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Though I am a bit of a night owl, I know when I’m getting sick. I feel really, ridiculously tired, my large feet drag and my little toe always seems to trip me up!

My eyes fade and my skin turns yellow. And the eyes! Don’t mention the eyes. My already dark eyes grow stormy… underneath. The blackness rears its ugly, putrid face and I know uh-ho, something is not right!

Yep I’ve been sick and I’ve noticed that I do and feel funny things when I am taken down by the foul, stinking mucous bug thing. I made a list! Wanna see? Ok.

  1. First I noticed that I became irritable at the most irrational things. First it was a certain someone’s toes! Not the smell or cleanliness factor but the appearance. How dare those toes have that weird triangle shape! And the toe nails! Double ridiculous. Annoying. Hil-bloody-larious! I gave myself a mental forehead slap and moved on with my day.
  2. On the flip side, things that used to annoy me didn’t so much. We all know how irritating a dripping tap can be. Especially when it is constantly dolloping into a half filled cup. Or a toilet running! Geesh what a waste of water… c’mon people, hold down the button! But when I was sick, the toilet ran (LET IT RUN) and the tap dripped (DRIP AWAY MY LOVELY) and I didn’t care, couldn’t care!
  3. In my floppy state I found myself watching animated movies with my kids. I’m talking a whole Tinkerbell movie here. From credits to credits. Usually I take the opportunity to fold clothes or blog or do the darn dishes but stripped of all energy the house sagged with clean and dirty clothes and dishes and, yep once again, I didn’t care! Kinda freeing.
  4. Ah words! It’s funny how you can go from typing umpteen words per minute with minimum mistakes (puff on nails, shine on shirt) to typing like a 6 year old when you’ve had a few days off, a whole heap of medicine and a foggy brain. Takes a while to get your mojo back. So with foggy brain in tow, today I’ve tried to get back on that bike and ride once more into the sunset! (and yes I did just try and type suncet). Eeeek. Brain come baaaacccckkk!
What kinda sick person are you? Funny, grumpy, active or floppy? Or something entirely different?
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Photo taken by (Luca Galuzzi) * http://www.galuzzi.it

I don’t know one person who hasn’t experienced a desert time in their life. It must happen even to the most successful of people. No one has a perfect life. We’re all a little damaged, worn down by the heaviness of the world.

Everyone copes differently in these times.  I usually panic and get really moody. My poor family knows when I’m not loving life. My brows stick together and my sigh count increases. Everything seems harder, more of an effort; like wading through mud. You know your skin is loving it but it’s still stinking, gooey and gets EVERYWHERE!

In times like these you find out who your true friends are. For some people it is easier to walk away and stick their head in the sand, willing your sadness to be over and done with already. These are the fair-weather friends and you know to stay well clear of them when you’re feeling a bit blue. They are great entertainment for parties and celebrations but cannot handle honesty and the rawness that comes with real life.

I’m happy to say that most of my friends come in the ‘true friend’ category. You can let it all hang out with these people, you can rant and rave, cry and curse and they’ll stick by you. The true friend doesn’t just pat you on the back and say “there, there,” they are honest even if it’s difficult to hear. But they’ll say it in a gentle, loving way that doesn’t devastate you further. I am in awe of these people. They embody loyalty, commitment and acceptance. Very humbling indeed.

Friendship works best when there’s mutual support and mutual respect. It’s a two way thing and I think so many people get burned when they try to help others who take advantage of their generosity. They drain them, use them, then blame them for all the troubles in their life. This is not true friendship… obviously. We’re all a little broken, all a little needy but giving is truly more important than taking or draining.

These people have taught me how to stand by your friend no matter what. It feels like a rare thing in this day and age (oooo sounding old here). But our culture has so embraced individualism that we have forgotten loyalty and community. Sweet community. Ah.

Is friendship alive and thriving?

I’m sure most of us have been there, the lean years, the ‘how-the-heck-am-i-going-to-pay-that-bill’ moments. On these days it is as if the sky opens up and the sun, ironically, shines a little brighter. Scales fall from the eyes and you are hit with a fistful of perspective.

So, if you’re going down, if there’s no more money, what will you buy with your last $10? Would you go down celebrating or grieving? Would it be an act of generosity or gluttony? These days, $10 doesn’t go far but it is amazing how far you can stretch a dollar when you really need to.

Op shops are handy for such times. It is amazing what you can pick up for only a few dollars: toothpaste, jewellery, books, toys, clothes, beds, picture frames, lollies… anything! So with your $10 note, you can get heaps of stuff if you don’t mind second hand things in the local Op of the shop.

If you just can’t bring yourself to wear those stinky shoes or the slightly musty dress, then perhaps the supermarkets will provide a more suitable option. Stores (in Australia) like Aldi, Woolworths and Coles sell an interesting array of cheap stuff: clothes, make up, dvds, fruit, chocolate, desserts… And (pardon me local bottle shops) Dan Murphy’s sell alcohol for a ridiculously cheap price… if a bottle of wine is what you want to spend your last dollars on.

You may want to go out on a high note so a gourmet deli or cafe might be right up your alley. You can cry into your Chai Latte and savour the taste of your last white chocolate raspberry muffin (thanks mojos.com.au) as you remember the ‘good old days’ when your bank account was heavy with dollars and cents.

Then there’s the internet. And if you can find an online store selling cheap stuff with no postage, then you are set! You can get almost anything your heart desires on this contraption. Great invention, although the regular shopkeepers may disagree with me. But for the cash strapped, the internet is a beautiful thing. All the other wealthy people can get off their bottoms and support the locals.

What would you do with your last $10? As a bit of a wino, I would buy a bottle of wine at $4.99, a packet of my favourite chips and a block of chocolate, sit at the beach and toast the exciting and adventurous future that the wine is telling me is just around the corner! Ta da!

It’s that time again. Drilling, scraping and loads of slobbering “aaaaah”s. The butterflies in my tummy are working up a frenzy as I prepare to gaze into that strange light not knowing how much pain this will cause me.

My dentist is lovely. She is a mum and an acquaintance, so no stranger. But she still has that curved instrument of torture. You know the one. It’s curved and sharp and she prods it into my sore sore tooth. Aaaaaah. Easy lady.

Then there’s the needle which is ok because I know it’s going to do its best to take away the pain of the… dah…. dah…. dah… drill. High pitched mean old thing. It even sounds scary. You can’t scream because it is wedged in your drooling mouth, you just have to let your eyes do the talking or weeping.

One of the worst things is the feeling of drowning. When the suction is way over on the table and you’re trying not to swallow or drown but end up doing a weird kinda gargling thing.

The drill’s pressure on the sore tooth is distressing as there’s always a spot the anesthetic can’t reach. More scraping, more drilling.

Then comes the filling itself. It tastes like Wartkill; bitter and wrong and it is a chemical thing. I hate chemicals but it’s better than the drill and it signals the end of the session. You can only pray that you only need one filling this time and that the rest of the teeth will hang in there for a year or so.

As she shoves the mucky putty up my tooth, my toes begin to wriggle and I try to smile but I really just want to run out screaming. Then it’s over and it’s payment time.

The hip pocket sadly sags as much as my half-face. I can only imagine what I look like to the dental nurse. Drooling, spitting, biting the side of my mouth, I try and make conversation.

Once done, I push the glass door and squint into the bright light of day, put on my sunnies and I do a kinda wobbly dash to the car.

One day, they’ll have a laser drill, I tell myself. One day you’ll be decay-free in under 5 mins. or even through a drive-thru… one day…

Man it’s good to be better. Sickness rather sucks especially when you’re a mumma and you’ve got two smashing kids to look after. Then there’s the shopping and the cooking and the cleaning. Ah life is exciting on parenting street.

But it is the little things that I missed. Like having the energy to wash up the dishes! Nutso. Yep but feeling guilty on the lounge while hubby does everything isn’t too good either. Oh the joy of meandering down the aisles today, sent a swift smile to my face. The energy to sit and watch my kiddo swim without feeling like I was going to throw up was sheer luxury.

If all else fails, if we have our health then that is enough. If we have our kids healthy and relationships on a path to health too well, that’s just being spoilt. Ah fresh air and sunshine. Good times.

And then there was blogging. Last week I couldn’t even lift a finger to type. Now, you can’t stop me writing, reading, jumping up and down on my bed while thinking of a theme, an opinion. Oooo I just love it. So back I am and here we go. Thanks for reading and keep up the good clicking. More tomorrow. See ya!

Image by Vera Kratochvil

Good morning day! The dark cloud descends for no obvious reason except to ruin all your plans. The eyebrows slump as the eyes are cast downwards. The heart feels like it has eaten a massive steak with creamy sauce, followed by a heavy Christmas pudding, blerk. Feet scrape, hands dangle and every bright face around you is simply irritating.

Welcome to a rut of a day, a dark place where every effort is put into de-rutting yourself. Hours tick by as you go about your routine trying as hard as you can not to offend the people around you with your pleasantless demeanour. They may assume that it is their fault, they have been the cause of this, but the first step to the de-rutting process is to express to your loved ones what is happening… that you just feel dark today! People lifted off the hook of responsibility and you are free to work out on your own how to get out of this heaviness, on your own because, really, no one can help.

Second step to towards the bright lights of home is time out. Oh I love this one: a walk or a moment on your own to reflect, to pray. Silence and exercise are great boosters for the soul. Now if getting out and about and thinking way too much doesn’t do it for you perhaps the distraction technique is the go. This means busying yourself about the house or watching your favourite movie or tv show (on dvd of course). I cannot recommend Gilmore Girls  highly enough. It is where I go when all else fails!

As the fog lifts, it is time to talk to someone you trust who understands who you are, where you’re coming from and can help you get perspective. I love these friends. They shine the light on the truth of who you are and the good aspects of your moody personality. Lighter and lighter you flutter, your feet start lifting off the ground. The day is turning around hip hip hooray!

The sun begins to set and a plan is devised to bring this grey old day to a positive end. It means a bit of TLC for you, some yummy food, a glass of wine (if you feel the need), a bath, a good book or film and a spot of Zumba wouldn’t go astray (shake off the blues of the day with a bit of fun/funny exercise).

Argh. I like to think that we all have these ridiculous days that simply don’t make sense. In the middle of it all, I can’t help thinking that tomorrow is another day, that the mood will lift and life will go on as sunny as it was before!

Yesterday was an exciting day! Picture this: you’re in your house, sick boy on lounge watching ABC kids, little sister by his side then loud ‘bang’, lights glow bright then normal. The sound of fireworks bursts outside, so out you rush!

By the road you see a dangling wire and the top of a power pole being lit up like New Year’s Eve! Fear and excitement surge through your system as you watch the drama unfold. When will it end? Will it blow up my house? Will my kids be sucked into the tv? Is this the end of the road as we know it? Answers: I don’t know, no, no and of course not!

The live wire dangled to the ground and a car stopped to block the traffic from danger. You see a tree had fallen down randomly and caught the wire that crossed the road, the wire came crashing down and the pretty lights began! Super exciting though some one could have died. It’s always best when people don’t die in these situations, then you are free to marvel at the drama.

The fire engine came and still no sound from my kids glued to the tv. I had to almost physically drrraaaggg them outside to witness the aftermath! It seems that fiction is more exciting than real life. Any hoo, the kids ran inside, glued themselves back onto the tv and kept on watching some animation about ninja chickens while I watch, fingers in mouth, at the brave bystanders who had put themselves in harm’s way to protect others.

Police soon followed with witches hats being placed to block the danger from the public. The bystanders kept standing by until the officials came to map out this perimeter and then they were off, probably with hearts full of purpose and goodness that comes when you give to others. And what a story to tell around the dinner table that night.

There’s something in the human spirit that reaches out to protect the weaker or less knowledgable in communities, for the most part anyway. I love seeing goodness oozing out of people; directing traffic, pointing out dangers to mothers with small sons dressed for footy training, kids on bikes and the elderly. It’s part bravado and part a desire to be in something important. To contribute to society in a positive way. Whenever there’s an accident or high drama there seems to be generous and capable bystanders helping in any way they can! Good on you bloke with ute, congrats truck fella with phone! It could have been disastrous.

Kinda like that (though thankfully, there was no fire for our pole!)

Image by Tony Peters

Say I’m in a foul mood, dark thoughts drift in and out. My mind is filled with ‘grump’ and I just cannot seem to shift it. Frustration rises as I realise the effect I’m having on those around me, the grump intesifies and I’m on the verge of an all out explosion. What to do? Gilmore Girls.

I don’t know why this show affects me like it does but every time, without fail, it cheers me up. It touches something in me deep down, beyond the muck and the growl of the day and makes it come alive. I think it’s the desire to belong, to have a place in the world and when you’re in the ‘depths of despair’ you feel alone.

Gilmore Girls is all about community. Not a perfect place where everyone is normal and gets along but a small New England town where everyone’s nose is firmly planted in each others’ business and that’s how they like it. It’s a sort of democratic town with regular meetings that the townsfolk vote on important things like whether the town troubadour is ok, or if the old town troubadour is allowed to sell fruit and veges in the main square.

Even the harshest of people has their place like the Korean sergeant major mother who sells antique furniture. She is beloved and accepted, warts and all. The townsfolk simply work with what they have. They genuinely care about each other. One of my favourite scenes is Babette’s cat’s wake. The whole town turns up to celebrate Cinnamon’s life in Bab’s tiny house. Food is served, music is sung, tears are shed. You can only understand the importance of Cinnamon if you live in this town, no one else understands.

Then there’s Lorelai and Lorelai (Rory), a single mother and daughter who have been embraced by this crazy place. Lorelai snr has a string of failed relationships, a cool jeep and a head for business. She can be rude and demanding but once again, the town accepts her and loves her for who she is. Drama seems to follow her wherever she goes, but that’s cool, daddy, she’s Lorelai, that’s just how she is!

In reality, our community experience isn’t tight knit. It’s like we’ve given ourselves permission to care from a distance, not to get too involved. And that’s partly a shame. It would be irritating having people spying on you, knowing every fight or tear you have but it is nice to be known as well. There’s something special about being completely accepted for who you are within a bunch of fellow misfits. It’s a place you can be yourself and know you are always home.

Hands up if you’re fed up with being told either what you have done wrong or what you need to do to make your child perfect. There have been two stories floating around the media this week about this very topic.

First it there was an article reporting on a study undertaken in the UK. It was all about the name of a child being an indicator of later behaviour. So, if you call your child Alexander, instead of Alex, there is a greater chance your little munchkin will be well behaved. Longer names, it said, seemed to produce nicer children. A weird theory, although I don’t think the study was taking itself too seriously. How do you study ‘naughty’ and ‘nice’ in kids? (check out the full article at – http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/lifematters/beth-and-josh-top-naughty-list-20101207-18nik.html)

The second article was all about the effect of mobile phones on children’s behaviour. It also cited a study that found that,”foetuses regularly exposed to mobile phones in the womb had a 30 per cent greater chance of behavioural difficulties at the age of seven.” And that if you expose your kids to mobile phones post birth up to the age of seven (again) their behaviour will also be off the chart. Phew. Two things here. If mobile phones affect foetuses and kids so dramatically, can’t they cause cancer? And secondly, is our culture kidding? Are we simply looking for reasons for stroppy kids or is it really truly real scientifically proven fact? (Here it is – http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/mobiles/controversial-study-finds-mobile-phones-a-risk-to-foetuses-20101208-18op3.html)

It seems we are looking for the answer for the perfect child. How do we manage behavioural problems? How do we produce angel children with serene, calm faces and manners; children with the right amount of courage and independence and drive? It cannot be done! What I love about being a mum are the colours of my life. Which means the absence of the BLAND! Yes my kids have meltdowns and yes it drives me crazy and YES I don’t always handle it the right way but isn’t that just life being colourful?

What we are looking for doesn’t exist. While it is great to know what can help parents manage their families more successfully, sometimes it just comes across as critical or it simply adds to the guilt basket we all carry around on our shoulders. “Oh crap, I shouldn’t have let my kid use the mobile phone, I shouldn’t have used it when I was pregnant, I shouldn’t have called my child Josh, but Joshua…. What was I thinking!!!!!? Bad, bad mother!”

We can get so wrapped up in the regrets of the past. Those clumsy, careless days when nothing you say or do could be classed as ‘perfect parent’ material. Remember that time in the car when you yelled and everyone was crying so you turned up the music to give yourself a moment to calm down? Remember when you were at the end of your tether and you lost it, stamped your feet and acted like a spoiled brat?

Regrets, shmegets! All you can do is your best and if, on one particularly bad day, it’s poor, then it’s poor! As one child psychologist said, “Don’t aim to be the perfect parent, aim to for ‘good enough'”.

 

I play soccer. Not very well, but I give it a go for the fun of it and for the exercise.

I’ve gone from feeling hopeless with my big feet trying to control this ridiculous ball while these amateur professionals seem to have complete control. I used to turn up to a game in a foul mood, feeling rather hopeless. That is, until I discovered a position that let me use my massive hands! My hands! Yes, I am talking goalie here and this is where things get interesting. We were having a rather intense game (ended up 4-4 yay) and I was throwing my aging body this way and that. What I didn’t realise was that the ball kept narrowly, narrowly missing my face, my nose, my head region and the spectators were all holding their breath. Where was I? In denial.

Denial is a beautiful place of palm trees, golden sand and sparkling blue water. You know the type. Ah, days when you find yourself in denial are very peaceful and calm, though the stomach region may be telling you something completely different. I may have blogged on this very topic many moons ago, but I find the whole thing fascinating and calming.

Come with me, if you will, into a cloudy heavenly place where stress and manicality go to die! One of my favourite denials is the thought that everybody loves me and if they don’t they will tell me so. No they won’t and I’d be horrified if someone came up and told me to my face. Easy to say, young lady. It is times when I tire of being paranoid, reading body language and fearing the world is against me. That is when I float away and pretend all is fine and the world is my oyster (or prawn, I much prefer prawns).

I often live in denial about the state of my house, until the dust piles so thick on the tv, it’s ridiculous or the toilet changes colour. Then there are times when the shine has worn off the floorboards and they look cloudy and I tread on a sharp toy/texta/ brush for the umpteenth time! Dude. Clean up why don’t you.

The aftermath of denial is the ‘thud’ back to earth, which is often not pleasant. Like when you’ve been woken out of a lovely, safe, harmonious dream. A thud is akin to a slap, really. You are forced to face reality, to deal with messy problems and relationships. In the end, I am happy to have denial moments mixed in with a bit of ‘thud’, cos you know the cloudy, sunny days of denial are just around the corner.

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