Starting to believe…

I think i am finally starting to really believe in myself.

I believe that people DO appreciate me becoming a carer. I am learning to ignore the ignorant comments of those who are still in denial and are only thinking of themselves.

I know i am doing the best i can do from what i know BUT i do have the help of medical professionals, they come to the house and help me with things only they can do.

I look forward to seeing movement of the bed covers when i go to check on her in the middle of the night, it means she is still breathing.

I believe i can allow Nan the freedom to stay home for as long as she desires as i am doing the very best i can to offer her the love and care that she gave to me in my infancy and childhood when she raised me.

I believe that there are friends and family who i can rely on… it may take me a bit more time to feel comfortable leaving Nan in the care of others so i can run errands for her, but i believe i am getting there.
Baby steps.

All we have to do is take one little step at a time and not give up.


How life changes…

Since my last post, My grandmother took a turn for the worse.
She ended up having a 3 week stay in hospital. She has had radiation for some new cancers they found, she had her lungs drained of quite a bit of fluid and has had test after test after test. I’m not sure what they haven’t tested for!
She was discharged from hospital and I have now become her full time carer.

Maybe i am naive, maybe i am somehow coping better than some family members but i seem to be taking it all in my stride. (I think that’s the saying i’m thinking of.)
Never in my wildest dreams or darkest nightmares did i ever think that I would be the primary carer of the amazing woman who raised me.
Never did i imagine she would become so frail. She is mostly skin and bone now but her mind is still very sharp. She is still happy to speak up and say what is on her mind to most people she talks to. She requests favourite foods for her meals. She eats quite small servings now, but the main thing is that she is still eating.

The assortment of medications she is now on can be daunting but i am in a routine of what she has to have throughout the day.

We are fortunate enough to be in a government program where we get medical professionals out to the house to help her and visit her.

I’m not sure how much longer she will be with us, but i am making the most of each and every day we have together.

Even though we are in the middle of winter here, we still have plenty of flowers in the garden so i make sure she has a vase of two of fresh flowers in the house for her to look at throughout the day.

We try to joke around each day, find something funny to laugh at… or at least smile at.

I now feel it is up to me to try and make this final chapter as warm and loving as i can for her. I do not know how long this chapter is, but i hope we’re in it together for a while yet.



DP: Comforting Scents

Smells can be comforting. They can also be a trigger for bad memories.
Today though, I’ll concentrate on the positive smells I’ve encountered in my life.

I have been fortunate enough to have had many great memories whilst taking in the most unlikely “nice” smells.

I believe the smells of sheep, horse and cow manure are positive.
They remind me of the many happy holidays I spent at the family farm. I got to help with the odd jobs around not only our family farm but also the farms of a number of close family friends.
The strong aroma of old sheep manure reminds me of the times I spent in shearing sheds helping out with shearing, working in amongst sheep from first thing in the morning to almost sunset in the evening, my hands and shoes thick of sheep grease- lanolin. Some people pay good money to have their shoes shined in the same way or to have their hands so supple and soft, smothered in a natural moisturiser.
The smell of horses reminds me of the regular horse rides I used to go on during my teenage years. The rides only lasted about an hour, but it was the most relaxing, exhilarating hour that I looked forward to each month.
Cattle smells remind me of going to the yearly show; wandering through the animal yards, watching them be washed, dried and brushed ready for the show ring.

The Smell of blood ‘n’ bone reminds me of the hours I would spend outside helping in the garden. Turning over the soil, fertilising, pruning, planting and everything else that went with it.
I still enjoy gardening today and I hope my kids enjoy it even half as much as what I do.


In response to:

Writing 101, Day Twenty: The Things We Treasure.

When we think about things we treasure we usually think about physical items. Our first teddy bear, jewellery given to us by loved ones, our first car, awards, trophies, photos, artworks… the list is never ending.

What I will be writing about though are my childhood memories.
Memories are priceless. They are something that you carry with you your whole life. Memories can be good or bad, make you feel over the moon or down in the dumps, they can bring both happy or sad tears.

Some of my most treasured memories are of simple things like when my grandparents would take me to the beach. Nan would pack sandwiches in the esky with drinks and biscuits. By the time lunch came around we would find that our sandwiches had literally turned into “SAND”wiches so we ended up walking to the near by kiosk and getting a large serving of hot chips and ice creams. No matter how we rinsed our cups out, they always ended up gritty too, but that just added to the experience.
My Pop and I would go fishing from time to time at a local river. We would catch small bream. To me, it didn’t matter if we caught anything or not- it was just lovely being able to spend a few hours with Pop, talking about nothing in particular, listening to him tell me of stories of his childhood and working years.
We would often come home with a couple of small fish that Nan would cook for tea that night.

A yearly pilgrimage to a Music Festival was another treasured memory. Not only was this a chance to relax for a week, spend it living out of a tent and a ute during that time, it was also a chance to watch and listen to the buskers and musicians. If we were lucky we could also get some autographs and watch the national finals of one of the main rodeos.

I have unfortunately lost some of my memories. I don’t know what is to blame, if anything at all but what I do know is that the memory loss I experience has only happened over the past 11 years. Over that time I have had to have 5 operations/general anaesthetics and it makes me wonder if there is something in the gas/medication that blocks out part of your memory? It wouldn’t surprise me if this is the case as I don’t know what else it could be.

I do know that I want to keep making new experiences with my family and friends in the hope that they will stick in my mind- never to be forgotten.

Offside Memories

I had friends who used to do Athletics. My offside memories are of them teaching me how to race walk. It took quite a bit to learn. Unlike them, I didn’t have an athlete’s body- heck, I still don’t have an athletic body today (but now I realise I am who I am).
I must have looked quite a sight back then. Big chunky me waddling along in an awkward hasty gait trying to race walk with added “hurdles” (gutters, logs, strategically placed umbrellas, etc) alongside people half my size (almost literally in every way imaginable) striding along in front of me, easily doing it and looking completely normal in the process.

Looking back now, I must have been a sight. But now I am able to have a chuckle and realise that it didn’t matter how I looked, or what people thought of me. The fact was that I was having fun with those I cared about, I was spending time with friends and I was being active.

Writing 101: Day ten. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

For many of my birthdays during my childhood, I was always given a Birthday Party at a local McDonalds store.

It wasn’t actually the food there that gave me many happy memories. Sure, I was a “big boned” girl, I enjoyed my food… sometimes too much.
I loved getting stuck into a Happy Meal. Was it always a “happy” meal? No, not always, but it did make me think that I was loved enough to be allowed to have this food, to get one of the toys attached with the meal.

One of the things I loved most was it was times like this that we got a lot of the family together and I could have friends over too, all at the same time.

Being an only child meant I never had a lot of company from peers around my own age. I would look at the friends of my Mum and grandparents as my “friends”. My friends at home were my pets. I always had a dog, lots of birds, fish… I even had lambs, ducks and chickens, mice, guinea pigs and occasionally rabbits as pets over the years.

But the plain old boring Happy Meal and the party that went with it always brought family and friends together. It was an occasion I would look forward to for a long time beforehand. Other than having all my friends around on this special day- my favourite bit was the ice-cream cake! Nothing beats an ice cream cake.

In recent years I have requested an ice-cream cake for my birthday, but the recipe must have been changed or something as it has never been exactly as I remembered it during my childhood.
No matter what store we bought it from, or what brand of ice-cream was used… I can’t seem to replicate those childhood memories.

Not to worry though, they were my childhood years. The times when I didn’t have to worry about much. I had family, friends and pets who loved me for who I was.

I can always find a new favourite celebratory food. Lemon cheesecake or Vanilla cheesecake is high on the list but I’m not sure if it is everything I want a celebration to be.
It could be something as simple as cocktail frankfurts and lots of tomato sauce to dip them in that brings back old memories, maybe top it off with some coconut ice… that’s something that brings back good memories too.

I am who i am… except for when i’m not me.

Music has always played am important part in my life.

There are hundreds upon hundreds of songs that I like, but a few really stick out and have helped me become who I am today.

Slim Dusty’s “The Biggest Disappointment” is one I have always felt I could relate to.
I ALWAYS get emotional when I listen to this song, and if I dare to attempt to sing along, my chin starts to quiver and the tears well up in my eyes then spill down my cheeks… falling to the ground below. I don’t know why I class myself as the biggest disappointment in my family, but I guess it probably has something to do with being an only child and always being to blame if something ever went wrong.

The next song I feel that helps to define who I am would have to be Kasey Chamber’s “This Flower”. It says a lot about the love I have for my husband and our family, for my grandparents. It is me saying that I would give them all my love, I would open up to them and leave myself so very vulnerable to any hurt or negativity, but I would still give out all my love in return.

Hmm, trying to think of a third song to explain my life is hard. There are a lot of sings that I feel say a bit about who I am, but I’m not sure if they have had as much influence as the two songs I have already mentioned.

I think it would be easier to say that I can relate to musicians overall rather than individual songs they have written or sing.
I always feel very close to P!NK, at times I feel that she is writing about me. The Fugees was another band that I enjoyed listening to as I felt so very close to all their music.

Over the years, my taste in music has dramatically changed. I still enjoy pulling some of my old CD’s out and listening to songs I used to enjoy as it brings back memories from the eras when I used to really listen to those bands/artists and their music.

I remember my Mum had a cassette that I used to play to death. It had a heap of funny, almost nonsense songs on it. I forget the name of the cassette, I forget the names of some of the songs too, but they would be about people coming to take someone away to a funny farm, I think there was a song called “Along Came Jones”. Weird ones, but as a child I found them hilarious and had them memorised.

Maybe one day I’ll remember the names of some of those tracks; heck! I might even find the cassette hidden away somewhere!?



Writing 101 : Day 3.

Lets see what this becomes…

I’m writing this blog post because I want to write, I feel the need to write. My problem is that I do not know what to write about.

I am currently listening to a cover band. I personally know one of the musicians in this band. I have not yet had the chance to see them play live, but it is something I do want to eventually do.
Ever since I was little I always wanted to grow up and be a famous singer. The only problem was that I was too shy.
I would have loved to sing my favourite songs to rooms of people who enjoyed watching and listening to me enjoying myself- living my life to the fullest but my lack of self esteem kept me from doing that.
Growing up, I wasn’t in the popular groups; I wasn’t skinny nor was I good looking.
My human friends were few, my animal friends were many. I felt more at home working with my pets. They were loyal to me, we worked well together.

I have not had pets for over a decade now and I have a strong gut feeling that the absence of pets in my life has been part of the reason I now have the label of having a mental illness.
I truly do believe that pets are fantastic for everyone.
Pets are the best form of therapy. They show unconditional love, they’re loyal, they teach you about responsibility, they keep you fit (who doesn’t love playing with an animal or taking a dog for a walk or horse riding?), and most importantly- they give you a reason to live.

I sometimes find myself looking up animal shelters and browsing through the selection of dogs and other animals they have available for adoption.
I will admit that I do fall for a number of dogs each time I look. I am so sure I would be capable of giving them a great forever home. I would be able to help my new friend realise that not all humans are nasty (you never know what their last home was like).
One day, I’m not sure when; but one day I will walk into a shelter and have a dog choose me as it’s master. It’s all well and good choosing a dog from a line up of cute photos on a computer screen, but it’s entirely different when you meet them in person. The animal and prospective owner/family all need to get along.
You are ultimately bringing in a new family member to your household.

Another thing I often find myself doing is looking at real estate. Dreaming about what could one day possibly be our family home.
I don’t want big and fancy. A modest home big enough for a family of 6, having enough room outside for the kids to play, having room to grow our own fruit and vegetables, possibly even some chickens for fresh eggs. There will be a dog or two in this ideal situation- that goes without saying. If we have a big enough block of land I’d also love a couple of sheep or goats… maybe even a horse if I’m not pushing it too much.

I used to go horse riding on a semi regular basis during my teenage years. I found horse riding to be very therapeutic and grounding. I always felt so relaxed when I was in the saddle. I can’t really explain it. I guess it is something you have to experience for yourself. My all time favourite thing to do on a horse I trusted was to go for a canter. The combination of putting all my trust in the horse, the wind in my hair, being “at one” with the horse. Working as a team to experience a sense of freedom that is hard to duplicate elsewhere.
It is something I have been craving to do again. It has been too long since I last rode a horse. I am sure it won’t take long before I remember what to do and how to ride again- if it ever happens that is.

Maybe one day, some day, some of these things may just happen.

My psychologist often tells me to “Trust the process”. I guess that has sort of turned into my mantra- “Trust the process”.
I do trust that everything is happening for the right reasons and that in time, I will look back at everything that has and hasn’t happened to me and be able to see that it all turned out that way because it is just how things were meant to be.
Sometimes I feel I have drawn the short straw. I feel that I seem to be getting a raw deal and that I am being ripped off with my life. I feel that there is more to my life than what I am currently living but I find it almost impossible to see the bigger picture. And that’s what scares me.

I have 4 beautiful children and a husband who loves me and has had to put up with a lot of my shit so far. Sure, my kids often say some things that are hurtful but I am pretty sure I probably said similar things to my Mum during my childhood. I think it’s just a way of growing up, finding out who you are and how far you can push your boundaries before someone or something snaps and brings you back to Earth. Very quickly!

I often worry that I am being too selfish. I don’t want to have to share my kids and hubby with the in-laws all the time. I want them all to myself at times. I want our little family to be just that- a little family.
Just the Mum, Dad and the kids all living together. OK, maybe that’s a bit of a lie- I’d LOVE to be able to have pets in the ideal family picture too.
But I guess what I’m trying to say is that living under the same roof as extended family (whether it be by blood or marriage) isn’t an ideal situation for me. I don’t feel I am able to “be me”. I feel that I have to wear a mask. Constantly wear a mask and be the person they want me to be, not the person who I am inside.

I am a nature lover and animal lover.
I am creative.
I love music- all types of music.
I need to be in a situation where I have my own space.
I need to be able to reach out to my true self again. It has been far too long since I feel I have been able to be me.
I don’t want to feel so constricted.
I need to be able to stretch my wings and fly.

To teach my children how to fly.
To teach my children that it IS ok to get messy.
To teach my children that it IS ok to be creative and have a wild and vivid imagination.
To teach my children that it is fine to explore and discover.
I want my children to be the best they can be.

I just want to be happy.

Surely wanting happiness isn’t a sin… is it?
I think being constantly upset or let down is much worse as it can be extremely debilitating.
Being depressed and down DOES affect me personally. It does affect my physical health in a negative way.
I am not proud to admit that but I believe it is something that needs to be put out there. I am sure I am not the only person feeling this way.

I don’t expect someone to feel the exact same way I do, but I am sure there are people out there who can relate to something I have said in this post.

Well, for someone who didn’t know what to write about. I think I’ve done a pretty good job.

Not only did I end up writing a fairly long post, but I got a huge weight off my shoulders too.


DP Challenge: Object. My camera.

Without a doubt, my object of choice for this challenge: , would have to be my camera.

As a hobby photographer, I have a couple of cameras but my Olympus SP570UZ would have to be my favourite.
It’s getting old now (in terms of technology), but we have been on many great outings together.

It has been with me to quite a number of gigs, shot countless macro images of flowers, bugs, interesting textures plus the usual family photos, photos of school assemblies and award days.

My camera is like my saviour. I feel that when I am behind it, I can do anything; like I am capable of doing whatever my heart desires and I don’t have to worry about being judged.

My camera gives me a freedom that I otherwise would feel is unachievable.
My camera lets my inner artist come out and show her face, the artist from within that brought me many moments of joy throughout my childhood but disappeared once I finished school and I felt I was then expected to “grow up”, to get a job, get on with life like everyone else and hide my imaginative side.

I was lead to believe that “artist” was not a viable job description. It wouldn’t be something that I could survive on, it wasn’t something worth pursuing.

My camera has given me many opportunities that I would have otherwise been too afraid of, too wary of, not had the guts to say “let’s do this!” and experience something that I may never experience again.

My camera has given me a sense of belonging and helped me feel like I fit in to places and experiences that I would normally steer clear of.