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Christmas Calling

image from
josephine-wall-fantasy-paintings.co.uk

“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ”
― Norman Vincent Peale

~

“I know what I really want for Christmas.
I want my childhood back.
Nobody is going to give me that. I might give at least the memory of it to myself if I try. I know it doesn’t make sense, but since when is Christmas about sense, anyway? It is about a child, of long ago and far away, and it is about the child of now. In you and me. Waiting behind the door of or hearts for something wonderful to happen. A child who is impractical, unrealistic, simpleminded and terribly vulnerable to joy.”
― Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

~

The Christmas of times past seems to have vanished like the snow from my door. Snow is never likely to fall in front of my door again, but it really has only a small part to play in the changes in Christmas. I would that I could offer everyone the intense joy and happiness I knew with each and every Christmas. The fact that it has changed for me is a matter of great dismay. The fact that it has changed for so many others is daunting.

As a child I knew so much happiness and excitement as Christmas drew close. It wasn’t for the fact that the stores were filled with toys and lollies and Christmas decorations. It was for the joy and wonder my parents and grandparents created each day leading up to Christmas day. I was fortunate that the shops didn’t put out the decorations, cards and toys until much closer to Christmas. The unique ‘specialness’ of Christmas had not been inundated with the bombardment of the commercialism of Christmas. It yet held that special air of magic. The pleasure of a nativity calendar!

I remember one year, being so convinced that my parents had to be helping Santa by hiding our gifts somewhere at home. After all he couldn’t really get them all round the world to every boy and girl on Christmas Eve, could he? I searched the house from top to bottom (I was very excited). I found nothing of course. My parents knew me well – they had hidden everything at my Nanny’s since she lived next door. It was a thrilling time none the less.

I remember when I was old enough to start sending Christmas cards to my friends. It was a sign, an indication that I was getting older and able to understand the real meaning behind Christmas. It meant, to me at least, that Christmas was a time for family, and for friends, and more than that for everyone I met. It was a time to share happiness, even if it was only a smile or a card.

Christmas Calling

image from theearthconstitution.org

I remember when my children were born and the excitement I felt when I gave them cards and gifts. I remember the fun we had as we made up Christmas hampers for the Salvos and for the RSPCA.  I remember with a sigh, when they too became old enough to want to give their friends Christmas cards.  Yet, in what feels like a few short years later the world itself has changed. Somehow, Christmas has lost some of its magic and sparkle and we are the poorer for it.

People  no longer want to send cards, if you are very fortunate you might get an e card. I haven’t yet found a way to hang it up though. What does that card mean? To me it meant that I cared about the person I was sending it to; I was thinking about them even if I couldn’t see or speak with them on Christmas day – or perhaps over the few days of Christmas. So a card, especially when money was tight, was a true gift of the heart to say…I miss you and I wish you all the best and that you were here. We made cards which held a stronger magic of love.

The other day I heard someone refer to themselves as an orphan and having an ‘Orphan Christmas’ because their parents had divorced. I felt so saddened by that. I thought of all the children who have never had parents, are living on the streets, or whose parents have passed away and therefore cannot have any part of the physical Christmas with them. I understand, I think, what they meant, but I couldn’t stop the tears forming, as I thought of the fact that my parents were no longer here, my brothers not speaking with me and my children unable to visit this year. I was selfish, I know, but the words hit like a barb bringing all the other barbs to play.

What hit the hardest was knowing that this move from giving Christmas cards means that I don’t even have the joy of a card to say – Yes, they are thinking of me. There is a part of them here too. Of course, they are in my heart, but I have to wonder why people are so reluctant to spend a few dollars sending a card.  What has happened to the feeling and magic of Christmas?

Oh, I know, its expensive sending cards today, and if you are giving someone a gift why spend a few extra dollars on a card? Better yet, why send a card when the postage costs more than the card? Perhaps it’s the thought, why send a card at all, we don’t see or hear from them most of the year? Somehow this just sounds like excuses or miserly thinking. (To me). The Christmas Spirit seems to be vanishing, or has the Christmas Grinch caught up with most people?

I am often heard wishing for snow at Christmas, the feel of the crisp air and the crunch of snow underfoot. The robins and tinsel, mistletoe and fairy lights. My mother’s fantastic Christmas tree decorated, which eclipse mine to this day, I can never see again, except in my memory. The paper decorations we all made as children – do you remember the strips of coloured paper, we glued one end to make a circle, then added more? Paper chains, we had a houseful one year. 🙂  I have beautiful cross stitch ornaments and sequin balls made at school by my children. Yet there is a hollow feeling in my heart. The Christmas magic is being stolen.

If I was allowed only one Christmas wish I would give it to –  all of you. I would wish you; a Christmas filled with joy and magic, the excitement of family or friends, or someone who cared, to make your Christmas special. If I could I would make sure that everyone received at least one Christmas card, with wishes for a safe and happy Christmas, filled with love and that you would all return safe and sound in the New Year.  

~

Wherever you are, my wish is that you receive the joy and magic from my heart to yours. That you feel the love and happiness of Christmas, of time shared however briefly together.

~

This, is my Christmas Calling to You.

~

Blessings, Susan x

© Susan Jamieson 2013

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Mousehunt

image from mybirdie.ca –

Dearest, Are you there?

I heard a mouse squeak under the stairs

Not to worry, Honey

That’s just the window sticking in its track

~

Dearest, Are you there?

There’s something squealing now over there

It’s alright, Honey

The branches scraping on the Jacaranda

Just touching the door on the verandah

~

Sweetheart, Are you there?

I’m sure I heard some screaming down there

Dearest, It’s alright

There’s really nothing to worry about

~

Sweetheart, Please tell me what’s going on

I’m sure there is something there

Now I can hear a sobbing in the air

Yes Darling, I’m sure you’re right

I hit my finger in the dark –

As I chased that mouse under the stairs

Then I chased it through the squealing door –

Which hit my dodgy knee when I tripped on the floor

But I didn’t start to sob –

Until I caught my finger in the closing door

Mousehunt

image from soltherapy.wordpress.com –

Which I couldn’t see –

Because the bulb had blown

In the torch I was holding as it fell and broke

As I was trying to catch that danged squealing door

To stop it from closing

~

Dearest, Are you saying the mouse got away?

It’s always best to look on the brighter side of life.  Poem inspired by my wonderful Mum. Final image inspired from a riotous film called….”Mousehunt”.

Find a chuckle in your day, keep the blues away.

Happy weekend.

Ciao, Susan x

© Susan Jamieson 2013

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image from keithferrazzi.com

I’m ready to admit to having a little brain fog today. Well, if you insist, it’s a lot of brain fog today and I can’t really explain why today is any different from hundreds of others, except, I only had an hours sleep and since I had suggested an outing today I’ve been staggering around like a zombie most of the day. In fact Lucy (above) just about fits the right picture when I opened Word Press and got to my  ‘page’ and saw…..

Like the Three Bears in Goldilocks, “Whose been messing around with my page?”

Stunned surprise and bafflement. I haven’t seen anything to tell me any changes were coming. That’s not to say there hasn’t been a notification, I’ve been really lax with my emails today too. Bright lights hurt my eyes which in turn laser into my frontal lobe. Very unpleasant. Thinking is a painful suggestion. It’s a strange concept, but I need to think to put fingers to keyboard.

So, getting back to Lucy. I could never understand how she became so famous for making such exaggerated faces and having so many foul ups. I think I’m beginning to understand. It’s all a matter of experience. When she was a byword on National television I really wasn’t into slapstick comedy very much.  Very serious person indeed. It almost went with the career I think, or at least it did for me. Until today.

image from araneus1.wordpress.com Singing sweetly in the Jacaranda he looked so beautiful.

We went to visit one of my favourite haunts, the Crystal Castle. It is filled with hundreds upon hundreds of crystals, as you might expect, but in such a display that it takes your breath away. Just wandering through the rooms gives you a heady feeling. Of course it wouldn’t be quite the same if I didn’t pick up one or two little treasures, but that’s just an added perk. Yes, I could easily get carried away.

However, I wasn’t feeling too chipper so we decided to have a light snack and a nice latte at their organic cafe. All produce locally grown, much on the property itself, so I was sure it was going to be yummy. It was, a beautiful spinach and four cheese roll with salad. Delicious.  There are signs everywhere asking the patrons not to feed the birds since it isn’t any good for them. There is also a delicious carrot and walnut cake with cream cheese topping on offer, a favourite from the way it disappeared from the counter.

Yummy carrot and walnut cake, cream cheese topping

This was delivered to the next table to us, a delicious piece of carrot cake. The temptation to take photos is almost overwhelming since the views are incredible and that is what distracted this couple. They moved away from their table to take some photos. In a swoop reminiscent of a diving magpie after a cyclist, a magpie floated down from the Jacaranda tree and landed on the table and promptly set to with gusto.  Of course the first peck into the cake filled his beak with cream cheese! He couldn’t swallow it, he couldn’t open his beak and he couldn’t get rid of it.

He banged his beak left and right on the plate and then the table and all the while the couple were happily snapping away. I couldn’t stop laughing at the sight. It doesn’t sound that funny, but it looked hilarious, so much so I couldn’t hold the camera to get a photo. So the carrot cake will have to do.

So Lucy, I understand all those comic faces. I pulled one when I suddenly saw my page completely different and I pulled a dozen more watching this magpie, especially when the couple turned and saw what was happening. Then I had to pull more funny faces trying to hide that I was laughing so much.  Headache time here I came!

image from blogs.sacurrent.com     Yes, I LOVE LUCY now. 

So there we have it, one sober day (no alcohol included) shot to pieces by a magpie stuck on cream cheese. You simply had to be there.

Happy Sunday people.

Ciao, Susan x

© Susan Jamieson 2013

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Let me paint you a picture.

image from cheezburger.com

The day began like most days…. the realisation by slow increments that it is daylight and there is a need, almost an urgency, to attend to certain bodily functions. A low groan makes itself heard and as your eyes are painstakingly cracked open once more a blurry visage appears in the small field of your vision. An angel from somewhere has appeared and manoeuvres you into a seated position, legs are swung around and after a pregnant pause you heave and are heaved into a standing position. An uncoordinated marionette staggers to the bathroom and in due time reappears and the return journey is replayed much like the first half of the sequence.

image from david-procter.mysupadupa.com –

Tea arrives and the humanizing process has begun. This is usually the time the sunglasses appear so that the eyes can be opened a little further. The first tablets appear and are ingested.  Strange noises, groans and half formed words slide past strangely numb lips.  Decoding this strange language takes skill but the angel seems to understand, more pills are swallowed and the angel then fades into the distance after ensuring you are properly propped up by a mound of pillows, neck braced to stop you twisting into a pretzel and silence reigns one more.

Eventually, you regain more recognition of your surroundings. The strange dream of running with wolves fades into the background, although the vision of a pair of wolves eyes remains, “You are being looked after by the wolves”. Such a strange thought to surface with, but at least the lucidity is returning. I have yet to work out the meaning of the strange dream which is till with me and has nothing to do with what followed..

Eating is not a topic I discuss often these days. Food, once a delight to all the senses, now requires a  tentative approach, taking into account all the strange gastronomic reactions that may hide for the unwary.  For some time we have been trying to work out what we can do to start the (my) day with something nutritious but which will not cause the unwelcome havoc other food has caused.

Eggs! Gods gift to the ill, small children and the elderly. So my grandmother always told me. They have been eulogised and vilified over the years.  Right – we have a beginning. We have recently gone glutton free – oh, sorry, that should be gluten-free, and have found some very nice gluten-free muffins. We, that is my chief cook, suggested a nutritious home-made version of (don’t spank me) the McMuffin!  Gluten free muffin, organic eggs and bacon. Hmm, I think we may have a winner.

Oh yes! Glorious yummy, decadent golden goodness.  Beautiful firm cooked egg white and soft runny golden yolk, crispy dry fried bacon and a toasted muffin. Ooh – aaahhh, so scrumptious.  Sorry, too tasty to stop for a photo!

image from nookandpantry.blogspot.com –

Now for days I have been served this delicious and nutritious start to my day… whatever time that happened to be. More often than not it is Ray’s lunch, but I’m not complaining, not at all.  I slowly nibble my muffin and ease into the deliciousness of food sitting sweetly in my tummy and start to feel human again.

Eggs are delightful and entertaining fare.  I have watched as Ray tucks heartily into his muffin and been rewarded by the golden yolk spurting out and hitting his lap; (must not laugh, must not laugh), followed a couple of days later by it shooting out toward him and hitting his lapel and chin, (must not laugh, must not laugh).  There is a very good reason for not laughing. I have found, to my dismay, that if I start to laugh I forget to chew and swallowing a half chewed morsel can cause coughing and spluttering and all sorts of unpleasantness.  I’ve taken the reminder as a warning to not feel smug because I haven’t had a problem with my yolks. (Bad, bad move, now I’ve “put the wood on things”).

This morning, well today, was a complete farce from beginning to end.  Everything progressed as usual until the Ray Muffin arrived. I’m nibbling away and Ray is tucking in. As his teeth come together there is a brilliant yellow  stream spraying out the side of his muffin and up his arm.  Not content with that, the surprise made him bite his cheek. D’oh and Double ouch!  I’m feeling chipper, no yolky mess here. Big mistake, smugness is not a good thing. I’m still nibbling, haven’t hit the golden yolk yet.

OMG! A huge spray of hot, golden yolk flies out of my muffin and hits me squarely in the chest, rapidly running down and congealing into a sticky mess on my shirt. Icky! Looking with affronted dismay at my lost yolk, Ray dissolves into laughter. I’m not sure who or what to be more affronted by, Ray for laughing, or the loss of my beautiful yolk. Oh, the revenge of the eggceptional Ray Muffin.

No, this is neither Ray nor I, but I’m sure you get the gist of the mornings farcical nature. To conclude this homage to the revenge of the humble egg I found this humorous anecdote.

“So familiar are eggs to us, however, that in the eighteenth century they were referred to as cackling farts, on the basis that chickens cackled all the time and eggs came out of the back of them.”
Mark Forsyth, The Horologicon: A Day’s Jaunt Through the Lost Words of the English Language

Mystery, if such there was has been solved. It was “Eggceptional Holmes”.

Ciao,

Susan

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Time marches on image from http://www.writebalance.com

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”     Anne Bradstreet 

We are just beginning to feel the nip in the air at night which is letting us know that Autumn is here. There  are so many reports of the cold still in the UK as they approach their Spring. It seems as though we are out of step with ‘the rest’ of the world.

Many of the great poets and writers I grew up with hail from the northern hemisphere so it is natural to find this imbalance.  For all those who come to live here it means not merely a cultural change but a climatic change also. In some ways I’m unsure which is the harder to adapt to.  I still think fondly of snow at Christmas, holly and mistletoe, bare trees and snowflakes softly falling from the skies. Of course, that is the romantic side of winter, it forgets the chill of frigid winds and wet sludge as the snow is churned to mush underfoot.  The huddle around the fire and the wishing for Spring to arrive.

I’m reminded of these things since we moved to Byron, such a short distance from the Gold Coast and Queensland, but it has made a difference in the weather and air temperature, the pace of life and the feel of the earth moving through its rhythmic seasons. I feel that I am reconnecting with nature and Mother Earth once more and there is an excitement pouring through my veins I find soothing and exhilarating.

Rejuvenating for the soul and body image from justthespot.com.au

“Waves are the voices of tides. Tides are life,” murmured Niko. “They bring new food for shore creatures, and take ships out to sea. They are the ocean’s pulse, and our own heartbeat.”    ― Tamora Pierce, Sandry’s Book

I sit here watching the ocean rolling in. I can hear its sound day and night. The breeze blows soft or strong and in a storm it batters the windows wildly.

I see the sunrise peeking over the horizon, warming the earth and waking life. I watch the moonrise, pink and mysterious, lighting the ocean with its mystical light. As the moon rises I see the stars appear, brightly sparkling as we are away from the hubbub and rush of life. Mars is shinning red in the sky at present gifting us with a special show.

Pink Moon Magic

Pink Moon Magic

Summer ends, and Autumn comes, and he who would have it otherwise would have high tide always and a full moon every night.   Hal Borland

Pausing often to think as the day rolls by I’m reminded how much simpler things were when I looked at the world through a child’s eyes. My memories are of the love which surrounded me from my family, especially my parents who are no longer with me. The fun and excitement of birthdays and Christmas. Building snowmen and snowball fights even if the cold nipped at fingers and toes.

I remember walking along under the Autumn suns failing warmth, leaves of a myriad colour crunching crisply underfoot. I recall the excitement as the first buds were seen on the trees and the bluebells pushed their way through the cold earth and began nodding their delicate heads in the sun. I smile with delight at the images of summer, of heath and heather, trees and flowers, daffodils, jonquils, carnations and roses, hyacinth and myrtle, all spreading their delightful scents along the soft breezes.

colourful autumn foliage image from http://www.metoffice.gov.uk

Snowball fights, cold fun, tingling fingers and toes image from http://www.guardian.co.uk

A carpet of fragile bluebells, Spring has arrived. image from http://www.forestpictures.co.uk

How does your garden grow? image from http://www.horniman.ac.uk

All things change, as all things must. Children see with children’s eyes the magic adults often walk by. Our inner child works hard reminding us of things we may have forgotten and in remembering we are made rich beyond imagining once more. Who indeed would refuse to wander through the happy memories of our childhood once more?

Blue skies, ocean breeze, peace and tranquility - Byron Bay

Blue skies, ocean breeze, peace and tranquility – Byron Bay

Childhood brings diamonds to life in our memories.  Going back and revisiting places may never be the same yet they are still diamonds. It all depends on how you look at them

Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.”      Ashley Smith

May your life be a collage of the beautiful memories of childhood.

Bless  Susan x

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