Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Stamp Junkie alert.

I have lots of stamps.

Rubber decorative stamps, not the philatelic style that would ensure my geek status. I got out all the Stampin' Up stamps the other day and lay them out on my queen size bed. I have enough stamps to cover my Bed.

It was a bit of a wake up call. (yes, that was deliberate, I love sad puns and jokes!)

Did I think, "wow, I've got to stop buying more stamps, I must have every one I need right here!"

No. I noticed that I needed a "Get Well" stamp.

Did I think "I should totally put some of these on Ebay and make back some of the money I've spent!?"

No, but I did just win this gorgeous stamp set...
... on Ebay

I am arachnophobic, but I completely adore spider webs. Silky, delicate and drapey, like the sheerest fabric, a thread suitable for fairy dresses. Yes, I read a LOT of Enid Blyton as a child, why do you ask?
And my Entymologist Princess will love the spidey stamps.
I can't wait to emboss this web stamp with Stampin Up's Irridescent Ice embossing powder. *sighs happily*

Any way, what I DID think was, "Wow. That's a lot of stamps." I stood there for a moment, admiring the lovely collection before me. "Wow, That's a lot of money and guilt." Still admiring the collection, I wanted to make the bad feeling go away. And then I thought...

A greeting card costs about $4-6. So, to make it so that I have no guilt buying these toys, I need to make enough cards to balance out the cost of each stamp set. I am pricing a Scrapbook page at the same amount.

Who knows, I might develop some bookkeeping skills out of this. ;-)

Monday, 30 May 2011

My Sanctuary

I love my little house,
when it's quiet as a mouse,
with all it's squeaks and creaks,
it has never sprung a leak.

My house keeps me warm and dry,
it has such a happy vibe,
staying home all day's become,
my favorite sort of fun.

Within these cream brick walls,
cuddling my cat so small,
I can relax behind my doors,
just be me, honest and flawed.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Train of thought

Looking at V-line train times to travel home brought forth many reactions.

Amusement that the Sunday times are still the same as when I used to travel back to Uni, twenty years ago.

Remembering how exhausting and painful it was by the time I got back to my cold, cold room at the Student Village in Maidstone, with it's brick wall rooms, tiny fan heaters and my fold out camp bed that had the thinnest mattress on it and provided no warmth. The hot showers with great water pressure were the only benefits of that horrid place.

I looked at the times and thought, "it isn't worth the tiredness and general worn out feeling to get the extra 3 hours at home and catch the 5 pm train and get back here at 10pm, verses catching the 2pm train and getting back at 6 pm." After looking at the times, it barely seems worth all the money and stress and pain to go home just for a quick overnight visit. I'll save it for the long weekend. And Drive. (eeeeeek!)

Then memories came flooding back of my first fionce saying the opposite thing. That it showed I didn't love him enough if I didn't want to spend every free hour of my weekend home, with him (instead of, say, some time with my family and other friends). That not wanting those extra three hours on a Sunday afternoon to be together demonstrated that I put my comfort before him. How he would always guilt me into doing more than I could physically and emotionally cope with. Just to prove I loved him as much as he wanted me to love him. Such a draining person.

Well, he was right. I didn't love him enough.

Which I may have also indicated by my constant attempts over 2 1/2 years to break it off with him.

He didn't love me either. He loved some image of me that he had created in his head and was constantly trying to mould me into being. Pygmalion (My Fair Lady) may be my favourite play, but his version of Eliza Doolittle was not someone I had any ambition to become.

I like my Trickey Man. He is fun, silly, relaxed and his overriding appeal has always been that he accepts me for who I am. Even when that changes. Sometimes daily. He says that it is fun to never know what mood I'll be when I wake up each morning.

Interesting that he changed his hours to leave the house long before I wake up in the mornings...

Those three extra hours would BE the comfort more cherished, more desired than an easier ride to the city, if my Trickey had been the one I was spending those three extra hours with.

Gushy, mushy, lovey-dovey stuff. Sowwy. :-p But blogs are an awesome place to sort out my thoughts and feelings.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

The siren call of Home

"I wanna go home. I wanna go home. I wanna go home."

For decades now this mantra has been quietly chanting in the background static of my soul. Sometimes louder, sometimes the merest whisper of a thought.

I thought I had it under control.

Intellectually, living in the city vs hometown has so many important benefits.

The City people are less narrow minded. I'm not saying people from my hometown are closed minded, it is more that they lack the opportunities and experiences to be highly aware of all the differences in our world. A lot of my peers did travel and live elsewhere, then very sensibly moved home with now wide open minds.

There is SUCH a massive number of people in the city, 3 million vs 14 thousand is a big difference. This means that if you keep searching, you can find people like you, people who want to share the activities you find fun, whether it's card making, car restoring or circus training. So many more adventures to be lived in the city.

When you have a life policy of not dating anyone who has dated your friends, this can lead to a shortage of available people in a small town by the end of year 10. Especially when you are related to so many people in the town.

For my child, she is near so many different schools and after school activities. If she wants to go to University, she doesn't have to move to a college where she is totally isolated from all she has known before and the food is so terrible that her digestive system pretty much shuts down. Oh yeah. That was fun.

The shopping is better in the city. SO much better.

The city is Trickey's home and he will never leave here. I really quite like being with him.

Emotionally, Hometown has some very strong points in it's favour.

The air is clean. It smells like the sea.

There is so much space. I feel very crowded in the city.

It has many rivers and beaches nearby. I grew up on the water (literally on the water during holidays!) and I miss it so much.

Less allergens floating about in the air.

It's home.

It's home.

It's home.

That town is my home and always will be my home.

After 18 years in the City, I was getting close to convincing myself I could call this City home. Then I went back. For one day. Visited one of my closest friends who has never judged me. Visited my Aunt. Breathed the air. Walked the streets. (sniggers)

Now. That whisper quiet mantra in my soul, it's wailing like Kate Bush singing "Wuthering Heights" set to volume 9. Makes it hard to think...

A conversation I had with Mum, when she was down here for the funeral, says it all, though.

"I never intended to stay in the city. I was going to finish Uni and go home. I fell in love with a City Boy, whose career is here and so I stay here. With Him. And now, this place is my daughter's Hometown."

But I might go home this weekend. Or next. Just for a visit.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

I sing love songs to my cat

...and she duets with me, in an alto purring trill.

Sunday before camp week

Oddly, so relaxing.

A day spent packing the Princess' clothes for camp.
"No, the lace covered top is not suitable, how about the tracksuits from last year?"
And yes, she climbs trees in tea dyed lace.

"Have I mentioned yet it is going to RAIN the entire camp? Yes? So, gumboots are in, your spangly silver sneakers are out"
They are pink and purple sparkly gumboots.

"Come back here and stop playing the DS I know this is boring but I'm not the one who really needs to have this sorted by tomorrow, I can stop right now..."
Actually worked.

Last year I was in a total panic. My baby was going to camp. The camp was run by people I knew and they received a full list of what she can and can't eat. This year... a note about no tomatoes and a discussion about sensible choices with the daughter.

Last year, clothes sorted by day and in bags to separate each day, with the first put on clothes on top and the outer clothes in the bottom of the bag. Um... yeah, well did that this year too.

Last year, Mama was hyperventilating about her Princess going on the giant swing with her scoliosis. This year, well, she has done mammoth amounts of core muscle building and she'll be right, mate.

Last year, it was her BIRTHDAY while at camp and there must be cake. Which apparently is not allowed. When you arrive at camp with cake, if it has not been baked on the premises one discovers the evil birthday cake would contravene their food handling safety laws.
This year, it's months till her birthday.

But really, I think, it's just that she has been granted so many new learning situations, that she has so many adult friends looking out for her and helping her overprotective Mama let go and trust her to cope, that she is much healthier and more confident and I am just not worried.

Which feels weird.

Thank you to all our lovely friends who have taken the Princess under their wings and helped her learn to fly.

Now, I trust her. To be smart enough to know what she can do and strong enough to say no if she doesn't feel comfortable.

I'm not sure which one of us is growing up.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Happy nose kissing moments

Confidence in your own decisions must be an amazing thing.

A mere moment ago, I kissed the nose of my germy Princess as she played a "choose your own adventure game" on the iPod. (about Dragon's of course. It is important for Princess to know as much as they can about their natural enemy/potential ally as possible.) It was an app that her English Tutor had found for her. Like many other apps, games, books and activities that she has found or lent to us during the 9 months our Princess has been tutored.
During that happy nose kissing moment, a feeling of contented confidence filled me, as I watched the Princess learn, knowing that after all the fighting with her school, the drama that had revolved around her learning difficulties and even the stress involved in deciding that I was allowed to take her out of school for tutoring each week had been so worth it.

Her tutors seek out things that will interest her and are in the form that she can most readily absorb. Audio/visual. Activities which include drawing as well as writing. When her maths tutor explained that forming numbers was art and her english tutor had her drawing letters on my back so that I had to try and draw what she was drawing, her handwriting became readable in one week. Because it was now art. Just one amazing example of the benefits of personalised teaching.

She has blossomed. In confidence. In belief in herself. She has been sharing the things her tutors have taught her with her friends, as a parent told me. We are on the right path. She IS brilliant, rather than having a learning disability. We just didn't know how she learnt before this.

And from this magic moment, I am taking two lessons.

Information is power. Without it, how do you know what to choose to do?

Don't try to hard to fit in with everyone else's ideals and needs. It will stifle you and not end up pleasing anyone else.

Once I had the knowledge that I could legally remove my child from the school one day a week without any repercussions to us or the school, as much as they disapproved of the idea, I did it. It worked. If it hadn't worked, then I would have adapted again and tried something new, putting that action in the "gaining information" box.

I stressed so much about that. I worried what the school would think. I tried to make it all smooth. I couldn't. I worried I was doing irreparable damage to her education. However, now I just go in, smile and say I am taking Princess, and it is all no fuss. They are used to it. I am confident. They have seen it working in her rapidly increasing abilities.

One old High School acquaintance (the teacher who informed me of the lack of truancy laws if it is one day a week) messaged me to say how she had always envied my confidence to do what I believed in. I was stunned, to say the least. I had never seen myself in that light.

Part of that, I am sure, was due to ten years of struggling to figure out how to let my Princess' light shine. So many "one step forward, two steps back" life situations. (edit: I just read getoveritidid's blog post for today and we must be channelling these frustrations) Not enough delight taken in the step forward, letting the steps back eat away at my Maternal Confidence.

Many Parents are struggling with helping their children be the best "themselves" that they can be and to you, who are searching, trying things, cuddling during the down times and dancing gleefully during the up times, I want to say, "WELL DONE! Believe in yourself - YOU know YOUR child the best! Chalk the failures up to 'gaining information' and the successes up to 'sheer determination'."

I must go and kiss the little freckled nose again. It's attached to a pretty amazing Princess.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011


those little icy paws
leave wet pawprints on my floors
as they huddle round the door
waiting for "in".

The heater is so warm
Boy cats, they do swarm
with their sleek, graceful forms
two curl up close

Diva shows them disdain
her position the more fain
for spoilt girl cat doth aim
for my shoulders.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

If you are reading this, you are worthwhile and a valuable person in this world. Xxx

I have five unpublished posts just sitting there, taunting me with their agony and need to be shared but they have too much personal detail. All about our family tragedy. Here's try no. 6.

Yesterday, we went to a funeral of a beloved family member. It was a wonderful, loving funeral but it sucks in every possible way that there had to be a funeral at all. Funerals should be for 80-90 years olds, so that we can all get a smile from them having fulfilled their life dreams and sentimental tears as they play a sideshow of pictures of them throughout their lives.

It always broke a little piece off my heart that my Oma-In-Law lost her husband when he was 55 and she lived the next 40 odd years missing her loved one. My heart ached for my Mum, whose Mother was taken away from her at age six, by her father (note the diminished respect indicated by the lack of a capital letter), and as the reconcilliation began to take off when Mum was in her early thirties, she then lost her Mother to a heart attack and has never really had that close mother/daughter relationship.

These things were bad.

Taking my cousin's soulmate away from him, taking a most devoted mother away from children aged 4 to 12, leaving their vibrant and glowing life so grey, taking her life away from her when she had so many wonderful plans and dreams and so much love to give, that has cracked my heart and left a bleeding wound.

It's wrong, it sucks, it bites, I cry and cry and cry and it can't be fixed and I hate that it can't be fixed and I miss the state of denial. Can I go back there, pretty please?

So. Every time I visited my cousin-in-law, I would come home inspired, enthused and ready to take on the world. She would have either taught me something specific, shown me some new and wonderful way she does things or simply have bolstered my confidence, because she really did believe that every person was valuable and worthwhile and I always came home with that sense of belief in myself after a visit.

I am going to do that for myself now. Starting with this post which has taken six attempts. I am going to finish what I start and I am going to get a lot done and I am going to reach for my dreams.

And only cry for her once a day.

*blows J a kiss where ever she is* You rock. Always.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

pffaffling about

Quite suddenly, my life has become very quiet.
I don't have a scheduled activity everyday. And the one day I did, I slept in late and forgot about it.
And, other than missing that one, I am loving it.

I don't know if this is just healing time (grief and physical) or if I simply needed to slow down overall. I think both. I would have a daytime activity on everyday, fun one's like visiting friends, walking, gym, various classes and most after school nights as well. Princess was finding it hard to get her homework done. She was always exhausted. Still is, but her homework is getting done. I could feel I was pushing too hard, but I was having fun!

Then it stopped being fun, started being painful and tiring. Intellectually, I understood I still loved all the activities, it was that I didn't have the health and energy to enjoy them all properly. I was going through the motions.

So... this is sorta fun.

Today, I pffaffled around the house. Cleaned some mould off walls here, washed clothes, typed a little, organised some of Princess' camp packing and ate a packet of Gaiety biscuits. Felt a bit sick. Ignored that. Gave attention to the Diva Cat who was hanging around the Mac (cos it's warm) in order to get pats. She's not impressed when I do housework. It cuts into my "providing her with somewhere to sleep" time. I'm loving this old cat attitude. T'was a feral kitten, the Diva.
All of this was done while playing random songs on the iPod, which was connected to the Mac, to facilitate easy deletion of songs that were dodgy or boring. Some songs had been randomly placed on my Mac by Princess' friends and now I know for sure I don't enjoy Akon at all.

I like pffaffling. My head feels clearer. My body isn't aching and telling me off with words that I refuse to even use in private. Tomorrow, I am going to pffaffle some more. And I'll be loving it!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Music, oh Music, wherefore art thou?

I love new music as much as old music. Give me Ke$ha to dance to on the iPod, then let's put Noosha Fox's "S-s-s-single bed" on the record player. But what I miss about the new music is the freshness of discovering a new band at a pub, or from someone's record collection of obscure music.

Last year, a lovely, young friend make me a "mixed cd" (obviously realising a mixed playlist was too advanced for one of my skills) of weird and wonderful music and I adored it. I had never heard of almost all the musicians. It had "Do you wanna date my avatar?" by "The Guild", "Run" by "Air", "Hide & Seek" by "Naime Amuro" and Princess' favourite, "Lookin' lookin' gaa" by "Polysics". She calls it the "yelly song". It can be very useful when we are feeling frustrated. ;-)

Princess and I had this CD on constant rotation for several weeks, learning the "words" (making up english variations, sometimes!) dancing round the loungeroom together.

And I think that's where it becomes clear to me, it takes time to really appreciate new music, to let it become part of your psyche, to bond it with moments in time, plus opportunity to hear something new. I don't go to pubs and listen to bands, anymore. I don't watch Video Hits, since I refuse to let my Princess watch the soul demoralising soft porn that many of the video clips are these days. I don't listen to the radio, except in the car. And that's going to stop, cos My Princess gave me an FM transmitter for the iPod, so we can hear something other than my collection of 1980's cassettes while we drive. ;-) Pirate broadcasting in your own car! Oh YEAH!

Not that there is anything wrong with listening to Sharon O'Neill and Fleetwood Mac for months on end.
Or playing Sharon O'Neill and Fleetwood Mac on the new iPod through the new FM transmitter either. (whistles and avoids eye contact...)

So, New music! Come to me! How may I find you now?! Old music I haven't explored, how will I meet you?

It's not a cultural thing to go over to a friend's house and get out all your records now, compare musical tastes and have a day of dancing in the lounge room or making those "mixed tapes" to take to a party.

"Hi, can I sit at your computer and look through your playlists?" That feels a little stalkerish to me... though it is essentially the same activity.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Dealing with grief


What helps?

1. To recognize and express emotions
2. To acknowledge changes
3. To understand grief and know others experience similar responses

So, I'm not dealing with my grief very well.
Yes, it's been going for over a year now. Of course there has been guilt. Why didn't I visit more often? Why didn't I call more often? But not too much guilt, cos I did visit, cos I did call, cos I did email, cos I was a support in those ways closer family could not have been, except for the time when I was a mess from the multiple pregnancy losses. I forgive me that time.

So the guilt is not a huge factor. In fact, the "not visiting often enough" feels more like an "I lost out on something wonderful" rather than "I let them down". Every single time I visited, I came away with a feeling of being understood, of sharing and empathising, of being in the same place. And with invitations to come and stay longer next time. That we were almost exactly the same age and went through many of the same experiences (Uni, first child, miscarriages) at the same times probably helped build that bond. The envy I had for her was not an evil, green monster. It was more of a delight that she was living the life that she wanted to live, which was more what I wanted than what I've got. But only in aspects like living in the open country, multiple children, being strongly and confidently who she wanted to be. I didn't envy her what she had so much as admit that I had chosen other things because of love for my husband.

She enhanced our lives. She probably enhanced the lives of everyone she knew.

The first time I met her, I was definitely out to dislike her. Who did she think she was, thinking she was good enough to date MY adored cousin? I sat down next to her, at my cousin's suggestion (bit smart, he is) and it took less than ten minutes before I understood how perfect she was for him, how awesome she was and how much I could personally learn from her. Since then, I have been a fan.

I had become accustomed to being "inspired" by her after every visit. I may have teased her about her obsessive organisational tendencies, but after every visit, I would come home and sort things out according to a system she had devised and explained to me.

I was aware and am even more aware now that the two of them being happy made me feel happier. I LOVED knowing that they were happy. That they were living their ideal life. I even liked going up to their house to watch the Grand Final, which I have absolutely no interest in. I just liked being with them. Seeing how happy, right things were there.

The last time I visited, we were sitting down, her two youngest climbing all over her. She called to my cousin to take at least one of them, and he called the child over. Said child grinned at him and settled more comfortably upon her lap. He gave her that slow, lazy smile of his and let it go. She gave a mildly frustrated smile and settled herself and the pair more comfortably. Then she told me of how she was looking forward to when the children were old and she and my cousin were grey haired, sitting around their solid wood kitchen table with not just the children, but their girlfriends/boyfriends and seeing the family move into that stage. When she could converse with them as adults as well as enjoy their childish games. She wanted that large family and was thinking of the joy in their tininess as well as the hoped for joy in their future. Halfway through this, my cousin had gotten up, found some way to entice one of the twins over to him and done it all without fuss. Such a good pair.

She would have been an amazing matriarch.

And my cousin has taken on the role of Mother and Father with amazing strength and capability.

And it sucks that it happened.

And I am not dealing with it very well.

I have wonderful friends *Thank you! You know who you are! C & R* who are supportive. I have never lost anyone who wasn't over 88 and had enjoyed their life, before. Someone so close. Someone the same age as me. Someone I loved.

I wake every morning and sometimes I get a few minutes before I remember why things feel all wrong.

I hate that my cousin is now alone. I hate that their children are motherless. I hate that she is not getting to live all her wonderful dreams. I hate the injustice of a world that can take the life from someone who was good. I hate waking up and feeling listless.

So, drive carefully. DRIVE CAREFULLY. A moments inattention, or being an idiot who drives on a suspended licence and doesn't obey give way signs, can have MASSIVE consequences.

Thanks for letting me share with you. If it something you need to do to, please share with me, go through those three guidelines at the top of the page.

Friday, 6 May 2011

My Aunty suggested to prioritise

My Aunty suggested to prioritise but I think it works better for me if I do a little of this and a little of that until something looks close enough to completion that I can rush to the end.

Not because I think my Aunty is in anyway incorrect.  Just that I have major issues making any sort of decision and prioritising is multiple and en masse making decisions.

It can leave me in a state of stasis for months.

However, Lists I love.  Lists that have no number or order.  Simply listing things I would like to do, need to do or have been gently suggested by long suffering husband that I could, hopefully, maybe do, no pressure in any way cos I know you just crumple into an adorable "in stasis" ball of overwhelmed-ness when faced with pressure.

Lists mean I don't have to be constantly thinking of what I need to do, I can just look at the list and choose something.

My lists are large and full of tiny, tiny things.

For example, today I am hoping to move some of the massive amounts of fabric I store in the craft room to boxes in the shed.  There is no space in my craft room for crafting!  Though it is very soft when I trip over the multiple bags and fall gracefully to the temporary fabric floor coverings.

So instead of "Move fabric" being on my list I have
"Unlock shed door"
"Put one load of fabric into a bag"
"Carry bag to shed"
"Place fabric in a box"

And look!  It is half done!  I has floor!

And this is how a depressed person manages things.  None of this one foot in front of the other, lets go for one toe in front of the other!

Oh yeah, babeey - I am the Queen of Tippy Toeing through the housework.