30-365 THREE

June 21, 2013 by

The only thing I thought tonight’s walk would have going for it was that I was wearing sandals, shorts, and a sweatshirt. Such a summer’s evening outfit, I thought, even as I stifled a yawn and cursed having to leave the house. I planned on an amble, taking it easy as I’m sore from yesterday.

Well, I didn’t count on the storm system that was blowing in. The wind was cold and fierce, and at one point I realised I was leaning into it and it was holding me. I went along to the woods/meadow I walked in the first night, hoping for shelter, and you know what? It was AWESOME. The wind was whipping the leaves of all the trees upside down, so they looked all silvery. The grasses in the meadow were rippling violently and it was just beautiful. That wind blew a smile onto my face, and I swear I opened my arms up and just smiled so wide I thought my face would crack in half.

On the way home, the wind dropped and I actually felt disappointed. In the stillness I noticed how achey my legs were – it would be a lie to say they weren’t – but then I realised I was thinking about my legs. Muscle aches. I didn’t even notice my pelvis. And that was the greatest gift the absent wind gave me. I felt like the old me, the ‘normal’ me, who was feeling the same aches and pains any other able bodied person might feel.

You’d better believe I smiled even bigger then, and the wind kicked up again just as I did. It was perfect.

30 minutes, 3.2 mph, 1.64 miles

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30-365 TWO

June 21, 2013 by

30-365 TWO

Woah nelly. Decided to wear proper trainers with the orthotics I was prescribed before I was disabled. Big. Mistake. Back of my pelvis was so sore I wondered how I was going to get home at one point – but being alone on a cycle track in the middle of nowhere, the only person who could rescue me was me.

Glad I went. Yesterday I walked on a path I’d never been on, through stunning meadows and trees. Today I walked on a new path, surrounded by trees by right alongside a very busy road that slashed through countryside and rolling hills. Lots of thinking about how nature and people function alongside.

Walked a very sweaty and painful 36 minutes, 3.4 mph, 2.07 miles.

Onward and upward, and thanks to Carrie for the motivation YouTube link this morning!

What I just posted on Facebook. (30/365 ONE)

June 19, 2013 by

I remember how I felt that evening two years ago when I walked fifteen minutes without any assistance. I dubbed it ‘the summer I would learn to walk again,’ and after two years full time in a wheelchair, and still on crutches every day, it seemed a big task.

I developed symphysis pubis dysfunction during pregnancy, and I still have it – along with the resultant arthritis – today. But I haven’t used a wheelchair in a year, though I’ve had a handful of days where I couldn’t walk. I’ve only used crutches on less than ten occasions.

Today I start a new goal – thirty minutes of walking every day for the next 365 days. Walking can be substituted with a DVD, class, etc. I may have to be flexible in cases of severe relapse or illness, but would prefer to swap walking for meditation or stretching on those occasions.

These thirty minutes have to be separate from whatever other activity I may have done that day – like walking miles at the seaside today and being sore before I even went out this evening!

I’m doing this for head space, for time to rediscover me, to work on my next novel, to explore my neighbourhood, to get more healthy – and I guess, I’m doing this because I’m just so grateful I can. After being told I may be in a wheelchair for life, after finally coming close to coming to terms with daily, chronic pain, I can walk. I don’t want to forget how amazing that is.

Ever.

So here is where you come in. I’m posting this publicly because I need support. I know my motivation will flag and I will want to give up. I need likes and comments and support. I won’t flood your news feeds and I will never write a status this long again, but I WILL post every day.

Today is day one. I walked for 33 minutes, 2 mph, for 1.11 miles.

God help me to not punch her in the throat.

June 14, 2013 by

We have booked two nights away in a hotel so we can attend an unschooling conference later this summer. The kids will be sleeping at their Nana’s, after she agreed to it….after a lot of thinking and etc etc.

A few months ago they had their first sleepover there. It was fine.

We wanted to have a few practice runs, but chicken pox and life got in the way.

So last night, Mil had them again.

It’s the morning after the night before, and I have just had the whiniest, most self-pitying, complainy fucking phone call you can imagine. She is so tired.. Snort had a very bad night. Blah blah blah.

And the kicker? She ‘doesn’t think she can have them for that weekend. She can’t cope.’

She said all this like she is SO EXHAUSTED she is MORE EXHAUSTED than any human being who has ever walked the face of this most depressing, selfish earth.

I’m like, ‘Bitch, I KNOW how tiring it is. We have been doing this for FOUR YEARS. You have had them two nights. The other gazillion nights are all on us.’

I didn’t say that, but I thought it. Especially as she was telling me how nauseated she gets when she wakes up at night. How she had trouble falling back asleep. How she’s not sure how much sleep she got.

I’m like, look, I know you are tired. I totally get that. But can you get over yourself for one second? We booked this weekend at the beginning of February, we spent a lot of money on conference tickets and a hotel room. So you might have one exhausting weekend. Can’t you just fucking DEAL? You don’t work and can rest the following week. For shizzle.

I mean, Jesus. I may sound entitled here, but I don’t think it’s too much to expect for her to honour a commitment she made months ago when we have no backup. In the last FOUR YEARS, she has had them two nights and one whole day. Yes, she does have them a couple of hours each week while I take the other to activities, and I appreciate that, but UGH ARGH ETC.

The flip side, of course, is do I want them to stay with her if she may be mean? Apparently Snort wasn’t tired at bedtime. She wouldn’t let his granddad play with him because it would rile him up, so he just sobbed he was so unhappy. She made him sit in a chair with a mussie. He then decided to go up to bed while still crying. My poor boy!

A bit of flexibility is a great thing when dealing with grandchildren. And a bit of HONOURING YOUR FUCKING AGREEMENT is a great thing as well.

DUDE.

That sense of possibility. It never gets old.

June 13, 2013 by

There is something special about being in that time of life when everything is sexy and full of possibly.

As a teen, one of my best friends was very different than me. She went to a state school and I went to private – there was more to it than that, but that seemed to be the major difference. Her friends from her school called me ‘Mary’ as I went to Catholic school.

I had my first alcoholic drink with her. She was fucking daring; she mixed my mother’s Peach Schnapps with orange juice and we drank on the balcony off the kitchen. She knew people our age who had kids. She took me to parties where people smoked pot. We sometimes bought Coke just to drink a bit and pour rum in the bottle. This was serious shit, very real and different and risky.

Her windshield had a big crack through it, she knew tonnes of cute boys, I helped her stalk ex boyfriends. We drove around for hours, listening to her country music – some songs I have such a deep nostalgic fondness for because of the hours spent with her.

As it turns out, both myself and her male best friend ended up being gay, which is neither here nor there, but in those heady days it was about flirting and drinking and just seeing what it was like to not be me. Her friends thought I was cute. They found Catholic school girls a challenge and sexy and odd, but in an alluring way. She was ballsy and loud and amazing, and it rubbed off on me a bit.

I did a lot of kissing, a lot of stepping outside my comfort zone and discovering I was actually a lot more comfortable when I was outside of the box I’d been raised in. Most of the time, anyway.

When we were about fourteen, long before the drinking and kissing and stalking began, we were at camp. I remember a late night in the counselor’s tent, talking about sex, and we both vowed there was NO WAY we would have sex before marriage. We both broke that vow, but the spirit of it? Two young women so sure of themselves and their beliefs? The beauty of it all was that even when our world views shifted we maintained that sense of self and rightness and boy, did we laugh.

Why do I bother buying a calendar?

June 10, 2013 by

Well, you know, I thought they needed one on one time. That’s why I made the plans I did, you know. It all started so well.

Last September, Coconut started gym and Snort, football (he wanted basketball but it doesn’t really exist here. And another note, ‘football’ in this context is the same as ‘soccer.’) For two terms things went well, Coco’s broken arm notwithstanding. Then at the end of the second term, Snort just said with finality one day, ‘I don’t want to go to football. I am finished with football.’ So we skipped the last two weeks and you know, he has never asked to go back. Doesn’t ever even mention it.

Coco has held steady with gym. She has never requested to stop attending or said she would prefer something else, though to be fair I haven’t necessarily offered as I didn’t see the reason in an arbitrary switch.

This morning, Snort says,’I don’t want to go to gym anymore. I don’t like gym or football!’

It transpires that he is very happy to go along to Coco’s session with her – because she has been there a year, we have made friends, we have a picnic party in the playground afterwards, etc. He has been along to her sessions and prefers it.

This means they lose their one on one time, both with me and their Nana. I think both slots of time are important, but …well. I don’t know. Snort said he wanted to go to Nana’s with Coco this morning. I took her aside and quietly asked if she wanted to go on her own or if she wanted Snort to come. With no hesitation she said she wanted him.

We are certainly in a season of intense play – the two of them create fabulous imaginary worlds and live in them, together most of the time. They bounce off each other. Both love and cherish their outside friendships, but no one ‘gets’ either of them like each other. So I guess it makes sense they want to be together.

I guess I roll with it. I think Snort has really begged off gym this morning as he has just hatched a baby dinosaur (don’t ask, just trust me that he has) and wanted to play dinosaurs more than he wanted to jump, run, and flip. Fair enough. He does love gym and is happy and excited the whole time we are there, so today is probably a one off.

We will see how next week goes, though if this Friday is a normal Friday, I imagine he will want to stay in her class. This sort of sucks for me, because it is difficult to take them both on my own. So Mil needs to come along. But Fridays are MY friendship time, too. Two of my favourite friends bring their children along to the Friday sessions, and afterward in the park we hang out/play with the kids together. The dynamic changes when Mil is there. She is lovely, but gets nervous with people and just talks….a lot….and it’s hard to hang out with our normal vibe. Impossible, really.

We had this good Mon/Fri thing going, then chicken pox and various appointments have screwed the last two months over. I think we officially call it summer, relax about it, and then see where we are next September. It is an interesting one as they would be starting school then, and all of the classes and groups (home ed ones aside!) for their age group move to the after school hours…..except gym. They have the option to move up a class, which neither wants to do, or stay where they are now. Because of their age – they’d be the youngest in their class, starting full time school only days after turning four! – we MAY be able to sneak into preschool times/classes for another year, but generally their peer group has been a bit older than them and I don’t know how keen they would be on being the oldest in the group. All stuff to think about.

Casual non-racism that could sound racist to the casual observer.

June 7, 2013 by

It’s always nice when your son notices a niqab properly for the first time and loudly says, ‘What’s wrong with her throat?’ because he thinks the woman is wrapped in bandages. Or when two other Muslim families are at the playground with us, and because of our new fascination with languages other than English, he then says in his factual tone, ‘Some people speak other languages. It sounds like this: gooBEgooblahdedahmemahheHAW.’

And let’s not forget your daughter. Three times in her life she has said a variation of, ‘I don’t like that girl. Her vest is furry.’ AKA. I don’t like a new person because of whatever difference there is between us. It’s not that she doesn’t really like them or is terrified of differences, but rather she doesn’t feel like socialising so must invent a reason to dislike someone. Once, a girl in a furry vest. Once, a boy with a bloody nose. Once, at the top of her lungs, ‘I don’t like that boy. He’s black.’ Did the ground fucking swallow me whole?!

Generally I love being taken by surprise by their quirky observations of the world and the people in it, but on these rare occasions the surprise is more akin to suddenly having a tonne of ice dropped on your prostrate, naked body.

Incidentally, trying to explain a niqab/hijab to a three year old who has never heard of any sort of god or formal religion is a real treat.

The one I almost didn’t post because I was afraid of backlash.

June 5, 2013 by

I asked TMD, ‘Hey, what sort of person signs their text message with the word “blessings”?’ She thought similarly to me – Christian or Pagan. We chatted a few more minutes, then moved on with our lives.

She went to work, and I took the kids over to their friend’s house – and my new friend, the one who offered me blessings. I met them a few weeks back at a large home ed gathering and we ended up talking because Coco really hit it off with one of her boys. I liked the kids, I liked the mum, I scored her digits and BAM. Playdate time, baby.

It turns out she is Christian. The sort of Christian that has all these cute amazing crafts hanging up that her kids have made, but they all reference Jesus. Lots of Bibles.

And, you know, that’s fine. Except that super Christian people don’t always love gay people. And I don’t remember if I came out to her when we met.

Now, the whole should I or shouldn’t I coming out debate is not one I often participate in. The decision to not come out is one I very, very rarely take. I can remember once or twice in the last thirteen years I’ve let someone assume I was straight. My long blonde hair, style of dress, etc often means most people assume I am straight. So I am very practiced at coming out, and usually work it pretty early into a conversation because I find it’s better to let people know they are in conversation with a queer bee, otherwise you end up in awkward conversations where they are asking about your husband and you tell them you have a wife and they are horrified they assumed wrongly and apologise and tell you all about their gay friends. Seriously. Better to avoid.

But this lady? We met at a farm. Our kids played together a lot. We looked for baby chicks together. My son smashed his face into her kid’s head on a trampoline and we couldn’t get the bleeding to stop. So I don’t think the gay thing came up.

I try to assume the best of people. There is no reason to think she wouldn’t be okay with me. The amazing Aussie is Christian and she is a staunch defender of civil rights of all shapes and sizes; she is the sort of right on, activist person I think Jesus would have totally dug.

So, should this lady ask, of course I will come out. But today? Today I kept my mouth shut.

Because all the Bible quotes and crafts made me feel a bit uncomfortable. A smidgen awkward. A mite squeamish. I wouldn’t have minded them at all if I knew she knew I was gay and invited me over anyway.

Generally, Christians in Country B are much more progressive than those in Country A. My experience with Christianity, in many flavours, in Country A, has left me with pink scar lines running across me. People have hurled insults at me, made vitriolic comments, told me I was going straight to hell, and much, much worse. My own mother would have nothing to do with me, all in the name of Christianity. A blog reader once told me she liked me even though I was gay, then emailed me a five page letter about my sins. I spent twelve years in a Catholic school that wasn’t shy about their ideas on homosexuality. It’s made me automatically register when people mention they are Christians in a way that I don’t react to Jewish people, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, whatever. And perhaps that is wrong of me, but I also have no firsthand experience with Christian Christians here in Country B.

The Christian toys, art, books, etc that were everywhere, combined with the blessings text, make me assume she is a Christian Christian. I look forward to coming back here and telling you all she is super okay with me and my ‘lifestyle choices’. I hope none of you call me a Christian basher. But it is true that much of my life is spent reading, listening, and observing what Christian people think of homosexuality, and a lot of is a poisonous.

I don’t assume all Christians, or even most Christians, feel this way. I’ve been personally involved in a great Anglican church, various Quaker meetings, and Unitarian chapels. But there is no denying that I have a self protective mode that makes me hyperconcious and uncomfortable….it is also a way I rarely feel anymore, now that I am older and more confident, now that I am surrounded by people of my choosing.

I had a great time today at her house. Our kids still all get along well. I like this woman a lot; she’s warm and gentle with her kids and seems really genuine. So I will be inviting her to our home sometime in the next couple of weeks, and I genuinely hope a real friendship can blossom.

But I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about telling her I’m gay.

Thought processes of a mother of three year old twins.

June 4, 2013 by

Today is the day for ‘Pirate Ship Storytelling, ‘ the one day a month where we crowd into a room with lots of people, find a comfortable cushion, and let this totally amazing weirdo spin tales of goddesses, shipwrecks, and treasure islands. Then we wander around the top deck of a huge ship, because we are too afraid of the statue people (aka mannequins) on the lower decks. We eat lunch, maybe outside, always chips. Wander along the river, maybe climb into a boat for a breezy ride.

It is always an amazing day, and it is today, so then how come I woke up thinking, ‘Oh, JESUS, I just want to stay home’? Even at the risks of more Jehovah’s Witnesses, even with the annoyance of trying to stay awake in the late afternoon.

So then the guilt kicks in. And I think, ‘Hey, no big deal if we skip that even though we also skipped last month. It is a beautiful day. This may be the only beautiful week of the summer. Wait, I know! We should go to the zoo! They can splash in the little kid fake river and we can just wander around.’

Then my pelvis aches, my inertia keeps me sitting here in bed (though showered and dressed) while the kids lay together in Snort’s bed watching YouTube videos about people making Angry Birds out of playdoh.

So I think, let’s take it easy, let’s stay in, then maybe later we can go to the little farm around the corner. I test it out. No immediate objections of my mind or body. Coconut suggests the library, and I think, yeah, okay, I can handle that. No weird time limits, stressful drives across town, etc. We can wander and maybe buy them chips in the little cafe we sometimes go to.

Still I sit here, wondering if I am somehow shortchanging my children, even as my head knows it is GOOD for generic children and great for MY children to play outside, to have empty hours to fill with imagination, to just do what we want. My mother guilt kicks in, and I think, Jesus, am I depressed? Is that why I don’t want to go out? Or is this chickenpox hangover? Or am I just the laziest person in the universe?

I remember summers past, how time somehow slows down and stretches out, how we do less but it feels like more, how we have lazy days watering plants and drawing with chalk and splashing in the garden. And as I write these words, as the visceral memory of two babies who could not yet sit up stretched out in the sunshine, as two bigger babies crawled like maniacs later that summer, it comes back to me. I remember the next year, the daily trips to the park, the wandering hikes in the woods, eighteen months old and walking for an hour on narrow paths littered with roots and stones.

I remember all that a lot more clearly, more sweetly, than most of our trips out. The days we accidentally have a great time doing nothing, but what a shame- they can’t be planned. They just have to happen.

But I guess what I can do, what I can try to not feel guilty about, is giving them an opportunity to happen.

Proof I’m not crazy.

May 31, 2013 by

I received an email from a friend who shall remain nameless. Her family is on holiday abroad, and they accidentally locked one of the children in the rental car.

No help was forthcoming, so she started grabbing bigger and bigger rocks to smash a window. Se finally ended up going Crazy Mama Bear with a huge rock slammed into the window.

And you know what she was thinking while this was going on?

Boy, I wish I had one of Existere’s window smashing key chains.

See, people, it has more uses that just breaking windows that are underwater . It can break landlubber windows, too. Let this be a lesson to you.