Monday, 16 October 2017

Letter To My 20 Year Old Self


Dear 20 year old Ness,

Hello, dear girl! Well, actually you're a young woman now. A proper grown up. I know! You certainly don't feel like one. I suspect you never will.

And you know what? It's okay. Most people are faking it, anyway. Besides, being a grown up is totally overrated, as you are discovering.



Image credit:https://www.facebook.com/purpleclvr/photos/a.375609882543951.1073741828.369508529820753/1953758248062432/?type=3&theater


Oh yes, it's me by the way, your 46 year old self. Yes, you do make it to such a frightfully ancient number. There's a lot ahead of you. Some of it good. Some of it bad. Just like everyone else.

I expect you already got the letter I wrote to our sixteen year old self and was somewhat puzzled and intrigued. But what I said then still stands.

The thing is, I was going to provide you with a long list of do's and don't s:

DO ditch that boyfriend.

DON'T  perm your hair anymore.

DO keep working in libraries.

DON'T put up with toxic 'friends'.

But recently I had something of an epiphany around the concept of regrets.

You're inclined to a lot of introspection - you can't help it, you're a massive introvert among other things - but you have to be mindful of not spiralling into too much rumination and over thinking. Besides, you don't spend too much more time with the boyfriend or toxic friends anyway. 

So the only thing I really need to say is, you're actually okay. Just be kind to yourself.

This will be the last little self indulgent letter to myself, I'm fairly certain. After all, you now have a blog all about yourself. Coughs...

There are so many things you can write. Give them ago.

No wait. I lied.There IS another letter from your future self coming at 35. What I said there stands as well.  Some hair curling shit will happen, but you'll be okay. Seriously. 

At 46 you've realised that you're an odd contradiction of sweet, childlike and naive and an old nanna soul. And it's all good.

You will never be hip and cool and groovy. I mean, you just used the word groovy. Enough said.  


So, what other interesting things can I report about the future?

2017 is...

Interesting and challenging. 

We certainly don't live like those Jetsons cartoons, and alas, as I mentioned before, there are no hover boards. Hanna-barbera and Steven Spielberg are great big fat LIARS. Of course, you didn't fair too well with roller skates, so I'm sure you won't be too disappointed to discover this. 

Sadly I am unable to divulge any future lotto numbers. This is truly tragic. I dunno, it's like the whole 'letters to past selves thing' don't work or something? 

If I didn't know any better I'd swear The Magic Faraway Tree wasn't real and Samantha from Bewitched wasn't an actual witch...

Okay, maybe they weren't, but it doesn't hurt to believe in magic sometimes in this bat shit crazy, frightening, bewildering world. Yes, you're still a dreamer. So what? 

So yeah, the only things I need to say are, be kind to yourself and don't take it all so seriously. No one gets out of this thing alive anyway. You may as well laugh at the absurdity and sheer ridiculousness of it all. 

Which is why the perms weren't such a bad thing after all. They're freaking hilarious in retrospect. 



Me at age 20 in 1991 ready
for my TAFE graduation.




At my 21st birthday. 


See what I mean? 


Sincerely,

46 year old Ness

What would you tell your 20 year old self?

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Bated Breath


Greetings and salutations, lovely readers! How are you all? I keep pretending that there are so many of you. Why not? It's a lovely little game called Being Delusional that I like to play. No harm done. 

So just for shits and giggles I wrote a little made up story for Friday Reflections inspired by the prompt: Bated breath.  Of course I didn't get around to posting, linking and sharing it until Saturday evening, but, as I like to say, details! Besides, that's just how I rock a Saturday night! So anyway, here it is...



BATED BREATH


Adrenaline pulsated through me as I approached the counter. Every nerve ending was tingling. It happened every time. It was equal parts thrilling and gut wrenching. Yet, I couldn't stop. 

"How are you today?" the teller flashed a flight attendant smile. Her eyes were warm behind her designer frames. I glanced at her name tag. 

Louise. 


"Good thanks," I replied, matching her smile. I couldn't be sure if it reached my eyes. Mentally I summed her up. Her ash blonde bob and manicured nails spoke of regular trips to a salon. Her trim physique suggested an expensive gym membership.  Louise was thoroughly middle class. She probably had an immaculate brick home in a leafy suburb. A husband. Kids. Just like me. 

Except I was different. I had to be.

"How can I help you?" Louise asked.


I slid the cheque across the counter.  "I need to deposit this," I handed her my key card. My hands were steady. I had become skilled at pretending that depositing generous cheques was common place for me. 


"No problem," she swiped my card and efficiently tapped away. 

I waited with bated breath. My exterior remained placid, inscrutable as my heart beat a crescendo in my chest. Any moment she might say something. Louise's pleasant features would suddenly look puzzled. An eternity seemed to pass as I willed my heart to slow. 


How many similar cheques had I deposited in the past few months? I'd lost count. Each time was the same. The trepidation. Exhilaration. Bated breath. 

"Done!" Louise beamed. It was too easy. "Have a great weekend," she added, handing me back my card. 

"You too," I exhaled, then strode out past the security guard. Maybe I wasn't safe yet. He might tap me on the shoulder. I would be cornered. Found out for the absolute fraud that I was. I lived in perpetual fear of being discovered. When I wasn't, elation replaced fear. 

The guilt always evaporated when I walked out into the busy shopping mall. I felt alive. Energised. Euphoric. I was living a double life and I loved it. Time to go shopping. 

Travis would have picked Ella and Max up by now. He'd be at home, patiently helping with homework and preparing the evening meal. He'd taken on the reluctant role of house husband since he'd been made redundant a year ago. 

Meanwhile, their bills were piling up. Travis couldn't find another job despite applying for many. He sank into depression. I'd had no choice. I was the breadwinner now. 

I lingered near one of my favourite boutiques, lost in my thoughts There was only one way to stop these intrusive worries. Shopping. My card was never declined these days. That hadn't been the case some months ago. 

"We'll have to sell the house," Travis had told me. He was flat and defeated. 

"NO!" I couldn't bear it. It was our dream home, minutes from the beach. We'd been living the good life and I wasn't ready to give it up. 

"We just can't afford the mortgage repayments," Travis argued.

"I'll be getting a promotion soon," I said "we can make it work."

In the end he gave in, too bogged down in his depression. He already felt like a failure for losing his job. Now his wife was taking care of him. He'd always been so driven. We both were. There was no way we could just give up on our lavish existence. It would be humiliating. I was too proud.


Sure, we could sell the house, but then what? We'd had have to live somewhere. Imagine having to leave their prestigious suburb to move to bum fuck boganville. I'd worked too hard to get out of there. I couldn't go back. I'd have to take Max and Ella out of their expensive schools and send them to the school I'd gone to. There was no way I'd ever do that. So I made my decision.

Though in some ways it seemed like it was made for me. My role at the major insurance company where I worked involved drawing and cancelling cheques. On that fateful day I was there early. 




There was a tap on my office door. "Coffee!" my assistant Veronica trilled.

"Thanks," I took it, smiling. Veronica was a decade younger than me and I'd taken her under my wing. She seemed to have something of 'girl crush' on me. I knew she aspired to be where I was eventually. 


"I'll leave you to it," she said, closing the door. Then I saw it. A returned cheque. The customer was no longer at the address.

Ms Sarah James.


I couldn't believe it. I knew I was meant to cancel it. Instead, I put it in my top drawer and locked it. I tried to forget, but it was burned into my brain. When I left the office, darkness was descending. In more ways than one.

"See you tomorrow, Sarah," Veronica said. She eyed my Prada suit with open envy as I sashayed to the lifts. 


At home there were more bills. Final demands. The next day I banked the cheque. It was fate that my name was the same. Didn't everything happen for a reason? 

As the weeks went on, it became an addiction. I would draw another. Just one more, I told myself. To get myself out of this predicament, give me more time. One more became two more, and eventually I lost count. 

"It's exquisite, isn't it?" The sales assistant startled me out of my ruminating. "Would you like to try it on?" 

Before I knew it, she'd ushered me to the change rooms. The dress hung perfectly over my lean frame. Stress and long hours had made me too edgy to eat much these days, though I managed several coffees and wines each day.  The liquid and embezzlement diet certainly paid off, I mused.

"I'll take it," I told the sales assistant. I could always leave the tags on and return it, I told myself. Besides, it was an exclusive label, so it was practically an investment. I could already picture the likes and envy on Insta.

 And anyway, I deserved this. I had to carry the entire financial load while Travis was at home with the kids. I would need more wine. I made a quick detour to the bottle shop. 

I walked into work the next day with a sense of foreboding. I shook it off. I saw my reflection in the elevator mirror. I looked sensational. I was winning at this thing called life.

"Good morning!" I greeted colleagues who refused to meet my eyes. Outside my office, Veronica was absent. She was always there early. My stomach dropped. I glanced at the gold lettering on my office door.

SARAH JAMES 

Financial Manager

Then I saw them. My boss was approaching me with a subdued Veronica at his side.

I froze. Bated breath. It was all over. 


"You will do jail time," I was told. When I rang Travis he was livid. He was taking the kids and going to stay with  his parents. My whole world was crumbling around me. 


The last thing I remembered as I cleared my desk was Veronica's cold stare. 


THE END.

What do you think about silly old Sarah?

Do bills give you bated breath?


Monday, 9 October 2017

No More Regrets


Well howdy doody and how are you? Can you believe I said 'howdy doody'? I don't even know what it means! Never mind.

I am  here to talk about regrets. I have blogged about this before and came up with a whole list which you can read here.

The thing is, I re-read the list and thought about it some more. Because I love to over think things. And I began to wonder.  The root cause at the crux of some of these regrets is my ongoing battle with anxiety.

The question I'm asking myself is this: is anxiety something you regret? I mean, if you have an anxiety disorder it's not really your fault, though it is your responsibility. Fault/blame and responsibility are two different things to my mind. You can't be blamed for struggling with such a thing, but you are responsible for managing it.






Considering that my anxiety is clearly linked to the fact that I'm autistic and that is to do with the way my  brain is wired, saying I regret certain things where anxiety is at play is almost like regretting my entire existence.

I guess I'm not making much sense. Bear with me. I mean, looking at that old list I made a lot decisions based on fear and not being able to manage negative emotions. But at the time, I didn't understand that. Perhaps I didn't have the maturity or the knowledge. I mean, I didn't even know that I'm autistic until I was 40!

And even when I knew that I had an anxiety disorder, I didn't really accept it truly and properly. When anxiety in the form of panic attacks first tapped me on the shoulder many years ago, I thought of it as something more like a broken arm or a virus. Eventually it would clear off and that would be the end of it. But as anyone who struggles with this beast knows, it simply doesn't work that way.

It's only through accepting it about yourself and taking responsibility for managing it can you move forward and live a decent life. And honestly, looking back on it, I wasn't even given adequate treatment at first. It was only through my own perseverance that I kept going and trying things. Nobody ever even suggested that I see some one or pursue any help. It's almost like you're not taken seriously with these things if you're a woman... Especially one like me who has been a stay at home parent for many years. Anyway, I was trying to make a point but as usual I am rambling!

I'm just wondering about the futility of regretting things in life when you're an autistic human who has an anxiety disorder. I can say that I regret anxiety taking over my life, but at the same time, I was never given the correct tools to address it.  Somehow it seems that I've had to be very resourceful in trying to help myself and come to terms with it.







I've had six years to digest my diagnonsense and it still seems like there are often things I have to figure out and try to come to terms with.

I'm not organised. I am not a happy bubbly type. I don't know how to put it into words without sounding really negative. I am not really the person who would ever take off and go trekking by myself or do big gutsy brave things. I am not loud or opinionated or ballsy. And while I admire people who are, I can only be myself.  I am stuck being myself. A lot of times I think I should be things like confident and positive and I'm just not.

It's like if some people work out something they want to do they seem to know exactly what to do and the steps to take and then sustain it. I'm not like that. I can do certain things at times for periods of time, but not sustain it long-term. I can do one thing really well for a while. I can't do all the things.

Having anxiety and being autistic and introverted and all those things takes up a great deal of energy. I am who I am. And it is what it is.

It sounds odd, but I've realised I have to forgive myself for a lot of my perceived regrets or mistakes I made.






Ultimately I have wonderful parents, Mickey Blue Eyes and the boys and a small circle of family and friends who care about me and mean the world to me. And I want to concentrate on that. I did make some good decisions in life. Not that I want to bang on about cancer all the time, but having a brush with it certainly makes you realise you don't want to waste energy on a bunch of regrets.

But I do regret the 'howdy doody' thing. That was pretty dumb.

What about you?

What is your attitude towards regrets? 

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Waiting For Rain

There it was. That sound. I knew what it meant. That ominous wail slicing through the stillness. It always filled me with dread. It meant that bad things had happened and the villains responsible were out there lurking.

I would edge my way through the shadows and end up at the side of my mum's bed. She always let me snuggle in next to her. The siren in the distance was still a sinister reminder. It signified that the world wasn't safe outside my cocoon. My home. My dog. My parents. Books and Barbie dolls. 

Sirens were not the only thing I was scared of. There was a list, including elevators, escalators, talking in public, cockroaches and blood. I never liked watching horror movies. 

I sit by the window tapping and remembering. It's a grey, dreary day and I feel nostalgic. I wish it would rain. 

 





I remember scrunching my toes up in tan sandals. The teacher called me cutie pie Vanessa. She had gigantic glasses and her hair in a bun. I had a red suitcase. 

I remember being forced to play volley ball. I hated volley ball. And all sport. 

I remember being thrown in the pool when I was five. My screams were long and loud. I still can't swim.

In kindergarten another girl also named Vanessa was mean to me. A boy had his dangly bits out under the desk. I went and told the teacher. 

I remember skipping around the edges of the playground. I think I had an imaginary friend, but I don't remember her name. 

In year five I went away for a school camp. All the other girls hated me on sight, mistaking my shyness for being stuck-up. 

I remember going overseas in 1981. I was ten. I had long red hair. Weirdly I don't remember being scared when the plane took off. I was terrified of everything else. I remember the vivid colours of the tulips. Playing records and eating gigantic bowls of custard. It was awesome. I remember my brother and I staring at the punks with their jagged Mohawks on the train. We rode bikes everywhere. 

I remember our next door neighbour teaching me to ride a bike in our cul-de-sac. 

I remember games of 'redlight' and sausage dogs. 

I remember barbecues and cracker night. The elated feeling of leaving school on the last day of term when the long summer holidays stretched before you. Before long the elation evaporated into boredom.

"I'm borrrred," I would wail.

"Hello, bored. I'm Mum," my mother would reply. 

But I always had books and music. And sleepovers with friends and cousins.
 
I remember when my Dad used to wear bright orange flairs and it seemed completely acceptable. 

I remember when my brother had a birthday party and no one turned up. Mum had gone to so much effort making cakes and chocolate crackles and various treats. There were no more parties after that. I didn't care. My birthday was in January. Everybody went away to the beach in January.

"They can have that," my parents declared and put the air-conditioning on. Summer was something to be endured in our family. 

I remember sitting in the sun all day at a school sport carnival. I went home bright red with severe sunburn. My mother was furious. I had asked to be allowed to sit in the shade and the teachers said no. 

I remember my auntie Evelyne taking me and my cousin to Luna Park. It was 1983 or 84. Again I suffered atrocious sunburn. Back at my aunt's flat she rubbed tomatoes all over my singed and painful skin.

I remember being called a red-headed match, and - my personal favourite - a red headed rat rooter. Nice.

I remember other kids saying things to me like: "Gee, your hair's nice. Pity it's not blonde." 

I remember old dears stopping my brother and I on the street or at the shops to ooh and ah over our red tresses and slip us each a twenty cent coin. A veritable fortune back then. You could get a whole bag of mixed lollies from the milk bar! Yes, I am showing my age. Sigh. 

I remember catching the old red rattlers to Central station and attending Ultimo TAFE.

I remember  walking through the dusty dungeons in the bowels of the State Library when I worked there. I remember feeling like a fraud. I was supposed to be a grown-up now. But I still couldn't look anyone in the eye or speak above a whisper.

I remember humiliating job interviews when I burst into tears.

I remember beautiful dresses my mother made. I loved dressing up.

I remember getting married on a warm November day in 1995. I was completely calm and contented in my lovely lace gown with a long train. I carried roses and raised my voice for the vows. 

I remember being told I would never have babies without IVF. 

I remember having an ultra-sound and being told I was already 26 weeks pregnant! It felt like being told I could fly. I had magical powers. Maybe I could twitch my nose like Samantha and magic up anything. 

I remember giving birth to my sons. 

Son number one:  "Here's your baby!" Mick held him and he streeeetched his little arms.  

Son number two:  "He has such expressive eyes," the  midwife commented. Mick passed out! 

Son number three:  The 19 week scan. "There is no heartbeat." Goodbye, little man. 

Son number four:  I was sliced open. He was so TINY. Perfect and tiny. Our family was complete. 

I remember the day Mick had surgery for bowel cancer. I sat with him while he had chemo-therapy. 

I remember going to Sea World with my family. I accidentally dropped my mobile phone in the shark tank. 

I remember giggling about all the silly things with my boys. 

I remember watching diggers and excavators with my then obsessed toddler son.

I remember my second son's collection of soft toys. His favourite was a dog, imaginatively named "Doggy". If we went anywhere without Doggy, we were in serious trouble! 

Being told I that I'm autistic at age 40 is something I'll never forget. I finally understood a few things about myself. 

There was the glorious cake my mother made me for my 40th birthday. Who could forget that?! 




Memories of all the amazing meals around the kitchen table in my parents house. My mother's cooking is THE BEST. 

I remember Mick shaving my head when I had chemo for breast cancer. I remember the beautiful hats my aunt made for me. 

I remember that I need to stop remembering and live in the present. Mostly I do. Except when it rains. 

I remember the wistful, wonderful, comforting feel of a rainy day. I've always been a pluviophile. That's what I've discovered. 






Rainy days still evoke a sense of nostalgia. When a siren sounds in the rain I am reminded of all the feelings. Feeling unsettled, then safe. Uncertain, then comforted. 

Sirens signify danger. Rain is healing. Soothing. 

When the rains falls, the sirens fade. 

I remember it will rain again. Soon.  


Do you feel nostalgic when it rains?

What do you remember? 

Saturday, 30 September 2017

An Enemy Named Agnes

Today I was determined to move my body. Thirty minutes into my workout, my arch nemesis arrives. Agnes taps on my shoulder, snarling. I call her that only because it's a name that starts with an A and ends with an S (although Y would work here too). And it's not one of my favourite names, to be honest. Apologies to any Agnes's out there. I'm sure you're lovely.

My Agnes isn't. I don't really like her at all, but I've more or less accepted her presence in my life. I knew she'd turn up.

For the past week I've marvelled at my equilibrium. It felt so good not to have Agnes around. But she's a sneaky one. It's like she just has to remind you of her evil existence.





"Don't get too contented!" she will snap. I never try to reason with Agnes these days. I just wait her out. Eventually she lopes away, tail between her legs.

I was able to get on with my day. Later, I turned on the television (apparently I'm a masochist - daytime TV SUCKS), to be greeted with the news that actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus has been diagnosed with breast cancer. My heart sank.

Recently I received the all clear for the second year, which is a huge relief. But whenever these things happen - Olivia Newton John's recent recurrence after 25 years, for example - I am reminded of all the uncertainty I am left with.

No matter how many years go by with the all clear I can never truly be at ease and think I am untouchable and immune. Of course Agnes simply loves to crow about this.

I remind myself that my cancer was found 'early'. But then I wonder... Is the whole 'early detection' thing somewhat flawed? I say this because it was completely random that mine was found when it was. I went to the doctor for another reason (my smear), and luckily my GP is very thorough so she always does a breast exam as well. But what if my smear hadn't been due then, or I put it off the way so many women do? 

How long would it have taken for me to notice there were any changes, that I had a lump? By the time I did notice I'm sure it wouldn't have been 'early'. I am just not sure that 'early detection' is as easy and straight forward as we think. 

Having said that, I urge every one of you to have a good look and feel of your girls. At the moment it seems that early detection is all we've got until a cure is found. 

Meanwhile, I am doing my best to stay in the present moment and tell myself I am OK. I am a survivor. That I was lucky in an odd sort of way. 

No matter what Agnes thinks. 

Do you have a visitor like Agnes? 

Do you have your regular check-ups? Do it! 

Monday, 18 September 2017

Taking Stock - September Edition



Making: You know what? I don't really make things, unless you count breakfast, lunch and dinner. And even then it's often toast. 

Cooking: Dinner. See above. What exciting and delectable delights have I concocted of late? Um. Yeah, just the toast thing. 

Drinking: My usual cups of tea. Sometimes I mix it up and have coffee. But mostly tea. Also GALLONS of water because I'm just getting over a cold. 

Reading: Just finished a novel I borrowed from the library called Beside Myself by Ann Morgan. It was SO GOOD. Now I'm having trouble letting it go and moving on to another book. What am gonna DO??? *starts reading ten other books* 






Trawling: Through all the mess and dust and cobwebs. Related: I began cleaning the other day and thought I was making good progress until I paused to put on my glasses so I could actually see properly. Big mistake. 

Wanting: New clothes. I hate all my clothes. 

Looking: Mournfully into my wardrobe and sighing. See above. 







Deciding: I don't know anything about everything in the whole entire world ever. Also, I can't make decisions. So, I can't decide what I'm deciding. I've decided.

Wishing: That I could afford an entire wardrobe of new clothes. Because I hate my clothes. Did I mention that? 

Enjoying: Oh! I actually started bullet journaling and I'm ENJOYING it. I suspected it'd be more like bullshit journaling to scatty old me. But blow me down and woosh me all the way back to ancient Egypt if I didn't surprise myself by liking it. I mean, I'm still a hot mess, but I have a pretty book and pens with lists and symbols and shit in it, so that's something. 

Waiting: For the wheels to fall off  my bullet journal experiment. Metaphorically speaking. It doesn't actually have wheels. 

Liking: Bullet-journaling! See above. 

Wondering: The first thing that came to mind was the Wombles theme song... I wondered how it went. Haven't heard it for YEARS. I thought it said something about wondering wombles or wombles are wondering... Or something. Anyway, I was wrong. But at least I get the important issues resolved. You're welcome. 







Loving: The sunshiney spring weather. I want it to linger before the seventh circle of hell that is summer arrives. 

Pondering: How long it will take to get the Wombles theme song out of my head... 

Listening: To the voices in my head. It's chatty up there. Too bad that never translates to real life situations. Oh,well. Meh. 

Considering: Having a go at NaNoWriMoStarting a strenght-training routine like I did YEARS ago. Doing yoga (also been years...) . Meditating. Failing yet another attempt at becoming veggo. Just considering all this, mind you. Probably never do any of it. Except the failing thing. I can manage that. 

Buying: I totally SPLURGED the other day and bought a two dollar shirt and journal in KMart. I know! What am I like? SO frivolous. 

Watching: Ummm. Offspring (finished now). The Wrong Girl and Pulse. Also, SBS Insight... And other random shit. 

Hoping: That we might be able to go on one of our glamorous holidays some time in the future. Denman, here we come! Don't ask...

Marvelling: At the juxtaposition of how complicated yet boring as batshit life can be. 

Cringing: At my weight that is creeping up and up and up.... eeeeek...

Needing: To lose weight. Sigh.

Questioning: Why I can't just buy all the clothes. I REALLY hate my clothes.

Smelling: My signature dish: Toast.


Wearing: Revolting clothes that I HATE. Also, more clothes that I hate. And then I have to wear clothes that utterly repulse me. Yeah. Cause I hate my clothes. 

Noticing: I'm pretty sure I hate my clothes. 

Knowing: Yep. HATE. MY. CLOTHES. 

Thinking: About all the clothes I would buy, but then I'd probably just hate them too.

Admiring: Other people's clothes. 


Getting: Well, I'm certainly not getting any clothes. Sniff. 


Disliking: Do I really have to answer that? Okay, then. Books with dumb or disappointing endings. There! Tricked you! You thought I was I gonna say my clothes! So ner.

Opening: Books. I still love a good old-fashioned paper book.

Closing: My wardrobe doors. It's too utterly devastating and soul-destroying to look at the ATROCITIES in there. Now would be a good time to Konmari the f@*k out of my wardrobe. None of my clothes 'spark joy'. But then I would have to walk about naked and nobody wants that. 


Feeling: Fat. Also, like I want to eat all the chocolate. Is it possible the two are related? Hmmmm...

Celebrating: My yearly mammogram results were ALL GOOD! WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!


Pretending: That the washing up will do itself if I wait long enough. I don't think it's gonna work. Sigh. 

Embracing: Bullet-journaling, clothes-hating. My children. Well, Mr 8 - the other boys are less huggy these days. It happens.

Done! That's my stock-taking for September.

What are you celebrating in the month of September? 

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Problems Or Opportunities?

Hello again, lovely people. Here I am on another rocking weekend. It's been a good week. On Monday I did some shopping. Tuesday involved a visit to my shrink (I can never spell the  correct word). Psychologist? Um. I think that's right... (And yes, unfortunately I am still demented, but we are working on it). Look, I 'll probably always be a little bit demented, but in a good way. I hope. But back to my week.

On Wednesday, I enjoyed some blissful alone time while Mickey Blue Eyes took the car to be serviced. And on Thursday I tagged along with my mum and her sewing buddies for a delightful lunch, because FOOD.

Meanwhile, Friday was spent cleaning, cleaning cleaning. Truly. Shut up, I do clean sometimes. Much to my disgust, as I sit here today there doesn't appear to be any evidence of this. Rude. It all just seems impossible... 

Which brings me to this lovely little prompt: 


"We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.” - Charles Swindoll


First of all, I had no idea who this Charles Swindoll chap is so I googled, as you do, and it turns out he's an evangelical christian pastor/preacher type dude. Which explains why I had not heard of him, being a total heathen and all. 

My initial reaction to the above quote was that it seemed like another trite take on the old nugget: when life gives you lemons turn them into lemonade. Not to mention the old 'everything happens for a reason' cliche that irritates the bejesus out of me. 

My first instinct is to roll my eyes and dismiss it as claptrap. Also, I just wanted to say claptrap. Because, CLAPTRAP.

The thing is, I truly am trying to be more positive. It occurs to me that I'm some sort of weird dichotomy of sweet but sarcastic. I make no sense. Hence, the demented shrink thing... But I digress. 

Since I am prone to over thinking, I mulled it over some more. Upon reflection I recalled a similar saying from the illustrious Dowager of Downton Abbey. Yes, she's a fictional character. Who cares. She still had some classic lines. Such as this:





Life is a series of problems which we must try and solve, first one and the the next, and then the next, until at last we die  - The Dowager Countess from Downton Abbey.

Yikes. 

Very comforting words indeed. Using 'comforting' in the sense of confronting and disconcerting. 

 It's quite true when you think about it. For me, things seem truly insurmountable when I  think I have to solve lots of things at once

Oddly enough, it seems to be a thing I do. I think I have to have everything in my life sorted by half past eight in the morning yesterday and have morphed into some sort of superwoman. As a result, this thing I have heard of called autistic inertia kicks in and I end up doing nothing at all. Sigh.

Even my shrink advised me to tackle things slowly, one at a time, instead of doing too much at once. Or nothing at all, as the case often is. See above. 

So I just have to remember that problems can be opportunities. And tackle them slowly, one at a time. 

As I face all these problems opportunities I will imagine the Dowager's piercing stare and direct words. And just get on with it. 

What about you?

 Do you see problems as opportunities? 

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Alone Together


Hello! How are you? All well and bursting with vitality and joie de vivre? I certainly hope so. I am not. Presently I appear to be suffering from Mum Flu. You know the one. It's like Man Flu except no one gives a shit. Yep. That's the one.

Despite this, I figured it was about time I made a guest appearance on my own blog. As is my usual fashion, I have started posts numerous times only to trail off unable to articulate what I wanted to say. It's always unpleasant when this happens. I usually express myself better through writing. But anyway, here I am. Even clunky words are better than none. At least that's what I'm telling myself. Draw your own conclusions.




Apart from the ghastly old Mum flu phenomenon I also have blue screen of death issues. Yes, it is with great sorrow that I announce the tragic passing of my trusty laptop. I thought I  may be able to revive it. In vain, I tried for hours to find a solution. Sadly, it now won't even switch on. With that goes the laptop and my promising career in IT. Snorts.

So here I am using an ancient dodgy laptop that only works while plugged in. Nice. Problem solving, people. That's what creativity is. I'm nothing if creative. Or something...

Anyway, I wanted to chime in on last weeks Friday Reflections prompt before it's too late: Alone,Together.

An odd coincidence occurred. When I sat down to write my thoughts about this I flipped open one of my many paper journals/notebooks to find an old entry from July. This is what I had written:

It's a really mellow time of the afternoon. A sort of peaceful vibe has descended over the day. It's lovely. There are sounds of distant birds and cars, but they're a pleasing murmur. Everyone is in their own world. It's good to slow down. I wonder when exactly is it considered to be dusk? Or twilight? I need to turn the light on, but I don't want to get up and break the mood. I quite like sitting here while the gentle darkness tiptoes in around me. I am savouring the relative calmness I feel in the moment. Whenever I am in another horrible moment I can remind myself that moments like this exist as well. There are not enough places here in this house for all of us to be alone. Alone, together. I like that. 

Okay, so that wasn't particularly riveting upon reading it again. But my point is, I quite like the alone, together thing. I suspect many folk would view this as a negative thing. I don't. We are a very introverted family. In fact, I reckon, 'alone, together' could be our motto. In my opinion, alone time is essential to re-charge. Solitude is soothing and necessary for equilibrium. It doesn't mean we're not a family, a team, a united front. We are.





Alone doesn't necessarily mean lonely, to my way of thinking. I've experienced loneliness as a teenager and that is a very different thing. I certainly wouldn't want to be lonely again. I do want to be alone quite frequently.


Luckily, I am enjoying this very thing as I type this. I'm loving the peace and quiet. Later, I will welcome the noise and togetherness of my family but for now I enjoy the tranquillity... Of course I also have lots of stuff to do. But it's nice to it without interruptions. 


In other exciting developments, I have begun bullet journaling. I had heard of it before, but didn't expect it to work for a scatter-brain like me. However, I really like it. Plus, I have so many  notebooks to use up, so why not? Speaking of excitement, I also managed to make it to the library last week after my shrink appointment. Yes, I am still as cutting edge as ever. Some things never change.

Before I go, it's also the one year birthday of  Denyse Whelan's Life This Week link-up.  I am a little late to the party, but better late than never! So congratulations and thanks to Denyse. I like to link up whenever I can and the prompts are helpful as well. In future I will endeavour to be less erratic and join in more often. And now we all get CAKE! Am I right? 


Okay, just a short and sweet one. Gotta go. Things to do. Lists to tick. Serenity to saviour. 

Seeya! 


Monday, 21 August 2017

The Subject Of Selfies


Reasons I rarely take selfies: 




  • I have a dinosaur phone with a flip case. Apparently it's a 'mum' thing. I thought it was just a broke economical thing. Silly me. 
  • I AM a dinosaur. Consequently I can't take a decent photo to save my life. And I use idiotic expressions like 'can't take a photo to save my life'.
  • Duck face selfies are stupid. Related: they should be called cat's bum selfies instead. See above.
  • I don't like my double chin. Okay, chins.
  • I have no idea where I put my selfie stick... Hmmmm....
  • My house is quite...shall we say... lived in... Nobody needs to see that.
  • My life revolves around trips to Aldi and the doctor. Riveting. These occasions don't exactly strike me selfie opportunities.
  • My fashion style is basically described as 'whatever still fits'. So, yeah. Nothing to show there.
  • I'm told I can be quite negative. Pffft. Can't imagine why. So I don't really get into the whole hashtag blessed etc phenomenon.



Reasons I probably could (I won't say should) take selfies sometimes:





  • Nobody cares about my double chins besides me, and if they do, screw them.
  • My children might actually want to remember me one day, despite their current vehement antipathy to featuring in any photos with me on social media.
  • If I ever become a missing person or a murder victim, the authorities will have to use a dated image of me, such as the one of my bald noggin when I had chemo. On the plus side, I was assured that I have a lovely shaped head. Related: I may have been listening to too many true crime podcasts...
  • Last time I posted a selfie on Facey I had several people comment on how GORGEOUS I am. They were probably just blowing smoke up my arse, but I don't get many compliments, so I'll take it.
  • Taking a selfie, however bad, might be a good distraction when I'm feeling wobbly (ie anxious) when out and about.
  • Who says you have to be good at everything you do? Just do it anyway. Perfect is boring. I'd never do anything if I had that attitude. Oh wait...
  • I recently had a haircut and I have finally lost the frizz! It's now just wavy but not frizzy. Okay, that's not that exciting to anyone else but me. I can finally get a brush through it again! YAY! 




So I should probably end this with a selfie, but I'm wearing an alluring combo of track suit pants and a purple Best & Lest jumper that's seen better days. Actually, I lie. It never had better days. It was always hideous. I think your mental picture should be sufficient. You're welcome.

But I will 'get in the picture' at some point...

Over and out.

Do you take selfies? What is the best way to disguise double chins? 

Monday, 14 August 2017

Ideal Meal


 Greetings!

Here I am again. Back to talk about one of my favourite topics: FOOD!

So what is my ideal meal, you ask? 

These days, my ideal meal would have to be almost anything I don't have to cook. It's frightfully rude how I am expected to do so every single night. HMPH.





But since I like to eat every day, I do get on with it and manage to produce something vaguely edible. They're not necessarily 'ideal' or 'favourite' meals, but they're good enough. 

My actual favourites would have to be anything cooked by my mum. Especially her roasts and desserts, including her infamous apple pie.

Other than that, I do enjoy a good lobster mornay. However, I never cook it, because I'm quite terrible at making things like mornay sauce. Consequently I haven't had this delicacy in YEARS.

I find such meals are best enjoyed with a good bottle of wine. Also; dessert afterwards. There's always room for dessert! 




There I am, above. enjoying some lobster mornay with a glass of wine. It was such a long time ago I do not remember where this photo was taken. I suspect in was way back in the grand and glorious pre-children days. It seems like a parallel universe now. We actually went on nice relaxing holidays and ate at lovely restaurants that didn't serve chicken nuggets. Those were the days. Sigh.

Of course, I couldn't get through this post without mentioning my beloved cakies. They may not be considered a meal exactly, but as I mentioned above, there's always room for dessert.

On the other hand, if I want to have cake for breakfast, why not? Yep, I am literally one of those disgusting people who could seriously eat cake for breakfast. No surprise that I struggle with my weight and cholesterol levels. Oops. 

I mean, I don't eat cake for breakfast. Well, most of the time I don't...  But I could.  Well, what is the difference between having cake or pancakes or waffles? They're all so so bad and so so GOOD. If you know what I mean. 

So there you are. Just a short and sweet serving from me, because my brain seems to not be working and I can't get the words right. 

Conclusion:  My ideal meal would involve a roast or lobster mornay and cakies. When you say that all together in one sentence, it confirms what I already suspected: I am gross and disgusting. 

Over and out. 

What about you?

Are you gross and disgusting?


Uh I mean, what is your ideal meal? 

Monday, 7 August 2017

About Being The Baby (With Bonus Dilly Dallying)

Hello again, dear and delightful people. Okay, person. There must be at least one person reading out there. I hope...

 And I can say you're delightful because you're inside the computer. This makes it SO much easier. I don't even have to get dressed, although I am. Badly. See? Easier all round. I can wear awful clothes and your eyeballs are spared that atrocity. 

Anyway, on with the show. Or the blog post. You know what I mean... 

This popped up in my Facebook memories this morning:




It made me realise that I am quite fond of a bit of dilly dallying. I do it here all the time, popping in and out at my fancy.  Nothing wrong with that, right?

But I'm here now, so let's get on with it. I'm wondering if my propensity towards dilly dallying has anything to do with my birth order? I was the baby of the family. I have one older brother.

The first thing I discover when I google birth order is, the stereo-type for the 'baby' of the family is being a free spirit, a risk taker and charming. Well yes, I am quite charming in my own way. Aren't I?

But as for the other two - forgeddaboutit! I am definitely not a risk taker, at any rate.

Meanwhile, I did go on to have three children of my own, despite being a hard core introvert. Hmmmm, maybe I AM a risk taker? 

Anyway, what I was going to say was,  I didn't really think 'middle child syndrome' was  a thing until I had three children.  All I am going to tactfully say is, my middle child and my youngest have an interesting relationship. It could certainly be described as love/hate at times. It can be quite difficult and complicated to navigate as a parent. 

I remember watching The Brady Bunch as a kid. It was always Jan and Peter, the middle siblings, who seemed to be having a permanent identity crisis.  The Brady Bunch is a totally credible, realistic and cutting edge show to use as a reference. Or something. Okay, maybe not. But I just like to bring up a random daggy pop culture reference, because that's how I roll. Deal with it. 

Incidentally, my 'baby', aka Mr 8, is off on his first ever overnight camp tonight. I did find myself becoming considerably more anxious about this fact than I remember being for the other two. Are we inclined to be more over protective towards the youngest child? On the other hand, there is also the theory that by the time you get to number three you're much more... ahem...relaxed...





Thinking about it, I guess it would have been interesting for me had my parents decided to have more children. That would have made me the middle child.  Evidently my mum was firm in her decision to only have two children, so I stayed the 'baby'. To this day I am still a mummy's (and daddy's) girl. I am not sure how much of this is due to my birth order or my personality. I've always been shy, quiet and introverted. And, as it turned out, autistic. But I didn't know about the latter growing up.

Oh! Random segue: I suddenly recalled a funny incident when we brought my second born son home from the hospital. His brother, then Mr 3, suggested to me that we could put him in the bin and the garbage truck would come and get him! So there was definitely a bit of jealousy going on at the beginning. They're good buddies now, thankfully.

And I think that is all I have to say about birth order. The conclusion: I have no idea. But this 'baby' still likes dilly dallying. I'm off to do so right now. 

What about you?

What is your birth order? Do you think it effects your personality?


Are you a middle child? Or a dilly dallyer? 


Have I asked enough pointless questions? Should I throw in one more? 


Someone make me stop asking questions...





Monday, 24 July 2017

I Can't Live Without...


Hey. It's me. Yep, I'm still here. 

I haven't felt like checking in here recently. To be honest, I'm struggling yet again with the wobbles and I don't want to bore everyone with it. Nothing dramatic has happened. It just sneaks up on me now again, because it's pesky like that. Anyway, as I said...it's frightfully tedious...yawwwwn.... 

Oh yeah, and it's also been confirmed via a blood test that I am indeed menopausal. So I guess it's understandable that my moods might be a bit all over the place. Sigh. 

I am doing all the things I need to do to get some equilibrium back. Seeing a shrink, exercise, medication. Blah blah blah... But it all takes time.  And I will get there eventually. So I might pop in and out of this space if and when I feel like it. I'm just trying to not give myself too many things to think about at the moment. 




So in order to keep it simple, here's a quick and to the point list of the things I cannot live without: 

1. Oxygen.
2. Water.
3. Food.
4. CAKIES!
5. Chocolate.
6. Tea.
7. Books.
8. Music.
9. Peace and quiet/solitude.
10. Oh yeah, my family are pretty great, too. 
11. Exercise. 
12. Writing. 

Yep, I'm doing my usual Captain Obvious with numbers 1, 2 and 3. Or perhaps it's the 'literal interpretation' thing that us ASD folk are supposed to be known for...

Also, technically numbers 4 and 5 fall into the same category as number 3, but whatever.  I COULD live without 4 and 5, but I don't want to! I basically have the maturity of a three year old. I want my cake/chocolate and I want it NOW.  

And as far as number 11 and 12 go, I am definitely inclined to be lazy and avoid those things.  But when I DO do them, I really do feel better. So they are staying on my list.  And that is final. 

Okay, I'm done here for now. 

What about you? 

What can't you live without? 


Monday, 3 July 2017

Taking Stock - July Edition



Making: A mess. I'm so skilled at this. It's a gift, I tell you! 

Cooking: My signature dish. It's called: Whatever's In The Fridge. Or my other gourmet creation, imaginatively titled: Eat It And Shut Up. 

Drinking: Waaaaaaaay too much tea. A little coffee and wine. And some water. Boiled, with a teabag and a dash of skim milk added... Okay, more tea. What can I tell you. It's a terrible addiction. 

Reading: I just finished reading a so-called romantic suspense novel. It was shit. Is it just me or does there seem to be this cliche in thrillers where the killer always turns out to be the 'quiet/shy/introvert/awkward type? Shits me to tears. Most of us quiet folk can't handle any confrontation or raise our voices let alone kill some one. Lift your game, thriller authors!  

Trawling: Drawers and washing baskets looking for that most elusive of things known to humankind: matching socks. WHERE do all the odd socks go? Related: my feet are FREEZING. 

Wanting: A cure for cancer. Also; anxiety. A magic diet pill, a jumbo sized bottle of wine with a funnel, warm feet (see above), a good lie down, a kick up the bum and approximately seven million dollars in crisp one hundred dollar bills. Not to much to ask, is it? 

Looking: For inventive ways to stay warm. And sane. Any suggestions?

Deciding: Whether to have yet another cup of tea. Pfffft. The decision (meaning the actual cup of tea...) was already made. 

Wishing: That all the good and groovy folk didn't have to suffer while ass holes walk around unscathed.

Enjoying: Reading, cups of tea, cuddles with Mr 8, snuggling in bed with the electric blanket on a frosty winter's evening. You know, all the simple little pleasures in life.

Waiting: Tragically, I am often waiting for pesky old anxiety to pass. But it ALWAYS does. That is the key thing to remember. 

Liking: The fact that I seem to be getting into regular exercise again... But I'm almost too scared to say it, because every time I publicly announce these things I fail spectacularly. So I had better shut up.  Shhhhh, don't tell anyone! 

Wondering: Why it is so incredibly difficult for me to warm my feet in winter. Everyone always tells me it's 'easy' to get warm in winter. Meanwhile, my feet are blocks of ice.  With thick socks and ugg boots on sitting in front of a heater. Gah.

Loving: That's it's school holidays. Sleep-ins FTW! I'm sure this will change very quickly by the week's end.

Pondering: This and that. 

Listening: To the hum of the heater and a car in the distance.

Considering: Things that I am not going to announce here because... Well, see: Liking. Nuff said. 

Buying: Lots of groceries and food. Does winter make everyone want to eat and eat and EAT ALL THE HOT FOOD? Yep, me too. Same as every other season, really. 

Watching: I began watching reruns of Mad About You, just for something mindless to do while I'm folding washing. Anyway, there was episode the other day when it was NYE in 1996. And I suddenly realised, that is TWENTY-ONE years ago! Jebeez, I feel ancient. 

Hoping: That my upcoming mammogram in August will be all clear again for the second year. Fingers, toes, legs, arms, eyeballs crossed! 

Marvelling: At how time flies, and at my beautiful family.

Cringing: At the thought of having my tits crushed again. I can deal with the pain, but waiting for the results is very anxiety-provoking. 

Needing: See: Wanting. They're not just wants, they're NEEDS, I tell you!


Questioning: Life, The Universe and Everything. Also; what can I eat next?

Smelling:  My dinner. Pie, mash and peas. Total comfort food. I don't even care. It was GOOD. 


Wearing: I am certainly NOT wearing my pyjamas. Nope. No way. Oh shut up, it's COLD! 

Noticing: That my unpleasant little 'friend' (aka anxiety) has snuck up on me again. 

Knowing: The unpleasant 'friend' will be shown the door very soon. 

Thinking: About what book to read next.

Admiring: Anyone who is battling anxiety. You're a bloody legend. 





Getting: Cold. Fat. Old. I won't be cold forever, though. Shame about the other two...


Bookmarking: Nothing!

Disliking: That all the good and groovy people suffer. See:Wishing

Opening: Books. I still love a good old-fashioned paper book.

Closing: Drawers and cupboards so I can't see the mess and my epic failure to embrace the Konmari method. 


Feeling: At the moment, I feel kinda neutral and even. I like that. Wish I could bottle certain feelings and banish others for good. 

Hearing: Hang on, didn't I already answer this?

Celebrating: We have several birthdays coming up. Mr 15 becomes Mr 16 (yikes!) in 7 days, then it's my Mum's birthday on the 26th. And in August, it's Mickey Blue Eyes's turn. Yay! CAKE! 


Pretending: That I'm a mature, sensible adult. Yeah, nobody's fooled, least of all me. 

Embracing: Electric blankets, track suit pants and fleecy pyjamas as day wear. I have drawn the line at wearing them to go shopping, though it's tempting... Especially because nothing much fits me right now. Oops. 


Done! That's my stock-taking for the month of July!


What are you celebrating in the month of July?