Sunday, 12 April 2015

A trip to Melbourne

9.4.2015 Day 99 of the #justlittlethingsblanket 

When I was 7, we drove to Melbourne to see the sights & some of Dad's family. We would all visit the beautiful National Heritage listed Rippon Lea Mansion and Gardens then the Melbourne Zoo. Ropes separated us from the fragile antiques, but we could see ornamental stained glass, elaborate embossed wallpapers and rugs and wander about the conservatories, ballroom and gardens.

My young cousin Dennis was running around behind the ropes kicking and jumping on the 150 plus year old antiques and running riot. His mother just let him do as he liked. Every now and then she just yelled out her husband's name in a high pitched, annoying voice, but he didn't do anything either!

The staff and my mother weren't happy about this behaviour, so mum ushered us all outside into the garden and pool area. A professional photographer had the fanciest camera and tripod I had ever seen by the pool's edge. Mum pointed him out and the pretty statues, spectacular decorations and the big wooden diving board.

The photographer leaned down to his bag and next thing we knew, Dennis was running full tilt towards the tripod. Just as he pulled his leg back to kick the camera into the deep end, Mum grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and carried him down the driveway, his feet kicking in the air. When my mum complained about his behaviour, far from thanking her for averting an expensive catastrophe, my aunt told my mum she was “too high strung”! We left Rippon Lea and headed off to the zoo.

Unfortunately things didn't get any better; anything Dennis could do wrong, he did. He yelled, threw rocks, branches and rubbish into exhibits and at the animals, and even kicked any animal he could get near. When he started throwing lots of gravel at the animals, my mother grabbed Dennis, lifted him up, dumped him into a nearby rubbish bin and calmly walked off, not looking back. D

ennis was surprised, but soon started throwing rubbish out of the bin while his mother complained. I stood there mouth hanging open as the fathers pulled Dennis out, but mum took no notice of anyone; she didn't care, she had had enough! 

Today's colours for the faded antiques of Rippon Lea.

Stop waiting. Start creating...

When I first got ill I waited to my discover mystery illness, I waited to get better and I waited to get back to my life. I put my life on 'hold'. I just existed and kept my face firmly turned back to the past, waiting to return. I had always had major health problems that I had overcome before, so why not now? 

After a diagnosis, I wasn't much wiser because so little was known, no one could give me anything but well meant suggestions and I knew no one with a chronic illness, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue or anything similar. There was no internet or groups to ask. The doctor said it was permanent though.

I didn't believe him. I still waited through another two years of trying to recover before I realised that I wasn't going to be able to return to 'normal programming'. I finally resigned from my job. I kept hoping for recovery, but I stopped waiting for it. I had to live!

It is important to differentiate between hope and not waiting. Hope means you believe that in the future things will change or improve. Waiting means you stop living the life you have now on the dream that you can return to the past. You can't return; that's why it's called the past.  

You CAN go forward. When you stop waiting and realise that today IS your life, you change your focus. You take your life off pause and starting living it. If you aren't facing the future, you aren't going anywhere. 

Start creating your life! Not waiting doesn't mean you give up hopes and dreams, just the opposite! It means taking a step forward. It means saying "Yes!" instead of  'Not yet'. A life on pause is a pretty boring thing: no sound, no picture, static. Don't wait, just watching your life pass by, it's happening now! 

Take it off pause and play! 

Monday, 6 April 2015

Just Little Things

I am creating a blanket in 2015 I call Just Little Things. Each day I crochet one granny square and write a story. The colours of the square represent a story or moment I want to remember or celebrate. 

This is an extract from the Just Little Things Blanket:

6.3.2015 Day 65 of my #justlittlethingsblanket 

Yesterday I had a medical appointment and then a haircut while Martin stocked up our supplies of tea. The orange boxes reminded me of a story so orange is for possums and green for fruit!  

One night I was woken from sleep by a Ker-thump! 

And then my 2 other housemates woke too. We switched on some lights and an orange furry thing sped past down the hallway. What the hell? I was teaching up north in a remote area of farms and had learnt that life was often very different here.

Someone yelled out, "It's a possum." It was indeed a big, orange, hairy possum with shifty, big buggy eyes and street smarts, um, farm smarts. We opened the big double doors at the front of the house and tried to get it to leave by walking towards it.  

Our offer was declined; he turned and made for the kitchen. Now as cute as some possums look this one was not. He was big and stinky. And possums poo on things when chased. There was a bowl of fruit on the dining table he'd been eating and he wasn't going anywhere. 

I grabbed a tennis racquet. House mate number one had a broom and number two was holding a hockey stick with a mean look in her eye that scared the heck out of me! We advanced with a plan. Me down the left, Broom down the right and Hockey Stick down the centre. All avenues were blocked by dishevelled women in their pyjamas, brandishing sporting or cleaning equipment in hand and ready for war.  

I think the possum knew the jig was up. He turned and left the building.  

And now we knew who was taking a bite out of the fruit in the fruit bowl. Hockey stick had rampaged accusingly one morning, "Look, stop taking one bite out of the fruit and putting it back in the bowl!" And now the Broom and I were vindicated. I did not poke my tongue out. I did not ask for an apology, I just turned and went to back bed. The possum was not the only crazy thing I was living with. 

The Power of Listening

Listening is undervalued. 

We are so busy doing, talking, texting, emailing, working and feeling compelled to do more because so much else is clamouring for attention. Sometimes in a conversation there are two people talking AT each other. Each is just waiting for the other to finish so they can speak. You may as well speak to a brick wall.

Sharing my story allows me to connect with you. Our heart and minds meet and we see that we are not so different from each other. We have ideas, dreams and problems in common. Deep down we are the same. The important part is being real and honest. Our real thoughts are part of us, floating out with excitement, worry, concern, humour and stories. 

When someone is sharing their story with me, it's not about my opinion or thoughts unless they are asked for. That is especially true when someone tells you they are in pain or depressed or ill. They are not asking you to fix it. Your first thought might be to offer advice, but it is more likely that they are asking you to acknowledge that you have heard and understood. They feel alone. 

Many chronically ill people feel ashamed or guilty for being ill. They feel like it's their fault. Do not add to that! Our society finds it easier to blame them for their illness or problem than to face the scary fact that accidents and illnesses happen and it is out of our control. I didn't ask to be poisoned. I didn't ask to be ill, it just happened. But I still feel guilty! 

So how about we practise listening to each other without judgement, well meant advice or fear and simply acknowledge we are all human beings with problems and concerns, hopes and dreams? I want to let you know you are not alone. Together we can help each other through the hard times and celebrate the good.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

See the flowers...

Do not let what you cannot do interfere 
with what you can do.
 ~John Wooden

When I decided to do what I could and enjoy that, it made a difference in my life, in the quality and the happiness. Yes, I still get frustrated but by concentrating on the good things and noticing them I have more happiness. 

Not being able to do things IS frustrating. It can make you angry or depressed. If you concentrate on what you lack, your failures or faults and you criticise yourself you feel worse. At this point you cannot have a good day and nothing will go right! If you only look for the negative you are going to find it. You will see every tiny unhappy thing because that is what you are focused on. It's like being in a field of wild flowers and only seeing the weeds. Do you really want to fill your life with that? 

But what if you stop and look at everything you CAN do, all the things you know and all the abilities you take for granted? Think of all your good points and successes. Not only will you appreciate yourself more, you will be inspired to learn or experience MORE things. You will look for the good things, the possibilities, the small positive things in your day that before you missed because your head was too full of the negative.

The weird thing is sometimes I get so sick I can't do anything at all really and that MAKES me appreciate what I can do, even if it is small. There are many amazing things you can do, that you know or have experienced. Inside you are skills and abilities, thoughts and humour, love and life. Don't waste it. You are amazing. You have so much to offer. 

Yes, there are weeds, but see the flowers? They are dancing in the breeze. 

Hope you see flowers today,
aka Queen Babs