Tag Archives: people

Extended

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A couple of weekends ago I had to fly to Brisbane. It was for a 90th birthday, a beautiful gentleman who, when asked what it felt like to be 90, replied with, “Up the shit!”.

The last time I flew was around two years ago. That flight, I was heading to Melbourne. I remember the angst on the lead up to the flight.

I knew without a doubt that I would need a seat belt extension. Some people don’t even know what they are, or even that they exist. You know the seat belt they use in the safety briefing before you take off? Well that can click into both ends of the standard seat belt on a flight, thus extending the length of the belt so that every passenger can be safe. I rang the airline to get the seat measurements. I wanted to be sure that my sizeable bottom would fit. I contemplated booking two seats, so that my overflow wouldn’t affect the person sitting in the same row as me.

Because that’s one of the things I used to worry about, that my too-bigness would infringe upon other people. That taking up too much space would inconvenience the people around me. That I should do whatever I could to make amends for being the size I was.

That I should wear a sign, apologising for myself.

For me, my weight was a shame that I wore on the outside for the world to see. I took on the stares and the comments. I absorbed the giggles from children in the street. I carried every single one of the observations about my size and even though they were pointy and hot and uncomfortable, I carried them close to myself until they became myself and there I was, a walking ball of shame and grief and sadness and disappointment.

For me, my size mattered, 100%. And a lot of my time was spent trying to minimise it. I’d sit hunched and curled into a ball. I’d move with a nimbleness that belied my size when I felt like I was in someone’s way. I’d stand rather than sit, lest I break a chair or block an aisle.

Now, I still stand. But it’s more about not wanting to sit still. And now, when I do sit, I tend to sprawl in a most unladylike manner. Because screw being a lady.

When I booked the flights to Brisbane, that little voice made me wonder. Would I still need a seat belt extension? I’ve tried and tried again to explain how hard it is for your brain to catch up when your body changes. I knew that in losing over 50kg, the chances of me needing that extension were pretty slim. But what if. What if I hadn’t really changed my body shape that much? What if that apron of skin was going to be still too big for the standard seat belt?

Turns out, it wasn’t.

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And it also turns out that the tray coming down is a thing. The tray never used to come down. Not even close.

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No worries.

These are the victories that, for the run of the mill person, seem a little odd. If you don’t even realise that a seat belt extension is a thing, then what’s to celebrate if a normal aeroplane seat belt fits you?

Here’s what’s to celebrate:

I didn’t have to walk sideways up the aisle. I didn’t have to whisper that I needed an extension when I boarded, and hold it close to my body as I took my seat so that nobody would notice. I didn’t have to tuck it down the side of my seat when I got off the plane, trying to hide the shame I felt. I didn’t have to pre-book a specific seat at the window, so I could at least spread in one direction in an attempt to minimise the impact I had on the person sitting next to me.

You might think I am being too hard on myself. You might think that most people wouldn’t care.

If that’s the case then thank you, you’re a human with a beautiful heart.

But the reality is that a lot of people are not like that, particularly with strangers.

I’ve discovered that as a whole, society still believes that fat is something that people choose and therefore something they can quickly change. And as a result we have created what seem to be quick fixes for this problem. I’ve always been very careful to state clearly that for me, what was going to work was earning every single gram lost through sheer hard determination, through pushing my body, through walking and running and riding endless kilometres and lifting and pushing and pulling different weights. I had to respect what I had done in order to maintain the weight loss. For me, and I can only speak for myself, that’s what I had to do. Not everyone’s solution looks like that. But I can’t speak for everyone, only for myself.

As the seat belt clicked shut, and I tightened the strap, it sounded like victory.

But in my victory, as in any victory, I remembered the battles lost in winning the war.

So to the me in the plane. Taking up space. Wearing an extension. Desperate for the flight to end:

I’d rather you were safe with the extension on. You have an equal right to be on board this flight. Where are you going? Are you excited? Who are you seeing? Don’t let this moment rob you of your joy regarding travel. You go, you get there, you have an absolute blast. Because regardless of your size, you matter. Your heart is ticking, your soul is full and your smile lights a room.

Extensively.

 

The fame game

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It’s been Christmas and New Year’s since I blogged last. Time has this trick of trundling on, especially when we aren’t paying attention.

The last few weeks have been chaos. I do not enjoy chaos. My hair would suggest otherwise, I got it cut today because I am sick of finding strands around the place and beloved has a shaved head, so I can’t even blame anyone else. I look like I have an afro at the moment, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I’m now thinking there might have been another solution to the finding hair problem, that didn’t involve me seeing the hairdresser.

I don’t understand the small talk shit you have to do at the hairdresser. The whole time I am wondering how I am meant to look at her, do I use the mirrors or turn my head? Other concerns include catching headlice, wondering why people lie about dying their hair at home, the unreasonable potato-form I take on when they drape me in the cape prior to the hair cut, and wondering if hairdressers get itchy from the hair that must accumulate on their skin after cutting hair all day long. It really is not a restful experience.

So, the last few weeks. I had big plans, all of which were thwarted after a phone call from my GP telling me to start fasting. I had a blockage in a kidney which needed fairly urgent surgery. Two surgeries, actually. The other thing I don’t manage well is changed plans. Chaos and changed plans. Incidentally, both start with CH and when I was a kid, I did speech therapy, and that CH blend is still a sound I struggle to pronounce. So the thing you sit on in my house will always be a SEAT. I also still lisp when I am tired but I am better at pretending I haven’t.

Anyway anyway, Christmas and New Year’s.

Both were good. Both were here. Both were spent with people that we love. Which is nice. Because it would be awful if we had to spend both of those events with people that we don’t like.

I was just sitting outside and the view was spectacular. Here, have a look:

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2017 is upon us. Let’s hope it isn’t the same kind of talent cull that 2016 was. That’s what everyone seems to be focusing on, when it comes to 2016. And the reality is that we lost a lot of talent. But we also lost a lot of normal people, a lot of run-of-the-mill people, a lot of people who mattered to someone. Just because it wasn’t on the news doesn’t mean it didn’t matter. Social media has added this funny element to life, hasn’t it. We spend a lot of time documenting ourselves, in much the same way these famous people were documented. But when we die, it’s our friends lists that are impacted. I suppose it comes down to where you create your world; to where you create your fame.

I am happy to be famous with my friends and family. And more and more, I want to be famous with myself. To respect what I’m achieving and to admire the attitudes and approaches. To be able to hit ‘like’ on the moments and the posts, to share the important things, to go viral with something like joy or love or self belief or something that actually matters more than ‘tag a mate who…’ or a cat using a human toilet.

What it comes down to is that I want 2017 to be a good year. And at the risk of sounding like a smug cow, 2016 was good. I got through it. I achieved some stuff. People I love achieved stuff. I witnessed survival and triumphs and laughter and friendship and kinship. I experienced moments and events that won’t shape a nation but certainly shaped my year. And on the 31st of December, the people I hold dear (s0me of them) gathered together and we said goodbye to 2016 and welcomed in 2017. Some of the people that were there, I didn’t even know til this year. Some of them, I’ve known for over 15 years. But in that moment, we were all there together. We smiled, we chatted, we ate, we peaked too soon (ahem. That was me.). We were together.

I do this thing quite often where I’ll step outside of the moment and look at it. Like I’m taking photos in my head. And the in those snapshots, I saw the culmination of the 2016 fame game. Hearts. Together.

2017?

Bring it on.

 

All is well

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It’s been another big week at The Naughty Corner, one that I ended in Sydney with my sister for early birthday celebrations. We tend to do a lot of giggling, a lot of gazing at her dog and discussing his resemblance to Dad, and a lot of watching Harry Potter.

I was only there for a couple of nights, we have a huge week about to kick off here in Newy so it was back home to do a spot of pressure washing. I love this. It was a bit shocking though, to see how much mould and grot can accumulate when your back yard has no drainage. These are my sexy legs afterwards:

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I’ve gotten myself into the routine of getting up an hour earlier than I need to, then having some quiet time watching the day start. We live opposite a park, so it’s usually pretty quiet at that time. Just birds waking up and random people off on a run to start their day. And I watch them run and wonder what is going through their heads. I tend to have an internal mixture of Christmas Carols and theme songs that provide the soundtrack to my own walks and runs, regardless of what I have playing through my earphones. I’ve accepted that I’m not the kind of person who is cool enough to trot along in time to something more modern and sophisticated. Besides, I quite like carols.

The flatmate who isn’t my flatmate anymore is coming up to visit this weekend; I am so freaking excited about it. There are some people you miss, but then there are others where it feels like they are missing from you. That second one is the flatmate who isn’t my flatmate anymore. I have other friends like this, they’re pretty few and far between though, which is what makes them fit into that second category. I think eventually you work out who your people are, and then you treasure the guts out of them. Yes, the guts.

It’s nearing time to start the day. We have a To Do list that’s a mile long. But all is well. Life is changing, life is the same, life is trundling along, life is happening.

And all is well.

PS It’s not too late to donate to the Variety Children’s Charity as I get ready for the Santa Fun Run this Sunday!

Yes I Can.

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I started doing this thing at the gym. Powercamp. It’s crossfit. Something I’ve wanted to do for ages and my trainer said it was time to give it a go, so I did.

For most people this would be another step forwards in their getting fit journey, as wanky as that sounds.

For me?

Good grief, what a frigging challenge.

Not so much the actual doing of Powercamp, but what goes along with it. New people. Unfamiliar routines. A different trainer running it. Today was session number three and I finally hit the panic wall.

What was different today? Well, number one, I was tired. There was meant to be some shitstorm weather here last night so the fur babies slept with me. Yes they’re cute, but how much sleep do you think I got?

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Number two, the exercises I didn’t know how to do outnumbered the ones I did know how to do. And number three? We had to work with a partner.

Cue rising panic.

To my credit, I didn’t do what I wanted to do. I stayed. Did a different warm up on the rower, so outside of the Powercamp room. And I have to right say how amazing the trainer was – she didn’t give me the option to leave, instead she directed me to something that would give me some headspace to refocus myself. When I’d rowed and calmed slightly, she came over and told me I’d be working with another woman. Rising panic once again – what if I slowed her down, what if I wasn’t as fit or as fast as her, what if what if what if!!!

But here’s the thing.

There was a list of about eight different things we had to do, and we had to (between us) complete 100 of each thing in the time limit. And together, my partner and I almost finished the list. We missed the skipping (which was good as I had a full bladder) and the planking. But we did a lot of that list. More than I thought I would get through.

Here’s the other thing.

As we worked together, I actually enjoyed it. And I liked the partner work out. And I kept up with her.

I finished the session and went to meet my personal trainer, who asked how it went. I told her about panic and why. And she delivered a firm but wise slap to my brain. Told me in no uncertain times that I need to get my head together and realise that I am fit and strong and able. That she wasn’t going to let anyone put shit on me, and reminded me that at this gym, nobody puts shit on anyone anyway (She’s right, by the way. If you’re a Novocastrian, check out Planet Fitness at Charlestown).

And so I had a bit of a think.

The reality is that in 12 months I’ve dropped close to 40kg. I’ve gained muscle and strength. Life is so much easier now. I can do so much more. The size of my clothing has changed dramatically, my rings don’t fit, oddly enough my glasses now look enormous and even my shoes have become slightly too big. I can see those things and I feel a little flicker of pride every day because of it.

But the un-seeable things. My fitness. My confidence. My belief in my own ability. Trusting myself and my new body (even as a work in progress). These things, I am struggling to accept.

After being so unfit for so long, it’s hard to remember (let alone understand) that things are different now.

I don’t know what the solution is here. I get the feeling it’s a practice thing – I need to remind myself that I can do things. That I am totally able. That even when my Aspy brain wants to panic, the reality is that I am more than physically able to conquer the challenges that Powercamp presents. I need to remember reality. That it’s going to take time to get used to this body and it’s fitness and strength.

And I need to remember how much I’ve achieved.

It’s hard. But I’m a stubborn cow. So my new mantra has become this:

Yes I can.

Yes I can.

Yes I can.

Five

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I just did a very small amount of research to learn what milestones the average five year old child should be closing in on. Now, we all know there is no average child, and that these things should be fluid to allow for individual quirks and development, and so on and so forth. But hang in there with me. This is the site I went off, if you’re keen.

The milestones are in four categories: social, communication, cognition and physical. At five years old, kids should be:

  • wanting to please their friends, and be like their friends
  • showing concern and sympathy for others
  • speaking clearly and telling stories
  • counting to ten
  • copying shapes
  • using the toilet independently
  • balancing on one foot

… as well as several other key things.

Now look. I don’t know how much I agree with this list. I’ve met adults who struggle with some of them, and childhood seems to be such a small window, doesn’t it.

If I had to write a list for what I’d want five year olds to be able to do, it would look kind of like this:

  • know who you are, and what you like and what you don’t like – but be open to trying new things
  • know that even though some things might seem scary, with people you trust helping you they might not be so scary after a while
  • be able to be as independent as you need to be in given situations
  • be able to play on your own happily
  • be able to play in a group happily
  • treat people, and yourself, nicely
  • be excitable and silly and roll on the grass at every opportunity

Beloved and I are celebrating five years together today.

When she left for work this morning, I told her our jobs today were to come up with a list of five highlights. Here are mine.

1. Beloved is able to grow her love for other people. She never seems to have an empty love bucket, and she shares that stuff widely. When we meet new people, she welcomes them openly. When we make new friends, they are friends for life. She’s like the Magic Pudding, but with love.

2. When she laughs she laughs loudly and it cannot be contained. It’s frigging awesome. The people around her start laughing and then she laughs more and it carries on and on. It’s just the best.

3. When I broke my leg on the cruise she tried to not get off at the different ports, because she didn’t want to leave me. I made her get off, but to think she’d prefer to shove me around in a wheelchair instead of seeing some beautiful islands blew me away. And she didn’t bitch about it, didn’t complain – the broken leg didn’t bother her one iota. Not because she didn’t care, but because for her, it was more about the being – not about the doing.

4. I have a collection of photos of my beloved bending over. She might be looking for a DVD, or weeding a garden, or putting shoes on – any time her bum is up in the air, I take a photo. And every single time, she looks at me with the same expression on her face. Shock, and a kind of bewildered “Again?” look. I tell her I am going to make a Beloved Bum Calendar but I haven’t (yet). But this is the thing. She seems to enjoy my quirks, my humour, my strange little heart. And she’s made me see that maybe, just maybe, I’m not as bad as I used to think I was. So I will continue to photograph her arse. Because it makes me laugh, but not as much as the expression on her face when she hears the camera snap.

5. Finally. Beloved has been through so much with me. Surgeries. The Aspergers diagnosis. My stubbornness. My lack of flexibility when it comes to achieving something. My over-parenting of the fur babies. My frustration with her technology skills. But she keeps on loving and she keeps on adapting and she keeps on telling me it’s OK. And with her next to me, it usually is.

My list of milestones for a five year old are pretty much a summation of our relationship.

And I wouldn’t change a thing.

Game On

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I used to live in Sydney.

I have some awesome friends still in Sydney, and one of them ventured up for a visit this weekend. We shall refer to her as Sarah, because that is her name.

Now, being from Sydney, I felt a certain level of pressure to provide Sarah with a Novocastrian experience that demonstrated the superiority of my adopted home town. Newcastle is great. It’s laid back, it’s beautiful, it lacks the chaos and crowding that is hallmark of Sydney. So my little brain went into overdrive.

I considered beach walks, live music, the Thai Ladyboys show that is currently in town.

And then it hit me. A far greater idea. An idea that would go down in history, and perhaps should appear on the Top Ten of things to do in Newcastle.

Yes, I created a game show night.

I collected Sarah from the train station and went straight to the supermarket. Stage one: Supermarket Sweep. With a budget of $10, Sarah was issued with the instructions to collect ingredients that she would use to create a “tasting plate” dessert. She also had to buy one packet of paddle pop sticks for a later event. I had to do the same, but my mystery item was a bag of elastic bands. The plot thickens, friends.

Ingredients: check.

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Stage two. Within a 30 minute time frame, create a dessert using the ingredients purchased and basic pantry items.

I was a little surprised at the processes Sarah included:

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She expressed surprise that this would be how she spent a Saturday night. Little did she know the fun had only just begun.

We cooked down to the wire, friends. Both our desserts needed some fridge time, which allowed the perfect opportunity for Stage Three: The Price Is Right. This challenge was easy in theory. Make a list of the items purchased. With a time frame of 60 seconds, the challenge was to put these items in order of price, from most expensive to cheapest. The stakes were high. I won.

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Once victory was claimed it was time for the taste test. Now, neither of us knew what the other was cooking. My philosophy was to pick a dessert that I knew was a crowd favourite, but adapt it so that it could be whipped up quickly on a budget and still taste good. I present to you: Chocolate Cheesecake (complete with artistic smear that looked vaguely like excrement)!

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Sarah took a slightly different approach.

In my more generous moments, I can see what she was aiming for. The combination of savoury and sweet, the elements of surprise and texture variation, the bite size idea of the canapé. Upon presentation I was more than a little surprised to see Cheese and Bacon Balls.

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What you have just gazed upon is banana slices, with holes inside them. These holes are filled with banana lollies. The banana is topped with Ice Magic, with a crumbled Cheese and Bacon Ball crust. Sarah explained that she felt this would result in a taste sensation similar to salted caramel.

It did not.

Stage four was a sneaky one. It involved the creation of catapults. These catapults were then used to fire marshmallows across the lounge room. What was a bit sneaky about it was that this was a blatant trial run for Cubs. Sarah absolutely had the edge in this battle.

Ah, Newcastle. You have much to offer. I can’t help but wonder if I lived in Sydney still, would this evening of game show shenanigans would even been considered as suitable entertainment for a visiting friend.

I think it would, to be honest. But admit it. You’re jealous, right?

How do you entertain friends?

This Little Light

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It’s Mother’s Day today.

This is a day where people write extensive pieces shouting the wonder of their maternal influencer; the equality of male and female parents (particularly the solo parents); the longing for mothers adorned with heavenly garments and the joy of being a mother. This year I also noted an increase in posts regarding the importance to consider women who are unable to fall pregnant, or struggling to fall pregnant. An important inclusion.

Mother’s Day is a great day. When I was a kid I remember bemoaning the lack of Children’s Day, and my father’s response of “Every day is children’s day”. He’s correct. Our last Mother’s Day with Mum was spent cooking dinner for the fam to sit down to. I’m sure there were presents and words and wishes and loving. If I had known it would be the last one I would have made more of an effort, I’m sure. But we don’t know. Ever. So I hope that what we did for her was enough to let her know that we love her very much.

This Mother’s Day, I woke up early to the sound of beloved arriving home from work. I got dressed in my running gear and she did the same. Today was the Mother’s Day Classic – a fun run and walk to raise money for breast cancer research. We battled the parking and arrived, pinked up in shirts and capes.

I had told beloved it was a 4km walk. Doable for her, given her foot woes of recent months. Except I was wrong, it was 5km, and that last kilometre made a difference in terms of pain management. Plus she had just come off a night shift, and is battling an ear infection. She’s a champion, my beloved.

On the way home we drove through Newcastle, and saw a group of women sitting at a coffee shop. I wondered why they were painted as Greek statues as they flurried over their phones and lattes.

Turns out they were actually dressed as angels. I saw a photo of them on social media this evening. They’d dressed up as angels and draped themselves over the tracks that the coal trains use. Over 50 people were arrested today during the protest regarding coal.

I’m all for believing in something strongly enough that you want to stand up and let your voice be heard. I really am. This is something I really admire.

But when your actions put the life of people who drive on those train tracks in danger, then I have a problem. When your actions could result in my beloved hitting you with a train, I have a problem. And when I see you enjoying your latte while scrolling through Facebook and other bits and pieces on your phone – both of which rely on coal – I have a problem.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t stand for anything. But I am saying that you need to think through the entirety of your argument. You need to consider the pros and cons of what you are speaking out against, but more than that – you need to consider the people who are going to wear the brunt of your actions. Because they aren’t the nameless faceless coal companies you’re so angry with. The people who you inconvenienced today? They’re parents. Brothers. Sisters. Daughters. Sons. People coping with life. People not really coping, who maybe needed just one more thing to shove them over the edge. People who would have loved to have been with their family for mother’s day.

Which brings me back to my beloved and I. Running and walking to help fund breast cancer research.

Save the boobies.

I’m back

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Hello ye readers of this blog! I disappeared for a while there, nothing sinister – I simply neglected to renew my domain and it wasn’t until I got very annoyed at the reminder emails and therefore IGNORED them until they stopped that I decided the host of this blog had learned it’s lesson, and therefore I would renew the domain. So I’m back in all my Naughty Corner glory. Did you miss me?

It’s funny, the blog has been down for a few months now and I thought I’d be back full of stories and tales to tell. But really I have no major tales. If you’re a fan on Facebook then you’ve been getting regular updates: negligent gyno appointment resulting in surgery with a good gyno; dog cuddling teddy bear; Sound of Music memefest; beloved’s daughter’s 21st. The fun never stops. But if you’re not a fan you should be because it’ll give you a smile.

Rightio. My last blog post was regarding David Bowie. That’s still so sad, isn’t it. Such a talent who gave so much. And that’s the thing about creative types, they just give for the sake of creating.

A fair bit has happened, now I think of it.

I got a medal for completing a fun run:

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Image by The Naughty Corner

Beloved and I had a trip to Melbourne, to visit the flatmate who is no longer the flatmate and also the Great Ocean Road. We saw this cool little rock village, check it out:

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Image by Beloved.

We had a month of amazing live music, including Melissa Etheridge, Violent Femmes, SuperJesus and Hoodoo Gurus. It reminded me how much I love my music and I have been playing heaps more guitar as a result.

And, remember how I told you I was going to the gym in an attempt to get fit and lose some weight?

Well, I got the shock of my life recently. I had been tagged in a photo on Facebook, at a size that was my starting point. I’d been feeling like I wasn’t getting anywhere, and while I wasn’t planning on throwing in the towel I was absolutely over feeling so frustrated. But then that photo! I saw it and almost spat my coffee out. Because I knew my Scout shirt doesn’t fit like that anymore. Here’s the comparison:

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Six months of hard work. 

So, you know. Life has been trundling along. The ups, the downs, the in betweens. But the way I am navigating it is changing. I rely on that exercise every day to clear my head, to do something that I have grown to love, to just be a part of the world. And when I see that photo above, I know without a doubt that I have well and truly earned every centimetre of difference. No short cuts. No quick fix. Just hard work. It’s given way to goals and dreams and I’m doing more than I ever thought I would be able to, and I have earned it. Yes there is still a long way to go. But I’m doing it.

And I’m pretty fucking proud of that.

How are things with you?

 

Once bitten

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Twice, actually. Not that we’re counting or anything.

You see several years ago I was bitten on the foot by a redback spider. For the uninitiated, these little beasts are… well… spiders. With a red stripe on their arses. Perhaps this spider identification chart will be of assistance?

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Source: Reddit.com

After I was bitten I started to feel a bit average. Fronted up to one of those bulk billing McDoctor places, and was told that because the anti-venom treatment was pretty nasty, my best bet was to treat the symptoms and wait it out. “Redback not kill you,” said the doctor I saw. “Redback kill baby, kill old people, not kill you.” I filed away that information, hoping to never need it again.

I NEEDED IT AGAIN.

Saturday morning was a flurry of panic and chaos. Beloved had a market on and we decided that I would come and help her set up, then go to the gym, then home to get changed, then back to the market for pack up. But as they do, plans changed and I would up spending the day at the market. Which was quite fun actually. HOWEVER, it meant that my morning getting ready was no longer appropriate for an all day event.

It was early, I was in a hurry, I thought I’d be coming straight back home. So I didn’t put on that most basic of attire, the underpants.

MY GOD HOW I HAVE PAID FOR THIS NEGLECTFUL MOMENT.

Because somewhere, in the midst of hauling market gear and sitting on a camp chair that was festively decorated with spider webs, a redback crawled up my shorts and bit me fair and square in the midst of mine lady garden.

Bloody pervert.

I told my GP yesterday and she wasn’t overly surprised.

So now, I am achey and sore and feeling quite pathetic, but I have a very good story to tell, which I have just told.

Have you ever been bitten by a spider? Have you ever been bitten in a delicate location before?

Little Memories

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Mrs Woog posed a question last night, regarding the heat and whether kids should be sent to school.

It reminded me of a time, when I was in around year 4.

It was swelteringly hot at the time. I was in a demountable classroom at my tiny little primary school. I was partnered up with a boy named Luke, and we were learning about invertebrates and skeletons and the like. The teacher had (somewhat foolishly, given the heat) brought in a couple of tins of sardines. We were pulling these oily little fish apart to look at their skeletons, when like a mirage my mum appeared at the classroom door. She laughed about the smell in the classroom and said she was here to take me home early, because it was hot and she’d finished work early.

That was a great day.

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Nothing Without Labour. My primary school emblem.

I remember another time at primary school.

I’d lost something in the playground, and had pilfered permission to go back to the playground to search for whatever it was I had lost. In a moment of ten year old logic, I climbed up the highest bars we had in the playground. Now, ordinarily I wouldn’t have attempted to climb these bars. They were really high. But up I went. Got to the top, turned myself around, and gazed over the empty playground. Then I realised how high I was. My friend Paul came trotting out of a classroom and asked me what I was doing. I shouted down to him that I was maybe a little bit stuck. He climbed up and then we climbed down together. I can’t remember if I found what I had lost.

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Miss Naughty Corner, in Kindy. Nothing much has changed.

The bus trip to and from school was long. I remember we were among the first kids on the bus and the last ones off. But in the morning as we came close to the school, there was a particular hill. And if you were in the back seat, and you bounced up and down and timed it just right, when the bus hit the bottom of that hill you’d get jolted up in the air. Another friend of mine lost her front tooth that way. But it was OK, it was a baby tooth.

This last memory I’m going to share with you is a bit fuzzy. Kind of like the lights are fully turned on in this part of my remembering, but I do like this memory.

It was very early in my schooling career. I think it was my first ever day of school. So I would have been 5. My sister, 9. And I remember her helping me get dressed. I had Strawberry Shortcake shoes. And a lisp. And for some reason I think my clothes were hanging over the grate that surrounded the fireplace, but then logic kicks in and I think but it would have been summer, why did we have the grate in place? Then adult reasoning kicks in, and to be honest I can’t imagine my parents packing up the grating just because the fire wasn’t being used. But yeah. My sister. Helping me get ready for school.

I loved primary school. It was small, it was safe, it was familiar. The wheels fell off a bit in high school because it the high school I went to was freaking huge. But isn’t it funny, how sometimes memories creep up behind you and embrace you and carry you back to a time when things were easier and gentler and nicer.

What was your favourite thing about primary school?