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“I did the only thing I knew how to do: I built my own walls of silence to disguise my desperation and what later came to be recognized and diagnosed as depression.”
Sharon E. Rainey, Making a Pearl from the Grit of Life

A strange thing happens when I sit or recline to write. Either I’m eager as a beaver because I feel I have a stunner of an idea, I sit and look at a blank screen and finally something surfaces like a safety line thrown to a drowning person, or I languish forlornly staring at the accusing emptiness and suddenly words will flow and something is on the page. Ideas like bubbles blowing in the breeze wash over me in a magical haze and words appear in front of me.

Amazingly, the latter are the best of all, so I need to tap into my well spring of creativity or, do more prep work because I love writing and love seeing the finished item as I hit that publish button. I was told many months ago that writing for the acclaim of others was a waste of time. If I didn’t like writing for myself it was a lost cause and I should simply stop right then. Incredible as it sounds, that advice was true then and is still true now.

Having said that, it certainly is wonderful having people enjoy what I write and comments are always appreciated because they give me a chance to learn more, about myself and this craft of writing. Yet this is not what I wanted to talk about.

I am a terrible ‘patient’. Terrible doesn’t cover it. Abysmal is closer to it really. I hate the whole illness, can’t do things, must take pills by schedule, do this, do that, everything ordered by someone other than myself. This is not independence. I am, or rather was a fiercely independent person. No – I still am. I haven’t changed, I simply have had to accommodate some changes that irritate but I have to accept as a necessary evil! Temporarily!

For three days I’ve been incredibly emotional after a unpleasant , horrific dream. Even though it turns out the dream is not as bad as it felt, it left me emotional. I hate emotional. It is a loss of control, it is an undermining of the little independence I have left and it leaves me tired, in pain, unimaginably so, and with a burning desire to do something, anything to make me feel, even for a short time that I am ‘normal’ once more.

#Desperate Measures

Ocean Shores 4.30am

Normal, what a stupid word to use. What is normal? Well, for me it is being able to do what I want, when I want without needing any assistance, even that given freely and with love. Independence. It is a heady draught and having it taken away is dis-empowering. Yes, everything revolves around empowering ourselves. Illness removes that empowerment in the cruelest way.

So, after another sleepless night and emotional day before it, I lashed out. I secreted my clothes and sand shoes in the laundry before ‘officially’ going to bed. At 4am I decided my husband was deeply enough asleep I could afford to get up. He is used to me getting up and down during the night now anyway. Quick trip to the bathroom and a little makeup, just in case someone should see me and I crept out to the laundry where a light wouldn’t disturb anyone.

Yes, I sneaked out of the house like a teenager breaking curfew! I even had the forethought to grab a water bottle and my phone. I haven’t walked to the beach where I live and I’ve been here a year. I haven’t sat on the beach and seen the sunrise (at the beach) for a year either. I used to do both regularly when I was alone, independent, before I was engaged or married. I was like a drunken sailor, or a drugged up lunatic, weaving and staggering down this hill. I thought the beach was at the bottom of the road. A kilometre later I reached the sandy access to the beach.

All I could hear was the pounding of the waves. I wished I’d brought my camera but I don’t think I would have made it to the beach if I had. My whole body trembled from the exertion and I staggered down onto the hard sand to sit down. Thankfully seeing someone staggering in the soft sand doesn’t raise eyebrows. I was there and I wasn’t going to be able to move. But I was THERE!

#Desperate Measures

Sunrise at Ocean Shores Beach 5am

I watched the sun rise above the horizon and the clouds.

It was beautiful. It wasn’t hot – I can’t take the heat and the meds had made me burn easily. I could feel the calm wash over me with every wave breaking along the shore line and the rays of the sun peeking over the horizon.  I hadn’t known it was a dog beach. A dog. OMG – how much I want a puppy, a miniature fox terrier and all my own. It’s like an ache, never ending. The dogs began appearing with their owners and I was truly happy when they came over to say hello. To pat them, scratch behind their ears and look into those kindly brown eyes, was blissful. Strange how little it can take.

My photos are grainy – even the lauded iPhone can only do so much. But I will be returning with my camera,and soon. By 7am I was beginning to feel more than a little uncomfortable. Couldn’t move my legs properly and turning around brought a sharp twinge.  A few more canine cuddles and I knew I couldn’t wait, it was time to start the trek UP the hill to get home.  The sun was now a blazing ball in the sky but it was still cool.

#Desperate Measures

Sunrise Ocean Shores 6am

I hit my first hurdle. I couldn’t stand up, couldn’t twist around and couldn’t bend my legs enough to kneel up.  Just a little problem. Soft sand….. I finally managed to flop around like a beached whale until I I got one knee pulled under me enough to lever myself onto hands and knees. Humpf!  This is what emotional independence gets you. Somehow I made it upright only to fall flat on my face – almost, hands and knees again. After my third staggering attempt and fall someone noticed it wasn’t quite normal and offered to help.

Help! I had to acknowledge I needed help to get up that soft sandy dune and she was a nice and concerned lady. So we managed to get to the seat at the edge of the dune so she could stretch after her walk and I could regroup after hiking up the sand dune! I was determined to walk up that darned hill. I stood up and walked to the footpath with my new found friend. My body, not one part of it, wanted any part of moving in a co-ordinated fashion. I staggered like a drunken sailor with palsy until I finally reneged on my independence and accepted a lift to the top of the hill.   So much for being independent.  After showering and changing I’ve been sequestered in bed, complaining body reminding me of my foolhardy outing at every turn. Yet desperate circumstances require desperate measures to be taken.

#Desperate Measures

A mini foxie friend at Ocean Shores

I may have paid for my intemperate haste to be independent, but I have my doggie pics and a few hours of remembering what it felt like to be able to go where I wanted, when I wanted to with impunity. For a while I forgot I was this person with an illness. I was Susan all over again and it felt wonderful. One day, one day soon, I will be that person again… come hell or high water I will be.

Blessings, Susan x

© Susan Jamieson 2014

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Sunrise, tranquility hiding a fiery combat

Sunrise, tranquility hiding a fiery combat

The past few days have been quite busy, for me at least. There are times it is difficult to reconcile the reduced activity level from days past. Now I am an observer of life as it passes me by, or as happened today, in front of me.

It had been a quiet day, quiet apart from the cacophony from the building sites and the ever present noise of vehicles scooting past.  The peace and tranquility of the Crystal Castle seemed a million light years past. Ray had just brought a beautiful cup of French Earl Grey tea in for me. It has the most beautiful of aromas if you like the slightly perfumed teas.

Suddenly there was an ear splitting noise from outside my window. It sounded like a cross between a cats howl, dogs growl and a thunderous rumbling from some devilish creature. I have never heard anything quite like it before.  Curiosity drew us to the window to see what was making this deadly racket It had doubled in intensity so we knew two creatures were locked in a fight to the death. The sight that met our eyes was totally unexpected. All the photos of the fight were taken through the window, hence the diffused appearance.

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Here you can see the dominant bird has almost a death grip on his opponent.

The Laughing Kookaburra is well known as a symbol of Australia’s bird life and is also known as the “Laughing Jackass”.  I have seen then sitting atop aerials and tall posts, our balcony rail and flying around. They are territorial birds and the largest member of the Kingfisher family. They have a beak which can reach 4 inches (10 centimeters) long. It has a wicked looking hook on the top beak. They are known for attacking even Brown Snakes. As you can see, at the beginning of Spring, in a fight for territory they will fight each other.

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With a lunge the challenger tried to get away but there was no going until the duel was over!

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Flung back to the ground the noise became even louder.

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One beady eye was all we could see but it had death deep inside its black depths. As the challenger was pushed towards the front porch it seemed a matter of time until there was only one bird left standing.

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With the end possibly in sight I couldn’t stand by and watch it happen. (I know, its part of life in the wild).  Being the brave soul I am, and also wielding the camera, I sent Ray outside to see what would happen. Usually, as soon as humans appear most birds will fly away. The Kookaburra doesn’t seem to have this fear of people. He knows he is the “King”  in his arena.

For the longest moment there was no reaction to a human presence. I was beginning to doubt that there was anything except one end, the death of the loser. The dominant bird must have eased his grip slightly which allowed, with a sudden flurry of feathers, the downed bird to take off. With a squawk of fury, the other bird flew after him. Through trees and round bushes they disappeared into the distance to continue to the struggle or until he had chased his competitor out of his territory.

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Once more secure in his territory he reappeared to sit, keeping a wary eye out for interlopers, on our balcony railing. Once more he was the Laughing Kookaburra, “merry merry king of the bush”.

For those who like information:-

The Laughing Kookaburra gets its name from its manic laughter-like call. Its early dawn and dusk cackling chorus earned it the nickname “bushman’s clock.”

Laughing kookaburras are monogamous, territorial birds that nest in tree holes. Females lay one to five eggs, which are tended by a collective unit composed of parents and elder siblings. Fledgling kookaburras generally remain with their parents to help care for the subsequent clutch.

Who can forget the Children’s nursery rhyme? I might add that this is thew first time I have seen the full lyrics.

Kookaburra sits on the Old Gum Tree

Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree
Merry, merry king of the bush is he
Laugh Kookaburra, laugh Kookaburra
Gay your life must beKookaburra sits on the old gum tree
Counting all the monkeys he can see
Stop Kookaburra, stop Kookaburra
That’s not a monkey that’s me

Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree
Eating all the gumdrops he can see
Stop Kookaburra, stop Kookaburra
Leave some there for me

Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree
He fell down and broke his knee
Ouch Kookaburra, ouch Kookaburra
Glad tha was not me

To end I’d like to add one of my favourite quotes:

I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.”
D. H. Lawrence

Ciao, Susan x

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DSCN2483 (Copy)Let’s start our gentle  walk with a quick   reminder of how beautiful the sky looks after a shower. The gorgeous rainbow highlights how clean and fresh the air is, washed away of all those negative ions that give me headache. (Well that and the awful meds I’m taking, all for a good cause).

On this day we saw both the right and left of the rainbow but missed the complete effect, perhaps next time.

DSCN2546 (Copy)Then we have the majestic rolling of the waves as they rush towards the shore.

I’m sure the surfers would have loved to catch some of the beauties we saw.

The cheeky Eastern Rosella eating all the pollen off every honey producing plant in the garden. Here we have one on the New Zealand Bottlebrush, just checking to see if he’s being watched.

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It’s hard to go past such a beautifully intimate picture of mother feeding her baby in the Sandra Gordon Grevillea.

DSCN2761 Cockatoo 26 July (Copy)

From ducks eating the lawn daily to cockatoos invading the area, there is always the songs of the birds around us.

Magpie Mother and baby 27 July (Copy)

Mother Magpie and baby checking us to see if it’s safe. “My what beady eyes you have”. They don’t miss anything.  Next we have my mystery bird. I first saw him ay our place in Nerang and was unsure what he was, Since then we have identified him as a Black Headed Peasant Coucal. This is the male. He puffs out his chest and the feathers at his nae and emits a loud “Coo, Coo, Coo,” to attract a mate. He has the most beautiful long tail shown here.

Pheasant Coucal Outside 7 (Copy)Pheasant Coucal Outside 14 (Copy)

His tail is easily as long as his body if not longer and spreads out in a beautiful fan as he flies. Then it was time for a little grooming. He loved the vantage from the Sandra Gordon Grevillea but didn’t win any friends with the local Rosellas or Indian Mynahs who tried to loudly persuade him to leave. He took it all in his perch and stayed until ready to leave.

Rolling Ocean waves 3 July 29 (Copy)Spathyphylim (Copy)

Rolling waves and delicate flowers on the Spathiphyllum  or Peace Lily.

Susan 4 24 July (Copy)Camelia bud (Copy)

Yes I am real, in the sunshine getting the fresh air and sea breeze. My beautiful camellia is still flowering.

NZ  Christmas tree (Copy)Wattle 2 (Copy)

New Zealand Christmas bush before the parrots have attacked it.  Beautiful flowering wattle.

Autumn Crocus white durigf cyclone Oswald  2Desert Rose 5 Jan 2013 (Copy)

These have always been called Autumn Crocus and on the right the flowers of the Desert Rose.

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I can’t end my walk through the garden without reminding myself of the beautiful and magical sunrise.

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Which means a moment to reflect on the day’s end with the mysterious and magical view of the pink moon.

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This wouldn’t be complete without my blogs namesake emblem – the orchid, in full flower today. Isn’t it beautiful?

And to round things off, the rest of my blog namesake, the beautiful and mysterious Powerful Owl. Whats not to love?

There is beauty all around us if we take a moment to see. It’s peace and tranquility can lift you fro the depths of despair.  The final words in my soliloquy go to George Gordon Byron.

“There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more”
George Gordon Byron

Know that you are loved deeply and well.

Ciao

Susan x

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image from nopassportrequiredblog.wordpress.com

For some time now I have been writing my posts during the long hours of the night. That is, interspersed with some very unpleasant interruptions caused by medication. This, of course, is not entirely true. If the medication doesn’t make me ill then the bugs it kills makes me ill. Either way I’m feeling awful and try to keep my sanity, or what is left of it, by doing something I enjoy, and hopefully, that you enjoy reading.

It has always seemed strange to me that pills are made to look so nice, with pretty shapes and colours and the prettier they are the more foul they taste.  Plus, they always seem to want to go down sideways and get stuck. Always the ones with sharp corners on them.  So here I am with a throat full of noxious tasting pills, scraping furrows as they go down and dissolving along the way because it’s taking so long. Trying to be well is making me sick!

I thought I was well until I had a car accident. Two pinched nerves, several protruding discs and a completely stuffed rotator cuff and it seemed to be the signal for my body to become a traitor to the cause. The cause being good health. I barely took a pill of any kind in those days, just an occasional headache tablet. I was a gym junkie and fit. I loved it!

Now my day revolves around which batch of pills comes next. The problem it has caused is that by the time I’ve finished forcing down what feels like truckloads of pills to kill off the bugs, (Lyme disease and Bartonella to name just two), plus all the “good” stuff to help overcome what the ‘get me well’ pills are doing to my system, and the immune boosters, and so on, and on, and on, all day long into my now tenderised tummy, I feel as ‘sick as a dog’ (poor damn dog!).  To make it worse I know I have to repeat this all over again tomorrow, and the next day. Added to which I cannot take anything to stop, ease or lessen in any way the effects of the ‘get me well’  pills, or the cocktail of other pills I’ve ingested.

So I feel damned awful all night and spend far too much time either in a foetal position feeling sorry for myself or running to the bathroom. Either way I’m wishing hours of my life away and so I try to concentrate on something of interest to myself and possibly others.  It’s a painstaking process as the interruptions prolong the creative urge and resultant blogs.

Tonight I’m feeling too banged up to even think, so this is it. I’m letting people know I’ll be missing for a day or two until I can get some rest.  Hopefully, I can get some of the still functioning brain cells to work and get back to ‘normal’ programming soon. That’s the plan, as far as plans go.

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Sunrise from my back door. Like the sun rising I will return brighter (hopefully) than ever.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Blessings  Susan x

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“Who would then deny that when I am sipping tea in my tearoom I am swallowing the whole universe with it and that this very moment of my lifting the bowl to my lips is eternity itself transcending time and space?”
D.T. Suzuki, Zen and Japanese Culture

cup of Chai

image courtesy of teatimetales.blogspot.com

Yesterday began early, with the sunrise.  A beautiful, peaceful and calm start to the day, rich with glorious colors and the feeling of bright new energy pouring over us. Gratitude for a beautiful day shared with my best friend, my husband!

Sunrise over the ocean, peace and tranquility and fresh new energy for the day ahead. From our garden at Kiama.

After snuggling back in bed for a while, cup of tea in hand, we decided it was a nice day to explore.  We went along the road to Gerringong for a brief stop, then onto Berry.

Berry is the district equivalent of Tambourine, or so I’m told.  There are some quaint shops, like the craft shop, the saddlery, the haberdashery, craft shop filled with delightful things to make. We had to make a trip back to the car to unload some of our purchases before continuing.  By that time we decided it was definitely “time for tea” and we had been told of a delightful tea shop just around the corner and across the next car park!

The tea was too good to wait for photos.

The shop was too good not to take more than one photo.

The Berry Teashop, filled with china to suit any occasion, teas, tea cozies and home-made jams.

I was so tempted to stock up on the beautiful china. For those people who watch “The Mentalist” there was even a cup the size (huge) which he used in the last program I saw.  It was so tempting, so I settled for half a dozen jars of home-made jams, blackberry, blueberry, raspberry, marmalade, blackcurrant and raspberry and blackcurrant. Yum – I can’t wait to try them out.

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The craft shop was packed with goodies too.

Filed with beautiful handmade goodies, tea cozies (an owl one too!) and all manner of things grandma used to make.

It was a beautiful day and I’ll finish this off with a wave from a passing friend.

It’s “goodbye from me….. and goodbye from him”.
AKA. The Two Ronnies.

The final word on the delightful experience in the tea shop, from a favorite author in my childhood, and a book I would recommend to everyone for a great laugh. “My Family and Other Animals” by Gerald Durrell.

“Tea would arrive, the cakes squatting on cushions of cream, toast in a melting shawl of butter, cups agleam and a faint wisp of steam rising from the teapot shawl.”
Gerald Durrell, My Family and Other Animals

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