Weekend Alone!

BerlinBoy is back from Germany for 7 weeks holiday.  It’s been a mad few days of jetlag, heat & humidity, family  of 4 fun and everybody getting used to each other again!  Well, it has been almost 4 years!  Boys, boys, boys!  When did they all turn into men?  My constant thought, when they are together is – Something is going to get broken!!  They are all so big and my little unit is so small!  So far so good.

This weekend, they have taken themselves off to the Jungle Love  Festival, where BabyBoy and his band, In Void, will be playing.  The other 2 have gone as Roadies… They are camping – not something they are overly used to doing and storms are predicted – BUT they are not here and I have a glorious few days alone.

I am looking forward to a weekend of writing and thinking and planning.  This little blog will be going through some serious changes over the next few weeks.  A bit of a makeover for The Mandy Diaries, with the addition of its own Facebook page and email, as well as changes to the format of this page.  There will be regular posting days and maybe a weekly newsletter.

No need to worry … I will still be Me, writing about my perspective on my daily life.  I would hope that the changes will generate more conversations with you, my Readers, but if not – I will continue to write and publish my words because I think that is what I am – a Writer!

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Sneaky photo taken by my friend Marg, late one night and yes, we were at Macca’s! I had no idea these words were on the wall behind me – but so appropriate.  Thanks Marg xx

Can you detect a change in me?  Well, over the last few weeks I have been on a journey with my mental health practitioners.  And for the first time in a long time, I feel like I am winning.  More on that in another post after the relaunch in January.  I’m still travelling on that journey and I don’t want to jump the gun and go to early.  Needless to say, I feel excited and happy leading into Christmas.

This weekend, will also, see me doing some other of my favourite things.  Watching the Cricket Test between New Zealand and Australia; eating fresh Summer platters of food that I have prepared for myself, even though it is still Spring; decorating the house for Christmas – although this will be modified as I will not be home for Christmas but will travel to New Zealand to spend it with my extended family and friends; and wrapping gifts, as my Australian Christmas celebrations begin next week before I fly out in 2 weeks time.

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I hope your weekend will be a great one?

What will you be doing?

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Listen To Your Heart.

The last 5 months have been very tough for me.  There has been much interstate travel (which I am getting better at), changes in my work status, more ill-health than is manageable, injury and of course the necessary move of my *MIL out of her home of 30 years, into a Nursing Home and the subsequent declining of her health and finally her death.

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The last time I saw my MIL. Such a happy pic!

Pleasingly, to me, I have not fallen into an immediate heap, as has been the normal pattern of behaviour for me – especially when things stop!  I have, however, felt the desire for a servant in my home; the yearning for a beautiful garden to lift my flagging spirit; the urge to eat everything custard (but not banana custard, Mum) for every meal; and for friends and family to magically appear when I want company and disappear when I don’t!

I spoke to my Psychologist, yesterday, about how I was feeling guilty because I have not yet cried at the death of my much-loved MIL.  I simply feel relief, tinged with just a little anger!

I feel relief because I no longer have to worry that she is being cared for properly.  I feel relief that she is no longer in pain.  I feel relief that I no longer have to put on my crisis mask and manage all the stuff …. I feel relief that I no longer need to feel helpless to make MIL happy and fulfilled with her life.  I feel relief at no longer feeling responsible when myself or my boys didn’t contact her as much as we should.  She was so easily made happy with a phone chat.

And angry …. because MIL is gone to be with God and I am still here wading through the mire that is my life.  I’m angry at  cancer because it took my husband and left me to do all the necessary stuff for his Mum.  F u cancer!  I feel angry because there is one less person who really knew Adrian, that I can talk too.

But I have not fallen in a heap, so that’s good – right?

My Psychologist simply said that  it was now time to take care of myself for a little while.  To be kind to my inner person as I had been doing to my MIL.  To find those things that nurture my spirit and soothe my body and mind.

So I visited Madders Brothers Patisserie and bought a red velvet delight topped with a macaron – that surely soothed my body!

Red velvet

On returning home, I lit my Verona candle from Glasshouse Fragrances.

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Later I got my Mindfulness Colouring Book and did some therapeutic colouring in.

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And then there is always this ……

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Fev is the softest, smoochiest, purriest, heart soother I have!!

I also, read blogs that inspire me – check any featured on my list of Blogs to Read (on the right of my page).  I, also have been known to be nourished by words and quotes. So here are a few of my favourite ones –

smile tickle more beautiful cry because

listen

What do you do to nurture yourself?

*MIL = mother-in-law

Happy Birthday Little Blog!

I can’t really believe it but The Mandy Diaries is one year old!

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What began a year ago, as an outlet for me to write out my feelings and thoughts, has connected me with people around the globe, in a way I would never have dreamed about.  As with any one year old, it has had it’s trying moments!  But with the help and encouragement of others around me, I am becoming more confident with the idea that I might have some ability to tell a story AND that people might actually enjoy reading my stories!!

One year olds continue to grow and develop.  You may notice that The Mandy Diaries will also continue to grow and develop.  Some changes are being made as I write but others will happen over the next few months when BerlinBoy comes home for a visit.  He will help me with some of the more technical bits I need to learn about.  All changes are being made in the hope of simplifying things for both, You, the reader, and Me, the writer.

Looking back on my very first post, twelve months ago, entitled “Starting” – I am very happy that I did – start that is!  But I’m most happy that I continued ….. for a whole year!

So thank you for coming on the Blog ride with me and buckle up because The Mandy Diaries is ready for its second year!

A Facebook Quiz ….

One year ago, I did one of those Facebook quizzes about what I should be doing, and this is what followed –

24 August 2014 – I’ve been thinking about starting a blog! Maybe I should……

I got Writer.

What career were you actually meant for?
You have an unmatched skill for creating vast worlds both through facts and pure imagination. Your mind is full of creativity, artistry, and expression. You heart gracefully guides your hands as you work to bring what is truly your spirit to life….
BITECHARGE.COM

Well, one year on and The Mandy Diaries is still going strong – ish!
I would like to try to increase my readership and see where it takes me. I love writing and if you love reading my posts, I would love you to share them with any of you friends that you think might enjoy them, too! (That’s a lot of love!)

Also, comments and ideas for blog posts are always much appreciated. Blogs are very much a conversation between the writer and reader. It may surprise you that I have now connected with many people from many parts of the world and it is not just my family and friends that read and support The Mandy Diaries.
If you have never clicked on The Mandy Diaries link, do it today and let me know what you think.

Here I Am ….

I stopped writing.  I got scared.  I started to think that because I have a lot of stuff going on at the moment, I might upset someone by writing what I feel.  I listened to the outside world and stopped listening to myself.

Scared

These thoughts actually began a few months ago, when I wrote a post about my Mother-In-Law.  My own Mum, very proudly, told my MIL that I had written about her and then said that maybe I would read it to her.  Then she told me …. I felt sick!  All of a sudden, for the first time since I began blogging, I was worried about what I had written  and whether it would be understood the way I had meant it to be?  So I didn’t read it to my MIL – I got scared.  Looking back, from that moment on, I began second guessing myself.  Writing became difficult.  I started to look for topics to write about whereas before I had opened my heart and expressed my feelings.  I began writing drafts of posts.  Filing my words away so that I could think or should I say over-think, about what I was really saying and how it might be read.  None of these drafts saw the publish button.

As I mentioned in my previous update, I have much change going on in my life.  My MIL is nearing the end of her life and it has been with much joy and fear and uncertainty that I travelled to South Australia to spend some very valuable time with her and Adrian‘s relatives.  It was/is wonderful to spend time with people who mean a lot to the people you love.  Due to distance, this is family that I haven’t really known at all.  Relationship building, trust and understanding comes through circumstance and communication.  A firm foundation was set through these visits, that will surely make life manageable for us all, when the cornerstone, MIL, finally leaves us.

So how has this impacted on my ability to write, you might ask?

All of a sudden, I am aware of new, fragile, relationships growing in my life.  These are important relationships that I wish to nurture and keep in my life.  These are with people who have not known me – closely!  Who may not understand my sense of humour!  Who may not read things the way I mean them to be read!  I was questioning my “here I am world …. like me or lump me” attitude to sharing on The Mandy Diaries.  Will they think badly of me?  Will they be scared to share with me, incase they end up in a blog post?  So it went like this …

Over think!  Over think!  

At the same time as this was going on,  I found out that I was no longer going to have a job after June.  In hindsight, this was not really a surprise to me, as my anxiety issues have impacted hugely on my productivity and my workplace and workmates have been supporting me and carrying me for a long time.  The fact that I wasn’t surprised, did nothing to stop the fear, despair, anger, worry, disappointment and isolation I have been feeling.  These feelings are mostly directed at myself but I was scared to write about them, as many of my co-workers and bosses read my blog.  I was worried that I might hurt their feelings.  That they might feel responsible or wish they could do more.  None of this would be my intention but they might read it that way!  Again …

dont-overthink-it

Over think!  Over think!  STOP!

And so I did!  I stopped!  I no longer felt confident to express my feelings by blogging as they spewed onto the page.  I needed to have some quiet time to reassess.  So I have taken almost a month to think and over think and rethink and over rethink and my mental health has gone backwards quite significantly.  I have been putting on the masks I need to wear to do the things I have to do and then hiding at home feeling quite out of control.

I decided to look back at my very first post, in the hope of finding my way back.  I found there, that I was writing “my view on life”.  MY view!  I decided then and there that I have to write.  I need to write my feelings out.  I need to be authentic about my successes and failures and I need to share this with the world via my blog because it might just give someone else the courage to share their feelings with someone else.

I will continue what I started 10 months ago.  To share myself, firstly for my own mental health and secondly, in the hope that others may be comforted that they are not the only ones with fears and insecurities and joys and laughs and thoughts and feelings.  To all the readers the have joined me on this journey – thanks for reading and commenting.  To those new readers, especially those new family relationships – here I am!

My heart is full and I need to share!

Here I am

Change!

Today was supposed to be a work day for me but I stayed home, under the covers and listened to all 12 episodes of the podcast Serial.  The problem is that I only have two work days a week, so I can’t really afford to stay at home under the covers on one of those days!  So why did I do it?  I felt really tired.

hiding

At first I thought that my tiredness was totally caused by the worry I have been doing, about my 96 year old mother in law (MIL).  She has been in hospital for several weeks now and gently broaching the subject with her, of moving into a residential care facility has been stressful.  She agreed with the suggestion on the weekend and has totally convinced herself it will be the most wonderful thing for her – and we all agree!  I feel so relieved.

Of course, relief can cause tiredness but as I lay in bed this morning, I wondered if there was something else dragging me down.  I looked around for tell-tale signs and discovered that YES they were all there.  This is what I found.

I have not been out of my house since Friday.  I have very little food in my fridge or cupboards – certainly no healthy food.  I have been online almost every waking minute since Friday but have not actually written anything on my blog.  I have played games and watched junk TV all day everyday and have listened to my newest addiction – Podcasts – most nights.  I have also stopped eating …. everything but breakfast.  Cereal morning, noon and night but now I have run out of milk!  I feel fat and ugly.  I am fat but NOT ugly.  I want to give my Boys money that I don’t have …. they haven’t asked for anything by the way.  I am scared.  I feel sick in my stomach and my hands are shaky.  I am mad at myself.

I feel like I am letting myself and my tribe down.  I set the goal of focussing on the positive things in my life when writing The Mandy Diaries – to make myself feel better and maybe cause a smile or two.  But time after time I find myself typing about my anxieties and short comings.  What a downer for people to read, I say to myself.  Maybe I shouldn’t publish everything I write?

Being as authentic as I can be, is very much how I wish to be seen.  Trying not to be self-absorbed is something I struggle with on an hourly basis.  So here I am, once again writing about my issues and trying to say what some of you might be feeling but can’t or don’t have the opportunity or desire to share.

There is enforced change on the horizon for me.  I don’t even do chosen change very well.  So when change comes with no control on my part ….. RED LIGHTS FLASHING!!!!  AVOID!  AVOID!  

panic-thoughts

I am eventually going to have to return to Adelaide to help the extended family, clear out my MIL’s home of the last 35 years.  I know that it is a hard thing to do.  After a death is difficult enough but to do it in a respectful way when the person is alive is such a responsibility.  I am mad at Adrian for leaving me to struggle through this without him!!  CHANGE!

It is only a month before I no longer have a job anymore.  My work has been the only real bit of structure in my life for a while now and although I am often unable to get there, the people I work for and with are the most caring, thoughtful and encouraging workmates and friends.  There are so many questions to answer about my ability to find and keep a new job, about my eligibility for government support, about my short and long-term financial stability.  CHANGE!

I said YES to attending a hydrotherapy class with a friend, tomorrow night.  I don’t want to go!  I am pretty sure I will die!  Dramatic much …. you think?  I am sure this is why I stopped eating this week.  So I will be thin enough to feel comfortable at the pool!  Thanks mind for thinking so logically! (Rolls eyes and shakes head!)  I don’t want to let my friend or myself down.  I need this.  CHANGE!

aqua-1

So I will give myself a massive hug.  Write a small grocery list – hopefully I will get through it without the panic attack that occurred last shopping day and go and buy some healthy food and a few treats.  I will once again begin the journey of change with one small step at a time and if I meet you on the road too, know that I am holding out my hand to you, through my blog, because I need your support and because I want to be your support. Maybe we can do CHANGE ….. one stumbling step at a time, together!

Footprints in the sand

The Abi Diaries: ( A Prequel)

It was this weekend, one year ago, that got me thinking about starting my blog.  It took me a few more months to actually start but when the Timehop app on my phone threw up some pretty comical memories from my Facebook posts a year ago, I  thought I should really publish them here on The Mandy Diaries.  So here they are – unedited from my Facebook posts from a year ago ….

MAY 2014: It all began when I was asked to have Abi for the weekend, while her Mum & Dad were off celebrating something!!!  This photo was taken moments after I told Fev that Abigail was coming to stay for the weekend!

Fev unhappy

Day 1: of a weekend sleepover has ended. We went shopping for groceries & came home with lip gloss, we have coloured in & made collage cards, we played with Fev, watched Frozen, played animal shows in the bath, we had fish & chips for dinner when I planned on spaghetti bol, we ate pink cakes & now we sleep! This child is her mothers daughter …. busy, busy, busy!!!  Hope I can fill the next 2 days …

2014 Abi bed awake

 

2014 Abi bed asleep

Day 2: Breakfast – Abi “I want juice & porridge with blackberry jam but no milk!” Me “OK but I don’t have blackberry jam, will strawberry do?” Abi “Yep.” Makes porridge & juice – all good ….. Abi “That doesn’t look like mummy’s porridge but I’ll try it! No that’s not right I’ll have toast with that jam on!” Makes toast with jam(eating porridge with jam and NO milk at the same time)! Gives Abi toast…. Abi “I think I’ll have just toast with butter only and a warm milo!” Me “OK” Makes new toast with butter (eats cold toast with jam while making milo!) Gives Abi toast & milo, Abi eats one piece of toast but asks “Where are the bits in the milo?” Makes COLD milo with floating bits (drinks lukewarm milo). Abi “But I didn’t want it in a tall glass, I wanted a cup with a spoon!” Me “OK!” 2 spoonsful later….” Mandy, I think I’m going to vomit & I need a square bowl not a round one to be sick in!!” Me “I haven’t got a square bowl but here’s a round one!! Do you think you might want to watch Frozen again?” Abi “Yes, & I might have one of my yoghurts that I brought with me!”
All good but it’s not even 9am and I’m exhausted!!!

2014 Abi Tea Party

Day 2: (Part 2):  After Breakfast – Abi & I had a tea party and then we built a cardboard doll house!  (Note to self: If the box says 6 & over take notice) actually I built a cardboard house BUT adding stickers is “the most & important part because Mummy says so!!”  Time to go to the park!  Lots of scooting on the pathways and some playing on the play equipment but only when no boys “because boys are strangers” (get that in writing now, Dad!) While at the park she managed to eat grapes, chicken drumstick biscuits but “you know (silly me) they are fish because Mummy says so!!”  Also, another yoghurt and a poppa juice & water!!  Just before we were ready to leave, Abi took a tumble and it was my fault because (silly me) we didn’t go to Melrose Park like Mummy does!!  Time for a band-aid & to go shopping for a pretty dress because “that would feel me better.”  At DFO we bought a pink hoodie, a pink drink bottle, a cream headband with flowers & a blue sparkly bedside lamp!!! (I have no idea how or why!!!)  Home after falling asleep in the car – Damn ….. the dreaded “fall asleep in the car, one street away from home and then wake up on arrival and think you’ve had a sleep” trick!!   You should have warned me about this one – then lunch then off to watch BabyBoy, play soccer – where more playing but this time there were girls’ to play with – not strangers!! Abi & I made a joint decision (she decided & I carried through – almost!!!) to get MacDonald’s for tea but it wasn’t until I was firmly in the Drive Thru line, that I discovered that I had left my wallet at home (winning)!  Home, tea, bath, DVD, bed.  Will I be able to stay awake for the FA Cup? Go Arsenal!!!!

2014 Abi paper house

2014 Abi posing in the park

Day 3:  Breakfast – Firstly, Congratulations to my beloved ARSENAL for WINNING the 2014 FA Cup ….. but did you have to leave it to EXTRA TIME, which meant the game & presentation finished around 4 am? 4 am people!! That means our trip to Church is cancelled this morning & Monsters Inc is already showing and it’s only 8 am!!
Oh yeah, breakfast …. I did better ….. but she’s still a sneaky little poppet xx

2014 Peach

2014 Abi butter wouldn't melt in her mouth
Day 3: The Rest of the Time – Well, we had intended to go to church but I was tired & Abi had FROZEN on her mind!  Did you know, that I am NOT allowed to sing Elsa’s songs because Abi is Elsa and I am NOT??!!  Threading was another quiet activity …. until a very long necklace made for Mummy “because she has a very long neck”, was picked up by the wrong end ……. then we played pick up a million beads!!!  It was time for morning tea, so Abi took her ‘executive food platter’ outside and requested that “because she had already finished her treats of some gummi bears & some marshmallows, as well as those special ‘fish’ biscuits and an ‘expensive rescued’ peach …. she should also maybe have an icy pole and some ice cream & peaches!!! This did not occur because I had been watching Sons of Anarchy and I can be Gemma when I need to be!!   Scooter riding in the backyard was NOT a success but arranging gemstones ‘diamonds’ in my bird bath was!!  More birds arrived than ever before.  A toilet break was necessary, so I decided to make myself a cuppa & grabbed a couple of dry cracker biscuits.  I took a bite and a voice from the toilet said “What are you eating?” Me ” A biscuit.” Abi “Are you eating one of my special fish biscuits?”  Me “No!”  Abi “Wait on, I’m coming to check!!”  Me “Don’t forget to flush & wash your hands with soap!”  She arrives to count her biscuits, there are only 2 left.  Abi “You ate some!”  Me “No I didn’t, I ate my own – see?”  Abi “Well who did?”  Me”You did!”  Abi “Oh!” She runs off.  Me “Where are you going?”  Abi “To flush & wash my hands with soap!!!!!”  The rest of the day was taken up with baking, icing & sprinkling cupcakes and watching Monsters Inc & sneaking away to replace her lip gloss.  Lunch was uneventful, even though the cheese toasted sandwich did not have “lines”!  

Mummy & Daddy arrived to much excitement (and Abi was happy too!)  I now know why you should NOT have children once you are over 50!  Girls’ ARE different to boys!  Abi is growing up fast …. at no point this weekend did she mention my ridiculously sprouting facial hair (which I had forgotten to remove) ….. as she did, constantly, last time I had her!!!  I just realised that I have not had a shower since Friday!!!  It was a pleasure Mummy & Daddy but please do not call me tomorrow – it is my day off!

Photo evidence of Day 3:

2014 Abi beads

2014 Abi baking2014 Abi snackSo it was because of the reaction to these Facebook entries, one year ago that I started to think about blogging!

Thankyou, Abigail – from the bottom of my heart xx