my bags are packed and...

I should be in bed. We're going down the beach tommorow. So it's been a frantic day as is usual before a big trip. Why do I always think I need to cram in last minute sewing before I go anywhere? But I do and it's done, a new skirt in seventies material I've been obsessing about for ages and just hacked into yesterday, a pillow case sized doll's quilt top to learn to quilt on and three new pairs of new bike shorts in a lovely fine cotton knit for ahem, wearing under skirts. Other larger ladies will know why. The hallway is stacked with suitcases, swimming gear, rainwear, bedding, reading material, craft supplies, camera stuff and a box of toys. There's some basic food supplies to get us started in the kitchen and I'm hoping it all fits in the car, without being too squashy. I really used to hate that as a kid, being wedged in with things under my feet and down the side. Maybe that's why I always feel like I overpack. Which of course I do.

I hope there's still some sunshine left. Summer seems to be leaving us in a hurry this year. Or maybe Melbourne with her fickle weather is just setting out to trick me. Because I always think March is the beginning of the season of the golden light. My favourite really. Just hope there are still some swimming days left.

See you in two weeks. Or so.

holiday mood

Spc_3Favourite blue t-shirt (almost threadbare from wash after wash), blue sky, feeling like the good bit of summer is here at last. I've got four whole weeks off work. Leave was booked half a year ago and seemed like a long way off for such a long time. Two of these weeks will be spent at the beach where I'll let my eyes devour the utter beauty of the landscape, breathe clean salty air, walk barefoot in the sand, sleep to the sound of the sea behind the dunes, play in the shallows with Grace and swim in the surf. There will also be quiet non-essential sewing, holiday food, reading and afternoon naps. All in the good company of my family in various permutations. And I know my recent low moods aren't anything to worry about because I'm looking forward to it immensely. Only four sleeps to go.

So, the other weekend we put the car in the backyard and Gerard gave it a good clean (mostly with the washing machine water) before sending it off to the mechanics for a service. It was a harder job than he'd planned because water restrictions ban the use of hoses. Personally I would have spent the cash and taken it to a carwash, used the re-cycled water there along with the powerful vacuum cleaners and swish hoses, but anyway it's done and there weren't any dirty car grumbles from our mechanic. I wrote a list of all the little things about the car that were shitting me and they're all fixed. Except the tape player, which expired some months ago. A new CD/USB player is being fitted as I write. And for the first time in ages, I'm looking forward to driving. An unexpected benefit of the change in medication is that I no longer sweat with anxiety while driving. It was so bad for a while, that I banned myself from the car. Now I find myself looking forward to the open road, music playing, Grace looking out the window and talking about what she sees as the blue skies unfold in front of us.

Many more shades of blue here.


more than sorry

This morning, I lay in bed, off work because of a chest infection that has knocked me for six, and listened to the radio. I wanted to be at work today because we would have had a special morning tea in honor of the occcasion and I would have been sitting at a desk with the Australian flag, the Aboriginal flag and the Torres Strait Islander flag right behind me. But today I lay under the doona and listened as others about the house drifted in and out, ssh, we said to Grace, inside voice only, ssh, this is important. You could hear the wheels of history turn as our Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd said sorry.

He started by honouring the Indigenous peoples of this land, the oldest continuing cultures in human history and then reflected in particular on the mistreatment of those who were Stolen Generations.... It seemed like a long time and then he came to these words...

We apologise for the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians.

We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country.

For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.

To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry.

And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry.

Full text here.

Candles form the words "Sorry, The First Step" on the lawn outside Parliament House in Canberra on Monday, February 11, 2008, to commemorate the apology to the stolen generation that will be made on February 13.

The motion was tabled on the first day on parliament yesterday and passed today. Crowds packed the Gallery, the Great Hall and the lawns outside. People also gathered in capital cities and smaller towns. You could sense the momentousness of the occasion from the spoken words alone.

I was overwhelmed by tears myself several times.There's been a lot of tears today, I imagine. Like always, there were times I thought Kevin Rudd was long winded and pompous and yet he really connected; he asked us to walk in the shoes of those children who were stolen from their families, their mothers, their families. I loved how at one point he spoke directly of and to mothers, speaking of the brutality of separating a mother from her children. As a mother myself, the very thought of my child being taken by strangers chills me to the core. He asked us to walk in the shoes of another, to feel compassion and humanity. He spoke of the Indigenious Australians who came first, of the first European settlers and all those who have come since. He said sorry, As Prime Minister of Australia, I am sorry. On behalf of the Government of Australia, I am sorry. On behalf of the Parliament of Australia, I am sorry. And I offer you this apology without qualification.

Then Kevin Rudd talked about what to do next, of early childhood education and health care in even the most remote indigenous communities, of halving the gap in life expectancy between black and white austalians within a generation. Big goals, but as he said, not impossible. I'm not going to talk about the Leader of the Opposition, Brendan Nelson's speech because he although he apologised, he included points he shouldn't have and his speech missed the point. I'm not surprised at the response he recieved.

Anyway amongst the tears this morning, to hear the standing ovation Kevin Rudd received, to hear reports from people who were there; the sense of celebration was paplpable. Can we hope that this is part of a new begining as nation? That doing the right thing and apologising for these past wrongs is setting us on a path towards being a better, more equitable, more caring and compassionate society? I'm going to hold onto those thoughts for a while because today, I feel prouder of being an Australian than I have for a long time. 

I am sorry.

am I swimming?

SpcNot really. Not sinking either, treading water perhaps? Grasping at the loose threads of my life as they swirl around me. Knowing that I want resolution, especially to do with houses, but that I'm really not ready yet. Especially to do the things that come after the fall of the hammer. I'm trying to be patient.

Part of me is starting to go inside again. People who don't know me really well mightn't notice, but the extroversion of the mania is dissappearing. Along with all the grand plans and belief that I could do anything. I don't really want to write about any of this, but I promised myself that I would, to keep a track.

Just as my mood has started to sink, I've succumbed to a nasty chest thing that saw me coughing blood (just from burst blood vessels) and sitting for an hour in an unfamiliar doctor's waiting room (my usual doctor being overbooked) so I could get antibiotics. The new doctor was nice and wrote me a certificate without even being asked. She seemed impressed that I'd wrtten a list of the medication I'm taking and I nearly cried. Then in the chemist, waiting for my prescription to be filled, I cried again. Later in the afternoon, I asked my psychiatrist if what I was feeling was normal and she said, oh yes, classic. It's one of the reasons people decide to stay on mood stabilisers, these crashing lows after the highs. We talked about how I had been feeling flat and uninspired and about some of the other not so great thoughts I've been having on and off. She gave me her 24hr contact line and suggested that after my holidays, once I've recovered from the chest thing, come off the sleepers and had my thyroid tested again, that we fiddle with the other medication. My sense is that I'm really tired too. If I wait just it out, it will pass. I am so looking forward to the beach.

Blue water at the Brunswick pool, a while ago. Taken the same day I took this one, which has become my most visited picture on Flickr. Wouldn't be the blue would it?

Enter blue world here.

of sheets and houses

Summer seems to have disappeared into grey sky, welcome rain and cool nights. Suddenly I'm thinking about my autumn work wardrobe and buying lentils for soup. It won't last though. There'll be more hot weather. Probably in April, knowing Melbourne.The seeds I threw on the garden between Christmas and New year are starting to come up. Surpises from the bottom of the seed tin, left over packets of this and that. I figured that there wasn't much point in taking out of date seed when we move. Next week I start my long summer holiday (planned and booked a year ago) and after that it'll be back to househunting, thinking about light and floorplans and renovations(or not) and schools and getting to work and trying to mentally move all our stuff, our lives from this house and yard to another, most likely smaller house. I worry about where I'll sew, where I'll put my computer, all G 's music stuff. Actually, I worry a lot about everything, but mostly I worry about moving. It's a long time since I put my belongings in a truck and unpacked boxes. I took over the lease here in the eighties. Almost half a life ago. Oh dear, that's not where I meant to go tonight.

I was going to talk about the family birthday parties we've been to, and going shopping at Highpoint with Grace for sheets for her big girl's bed. G is building a base from beautiful wood given to him by his friend Steve, and it's nearly ready for us to go and get the futon. Grace has been quite involved and has been reporting on the work in progress. I had intended to just go and get sheets myself, but having been back at work most of the week, I felt I'd hardly seen her. Grace said she wanted to come shopping with mummy, but as we all know, a nearly three year old doesn't necessarily translate wanting to go somewhere into getting ready or getting in the car, or even going into the shop to buy the darn sheets. Let alone choosing a colour or obsessing over thread counts.  Especially when her mean mother insists on searching the aisles for cotton sheets (because they'll last and be nice) instead of scratchy polyester princess ones. Nonetheless, despite several screaming meltdowns, her and me both, buy sheets we did. Followed by lunch in the food court, a quick trip back to the car with the trolley and then into Borders to look out the window and go down the escalator to the children's book section. Where, despite all that had gone before, she was an absolute delight. The escalator turned out to be the highlight of the whole Highpoint experience. Not the sheets.

I carried her back into the house asleep and lay down to have a nap myself. Later, because I've missed playing with the camera, I took a few pictures of Grace's play area by the backdoor. It's a constantly evolving scene. The plastic jug set is a big hit, as is the plastic fruit. Flowers in vases and cups are a constant theme at the moment too, but they don't seem to last, being tipped out, shredded into ssomething else and scattered quickly. There's also good use being made of the big cardboard box from Christmas. I would have thought it would be weedmat by now, but yesterday it was the shop.

nap time

SpcSince I'm meant to be in a recovery phase, when I'm at home, I'm trying to have the odd afternoon nap. It's something I find really hard to do. There's always more things on my to do list than time to do them. But even forty minutes is good. Usually in the quiet of our bedroom with the cotton crochet blanket. Some days I look out the window, just allowing my mind to quiet, my body to be still. Other days I fall into that not quite state between sleep and waking. 

Occcasionally, I recline on the couch. This one is obviously a set up, with help from my buzzy stage assistant who'd just woken from her sleep, talking breathlessly about her exciting playgroup session at a kindegarten down the road earlier in the day.  The self portrait challenge theme for February is blue, which made me think of afternoon sleeps. Don't know why, but it did.

See more blue here.

oh dear, not another post about breathing

It's been another intense couple of days. My computer, my beautiful computer has refused to start properly. There are various theories being bounced around but none have been proven. Oh, the anxiety of it! Especially when I've set myself new tasks to learn, new projects, all requiring access to the internet and email. Alongside the gazillion photos that need to be sorted (I hate not being on top of my photos). And my dad, expert and problem solver extraordinaire is away for a while. We've been talking by phone quite a bit and with his help, I've run a scan for the quality of the backup, restored to a known good point, reinstalled software, followed my nose around Windows Vista and waited for it all to come good. But no, not unless I'm missing something obvious, which is completely possible. It has taken hours and hours. Anyway, to cut a long and tedious saga short, I've decided to operate in safe mode for a while and to do what I can't do on my computer on G's. Like upload photos. Which may well involve using sneakernet (walking) to transfer them across. Lucky I can. Because I want to get back to chipping away at my projects and reading blogs and writing. The very thought of being computerless (except while on holiday which I suppose I'll cope with) just makes me want to cry. Pathetic, I know.

Anyway, I've managed to set safe mode so it looks OK. The photo editing software is working, as is the internet. I've lost emails back to mid January but that's OK I guess. I'll catch up.

These pictures are from the unsorted file and were taken early one evening before the crash, down by the Merri Creek. Gerard was chasing Grace, who was very interested in ducks and the water. I was looking at every rustle in the grass worrying about snakes and taking pictures of the pool. The council meeting was an interesting process to see. I think it's going to be a big fight.

All of this has come at an interesting time in my recovery from the mania. Mostly I'm fine. But still not quite ready to trust myself out in the world. It feels a bit like in the old days, when I'd enter a vigorous dance floor and there would be this time before it clicked, a time when I felt all arms and legs. Really clumsy and overly self conscious. Some people can jump right into a dance floor (or kitchen) but I always had that sense of dislocation at the start. Of course, some dance floors never clicked but then life is not a party, so I wouldn't want to push that analogy too far.

I don't know if I'm over reacting when these computer issues bring me to the verge of tears (more than once), or if being nervous at a council meeting is normal for me. Something about this pool issue really gets to me in an emotional sense.  My outer shell has not quite reformed and the hall of mirrors effect still lurks in the background occasionally. Not nearly as bad as it was, more like the odd shimmer than a full on halucination. It's still hard to relax or switch from one task to another and I could easily sit here well into the wee hours with the tap, tap, tap. Being obsessive. Have I filled my life too full or with the wrong things? Yep, that's the hall of mirrors effect again, because really there are just little spaces here and there where I really get to choose. Time that would be otherwise spent watching telly or something. The rest is full with family life and working and the business of life, like eating and sleeping and going to the supermarket. My doctor thinks I'm doing well, citing improved sleep, returning to work, calmer moods, but she says I have to expect that full recovery will take time. Just as it would if I'd broken a leg or something. I know. Alright. Bedtime. Blogreading tommorrow.