Looking for the things in life that make us happy


Have you ever felt as though you have been ambushed – in a medical sense? It’s easy enough to be talked into doing or buying something you really didn’t want by some smooth talking salesperson but let me tell you about my sense of being ambushed by a doctor.

I have been seeing an Ophthalmologist for many years – had the cataracts removed (another story in itself as is usual with me) and 3 monthly checkups now that I have developed Macular Degeneration. My specialist sent me to another specialist in the same practice because of a concern with my retina. The new doctor scanned my eye then did a angiogram (injected dye) and took more scans. He thought at the time all was ok but wanted me to return 2 weeks later. This I did last Friday – more scans, whoops something not quite right, so another angiogram which showed that a blood vessel had pushed through the retina and had leaked.

Doc said “The good news is that we can treat it now by injecting a drug into the eye” – “Say what!!??” said I. I’m thinking to myself – right I’ll agree, go home then ring and say I’ve changed my mind, thinking to myself, no way am I having an injection in my eye. How naive can one be? I asked “Where will you do this?” I’m hoping he’ll say “In the Eye Hospital” which would allow me to escape. To my dismay he said “No, right here, right now – come with me and I’ll do it straightaway!!”

I followed him like a lamb to the slaughter, climbed up on the couch and put myself in his hands. Not the most pleasant procedure I’ve ever had and it seems that these injections are a monthly event. Joy, oh, joy, I thought to myself, what more can doctors do to me? Best not to think to deeply on that.

I understand it won’t repair the damage already done but will hopefully stop further deterioration.

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I often look around at the people who live in “our” complex.  We moved here 10 years ago and so of course, those who were living here when we moved in are all 10 years older which of course puts us all in an older age category. Ten years ago It was known as an Over 55’s complex but now I’d say we could rename it Old and Wrinklies only allowed.  Who cares anyway?  As long as you don’t look in the mirror, your mind will keep you as young as you want to be.

When we moved to our new home we brought our small dog with us having been assured by the Real Estate Agent that she had found out that our dog was allowed.  This turned out to be untrue and so began some rather tense times.  We were determined to fight to have our little dog with us but shortly after moving in to our new home I became quite ill and a vote was taken with a result of 7 – 5 which allowed us to keep our dog with us.  For many years we were not made welcome by those who opposed the vote but for the last couple of years we have blended in with all the residents as they came to realise that we hadn’t grown horns and Mischa (dog) wasn’t the devil incarnate.

The days of the ‘power hungry’ Chairperson have settled down to the extent that she often has her son’s dog stay with her for a week or two and most of us get on well with each other.  Every now and again we have a function such as a Cancer morning tea to raise funds or to celebrate Australia Day or other such notable events.

It was decided some time ago to have a “Happy Hour” once a month on the Common area which is a nicely grassed area close to us and surrounded by rather nice gardens and has a Gazebo in the middle.  Monthly “Happy Hours” were not successful as people would forget and either not turn up or would come on the wrong week!  (Remember that many of the residents are now over 80 and for some, memory is not a strong suit).  It was then changed to fortnightly but again this was unsuccessful because people would get the weeks mixed up – so it was decided to hold it weekly.  That was the answer and each week mostly the same people turn up for an hour or so (if they remember to come at all).  I think some of the older residents really look forward to this weekly outing and it has certainly contributed to a happier and friendlier place in which to live.

When I attend these gatherings, I look at these people – some of whom I have known for 10 years now and I can see how they have aged and realise that I too show telltale signs of aging; the inevitable sagging of the body, wrinkly face and chook’s neck, greying hair and unattractive wrinkly arms. I envy those whose hair has turned pure white – not like mine that is an unattractive salt and pepper grey.

One particular gentleman whose body has been compromised by a severe stroke but who fights to overcome his physical difficulties shows through his sparking eyes an intelligence which aging and stroke has not destroyed.  He and his wife, both in their 80’s, do not let their health problems stop them from travelling the world – a Safari in Africa last year and shortly a trip to Canada.  How can you not admire their tenacity and determination not to let their physical problems keep them at home in their armchairs?

There are many amusing stories I could relate about the residents who live in our complex but to name a few – there is the mysterious single man who lives alone and every 3 months flies to Thailand for 3 months.  I suspect he has a family there but he never mentions them which of course leads to speculation.  A German lady who is in very poor health and really should be in a Nursing Home but who managed to spend an hour or two at our Australia Day BBQ and showed her usually well hidden humorous side by having her Naturalisation Certificate pinned to her ample chest and stating that she wanted everyone to know that she was an Aussie and not a Krrraut!!  Funny lady.

The man who lives with wife two doors down from us nearly lost his leg when he was a child and walks with a stiff knee.  He wrote his autobiography which I have been privileged to read and what a story that is.  He and a mate (as teenagers in the early 1950’s) bought a one-way ticket each which only allowed them to sail from Melbourne to southern Italy. They eventually reached their intended destination – England – after some hair-raising adventures.  Their intention was to work until they had enough money for a passage back to Australia.  They weren’t successful in raising enough money and were homesick so they found it necessary to stowaway.  They also found it necessary to leave the ship in Western Australia and find their way home across Australia to Melbourne.

There is another couple who had lived in a large complex further down our street and their story goes something like this: they sold their unit intending to travel to Victoria but health problems intervened and those plans were put on hold.  They needed somewhere to live and so bought a unit in our complex – not sure what happened but they sold it after about a year and bought back into their original complex.  They were unhappy there and about 6 months ago they bought back into our complex – different unit this time.  It takes all sorts of course but perhaps they like packing and unpacking!!  Is there such a thing as a Boomerang Syndrome?  That is a bit flippant and no doubt they have good reasons for their unsettled living arrangements.

I’m sure each and every one of the residents has a story to tell; of times gone buy when life was so different to how it is today.  The older 70 year olds and of course the 80 year olds and our one 90 year old would no doubt have lived through the Great Depression and could well remember the hardships that were forced on them and later living through the Second World War.  As for me, I can remember the horse drawn cart delivering ice to houses and how the delivery man would carry a big block of ice around the back of the house and place it in our ice chest.  Fresh bread was also delivered daily by horse and cart. I witnessed the advent of telephones in homes, refrigerators, televisions: the list goes on and on.

How the world has changed since then and I think of the wealth of knowledge these Septuagenarians and Octogenarians have; possibly untapped and unrecorded memories in many cases.  Generation Y really only live in the moment and possibly are not interested in knowing what their grandparents and great grandparents lived through in an era where consumer technology was just emerging and consumerism was an unknown word but hopefully these important early memories will be recorded by their families before they are lost forever.

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Warbling Magpies and laughing Kookaburras


Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree
merry, merry king of the bush is he………

This is not a piece about self-pity although some may think it is.  I will admit it has been a hard week and it’s an effort to be able to put my thoughts into print. It’s been a week where I haven’t had the energy to venture too far from home but our house backs onto a main road where every day ambulances speed backwards and forwards with lights flashing and sirens blaring; issuing their warning that they are on an urgent mission.  While I’m grateful not to be a patient in that ambulance – I always spare a thought for the person who is and hope that they will be transported to hospital in time to get the treatment they need.  When I’m not feeling my best it’s always good to remind myself that there are many people who also have challenging events in their lives.

Being housebound is not all bad – not only can I begin to catch up on all the TV programs I’ve recorded but even better than that are the birds that fly into our yard or sit on our back fence.  I love to listen to the warbling of Magpies and also Butcher birds who sound similar.  Occasionally Kookaburras also “laugh” early in the morning and sometimes in the evening.  Now and then a bird will splash around in the bird bath but of course this depends on whether our little dog Mischa is inside or outside.  I think Mischa sees it as her ‘job’ to make sure nothing enters our yard.  If she is on my knee and sees a bird in our yard she will launch herself into the air, land on four feet, tail curled up on full alert and giving a loud warning to any intruder to “get out of my yard”.  Usually they do even though some of them are nearly as big as she is.

So it’s been a bit of a nothing week but that’s ok once in a while.  Who knows what next week will bring?


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Kids weekend sport – love it!

Last Sunday we drove to Caboolture to watch our grandsons – brothers Harrison and Cooper play cricket.  It was a practice match for this year’s U12 Sunshine Coast Schoolboys team and quite a few of last year’s crop were asked to make up a scratch team.  Harrison had played in the U12 Schoolboys team last year and was asked to be a part of the scratch team and his younger brother Cooper (10) was asked to fill in if needed and as it turned out he was.

At one point Cooper also fielded for the Schoolboys team.  Cooper also played in the make-up team; he made 2 runs but faced about 25 balls – out lbw.  He bowled a couple of Overs and his fielding was very good – at one point he stopped a ball with a one-handed catch – it had bounced and was heading for the boundary.  The cricket season is drawing to a close and Harrison’s team is 2nd and hopefully we’ll be able to watch him in a preliminary final.

Both Harrison and Cooper play for Tewantin Noosa Cricket Club –  Harrison U14 – Cooper U12.

We love to watch our grandsons play their sport – especially cricket and even though Sunday’s game was just a scratch match, I found it heart warming to see these two brothers playing in the same team – I was hoping to see them bat at the same time but when Harrison went out (also lbw) Cooper then took his place in front of the wicket.  Some of the boys although 12 – 13 years old, are quite big boys and Cooper, having just turned 10, shows no fear when facing fast bowlers and also bowls a good straight line.  We call him our ‘brave heart’.

Last November Harrison was selected as part of the Under 12 Schoolboys Cricket (Sunshine Coast).  The Competition took place over 5 days in Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast team were Runners Up.  There were 12 teams which came from all over Queensland.

Our 6 year old granddaughter Kara had signed up to play in2cricket and also Jazz Ballet.  After two classes of Jazz Ballet and after the appropriate leotards, shoes etc had been purchased, she decided she really just wanted to play cricket like her older brothers.


Harrison bowling

Harrison will be playing Touch Rugby in a Rep team and Cooper has signed on for Rugby League and Kara, who knows?  After all she is only 6 years old and may prefer her dolls in the cooler weather.



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