Monday, 19 October 2015

Introducing Natalie Laura!

Our little girl arrived into the world on Friday the 18th of September at 10.27am.



Welcome to the world Natalie Laura!

So far, in the month Natalie has been with us, she has brought us so much joy and happiness it is almost impossible to believe she really is ours. Natalie likes to sleep during the day and stay up at night. She is super dooper cute. You can't say a lot about the personality of a newborn unless you spend a lot of time with them, so I would say she is happy and curious about the world so far. I want her to grow up quickly so we can "do stuff" but in the last few days she has started a bit of a growth spurt and I have realised I don't want her to grow up so quickly after all!

Stephen and I have been given the great challenge of being parents, and one of the challenges is allowing Natalie some space to create her own online identity. We haven't posted many public photos of our little girl, and hope to allow her to socialise in real life to tell people how she is doing when she's bigger, rather than relying on social media to report on what is going on for her.

Lots of people want to know about the labour process - I never did have an interest in other people's until I was pregnant, but long story short, Natalie arrived by c-section after a 30 hour labour. I had been petrified of having a c-section, it was the one thing I did not want to have happen, but in the end it wasn't half as bad as what I thought. Stephen cut the cord which was the one thing he did not want any part of, I was highly impressed by this! We spent three more nights in hospital and had some lovely visits from lots of loved ones. By time our discharge day arrived I was not ready to come home - I was still waiting for my milk to come in, and Natalie has only just gained enough weight to be discharged, thanks to some formula top ups.


The next tricky thing happened two days later, Natalie was really lethargic and had a low temperature  so we took her back to hospital and she spent three nights in the Neonatal Unit gaining more weight and being treated for a suspected infection. By time we left we had a brand new girl. I was fortunate enough to be able to stay in hospital with her, in a little hotel type room I shared with another mum. Being in the Unit with Natalie was actually not the holiday I had in the maternity ward! The feeding and caring process usually took and hour and a half, and with feeds needing to happen every four hours, I managed to fit in a few sleeps, but not as much as I would have liked, or expected so I was still very tired when we arrived back home. Overall, I was quite in awe of the staff who work with some very special babies, all of whom seem to have endless patience with them.

Since we have been properly home for three weeks, most days are the same. We have early starts and late nights and baths every second day, phone calls to the Parenting Helpline often (they are an amazing resource), plenty of food in the fridge and enough help to ensure that I am no longer sleep deprived. I have not touched a baby book - that is, a baby wrangling manual - since before Natalie was born. I am finding that it's just easier to face whatever challenge comes up next by some specific and solid advice.

Natalie has been such a little ray of sunshine. Her impending birth was great news when we needed it the most, and her arrival has been filled with awe, joy and an endless, unconditional love I never understood until now.



Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Pregnancy is almost over - here is some stuff I am really glad I did.

Okay, so seeing as the bubba hasn't arrived, it might seem a little premature to write this brief list, but I know I probably won't get the chance to be so reflective soon enough!

At the moment I an 39 weeks +5 days with child. Huzzah. I can't wait to meet this baby. It's pretty easy to think of all the bad choices I've made, but fortunately, my head has been working properly for most of this time.

Physiotherapy
I asked for a physio referral a few weeks ago and it has made a massive difference. On Wednesday I do a gentle stretch class for 90 minutes, followed by hydrotherapy for 30 minutes. The other ladies in my class are lovely. I have also loved been able to swim in an indoor pool, even if it isn't really swimming. To be honest, I never really want to get out of the pool. I am such a little kid.

Working
I worked until I was 36 weeks. My job, which is working for OSHC, was becoming challenging - it wasn't easy to clean up stuff from the floor or run around after the kids. Instead of finishing at 32 weeks, I had a little bit of extra pocket money because I worked for two hours a day, three-ish days a week, and it was worth it.

Getting a nice maternity photo
I had a $29 portrait session with Impressions in town. It entitled to me to a big print and extra money off future packages. All I really wanted was one good photo, and that's what I got. It was fun, and I also avoided all of the weekly bump photos, because, who has time for that?

Avoiding crazy mummy forums
Those things are bloody scary, stay away!

Mental health stuff
A couple of months ago I felt myself going downhill in regards to my mental health. I have received some extra help from the clinical mental health nurse, as well as having a plan put together by my GP to see a psychologist. It has really helped me to have some tools to get through the tough stuff, and (more importantly) the trivial stuff.

Today is R U OK Day, and while I really love the concept, I'm not sure everyone grasps it very well - posting a Facebook status asking R U OK? is not actually helpful. The Exposed Project wrote this today:
It's 'R U OK Day' where we are encouraged to reach out and check on the mental health of friends and colleagues with a simple sentence.
While we applaud the principle of building public awareness, this question needs to be asked on an as-needs basis.
Secondly, the loudest, most demanding voices (particularly on social media) likely have reasonable levels of support. Watch closely for the quiet ones who fly under the radar or drop off quietly or suddenly.
Ali 💙
On behalf of The EXPOSED Project Team

I am really grateful for the love and support I have had, especially from my gal pals, in the lead up to the baby arriving, but also in terms of checking that I'm coping mentally as well. It means a lot.

Letting go
Finally, some things to consider here.
Letting go of all I have been holding onto has made a difference.

Clutter, for one, has been culled, rather successfully. Things like 'emptying the scary wardrobe in the nursery' took some bravery on my part, but it's all been sorted. Just sorting and organising things, like the cupboard under the sink, has been really good. Yay for nesting.

I have let go of some of the opportunities I thought I would take this year. No Queensland trip for the Birchies (what's the point if you can't go on rides at the theme parks), no overseas Guide trips (le sigh), no applying for jobs that are long term. Working in child care, even if it is in an OSHC setting helped me realised how much I don't want to put our child (or children?) into a care setting if it can be avoided. Not that OSHC kids don't have fun - they do - but it doesn't seem like a good fit for who I am.

I have let go of situations and relationships which have not been great for awhile. On the other hand, I have felt like I've drifted a bit from friends, mostly because I have been busy and literally too tired to do stuff, and they are a bit the same. I am blessed to have met lots of new Guide friends this year though which has been such a great support network for me.

Study wise, I have let a few things lapse. I'm not doing my post grad study, and I don't know if I will finish my travel certificate, or if I actually want to. I have decided to do my Diploma in HRM, which I can take as slowly as I want to.

Goals though. I have plenty of dreams and goals for the next few decades of my life. I want to visit lots of Europe, see all the WAGGGS World Centres, visit WA and the NT (the only states I haven't got to yet) and have a successful career change. First though, I really want to be a mum.

So I'll leave it there for now. I'm predicting my next post will be post-baby arrival.

With love from Lisa xx



Thursday, 9 July 2015

Cuddle o'clock.

I've written a lot this year about my expectations for the triumphant return to Adelaide, and how reality has cast a very different, though probably better, light on the situation. As I'm now entering the big and scary eighth month of pregnancy, I'm realising some things pretty quickly.

Nothing is the same anymore, and nothing will be the same as what it is now.

In this crazy pregnancy body, which is mostly just boobs, belly and flailing limbs, there is a lot I can't do. Things are getting uncomfortable. For a pretty flexible young woman, not necessarily an overly fit one, but one who knows her body's capabilities, this has been a crazy challenge. I miss sitting cross legged, and having the choice to sleep on my back, and not having a belly getting in between me and other objects (mostly sinks, benches and my computer). I miss sleep and being able to drink huge amounts of anything. I miss all my favourite foods - sushi, freshly shaved ham, runny poached eggs, soft serves... Man. I miss food.

But I have also faced the fact that in around 65 days, give or take, that there will be an actual baby, and not just an idea of one, to look after and have Cuddle O'Clock with all the time. Because babies can't look after themselves, we are it. And that's scary and crazy and exciting all at once. When making plans, and no matter how far away or how small they seem, calculating a baby into them is not a natural thing to do. What if I'm not ready to leave the Bubba at home or with someone else? Even now I don't think I could leave Pumpernickel with someone I didn't know, or do the child care thing. My Guiding dreams, which involve travel and conferences and jamborees have all been put on hold, along with my growing need for derby speed. And that's okay, I can pick those things up at some point and happily run with them years down the track.

I also realised something. Pumpernickel will look a bit like Stephen and I.

I still sleep like this.

Such a cute bubba!

I know that's silly, but the thought has only occurred to me in the past month or so. And that's pretty cool. Of course I have some worries. Will Pumpernickel inherit my bad eyes? What is Pumpernickel doesn't look like either of us at all? What if Pumpernickel barracks for Collingwood instead of Adelaide?

I feel like my priorities are rapidly changing. Stuff doesn't seem to be as important to me, and I'm decluttering our house at a rapid rate. More than that, in terms of career paths, teaching offers the flexibility I will be looking for whenever I want to go back to work, which won't be for awhile yet. I'm looking into choices for further study - actually doing my Masters or a post graduate certificate in language, and thinking, for once, about something other than my future and what I want for me.

Please, world, be patient and kind to me for just a little while longer.

with love from Lisa.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

About rainbow profiles and #celebratepride

I've been meaning to write about this for awhile, and here we are.

So as part of Facebook's #celebratepride movement following the legalisation of same sex marriage, I used the rainbow profile tool to show a little solidarity. I was happily surprised with the amount of people who did likewise. It was pretty exciting!

Marge, just about everything is a sin.
Y'ever sat down and read this thing? Technically we're not supposed to go to the bathroom.
About the solidarity thing. Someone once told me that my religious beliefs meant that I can't have show solidarity. I call bullshit. I always do on this type of thing. You can have conflicting opinions and emotions, and it's okay to be ready to acknowledge that.

Faith, and gender, and sexuality are are fluid things. And I accept that not everyone agrees with me about this, but whatever.

People get nasty though, and this is where the problem may lie. The problem seems to be be that the people on one end of the scale fight with those on the other. The rest of us are seen as fence sitters, or sheep, or whatever. But. actually, here's what I think about it. Choosing not to participate in a debate doesn't make you a fence sitter. Often you can't change someone's core belief system through a comment on social media. It takes a lot more than that, many interactions, soul searching, research, friendships, a willingness to change.

So. My profile will stay rainbow for just a little longer.
Why?
A few reasons.
#samelove
-solidarity
-for my friends who idenify as LGBT
-because I think two people who love each other can and should get married. Or, at least have the opportunity to choose to, should they wish.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Solitude.

This last week hasn't been very kind to me, but it could be much worse.

The worst thing that happened was spending Wednesday at hospital, making sure there wasn't anything wrong with Pumpernickel. Tomorrow we are off for an ultrasound, and I am quite looking forward to seeing the bubba again and hopefully having a better idea of what is going on.

Four hours in hospital by yourself isn't great. I spent and hour and a half replacing my shift for that day, and had a flat phone by the end. Each time I would meet a new nurse they would ask 'Does anyone know you're here?'

I lied and said yes. Well, it wasn't really a lie. I had sent Stephen messages because he was working, and my staff knew I was in hospital and Kathy, who I work with at Guides, knew I was there. But was anyone coming to sit with me while I waited? No. And that was okay with me.

I thought for a long time about who I would want with me, and the answer, logically, was just me. After ticking off the options of all the unavailable people, and my parents who are just too far away for a short trip to hospital, I decided that I was totally okay with just being by myself. And Pumpernickel. I then came to the rapid conclusion that my days of solitude were numbered.

Oh, how I love solitude!

I pretty much always have. Too much interaction wears me down, and the only way for me to recharge properly is through solitude. When I lived at home I would often walk places (okay, I walked everywhere!), and would have an extra hour writing in my journal and reading at night. When I moved out of home, I spent a lot more time by myself, and living alone too, which never drove me too bananas. I like my own company and I tend to get resentful if I don't have enough space, physically and emotionally.

Now though, I'm now entering a time of life where it's highly unlikely I'll be flying by myself, drinking a white wine and having too many options on the in flight entertainment menu. Spending a whole day alone, not talking to anyone, in a foreign city will just be a memory. These are moments I have savoured, but I always thought there would be more of them.

I don't understand this concept of me-time. It seems selfish in comparison to solitude, which is motsky the art of enjoy your own company. I don't get bored easily when I am by myself, but I certainly do in the company of others.

And I know also that everything is going to be harder. Errands being child free. Going to work being
a luxury, (Then again, my work is looking after other people's children, so maybe not) not being a commodity that is a mother, and therefore completely necessary in a small child's life. None of these ideas are new to me, and it's something I have accepted and a trade off, all things considered.

Back to hospital though.

I had a long wait at Birthing and Assessment before they had a free room, in fact they had to put me in a birthing suite because there wasn't a room for me which was suitable. My wait was for about half an hour, and I don't think I had ever cried quite the same way as I did that morning. I felt heartbroken because I didn't know what was happening and I didn't know if Pumpernickel would be okay. I didn't feel lonely though, I knew I had Pumpernickel and that would be enough for now.


I have had a few days off work, and probably go back, properly, on Tuesday. The last few days have been good, I have noticed Pumpernickel's movements a lot more and spent most of the weekend nesting and relaxing (and hurting my back in the process). I know I have a lot of people who have my back, but right now, I don't feel like I can call on them, and what am I going to say? Everyone who needs to know knows already and are doing a good job keeping the home fires burning and all that.

Needing some sleep, one shift tomorrow (yay, money). Good night world.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Thoughts on love, marriage, partnerships and the elsuive boyfriend/girlfriend issue.

In preparing to meet our new baby I have been reading lots about how children impact relationships, so I thought maybe I would share something that isn't about that. This is just what I have discovered so far into my own marriage, some gripes I have and some good old whinging. 

1. Having a boyfriend is not the same as being married (or in a de facto relationship).
I'll say straight up that I'm not convinced in the sacrament of marriage. It certainly isn't everything, and getting married just to get it over and done with is stupid. In most of my circles, being married is a faster process than usual. On the other hand, my friends and family who aren't married but do live with their partners are seen as the package deal, just as us old marrieds are. Legally wed and de facto are one and the same in my book.

I get kind of annoyed when people decide that their boyfriend or girlfriend is as good as their husband or wife, or "we're pretty much married". No you're not.The piece of paper doesn't make you wedded to your dreamboat though, but doing life together does (and doing it separately doesn't). When we got married we went from living over an hour away from each other to suddenly living in the same house, making all of the decisions together, sharing money and having each other's backs (even when one or the other didn't deserve it). I don't think you need to live together before you're married though, but when you don't, you often see most of the good stuff and little of the bad. I don't just mean bad hair days (or fat days as I like to call them), but dealing together with trivial issues, and big stuff sure helps. In the two years we weren't married, Stephen and I had plenty of dates, planned our time together and did the fun stuff because we would only see each other a few days a week. Once we were married, it was really hard for us to take time to just be a couple and not two people living in a house who happened to love each other a lot.

If you had said this to me at the time of our engagement though, I would totally disagree. We did make big life decisions together and plan things, and take holidays, but you do this with friends and family too. There is a huge difference, seriously.

2. Other people's advice is not about you and your partner.
I've said often that before our wedding we received a lot of advice, most of it was pretty unhelpful or didn't make a lot of sense to who we are as a couple. Things like never go to bed angry (or do) was already something we had been doing forever. Date nights seemed kind of laughable (they're not now), and to be working towards staying married to not get divorced seemed kind of fruitless.

The thing is, two and a bit years in, I haven't forgotten that the advice we were given hasn't suited who we are, and said volumes about the people who said it. My standard advice to about to be wed couples is to be the first one to say sorry, but really, that only applies in our little world. In some relationships, this isn't a choice, and I guess I need to word it better by saying 'compromise is choosing to surrender, or at least meet a quarter of the way'.

3. Changing people after marriage is stupid. And what's with Stupid Husband Syndrome?
There's one trend I'm noticing - people who are married don't change, but their partners try to make them do so anyway. Essentially who I am now is very much who I was ten years ago, or even as a child. We really don't change personalities and interests, just our nature (good, bad and indifferent) changes. Experience and knowledge changes us too, but not really enough to say 'I am a completely different person'. Has my focus changed? Yes. For me, Guides has been a huge interest in the last few years, but working with young people has not. Have my values changed? Yes, because I have seen more of this world and accept that my own faith journey is vastly different to others. This is stuff that can be influenced though. See the world together, talk about changing values together.

The small things though, like my love of beanies (Stephen calls them tea cozies) and Stephen's insistence of wearing skivvies when he is sick and in bed for the day, don't need changing, even if they are a bit irksome. And how I relate to someone, whether it is making them something they like to eat or indulging them in something like to do, doesn't change just because their significant other is on some weird process of changing them.

Also.
I refuse to allow Stupid Husband Syndrome. As far as I am aware, my own husband looked after and cared for himself a long time before I came on the scene. He doesn't know everything, but neither do I, and that's no need to create some great tall tales about how stupid men are. Yes, Mere Male section of Women's Day, you're going into the bin.

4. Just because a couple is married, doesn't mean you'll be friends with them.
This is such a mistake.
As much as married life is very different to the single life and the dating life, the idea that A Married Couple automatically becomes friends with Another Married Couple is crazy. We have friends from all over the place who are at different stages of their lives. And that is totally cool and okay. We don't want to be stuck on The Married Table at a wedding. We want to be with Our Friends or Some People With Similar Interests (PS no, marriage is not an interest) or People We Have Known For A Long Time. Assumptions are silly, the end.

5. Not everyone gets the package deal, and that's okay.
I have a friend who kept verifying that his then girlfriend was invited to things he was invited to. Of course she was, but I didn't have her number and I just kind of thought they were a package deal anyway. I guess he had a point though, not everyone sees it that way. People with partners tend to though with some exceptions, like that guy.

Then again, if you're the only one with a significant other in your group of friends, it can be hard to be upfront, or maybe you feel you don't have to. I remember being highly disappointed when showing up to a Girls Night Out with a friend's super annoying boyfriend tagging along for the short lived evening. It wasn't really anyone's fault, just she didn't say anything beforehand, and they didn't have a problem with it, though we did.

All these things aside, Stephen and I do plenty of social things separately. Footy days are almost always a Lisa free event, dinners out with the girls are always a Stephen free event. He doesn't enjoy girl talk, I don't enjoy making small talk with girls I don't know, easy solution.

The only advice I'll give on this is to ask before you bring someone somewhere they weren't invited too, unless it's kind of obvious (like a barbeque or a house warming or something that 100 people on Facebook have been asked to attend).


I think that's it for me. I'm certainly no all knowing woman in the ways of the married world, but so far this ride has been pretty sweet.


Tuesday, 12 May 2015

National Volunteers Week: My elevator speech for volunteering with Girl Guides.

It's National Volunteers Week! If you have ever thought about working with young women maybe Girl Guides is the place for you.

In the last two and a half years I have learnt so much from Guides, made incredible friends, had the opportunity to travel and help support girls in their efforts to be educated, to advocate for causes and to challenge themselves on a weekly basis.

Guides has been an incredible foundation for who I am and has helped ground many of my values and beliefs. Any questions, please ask below... Or you could do what I did and explore the Girl Guides websites for yourself. Xx

Some useful links:

Girl Guides National Website

Girl Guides South Australia

Traveller's Tales Sangam 2014 Be The Change



All those things I thought I'd never do.

Today it's Week 22.5 of pregnancy, and somne things have changed a lot since... well, 22.5 weeks ago.

I had a lot of ideas about pregnancy before now, and I decided to, well, debunk my own myths about what I thought I would be/do/act.

1. Not eating things you like is stupid.
As soon as I found out we were having a baby, I happened to have an appointment with with my dietician a week later. What she gave me could fill a book. There was a long list of don'ts and a short list of dos.  I never thought I would happily forego my love of shaved ham, or feta cheese or soft serves. Not to mention, my all time favourite breakfast out dish - soft poached eggs on toast. But then, I was making these decisions when I was only responsible for one person - me, myself and I. Just like I believed sugar making kids hyper was a lie (it's not), things changed really quickly.

Instead of being that Person Who Makes A Huge Deal Out Of Not Being Able To Eat Stuff You Unknowingly Serve To A Pregnany Woman, I say nothing, because, rude. And I just eat something else.

I also started taking vitamins, because, that makes sense.

2. Ultrasound photos... really?
On Monday we went to Before You Were Born Imaging to have 3D and 4D ultrasounds done. The main reason was that our ultrasound for 20 weeks wasn't especially clear. It turned out to be one of the most amazing experiences of my life. An instrumental version of Yes, Jesus Loves Me (preceded by Pop Goes the Weasel) played and it was really at that point that I'm actually going to be a Mum. Our ultrasound photos are a bit special, but not posting because I find it a bit of an overshare.

3. Online parenting forums
I always thought I would be one of those Mummy Forum Stalkers, but everything I have seen in the last few months has scared me away from stupid baby forums, along with their bloody weird acronyms (BFP= Big fat Positive pregnancy test... the hell?) and hyper competitive parenting... Ugh. Can't deal.

4. Knowing the gender of the baby
Lots of people told us that we wouldn't want to know. We know now, and it's a massive secret but kind of nice too.

5. Cute nicknames
My friends and myriad of acquaintances have nicknamed their unborn bubbas some really weird things. Mostly food related. Pumpernickel has not featured on a Facebook status update, and probably won't.

6. Changing cat litter
One thing I was really looking forward to was not changing cat litter. Well, the swap finally happened this week. Gloves seem to do the trick.

7. Lifting heavy stuff
I did a lot of STUPID stuff the week before I found out I was with child, including moving the sports cupboard across the back porch, throwing myself at the ground for derby and lugging boxes around the house. All that stopped at the start of February and I'm lucky to work with awesome people who don't make me lift and do silly things.

8. Being Little Miss Sleepy
I really wanted to be one of those fun pregnant ladies, but it looks like my raging days are over. Early to bed, early to rise, lots of siestas and sitting in front of the television doing sweet nothing. Well, sometimes knitting. I always like to be busy, but more quite time has been good for me, not to mention the fact that the baby is more active when I'm resting so I can enjoy little kicks until they become big ones.

9. Pregnancy Photo Shoots
Until a month ago, having a pregnancy photo shoot seemed like a massive waste of time and money. I'll probably go to Impressions and have a $29 shoot, but basically, I like looking like a pregnant lady and I would like one flattering photo of myself.

10. Hating maternity clothes
 Maternity clothes are horrible. I went to City Chic and bought some bigger stuff (harem pants, a stretchy tee, tights and jeans which are still too big), but I mostly hate all of them. My quest to go 400 days without buying new things has failed a little, but only from necessity.

11. Watching One Born Every Minute
Lots of ladies I know love One Born. I was petrified of having to have a Cesarean birth (in fact, I still am), and I thought watching the show would help. It didn't. But you can watch highlights from my favourite episode here, because, who doesn't need a cute outfit while in the birthing pool thingy?

I soon discovered that while all the births were different, it was essentially the same thing, and I didn't need to keep stressing about it. Phew!

12. Bonding with other mums
I haven't been as good at bonding with other mums.
Okay, kind of a lie. Mums I already know and like I have been happy chatting to. But I can't suddenly look at all mums and be like 'Wow, you are a super woman because you are a mum'. Sorry, you picked someone in the wrong field for that.

I have kept saying that men and (and women who haven't been pregnant) keep asking if I have had any cravings. No. I just like juice drinks a lot and get hankerings for pepperoni pizza.

But one thing hasn't changed... 13. Say no to the bump photos
There is one thing I have stuck to: NO BUMP PHOTOS!

Sensible cravings. Mmmm. Potatoes.
I don't care what someone looks like week to week of their pregnancy. They might enjoy that. I certainly didn't want to compare bumps with Baby 1 and Baby 2 (torturous for all viewers). But I also didn't want to put myself out there. I already had a good belly before I was pregnant, and now I still have one. I feel different because I am, but I don't need to show the world that I'm... uhhh.... showing. (PS - showing sounds gross).

I also feel that bump photos could also be an invitation to pat the bump, but there are only a few people who get away with that (namely women, my family and someone who has touched my tummy on a regular occasion, which is only Jon when he makes it wobble). I suddenly don't love being touched and hugged by people I'm not close to, or I am close to but aren't good on the hugging bizzo.

I wonder what else will change after the baby actually arrives?! Scary thoughts.

Anyway, that's it from me. For now anyway.



Sunday, 26 April 2015

Mending broken things (and thoughts about Pumpernickel)

The last few weeks have been a bit of a challenge for me. Not just with the acceptance that life as we know it is going to change, and rapidly, but with some kind of acknowledgement that trust isn't all it's cracked up to be.

I don't care if it's been glued back all pretty, it's just not the same.
There's been a few events that have happened that has made me think 'okay, what just happened here?' I won't go into them, but basically, it's reminded me of the simple fact that you can only really rely on a few people. And that is it.

I think I've written before about accepting being lied to. Lying is something I can usually excuse, but making choices based on honouring other friendships above another are not okay. Understating facts is not okay. Faking perfection is not okay.

With some soul searching and some pretty good d&ms, I've arrived at my own conclusions. Most importantly, asking someone to change is usually unreasonable, and you can't ever control someone else's behaviour. Just because you see something as morally wrong, it is all relative. Swaying someone to your opinion happens, although rarely, and not usually by talking them into or out of anything. And, most of all - why am I putting trust into people who have broken it? Or not shown common respect and decency?

This is kind of vague, and for that I apologise.

I have made peace with myself about the situations which have really shaken me. But part of protecting your heart is saying no. It's really okay to be untrusting of someone, of their words and even, sometimes, their actions.

Care Bears Countdown... (I am getting old.)
A lot of people have reminded me that once Pumpernickel arrives, friendships and relationships will change a lot. In some ways, I am kind of relieved about this. It's not so much about finding out who your 'true friends' are, just identifying people who want to be part of your life. I received something really encouraging from one of my nearest and dearest today and I have throughout the past week or so. Sometimes when I have had problems getting along with other people who have children themselves, someone will remind me that once we have our own family, things will be different, and we will have more in common. I am scared, and also excited.

Tomorrow we find out if we are having a bubby boy or a baby girl! We decided we wouldn't tell anybody, and how we are supposed to keep it to ourselves for 20ish weeks is beyond me (I can't stand suspense).

For most of May I'm co-ordinating the OSHC service I've been working in since Term 1. At this stage, I'm working up until the end of the July holidays, and then taking a bit of time off because my contract runs term to term. I spent yesterday making tablecloths and curtains, and today I bought a big toadstool seat for the nursery. At this stage we have a rockabilly baby on the way.

I have wrote a bit about how I haven't been keen to be out and about as much as usual. The last dinner I went out for (at NNQ) was uncomfortable - it was busy and I kept having to have my chair super pushed in. I love it all the same, because good company and excellent birthday cake, but still, going out once a week is enough for me. I don't really want to be at things I can't partake in either - like trips to Bounce, bar hopping or canoeing, because. I'm not trying to be difficult, I'm just cautious and I hate being fawned over.

I am so tired that instead of being unable to sleep because tomorrow is ultrasound day, I'll probably go to bed soon. Am I turning into an old lady?! All that aside, I am missing my skates a lot. In fact, I kind of want to pull them apart and clean them, etc, but... it might make me a little sad.

This is in Port Douglas, but it was a happy photo so I included it.
Although this entry has been kind of sad, I'm not sad at all. A lot of what has been happening in my world, well, the trust element of it, has thankfully been removed enough from my every day life that I can move on and worry about more pressing issues. I am blessed in that sense!

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Swap Girl Scout for Girl Guide and we're sorted.

My Gran asked me recently if Girl Scouts and Girl Guides are the same thing. We sure are! 'Girl Scouts' is a term we often hear in Australia because girls in the United States are called Girl Scouts, along with a number of other countries. Two things to remember: Aussies are Girl Guides, and we sell Guide Biscuits (not cookies). On a side note, Aussie girls who are Scouts are just Scouts (well, along with all the section names), and all Aussie Girl Guides are all Guides, we no longer have official section titles like Brownies or Rangers.




Saturday, 11 April 2015

Total Eclipse of the Heart.


Honesty becomes me. (Or, this month, when I stopped lying about teaching.)

Although I have certainly been honest on my blog and with some of my friends, being truthful about my career in teaching (or, more to the point, lack of desire to teach in a classroom) as not been easy. In my new job I have met so many students studying teaching. The first day one of them said 'What, didn't you like teaching?' as if I was a crazy person. I made up some excuse and left it at that.

Yuuuum!
The thing is, I actually love teaching. I love being a teacher.

I don't love a lot of things about it. I don't love the injustice of it all. I don't love behaviour management, leadership struggles, politics, actual politics interfering with teaching, so called experts rambling about what teachers should be doing.... and so on.

What teachers do on weekends - mostly planning.

And I also worry about a lot of things about teaching. I worry about where my children will go to school, and more importantly, who will be teaching them, and will their needs be met. I worry about my friend suffering burn out and stress, I worry about contracts and permanency, and a whole bunch of other things.


And yesterday I lost it. I said Stephen had been doing relief work this week and she said 'Oh, well teachers make a lot of money.'

'Trust me, he earns every dollar.' And I left. Because, truth. You're talking about a profession. You have to be rgiestered and you have to be qualified through a university, with a minimum of four years study. Yes, that includes people who do post graduate study to teach.

It's not just that though.
'Sometimes I expect a tumbleweed to come rolling past.' - a quote of one my my students!
Sensitive me who doesn't like particular scents and textures, hates almost everything about the school environment. Schools are rarely clean places. They are too cold in winter and two hot in summer. Yard duties are horrendous. You can't even go to use the facilities whenever you please (because, legally, your duty of care is to the children and not your own bladder). My first long term contract was in a school, in a transportable classroom that was filthy, had minimum windows and a heavy wooden door with no window. I didn't feel safe in that environment.

And I love kids. All these things aside, I do. I love the quirky kids, and the kids who don't get it, and the really cheeky ones, and the ones who cry every day for whatever reason. It's not that I don't love them, but love just isn't enough to keep you in a job.


When I made my decision not to go back, Mum said that I have about forty more years of my working life to go, and there's no point being miserable in it. And I was miserable a lot of the time. It showed in every way possible.

For a long time I've been seeking out different ideas and trying new things. Right now I'm enjoying doing OSHC work, but I'm also grateful I'm having a bubba and not having to work there forever. My long term dreams have also included being an author and being a 'cookies and milk mum', and both of those are, well, kind of realistic.

The Year 5 Funky Chickens.
It has been hard being honest, and a lot of the time they ask me why. My main reason, is, I don't enjoy it. It wasn't for me. I have loved some schools and really disliked other contracts. I love kids. I love teaching, but I don't like all the stuff that goes with it.

And.
I think I have given it a good bash. Four years in a career you don't really enjoy is long enough, at least I think so. and I don't want to put other people off. Plenty of people finish teaching degrees and don't pursue that career path which is totally fine.


At the end of the day, it isn't so much about happiness, or self fulfillment or job satisfaction. It's about the ability to stay healthy. I wasn't healthy as a teacher, and my work probably reflected it. All that aside, I am so grateful for some of the most wonderful and caring colleagues I have every had the privilege of working with. I am grateful for the opportunity to live in the Mid North and on Yorkes, and for friendship and for wonderful opportunities. I am glad teaching helped bring Stephen and I together and that it's something I can support him in. And so, here endth the lesson. It's been bittersweet, kids. Very bittersweet. But I'll take the good with the bad. 




Friday, 10 April 2015

Some things I learnt about rereading journals, and getting over your own embarrassing life story.

Yesterday and today I spent a few hours flipping through old journals. I loved reading notes from my friends and the weird and wonderful things I had stuck in there.

My journals, for the most part, have really only been about me working out issues. I mostly only write in them when I have something on my mind and don't want to sort it out with anyone's help (or, tried and failed). Sometimes though I felt compelled to record stuff that happened in my own life that I probably didn't need to. It felt clunky and awkward at the time, especially when writing about my Pa or things going on at uni that I wasn't dealing with very well. Sometimes I want to tear those pages out, it's not like I won't remember those times.

An aspect of my biggest journal (I'd say at least 250 thin pages, and it spans from 2003-2009) I don't like is that I've recalled events and times spent with people who I have nothing to do with now, and didn't really at the time. I know why I did that though, the same reason I'd qualify doubts at the end of long passages about lurve, and it's because I thought I should. I lied to myself quite a bit, and that really wasn't very fair.

Journals though are only one side of the story. I know that whatever comes my way probably won't be recorded in quite the same flurry as the journals I kept in high school and university - especially seeing as I would sit up in bed before going to sleep to write them. Stephen and I had a quick chat today about how we feel about Pumpernickel's life being captured on social media, and we know that we don't want a lot posted but we also don't know how to monitor it with other people posting stuff. I don't care too much about offending people (though let's be honest, it won't be my own family I am offending), but I do care about not being grumpy cat about it.

Some things I discovered about life, or rediscovered, are as follows.

1. Love is incredibly hard to describe or justify.
Why do you love someone? Who the hell knows! Seriously.
I have lists of all the reasons I told myself why I loved someone, and probably what I loved most was not even the idea of love, but the idea of not losing them. This is dumb.
Sometimes, as especially as a teenager, I'd feel like it wasn't okay not to like someone (romantically or otherwise) because they previous actions had said 'Hello. I am a Good Person.' Even if that person was a crazy person who burned down your house and ran over your cat, it took me a long time to say 'I don't love them. Hey, I don't even like them very much'.

2. Heart break exists, but probably not as we traditionally know it.
I have always said I have had my heart broken twice, though it's actually three times. For me, heart ache was supposed to be like Josie Alibrandi and Jacob breaking up at the end of the book, spending an entire week listening to sad songs. In reality, heart break exists, but it means totally different things for different people. The longest funk I had been in was for four nights, and it was the worst pain I have experienced. Even Heidi was worried. That's a concern when your cat is worried.

My journals pointed to the fact that logically I should hate whoever had broken my heart that week, and I'd often make lists of good reasons not to like someone. Most of the time they weren't even reasons at all.I'd also make lists comparing apples to oranges, which you just can't, or overstate one person's worthiness as a crush over another's.

Like I said is number 1, I wish I had worked this out sooner rather than later. It, whatever the bad situation may be, is always harder than the break up itself.

3. Everyone had flaws, except those who don't love you back.
In high school I had a massive crush on my best friend Simon. He is really is the best person you'll ever meet. In fact, if I hadn't just written about justifying romantic interests, I'd say in terms of good crushes to have, he was probably the most worthy. The thing about Sim and I is that he always knew I had this massive crush on him, but we stayed friends anyway without getting too weird about it. Looking back his reasons for not going out with me, which included 'you're Christian' and 'I go for looks (or half looks, half personality)' were pretty honest. Also, and fortunately, we had no chemistry whatsoever, which a lot of people have assured me (including my own husband) is really important.

4. Saying stuff like 'wow, I deserve my relationship because this and this happened' is so dumb.
Reading these journals now are really interesting, because I have about seven that I have reread and only two of them have anything written about Stephen. It would be so easy to compare Stephen to other things or qualify bad stuff happening so that we could be together, but we are really talking about two worlds colliding right at the end of young adulthood. The simple fact is that we didn't know each other, and I had wrote about him pretty often after we met. I don't really believe in fate and destiny now days, and I don't believe that going through tough times entitles you to anything other than people cutting you some slack. And to be honest, I have had a reasonably easy life. You can't make up for the bad times by having someone new enter the picture. Maybe I'll change my point of view eventually, but for now, apples and oranges are not up for comparison.

5. You don't have to romanticise death for it to still impact your life.
I hope it's okay to write this, and I'm kind of sorry if it's not, but.
One of the most interesting things about rereading my 2001 journal was reading some stuff about my first boyfriend who passed away in 2003. It's sometimes strange to read about Paul and who he was at that time, and also read about how I liked him, then got obsessed with him after we broke up, then started being embarrassed to even see him. It's interesting reading that because it tells me he was alive, and was, for the most part, just an ordinary teenage boy who wore an orange hat and liked computer games. After he died I felt bad that I had been mad for so long, even though we were on friendly terms by them. Every now and then I would write down quotes from songs with 'RIP Paul' scrawled underneath. That makes me cringe a little. It's not something I'll forget, and I don't know why I felt I had to write it. The other thing is that although he was my first boyfriend, and we went out for a whole month, we were never close and not really friends to begin with. I feel uncomfortable about it. The whole thing. I really do. The thing is, Paul and a few years later a girl I was at Tabor with passed away, and I felt like I should be closer to them, and to feel pain about it. Those deaths were always a little one step removed for me, which is okay, but the guilt of not feeling sad enough sometimes got to me.

This is crazy. I can't believe I said that.

Although. Truth.

6. No one will want to read your journals, and those who do, shouldn't.
I'm pretty big on having a lot of personal space and a lot of time to be introverted. I like people, a lot, and I like crowds and music and all that kind of stuff. The few times I have willingly shared parts of my journal with people, it's been too much for them, it's been used against me (though, in fairness, writing a long list of things you don't like about someone is pretty mean and probably shouldn't be shown to anyone) or it's a little bit hilarious. Let's be honest, some of the dumb stuff that you say, thing or do really is funny.

As a child, and by child I mean I was four at the time, I said 'I'm saving all my Barbies so my little girl can play with them!' This is a sentiment I have kept, so unfortunately Mum and Dad have had to keep two suitcases of Barbie stuff, along with Matt's dinosaurs and Trent's trains and Pokemon thingies. As a teenager I thought it would be great if the same future little girl read my journals. No no no. Someone needs to burn them after I die. Please. How embarrassing.

7. Writing a good journal entry is about description and reflection.
My favourite entries are recollections, followed by how I felt about those situations. For me, it was really fun reading about dates Stephen and I had when we first got together and seeing quotes and silly things he had said (actually, this he still says).
This week, I asked Stephen some advice, and it's kind of timely - it's basically about making meaning out of an observation. Why did I like doing this or that? How did I feel at the time? You don't need to write it that way, in fact flowerly language is almost always much better to write in. What made this moment matter?

8. Songs and events are sometimes really good to capture.
My journals have plenty of song lyrics and sometimes refer to current events. It says something like 'this world is much bigger than you'. That's not a bad thing. Not at all.

9. Don't take everything you read to heart.
I have made this mistake so many times.
"Remember when you said this?"
"I never said that!"

I remember things people have said, and sometimes I try and make it mean something else. Or, I see something as way more important than it actually is. I remember once being really upset that Steve got really into horror movies. This is all based on the fact that anything the least bit supernaturally makes my head go funny. I was appalled, annoyed and so frustrated. But, really, the truth has come out and plenty of my mild manner friends are into some of the weirdest stuff out there that I'd never even dream of watching. The verdict - people say and do things, and it's their justification that matters, not yours.

Also, the last few months I have forgotten doing or saying things. One such example is that Stephen remembers me saying 'It's really important to know your past' while sharing a testimony at youth. I also told them all I liked belly dancing. Neither of these things are a lie, and they are true about me, but belly dancing isn't very important to me anymore and I really don't remember saying the first bit.

10. Forgiveness is a good thing.
Sometimes I will read about something that happened year ago (especially things from high school) and I will still be mad about it! The thing is that once someone leaves your life, or mostly leaves it, there is no room to fight with them about it anymore. One piece of advice we were given on our wedding day was 'don't go to bed angry, stay up all night and fight!' We haven't ever had to stay up all night (or even half of it), but I have never gone to bed angry. So why be angry with memories of people who are still, like, 16 years old (in my head) and 28 (in reality). Lissy, you so crazy.




Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Updates, updates. and also, thinking about being a mum.

Today I broke a few of my own rules and took myself on a date for brekky and buying some clothes for winter. I now have a few dress, a long sleeve red t-shirt and an oversized cardigan thingy. I also started reading a new BSC book which I have been trying to track down for ages. Yay, go me.

I have to say the last few weeks I have been a slight hermit. I haven't been out a lot, other than work and Guides, and I haven't wanted to go out. I've bailed on a few social opportunities which I would usually be like 'yes please' to. I feel almost frustrated at the idea that staying home is boring and anti-social, but when you're trying to save money and you have a perfectly well stocked kitchen, why go out for meals if you don't have to? Last year I was very much the opposite, so it's kind of nice for me to just have some time to make things and do a whole heap of resting (and some nesting!).

Being 'the pregnant' (as Stephen calls it) as turned me into a huffy puffy person and disappointingly other than having abnormally size bazookas, I look just like I always do with a bit more of a round tummy. Other than someone weirdly giving my belly a pat a few months ago when I didn't even look pregnant, I have only had one person ask if I was pregnant and it was a girl who is at OSHC every day. A lot of my friends aren't parents but have given me a lot of advice about what happens with their nephews/nieces which is confusing to say the least.

On Friday I was having terrible stomach pain so I went to visit my good friends at Flinders who decided I might have something wrong with my gall bladder. Oh, yay. I am also highly relieved there is nothing wrong with the bubba (or Pumpernickel) and I got to see him/her on the ultrasound screen for a very short time. This was super exciting! Our anomaly screening is at the end of April and we plan to find out if we are having a boy or girl, but also don't plan on telling anyone, because, more fun. I enjoyed walking around shopping today but finally had a good reason to use the 'boyfriend seat' outside shops, because I may have over exerted myself just a little. Shopping does that to people.

Work is good and I've got a few days working as the coordinator which will be fun, but also challenging. Most days our service has between 40-60 kids which seems crazy until you consider that's 2 or 3 classes put together, then it doesn't seem so bad. I don't know when I will finish up and I find most tasks reasonably easy. I love cooking and catering for them every day, but I am really struggling with picking up stuff from the floor and not having enough time just to sit down. The kids are mostly great, and the ones that aren't can be excused because they rarely come to OSHC and don't know the rules (or the rules changed since last year).

Guiding is a little hectic for me. I had am amazing time at camp qualification weekend, but I am helping with two Units, and that can be hard. I like the girls at both and the activities we do are great but I am also struggling with work then Guides until late enough at night. Some weeks I also have Olave stuff so that's three nights out in a row for me. That's not so bad now that Stephen has futsal and football again, but I get tired, hungry and sometimes a bit sick. The main Unit I am working with has two other pregnant leaders there (they are due a few months before me), and I think we will probably just have our own Mothers Club there on Thursday nights.

Being a future mum is a bit scary for me. Lots of reasons.
I have said this before, I am not at all a clucky person. I am mostly scared of other people's babies. This isn't even me over-exaggerating. I don't know what do do with crying babies (and they always seem to cry when I am handed them to cuddle or whatever I'm supposed to do). But I like children in general. When Trent was a bubba he was ultra cute and the only annoying things we had to help with were putting on his socks which he would continuously kick off or entertain him on road trips. The thing was, Trent didn't stay little for long. Soon enough he was in messing up my stuff and being a painful toddler child. But he was so gosh darn cute that you couldn't be mad at him. (PS- I'm sorry if you ever read this Trent.)

I am worried, and I know, I will get plenty of things wrong. I have got enough wrong in this pregnancy, like only eating things I like, though fortunately I like broccoli and I have also grown out of my packet pasta phase. Other than eating dumb things, I have seem super careful top the point that my poor head desperately needs to be recoloured and the only solution we can come up with is to have it cut short. Despite assurances that I can have red wine, I still haven't had any (never really liked it in the first place) and I don't want to leave the country.... just in case.

I kind of get things a bit better now. I wouldn't say I have lots of dreams for Pumpernickel, other that he or she is happy and has am amazing life. I hope that I have a Guide or Scout and that they don't have my poor dodgy eyes so they can do things like catch balls and estimate distance. And I hope that they make their own choices, so they if they want to be a Scour or not, or play piano or not, or be on the stage or not... that they are always free to choose 'not'. I also kind of get why my family was so stressed about my trip away last year by myself. Would I want future Pumpernickel to do all the things I have done and made the same mistakes, or at least have choices made for them that they have to react to? Of course not. But, also, Pumpernickel hasn't even been born yet so who wouldn't be ultra protective of such a child? 

All this time, and by that I mean 18 weeks (well, 13 if you include the time I didn't know about Pumpernickel) I have thought about awesome things my Mum did for us when we were little, things like taking us to the playground with breakfast from the bakery, making teepees and cubby houses for us, Friday video nights (mmm, better not call it that anymore), making things for us including plenty of costumes and doing canteen duties. Mum also did family day care and she was always taking the kids (and Matt and I) on excursions places like to Tower Hill or looking at rock pools or... well, wherever really!

Sometimes Stephen and I talk about our childhoods, and his was very different to mine, which makes perfect sense seeing as I was a country kid and all. Matt and I had a lot of freedom, we would walk to the Milk Bar, or go and see our neighbours and often my friends and I would go to the little park near us for a play or walk up to the shops. Dad also made us this incredible billy cart which we would take to the top of our hilly street and race down to the bottom of the hill.  Stephen took music lessons and played non contact sport, but I did Speech and Drama lessons and tried a whole heap of primary school sport (none of which I was good at, even though I did like hockey) but I also roller skated every weekend for about four years. I miss skating. I have a feeling our child's life will be very different to the ones that we led and that's not such a bad thing.

I've rambled enough and I need to go to work. Thanks anyway Blogger. You are a real friend. Now I have said all of this stuff, hopefully it can unclog my poor brain a little bit more.




Wednesday, 1 April 2015

His wounds have paid my ransom (or Some Basic Easter Theology by Lisa)

Every year my social feed feed is clogged up with some Easter messages, some amazing and some, well, a little it theologically el-wrongo (at least in my opinion). This is the long message I posted in response to such messages last year:

You may have heard that Jesus died to take away our sins. This explains only part of his death. Jewish people had to atone for their sin (anything breaking the Laws set by God) according to their wealth, which meant a poor person would have to sacrifice food, while a wealthy person may have to sacrifice their best cattle. Jesus' death was a prophesy throughout the Old Testament. Essentially His death was inevitable, and was made as an atonement for our sins. It is because of this sacrifice that we can have a relationship with God, free of condemnation and full of grace. To repent of your sin is important, and to live by grace is a two-way street, and shouldn't be a gift taken lightly. We are blessed.

The Story of Easter, and by story I don't mean fiction, is well known but not always well understood. What is often spread about the Easter story is that Jesus came to earth to save us from our sins. Let's break that down a little bit.

The Apostle's Creed states:
I believe...
 
And in Jesus Christ, his only Son our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried.
He descended into hell.
The third day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven,
and sits at the right hand of God, the Father almighty,
from thence he will come to judge the living and the dead.


Jesus had a short time of what we would term as ministry on Earth of about three years. That's incredibly short. Jesus' life and death is prophesied in the Old Testament of our Bible, pointing to a coming Messiah would would save the Jewish people and help restore the relationship with God they once had.

When we talk about Jesus saving us from sin, or 'taking our place on the cross', sometimes I think this can become a little bit understated. Before the crucifixion of Christ, the Jewish people had to atone for their sins, sacrificing what was most precious to them, which is both completely sad and fascinating all at once. It is thought that the death of Jesus, and his subsequent resurrection brings closer to the need to atone for sin anymore, which means that Jesus brings justification to people and God so that they can be in relationship with one another.

Easter brings a time of sorrow, the death of Jesus, followed by a time of great joy, which includes His resurrection, further ministry and ascension to Heaven.


Choices, choices.

I intend on following this up with a theological blog on the Easter narrative, for no particular reason other than that's my next train of thought. Choo-choo.

The last week or three I have been thinking a lot about choices, and a little bit about fighting, or choosing not to. Which is, again, a choice. Last year I wrote about how few regrets I have, though lately I have been reconsidering that. It started a few Fridays ago when I went to the SACE Art Show, and I realised how much time and talent I wasted pursuing things that didn't captivate me the same way that creating pretty much anything does. Unfortunately I love cutting up bits of paper and fabric and anything else you can think of. I say unfortunately because no one else in my family is a fan of the mess I make. I digress.

I will be honest. I have made some really weird, and let's face it, stupid, choices that haven't always been well thought through, or have been and the easiest option has been taken, forgetting all about the road less travelled. In some cases, like travelling to India by myself, those choices have been challenging and rewarding. In other cases, like taking on jobs I knew I hated instead of waiting for better options, those choices have not been well thought through.

What I have discovered though are two things about my choices. Firstly, I almost always think about other people first, which is sometimes good, but mostly a terrible decision. No one else gets to live your life other than you, so why choose someone else, or their ideas or ideologies over your own? Even though it's rhetorical, I do have an answer. It's because I'm a people pleaser, and at the end of the day I have some twisted priorities, or at least I have. I am easily guilt tripped, I tend to have a saviour complex and I hate disappointing people. As I've got a little older, I have became a little wiser, but not by much.

Secondly, I think my choices, almost all of them, would have still led me to this life which I'm now living. When you think about changing time, a la Back to the Future, we don't often take into account that what is right for us isn't always right for the people around us. My first big decision, which was which high school I would go to, was actually a really hard choice. In the end I chose my school because they had a good drama program and I already had some of the uniform. This was not a good
reason to choose going there, not really, and I still went anyway. I probably would have been a lot happier with the few friends I had going to the other choice of school.

Other than choosing friends, and some unfortunate boyfriend experiences, my life was pretty sweet until I had to make some choices about moving out of home, and helping fund my way through a uni degree that I somewhat now regret. I will say one thing though. Other people's choices probably changed my destiny and here is why.

I had applied for two jobs at some boarding schools and I was led to believe that I had one. Wrong. On Christmas Eve they phoned and said they gave the job to someone else. So, that meant I had to find a few flat and find a new job. On Christmas Eve. (I tend to have quite dramatic Christmas festival holidays.) So, on a whim I typed 'youth work' into the CareeOne search page, when it was still actually good, and found a job which I was eventually awarded, at Port Adelaide UC. Which is, as everyone knows, where I met Stephen.
 
This is what I signed up for?! (Actually, probably one of the best days of my life)
Would I have met him anywhere else though? He went to Magill, and I only had two subjects there the year before, and we didn't have the same majors. Stephen and Narelle were running the youth group until I was appointed, and I remember everything about the first day we met, including what he was wearing, and the fact that although he was pretty good looking, he was way too young for me, which he isn't actually (two years is nothing really).  There is a lot more to the story than that, including another two years, some teaching contracts, missed opportunities and other people just generally being in the way, but you get the idea, a whole bunch of choices led to something good.

Back to what I was saying though.

If I have regrets, and I do have some, I would say the majority of them are about how I have treated people, or let people treat me. I have been a horrible friend at times. I was never really a great girlfriend (okay, maybe there is an exception there for my personal Harry Potter), I gave too much weight and thought to other people's beliefs, ideas and opinions. The thing is, that... well, making amends is often a fruitless and thankless exercise. Sometimes karma has played a part in making up for me being nasty to someone, that is if you believe in karma, which I don't. Sometimes you make amends only to find out all the things about a friendship that were bad enough to ruin it then, were bad enough to ruin it now. Sometimes you have Subway cookies with someone after being really nice to them and they say things like 'So-and-so would be so angry I am talking to you,' so consider yourself unlucky types of conversations. Sometimes you realise that no matter what you do, whatever you did in the first place was unforgivable enough for that person to never want you back in their life in any way, shape or form.

On the other hand.
It's okay to not fight anymore. Because, walking away is sometimes, really, the best option. At our wedding, my two friends spoke about how I was a fighter and a tough cookie. Sometimes being a tough cookie is less about being on the defensive, and more about letting whatever it is wash away. I have walked away from people, places and situations. I have few regrets about that. After going on stress leave almost two years ago, I have been reminded time and time again that I could have fought my reasonably forced resignation and gone onto the Work Cover scheme. It was not worth the fight, even if I am letting a whole bunch of people down who depend on other people's stress claims to help build a case against an employer. I don't have regrets now about that because I was unwell enough as it was, let alone having to fight against a self insured employer. Often in my volunteering life I hear of people not getting along and one party choosing to work away from the other. This is sometimes a good option, and we don't give people like that enough credit.

All of my choices have led me to where I am, right now. I am not entirely happy with my career choice, but I like my job, and I like my life, and my husband, and my cat and being a Guide. I like enough about my life to accept the bad choices with the good, because, well, they were worth it. Yes, really.



Sunday, 22 March 2015

All I never knew I wanted.

I've touched a little on this in previous blog entries, but basically, I have discovered two truths about my life: this isn't what I was expecting, but I want it anyway.

I had really big dreams about moving from Kadina to Adelaide. I was going to play roller derby, stay out late with my friends, go back to my gym at Kidman Park, have long breakfasts on Sundays... All these things haven't really happened.

Living between here and wherever else I had been living (Balaklava, Pirie, Kadina, and not to discount a few months in Mount Gambier), I had lived for social weekends and loathed the fact I lived in the country. I was tired of being away from everyone all of the time. Four years of sleeping at other people's houses, of eating out because I didn't have anywhere to cook food (yes, this eventually does get old), of adding at least two hours travel time onto any event, was, well, getting tedious. And I am so glad I did all of these things. I am rarely a fairweather friend, but when people move away, keeping in touch is often just something you say rather than actively seek to do.

We have been back four four months now, and things have not really been the way I planned. Best laid plans always turn into something else. 2015 was supposed to be an awesome year, and it's turned incredibly bittersweet, with some silver linings for added effect. But I am not unhappy with this lot in life. In fact, I have maintained my level of contentedness for a very long time.

I am a little sad I won't play derby, that is true. But it's the safest for me, and future Baby Birchy Beans, and I know I am making the right choices about it.

I am also really glad we moved closer to family, because distance would be so incredibly hard right now. This was a case of good timing, or Godspeed, all the same, here we are.

It has surprised me how little I have seen my friends, and also, how much I have spent doing Guiding things. I do Guide stuff two-three nights a week, which was never my intention. All the same, it is a wonderful movement to be part of, and I love my Guiding sisters.

I have concluded that a lot of people move on through the seasons of life, and kind of come and go as we need one another. A few times I've been to parties and lunches, looked around at my friends and thought 'this is it. This is our group now, probably forever'. There is something so comforting in that simple fact, and not at all as scary as what I thought. I have watched my friends grow and change a lot over the last ten-ish years, but also, the fact that so much of who we are remains the same, is settling.

As with planning a wedding (and also, preparing for marriage), having children now seems the thing I am collecting unsolicited advice about. Especially, and so bizarrely, from people who are not actually parents. Can you just all stop now, please?

We are super excited about being parents though. I have said I always wanted to be a 'cookies and milk mum' (that's my term for stay-at-home mums, who are also creepily know as SAHMs). Hopefully I will have that opportunity to stay at home for as long as I can. I appreciated my own mum being around growing up and always having her to talk to, or go places with, or do projects together. I will be honest though. I am not at all clucky. I don't really love babies or small children the same way my baby crazy friends do. Whether this is because my brother arrived when I was ten, or whether it's just because babies don't excite me... yeah, I just don't know. It's okay to say these things, right? I am always super excited when my friends or family have babies, but it's more that I don't know what to do with them, and when someone passes me a random baby to cuddle, they are always going to cry because, babies.

Lots of things are changing, and I hope that I actually have some good friends who are mums sooner rather than later. Talking about friends has made up the bulk of this blog. I am not very extroverted (or, not at all), and yet I have a lot of people I call friends, and a lot of people I care about. Is that weird? Am I normal? Do I even need to be asking these things?

It's a horrible grey sky day here. I'm getting what I call 'huffy puffy', and I am glad, for the first time ever, that summer is actually over and I am allowed to be cold again. Yay for cold weather! Days like this in Kadina often sent me into a funk, and yet blue sky days there would often make me feel lonely for living in Radelaide. I do like our house, which we have worked incredibly hard on, along with having plenty of help from my parents. We live on a corner block, and have three construction sites around us - one two doors down, one on the opposite corner block, and another set a flats facing our garage. It's always noisy here, with the exception of Sunday mornings.

 Shark Tank is almost on, then it's time for lunchies and work.

I am just so grateful for this life. We have so many things to be excited for, to be hopeful for and to be prayerful for.





Sunday, 15 March 2015

Just between you and me.

I know this is a weird time to be blogging, but I spent the evening sewing and had lots to think about.
There's this great, and by great I mean totally lame, quote that says 'sometimes the girl who is there for everyone else needs someone to be there for her.' To repost that says more about how you see yourself than how others see you. But there is kind of something there, give or take a few generalisations.

Sometimes I feel that I've entered some kind of Bermuda Triangle world. Oh, I'm happy to listen to what everyone else is doing and what's making them feel hurt or the latest dramas, but being married with soon to arrive children is somehow kind of... Well, under the radar. And whatever world I'm meant to be operating in, I don't understand it and I don't know whether I want to. I feel frustrated by other people's relationships, because I think that sometimes we are untraditional and other people in our lives really aren't. We don't do everything together all the time, we like different things, we don't run well under social obligation. That's just who we are, and I get that other people don't understand or appreciate it.

I know my life is changing, and dramatically. What I thought I was coming home for has warped completely into something I didn't plan for or expect. The things I thought I missed or wanted, I don't.

I'm kind of scared that people see me as boring now. When you're single, life is about friends and food and meeting the right person and being all philosophical about love. Playing the marriage card seems to mean you give that away. At least that's the impression I am getting. I just want to be me again, and not something who isn't welcome to share what's going on in my life, just because it's a little bit different to other people.

On the other hand, I feel like there's not of people I can really share my life and my story as is it is right now. And I want to have that, but I don't. And I don't know if I can fix that, or even deserve it. It's not that I think that being a good listener or a friend entitles me to any of this, it's just that, well, I miss having friends to share the tough times with, as well as the good.

At the end of the day, I don't have any more answers than anyone else. I'm just grasping at straws. I am not tempted in the slightest to give advice based on the fact that I'm a married woman, and therefore know everything. I don't! A lot of this world doesn't make sense to me. I am trying though. I really am.

I don't necessarily need more in my life than what I have now. I have Stephen and cats and my family and good health and a job I like. And I have enough friends, more than I can count on two hands, and not many people can say that. I'm grateful. But I'm not immune to hurting and being sad or messed up or disappointed. One day, really, I hope someone will have my back.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Beaches, crying, Seinfeld, Gilmore and not hugging sobbing girls.

I'll be honest - I love a good cry.

No, really. I cry a lot. sad songs. movies. regrets. shoulda coulda wouldas. feeling remorse. being happy. being sad. frustration. sympathy tears for someone else crying.

A lot of people doing getting us people who like to have a cry, because those people aren't often the type who tear up at these moments. So, here's some thoughts, some advice, and a word of warning.

It should be known that I laugh an awful lot too. I even laugh at the same jokes, even when I remember the punchline. This is an impressive trait. I think it's all part of being super sensitive, and laughing can sometimes be as socially awkward as crying.

Fortuantely I grew out of the super adorable, but sometimes annoying trait of giving people hugs. Other people had not. Giving me a hug probably won't solve the problem, especially if I don't know you, or know you very well. So, my word of warning is this - don't touch me. I really don't need a hug because I'm just trying to process something and move on from that moment. This is such an instinctive thing though, and I feel bad to even say it.

It's really okay to cry and it's actually good for us, believe it or not. This fact always makes me feel better.

I realise that most people don't cry as often as I do, or hardly ever at all. When you know someone who is, like me, easily hyped up with emotion, you just become used to it, as in 'here she goes again'.

The last few months have brought a lot to my life, both wonderfully good and terribly bad. In all the news I have received, there hasn't been crying involved, which leads me to a simple theory about myself. Crying = probably a good sign of processing whatever. Not crying = probably not very okay right now.

Sometimes I forget that people aren't like me, and they seem to leave crying as The Last Resort for Dealing with Life. Unfortunately, allowing yourself to be as melancholy as you wanna be, whenever you like, leads to one thing - there's not a lot of places to go, and when you do, it's not great place to be in. I have never been good at rebelling or risk taking, unless risks are only perceived, and to be honest, ways I have found to deal with problems haven't been very classy, or fair.

There's a great Gilmore Girls episode in which Rory deals with her first break up by planning a huge weekend of errands and Very Important Things To Do, despite the fact her mum just wants her to wallow in sadness so she can move on. It takes Rory a day or so, but finally she embraces the fact that it's okay to be sad. And I get that, because I'm a Rory sometimes, but for me it can take weeks or months or years to be like 'you know what, I actually just need to go and be sad for a little bit'. And that, my friends, is why it's okay to cry. Because putting it off doesn't really help very much.

If you're like me and you want to deal with life in a more mature way, other than crying every time 'Last Christmas' comes on the radio, here's what I have found works well:
- just cry if you need to, but focus on the issue, not every single bad thing that went wrong, EVER
- make better choices in what you listen to or watch. Is Beaches a great idea? No.
- if someone else is crying, listen to them, be comforting (well, if that's what they want), but focus on them, not their emotions. Sympathetic crying is the worst, and not helpful!
- do something fun or distract yourself
- talk about it, because talking almost always helps.

Also, not putting your arm around your crying girlfriend during Beaches is a deal breaker. Just sayin'.


Jerry: [To himself] Now what am I supposed to do here? Shall I go over there? It's not like somebody died. It's "Beaches" for god's sake. If she was sitting next to me I'd put my arm around her. I can't be making a big move like going all the way over there. I can't. I won't. 

[Next day, Jerry and George enter Jerry's apartment]

Jerry: She calls me this morning and tells me she's upset I didn't console her. I mean it was "Beaches" for god's sake. What, what do you do in a situation like that?

George: Where were you?

Jerry: I was sitting on the chair. She was over here on the couch.

George: Well you know, if you were sitting right next to her you'd have to console her no matter what. 

Jerry: Of course.

George: When you're talking about a movie like "Beaches", moving from the chair to the couch , . . . that's quite a voyage.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Happiness, contentedness and everything else that isn't that.

"Well, as long as you're happy," is pretty much the most misunderstood phrase ever.

Think about it for a bit, being happy is overrated. We say such things when people are sad or stuck in a rut or we want things to change for them, and it just doesn't always mean what we want it to say. What we probably mean is, "It really sucks that you feel bad right now, how can we solve this?" but few people say this, or say it well.

If we are forever chasing some kind of happiness, we're going to be unhappy.

Happiness isn't paramount. Safety and security, and being stable in your health (physical, emotional, spiritual) really is. I think this is what we actually mean when we say we want someone to be happy. we just want them to not feel pain, or be sad, or angry. And it's hard to do, especially when what we actually mean is:
- you know, this is a great time to leave this crap situation
- the person is question is a jerk and can you just not see them anymore
- I want to solve this problem, but I can't, so the onus is on you to make yourself be happy
- this happened to me, and I should have made a better choice.

For me, my happiest time was a year ago while I was in India. It met all the criteria - new experiences, great food, a camp, travel, Guides and friendship. It had all the ingredients. But then it came to Saturday night, and I don't really know what happened. I felt homesick, but not enough to be upset. I spent some time reading a novel and cuddling up in bed. Me time was a Lisa thing before it was even a thing thing. The next day, which was my last day there, was actually really special, and I was very happy. And when I got home after a massive stop over, followed by an uncomfortable flight and then a two hour drive back to Kadina... I wasn't happy. I was tired and grumpy and didn't want to go back to work the next day. What we want doesn't always make us happy. But it does create some kind of contentedness that settles the issue once and for all.

One tough thing about being who I am is that sometimes I can be an Eeyore and sometimes I can be a Tigger. The trouble with that is that it's not especially balanced, and it doesn't always show the best side of me. When I was at Sangam last year, the girls all talked about how bubbly and happy I was, and to be honest, I hadn't felt like that for a very long time, years even. At home though, I was an Eeyore, even after I came back. I didn't mean to be, but I couldn't be switched on all the time.

What I think I have realised is that I don't need perfection in my life, at least, not in the form of happiness. There is plenty of things happening right now which point to one simple fact - I am not always in the best place to be happy. In fact, sometimes there is so much sadness that it seems unfair to even think that I can be happy when things go wrong.

When I was sixteen, I realised that as soon as I though something like 'everything is perfect in the world' or 'I am so mature and make great choices,' one little thing would cause it to all come crashing down. I also found that I could talk myself into this state of mind quite easily, and some of the things I was happy for were sometimes lies to myself. Now when I think I am going down this same path, I try and stop it. In some ways, thinking such things before something bad happening is not a terrible place to be. On the other hand, false security is overrated and thinking these things probably didn't help a lot at the time.

It's probably not very fair to say I'm happy at the moment. Other than liking my job (and I hardly ever like my jobs), and having a house, and living where I want, and having an awesome husband and a great family and some pretty good friends... I don't have as much 'good stuff' happening as I do in the usual happiness categories. Am I excited about being a mum? Yes, but scared beyond reason!

I have had some disappointments in the last few months too, and some actually real problems (let's face it, not getting into a derby league isn't a choice right now anyway). And for what's going on in my own life, it really sucks. But it is bittersweet as well, because silver linings help. Well, sometimes at least.

I am happy now, being content. It's enough for me. It seems like a fair state of mind for everyone around me. More than that though, being happy does really wear me out! Being in a constant state of happiness is not the best place for anyone, ever. Being content seems reasonable to me.