MRI’s, a Painting and Pegs!


The period between school terms went by in a purple haze, taking with it, Prince. Fans woke in shock to hear the news of his passing last week. This year has taken so many individuals in the arts, and it’s only April! 

The holidays were divided between time at home, and being out. My daughter caught up with a few of her gorgeous friends, and it made my heart soar to witness the bonds deepening. The girls put down their electronic devices and made up dances and spells, plays and songs. We also went to plays, including The Peasant Prince, and Cautionary Tales for Children at the Sydney Opera House. It starred the extraordinary Virginia Gay. She held my daughter spellbound.

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I was gifted these divine bird pegs by a friend. I have written about this friend before. A nurse, she has had health issues the past few years, and has astounded me yet again, by putting her hand up to support a local lady as she flies to Singapore. This young lady has MS, and her symptoms have escalated. She has gone to Singapore for intensive chemotherapy and stem cell treatment. I am thinking of both these valiant women. They will be in my heart every time I peg an item on my clothes line.
 My friend Diana Reynolds is an artist, and she gifted my daughter and I this enchanted painting. It has pride of place in our home school room, where we get to admire it daily. To check out more of Diana’s work, click here.

My MRI results weren’t what I wanted them to be. I had hoped to receive a procedure known as a discogram, to shrink my remaining discs. It was found that they had all desiccated, which explains why I wince every time a bus or car I am travelling in hits a bump. I have no shock-absorbers! I wish it were merely a case of changing the shock-pads! There are many more issues, which I have neither the time or inclination to see to at the moment. I only had one day in bed throughout the holidays, so I am relieved. I carried on, throughout social occasions sometimes with the aid of a stiff drink and for that I am grateful. It is a nasty, merciless agony, which has grown into a monster. I humour it; I temper its fury and I promise it the world if it will just let me do what I need to do. When my daughter is  a little older, I will have that longed-for overhaul. I will admire the bird pegs, and the symbolism behind them. They have the ability to fly, and yet they are anchored. Perhaps it’s a comfort, behind grounded. They know that they have a choice.

Term 2 has just begin in Sydney, and I look forward to many more adventures. You could live for a thousand years and still not experience all that there is in this world. I had a conversation with a friend who is extremely ill. She told me her simple wishes for the next year or so. In light of her disclosure, I am going to apply for a passport. Life is too damned short and it flies by like a bird unanchored. Pain and illness, nor nothing else is going to stop the experience of new horizons. It mustn’t.

Teddy Bear Olympics


We were invited to take part in a Teddy Bear Olympics this week. Our friend’s outdid themselves with the decorations! There were hundreds of soft toys acting as spectators, flags, hand-made medals and little trophies. Some of the categories were for the shiniest nose, best dance moves and discus! It was glorious to see the kids outside, being kids.

They cheered each other on, spending hours gallivanting around, having a lovely time. I thought it was a brilliant idea, and it brought together a wide range of ages. Let childhood last for as long as possible! I know there were many soft toys getting congratulatory hugs last night! Our Rosie certainly was!

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Something happened on the way to the Olympics, which left my daughter and I with the feels. We were at a train station, and a two-year old had a meltdown over the vending machine. She wanted some treats, and she wanted them now! Her mother had no change, and the little girl tipped over the toddler edge, and couldn’t reign herself in. A group of young guys sat down next to us, and rather than roll their eyes at the screaming toddler and her poor mum, one of them went into his bag, and handed her one of the little koala bears he had been selling. The spell was broken, and the toddler smiled. The mother was eternally grateful. There were good feelings all-round. The power of a soft toy can’t be underestimated! Did you have a favourite when you were a child?

 

Teena, Doggie Perfume, Art and Whimsy


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On a blustery and rainy Sunday, we went to the Museum of Contemporary Art at The Rocks. I love this place; it is eclectic, ever-changing and has magnificent views over the harbour from the rooftop café. I met some friends, and we were excited about attending Teena the dog’s farewell from the exhibition space. Teena, the daschund, even has her own perfume! It smells of wet dog, in homage to this precious little being.

Teena’s dad, David Capra, interviewed a lady from mindDog Australia, and she was awe-inspiring! Sydney-based, this organization advocates for people with depression, PTSD and other challenges to be matched with a companion dog. It makes all the difference to the individuals involved.

We also went to Grayson Perry’s My Pretty Little Art Career . I found it mesmerizing. The detail in each of the pieces is extraordinary! What a remarkable and gifted artist Grayson is. There is still time to go see the exhibition, before it closes on the 1st May.

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There has been a bit of outrage about the proposed Australian $5.00 note. This is what we are getting.

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This is what many of us would prefer.

Dame Edna Everage, a pie and beer.
Dame Edna Everage, pies and beer. Which one do you prefer?

Whimsy is an essential component in leading a tolerable life. May your week contain much whimsy!

Spirit Animal Award


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Many thanks to Annie for nominating me for this lovely award!

The Rules:

  • Post the award picture on your blog.
  • Write a short paragraph about yourself and what your blog means to you.
  • If you could be any animal, what would you be?
  • Nominate others.
Hummingbird Redemption was created as a place where I could write of beauty, art and of hope. It was originally a place where I could pour forth the contents of my heart, and has grown into it’s own community. My blog means a great deal to me, and I miss it when I don’t have time to blog. I miss you all! I am a writer, content provider, speaker, poet and home school mum. I am writing my second book, in the small segments of time I am afforded at the moment! To see more of my work, you can head over to Siren Empire.
If I could be any animal, it would be a bird. They have held me entranced since I was a child. How liberating it must be, to have wings! I have always had birds as pets, and am amazed at their intelligence and zest for life.
My Nominations for this award are as follows:

 

There is never enough time!


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There is never enough time, have you found that too? As an aside, we often tell ourselves that now isn’t the right time. I ask myself, when will be the right time? Do we wait for the planets to be aligned? Sometimes, you have to plunge straight in. I don’t know where time goes, I honestly don’t. 24 hours has glorious potential when I wake at 5am, but I soon run out of sand. My daughter and I are planning on opening an Etsy shop by the end of the year. I have a desperate need to take her to the opera, the theatre, each and every cove and parkland around Sydney. I can’t sit still. I am afraid to stop. The truth is, I don’t know how to anymore. I find my release by helping her locate her point of peace. We went and saw The Peasant Prince yesterday at the Monkey Baa Theatre, and I watched the joy on her face as she “got” the lesson regarding never giving up, believing in yourself, and trusting your instincts. I realized that my point of peace is wherever she is.

I am sometimes terrified of failing her. The worst moment of my life was when I almost died after surgery when she was three years old. They let her ride with me on the trolley, and she stroked my hair on the way to theatre. I am her teacher, her guide and her parent. I am everything to her. I have been putting off having medical tests because I am quietly afraid. I have been waking in the middle of the night, crying in pain. People don’t witness this war going on within my body. It is getting worse. If I fall down, there is nobody to pick up the gauntlet. What occurred with my last surgery scarred me. It was close. I had bigger surgeries, before I had her, but I was filled with the bravado of youth and had nothing left to lose. Now I have everything. I keep on keeping on, but shall get the tests done and see a surgeon. I am on Lyrica at present. I don’t know if you know of it. It was designed for epilepsy, though is also used for neurological pain. It has knocked me about as I get used to it! I am willing to try anything. The bone and metal shards left in my spinal canal literally feel as if I have been knifed in the back. I guess I had been, many years ago.

My daughter is on school holidays, and as we walked to the park today, I stumbled. I told her to go ahead as we were meeting friends at a playground. After she left, I looked down, and there was this nest.

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Lovingly created, the chicks had flown and it was discarded. I picked it up, and carried it to the playground. I have always found nests to be my symbol of hope. One dropped to my feet when I was despondent during IVF. I still have it. Every time I have been in hospital, a dove has perched on the windowsill of my room. It can’t be coincidence. As I caught sight of my daughter playing with her friends, the pain diminished. I brought the discarded nest home with me. My evenings may be filled with pain and I may no longer be able to sit on a bench without back support. My lungs may struggle, and I may find it all hard and lonely. However, when I look at a nest or a bird, my resolve strengthens.

Sometimes we have to grab time back; either that or smash the hourglass. Sometimes, time can seem to stop. It does for me when I see a transcendent performance, or delight in the antics of my child or pets. Referring to pets, that includes our hermit crabs. They can be enormously entertaining and run like the wind! The only relief I have is to seek out beauty. It is the source of that which is mightier than this merciless pain. If you look hard enough, you will find it. If you close your eyes and concentrate, you can stop time.

A week in my life from twelve years ago (part 2)


I found the following pages that I wrote around twelve years ago. This was long before I became a mother; long before my child was in the school system and long before she was found to be dyslexic. I was around ladies who had been wounded in childhood, and through their own tenacity, had survived. I was around women over eighty whom I wanted to emulate in older years. Apparently, I never did like party plans! Reading through my summary of this particular week has me convinced that there are signposts along the way, indicating where we shall find ourselves, and who we are destined to become.

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‘Sunday, I attended a writer’s meeting. A real estate agent talked about his former life as an English teacher. He apparently loathed it. His daughter-in-law then introduced herself, and I desperately wanted to interrupt her. There was no love for her chosen teaching career, and certainly none for her students. “You can’t show them up in front of the class anymore, they believe it’s humiliating! Some of them can’t read or spell properly. In kindergarten they knew that they were failures. Some of them, however, refuse to face facts… If you don’t fit into society and it’s expectations, you will be discarded.” I shot my hand up, feeling like a child in front of this ferocious creature. I talked about the excellent literacy program at the Exodus Foundation, and sweetly inquired as to whether the students had access to anything similar where she taught? Turns out, she was the bloody remedial teacher! I commented that kids have to take in so much these days, and she was un-moved. She used big words, laughing, “some don’t even know the meaning of preposition, and get similes confused!” Oh the horror! I was livid, and ranted under my breath that using big words doesn’t make you clever, nor a writer.

In a lapse of sanity, I agreed to go to a party plan event at a friend’s. My friend is a beautiful, intelligent woman with raven coils setting off a heart-shaped face. Poor darling is surrounded by antiquated ideals and suffocating domesticity. The women gathered were apparently school mums, though in truth, I don’t think that half of them were friends to themselves. They glared as I entered the living room, and looked me up and down. I demurely found a place to sit amongst the humourless women. They chatted amongst themselves about what my friend had in her home. The features, the furniture, the carpet. What they needed to renovate in their own homes. Items that I could buy down the street for $1.00 were being ordered at $40. The women glanced at each other’s order forms, to see who was getting what. I felt like sticking a fork in my eye. I felt like grabbing my friend’s hand and running like the wind away from this hell and these horrid women.

Monday was a better day. I kept a friend company by accompanying him on his truck as he made deliveries, my little dog in my lap. We had a great time cruising Sydney’s highways. I then raced to Lenka’s puppet show at the University of Technology. Lenka is a famous Czech puppeteer, and her work was featured in the movie, Amadeus. I met many fringe-dwellers and artists, as well as Koori friends. Aboriginal elder, Uncle Percy, and sweet Koori healer Yangamarra piled into our car afterward. Uncle Percy sang whilst Yangamarra drummed.

What a week it has been! Some hours were forthright and exhilarating. Some were a drudge, which I frankly resented spending precious moments of my life on. It all adds to the tapestry of life! You realize who and what you want to become through all these experiences.’

A week in my life from twelve years ago (Part One)


I found the following pages that I wrote around twelve years ago. This was long before I became a mother; long before my child was in the school system and long before she was found to be dyslexic. I was around ladies who had been wounded in childhood, and through their own tenacity, had survived. I was around women over eighty whom I wanted to emulate in older years. Apparently, I never did like party plans! Reading through my summary of this particular week has me convinced that there are signposts along the way, indicating where we shall find ourselves, and who we are destined to become.

‘I gave Irma some photos, and she adored the images of her three friends, but at 83 years of age, was terribly critical of herself. “My neck is so wrinkled!” she cried. This distressed me, as I admire her in her deep-blue suit, straw hat atop her soft white hair.

We picked up Helen at the hostel. She is a strawberry-blonde with an impish face. She was excited on her 60th birthday; the giddy enthusiasm of a lady who has rarely had a birthday celebrated. We took her to see Murta in the nursing home. Helen leant over, and gave the grand lady a kiss. “I am praying to be taken home to heaven,” 99 year old Murta advised. “I just don’t understand why he has left me here!” “We cant bear to let you go yet,” I whispered. “When a nurse, the tea or cleaning lady enters your room , you greet them so warmly. You make them feel important and loved. You listen to them; you are doing important work.” Her eyes rimmed with tears as she talked about her dear friend Rex, who had recently died. “I had known him since he was a boy; long before he married Gwen…I have a card here to send to her, and I just don’t know what to say! I shall miss Rex forever. How can we go on without him?”

I took her hand, “write what you just said. Rex was one of your dearest friends; tell Gwen about the times you recall; the qualities that summed him up.” Murta clapped her hands. “What a wonderful idea! Yes, I shall!” She praised my woollen jacket, and I remarked that I had recently bought it. “Arent you a bloated capitalist?” she teased, then nodded approvingly when I said that it had only cost a few dollars at the opportunity shop. She looked wistful as we farewelled her. “Yes, I am here for a while longer… I must be patient.”

Murta at seventeen in the '20's
Murta at seventeen in the ’20’s

I took Helen to dinner. She talked of the health difficulties which made her walk with a cane, and of future surgery needed for cancer. No fuss, just the facts. She would have brushed away sympathy. A lady who had lived in scores of orphanages would never have it in her mind that those who love her want to care for her and are actually interested in the goings-on in her life. She devoured her dinner as though it were her last meal, and I carefully inquired as to where she had lived. “All over; Queensland, Melbourne and Sydney. I lived in  fifty homes…” Her voice grew soft. “Sometimes, I got warm flannelette sheets. They would hit me if I was naughty;didn’t make my bed properly or forgot to scrub my face. But, they gave me flannelette sheets sometimes.” It were as though her mind was torn between the memory of the beatings and the comfort of the sheets. Why can’t the nightmare people be bastards all the time? Why must they confuse with gifts and smiles before bearing down with fists?

Helen’s parents had given her away, and kept her younger sister. She holds no bitterness, for she is a sixty year old child. She shall never be old and embittered, a hard crust forming around her heart. Her eyes focused on a spot on the wall, as though she were being pulled into the past. To bring her back, I started a roaring rendition of ‘Happy Birthday.’ A fellow at the next table sang along, and I smiled in appreciation. The more folks made a fuss of Helen, the better. A lady volunteered to take our picture, and Helen had a smile as wide as the Harbour Bridge.

I was invited in when I dropped Helen back at the hostel. Dolls were seated at the dining table and across her bed. She introduced them all by name. Some had name tags pinned on their dresses so she wouldn’t forget. There was an enormous board over the telephone with important details of bank accounts and numbers written in big letters by her social worker. She brought out her little budgie, and excitedly showed us what she had bought herself for her birthday. Snow White and the seven dwarfs stood inside a box, waiting for Helen to find them a place.

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Postscript: Helen and Murta have been gone for a long while now, but left a gold-embossed stamp on my heart. I am so glad that Helen got to meet my daughter. Murta passed when I was going through IVF.