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Friday, November 2, 2018

Library Love

I knew today would be hard. My Mum heading home after a week of school holidays, the kids back to their Dad's and this house, quiet again. I've been dreading it.
I see my daughter with a huge smile on her face walk up to her Dad and wrap herself around him. It is a beautiful thing and so of course I am barely out the driveway before the tears course down my face. I'm ready to wallow in the lap of my own self pity...and fortunately I did plan ahead.
Black Betty is charged so she brings some welcome relief. I fall asleep to my mindfulness meditation but not before I take note of my vanishing thoughts. I awaken twenty minutes later, groggy but with purpose. To the library.
I return my overdues so I can finally borrow again and I begin my drift. Through the new releases, the recommended, the favourites. I stroll through the non fiction, become emerged in the first chapter of someone I've never heard ofs autobiography. I lose myself, my head, my loneliness as I wonder, distracted by all the stories, all the information, the quiet buzz of this special place.
I save the best till last, late afternoon at least. Donning my hiking boots and black lycra I tread the paths of Anula, music loud in my ears, shoulders back, enjoy it. I come home, slightly buzzy on the afterglow of my walking high, potter in the garden (move sprinkler around, water plants, pick up three fronds - hard core stuff) then decide a self care evening is in order. I have a single Valium left from a recent flight and it is time we connected.
I allow myself to dive into the deep of the peace, the fluffy cloud of the Big V. I slow down, my mind, body, every movement more mindful, natural. I feel like Harry Potter on Felix Felicis, not quite Lady Luck but safe in the knowing that all is as it should be. Follow what feels right. Write. Sing. Be Kind. Love.
Not too bad a day at all.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Family

For Mum's 70th we had a couple of exciting things planned. A trip to TKMaxx the department store of quality goods reduced to cheap prices where I purchased an eight dollar spatula. It has a sturdy wooden handle and a shiny silver flipping bit and is a delightful addition to my second drawer down.

We got to the Bootleg Beatles at the Crown Casino, after eating delicious food in the French Bistro and watching my big brother tip the chef fifty dollars. I preferred the waitress, French accented and caring and the bringer of such delicious food to us waiting with love. I'm about eighty percent sure the man at the table next to us was the singer in a cover band whom I slept with 20 years ago but he's older and fatter and so am I so neither of us say anything. I think about mentioning it to Mum and Biz but don't. God love me.

We are in the younger spectrum of the crowd at the Bootleg Beatles but there is a lovely sense of anticipation in the air rendering everyone at least ten years younger. The band walks out on stage - Ringo, John, George and Paul, looking just as they did in the early sixties. They play well, sound great - similar to the real thing and banter in lovely Liverpoolian accents between songs.
There is a guy bouncing up and down on his seat - it's delightful to watch and I think some of us wish we could join in. At the halfway point we gather outside around a heater and an impromptu rendition of Hey Jude starts up with a glorious Na, Na, Na, NaNaNaNa chorus line. There is a happy buzz in the air.

Mums actual birthday is on Sunday and we are booked in for lunch at Heston Blumenthal's Restaurant. It's a five course set menu and is extravagant and incredible and way beyond anything I'm ever likely to experience again. My big brother Biz paid for the entire lunch, he is a generous and kind man and as I get older more and more I love his company, the comfort of him. Sadly my joke about the Gentleman's Relish on the entrée wasn't appreciated to it's full capacity but I may have been one glass of bubbles in by then.

My Mum has taught us, mostly by example, what it is to be kind. To think she is 70, wiser and more beautiful as the days pass. I am proud to be her daughter, happy to have known her kindness, her care, her love. Happy to know they live on in us, her children.
It's a lovely weekend, despite my feeling like the poor cousin from the south. The only meal I pay for is our Uber Eats on the Friday night - it's the least and the best I can do. I don't envision ever having much money again, feel nervous when we speak of upcoming holidays knowing that I need to get my shit together if I'm to afford any of the adventures ahead.
I've been studying up on life goals and how to set them. I'm aware getting my shit together does not constitute a specific and measurable goal, but I'm too tired to dig any deeper. For now I just sit in the safety of family, the knowledge that they love me, they've got me, they care. I am blessed.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

A Dog At The Beach

I've been taking Jess to the beach since she was a 12 week old pup. For the first few years she had plenty of bounce in her step, would run along the shoreline, chase sticks and balls and occasionally even play with other dogs. I walked her when I was pregnant, with a baby strapped to my chest, with toddlers running around me and alone, many times alone. It was my escape from the 6pm madness at home, the early Saturday morning routine, the Sunday afternoon ease. Jess and I would come home sandy and glistening and better for our beach walk.
As she got older arthritis started to bother her legs from running through the sand. She slowed down and we stopped going as much. Time passed. Things changed.
I wasn't quite prepared for how large the gaps would be in my world when I left my family. How shameful it still feels to write those words. Initially it was the grief of not being a constant in my childrens life. Not being with them half the time - what sort of a mother does that make me? Truthfully - a better one. The time I have with the kids is quality, not quantity. It's funner and more relaxed and they are meeting their Mum again - Clare Bizley. I think we all like her.
Yesterday I took Jess, aged almost 9, to the beach for our first walk in a long time. We are both a bit fatter and slower, but the delight we shared driving together to our spot was palpable. She stays close on the walk, but every now and then runs into the sea and looks at me to join her. She lets other dogs say hello but then moves on quickly - not here to make friends. Just here to walk with my Clare.
Sometimes  she gets ahead and I see her turn back to look for me. I call her and she bounds in for a quick pat then back to business - let's walk lady. I feel a sense of loss at the time that has passed without us walking together. I have let her down. Then I see her, smiling at me and I am overwhelmed with the joy of the moment. What does it matter now that we didn't walk yesterday. We are walking now, together again.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Writer

I've started calling myself a writer and it's quite nervewracking.
It's like a half truth, or sometimes a lie because how can I be something... if I'm not actually being it.
Sometimes I get lucky and words swirl around my head and gradually or occasionally quickfire into sentences that make a story, an expression, a capture of some part of me that then comes out, through my fingers, into the page. It's glorious. Like finishing a sudoku in one sitting.
Lately, it's been quiet. Plenty of words, sentences, meandering thoughts wondering through my brain but nothing wills it's way out of me. I am almost afraid to sit in front of the keyboard. I wait and hope for something. Some poignant truth with a touch of wit, something raw and funny and sad. Something to remember me by.
Something to remind me of a truth.
I am a writer.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Fred's Pass Show

I had a terrific late afternoon/evening trip to the Fred's Pass Rural Show on Saturday. We saw a lot of chickens - who knew there were so many types of chickens? With feathery feet? We went on the chacha and true to form I got a mild case of the giggles when Ms 7 began making signs she was going to vomit. There is not a lot you can do when strapped in tight being spun around in precarious circles. She didn't vomit so...phew.
A man on a Baptist church stall entices me with a balloon and before I know it he's been telling me about sinning and that Jesus was whipped and handed me the abc's of salvation and it's ten minutes later. Which is a particularly long time in Show time. I listen, look very concerned while my head clouds over his words that imply I am a sinner and heaven will not welcome me.
I wonder if he needs to know that maybe heaven is right here, now.
That I don't believe what he does.
That I'm willing to listen, but not engage.
I walk away, slightly shellshocked. It is quite the buzzkill being singled out for sinning.
Not for long at the Fred's Pass Show. Live music, a can of gin and tonic, kids eating honey garlic chicken wings and potato spirals that are pure potato, oil and chicken salt. Incredible. The fireworks begin and we are entranced, chins up, eyes shining, watching the stars fall above us. Completely oblivious to the wayward cracker that misfired and burnt the pyro technician (what an impressive job title) and scorched a couple of kids. Obviously it didn't happen close to us or this would be a more heated post about my safety concerns at rural shows. Nevertheless, it’s a wonderful show day and we arrive home late, content and sated for another year.

Home

A year ago a lot of things had changed. I tried to roll with it, as best I could, but it was sometimes very hard. I learnt to notice the little accomplishments, to not discount them but to celebrate, if possible, if I wasn't clutching at my sides keeping myself upright.
To have your heart bloom in love and shatter at the loss of it simultaneously is, for lack of a better term, exhausting. Yet I had to work. 
I got a lease on a plain little house and set to making it sweet. Potplants, art, secondhand furniture, (although new beds and couch - I am somewhat particular about certain things) and finally a bookshelf, a portal to my past, future and present. Mum comes to stay and helps to create it a home, love goes into it's core - cushions, beanbags, old furniture spraypainted new - it feels good, amongst the undercurrent of fear and worry I have playing like static in the background.
I buy a cheap hose that turns out to be shit, so I learn a lesson and buy a 30 metre middle of the range Pope Garden Hose and not only do I keep plants and herbs and flowers alive (most of the time) I keep the grass green (most of the time). I have to cut it. For the first time in my life. I'm nervous and feel slightly incapable but with my shit hot hiking boots on and the guidance of some wonderful friends I make the mower work and I MOW MY LAWN. What a magnificent feeling.
Often the house is full of children, playing, chatting, eating. We inherit an old basketball hoop and backboard from some friends and roll it into the street so that neighbours, friends, we can play. We get a bunny who we eventually let freerange in the garden rather than being contained in a cage (sidenote - much of the freeranging is due to our inability to catch the bunny to put it back in it's cage in the evenings - it's been a month now and every morning it's waiting close by for us to handfeed it - but it will not be picked up or patted - I'm falling in love with it more each day).
Sometimes the kids aren't here and it's a treacherous landscape in my mind. I feel shame. I feel sad. I feel guilty. I know they are loved, safe, in a home with their Dad who needs them as much as I do. Yet the agony of their absence can cause a desolate grief within me, one I don't know how to speak of without searing pain. One I just expect people to understand. One that sometimes drags me into a dark and alone room that is my punishment for leaving.
I'm learning to ride the waves. I feel good here, in this little house next to a park. I try to do a little bit of all the things I need to do - writing, cleaning, gardening, socialising. I am grateful. For this life, this community, this freedom, but mostly - I'm grateful for this little house that is my home. 

Saturday, March 10, 2018

IWD

International Women's Day
I love what it means to be a woman now but also for what we have always been.
Warriors. Caregivers. Lovers. Compassionate. Smart. Wise. Kind.
I started the day driving my11 year old son to school. I mistakenly thought The Weeknd would be suitable background music, despite the explicit warning...you never know how many swear words are in a song until you play it loudly in the car with a child. Also quite a lot of misogyny - it's a shame his music is so catchy. I changed to the Black Panther soundtrack and yes it's explicit but at least not crude. Here is The Weeknd redeeming himself...

I went to work surrounded by mostly female colleagues. I belly laugh, reassure, overshare and get shit done. It's a good day.
I come home and ms 7 year old and her friend make an incredible hidey hole in the garden complete with chairs, wooden floor (shelves from a cupboard not in use), basketball and hockey stick. Yesterday at soccer training it was delightful to see a bunch of 7 year old girls dressed head to toe in their team uniform. A little wears a Messi #10 shirt and is extremely talented and I'm convinced that someday another little girl will be wearing her name on the back of her shirt, an ode to her hero(ine).

I've learned a few things since becoming an independent person. I used cable ties to fix the shadecloth around the yard and it was such an effective result that I felt incredible. I've put furniture together with an alan key and today I fixed the chair that needed fixing. I mowed the lawn for the first time age 38 and realised I loved it. I've eaten cheese on crackers for dinner some nights and others created delicious home made food. I've drunk too much and not enough. I've danced in the kitchen, spoken to the moon and taken up yoga.
I feel privileged to be a woman, a human, with all this life around me, within me. I love that almost half my facebook feed is celebrating International Women's Day. I love that I'm a Mother, a Human, a Woman. Hear me roar.