Sunday, 29 November 2009
I survived last night. The dinner was a success. I struggled a little at times, but all in all it went well.
Today has been rough. My arms are a mess. The heat of the day makes them worse as the salty sweat gathers in them.
I did, however find a way to make it up to Joel for being so horrible yesterday morning.
We're going camping. For the first time. (As a family, I mean). We've had the tent for more than a year, but it's never worked out.
We're going next weekend, just for a couple of nights. We'll be in Maroochydore, where the ocean meets the river. We're not roughing it, exactly. It is the first time I've been camping in 10 years. It is Alexander's first time, and of course, Sam's. I've no idea how Sam is goign to go.
So we're staying in a popular caravan/camping spot. There are showers and toilets and bbq facilities and a pool and playground. I'm hoping one of the days we may even take the boys to Underwater World (cross 2 things off my 101 list!).
He's happy about it. Alexander is thrilled! I think it will do us all the world of good to just escape for a day or two. My court date is the day before though, so I'm hoping that that isn't too terrible.
Saturday, 28 November 2009
Most days, I'm doing better. Certainly, when compared with where I was a month or two ago, things are going along as well as can be hoped. There are still bad days though. Instead of being every day, at the moment, it's only a couple a week.
Today is one of them.
My heart is in my throat. My hands are shaking. The sound even of the boys playing (usually one of my favourite) is like nails on a blackboard. I'm sad. I'm angry at the world. And I have a nervous feeling I can't shake. My stomach is churning.
I suspect it is because I have a family dinner tonight. A dinner planned by me. I'm doing the cooking. And the dinner is here, at my house. It sounds so innocuous, a family dinner at home.
But this is pushing my boundaries more than I can tell you. For the last year, the only thing worse than leaving the house was having someone, anyone other than Joel and the boys in it. Visitors left me in tears, sick to my stomach, scratching my arms til they bleed and weep.
Today, I will have 10 people here. And it was my idea. And Joel is away, will be home just in time for dinner. Both boys are sick.
What teh #@!#$@ was I thinking? It'll be fine, I'm sure. I did most of my cooking yesterday, anticipating a rough day today. I will be surrounded only by people I love. But I'm freaking the #@#$ OUT!
I was a complete ass to Joel this morning. I was a hateful, rude, miserable fishwife. He did nothing wrong. He left for work at 5am. Then he drove an hour to go to my Dad's house and help him chop trees down. I have no business being so upset with him. I am though, selfishly. I need him here, just to keep me calm.
I just want this day to be over. Sam is asleep (he really is so sick, I'm not sure what's going on there, I have not been able to get that fever down for days), Xander is watching TV and making his books. And I am hiding in the bedroom, literally my body curled as tightly as it can be while still able to type. And I want to feel better so I can make it up to my poor husband.
It'll be fine, right? We're going to have a lovely time. I'm ready for this? To host a dinner party? I'm going to survive this day.
Tammy. If you read this. Please, please, please don't take it the wrong way. I'm looking forward to seeing you.
Friday, 27 November 2009
I Carry Your Heart With Me
I want no world, for beautiful you are my world, my true
And it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
And whatever a sun will always sing is you
Here is the deepest secret nobody knows
Here is the root of the root and bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;
which grows higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide,
And this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
I carry your heart, I carry it in my heart.
My day started early, and with two sick children, I thought it was going to be a bad one. But I was reading a blog, and it got me to thinking of Joel, and the way we fell in love.
I'm so lucky. I'm so grateful. Every day, I'm thankful for the gift of him.
I wish I were a poet. I wish I could write something that was just his.
Thursday, 26 November 2009
“Writers, especially poets, are particularly prone to madness. There exists a striking association between creativity and manic depression. Why are more creative people prone to madness? They have more than average amounts of energies and abilities to see things in a fresh and original way—then because they also have depression, I think they’re more in touch with human suffering.”
(I'm sorry. I can't find an original source for that one).
Popular culture has long stereotyped poets as depressed and creative scientists as mad. In fact, the idea of a link between creativity and mental illness goes back to the time of Aristotle, when he wrote that eminent philosophers, politicians, poets and artists all have tendencies toward "melancholia."
Indeed, there are numerous examples of famous creators--writers like Virginia Woolf, painters like Vincent Van Gogh, composers like Robert Schumann--who have been highly successful but had or are suspected to have had a mental illness.
Some studies have backed up this notion, suggesting that writers, artists and others are more likely to have a mental illness and that people with certain mental illnesses, such as depression and mood disorders, appear somewhat more likely to be creative. While some researchers have found that creative people are slightly more at-risk, others have found more grave connections, such as that they are 30 percent more likely to have bipolar disorder.
- The Sylvia Plath Effect
* Does creativity cause mental illness? There isn't a link between mental illness and the actual process of creating, says psychiatrist Albert Rothenberg, MD, of Harvard Medical School, who has studied Nobel laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners and other highly creative individuals. Rather, he argues that mental illnesses such as anxiety, thought disorder and depression disrupt the cognitive and emotional processes necessary for successful creativity.
In fact, in his book, "Creativity and Madness: New Findings and Old Stereotypes" (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990), Rothenberg proposes that highly creative people do better when they are treated for their mental illnesses.
"That doesn't mean people who create haven't often had mental illnesses," he adds, but that their subject matter and the field they are in perhaps have more bearing on their mental health than creativity itself.
* Does the type of creativity matter? Creative people in the artistic professions are more likely to have a mental illness than those in less artistic professions, such as science and business, according to research by Arnold M. Ludwig, MD, in his book, "The Price of Greatness" (Guilford, 1995).
Moreover, in a more recent retrospective study of 1,629 writers, Kaufman found that poets--and in particular female poets --were more likely than fiction writers, nonfiction writers and playwrights to have signs of mental illness, such as suicide attempts or psychiatric hospitalizations.
In a second analysis of 520 eminent American women, he again found that poets were more likely to have mental illnesses and to experience personal tragedy than eminent journalists, visual artists, politicians and actresses--a finding Kaufman has dubbed "the Sylvia Plath effect" after the noted poet who had depression and eventually committed suicide. The findings appear in The Journal of Creative Behavior (Vol. 35, No. 1).
In A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare suggested a link between madness and artistic creativity: 'The lunatic, the lover, and the poet', he wrote, 'Are of imagination all compact'. Recent studies have shown that there is indeed a connection. Rates of mental illness are hugely elevated in the families of poets, writers and artists, suggesting that the same genes, the same temperaments, and the same imaginative capacities are at work in insanity and in creative ability. Thus the reason madness continues to exist is that the traits behind it have psychological benefits as well as psychological costs. In Strong Imagination, Daniel Nettle explores the nature of mental illness, the biological mechanisms that underlie it, and its link to creative genius.
From Strong Imagination by Daniel Nettle.
What are your thoughts on this?
I know that being ill this past year, in the depths of my depression, my ability to write has vanished. I'm afraid of it being lost permanantly. Such a strong desire to write comes over me, but I am unable to focus enough to write.
Hence the large number of nothing posts with pretty pictures instead.
I stumbled onto a new blog tonight, and the writer was speaking about comfort books. And I smiled, because so many of you, my friends, would name the same books that immediately sprang to my mind.
What books do you turn to? Which stories ease their way under your skin, breathing comfort and warmth to your heart, like a much loved blanket. Are their charecters you've soaked up, leaving them feeling like kindred spirits, rather than just the imagination of another person?
Which great novels do you want turn to when you need to wind down and relax, letting them work their magic on your tired, aching soul.
Here, for the record are mine. My five favourite books. These are books I don't ever have to 'get in to'. I'm there, right away, as my fingers touch the well worn spines, and I open them up. Already transported into the much loved worlds.
Anne of Green Gables.
Pride and Prejudice.
I love Elizabeth Bennet. I love just everything about her. While I am very, very fond of Mr Darcy, though, I am wildly in love with Mr Knightley, so it is Elizabeth alone who brings this book into this list.
Does every family have a Lydia? Mine does. Though I'm doubting she's read this.
Jo March was my first heroine, and I wanted to stay up late at night and write like her. I was furious, however when she didn't marry Teddy. Theodore Lawrence, in my opinion, was wronged, and I don't know what Miss Alcott was thinking. It left me sad everytime I read it. I know she had plans and a happy ending for Jo, but oh, how I wished it differently every time.
Much Ado about Nothing (Ok, so it's a play. But it's my favourite. Though here, I confess. The Kenneth Branagh film is simply one of my favourite things to watch of all time. I watch that far more often than I pick up the Bard's volumes).
If you haven't seen the Kenneth Branagh Version, I implore you. Set aside a night. Get some chocolate. Curl up and indulge. It'll change your life like the BBC version of P&P.
Ender's Game (and indeed, the whole series).
Give it a try. It is the best science fiction book I have ever read. In fact, before being pressed to read it, I couldn't stand the thought of reading Sci Fi. This book is unlike anything you'd expect. The whole series is wonderful, but Enders Game can stand alone as a masterpiece.
Just missing out on my list here were Persuasion, The Katy Books, The Naughtiest Girl Books and Magician (and the series that followed - again, the only "Fantasy" series I recommend).
So. What's yours? What literary treasures do you curl up with on a rainy day? Where do you do your reading? In bed? On the sofa? Out in the garden?
I tag everyone doing NaBloPoMo.
Remember. If you want to get something off your chest, but can't do it on your own blog (prying eyes and all), The Things I Can't Tell You is open to anyone. Just email me at email@example.com and I will cut and paste it into the blog for you. Anonymity is assured.
The thing is, that my license expired in August. And I, in the state I was in, could not bring myself to go down to the Transport Department (or pick up the phone) to renew it. I remember getting the notification and stuffing it in the draw (in the same place I had been stuffing everything addressed to me, bills included) and simply not dealing.
Avoidance was one of the biggest symptoms of my illness in the past year. Bills I was hiding (for no logical, reason), phone calls I couldn't bring myself to make etc.
It is a pathetic excuse, to an outsider. All I can say is that I simply could not do it, and didnt' tell Joel.
I was pulled up yesterday (the officer thought I wasn't wearing a seatbelt. I was, there was no problem). They discovered I was driving unlicensed. I am now not allowed to drive until I appear before a magistrate.
I'm the kind of person who has never been pulled over. Ever. Not even for an RBT. I've never done anything requiring me to appear before a court, speak to a police officer etc. I'm shattered.
It's my fault, I acknowledge that. I have noone to blame but myself and my screwed up brain. But now things are complicated. Getting the boys to school and daycare is now impossible because we live in a different suburb to the school and daycare, so I can't rely on anyone else.
And I was just literally in the last week or two, starting to venture out of the house. I even made it to the shopping centre on Monday, briefly to go to the bank. Something I would have been unable to do just a month ago. And now that I had made that progress, I am left unable to repeat it.
I screwed up. My excuse is not going to hold up to anyone. It sounds far too stupid to be believed, but it is the truth. I'm an idiot.
Wednesday, 25 November 2009
Laura Ashley parasol.
Just a touch of red with these Christian Louboutins. My favourite shoes.
Ok, so I know you said summer dresses. This could count, no? You could totally go to the park in this one. Look. Scarlett Johannsen did.
Don't forget nails.
Lunch with the girls?
In a couple of blogs, my comments once posted are disappearing altogether, but in others it simply takes forever.
Not sure what the issue is, if it's a Blogger Issue etc, but am just mentioning it. With a little bit of a foot stomp. Just so you know I'm serious, is all.
Today, November 25th Is International White Ribbon Day. It is a day dedicated to raising awareness of, and eliminating violence against women.
I hate that we have to have a day to talk about this. That there has to be a special day to bring this to people's attention. That there will be tea parties and lunches to talk about the issue in the abstract.
Forget the abstract. Women and girls everywhere, every day are being beaten. Physically abused. Sexually Abused. Verbally Abused. They are at risk for trying to learn. For talking to the wrong people. For falling in love with the wrong man. For driving a car.
They are subject to domineering men who cut off their contact with friends, family and finances. Trapped in violent homes because they feel they have no other option, or, worse. Deserve no better.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd calls domestic violence "The great silent crime of our time". It is utterly wrong that so many stay quiet about domestic violence. It is utterly wrong that they feel they have to. It should not be a silent crime. But only if we let it be. Start talking. Start taking an interest, first of all, in the women around you.
Donate, get involved, buy a white ribbon. Get people talking. Keep it on the radar, past today, past this month.
To find out how you can support White Ribbon Day, visit the website here. Or, take the Oath here.
I ask every single woman who reads my blog (and men - this is for you too, Murph, you have a wife and daughter) to blog or post about this. Talk about Violence against women. Talk about White Ribbon Day. If nothing else, use your blog to make this a less 'silent' crime. Help eliminate violence against women.
There are women and men in other lands who suffer real physical danger to make the lives of other women safer. They are persecuted, beaten, jailed and sometimes killed. I think the very, very least we can do is listen to them, and help spread their message.
For your daughters. Your mothers. Your sisters. Your nieces. Your granddaughters. Your wives. Your best friends.
Tuesday, 24 November 2009
After 70ish years, Nestle are axing the PollyWaffle.
I know. Shocking. Terrible. I know they were your favourite. I'd boycott Nestle for you. Except, I hated the bloody things, lol. Anyway, this is something I'd have told you.
I'd have called you on the phone, I'd have pretended to be serious as I broke the tragic news to you.
Then I'd have laughed my ass off as you raced out and bought every one you could get your hands on.
I'm laughing at you now, Mum. Missing you, but laughing right at you. :-)
This week's Blog This Challenge is all about Quick Fix Meals.
I have a few, and sadly, they are all getting a bit of a workout at the moment.
Oene of the easiest meals we do involves, sometimes as little as a packet of pasta, a pasta sauce and a little cheese.
I usually (remember this isn't fine dining people, this is a quick fix) buy the Romano Cheese Pasta Sauce, some spirals and some tasty cheese. If I'm feeling human, I'll cook some onion, garlic, bacon and mushrooms in a small frying pan. In the last couple of minutes of cooking the pasta, add a cup or so of frozen, diced vegetables (peas, carrot, corn and capsicum).
Pour the sauce over the pasta, add the mushroom and bacon mixture, stir in some cheese, bake it at 180C and voila. Pasta back. Dinner on the table in less than half an hour.
Now. I'm an ok cook. I have a couple of dishes I do pretty well. I do a good lasagne. I've tasted plenty that are as good and some that are better. But it's pretty great.
I do a good potato bake. Good risotto. Good cannelloni. I bake a bit.
But I make a freaking awesome pumpkin soup. I can say this unabashedly - I've yet to find one as good.
I can give you a recipe, but to be honest, it changes a little each time (as good recipes do).
But I get 2 leeks and a clove of garlic. Half a Kent, a quarter of a Jap and a whole small Butternut. A large Sweet Potato or two small ones (the orangey ones). A quarter of a teasooon of chilli paste. And chicken stock powder. It is the only recipe I use stock powder for, I usually buy liquid, or make. But in this recipe, for some reason it works best with Maggi Chicken Stock Powder.
Saute the leeks (much better and sweeter than onion), garlic and chilli in a little olive oil and butter (about half and half). After a couple of minutes, add the chopped up pumpkin and sweet potato. Cover with water and a couple of tablespoons of stock powder.
Cook it until soft. Puree it.
Serve it into bowls, then with a teaspoon, add a small swirl of cream. Done. Served best with that pan bread (like the stuff Sizzler makes). It is one of our favourite easy meals.
But I was really honest with you. We can go quicker. Easier.
These. They aer $3.00 for a packet of 12. They take about 15 minutes in a hot oven (around 200ish). Pull them out when puffed and golden.
I eat the Vegetarian ones, they have a pumpkin-y puree in them. they boys and Joel like the Spinach and Ricotta or Feta cheese ones.
That, my friends is down - and - dirty - quick - fix - cheaters cooking.