Sunday, July 17, 2011

Rainy Days

School holidays can be such fun, especially when out of the 3 weeks of holidays I am working nights for 2 of them!

Actually I enjoy the holidays, when I am not trying to sleep. I love being able to spend time with Lachie and do the things we usually just don’t have time for.

A couple of days ago we decided to take a trip into Sydney. Note to self: check weather forcast and take appropriate rain gear!

Yes, you guessed it, it rained. From the time the train pulled away from the station until half way home again. It was that deceptive kind of rain that looks like mist until it actually hits you and suddenly you realise it is raining quite heavily. Unfortunately the realisation comes too late and you (or in this case we) were already wet.

But despite the rain, and the cold, we had a good time. The train was on time and we got a seat. The same happened when we got the next train and even onto the ferry that took us across to Manly. The weather was just wild enough to make the part that crosses the heads nicely rough but not so much to make it scary.

                                       leaving Circular Quay

We arrived in Manly and that’s when the flaw in the whole plan became obvious! From the ferry to the aquarium is a 10 minute walk, a nice stroll on a sunny day, a looong way in the rain!
                                             Manly Station
                                 The aquarium in the distance
                                             almost there

The aquarium itself is small but good and an appropriate number of photos were taken 

                                             rock fish

and then it was time to go back the way we came and yes, of course, it was raining even harder! Maccas seem called for when we got back, especially as fish and chips on the Corso (boardwalk near the beach) no longer seemed like a good option and then as the rain had stopped we decided to look around for a while. That lasted a good 5 minutes before the heavens opened up again and suddenly going home again seemed like the perfect option.
                                    the aquarium from the ferry

The weather had gotten a little wilder, making the ferry trip back even more fun, and fortunately the trains co-operated all the way home. A quick shower and suddenly it all the misery was forgotten and only the fun parts remained!

                                       Cockatoo Island

                                          Almost back

Despite the miserable weather we had a great time. Sometimes those kinds of things actually make it more memorable and yes, even fun. It will always be the day remembered as ‘when we went to Manly and it rained’ and with distance I am sure will become an even more enjoyable day. Sometimes those times you least expect turn out to be the best - if you let it! The best part for me was I got to spend the day with Lachlan, something that as he gets older will become less and less frequent and now he will have something to write about on the first day back at school for the obligatory ‘What I Did in the Holidays’ essay.

Song of the Day: 'This is Sydney'

Sunday, September 19, 2010

One of Those Weeks!

Sighhhhhhhhhh - it's been one of 'those' weeks - you know the one where you have wonderful plans and nothing goes the way you thought. Hence the lack of blog! So of course now, with it being that week I have masses of good material for my blog - right? Nope - wrong again. :P

I have now worked 5 and 3/4 of my 7 nights and probably in the whole week managed a total of 20 hours sleep - maybe 22 if you count the little dozes at the computer. I hate weeks like that! It means I achieve nothing and I am always tired! I tend to think more (deep thought thinking I mean) when I am tired and just lying in bed waiting, assuming that eventually I will actually fall asleep. I can hear some of my friends cringing (they are very noisy cringers it seems) - when I do lots of thinking it means I either get wildly enthusiastic and want to change the world or I get sad, and/or depressed and people suddenly remember appointments for the dentist or their accountant or other similar fun activites. Although today I am actually not either one!

So these thoughts .. I am really happy with how my life is changing. Of course not everything is perfect, especially not my house when I am working - 3 boys remember - but it is much more organised and so is most of my life. I am writing a little although I need to do more of that and I have set myself a goal to have the first draft of 'Journey' finished by the end of my holidays in January/February. I am working towards and hoping to start my Etsy shop this week, I am getting all those ducks lined up and life is good except for one major thing and that is my weight. I know, in my head, that I need to lose weight, and I am not just talking about a few pounds here. I have a lot of weight to lose! I know I can do it having done it before but every time I think 'this is the time', I saboutage myself. I even know in my head why I do. As I think I have said here before, it's fear.

I know where I am at the moment, I know what I can and can't do, I know how people react to me. I know my place in the world. I have, for a long time, used my weight as an excuse not to do things, but I am making a conscious effort to stop doing that and I am doing more of things I once would have avoided. The problem is that I am afraid to lose weight because it will change things. I know it will mostly be for the good, especially healthwise, and it will certainly be good for my boys, especially Lachie, if I am eating well because there is the flow on effect.

So why am I afraid? I think that it's because now if something goes wrong or someone doesn't like me or we don't connect or whatever, I can blame it on my weight (even if it is often done subconsciously). If I lose this weight, I no longer have that to blame. I am afraid of finding out that it wasn't my weight after all, that all this time it was me. That people don't like/love me because of my weight but because of the person I am. That I am not the person I think and hope I am, and if I am not, then what do I have left? I guess in a way, it's like another death. It's losing something that is part of my life and although I know I am a strong person, I am not sure I am up to going through yet another 'loss' so soon.

The problem is, having worked this out, I have no idea how to get past it. I guess I just need to keep working on those things I can happily change and when the time is right, the weight issue will solve itself but meanwhile I hate me as I am and it all just becomes one viscious circle and nothing is achieved. Lately I have looking more at people in the street and have been amazed at just how many big people there are and I don't want to be one of them. I want my boys to be proud of me not embarrassed. I want to feel comfortable in a crowd and not feel like the freak among 'normal' people.

I hesitated about posting this - I am not writing it for sympathy or for people to tell me of course we will still like/love you, I am writing it because if I don't acknowledge it, how can I change it? If I bury it inside me, nothing is going to change. I need to be accountable for who and what I am. How can I expect other people to love me if I don't love (or at least like) myself?

It's time I grew up and acknowldeged that everyone may not like the new me. I am sure there are many people who don't like the now-me, who think because of my size I am lazy or undisiplined or whatever (which I am not - at least not more than most people), but I am who I am. As I said here 'Today you are you ... that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is you-er than you'.  

So the plan for this week once I finish work, because I know when I am tired is not a good time to start, is to move more. I will wear my pedometer and record here the number of steps I take each day. I will go on the Wii Fit every day and record here if I do and I will drink at least 1 litre of water a day - instead of Diet Pepsi!

Wish me luck - I will need it!

Picture 'borrowed' from The Simply Luxurious Life - I love her blog - it is so inspirational. Check it out if you have a chance.

(I will still be posting a song of the day and it will be at the top of my blog but from today you will have a choice whether you want to listen. I cannot adjust the volume and it is too annoying as it was!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Universal Truths

I have spent the day at my in-laws - always mentally exhausting! Add to that, I had to drive as Ian was sick (more stress as the original thought was appendix - it isn't) and as I am a fairly new driver (as in 3 years) and don't often drive in Sydney  I am tired! Much too tired to be coherent (see last sentence as evidence!! lol) - so this seems like a good time to share this. I found myself nodding wisely as I read - especially number one! My boys have instructions to send all my portable hard-drives and USB's to my friend (thanks Gill :D) because there is stuff on them I don't want them reading - ever! ... and she has already seen it anyway! She can delete what is necessary and send it back. Thank god for friends!!

(and now you are all wondering what it is exactly I have on them aren't you? I am not telling and she is not able to be bribed - I know this because  ..... I know  her secrets as well! *angelic smile* )


1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.

5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

6.Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

7. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.

8. Bad decisions make good stories.

9. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

10. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page document that I swear I did not make any changes to.

11. "Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this - ever.

12. I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Damn it!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What did you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?

13. I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.

14. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

15. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

16. Sometimes, I'll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what the heck was going on when I first saw it.

17. I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.

18. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

19. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?

20. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

21. There's no worse feeling than that millisecond you're sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.

22. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

23. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'd bet  everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time!

Song of the Day: Having a Bryan Adams-fest ... Straight From the Heart = Bryan Adams

Friday, September 10, 2010

Help Needed - all suggestions, thoughts, solutions gratefully appreciated!

Why do people (read kids here) have to be so mean?

A while ago we had a problem with Lachie being bullied by some new kids in our street. They compounded this by deciding it would be a good idea to throw eggs at our house. Sadly for them my oldest son Ian was home sick for the day and saw them throw something but didn't get out in time to actually catch them. As it was the middle of my working week and as I am aware that I am more emotional (read more likely to burst into tears instead of remaining calm) I decided to wait until I had finished working before doing anything about it.

Actually it worked well because it gave those 'charmers' time to worry - seeing the panicked look on their faces when I knocked on the door made the wait worthwhile! I talked to their father who stunned me by admiting he had seen his child take some eggs from the fridge and leave the house. What did he think he was going to do with them! He then tried to pass it off as 'kids will be kids'. Ah no .. that is bullying and vandalism and I promised to go to the police if it continued. He was full of apologies but the cynic in me has to wonder if that had anything to do with the large 6'4" male (Ian) standing behind me, who to his credit let me do the talking. He was only there as a witness ... okay ... maybe a little bit as intimidation - hey I am not above using what works! Did I mention the dad is about 5 foot nothing *angelic amile*

Anyway ... all was okay for quite a while but this week it has started again. Yesterday Lachie came home with a very obvious shoe print on his leg and apparently they have been shoving him into the fence and kicking him etc on the way home. They are not stupid these kids - the anti-bullying policy at school is very strict and very well enforced. I am quite sure Lachie is not just standing there totally innocent (as much as he assures me he is), but as these kids are younger and smaller, it makes it even more difficult. Lachie, like his big brother, is a gentle giant - only not many people realise it with Ian.

My problem is how to deal with it. He has to walk past their place every day to get home. I have to be seen to be doing something - not just ignoring the problem - for Lachie's sake, but if I go to the school, it will almost certainly get worse. I could go talk to the father again - I have never met the mother - or I could send Ian :D. Sadly Lachie's best friend (up until now) is apparently now joining in. I realise that 12 year old boys and the truth are not always best friends but there is definetely something going on!

This is the kind of time I miss John - he may not have had a solution, but we could talk about it parent to parent. The boys are great but they are brothers. It is different.

Meanwhile I have told Lachie to shove him away - hard. Lachie is a big kid - at 12 he is 5'7" tall and strong, but he says it makes it worse. For today I am walking up to school to meet him, but it is not an ideal solution, especially when I am working. Any and all suggestions, thoughts, solutions would be gratefully appreciated! Or am I over-reating? It has been known but as someone who was bullied as a child, I know the lasting effects it can have. All I need now is an answer ..... sigh ... when did life get so tough!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Just have to Share ..

One of the girls I work with found this in a book - it is originally taken from a book called Home Economics written in 1963 by a woman for other young women ...
"When retiring to the bedroom, prepare yourself for bed as promptly as possible. Whilst feminine hygiene is of the utmost importance, your tired husband does not want to queue for the bathroom, as he would have had to do for his train. But remember to look your best when going to bed. Try to achieve a look that is welcoming without being obvious. If you need to apply face-cream or hair-rollers, wait until he is asleep as this can be shocking for the man last thing at night.
When it comes to the possibility of intimate relations with your husband, it is important to remember your marriage vows and in particular you commitment to obey him. If he feels he needs to sleep immediately, then so be it. In all things be led by your husband's wishes; do not pressure him in any way to stimulate intimacy. Should your husband suggest congress, then humbly agree all the while being mindful that a man's satisfaction is more important than a woman's. When he reaches his moment of fulfilment, a small moan from yourself is encouraging to him and quite sufficient to indicate any enjoyment that you may have had. Should you husband suggest any of the more unusual practices, be obedient and uncomplaining but register any reluctance by remaining silent.

It is likely your husband may then fall promptly asleep so adjust your clothing, freshen up and apply your night-time face and hair products. You may then set the alarm so that you can arise shortly before him in the morning. This will enable you to have his morning cup of tea ready when he wakes.

Words fail me!!!

Feeling of the Day: Does hysterical laughter count?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Grrrr ... mutter mutter ...whinge whinge ... no ... it is not helping ... I need to vent!! (sorry folks)

I work night duty - 10:30pm until 7am - if I am lucky although it is usually closer to 7:30 if not 8am before I actually get off. I then have to go home and organise Lachie for school because,  you know a '12 year-old-going-on-dead' child can not be thinking, let alone organising before the school bell rings. Then once he is safely at school, and yes .. still alive ... just :P, then I get to relax for a little while and wind down. I mean, how many of you finish work at say 5pm, go home and then jump into bed at 7pm and fall immediately asleep? Exactly! and it is the same for me.

So assuming I am asleep by 10am .. on a good day ... is it any wonder I get a little irritated when  people who know me, call me at 1pm and say really intelligent things like 'oh, were you asleep?' .. duh! ... or 'oh! I thought you would be awake by now!" Three hours sleep (on a good day) .... come on people ... let's  be realistic! And it's not like people don't know I work nights, I have been doing it 21 years next month. Oh my!! how depressing is that lol. I am seriously considering calling them about 2 or 3 am and saying ... 'Oh were you asleep?'

Now onto part 2! Why do banks/financial organisations etc change automatic payments. Like most people I have mine set up so they come out after my payday! It seems logical! So, one of my payments had the date changed - to 2 days before my pay went in when my bank account is virtually zero, so of course it attracted a dishonour fee. I called them to complain, as you do, and considering the lack of sleep, I was amazingly polite.

Me: Can you explain why my automatic payment was taken out of my account on the 27th when it is not due to come out until the 30th?

Woman on the 'Help'line: Oh, we changed that to make it more convienient.

Me: For who? (or should that be whom)

WOTHL: It fits in better with our schedule

Me: WTF! (and I never swear - no special reason - I just don't) Well, it doesn't fit in with mine!

WOTHL: You just need to make sure there is money in the account on the new date.

Me: (quietly seething) .. and where would this money be coming from ... shocked silence from the other end of the phone ... I am a single parent living off one wage, there is no other money.

WOTHL: Perhaps you could ask for more help from your ex.

Stunned silence while I absorbed her totally tactless stupid reply.

Me: (rather forcefully) I am a widow! I live on one wage, there is no other income and I want the date changed back to the old one!

WOTHL: Come on... (I kid you not!) surely you must have the money, I mean you have less expenses now you have one less in the house (I am glad to see they teach compassion in their training)

Me: (with all semblence of trying to be tactful gone)  Excuse me!! I still have a mortgage to pay, water, electricity, rates, food, run a car, etc etc etc and now I am doing it on one wage. I would like to speak to your supervisor please!

WOTHL: There is no need for that, I am sure we can work something out.

Me: The supervisor ... now!

My payments are now back to the original date and I have almost stopping seething. Almost! Some people just should not be allowed near a phone and the public!

Vent over (sorry) - I feel much better now!

Feeling of the Day: Irritated (as in very!)

Song of the Day:  (a tinge of sarcasm here but love the song)
Why Worry - Mark Knopfler

All mistakes are my own and will (perhaps) be corrected when I am sufficiently awake and my editor lets me know what is needed ;)

Sunday, August 29, 2010


I have just got back from seeing 'Wicked' the musical, and I have to say it was brilliant! For those who don't know, it is a parallel story to the Wizard of Oz and it tells how the Wicked Witch of the West wasn't really wicked - she was just misunderstood! If you ever get a chance to go see it, I would highly recommend it!

Going to see a show alone, rather than missing out because no one else wanted to go, was on my bucket list so my ticket was booked a few weeks ago and obviously I had no idea that Cityrail was going to be doing track work, so instead of a nice 60 minute journey became a short 20 minute train ride followed by a long 120 minute bus trip. Sighhhhhhh. Which of course meant I had to leave much earlier.

Having said that, it was nice to get away for the day by myself and I actually enjoyed the bus trip. I got to see parts of Sydney I hadn't been to before, but the best part is a bus is much more intimate than the train. You can hear other people's conversations so much better. Whether you want to or not!

So I got to hear about someone's date last night - only one part of the conversation though because she was on the phone. Can I just add here that some people have no concept of what a private conversation is and there are just some things that shouldn't be for public consumption ... and I didn't even know that that was possible ():-).

Then I heard about someone else's child, which I have to say was fascinating and made me think that perhaps my child is not becoming a juevenile delinquent after all. In fact, by comparison, he is an angel. I always hate generalisations and type-casting, but in this case, knowing where these women got on the bus, sadly I was not surprised! The really scary thing for me is, we almost bought a house there when we first moved to Australia. Not that my kids would have ever got away with the things they were talking about. I am thinking grounded - for life if necessary.

Moving onto the next conversation and I have to say it made me green! No, I wasn't feeling sick, it was sheer unadulterated jealousy! One of the girls had such a terrible decision to make - whether to go work in London or New York! oh dear - poor wee thing! Between them they had been to Orlando and most of Florida and southern USA, Scandinavia, New York, London, Paris, all around Spain, and Italy and were thinking of  going to the Carribean next. I was dying to look around but being much too polite, I waited until the bus stopped and then my jaw must have dropped! They couldn't have been any older than 23 or 4. They must have rich parents, and yes, I know it's a generalisation! I have been fortunate and have travelled quite a bit but I was so jealous of these two, I so much want to take off and see much more of the world and I hate that life is passing so quickly and I will probably not get to do even 1/4 of what I want!

After a while their conversation changed - just as well really as there were murmurings in the ranks from the other passengers. From some of the snippets I heard, I have a feeling there may have been just a little jealousy there as well. lol Anyway, they were talking about a 'friend' who apparently hadn't been such a good friend lately and I was impressed by their wisdom. Snippets such as 'if she was a true friend, she would accept him as he was' and 'there is nothing that cannot be changed given time and hard work' and finally 'we should stop looking at other people's lives and thinking they are better',  and 'if we don't like it ... change it!'

Wise girls these two, but I am still jealous!

I love people and I especially love listening to other people talk. You can get such good ideas for a story from one small piece of a conversation. Last time I went on a train, I wrote a whole short story just from watching two people chatting. I have learnt to always carry a notebook and paper - just in case.

And finally, although I didn't hear this today, this is a classic I have heard many times sitting near older people when they are discussing their health as they are wont to do .... someone invariably says sadly, usually shaking their head at the same time, 'yes, he has been to the doctor and he has blood pressure'. I have on every such occassion had to restrain myself from turning around and saying 'I hope so, otherwise he would be dead!' It's a nurse thing I know, but it amuses me :)

Feeling of the Day: Exhilarated (I want to go see more shows!)

Song of the Day: I Believe I Can Fly - Il Divo

Please note - I am very tired - editing will be completed tomorrow morning- - meanwhile just pretend it is perfect :) xx


Friday, August 27, 2010

A Fairytale Life

We all want a fairytale life ... right?

It , the fairytale life, is often held up as the ultimate - the  life we would choose if we could. This image is upheld and even reinforced by the media and the so-called celebrities, both of whom tend to make our very normal lives look just a little, if not a lot, mundane. This feeling of being too 'ordinary' is often made worse by television. What young girl wouldn't want to live the life of Hanna Montana, and who wouldn't want friends like 'Friends', like Joey, Phoebe and the others. There are so many shows that show the 'perfect life' and while we might know in our head that it is not real life, in our heart we hope and think ... maybe .. just maybe...

So, assuming you have decided you do want the fairytale life, which fairytale would you want to live?

Maybe Cinderella - how are your floor scrubbing skills? Beauty and the Beast? No claustrophobia or allergies to beasts I hope. Alice in Wonderland perhaps? - but there are so many issues there and maybe it is not a good idea to admit to hearing animals talk to you! If you don't mind large gentlemen with a tendency to lock you in cages there is Jack and the Beanstalk or maybe Goldilocks - as long as you don't mind porridge for breakfast. Then there is Hansel and Gretel ...ummm ... pass! Little Red Riding Hood ... sigh. Maybe not!

I know there are some 'good' fairy tales and how often does the girl end up with her prince? - either literally or figuratively! 

In the 'real' world we often look at other people and wish we had their lives, but what do we really know except what they choose to show us. We assume everyone else has the perfect life and we are the only ones struggling. Okay, maybe not the only ones, but I am sure you get what I mean.

I have a couple of friends whose lives look to all outward appearances, if not wildy exciting at least calm and uneventful, where as in reality in one case both my friend and her husband are very sick and realistically living on borrowed time and the other couple are struggling with their teenagers.

In my own life a few years ago we went through an extremely tough time. Both my parents-in-law were very ill, both on dialysis and both passed away within 5 months of each other, my mother was in intensive care in New Zealand, we had a baby and both my older boys were very sick and couldn't go to school, one of them was hospital every second week, but on the outside I looked like I was coping and while I guess I was to a degree, it was not well. Eventually I had to admit I wasn't, and the few people I did tell were shocked.

We are conditioned at an early age to show a perfect, or at least nearly perfect life but maybe its time we realised that not everything is perfect and that it doesn't need to be. Honestly when you look at some of thse celebrities just how happy are they really? Can they be happy jumping from marriage to marriage, always being on show, being held up as an example for every little mistake that in 'normal' people would be pretty much ignored? Like everyone, they had assumed that other people's lives were going well.

Maybe it's time to accept the person that is us, and yes, of course we should strive to change our lives in the way we want, but we also need to remember that what we have now is important and we shouldn't spend our whole life trying to become someone else whilst forgetting to actually live in the here and now. On the other hand, no one said dreams are not important.

Let's look at our lives realistically and dream not of perfection, but of our 'new reality, and let's work towards it at a pace that keeps each of us is reasonably comfortable. As long as the way is generally forward, despite a few backward steps, then it is all good! And meanwhile we will be living our own version of a fairytale life, hopefully with a prince to slay the dragons as they come along!

Feeling of the Day: Thoughtful

Song of the Day: I know I have used it before but it seems appropriate ... Fairytale - Alexander Rybak