Saturday, April 25, 2009

Waltzing matilda

Hi guys.

This lovely song is being sung by John Williamson on the TV as I type. I am in Beloved's sister's living roomin Canberra.

I'm going to be AWOL for a while as I'm away for a few days, & will be sans computer.

The good news is that I'll be in Newcastle for a few days from Tuesday.

Lisa, I will be in touch soon so we can organise a get together.

Have a lovely weekend: ANZAC Day is just so special.

See ya!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I've been everywhere man...........................................

Today I've been through/to:
  • Hollydeen
  • Sandy Hollow
  • Gungal
  • Merriwa
  • Borambil
  • Turill
  • Ulan
  • Budgee Budgee
  • Mudgee
  • Mt Knowles
  • Havilah
  • Lue
  • Toobong (I kid you not)
  • Rylstone
  • Bylong (along the Bylong Valley Way; lovely)
  • Kerrabee
  • Baerami before revisiting Sandy Hollow & Hollydeen before reaching home, ie Denman.
  • various "gaps"
  • watercourses that include the Goulburn, Merriwa, Krui, Cudgegong rivers as well as too many creeks to name
  • Lots of hills; I think I crossed the Great Dividing Range 3 times (at least)
Vboy reckons we have some (actually, lots) weird, but interesting place names. Methinks he's right.

It was a grey day, but not too cold. Rylstone made me feel like it should have been cold, as it was so overcast, with a heavy sky & a brisk breeze. It's a very pretty town that was settled in around 1840, nestled in the valley between the mountains. The main street is very wide, with a generous island of trees down the middle, which have already been busy making a show of their autumn leaf colours, which was another reason that I felt that it should have been cold. Well, it was cool enough for Vboy & I to don our coats and enjoy a wood-fired oven pastry for lunch. Vboy rather ascerbically pointed out that the pies may have been cooked in a wood-fired oven, but then they were put into an ordinary old pie warmer......... but the sausage roll that he ate wasn't half bad, though.

It hasn't been too yuppy-tourist-ified yet, but it's on the way... the lovely old stone buildings and grace of the town are definitely appealing, as are the small selection of shops, 3 real estate agents, 3 pubs and bowling club. I can understand the pubs/club, but 3 real estate agents? The locals tended to look as if times haven't been all that grand, & the tourists stood out, especially from the local family we saw consisting of Mum, Dad, 3 kids under the age of 6, the black cattle-labrador cross all walking up the street... with their goat on a lead as well...... yep: they had their goat on a lead. Vboy reckoned they went into the vets, but I'm not so sure...

Anyway, we've got Clover back. We travelled just under 3 hours on the way over via Mudgee, as we didn't want to travel over the crappy unsealed roads between here & Bylong. But the lovely Fiona from the Midwestern Shire Council informed us that the newly sealed road was opened last weekend, so it took us less than 2 hours for the return trip. And it really is a delightfully scenic drive home. And we got to see Bylong, home of the famous Bylong Mouse Races........

Clover seems happy to be back home, but will have another roadtrip on Friday when we drop her off at my brother's house in Newcastle on our way to Canberra. On Saturday, we travel to Cowra so Beloved can ride his shiny-but-tastefully-blingy-bike in a competition on Sunday, then he will drop me back in Newcastle on Monday for my "holiday".........That means........


Woo Hoo! See you later ;0)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Well, we’re taking this road, and it’s the road that we’re taking..........

We can all breathe again. Clover has turned up. Life must have become a little humdrum around here, because our girl decided that she needed a........


What the?????????

This afternoon, I received a call from Fiona at the Midwestern Shire Council, asking whether we had lost a dog.......

Well, yes, we have.......

And would we like to come & pick her up, or do we need to arrange to meet a ranger or somebody to transfer the dog because she quite a ways from home?

No, I will drive over & pick her up, because I feel like a roadtrip, & really want to get my dog back.

But I was confused as to how Clover ended up over there. Because "over there" is Rylstone, which is at least 3 hours driving from here, over Mudgee way. The pleasant Fiona from the Midwestern Shire Council is also a bit confused, as the people holding her picked her up yesterday afternoon...... in Denman, whilst they were driving through. Or at least the lady's son, husband or brother picked Clover up..... Beloved & I cannot understand why he didn't check at the local vet's, service station or community centre, instead of taking her with him. And given that she doesn't like men (she is scared out of her wits by them & will even run away from Beloved, even though he feeds her), how did he even get her into his vehicle?

Questions, questions.........

Anyway, tomorrow, I roadtrip. And there's a box of choccies for the caretakers of my dog. No more holidays for Clover, though. From tomorrow, she's tied up more often, since we've no fences.

Oh alright.. she can come inside instead.

It's a good thing that I'm on holidays, isn't it?

Where, oh where....... has my little dog gone?

I had the unfortunate task of making this poster up today.


Clover is a 4 yr old Boxer that most likely followed some kids home from the main street on Sunday. She is very friendly, but is unsure around men. She is small for a boxer, de-sexed, registered & micro-chipped.

Please contact us if you have seen her: we are missing her :0(

Thank you, from the Kavanagh family from Macauley Street.

I had a lot of trouble finding photos of our girl, even though I know that there are oodles. But you know where I found some? In "Blogmuggling...."

I knew that there is a reason that I blog.......

Have a good day ;0)

Monday, April 20, 2009

This is the dawning of the rest of our lives...on holiday

Hi Y'all.

Well, today was the final day of my traineeship.

I wish that it wasn't. I feel that I have so much more to learn. Don't get me wrong: I have learned an enormous amount over the last year, on both a personal & professional level. This has been such a steep learning curve for me. I know that I am not alone in this. But I feel that I fall quite a ways short of the mark, too.
Working as a nurse has deep & profound responsibilties attatched to it. The trust that clients/patients ( the terminology changes depending upon the place of work) have in me & my abilities scares me at times. Work colleagues need to be able to have faith in me as well. As I said to a workmate today, I feel "undercooked". She laughed, but re-assured me that all was ok.

But it's not unusual for me to have doubts in my own abilities. I don't think that this is necessarily a bad thing. I think that it makes me work harder to ensure that I do my best at all times.

It has taken me 14 years & 4 attempts to get to this point. I seriously started to think of nursing as a career when I was pregnant with GG (she's now 20!), but it wasn't until VBoy was 5 months old that I decided to give uni a go after working as a lab tech from the age of 19, with a 4 year stint as a family day carer thrown in as well. After 1 year part time studying for my Bachelor of Nursing, Beloved secured his job in Muswellbrook, so our move to the country with 3 children under 9 (with no family support around) put paid to any idea of continuing my studies.

Fast forward to 1999, I started working as caretaker at the local dog pound, then my career changed in 2002 to working in Dementia Daycare & I was offerred a traineeship as an Assistant in Nursing in Aged Care. At the same time, I was nightfilling in the new Big W in Muswellbrook. The move to Denman concluded my relationship with Big W, & I became the Activities Co-Ordinator at Denman Aged Care Facility.

This was a lovely, comfortable, non-threatening job, but nursing continued to beckon. The more time I spent within the hospital system, the greater the urge to nurse became. Then the idea of an Enrolled Nursing traineeship was suggested. But securing a traineeship was easier said than done. I applied once, twice. I was interviewed once, twice. After the second attempt, I was contacted to say that I was shortlisted, but 1 off the list. If someone dropped out, I would be in. "Who do I have to shoot?" was my reply.

Nobody dropped out, but again I was contacted, this time asking could they put my name forward to a private company. Of course I said yes. Another interview, but for a Newcastle facility. I don't think that they believed that I would have been happy to work out of my geographical area. I was actually applying to work anywhere from Wyong to Gloucester/Taree & all over the Hunter.

Discontent had set in at Denman, & I applied & was succesful in securing work in the Aged Day Centre at Muswellbook Hospital. At the same time, Beloved & the kids convinced me to apply once more for a traineeship. I was reluctant as Sboy's HSC year was coming up, & I felt that it was important that I was available if he needed me. Vboy was had only recently turned 13. Was it fair to take so much time out from my family?

Their resounding response was "YES!". The application went in the same time as the application for the Day Centre, about September/October. The boss knew this, but wanted me to work with her anyway. Again, I was asked to attend an interview. God, how I hate interviews.......... All the required questions were asked, & appropriate answers given. My one & only question to the panel towards the end of the interview went something like this:

"Well, it's no secret that I've been here in this seat before. Actually, 3 of the 4 of you on the panel have interviewed me previously. So, my question to you is.... 'What do I have to do to convince you that I am the right person that you need for one of these traineeships? How can I convince this panel that you should employ me? That you need to employ me....'..?". There was a bit of shuffling in their seats, & a few wry smiles before the question was answered. After this we ended up having a lovely informal chat about the direction of healthcare etc...... On January 5, 2008, I received a call on my mobile after my Aunty Viv's funeral offerring me a traineeship, based out of Scone Hospital.

And the rest is history. You've walked the journey with me.

I can't believe it's over.

I feel that's it's a bit of an anticlimax.

My lovely workmates bought me a beautiful chocolate cake for afternoon tea, and some handcream & shower gel. I love these women. This morning, they argued over who was taking me with them...... It was so nice... And I only had 15 days with them. But they are my original employing department in healthcare. In my appraisal, I said that I felt as if I had come home.

I'm now unemployed. But instead, I'm referring to it as "holidays"............

Who knows?

I might have LOTS more time to blog.............


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Amazing grace.. notes...NOT

I love the bagpipes: always have.

It's a good thing, since I have spent over 20years as a highland dancer & travelled all over the place with pipe bands.

So why is it do you think that I don't enjoy it when the guy who lives next door decides that his favourite party trick at 1.30 in the morning is to;

1. play his bagpipes (not all that well)

2. Let his very inebriated friends have a go at them as well.........


At least they're inside the house. On other occassions, it's happened in the screened enclosure not too far from our bedroom window......

Yep... grrrrrrr............ note that this post has been written at 1.30am........

If he's got to play "Mairie's Wedding" couldn't he at least get it right?????? And in it's entirety???? Any song from beginning to end would be an improvement fro the snippets that he manages........


Whinge over.


Happy zzzz'ding.


NB: for those confused by the title, grace notes are played on the bagpipes. I think that they are unique to this style of instrument. Ok: I have bored you with enough trivia for now.....

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Get a haircut, & get a real job........

Slack me has been going to post for days, but I haven't been able to... this is especially bad since it was Beloved's birthday yesterday;


And because I love him so much, here is a picture of his favorite thing. He has spent hours pulling this bike down to nuts, bolts & pieces, then buffing, polishing & painting bits until it has been bling-ed (very tastefully) within an inch of it's life........ this photo doesn't do it justice, really. It is Sboy's newest bike that we bought him, which he then systematically managed to demolish over the past few months with his show riding...... He has hinted that he might need it for the Caravan & Camping Show at Maitland in May, as his show bike will still be in transit from Darwin... really, his chances are between none & buckleys.........
Beloved's biking cohorts are green with envy at the sight of this little beauty, & they have sighed whilst requesting a "Do" for their bikes in Denman....

As you can see from this pic, our house & yard are less of a passion..... unmown lawn, building rubble, dirt pile, unpainted house, unused/unfitted water tank... & a 1974 model car........ It must drive our neighbours mad, as they have a pristine house & a yard that looks like it is vacuumed regularly....... with 2 for sale signs out the front. Do you think that we may be de-valuing their home, or even worse, scaring off potential buyers????? EEEEEK!

Damn "Bejewelled Blitz"!! You know that you have played a game too often when you see red squares, blue diamonds, orange hexagons etc on the insides of your eyelids when you shut your eyes....... and I still suck at it. I very occassionally post a good score, without really knowing how I achieved it....

It has been a good week workwise. I really like Community Nursing. There are lots of options & variety in it. I spent Thursday in the Chemotherapy Lounge, where people with cancer receive their intravenous cancer drugs. It was an incredible positive experience, & I met lovely people who were more than willing to share their journey with me. Because that's what cancer does: it sends you on a journey of self-discovery. And a journey through the halls of medicine. And I think that I like being part of that experience. I'm a talker, and you need to be in this job. And more importantly, you need to be a listener, and as someone wise once said (even though it was in a movie, & said tongue-in-cheek), you need to listen with your eyes as well.

Monday is my last day... *sigh*.......
The girls took me out for lunch yesterday... none of the other places that I have worked has been as warm & social as this one. But then again, I have a history with these people. Working with them has been a bit like going 'home'.

And as of Tuesday morning, I am unemployed. Does anybody see anything out there for me? I have only ever been unemployed by choice. I have to admit, the thought of being unemployed is doing my head in a bit, considering our level over fiscal over-involvement.. Oh, and I need a haircut, too...... (see the blog heading..)

I hope that a few of my Goodest Ones in Newie (and Backpassage) are up for cuppas & food...... a bit of a holiday will be good.

So now I've shared, I'd better get on with the day. After all, it's 11.23 am, & I'm still sitting in my dressing gown & slippers!

Enjoy your day!


Monday, April 13, 2009

Should Auld Aquaintance be forgot.... part 2.


Easter has passed already........ so much chocolate: so little time....... so much lard added to my ass.....

A few days have passed, but here is the second & final instalment of my Mum's eulogy:

Surprisingly, Sadie had another life-changing event awaiting her. In an attempt to channel the energies of her busy 6yr old daughter, Mum & I attended a fete in the grounds of John Darling Colliery, where Scottish Highland dancers were entertaining the crowd. Enchanted, we attended our 1st highland dancing class the next week. And so began many years of a love of all things Scottish. An enthusiastic group of parents formed the Lake Macquarie Scottish Association which fostered & promoted many aspects of Scottish culture. Scottish country dancing, tutoring in bagpipes, highland dancing competitions, talents, ceilidhs, & fundraising to support these ventures filled what little time was left available. Sadie turned her very able sewing hands to the creation of many, many dance costumes: her ability & creativity at this meant that she would often sew late into the night as the demand for her services grew. As anybody who was a part of these activities will attest, it was a very special & fun time in our lives. But this wasn’t quite enough for Sadie: she became an active member of the Newcastle Highland Dancing Association, & later, the Hunter Valley Scots Club.

Anything that she would do to help, she would. It may have meant using her home as a base for the packing of lamingtons for a lamington drive (& if you haven’t seen the amount of coconut left over after you’ve hand-packed what seems like 300 dozen lamingtons, you’ve never lived), or providing transport for families or cooking up a storm whenever needed. As with the motorcycling, Sadie opened up her home to all & sundry, with a warm& welcoming smile to whomever needed a bed, with the instructions of:

“You can stay as long as you like. There’s the fridge & there’s the pantry. Whatever you want, you can get it yourself, & don’t expect me to wait on you...”

But of course, she did.

Pets were a constant source of joy for Sadie. A multitude of pets were a part of her life: cats, dogs (she was known as the rat-dog-lady within the motorcycling fraternity as she always seemed to have a Chihuahua tucked away somewhere), birds, & fish. All seemed to know that Sadie’s was a great place to be, including the 4 guinea pigs that I brought home one day, that soon turned into 63........... Pets: she never felt complete without them.

As time moved on & the children grew, of course, their interests changed, so Sadie had to find new ways of spending her time..... Pottery, porcelain doll making, jewellery making, lapidary pursuits & cake making & decorating all became her interests, along with the purchase of the sandwich shop with her wonderful friend, Diane, by her side. Never one to do things by halves, Sadie was never just keen about a hobby, she was PASSIONATE... ...which led to the building of a few more sheds around the yard to absorb her hobbies after they could no longer fit into the house... to the point where she could drive Ken to distraction with all her “Stuff”.... But then again, he’s always had his own “Stuff”.......

Travel became a new passion as well, with 2 trips to Britain & Europe to visit family& friends as well as a Samoan adventure a little later on.

And there was always time to listen to Macca on a Sunday morning.

But far & away, Sadie’s greatest passion was for her family. But you don’t need to be a blood relative to be a treasured member of Sadie & Ken’s family: they gladly accepted & included just about all & sundry of the various peoples who have walked through their lives over the years. In some cases, this includes a new generation of “grandchildren”.

Nothing was more important to Sadie (Referred to from here on in as ‘Mum”). The loss of her own mother was a defining event in mum’s life, & set in place behaviours that she would carry throughout the rest of her life. Ill health had plagued, but not stopped Mum throughout the years, but it had certainly slowed her down in the last few. But it didn’t stop her family involvement; instead perhaps it enhanced it by providing her with more time to be with them.

A little while ago, I asked Mum what she thought was her greatest achievement or thing in her life that has made her the most proud. Without pausing to think, she answered “You & Glen”. I think that has now been surpassed with the arrival of grandchildren into her life. For a woman who used to complain that she was “too young to be a grandmother” (until she became one, that is), Mum became the most wonderful nanny that a child could want, unfailingly indulgent & generous with her love & whatever else she could provide. At one stage, whist we were living in the shed at Mum & Dad’s, my youngest child, aged about 17months, stomped out the door at about 6.30am because I wouldn’t give in to his demand for a biscuit for his breakfast. He was adamant that his nanny would give him one, so I let him go, & sure enough, there he was, sitting up at her kitchen table, enjoying a bikie & a chat with his nanny at 6.30 in the morning........

But you all know Sadie. That’s why you’re here today. Your presence is a reflection of the woman that IS Sadie. And as I look out at you, I can see that Sadie will never leave us: she has left a piece of herself with each of you. She was different things to different people: Sarah, Sadie, Mac, Sarah J, Sade, Sister, Mrs T or Mrs Ken, Mum, Aunty Sadie, Nanny. However she was known to you, please don’t be a stranger so that we can get together & share our Sadie again.

So take a breath & be relieved: there is no more........

Goodnight all


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Lisa, Lisa


It's a great day for a birthday......

Many Happy Returns, Cousin of Mine!


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Oh! How Happy......

Today, Beloved & I celebrate 22 years of marriage.

It really doesn't seem to be that long, & catches us constantly unawares...... When we married, it was for '"forever", although sometimes that may have seemed a bit longer than we may have wanted at the time. There is still a lot of joy in our marriage, & like most couples who have been together for a while, there has been compromise along the way. We started out finishing each other's sentences, & we still do.

I am thankful for the love & support that we have provided for each other: it is a blessing to know that there is someone who will always be around to provide love & support, even at the most trying times. And there have certainly been a few of those, particularly over the last year or so.

We've never actually chosen a song that is "ours", but if either of us were to choose this one, it would be this song by Art Garfunkel, from his "Fate for Breakfast" album, released in 1979.

Oh! How Happy

Oh How Happy you have made me,
Oh How Happy you have made me.
I have kissed your lips a thousand times,
And more times than I can count,
I have called you mine.
You have stood by me in my darkest hour.
Oh How Happy you have made me,
Oh How Happy you have made me.
Oh How Happy you have made me,
Oh How Happy you have made me.
Through our years together
We have had stormy weather,
But our love has been so strong,
That's, love, how we carry on.
Oh How Happy you have made me,
Oh How Happy you have made me.
You brought joy in my empty life,
All that was wrong, you made it right.
My love, my love, my love…
Oh How Happy you have made me,
Oh How Happy you have made me.
Oh How Happy, Oh How Happy,
Oh How Happy…
Oh How Happy you have made me,
Oh How Happy you have made me.

It is a simple song, but the melody & lyrics are happy & heartfelt.

Lucky, aren't we!

Have a good Easter, everyone!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Should Auld Aquaintance be forgot.... part 1.

Hi Bloggers.

Today has been a good day. It certainly could have been awful & tragic, but it wasn't, due in part to the fabulously kind & considerate people that I work with, but I feel that it is mostly is due to the wonderful memories that I have of my lovely mum, who as I have previously mentioned, passed away 1 year ago today. Mum instilled me a very strong instinct to survive, rise above the unhappy things in life, & deal with things in a positive way. She was very much an "accept the things that can't be changed & change the things that can be changed" person: I am eternally grateful that she passed this on. She has left such big shoes to fill..........

To celebrate her life, I have decided to share with you the eulogy that I gave at her funeral last year. Upon re-reading, it appears to be rather long, although it didn't appear so on the day. To spare your time & tushes, I have decided to publish it in a couple of installments.

I hope that you enjoy getting to know a little bit of Sadie. It is my greatest wish that you had been able to know her in the flesh. I realise that I am a little biased, but to know her was to love her.

Sadie’s Eulogy
14th April, 2008.
My mother, Sadie June McMillan, arrived into the world on Jan 23, 1936 at Toronto West, NSW. The first child of Sarah (known as Sadie) & Moe, her delivery by Nurse Bules was greeted with much celebration, particularly by her father, who continued to celebrate for a prolonged period of time. This resulted in the Sadie’s registration by the nurse, who was sure the baby was to be named after her mother. So, Sarah Jane, as she supposed to be named, became the unique woman that we came to know as Sadie June.

Sadie was quickly followed by her siblings, Alan, Helen & Harry. The family lived in Carrington, where Sadie was educated in the local school. She attended Hunter Girl’s High School until around the age of 12, when she had to leave to commence work to support the family. Her school reports state Sadie was a quiet & studious young lady with a higher than average IQ, who always did her best. Mum was justifiably proud of the fact that she achieved her Intermediate Certificate before leaving school, which placed her 2 years ahead of schedule. Life wasn’t easy, but Mum never really shared much of these darker times, but was instead more inclined to share the colourful details of the many & varied things that happen when you are part of a big, extended family, with lots & lots & lots of children. Such as the fact that there was a bed at The Royal Newcastle Hospital with ‘McMillan’ written on the nameboard above it as there was always 1 child or another in it as a result of their escapades or accidents... such as the time Sadie burned her feet & suffered quite a long while in hospital & numerous surgeries, only to have sister Helen accidentally stick a pitchfork through her foot not too long afterwards.

Even during the tough times in the aftermath of the depression, young Sadie secured work in a number of places, settling into a job at the Co-Op Store in Newcastle. Sadie never complained about her short childhood, just accepting her lot as she continued to do throughout her life, rolling with whatever came her way.

Her childhood & teen years are full of stories, mostly about kids who were a bunch of larrikins who had very little, but had a great time with each other. Mum’s good times seem to relate mostly back to the time spent with her family in Toronto, some of which have been shared, but a lot of which I’ve been told are a bit naughty, so I’m not allowed to share them. Mum did tell me though, that she used to enjoy swimming in the creek wearing only the boy’s hankies tied together as swimmers. Were hankies bigger back in those days? It’s a good thing that tissues weren’t invented way back then........

Let’s skip forward to the early 1950’s. While living in Denison St, Hamilton, the lovely teenaged Sadie regularly attended the local dances. It was often said that she & her mother looked more like sisters than mother & daughter, which was a good thing for one of her brother's mates, who didn’t attend the dances. Instead, he spent these evenings at home polishing the silver with Sadie Snr while Sadie Jnr went out & had fun. But this time & polishing paid off for young Ken Thornton, who worked his way into young Sadie’s heart, until they were married in August 1955. Baby Glen arrived, followed by Cynthia (moi).

Ken & Sadie lived in Orange then Tamworth as Ken pursued his career as an aircraft engineer & motor mechanic before settling into their present home at Belmont North, collecting friends along the way. Sadie was the perfect partner for Ken in their membership of the Newcastle Aeroclub, even though she really didn’t like to fly. Transportation, before Cynthia arrived, was a motorcycle & sidecar, Sadie in pillion position behind Ken, with baby Glen tucked snugly into the sidecar.
Their life together moved in a new direction when Ken re-established his connection in the motorcycling world with their involvement in the Mayfield, then Belmont District Motorcycle clubs Scrambles & motocross became part of the daily life in the Thornton family. Meetings, working-bees & lap-scoring beside dusty motocross tracks became an integral part of Sadie’s life. She was unfailingly supportive of Ken’s endeavours & achievements in this sport; quietly supporting him & opening the family home to motorcycling enthusiasts from Australia & the world as motocross was entered onto the Australian motorsport map from within a loungeroom in suburban Belmont North.

Later on, the pair became keen members of the Newcastle Vintage motorcycling club, & were part of just a handful of members to actually ride their vintage AJS motorcycle to the Gold Coast in 1987. Most other folk towed their bikes in a trailer, enjoying all the creature comforts of their car.........

Siblings; Sadie, Helen & Alan

Tune in for a wee bit more tomorrow.... have a good Good Friday.

Cheers, Cyndy xoxoxox