Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

Stay safe. Stay home.

How often have we heard those words in recent times?
How often have we said them?

Sadly, those of us who can hear and say them without cringing are privileged.
Too many people are NOT safe at home.  Not safe physically, emotionally, or mentally.

The pandemic crosses borders quickly and insidiously.  But so does family violence.

I knew that and my heart ached.  A few days ago I got a reminder.

Cindi sent me an email asking if she could put up a guest post on my blog.  Not only does she not feel safe at home, her blog is also not a safe place for her.

And of course I agreed.

Here is Cindi's story.  Sadly a story which is told across the world.


Ten Things

It has been a bit of a minute since I last posted on my blog [here], and I have no real explanation except that the things around me right now have been "off," and I've felt a bit numb and overwhelmed.  Exhausted from the yo-yo life ... thrown out and yanked in ... married to a manipulative, narcissistic alcoholic drug addict. 

I find myself, two years shy of 60, and 10 years into a life I never thought I would see again.  Six years after leaving everything familiar to start fresh in a place where there wasn't any history, or my husband's family and friends who would ply his mind with meth and cocaine.  

I've found myself wondering, especially in light of recent "shelter-in-place" lockdowns ... how many other women found that their home was less of a shelter, and more of a house of horrors?  How many other women have been standing in the shadows, afraid to speak up or speak out, because they felt they had nowhere to go.  No one to turn to that they could trust.  Where do you go when the only "safe" place is supposed to be home?  Who do you reach out to when you must stay six feet apart?

Some of you know that I recently separated ... let me rephrase ... my husband moved out after nearly eight months of turmoil in the house.  His drinking and disappearances became more frequent and his anger more explosive.  My own anger and unhappiness reached volcanic proportions and I said things that can never be forgiven.  Not that I want them to be anymore, and not that I'm apologizing for them either.  Especially after he spent an outrageous amount of money for online pornography, beer and liquor.

I thought that his absence would bring me some inner calm without there being constant drama and tip-toeing about, but that has not been the case.  His threats intensified.  He took Charlie

[my dog] overnight and subjected him to who knows what.  When Charlie was finally returned [after I said I would arrive with the police to get him if he was not], he was quiet, withdrawn, and exhausted for more than 36 hours.  I had to file a restraining order.  Call the police more than once, and the last straw came on Thursday when he tore open a screened window to come into the house while I was working to scare and intimidate me.   Scare me, he did.  Intimidate me, he did not.  As of this moment, at 10p on a beautiful Saturday evening, I still don't know if he has been served the restraining order papers that were filed on Wednesday morning.

His most recent attempt to bully and intimidate me has come with threats to shut off all of the utilities to the house because they are in his name, knowing that I work from home and a sudden disconnect of internet or electric would be damaging to me financially due to lost hours and wages.  (but you see, I am so much smarter than he.  In the last 24 hours I have had all of them put in my name so that he [pun intended] has no power over me.)

Originally, I wanted to be able to stay as long as possible in this house that I once thought would be the last house I ever lived in.  I've lived in more houses than half of my years on this earth.  I wanted a place to finally call home.  Perhaps even forcing him to concede defeat and let me keep it.   Watching with anticipation for every spring bloom, every new bird at the feeder.  But then I realized that those I thought were my "friends" are actually my enemies, and my inner circle became so small it consisted only of me and the fur-kids.   Even if I had been able to stay here in this house for the rest of my life, I would never feel safe here again.  Never feel connected to this town that once gave me such hope.

Plan B became to leave Wisconsin and move to Virginia where I would be closer to my mother in North Carolina, a sister and her family in Virginia, a brother and his family in Georgia, and another heart-sister and her family in Pennsylvania.  But I also need to make sure before I leave that the divorce has been started so that I don't have to come back or wait to meet a residency requirement in another state.  Reserving and renting a trailer to move the furniture I wanted to take to restart my life.  Finding somewhere to live before I got there.  Not as easy as it sounds with two cats and a dog, none of whom I will leave behind.  The list continued to grow, as did my stress, in opposite proportions to the amount of sleep I've been getting lately [just three hours last night].

Today I have been wandering from room to room during my breaks from work and doing a mental inventory.  I've come to realize that the process of leaving doesn't need to be as stressful as it is.

I measured the back of my truck and realized that it would hold six storage containers without needing to stack any of them above the window height.  Six tubs to hold everything I need to start my life again.  Furniture I can get again, most of mine are upcycled or yard sale finds.  There is a storage unit filled with things I've occasionally thought about, but have really not even looked at in three years.  My clothes are all from the Goodwill, and if I move to a little bit warmer climate, won't need six months of winter wear.

Standing in each room of the house, I looked around for ten things I couldn't live without.  Ten things I couldn't replace.  I had a hard time even finding ten in every single room.

If there is one thing I am looking forward to replacing ... it is the person I became, with the person I will become.  Someone new, for the last four decades of my life.  Someone hopeful, happy, and creative (yes, there will be another book written from this.  It is far too satisfying to write out the karma destiny for an ex to NOT give David his 15 seconds of fame.) 

At the beginning of this year, I chose a word to represent what I wanted this year.

I wanted to thrive.

Be blessed,
~ Cindi


And how I hope you can thrive Cindi.  Survive and thrive.  In safety.

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Where are the Words for Wednesday

Lee provided the thought provoking and challenging prompts last month - for which we thank her.
June 2020:  Messymimi will provide the prompts on her blog.
July 2020:  Cindi will be providing the prompts on her blog. August 2020:  Lissa will be providing the prompts on her blog.
September 2020:  River will be providing the prompts again
October 2020:  Messymimi again.
November 2020:  Margaret Adamson and her friends will be providing the prompts, but they will appear here.
December 2020:  Me again.

This meme definitely falls into the 'more the merrier' category.  I hope that lots of you will visit Messymimi this month and play - or applaud.

Sunday, 31 May 2020

Sunday Selections #483

Sunday Selections was originally brought to us by Kim, of Frogpondsrock, as an ongoing meme where participants could post previously unused photos languishing in their files.

Huge thanks to Cie who gave me this wonderful Sunday Selections image.
The meme was then continued by River at Drifting through life.  Sadly she has now stepped aside (though she will join us some weeks), and I have accepted the mantle.
The rules are so simple as to be almost non-existent.  Post some photos under the title Sunday Selections and link back to me. Clicking on any of the photos will make them embiggen. 
I usually run with a theme.  On Thursday of this week the morning was foggy and fairly chilly.

We have learnt that a foggy morning often means a bright and beautiful day.  And so it was.

Our restrictions are easing now so several hours later we headed down to the lake.  A long awaited trip to the lake.  It was wonderful (though I could have done without the strange and fairly needy woman who bent my ear albeit at a socially safe distance).  Like me, she loves that piece of the lake's foreshore but I was not ready to discuss the meaning of life with a perfect stranger in that beautiful space.  I did, however, enjoy being introduced to her canary Chloe.  Chloe didn't like the lockdown either, so my new acquaintance took her down to the lake for an outing.

In my usual minimalist fashion quite a lot of photos follow.

An Australian Straw-Necked Ibis which I 'think' are different to bin chickens which are typically our white ibis.

The kangaroos (and there were several mobs) were totally 'laxed and pretty much ignored us.

I am (of course) a fan of both our black swans and the Australasian Darter which had its wings spread to soak up the last of the sun.

This silver gull (often referred to as a seagull) has almost certainly never seen the sea.

It really is a lovely place, and the wildlife is a bonus.

I hope all of you find peace and beauty in the week to come.

Wednesday, 27 May 2020


A little while ago David Gascoigne suggested I should feature kookaburras in a post.  Despite them being an iconic Australian bird (and one that is I suspect known the world over) my photographs of them are few (and mostly woeful).

Coincidentally a wonderful kookaburra story popped up in ABC news today.  As we slowly emerge from lockdown I am pleased to see that some people at least have found ways to have (and share) fun.  You can find the story here.  I absolutely loved it and hope you will too.  It also includes a very short video which is well worth watching.

I have also included some of my own photos of 'the merry, merry king of the bush' (and a link to the song about him).

Sunday, 24 May 2020

Sunday Selections #482


Sunday Selections was originally brought to us by Kim, of Frogpondsrock, as an ongoing meme where participants could post previously unused photos languishing in their files.

Huge thanks to Cie who gave me this wonderful Sunday Selections image.
The meme was then continued by River at Drifting through life.  Sadly she has now stepped aside (though she will join us some weeks), and I have accepted the mantle.
The rules are so simple as to be almost non-existent.  Post some photos under the title Sunday Selections and link back to me. Clicking on any of the photos will make them embiggen. 
I usually run with a theme. Despite the slowly reducing restrictions here we are both firmly in the vulnerable category (himself has now has a lung spontaneously collapse three times) and are still mostly at home.

Sorry, but this is going to a bit same old, same old.

I featured corellas (again) this week.  This morning (a grey and drizzly morning) they were shrieking for food early.  As were other birds.  I put out seed which went down very quickly.  I hand fed the king parrots.  And then I took out some apple.

I was very surprised to see a young (and whinging) corella shove his parent out of the way and daintily munch apple.

However he (and I have no idea whether I am correct) was also shoved out the way.  Pushed out by a cockatoo who absconded with all of the apple.

I had put other apple pieces out in less cockie accessible places so no-one missed out.

I have been revelling in the garden too.  Each year we wonder whether the frost or the tree dahlia blooms will arrive first.

This year was a bit of a draw.  We have had a mild frost and the leaves of the tree dahlia are a bit sad.
However there are blooms too.

And the ones in the back yard have done better and (so far) are frost free).

There are other garden joys too.  Lots of them.

I saw something this week which made me think.  It said word to this effect:
We are all in rough waters at the moment - but our boats are very different.
Sadly true.  I hope all of your boats are seaworthy and equipped with life boats.

Stay safe, stay well.

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Made with His Own Hands (updated and revised)

Memories of my father have been haunting me recently (and I don't know why), so I have decided to revisit/repost something I wrote about him when this blog was relatively young.  It will be new to many of you, and I hope that others will allow me to indulge myself.

Father was a German Jew.  I am pretty certain his mother went to America just before the World War Two started (without him) but know nothing about the rest of his family.  It was a taboo subject in our house.  We suspect the worst.  He rarely mentioned the war, other than to say that 'War has no winners. There are losers, and there are bigger losers'. 

I know at some stage he was fighting in Egypt and I know that after the war he lived in Birmingham.  His path to the UK and his life before that is pretty much a mystery to me.

He moved from Birmingham to Australia in the early 1950s to take up a position as a technical officer at the Research School of Physics at the Australian National University (ANU).  His initial salary was nearly 300 pounds (a year) which he told me was unheard of riches.

He crossed paths with my mother and her first husband in Birmingham.  They moved to Canberra so that my mama's husband could take up a position at the ANU (also in the Research School of Physics).  My mother's first husband died, leaving her widowed in a strange country with three children under five.  Life must have been very, very hard for her.

She and my father got together and I was born about a year before they married (very brave for the time in a small community).  As a side note I only discovered after his death that he had been married when he moved to Australia and divorced his wife to marry my mother.

Mama always said that she wouldn't get married for my brothers but that she wouldn't marry to spite them either.  So a new family was formed when and only when she was confident it could work.   By and large we managed.

My father said that he had no time for religion - that it cost too much.  Certainly he was not a practising Jew and was very partial to four legged chicken (otherwise known as pork).  His stated ambition was to be the first Jewish Pope, and for the remainder of his life Christmas and Birthday cards were addressed (by all of us) to Pope Dick.

He was a complex man.  He was very bigoted about some things, and was unbelievably and embarrassingly crass about homosexuals and Italians.  And had good friends within both communities.   He talked about pink shirt poofs (and yes I cringe remembering).  One of my more successful presents to him was a burgundy silk shirt.  Which he wore until it was undeniably pink.  And then continued to wear with pleasure.

One of his bosses claimed to have an 'open door' philosophy.  Father didn't think his actions matched up to his words.  So he went into work one weekend and removed the door.  When he died (more than twenty years later) that door remained where he had put it - as the door to his workshop.

He was stubborn.  So, so stubborn.  When he had made a pronouncement that was it.  No ifs, no buts.  And he didn't change his mind.  Ever.  He was the master of what was known in the family as the circular argument.  He would state his case as he strode across the lounge room.  You got your chance to make your point as went into the hall before coming back into the lounge via the kitchen.  When he reached the lounge he would restate his case.  Repeatedly.  Until the other side gave up or left.

He disliked my Smaller Portion intensely, and banned him from the family home.  I never found out why.  So, being my father's daughter I said that if he wasn't welcome I wasn't either.  When we found out that he had cancer and was dying we put the hostilities on hold.  If he had lived nothing would have changed.

He was a fix it man.  Nothing was ever thrown out, just squirrelled away.  He was immensely patient (when he wasn't supremely the opposite).  The lawnmower was a special hate.  One Saturday when it refused to run for him he threw it into the fishpond.  And then spent several weeks restoring it to (mostly) working order.

We always had animals.  I grew up with German Shepherds (father said they were only Alsatians if they had bitten you).  We usually had birds, cats and fish as well.  My brothers had guinea pigs and turtles.  He condemned my mother and me for indulging the cats.  And then poked a hole in the fly screen near the breakfast table so that he could push fingers of toast and Vegemite out to the cat on the window sill.  Who had only just gone outside.  He chastised the German Shepherd by beating her with a blade of grass.  She yelped.

He was a big man, with thick clumsy looking fingers, and hands which shook perpetually.  And he taught himself jewellery making, and produced some very beautiful and delicate pieces.

He had a perverse sense of humour.   While he was teaching himself facetting he used Reich's beer bottles to practise on.  A visitor came to the house and he brought the latest effort in to show her.  She asked what it was 'Reichite' was the reply.  'Ah, yes' she said 'mined in remote South Africa'.  Father finished that piece and set it into a silver ring and sold it to her (at her request).  He never told her that she was wearing a piece of beer bottle.  But chuckled about it.  Often.

He did repair/restoration work for a local antique store, but charged a boredom surcharge if he didn't like the job (like the time he was asked to sharpen a set of silver forks).  He exhibited some of his work in local galleries.

He had incredibly bushy eyebrows.  And if bored at dinner parties would plait them as a subtle hint to my mama that he wanted to leave (or wanted the visitors to do so).

When he knew he was dying he got immense pleasure out of ringing the local rabbi and arranging his funeral. 'Good morning Rabbi, I want to arrange a funeral.  My funeral'. We are so glad he did - none of us would have known that he wanted a Jewish funeral.

I loved him, I hated him, I miss him.  And how I wish I had been able to coax him into talking to me about his early life.  So many questions.  So few answers.