Showing posts with label Friday Reflections. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Friday Reflections. Show all posts

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?


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! 

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! 


Saturday, 1 July 2017

Magical Moments

There are certain magical moments in life you wish you could capture and bottle forever. Then, when you're in other less magical moments you could open that bottle up and sprinkle some of that magical fairy dust stuff.





Thinking about it, there are probably several such moments for me. The one that immediately comes to mind is the day I found out I was pregnant with Mr (almost) 16. Words cannot describe the sheer joy.

I've blogged about it a little before here.

After five years of trying to conceive, I was certain that it would never happen. That was a crazy happy ecstatic and joyous feeling. Unbelievably awesome. You rarely have such moments of absolute elation in life.

When I finally understood that I was, in fact, pregnant, I was laughing and crying at the same time. It was unbridled and I couldn't control it. They were tears of pure joy. 

It certainly makes me all warm and fuzzy remembering that moment. Imagine, just imagine, being able to capture it forever. I don't have any photos of that particular day. I can't even remember if I have the ultrasound scans, though I must have them somewhere. The feeling of that day is something I've never forgotten.

I  always joke how it was better than winning the lottery, but at the same time. I've never actually won the lotto, so I would like to arrange that. You know, just so I can know for sure!



But you know what? There are other magical moments. But I don't distinctly remember them. They were unmemorable and ordinary. I felt neither panicked nor euphoric. There was nothing special or remarkable about them in any way. Just ordinary moments in an ordinary day. Forgettable for their very ordinariness. Do you know what I mean? Those even moments of equilibrium. I really wish I could bottle those. I could take them out as a balm when I'm anxious, stressed or worried. When I feel despondent, dejected, dreary and just plain in the doldrums, there would be my trusty bottle of equilibrium.

There are certain other feelings and/or moments that I can recall. Such as:

  • The buzz of endorphins that kick in after exercising.

  • Taking off and touching down in a plane for the first time when I went overseas to Holland with my parents in 1981.

  • The time Mickey Blue Eyes, the boys and I went to Magnetic Island. It was SO spectacularly beautiful that you could imagine you were literally in paradise. 

  • The feeling of freedom when you left school on the last day of term as a child (a slightly different feeling as a parent!). 

  • Hearing Carpenters music for the first time. 

  • Driving off for the first time by myself. Especially because I was a very late starter here. Never thought it would ever happen! 

  • Belly laughs with my boys

  • Moments in my boys development and growing up. First words and steps etc. (I do have some photos of these times to remember. So that's something).


I'm sure I could think of many more magical moments, but I'll wait and see. I'm hoping there's more to come, even without the bottle of magical moments fairy dust. In the meantime, I'll just take balanced and ordinary old equilibrium. And maybe a lottery ticket or two...

Linking up for Friday Reflections with the prompt:

Write about a moment in life you wish you could freeze and preserve. 

What about you?

What moment do you wish you could bottle and capture forever? .

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Something About Selfies

For some one who can be terribly self absorbed, I am certainly not into the whole selfie phenomenon. I suspect it's partly because I'm shy and an introvert, but mainly I'm just a lazy technophobe with a dodgy old phone. I have no idea how to disguise double chins and add filters. Shrugs.

I don't really understand the whole get your boobs out on the internet and no make up selfies lauded as 'brave'. I must be extremely brave if that's the case... (Almost) no make up is my normal way of life these days.

Anyway, I've managed to take a few over the last year or two, even when I was going through cancer treatment. My bald noggin scared off one or two people. I lost a couple of 'likes' after posting it. But as the saying goes: it's like the trash took itself out.

Apparently it was National Selfie Day the other day. I didn't even know that was a thing. Thinking about it, my boys appear to not be into selfies either. It would appear we are a very introverted family.

The other thing is, I kind of have resting bitch face. Or something. I don't have much expression even when I feel really happy.

Having said all of that, I suppose I do take in interest in other folks selfies on social media. It's always nice to see someone else's smiling face, but  not so much my own resting bitch face (which will henceforth be known as RBF). 

I know I should take more selfies, it doesn't matter what I look like. Double chins, wrinkles, RBF, the whole shebang. Otherwise my funeral will rock around (hopefully many years from now!) and there will only be ancient photos from years ago available for my kids to remember me. 

My mum actually bought me a selfie stick some time ago and I never used it. Come to think of it, I'm not even sure where I put it. Weird. Hmmmm, where is that thing...

Anyway, a quick perusal of my Facebook photos shows me that my selfies have revolved around the sad saga of my hair. My tresses appear to have had an entire life of their own. See below.



THE TRAGIC TALE OF NESS'S TRESSES IN SELFIES


Me with 'normal' hair a few years ago.


Me when I decided to become a Hare Krishna.
Just kidding! Me during chemo last year.

Me being smokin' hawt in a beanie. Also during
chemo last year.


My Nanna Ness look when my hair started to
grow back. 


And finally...

Me a few weeks ago.


Now you can see why I'm not into selfies. They're all blurry and just ghastly and frightfully horrid and all those other expressions out of Enid Blyton books.

Any tips on how to make them less blurry when you have a crap phone? Plus, how do you hide double chins and add filters? Oh, that's right... I could just google that myself. Oops. Will do. As you were.

What are your thoughts about selfies?

Do you celebrate National Selfie Day?

Friday, 16 June 2017

Overrated Books

It's never been any secret that books are one of my most favourite things in the whole wide world. As far as I'm concerned, you can never have too many books. Also, it's not hoarding if it's books. Because I say so. And that settles the matter. 

Ever since I was a child I always had a book permanently attached to my hand. Shame it's now often a phone... but that's another story...

Even so, there are certain books that failed to enthral me. It's even more puzzling when they're books or authors that are so beloved and popular. It leaves you wondering if there was something you missed. Is it possible that you read the same book as others? It's a very curious thing. Let me assure you, I am the furthest thing from a reading snob. Read what you like, I say. If it's some sort of  Game Of  Thrones fan fiction, who am I to judge?

I've gone from a passionate love of Enid Blyton (who probably seems unhinged and secretly racist to today's kidlets), to the completely stupid Sweet Valley High series as a teen. Then onto reading Mills and Boon romances, then a tonne of dubious 'chick lit' and implausible thrillers. My main purpose in reading is pure escapism. So there will never be any judgement from me. 

However, there have been a few books I just don't get. Without further ado, here are three books I consider to be overrated:


THE SLAP BY SOME DUDE WITH AN UNPRONOUNCEABLE NAME


Yeah, that dude. How do you pronounce it?

I read it last year because I'd heard good things about it. It sounded like an interesting premise: a group of friends at a suburban barbeque where an adult slaps another person's child. 

To be honest, the only part of the book I enjoyed was the description of the food at the barbeque. Which probably says a lot about me... Ahem...

It seemed to me that every single character in this book was thoroughly unlikable.  Maybe I'm too much of a Pollyanna or something, but I need to feel like I actually like at least one character to care about what happens to them at the end of the novel. 

Another thing that disturbed me was some of sex scenes. In one, a female character fantasises that she's being raped. What the...? I don't have a copy of the novel anymore to quote the scene, but it bothered me. Maybe some women like it rough, and good luck to them, but rape? Really? 

Also, I'm wondering if there is really quite so much drug taking among the Australian middle classes? It seemed like every character was into drugs.  I dunno, I guess I just live in a bubble... In Sydney's western suburbs surrounded by druggies and meth labs... Yet I've never taken an illegal drug in my entire life. Go figure. 

Anyway, I'm sure this Christos dude doesn't care what I think. He's too busy winning literary awards and writing his next best-selling, critically acclaimed masterpiece, while I'm sitting here writing this crappy blog. Sniff. 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS BY EMILY BRONTE






Yes, you read that right. I am really going to call this classic of literature for nearly 200 years overrated.  Confession: I've never actually read the entire novel. I've tried several times during my life and I just couldn't do it. And I LOVE AND WORSHIP the Bronte sisters! Jane Eyre is one my favourite novels of all time. I could read it again and again. But not this. 

I know that Emily Bronte is considered to be some sort of incredible brooding genius; and she probably was. It's not her, it's me. For so many years I figured I had to force myself to read this, because it's such a classic. But you know what? NO. I just can't. Besides, I know what happens at end, anyway.

SPOILER ALERT: Heathcliff and Cathy die and their ghosts wander about the moors and haunt people, and then Kate Bush writes a song about it and dances about in a field or something.... Yeah, that. Overrated. Moving on. 


                            I recommend the Kate Bush song/video NOT the novel. 



ANYTHING BY JODI PICOULT




I thought I'd give this author a go because she is so incredibly popular. She's sold enough novels to fill the Atlantic ocean or the entire cosmos or the Sahara desert or... You get the picture. She's sold a shit tonne of novels. I guess people like her. I don't. The first time I tried to read one of her novels was many years ago. I picked up a novel called The Pact. It was about a suicide pact between two young people. However, I wasn't in a very good head space at the time, due to having lost a baby. Therefore, I decided that reading a book about suicide wasn't a good idea. Fast forward several years and I spotted another Jodi Picoult novel called Plain Truths on a sale table. I figured I'd give her another go.

As I vaguely recall, the plot centred around a hotshot lawyer, who somehow ends up defending an Amish girl, accused of murdering her newborn baby. Look, it was actually a good story, but it just went on and on and ON. By the middle of the novel I'd guessed the ending, anyway. So it just seemed superfluous to have hundreds more pages. I ended up skipping ahead to the ending, and my guess was right. Personally, I wouldn't bother reading any more Jodi Picoult novels, but as I mentioned, she is SO popular and famous. I guess it's just me. Shrugs.

A google search shows me that this novel was made into a TV film in 2004, starring Mariska Hargitay. It might be worth a watch, rather than wasting days or weeks on the plodding novel.
 




So there you have it. Three novels I thought were overrated.  Then of course there is 90 percent of the entire self-help, non-fiction genre...and anything with vampires... and the Fifty Shades series.. but I'll be here forever...  

What about you? Have you read any of the above novels? 

Which books do you think are overrated?

Friday, 9 June 2017

Mistakes

Greetings and salutations! Here we are again on another fabulous Friday! Which means it's time for Friday Reflections. 

I have to chosen to write a post for the prompt: write a post about making mistakes.This may be a mistake...  You decide. 




I make lots of little scatter brained mistakes on a daily basis. In fact, I came to the conclusion that I am some sort of hapless doddering Mrs Bean character long ago. Read it about here. It's funny to read about... Well, if I didn't laugh I'd cry...


Now it's time for a random list for no particular reason: 



LIST OF LITTLE MISTAKES I MAKE IN EVERYDAY LIFE





  • Putting the wrong clothes away in the wrong drawers.
  • Leaving the shopping list at home.
  • Forgetting to even write a list.
  • Writing a list, then leaving it at home.
  • Taking the list, but still forgetting to buy essential items written on it. 
  • Getting the dodgy trolley at the supermarket.
  • Choosing the slowest check out. 
  • Forgetting to replace the loo roll (I gather this is generally more of a dude thing, but I'm special...)
  • Buying/borrowing more books before I've read the ones I've got... No wait. This is NEVER a mistake! 
  • Forgetting the pizza that was in the oven... (on the plus side that means I burned a bazillion calories in just half an hour!  BOOM TISH) 
  • Picking up the wrong kind of schnitzels at the supermarket (the ones with corn instead of plain), an act of vile, callous and unforgivable EVIL as far as Mr 8 is concerned. 
  • Forgetting where I put my glasses/keys/phone five minutes ago....


You get the picture. This list could go on and on and ON. 

And that list hasn't even covered other past mistakes, such as my infamous mullet-perm of 1987, and the time I thought wearing shirts that looked like table cloths was attractive.  See below. What was I thinking? 




BIG MISTAKE


However, the biggest mistake I am currently making is this:

Not getting enough exercise. Followed closely by eating too much. OOPS. 

This in turn causes me to a) gain weight, and b) become more prone to anxiety.

This is also after choosing the word MOVE as my  one word for this year. Oh dear. 

So, yesterday I was at the shops and I had a big, wobbly, stupid, batshit crazy panic attack. Not fun. I haven't had one for ages, so it's very disconcerting when that bastard pops up. Well, it can go f#*k itself. I am making myself move again. I've always found exercise is one of the best strategies to combat it. 

As 'Anne' says, tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it.

Or you know, fresh with no CAKES in it.  Since my mistakes often seem to feature baked goods. Ahem.  




Now I am signing off, because I really and truly need to get up and MOVE. 

What mistakes do you make? Do you learn from them?

Friday, 2 June 2017

Ten Reasons I Love Tea

Greetings, Earthlings.  How are we all? Well? Happy it's Friday? Bursting with enthusiasm and joy? All of the above? Nice. I'm not. Sniff. 

Nah, I'm good. Just have a pesky old headache, that's all. Nothing a good cup of coffee and some ibuprofen won't fix. Which segues neatly into today's topic:

TEA! 


I know. I said coffee before, but I like to surprise you with twists and unexpected turns. Since my head is pounding, I'm taking the easy option with the lovely old list-post. Why not? 

Here are ten reasons I love tea:

1. Tea warms me up on a cold winter's day. 
2. Tea never talks. I can sip it in blissful silence. 
3. Tea comes in convenient bags, with or without strings. 




4. Tea is one of the simple pleasures in life which is supposedly good for you, due to its antioxidants or something. I'm far to lazy and headachey to do the proper research. Shut up. 
5. You can drink it in lovely, pretty, dainty cups with saucers and pretend you're a character on Downton Abbey. Just me? 
6. Tea is the perfect companion for CAKE. Unless you prefer coffee. That works, too. 
7. You can have it in a pot or a cup. There is something so comforting about pouring it from the pot into those dainty cups. See above. This time you can pretend you're one of the servants on Downton Abbey, fantasising about spilling the scalding liquid on snooty Lady Mary's frightfully expensive gown. Again, just me? 




8. Cup of tea + good book + rainy day = Perfection, with a capital P. It's the simple things in life, people. 
9. Tea fixes everything. Have you ever noticed how in the middle of a crisis or something emotionally draining, the first thing people do is pop the kettle on for a refreshing brew? Or is that just in those historical saga type novels I read from time to time...? 
10. Tea provides the illusion that I'm much less socially awkward than I am. I'll take my small talk with tea, thanks. At least that way, when I can't think of anything to say, I can sip away. Luckily, I am not prone to spilling hot drinks or this theory could go awry quite easily...

And there you have it.  The ten reasons I love tea. Oh, and I do like the taste of it. That helps, too!

What about you? 

Are you a coffee or tea person? 

Friday, 26 May 2017

Odd Numbers

Welcome to another wondrous blog post from yours truly.  Admit it, it's the highlight of your day every time you delight in my meandering musings. You're welcome!

Now, today I have chosen the topic of odd numbers. This may seem odd. It's meant to! As you know, I always like to be cutting edge. Forever tackling the big issues.  Apparently, there are some folk who simply CANNOT BEAR odd numbers.  You know who you are.  Sorry if this post upsets you. Look away, NOW!

For the rest of you. You're in for a treat. Or something...

This topic got me thinking. As in, over-thinking about pointless important stuff... because that's how I roll. It suddenly dawned on me. I was born on the 15th of January 1971. All odd numbers. Fifteen. One. Seventy-one. Maybe that explains why I'm odd? Cue weird creepy music in the background...




My mother is certain that I wasn't exactly ready to be born on that day. She believes they got her due date wrong. Anyway, she was induced and I reluctantly made my way into this crazy old world on that momentous day. So perhaps I CHOSE the fifteenth... Okay, I'm getting carried away now. I'm not one of these 'everything happens for reason' annoying hippy drippy types. 

There are several people in my family who have birthdays on the 15th of various months. Mine is on the 15th of January. My middle son is the 15th of March. One of my nephews is on the 15th of May and my Dad on the 15th of November. So I've come to the conclusion that only fabulous people are born on the 15th.

I found this interesting quote, allegedly by William Shakespeare.  Quotes on the internet are always legit, right? 



Interesting, because 13 is meant to be unlucky. I also found this article which explains all the complicated biblical reasons for this superstition. I am too much of a heathen to be bothered reading into all that. However, I noticed that there is a theory that if your name has 13 letters you're cursed. Stupidly, I found myself doing the mental calculation. Yep, Vanessa Connor has 13 letters.  Therefore I am thankful for the following facts: a) My full name is Vanessa FAYE Connor, and b) I am NOT superstitious AT ALL. Nope. No way. Gulps. 

Meanwhile, the house we live in is also an odd number. Mickey Blue Eyes was born on the 11th of August 1963. So, kinda sorta odd. We were married on the 11th of November 1995. Again; totally odd. Consequently, I would say that 11 has turned out to be another odd and meaningful number for me.

For the record, when I say odd, I mean quirky, offbeat and TOTALLY AWESOME not straaaaaaange ODD. Us? No way!

In other numerical news, Mickey Blue Eyes is spectacular when it comes to numbers. This is like having some sort of magical powers to me. That, and understanding maps. I'm hopeless. Forgeddaboudit. In fact, I will forget about it. I've forgotten every single useful thing I have ever learned in life. But I'm cute, am I not?

Some people use their 'special' numbers as their lotto numbers. This is what my parents do. And every now again they do win! Teensy amounts like 27 bucks 50.

I don't normally go in for this sort of thing, but I did some lazy googling comprehensive research into Numerology. This is what I discovered about the birth number 15:

With a 15 birth date number (the life path number of a numerology chart), it means the events and circumstances of the person's life tends to relate to home, health, harmony, nurturing, and beliefs.


As an overview, the numerology number 15 represents a composition containing the ideas of:

  • Family
  • Harmony
  • Exploration
  • Curiosity
  • Idealism

I must admit, this does sound somewhat like me, even though my basic conclusion is that numerology is a load of bollocks. Oh well, it's a fun and interesting load of bollocks, not unlike horoscopes

Anyways, I think I am done being odd. Snorts. As if...! 

After all, normal is overrated! 

Do any numbers have special meaning to you?

Do odd numbers bother you? 

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Messy Nessy

Hello again! I have finally madeit back to another Friday Reflections link up. I'm sure you've been beside yourselves missing me. What's that? You hadn't noticed I was gone? How rude. Sniff. Oh well, I'm back, anyway. I did expect trumpets, streamers and exclamations of joy to mark this momentous occasion. But you're right. A quiet and graceful return to the fold is much classier. Though I can't help thinkng, couldn't you even manage just ONE balloon? Some people.

Enough about that. Let's get on with it.

The prompt I have chosen is this:

 Are you messy or neat? What about your family/people you share your house with? Does it work well?

Here goes...

Have you ever looked around at your surroundings, the place you call home, your sanctuary, your precious abode and beamed with satisfaction and pride? Have you surveyed the gleaming surfaces and pristine rooms while a surge of sheer euphoria engulfed you at the blissful state of Konmari perfection you have created? Yes?

HMPH. Well, good for you. I'm sorry to say, I'm not sure we'd get along. For I am your worst nightmare.




There is no doubt about it. I'm a messy little minx.You can call me Messy Nessy if you want. I've been called worse things.

It's not that I don't TRY. Honestly, I do. No, TRULY!  Sometimes I try SO HARD. And the harder I try the more ridiculous it is.

It's a funny thing about me. Like a lot of things. I seem to be all or nothing. Either I am going batshit crazy and cleaning ALL THE THINGS like a possessed person, or I literally have less than zero interest. It's like trying to motivate myself to dress in a chicken suit and run down the street singing bah bah black  sheep at the tops of my lungs. The idea is absurd, repugnant and I just CAN'T EVEN.

Luckily, Mickey Blue Eyes and I are similar. We're both fairly messy and disorganised. Although, to be fair, he does do all the clothes washing. He washes and hangs it out it, while I have the unenviable task of folding and putting away. This seems to work for us. And we take turns doing the dishes by hand because we don't have a dishwasher. I know! What are we like?

Meanwhile, the boys are fairly typical of most teens/kids. Cleaning is not high on their list of priorities, but they will do it if we insist upon it. The only thing is, I have to admit I struggle to teach them to be something that I am not. How do you teach another person to be neat, tidy and well organised if you're not any of those things yourself? It's a tough one for me.

As I've mentioned before, I struggle with executive functioning due to my ASD. I have this weird dichotomy where my actual preference is for order and cleanliness but I am ABSOLUTELY HOPELESS at being the person who can create it. It's super frustrating and depressing at times. Sigh.

I've tried various techniques. Lists, online sites or apps such as Evernote and Todoist and read a tonne of books. I even attended a de-cluttering workshop which I talked about here.

For the record, I'm not a hoarder. My house doesn't resemble something off an episode of Hoarders: Buried Alive (books don't count!). Tables and lounges can be used for what they are intended for and there is no climbing over things. However, it's just not as neat and tidy as I would like. Sigh.

 After attending the above workshop, I did come to the conclusion that I'm doing reasonably okay for someone who has ASD (officially diagnosed) and ADD (self-diagnosed). So I guess I've kinda sorta made my peace with it. But not really. It does upset me. I often wish I was one of those organised, meticulous people who have towels that match and spotless white furniture and fittings.

It's just not going to happen. Sorry, Mickey Blue Eyes! Sorry, Mum!

On the plus side, there is indisputable evidence that messy people are, in fact, geniuses.
Articles on the internet are concrete evidence, right?As Einstein was alleged to have stated: If a cluttered desk a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?





So there you have it. I'm a messy monster and not a neat freak. Messy Nessy. But I'm also a GENIUS. Though why a genius can't figure out stuff that is basically menial tasks is curious...

HMPH. Details!

Right, I'm off to be all genius-like and, erm...make mess. Or something.

What about you?

Are you a genius/messy monster or a neat freak?