Thursday, December 18, 2008

Lead up to Christmas

Yesterday after my daily jaunt out into the wild terrain of pre Christmas shopping I went into the kitchen to get started on Christmas food preparation. First things first - Dad was out of home made waffles and I'm sure could not face one more morning without waffles so I made about 20. Now I know Dad is hard of hearing (understatement) and is legally blind but I think his nose is now going because he couldn't smell the waffles cooking. It wasn't until I was all finished and had collapsed into a chair that Dad wandered into the kitchen for a glass of water and all I heard was, "Oh my God". Mum thought he'd dropped something so was going out to help but I told her that he had just discovered the waffles. He came into gave me a hug and told me Christmas had come early. Dad always bemoans the fact that when I cook something and put it in the freezer he's worried it has actually dropped into a bottomless pit and will never be found again. Well Dad has never learnt his way around a freezer and usually sends either Mum or I to find something.
This morning 15 Dec I went to the post office to get some Christmas mail off and spent 20 minutes in there just waiting in line as the line was outside the post office. Never again! (famous last words as it seems to happen every year so I might as well get used to it). The next item on the Christmas food list was a pork and cranberry terrine wrapped in prosciutto so that is finished now and will go into the bottomless pit of a freezer. On Christmas Eve I will cook a fig glazed ham drenched in maple syrup and macadamia nuts. I decided that this year I would make a cranberry egg nog cake and I will freeze it for Christmas. I think to top it all off we'll have baked potatoes and a tossed salad. Dad wanted his favourite finger foods namely sausage rolls and party pies but they can wait until after Christmas.
My son Ty will fly up on Christmas Day to spend about 10 days with us which will be great so I'm getting his room ready which is the spare/ junk room and at the moment I can't get to his bed.
I think I will finish my Christmas shopping tomorrow and then I can relax a bit although Dad likes Christmas shopping so I guess I'll be out and about right up until Christmas Eve. Not bad for a nearly 90 year old.
It is now the 18 th and I'm definitely finished with Christmas shopping. Dad wants to go to two shops today and I get to go along for the ride. The crowds are horrific in the shopping centres so we will stay away from them.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Busy, busy, busy

Here it is almost Christmas and I haven't even got any Christmas cards sent. So what else is new? Last month I finished a short course in building a website using Dreamweaver. I have now bought a domain name and started building my new website. As soon as I have it hosted I will mention it here. It will be primarily polymer clay art so I'd better get busy and actually start producing some. A few health concerns have popped up in the last couple of months which have left me feeling exhausted most of the time but nothing I can't overcome.
Last Saturday I taught a very small class of 3 eager people a basic introduction to polymer clay. I have another 3 people coming this Saturday and I'm being paid to do it. It doesn't get much better than that. Well I suppose selling my creations gives me a real buzz also. Time wouldn't be an issue if I could only muster some more energy. I had a wonderful Christmas lunch on Wednesday with 3 lovely ladies who also enjoy the art of polymer clay. Before and after lunch we clayed to our hearts content. I could easily do that every day I love it so much. As soon as I get a new camera then I will start posting more photos.
Today is another busy day so I'd better make a start.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Time to get serious and have fun!

Life is sometimes like an oxymoron or it's ironic or it's paradoxical. I am sometimes amused by life's inconguities but recently I have just been plain frustrated. I have no idea where I'm going with this except for vague thoughts that are bouncing around in my head. More later!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Not much happening!

I just got back from driving my Mum to Brisbane so she could catch the bus to Toowoomba. I got lost so that is the last time I rely on my memory. We got there right on time despite the detour in the pouring rain. The bus was 1/2 hour late so there was no need to rush but of course we didn't know that. I saw her safely to the bus and then got the shock of my life when it cost $21 to park the car for just over an hour. I think it would have been cheaper to drive her to Toowoomba. I got half way home and my leg was cramping so I stopped and got a cup of coffee and a chicken salad. And guess what? I get to do it all again on Monday when Mum comes back. I don't like driving in the city, during peak hour in the pouring rain. So for the next few days it is just Dad and I while Mum spends a couple of days with a friend. Tomorrow I am going to a free life coaching seminar titled "Recovering a Sense of Identity". Something very important for Carers who feel like they are drowning and losing themselves. For me it started happening a long time before I started caring for my parents so I can't blame this situation. Some days it feels like I'm rolling boulders uphill with my nose while crawling on my knees. I look at it this way - at least I'm still moving and making headway, albiet ever so slowly.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Oh Bugger! Now it's Fibromyalgia

Just when I thought it was safe to go back into the water Fibromyalgia rears it's ugly head.
Fibromyalgia is a syndrome (FMS) with multiple symptoms that commonly occur together, including widespread pain, decreased pain threshold or trigger points, incapacitating fatigue, and anxiety or depression.
I had often wondered why I was hyper sensitive to pressure on certain areas of my body and felt like knocking the chiropractors lights out when he adjusted my lower back. Or why a massage never relaxed me like other people because it was always so painful. Doctors and other health care providers would always comment on the high level of inflammation I seemed to have but because nothing showed up in blood tests or x-rays then it was recommended that I go see my friendly local shrink. Here's the kicker - after coming off antidepressants, Zoloft, the pain got worse and then my doctor diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia. Zoloft is one of the medications use to reduce the symptoms of FM. So I guess it was helping all these years because now I know what it is like without the Zoloft. I am on St. John's Wort (Elezac) which might take another couple of weeks to show signs of it working. I guess I have to be patient. In the meantime I will overwork every method I know to cope. Listening to music, singing, light gardening, polymer clay play and blogging. Anything to keep my mind occupied. The other thing the doctor put me on was a muscle relaxant which I take at night but doesn't seem to kick in until mid morning and then I want to go back to sleep. Life is full of surprises.

Monday, October 27, 2008

My Dog Bridge

How could I say no to this face?
It was that time again so I pulled out a few kilos of turkey and chicken mince from the freezer which I had collected during the past month while it was on special and made a months worth of dog food. Some would say and one person did say to me directly, "How can you justify the time, effort and money spent on making your own dog food?"
Funny word that, 'justify', as if I had to defend my decision to do it. I wasn't committing an offence either legally or morally so why the question? Don't know!.. but as I have just lovingly cooked a few kilos of minced meat with vegetables, rice, eggs, pasta, rolled oats and flour it had me thinking as to why I do this and so I thought I'd write about it.
Many years ago while going through countless sessions of counselling to get to the nitty gritty of my emotional problems, a social worker asked me if I'd ever considered getting a dog. Well, yes of course I had, I love animals and I knew that they can play a vital part in a persons recovery from so many ailments. So as part of my therapy I decided to research different dog breeds with the view of getting a dog. It was several months before I came to the conclusion that I wanted a Maltese x. I put the notion out there in the universe and the very next week a friend knew of someone whose Maltese has just had a litter of Maltese - Shih-Tzu puppies. I went along to have a look and sat there with one female puppy, two weeks old and she sucked on my finger. I fell for this one immediately. Alas, she was taken but through luck or divine intervention the people who had picked her out changed their minds. She was mine! I brought her home at the age of 7 weeks and she never cried or got me up at night. I fretted before I got her that I would be stressed out looking after a puppy but we soon settled down into a happy rhythm. She was my little gift from God.
I began taking her for walks every morning. "Of course you did", I hear you say, but for me leaving my home was filled with fear sometimes. Depression and anxiety can have a marked affect on social interaction but I was amazed at how a puppy could break down the edges of my anxiety and I was soon interacting with people on the street and my neighbours again. What a joy this was!
I didn't start cooking her food until she was about 2 years old and I think I tried every dog food on the market. Yes, I had a fussy eater and was throwing out more food than she was eating. I found a recipe for making my own doggie chicken meatloaf and it was a hit the very first day. Rarely do I have to throw any out and in the long run she is getting better nutrition and I am saving money. And so if I were to justify the time, effort and money where my dog is concerned, which I'm not then I would have come up with two pretty damn good reasons.
Recently she was diagnosed as having something wrong with her, possibly Cushings disease and an estimated $2000 a year vet bill. Yikes! On a very limited income this scared and overwhelmed me a little. All her symptoms point towards Cushings disease but the blood tests were inconclusive. I went ahead and purchased the pills she needed to trial her on them for 50 days. She has now been on Trilostane for two weeks and the turn around in her health has been amazing to say the least. So I consider the $145 for 50 pills another investment in both her health and mine. If she was a guide dog for the blind she would receive this type of care and I put her at no less a value because she has improved my quality of life. Bridge, the little gift from god who helped me traverse the gorge of depression and anxiety.
(postdate: In retrospect this last bit is a tad over the top but you get my drift)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Polymer Clay Play


This is one of the things that still keeps me sane because while my hands are manipulating the clay to become pliable I can go off into a meditation and sometimes I see what the finished blob of clay will look like. Consequently being able to focus on what the clay will become calms me and excites me at the same time but of course sometimes my muse has other ideas. The endorphins like this process and they bounce around with renewed vigour. The first photo is of a lump of raw black Kato polymer clay and this block was a little crumbly but I got there. I like to recycle things so I used an asparagus can and covered it in clay which I textured first and then dusted with coloured mica powders.
The next set of photos is a 3 sided glass vase, which I picked up for 20c at an op shop, and covered it in Egyptian images. My version of the Egyptian afterlife. Definitely not a vase for brightly coloured flowers.


Friday, October 10, 2008

St. John's Wort

Update on withdrawal from antidepressants. Since completely coming off antidepressants I have noticed one or two side effects which were starting to get a bit scary for me. To start with this normally placid, funny, delightful human being was turning into a grouch, yes, me, a grouch. Well at times I was a little more than a grouch and most of my anger was directed towards me with some of the fallout landing near Mum and Dad. Dad just calmly said to me with a straight face, "Jan I know you lose your patience with me sometimes so I hope you find it again". The other side effect is nerve pain. It feels like I'm on the receiving end of a voodoo doll pin jabs. So when I told the doc today he prescribed St. John's Wort for me to get through this transition. So here's hoping! I like a doctor who is willing to concede that some natural remedies might be the answer for some people. I hope I'm one of them.

I started the TAFE course in building my own website and boy do I wish the class was in the mornings instead of 6 -9 pm. My brain simply doesn't function well at that time of night. I usually don't drink coffee after lunchtime but I think I am going to have to take a whole thermos of coffee into class with me. Unless someone out there can tell me what is good to refresh the brain at that time of night. I used to be one of these timid students who didn't like to admit that I couldn't understand something so kept quiet and hope and prayed that someone else would ask the pertinent question. I am now please to say that I don't have that problem anymore (about bloody time) and now I hear audible sighs of relief in the classroom because I am first to break the silence and ask the questions. Must be growing old that does it.
The last couple of days have been hard because my phone line had a fault in it, therefore I couldn't use the internet and that is two days without being able to ask Google questions or blog or email or anything.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Multiskilling, upskilling, cross skilling= downsizing?

The act of getting more out of one person so you can decrease staff and increase profits at the same time? Does that really make sense?

I am looking for a job but these words cause me some concern. I am a former teacher so if I wanted to go back into teaching it would mean upskilling in order to be employable again and then once employed to develop those skills further to become multiskilled or cross skilled to keep my job. I've decided I don't want to go back into teaching however there is not much available out there without experience. I need a job that enables me to be still available to care for Mum and Dad, to be here when they need me. Being self employed would be good and maybe one day that will happen. Next week I am starting a short course at TAFE College which is Dreamweaver web design for businesses. I've already started my web page http://www.frostmedia.com.au/janisfrost/ but I need to learn some more so a friend and I are doing the class as we both have websites that need a lot of work. Who knows maybe that is the way to go. I love learning new things and I am really looking forward to doing this class.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Multitasking while picking cabbage


Doncha just love the word multitasking and women have been doing this for years. I would have to agree with wikipedia that, "It has been proven multitasking is not as workable as concentrated times." But then most mothers I know don't have the luxury of being able to concentrate on one thing at a time. This particular subject started bouncing around in my head while I was bending over in the vegetable garden and picking 4 huge Chinese cabbages while making a mental list of all the things I wanted to accomplish today. It is now 10.36 am and I've amazed myself at how much I've accomplished this morning. The day started at 4.45 am with two cups of coffee and quiet time in front of the computer. After going for my morning walk with faithful, exhuberant Bridge (my maltese x) I went out to pick the cabbages which were quickly running to seed due to the warm weather. Stuffed cabbage rolls, cabbage soup, braised cabbage, fried rice with cabbage, pickled cabbage, chicken stir fry with cabbage, coleslaw....................... Well this morning I made stuffed cabbage rolls which have been in the slow cooker since 8 am. Stuffed with minced beef, onion, garlic and herbs and slow cooked in a tomato pasta type sauce. I was cooking ham and eggs for breakfast as I was blanching the cabbage for the rolls. Now a large pot of cabbage soup is on the boil which followed the 4 containers of braised cabbage and onions which are already in the freezer. I am going to try a new recipe Pickled Chinese Cabbage with Chilli and the other things I thought of are going on the back burner. I still have more cabbage left over so the neighbours are going to get the rest of it. I think I'm all cabbaged out. The green beans are coming on now and I'll start picking those tomorrow.

In amongst all this activity this morning I was thinking about the polymer clay pendants I made yesterday and were waiting to be cured in the oven so I dashed out to the garage to put my little oven on and get the 4 pendants cooked. I set the oven for 40 minutes but of course I couldn't just sit around and wait for the 40 minutes to go by so I started this post. And now it is almost time for me to get lunch ready for Mum and Dad. The stuffed cabbages rolls are almost done.
I would have to say that what I was doing was not so much multitasking as just filling up the in between moments of 'concentrated times'. It just feels like I was doing several things at once. Now I have the entire afternoon to make another mental list of things to get done.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

These are a few of my favourite things..........

Focussing on my favourite things keeps the black dog from the door. So I thought I'd do a series of posts on the things I love to do. Being creative in all areas of my life gives me a real buzz. Yesterday I woke up on the wrong side of the bed and was as grumpy as hell. I got really busy and prepared to go to the local LETS market (Local Energy Transfer System) where very little money changes hands we just exchange energy in the form of goods and services. I took some gluten free brownies to sell along with a variety of things out of the garden. At the last minute I grabbed a box of polymer clay beads I had made but wasn't very happy with. They were the hit of my stall. I had several young girls digging through my large box like it was buried treasure and I sold the lot. I had forgotten that it was school holiday time and that some of the younger crowd would be there. Must make a mental note of that for next time. The result was I now have some people interested in learning the art of polymer clay jewellery making. So by the time the next lot of holidays roll around I will have organised a class or two.
The Aussie Polymerclayers September challenge is to create something with the Mokume Gane technique but of course in polymer clay rather than metal so I did the above pendant and it turned out looking like the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland. I love doing this particular technique because you never know how it's going to turn out and it is always a surprise and a delight when you see an image hiding in the clay. It is a shame that my camera is not working properly and most of my shots come out with a pinky red hue surrounding them so what you are looking at is not the true colour.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Depression, Antidepressants and Personal jigsaws

I took my last antidepressant a couple of nights ago after 10 years. I have been slowly reducing my medication of Zoloft now for several months. The doctor suggested I start decreasing them when the days became longer during Spring so my body has a better chance of producing it's own serotonin rather than relying on pills to do it. I started earlier because living in the sub tropics means more sunshine anyway so I took a chance. If I was still living down south where the winters are cold and grey I would have heeded his advice. Once upon a time doctors, especially psychiatrists would have suggested that once on antidepressants you are on them for life. Now I am finding out what my body can do on it's own. In my experience I would have to say I was on them far too long because I think the pills seemed to be actually causing brain fog and lethargy. I could be wrong however and all I have to go on is how I feel now. I have more energy, my thoughts have a clarity which has been absent for a very long time and I'm happy for no reason in particular. When problems or concerns come up I can usually handle them without the accompanying depression and sense of hopelessness. I don't, however, put down my change in mood by simply suggesting that it was antidepressants or the lack of them as it has been a long road of both drug and non drug therapy. And may I add not an easy thing to balance. It didn't help that some people suggest I pull my socks up and get on with it. Fortunately I realise they were coming from a sense of fear and a lack of knowing how to help. When the depression was at it's worse I even felt serious contempt for people who knew what I was going through and were giving me constructive help. I just wanted to be left alone and for the world to piss off but at the same I didn't want to be alone. Depression for me really tore at my inner psyche until I felt like someone had ripped me into several pieces with jagged edges and I began to fray. The pieces of my personal jigsaw are now mostly back together and the edges are not as frayed as they once were. Now I can stand back and look at the jigsaw puzzle of my life and decide if I like what I see and I even have the ability to change the picture for my own personal good. As I said it was not just medication that helped but the ongoing determination to seek counselling and education about what I was going through. Education is really the key to destigmatization.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hanna Modra Story

Well done Australian Story for the Hannah Modra story on Monday night on the ABC.

The program evoked past memories of depression through my life. It wasn't a comfortable place to be while watching the story of the teenager's decline into depression and suicide but I felt compelled to stay with it. Her diary had painful correlations with my own thoughts when I was a teenager as well as in later years. As painful a story as it is for the parents to tell it is one that needs to be told and the elements of Hanna's despair need to be studied in detail to help others realise that mental illness is not a weakness. My thoughts used to run along the same lines and I believed I was a defective human being. Oh so not true! Read the website about Hanna Modra and know that depression can happen to anyone. Click on the title to go to the story.

Monday, September 15, 2008

It's been a long time




The family and friends have gone, the last one left yesterday and now it is time to get back to the Spring cleaning. It is time for windows and garden. The weather has suddenly turned too warm for early Spring and I need to water the vegies. The garden lizards are keeping the bug population down and this blue tongue lizard seems to have lost it's tail so I guess someone picked on him at some stage. It's mate was off patrolling at the time I took this shot. Now the only problem I have is getting over a torn sacroiliac joint. If it was going to happen why didn't it happen when everyone was here so I'd have help but no it has to happen after everyone is gone. Well that's life. Just had a chiropractor's appointment this morning and I will go back to see him this afternoon to have some more of the same treatment. I know what did it, it was the installation of an overflow pipe from the water tank to the storm water down pipe on the house. I had help with that but it was still too much. Bugger!


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Well, Yes and No

This is the speech that Dad made during the celebratory party for their 60th wedding anniversary 3 years ago. This is what happens when you spring clean and find some amazing artefacts that deserve to see the light of day again.

There is a saying, that things never stay the same or people never stay the same. Physically speaking that is correct for obvious reasons such as sickness, aging, environment, wars and a host of other interruptions in the life of people. However I am going to get off this track, it is too bumpy and perilous.
In the beginning God created a man and then a woman. He also implanted in the minds of these mortals a camera with the eyes as the lens and the ears as the sound system, so they could record sights and sounds of their lives. My equipment was in first class working order and I recorded the following.
When I first met Ruth, her glowing personality belied the fact that she was a warm, caring and loving person and I was not wrong in thinking that. From that moment on sixty-three ago my camera went into overdrive and so did my heart.
Ruth was always on the lookout for people that needed help and was ready to do so. I recorded the time when she opened a door for a gentleman who apparently thought that this was a man’s world and he was so confused that he did not know whether to say thank you, how dare you or mumble, so he mumbled.
This independent individual loves to have fun and it was fun to be with her. Among her other attributes were her fearlessness which could have been her undoing but thank God, it wasn’t. Frugality is another one. In other words she was a dyed in the wool bargain hunter and still is. Patience and persistence go hand in hand and as a result it only took me fifty years to leave the toilet seat down.
Ruth is outgoing, occasionally outspoken, outrageous, outlandish but always outstanding. She loves to talk. Stimulating conversation according to her is nourishment for the soul. Occasionally this person will be engaged in conversation with someone completely unknown and in fifteen minutes she will have their life story and that has happened many times.
Writing has always been in Ruth’s blood and I can attest to the fact that it’s tough to get the computer. When I was in the army all her letters were stories.
Today when I reflect and call up my life’s recordings I find that people are the same, things are not.
Also, if I seem vague or can’t remember things it means only one thing, I am not switched on.
Sixty-three years ago I fell in love, stole a heart and got away with it. That’s what I call amazing!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Very glad I entered "Australia Speaks"

I enjoy a challenge especially since I am feeling so much better all round. I entered the Aussie Polyclayers competition and stiff competition it was. The task was to enter a piece that reflected some aspect of Australia. I chose a rain forest theme because I live in the sub tropics. Congratulations to Esme and Christelle for winning the judges choice and members choice award. All the pieces were truly beautiful and maybe next time more will enter. To have a look click on the title of this post. The thing I really enjoyed about it was the focus it gave me to achieve something and follow through with the entry. This is the beginning of the new me. Sure it would have been nice to have won but life isn't about winning but participating and that in itself is a win for me. I feel like I've spent most of my life on the periphery looking in on the activities of life and never really participating in anything with enthusiasm. Now I feel the best I've ever felt because the fog is lifting and I'm excited just waking up in the morning.
I really enjoyed designing and making this photo frame come to life. The middle piece has now been removed and the frame was sold for $45 to a lady who wants to put a photo of her daughter in it. Now she has commissioned me to make one for her son. Who says I didn't win!!!!!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I'm still here

Life gets busy and some days it's busier than others. I'm still Spring cleaning and Jeri and Tina arrive next Wednesday which is only 6 days away. Yikes! You know even at the age of 53(me that is) my Mum still looks at me and shakes her head. At least now I can shrug my shoulders, laugh and continue doing what I do. We really aren't that different from each other.
Must get back to cleaning out cupboards, washing windows, sweeping, weeding, cooking etc.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Wigwam for a Goose's Bridle

The new dog blanket

Do you ever have one of those days during Spring cleaning (in my case the middle of winter) where you are reorganising cupboards and draws and suddenly you find something you forgot you had and it leads you on to do something entirely different for the next two days. I ran across some black and white yarn which was cheap and nasty and would break if you sneezed on it. I had started knitting a scarf which looked terrible so I unravelled it only to start knitting again. I like knitting but I don’t like patterns so when Mum asked me what I was knitting I told her it was a Wigwam for a Goose’s Bridle. Whenever she would say that to us as kids, especially near Christmas, I thought it meant “Tell me and we’ll both know”. Which would be a ridiculous thing to say so upon looking it up it was revealed to me that it meant “it’s none of your business”. It was usually meant to spark interest that something special was being made for me. Here I thought Mum was just being slightly batty making something when she had no idea of what it was. Where do kids get these thoughts? But then if you know my Mum you’d understand. I realise now that she always knew what and why she was doing something but I was constantly in the dark. I have to say that living with Mum and Dad for the past 5 years has enabled me to know them so much better, I don’t understand them any better but I know them and that goes a long way towards clearing up any misunderstandings. Or does it? You know that reminds me of the hazards of not being told when you've got the wrong end of the stick. As a child I grew up believing that I was telling my Mum that I was starving and not gorgeous. Ravenous vs ravishing. Mum never corrected me, she just smiled, laughed and said, "Yes I know you are". How can a parent do that to a child.
Well back to the spring cleaning and it just might last until Spring or Summer at the rate I'm going.
And Bridge is very happy with her new blanket.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Mmmm.....Now where was I?


This is both sides of my bedroom and my bed is under the window. The perfect place to catch the winter sun.


I felt the urge to sit down and write yesterday but when I got in front of the computer nothing came to mind, well no that isn't strictly true, plenty came to mind but in a jumbled mess. I think I need a holiday. It is almost as if I need a holiday from feeling good. Sounds weird but since this new improved version of me turned up I have tried to cram in as much in a day as I can. I guess I'm concerned it will all blow up in my face and I'll be back to square one. What an odd sensation.
I started on doing my room yesterday and when I say doing my room, I mean reorganising everything. My bedroom is where I sleep, naturally, but it is also my work room for creative endeavours. It is not that there isn't plenty of room in Mum and Dad's house for me to have a separate workroom it's just that I only want to clean one room instead of two as well as the rest of the house. My dilemma is to reorganise so I can fit another two single beds in my room for my sisters who are coming next month not to mention all their luggage. Jeri is bringing her step daughter Tina and Diane is coming with her brood and an extra one who I believe will one day be my nephew in law. And then of course my son Ty is coming up for his holidays then. Four of the nieces and nephews are renting an apartment for the 12 days that they will be here. There will be 11 around the dinner table so no wonder Dad wants to buy a dishwasher. I will have to start cooking and put things in the freezer or maybe I'll just leave home. Poor old Ty, the oldest grandchild will have to sleep on the floor in the lounge room because we have run out of beds. While we are at it does anyone else care to visit at that time? Oh yes I forgot, my aunt and uncle from Melbourne are up here on holidays and will no doubt join us for a few meals. The more the merrier. We can't pitch a tent in the backyard, it's under water at the moment. There is always the garage after I back the car out.

Thank you for your comment Bruce, yes I had to laugh and I won't mention the fact that one day Mum backed the car out without noticing that the garage door was only half way up. To this day Dad still doesn't know why the door was so hard to get up and down.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Derailed

Old train buffs never die they just get derailed! And I suppose that is what Dad is going through at the moment. At 89 he can't see well enough to run his model railroad and at our last garage sale he sold what was remaining of his HO scale model railroad. It was the small town he built quite a few years ago as the trains had been sold years earlier for a paltry sum. No, growing old is definitely not for wimps. He'd still be on the computer surfing the net for all sorts of things if his eyes were better and that's not bad for a man heading toward his 90 th birthday. Mum is not a whizz at the computer but she puts other 84 year olds to shame. I get a real kick out of Mum telling ME to go Google it if I'm in a quandary about something and she just loves Wikipedia. What she finds mind blowing is how quickly the Internet comes up with the answers (providing one asks the right questions). Although she gets the wrong end of the stick sometimes like when she was writing a letter of complaint to Google about the cream corn she bought recently from an Australian company. She thought she was talking to the company and she hadn't got any further than Google's search page. I don't think Google was really interested in the taste of the cream corn but I caught it before she sent it and transferred the letter of complaint to the right web page. It resulted in a lovely phone call from the company and a full refund. I doubt Google would have been as generous.
I took Dad shopping this morning while Mum was having tests done at the local diagnostic centre. We went to a lighting shop as he has his heart set on buying a desk lamp in the shape of a lighthouse because his son in law John loves lighthouses and anything to do with the sea. I like observing how Dad's mind works, I can't figure him out but I like observing. We couldn't find one so he said, "Jan I guess you are going to have to make one". I like his confidence in my abilities, I wish I were as confident. While we were having coffee he commented that the area had changed so much that he was glad I knew where we were because he didn't and then he commented that when he was in Fort Pierre (his hometown) he always knew he was in Fort Pierre because it never changed. Is that why change seems so scary to people growing older? They suddenly feel lost? I felt that when I was 6 and now as I get older I dream of having a mobile home so the scenery constantly changes. I don't want change to faze me, I want to embrace change. Of course with the rising cost of fuel I just may have to be content with being an armchair traveller. Not if I can bloody well help it!
Well I've got to go because it's almost time for MASH. You just never know when we'll come across one we haven't seen.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Life just gets better

Just when I thought that, at the ripe old age of 53, this body of mine was on a natural decline (nothing natural about it) everything is now turning around. I am starting to feel better than I have in years and I can't pinpoint any one factor that has been catalyst. First I changed doctors and the new doctor started me on thyroid medication. Expecting miracles which didn't come I started to feel worse so the medication has now been modified. The doctor put me on antioxidant tablets (B6, B12) because the homocysteine levels in the blood were elevated which is not a good sign when you consider that my Mum has congestive heart failure so genetics are not on my side. The headaches every day were continuing and my neck was constantly jammed up so I changed chiropractors. The new chiro also practises Applied Kinesiology and since the first session with him I haven't had a headache. Now after 10 years I am slowly coming off antidepressants and the cumulative effect of everything is that I am discovering a whole new me. I have more energy and I'm losing weight. I also took the Chiro's advice and gave up eating food with gluten in it. I've cut back on coffee and the strength of it (Mum says I drink it as strong as Aunt Grace did). All in all I think I'm on the right track now and I couldn't be happier.This morning I am taking Mum to have xrays done on her lower back. It is suspected that she has some more crush fractures down her vertebrae and with a bladder infection as well she's not too happy although it's not hard to make her laugh. She doesn't let too much get her down. Yesterday I took her to meet up with some of her writer friends and we had a lovely riotous lunch. For those who know my Mum multiply that by 7 and you can probably picture the fun around a small table. No one in the restaurant could hear themselves think let alone talk.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Untold Stories

I told you Dad is a man of few words so I think he did a remarkable job at telling his side of the story. I've heard many more stories than what Dad wrote; his battle with malaria in New Guinea, the jungle rot that threatened to eat his ear, a man in his outfit committing suicide and the horror of being close when it happened. And then there are the stories that he won't talk about and tries to keep a safe distance from those memories. For so many of the people who have been through the horrors of war we may never hear the bulk of their stories nor will we fully comprehend what they've been through.
One day many years ago I was sitting at the station waiting for the train to take me to work when a young Somali woman who was in a student in my class came over and sat beside me. As she began to speak I noticed the silent tears streaming down her face. Two years previously she had been tying to escape the rebels in Somalia which was difficult due to being heavily pregnant and in labour. The aid workers preformed a Cesarean under a tree and then bundled her into a car. She woke 3 days later to find her baby gone. She only knew she had given birth to a little girl and no one could tell her whether her baby was alive or dead. She spent some time in a refugee camp where she was reunited with her husband and eldest daughter. While at the refugee camp they were put on the Australian list. It still took about 18 months to get settled in Australia. Red Cross had been trying to find her daughter or information about her but it was virtually impossible to find any trace of her. The train pulled up, she dried her tears and thanked me for listening. Words don't comfort at a time like that.
At that time I was teaching in a little community school right next to the building of a new freeway and as the pile drivers rammed support structures into the ground so many of my students thought bombs were being dropped and would dive under the tables. Their terror was real. My students were from Somali, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, China, Timor, Philippines and the former Yugoslavia. Some were migrants but most were refugees trying to get their heads around a new language but for most the effort to concentrate was very hard.
So many untold stories, so many too hard to hear and for them so very difficult to forget.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

War Experiences by Bill Frost (final 3rd part)




With much joy I eventually got to Melbourne and it was then and there Ruth and I became officially engaged. A week is like a blink of an eye, it doesn’t last long and by train and ship I was back in New Guinea.
We left Milne Bay on a Liberty ship bound for Oro Bay on the west coast of NG. The next morning out at approximately 7 a.m. as I was preparing a ‘tasty breakfast’ with my C rations, the Liberty ship came to a screeching shuddering halt in the middle of the ocean. We were threading our way through a chain of island and there we were high and dry on a reef, wedged tight. We were about fifty miles from our destination and apparently an SOS was sent out because within a few hours two destroyers arrived and ready to take us off.
After all personnel were transferred to the waiting ships, the navy fed us a hot meal, handed out cokes, candy bars and a carton of cigarettes each. Then they told us to sit tight up against the ship’s superstructure and not to go near the railing as this was going to be a fast ride. It was an exhilarating ride for the 50 miles we had to go.
Oro Bay was an uninviting, rat infested hell hole. We were camped just metres from the ocean, no beach to speak of and just plain yuk as far as I was concerned. From there our second invasion occurred – Gasmata on the island of New Britain. In we went on the second wave. When my turn came to go off I drove to the elevator and it lowered me to the exit point and as I drove off the ship three navy planes were bombing and strafing Japanese positions about 50 metres on my right. I shot out of the ship’s orifice, past Japanese bunkers, not knowing if any of the enemy were still in them. I found the supply dump where I was supposed to go. With gun fire crackling all around me the truck was unloaded. I didn’t waste any time getting out of there and back to the ship. As I approached the ship they were getting ready to depart but sailors on duty waved me on and I made it. Once on board I discovered we had four prisoners taken from the bunkers I passed on the way out. I sat in on an impromptu interrogation between a Marine sergeant and one prisoner. It was interesting but nothing much was accomplished. That night I was down below in a sleeping compartment when a general alarm was sounded. We were under attack, a sailor came through dogging down all exits and there I was, stuck down below. I heard a lot of gunfire and bombs dropping but we were not hit. It didn’t do my claustrophobia any good though.
Back in Oro Bay I had a couple of nights sleep, a few meals and it was back to Gasmata with another load of supplies. This time I remained in that location for a week, transporting marines from one place to another. While there we experienced an air raid one night when three enemy bombers came over and the air was filled with tracers and anti aircraft explosions as the searchlights picked up the planes right away. It was like a fourth of July fireworks show. Another day a lone Zero came down the coast about 100 feet up until it came to where our trucks were parked, then 40 mm guns opened up on it and it veered out to sea while thumbing it’s tail at us and disappearing.
That was the last invasion I was involved in and it was time to move on. This time it was Finchhaven and I was glad to get away from Oro Bay.
We moved into a campsite built by Seabees in a coconut grove on a slight incline and completely terraced. It was a top notch camp site but the occasional falling coconuts were a menace.
In 1944 the big push north was on and we were busy running our trucks on a 24 hours basis with drivers working 12 hour shifts. There were two large dock areas to service and ships were coming in all the time with machinery, equipment and food to be stockpiled and then sent on north when needed. There were no furloughs given out that year. Late in 1944 things started to ease up and in early 1945 the war started to wind down for most of us. The men who started out with the 147th had enough points, gained through overseas service, to be sent back to the States for a furlough of 45 days and possible discharge. One by one the old faces started to disappear, replaced by new ones. I was relieved of truck duty and given an office at the motor pool and the title of truck master. There I assigned drivers to trucks as needed and dispatched same.
In April of 1945 I received word that Ruth was sick and that she had lost her memory and the possibility of marriage was questionable. Well, I didn’t know how, why or when but I was determined to find out. I got in touch with the Red Cross, chaplains, the Battery commander and anybody else who would listen. I had a lot of sympathetic ears but nothing happened. A few days later something akin to divine intervention occurred when a directive from the War Department came down that all eligible soldiers could have their 45 days in Australia and then be sent back to the States from there. All I could say was I’m OUT OF HERE!!! And I was packed and ready to go.
I arrived in Melbourne on May 16 and when Ruth and I got reacquainted all doubts, fears and reservations vanished and it was on with the marriage. The ceremony took place in the Congregational Church in Glenferrie on the 26th May, 1945. Two weeks after we were married Ruth got her memory back. It was then I found out why.
After our honeymoon I had to get back to Brisbane to wait for orders. Ruth flew to Sydney with me and we parted the next night when I took the train to Brisbane.
I then settled into a routine life waiting for transport back to the U.S. June went by and then July was history. Then in August atomic bombs were dropped on Japan. One night in that month on the 15th I decided to go to a movie in the Valley, a suburb of Brisbane. I don’t remember what the movie was, but about half way through it, four words were flashed on the screen- THE WAR IS OVER. The theatre was devoid of patrons in a matter of minutes and as I sat there alone I decided to finish the movie. Afterwards I made my way through a deserted foyer and into an empty street, because everybody had rushed off to central Brisbane.
It was a warm springlike night and I walked slowly towards the centre of Brisbane, breathing in clean free air.


Monday, June 30, 2008

War Experiences Part Two by Bill Frost


I was feeling particularly brave and decided to go ice skating and at the same time telling myself that this was not what I wanted to do. Once I was out on the ice I realized that this was definitely not what I wanted to do. All of a sudden – whack – I was tripped up and flattened and as I looked up I saw this fresh faced girl with bouncy hair, mischievous eyes and big grin that boiled over into full blown laughter at my predicament. At that instant I said to myself, “Frost, you have struck the ‘mother lode’.” She helped me up but no apologies were offered, but then how does one apologise for something that was destined to happen. I then introduced myself to a Ruth Dowsett. For four or five weekends in a row I made the trip to Melbourne and on one of those occasions I asked her to marry me. She said yes but the official engagement was put on hold and it came later.
Once again I found myself on a troop train bound for Brisbane where I started from almost a year ago. Here we spent a period of time waiting for what, I don’t know. While there I had a week’s leave to go to Melbourne but travelling time was included so I had only three days to spend with Ruth. I had two weeks in Brisbane sorting mail at the army post office. Quite interesting and the best part was getting mail from Ruth quicker.
Our next encampment was near Rockhampton and it was there that things started to happen. The army decided to form a unit to serve as transport invasion specialists. This entailed loading trucks with supplies and driving off on the second wave of invasions. The ships to be used were LSTs (Landing ship Tanks) a large flat bottomed vessel with large doors in front and a ramp. The ships would slide up on shore, down with the ramp and trucks or whatever would drive off. The first battalion of the 147th of which I was a member was chosen for this operation. Thereafter we were known as the 260th Field Artillery (minus guns).
Also while in Rockhampton I had a temporary assignment as a guard in a military prison for U.S. personnel. The guard’s job was to take prisoners as work details to various locations. Standing there with a gun in my hand watching the GIs working was not my idea of army life, however I put on my no nonsense face and we got along fine.
We said farewell to Rockhampton and proceeded further north to Townsville to collect trucks for our new role in the war. To be honest, at this time in my life I didn’t know the difference between double clutching and bird watching. After reaching Townsville we were transported to a truck compound which contained many old trucks which had seen better days. I thought o myself I hope the brass doesn’t think that the drivers are as expendable as the vehicles appear to be. However I picked out a truck, got into it, started it, found a gear that I liked and drove back to camp in that mode. We had some excellent tutors in our midst and in no time we all mastered the art of truck driving.
Our first invasion, Woodlark Island, turned out to be unopposed. We landed there at night, drove off the LSTs like veterans, and deposited our supplies, found a field kitchen that had been set up, had some hot food and then fast tracked back to the ship. I don’ know what happened to the rest of the drivers because only about ten of us made it back to the vessel before it shoved off. A couple of days later we pulled into Milne Bay on the southern most tip of New Guinea minus the rest of the battalion. At any rate they arrived there about three weeks later. We parked our trucks close to another unit and arranged to have our meals in their mess hall. While there we found an LST that was bound for Kiriwina Island with supplies so we offered our services and our vehicles were loaded up with supplies and we were off. Kiriwina is a beautiful place in the Trobiand Island group, white sandy beaches and crystal clear water. We stayed there a week and then it was back to Milne Bay to wait for the rest our unit.
While there I was offered a weeks furlough in Melbourne. I was suppose to go by ship but at the last minute as I was preparing to go I was told that my name was omitted from the passenger list by some error. In other words somebody goofed. While I was off somewhere feeling very sorry for myself I was suddenly summoned and informed that a plane was taking off in about an hour. Be on it – and I was!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Where part of it all began.


A slight change of pace with my blogging today. As I was sorting through a mountain of paperwork that piles up behind me on the desk I ran across the very short story of Dad's account of WWII and how he met my Mum. He wrote it several years ago after Mum nagged him to write his memoirs. Mum's side of the story in her book Pavlovas to Popcorn took over 500 pages (in large print). Dad tends to be a man of few words so his memoirs of that time are considerably shorter but concise. He wrote it when he could still see well enough at the computer and now at 89 most of his sight has gone. I thought he deserved some space to make his mark in history. So here is PART ONE of

WAR EXPERIENCES by Bill Frost b 1919.....
In the spring of 1940 I came home to Fort Pierre after two terms of schooling at Iowa State Teachers college due to the fact that I had run out of money for further education.
The war in Europe had been in progress for several months and I had a gut feeling that my immediate future would be taken care of because conscription or the draft into the armed forces was being re-introduced and the local National Guard was soon to be inducted into the Federal service. I had a choice, either wait for the draft and take my chance or join the national guard and start military life with the people I grew up with. I took the easy option – I joined the guard, Battery C, 147th Field Artillery Regiment.
I enjoyed Thanksgiving at home, then we boarded a troop train at Pierre South Dakota, and we were off to Fort Ord in California. As far as I was concerned, the trip to the coast by train was an experience in itself.
We were only supposed to be in Federal service for one year but it turned out to be considerably longer. The next few months were spent in training for all aspects of warfare including war games up and down the west coast.
Our tenure in the U.S. Army was suddenly increased to 18 months and someone somewhere decided that the 147th be stationed in the Philippines so we were uprooted and transported to San Francisco and placed on a tiny island in the middle of the bay (Angel Island) to get ready for embarkation. Another Thanksgiving came and went and we were herded onto a troop transport, and the USS Holbrook was ready to shove off. The ship’s horn bellowed, the ship’s lines were off and nothing happened. The transport refused to move. We were stuck in the mud at the dock. High tide had not been achieved yet and the question was, “How do you move the ship?” You rock the ship until it gets loose. There was a brain on board who decided to assemble all of the troops on the port side and then have them run full tilt to the starboard and then back again to the port side and then repeat the operation and sure enough the ship started rocking and we pulled loose and away from the dock.
In the meantime I was informed that KP duty was my lot that evening. If ever there was a method devised to test a man’s seamanship, this was the ultimate – working in a ship’s galley the first night out. However the obvious consequences of this detail I put out of mind and carried out my duty. I survived and I knew then that I would never succumb to seasickness.
The next stop was Pearl Harbour and we arrived there on Sunday, November 21, 1941. The place was a beehive of activity as a full alert was in force at the time. Despite the alert we were allowed to venture into Honolulu, so with a dollar in my pocket I set out, had a good time sightseeing, had dinner and went to a movie. Got back to the ship just a few hours before we shoved off.
About the second night into the Central Pacific we ran into some bad weather, high winds, rain and high seas. Watching the big waves breaking over the bow of the ship was not a comforting sight. At this time as we were going west, the Japanese fleet was headed south into Hawaiian waters.
Eventually we heard the news about Pearl Harbor and our chances of getting back to civilian life was put on hold for the duration.
At this time I might mention that prior to the start of hostilities we were sailing in the Pacific with all the ships running lights on and a large American flag painted on both sides of the sip, lit up with spotlights at night. We were well advertised. I might also add that through the efforts of everyone on board many gallons of black paint was used to transform the ship to a wartime vessel.. The flags were the first items to be blacked out and blackout curtains to all doorways and hatches were hastily erected.
The next few days we cruised in a large zig zag circle waiting on orders from the War department on where to go because the military minds of that time figured it would be foolhardy to try and get to the Philippines. It was at this stage of our journey that we started running out of water. So a good shower and a shave were out of the question. Food was also getting short and we received a sandwich and a piece of fruit for lunch and not much more than that for dinner at night. A navy transport that had been running alongside of us had enough water so a plan to tie the ships together and shoot a hose across to our dwindling water supply was devised. The convoy had to slow down to carry out this exercise and the cruiser USS Pensacola and two destroyers were hovering about like mother hens. Three or found inch hawsers were shot across and anchored but then the two ships decided to lurch in opposite directions and the ropes parted with a bang which sounded like a cannon going off. Eventually enough lines were shot across to secure the two ships and we started taking on water. Meanwhile a navy band on the other ship assembled on the aft end of their ship and we were entertained with a band concert. That night it rained and we didn’t need any water. Everyone showed up on deck with a bar of soap and lather was everywhere, on bodies, clothes and hair and also praying that the rain didn’t cease. It didn’t and the mission was accomplished.
The following is an excerpt from a story written about General MacArthur: “MacArthur still believed reinforcements would be sent. In fact a convoy of seven vessels escorted by the cruiser Pensacola was on its way to Manila when the war broke out. The convoy was carrying a field artillery brigade with twenty 75mm guns, eighteen P-40s, fifty two A-24 dive bombers and considerable supplies of ammunition. On December 12th the convoy was re-routed to Brisbane Australia and after a brief stop in Suva, finally reached our destination.
A camp had been set up for us at one of the race courses in Brisbane and as we marched along the suburban streets towards our billets, the local citizenry emerged from their houses to witness the procession. They quietly stared at us, probably overawed and we in turn stared at them due to the state of unreality we were in, brought on by the swift turn of events.
On reaching the race track we checked in, found a tent we could call our own, got paid, received instructions on what to do and how to act in this land down under. All this time we had been working up a great thirst and Australia had a great beer, the race track bar had been opened for us and that was a ‘happy hour’ at its best.
We all received leave to check out downtown Brisbane and needless to say everyone had a great time. Families living close to the race track invited us into their homes for a visit and late supper which was a great way to become acquainted with Australian people and their way of life.
All too soon this brief sojourn in Brisbane came to an end and we were loaded on the smelly old troop ship once again and heading north and I don’t know what they had in mind for us but they diverted our convoy to Darwin. On the way, at the northern most tip of Australia we met up with the remnants of the Asiatic fleet, the cruiser Houston, a couple of destroyers, navy tender and a couple of smaller boats. The convoy then proceeded to Darwin.
The regiment stayed in Darwin six months, from January to July mostly uneventful except on February 19 when we had some unwelcome visitors in the skies above – about 100 Japanese war planes flying over our camp on their way to Darwin and then pounding that place for about an hour, and after that initial raid, a daily sortie of a few planes for thirty days. From then on we were busy setting up our guns along the highway into Darwin, cutting fire lanes in heavily wooded areas, going on patrols after an air raid and plenty of guard duty. Those in the know informed us that an invasion could be expected at any time. It never came and after a period of time the danger lessened.In July 1942 our brigade headed south by truck convoy to Alice Springs and then by troop train to Ballarat Victoria. A little rest and relaxation, a little training and frequent weekend passes to Melbourne. It was on one of these end of the week journeys that I encountered my greatest war experience.

Friday, June 27, 2008

And the colour of the ocean is.............

One day my friend Kitty and I were standing on a sand dune looking out to sea and sighing, Kitty said, “Isn’t the ocean a beautiful blue.” I laughed and said, “I was about to say isn’t the ocean a beautiful green.” It struck me how we could agree on the beauty but not the colour and how it drew me into thoughts about my spiritual life. I perceive God as an energy force that permeates through all things. God is the word I use to describe that energy and frankly I don’t think the word is adequate to describe the enormity of what or who God is. Being human forces me to use the labels we give things in order to talk about them. Anyway back to the colour of the ocean. The beauty was not in question but the colour was. So many different factors in my life; upbringing, environment, education, and inherent nature all had an impact on my interpretation of the colour I was seeing. This is just a small example of how I see the world through the eyes of my past. It reminds me not to be dogmatic about being right. It’s okay to let other opinions and views of the world in. However I don’t have to agree with them. So many people see and interpret the energy force that is life, God, Buddha, Allah etc as being different to each other, well, if not then why do we have wars? Are we too busy arguing over the colour of a rainbow instead of enjoying the beauty? Is it that we agree that there is only one God but we are arguing over who are the chosen ones of God and who makes the correct interpretations of his wishes? Is that what we fight about? My friend and I talked about our difference of opinion over the colour of the ocean and we decided that the ocean was a bluey green, that is until I took my sunglasses off and discovered that it was indeed a beautiful blue.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Memories

A funny thing happened to me on the way to the Chiropractor, well no, it actually happened at the Chiropractor but it started at home. Clear as mud? Yesterday I sat down at the computer to blog on the subject of memories and had to rush to get ready for a 7.30 am appointment with the chiro so I didn’t finish it. I was going to talk about how the recent correspondence with my cousin Bruce had brought up feelings of sadness that I never had a chance to get to know my cousins and that I have very few memories before the age of 6 due to my immediate family migrating to Australia. Memories at the best of times can be cloudy so I have had to rely on my parents’ memories, home movies and Aunt Grace’s weekly column in the Manson Journal which is in book form. I’ve laughed and cried through her stories. It is a part of my family history and I don’t remember any of it. All I can remember is the darkness of panic attacks. So that brings me to the Chiropractor who also does Applied Kinesiology and it was during this session he pinpointed trauma at the age of six and all I could do was swear loudly. He hit home. I turned 6 on the ship coming to Australia and it was there that I had my first major panic attack. I call it an Alice in Wonderland episode because I was in the kindergarten/crèche on the ship and the room got smaller and I got larger so I thought I was going to suffocate. I suppose at the age of 6 my conception of a long way away was going to Grandma and Grandpa’s house in South Dakota in the next state. I had no understanding of 12,000 miles away on the other side of the world. I was a shy nervous child who, as my Mum tells me, was born anxious. I hadn’t realised until yesterday that I have been carrying a profound sense of loss with me all these years. Not only that but both my sisters went to America on working holidays when I was 15 and they never came back here to live. It is nobody’s fault it is just something I have to deal with. I do believe in a greater power which guides and directs me so I feel a tapping on my shoulder to get on with it and heal. My life is here and the past can’t be undone and you know I wouldn’t want it to be because too many good things have happened to me in this life. I’ve been through years of counselling and drug therapy to help me through depression and the sense of loss has been a theme all through it so I thought I had dealt with it. It blew me away when a complete stranger did a few tests on my muscles and came up with the same information without me uttering a word. I have had two sessions with this Chiropractor and I haven’t had a headache in 3 days, which in itself is a reason to celebrate. I think I am on the right track and have been for some time because the psychiatrist thinks I’m ready to come off the antidepressants after 10 years. Woooohoooo!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Talking to myself (or is that mumbling)

I am really enjoying blogging because it is the one place I can go to talk to myself and if I get an occasional reply I'm not thought of someone who a sandwich short of a picnic; a kangaroo short in the top paddock or kangaroo loose in the top paddock; a stubbie short of six pack; not the full quid. Doncha just love Aussie slang.I think cousin Bruce understands what I'm talking about, the sense that you are talking to yourself sometimes. Hi Bruce and Janice in Tennessee, hi Nancy in Iowa. Thank you for talking to me. Nancy informed me that headaches run in our family, oh joy! Still getting them most mornings. Just came home from the Chirpractor and he told me not to sit down for the rest of the day, I went horizontal however and slept for 2 hours and now I'm sitting at the computer and I shouldn't be. There is only so much of standing up I can stand.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Calm again

Blue Gum?
Ah! My prince has come to rescue me from all this madness. He's a little rough around the edges but he has a calming affect on me as does anything I make with polymer clay.

This is the magic of polymer clay. I used the same colours in both these pendants but in a different order. I used the technique called Mokume Gane, a Japanese metal working technique, only in polymer clay. I used red, yellow, pearl and translucent so I am wondering where the green came from. I've got a lot to learn about mixing colours and taking photos. I will eventually post the finished creations. I find this so relaxing and it takes my head away from everything else. Even at night in front of TV I will work the clay with my hands and it is soothing. I tried mixing colours in front of TV with weird results. Never mix colours in poor light. The leaves at the top were meant to be a lovely gum leaf green but in daylight it was a grey blue so they became blue gum colour. Well maybe not but I've learnt my lesson about mixing colours in front of TV.














Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Fluoride Poisoning

The subject of fluoridating water supplies really gets me so angry, frustrated and distressed. It is beyond my comprehension as to why governments insist that it is good for us. There is nothing I could say that would be any different to what the Fluoride Action Network would say except for some personal experience with this poison. I will post that later in the day. In the meantime go take a look at the Fluoride Action Network site.
I just took a look at the u tube video on
Fluoride Risks for Kidney Patients and it begs the question why, why do governments make this decision in spite of the risks to so many people.
I was born in an area of North America where natural fluoride was at a level of 4 parts per million. I ingested this high level of fluoride from day one of my life because I was bottle fed and continued to drink it for the next 6 years until we moved to Australia. My baby teeth fell out as do every one's but some of mine were rotten. I am now 53 and have moderate dental fluorosis
which occured during tooth development as a baby. Years of dental treatment for cavities continue to astound all the dentists I've seen as they naively still maintained I shouldn't have had so many fillings for someone exposed to so much fluoride. Well guess what too much is what caused so many cavities because it weakened the tooth enamel. My teeth break, chip and have fine cracks in them. They are mottled yellow. It was only last year that a dentist confirmed that I had dental fluorosis from ingesting too much fluoride. He himself told me he had dental fluorosis from ingesting too much toothpaste as a child (he used to eat it). Now I know that the level of fluoride that will be put into Queensland's water will not be as high as I was subjected to as a child but not everyone will be able to tolerate even a small level. What happens to people who drink a lot of water? The amount of fluoride that they ingest will be higher than what is recommended? Kidney patients will have a hard time ridding their bodies of fluoride and in Queensland because of our glorious weather I would suggest that maybe more water is drunk.
Anyway I could go on for a long time on this issue so if anyone wants to read more then go to the Fluoride Action Network and become better informed about the dangers of fluoride.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sundays



I try to get away on my own for a couple hours on Sunday. I care for both my parents but don't get the idea that they are your typical elderly couple. In fact if Mum was to read this she'd say, "Elderly, who's elderly?"At 84 she is pretty sharp. Before I have barely opened my eyes or put that first cup of coffee to my lips at 4.30 am I hear the lament come from the study, "My email is in error". How many 84 year olds do you hear that from? Just yesterday she had a sticky semi colon so it was lucky that we had a spare keyboard otherwise the latest book she's writing would have looked like this ;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;; ;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;. I reminded her that eating over the keyboard or drinking sherry in the afternoon can really gum things up.
Earlier this year I asked her what she wanted for her birthday in February and she calmly replied, "A wake". Right.........! The only thing she hates about dying is that she won't be at her funeral or wake hence the living wake. She pulled a crowd of over 50 people and she enjoyed it so much she wants another one. I think I'm all waked out. She has donated her body to science so she can still be useful long after she is gone plus she thinks the cost of dying is outrageous. I wonder how many people know that you can donate your body to science? She would be happy to be a organ donor but she figures most of her spare parts are not up to scratch. And Dad, well what can I say about this gentle quiet man? He is the straight man in this comedy duo and they keep my laughing. Dad is 89, he won't use his false teeth and forget the hearing aids they just amplify noise. He says he still can't understand what is being said as it's only louder not clearer. We get the Innovations catalogue in the mail and Dad noticed a walking stick he'd like to have so I ordered it for him. It has a torch in the handle, hazard lights at the side and would you believe it a siren which is pitched too high for him to hear but I can at 3.30 in the morning on his way to the toilet. It is meant for a bush walker but he is absolutely tickled with it. He is also legally blind so it comes in handy at times.
The picture above was in the Brisbane Courier Mail on May 24th as they were doing a story on War Brides. If you want to know more go to Mum's website and learn all about her life as a war bride.
Oh yes I was talking about Sunday and getting away, oh well there is always next Sunday.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

YIPPEE


I woke up headache free this morning at 4.30 am and so turned over to get some more sleep. Ha! No such luck. All the things I want to get done today kept racing through my mind and my dog was happily making sloppy squishy slurping noises as she chewed her feet (allergies of a Maltese x). I skipped out to the kitchen, not, (its been a long time since I skipped anywhere). My heart was skipping though. I can almost put up with pain anywhere in my body except my head and when it's not there then the world is my oyster. Oscar Wilde said, The world was my oyster but I used the wrong fork”. I can relate to that and as I move forward in life I need to be mindful of life's direction and the tools I use to open that oyster. Maybe 'the world is my oyster' is an overstatement but I get positively euphoric when the head is clear. I try not to worry about tomorrow or yesterday and just live in the moment. I have to admit I get bogged down in worrying about tomorrow, as useless an exercise as that is(worrying) I do have to do some planning. When is planning, too much, too little or just enough? I am reading Eckhart Tolle's "A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose" and I'm beginning to see that it is possible to have balance in all things if only I'd get out of my own way. Thank you Mel Dilday for directing me towards this book. Now I'd better concentrate on lunch, I am making lamb shank stew, well it was going to be soup but it got rather thick.



Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday the 13th is Polymer Clay Day

Today has been declared Polymer Clay Day in my house because I said so. I am so very tired and weary and the only thing that improves my mood is creating with my hands, whether it be cooking, gardening, writing or polymer clay play. Today I am working on the faux marble from Linda Peterson book, How to make Polymer Clay Beads. I like the way she does her faux marble by painting the pieces of clay, letting them dry, rolling pieces together in a ball and then slicing pieces off like a cane. At the moment I am doing a traditional black vein pendant but I don't like the quality of my cheap acrylic paint so I am doing one with purple veins and better quality paint to see if it makes a difference. Will post pictures as soon as they are done.
I'm feeling better already and I can't clay and type too so I'm off.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Headache Central

Sometimes I take the mile after the inch has been offered so upon waking with yet another headache I drank two cups of coffee instead of one. The blood test done now I wait for results. It's the waiting that frustrates me the most. So many of the blood tests I've had in the past have come back completely clear and so I would then argue with the GP that something is still wrong. My last GP finally said,
"Jan there is nothing more I can do for you. With some of these symptoms you would be better off going to see a psychiatrist."
I reminded him that I was already seeing a psychiatrist for depression. Happily I can report that on my last visit he (psych) was completely satisfied that I can now start to come off the antidepressants (after 10 years) because whatever is going on now is physical and not a chemical imbalance.

Former GP: So you've got a goitre, that doesn't mean there is anything wrong with your thyroid.
Me: I still want to be referred onto an Endocrinologist.
GP: No, he won't see you because your TSH levels are normal.
Me: So refer me because my symptoms might be menopausal.
GP: Menopause is not a disease.
Me: I know that, oh (groan) I give up. You are not taking me seriously. (I then walked out and never went back).
That was a hair tearing conversation but bald isn't a good look for my head shape so I changed doctors.

New GP: Yes, judging by your symptoms you have an under active thyroid but first I want to you to chart you basal body temperature for 10 days and come back to see me.

Ah at last someone who is prepared to take me seriously.
Does this sound familiar to anyone?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Yet another false start to the day

Last night I hooked myself up to a sleep study machine which is to determine if I have sleep apnoea (apnea) and it was not as uncomfortable as I thought it was going to be, nevertheless I still had a restless night. The little portable machine which is no bigger than a small cassette player was strapped to my upper abdomen, with a nose cannular to monitor my snoring (yes I snore) and a small monitor attached to my index finger. When the preprogrammed device came on my finger lit up and all I could think of was ET phone home. Every time I woke up during the night I checked my finger to make sure my light hadn't gone out (heaven forbid my light should go out). The day started out with the same plan as I'd had for the past week, to go and have a fasting blood test but due to whatever is going on in my head I again had another severe headache. The last thing I felt like doing was driving to pathology to be drilled for blood so I had a cup of coffee instead and then it happened again, my headache began to clear. I've been a sufferer of migraines most of my life and coffee is the last thing I would have but at the moment it seems to be the cure for these bad headaches. I haven't been able to figure that one out so I emailed my doctor this morning (yes I have a progressive doctor who would rather answer my quick questions via email than to waste my time and his by coming in to see him). His response was, "Still get it done and fib (with my blessing) i.e have your cup of coffee". So if it happens tomorrow morning I will have my cup of coffee and look the nurse straight in the eye and tell her I've fasted for 12 hours with nothing but water to drink.

It's time.

It has been so long since I've written anything or posted a picture because the direction of this blog is turning. I've been thinking for far too long instead of doing so here I am back again. I still want to post pictures of my mixed media projects because being creative keeps me sane. I'd like to document a part of my life's journey in regards to health (mental and physical) and my philosophical musings about life. I want to do this as a catharsis for myself and if anyone should wish to read and comment then please do.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Monday, January 14, 2008

Mosaics




Mixed Media Mosaics.