Monday, February 26, 2007
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Five Things You May Not Know About Me
Claire of Claire’s Garden tagged me to do this meme back in December and I’m just now getting around to it. I’m not good at thinking of answers for memes!
So finally……here are 5 things you may not know about me (plus a few pictures!!).
Living here in NY since the age of 23, I’ve seen enough snow to last me a good long time. It was late arriving this winter, but it seems to be here to stay for a while now. The big chill has set in for a while.
Pete walked with me in the snow yesterday morning.
2. During my growing up years, when I wasn’t reading or sewing, I was drawing. It’s still something I love to do, but I very rarely take the time to do it these days.
A Pink and gray galah was one of my favorite pets during the pet shop years. It talked!
3. My parents owned a pet shop while I was growing up, and consequently I had all kinds of pets….cats, dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs, birds, fish…..nothing big like horses or cows though. I added cows to the list when I married my husband and moved here to the farm in NY :)
Jasmine came with me to the mail box...January 18th
4. My mind wanders easily, making me not a very good listener sometimes, but I do try hard to stay focused! I really am interested in what you’re telling me….honest! :)
1980 in Australia
5. I consider raising our 3 children to be the most interesting, enjoyable and rewarding job I’ve ever had, with never a dull moment. That’s not to say it’s always been a piece of cake, but the joy has far outweighed the few rough spots, and I’m forever thankful for the continued blessings they bring me.
Our 3 kids at our son's wedding
And as a reward we now have grandchildren!!! (The ultimate joy!) I highly recommend them!
(picture taken last year by my DIL or son)
I’m not going to tag anyone specifically, but please feel free to do this if you want to. Let me know if you do, because I’d love to read your answers.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
On the second last day in October I walked up behind the barn to see what I could see. The trees were almost bare and the woods had lost most of their color.
But I spotted this bush with bright red berries among the somber browns and olive greens. I badly wanted to take some back to the house to make a nice arrangement, but no matter how hard I tried to get closer to it, my efforts were thwarted by either blackberry bushes or water. I finally gave up, but that afternoon I mentioned it to my hubby. He gallantly took his little tractor up there and managed to get close enough to cut some branches for me. What a guy :)
They made a pretty fall arrangement paired with some of the gourds my hubby grew in the vegetable garden.
I'm very impressed with these last petunias that are still blooming in the window box outside our bathroom window. Talk about survivors! Normally I'd have all the window boxes and containers emptied out and put away by now, but due to the extraordinary amount of wet weather we've had, that job still waits to be done.
I hardly dare mention that it's absolutely pouring rain outside again tonight. Apple, who lives not too far away from us, suggested that we may have to get out the life rafts for Thanksgiving! Perhaps we need to start building an ark! How I wish we could funnel this rain over to Australia, where it's needed!
Monday, October 02, 2006
bossy even then...."Eat your dinner Jack!"
Loved with a passion by her Nana Pat, she was the only one of our children that (my) Mum got to know and enjoy as a baby, except for a month-long visit to the United States she took when Andrew was a baby.
Happy little girl....
She's now a lovely and charming, capable young woman with dreams and ambitions of her own...(Akio, her beau, is on the left).
Saturday, August 05, 2006
Today my dad had his 90th birthday!
My parents' wedding day
It was difficult to find a nice, clear picture of Dad to scan because I don't have very many good ones of him. My parents divorced when I was 12 years old and I didn't see him very often after that. We've lived 12,000 miles apart for most of my married life...him in Australia and me here in the U.S.
So Dad, I wanted you to know that on your 90th birthday I'm looking back and remembering some of the fun times we've had together :)
I had a nice chat on the phone with Dad tonight and heard all about his birthday celebration. Apparently it was wonderful, with lots of old friends dropping in for a surprise visit...even people he had worked with years ago!
Monday, April 17, 2006
Isn’t it amazing how quickly the years go by? We’ve grown together over the years and are enjoying each other’s company just as much now as when we first met. Probably more, actually. It’s certainly true that you get wiser as you age (well, one would hope that we learn as we grow). How thankful I am to have such a patient, good-natured and loving man to spend my days with. Life is good!
The caption under the photo in the local newspaper read:
U.S. MARINE'S AUSSIE BRIDE
We met at the wedding of friends of mine, as I mentioned in an earlier post. Ross was on R&R (rest and recreation) leave from Vietnam, where he was serving as a US Marine. I was bridesmaid for my school friend, Pat, and her English husband, Alan. Ross had met a girl named Glenda during a cruise on Sydney's picturesque harbor (one of the many activities set up for visiting G.I.’s). She had introduced Pat and Alan to each other and she needed a date for their wedding, so she invited Ross to accompany her.
When we were first introduced I thought he looked about 15 and must be Glenda’s younger brother. His hair was white blond and his eyes a very clear blue. Glenda was explaining about how they met and we began discussing the planned events for the G.I.’s (member of the US armed forces). She was telling me how much fun they were and said she’d give me a call to let me know when the next one was scheduled. I wrote my phone number on the place card at my table and she gave it to Ross to hold for her, as our pocketbooks (handbags for you Aussies and others out there) were stored in another room. This may sound too detailed, but that’s an important part of the story, which I can’t leave out!
The wedding was at a wonderful restaurant called ‘The Rocklily’ and the dinner consisted of seven courses, with wine and finally champagne (for the toasts) served with each course. Then there was dancing! Ross and I ended up dancing one dance together. How this came about is a funny little story of it’s own, but I’m trying not to add too many details (this is hard for me, as you can probably tell).
On the way home Glenda asked Ross to give her my phone number so she could call me as promised, and that wicked young man told a fib….he said he’d lost it! Now, remember, he and I only danced one dance, and not much conversation took place between us, but somehow, there was an instant attraction. Just a spark, you know?
I received a phone call from this young man the next day asking me out on a date :) My mum and I had planned to have dinner at the local surf club so we invited him to accompany us. Those of you who have read some of my previous posts will know that we lived at beautiful Whale Beach (near Palm Beach, just north of Sydney, part of the ‘north shore’ chain of beaches in NSW). So Ross caught the bus out from Sydney, where he was staying, and went to Moby Dick’s surf club for dinner with us. We had a lovely night and he and my mum fell in love with each other :)
There were two more dates after that first night before he had to return to Vietnam. After that we began writing a series of letters that just didn’t stop! Ross extended his tour of duty in Vietnam and was given 30 days leave. He spent that 30 days in Australia and that’s when we really got to know each other, spending all of those 30 days together, seeing some lovely sights and talking endlessly. By the end of his leave we were talking about marriage :)
He was scheduled for another R&R in February and we planned to be married at that time. We set the date and sent out the invitations, but the Marine Corps wasn’t cooperating. They seriously discouraged this kind of thing. Ross did finally make it back to Australia, but not until April 16th, and this was only because he told his commanding officer that he was going, with or without his orders, and headed for the airport. The CO was a compassionate man and a good friend. He followed Ross to the airport and handed him the necessary papers.
I was working in Sydney at the time and talking to my friend, Susie on the phone (yes, I did work, but I just happened to be on the phone at that particular moment) when Ross walked into my office. Imagine my surprise…(you’ll have to, I can’t find words to describe it!)…I had just been telling Susie that Ross had said he might not be able to let me know when he was coming…that he might just ‘show up’. And suddenly, there he was!!
That was a Friday. My mother’s birthday is April 17th, and she had remarked earlier in the week that it would be funny if Ross showed up this weekend and we could be married on her birthday.
Well, we were…and the rest is history ! Happy birthday Mum! Had she still been living, Mum would be 89 today. She died in 1996 and I still miss her.
We had a lovely, albiet, brief honeymoon at a beach further north before Ross had to return to Vietnam. It was just a few all-too-short days together, but we had the time of our lives! And we are still enjoying each other's company! Of course, we’ve had our ups and downs, but here we are 35 years, and 3 kids later, and we’re still blissfully happy. I can honestly say I’ve been truly blessed. When our grandchildren are old enough to appreciate it, I’ll tell them this story :)
Saturday, March 25, 2006
The package contained several audiotapes……some with music, and one with Australian birdcalls and a ‘Bird Symphony’ - beautiful music with birdcalls interspersed throughout.
The kooka in the picture was sitting on my mother's back porch, waiting to be fed. I took this photo in 1994 when I was visiting Mum.
There was music by a Welsh singer named Aled Jones, who started his music career as an amazing boy soprano. Now as an adult, he has a wonderful voice, which is similar to Josh Groban’s. He sings some of the same songs as Josh G., as well as beautiful hymns, traditional and contemporary spiritual music. There was a Christmas album of his, and another beautiful collection of songs called "Voices From the Holy Land" in which he sings with various choirs as a young teen.
Another tape held encouraging spiritual music by Genesis…."Bring Back the Springtime"!
There was also instrumental relaxation music by Tony O’Conner, which incorporates Australian Aboriginal instruments, Aussie birdcalls and ocean sounds. That music is playing as I write this.
Last, but not least was "A Tribute to Banjo Patterson" by Wallis and Matilda. Banjo Patterson was probably the most famous of the Australian poets. He wrote ‘Waltzing Matilda’, ‘The Man From Snowy River’ (which most of you probably know was made into a movie, plus a sequel), ‘Clancy of the Overflow’, and many other poems. On this tape the poems are put to music. Alice included the words printed out on paper to all the poems on the tape. She has been a busy girl!
Aussie kids are taught Banjo Patterson’s poems at school. It was wonderful to hear them again and to be transported back to my school days and the nostalgic memories of a childhood spent growing up in Australia.
All these musicians are newly introduced to me and are a welcome addition to our music collection. You see, Alice and I have been discussing our music preferences, among other things. This is actually the second parcel she’s sent. The first contained a tape each of Aled Jones and Tony O’Connor. When Alice learned that I loved them both, she sent more! Bless her heart.
So thank you, sweet Alice, for such a thoughtful and caring gift, on which you must’ve spent many hours of preparation. You are truly a blessing and I’m very grateful for your friendship.
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Val has tagged me with this interesting subject, after chronicling on her blog the woes of supermarket shopping in Australia (versus the US) during the early 70,s.
I had come from the veritable paradise of Palm Beach (we actually lived above Whale Beach, but the postal address was Palm Beach), NSW, and the long, hot summers of Oz, to the countryside of NY State. Here the summers are very short and usually quite mild, and the winters are long and cold! Initially, I was so excited to think I’d be living in an area where it snowed! I hadn’t even set eyes on snow until my 18th year, when I went on a skiing vacation to the beautiful Perisher Valley, near Mt. Kosciusko, Australia’s highest mountain.
Our back door in December 2002
Spending a week or two ‘playing’ in the snow is vastly different, I learned, than enduring an entire winter of it. After my first l o n g and seemingly never-ending NY winter, my enthusiasm had paled considerably. I’d seen all the snow I ever wanted to see! Not only did I have to get used to driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road, I had to learn to drive in snow! Now that can be a scary experience, especially if one has to brake suddenly for a deer with very little road sense, that decides to run across the road in front of your car….not an uncommon experience here in the country. I assure you, it’s not fun!
Living close to the beach growing up, I had of course, spent lots of time there, swimming in the surf or the enclosed pool, sunbaking and reading a good book on the warm sand, exploring the rocky areas at either end of the beach. Walking on warm, damp sand at the ocean’s edge is an experience no one should miss. On hot days the dry sand burns your feet and squeaks when you walk on it :) There are a myriad things to see and do. The sights, sounds and smells of the ocean are a feast for the senses…..except perhaps rotting seaweed and dead sea creatures….although I think I could enjoy even those right now, as I gaze outside at yet another cold and windy, snowy day.
And this winter, for me, it’s been a time to discover and get to know something about all those great new blogging friends out there!
I doubt I’ll get much time for blogging once the warmer weather comes :)
I sure would enjoy a stroll along Whale Beach right now on a lovely Aussie summer day……
I'd like to tag Chest of Drawers.....
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Fish and Chips
Wrapped in butchers paper and preferably eaten with a view of the ocean, and fresh lemon, of course. This is the best meal ever. Really! For those of you who haven’t yet tasted Australian fish and chips, put this on your list of "things I want to do before I die". Way back then they used newspaper for the final wrapping, as you’ll see in the pic. It was probably great insulation and no one seemed concerned about the germs :)
Vegemite on toast. I tried to make it look appealing, but....Maybe it will to the Aussies :)
On toast, Jatz crackers, Vita Wheats (remember squeezing the little vegemite worms through the wholes?) etc. Even Wheat Bix with butter and vegemite as a snack after school….that was my favorite. Americans just don’t get it. You have to start out eating it on toast fingers as a baby, and then grow up with it. A few years ago I found it here in our area in a specialty gift shop…..a very small jar, and expensive, of course, but some things are worth paying a bit more for.
I haven’t had good seafood since I left Australia, I’m sorry to say. Most of what I’ve eaten here is fairly tasteless, especially the prawns (shrimp). I’m sure it must taste better near some of the coastal regions, but here in the country it’s a sad situation (this is strictly my personal opinion). People around here seem to love the shrimp but I doubt they’ve ever tasted Myall River prawns (Port Stephens, NSW)!! My brother tells me they’ve been fished out. What a terrible loss!
Weekly lamb chops or a roast leg of lamb just doesn’t happen here. Occasionally I find it in the local grocery store but it’s very expensive. Until recently we could buy it from a local couple who raised lambs for meat, but they’ve retired now and given it up. We’ll have to find a new supplier. The meat is not generally a favorite in this country but our kids consider it a real treat to come home and have roast lamb. I guess that’s because they grew up with it.
These were one of Ross’ favorite meals when we lived in Oz. He cooked them once for Kylie and Andrew when I was in the hospital after giving birth to Kathy. I must interject that he is generally not the chief cook and bottle washer around here (in fact this is a rarity). He neglected to prick the skins before placing them under the broiler and they blew up….splattered all over the place, even the ceiling. The kids thought this was hysterical. It was the highlight of their time home alone with Dad and they still tell the story with glee :)
I love ginger snaps made with it. Molasses is NOT the same! When I was little I used to occasionally sneak a tablespoonful from the can when nobody was looking.
Passionfruit and mangos mostly. We can buy mangos in our local stores but they’re usually quite green, and when they finally ripen they’re not nearly as tasty as the Oz mangos. Passionfruit are just not found around here (well, they probably are somewhere....just not here in our area). Oh for a ripe passionfruit, spread over sliced bananas and topped with whipped cream. Mmmmm! I’d love a nice fresh pineapple too. They’re available here but they’re not as good and sweet.
A local Pie Shop!!
A trip to the local bakery….oh, what bliss! Meat pies, sausage rolls, lamingtons, vanilla slices, creamhorns and matchsticks are all things I loved as a child (and as an adult!).
Queensland Blue Pumpkins
We’ve found the squash that tastes the most similar is buttercup squash. We grow an abundant supply of it in our vegetable garden and freeze some for winter. But I really miss those delicious 'blues' baked with a leg of lamb, potatoes, peas and gravy. This was my mum's specialty. Mmmm, good!
I guess that’s enough for one post, lest I bore you all, if I haven’t already.
The other things I miss will be a subject for another post.
Now I'm hungry....I'd better go and cook dinner.
Saturday, February 18, 2006
Whenever I wear this pendant it makes me think of my 21st birthday. It was one of my favorite presents. I love the design and the color of the stone. It’s a locket, which opens to reveal a tiny picture of our family when the kids were quite young. Kathy, our youngest was about 3, Andrew 9, and Kylie 11.
When I wear the pendant to school, the kids, especially the kindergartners, always notice it, and ask me to open it and show them the picture inside.
Ms. Robyn, does this qualify as vintage?
Another favorite present, which has endured through the years is this Oroton wallet.
I’ve carried it with me in handbags for all these years and it still looks good. Most people in this country who notice it have never seen Oroton before. I’m sure they must have it over here, but maybe it was never as popular as it was in Australia back in the 60’s. I wonder if it still is popular in The Land Down Under. Oroton is made in Germany
In this country 21st birthdays are generally not such a big deal as they are in Australia, although I’m not sure whether they still have big celebrations for them in Oz these days. That’s a question I’ll have to ask my Aussie blog friends.
Graduation from high school is the big event celebrated here.
Does anyone else have a favorite 21st birthday present to show?
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
What were three things you wanted to be when you grew up?
1. An interior decorator
Ross was highly amused at this revelation. I think my style would be Country Clutter.
2. A Teacher
My mother said I didn’t have the patience. After raising 3 children (and a husband) I have learned patience!
3. A Nurse…..hey, there are some cute doctors out there!
You can relive one day from your childhood. Which one will it be?
Can’t I just add one more so I can take my computer???
You have to paint one quote on your kitchen wall. What is it going to be?
"Housework makes you ugly"
I don’t really believe this….I just think it’s funny
You are moving to the moon for one year and can only bring one flower with you. What kind will you bring?
(just in case they have plants up there that I need to identify)
3. Perfect Digital Photos in a Snap (have to learn how to use that camera properly).
4. Like Alice and ShellyC I’ll just have to take a large journal and a pen to record all those outerspace events.
5. And for pure entertainment value, the latest in the alphabet mystery series by Sue Grafton (she’d better have a new one out in time).
This is a totally unfair number because I’ll finally have time to read all those unread books on our shelves, and in the local library, and all those kids’ books in the library at school, and all those magazines, and………
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
That’s the camera in my hands. I was the ripe old age of 22. Ross was 21. Yes, I'm 10 months older. He thinks he's very funny when he calls me his 'old lady' :)
We were first introduced at the wedding of a couple (Pat & Alan) who were close friends of mine (and now ours), but that’s another story :)
Our courtship (such a quaint oldfashioned word) consisted mainly of about a million letters! Our wedding was in April, 1971.
I should add, for those of you who haven’t read my profile, that I was born in Australia and left that wonderful country shortly after our marriage, to come to the US at the tender age of 23. You can probably guess that I miss the land of my birth very much, even though I love this country with a passion too. America is a wonderful place to live! I feel I’ve had the best of both worlds. In Oz I lived at the beach and here I live in the country. Who could ask for anything more?
But oh, how I miss those magnificent Aussie beaches! They’re the best in the world. Well, the Aussies think so anyway (and they’re right mate!).
I am now an American citizen (so I can vote!!) but my heart will always be at least partly, in ‘the land of droughts and flooding rains’. I always cry when I hear that song....."I Still Call Australia Home". Getting a bit sentimental here!
Ross and I have used that faithful old Canon camera through all our years of marriage…..for weddings, and all kinds of memorable occasions.
It began acting a little unreliable a few years ago, (although it still works fine…a good cleaning and servicing did wonders) so Ross surprised me one Thanksgiving with a neat little Vivitar camera. It too has been great, and very reliable. I hope I’ll still take the time to use both of these cameras even though we now have the digital Canon Power Shot.
I had some fun with it today taking pics of the birds and the farm in the snow.
There's our barn for you again Alice!