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.

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The end of the road

Breaking up is hard to do. Making a decision to walk away from something, or in this case, someone, is difficult. Many people just stop calling and hope that the other person gets the hint, wanting to fudge their way out a relationship.

I broke up by text, to her mother, as she is ignoring me – I used some tough love and she couldn’t see that it was coming from a place of support, again, she could not see I was doing anything other than attempting to lift her, again.

There are only so many times you can give, before you feel like it is expected. I’ve learnt that from previous friendships. I know that I can go absent from people’s lives, usually when I’m ashamed of something, so I hide, expecting that people will ignore me. The ones that can see past my shame, past the ball juggling, past the smile when inside I’m struggling, those are the friends I’ve had for years. They put up with me, support me, love me, for me, warts and shame and all.

Every day I am trying to be everything to everyone. Leaving me at the bottom of my list. I took three days off work, made a list of things to do, and found it was all housework. Yes, the dates in my diary were all pleasure, going away for the weekend, getting my hair cut, lunch with a girlfriend today and meeting with a graphic designer for my business this afternoon, but the list of things to get done to do, busy, busy, busy…

I’ve got a bath bomb in the cupboard from Lush, not had time for a bath.

Got a reading nook set up that I’ve not sat in yet, a pile of books asking to be read on the desk beside my chair.

Who cares if the house is perfect?

I treat people how I want to be treated (apart from the retreating in shame thing obviously; but the book I’m reading at the moment is opening my eyes to shame and how it is hiding in plain view) I don’t care if I don’t like your advice, if you feel I need some unprompted advice, I’ll listen to your opinion. I value every person in my life, they enhance me, contribute to my psyche and well-being and are building blocks to me learning on a daily basis. I’ve had some really tough love from people, and it’s not been easy to take, but I didn’t think anything less of them for giving it to me. I hope I didn’t take it personally, I don’t think I did? I may have gone a bit quiet at the time, but that again is me thinking things through. Not flying off the handle at people for gently steering me in the right direction again.

So here I am, warts and all, in the middle of shame, my mouth is dry, I have a metallic taste in my mouth, I feel like a rabbit in headlights, and all I can think of is, I should have tried harder. But the other half of me is saying, you tried enough. I cannot worry about what other people think of me over this, I am sharing this with you because I do not want to fester on it any more.

Here I am, broken open, sharing this, incoherent stream of consciousness, unedited with you, hoping to let you in, so you can see my shame, let you see that despite my best efforts, on this occasion, it still feels like they weren’t enough. Not for any pat on the backs, self-congratulatory crap. Not for anything other, than if someone reads this and realises they are not on their own, this post has helped two people. Me and them.

On Lance Armstrong

I’ve been trying to find the words for this blog for a while. And I simply can’t find them. So I’m just going to type and see where it takes me.

I rummaged around to find one of the posts I wrote on my old blog, (see previous post) about our trip to Adelaide to watch the Tour Down Under in 2010:

Anyhoo, today was the city stage, I will write about the shambles of yesterday when we get back to Melbourne, but today I was within INCHES of Lance Armstrong, and I mean that when I say it. I have one cracking photo of him for you, but you will have to trust me when I say I could have just extended my hand and touched him, I didn’t even have to stretch.

WOOOOOOO HOOOOOOO.

Excuse me, but it isn’t every day you get to realise a life time’s ambition:

Judi Dench in RSC play – check
Lance Armstrong in pro-cycling race – check

I’m not sure why his fall from grace, and from such a great height, has upset me so much. Maybe it’s because he’s been so vehement about not doping, maybe it’s because he lied, and lied, and lied, and lied some more to cover it up.

It annoys me intensely that cycling as a sport can’t seem to get their sport together, full stop. Riders in the past have been given a two year ban, which is worthless because they are then welcomed back with open arms. Contador went on to win again, but with the whiff of ‘is he or isn’t?’ that will permanently hang around him. It saddens me that a whole sport seems riddled with cheats, that riders are repeatedly approached to cheat, in numerous different ways, then appear to be sidelined and slowly inched out if they don’t comply. How is that acceptable, condoned and what on earth are the sport’s top brass doing about it? They cannot not know about it if it is that rife. It’s like CEOs that claim to know nothing about what is going on in their company, when it is your name on the bottom line, you make sure you know about what is going on.

I grew up swimming competitively. I was pretty good at it. I got to the point when I reached college age, that for me to get any better, faster, I had to up my training and concentrate on it properly. But by that point in my life, I was getting frustrated with the permanent smell of chlorine on my skin, and wanted a life that didn’t revolve around swimming pools. I didn’t want it hard enough. So I stopped. And have never really started again, nearly 20 years later. My body still remembers the movements, although with age, my joints ain’t what they used to be, and I know should I get back in the pool on a regular basis, I would get fitter and stronger quickly. Once you’ve trained hard, your body knows what is expected of it, and just gets on with it. Maybe that’s too simplistic a way of describing it, but I know that when I am a gym bunny, I certainly get results a lot quicker than other people that go to the gym alongside me. Spending years pushing my body in the pool and in land training, getting out of a pool and barely being able to walk, collapsing into bed with exhaustion, to get up early the next morning and do it all over again, was normal for both my brother and I through our teenage years.The irony of not wanting a life to revolve around swimming pools bit? I spent the next 5-6 years teaching swimming and lifeguarding all over the South of England, so still stunk of chlorine.

At 17-18 years old, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life (most of the time now, I still don’t). But I did know I didn’t want to swim any more. Was it rebelling against my parents, maybe. This isn’t about me. This blog is about someone who wanted to win so badly, he lied and cheated his way to doing it, but had an army of people around him protecting him and his reputation.

In some ways I’m glad his reputation is now in tatters. People are trying to balance it up against the foundation he created, but if you lie to that extent in one area of your life, what other shady things have you done in other areas of your life? Last week I threw out my Nik3 top with the yellow band on it. I can’t bring myself to wear it any longer.

The sport I love is in tatters, the man I held on a pedestal has fallen from grace, but far from what I’ve seen so far seems to be completely unrepentant about it. I got so fed up with F1 and the Poison Dwarf extorting and rorting the sport for as much money as he can, while most of the drivers flock to tax havens, I switched my energies to cycling. Now where do I go? Netball? Hardly.

TV coverage in sport has created problems all over the world, the sponsorship in some is so bad, you barely get to see any sport between the adverts. In car cameras are lovingly placed in the cab so you can see the sponsored gear-stick and dashboards. Football players demand more money, causing clubs hundreds of years old to collapse and fold when they’re not in the top flight and can’t meet wage bills. Games are rearranged around TV schedules, instead of the game rising above everything. Enough is enough. Please, let’s try to get back to basics of Faster, Higher, Stronger. Not greed, coverage, time delay.

What a bit of luck!

I’ve received this email. I can’t wait to claim my money! In all seriousness, aside from the God-awful English, who honestly falls for things like this? I particularly loved the disclaimer at the end of it!

 

HM Treasury’s Correspondence and Enquiry Unit

From The Office of Rt Hon George Osborne MP

Chancellor of the Exchequer

Horse Guards Road

London SW1A 2HQ

Tel:+44 (0) 700 580 0054

Email: georgeosborne@hm-treasury-gov-uk.com

 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

 

Our Ref: UK/TREAS/898ATCP

File Code No: HM/IMF/7890/121

 

 

Sir.

TRUTH OF THE MATTER OF FOREIGN PAYMENT

This message is to notify you on a private note based on your claim to your contract fund which has been programmed for transfer into your designated bank account through my department for approval.

 

I am hereby apologizing to you for the delay in releasing this fund into your account, which was caused by me because of breach of agreement between me and your so-called foreign partners (International Government Officials working with CBN) who introduced you into the business.

 

Your partners (CBN Government Officials) approached the HM Treasury and contacted me on a private business stating that they presented you as a beneficiary of this fund as it was an OVER-INVOICING made when they are awarding contract to foreign firms and that they needed my assistance to relocate the fund from the Central Bank of Nigeria to Europe before crediting the fund to your account. So after the negotiation, we unanimously agreed that they (your partners) would give me the sum of US$250,000.00 (CASH) as an appreciation for my assistance in transferring the fund into your account.

 

When I accepted the offer, they forwarded all your banking particulars to me for onward transfer. As soon as I made some fruitful effort in moving the funds into the Treasury Department Account and demanded my US$250,000.00 as agreed, your partners deviated from the agreement, decided to go through the entire HM Treasury Board at my back and made an official letter for acknowledgment of request for onward payment in general to a different unsolicited account provided to the HM Treasury Board for a legal approval in order to disappoint me without knowing that the International Remittance Department is also under my control, I got the knowledge of their evil plans and proved their illicit efforts abortive. That is why for sometimes you have been pursuing this payment, spending unnecessary funds to some fraudulent government and non government officials in and outside Nigeria who claimed to be in charge of releasing your fund.

 

I want to re-emphasis that your funds approve order are still with me and under my control. Now with my whole heart, I want to enter into real business with you on a sincere agreement since your partners have disappointed me and the fund is still floating on your name waiting for a proper documentation of claim implementation. They have really turned you around the globe with their fellow partners advancing in other countries just to continue their illicit business in finding an alternative means of getting an international approval of your fund payment from foreign government agencies to compel me in releasing your funds without meeting our agreement. But I want you to note below;

 

1. On an agreement, I assure you that I am going to transfer this fund into your account.

 

2. You will assure me of keeping my dealings with you to an utmost secrecy because of my position.

 

3. You will promise to give me 20% of the total fund as soon as the fund gets into your account with a written promissory note signed by you, with a copy of your identification and your address.

 

4. I will assist you in making a proper document to make your claim genuine as a bonafide foreign contractor and the beneficiary to the said fund without going through any problem of any kind.

 

I am aware that some International Government Officials are still confusing you and trying anyway they could to compel me to pay you. I advised you that henceforth, you should suspend any dealings from any group of person(s) either from the CBN or any other financial institution / parastatals in Europe or overseas that might be contacting you in this purpose and endeavour to keep this information confidential until we finalize this transaction. Also, on no account should you contact those partners again, this is for my own safety and for the security of your fund because they will not stop at any length in securing this fund. And on no account must you let them know of my contact with you. Please reply to this message urgently and call me on my confidential Tel: 0044-700 580 0054 and make sure to send an e-mail: georgeosborne@hm-treasury-gov-uk.com

 

Waiting for your favourable response if you need my assistance.

Thanks and God bless you.

 

 

Regards,

Chancellor of the Exchequer

Rt Hon George Osborne MP (Conservative)

HM Treasury Chancellor’s Private Office.

 

—————————————————————————————

Disclaimer: The information in this email and in any files transmitted with it, is intended only for the addressee and contains confidential and/or privileged material. Access to this email by anyone else is unauthorized. If you receive this in error, please contact the sender immediately and delete the material from your computer. If you are not the intended recipient, any disclosure, copying, distribution or any action taken or omitted to be taken in reliance on it, is strictly prohibited.

On daytime TV

It’s nice to know daytime TV is crap the world over. We’ve got the digibox that you pay for, so have oodles of channels, but with naff-all on most of the time. However, during the time I’ve not worked in an office, but have been working at home with the baby, I’ve watched every Inspector Morse, Midsomer Murders, Graham Norton Show and countless cookery programmes, I can record things and watch at my leisure while feeding the baby. I’ve indulged my Britishness with programmes about the UK, I’ve watched some Aussie programmes too, but not many. But here are some things I’ve noticed:

  • Adverts are terrible, I mean bluddy awful. If you are at home and watching TV during the day, you either need to buy insurance for you, your life, your income, your car, your house or your pets. Or you need to lose weight, but you can’t eat sensibly and exercise, you have to take hunger suppressants and / or powders that expand in your stomach and make you think that you’re full. Apparently, you can’t lose weight slowly, you have to drop it off quickly, now, immediately! But losing weight like that you won’t teach yourself how to break the habits that have made you gain the weight in the first place, so as soon as you finish pumping yourself full of chemicals, you’ll put all the weight back on again. Don’t get me started on the adverts about women who can’t wear the right bra size either…
  • Presenters think they are talking to people with IQs of around 20.
  • Magazine programmes need to expand their segments to longer than 7 minutes, with 3 or 4 minutes of adverts, then another topic. Look at something in-depth instead of glossing over it and then talking all over the expert or the guest that you’ve brought on.
  • I miss Oprah.

As I begin my count down to returning to the work force, because apparently I’m sitting around doing sod all at home at the moment, I need to get my brain in gear. I also need to slightly augment the baby’s routine, he’s happily playing by himself now, which is great, it also gives me an hour here and there to do more than just housework. Spare room? Your gonna get it.

I might even take some before and after photos, so I can get featured on a make-over programme.

On why I don’t like Christmas

Or, ‘Ten reasons for why I struggle with Christmas’ but not simply ‘Bah Humbug!’

The past six years, I have really had problems with garnering any enthusiasm over the ‘Festive Period’. There are lots of reasons, I think it’ll be easier if I list them out. I’ll try not to rant, but I’m not promising anything…

  1. Children do not need a room full of toys to celebrate. Let alone get more toys in one hit than they know what to do with. I’ve watched our niece & nephew open their presents on the past three Christmases; rip, discard, rip, discard. Living between their Mum’s house and my BIL’s, they do the whole thing all over again at their Mum’s.
  2. Outdoor Christmas Lights. This really pisses me off, I mean really. Particularly over here, where the majority of electricity made is through coal-fired stations. ‘It’s festive!’ people tell me. No, it’s a waste of valuable resources and I hope your electricity bill is so frickin’ high, it scares you off from doing it ever, ever again. (Whoops, rant).
  3. Photos of small children on Father Christmas’s knee. I can promise you now, to anyone waiting for a photo of Archie, sitting with a strange man dressed in a suit and fake beard, that is red because Coca Cola told us it needs to be red, you will be waiting a very long time.
  4. Father Christmas. Now that I am officially a parent, (I have not only the scar to prove it, but a small boy sound asleep in his room), why would I want to lie to him about something or someone who doesn’t exist? I am really struggling with this, luckily, this year he’s only going to be six months old, so I don’t have to worry about it for a year or two. Any advice you can pass along here would be much appreciated.
  5. Being told to buy half a tonne of food. I don’t mind buying in special food, but that much of it? I don’t want a Christmas pudding, a Pavlova, a fruit platter, a trifle and then biscuits and cheese to eat after a full roast dinner. And sanctimonious chefs passing on their ‘family recipes’, that change every year.
  6. Magazines for the New Year with ‘Shift those Christmas Pounds’ diets coming out in December. How about you don’t buy all the food you’ve been told you need to buy, or don’t eat it all in the first place?
  7. Christmas Parties. I hate clothes shopping at the best of times, let alone for a dress. I then hate having to make sure I’ve shaved everything in view, my hair is done and I hate spending more than two minutes on my make up. And I know that come the evening of Friday 9 December, I’m also going to hate wearing heels for the first time in nearly a year! It’ll also be the first time both of us will have left Archie together, I hope I will be a normal person at the party, not a paranoid new mother with a vacant stare wondering how he’s doing.
  8. Christmas music in shops. Particularly when they start playing it in October. I’ve worked in retail over the festive period, it is a horrible, vicious, nasty time. I also had to work late on Christmas Eve to remove all traces of Christmas and get ready for the Boxing Day sale. Ho ho bluddy ho.
  9. Christian Martyrs. Being Christian is not about one festival, that was tagged onto a Pagan festival in the first place because you couldn’t decide when to have it. It is about how you feel inside and how you treat people 24/7/365. [I’ve deleted what I wrote here, as I ranted. Lots.]
  10. Black Dog. The Christmas of 2005 was the beginning of the end of my lowest period, but it was a slow beginning to the end of a long and very dark time. Rufus appeared around the middle of October as my first marriage faltered, then failed. I couldn’t cope with buying presents, or summoning any enthusiasm for feeling ‘joyous’. I simply felt lost and alone. While I will be forever grateful for my family and friends, particularly Mon Bears and Wiz, for rallying round and keeping me going, every time I start to see decorations, boxed sets of things and other niff-naff appearing in shops, along with the toy adverts ramping up on TV, all it does is remind me of a prolonged depression and break down. To give you an idea how awful and protracted it was; Wiz slept at my feet over St Patrick’s Day 2006 after I’d got horribly, mind-bogglingly drunk as I asked her just to let me die.

Which doesn’t make me the best company around this time of year. And I apologise. Profusely. I do try not to be the Grinch in the corner, truly I don’t. Luckily for Archie, my cousin who lives 10 short minutes away loves Christmas. We’ve already been invited to their Christmas Tree Light switch on over a roast dinner on 4 December. Despite all the consumerism, the wastage, the unending adverts and awful TV specials, I hope his Auntie Susie will help teach him that this is a lovely time of year; a time to be with family and friends.

After all, I did meet Archie’s father right in the middle of Rufus’ appearance. I remember checking my emails to see if I’d got messages from him, my heart skipping a beat when I saw his name in my inbox. Because of Hubs meeting me during this period and walking beside me as I healed, our relationship is formidable. As we prepare for our first Christmas as parents, in future I hope I can somehow begin to look forward to this time of year, instead of dreading it. I do try every day to live in the here and now; Archie is a great zen master, but some demons are just too big to ignore as they loom on the horizon.

Australian Mining

One of the main reasons why Australia is surviving in the financial turmoil is because of our mining industry. It is literally shoring up the economy. We are being subjected to all sorts of advertising from political parties at the moment. The carbon tax debate is also raging hot, Australia has one of the biggest per capita carbon emissions, because our primary industry is – mining.

Aside from the political parties spending money to convince us that a carbon tax is a good / bad idea, Australian mining companies are spending money to tell us that mining is a very good idea. They’ve got adverts running telling us ‘Our Story’, individuals are telling us what mining means to them, how they are supporting Australia. Take the diamond miner, from a mine that produces rare pink diamonds. From every 4 Olympic sized swimming pools of rock they crush, they get 1/2 a bucket of diamonds, within that 1/2 a teaspoon are pink diamonds. Each 1 carat of ‘high quality’ pink diamond, can sell for an excess of $1m. Apparently we should be proud that we are producing this product.

An Olympic sized pool is 88,000 cubic foot of volume, times that by 4 is an awful lot of rock to pulverise into submission for a 1/2 teaspoon.

Or this screen grab:

This is to show us how wonderfully efficiently rock is being moved around the country on railways. Aside from thank goodness they’re using railways, it is the devastation they’re doing to the country that I find so shocking. That’s all I can think about when I watch these adverts.

Here is our problem, ‘Our story’ is that we’re blasting, digging, excavating raw materials out the land, putting it onto boats, sending it to China, for inferior products to come back to Australia, that get brought at bargain basement prices, because God-forbid we pay the true value for something. When we tire of something, we throw it away.

The beginning of September brings our annual hard rubbish collection. We are going to go through our garage to put out in front of our house white goods, gardening refuse, old paint cans and so on. While rummaging through other people’s trash is illegal, it still goes on. The remainder? Some will be recycled, the rest will be placed into landfill.

Somehow I don’t think crushing and panning any amount of cheap clothes, plastic pots or discarded electrical items will make pink diamonds in future. And don’t get me started on the plight of traditional owners of the land; who are being routinely ignored when they try to make claims against the mining companies who wheel out lawyer after lawyer to avoid paying anywhere near the compensation for raping the land that people have walked on for generations.