Onwards and Upwards!


I have lived in over twenty places, some better than others. There was the place infested with rats, whose walls were reinforced with flattened cardboard boxes. That was a quick stay! There was a former horse stable. There was a bitterly cold cottage in the mountains and flats in crime-ridden areas. When I came to this cottage, I was spent in every sense. The two years prior, I had broken my back again by slipping over in the street, and had three surgeries. I thought that it would be a good resting place, at least for a little while. Five years later, I am packing up and moving on, astounded at the intensity of the emotions I am experiencing.

  
In the little kitchen, I picture Serena, washing up, laughing as she does so. I picture her baby being cradled by my friend on the back porch. I envision Serena sitting at my dining table, as the children play. Every room has a memory of her. I need to leave this place. You know when it is time. I need a bigger place; one that is peaceful. I don’t want to leave her here. This place contains lingering memories of her. I would come home and find little gifts left by her near the front door. We would walk to the river. In the end, its the simple times we remember most, isn’t it? The grandiosity of balls and the like are wiped away over time. Its her being at my sink washing up… It makes that sink holy. The lounge is holy too. The mirror over the bathroom sink, where she would glance at herself. This beautiful, gentle woman.

    
A home is just a place. It is when precious souls imbue their energy onto a place that it comes to life, having a force-field of its own. I have laughed in this home, and I have cried more tears than I have ever thought possible. I have been terrified here, and I have come undone. I was told it wasn’t possible to have more children whilst living here, and I have had to craft a new life for myself. By leaving, I am saying it is done. I am ready! My memories of Serena are coming with me. See you on the other side of this move. xxx

Serena’s Anniversary


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Another year has passed without you. Always remembered, treasured and in my heart. X

November has been tough this year. Now that Facebook offers daily memories, it has been quite harrowing. I have been able to revisit my status updates from November 2014, which were all updates on Serena. They reveal the confusion, fears and hopes as they occurred. Today is the anniversary of her passing. I can’t believe it’s been a year. I don’t feel as though I have scratched the surface of the cacophony of emotions her passing has proffered. This year has seen me stretching myself, and becoming more adventurous at a time when all I hankered for was to be found in retreat. She was an explorer, having travelled by herself many times. She would have been devastated at what has transpired in this world the past 12 months.

I have seen so many women who look like her walk by, little boys in tow. Her long auburn hair and steady gait has been replicated many times, and its all I can do to not tap these women on the shoulder. I expect to see her waiting at the bus stop; run into her at the park. I expect that she is visiting family in the UK and shall be back shortly. I am comforted by the fact that her dulcet voice is still in my ears, and her memory hasn’t dulled. It never will. Serena taught me to be ever-vigilant when it comes to my health. She has taught me to do what floats my boat, and also to be aware of the machinations of those I let into my boat. Are they helping me paddle, or drilling holes when I’m not looking? I had a dream about her a short while ago. She was teaching me how to fly. She surely is.

White Ribbon Day, 2015


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Today is White Ribbon Day and a plethora of emotions rise to the surface, as do memories. I recall when I was living in a small town, there was a single mum of three little girls. She had been subjected to much violence, and was now starting again. She owned her own business, and she and the girls were finally happy. Her ex-husband starting drinking more, which fuelled his aggression. He was verbally aggressive on the phone and in person, when she dropped the girls to the designated meeting spot for access visits. This lady was a fey-like creature, huge orbital eyes, tiny with long golden hair, and it would break my heart when she recalled the nights of violence she had endured. He was a mountain of a man. I was at her place when he rang one evening, slurring his words. I heard him promise to shoot her when she dropped the girls off in the car park of a fast-food restaurant. He did indeed own a rifle. She had the hide to start her own business and offer her children safety and security. I insisted that I go in her place. It wasn’t an offer, but an order. She was terrified that if she didn’t obey the court order, he would come after her and the courts would again punish her. I got out of the car with the girls, and he appeared startled to see me. This bear of a man was frightened! I nervously offered forth commentary on the weather, and other inane subjects. I got back in the car and my clenched hands were dripping with sweat.

I have had knocks at my door at night, and my home has offered refuge to mums and their kids. One dear lady came by with her little boys, having caught a bus from her house. She had been shoved and she had been hit. I took photos of her bruises. When she went to the bathroom, her seven-year old whispered to me, “he yells all the time.” I drew him close to me, desperate to vanquish this hell from their precious lives.

I have had women come visiting, and delight in keeping me company for ten hours straight whilst I tended the routine chores of everyday life. They have simply not wanted to go home, fearing what may happen. Imagine getting into trouble for talking to a barista at the café, for not having dinner on the table. Imagine flinching when there is silence, and at the screaming to come. Imagine having to deal with rage, not knowing what shall set it off from one day to the next. Imagine being left without money. This heartbreaking pictorial appeared this morning, and I sat and reflected for a while, both on the sketches and also on the description of the women therein. It is up to us all as a society, to be vigilant and to be vocal. It is my dearest wish that the next generation don’t have to be termed ‘survivors,’ for they won’t have any horror to survive.

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Babycakes (Also Known as Glitterball)


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I have an extraordinary daughter and she and I share an extraordinary bond. It hasn’t been an easy road, for either of us. It is a dreadful dichotomy, to want a child so desperately, and yet struggle when she arrives. I filled in the requisite questionare when I was pregnant and the alarm bells rang when the matron in the maternity ward saw it. Not only had I had major trauma in my life, but also a damaged body and little help. I couldn’t drive a car and was in a wheelchair in the later part of pregnancy. I felt more alarmed by my score because the matron was filled with histrionics. “How will you cope when you shall be mostly alone when she arrives? What will you do?” she trilled. Crap! How shall I cope and what shall I do? I began to ruminate on these frightening themes. It didn’t help that I had no experience with babies. I could barely recall being a child myself! More people doubted my abilities than believed in them.

I did IVF to have her, and that was an Odyssey in itself. I never thought beyond getting to the epu and then the dreaded tww. That was all my brain had space for. I felt so little, and vulnerable. I had to buy my pyjamas and dressing gown from the kidswear section as despite my enormous belly, I was petite and short. Very short. After my maternity visitation, I booked in for counselling after having been told that I was a prime candidate for perinatal and then postnatal depression. You know what was uncovered during these sessions? I had prepared myself for the pain that would unfurl on my damaged spine and kidneys… I had prepared myself for most matters. What I did have an issue with was boundaries. I had allowed people to run rampant in my life. I felt so fragile after IVF, and vulnerable now. I almost had her at 19 weeks, and it created major anxiety, even after the rupture sealed and labor stopped. I left hospital after several weeks, on high alert. As a result, my life and pregnancy became a free-for-all. All I wanted was peace and silence and I was getting little of either.

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When my rambunctious daughter arrived, I didn’t tell anyone save her godparents. I needed time with her alone. Oh yes, noses were out of joint, but at that stage, I was past caring. I didn’t want throngs of people touching her. I needed to get to know her! When the staff took her down the hall for her routine tests, she would roar until she was wheeled back in and then not a peep was heard. She always was a little firebrand who not only knew her own mind, but spoke it.

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At home by myself, it was tough. I could barely walk for months, and she had colic. She rarely slept and only stopped crying when in my arms. I was exhausted though enthralled. I tried every available product on the market to ease her suffering. Whenever the colic pain eased, I would search her face in desperation. I wanted her so much; did she not know? The other young mothers I knew all had routines set down for their newborn and they slept. I fell into postnatal depression, and sought appropriate help once again. It made all the difference. I stopped ruminating on my fears of being enough for this wondrous child.  By six months, she was a gurgling, happy little munchkin. I was making myself a coffee after settling her to sleep in her crib at the end of my bed. I heard a giggle, and turned around to see my 8 month old grinning at the door of the kitchen. I dropped my cup in fright. She had managed to climb out of her crib, landing on my bed, and then walked to the kitchen. Even as an embryo, she was in a hurry, doing what a 7 day old embie might within 48 hours. I came to know her personality, and she mine.

She hated being in her pram and I found out that she was extremely flexible in rather a  stressful manner. I was walking up the hill to a nature reserve, where my car was parked. I heard a strange clunk coming from underneath her pram though persisted with my voyage. To my horror, I found the wheels of the pram had run over my daughter! She had gotten free of the restraints and stood up in the pram! I ran to retrieve her and she was laughing, delighting in the game!

Then there was the memorable time in a play centre. We were attending a playgroup Christmas Party. Only one harangued girl was on the counter and the place was bedlam. I heard  my toddler call out, “hi mummy!” To my horror, she had climbed through the third level’s netting and lifted herself through a large hole in the roof. She was now standing on the flimsy net with nothing around her on the outside. Hurridly I crawled through the levels, and retrieved her by her feet. She thought it was terrific.

At four, I thought I had struck gold. I had discovered a meditation cd for children which carried her into the land of nod. Delighted, I put it on every evening. I pressed ‘play’ one night, and got the fright of my life. She had changed the meditation cd for rock music, and put it at full volume. She hid the calming cd and I haven’t seen it since.

I reflect on the tumultuous early days and am sad that I was so filled with fear. Heck, half of it wasn’t even mine! The colic ended, and whilst she was still a very wakeful baby, I let go of any notion that I could control it, and went with the flow. I slept when she did. If I had my time over, I would expunge any anxiety that I was too damaged to do the job of child-rearing properly. I would accept more help. I would try harder to stand out rather than fit in with what everyone else was doing. My daredevil insisted that I chill out, and I grew to understand her capabilities when it came to climbing and general mayhem. She has never fallen, and whilst I have anything to do with it, she never will.

 

Inside Out, Heatwaves and the Wonder of a Full Circle


Anastasia Amour has released her incredible tome, Inside Out! To receive a 15% discount, use the unique code, found here then go to her shop!

We are having a spate of heatwaves in Australia. It’s the kind of oppressive weather that sees you seal yourself in your home with the aircon. It is too hot to even consider going to the local swimming pool. The thought of walking at all is enough to drain your energy. I did go out Monday, into the city for a class my daughter attends. It was hot, though not yet a heat wave. The view more than made up for it.

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Afterward, we went to see a friend in hospital. Strangely enough, it was the hospital where I nearly lost my life five years ago. It happened to be around the corner from the building where I nearly lost my life two decades ago. I went past the old orthopaedic ward, where I lay flat on a rotor-bed for months. I greeted the vision that appeared in my mind’s eye. If everything is happening at once, as per quantum physics, then she may have been aware of my presence. She wouldn’t have thought in her wildest imaginings that she would still be here in 2015. She could hardly take in the year 2000 and its impending approach! I looked at my daughter as we got to the lift. She was unaware of the memories contained in this place. She didn’t know that she had cuddled me, touching my face, as I was taken down to have surgery to save my life. My pregnant friend was hospitalized a week ago. She has been through hell, since a car crash. Her spine was broken, and she has had much pain. She went into labour just before we arrived, and we stayed until her husband could be with her. She ended up having a beautiful baby boy. Life comes full-circle.  I had only bad memories of this particular area of Sydney, of threatening men and general menace. Here I was, talking my friend through the pain. My daughter was the visible sign to her that a lady with spinal injuries could cope, and that her child would be fine. We both delivered by caesarean, and it was a blessing to be able to provide her with  hope when all seemed uncertain. Meaning coming out of nonsense.

I am in the process of moving house. We were given notice at our old place five years ago, just before Christmas. It was shortly after I had been discharged from this very hospital after having two surgeries. I was weak and exhausted, and our run-down cottage was the first place I saw. “It will do,” I said at the time. You know when it is time to move on, and we have found a gorgeous house. I am packing a little bit at a time. Between working, home schooling, and the many, many things I am doing that are necessary and time-consuming, there is little time for anything else. I would love for time to be fluid, but it is a harsh taskmaster on this planet of ours. I can only do what I can do. I am well aware that this spine is rather unstable, and that ironically, at a time I need to be more active than ever, I shall need to rest it more so that it isn’t taxed to the point of breaking. Pacing myself and making lists on scraps of paper (which I then either misplace or pack). I have so many lovely friends who have kindly offered to help. I appreciate both their offers and their love. I am telling this body that I have twelve more days to get it all done. As an eccentric, I long ago set myself a set of rules that not only make me feel safe but make sense. I have a rule that any house I move into shall be set up within four days, not a box in sight. I tell my body that it only has to keep going for four days after the move, and then rest shall come. Sweet, wondrous rest. After one week, I shall be ready to rejoin the world, in time for Christmas. Sounds like a plan to me!

 

 

Time To Mingle


A Momma's View

You know what? I think it’s time to mingle again. How about we get together and party a little bit? Come over and meet some other bloggers, maybe bring a friend as well? I love meeting new people, so share the news.

It’s easy:

  • Leave the link to your blog in the comment, maybe with a short description of what your blog is all about. You can link to your About page or to your home page or to a post you particularly like.
  • Share one or more links to blogs you enjoy reading as well and maybe let them know that you did and invite them to come over and join in.
  • The more the merrier. So how about you share this post on your blog as well?
  • It’s all about being polite here as well, so go ahead, shake some hands and check out the links that have…

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The Be Thankful Challenge


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The wondrous Danica has nominated me for the Be Thankful Challenge. I am thankful for this honour! Check out Danica’s blog for excellent content!

Challenge Rules

Share this image in your blog post
• Write about 5 people in your life you are thankful for
• Write about 5 things in 2015 that you are thankful for
• Spread the love and challenge 5 other blogs to take part

5 People in my life that I am thankful for.

I am honoured to have many beautiful people in my life, and am finding it difficult to narrow the selection down to 5!

I hereby will give a shout-out to those in the following categories:

1. Those who inspire me with their individuality and creativity. Those with whom I can talk for hours about art, literature, love and colour.

2. Those who have woken from a dark dream and have the battle scars to prove it. They woke up shackled and in the dark, and through their own efforts have broken the chains. These survivors are lighting their path. I am in awe and inspired by these courageous spirits.

3. The comedians. We all have those people who are irreverent and mischievous and make us smile. They make life worth living with their lightness of being.

4. The friends who are there in illness and in health. Those who seem to instinctively know that you require an intervention in the form of lunch or a walk.

5. The people you can be yourself with. No masks. If you are in pain, you don’t have to fudge it. You are accepted with your grief, sadness, joy and silliness.

5 Things I am grateful for in 2015

1. Home schooling my daughter. We have met many wonderful parents and kids and were warmly welcomed into the community. She has had many great opportunities as a result. It has been a thrill to see her flourish.

2. My beautiful friends. It has been a whirlwind of a year, and they have supported me and understood when I was snowed under.

3. Moving house. After five years in a place we have outgrown, we are looking forward to new adventures. I am looking forward to fresh energy and a new start.

4. I am thankful for the simple things. Sunshine,  tea cups and teapots, books and art galleries, bird song and guinea pigs. I am thankful for laughter and shelter and music. I am thankful I am still here.

5. I am thankful that I had a few little breaks away this year. Even a few days away  makes a world of difference.

I nominate the following to take part in the challenge!

1. The Confusing Middle.

2. Another Bad Conversation

3. The Colourful Kind

4. Life In My Tin Can

5. Know the Sphere

 

 

Amazing Writers, Editors and Illustrators to Check Out! (Part 2)


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I had the most extraordinary editor on my book. Not only is she a guiding editorial light, but she is an artist/illustrator and writer! Her name is Anne Van Alkemade and she can be found via Facebook.

Marisa Alo is a marvellous writer and illustrator and can be contacted on her website.

Sognia Vassallo-Sime has is a writer/photographer extraordinaire and can be uncovered on Facebook  and here on WordPress!

Sari Bullock has a tremendous book called Sugar Rush. She can be found at her website and on Facebook. Her illustrator, Don Ezard, is extremely talented, as you will discover here.

The delightful Adam Wallace has a whole lot of children’s books out there, waiting to be picked up and delighted in! He can be discovered at his website and on Facebook.

Linda Maree Malcolm is an exceptional woman, as you will discover upon reading Oracles in the Mist. Discover this talented author on her website.

Jenna Rothwell has delighted my child by writing Ben the Outside Dog. She has a Facebook Page and also has a website.

I can highly recommend these people, as authors, illustrators and editors.