Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hmmmmmmmm..................

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
Balloons
Her: Lipgloss watch
Him: Truck
Party hats
Stickers by the dozen
Bubble wands
Curly Wurly
Chomp

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...............

.........giving 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.

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

Cons;
Drugs
Alcohol
Violence
Jobs
Housing
Rednecks
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.

Finally..............

............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.

Yayayayayayayay!!!!

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.