Last night, as I was watching one of my favourite shows 'Better Homes And Gardens', I was horrified to learn of the death of one of the most magnificent creatures on earth. The most magnificent creature to me.
Mohan, the 'King' of Tiger Island at Dreamworld, had passed away at the grand old age of 17.
Now apparently this happened back in June, but we didn't hear anything about it here in Melbourne. Obviously down here, it just wasn't that bigger deal.
But it's a huge deal to me.
Back in 2003, I met Mohan personally. And it was an experience that, to this day, nothing has surpassed.
I had booked in to have a photo taken with the tigers at Dreamworld and I was so excited! I can remember, while my hubby (then boyfriend) and I were standing outside the enclosure with one of the keepers waiting to go in, saying something along the lines of I was going to wet my pants, and the keeper replying "You don't have to be scared." "Who's scared!" I said to him. "I can't wait to get in there! Let me at him!"
I think that might have actually scared the keeper a little bit!
Once I stepped into that enclosure, my life was never the same again.
Lying on a low timber deck, was the most enormous white tiger I had ever seen. And I mean huge! Sure, you see them on television, and at zoos, but it's not until you are standing right next to one, can you fully ascertain the enormity of this creature! Power emanated from every pore, and I went from feeling so confident and excited, to feeling vulnerable and minuscule, in a heartbeat.
His head alone was so big, that I would have had trouble putting my arms around it. Not to mention the fact that my arms would most likely have been ripped from their sockets in seconds, as easily as I could tear strands of cooked spaghetti.
His paws were twice as big as dinner plates, and I imagined him flinging me across the entire enclosure with the slightest little flick of his massive wrist.
His fur was so deliciously soft and the colour of Hokey Pokey icecream. I desperately wanted to throw my arms around him, and lie there with my head resting on his huge frame, but instead I slowly patted him like the keepers showed me, and barraged them with questions.
I needed to know everything about this majestic animal.
Mohan was one of the original Tigers that came to Tiger Island when it opened in 1995. He came to Australia as a young cub from the U.S, and is the father of Rama, Sita, Sultan and Tai, who were all born at Tiger Island in 1998.
At one point, Mohan decided he wasn't comfortable and stood, and I briefly saw a flash of fear in the keepers eyes. They were beside him instantly, urgently telling us to step back, while they got him resettled, and then we were able to move next to him once again. They gave him his favourite little carton of milk, and then he had a little doze while we all talked around him.
I think the whole visit took about fifteen minutes, but for me, it was over in the blink of an eye. As I was led from the enclosure, I looked back at him and we made eye contact. I felt like Mohan looked into my very soul.
Meeting this most awe inspiring being was one of the happiest days of my life. And yesterday, hearing of his death, is one of the saddest. There are no white tigers left in the wild. That makes me feel sick as the words roll off my tongue....White.Tigers.Are.Extinct.In.The.Wild.
And their orange and black striped family members are not far behind.
Humans. Sometimes I'm ashamed to be one.
There is so much we can do to help, but that is for another post.
For now, I just want to say "Goodbye old boy. Thank you for allowing me to share your space, even just for those few minutes. The tears I cry now may not last forever, but the impact you had on me will. You were, and always will be amazing, and I treasure the way you touched me, and so many others.
May you spend eternity running through the rainforests in the stars, where you will always be magnificent, safe and King. Never forgotten, my wannabe furry headrest. I will always remember the feel of your fur on my hands, and have love for you in my heart. Run free my friend."
Earlier in the week, Dorothy from Singular Insanity put out a challenge to all of us gorgeous girls, to make a list of thirty positive things about ourselves. I knew that I wouldn't find it easy, but I was quite surprised at just how difficult it was for me. I guess it isn't something that I think about often. It's funny isn't it? How we can be so quick at finding the positive in others, but so lacking in thinking the wonderful qualities that lie beneath our own skin!
So after days of thought, and copious amounts of wine, here are the thirty qualities that make me, me.
1. I am kind.
2. I am caring.
3. I am considerate of others.
4. I am friendly.
5. I am dependable. If I say I'm going to do something for someone, I do it.
6. I am a passionate animal lover.
7. I adore reading, both to learn and to escape.
8. I am creative in lots of different ways.
9. I'm funny, and I love making people laugh.
10. I'm incredibly loyal.
11. I'm very trusting and always see the good in people.
12. I am totally empathetic. If someone cries, I cry too, whether I'm with the person or they're on T.V.
13. I am sympathetic.
14. I am understanding.
15. I am persistent. If there is something I want to do well, I keep trying until I do.
16. I am compassionate.
17. I am unselfish, by putting others before myself.
18. I am intelligent.
19. I am mature.
20. I am supportive.
21. I am almost always punctual.
22. I am capable of anything I put my mind to.
23. I am completely faithful.
24. I am honest, but never brutally. I will always find a nice way to say something bad.
25. I am polite, especially to strangers.
26. I am appreciative, especially of the little things.
27. I am proud of my family and home.
28. I am reliable. You know you can trust me.
29. I am humble.
30. Ok, so I'm not completely unattractive either ;)
Well , that's it. Phew!
So, how about you give it a go. You don't have to show anyone if you don't want to, but as Dorothy explains here, it's just a good exercise. And it really makes you think!
I had to go to the bank, and decided while I was there to pop into Woolworths, but to get there I had to go passed Donut King! If you're a regular reader of mine, you will know that doughnuts have been my weakness of late, so I try and avoid those places like the plague!
Anyhoo, I turned my head the other way and got to Woolies without incident, but the whole time I was in there, I was thinking about it!
Back before my life went all 'Twisted Sista' on me, the lovely Grace from With Some Grace awarded me the Kreativ Blogger Award!!
I feel very honoured to have been given the 'shoutout' by someone I truly admire. If you haven't read Grace's blog (where have you been???), then you need to pop over and take a look. Grace is someone who never fails to make me smile!
Now, to get down to the buso, I was asked to answer the following questions....
What is my favourite song?
I'm sorry, but that is just an impossible question! Waaaay too many to choose from, and I just don't think I could. I can, however, tell you my favourite song of the moment, which is 'Broken Hearted' by Karmin. I go nuts when I hear this song! Love it, love it, love it!!
My favourite dessert
Once again, a hard one for a dessert fan like myself. However, my all time favourite has to be Lemon Meringue Pie. Mmmm, I can just taste that meringuey goodness! Bugger. Now I'm going to have to make one today.
What ticks me off?
Rudeness. Pure and simple. There's no need for it.
When I'm upset, what do I do?
Generally cry, scream to the universe, and then sit down with a cup of tea. Outside is usually best, especially if it's a nice day. (Just for the sitting down with the cup of tea bit, not the screaming to the universe bit! That I usually do in private!)
My favourite pet
Oooh, another toughey. It would have to be between my first cat, Tabatha, my last loss - cat Astro, and my ferret, Lewis. However all of my pets have been loves of my life.
What do I prefer, black or white?
I like them both, especially together. I've been told that white looks really good on me, but I tend to wear a lot of black, as it's slimming! Supposedly.
What is my biggest fear?
Anything bad happening to my kids, or my hubby. My family is the most precious thing in the world to me.
What is my attitude?
Generally positive, although I can get anxious and a bit down too. All part of my anxiety disorder which rears its ugly head from time to time.
What is perfection?
Nature, in all its magnificent glory. Including seeing wildlife in their natural habitat.
What is my guilty pleasure?
Since I've stopped having sugar regularly, it has to be doughnuts. I'm fine as long as I don't smell them, but God help me if I catch a whiff! I just can't walk past.
And now I need to tell you.....
Ten random facts about me
* In the past, I have worked as a fitness instructor, flight attendant and family portrait photographer. Not all at the same time though, of course!
* I sigh a lot. I don't know whether I'm fed up all the time, or whether I need more oxygen to my brain often, but half the time I don't even realise I'm doing it!
* The CD's I have on rotation in my car at the moment are:
Tony O'Connor - Kakadu
George Michael - Patience
The Beach Boys - 20 Golden Greats
The Nolans - Altogether
(My CD cover is different to this though! Loving those leg warmers and headbands)!
(PS Don't judge me! My best friend and I have loved these songs since we were kidlets)!
Big Rock Candy Mountain - Various
(more about that shortly, so stay tuned)!
* I despise green beans.
* I would love to be able to draw, or paint. I have a vision in my head of me, sitting on a hillside somewhere, sketching or painting a beautiful landscape. Unfortunately I'm hopeless at it, so I'm left admiring the artistry of others.
* My two favourite movies are 'Australia' and 'Miss Congeniality'.
* My favourite author is Bryce Courtenay.
* I love seahorses! We were halfway through building a seahorse tank about two years ago, when we had to put the project on hold due to my hubby being retrenched from his job. Unfortunately we've never got back to it, as there is always somewhere else more important for our money to go! I'm hoping we'll be able to finish it someday soon.
* My favourite plants/flowers are orchids. I currently have two of them, and I continuously try my hardest not to kill them!
* I found it really hard to think up these ten facts!!
So now I get to pass the baton on, so to speak, to some other deserving bloggers!
It feels all too long ago since I sat here at the keyboard and let my fingers pour out what is aching to be expressed from within my heart and soul. And now I'm not sure I even know how to get the words out. It's really weird. For weeks I haven't had the time to sit down and write about how I feel, and now it's almost like I can't.
I feel blocked.
I'll have to take it slow.
The last three weeks have been....well, hard is the easiest and the nicest way to put it.
I feel like I've lost myself somewhere back in July, and I'm having trouble finding myself again.
Shall I start at the beginning?
Hmmm. Now where would that be exactly?
I guess it would be when I started working again. I have taken on a part time job working from home for a sports photographic company, and since the day I started, I feel like nothing else has existed. It has been full time! It won't always be this way, I know. I'm slower because I'm learning, so it's taking a lot more time than it will once I've been doing it for a while. But I've always got lots of questions, and I can't continue until someone gets back to me. And I'm stressing the whole time until the job is complete, because I know it is supposed to be finished in 1-2 days, and it's taking me double that! More!
On top of that, I've had my son's 7th birthday, as well as taking our foster dog to meet potential new owners, and leaf collection for the possums, and trying to look after my family. I'm also in the middle of de-cluttering, so it looks like a bomb has gone off in my lounge room. You know how it gets worse before it gets better, when you're emptying out all of your cupboards and other storage? And that is how it has had to stay, because I haven't had the time to get back to it.
I look at it and I feel miserable.
Adding to my misery, is my worry of my last little foster dog Meesha. I thought last weekend she had gone to her forever home, but today I find out the gentleman is unexpectedly going to be in and out of hospital over the next few months, so is giving Meesha back. I'm just devastated! She's not coming back to me, but going to another carer with no other animals, (which is best for her), but I'm worried that people won't see what I see.
I see a beautiful, loving, friendly little dog.
I see a little someone who makes you her whole world.
I see someone who just wants to belong and have a place of her own to call home.
Everyone deserves that, and so does she. I wish people would look past her greying exterior, to the loving soul within. She's worth it.
The world on my shoulders is pushing me under.
I feel like I'm suffocating.
I can't breathe.
I just want everything to STOP!!
Just for a moment so I can try and pull myself together.
I know I can. It just seems to be taking me a while.
I also know that my stress is nothing compared to what other's are going through.