Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Trauma Teddies

About three years ago I wanted to do some simple knitting to try to keep my tingly fingers opertive.  At the same time my daughter volunteered to dress as a Trauma Teddy for the launch of Red Cross Calling month.  I spoke the the ladies from Red Cross, and got myself a pattern for the Trauma Teddies.  These are simple little bears made and donated to be given (mainly to children) when they are in an ambulance, in Emergency Departments, involved in any traumatic experience.
I wish I had kept count of how many I've actually made - but it has to be over 100 in the first year and a bit.  Then I slacked off a bit, and didn't get so many made.  Now I'm on a roll again, and have currently done about 20.
The first bears went to Red Cross, then some were hijacked for the Oncology Unit at the hospital - they became "Dammit Bears" - used to thump on a bench when things are getting you down.  More for the Red Cross, but now I am doing them for Melon's Cottage in Lakes Entrance.  As can be seen from the press release (see link) the cottage provides respite holidays for families with seriously ill children.  Each child staying at the cottage is given a goodie bag, with, among other things, a bear or toy inside.  The latest bears I have been making have red and green clothes - just in time for Christmas.  I've got three completed, and a fourth almost ready to go, so this afternoon I'll take them over to Mum's so she can deliver them this week.

Pattern is simple: (I actually modified it just a little.)
Knit in either three colours, or make a single colour.
Cast on 12 stitches in leg colour.  Knit 34 rows.
Change colour to pants colour.  Knit 8 rows.
Leave stitches on needle.
Cast on 12 stitches in leg colour.  Knit 34 rows.
Change to pants colour.  Knit 8 rows.
Knit across all stitches (24 stitches) for 14 rows.
Change to jumper colour.
Knit 18 rows.
Increase 12 stitches at beginning of next two rows.
Knit 16 rows.
Cast off 12 stitches at beginning of next two rows.
Change to head colour.
Knit 36 rows.
Cast off.
Make paws.
Pick up 10 stitches across arms.
Knit 4 rows.
Decrease 1 stitch each end of next row.
Knit 1 row.
Repeat. (6 stitches)
Cast off.

Stitch back and front together.  Stuff with polyester stuffing.
Thread double strand of wool around head to form neck.
Pinch across corners of head to make ears - stitch.

Friday, December 7, 2012

It's been a while.........

........since I added to this blog.  I have been having a bit of a rough trot of it lately.  The time has come to make the change back to intravenous chemo.  My marker went from 52 to 103 in three weeks.  I am now on Navelbine - one dose per week for three weeks, then a week off.  According to John it shouldn't make me crook.  I've got news for him!  I had my first treatment, and felt quite good for the couple of days afterwards.  Fronted up for the second dose the following week - again, pretty good for the first couple of days, then on the Sunday I crashed big time.  Spent the day in bed, feeling quite off.  Bill took temperature at about 8pm.  It was 38.5 so off we went to Casualty.  I was neutropenic, and I had a gastric infection that was causing dreadful diaorrhea.  I was in a singlle bed ward in Flanagan.  As usual the nurses were lovely, especially considering the yucky task I had for them several times a day, sometimes within the space of five minutes!  I ended up being in hospital for 8 days!  I don't remember some of them.  I had a lovely lot of visitiors though - some even accidental.  John and Julie, Mum and Jim, Clare, Wayne and Abbey, Judi, Bill of course, Andrea and David Fail, Jenni and Dennis Toleman, Erica (chemo nurse), Amanda (I think), Anne and Jim, Charlie Edney and Bob Richards, Jan Richards, Kaye Richards.  It was funny when Bob and Charlie were there - I looked up and saw them standing at the door - how did they know I was in?  Then Charlie said he was looking for Jan Roberts - yes, that's me, and Bob corrected him and said Jan Richards.  Turns out Jan had been in the same room two days before, but had been moved.  Neither of them recognised me without any hair, and didn't see Bill sitting in the corner.  They quickly scurried off to find Jan.  Bill stopped in to see Jan on his way out, so the next time Charlie and Bob came she told them I was in Room 16 and they came to visit intentionally.  Jan also told Kaye Richards that I was in, so she visited a couple of times too.  It was nice to have so many visitiors.  John and Julie also sent me a lovely bouquet of flowers, and Jenni and Dennis brought me a bunch of lillies and alstromerea.  I was very spoiled.  I missed my third dose of chemo as I was still not well.
A week later I saw John again, and had the first dose of round 2.  We decided to go away for a few days, to Eden.  Again, all was well for the first couple of days, but I had 4 days of dry retching after that.  It started in Eden, but we stayed until the Monday as we had planned.  Apparently I was quite white on the trip home!  The next day we were in town, and I started to feel really hot.  I didn't want to go to Casualty and say "I think I have a temperature" so we went to the District Nurses.  I must have been more than a bit pale there too, because when Amanda saw me she said "Oh, my God!"  Anyway, temp was OK so I settled down a bit and we went on our way.  Had chemo the next day.
Port has been playing up, not giving a blood flashback - so next time they were  going to pump some special drug through, leave it to take effect and then see if they can get blood.  Was actually quite good for the whole week.  John had added dexmethsone to my drug list to help with feeling better. Had blood tests before the next dose, just to make sure I wasn't neutropenic.  Neutrophils were down  to 2.2, which might mean they been lower, but were going up, or it might have been the lowest they went.  Whatever, they weren't terribly high, but hadn't made me ill.
Had the special drug into my port, and it seemed to have some effect.  At least they got blood back and it was infusing faster than it did last week.  Crashed a bit on the Friday, so started the dexmeth and seemed to be OK so far.
Had a panic attack in Coles though.  I don't like using public toilets, but I felt the need in Coles, and I knew they had refurbished the loos, so down (literally - six steep steps down) I went.  Horrified when I saw that their refurbishment hadn't included hand rails.  Had no choice but to continue, but then faced the dilemma of how to get myself up - as the cistern was flush in the wall so I couldn't lean on it to lever myself up.  I got quite panicky because I just couldn't see how I was going to get up.  Eventually I did.  There was another lady who had  come in while I was there - she spoke to me, and said she had heard me huffing and puffing and was going to ask if I was alright when I appeared.  Bless her.  I went to the service desk to tell them how disappointed I was that they hadn't thought to include hand rails.  Don't know if it will have any effect.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

There seems to be a theme........

Yet another beloved person has passed.  This time it was my Uncle Bob, Dad's brother who succumbed to the lung cancer that he had been fighting for about 12 months.  I didn't have a close relationship with Dad, but I adored his brother.  Bob was just the nicest person.
I didn't see him that often, and I didn't ring to talk to him as often as I should have, but I did email him with my own updates, and to let him know when I found various things relating to the LORINGs or the SULLIVANs.  And I thought of him often.
John, Bob and Joan SULLIVAN
 One of my earliest memories is of the time when Joan left to go to England, supposedly for 6 months.  She is still there today, although after 16 years away she did return for a number of holidays.  I clearly remember the day at our house when Joan gave me a celluloid doll.  It was very old and fragile then, it must have been hers, but I don't know its history before that.  This photo of Mum, Dad, Joan, Bob, John, Me and the doll was taken a couple of days before Joan sailed.  I remember the day clearly.  I also remember going to Aunty May's house to take some of Joans belongings down to the ship, and then waving goodbye at Station Pier.  I remember going on to the ship.  And Bob was part of eachof those memories.
Just prior to Joan leaving for England Feb 1958
This photo was taken at an Indian restaurant (Bob and Lin's favoutire) on the occasion of Bob's 70th Birthday.  It is thanks to this event that Bill and I are so keen on Indian food.  The photo of Bob and his boys was taken the same night.
Bob at his 70th Birthday
Bob and his boys at his 70th Birthday

Joan, Bob and Dad at Dad's 80th Birthday
 Another occasion to remember was Dads 80th Birthday at another Indian Restaurant.
In 1982 Bob was still married to his first wife, Bev - and we all got together at Aunty Rene's unit in Rosebud.  The date could even be a little earlier - I have the photo labelled as 1984, but Uncle Newman died in 1982.
The SULLIVANs as they were in 1982(?)
 I have so many memories of Bob.  He had a lovely German Shepherd named King.  He was Bob's companion, because he didn't marry until he was 33.  At one stage Bob was living in a converted garage at the home of some Dutch people.  King lived there too.  One day a friend of the people pulled King's tail, and he reacted and bit the man.  Sadly, the man insisted that King was viscious and must be put down.  King wouldn't hurt a flea!  As kids we used to ride on his back.  I can remember feeling outraged that a silly man could have such a beautiful dog destroyed for something that he had provoked.
Another memory I have is Bob singing a song, and he told me that when he was about 4 he sang it on the radio.  The song was "Little Mister Baggy Britches".  I hadn't thought of this song for years, but as we were driving back from Merimbula so we could go to Bob's funeral it popped into my head out of the blue.  Apparently it has several verses, but I only remember Bob singing the chorus:
CHORUS: Leetle Mister Baggy Breeches, I love you!
If you'll be mine Sunday fellow,
I'll patch 'em mit purple, mit pink and mit yellow;
And folks will say as you lean on the old sea wall,
"Lena's been patching her Yahcob till he's got no breeches at all."

Yah! Yah! Yah! Patches big, patches small.
Yah! Yah! Yah! He's got no breeches at all.

I found this link to a Youtube Video:

I remember that Bob liked to put jam on cheese in a sandwich.
When I was 15, Bob (and his then wife Bev) gave me the best birthday present ever - a new cousin.  My Dad and his brother had both had their first children on the same date, 15 years apart.
I was saddened when Bob and Bev separated, but he was so happy when he met his second wife, Lin.  I was proud to be one of a select few people who were at Bob and Lin's wedding.  If I remember rightly, I was also a witness.  Maybe someone will correct me if I am wrong.
Every year, without fail, Bob would ring me on my birthday.  I know this year I was so afraid he wouldn't be well enough  to ring, or even think of it.  But sure enough, the phone call came.  I was so happy.  He sounded cheerful, and full of spirit.  I told him we were planning a visit.  Little did I know it would be the last time I spoke to him.  I will be forever grateful that my last words to him were "I love you".
I love you Bob, and always will.  You will never be forgotten.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Candle for my Dad

Tonight I lit a candle for my Dad.  He was cremated today. This afternoon I wrote him a letter, explaining exactly why I couldn't be close to him, but also thanking him for the good memories and my love of music.  I told him I did / do love him, and that I have always remembered him as my Dad, even though we weren't close.
After lighting the candle I played "Abide With Me" by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir - Dad had told me when I was a child that he wanted it played at his funeral.  I read the letter, and I looked at photos of Dad.  Then I took the candle outside onto the verandah and used it to light the letter.  So, I had my own private little ceremony to mark the passing of my Dad.  RIP Dad.

"Abide With Me" by the Choir ofKing's College, Cambridge.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The tears came today

I did say I wasn't upset to learn that Dad had died.  Well, I was proved wrong today.
I decided this morning that I did want to put a notice in the paper - with no funeral, and not even a notice from Olive in today's paper I didn't want Dad to just 'disappear' - I felt there had to be some acknowledgement that he had passed.  So I rang the Herald-Sun to place a bereavement notice.  But as there hadn't been a notice from "the main family" my notice would be kept on hold until the funeral director notified of a 'family' notice.  I suddenly found myself in tears - he was denying me the right to mark my father's death unless Olive did, and I was pretty sure she wasn't going to. I tried to explain the circumstances, and that I was not on speaking terms with my step-mother.  He did go to speak to a supervisor to see if there was anything they could do, but no, rules were rules.  I had to at least be able to let them know who the undertaker was, so they could ring to confirm.
I rang John, who by this time was in Cowra on his way to Queensland, to find out which hospital Dad died in - turned out he died at the nursing home where he lived, not on the way to hospital as I'd thought.
So then I rang Willowood Retirement Village to ask the name of the doctor who certified the death - but they wouldn't tell me as they didn't have my name as next of kin!  Did I want to speak to Olive? - no I didn't!  So I spoke to the manager - same story.  However, she did eventually tell me the name of the funeral director.
Rang Whitelady Funerals in Mornington as that seemed the most likely, and they were indeed making the arrangements.  I spoke to a lady called Anna who was wonderful - as Bill said, she was a bit of a pscychologist, because she talked me through a lot of my feelings and said it was clear to see I had 'unresolved issues' and suggested some things I could consider doing - such as lighting a candle for Dad, and perhaps writing him a letter explaining how I feel and using the candle to burn the letter.  I asked if it was at all possible for them to play "Abide With Me" at some time during the cremation, but of course they can't.  Dad had told me when I was a child that he wanted "Abide With Me" at his funeral.  Anna is going to ring me to let me know exactly when the cremation will be, and I will have my own quiet devotions at home on that day.  And at least I was able to give Anna some correct details for the death certificate.
I was then able to ring the Herald-Sun and inform them of the undertaker, and my notice will be in the paper tomorrow.  And if there is anyone else who wants to put a notice in the paper they won't have to go through the same nonsense I had to go through.
I am sad that I didn't have a better relationsip with Dad, and sad that unlike John who apparently reconciled with Dad a little while ago, I hadn't been in touch with him in recent months.  I can't do anything about that now, and I am not going to beat myself around the head about it, but I will remember him in my own way, and I have ensured that his passing doesn't go unrecorded.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Dad died this morning!  My brother rang at 8:00 to let me know.  Sadly, I am not upset.  I haven't had a close relationship with Dad for many years.  I don't think I've spoken to him since my birthday last year when he rang to wish me happy birthday - on the Sunday in case I was at work on my birthday.  Dad was slipping into dementia and had obviously forgotten I hadn't worked for over three years at that stage.
Even as a child I didn't feel close to Dad, although I did love him I guess.  When he and Mum split up John and I stayed with Dad at first.  There was the opportunity to get close to Dad.  However, he soon decided he was going to bring Olive into our home - and there the trouble started.  It still hurts after all these years.  Mum had left for another man - and initially I told her I didn't want to meet him, he'd broken up our home.  But once I got to know him I began to love him, and now have a wonderful relationship with him.  Olive was another matter.  I knew about her, because she'd been to visit once or twice.  Then Dad told me one day that Olive was coming that day.  I presumed for dinner.  Wrong!  Without any discussion or anything she was moving in.  I asked Dad for a little more time to get used to the idea before she came into our home and took my mother's place.  But no, that didn't suit madam - she had to leave her current husband there and then, but proceeded to go to work with him every day for the next twelve months or so!  And there was no easing into the role of step-mother - she took over from the moment she walked in.  With one of her previous husbands she had lived in Malaya for a time, and had an Ahmah.  Well, she thought I was going to become her Ahmah.  Then she convinced Dad to move to Melbourne, uprooting the whole family.  I didn't go with them, instead moving to live with Mum and Jim.
Dad and Olive's Wedding

Strange, I can't remember if I managed to keep in touch with Dad after the move to Melbourne.  I know there was a period of about two years when I didn't have any contact.  Of course, I was away at college too, and I can't remember what contact I had with Dad during that time.  I know I went to Dad and Olive's wedding.
Joan, Bob and John SULLIVAN
Then I got engaged.  I remember making contact with Dad at that time because his sister, my aunt Joan, had come out from England and I was going to my Uncle Bob's place for the day.  Dad was going to be there.  From that point on I had a fairly normal relationship.  My first husband and I would go for Sunday lunch once a fortnight, and the alternate fortnight they would come to us.
When I got married it was a bit awkward.  Dad wanted to give me away, but I wanted Jim to do it, because he was paying for the wedding (Dad wouldn't contribute because it might be spent on alcohol!)  I thought I had solved the problem by not actually having anyone give me away, although Jim did drive to the Church with me.  Reg met me at the back of the Church and we walked down the aisle together.  But Mum didn't want Dad at the reception because it was to be held at her house in the garden - I thought that was a bit unreasonable, but abided by her wishes.  Sadly, Dad convinced Bob and his wife not to go to the reception either.
When Susan was born Dad and Olive gave us a pair of cot blankets - which I later learned had been a double bed blanket which they'd claimed insurnace for as they had been ruined in the wash - Olive had cut them up and bound them with some wide ribbon!  Great present for your first natural grandchild (she had grandchildren of her own, Susan was Dad's first.)
When my first husband, Reg, died in 1990 I naturally rang Dad to tell him.  His response - we can't come to the funeral. He was waiting for me to say I'd pay for them to get there, but I wasn't going to.
Another time I was talking to Dad on the phone and I could hear Olive in the background - "Ask her how the girl is, you know, the girl, what's her name?"  Her name was Susan, and she was their granddaughter!  Dad hasn't remembered Susan at birthday or Christmas for so long I can't remember when was the last time.  Same thing happened when I told him I was getting married to Bill - "We won't be able to come" even before he knew the date.
My brother John used to see Dad quite regularly, but in recent times they've also had a parting of the ways.  I believe John reconciled just a short while ago.
The SULLIVANs 1984
About two years ago Bill and I were holidaying in Queensland when I got a phone call from my brother to say Dad was in hospital and wasn't expected to last long.  I remember crying in the Atherton street.  We called to see him in Berwick Hospital on our way home - and I cried again.  Ironically Dad seemed to spark up once I arrived - even John commented on it.  Whatever the reason, Dad survived.
Today I haven't cried.  When I told Susan she expected I would be upset.  I'm not.  I'm sad to think that even if Dad has kept ANYTHING from the past (family mementoes, photos etc.) Olive is unlikely to consider John or I might like them.  Susan said some wise words - "It is OK to mourn for what you didn't have."  I guess that's what I'm really doing, because I do regret that I didn't have a better relationship with my Dad - but he made his choice, Olive was more important than his family.
Dad as a baby
I wrote Dad a letter some time ago, in which I thanked him for things he had done for me.  I thanked him for my love of music, for taking me to the massed Pipe Bands in South Melbourne when I was a child – what a wonderful experience.  I love bagpipe music, and this experience was just magical.  I don’t know how many bands / pipers there were, but it is an event I will never forget.  I have a lot to thank Dad for with regards to my love of music.  There was always a variety of music in the house, ranging from classical to musicals with some ‘modern’ (for the time).  We began with 78s, and graduated to stereo 33rpm LPs and 45s.  I loved Spike Jones and the City Slickers, especially their version of the Nutcracker Suite, and All I Want For Christmas.  I adored Strauss Waltzes, and the Musicals of Oscar and Hammerstein and Gilbert and Sullivan.  I also love hymns and Gospel Music.  John and I used to have to take it in turns to dry the dishes, which Dad washed.  The thing that made it fun rather than a chore was that we always sang songs while were doing them.  Lots of songs from the war years, and the musicals.  I loved it.  Funny, I just searched my computer for a copy of the letter I wrote to Dad, and it isn't there.  Maybe I hand wrote it.
Rest In Peace Dad.

Friday, May 25, 2012

More sad times

Jeanie Muller
When will this stop!  Just before we went away we learned that our dear friend Jeanie Muller hadn't long to live.  The bowel cancer that has attacked her three times since just before I was diagnosed with my secondary has finally won.  Jeanie was hospitalised a few times due to fluid build up in her lungs.  Her breathing became difficult and she wasn't eating much.
When we arrived home there was a brief email from Gordon letting us know that if we wanted to see her we'd best make it sooner rather than later.  She'd been in hospital again too. Then Arthur told us Jeanie was home, but on oxygen and in a hospital bed.
I desperately wanted to see her before it was too late, but Bill was unsure.  Basically he didn't know if he could handle it as it was pretty close to home given that he'll be in the same position as Gordon at some time.  There was the added complication that I had brought home a rotten cough from our holiday.  I didn't want to pass it on to Jeanie and give her something else her poor body had to deal with.  I decided to leave it up to Gordon - if he said he didn't want to risk my passing on my cough to Jeanie we wouldn't go.
At first that was Gordon's response, but then he had second thoughts and said we could come.  We made sure we got some surgical masks from the District Nurses before we went, just to be safer.
The woderful Jeanie we remember, with Gordon on their 50th wedding anniversary.
So yesterday morning we headed off to say our goodbyes.  When we arrived Jeanie was sleeping peacefully.  Bill and I think she was actually in a coma.  We talked to her as if she could hear us, and I have to believe that she did.  She was peaceful, not in pain and obviously not under any stress.  But it was so sad to see the vivacious Jeanie we remember, just lying there.
Barb, her daughter, was there with Gordon, and shortly before we left her daughter Janine arrived with granddaughter Audrey.
We shared some lunch with Barb and Gordon, then left about 2:00pm to make our way home.  It was a very teary farewell, knowing we wouldn't see her again.
When we were in Bairnsdale I got a call from Ann Leeson wondering if we had managed to see Jeanie.  I told her we had, and that she was fading fast.  Gordon had said he doubted if she would last till the weekend.  Ann decided she'd ring Gordon to see if they could pop around that evening.
As we arrived home I received another call from Annie - they were just about to go to Gordon's when Barbie rang to say that Jeanie had slipped away a few minutes earlier.
Life is so unfair sometimes.  Jeanie was a wonderful lady, a fantastic friend, very kind-hearted.  When Bill and I got together Jeanie and Gordon accepted me into their circle of friends as if I had known them all along.  We had some wonderful times together, especially at Omeo.
God Bless you Jeanie - you will be missed so much.  I am so glad we were able to spend some time with you and Gordon yesterday.  I love you my friend.  Sleep peacefully.

TO mourn too long
for those we love
is self indulgent -
but to honour their memory
with a promise
to live a little better
for having known them,
gives purpose to their life -
and some reason
for their death . . . . .

Nanushka (Nan Whitcomb)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Feeling Sad

Sometimes one has to ask why God takes the good ones.  Yesterday I heard some very sad news - Rick Lightowler died on Monday.  Who is Rick Lightowler you may ask?  Rick was one of the wonderful nurses in Casualty, who tended to me many times over the three years when I was a regular visitor.  He was a man of humour, excellent nursing skills, he cared, and helped make some pretty awful times more bearable.  I'll never forget his "Your neutrophils are in your boots darl!"  Everyone was mate or darl to Rick.  He was only 45 years old, and leaves a wife and two children.  They will miss him dreadfully, but so will the many patients who make their way to Casualty at Bairnsdale Regional Health Services.
Those who have been to Casualty perhaps once or twice may never even have come across him so they will never know what they are missing.  But there must be others like me who have been there many times who will have experienced his care.  I'm not saying the other nurses aren't just as wonderful and caring, but Rick really did stand out.
Rick was a rough diamond - but he was a caring, genuine human being.  A real character. It's been over 12 months since I've had to go to Casualty (thankfully) so we hadn't known he was even sick.  So it came as a huge shock when I was told yesterday that he had died.
Rest In Peace mate!  God really does take the best - if only we could fathom why!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Bye Bye Camper Trailer

Maiden Voyage - Dargo
Camper Trailer at Shadrack's
At the beginning of 2008 we purchased a camper trailer so we could go camping in a bit of comfort - bed with a nice mattress and off the ground!  We took it to Dargo for a try out, and the first real adventure with it was going to be a trip to SA in June.  Sadly the night before we were due to leave on our SA holiday I was diagnosed with the secondary breast cancer, so that put paid to that holiday.  Instead we went to Eden just before I started my first chemo treatment, after I had had my scans and ultrasound and seen John Scarlett.
We stayed at Shadrack's Creek Caravan Park.
Set up at Cape Conran
Set up at Fountain Park in Eden

We have also taken the trailer to Fountain Caravan Park at Eden and to Cape Conran.
Due to the fact that I needed a bit more comfort when we went away, we then decided to buy another caravan instead, newer than the one we had, and a pop-top.  So the camper trailer spent many months just sitting in the carport taking up space - so we decided to sell it.
Mark had someone at work who was interested, but that didn't eventuate.  We also offered it to Karen and Rick but they didn't take us up on the offer.  Then, when Mark went back home after New Year he rang to say that Janine's parents, Carmel and Barry, were interested in buying it and the deal was done.  We took it up to Bendigo last Saturday, and stayed there for a few days, returning yesterday.

Faith in LG restored

Over the years we have purchased numerous LG products - often seeking them out in preference to other brands.  Both of our mobile phones are LG, the television we bought 14 years ago, the surround sound system, a dvd player to name some of the items we've bought.  They have all served us well.  So, a little over three years ago we chose an LG 47" LCD flatscreen digital television.  At $2,895 it was an expensive purchase.  The only thing we were disappointed in was that whilst we could record programs to the TV itself, we couldn't transfer those recordings to a USB stick so we could put them on a dvd or to watch on another tele, or at a later date after we had deleted them from the inbuilt hard drive.  We were under the impression we could do so when we bought it.  It also seems we can't even record shows to VCR like you can with most televisions as there is no audio/video out socket.  However, the picture was excellent, and the record feature did come in handy if we weren't able to watch something when it was on, or there were two things on at the same time.
Sadly, on Christmas Day 2011 our LG went kaput!  The screen was black, but all other features still worked - so we could hear, we could change channels, we could play - but not see - programs we had recorded.  Bill did some research on the net and came to the conclusion that it was the screen backlight which had failed.  Fortunately we still had the old LG TV in the dining room, so we weren't left without anything to watch over the Christmas period. We did try the TV out of the caravan, but it was miniscule compared to the 47" so Bill carted the dining room set into the lounge.  It still looks pretty small too, but better than the caravan set.  Contacted LG by email to see if it was repairable - they responded quickly but only to tell me to ring their Customer Care department to get details of an authorised repairer, which I did.  Lady also informed me that the set was "just out of warranty"! Trouble was, closest repairer is in Sale or Maffra.  Sale firm not open again till 9th January, Maffra firm still hasn't responded to two messages I left on their answering machine.  Quote for repair if it was the motherboard that had to be replaced (they don't repair at component level!) was $1000.  Had also rung a firm in Lakes Entrance, they were open between Christmas and New Year, and they quoted about $400 to replace a capacitor which is what Bill thought was the problem.  We had decided we'd at least get a quote from the authorised repairer before deciding what to do.  When I got the $1000 quote I sent another email to LG and said how disappointed we were that the unit had failed just four months out of warranty, and how we would never purchase LG again, and wouldn't recommend the brand to anyone ever again.  Lo and Behold, within 24 hours I'd received a response saying they regrettted the "untimely" issues we were having, and if I got the set assessed by an authorised repairer, at our expense, they would see how they could assist us!  So, off to Sale we trundled, with the TV in the back of the Jackaroo.  We had to go to Morelli's to get a copy of the original invoice (and in the process purchased a new lounge suite!) to send to LG.  We had to go back to Frasca's before 12 noon to pick up the assessment and finally learn what exactly had gone wrong.  Seems it was the screen, but not the capacitors (Bill had already decided that wasn't the problem, because when we thought we'd take it to Lakes for repair he took the back off the set to have a look at it) - rather, it was something in the actual panel that was switching on as it should, but then switching itself off, so no picture.  Cost to repair, $1200 because it mesnt getting a whole new panel (screen).
When we got home I fired off a copy of all the paperwork to LG, and got a very quick response to say they had received it, and would let us know the outcome in a couple of days.  Sure enough, while we were in Bendigo I got a phone call from LG to say that although the unit was out of warranty they would supply the part if we paid for the labour.  We agreed, and I told the man he had restored our confidence in LG products.  Now we just have to wait for Mr Frasca to tell us the TV is ready for pick up.  A good outcome all around.  Thank you Mr LG!

New Lounge Suite

Just before Christmas Bill announced that he thought we should look at a new lounge suite because the one we had was starting to look tired and he thought the couch was starting to sag in the middle - no doubt because he spends a lot of time lying on it  I agreed, mainly because I felt it was looking grubby.  When we bought it I really wanted the apricot colour that it was - Bill went crook at me for buying it.  Over time I had come to regret my choice, just because it was so hard to try to keep clean.  Other than that the suite was in excellent condition.  We looked at several in Bairnsdale, including a deep burgundy Lazy-Boy.  Most suites had 'trigger' action recliners which I find very difficult to lower - well, lowering the footrest is OK, but locking it into position is almost impossible.  And we know from Mark and Janine's suite that it doesn't get any easier over time.  The lever action recliners seem to be limited to Lazy-Boy.  Our biggest problem was that we had to get rid of the current suite before we could buy a new one -and if the old one took a long time to sell (or didn't sell at all because potential buyers thought it was too grubby, despite being a sound leasther suite) we might miss out on the good price for the new one, or find we had to wait weeks for delivery. Last week we had to go to Morelli's Furniture in Sale to pick up a copy of the invoice for our TV (thereby hangs another tale) and while we were there we looked at their suites.  The only ones with lever action recliners were Lazy-Boy, but the cheapest suite they had was going to be over $5000.  Then we saw a suite with electric recliners - ideal, just a pity the cords will have to go across the floor.  We could have a choice of pale grey (no thank you) or chocolate brown (yes, please).  Anyway, we decided we'd buy it - the clincher was that Morelli's would give us $100 trade-in on our old suite and take it away, and deliver the new one free of charge!  $100 wasn't much of a trade-in, but it meant no hassle for us.  They'll have to clean it upbefore they can sell it, and I wouldn't like to have to try that. There is also the patch where the colour of the leather has worn away, although you can't see that unless you part the cushions on the couch.  The salesman offered to deliver it that day, as the truck was being loaded for our area as we spoke.  But I knew Bill had a lot to do to get the campervan ready to take to Carmel and Barry (yes, another tale) so we said leave it until the next trip.  That would normally have been a fortnight away.  Anyway we went off to Bendigo for five days, arriving home again last night.  This morning we had to go in to Bairnsdale for blood tests and while we were having a coffee with Susan we got a phone call to ask if we were still good to have the lounge suite delivered today!  I told Mark, the salesman that we hadn't had a phone call to say it would be today, but that it wasn't a problem because they hadn't left Sale yet and we would get home before they arrived.  Got home in time to hurriedly clear things off the walkway etc. so they could get the old suite out, and the new one in.
We had bought the old one from Morelli's in 2002 when I first had my chemo.  Nick Morelli even said he remembered the suite, and thought it had worn well, despite the grubbiness.  The leather was still in excellent condition.
It looks good, and is very comfortable.  Both of the chairs are recliners, and the end seats on the couch are also recliners.  We won't always have them all plugged in though, so there are less wires on the floor.  My chair is now beside the window, with shelves to the left of me, and drawers to the right, then a gap to the sliding door, then the couch on an angle, then the second chair.  We will try to sell the green recliner that I have been using, and which came from Mum and Jim when they moved and didn't have room for it.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Day

9:30 fireworks - Lakes Entrance 2011
Well, we saw the New Year in at Lakes Entrance as usual.  I felt so much better this year than I did last year.  There was no point where I wished the evening was over so we could go home.  I even walked from the caravan park, where Mark and Janine are staying, down to the foreshore.  Bill had a sausage and onion for tea, I had proffertjes (Dutch pancakes) with lemon and sugar.  We met up with Mark and Janine - Brittany and her friend Danielle were left to their own devices.  Oakley and Mitchell were with Mark and Janine.  We saw the fireworks at 9:30, after which the others all went back to the caravan park.  The fireworks were lovely as usual.  We went for a walk to get a coffee and some cold chips - should have taken the chips back and insisted on hot ones, but we just ate them.  It didn't seem too long before it was time for the midnight display.  This went for nearly 15 minutes and was very good.  The finale was especially spectacular. I even walked back to the car at the conclusion.  I felt so much better than last year!
Video of part of the 9:30 display.