“Enough,” he said; “the cough is a mere nothing; it will not kill me. I shall not die of a cough.” Edgar Allen Poe.

stop coughing

Cough : A rapid expulsion of air from the lungs, typically in order to clear the lung airways of fluids, mucus or other material.    Medicinenet.com

The cough may not kill me (although at times when I‘ve been gasping for breath I’ve wondered) but it’s amazing the neighbours haven’t

I’ve been coughing loudly and uncontrollably for getting on to a fortnight now. Firstly from the chest infection I had and now from the post viral irritation. I live in a complex of town houses and am sure that the neighbours must be just about ready to strangle me. Especially as the worst of the coughing starts around 3pm as the air starts to cool and continues until I finally manage to get to sleep. I’m assuming it must ease off then – well at least it doesn’t bother me then anyway. When I actually manage to get to sleep that is. Then of course when I wake up it starts again until I’ve been up and about for an hour or so

  • I’ve tried all the recommended treatments. I had a course of antibiotics to clear the infection and now I’m using a Pulmicort puffer to try to help.
  • I’ve stayed hydrated. Sipping water does seem to help to stop the cough a little but while it’s good to drink plenty of water it isn’t practical to sip away every couple of minutes all day long.
  • I’ve drunk litres of honey and lemon drinks
  • I’ve had many a hot steamy shower
  • I have an oil burner and am burning a blend designed to assist with breathing easier.
  • I’ve sucked dozens of lozenges
  • I’ve been resting (hard not too really as I’m so tired from the infernal coughing and lack of sleep )
  • I’m taking a probiotic
  • I’ve been using pineapple and ginger in my morning smoothie ( the bromelain in pineapples is supposed to help ) .

honey ginger tea

Guess I’m just going to have to ride it out ……  maybe I should present all the neighbours with ear plugs?????

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

“Hello darkness my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again.” ― Paul Simon

quotes 3At various times over my life I have suffered from insomnia and I find it to be a particular form of torture. My insomnia usually takes the form of being exhausted, getting to the very edge of unconsciousness  …..but then nothing happens.

Why is it that then countless thoughts and worries start to crowd my mind?quote 1

I must admit that I have done some good problem solving in the early hours. It is also a good time to pray. However more often than not it’s when the negatives come flooding in. The worries. The regrets.

But [Pooh] couldn’t sleep. The more he tried to sleep the more he couldn’t. He tried counting Sheep, which is sometimes a good way of getting to sleep, and, as that was no good, he tried counting Heffalumps. And that was worse. Because every Heffalump that he counted was making straight for a pot of Pooh’s honey, and eating it all. For some minutes he lay there miserably, but when the five hundred and eighty-seventh Heffalump was licking its jaws, and saying to itself, “Very good honey this, I don’t know when I’ve tasted better,” Pooh could bear it no longer.”
A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Because I’ve been coughing so much I haven’t had a lot of sleep the last week and I feel exhausted. I’m about to go to bed and try again.

  • Dear sleep, I’m sorry I hated you when I was a kid, but now I cherish every moment with you.


Leave a comment

Filed under life, living my life

In those famous words of The Terminator…….I’m back!

Cotton Tree at Sunset

Cotton Tree at Sunset

It’s been a long time since I’ve written on my blog and once again a lot has been happening since my last post.

I’ve moved back to Queensland to the same area (more or less) that I was living in 4 years ago when things went pear shaped.

I’m within an hour of Ben and Lina and the kids which means I’ve seen more of my precious grandchildren in the last 3 months than I had in their lives previously ( well at least Abi’s and getting close to Connor’s). I also get to catch up with  Jacob and Mindy occasionally.

I’m back attending my old church and it has truly felt like coming home to be there. I’m involved in various activities and making some new friends and caught up with some old ones. I’ve done a little exploring and aim to do more and all in all am very happy here.

On the down side the RA has been playing up….seems like the stress of moving has caused it to flare up which isn’t good but it seems to be starting to settle down again so that is a relief. I’ve been taking it very quietly the last two days as I’ve succumbed to a virus and have a sore throat and am fighting off a chest infection.

The good side of that is that I’ve spent the last couple of days reading.

Do you have favourite authors who’s work you used to love reading? I have and over the last couple of years when I realised that they weren’t to be found in the library any more to borrow, I have started trying to collect a few by looking in second hand book stores and on ebay. I’m now the proud owner of nearly all of Mary Stewart’s novels.

Mary, Lady Stewart, née Mary Florence Elinor Rainbow (17 September 1916 – 9 May 2014), was a British novelist who developed the romantic mystery genre, featuring smart, adventurous heroines who could hold their own in dangerous situations. She also wrote children’s books and poetry, but may be best known for her Merlin series, which straddles the boundary between the historical novel and fantasy. Wikipedia.

I’m still looking for ‘The Wind off the Small Isles’. Unfortunately the copies I’ve seen so far have been way out of my price range however I live in hope and will keep looking. The only ones I don’t have are her Merlin trilogy. I’ve never really enjoyed them and of course they’re the easiest to find! Good old Murphy’s law again.

When I’m reading to relax I love things that are easy to read but hold your interest. I’m not into the Mills and Boone or most modern romances ( soft porn is what they boil down to and not my cup of tea at all). I love stories about people, light mysteries and Agatha Christie style murder mysterys.

Now that I have the Mary Stewart ones I’ve started on the D E Stevenson novels.

D. E. Stevenson (1892–1973), Dorothy Emily Peploe (married name) was a Scottish author of more than 40 light romantic novels. Her father was the lighthouse engineer David Alan Stevenson, first cousin to the author Robert Louis Stevenson. Wikipedia

She was a Scottish writer and her books are delightful stories even though they are very much of the era. It is interesting that some of them are starting to be republished so it appears I’m not the only fan!..Unfortunately it’s going to take me a long time (if ever) to manage to get all of them as many of them are WAY out of my price range.

Today I’ve been rereading Laura Ingalls Wilder’s ‘Farmer Boy’. I read this story to my sons a couple of times over the years and we always loved it. My goodness those people ate well…… the boys were fascinated by how hard they all worked too -especially the children. When we were dabbling in self sufficiency back in the 80’s I found it very useful for ideas about how to do some things too. Thanks to Google, today I’ve found out what an air castle is too. It was a sculpture made out of straw by Almanzo’s sister Alice and hung over the dining table where it quivered with the movement of the air. Thanks Google- I’ve always wondered what the air castle was.



Filed under Uncategorized

Reflections on Grief – 5 years on


On the 19th November it was 5 years since Mum passed away.

I  wasn’t able to follow my usual routine of placing a rosebud at the site of the accident on the highway and then at the memorial garden in the cemetery this year. Instead I was hours away visiting a friend on the anniversary of her death, and somehow it seemed pointless to do those things either earlier or later than the actual day.

Time really is a healer. I said last year that I felt the rawness of pain of her death had faded and that process has continued over this year. I still miss her dreadfully and I still long to have a few minutes with her to hug her and feel her hug me back.I wish she could meet her great grandchildren, I wish I could share the highlights and lows of my life with her. I wish I could ask her for help to make things. I wish  I could ……. so many things.

I still see her in my mind’s eye and can even feel the last hug she gave me sometimes.

I’m not forgetting her.

But death is a natural part of life….. here in the west it seems like we somehow think we can escape it and are surprised and horrified when it comes. Not that I’m not saying that my family and I weren’t distraught at her sudden and unexpected death. There was no chance to say goodbye….. no warning…. it came out of the blue and decimated us. As a Christian I don’t fear death itself ( I freely admit I fear the process though).  However it is something that we will all need to face.

I do not want to trivialize the feelings of those who have lost loved ones and never get over it. Please don’t think I am, but we are not meant for our lives to stop when that happens. I believe it is such a tragedy when someone grieves so hard and long that they give up on the rest of their life and shut out everyone else around them. Is that what the loved one who passed would want?

Our earthly lives are finite and we must accept that and not waste the ‘span of our years’ . There are no guarantees as to how long we will have….that is why it’s so important to make the most of it and enjoy each moment (well maybe not every moment-there are many that I certainly haven’t enjoyed! ). I know Mum enjoyed most of her moments. She loved Dad and us. She loved  to travel. She had many friends and was involved in many interest groups. She helped others often and was trying new things. In short she was making the most of her life.

This 5 year mark seems to be an important point in my grief. I will never stop missing her and loving her but the buffer of time is now between the grief and my life.Dad's 80th


Filed under Uncategorized

Happiness is Home Made

DSC_0812I grew up in suburban Sydney in the 50’s and 60’s. My mother was a country girl whose parents carved out a property in the wilds of the New England area of NSW. Grandad was a sheep farmer and Nanny had grown up in Mosman and gone to Art School before meeting and marrying this boy from the bush. I am in awe of how she survived going from the fairly bohemian lifestyle of a student studying under Julian Ashton to living in the bush miles from the nearest town.

When Mum was 8 she was sent to live with her grandparents in Gunnedah so she could go to school and from then on she mainly lived firstly with them and then with a maiden aunt until she married Dad. Coming from her background she was a frugal and good country cook. We always had homemade biscuits and cake and good plain meals. Dad grew vegetables in the back yard and we had a lemon tree that Mum made great lemon curd from. The only time we had lollies was on surprise night ( Dad’s pay-day) once a fortnight when he would bring home a family packet of something like chocolate covered honeycomb which would be shared out piece by piece around the table at the end of the meal that night. On the years that we had a birthday party Mum would make the party food including things like honeycomb, caramels and toffees.  When apples,pears, peaches, apricots and tomatoes were in season we would have an early morning trip into the Sydney markets to buy boxes of fruit and then we would all assist her to preserve them in the good old Vacola perserving jars. She was also an excellent and prolific jam and chutney maker. Needless to say I learnt to cook at a young age too.


When I got to high school and went to Teacher’s college I was surprised to learn that quite a few of my contemporaries didn’t have a clue how to bake. I learnt to spin wool into yarn on my first prac teaching block at Berridale at the base of the Snowy Mountains and enjoyed spinning and knitting as I still do – along with dying the wool, weaving and felt making.side of hat showing decoration

My wedding present from my husband was a Vacola Preserving Kit much to the horror of some of  the guys from his work…until he told them that I had requested it.In the early days of my marriage I became interested in baking bread as well as making jam and chutney etc.

We never had much money so the fruit and vegetables I preserved and the jams etc were an economical and welcome addition to our menu. If you’re a vegetarian or squeamish skip this next sentence….. I even remember making some brawn from  the head of a pig that arrived with the rest of the meat when we ordered a half a pig from the butcher. Mind you I couldn’t bear to eat it myself but my husband loved it.


Over the years our interest in the so-called ‘alternative lifestyle’ grew and we even had 2 milking goats along with chooks (hens) in our largish suburban backyard in Goulburn when we found that Luke was allergic to cow’s milk. We then bought 500 acres of bush a few miles out-of-town and built a mud brick shed that we moved into and lived in for a couple of years. I was mixing mud whilst pregnant with my youngest son. I loved using the slow combustion cooking stove that we had there- in fact I still wish I could have one again all these years later.  Over that time we had a petrol generator that we used at night for lighting and to run my trusty Kenwood chef with the grain mill attachment and the  mincer and sausage maker attachment. I made all our bread and we had our own chickens and goats for  eggs, milk and meat. I also made my own soap and attempted some goat cheese (not very successfully). woven table runner

Those years were my most productive in terms of home-made produce but I always maintained the interest and desire to produce things. When we established the Chamomile Bed and Breakfast in Hervey Bay our guests always loved the homemade jam and chocolate mud cake etc that I provided.

Over the last 6 months or so I’ve got right back into making things. Even though I live on my own and so don’t use much myself I decided that I could share my excess with friends. I am gaining such a sense of groundedness and satisfaction from producing jam, chutney, cordial, sparkling fruit drinks, bread and now cheese- and I think from their comments that those I’ve been sharing with are enjoying it too!  Although there were a few doubters about the elderflower cordial….  until they tried it :)

As I’m typing this I have a cheddar cheese and some camembert air drying before the next stage in their production is due, I’ve got some kumquat cordial steeping until it’s ready to strain and bottle and I have the recipe for some biscuits sitting on the table ready to go.

There are many kinds of creative…. some create art works or music, some invent things or some like me create more homely things. Whatever you create though I am positive that it is much harder to be depressed when you are doing something creative.

I truly believe that happiness is home-made.


Filed under Uncategorized

How do I present myself to others in a positive way ?

I’ve never had a huge amount of self confidence.

I’ve never been the life of the party or the cool girl who people wanted to hang around with. Instead I’ve always felt like I live around the edges of the groups rather than in them.

Even when I was in my late teens and early twenties I didn’t think I was very attractive ( I look back now and wish I still looked like I did then-talk about not appreciating what you had till it was gone! )

With age is supposed to come wisdom and I guess I’ve developed a bit of that over the years.With the Lord’s help I’ve worked on some of the rough edges and I don’t think I’m as judgemental as I used to be. I’ve learnt that even if I do have stong views on how things should be done that I have to back off and let others do things their way. I try to wait till I’m invited to do so before I give advice. I know that I still have a bad habit of jumping into conversations immediately I think of something rather than waiting till the other person is finished – got to work on that one more!

I certainly think I have a better dress sense now than I used to. I have some dear friends who tell me that they like and appreciate me. Of course a broken marriage doesn’t help…. no matter how much I know there were lots of factors involved, I still feel at times that it was because I wasn’t worth loving.

I know that God loves me, but I still often feel like He can’t love me as much as He loves others – once again my head knows how untrue this is but my heart still holds onto the lie.

I’m not writing this for sympathy and for people who know me to rush to validate me….. although it’s always nice to receive that assurance even if I then go on to dismiss it.

There are two factors that have led to this navel gazing

1) In a couple of weeks I’m going to a class reunion (I was going to go to the last one but couldn’t as I was in hospital at the time)
2) I have to write a profile of myself for something

I’m sure 99% of people heading to meet up with former classmates experience the insecurity associated with this experience. Especially after 42 years. I had a fairly decent figure back then. My beautiful auburn hair was slightly wavy and fairly long. I wasn’t burdened with the back, shoulder and rheumatoid arthritis health issues I have now. The world was full of promise for me. Even though I’ve done some interesting things and had some wonderful experiences my current world is much more limited. I’m feeling nervous and hoping that I won’t spend the evening sitting by myself staring into a drink.

The second one is even worse. I don’t know what to say about myself. How do I start….. I guess saying ‘Hi my name is Kathie and I’m 60, overweight,divorced and got some disabilities’ isn’t really going to tell the story of me in a very positive way!

How DO you put onto paper who you are?


Filed under Uncategorized

We don’t stop playing because we grow old: we grow old because we stop playing. George Bernard Shaw

I’m having a bit of an identify crisis at the moment!

I turned 60 this year and due to lack of finances stopped dying my hair (gasp! horror!) which means I now have totally silver hair and it seems that since that happened people now categorise me in the old category. I mean immediately that the colour grew out I started getting asked if I had a seniors card and as I look in the mirror I don’t think that my face etc have changed that much…just the hair.

I know it’s a common problem that people these days don’t want to feel or look old and some go to great lengths to try to deny the passage of time (which I personally would never do even if I had the means –  is anyone really fooled by plastic surgery? However if that’s what you choose to do so be it. I’m not trying to offend anyone here)

The problem is that I’m in that in between land of not wanting to hang around with the oldies but not wanting to pretend that I’m younger than I am either. I think this is more of a problem when you’re single, as if you are half of a couple you have that built-in company and can go places and do things together.

Maybe this is a bit more of a problem in a smaller community too. For instance my Dad goes out to dinner every Monday night with a group of single acquaintances who enjoy spending an evening together and I know some of them are my age…..but honestly I wouldn’t want to be part of a group of 60 -80+ year olds on a regular basis in that context. I do socialize with a number of older people through my craft groups and church and throughly enjoy their company. One of my best friends is 81. I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy mixing with people of all ages. Just that I am really feeling the lack of like-minded friends of my age group who still think young. There are a few couples that I mix with who are around my age and have similar attitudes, but not many and they are busy so I don’t get to spend as much time with them as I would like to. I had a wonderful time on the long weekend when I was a volunteer at the Black Stump Christian Music and Arts festival . I had an absolute ball on my time off checking out the different  musicians and groups. Two of my young single friends were there too and it was lovely being able to meet up with them and enjoy time with them. One of the highlights of the festival for me was dancing along when the Outback Hippies were playing. As I looked around there were people of all ages dancing and singing along too and it was one of those magical moments you wish could go on forever.

Most of my younger friends are busy with their families and I am so privileged when they include me in their activities. I also have a number of young single friends , most of whom live away from where I live. I am so grateful that they are willing to spend time with me when they can. It says a lot about what wonderful people they are that they make time for me.

I guess a lot of  the problem is that I haven’t fully come to terms with living by myself. Don’t get me wrong…. I enjoy the benefits of not having to consider another person’s likes and dislikes, of cooking or not cooking what I like when I want to, of only having to please myself – but at this point in my life I think I have come to the conclusion that the disadvantages maybe just outweigh the advantages. I have a number of friends of all ages and of course they all have their own lives to lead. I don’t want to be a needy burden to anyone. My health also means that at times I am not up to doing things and going places.

But…. I still long to be able to have the possibilities and energy and options that I used to have…..

I don’t think I need to turn into a little old lady in attitude and action but I guess I need to come to terms with the fact that I AM getting older.

Me in March this year

Me in March this year

Me 4 years ago

Me 4 years ago


Filed under Uncategorized