Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas Cheers

We did it. 10 adults, 4 children, a delicious Christmas lunch and many drinks had by all. Presents, swimming, a few joints, laughter, some tears, love.
Actually when I say some tears that's not quite right. I'd bought 3 candles as a centrepiece for the table and once everyone had sat down to eat I quietly cleared my throat and said something along the lines of "I'd like to acknowledge and remember 3 people who aren't here today, my Dad, Josh's Dad and the beautiful Donno. Even though they aren't here physically, I see each of them in the faces around this table and I feel them in the love and laughter we share together. Thanks for being here."
Between us we were 6 children missing our fathers and 2 wives missing their husbands. 2 kids without Grandfathers and our extra guests were both without partners, one a separated single mother.
When I looked up from my little speech, I'm not much of a public speaker, even in a small group full of loved ones I feel clammy and red cheeked, the entire table had eyes filled with tears, these burly men who are my brothers, those strong women who are our mothers. It surprised me, pleased me and satisfied me. Our pain at losing those men we have loved is still raw, still constant, but the relief at being with one another was great.
The rest of the day was as Christmas should be. Silly, fun, drunk, satisfying. There was no more talk or thought of who we were missing, because we were surrounded by what we have. Family. Friends. Children. Love. Memories, both old and new. It was one of the best Christmases I can remember.
It feels as though we have said an appropriate goodbye to 2012, not the best year, but full of great things. I'm feeling good about 2013, pretty good indeed :)

Sunday, December 9, 2012


It's 20 years ago this Christmas that my Dad died. Like, the actual day, where half of the worlds population are celebrating the birth of some baby that actually happened a thousand years ago. Or is it longer? Not to mention lying to their children about a fat bearded man who snuck into their home and left them presents for being good. I'll save the rest of that spiel for another post.
Dad had been sick for a year, really sick for weeks. He was skin and bone, with this frightening bloated belly, like a child from Ethiopia suffering starvation. It was this awful waiting game, the one with no winners, just a whole lot of pain, a whole lot of waiting.
I've always wondered whether it would be better or worse to lose someone suddenly, like in a car crash, so that you didn't have to watch them die. Better that I never know, but I imagine in the long run it's just the same - constant, heavy and unstoppable grief.
Dad died in the middle of the morning, around about present opening time. Mum was with him, us kids scattered about the house, I was reading a new book that I had been given that day, it was called Rocco, it took me weeks to finish that book, and another 18 years before I could throw it out. I think I held onto it for so long because it was a physical reminder of that moment. It was a really shit book and I could never bring myself to reread it, but it meant something to me.
Mum came to find me, crying, told me Dad had died. It was such a surreal moment, hugging, walking down the passageway to the bedroom, for a minute I thought I was going to burst out laughing (it's a common stress response - these days it happens when my children have their immunisation needles - I get a terrible fit of the giggles. Such a good mother.).
I'm not sure to this day whether his dead body gave me peace or concern. At least he wasn't suffering anymore....and at least I didn't have to watch him suffering anymore. But that emaciated man lying before me was not the Dad I knew, trusted or really loved. I was frightened of him. I didn't know him. He couldn't be my Dad like that. One of the things that always bothered me was his body in the coffin. I hated the thought of him being trapped in there with a pile of dirt on top of him. I still hate the thought of it, so I'll take this opportunity to remind my loved ones that if it's ever me in that casket burn the damn thing up and throw me off Mt Gillen. You can take the girl out of Central Australia but you can't take the Central Australia out of the girl. (I also quite like the idea of everyone slogging up that hill - may I suggest you do it at Easter time -  in the lovely weather.)
What a shit Christmas. My first day back at school, Year 9 (of all the grades at school surely Year 9 is the worst, just the worst. Teenagers are animals.) and a classmate yells out to me as I'm walking in the school grounds "Did your Dad die on Christmas Day?!" with equal measure of ridicule and intrigue. I answered quietly, but still people heard. Yes.
What else to say? I never knew. For years I harboured a deep sadness that I couldn't describe, or share, or confide in anyone. I didn't have the words, or the maturity. I hated my friends for not asking the right questions and I hated myself for not speaking my truth. I escaped in my imagination, dreaming of a day when I would not only be the the fittest, coolest, gorgeous girl but have the fittest, coolest, gorgeous boyfriend. Ohh the hours spent daydreaming.
I'm not going to be able to finish this post today. There is much more to say, but I'm rambling a bit already and I want to say it properly. I still miss him. As a man, as a Dad, as a figure. There is so much I wanted to share with him. And he with me. I hold him everyday in my heart, I speak his name, I remember him always, my wonderful Dad.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A New Week

I've weaned myself off wine (for the time being) so I'm part way to feeling terrific again.
Asides from tearing my 6 year old son a new asshole for not opening the driveway gate this morning. In hindsight, a definite overreaction, but at the time, a definite rage. Poor kid. Mother Guilt is officially in fine working order today.
Damn there is a bit of a comedown after what I think may have been a 10 day wine bender? No wonder my tolerance was increasing! No wonder I barely managed to walk the dog for 20 minutesas exercise. No wonder I currently can't see my fanny - far too much tummy hanging down.
In admitting all that, here is what I have done since yesterday.
Yesterday, a 3km jog, slow, unpretty, at times very huffy puffy, but I did it. 20 minutes uninterrupted. Back on the horse as they say, onward and upward from here. A 60 second plank, 5 minutes worth of sit ups. There is definitely some muscle under all that fat, just got to get to it now...
This morning I woke up at 6.30 and Maggie and I took the dog for a 30 minute walk. Almost cooler at that time of day. Almost.
Later today I attended my first Pump class at the gym in a LONG time. Yes I know I'll be sore tomorrow. In fact, just in case I'm sore today, which I'm pretty sure I'm gonna be, I've taken some Nurofen. Always good to cover the bases.
My living room floors are so dirty they have actually started to call out cries of help to me when I walk over them, 'wash us, mop us, please', so I'm hoping this wonderful motivation might continue later in the day & result in some shiny floors. At this point I've actually spent more time thinking about doing them, than it would actually take to do them.
I plan to get straight on that, after I do my 30 minute guided meditation (Topic: GetMotivated!), get my daughter to sleep, eat lunch, wash dishes, hang out washing...god I'm exhausted just writing it.
To Be Continued...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Heat Wave

Just a quick one, I need to complain about the weather.
Usually every year in Oct/Nov I take the kids for a week down to Adelaide to visit Mum. It's generally pretty cool still down there, brisk in the evenings, dry and fresh and clean in the day.
We didn't do that this year. At this point I have no holidays booked in the foreseeable future (thinking about plenty, but nothing real yet) so I FEEL LIKE I'M STUCK IN HELL.
My study is a cosy little room at the end of our house that I generally forget to open the curtains in and if I leave the aircon running for 10 minutes it is a lovely little ice box. It's currently only been running for 6 minutes and I have streams of sweat whispering down my back, beads of perspiration on my brow and rapidly melting icecubes in my wine glass.
Yes I know it's only 4.45pm, I've given up caring. This weeks vice (and last weeks, and possibly next weeks too) will be wine. I'm finding it takes the edge off nicely.
Things should improve shortly, but it may be too late for my recently acquired spray tan. Hopefully the stripey look is in. I am going to 3 different social occasions this week and I needed something to hide the wine glow/boat I've been developing. It's certainly helped, however I can't go swimming for 3 days or I risk the whole thing disappearing, which is like cutting off my nose to spite my face. Or something like that. My brain function is running low trying to conserve energy, must not overheat, do not swim your skin will go white...
I haven't done a full 5k run in almost 2 weeks. I've attempted a few, but for the first time since I became 'a runner' I have given up after 5/10/12 minutes. I'm pretty sure I managed 12 minutes the other day, but I may have been hallucinating from the heat. It's unbearable. The heat, not the giving up. I'm beyond caring.
I hereby declare I will run naked into the next wonderful wet season storm that hits Darwin. Let's hope it hits whilst I'm at home.

Friday, November 16, 2012


I have a friend, mostly through facebook, who has been blogging alot lately. She lost her second child at 13 weeks gestation, and now being pregnant for a third time she is being amazingly brave and frighteningly honest as she regularly blogs her fears, feelings, hopes for herself and her family. It's excellent to read and be a part of her journey, my admiration for her has grown, she inspires me to write more openly, to be unafraid of what people might think and try to free myself from the internal dialogue that is so loud, but often so unhelpful.
So here is a little bit of that. Today I had an appointment with some ladies who for the past 40 years have been a part of a 'life changing' seminar called the 'Greatness In You'. I heard about it through a friend of mine (a real one, she's not even on facebook!?) and she is so much of a good quality person that I felt it was something I could look into. It's a 4 day seminar that costs $2800, meals & accommodation included. All personal testimonies say wonderful things and the ladies who run it seem very capable and legitimate. They don't give too much away, suffice to say it involves laying your life up till now out for all to see, with lots of discussion relating to your formative years and a gradual unlayering of your true self, a new sense of purpose, a positive change....
My formative years were wonderful, until I hit puberty. I had a good family, strict parents, but alot of love, good role models, great memories. Then Dad went and got cancer, spent a year dying from it, left us with a Christmas Day anniversary, a grief stricken mother and a ragged memory of what life was and should have been. For me the changes of puberty and the raw grief of a parents death are strictly entwined. My body changed as did my life. I got tubbier, blackheads and a big nose. I still have those things, along with the grief. Not so raw anymore, but still it beats inside of me, makes me who I am, defines me in many ways.
I want to find out who I might have been otherwise. If I still had that childs self confidence, if nothing tragic had ever overwhelmed me and the ones I love. I hope so much that I can find some Greatness in Me. I'm sick of playing out the same patterns, eating too much, drinking too much, wishing tomorrow I might wake up and be different. Better.
My sugar free life didn't last long - how could it have? Wine has sugar in.
My partner has the potential to be very supportive about this, however the $2800 is proving a hurdle to him. There are many things he would rather our money was spent on than 4 day seminars. Too bad my grannys cousin died 5 years ago and I inherited a lovely wad of cash from her so I can pay for this Greatness my self. I do need his support though. I need him to believe in me? Sadly the $600 I spent on this damn 12 week endevour has resulted in a grand weight loss total of 1.5 kilos and a strong sense of disappointment in myself.
All this combined with a Darwin build up, a step-family breakdown, an increasing dependency on the friendship of wine and I'm calling out for help. Not to you, the reader, just to myself. That true self, somewhere in here...

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sweet Nothings

The last few months have been hot, relentlessly humid and sweaty, the air is thick with bugs, steam and pent up resistance. I hate it. It is a terrible 2-3 months to be in Darwin and the cumulated effects of it tend to play out in a similar manner on myself and most people I know. Shorter tempers. Unhappiness.  Lethargy. Little motivation. A tendency to talk about how hot it is.
We have had a few storms this week, well 2, and they have briefly bought some much needed respite. They are a glorious thing to be amongst, the tropical storm, thunder and lightening, wind and biting rain and cool air. Such sweet cool air.
This post isn't actually about the weather, but I thought it a good introduction into talking about some of my recent madness. I've had a gross 2-3 weeks with weight gain (talk about a first world problem. I'm ashamed of being ashamed about it), family issues and some seriously negative head space. There are times when I think that I am pretty hot shit (in a good way) and others when I can't bear the sight of myself. I want to be anywhere but in my own head because I can't handle listening to the vitriole I spill at myself.
I know the deal. Ignore the negative voice. Make fun of it. Counteract it with something positive. Look for evidence (am I really a pig? How fat does a fat pig have to be anyway? Aren't most pigs fat? Isn't that a good thing?) Would you say such things to your daughter? Your friend? I know, I know.
My negative voice is so familiar to me that I don't even realise it's there anymore. Sometimes I think it's speaking the cold hard truth to me. Often I challenge it, try to defy it, counteract it. But it is a bossy, hard bitch of a voice and it feels stronger than me. I've lived with it for a long time and in fact spent most of my teenage years perfecting and agreeing with it. It's a damn hard habit to shake.
Let's cut this long story short(er). Years ago I read a (at the time - 1999) mind blowing book called Potatoes Not Prozac. The idea that what we eat plays an enormous part in not only our physical wellbeing but also our emotional & psychological health. Since then there has been much written and spoken about this. There is no denying it.
Just a sidenote here. I've written before about how food is such a comfort for me (damn I wish cleaning was, I really do) and unfortunately it's those 'bad' foods that give me short lived joy through eating them - chocolate, icecream, most things high in trans fats and sugar.
Therein lies the key to my successes and failures. The demon that is sucrose, fructose, corn syrup, honey, molasses....sugar. Sweet poison. Empty calories. My frenemy.
I've repeated this pattern many times in my life. Feel upset about something, eat something (usually sweet) to numb the worry. Feel bad about eating something sweet. Crave eating something sweet. Eat more to curb craving. Feel bad for eating more. Worry. Eat. Worry. Despair. Eat.
I've cleared my cupboard /fridge/freezer of everything with excess sugar. I've white knuckled it through the past 48 hours, acknowledging these incredible sweet cravings that are reminiscent of nicotine urges, so strong and overwhelming that they are. Ignored them. Bought blueberries instead. I'm not through it, but holy dooley my head is clearer. Cleaner. I'm looking forward to this next stage. Energy. Not so high, not so low. Kindness, for myself. Acceptance. Good health.
On that note - cheers and good health, I'm off to drink a glass of wine...

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The week that was

This week has been many things, but mostly hot. So hot, this muggy Darwin buildup, that my blood feels thicker, my temper shorter and my head heavier.
It started with a sense of dread that my dear mother was returning from 6 weeks away overseas visiting family. I was worried she would return still in the midst of grief, which the thought of makes me sad, angry, upset. I have spent much of my life knowing a mother who is open with her grief and although in many ways it is good that she knows how to cry, I've felt it as a burden for many years. I've retreated from her since Donno died, scared of the sadness I might witness. It's something that I don't know how to talk to her about, so instead I push her away. 'I'm not your Mother!' I want to scream, runaway, but instead I console, listen, hug. I love her for it and I hate her for it.
I could go on, but for her sake (and my own) I'll leave it there.
Except to say she has come back feeling positive, happy to be in her own home, ready to get back into tutoring, gardening, even church! Having a scientist as a husband for so long meant that attending church fell by the wayside.
So we had a wonderful and reassuring chat on the phone, full of excitement for her Christmas visit, full of family stories from her trip away, I got to tell her things about the children that only Nannas care about! So that's good news.
My daughter's had her hair cut short and looks fantastic. I've put  half the weight I lost in 6 weeks back on in a week, I still don't wish to speak about it, but there it is, in words. There are a lot of feelings relating to that, most are of the unhappy variety but I'm trying hard to keep my eyes on the prize and not indulge my negative voice by listening to it. God it's hard. Disappointed is an understatement. Self esteem is hiding under a log, quivering. Chocolate calls to me from the supermarket shelf, like heroin - I can make you feel better, I can make you happy....
Did I mention the wine?
That's enough for a Saturday night. I'm off to turn the aircon on, pour another glass of wine and read a good book. Sweet escapism after a strange week.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Great Full

These past few weeks I've been taking some time out from my occasionally messy head to reflect on things that I'm grateful for. There are many, yet sometimes they are upside down and just need to be turned around.
One example of this occurred a few weeks ago. I attended my friends Hens Night which was about 30 women, mostly from 'down south', all old friends and family. Some were very nice, some funny and of course a few were a bit dull, but it was nice to be a local and meet new people. One of the old friends was chatting with me and made a comment relating to my having lived in the Territory all my life. 'Have you never lived anywhere else?' she asked me somewhat condescendingly. I replied that I had been to many places, and even spent more than a night in lots of them, but that yes, I had lived almost my whole life in the NT.
When I got home it was playing on my mind. I felt as though this person was taking the piss out of me, judging me to be a bit naive and possibly unworldly because I was from the Territory. Proudly from the Territory. Happy in the Territory. Living a successful and busy life in the Territory. Before I knew it I had gone from feeling a bit flat to feeling like a bit of a champion, because I know who I am and I'm proud to be a Territorian. I'm double proud to have born my children here, because it's a special place and a special breed. My partners father was born in Alice Springs, our blood is here, our history.
I'm extraordinary grateful that I am here.
Another warm fuzzy came during our weekly 'talk' for our 12 week challenge. We were asked to write down the names of the people who we could talk to when we were struggling with things, particularly relating to the challenge. I wrote down 4 names, thinking that would do. When we went around the room, out of the 6 people present, 3 of them had struggled to write down a single persons name. In the end most had written Mum. I felt both sad for them and confused with myself. I have almost a whole handful of people I wouldn't hesitate to talk to if I needed. How lucky am I? Why do I still have so many excuses as to why I'm miserable? Far too many excuses methinks. It was a great reminder of how much I have, how blessed I am.
Speaking of blessed today my gorgeous boy lost his first tooth. My first baby, the first tooth we ever saw grow in him. He then lost it down the sink whilst cleaning it for the tooth fairy, but we have written her a note so fingers crossed he will still get some cash.
My lovely daughter is learning to stomp and stamp and be perfectly 2. She couldn't/wouldn't go to sleep tonight so I sat in with her, holding her close as she cuddled in and fell asleep on me. Such a joy, such a privilege. Such a lovely girl.
Not to mention a frivolous night at bookclub last night with new friends, a fast approaching holiday for 2 days on my own, then 3 days with Josh! Whatever shall we do with ourselves?!
I'm feeling humble and grateful today. Thanks for reading x

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A wedding, a diet and 2 kids

We went to our friends wedding on Saturday, beachside, outdoor venue. It was a lovely day, as one would hope and I rained tears as they said their vows, I can't explain it, let's just say I find meaningful words spoken publicly quite emotional.
I looked fine (note the fine - not yet 'great', 'fantastic' or even "I felt great!' - that's what we're eventually after), a light spray tan, tummy sucker knickers and some bronzer so I fit in perfectly.
As locals we were advised not to bring our children - that there would be kids there but it was preferable if we could just bring ourselves. It was a pain to organise childcare - my initial babysitter fell through, friends who owe us a favour couldn't do it, regular daycare lady had something else on....24 hours before the wedding we were recommended a lovely lady who worked in a childcare centre, spoke to said lady the morning of said wedding and met her 10 minutes before we left her to responsibly care for our children.
We were out for almost 8 hours from about 3.30pm, she charged....wait for it.....if you're in your 30's and used to babysit for neighbours you are about to get freaked out....$20 per hour. Ouch. We got home all wedding merry and happily placed $150 in her palm, impressed by the clean floor, kitchen and of course sleeping children in the bedrooms. It must also be noted that when we left at 3.30 the kids barely looked up from the floor where they were sat with babysitter blowing bubbles and told by Mr 6 the next day 'she was good'. High praise.
I had spoken to a lady at the wedding who said her babysitter charged her $20 for the first 3 hours then $12 per hour after that. Reasonable.
So the moral of todays blog is do not be afraid to pay that little bit extra when wanting an evening out and your children to be well cared for. But also do not be afraid to negotiate on a sum of money before you leave. We probably would have spent the same amount if we had of gone out for dinner, but I tell you, 20 years ago I charged about $5 per hour, if that. Bloody hell.
In other news I have lost the grand total of 2kg in 4 weeks, which certainly is a sustainable loss but also a bloody slow one! Feeling fit, but as usual a bit anxious and overthinky. Did I just coin a new phrase? Feeling a bit overthinky. Planning on paying close attention to my (wo)menstrual cycle this month to see how much of it is hormone related.
Always feels better to blog it out :)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Day 13

Just a quick update on the 12 Week Endevour. Actually that would make a great name for it! It doesn't seem to have an actual name, just an annoying computer program you have to labour over every evening entering details of the food & drink you consumed that day and a weekly meeting where our spritely leaders talk us through 'emotional eating' and 'unhelpful thinking' and then joyfully weigh us in the hope that there is a little bit less of us.
Labour intensive as it is, I've found entering the details of my daily dietary intake into the program to be both interesting and positive. It turns out I have been overeating for much of my life!? When I told my younger brother this he dryly replied with a 'Really? Your really just figuring this out?', not in a mean way but in a 'What the fuck else did you think was going on? Thyroid? Heavy genes?'
So here is the plain truth. My name is Clare and I'm an overeater. I eat when I'm sad, I eat when I'm happy. I eat when I'm bored, busy, just in case and when I see the clock hands hit a particular time. I hate to be hungry, it panics me, worries me, makes me feel....empty.
It would appear that I've been attempting to fill that emptiness, that hole, that void, over the years with 1) Food, 2) Alcohol and 3) Smoke. Since I quit smoking in January I have gained close to 8 kilo, this is despite training for and running the 12.7km City to Surf in June. Committed.
So I'm realising all this because this past 13 days so often I have felt the urge to eat...but instead of indulging that urge I stop and have a think about my hunger. Turns out I'm hungry for a lot of things not just food. I'm hungry for a maid, who could do the cleaning that needs to be done around the home that I delay doing by....stopping for something to eat. I'm hungry for a nanny, to assist me in the raising of 2 wonderful children who I too often bribe, distract or shut up with food. I'm hungry for love and acknowledgement, from myself, from my family, that I reward myself with food for that quick fix.
Holy dooley talk about breakthroughs. The first week was difficult, I felt hungry (duh), uncomfortable and frustrated. This past week has been better, more energy, more awareness and....
I weighed in last night at the end of a long day and I had lost 1.4 kilo in 12 days. I am loving myself sick. This is exactly what I was hoping for. Got a new goal in my sights and it's totally achievable...Go Team Biz!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

12 Weeks

For the past 6 weeks I have sought comfort in food, alcohol & occassionally running. I've become caught in this cycle of feeling down, eating crap, feeling crap, eating badly, feeling badly and on it goes.
Drinking most nights has not helped things, that stuff really is depressing! I've run sporadically, without any sense of purpose, or determination, not often enough. Let's be honest, I've got fat, sluggish and miserable.
A week ago I downloaded some guided meditations onto my Iphone, including 'Shape Up and Get Fit' and 'IMotivated!'.  I have listened to a half hour session almost every day since...and fallen asleep everytime, but despite this, it's working. I haven't had a drink in nearly a week, or chocolate, cake, custard, chips...shall I go on? I've also had a bout of mild gastro - but I'm inclined to believe this was my mind & body working as one to detox me from all that rubbish I'd been swallowing down.
Next step in getting myself back to myself is do to something that challenges me and requires commitment. I've enrolled in a 12 week Healthy Diet, Fitness, Mind program that a local gym is running. What's really confronting about this, other than all of it, is that the facilitator is a very good friend of mine I have known since I was a child. She looks after my daughter for me when I work and we are very good friends. And now I have to get on the scales in front of her, have my body parts measured by her & remain accountable to myself and her for at least the next 12 weeks - if not forever because we are such good friends! I'm a small part terrified....but mostly, dare I say it, so excited to be starting this new journey and having her support me through it.
Most of all though, I'm excited to feel good about myself again. To feel healthy in my head and my body. To not look 4 months pregnant anymore. To be a role model to my children, but particularly my daughter. To have my partner look at me with a renewed energy, to be proud of myself. Not to mention looking fantastic for my step brothers wedding in, that's right, 13 weeks. Perfect.

Monday, July 30, 2012


Today I became 33 years old. I am so pleased to be getting older! I really think I'm getting better at a lot of things with age. Running, sexing, blogging & pelvic floor exercises are just a few.
In saying that I also weigh 10 kilos more than I did this time last year. Dislike. Have a head full of thoughts that tell me this needs to change, but a stomach that keeps reminding me to feed it, fill it, flavour it.
I've written some goals down to have achieved by my 34th. Competing in a swimming race is one of them and fitting into my gorgeous black strapless tulle number is another. No pressure.
Lots of things have made me smile lately. We took Leo's training wheels off his bike in about April & have made no progress in getting him on the bike since. I've forced him into riding a few times, but try managing an unwilling & unexperienced bike rider, a toddler & a dog at your local oval. It's not particularly relaxing.
We went camping on Friday and asides from it being terrific fun it was a shamejob for Leo because his 2 friends aged 4 & 6 both had their 2 wheeled bikes & were cruising around with glee. He had to kind of sit back and pretend not to care. Once we got back home I remembered we had some leftover lollies from camping and shamelessly bribed him with 2 now, 2 when we get back if you ride around the block. Note that I am still holding onto the back of his bike to ensure his stability/safety. Well those lollies worked a treat because he was off, minus Mums hand (albeit briefly)! A glorious thing to see your child master a skill. Still got some work to do, but great joy for us both.
Another thing that is wonderful is WORK! Away from home. That pays well! I'm working with asylum seekers who are relatively fresh off the boat and I just love it. So many stories to tell. People so happy to have made it safely here. So much to learn, for all of us. I go home at the end of a shift and feel not just lucky, but priveleged to call this country my home. And always so happy to see my kids after a few hours away! What a difference it makes to us all to have our slightly separate lives.
Finally, today after having a wonderful birthday, I left Maggie downstairs, sans nappy, to play in the yard. I came back to find her, plus a pile of poo, in the front seat of my car. Happy Birthday to You Mum. It was terrible, but in this optimistic frame of mind I currently have I'm pleased that 1) she didn't take the handbrake off and 2)it wasn't wee - so much harder to get out of upholstery. It's been a great day and I'm a lucky girl.

Monday, July 2, 2012


I'm not really sure how to write about the funeral.
In one respect it was terrible, as funerals should be. Lots of crying, red eyes, hugging. A wooden box containing your precious person. Tears leaking out and a heart so heavy it ached.
Yet it was also brilliant, a room full of people who all loved this same person, who had come from many places to honour him. Photos of his wonderful life shown on a screen, memories of a happy childhood, a brilliant young adult and a wonderful happy man.
It was held in a funeral home, no Gods or prayers, no incense or wafers. The funeral director read a few bad poems, talked a bit about Don, then invited Dons sons to come and speak. Both his boys are smart, strong minded guys, very good with words.
And so they blew us all away. They each told stories of their Dad, funny, warm, familiar stories of a man whose eyes smiled at everyone & who no-one ever just met, but someone people always liked and usually loved. They talked of their own feelings about losing him, but that what he had taught them about life was to be rational and honest. To question and enjoy. To love and remember.
It was a tribute so fitting you could almost feel him in the room. He wasn't gone, he had left in each of us, but particularly these 2 beloved boys of his, memories and love that would live on always. So many stories and so much warmth.
I cried to say goodbye, but afterwards I felt such a sense of peace. I feel so lucky to have known him, so grateful to have had him in my life. He was truly loved and I'm so happy I got to love him. It's going to be a long road, particularly for my Mum who has travelled this path before. More than the grief of losing him though, is the joy of having had him.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

He died

Donno died last night about midnight.
I thought it would be a relief but it's not. It's a crushing, frightening despair that he isn't here anymore.
My heart is breaking for Mum, for his boys, for us, for Leo.
How do I tell my son his Grandpa has died?
I've been shown a lot of support from some of you who read this blog and I thank you for it.
I can't even make any bad jokes. Yet.
I just loved him. I'm going to miss him so much.

Monday, June 18, 2012


I've never really been able to define irony, I'm not sure it is definable? But these are my ironies since I last wrote.
I did the run. Slow & steady, felt amazing, very proud. Until I went for a massage later on that day & the massage lady said 'Oh! You pregnant?!'.
Some satisfaction gained from answering 'No, just fat'. But not enough.
An awkward moment last night when we met some friends at a kid friendly pub. Had a lovely evening, ran into several people I hadn't seen in ages. Including a girl I once pashed at 3 am one late 90's night. She has grown her once shaved head out to a discreet bob & has a male partner & child in tow and of course there is me, suzy homemaker with my tribe of love. We made a bit of small talk but essentially it was super awkward. Good to have been young once.
Finally, no irony here, just a bit too much red wine and a heavy heart. Donno is too sick. He will die. Soon. My heart, my head, my eyes hurt to know it. This familiar journey, wanting someone you love to be out of pain but knowing what the other side holds. A big old empty space where he should be. A life, a family, so many occasions that he should be in. It is shit. A thrumming of pain, worry, nervous energy. Oh to have the chance to tell him how much he means to me, to us. I'm so scared of how hard it's going to be to miss him.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Good Run

Here we go again. Tomorrow morning, a Sunday, I will be joining 100s of others in the Darwin City to Surf. At 7.20am the starter pistol will sound and we will set off on our 12.7km journey.
It's my first ever running race. I hesitate to use the word running, as I am more of a slow jogger, but apparently if you're a serious runner - eg you run at least once a week, for a few kilometres or more, you call it running, despite how fast, or slow as the case may be, you go.
Once I was running around an oval while my older brother played with the kids nearby. I felt really good, like I was such a good example, such a great role model. When we walked home later I asked my 5 year old what he thought - 'Did I look fit?' he responded by saying 'You looked hot' (lets clarify that being the hot hot, not the your so good looking I can't believe your my Mum hot). I tried again 'Yes, but did I look strong?' 'You looked sweaty' he replied. I'm a sucker for punishment, so again I asked 'Did I look fast?'. 'You looked a bit fat' he said.
And that is why sometimes I like my daughter best.
A year ago I would have struggled to run a kilometre without stopping. So I set myself a goal. Originally it was to run the 2.5km leg of the mini triathlon without stopping. I achieved it, slowly, thoughtfully, and felt a million bucks for it. The feeling of accomplishment was huge, I felt unstoppable. So I made a new goal, to run 5km, eventually in under 30 minutes. I've run alot of 5 km's since and have only broken the 30 minute mark a couple of times, but again - how good am I that I can actually do the things I say I will!? Since then the goal has changed a few times. There was talk of a girls trip to Dili in May to do the 1/2 marathon, but once we started training for it we soon realised we had probably bitten off more than we could chew. Another dream was the Bali Triathlon, to be held later this month, but again, finances & family got in the way :)
So now it's this. City to Surf, June 3, 2012. Since Donno (my stepDad) was diagnosed with leukemia in December I've had a deep worry in my heart. Initially I tried drinking and smoking my way through it, I really tried! But I would wake up each day and feel worse, tired, angry, sad. Suddenly that dreaded nicotine had a hold of me again and I craved it! Thankfully I kept the running up, sometimes just 3km, other times 6km, a few times a week. When I run it hurts. My legs, my lungs, my shoulders, my feet, my knees. Sounds great hey? But that pain was good because I could FEEL it physically. I could sweat it out.
So instead of numbing it, I was unleashing it.
So I stopped smoking around the beginning of January and can honestly say I will never smoke again. I feel like I've found my very own Jesus in the shape of a pair of (good) running shoes. I've run many Friday nights with a mum friend of mine, who puts her 3 kids to bed then heads out the door at 7.30pm. On a Friday! We started at 6k, worked our way up in 500m increments and here we are, running 12k in 90 minutes and it only took 20 weeks! I run some evenings with my dog (on a leash) and my 12kg toddler (in a pram). I like to call that multitasking. Often I run alone with my ipod blaring, sometimes it feels great, sometimes it feels shit. But when I'm finished I'm NEVER sorry that I went for that run. I'm always pleased, and a little bit proud.
I feel both parts terrified and excited for tomorrow. Frightened I'll stop, or quit, or won't finish. I certainly don't look like someone who can run 12.7km and I feel paranoid people will judge me. I thought runners were meant to be slim? Not this one. I'm excited at the thought of the people cheering me on, seeing the finish line, achieving another goal! And almost every step of it will be in honour of my wonderful Donno, who hasn't given up despite really shitty odds and a whole lot of sickness. But I'm saving a couple of those steps for me, just me, for actually doing it. I can hardly wait!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Bought to you by Cadburys

I've overindulged this Easter and I have a massive problem in that my freezer still has numerous chocolate eggs in it and I don't think I have it in me to throw them out. The thought of doing so makes me feel part way relieved but mostly uncomfortable. Wasteful. Sad. Which is a little bit the same as me eating them, so I'm kind of stuck. With my hand in the freezer, consistently, throughout the day. Spiralling high on chocolate then crashing down low, brimming with energy then feeling as though my limbs are wooden & I can barely move. Not to mention my thought processes, which are madcap and frenetic and then negative, unhappy, almost belligerent.
Ironically I am in the middle of reading 3 books on weight loss. I've been putting in some serious work running, swimming, walking, playing, even sexing and for the love of (chocolate) money I'm not losing any weight. So I borrowed 'Allan Carrs Easy Way to Lose Weight' from a friend, found 'What's Eating You' at the library and downloaded 'If I'm So Smart Why Can't I Lose Weight?' to my kindle.
So far I have learnt (learned?) that I need to eat less, not eat junk and drink more water.
Fuckin' A. Simple really.
So from here the plan is to pretty much eat as many of the eggs in the freezer as I can, as quickly as possible so they are GONE. Then I'll not be eating junk, will definitely be eating less & I drink heaps of water anyways.
And hopefully one of these days I will stop seeing my emotions as chocolate (and eating them), will not feel mildly panicked if my tummy is not bursting from fullness & will not burst into tears or scream abuse at my nearest & dearest if I happen to be hungry/starving/famished/ready to faint.
Maybe I'll just throw the fucking eggs out.

Monday, March 12, 2012

A monologue

I got a round of applause after sharing this with my creative writing class tonight and went home with what I can only describe as 'writers high'. Most of it is is actually based on reality & all happened this afternoon, but they didn't need to know that ;)

If I was Luke Skywalker I would use my life saver and chop my Mums head off. She keeps telling me it's called a Light Saber but what would she know, she doesn't understand Star Wars.
I was talking on the phone to Nanna today telling her about Colonel Grevious and Obi One Kenobi and Mum INTERRUPTED me and said I had to tell Nanna about other stuff, like school and the baby bird we found that nearly got died. Which is not even fair because I LOVE Star Wars and Nanna is very good at listening to me but then I started telling her about how our dog got it and bited it's wing and we yelled at her LET IT GO!
Then we put that naughty dog in the pool area and we wrapped the baby bird up into a towel. Mum said it was scared and we had to use quiet voices and if I sat down I could hold it. I put one hand underneath and another hand around the towel and Mum said whatever you do Don't Squeeze. I held it very gently near my chest and I could feel it's tiny heart beating real fast, it was very scared without it's Mum.
Then we put it down on the ground and left it for a while so it would feel better and we went upstairs because today we got Hot Cross Buns for afternoon tea and I got to have one with Strawberry Jam! It was so delicious.

Then we remembered that baby bird and we went downstairs to check it but it was gone! We couldn't believe it, Mum said it's Mummy must have found it and took it back to the nest.
Then we took that naughty dog for a walk and I rode my bike but now I am Very Angry because Mum makes me ride up that hill and I Hate It because it makes my legs hurt but she says I have to. And it makes me Very frustrated and Mum is Very annoying to me because she says do I think she does it to be mean? Or do I think she does it to make me stronger and better at bike riding? And I have to say the stronger one but actually I think she does it to be mean because I just hate that hill So Much.
So that's why if I was Luke Skywalker I would kill all the badguys with my life saver and I would chop Mum's head off so she would stop always telling me stuff I have to do. But it's okay, she wouldn't be died, she would just get a new head but this one wouldn't be so bossy.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


So I've been doing an adult night class every Monday evening for the past month in Creative Writing. We've covered short stories, script writing, descriptive writing and last night - poetry. I've enjoyed all of it - 3 hours duration each so I must be on the right (write) track. Heehee.
I've read out some of my work at each session , except the descriptive cause I ain't never been any good at that. But last night I must have read out at least 5 poems? I was loving it. I'm not sure the rest of the class was, but I felt good about it. So I'm gonna go with that flow and share some of them here :)

This is a Cinquain which is 5 lines, 22 syllables, distributed as 2,4,6,8,2.

the girl (2)
I used to be (4)
is in here somewhere, I (6)
remember her voice. she was so (8)
youthful (2)

the first & last line have to kind of relate. Try one! It's fun and almost therapeutic ;)

This is a Tetractys which is 5 lines of 20 syllables, distributed as 1,2,3,4,10.
I've done a 'double' which is 1,2,3,4,10,10,4,3,2,1

Mum (1)
I wish (2)
You weren't so (3)
angry and sad (4)
it's because I love you and I need you (10)
that I screech and scream and mess and call you (10)
one hundred times, (4)
every day, (3)
you're my (2)
world (1)

And finally the Etheree which is 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10. You can make it rhyme if you're real clever..

They (1)
Say that (2)
His blood is (3)
Sick and to fix (4)
Him they have to fill (5)
His body with poison (6)
So they will make him sicker (7)
Because we are not ready to (8)
Let him go. We love him too much so(9)
he will take the poison because of us. (10)

Heavy I know, but so therapeutic....

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Short & Sweet

This is what I say it is...short & sweet.
I'm slightly consumed by The Hunger Games at the moment - a trilogy written by Suzanne Collins (ideally for teenagers) but like John Marsden before her, I cannot get my head out of this exciting, frightening, nail biting series. Makes for a few issues concerning parenting and housework but I'm managing.
I'm finding an ally in red wine. It doesn't have any connotations other than a relaxing vibe. No smoking, no restlessness, no rage, just mellow. Quite the friend at dinnertime especially when my son is pulling out all the rude behaviours he has in his arsenal, winding his Dad up completely. I'm alternating between deep breaths and deep gulps and feeling quite relaxed about the whole thing.
Donno is no better. The chemo is doing horrible things to him and I get the feeling some days he wishes he were dead rather than living through this torture. Hard to hear about but so much worse to live through - my heart breaks for him and Mum, nothing I can do except sms them cheeky photos of my children and occasionally remind Donno to please avoid any white lights he may be drawn to.
If in doubt, make a bad joke.
Watching reality tv weight loss shows, finding them both inspiring and pathetic. One at me watching them and two at the folks who have let this happen to themselves. Josh hates them so much that he refuses to have them on (I totally understand his pain, but I just cant stop) so I've resorted to taking my glass of wine downstairs and watching them in the granny flat. Quite nice to have a little quiet time down there.
And then there is running. Me running. 7km every Friday night with a friend and another 5 -10 km at separate times through the week. It's wonderful. Don't think about it, just do it. I'm almost ready to call myself a runner now, it's all very inspiring. I'll save it for another blog.
So that wasn't so short. The only sweet part I have is in order to control my sweet cravings and tendency to impulse buy junk food I have taken to stocking my freezer with dark chocolate. So every night I grab 6 squares & allow it to completely hit the spot. Which is also does some days after lunch and occassionally about 3 pm, but this is a good thing because antioxidants are Important.
And now I'm off to begin 'Mockingjay' the third in this series of books that I want everyone to read and love as much as I do! The sad part is it will soon be over for me (I'll have this thing done & dusted by this time tomorrow - the joys of being a speed reader) but for YOU the adventure could be about to begin!