Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas!

So this is Christmas......another year almost over. Work has just finished & I'm done, totally & absolutely. 2013 has been full of challenges far greater than I'd expected, on many, many levels. Things have been tough, some things I've handled well, others I've totally stuffed up. I learnt that I don't do pain & incapacity well & that patience as a virtue, is a myth. But I did discover more about myself than ever before -  just how far I could push myself, how deep I could reach & what of the Orthopaedic Surgeon's post-op advice I could totally disregard without being found out!

This year I've taken on the most challenging & demanding job of my working life & I'm exhausted. Being a 24/7 on-call role, it leaves little time & energy for anything else & I think it's got a finite timeline. There are other things I want (& need) to do to feed the inner Millie & the pull to write is stronger than ever. I don't know just yet how I can accomplish this, so I guess I'll just toss it out to the Universe & see what happens. But boy, am I open to offers!

I've missed the contact & interaction posting daily here brings....I've missed it big time. It is a hugely pleasurable experience that I need to draw back into my everyday life. The demanding technical aspects of my job leave no room for creativity or expression. It needs calculated precision & perfect clinical execution to ensure the best possible outcome for the patients who need us to survive. 

To those dear Hedgies who have stuck by me this year...thank you. The messages of friendship & support that appear regularly in my Inbox bring warmth to the coldest of days! To my trusty group of long-time Bloggie mates, who still happily give me their opinions on Facebook about all matters in life & always, always have my back, I love you to bits.

After the full catastrophe here at The Hedge last year, Christmas is quieter & more restrained this time around. Baby Grace at 17 months is an absolute cherub & totally obsessed with Peppa Pig. I've heard a whisper that Santa has made some Peppa acquisitions that will make her very, very happy. 

I have 10 days Leave now, so I'm looking forward to my annual Bloggie Wonderland catch up. It's exciting to think what I'll discover in your world! 

Merry Christmas

Source: Norwood Flower Market


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Hello It's Me!

I'm hanging my head in shame dear Hedgies, it's been too, too long between posts. Some of you know that I started a new job in August & that it's been whirlwind. Still sales, but with a big, big clinical support focus. So I'm back to standing in Interventional Radiology suites all day, jostling for the size Medium lead, but most often or not, being left to swim in the XL's! The new knee has taken a while to acclimatize to the hard concrete floors & the additional weight of the lead, but it's a case of 'Suck it up Princess!'

MOTH is still amazed that at 57 I was offered the role & is still coming to grips with the cracking pace I need to set. He's in retirement mode & this job is anything but, so I feel a 'Summit' coming on to clarify a few 'Points of Order'. It was back to the books, lots of study & scary exams in the early days, now I'm out there on my lonesome, trying to stay cool in very challenging situations. Talk about getting out of my comfort zone!

So how are things in your world? I miss you all & will try to be a better blogger once things settle down a bit. The family are all good & baby Gracie, at 16 months, is walking around everywhere. The kids are going through the usual moving house, overseas jaunts, job indecisions/job excitement stuff. They have been very neglected by their Mother, who has plummeted to the bottom of everyone's Christmas card list. It's that time of year when MOTH is fast morphing into the Grumpy Grinch - ba humbug & all that jazz. I did manage to chuck a few Chrissie decorations up last Sunday, so that set him off big time!

Tonight we are having dinner with 2 of my favourite bloggie chums, David & Peter from Willowbrook Park.www.willowbrookpark.blogspot.com.au who are in town for a Conference. It marks the start of the Christmas Party season, so time to roll out the pretty frocks, but sadly not the sky high heels for me this year. Much love to you all, it's the weekend dear Hedgies, so go enjoy!


Saturday, August 10, 2013

My Mate Heston

Mills, Mills, ya wouldn't have my mate Heston's email address handy would ya?'

'Err no MOTH & I'm almost too scared to ask why you need it.'

'Well love, I need to let him know that he's a bloody legend!'

'Um, do explain MOTH.'

'Well ya know how much I love a boiled egg for brekkie & ya know how much grief it's given me over the years.'

'Yes, I do MOTH. The kids & I have all been on the end of your rants in the kitchen when the boiled eggs haven't come up to your rigorous expectations.'

'Yep, but my days of chucking a wobbly are over. Didn't you notice me in the kitchen for ages this morning.'

'Well come to mention I did think it was the longest time you've ever spent in there since I met you 20 years ago.'

'No need for sarcasm my little Pirhana Fish, you know the kitchen & I aren't compatible. But thanks to my mate Heston those days are over. I loved his way of thinking - no fluffy cheffie stuff, just good old physics!'

'How fascinating.'

'I'm just rapt that I've finally cracked it -  ha, ha, get the joke love, geez life's good!'

4 large eggs (55-60g.)
salt & black pepper
Standing time: 6  minutes
Place the eggs in the smallest pan available and only add enough cold water to cover them. Put the lid on the pan and place over the highest heat possible.
When the water comes to the boil, remove the pan from the heat and wait for 6 minutes.
After the time has elapsed, remove the lid and carefully remove each egg. Cut the top of each egg before serving in egg cups. Season to taste.
MOTH's sitting in front of the computer, trawling through your recipe archives. He's just used 'Explosion' in his key word search. Should I be worried?

It's the weekend dear Hedgies, so go enjoy.

Images: SBS

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Oh The Pressure!

MOTH reckons old age & a nagging wife have slowed down the completion of the upstairs home office to an elderly crawl. That combined with the fact that I ripped down the rubbish window coverings & tore up the carpet last year & binned them, has left the ambient temperature in the room during a bitterly cold Hills winter at about -5C. And with no heating whatsoever, we could have stored a dozen bodies in there in tip top condition for days!

However after a 'pleasant' domestic discussion recently, he's back up there trying to make some progress. It's a strange room & we've spent many an hour pondering over it's provenance. With a big separate side entrance leading outside & a sturdy lock on the outside of the door into the upstairs corridor of bedrooms, like a lot of other odd things here, it's had us scratching our heads. All we can conclude is that the original owner/builder back in 1972 was one of Stirling's GP's & due to the large size of the room, we think he may have used it to consult from.

The large bank of original bookshelves span an entire wall & that's where the present trouble is centred. Prior to the reno, all our files & work stuff were shoved willy-nilly into it. A disaster of odd 3 ring binders, old manilla folders, boxes of discarded computer cables etc - it was a real mess. All our books were in a big old bookcase on the opposite wall.
In a fit of pique I had a melt-down & decided massive rationalization was needed. 7 boxes of books went down to the Stirling Charity Book Hut & the bookcase has gone on Gumtree. I took the pic above as I was about to start sanding the wood back after MOTH had painted the back walls the standard Solver Parchment. I can't show images of the rest of the room 'cos it's a mess of ladders, paint cans, discarded power tools & general reno junk.

They've had a million coats of Zinsser to stop the old stain bleeding through, MOTH's over it. Zinsser's Sales Manager must be busting to put up his Power Point presentation at their next Sales Meeting showing 609% growth for Q2!

A before shot looking towards the big window at the other end of the room.
Staring at them, with just some touching up to be done on the wall, I had a horrible thought. As this is supposed to be a blog about our reno & may be viewed by at least 3 people & their dogs, I'd better lift my game. So I turned to that fountain of all things 'housie' Pinterest & did a search for 'Bookcase Styling'. I got the shock of my life - 56,791 pins loaded!  
It appears I will need to colour code everything, pull in unique pieces of objet d'art, channel Nate, Bunny, Suzanne et al & then arrange everything just so. All indication of our current Tax receipts, Super & Insurance stuff & general detritus of everyday business life must be hidden in something called a Kikki-K box. Above all it must look like I just casually tossed it all together in about 30 minutes. Oh, & then when that's all done, I need to upload it to my Pinterest boards & wait anxiously to see how many repins it gets. Geez life in 2013 is complicated!! 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

On The Mark

 MOTH's making a last ditch effort finishing off the reno of our large upstairs Home Office. It's looking good, but with no heating, window or floor coverings, it's bitterly cold up there.....not a very conducive atmosphere for drying paint. A weekend away in the heat of a New York summer looks good & The Mark, on the corner of Madison Avenue & 77th St. is the place.

Designer Jacques Grange has done a pretty nifty job I reckon. Light & airy, I'll take the Mark Premier Suite thanks.

Fabulous soft furnishings in the sitting room & a custom kitchen specially designed by Piero Lissoni for Boffi with kitchen appliances from Gaggenau, Miele and Sub-Zero will do just fine.

Soft, squishy sofas just perfect for flopping into after a hard days shopping down town.

MOTH prefers a straight backed chair these days for his crook back - this one looks just right.

Breakfast in the suite please, saves having to get out of the trackie dacks for another hour.

The best mini-bar I've seen in yonks.

Couldn't ask for a nicer bedroom.

You can tell a lot about a hotel by the bedside tables they keep, this one passes with tops marks, pardon the pun!

Lots of room on this vanity bar, I do detest juggling all my stuff on a hotel bathroom cabinet meant for pygmies.

Not Port Power colours here on the bathroom floor, but I'll forgive them this one lapse.

Commodious shower - I DO love that word!

The Mark has collabored with stroller manufacturer Maclaren, to offer guests a fleet of custom-designed strollers ideal for a walk through Central Park or shopping along Madison Avenue. How thoughtful!

With Central Park a bone's throw away, The Mark would welcome puppy Lulu, who after a warm greeting from the pet-loving door staff, would have her own comfortable dog bed by Molly Mutt, signature water bowls and a custom placemat. It's a dog's life!

If ever there was time to try out my new bionic knee, it would be here. A spin on one of The Mark's Republic Bikes would definitely put it through its paces - the bikes incorporate elements of the hotel's Jacques Grange design including a striped chain case and monogrammed bells, naturally.

As MOTH's too cheap to eat out in restaurants twice a day, the Concierge can organize a picnic in Central Park, created by celebrated chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. The gourmet picnic basket includes all the picnic essentials – blanket, cutlery and condiments. As a finishing touch, The Mark’s chef concierge, Isabelle Hogan, has curated an illustrated bike map to help guests navigate Central Park. As MOTH gets lost just going to the supermarket at home, this will be essential.

This place looks so good, we may never make it home to finish off the painting. It's the weekend dear Hedgies, so go enjoy!

All images: The Mark


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Thanks Dr. Jung

This has so jolted me into action, thanks Dr. Jung. There's no contest - for me the answer to the thought Jung posed just has to be reading. Books, books & more books. Words made my day as a little girl & still do 50 something years on. 

The Hedge started its life off as a place for posting pretty pictures, but it soon became apparent that the comments I made about the images seemed to pique your interest more. So it morphed into something different & I liked that.

To walk my talk, I've joined a couple of creative writing groups, it's fun & I'm happy. My promise to self has been to write a 1000 words a day of a story I've had roaming around in my head for ages. I started it years ago & then abandoned it, for no good reason. I pulled the rough synopsis out a few weeks ago, read it & much to my surprise thought, I'd like to read the book & find out what happens to those characters.  Except there wasn't a book. Four chapters later & while I'm not exactly on a roll, it's starting to take shape. Wish me luck.

What would your answer be to Dr. Jung's poser?
P.S.It's lovely to be back.


Friday, May 10, 2013

This Mothering Gig

It is a little over 33 years since I first became a mother. My kids would say that I've never been one for quiet reflection - too much to do, so little time to do it all in. However lately I've been thinking if I'd had my time over again, what would I do differently. It is the toughest gig of all this mothering caper and I reckon if it was an exam, I'd have probably only scraped through with a C-. 

I was 23 & thought I knew it all. I'd seen life & death at it's best (& worst) after being chucked in the deep end of the Public health system at 17 when I went nursing. I'd worked hard, studied just enough to get over the line with a tertiary qualification & got married at 20. So then I thought it was time to challenge myself a bit more & I had one baby, then another & very quickly yet another......3 in 3 years. All over & done with by the time I was 27, a whirlwind of babies & toddlers.

They were such good babes, I was very lucky. However, their school years were not so easy, they had a single mother who was working long hours, travelling a lot & who was tired & weary most of the time trying to hold everything together. And then a little later, there was the challenge of becoming the wicked stepmother to 2 more boy cherubs. But despite having a C- mother, they've grown into beautiful independent men, who have forged good lives & who make me proud every day.

So this Mother's Day I want to say to the boys, sorry lads, I should have lifted my game a lot more. There wasn't enough fun & silliness, I should have listened more & rushed less. I'm aware that in the near future you'll be choosing my Nursing Home, so I hope I can redeem myself before then.

There are so many things I would do differently, better.......but there is one thing I wouldn't change for anything -  doing it all again with my gorgeous boys, with a few Mummy modifications!

Image: Pinterest Vintage For Kids

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Into The Dusk Light

On ANZAC Day 2010 I dedicated a post to my Uncle Freddie (pictured bottom row, centre), who while commanding a Lancaster bombing mission over Germany for the RAF, was killed at the age of 24 along with his crew of 6 on March 7th 1945. Freddie from Adelaide, was a pilot with the Royal Australian Air Force, but had been seconded to command bombers for the Royal Air Force. You can read the post here .

Late last year the following email arrived in The Laurel Hedge Inbox:

Hi Millie

I read your blog post about your uncle. My grandfather was the Flight Engineer on Lancaster ME474, so would have been sitting next to your uncle on the plane. I did read that ME474 had been newly received two weeks prior to their last mission, being the maiden flight of the plane & that it had crashed into the sea off Holland, that's all we know. I do have some photos & I may have some letters somewhere which may be of interest & would be most grateful for any further information you may have. My Grandad is pictured in the back row far right.

Kind regards

You can imagine how I felt - the 68 years since that terrible night dissolved in a heartbeat. In my mind I saw the crew walking across the tarmac at Skellingthorpe, climbing into that big, noisy Lancaster & the plane taking off, heading across the English channel into the fading dusk light. I saw Paul's Grandad & my Uncle Freddie seated in the cockpit - doing the flight checks, talking about the weather conditions & maybe the task ahead. The British accents of the 6 crewmen occasionally interrupted by the flat laconic tone of the lone Aussie. The war in Europe was drawing to an end, great devastation had been delivered to both sides by similar bombing raids.  I sat for a long while at the computer, re-reading Paul's email in quiet reflection of the great loss all the families of ME474's crew have endured through the years.  

Any doubts as to why I blog were dispelled. Only 2 bodies of the lost crew were ever recovered after the aircraft ditched into the sea, Freddie's & Paul's Grandad Bill, the irony of that has not escaped me. I guess Paul was doing some research into ME474, a search engine picked up those words from my post & the link to The Hedge appeared. I shared the email with my cousin & he has now joined me in our communications with Paul.   

So, many years later, 2 families on opposite sides of the world are reunited, in remembrance of the sad bond that links us forever. 



Saturday, April 13, 2013

Lemon Kitten Heels

Much to my surprise, this is by far the most repinned pin from The Hedge's Pinterest boards. Nothing flash, just an arbour of everyday lemons. One could intellectualise all arvo as to why people like it, but I've got a bathroom to clean, a trip to the supermarket & an appointment for a pedicure to stumble off to. My only thought is that unless you were 350cms tall, you'd have to grab a ladder every time you needed a lemon - but hey, pics on crack cocaine Pinterest don't generally have a Rate This For Practicality button on each image.

Things are lurching along OK here - at 11 weeks post-TKR I've finally retired Wally the Walking Stick to the cupboard of redundant medical/surgical appliances. I did try to slip into a pair of small kitten heels on Tuesday for a dress-up work appointment, but sadly kicked them off in a nanosecond due to immediate pain similar to day 2 post-op. Still have pain/swelling/discomfort & total exhaustion at the end of each working day is a done deal, but everyone seems to want to enthusiastically tell me I'm getting there......wherever there is! 

So today's assignment dear Hedgies is to leave a comment about your most popular Pin & why is it so, I reckon we'll get some rippers!

Image: Lotusland via Avantgardens


Monday, March 11, 2013

Wet & Wild!

My first week back at work with my 'mobility aid' was OK, we were really busy (apparently my return co-incided with a flurry of activity - funny 'bout that!) so I was on my feet a lot. So by Friday night the new knee & I were absolutely exhausted & headed off to bed at a whoosie 8.45p.m. I had my 6 week post-op appt with the Orthopaedic Surgeon on Thursday & received an A+. He's really pleased with my range of movement & the incision but still can't give me an indication of:
  • 1. When I will be pain-free
  • 2. When I will get a decent night's sleep
  • 3. When I can chuck away Wally the Walking Stick
  • 4. When I'll be able to slip the feet into a decent pair of Manolo's & toss the flats
Things on the reno front have stalled until this week, when MOTH decided to get a run on with finishing the big upstairs Family Room/Home Office. When he pulled up the grotty old carpet a few months ago he got a nasty surprise. About half the wooden floor boards were absolutely sodden & rotten & appear to have been for many years. After a good scratch around under the boards he was spewing as there is only a gap of a centimetre between the floor & the ground. No drainage system has ever been installed & as Stirling has the highest rainfall in the State, water had just been pooling under the floor & the boards have been permanently water logged since 1972. You can make you own assumption about why 3 previous owners just kept putting new carpet down over wet boards & never addressed the problem.

He's looked at digging a trench outside around the 2 walls & installing some sort of drainage system to try & divert rainwater away, but on Thursday night he came storming downstairs.

 'That's it Mills, that trench idea ain't gonna work, so I'm gonna rip up all the floor boards & put in a concrete slab. Then the new carpet can go down on a dry base & my conscience is clear. Gotta do a heap of formwork & then call Mick from Midget Mixers to drop off a load. Do ya reckon ya might be up to shovelling into the wheel barrow on the day?'

Ah the joy's of fixing up someone else's stuff ups! Have a fabulous week dear Hedgies.
Image: Christies


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Nine To Five

After 5 long & arduous post-operative weeks, it's back to full-time work for moi & the new knee tomorrow. I'd like a couple more weeks of keeping the leg elevated & the brain in Happyland on the good analgesia, but it's not to be, so I'll just have to suck it up & hit the road in the morning. Things are progressing OK, there's still swelling & pain, but the Physio is happy with my progress & reckons I'm ahead of where I need to be, even though I don't feel it! I don't think the path to the office will be strewn with flowering bulbs to welcome me back, like this gorgeous image - all I'm concerned about is trying to manoeuvre the front steps up into the office with my trusty mate, Wally the Walking Stick in an half-pie elegant way. I reckon ballet flats will be the way to go on the tootsies for a while, but I still have my eyes firmly fixed on those impossibly high heels that beckon me from afar.

Thank you so much again for the overwhelming number of emails & messages of concern/ encouragement, gifts, virtual love & hugs etc, as MOTH would say 'Youse are all a grouse bunch of Hedgies!'

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Slowly As It Goes

'It's OK Mills, no need to look so startled. I've done the shopping, cooked dinner, vacumed the floors, cleaned the bathroom, hung the washing out & shampooed puppy Lulu. All you need to do is lie back & rest your weary self.'

It's been 2 weeks since the new L knee became a fixture in my life & it's been a roller coaster ride. The 6 days in hospital on mind-altering substances was an 'interesting' experience, but I couldn't wait to escape the ho-hum nursing care, so went over the wall early.

This has been the hardest thing I've ever done. Miss Over-Confident here thought she'd prepared mentally for the procedure, but she had not. The unrelenting pain, sleepless nights, loss of appetite, immobility & outright boredom have taken their toll. I've lost my sparkle & want it back. Throw in a large capsular effusion that won't go away & I'm over it. My wonderful physio is pounding me to a pulp in an effort to get me more mobile & I'm cranky. However, I do know that this too will pass, so I'm trying to keep my eye on the prize.....slipping that L leg confidently back into the highest pair of Manolo's I can find & strutting my stuff.

MOTH has been outstanding & I owe him big time. The many messages of care & concern from Hedgies everywhere have been amazing - thank you, thank you, thank you. Now back to the chaise lounge for a little nap.


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Stepping Down

For the past year, steps like these beauties have been my nemesis. I'm now having to go up & down stairs in the house & garden sideways like a crab & it is not a good look for a relatively young woman. My dodgy left knee is on its last legs (pardon the pun), so this Wednesday it will be hacked out & replaced with a Biomet Vanguard, the Maserati of knee prostheses, so my lovely Orthopaedic Surgeon tells me. I'm actually not concerned what marque of car it is most closely aligned to, all I want is to give the crab walk & this grinding, relentless, intractable pain the flicko.

I'll be heading into hospital on the first day of my Annual Leave, not exactly the vacation destination I had envisaged. Working up until Tuesday arvo as I want to keep my mind occupied on other matters, 'cos quite frankly I'm quietly terrified of the events of the coming week. Having a nursing degree is of no help whatsoever, in fact ignorance is probably bliss at a time like this.

I've watched the whole procedure on a Vimeo webcast, planned my post-op recovery with the bestest Physio in town, drilled the Anaesthetist about pain management 'til he could stand no more, down-loaded a years worth of mags in my iPad & 23 pages of instructions for Mr. Grumpy MOTH.

So dear Hedgies, I'll be stepping down for a while to get this whole thing done & dusted. I'll still chuck some quick posts up on The Hedge's FB page if you want to follow the progress of Millie's new knee, naming suggestions welcome. Send me positive thoughts on Wednesday morning & MOTH food. Bye for now, missing you already, love you lots. 


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Call Home!

It was a shocking day yesterday here in the Adelaide Hills. It was one of those sizzling hot Summer days, the temperature reached 45C. (113F.) and an evil North wind blew fiercely. It was the first catastrophic Bushfire day declared in yonks. For the first time in 4 years I was worried, so dragged out my stash of 'Go, Don't Stay' treasure tubs, ready to grab if we needed to make a quick exit.

I've shoved the normal irreplacable stuff in them, old family photos & letters, the wedding album, computer hard drive etc. I told MOTH to lob the Insurance file in too & anything else he thought really important. Returning a couple of minutes later to close the lid, this is what I found. How different we are.

We dodged a bullet, but sadly, our friends in Tassie did not. Son #2 & his girlfriend are on a camping holiday there & are somewhere on the East coast. I've just heard that the beautiful coastal town of Bicheno is under immediate threat. We've tried calling his cell phone lots today, but haven't been able to make contact. I'm sure he's OK, but would like to hear that directly from him. If you happen to read this post mate, CALL HOME!!!
Addendum 8th January - ' Hey yeah no, haven't had my phone turned on since last week. Camping on the beach, it was awesome, saw the bushfires in the distance but we weren't worried. When I turned my phone back on I had 1,782 missed calls, dunno what the problem was, everything's cool. Back in Hobart today, flying home tomorrow. See ya.' 
This from the same son who only took t-shirts, shorts & flip-flops to backpack around Europe in December/January! Thanks everyone for your messages of concern. DFAT now issues a travel warning when they know he's on the move anywhere around the globe!

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