Me and Mine

Belated Birthday Blogging

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I found this greeting card while thrift shopping over a year ago and set it aside for my significant ‘born in 1957 and turning 57′ birthday. Then after resurfacing (and before joining other bits and pieces in a scrapbook) it suddenly became the perfect inspiration for journalling. Apart from my current age and year of birth relevance, the number 57 isn’t a particularly memorable number – being over a month more than the number of weeks in a year and three years away from the ‘big 60′ milestone. But take the numbers apart or play around with them mathematically and for me they take on a whole new meaning. Five, seven, five plus seven, seven minus five and five times seven. Numerology at work……

FIVE

Age five – school and piano beginnings 

Being forever a homebody and prone to serious homesickness, my first days at school were tearful especially when assigned a teacher my siblings knew to be mean. As luck would have it there was a random first term juggle and within a few weeks I happily landed in Kindergarten 2 instead of Kindergarten 1. My new teacher, Jocelyn, was to become a friend for life. I wrote to her regularly after she was transferred to another school and we visited one another through the years until sadly she passed away from cancer in middle age. I quickly grew to love learning and adore all my teachers after that (except two) until my school days ended in 1976 with a second round of year 12 to try boosting my marks for entry to Medicine. That unsuccessful attempt and more about my school years and other teachers can perhaps be a topic for another time.  

I recall age five was when I first showed an interest in being a pianist by mastering ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ on a tiny red wooden toy instrument and I’d also demonstrate this accomplished tune on pianos belonging to various neighbours and friends. .

Five fingers (on each hand)…were made for chores and creating and cuddling and caring

How fortunate we are to have full use of our hands and fingers and to have them frequently occupied. During a typical day mine will open cans of cat food and comfort kittens, carry things from here to there, sort and organize clutter, handwrite and type, cook (occasionally these days though once very often) and clean. Sometimes I’m in awe that my fingers can create such variety – from the simple paper aeroplane my Dad showed me how to fold….to a complex Beethoven piano sonata my music teacher taught me how to play. And I wonder how many times these hands have cuddled babies and how many nappies they have changed over the years..and how many more yet to come. 

So often I talk about the number 5 while music teaching. Finger numbers remain a very important part of piano instruction from elementary through to advanced level. Note to non piano players – the thumb is labelled finger one! 

Five healthy pregnancies

I was blessed to have five full term pregnancies result in the arrival of six beautiful babies – Amy Mellicent 7lb 13oz, Timothy Mark 9lb 11oz, Geoffrey Stephen 9lb 6oz, Patrick Ainsley 8lb 9 and a half oz, Samuel Alexander 8lb 5 and a half oz and Michael Christopher 7lb 2oz. There are well documented accounts of these pregnancies and births in the family archives and various parenting magazines. And now I am blessed to have six grown up children, all very special and much loved adults. My life’s greatest achievements.

SEVEN

Seven colours of the rainbow

Being more than a little colour obsessed a rainbow is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of this number – and Roy G Biv the man who helped me remember the correct order of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Colours, colour combinations and colour matching are very important to me.  My favourite colours in general are mushroom pink, sage green, red, maroon, lilac and sky blue. I also like cream, beige, apricot, chocolate brown, navy blue, yellow and dark green. Least favourite colours used to be orange, hot pink, magenta, lime green and grey but now I embrace them for certain things or occasions including baby clothes and Halloween. If black and white count as colours I love them too – especially black clothes and pianos, white snow and white rabbits and all of our white guinea pigs that are named ‘Rabbit’. Favourite colour combinations are pink and green (fit for a Queen my sewing teacher would say), black and white (especially for piano keys, pandas and whales), red and green and red and white (for Christmas and kitchens), black and orange (for Halloween) and pale pink and pale blue or a mix of pastels (for babies).

Seven letters of the music alphabet

Although there are 26 letters in the reading alphabet there are only seven in the music alphabet A B C D E F G. Sounds easy…however a musician needs to know these seven letters forwards and backwards without hesitation and repeated across the range of their instrument. An 88 keys piano begins with an A and ends with a C.  Additional music trivia – the distance from one letter of the music alphabet to the same letter of the music alphabet eg C to C is eight notes or an octave and two octaves is 15 notes, not 16.

A piano and piano lessons at age 7

I still have my first piano – a German iron frame ‘Belling’ now in much need of restoration – and clearly remember going to the music store with Dad to purchase it. I loved having piano lessons once a week after school with a local teenager named Janis Heath and stayed with her until we moved interstate when I was 15. Although I continued to play and successfully put myself through exams and have some mentors and music related jobs along the way I didn’t have regular formal instruction again until I began lessons with Pamela Topen in 2002, a experience that has only recently and regrettably come to an end. 

Seven wonders of the world

Though I have always had a fascination with memorizing facts and lists such as Academy Award winners, books of the bible, nursery rhymes, French words and foreign music terms when trying to name the seven wonders of the ancient world I am quick to answer “The Hanging Gardens Of Babylon” and have to look up the remaining six…Great Pyramid of Giza, Statue of Zeus At Olympia, Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, Colossus of Rhodes and Lighthouse of Alexandria. I keep meaning to check for the seven wonders of the modern world.

Seven stones on my eternity ring

I’m not sure exactly what the tradition is for time and reason to give or receive an eternity ring but mine was bought during a holiday to the city where my husband and I were married (and where four of our six children were born) when our youngest were five. Unplanned but an event long on my wish list I saw in the window of a jewellry shop exactly what I had in mind – white gold with small diamonds in a row. It wasn’t until I tried the ring on that I saw there were five diamonds and a tiny one at each end to make seven altogether. Always one to look for meaning in everything I decided the five diamonds would represent my five healthy pregnancies and the smaller stones for the two babies I lost.

Trying for a 7th child

It’s not a well known fact among family and friends that we did indeed try for a seventh child although it would have come as no surprise to many – and in fact readers of Mother and Baby magazine in those days would have seen my ‘even bigger family’ wish in writing among letters to the editor. Over the years a few people have asked me if our twins were a result of IVF. No they weren’t….although the pregnancy was preceded by the keeping of an ovulation chart for one month, as recommended by my gynecologist, due to a few false alarms in previous months.

FIVE PLUS SEVEN EQUALS TWELVE

Twelve months of the year

January: our wedding anniversary, Australia Day

February: Tim’s birthday, Valentine’s Day

March: St Patrick’s Day, Easter 

April: Easter

May: Mothers Day, Bailey’s birthday

June: Mum’s Birthday, Michael’s birthday, Mark’s Mum’s birthday, Mum and Dad’s wedding anniversary,

 July: Dale and Kane’s birthday

August: Mark’s birthday, Jaiden’s birthday, Dad’s birthday,

September: Father’s Day, Geoff’s birthday, my birthday, Patrick’s birthday

October: Halloween

November: Amy’s birthday

December: Samuel and Michael’s birthday, Christmas Day, Sebastian’s birthday

Cheaper by the dozen

The title of one of my favourite movies – the original with Clifton Webb and Myrna Loy and the remake with Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt. If nature hadn’t stepped in and ended my fertile days we very likely would have gone on to add another half a dozen children to our family.

A dozen eggs (of the edible kind)

Eggs are one of my favourite foods – love them boiled, poached, scrambled, fried, omelettes and used in quiche and frittata. I can’t eat anything that mixes egg with chicken – eg a chicken omelette or chicken quiche. I adored Mum’s curried eggs and rice and I love curried egg sandwiches. I am ‘famous’ for my mini quiche, a savoury treat that is the first thing to disappear at parties. Son Geoff loves my devilled eggs and long ago I would make Scotch eggs too. Eggs of course make me think of Easter – especially our Good Friday tradition of having a cellophane carton or two of twelve Cadbury chocolate eggs in the refrigerator for helping ourselves to throughout the day (to balance the buttered hot cross buns from the oven). The movie Steel Magnolias comes to mind because of the cartons of pastel dyed eggs they had ready for Easter egg hunts. Memories too of our own Easter egg hunts – real or plastic ones – down the backyard with children and grandchildren. Another fun tradition has been to grow cress in empty eggshells to make egg head men and then cutting their ‘hair’. And many an empty egg carton has been used to make caterpillars, trains, boats and mini gardens and to sort buttons from my huge button collection.

Twelve years old

It’s not unusual for a child to quite suddenly grow up at this age with all the adventures of maturing and starting high school ahead. I was fortunate to attend an Anglican Girl’s College for three years delighted with the formal uniform and strict rules and eventually becoming accustomed to the half hour train ride to and from school each day. But a certain incident of abuse from a neighbour took away my innocence and made me grow up overnight and the memory will haunt me all the days of my life.  

 SEVEN MINUS FIVE EQUALS TWO

All things even

I’ve always liked even numbers better than odd – in fact for a long time it really bothered me that I was born in an odd numbered year until I added the numbers together to make an even 22. I often buy two of anything that I like a lot – in order to have a spare to give away or in case an item is lost or damaged. 

Twins

I had a fascination with multiple births from an early age and listened intently to Mum’s stories of twins in our family tree where sadly one or both babies did not survive. I do, on my Dad’s side, have twin cousins James and Andrew a few years younger than me. Even my Sindy teen doll had twins! As a child I kept a scrapbook of cuttings about a set of quins – one of the five being a Samuel, a name I loved and would many years later use for one of our sons. Now that I’m an avid baby doll collector I have a few twins and doubles or more of the same sculpt doll in my collection. We found out at nine weeks of pregnancy that I was having a multiple birth and then a scan at 20 weeks revealed two fraternal boys due January 8th 1993 (arriving on December 22nd after being induced).

FIVE BY SEVEN EQUALS THIRTY FIVE

With easy internet access and little left to the imagination these days I’m sure my ‘age 35′ entry will barely rate in the ‘too much information’ category. But feel free to skip reading the next part if girly body talk offends. Although in the past I have not discussed the nitty gritties of my reproductive years or the ending of them..for family medical health history I think I should. 

I’m not sure exactly how I would have coped with being unable to have children of my own – extreme disappointment and devastation no doubt and a willingness to resort to any and all fertility treatment available. I am grateful this was not something I had to face – and as with other females in my family had no problems conceiving as a young woman. 

I was very maternal from an early age and adored my baby dolls of which there were many (some I still have today). My bedroom was set up like a nursery, baby health center and children’s hospital and I would spend any pocket money on real baby clothes for my dolls (and on sheet music). I loved and would seek to spend time with other people’s babies and children and as a teen enjoyed part time babysitting jobs. I was fascinated by pregnancy and birth although in those days such topics were rarely discussed. I also had a strong desire to study and learn and though I knew I desperately wanted to be a mother one day I also wanted to be a doctor…and chose my school subjects accordingly – English, Maths, Chemistry, Biology and Physics. 

I got my first period on August 11th at age 13 and the next a whole year later at 14. I’d heard friends complain about ‘the curse’ but I was excited to begin my womanly journey, my heart set on having a baby one day. To shorten a long story (and leave the sharing of detailed pregnancy and birth stories for another time) I was thrilled to became pregnant at age 21 and our first child Amy was born 11 months after Mark and I married. Timothy, Geoffrey, Patrick, Samuel and Michael followed with gaps of three to four years between each new baby…and four minutes between the twins. I wasn’t aware prior to becoming pregnant with twins that multiple births are common in the mid to late thirties –  due to nature’s way of releasing an extra egg before there are no more eggs to release. Surprise!!

The twins were born when I was age 35 and my monthly cycle didn’t return in the two years to follow, not an unusual occurrence when breastfeeding two babies. By then I was unbelievably ‘clucky’ again despite being busy with six children including a pair of toddlers. Although I’d been having severe hot flashes and I knew there was a strong family history of child bearing days ending early for some women in our family – my auntie at 29 and my mother at 40 – it didn’t for one moment occur to me that my baby days were over. But there I was at the local GP with all the symptoms of what I felt sure to be another pregnancy, so sure in fact that there was a layette already set aside for another new arrival or arrivals and I waited with excited anticipation for an approximate due date. The result was indeed positive. For menopause. Zero estrogen. A few months of the fertility drug Clomid to try and trick my body back into action were to no avail. It was a difficult time for me and there was little sympathy, empathy or understanding from anyone considering I already had a large family. “Don’t be greedy” one doctor said as he tried to trivialize the situation and push Hormone Replacement Therapy at me. From that day on I kept my feelings of shock, loss, disappointment and grieving at the unexpected end of an era to myself, real as they were. It has since been suggested to me by more caring medical professionals that I should have had counselling at the time because early menopause is very significant in any woman’s life no matter how many children they have already. Greedy it may seem to some but at least I’m honest enough to admit that to this day, even at age 57, I still wish on every star for ‘just one more baby’. Surely we are all entitled to at least one unrealistic dream in our lifetime along with the gratitude we have for the many that came true :)

 

Published in: on October 1, 2014 at 4:19 am  Leave a Comment  

Timelines

New Year’s Eve

Don’t look so sad, it’s not so bad you know. 
It’s just another night, that’s all it is, 
It’s not the first, it’s not the worst you know, 
We’ve come through all the rest, we’ll get through this. 

We’ve made mistakes, but we’ve made good friends too. 
Remember all the nights we spent with them? 
And all our plans, who says they can’t come true? 
Tonight’s another chance to start again. 

REFRAIN
It’s just another New Year’s Eve, 
Another night like all the rest. 
It’s just another New Year’s Eve, 
Let’s make it the best. 
It’s just another New Year’s Eve, 
It’s just another Auld Lang Syne, 
But when we’re through this New Year 
You’ll see, WE’LL be just fine. 

We’re not alone, we’ve got the world you know. 
And it won’t let us down, just wait and see. 
And we’ll grow old, but think how wise we’ll grow. 
There’s more you know, it’s only New Year’s Eve. 

REPEAT REFRAIN

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P66Bjh0IcRo&feature=share

 

Published in: on January 1, 2014 at 12:18 am  Leave a Comment  

Family

THE HUMBLE ORANGE

Of all the online places I visit including facebook, forums and youtube, my favourite place to be yet the one I am most absent from is wordpress. I suppose in a way these infrequent visits make sharing photos and journalling here more special. Something comes to mind and I think to myself…I really must take the time and make the effort and use my imagination to blog this.

A determined resolution to eat more fruit instead of chocolate was the prompt for this entry. Who would have thought an orange would make me remember……

Dad and ‘Uncle’ Bill – chapter one

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Aside from his casual attire of bermuda shorts and long socks for Saturday mornings cooking in the kitchen or trips to the shops and his even more casual old shorts and shirt for gardening and fishing, this photo above is how I mostly picture Dad during my childhood. A business man in a suit leaving early in the morning and returning late at night. But oh the fun and interesting things he shared with us and the friendly and fascinating people he introduced us to outside working hours. A world of dining in special restaurants,  entertaining clients at home with dinner parties and music and home slide shows and movie nights enhanced by Mum’s beautiful cuisine, receiving presents from overseas travels and being educated about anything and everything from speaking French to calculating the area of a circle to having a little bet on the horse races to the skill of catching a flathead or bream with a handline wrapped around a toe instead of a finger.

One of the best things about his business world was the new friends we made. One of the most difficult things – losing friends who left for business reasons that made no sense to a child. Thankfully many friends remained lifelong ones – like our ‘Uncle’ Bill who would always visit with smiles and laughter and treats – and who shared Dad’s passion for fishing and for music. Bill delighted in hearing me play the piano or joining in with a family ensemble – Dad with his harmonica, Mum with her comb and wax paper and all with their lovely singing voices.

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But what does Uncle Bill have to do with oranges? Well he once gave us a huge supply of them and as a thankyou Dad decided he and I should thank Bill with a song. We practised long and hard memorizing something sure to charm a fellow music and fruit lover and set about turning ‘Thanks for the Memory’, that we had heard Bob Hope sing, into ‘Thanks For The Oranges’….”the little ones were sweet, the bigger ones couldn’t be beat, the yellow skins we  threw in the bin, the juice was running down, how lovely they were….”. I can still sing it like it was yesterday. I wonder where are you now Uncle Bill?

Mark and Susan’s supper – chapter two

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Mark and I met on 12th October 1974 during a blind date. Of our almost forty years together few of them have been without the joy and company of children. If I wasn’t babysitting I was teaching little kids to play the piano or guiding Brownies or making music for tiny ballerinas or allowing my heart to be melted by any baby that crossed my path. (No reborn dolls back then but I still had my childhood baby dolls tucked safely away). We became engaged October 28th 1976 and married on the 14th January 1978 and within a few months discovered our first baby was due to arrive November 30th. Beautiful Amy Mellicent was born on Saturday 25th November.  Five gorgeous boys followed – Timothy Mark, Geoffrey Stephen, Patrick Ainsley, Samuel Alexander and Michael Christopher – and two precious lost souls along the way. Time to ourselves was always rare but even when when we had the chance to arrange escapes, with the help of grandparents and friends, I usually preferred to have the children with us. No lectures on the importance of husband and wife bonding please. My strong maternal instinct is something I wouldn’t change for anything or anyone. I wasn’t exactly against taking a baby into bed with us from time to time however we did manage to get everyone to sleep at once most evenings while the children were young so we could enjoy some quality time watching movies or listening to music or just talking etc. Midnight snacks were something we looked forward to and often consisted of boiled eggs and toast and…at last getting around to an explanation for the photo above…the frequent hand peeling of oranges and sharing of fresh orange segments.

The twins  and Pa – chapter three

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Samuel and Michael were almost three when my Dad passed away suddenly from a heart attack.  Sadly, being so young, they don’t really remember spending time with him. Thank goodness for cameras and family storytelling to keep a person’s presence and spirit alive. These photos of the boys were taken during our last visit with their Pa at home in Ocean Shores NSW. Dad was very proud of his fruit trees and keen to show two inquisitive rascals these delicious and round edible treasures in nature, ripening as they should on the tree, very inviting but not quite ready to be picked. “Not ready to be picked!” emphasized Pa.  When he said something he meant it or beware his disapproving look. Hmm, alas they simply couldn’t resist. All was eventually forgiven after they’d helped themselves to one each without permission – and he gave in to letting them have the thrill of picking a few more, ready or not. Delightful pictures at the time and how much more meaningful these photos have become now.

A music teaching theme – chapter four

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I guess you could say I am easily inspired – and inspired by all sorts of things. The creative mind can be exhausting and difficult for its owner and for people around it to bear sometimes. Mine is particularly over-active. Always has been and always will be for as long as I have full use of it and old age or medication don’t diminish my brain pathways and eccentricities. I am also easily pleased and more than a little obsessed with acquiring the unattainable – especially when it is clearly ‘not for sale’. Few people would get truly excited over a cardboard prop in a supermarket but there I was having a desperate ‘must get it’ moment at the sight of a fake fruit tree laden with oranges (mandarins or peaches it was later suggested to me to which I turned a deaf ear). My back to school ‘oranges’ theme was realized. Unsuccessful visits with greengrocery staff and store managers plus phonecalls to other shopping centres followed until one kind young man said “Sure we’ll hold it for you. We were only going to throw it away”  Just what I wanted to hear. I am also very keen on rescuing and recycling junk. Add some rhythm flashcards and the orange tree becomes a music tree ready to greet students. To cut a long story short other orange items were hunted for and found – including artificial orange blossom, scratch and sniff stickers and plastic orange savers to which I hid inside theory revision questions.

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Today – chapter five

Apples have also played a big part in our lives since Mark lived and worked on an apple orchard during our early years together. But I will save that fruity tale and the spin off journalling and photos for another time. I have pretty much lived by the ‘apple a day keeps the doctor away’ belief for as long as I can remember but today I’m reflecting on my original prompt for this blog post and thinking that there’s really no need to give up chocolate for fruit when you can find fruit IN chocolate!

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The end

Published in: on November 21, 2013 at 2:04 am  Comments (2)  

Craft

My blog ‘For Children (like me)

Craft and other kid’s stuff :)

http://susankayejchild.wordpress.com/

Published in: on April 27, 2013 at 6:59 am  Leave a Comment  

Family

The gift of writing

A sincere “thankyou” to friend Maria who recently gave me a very special gift – a now aged and yellowed letter I had written to her in January 1996.

We became friends through ABA, the Australian Breastfeeding Association (formerly NMAA, the Nursing Mothers Association of Australia) and caught up with one another a few weeks ago after she invited me to hold an early childhood music session for babies and toddlers at our local Community Centre.

Words can’t express just how much this treasured piece of writing means to me and what wonderful memories it has stirred. Although I have a good memory for details, especially when it comes to family history, this handwritten letter took me back in time to a place I could easily have forgotten without prompting. A journey to the highs and lows of an era when I had a few months prior lost my dear father, when I had six children at home – the eldest, Amy, having just finished year 12 – and when I was trying unsuccessfully to wean toddler twins….well, not really trying….because who would want to say goodbye to the magic of nurturing your possibly last babies in such a comforting and healthy way.

Here below is a snippet from this piece of printed ‘gold’

“Michael has been wearing Paddy’s old Batman suit for a few months now and the super hero has just mellowed and hopped on my lap for a feed. The suit was worn by three brothers and two cousins before him – Samuel gets a few turns but got tired of the ‘discussions’ so generally gives in to his younger brother. Sam actually asks for a drink etc for himself and adds ‘and one for Batman too!’ The last thing Michael needs is more encouragement to fight and fly but I guess the novelty will wear off and in the meantime we have a few hours break while the outfit is in the wash.”

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The letter

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Timothy wearing the heirloom batman outfit in 1985, the year Geoffrey (next in line to inherit superhero status) was born 

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Michael in 1998, still wearing the batman suit!

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Samuel with ‘Batman’….sharing….and waiting for his turn ;)

P.S Because twins shouldn’t have to share ALL the time….both Samuel and Michael actually did have their very own Batman costumes too (September 1996). Perhaps not quite as unique as the original but obviously loved and valued enough for one of the capes to have coincidentally surfaced this week – almost seventeen years later :)

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Published in: on April 23, 2013 at 10:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

Me and mine

Ageing and vanity.

My lovely Mum always looked beautiful to me whether she was dressed up to attend a special work function with my father or simply wearing the nearest old clothes she could throw on quickly in order to do an amazing  job of cooking, gardening, keeping the house clean, welcoming unexpected visitors or caring for children and grandchildren, her favourite pastime. She liked to make waves in her hair with bobby pins and to add some dye when the grey started creeping in. She dreaded anyone seeing her without the full set of false teeth that she regrettably acquired as a teen and I used to be puzzled when she suggested a pair of tweezers as the only necessity on a deserted island. I remember her saying how sad it was to look in the mirror as a seventy year old and expect to see a twenty year old instead – because in her heart she was still the same person. Like me Mum was not fond of the camera in middle age so I will honour her with a photograph from earlier years.

My handsome Dad made no secret of the fact he was not comfortable with getting older. He always kept his wonderful moustache neatly trimmed, controlled white hairs before they were given a chance to even think about appearing and he fought to the end to keep his own teeth. He had a shoe collection that labelled him with a nickname ‘the centipede’ and he wasn’t afraid to wear a pink shirt if that was the current fashion. Immaculately dressed as a business man, he still looked the part doing the shopping or taking over the kitchen on a Saturday to give my mother a break – only then the long pants were exchanged for bermuda shorts and knee high socks.

So, why choose the topic of ageing and vanity for a blog post? Well, this week I am turning 55 and clearly not looking and feeling any younger even though I seem to become more and more at ease with my childlike qualities, habits and interests (too many to list) as years go by.

Do I keep dressing in basic black because I teach and perform or is it because dark colours are slimming?  Do I avoid the hairdresser because I like having lengthy locks or is it because my crowning glory is all that remains of my youth (admittedly, slightly enhanced with a supermarket sachet)? Will I ever prefer a make-over, manicure or massage to a market day, music lesson or mothering mission? One thing for sure I will always be maternal and if I can’t have real babies I’ll continue to have fake ones (yay for brilliantly realistic and comforting reborn dolls).

Unfortunately I didn’t keep up with new year resolutions such as returning to my daily walk, limiting the intake of Cadbury Flakes and Top Deck chocolate, stopping the nail biting and avoiding stress however having a birthday in September presents a spring fresh opportunity to set things right before another year ends.

One thing among these ‘new age’ tasks is to consider updating my facebook profile photo from me at ‘forty something’ to an image more current. I feel more inclined though to share a picture from the old family albums and take a step back in time……to perhaps 

  2 years?

5 years?

12 years?

17 years?

What do you think Mum and Dad? (Oh how I miss your words of wisdom). Maybe I’ll just wait until age 60 to decide. Seems like plenty of time to think it through unless of course the years keep slipping by even faster than they have been already.

Published in: on September 12, 2012 at 12:41 am  Leave a Comment  

Memorabilia

The power of the pen……and the computer keyboard

The most precious thing my mother saved for me was not jewellry or furniture but a box of letters I had written to she and my father after they moved interstate. Each time I read them they have even deeper meaning than the time before and every word takes me back to an era that is fast becoming more distant.

I grew up in a family of story tellers and writers and have always appreciated the power of the pen and more recently the computer keyboard. Both of my parents loved to tell stories of their early years before we were born. My Dad once worked as a proof reader for the Sydney Morning Herald and through all his life continued to read and write prolifically and instill in me a love of words, in particular well spelt ones. As a child ‘composition’ was one of my favourite subjects and even at age eleven I had a penfriend in the UK. We kept in touch right up until our own children stared to arrive. Since then I have both hand written and typed long letters to other penfriends and friends and family, kept journals, written letters to and articles for various magazines and more recently discovered email communication, facebooking and blogging. 

So far rather than modern technology destroying my words and stories it has increased my love of communicating by giving me options and enhancing the means to do it. I find it fascinating and heartwarming that strangers across the other side of the world are interested in what I do, whether they be fellow teachers or doll and bear collectors – and how quickly they become friends with common interests and goals.

As I enter a whole new world of sharing some of my life verbally and musically on youtube, I am determined not to entirely replace the written word with the spoken word or to forever give up my favourite black ink fineline pen for the iPad stylus.

Published in: on June 20, 2012 at 7:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

Babies

The boys’ basket

Although I am very sentimental, very few of our baby nursery supplies remain today aside from a cot and a change table once shared by the twins – and this cane carry basket from 1982. It was Timothy’s first little bed….later handed down to Geoffrey and Paddy then used for a short time by Sammy and Mikey too. I’d also bought another similar basket second hand when we found out we were having a multiple birth but unfortunately it was totally destroyed by termites a few years ago. Thankfully this one survived and is in good condition other than a slight ink stain. A thirty year old treasure that stirs many special memories and makes me wonder ‘”Where did the years go?”.  After my baby making days ended this bassinette held various things including washing, teddies and porcelain dolls. I wonder what the future holds for it……sleeping cats and kittens perhaps?

Baby Timothy in the basket 

Baby Geoffrey in the basket

Baby Paddy in the basket

Published in: on June 5, 2012 at 11:22 pm  Comments (2)  

Dolls

Please visit part of my doll collection in my facebook ‘Dolls’ album

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.165695040111675.45074.100000135390641&type=3

Link to my blog for reborn and silicone baby dolls

http://susankayejbabyblue.wordpress.com/

Published in: on June 2, 2012 at 10:06 am  Leave a Comment  

Dolls

Introducing ‘Amy Tabitha’

There are so many beautiful reborn babies on display at doll shows that I just want to pick them up, cuddle them and adopt them all! And yet when the time comes to make the final ‘could be difficult’ decision on which one to take home, I am always certain that “this is the one” and suddenly the choosing is easy. “I cannot leave this one behind”…… 

During a recent doll fair outing with my sister, I immediately fell in love with this sleepy baby girl. After walking around and around the aisles among many tables of displays I still kept coming back to this precious baby with her realistic blotchy complexion, dark brown hair, half opened eyes and little tongue peeking out of a slightly opened mouth. She reminds me so much of our own children as newborns and it wasn’t until after I’d bought her that I saw the name ‘Amy’ on her certificate, the same name as our firstborn child! 

Even though little reborn Amy came home dressed beautifully in pale pink, I pictured her looking adorable in red and white. When I was about 17 my Mum took me to visit a friend who was just about to have a baby (was there ever a time in my life when I wasn’t clucky?) It was the first fully decorated nursery I had ever seen and I’ll never forget the red and white colour scheme that later welcomed new baby Tabitha into the world – one of the reasons why I settled on the middle name ‘Tabitha’ for my latest reborn. Also because growing up I was a big fan of the TV show ‘Bewitched’ and I loved watching the nose twitching antics of mum Samantha and daughter Tabitha.

After a trip to Myer with my Christmas gift voucher, a stop at the local country market doll clothes stall and a visit to the Best and Less babywear sale, Amy Tabitha has three new outfits. And I have just rescued from a water damaged bag of baby clothes a little white baby nightgown with red smocking that our Amy used to wear – and I’m in the process of restoring it to its former glory. Photo to be added later.

Published in: on May 28, 2012 at 5:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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