dogs, photography

Oscar & Stanley…


As we travel through life, we find many who walk beside us and share our journey. Some stay a moment, some stay a lifetime. And in that lifetime, there are lessons.
Lessons of love, lessons of laughter and lessons of loyalty.
My journey with Oscar and Stanley is just that: a lesson in love, laughter and above all, loyalty.

life

A catalyst for change…


When life deals us what we define as a cruel card, we are left crumbled and broken in its wake. But what if we were to look at that card as a catalyst for change?

Could that seemingly catastrophic chain of events be nothing more than a key that unlocks the door to personal freedom? And by personal freedom I refer to freedom from those voices that have haunted you for years. Those voices who told you, you were not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough or loved enough.

What if that event allowed you to see you, for you. Allowed you to listen to your soul and hear just how fabulous you really are.

Because you are.190712_jenhammer_0446

It allowed you to see that you fit. You fit perfectly with yourself, and your self is all that matters.

And best of all. What if that so-called catastrophic event allowed you to forgive? And to say the words:I forgive you and I send you love.

And in the words of the wonderful Julia Stone:

The story is different now…but its all okay, for love will find a way to be where love is.

Shadows
Shadows

life

Weekly Photo Challenge: Let there be light


Living and teaching in Penghu, Taiwan brings many photo opportunities. The other day my kids celebrated the American Thanksgiving holiday. Parents shared moments with their children, children shared moments with each other. And in those moments, light filtered into the rooms bathing those beautiful people in the warm, afternoon light.

life

And as expected, the tears flowed…


I knew it was inevitable I would shed a few tears,  after all I packed up my life in just 10 days and the emotions associated with such a life-changing move were bound to boil over and explode. I just didn’t know when. What follows is what happened this morning, when without warning the floodgates opened and as expected the tears flowed.

Interestingly, my morning begins well, I wake feeling happy and decide to rearrange my apartment. Inspecting an adjacent unused room, I find a tall table, perfect for my cooker and wok. Putting this in place, I move the small bar fridge for better access and arrange all the other pieces to create a workable kitchen space. As I shuffle furniture, Angus & Julia’s calming voices and gentle tunes filter through the room, keeping me company and mixing beautifully with the scent of burning incense.

My 'new' kitchen...
My ‘new’ kitchen…

In my bedroom I move the bed so it faces the window, in this position I can watch a myriad of stars dance in the night sky. And as dawn breaks I will see the dark sky brighten as it bathes in the sun’s early morning light.

When I finish, I feel good and make my first coffee for the morning in my newly ‘designed’ kitchen. Taking my coffee to my desk, I open Facebook to see what friends and family have been up to in another part of the world. It is this moment when I see my cover image of Oscar & Stanley that tears begin to well. My eyes fill and my emotions erupt, I begin to sob and I cannot stop. I’m letting go. Not of my beloved family, friends and dogs, but of the emotions I have suppressed since making the decision to take my life to Penghu. I have expected this outpour of emotion and I let it come and allow it to wash over me for it refreshes and renews.

As I write this now, 3 hours later,  I am not lonely or unhappy for I like it here and after spending the last 3 days getting to know my kids and the teaching role I have undertaken, I am happy with my decision.

Quite simply, I just miss those who I love most in the world and as expected tears flow…

dogs

I wish I could speak Dachshund…


I wish I could talk to animals, my animals in particular.

A quiet moment...
A quiet moment…

In doing so I would be able to explain to my beloved Oscar and Stanley that I will be going away for 12 months. But as I cannot, they will be left to wonder where ‘Mum’ is, which breaks my heart and as such, since accepting my teaching role on Penghu, I have shed many tears.

I shared my concerns with my dear friend Amy as 18 months ago, she embarked on a similar journey that took her away from her beloved Lola for 12 months. On her return Lola had not forgotten her, Lola did not turn her back, Lola just continued where she left off. Loving Amy. Her words as usual, were comforting.

My besties...
My besties…

I know they will be well cared for as my parents moved into my downstairs granny flat a few months ago and they love them to bits, and Oscar and Stanley are also devoted to my son Rob, who loves them equally in return. But they are also highly devoted to me and if they can, they will be at my side 24/7, just as they are now as I write this post.

Yes, I wish I could speak Dachshund…

dogs, life

Silence of the Lambs ahem, Dachshunds…


Oscar & Stanley are my much-loved wire-haired Dachshunds.
More often than not, when I’m on the computer, they will lie with me on my bed if I’m on my laptop, snooze on the couch if I’m at the desktop, wrestle at my feet, or in quieter moments, simply wait and watch.

A quiet moment...
A quiet moment…

This morning was no different, they lolled about as I posted images for this week’s photo challenge, and as I was engrossed in posting, I failed to notice their departure. It was only on finishing my post that I noticed I had obviously become the proud owner of two highly skilled, 4-legged interior decorators. And their choice of material? Toilet paper: here are a few snaps of their silent, yet somewhat creative handiwork.

dogs

Introducing Oscar…


In an earlier post I wrote about Stanley’s (my beloved Dachshund) issue with being left alone.

Oscar & Stanley: happy days...
Oscar & Stanley: happy days…

So I researched a number of different sites relating to separation anxiety to find methods that would help overcome his problem.

After following some of the suggested remedies, Stanley has improved, however I feel the main reason his behaviour has improved relates directly to the new addition to our family: Oscar, an 8 week-old Wire-Haired Dachshund.

Stanley is now one happy pooch.

And Oscar, well he is quite simply, divine…

Rob & Oscar: he's fitted in  well ...
Rob & Oscar: he’s fitted in well …
life, photography

A hitchhiker’s guide to bodyboarding…


I found out something interesting after picking up my son from a day of bodyboarding. Hitchhiking is possible when out catching a few waves. I kid you not.

Max
Max

This little piece of interesting information came to light when I collected my son from a different beach from the one I had dropped him off at earlier in the day.

The conversation, as he deposited his wet, brown self into the passenger seat went a little like this…
‘So how did you get from Pocket to here?’ I asked. ‘We hitchhiked’, he replied. ‘What! You hitchhiked?’ Horrified at the thought of my son getting into cars with strangers, I started a tirade about the dangers of hitchhiking, which was met with a rather quizzical expression from him. Actually it was more like, ‘I think Mum has gone a little loopy’ type of expression. ‘Mum, the jet-skiers see us paddling around the Point and ask if we want to hitch a ride, so we do. It’s a lot easier than paddling.’

So I learnt hitchhiking is not only confined to our roadways, obviously it is also common practice in the surf!

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travel

Changing lanes…


Behind the galley curtain…

When settling into your seat to watch the flight attendant deliver the safety demonstration, have you ever thought about what life is like for that flight attendant?

Maybe you haven’t. Or then again, maybe you have. And if so you may have thought how they must truly travel in one of life’s fast lanes. Paris one week, Rome the next. Lazing on a Thai beach before curling up in fresh, crisp sheets on a king size bed in a 5 star hotel. Sounds like a dream right?

From someone who travelled in that lane for close to 25 years, it was life in the fast lane, or as we sometimes said, ‘we live the life of a millionaire, without spending any money – pretty much flying in a nutshell. Well the good bits anyway.

I enjoyed lagers in London, parties in Paris and slings in Singapore. And aside from enjoying the wonderful perks of a high flying job, being a flight attendant was also exciting, rewarding and at times, very humbling.

Sipping caprioskas whilst watching a Roman sunset is exciting. Watching snowflakes float amidst the skyscrapers of New York, before claiming the soil of Ground Zero as their final resting place, as did some 2000 souls on 9/11, is humbling. And seeing a child totally enthralled by the fact that you, the flight attendant have captured clouds in a teapot, is rewarding. (Dry ice + water = instant clouds).

But being a flight attendant can also be very comical.

For instance, try telling an Indian man that the sanitary napkin you gave to the woman sitting next to him was something he really didn’t need? My words were to no avail as his reply, with a swift roll of his head went a little like this. ‘No, I’ll be thinking you’ll be not understanding me madam, I’ll be saying that I’ll be wanting what she is having’ as his head again rolled from side to side. I repeated my words, but they were in vain for he seemed relentless in his pursuit, so in the end I gave up and gave him his much needed package, and as I passed it over I wondered just what he would do with the contents. On my next walk through the cabin, my question was answered. There he was, sitting ever so proudly, with a very large, very white sanitary napkin firmly placed across his eyes! He had peeled off the adhesive label and quite obviously decided that this strange white object was the latest design in airline eye masks. At that moment, between holding back fits of laughter, I was so thankful that he didn’t discover the little white numbers that were housed in the same package and decide to use them as ‘earplugs’.

Flying truly was a beautiful blend of the good, the bad and the downright ridiculous. And for those of you who have aspirations to try life in that fast lane, I strongly encourage it.

I lived in that lane for many years, and loved it. Then I began to question which lane was really the more important one to travel in, fast or family?

So now instead of sipping cappuccinos in Rome, seeing rhinos in the wilds of Africa and waking to the sounds of street hawkers in Singapore, I now wake to the sounds of my beautiful children starting the day and my beloved dogs panting excitedly and the prospect of going for their daily walk.

Yes, I was hostie and I lived in the fast lane and loved it.