Looking for the things in life that make us happy


This week and next week are to be spent house-sitting for one of our sons while he and his wife and 3 children go to New Zealand for a couple of weeks.

The duties are not arduous – a dog, 2 Mexican walking fish (Axolotl’s) one Guinea Pig (Simon) and one Henry Lawson i lizard (Henry). Apart from a few squabbles between our 12 year old Chihuahua X, Mischa, who doesn’t want to play and Leroy the 18 month old resident Spoodle who does want to play, all is going well so far. I’m hopeful that all of the menagerie will survive till the end of next week – us too of course!

City life is obviously quite different to our more serene life-style on Bribie Island. Even though we had lived in Brisbane for 27 years, we lived in the suburbs – a quite different life-style to now being about 10 minutes from the City. We are in fairly a quiet street with just the occasional car passing by but there is airplane traffic which you get used to after a while but it is something we haven’t experienced before.

We arrived late in the afternoon last Saturday and enjoyed a lovely dinner with the family. Afterwards we received our instructions for the care of our charges and the would-be travellers had an early night. We waved them off at 4 am Sunday morning! The scene was mildly chaotic: Doug and I were bleary-eyed while keeping the dogs from rushing out the front door every time Marc took some more pieces of luggage out to the front gate ready to pack into the taxi. The children were not saying much but were obviously excited; Marc was anxiously pacing and looking out the front door for the taxi while Jacinta remained calm; someone had to be calm but it’s quite a project to organize 5 people for an overseas trip.

Later on Sunday I met with 5 of us ‘girls’ from our support group for lunch. We cooked our seafood on a hot stone in front of us. Yesterday we visited a very large shopping centre. I usually avoid these places but Doug had a few things to do while I made a visit to the shops to check out the end of financial year sales. Just after we had entered the shopping centre we passed by a wonderful looking Chocolate Café and being somewhat of a chocoholic I suggested we have a hot chocolate for morning tea. Goodness what a choice – but we decided on a hot Mocha each and shared a plate of fresh strawberries with a pure chocolate sauce for dipping. (Don’t think about calories I said to myself!!) What a way to begin my shopping expedition – couldn’t have been better.

Lots of things to do next week before we head back to our Island home.

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Another eventful week in the lives of the McKenzie family. Mostly good but as often happens; there is a mix of good and not so good. Doug and I drove to Beerwah, along Steve Irwin Way to watch Cooper (10) play in a Rugby League football carnival. We spent an hour or so watching these young boys playing their game with much energy and enjoyment. It was the first time Cooper had not been taken by either parent: Brett in the shop; Catherine taking Harrison to his game and then Kara to a birthday party.

I remember well the days when Doug and I also had to juggle Saturday sport between 3 children, especially when I was working in our Chicken and Seafood shop on a Saturday morning. We managed of course with the help of friends but at times it all seemed too hard a task. On this occasion we had been enlisted to just be there so that Cooper didn’t feel abandoned.

Sunday morning we had an early phone call from our son, Scott, telling us that Jamie, who turned 18 that day was in hospital with a fractured ankle. She had been celebrating with a party at her mother’s house the night before and unfortunately, before the party really got underway, she toppled over (on those ridiculously high heels) badly dislocating her ankle and fracturing both major bones (tibia and fibula) and another bone in her foot. So it was off to hospital in an ambulance in extreme pain and of course missing her party adding insult to injury. The dislocation was reduced and she spent a miserable couple of days awaiting surgery.

Scott and Rhonda finally convinced Jamie’s mother to have Jamie transferred to a Private Hospital where she is far more comfortable. Because of the congestion of weekend surgeries, Jamie’s surgery kept being pushed further down the list and when it was suggested that Jamie could go home and come back in a week was when Scott insisted on having her transferred to a private hospital. She is finally having surgery today: the delay had caused her ankle to swell and therefore she couldn’t be operated on straightaway. Jamie has spent many days in pain and discomfort unnecessarily due to the over-burdened Public Health system. Family dynamics also took a part in all of this. But I ask you, suggesting Jamie go home with a very unstable ankle to a high set house that has many stairs, to me, is beyond belief.

On a brighter note, Catherine was Supply Teaching at her children’s school on Monday and it happened to be Grade 1; Kara’s class. All went well – Kara is such an adorable child and is always a model student and didn’t take advantage of her mum being her teacher.

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Today another year bites the dust! Amid many good wishes from my family and friends, I decided that rather than going backwards with my age, I will embrace my advancing years with gratitude and grace. Grace, after all, is my second name! Many years ago I remember being 39 for a number of years until one of our children cottoned on – don’t think I could get away with it again.

Doug always buys me a card on special days (we don’t exchange gifts). He came home the other day bemoaning the fact that he had lost my birthday card. I said, don’t worry about it, the thought was there, but he went back to Woolies the next day and asked if anyone had handed it in. (Such optimism I thought). However, the lady at the desk said she remembered a card being handed in but because there was no docket with it, it went back on the shelf. She told him to go and get another one as he had the docket with him.

When I opened the card this morning, inside there is a cupcake with a candle with a light – when you blow on it, more lights flash and it plays Happy Birthday!!  I’ve never been given a card like this one before.  I looked at the price, $13.95!! “Wow, said I, that’s a bit extravagant, no wonder you went back to try and find it.  When he picked up the replacement card he didn’t look at the price, even though it wasn’t the same card as he originally bought.  I guess Woolies can absorb the difference between what he originally paid and what he ended up with.

Mischa (lap dog) is very unsure about the flashing lights but stayed on my knee, just looked the other way; usually she runs away and hides when I get the camera out – frightened of the flash.  I found the whole thing quite funny, not sure if you agree. A long story about very little!?.”

However, we went to lunch at our local Tapas and Wine bar overlooking the beautiful waterfront. Yummy food, delicious wine and  together with the fantastic view, certainly was a highlight in my day.



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