Ch_ch_ch_changes

Hello! Are you still there? I’m sure no one is reading this now. Over 12 months with not a scrap from me. 

I’ve, we’ve, been a bit busy. Firstly I am writing this from a different city. Well, a city, as opposed to a small country town. Not just any city. The capital of Australia. No, not Sydney. Canberra – the Bush Capital. The good wife and I moved here in very late December last year. One day before NYE. We packed all of our remaining furniture and the dog and the cat and drove all day. Why? 

Well, you see, Caitlin applied to the Australian National University to complete their Master program in Science Communication Outreach. It was a highly competitive application process and she had to fly up for an interview where she performed her own science show. That was August last year. Now, a year later, Caitlin is travelling around Central Australia doing science workshops and learning a hella lot of stuff and I’m working for a heath advocacy peak body to keep our heads above water. 


We only found out in October and the course started in late January of this year, so it was a huge effort to get ready. We were living in a three bedroom house full of stuff, our stuff, number one daughter’s stuff, other people’s stuff. We sold and gave away a whole lot of it on the swap, buy and sell sites. That was fun and mildly profitable. That went toward our move and paint the house so we could rent it out to other people. It was a very busy time. In between we had to pop up to Canberra and find a new place to live that would allow us to have our geriatric animals. We found a little one bedroom place with a court yard and signed on the dotted line.

My mum helped us with the move, she shared the driving with us so I wouldn’t turn into a writhing ball of pain again. That was fantastic of her. Oh, and did I tell you that we hosted Christmas at our place too!? No, I think I forgot to mention that. That was hilarious, there was both sides of the family there and lots of food and wine. They stayed over from Horsham and Newcastle and then left three days before we did! 

So it is eight months down the track and we are both enjoying the opportunities that the move has afforded us. Who knows what will come around the corner, we certainly don’t, but while we are here we will certainly take advantage of the good food, music, theatre, festivals and general fun on offer. We’ve met great people, made new friends, kept up with the old ones and created a little niche. The course finishes in November. Our lease ends in December and the way forward is not clear. I hope a pathway starts to appear sooner rather than later. 

Maybe they’ll be another post, maybe there won’t. Pop back to see.

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The Imagination Is A Dangerous Thing

Slowly we build. Slowly we strengthen. Slowly we find our way back to our old selves with new eyes.

I went to my last physiotherapy appointment today. I went along with few complaints, just little niggles. The last few weeks have been a revelation. I was convinced that my back pain was never going away, ever, that I’d live with this for always. Lots of physical symptoms conspired to push me into thinking that. What the physiotherapy showed me was that I was causing the continued pain not my body.

I was so bloody anxious about making sure I wasn’t exacerbating my back and bulging disc and nerve pain that I was doing exactly that; holding myself stiffly, cautiously moving, tightening the muscles around the nerve and ensuring further pain.

My recent sessions have shown that I am able to heal, able to be loose, free, careless, without permanent pain. I’m back walking the dog (though only on flat ground for now) and doing my weird little exercises. It took falling over my own feet and landing flat on my face to show me that I wasn’t as delicate as I imagined.

My physiotherapist joked that she should have just pushed me over in the first session. It was a turning point. 

It was all the chicken’s fault. Bloody naughty chicken that didn’t want to go to bed. I was convinced that I’d done damage to my back but instead there was no pain. I sobbed with fear and then realised that, aside from a bruise or two and a minor graze, I was fine. My back was okay! 

The bloody awful chairs at university are still a problem but that’s a minor hiccough in the scheme of things. I just need to stretch, release, stand, walk, to counter the nonchalance with which the university treats it’s students’ bodies.

I’ve driven to Melbourne and back and left the car feeling fine. I’ve bent to pick something up (correctly) and only felt a twinge, I’ve slept on my stomach without pain, I’ve rolled over in bed without a whimper, I put on socks without shooting pains down my leg. It’s these little victories I celebrate.

Now it’s about getting my stamina and strength back. A journey that will be longer than I hope but shorter than I imagine.

Today I am angry

The flip side to my ‘I’m in pain’ rant. We make a fine pair. Luckily, we have each other.

Snoringcat's Blog

Yes, today I am angry. This will not come a complete surprise to my Facebook friends and family. It’s a combination of things, but I suspect the cumulative affect of rejection emails/letters/calls and dealing with slightly patronising and shallowly sympathetic account staff is part of it. I know I’m not the only one who isn’t working, but the system is broken.

Let me tell you a little about what not working means. ‘You have all the time in the World’ you might say, and that is kind of true but I can’t do a lot with that time because I don’t have income. So yes, I could paint the house (if I had paint), redo the garden (if I could afford mulch, plants, etc) or take up great hobbies (if I could afford the basics of getting started). So what do I really do?

After waving my wife good bye…

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This Picture Has Nothing To Do With This Post

Image

I’ve been banished to the bed and the gentle recovery for another week. I’m on more drugs for pain relief and relaxation than I have ever taken in my whole life before. It’s a funny thing, I’m not usually one for pills, preferring to use other methods to seek relief from pain, pressure points, meditation, sleep – none of which worked with this particular bout of sciatica.

Anyway, it means that I have had a chance to look at some readings for university, but not many and not for long periods. concentrating while your leg feels like it is one fire can be somewhat problematic. It also meant that I could get over to see my pup and her new house. That’s right, I said new house! There has been not only a move out from my place but also a move from the hell house to a much nicer house for her and her housemates.

It’s in a nice part of ‘the rat’ as Ballarat is affectionately known by its inhabitants. It’s certainly within walking distance of the main city centre, not out in the sticks, and surrounded by a number of small businesses that can supply the desire for alcohol, fast-food and automobile repairs. The house is a post-federation Edwardian place that has been bastardised through a number of decades, most recently the 70s. Nonetheless it is a sound, quaint and perfectly liveable house and it was lovely to go over there and see her so lively, excited and busy planning her future.

We had a lovely lunch out and on the way back to the car she bumped into an old school friend, a serendipitous occurrence. I had a daughter who spoke to me without rancour, didn’t argue all the time and seemed genuinely pleased to see me. Ah, absence must indeed make the heart grow fonder.

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things

Chocolate; ice cream, topping, cake, sauce, pudding, pure unadulterated chocolate. Dark, milk, nutty, fruity, triple, chilli, melted, drizzled, blocked, ganache, in fact any way you can imagine. I love the chocolate.

Beer. When the day is hot and you’ve been working hard (oh no, I’m falling into parody) there’s nothing better than a lovely cold beer. It slips down your throat, smooth and hoppy, offering the illusion of relief from the heat. Summer and beer are like Bogart and Bacall – destined to be together. I’m a bit partial to a dark ale in winter too. No similes there.

Dogs, big, silly, smart but dopey, dogs. They’re smelly, dirty, galumphing and slobbery. They bark inappropriately, dig up stuff, chase creatures that they’re not supposed to, sleep in spreading heaps on the bed (only upon invitation). They have fallen in love with eating chicken poo. They adore a good bone and a long walk. I adore them, especially my two but I find it hard to resist patting random dogs, even the little fluffy ones.

Parties: where you get to talk to lots of people about all sorts of things, maybe your job or your family or your politics or your dreams or you lover or your pets or your kids or your house renovations or your country of birth or refugees or whatever you end up talking about and you eat great food and have a wine or two and go home with the one you love (or hope to love).

Just a sample. I’m practicing. Tell me whether those paragraphs helped evoke the favourite thing they were talking about with the style of writing I chose. Cheers.

What really happens at a fire (one woman’s experience so far)

My wife on her blog talking about fire fighting from her perspective.

Snoringcat's Blog

This is by no means a definitive description of what happens at a fire, it is just a reflection on my experiences so far. Since becoming a volunteer firefighter, I’ve found it interesting to compare how the public perceives fire to my experiences on the fire ground. These are entirely my own recollections and they do not constitute advice, nor do they represent the organisation I volunteer for. My only intent is to give you some insight into our experiences. I should also add that my experiences of firefighting so far have been at relatively small fires.

It seems to be afternoons. That’s when you hear that vaguely familiar wail. It takes a second or two to register, providing a nice shot of adrenaline to mingle with the thought of ‘where the bloody hell is that thing?’ You find your pager, press the button to silence it, giving a cursory…

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