Monday, November 14, 2011

If I am found dead, "Keep Calm and Carry On"........

I have been trying to get my garage organized.
It is a job that requires a hard hat, a strong back, nerves of steel
and lots and lots and lots of large trash bags........
This actually is NOT my garage.  Ours is not THIS messy

The process has been slowed down a little bit because amongst all the junk are boxes of mementos. 
Photos, my baby's firsts......
their seconds,
and fourths......
.you get the idea!
Love letters from Jim to me.
Love letters from me to Jim.
Memories, memories, memories.
One of my most favorite photos that I found, is this one....
I was extremely pregnant with a 9lb 8.8oz Jessica.
Joshua wanted to come to my doctor appointment with me because he absolutely loved adored loved and adored our family doctor......Dr. Perzinski.
In this photo Joshua is listening to his sister's heartbeat.
A friend was doing a photography project and capturing the different stages of pregnancy on film. 
That is the only reason a photo of my big belly exists!!!  
Can't believe I am putting it on my blog!
But, I love the look of concentration on Joshua's face.
My next find was very bitter sweet.
It made me smile.....
It made me sad......
It caused me to reflect a bit.
It made me think of this..... 
 Shortly after my mother died, my good friend Andrea, sent me a box with some of her things.  I had forgotten about this one item, it is a note, and when I unfolded the paper, I laughed out loud. 
My Mum would put many of these notes around her house.  

"If found dead, PLEASE do not panic.
Phone Anne on *** *** and she will call Dr. Monks.  
Remind him I'm not to go to the morgue!!  Murphy McKay Funerals
Phone Murphy McKay *** ***
and Sally ***************" 

Yes, this may seem a strange thing.
If you knew my mother.........not so strange.

My mother had bad health and the last few years of her life she would often have times where she was sure that she was going to die on a certain day or weekend.  Mum would often call me and tell me this - so it wouldn't be a shock when I received the call!
I would always call her a few days later, and when she answered the phone, I would ask her how come she was answering the phone!!  She would get mad and hang-up on me!!

What made me sad then, and makes me sad today, is that she concentrated so much on preparing for her death and preparing others for it, that she stopped living. 

We need to find joy in every day.
Sometimes this may be hard.
But, if we look hard enough, there is always a bright spot in each day.

Samuel helps me to find the joy in each day.
He is a happy boy.
When you walk in the door he greets you with joy.
He builds you up.
He encourages you to "try again Mummy!"
and gives you a resounding, "You did it!" or, "Good job!" when you do try again and succeed.

Are we that encouraging and supportive to those that we meet?
Do we have joy on our faces??
Are we living in the moment???
Or are we swept up in what was and what will be?
Worrying about the past and about the future takes away from where we are.

Oh, I know that everything can't be sunshine and roses all the time.
But, we can live joyfully........
Just ask Sam.

Friday, November 11, 2011


I was going to repost this a few days ago, but didn't.
It is a post I did about my brother.
I have changed my mind and will repost it after all.
Today is Veteran's Day here in the USA.  My brother didn't serve in the military, but he will always be a hero to me.

A few days ago I titled one of my posts, "Sometimes".
Last night and today, and I am sure in the next few days, I have thought about that post and the emotions behind it.
It has been a very long time since I have actually sobbed when I have cried.  The big heart wrenching sobs that are uncontrollable.......the ones that actually hurt your chest.

It amazes me how quickly life can change.  
How the world as we know it will never be the same.
In the blink of an eye........
 Or the ring of a telephone........

Today, I got out of bed like any other day.  I got Samuel ready for school and drove him through rush hour traffic to get there.  I sat through PTA meeting, walked through the mall and bought brining stuff for our Thanksgiving turkey.  All normal, every day type of stuff.
But, today wasn't the same.
Everything is different now.

Katrina, Graham (brother), Dianne (sister-in-law), Anthony and Jason.  Andrew wasn't there.
 This is my brother and his family at the airport when I left Tasmania to fly to the USA to marry Jim.  Nearly 25 years ago!
Anthony, Jason, Katrina, Dianne and Graham.  Andrew isn't there again!!!  I sense a pattern.
 Both these photos were taken last July when we were back in Tasmania for vacation.

Aahaa!  The elusive Andrew is on the right!
Graham getting an earful from Auntie Lyn.  She was telling him to visit!
Finally!  One of them all together.
This photo, and the next several, were taken in Western Australia when Graham and Dianne went to visit their kids and grandchildren.

I've been trying to recall my earliest memory of my big brother.  Graham was 17-years-old when I came into the picture.  My sister Gayle was 14.
Here are some of my memories:
  • Every pay day, Graham would buy me a little bag of mixed lollies.
  • I loved Graham's bedspread, it had a horse on it.
  • Graham drove trucks for a living at one stage, and sometimes he would take me with him.
  • I loved riding on the back of his motorbike, especially when he would take me to school sometimes.......I felt so cool  :)
  • Graham was hired to cut down some big trees at my elementary school.  While there a huge bull escaped from the local "Sales" yard and made into the school yard.  While everyone watched out the windows, my brother caught it and took it back to where it belonged.  Then, after school, he took me home on the back of his motorbike.
  • Whenever I got into trouble with my Mum, which happened quite frequently, Graham would swoop in and rescue me.
  • Most of my summers were spent at Graham and Dianne's house.
  • Everyone loves to hear Graham stories.  My brother is Crocodile Dundee and Steve Irwin all rolled up into one package.
  • Everyone knows my brother
  • I know that if I ever needed anything, my brother would take care of me.  Everyone needs a big brother like Graham.  A little rough around the edges, but a heart of gold.
  • Graham would buy me mega cans of Milo.
  • When I was asked to speak in Sacrament meeting at church, Graham would always come if I asked him.
Granny Geale, Graham and Mum
Grandfather Geale, Granny Geale and Graham
My sister Gayle - 12, Graham - 14
These are the only pictures I have of Graham in his "younger" days.  My scanner isn't all that flash, so this is the best I can do for now.
This photo was taken at a picnic right before I left to come to the USA.
 So many in the above photo are no longer here.
They are my family.

Last night.
With the blink of an eye.
With the ring of the phone.
Everything changed.
Eric Graham Johns
Graham is a son, big brother, husband, father and grandfather.
He loved his family.
Graham loved going up to his shack at the lakes.
Words cannot say everything that Graham is.

Last night,
Graham died,
and now, everything is different.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

You've learned the language so well......and quickly!

I have lived in the United States for 25 1/2 years now.
Over the years I have been asked some very weird questions.
Sometimes I don't know whether to attempt an answer, or just ignore the person asking the questions.
It is a family joke that still doesn't get old still gets told about the first question someone asked me when I moved here. 
Are you ready??
"In Australia, do you have...........
indoor plumbing,
satellite dishes 
and running water?"
What do you think I answered?

A friend recently shared this on facebook and I am going to share it here.  I have seen these questions before and they still boggle my mind.......

These were posted on an Australian Tourism Website and the answers are the actual responses by the website officials.
Q: Does it ever get windy in Australia ? I have never seen it rain on TV, how do the plants grow? ( UK ).
A: We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around watching them die.

Q: Will I be able to see kangaroos in the street? ( USA )
A: Depends how much you've been drinking.

Q:I want to walk from Perth to Sydney - can I follow the railroad tracks? ( Sweden )
A: Sure, it's only three thousand miles, take lots of water.

Q: Are there any ATMs (cash machines) in Australia? Can you send me a list of them in 
Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville and Hervey Bay ? ( UK )
A: What did your last slave die of?

Q:Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Australia ? ( USA )
A: A-Fri-ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe.
Aus-tra-lia is that big island in the middle of the Pacific which does not
... Oh forget it. Sure, the hippo racing is every Tuesday night in Kings Cross. Come naked.


Q:Which direction is North in Australia ? (USA )
A: Face south and then turn 180 degrees. Contact us when you get here and we'll send the rest of the directions.

Q: Can I bring cutlery into Australia ? ( UK )
A:Why? Just use your fingers like we do...

Q:Can you send me the Vienna Boys' Choir schedule? ( USA )
A: Aus-tri-a is that quaint little country bordering Ger-man-y, which is
Oh forget it. Sure, the Vienna Boys Choir plays every Tuesday night in Kings Cross, straight after the hippo races. Come naked.


Q: Can I wear high heels in Australia ? ( UK )
A: You are a British politician, right?

Q:Are there supermarkets in Sydney and is milk available all year round? ( Germany )
A: No, we are a peaceful civilization of vegan hunter/gatherers.
Milk is illegal.


Q:Please send a list of all doctors in Australia who can dispense rattlesnake serum. ( USA )
A: Rattlesnakes live in A-meri-ca which is where YOU come from.
All Australian snakes are perfectly harmless, can be safely handled and make good pets.


Q:I have a question about a famous animal in Australia, but I forget its name. 
It's a kind of bear and lives in trees. ( USA )
A: It's called a Drop Bear. They are so called because they drop out of Gum trees and eat the brains of anyone walking underneath them.
You can scare them off by spraying yourself with human urine before you go out walking.


Q:I have developed a new product that is the fountain of youth.
Can you tell me where I can sell it in Australia ? ( USA )
A: Anywhere significant numbers of Americans gather.

Q:Do you celebrate Christmas in Australia ? ( France )
A: Only at Christmas.

Q: Will I be able to speak English most places I go? ( USA )
A: Yes, but you'll have to learn it first

But, I think my all time favorite comment came from a customer I was helping when I worked in a department store in Minneapolis.
Customer:  "How long have you been in the United States?"
Me: "About 1 1/2 years."
Customer:  "You've picked up the language so quickly and speak English so fluently!"
Me: (biting my tongue)  "Well, thank you!"  (didn't want to lose a customer!!)
Still trying to master the English language........ 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

CELEBRATION time.....come on and on and on and on

Saturday morning was nice and cool.
Perfect for a game of soccer......
Samuel did not agree.
Either did Jessica......she stayed in bed.
Samuel was very excited about going to soccer,
when we arrived, his tune changed.
Samuel waiting in line with Dad to do some warm-up exercises.
and waiting.......
Samuel gave up waiting and declared it "break time!"
Samuel decided to give it a try.  He will kick for fries.
After soccer we headed of home to get ready for Sam's birthday party.
This was Sam's 1st "organized" friend party.
Looking back, our older kids had some bobby dazzler parties by this stage in their lives.
We thought it was time for Sam.
Plus, it gave me a chance to use the term "bobby dazzler."

The party was at a place called, "Pump It Up."
Who is that lone parent...and how did he manage to be alone?
Many a child (and adult) tried to climb this wall.  Very hard with socks on!!

It is good to be king!!!!
Silence reigned supreme for a few minutes!!
Samuel opened 1 present.  Sam is not into present opening?? 
I think a good time was had by all.
Thank you to all that came.
Maybe same time, same place, next year!

Sally-Ann & Samuel