February 2012

Eeek! It’s the middle of the month already. OK, I’m catching up now.

We have both been feeling better lately. After the Melbourne trip, I realised that I had driven the car for 3 days and didn’t have a sore back. The next morning, I woke up almost pain free, which continued for the next few days. My back now only hurts if I have pushed it too hard in the preceding day or two. I’ve made quite a few changes. I acquired a CD series called “Your Wish is Your Command.”, which has changed my attitude to one of being happy for as much of my day as I can. I’ve also started on a very potent cleansing tea, as well as wearing a pendant that provides a “therapeutic experience”, whatever that is. So now, despite us being broke, I am putting it out there for “financial freedom” and I am simply happy to be where I am right now. It’s a refreshing change.

Meanwhile, Julie has quit smoking. Yes, she still has crabby days! And her hearing is still an issue, not only because she can’t hear properly, but more because her ears are out of balance and sometimes blocked, which results in a reverberating effect inside her head (like a tuning fork). That’s gotta be uncomfortable. However, on the whole, she is feeling better and happier. Consequently, she has started cooking. The first picture shows the result of a cheesecake over Oreo in a patty pan. She was having trouble picking each one out of the hot pan, so I asked if I could help. (Note: I ASKED if I could HELP – that’s another issue we have worked on). The job really needed some fine pliers and a flat knife underneath. BTW, the recipe is a “keeper”.

We’ve even started going “out” a bit on the weekends. We went to the Canberra Multicultural Festival to sample the food, the atmosphere and the crowds.

The weather continues to be crazy – during a recent thunderstorm, we got hail for a brief period.

On the day before Valentine’s Day, we had driven in to work together, which means that I had dropped Julie off in Kaleen before going on to Deakin. On the way home, I was almost past the airport, when I suddenly realised that I was driving the good car (not the Zook) and that I should have a passenger! OOPS. She called me just as I was about to call her. Anyway, I was awake early the next morning and went out in the paddock to look for a flower. Finding nothing, I decided to wander up through the wet grass to the house garden, and picked a nice looking pink rose. It turned out to be an excellent choice, as they were her mother’s favourite.

Queenie is now the only horse on the property. Whenever I go anywhere near her, she thinks carrots and proceeds to follow me. The picture was taken over my shoulder – it’s like being followed by a VERY big puppy.

Mushrooms! I don’t think I’ve mentioned them yet, but over the last few months, we have found field mushrooms in our own paddock. Yes, they’re edible. But recently, I have found a plentiful supply – the local oval! We have had about 4 big feeds of cooked mushrooms during the last week.

We’re now on the way to Melbourne again, to collect Julie’s hearing aids. The Canberra Costco are expecting their audiologist to start at the end of this month, so we’re hoping that we can have the follow-up visit done in Canberra, rather than doing a third trip to Melbourne. On the way into Glenrowan via the back road to stay the night with Des & Helen, I was explaining what a Black Boy is and we passed some spectacular specimens, which we believe to be hundreds of years old.

These plants only grow in certain soil conditions that apparently can’t be reproduced accurately enough for them to be grown from seed. Consequently, they are highly protected and can’t transplanted without strict approvals. Des & Helen have them growing on the hill above their house, but weren’t able to move one down into their garden because of those strict conditions.

Lately, we’ve had beetles in our underwear and shorts drawers. Harmless, kinda cute, but a little disturbing when you find one in your underwear half way through the day. But equally easy to deal with, and when we do find them in the bus, they are gently removed to the outside. So there we were, in Costco, in Melbourne, and I grabbed something out of my backpack, to find one of our little friends. Fortunately, we were leaving at the time, so he got his picture taken before being deposited in the garden outside.

The four of us went to dinner at the local pub, where my 60th birthday celebrations started early, with a cake after dinner. No prizes for guessing what was on the menu for breakfast on Saturday morning! And for that matter, on Sunday morning as well.

Saturday turned out to be a long day, driving into Melbourne, getting the hearing aids fitted, then driving back out to Glenrowan. However, the hearing aids have made a dramatic difference to what Julie can hear and she is justifiably excited about them, despite their shortcomings. She has small ear canals and the plug on the end of each aid does become uncomfortable and itchy. We also did a bit of shopping for pizza toppings and the highlight of the night was making our own pizzas. It was a good fun night. Thanks guys.

Oh and a quick note about this last picture. The topic of conversation at that particular moment was about Julie being “between men”. Needless to say, Sunday was a late start.

Thanks to the girls (whose horses are or have been here with us) for looking after the dogs. Yes, they are still alive and Angel was actually pleased to see us. Probably something to do with recognising the Food Fairy though.

Unfortunately, we also discovered a huge water pool on the awning. Before we left, I had put the legs out to be free standing, braced with pegs in the ground and tensioning straps. Trouble is, I had left the roller on “Pull Down”, so it had pulled all the way out and left the end of the awning material below the top of the roller. So instead of water running off, it pooled. Julie was quite amused at how fast I moved when I finally dropped one of the legs a bit and a large quantity of water came cascading down! The whole awning has now been pulled back into storm mode while we allow the material to shrink back and tighten up. Still, we are pleased to be back home in our own little piece of paradise. Even better, the weather forecast for the “real” birthday celebrations next weekend is for fine weather. Yay!

OK, at least it was fine weather leading up to the celebration day, which enabled me to get lots of grass mowing done. I have trimmed all the way to the dam with the mower on its highest setting, which took out all of the long grass and gives us a better look at what’s underneath, as well as substantially reducing our fire risk. Now, if a bushfire does come in from the West, which is the most likely direction, we have a good chance of surviving it.

We had intermittent short bursts of drizzle today, which didn’t have any effect on the lunch with 6 of our closest friends. The “surprise” ice-cream cake was only a partial surprise, because Julie went out yesterday with the Esky in the boot (translation: cooler in the trunk), with her last 2 activities being to put ice in the Esky, followed immediately by collecting the cake. What I didn’t know was the flavour of the ice-cream. The menu consisted of prawn and scallop skewers cooked on the BBQ with a mango chutney marinade, followed by Julie’s famous beef ribs with tangy sauce; chicken and gravy; plus Jen’s garden salad, followed by a surprise ice-cream cake – cookies and cream, of course!

She knows me too well. It was a rush this morning to get it set up, but we’ve had a GOOD day. I’m now 60. Yay me!