Tuesday, 31 January 2012

January - a month in review

It's the last day of January and I can't believe that I've been in the blogosphere officially since December.  The feedback from everyone has been fantastic and I thank each and every one of you for letting me know your thoughts on my blog.

I started this year with a New Years Resolution that I would blog once a week.  But in January I blogged 13 times.  Well, actually I blogged 15 times, but those included my book reviews, and I have since moved those into another blog called "Occasional Reader".

To say that I am enjoying it, would be an understatement.  A girlfriend (you know who you are) actually suggested I do this a while ago.  I thought the idea so preposterous that I promptly forgot about it.  But I'm glad the idea was resurrected and that I actually brought it to fruition.

I started the month discussing what would be my old-age sport.  I got some great comments from people, specifically a friend of mine whose parents are still super active.  I aspire to be like them.

Last year I went through a big learning curve, and cut ties from a few friends that just weren't working for me, you know?  I've never really felt comfortable doing this, and wasn't sure how anybody else does it.  It inspired me to blog about it and it felt great putting it out there and finding out others were also in the same boat.

I also wrote a tribute to The Architect and his renovations.  He has done (and continues to do) so much for us, yet remains humble and modest.  Somebody has to sing his praises and celebrate his wins, and one way I chose to do that was through my blog.

I was having 'one of those days' when I sat down at my trusty Mac and banged out Days Like These.  It flowed easily and quickly, like most of my posts but this one seemed to just write itself.   This particular post got a lot of comments and I loved reading all of them.

A letter to my 16-year-old-self was so enjoyable to write.  I wish I could have kept a running monologue with my 16-year-old-self.  It would've saved a lot of heartache.  But then, would I be the person I am today?  Inevitably not.

Memory Smells came about because I was making lunch for the kids and they both love bully beef and rice.  It reminded me that I loved it as a child too, and one of the reasons I make it for them (indeed, why I make a lot of the meals from my childhood), is to have another piece of me live on with them, long after I'm gone.  And maybe, just maybe - they'll make it for their kids.

Polynesian Princess started Prep last week and I had to write about it.  I couldn't let this momentous occasion go by without acknowledging the grieving I was going through.  Moving from one stage in life is always so heart-wrenching for me.  I don't know why.  The answer is locked away in my childhood somewhere I'm sure.  But I moved on quickly and wrote about Australia Day, after being inspired by Dr Charlie Teo's Australia Day Address.

And finally, I finished off the month writing about First World Problems.  I haven't had many of them today, but I know I will before the day is over.

Again to everyone who has commented and sent me emails with feedback, thank-you, danke schoen, merci, muchos gracias, grazie tanto and namaste.  Your kind words are what keep me going.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

First World Problems

Image: farconville / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

There are a lot of things these days that I can christen Classic First World Problems.  Just the term alone is equivalent to someone slapping me in the face and screaming “SUCK IT UP PRINCESS!”.  Or, as we used to say when I was younger “awwwww….diddums”.  This can only be said in a baby voice - it’s the only way it truly works.  A slight tilt to the head also gives it credo.  Urban Dictionary has a number of definitions for the word diddums.  All of which have me chuckling like the maniacal Gen X that I am.

But I digress.  First World Problems.  You know what I’m talking about – we all have them and we’ve always had them.  My informal definition is that it’s just crap that we’re complaining about.  Mindless, senseless and indulgent complaints. Only now we’ve been given a new label to use.  This new label puts it all in a different light and allows us to look at our ‘problems’ (this term is used very loosely) using perspective.  Urban Dictionary defines it like this:

“Problems from living in a wealthy, industrialized nation that third worlders would probably roll their eyes at.”

Aw, crap, I don't know which 1 carat diamond encrusted platinum ring to buy!

Looking at our niggles and worries in this light can help us to see our worries differently, and quite possibly have a laugh at ourselves.

  • iPad dock not working properly and now you have to hold the bloody thing in your lap & use the actual keyboard on the iPad?  Good God!  First World Problem.

  • You’ve bought too many groceries to fit in the fridge, so you have to trudge downstairs to fill the other fridge/freezer.  In the rain.  And you actually tsk.   Are you friggin kidding me! First World Problem.

  • Rolling your eyes and huffing while the person in front of you clearly has more than 15 items in the express shopping lane?  SUCK IT UP.  First World Problem.

  • The blue tooth in your BMW isn’t pairing with your phone?  Awwww…diddums…  FIRST WORLD PROBLEM.

All of these, bar one have been something I’ve huffed about in the recent past.  I know.  I hang my head in shame.  But I list them to help with illustrating my very point.  That short of something extremely serious and life-threatening, a lot of the things we waste our time and energy worrying about, are small bickies.

At the end of last year a very dear friend of mine was going through a family crisis.  Someone very near to them was diagnosed with a brain tumour.  Things were grim, but they were holding it together.  She was holding it together.  And through it all, she remained stalwart, positive and focused.  I would speak to her on the phone, and though she wasn’t the one with the life threatening tumour, I knew how tough this was on her and the family.  My heart hurt for my friend and her family, and it pulled things into perspective for me.  How could you possibly want to whinge and moan about not getting enough sleep when someone you love dearly is coping with this?   Almost anything that I was annoyed at then, was clearly labelled a First World Problem.  Nothing came close to this kind of tragedy.  Not within coo-ee.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you shouldn’t get the shits, and complain about your boss or your colleagues, or that annoying person who whistles whilst walking very closely behind you.  Or your kids not eating one bite of the food you’ve just slaved for an hour to cook for them.  Not at all.  I think a good vent and whinge can do us all good.  I would encourage it!  But don’t fool yourself.  Don’t believe your own crap, and think it’s actually important.  There’s more important things to worry about.

It’s all too easy to get embroiled in our own Bold and the Beautiful lives.  He said this, she said that.   It’s a lucky person that can see things in perspective and listen to their (reasonable) inner voice in the heat of the moment.   The voice that says “put the saucepan down.  The Architect didn’t mean it that way, and after all he DID just clean the car, hang out the washing, put the kids to bed and clean the kitchen”.  You know what I mean, right?

Things that have worked for me are things like replacing the words “have to” with “get to”.  So “I have to cook the kids dinner”, becomes “I get to cook the kids dinner”.  “I have to do the grocery shopping” becomes “I get to do the grocery shopping”.  This has saved me a number of times from spiralling into a one-way slippery slope to feeling sorry for myself simply by putting the emphasis on what I am privileged enough to be doing.

But enough of my rambling.  It’s Sunday night and I want to finish this before Homeland starts.  I missed the end of last week’s episode and I’ll be pissed if I miss this week’s.  Oh wait…

First.  World.  Problem.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Australia Day

It’s Australia Day tomorrow and I just finished reading Dr Charlie Teo’s Australia Day Address.  Wow, what a speech.  I loved it!  For those who haven’t had a chance to read it, you can access it here.

I totally agree with him about living in another country and looking back at Australia with rose-coloured glasses.  Many times, whilst I was living in Glasgow, I would be in some awesome pub somewhere (Whistler’s Mother, Curlers, you know the ones), five pints of Tennants under my belt, cigarette held loosely in my fingers, eyes shut and singing “I Still Call Australia Home”.  I would be remembering Byron Bay with my girls, the sound of cricket on the television, the sight of the Southern Cross in the night sky and those hot, balmy nights with the sound of an oscillating fan.  Those nights in Scotland would always end in tears and invariably a take-away fish supper.

When I was in Munich, going to the Oktoberfest with my friends, I was so excited to meet some boys from home.  I hadn’t spoken to an Australian face to face in so long and I was like an excited kid when I heard these guys speak.  They didn’t say anything enlightening.  From memory they asked my Spanish friend if she could teach them “some swear words in Spanish”.   She wasn’t impressed.   Way to represent…

Returning home after two years travelling was bitter sweet for me.  I rolled off that plane ten kilos heavier, complete with a drinking habit and loads of friends and memories I will cherish forever.  I wasn’t ready to come home, but I had to.  A lack of funding was my biggest motivator.  But it was such a relief to be home in so many ways.  I could eat Twisties to my hearts content.  I could run all my words in together and everyone understood me.  My legs got to see the sun and I went from a weak-tea colour back to my usual mocha brown shade.

Charlie Teo’s reference to racism also rang true for me.  Growing up on the southside of Brisbane in the 80’s and 90’s I had my fair share of racism going on.  Boys up the road would regularly yell out “DID YOU FALL IN A JAR OF VEGEMITE!” whenever I rode past.   A boy in my Grade 3 class stood up one day and announced that he believed that there should be a wall running through the middle of the world and all the black people should be on one side and all the white people on the other side.  Meeting a boyfriend (who was white) at Expo 88 resulted in men walking up to him saying “did you know that she’s black?”   The mother of my boyfriend in Grade 12 (who was also white) so kindly pointed out to him that it probably wouldn’t be a good idea if we held hands in public because he might “have people staring at you because Leanne isn’t the same cololur as you”.  Seriously.  She actually said that to him in front of me.  

Whilst there were many more incidents such as these, like Dr Teo, I have not experienced “overt” racism in a long while.   The memories have faded but I do remember the upset, the tears and the confusion.  But it was so long ago and personally, things are different for me now.  I don’t get abused on the street.  People don’t walk up to The Architect and say “do you know she’s black?”  I don’t see the colour anymore.  Not mine, not The Architects’ and not my children.

So tomorrow I will be celebrating Australia Day like everybody else here in this fantastic country.  I’ve got my lamb ready, the gas bottle is full and ready to go and let's hope I can get a pav (pavlova) on the table.  We may not have the sun because “the rains are ere” but the spirit will be there.

Here's cheers and Happy Australia Day to everyone!


Image: Ohmega1982 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Cry me a river

So Polynesian Princess starts prep tomorrow.  This is it.  Entering the education system.  No big deal, right?  I’ve been sailing along, totally oblivious to it.  Yes, I bought the uniforms and went to all the info days/nights.  But I was too busy chasing after Little Warrior for any of it to sink in.  I’ve been cool as a cucumber.  Lots of friends have been asking “how are you going to be on her first day?” and I shrug “don’t know”.

See?  Cool as a cucumber.  Until approximately three days ago.  All coolness has since disintegrated into near hysteria.  Think Kleenex tissue ads.  Think Halle Berry ugly cry. Oh yeah.  THAT kind of crying...

Anytime The Architect mentions the words “school” and "soon", I start weeping.  Anytime.  It’s ridiculous.  And it came out of nowhere.  I did not see this coming.  Those that know me well are no doubt rolling their eyes right now saying "blind Freddy could've seen this coming".  They know that I mourn the end of anything.  And this is the end of an era for me.  The end of my baby truly being my baby.

The past (almost) five years has flown by.  How did we get from this:

to this:

 in the blink of an eye?

It was only yesterday that I was demand feeding, co-sleeping (oh yes I did) and smiling tightly as I listened to all sorts of unrequested advice.  And here we are.  Almost five, starting school and riding without training wheels.

Soon she’ll be standing in front of me (or behind a recently slammed door) screaming “BUT I LOVE HIM MUM!!!” and I’ll be in a heap on the other side of the door.

Yay.  I can't wait.

In the meantime, good wishes are going out to all Prep-Parents out there for tomorrow!  I will be working my way through a box of tissues (after I drop her off, of course) at my "Tea & Tissues" morning tea with other first-timers.  And trust me.  If the past few days are anything to go by.  I will be crying a river.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

A lazy Saturday morn...

It is the Saturday before school starts.  It's hot.  Stinking hot.  And we decided today was the day to take the trainer wheels off Polynesian Princess's trike.   Tops.

Down to Suncorp Stadium we trundle.  Park ourselves under a tree.

This tree.

The Architect runs around with the kids.  Both clamoring for his attention.  Little Warrior wins.  He usually does.  He's the loudest and most insistent.

I don't envy him.  I sit and relax.

Like this.

Ooooh wait!  There's a caterpillar on the tree.  Let's squish him!  Poor caterpillar.  Little Warrior and Polynesian Princess, armed with sticks intent on squishing.  But they are unsuccessful.  In part, due to The Architect and me dissuading them vehemently.

But I digress.  The removal of trainer wheels is a success!  Another milestone checked off the list.  Polynesian Princess is a natural only being hindered by our insistence on grabbing sporadically at her bike.  No, no Mum.  Let go.

Okie doke!

This could be a way of getting used to what will happen on Monday.  Her first day in school.

No, no Mum.

Let go...

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Memory Smells

Have you got a Memory Smell?  That’s my informal name for what is formally referred to as the “relationship between olfaction and memory”.   I think mine sounds better.

I’ve got stacks of these, as I’m sure you have.   And possibly, like me, you don’t know you have them until you smell something.  Someone’s perfume might take you back to an old friend.  The smell of bread might transport you back to a simpler time.  The smell of freshly mown grass may elicit cricket, beers and summer memories.

For me, the smell of rice takes me back to my Nanna’s kitchen and to Mum’s kitchen.  It never fails to make me feel happy.   Whenever the Polynesian Princess smells rice cooking, she runs into the kitchen, sniffs the air dramatically and then declares “mmmmmmm that smells GOOD!!!”  And I smile.  Because I know that I have created a memory smell for her.

And Bully Beef!  Yes, “Smelly Beef” as The Architect has named it.  This is another childhood memory smell for me that I have also passed on to Polynesian Princess and Little Warrior.  They love it.  And because The Architect won’t eat Smelly Beef, it is served, generally when he is at work.  Or travelling.  Or mowing the lawn.

One whiff of Samsara and I’m back in my 20’s, asphyxiating in the backseat of a taxi with my besties, heading into the city.   The heady mix of all of our perfumes was enough to bring on a migraine.  Srsly.

The smell of Cedel hair spray makes me feel 14 years old again.  Does anyone remember that hairspray?  I had the pale pink one.  Man, that stuff smelt toxic…

When my Nanna died, I discovered that a dress I had of hers, still had her scent on it.  So I kept this dress wrapped tightly in a plastic bag and shoved in the back of my bottom drawer.  Every now and again I would sit on the floor cross-legged, open the drawer, reach into the back and pull out this plastic bag.  Then I would reverently untie and unwrap the bag, hold the dress to my face and breathe in deep and remember my Nanna.  Eventually the dress didn’t smell like her anymore and I lost her all over again.  That was a sad day.

The smell of grease evokes memories of my Dad.  Grease and diesel.  Hopping into his ute on a hot summer’s day (and getting burnt by the friggin vinyl in the front seat) and smelling grease, hot vinyl seats, cigarettes and maybe the faint hint of kabana.  Good times.  Good memories.

And what about you?  What are your memory smells?

Friday, 13 January 2012

Black Friday

Nothing deep today peeps.  Decided to simply upload a few photos of me and the Polynesian Princess from today.  Birthday shopping for our niece, lunch with my parents and now playing in the front yard.

Nothing to report on this Black Friday.


Happy weekend everyone and thanks so much for following.


Thursday, 12 January 2012

A letter to my sixteen-year-old-self

Dear Leanne,

First of all, I have to tell you: don’t worry about your weight.  All those moments of hating yourself because you think your thighs/bum/whatever is fat, are wasted moments.  I can tell you that this is not something you’re worrying about now.  Don’t waste your time fretting or comparing, you’re perfect and just enjoy it.  Oh, and those desperate sit-ups before you go to bed aren’t doing anything.  You’re not fooling anyone, least of all your stomach so stop doing it. 

Secondly, get rid of him. You know who I’m talking about.  He’s not right for you.  You know it, Mum knows it, hell I think even Ryan knows it and he’s only seven!  He’ll move on very quickly, trust me.  And yes, you’ll be broken-hearted and probably cry for weeks and weeks, but you’ll get over it and move on, and eventually be happier.  Spend more time with the girls and just enjoy being a teenager.

And still on the subject of boys: stay away from that butcher.  I repeat: Stay. Away. From. The Butcher.  He is no good.  You might think he’s cute, cause of his black hair and blue eyes (you have a thing for this combo as you get older), I can’t stress it any further.  And for God’s sake don’t move in with him.  If this is the only message you take away from this.  Please Leanne, I’m begging you.  Stay away….

Instead of doing Hospitality Management at university (which, can I tell you, you don’t finish), you need to do Communications.  Marketing, PR, anything along those lines.  You enjoy writing and believe it or not, you forget this as you get older and you stop writing for about 25 years.  Keep a folio of your work and don’t throw this away.

Learn to say no.  And more importantly learn how to say no.  You can’t please everybody and saying ‘yes’ to everybody only makes you miserable.  People will get over it.  Some people may not even notice!  You will feel empowered when you learn that you are actually in charge of your own destiny.

Get into running and riding.  You do eventually, but it would probably do you a service if you started now.  What you sometimes go through isn’t always PMS.  You will be diagnosed with depression in your 20’s.  Running helps.  Exercise of any description helps, but running is the best for you.  You’re not going mad.  The way you feel has a name.  Also, you can probably ease off on the Evening Primrose Oil because it ain’t doin’ jackshit ;)

When you’re about 26, you’ll receive an email from a guy.  An Architect.  He’ll ask you out for dinner.  Say yes.  Say yes, and hold onto him with both hands.  You won’t regret it.  This one is the one.  This one is the one Mum always told you about.  When she’d be cradling you in her arms after your most recent break-up, and she’d soothe you with words like “there’s someone out there for you Leanney, someone special, someone who will love you with everything they’ve got.  When it happens, you’ll know, you’ll just know”.  You don’t believe her when she tells you this, but it’s true.

I don’t know what else to tell you Leanne.  Start acting on your own instincts, especially when it comes to your relationships.  Learn how to say no.  Stick with the writing.  Stay strong, stay positive and have faith in your own inner voice.

I love you.  I don’t tell you often enough, but I do.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Beauty #failwhale

So there I sat.  Icing my top lip and thinkng “I don’t think I’ve ever had to do this before”.  Ice my top lip, that is.  You see the other day I went and had my eyebrows ‘threaded’.  I was a virgin threadee and was very pleasantly surprised with the result!  And all for the bargain price of $7.  The beautician twisted my rubber arm into getting my top lip done (brows and lip for $10?!) and again – pleasantly surprised with the result!

I’ve had my top lip done before, but I would have to say it was waaaay over a decade ago.  Long enough for me to forget that doing your lip actually makes a difference.  In fact, once she’d finished my eyebrows, the beautician looks at me and says “ok.  So now we do your lip?” and my hand flew to my face, “really? Do you think I need it?”.  Naturally, she said yes.  “It looks neater” she said.  She could’ve been saying “You are a hairy sasquatch and I am DYING to trim that mo” for all my self-confidence was feeling right then.  So I let her.  I mean, who wants to be a sasquatch?

Cut to the next day.  And I’m intermittently itching at my top lip.  First on the left.  Then on the right.  And later in the middle.  I stick my face into The Architect’s and demand “can you see anything on my top lip?”.  He peers.  Nope.  Nothing.  Knowing exactly what men’s eyesight can be like at the best of times (sorry, but it’s my blog and if I want to have a not-so-subtle dig, I will), I went off in search of the nearest mirror.  I turned on the light and looked in the mirror.  And there, running along my top lip like a spray of newbie mushrooms were teeny, tiny little bumps.  Instantly I was on the phone to the beautician, texting furiously.  She replied straight away and said that it was normal for virgin top lips (I’m para-phrasing) and it won’t happen next time (Yeah. Uh HUH).  She instructed me to use vitamin E cream or frequent icing.  Given the temperature was nudging 33 that day, I opted for icing.  Plus we were sans Vitamin E cream..

I realise this is miniscule when we’re talking about examples of beauty #failwhales.  It could’ve been worse.  Much, much worse.   Probably the biggest thing that has happened was when my hair got burnt from some hair straightening product and the whole front section of my fringe fell out.  But for some reason that didn’t really bother me too much, and I wasn’t at all pissed at the salon or the person who did it (I know you still feel bad Nic, but you don’t need to!).

Then there was the time a girl at Pure Indulgence (am I allowed to name and shame like this?) waxed my eyebrows, and she waxed the same spot about six times.  Each time she removed a layer of skin until I had a shiny, pink veneer of flesh just under my brows.  When it scabbed over, it just looked like I was rockin’ a solid maroon eye-shadow.   Actually.  Maybe that was bigger than the hair fall-out incident.

So how about you?  Have you had any beauty #failwhales?

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Days like these...

I can’t lie.  There are times when I look longingly, wistfully back at the days before kids.  Those times usually find me standing in the middle of my two kids fighting, screaming or crying and the Architect and I hissing at each other, disagreeing every step of the way.   The tension is rising, the kitchen’s usually hot and I’m thinking:

“Nobody told me there’d be days like these”.

Him:  “Just give the toy to him”
Me: “She had it first and it’s not fair that he gets everything just because he’s louder!”
Repeat ad nauseum.

Freeze that shot.

That’s the exact moment I’m wishing them all away and I’m sitting beside a bubbling stream or something.  Actually, this is exactly where I picture myself:

When this photo was taken, it was a simpler time.  We were in Port Douglas with brother & sister-in-law and we only had one young child each.  Life was easier and we were still travelling relatively incident and stress-free.  When this photo was taken, I knew that I would always travel back to this place in my mind because it was just so beautiful and peaceful.

Fast forward three years later and a trip up to Far North Queensland seems like a world away and Mossman Gorge lives on only as a cover photo on my Facebook page.

The times have changed and our family has changed.  There’s more noise in the house, there’s more mess in the house and there’s more things to get done.  Whilst there’s more fighting, screaming and squealing, when it’s the opposite and there is total silence, it seems strange.  The old saying “careful what you wish for because you might get it” comes back to me.   Whenever the Polynesian Princess goes to stay with her grandparents the house feels empty.  It's too quiet.  Little Warrior wanders from room to room looking for big sister and I find myself counting the days until we’re back to full complement.  Crazy innit?

So there are definitely times when I am wishing I were back in the gorge, sitting cross-legged and ommmming myself to mindfulness and peace.  But then there are times when we’re cycling home from a fish & chip dinner at Southbank, with one child on each bike and looking at the sunset from the Go Between Bridge.   Everybody is happy and for a moment, everybody is quiet.  It is sheer bliss, and I think:

“Nobody told me there’d be days like these”.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Renovator's Delight

When I first met The Architect I had no desire to (a) buy a house; or (b) renovate a house.  Sometimes he would talk about his plans for the future and how he wanted to buy and renovate.  I would smile at the right places and once, when it was obviously my turn to talk I said “just so you know….I’m not interested in that stuff, I’d just be watching”.  I had to say it.  I’m lazy like that.  Plus I like to keep expectations very clear.

Twelve years later he has proven himself to be an extremely handy man.  He renovated our previous two-bedroom unit on his own (painting, tiling, wardrobes, kitchen, everything), and now he’s single-handedly renovating our three-bedroom house in Brisbane.  And I’ve been true to my word.   I have simply watched.

He’s so lovely that when he talks about renovations, he uses the term “we”.  We painted the outside of the house this Easter.  We built the deck.  We did the kitchen.  We did the kids rooms and so on and so forth.  I can’t and never do, sit by and let him bestow these accolades on me.  Whenever he says ‘we’, I interrupt with ‘you’.  But he continues as though I didn’t say anything. 

Early last year he stained the deck and painted the outside of the house.  He had just finished when I was sitting on the front steps, reading a magazine and drinking my afternoon cuppa.  He was idly walking around the front garden and said “what should we do next?”.  From memory I don’t even think I looked up.  Just kept flicking through my mag and said “a fence’d be nice”.  He disappeared under the house, re-emerged with a can of paint, and measuring tape and started mapping out the fence.  A week later we had a fence.



He (with the help of his Dad and brother) stuck this whopping big deck on the back of our house.

Sans deck:

 With deck:

 And can I just show you where Polynesian Princess and I were while they were doing some of this?

Yes.  This is at Doyles, Watsons Bay.

In Sydney.  Ahem....

He also took our gaaawjus kitchen from its original state from this:

To this:

There was three layers of crap on this kitchen floor but it was totally worth breaking through it all.  And I helped that time.  I can't seem to locate the photographic evidence, but I did help.  (I DID!!).

So what's my contribution?  Ummm….I make a pretty mean BLT??  Open a mean bottle of lemonade?

And I do appreciate it.  I do.  Forget all the yelling, condescension, insults and whining.  Just forget all that!

I appreciate it.  Hand on my heart.  Thank-you honey.

I love you.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

How do YOU break up with a friend?

So riddle me this peeps: what do you do when a friendship dies?  What if it's only died on your side?   Have you ever been able to sit down with the person and amicably end it?  Or are you like me.  Do you just stop responding to emails and very slowly cut them out of your life.  All the while praying to Buddha that they get the picture and the uncomfortable conversation never has to take place...

Not unlike parenting, I feel out of my depth here.  Friendships don’t come with a handbook and I have no idea how to handle situations such as these.  I would prefer to address the elephant in the room and say “hey, this just isn’t working out, and it hasn’t been for the past 30 years” or “your negativity is sucking the life out of me and I think it’s over”.  Or “I find your sense of humour offensive and it’s not fun listening to you poke fun at me, my husband or my kids”.  Negative ghostrider, the pattern is full.

The people-pleaser side of me would just say to retain the friendship and keep the peace.  And who knows?  Maybe one day they’ll ditch me!  But the people-pleaser side of me is what got me into this situation in the first place.

When I was younger (read: up until last year), I couldn’t say no to people.  I would accept a playdate or catch-up from {pretty much} anyone who asked.  I understand sometimes it takes guts for people to ask, and I had never felt comfortable saying no to someone’s face.  But something happened last year.  I’d had a gutful.  I’d had a gutful of toxic relationships, specifically friendships.   And I’d had a gutful of watching myself making the mistake over and over.   It wasn’t easy, but I did it.  There was a lot of soul-searching, a lot of tears and confusion, but I did it.  And I feel lighter, freer and definitely happier for it.  My first thought was “why the fuck didn’t I do this sooner?!”.

Nowadays I feel a lot more comfortable in my skin.  I have a definite “take it or leave it” attitude and I wish (I wish, I wish) that I had been like this back when I was in year eight.  If I had had this confidence back then, I think I would have lessened a lot of anxiety, I would have had more quality connections and I probably would have valued myself more.  The lesson I want to pass on to my little ones is that you don’t have to please everyone.  If someone’s sapping your mojo, get away from them.  And stay away.  And don’t feel bad about it.  It’s not your job to ensure people’s happiness.

It’s theirs.

Image: Kittikun Atsawintarangkul / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Monday, 2 January 2012

What's going to be your old-age sport?

My friends and I have had many conversations over the years about which sport we’ll have when we’re retired.  Okay, we never used the word “retired”, I think we actually just said “old”.  It was a fun thing to do when we ran out of things to talk about.  What will we do with our time when we’re living in a retirement village?  My sport of choice will be golf (already have my set - used them three times and most importantly, they’re powder blue).  One of my friends has chosen bowls.  Never, not once did we ever mention gliding.

This morning in the news was an article about an 80-year-old woman who is struggling for her life after crashing her glider near Banalla in Victoria (see details here).  The first thought I had after reading this article was “what an amazing woman!”.   My second thought was ‘I hope she’s okay’ and the third: ‘at least she was doing something she enjoyed’.  But seriously - gliding at 80!  To me that is inspirational.  I hope I’m still THAT active in 40 years’ time. 

I mean, I dive.  I have a diving ticket and The Architect and I have gone away diving together and had a ball (most memorable moment: night diving with sharks).  But that’s now.  Will we still be diving together well into our twilight years?  We also ride, bushwalk and I occasionally run.  He rides a motorbike, plays golf and loves going for walks.   This morning’s article has reassured me.  It tells me that life doesn’t end just because you’re getting older.

Our next door neighbour is very active around his house and constantly working, painting, cleaning.  Just the other day he jumped up on his deck balustrades to “HAAAA!” at the bush turkeys using his roof as a race-track.  He would be in his 70’s.  God, I think if I did that NOW, my back would be out for weeks.  My back is still twinging from Christmas Day when I got out of my chair FFS.

But there are no complaints from me.  An active life is what I want now, and if I can extend that for as long as possible, that will make me one happy chicky.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

1 Jan 2012

Day one of the New Year and The Architect and I are lost.  Mooching around the house, occasionally saying “what do you want to do today?” before drifting into another room and forgetting the question.  If I were about ten years younger, this would have frustrated the hell out of me.  Directionless, even for one day, was enough to drive me insane.  So many wasted minutes.  They could have been used for shopping!  Or eating!  Or shopping!  Wait....   But this is not so anymore.

I fill almost every day up with activity, it’s a relief to have one day sans plans.  The house is quiet with the Little Warrior out for the count.  Polynesian Princess is eating her way through a bag of lollies at Mum's place (I'm guessing).  The street is quiet with our young neighbours either away or sleeping the sleep of the dead.   I don’t care either way.  Hand on my heart.

So this is my start to the year.  Quiet and innocuous.  Were you smart enough to organise something?

Think I'll have a cuppa...