Wednesday, November 29, 2006


I've been worrying about one of my best friends for the last couple of weeks. He lives in New Zealand and he has just moved house, and hasn't given me his new home number yet. He hasn't been answering my texts, and he has been very quiet on the email front.

Today I found out why. He has had a recurrence of bowel cancer. He has just had another tumour removed, and although they are optimistic that they got it all because it was encapsulated, he has been back having radiotherapy and "flashing his arse all over New Zealand". He doesn't know yet if he will have to go and have more chemo. This will be his third round of it in 4 years.

I feel so powerless and useless. I know that his coping mechanism is to shut himself away and deal with things by himself, but I want to be able to do something. He is always there for me, but he doesn't want anyone there for him at the moment. Right now, the only thing I can do is let him deal with things his own way, and be there when he is ready for people again. That and rely on other friends over there to keep an eye on him.

I guess I'm just scared that he is worried that things will go badly, and he is trying to isolate himself more to spare everyone.

Friday, November 24, 2006


We had an incredibly tense day while we were away (I know it wasn't that long ago, but my only reminder is my peeling shins - ewww). We both woke up grumpy, and it was one of those out of sorts days for both of us. Ironically, it was the day with the best weather we had the entire time, and I hold it completely responsible for my sunburnt shins. Of course my inability to correctly apply sunscreen had nothing to do with it.

It was one of those days where there were great parts, but the tension was still there, and things just didn't click. We decided to do some laundry and potter around in town and then have a quiet dinner back in our treehouse before going out for a couple of drinks. Didn't quite happen. Neither of us knew where the laundromat was in town so we drove around a bit and didn't find it. Rather than go to the information place he decided to park and then we would just walk around looking for it. We walked around for a couple of blocks without any success. I'm not sure about anyone else, but my idea of a good time does not include wandering around an unknown town with a bag of my dirty clothes in 30 degree weather.
It was one of those angry walks (mmm ... Jason Isaacs on the TV .... must focus...) where 2 people are walking together fast, not speaking, and obviously not happy. We ended up standing on a street corner "discussing" where the laundromat (be still my heart, Alan Rickman just appeared) was and what was going to happen. I've never had a public discussion like that before - my voice got raised and my hands were flying all over the place. I don't think I was making much sense - I seem to remember saying that he could go and do his laundry wherever he liked, but I was going to get a cab and go home, and I thought it would be a good idea if I slept on the balcony in the hammock. Straight into the martyr fight pose - not one I like, and not one I'm proud of.
The tension wasn't helped when we got back to the car, and discovered that the laundromat was across the road from where we parked, and we had completely missed it in our angry walk. We went and started the laundry and then he decided he was going to go for a walk. Much as I never wanted to see him again, I was even angrier being left alone with the laundry, and then having to get it all washed and dried. He used the magic trick of managing to reappear right as everything was washed and dried, having finished all of his family gift shopping. Not amused - me, as I didn't get to get mine finished.
Being the mature adults that we are, we both went the silent treatment at each other all the way back to the treehouse, except for me giving directions (boasty moment, I'm better at navigation!!), generally left here, next right, straight ahead. Silence continued once we got back to the treehouse, and I ran away downstairs to have a cry in peace. He decided that it was a good time to go out and fill the car up with petrol, and then I just lost it - had a bit of a yell, mainly about being left alone with laundry and selfishness. Back to silence, and not a happy one. Him, the angry brooding silence, which I really don't cope with well, even though I'm very good at it, me, the pouty, sulky silence, which generally means that I'm sitting there thinking "why aren't you asking me what is wrong", "can't you see that I'm upset", "why aren't you psychic, why can't you see that I'm pissed, and try to make it better". I've never been one for high expectations really.
Eventually, still in daylight hours, he decided to start telling me how he was really feeling, and had a bit of a yell. One thing I have learnt from experience is how much he hates to be interrupted, so I just let him go. We are both very good at bottling stuff up, and then I tend to yell, he tends to be angry and just cut everything off. After lots of talking, and more crying from me, we eventually managed to resolve it all. I sometimes think that me crying is unfair, because I know that he really hates it when I cry, especially when he can't do anything to fix it, but at the same time, I don't want to bottle up tears when I feel like crying. I did it for 20 years or so, and it doesn't help.
I'm proud that we worked through it all in the same day, and I have a sneaking suspicion that one of the reasons we were both so tense and the fighting actually happened is that we were both testing the boundaries of the relationship, seeing if the other wanted to use it as a get out of the relationship card. I think we both still have times that we are scared, and occasionally wondering if this will really work. One of the things that I'm really happy about is that we agreed way before we get around to getting married (his threat of December 29 is past - we don't have time to get the paperwork done! That and he still didn't get around to asking properly) we will go and have pre marital counselling. I really think it is essential - I'm scared of divorce, and the pain that it causes, and I've seen it rip mine, and too many other families apart. I think that if we can learn better ways to deal with issues and conflicts it is definitely worth doing. I don't want him out of my life - and the one thing that I was scared of when we were fighting was just that.
I first wrote this post nearly 3 weeks ago, when I was still very emotional, and way too close to it, so I have been editing it over the last week or so, so please forgive any disjointedness and epicness.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Where do you go my lovely?

Yes I have been remiss. I've been reading all of your blogs, and commenting, but my brain has just been mushy trying to learn a new job, dealing with Christmas already (hello world, it is still November!!!! Call back in December!), maintaining a relationship and spending time with my friends and family. The seasonal obligation whirl has already kicked in, and I find myself needing to maintain the calendar vigilantly, otherwise we are going to be all over the place.

Does anyone have any suggestions for good online invitations? I've just realised it is a month until I want to have my birthday party, and with most people being online I want to see what ideas I can find to use, borrow or plagiarise :) I haven't really celebrated my birthday with all of my friends a party since I turned 25, so I think it is well and truly time. I know that the date is a shocker, but feel free to raise that with my parents, and be thankful I'm not celebrating on the actual day

I've had a couple of emails asking why I haven't mentioned the boy lately - all will be revealed in my next post - I promise!

It rocked

The U2 concert was fantastic and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It felt odd though because I think it was the first concert I had been to in my life where I didn't really dance. I love to listen to the music of U2, but I don't associate them with dancing. I found myself singing along most of the time, and swaying to a few things, but no hot sweaty, standing in the middle of a sports stadium with 80,000 people, getting carried away with the music and the people, not caring who you are dancing with or what you look like. Maybe somewhere in my brain I associate them with worthiness (sounds dull, doesn't it?) and message music, rather than dancing and fun. Odd.

Note to the Edge, yes we booed you. Melbourne is not Sydney, and we don't like being called that. Sorry, we love you, but that was an insult.

Note to Bono, getting a text from you after the concert is exciting. Thanks. I would love to have seen my face when I checked my phone for the beep and finding a message from Bono. Cool. Thanks

Thursday, November 16, 2006

New kid on the block

I'm shattered, so this will be a very short post.

I survived my first day at the new job and it was good. My head is spinning with all of the information that I've taken in so far today, and it will be interesting to see how much of it I've retained. So far the people seem nice, and the office is good and easy to get to.

I just wish that I'd slept better last night - I woke up every hour or so stressed that I had slept through my alarm, so that when I finally gave up and got up at 6 I was already tired. Don't think I'll have that problem tonight somehow.

To top it all off, I had tickets to see Al Gore do his presentation on global warming - blew me away. More about that when I don't have the hectic schedule I've got over the next few days.

3 more sleeps til U2

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Entertainment - NQR

This weekend, I finally went and spent my farewell gift from my last employer. I requested a barbecue and an outdoor setting (I know, I really don't ask for much!), and they gave me vouchers to a large hardware chain.

Yesterday I wandered around there with my brother and stepfather, who had competed to see who could help me spend the vouchers fastest, and put a table on hold. I went back today with my brother and his fiance, and was overjoyed to find that the barbecue I wanted had been reduced to $150 from $299 from $499, which meant that I could buy more benches to go with the table. Total digression, my barbecue has a rotisserie and a wok burner, and my brother was disappointed that I didn't buy the barbecue with the deep fryer!!! What the...?

Anyway, being me I decided that it was a good opportunity to invite my mum and stepfather for dinner, and my brother and his fiance, and any other family members who were available. My brother and his fiance said that they would come over early and help me to put the barbecue, table and chairs together.

Come 5.30 and I haven't seen them yet, so I think I should start. So I open up the box and find the instructions. So far so good. Then I start getting all of the pieces out (and there were at least 50!). Looking at the first steps, I can't find the screws and wing nuts that I need, so I start going through the box again. Mum and my stepfather arrive, and my stepfather starts going through everything to find the missing screws and nuts. Still nothing. Then the rain starts. Big, fat, splashy raindrops - god knows we need it, but couldn't you have held off for half an hour, or better yet, found a catchment area to rain in? Then my brother and his fiance arrive, and he starts going through the bits and pieces too. I go and turn on the oven, because I think that is the only way that I'll be getting dinner cooked tonight - oven and grill. Heading outside again, I find that they have started all of it again, in the rain, and now they are going through each page of the instructions to see what else is missing. Turns out I'm missing three bags of screws and nuts, and one knob. That will be a fun phone call at 7 tomorrow morning. Then I discover my new gas bottle is empty, so it would have been very difficult to cook with anyway. Eeek.

Meanwhile Mum found my stash of clean laundry, hidden behind the door where no one should have gone, and started folding it. I'm feeling like uber (anyone know how I can do umlauts?) hostess by now, and just want to run and hide.

Instead of running and hiding, we decide to move off in convoy to Mum's house, where they promise that they have a fully functional barbecue, with gas, and tables, chairs and cutlery. Civilised. I did have to run back home though - guess who forgot to turn off the oven? Food turned out good - I like the local supermarkets new effort - lamb drumsticks - they have them in souvlaki, red wine and herbs and other flavours. All the salads and drinks survived the trip, but I got to sit through dinner being teased about my barbecue invitation. I don't think I will live it down for a long time. On the plus side though, I didn't have to do the dishes - Mum has a dishwasher :)

Tomorrow, weather permitting, we are going to try and put the table and chairs together. I cannot wait.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Lest we forget

Those who went.
Those who went and did not return.
Those who went and returned wounded.
Those who went and returned unwounded, yet damaged.
Those who waited.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Lock them up and throw away the key

There are some words and phrases that I never want to hear again.

"at the end of the day"
"I, personally"
"at this point in time"

I'm very sure there are more that I haven't thought of yet. I won't forget to share :)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Back from the holiday

There is so much that I want to write, and I'll get it all done eventually, but the one thing that really stays with me from our holiday is just how bad the drought is here right now. Looking at some of the dry arid land that we drove through, and talking to people wherever we stopped (and yes, the boy was again stunned that he can't take me anywhere without me having conversations with completely random people - more about that one later).

There is supposed to be water in here!

It really hurt me, seeing just how dry so much of the land is, and seeing all the dry rivers and creeks that we drove over. Watching sheep and cows trying to feed where dams are supposed to be really distressed me, and one stretch of highway that we drove along distressed me so much that we changed our route home so that we didn't go through it again. Everything was so dry and dusty, there was so little green, and I really just felt that it was so bleak, and there was so little hope for rain, the animals or the future in some of the people.

2 conversations stayed in my mind. I was talking to the owner of a pizza shop on our way home (he made great coffee!) and he was saying that they have now been in drought for 5 years, and haven't had good rain since Christmas 2003. His house is so badly cracked that he doesn't know what will happen to it when they get some rain. To keep his business afloat, he is doing sub contracting work driving trucks and buses. The whole community is so drought affected that most of his usual customers can't afford to eat in his shop any more. I also talked to a truckie in the pub on one of our overnight stays - his wife and son are working the farm while he keeps things afloat by driving trucks - he hates doing it, but the family needs to survive. While we were talking, his mobile rang, and it was his wife telling him that another of their neighbours had committed suicide. He told me that it would be the 8th funeral this year as a result of suicide in his community. He was truly shaken, and just didn't know where to turn or what to say. The bloke stereotype of strong silent type was shot to pieces right there.

I've been really sheltered - I'd never been through that part of Australia before - and seeing and hearing the devastation that our climate causes really shook me. I wanted to do something to improve things, but I just felt so useless and completely powerless.