I’ll think of a title later

This morning I arrived at work late frazzled, out of sorts and decidedly cross. Yesterday I had also arrived late, as I was on toddler time: he decided that he wanted more breakfast, after he’d got shoes and rucksack on, when I said we had to leave – he laid down in front of the front door so I couldn’t even open it to get out the house. After negotiating that hurdle, he then splayed his arms and legs like a spider so I couldn’t get him into car, let alone the car seat. He only calmed down after I gave him my banana. By the time we’d got to nursery, they were welcome to him.

Today as I was bending down to help him get his shoes on I sniffed and asked if he’d pooped. ‘No mama’ I checked, not just poop, but poopsplosion. If it had been any other time of day, it would have been a shower. It was a nightmare, including needed new pants and trousers. Instead of leaving early, or even on time, we left the house at time I am normally arriving at work by the time I’d finished cleaning him up.

I hate being late. It is disrespectful. I also hate people being late. If you ask us to arrive at 10am, we are there at 10am. It pi$$es me off no end some people’s laissez-faire attitude to meeting up with others. Standing in my hallway today, gathering my stuff together I screeched banshee style ‘I hate being f-ing late!’ – Peanut looked startled, I said ‘I’m sorry for shouting. I wasn’t shouting at you, I was cross with me’. We hugged and he told me ‘All ok Mama. All ok.’

I am grateful that today after work I am going to the gym. I’ve got the 10km run this weekend, I’m going to get on the treadmill, put a podcast on and just plod away until I get to 8km.

I am grateful that this morning, Peanut woke up at 6am, bright, happy and cheerful. That he gives such good cuddles, particularly when he knows that his mother is fragile at that point in time.

I am grateful for so many things, but this morning hunched over the steering wheel driving to work, my shoulders were up around my ears in frustration. I deliberately changed my route to work after dropping Peanut off today, so I didn’t have to drive past a school crossing supervisor. He waves at cars driving past, but on such a dangerous bend he’s more of a hazard than the road conditions. Yes, this sounds daft. I am fully aware of that, but I chose to re-route myself so I didn’t explode further.

Recognising my touch points is a work in progress, but I know when I am getting forgetful, ratty or swearing, I need to take step back from what I’m doing. This morning there was nothing I could do, I had to change his nappy. But being late two days on the trot is maddening. Did I need to screech? No, but it was a release of emotion that had I tried to swallow, would have eaten away at me all morning.

Leaving things behind me is another thing I need to work on. It wasn’t until I’d shared my morning with the girls at work and verbalised it that I felt better.

I am grateful for the support network my colleagues provide me with. The majority of my oldest friends I either met at work or through work, spending so much time together entwines people’s lives in a web of friendship.

I am grateful the fog has finally lifted, I wouldn’t say that it’s sunny, but being able to see the trees out my window is helping with my mood too.

Vanity Fair Proust questionnaire

At the end of every magazine, Vanity Fair ask a celebrity to complete the Proust questionnaire. Here are my answers (they may change if you ask me this again tomorrow):

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness – a family meal.

2. What is your greatest fear – something happening to my family.

3. Which historical figure do you most identify with – Virginia Woolf

4. Which living person do you most admire – for chutzpa, Hillary Rodham Clinton, go girl. Go all the way.

5. What is the trait you deplore most in yourself – impatience.

6. What is the trait you most deplore in others – ignorance, shown in sexism, racism, homophobia, or just being plain ol’ ignorant.

7. What is your greatest extravagance – books and wine.

8. On what occasion do you lie – when I weigh myself.

9. What do you dislike about your appearance – how long have you got?

10. When and where were you happiest – when my baby son slept on my chest or a pub in Brussels.

11. If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be – probably best for someone else to answer this question, but I’d to quit my iPhone habit.

12. If you could change one thing about your family what would it be – I’d like to be living closer to everyone.

13. What is your greatest achievement – my son.

14. If you died and came back as a person or thing what do you think it would be – a cat, I want to catch up on the sleep I’ve missed over the past three years.

15. What is your most treasured possession – I try to not associate too deeply with possessions, but Dumbo probably.

16. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery – reality TV. I dream of being able to read and watch the news without it again.

17. Who are your heroes in real life – always, Hanno’s Mum, today Ian Thorpe.

18. What is it that you most dislike – I’m fairly easy going, but bad manners pi$$es me off more than you can possibly know.

19. How would you like to die – in my sleep. Nice and peacefully thanks.

20. What is your motto – When people show you who they are, believe them the first time. Maya Angelou

On Ian Thorpe

I cannot let this week go by without putting some words down about Ian Thorpe. We managed to miss the interview with Michael Parkinson (shown on Australian TV Sunday night), but I read the transcript earlier today. I’ve not seen any media coverage of it, as in TV coverage, but there is a lot of commentary in the paper this morning and even more online that I’ve flicked through. Some of the comments I’ve read, make me ashamed to be human.

Hubs and I were listening to the radio yesterday (Sunday) morning before the interview even aired, where they were talking about the interview and how the media, particularly in Australia, have to wear some of the blame, specifically around how Ian Thorpe was portrayed in the media and how being gay would have had an impact on his image. What the actual *insert expletive of choice here. It was an interesting discussion to listen to, the pundit was ashamed of the media. Voicing his concern that someone who was seen as an Aussie icon can’t be gay.

How can you apportion blame? The media certainly hound famous people and their families. But then they also hound teachers, doctors, anyone they can find in an attempt to bring shame on people for loving who they love or just being attracted to who they are attracted to. It is well recognised that there is a scale of sexuality; first developed by Kinsey, ranging from exclusively heterosexual to exclusively homosexual. Since Kinsey’s pioneering work, every shade in between the two has been filled in as well as people identifying as asexual, not interested at all. Most of us will move up and down the scale through their lives, being in a state of flux; many of us are very aware of our orientation, some of us never know, nor neither care. But how many people pick up a magazine to read the salacious gossip about celebrities, gossip about co-workers, gossip about school friends, stir, stir, stir.

Who cares, really and in the grand scheme of things? If I did care about the sexuality of someone else, does it have any impact on my life? No. Unless I want to interact with them in a sexual way, it has no bearing on my life at all. Goodness knows there are a million and one reasons why people don’t want to interact with anyone else sexually; what gender they feel comfortable being could be the least of them! We should all be free to live our lives authentically, freely and openly.

But despite it being 2014, so many people can’t. So many people have to hide, lie, pretend, live in shame. Because they’re abused, verbally and physically for being who they are.

I’m still processing the coverage of this, not the actual announcement. I am more cross and frustrated that for years someone has had the weight of this on their shoulders, all because he is an icon. Let us just stand up and roar for the achievements of one of the greatest sportsman the world has ever seen, let us just support him for who he is, admire him for what he’s done. I’m proud of Ian Thorpe. But ashamed that he thought about telling everyone before the Sydney Olympics, but couldn’t. He said that he wasn’t brave enough to speak out. He wasn’t allowed to live the life he should have been allowed to live, for at least fourteen years, because he was the poster boy of the sport I also gave up my childhood to and he was an icon.

icon

noun: icon; plural noun: icons;

1. a devotional painting of Christ or another holy figure, typically executed on wood and used ceremonially in the Byzantine and other Eastern Churches.

2. a person or thing regarded as a representative symbol or as worthy of veneration.

I think Charlie Pickering put it best on Twitter. So Ian Thorpe is our most successful gay swimmer. Or as I like to say our most successful swimmer.

Foreboding words

Foreboding indeed. If you’re not on Facebook and follow this for the sheer heck of it, you’ll have missed that last week I was diagnosed with pharyngitis (on the Monday morning) and then sinusitis (on the Wednesday morning). Both are painful, I was left in bed for six days, croaking like a frog and texting for refreshments from Hubs as oppose to asking for them. I read a lot, slept more and basically tried to get better. Two lots of antibiotics in, my face is still painful, particularly first thing in the morning, so I rang to book an appointment to see the GP again on Friday (today) just before this lot of antibiotics ran out.

I was really hoping that the second lot of tablets would help and that I could actually cancel the appointment, but no such luck. Seeing the GP this morning, she pulled some gloves on and pressed against my forehead and cheekbones, bringing tears to my eyes (but an improvement of the bout of sinusitis I had over Christmas one year, where another GP did the same to me. The pain was so bad I vomited in his lap). She mused, “They feel a bit full don’t they?” she asked me what I was doing to help shift it along. “Flushing them out?” Yes. “Steroid spray?” Yes. “Taking a decongestant?” I’ve been taking Codral cold and flu for ages, so YES!

I am allergic to penicillin and can’t have gluten, so finding antibiotics that I can take is getting progressively more difficult. When I saw the GP on the Wednesday morning, nine days ago, she spent longer on the computer searching for something I could take than it took for her to diagnose the infection had moved upwards. This was after she told me off for being greedy for having had the cold for over a week already. Ha bluddy ha. When I got the script at the chemist, I had to explain to someone (with no voice) that I couldn’t have gluten. She didn’t understand what I meant, I tried again. She still didn’t get it, so I got my medic-alert card out my purse to show that I was coeliac. The pharmacist then had to call the supplier to make sure the tablets weren’t bulked out with wheat starch as the information leaflet didn’t tell them.

Today, the GP again searched on the computer for something stronger I could take. The problem with sinuses is that they’re a bugger to clear, pun intended. Helpfully, she told me that penicillin would clear it up in five days, she asked me what happened when I took it? I go into tachycardia and faint due to lack of oxygen. Which is not good fun. We agreed that I wouldn’t test this out again to see if I could now tolerate it, what with having a small child, driving and so on. More searching on the interweb. She finally found me some, and told me that this was the last option of antibiotic available to me.

Joy.

The last option. I’m not yet 40 years old and I’m down to two or three antibiotics I can take if I need to take them. Wow.

Wild weather

Melbourne and Victoria have had rather a large low pressure system move across them. Dumping a great deal of snow in the highlands, and dumping a load of branches off trees outside our office. We’ve lost one tree completely that we can see from our seats, let alone the others that we heard fall over. Suddenly the much coveted window seats weren’t so popular! We did wonder if the recently added enviro-film to keep heat in and cool air out would save us, but thought it unlikely if a tree came through the glass at a great rate of knots. There are branches and twigs blown up against and under cars, the power went out for about ten minutes and while lots of homes were also without power, people were warned (online, most helpful with no power) it was too windy to fix the power lines safely.

I was very glad I had my lunch and a book with me today, as it meant I didn’t have to venture out in the wild weather. People stayed in the office sharing food with others and are venturing out now to run the errands they would normally have done at lunchtime.

We’re in full party planning mode, with Peanut’s birthday on Sunday. Keep your fingers crossed that we’re all well as the bug going around this week is horrendous. One lady at work last week said her son was one of just five children out of the twenty eight in his class; for the teacher to promptly get ill, and now she’s out for the rest of the week with it as well. Bossman is finally better after about a week with it too, and despite our best efforts to keep him out of the office, he came in for a full day and shared his germs. I wish people would just stay home and be ill. It is bad enough working in an air-conditioned office; let alone the people who don’t wash their hands; before you get to people being martyrs and carrying on because ‘I’m not that bad really’. Hubs is busy going hot and cold, Peanut is coughing like he’s been smoking a pipe and I ache all over and have a sore throat. I’m a little bit over being ill I must admit, despite the GP saying last week the viral infection I’ve got could run for 4-6 weeks.

I took myself out for a run on Sunday afternoon, I didn’t do my full loop of just over 5km, I’ve not been out for a while and haven’t felt well enough really – Peanut and I did an abbreviated 3km version. I was working on the kill or cure philosophy, I’m entered into a 10km road race at the end of July and am nowhere near running that distance. I wrapped the wee man up well, tucked him under a blanket and we had a brisk, cold trot out. He loves going in this pram, to the point where as I’d brought it in the house when we’d finished, he pushed it through to the living room and he watched a DVD sitting in it. The only issue I have with it is that running with the pram feels so different to running without it and on a treadmill, it took me a while to feel comfortable going round corners with him in it. I still tend to run with him round gentle bends and slow down for the tighter turns, as I’d hate for it to fall over. I will go to the gym tomorrow lunchtime as we’ve got another community workshop in the evening, so I don’t want to be running at 6am, knowing I’ll be at work till about 10pm. It’s a busy week, I’ll be glad when it’s Sunday afternoon and I’m kicking back with a glass of wine.

On Sandhurst

To expand on a post I popped on Facebook, Hubs and I were watching The Kings Speech while I did the ironing on Sunday night. A documentary series was on SBS when the DVD finished, filmed over the course of a year on Sandhurst Royal Military Academy.

There was only about 15 minutes left of the program, if that. But it was enough to trigger some decidedly mixed emotions. Life on Sandhurst RMA started when my first husband and I moved in on the day of the July bombings in London and finished when I moved in with Mon Bears after the marriage systematically imploded around me. Seeing the buildings made me alternate from sad, angry, upset and relieved.

It was singularly the most unwelcoming camp I ever lived on as an Army wife. If your husband wasn’t involved in the training of officer cadets, you weren’t involved, despite other units also being based on the camp. Women simply wouldn’t talk to you, they’d turn their backs and walk away. ‘Affectionately’ known as the marriage breaker, if your relationship was in strife, living on Sandhurst would finish it off.

I don’t really want to rehash that part of my life, but I can’t not without writing this. However, what made me think when I posted my teary thanks and gratitude on Facebook to everyone who helped me and held me up, was how life and happenstance turns on a knife edge. Every single day you make decisions and choices and live with the consequences that come out of those decisions.

What if (in no particular order):

· He hadn’t accepted that posting?

· I hadn’t gone to work in one office on another near-by camp, then applied to somewhere else when the role didn’t work out, so I also ended up working on Sandhurst?

· I wouldn’t have met my then boss, who’s sister phoned up one day asking if she knew anyone who was looking for another job?

· I didn’t get offered that job, which nearly doubled my wage and gave me a way out?

· I hadn’t read Stop Thinking, Start Living in the shadow of Salisbury Cathedral and realised that I alone, was enough. Just me.

· If on the day I met Rikibear I hadn’t given her a hug because she looked so unutterably sad and needed a hug? What if her phone was switched off when I called her?

· I hadn’t been left felt so small I needed to get out and meet people, so put an advert on a dating website?

· If Hubs hadn’t replied to me?

Oh boy, am having to stop playing this game now because it’s hurting too hard. Without Hubs, I wouldn’t have Peanut and I can’t bear it. That sweet boy brings me so much sunshine, last night he took my hand and pulled me into the living room so we could play with his Legos, we built houses and rockets, trucks and castles, showing each creation to his Dadda with pride in his voice. Last night I read him to sleep, we laughed and joked over a book, his hands on either side of my face as he kissed me goodnight and asked me to light his stars so he could count them on his ceiling. When he creeps into our bed and snuggles into me, the curls on the back of his head tickling my nose as I spoon him, my heart is so full I can barely breathe. This morning as I was making my breakfast, he was playing with play doh, again showing us what he was seeing, opening our eyes to his world.

While watching the program was difficult, I forced myself to watch. It was reminder that no matter what choices you make, the consequences of those choices and the fallout from them can take you so far away from where you planned or thought yourself you’d be.

In the middle of loss and turmoil, you can’t see more than a few steps in front of you. Don’t forget when something huge happens in your life, you have to get used to it, so you need to allow yourself the time to get used to living with it. I read this article on grief today, it rang so true, not just for bereavement, but for the life I had to leave behind me when my first marriage failed. Part of the whole range of emotions is accepting that you’ve now got a change of direction:

It’s not a question of getting over it or healing. No; it’s a question of learning to live with this transformation. For the loss is transformative, in good ways and bad, a tangle of change that cannot be threaded into the usual narrative spools. It is too central for that. It’s not an emergence from the cocoon, but a tree growing around an obstruction. Meghan O’Rourke

I love the idea and image of being a tree growing round an obstruction, absorbing life changes but carrying on growing. As much as I hated that time in my life, I have much to be grateful for what it gave me.