What a difference a day makes …

Today, four years ago, my life changed.

I can think of several occasions in my life when one day has turned into a game changer. Today is the fourth anniversary of one of the bigger ones, in fact probably the biggest.

I got a call from Tony’s phone, but it wasn’t him. It was one of the work safety officers.

“Don’t worry,” he said. “Tony got a hit to the head. He blacked out but he’s conscious now. We’ve made arrangements for him to get airlifted out though.”

Understandably, I freaked out.

“How did that happen?”

I don’t remember the exact conversation from there, but it turned out that the excavator bucket had hit the side of the dump truck Tony was driving (due to having a ‘respite’ night). The steel frame of the cabin had rolled with the punches and hit Tony on the forehead as he looked out the window at the side mirror.

Little did we know at the time, it was not just concussion, but would later be diagnosed as a traumatic brain injury.

Traumatic brain injury. I didn’t know much about that at the time. My experience of blacking out was, and is still is, a big fat zero. But believe me, I’ve learnt a lot!

As time has gone on, we have moved through various different parts of state and federal legislation. I have become not just a full time worker, but a full time carer as well, which has been a new challenge

We have shouted and cried more often than I care to remember, but most of all we have had to learn to adapt – adapt to a new environment where brain injury is not understood by many of those we know, and where for Tony, life has been a struggle while he tries to adjust to the ‘new’ him.

We have turned into people who appreciate the simpler things in life while we try to live carefully.

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But at the same time we try to have a giggle a day. After all, laughter is good for the soul, we are told, and I firmly believe it.
I am also told that people with brain injury often improve and I hope this is the case with Tony.

I’d like to put it out in public that I am married to a man I am proud of – for his continuing tenacity and how he just keeps on trying, regardless of how much it hurts. He tries for me and for us, and this brave face inspires me to keep fighting for him and with him.

“It ain’t easy”, to quote Liamoo, (in a song not quite to my normal taste), but if this has taught me one thing, it is that I need to hang in there!

So, for all you out there who are doing it tough, I hope you can find the strength from someone or something, to hang in there, and get to the other side.

 

Today’s photos are a beautiful rose outside our front door from last month and the machine that caused life to change.
And here’s a song link, if you were wondering … https://www.letssingit.com/liamoo-lyrics-it-ain-t-easy-jqkpjcz

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Got a second?

So I’m at the football again, (I desperately need therapy), and it’s half-time. This is a time at the game where I get to ‘time out’. I survey the crowd, have a giggle at the little Aus-kick kids trying to emulate their favourite players and look at the heritage-listed scoreboard.

Today the old scoreboard clock has stopped. On the many occasions I have been to the Adelaide Oval – for football, cricket, concerts, and even our wedding reception – I have decided that the clock is only started at match times. So today, either someone forgot to start it, or its 107 year-old batteries have conked out.

But you guessed it … it got me thinking. Thinking about time and how I fail, more than frequently, to take time out. I read all the stuff that talks about re-filling your cup, about mindfulness, about looking after yourself so you can look after others … and I’m totally rubbish at all of it. And you know what? I’m beginning to look like a frazzled, old lady; frantically wishing that time would stand still, just for a moment.

There are places where time does seem to stand still. Funnily enough, they seem to me to be places of nature … the beach, a forest, on a mountain, or in a beautiful garden. But time also has a funny way of speeding up when you’re having fun or having a good sleep. Oh yes … time goes way too fast when you’re in happy dream world!!

We know each second ticks by evenly, and yet our perception of time varies so much on our circumstances. Time, when you’re bored, drags on at a snail’s pace, but in contrast, I have a dear friend who quite possibly doesn’t have enough time left to do all the things she wanted to do in her life.

There is much truth in phrases like “make every second count”. Out of curiosity, I did a GoodReads search for quotes about time. There were so many nuggets of wisdom and profound thoughts that I wish I could quote all of them, but instead, I’ll leave you a link and contain myself to a few which struck me as particularly lovely.

From Jorge Luis Borges: “Being with you and not being with you is the only way I have to measure time.”

From Psalm 90:12: “Teach us to number our days, that we may acquire a wise heart.”

From The Memory-Keeper’s Daughter: “You can’t stop time. You can’t capture light. You can only turn your face up and let it rain down.”

And lastly from the ever-wise, optimistic Maya Angelou: “This is a wonderful day, I have never seen this one before”.

Have a wonderful day!!
https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/time

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today’s photos are: a busy bee down the road from my house last spring (Sept 2017) and one of our wedding photos at Adelaide Oval, courtesy of Lisa Bailye, 2011.

Cuppa anyone?

It’s the season of sunshine and daffodils. “What?” I hear you ask. “Don’t you live in the Southern Hemisphere, where the end of May heralds the start of winter?”

And yes, this is very true. It has been unseasonably warm through May though. So much so, that on Mothers’ Day, we were thrilled to see our frangipani flowering for the first time. (photos here for your viewing pleasure.)

 

But we don’t have any daffs. I’m not such a fan. It seems I must be a bit unique in this because they are wildly popular for Daffodil Day – a Cancer Council Australia fundraiser, as well as being used as their emblem.

I was reminded of this on Thursday as I threw together ingredients for biscuits – my contribution towards our building’s annual “Biggest Morning Tea” – another Australia-wide fundraiser held by the Cancer Council.

Most of the food is homemade, but there sometimes is one who tries to pass off store-bought as their own. This year, one cheeky fellow almost had the organiser fooled that he’d baked his own cake, until another tea-drinker said she’d seen the packaging. We giggled, but at least he had brought something to share with us.

Businesses and community groups join together with plates of goodies and their best teacups or coffee mugs to raise funds to beat cancer.

I don’t know a family who hasn’t been affected by this insidious disease. Our’s has been. In fact, today is the fourth anniversary of my aunty’s passing away. And she is one of at least four close family members we remember throughout the year, let alone our friends, their family members or work colleagues.

The Biggest Morning Tea has been going in Australia for 25 years this year, over half my lifetime. The funds generous tea drinkers contribute are directed towards programmes that assist cancer patients and their families, as well as to cancer research.

 

For the sake of families suffering now and in the future, I am more than willing to raise a cup to help … and to share with you my biscuit recipe that is quick to make … so you too can confidently offer to make a morning tea contribution.

PS my husband advises you to forget the cooking – just eat the mix 😊

Burnt Butter Biscuits (naturally not any diet-friendly)

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C
125g butter                –  melt the butter in a saucepan or in the microwaveimg_5691-copy-e1527292250799.jpg, allow to cool
½ cup caster sugar   –  add the sugar and mix together
1 large egg                  –  beat the egg into the mix
1 cup SR flour            – add the flours and mix in
½ cup plain flour

– spoon out mix onto baking tray to walnut sized blobs
– top with half a blanched almond or a glace cherry
Cook for approx 12-15 mins (or until golden brown)

These are Australian cups, so 1 cup = 250 ml; ½ cup = 125 ml

Lest we forget

I’ve been exploring around the Word Press website and it amazes me to think there cannot be a topic on this globe that isn’t covered by one (or many) blogs.

One blog I read said that new writers should write every day for the first month. Hmmm, I think I missed that boat. Also, I should have a consistent theme, or direction. Somehow, that isn’t quite happening yet either. But I promise when TAFE (study) is finished, and this year of upheaval is over, I will resume my life of supreme calm, and provide thoughtful, logical and similarly themed blog posts.

In the meantime, my thoughts go to the events of the past week. Wednesday 25 April, to be exact. This is a day full of poignancy for both Australia and New Zealand. I’m not so familiar with NZ history, but when the First World War broke out, Australia had only just joined its penal colonies and colonial-settled states as a federated nation in 1900. Fifteen years later, they joined the British Imperial Forces to fight her battles in Turkey and then along the Western Front of France and Belgium.

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Horrific losses of life occurred during this war to end all wars. The world would never be the same and by 1918, Europe’s land lay battered and destroyed.

The ANZAC spirit of mateship and facing adversity was defined in this war – where the Australian and NZ soldiers were shot down as they landed on the beaches of Gallipoli at the foot of steep cliffs. Now the Turks and Australians are friends, showing that on occasions, time can eventually heal some wounds.

Two years later – to the day – the Australian soldiers fought to save a little town in France called Villers-Bretonneux. As a result, the French (particularly in that area) remember Australians with a great deal of gratitude.

Back home, military and civilian alike rise up in the darkness, to make their way to dawn services, to stop to remember – not to glorify – but to show their thanks. It is not just for the soldiers who fought then, but also those who have fought since to protect our nation.

Many of us go to remember. Why? Because those thousands of names listed on war memorials in France, Belgium and towns and cities throughout Australia, as well as those who came home, scarred and damaged, are family.

I am not alone in this. In WW1, one of my great-great-great uncles fell on the way to Passchendaele. My great-grandfather served in the Field Ambulance on the Western Front – something I am especially proud of – that he helped those in need, rather than being part of the cause of losses in other families His son went to El Alemein in WW2 and lost his life there. My grandmother never really got over the loss of her brother … so much so that in the last few months of her life, it was him she spoke most often of calling her.

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In my travels I didn’t make it to these places. One day I might. I would like to see these places of historical significance – both personal and global, and to pay my respects to those who laid down their lives for others.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
(John McCrae)

Lest we forget.

 

Peace and serenity

So today got off to a cracking start. It is the end of daylight saving and last night in eager anticipation, I reset all the clocks – the wrong way. This turned out to not be so bad after all. Since we are actually putting the clocks back, not forward, it was not as disastrous as it could have been.

Earlier, I had declared plans for our Easter weekend should include a picnic, as the weather was supposed to be a beautiful 25 degrees. Perfect. Time to pack a little lunch and head off to one of our favourite haunts – the Mt Lofty Botanic Gardens.

We were married in the Botanic Gardens in the city, but I have found I prefer those nestled in the foothills. Over the other side of Mount Lofty, it is almost like another world. The weather is a little cooler; protected from the beach and its sandy gusts. The market gardens focus on apples, strawberries, cherries and cruciferous veggies (those of the leafy green variety) instead of lettuces and tomatoes. More recently, wineries and boutique breweries are popping up in surprising spots.

DSCN3709 editGiven the temperature difference, the leaves ‘turn’ far more dramatically in the autumn, which provide beautiful contrasts with the pines and gums that surround them. Unlike the garden in the city with its pavilions housing fascinating plants – and in fact buildings of architectural significance themselves – these gardens are relatively new and have entire gullies devoted to species of plants.

I am thankful for the foresight of those early settlers, who established the first of three botanic gardens in my city, with their large variety of interesting plants, 160 years ago. I had supposed, inspired by the diversity of Australian flora, these botanists had set up the city gardens only twenty years into the establishment of Adelaide as a township. But in fact, it was put in the original town plan by the main surveyor, Colonel William Light, right at the start. It just took a little bit of time to find the right place and secure adequate funding.

DSCN3713 edit.jpgBut as we sat in the sunshine today, munching on picnic fare, the peacefulness of the gardens surrounded us. As we heard the kookaburras and small children all laughing, we inhaled the fresh air of trees and flowers. Ah, bliss. “Why don’t you write a blog post about this?” said hubby. And even though you can’t hear the sounds and breathe the air with us, here is a little word picture of our day.

 

Photographs: © Tony & Rosemary Rogers 2018

Cleansing my soul

Firstly I must thank you readers for your interest. I had some very encouraging comments, one which expressed the sentiment that I could find writing ‘cathartic’. Funnily enough when I read that particular comment, I was at the football, another cathartic place for me.

I’m all for cathartic – it is good for you, I’m sure! But how to do this without harming anyone or anything else is the challenge.

{Cathartic: providing psychological relief through the open expression of strong emotions (Oxford Dictionary)}

Firstly, I should explain. When I say ‘football’, I mean Aussie Rules. I mean a game where big men fly and a tribal mentality prevails. It is unique to Australia (despite its major administration trying to create an International Rules version … to play against the Irish  … I think only because Gaelic Football is sort-of, a little bit, perhaps vaguely similar.)

Like all sports, the team with the most points at the final siren wins the game. In between the opening and final sirens, four quarters of running, kicking, handballing and lots of shouting at umpires (perhaps more from the crowd than the players) take place. It has its own vocabulary – marking (catching), goals (kicks between the two big sticks – six points) and behinds (kicks between the smaller sticks – one point), hangers (going for a mark, using another player as a sort-of stepladder) and much more. Players can have blinders (great games) or shockers (terrible ones).

Injuries can be nasty, given the protective gear consists of some sort of box (don’t ask me … I don’t have the need) and a mouth guard. Occasionally a player will wear a head guard, but a regular feature is strapping of muscles, lots and lots and lots of strapping.

The football club is part of the fabric of small country towns, as their leagues are close-knit but cover a large area. When you drive past an oval on a Saturday afternoon in the cold of winter, it is surrounded by cars, where most of their spectators sit, and later the clubrooms will be a social venue – often also the home of their affiliated sporting teams, like netball.

In the cities, the national competition has big membership numbers … with one in every twenty-seven Australians being a club member in 2017. And the crowd numbers are also huge – 90-odd thousand people attended the first game for the season last Friday night.

It is an eclectic mix of people who turn up. Some are wearing official merchandise jumpers, covered with player signatures, while others keep warm with hand-knitted scarves or beanies. Some eat the food on offer – ‘hot’ chips, meat pies or sausage rolls – and some bring packed sandwiches and a thermos. But they merge into one roar when their team kicks a goal.

So why is football so cathartic for me? I’ll be honest – I can be a stressed little bunny – and the idea of going somewhere and shouting at someone (let’s say, for example, an umpire) with no fear of retribution or really getting into an argument …is quite therapeutic. I guess it just gets a lot of angst out of my system – nothing personal against those yellow t-shirted men who can’t see what just happened (despite being sponsored by an optometry firm!!), but maybe they do need glasses (or maybe I do .. after all, over 40 and all that!)

So I’ll go, rugged up to the nines, and shout my little heart out until the final siren, and the four points are won. And hopefully I’ll see my team there – on the last Saturday in September – to win the final prize.

Photograph: West Coast Eagles vs
Adelaide Crows centre bounce – and some really bad editing from me.  © Rosemary Rogers 2012

My first reverie

A philosophical collection of thoughts

Our modern world and our reliance on the internet fascinates me. The irony of musing on this topic via an internet blog has not escaped me – be assured of that!

I went travelling in my younger years – without a mobile phone or an email address. Can you imagine such a thing! Mind you, this was before September 11 or the Euro was a live currency …

The concept of a smart phone was very much in the future, and as for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram etc … unheard of words in the late 90s. After all, the World Wide Web had only been in our world for less than a decade at this point.

My family and friends were reliant on postcards until at least a month into my journey, and it took another for me to make it to a country where phone calls weren’t prohibitively expensive. In my early 20s, I wasn’t concerned too much about how worried my parents may have been. They were nothing but supportive about me heading off. Yes, travelling alone, although meeting up with people along the way. This is when I know I now live in a different world.

 

That was then; this is now …

Our different world, where children learn on tablets and seem to know more about computers than their parents; where Google is a commonly used verb (not just a search engine name). Funny how one word catches on and others don’t, isn’t it. We don’t ‘Bing’ it or ‘DuckDuckGo’ it, (that second one is a real thing by the way), but just as in the UK, they hoover their homes, in the US they blow their noses with Kleenex and we Aussies wrap food (less frequently now) with Glad Wrap … but I digress …

Like many things in our world, there are advantages and disadvantages. But still, whether we like it or not, email and the internet are constant features of our lives now. We interact via text, Messenger and tweets, and I feel that, all too rapidly, we are losing the art of ‘old-fashioned’ ways of making contact.

So as I end these musings, I find myself longing to go out to my letterbox and see if I have got mail, have a good, long, phone-free catch-up with a friend, or just find myself a black spot where I can sit down under a tree and read a good book.

 

 

Photo: Mt Lofty Botanic Gardens. © Rosemary Rogers 16 April 2017