1st Anniversary For Elise and Ralf

It’s hard to believe but today is the first anniversary of when Ralf choose Elise and came home to live with her.

It’s been a year of learning for both of them.

Learning to love each other…..that bit was easy.

Learning just who was boss…..Ralf won that one.

Learning that if Mum leaves she will come home ….that was the hardest for Ralf to adjust to.

Learning that no matter what they can both rely on each other.

Learning that if Ralf wants to sit next to you or on top of you – he will no matter what.

Learning that Ralf loves to “clean” the bedside table – especially if his Mum isn’t getting out of bed quick enough to suit him.  Click on the Picture to check out Ralf’s cleaning skills.

Learning that his extended family love him all the more just because Ralf is Ralf.

If you want to read the story of how a lost and lonely cat found his real home with  Elise you can find it here.

 

 

 

 

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School Started Today

Now not that I’m celebrating but like so many other parents I feel a slight tingle of joy at the thought of being home alone today with only the dogs and cat for company.

Alas that moment of joy ended when I realised Nicola wasn’t going to school as she was still sick – but more about that in a moment.

James was up and dressed and ready in double quick time this morning.

James

He said he wasn’t nervous.  He just wasn’t looking forward to the school work “cause they make you learn stuff” but was looking forward to the different classes and teachers and seeing his friends again.

James - 1st Day Secondary School

He might not have been nervous but his mother was.  Even after all these years the thought of Secondary School and the crap that happened when I was there still makes me weak at the knees but I know my boy will cope. He has grown in confidence ever since he broke his hand. Yes it took a fight to make him realise that he doesn’t have to put up with bullying or other kids picking on him. Don’t get me wrong – James thinks that fighting is wrong and a waste of time – but he has realised he isn’t as helpless as he thought he was.

So after a small bit of bribery to be allowed to take photos – can you tell he’s really not into the whole school photo thing – we were off to school. James will walk home he tells me so I’m going to have to wait for all the news of the day.

Now today of course, Nicola should also be starting school but she is in bed sick.  I took her to the Doctor on Tuesday as she was having pains in her side that had been niggling her for a fortnight.  I thought she had just pulled a muscle but the pain was getting worse so it seemed wise to see the Doctor.  Much to Nicola disgust she had a blood test and she is booked in for an ultra sound this afternoon.  The Doctor isn’t sure and it could be anything from a pulled muscle to appendix and we were told any changes to her go straight up to emergency.  Which of course on Wednesday morning we did as she was running a temperature and really didn’t look well. Another blood test (which Nicola really, really wasn’t happy about) and a long wait we were told that nothing had shown up from the day before’s blood test (they accessed the files) and nothing showed up on this  test.  So today Nicola is resting and we will have the ultra sound and see if that shows up anything.

Just to add a little more to the day’s mix I had an eye appointment this morning as I have found my sight to be deteriorating. Nothing serious but I do need my reading glasses for close work and now I have (when they arrive) glasses for long distance and driving as I  have been struggling for a while.

One Hour Later…………

Update:  Just got back from Nicola’s ultrasound. The clinic mucked up the appointment and told us it was at 5 pm and they had it down for 1.40 pm. Regardless it’s done and we will have the results and have a Doctors visit tomorrow at 4 pm so hopefully then we will know what’s happening.  I’m working on the theory that tomorrow is a whole new month (where did this month go so quickly) and that life will be on the up instead of the ups and downs we have had this month.

 

Blast, Bother and Darn It

After all the travelling and excitement of the last few days I really wanted a sleep in this morning. Unfortunately I had a Doctors appointment at 9.15 am which I just made by the skin of my teeth.  ;-)))

I had had a blood test at the beginning of the week – a routine one to check that my Vit D levels were up at normal range as they were way down three months ago. My blood pressure is fine but this test the Doctor decided to check my cholesterol levels as well.  Just routine she told me.

I must admit sitting in the waiting room feeling really smug that the results of these tests would be the same as all the others.  While I’m not super fit I do try to eat well – we won’t mention the biscuits and cakes and the fact we have real butter, cream and milk on the table – and I do try to make sure we have a very balanced diet. I’m not a fan of exercise and the idea of sweating out in a gym with lots of other people just brings me out in goose bumps.  I always fell like I’m on the move enough around home that I really don’t need that half hour  daily walk and that what I eat is burned off reasonably well. Ok I have put on weight but after three children, hormones, turning 45 and any other excuse I can think of – I thought that was pretty normal.

My world has come crashing down.

My Vit D levels are super good. Blood pressure is normal but my cholesterol!!!!  Ohh dear.  Double what it should be and it was the bad fats not the good ones.

While it isn’t a major problem –  YET  – I do have to address the issue, get more exercise, loose about 5 kg  and watch what I eat or I am at risk of a heart attack or stroke.  If in six months I haven’t lost the weight and reduced the cholesterol there is a good chance I will have to have medication for it – which I don’t want as I hate taking tablets.

In the end it was the idea of a heart attack or stroke that really woke me up to what I have been doing to myself. All these years I have had the attitude that if I ended up with some form of cancer – I could fight it.  There is a history of cancer in my family so it is something we are very aware of.  It would be the one disease that while it might eventually take me down it wouldn’t be without a massive fight with everything at our disposal.  The idea of having a heart attack or stroke really scares me. I remember seeing my Pa in hospital after his mild heart attack and it really brought home just how frail the human body is.  In the end he had cancer but it was the weakened heart that took him in the end and I don’t want to go that way.

So today I have started researching what I can and can’t eat.  I am going to put a list on the fridge of the “No” foods and work around that.  I have bought a heap of salad things – we were nearly out so we needed them anyway – and am looking into ways of incorporating more fruit into my diet. Here’s a confession.  I like salads and I like cooked veg but I’m not a huge fan of fruit something which is going to have to change.  We do eat meat and quite a bit of it so I am going to have to find ways to have no meat meals in our diet.  It’s hard to pass up a nice juicy steak, a lamb chop or a roast when we get meat from a farmer friend who looks after his stock, slaughters them humanly and we have seen the meat cut up and the care that is taken to remove most of the fat, but we do need to reduce the amount we eat.

Foods such as cream, butter, cheese and eggs are going to be limited. The eggs one is the hardest. I do love scrambled eggs with grated cheese in it and as there are nearly 10 dozen eggs in my fridge due to the girls laying well they do need using up.  The Doctor, when I told her of my dilemma, did suggest egg white omelets.  Now I’m sorry but I am of the belief that if God intended us to only eat the egg whites then he would have created chickens to lay eggs with only whites in them.  It seems just so disrespectful to only eat part of what a chicken has laid not to mention just plain revolting.  Potatoes are also on the limited list as is bread and no doubt there will be many more foods as well.

Some of you may be wondering just why we have cream, real butter and milk (ok that one is skim milk and from the supermarket because we don’t have a cow and can’t buy direct from the dairies), eggs and meat.  Many years ago when Nicola’s excema was really bad we simplified our diet to only plain meat (no preservatives), lots and lots of fruit and vegetables, no coffee or tea (for Nicola), limited fruit juices, butter – margarine was a definate no no, honey was allowed but jams or highly sweetened foods weren’t. It was in an attempt to try and find out what was causing her excema – which turned out to be totally different triggers but the “diet” was a good one.  Basic stuff, made from scratch and a whole lot cheaper than buying heavily processed foods.  We liked it and have generally stuck with it over the years.  Certainly we have more processed foods now than we used to but I still make most things from scratch and am going back more and more to that way of cooking.  Intrinsically it’s a good way to eat – but I have let the butter and cream creep into our diet far more than I should have or even realised.   By the way I have a real issue with margarine.  I eat it at Elise’s but that’s it. It’s not a “food” that I think in any way can be good for you and I much prefer the taste and texture of butter – even if it isn’t all that good for me.

So, as of today, our diet will change.  The family are sort of ok with it but I will not cook two different meals and then be tempted by what they are eating. Yes the Doctor told me to take it slowly – the exercise part I will – there’s no point rushing into that and hurting myself.  The food has to change. Luckily I nearly need to shop again so those items that aren’t good for us can be left off the list or only a few bought.  We will all benefit from a healthier diet although the thought of limited biscuits with my cups of tea is a bit hard to take but  I will be strong.

Hopefully there will be slow but sure progess in reducing the weight and the cholesterol. If there isn’t you will hear me screaming.

Freedom!!!

Yesterday James and I went to Bendigo by train. It was James’s first time on a train and he loved it. He kept raving about how comfortable it was.  How first class was so good to provide a fold down table that he could rest his lap top on so he could play games.  How it made it so much easier for me as I didn’t have to drive – well I wasn’t complaining about that – and at $29.00 for the two of us to go one way – that isn’t even as much as fuel and wear and tear on my car would cost me.

Elise picked us up at the station, we did some shopping, enjoyed a coffee then back to Elise’s for lunch. Mundane stuff but made nicer because we were together.  James’s appointment was at the Fracture clinic at 1.45 pm but we had been told to arrive a little earlier as we might get in sooner.  Shall I just say I’m glad we were amongst the earlier appointments as by the time we had been there an hour the line up at Reception was out the door, there were no chairs left and it was a good thing that some of the older people were in Wheel Chairs as at least they had a seat.

James had another xray then saw the Doctor who was lovely. You know you have a good Doctor when he introduces himself, shakes everyone’s hand and asks your names then proceeds to talk to James one on one without patronising him and even managed to share a joke or two with him – mainly about making sure he didn’t hit anyone and if he did make sure he didn’t break anything!!!  The Doctor was very pleased with how James’s hand had healed. The bone had regrown (it’s six weeks since the break happened) and although when James makes a fist, the pinky finger is slightly out of alignment with the rest of his fingers, he wasn’t worried.  As the Doctor said – “James is young and that will resolve itself in time.”  So we were discharged and not required to attend the clinic again and headed back to Elise’s so James could wash his hand (which after six weeks was decidedly revolting) before we took him to McDonald’s for a special treat.

A  bit more shopping where I managed to get the right size jars I wanted for the chutney’s and pickles I had been making as Christmas presents and we checked out the Kangaroo Flat Library where Elise joined up. James and I found plenty of books so even though Elise only wanted to borrow one book – she had to borrow four as we both wanted to have a good look at the books we had found.  Elise was very impressed with the library and in Bendigo all the libraries in that region are liked together so she can borrow from any one of them with just the one library card and can return her books to any one if she can’t get back to where she originally borrowed her books from.

A movie and into bed at a semi reasonable hour as we were all exhausted. This morning we headed home after breakfast at Macca’s cause Elise had forgotten to get Breakfast supplies in – well that was her excuse – and a quick side trip to Spotlight to get some wool for Mum and more sock wool for me. It was marked down to $4 a ball, compared to $11 normally, but I was restrained and only grabbed a couple of balls.  Elise wanted to come home and pick up the few bits and pieces she had left here and she was happy to bring us home and again it was nice not to have to drive.  She has just left to head back to Bendigo and Ralf, who no doubt by now, thinks he has been abandoned.

James is over the moon that he is now free of the cast. He can’t do any contact sports or even ball handling sports for the next six weeks – not that he does those anyway – and then he should be right. He tells me it feels really weird and that his arm is all “light” after having the cast removed. It was only a half cast so goodness knows what a full cast would have felt like….lol.

Life can now settle down. Only another week until both Nicola and James start school.  I picked up and paid for their school books on Tuesday – over a thousand dollars for books and fees – so much for a free education. The uniforms and shoes I had bought earlier which spread the expense a bit at least.

I think we are all going to kick back and relax this last week.  Nothing is planned. Instead we are going to enjoy the fact the broken hand saga is behind us, celebrate the final week of school and chill out and spend time together. With Nicola in Year 11 and James in Year 7 it’s going to be a busy year.

 

21 Years

Many, many years ago a boy and a girl met.  Actually the girl saw the boy walking down the church aisle after being baptised and thought he was pretty cute but then stopped herself as she knew he was younger than her and seeing someone else.  At the time the girl was also seeing someone.

Several months later, both the boy and the girl having split up from those persons they were seeing, started dating.

There was much opposition from the families of said boy and girl. His parents thought the girl wasn’t good enough. They still don’t.  Her parents weren’t impressed especially as the boy had been seeing their younger daughter and no the girl didn’t split them up.

The boy and girl both knew they were onto a good thing. There was trust and communication and friendship and most of all love.  Best of all the boy and girl worked well together on any projects they undertook.

Three years after they started dating the boy proposed.

It was really romantic.  “Suppose you better go and get an engagement ring” he said.

The girl, wanting a somewhat more romantic proposal than that, told the boy if he couldn’t propose properly then she wouldn’t be looking for anything.

The boy, knowing that the girl meant it, proposed properly although not on bended knee.  ; – (

Three months later the boy and girl were married.

Just twelve months after that wedding a baby girl was born, two and a half years later another baby girl.  Then the boy and girl – both slightly more mature by now – built a house.  That working together well paid off as they hung plaster, laid floor tiles, wired the house for electricity and did anything else they could to save money.

They had just moved into the house when the girl found she was pregnant again.  A baby boy was born, four years after the second daughter.

They boy and girl then went on to raise three beautiful children and have welcomed (over the course of many years) four much loved dogs and two cats, a guinea pig, numerous chooks and several fish and run their own business.

Today that boy and girl – though much more mature looking but who don’t act mature – celebrate their 21st Wedding Anniversary.

21st Wedding Anniversary Flowers

Ashley surprised me at lunchtime with this beautiful bouquet of flowers. He very rarely gives me flowers for two reasons. He says I have plenty in the garden and as I trained and qualified as a florist he never knows what I like….lol.

We aren’t doing anything special.  Sometime later in the year we will have a weekend away together. We enjoyed last years break so much we have decided to make it an annual event and Ashley can’t get away at this time of year.

Christmas 2012

Finally I have fast Internet again.  With everyone home over Christmas our Internet account had been given a fair old workout and as a result while we had a connection it was incredibly slow. It drove us nuts for a few days but then we got used to not being on the net and life moved on and it’s really quite surprising just how peaceful it is and how much you get done when the computer isn’t on.  I’m determined to limit my time on the net over the new few weeks in an attempt to work through the looooong list of “things I must do, must make or want to do or make”.  So far I have made a good start.   I am also brimming full of ideas for blog posts and have been making notes and taking photos as I get things done so hopefully the beginning of 2013 will be a far cry from the spasmodic posting of last year.

Now onto the fun stuff.

Christmas was amazing. Very quiet and very relaxed.

Opening Presents

Opening Presents.  Nicola, Mum and Elise in the background.

Mum came for lunch along with two very dear friends, Nanny Cate and Poppy Bill,  so it was a lively meal with lots of laughter and even discussions of Christmas’s past.  We don’t realise just how lucky we are these days.  Both Mum and Nanny Cate told stories of very limited Christmas’s but despite those limitations it was those Christmas’s that remained brightest in their memories.  They both said it wasn’t the gifts that they remembered – instead it was the love and company of extended family and the fun they had.

Ajax - in the Christmas Spirit

Ajax doesn’t care what’s inside the present – he just loves tearing the paper apart.

This year the children decided that we would do a Kris Kringle and each of us had a budget of $50 each and only had to buy or make for one person.  It wasn’t bad but we all agreed that it really wasn’t us.  Not that we all wanted lashings of presents but it just made it hard when we saw or wanted to make something that we thought would suit a particular person but that wasn’t our person to have a gift for.  Personally I enjoyed the previous year so much more with our handmade Christmas even though it was a lot of work, I found it the most satisfying and I think so did the children as there are rumours already of gifts they want to make.

Elise's Christmas Table Centre

Elise’s table centres.  Fowlers Vacola Jars with crochet doileys tied around them and gold candles sitting inside them.  They looked amazing and are still out on display.

By Christmas afternoon Ashley and I were exhausted so a traditional two hour nap was called for.  The evening meal was leftovers and a very quiet wind down to Christmas Day.

Blowing Bubbles

James with his Bubble Maker in the Pergola.

Boxing Day was very quiet. Elise left early to head back to Bendigo with Ralf. She didn’t have any work so decided to go back and start packing up her house as she had signed the lease on a new flat just five minutes up the road from where she is now.

James and I headed off to Bendigo Thursday (the day after Boxing Day) for his appointment at the Fracture Clinic at Bendigo Base.  They didn’t need to do anything with his hand thank goodness.  The Surgical Registrar said it was fine but he wasn’t happy with the cast the hospital here had put on James’s arm and hand. Instead of his hand being in alignment with his arm it was on a 45 degree angle….so now he has a new half cast on his arm which is (we thought) securely wrapped with all the appropriate bandages. Unfortunately the Plaster Lady didn’t take into account a very active 13 year old who loves to spend time in the shed with Dad and both the cast and the bandages are looking very worse for wear. I was at fault too. I should have known how grotty James can get and should have put a sock over his cast but didn’t think of it until he came inside with grease marks on it…sigh. Goodness knows what the clinic will say when we go back on January 23rd.  The best news is however James is in no pain what so ever and while he won’t have an obvious knuckle (even though it’s still there and functioning normally)  when he clenches his hand – not that he is worried about that – he at least didn’t need surgery.

New Years Eve rolled around before we knew it…………not that we were doing anything anyway.  For the first time in years I saw in the New Year mainly because I was knitting socks for Ashley (a future post) and we were watching old episodes of “Grand Designs Australia” where people could spend three million dollars on a home and not even blink.  Crazy stuff.  Nicola and James didn’t see in the New Year at all – both were sound asleep long before Midnight, but Elise did see some of the fire works in Bendigo as she stayed with a couple of friends and they watched movies, talked, ate and watched more movies.

After all the excitement and “goings on” as Grandma would have said, it’s been nice to sit back and relax under the air conditioning. It’s stinking hot with quite strong winds and the garden is suffering dreadfully.  I’m so glad I cleaned up most of the vege garden and only have a few plants to see to.  No bush fires here but my heart goes out those those who are affected.

There is lots of sewing and crafting and crochet happening here and even a bit of tidying up in the sewing room.  This year is a year to reduce, reuse and recycle much of my craft supplies and I am already seeing a real trend in the up coming blog posts I am planning, not to mention the slightest reduction in the fabric stash….lol.

 

Grade Six Graduation

Last night was the Grade 6 Graduation.

The evening went off very smoothly.  The speeches were heartfelt and thoughtful, if not a tiny bit long winded, the children looked amazing and many had gone to a great deal of effort to dress for the occasion.

Graduating
James being handed his certificate by the Principal – his teacher is behind them.

On a side note my mother taught craft to James’s teacher’s father when he was a boy which is more years than any of us care to remember… just goes to show there are people who know you everywhere.

The hall was packed with parents, grandparents and siblings which considering the school hall has no air conditioning made it a little warm but we all survived.

James was very glad when it was all over – he really doesn’t enjoy being the centre of attention even if it is just for a fleeting moment.

James and Curtis
James and his mate Curtis. 

So the evening was over. Today we have the Grade 6 Break up – we are only going for lunch – a sausage sizzle in the park.  Tomorrow is the Peer Mediators lunch then the year, and Primary School, are over for my boy and this family. I feel a tiny bit melancholy that these days have finished. Despite all that has happened our relationship with the school and many of the staff has been a good one but life moves on and new and exciting things are just around the corner for James.  Secondary school will hopefully give him more room to grow and develop skills in areas that he is truly interested in.  Apparently Tech/wood work was a firm favourite when he had the two days orientation at the college the other week.

As for seeing the Orthopaedic Surgeon – I rang the Fractures clinic late yesterday afternoon. They still didn’t have the paperwork but they did say it took 24 hours.  There is only one clinic a week and that was the day James broke his hand – the next one isn’t until after Christmas – possibly Boxing Day or the day after but whether he will get into that one remains to be seen. I did speak to the Liaison Nurse regarding his hand. We just keep it elevated, wrapped and wait. She said the bone won’t even begin to mend for at least two weeks so there is time and even if it’s a month before we see the surgeon they can still manipulate it without any problems.  I’m crossing my fingers and toes that we get in sooner rather than later.  James is in more pain now than he was when he first broke his hand but I’m guessing that’s because the swelling is going down. We are keeping an eye on it and he is having pain medication when he needs it.  If necessary we can go back to Emergency and get them to look if the pain suddenly spikes or he is really uncomfortable.

Thank you all for your lovely thoughts and get well wishes for James. He does appreciate them – apparently it’s easier to be the centre of attention when no one is actually looking at you….lol.