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Poor Time Management and Running, Running, Running

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I’m not keeping on top of things. I am trying to push myself as hard as I can during the day. I am still struggling with the concept that I can’t do things. Of course, I try to protect my body as much as I can but I just get so frustrated with the mess and the jobs left undone and, and. I think I’m trying to claw back just a bit of functionality, the amount of pain medication it takes for me to do that is immense but I suppose that’s just how it is. I am seeing the private pain sepcialist on September the 8th and I am just hoping, hoping, hoping that he will have some new ideas, my GP desperately wants someone to share the responsibility with, she’s a nervous wee thing.

Over the last couple of weeks I have written several part blog posts, I just never quite get the time, or  I suppose, the time and energy in combination to complete them. I have been missing my online life so much, I have to try harder to pull the time and energy from somewhere.

Skunky’s birthday was mostly good, the cake was really cool, if somewhat disturbing. What can you do though, when your six-year-old wants a zombie head on a plate for his birthday cake? He triumphantly chopped the head in half, shortly after this, to reveal the bright red contents.

I managed, with the aid of a bucket of painkillers, to keep myself going throughout. As a result of my charming mother I ended up in my room with a friend having a little weep. I always forget her capacity to be completely self-centred,  it’s wishful thinking that makes me believe she’ll be kind or helpful or supportive. Thanks to my lightning fast brain I had my retribution. I forgot her birthday yesterday until about six o’clock when I noticed that people had been sending their well-wishes via facebook. I had even been texting her throughout the day so it just shows how talented my brain is, I think perhaps Brain did it on purpose. Did you Brain? It never answers me, bastard.


Finally the warm weather is making an appearance. Skunky had been agitating for a visit to the spooky trees (immense Moreton Bay Fig trees in Botanic Park) so we headed there for a picnic on Sunday with Poss, Skunky and Gecko (Rhubarb declined on the grounds that he would rather be alone at home and we suck, which was nice, 15’s a golden age). It was lovely and the kids had a ball climbing around on the tangle of roots.

And running. There’s something so beautiful about watching Gecko run, she’s very graceful, for a girl of 3, graceful and fearless. I adore this picture. I was watching her run with her hair trailing behind her and I had to capture it.

And now, I’ve done something terrible to my left shoulder (the bad shoulder) in the act of typing and if I don’t stop I fear it will fall off. Pain relief, here I come.



My body is a mofo part the millionth and how to get that pool of blood to look just right.

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It really sucks balls when I am too sick to blog or even spend time with the interwebs for more than a few minutes. I don’t have enough readers to float the notion of guest posters and such so my blog lies dormant. I have words, so many words, but I sit here muttering them to myself because the notion of getting out the laptop or iPad and sitting and concentrating so that I don’t prattle on and embarrass myself, well….

My body’s decided to issue a resounding fuck you, evidently it felt that all of the ongoing fuck yous were not sufficient. At my GP visit last week we were told that my most recent blood tests showed a further (significant) drop in my white cell count. Now my platelet is down too. I don’t know if that explains all of the shit my body is serving up but it might. Maybe not everything, the fact that I am getting virus after virus and that I seem to need to sleep and sleep and sleep, almost certainly.

Ordinarily I can do an hour or two of normal everyday activity before I have to rest, sometimes more on a really good day. Although that’s not ideal it means that I can kind of maintain the illusion of being functional, mostly for myself but also for my family. Do you know how it feels to have your kids watch you lie around and do nothing? To fail them in every little thing that you used to think made you a really good Mum. I tell myself now that all of the love is what matters, that they’ll know I tried and I wished for it to be different, that they’ll understand. There’s always that little bit of my brain that reminds me of my evil Nana (my Dad’s mum), Mum telling me how she took to her bed for a couple of years and did nothing. That tone of disapproval in her voice. Not that my Mum would win any awards for her mothering but that’s something else all together.

At the moment a walk to the bathroom leaves me exhausted and sore in more places than I can count. Regardless of how I feel I have to keep functioning to a certain extent, so my body and I are fighting. It tries to make me fall asleep at inopportune moments and makes sure I injure myself in carrying out the least demanding of tasks. Which is kind of normal but this is normal times a million.

This week, it’s Skunky’s birthday on Friday and we are having a party on Saturday. He decided not to have a school friends party so we just invited a couple of friends and grandparents, aunties and uncles along with a bit of my extended family. At the very least there will be 9 kids and 12 adults including our family. There may end up being more. I tried to keep it small. Clearly I failed. Have I mentioned that our house, especially the living space, is tiny. Ti. Ny.

When you mix together the fact that I have been sick & the house is a sty, the fact that I have promised Skunky a red velvet zombie head on a plate cake (no school friends to offend) and the fact that I can’t have a party unless everything is clean & pretty & the food is awesome, put in a bowl and then bake it for a half an hour in a moderate oven you end up with steaming shit pie.

My pain levels have been going up. I ran out of the super strong anti-inflammatories about a month ago and I keep forgetting to get another script from the GP (she hasn’t asked because Rheum usually prescribes it). I think that’s having a pretty big impact but it isn’t a relief to know that without them I am in as much pain as ever. Why am I taking these toxic drugs that are killing my immune system if I’m still just as bad? Beefy and I talked about it tonight, I’ve decided to tell the docs that I’m stopping. I’m not convinced that the drugs are helping at all, I’m not convinced I have a reliable diagnosis, even though Rheum swears by it. I don’t know what IS wrong with me but there are things that still aren’t covered by my current diagnosis. I am looking into it.

Anyway, enough of my whining, I must save my energy for making meringue brains and for figuring out what to use to get the jelly to set into a convincing pool of blood around the zombie head. I shall keep you abreast of developments.

Burning down the house (actually microwave but house sounds way more dramatic and it’s a song so I’m going with house)

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I use heat packs a lot to manage my pain. They allow me to use less pain medication and, since no bastard will prescribe me anything for muscles spasm (when they have it’s helped a lot), they help a bit to relieve the horrible, muscle spasms that are a big part of my life. This means that some days are just endless rounds of reheating my rice-filled socks in the microwave.

Being so well used, the rice in my heat packs tends to dry out over time. We replace them fairly regularly but inevitably, there are one or two filled with dry, brittle rice grains.

Last night after dinner, Beefy took my heat packs to be done in the microwave. Gecko needed help with something in the toilet (as you do when you’re 3) so he was in there for a few minutes when he noticed a strange noise. He yelled for Poss to check the microwave and at first she thought it was fine because she didn’t actually look (as you do when you are 12). When she had a proper look Beefy says he heard a panicked “Ah, Daddy, the microwaves on fiiiire!!”.

Beefy raced in and was able to blow out the flames (note to me: Buy fire blanket). He dumped the offending heat packs in the sink and doused them with water then turned to survey the soot covered microwave.

You know that metal plate that is on the wall of a microwave? Well, that plate was very soot covered but more worryingly, when he poked it, a hole, about the size of a ten cent piece, collapsed into the side wall. The metal plated had been charred so badly that it just crumbled away. We think there must have been something actually really wrong with the microwave, or the socks just caught on fire because it wasn’t spinning properly. Either way, this was the result:

So, Beefy’s probably dying of deadly microwave radiation exposure or something and also we needed a new microwave. Very bad timing for me as I had delayed my visit to the GP too long and ended up not being able to get an appointment until Monday afternoon (pain med rationing) and also I had my usual close-to-being-in-labour-style pain/bleeding like I’ve been disemboweled monthly torment so I REALLY needed my heat packs. Really, really.

Last night was not the funnest night ever and today we had to venture out to the land of the giant W to find the cheapest non-ugly microwave we could find. The decision was easy as there was only one microwave that was so deep that the front legs would hang over the designated microwave shelf. We, being entirely ourselves, decided there was no other microwave that would suit.

Still, t’would not be our kitchen if it were lacking in dodgy, botchy home finishes. A few swipes of a circular saw to some spare kicker and we had our solution. See those black boards that are supporting the legs? Not too obvious in this photo (thanks Beefy) but in real life they are tres chic.

This may seem like a pretty annoying, money-draining adventure but actually I’m quite pleased. Not just because that microwave was always annoying but because there was a major family property-destruction fuck-up in which I was only a minor player. Totally not my fault, really at all. That almost never happens people. I am still utterly exhausted, though.

So, how was your weekend? Oh, except all of you NNB2011 people, I’m not interested in your weekend, I’m sure it was really boring anyway, *sob*.

Ponies, meltdowns, zombies and meh

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Gecko’s birthday went well. Our friends came and made me relax a bit and everyone got along and also left at reasonable times so it was quite the success. It has taken me all friggin’ week to recover. This is the first evening that I’ve felt able to type a post and I’ll probably pay for it tomorrow. Whatever, it’s to be expected given that my body doesn’t know the meaning of the word co-operative.

But what, I hear you ask, of the pony cake? I’m sure everyone’s just been dying to see how it went. I have to say, it can be a tricky thing to explain to someone else that those two mixing bowls and one loaf tin will make an awesome pony. Beefy couldn’t picture it (or more to the point had a waaaay better way of doing it) but as I am the cake person in these here parts it really didn’t matter that he lacked any vision whatsoever. Naturally, I was right.

So, ta da!

Ah yes, these shots were taken on my phone and are a wee bit blurry. Trust me though, Pinky Pie looks best with a bit of soft focus. If you cover the eyes, which Beefy may have had to physically prevent me from retouching as guests were arriving, I think her overall body shape bears a reasonable resemblance to a pony toy.

I was quite pleased with myself. It’s taken fifteen years and four children but I am getting to the point where I wouldn’t be too ashamed to invite those other than close friends and family to one of my cake’s kids’ birthday parties. Which is a good thing because Skunky is turning 6 really soon and he wants a few friends at his party.

Oh, yeah, can I just have a bit of a moan please? Skunky and I were discussing cake ideas and we were talking things like whale sharks and narwhals (his favourite things) and I was happy. Then he decided maybe he should have a zombie cake (let’s not even discuss where he got that idea from). I just about had him convinced that the fish and whales would be a more suitable theme if he’s having school friends when in comes Beefy and tells him that a zombie cake would be awesome, thereby undoing all of my good work.

The man has no clue, seriously. Firstly, I don’t want to make a zombie cake*, and secondly, I stand by my statement that it might not be appropriate for school friends. I know that it’s likely that most of his friends would love it but I also know that some parents might not think it’s right for a 6-year-old’s birthday. Also thirdly, just grrraaaahh.

Beefy’s not one for caring what people think but I’m just not willing to host a zombie themed party for a six-year-old. It’s going to be so much fun convincing him that whale sharks are way cooler than zombies. The likely outcome is that he’ll choose the zombie cake over the school friends, which will leave me feeling guilty. Again, grrrrrraaaahh.


I know that everyone talks about the terrible twos and, well, Gecko has always had a knack for combining unbearable sweetness and cute with tantrums that are terrible to behold but what about three? I’m trying to cut her some slack because she was so ill with the flu recently but our days this week have just been one long meltdown after the other.

She gets all caught up about tiny things like, for example, flushing the toilet herself and if you make an error she has to reenact the whole sequence of events. Today she had to sit on the toilet again and became hysterical when she couldn’t manage another poo. If you have helped her into her jumper she might become enraged at the last second and undress herself completely, screaming and crying all the while, and then redo her whole outfit. She is definitely the most pernickety and volatile of all our children and three doesn’t seem to agree with her. Poor Beefy did something wrong while putting her in her car seat yesterday and had to endure screaming throughout the entire school pickup. He thinks it’s funny and didn’t mind the stares but she completely exhausts me. I keep chanting, “it’s a phase, it’s a phase” under my breath as  I step over her writhing body to get to the fridge.

If it isn’t enough that I have to deal with a full-blown meltdown machine, there’s the teenager. He’s really lucky that I try to respect his privacy here because there are some things that would make for killer blog posts. Honestly, he’s fifteen and a half, I’m sure you can imagine.

Rhubarb’s getting to the pointy end of his schooling now and the school are making a huge effort to impress upon all of the kids that study is not to be taken lightly any more. He’s lucky to be the kind of kid who can put in very little effort and pull reasonable grades but his relaxed attitude has got him into some trouble recently. His home group teacher tolerates no lateness at all. I agree with her but I also think it’s a bit excessive to be on the phone with me fifteen minutes after school starts to find out where he is. Anyway, he’s getting there with the punctuality thing but it’s taking a lot of discussion to get through to him that he has to take things really seriously now.

It’s only a few weeks until he’ll be choosing his subjects for next year and they in turn dictate which uni courses he’ll be able to choose. He’s had to talk his math’s teacher into recommending him for “good maths”, she was going to decline on the basis that he’s not serious enough until she reviewed his test scores and saw that he does really well despite his apparent lack of dedication. He had to promise her that he’ll take it seriously.  It’s heavy. Cue Moronic Ex-Husband’s interference.

MEH wants to take both kids on a skiing trip two weeks into term three. Poss has declined but Rhubarb loves to ski and is really excited. We had a nasty row about it last week. I just think it’s not a great idea for him to miss a week of school. MEH wouldn’t have a clue what’s happening at school, he’s pretty much as uninvolved in the kids’ lives as they come so it hasn’t even occurred to him that it might be an issue. So, I’ve got Rhu with his heart set on going, MEH with no clue and Beefy who thinks it’s probably okay and it’ll be Rhu’s last chance to go before school’s finished. I understand that school holidays will be too expensive but I’m just sure that they’ll be piling on the work at that stage. I’m the one who’ll have to arrange it with the school and make sure he keeps up to date. Am I just being a difficult old lady here?

Please tell me it’s not just me that thinks this is a crazy idea?

I am trying to be reasonable. It’s possible that I find it slightly annoying that Mr “my income is way less than $20,000 a year so that I don’t have to pay proper child support” is having trouble choosing which new car to take on his annual ski trip. I really am trying to not let that colour my judgement but I guess I’m struggling. We could take what he’s spending on this trip and use it to buy things the kids actually need. It makes me grumpy. Before anyone mentions making him pay more. I just want to add that a) it would be very difficult as he is self-employed and works in an industry that sees him paid mostly in cash  and b) there are several other reasons why this isn’t the best option for us. Doesn’t stop me from being grumpy about it though.

So, please give me some perspective. All of my friends and family will agree with me because they have a lot of experience with MEH that colours their judgement so unbiased opinions would be most welcome.

I need to find a way to post more often because every time I post now it ends up being uber, mammoth, mega ramble post. Sorry about that.

*Actually, that’s not true, I’d love to try making a zombie cake but not for the 6-year-old’s school friends, I think I’ll have to try it for Beefy now.

Ponying Up – also, as an aside, winter sucks and can go away now

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I had a Rheum appointment today. Went well, for the most part. She went through with me exactly why she KNOWS I do have arthritis, no matter what my blood tests might say. She gave me some ammunition to fire at any health professionals who seem to think my arthritis is in my mind. I may not have mentioned but I am seeing the physio who I originally met through the PMU and she holds to their assessment that there is no physiological cause for my pain. My first session with her was mostly a stressful update interview where she implied (heavily) that I should be seeing a psychiatrist and commented that it was good that I now had a proper diagnosis (FMS). Cue conversation that consisted of me almost shouting at her that I DO in fact have arthritis (I may have been getting a bit tetchy by that point) and her offering the condescending query as to whether my “arthritis” is showing up in blood tests now? I have decided that free physio is worth me steeling myself to her annoying attitude. I don’t really mind that she believes I am just in pain because I haven’t been exercising enough but it will proceed more smoothly if I feel strong enough to tell her to shove it (politely of course).

Anyway back to the Rheum, god, have I mentioned I love her? She’s just a darling. Beefy was there to add his two cents. I am a crappy patient, I tend to get all meek and not say any of the things I planned, he has no qualms about saying what he thinks and that can be a big help. She’s going to research some meds he suggested for muscle spasm and forward her suggestions to the GP.

It was also quite an enlightening examination. She pointed out that she can press much harder on my joints. Not something I’d ever thought about but she’s right. There are still parts of me that react to a feather-light touch as though I’ve copped a punch from a heavyweight boxer but overall, I’d say that my stupid overactive nerves seem to be chilling out a bit. I reluctantly have to concur with the FMS diagnosis now.

We’re gearing up for a certain 2-year-old’s birthday on Saturday, I am in complete denial about her turning 3. I still call her “the baby” by default. I have a feeling she’ll still be “the baby” when she’s 21. Actually I once knew some parents who couldn’t agree on their daughter’s name. They chose the Dad’s favourite for her first name and the Mum’s for her middle name. The thing was, because they both hated each other’s naming choices they called her “Bubba”. Fine when she’s a baby, even a toddler. Unfortunately she stayed “Bubba” a lot longer, I think they chose a name to call her when she was about 7. That’s just crazy, I’m totally not like that.

So, birthday. I’m really too tired for a birthday celebration at the moment. We’ve had the flu one after the other for the last fortnight. The two little ones went down hardest with nearly a week of 40 degree temps each. I was literally wading through snot and vomit. Beefy and I are on the mend but both big kids are home from school sick now. Ordinarily we throw a party but I just couldn’t face a proper one so we decided on just the grandparents and my sister, her husband and kids for cake. Now, recently my mother has been moving on with her life. This is a fabulous and happy development and I am thrilled but she’s kind of physically moving on without addressing any of the psychological baggage. Again, this is fine because it’s her life and all but she’s sometimes a leeeetle bit stressful to spend time with. My sister and I spend our time consoling each other and trying to find ways to gently suggest (not all that viable with my natural flair for sledgehammer subtlety) that she needs to think through her behaviour. So, she’s bringing the new man, he’s lovely, he’s straightforward and together and responsible and gentle. All of the things that my father wasn’t (isn’t). I am really happy for her to bring him but I know it’s going to be one of those occasions where I’ll be longing for wine. I called a friend today and she reorganised her life so that she and her hubby and kids could join us and she could act as a buffer. She’s a good buffer, she’s played the role for me before and knows just how to keep me from rocking in the corner with a bottle of vodka.

Beefy and I raced around today getting all of the birthday essentials. I was even able to grab a cheap pair of jeans for myself. I have been rapidly shrinking out of my clothes. Ill is the best diet. It’s been about ten years since I was this small. To be honest I was a little bit shocked with the size I ended up with. I think the weight loss can stop now. I feature a naturally pancake flat bum and I fear any more and I will end up with concave buttocks. Not pretty.

We managed to get everything we needed – presents, cake makings (My little Pony- Pinkie Pie cake, stay tuned for how well I mangle that one!) but by the end I was struggling to put one foot in front of the other. When we got home I managed to get myself inside and into bed but after that I was gone. I couldn’t sleep because of the pain and I was struggling to so much as lift an arm. I HATE that my body does this. If I do too much I have no choice. I can’t push through it like I used to, I have to rest. I am unable to even get myself to the toilet. I am not handling it that well, I just want to be me again. The new meds have helped, honestly they’ve helped enormously but I am at the maximum dose and I am not magically me again. Beefcake had to go and fill a script for the opiate pain meds that I had been off for six days. I was doing so well but there was just no choice. Bugger.

Anyhoo, exhausted now. Have to save my strength for tomorrow is cake baking, construction and crumb coat. I can’t flake out on that because there is no way for beefy to manage it alone, we are ambitious with our birthday cakes in these parts. Wish me luck.

I'm blogging now because I know I will forget later.. Happy New Year!

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I don’t know where all of my time goes. I seriously have barely opened my computer since I last blogged. My reader is beyond clogged with everybody’s happy Christmas posting.

I read all of those vampire books. Just in case you haven’t read them. I urge you to steer clear. I should have known better, they were appalling, I really can’t see what people are going on about. I will do everything in my power to make sure that my daughters don’t read them. I can’t imagine a worse model for teen relationships than the one that’s presented in these books. So many things about them annoyed me, way too many elements to list here. Woefully written tripe, I say. Of course there was no need for me to read them all once I had discovered that the first one was awful – I know I have only myself to blame for that stupid little bit of obsessive behaviour. Take my advice though, spare yourself.

I have eaten (probably more than) my own weight in assorted choclates and biscuits and brownies after baking up a storm in the lead up to Christmas. We always over cater but this was beyond ridiculous.

I am always a bit shell-shocked at this time of year, it takes me at least until mid-January to register that it’s all over and there is no more planning to be done or presents to wrap or feasts to cook. I half expect another celebration to spring out from behind a bush and surprise me. It doesn’t help that Rhubarb’s birthday is on the 3rd of Jan. Do you have any idea how hard it is to think up presents to buy and muster up the energy to cook a special birthday meal and treats after the long haul of Christmas? Hard.

Anyway, I am planning on being a better, more consistent blogger next year and so I’m mounting a pre-emptive strike on blogging. See, I’m a planner, me.

Happy New Year everyone. Thank you to all those who have read and commented here this year. Blogging is such a joyous and rewarding part of my life, thanks to you.

I shall be having a leisurely meal with the kidlets and perhaps enjoying a glass of wine if I am lucky. I hope that someone out there is doing some hardcore partying in my stead.

See you in 2010.