A latte with one: Reasons why life is enough

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Hello from my recovery position of the lounge! I have been enjoying a totally uneventful recovery and my ankle feels really good so far.

But that’s not what I want to blog about today.

Here is what I want to blog about:

I was out today with my beloved. When I am home, I use crutches. When I am out, I use a wheelchair. She’d ducked into the bank and so I carried on through the shops, rolling along quite happily. Stopped to rest my arms for a while, and people-watched.

My eyes fell on a yellow coffee cart, which was relatively new to the shopping strip. I was at Glendale in Newcastle NSW. It struck me as a strange thing to see, given the numerous coffee shops in the area. Didn’t think much of it. Kept looking and soaking up life.

Then a man smiled at me from behind the coffee cart and asked me what had happened to my foot. I told him and he asked how long I was in hospital for, and I told him that, too. He smiled again and said that he knew hospital could be pretty boring, because his son had spent six months in one last year. He asked more about why my ankle broke and asked lots of questions, and I answered them and asked him questions, too.

His son is eleven and this month is the first anniversary of his kidney transplant.

His son is growing and thriving and eating and not vomiting for the first time ever and he smiles right down deep in his eyes while he tells me about his son.

And I love him, even though I don’t know him, and I am not sure if I love him or his son or both. It’s a beautiful story.

He offered me a coffee and he made me a latte with one sugar and it was great.

He talked to me about his wife, who donated a kidney to their son. He told me about the cruise he took her on to thank her and to celebrate. He told me about anti-rejection drugs and about the family holiday scheduled for the end of the year.

And then, he told me about how thankful he is.

To be in Australia and to have had the opportunity for his son to live. And that really, even when life is mixed up and hard and shitful, we’re still alive and that is enough.

I thanked him and drank my latte.

If you live in Newcastle and you see him at Glendale, say hello.

Always pack a spare

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If you have been following this blog for a while you’ll know that earlier this year, this happened:

Ouch. Image by The Naughty Corner.

Ouch. Image by The Naughty Corner.

This most recent break happened on a cruise, with my beloved. Day three, people. The remaining 7 days were spent in a wheelchair, wondering exactly how much of a mischief I had done to myself.

Significant, is the answer.

As the cherry on top of 7 years of injuries (following the initial one in 2007), this most recent break finished off the foot and it is getting reconstructed tomorrow.

Yes, I am excited. Yes, I am shitting myself. Yes, I’m remembering to think about how good it is going to be in a few months. BUT I AM STILL SCARED NOW!

So as way of distraction, let me show you how you deal with a broken ankle on a cruise.

1. You crawl to the nearest stairwell, and get carted down to the hospital section. Your ankle gets wrapped up, but still looks pretty damn wrong:

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

2. You see signs that you wish were relevant to how you broke your ankle, but the harsh reality is that you’re just a little bit clumsy:

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

3. You make use of the on-ship advertising:

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

4. You might even find love…

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

And after you disembark, and the temporary cast is gone, and you’ve done your time in the boot, and you wait for surgery (oh FUCK it’s tomorrow!), it’s comforting to know that someone is keeping a close eye on things:

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

Wish me luck.

Oh, snap!

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Sound the trumpets, folks, my ankle is getting rebuilt in THREE DAYS! I feel it’s time to take a little trip, stumble, fall down memory lane.

My first ever broken bone was done while hanging out washing. Yes. Seriously. I was lying on the ground, washing scattered around me, and suddenly looking at Fear. You’ve never known fear, my friend, until you have found yourself with a broken limb on the ground with your very big and very loving Rottweiler racing towards you. One cast and several weeks later, I was good as new.

A year or so after this, a tree fell in the back yard. Again I was hanging washing and heard a peculiar sound. Like a squealing, scratching sound. I had no idea. This was all in slow motion – I paused at the clothes line and glanced around me. It took several beats for me to see the tree, which once was upright, now leaning towards me and gathering momentum. This is where I went all action movie: I ran forward. The tree fell behind me, and I wound up with a few scratches on my back and a bizarre story to tell. In my mind, to looked something like this:

Via Getty Images

Via Getty Images

And once again, not long after, within a period of about three months I was in three separate car accidents. I was hit by a van, then a Ferrari and finally by a truck. The truck finished off my car.

Oh, and I once fell into a sewage pit.

I’ve had a few peculiar injuries, I suppose.

The incident that kicked off the dramas with the ankle that is getting repaired happened seven years ago. And yes, it really has taken until now to get it fixed.

I was doing in-home child car. I knocked on the front door of the house I was working at – no answer. It was entirely possible that the parent would be out the back hanging washing or playing with the kids. So, I turned around and walked back down the stairs.

And went down like a sack of shit.

I sat on the front steps, watching my ankle change shape, waiting for someone to find me. I was very patient and because I was there to help, I felt a bit funny about calling out for help. Eventually, the mum found me and called an ambulance. Off I went, swearing like a trooper, sucking on the green stick thing that they give you to help with pain. I wish I had a photo of how my ankle ended up. It literally looked like someone had shoved a tennis ball under my skin. It was hideously painful, very noisy and completely disfigured. So I was a little surprised when the doctor at hospital said it was just a sprain.

Thank god for second opinions, right folks?

Because fast forward seven years, and I’ve continued to break, sprain and bugger up that ankle. Most recently was on the cruise my beloved and I went on. Here’s a picture of that one:

Ouch. Image by The Naughty Corner.

Ouch. Image by The Naughty Corner.

I spent the remainder of the cruise in a wheel chair, and it’s getting reconstructed on Monday. In three days.

I’m nervous and scared but I’m also hopeful that this might mean the end of my tumbles.

They’ve always given me something to write about, though…

Have you had a bizarre injury? Tell me about it!

The Liebsters!

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Imagine the grin on my head when I found ouit I’d been awarded a Liebster. For those wondering if this is a good thing, it is. From what I can tell, it’s a peer to peer award, and I was bestowed the honour from the ever delightful Cate from A Travelling Cook.

Here is what I like about blogging: There is a community. We all write, we all try to do the best we can, and for the most part we all do it for free. You read our words, you like them or share them or comment on them or just back away slowly. Cate, who gave me this Liebster, has put in the time and effort to comment and like a heap of my posts. And as awesome as it is that people are reading, I reckon most bloggers will agree that the comments and real feedback really give you a whopping big boost.

If you’re a commenter or a liker, thanks. You remind me I’m not writing into a vast nothingness.

So! On with the Liebster show!

liebster3

As a part of this award, Cate has asked me to answer ten questions. And I, in turn, will nominate some other bloggers to sport the Liebster badge and answer my own queries. And so the cycle will continue, recognising one blog at a time.

1. What are you reading at the moment?

I’m reading a sign on the bookshelves that says DREAMS COME TRUE. Do they? I think they might. But really, would we be thrilled if they did? I have a habit of entertaining nightmares while I sleep, and I wouldn’t be stoked if they came true. I’m hoping it’s the good dreams that come true.

2. What was the last meal you cooked?

Grilled foccacia sambos for my beloved and I.

3. What country have you always wanted to visit?

I want to go to the UK one day, but to be honest I bloody love Australia. I’d also like to go to New Zealand. My family is from England, so there’s the obligation to go and check out my roots.

4. Recommend a TV show or box set.

OK. I’m watching a couple of series at the moment: Orange is the New Black, and an Aussie drama called Devil’s Playground. They’re very different but both make a powerful statement about the prisons we live in. Ooooh how insightful was that! One is set in a women’s prison, the other is set against the backdrop of the Catholic church.

5. Your favourite way to relax?

Guitaring. Playing with the fur babies. Drumming. Repeat.

6. What is your favourite dish to cook?

Probably a soup that has become known as Special Soup. It’s comforting, warm, filling and easy. For those not in the know, it’s lamb shank and barley soup with a shitload of veges. The besty’s mum makes it, she taught me, now I make it. Everyone loves it. Here’s a pic:

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

7. Early bird or night owl?

Both. I love mornings and I seem to have a fondness for late nights. It’s a bit of a lose-lose situation, now I think of it.

8. What is your favourite fruit?

After years of saying “mango”, the time has come to be realistic: My favourite fruit is actually the mandarin, with a good red apple coming in a close second. Either a Gala or a Sundowner, though I am quite fond of Jonathans and Eves.

9. What’s your drink of choice?

I fear I am becoming a bore. I honestly like water. But it must be cold and preferably have ice in it or be partially frozen. I have recently developed a taste for Vodka, sadly. Slurpees (frozen coke) have also been known to rock my world.

10. What would you choose for your last meal?

Something that gives me shocking intestinal worms and explosive wind so that my final act is indeed the trump card to end all trump cards.

And now! The nominees are (apparently you can nominate up to 8)…

1. A Little Bit Purry

2. Cupcakes, Shoes and Other Things

3. Great Snaps, Good Times and Me

Here are your questions!

1. What are you wearing on your feet, and please prove it via a photo.

2. Why do you blog?

3. Complete this sentence: “If __________ read my blog I would be totally stunned and I would love to ask them _____________”

4. What was the last mess you made and did you clean it up or just pretend it never happened?

5. If you could only write about one topic for a month, what would you want that topic to be?

6. And what topic would you hate to write about for a month?

7. If blogging was done via pen and paper, would you still do it? How important is technology to blogging?

8. Have you ever unpublished a post? If so, why? If not, what would make you do so?

9. Who is your blogging hero?

10. Write a limerick about blogging.

Lead me not

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I love kids. They’re fun, funny, curious, interested, interesting… I just love hanging out with them.

Me, my beloved and our mate Miss K.

Me, my beloved and our mate Miss K.

It baffles me to think that there are people who see kids quite differently to this. Which leads me to say:

If you are in a position of authority, don’t use it to mess with kids.

You might be a teacher. A Scout leader. A parent. Or even, god forbid, a church leader. Whatever. The rule is the same: do not mess with kids. And by mess, I mean sexualise them, or abuse them, or touch them or talk to them or treat them in any way that you think needs to be hidden.

And if you do?

Don’t blame the kid.

Hillsong church is back in the news today, not because of money which is a refreshing relief. However, the reason they are in the news is disgusting. Abhorrent. Shameful.

There’s a certain feeling of sickness that rises in my gut when I hear about child sex abuse.

The abuse of up to nine boys. Blame, laid harshly at the feet of these children.

Silence bought, with no mention of prosperity doctrine or tithing.

I spent time as a churchy, and to be totally and utterly honest, I miss it. I miss the community of belonging. The learning. The inclusion. But really, what I miss is the church I went to in Sydney. This was a good church. Solid. Warm. Truthful.

Then I moved to Newcastle, heard preachers spout all kinds of shit, became bored with the angst of it, came out of the closet, immersed myself in music and people and volunteering, met my beloved and found myself navigating a different life. A good life. Possibly not the life I thought I would have when I was at my church in Sydney… but a life I love, with people I love.

I can’t pull apart the latest Hillsong juggernaut. I don’t understand enough, and I can’t see past my own disgust at it to be fair or level headed in my representation of information. You can read their statement regarding this here, and there are many lines for you to read between. And don’t let the signage on their building escape your attention.

So if I won’t comment on what’s going on, what’s the actual point of this post?

This:

Don’t fuck with our kids.

The stuff that happened to the boys at the centre of this scandal – it takes a lifetime to even begin to recover from. Because in reality, there is no recovery when trust is shattered. When you find out that the world is not safe. When you learn that truth can be bought and sold. When people you think are good turn out to be your worst nightmare. When you get blamed, just for existing, really.

We can’t fix it. We can be sad and sorry and hurt and angry – but we can’t fix it.

So, the point again:

Don’t. Just… don’t.

Instead?

Protect kids. Educate them. Care for them. Respect them. Help them. Guide them. Be an example. Give a damn. Make sure they know they’re worth it. Encourage them to grow into the kind of people you would want to spend time with.

Just… Don’t screw them up.

Rub a dub dub

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We’ve decided that during the school term, the WiFi gets turned off at 10pm.

This is good, for many reasons, most of all because it encourages us to go to bed without faces full of screens.

But there is a definite downside: I tend to blog at night, which means that I’m having to get my head around reorganising my writing routines. This bit me on the bottom last night, as I had a Naughty Corner full of people waiting to find out who had won the massage that is currently on offer on the Facebook page for this blog!

Here’s how it happened.

Last week, after telling you about my crappy experience trying to park a truck, getting stuck in a storm and generally losing my shit, I received a message from Mel at Hunter Massage. She offered my beloved and I a free massage. I was blown away by her generosity but also by her care. Stunned. The glorious thing about poor self esteem is that you’re never really sure if you are worth much. Well, the delightful Mel showed me that indeed I am. She also showed me that I’m not just writing into nothingness, which is so affirming.

We went along for our massages and walked along Newcastle Beach to get there. Hunter Massage operates out of the Surf Life Saving Club, three days a week. So it was stunning, to soak up some sun and that sea air, knowing that relaxation is well on the way.

Which reminds me of the time when I was at university, and writing a linguistics essay. With no time for spell check, I submitted an essay that suggested that communication was the sharing of massages. Massages. Not messages, massages.

I went first, and got my beloved to take this photo:

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

I spent the massage in my happy place, and it got me wondering: What is YOUR happy place? I had a chat to Mel and she agreed to gift one lucky Naughty Corner fan with a massage. So I put out the call: Show me your happy place!

After the entries were tallied, the selection process commenced:

After waking up the impartial judge, the winner of a massage at Newcastle Beach with Mel from Hunter Massage was clearly selected, being the first stick that Scouty licked the cheese off:

Michelle! Image by The Naughty Corner

Michelle! Image by The Naughty Corner

And here is Michelle’s happy place:

Congratulations, Michelle!

Congratulations, Michelle!

Have you ever won anything? Are you local to Newcastle? Check out Hunter Massage!

To Melbourne

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Remember when I used to live in a bakery, next door to the Bear and the Buddhists? I lived with my best friend, a very forgiving and patient girl. Anyway she moved to Melbourne and it is for this reason that I am currently slothing around in a very cold lounge room, with the seasoned familiarity that comes from almost eight years of past cohabitation. As my besty left for work, she told me to help myself to whatever, including ingredients to make her some lasagna. And so, while not one but two lasagnas bake, I thought I’d come and say hello.

Hello!

My flight was an hour delayed, and the entire trip was like being inside a cocktail shaker but without the alcohol. So. Much. Turbulence. Added to this was the high population of kids on the flight. They were pretty good, actually – it was hard to hear anything over the rattle of the plane and the snoring of the fellow next to me. I was pleased to get off the plane when we finally landed, except I couldn’t. I was stuck. I couldn’t pull the leg of my pants away from the seat. It had spent the hour and a half plane trip steadily adhering itself to the gum that someone had stuck there. Fucking awesome. That’s the vast majority of my packing done for, even before I get off the plane.

We’ve had adventures!

Here’s a questionable hot dog place I spotted:

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Image by The Naughty Corner

Call me a prude but I wasn’t keen to swallow.

With my beloved in mind, we visited The Block Pop Up Shop:

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Image by The Naughty Corner

After strolling limping around Melbourne for the day, we decided to take in a doco at Imax. Here is us in our 3d glasses. I forgot the flash though, but you get the idea:

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Image by The Naughty Corner

Tonight, while the besty works, I’m off to catch up with the pseudo sister, who is also in Melbourne. We couldn’t work out schedules when we were both in nsw – go figure.

It’s a fleeting visit but I love hanging out with her. Having lived together for so long, missing the besty has been like missing part of myself. But you know what? We pick up exactly where we leave off every time, and the distance is purely physical.

I’m lucky.