Flickr and Instagram

So you know how when you share images on your blog from Flickr, it includes writing on the image. Writing that didn't used to be there before. Well you can easily get rid of it by deleting some of the code. As underlined in green below.

<a data-flickr-embed="true"  href="" title="Knee high grass..... Shoulder high weeds (not shown). Lawn mower day today"><img src="" width="640" height="640" alt="Knee high grass..... Shoulder high weeds (not shown). Lawn mower day today"></a><script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>

Also my Instagram images stopped going from Instagram to Flickr. I tried everything I could to fix it up, uninstalling and reinstalling here there and everywhere. Then I stumbled across IFTTT and this recipe. Perfect. Works a treat, I don't even have to specify that the Instagram photo goes to Flickr when I am posting. It is very automatic. I love it. And here are some options to import the ones that were missed. I stupidly imported ALL my instagram photos to flickr and then had to delete a whole pile. It looks like there is an easier way.

That's my lawn I didn't mow today. Stomach pain again. Bleurgh. Tomorrow is another day.

Knee high grass..... Shoulder high weeds (not shown). Lawn mower day today

the last day when everything was alright

I feel better today. Happier. Lighter. A pill the doctor gave me for my stomach has pretty much stopped it hurting. And that has made a big difference. Also I went to a hen's afternoon yesterday, without a hurty stomach, and much to my surprise had a really nice time. So there. Things can be better.

The other night I was looking through my photos. I do this often. Maybe it's not a good thing but I crave reminders of the way things used to be. Of being a family of three. It sometimes feels like it is slipping away. I don't want to feel sad all the time but I want to hold the memories close. To remember what it felt like to belong with Gerard, to be loved, to be held up, to do things and plan things together. And you know, to love someone back. Even if sometimes I wish I'd been nicer to him. Kinder and more appreciative.


Anyway, this day we went to the art gallery, to meet Gerard's aunt. It was a great day out. We saw modern art, we had afternoon tea together. There was clowning around. I sat and watched this pool of china plates in water. I loved how they collided and the sound they made. It was peaceful and mesmerising. Grace and Gerard loved the water wall. I love the water wall too. That pose of Gerard's is so him. It really was a very good day.

The next day which was Sunday, my stepfather came and found me in my study and told me that my mother was in hospital with suspected lung cancer. After that things got worse and better and then worse again. And now Mum and Gerard are both dead, gone forever. I'm glad that the last day before everything started to change was a good day. I look back to that day sometimes and there is so much to hold onto.



So I was trying to think of something to put in the card for my friend who is getting married. And I can't quite put my finger on it yet. When you lose part of your family I think you realise how big they were in your life and I want to say something that speaks to that but isn't trite or advicey. Something suitable for a joyous occasion. 

I'm not full of regret for things undone. When I look back at the photos it's clear that we did things together, family dinner, hanging out with extended family, camping, seeing friends, outings and just hanging out at home. The stuff of a life together, it is all there. I remember when Gerard and I were first together and in love, I had that big fear of losing him too. I dismissed this fear at the time, but even though I wouldn't want to have lived with that fear, it was actually quite rational. Love is a huge investment. You wouldn't not do it because the rewards are big too but the stakes are high. I envy couples who get to be together for fifty years or so. And yet, as I saw in grief group, the loss there when the first one goes, is often immense. I don't think many of us escape from grief forever. Not if we have loved ones. I still don't know what I'm trying to say but there you have it. The last day when everything was alright. (In this round. Everything will be alright again. I'm holding onto that.)


things I meant to write about

Trigger warning: a mention of suicidal thoughts

Snow. We went to the the snow at Lake Mountain with two other families. It was really, like really cold and kind of blizzarding. I surprised myself by making a egg and bacon pie like Mum would have made and a cake the night before. Another surprise was that I was able to hire warm but bulky snow gear in my size. However I sat in the car watching the snow fall while everyone else went tobogganing. It was six months to the day since Gerard died. Watching snow fall and thinking about how we never went to the snow as a family even though we talked about it a lot seemed an appropriate activity. I also remembered how in my twenties I used to go cross country skiing and how I took that level of fitness for granted.


Craft Camp. As I was packing to go to craft camp I didn't think I would be ready in time or that I would be able to extricate myself from the chaos that is my house. Luckily I had a lift, so I had to be ready. Craft camp was so good, it was nice to see everyone and I was moderately productive and made a doona cover and some pillow cases. I still feel like I am in a hole, behind a wall a bit. But at the end I kind of felt like I was back. It was a good feeling and I was able to hold onto it for a while.

Downer. I went to look at Mum's house which was being prepared for sale with Dad which was good. Then he started talking about my health and his concerns. I've put on weight and my health and fitness is not great at the moment but this talk made me feel worse. Much worse. By the time I got home and to the safety of my room I was a crying mess and my big thought was "why wait? I'll just kill myself now". That thought did pass and I am not troubled by suicidal thoughts in general but it was intense while it was there.

Sun. We went to visit the family in Queensland. It was wonderful. We went to the beach three times and I went swimming in the sea twice. I didn't have to cook or really make decisions and that was really restful. It's a bit intense being around three children all outside their comfort zones but I think the melt downs were fewer in number than before. And it was wonderful to see everyone. If only air travel was a bit cheaper so we could go for weekends as well.

At the doggy beach

Yet another downer. Came home to knee length grass and head high weeds and all the disorder I left behind. (Although coming home to Rupert was so sweet - he was looked after by a friend while we were away and she dropped him home before we arrived so there was a little dog at the window). I know what I need to do but just can't seem to do it. Although I have been moderately successful at walking more. But gees it's hard. And yesterday as hot winds blew around the house, I lost it. Lay on my bed and sobbed. Needing hanky after hanky and many glasses of water. I miss Gerard so much. It's a cliché but it really does feel like a part of me is gone, among other things it feels like the bit that starts things is gone. It's hard to explain the degree of distress I still feel from time to time. It feels like I should be doing better now and sometimes I am, but not all the time. Everything is broken and I don't know which bits to start fixing first. Or I know, but it doesn't happen. Because that starting bit being broken too.

Some hope for the future. I might have some work coming up. That would be good. I'm going to see the doctor about all my niggly health concerns and talk about reviewing my meds. The weather is better. I should be less hard on myself. It is only 8 months since Gerard died and about 11 months since Mum died. Neither of these make any sense to me and I miss them so much. Of course things will be shit, but there are better times to come. I just have to believe that.


On the way home. Very cold.

I had the most wonderful dream last night. Perhaps fuelled by the codeine rich cough medicine I am taking, but it was fabulous anyway. My aunt, the one who is a personal trainer and tremendously fit in her seventies and who was once butterfly champion of Victoria came to get me to go for a run. I said I couldn't. She said let's go and see what you can do. We ran along the side of a big Jeffrey Smart freeway and I ran at 100k an hour. It was exhilarating and effortless. Afterwards we stopped for a drink and she said, see, you can run Janet.

Of course in real life, I can't run, well not very far and not very fast. My weight is at a high and fitness is at a low. I feel like I am getting one cold after another. The current one makes me feel very weak and I cough a lot. So much my sides ache and I worry about annoying the neighbours. Also I was unsuccessful in getting an interview for a job I liked the look of. I'm not devastated by that, part of me is not quite ready, but part of me is. I'd like to be good at something in the bigger world again. But dreams are an amazing thing, I think it was a message to myself that things will get better, that I will find that state of flow, of wonderment, of movement again.


Oh the germs!
Grace really, really wanted a puppy and she used to play with the dog next door through the hole in the fence and there was something sad about that, especially as her Dad had a brain tumour and things were like they were. So maybe puppy moved into the land of something we might do afterwards. We talked a lot about looking after a dog and she demonstrated how responsible she was by taking over the feeding of Tony. After Gerard died, we talked more about getting a dog (and kittens), maybe after Tony died. On the day we left for Bali, I took Tony to the vet.  He had been  shitting inside and the vet said it was behavioural, that is feline senility. He was 21 after all. I felt sad about my decision but really, I'd had enough of cleaning up poo.  Grace's birthday came around and presents were a bit thin on the ground. I'd been looking online at poodles and poodle crosses and had already contacted the Poodle Club of Victoria. I looked at rescue dogs too but I felt that a puppy was better idea. And because of a dog we had when I was a teenager, I wanted a poodle. Anyway, I ended up committing to the idea and made Grace a card promising a poodle puppy.

Two weeks later, she took a day off school and we drove down the new freeway all the way out to Hampton Park. It was spitting and we got very lost but eventually found ourselves at the breeder's home. I think she might have agreed to sell us a puppy because I promised faithfully that he would be an inside dog and sleep on my bed. She might have done a double take when she saw our shit car and Grace's dreadlocks poking out from the hat I made her wear. The puppies were jumpy and cute and the breeder was interesting. I paid her the completely insane amount of money for a puppy over my phone and showed her as the transaction went through. We travelled home with the puppy on Grace's lap.

The first few days were utterly berserk. It was like bringing a new baby home. He cried so I let him sleep on my bed then the second night he slept on my bed and snuffled and cried. The third night I gave him a mohair blanket on a cushion in the bathroom and he settled right down. He ate an m and m from the floor in Grace's room and Grace was afraid he would die. She freaked out about not being able to look after him and keep him safe and said she wished we'd just got a cat. And to be honest for the first couple of weeks, I thought that a fair bit too. But we went to puppy school and I committed to helping him learn to toilet outside. Grace cleaned up lots of poo and wee, good to her word. And then one day we noticed we hadn't cleaned up inside and then it became a week and then, bar one accident, two weeks. I felt so proud of us, he takes himself out, through the catflap (it's big for a cat), all on his own. I think he feels a bit proud and independent too.

There is still lots for Rupert to learn but he is a wonderful dog. At first I really did think I might have made an expensive and hard to fix mistake and there was a bit of your father is gone, here have a puppy in my decision. Probably because other than being there - which is huge, it feels like there is not a lot you can do to help a child who is grieving. So I guess I was prepared to risk being wrong. But nearly three months on I don't think I was. Rupert is full of love and good humour. Indeed I think I really underestimated how good dogs can be. We had a dog when I was growing up and another when I was older and I don't remember much about it except that they were always there. Now I find myself thinking about dog and human relationships and how it came to be like this and whether it is fair to make Rupert sleep in the bathroom when he would much rather sleep in an armchair. I worry about whether he gets enough exercise - Gerard was the best of us for promoting exercise. Grace walks him around the park. Sometimes we go for a longer walk and we have plans for more. Often we both focus love on him at the same time which is bonding for us and for Rupert. Technically he is Grace's dog and she is allowed to take him with her if she leaves home and can look after him. Actually I don't think I want either of them to leave home. But I am back up. All the time.

ps - I think tongue kissing a dog is unsanitary and unwise but have yet to convince Grace.
pps - I sometimes think about what Gerard would have thought of Rupert. He would have baulked at spending the money on a pure bred (although poodle crosses are often even more expensive) but Rupert would have loved him. Gerard was good with animals.

Puppy love.


gerard and cam It is a month today since Gerard died.

I let that sink in. It seems a very long time ago and almost no time at all. I miss him, I miss us, I miss our little family of three. Even if it seemed towards the end that he wasn't really with us. In my eulogy I wrote that it was the saddest kind of lonely and I still feel that every day. I guess that is to be expected.

Gerard went quickly and suddenly. He was well on Tuesday and very early Thursday morning found me calling an ambulance, for a lift I thought. The ambos said he needed to go to hospital and we joined him that morning. He was transferred to the Palliative Care Unit and died that night.

The funeral and wake were beautiful and intense. I'll try and put a transcript up here when I can get to it. We have been nestled amongst family, friends and community. Surrounded by love and support. I can't believe it has been a month.


I started a new book today. In between loads of washing and lunch and explaining how Facebook works to Gerard. He understood yesterday and posted something but today it seems to have deserted him and he doesn't understand that people have left comments. He has difficulty turning on the tv too, but that has been going on for a while and to be fair it is complicated by the Tbox. Still haven't done the dishes or swept the floor. Gerard insisted that he'd been doing it and then gave it a go but found it just too hard. Most things are too hard for him now. We plan things and then he says, later. I'm inclined to just let things slip. Which leaves me with lots of time. So I read. I could do housework but mostly I read.

Lentil burgers on the first page.

I might do some housework tomorrow as we are having some visitors next week. I have put it out there that this might be a good time to visit Gerard. I'm not seeing signs of consistent or even  regular improvement. It's a back and forth type thing but I am conscious that things could start to go really backward quickly. Early on I left some things that needed to be done for later, expecting things to get better and they never did. Not doing that again. So maybe I will do the floors. Or maybe I will just do the greenery in vases and wipe down the table.

New book. Reading a lot for Reasons. Think IG has become my reading log.

Reading is the best thing at the moment. It takes me places, fills my head with stories other than my own for a while. It doesn't cure anything but it is a little time out. I miss my mum terribly and find myself thinking, oh mum would like this book. Only she isn't here any more. Which feels so wrong. How can she not be here? She's my mother. I have other little conversations with her and as I go through some of her stuff, which I am mostly not keeping because there is so much of it, I can smell the cedar balls she used and her washing detergent and it seems so strange and wrong that her house is still there and she isn't. Later we are going to go through her books and craft stuff. It has been agreed that I will inherit her Darkover collection and the Billabong series. Not sure where they will go but I would really like to keep them.

Wonder if this is any good. Loved the Tales of the City series. Found at the tip shop.

Book notes; I am loving Camille's Bread and have read most of it in a day. Unpromising at the start but the characters uncoil against a recognisable early 90s inner urban Australia. The stuff about the macrobiotic diet is apt and irritating in the best way. Reminding me there have always been food nutters around. Paleo/clean eating is just the modern version.

Chicago was good and boring. I'm glad I finished it but there were bits that really sagged. Maybe something got lost in the translation?

Mary Ann in Autumn was kind of a quick read. It tied up some threads from earlier in the series but I think he was reaching a bit. Enjoyable but lacked the sparkle of the early series.

I am instagramming all the books I read now as it is the easiest way to keep a record.