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Friday, September 14, 2012

Not the Australian Game of Footie

Australia  - Week 2 (September 7 – 14)

Friday, September 7, 2012

We had a pleasant day today (Friday), running some errands, visiting familiar sites in Glen Waverley and shopping at The Glen, the local shopping mall. The weather has been ‘shocking’, cold and windy to the point where trees have been blown down in the countryside and in the city. I had not packed enough warm clothes to combat the chilled air and found two lovely warm shirts and a sweater to bolster my wardrobe.
We went out for dinner with Onn and Cynthia Chin, choosing a familiar and busy Asian restaurant which consistently serves delicious food. It was a great evening with great friends.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Saturday morning featured a longstanding tradition of meeting a group of friends at the food court in the Glen for coffee and a chat. It was a nice way to catch up with some more of our friends and share in interesting and lively conversation. Immediately after coffee, I hurried off to have a manicure which simply lifted my spirits.

Good thing my spirits were high because less than two hours later our lives were to change dramatically for the balance of this trip. I simply fell onto the kitchen floor of our hosts, a simple household accident, and manage to fracture two bones in the topof my left foot. After a short period of hoping it would be fine, I reluctantly headed to the emergency department of a hospital where it was confirmed that I had broken two bones. A temporary cast, a wheelchair and a referral to an orthopedic surgeon completed my visit. Not how we envisoned this day unfolding.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Not to be slowed down too much, I arose Sunday morning and bravely made my way to church with a wheelchair as my new friend. Needless to say, it attracted attention and everyone in the church knew we had arrived. It was great to see so many friends, most of whom wondered what had happened and how I was doing.

We returned to our hosts’ home and participated in a lovely potluck lunch, again having the opportunity to reacquaint ourselves with more delightful people. We are so blessed to be a part of this community where caring, support and fun are the foundations of all friendships.

I will admit that I was quite tired and ready to relax and put my foot up after everyone left. We spent a quiet evening reading, emailing and catching up with family at home.

Today was our elder grandson’s third birthday. We had a very successful skype conversation with him to begin his day and, as expected, Wesley was very excited about his party later in the day. He almost broke our hearts as we ended the call and he said, “I hope you are coming to my party.” Not this year, sweetheart.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Monday morning, Susan and Barbara and I went to the Kingsway, the local set of shops, for coffee. Barbara loves the café called Zest, and since they were wheelchair friendly, we were able to enjoy a comfortable table and delicious cappuccinos. Australian coffee really is delicious and attractively served. Barristas here certainly know how to decorate the top of a foamy cappuccino or latte with lovely shapes and designs. All manner of coffee is available – long black, short white, espresso, latte, cappuccino, soy, skinny, decaf ….. etc etc.  My favourite is a skinny capp and I have not been disappointed yet.

While the ‘girls’ were at coffee, Jim joined the GOMERS group for coffee. GOMERS – Grumpy Old Men and Early Retirees – meets each Monday morning for a walk around the park and a chat over coffee (it is such a part of the culture here). Like me, Jim thoroughly enjoyed reconnecting with many familiar people and engaging in the flow of the conversation.

Back home for lunch, and then Jim and I set out to visit Pam and Malcolm Bunney. We enjoyed a lively conversation, a nice cup of coffee and a slice of raisin toast. I have not had raisin toast in a very long time and I enjoyed every warm, mouth watering morsel. Pam also had a pair of crutches to lend me. In time, I will learn to use them, but not yet.

Dinner was a real treat. One of our favourite Australian meals is Charcoal Chicken and chips, prepared at Glen Waverley’s Charcoal Chicken shop …. And no other! What made this meal special is that we were able to share it with our host family in their daughters’ new home in the suburb of Rowville. I wheeled around the house in my chair, leaving tracks on the plush carpet and enjoying having the cook’s tour before very much furniture was moved in. Laura did have a new kitchen table and chairs, perfect for sharing the delicious chicken, scrumptious chips and a greek salad. Ice cream for dessert topped off the first dinner party Laura has hosted in her new home. Congratulations to Laura and Kaye for the purchase of their first home!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tuesday turned out to be much quieter than we had originally planned. We were to head out for a 2 day excursion to Warnambool, a small city about 3 hours west of Melbourne. But alas, my appointment with the orthopedic surgeon was set at a time that scuttled this plan. So, instead, I spent much of the day at our home away from home working on processing photos and creating our photo diary of French Polynesia. It is hard to believe that we were there just two weeks ago. It is still amazing to me that we enjoyed all those varied experiences.

Jim took the opportunity today to take the train into the city. He enjoyed his day in Central Melbourne, accomplished a couple of errands, took in the Queen Victoria Market (I am envious of that) and came home with two suitcases!! One of our suiitcases was damaged in transit and QANTAS agreed to repair it. The repair shop actually gave Jim a new one rather than repairing it and then gave the old one back as well since they were intending to simply put in the garbage. So now we have one additional suitcase …. Hmmmm, perhaps a shopping trip is in order once I get back on my feet!

I have made a decision to become as independent as I possibly can in spite of being stuck in a wheelchair. So, to demonstrate that I set out to accomplish several tasks today.  I made breakfast, did the dishes, prepared lunch, set the table, chopped vegetables for dinner and created a delicious pot of chili (with the help of a couple of sous chefs from time to time). As I gain confidence in my new limited movement, I find I am able to do more and more although it all takes a much longer time than I am accustomed to.

A lovely skype conversation completed the day and we settled in for the night, deeply bundled under the blankets to ward off the chill that encompasses Australian houses overnight as they are not generally heated in the bedrooms.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Another excursion to the Glen was scheduled for the morning, this time to meet with a group of women who have been meeting for Wednesday coffee for over 10 years. It is always a pleasure to be able to join them whenever we are in town. There is always a warm welcome at the table and a comfortable joining in with the conversation. The cappuccinos are also very good.

Jim picked me up from coffee and took me off to the appointment with the orthopedic surgeon. I was confident that he was going to deliver reasonable news so I was not surprised when he affirmed that no surgery is necessary to repair my fractured bones. He also prescribed a walking boot and is allowing me to put PBW (partial body weight) on the injured foot. That was happy news as it means that in due course with the aid of crutches, I will be able to abandon the wheelchair and have greater independence. Of course, he also told me I have to wear the boot (except to shower) 24 hours a day for the next 4 – 6 weeks. That will certainly affect our plans for Singapore and for Turkey. We will modify our expectations and proceed with as much as we can manage.

We set off to find the orthotic shop and get the appropriate boot fitted and listen to all the various explanations and instructions. The woman who helped us there was very thorough and kind and we left feeling that we would be able to manage this device with few problems. Next, we needed to locate a walker to assist with walking (what else?) for the next few days. I will say that my foot tired very easily as I began to put some weight on it and exercise it for the first time in several days.

Jim and I enjoyed a late lunch at a Malaysian restaurant before heading home. Dinner was delayed a bit tonight in deference to our late lunch and we all settled in for a quiet evening.  The weather is changing again and the wind and rain are evident outside. It is going to be another cool night.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A new day has dawned and I managed to sleep well with my new boot on my foot. It is a bit cumbersome but quite manageable. I was pleased to be able to use the walker as an aid to transportation and leave the wheelchair behind (at least for most of the day).

We started the day with a breakfast date with friends at a café called Zest. It was great to catch up with David and Beth, Beth’s mom and John and Barbara as well. The conversation around the breakfast table was lively and the food was delicious. We have eaten at Zest in the past and knew exactly what we were going to order. Jim had a smoked salmon brioche while I indulged in smashed avocado on toast. Yes ….. that is really what it is called. A thick piece of multigrain toast is loaded with a mixture of fresh avocado and feta cheese. A bit of lemon juice tops it off and it is truly delightful. It would be easy to make at home but the avocados here are like no others I have ever tasted. One of the true pleasures of Australian cuisine is the fruit that is grown on the nearby trees. Mmmm good!

After breakfast, Jim went into the city and then out for lunch with a former work colleague. I returned ‘home’ and set about completing my photo book for the Aranui cruise. So many photos …. so little space. It was difficult to choose which photos fully and accurately represented the diverse and rich experience we had while on this cruise. Many hours later, the almost final draft was completed. One more review and I should be able to send it off to the printer. Now I only have two more books to do.

We enjoyed a delightful evening with our friends, the Baileys. Heather and David are always wonderful hosts and we were pleased that Jeffrey and Stuart were able to join us for dinner as well. We enjoyed getting to know these young men as teenagers and now appreciate the opportunity to reacquaint ourselves as they have emerged into responsible and mature young adults. As always, the conversation flowed comfortably with these good friends and we covered many, many topics ranging from family life to employment, to travel and even Huntsman spiders and possums. Possums I do not mind, but having a Huntsman spider crawling across the ceiling above my head was an eye-popping experience. I know they are harmless but they are also creepy. I was grateful when David demonstrated his well honed skill of capturing the spider and depositing it out doors.

Friday, September 14, 2012

This day began early and has been quite full. Each morning, I try to catch up on email and Facebook entries that have arrived while we sleep. Then, a fresh fruit bowl for breakfast with lovely kiwis, sweet bananas, Australian-grown citrus fruit and any other fruit that is on hand. A healthy and delicious way to start the day.

Soon after breakfast, Jim and I headed out to take some photos of Glen Waverley in the springtime. The gardens throughout this community are vibrant with colour. Of course, many of the plants are native Australian varieties but many are also more familiar spring flowers.  Camelias, protea, citrus trees, eucalypts, bird of paradise, daylilies, gravillea and wattle are all in bloom in deep and bountiful colours. A sight to behold!

A late morning coffee …. Always a skinny cappuccino for me and a regular one for Jim with true art on the surface created by the barista ….. took us to lunch time. I was meeting Deb Amos for lunch today, a dear friend who I had not yet seen. We went to new café for me, Café 57 in Pinewood Plaza, where we managed just barely to get a one hour parking space. We knew that would not be enough time, so Deb went out after one hour and moved her car to a two hour spot. Even then, we had difficulty making it back to the car on time.  Lunch was delicious (grilled calamari salad) but the conversation was luxurious. How wonderful to be able to pick up a friendship again after two years without hesitation.

Dinner is at home tonight followed by some tv viewing, a nice quiet night in as we prepare for a busy weekend.

1 comment:

  1. Well, Donna - you always manage to find a way to make the journey exciting - but impersonating Hopalong might cramp your style a little. I hope the boot gives you comfort and you are able to do most of what you had planned to do. We are well into fall here with a couple of cool days - great for gardening and the Fall Fair. Stay well - and slow down on those dance steps!