This is just a post to let you all know that Scandi-Sense is now on Bloglovin and you can follow my posts there.
My blog is still a work in progress and I find I’m adding to it or changing something each day but I am slowly getting there.
Never knew there was so much to do and learn in starting a blog, my brain is in shock, hasn’t had to work so hard in a long time. If all accounts are right, all this brain gymnastics should at least stave off early onset dementia.
So after a quick coffee and home made banana cake (love my sweets!) it’s back to work.
I have now reached that point in life when I not only look to the future but I also start to look backwards. There are so many memories fighting for space in my brain, all of a sudden I find myself thinking about something or more specifically, someone I thought I had long since forgotten.
If a face bubbles to the surface I can spend the next couple of hours trying to put a name to that face; for some reason names and faces seem to be stored in completely different vaults in my memory bank. Sometimes it is simply impossible to find a matching pair. It just doesn’t compute. A bit like socks, you put a pair into the washing machine but only one comes out. The other one is either lost for all eternity or it will re-join the sock family a few washes down the track.
We all meet so many people throughout our lives. Some are like ships passing in the night, they are on your radar for a short time before disappearing over the horizon again. You have some good time together and though you occasionally give them a thought, they really aren’t missed once they are out of sight.
Others on the other hand, drop anchor next to you and stay there for a while, maybe even for ever. You see them on a regular basis and if for some reason they move away, you stay in touch with them. You keep them posted on what’s happening in your life and they do exactly the same.
And then there is the third type of friendship, the one that is permanently anchored deep in your soul. This kind of friendship doesn’t depend on constant contact. For one reason or another you just “clicked”, had lots of good and bad times together and somehow, no matter what, you really enjoyed each others friendship. Then one day, life separates you and you lose touch with each other.
Years can go by without any contact at all and then all of a sudden you meet up again and it’s like you saw them only yesterday. You simply start up where you left off. Lots might have changed but somehow nothing has. You might live in different parts of the world, lead completely different types of lives, but that special bond, that friendship formed long ago is unchanged. Some friendships are like that and they are very special.
I talk about this because we have had a very good friend of my husband visiting us over the weekend. Their friendship goes back over 40 years to when they were just starting out in life. They spent some years working together and then life took them in different directions and to different cities.
They have caught up with each other once in a while but there has been no regularity to the contacts. So it was so much fun to observe these two now “mature” blokes (they are no longer the young spring chickens they once were!) spend until the small hours of the morning talking about everything under the sun and just catching up.
Friendships like these are so wonderful, there are no strings attached, no demands of “must stay in touch”; just the joy of catching up and getting the latest update on what’s happened in each others lives since last time. If many years have past since the previous meeting, we have a laugh at how we have changed. We make comments like “You had hair the last time I saw you!” or “You’ve put on a little bit of weight!”, things you only say to real friends. Things you say because you can, no offence intended and none taken.
This particular friend of my husband’s was travelling through our part of the country with his new partner. They were travelling by car to the very tip of Australia, a trip that has become a right of passage to all four wheel drive enthusiasts in this country.
We spent a couple of very enjoyable evenings together, I made new friends and my husband re-connected with an old one. This morning, after taking lots of photos of course, we waved them good bye, wished them a safe trip and offered them a bed on their way back.
Hopefully they send some photos so we can follow their adventure up north and we really hope they make a short stop at “Harriet’s Hotel”on the way back (we have had so many visitors over the years our place was given this nick name). But if we don’t hear from them for another couple of years, it doesn’t matter, when we do meet up again, we’ll just continue on from where we left off this morning.
Some mornings it really is hard to get out of bed, it’s the weekend and it’s wet and windy outside. I’m sure you’ve all had mornings like this. Absolutely no reason to hurry up and rush to put the coffee machine on. Of course, if hubby feels like doing it, I would not say no to coffee and toast in bed.
Well, this morning was like that (minus the coffee in bed, hubby was more reluctant than me to get out of bed). So I just laid there, thinking about nothing in particular, letting the thoughts come and go as they pleased.
Looking out our floor to ceiling windows, watching the trees bend over in the windy and wet weather, the thought came to me that I’m really lucky to have the luxury of simply laying there and admire nature on a day many would say is less than perfect.
And then the floodgates of “thankfulness” opened. There are so many things in life to be thankful for but we rarely take the time to acknowledge them. We are too busy living our lives, hurrying towards that final goal post (it could be closer than we think) to realise that every day there is something to be grateful for.
It shouldn’t just to be the big fireworks events in our lives that we are grateful for, they are so obvious. No, every day, no matter how bad, have some little thing we can focus on and say a silent thank you for.
So practising what I preach, here is my “I’m so grateful for” list for today;
It’s pouring with rain and I’m so grateful –
I don’t have to water the garden / pots today,
It’s too wet to go for that 5km walk we said we were going to do every
I can put off doing the washing, too wet for drying on the line (I try to not use the clothes drier),
I can use the clothes dryer if I really need to wash something today,
I have a perfect excuse to spend hours and hours sorting out my photos
It’s cold outside (well, what we here in Far North Queensland think of as cold, it’s 20°C) and I’m so grateful –
I have the perfect opportunity to wear that winter jumper I bought 4 years ago (now I just have to find it!),
We installed reverse cycle air-conditioning so I can turn the heating on tonight (who would have thought you need heating in the tropics),
I can tell hubby to keep all the doors closed, for once we won’t be overrun with insects when the lights are turned on (I will see what I’m eating),
I didn’t go camping with my friends this weekend.
That’s of course looking at this whole thing on a lighter note. I tend to do that, makes life so much easier. But that doesn’t mean the subject is not a serious one, personally I simply chose to walk on the brighter side of life’s highway, it can be very crowded in the “misery lane”.
Seriously though, there really is something to be grateful for every day. As I lay there in my warm and cozy bed (hubby still refusing to get up and make that first cup of coffee for me), I made a promise to myself to spend some time every day to say a silent thank you and focus on something to be grateful for.
The obvious ones are easy; I live in a beautiful country, I was so lucky to find my soul mate in life, I have a beautiful family, I have a roof over my head and food on the table, etc., etc. Those are the easy ones, it’s the more obscure ones that can be hard to find. A bit of soul searching might be required, but I can promise that somewhere in the endless sea of everyday experiences and observations, there is a worthy contender for the “I’m so grateful for” daily prize.
A few posts back I talked about my husband killing time by suddenly taking to furniture restoration with hitherto unseen enthusiasm (read more here).
Not to let Greg have all the glory, I have found my own remedy for killing time – photo sorting. Now there is a time killer to beat all others! I can see myself spending the next couple of weeks doing this, heaven knows how I’m going to have time for anything else.
It all started innocently enough, I was searching for a specific photo to insert into my blog. A photo I knew I had … somewhere.
If you are like me, you have thousands of photos on your phone, tablet or computer. And if you are one of those organised people, you have sorted them into albums for ease of locating later on. Well, I can announce to the world, I am not one of those people. It is all too easy to just shoot away, have a quick look and then just forget about it.
Of course the organised people of the world also make sure the photos are backed up in one form or the other. Here I give myself a big tick! Yep, I have dutifully backed up photo libraries from three different computers, two digital cameras, several smart phones, as well as photos posted by friends and family on social media. To make matters worse I have back-ups of back-ups, so when I open the drive I am met with a forest of folders.
This means that after more than 12 years of happily clicking away at just about anyone and everything, finding a specific photo makes finding that needle in the proverbial hay stack look like a piece of cake (why, oh why, didn’t I spend some time organising all those photos?)
Looking for my photo, I found myself opening folder after folder and nearly forgot why I started this whole exercise. I wasn’t looking for that specific photo any longer, I was thoroughly enjoying myself walking down a pictorial memory lane. My goodness, Greg and I have had some fun and done some crazy things together. Photos, like music, have the capacity to instantly transport you to a different time and place and I spent a few happy hours “travelling” back in time. Thank goodness we had left-overs in the fridge from the day before, I was way too busy to do any cooking.
The cause of all this merriment, said photograph, was however nowhere to be found. It finally dawned on me it was taken back in the dark ages (the olden days as our kids used to say). So onwards to plan B – the many photo albums and photo boxes hiding in one of the cupboards.
Here I must explain that I have always been a keen photographer so there are literally thousands of photographs. Having brought all the albums and boxes out of the cupboard and put on the sofa, I could see that I must have single-handedly kept the photo shop in business.
At some stage I had obviously started to sort all those photos, some of the envelopes had dates on them. But judging by the majority of envelopes tightly squeezed into the boxes, this was considered a job for another time. A time that has now come.
As I started to go through the photos, I constantly called Greg to “come and have a look at this!”. No sooner after having had a look and returning to whatever he was doing, another call would go out “you really must have a look at this!”. He soon tired of running backwards and forwards and for the next couple of hours he too was absorbed in this form of time travel.
The older the photos were, the more we laughed and the more we remembered. We laughed at ourselves, how silly we looked, how young we were and we reminisced about the kids, dogs and friends we at some stage thought would be in our lives forever.
After several hours, one thing became very clear, there was no order what-so-ever to my photo filing. At one time there might have been, but no more. What was not put into albums was simply squeezed into a box waiting for the photo fairy to put it in its place. And Greg was no help at all, once he had enough of reminiscing, he put the photos he had spread out around him back into one of the boxes, got up and said “can’t believe how many photos we have, you should sort them out!”.
Yeah right, as if I don’t have anything better to do. Well that’s just it, at the moment, I don’t.
Is there anything more frustrating than waiting? Be it waiting in line at the supermarket, at the bank or waiting to board the plane . Not to mention being put on hold and placed in a phone cue. That’s a universal “tear-out-your-hair” and curl up in the fetal position moment.
I’m not good at waiting but I’m 100 times more patient than my husband. He hates waiting and if he can avoid a situation that requires any form of waiting, he will. So believe me when I say that our present situation is anything but ideal. What to do with all your spare time while waiting?
We are presently back in Australia awaiting our new work permits for Papua New Guinea. And we have been waiting for quite a few months now, our new contracts with a new employer, signed long ago. PNG has this odd requirement that you have to be out of the country when re-applying for a new work permit even if your present permit has many months to go.
With so much time on his hands, hubby has dreamt up all sorts of things to do, not only for himself but unfortunately, for me too. All I can say is that Google and YouTube have a lot to answer for. For one, he discovered the pleasure of renovating old furniture, something he wouldn’t have given a second thought six months ago.
He resurrected our old and very comfortable cane dining chairs, destined for the tip after a recent purchase of new ones. He repaired them and re-sprayed them and had me make new cushion covers for them. I myself stupidly offered to do that, thinking I’ll stitch them up in a couple of hours. I do know how to sew after all and the sewing machine could do with a workout, it had sat idle for the last couple of years. Definitely time for it to earn its keep.
I had the perfect material on hand and it was just a matter of re-using the zippers and making exact copies of the old ones, how hard could that be? As it turned out, veryhard. I have made many types of cushion covers in my younger years, there is really not much to it, even the fully tailored ones are quite easy to make. But these ones almost made me lose my sanity.
I struggled with those blasted covers for five (five !) days and for the life of me, I couldn’t work out where I was going wrong. I could not get the measurements right to get the curved rear edges nice and smooth (did I mention I’m a perfectionist?). Making it worse was hubby’s constant jack-in-the-box impersonation and sudden expertise at cushion-cover making. He has no idea of how close he came to wearing one of those covers.
No one can ever accuse my dear husband of not going the full yard. Once the chairs were mastered, nothing in the garage was safe. The corner in the garage where we had put old furniture to be given away or thrown out, was all of a sudden in the spotlight. Nothing was safe.
A queen size bed with a beautiful timber bedhead was sanded down, several coats of oil applied and Hey Presto!, a new bed appeared where once an old ready-to-be-thrown-out one had stood. Bedside tables were sanded, legs repainted and they were now way too good to part with. He even restored our outdoor glass table, stripped the paint off the aluminium frame and re-sprayed it. It came up like new. And I must admit the frustration with the cushion covers was worth it, we now had another usable outdoor setting.
For a professional man, used to putting large deals together and managing a sizeable work force, he could put many a furniture restorer to shame.
But of course there are only so many old things stored in the garage and the novelty did wear off after a time. Lately he has taken to reading my monthly food magazines (he is really bored), taking great interest in the many wonderful recipes hidden within their covers. I have always bought food magazines but very rarely have I cooked any of the dishes.
Alas, the luxury of just reading the recipes at my own leisure is now gone. My soul mate is now making constant suggestions for recipes “we” should make, “we” meaning me. I have never cooked so many new dishes, some very complicated, others thank goodness, less so. But I concede I’m learning a lot and we have never eaten so well. Not to mention that some of my many house hold gadgets have finally seen the light of day.
Luckily, Greg and I enjoy each other’s company and having worked together since the first day we met, we have learnt to put up with each other and take an interest in what the other one is doing. Be it furniture restoration, sewing or cooking we are determined to keep ourselves occupied while we wait…and wait.
“We live in a country full of dangerous and deadly creatures and each day is a struggle just to survive all the perils lurking outside our front doors”. “Snakes and spiders are just waiting to attack you”. I think this is sometimes how the rest of the world sees our country.
Some of the dealiest creatures in the world can be found in Australia
Australia is well known for having some of the most venomous and deadliest snakes and spiders in the world. Not to mention deadly jelly fish, crocodiles and sharks in our waters. Going for a swim or a hike can be down-right life threatening. There are so many films and TV programs highlighting the dangers in our country, I’m surprised Australia has any tourism at all!!
I was born in Sweden, a country where there are very few things that can harm you. I mean, how often do you come face to face with a brown bear or a wolf? As kids, the only things that saw us running for our lives were wasps or the neighbour’s mad rooster (he really was dangerous – he once had my mother cornered in the out-door loo for several hours). The sea didn’t harbour anything more scary than the jellyfish that would come in late summer, their tentacles could sting, but they certainly didn’t kill you.
“You’ll never last!”
When Greg and I decided to move from Melbourne to Far North Queensland, I was constantly told I would hate it and never survive all the creepy crawlies and snakes that live in and around the rain forest. Friends and family alike thought we were bonkers; we (especially I) would never last. Well I hate to say it but, 25 years later on, we are still here.
Not only do we love it, we have learnt to live with all of nature’s creatures, big and small. Some might look scary but most the time they are harmless and as the saying goes “much more scared of us than we are of them”.
We are not alone
When we moved into our present house, it had sat vacant for well over two years. In the tropics things grow very fast and both flora and fauna take over in a very short time. I’m sure if you stood still for any length of time, you’ll be covered in vines, with critters having made a very comfortable home in the greenery.
We found we shared the house with two brown tree snakes who lived in our ceiling. The first time I heard their dragging, rasping sound, I was in the bath. Greg was away on a short business trip and being alone at home, I really freaked out. I spent the next couple of nights following the eerie sound as it moved from one end of the house to the other, telling myself not to be stupid. Whatever was up there couldn’t be that bad. Besides, our two dogs didn’t seem overly worried.
As soon as Greg walked in the door I insisted he investigate to see what kind of monster lived in our ceiling. Judging by the noise, it had to be big whatever it was. He soon found the offenders, two brown tree snakes. They had obviously made themselves at home during the past couple of years and after several unsuccessful attempts to catch them, we decided to simply just let them be.
Thelma & Louise
We got used to seeing one or the other of these snakes in the evenings when they came out to hunt and we grew quite fond of them, naming them Thelma and Louise. There were times when we found them inside the house, usually alerted by the dogs barking, but they always made their way out quite quickly.
Thelma eventually grew too big to fit into the small opening they used to get in and out of and she moved herself to the garage. Louise disappeared shortly after and for several years now, all’s been quiet in the ceiling.
We still see snakes around the house but we have discouraged any “new tenants” by blocking off any openings to the ceiling. And I have learnt that I don’t have to run, screaming, in the opposite direction every time I see a snake. Sure, there are some very dangerous ones but they are not going to chase me if I leave them alone – live and let live, that’s my motto.
Spiders – not my favourite
One thing I still have a slight problem with is spiders. I am no longer petrified by them, however I really like to admire them from a distance. But my god, we do have some beautiful ones in this part of the world.
For the past month or so we have watched an orb-spider weave its beautiful web and grow bigger with each day. I really wasn’t too keen on this one since the web was right outside our back patio doors and next to our outdoor sitting area. I had this horrible thought I would forget to watch out and walk right into the web, thereby ending up wearing the spider. The web was quite high up though so we let it be.
She grew very quickly (we know it was a female, males are tiny in comparison) and we named her “Colossus”. Every morning we would go out to see what poor creature she had caught in her substantial web, it was like a private biology lesson, our very own nature program. Most insects caught in her web didn’t stand a chance, very few escaped. She really was quite beautiful and I can understand the fascination some people have with these eight- legged creatures.
“They grow up so fast”
Colossus got as big as Greg’s hand and I slowly warmed to her presence. Visitors might have freaked out but we quite liked her. One morning however she was gone, all that remained was the web with a large hole in the middle. We presume some bird must have got her.
We have lots and lots of other spiders and critters around the house, but she became special. And strangely enough, we sort of missed her after she was gone. After all, she didn’t eat much.