Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas Cheer in the Local Community

.St Mark's, Leeming (Uniting Church)

The goodwill from smiling faces as people paused for a minute or two during Christmas shopping made singing Christmas Carols very rewarding. It was even more fun when children joined in singing and playing percussion instruments.

Yep, I'm in there playing guitar and the chimes (yippee!). Good fun, but one time as I leaned forward to turn the music page, the guitar tuning pegs somehow tangled themselves in the strings on which the chimes hung. Just like a tangle in a fishing line, it was astounding how much twisting and threading was required to separate a simple meeting of the two instruments! I don't think anyone noticed, but as musicians we know these things happen and carry on regardless!

~ Blessings at Christmas to All ~

Monday, December 22, 2008

All I want for Christmas is... a Space Shuttle!

The ultimate gift for a space enthusiast! For US$42, it could be mine.

I have always been
fascinated by space travel, and a highlight in my life was a visit the Kennedy Space Center in Florida in September 2000. We climbed the LC39 Observation Gantry and viewed the shuttle Discovery on the launch pad. I had to pinch myself to believe I was actually there seeing this in reality.

I still relish every experience of our day at the Center with its magnificent exhibits and experiences. The day climaxed with a
walk through a full-size Space Shuttle mock-up, complete with individually coded and fitted heat-resistant tiles.

So two Space Shuttles will be decommissioned and up for sale in 2010!

But Barry said no, I can't have one.

And why not?

"Well, where would you put it?" he asked!

Monday, December 01, 2008

A Smiley Face in the Sky


After a hard day, the smiley face in the sky brought a smile to my face and a sense of perspective. It was fun to share the experience over the phone with my son, Christopher, in wonder and amazement.

We were experiencing, together with so many others, what astronomers call a conjunction to describe two or more celestial bodies appearing to come close together in the sky.

From information described by NASA and the Sydney Observatory, in the dark sky I could see the 'dark' part of the Moon glowing slightly with what is called "earthshine", the result from sunlight reflected off the Earth and onto the Moon. The Observatory says this fantastic celestial sight won't happen again until the year 2036!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Youch! I backed into a Cactus!


This week I was aghast to learn, and through the most unlikely circumstances, that someone whom I respect had written to another several months ago with words that were accusing and pre-empting that I would not act with integrity. In the matter of life and death, the situation was not a big issue, but the written words stung as I couldn’t comprehend how they could see me in that light. Granted, they had known me for several years, though only in a work sense and certainly not well.

Fortunately, since then time has proven that they were wrong about their expectations of me.

But my nature is such that the written words stung and I fought off tears for several hours as I reflected on the circumstances at the time. This sort of thing has happened to me a few times through life – and probably a few times or more to every living person on this earth!

I have spoken of this to no-one, other than in prayer. As I worked through my feelings (which ranged from “get stuffed!” to forgiveness), I went through some soul-searching as I always do. Was there any truth that I was blinded to? I believe not, so was there something in my manner that gave this impression? Not intentionally, but if so, communication at the time would have cleared that up in a positive way.

Before I could move to a position of self-righteousness, my next thoughts swung to asking myself if I, too, have said things about others without knowing them well, or the circumstances! It can be so easy to “write someone off” if we think our spoken or written words will never be heard or read by them.

Something to think about, eh…?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Raising the Dead


by Phillip Finch (Harper Collins Publishers, 2008)

This book is the most gripping and challenging I have ever read! It is the true story of the retrieval of the body of a young man who went missing at the bottom of Bushman's Cave in the Kalahari Desert 10 years earlier.

I remember hearing it on the news. On New Year's Day 2005, Australian Dave Shaw (an airline captain), together with his diving buddy, Don Shirley, and a full support team, were going to make an attempt to retrieve the body which lay at the bottom of the water-filled cave about 900 feet below the surface.
I also remember counting the hours till we would hear news of the outcome of their mission, and then the shock of hearing Dave Shaw had lost his life.

As 'extreme' divers they used the most advanced diving equipment and a mixture of breathing gases. It was only in reading the book that I appreciated the planning and rehearsals that went into this dive and just how knowledgeable and experienced these men were. As 'extreme' divers they used the most advanced diving equipment and a mixture of breathing gases which they calculated and mixed themselves, often altering mixes for depth during the dive itself.

The book transported me on a trip into another world where I was conscious of every breath I inhaled as I read. It is, to me, an amazing true story
of pushing incredible boundaries of human endurance, of mateship and trust, and of Dave's wife's unconditional love.

Just the thought of entering the cave through a crack in the rock below the pool of water, and into the depths in complete darkness other than the torches they carried, had my adrenalin flowing - and that was just the start of the dive!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Swimming Pool Surprise

Some weeks ago, whilst pruning the raised garden bed behind our pool, Barry was frightened by some hidden creature which snapped through the foliage at him. A few days later the mystery was solved when we woke to find a duck and her 10 chicks happily taking swimming lessons in the pool!

It were fascinating to watch them mimick the actions of mother duck as she taught them how to catch insects and to get in and out of the water.

But our cute little family disappeared on the third day! The mother duck attracted me with her distress calls as 4 of her chicks had ducked through the small gap under the pool gate, one adventurous leader running around the shed followed by the other 3 little cheeping rebels. Mother duck could have flown out but didn't want to leave her other 6, and the cheeky rebel leader kept upsetting her by coming back to the gate then running off again with the other 3 still in pursuit. It would have been quite hilarious but for mother duck's distress.

I finally managed to herd the 4 renegades back into the pool area and shut the gate – but by afternoon the whole family had left.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Special Couple

Wedding of Christopher and Kerrie, 20th September 2008

A very special day!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Behind the Green Curtains


Two meters apart — an intimate distance of just six feet! Neither knows what the other looks like but you know their sex and can have a reasonable guess at their age.

Between bouts of not caring where I am as my focus is on whether I will survive the next few hours, I come to know the intimate details of this life so awkwardly close to me yet out of sight.
I experience his pain without feeling it, the anxiety of his loved one beside him without seeing her.

What image are they getting of me? Does it matter? While I wait, I pray. I pray that I might live to pray for this human behind the green curtain that I could almost reach out and touch, and his loved one...before I am again overtaken by my symptoms.

Next I pray for the elderly lady I can see, parked in the passage waiting for a free cubicle, with bandages hiding her injuries from a fall. Her loved one looks at me and we exchange a smile of understanding — whilst understanding little.

Those awful human sounds! Are they coming from behind one of the green curtains, maybe even mine?

My history, given again. Sorry, poor fellow-sufferer next door that you have to hear this and know my body intimately inside whilst you will never know it from the outside. It can't be helping you feel any better.

You hear more of my intimacies. I hear you being told you have a failing heart. You hear me vomiting as the vertigo takes over. I hear a compassionate, disembodied voice tell you your heart is beating far too fast and they are trying to slow it. You hear me being asked if I can bear the torture of the head-twisting, fast dropping technique of physio another time. I hear the fear in your loved one's voice as she asks when your heartbeat will slow down and is told it is taking longer than they would like...but there are good signs...

[This post is in appreciation of the wonderful, dedicated and caring staff in the Emergency Department of the Fremantle Hospital, Western Australia. It comes with a prayer for them as they do their work, and for those who lie beyond the green curtains.]

Thursday, September 04, 2008

In Remembrance of Mark Priestley

A gifted actor from Perth, Western Australia, and highly respected young man, Mark will be missed and remembered by many.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family,
friends and workmates for comfort and peace.

"The Seven Network said Priestley was a brilliant artist and tremendous young person – loved and respected by his fellow All Saints cast members and crew."

Monday, July 21, 2008

Expensive Burnt Toast, Mark II

Yep! It's happened again. The toaster timer was set which prevented auto-turnoff, and the toaster left unattended = totally incinerated toast! This time the fire bug shall be known as 'Professor Y'! Again the Firies attended – trucks, bells, whistles and all! Another expensive exercise and embarrassment!

Could these occurrences be the result of the constant pressure of continuing staff cuts and over-heavy workloads which means staff are too busy to stay and watch the toast?
But worst of all, now the perfectly functioning grill-toaster has been removed – and the rest of us can no longer enjoy our cheese-on-toast or my favourite avocado on toast for winter lunch!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Is it a Boy or a Girl? Nope...

...'s a *kidney stone*! And I think it has a twin!

*Awaiting confirmation of diagnosis.

Update July 21: It appears to be an only child – and I hope it stays that way!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Expensive Burnt Toast!


It is not unusual to have fire alarms set off at work, followed by an evacuation. Whilst mostly false alarms, there have been genuine causes and alarms are always treated seriously. But recently a quirk of human nature was exposed and brought embarrassment to the perpetrator.

As s
moke bellowed from the common room adjoining two 3-story buildings we, the newest fire wardens, joined the other wardens to make a systematic check of every office and laboratory to ensure everyone had heard and obeyed the blaring sirens and disembodied voice repeatedly commanding, "Emergency! Evacuate now!"

With an audience of dozens, and a scene that would delight any young boy, the big red fire truck arrived at the building, lights flashing and bells ringing,
along with its emergency services tender, as the would-be fire bug (hereafter known as 'Professor X') retrieved his burnt offerings for lunch. A witness had checked the source of the smoke coming from the common room and found two pieces of blackened toast still cooking under the mini-grill. The toaster had been set for 10 minutes (thus overriding the auto turn-off) and the would-be diner had left the room to return to his research on physics and energy studies...

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Big Green Leaf !

My contribution to the Big Green Leaf project, as suggested by

Caladium, commonly called Elephant's Ears


A friend's tree-fern, with trellis pattern from the sun

I am hoping someone will name the other plants for me, which slip my mind at the moment!  [Thank you, Alice, for naming them.]

Friday, June 27, 2008

Can't help but LOVE the little guy...


These pics are for you, Naomi and Alice!
(I only needed a little encouragement...thank you for visiting ANO!)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

John McCarthy Ross - 1 year old, 21-June-08


John quickly bonded with his favourite gift -
an aeroplane from his Uncle Chris and Auntie Kerrie!

Blowing out the candle on his cake, made by his Mum.
[His face painted as a lion!]

What a joy our wonderful Grandson is in our lives!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

John Noel McCarthy, KIA 12-June-71


3112702 L/CPL 3 CAV REGT.

It is 37 years since my only brother, John, was killed in action, age 26, just 3 weeks short of finishing his second tour of duty in Vietnam.

I am particularly grateful to have found the following excerpt in Armour, Issue 446 (May 2006) (Journal of the Royal Australian Armoured Corps Assn. - NSW Branch):

I still grieve the loss of my brother in my life and that of our family. But the stories and memories of his wicked sense of humour live on, and it is a great joy that his name is carried on via our grandson, John McCarthy Ross.

I hope he never goes to war...

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Cat Whispering


Willow is not the same cat since her mysterious trauma. She jumps at any slight noise and her newly re-found kittenish, carefree behaviour have ceased in preference to seeking the security of squeezing herself into small places. She has three secret hiding places – in a cupboard, in a tight corner between a wall and bookshelf, and another which is still her secret! I think she has found somewhere where she is perfectly camouflaged.

Gentle and reassuring talk, encouraging some play, and singing to her seem to be slowly helping her regain confidence. But it's whatever Barry whispers into her ear that gets the best response...

Friday, May 30, 2008

Perth Zoo 4 - Reflections

God's Artwork ~ Reflecting on my day at the Zoo



New directions...

Lively puddles!

Thank you for sharing with me, my day at Perth Zoo!

That's all, folks!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Perth Zoo 2 - Australian Wetlands

This exhibit is experienced by walking on a boardwalk through a huge free-flight aviary and lake complex. The water birds all appear very happy in their natural surroundings.

Black-necked Stork or Jabiru
(near-threatened species)

Australian Darter, Snake-bird

Brolga or Australian Crane