Christmas, a day early

The pool, the pool, the pool

This year we celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve, as my sister and her partner were heading off for a festival. Grace and I are staying with her cousins in their house while they are gone. My dad is here too. It is actually pretty great. Hot and sweaty most of the time but great. It is a relaxing way to be with your family. Plenty of time doing ordinary things together which makes them feel special and time for conversations that can go over days. And there is a pool for when it is just too hot.

Christmas itself was quite relaxed although auntie Janet was prodded out of bed at 6.00 am so she could be a bleary eyed presence as all the presents under the tree were distributed and excitedly unwrapped.  You forget how excited kids get by presents, even if some of them are quite prosaic, for example the cousins got new electric toothbrushes and back packs which they had chosen, along with pool toys and sundry little things. Grace loved her poodle calendar and the google home mini has been a hit. Tonight after dinner we played games with it. The future telling game is quite silly but the trivia game was pretty good. I found myself saying thank you to it after it had told me something and Grace thought that was pretty funny. Her job is to keep finding out what it can do.

For lunch there were eleven of us and we sat down, out on the verandah, to lots of prawns and oysters with potato salad, a green salad, guacamole and corn chips, ham and bits of this and that. It was lovely without being overwhelming. Afterwards we had pavlovas that Grace made the day before and decorated with cream and fruit. Oh and chocolate. I forgot to put out the yoyos and white christmas that I had made but itdidn't matter. We had some the day before and today - it is nice having them for the time around Christmas. It is not necessary to eat every single Christmas food on the day.

So today, which was actually Christmas day was spent lolling around the house in the heat, going in the pool, eating leftovers, reading, watching netflix and staring into space. It is night time now, the children are in bed with Tickle the dog who looked a bit concerned at the thunder and it is raining lovely cool sub tropical rain. I will go to sleep to the sound and coolness of the rain. This is the bit where I get to say, life feels pretty good right now. I know it is holiday time and things will be different when I get back home. But pretty good right now feels pretty good.

taking stock, a before christmas version

View from the computer room at break

I haven't done a meme in a long time. I got this from Meet me at Mikes and it was an interesting process over a couple of days (so time references might be a bit off). Might try again in a month or two and see where I've gotten to.

Making : tomorrow I'm going to make yo-yos and white christmas. Everyone loves yo-yos, white christmas not so much. But I love it and I'm going to make it for that reason only. Yum.
Cooking : dinner tonight we are having supermarket (as in, as Grace says, let's grab a chicken) chicken and salad. Not my favourite meal, but who cares. Tomorrow night, sausages I think and snacks for the night after. Can't think further ahead than that and we need to run down the fridge and eat all the perishables before we go to QLD. Yay!
Drinking : lots of soda water and ice. I'm not as thirsty as I was when I was on the lithium which is a good thing and I have given up artificial sweeteners (to see if it helps my gut health and mood) so no more diet ginger beer for me. Some nights I have a vodka with soda and lemon cordial which is very lovely.
Reading: the Passage by Justin Cronin. I am mostly liking it and it fits with my post apocalyptic theme this year, but I am finding it a slow and quite sad read.
Wanting: a sound system that plays cds and spotify from my phone. The one I bought last year is clumsy with cds and the bluetooth doesn't connect to my spotify. I think I need more music in my life again.
Looking: out the window to the birds in the trees.
Playing: the radio, have swapped form 774 to mostly easy listening 3RRR.
Deciding: that maybe next year, I need to pull my finger out. More exercise, more socialising, more voluntary work (or a real job), more life.
Wishing: things were different to what they are. But they're not and change is slow.
Enjoying: stone fruit. Cherries and peaches and apricots. You forget how good they really are.
Waiting: to go on holidays with my extended family. Very excited about that.
Liking: that I am blogging again. It feels good. Like I am starting to invest in life again. Baby steps. baby steps.
Wondering: if I will cope with the Queensland heat. I broke a sweat today and it wasn't even very hot. I was dripping, I kid you not.
Loving: the way Rupert sidles onto my lap from the other chair while I am watching telly and curls himself around my belly. He also sleeps close at night, unless it is hot, most often curled into the space where my waist would be or under my arm. He is such a comfort when I am a bit lonely. Not at all a replacement for Gerard (god knows I still miss him) but love that dog.
Pondering: the dog toy I bought for Rupert when I went shopping this evening is already in pieces in the back yard. What do they think dogs will do with a toy? Clearly not fit for purpose....
Considering: The course I am going to introduce at the Neighbourhood house next year. I think it will be a challenge but I am looking forward to it. Also thinking about whether I could make a good website for a community organisation using free WordPress.
Buying:Christmas shopping is done and dusted I think. It was relatively pain free and we are going to wrap tomorrow and just check that nothing has been left out. I am still wondering whether I should buy Grace a Google home mini as a surprise as she has guessed nearly everything else. Is it too much or would it be good for us to learn how it works? Hmm. Also my teeth have been mostly fixed and that involved a fair bit of pain and a cash outlay. Hoping it was worth it.
Watching: Have just finished season 2 of the Crown which I loooved. We are still watching Dance Academy over dinner which is Australian and pretty good. We are all caught up on Riverdale and I loved seeing Luke Perry and Molly Ringwald in it. Sort of inter generational soap interests. Am also watching Party of Five on and off which I saw the first time round in bits. It is so, so sad. Oh and Sisters - that was ace. Have also started watching The Handmaid's Tale again. I can only watch one episode at a time though, it is too intense and upsetting.
Hoping: that next will be better than this year. See deciding- pulling my finger out.
Marvelling:at modern medicine.
Cringing: at my front garden. Full of weeds and way overgrown. I'm wondering if I should get the lawn mowing man to slash around the bushes and start again...
Needing: some new clothes maybe. Perhaps I can get my sister to make me some? Or get sewing again after my holiday. I've think I've bought everything I like from online and the big lady shops. Which is not that much. Which is why I sew, I guess.
Questioning: whether I should try going off all my psych meds after the holidays. I've thought this for a while. Just to see what is under there. With the proviso that I could go back on them again.
Smelling: cut grass and the smells of midsummer. Also just to keep it real, dog farts.
Wearing: my favourite top from Gudrun Sjoden which is lyocell ( I think but anyway, not totally natural) and I love it. Also silver havianna thongs only $10 from woolies and some pants I made a while ago that still fit but not as well as they might. Really leggings are better.
Following: all the blogs on my side bar. I am trying to find new blogs that update more often but it's hard, most of my old crew don't blog anymore and lots of people these days don't have link lists. I miss the murmur of women's thoughts that blogging used to provide.
Noticing: that the bathroom needs a really good clean. As does the rest of the house. Ah, once I was so house proud. Those were the days.
Knowing: that I will get most of the cleaning done and the sheets changed before we go away.
Thinking: I used to be better in the heat than I am now.
Admiring: the spectacular bruise on my arm from where I had my last blood test. The collector guy said my veins were flat because I had been sweating. Who knew that was a thing?
Sorting: out Gerard's stuff in the study/back room. It's papers and photos and a bit confronting and has been an off again, on again process. Next the cds and old lego in the lounge room. Then the shed for the third pass. Time to have only what we needs and use. It is a very small house.
Getting: my second poo test in the mail.
Bookmarking: online shopping sites.
Coveting: a really good night's sleep. Where I go to sleep soon after I go to bed and get up at a sensible time.
Disliking: My mouth is still sore from the dentistry. My teeth aren't sore which is good but I still have a cut on my tongue and some sores in my cheeks. Yuck.
Opening: A parcel from target which was delivered on a Sunday! New underpants which are my favourite kind and have been out of stock for ages. And a cotton singlet in a nice fine cotton but a startling shade of blue because the black ones are still out of stock.....
Giggling: at Rupert and the dud toy. He loves it so.
Feeling: a little anxious today but I spoke to my sister on the phone and did some jobs and then felt a bit better. I was bashing my self up a bit about various things and I need to remember that Christmas is still not the easiest of times for me and that once we get to boxing day, I'll possibly feel better about a lot of things. I love boxing day. So lacking in obligation.
Snacking: trying not to snack. But could go some chips, as in crisps.
Hearing: the sound of birds in the yard and in the trees. Sometimes they come in the back door and steal Rupert's food and he rushes out to bark at them.

dream house

Rain is gentle so far.....

This morning at about six, I woke up really frightened from a dream. It took me more than a moment to orient myself in my bed and my house, in my life now and to feel Rupert gently sleeping all warm and curled up beside me. The dream took place in my old Brunswick house and I had all these young and not so young housemates who came and went in such a way that it was hard to know who lived there. They kept renovating the house while I was away camping, or at work and I would spend evenings trying to restore order so that I could go to work the next day. My job was a good job but in peril somehow. Some of the renovations weren't that big or scary but they extended the bathroom and installed an ironing board in there. People had to be chased away from my room when I wanted to go to bed but worst of all was that while I was away, they had a big party and removed part of the roof and installed a big open space between the bathroom and the kitchen. I was furious and upset that this was done without my consent. Some of the housemates sided with me and the police were called and I demanded to be arrested. I was furious that this had been done to my home but also terribly worried that I would need to spend every cent I had to fix it up because I was the only tenant on the lease. People were telling me to be cool but I just couldn't see it.

Grace came in to collect Rupert and I told her about my dream, well that it was frightening and then I fell asleep again and slept until I heard voices outside and realised that a house was being auction next door today. So I got up and went to the auction. It was bought by a family with young children for an incredible amount of money, but I think it was a pretty good buy. It will be interesting to see what another house in the area, with the same floor plan, but nicely renovated goes for.

the day before yesterday

BW 4/7

The day before yesterday I went to see my psychiatrist. It was hot and her air conditioning wasn't as good as it could be and as I scrunched my face, felt like the chair was a bit small (because it is) and looked out the window and really, everywhere but at her, a sheen of sweat glazed across me. It didn't drip like it sometimes does but I felt a bit too warm. I was trying to explain how I feel I've come undone again, that I feel that it is so hard to get started, that I just want to sleep and not do anything but I know there is a better life for me than that. That I have looked at photos of me from when I was happier and read blog posts from when I sounded so busy and engaged. There's this tentative thread in my personal narrative that has me hoping, longing for something different. It's very hard to explain. Actually what I want is to go to sleep for a long time and wake up to a new life and a new me who is a bit more like the old me.

We talked about what has being going on and about wanting the job but not getting it.  About Gerard's birthday, my birthday, inbetweeny day and the anniversary of mum's death all being four days in a row. We talked about going through Gerard's papers and photos and about how that stuff can weigh on you but it is difficult letting go. About not wanting to read his journals or keep all his photos. About not so good aspects of our relationship and some writing of his I found about a particular moment that I feel sad, bad about but really at the time, it was how things were. About shitty things happening and about how you can't always have the thing you most want. So I feel that once all that was teased out, more has been happening than I thought. Just none of it is very much fun. Although I am looking forward to the holidays and spending some time staying somewhere with a pool. Indeed I think I would be less grumpy if the outdoor Coburg pool here was open, but it isn't even December yet. Even then the pool will be late because it is being re-tiled and won't be finished until just before we go away. It is very hot and muggy for this time in November. Perhaps we should go to the beach.

The doctor wants me to increase one of my medications. She said I am on the tiniest of doses and it might make me feel better and that she has high functioning, creative patients who take this drug and do well. I don't know. I want to believe her but I don't feel that more medication would make me perkier, happier. It seems counter intuitive. I did agree to try it, with the proviso that if it didn't help that I could go back. However the doom seems to be clearing. To be honest I don't believe medication helps me that much. Maybe it does and I should believe my psychiatrist, it's not as if I am against western medicine. Indeed I am mostly that way inclined but it seems that psychiatric drug treatments are pretty much based on educated guess work. For all their talk of serotonin and dopamine, they can't take a mri or some other scan and say, well this bit isn't working, we'll try this and come back and do another test and see how the medication is working. The evidence is based on me, the patient with the so called faulty brain talking about their feelings and how I come across. I mean it is very obvious if someone is manic or deadly depressed but the other more in between, more functional spaces are more subtle. In my heart, I think that exercise and some life structure, for example a job, might be more beneficial but they seem harder to reach than they should.

In other news, I am spending some time and money with the dentist. He is fixing my old dentistry and I don't know whether I am being over serviced or not. In the past I have only fixed what hurts and is absolutely broken. That's where it started but now we are having a discussion about whether or not to replace my front fake tooth which feels fine but now looks whiter than my other teeth and doesn't quite meet my gum. From there we started talking about teeth whitening and I am going to have to think about it. It is a personal choice, the dentist said, but it involves a plate and using it and some solution for an hour and a half everyday for a couple of weeks Most people do it after dinner when they watch television, he said. Not sure whether it would be a good thing or a senseless vanity. Although the thought has crossed my mind that a bit of dentistry, a hair cut, some hair dye and a bit of weight loss/exercise and some new less nylony interview clothes might help a bit with the job search and maybe subsequent life improvement.

fat yoga

The window at fat yoga. This has been a wonderful course and I'm sorry it's over. Hopefully it will continue week to week. Loved getting back on the mat after 12 years. @fatyoga

After 12 years I am finally back on the mat and it feels so good. Before motherhood I used to attend this Iyengar class in Brunswick that was big and strenuous in an airy church hall with dark wooden floors. I wasn't as big then as I am now, but I still found yoga challenging. Still I persisted, it took me a while to find this class and to find my place within in it.  Once I did though, I was faithful and made quite good progress. Yoga seemed to act as a gateway drug for other forms of exercise such as walking and swimming, being active in general and I was as fit as I ever have been in adult hood. Good times. Then, and possibly related, I got pregnant and stayed pregnant. And yoga wasn't as good as it had been, there were too many poses I couldn't or shouldn't do and I resented spending half the class with my legs up the wall. And then, I found pre natal yoga. Once again I could do everything (almost) and it was exactly where I needed to be right then.

In the twelve years since birthing Grace I have tried to go back to yoga a couple of times. But I couldn't find a class where I felt at ease. The old Iyengar class didn't feel right and it was during family, bed, bath, dinner time. Other classes were too posey, didn't flow or just didn't gel.Some were ridiculously hard despite being pitched at all comers. And then just recently fat yoga became a thing here. But the classes were at not a great time for a single mother with a child too old for babysitters but too young to be left at night. And then there was the Saturday morning beginner's course. And just like pre natal classes, it was just right for just now. Now I'm hoping that a regular Saturday class starts up and thinking about what I could do at home.

Yoga, even what I am capable of right now, feels amazing. It's not just the poses, it's the breath and the intention. It's the being in your body in the now. It's the pushing just to the right edge (although I was a bit sore after yesterday's class, so maybe a bit too far). It's being with other fat women, in community, doing yoga together and not being the only fatty in the class. It's remembering my breath when I feel anxious or weird or stupid. It's many kinds of awesome. Hopefully it will also be a gateway to a new more active self.

a sink full of dirty dishes

BW 4/7

I'm doing an insta challenge, a black and white photo everyday for seven days about your life with no explanation. Each day I try and think about what sums up my day the best. The first day was waiting in the car before the job interview. All nerves and hopefulness. Dressed in my interview outfit which is all synthetic, hoping that I wouldn't break out in one of those random sweats that I seem prone to. I didn't. But I didn't get the job either. Which is a pity. It was the right amount of part time, well enough paid, close to home and I can't imagine being better suited or qualified for it. I think I may have failed the typing and computer test which is somewhat ironic given that is what I teach at the neighbourhood house. That night, before I even got the rejection email, I knew. We had pizza for dinner and I ate my disappointment in the most delicious carby potato pizza. As I said to dad on the phone, imagine if I had got the job and the house. Indeed. My attempts at life transformation feel like struggle and failure at this point. I am trying to be positive or at least, give no fucks, but honestly I feel a bit rejected and sad.

I have decided that although I have a lot to be grateful for (home, family, friends, no money worries and a dog who adores me) there is also much to be be disappointed about. It's ok to be honest about that. Being honest about it doesn't make me even more of a failure. In the parlance of today, it is what it is. Because I have lost a lot. My job, my sanity (on and off), my mother, my partner and best friend in the world. Also physical fitness, health, the creeping on of even more weight and the crumbling of my teeth. My early fifties have been the shits. Still, as my psychiatrist said today, I am more prepared to put myself out there than I was before. More active. We talked about hoping for the big transformation but she thinks that smaller progressive steps are more likely to be sustainable. I know this but I also think some of the big transformations (job, new house) would have been pretty damn exciting.

It is true that I am doing more. I have been attending a Fat Yoga class which is all kinds of wonderful and deserves a post of its own one day. And one day, I did fat yoga followed by a market stall where I got to watch parents drag children away from the toys I made three years ago. I sold some too and it was a social event as I shared the stall with a friend and met up with lots of people I knew. I know, two leaving the house type things on one day! I was pretty tired afterwards but it was the best kind of tired and I slept well, which is not always a given at the moment.

Anyway I gave no fucks about the dishes that day. They were still there the next. And then they weren't. Because I just did them without even procrastinating. Go me.

funny, not funny

Just dropped Rupert at the groomers. He was so anxious in the car but so happy when he got there!

So, the other weekend, I exited my cave and went to a comedy night at Grace's school. Normally I resist such events, not because I don't have a sense of humour, I do, but sometimes I find stand up comedy just a bit much too excitement. To be honest I'd rather laugh at Rupert chasing the hose or falling in a fountain, a Christian Hull video, a cat meme or something someone said. Sometimes I absolutely piss myself laughing.  Anyway as the compere and first comedian started off, it was kind of OK. He said "fucking" a lot. Then he told a joke about gold coast women and how they had so much work they looked turtles with barbie doll heads and then there was the joke about the old woman who lived next door and didn't close her blinds when she showered and gosh, she had pubic hair. And then there was a joke about scattering grandpa on the back lawn, only he wasn't cremated. There was a female comedian who did a dead beat mum act that I found funny in parts, especially the bits about cleaning and things clunking as they went up the vacuum cleaner. My vacuum always clunks. Every body laughed at everything because that is what you are meant to do at a comedy night, especially a school comedy night, but some of it felt, well not very funny. Then one of the male acts told a long joke that involved malnourished children in Africa, phone sex and pedophilia. There was a big exhale and a whole lot of people said "not funny". He really had gone too far and the comedian  acknowledged that, but I felt very uncomfortable, like he was using us for audience testing purposes and somehow like I was a prude for not finding the joke funny but I felt really, shouldn't anyone know that some things are just not funny.

There was a great singer at the end of the night, raffles and prizes and lots of good will and lots of chat. And a lovely moment when my friend and I congratulated ourselves on the work we did on the campaign that led to this very school. The school that has 240 year 7 enrollments next year. The school they said we didn't need. (Also not very funny.) I was mostly glad I went. Later at home in my pyjamas, it took me a long time to unwind and I kind of felt dirty. Like I might have laughed at things that were really not funny, just not funny at all, and I didn't like that feeling. I know comedy is subjective, like art and taste and so many things but surely it doesn't have to be violent and misogynist. Oh well. Live and learn.

The picture is one I took this afternoon when I dropped Rupert off at the dog groomers. He was so anxious on the way there but very happy once he arrived. Looking forward to seeing our velvet dog, who generates lots of love and lots of laughs that everyone can feel good about.

Spring winds

On the way to the dentist

Spring winds are making me grumpy and unsettled. The footy on the radio makes me think a finals season is not the same without Gerard. I'm lonely for him which comes and goes but seems sharp at the moment. I'm having regular nightmares too. One involved us moving somewhere in Essendon to a terrace house near Puckle street and when I went out for a walk I became hopelessly lost and couldn't find my way home. It got dark and rainy and no matter what street I turned down, I would feel close to home but couldn't find it. In desperation, I hailed a taxi which turned out to be a yellow sportscar driven by a really big woman who took up the front seat and back seat but with space next to her. She said she could take me home but I couldn't find my way into the one seat beside her. I woke up sweating and went to pat Rupert for comfort and he was lying on his back with his legs in the air, which I have never noticed before. Discombobulating. I could unpick this dream, it seems really obvious, but I think I wont.

I've realised following craft camp that I have nothing exciting happening in the next few weeks to look forward to. Life is not bad but it feels a bit sameish and I'm not feeling all that motivated to get on with things. So I've decided to start inviting people to dinner. We haven't really entertained since Gerard's wake. My heart hasn't been in it and the house has been in a constant state of grottiness and dysfunction. It's time though. I find myself planning the household jobs that must get done and what I will cook. And I kind of feel better. Then once the house was cleaned and the shopping planned, my friend cancelled because one of her children has the flu. We certainly don't want that in the house and I cooked a smaller amount of the dinner we were going to have (nori rolls and sticky chicken teriyaki drumettes) and we watched The Batchelorette instead. What a blokefest! Not in a good way though. Don't they realise they are going to be on national television. I suspect some of them drink too much.

Went to the dentist today and found out that the painful ulcer on the underside of my tongue is not some form of canker but a traumatic injury probably caused by a broken filling. Which was fixed. I really like this dentist, she is a big woman (why are there so many female dentists at the community dental service?) and has an aura that is calm and a bit queer in the best possible way. She also uses dental dams so they are not always sucking the moisture away from where they are working and everything stays nice and clean. My mouth is a bit sore still but everything feels better. Next thing to tackle is the cracked crown and then maybe a splint to stop me grinding my teeth at night. Can't wait. But really I am grateful for this dental service and their patching up of my crappy teeth.

The winds seemed to have peaked and died down. The mown grass has gone from green with squashy green mown bits to a less sparkling green with dry bits that have been partly blown away. And we are going to Queensland for Christmas which I am starting to look forward to. And the show next week, which is kind of half and half. We are having sushi carwash for dinner. All is good.

craft camp

Craft weekend

Craft camp, back to the studio

Today (and yesterday) I wore one of the tops I made at craft camp last weekend. I love the fabric but I can't really say it was a good make. A bit short, a bit wide at the neck and the shoulders sit a bit funny. But better than the other top I made which is too long and so big it flaps in the wind. Ah body dysmorphia, the feeling I get that nothing can be ever big enough. As if I am endless. Which I am not. Perhaps this is why I don't enjoy sewing clothes as much as I used to. Even though what I make is often so much better that what I can buy. Never mind, I can run it in at the sides and take it up. Might even inspire me to get started on my mending and altering projects.

Craft camp however was, as usual,  lovely. A smaller group than usual. Which had its own charms; room to spread out, easy to keep track of conversations, a lovely intimacy. That's not to say the larger groups aren't good too. ALL craft camp in ALL its form is good. For all the usual reasons, not the least of which is having food lovingly prepared for you and presented to you with no input from you. A rare treat for me, and I think one universally treasured and appreciated by all the women who go. I also appreciated feeling better than the last time and although one night I had bizarre dreams about being in the South Pacific and missing flights, I slept unusually well. Another thing I greatly appreciated was that Grace didn't crack the shits about me leaving her or going to stay with her grandparents. I did get pranked that she was drinking shiraz and amused by film of Rupert falling in the fountain at dad's place but it was a much happier parting than usual. Also I made her a deal and she got Dominos pizza (for the first time ever) in return for not cracking the shits. It was delivered fast and hot but it was very average really.

I feel a bit that I have already blogged all the blogs and taken all the photos that are possible at craft camp. There are only so many ways to say how good it is. I am just really glad that after ten or so years and lots of stuff in my life that it and the wonderful women that are part of it are still a regular part of my life. And that turning up at Sewjourn keeps feeling familiar AND wonderful. I really am thankful for all of that.

we have been watching "the bachelor"


I've been holding off watching The Bachelor for ages, thinking it a bridge too far, despite Grace's fascination with the show. We have other reality TV favourites; Survivor, MKR and Masterchef. I finally gave in because it meant that I could watch Offspring straight afterwards on live telly rather than waiting for catch up the next day. Which I guess is pretty shallow and follows a path of little resistance. Anyway I have to say that I find The Bachelor horrifying, absolutely squirm inducing horrifying but at the same time quite watchable and erm, kind of fascinating.

We decided the other night that it was a bit like Matty J was at a bakery tasting all the cupcakes and other bakery treats (except that they are mostly vanilla cupcakes because the women offered up for consumption are all more or less white with pretty hair, conventionally attractive thin bodies, and very white straight teeth) before he decided which one he wanted to take home and eat for ever, without ever looking at another cupcake or bakery treat. Some he takes a bite out of and goes, ugh pah, no thanks (but really politely because this is not MKR), some he bites and puts back, thinking I will come back and taste that one again later and compare it with the other ones I like. Some, sadly he never tastes at all. At this point he has narrowed it down to six lovely vanilla cupcakes.

One woman legged it and I am kind of (but not really) surprised that more of the women haven't done this. And no-one has refused a rose at any of the rose ceremonies or on any of the dates. Despite the revealing dresses and occasional pin the sticker on the penis, it is really quite decorous. The kissing is formulaic and staged, they talk earnestly about their feeling and values. It is seemingly all about the straight, white monogamous marriage afterwards. Which is why it is funny and odd and squirmy that he is choosing a partner from this group of women living like a harem. They might be in competition with each other but some women seem to get along quite well. My inner feminist is trying to figure out exactly what is wrong with it all - apart from the white, cis, hetro, monogamy fantasy - I mean none of these girlwomen have been forced into the show, they can leave, they are not without some degree of agency in all this. But still. Cupcakes.

I think some of my squirminess comes from the pursuit of a "traditional" monogamous marriage in a situation where he is simultaneously dating and kissing more than one woman. This does obviously happen in real life but the opportunity to string more than one romantic possibility along would be real for both the man and the woman. And then if they both wanted an exclusive relationship with each other, well that's when they would get "serious." At least I think that's how it works. However in The Bachelor it is obvious that many of the women are afraid to risk their hearts while he is still seeing and kissing other women. Yet the show and its drama demands it. Not to mention the ranking and humiliating voting out that is the rose ceremony. I wonder if there was real attraction and pairing whether it would happen behind the scenes and the rest is just a play out for television? It is awful this dating and relating performance, but why so watchable? Apparently we need to watch The Bachelorette when it comes on to compare. At least it leads to some interesting discussions about romance and why the real world is not like this. She might get to watch it, but not without some snarky mum commentary.

sock toe

Sock toe progress. Not much novel reading though.

This afternoon in the still time after afternoon tea, I unraveled the sock toe I had been knitting for about the seventy gazillionth time. The yarn broke as I was pulling the first stitch of the next row tight. There was not enough of an end to tie it together and besides, who wants knots in the toes of their socks?  I paused, ate a grainwave or two, listened to the old survivor video, felt frustrated about knitting and everything else, then reminded myself that many of the actions of knitting are coming back. It has been over two years and I'm surprised at how much I've forgotten but also how much my hands remember.

I've wanted to blog again several times since the last time but there is this little thing inside me that is saying that everything I want to write about is negative, about how hard everything is, about how I'm struggling still, even though the narrative is now that I am doing so much better. Well. I guess. Depends on what you define as better. I still procrastinate over stupid things. I don't do all that much in a day and my house and garden reflect that. I get puffed walking up the slightest incline. The new house (and new start) we were looking at fell through just as we were about to make an offer and I had already decorated it in my mind. It was beautiful.This dreadful virus has lingered and lingered. The honeymoon phase of the new drug is over and I can feel myself slowing a little. And I'm hungry. Always hungry. For carbs and sugar. But I will eat anything. Usually I can control myself to a degree but yesterday I did eat too much and it felt blech. My doctor said that this drug was weight neutral but people on the internet are saying otherwise. So is my hunger. We will see what it has done to my blood sugar in a month or two. Sigh. Yeah, negative is boring.

This afternoon as I was knitting I remembered the blue poncho I made while I was in hospital with post natal psychosis. We called it my Martha Stewart poncho because she made a similar one when she was in jail. Mum bought me in the wool and the crochet hook from home and probably helped me get started. I don't remember. I couldn't even remember who I was at that point and she used to write me bits and pieces in a book to help me try and remember. But, even though it was hard, I did remember how to crochet a simple poncho. It was a struggle at first and god knows how my family felt about it all, because maybe I wasn't coming back. But I did. And the crochet got easier and I could work for longer and longer at a time. I still wear the poncho sometimes but yikes.

Anyway. The power of handcrafts. I like how knitting something as slow as socks is gently iterative. I'm pleased that I have managed to get all my project supplies and the darning I need to do into one bag and I have a pleasant afternoon knitting habit again. Painfully small steps. But steps nonetheless.

Maybe I should start blogging again

Will the washing dry? #daysixnocentralheating #mouseplaguecontinues #sadforunexpectedreason #butexcitingthingmightbehappening #vaguebloggingfornow

I've been thinking about coming back to blogging. Quite a bit. I miss it. I miss talking to myself in that way and I miss talking to you, the audience, even if there are only three of you. Although I did like it back in the day when there were more of us blogging. Perhaps there is a new blogging tribe out there for me to discover. There are so many things I'd like to write about: books I've read, apocalyptic fiction and feminism, how it feels like we are at the end of days sometimes and yet I hope that we aren't, mental health and unhealth, single motherhood, grief, my plans for a new house with a dishwasher, bits and bobs that I am doing, living in a fat body and diet culture/fat acceptance and the weird spaces in between. Cooking. I'd like to write about cooking too. And living with a tween, but perhaps not too much about that, because well, not my story so much anymore. And, and, and. And I'd like to be writing fiction again after a long, long break. I write stories in my head all the time but they evaporate like weird dreams, leaving only fragments behind.

So I am sitting at my computer. Testing the keys. I've been sick with a cold for nearly two weeks and bored is starting to win over tired so hopefully the cold is nearly done.The last two years have been filled with a deep and unmoving depression that has been hard to shift. I thought it was me, I thought it was the pills, I thought it was my life then the pills. It was really, really, hard to do anything. Anything except sit at the kitchen table and read. I suspect reading has saved my life in more ways than I can count. I talked to my psychiatrist at length about this, about wanting to go off lithium, about wanting to see if it was the pills or me. Scared it was me. She was reluctant, mindful that I am a single mother and that I can't afford to crack up. I was desperate, willing to risk cracking up, being in hospital, being crazy if it meant I could get my life back.

As it turned out, things came to a head. Unsurprisingly my physical health has deteriorated as well. My fitness is at an all time low. Like really low and I know what I need to do but have been unable to take simple steps. I've put on even more weight, my blood pressure and cholesterol are now needing medication. Just until I can make the lifestyle changes necessary, my kindly doctor assures me. Then I had a hernia surgery about six months ago. It went really well but there was a cascade of other health effects and I ended up dehydrated, with my blood pressure medication not playing well with the lithium. This culminated into a descent into too high lithium levels. I was at craft camp and I couldn't craft, everything as really difficult, my whole left side was shaking. Two days later at the doctor I was saying how unwell I felt. I couldn't express how really. Just really unwell. That night my doctor rang me because the lab had rung him with my lithium levels. I stopped taking it. Just stopped which is apparently not what you are meant to do according to my psychiatrist. But it was like a line had been crossed.

The next few weeks were wobbly and I started a small dose of a new medication. It's OK. Well, better than OK. I'm not thirsty all the time so I sleep better at night because I am not getting up to wee every two hours. My feet are not (very) swollen. I feel like I have gained ten IQ points. I get bored and crave company, things to do.There's still a long way to go before I feel fully functional - my lack of physical fitness till needs much work- but I feel like I am back. And maybe like I have something to say again. Maybe.