A Little Bit of Everything

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I do not intend for Madang – Ples Bilong Mi  to indefinitely remain a place where I forever keep going back to the events of the last few months. I need to move on at some point. However, this is  a (more or less) daily journal.  I think of it as an open diary. I cannot escape the present. If I am to continue to be open and honest, I must put down here my thoughts, fears, challenges and successes. This allows me to take these things out of my head and examine them as I write. It allows me to record them as waypoints on my journey. It helps me to gauge my progress and someday, it will allow me to remember the events with the fresh perspective of one who is healed and able to look back with less pain.

So, having said that, I’ll tell you that the plans for the Memorial Service for Eunie at the Chapel at Divine Word University are progressing smoothly. Yesterday, I burned a CD full of Neil Diamond songs to play before and after the service. Later today, I will organise photographs on a flash drive to be displayed on the big LCD screen in the Chapel. These are small tasks which were assigned to me by the little “committee” of friends who are carrying the main load of organising the event. I was glad to have something to do which I probably could not mess up.

Tomorrow will mark one month since Eunie’s death. I think that that is the first time that I’ve used the word – death. Possibly this marks the end of my daily walk with denial.

This is the first sunrise which I have captured since before leaving for Australia:

The mornings have been mostly cloudy. Starting at about 05:30, when the sky begins to lighten, I can tell, by looking out the bedroom window, whether there will be a decent sunrise or not. Though I’m looking west, I can see the general colour of the sky and judge the brightness. If it looks promising, I’ll get out of bed and look out the front of the house. Yesterday, it was worth getting up.

Here is a particularly good image of a Red and Black Anemonefish (Amphiprion melanopus):

Its wholesome goodness comes from its very accurate colours. The conditions were perfect for a good shot. It was taken in about seven metres of fairly clear water with a bright, thin neutral white cloud cover which provided flat and untinted light. I’m quite happy with this one.

While our little troop of was back in Gympie at the home of Val Jerram preparing to scatter back to our own places we found this very amusing lizard under Val’s veranda:

That’s Carol Dover’s hand in the shot to give some scale. It’s not huge by Australian lizard standards, but it does look as if it might inflict some damage if it bit. Dr. Robert Sprackland sent a copy of his new book, Guide to Lizards,  because it has one of my images in it. I could not find this lizard in it. I don’t know what that means. Maybe it’s rare? Seems unlikely.

UPDATE: Reader Madcap Maven left a comment identifying the lizard as a Tiliqua scincoides scincoides,  the Eastern Blue-tongued Lizard. Her ID checks out. I consulted the Ultimate Resource, Wikipedia. You can read her message in the Comments at the end of this post.

Since I’m just rambling here I’ll throw in this interesting image by Lindsay Smith:

It’s a strange, moody piece.

Last, but not least, here is a beautiful shot by Alison Raynor titled Toogoolawah Sunset:

Someday I hope to visit Toogoolawah. It seems a peaceful place.

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24 Responses to “A Little Bit of Everything”

  1. Gail Opolka Hoffman Says:

    I hope the process of going through pictures and selecting the songs Eunie enjoyed will be cathartic for you. When my father-in-law died in May, my in-laws and I shared a lot of wonderful memories of their dad; and for the children, it was a journey of discovery of things they never knew about their grandpa. I hope as you share those pictures at the memorial that your friends will learn more about what a special person Eunice was.
    When those voices in your head get too loud, tell God what they’re saying and let him help you quell them.

  2. Madcap Maven Says:

    I was reading MPBM and had just scrolled to the lizard pic when the cleaning guy came in and said, “Oh a blue tongued lizard. Skink, I think.” Looked it up, and the photo matched yours very closely. So, here’s what I found. The Eastern Blue-tongued Lizard (Tiliqua scincoides scincoides) is a subspecies of large skink which is common throughout Eastern Australia, often found in bushland and suburban areas where conditions are suitable. They are known as blue-tongues because their tongue ranges from bright to dark blue, and they have a habit of displaying it prominently and hissing loudly when disturbed. The Eastern Blue-tongued Lizard is a stout and slow lizard that grows up to 30-60 cm in length.

    Loved the fan corals, the sea squirts, etc. from earlier posts, and the Toogoolawah sunset.

    Have you been checked for Diabetes lately?

    Tomorrow, I hope you feel prayers from around the globe – or better yet, the answer to them. In addition, prayin’ for you some sound shut-eye. Funny, I wrote this lullaby last night to sing to my grandchild once she decides to come out and play.

    Sleep tight, Little One,
    Good night, Little One,
    Your day’s almost done;
    See you in the morning.
    (c) October 6, 2010

  3. Madcap Maven Says:

    Oh, I forgot to say I got the lizard info from Wikipedia.

  4. MadDog Says:

    Thanks, Madcap Maven for the information. I’ll do an update to the post and give you (or maybe the cleaning guy). We did see its tongue, but it was too quick for me to get a shot of it.

    Now you have me thinking about diabetes. I’m curious as to why you suggested that I might get checked.

    Thanks for the prayers and the lullaby.

  5. MadDog Says:

    Gail, I have to admit that I wasn’t strongly affected. I think that I’m a little too numb at this point. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. It just is, I guess. I think that I’ll get through the memorial service without inflicting more damage on myself. I do know that someday I am going to have to find a way to give myself the time and a place to grieve properly.

    Thanks for the virtual hugs.

  6. Madcap Maven Says:

    Diabetes is in my family, and it messes with many of my friends, who have experienced some of what you describe. Could also be circulation-related; if you’re not getting sleep, you’re not getting enough oxygen, and extremities are often affected first. Watch out for the pole at the Doc’s – I hear it does a number on little red trucks. Hehe

  7. Nancy McDonald Says:

    Love your posts Uncle Arnie. We all know it won’t be easy for you. I did not realize it had already been a month. We love you and all of our thoughts are with you. Please keep us in your thoughts also.
    Love Nancy

  8. Carolyn Says:

    Love the blog – and the honesty with which you write and the lovely writing style let alone the always interesting content, will keep me checking in Jan. And of course you put my little part of the world, Toogoolawah up in lights!!
    take care, Carolyn.

  9. Helen Jones Says:

    Hi Jan, just wanted to take a moment to say we will be thinking about you tomorrow on the first month anniversary, from what I hear there will be a huge attendance at Divine Word and we will be there in sprirt – Neil Diamond – what a wonderful choice – we saw him recently in Woburn Abbey – amazing. Keep strongxx

  10. David Judd Says:


    I just heard about Eunice’s passing and read your post on the PBT/PNG website. I am so sorry hear about your loss. I was touched, encouraged, and challenged by your post. You have a long road ahead of you, but I am confident that you will make it all right because you have so many friends going along with you as well as the comfort of the Holy Spirit. Please know that Ann and I will be praying for you.

    Your blog here is amazing, very interesting and very honest. Keep it up.

  11. Tracey Lee Says:

    Hi Jan – You know the Labradoodle you wrote about recently? He had an adventure with a baby blue-tongued lizard a couple of weeks ago. There was an injured one in our yard and being just a pup (and an inquisitive one at that) he got too close. The lizard snapped and latched on to Ernie’s bottom lip. We brought him upstairs to the kitchen with lizard still tightly holding on and released the jaw. Ernie was relieved and unscarred, but I’m not sure he will go near one again 😀

  12. Ali Says:

    Here’s a little more trivia about Blue Tongue Lizards Jan.
    Like green frogs they are indicative of a clean, healthy and stable environment. They love to eat snails and although looking pretty scary, they are delightful litttle creatures and as kids we had a pet one that lived in our back yard in Brisbane in the 1960’s.
    What a rare treat to have seen one in a built up area these days. A very good sign.

    Hoping for a bright, sunny beautiful Madang day for Eunies sevice tomorrow. Will be thinking of you.
    Was Neil Diamond a fave of Eunies?

  13. MadDog Says:

    I had to go see my doctor yesterday about a sore throat, so I talked to him about diabetes. He said that it was extremely unlikely, as some key symptoms are not present. One less thing, eh? He thinks, as I do, that my peculiar symptoms are stress related.

    PNG Power has painted the pole white now. Possibly the number of complaints roused someone out of the usual stupor.

  14. MadDog Says:

    Nancy, today marks one month since your Aunt Eunie went to her reward. I’m infinitely sad and troubled, but I know that God will help me to get through the worst of it and someday, I’ll be better. I am thinking much of the family and I wish so much that I could visit. It’s simply not possible to do so now. I have so many things here that I must deal with before I can travel again. I’m hoping that I will be able to come during the spring or summer of next year.

  15. MadDog Says:

    Thanks for the kind words, Carolyn. It means a great deal to me that many readers are sticking with me through this. Someday it will be a happier place to visit once again. I will visit Toogoolawah someday.

  16. MadDog Says:

    Helen, thank you for that. It’s the 8th now and I’m trying not to think of it. I took the day off to work at home to prepare myself. Lorraine Collins, a dear friend that Eunie and I shared, has flown up from Cairns to be at the service. She came over to eat lunch with me and watch a movie. I haven’t seen her since Eunie and I were in Cairns. It was very good to have some company in the house. I really don’t now how many to expect at DWU for the service. It may be several hundred. Neil Diamond was Eunie’s favourite musical artist. She’s going to enjoy the music. She would have loved to go to that concert.

  17. MadDog Says:

    Thanks, David. It’s been a long time, eh? You join with many who are sorry to learn that Eunie is no longer here with us. I appreciate your kind words. I am slowly gaining confidence. I always prayed that I would go first. I wondered if it would be so hard that I would not be able to bear it. Well, I was off by a country mile. It is infinitely worse that I could have imagined. That I am still standing I can only credit God and the good works of many friends.

  18. kristy Says:

    Many prayers for you in the next few days…

  19. MadDog Says:

    Tracey, that is a very interesting story at the expense of poor Ernie. I have heard that many reptiles do not want to let go of something to which the have jaws locked. It’s hard to imagine not letting go of a dog’s lip, though. What was it thinking? I’m glad Ernie suffered no harm other than a severe reduction of dignity.

  20. MadDog Says:

    Ali, Gympie strikes me as a healthy place for critters. With all of the gardens about, I’d guess that there are plenty of snails to munch on. It surprised me that it did not attempt to run away. It was watching us carefully, but did not seem to be afraid.

    Tomorrow is going to be a hard one. I just have to think about Eunie and let the tide carry me where it will. Neil Diamond was indeed Eunie’s favourite.

  21. MadDog Says:

    Thanks, Kristy. I seem to require a lot of praying lately. Something is keeping me going. I know that it’s not me.

  22. Ali Says:

    Tomorrow might be just what you need Mr Mad Dog.
    Porcupine Pie could turn out to be a plum pudding?

  23. Madcap Maven Says:

    Don’t know when I’ve been so happy to be wrong; with your lifestyle, I’d have thought it unlikely, but unlikely things often surprise us in life. Great to hear the doctor’s thoughts, that there’s not something else to contend with.

  24. MadDog Says:

    Madcap, I was relieved. A few minor symptoms matched, but had other, obvious causes. Thanks for speaking up.