Miracles Do Happen

A few short days ago, a good friend of mines life changed forever.
She was pregnant with her little bubby. A culmination of her and her husbands love, growing safe and sound in her belly, getting stronger each and every day.

Her pregnancy had been fraught with worry and concern as there were complications of sorts, and in the end she was put on permanent bedrest. Loosing him was a very real possibility, so she set herself up with her own sources of entertainment, and focused on keeping her little “Augustus” in her belly where it was safe for as long as she possibly could.

Her world changed 9 days ago. Things started to happen and “Augustus” was welcomed into the world – 16 weeks early weighing less than a kilo and just over 30cm’s long. He’s a little miracle.

I wished my friend all the happiness in the world, and whilst I’m not a church going kinda person, I’ve said my fair share of prayers the last 9 days. Praying that his little lungs will strengthen, that he will continue to thrive and soon enough, be strong enough to have cuddles with his Mummy and Daddy.

As a highly emotional person, my first reaction was to grab my camera, and rush to my friend to be with her. Teeny babies like this are fence sitters, and their health can change at a moments notice. I wanted to be there with her, hold her hand and tell her it would all be ok, and that he would be ok. But I realised as I thought about it, that this was her time. Her time to spend with her little baby boy and she would call me when all was well and she was ready for visitors. Till then, it was text messages and Facebook.

I’ve become a Facebook stalker these past few days!

I got that text today. “Mel He’s moved hospitals, so let me know if you want to come and see us”.

Those few words made my day.

So tomorrow, I will leave the house, camera attached and I will see my friend. My wonderful friend who has her miracle baby and I will do my best to capture his tiny little fingers, toes, eyes and nose, all whilst he is in the humidi-crib.

So excited to see you dear heart and your little miracle.

All my love,
Mel x

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Love Is All You Need…

Recently I’ve aquired a new family member.

She’s got beautiful blue eyes and a big heart, 2 gorgeous children, and a husband, Chris,  a Navy Officer who adores the ground she walks on. I’ve only met her and her 2 girls once, about 7 months ago in fact upon a whirlwind trip to Sydney in which I met up with a bunch of friends, where we hit it off and we’ve not stopped talking since. I’ve never had the opportunity to meet her husband because of his occupation.

I’m talking about Fi. She’s a Mother, a wife, a daughter and up till recently a sister of 2.

Fiona – make that 3 siblings you have.

When I met Fi, she was busily getting her family ready to move house. But this wasn’t any old move – oh no siree! She was in the throes of getting the household ready to move to the USA where her husband was waiting for her to join him upon his 2 year deployment to San Diego, California.

As you may have realised, Fi is no ordinary woman. She is a Navy Wife – and whilst I know there are a lot of women in her position, dealing with deployments for Army, Navy or Airforce, I don’t know them or their stories.

In October 2011, Fi and her two young girls made their way across the globe where her and her girls were reunited with Chris who had left her and his babies, to be in the US, 3 months before she arrived to be with him. She flew with two children and a whole lotta suitcases – to be with the love of her life.

There was trepidation as she left, that the journey would be hellish with the two kids being stuck on a plane with sweet bugger all to entertain them, but kids being kids, surprised her and made little fuss.  She was able to breathe a sigh of relief. She would soon be with her sailor.

In the last 10 months, Fiona has seen her sailor for only 11 weeks. A little while before and after they were married (finally after having put it off due to deployment!) a few weeks before they moved from Australia and a few weeks whilst they settled into their new home in the US.

11 weeks to enjoy married life together. 11 weeks to hold one another and their children.

11 weeks.

There’s been some rough times, with kids settling into new routines, trying to fit into the new neighbourhood and making new friends, and all whilst missing her husband and soul mate.

I don’t know that I could do that.

Fi is surprisingly upbeat about her job as mother and wife. In her words, she’d “have it no other way”. She is proud of his determination and his willingness to fight for our freedom. This is her normal.

In the time since her deployment, Fi and I have learnt a lot about each other. I’ve learnt that she is not just a pretty face, but a woman who is creative – she’s a fabulous interior designer, budding photographer and makeup artist. She’s strong willed and intelligent. She’s a fabulous mother, friend and dedicated wife. She’s also a shopaholic – I’m envious!

What I love about Fi, is the way she still manages to get on about her day, getting the kids ready for school, staying strong in front of them, and keeping her tears for those moments when her babies won’t be affected by them. Because she knows all too well that her strength is what keeps the family together.

What’s brought this on? Why do I want to write a blog about one woman’s journey?

Because over the past few months, I’ve had a few twists occur in my life recently and with every single turn, with every single twist, Fi has been there with a shoulder to cry on, a friendly text telling me to pick up my socks and smile, and willingly stayed up till 3am talking me through the crazy storm of emotions I’ve had and all without complaint. Fi, we might not be related by blood, but with the love and support you have shown Dusty and I these past months, you’re family.

They say you can choose your friends and not your family – well they were wrong. I’ve been lucky to choose who to have in my family and there’s a few of you (Bec, Karishma, Skye, Kirsty, Chaz – just to name a few!) but this blog is dedicated to you.

My Tiffany’s loving, inspiring, beautiful friend and sister from another mister. Chris will be home soon, and I know that you will have the perfect outfit, with beautiful makeup and hair. He’s a lucky man.

And he knows it.

Thank you for being there, and for accepting me for me. Flaws and all.

I can’t wait for your return to Australia. To be there at the airport and capture the precious moments your families see you again. There will be a lot of tears and excitement, but it will be magic.

Love always,
Mel x

The Bogong Hotel

In December 2002, I was invited to a friends (Laurene) birthday where I met Dusty. A month later we were invited to to his hometown where I would be able to meet his family. A lot of nerves, apprehension and laughter (mostly on Dusty and his mate’s behalf at how scared I was!) later,I was welcomed into their home and their lives (even if his family are Collingwood supporters!).Dusty and his mates showed me around the town – boys being boys, one of the first places I was shown, was the historic Bogong Hotel – the ‘best pub in the area’ in Tawonga about 5 minutes or so out of Mount Beauty.

In the nine years Dusty and I have been together since, there have been many a night spent there – either having a cold one with the boys or celebrating a local’s birthday. If there was ever a celebration to be had – it’s likely it was held at The Bogong. Many a happy memory was created there. It was, as it’s motto say “The way country pubs should be” – there was never a dull moment at The Bogong.

The Bogong Hotel

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the 5th December 2011, Dusty awoke to a text message from his cousin Travis “Hey I know it’s early, but have you heard the shitty news? The Bogong Pub is totally stuffed, burnt down last night :(”

Dusty looking at the damage

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cue shocked silence. You could have heard a pin drop. A quick run downstairs, jump onto the computer to look for the news and there it was in black and white. “Fire razes historic country pub”. Well it doesn’t get any plainer than that. The Bogong was gone.

Dusty was lucky enough to make it back to Mount Beauty for Christmas this year. It’s been a while since that happened – 4 years in fact as work has had him rostered on – so home he went, he went to the country club for his cold beer, but when I asked him about his trip, the response I got was -“it wasn’t the same”. Like any good country pub, The Bogong was the place to be.

The place to have a cold one no longer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We headed back to Mount Beauty last week – it’s been a year since I was last there (not through lack of trying!) and as we arrived late in the night, we stopped by to take a look – obviously not seeing much, but enough visible in car headlights to know that it was badly scarred.

Outside scars of The Bogong

 

 

 

 

 

 

On our second last day there, we headed back in the late afternoon. I thought I’d take my camera along for the ride – what after all is a blog without pictures? When we arrived, it was eerie. The roof was caving in, the sign was smoke damaged, the plants were burned but coming back to life… Rising from the ashes I guess.

Poor plants

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’re probably wondering why I’m writing about a pub at this point. The reason is purely for my own records and to show those who won’t see it before it is bulldozed. But mostly to remember the good times that were had. Which is where this next bit of “Bogong History” comes in.
As we wandered onto the Kiewa Valley Highway side of the pub, we noticed a bunch of people (women presumably) had hooked up their bra’s to the security fencing – about halfway along there was a rather large cupped bra that said “We hung out at The Bogong”. Well, I’ve gotta say at this point I was laughing more than a bit, and wondering what the FULL story was.

We Hung Out At The Bogong

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh and I know what you’re all thinking and the answer is No. I did consider leaving my bra up on that fence, but alas, I wasn’t that brave!

Anyways – back to the story…

Jackie, Dusty’s mum works in the local hospital, and she did a bit of sleuthing for us to find out if anyone knew what the go was with the bras. The story goes as follows:

Every summer, there’s around 13 or so women aged from 30-60 who come up to the area and stay at the Tawonga Caravan Park a short trek from The Pub. These women would head to the Bogong on one night of their stay, drink a bit, and then they’d get a little crazy and dance on the tables and – you guessed it ripped their tops and bras off, giving the locals an eyeful and – hanging out at The Bogong!

Jackie and Dusty Looking at the Bras

 

 

 

 

 

 

These women came up on their annual getaway to find their watering hole had burnt down. I can’t think of a better way for them to celebrate it’s memory (though I can imagine that there were a few funny looks from cars passing by as they were ‘dressing’ the fence!

13 Bra's in Total hung off the fence

13 Bra's in total hung off the fence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, The Bogong has gone, and reports since have stated that it wasn’t a spontaneous fire caused by bad wiring in a building of around 125 years stature, but arson. It makes me angry and sad that someone livelihood has been taken from them, that stories will be lost in the ashes. Will those women who ‘hung out’ at the Bogong return now they know it’s gone? Will the pub ever be rebuilt, to come back from the ashes like a phoenix? Will the town’s economy struggle even more because times that were already tough are even moreso now?

They are questions that I guess I can’t answer, but I sure hope those footloose and fancy free women come back, that those stories hidden in the walls are resurrected and that soon enough the Bogong will be pouring another cold one for the locals.

May the Bogong always be remembered as the place to be when times were tough, and where the cool kids “hung out”

Farewell you little beauty and may you soon rise again.

Carlton Draught Sign

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