murphys after all !!! More later...

To which my son commented back: "she may be singin' within' the week, lets just hope we can afford the concert tickets"

So the wait continues...
Dammit.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Rest In Peace, sweet Matthew

Friday afternoon, I got the call that I’ve been dreading for months now.

Matthew was back home from the hospital, but they had brought him home for the very last time... and the end was near.
I wanted to go see him that night, but due to work commitments, I didn’t get the chance.


So, I got up early Saturday morning and prepared myself for the sad task of going to say goodbye to a gorgeous little boy... a little boy who had captured my heart - and the hearts of everyone who knew him - from the very beginning...

Just as we were getting ready to leave, I got a call from Mary – Matthew's grandmother - who told me that Matthew had passed away peacefully, just after midnight the night before.


I never got the chance to say goodbye to him, but I know that he knew that my thoughts and my heart were with him... always.




Matthew Lizzul
February 25, 2002 – December 4, 2010

Rest in Peace, my darling boy.
Katie loves you... for always and forever
~~~~


Please say a prayer for Matthews' Mother, Sue... his Grandmother Mary... and his sisters Emily and Caitlin.
I can't even imagine what they're going through right now, so please ask God to lift them up and give them peace...


When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart,
and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
~Kahlil Gibran



(For those of you who don't know, Matty was one of my daycare children... and I was blessed to be able to take care of him on a respite arrangement - for several wonderful years - so that his mother could have a bit of a break a few times a week.
Sue's middle daughter Caitlin also has serious issues, (autism, epilepsy and a brain tumor) so this wonderful woman has certainly had her hands full - as does her older daughter Emily...
Emily, who has always been a rock, a helping hand, and a complete blessing to her mum.

Sue's one of those people who no matter how hard life is for her personally, she's always there for other people... and I can't begin to tell you how many times she reached out to me, when I was sick or feeling down.
I would call her and say I wouldn't be available today because of a migraine or whatever... and a few hours later, Sue would bring me flowers, or go out of her way to make me smile, or to cheer me up.


Sue trusted me to not only care for Matty, but Caitlin as well..., and I'll always be eternally grateful for the trust she's shown in me, and also for the joy that her entire family has brought me.)


God well and truly blessed me, when he brought this beautiful family into my life...

Monday, November 29, 2010

I can't even get a snail drunk...



And another sad tale


You know the straw bales I told you about, a few posts back?
Well , they're doing great... and I'm really enjoying experimenting with them.
Unfortunately, the bales are doin' good... real good...but the plants themselves aren't.

Well some of them are, and I have to say that the tomatoes are simply flourishing and lovin' their new home, as are the peppers... but I can't say the same for the 14 zucchini plants I planted.

They were trying to flourish, and for the first day or so, it did my heart good to go out there and watch 'em puttin' on new baby leaves and shooting up.

But then disaster struck, and I'm now down to 3 pitiful little zucchini specimens.
And what was this disaster?

Slugs and snails!

Slimy, slippery, disgustingly voracious little bastards they are!

I went out one morning and had a look at the plants, and noticed that several seemed to be missing.
So I investigated further, and found slimy trails, and then a couple of little slugs happily munching their way through the stems of MY zucchini plants!
And they were lookin' at me... and even smiling at me, as they munched away at those tender juicy, potentially bountiful stems.

No worries, sez I.

I will simply put out some hollowed out orange skins on each bale, along with some coffee grounds scattered around the plants themselves.
Because I read in a book that that's a sure-fire way of getting rid of slugs and snails without resorting to snail bait.
Snail bait that's toxic to cats and birds and who knows what else.

And I have to say ... it worked.
The first night anyway.

See, what you have to do with the orange skins is simply place them out... and the slugs and snails will flock to them. And then you go out (several times) after dark, and dispose of the full-to-the-brim-with-slug-and-snails orange skins... into a bag with salt in it.

Which I did.
Several times the first night.
But only once the second night... because it started raining.

And risking pneumonia for the sake of zucchini plants that I might not live to eat the fruit of, seemed kind of silly to me.

And besides...the coffee grounds had sort of washed down into the bales, kind of defeating the whole purpose of irritating the damn slugs and snails tummy's' as they crawled across it, on their way to the all-you-can-eat buffet.

So... I decided that 8 zucchini plants were probably enough for any one person, because I simply couldn't drink enough coffee, or eat enough oranges and grapefruits to keep the vast hoards of gastropods under control.

And that's when I resorted to beer.

Okay, so I tried drinking it myself first... but then figured that me being half tipsy wasn't doing a bloody thing to protect my plants... so I started setting out tuna cans of beer for the snails.
I mean... Who wants to party alone, anyway, eh?

I set out 5 cans filled to the brim with beer, and happily went back inside.
And when I went out to check about an hour later, I saw vast herds of slugs and snails racing towards the beer... with sculling some primo ale with their mates, on their slimy little minds.
And I smiled to myself a little.... knowing that they were in for the surprise of their soon-to-be-annihilated little lives.

The next morning, I went out with visions of counting bodies in the hundreds...
But there wasn't one damn snail or slug in any of those cans.
Not a one!
Just my luck to be blessed with teetotal snails, eh?
They didn't even get high on the fumes, as far as I know!!
So I tried another brand of beer.
The Old Guys (expensive) favorite.
No luck there either.
Crap.

I'm now down to 3 miserable little zucchini plants and one pitiful half eaten apple cucumber plant, as well as the healthy tomato and pepper plants... and today I'll be putting out 6 more peppers of various descriptions, and about 10 cilantro plants as well.

And I'm not ashamed to say...I'm resorting to snail bait.
Screw 'em.



Another sad tale...

We're now getting closer and closer to the date of the auction on my little dream house, (Dec 10) and I've been "praying without ceasing"... that the little beauty will be mine.
Now I don't often pray for myself, but I figured as long as I was praying for others, God wouldn't mind me asking for something for myself for a change.

I also asked him to give me a sign that this was meant to be...
Something that I would have no trouble recognizing, because to tell you the truth, sometimes I have to be hit over the head with stuff... you know?
So every now and again, I would smell a lovely fresh piney smell, sort of mixed with the smell of "mountain misery" - and it smelled just like home.
Sunlight on pine trees, dry, crushed pine needles.. and the heady fragrance a local plant...

Mountain Misery

And everytime that I smelled it, my heart would swell and tears would spring to my eyes... because God was giving me a sign - just like I asked - in answer to my prayers.

And then one day I noticed that the smell was particularly strong in the bathroom, and I figured that that was just because it's quieter and less hectic in there, with nothing else to draw my attention.

And my heart swelled and tears started rolling down my cheeks... because I knew in my heart that God was listening to me.

Until I flushed, that is.

And then I realized that it was only the toilet bowl gel.

And that God has a sense of humor...


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Holding my breath...

Good news!

Well sort of good news anyway. It's really too early to crow or dance at this point... but I just can't stop myself from being excited!
I couldn't sleep last night, and when I got up this morning, I was still so excited, that I just couldn't settle - or even concentrate on much.

Which was borne out when I poured myself a cup of coffee... and somehow forgot to have a cup waiting!
Hot coffee went everywhere (none on me, thank goodness) but even while I was cleaning the mess up, I was grinning like a possum!

See, the little house adjoining my sons place in Murphys, has finally been listed as "in default" and will go to auction on the 10th of December!
I want it so bad that I can taste it... and my son and I have been busy making plans, transferring funds, and getting all our little ducks in a row, in anticipation of bidding on the big day!

Now there are several things "wrong" with the place, that we're hoping and praying will work to our advantage...
For one thing, the septic is actually across the boundary line, and it sits on on my daughter-in-laws property.
Which is illegal.
So if anyone else buys the property, they're going to insist that the septic be immediately removed - and placed elsewhere.
Only there really is no "elsewhere" that doesn't involve pumping the septic uphill - which would be a very costly maneuver all the way around.
Which would also cancel out any thoughts of them *getting a bargain*.

It's also butted up right against the DIL's driveway on the left hand side, and although that means nothing to me and I can live with the family driving past, it will hopefully be a deterrent to anyone else hoping to bid.

The house isn't in real good repair but it is liveable... and with my handy-dandy son right next door, a lot of the repairs and renovations can actually be done before I even leave here.
And they can be done on the cheap, since he refuses to accept any "labor costs" from his mama.
Good boy that he is...
And... if we can get the place cheap enough, we can put more money - money that would have been spent on the purchase price- into renovations.
Which would make it a "win-win" situation.

Sadly, the woman who owned the place was/is a druggie, and supposedly there's a lot of damage to the kitchen countertops (burn marks) as well as damage to other areas from her cooking her drugs and her just not giving a damn about upkeep.

Now, if this were regular circumstances and this person had lost her house or her job due to the poor ecomomy in California right now, and she just couldn't keep up the payments... my heart would be seriously hurting at the thought of gaining because of someone elses misfortune.

But the facts are, she borrowed a huge amount of money from the bank, and then never got around to making her repayments, or paying the property taxes on the property.
It all went on drugs.
I do still feel sorry for her though...

There've been people looking at the property since it was listed, so the other day my son took his noisiest dirt bike to the bottom of the drive and proceeded to vroom and squeal all along the fenceline and driveway... throwing up dirt and rocks and having a good ol' time.
Which may not be exactly "nice".... but it is something that he and the grandsons do on a regular basis anyway.
It's something I can live with... but it's hopefully something other people would kind of object to.
Now all we need to do is get some nice smelly hogs right along the fenceline... and maybe some empty beer kegs and shot gun shells scattered around...

But... if you're the praying kind, could you please say some prayers for me?
Could you pray that everything pans out the way we hope it will and we get the property... so that I can get back home, where I belong?








Wednesday, November 17, 2010

You can lead a horse to water...



But you can't make him eat his dinner!

I don't know who let the Young Lad get away with eating only what he wants, but let me tell you... the kid is driving me bonkers when it comes to meal times!
He "only" likes certain foods, and no matter what I make or how I try and adapt it for him, he always says "I don't like this" and he pushes it away.

Fair enough... There are plenty of things I don't like either, but let me tell ya something, lad...
I am NOT running a restaurant here, and you either eat what I present to you, or you can go hungry.

Pure and simple.

I don't know what his past carers were like, but somewhere along the line, the lad has decided that he only likes spaghetti bolognase and garlic bread.
Or fast food.

I do know that when he goes to visit his mother on Tuesdays, he always comes home stuffed from eating fish and chips, and when I asked what's his favorite meal that mum makes is, he said "fish and chips from the takeaway"

He's slowly learning the rules of this household... but not fast enough to suit me!

He doesn't eat pork chops.
He only likes instant mashed potatoes.
Veggies make him feel sick.
He won't eat anything with butter in it or on it.
Milk is only for cows...
And salad is the worst thing ever invented.

He 'does' like my Sloppy Joes though, and will ask for seconds or thirds, but he refuses to eat the salad that's on his plate.
Oy Vey!!
Man can NOT live by Sloppy Joes alone, Lad!!
(But please don't tell him that I would like to give it a try, myself!! But the difference between us is, that I would more than happily eat the salad.)

All in all - eating habits notwithstanding - Lad has settled in extremely well... and it's working for both of us.

He's getting used to the rules and regulations, decent homecooked meals and a regular bedtime, as well as doing chores and using his manners at all times.

I'm getting used to loud music, a myriad of strange looking girls lurking around outside the house, and continual boy messes.

Oh... and scraping his plate into the garbage...


Thursday, November 11, 2010

We Remember ...



There's nothing else that I can add... other than

God Bless Our Veterans!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Makin' hay while the sun shines...

Or maybe that should be "makin' straw bale gardens" while the sun shines.
Either way, this is what I've been up to lately.


I've been taking a bunch of straw bales, and turning into this: (potentially anyway...)




Or maybe even this:


At this point, I really dunno know what I'm doing, but I'm having fun doing it, anyway.

In a nutshell, what you do is take a straw bale (not a hay bale, but a straw bale), turn it on it's side, water it thoroughly for a couple of days or a week until the breaking down process starts, and then you simply plant your plants - veggie or flowers - directly into the bale.
Theoretically, it cuts down on weeds, watering and bugs... but time will tell, I guess.

Now when I ran across this idea, it sounded super easy and extremely cheap.
But I forgot for a moment that I'm livin' in Oz.
There's nothing cheap about buying a plain old straw bale here.
Everywhere I looked, I was looking at prices in the neighborhood of $11 and up (mostly up) - per bale that is - which is almost quadruple the cost that the US website recommended.

But ... I figure that once I get a seasons worth of growing out of it, it can then be used for mulching or whatever, so the idea of "dual purpose" made the exorbitant price seem a little more bearable.

I ended up starting out with 4 bales, and had them all nicely placed and the breaking down process started, but then we ended up with some hellacious rains and when it rains hard here, my patio ends up getting flooded.

So I moved the bales to the edge of the patio, to sort of keep the water from flowing in so badly.
And it worked.
The problem now is, is now that the bales are so heavy with water, I'll have to get someone to come help me shift them back to where they were in the first place.
IF they don't start breaking up on me, that is.
If they do, my "dual purpose" bales may end up being nothing more than bloody expensive mulch after all.
Or costly cat litter, once it's tossed on the garden.

I'll try and get some pictures of my own, once I get the bales back in place, okay?
But as helpful as the Old Guy is, that may well be the "twelfth of never"...
I know the Young Lad would be willing to try and help, but he's pretty small for his age and he even had trouble moving them when they were fairly dry.
Plus, all the grunting and groaning coming from them both, (while I moved 2 of them with sort-of ease) made my ears hurt.

And they call women the weaker sex?
Ha! yeah, right!!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Ahhh...the joys of boys...

Sort of anyway.


On Friday night, young lad asked if he could have his friend "T" sleep over on Saturday night.
Well, I immediately kicked right into "mama mode" and said that I needed to talk to - and to meet - "T's" mother first before I would give them any decision.
I ended up meeting her that evening... and came to find out that I already knew her, (she cares for special needs kids as well) so I ended up saying "yes" to the sleepover.


And then kicked myself all night long because I knew what I was getting myself into.
I knew it because I've "been there, done that" before. With 3 teenagers, how could I not have?
There would be copious amounts of food and drink... the smell of dueling farts... and raucous and sleep-depriving noise all night long.


By Saturday night, I was still sort of undecided as to what I was going to do...
Do I stay up all night and keep an eye on things while pretending that I wasn't... (the least favorite of my choices) or do I just make sure there's plenty of food in the fridge, make sure the insurance is up-to-date, have the fire extinguisher handy, and then leave it all in the hands of God - while I got some shut-eye?


Okay... I went for the "hands of God" option.
You knew that I would, didn't you?


They also asked if we could drop them off at the Sunday market this morning, so that they could have a bit of a wander around, and when I asked what time, they said... "hmmm... about 12 o'clock?"

Nah... that won't work, boys. Since the market shuts down at 1 o'clock you won't have enough time to see everything - so how about we make it 9:30 or 10 instead?
With a small amount of eye-rolling (it's a teenagers job, after all) they agreed.


Now somewhere in the back of their empty little male teenager minds, they knew that a late, late night would keep 'em from sleeping in this morning, so low and behold, when I got up at 12:50 to go to the toilet, all the lights, tv's, xboxes, PS 2's radio's and all were shut off... and the only sound I could hear was two boys snoring in tandem.

I won't even begin describe my kitchen though.
And you'll probably be grateful that I didn't.


How 2 teenage boys could go through half a Costco sized jar of peanut butter and 2 loaves of bread is beyond me, not to mention the chips and salami and assorted cookies not to mention having used a different plate for each snack...
But I guess it was a small price to pay for not having to call the insurance company.

Or having to use the fire extinguisher.



But while they're off to the market this morning, I'm goin' back to bed.
Just because I can.


And when they get home, they can clean the kitchen, and the room...



This is NOT the room.

You know how I can tell? Young lads backpack is a totally different color.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Settling in...

Well, my "family options" lad arrived last Monday and we've spent the week 'settling in' and getting used to one another, but I have to tell you.... this is nothing like what I had expected.
He is nothing like what I had expected.

I was told that he had a 'mild intellectual disability' and some physical problems as well... and although the physical issues are pretty noticable, (and easily dealt with) when it comes to the
"intellectual disabilities" side of things, I'm at a complete and utter loss as to what they're talking about.
I'm just baffled.

Okay, he may not be real good at some subjects in school (hey, we all have strengths and weaknesses, don't we?) but as far as I can see, this is a pretty typical 16 year old boy that I'm dealing with.
He's personable, likeable, engaged - and engaging.

Of course, I know that he'll have his moments... but at this point in time, I'm thinking that those moments will be mostly along the lines of a "sometimes surly, sometimes lovable" typical everyday teenager.

I've raised teenagers.
They can be a joy... and then again, there are times when you just want to tear your hair out and scream... and you can understand fully why some species eat their young.
But they're going through a difficult period - the very same period that we all went through on the journey to adulthood ... and let's face it, it ain't always easy - or pretty.

I'm under no delusions here, and I know that the shit poop will more likely than not, eventually hit the fan...
But so far, so good...
You know what I mean?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

And the "Feelin' Groovy" continues... mostly

I am simply amazed... AMAZED, I tell you, that I feel so damn good after sleeping on nothing more than a water pillow for a couple of nights!
I didn't realize just how bad I actually felt, until I started in feeling so good again!

Even yesterday's antics of moving heavy a** furniture for 5 hours didn't do a thing to me, and to tell you the truth, I was a bit worried that I might have undone all the good that Dr Dreamy did for me, whilst hoisting and setting up an antique solid wood bed for the boy.

I'm full of vim and vigor this morning... and wonder of wonders, I'm even in the mood to go shopping for bedding for the bed!
Now this probably doesn't mean much to you, but I'll tell you a secret.

I HATE shopping.
I hate it with with a passion.

I think I would rather poke myself in the eye with a sharp stick, than venture into some store with rude sales clerks and ignorant pushy customers.
Yet this morning, I'm chompin'' at the bit, to get out there and spend some money!

I won't be spending too much though...

My sweet little (little? Ha!) cat "Bear Bottom" had some sort of seizure last night. He fell right off the table, and never made any attempt to right himself on the way down, so either he was so out of it that he didn't know what to do, or he was passed out or something.
After the fall, he tried to get up and his back legs went all wonky - which sort of freaked him out a bit, so he just kind of laid there flopping while making hissy/huffy noises.
I was keeping an eye on him, but when he just sat there and peed himself, I figured it was time for an emergency vet visit.

Unfortunately, the vet couldn't find anything wrong with him, but they did take xrays and blood work - and they wanted to keep him in for observastion - but I decided to bring him home and let him sleep with me for the night.

He seems fine this morning, but since is the second seizure I've seen, I want him throughly checked out... and that's gonna involve plenty of $$'s I think.

So, I'm off to Big W in a bit to buy some sheets and pillow cases...
And if he's good, I might even buy Bear a new mouse to perk him up...
A small, cheap one of course.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Feelin' Groovy...


For the last nine weeks ( trust me, I've checked my diary) I've been sleeping horribly.
Really horribly... as in little or no sleep, and I've been in constant pain - which is only alleviated when I get up out of bed and pace around for most of the night.

I go to bed absolutely dead on my feet, drift off to sleep as normal, but then wake about an hour or two later feeling like someone is sticking a hot knife in my sinus cavities and the pain radiates all down my neck and throat.
So of course, I just figured it was sinus related... you know?

So I went to the doctor.
Not once or twice, but three times, and he did absolutely nothing for the pain, telling me that I had "facial neuralgia" and I would just have to learn to live with it.
Yeah... as if I could survive getting by on 2 or 3 hours sleep a night?
Get out!
I tried everything I could think of... from sinus tablets, pain killers, to using a Neti Pot, hot compresses, an infrared massager...
And NOTHING worked.

In desperation, I made an appointment with the chiropractor (he's so cute that I don't know why I didn't think of him sooner - if only for the eye candy factor ) and he took x rays... and then told me that my neck was severely pinched, causing a bundle of nerves in my neck to affect my face.

I was a bit leery since I've heard it all for the last nine weeks, but I figured I had nothing to lose - and I went ahead and had the "adjustment".
Well, the pain stopped almost instantly, and I slept through the night for the first time in months.
I was due to go back the next day, but had to cancel the appointment - and I went right back to being in agony again.

So I made another appointment for the day before yesterday, and within minutes he again alleviated all the pain.
But he also recommended that I use a water pillow - which he just happened to sell right there in his office.

And I thought "yeah sure... and just how much is this "special water pillow" gonna cost me?"
That's when the Old Guy stepped in, and said that if it would help me, he would buy it for me.
(I think that he did it because it comes with a full 90 day guarantee, and if it didn't work, he would get his money back, but at least he offered, eh?)

So we bought the pillow... even though I was still a little bit unsure about it working the miracles that the chiroprator said it would.
By the time we got home, I was starting to get a little bit excited about it, and I couldn't wait to fill it and try and maybe - just maybe - get a good nights sleep for a change.
So I filled that sucker with the 5 litres (about 5 quarts) of water like the chiro recommended, (5 quarts because I have broad shoulders, which means a higher shoulder to neck ratio) did all the squishing and pummeling to distribute the water that he said to do, and I gave it a try.
Well, it felt okay, but I was still hesitant... and I decided to give it the true test.

I would go to bed without using hot compresses, infrared massage, tablets or any of the other things that I've been using for nine weeks... and just see what it could actually do.
And it worked!
But since I had already had one good nights sleep last week after the adjustment, I felt that maybe it was just the adjustment and not the pillow that had done the trick.

So last night was the ultimate test...
No adjustment, no pills or potions or trying to get to sleep tricks - and I used just the pillow.

And this morning?
I have to honestly say that I haven't felt this good in years !!!
No lie.
No pain waking me up in the night, no neck or shoulder stiffness or hungover feeling at all - and I feel like a new woman!

I feel great!!!!
Is it the pillow?
Or is it just that the adjustments have kicked in?

I dunno... but I'm honestly "Feelin' Groovy" this morning!!!

If you're in pain and want a good nights sleep, I highly recommend trying the Chiroflow pillow - especially since it comes with a money-back guarantee. Which I won't be taking advantage of now... Believe me!!
And the chiropractor?
This is what he looks like.
Pity I don't need him anymore...



(This is actually the singer Shannon Noll... but he could pass for Dr Davids' identical twin!)

Hey wait! On second thought... the pillow probably won't work with the occasional pain in my feet and ankles... so I guess I'll just have to go back and see him again anyway...

Lucky me, eh? : )

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Planned parenthood

On Monday the 18th at 2:30pm, I'm having a baby!

Well, not exactly a baby, but a 16 year old boy... A boy who needs a family and security and a whole lotta lovin' - so it's basically the same thing, isn't it?

I'm already envisioning constant feeds, being kept awake at night, and a perpetual stinkin' mess around here.
Although I'm just grateful that there won't be any burping going on.
Oh wait... this is a 16 year old boy... so I guess that there will probably be plenty of burping and bottom burping going on.

Yay me.

Anyway, with him coming in just 5 days, I'm down to the wire here as far as preparations go.
He'll need a bed, clothing, and food and all the stuff that a 16 year old thinks is necessary for his well-being.
Like an X-Box and access to a computer because he considers himself to be a face book addict.
And especially, a never ending supply of food.

It just kind of breaks my heart to think of a young man getting to the age of 16 and basically having nothing that he can call his own... you know what I mean?
No stuff of his own, other than what basically fits in a backpack...
And although life isn't about - or shouldn't be about - what we have or don't have as far as things go, I still think that what we own in life - our stuff - sort of defines us as being "us".

I had the caseworker out here last week, and he shared some of Mr.B's history... as well as a form that Mr. B had filled out all by himself, listing his needs and wants and likes and dislikes... And I swear, after reading that list, I was on the verge of tears.

Now, this is a boy "classified" as having an intellectual disability, but if that list and the things he had written on that list are anything to go by, he's well ahead of the average 16 year old when it comes to explaining things, and having insights into his own personality.

This boy knows his limitations... but he also knows how to communicate the reasons that he sometimes acts the way he does... and from what little I've read, he has amazing insight into the issues that he faces.

I have high hopes for this placement working out, and I think that we just might be damned good for one another.

And the best part of having an almost fully grown boy?
No diapers.
Unless they're saving that one as a surprise...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I think I'm in love...

See, I've always looked for a man who was strong and manly...
A man who's willing to jump right on in and kick some arse, when the proverbial arse's need kicking...
Someone tall, dark and handsome, who can along with his other manly talents, make me roll on the floor laughing.

And I think I've found him...

May I present my latest heart-throb.

“You got your judy chop, your karate chop and your ninjy chop.”... DIEMON DAVE!




Thanks to Gizzards & Calf Fries...
I've never laughed so hard in ages!!!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Cup of Joe for a Joe

A few weeks back, I joined an amazing and inspiring facebook page:



"Say THANKS by buying a Cup of Joe.

Send it with your own personal message of encouragement to a deployed Soldier."


For the last several weeks, I've been buying a deployed "Joe" or "Jane" a Cup of Joe whenever I can... and this morning, I got to send another 5 cups off - thanks to several $2 donations from friends.

It's such a little thing to do for our brave men and women, in light of what they do for us - by putting their very lives on the line on a daily basis.

So please check out their facebook page - and buy a cup of coffee or tea for a deployed soldier... (or you can go directly to: ► ►



Let Our Troops Know You Care!

Buy a Cup of Joe for a Soldier Serving Far From Home And Have It Delivered With Your Own Personal Note of Encouragement...

In our travels to see the Troops, many share with us their sense of loneliness, isolation and feelings of being forgotten. Their commanders tell us that some Soldiers never receive mail from home. In response, Green Beans Coffee has launched Cup of Joe For A Joe to let anyone, anywhere in the world, say thanks to our troops through the simple act of buying a cup of coffee and having it delivered along with their own personal note of encouragement into the hands of a deployed Soldier.

Here's How it Works:


Step 1 - Choose Your Gift
You provide a different Soldier a Cup of Joe gift with each $2 you spend. Use the panel at the upper right to choose the amount you want, then click the Buy a Cup of Joe button.


Step 2 - Write Your Message
You'll see a simple form to write your message of support to the lucky troops who will receive your gift.



Step 3 - Enter Your Payment Information (they accept paypal)
It's simple, safe and secure.


Step 4 - We'll Deliver Your Gift
Green Beans Coffee will deliver your gift and message. We'll also give each Soldier a chance to respond – and most of them do, so watch your email for their letters!


I had another thought this morning while enjoying my first cup of the day...

I always have coffee available for when friends drop by, and let me tell you, I can go through a lot of it.

So... I've decided that from now on, I'm going to be asking for a $2 donation for that cup of coffee - bottomless of course - to put just a few more $$'s in the kitty ...so that I can send even more COJ's to our wonderful deployed soldiers.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Busy Baby Bakers... Crustless Quiche

I can't remember if I told y'all that I no longer work for the council doing child care.
Did I?
Oh, I'm still caring for children, but I'm doing it privately now... and I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

Several of my clients (parents) have mentioned that I look so much happier and care-free, and I know that they're right. I almost don't know myself.
I just wish they would tell me that I look 10 years younger, but although I've kind of 'hinted" in that direction, no one's said it yet.
But I'm sure they will.
Eventually.

And... I'm even sleeping better.
See, there are no more worries about ridiculous regulations, no more stressing over someone 'popping in' to do an unannounced evaluation... (which I absolutely hated, because it threw the kids off something awful ...and they tended to "act up" for company - figuring they could get away with it)
No programming for weeks in advance, along with multitudes of lists... and best of all, no more mind numbing, soul destroying office politics.

So, the kids and I can now just get down to the important things like playing - when and where we want to - and sometimes cooking.

Yesterday, I had 3 babies in care... a 17 month old, a 10 month old and a wee little 9 month old - as well as a *big girl* who will proudly tell anyone who will listen that "I'm sour years old now - and I know everything."
And since the day was cold, drizzly and miserable... and we had no intentions of going outside, I decided we would stay inside and do some baking.

The babies sat on the floor and quite happily played with wooden spoons and mixing bowls - and stirred everything 'round and 'round...
While the *big girl* and I got down to the serious business of measuring flour and butter and tearing curly kale, beating eggs and smooshing bananas.

And we had an absolute ball doing it!

At the end of the day, we ended up with 4 loaves of banana bread, 3 curly kale quiches, and 2 small apple tarts - and we were happily covered in flour and eggs and green speckles!

Now, I love, love, LOVE quiche at the best of times... but the ones we made yesterday were bloody fantastic!

Quick, easy - and completely crust less.
Which is probably a good thing, because I've been known to break off bits of the crust and eat it while waiting to serve dinner - leaving it looking less than perfect.
Okay, well ugly - if you really need to know.
(I always blame it on the cats though... and then the Old Guy is even less willing to eat it. Which is no major feat... since he doesn't really like quiche anyway. Fool that he is.
And then I get his share.)



Impossible Quiche

I used about 2 cups torn curly kale - or you can use your own choice of fillings. (see below)
1 1/2 cups grated cheese (any kind - or mix and match)
1/2 cup self raising flour
1 1/2 cups milk
3 Tablespoons melted butter
4-5 eggs, lightly beaten (depending on size)

Combine all ingredients, and mix well.
Pour mixture into a lightly greased cast iron skillet, or pie pan. ( I use a skillet)
Bake at 180C (350F) for 40-45 minutes.
Filling is *set* when a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Serves 6.

I love this recipe, because it really lets you experiment and there aren't any hard or fast rules... Feel free to use ham, bacon, chorizo, shredded chicken, leftover meats...

You can try tomatoes, grated carrots, capsicums (bell peppers), cabbage, spinach, kale, corn etc ...
Actually, anything your sweet little heart desires!

Well, except maybe Skittles. "Sour year old" saw a bag of Skittles in the pantry and thought they would make a lovely and mouth-watering color combination, mixed up with the yellow eggs and green kale.
But I quickly put the kibosh on that one.

This recipe is so easy that you almost can't make a mistake.

Unless you're silly enough to use Skittles...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Rats are eating my brains...

Oh Lordy... I had my first migraine when I was just about 2 years old, and I can still remember being scared that I would die or that brain stuff was going to come out my ears and I was too frightened to move.
My mama understood what I was going through, because she had them herself... but the good news was that I had what were called "juvenile migraines" - and the doctors promised me that I would outgrow them.

I guess in one way I did... but sadly, they just morphed into "adult migraines" with little or no let up.
Every few weeks, the black brain eating rats of death would come on me, and I spent far too many years laying on the bathroom floor, only rousing enough to stick my head in the toilet.

I learned that there were "triggers" and I learned to avoid them... but although avoiding the triggers 'sometimes' lessened the subsequent attacks, they never went away entirely.

I learned to pay attention to the prodromes... those funny little signs like flashing zig-zag lights, or smelling rotten oranges or numb dead feeling hands or feet or even burps that felt like they were coming from the very soles of my feet - that always told me that a migraine was waiting in the wings and getting ready to pounce.

Prodromes:
flashing lights, wavy lines, spots, partial loss of sight, blurry vision
olfactory hallucinations (smelling odors that aren't there - like rotten oranges)
tingling or numbness of the face or extremities on the side where the headache develops
cold hands or feet
difficult finding words and/or speaking like you're drunk
confusion
vertigo
partial paralysis
auditory hallucinations
decrease in or loss of hearing
reduced sensation
hypersensitivity to feel and touch
Yawning
food craving
depression
altered mood
fatigue
hot ears
euphoria
irritability
stiff neck muscles
diarrhea
queasy stomach symptoms
constipation and increased urination
and burping.


I learned long, long ago to lock myself in a dark room (and to always have a bucket handy) and to try and sleep it off.
Losing untold years of my life - and missing out on my children's lives, in the process.

Then when I was in my 30's, I was told that menopause would be the end of them. My hormone levels would change... yada yada yada.
Bring it on, baby!

But again... They lied.
That blessed, longed-for day came and went about 5 years ago.
And although I had a short break from the fortnightly or monthly migraines, they came back with a vengeance.

I've tried every cure known to man - from Cafergot suppositories stuck up my bum with 4 hour regularity, ('scuse me for being gross here, but I'm just being honest) to triptan medications, calcium channel blockers to beta-blockers, tricyclic anti-depressants like amitriptyline and nortriptyline to anti-epileptic drugs and steroids.

To soaking my feet and hands in near boiling water to pull the blood out of my head... to foot massages and back rubs to full-blown 2 hour professional massages.
Bio-feedback and acupuncture... I've done it all.

And some of 'em work.
Temporarily.
And some of them don't work at all.

The best I've ever had is 6 months of being pain free after an acupuncture treatment.
So when they started coming back, I again rushed to the acupuncturist for ongoing treatments... and got no results at all.
Nothing.
The rats in my head had set up house, and weren't going to leave for any reason.

I've learned to live with my brain eating rats of black death.
But oh my sweet Jesus... how many years have I lost in the process?
How many years - not to mention open house at school nights, baseball games, or karate demonstrations or Saturdays at the pool, did I miss out on in my children's lives?
How many times did they have to get themselves off to school, or fix their own dinners while their mom was laid up in bed with a towel wrapped around her head trying to block out all light, sounds and smells?

How many times did other mothers have to step in on my behalf, so that my kids could go swimming at the pool or lake with their friends, or even get to their various activities?
How many dollars have I spent fruitlessly trying to at least "contain" the pain - if not trying cure it?
And how well do I know what the inside of my toilet bowl looks like?

This current "rats are eating my brain and I can't open my left eye" episode has gone on for 4 days now, and the latest pain injection (sumatriptan) has done absolutely jack sh**.
The anti-emetic injection (anti-barf stuff) is working though - thank God - because the only thing worse than a migraine is puking my toenails up while my head feels like it's about to explode and splatter my brains all over the porcelain throne.

This is a cruel disease, and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

Does anybody have a chainsaw I can borrow?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

We will never forget...



“Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th. We will remember every rescuer who died in honor.
We will remember every family that lives in grief. We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children. “

~ President George W. Bush, November 11, 2001


We will never forget...



Where were you when you heard the news? Please share your memories.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Wicked weather this way comes...

We've had some wicked weather this weekend, but thankfully things seem to have settled down. for now.

After the wettest August in something like 37 years, September's also come in with a vengeance. It seems that we got half of our monthly rainfall total in less than 12 hours, and it's due to keep up for at least the next week. We didn't fare too badly here, but there was some pretty wide spread damage in town, as well as nearby towns - Creswick and Clunes - really bearing the brunt of it.


Bo Peep Creek near Lake Burrumbeet

Bo Peep

Near Lake Burrumbeet



Western Highway heading out of town

The State Emergency Service advises that people should not drive, ride or walk through flood water and keep clear of creeks and storm drains. Now read that again... Slowly...
people should not drive, ride or walk through flood water and keep clear of creeks and storm drains.

So this is what they do...

It's all fun and games, guys... until someone gets swept away!


Get away from me you young whippersnapper, or I'll hit you with my cane!

Now, I wanted to drive out and have a look at some of the damage... you know, take pics and all...
But the Old Guy? All the Old Guy really wanted to do was drive out to the surrounding lakes, to check to see if they were full.
For fishing purposes, doncha know.
We got out to Cancurran yesterday (okay I don't know if I spelled that right or not) but as soon as we drove down to the boat ramp and parked, about 6 other cars followed us. And before you knew it, there are like 10 other guys standing around discussing the fishing possibilities and sharing stubbies of beer.
In the pouring rain.
The women and children are sitting in the cars, while the men stand around drinking beers and pointing out the likeliest spots for Red Fin come warmer weather.


Avoca


Creswick


Creswick

Brown Hill (a suburb of Ballarat)

Botanic Gardens, Ballarat




Just outside of town. I don't know if the pic will enlarge or not, but that's a guy on a horse trying to rescue his cattle.

That's it. I am officially declaring the drought over!

I think the guy next door is building an ark!

Friday, September 3, 2010

When one door closes...

Another one opens.


Now, I didn't know that the Old Guy had been praying that I would find a way to keep the $$'s rolling in - while I do what I have to do before leaving for home - but it seems that he's been asking God to bear me up... and for something to come along so that I can keep paying bills for the next 5 or so months.

Well, I got that answer yesterday.

Out of the blue, I got a call from Pinarc - which is the service agency that I do "family options" for.

Children and young people with a disability are matched with an alternative family who will provide care for them in the family home on a long term or short term basis, or on a shared-care basis with the biological parents.

They currently have 2 young boys desperately needing care - an 8 year old and his family, with a need for "shared care" (one week on, one week off - potentially leading to full-time placement) ... and a 16 year old who needs a permanent placement right now.

Since I only have the one bedroom available, it will have to be a choice of one or the other, (or maybe neither one) but hopefully, we'll meet next week to see which one of the boys will be the best fit.
Yeah, my needs do need to be taken into consideration, but to me, well... ultimately this is about who the boys feel comfortable with, and whether or whether not they'll feel comfortable here with me.

I was talking about it to a friend last night, and she said "well, I would go with the one who pays the most" - and I was a bit stunned at her comment.

I don't do this for the money.
I never have, and I never will.
I do it for the children, and for the families involved.
Yes... the funding helps, and I have to be honest about that.

But at the end of the day it's the difference that I can make in a child's life... or with a families' continued ability to function as a family unit, that makes it all worthwhile.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Livin' the life of Riley...

That's me!

I'm now officially and permanently retired from Family Day Care.
Well, mostly retired anyway.
But definitely from "Family Day Care".

I'll still be doing care - and only on a part-time basis - but I'm doin' it on my own... and best of all, I'm out from under the yoke of oppression.
And unfortunately, to me, that oppression = depression.

I enjoyed my time with them... I really did.

But there have been so many (IMO anyway) unnecessary changes since I started 10 years ago, that in some ways it didn't even resemble "family" daycare anymore.
To my mind at least.
Nowadays, it's more like it's becoming a series of highly regulated, cold and impersonal, mini daycare centers.
Just in somebodies house.


I "officially" gave my resignation date as of August 16th, but because the office never seemed to manage to find new carers for my families, I agreed to stay on a little longer, while they looked.

Some parents made other arrangements, but the others were like me.
Waiting patiently for something that just didn't happen.

But I figured that 4 weeks from official notification was enough... and that it was no reflection on me that the office couldn't - or wouldn't - find alternate care for my families.

So, as of 4:30 yesterday afternoon, this little bird finally flew the coop.

No more 4 and 5 loads of laundry a day.
No more endlessly doing dishes.
No more constantly scrubbing the loo 27 times a day.
And best of all?
No more constantly ringing phone.


I can nap when I want...
I can read when I want...
I can kick back when I want...
I can garden whenever the mood takes me....
and the cats can come back in the house.


Yep... it's sure gonna be good.


Monday, August 30, 2010

Does your husband lack performance?

Does your husband lack performance?

Does he let you down, just when you expect him to come through with "the goods"?

Does he disappoint you - not only in the bedroom... but in the bathroom, kitchen and yard as well?

Do you cry yourself to sleep at night, because he's just not interested anymore?

Then you need to
Hire A Hubby!

Hire A Hubby is Australia’s largest handyman business. It is our goal to provide customers from homes, offices, and factories with a complete handyman service. Examples of our maintenance services include:
Painting
Gyprock Repairs
Carpentry
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Doors & Locks
Repairs & Maintenance
Landscaping
Fencing
~~~~~
See, I'm running out of time (and money) here.
I've already spoken to the real estate agent, and we have a tentative date set for the end of September, for getting this place listed on the market.
The end of September, folks.
Just 4 weeks from now.
And nothing has been done.
No painting, no yard work, no sanding, or even so much as measuring for kitchen cabinets, so that someone else can install them.
NOTHING... other than what I've done.

I'm beginning to think that the Old Guy thinks that if he doesn't help do anything to get this place whipped into shape, that I won't actually be leaving.
He thinks that if he continues to hem and haw and dawdle around... that I might just change my mind and stay put.
Little does he realize, but that ain't gonna happen!

If I don't get the work done in time, I'm just going to have to settle for a "lower price" when this place actually goes on the market.
Either that, or I'll have to wait a little bit longer before getting the place listed.

And since I quit my job 2 weeks ago (meaning little or no income coming in now) just so I could get this work done... within another 3 weeks, I'll have to start eating into my savings.
The savings that I set aside for the renovations - just so I can pay the mortgage.

And if that happens, the Old Guy will well and truly be toast.
In fact, he'll be more than toast.
He'll be history.
Thank goodness for
Hire A Hubby...
I hope they send me one that knows how to perform!

And now that the weather is starting to warm up?
Oooh la la!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Taking time to breathe...

It seems like ages since I've had time to post... and now that I have a few minutes to relax, my mind's gone all empty.
Which is kind of nice, I think.

I'm just taking time to breathe... to experience... and to revel in the timelessness of having a little bit of "time" to myself.

I'm needing it, to be sure... since the last few weeks have been fraught with sorrow and heartache, worrying and waiting.

We unexpectedly lost my dearly loved ex brother in law, and my sons' Uncle Dwight, on my birthday.
Within a month - from start to finish - cancer claimed his life.

We're now sitting on pins and needles, waiting for a beautiful child (Matthew -one of my daycare children) to take his final breath... after so many years of illness and pain.

There's been pain and loss ... yet there's been an equal and almost overwhelming joy in the releasing - and promise of release - from painful and life-debilitating bonds.

I can only imagine the rejoicing that's going on in heaven right now, with Dwight re-joining his brothers and sisters and his loving Mom.

And I can only imagine the joyful anticipation going on in heaven right now, with this gorgeous little lad on the very last leg of his journey, before returning home to the loving arms of God.

It's been a rough couple of weeks, but somehow... it's also been a joyful and peaceful time.


~~Peace on the outside, comes from knowing God on the inside.~~
And what I know is good.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

I don't get no respect.

In the words of Rodney Dangerfield, "I don't get no respect."
Seriously.

I spent most of the morning cleaning house, including moving all the furniture, vacuuming the floor, vacuuming the furniture (hey, I've got cats) washing the walls, and then plumping and re-arranging the pillows neatly on the sofa.

Once I was done, I poured myself a cup of coffee, and went in to sit down and have a bit of a break before tackling the bathroom, and this is what I found.



Hey.. are we comfy there?


No, I mean it. Answer me. Are we comfy there, Bear Butt?


Is this the way you found the pillows, or have you done a little bit of re-arranging of your own? Hmmm?

Never mind. I'll just go sit in the chair.


Oh cheeses... I don't get no respect!

And just FYI? Please think twice before you go and name one of your animals something cutesy or "original".
It creates some funny looks and a whole lot of embarrassment. Especially when you're at the animal doctors and the vet comes out and says to you:


Kate? You can bring your Bear Butt in now.


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