December 29, 2004

The Gaia Hypothesis

Our Earth Mother is sick.
She trembles and tosses in disturbed sleep,
her skin cracks, lesions appear -
the waters leave their usual lunar tides
to crash on unsuspecting shores
where her sons and daughters
have no place to hide.
If only we could give her peace.

Vickie Farquharã 29/12/04

Posted by Midus at 08:26 AM

December 28, 2004

The Lull in the Storm.

Happy 28th of December!
I can say that...because Christmas is OVER and New Year's not yet here.

It's that lovely time of year when things sort of grind to a halt. After Christmas Sales were yesterday. People have either gone back to where they came from or left for a few days away at the beach. Pennant Hills Road is actually really quiet, right now.

Christmas Eve was lovely...Rob left work early and we spent some quality time together watching the Lord of the Rings. It's become a Christmas Tradition for us. We only managed the Fellowship & The Two Towers and saved Return of the King for Christmas night.

Christmas Day - We stayed up until 2am and opened our Pressies!
My daughter Jacqui and her family in Melbourne gave us a really welcome gift of a metal box filled with 12 little cannisters of unusual spices - ones that won't be too easy to get in Cairns. They are going to see a lot of use when our new kitchen is built. My daughter Gemma and her family(also in Melbourne) sent me a slightly off-beat sachet for the wardrobe - in the shape of a bra. Rob got a really terrific Cook-Book. It's designed with guys in mind. Who knows - it might actually encourage him to acquire some culinary skills, because he doesn't have many that I've noticed! Actually he was really happy with it.

My darling gave me two boxed DVD sets of Halifax FP (for those overseas readeers - it's an Aussie TV drama show) and a DVD of Local Hero. Rob's been wanting me to see it for ages, because I've had the sound track CD for years. He also gave me a beautiful 'French Country' nightdress made from white lawn, with lovely smocking all over the top. It should be perfect for the hot nights up north.

Rob's Aunt Heather sent a wonderful scarf/shawl in a gorgeous bronze colour - it's wonderful and reminds me of mithril in the way it moves and shimmers. I know it should really be silver coloured, but hey this is my imagination...right?

When we woke on Christmas morning, we called all the five kids and had nice long chats. We found out that Jenny and her family, who live on the Gold Coast in Queensland, had been flooded out two weeks before Christmas. Apparently there was heavy rain and the council hadn't been keeping the drain across the road clear. They ended up with knee deep water throughout the house. Jenny lost her 1 yr old car, dishwasher, washingmachine and, of course, all the carpets. Hopefully their insurance will cover it all. Christmas at their place was a little chaotic.

OK...So we had to bite the bullet this year and spend Christmas Lunch with Rob's family. It's going to be our last for some time. It was also the first Christmas without Rob's mum Anne and we knew it was going to be overshadowed by her absence. One thing Anne really loved was Christmas! Ian tried to do all the things she would have done and did a pretty good job...but he couldn't add the special touches.

It was never going to be easy and it wasn't. Ian drank too much - but then he always does. He broke down and it fell to Rob to try and help him. We went through the usual critisism of Rob not doing IT courses to further his career - what Ian was really expressing was his fear that Rob won't be able to find suitable work in Cairns. He's under the impression that Cairns is actually a small town - when in actual fact it's a City. Sure it's a lot more laid back than Sydney and a lot smaller, but it's thriving. I might add that Ian has never even been to Cairns...the closest he got was Townsville in the 70s, when he was still in the Royal Navy! It's no good trying to tell him differently, because he will believe what he wants to believe.

I've been charged with the task of 'looking after Rob'...something I do anyway...but I found that a little ironic, seeing as I'm the one with hypertension, diabetes and arthritic hips and back!!! Rob is quite capable of looking after himself and me too. It would be nice if Ian could see him as a man and not a child - but then that's fathers for you.

I would like to add, that Rob and I both received some lovely gifts and lunch was really nice, Ian, unlike Rob, can actually cook. Mind you, he hates cleaning up, so everyone else did that.

Boxing Day - You'd have thought we would have been totally Lord of the Rings tired by that time, but no. We caught a train into Darling Harbour and went to the Power House Museum for the LTR exhibition. Rob got the tickets the week before, because it's not going anywhere else but Sydney and there was no way we were going to miss it! If you like LTR, I suggest you make sure to go. It's amazing to see the costumes and weapons. There's even a 'life size' cave troll! The work on the armour and weapons is wonderful. How could the cast NOT become their charactors, when wearing such costumes??!

We finished the evening by watching the Bruce Campbell movie Bubba Ho-Tep - it's not available here, so I'd ordered it from Amazon as part of Rob's Chrissie Pressie. It's totally whacky and off the wall - it's an absolute hoot!

Yesterday we spent packing. The lounge room has nearly been finished and Rob has broken the back of packing the gear in the study. It's not a job either of us relish, but starting early will make it less traumatic in the long run.

Our friend James dropped by in the evening and we had a meal and a good catch-up. It's been an absolute age since we've seen him and we've made a firm promise to keep in touch. He's one of those quiet people who never pushes and you don't realise how much time has past.

Today, we really should go get some groceries. The fridge is looking bare and there are some essentials that we desperately need. I think Rob has plans for us to see a movie this afternoon - we are having the day off from packing.

Next Christmas, we will be far away from Sydney and hopefully we will be having a BBQ and fun with the family there.

Enjoy your last days of 2004.

Vickie.


Posted by Midus at 09:29 AM

December 24, 2004

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

XmasDuo.jpg

Here's wishing one and all a very Merry Christmas and a Wonderful New Year 2005. May the Christmas Spirit carry over until the next one arrives.

Peace & Love,

Vickie

Posted by Midus at 05:40 PM

December 22, 2004

BUGGER!

Today has not been a good one for this webpage.
So far Rob and I have cleaned off more than 320 spam msgs left as comments.
I'm going to be closing, all but the latest posting, for comment. It's the only way I'm going to get any peace.
Much good may their spamming do them, as I'm wishing them to hell! I've wasted quite a bit of my busy day on them, only to be hit again as soon as I've finished deleting.
If any of my readers want to make a comment or contact me, please use my e-mail.
Thanks,

Vickie.

Posted by Midus at 03:48 PM

Taking a Breather

I thought I'd take a few minutes from my busy day to have a cup of coffee and a natter to my friends.

We had a delivery of 23 packing boxes this morning and I've been putting them to good use. The temperature is 30oC and I'm exhausted already. We've already thinned out our library, but the filled boxes keep mounting up. Thank goodness we have enough bookcases to hold them...problem is do we have enough space in our home in Gordonvale to hold the bookcases!

Enough of packing. We held our Annual 'Vickie & Rob' Christmas bash on Saturday the 18th. Of the 30 people we invited, 15 accepted...about what we expected. Of those 15, only 9 showed up. We were pretty disappointed, because we'd spent a lot on food. Two of them were sick, so they are excused. The rest either forgot or accepted more attractive invitations. Thanks 'Friends'. This was going to be our chance to say Goodbye to many of you.

If any of them really want to see us before we leave, then they know where to find us.

Those who did turn up were a pretty convivial bunch and we all enjoyed ourselves. (Well I didn't hear anything to the contrary.) Rob and I have just about finished the left overs...except for the dips and a cheese platter. Rob actually remembered to take some photos and when he gets around to downloading them, I'll post some here.

You know, it's possible that our parties are too civilized. No loud music, nobody gets drunk and there are never any altercations and everyone keeps their gear on. I guess that must be rather boring to some.

Christmas day is going to be spent with Rob's family. Neither of us is particularly looking forward to it...last year we went to the 'real' zoo, rather than spend the day living on the edge. This year we are obliged to attend the family lunch - it will be our last for quite some time. Rob's family love him and want to see him. I'll just be along for nuisance value.

Boxing day we are going to the Lord of the Rings exhibition at the Power House Museum. We have tickets for the 1pm tour - I'm buggered if we were going to leave Sydney without seeing it! We also have plans to visit a few of our favourite places before we go, but it all depends on how organized we are.

Anyway...back to the packing.

I'll have another cuppa with you soon.

Vickie.

Posted by Midus at 11:29 AM

December 15, 2004

January Can't Come Fast Enough!

I long to hear a tropical downpour on our iron roof again,
the tree frog chorus, wind in the palm fronds,
fruit bats screaming in their nightly raid
on the lychee tree.
I need to go home.

You need to go home too…to a house you’ve only
visited before – once as a friend, once as a lover.
Next time you’ll be a husband walking in the door.
So much to do before
you can share my frogs.

Vickie Farquhar ã 13/12/04

Posted by Midus at 06:31 AM

December 12, 2004

What a Waste of Time!

Well Rob and I successfully wasted 8hrs of our time today. We also wasted a whole heap of time during the last week or so...time that could have been utilised packing.

We held our garage sale today and nobody came. We had posters up all over the place. We put careful thought into how we would display the goodies...all to no avail.

It's not all bad though. The majority of clothes that we don't want anymore are now neatly folded in boxes in the boot of the car, ready to go to the thrift shop tomorrow. There's also a box of odds and ends of china and a box of photo and picture frames + a signed poster by a guy called Jonathan Chester, who is an Antarctic explorer and photographer. I hope St.Vinnies make a few bucks from them.

The boxes of books are another problem. Some of them are just about brand new and if there's not a used bookshop that wants them, I'll ask the Red Cross if they want them for the Hospital book trollies.

We are going to list our old TV and stand on E-bay - it's still in pretty good nick and if no one wants it, we'll take it up North with us. (We know it works well, because we had it on all day in the carport.) It can go in the outside entertainment area (when it's dry.)

The other items we don't want to take are two cane bar stools one tall and one a little bit shorter. There's a little bit of binding missing on one of the legs, but otherwise they are in good condition. They came from designer Gary Masters' studio and cost over $100 each.

It's amazing just how exhausting it can be - doing nothing! Rob's slipped out for take-away because we are both too tired to bother cooking.

I'll write soon, when I'm in a better mood!

Vickie.

Posted by Midus at 04:28 PM

December 07, 2004

GRRRRRR!

One of these days things are going to go to plan!

As you would have read, I finished work on Thursday last week. I was assured that my final pay would be taken care of on Friday and deposited into our joint account. Riiiight!

I wasn't reallye expecting it to be there before today - which is normal pay day for the office staff. Apparently I set my sights a little high. I hadn't bargained on the National Australia Bank!

Problem: The new owners had set up their banking with the NAB and it was supposed to be activated Monday. I rang the pay office and they informed me, with regret (I could hear the intake of breath) that the earliest my pay would be in the bank would be Thursday. The simple fact is that the NAB hasn't set up the account yet!

I must admit to being rather short...I asked if they were going to pay me the interest I'd be missing out on. OK so that's being bitchy, but hey - it's my money and as it was a termination pay, if should have been payed out the next day. I hope for their sakes that the NAB has the account active on Thursday... it's the Nursing Staff pay day and I don't think they want to field two hundred phone calls from staff wanting to know where their money is!

Last Sunday we hired a ute from Kennards to pick up a couch from Mosman. We had it for 4hrs. When we took it back they gave us a docket and credited us with the deposit refund as normal. It's Tuesday and that amount is STILL not in our account - apparently their bank takes 48hrs to return credits to your bank account.

I remember, when I was working for Queensland Health, that whenever anything new was introduced to the payroll computer system, there could be a delay of up to a week in receiving our pays. It was always shrugged off by the management. Strange how it never affected the salaried officers.

I found out, on the Union grapevine, that the money was actually being sent off shore for a couple of days and they were making huge profits. The Union went to war and our legal advisors informed the department that a late payment fee would be attached for every day they were late. It was amazing how quickly computer updates became hassle free.

Since those times, I've become increasingly suspicious, when there are any glitches, in my dealings with financial institutions. It's my/our money and I object strongly to having someone else holding out on us. It seems they can use our money whenever they want, but we can't.

Vickie.

Posted by Midus at 02:58 PM

December 03, 2004

Finally!

Last night I pulled the pin!

My last evening shift at work was filled with phone calls from both nursing staff from the agency and Administration nursing staff, from the various facilities the agency provides staff for. All of them expressed regret at my leaving. Several asked for my new address, so that they might keep in touch. Funny thing...I know that they actually will!

The majority of these people I've never met. Somehow, over the course of 2yrs and 8months, a bond was forged. I know many of their problems and have shared some of their happy times, through the telephone line. I have mental pictures and no doubt they are totally different from what the actual individuals look like. Voices on the phone...

Voices mean so much. They express warmth, humour, anger, frustration, professionalism and desperation . When you've spent as much time as I have, dealing with 'voices' it would be so easy to be dismissive and cut the 'not so nice calls' short. I guess I've spent a good deal of time being, what we call, an 'Auntie Mary'. It's easier to difuse a situation at the begining than have to deal with end consequences.

I've had some pretty desperate calls from staff who are lost on the way to a nursing home or hospital. Imagine me, someone who really doesn't know Sydney, trying to direct a nurse to a facility, when all I have is a UBD and they really don't know their exact location at that time! I've never 'lost' one yet...but that was pure luck.

Working out how to get a nurse from one side of Sydney to the other, using trains and buses, has been another challenge. It's more so, when that particular nurse has only basic English skills. My North Queensland accent has been just as unintelligible to them as their North African (for example) has been to me. Some of Sydney suburban names and street names are SO difficult for overseas people to grasp. (They are for me too!)

My friend Monica, whom I met 'on the phone' became a real life friend and if I gained nothing else from working at the agency, I am grateful for that. She came to our wedding and added her own particular charm. Marguerite, an RN with the Agency, who hails from Columbia, has been a delight. She came to see me before the wedding to give me a ring with a Columbian emerald in it. She also lent me a beautiful pair of gold earrings set with emeralds. So much generosity and trust, from someone I'd only actually met twice before.

I must mention my mate Jodie. She left her position as Community Co-ordinator, with the agency, a couple of weeks ago. Frustration and stress are not something she needed in her life, so she did what she'd been threatening to do for sometime. Congratulations! I'm going to be keeping in touch with her too.She and her husband came to our wedding too.

I actually enjoyed most of my work time at the Agency. The women I worked with, especially Bette, Jodie, Helen, Lin, Jane, Louise and of course Connie, made me welcome and feel an integral part of the team. I shall miss them. Thank you ladies!

On a last note, the business has been sold to a couple of nice guys, who intend to put some real drive behind the agency. Wouldn't you know it? The first thing done was to have the computer IT guys go through the place and today they are installing another brand new server. I said, from the time they put in the previous one, that it wasn't up to the job. One of the new bosses (who I worked with for 3 days) asked me for my ideas on what needed to be done around the place...nice to be asked for input. He also told me that if I ever came back to Sydney to live, he expected me to go back to work for him.

Retirement (for the second time) is really attractive. I've not yet accepted the fact that I am, as of today, just that...Retired! I expect that, once I get back to Gordonvale and the house and garden are back in shape, I will be looking to start my own small business venture. It will probably be working part time on my jewellery and part time trading on e-bay. There are lots of auction and garage sales in the area, with some very saleable items to be picked up for a song. In the past, I've bought some terrific things through the auctions held in the Cairns Show Grounds.

OK...so now I'd better do some work around the house, so that the bread-winner comes home to less of a shambles!

I'll be back soon,

Vickie.

Posted by Midus at 11:02 AM