Tag Archives: Friendship

Happy Birthday Clint Eastwood

Standard

The 31st May is Clint Eastwood’s Birthday.

And Brooke Shields,
Colin Farrell
Lea Thompson
Tom Berenger
Chris Elliott
Don Ameche
Walt Whitman
Denholm Elliott
Prince Rainier of Monaco
Jim Bolger
Tommy Emmanuel
Justin Madden
Corey Hart
Sarah Murdoch
and a few other peeps here and there.

Oh, and it’s mine.

But since my 40th Birthday, exactly five years ago, I no longer celebrate or even recognise it as a special day. I don’t answer the phone when it rings, I don’t check my Facebook until the very end of the day to thank any Birthday Wishes, I don’t accept any invitations to dinner or lunch, and generally I just ignore the day altogether.

This year I received just one card in the mail – from my ex-BFF’s Mum (not my own Mum).

My girlfriend Sally also dropped a card off to my place, on her way home from church. I took some two day-old soup to her place a couple of hours later and we watched the footy and crocheted in front of the fire. Max LOVES going to Sally’s house. He knows we’re heading there as soon as I turn off the highway and stands with his front paws on the dashboard.

And now it’s over, and I don’t have to feel the hurt and the reality of how alone I am – as polarised by a birthday – for another twelve months.

By which time,
I am planning on not living in the Purple House any more.

.

.

.

.

.

Advertisements

Personality Of A Sink Hole

Standard

I started writing this post in late November 2014,
and just couldn’t face finishing it before now.

.

.

.

For my fortieth birthday, I had always planned an amazing day. An amazing weekend, actually.

  • A rural campground, with huts and a central hall
  • A treasure hunt
  • A dance party
  • A decorated table for all of my presents
  • Handpainted sign posts
  • A giant scrabble board on the grass
  • A camp fire
  • Lamb on a spit
  • Fairylights adorning all the trees
  • Crusty rolls made on site
  • A decadent brunch the next morning, brimming with eggs, bacon & chocolate milkshakes
  • Handmade Thank You gifts for everyone

It was to be a whimsical and fun spectacle, that whenever one of my guests thought of it it would involuntarily make them smile.

But I could not make it happen. It’s true I was in no financial situation to be able to create my dream 40th, but that aside – I was at the beginning of a downward spiral of self-doubt, a bout of Depression that would last over four years, and, a period of my life where I would not even know who I was. I didn’t know it at the time, but my fortieth birthday was the beginning of the loss of my identity.

I was to become utterly lost.

I had recently been approached by a local man for a physical relationship. Although I was quite clear that I was not interested in a purely physical relationship with a man as I now knew that I deserved to be with a respectful and loving partner, he pursued me with some vigour. So he made a small amount of effort spend time with me and my boys; sitting with me as I watered my front lawn, sharing a beer on my front verandah, or sharing a dirty martini and funny stories late at night as we both suffered from insomnia.

Then one blistering January afternoon, I was sitting in my little Beep Beep (car) with the air conditioner on absolutely full bore. My north-facing fibro house had turned into an oven on this 40*+ summer day and my trusty car was my only form of respite. It was so hot even my scalp was sweating!

Without warning the passenger door of my car opened and there was said gentleman, and he proceeded to inform me that he no longer wanted to spend any time with me as although he believed that he was no longer in love with his estranged wife (and mother of his four children) who had cheated on him and then thrown him out of his home, he was in fact not ready to pursue another relationship yet. Unless it was a purely physical one.

With that, he left.

And I sat in my Beep Beep and cried, hot salty tears. I cried because I had finally been strong enough to insist on what I believed I deserved and had missed out. I cried because I was hot in all the wrong ways. I cried because I was lonely, and broke and desperate for someone to love. A friend or a partner or family.

And I had noone.

And so the months ticked by from January to May. As my 40th drew closer, I discouraged any attempt by my few friends to have a party for me. I didn’t want to celebrate a birthday that brought me no real joy. I was not happy in life and didn’t want to pretend otherwise for others. However one of my friends thought my protestations to be false and truly believed that I should have a birthday. It was a milestone and I deserved a party.

So she went through my phone and found some contact numbers and organised a lunch for me.

A week before my birthday a box arrived from Sydney. A box I knew was from my ‘best friend’. A friend that I had been close to since we were 16. Twenty four years of our lives. We had survived our teens, and our twenties, and overseas adventures together, despite following very different paths and ending up in very different situations. I didn’t open my box on the morning of my birthday, as would have been my normal practice. I love surprises and I love being spoiled.

You see the morning of my fortieth was taken up by the needs of my Mother, who had insisted on coming down from Perth to see me on my birthday. Without giving away any of her confidences, I can only say that our relationship was hard work. For me anyway.

I finally had saved the money to have my car serviced (my present to myself – Happy 40th, Pia!) and had already fielded a phone call from my best Friend in Sydney. She mentioned a number of times that she was not flying over for a surprise visit and so I was not to expect it. I know that this sounds spectacularly weird, but it seems she was convinced that this was what I would have expected of her her. She had only a month prior, returned to work after twelve months maternity leave due to the birth of her second daughter. I didn’t for a minute contemplate that she would come to see me for my birthday. It just didn’t occur to me.

And so by 10am, I had fielded a couple of phone calls and seen to my Mother’s needs, and I had dropped my car to the auto electrician with a list of my car’s needs – and now finally I was in the shower. I was finally alone.

Until my Mum barged in and said that the auto electrician had rung and had asked if I really needed everything done, in particular one small but annoying task – to which she informed me that she had told them not to bother. The task was number one on my list that I had left with them. A task that had needed attention for three years and now I could finally afford to pay to get completed.

And so I emerged from my shower, dejected and full of dread for the day ahead. I hadn’t even dried my hair when my first birthday guest arrived. Bearing a gift from the local $2 shop that she informed me reminded her of our discussions of saving our pennies for a trip to the French countryside – a cardboard box with a picture of the Eiffel Tower. She then told me I need to get my glad rags on, as she was taking me out for a birthday lunch.

Yippee!

The town where I live is seaside and has the most wonderful beaches. Long white beaches where my dog(s) can romp. Deep blue sea that is rarely flat or still. Every now and again you can see a seal or dolphin fins. There is of course the obligatory seaside restaurants, which is where my birthday event was to take place. Waiting for me at the allotted table were two more friends one of whom looked like she was ready to throw a glass of water over the other – I was soon to learn why.

Why do some people complain so much
about their lives, like husbands, children, jobs, homes, pets
– when all they have to do is make change?
Why do people insist on being unhappy?

Now when do you think the real fun and games with my Mum began? Can you guess? I’m going to boring and tell you . . . the games begun as soon as the waitress arrived at our table and asked “would anyone like to order a drink?”. Well! Did she what!?!

But first, FIRST she had to (HAD TO) say . . . .

“Ooh I’d love a drink. But I don’t think I’m allowed to.
Am I allowed Pia?
Am I allowed to have a drink?”

So I spent the next two hours making polite conversation while every nerve, every sinew and every vessel in my body was SCREAMING for me to run away. To get away and be by myself. But I stayed.

I tried drink a revolting cocktail put in front of me, and I ate a meal I could not taste and I accepted two more gifts that were purchased by well meaning friends that in fact did not suit me or meet any of my needs.

My Mum spoke fondly of the gift she was giving me – the gift she ‘gives’ me every birthday and every Christmas – a promise to take me shopping for something that I need or want. Whatever that may be, and something I usually don’t receive. It’s been that way for over twenty years.

I’m told that it’s the thought that counts.

So the excruciating ordeal came to an end, with a jolly invitation from my Mother to everyone at the table to come back to my house to have some birthday cake. With a promise to all that the birthday cake, was in fact my favourite dessert. Finally, something I may actually like on my birthday – as my favourite dessert is pavlova with strawberries and cream. Yum! Anyone who has ever met me knows how much I LOVE pavlova.

So home we headed to my fibro shack to sing the obligatory song and enjoy the sugary goodness of my favourite dessert. God I was salivating all the way. We gathered in the front room, that was actually the largest part of my shop, and Mum brought in a white bakery box. The box was opened, candles stuck in and lit and then the song was sung. All the while my heart was turning to stone.

In the box was a cake with lots of cream and chocolate spindles – I had no idea what it was,
but it was not a pavlova.

My Mum then proudly instructed me to cut everyone a piece. So I did. With every cut and every serve my heart sank further and further down my body, heading to the bottom of my belly. God I wish this day would end. Then one of my friend’s piped up with a compliment to my Mum for the delicious Black Forest Cake, and asked me the last time I had had one. I had managed to this point to just cut, serve and keep my mouth shut. So when presented with the situation where I had to either lie or tell the truth and I genuinely did not have enough energy left to lie. So I told the truth.

“I hate Black Forest Cake, because it has fruit in it (cherries).
It’s actually my sister, S2’s, favourite dessert”

Now, my Mum has a particular talent for being dramatic and to ensure that she stays the centre of attention, especially with a few drinks under her belt. She has the knack for acting the part of martyr. We’re talking BAFTA quality acting! So despite the disappointment being my own, it was in fact my Mum who put her head in her hands and exclaimed loudly “I’m so stupid” “I can’t do anything right” “I’ve ruined everything!” Each proclamation was also embellished with “tsk” and “ugh”.

Such drama – over a cake.

An hour later, everyone bar my Mum has left and it is time to collect my car, minus the most important work, and try to salvage some sort of joy from the day. Or am I being ambitious? Despite my little house only having one bedroom, I manage to avoid my Mum for the better part of the evening, and she takes herself off to bed with more profuse apologies for the cake (’cause I really want to relive that moment!).

And I finally get a chance to open the box from Sydney. The contents of which, requires a blog post all of it’s own.

And thus – my 40th Birthday was over.

Thank fuck!

.

.

.

.

.

It’s A Dog’s Life – In My Home Anyway

Standard

.

For the first time since he came to live with me, just over ten years, Max has fallen asleep on my lap.

.

IMG_5916

.

It’s just shy of eleven months since we lost both Horatio then Jack. We have both struggled quite badly to live with the loss – for lots of different reasons.

I still miss my boys so much and still instantly tear-up when I think of them. Having them in my life altered the course of my entire being. They enriched my existence by an immeasurable amount.

.

My Boys . . . . 2009

My Boys . . . . 2009

.

Max and I still have a ways to go, in trying to have a happy life with just the two of us. But we keep trying.

On the whole, I have found that having my three Boys was healthier than any other relationship (bar one) that I ever had with a human. Humans are not reliable. Dogs are predictable. They are also loyal and loving and gentle.

I have thought about adopting another dog, particularly for Max’s sake – but I’m just too allergic. I’m actually allergic to Max, but we soldier on in a fashion as the allergy isn’t nearly as strong as with most other breeds.

It helps that I love him so much, too.

.

He woke himself up by snorting!

He woke himself up by snorting!

.

.

.

.

.

1:51 AM

Standard

Another day full of ‘bits’.

I really am an odd soul. My days are spent doing such a variety of activities that no day is a repeat of any other. Most other people don’t really ‘get’ how I spend my time. Which is understandable.

I don’t have a single room in my home that is organised or established with a purpose. Every single room has debris from my old shop (closed over 27 months ago), unfinished craft projects, items in boxes for other rooms (i.e. the kitchen) or misplaced furniture.

My bedroom is the only room that even resembles it’s true purpose, although it still has odd furniture and boxes and of craft items. My kitchen is the absolute worst room.

.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

.

Today I spent three hours cleaning up filthy drywall, animal droppings, asbestos dust and random insulation. Everything went into double bags ready for proper disposal. Then I brought the hose inside and cleaned away even more layers of grot and grime, the detritus draining through the uneven floorboards.

I also did a couple of loads of washing, ate some scrummy spag bog, gave Max some loves and had a five minute catchup with my girlfriend, S. I hung some of my art on the wall of my study, worked five hours with very sore feet and at 11pm, I stopped into S’s place and drilled some holes into a plastic container so I could then re-pot an orchid for her. (She’s going away for ten days and really wanted it to be alive when she returned.)

I was also subjected to a road-rage incident. A car full of drunk teens, no rear lights on their vehicle and some seriously dodgy driving. I called Mr Plod, but I doubt anything would have happened to them. I wasn’t scared, just really annoyed. Some people are such dickheads.

I’ve had my 1/4 of Mirtazapine and am feeling just slightly drowsy.

I might go to bed – and dream of gorgeous white kitchens and fresh biscuits from the oven. Oh that would be a dream!

I wander what tomorrow will bring . . .

.

.

.

.

.

.

Dance Hall Days

Standard

I wish I had a photo to show you of this time in my life,
but,
even though my Mum had a camera in my youth the truth is we couldn’t afford
to get the photos processed ($13 for 24 photos back in the 80’s!).

.

.

When I was fourteen or fifteen years old, I used to go to an underage disco in Perth. It was located right in the middle of Perth. Teens from the whole Perth metro area were welcome. I am completely unaware if it was privately owned or run by the Perth City Council. A decade before computers became prevalent and twenty years before the age of the internet, I can’t find any record of it.

I use to go with my best friend, B.

Music was such an escape for me back as a teenager. Like it is for so many young people. But mine was a different form of escapism from the norm – I was less enamoured with the words as I was with the melody. Actually, it was the beat that I was addicted to.

.

.

I’ve talked before about how I feel music in my marrow. I feel it right inside of me. Deep. As a teenager who was exposed to a poisonous anti-male upbringing and with little or no love being shown towards me (or my siblings), who had no redeemable physical or intellectual features with which to excel in life and as a youth who was ‘plain’ to say the least . . . . music became my safe place.

Such a beautiful and remarkable safe place.
I LOVE listening to music.

But I LOVE dancing to music even more.

Now, I’m not a pretty dancer. I get right into it – if you know what I mean. I throw my body around in perfect tempo with the rhythm and beats of music. Quite often head down concentrating the efforts of my arms and limbs, to perfectly synch with the next beat that I know is coming. My torso is always moving, either swaying, twitching or convulsing. I told you – the music gets right into my marrow. Into the nucleus of every cell.

Unfortunately, this expenditure of energy does produce some fairly unattractive results . . . . . mainly a sweaty, red-faced girl. Can you imagine it?!? Not pretty, is it? It’s just one of those unfortunate inherited traits, where the red-headed Irishman/convict of my past, shows itself with utter regularity, whenever I am energetic.

.

.

Put this together with a frenetic and not-altogether-scary vision of the contortions I make while dancing, and perhaps you can begin to see why boys never rushed to my side.

Being a ‘normal’ adolescent, I wanted to be attractive to boys. For boys to ‘like’ me. It wasn’t until a particularly nasty comment from one of my sisters in my mid 20’s, that I begun to become self-conscious of how I danced. I begun to care what I looked like rather than how I felt when I was immersed in dancing. But in my teens, I was oblivious.

My unattractive state while I moved was made even more glaring by my beautiful girlfriend, who was just swaying to the beat. Can I paint you a picture? Long, long auburn hair, thick as Rapunzel’s. Thick and dark lashes on cat-like brown yes. High cheek bones and a smattering of freckles. She already had a budding hourglass figure and developed boobs wayyyyyy before me. Long legs and slightly taller than average, my girlfriend was a boy-magnet. In fact, they swarmed.

.

.

Looking back now I can see that this difference in our physical selves and how we were perceived by the opposite gender, had a profound effect on our friendship over the coming decades. Not by design, envy or malice, purely because of human nature.

What do I mean?. After only a few visits (a few Saturdays in a row), a young deaf guy called M, started to really fancy B. As I said, she always had boys around her but there must have been something about him that she particularly found interesting. Thankfully, the 1980’s were still innocent enough days, where a bit of snogging was the ‘most’ that could happen at an underage even. Well for the majority of kids anyway.

B’s Mum was usually the one who picked us up at the end of the evenings, as (I now realise) mine wouldn’t have been in a state to drive. I was always so embarrassed and apologetic to B’s Mum that she had to be the one to pick us up. I fretted and felt so painfully guilty. I remember one night she was a bit snappy and seemed annoyed at having to pick us up. From that night on, I was always so anxious to be on time whenever she was picking us up.

.

.

Another night that sticks on the tracks of my memory train, is a Saturday only a few weeks later, that we went to Angels. B & her beau M, were dragging their feet even though the music had stopped and lights were on. I was just so anxious to not keep B’s Mum waiting. But B had other priorities and of course we never treat our own Mum’s how we treat others, do we? She was happy to make her Mum wait.

It seems weird doesn’t it!?! The three strongest memories I have of those juvenile hedonistic dance nights are
* how beautiful my girlfriend looked when she danced
* how unattractive I was compared to my girlfriend
* a severe anxiety at making other people wait for me, even when the situation is controlled by others.

My strongest memory isn’t of my own love and joy of dancing. That’s a bit sad wouldn’t you say? And what of my girlfriend B?

She is as remarkably beautiful a woman, wife and mother as she was as a teenager.

.

.

Lastly, I just had to share this utter classic from the 80’s.

If this video clip doesn’t make you fucking lose it laughing – then your soul is dead.
I’m sorry, but it’s true!

.

.

.

.

.

.

 

 

 

 

Clam

Standard

.

.

Mollusc

.

Clams are one of my favourite sea creatures – as they are delicious!

The most wonderful culinary memory I have of clams, is of the simply sublime Clam Chowder I devoured on the foreshore of San Francisco Bay in 1996. It was the first time I had tasted clam chowder and I will never forget the silky, thick broth and seriously considered having a second bowl. It was so good.

And I’ve never really been able to repeat this gastronomic nirvana. It was that good!

.

.

Clog

.

One of the most negative side effects of my long-term *Asthma*, has been the learning and perfecting how to isolate myself from others.

Initially it was a coping mechanism when I was feeling ‘blue’ and unable to communicate this to people around me. It became necessary as a teacher, to be able to hide my emotional state and just get on with the job. In hindsight, I still view this as a step that helped me cope longer than I would have otherwise.

As my condition worsened over the years, I started to really look at the condition as a chronic illness – rather than just something I had to get ‘over’ – and researched how I could deal with it. I had more failures than successes in dealing with my *Asthma*, and the people around me, the people I had the strongest bonds with, started to alter their behaviour towards me. They were just as exhausted with my *Asthma* as I was.

In their fatigued state, my loved ones reacted with frustration and mild anger – regularly ‘guilting’ me by admonishing my inability to communicate my *Asthma* with them. In their pain and helplessness, they were upset that I hadn’t reached out. They didn’t understand that to cope I had to isolate myself.

To cope – I just clammed up.

I Am Avoiding Being Me

Standard

I’ve trudged along in the past three weeks, since Jack’s passing, just ‘doing’ things. I’ve been helping a family (friends) who are moving house after 5 years of renting into their OWN home. But holy shit, when you have to clear out 5 and half years of living (2 adults + 3 young children) then there is some serious hard yakka to be done. It’s been great but also confronting.

My own home is so far from ‘liveable’. Today, as aI type this post – I am sitting cross legged on my computer chair. A rug over my knees and one around my shoulder. I am FREEZING !!! I have no money until tomorrow, no wood to burn in the fire, no fuel in my car to go steal wood from the side of one of our country roads.

I am still trying to be positive and build a business from scratch. Plugging away at night time. I am trying to start-up another small enterprise – A Handmade Market in my local town and it is such hard, hard work. It’s like pulling a cart up a the side of a steep hill on a rainy day along a boggy track. I know it’s just my “Asthma” talking, but it all seems too difficult.

Why do I keep trying?

Why can’t someone just give me permission to ‘give up’?
It would be such a relief to not have to keep trying each day.
I’m so tired of being a ‘Battler’.

Somebody, recently, described me as vivacious. Are you shitting me? Vivacious? I am anti-vivacious!!! I can’t be fucked putting on makeup or ‘doing’ my hair. I live in one pair of tracksuit pants, black socks and various t-shirts with a grotty old oversized/ill fitting windcheater jacket pulled over the top of it all. I don’t care what I look like. Noone else does either. Certainly not men. God forbid that they do look in my direction. It would be tantamount to Perseus’ gaze falling on Medusa.

But perhaps I’m just feeling sorry for myself.

Maybe in a week or month or year, I will revisit this post and be embarrassed by my outburst.

I don’t know anymore. I’m cold, poor and lonely.
Boo hoo.
Pity party at Pia’s.

You gotta love alliteration, if nothing else!