Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Views from my Windows

This morning is cold here, and rather windy.  I have been pondering my plans for my gardens.  I quickly snapped a photo out my front door, one out the kitchen window and one from the family room turned bedroom of Mr10 and Miss13 when she is here.

This first photo is the view out of my kitchen window,,,,,not very pretty right now I know.  The view we have right into our neighbours house bothers me,,,,ALOT.  These neighbours are on the "feral" side to say the least.  They say you can't pick your neighbours and they are right.  While they do at least say hello, they are loud and do nothing but argue and their house is a total mess to look at from the outside.  They show no respect for anyone with the son coming home in a large truck which he reverses up into their yard, leaving huge chunks out of the lady across the road's lawn in the process due to the wet weather we have had.  Our plans for this area are to build a verandah right the way along here and to add some sort of trellis to block the view.,,,,,,I can't wait!!!!  This will also provide us with a nice outdoor entertaining area, at the moment we have a small alfresco area which you see here and that is it.

Here is the view from the front door.  Our house is built on a slight rise, which has made getting in and out of the car rather interesting lol.  You can't tell in this photo but the driveway has quite a slope on it......sadly our garage is too full to fit the car into it (all the more incentive to restart my selling on Ebay and Quicksales lol!!)  The front yard has a couple of plants - geraniums and a daisy or two in front of our bedroom window and that is it.  I would love to plant my lemon myrtle tree out here but not sure if it would be best left in a big pot instead to contain its growth better.  I really need to plant something in front of our bedroom window though as it gets the afternoon sun and I think it will get very hot in summer.  I am striving to keep mainly productive plants in this yard so that I can get the most out of our available space.  I love the smell of lemon myrtle!!

Here is the photo out of our family room/bedroom window.  The tree on the left is at the edge of the yard and then there is another identical one over behind that yellow flowering bush you can see.  Our aim is to get rid of the plants you see and replace them with our fruit trees which you can just see in the pots along the fence.  There is a guy two doors down with fruit trees along a similar length of his fence and he has approximately 8 fruiting trees.  I have 10 fruit trees so am hoping to do the same with an extra one on each side fence.  We also have some feijoa trees which I may put along our side strip in front of the house.

Our greyhound, Shadow, thought it just might be a suitable time to come inside......sadly she was mistaken lol.  Today is cold in the wind but she has a nice sheltered area just there and the sun keeps coming out so she can enjoy the sun for a little while I think.

See the blue tarp to the right of this picture.  The last two days I have folded it and put on the cupboard you see on the right,,,,,,each day she has stolen it and dragged it around the yard.  The thing under her rear paw is a carpet piece which is supposed to live as a door mat just in front of the door,,,,this too has been dragged around the yard, at least this time she has bought it back in the right vicinity I suppose lol.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Melbourne,,,,,a city of Markets

Well another weekend has passed by and we discovered another Market.  Who knew Melbourne had so many markets!!!  Coming from Adelaide where markets just don't seem to survive, the list of markets to visit here is huge by comparison.

The market we discovered this week was the Dandemong Market.  We had no idea this one existed until we chatted to a lady who lives a couple of houses down from us (she has a couple of dogs,  one of which, named Chocolate, seems to be in love with my Hubby lol so we have no choice but to say hello if Chocolate gets his way!).  She has been living here for 2 years after moving from another Melbourne area.  She recommended this market for its cheap veggies and meat.

So on Saturday we made our way over to Dandenong which is only about a 20 minute drive from here.  We weren't disappointed.  While we found the fruit and veggies to be a little on the hit and miss side unless you are wanting to buy by the box, the meat was very reasonably priced indeed.  (The boxed fruit was incredible value, they had boxes of oranges for $5, bananas by the box were $20 from memory and apples were $8 and this is just from what I can remember.  I told Hubby that once we are a little more settled in I will buy a box of apples and make a stack of apple pies for the freezer and a box of oranges to juice/make cordial up from).

We stocked up on a bit of meat for the freezer.  We bought:

1kg of Satay Chicken Sausages ($6)
1kg of Tomato and Onion Chicken Sausages ($6)
2kgs of Pork Chops ($14)
2kgs of Lamb Chops ($11)
3kgs of Beef Mince ($12)

So far we have only used the mince and I have found it to be of great quality.  It isn't all fatty like alot of  the cheap mince meat you can often find,  we made a Shepherds Pie and it turned out nice and firm with very little fat to be found.  We also made up a meatloaf and that also had very little fat come out of it.  (Yes we had a very beef orientated weekend lol, normally we do try to spread our red meat consumption out a little more than that!!).

Yesterday we were going to go and have a look at the Caribbean Markets in Scoresby (I think about half hour from here) but decided the kids were a little marketed out.  I love markets but the kids have their limits and I think being in crowds on Saturday with all the fruit vendors yelling out their prices was little excessive for them.  We decided to leave the Caribbean Markets until next weekend.  The Caribbean Market does have things for the kids to do though so I think they will like that one and I can't wait to go there, I remember going there as a kid when my brother lived over here and I loved it,,,,hopefully it hasn't changed too much!!

So instead of hitting the road yesterday, we had a quiet day at home.  The morning was very lazy, followed by finally having reasonable weather to get the grass mowed, it looks so much nicer now!!  I began attacking a very unruly bush which has made hanging washing on the line very difficult.  Now at least I can almost walk to the clothes line without having turn myself into a twiggy stick lol.  We put our fruit tree pots out into the spots where they will eventually (probably next year lol) get planted.  I am actually wondering whether or not we will bother to put up our trampoline or not.  We have a huge trampoline.  Our yard isn't tiny but it isn't huge either so the trampoline will look very imposing out there, we shall see......

We went for a bike ride (kids)/walk the dogs (hubby and I) around the local area yesterday.  We were pleased to find a couple of small parks we didn't know about.  They are definitely not large but they are quite nice and break up the house upon house effect that is going on around here.  The park at the end of our street is the nicest though as it has a large area for the kids to kick a ball, a small playground and a lake.

Well I must get back to organising.  I am just a little over it all but the house isn't going to organise itself unfortunately!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Trying to settle into our new life

First of all, let me start by saying a big thank you to those of you who commented on my Mum's post on Monday, the messages were heart warming :)  Life is still off kilter for me at the moment, I can't seem to find a rhythm in my days at all.

I knew this move was going to be hard, but dealing with Mum's death has just made it all so much more difficult.

I am missing the kids we had to leave behind so much. We call every couple of days so the younger boys can talk to Dad and I can talk to my older boys but kids, boys in particular it seems, appear to just go mute when handed a phone.  I swear sometimes the conversation can be like pulling teeth.  You would think nothing has happened over the course of the last day or two in their lives.  When we were living under one roof, they would talk non stop when school finished,,,,,now it is as though nothing at all has happened between phone conversations.

The new house, well it is smaller than our old one and I am finding it hard to fit our stuff into it, especially as I am striving for a less cluttered look.  I really need to get back into some Ebay selling to help cull the contents of the house I think.

I am longing to get some pictures up on the walls, but can't decide where/how I want them displayed.  We have limited wall space here and all the pics we had hanging in the old house just aren't going to fit,,,,,,,,although I have considered just filling every space with photo frames lol, kinda like a whole house collage effect???

We have plans for the outside area.  Since the kids are getting older and there is a park just a short walk down the road, I would like to utilise our back yard space predominantly for growing veggies.  We want to build some raised garden beds and plant our fruit trees which we brought with us down along the back fence.  We are envisioning blocking the neighbours off with our trees,,,,,first of all though we have small trees/shrubs which need to be evicted from the yard!  Since we have been here, the weather hasn't been kind.  There has been a considerable amount of rain and we can't get into the back yard to get it mowed.  The dogs, well the greyhound in particular, have been using the yard as a racetrack and as it is so wet, it has turned into an absolute mudpit.  We have discovered that the yard gets very squishy and takes a long, long time to dry out.  The soil here is very dark and I am guessing it is very clay like, going by the way it holds the moisture (I haven't actually gotten my hands dirty yet to see what type of soil we actually do have yet lol)

I do quite like the house though, I like the layout of it and I can envision how I sort of want it to look.  I just seriously need to work on the clutter issue.  I am a bit of a hoarder by nature.  I don't hoard rubbish but I am overly sentimental and find it hard to part with keepsake type of things,,,,,naturally though when there are 6 kids belongings to deal with, that can lead to alot of keepsakes!   Hubby is more the "that might come in handy" type of guy.  This guy has so many darn leads and cables it is just ridiculous!  But I guess I can't talk because I tend to hoard crafty stuff so I try not to nag about his leads too much lol.

So far, on the three weekends we have been here, we have explored the Melbourne Markets (hoping to get back there this weekend to do a little freezer filling with some of the meat that they were selling at very reasonable prices!), the Melbourne Aquarium - the boys enjoyed this, I particularly loved the penguins!, and last weekend we went for a little car ride out to Drouin and the surrounding areas and discovered a wonderful bakery.  We had lunch there and the boys were dying to get a cake but we were so full after lunch that we left cakeless promising them we would stop at another bakery,,,,,,,,,,how typical that the way we came back home again contained no bakeries!!  We promised to go back to Drouin again next weekend just for a cake lol.

I will leave you with a few pics we took at the Aquarium the other week.  When the house is looking a little more presentable I will share some photos lol.

Spot the child

And again.....

We called these little guys the "Three Wise Frogs",,,,would have been better if they turned around lol

The size of this manta ray was just enormous, totally amazing

I apologise, I cannot get this one to turn!!

I could have watched these guys all day, they were just adorable

Monday, August 20, 2012

R.I.P. MUM I love you.....

I return to my blog with a heavy heart.  My darling Mum passed away on August 9 and to say it has been a hard time since then is an understatement.  We got our internet up and running on August 8 and I was so excited to be able to catch up on blogs and let you have a sneak peek at our new house but sadly on the morning of August 9 I received the tragic news that my Mum had passed away just a few hours earlier.  This lead to a whirlwind of activity, with having to organise a trip back to Adelaide and arrange for someone to come and feed our animals for us.....no small task when you have only been in the State for 2 weeks and don't know anyone.  Thankfully one of the guys that Hubby works with lives only 10 minutes away and put his hand up to help us out.  We were having issues with our house(s) settlements but that got pushed to the back of our minds as we concentrated on the task at hand.  I promise to share our house news with you very soon, but today, I want this to be about my Mum.

My mum has been in a nursing home for a little over 3 years due to the cruel condition, Dementia.  When I last saw her, on the Monday just before we moved to Melbourne, she was her normal (well normal for her given her condition), self.  I did notice that she was a little chesty and coughed occasionally but this is nothing out of the ordinary given it is winter and she is in a nursing home, many of the other people also had colds etc.  As usual the conversation was hard as she was at the stage where she didn't really contribute to conversations as you could talk to her and she sometimes spoke back but nothing really made sense any more if you know what I mean.  As I left, I had a sense of sadness, wondering if this might be the last time that I would see her.  Normally I didn't feel this way when I left but I put it down to the fact that we were moving and I wouldn't be back to see her for a couple of months.  I paused briefly after kissing her goodbye to take  a photo.  If I had known I would have made sure that I took a photo of the two of us together.

We moved on July 26 and was here until Saturday August 4 when we got a call from my brother that night, saying that Mum had been admitted to hospital with pneumonia.  My heart leapt into my chest as I automatically thought the worst.  Being elderly and with dementia, the word pneumonia is scary, but the doctors had assured my brother that it was only mild and she would be ok.  I called back on the Monday and my brother said that he had just called the hospital and they said she had eaten and was doing okay.  Well imagine my shock when the following day, I received a phone call from my Mum's doctor that had been seeing her a number of years, predominantly for her diabetes, saying that he felt she had entered the final stages of dementia and her days may well be numbered.  He told me that she was beginning to refuse to eat and this was a sign that the dementia had taken over and he asked what we would want to do.  I was shocked, one night I am told she will be okay, the next I am told she is going to die sooner than we thought.

Mum had signed a DNR (do not resuscitate) form a few years earlier and I knew her wishes were always to not have any elaborate measures taken to keep her alive should it come to that.  I told the doctor this and he said that the only option they had anyway was to put a feeding tube in and that these were not very successful very often anyway.  I called my brother in Adelaide before the doctor could call him (my brother was meant to be his first call but he had accidentally rang my number instead).  My brother said that he would wait for the doctor's call.  He called me after talking to the doc and said that he was going in for a meeting the following day but he said not to worry as the doc said it could take weeks, it wasn't going to happen overnight.

Well the next day was Wednesday August 8.  My brother went for the meeting and came out devastated.  The doctor he saw was a different Registrar and she told him that it would most likely only be a matter of days until she passed away.  He immediately went to see her and he said he was shocked by her condition.  He had seen her Sunday night and he said the change in her in 3 days was terrible.   He asked for her to be moved back to the nursing home and this took place at approximately 6pm Wednesday.  He said her colour was pretty bad when he saw her, just very pale.  She didn't open her eyes at all but kept saying "help me" but wasn't able to say what she needed help for.  I am glad I wasn't there at that time, as I know I wouldn't have coped with that too well.  I felt and still feel terrible that I wasn't there to at least hold her hand and support my brother.  That night I was trying to work out a way to get back to Adelaide.  I was in turmoil and didn't quite know what to do.  I didn't want to tell the kids as I didn't want them to see her like this.  I didn't know what to do as they had only just started their new school and had both in fact been off sick for this week, Mr12 had Monday and Tuesday off and Mr10 had been off this Wednesday and was looking like he wouldn't be at school on the Thursday either.  I couldn't really leave the kids here with Hubby either though as he had only been in his new job for 6 days and he was working long hours trying to learn the ropes.

Thursday morning, after a sleepless night, I got Mr12 up for school and Hubby was organising himself for an overnight trip to Sydney for work.  He was due to catch a plane at 5pm.  He took Mr12 to school and was then off to work.  I wasn't expecting to see him again until about 8.30pm the following night.  I walked back into the house to find a missed call from my brother on my mobile.  I tucked Mr10 up on the lounge with a glass of  juice and then was about to call my brother when he called me back.  He had the news that Mum had already passed at about 5am that morning.  I held it together not wanting to upset Mr10 and called Hubby who promptly returned home.  He cancelled his trip to Sydney and then he went to pick up Mr12 from school.  We shared the news, the kids were devastated.  Mr12 had only asked me on the weekend how long it would be until they got to visit Nanna again.

We organised to stay with  my brother and we left here on Monday morning August 13.  Mum's funeral was on Wednesday August 15.  It was very hard having to tell our other kids on the phone as they are still back in Adelaide.  I helped my brother do the final arrangements for the funeral and I wrote a eulogy for her.  I accompanied my brother to the funeral home the morning of the funeral to do the final identification check.  I felt I needed to see her.  I saw my Dad and my gorgeous baby Joshua just before their funerals and while it is not a nice thing to do I feel it does give closure, particularly with my Mum as it was all feeling very surreal at that point.  I guess since I wasn't here when it happened and because it all happened so fast, part of me didn't truly believe it.  I amazed myself at how strong I was able to be though.  I guess finally she  looked at peace, after years of looking at her and feeling guilty for putting her into a nursing home, finally she was set free of the dementia and free of the restrictions her body had placed on her.

I am sorry for making this so long but I feel the need to give my Mum a post of her own.

Here is the eulogy I wrote for Mum's funeral:


As a kid I remember Mum and Dad never had a lot of money but they always made me feel loved.  Mum and Dad always strived to keep our family together.  My earliest memories are of trips to Queensland to visit Dean and Karen and to Melbourne to visit Lee and Rae.  Every Saturday dinner was spent with either Mum, Dad and I visiting Allen and Lynn or them visiting us and I also have memories of spending time at Kingsley’s house too. 

When I was a kid, mum was very involved at my primary school, listening to kids read or helping out with various activities.  She loved being involved with the school, she even got into the act and dressed up as witch at one school event!

Being older parents by the time I came along, Mum and Dad had to deal with the music of the 80’s at a time when I am sure they would have rather listened to their older style of music rather than Culture Club, Wham or Michael Jackson.  I remember mum’s favourite line when it came to me and my loud music……it was “Can you turn that music down, I can’t turn my hearing aid off like your Dad does you know!” and it was true, that is exactly what Dad used to do, as my music volume got louder his hearing aid got turned off.  Mum just had to put up with it.

I think the two things that stick in my mind about mum in my younger years was her passion for baking and gardening. 

She dragged me around plant nurseries many, many times much to my horror as a child.  She also loved the floral displays at the Royal Adelaide Show and would spend as long as she could there ooohhhhing and aaahhing at each flower or so it seemed to me.  Even in the last few years living in her unit she was determined to get certain colour petunias etc to go in her pots at the front of the house.  Even though this used to frustrate me at the time when I was trying to find the right colours, I can look back now and laugh about how particular she was when it came to getting her garden right.

With her baking, well she had her specialties which would each be made for different occasions.  For any parties that came up I remember the endless trays of cream puffs, chocolate snowballs and bumblebees, she would make dozens of these things!  I can still vividly remember the day of Lee and Rae’s engagement party, Mum making cream puffs and the cream curdling as it was so hot.  She would send Dad off to the shop to get more cream but it curdled yet again.  I don’t think I had every heard Mum swear until that day!  Her boiled fruit cake was the best and always seemed to turn out perfect, something I definitely can’t seem to make happen myself, even with her recipe!  Then each winter the home made apple pies would appear, oh yum.  I remember how she would always try to make sure she had apple pie for Allen when he came over.  No school fete was ever complete without Mum churning out dozens of toffees in little patty pans.  She used to make several batches so that there were varying shades of toffee available, each topped with hundreds and thousands.

Mum, you were always adamant that you wouldn’t go into a nursing home but I guess life never quite goes as planned and we had to move you into Bupa.  This was something that we, as a family, struggled with immensely.  We are so sorry that we had to go against everything you wanted and move you into the nursing home but at the end of the day, we did it because we loved and cared about you and wanted you to be safe.  The last 3 or so years have been hard.  It has been so hard watching the dementia take over your mind and body and losing the part of you that made you who you were, our Mum.  Up until the end we still got glimpses of you to let us know that you were still there but we all know that living like this was never what you wanted from your life.  Now you have now moved on to a better place.  You are reunited with Dad, Auntie Bette, Uncle Alby, Joshua and all our other loved family members who have passed before you.  Thank you for being a terrific Mum, Nanna and Grandma to us all and our children, you will be forever in our hearts.

Mum we all love you and will always miss you. Take it easy on the other side and like you said to me every night of my childhood “Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite!”

Mum and Dad in their younger years
Mum Dad and I on their cruise to Japan - I had my 3rd birthday on the ship
Mum striking a pose in the late 80s
Mum Hubby and I at our wedding almost 5 years ago

Mum last Christmas

Mum, I hope you know how much I love you and I sincerely hope that you realised this over the last few years in particular.  I know a nursing home was never what you wanted and I know that living out your days like you did, was also never on your agenda for life.  Forgive me for forcing the nursing home issue with you and forgive me for those times when I didn't have the strength to make it in to visit you as regularly as I wanted.  Seeing your mind being taken over by the dementia was so hard and I had to limit the kid's visits too because losing their Nanna that they knew and loved was so hard on them.  When you were unable to hold a conversation any more, that was so hard for the kids and so I did hesitate to bring them up to visit you, maybe that was wrong, I don't know.  What I do know is that you were a wonderful Nanna to my kids and they couldn't have asked for a better one.
Rest In Peace Mum, you will always be with me, I love you xxxxx