Wednesday

Standard

Wednesday is the day after our neighbour found Fidge in one of the bushes in his backyard. She stumbled out when he was mowing. She just lay there, with her head looking, unable to move. My beloved collected her and we raced her to the vet.

Wednesday is the day when we picked her up from the overnight animal hospital and took her back to her vet. She’s started to perk up. She’s swiping and while she still has no meow and no real movement, she’s looking better. She’s fighting.

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

Wednesday is the day that we start boiling the Christmas puddings. I used my Nan’s recipe, and today is stage 2 – the boil. I was a bit tipsy from the fumes of the pudding mix yesterday. My nan taught me that when you make the Christmas pudding, everyone should stir it for good luck. So I rang people and got them to make a wish while I stirred.

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

Wednesday is also the day after the siege ended in Sydney. It ended badly. One man who died is now being labelled a hero, which is what he is. Sadly though, the Huffington Post has referred to him as the “Gay Hero of Sydney”. I think they were trying to promote equality or acceptance or something, but what they’ve actually done, as far as I can see, is remove those very things. He’s a hero. That’s enough, isn’t it? God knows, I want equality. But I don’t think this is actually going to to anything for the cause. It’s bringing a political agenda into a total tragedy. And that isn’t promoting equality – that’s taking advantage of a senseless and horrific act of violence.

Wednesday is also the day that my Dad celebrates his birthday. I love my old boy. He’s another man that is worthy of hero status.

Wednesday is also the last day of school for most of the kids in NSW. One in particular has her “Year 6 Clap Out” this afternoon – the entire school lines up and applauds the year six students as they leave the gates for the last time. And today of all days, every parent there is going to be thankful that they have the chance to see their kids achieve these things. Because you just can’t assume, and if life teaches us anything, it has to be that.

How is your Wednesday?

Monday

Standard

Monday is a day when a perfect stranger grabs her toddler and her husband and comes to our house and helps us look for our cat. We found a paralysis tick on her yesterday and she wriggled out of our grasp before we could get her to a vet. Hurry home, Fidge.

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

Monday is a day when my beloved dedicates her time to updating a set of shelves for a mate.

Monday is a day when my beloved has to ring her daughter and tell her about Fidge.

Monday is a day when we tell as many people as we can about how to remove a tick – cover it in Vaseline and the tick suffocates and backs out of the crater it has made, and it can be removed easily.

Monday is a day when we talk about the neighbours we have met while we searched, and the people that live around us.

Monday is also a day when people have these faces:

Source: theaustralian.com.au

Source: theaustralian.com.au

Image source: 9news.com.au

Image source: 9news.com.au

This is in Sydney. There’s a siege happening in a cafe. Our media has been swallowed up by this today. I don’t know what to think about it, but I do know this: the people involved? Their lives changed forever today.

There’s a single person orchestrating this siege, we are told.

There have been many, many people involved in helping us search for our Fidget.

More people will help you than will trap you and terrorise you.

It’s worth remembering.

At the end of today, my hope is simple: safety, love, peace and comfort.

For the people involved in the siege, and for Fidge.

With love

Standard

I went to a funeral this morning to stand with some of my treasured friends as they said goodbye to grandma. Grandma was 98 and had a room full of people there, loving her and loving the people who love her. Afterwards I was chatting to my friend’s son (10), who told me he didn’t realise his family was so big, or that I would be there. I explained to him that because I love him and his family, I’d be there for all the good stuff and the bad stuff and the in between stuff. He told me that he’d been made a prefect and as he burst with grief the cracks were healed with pride.

Tomorrow I’m heading to a blogger meet-and-greet thing here in Newcastle. It’s going to be interesting to meet other locals who do this. I introduced myself on the Newcastle bloggers page and said the usual stuff – who I am, what I write about, how often I post. There was some surprise with the frequency of how often I write. I had a think about it because their surprise has shocked me a bit. If you want to be a blogger, shouldn’t that involve some pretty regular blogging? I don’t get paid for this and I do it because I love it. But isn’t that part of the whole thing? Just writing and writing and maybe hitting a few people with your words and your thoughts, and every so often writing one that shits over all the others, and maybe people sharing a post that helped them or some chick-oriented publishing place emailing to ask if they can share it through their website, and trying for bigger and bigger things – but the reality is that I’ve been doing this for two and a half years and I still don’t get paid – but I do love it. So of course I blog regularly.

After that, the first of several Christmas dinners will hit. We’re bringing dessert and I have just made a Toblerone Cheesecake. It’s bloody spectacular and to make up for an embarrassing Christmas video I made and posted to Facebook, I texted my beloved to let her know I had made some mini ones for dessert tonight. Clever, hey. This is the cheesecake:

Image by The  Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

Another thing that happened to me this week was a phone call that really knocked me for six (by the way, that is the only cricket reference you will ever hear from me). The short version is that my integrity was called into question. It’s a hard thing to recover from, even when you know you’ve done nothing to justify the doubt. So I’ve decided that I won’t be rocked by it. I know the truth and I know who I am. And I also know that the people who rang had been very misled, by a flappy tongue connected to a vicious mind. A terrible combination, those last two. To be clear, I 100% know that the callers weren’t behind the doubting, not really. But it was still very shit.

When I started writing this blog, I put the title as “With Love”. Then I wrote all of this, and maybe it doesn’t fit anymore. But it does. Because I try to do stuff with love as the intention behind it. Which is, I suppose, why it does rock me when I am confronted by words or people who just don’t have that same intent.

Here’s our Christmas video, by the way. And beloved, before you get cross, remember the mini cheesecakes:

Home for Christmas

Standard

We cook and we wrap and we decorate and we plan. We think of the people and the allocate gifts and thoughts and love and expressions. We countdown and we wait and then it’s here, Christmas happens for a full day and it’s a culmination of love and finances and food and honesty.

But there is an empty seat.

And the seat is empty and it might have other people sitting in it, but the seat is empty. Because the person who should be in it isn’t there.

A gap of dissension or a gap of life or a stubborn judgement, but the seat is empty.

There are days I feel it more than others.

This morning I saw that another little boy has gone, just disappeared.

Sam went missing from his WA home yesterday.

Image source: Facebook

Image source: Facebook

This little one, William, has been missing for weeks:

Image source: abc.net.au

Image source: abc.net.au

These little ones should be search and destroy missions, making decorations and rattling presents and opening advent calendars and sitting on Santa’s lap and being dragged to family lunches and Carols by Candlelight. But they’re just gone. Missing.

Then there’s the more permanent type of missing.

My mum loved Christmas. That’s all there is to say, because that’s what it was: she just loved it. And it’s really been this year, eleven years after she died, that I’ve started to be able to do things like put lights on the house and not tear up at the Christmas tree. The ornaments used to be what undid me. The Christmas after she died, we tried to put the tree up and we found the ornaments packed carefully into their Christmas tub.

She didn’t plan to miss Christmas.

She didn’t plan to not help put the tree up.

There was nothing in the way the ornaments were so carefully packed that hinted that she knew she wouldn’t be here for it.

What I’m trying to say is this: you have no way of knowing, really, when your last anything is.

So let me implore you: deck the fuck out of those halls, if that is what makes you happy. Put lights on your house. They might help guide someone home. Light a candle, set a place at the table. Buy them a present and store their smile in your heart of hearts of hearts of hearts. Make treasure. Realise value.

Because it can change in a heartbeat.

My favourite Christmas carol is O Holy Night. It’s a carol that sings of relief and value and total, utter thankfulness. Religious or not, you can feel the desperate need for acknowledgement and relief in the lyrics.

I’m not intending to write a downer of a post, but something about these kids going missing has really made me think. We often sit in privilege and riches and safety, and just forget that there are people so desperately worse off than ourselves. Life is not easy, and for every moment you think it is hard there is someone else experiencing a far harder slice than you could imagine.

If you see these little boys, or know anything that could help them be home for Christmas, please call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Lights!

Standard

In my family, the Griswolds are very loved. Remember the Griswolds the Christmas Vacation?

For years, my family have giggled at houses with Christmas lights, remembering Chevy Chase and his staple gun. Well, have I got news for you, Daddio! My beloved and I just spent the afternoon putting Christmas lights on the house!

Australia seems to go stir crazy when it comes to decorating with lights at Christmas. We love it. My sister’s street has a Christmas party each year, which she ignores. Every inch of the street is decorated in candles and lights and tinsel. It’s festive as all fuck. I love it. One year, my sister and her neighbour simply erected a sign that said “DITTO”.

I tend to be a little more enthusiastic.

I spent an hour or so putting together an array of solar lights. They went from this:

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

To this:

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

More lights hanging from the front verandah – and check out the storms that are closing in for night nine:

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

Then my beautiful beloved popped more lights in the garden:

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

I am so excited to see what happens at night. Aside from it getting dark, obviously. I’ll share some pictures when night falls… but first, it’s another storm.

Do you decorate your house?

Sunday

Standard

I’m sitting with my foot elevated with an ice pack on it, with Zelda next to me trying bravely to manage evening eight of storms. The vet told us to give her a quarter of a tablet to help her through storms, but we decided that was too much and now she is sitting between my leg and the arm of the couch with her Thundercoat on and an eighth of a tablet on board. She’s still shaking but she is safe and loved and doing OK.

This is the look I got just before I gave her her tablet. Her ears are back and her body was shaking.

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

It’s easy to think medication is the easy solution. It’s not. Zelda is 8 now and has experienced many storms. We’ve tried all sorts of things for her. This was a last resort. The problem is, I worry about the impact of eight days of stress from storms on her tiny little body. Lesser of the two evils? Yep. She’s asleep now and the thunder is cracking off like crazy, with lightening and associated madness. Her heart isn’t racing and her body isn’t trembling and her breathing is slow and steady. That’s a win.

I started on a new anxiety medication recently. It seems OK. Don’t know yet. But I know I navigated a dinner with a bunch of people last night without going into panic mode. And I’m sleeping better. So why the fuck are we so guarded about medication then, hey? I’m yet to meet anyone who hasn’t thought through their options long and hard before making a decision when it comes to meds to help out with stuff like anxiety. Would people be as judgemental if it was Insulin or Ventolin? I doubt it. But sometimes the toughest critic is ourselves.

We need to lighten the fuck up.

Anyway anyway, today I went along to play at The Cuppy Lady’s house. You might remember her from those cupcakes. Today we were making peanut butter cups, and it might not look it but this is a mixing bowl of pure awesome:

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

I’m just chatting with a beautiful friend on Facebook while I write this blog and she says it well.

Sometimes (like, all the time) it takes a while to find beautiful people. But some need to shuffle through the shit to find the good beans.

Look, I know this blog post has kind of covered a few things today. We’ve gone from anxious dogs to medication to vagina cupcakes and peanut butter and we’ve ended up with shuffling shit.

I think that’s pretty good though. It reflects where I am on a Sunday.

Thankful. And that’s pretty good.

Decking the halls

Standard

Christmas is coming along at an alarming rate, and I stupidly braved the shops this morning in an attempt to grab a couple of bits and pieces. It was madness. These were terrible times, my friends. I joined the throng of shoppers, barrelling around the stores clutching bags and money and lists. There was pushing and shoving and body odour. I don’t need it as much now but I still tend to take my crutch with me when I’m shopping, mainly because I’ve discovered people are slightly less shovey if you look like you have a weapon or disability.

Here is a funny thing:

Every single time I pass a Santa at the shops, they make eye contact and ask me how I am. I of course answer with “Good thank you Santa, how are you?” and we chat over the fence surrounding his little village. It’s a brief exchange but I quite like it, and if I was a little more photogenic I would most likely pose with him.

One year I saw an ad in the local paper, advertising for Santas. So I found a bell and I rang the number and when they answered, I let out a massive HOHOHO! while ringing my bell. I didn’t get the job but I did get a laugh. Which paid less than the actual job would have, in that it paid nothing.

Anyway!

Christmas!

Our tree is up:

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

I’ve dug out my two special Christmas decorations – the nativity that my besty gave me, and my Nan’s Christmas Wreath. Nan’s wreath is a thing of wonder. I haven’t seen them in the shops for years and years, and I suspect that is because they induced violence. Santa has a sensor in his head, and when you get within a metre of him he bellows out Christmas carols and yuletide greetings. After ten minutes, my beloved had asked me to please turn it off. Scouty barked at it and it frightened Zelda. But I love it. I haven’t told my beloved but I have a secret tradition of seeing how long I can leave a wreath up on the door for. The besty and I managed 6 months one year. I have a hunch I may not get too far past Christmas with my beloved around.

My Nan also had that beautiful spidery writing that old ladies develop, and I have her Christmas pudding recipe written in her hand, on the back of a Cornflakes box. Just trying to work out if I am motivated enough to turn the house into a sweatbox in her honour – I think I am. But it’s an effort, that pudding. Lucky it’s delicious.

One last little pre-Christmas story for you: My sister and I never really recovered from the revelation that my parents were helping Santa. When they told us that they were going to give us presents from them instead of helping Santa, my sister and I agreed that this was terrible. So we became Santa. We spend most of the year sending texts to each other saying things like “Santa got you two presents today!” and “If Santa bought you a singlet, what size should he get?” and so on. Then we unwrap them n less time than it takes to wrap the gifts and we love it and we laugh and giggle and think of each other all year because we are always looking for gift ideas for Santa, and isn’t that the best? That we think of each other. She’ll kick me for being sappy when she gets back from Vanuatu.

Tell me your favourite Christmas tradition. I bloody love Christmas. Do you?