Tuesday, January 25, 2011

On life, family and friends

This week has been one of reflection upon life, death, love and laughter.  It has been one where I have realised that to be able look back upon one’s life and say you have truly lived you have to ensure you live each day as if it was your last.
That does not mean that every day you have to get up and jump out of a plane with nothing but a flimsy piece of fabric strapped to your back or party until you puke.
So what does it mean to make the most of every day?
To get to the answer I had to take a quiet moment to identify what were the most important things to me in my life. I think this list is a work in progress rather than a set-and-forget arrangement.
Obviously top of my list, as a mother, are my children.  They are my world, my favourite reason to smile and the source of a feeling of love so strong it is almost tangible.  My husband is right up there with them, even with his faults (and none of us is perfect) he is a good man and I am grateful that he chose me. He can still make me laugh until it hurts. He even takes it good naturedly when I hack in to his Facebook and post status updates that make him look like a sop....whatta guy.
My focus this week has turned to friends.  I am unbelievably blessed to have so many.  They are scattered all over this beautiful country of ours and all over the world as well.  My friends make me want to be a better person, in fact I am a better person just by being the recipient of their gift of friendship.
We stood together this week to say goodbye to one of us.  We weren’t all in the same room, we weren’t all in the same state, nor the same country but we stood united in our grief, together across the world.  What an amazing bond.  As I stood there trying to say a few words about our Kylie, and doing a very wobbly job of it, I could feel you all there with me, helping me, helping each other.  Our bond actually strengthened and we all knew it, sensed it.
Friends don’t care if you don’t look immaculate all the time, friends don’t care if your house is a mess, friends allow you to be you, warts and all.
Friends are always there when you need them, no matter what. When you feel you can’t go on, they carry you until you can do it for yourself again.
So getting back to how you live each day to the maximum for me, comes down to these simple things:
1.       Hug your family and tell them how much you love them. Often.
2.       Make an effort every day to be in contact with your friends so they know you love them and appreciate them.  You can’t always drop in for a cuppa because of time or distance but email, social network, text, Skype, call. Something, anything. There really is no excuse with all this technology available to us. Even if you just hit “like” on something they say on Facebook, they know you were thinking of them in that moment.
3.       Make time for yourself (the most difficult it would seem).  Allow yourself some time each day, no matter how little to just be YOU. The person your family and friends actually like. Put aside the myriad of roles we have for a moment and just be.
4.       Laugh and do it every chance you get.  It releases those feel good endorphins!
5.       Stop procrastinating. Put aside the excuses, the fear, the laziness, whatever reason you have for not doing or saying something you really want to and just take that step. Nobody ever moved forward by standing still
Happy Australia Day!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

They walk amongst us

Some people have heard this story but it is one of those moments in my life where I laughed so hard I wished I had paid those post-partum pelvic floor exercises a little more attention.
I used to have an assistant.  Let’s call her Barbie for the sake of this exercise (names have been changed to protect the stupid).  She was beautiful to look at but if someone had given her half a brain, it would have been lonely.
She has been the source of many of those moments that render you speechless because nobody can be that stupid. Can they? 
You know those moments.  Silence descends and it is almost like you can hear the sound of crickets chirping, you blink a few times as if trying to decide if you have entered an alternate reality and then you double over laughing, tears streaming down your cheeks, your stomach and face ache and you simply cannot articulate anything that sounds even vaguely like English.
This one however was my absolute favourite.
Barbie:     I will be late in to work tomorrow I need to take my car to Mazda.
Me:           What’s wrong with it?
Barbie:     My tyres need air
Me:           Excuse me, what did you say? (I must have misheard, surely)
Barbie:     Need air in my tyres
Me:           How much do they charge for that at Mazda? (Can you imagine how much those mechanics laugh when she leaves?)
Barbie:     It’s really cheap, only $40
Me:           Ten bucks a tyre!!! (In hindsight, I should have offered to do it for her for $30).  You know you can do it yourself right?
Barbie:     OMG can you! How? Where?
Me:        *Blink, Blink*  At the service station. 
I then made the very grave mistake of trying to explain the process to her.  My frustration levels are skyrocketing and I am trying so very hard to stifle the urge to pick up the nearest chair and slap her with it.
Barbie:     Huh? I don’t get it? (x 10)
Me:           Grab your keys; we’re going for a drive.
So off we go up the road to the service station (gas station for those playing overseas), I drove because I really didn’t want to try and explain to her what the air pump looked like and we only had 15 minutes left of our lunch break.  I park, take off those itty bitty black screw caps from one of the tyre valves push on the nozzle and away she rips.  Meanwhile Barbie is looking so amazed you’d think she just discovered a cache of diamonds hidden down the back of my shirt.
Me:           OK now you do the others.
25 minutes later (did I mention we only had 15 minutes of our lunch break left at the start of this exercise?) she finishes and starts to head towards the doors to the service station with her handbag (and yes it really was a Prada).
Me:           Where are you going? We need to get back to the office.
Barbie:     I’m going to pay
Me:           What for?
Barbie:     The air
Cue the crickets again. 
*blink* *blinkety blink blink*
I had to restrain myself so I didn’t slap her in the back of the head (NCIS Gibbs-style). Then -bwahhaaaahaaaahaaaa.  I had to hold myself up with her car because I was struggling to stand straight from laughing.  I could not move and was unable to get in the car.  We simply had to wait for me to compose myself.
We ended up having a 2 hour lunch break that day.

Friday, January 21, 2011

I am woman hear me ROAR

At the risk of sounding like I am blowing my own trumpet, I consider myself a strong woman.  My mother was a strong woman and she raised her daughters to be the same and now I am passing the Mantle of Strength to my daughters too.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not the ice maiden or anything, I feel emotions strongly (just ask my husband about my temper), I can be in the depths of despair but have found I am able to pick myself up, dust myself off and just “get on with things” – having lots of things to do helps.  So in a moment of crisis you will often find me doing things, making “busy work”, it’s my therapy.
If something needs doing, I do it.  I can change a tyre,  install a new toilet, replace a tap, cut down trees, fix a broken DVD player, paint the house, lay floor and wall tiles, build furniture (I do however curse Ikea and their stinking allen keys)
But put me in the same room as a spider that makes a noise when it walks because of it’s sheer size and degree of hairiess and I instantly turn in to a character from a turn of the century mini-series.  I actually swoon.  Gentlemen in top hats and mourning coats need to come running with a bottle of smelling salts and ladies in long dresses that seem to really accentuate their bust lines must stand around fanning me. (Lets all pause for a moment and imagine Mr Darcy.....OK moving right along).
Now here is my dilemma, I love living on the urban fringe.  I love that I can stand on my back deck and look at a mountain with little, fluffy trees dotted all over it.  I love the continuous green canopy that drapes down the side of that mountain and all the way to where my house is.  Unfortunately so do the spiders.
I have some sort of built-in radar when it comes to all things arachnid (spi-dar? *groan*).  I know they’re there even in the dark.  My long suffering husband (who wields a mean thong) says my spider senses tingle. Does that make me spider woman? Disappointingly I seemed to have missed out on the ability to make webs shoot from my wrists. I don’t know about you but that would be  really handy to catch the kids when they decide to be naughty and bolt off  knowing full well that Mum and her dodgy knee will not stand a chance of catching them.  (They do forget that I was a wicket keeper and still have a really good arm and do not ”chuck like a Sheila”).  Lets not even go there about just how I’d look in one of those super hero, skin-tight costumes. 
You went there didn’t you?  Sorry...mop and bucket to aisle 4. I did tell you not to. 
It’s been a while since a spider has been stupid enough to venture inside our home. It has also been a long time since one has been brave enough to pounce at me.  It is the last thing that today’s visitor will ever do. 
We all know about the dangers of drop-bears, well now I need to be vigilant for drop spiders as well.  Little (large) bastard thought he could lurk high up in the beams of the laundry ceiling, you know just above the door so you couldn’t see him and wait for some poor, unsuspecting sucker (me) to walk in, completely oblivious at which point he would launch himself from his hidey-hole up high.
It was at that moment that my spi-dar kicked in, I don’t know if it was the down draft he was creating as he plummeted downwards that made me look up to see where the breeze was coming from or whether, much like Houghton who could hear the Who’s my super keen hearing could just make out the little voice screaming out banzaiiiiiiiiiiiii as he jumped.  Either way I sensed impending doom.
Time slowed down, I think I may have been shooting a scene for the next Matrix movie.  I dived to one side, he glanced off my shoulder and bounced on the floor. At which point I smacked him with the iron.  Well it has to be used for something right?

In the beginning....

Let me tell you about why this blog has come to be. 
Now I don’t want to put a downer on things from the outset, that is not my intention, but the story needs to be told.
I prefer to look at it as some small positive to come out of a tragedy.
On Monday 17th January 2011 I lost a dear friend. Her name was Kylie and there was nobody quite like her.  She formed part of a circle of friends which came together at first online and then over 10 years most of us met in person until we formed the most amazing bond.  Our circle.
Kylie was only 34 years old and taken from a family who adored her without any warning, she had 4 children, the youngest being only aged one. Her passing left us devastated, saddened beyond belief, numb.  She was so young, she had just started her own business making the most amazing cakes,  in fact I was messaging to and fro with her about one for my daughter’s 10th birthday just an hour or so before she was taken from us.
I have decided that I need to start this blog, I have always wanted to write but have never laboured under the illusion that anything I may pen would be worth actually publishing.  I love the written word, I love creating an image in people’s minds with nothing more than words.  I have thought about this for years but never seemed to get around to doing anything about it.  That changed on 18th January when I realised that tomorrow is promised to nobody.  If you want to do something you have to do it now. Today.  Seize the moment!
I cannot promise that what I write will be worth reading , but I do feel it is worth writing.  In a way it is just for me, something perhaps my family can look at once I have shuffled off this mortal coil. (I often wished my mum had written things down about her life, her feelings, herself. It would have been something for me to treasure).
So Kylie, you have inspired me to just do it. I hold you responsible.  If it sucks blame her.
Honestly she would laugh at that...and then call me a skank.