All posts filed under: personal

I don’t want to win the ‘Most Miserable Blogger’ award…

When I was 41, I asked my 6 yr old son for 3 words to describe me (for my online dating profile). “Nice. Funny. Health-food-drama-Queen.” Note his 2nd choice: ‘funny’. I use that word to describe myself, & even got employed to do that as an Events’ MC sometimes (in the old days before Covid when we did arty fun stuff regularly). But I feel like the ‘funny’ has been sucked out of me, especially in the last year of lockdowns; Mum dying 4 months ago has also put a dampener on my comeback, even though restrictions are easing. Four years ago when I had my ‘blogging intensive’ 1:1, the expert told me to be humorous, grammatically-correct at all times, and authentic. Yet I feel like I’m currently in danger of winning the ‘Most Miserable Blogger’ award, and I don’t want to! I just can’t fake the joy… and I’m sure you’re tired of hearing about the latest lesson learnt from my grieving. Part of my self-care routine to find joy is dancing; this weekend, …

Biggest loss since Mum died? Not being her ‘kid’ any more

It’s been nearly 4 months since she left, & I’d say I’m grieving ‘well’. We’ve all heard the saying that everyone grieves in their own way, and of course it’s true; Dad’s sudden death 13 years ago knocked me flat, thumped me with depression, and took about 5 years to recover from (such a “Daddy’s girl”). But Mum? Not so much. It was a relief mainly, and expected, after a long slow decline. Plus we weren’t nearly as close as Dad and I. I’m aware I’m in a process of letting go, as I adjust to being an orphan. I’m well-supported by family and friends, and I’m so grateful Mum is free of suffering now. Yet the other day, it struck me that I was missing an essential dynamic: I am no longer a daughter. It’s a role I’ve known my whole life, and played dutifully, even when I was being the ‘difficult’ one, which I admit I feel I got typecast into for many years. There was the ‘jealous’ one when my new brother …

I am the Keeper of Stories now Mum’s gone

As I let the bath water cool around me last night, I remembered being 10 or 11, paddling in the chilly English sea. Forty-five years have passed, yet I can still recall the sand sinking beneath my toes, and the seaweed slithering against my pale legs. I wasn’t enjoying it anymore; it had been fun briefly, in the novelty of visiting the beach for the first time, but I was cold, and wanted to get out. I was only knee-deep in water, and Mum had taken my younger brother back to the warm dry sand, telling me to follow when ready. But I was trapped! Writhing and heaving between me and my family was a two metre-thick band of brown kelp, some strands as thick as my skinny legs, freezing me in fear. What lurked beneath? My vivid yet anxious imagination created snakes, grabbing hands, various sea monsters, and perhaps a pirate’s dead body or two for good measure. I couldn’t even wave to Mum, who was fussing with my brother and had her back …

Six weeks since Mum died: letting go and setting free

No one really wants to organise a funeral celebration. No one wants to go to one. And of course, none of us are ready for it to be our own. But when it IS my turn, I’m having a Humanist one, which is what I created for Mum’s send off last month. She wasn’t religious, and the rest of the family certainly isn’t; a church service would be an uncomfortable nightmare for everyone… so I decided a quiet beach in Wales would be perfect. But I’m in Australia, my brother and children in Norway, various family friends around the UK, Canada, and USA: thank goodness for Zoom! By luck (or divine intervention?), the first celebrant I emailed to ask if she was free in 3 weeks to conduct an international online ashes scattering ceremony said yes. As I sat with the reality of needing to organise this farewell, despite my tiredness and grief, I gave thanks for being exposed to ‘unusual’ send offs and life celebrations where I live in Northern NSW, such as same …

Losing my Mum to dementia at 85: the terribly sad yet sweet relief

The 2nd last time I saw her, it was her birthday July 4th, & I video called. She was in a Home in Wales, and I’m here in Australia, where I’ve lived for 35 years. Mum was kinda asleep, though it was 11am, but muttering to herself. The staff held the phone, and tickled her chin to wake her, but no success. I kept wishing her Happy Birthday, singing that damn song, but she only stirred and seemed to smile when I teased her for being so old now. It was a sad experience. Then 2 days later the Home Manager emailed to ask me to call her. “I’m sorry to say this over the phone, but I think your Mum is coming to the end of her life- we’ve seen this before- she’s stopped eating and drinking, and won’t open her mouth.” Oh Mum! Our adult relationship hadn’t been easy– I was a rebellious teenager, then emigrated to Australia when I was 20, so rarely saw her over the years before Skype and mobile …

Why my obsession with this spoon is re-wiring my brain

Hi Everyone, from cool Autumn days in Australia that make it worth putting up with the dreadful heat of summer. How are you all? I keep finding myself sitting on my deck, surrounded by the rainforest, staring at this spoon. Not just staring: stroking, smelling, turning and touching. Is it a magic spoon you ask? Well yes, in some ways it is. Because I carved it, from White Beech. OK, so for some of you ‘handy/crafty’ folks, this may not seem like a big deal. Or for those of you who know that spoon-carving is a bit of a ‘hipster’ fad at the moment, perhaps you’re rolling your eyes? But I don’t care. Because I’m the girl who hated sewing at school; who wasn’t allowed to do woodwork classes (because of being a girl), and who has spent 5 decades baulking at using tools/drills/saws because of an assumed ‘hopelessness’ with them. How did this change happen? It was my darling cousin’s idea: “Try this workshop with me G, it will be fun, and a bonding …

My 2 top alternatives to avoid Valentine’s Day pressure

Make no mistake, I love Love. Whether happily single, sadly recovering from a break-up, or delighting in new fields of play, I have never given up on Love for long. I believe this is healthy, that I am a healthy human, and that we all deserve love. However, what I absolutely don’t need is a dumb card and cheap chocolates. Or even a smart card and expensive chocolates. So if any human out there felt a little blue they had no Valentine, or was let down by an unsatisfactory experience, let me inspire you: why not organize a Galentine’s Day, or a V-Day flash mob? What are these 2 curious offerings you wonder? My favourite Australian feminist writer Clementine Ford drew me to the first one, when she recently offered a picnic in the park experience for 100 women, bringing gals together. It’s been around for a decade or so, and is about celebrating female sister-like connections; it’s so easy to let friendships slip by when we’re busy with work/kids/household chores/ageing parents etc. But who …

My car crash to end the car crash that was 2020

It’s OK: I’m OK! It’s been a month, and I’ve been waiting to feel better before posting. Happy New Year everyone, especially ME, because I am literally glad to be alive… [Content warning: images of crashed car coming up.] I’d left home at 5.45am, in a light drizzle after a great night’s sleep, keen to drive the one hour trip to teach my Pilates class. I definitely drove more slowly than usual because of the newly-wet roads, up and down through the winding hilly rainforest, listening to the radio, looking forward to my horse ride later that morning. I came round the last big corner before town, no other cars on the road, driving 10kms below the 80km speed limit, when suddenly my back end began to slide out. I corrected a bit but didn’t brake, just took my foot off the accelerator, but kept fish-tailing… then realised I was heading for the grass bank looming in front of me. “This is like a bumper car/dodgem car game, but a bad one!” I thought, struggling …

Cabbage, chandeliers, and cabaret

G, whatcha been doin’? Remember when you used to blog every week? Yes, but that was before forest and garden tempted me with their bounties. And before the pandemic made me stay home, cocooned in privilege and privacy, questioning the status quo of social media and blogs in general. So instead of writing, I’ve been planting/weeding/fertilizing/cooking and eating vegetables like a desperate herbivore. Plus making delicious sauerkraut with my own-grown red cabbage. Then there’s the not-so-small matter of a renovation project on my unused studio, which cried out for a chandelier! Finally I found one locally, covered in dust, in a glorious hand-blown deep red. I thought I wanted crystal clear and silver, but I’ve been blessed otherwise, so I’m going with the flow of that. Bringing it home was an adventure in slow-driving, letting other cars pass, and trying not to be hypnotised by the delightful tinkle tinkle of the swinging crystals. Then a wheelbarrow to get it down my drive to the front door, and the obsessive-compulsive challenge of cleaning & polishing every …

“Courage is Fear that’s said its prayers”

Hi Everyone out there :~) I was randomly wondering if you have a tattoo, and what’s its story? I have two: one on my right foot from 1997, and one on my left arm when I turned 40 in France in 2006. I had a vision or daydream about the foot image; went by myself into the scary tattoo shop in broad daylight, and bravely asked the huge bearded guy behind the counter if he would ink me. “No tatts below wrist or ankle, it’s the law. Go away and work out where else you want it, then come back.” I cycled home, disappointed and thoughtful. Spent the weekend trying to imagine where else I wanted it… but could only come up with my right foot. So Monday afternoon, I walked back in. “It has to be on my foot, there’s nowhere else.” “Fine then, take a seat, let’s do it.” Test passed. And the image was to remind me to walk without fear– or rather, to take steps even if I felt fearful. Getting …