17-366

Tomorrow is my birthday. I’m not saying that for felicitation purposes. I’m saying it because it will be my first birthday without Erika.

In a way, I’m almost dreading it. Wanting a message or a poke from her and knowing I’m never going to get one. Again.

Woman’s Hour had an article this week on bereavement, focussing on when a friend dies. And how it feels different from when a relative dies. It really does.

When you click with someone, when you choose them as part of your family, the pain from them not being there is searing. It is different to the pain I felt when my Grandparents died (well, three of them anyway, the fourth and last one that died can simply go forth and multiply).

As I got closer to Saturday; all week my thoughts kept returning to Erika. I hope wherever she is, she flicks me the bird, shoves against me in the mosh pit of life, or comes to visit me in my dreams and knows that I love her.

Deep dive book club

Here are the deep dive books I’m going to interrogate this coming year. I’m going to be too restrictive on this study pile as I’ve learned don’t box yourself into life too tightly! If another book speaks to me, it will get added.

Deep dive book club

From the left:

Steering by Starlight, Martha Beck

Wherever You Go, There You Are, John Kabat-Zinn

Spiritual Liberation, Michael Bernard Beckwith

A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle. I’ll be revisiting the handy chapter breakdown, 10-part series Oprah did too.

Australia Day, Stan Grant

Becoming, Michelle Obama

Everything is Figureoutable, Marie Forleo

Sane New World, Ruby Wax – not pictured because the book itself is in transit. I’ve listened to the audio-book twice though.

I’ll let you know how I go, and if through this self-imposed study I find the answers to life, the universe and everything.

7-366

I’m pecking this out on my phone, about to turn the light off and go to sleep.

I just mainlined Ship of Brides as it’s due back to the library tomorrow. My first JoJo Moyes book, picked up on holiday by Trish who said it was worth checking out – thanks for the recommendation!

I’m breathing normally again, thank goodness. The smoke haze has lifted, I could smell the trees again today. It’s been a funny week already, and it’s only Tuesday! I’ve been given access to another mailbox at work, opening an email I managed to infect my computer. I got a notification that it “had been taken off the network, call IT”. #ruhroh

Archie is back home, tired and emotional and more than a bit overwhelmed to be here – poor sausage. He said he missed us, we certainly missed him. Not sure if he’ll end up in our bed, or if I’ll head down to him.

6-366

I missed 4 and 5. I was drunk on 4, and at the cinema on 5.

I’ve reached out for help with my drinking, apologised to Hubs and am currently on Day 2 of getting sober. I was so far into shame yesterday, I nearly imploded on myself.

I’ve joined an eight-week fitness challenge, I asked Hubs to take front, back and side view photos of me. The front on is truly awful, will never see the light of day. I’m chewing my lip in pain, but it was real, raw and honest and so I didn’t going to ask him to retake it.

I also took my measurements, am at my heaviest weight, which I thought I’d hit last year. Barely fitting into clothes and cross with myself for abusing my body.

So here we are. Out there and open.

I’m going to share this with you. Because as I find my way through, others might need to as well.

Exercising is going to be interesting with the air quality being as bad as it is with the fires though. I was going for a walk each lunch time – but I don’t think I will be today.

3-366

It’s been an odd day today. We’re packing up and cleaning the house ready to leave tomorrow; we may need to do two trips as we’ve accumulated so much stuff down here. I’m not sure how we managed it, but herding everything together we’re already thinking ruh-roh.

We’ve had the cricket on, interspersed with the news and if you saw my Facebook / Instagram story from earlier with the smoke haze hiding the other side of the road – you’ll know that life as we know it here in Australia has changed.

Ash is falling on New Zealand, cities are choked with smoke and haze, the EPA have issued air quality warnings for Melbourne; let alone the areas that are on fire. Canberra is hotter than Alice Springs, we’re f***ed basically.

And our illustrious leader seems to be waiting for the Pentecostal Rapture, because nothing else can explain his behaviour. He’ll be fine because he holds his hands up to pray and the world going up in flames is what the church predicts. What about the rest of us?

I’m trying not to get cross with it all, but watching the news tonight Archie first said “It looks like lava”, then “Why don’t they put it out?” then “Please turn it off, this is terrible.”

Any suggestions how I explain decades of inaction and resources to an eight year old? That for the past however many years profit has been put above everything else; because a planet with finite resources will always enable year on year growth and a strong economy? *snort* That coal lobbyists have the Liberals in their pockets by donating millions to the party?

Sigh.

I don’t know what to do. I do know that tomorrow, we’ll get up and we’ll carry on. Because our lives carry on, even if others in the Land of Plenty are now in limbo.

2-366

I took myself off to the beach today. I’m now sunburnt behind my knees. I also have a red patch on a thigh. Got to love intermittent sunscreen application.

I had a great time, I just laid on the beach – watched the world go by and listened to Ruby Wax’s Sane New World. Which will be one of my few deep-dive books, along with Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth. I’m also going to revisit the Oprah’s 10 part course where you drill down into each chapter. I also remembered I brought Jon Kabat-Zinn Wherever You Go, There You Are and added that to the list.

That’s three. I’ll have a look when I get back home as to what else tickles my fancy.

We’ve got another couple of days here at the beach, then back home and enough hilarity, back to reality.

We’ve put on Order of the Phoenix for Archie, the first time he’s watched it. Not too many questions so far, that Delores Umbridge is truly awful…

1-366

One of my twenty for 2020 is to blog everyday. Hence the title of this blog post, I’m going to count down, or up, as we go through the year. I got into bed last night on New Years’ Day, and thought “Damnit”, so you’re gonna get two today…

We’ve spent the past week and a bit on the Mornington Peninsula. I was looking online to see if I could book the Air BnB that we used at the beginning of 2019, but I couldn’t get the dates to match up with the Christmas shut-down at work (more on that later). The next morning, R rang me and said she and her family were off to Fiji for a month, did we want to use her house?

Ten minutes away from the cousins.

Yes please.

So we packed up, including the cat, and drove down. We then drove back again, minus the cat, to go to the Boxing Day test, Archie and I left at lunch, then headed back to the Peninsula. Cat very happy to see us and we’ve been here ever since.

As normal, we’ve not done everything we’ve planned to, but we’ve done other things. The jigsaw is mostly done, but we’re struggling with the sky, so many blues! The beach has been hit a couple of times, but we’ve relaxed, unwound and spent quality time together, which is what we needed.

Yesterday we drove to Sorrento and got the ferry over to Queenscliffe. We mooched through the town, walked up to Helen’s chair and spent some time reflecting on both Hubs’ mum and Erika.

Six months ago she passed, it still feels like she should be on the end of a call or a message.

Ian and I have spoken nearly every week since then, for which I’m grateful. One of the things I want to do this year is to share what I’m feeling, when I’m struggling, more often. I don’t reach out to people often enough. I seem to know when people need to talk to me, and expect that intuition from others. Doh.

I’ve not finished my Twenty for 2020 list off completely, mainly because as the year unfolds, I want to have room for actions and additions.

This year will be the year I stop drinking though. The past few months of funk has seen me drink more than nights than not, not quite to oblivion, but on the edge of it.

One thing I wanted to do by the beach was to press pause and reset on what I wanted. I feel a long walk by the beach is in my future today. I need to sit and let stuff come to surface.

[Point to note, if the blog posts are numbered, they will be free-form and unedited. If there is anything specific I want to talk about (rant over), I’ll put a title up ok?]

I’ve just cleared my beach visit with Hubs, when I’ve finished my coffee I’ll head off.

The job I started six months ago closes the office down, which I wasn’t that happy about when I first heard about it. I had to go into a negative balance to take a week off work to head over to the UK for Erika’s funeral. I’d just about accrued a week back again, to have to use it for the shut-down. I’ve got no buffer for any appointments, catastrophes or life in general. For the first time in my life, I will be purchasing an additional two weeks leave so I don’t have to worry about having enough time for stuff to happen.

Because stuff happens.

History is just one damned thing after another.

Winston Churchill

Ain’t that the truth.

Other stuff I’ve done over the week is review who I follow on social media, what podcasts I listen to and am umming and ahing over what books to read over the coming year. I did so well with my reading in 2018, I wanted to hit 2019 with reading 100 books. One thing I learnt last year, when I’m depressed or overwhelmed, I now can’t read. I stuff my head into my phone and ignore the world that way. Mind you, I have been known to just read and re-read Mapp and Lucia to avoid life too.

(See what I mean about I need to let whatever needs to come up, come up?)

Listening to the Daily Stoic podcast Ryan Holiday suggested that instead of trying to hit a number of books, why not try to delve deep. To not read widely, but to read deeply, to come to know the authors as though I’d lived with them.

Reading of many books is distraction.

Seneca

I’m going to get twelve books from Book Club, but I’m going to have a think about what ten-fifteen other books I want to read this year, to deep read; not skim over to get to a number. What am I trying to prove?

Well, that’s the story of my life right there. Proving my worth to others. Instead of being happy with who and what I am.

On that note, I’m off to the beach.