Thursday, December 30, 2010

Roadside Memorials

This is a subject that is raised in the media from time to time.  Usually with some Road Safety group or other saying that they should be removed/banned, as they are an uneccessary and dangerous distraction to drivers.

Before I get too worked up, let me preface this by saying that I am usually a passenger - although I am currently working on rectifying that issue. And noticing these things more.

As a passenger, I notice the memorials, and they make me sad.  Not too far from here, on the road out of town, there is a whopping 8foot metal cross, outlined in hi-vis (lights up when headlights hit it) paint.  In the day, it's not obvious - at night, you can't miss it.  On the other side of the road out of town, on those high-tension wires, sits a floral memorial.  This one, you can't miss during the day.  Both are visible from 50+ metres on a clear day.  The cross, you can see in driving rain.

What you can't see, at least not properly, are the markers the Government apparently puts out to mark accident spots.  A black one with a white coffin for deaths, and a red one with a white cross for injuries.  They are about the size of the reflectors on the roadside posts, and are in fact attached to the posts.  Along with the reflectors.  It took some doing, but I eventually found one.  I see the big signs telling me they are there often though.

According to lobbyists, these are safer than roadside memorials, as they are less obtrusive.  Errrr, no.  A flash, seen out of the corner of your eye, is MORE of a distraction, because your mind has to process what it could have been; rather than ' What? Oh, memorial. Poor bastards',  you've got, 'WTF? Was that a ..........? No. Then what the Hell was it? Was it important?' going on. Which takes a damn sight longer  (and more brain power) than 'What? Oh, memorial. Poor bastards.'

If you want to reduce distraction, how about removing extraneous signage?  Those damn flashing signs that you only used to see announcing roadworks, but are now used to advertise the latest special at the pub, are a ginormous hazard.  Brain says 'Roadworks sign' and you are distracted from driving, only to be reading about the cheap meals at the pub down the road.  Not a hazard at all.  Billboards aren't quite as bad, although sometimes, their placement leaves a lot to be desired.  Ditto actual road signs - put 'em where they can be seen easily!

My final thought on the whole thing, is that those who make the noise, should actually look in their own backyard.  2 police officers in the past 12 months, both members of the Road Safety Taskforce, killed while driving at high speeds (200+ kmh) after drinking at their respective police station bars.  To the point of at least 3 times the legal blood alcohol limit.  The only fortunate thing is that neither took anyone else with them.

Allow those who wish to put up memorials to do so, fix stupid speed limit changes - the one in Victoria with something like a dozen changes in 10km is a classic example, police the black spots, ban extraneous signage, and slow down!

And for the record, the (straight, flat) section of road where that monster cross is, used to be a black spot.  Since the inception of the cross, there have been no fatalities on that stretch of road.  Accidents caused by stupid speed limit changes (from 110 to 80 to 110 to 90 to 80 in about 2km), but no more fatalities.  Food for thought, doncha reckon?!

Added 7th January 2011 - so today, we drove around 600km+.  Saw 7 roadside memorials and not one Government sanctioned marker - plenty of their signs, but no markers. And a Road Safety Taskforce car, with the driver cruising along at 110kmh, chatting on their mobile phone - non-handsfree.

While I was at it, I counted the signs 1km either side of the giant cross - roadsigns, advertising, the whole shebang.  20 when heading South (so on the same side as the cross), 34 heading North (opposite side of the road).  So, in a 2km distance, that's 54 signs.  Plus driveways, a roundabout, and a crossroads.  Oh, and 4 cars for sale parked near the hospital at the roundabout.  And 3 speed changes in that same space.

Friday, December 17, 2010

It's almost 'that' time of year again.....

The time when we all make promises we hope to keep, even though we know it's not likely to happen.

One of the most common is 'This year I will lose weight, and keep it off'.  We are assisted in our pursuit of weight loss by an endless parade of wonder chemicals, diet plans, exercise plans, TV shows, and of course, surgery.

While a bit of extra assistance is always handy to shift those first few stubborn kilos, the only thing that is really required is motivation, determination, and the willpower to change.  And actual support from those close to you.

You need motivation to get started, determination to stick it out on the tough days, and willpower not to succumb to old habits too often.  But the single most important thing is a great support network.

No-one is going to succeed in a healthy eating/weightloss plan if they are eating properly prepared, nutritious food, and living with someone who routinely chomps into a pack of Tim Tams, biscuits, chips and fizzy in front of them.  The cravings will drive them to take a running leap off the good health wagon.

This is the nature of unhealthy habits, they are insidious, and trigger monster cravings.  I haven't eaten KFC in over 20 years, and yet the smell of it will sometimes see me craving food.  Ditto HJ or McD's burgers, haven't ever been a fan, but if someone sits and eats one in front of me, all I want to do is eat. Not necessarily the bad stuff, but food, of any kind.

So, if one of your resolutions is going to be to shrink your girth, make sure everyone in your household is on board.  They don't have to not eat crap, just not in front of you.  If they plan a pizza night, warn you first.  If they order on a whim, you are going to have to wear it (that's willpower).

A little bit of junk isn't going to hurt.  Just watch your portions (of everything you eat), and the regularity of indulgence.  And move!

I have been on a super-strict eating plan (I am meant to have no dairy, no alcohol, no sugar, no fatty/greasy foods, no salt and no caffeine, and as few processed foods as possible) for 18 months now, and while I no longer feel the overwhelming need to eat chocolate or salt and vinegar chips as often as I used to, there are still days where the cravings are so strong, they physically hurt.  I allow myself a weekly indulgence - a skinny late, and a florentine (or a slice of savoury toast).  And I cut back my portions that evening, and the following day.  I have lost 18 kilos in 18 months, and have never felt better.  My weightloss has been helped of late by the fact that my husband has also had to change his eating habits, so the cravings have become less - as I said, seeing someone eating Tim Tams, corn chips,savoury biscuits, and HJ's on a regular basis, while sitting next to you, does NOT make craving control any easier.

So there IS hope - you just have to be strict with yourself, and those around you.  The best advice I can offer is remove 1 thing at a time - reduce, then quit.  Don't go the whole hog all at once. Good luck!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Where has the Christmas Spirit gone?

Is it hiding under it's bed, cowering in fear? Because I haven't seen it lately, and it's 2 weeks til Christmas.

Sure, I see sales screaming that this, that or the other would be perfect for so-and-so for Christmas, and tinsel and Christmas trees.

What I don't see, and am missing, is the human spirit of the season.  I am not a fan of Christmas, haven't been since Dad passed 6 years ago, but I still like to think that the spirit we celebrated it in, is about.

Have we fallen so far?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Midlife crisis? Or have we just finally lost the plot?

I am favouring the latter.  It would seem that the loss of a neighbour, an all-around top bloke, has pushed us over the edge.

Allow me to explain.  Last week, our neighbour Max died of a massive stroke at the age of 55.  Ok one day, gone the next.  Troy is 47, and is a ticking timebomb genetically.  Best estimates give him 5 years tops.

So what do we do? We decide, in our infinite wisdom, that life is too short, and it's time we did something for us.  End result, at some stage in the next 12 months we are buying a campervan and taking off around Australia.  For at least 2 years. As you do.

It'll be tough, and there will be weeks when we hate it, and each other.  My degree will take longer to complete, and we will be extremely isolated.  But, in keeping with the philospohy of 'Regret what you did, not what you didn't' we are going for it.

I am excited and terrified, and have already started the 'crap reduction' scheme.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Congratulations to Ani and Roy

on their wedding day.  I hope today and every one after is filled with lots of joy, love and laughter.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A review of the year

Well, this was meant to be the Year of Self, and to a degree (a very small one), it was.  I went to Uni, passed all my units, cleared some of the emotional detritus (and stirred up more) and got my health back on track. I also cleaned out my wardrobe, thanks to a massive weight loss.

So, why not highly successful?  Mainly because everyone else's crap kept popping up in my face (not their fault) and requiring attention, or time, or both.  Which is a fact of life, as we all know, but this year highlighted how bad it has gotten around here.

So, the goal for 2011, besides getting The Mister's health back in line, and keeping mine there, is to clear the remaining crap out of our path (court January 12 for the dickhead who assualted, stalked and threatened us), get maintenance appointments set up and kept (BIG fail on that one), and get at least a vague idea of where the Hell to next.

Oh, and a holiday or 2 as well..............

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Can we please lay off............

............ the swearing? I do not need to hear 'f***' 3 times in every sentence you speak.  And I certainly do not need to hear it from children under school age.  Thank you.

And while we're at it, could we please ditch/rework the term 'yummy mummy'?  I was a first time mum (with another 3 in my care, so 4 kids) when the term was first coined, and I can safely say, it didn't help with my post-natal self-esteem.  I didn't have perfectly blowdried hair, or a wardrobe full of perfectly ironed pastel clothes, and I sure as Hell didn't have time to take my perfect hair, clothes and flawless makeup out to lunch with my fellow yummy mummies.

These days, I find it offensive.  The media outlets flout the term with abandon, pointing to perfectly coiffed celebs as the ideal 'yummy mummy'.  Never mind that many have enough money to keep most families for several years in comfortable style, and can therefore afford in-home help, and the best clothing and makeup money can buy.  A celebrity mother who isn't perfectly polished, and looks like any average harried mother, is lambasted for letting herself go.

 These 'mummy wars' are carried out in blogs, print media, and on TV.  They have to stop.  We are all of equal value as parents, regardless of whether we wear Kmart, County Road, or the Kaiser to do our grocery shopping.  We all have different experiences of childbirth and child-raising. Sharing these experiences in an open, honest and above all, supportive way will surely help the next generation of mummies, yummy or not, to traverse the wilderness that is motherhood.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Back in Hell........

..........after a glorious 3 days away.  Granted, the weather wsn't fabulous, and our initial hotel sucked to the point where we walked into the room, and walked out again, but the freedom was fabulous!

We caught up with Mr21 and Miss19 - bought me a new digital camera, and The Mister a new 27" monitor.  Visited Lush (oh man!) and Salamanca Market where we had possibly THE best lamb wrap in history. Sunday night on the way back we caught up with TM's mum and her husband for dinner.

We are now paying for 3 days away - Mouse was obviously let run while we were not here - he is impossible to deal with, getting into things he knows damn well are off limits, and which I know for sure he has been into in our absence.

Mr15 and my mother called in today - Mouse loves his uncle.  Mum wants said uncle to attend school at the other end of the state next year - she has 2 hopes.

Cannot wait until I finish my degree (I passed my Semester 2 exams) and we can run away from this place.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

What a weekend!

Yesterday, Mouse and his dad returned from a couple nights away.  But before that, we had a bee swarm (a huge one), and another stabbing at the house over the road.  In the middle of the day, as you do.  Yelling and screaming (continuing on from Friday night's session, cops and ambulances everywhere, and then bees. More yelling and screaming Saturday night.  Helluva Saturday.

This morning, at 4.30, we had a drunk former resident show up on the doorstep.  Murder was contemplated.

Due to a foul temper, I cleaned the kitchen, as I felt it was a good use of all that energy created by aggro.  And then, to top it all, in 3 sessions, over the course of the day, The Mister and I walked a good 20km.

And now, I am going to bed.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Things I forgot to tell you........

One month ago today, my mum went from Mrs S to Mrs B.  The weather behaved, so did the family.

Mr15 moved out to mum's place about 6 weeks ago.  There are a whole bunch of issues related to that which I will no doubt share at a later point in time.

Mr25 and Mouse moved home Father's Day night - at 11 pm.  Via taxi.  And have been here ever since.  There are major issues with Mouse' mother - she is now banned from our home.

Mr21 and Miss19 have split.  However, we are keeping her.  This is written in stone.

I am not at all convinced I passed any of my exams this semester.  Will see on the 26th.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Teenager and Husband update

Husband first; not cancer.  Heart is not good though.  Genetic defect, and genetic cholesterol issues, which cannot be controlled with meds, and aren't changing no matter what diet/lifestyle changes we make.  Prognosis if they don't is 2-5 years, then monster heart attack.

Teenager; now living with my mother.  Had another fly off, and we did the crunch.  Hopefully having that space will allow us to maintain a relationship, and him to grow and regain balance.

Eat Love Pray - the movie

I saw this last night, and, as much as I expected not to be impressed, I was not expecting the reaction I had to it.

I have never read the book, and watched the movie because it was the only thing going at the time I could get out the door in peace.

What I expected was a bunch of self-indulgent, self-important twaddle, and that is exactly what I got.  What I didn't expect was my reaction to the twaddle, which is this:

Mindless crap.  A Shirley Valentine for the next generation - woman runs away from home to 'find herself' and in the process finds true love and happiness.  She doesn't need a man to be happy and complete, oh hang on, yes she does.

This movie really does promote the importance of self above all else.  Seriously.  That is what it is about.  Self, and how to get your own way, at all times, in all things, while claiming to be on a journey of self-discovery.

I would love to be able to drop everything and wander the world for 12 months, but I have responsibilities - to myself as well as others.  To expect that popping off to an exotic location or 3 is going to help me 'find' myself is ridiculous - the me I would find there would never fit into the world in which I exist.

Maybe I am harsh, maybe I am just old school when it comes to things like this.  I don't know.  What I do know is that the balance we need to survive in the modern world is not something we will find in places where we don't exist, we need to find it within ourselves, in our own worlds. And that takes hard work, and time.  Just like it did for previous generations.  They did it, so can we.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Congrats to the gorgeous Mac and Mr Mac!

Who were married in a tropical paradise last night!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Saturday, September 11, 2010

An addict looking for a vice to happen with

That would be me.  I am not, and have never been, diagnosed as an addict.  Not by a doctor.  But, addicition runs in my family, in a big way.  I cannot think of 1 of my mother's siblings who hasn't battled some form of addiction.  And we won't look too closely at the extended family - might get scary.

But, I am still an addict.  1 of something is never enough.  1 beer? Hell no, drink til I pass out, even when the voice in my head is roaring that I need to stop.  The compulsion to have 'just one more' is too strong.  I have that one, and then another to keep it company.

10 minutes on a poker machine? No way.  I'll be bored for the first 2-3 minutes, and then I'm down the rabbit hole.  I don't even participate in footy tipping, or Melbourne Cup sweeps any more.

No matter what it is, I just cannot stop myself; eating, shopping, alsohol, cambling - once I get the taste, I am lost to the world.  And that frightens me.  So I just don't, even when the craving is nearly killing me.  There are days where I cannot leave the house, because the urge is so strong to go play Keno, and I just cannot.

I have friends who are addicts.  I have close family who are addicts.  I can go with them while they drink/smoke/gamble, and be ok.  For about 10 minutes, then I start to climb the walls.  If they lose everything, the know not to complain to me, because I will not be sympathetic.  You know you have a problem, you know the feeling when it starts to grab at you, and you know the consequences if you give in. So man up, and freaking well don't do it!!

Harsh? Yes.  But that's how it is, out here in the real world..............

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


.... in my maudlin mood, to say there has been a breakthrough with Mr15.

Appointment 1 with the psychologist did not go well.  We had a conversation about this, and agreed that if he moved home, he had to not only go see the doc, but be totally honest.  Take whatever meds were prescribed, cut out the violence, clean his room, be civilised etc.

Appointment 2 went much better.  He was brutally honest - his dad and I waited outside, until we were invited in.  The only thing he didn't mention was headaches, he said he hadn't had an increase in them, whe he had - but that wasn't a lie, just something he hadn't considered.

Diagnosis; some form of epilepsy affecting the frontal lobe - causing petit mal seizures.  These seizures come in the form of violent outbursts - accompanied by absences.  So when he says 'No, that didn't happen, I don't remember.' he isn't lying, he genuinely doesn't remember, or only partially remembers - he isn't being a shit, he has no memory.  In other words, when he flies off the handle, and becomes violent, he isn't aware of what he is doing.

Risky behaviour, inability to concentrate, seeming to daydream a lot - all symptoms that we missed, or thought were something else.  For that matter, so did the doctors.

He is on epilepsy medication, and so far, it seems to be working.  He still has days where he is in a mood - but he is a teenager.  Today he was shitty with me, I woke him up to go to the doctor.  A few hours later, he apologised.  He and his dad are getting along much better, there is a lot less tension in the house, and the other day, while grocery shopping, he gave me a dozen different breeds of cheek.  As exhausting as that was, it was also a great feeling.  I missed my boy.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


....... never comes, or so the song goes.

There are days when I wish that were true - and then there are days where it can't get here fast enough.

Today, I want it to hurry up, or not.  I'm not sure.  I am torn, do I want to know, or don't I?

I am facing the fact that, no matter how much I want it, no matter how hard I work or plan for it, the future I dream of may yet be denied me.  And that is NOT FAIR dammit!!  We have worked too darn hard to get to the point where we can see a future, to have it taken now.

Of course, that may not happen.  However, the odds are against us.  I guess they always were, we have been through more crap in our 23.5 years together than most couples cop in twice that long.  But until now, we have been able to ignore that.  Now, regardless of what happens in the next 7 days, we have to face the fact that it may not happen for us.

To get to the point of this ramble - my husband was diagnosed and hospitalised for 24 hours last week with penumonia - he was sent home, told to see the GP, who gave him antibiotics, and instructions that if he was no better at the end of the first prescription, to get his butt back.  Today, he was given new antibiotics, instructions to return a phlegm sample (ick!) and an xray appointment.  His right lung is crackling.  And we are both scared.

Crackling could be pneumonia, or it could be the return of the cancer.  We are both leaning to thinking it is the cancer, for various reasons.  He has had a persistent cough, and has been rundown for quite some time - the rundown-ness I blamed on stress, so did he.  The cough, on heavy smoking.  Now, we are both wondering if maybe it is back, and what that means if it is.  I can't articulate why I think it may be, it's not something I can describe.  He has the same symptoms, and feelings as last time, physically, but is hoping it is just because he is so run-down.  But he is afraid it is cancer.  I think he has been worried for a while......

If it is, I have no idea how we will cope - he can't have radiotherapy again - he had that last time.  Yes, my smoker husband has had lung cancer before.  And continues to smoke.

We must both have been truly evil in past lives, I swear.  Just a couple of weeks ago, we were talking about my Uni, and whether I should stick with BRRM, do Honours and get some posh sounding qualification (still 2 years to go to finish the degree, but planning ahead never hurts, or so I tell myself), or finish BRRM, and do the additional 2 years to get BNEWS - a less posh qualification, but it surely sounds like a lot more fun, and the same amount of time.  We were discussing how much of an impact on our future plans an extra 2 years in this sinkhole would have - could we do it? Was it worth it? Would that give Mr15 more time to sort himself out?

Now, that is all gone.  We have to wait and see if we have that much time together.  Of course, there are no guarantees, but the chances are reduced, if that insidious disease is back.

I cannot imagine a future without T, it's just not feasible.  For 23.5 years, we have dreamed together, of one day going off, living our own lives, the way we want to, having set our children on the paths they will follow for the rest of their lives.  It damn well better not be denied us.  We deserve to follow our dreams together.

I hope with all my heart that we get the all clear.  In the mean time, I need to work on being strong.  For him and the kids.  And especially for me.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Freezing My Bum Off............

...... here in the 'port.  I have never felt the cold like this.  The few mornings we have had frosts (including the day we got black ice), I have been a happy icicle - that sort of cold I am used to.  This bone-seeping, core-temperature lowering cold, not so much.

Been a few things happen in my world of late;

Mr15 has been diagnosed, and is taking medication, which so far seems to be helping the violent outbursts.

Grumpy is not going to have surgery in the near future - he will need it one day, but if he has it now, it could make the problem worse.

I have become a member of the Dirty Thirty, and I love it!!

I got through Round 1 of Uni - I got a pass, a credit and a distinction.

I am thinking I am crazy for not stopping there - I proved I can do it, why did I decide to keep going?!

Mr25 and Miss24 got engaged - stoked beyond belief.

Had my first ever visit to Lush - with Miss19 - we both fell in love!

We all turned up for court, only to be told to come back again another time.  There was a 'miscommunication'.

I did my tax.  Am now impatiently waiting to hear from the ATO.

I have laybyed myself a gorgeous watch, and a cool digital camera.  Gifts from me, to me.

I have been assessing how to go about knocking over as much as possible of my planned 2nd degree, with units that fit into my majors in my 1st.

And, I have decided I really, really need to get into the Cupboard of Doom, where everything that didn't have a place got stashed when we had a houseful.  Maybe this week.........

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Truth in Lyrics

First they put away the dealers, keep our kids safe and off the street. Then they put away the prostitutes, keep married men cloistered at home. Then they shooed away the bums, then they beat and bashed the queers, turned away asylum-seekers, fed us suspicions and fears. We didn't raise our voice, we didn't make a fuss. It's funny there was no one left to notice when they came for us.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Many Shades of Green

In these days of global warming, ozone holes (yes, it's still there) and carbon footprints, there are myriad shades of green.

We have the Weld Angel, those who chain themselves to bulldozers, and set up road blocks.  The Wilderness Society. Tree farmers, and forestry concerns.  National Parks, and those who care for them.  The everyday Joe or Jane, who hears all the fear-mongering, and wonders what they can do, and will it even work.

Probably my least favourite shade of green though, is the one that I see more and more of every day.  The Hypocritically Green.

They sprout on about buying Green Miles, or Green Power, or how they have installed a rainwater tank, while driving a monstrous guzzling off-road vehicle that will never see anything even remotely like rough terrain, unless they hit a major patch of roadworks.  If you dare to leave a light on when you walk out of the room, they lecture you endlessly for not being green-councious, and then drive their Monster 5 minutes up the road, to buy the bread and milk.

Big industry and government are just as bad, if not worse.  Big Company puts in place a 'green' methodology, to reduce their impact by, oh say 2% over 20 years, and gets kudos from the government of the day for their 'green-ness'.  Never mind that they have been killing the planet for 50 years, and that 2% reductin isn't due to start for another 10.  And we are expected to applaud their environmentally friendly ways, and follow suit.

I am 'green' in some ways.  I recycle, have for years.  We have planted trees in our garden, mainly natives.  We water irregulary, and only the new plants.  Our household has been using energy-saving lightbulbs for years.  Same with rechargeable batteries for remotes.  I wash only in cold water, and do dishes by hand.  We have 1 car, a 4 cylinder job.  I walk most places, or take public transport.  Rather than running heaters, we wrap up warm, and in the summer, run a normal fan.  We do not have central heating/air.  I use bio-friendly cleaning products, homemade where I can.

Yes, every 2 years or so we take a long trip, on a big plane.  Not very eco-friendly.  But really, are we doing any more harm to the globe than the big companies who dump toxins in the rivers, and atmosphere?  There is a former industrial site I go past on my way to Uni, used to be a paint plant.  It is 20 years since it closed down, and there are still another 5 years before it can be considered 'safe' for use.  How many toxins are lying on that site?  How many more are there lurking in other industrial areas?

Let's stop jumping all over the little people, who are doing all they can on a daily basis.  Let's stop abusing the men and women who are simply trying to feed their families.  Instead, let us all focus on big industry, and complacent government, who are blithely destroying our planet, while lecturing us on how to be green.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

New World Order

So, in light of all that has happened, and the fact that this IS the Year of Self, I am taking steps to get me back.  Or rather, to work out who I am these days.

Once I get exams out of the way, I am going to;

* start walking every day before breakfast

* go to bed earlier, and getting up earlier

* treat myself to lunch at least once a month

* work harder at remembering maintenance appointments

I have done all I can to help my son, I will continue to love him, and will always be here should he need me.  However, I cannot remain standing still.  I have fought too hard, for too long, to simply stop now.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Government Health and Welfare Departments

I find myself in a situation on which everyone in the above area(s) has an opinion - after the fact - as to what action I should have taken.  And it pisses me off no end.  When I was scrambling around, crying out for help, did any one of you put your hand up and offer to assist? No.

What makes this particularly irritating is that I am not referring to individuals here - far from it.  Individuals offered what support and help they could, and for that I thank them.

The situation I am referring to has been ongoing for some time, I have sought help from every possible place I could, and every time it was 'Sorry, but no.'  Now, after things got to the point where I could take no more, and I took action, they are full of advice.

I tried everything, and everyone - even those who, as I tried, I knew had no place in the battle.  Interestingly, those were the places I got the most help - they could do nothing for me, under their job description, but they tried, Lord knows, they tried.

And now, after I reached the end of my tolerance, and I took decisive action, they are all over me, about why I did this, or why I didn't do that.  Because I couldn't!!  I tried everything I could, I rang everyone I could, I talked to people until they were sick of hearing from me, and I got nowhere.

The only thing I didn't do, was the thing that would have gotten me to this point a lot faster.  Had I done that, help would have been faster in coming, but I would have been devastated by the action.  We suffered for longer because of my failure to take that step, but I stand by my decision to keep fighting.  I tried, until there was no other option, and even then, the steps I took were taken with a heavy heart, and only as a last resort, when my destruction was imminent.

So, to those who were hurt by my failure to act, I apologise.  I did what I did because I saw no choice that I could live with.  I hope one day you understand that.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Further to that rant..............

I am utterly disgusted with the AFL, and the way it chooses to treat different levels of behavior of it's players.

I've had my say about Jason Akermanis elsewhere.  I don't agree with the way he said what he did, or the forum he used.  But it is 1 man's opinion, and he is entitled to it.  He broke no moral laws, although he did break a club-ordered media ban.  That is for him, and the Bulldogs, to sort out.

And then we have the young Saints, who met a 16 year old at a coaching clinic at her school, met her again after a match in Sydney, had sex with her, and now she is pregnant, possibly to one of them.  And what does the AFL do? Look closely at the case, say 'There's no crime here.  Move on, nothing to see.'

Apparently, the girl told the players she was 18, and attached to the AIS in Canberra.  Somehow, in the eyes of the AFL, this makes the players' conduct acceptable, because nothing happened at the clinic.  The girl is not entirely without blame, and by all accounts, the sex was consensual.

BUT, we have a pregnant 16 year old, who participated in group sex with 2 AFL footballers.  The girl will give birth when she is 17, and will, for the next 18 years at least, be forced to face the stupidity of her actions.  No doubt, she will have moments of great joy, children bring that, but she is a child herself.  And the men (allegedly) responsible for her situation, are being told 'Never mind, just be more careful next time.' Am I the only one who thinks there is something very wrong here?

It would appear that the the AFL are fans of the 1 Rule for You, Another for You, and Yet Another for You.  Ben Cousins was given the boot for bringing the game into disrepute over his drug habit, and hung out to dry.  There are players on the current playing lists, who have returned several positive drug tests, and are protected by the Code of Silence.  Their names are not released, they are not sent to rehab, they are simply warned, and sent on their way.

I love Aussie Rules, I truly do, I think it's the game of champions, but I also think that at some point, the whole damn house of cards is going to come crashing down, and destroy the game, because a few fat cats are too damn scared for their designer suits, and fancy offices, to take a stand and say "Behave."

Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Study Break Rant...............

.... about things that have ticked me off today.

To Apple; I realise that you are the makers of all things cool.  You are the pinnacle of cool geekdom.  More power to you.  BUT - if I get just one more call from an otherwise intelligent person asking me to help them get music onto their iPod, I am going to smash every Apple appliance I see, and send you the bill for my bail, and legal costs.  I have better things to do than do battle with your user-unfriendly software.  Especially since I don't own anything you have made. I have my reasons.

To local businesses;  12.10 is NOT 12.30.  I am aware that it is cold, wet and yucky, and that you would rather be home in front of the fire - or anywhere but work.  Trust me, I understand.  But I also understand that if your sign says you will close at 12.30, and I rock up at 12.10, to find the doors locked and the lights off, I am not going to be impressed.  If you want customers, you need to provide service.  By all means, leave at noon on Saturday, but let us know, before we arrive to find you closed, and your Hours of Business sign saying 12.30 is closing time.

To Channel 10; for the love of footy, send that female commentator for speech lessons!! I am all for female commentators (why did Kristy Malthouse have to get a life, she was fabulous!), but I want them to speak correctly.  I want all commentators to speak correctly.  I am all for them getting excited, and mising metaphors, that's half the fun.  But I do not want them sounding like the feral bogan across the street. I know this is harsh, especially coming from me, a Master Mangler of the English language.  I am not on TV.  I am not causing people to turn off, or write letters to the newspaper complaining.

And finally, to Collingwood Football Club - WAKE UP!!! You are currently 2 points down against the Brisbane Lions, and I do NOT want to spend this week hearing the lament.  1 week was enough.  Now get on with it!!!  You have 7.5 minutes.

That is all.

Monday, May 24, 2010

As you travel though life, remember..............

Not achieving what you set out to do is not failure. Look at what you have learnt on the road you travelled to get this far.

The road is not always going to be straight. It will fork, twist and turn back on itself.  There will be detours along side roads that seem to go nowhere.  You will eventually find your way back to the highway.

Drinking and driving is stupid.  Don't do it.

The going will not always be smooth.  Nor will it always be in brilliant sunlight.  There will be bad times, and long nights.  You will survive them.

Your goal may not be what you initially thought it was. That is ok, time and distance distort things.

The quickest path is not always the best.

A kind word, or a smile, may be the greatest gift you can give someone. 

Be good to everyone, even those who speak or act harshly towards you.

The long, straight cruisy stretches are more likely to bring you to grief than the mountains.

There is good, and there is evil out there.  You will encounter both.  Acknowledge the one, rejoice in the other, and be wary which you choose.

Crashes are a fact of life. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get on with it. If your vehicle of choice is a write off, walk until you get another.

The hard yards are the most rewarding in the end.

Rash actions are not always wrong actions.  The immediate results may not be the best, but you did it for a reason.  These are the things that teach us who we really are.

If you don't like what you learn about yourself, change it.  You can, you know.

Take the time to look around you.  You are not always going to be young, and the things you disdain now, may be the things that sustain you in old age.

Beauty can hide danger.  Ugliness can hide great beauty.  Treat everyone and everything on their merits, rather than their appearance.

You can't control everything.  Don't waste your energy trying.  Save it for the good stuff.
Sometimes, you will feel the need to rest.  Do so, you have a long way to go.  But don't stop so long that you forget where you were going.
If someone wants to keep you company on your travels, take them up on their offer.  They may cause you joy, they may bring you tears.  Probably both.  Enjoy the times they are with you, because once they go, you will find that it's awfully lonely out there ..................

The Parent in My Head

Before you go calling the men in white coats on me - well actually, hang on, I'll find the number for you..........

But seriously, I haven't lost the plot totally.  I just have what I refer to as The Parent in My Head.  Because, well, she is always there, and also because today is Monday, her favourite day tojump all over my self esteem with her hobnail boots.

You will note I say 'she'.  That is because TPIMH is a cruel, crude caricature of my mother, and her mother with a goodly dose of Nanna thrown in.  She is a mean, evil, controlling bitch, who wants me to know how badly I have failed, and will continue to fail, at everything.

I love my mother.  She had a tough time growing up, and as a wife and mother.  Her own mother was super-critical (I loved my Nan, but as an adult I can see her flaws), and Nanna was not a fan.  The fact that my mother breathed the same air as everyone else was an abomination to Nanna, and it was Mum's fault; she should have had her own air, rather than steal everyone else's.  Rather like she stole Nanna's baby boy.  But that's a story for another day.

So yes, TPIMH is a twisted, sadistic, rather pathetic version of my mum.  She knows where and when to strike, and she's good at it.  Dad doesn't really feature in TPIMH, because he was always rather distant, in terms of disapproving.  He applied the theory that we would get wherever we were going, eventually.

There is an adage that goes to the effect that we are destined to repeat the mistakes of our parents.  I have tried so very hard not to do that - my kids' best has always been good enough, even if I think they didn't give it all, I praise them anyway.  I encourage them to dream, and to aim for the stars. Someone puts them down, I build them back up.  I am not afraid to tell them if their behaviour lets me down, if they try their best, that is enough.  And if they say "I should have done A, but did B, and A was the right answer." I usually tell them they are a goose, suggest they go the other way next time and remind them that our failures teach us as much, if not more, than our successes.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Utterly Disgusted

It seems this week was the week when homosexuality once again made headlines in all the wrong ways, for all the wrong reasons.

Now, I could care less if someone is gay.  I don't care, it's their life, and if they engage in sexual acts with consenting adults, that's their business.

First off, we had Jason Akermanis warning gay Aussie Rules players to stay in the closet, as AFL isn't ready for openly gay players.  He has been painted as a homophobe for his remarks.  I found them off-colour, and not quite appropriate, but also, quite true to the culture of AFL.  Rugby has accepted openly gay players, and in that way, it more evolved than AFL.  The AFL is still not there.  I am not referring to individual clubs, or players, but the culture of the game.  I also wonder, if someone other than Aker had said it, would it stink quite so badly?

And then we have David Campbell, NSW frontbencher, who quit after being seen by a media snoop leaving a gay club.  Mr Campbell is married, and his wife is either fighting off or recovering from cancer.  This was enough for one journalist to tell us that while Australians are not overly fussed about our pollies sexual orientation, we do not trust our politicians when they cheat on their spouses, as it makes us wonder about their intent to keep the promises they make to those who elect them.  Excuse me?!

I would like to believe we are that enlightened, but we, or at least some of us - aren't, especially if you are a serving member of a certain political party.  It's ok to go to these places, but you must not know what it is when you walk in the door, and once inside, you must keep your eyes either closed, or focussed on the carpet, so as not to offend your delicate sensibilities.  Follow the leader's example, and remember it's "Do as I say I do, not as others tell you I did."

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Defending Barry Hall

If you are even a sometime follower of Aussie Rules, you will know of Big Bad Barry.  If not, well, you are missing out.  Aussie Rules, well, rules!

For those of you not in the know, Barry was formerly a member of the Sydney Swans, he had a reputation for having a short fuse, and hard fists. After 1 suspension too many for violence, he left the Swans, and shifted to Melbourne, and the Doggies.

Today, I was watching the North Melbourne/Western Bulldogs game, and Barry was copping it sweet.  And he kept his temper.

Now, I am in no way a fan of the sort of violence that Hall showed himself to be capable of.  I have seen it all too often in my working life - that sudden explosion of rage, a punch landed, bruises and broken bones, followed by sincere, and ultimately meaningless, remorse.

To be fair to Barry, I think he was genuine in his remorse, he simply hadn't matured enough to learn to control his temper - it happens, people mature at different rates.  By no means a stupid man, and by all accounts, a lovely bloke, he just had to learn to count to 50 before making a fist.  And 100 before throwing it.

Today, he showed that he had learnt, maybe not enough to avoid a report, but enough to not start throwing at the first sign of annoyance.  To be totally fair to him, he took a lot more than many people would.  And when he did respond, it wasn't with fists, he did as much as was needed to get himself safe.

His opposing player spent - I have no idea how long all up - but in 30 seconds, I saw more than a dozen slams of an elbow, shoves, and shoulder slams to the back.  Barry took the lot, shoving away a hand, moving off, not even looking at the guy.  I was thinking that this fool needed to meet Big Bad Barry, he was being a total twat, and then it happened.  Barry did the nana, and applied a solid headlock.

End result, 6 reports from the altercation, which in the end, involved other players.  I will be seriously disappointed if Barry Hall gets rubbed out for his part in this.  Yes, he did step outside the rules, but he has the right to feel safe.  He was tying his shoelace, out of range of play, and copped a knee to the ribs from his opposing player.  His focus was on tying his shoe for crying out loud!! He didn't see the guy coming, he was attacked off the ball, responded, and is reported.  WTF?!

As he said after the game, being niggled is part of the game, particularly with his reputation, but there is only so much bullshit that anyone should be expected to take.  This was above and beyond.  I for one, think that he did nothing more than anyone else would, or should.  In fact, he did less than I would have.

I am particularly disgusted with the North coach, who said that the player did nothing wrong, his job was to upset the forward and he did that.  TOOL!!!

Monday, May 17, 2010

To Clarify..............

I was NOT referring to ............... well, you know who you are, in my last post.  I actually hope to come back soon.  I miss you.

I probably should have been clearer, but I was so gobsmacked and p'd off by the behaviour of certain people elsewhere (IRL and on the WWW), that I let fly, without thought.

My reasons for taking a break from you were what I said then, and what I outlined in my email today.  There's a whole heap more detail if you want it, but I don't think you do, I know I don't.  It hurts too much.

Those others are well - other - and will not be named, any more than you will, or my other faithful friend.  To name something is to label it, and I don't like labels.

I love you, and I miss you, and I hope you will forgive my lack of thought in posting my rant.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

What is Happening to the Web?

When did it get so nasty?

I know that being anonymous allows people to pretend to be someone they are not, or to show their true colours without fear of presonal reprisal, but seriously!  This week saw a major shitstorm on one blog I used to read and comment on regularly - I missed it, saw the aftermath, and really, I don't quite know what to say.  Aside from WTF?!

I have been a member of several online communities down the years - one I have been a member of for more than 10 years, but in the past 18 months, I have left 2 communities, partly due to my own personal issues needing my focus, and partly due to the fact that the levels of nastiness and crap got to the point where it was just not worth the effort to wade through it to get to the good stuff.  Actually, mainly due to that.

Once, I went to these places for a break, to escape my day-to-day existence, and get away from the bullshit that was bringing me down.  And then, the bullshit mutated and invaded my havens.  I actually started to feel worse after a visit.  Eventually, I pulled the plug.

I miss some of the people I met there, but over all, I feel good about my decision.  Looking back, I realise that a lot of the problem, for me anyway, was that it was becoming like high school - the cool kids targetting the uncool kids, teachers (admins) turning a blind eye to the bullying because they want the kids to think they are cool, and the rest of the school wandering around aimlessly, trying to avoid becoming targets of the 'in' crowd.  I left high school a long time ago, I don't miss it, and I sure as Hell do not want to go back.

Maybe that is what is wrong with not just the Web, but the world - we are devolving back to high school.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mother's Day

The day when we 'celebrate' mums, is this Sunday.  And boy is it big this year.  Not only do we have the usual plethora of big name national sellers telling us what mum would really want, and she could win a holiday to boot, but to save her (and us) the hassle of cooking, we can also buy a box of grease!  From the fast food giant of our choice - burgers or chicken!

WTF?!  Now, I know that Mother's Day is, rather like Father's Day and Valentine's Day, a massive commercial event.  I'm not THAT stupid.  What amazes me is how far in that direction we have gone.

I remember when my kids were little, the joy they took in telling me that they were making me something at school for Mother's Day - and the delight I felt on recieving it.  I got burnt toast in bed, and it was ambrosia.

Now, there is pressure on even the little people to get mum the 'perfect' gift.  For myself, the most perfect gift is one that comes from the heart - even if it's just 'Love you mum'.  I still have the macaroni necklaces, cardboard photo frames, hand painted cushion, painted ceramic plowerpots, and toilet paper insert kaliedoscope from years past, and they still make me smile.

I admit, I buy into it a little, I send my mum and my mother-in-law flowers.  I send mum Singapore orchids, and my MIL roses.  My mum loves Singapore orchids, and my MIL has a special affinity with roses.  But I have been doing this for more than 20 years, and I do other things throughout the year - weed my MIL's garden, took them both to lunch, made Mum a collage of photos of her parents, pruned my MIL's roses, picked the raspberries for a season for Mum.  And I tell them I love them every time I speak to them.  And I tell my mum that I see now why things were the way they were, and that I admire her for sticking it out, on a regular basis.

The gifts that mean the most are the ones that come from the heart; burnt toast in bed made by little hands, a macaroni necklace, a meal cooked at the end of a long arduous day at work - these are the things that show a mother she is loved.  And saying, just once in a while "I love you mum".  Those are the things that make mums feel like they matter.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Lest We Forget

Today marks the 95th anniversary of the Gallipoli Landing.  Not the finest hour of British Military Command.  The first march was held in London in 1916, by Australian and New Zealand military personnel to honour those who lost their lives that Godforsaken beach.  Today, we honour all who died, or lost someone in war.

I have seen a lot of comments and articles of late, 'reminding' us that the day is not so much about remembering the fallen at Gallipoli, that it was started as a way to keep the workers down, and continues as a part of the political propaganda machine.

Now, I am pretty open-minded, I can see most points of view.  This one, however, I cannot.  I would say to those who refute ANZAC Day as a day to mourn and honour those lost in war, sit down with a Digger, hear their story, and then tell me what today is about.

Actually, don't.  Show some respect for those who lost their lives, or a loved one, and keep your thoughts to yourself.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Why I am at Uni............

Yesterday, in one of our breaks, we were all discussing the classes we were taking.  Along with another woman, I announced my distaste for maps, and my dread of the compulsory Geography component of BRRM.  History, now there is something I would enjoy getting my teeth into.  Any region, any era, I don't care, I love history.

The discussion continued for a bit, and then another class member asked me what my 'burning passion'  was, in regards to why I chose this degree.  Most of the others have a clear idea of where they want to end up professionally and personally, and see this degree as a means to that end.

I chose this degree because it sounded interesting, like I would be able to stretch my brain, and not be compartmentalised. Beyond that - I actually don't have a clue. I have no grand plans to change the world. I'm doing it for fun. If I can change things for the better when I am done, well and good. If not, I'll settle for having a blast.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Oh Help! Eeeeeee..................

I just got off the phone with my mother - I am in charge of wedding invitation design. Which is kinda cool, and utterly terrifying..............

Mum and P will be easily pleased, nothing too fancy.  Something that says what needs to be said, looks good, and isn't too - frothy.

Everyone else though, well, not so much.  And the worst will be yours truly.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mind Your Manners.........

This has been irking me for a while - I had a wee bit on, and never got around to posting about it.

So, The Mister and I were in Melbourne for the day - doctor stuff.  His, not mine.  We got to Melbourne incredibly early, as we had NFI where we were going.  We left incredibly late, because, well, with doctors, you never know. I was so buggered, I wasn't even worried about flying - and THAT is a huge deal, especially when you think what I was flying in (REx prop plane).

Anyhoodle, we were on a - tram - I think.  Has to have been, I was a mess.  I hate trams, and being in a crowded one is not good anytime, let alone at present. I'm rambling......

So, we were on this crowded tram. A well-dressed young professional woman came aboard.  A (well dressed, clean cut) young man stood and offered her his seat.  She looked down her nose at him,  (no mean feat, she was shorter than he by a good 4 inches), and then pointedly turned her back.

The man in question was completely unfazed.  I was horrified.  And I think it showed, because, as the man resumed his seat, he looked at me, gave me a half smile, and shrugged.  He offered his seat to another lady at the next stop, she accepted graciously. Miss Rude then tried to make herself physically smaller, to get away from The Well-Mannered Young Man.  By now, I was beyond horrified, and starting to get mad.

We arrived at our stop, The Mister and I, and bundled out of that god-damned rattling deathtrap, along with Miss Rude, and The Well-Mannered Young Man.  Miss Rude instantly got on the (hands-free) phone, and proceeded to loudly abuse The Well-Mannered Young Man to whoever was on the other end (we all got stuck with her at traffic lights - the joy). His crime?  His appearance.  Or more accurately, his (possible) racial background.

I kid you not.  She called this guy names that I haven't heard in a long, long time, and certainly never in the light of day, because he offered her his seat.  How dare he?!  Why would the filthy so-and-so think she would want to sit on a seat that a such-and-such had just sat on?  Colour me shocked.

I apologised to The Well-Mannered Young Man, because I was so embarrassed by Miss Rude's behaviour (The Mister didn't speak, he had steam coming out of his ears).  The WMYM thanked me, and said that he is used to it, it happens all the time.  I didn't know where to look, or what to say...................... I still don't.

Thanks Everyone!

Yoursupport got me through an incredibly tough couple of days.

I am feeling better.  Not great, but at least I am not losing 2 days when I go to the supermarket. Well, I didn't this week anyway - I even managed a haircut and an eyebrow wax.  With Mr14 along to hold my hand (he is still being a terrible challenge and stressor, but that's a whole other story).

Uni is kicking my butt - seeing as I 'lost' 5 weeks of info out of my noggin, but I passed the 2 assignments I did while I was losing my mind, and I have an appointment next week to do some catch-up work. I have 1 assignment due next week (thought it was next month!), another at the end of the month, and a HUGE one in 3 weeks time - which I am not doing well with.............

Next week could be tough, Mouse turns 1, I have that bluddy assignment to get finished, and my first baby turns 21 - I can't believe that he is going to be legal the world over in 7 days!!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

On the Road Back....

So, today I had a meltdown. In public. In the post office.

I had a panic attack.  To the point where I couldn't move away from the counter - no matter how badly I wanted to get out of there - and trust me, I wanted out bad.  I was sweating like a loon (it was running in rivers down my face), my heart was racing, and I could feel the panic racing around my system, and I couldn't freaking move!!

Fortunately for me, the guy who had been serving me has known me for years, so when I said "Call my husband." he simply picked up my mobile, got the number out, and rang The Mister, who talked me down, and got me out of there.

I went to the doctor immediately.  I got in right away.  I have been informed that I have an anxiety disorder, and panic attacks - ya think?!

I am on a low dose anti-depressant, to help ease the anxiety, and something-or-other to help me sleep (what is sleep?).  I go back tomorrow afternoon to get a referral to a psychologist, which will take about 8 weeks to get moving.

I feel a bit better - like I am moving forward.  I actually was feeling really good today, until the freeze-up.  It was raining when I woke, and my first thought was "It's raining, I don't have to go into town if it's raining."  But I did, I got up and went. BIG deal.

Hopefully, things will improve.  If I can get the anxiety under control, maybe I will be able to study properly, and even go grocery shopping without writing off 2 whole days due to being sick and jittery.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

WTF?! Did I miss something?

Unless you have been living in a cave for the past few months, you will have heard about Apple's new iPad - apparently a cross between an iPhone and a laptop.  And not exactly cheap at USD$545.

So why, can someone PLEASE tell me - do we have this? What was the thinking (was there thinking) behind this?

He says that he did it because he wanted to be the first to do it.  And? What exactly does that prove? Apart from that you are a moron, with more money than sense? I hope his parents took away his - well, everything, for a very long time.

But somehow I doubt it.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


So, I've been thinking. Never a good thing. Me and thinking is NEVER a good combination.

What got me started was the Body Image post at The Real Sydney.  I got to thinking about all the things that affect women's body image. Yes, as Fender pointed out, men suffer from body image issues too, but because I am a woman, I'm going to talk about female body image.

There are those who believe that mothers are responsible for their daughters' body image. In some cases, like the woman who brought her 8-year-old into a beauty salon (I was present) to have her mono-brow waxed because 'It's unattractive, it ruins her looks', they are responsible to a large degree. Mums who have botox, or boob jobs? More power to them. If it makes you feel better, why not?

But for now, let's leave Mum alone, and look at the other members of the family.  Let's start with Dad.

My sister and I both have good body image. We both have things we'd like to change, and there are days where nothing looks right. But, overall, we are ok with out bodies.  A lot of this can be traced back to Dad. The man adored my mother.  He thought she was the most beautiful thing ever.  While he may at times questioned her judgement (always discreetly), he never, ever commented negatively on her body, nor did he ever look at another woman.  These things I know, partly from observation, and partly from Mum.

When I was growing up, some of my friend's dads DID look at other women - one in particular was really bad.  This man had a beautiful wife, the woman was (and still is) physically stunning, and yet, every woman who walked past, he had to look at. Not glance, I mean LOOK at.  Just about drooling look.  Both his daughters have body image issues - one is a size 6, and considers herself ugly and fat.  Dad's influence? Maybe. Actually, probably. Fathers play a HUGE part in a girl's view of herself, and a lot of this comes from how they see their mothers being treated.

Grandparents and aunts are bad.  They don't *usually* mean to be - but they are.  I have spent my entire life from the age of 5, hearing how gorgeous my sister is. She is. Physically stunning.  Didn't do a lot for my self-esteem. These days, I am not fussed - I developed a personality to make up for my average looks. I am what I am, and she is what she is.

Family friends and neighbours also play a part - hearing someone raving on and on about how stunning so-and-so is, can dent anyone's self-image.

The media - is tricky. I think the media cops a lot more flak than they really should.  Photoshopping people into unrealistic shapes is not good, but at the same time, is it ALL their fault? No. Before Photoshop hit the scene, people were having body image issues. Hell, they were having them before photography was invented.

Big sisters/cousins.  These are the people we look up to and compare ourselves to. I remember my cousin K, when I was in about Grade 5, lamenting that she was fat.  I thought she was beautiful. Fat  to my 11-year-old self was the woman we knew who took 10 minutes each way to get into or out of her car, because she kept jamming up against the steering wheel, not my pretty, funny cousin.

Our friends can be our worst enemies in this - if a pang of jealousy strikes right at the second you are contemplating your appearance, and your friend says "That makes you look fat.", you are gone.  It's not necessarily that she wants to stomp you into the ground, but women are designed to compete against each other for men. It's survival of the hottest, and the species must go on.

Now, for the record, I do NOT judge people on their size.  The woman who caught on the steering wheel was a novelty to me as a child, but even as I was enthralled, I was saddened. I don't see size when I look at someone - unless we include height. But that's different.

So, in conclusion, I think it is time for us to own our body image issues.  Outside factors certainly affect the way we view ourselves, which is fine.  But they should NOT rule us.

If you are unhappy with your appearance, ask yourself why? Not in terms of "Why don't I like my nose? Because it's huge!", but rather in terms of, "Why don't I like my nose? How does it affect my life?"  If the answer is that it affects your self-confidence, you have a couple of choices; surgery, or get-the f***-over-it-and-make-the-most-of-what-you-do-like. Life is too short to waste precious time letting something like a big hooter, saggy tits or crooked teeth rule what you do. Seek counselling if needs be.

But get out there and live. Join me in being amazed/amused when a guy hits on you (as time has passed, I have started to move more to amused). Believe compliments when you recieve them, use them to lift you up. Ignore the negative remarks, they are a waste of time.

And to end, do you know what the best compliment I ever recieved was? It was late last year, we were watching the cricket at work (slow day) and I commented on something - a passage of play or an umpiring decision - and one of the guys turned to me and said, in a tone of utmost admiration "Why didn't I know you 20 years ago?!"  I floated for days on that. I still feel good when I think about it - it even beats "beautiful woman, with the most amazing smile." It was and is the yardstick all compliments are measured by

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Early Easter

I feel it's time for something a bit lighter than the rest of this week's fare, so here 'tis.

Yesterday , we celebrated Easter. And it was good.

The Little Family came over.  Miss5 is going camping with her paternal grandparents for 2 weeks starting tomorrow, so we wouldn't have gotten to see her at Easter.  The Young Couple aren't likely to make it back, due to financial constraints.

So, TLF, The Mister, Mr14 and I all had Easter yesterday.  We gave the little kids their presents, and I actually cooked a proper meal.  I even made sure I had enough to take the elderly lady across the road a plate.

Kids got:

Melamine cup for winter milo
Her: Lipgloss watch
Him: Truck
Party hats
Stickers by the dozen
Bubble wands
Curly Wurly

Mouse: a ball

Mr14: snack foods and the like - shapes, choclate etc.

Miss and I took the kids to the park, while the boys did boy stuff (aka computer stuff).  I ran, I slid down firemen's poles, I swung, I pushed others on swings, I slippery-slid.  And then we went down onto the beach, where the kids 'paddle' became a full-on dip. I came home in a singlet top, having given my hoodie to K. S got her mum's top. I was wearing teething rusk, sand and woodchips, along with baby slobber. Very attractive ensemble, non?

Brought them home, ran them a bubble bath, fed them,  loaded Mouse into the stroller for a wee walk around the block (where he fell asleep), watched Bolt with K & S, then Mouse was awake, so they all went home.

I was utterly buggered!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Today, My Heart Finally Broke

Yes folks, I made it to almost 40 without a major heartbreak being intentionally caused by someone I love. And, if I am honest, I can't really be sure that it IS intentional.

But I digress.  Mr14 has been shocking of late, violent, withdrawn at times and abusive a LOT of the time.  We know what was behind it, we have been trying for months to get a doctor to listen, so we could get a diagnosis.  In the past 5 days (including the weekend) I have had 3 phone consults, and 2 face-to-faces with different doctors.  All agree. He is suffering from depression, anxiety and PTSD. This I already knew.

What I didn't know, and neither did The Mister, is that we can't do anything about it.  Treatment is optional.  He has to want to go, or take the pills.  We can't even get him properly assessed without his agreeing, which he refuses to do.  He only went to the doctor for a follow-up on his tonsilitis that took 3 lots of antibiotics to kill.

He announced this morning that he is leaving when he turns 15 in 6 weeks time.  I was/am devastated.  I love my son. But I am not all that sorry at this latest development.  The person living in my home, inhabiting my son's body, is not my son.  He is a stranger, one who frightens me.  I fear for my son.  He is in danger from not only the scum who lurk around every corner in this sink hole, but also from the stranger making his decisions, and telling him they are his own.

My heart is breaking at the fact that I am going to have to let him go, physically, at 15. And at the fact that, in a lot of ways, my son has already left.  It is killing me.  But living like we are, in constant fear of another blow-out, is killing me even more.  The stress is causing major physical symptoms, and if I don't do something soon, I will land back in hospital.  And this time, I have no reserves of energy or determination to get me through.  They were all used a long time ago.

I am sitting here with tears streaming down my face.  I am not writing this to ask for sympathy, empathy or any goddamn thing else.  I am writing this to help me accept what is going to happen.  I am scared beyond belief for my son, but I am more scared of the stranger wearing his skin.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Oh, Be Hanged

It looks like we are going to have a hung parliament, with the Greens holding the balance of power.

This is my worst nightmare, even worst than the ALP being returned - this is the party who gave us Shreddergate, jobs for the boys, stripped funding from regional hospitals with the intent of building a super-hospital in the capital (which isn't happening, because there is no money left), and claimed ownership of the Hawks - they are NOT the Tassie Hawks, but the ALP's Hawks - the citizenry may claim them when they are winning, or when we want to pay money into the coffers of the Government and the club, but otherwise, no.

For the record, I voted Liberal, #1 vote went to the new guy, a local businessman who funded his own campaign, and was harpooned for it in the local papers, because, wait for it...................... he had more money to spend on advertising that some other candidates, and that made for a non-level playing field.  Oh the horror!

Pray for me.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Not Happy Nan!

My First Time............... blood was this morning. I have always avoided it on medical advice - my blood pressure has a tendency to suddenly decide that it wants to go subterranean. My GP retired recently, and the new doctor told me that so long as I am careful I will be fine.

I am very excited about this, I think it's important to do what we can for those less fortunate. I have been a card-carrying organ donor for years, and regularly discuss the concept with my family.

I must admit though, when I saw how low my BP was (97 over 61), I understood why the doctor was wary. But the staff were lovely, they kept a close eye on me, and made me sit for a bit longer than normal afterwards, taking my BP again before I left.

I go back for Round 2 on June 10.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The MO of Youth

Gig got me wondering, why is it standard for the young of today, or at least the written-about minority, to get involved in glassings/knifings?

When Gig and I were young, it was considered extremely bad form to use a weapon against an unarmed opponent. You just didn't do it. Today, weapons are par for the course.

In the interests of clarity, I asked some teens. I went walking with my 14 year old son, and some of his friends on the weekend (both Friday and Saturday evenings), and at various times, we met people they knew, and we discussed the weapons issue.

The concensus seems to be that you need to. One young man put it thus; "I don't like carrying, if the cops get me I'm in shit, but I'm scared. The really bad ones carry 'em, and if I ever get jumped, I want a chance, so if I'm alone, I carry it in my hand, half open just in case. They'll prob'ly kill me anyway, but I'll give the fuckers a good fight. My mum will know I tried."

The rest agreed with this point of view. They want to protect themselves, and make it home to their families. The prospect of hurting an innocent made them all pale, and brought a few close to tears. But they are frightened, and, while they know that in reality, a knife isn't going to help them, they want to believe that if the worst happens, they will at least be able to do some damage to those who wish them ill. The fact that they are more likely to wind up dead if they carry doesn't sink in. They want a fighting chance.

This doesn't cover the glassings or stabbings which appear on the news regularly. When I mentioned a recent glassing at a party here, every single person said "Yeah, but he's a wanker. You don't do that to someone. It's just fucking wrong."

The teens I spoke to were from a variety of familial/economic/social backgrounds. They all agreed that when they are travelling in a group, no-one carries, unless they were alone initially. But you never, ever pull a weapon on an unarmed man. You don't keep going once they're down. You don't jump in and help your mate bash some poor bastard senseless. And you never hit a woman.

Maybe there is hope for some of them.

Someone tell me.............

......what in Hades is this thing 'business casual'? Is it businessy, but not a suit? Is it like smart casual, but with more buttons and less bling?

For that matter, what is smart casual meant to be?

A friend just rang to ask me about business casual, and I had to admit I have NFI.

Once upon a day, many moons ago, I had it down. Black pants and shirt for work, jeans and tshirt for the pub to see a band.

I miss the old days.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

To the Victor.........

.... the spoils of war.

Once, the spoils were valuables gained in pillage. Or land rights.

The winner wrote the history books. And told those they had defeated what they could or could not do, even in their own country.

Today, there are no victors. Only victims.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pros and Cons of the 7310 Postcode

Which is where I live.

It's a pretty part of the world
The air is clean

Pokies (slot machines)
Cost of living (wages vs. expenses)
Ozone hole

Ok, well that didn't go as well as I planned. I thought my Pros list would be longer. I knew the Cons list would be longer, but I truly thought the other list would be bigger.

Oh well. To give a more in-depth look at each one;

Pros; this IS a pretty part of the world. Our coastline is some of the most glorious in the world, I am left breathless every Tuesday on the bus to Uni, I know what is waiting around the next corner, and yet, every time, it takes my breath away with it's beauty.

Our air is clean. So is our water. Best in the world - in fact, we export our water to the US and Japan.

Cons; I'm going to lump a few of these in together, as they are inter-related, and I have bleated about them elsewhere.

Drugs, alcohol and violence - the mainstays of the town in which I live. Lonely planet labels the denizens rednecks, the politicians jump up and down and holler, sprouting statistics that show our streets are safe (Bwahahahahah), and a week later, a YouTube video of a street brawl surfaces, and a tourist is gang-bashed walking home from a night out. This is not a nice, nor a safe town to live in.

The drugs and alcohol are an accepted part of life (and are a definite attraction for the rednecks, they can do what they like and get off scott-free). I don't, and have never, used drugs, and yet I can point out 3 dealers homes within a 3 block radius of my home. If I know what and who they are, how can the law not?

Much of this is related to the fact that the electorate in which this 25,000 person town is located is the 2nd poorest electorate in the country, after a remote Aboriginal community in far NE Western Australia. But still........

Housing and the cost of living; this is a hot one - people tell me (I should point out, these are people who don't live here) that living here is cheaper. Those who come from the mainland and stay, soon change their minds. If you look at house prices here compared to, say Melbourne, you will think here is cheaper. Take into account the average wage, the cost of groceries and fuel, and maybe not. Make the definitely not.

Jobs. What jobs? In the 3 weeks since I quit my last job I have trialled for 5 jobs. When you consider that a waitressing job attracted more than 200 applicants, in less than 4 hours, in a town of 25,000 people, you start to realise why the young get out while they can. And why there are so many unemployed.

Pokies - my pet hate. The company that runs them, and our State government will tell you that they supply immense amounts of jobs and funding for important infrastructure. I'm sure they do, but not here. In the last financial year, $12million went through pokies in the city of 7310. That's into 7 pubs/clubs. $12million. I can't even fathom how much that represents in tax dollars, but I can promise not a whole lot of them made it back here. And remember, this is a poor area, where does the money come from? Loan sharks? Payday loan shops? Oh yes, we now have those here.

Welfare groups, and the vans that feed the homeless have reported a 100%+ increase in calls on their services in the past 18 months. Want to try and tell me that $12million or the tax on it couldn't have been better spent?

And finally, the ozone hole. Tasmania sits under the hole in the ozone. We get undiluted UV year round. Our skin cancer rate is through the roof. Sunscreens don't work.

So, with all that going against it, why do I live here? I can't afford to leave. Literally, cannot afford the cost of moving. And then there's Mr14. If it was just The Mister and myself, we'd be gone in a heartbeat. But Mr14's friends are here, and he has suffered quite enough upset in his life. So for now, we stay.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

To Clarify..............

.........this blog is purely about being self-indulgent. It was never meant to be thought provoking, or about anything that matters.

I started it to help me get through a tough time, and to give me a sounding board for my emotions and reactions as things continued to change.

I whinge and whine and rant from time to time, but that's what this is for. I need a non-judgemental forum to get things out, and this is it. If I am struggling, I blog about it, and then, having gotten it out, I walk off and forget about it. Until I come back, read it and go "Oh crap! Other people occassionally read this."

I am not really sure why I am even putting this up here - maybe because a fair majority of the past few posts have been whiny/ranty.

I strongly suspect that as things here (hopefully) settle down, and get into something that resembles a routine, I will go back to just rambling. And I may also post about the State election. That's in a week, and it scares the bejabbers out of me.

In the interests of helping things settle, I have worked out a plan of sorts;

Weekdays - help The Mister with whatever he is doing - accupoints at present. It keeps him sane, I hate it, but if it helps......

Weekends - Uni work. I cannot do it through the week at present, I am exhausted by 9 a.m. I can't absorb information if I am mentally wiped out.

Weekdays - walk the dog of a morning. Every day, no matter how stressful/exhausting the morning has been.

Get Mr14 into a psychologist or something on a weekly or fortnightly basis.

Get Mr14 working - we have his paperwork in, just waiting on the final rigmarole, and he is away.

Go to Uni Tuesdays - I need to do 1 required unit, and this is the day.

Get the first round of hearings for The Psycho Former Neighbour out of the way - that happens Tuesday.

Work out how the Hell we are to survive now I am not working - taking some money out of my Super is the way to go for now. It's not going to be a lot - but I can stretch it out until tax time, and that will ease the pressure a bit.

So yeah, that's the plan for now. I have never been a planner, or a list maker. But for now, I am.

Friday, March 12, 2010

I Just Joined...............

an online bookclub!! How cool is that?! It's this one at TheRealSydney.

I am very excited about this......... isn't that sad?!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Mister

........ is an interesting beast. I have held off talking about him for so long because I really haven't known what to say. So let's start with this; I love him.

Now we have that *minor* detail out of the way, let's get down to the nitty gritty.

My husband is an incredibly difficult man to live with - draining would be the word for it. He doesn't have to do anything, he exhausts me just by breathing. I am not the only one who has noticed this. Put him and Mr14 (who is equally draining, even when he's not being a pain) and it's exhaustion city.

He is stubborn to the point of I want to brain him, at times arrogant, and yet, can be so soft-hearted and supportive he makes me cry.

He is Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Others get mainly Dr Jekyll, those who live with him, Mr Hyde. And yet, those moments of Jekyll, save him from many bad things.

He has osteoarthritis in his spine (95% of it is cactus), spondylitis, a hip that makes 1 leg an inch or so shorter than the other, Wolfe-Parkinson White, emphysema, PTSD, depression, and Gulf War Syndrome. I shit you not. But Mr Hyde is by far his biggest problem.

What brings out Mr Hyde is that he can't do anything - a walk to the mailbox is agony. So, he sits here, his body falling apart, and his brain turning in circles over what he can't do. This does NOT help the depression. Or the smoking. Which he should quit for his heart and lungs. Because even though he has twice survived lung cancer, he may not do it again.

It must be incredibly frustrating for him, he used to be super-active, to have nothing to do but sit and stare at 4 walls. His sense of self-worth takes a beating every single day. And then the depression kicks in, which increases the smoking, which aggravates the emphysema, which scares him, which lets Mr Hyde out of his lair.

There are no easy answers to what to do - I have no solutions, neither do the medical fraternity. Drugs are not the answer, if he takes mood-altering drugs, he can't take the pain meds (we both need him to take the pain meds). So we wait, either for me to finish Uni, or the doctors to find an answer. And pray that the band-aids we have stuck over the bullet holes in our marriage last that long. Because until we get out of here, or he gets some quality of life back, this is how it is going to be.


............Mr14 is agreeing to treatment. Not a lot - just bloods to check thyroid and the like.

Once we get those, we go back to the GP, and then he will likely be referred to a psychologist.

I expected a rant post-visit this morning, as he DESPISES counsellors (and sees no difference between a counsellor, a psychologist and a psychiatrist) but I didn't get one.

I got "I don't want to waste any more of my time talking to some idiot who can't help me." His father and I agree.

Our GP thinks that the problem is anxiety based. All of it; the aggression, violence, tiredness, stomach upsets, and all the rest. She thinks that because it hasn't been dealt with, it has morphed into anger.

I suspect she is right............

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I Apologise............

............. for all the negativity of late. As much as things have been sucking a lot, that is no excuse. The Year of Self is meant to be a POSITIVE thing, not a whiny, self-pitying one. So, positive stuff.

I have a trial for a waitressing job tomorrow. I stole a mate's newspaper (no-one had one yesterday, not even the supermarkets) and rang this afternoon. As much as I am enjoying being home with The Mister, we need money (other than the Government pittance) coming in. At present it's ok, but when the cold weather comes, it won't be.

I have knocked over 2 of the 3 assignments I was working on (the third isn't due until the 18th) and have started gathering resources for the 4th (due 22nd). I have nfi if I got any of them right, but I am not worrying - neither of the 2 I submitted count to my grade (Phew!) and even if they did, there's no point worrying about it. Once they are gone, I can't do a whole lot.

Today I saw my Mouse, he is growing so much!! I will post a pic this week. He is still very much Pop's boy. And The Mister SO hates being a Pop to the other 2 as well (Miss23's from another relationship). So much so that he ran around the yard with them, gave them aeroplanes and then, once we were safely in the car and out of sight, pulled over and cried for 10 minutes because of the pain in his hip.

Mr14 was good this weekend - I know for a fact there were 2 parties he was invited to, but he stayed home. I am working on being grateful for the small things.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Utterly Frustrated.....................

...........with where I am in my life.

I finally spoke to The Mister tonight about what has been causing me to fly off the handle of late - because it took me this long to work it out.

I think a large part of the problem is where I live (and by I I mean we). The things to do here are; Drink. Fight. Go to a movie. Go out to eat an average meal at a high price, to be pushed out the door to make way for the drinkers. Do drugs. Play the poker machines. Or a combination of all of the above.

I have a friend I see from time to time - our lives are chaotic, and our visits are rare - I will go over for a night when her youngest is with her dad, and we just hang out, drink pretend wine, and watch movies. Which is great for me, but not so much for her, she still sees the laundry waiting to be folded, the paperwork to be sorted, and all the crap we all want to escape.

People don't meet for lunch or dinner anymore here, they meet at the pub for a drink and to play the pokies. The cinema shows a maximum of 4 movies at any point in time, and they run for 3 or 4 weeks. The cost of a night at the movies for 2, with snacks, is well in excess of $50, and that's just seats, drinks and popcorn.

I want to be able to go meet a friend for a chat, over lunch, dinner, or yes, even a drink (I don't but, they can), without worrying about being tossed out to make way for the rowdies, or having to fight through a crowd of them to the safety of our car. Or having to listen to them during our meal.

Why is that too much to ask?

My Baby Brother is ....................

........... engaged.

This happened a few weeks ago, but with everything else going on, I forgot to announce it. I did, however, remember to congratulate them both.

They are looking at mid next year for a small wedding, and maybe Indonesia for a wee holiday afterwards.

I am truly thrilled for them - they are one of those couples who just fit, 2 halves of a whole.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Yay for Mum!!

She just got back from a few days away, arriving home to the news that her workplace bully had overstepped the mark (again) and was no longer with the company.


Stop the World, I Want to Get Off....

..........right freakin' NOW!!!

I often feel like the world is speeding up, and changing it's centre of gravity, and that I am always off balance. Lately it's getting worse. And the hits just keep coming.

Now I have that off my chest, I have a few things I'd like to discuss (duck).

Why do people congratulate ME when they find out I have a son in Law school? I am not the one doing it, he is. If he were an apprentice ditch digger, I would be equally proud. He is happy with his choice, and therefore so am I.

Why do people assume if I have bruises on my arms/legs, I am being belted by my husband? I bruise easily - sometimes shaking hands will leave bruises. The thing is, the people assuming these things are often people who know us both, and well. Strangers I will accept it from (the guys at the bar when I had my shiner as a f'rinstance), albeit grudgingly. I have walked away from friendships, family members and jobs because of abuse aimed at me, and marriage is not that sacred.

I have a heap of things I'd like to discuss, but I have 2 assignments due on Monday (which, wouldn't you know it, is a public holiday). So I should get going.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Opportunity vs Temptation

I read this somewhere years ago, and it has stayed with me;

"Opportunity merely knocks, temptation kicks the door in."

If this is the case, no wonder so many people regret missed opportunities.

Keep your ears, eyes, heart and mind open. Go against logic sometimes, your heart can lead you to some wonderful places.

Bad experiences happen to good people, and good ones to bad people. What you make of each experience in your life is up to you. Take something good from the bad, and cherish the good things. Hold the happy experiences close, but don't ignore the bad ones. Everything that happens, makes us who we are.

Friday, February 26, 2010

And once again...............

........... I am in the land of the rejected.

I went for my interview today, and while it went well, I am not overly surprised that I so far haven't gotten the promised call.

The reason, I suspect, is that I have too much experience to qualify for a traineeship. I've been in hospitality a long time, and the employer wasn't sure if I would fit the traineeship guidelines.

Something WILL come up, I have hit a few places for NRM, and have a couple more to try. We shall see..

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Interview Friday!!

Woot!! How cool is THAT!?!

I saw a retail traineeship in a local cafe (I had no idea which) in Saturday's paper. I tossed up whether to ring or not, and decided not.

Sunday morning, I made the call. I need a job, and I need it now.

I just heard back - I have an interview Friday, and if that goes well, I will get a trial next week.

I have worked in cafes before, so I should do ok.

On the other, less 'YAY!" hand, I was kind of looking forward to a few weeks off.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

First Day at UTAS, a Sick Teen, and the Job Front

Today was my first day as a Uni student and I had a blast. There wasn't an actual lecture, more an intro to the unit, what it's about, how it will be assessed, so on and so forth.

The class is incredibly diverse. We are from all walks of life, age brackets, and many industries. One thing we are all looking for is a change, be it in our lifestyles, or our environment. Or both.

I had to get The Mister to come rescue me - the bus timetable I was given was waaaaaaaaaaaaay out - I would have been stuck in a closed-down town for another 90 minutes if he hadn't offered to come get me.

We are getting along better now - I think I have finally worked out what my issue is. Aside from feeling frustrated that I was/am standing still in terms of personal development, I have been 'off' for the past 3 months or so (according to him).

That timeframe coincides with the time I started to think the anti-depressants weren't doing what they were meant to do, that they were in fact inhibiting my getting 'balanced'. I have now weaned off them, but had not as yet gotten back onto my HRT (the 2 together was not pretty). So today I picked up the HRT, and I am hoping that will help get me sorted. I tend to get emotional and argumentative, with NFI what I am arguing about, when my hormones are off.

Mr14 is home with raging tonsilitis - he even has a doctor's certificate for the entire week! Poor man is so run down, he is asleep at present, snoring his poor noggin off.

Now, to the job-quitting thing. I am glad I did it. It feels right. Obviously finances are going to be super-tight, but I am confident that I should be able to find other employment. The job market here is super-tight at present, even worse than normal.

I'm not going into details here - I don't think that is necessary. Suffice to say that a line was crossed, one that I will NOT tolerate anyone crossing. I don't care who it is, I will not wear that sort of nonsense.

I have an vague plan to hit up employers in my area of interest for my degree, as I have access to funding through the Federal Government to pay a 'wage' to me for the entire year, and they get to have access to my brain, voice, arms and legs for 12 weeks (or the equivalent) a year for the time it takes me to get my degree.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I quit..............

......... my job on Saturday night.

Yesterday I felt hollow. Today, I feel damn good. I did the right thing, for the right reasons.

So, now what?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Moving Day

Yep, today is the day The Young Couple make their move. They are off to the State capital for Uni, he is studying Law, she is studying Beahvioral Psychology.

It's been a stressful few days here - they got home last Friday after a week of househunting, having found 2 flats to apply for - there was another in their price range, but it was (to quote Mr20) 'too scungy for words'. Until lunchtime on Monday, they were going to be staying with her uncle, and then the call came - they had a place of their own. All hands on deck!!

We are currently consolidating and loading, and what a job it is! The Mister (who struggles to drive more than 15 minutes) is going to be chauffering a Tarago load of stuff, with Mr14 for company.

Off to offer more muscle - and re-pack the stuff that a cerain he-man Neanderthal is buggering up - he wanted to put a $1000 computer just on the bare base ofhte trailer for a 5 hour trip over shite toads.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Orientation, and *ahem* more shopping............

I had a BLAST at orientation today - the campus is tiny (smaller than even the tiny primary school up the road), has a rural feel (love it) and everyone (staff and students) was friendly and helpful. Fabulous! And there was free beer at the bbq lunch (also free).

I had THE best time (not that you would ever guess). It sounds like I am going to be working hard, but that is good - I certainly don't expect to just cruise on through Uni.

I start classes next Tuesday - I am only doing 2 units this semester, to ease my way in.

So excited!!!

Now, to the elephant in the blog - shopping. I didn't plan it. Not even remotely. I walked from the Uni campus into town, through a beautiful park, and along the ocean. It was hot. By the time I got into town, I was a tad dehydrated, and fried.

The bus-stop was over-run by feral teenagers, so I thought I'd take a quick lap around the block to pass the time. I survived Chemist Warehouse and Priceline without dropping any money - but that is sure to change.

I saw the op shop, thought "Nah!" and was walking past when I spotted someone coming out of a shop further down who I really do not like, and certainly did not want to talk to, and so I ducked through the door.

And then I saw it - a purple shirt. Actually, several purple shirts. All new with the tags still attached, and 1 in my size. So I bought it. I saved $24 on it, original price being $27 (Kmart brand shirt). I was pleased.

And then I got on the bus, and endured an hour of feral teenagers. Which was more than enough penance for falling off the wagon.

Next week, I will do an hour at the Uni gym, as well as endure an hour of feral teens, for the shopping I am going to do before my lecture.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Fairy Tales and Faerie Tales

Are not the same thing - not by a long stretch. And yet, they are often confused.

Walt Disney was Fairy Tales, happy stories, although often with a tiny bit of the dark left in. Faerie Tales, of the Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Andersen variety, were scary as all get out, and meant to be that way.

One purpose of the original tales was to scare children into being good. Hansel and Gretel was not meant to show that good triumphs over evil, as it does now. Rather, it was meant to illustrate to children the dangers of not heeding their elders. Other fairy tales were politically motivated. Others were inspired by stories, or events, experienced by their authors.
For instance, The Ruby Slippers tells of the price paid by those who are vain, and what they may gain by repenting of their vanity.

And then there are the Fae themselves - those inhabitants of the World of Faerie. Skim a book on mythology, and you will find, not the sweet, cute, goodhearted Tinkerbell, or the pretty, sweet, human-with-wings fairy of 50's English childrens literature, but Puck, the Faerie King and his Queen. Not evil per se, but not human, and while human in appearance, not possessed of human emotions.

The Fae didn't care for humans, one way or the other - except for amusement value - Puck in particular was known for his pranks. Now, they are our friends and allies. Always, they are there to assist us. Mythology shows that, like the ancient Gods, they could and would help or hinder humans at their whim (the Lady of the Lake in the Camelot stories springs to mind).

Is this change a bad thing? Not really. I like the softer version of the tales for very young children. For myself, I have always preferred the darker versions (hence my absolute obsession with Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland - a match made in Heaven). As a for instance, I have included a plot summary (filched from Wikipedia), of Andersen's The Ruby Slippers. Because it gave me nightmares as a child, and yet, I loved it anyway.

A peasant girl named Karen is adopted by a rich old lady after her mother's death, and grows up vain. She tricks her adoptive mother into buying her a pair of ruby slippers and repeatedly wears them to church, without paying attention to the service. Her adoptive mother becomes ill, and Karen deserts her, preferring to attend a party in her ruby slippers.

Once Karen begins dancing, she can't stop, the shoes take over. She cannot control them and they are stuck to her feet. The shoes continue to dance, through fields and meadows, rain or shine, night and day. She can't attend her adoptive mother's funeral. An angel appears to her, condemning her to dance even after she dies, as a warning to vain children everywhere.

Karen finds an executioner and asks him to chop off her feet. He does so and gives her a pair of wooden feet and crutches. Thinking that she has suffered enough for the ruby slippers Karen decides to go to church in order for the people to see her, but the chopped-off feet dance before her, barring the way.

The following Sunday she tries again, thinking of herself at least as good as the others in church, but again the dancing shoes bar the way. Karen gets a job as a maid in the parsonage, but when Sunday comes she dares not go to church. Instead she sits alone at home and prays to God. Then, it is as though the church comes home to her and her heart becomes so filled with sunshine, peace, and joy that it bursts. Her soul flies on sunshine to heaven, and no one there asks her about the ruby slippers.