Reflection & resolutions?

Today is the day for reflection on 2011, with perhaps some resolutions for 2012. I sought back to what I had written last New Years’ Day, and found 1) that I said I didn’t make resolutions (doh) and 2) my predictions for what would occur in 2011 were unfortunately spot on.

I had predicted that I would need to find a new job as mine was due to expire in June, September or December. It expired in July. Mid 2011, during #blogeverydayof june, I was contemplating what I wanted to do next. As it was, I fell into a ‘created’ job at MPOW which was reasonably unsatisfying. This is not to knock the team I was working with as they are fabulous people, but I do not cope with piecemeal work and no long term objectives. An opportunity came my way in October/November when a temp0rary Senior Management position was advertised. I was very fortunate to land this job and am absolutely loving it! This has come as a huge surprise to me, as I thought I would like it and it would buy me some time (which it has) but I am truly enjoying going to work now. What this has made me realise is that I hadn’t being enjoying going to work for most of previous 6 – 9 months.

Of course the job is temporary – till September 2012. Continuation in the role is not in my control either, as the role is the result of the domino effect of an ‘acting’ position elsewhere. However it has opened up opportunities as this is a management position and I really didn’t think I would ‘manage’ again, having been previously burnt in ‘management’ positions. I have only had 4 weeks in the role so things may change – but I welcome the challenge and shall enjoy all it throws my way, and I choose not to worry about September until about July.

In last year’s blog I also mentioned my brother, who at that time had lost the use of his legs to MND and was beginning to lose the use of his arms as well. MND can strike fast, and Geoff lost his fight in October, on my mother’s birthday. It is still hard to type all this and I already have tears in my eyes and a huge lump in my throat. The tremendous loss I feel comes in waves. I am just relieved that he is no longer struggling with the frustration and pain of the disease, and that we all had our opportunities to talk with Geoff and let him know that he was loved. Not everyone gets that chance.

I had ended my blog stating that while there ‘no landmark decisions to change my behaviour, … in tackling the above my behaviour may indeed alter’. I am not sure if this has happened. I am not one for deep introspection, I am one who acts.

For 2012, I will continue to act: to ensure my happy family stays happy, to ensure I am productive in my working life and to ensure my friendships and relationships are based on a reasonable dose of honest and bucket loads of goodwill. I think if I can do that I’m doing OK.

[On a humourous side note, my sister had made 2011 the year of ‘living honestly’. 2012 for her is now about ‘building bridges’ to undo some of the damage ‘living honestly’ has wreaked. So I think a ‘reasonable dose of honesty’ is the safer way to go. Sometimes the little white lies are not soul damaging but a smoother path to maintaining relationships.]

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Overhauling

We got a start on the familyroom today, now that the festivities are done. Apologies for bad photos (blackberry takes crap shots – yes I blame the tools). Here’s what we started with – an uninspired room:

First step was clearing out the furniture. As I aim to get some new furniture I am hoping my niece will take the TV unit and a round table and chairs. She has just moved out into a share house and none of them own furniture! I remember that stage of life well ūüôā The next step was ripping up the carpet:

Then the underlay:

The room is huge and echos now. Again, as MotH’s brother-in-law is looking to soundproof his garage (read loud band rehearsals), he has promised to take both carpet and the underlay. Score! If we are as lucky as we hope, there will be no furniture or carpet of which we have to dispose.

Having cleaning up the mess – ripping up carpet tacking strips, taking off the skirting board and sweeping things clean – MotH got a fabulous reward. We went to Bunnings! Dropping both kids off at the local shopping centre (xmas money burning holes in their pockets), I braved the wild frontier with Moth. This is not a place we usually choose to go together (I do not have the staying power of a male) but we had a common mission.

Armed with paint tins, rollers, trays, brushes and various odd bits we are prepared for tomorrow. I am very excited!

ABC of pleasures

After purging all my crapola the other day, today’s focus is the things in life for which I am thankful, and which give me great joy.

A – Autumn, my favourite season. Though we are in winter and it’s cold outside, I¬† couldn’t appreciate the beauty of autumn without the extremes of our seasons.

B – Babies. I love little ones, who show how much promise there is to come.

C – Crutches. Though I despise them, they do provide me with mobility.

D – Dog. Buddy, our dog, brings unconditional love and laughter to my family.

E – Eggs. I love them any which way they come – delish!

F – Friends. I have fabulous friends who cheer me up, and are exceptionally great company. I couldn’t do without them.

G – Giraffes, my favourite animal. Clumsy like me, sometimes with a touch of grace and completely unique.

H – Husband, who shares my life willingly and takes care of me when I am down.

I – Inside. On cold nights and frosty mornings, I love that I can hide inside where it’s warm & dry.

J – Juggling the work-life balance. Though at times I find it difficult I couldn’t do without the challenge. If one part was missing it just wouldn’t be me.

K РKids, of which I have two. I love them. They love me. They make my life so enjoyable.

L – Laughter. A great laugh is the best way to add perspective.

M – Motherhood. Never thought that this would be me, but it is and I love it.

N – Neenish tarts. Nom nom.

O – Orange, my favourite colour – it always brightens my mood.

P – Popcorn. One of my favourite snacks: air popped popcorn, with a little bit of butter and salt. Yum.

Q – Quiet mornings. I rise before the rest of my family on weekend days, and I lve the peacefulness of my first coffee in silence.

R – Relatives. I have wonderful relatives, those directly related to me, extended family and those through marriage. Not everyone can say that.

S – Snow. With winter comes snow, and our recent day trip to go tobogganing was tremendous fun.

T – Twitter, which has provided me with contact with wonderfully witty tweeps, who can offer laughs, support and advice when needed.

U – Umbrella, of which mine is rainbow coloured. If you have to go out in the rain, you may as well bring your own rainbow with you.

V – Val was my mum’s name and though I miss her, I treasure my memories of her.

W – WordPress. My blog provides a wonderful means of downloading my brain and my emotions. It’s free therapy.

X – eXcitement (yes I know I’m cheating) – I love how excited my kids get when they are looking forward to something. Most recently this has been our trip to the snow and HP 7 part 2.

Y – Yarn. I love to knit and crochet, and I love the experience of buying new wool for a new project.

Z – Zzzzzz. A good night sleep can provide a lovely reprieve and shed new light and hope on woes.

Just wanted to show that I know life is not crap. There is so much to enjoy.

Still sparking

Oops, missed posting Saturday. I did remember, late at night, but could not rally the energy to do anything about it.

We had a busy day, with a visit to Ballarat to see my brother and his girlfriend. This time the four of us went – Moth, Kids 1 & 2, and Moi, and my father met us there. As I have mentioned before, my brother suffers from MND which is progressing rapidly (at least to us). From Christmas time, when he had lost the use of both legs and had weakness in his arms, he now has only very limited use of one hand. With the hand he doesn’t have the strength to lift or hold anything, but can use the joystick on his mobility scooter to at least move around. Apparently it is now targeting his respiratory system which does not bode well.

After dumping all the bad news here, I have to say we had a lovely day. Ballarat put on a fresh but sparkling day, and the company was fabulous. My brother was in fine spirits – very chatty and very funny. He has always been the fastest with the wit (and the sharp tongue) in the family. He still sees the humour¬† in everything, especially his situation. I am amazed that being trapped in body that won’t work for him hasn’t dimmed his spark. He is always happy to see us, very open about what’s happening to him. very interested in what’s going on with others, and overall cheerful. His girlfriend backs this up by insisting that apart from the odd bad day, he’s just faces each day as it comes and remains smiling. That wows me.

So to my brother, who introduced me to the half-Nelson, Led Zeppelin and Jim Beam, thank you for a lovely day.

 

 

Answers and inspiration

In my last post I list 3 things about myself, 2 of which were true. Of the comments – 3 were correct. Well done.

I do not like indian food, in fact can not handle anything too hot or too spicy. While I like a curry, I’ve found that what I enjoy is not even close to what true curry lovers would consider the real thing.

And I do love the rush of heights, in of course what I consider safe environments (though others may disagree on the safety aspect). As a child I often dreamt of being able to fly, like a bird. My 10 years has the same dreams. So we have set some goals for later, when she is an adult and I will not be considered an irresponsible adult for taking her places where we can both fling ourselves from great altitudes.

Re the third option: I was confirmed as a catholic just a couple of years ago. As a part of the process I did have to marry my husband again, as the first wedding was held in a garden with a celebrant and is not recognised by the Church. (By the same reckoning, my brother was able to marry his second wife in the full catholic tradition as his first marriage was not valid.)

On to the one-legged priest.¬† (And a warning up front for those that don’t like the ‘deep’ stuff.)¬†At the parish to which I belong¬† there are two very lovely people, both of whom inspire me for different reasons. The first is¬†the priest who is wheel-chair bound, and who unfortunately over the last few years has needed to have more and more of his leg amputated due to circulatory problems. To make a very quick story, he was ordained 40 years ago and accepted a missionary position in Papua New Guinea as his first work as a priest. His plane crashed on his way there, and he was left a paraplegic. In the face of all this, he decided to stay in Papua New Guinea and remained there¬†for the next decade. His special gift is languages, and during his years there he translated the bible into the local dialect for his PNG community. His story inspires me for his very pragmatic courage to simply push on in life and achieve the most that he can achieve, without giving in to the woes that may have befallen him.

The other person who has touched my life is the nun who runs the catachetics program for the children. She is an amazing woman who¬†lives her religion in a very real world. She is gutsy and¬†doesn’t hold back,¬†while recognising the humanity in people in the most dire of circumstances.¬†She has spent her life caring for others, having worked in pallative care, in remote areas in PNG, and in Redfern with addicts and alcoholics. Not so long ago,¬† as bushfires ripped through parts of Victoria, devastating whole communities,¬†this woman relocated herself and based herself in King Lake to offer whatever help she could – from the manual tasks of cleaning and clearing damage to offering spiritual support to those drowning in grief. She has a wonderful sense of humour and shares her¬†faith in ways that meld beautifully with the 21st century. She lives her¬†religion without any apologies – even though religion in the digital world is not something that most people even consider, let alone aspire to. Her passion for her beliefs and for easing others’ lives is pure and motivating, especially as a direct contrast to the consumerism that surrounds all of us.