Wednesday, December 9, 2009

One Thousand and Ninety Five Days Later...

But it could as easily be one thousand and ninety five seconds later...or one thousand and ninety five months later...I won't say years because I'm pretty certain if that many years have passed, then I'll be well and truly reunited with my love in Eternity!

Bit of an intense start to a post when I've not been posting for so long I know...but whilst I originally had other ideas for my blog, it had become more of a "what have I done today" kind of thing which wasn't really where I wanted it to go. Yes, I know, great for keeping family in touch with my happenings this way but I wanted it to be more a beacon of light out there in internet land for others to perhaps see and be attracted to. However, not knowing the best way to really push a blog out there, other than being a big blog reader and doing it that way, which I just don't have time for, I can't see any other way for this to develop into what I was hoping for.

Anyhow...having said all that...for now, I wish to say the following...

Today, marks the 3rd year since Mark's aircraft accident, it marks the third year I have been without a husband, the third year my son has been with out a father, the third year a mother has been without a son, the third year a brother has been gone from his siblings...

I travelled today to the site where the aircraft crashed and spent a bit of time around where it had been moved to and buried. With the passing of time, the mound has become a little less but not by much...mostly because a big metal plane won't deteriorate underground real quick, so really its only been a settling of the dirt around it. There are actually some nasty holes up around the tail end of the aircraft that you wouldn't want to fall into...

So, I took a good look at the site as I really want to do something in regards to a memorial "rock" in the coming year. And after having a look at various angles and options came up with what I think is the best place for something...and that is at the base of the windsock that is close by to where the plane is. In fact, in the picture I took today, the windsock is actually pointing at the plane. find the right rock and the right words to put on it...

Tonight, a few friends will gather on the back deck, raise a glass or two in memory of a good friend, father, brother, son and lover and not forgetting, greatest ag pilot in the world...oh ok...add to that cheeky bugger too..*big grin*.

So, if you read this before then or even if not...raise a glass and remember Mark Harlen with us...

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Dropped Off the Face of the Earth...but found my way back...

May has been a crazy month here. And although I have sat down several times now to write to the blog, I've not managed to actually post it up!'s what I had started to write at the beginning of the month...

Just back from a quick trip to Sydney. The main reason for going was to get to Cafebiz, an industry trade fair for...well, cafes! A friend was doing a reopening on Saturday of their small roastery and cafe that had suffered from fire damage and it seemed like a good excuse to go down a day earlier. When I got the invite to head out to Western Sydney for the Top Fuel Nitro racing...NO hesitation!

I had asked my friend, who employs me to make coffee, if she wanted to come and she was keen to join me. So, we managed to escape from work mid Friday afternoon and had a quick trip to Sydney with a stop for a lovely dinner in the Hunter Valley. Its always nice to show your friends your favourite haunts, I think! Merredith was very impressed with the Brokenback Bar and Grill. We had tapas, which I think is a million miles better than any fast food outlet and although you probably could have eaten several times at one for what we paid at the restaurant, there is just no comparision, I'm afraid!

Saturday morning saw us heading south to Sylvania for some good coffee and me catching up with both new and old friends. Mostly people I know through the Coffeesnobs forum, but also good industry people who are great to know. You can never have enough people to get ideas from. And I know that Merredith was soaking everything up like a sponge too.

She was also brilliantly patient with my seemingly whirlwind tour of Sydney! I warned her though, that we'd be crossing most of it. And we did!

We really wanted to get to Ikea for a bit of retail therapy and my mum wanted to join us as well. She was keen to get some drawers for her bedroom. Me having the pickup down was just the way for her to get all those boxes home! So, on our way back north, we stopped at home and got my mum. I really was expecting Ikea to be incredibly busy, which it was but I was expecting more people there. Often, I've been during the week, which is the best time to go as its so quiet! So, we managed to get through it pretty quickly, I thought. After taking our things and mum back home, we then did a quick unload and got back into the car to take the drive out to Western Sydney.

The drag racing was just so much fun and we had a great host who had been in a past life, a competitor on the drag bikes. Yes, you heard me, they even drag race bikes and some of them are even nitro powered. We were told that they can get to 100 kilometres an hour in ONE second! Now that's acceleration. It was a great night out and we even got to wander around the pit lane. This makes this sport very friendly and family orientated, I think. You can get up close and personal to the machines and those who are working on them. I was amazed to be invited into one pit garage so as I could get some photos. If they didn't want you wandering that close to their machines, the crews had set up rope barricades. But you were still close.

When the nitro cars finally made their runs, you found yourself trying to clear your eyes which were tearing up badly, holding your earplugs in even firmer and trying to take a photo! The fastest accelerating machines in the world and the fastest run that night was done at 500 kilometres an hour. In under 8 seconds. Just astounding and I would be absolutely hopeless at describing the noise that is associated with going that fast. Suffice to say, its a huge sensory experience that rattles right through your body. No wonder people go back time and again to see this spectacle!

SS Camaro

The next morning, I wanted to have breakfast out and of course, our favourite breakfast haunt over the years has been Cronulla. So, we dashed off down to the Buzz Bar and enjoyed coffee and brekky overlooking South Cronulla. As Sunday was the day of Cafebiz that I'd planned on attending, we reluctantly dragged ourselves away from the view of the beach to head up to Randwick, where we'd have a view of the racecourse instead! Cafebiz was a great day, I caught up with friends from the industry and helped out on the Coffeesnobs stand. I successfully managed to make myself the butt of a joke all day because I had been suckered in to using a small roaster that only had instructions for use in Korean. Sadly, I don't speak Korean, nor do I read it. So, I could hear the beans going into the final cracking stage and as jumping about trying to stop the machine didn't work either, I had to find another way to stop the roasting process. Winding the dial all the way back seemed to work but it was too late for the beans and they were only one step back from ash. Anyway, it was good for a laugh. I know that they got bagged up and had "Scoota's Blend" written on it, whilst there was a small pile on display for all to admire. Which they did!

Monday was our day to drive home but first I had to go via Brookvale and Manly, north of Sydney. At Brookvale we picked up my new fireplace and at Many we visited our coffee supplier. So, we were well caffeinated up for the long drive home! And by that stage, the pickup certainly was coming into its own! Not only was there a fireplace and a new flue kit in the back but my mum had given me her old cedar tall boy as well. At Belaroma, they gave us some of their barricades and an umbrella, along with twenty kilos of coffee! So, the car was well and truly loaded to the gills. We had a nice smooth ride home, I can assure you.

So, the following week of being at home, I worked at getting the fireplace installed. When down in Sydney, I'd asked mum if she had had any slate tiles from the house left over. She did and told me to take what I wanted. With some help from Seth, we tagged teamed chipped the old tiles off the hearth and with help from my mate Davo, I layed the slate down. After grouting and then sealing, we finally lifted the new fireplace into its home. The hearth is not finished however, I am still to get some new timber edging and grout out to it. But the fire is in and is working a treat at keeping the entire house warm.

Fireplace replacement

Hearth redone

Fire is IN!

The next job on the house is the bifold doors which are still on their way but should have made the mainland this week. They were manufactured in Tasmania, and so are made from recycled Tassie Oak. I can't wait to see them installed as they will make a huge difference to the back of the house, both in weather proofing and looks.

Well, I'm going to leave this post here...and continue the rest of the news over another post. Can't tell you all now...otherwise you won't have anything to read later!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

It is Finished...But I Don't Eat Cake...

YES YES YES! Joy oh Joy...

( this point I will say...I am being very careful and responsible...)

This might not be so exciting a revelation for some of you and there might be some who are a bit worried. But, don't worry...

The bitumen has finally been laid down on the Bingara Road up to Sawn Rocks.

This might mean nothing at all to you. And well, that's fine but it means a heck of a lot to me, so much in fact, that I decided I shall blog about it. Seems like the responsible thing to do...*laughs*.

So, on the VERY next day that that last stretch was put down (and I actually received an official text message from one of the road builders that it was completed!) four of us took a ride up over the hill and over to Bingara. was good...I enjoyed every minute of it.


Just to prove to you that we made it to the top of the hill. The yellow Ducati is my bike. The red one is a friends. It's currently being stabled with mine under the house as the rider lives out of town on a 10 km dirt road. A bit hard to navigate on a sports tourer when the dirt is wet. And Desdemona doesn't mind the company I think. (That'd be the Ducati's name in case you're now totally confused!)

As far as going fast on two wheels goes...there's no real point in my opinion. To me, the faster you go, the quicker the road goes by and so the less you are able to enjoy the moment. On two wheels, concentration triples with every ten kilometres over 100 kilometres an hour...I find that tiring and not enjoyable. I like to travel at a speed where I am comfortable and generally speaking, that is at the speed limit.

I mentioned four riders and I know, you can only see two bikes. The other two riders were so excited about the new road, that they just raced on ahead and didn't really appreciate the momentous occasion it was and so weren't about for the photo. Luckily, we did the responsible thing and stopped to record it.

Now, I'm just trying to get another free weekend to do it again!

Last month, I had another birthday so I decided to have a small gathering of friends. We went out to the local winery for a late Sunday arvo lunch. It was a great afternoon and nice to spend it with friends. Being not a big fan of cake, I decided to go the little cake option and made a bunch of raspberry trifle cupcakes and chocolate fudge cupcakes...everyone else ate them...some had more than others...

It's My Birthday and I'll...

I also went out on my first callout for the Rural Fire Service recently. As exciting as it was to be on my first official job as a firefighter, it was disappointingly a false alarm. On the upside, I got asked if I'd like to drive the truck back to town after we turned around. OF COURSE I said YES!

For those of you wondering about miss Crash and how she is doing...

Miss Crash Kangaroo

She is growing up, I think that she would be 12 months old now. She still lives in a shopping bag but I've changed her to a green one because she was getting too hot in the blue cooler one during summer. She has taken to chasing cars though, which is a bit of a worry because she's not a dog...

And for those of you wondering about Seth...

He's had a pretty good first term at the new school. I have had the pleasure of receiving two letters of commendation from them. One for English and one for Food Technology. The Food Tech commendation went so far as to say that it was looking good for him to do well in his school certificate at the end of this year. Here's praying that Seth continues with the good work.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Then and Now...

Which, I think is an Eric Clapton record but seeing as I'm no Eric Clapton fan (that was Mark) I'm not really sure. So, if you think I am an Eric Clapton fan, allow me to destroy that thought. Because I'm not.

But I am a Star Wars fan.

A long time ago, in a town far far away...

Well, it could be the start of a story but even with Star Wars, its not really is it? I mean, we actually find out that what is the first movie is really the fourth and that what we believed to be the first movie is actually the twenty fifth chapter or something...anyway...

Its not really the beginning of the story but there is a beginning involved, infact, I would have to say two beginnings. Now that I've got you really confused, here's what I'm talking about.

Years ago, about 10 or so now, I sent a cute little boy to school. Here's the photo I took from outside of the front of our house.



Isn't he cute? All together now...Awwww...


In a recent shock decision (well, it was before Christmas so recent enough) I decided to bring said lad home to finish his schooling at the high school in the next town to us. The boarding school was sad to see us go...I was happy to see him home.

So, I thought I should do another photo. Now, don't bag me out because the front door doesn't look any different. There are differences, I'll point them out if you want. And besides, its a work in progress. So there. If you've never been a home renovator, then you have no business in bagging out my front door. At least some things are consistent around here anyway. Even if other things aren't.


And no...I don't like the length of the shorts. But at least they're not hanging down around his bum like some boys do...

But the lad is happy to be home. Loves his mother's cooking, likes having his own space and room. Is even okay about feeding the kangaroo. So far, I have only had to shake him out of bed once to get to school and I think that was because his alarm had failed him. Good thing I've got a fantastically annoyingly reliable body clock (which prevents sleeping in...ever) that has me awake at 7am every single morning.

And before the photographers get stuck into me...yes...the white balance is out in the second photo. I know!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Beach and Retail Therapy...

Well, all I really wanted to say is..."More photos" but I'd better just fill in with a few more words as well!

I'm still in Not-So-Sunny-Queensland...or Beautiful One Day...Raining the Next Queensland or just plain old Queensland. I'm near the beach and that's all that matters! I will be here for another two weeks, just bumming about, doing some more beach and a bit of retail therapy. Seth is up at Tunnel Ridge Ranch doing some volunteer staffing for the youth camp.

And, if I haven't told you already, Seth is not returning to boarding school this year. Instead he will be going to Narrabri High which is a half hour bus ride from home. We're keen to be a bit more of a family, as I have felt like I've been losing that a bit since Mark has gone. So, here's praying that we can get along ok, all of the time!

If you're new to blogs...and you stumbled in here because I sent you a link in a Christmas letter, well...Welcome!

Here are some photos! I'll be back soon! (or whenever I get prodded by my sister in law...*giggles*)

Kite Surfers 7

Kite Surfers 1

This is my niece who was doing a sand sculpture...I was a bit sorry she didn't get to finish it...


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