It’s a beautiful afternoon here in my little piece of paradise on the Coffs Coast north of Woolgoolga. Adam and I are getting ready to fire up the Barbie for the first grill of the season. We’ve just returned from a walk to Mullaway beach where I got to see 2 whales frolicking off the beach.
I don’t think I will ever lose my joy at seeing animals in there natural settings. To behold a whale breaching while standing at sea level is pretty extraordinary in my book though. I can spot them on the headlands easily enough but from the shore it’s a tad harder.
It was Labor Day in the states 7 September this year. A very special day for my sister Margaret because it was her actual birthday.
I find it quite funny how holidays fall now. Father’s Day in the states falls in June but the same celebration in Australia falls in September. Mother’s Day though is exactly the same.
I hope no matter what you are doing today you rejoice and are thankful you’ve been able to enjoy life.
It seems like a very long time since I have actually sat down to write down some of my thoughts. Has it been a year already? At times it feels like it has been longer and other times it feels exactly right.
It seems that things don’t stand still with WordPress. It took me a little while to figure out the configuration to get to blogging but I found it. I will not be deterred. I feel like writing and sharing again. I am not even sure if anybody is interested. I am going to give it a go though and see what happens.
Things with me are going along at a steady pace. I am now studying through Charles Sturt University via the Distance Education route. I have completed 2 courses last term and in this term I am taking another 2 courses. It just started last week. Going back to school has been good for me. I had been busy getting papers written for both courses last term. I think this term it is only one big paper for Leisure, even if it isn’t I think I will do okay. I hope to maybe go up to 4 courses next term except I am nervous that I am going to muck it up. It’s kinda scary plunging back into study after so many years. The end result though will be a Bachelor Degree in Health Science (Health and Leisure). I am then going to hopefully get into a graduate program to become an Orientation and Mobility Specialist. I will also be able to work as a Diversional Therapist.
It’s winter now down under. Last year didn’t seem so cold. There was actually snow inland up near the border to Queensland. I am sure most people from the northern hemisphere would just laugh at the way some people are reacting to the temperatures we’ve been getting here. It’s not like we have to run around with huge parkas. It’s a shock to the system though when you are use to running around in shorts but it hasn’t stopped some people though. I have seen them running around in thongs (flip-flops), shorts, and maybe a sloppy joe (sweatshirt). Adam and I are in our sweats mostly. We’ve also been putting on the heater at night. I am sure last year we only put it on in the morning to get the chill off the air.
I didn’t mean for this lapse to happen for so long. I just got busy and self involved. I didn’t feel like sharing because I thought it was boring but hey, maybe somebody out there missed reading my thoughts. I will do my best not to be such a stranger. I can’t promise to write every day or every week. I will try to do better though. I do enjoy blogging and maybe some of you guys like reading.
Any questions or comments, please let me know in the comment section!
Today I went shopping at Coles in Moonee Beach because we were running out of things to eat. Adam stayed home and while I enjoyed shopping I noticed there were some things that I can’t get here in Australia. They do stock Uncle Ben’s rice mixes but what I am desiring is Rice a Roni specifically the Fried Rice. I even checked on http://www.usafoods.com.au/ but they are out of stock. I asked them to let me know when they have it back in.
I do miss Peter Pan Peanut Butter and only saw it on sale once at Woolworths. At one time the stores actually stocked Cherry Coke. It didn’t stay here long though. I can get it online or maybe even at a speciality lolly shop when I look for it. I have really cut down on my intake of soda though. My first Thanksgiving in Australia, I asked if they had French’s Fried Onions in a can. The stock person looked at me like I was insane.
Another thing that I used to love to get was sloppy joes but here in Australia it is a sweatshirt not a sandwich. I guess I will have to add that to my wish list of American food items. I guess I am going to be making a wish list of things to get from USA Foods. They normally carry long life dry goods. They don’t sell tin biscuits or any dairy items.
When I grew up pudding was not a cake like dish with a sauce, it was more like a custard. Jello is known as jelly here in Australia. Overall, I don’t mind living in Australia. I actually love it but I do miss some of the comfort foods I had from growing up. I still prefer American hot dogs over Australian. The bacon is different but I can get it to get crispy like I am used to.
I am not complaining about living in Australia with the food but you can take the girl out of America but her taste buds still have a hankering for things she grew up with. I will always carry the jingles I grew up with in my head even sharing them with others freely.
“Rice a Roni – The San Fransician Treat”
Yesterday Adam and I did the back lawn. I like to do yard work either earlier in the day or later in the afternoon especially in the hot months in Australia which is opposite of the northern hemisphere. Next month will be one of the hottest which happens to be Adam’s birth month. We are planning a trip to Hervey Bay Queensland for about 6 days. I will be driving us so I suspect another blog will come forth from this trip. I am digressing here but hang on, I will get back to topic.
I made an observation about us as we played in the surf. I like to make muggacinos. The best part of the cappuccino for me is the frothy milk. I enjoy using the spoon after I drink the milky coffee with lots of chocolate sprinkled on top to collect the dregs of froth which I cherish. As Adam and I cooled off in the surf of Safety Beach, I noticed how it resembled the froth that I so love to have. I was tickled with that image thinking that I was playing in frothy sea water that was cool and invigorating to me.
The water was supposedly 25 C (77 F) but it felt more like 22 to me. It didn’t matter because we were so freaking hot. I used to get freaked out with the tide especially if the waves seemed to be tossers. When I say tossers, I am meaning that they look like they are full of sand. We tried body surfing but the surf wasn’t great. It just didn’t have the pull that it should have had. Not that I am an expert body surfer, I can barely swim but I am getting more confident as the years go on. If I can stand up waist deep and not freak out when a 3 ft wave is baring down on me it’s a great improvement. I used to be so scared. I am relishing how brave I am feeling now in the surf. Adam has even noticed it. He was surprised that I had gone out again.
When we were sitting on the edge of the water, I was looking out and saw a fish surfing the wave before it crashed. I was tickled to be sitting on the beach with the froth surrounding us both. The night before, I saw a shooting star. I was thinking to myself, how truly blessed I am. I not only get to have frothy coffee whenever I desire, I get to play in the frothy sea, and watch beauty around me.
Wow! I just happened to go onto my blog today and discovered it’s my second anniversary! Last year I didn’t write as much. There has been much going on for me emotionally. I have made huge messes but over all, I am pretty content again. I have learned a lot about myself in the silence of not blogging. Editing thoughts and trying to decide what is truly worthy of sharing with the whole internet has been my undoing in some ways but I do think there are somethings that are better left to only certain people. This is a learning process for me and I am sure many other people who choose to blog.
I was going to do a blog about Peach Bundaberg soda and Peach Nehi because of course one is Australian and the other is American. What better to do a blog on by a yaussiechick? I couldn’t think of anything else because most people who are fans of MASH know that Radar O’Reilly, loved Grape Nehi. He couldn’t get enough of it. I use to be that way until I had tried a Peach Nehi. I always loved peaches and to have it as a soda was my idea of heaven in a bottle. In Australia, it’s not so easy to get your hands on a Nehi but it is just as nice to grab a soda by Bundaberg. Bundaberg brews some fine rum but they also make terrific soda. I am always discovering new combinations. I tried the Peach Bundaberg soda. I thought it was heaven in a bottle. They do many fine flavours such as Passionfruit, Pineapple and Coconut, Lime but I must say I do love the peach one.
If you are traveling in Australia and are wanting something peachy to drink, I suggest a Peach Bundaburg soda and if you are traveling in the USA and desire something peachy, grab a Nehi Peach if you can find it. This flavor is limited but so worth the having if you are lucky enough to put your hands on it.
Here’s a link to the American Nehi: http://homersoda.com/soda/nehi-peach-only-available-for-private-parties/
The link to Peachee Bundaberg: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bundaberg-Peachee/27556445599
Spring is in the air down under! A couple of weeks ago this is what we saw. The kangaroos are really enjoying the sun and lush grass. We were heading back from Cabins Beach when I saw these three while crossing Mullaway Drive.
I had to share this. They looked so content. I am glad my sony has a great zoom! The roos are certainly about in Mullaway putting on a show!
This title pretty much sums up the way I am starting to view the process of death. I see patterns to things. I know there are patterns to the weather as well as cycles in life. I wonder if perhaps there are cycles in the universe too.
In science there is a theory about energy which is termed the conservation of energy. There is also the theory of relativity which Einstein formulated an equation that is E=MC2.
There seems to be a process that everything goes through. It’s almost like a huge recycling cycle where nothing is totally destroyed instead it gets transformed into something else. A couple of weeks ago while Adam, Lisa and I were walking at Dorrigo National Park we passed a sign which said Rotten but Not Forgotten. It stuck with me. It sort of confirmed what I had thought about in my mind.
Since Lisa’s arrival with us, I have been doing a lot more exploring and discussing things with her. I don’t go mountain goat climbing with Adam on the edges of the headlands on the beaches. I had done this before with Adam on the rocks. It’s kinda of different with Adam though because he can’t see where we are heading. I am the eyes of the operation which isn’t a bad thing. It’s nice having another pair of eyes around though. I hadn’t realized how much I am enjoying having her around.
I had often thought of parts of the beach as a seashell graveyard where there are lots of broken rocks and shells being transformed into bits of sand due to the wind, sun, rain, and bombardment on rocks.
Even when you walk in a forest or rainforest, you can see the process of change in the ecosystem. Everything is interdependent on something else. Although the tree may not think it is dependent on the soil it is because it has nutrients which are provided through other things such as insects and bacteria. When something dies, it is actually providing food or something relevant to its own environment.
With humans though, it seems like we are independent to others yet we are still interconnected via relationships. Even though someone we know dies, they still live on with us when we remember them. We glen things from our relationships; they transform us whether we like it or not. It may seem that part of us dies when we lose someone close to us. I am starting to think maybe I am not dying but being transformed into someone else. Changes take place whether we want them or not. It’s part of life. It’s how we deal with the changes that can form us into who we are as well as the choices that we make on our journey of life that make us. We can choose to take the rotten things that happen in our lives to help or hurt those in our circles. I hope to help all I can.
What do you think?
Adam and I have been showing Lisa around the neighbourhood. We love the birds. I know this is a short blog but I wanted to show off some of the shots I took. I know we’ll see much more as we take her around the places that we love. I must admit I do like showing off Australia so I thought I would also show you some of the birds I’ve captured with my trusty Sony camera I got from Fry’s in Burbank, California.
I’ve done a lot of study over the years about Catholicism and some soul searching. One of the key principles that I have grown to love is the idea that Jesus came as a bridge to breach the gap between God and man that occurred when original sin corrupted the world.
What if we are also sent to be a bridge to others when there is a gap between each other based on the idea that God sent Jesus to be a bridge for us? It is a beautiful concept that I have seen in action throughout my life. Most recently it has been through the death of my brother Kevin.
Kevin was the last child born from the marriage of Alice Albano and Edward Koval. His parents divorced and Alice married my father, Clement Miller. To the older 4 siblings he was their baby brother but to me and my two older sisters, Judy and Margaret, he was our big brother. Our family dynamic wasn’t the best. The older Koval children were pretty much out of the house when I was born. Only Roberta and Kevin were the ones that I got to know before they moved out.
I had a pretty special connection with Kevin. I guess it is due to the fact that when we moved to Leesville, we roomed together until he moved out. I know I have written about how jealous I would get over his girlfriends until my mom sat me down explaining the fact that I couldn’t marry him because he was my brother. If I really loved him, I would have to let him go since he would have to do the same with me some day.
The years went by and he married Lori. I was the flower girl at the wedding. I was happy for them but sort of jealous. I know how silly that might sound but I thought I would never find anyone as charming or special as Kevin to call my own. More years went by. We drifted apart as we were bound to do. We all have our journeys to make. I tried to stay in contact. Some years were good and others weren’t the best when it came to keeping the connection alive. Kevin’s marriage to Lori failed. I didn’t even realize it had happened until my mother informed me. I was married too and my own marriage failed. Kevin felt broken I am pretty sure because I knew how much he loved Lori. I ended my own marriage but I was not broken due to it. I just knew I couldn’t continue living a lie or existing in a marriage that didn’t produce anything nourishing to myself.
To my great surprise I found my soul mate when I least expected to do it. I contacted my sister, Aggie, to let her know about something. I found out that my brother Kevin was staying with her due to an injury to his leg. Our connection was ignited again for a little while. I tried emailing him or staying in contact through MySpace but that sort of dwindled out too. I know he was quite excited about meeting someone online. I tried teeing up a time to meet up when I went over for my sister Judy’s 40th birthday but it never came through. Years went by again. In 2012 I let family know that I was returning again for a visit. A mini-family reunion ended up happening that June but one important person wasn’t there. I tried messaging him through an email but no response. I believe it was my nephew Dan who finally got a hold of him so we spoke on the phone. It was nice but not as good as actually holding him. It was through this phone call that I connected with his love, Lisa. I vowed to myself never to let go again of my brother.
In all the years we were apart, I always dreamed of hugging him tight. Hearing his voice on the phone was great but nothing can compare to actually being in the presence of the one you love. I always thought that I would get to hold him again but it wasn’t meant to be. May 24th our family got together again just as it did in 2012. The one thing that I always wanted finally came true. We were all together but Kevin was in an urn. I got to finally meet Lisa but it was a bittersweet moment. All the hours of talking were great. The most important person in our lives was gone. We all loved him and I know he loved us too.
The bridge in my family is gone but not forgotten. He gave us Lisa and Sandy. He wanted us to be there for each other. In some ways it is working but in other ways it is a massive fail. Lisa could have easily not told us about Kevin’s illness and passing. She did the best that she could. In her own way Lisa is a bridge to me and vice versa.
In some ways my own mother was a bridge to my father’s sisters when he was sick and dying. I know he had asked my mom not to let them know but she convinced him otherwise. My father’s death in some ways mended some wrongs that occurred between my mother and his sisters. I am not sure why death holds such power over us. If anything I am learning that life is precious. We never know when our last day might be so we had better make the most out of what we have. We need to cherish each other.
I am going to take the time and try to be a bridge to others like the great examples I have been given before. Have you ever been a bridge for others?
You have no strength.
Everything has got you down
and in the end you can’t think of how you are going to make it round.
Do me a favor if you please
And sweet darling just cling to me
cause one day and it might be soon
I’ll be the one to cling to you.
Feels like this rain will never end
Too much pain to deal with
But sweet darling just believe
that in the end you can cling to me
cause one day and it might be soon
I’ll be the one to cling to you.
You may feel as if you have no hope
and you are at the end of your rope
there’s nothing else you can do to cope
But I beg you to just cling to me
cause one day and it might be soon
I’ll be the one to cling to you.
For those who are dealing with loss and feel there is no hope don’t give up. Hold on and know in the end what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger! Lisa this is for you!