Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Post Christmas meanderings.

I'm so glad Christmas is over.

We had a great time catching up with family and friends a few hours north. My Davey had some quality time with blokey cousins in their 20's, and they enjoyed his company too. Some of the time they were doing work on Grandpa's little farm together, other quality time was spent in lounge chairs watching the Boxing Day Cricket Test. I really enjoy seeing my Davey having good bloke time.

I caught up with some dear friends and had some relaxed time that may have involved champagne, and that was really lovely.

There were no family frictions, because the factious members didn't show.

A favourite Aunt (I'm actually named after her) shared the news on Boxing Day that she has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and has only a short time to live. This Aunt lives some distance from me, but encouraged and supported me greatly when my Rob died. However, her attitude in the face of this is that at 85 she knows her time is ending and will be able to tie up many loose ends and say the farewells she most wants to. My father commented that she is facing it well, and that her husband (his brother) served in the war and won't let this worry him. I let the comment slide, but inside I wanted to tell him what a foolish, idiotic, unempathic comment this was. Serving in the war does not prepare anyone for the loss of their loving partner after 60 plus years of marriage! Grrrrrrr! Thankfully Dad doesn't live any where near my uncle, so his lack of understanding should have a minimal effect.

As usual I didn't really have time to think of my Rob on Christmas Day. It's just darn hectic. There were moments though, and those moments were as heart piercingly poignant as ever. He should have been 51. He should have been there to help me navigate the foibles of my parents, but I had to be grown up all by myself. Then the moment of thought would be overtaken by busyness and lost. Now that Christmas and his birthday have passed, I feel less stressed and the feeling of the world being out of kilter and having to consciously make an effort to be cheerful has passed. The feeling is also one of wanting to remember my Rob but not having time to and not feeling right about that. It's just so difficult to organise Christmas for my children, help them to cope with the total disorganisation of my parents while helping them to see that wonderful things about my parents AND have time for private reflection. It's all part of the juggling act.

My grief is bearable, containable, now. This is the first Christmas since Rob died we've had Christmas at my parents'. They've been able to come to me for the last 5 Christmasses, and the rest of the family has acceded in kind consideration to me, which I'm very, very grateful for. Rob was such a big part of organising Christmas at my parents'. We would always ready their house for the influx of family, organising bedding, food, and ah, first and foremost, CLEANING! My parents are no longer able to travel this year, and I was OK with that. We did things a bit differently, but we did Christmas at my parents without my Rob, and I had a great time. Though skulking off for champagne with friends helped!

I've adapted to my life. I hate the burden of solo parenting and the demands that places on me, but I'm getting through that too.
I'm at peace with my life and am grateful for the many, many rich blessings I have.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Slip sliding away

I took delivery delivery of my new car today. The car I looked at and decided to buy last weekend because the car I've had for the last 11 years is costing more in repairs than it's value, on a very regular basis. The time to change cars had come. Actually, it was time to change about 4 years ago which is why Rob & I were looking at car options in the month before he died. Then my life turned inside out and changing cars just didn't rate much more than a passing thought.

I really liked my old car. It was a model with lots of extras. Extras that are not included in my new base model car. My old car was a station wagon, but I always enjoyed driving it, I enjoyed the comfort levels it afforded. My new car is also a station wagon, and although it's 3 years old it has only 22,000 ks on the odometer (13,500 miles) and still has the new car feel to it. It's a sensible car for me to buy, and really, it's very nice.

I kind of enjoyed making this purchase without consultation with anyone else and the eyebrows that raises. Why is it ok for a man to do this but not a woman? I feel irritated in the extreme when I'm considered incapable of making important decisions because of my gender. I'm perfectly capable of researching road tests, resale values, service issues and the like, thank you for your concern.

So, I'm now the owner of one perfectly sensible 4 cylinder station wagon and all I feel is relief that I've managed to negotiate the paper work and finance in what was, and continues to be, a pretty hectic week.

And I feel sad. I've parted with another link to Rob. It was our car. Rob loved it, I loved it. We had some great family road trips in it. Now the tangible link to those memories is gone from my life. I have a car that looks and feels new and has absolutely no link to my husband.

Replacing my car was the right thing to do, and I should have done it well before now, but sometimes doing the right thing is just a little heart wrenching. The life I once had has slipped a little further away.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lost opportunity

I took Davey to the podiatrist today to have his 6 monthly check-up for his shortened ligaments and muscle sheaths which he does stretching exercises to correct. Happily the stretching exercises and orthotics in his shoes are returning his curled under toes to a state of normalcy.

It was difficult to find an appointment time that suited both the podiatrist and fitted in with our school and family schedules. It still involved a bit of juggling to fit it in (which stressed me, non-one else), but we succeeded and all is well.

After futsal tonight Davey asked me where his Achilles is. I showed him. Oh, he said. That really hurts when I play soccer of futsal.

Damn shame he didn't mention that to the podiatrist huh?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Is cyberspace really taking me into the future?

I've just been friended (there's a new fangled word) on Facebook by people I was a mad 20 something year old with. I feel as though they're from a whole other life. Certainly it was a whole other phase in my life.

Of course I accepted them as friends, and I look forward to finding out about their lives.

Yet there's part of me that wonders if I want to. It feels a little like a backward step. It's a part of my life that I left behind.

Maybe I'm afraid they'll reject me. They're pretty cool characters and ah, my life choices are different to theirs, and I'm a loooooong way from cool. I'm very comfortable with my uncoolness, yet it's funny that I'm suddenly conscious of it with these blasts from my past.

I don't really know why this worries my at all, in all likelihood we'll do our polite catching up then ignore each, so nothing will have changed.

Friday, November 6, 2009

I'm being unfair, but...

Our church had a music night tonight. I worked behind the scenes, as did my Davey who manned the data projector and lights. Zinni sang her heart out in an accapella choir which sounded magnificent as the beauty of 40 combined voices lifted the audience to a place of sheer delight.

Later in the night a man who I find to be quite superficial (this judgement has a bearing on my story) sang a song about relying on Jesus in all things. The only words I can remember of the song are "The widow who sits and cries tears for her loneliness".

I didn't feel gratitude that the song captured my situation. I felt anger. Anger because the man singing has no frigging idea.

Anger because that's not how it is. I don't sit and cry. I DO. My life is about doing, not sitting and moping!

Anger because I know in his mind he's singing about a woman dressed in black, helpless and pathetic. Anger because he doesn't connect me with the term widow. I doubt that many people at church do attach the term widow to me. The stereotype doesn't match my red hair, my humour, my lack of patheticness.

Yet a widow I am. And it makes me angry that this man will use the term that descibes my situation in a song to arouse emotion,
yet never once offer an actual widow in his sphere any form of spoken or practical support. I feel anger that he's used a description that applies to me in a way that buys into an incorrect stereotype with no connection to the actual experience.

Did this man do anything wrong? No. He's just an innocent man who is blessed to know not of what he sings.

Me? I guess I'm buying into the stereotype by being a bitter widow!

Thursday, November 5, 2009


My girl is definitely growing up.

I have proof.

She tied the garbage bag in our bin and took it out to the wheely bin. Without being asked.

Woo hoo.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Castellano III

I have just written a short (very short) biography on Rodolfo Enrique Fogwill, an Argentinian author. This was homework for my Spanish III class which I've just started. As this homework was written in Spanish, I'm feeling just a little pleased with myself. It may be midnight, but I have completed my homework!

Ahora sueno. (I'd place the tilda above the n to correctly spell sueno, but I'm not able to make it happen and too tired to care.)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Couch potato communication

It's sunday night. We've had a normal hectic Sunday and Davey and I have both finally collapsed in front of the TV with our laptops. (Zinni hasn't returned from night church yet.) Davey's finishing an assignment that he was meant to finish yesterday, but the lure of friends inviting him to the beach and then a sleepover proved irresistable, while I'm supposedly writing a short biography in Spanish of a South American author. The volume of the TV increased as a segment of ads burst onto the screen. Davey had the remote control and didn't move to hit the mute button. I stretched out my arm with my palm flat so he could hand it to me. Without looking up from his screen Davey picked up the remote and put it into my hand. I pressed the mute button and we both continued doing our respective thing in silence. I love our unspoken synchronicity.


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Straightening the factual lines.

It's not a new thing this gig at Mid Century Modern Moms. I've been there since January, I just didn't tell you guys about it, because I wasn't sure I'd be able to keep up the pace, and I'm not good at self-promotion - I've never been able to ask a boss for a raise, ever!

Just thought I'd post that here rather in the comments of my last post, 'cause you might not go back and read them to get my response.

I have to confess that the other thing that's kept me from this blog is Facebook. I sort of feel as though my occasional one line status updates almost feeds my need to share my life with the world. It's a little unsatisfactory though 'cause I have friends on there who are not really friends but who it would be awkward in real life if I didn't accept their Facebook friend request. The etiquette of the cyberage is no less tricky than the etiquette required in the 1800's! (And less clear, to boot!)

I think I'm going to be doing a bit more thinking here on my blog again to try and regain some of that elusive satisfaction. Heck, that's why I went to all the trouble of starting a new blog with new names 'n all. Let's see how I go.

Maisy - who loves her cyber friends.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

For the Fans

(That would be you Alicia!)

Let it be known that I blog every Wednesday over at Mid Century Modern Moms about the fun of parenting teenagers!


That's the latest offering.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

What happened to all those things I churned over all night

We're just back from 3 days of camping. I finally decided not to go too far afield and camped at a beautiful surfing beach in a National Park only an hour or so away. While 'eco' toilets and firewood are at the campsite, campers have to take their own water. Although I'd rather have a shower to wash the salt water off, the upside is that the lack of water puts a lot of campers off, so it's not too crowded which is a big bonus in my books. Rain a few days before we left meant fire bans were lifted so campfires were our night time entertainment.

The vaccination reminder for the dogs arrived the day after my post, so I hadn't forgotten them. I always feel good when I'm proven to be less daffy than I feel these days! As their vaccinations were still current I was able to leave them at the kennels (which was the most expensive part of our little getaway), at least they are washed as part of the service, so they smelled better in the car after we'd collected them than we did!

Not only did I deliver the children's sermon last Sunday, I'm doing so again tomorrow. (Which is why I'm blogging; avoidance and all that!)

I did buy a 21 year old Mazda 121 for Zinni and now I'm enjoying (?) teaching her to drive a stick shift. Zinni has logged the necessary 120 learner driver hours, but still has another 3 months before she can sit her test. If Zinni sits the test in an automatic car (which is what our family station wagon is), she will be restricted to driving automatic vehicles for the first year. In reality though, if she doesn't learn to drive a manual now, it will be much harder as by the time her 12 months of driving only automatic transmissions expires, Zinni will have left home for uni. Truth be known I'm enjoying having a little car to buzz around town in. It's a great little car to drive. It's also a very Zinni car. She didn't want a girly bubble car, so this lime green box is fine by her. This little Lime Splice is the means of me having some freedom from all the ferrying of offspring around next year once Zinni has her licence - without a second car to go with the second driver I'll be driving everyone everywhere anyway!

This is not Zinni's car, but it's the same model. Zinni's is beautiful lime green remember! (And we bought it at a private sale from people who live around the corner from me.)

We didn't go to the Global Carnival because it was raining, which suited my finances just fine!

I also still haven't contacted my widow friend Monica who lives in Sydney. Monica has just passed her 4th mark of this crappy status and I will ring her next week, for she too is on holidays and the chances of me being able to catch her at home are increased.

So, there's the wrap up of last week's worrying.

When we arrived home from camping (where we were out of phone range), I found a message on my answering machine from my dear friend Will who was best man at our wedding and who gave an hilarious and gut wrenching eulogy at Rob's funeral. Will's younger brother died on Wednesday, aged 40, less than a week after being diagnosed with cancer.
He had cancer in his lungs, liver, kidneys and probably bone and brain. How can this insidious disease take over so completely with no outward signs? Another family sinks into the morass of grief as they try to remember how and why to breathe.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Churning thoughts, elusive sleep.

I couldn't sleep last night. There was no particular reason, there were just too many thoughts demanding attention that popped to the surface of consciousness each time I was about to slide into slumber. To combat their attention seeking, at 4 am I picked up a pen and paper and wrote them all down, in the hope I would sleep knowing I could continue worrying about them when I woke, because they were written down.

Here they are:

What should I put in Davey's lunch box tomorrow?

Where should we go camping in the holidays? (2 weeks holidays begin this weekend.)
Will the bushfires prevent us camping in several possible sites?
Have I taken anything out of the camping equipment tub and not replaced it?

Where will I leave our dogs while we're away?
Are their vaccinations up to date? I can't remember, but I don't remember having them vaccinated this year, and I'm sure I would if I had! Did I ignore the reminder from the vet? Where did I put it? Is there a horrible pile of paperwork hidden somewhere? Are my dogs suffering too much from lack of consistent exercise? Bugger that husband of mine for dying. Even the dogs are missing out.

Will we be able to light a fire if we go camping? Is it worth going if we can't?

What should I put in Davey's lunchbox tomorrow?

I have to pick up our car from the panel beaters, have I set the alarm early enough? Will I still have time to make something for Davey's lunch?

Should I buy the little manual car we looked at for Zinni so she can learn to drive a manual? Is it too expensive? Can I afford it? Will I find a reliable car cheaper than $1800? Do I need to have a mechanic look at it? Why? I know what an engine should sound like! I know what rust looks like! Would Matt (mechanic, nephew, 21 years old) mind looking at it for me? Would it make him feel important, loved, needed, or just annoyed? If I don't buy this car, how will Zinni ever learn to drive a manual? Am I an idiot? Is the car good value?

Should I be concerned about the assessment changes mooted by Zinni's school for her final year? Will it adversely affect her? Will it positively affect her?

Will I keep this car after Zinni leaves home so Davey can learn to drive a manual? How will I run 2 cars? Am I an idiot?

Why can't I remember to trim the dog's nails more frequently? Why don't I bath them more often? Because I'm an idiot?

Why can't I go to sleep?

What am I going to give Davey for lunch tomorrow?

What am I going to talk about in Sunday's children's sermon? Why did I take this on? Will I be able to organise someone to do the talk for the middle Sunday of the holidays? Should I just do both talks?

Will we go to the Global Carnival on Sunday? Can I afford that and a new car? If I don't go will I hate myself for missing this fabulous music festival? Gee it's annoying that I'm stuck doing the children's sermon when I'd rather be getting to the Global Carnival early. Will Davey be ok to go to the Carnival after paintballing on Saturday? Did I do the right thing agreeing to let him go paintballing? Will he enjoy it?

Will Zinni cope with ex Prince Charming be there? Why did he turn out to be such a toad? Why can't I stop wanting his mother to see she's a total idiot? Why do I care? Still?

Why haven't I contacted Monica for the anniversary of her husband's death? I'm a lousy friend. I hope she's ok. I suspect she's not. Life is difficult for her - so many things to juggle.

Why don't I go to bed earlier? Why is Zinni so noisy when she goes to bed? Why am I unable to sleep until Zinni goes to bed? Why am I unable to go to sleep after Zinni goes to bed? I am an idiot.

What am I going to give Davey for lunch tomorrow? Will I have time to pack my own lunch?

I churned over many other topics, but, these were the ones I wrote down!

As the sun came up I did succeed in finding sleep.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Grumble grizzle grouch

Sandy has outrageously suggested I update my blog. I guess that's what a blog's for - blogging.

Life's really boring, yet overwhelming.

I feel exhausted more often than I feel energised and it's mainly due to coping with pain and muscle tension radiating from osteoarthritis in my neck. At the end of a day all I want to do is sit in my lounge chair with my feet up and my head resting back so my neck can have some relief. But that doesn't get dinner on the table, teenagers to wherever it is they need to go, clothes washed, dried and folded or any of the myriad of little things that make a household run.

I was about to write that I don't have time for much, but the truth is that I have time but no energy. At times I'm teetering on depression, but it passes, which is just as well. To find the time to attend counselling is nigh on impossible - that sort of time I don't have! I live in a town where it takes 3 weeks to make a doctor's appointment, so I don't bother. Heck, finding time to schedule a haircut is tricky. Like I said, that sort of time I don't have. The time I have is in between picking up and dropping off, after dinner time. And I don't use it well because I want to rest my neck and and shoulders and feel sorry for myself which gets me nowhere!

My Zinny and my Davey continue to be great reasons to get out of bed every morning and continue to put one foot in front of the other. They get my humour, they think I'm funny in a nice way, and are accepting of the fact that I'm also funny in an odd way!

I'm often feeling a bit snarky at the world and that makes me feel snarky at myself. I could blog about my snarkiness, but I hate that I feel that way. I want to see the best in people and I'm disappointed that I'm not quite up to it right now. Sometimes I feel as though I'm a festering pool of negativity.

You never know though, tomorrow I might wake up feeling well rested with no pain in the neck. It happens some days.

Did you really want the update Sandy?

I miss being whatever I was before I felt like this all the time.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Penpal update

Hey everyone,

My childhood penpal is alive and well, just not on facebook!

As suggested I messaged her sister on facebook and we have been able to reconnect. Still happily married, 3 grown children, a career change and about to start her masters degree. And not on facebook!

Go figure. It does happen!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sarah Blasko

I took Zinni to a Sarah Blasko concert tonight. Here's her latest clip.

Wow. Sarah Blasko. How to describe her?
Delicate, dainty, strong, powerful. A pure voice which she uses richly. A small woman who owns the stage. Quirky.

Musical talent poured from Sarah and her band.

Zinni had friends at the concert and the teenagers were generous enough to be happy to have me sit near them - though I did jokingly promise to pretend I didn't know them to prevent others thinking they were uncool to have a mum with them. Zinni commented that she enjoyed going to the concert with me, that it was good to do something so memorable and fun together.

Yet in the midst of all this enjoyment I missed my husband.

While listening to and watching Sarah I ran through possible descriptions of her to give my friends, and I came to a favourable comparison of Sarah with Joni Mitchell.

That's when I missed Robert. Robert introduced me to Joni Mitchell's music soon after we met - he owned all her records, which I still have and still play. We went to her concert at the Sydney Opera House when we were just married.

While I enjoyed having my 16 year old Zinni by me, I ached for my Robert. He would have loved this rare and intimate concert in a small community hall, the skill of the musicians, the beautiful music. My Robert didn't know the music of Sarah Blasko but I know he would have taken great pleasure in it.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Found, but not found

I've just spent some time searching for a pen pal I started writing to when I was 11. We wrote to each other reasonably regularly for 20 years, and then, well, then life with small children took over both our lives.

I've searched for Ellen on the net before and always been a bit surprised that I came up with a blank. In my thinking it's the pen pal types of old who embrace social networking sites, so I searched a little more thoroughly today. I've found the man who must be her husband, I've found the three people who must be her children. I can see photos of them. I'm sure it's them. They're on each others friend lists, they live in the right suburb of the right American state. I've even found Ellen's sister with maiden and married last names attached. These are the right people, but my heart is heavy as I see me friend Ellen is not on any of their friend lists. Her youngest son Kevin, 2 years older than my Zinni, has a look of sadness and desolation.

I would dearly like to contact her husband, but I fear that would be rude and out of place. I have not written to Ellen for 14 years - though perhaps I have sent 1 or 2 Christmas cards in that time - so to contact her husband now, when the evidence points to her death, seems to be in poor taste.

I wonder how I'd feel about one of Michael's old friends contacting me. It's happened. I didn't mind. I like to know that others still think of him and have fond memories of him.

If Ellen has died, I would like to express my sadness to her husband, but... Oh, maybe I don't want to have my sad fears confirmed.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


I wonder where my ability to do nothing without guilt has gone?

Today I have played guitar hero with my son, washed, hung out and retrieved 2 loads of washing, remade beds with clean sheets, provided home made meals for lunch and dinner, re-organised our picnic basket with more appropriate cups and cutlery, and generally kept the household wheels turning over. Yet I haven't attended to a long list of jobs that must be done and I have spent time chatting on line and reading my novel and so guilt is trying to take my day of vacation from me.

Bah! I say to guilt. I will work with more enthusiasm tomorrow after resting today. This is a truth my being seems to have forgotten and I'm making a determined effort to reclaim it.

On a side note, the novel I'm reading is Moby Dick. Proclaimed as the greatest novel ever written by an American on its cover, I find this to be a false claim. I'm going to persevere with it, for beneath the flowery language there is a good story, but oh my, I wish Melville would just get on with it!!

Monday, July 13, 2009


A couple who I'm friends with live their lives in the public domain via facebook. The husband posts over the top smoochy comments to, and about, his wife which make me wonder what the true state of their relationship is - though perhaps I'm being unduly cynical, because away from facebook I think their love and respect for each other is genuine.

Anyway, today they are tootling on about their 18th wedding anniversary.

I find myself unable to respond because every response I think of would be seen in the light of my widowedness. See what you think of the responses which immediately came to mind:

Enjoy every second you have together.

I'm still ahead by 49 weeks.

'91 was a good year to be married, '86 worked better for me.

Had my first miscarriage in '91. Memorable year.

Enjoy the milestone. You never know when the journey will end.


Jealousy's a bitch ain't it?

And once I'd responded here I was able to make a suitably happy response to their facebook celebration. :)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

It couldn't last forever

We joined in celebrating the engagement of friends today. A large, happy group met at a local park and enjoyed the beautiful winter sunshine we are currently being blessed with. (After seemingly endless weeks of rain, the sunshine is truly a blessing.)

Davey took his favourite soccer ball, the one he's had for 5 soccer seasons. I asked if he'd rather take his newer ball, but no, he wanted to take his old faithful. It used to be shiney red and in primary school he carried it to school and home again everyday, so he and his friends could play soccer at lunch time. Davey's received a new soccer ball every season for the last 4 years, but this one has remained his ball of choice.

He likes the softness of the casing of this ball. Despite it's dilapidated state:

15 or so boys and young men joined in a good humoured game of soccer. Then a stray staffordshire terrier happened on the game. The dog obviously enjoyed a good competition. I could see the possibility of trouble ahead, but didn't act. I actually didn't realise at this point that the dog was a stray, dogs are allowed in the park and I thought it belonged to one of the young men who seemed to take him in hand. I looked at Davey and he didn't seemed concerned so I continued chatting. Of course, within the next minute the playful staffy had locked his powerful jaws on the ball and it was no longer round. This time when I looked at Davey I knew how dumb I had been.

One of the young men extracted the remains of the ball from the staffy's jaws and Davey walked over to our car with it as tears fell down his cheeks.

I went and chatted to him as he collected his composure - no embarrassing Mum hugs or anything, just a few words to let him know I understood. He regrouped and rejoined the game as another ball was scrounged from the boot of someone else's car.

Once we got home he pumped the ball again, but it's had it's last days of fun with Davey's feet. We'll try sealant on the punctures, but, reality won't change. I don't think Davey will throw the now useless ball away though, as it was the last soccer ball his Dad ever bought for him. It's an irreplaceable item.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Being human is a struggle.

I'm currently avoiding talking to my sister and I can't tell you how much I hate it.

I like to think that I'm not a person who gets caught up in pettiness. However, yet again, I'm proving to myself that I'm as ordinary and as human as everyone else, and a lot uglier on the inside than those I aspire to be like.

I wish I could be the bigger person, take the higher road, without being self-righteous.
I wish I could stop myself from biting back with family.
I wish I could be as generous to family as I can be to others when it comes to overlooking faults.

I was going to write 'I wish I knew how to mend the broken fence', but I do know.
I wish I had the humility to take the action and have the grace to swallow words of self justification.

I don't though, because I suck. Blergh.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A happy surprise.

I went to the wedding of a friend's son today and had the most amazing time. For the last 8 hours I've hardly been off my feet and now that I'm sitting my legs are aching. And talk? My goodness, even for me I talked a lot!

I wasn't invited to the wedding, I was there as part of a group of friends catering afternoon tea in between the ceremony at 2pm and dinner at 5.30pm. It was lovely to be able to provide this for my friends, and I think I'll have to do a separate post on how my Zinni did me proud in helping with catering.

I vaguely knew the bride's parents too. In fact I knew them before they were married and about the same age as today's bride and groom. Let me tell you, it's a shock to realize that you are so into middle age that your friends, who don't live in the same cities, have children old enough to go to uni, meet each other, fall in love and get married.

I knew there were some friends I haven't seen for a long time who would be at the wedding, and I had made arrangements to catch up with them tomorrow, some time ago. However a friend who I haven't seen in 15 years was there and I was really thrilled to spend time with her again. Meg was there to drive her daughter who had become a friend of the bride, and as she wasn't invited to the reception dinner, I was able to invite her back to my home for dinner and we talked non-stop for 4 hours!

One disadvantage of moving a lot - Rob and I lived in 6 different towns during our marriage - is that you move away from people you love dearly. Of course I always thought I'd keep in touch with them, but the reality of hectic family life and work and community commitmets, makes it impossible to stay in touch with everyone.

Today was a very happy day when an old friend came back into my life. A friend who I had shared the pain of my miscarriages and her years of infertility with. The stuff of anguish that slaps you in the face and introduces you to the world of life after the fairytale romance and wedding. The stuff that wisdom is born through.

Thanks to the wonders of the technological age, we will now be able to keep in touch via a popular social networking site. Sometimes I really, really appreciate living in this age.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I'm not really sure why these signs annoy me so much

There are lots of stairways at my workplace and they all have a sign "Please use stairs safely" installed. These signs annoy me and elicit silent sarcasm from my mind.

I know the educational facility I work for needs these signs to remind stair users the stairs serve the serious purpose of allowing users to walk from one level to another and that skylarking is not encouraged. The subtext is, of course, that anyone who does skylark and suffers an injury as a result will not be able to sue the educational facility because the educational facility has told them to use the stairs safely via the signs. (I guess the international students who are on campus to learn English would be able to sue, as comprehension of English signs regarding stairways may not have been covered in language classes at the time of their injury, if they were to have one. An injury that is.)

One of the questions my mind silently poses is: what constitutes safe usage?

I'm sure pushing, shoving, and merriment of any kind would be unsafe. But what about running up the stairs because you're feeling buoyant and full of energy (or late for a meeting)? Is the wearing of high heels and traversing the stairways safe usage? High heels can be unsafe on any surface, so surely they must be doubly unsafe on stairways. Is the carrying of items in both hands unsafe? Surely one needs one hand free to grasp the side rail? Should stairway users with long hair ensure it is tied back so gusts of wind cannot blow hair across the stair user's face, taking away their ability to see any possible obstacles, or distracting them from safe foot placement.

Hmmmm. The perils of stair usage are many. I think a little sign on each stairway is insufficient and that something more in keeping with the risks involved should be employed. A safe stair monitor perhaps? Of course there'd have to be one at the top and bottom of every stairway, so that would involve about 40 stair monitors. Perhaps I should suggest this as an employment creation program that also takes OH&S and stair usage seriously.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

A great name for a dog

A divorced friend of mine has recently begun a new relationship. I haven't met him, but Sharon assures me he is the nicest man she's ever met. He's been divorced for 10 years and has 2 children in their mid teens. He also owns a beautiful Alsation named Prince. (Prince isn't really the dog's name, but it will work for this blog!) Sharon asked him why he named the dog prince and his reply was that he was such a fine, strong, dog with regal bearing that he needed something appropriate. That, and his daughter wanted to name him after her favourite primary school teacher, Mr Prince who was big and strong and very caring.

Yup! My friend Sharon is going out with a man who has a dog named after my husband!

It's nice to know he's remembered by others in very real ways. It just is, ya know?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A tragic accident

I attended Niel's funeral this afternoon, and unbelievably, it was a positive experience. The sermon spoke of God knowing and loving us before we are born, and knowing the number of our days. The story of Jesus calming the storm was read, and the reality of Jesus being with us in times of turmoil when we're being tossed every which way, and being able to bring calm to that situation. I'm not relating it well here, but we were all left with a sense of hope and assurance. There was no judgement of Niel, there was thanksgiving that his light had shone in our lives.

Red eyed, pale faced and drawn, his friends filled row after row of church seats. One boy whose mother died just weeks ago was wracked with sobs. At the end of the service the boy beside him casually put an arm over his shoulders while he did the same with his other arm to the boy on his other side. It was a beautiful non-attention drawing gesture of comfort to the young man who is struggling under a double grief burden.

All who spoke of Niel spoke of his ever present lop sided grin, friendliness and positivity. Niel choosing to end his life was so incongruous with how he lived.

Speaking to another mother after the service she commented that it would be easier if it had just been an accident. My response was that it was an accident. An accident of thought, but an accident none the less.

Friday, June 12, 2009

At 1am this morning.

At 1am this morning it was cold. Moonlight gave a silvery colour to the coldness, highlighting the crispness of the air.

At 1am this morning I was coccooned in my bed enjoying the warmth of my doona. My children slept soundly and safely in their warm beds in their nearby rooms. All was well in my world.

At 1am this morning, Niel, a 16 year old friend of Zinni's stepped out of the cold shadows of the highway verge into the bright lights of a semi trailer. Its driver was gunning the engine as he left the slower speed of town and began a stretch bordered only by farmland.

At 1am this morning a teenage boy ended the pain he felt inside. The pain no-one saw. The pain masked by a happy go lucky attitude and ready smile.

At 1am this morning a middle aged truck driver slammed into a nightmare that will haunt all his waking moments. A nightmare he could not avoid. A nightmare he had no chance to influence.

At 1am this morning a mother and a father went into shock that will encase them in their early steps of gut wrenching grief that will be with them, leering over their every breath as long as they have breath.

At 1am this morning this world proved yet again that it is a world gone wrong.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Incredibly, these are true events

I have 2 co-workers in their mid 50's and they get really annoyed with me when I pick up boxes of A4 paper that weigh about 5kg. They maintain that I should put a work order through and organise our Maintenance man to move such boxes. Seriously! My bags of grocery shopping weigh more and I carry multiples of them!

One of these women declares that she is unable to do her grocery shopping without her husband because, wait for it, "the trolleys are too heavy to push". Ahhhhh, right. I regularly see 3 year olds pushing these trolleys as they 'help' their parents shop.

Today these 2 women had to fold 200 pieces of paper and put them in envelopes. This exercise took the women much longer than it should have, but the part that knocked me flat, was the comment by one at the end of the task "I'm exhausted after that. It's a very physically demanding task." and the other agreed and they had to have a cup of tea and a spot of gentle sitting to recover. Sadly, there was no sarcasm or wit of any kind involved in their comments and actions.

Please, may I never be like this.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sunday chill

We have a long weekend here, and my Sunday has been fantastic.

I spent the afternoon hanging out with my son. Often our time together is bracketed by me having to be somewhere for Zinni. Not today. Zinni is at a music festival with friends, so Davey and I enjoyed chatting in the sunshine while we ate fish and chips, browsing in the hardware store (he got to understand why I find them such interesting places!), buying solar cells and other stuff from an electronics store, watching a movie together and chatting about whatever came to mind.

Unpressured time is so rare, we really savoured it, and he thanked me for a great day as he went to bed. My Davey is an introvert, and my fellow introverts will understand why we found this time so special.


Friday, June 5, 2009

Shopping bliss.

I am so easy to please!

My local supermarket has new shopping trolleys, not just one or two, but ALL new shopping trolleys, and it makes me smile every time I go there. A trolley that glides along on smooth wheels, which turns at my every whim - and in they direction I actually want it to turn, is mine for the taking from the ranks of perfect trolleys all lined up for my shopping enjoyment.

Ahhh, the simple pleasures.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Fifteen Books

Ok, so I don't post forever, and then I post a meme?

Yeah, well. It's all thanks to Alicia. She posted this meme and stipulated I couldn't read her list until I'd done my own. There was nothing for it but to do my own!

Here's the rules:

Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you’ve read that will always stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes. Tag 15 friends -- or not because I am all about free will, but link back to me (unless you list them in the comments) because I’m interested in seeing what books you choose.

Make your list BEFORE you read mine! My books appear in the order they occurred to me.

  1. Black Beauty - Anna Sewell
  2. Heidi - Johanna Spyri
  3. The King Must Die - Mary Renault
  4. The Brothers Karamazov -Dostoyevski
  5. Crime and Punishment - Dostoyevski
  6. Golden Treasury of Poetry - Untemeyer
  7. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
  8. Anne of Green Gables - Lucy Maud Montgomery
  9. Nicholas Nickleby - Charles Dickens
  10. 5 Roads to Nuremburg
  11. Tess of the Durbevilles - Thomas Hardy
  12. The Scarlet Pimpernel - Orczy
  13. Anna Karenina - Tolstoy
  14. Cloud Street - Tim Winton
  15. Joan Makes History - Kate Grenville

This was a really interesting exercise. I had no idea what was going to come out. I'd like to keep adding to the list, but these were the first 15 books that came to mind. I was really surprised at how deeply ingrained childhood books are in my psyche. Black Beauty, Heidi and The Golden Treasury of Poetry are books I read over and over before I was a teenager. I read most of these books before I turned 21, and I think all but 1 before I was 30.

I guess what my teenagers are reading really DOES matter!!

I wonder if not having a TV until I was 10 changed my list by making childhood books more important. Oh, I forgot 'Snugglepot and Cuddlepie'!! Oh, oh, oh! How could I do that?? I got that book when I was 5 and it is very much a part of me.

I loved doing this meme. I hope you did your own!


Thursday, April 30, 2009

The very best

I rang a friend tonight to check up on her. Her husband works away for weeks at a time and she has 5 boys, 3 of whom are teenagers. The eldest 2 are 17 and 15, with very opposite personalities, and are currently getting on each others nerves. I know they had a bit of a blow up a day or two ago, so I wanted to check in with her. After listening to how things were going, I commented that her situation was a lot like single parenting. Her response was swift "This is nothing like single parenting. Kel's coming home for a week in a few days time, and I talk the issues over with him every night on the phone. When he's home he'll spend time with the boys, he'll fix the things around the house that need fixing and I won't have to organise anything to make that happen. No. No. NO. This is totally not single parenting."

Nella is the best kind of friend. The very best.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

4 years a widow

The blink of an eye
A world away
Barely remembered
Crystal clear
Grateful for love
Torn by loss
Beauty everywhere
Moroseness abounds
Wounds unhealed
Superficially scarred

I hate my life
There's much to love

Friday, April 24, 2009

Manipulation and heartbreak.

My 16 year old daughter, Zinni, recently broke up with her boyfriend of 1 year standing.

We'd been through a lot with this young man, not because of any problem with him, but because of his megalomaniac parents. Who happen to be members of our church. They also lie. And yes, they call themselves Christian, and indeed they are, they're just Christians with problems, bigger than average problems, but Christians ne'er the less. Their problems don't affect my faith, but they do test my behaviour and thought patterns! I've learned a lot about patience, humility, prayerfulness and how difficult it is to behave with grace and dignity when my instincts are for revenge.

In January my Zinni turned 16 and we had a party for her. Prince Charming helped us with the arrangements and made her day very special. The next day he left for a week away with his family. During this week he found out that despite a less than spectacular result in his final school exams, he had been accepted into his university of choice to study aviation and breathed a sigh of relief. His plan had been that if he was accepted he would defer for a year. During this deferred year he would work and earn the right to attend university the next year as an independent student, receiving a government allowance which would enable him to be independent of his parents.

When Prince Charming returned from his week away with his family these plans had been turned on their head. He announced to Zinni and a group of friends that he was going to university in 3 weeks time. Wow! The shock for Zinni was huge and there was no time on that day for them to discuss the change of plan. Of course she ultimately had to accept the decision and see it in a positive light, though she remained unhappy about it.

While I smelled a very big rat, there was no point saying anything and waited on the sidelines for whatever crash was going to happen. Prince Charming's mother had made it known that she wanted him gone, out of her house, out of our town and of course, out of Zinni's life, and it seemed she was having her wish granted.

Prince Charming's parents had told him that if he agreed to attend uni this year they would pay for his board and would also pay half the student debt he would incur. As his total student debt will be around $150,000 this was no small offer. Prince Charming had worked as a casual for Target for 18 months, and it was assumed he would be able to obtain a transfer to a Target near his uni. This work was to provide the necessary money to pay for his mobile phone, clothing, petrol and the little things that make life enjoyable like going to the movies. The board his parents arranged was with a friend of his mother's and the thing he kept stressing to Zinni was that it included internet, so they could still talk to and see each other.

Prince Charming duly left for uni, having first spent Valentine's Day with Zinni, declaring his love for her with as much intensity as ever. Communication between Zinni and her Prince Charming was difficult. He ran out of phone credit almost immediately, and as he had 80 cents to his name, that wasn't going to change quickly. Yep, his parents left him embarking on his new life with nothing in his pocket. Their way of motivating him to make sure he organised work. The internet connection his parents had done the hard sell on? Dial up. One line in a household of 6 people.

Prince Charming came home for a weekend just 3 weeks after leaving, to celebrate his father's birthday. He called in briefly to see Zinni before going home on Friday night. He picked her up from her work Saturday afternoon and they were to spend the afternoon together. My 13 year old son, Davey, and I had a social event to attend that afternoon and when we returned around 5pm I was surprised to find Zinni at home and no Prince Charming. Through tears I learned that he was feeling 'unsure' about their relationship and so it had ended with them agreeing to be best friends. You could have knocked me over with a feather.

That was all back in March and it's now the end of April. Zinni has almost regained her equilibrium, but it's been a tough time for her. She kept her chin up in public, kept herself busy, listed her status as 'lost' on facebook and slept in my bed for a month. Last week we had a little driving holiday and therefore lots of talk time - especially when Davey had his headphones on in the back seat. Zinni told me a few things I didn't know before about Prince Charming. His parents had told him that if he didn't go to uni this year they wanted nothing more to do with him. Not only that, if he wasn't obedient to them their entire extended family would be so disappointed in him for his disobedience that they would want nothing to do with him either. (I don't think the entire family would have shunned Prince Charming, but hey, when you're 17 you believe this crap.) Prince Charming couldn't cope with the thought of losing his entire family network and so agreed to his parents' demands. Here was the rat that I thought I had smelled at his sudden change of plans.

While I've been really, really sad for Zinni, I'm sad for Prince Charming in a different way. I can't believe the lengths his parents are going to to mess him up as a person. This kid is going to have to work through some huge issues as he matures. Maybe he won't work through the issues, and that will be even sadder because that means he'll probably just replicate them.

As for the best friend deal? Well, he still had the phone credit problem and ah, Zinni wasn't going to be doing the calling. Work has not eventuated for Prince Charming, so he's totally reliant on his parents for everything. After the break up with Zinni his mother did provide him some sort of phone plan, but, ah, I smell another rat and I suspect this poor young man has sold his soul. My heart really, really aches for him, but he has to work his way through the mess of family manipulation for himself, and as far as relationships with girls go, he'll be trouble until he does.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Snarking at the elderly

Dropped 16 year old daughter Zinni at work just before 9 am. I thought I'd duck in and get my grocery shopping done before the crowds were up and about. (It's school holidays and I live in a tourist town.)

Great thinking, except I forgot to factor in the retired population of this town.

What is it about old people that makes them think they have the right of way all the time, that anyone younger than 60 should move aside for them, regardless of the inconvenience. Conversely why is it all right for them to stop their trolley in the middle of the aisle so that no-one can pass? Why is it they will not notice that several people with their trollies are waiting politely for their way to be made clear either side of them and yet they will notice in great detail the barefeet and inappropriate tattoo on the teenage surfer chick who cruises past with ease because she doesn't need a trolley for her single pot of natural yoghurt?

I don't mind old people, in fact I aspire to become one. I hope I don't lose all sense of common courtesy when I do.



I've had a blog before.

I was nice on that blog. My readers thought I was nice and I felt I had to live up to their expectations.

That blog has fizzled out because, well, because I'm not nice. I'm me.

I'm a real person with real thoughts.

Ugly, bitchy, judgemental, boring, sometimes funny, occasionally nice. Me.

I'm going to be saying whatever comes into my head. Feel free to correct my thinking.