Last September's Queensland trip

Was going to blog about our recent camping trip but blogging and dealing with my photos are closely linked. And I had to process the photos from our Queensland trip etc before I could do the holidays.  Anyway. I remember really wanting to go to Queensland  to see my sister. Really, really wanting to go. And feeling like we just couldn't afford it. Especially during school holidays. But I worked out that if we flew Tiger to Brisbane and caught the train, it was doable. Then I got sick and spiralled into despair and  the doctor thought I might have whooping cough. It turns out I didn't but I had to pay money to change the day we were flying. I didn't want to even though it was still cheaper. But I couldn't bear the idea of infecting some kid whose parents didn't believe in immunisation, or some baby who was too young to be immunised. We managed to get out of the house and get to the airport really early for a big day of commuting. The sunshine in Brisbane was remarkable and we felt like old hands catching the train. Betty and the girls met us at Nambour station and it felt really good. It was really, really good to get there.
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I can't remember much about the holiday except that I wasn't as depressed. It was the first time we stayed in the new house built largely by my sister's partner, Cam. We went to the beach and we talked a lot which was great but also a bit intense. Three cousins together ranging in ages for four to eight is also intense. Lovely most of the time but there were the inevitable melt downs all around. I'm used to one child having a moment not several. I tried not to show it but I might have been a tad freaked out at times. We bought pineapples and mangoes. I read a book. Kate Atkinson, Case Histories if I remember correctly. I liked it a lot and have since read Life after Life. Must see if the library have more. I ate/drunk less sugar only to revert to form once I got home, although we have given up orange juice as a regular thing. On returning to Melbourne I fell in a heap again and I'm still trying to make sense of why and what happened. Maybe I don't need to know and should just move forward, you know onwards and upwards. - -

on turning fifty

When I was thinking about all the things that happened since last September, turning fifty is one of the most significant, one of the most awkward. I know we are meant to celebrate significant birthdays but I found turning fifty to be such an utter mind fuck that I just couldn't. I wasn't ready. Fifty is an age that happens to other people.

I think I might blog today

It's been a while. Four months in fact. Do I try and catch up? Or maybe just blurt out the highlights/lowlights? There aren't any proper photos either, my photo taking mojo seems to have gone the same way as my blogging/writing mojo. So much so that I couldn't make the annual Christmas calendar this year. But perhaps that was just well because really the best thing I can say about Christmas is that it will get better from here on. Suffice to say we will not be having my mum and dad and their spouses at joint Christmases any more. It was a change I thought we could make from next year but I spoke too soon and suddenly it all shifted without any way back. My Christmas day went from turning up with a pavlova and some cherries to shopping and cooking for two events. A couple of people were quite upset and Grace actually told me that I "broke Christmas". Despite all the kerfuffle though, it was better. But perhaps it would have been even more better if the change had not been made the week before Christmas and people could have a) had some time to get used to the new plan and b) not felt they had no say in it. Anyway, it was actually quite a lot better and I overcompensated with presents for Grace. Even if Gerard had to wrap them for me because I was making White Christmas.
Xmas time is here again. This years's recurrent family Christmas shit cycle took place against another really crappy bout of depression. It's been rolling up and down ever since September when I got that horrible flu. Sometimes I think I just need something to start me off, add some life circumstances, stir in some defective brain chemistry and voila, perfect storm. This period of depression, which my psychiatrist won't give me antidepressants for because she thinks it is to do with my life rather than any bi-polar brain chemistry, has made doing anything really difficult. Mornings are a bugger. I don't want to socialise. Or eat. Or exercise. Or take photos. Or anything really. Which makes it worse. So I have been trying to do things. But yeah, bummer.

I did manage to scrape myself off the floor to book and attend a Christmas craft market, four weeks in a row. With a another little market tucked in the middle. Didn't make enough money to flee the country but I covered some bills and my Christmas shopping. And I enjoyed finding out what people like to buy, and touch. The sewing was crazy but fun and think I will keep doing it on and off through the year. My head is full of new plans for toys and products and although I can see that what I am doing at the moment doesn't pay a great hourly rate, it does keep me out of trouble and I think you have to be doing stuff to discover what the next step is. Also made a WordPress website for a friend's business and I think she got a pretty good, responsive website that suits her needs at a reasonable price. Once again, I learnt a lot. There's still some more behind the scenes work to do there but as Gerard says, it's a cheap and practical way to learn a lot. Hopefully this year, I'll get around to making some business websites for myself and find a couple more that I can do for other people.Oh, and I have some more of the boring but well paid by the hour work coming up. And Gerard seems to be getting a fair bit of work about the place too. So I'm not at all worried that we will starve. Or have to subsist on just lentils and rice. Actually I think this year might even be reasonably good for us on the work front.
Gerard has been busy too. Mum has finished her cancer treatment and it has been astoundingly successful. There is no sign of any cancer remaining and apparently only a small percentage of people have a result this good. I am very happy about that, but there is no saying how long the remission might be, two years, ten years, twenty years - there is just no knowing. I do wish however that she would actually give up smoking. Seems like such a good idea, especially if you have had lung cancer. But oh well, what can you do?

Grace will be going to a new school this year. It's good to have finally made a decision but there is of course some anxiety about it not working out. I'm looking forward to drop offs and pick ups where people don't avert their gaze or suddenly become engaged in their mobile phone when you walk past. We still have our little circle of friends at the old school but really, there are quite a few people who would rather not know us. A WorkSafe investigation that resulted in this article, has a lot to do with that. Still we are not the only family leaving. Anyway we are looking forward to a school with  few more girls, a school run library that they take seriously, a language program and no fricking iPads. Grace is not really looking forward to the last one but it bothered her less than we expected on her transition day.

I could probably go on but I need to cook dinner. Maybe I can find some more to write about soon. Hopefully if I keep writing it will become a bit more upbeat. I would like that. So how are you?