Coeliac and stress, and the emotional merry-go-round of life

What a full on and draining few months I have had!

Things have been piling up on me, and I have been really struggling to cope.

Problems with friends, worry about my health, and problems with my sons health. It’s all been a bit much to handle.

My son has been sick a lot for the last few years. Digestion problems, pain and cramping. We have been seeing a few different doctors, and I have suspected Coeliac Disease for a while. Finally they came back with a diagnoses, I was right. It’s not too bad when you consider some of the alternate diseases they were looking into. I can cope with Coeliac.

So now he needs to go strictly gluten free, for life. He is taking it really well, he just wants to feel better. Me…different story. I feel I have gone into stress overload. I seem to always be thinking about his diet, what he can and can’t eat, tying to find alternatives so he doesn’t miss out. Shopping now takes forever, reading every label on every product, double checking ingredients before it goes in the trolley. It all makes my head spin.

Then there is cross contamination to think about. Just one crumb can make him so ill, and do damage to his digestive system. So we need separate toasters, new chopping boards, it’s just insanely intense.

I have problems with stress and anxiety anyway, and major problems sleeping. So I can feel myself going downhill, slipping into the rabbit hole. The more I worry, the less I sleep. Then lack of sleep makes everything feel worse, and that makes me stress more. It’s like a horrible merry-go-round that just keeps spinning faster and faster while the music gets louder and louder…

I know I need to jump off, calm down, but just can’t seem to find a way.

I’m hoping a bit of time will make it easier, make me feel more confident and comfortable that I can do this, I can help my boy get healthy.

I just need to get through this part now….and some sleep sure wouldn’t hurt

 

An open letter to my estranged sister, on the morning of her wedding

An open letter to my estranged sister on her wedding day

 

I know all that has passed between us has been hard, and often hurtful, but there are some things I need you to know.

To start the past is the past, we both have faults, and we are who we are. We are different people, and will never ever be friends. But we will always be sisters, even if we don’t want to be.

Today is your wedding day. I hope it’s a happy day for you. I hope you can focus on the joy and love of the day, and that Mum’s absence doesn’t make it too hard for you. I know you will be thinking about her, and missing her like crazy. I know she would be so happy that you are finally healed enough to take this step. Take some quiet time to remember her, and how much she loved you. Shed your tears, but then put them aside. Mum always only wanted you to be happy. So be happy, for her.

I wish I could be there with you. Be there for you. That I could help you get ready, laugh at your nerves, pour you a drink. I wish I could be a part of your day, however small a part. I know why you didn’t invite me. I get it. It’s been so long since we have spoken. There is so much pain and hurt. On both sides. I know in my heart that you made the best choice for you, and I get it. It’s your wedding day. But man, I wish I was there. I want it so much it hurts.

I wish I could somehow change the past. Change the way we both acted.At least find some way to get past it. But the past shapes the present, and we both have to live with it. I want you to know that I am sorry for my part in our problems, and that I forgive yours. I really do. I’m not past the pain and hurt, but I forgive your part in causing them. I hope one day you can forgive mine.

I hope today marks the start of a beautiful marriage, and that your life with your family is everything you want it to be. I hope you acheive your dreams, with your husband standing by your side. I wish you every happiness life has to offer.

I really just want you to be happy. Every day, but especially today. Be happy.

I want you to know that no matter how far apart we are, how distant, you are still my sister. I still love you. I couldn’t stop if I tried.

Always,

the Freckle-Faced Monster

 

 

 

Holding a grudge takes vital energy away from other, far more important areas of life, and bitterness is a cold, hard pill to swallow.

Some things, some people, you need to just let go.

I have been working on this lately. Coming to terms with events that happened a few years back. Things that were the result of a lifetime of built up tensions. Trying to figure out how two people, raised in the same house, can see things so very differently. Can be so very different. Can become so far apart.

Many things have been done over the years, hurtful words have been spoken. Wounds have been made, and healed over, only to be roughly ripped open again. And again. And again.

There comes a time when for everyone’s sanity things just have to stop.

So they did. We cut each other off. Both for our own reasons, both believing it is the best thing. I still believe staying apart is healthiest for both of us. But man it really hurts sometimes. Knowing life is going on, but I’m not a part of it. Not being able to see my nephews grow. My boy missing out on growing up with his cousins. Not being invited to my only sisters wedding.

Nothing can be done about it, we have a toxic relationship. Both of us are happier and less stressed without the other.

However knowing that doesn’t stop the pain

 

Well, I survived last week. A little mentally battered, my heart a little bruised, but I survived.

It was a tough week for me. Mum’s birthday was on Thursday (she should be 61) then just a few days later was Mother’s Day.

I could feel the week approaching for a long time before it got here, and was waiting with dread. Anticipating how much it would hurt, what a mess I would be. My moods were very unstable…and bad. (totally had my bitch on)

I struggled to cope with work, being friendly and polite (both to staff and customers). I was horrible to be around at home. My poor family 😦

In the end I decided to take Thursday off work, just in case. I really wasn’t sure how I would be. I’m really glad I did.

Not because I was a mess (I was, but it was bearable), but because I had an enjoyable day.

I sent Master J off to school, then had the house to myself while the other kids slept in. I took advantage of the quiet to let all the emotions out, and had a good cry. It needed to get out.

Then I decided to get on with things. I spent the morning working in the garden, concentrating on Mum’s memory garden. I always enjoy gardening, and feel closer to Mum outside. I tidied the garden, planted new plants, rearranged a little. Generally pottered about.

Then I went and cleaned up, and baked some scones. Mum was a sucker for a good Devonshire Tea, so that seemed fitting. When the little man got home from school, we took the scones outside into the garden, along with a big pot of tea (in Mum’s spotty teapot of course). We were able to sit around and remember Mum, with smiles and laughs (and yes, a few tears) It was really nice, and felt very cleansing.

The rest of the day was uneventful, my emotions all up and down and all over the place.

And then there was Mother’s Day.

I made an effort to keep the bitch at bay, and mostly succeeded. The kids and I walked the Mother’s Day Classic fun run. (Will leave teenage girl at home next time, bad attitude plus). Came home, opened prezzies, then lay down and watched a movie together. I felt very drained, so it was a good pace for me.

I mostly kept it together, but there was an underlying ‘sad’ all day. I guess that’s to be expected, and may never really pass.

But I got through. I made it out the other side, without doing too much emotional damage to myself.

I still feel flat, and very sensitive. I still have a super-short fuse. But I’m working on it. I will get there.

I still miss my Mum.

A Little Less

Well it’s been a busy few weeks here in Flower-land, what with trying to study and learn, while still trying to keep up with work, the house, kids etc. Then throw into the mix my first ever trip overseas!!

That’s right, I left Oz (I came back though because, let’s face it, this country rocks!)

The Philippines.. it might not be everyone’s first choice in overseas destinations, but it worked for me.

You see, my Dad moved to General Santos, in the Philippines, around 6 years ago. He found himself a wonderful lady over there, and she finally convinced him to make an honest woman of her. Unfortunately my husband couldn’t get time off work, so my youngest boy and I set off to witness the wedding, and finally meet all of Dads new family. I’m so very glad we did.

During the lead up to the trip, Master J and I were talking about the different culture and way of living. The different standards, and poverty. I wanted him to be a little prepared for how things might be, and what we might see. Being the sweet and kind-hearted boy that he is, Master J immediately wanted to help in some way, however we could. He was especially concerned with the idea of children living with very little. We decided that maybe we could bring some things with us to help needy children. So we contacted Dad’s bride Macqui, and she told us about an orphanage not to far from them.

So the plan was put in motion. We decided clothes would always be needed, and some toys to play with. Master J went through his dinky cars and came up with a good sized bag to take. I hunted down all the bargains and super cheap clothes on offer at work.  A caring community member donated some Barbie’s. In the end we had a large sized suitcase FULL of stuff for the kids.

The goodies!  So didn't fit in the photo ;)

The goodies! Some didn’t fit in the photo 😉

So we packed up, meet up with my Aunty and Cousin who were also coming, and headed off over seas!

After 2 flights we had an overnight stop over in Manila. All I can say is I am so glad my Aunty was there! As we left the airport the noise and confusion was overwhelming. People everywhere, and all talking in languages I couldn’t understand. I’m not a fan of crowds at the best of times, so I was totally freaked out in seconds. However we finally found a taxi, and started making our slow journey to the hotel. I say slow, because Holey Moley the traffic there is crazy!! Cars, tricycles and bikes everywhere, all going wherever they want with seemingly no road rules! Just beep the horn and push on through! We had buses and bikes within an inch of our taxi, always stopping and started, and constant horn tooting.

Trying to distract myself from the chaos of the roads, I looked out the windows and tried to take it all in.

It was like a punch to the gut.

Buildings in various stages of disrepair, power-lines hanging down, people digging through rubbish. Even a family camped on the side of the road under a makeshift tarp, cooking a meal on a small fire, while Mum breastfed her baby. Seeing that, knowing that is how some people live, it was a real reality check for me.

Random  street-scape in Manila

Random street-scape in Manila

The next day we continued our journey to our final destination, General Santos. Known as GenSan, it is a much smaller city than Manila, which made it much easier to cope with. Still very busy, still crazy traffic, but at a level I could manage. GenSan does not appear to be set up for tourists in any way, but is real. It’s down-to-earth, this-is-how-we-live Philippines….and I love it.

It’s full of bustle, people packed in everywhere..but everyone is happy. Everyone is polite, and so very friendly.

So we met up with Dad, and the holiday started in earnest. We finally got to meet Dad’s new family. They were so lovely, so pleased to meet us, and immediately treated us like part of the tribe. It was fantastic!  We went through Master J’s ‘Philippine’s Bucket List’ and started ticking things off.

we went on a little boat, or banca

We went on a little boat, or banca, along the shoreline

We went in many tricycles, awesome form of transport.

We went in many tricycles, awesome form of transport.

We rode in a Jeepney

We rode in a Jeepney, thankfully not too crowded

Then there was the wedding. Absolutely beautiful, religious and traditional, it was great. The best bit was seeing my Dad so happy. Knowing he has found a place for himself, and is part of a wonderful family. Master J was part of the bridal party, as the bible bearer, and as such wore a traditional Filipino shirt called a Barong. He absolutely loved it 🙂

A few days later we visited the orphanage. Saint Gemma Galgani’s Home For Children. It was a small place, with only 12 children in residence. Some were orphans, others had both parents in jail. Others had been abandoned, and nobody knew where their parents were. There were a few groups of siblings there, as I was pleased to find out that they do not separate siblings. There was even a lady with a small baby. Her husband had recently gone to jail, and they had nowhere else to go, so they were taken in and looked after.

The lady who ran it was wonderful. You could see the caring bond she shared with the kids.

What stuck me the most was the children themselves. They had very little, lived very simply, but they were happy. They were clean and well fed. Full of life and energy. You could see they felt secure and loved. It was amazing to see what had been achieved with very little, relying on donations to get by.

So it was time to give out our donations. The kids were so excited, as were master J and I!! They were so appreciative of everything, so excited, both by toys, and having new clothes. The carer said as the clothes we gave were all new they will be saved for their ‘best’. For wearing to church, outings, and to meet prospective families in. The stationary went into a box for their art lessons, and the toys they played with straight away! As expected the little girls went for the dolls, and most boys went to the cars and started racing.

What was great though, was the puppets. Everyone loved them. They also really helped break down the language barrier, and allowed Master J to play and talk to the kids easier. He had a ball, and was really in his element, making sure that everyone had a toy or three, and that nobody was left out. He even hand delivered a puppet to a young lad that was wheelchair bound. He was mentally handicapped, and didn’t really seem to understand what was going on, but Master J made sure he didn’t miss out 🙂 I have never been so proud of my little man.

The Filipino people, as a whole, seem to be a very happy people. They are very polite, and so very welcoming. The whole time we were there I didn’t hear a raised voice. Not one argument.  Just so many smiles

They live in what we class as ‘third world’ conditions. They don’t have much, and certainly nothing to spare. Wealth is measured by if you can afford tin for your roof. So many live in cottages made from woven palm leaves and bamboo. Families sharing a house with many generations, parents and their children in one room. Chickens and roosters are raised as necessity, and slaughtered often for the pot. Children play with what they can find, not plastic toys and electronics. Yet things are harmonious. Children laugh and play, people are happy.

Maybe we all could do with a little less.

A change in the air??

Do you ever have those moments when you just look at what you are doing and think ‘Why? Why am I still here? Why am I still doing this, and not what makes me happy??’

Well, I do.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my life. I have an amazing family, some good friends, and a husband that ‘gets’ me, in all my strangeness! There’s no way I would change any of that. However I still feel like I’m floating through life, never really making any big decisions. When it comes to work I have always just taken the easy option.

And it has worked for me. It’s given me a job that allows me to only work school hours, to be there as a Mum. (Because being Mum is the most important job to me. Ever.) But nowadays my job is changing, I’m not enjoying my time there. I don’t like to go.

So maybe I should do something else??

I haven’t thought about what ‘I’ want to do for a long time now, if ever really. If truth be told I really don’t know what I want, but I’m starting to get an idea 🙂

I was sitting down with the 17 year old boy, going through his options. Trying to get him thinking of what path he may like to take. Looking at work, and study…..and then it hit me. I could do that! I could study, I could choose a new path! As I kept looking through all the different courses that are available, one just kept jumping out at me.

Advanced Diploma of Nutritional Medicine.

But what a big course. What a big commitment. And at the end, a nutritionist??!! ME??!!

Can I really do this? Am I good enough, smart enough, motivated enough?

You know what? I think I am! I think I’m gonna give it a red-hot go!

In the wise words of the 17 year old..’you never know until you try’

🙂

Boil and bubble

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It’s a hot one,

like 7 inches from the midday sun”

I really think Carlos Santana must have been living in the Pilbara when he wrote those lyrics!!! Man oh man it’s hot!!!!! All week it’s been sitting between 37-42 degrees (98-107 for my Yankee friends :))

It’s not just any heat either, it’s a really dry, horrible, suck-your-eyeballs-right-out-of-your-head heat.

The ground is scorching, the few plants are brown and very sad, my car becomes an oven two seconds after I turn off the air con. And don’t even think about touching the outside of the car..or the seat belt buckles..or anything metal really. Think instant branding iron. The water from the cold tap is hot enough to scold you when you first run it, and only cools down to warm-and-toasty. I haven’t used the hot tap for my showers all week, and they still feel hot!!!

So as you can imagine not a lot is getting done around here. It’s school holidays, so I have a house full of kids, but it’s far too hot to take them anywhere. Go to the beach and you burn in 5 minutes, and the water feels like you are swimming in pee anyway :/  So we are watching lots of movies. And TV shows. And Xbox. Basically anything that requires us to be inside and move as little as possible.

The poor animals are really feeling it though. They don’t have the modern luxury of air con (I worship whoever invented that!) The dog has dug a hole in the shady garden bed that goes half-way to China, and seems content to never leave it. Even for food. The budgies are all huddled on the floor of the aviary, chilling in the puddle I make for them each day. And the poor chooks! Those girls seem to really be struggling the most. I have put up so many shade sails, and keep watering down their run. They have fresh water, ice blocks, frozen food….none of it seems to help. They are still listless and panting. There’s not much more I can do for them, when even the very air we are breathing feels hot enough to burn the inside of your throat.

The weather department keep teasing us, and saying we will get rain. Thunderstorms, even the possibility of a cyclone. Bring it on I say!! Anything to blow away this heat! It rained for all of 2 minutes yesterday. Didn’t even wet the ground. Not even enough to settle the dust.

Ah yes, gotta love the Pilbara summer!!!!

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A fresh start

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So this year is drawing to a close. Fading into twilight, ready for a new dawn.

It is bittersweet to see the closing of 2014, as it has been an odd year, a roller-coaster year, a year of extremes.

😦  It has been the first complete year without my Mum. This has, of course, been a really hard thing to get my head around. It has come with it’s own set of emotions and illogical behavior. It has raised a whole new set of challenges for my grieving boy. We are getting through it slowly, and we will be OK.

:/  This has been the year we were able to start the process of building an investment house. This is still ongoing, but the process has been started. It has only been possible because of Mum.

🙂  We have been on an amazing, long holiday, which was sorely needed by us all. It was full on, busy and heaps of fun.

🙂  I have added some chooks to my little menagerie, and now enjoy fresh eggs every day. They are very tame and friendly, and like to get attention.

🙂  The health of my immediate family members has been steadily improving. We are recovering from the challenges of late last year, and finding our feet again.

😦  My running has totally taken a backseat, and is virtually nonexistent now. I haven’t been back to PT all year. However I have been doing really well with my eating habits, so I don’t feel too bad about it.

😦  Work has been taking is toll on me. New management and internal politics have been hard for me to deal with, particularly in my current frazzled, only-just-coping mental state.

🙂  We have been working hard on improving my sons reading abilities, and are finally seeing some progress. More would be made if I could focus on it better, but I can only do my best.

😦  I feel I have been dropping the ball in all areas of my life, letting things slide. Family, home-life, cleaning, work and exercise. All have suffered due to my very lack-luster attitude.

🙂 My eldest son has decided to move up and live with us for a while. He has been getting into some strife at his Dad’s house, so is looking for a fresh start. It is great to see him engaging with us, excited about being part of our family. It makes me proud to see the effort he is making to help around the home, and make himself useful to my husband. I really think he can do well up here, and I love having him around.

So all in all 2014 has been a very mixed bag.

2015 however, is what we make of it.

It will be the year I pull myself out of the funk I am in. Be more present for my kids, put solid effort into the reading focus. It will be the year I start running again, as I enjoy it so much, and it is so good for my head-space. It will be the year I learn to survive without my Mum, as hard as that is to bear. This will be a golden year.

Because it will be what we make it.

Rainforest Relaxation.

My oh my what a week this has been!
Our big holiday is now well and truly under way, and so far going extremely well.

This week was our ‘rainforest week’, and also the week I have been looking forward to the most.
I needed some peace, some space to relax. To surround myself with nature. I needed trees. It’s amazing how much I miss proper trees living in the dry Pilbara.
So my wonderful husband got tired of listening to me talk about rainforest, and booked a flight to Cairns!

He booked us a week in a private ‘couples retreat’ (although we took the boy with us too) nestled in the rainforest. Called Platypus Springs Rainforest Retreat, it is a lovely private house with the most magical veiw. Featuring a spa bath set into the veranda, overlooking the lush forest that just drops off right at your feet, it is hard not to relax! It also has it’s own icy cold plunge pool with a little waterfall.
The house is magnificent, with wooden planked ceilings, raw wooden bench tops (even the bathroom vanity), pure white linen and fluffy robes. It has every mod con you might want in the kitchen, as well as a hidden laundry. The only downer is the terrible internet and TV reception, which has been driving my husband crazy!

 

This is what paradise looks like

This is what paradise looks like

I love it here, surrounded by greenery. Beautiful lush trees, with ferns and vines growing all through them. There is an amazing amount of wildlife about too (nothing scary though). So many different types of birds to watch and listen too. Their songs seem to be never-ending. We also spotted a few Northern Brown Bandicoots scurrying about in our garden in the evenings. Very cute and timid, and lots of fun to try to spot with a torch 🙂
The only bad animals we have encountered are ants, big March Flys (they bite), and of course the hideous Cane Toad. Being from the west I have heard about them, but never seen them before. The ugly buggers seem to be everywhere after dark!

We are just outside of a cute little tourist town called Kuranda. It is small, cute, artsy, and made up almost totally of markets! Even outside the markets most shops are selling art or handicrafts. There is a lolly shop that hand makes boiled lollies, and a place selling the most amazing fruit liquors. Mango port, mango cello and lemon cello are just a few! Yumm!
Whist exploring the markets we brought a lovely Kalimba (thumb piano) made from a gourd, and drank fresh coconut water straight from the coconut. My son and I also really like watching the Brush Turkeys that scratch about the place, as well as Curlews with their really long legs.

Yum!!

Cheers 🙂

We took a small little ferry up the river. Welcome Swallows were nesting in the roof and life jackets. We saw lots of fish, as well as some tortoises. Even one small lazy crocodile sunning himself on a log.

spot the croc!

spot the croc!

Kuranda is also home to Bird World, a Koala Park, and the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary. That was a magical place to visit. Thousands of butterflies, of all different species, flitting about amongst beautiful lush gardens. They don’t seem to mind people too much, and land on your head, hands, all over. So cool. My son said they looked like little fairies 🙂

 

 

 

We haven’t only been lazing around though, and have spent a day exploring Cairns, which I think is a beautiful city. Lush green and vibrant red foliage, and bright flowers everywhere. It has a really fit, outdoorsy vibe. Early morning is full of people jogging, walking their dogs, using the exercise parks, all types of activness. We even saw someone doing Thai Chi on the beach. A really relaxed and happy feeling place.

We have also spent a day exploring the Atherton Tablelands. There is so much there. We hardly even scratched the surface, you would need a week to see and do it all. So we picked the things we really wanted to see (by we I mean me) and stuck to them.
So we drove through the countryside, which is totally different to what I am used to. It changes so fast. One minute it is lush green forest, the next it is grassland complete with cows! So many hills and valleys, which make for some awesome scenery.
We stopped and had lunch in a tea room that stood on the edge of a peaceful lake, formed by a volcanic eruption. We then went swimming in another. Jared was stoked to be swimming in a volcano! The water was really crisp and cold, but so refreshing. I’m so glad I went in. A beautiful spot.

A beautiful refreshing volcanic lake to swim in

A beautiful refreshing volcanic lake to swim in

Next was a stop at Mamu Tropical Skywalk which features an elevated walkway through the rainforest canopy, plus a really tall observation tower. It also incorporates a walk along the forest floor. One word…. AMAZING! To be able to see the canopy from so close, and such a different angle was just awe-inspiring. The walk takes you through a section of the rainforest that has been severely damaged by two cyclones in the last decade, and I found it really interesting to see how quickly and totally the forest recovers. It was so peaceful just wandering along, taking it all in. One of the highlights so far for me.

 

We have two more days in this rain-forest paradise before we head back down the mountains for some beach R&R. So far, this is bliss 🙂

 

 

Holiday Time, Oh Yeah!!!

I just wanted to jump on line and let you good people know that I am going to be MIA for the next two months. Even more than normal… I know I am terribly slack at this whole blogging thing, but this time I have a reason. A REALLY good reason.

I’M GOING ON HOLIDAY BABY!!!!!!

Yep, you heard me.

Holiday 🙂

We are packing up and taking a much needed break. 7 weeks of no work or school. Instead there will be family, sunshine, rain-forest, beaches, theme parks, V’8 supercars… oh so many good things.

To say I am excited is an understatement.

I can’t wait, and the boy is pretty darn happy about it too.

I think a break will be good for us. Give us back some fun and joy. Maybe help me relax a little again.

Mum’s anniversary will happen while we are away. I can’t believe it has been a whole year. A whole really horrible year. I will finally get to visit her grave, and see her plaque. I haven’t been back since the funeral. So that will be another milestone of sorts.

See why I need a holiday??? I start a happy holiday post, and end up missing my Mum. Story of my life right now.

Oh well. Mum would have approved of this holiday.

So I’m going to enjoy every minute of if. Spend quality time with my husband and son. See my eldest two sons (jeez I’ve missed them lately). Catch up with my extended family. Spend time with my husbands family.

And lets not forget the rain-forest. The beautiful, tranquil, relaxing rain-forest. Did I mention the private 100 acres, the spa overlooking those acres? How about the plunge pool and waterfall, did I mention them yet??? Oh yeah I am looking forward to this holiday!!!! 😀 😀 😀

See you on the flip side 😀