Black and white

I’ve had an epiphany this week, which some of you will find funny, but in the process of clearing my head, I quite often clear out things at home. Ask Mon Bears, because the amount of stuff I donated or threw away after my first marriage broke down amazed them. I was in a little study, on a futon, but still managed to get rid of about a bin bag of things a week. Sometimes two.

So while I was tidying my closet this week, I thought ‘Black and white’ from now on, unless something jumps out at me, I’m just going to buy clothes in those colours. I thought of Jamie Lee Curtis, who also decided to do the same thing, ‘It makes getting dressed easier’ and I’m all for that.

I was going to do #Project333 again, but you know what, I don’t have much I can cull now. I’ve pretty much got a capsule wardrobe. I’ve separated out summer dresses (brrrrr), short sleeved blouses and my thinner suit – and that’s all the pairing down I can do now.  I added some old jewellery I don’t wear any more, mainly because the dress I brought to wear it with got to be too big for me a while ago, and whenever I’ve tried it on with anything else, it didn’t suit it. I kept the necklace and bracelet for over a year, tried it intermittently, and now someone else can use it, and hopefully love it. I also went through my scarves and pashminas. Now, I love me a scarf. I’d rather wear one of them than a necklace any day, but again, some were donated because I don’t use or wear them any more. They suited me then, they do not suit me now.

Yet some things I can’t donate or sell. No matter how often I look through my jewellery. I’ve got two garnet (my birth stone) necklace and earring sets. One I thought about getting re-set for my wedding to Hubs, but nearly fainted at the price. I look at them, I think of my Mum and I can’t do it. I cannot get rid of them, they’re beautiful, dressy pieces, I may not get dressed up to go out as much as I used to (ex-Army wife and all that), but every so often I may do.

And you know what, I’ll have either a fabulous black or white dress to wear with one of them.

Lazy days and Sundays

Apologies for the lack of updates this week, I wanted to let y’all know how I was doing at my new role, but the past few days have been busy so I didn’t get a chance to.  Not good enough, and I apologise.

Wednesday was a good day, information overload as to be expected, Catherine the lady who has been temping there part-time is lovely and showing me the ropes.  The biggest hurdle was taking minutes for a committee meeting, an hour and a half after I started the job.  I took copious notes as I had no idea what they were talking about, but when I’d typed them up over the afternoon and Thursday and sent them off to be approved, I was complimented on what I had delivered – hurrah!

Thursday was another busy day, I drove a different route in as I needed to check the post box (empty, so waste of time), and drove past the gym I’d stopped going to as it was miles out of my way from where we now live!  In between tidying and cleaning my desk, (the cleaners evidently have a loose idea of the definition of clean, and not one that matches mine), taking notes and nodding ‘yes’ a lot, the day again, passed quickly.  On the way home, I had to go to the supermarkdo, by the time I’d done shopping, unpacked it and we’d cooked dinner, it was nearly time to pack a lunch, lay some clothes out and go to bed.

Friday, again busy, we didn’t cover as much as we’d planned as work got in the way of handover, but we’ve kicked a lot of goals.  I whizzed home, had a bird bath, reapplied some make-up and we whizzed into the city to meet Andrew’s parents who are over from NZ.  We had a great evening, despite me having verbal diarrhea in the car as I was so excited about life.

Lachy came over with Hurricane Piper and Cyclone Oakley, Ney is on nights at the moment, to let her get some sleep they were taken out the house, they’d been to the park and fed the ducks by the time they got to us.  Piper peered at the fish tank and announced that Jess (her fish) and Bullseye (Oakley’s fish) we still at the hospital.  Guilty looks by Aunt and Uncle who have flushed Bullseye 1 & 2, and several orange comets that should have passed for Jess down the porcelain express.  The three that we have left seem to be fairly sturdy, and piggy, they barge each other out the way to get to the food, and stare out the tank at us hopefully if one of us walks past.  They also like watching sport on TV, which is just as well as The Masters is on, followed by AFL, followed by whatever else is on at the moment.

We went back into the city late on Saturday to watch Carlton v Essendon at the MCG, which was preceded by a cricket presentation, free bar and canapes for a couple of hours.  I proceeded to get squiffy on champagne, and became Sir-Text-A-Lot, the game passed in a blur, Dan ended up having to buy me a coffee to sober me up a little, but we had a good time. 

Today we’ve pottered about the house, Dan has put his shorts away, summer is officially over – we’ve had the heating on today!  It has been windy and rainy for most of the day, so washing is draped over any available surface, I will start ironing when I’ve finished this.  I’ve been burning some new CDs for the car, we’ve rearranged the study as we’re going to take ownership of Ross & Leonie’s single bed and Dan has caught up on some filing.  (Which was so old, it’s nearly all been filed in file 13!)  His cold is still hanging round him, I am still snuffly too, although my throat is better, and the pair of us would quite like whatever we’ve got to either appear with a vengence so we can get over it, or clear off altogether.

Matt is coming over for dinner tonight, so I’ve cooked a chicken, we’ve been to The Glen to collect the post, interesting National Geographic on water this month, I’ve flicked through the papers and am now going to have a quick sandwich for lunch.

Consider yourself updated!

The Art Of Procrastination

This is one of my favourite subjects, while not actually doing it – although there are days when I will quite gladly stay in bed and read, as long as I don’t see the washing piling up downstairs, I can’t fret over it, but I admire those who procrastinate in greatness.

However, I am on my own in the house.  Today I have 2 books that I want to finish, the filing to cull, (although I may make DG go through it all with me tomorrow), I have some articles I’ve collated this week to stick into my inspiration book – and yet I find myself surfing and catching up on websites.  I wonder if the fine art of procrastination has reached fever pitch with the onset of broadband and blogs and bytes and boobies?

Being a true procrastinator doesn’t mean you don’t get things done, because you do.  You just do other things first, sometimes to avoid doing what you’ve signed up for, but sometimes because you need to do research, think things through, plan how to write that article/report/homework.  It also means that as some people work better under pressure, they will put off doing what they are doing until the last minute; but they also know that when push comes to shove, they need to have the knowledge there first, so work on the task in hand in a roundabout way, and just deliver it later than some people would be comfortable with.

It also means taking on less commitments, because if you know you have a report due in a week, you’ll need to faff about with it first, so you won’t sign up to bee-keeping classes, unless you want to keep bees.  You won’t get dragged to a film you don’t want to see, as you have better things to do (for me Avatar, I know I will get round to seeing it eventually, DG will be buying the DVD I am sure.  But there are other films I want to see ahead of that one, I am not wasting my hard-earned dollars to watch special effects over a storyline).  You don’t sign your children up to millions of extraneous extracurricular activities; as you recognise is spending time with them yourself is more important, less expensive and what your children want too, so voila, you are no longer a taxi service to them and have more time for yourself and your family.  You also switch your mobiles off, or at least leave them alone for a day a week, so you don’t tweet, facebook, email and text, and you can lie about with the newspapers and an old black and white film, chatting with your much beloved and family.  The world won’t fall in if you don’t answer an email.

I have planned to have today to myself, ostensibly to think, but when push comes to shove, sometimes you are just not in the mood to do what you have planned to do.  So what do you do then?  Do you arrange your sock drawer, do the washing up, dust your bookshelves?  Well I can’t as my socks are all neat and tidy, DG cleaned the kitchen before he left, and my books are probably the only things in the house that get dusted on a weekly basis.

So now what? I have a day to myself to do what I want with and what I’ve planned to do, I don’t feel like doing right now, so I put off what I plan to do, to do something else.  I’ve cleaned the bathrooms, I could have a bath, but then I would feel guilty about wasting water in this dry country.  I could go for a walk, but that would mean having a shower and doing something about my bed-head first.  I could watch a DVD, but I don’t want to sit in front of the TV.  I could finish the two books that I want to finish today, but I don’t feel like reading them right now.  I could weed the garden, but honestly, I can’t be bothered.  I guess I will just have to have a think about what to do, but first I need to have some lunch, then I’ll have a think.

Goodness me – the perils of daytime television

I couldn’t help it your honour, I got sucked in.  I only sat down to catch up on Gavin & Stacey (he’s just found out she’s been engaged 5 times before him) I watched one Oprah, then another and before I knew it… I found myself watching Channel 7, which unless the football is on, is normally NEVER on in this house as it is so shite, I was watching Extreme Skinny Celebrity Mums from the Living Channel in the UK.  Which as you can see by my recent tweets, was heavily ‘researched’ by using the Daily Mail, the absolute pinnacle of journalism (read BS) over there.

Apparently, like, ‘slebs in Hollywood have hired wet nurses, but it’s like, really top secret.  They don’t want to eat the calories they need to like, feed their children, because they need to be really, really skinny, so there’s this like, super-secret agency.  And apparently, Liz Hurley gives diet advice, and like, Cate Blanchette is choosing between, like, clothes and her children.  Then Vanessa Feltz got in on the action, telling us that when you have a caeserian section, everyone famous is, like, having tummy tucks AT THE SAME TIME!  Then they started in on Anna Friel apparently using the suction diving suit and Heidi Klum being on the catwalk in seven weeks in a bikini.  Then my brain, like, atrophied and slid out my ear.

It is all our fault apparently, because it’s, like, the public, right?  As we buy the magazines, so we are, like, directly responsible for Victoria Beckham being skinny.  Sorry VB, I didn’t realise.  In fact, I realised years ago if you buy them, you only fan the flames, so I refuse to buy magazines that have pap shots in them.  I don’t even flick through them while waiting at the supermarket, or at the hairdressers.  The last time I looked at one, was over a year ago.  I was working at Hoban and read an ancient Grazia on my lunchbreak.  I’d finished my book, it was piddling it down with rain and I only had 5 minutes left, so flicked through it.  It was full of complete and utter BS.  Sources telling us, an insider says.  The only problem was, the six month time lapse showed that the majority of stories were completely fabricated, just made up around photos that had landed on someones desk, and they needed something to go with them.  But people believe them, people (girls mainly) sit on public transport over here discussing Now and OK and other glossy shite, like it is the National Geographic. 

Solange Knowles, Beyonce’s sister, cut all her hair off, when the pap photo was published, she was the 3rd trending topic on Twitter, so she hopped on and told everyone off, berating the USA for putting her haircut, yes a haircut, over the Iran Elections.  Then she told them all to find Iran on a map for good measure.  You go girl!  Admittedly I found this out when I watched Oprah, but Solange has a point.  One of things I love doing is reading the FAQs on IMDB.  Talk about dumb people.  Take this shining example on ‘The Shawshank Redemption’: Why did the warden kill…?  Or this one from ‘Hot Fuzz’: On whose grave did they put flowers at the end of the movie?  Sometimes I wonder if they watch the same film, or do they need a set of Cliffs Notes to get them through, because God help them that they follow a plot for a whole 2 hours!  I am sick and tired of shitty programmes being constantly interrupted by adverts, documentaries that tell you to stay tuned because this is coming up, cutting to a break, then recapping what’s just happened, because moronic people can’t retain a thought in their heads while McDonalds advertise salads and The Biggest Loser is trailed.

Anyway, I am supposed to be working from home today.  So I am showered, but not powdered and made up, I’ve brushed my hair, but I am in schlumpadinka trousers and a comfy t-shirt.  I am supposed to be tidying up loose ends before I leave.  But you know what, I will tidy them up tomorrow.  When I am going to get paid for tidying them up, as oppose to me doing them now, when I won’t.  Did I tell you they short-changed me by $900 for when I was out ill, by the eejit in bullying question starting my part-time hours at the beginning of the month, instead of when they actually started on the 15th March?  And that although they were quick enough to take it away, I will have to wait until the 21st April before it will be rectified?  Did I tell you that they left me with less than $600 for the month, because I had used up all my accrued holiday and personal leave?  So I had to take unpaid leave, with no discussion on how it will impact me?

And they wonder why I went looking for another job?  Take out the bullying and harassment, take out the piss-poor management of this situation, you do not mess around with people’s wages.  Period.  It is a shame I won’t be there when WorkSafe visit.  It is a shame I am leaving some good people behind me, I had a brief interview with one guy yesterday, seriously one of the nicest, funniest and cleverest people I’ve worked with.  He’s going to ask me back for a formal exit interview in a couple of weeks.  He told me to be clear on everything, as it is important they hear exactly why I am leaving.  Damn right.  It won’t save my job.  But it might save someone elses.

Cut and paste

I have had another good day today.  As you know I am working part-time at the moment, so am scheduling my counselling sessions around my days off, when I can.  Occasionally I get thrown a curve ball, but as long as I am there for the 2.5 days a week and get what I need to done…  I am meant to work till 1pm on Fridays, last week I had to work on Tuesday as I couldn’t work on Wednesday, this week I had to finish early on Monday so will be working all day Wednesday and Friday.  Are you with me so far?

Anyhoo, today I have been busy with my inspiration book.  Started at the prompt of F’lerika when I was living with her and her Bear, for the past (stops to think) 5 and a bit years I have been cutting articles out of magazines, newspapers; printing things from websites; finding pictures I like; postcards I like; all sorts of things, but anything that speaks to me.  For the past 2 years (I know it is that long as my subscription is due), I have been culling my Oprah magazines; for 18 months the magazines that come with the weekend newspapers here and had piles of paperwork to prove it.  I had collated it all in a concertina folder, handily arranged in subject order.  I had plastic wallets of other articles.  For someone so organised, it was in a bit of a muddle.  I kept adding to it, but not sorting it out.  Over the past month or so, I have had 2 or 3 sessions where I have sat with my guillotine, scissors and glue cutting out, trimming off and sticking in for hours, and can now proudly announce that I am up-to-date.  Everything is stuck in, and not in subject as I liked the randomness of flicking through and reading things in no particular order of the first book.  At least, until I pull apart the Oprah magazine that arrived this morning, and buy the papers at the weekend.  I have 3 A4 books, chock full of goodies.  From columns by Martha Beck, to pictures of beaches, from an article on Dame Judi Dench  (isn’t she glorious?) to blessays by Stephen Fry, you name it, I’ve got it stuck in them somewhere.

One thing I hadn’t added is anything I’ve written.  Until now, when I will type up all the notes I’ve taken from seeing my counsellor and add them to the mix.  Every time I see her, I have an a-ha! moment, like this session where she retested me on my depression and anxiety levels and proudly announced that I had pushed through to the other side of my wibble.  But I knew that already, that wasn’t the a-ha! moment.  I knew that when I slept for 12 hours on Saturday, I knew that when I was able to line all my ducks up, shoot them off in sequence and close the door on the carcases.  I knew that when I was the strong person on a phone call this morning.

My a-ha! was when I visualised this week that what I thought initially was a small problem, but one that got progressively bigger as nearly every day another layer was painted on.  A bit like the rubber band balls you see on desks, they start from one band at the core, but you keep winding bands on, they’re gonna get bigger.  Eventually, this problem squashed me into a corner, with nowhere to go.  So I shut down, I had to.   As anyone would had you put pressure on them for that long, stress is a good thing, but bad stress is a bad thing.  Sustained bad stress is an impossible thing to cope with, you will go phut.  I have gone phut, but now the pieces are coming back together again.

I will be weaned off my antidepressants when I am settled, but they are doing their job, they are holding me up while I continue to get my head around some things that are happening now.  The things that have happened, have gone, they are in the past and have been put away.  While some things were disappointing, “When you know better, you do better”.  And for another Maya Angelou quote: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time”.  If I had believed the first time what I didn’t want to see, I wouldn’t have gone phut.  I would have gone.  Period.  Because “What you do speaks so loudly, what you say I cannot hear.”

I’ve learnt, again, who my friends are.  They come from unexpected places, but they are the people who do not deplete me.  They encourage, cheer me on, support me, even from miles away, they are the people that raise me up, not bring me down.  They are in my corner, and when they say they are fighting in my corner – they stay there. 

So I will carry on cutting and pasting the things that are important to me; I will carry on reading and re-reading the articles and books that have helped me through this: I will carry on learning what I am here for, what my purpose is; but sometimes you need a little help to show you the way.  The past month has been invaluable.  It reminded me what is, was and will always remain important.  And that something cannot be cut out and stuck in a book.  It is something I carry with me every day.  Me.

T’internet (or severe lack of it)

Bluddy Optus, normally we use 50% of our internet allowance each month.  This month, because someone downloaded 3 feature films to his iPod (you can either blame me for buying the iTunes vouchers for his birthday, or DG for using them) we’ve gone over it.  Consequently, our broadband is at dial up speed.   Literally as soon as we went one nanobit over, there is a switch that sets speed from super fast to treacle.  Quick enough to take away, slow to give back.  We’ve made 3 phone calls so far, all to people in India who can’t speak English.  ARGH!

I can’t get emails as Outlook has a diva tantrum it is going so s  l  o  w  l  y.  I log on through gmail and it takes forever, we keep getting the IE screen of death and ‘click here for diagnosis’ button.  All will be sorted on Monday, (according to the IT guru that popped in to check it for us last night, our billing period starts again then), so for those who are waiting with bated breath for an update on how I got on back at work, hang on.  I will let you know later today, if I can.  As it is, I am typing this with fingers crossed that it won’t fall over.

Please don’t try and skype either, we have enough problems with that, so if you must, call us.  I am at home all day tomorrow, although a roving reporter today.  At the minute, two cans with string will probably work better than the technology.

Making the most of it

I’ve come into the city to celebrate my last day off before I go back to work on Monday. Autumn is in the air, despite the temperatures due to get to 28c on Sunday. There was a heavy dew this morning, my breath was visible and I wore a scarf. Now it is warming up, I am wondering why I didn’t shiver for a few minutes, instead of me having to carry it around for the rest of the day?
The world is my lobster, I may go to the galleries, I may have lunch by the river, I may do whatever I want. I’ve already had my traditional Starbucks and raised a toast to Wiz.
At the moment, I am people watching over a coffee. I have a good book, I have my health (mostly), we have the house to our selves for the weekend, we’ve plans on Saturday and Sunday. Life is good.

Stormy weather

At last the muggy spell has broken.  I sit in my study with rain hammering on the windows, after watching hailstones the size of golf balls hurtle down from the sky.  I should have been walking to yoga, I would have got soaked, and probably collate a few more bruises had any hailstone hit me.  As it was they smashed into the house, onto the roof and bounced off the windows.

I was walking as DG took the car to play cricket, now rained off, but I felt like walking.  The rain was predicted, but it doesn’t bother me walking in the rain, I am in English – you spend most of your life damp.  I packed up my bag, swung it over my shoulder and plugged Eckhart Tolle in to talk me to the studio.  I was wearing sunglasses, then realised I couldn’t see where I was walking, I took them off, it was nearly dark.  I looked at the weather front moving in, turned around and went back home.  I dropped my bag off, grabbed the bread that we had been saving for the ducks and walked down to the pond instead to feed the ducks and birds.

The ducks were happy to see me, very happy.  Some days they are fed full to bursting and won’t come near you, this afternoon when I stopped by the bank, they zoomed over the pond, bumping each other out the way to get to me.  One brave female mallard stood by my trainers, catching the crumbs as I broke the bread up for the others.

Feeding ducks is such a simple thing to do, but when you are truly there, not listening to the voice in your head, but truly present – it brought me such joy.  I couldn’t believe how close they got to me when I was feeding them, I was crouched down and rummaging around in a collection of bread bags, yet they knew I had food and so were so trusting.  I looked at their feathers, the rainbow of colours that go to make up brown and black, the smoothness and sleek bodies that are so graceful on the water.  They were so patient too, yes they were squabbling over the bread when it was thrown in, but they knew I had to break it up and throw it out to them.  Even the sparrows got in on the crumbs, looking at me with heads on one side saying ‘Come on!’ 

On my walk around the football fields this Wednesday I kept walking past 4 magpies, it is disconcerting when they make eye contact with you.  I am sure they wondered what I was doing, circling round in loops, they were watching the grounds man roll and prepare the pitch, no doubt waiting for him to get out the way so they could get in there for worms.  But quite happily sitting on a fence, watching and waiting for the right moment to get what they needed. 

I keep thinking about what I need at the moment, I thought I knew, but the deeper I look the more I see that things are changing.  I hope that with the break in the weather I sleep better tonight, as the next two days are days of preparation.  I have to collate paperwork ready for a meeting on Tuesday morning, I need to be ready, I need to be strong.  I also need the storm of words and emotions in my head to clear.  So I will be offline and ignoring my phone, regrouping as I go into battle.  Because that is what is has become.

DVD explosion

When we moved over from the UK we had to catalogue everything we packed, so if the boat sank – we could replace everything.  Luckily the ship didn’t sink, but having a list of DVDs we found handy, so we kept it uptodate, one of the Christmas jobs was to re-alphabetise them and make sure we had them all listed.

Today, I have added the ones we’ve brought over the past 6 months into the spreadsheet, we have 414 films.  I still need to go through the TV programmes, (thank you to Wiz and Jim for keeping me culturally UK-ed up), music, comedy and sport sections.  Four hundred and fourteen.  So why is it, most of the time when I flick through the CD books we keep them all in, I can’t find anything to watch?

For those who missed it…

I am signed off work at the moment, I put a post on here yesterday, but took it down as although I felt better for writing it, having it on the interweb probably wasn’t a good idea.  However, if you want me to email it to you – then please let me know and I will do. 

I have been having so many conversations with one guy at work, people are going to start thinking we’re having an affair.  However, we are not, we just miss each other terribly.  Sad isn’t it, not being able to toddle down to see each other in the office when I deliver the mail or whatever, or when he comes up to the front of the office to get a drink, we are pining for each other.  I’ve talked about my buddy at work on here before, but it is only now that I am out the office we have truly discovered the depths of our friendship.

One of the reasons I am struggling is that my support network, or at least the majority of them, are in the UK.  Some of them are also going through shit at the moment, and I am conscious of that so don’t want to add to their burden.  So when you find someone you feel comfortable in your skin with, as I do with him, you tend to gravitate towards them.  It doesn’t help that we make each other laugh, so hard we can be crying with the giggles, and when you are struggling with work, laughing keeps you going.

I’ve also been told that I need to get out and walk for a minimum of an hour, every day, every morning.  This is in addition to the yoga.  Which as I fell over and wrecked my knee I have been missing, and missing sorely; mind, body and soul.  Tomorrow I am back for the 9:30 class and I can’t wait.  While I haven’t had a breakdown, I am clinically depressed, she is optimistic I will soon be back to normal, as long as I am given the space and room to get my head back together.  So if you are waiting for an email from me, I apologise.  I am working on catching up with my correspondence this week.  But don’t nag me, I am liable to tell you where to put it at the moment.