Sunday, 30 October 2016

A Halloween Story








Hello folks! I'm a little late to the Friday Reflections party. Oops.

But we all know that the party doesn't start until I get here! Right? 


Oh. It did. How rude.

Anyway, here I am regardless.  May I present to you a lovely little Halloween story? 

It's total fiction. I'm sort of sick of myself at the moment. Meaning, I'm sick of writing about myself. So I made something up.

I will preface this story by saying that Halloween has never really been a thing here in the land of Oz (also known as Australia) until the last few years. Consequently I never celebrated it as a child. My boys have asked to go trick or treating tomorrow. Therefore, I'm reluctantly becoming a convert. Well, I do love me some candy, especially in the form of chocolate... So it's all good! 

Except for the part where I'm currently seeing a dietitian and I'm supposed to be eating healthy. Again: OOPS. 

But back to my story! 

Here it is: 



A HALLOWEEN STORY


It wasn't the thought of a grisly death that scared Harry. He was more alarmed by the idea of his prolonged, uneventful existence stretching before him, bleak and relentless. Another nondescript life, as colourless as the next. There was nothing remarkable about him. There never had been. Never would be. It didn't matter what his mother thought. She herself was a lumpy, broad-faced jowly woman with a booming voice and a plethora of opinions. None of them unique. All of them bitter and bigoted. It wasn't an achievement to be held in her esteem.

The only people his family bestowed their good will upon were exactly like them. Anyone who was different in any way would be treated with suspicion, even contempt. These bloody foreigners coming over here and taking our jobs! Even though his mother had never actually had a job for anyone to take in the first place. Not Doris Weber. She'd been a dutiful house wife. Just like every good mother should be. Her condescension to Irene had been unbearable. There marriage was swiftly over. He didn't blame her.

He flicked over to her Facebook profile now. Her beatific smile beamed back at him. Her ebullient nature had been in stark contrast to his introversion. Between that and his officious mother, the union had been doomed from the beginning.

Here he was, approaching fifty with little to show for the advancing years. A patchy employment history, a divorce and an overbearing, elderly mother. She still turned up or phoned him every other day to tell him how to live his life.

He sat here in his shabby home in a dubious suburb. He didn't mind it here. But Mum was horrified. His sister too. Margaret had the appropriate cookie cutter life. The urbane husband who'd climbed the corporate ladder. The ubiquitous McMansion in a leafy, suitable suburb. Their children were teenagers now. He was the odd uncle. Unwelcome really, at Christmas and other occasions, but tolerated.

He poured himself another rum with just a dash of coke. Even his taste in booze was inappropriate. Ominous clouds gathered in the sky as he sat at the window. He loved a good storm. Some people didn't understand his fascination with weather. But everyone had their things. Something that was odd to some one else, not them.

Children were shuffling along the street now, in makeshift Halloween costumes. He knew they wouldn't come here for trick or treating. He might be a paedophile! Their parents would protest. He wasn't. He wasn't even overly sexual at all. Yet another oddity. Another thing that Irene couldn't fathom in the end. She'd wanted children. He was ambivalent. It wasn't that he didn't like them. In fact, he liked some of them just fine. Yet others, not so much. Children were just small humans, after all. What made them different to adults? Lightning pierced the sky. The inevitable thunder shook the house. Shrieks sounded as distant figures started running through the rain.

Harry took a long swig of his drink, enjoying the sensation of it sliding along his tongue then burning his throat. Jagged rain pelted the window. His blinds were fully drawn. Anyone could see in. The ghoulish clown face appeared with the next slap of thunder. A shock of vivid red against the sombre grey sky. Harry jumped, spilling his drink. He hadn't really cared about these ridiculous clown sightings. It perplexed him that he was so riled. He clearly needed something to stir his malaise.

He leapt from his supine position to stumble drunkenly to his front lawn. His bellows were swallowed up by the storm. He stood sneering and soaked, ridiculous now. Neighbours peered through windows, as the prankster disappeared around the corner. He shuffled back inside muttering and cursing.

When he heard about the murder on the late news he felt a curious sense of detachment. 79 year old Doris Weber had been stabbed to death in her suburban home in an apparent trick or treat incident gone horribly wrong. He could hear her now. "This isn't America! Why do we have to follow them?" The phone was ringing. It would be Margaret, beside herself with horror, but secretly thinking of her inheritance.

People were so transparent. His drab reality was now sordid and sinister. And he liked it.

Slowly he moved to answer the phone.


Linking up for Friday Reflections


Do you celebrate Halloween? 

Do you have a Halloween story? 

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Conversations with Belief








Hello again.  Here I am with some of my disjointed, ad hoc thoughts about belief... 

When I was a girl I liked to believe that there really could be fairies hiding somewhere among the flowers in the garden, just like the ones I read about in Enid Blyton books.

I believed in the old 'they lived happily ever after...' myth at the end of every fairy tale. 

As an adult, one thing I hate hearing is the old 'everything happens for a reason' cliche. 

I  do believe in laughing at how ridiculous life can be.

I believe in a good sneeze. But only with my legs tightly crossed because otherwise.... Well, you don't want to know. Suffice to say I'm a 45 year old woman who's had several pregnancies. 

I believe that no matter how old you are you never stop learning, wishing, discovering things about yourself and life. 

I believe that so many things are overrated. And underrated.

I believe that I am just writing rubbish because I don't really know what I believe. I'm very confused. This will not be new information to anyone who has read this blog before. Ahem. 


I believe that what doesn't kill you does, indeed, make you stronger. And I'm strong enough now, thanks very much. 








Of course there is the whole issue of belief in one's self. One of my major core beliefs has always been that I'm weak and a scaredy cat who can't cope with the grittier side of life. Time and again this belief has been proven wrong. See above. 

Do I believe in God?

The short answer is NO. There is a part of me that would like to be able to believe. It often seems that some people who do believe are able to accept and cope with the most confronting things; even death. They genuinely believe that it's 'God's will' and they're going to a 'better place'. I would love to have some sort of belief that gave me such a sense of peace and comfort. But truthfully it seems like nonsense to me. 







Of course, there are always moments when I would like to keep an open mind. Keep my options open. You know, just in case. Emergency God, as the joke goes. The one you suddenly find yourself calling upon in desperation while in the depth of a crisis. Imagine yourself plummeting to your certain death in a plane crash or awaiting your test results  - begging and pleading with God. A God you're not even sure you believe in...

Weirdly, I don't remember doing this when I got my cancer diagnonsense. Did I? I believe I was more matter of fact. My attitude was: I have to listen to the doctors and get on with it have medical treatment. That's what will save my life. Not God. 

I've never been spiritual or cosmic or 'out there'. Although as I mentioned above, as a child I was much more whimsical. I am a mass of contradictions or dichotomies. I'm logical yet scatter-brained. See? That doesn't even make sense. 

I seem to have become more attuned to paying attention to my logical side these days. Oh, except when I'm catastrophising... That's another story! But there is room for being fanciful. Some things do require common sense, others don't. It's no accident that the tag line of this blog is: In my own little world...

It's a happy place with cakies and unicorns. And, of course, Carpenters music. Some people believe Karen Carpenter is an angel. Maybe she is? Who knows? Again it makes no sense to believe this and not believe in God... But nonsensical ad hoc, irrational thoughts and musings are my specialty. We all have our strengths! 

Anyway, one of my favourite Carpenters songs is called Look To Your Dreams... 

To say I'm romantic would be quite semantically true
But make believe passion has fallen from fashion's milieu
It's understandable why we're a little confused
It's asking for trouble just watching the six o'clock news
But for a moment, all things aside
Look to yourself, somewhere inside

Look to your dreams
Don't they still seem worthwhile?
Don't they still seem in style?
Aren't you glad they're still there?

Look to your dreams

There's a need for them now
When the world has us down
Aren't you glad they're around?

Once conceived, once believed
Fantasy's reality's childhood
And like a seed, visions need constant care
Like a child would, we should

Look to our dreams
We can still reach the stars
We can still break the bars
We have built here on Earth

Look to your dreams
And tomorrow may be
Better for you and me
The future may say, blame blind yesterday
For taking dreams away
They could mean more than they seem.
Written by John Bettis, Richard Lynn Carpenter • Copyright © Universal Music Publishing Group






You will either feel uplifted or slightly queasy after that. Or perhaps a curious mixture of both? You're welcome.

Right. I'm off to take my meds search for fairies in the garden. Enid Blyton and Karen Carpenter couldn't be wrong. Could they?


Linking up for Conversations Over Coffee and IBOT


What do you believe in? 


Monday, 24 October 2016

Two Months Until Christmas









Hello there gorgeous blog reader! I am delighted that you are back here again. 

It's Monday, which always comes after Sunday and before Tuesday. I figured I may as well take my Captain Obvious to the next level. Why not? Rhetorical question...

So anyway, here I am. Back to entertain to you in my typical fashion! Which means that I have absolutely NOTHING to tell you. Not a thing. But that won't stop me! I will proceed to babble on about bugger all for several paragraphs. Right. On with it.

So where were we? 


Oh yes, not only is it Monday, it's also October 24th! And you know what that means, don't you? It's just two months until Christmas! 








This time last year I was walking around oblivious to the fact that I had cancer. Yikes. Thinking about this macabre fact reminds me of seeing Lawrence Mooney doing stand up on the telly.

He did a spot of black comedy about cancer. The observation went something like this: that you can stub your toe and be doubled over in agony. Meanwhile when you have cancer growing in your body - NOTHING. Not a twinge. Scary, scary shit. And so true, in my experience. 

I'm not sure what it is about this time of year, but we seem to like being all dramatic, getting cancer and stuff, conveniently right before Christmas. Aren't we show offs?

Yes, apparently Mickey Blue Eyes got his diagnonsense in October of 2004. So it's always been such a jolly old merry time for us. Yeah, NOT. Which brings me to what I want for Christmas: NOTHING. Meaning, I want this period of time to be extremely boring and uneventful. 

Anyway, I expect I should probably start shopping. Every single year I say I am going to be organised and every single year it sneaks up on me. Needless to say, I am not organised AT ALL. Which is slightly embarrassing, after boasting in this post about being organised. Awkward. 

Look, I have my own version of being organised. I have such a boring life that it spices things up to live dangerously and leave Christmas shopping until the last minute! It's all part of a plan. A not very well thought through plan, but a plan nonetheless. 

For example, last year I was a Christmas shopping NINJA. When I got my diagnonsense on December 4th, I hadn't done any Christmas shopping. So I went out the following Monday the 7th and did all my shopping in one day. Then I had surgery on Thursday December 10th. Winning! 

My GP was quite impressed. That I got on with it and did what I had to do. Looking back, I am too.

This may come as a shock, but I'm not exactly the jolliest person at the best of times. So yeah, 2015 wasn't a brilliant Christmas for me. Typically, at this time of year I would be all cynical and bah humbug. But not this year. I don't have to have surgery before Christmas, and chemo in the new year! YAY! 


The most exciting thing I want to happen during this period is listening to Carpenters Christmas music. You know, just for something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. 

Yep, we're so organised around here. We currently have no idea what we're doing for Christmas. Usually we have Christmas lunch at my brother and sister-in-law's place. Where ever I am, I will proceed to eat myself into a diabetic coma. SUCH FUN! 

As a matter of fact, it suddenly occurs to me that I have started shopping. I have ordered one thing online. See? I told you I was organised! The current status in our family is this: only one boy(Mr almost 8), sorta kinda believes in Santa. He's not totally convinced, but he's clinging to it. Just in case. 

Last year I didn't send any Christmas cards, for obvious reasons. Does anyone actually do that anymore? Nope, methinks. Instead they start boring as batshit blogs. Related: this space began because of the silly old Christmas letters I used to send. It's my gift to the world! No, there aren't any refunds or exchanges! RUDE. 








Meanwhile, I am seriously considering putting up the Christmas tree early, though, just to get into the spirit.  Shit, I really must be ill. This is more serious than cancer, people. I've become one of those people on the left...







Save me! 


Linking up for Life This Week.

Also linking up for Open Slather and Mummy Mondays.

Which one are you? Jolly or bah humbug? 

Are you ready for Christmas? 

Friday, 21 October 2016

21 Random Facts About Me





1. My parents named me Vanessa after seeing Vanessa Redgrave in the movie Camelot. Almost everyone calls me Ness, except my parents and Mick who stuck with the Vanessa thing. 
2. My hair used to be straight but now it's curly because I had chemo. Sigh. 
3. My favourite drink is tea.
4. I can't wear perfume. It gives me headaches. 
5. I didn't learn to drive until I was 36. 
6. When adulting seems too hard I often fantasize about being a dog. I draw the line at becoming a Furry, though. It'd be too hot in summer. 


Image credit: https://onsizzle.com/i/i-dont-want-to-adult-today-i-dont-even-want-2681494


7. I'm struggling to get back into exercise post breast cancer. 
8. I almost never listen to the radio.
9. I prefer showers to baths.
10. I love reading but don't understand how people can read in the bath.
11. As a child I was scared of elevators and escalators. And boats, and heights and cockroaches. And people. Nothing much has changed. Ahem. 
12. I didn't realise I was pregnant the first time until around 26 weeks (approximately six months).
13. To my right there is a tall bookcase and a smaller one. Both are filled with books. Well, I did say they were random facts. 
14. I am trying to de-clutter my home. But it's not hoarding if it's books, right? (See above). 
15. I am terrible at multi-tasking. Except when I'm blogging, Facebooking, drinking wine and eating all the food simultaneously. I SMASH that. 
16. My middle name is Faye. Which sounds like an old lady name in 2016. Totally goes with my nanna curls. Winning! 
17. I don't think I'm interesting enough to make it to 21 facts. Thinking, thinking, thinking...
18. I've never had a sister or a daughter . Never will. Interesting. (I do have two wonderful sister-in-laws). 
19. I live in the same suburb I was born in 45 years ago. 
20. I'm super untidy but I can't stand having sticky or wet hands. Weird.
21. I am currently sipping a cup of tea. See point number 3. I am NOT eating cake with it. I am very sad and wistful about this. And I'm not even skinny yet! RUDE. 






There you have it. 21 totally random facts about me. You're welcome! 

Linking up for Friday Reflections. 






Are there any interesting random facts about you? 

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Letter To My Sixteen Year Old Self








Hello again! I'm back with a lovely regurgitated and tweaked offering! Why not? 

I stumbled upon yet another blog link up over at Life Through The Haze. It sounded like something I'd be up for. And when I read the prompt for this week, I knew I had something in the archives. So I've updated my tender letter to my sixteen year old self. 

Side note: wasn't I cute? And skinny. No bat wing nanna arms or double chins. Oh well, there's more of me to love these days. That's one way of looking at it!  

Anyway, here is the updated letter: 






Dear 16 year old Nessie,

Hello, it's me, your 45 year old self. There are a few things I wanted to say to you.

First things first.

A mullet-perm is a bad idea. In fact, it is a truly DREADFUL idea. Do not go there. I know it's the 80's and everyone is suffering from TES*, but please, resist. At age 45 you won't even have to bother with perms because you'll be sporting some lovely nanna curls. Don't ask. 



Mullet-perm circa 1987



Nanna curls 2016




Right. Well dear, I know you're very lonely right now, and you don't have many friends. Sorry to tell you, but the one or two 'friendships' you have now are going to go pear-shaped.

There is something called Rotaract. GO.

You will be out of your comfort zone. You will be awkward, but - eventually - that is where you will meet lifelong friends (or at least until age 45 anyway). Oh, and you will meet your husband there too!

Even though, dare I say it, there is really no rush to be married. (Shhhhh, don't tell Micky Blue Eyes).

In the future there will also be something called the Internet. There you will be able make online friends with other Carpenters fans. Consequently you will no longer feel like a freak for your obsession. 

There are some other interesting things you should know about 2016. Here goes: 

People don't listen to records anymore. You'll hang onto your Carpenters ones, though. Because CARPENTERS. Duh! 

Those Back To The Future Movies LIED. There are no hover boards! But this won't particularly concern you since you are afraid of heights. Yes. Still. There's nothing you can do about it.

There are no time machines, so really there is no way for you to see this drivel  genius that I'm writing to you. I blame Steven Speilberg. It's like those movies were total fiction or something! See previous point. I thought I was watching a documentary. HMPH. 

It's super weird and bizarre and kind of bullshit around this point in time. Both personally and just in general. I can't even begin to explain how weird. 





Related: you need to learn that the past is over and the future hasn't happened yet. After a life-changing event** you will slowwwwly learn to live in the present. And then maybe you'll stop writing trite letters to your past self. I hope... Ahem...

But let's finish this one now that we've started...

You tend to believe lots of silly stuff about yourself. Like you can't learn to drive. It will take you longer. A lot longer. But you will.

You also believe you can't cope with the hard stuff in life. There will be hard stuff, sadly. See above. But, guess what?  You will actually cope okay. It won't be easy, but you will be okay in the end. I promise.

And Nessie dear, you will always be the most quiet, shy person in the room. You are never going to be loud, bubbly and outgoing. There is no magic age when you will 'come out of your shell'. It's not going to happen. And it's okay. It really is.  As Oscar Wilde said: "Be yourself; everyone else is taken."

Also remember this:

You don't have to like everyone you meet and they don't have to like you.

I repeat:

You don't have to like everyone you meet and they don't have to like you. Liberating, isn't it?

Also this:

You wouldn't worry about what everyone thought of you if you knew how seldom they did.

And most of all: your mental health is always more important than what someone may think of you. 

There is something else about you that is different***. Something beyond just being shy. Not bad, just different.  I was going to tell you, but I won't. There is a reason you won't find this out until later. You're not ready.

But when you do find out, I want you to seriously re-define what success in life really is - for you. And STOP, once and for all, comparing yourself with super outgoing, non-different (for want of a better term) people.

Oh, and if any of your teachers/relatives/friends ever mention that they think you're good at writing, there could be a chance they're actually not putting you on. So have a go. Just write. Something. Anything.

Even a boring as batshit blog is a start. What the hell's a blog?  You'll find out.

Sincerely,

Your 45 year old self. 

PS. You're really not going to listen to me about that mullet-perm are you? Oh well, I tried. Sigh. 

*TES = Tragic Eighties Syndrome
** In late 2015 I was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. 
***In 2011 I was diagnosed with ASD formerly known as Asperger's Syndrome. 

Linking up for Soft Landings.


What would you say to your 16 year old self? Besides any future lottery numbers...

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Organised Or Tidy?







A month or so ago I went to a de-cluttering workshop. It was quite interesting and worthwhile. So I thought I would share some of my thoughts about it. 

I've alluded to the fact before that I struggle with housework and organisation. However, I'm trying to be somewhat better at it.  Or, at least, as good as I'll ever be.





The workshop was held by my local council. There was a professional organiser who spoke for about two hours. Her name was Susanne Thiebe. You can visit her website here and her Facebook page here

One of the most interesting things I picked up was that de-cluttering, organising, tidying and cleaning are all completely different things. This should seem obvious, but to a scatter brain like me it was a revelation.

In fact, you could say I had a bit of a light bulb moment. I realised that while I am not tidy, (and probably never will be) I'm relatively organised. Or, at least much more organised than I originally believed. 


Now, I'm not saying that I'm organised in quite the same you may be. My version of organised probably looks like a horse's arse or dog's breakfast (or insert whatever hot mess you can think of) to the more anal efficient among us. 


However, I have to take into account the fact that I am an Aspie. This means that I struggle with executive function issues. Additionally I believe I have ADD.

Therefore I'm a person with ASD and ADD who is in charge of running a very small house with five people living in it. You could also argue that all five of us have varying degrees of ADD-like personality traits, plus a tendency to be borderline hoarders.

Not to the point where we need to climb over all the clutter or require a massive intervention, but still... we have semi hoarding tendencies. But I've always told myself it's NOT hoarding if it's books...ahem...

Anyway my point is, I now believe that I'm reasonably organised when all this is taken into account and I'm not comparing with others. 






The analogy that was used in the workshop to demonstrate how tidy and organised are two different things was this: 

If you have a bucket or crate full of shoes sitting in your front hallway, is it tidy or is it organised? 

The answer: it depends.  For some it would be neither. For a family who is always looking for their kids shoes, if it works and they can find them there most of the time; it's organised. Not particularly tidy, but organised. 

Another example Susanne gave was of her own mother. She explained that she uses her coffee machine two or three times day. Every single time, she cleans it and puts it away in a cupboard, only to have to lug it out again. See? Tidy, but not organised. 

She also voiced something I've thought in the back of my mind for many years: the lifestyle programmes (Better Homes & Gardens, The Living Room etc) do as much damage to our minds as looking at the supermodels in fashion or women's magazines.

Realistically you know that the model is a freak of nature to start with. Furthermore the images are retouched. But there's still that little part of you thinking: but wouldn't it be great to look like that? 

Likewise with lifestyle programmes. We're all seduced into thinking that our homes should always look like the homes we see on these shows.

According to her, (and she is an industry insider) these de-cluttering 'gurus' have a team working with them.When a segment is filmed it often takes input from the entire team and a good week (at least) of work. This is all edited into a neat little nine minute segment where we see before and after shots.

The infamous KonMari Method was also brought up during the session. This is a de-cluttering method that was invented by Marie Kondo. I had borrowed her book  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up from the library and started reading it the day before I attended the session. I was trying really hard to keep an open mind about it, hoping to give the method a red hot go.

But only a few chapters in I was already beginning to see flaws in it. I know there's a whole community of eager converts who'll heartily disagree with me. I suspect there's a reason I never make any mum friends. Or any friends, really. Sigh. 








First of all, Susanne pointed out that Marie Kondo is a Japanese woman with no children. (Although a quick glance at her wiki page reveals that she does have one child). The simple fact of the matter is, the more people that live in your home the more stuff there will be and the more mess. In saying that, it doesn't mean that I totally give up and raise my children in squalor. But it does mean that any expectations of gleaming white perfection are unrealistic. For me.

Truth be told I'm not a fan (of gleaming white perfection) anyway. We visited some exhibition homes recently and I honestly didn't like all the bright shinyness. I don't know if it's a Ness thing or an ASD thing. but it makes me seasick and headachey.  Anyway, I digress. 


Secondly, some of the Konmari advice is a tad dubious. The idea is that you keep only the things that 'spark joy'.  The thing is, my boys passion for Lego has never particularly sparked any joy for me. But it does for them. So whose joy are we supposed to spark?

Plus, apparently when you're de-cluttering you're supposed to not tell your family or let them see. How does that work? They live here. Suffice to say, I don't quite get it. But considering that this book and method is a sensation and all the rage at the moment, I guess I'm the weird one. Oh well, nothing new there...

Moving on from the Konmari Method...

Another notable piece of advice during the workshop was that storage systems/solutions WILL NOT make you organised.

We were told DO NOT go out and buy more containers/stationery/pretty bits and pieces thinking they're the answer. Also don't buy any of the books out there on the subject.


Just like the Konmari method, a lot of these books are written by people in different circumstances and cultures than we have. For example, Americans typically have basements and attics which are generally not a thing in the majority of Australian homes. 

We were given an information booklet covering these areas: 

A) START

B) DE-CLUTTER

C) TIME MANAGEMENT

D) ORGANISE

E) KEEP GOING-HOW TO STAY MOTIVATED

F) THROW

G) GIVE

H) AVOID

I) MAINTAIN


You can find out more about these workshops and where you can attend one over here. This is not sponsored at all, I just found it interesting and thought others might as well. 

Meanwhile, I suppose I had better actually take some of the advice and JUST START!

Right, I'm off to shift some stuff! 


Linking up for IBOT. 


What do you think?

Are you tidy or organised? Or both?

Do you believe they are different things? 


Do you have any de-cluttering tips? 

Monday, 17 October 2016

Which Anniversaries Are Special?







Hi there! Here we are on another MAGNIFICENT Monday! Everyone's favourite day of the week. When it's a public holiday. Today isn't.

But you probably already know that if you're at work. And may I say, you have made a most excellent choice. Procrastinating from work by reading my musings. Well played. I certainly won't tell anyone. Your secret is safe with me. 

I'm all about making your Monday all better in any way I can. So I'm here to provide you with a few minutes of escape from your to-do-list. (Although I can't imagine why reading here wouldn't be at the absolute TOP of your to-do list. You need to sort your priorities).

Anyway, let's get on with it! 

Once again I am joining in for Life This Week. 

We are talking anniversaries.

This is timely, because in a few short weeks Mickey Blue Eyes and I will be celebrating our 21st wedding anniversary! 

It sounds quite impressive, doesn't it? That is, until I mention that on the exact same day it's my parents 50th wedding anniversary! How awesome is that? That definitely deserves bold, italics and an underline. Done! 

In order for Mick and I to clock up such an impressive record of marital stress bliss I have to live to my 70s and he has to live to his 80s. Bonus points if we actually remember each other if we get there. Stay tuned!

My parents, who I call Mum and Dad, and everyone else (except my brother) calls Alison and Michael (because that's their names - a bit of the old Captain Obvious is always handy...), were married on November 11th, 1966. They were exceptionally good looking. See below.

This explains why I'm so strikingly attractive. You can abandon your futile attempts to resemble and emulate me. It's not going to happen unless you were born into this gene pool. Sorry to break it to you. If it's any consolation, it's not easy being so gorgeous, but some one has to do it. It's a burden I must bear. So sad. 




My parents, Alison and Michael Lafferty, on their wedding day,
 November 11th, 1966


But back to anniversaries...

When Mick and I were planning our wedding, we didn't have any particular date in mind. We just decided to have a spring wedding because we like to be cutting edge and ground breaking.

It turned out that November was the only time we could get holidays to go away for our honeymoon. Believe it or not, I did actually go to work back then in the 'olden days'. Well, that's what our boys call the 1990's.

Coincidentally, the weekend that was free (to book the church) was the same day as my parents anniversary. November 11th! 
I asked them if they minded if we were married on the same day and they didn't.

It some ways it seemed right. They'd gotten married in the registry office and didn't  have a big wedding. Not that our wedding was over the top or anything lavish, but it was still more than what my parents had. So yes, November 11th is a very special anniversary in our family.

Having said that, it must be admitted that we don't always do anything specific on the day. But we do remember! Especially considering that it's also remembrance day! We'll probably have a meal and a glass of wine or two. Then we'll do something super exciting. Like sit on the couch and stare at our laptops as per usual. Sounds like a plan! 







And every single year we get a phone call from our elderly former neighbours to wish us a happy anniversary! It's so sweet of them to remember. 

Naturally, birthdays are also important dates around here. Because CAKE. Duh!

They are all conveniently spaced throughout the year: mine is January 15th, Mr 12's is on March 15th, Mr 15's is on July 10th, Mickey Blue Eyes' is August 11th and Mr (soon to be) 8's is on November 2nd. It's always good to have consistent cake opportunities placed throughout the year. And also the week. I mean, you should always have cake handy for special occasions. You know, like any day that ends with a Y. That sort of thing. 

This year also marks the beginning of a whole new kind of anniversary. I'm not sure I'd call it a 'special' one, but it's certainly one I'll remember...

December 4th will be the one year anniversary of my breast cancer diagnonsense. Needless to say, last year wasn't a very merry Christmas. I'm determined to enjoy it this year! 

Twelve years later, I can't remember the exact date that Mickey Blue Eyes was diagnosed with his bowel cancer.  So I have my fingers, toes, legs, arms, eyeballs crossed that the same thing will happen for me. Hopefully, the date will lose is significance as the years go by. 

Meanwhile, November 11th and all our birthdays will ALWAYS be special. 

So bring on the cake! 

Not on November 11th, right now! Monday ends with a Y! See? 


Linking up for Life This Week.

Also linking up for Open Slather and Mummy Mondays




Which anniversaries are special for you?

Friday, 14 October 2016

Then And Now





Welcome to another fabulous Friday! My second favourite F word. You all know what the first one is!

FOOD! Duh.


Don't know what YOU were thinking.

Anyway, it's time to join in yet again for Friday Reflections!


I decided to merge two of the prompts because I thought they tied in neatly together. 

They are:

What did you want to be as a kid?

And...

Did you think you'd be doing what you're doing now? 

I was never really one of those kids who woke up one morning and thought: when I grow up I want to be a doctor/teacher/ballerina.

Just as well because; a) I can't stand the sight of blood, b) I struggle to even get through my kids homework, and c) I have the grace of an elephant on roller skates. 

If I thought about it all, I most likely assumed that I was going to be the next Enid Blyton. I adored her novels and read them obsessively. However, I never had a real plan.

I've always been a dreamer not a doer. Consequently I've kind of drifted through life. And here I am.

I always knew exactly what I DIDN'T want to do, but at the same time had no clear idea what I DID want to do.

As high school cruised towards it's inevitable finale, I had to make a decision. I enjoyed studying German. In fact, I was the genius who somehow failed English in my HSC and passed German. Go figure.

If I remember those heady mullet-permed days correctly, I decided to apply to university to study interpreting and translating. The only catch was, you had to be bilingual, fluent in two languages. It turns out that a couple of years of high school German wasn't enough to make me fluent. Who knew? So that idea was over with before it even started. 

To cut a long story short, I ended up studying at TAFE, something they used to call Library Practice (it's called something else now), and worked in libraries for a while. Until I didn't. Then I did again. Then I had babies and stayed home to look after them. Fast forward fifteen years. I'm still here, even though they're not babies anymore. Details...


Anyway, my point is, I now believe I was on the right track with the library thing. I always imagined that someday I'd go back to it, but now I have this cavernous fifteen year gap in my resume. Oops.

That's the thing about me. I'm not really one thing nor the other. I'm not a driven, career-oriented person, but I'm not really a house-wifey type either. It's another one of those curious dichotomies or contradictions about me: I'm a homebody and introvert, who definitely prefers being in my own space most of the time, but I'm not actually brilliant at being the person in charge of running the home. Weird. 


Hmmm, I guess I really should have been an eccentric stay-at-home millionaire or something... 




Or a professional daydreamer! Which is almost the same thing as being a writer. Well, except for the actual writing and getting paid part...

Unfortunately, the thought of being an author was always more of a fanciful daydream. A kind of 'yeah wouldn't that be nice' thing rather than having a concrete plan and goal. 

The only thing I really knew for sure as a child, was that one day I wanted to be a wife and mother. So in that sense, you could say I am doing what I thought I'd be doing. 

Admittedly, when I just thought and daydreamed about being a mother it was SO much easier! I was a perfect parent. Until I had kids! 




In my fantasies of being a grown up I was a tall, regal auburn haired 'Anne Shirley' type. I was married to my very own Gilbert Blythe. I had endless patience and wisdom to impart to my angelic fictional children.

Scenes played out in my head like something out of a movie or sit-com. I must have spent way more time watching television when I was growing up than I realised! 


To be honest, I never really thought specifically about what I'd be doing in my 40's. When you're a kid 20 seems ancient, let alone 40! 

I didn't have such a great grasp of reality.  Possibly due to all those Enid Blyton books and American sit coms I consumed. I'm sure I figured I'd be much better looking than I am and have a beautiful, immaculate home.

But you know what? Real life is way more interesting. 'Perfect' is overrated. 


As it turns out, even my childhood idol, Enid Blyton, was far from perfect. Well, according to her wikipedia page, anyway. If it's on the internet it must be true, right? Snorts.

Her novels have also been criticised as being all sorts of  dodgy things, including racist, in today's world. But they did provide me with some flights of fancy and a love of reading, so no harm done.

And while I may not have followed in her footsteps, I can still tap away here and indulge my love of words. Yeah, you're totally welcome!

Sure, there are moments when I wish I was more ambitious and goal-oriented, but for some one who has drifted and daydreamed through life, I don't have too much to complain about. 

Smashing! 

Linking up for Friday Reflections. 




What did you want to be as a kid?

Did you think you'd be doing what you are now? 

Monday, 10 October 2016

Ten Things I Like About Me





Hello there! It's Monday and the merciful end of the school holidays!

Once again I'm joining in for Life This Week. 

Today's prompt is: 10 Things You Like About You. 

I had to think about it and I was struggling.  I eventually came up with this list:

1.I have a cute sense of humour 
2. I am honest
3. I am loyal
4. I am kind
5.I am resilient
6. I am resourceful
7. I am not at all materialistic
8. I am quiet (I've decided that being quiet can be positive because I don't gossip or have verbal diarrhoea. Written diarrhoea is my specialty, however..coughs...)
9. I am a very loving, demonstrative mother (in the end that's all that really matters)
10.I have a lovely shaped head (so everybody told me when I shaved my head because of chemo)


Observe my lovely shaped head. Be very jealous. 



Somehow even after writing this list I still wasn't convinced. Oftentimes we can't see ourselves the way others do. Or maybe that's just me... 

Anyway, I asked my Facebook friends what they liked about me.

The number one answer was my sense of humour. It's odd because I'm really not funny at all in person. Like I've said before, I'm quiet and shy. So my sense of humour is only apparent on Facebook and on this blog. But that's good enough, right? Who cares about real life? All our friends are in the computer anyway! 


So it's settled. I'm officially a comedic genius! You're laughing sarcastically hysterically right now, admit it. See? 


Looking at the list again, I sound like some one's pet dog. Loyal, kind, always thinking about food... Okay, that last point wasn't on the list. But it's true. Yep, I'm sort of like a puppy.  Cute to have around, but completely useless. You can't help but find me endearing anyway. Am I right? 

Meanwhile, having a lovely shaped head does come in handy if you ever have to have a round of chemotherapy. It's a highly underrated quality. I think people should start putting it on resumes and dating profiles. Truly. Why not?

That way people would know in advance what they were getting themselves in for. Should your partner ever get cancer or decide to become a skinhead or a hare krishna, at least they'll have a pleasing noggin. 

I mean, thank goodness I don't have a 'head like a racing tadpole', as the saying goes. 
I have no idea why the heads of racing tadpoles are so abhorrent... Oh wait... They're tadpoles. Yeah. YUCK. 

And as for being quiet. What an absolute GIFT that is. Haven't we all known some one we wish would just SHUT THE FUCK UP? 








Furthermore, it turns out that people like my writing! Who knew? It often seems like crickets are chirping over here. 

Also, the fact that I am obsessed with partial to a bit of cake was pointed out as an admirable quality. See? Cake brings people together. It's important! I always knew it. 



It's good to see people protesting about important issues.


Another positive trait was the fact that I'm thoughtful and polite to puppies. As you should be. Puppies are cute. See above. 

According to another friend my antipathy to all things domestic was something to commend. After all, she could relate! To which I say:

UNDOMESTIC GODESSES UNITE! (Except not at each others houses because we don't want to clean up). 


However, THIS comment from the wonderful Kirsty Russell over at My Home Truths was THE BEST:


Kirsty Russell I love your self-deprecation and the fact you can make the most mundane of facts, very funny and very interesting. I love your persistence and resilience too. You've slapped down cancer (both yours and your husband's), you've embraced a late diagnosis of Aspergers, you've endured loss and you are raising beautiful boys. You rock x



That makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. Thanks Kirsty! She's right. I DO rock. Quite literally. 

It's one of those weird (but wonderful) Aspie things. But the way I see it, it's movement. Which means exercise. So...WINNING!

In fact, as a teenager that was the only exercise I got. Rocking away in my room to Carpenters music (or ABBA or Barbra Streisand). Some people like to head bang to heavy metal. I rock to easy listening. You got a problem with that? 

This is called being resourceful. Plus, after years of going backwards and forwards to various shrinks I finally figured out that I'm Aspie myself! (And subsequently got an official diagnonsense). 

Additionally, I worked out how to create a blogger account and provide you with all the wit and wisdom I write here! You're welcome! See? SO resourceful. Or something...

So there you have it. Ten things I like about me!

But enough about me! What else do YOU like about me?!

Just kidding...



What do you like about YOU? 

Saturday, 8 October 2016

What I've Learnt About Blogging






Hello dear people! I'm a bit late to the Friday Reflections party, but I thought I'd chime in anyway. 

The prompt I've chosen is: Things you've learnt since you started blogging. 

At first I felt like I should not choose this prompt. After all, what do I know about blogging professionally? So I should mention that if you're looking for advice about how to get millions of eyeballs on your blog and make shit tonnes of cash I've got nothing to tell you. Oh wait. There is this: do the exact opposite of everything I did. 

I pretty much logged onto blogger one day and just started churning out journal like entries in a spectacularly ad hoc and lackadaisical fashion. Yeah, don't do that.

However, I still have a few things to say about blogging as a hobby. 

Here goes: 

DON"T write like no one is reading

I've heard the advice 'write like no one is reading' a lot.

NO. Don't do that.

Guess what? Someone will read it. Even if it's only your Mum to begin with. As far as I can gather it's still pretty much my Mum reading here. Hi Mum! 

All I'm saying is, it's not a really intelligent idea to write about anything you wouldn't be comfortable discussing in person or having family and friends know about you.

I do try to be as honest as possible within reason. But some things are better kept to myself. 

Don't write about other people's stuff

This ties in with the previous point. Some things are just not my stuff to blog about. Particularly because I have children. I'll admit that I've made mistakes in the past, but now I try not to blog about my boys. Or at least keep it to a minimum.  I don't post photos of them or use their real names here. Some people will argue that you shouldn't have to censor yourself and all that. But I think you need to be mindful of this. If you're still hellbent on writing about all and sundry in your life perhaps asking permission first is the way to go. 

Don't feel guilty about spending time and/or money on your hobby blog

If I had any other hobby you could think of you can bet that I would never even think twice about this. Many times people will be all superior and insist that they simply don't have time to be online. First of all, the time I spend blogging and on Facebook may be the time that others spend watching the footy or the entire series of Game Of Thrones on Netflix. I don't do those things. I prefer blogging or reading. And yes, Facebook. So what? To me, watching sport is just as boring as my hobby might seem to others. 

Plus, what's wrong with spending money on hobby blogging? 
The amount of money that Mickey Blue Eyes has spent on his various hobbies over the years must be in the hundreds if not thousands. There's been soccer, breeding finches (continuing), bonsai's, photography, astronomy, aquariums.. to name a few. Yet for a long time I felt guilty about spending a cent on this blog. Not anymore.

Related: I signed up to do the 
Blog With Pip and Blog Magic
 courses next month.  

Other things I've learned:


I am terrible at self-promotion

I really, really suck at this. Hopefully the above course will help me to get through some of these barriers. We'll see. I'm a total contradiction here: I dislike being the centre of attention but at the same time I don't want to be totally ignored. Otherwise what's the point? 

I'm a much better writer than I think I am

Self-doubt about my writing ability is still something I struggle with on an ongoing basis. But I've thought about it and realised that I'm not THE BEST writer and I never will be. BUT...I'm actually pretty good for who I am, my level of education and experiences in life. I'm some one who failed high school English, never went to university and has spent the past 15 years being a stay at home mother. Additionally, I'm also on the spectrum. Taking all that into consideration I am so much better than I think. I need to own that! 

On the other hand...

I'm a shit photographer

This blog is an assault to your eyeballs. Oops. Sorry about that! But I'm really crap at taking photos. So I just need to concentrate on what I can do and keep writing. Related: I don't have an Instagram account for this very reason. There's really no point!

I'm a technophobe

I don't really understand all the different technical stuff and social media platforms. I have a Twatter Twitter account but don't use it much these days.

There's always some one who's better than you

There's always going to be other brighter shinier better blogs and writers. There just is. The only thing I can do is just keep plodding on doing what I can do. Because not writing at all feels worse. 

I don't care about stats and 'likes'

Just as well. They're abysmal. But WHO CARES? I'm blogging for a hobby so I actually have the freedom to not worry about it. I may as well enjoy it!

I'm completely 'useless'

Apparently you're supposed to create useful content. Oops. I try to make my pointless ponderings as entertaining as possible. Beyond that, I've got nothing! Useless blogging FTW! 








It's fun to join in with the blogging community

I like joining in with blog link ups. For one thing they often provide me with a prompt. Otherwise I might run out of nonsense to blog about. As impossible as that sounds! Plus you can actually make online connections. On the other hand it's important to remember to not get too discouraged if everyone doesn't read your blog. It's impossible to read and comment on every single blog. 

I'll never say never

So far I've never even attempted to make money with this blog. Currently I still have no plans to do so. I have a sneaking suspicion that doing so may take all the joy out of it. However, never's a long time, so I'll never say never. I reserve the right to change my mind at any time. 





It's OK to have bloggy breaks

In fact it's probably a very good idea. This blogging caper can be very addictive! I need to get up and move a bit and try to be offline sometimes. Snorts. 

Let's not get too carried away...

Linking up (late!) for Friday Reflections .

What are your thoughts about blogging?