Every Bloomin’ Thing

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Well, the fun just keeps on coming. I have, in the last couple of weeks, spent nearly US$1,200 on medical tests. These people must think I’m made of money. I have news for them. I’m all turnip inside. All I have to show for it is that I “might have something wrong” with me. Those are my words, not the doctor’s. The doctor could not be more specific. I don’t envy doctors their jobs, but it nevertheless annoys me that one cannot get the information one needs. It’s unreasonable to expect more, I suppose. If one takes one’s car to a mechanic saying, “It makes a funny noise.” the likely answer will be, “That’s because there’s something wrong with it.”

If one complains that the answer lacks detail, the likely answer will be, “Well, if you want more, it’s gonna cost you. The free consultation is over.” Hey, we all have to make a living, eh?

I’m quite certain that nobody but a die-hard masochist would relish receiving medical bad news. Right now, anything time-consuming or expensive is bad news to me, because I have a schedule to keep and I’m practicing intense frugality. Once I’m in North America, I’ll have a bit more wiggle room, at least as far as scheduling is concerned. As for the frugality, I’m rather enjoying pinching pennies. I’ve discovered the joy of learning how little I can spend while doing something other than lying in bed all day complaining.

Do we ever have any truly attractive options when such things come up? I think not. I have no option to do anything at all until I get to the USA. I have no time left. I might choose to get the needed test done while in the USA, but I’d have to start from scratch with the same preliminary tests over again. Then there is the horrendous medical system (or lack thereof, as the case may be) to deal with. Doing anything about it while I’m in Canada is out of the question. I have no rights there. I will most likely do nothing until I end my North America segment. I can continue the tests in Australia, since Val has agreed, most generously, to take care of me if the need arises. I can’t say how important that is to me. Or, I may choose to do nothing at all. It’s the “wait and see” approach.

I’m not ready to divulge any details of the medical mystery for a few reasons. I don’t have enough information to make an interesting story. I’ve been told that the likelihood that it is serious is not overwhelming (my words again – possibly wishful thinking). I don’t have time now to do the necessary test (undoubtedly also very expensive) to discover if there is, in fact, anything detectable wrong with me. So, why do I even mention it?

I don’t really know. I’ve been dealt another hand of cards. Hmmm . . . what game is it that we are playing? Can’t recall. Well, I’ll just paint a smile on my face and bluff while I’m trying to remember. It’s the old “box of chocolates” thing again.

In two more days I’ll be winging my way across the western Pacific Ocean to Honolulu. I need to make a stop there to see long-time supporters of my work. It will be a friendly reception, I’m sure, but nevertheless stressful. I have always felt at home in Honolulu, but living there is horribly expensive. I gave up dreams of retirement there long ago. That seems to be only for the rich. It’s a nice place to visit. Bring your credit cards. Blessedly, I have a place to crash with an old friend. My supporters are lending me a car, which makes me tremble with anxiety. I’m being turned loose in Honolulu traffic with someone else’s car! We’ll have to wait to see how much I’ll actually drive it.

I’ve been fretting over travel details today after visiting the doctor again. I got stuck by the nurse for my Pneumovax shot for a bargain price. So far that has been the bright point of the day. As you may detect, my mood is not joyous, so I’ll move on to today’s so-called amusement, a collection of unidentified Australian wildflowers.

Most of these shots were taken at Teewah. The bush area there is full of mysterious blossoming vegetation. For instance, this bizarre thing:

Many seem to require a caption:

I’d call this one Raggedy Anne.

This looks strangely like a Sweet Pea, but I’m sure it’s not:

Possibly Pop-Eye could tell us. Did you get that one, kiddies? A poor attempt at humour.

I was told the name of this flowering tree, but immediately forgot it:

Though my sense of smell is permanently crippled, I could detect a very sweet fragrance from these flowers. Supposedly the parrots get drunk on the stuff. Sadly, I did not see that.

I’m trying to think if I know of any other flowers which have exactly three petals:

No, nothing is coming through. Anybody??

This is probably the prettiest shot of the bunch:

It appeared to me strange that nearly all of these plants grew in seeming isolation. I expected them to occur in patches of the same species.  I’ve been wondering about this. Again, nothing comes to mind. Maybe I’m hallucinating again. I wonder what causes that also.

These were common enough all over the beach at Teewah, just above the high tide line:

As with many things, the most common was the most uninteresting.

This one captured the ugly prize, I think:

I didn’t touch it, as it looks poisonous.

My pre-travel jitters are rattling my cage with great zeal. This afternoon, I rattled Val’s cage with my fretting over a line on my electronic ticket for Sydney which stated in no uncertain terms:



0 pc / 20kg

Okay, which is it? Is it nothing or is it 20 kilos? It seemed, at first, that nobody knew. At least the information was unavailable or inconclusive over the demon-possessed, much-cursed automated question answering line. Be honest now; do you hate those things? Val finally got a human (or computer which had attended acting school) on the phone who seemed to indicate that I would be allowed one bag in the hold of 20 kilos. Why don’t they just say that?

Anyway, I have tomorrow to pack my pathetic rags in my checked baggage and pray that they won’t weigh my carry-on back-pack or (horrors!) actually measure it. I try to conceal it as much as possible until I’m actually on the plane in the hope that nobody will notice. So far, this ploy has worked for me. It is impossible to get it into the overhead storage. I travel with my US$8.00 suit jacket and my black fedora. These items cleverly hide the fact that my back-pack can not reasonably be considered as being underneath the seat in front of me. I also pretend to be asleep. My feet are jammed in on either side of the back-pack so that elevated knees will not give the game away. I don’t imagine that this actually fools anybody, especially the cabin crew. Perhaps my pitiful appearance and ridiculous attempt at subterfuge gains me mercy.

Was travel this tricky in the days of the stage-coach? I doubt it. Then the world was much bigger. Maybe that bigger world was simpler. I like simple. Why can’t I have simple? It seems out of reach.

At least my sense of humour is still more or less intact.

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25 Responses to “Every Bloomin’ Thing”

  1. kristy Says:

    Much luck with your travels! Hope Honolulu is enjoyable and not too expensive!
    Every time I finally get a human on the phone, I tell them in no uncertain terms what I think of their automated system! Our cable company computer actually will argue with you…really annoying!
    “I think we can fix this, please do blah, blah, blah.”

  2. Alice Says:

    Jan, enjoy your time in Hawaii. I hope all the travels go well. I hope you don’t have to measure your carry on too. I have not had very good luck with that in Australia, though.

    You made me laugh right out loud with the computer acting lessons phrase. Thanks for that. And thanks for all the beautiful pictures.

  3. Carol Scudder Says:

    Jan, I enjoy your thoughts shared on here. Laughing at life does help with frustrations.

    The 3 petaled reddish purple wild flower reminds me of the white trillium we have in Indiana. Here is the dictionary.com definition:

    any of several plants belonging to the genus Trillium, of the lily family, having a whorl of three leaves from the center of which rises a solitary, three-petalled flower.

    Your Indiana fans are looking forward to time with you soon!

    Have a restful time in Hawaii. Praying for the flight details to be slept through…no sweat! Should I pray for the traffic in Hawaii or your driving?

  4. Peter Lyne Says:

    Fabulous shots of wild flowers Jan. The one shown with hand looks like some specie of bush Wattle.I’m no botanist but my Australian instinct tells me it ‘looks’ like wattle from the Acacia family.
    Good luck and God bless in your travels.

  5. MadDog Says:

    Thanks, Kristy. Honolulu is going to challenge my frugality. Fortunately, I’m only there for a short week.

    I like your comment about automated lack-of-information-machines. I have yet to meet one that I did not instantly hate. Isn’t it a strange feeling when you find yourself screaming in rage into the phone and you suddenly realise that it’s a computer. I wonder how long it will be before some genius decides to program one to rebuke you for foul language.

  6. MadDog Says:

    Thanks, Alice. I’ll try to force myself to have a good time in Honolulu. For the last few visits, it’s been a bit of a strain. Once you’ve seen the sights there is proves to be a rather sterile place. If you aren’t interested in the touristy stuff, there is little else to amuse. Frankly, if I did not have a church supporting me there and an old friend to visit with (and couch surf!), I wouldn’t bother stopping. I did manage to get my weights on both my cabin and checked baggage within the limits. The back-pack is not bulging as much either.

    I’m glad you liked the images. Sad that I don’t know what they are. It’s easy to poke fun at computers, isn’t it. They are terminally stupid.

  7. MadDog Says:

    Peter, you may be right, but all of the wattle images that I’ve seen have the typically Acacia globular clusters of blossoms, not the catkin spears of the tree I shot. It’s still a mystery to me. There were a ton of species listed in Wikipedia under “bush wattle”. I didn’t check any of them. The images found with that search phrase in Google Images were all of the globular shape.

  8. MadDog Says:

    Thanks, Carol, for the comment. Yes, laughing does help, and I’m learning how all over again.

    Yes, Trillium is a good example of three petals. I also though of Iris, but that’s a very confusing blossom.

    I’ll be in Indiana soon and I’m looking forward to hanging a little with the old gang. I think a few of us are still alive.

    I’m seriously debating the whole car thing in Honolulu. It’s a terrible city in which to drive (are there any good ones?). I may opt to take the bus. Pray for me either way, please. It never hurts.

  9. Phyllis Jackson Says:

    Hi Jan,
    Hope the rest of your travels are safe and restful. Sure hope I get to see you when you are in Indiana.
    Praying for you.

  10. MadDog Says:

    Thanks for your good wishes and prayers, Phyllis. I’m sure our paths will cross in Brownsburg. It’s not that big a place. I’ll be staying with the Hassfurder clan. Give me a ring.

  11. Ahna Says:

    Hey there Mr. when you get here in Indy or where ever you land let me know what I can do for you. I am not able to drive right now. But you are welcomed to stay with us and whom ever offers you a place. Laura had the car out over the weekend and loved it. So hopefully you will be able to take a spin when you get here. Can’t wait to hug you. Love ahna

  12. Carol Scudder Says:



    This is a website dedicated to finding a human to answer our questions for products and services. It may be worth a try
    for some of you out there, not sure if it would cover PNG.
    The list is huge! A person is ALWAYS smarter than a computer
    answering machine. Wait times and details are listed.

  13. pvaldes Says:

    mmmh… very very nice, and very difficult this time …

    4 it’s from genus Acacia, and the genus of 8 is Solanum, that’s obvious… but the others… mmh

  14. pvaldes Says:

    Something in the 2 looks very familiar…

    Yes… a Menyanthaceae

  15. pvaldes Says:

    And a Menyanthaceae from genus Ornduffia (ugly name for so beatiful flower… ) also formerly known as Villarsia.

  16. pvaldes Says:

    I never see nothing like the first flower. Its fantastic, but, I don’t have a single clue! … 🙂

    and 3 is also problematic, flowers from the fam Fabaceae are very complicated to identify without the fruits…

  17. pvaldes Says:

    then… a spiderwort… “Tradescantia-like” Commelinaceae with its typical 3 petals
    … an Hebe (or Rubiaceae?), reminds me to Hebe pinguifolia for example
    … and probably an Onagraceae, maybe from the Onagra genus

  18. pvaldes Says:

    > I didn’t touch it, as it looks poisonous.

    Yes, as a lot of Tomato cousins this spiny species of Solanum is almost surely toxic, maybe if you were lost at the desert and take and cook a few of _very_ red and _very_ ripped fruits you can eat them, but it’s much better to avoid it and let alone. A similar species Solanum sisymbriifolium is very poisonous for man and cattle

  19. MadDog Says:

    Hi Ahna. I got your phone number by email. I’ll call you when I get to Indy in about a week. Are we going to do any kind of family get-together thing? It’s been so long that I probably don’t even know who is who. I don’t know if I’ll take a ride in the Spit or not. I have to wait and see how I feel about it. I’m certainly glad that Laura is enjoying it. It’s a fun car.

  20. MadDog Says:

    Thanks, Carol. That is a very interesting site. I found a couple of numbers for US Ariways. I’ll give them a try when I get to Honolulu. I award five stars to your comment. I put up a link to it on my Facebook page and thanked you for it there.

  21. MadDog Says:

    Pvaldes, thanks very much for your interest and ID skills. I’m happy that I have (probably temporarily) stumped even you on at least one of them. Keep up the good work.

  22. Ali Says:

    Hi Jan,
    the first plant is Woollsia pungens which is a sole species in the heath family Ericaceae. (pungens means spikey and it sure is.)
    The 3rd one is Dillwynias or commonly called heathy parrot pea.
    The white one is a native rice flower.
    The wattle is ofcourse Acacia longifolia, variety Sophorae and is of the family of Kurrajongs. It is a common beach wattle that flowers prolifically in Autumn.
    The heathy/swampy land behind Teewah is apart of an unique and endangered stretch of swampy land that runs in a narrow stretch from Tin Can Bay to Coffs Harbour in the south and is called “The Wallum”. Some/ alot of the fauna and flora found in the Wallum country are found nowhere else in the world. Cooloola National Park is one of the last remaining larger tracts of Wallum, the rest having been gobbled up by greedy developers. Sad but true. I am not sure about the yellow flowers, but I think it be some kind of Dog Rose.?
    Have a great trip my friend…..stay strong.

  23. MadDog Says:

    Thanks very much, Ali, for the thorough identification job. Did you pull all of that out of your head? I’m amazed. I hope that you and Pvaldes will compete for the most intensive species identifications. Then I could stop fretting that I don’t know any of them. To me, they’re entertainment.

  24. Ali Says:

    I have been interested in Wallum fauna and flora since I was a kid Jan, so some names I pulled from the back of my memory bank, but I did check up on the Woollsia because I wasn’t sure of the botanical name? (it had always been just a spikey heath to me.)

    Keep your beautiful pictures coming please Jan, we all look forward to them and to your coming adventures and news.

  25. MadDog Says:

    Ali, I reckoned that there must be some reason that you were so quick to come up with those IDs.

    I’ll keep putting this stuff out no matter if anyone reads it or not. It’s good therapy.