Category Archives: Life

Dear Monday

Dear Monday


Shadow Shot Sunday

It’s the times when I am home when I wouldn’t  usually be home that I am surprised and delighted by the shadows that dance around my house, when no one is looking.

Shadow Shot Sunday celebrates shadows from all over the world.
If you would like to participate, please visit Hey Harriet’s blog.


This week has been a funny week.

I have been alone since last Saturday, when I dropped my Peter man at the airport.

We have not spoken since then (only texted).
I worry that he can’t survive without my guidance screeching in his ear about everything!

He has written, if you can call poking a finger onto letters on the front of an iPhone writing, pages and pages and I have responded.
We have kept up a steady stream of communication, but if I don’t hear something the minute I know he wakes up (six hours after I have woken up) I panic.
He is in South Africa.
Because I know very little about South Africa, I believe he must be in constant danger, so my ‘thoughts’ take over and I imagine all sorts of calamities have occurred.

However, the problem is, in Peter’s words,
“They are really not anywhere near as techno-resourced as we are”
So, if I don’t hear anything it is not because he has been kidnapped, robbed of all his belongings (including his iPhone), eaten by a pack of marauding lions, or become lost on the savannah.

Will I ever be a relaxed, laid back, middle aged woman?
Or will I always be a timid, emotional little child with an overactive imagination?
No need to answer that, thanks.

Suffice to say, I have been alone.
Some things about being alone are good and others not so good, but overall, ‘doable’ as long as I don’t have food in the house – (see binging on anything and everything to relieve the boredom or whatever that dumb emotion is).

I have had time to blog.
I have had time to start a new blog.
What am I thinking?
I don’t even have time for this blog.

I have had time to clean.
I mean, really clean.
Not just a quick wipe over of everything with the nearest tissue or washing the floor with a piece of absorbent paper.
Well, that’s the plan, anyway.

So, I will get on with it.

I wanted to leave you with some words from today’s sermon.
The sermons at our church are usually very short – today’s was a bit longer (about 15 minutes).
I don’t think I need to go into detail and I don’t think you need to be a church-goer or even a believer in God for these words to resonate in your spirit like they did mine.

“We need beauty and we need magnificence to stimulate the soul”


Dear Mrs May’s Naturals

Dear Mrs May’s Naturals.

Shadow Shot Sunday

It’s been such a while, but here I am for Shadow Shot Sunday.

I was off work, sick, a few weeks ago. I usually go into work later, when I feel better, but this day, I didn’t. I took the whole day off.

I was in my house when the shadows came, stayed and faded.

I was home all day, except for going out later to fetch the ingredients for dinner.

There really is no rest for the wicked.

Shadow Shot Sunday can be found at Hey Harriet.
I’ve missed all of this.
Go check it out and all are welcome to join in.
What a lovely bunch of people.

Such was Saturday night (when I originally typed this)..

This time last week, we sat at Pearl enjoying tropical heat, the tiniest smattering of warm rain, fine French cuisine and ice cold bubbly that, even though it wasn’t French, tasted just a little bit superb because it was part of the dream.

We awoke from the dream in fits and starts during the three and a half hour flight home, not wanting to fully accept that it was all over. Our heads crashed onto familiar pillows even later still, trying to prolong the dream and finally, about 12 hours after leaving the exquisite surrounds (and delicacies) of Restaurant Pearl we awoke fully to the reality that the dream was over. O.V.A. OVA!

We skip forward now, a week of work, a week of memories blending, murkily with the ‘now’, keeping eyes closed as much as possible, not willing to let the everyday in, not just yet.
A week of one foot in Perth (reality) and one foot in Bali (dream). Psychologically weird, but it works for me and I know Peter is very much straddling the fine line between dream and reality – still. And it was a short week.

Then what?
Easter break.
We’re told that Easter isn’t what it was or even is. We’re not allowed to call it Easter and it is pagan worship or it is offensive to people who follow another God, chocolate has nothing to do with Jesus and it’s not really about him anyway and it’s just a holiday and sadly for the ANZACs, they get tacked on the end of the non Easter break and all in all it is just a meaningless five day holiday this year.
Anyway, I praise God for everything, good and bad and think this holiday is a good thing and continue to marvel at how complicated and divisive a thing that was once simple has become.

It’s a holiday!

We’re at our ‘country’, ‘holiday’ house.
We will have four nights here.
Four nights of turning on the old lamp (I inherited from my Mum’s friend’s mother) as the sun dips towards the horizon – my ritual.

Every night that the lamp is turned on is a blessing. Usually it is once only, every couple of weeks, but on these holidays one night is followed by two and two by three and somehow time feels like it is multiplying and we will never have to return to our city or working life, then there is the fourth night of turning on the lamp, knowing it is the last, leaving it on because to turn is off would feel like the end.
Kindly husband, who loves so much, in the beginning, that there will four nights, will be brave enough to face the ‘turning off of the lamp on the LAST night’.
He is good and strong and brave. He knows how to work and he knows how to play and he counts even the smallest blessing and is grateful and sustained until the next one comes along.

The day here. Time to think. Thinking disturbs me. I think too much, about too many things and it is a waste of time. I am barely in the here and now! I would not even begin to share the thoughts on this blog. I think I will start another one, under a pseudonym (can’t believe I even knew how to spell that).

It will be a dark and disturbed blog, but it will be the side of me that loves and longs for tropical storms, black clouds, thunder, lightening, torrential rain, crashing waves and just wild stuff in general.

You won’t know it’s me.

Don’t misunderstand. This is me here. But there is deeper stuff. I wonder (most seriously, I ponder very deeply) if there is such a side to the famed Pioneer Woman or Kelle Hampton. But how could there not be? Where is the balance? Where is their ‘real’ reality? They make even the bad sound sweet. Their bad is sugar coated. That’s what it is. I can’t do the sugar coating, so I just keep quiet.

So, back to our day.
Easter Saturday.
I rose from bed at 5am.
Oh, of course it wasn’t my plan, but I was woken by the idling engine and squeaky brakes of what I will call here ‘some moron’ crawling the kerb (in the dark!) scouring the piles of junk everyone has placed out for the annual collection. Even now, thinking about that person, I want to strangle them! 5am! We went to bed after 2am! That’s another story, where I want to strangle ‘channel 7’ for extending the length of a 90 minute movie to three hours because of advertising every ten minutes.
You see?
All this stuff that makes me so mad I have murderous thoughts?

Out the front window at 5am was a world I felt privileged to observe.
The first thing I noticed was the cool, cool air; a rare gift in this endless Summer (and now Autumn). Then I realised I could hear the ocean; the intermittent roar as the swell became waves that broke on the shore half a kilometre away.
The complete silence of the night was punctuated by the rhythmic pounding of the dark, cold shore by the endless and immeasurable weight of that water that travels to us and to every shore. I heard it. I listened, waiting, knowing the intervals would be short, waiting for the car that has originally woken me to do its return trip down the road (we live in a ‘place’ – you have to come out the way you went in).
And then I noticed the mist (remembered that song ‘Mull of Kintyre’ – ‘Oh, mist rolling in from the sea’). At first I thought I must have been imagining it, but having laid down, tired of waiting for the vehicle to make its return journey, I arose about five minutes later, hearing another vehicle and realised I could barely see across the street. Mist! Fog! Delicious and cool. No one would believe later when the sun had risen, that it had even existed. It was magical and even I think now, in the heat of the day, that I must have imagined it. But I didn’t. It was there. It was 5.30am by then. The car had returned, driving down the street still searching for rubbish that they could collect to sell at some ‘trash and treasure’ event. They stopped further down. I could see their tail lights and hear their squeaking brakes. Again, I wondered how easy it would be for me to strangle them.

The mist rolled in, I went back to bed and pulled an extra blanket over us both.
Mist equals cold, right?
We slept until nine. The sun was high in the sky by then. The heat of the day had dried up the ephemeral qualities of the dark, cold, early morning.
The mist was me. The sun was not.
When will this Summer end?

A lethargic day. Washing laundry. Reading the local papers my neighbour kindly leaves for us over the fence. I read back to the beginning of the month, but around these parts nothing much happens, unless you call petty crime and nightclubbing news.

I notice a branch has been cut from the massive, out of control, gum tree at the front. Good! If we lived here it would be easy to keep these trees under control, but we don’t and they are growing wild. I don’t know what to do with them, so if neighbours have a problem with their growing and wish to cut them up (or down) then they are most welcome to. I must pay them a visit to thank them and apologise for the out-of-control growing that they do while we are elsewhere, working for a living, working to pay for this place and the water bill!

It’s the Easter break.
Everyone and their dogs are down here holidaying. The shops are madness – holiday makers buying out the meat section for their barbeques. We decide on laksa and make do with what is still available on the shelves at 4pm on Easter Saturday in a seaside holiday town.

It’s Monday now.
There was rain yesterday and sometime during the night before.
It is sunshine now, though.
The last Summery holiday for the year?
Winters by the seaside are soulful and wild and the real me craves that, as much as I don’t like being cold!

Tomorrow we will pack up and head back to the city.

But today, we will make the most of our leisurely existence.
This is the making of our Easter 2011 memories…

Just Back Report


I have been waiting to be able to say ‘this is our Just Back Report’!

We flew into Perth at around 5.15am this morning.
The flight was hell for a whole new set of reasons.
Previous ‘hell’ flights have involved many screaming children, many smelly nappies/feet, feeling like a sardine in a can, but last night’s hell was all new and totally, stupidly self inflicted.
We really messed up with the return flight, completely overlooking the fact that we were going to be leaving in the earliest of early hours of the last ‘day’ of our trip.

When we returned from our ‘non’ holiday in Queensland in January which saw us, most of the time, trying to outrun flood waters and when we weren’t doing that, being marooned due to flood waters or stuck inside watching the deluge which would later become flood waters, we decided our meager six days in Bali just weren’t going to cut it.

We brazenly logged on to Air Asia as soon as we returned from Queensland, found a cheap flight returning four days further along than our originally planned return and hit the ‘confirm’ button.
Seconds later we realised the reason the flight was the only cheap one remaining was because it departed our beloved  Ngurah Rai at 12.30am on that extra fourth day we were so excited about!
Yep, we lost a whole day, because we were over-excited and desperate.
Anyway, the departure time was later altered to 1.30am, just one and half hours into our longed for fourth extra day.
Stupid, stupid, stupid.
Oh well, we learned the hard way (and I hope I have prevented anyone else from being so hasty!)

Now, back to our second last day (which really was our last day).

We checked out of Desamuda and they dropped us down at Hotel Pearl in Jl Double Six.
We had already booked for the whole three (four) extra days when we extended our trip, but loved Desamuda so much we decided not to leave until they kicked us out (they had no rooms available for the 16th, even though we were going to be leaving at around 10.30pm on the 15th!).
Anyway, bless them, they did their best and were genuinely sorry they couldn’t help.
So it was off to Pearl, where we spent the afternoon, relaxing and had our longed for and much anticipated final dinner at Restaurant Pearl.

Every little bit of the Pearl experience was wonderful. The room (deluxe) was perfectly lovely for less than $100 per night and the dinner, superb!
I won’t go into details, because, believe it or not, I find food writing tedious and I don’t seem to have the ability to describe the delights we experienced in a way that sounds in the slightest bit enticing!

Needless to say, we were treated to a wonderful night.
We sat outside, dined on absolutely delicious French cuisine, had the honour of the (cute, but young enough to be my son) chef, Jeremy’s presence for about 5 minutes and our Hatten’s sparkling white actually performed more than adequately when supped from the very same glasses we drank Veuve from in August last year (at $200 a bottle)!

Yes, I will again, for the last time (I promise), recommend the Hatten’s white sparkling, as spoken of many times previously!
Make sure it is icy cold and now I’m thinking it would be a good idea, if you wish to drink it and experience optimum pleasure, take your own champagne glasses to Bali!
They seem few and far between and I’m sure all you connoisseurs know how important good crystal is to your drinking pleasure! Just sayin’.

Now, where was I?
Yes, Pearl!
All good. I think good value.
If you are staying at the hotel, there is free WiFi, but you pay for bottled water. There are also no complimentary mossie coils or spray, so pop straight up the road to Bintang and stock up on them (and water) as soon as you arrive.

The grounds are beautiful and peaceful.
The pool is small but adequate for the number of rooms/patrons.
We’re not talking five star here, but for the price, adequate and if you haven’t been spoiled by a huge private villa with it’s own pool for twice the price, then you will love Hotel Pearl (sorry, am I doing a review here?).
I know some of you wanted to know.

We arrived at the airport in plenty of time.
We had a lovely chat with out taxi driver.
They always say the same thing – ‘You are my first customer. It is very quiet’.
But, you know what? That’s exactly what our taxi driver here in Perth said too! Anyway, Peter and I decided early on our trip that we would always give IDR20,000 to our taxi drivers (sometimes the fare is only IDR7000 and that is outrageous, less than $1.00?!).
If it was more than IDR20,000 (which was rare for us. We never seemed to go far) we would add at least IDR10,000 (just over $1.00).
When we went to the airport, we paid double, so it cost us about $5.00 more than the meter was reading!
Honestly, I think it is so easy to forget that we are rich compared with most people in Bali and if we can bless them with $5.00 then that is a blessing to us, really. Again, just sayin’.
By the way, our taxi fare from the airport to our house in Perth was $54, so let’s keep it real!

We went through the usual rigmarole at Ngurah Rai airport.
The only thing that upset me was that they took our two cans of Lavender Scented Raid!
Yep, apparently Raid isn’t allowed to fly.
Neither was our can of Rid which we took there last time, brought home last time and took again this time (the world’s most travelled can of Rid).
But yesterday, Rid was taken away from us, along with Raid, never to be seen again.
I will keep trying though.
Last time Rid and Raid were allowed to fly, so I don’t know what they have done wrong in the last eight months, but I hope by next time they will be back in favour with the powers that be (maybe I’ll just try one can though).

We bought last minute (overpriced) souvenirs and had one last divine reflexology massage for our feet.
We then made our way, momentarily blissed out, to the departure lounge, out to the bus, sat there being gassed, while the bus idled (warming up?) and eventually were driven to the plane and allowed to board.
I’ve already mentioned the flight.
OK. I hate flying in the first place but by that point I was hallucinatory due to lack of sleep (no magic mushrooms involved) yet unable to sleep in the public domain of a half filled plane where everyone was asleep (apart from the hosties).

Actually, I am now too tired to continue with this story; the story of the things that were taken away at customs to be fumigated, the story of the taxi driver who was a misery (when he said it could be worse, I confirmed that thought for him by saying he could be a taxi driver in Bali!), the story of MacDonalds for breakfast, the story of a couple of hours broken sleep and the story of not wanting to go out into the dry heat, the relentless sunshine, everything about being back, the story of not wanting to go to Coles, so my brave man Peter went out for supplies, the story of still feeling Bali but no longer being able to see her. The all too familiar story of reverse culture shock.
The phrase that keeps repeating over and over in my head ‘I don’t want this’.
The story of plans beginning for the next trip.
The story of planning our retirement in Bali.

So here we are back in Perth.
I’m sitting at our little breakfast bar.
I look at the clock and it is 10.52pm.
This time last night we were on our way to the airport, hearing the stories of the taxi driver’s family; his two sons in high school and his wife, who works in a shop, and how he came from West Timor 20 years ago (why didn’t I move to Bali 20 years ago?).
It all feels like minutes ago.

Tomorrow is a full day of adjusting back to the people we were 11 days ago.
On Monday, the transition will be complete.
Too bad if it isn’t.
We have work to do and we have a holiday to save for.
Guess where we’re going?

Thank you, everyone who came along for Bali Escapade 2011.
Will there be another 2011 adventure (dare I hope?) or will we all have to wait until 2012?
Time will tell!

Wishing you all wonderful Bali (or Japan) escapades.
May the joy of experiencing another culture, another time and another place fill you right up and sustain you in your everyday endeavours, wherever you come from and whatever you do!

All the love in the world,
Meanie & Peter!



Playover – Buddy & Friend

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Nearly always ends in a cat fight with Friend being kicked out the front door and Buddy running out the back.
Buddy and Friend have a catty, love-hate relationship.
But I must say, Friend is very photogenic!

This is our Saturday night.

Probably not as exciting as some, but hey, we like it..