Four years ago

Four years ago, I woke thinking it would just be like any other Saturday.<br /><br />
It would be a day of markets, washing and maybe some baking.<br /><br />
Instead, it was not.<br /><br />
Four years ago, I went to sleep that night without a Papa.</p><br />
<p>Pabbi, so much has happened in the last four years.<br /><br />
I'm finally working in tax.<br /><br />
Karl is still in Iceland.<br /><br />
Mamma moved to the bush.<br /><br />
Matthew has taken over your space in the laundry.<br /><br />
There is a super cute little boy next door now.<br /><br />
The birds still play in the bird bath in the back yard.<br /><br />
You would hardly recognise the interior of the house now.<br /><br />
Miss you Pappa-san
Four years ago, I woke thinking it would just be like any other Saturday.
It would be a day of markets, washing and maybe some baking.
Instead, it was not.
Four years ago, I went to sleep that night without a Papa.

Pabbi, so much has happened in the last four years.
I’m finally working in tax.
Karl is still in Iceland.
Mamma moved to the bush.
Matthew has taken over your space in the laundry.
There is a super cute little boy next door now.
The birds still play in the bird bath in the back yard.
You would hardly recognise the interior of the house now.
Miss you Pappa-san

Dear Mr Swan

Did you do as KRudd suggested and contacted your local member? I had only planned to write a few sentences asking my local member to listen to what the electorate wants and not what he/the ALP wants but it went for a bit more than a few sentences.

You may not agree with the actions of Kevin, or the actions of Julia or the actions of the ALP as a whole but there is two things that the federal politicians need to do and that is 1) stop acting like a bunch of bitchy year 9 girls and 2) start actually listening to what the Australian public says and wants.

I ended up writing close to 1000 words to my local member with my responses and ideas on the above two points. My local member is someone who used to be colloquially known as Swanny round these parts but after his this last week he has lost the nickname, he is simply Mr Wayne Swan now.

I made comments about why I’ve voted for him since I was old enough to vote, why I’m glad that my father is dead and hasn’t had to observe the mess of the last week and to a certain extent the last 20 odd months (he used to be at QIT with Mr Swan and spoke with regard for him, pretty sure his ashes are rolling over in their grave right about now), about honesty and the fact that no one is perfect so stop acting like some people are and others are not. As well as a few other points about the whole idea of acting for the entire Australian public and not just a small minority.

One sentence though I do want to share with you is the following.

To put it frankly “the light on the hill” is blinking like a fluro that needs the starter replaced and if you, your parliamentary colleagues and the wheels of the ALP don’t start listening to the voice of the Australian public today, “the light on the hill” will be knocked down and replaced with a glowing effigy of John Howard.

That’s probably my favourite sentence in my letter to Mr Swan. “The light on the hill”, that speech by Chifley was a great speech, full of ideas and the like and it’s given us a lovely little phrase to use about the ALP in relation to the Australian worker/public ever since.

I would like to think that irrespective of what happens tomorrow that come Tuesday they will be back to running the country and acting as a unified party but somehow I just can’t see that happening with ease.

In the next few days we will return our normal programming which consists of photographs, food and treasures of my life.

A very different December

Yet again I’ve been promoting that thing called “radio silence” but I’ve been busy, very busy. I was extremely lucky to obtain a vacation work placement which for the last three weeks saw me trade my normal CBD office for another CBD office. A swisher office, closer to the river and employing a gazillion more people in their Brisbane office than are employed in the Brisbane office for my company. It was an eye opener and in some areas I learnt more about accounting in the last three weeks than I’ve learnt in the last year at uni. It was a very good experience and I’m thankful for the opportunity I was given. This week I’m back at my “normal job”.

This Christmas season has seen many, many changes in our household. A couple of months ago, after Mum had come back from exploring the bush in NSW, a conversation was resurrected from one we had had years ago about why we (really my parents) live in Brisbane. It was about Grandad of course and nothing could have taken my mother or myself away from SEQ whilst my grandfather was alive. With his passing in June and the passing of my father in May last year; that conversation could be had again as those events have changed a lot of things in our lives. I moved back home. We purchased an investment property. We’ve taken on a boarder (who may have had a Lotte bowl slip out of his hand and land on the floor in more than one piece … My Lotte is now more secure in where it is stored) and that’s just the billboard changes. Mum has had the chance to revisit that conversation we’ve had a few times over the years about leaving Brisbane and teaching somewhere else, I always used to suggest WA but that is an awfully long way a way. Mum though discovered a place closer to home though and next year she will be still be a Maths teacher but in NSW in a country town situated in the north west region. The town she is moving to is about a 7hr drive from Brisbane, luckily it is also on the Melbourne to Brisbane bus route so she will be able to hop on a bus to come home for a visit! Most importantly there is plenty of bush walking and an active club to keep her weekends occupied.

This has meant that Mum is packing up her life or perhaps I should say “culling her life”, there has been items leaving this house left, right and center. Some via Lifeline, some via Gumtree, some via Freecycle, others via the rubbish bin, some to people here and there. Some times it feels like that unless it is bolted down, it won’t be there when I get home from work!

Another change this year is that for the first time in the sixty years my mother has lived we have an artificial Christmas tree!!!! And we put it up on Dec 18!!! My father and my maternal grandmother are probably rolling in their proverbial graves (well more accurately, their ash particles are probably vibrating at a higher frequency than normal …)

However, it’s not just any artificial Christmas tree. It’s a 6ft Mistletoe Pine Aluminium Christmas Tree made by Raco. Yep, how many people do you know in Australia who are rocking an Australian made Aluminium Christmas Tree? Very few I would wager to say. I normally see two or so appear each year on Ebay and one of the ones that appeared last year made its way to me. I then gave the tree as part of my present to Mum last year (Well actually it was to both Mum and the house. Do you do that? We have often over the years had presents to the the house from the kitchen or to the fridge from the stove etc). My reading of the date codes on the box say it was made in 1964 and the price label reads £6/15/ which according to our friends at the RBA that is about $84 in the money of today.

Our tree has always been real and has always gone up around the 23rd or so and then comes down on the 6th of January or shortly there after (A major pet peeve of mine is when people talk of the twelve days of Christmas as been the twelve days leading up to Christmas, I grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. You seriously think the three kings got an early warning that Jesus was been born and started their journey twelve days before he was born ??? I’m a by no means a believer but it riles me when people talk about and use an idea that they clearly seem to have no idea what it actually means).

Moving on from that point. This is our tree. Click to see it larger of course!
Raco Mistletoe Pine Aluminium Christmas Tree

Have you seen such a beauty? It makes such a lovely sound as you brush past it and oh I love how the lights reflect off it and dance on the ceiling. I actually lay under it on Sunday night whilst on the phone to a friend like a child, watching the light dance on “the leaves” … It is so smile inducing.

a year ago

A year ago today, my father died. He didn’t in my words “pass away”, that’s what you do if you die in your sleep or your slip away in a hospital/palliative care etc setting after typically a long battle in which you may be quite medicated.

My father didn’t do that. In the morning he was alive, he called the ambulance because he wasn’t feeling good, he walked to the ambulance and then maybe an hour later he was dead.

This is what I wrote a year ago minus 12 days – 12 days ago.

It’s been a period of adjustment at varying levels for all of us over the past year and it will continue to be for the rest of our lives. As there are all those things that you just imagined Pabbi would be there to see, things like more grand-kids, weddings, graduations, Christmases and of course more volcano eruptions.

Yesterday Mum and I went to the Service of Thanksgiving which is an annual event “in recognition of organ and tissue donors and their families who make transplantation possible”. We went because we donated Pabbi’s eye tissue. It was a good event to go and it was nice to hear the stories of transplant recipients as well as stories of other donor families.

Below is who my father was. This is the slideshow that we played at the reception we had after the funeral.

Elections and Memories

What a whirlwind it’s been since 18:00 last night when the booths closed and the counting started … I spent the night glued to the ABC coverage,  #ausvotes on Twitter, the AEC Virtual Tally Room, etc etc and wishing I had more than my two computer monitors so I could keep up on all the changes. I fell asleep before the coverage finished for the night and consequently had all sorts of dreams and nightmares about the possible outcomes when I woke up this morning.

I’ve had ABC News24 on most of the day and have had a fantastic time drawing my own conclusions from polling data on the AEC website. It’s really interesting to look at the first preference breakdowns for individual booths (Auchenflower Booth for the seat of Ryan). I’ve compared the swings, the informal votes, the two-candidate-preferred results and more. Looking at the results on a booth basis can confirm what you already may think as the general political feel in that area.

I would really love to see the booth results mapped and to have the ability to toggle layers to show first preference votes for each party. There would be some very interesting gradient changes shown.

However, all this talk of polling data and the such does not talk about what has been on my mind the most since about 17:00 yesterday and that is of Pabbi; my late father.

Pabbi, normal face

For as long as I can remember on election nights, he was always glued to the TV (well glued in a Pabbi way, which meant going back and forth to the verandah for a smoke or a drink). When he was younger he was quite active in politics both in Iceland and in Australia. One of the things I remember most is the fact that in Iceland he was a member of one of the right-wing parties. When he came to Australia, he realised that right-wing in Iceland was closer to the left-wing in Australia…. He was a member of the ALP for some time and he would often talk about his time as a scrutineer or about ALP identities  from his era.

I would love to know what Pabbi’s views would have been on the removal of K-Rudd, the rise of Gillard, the shocking campaign that has been run, the numbers that have resulted and the hung parliament situation which we are extremely like to be faced with. In wanting to know his views on the current events, part of me is happy in a way that he is not here as I do not think he would have been impressed with the actions of the campaign, the way in which Australia has voted and well everything Tony Abbott has done. Pabbi was very much not an Abbott fan … and I am happy that he doesn’t have to even contemplate the possibility that Abbott might be the PM.

As a side note though, if you are looking for the most up to date results go to the AEC site. Currently the ABC says the ALP has won 72 seats and the Coalition has won 70 seats, Channel 7 says ALP 72 and Coalition 71, SBS says ALP 70 and Coalition 72….. The AEC, you know the Australian Electoral Commission, says ALP 70 and Coalition 72… ahh numbers

12 days ago

This post has been coming for 12 days. 12 long days. For the last 12 days I have thought about what I was going to type. Each day was variations of the same theme. Change, loss and the future.

13 days ago, I was looking forward to the weekend. I had all sorts of things planned, none of which I can remember now.


12 days ago, my father died. My father, Paul Palsson, dead. He died from an abdominal aortic aneurysm. In the morning when Mum and Matthew left he was alive. By the time Matthew had arrived home from work later that morning, he was not at home. The neighbours saw Pabbi walk into the ambulance. The hospital called, “your father is in a bad way, please come up”. When he got up there Pabbi was gone. After sorting out things at the hospital, Matthew called me. I didn’t believe him. Then I listened to what he was saying. Pabbi was dead.

12 days ago, I drove over to the house in total hysterics. At some stage, I bit my hand in an effort to calm down.

12 days ago, Mum was out bush walking. The bad weather meant they came home early. When I heard Mum open the door, I rushed at her and cried.

12 days ago, I stood beside my mother in a dimly lit room at the hospital, and “viewed” my father. He had no false teeth in, his wedding band was not on his right ring finger. His eyebrows were bushy. His hair was that weird silvery red blonde colour. He was cold but he was my father and he was on a trolley in front of me.

12 days ago, I was in shock. My father was 66 years old when he died. I am 24. There was so much more I had imagined I would share with him.

12 days ago, I sat at the kitchen table with Mum and Matthew and started typing. Typing the words which would form the frame of the eulogy I would give.

11 days ago, I sat across the kitchen table from my Mother and met a funeral director. A man, who was straight down the line and listened to our thoughts and requests. We cleaned. We went to the farm.

10 days ago, I went to work. My mind was in a hundred and one different places at once. I left work and realised that I wouldn’t be going back to work this week. I got home, packed a few bags and went home to the family.

9 days ago, I didn’t go to work. I visited the travel agent with Mum and booked flights. Pabbi and Mum were going to Iceland on June 12. Now Mum and I are going to Iceland on June 15. Margaret and Reg arrived from Tasmania.

8 days ago, Karl and Erica arrived from Iceland. Susan arrived from New Zealand. We finalised the details. Music was confirmed and food was cooked.

7 days ago, we had a funeral. We said our farewells, I read the eulogy. We ate, we talked and more. That night we visited Matthew’s laser lab and learnt all sorts of things about quantum. Erica went back to Iceland to continue her holiday.

Pabbi and our memories, 320/365

6 days ago, I went to the orthodontist and had a bracket repositioned. We went to the farm for dinner and had Susan’s chocolate self-saucing pudding for dessert.

5 days ago, I had apple cake and ice-cream for breakfast. We cleaned, sorted and made stacks. I had dinner out with a friend and her family and then went to see Where the Heart Is by Expressions DC. The dancing and music was powerful.

4 days ago, we went through slides, cleaned, sorted and more. Karl flew home to Iceland, I went home to my place. My home felt so strange after a week with my family.

3 days ago, I went back to work. I went to SES. I brought my flowers home to my place. Ever since, my room has been filled with the scent of lilies.

2 days ago, I sobbed as I ate my breakfast. Work was work and then I went out to dinner at Jellyfish for a birthday of a friend and had the most amazing meal. The fish, the wine, the dessert, all just amazing.

1 day ago, I realised that keeping busy does keep your mind off the matter but as soon as you stop and take a moment, it can hit you. The time between when you turn off the light and when you fall asleep is filled with thoughts. Unlike 12 days ago, 11 days ago and the like, sleep is no longer so broken. My mind happily stays focused for the most part.

Today, I’ve found some words to type.

Tomorrow, I’ll go to work and then it is the long weekend. A long weekend which will see me packing and planning for Iceland.

Life goes on, differently each day. Time will change things and time will heal things.

Lillies and Chrissies