Saturday, March 25, 2017

Mickey Dioro

My Dad liked horse racing. He got a few big wins but mostly not... like he used to say "it's a mugs game".  One day he rang me at work. This was unusual ... Dad never called me at work (this is before mobile phones were around). "What's wrong Dad" I asked a little concerned. "Sofie," he said. "I won $15 000".  He was in complete disbelief. "You did not!" was all I could come up with. "Yes, yes I did." He was incredulous. He said, "There's no one home for me to tell." So that's why he rang me.

A few weeks earlier my youngest sister announced she was getting married with her boyfriend and although my parents were terrifically pleased, Dad was worried how he would pay for it... and then suddenly he was flush!

From many, many years ago Mickey Dioro was a horse that Dad used to bet on all the time and would win for him (winning again just this week I was told). He got the nick name from people at the Kafenio he would go to daily for more than 70 years. Most people there only knew him as Mickey Dioro. (His real name was Michael but was called Mick)

When my Dad died recently, all I could think of was a purple sash with white writing and yellow/gold tassel ends. When my sister called after taking Mum to arrange and choose things for the funeral, I told her about my thoughts of this sash and asked her if it was tacky. She said Mum had just chosen the flowers for Dad and they were white roses with purple irises. When they came over I asked Mum what she thought and she thought it was a lovely tribute.

I had used this purple for the lining of a skirt that I wore when the Brisbane Spoolettes went to see "Ladies in Black" (which was fantastic) and I had some left. I showed the skirt to Mum and asked her if she thought it was too 'fluffy' to wear to Dad's funeral and she said that Dad loved purple and black.  

I made two sashes and went to ABC Embroidery at West End and they embroidered it for a very reasonable price. When I picked them up it was exactly as I envisaged them. I was so pleased my vision was realised. We used one draped over the casket and it went with Dad. The other we had on the table at the wake where the food was. It looked lovely. Mum has that one now at home. I miss my Dad a lot and it's so hard not being able to see him. 

My Dad was 83. He had a hard life being orphaned in Athens after the Second World War. For a time he and his only brother were at an orphanage just out of Athens. It was a private orphanage of a very wealthy couple who could not have children ... although there were many children left with only one parent, they decided to take only children orphaned in the true sense. My Dad very rarely spoke of this only to say once that he felt safe and happy there. Look here for some photos of how devastating and desperate it looked. The only other thing he said once was that he remembers walking to the train station in Piraeus to go to the orphanage and they were turned back by German soldiers saying the train line was bombed. He used to get cigarettes from the Allied soldiers and sell them. That's also when he started smoking at 7 years old. In 2001 he was told he had throat cancer and he would be dead in a year if he didn't stop. He stopped the moment he walked out of the doctor's office. He also gave up drinking for two years. He was 67. Obviously he survived after his one shot at chemo and radiation. He was one of the lucky ones. He was devastated (as we all were) when one of my younger sisters was nearly killed in a car accident in 1983. She had horrific injuries and a halo brace for a broken neck and she was in a coma for 4 months. My sister was in hospital for 18 months then did 5 years of outpatients at the hospital every day. A few years after he survived the cancer we found out my father had asbestosis and that it probably caused his throat cancer. Of course, like many men his age, he also had prostate cancer. A few years ago he was diagnosed with dementia. The disease that robs you of your mental life and then takes your body too. We were so lucky that, although it was a terribly difficult 2 or 3 last years, for the most part my Dad still remembered us all till the end, could eat and drink and walk around. Those who dementia has visited will know what a blessing this is. 

Thanks for indulging me in talking about my Dad for a bit. Thank you so much for all your kind words and thoughts in the comments on my last post. 

My thoughts to all of us that have lost loved one. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Is it too early to hate 2017?

I am already over 2017.

I thought it started well... we went to Maroochydore for a week on 7th January. When we got there, unpacked and went out for dinner. That's when I realised I left my wallet at home. I had taken $50 of my son's Christmas money in case he wanted to buy anything and so we used that. We also found my son had left his togs and swimming bag at home. We bit the bullet and went downstairs to the private, secure car park to drive the 2 hours back home to get my wallet... only to find the two boogie boards we left out next to our car (so it wouldn't mess up the lift and unit) STOLEN.  We drove down and back (four hours driving) to get my wallet and tried to forget. I tried to buy some new boogie boards but everywhere (of reasonable price) had sold out and tried buying some 2nd hand ones... eventually finding 2 for $10... but one died by the end of the week but it served it's purpose by then.

We went for a swim the next day and the surf tore out one of my favourite hoop earrings.. silver with cubic zirconia  all around... a gift from a friend's mother when I hosted them when they were here from the Netherlands about 6 years ago. I am really shattered at losing one (a couple of years ago  I lost one gold hoop a of a pair I bought when I was living in Cyprus in 1984.. annoying). Then a warning light went on in the car... the same one that a part was replaced a month before.  I rang the mechanic who said to get it tested to see if I could drive home safely.. cost me more money :( but it was safe to drive home.

We went to see Matilda the musical at the end of the holidays... I park nearby at a bus station (Gabba for those living here) which is 2 stops from where the theatre is. Of course, our bus passes were at home in my wallet... so had to drive home to get the wallet... we made it but only by 5 minutes. (show was magnificent) Then my son thought he lost his phone which he got for Christmas; luckily we found it. Then my shoe broke so I had to carry my shoe around while trying to look fancy.

Next, I went to a Brisbane Spoolettes event seeing Ladies in Black (also magnificent). I made a skirt (no photos yet) on the day, put on some shoes... the heel cracked... ok other shoes... the soles split while I was running to catch the ferry... drive home get shoes that don't go... but get there and have a great night.

Then my hot water system broke... of course they don't make it anymore and I was without hot water for a week while the plumber, bless him, found a salvaged part so I didn't have to fork out $1400 minimum for a new system. I was having cold showers anyway as it was still 28-30 degrees celsius at midnight... it was the hottest summer ever here with 35 days straight of over 30 degrees ... autumn now and it's still in the 30's!

Then my Dad died.... he was 83 1/2 and had dementia. He had been in a nursing home for nearly two years and I would take him out every Sunday for a family lunch (along with other days of course). Although it is very sad for us, we are happy that he had a peaceful passing and the most important thing is that he remembered us all (for the most part) and on the last Sunday he told his grand boys he loved them and thank you for taking him out every week. We are glad he did not have to get to the stage that he would suffer through forgetting how to eat or drink.  There is some sewing that is part of it but I won't post now about that yet.

Today I get an infringement notice for $243 for leaving ("littering") items at a charity bin!!!! I put stuff IN a charity bin but did not leave anything outside.... I am flabbergasted .... I am disputing it of course. I know the laws and made sure it was inside the bin. (it is illegal to leave things outside a charity bin here).  I don't know ... do you feel for some reason the universe is against you.. I am just over it ... I consider myself very lucky and I always feel I have "enough".  I need a win.

So onto sewing... I did make a pair of New Look 6459. This is in a cotton for testing. They are a nice fit and it's a lovely pattern. I have a pair half made in a polka dot rayon that I also made a dress with... the remnant leftover.  Sorry for the bad phone photo inside at night with bad light. I can't help see these as pyjama pants but they are nice and comfy. Worn with the white cowl top that needs an FBA!

I went to the fabric sale again recently and when I've got more mental energy I'll post my new purchases. Thanks for listening to my rant... let me know if the universe has fought you lately.