"She seemed to come suddenly upon happiness as if she had surprised a butterfly in the Winter woods"
(edith wharton)

Sunday, 28 February 2010

spending time with my girls

dutch husband went off on a ride into the country side for the day..and I spent time with my girls

[and if you would like to see the girls in action..they are movie stars on youtube: my girls on youtube ]

I did try to take a photo of Pearl while she was laying an egg, but she flapped her wings and got most indignant about being on show, so I left her in peace.

I spent time giving my lavender a hair cut [i tend to be quite particular when pruning my lavender.. I do it stem, by stem. in a meditative way.. quietening my spirit as I do so. the lavender seems to thrive on this treatment, rewarding me often, with flower spikes aplenty] I also spent a few hours, feeding and mulching my apple trees in readiness for autumn. I love this time of year. it is most probably my favourite season... what is yours?

Saturday, 27 February 2010

not much ado about anything

[I wake to this view every morning ~ you can see the valley filled with mist]

a very quiet day for me [dutch husband had a flea market in our front yard.. selling off years of collectables, I stayed away from that.. I cannot stand the wheeling and dealing that goes on] .. I mostly spent time in the garden.. except for the one time, when I just sat and cried. not that I am being negative about all of this lump thing, no. it is more that the whole situation is overwhelming..

anyhow, I had good company while I gardened. a magpie kept me company most of the day. the poor thing has something wrong with one of its legs. it limps when it walks. however, that did not stop it from hopping quickly when I shared my muffin with it.

Friday, 26 February 2010

Dr. French.. I love the name..

the first appointment over and done.
I have breast calcifications. a few very small spots.
On Monday afternoon, I am going to Westmead clinic to have a mammotone biopsy where they take samples of the calcifications to see if they are cancerous. [this will hurt.]
then we go from there. I now have my own breast cancer nurse who I can call if I have fears or questions. I have her mobile number. which actually does put my fears at rest to a certain extent.
I asked Dr. French if it is cancer. he cannot say yes or no until he gets the results back next week
FACT: 80% of calcifications ARE NOT cancer. I have a one in five chance of these lumps being cancerous. which are very good odds

[at the moment, I wish I could lose myself in this street scene somewhere in Paris.. much like Mary Poppins did in the chalk pavement drawings.]

FACT: I am still bloody scared. I am still trying desperately hard to stay in the present moment and stop my mind from galloping into the Land of Whatifs...
[thanks so, so much for your continuing prayers, thoughts, comments and constant support.. I need you all more than ever at the moment. you are all my very own angels!]

Thursday, 25 February 2010

time worn hands

this afternoon, I had a nap. then I sat and read Under the Tuscan sun, trying to get my mind of tomorrow's appointment with the breast specialist. being very much like an ostrich, putting my head into the sand, by escaping to Italy via the book...snuggling under a blanket, trying to take away the inner cold. yes, I am scared. as I read, my mind started to wander as it does tend to do.

[this is my hand, worn from working in my garden. worn just like the wedding ring that is on my hand. aged & worn from time and use. and I love it]

I looked down at my hands and noticed that i had old lady hands. you know, those crepey looking hands that old ladies develop with age. they have a certain took me aback and at first I felt a little disappointed that my hands looked so old, [why is it that I don't hesitate to love and adore and even be passionate about old furniture and other such stuff, but I find it difficult to love and embrace my aging self?]
then remembered that these are the hands that lovingly tend my garden. they are workers hands. I noted to self that i must make the effort to massage more hand cream into them.. they reminded me of my nan. They reminded me that I come from a long line of strong, tough women. women who have faced all kinds of things during their lives and I am part of that.... I am still scared, but I know I am in the company of strong women. I will face whatever comes my way. with acceptance and love. it has been said, that it is all about love...every single thing, the good and the not so good, is all about love.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

a wander up and down Katoomba st.

what to write about today? nothing came to mind..
I had an appointment with my herbalist and had half an hour to kill, so I walked up & down the main street of Katoomba and snapped a few photos.. looking very much like the tourists that surrounded me.
Katoomba is a mecca for tourists.. they all travel from all over the world, to see the famous Three sisters at Echo Point, which i believe is one of the most sacred sites of the world.

I thought I might share a few photos from my wandering...

Katoomba street is full of coffee shops, cafes and other outside eateries. The Pomegranate is just one and they serve freshly squeezed orange juice which is to die for, really.

not Abbey Rd, no. just a pedestrian crossing at the top of Katoomba st.. looking onto an old building which now houses a junk shop

local artists paint murals on the brick side wall of many of the buildings.. this one is a reproduction of an old photo taken at Katoomba Falls in earlier days.

not quite a french flower market but these flowers caught my eye as I walked up the hill.

this is where we buy our wines usually. they have many fine wines from wine producing areas in NSW.

the bus stop outside the Carrington Hotel.. a famous landmark which you can see peeking out in the background.. Dutch husband and I love this place alot.. we even stay there every now and then. another time, i will take you there

many of the buildings that dot the street are Art Deco style.. slowly, slowly they are being restored

[just a few snapshots taken in one of my favourite towns, not far from Inglewood]

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

talking 'bout last night

seeing AC/DC in concert.
I can now cross this off my bucket list. .something that i had wished for & my wish comes true... and the saying: 'be careful what you wish for' makes a whole lotta sense
as you can see I was in the mosh pit..
there is much that I could say to describe the whole experience but I won't. in fear of sounding ungrateful for seeing them.

and proof that I went to the concert.
once upon a time, I would have saved this memento. i would have tucked it into my memory box..
do you have any tokens from concerts in your youth? or mementos saved from past times?

Monday, 22 February 2010

voices of the angels.

last night I dreamed of Angels. they told me I was going to live til I was 83. do the Angels ever speak to you?

[tonight I go to see AC/DC in Sydney..which is not quite the music of Angels]

Sunday, 21 February 2010

we all dream, we all have wishes & everything has a story

[these pegs are not originally from Inglewood, they have lived here for just on 10yrs. before that? I don't know. I bought a tin of them in a junk shop, long forgotten. do they carry the memory of where they have lived?]

I have a thing about old wooden clothes pegs. I also have a thing about wooden spoons. I love the feel of them against the skin of my hand, as I hold them I wonder about the woman who owned them, what were her passions, her loves, her wishes and her dreams. I feel a connection with a woman unknown and long gone from Earth.
these pegs are not elegant, but simple. is there such a thing as simply elegant? if so, that is exactly the words that I would use to describe the pegs.

do you have something similar that whisks you back to days gone by? something that you touch and you begin to wonder about its story?

[if you would like this collection of 6 simply elegant pegs from 'beyond' Inglewood.. all you have to do is tell me, here in a comment & I will pick a name from a hat [vintage of course!]. this is my way of paying forward all the lovely comments and support over the past week]

Saturday, 20 February 2010

ordinary things that make life seem normal

[every night after dinner, dutch husband makes me a cup of tea. a ritual that has happened for over 20yrs.]

you know how sometimes, just one thing stands out from an ordinary day? a fleeting moment when time stands still.. and you are in a frozen vacuum? it happened like this:
last night, I got into bed, pulling up the quilt up to my chin, [to snuggle like when I was a child, the quilt protecting me from whatever monster I was afraid of at that moment]... the breeze of that action made the butterfly string over my bed, to flutter.. reminding me of Daisy. those butterflies were telling me that everything is going to be ok.. I lay for ages, mesmerized, just watching them move until they came slowly to stop, then turned over and cuddled into Dutch husband. the warmth of his body wrapping me into a safe and protected cocoon.

Friday, 19 February 2010

not good news week..

today I received a phone call from my Dr. I have a suspicious lump. the C letter has marked me again. to tell the truth I am in shock and numb. Next week I have an appt with a top breast specialist connected to the Breast Cancer institute of NSW to see what treatment I will need to have. They have not said it is cancer but they have suggested it could be. like I said I am in total shock and I am scared. what does one do when this happens again? how do I stop my mind from galloping away? trying to think positive but all I want to do right now is lie on Earth and cry my heart out. please, please hold my hand. be there for me.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

the sacred in my simple

this morning when i woke up, the sun was struggling to come through the clouds.. kind of mirroring how I was feeling. a little apprehensive with the events of the coming day.

gardenias picked from my garden. I have quite a few bushes in my little courtyard and the whole garden is perfumed by them at this time of year...

I started to wash up, trying to still the fear inside. trying to stay in the moment and not gallop into the Land of Whatifs..... then the text messages started to come on my phone

'hope the tests go good today, I will be thinking of you' ~ Caine
' mum, I love you!' Louisa
'good luck today' ~ Sophie

then Joe arrived home with a loaf of organic spelt and made me a simple egg sandwich for lunch.
in my world here at Inglewood, I am surrounded by angels. angels in the shape of my children... that is all one can ask for, is it not? [and dutch husband of course, but we all know he is my absolute guardian angel]

today I had tests done on the breast lump and it was not found! after a harrowing 40mins or so of the nurse going in and out with my scans.. Dr requiring even more.. me nearly on my knees in the room praying while I waited. topless. nurse coming back in.. 'we need another, there is a lump we want to take a closer look at just in case' [just incase? I thought to myself at this stage]... by this time my blood pressure must have been rising.. and the 'oh you have had a lump before.. and cancer too? - well with that history we must make sure that there is nothing sinister going on' [going on? thought to myself.. what the hell does that mean?]
after 4 scans, they finally got what they needed.. I still don't have all results back yet, but no biopsy had to be done so that is a good thing. .

thankyou for all your comments and emails.. it really does help to know that I am surrounded by angels on the internet too.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

give it up for lent

I truly don't like having my photo taken. I do all manner of things to avoid it.

as the Lenten season begins, I start to wonder about giving something up for lent. I don't quite understand the whole concept of it but I feel drawn to participate in this tradition.

so what must I give up? [and please bare with me as I waffle will see where i am going with this]

I was thinking coffee but I only have one a day.. and not chocolate ~ heaven forbid that! not alcohol or smoking because I do what to give up for lent? I sat in silence and as my mind started to wander as it does.. I kept thinking of how I am aging, how my nose is too bulbous. my tuckshop arms and my jowls that sag more and more each day. [yes, I am hard on myself]

note the turkey neck.. and the double chin & the nose, oh the nose.

I don't like my double chin or my wrinkles that are developing as I get older .. I sat, with my thoughts, criticising myself.
And then. the thought.. give up criticizing myself. that's it. for the whole time of this Lenten season I am going to stop criticizing myself . and not just for Lent.. I am going to stop this constant criticizing of self..
[yes, I am very critical of myself & I sound vain, which truly I am not]

I constantly pull funny faces when the camera points at me

so the deal is ~ I am going to fall in love with every single wrinkle, sagging jowls, turkey neck and double chins. even the hair that has started to sprout from that chin. fall in love with the lot. accept myself as perfect just the way I am. love every single cell, every single wrinkle.
and I am going to honour this body.. by eating well. eating even better than I do now. and I am going to limit chocolate, just limit it mind you.. because I am a woman of a certain age.. the words 'high cholesterol' loom on the horizon.. Dear God, you have given me jowls, turkey neck and bulbous nose and now you give me high cholesterol?.. don't you think that is a bit much for one girl to bear?

[& thank YOU for the continuing comments.. I am a little behind in visiting blogs.. the lump and blood results are playing on my mind]

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Shrove Tuesday at Inglewood

yes, today is Pancake day or Fat Tuesday as it is called in France and I can see why.. if you go by what I ate for dinner tonight .. we went out to Pancakes on the Rocks.. with Sophie & boyfriend [the plumber]..

and of course we didn't just have one meal.. we had pancakes [potato pancakes no less] for dinner and crepes for dessert.. .. and now I will wear them on my double chin, [making that a triple], it will most probably end up on my jowls which i inherited from my Grandmother and most certainly arrive at various other places on my body - please God, don't let it go to my nose.. that is bulbous enough

[I think Fat Tuesday is the perfect name for this day. I will take it and run with the name next year] ..
tomorrow the beginning of Lent in the catholic church.. I must think of something to 'give up'. what do you think that will be ?

Monday, 15 February 2010

a simple night of love, getting lost in romance and lots of photos

The Everglades is not far from my home here in Woodford.. a short drive. the rain dripped in big droplets from the huge plane tree leaves as I got out of the car.. the mist made the beginning of my night seem like something out of England. so as you can imagine, I felt like I was in Heaven.

follow me.. I love misty mountain nights like this. where the mist is so thick it wets your face. I loved feeling like i had stepped back in time.. I tried so hard not to break into a run..

come on! I don't want to be late... give me the camera!

down the stairs, across the wet grass and past the vegie garden..

look at the vegetable garden.. my heart skipped a beat as I looked at Dutch husband. 22 years and we have never missed a Valentines dinner.

champagne cocktails were served at 6.30pm upstairs in the sitting room..[this volunteer wore an apron from the original household. she served champagne and cassis with blackberries from the garden]

as we chatted with other guests, we were serenaded by a violinist who was totally absorbed by his love of his music and his instrument.

before we went down to dinner, I had to take a quick peek into the bathroom. can you imagine having a bathroom like this. pure Art deco. and while that style is not a favourite of mine, I thought that this bathroom was just amazing. look at the tap spouts!

all the waitresses and the chef were volunteers. they call themselves 'Friends of Everglades' and hold functions such as the Valentines dinner to raise money for the upkeep of this piece of history in the Blue Mountains.. the table was set simply. nothing grand. pretty in pink.

after the main meal was finished, I took a walk outside.. I was inspired by the gorgeous pots of colour.. I could see these around our pool here at home. I love getting ideas from others and taking them and putting my twist and making them my own.

a simple dessert - chocolate brownie baked in a heart tin, served with a strawberry.

so that was our night. tomorrow is Shrove Tuesday which means Pancakes for dinner..

Sunday, 14 February 2010

.. into the Everglades on Valentines day

'what do you want to do on Valentines?' dutch husband asked..

I had been thinking of a picnic tea [with marinated chicken wings, tossed green salad, french yeasted sourdough and a strawberry heart cake for dessert & some red to wash it down] at Leura Cascades and then a romantic walk along the bush path to one of the most amazing lookouts in the world. [what we lack in the way of old buildings, here in Australia we certainly makeup for with natural wonders ~ Leura Cascades is just one of many here in my little corner of the world.] But it has been raining for nearly 40days and 40 nights, so that idea was out.

instead, he has booked a table for two at The Everglades Gardens. a National trust property, nearby. [the Everglades Historic home & gardens]

[photos & story of our romantic dinner will come tomorrow!]

Saturday, 13 February 2010

and the Cheese-makers? they are blessed too

I have just discovered persian fetta...

[window of Leura Gourmet Deli ~ a place where I go to shop, often]

in the mountains we have a lot of little delicatessens ~ mostly family owned and managed... we can buy cheeses from all over the world - creamy french cheeses, blue cheese, sheeps cheese & goats cheese. lavender cheese and cheese rolled in chilli

[I love to browse the shelves. there is Turkish Delight, condiments of all kinds, herbs & spices from exotic places ~ chocolate, biscuits & jams. there are oils & pastas & spiced nuts]

when I was a little girl, delicatessens were shops that you quickly walked past because of fear of the unknown.. 'those foreigners' and their very odd food - strange looking meat sausages hanging by string off metal hooks..odd looking bread which didn't come in a paper wrapper.... and the smells. oh the smells assaulted my little girl nose.... but as it happens, tastes change, views change, and all matures.

[there is a selection of gourmet takeaway. for tourists and locals alike. their Tandoori chicken salad is a favourite of mine..serve it with pappadums and chutney. sit outside on the grass and watch the world go by]

[the cheeses, oh the cheeses make my mouth water]

and as you mature, [just like that cheese you so much love], you start tasting a variety of foods, from exotic, faraway places. places that one can only dream of. hence the persian fetta...

Last night I dreamed that I was asleep in the hand of God.
Today, I bought myself a Paella pan. And shared a Chocolate croissant with dutch husband. tonight a vegetable and barley soup [to soothe the little girl in me] served with organic spelt [did you know that spelt was St Hildegarde of Bingen's chosen grain?]
& tomorrow we celebrate Valentine's day. more about that tomorrow!

Friday, 12 February 2010

one lump or two?

a simple visit to the Dr today, for a prescription and I come out with a breast lump.

[to get my mind off the lump, dutch husband took me to Leura for lunch.. the sign Serendipity caught my eye..]

the Dr casually mentioned doing a quick routine breast exam and then the words hmmmm... have you felt this lump here? well, no i haven't because I do not examine my breasts - [no lectures please]. I put my head in the sand because surely God is not that cruel as to bless me with cancer, twice? [plus I have lumpy breasts so I go to the Drs ever 6mths to check them]

[not having a huge appetite because of the silly worry, i chose to share a cheese platter with dutch husband..some from France, some from Tasmania.. crackers, quince paste & pear]

of course I am in panic, but trying not to be. And of course I know that I am actually quite blessed. I know that I have a wonderful life. I know, I know, I know. I know also that it is most probably not cancer but that does not stop my mind going one hundred miles an hour into the future with 'what ifs'. I feel like crap and I am scared. I know that this too shall pass and all will be well. but I am still scared.

[serendipity ice-cream. Hokey pokey flavour. full fat, none of the light stuff when a girl needs to soothe her shattered nerves]

please God, not again. I have learned my lesson and I promise i will check my breasts every month. every week. if only this one time, it is not cancer. please. and thankyou.

[Leura Deli is one of my favourite lunch-time haunts... and a place where I buy alot of my Christmas time treats. cheeses to die for, freshly squeezed fruit juices. exotic foods from all over the world.]

so now, next week I am off to have the mammogram, ultrasound and if needed a needle biopsy. the angels will be busy listening to my prayers this week!

Thursday, 11 February 2010

a lofty goal? perhaps.. but one that stretches the imagination

why do I do this to myself? why do I reach for the stars and try to post everyday?
because in doing that,
I am stretching my imagination.
I am looking more closely at the ordinary things in my day.
I am enjoying each and every moment while I do it.
I listen to conversations more closely....
I notice things that I would usually have skipped past.. like aprons, or words or a simple thing like stirring the coffee...
I search for descriptive words to tell my tale..
and in doing that
I fall in love with my life.
[and to tell the truth, I actually enjoy discovering something to write about each day]

and in my life today? it is my son's birthday! thirty five years ago, I was walking around in pain.. back pain and tummy pain.. thinking it was from all the cake I had eaten the day before. 35yrs ago, still a child myself, I gave birth to a tiny little bundle weighing just 5lbs. no drugs at all. my life was in danger at one stage.. at 17yrs old, i don't know how I did it. but they say, that God never gives you a thing that you cannot handle. Do you think it is a coincidence that he was born on the Feast Day of Our Lady of Lourdes? a place where I have wanted to visit for a long, long time.

Happy birthday Caine! this year is yours

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

an ordinary day

buckwheat crackers
and one cucumber picked just this minute from my garden
cracked pepper and celtic sea salt

summer roses [also from my garden] ~ a whole bunch. perfumed by the angels.

afternoon tea in Springwood, yet another little village in the mountains. this time I had chai latte made on soy.

for dinner. pasta. go out to the garden and see what you can find. beans & basil ready to pick. some garlic hanging in the pantry. leftover ham and an onion. chopped roughly and thrown in some hot olive oil.. put the pasta on to boil as the vegetable mix cooks, drain pasta. put back onto the stove and quickly stir the vegies through. serve with, salt and cracked pepper and a shave of fresh parmesan.

tonight, centering prayer.where I sit. silently, with God.

I tell you. this posting each day is really stretching my story imagination. I am enjoying making stories from my ordinary day. I see more of my day, I notice alot more.. what did you do on your ordinary day?