Mimi’s Munchkin

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turned one on October 11th!    Happy Birthday to the little cutie…..   Birthday Munchkin

There’s a lot of joy in having a grandchild – even if it’s from a 10,000 mile distance.  He *seems* to recognize me on Skype and last night when I sang Happy Birthday my son said he laughed – perhaps it’s my singing that’s hilarious, not the joy of hearing from Mimi.

Before I’d gone to bed my son had sent me a few birthday morning photos and then today I woke to find party photos on Facebook compliments of my daughter.

I couldn’t help but compare to my own childhood birthdays. Photos would’ve been taken and then Papa would’ve developed them in his darkroom and my mother would’ve “coloured” them.  If they were Kodachrome slides the film would’ve been sent away for developing.  Weeks later a few would have been chosen for my grandparents in Guernsey and sent off in the mail which might’ve taken 2 or 3 weeks (provided they didn’t go to Taipei first).    So…. by the time my grandparents received birthday photos I’d have reached and passed one or two development milestones!   It’s tough being a long-distance grandmother, but with all the technology today it’s certainly better than it was back then!

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The Quarter Century Princess

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Okay, so my summer was pretty gloomy but, time didn’t stand still and so my daughter, the Princess, gained quarter century status on 11th September.
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It’s such a cliche but it really does seem such a short time ago that she was a little thing celebrating her 1st birthday,  mesmerized by the candle and all that chocolate…..
Princess 1yrWith those big blue eyes she looked so sweet & innocent but really she was a bit of a street angel, home devil   Sophie Wright Dec 1993 Eastwood Pre-school
who grew into a determined & feisty teenager ….
sophbefore maturing into a lovely young woman with the most empathetic and compassionate heart of anyone I know.   I like to think this young man is very lucky to have her in his life….I know he spoilt her on her birthday so she probably didn’t notice that my $100 cheque, mentioned in my last post,  didn’t, and still hasn’t,  turned up…..
     Princess +
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Enter Autumn…

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Okay, not only spring but also summer is over…. 
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It always amuses me to have people ask enthusiastically “how was your summer?”  or “did you have a good summer?”   as if our lives somehow change dramatically for the better for 3 months of the year.  I don’t think Australians ask that question of each other but I haven’t lived there for 14 years….    So, seeing as I live in America, and I’ve lately been asked the question a lot,  I’ll respond.
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My summer started off well – in the last week of June we had one of the manservant’s friends stay for 4 days and on the day he left an Australian friend of mine arrived for 9 days.  These appear in the credit column along with the unseasonably “cool” weather; not much heat or humidity this year and I really, really, loved having my friend Pierre visiting – it was a great 9 days with him. DSC03716aBut unfortunately the debit side of my summer-ledger was heavy …   first we had an unexpected death of someone really close just two days after Pierre left.  This has really rocked us and will be forever marked by the cremation taking place on July 23rd, my birthday; a day which, prior to this year,  I have always loved and celebrated with vigor.   Ten days later we were at the ocean on a miserable day to scatter ashes.  IMG_2942Then our roof had to be totally replaced after numerous leaks sprang.  We did the due diligence thing and got 4 quotes which were so disparate it was ridiculous. About the only thing they had in common was the square footage to be covered!  One company didn’t even bother going up onto the roof!!  We chose the guy we found most personable which might not be the best way to select a company but his quote fell in the middle which met that old “dismiss-the-highest-&-lowest-first”  method of selection. collage And then, just after we’d double-mortgaged ourselves to pay for the roof, we had to sell the first born to pay for a bathroom repair!   The floor had to be ripped up looking for a leak; a leak we only realized we had when the kitchen ceiling plaster started falling down!  Oh, so yes that section of ceiling also had to be repaired.  A new floor, tiles and timber in the bathroom – and a savings account started for a pedestal to hide  that plumbing. IMG_3123aAnd now it looks like the $100 cheque I sent to the Princess for her early-September birthday might’ve gone to Austria in-spite of my block printing of “Australia” on the envelope!!!
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I’m really happy to be entering autumn and I’m sure people are somewhat sorry they asked about my summer.    
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Really? You call this Spring?

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I arrived back in DC expecting spring!   Silly me; why would I think that when we’ve just had our coldest, snowiest winter in 20 years?   In a day I went from t-shirt & sunscreen to puffy coat, layers of scarves & gloves.  Today we got about 2 inches of that cold, white stuff:   spring snow.Snow March 25.

I had an absolutely wonderful time home in Australia;  family, friends, a museum and 2 art galleries. Walks on the beach, rides on the river ferry. Entertaining & being entertained; great food and probably too much wine.  But, when I didn’t have a glass in my hand, I was holding this adorable little guy:     DSC02627He is so placid he even put up with my inept handling.   Grandchildren really are special even though I still don’t think I’m old enough to have one!  It was incredibly difficult to say au revoir this year.

 

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Happy Birthday Jane!

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Oh my God – my little sister, Jane, can not possibly be 50 today!   I’m pretty sure I’m  somewhere around 30 which makes her in the early 20’s.

When I said to my mother this week “Hard to think of Jane being 50 when I don’t think of myself as being 57 this year”  she replied:  “My advice is to never think about how old you are, just be sure to remember the date of your birth!”

Happy Birthday Jane  –  you were such a cutie….

 

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Happy Birthday to the Econoboy ….

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27 years ago today my second son was born.   He was the quietest, most placid baby imaginable;  the one every mother hopes for.  Econo-boyI did not foresee the adventurer he would become;  exploring the world, enjoying life, grabbing at experiences with enthusiasm.

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In spite of his propensity to worry this poor old mum, he is a great son, brother and now uncle.  Happy Birthday to you!

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Happy B’day Locksmith!

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This day 29 years ago a wonderful mischief maker was born.  Newish Locksmith

As soon as he was able to move he was never still for more than 30 seconds at a time.  Forget about afternoon naps; forget about sleeping through the night. Ever.

His answer to what are you doing?   was always “I’m working”.   Work consisted of things like:  sawing the mortar out from between the bricks on the corner of the house; chopping along the length of Gran’s hose with a tomahawk;  “wood cutting”  Grandad’s work bench using Black & Decker tools;  painting the laundry wall in a permanent natural dye of red mud;  cleaning the toilet with every soap, lotion & makeup he could find (required plumbers to “unclean”);  testing the resilience of his cousin’s Lego by adding it to a fire;  throwing the neighbour’s deck chairs into their pool………. the long list now provides great laughs at family gatherings.

There was no such thing as “quiet time” with the Locksmith..   any downtime was spent considering what he could work on next (and thinking “Lord help me with these parents!)    What can I do next ...

10 weeks ago the Locksmith became a father and I admit to smirking as I thought of the challenges having an active little boy would bring and all that stuff about what goes around comes around….   but, though they are vaguely similar in appearance at the same age, (Locksmith on left)

Father & Son so far this placid little darling has been nothing but an angel.  Santa's helper

I reckon my son thinks he got the best early birthday present ever this year!.. Today my firstborn gets to spend time chilling with his firstborn.  Happy Birthday Locksmith!

Happy Birthday

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Another point on her tiara

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On this day in Australia, in 1989, the princess was born.  A welcome addition to a family containing 2 young princes.  Throughout the pregnancy I’d given thought to how noisy the house would be with a 3rd boy – and how truly outnumbered I’d be!
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The boys look such little innocents with cheeky grins and their fairly new sister:  kids 30
But they could be mean when it came to her comfort object , a pink pig, which they would hold just out of her reach or hide out of sight.. Pink piggy
The princess realised she was going to have to toughen up if she was going to make it in a household containing hoodlums-in-the-making:last 2
She devised her own revenge. Wait until parent leaves the room. Let out a terrified screech; enjoy the parent’s return & shouting at boy.  Open blue eyes wide in total deniability to the boys’ claims of a setup:    Innocent
The princess was certainly a home-devil, street-angel …..angel
   And now she’s a lovely young lady… though she still gives her brothers a bit of a hard time!   Princess now poster
Happy Birthday Princess!!
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Humourous Reality……

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It’s inevitable now that each time July rolls around I will think of how my father used to sing happy birthday to me over the phone  – he rang every year without fail so he’s really been in my thoughts the last few days and so perhaps I channeled an email that I received today.

The email reminded me of the time dad called the police when nursing home staff ignored his pressing of the call button.  (probably a lot of people remember this story)    The “joke” made me laugh but it also touched a nerve as I wondered how close to a real situation this might be:

A sweet grandmother telephoned St. Joseph’s Hospital and timidly asked:  “Is it possible to speak to someone who can tell me how a patient is doing?”

The operator said,  “I’ll be glad to help, dear. What’s the name and room number of the patient?”

The grandmother in her weak, tremulous voice said “Norma Findlay, Room 302”.

The operator replied “Let me put you on hold while I check with the nurse’s station for that room.”

After a few minutes the operator returned to the phone and said “I have good news.  Her nurse just told me that Norma is doing well.  Her blood pressure is fine; her blood work just came back normal and her physician, Dr. Cohen, has scheduled her to be discharged tomorrow.”

The grandmother said “Thank you.  That’s wonderful.  I was so worried.  God bless you for the good news”.

The operator said  “You’re more than welcome.  Is Norma your daughter?”

The grandmother replied “No, I’m Norma Findlay in Room 302.  No-one tells me shit”.

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Getting back on track here is hard!

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I should just invite you over for coffee and a big catch up…..     Coffeeand I could whinge about my fundamentally flawed feet.  It was just about this week in 2008 that I started a 5 month stint in a series of casts, crutches and extensive surgery on my left foot.   Now I have plantar fasciitis – in both heels!     Who thought it was so fantastic to walk everywhere?   As I type I have a “boot”  on my right foot …. and it’s only on my right foot because apparently you can’t wear  a pair of these boots    (“not a good idea” said my foot specialist).

By then it will be lunch time……     Lunch 2Lunchand I could tell you all about my recent month at home in Australia.  Mum turned 80 and we threw her a lovely party with more than 50 guests.   Jane did most of the work organizing that and I just swanned in at the last minute to enjoy myself.   Well, not quite….  I wore my bloody feet out traipsing around Sydney shops looking for placecards as mum had a seating plan.  If she’d told me that before I’d left here I’d have taken some with me as they seem to be a precious rarity in Australia!

My trip was round after round of morning teas, lunches and dinners with family and friends.   I must tell you more about it – I certainly have enough photo prompts as I took nearly 800 photos!!

And,  over something sweet ……       SweetsI will tell you how I’m going to be a grandmother for the first time in October!   My eldest son & his wife are expecting a boy and I’m busy trying to come up with a snazzy alternative to being called nan, nanna, gran, grandma etc…   in my mind those belong to another (earlier) generation.

Okay –  I’m back.

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