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Category Archives: random musings

Amidst the medical melancholy, amidst the one woman pity party… I bring you… the great poop debacle of 2016…

See now, one of the demoralising things about ulcerative colitis is just how much you have to be aware of, talk about, write about and quantify your poop.
It’s kind of like being a first time mum, when out of nowhere, and for no explicable reason, poop becomes your very life. Your daily activities are planned around poop. Health is measured by poop. Diet is determined by poop. Poop consumes you every living, breathing and waking thought. You never realised poop could vary so significantly and just how much those variations could reveal.
So in retrospect, I am probably quite lucky, that this illness has struck me down after my initial poop baptism of fire and the birth of my first two little terrors/treasures…

But here I am, enduring the latter stages of pregnancy three when this awful disease appears to have returned just to mock me…
Toilet hours have dramatically increased.
CSI worthy toilet bowls that beg for me to photograph them.
Extreme fatigue and loss of appetite.
Blurry spots and eye issues.
Dizziness and faint spells.
To the doctors we go.
And Poop we discuss.
And naturally, a poop sample is requested.

It alarms me just how many of these I have had to do now.. and the mind boggles to think of how many different little scientists in their fancy white lab coats ( and I hope protective mouth masks) have peered through microscopes examining the very ins and outs of my outs!
So I didn’t even flinch at this request…

BUT
new country, new system… and what is handed to me is a CLEAR poop jar… yes clear. Like see through, transparent…
No modesty, no pretending like it could just be a little pot of butter.
Not a handy little tub to hold those beads you make friendship bracelets with.
Oh no…
A no hiding what you’ve got there,
Here, poop into this teeny tiny little jar ( seriously, what’s with the crazy small sizes of the pathology jars over here in general) and then wave your poop in the air for the whole world to see.
March it proudly, like a diva, through the streets of town for everyone to witness its marvel! Sit it blatantly in the pathology basket on the front reception desk for all to come in and admire your masterpiece.
Clear goddamit! Clear!

But with this window display comes the inevitable… performance anxiety.
I mean, let’s be honest…
When you do a urine sample… you drink that extra glass of water before hand, just so you can high five yourself for being “hydrated” and producing a little golden pot in the right hue ( I am not the only one who does this, surely?)
So how on earth was I going to produce a clear jar worthy poop sample??
Should I eat a bucket of blueberries or blue smarties and go for the all out? Do I have to keep collecting my poops and choose the best looking one? what if they laugh at my poop and dismiss it even before the little lab coats get to harvest it??!!

Thus, with much anxiety and fear, I had to just take the plunge and fill my little window display masterpiece.
And I did in fact stroll with it in hand through town where I in turn had to stand, holding it in all its glory waiting for my turn at reception and place it in its pride of place at the front of the collection basket.
Heck, if you’re going to make me poop into a clear jar, then expect me to “own that shit”…
But here’s hoping they don’t lose my pathology sample this time…

May your performances be worthy of display, wherever and whatever you may be doing.

Always and ever.
Super pooper.

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Hey all…
I was hoping my next verbal purge would be another exciting misadventure through these fine foreign lands I am blessed enough to be currently calling home, and in fairness, we have been getting out and about to a few wee little villages which are simply breathtaking and entirely postcard worthy, but alas,
The return of the medical melancholy sees me writing a few notes today on the rapid down hill slide of the old bod… again…
And this time, I must truly confess, I actually am scared… so I guess for once, this blog is more a record of sorts. A record for future me, when I am fit and healthy again, to see just how hard I fought to get out of this awful slump and back into the land of the living.
A record for my amazing, long-suffering husband, who I am sure is at his wits end with how to support me, but is more amazing and more loved than he could ever realise… and for my two little beams of sunshine who fill my day, my world, with laughter, meaning and purpose…
So here I am…
on the other side of the world… a land with so much promise and opportunity… but a medical system that if you’re not born into it, is somewhat impossible to navigate, fighting off the demons of my three pronged medical monster…
Firstly, let’s face it… I am 31 weeks pregnant.
For anyone who has ever made it this far into pregnancy, or known someone who has, you would be aware that growing tiny humans is exhausting and takes great tolls on your body. As such, I come to you pre- exhausted and hormonally certifiably insane.
Let’s just put that out there. I am nuts. My head is not actually under my control, but is being savagely driven by some great hormonal emperor with its own agenda…
Thus, any melt downs I have wherein should be specifically addressed to the chief of hormones and not in fact my sane, rational self…
The second prong of this devil’s health fork is the kidneys and the roller coaster ride from hell earlier this pregnancy that saw me hospitalised twice… unbeknownst to me at the time, pretty severely ill… it is only now, in retrospect and with research I am beginning to get an inkling of just how sick I was… and articles on my Facebook newsfeed about the 44,000 people who died from sepsis ( that my dear kidneys nicely gave me) last year here in the u.k really do bring home the message.
The aftermath of this kidney show down is the stent. Gah! The God awful piece of plastic between my kidney and my bladder. The little straw that was brutally thrust inside me whilst I was still semi awake… that makes me wee like a champion ( because you know, you don’t wee enough during pregnancy already and all that), that despite the daily excruciation that comes with every wee, despite the blood each time… well, this bastard little blue piece of plastic effectively saved my life and is what keeps me alive. It’s job is to stop further kidney mishaps and prevent further bouts of sepsis…
so hate it and complain about it as much as I might… and let’s face it, I am a whinger and I do, that God awful curly blue plastic is in fact a legend. I am still standing because of it… and the amazing dr who knew to put it in there. ( thus again, moving far away from said amazing Dr has indeed brought some drawbacks… as this new medical system has fobbed me off and laughed off the intended medical plan that was meant to be taking place…) but, that’s just one hurdle. We can mope, but we can cope with one hurdle. The fact remains… if I endure the pain through to the end of this pregnancy, at some point they still have to remove the darn thing, even in this new system that’s still going to happen. And god forbid I lapse back into sepsis and the kidneys give way again… without a small person growing within, surely they can act quicker and more aggressively to patch me up and get to the actual ( and as yet unknown) root cause of the problem…
But the reason for my whoa is me attitude today is the return of the third thorn in my side, the ulcerative colitis, which came from nowhere last year, flattened me and sent me to hospital and on the crazy roller coaster ride of insane medications…
this bastard of a disease is insane. It is an auto immune disease that struck me down out of nowhere, causing my own guts to turn warrior on themselves and attack themselves. With it comes severe abdominal pain, hours trapped in the bathroom and my least favourite symptom, the one that has returned this weekend, toilet bowls that could easily feature on the most gory episode of CSI.
This level of blood loss in turn makes the iron levels plummet at an alarming rate… ( alas, they’re already low thanks to baby and stent) and with the steep descent of the iron comes the return of the God awful anaemia… the dizzy spells, the buzzy lights in front of my eyes and consequential blurred vision, the crazy tiredness, the crankiness and my least favourite, the passing out. This third kick to the guts in my health trifecta really has pushed my optimism out the door and brought with it the return of whinging, sulking and desperately feeling sorry for myself. Like seriously… what on earth have I done to my body for it to hate me quite this much?? And amidst it all, all I can do is put eyes on the prize… the ten week goal post and just trying to muddle through until this small person within comes to meet us… I just need to maintain enough strength to make it to the finish line. To protect this precious life and make the best decisions in a crap situation to keep both me and the jellybean as safe as I can… but with that, the drawing realisation… I have to survive labor!! Cue freaked out nightmares…
thus, today, armed only with fear and frustration, I am back to the GP to plea my case. To demand that they start to take this seriously before it becomes a disaster… the system here works on politeneness and letter writing… but today it is up to me to convince the GP that the time for politeness has passed and now is the time for immediate action. Who knows what these next few weeks will throw at us… I have a hunch I am in for one heck of a ride…
thanks for enduring my vent. Here’s hoping my campaign today is met with success and indeed the next verbal purging is to regale more crazy misadventures… or possibly introduce to the next member of our little family. I am trying to remain positive… although, right now, I think the doom and gloom attitude may serve me well in my quest to get taken serious for medical intervention? Love and hugs all round!
You’re all amazing!
L

We stop and glance into the restaurant.
Gone are the days of glancing the menu to make the decision…
Yep, there are other kids… We are good.
We go in.
But wait.
Those kids are SITTING.
WTF? Are they like plastic decoys or something.
It’s too late though, we have shuffled in…
I continue scanning.
Nope, definitely all sitting.
What kind of trick is this??!!
How is it possible that these children are sitting, are they glued to their seats? Is this witchcraft?
For I have Learnt, if sitting even successfully happens in the first place…
That somewhere between “can I take your order” and “Bon appetite” restaurant chairs clearly evolve to grow red hot spikes, like electrified cactuses, the force my band of ferals to raise, possessed, from their seats and start running around, screaming, wailing, lashing manically like a cat in heat…
Never have I had one of these mythical glue chairs I can clearly see scattered throughout this restaurant that enables a child to remain stuck, seated, in one position for the duration of the meal… Foolishly, I look around at the delightfully seated children, and wonder if maybe, just maybe, this time we will get a glue chair.

And thus it was, as my little family shuffled into the cute little alfresco dining, with the perfectly postcard street umbrellas shading the well laid out little tables, and the hanging baskets dripping, raining, with a rainbow of healthy blossoms, on the sunny streets of Brussels after a day of ” enjoying each other’s company on a pleasant family holiday” ( read, trying not to kill each other whilst sending “death eyes” across the room whilst muttering evil curses towards the other under our breath and eventually cracking the utter sh*ts and simply taking off walking a foreign city alone with two wayward ferals and an expanding baby bump whilst his “lordshit” had a nap…)

Now…
Gone are the days of pouring over a menu tantalisingly…
Laughing, joking… Smiling…
Heck… Long gone are the days where conversation is so freely flowing and warm that the menu isn’t even opened before the first eager waiter appears at your table… Causing you to let out that obnoxious laugh of young people in love… With no kids.

No, menu reading today is now an exercise in speed reading. It is a contest to scan the entire volumes of food quicker than humanly possible to admit defeat that no, Vegemite sandwiches are not in offer darling, is there ANYTHING, F’ing anything, that you might eat…
It is now a talented skill to be able to scan the kids section, plus the adults section, plus the drinks, all whilst watching to make sure a little hand has not shot out at the speed of light to grab the flower vase, or salt, or knives, or anything not utterly nailed down and used it in an assault launch on their sibling… Or other diners.
It is trickier than a game of twister, the skill of juggling turning pages of a menu at lightning speed, intercepting any table missiles launched through slow detection of before mentioned hand all whilst hurling your whole body in a “go go gadget” manoeuvre to capture any escaping child via their collars before they disappear entirely.
And then somehow, when the waiter appears, not smiling as he glares at the dishevelled terrors before him and the inevitable “salt art” being created on the nice clean table, you order something that you may or may not have seen on the menu, cosy in the knowledge that neither of the kids will eat any bloody thing you choose for them, your meal will be cold before you get to touch it, if you get to touch it, and despite looking pleadingly, the waiter will still insist on bringing the kids fancy glassware for their juices and steak knives for their meal. Knives god dammit!!?? Does this guy have a death wish! No, for the love of good, don’t give my child the knife! Too late… Which will then become a further assault launch option available to them on the table.

By now… The cactus spikes in the kids seats must be searing hot and radioactive, for both of them are jumping out as if their little arses are on fire from the bites of a million bull ants. Screaming, whinging, carrying on. Extending the table items warfare past each other and now inflicting mass destruction on the tables of surrounding diners.

Our most stern hisses and reprimands falling on deaf ears, drowned out by the raucous giggles as one causes the other to run full tilt into an umbrella stand…
Our yelling gets louder. More insistent… More desperate begging, pleading.
We have past the stage where bribery works…
We are past the point of return.
The food arrives.
It looks delicious.
We salivate in anticipation, like pavlov’s dogs, only to accept that this will be another meal untouched… As one has taken off their shoes and is performing a “punch and Judy style puppet foot play” on the table ( causing some almighty looks of disproval from surrounding diners who clearly did not wish to be entertained by the sight of ten filthy toes whilst eating their dinner) while the other has started crying. That long, low, I am not planning to stop anytime soon, nothing you can do to placate me cry…

I attempt to eat dinner with the screaming banshee thrashing on my lap. A further skill is the ability to pick menu items that can be eaten one handed. Cutlery is an opulent luxury these days, one I have not enjoyed in some time…
While hubby’s dinner turns cold as he has drags the puppeteer up the street for a stern talking to, and likely a deserved butt slapping, out of ear and eye sight of our fellow diners.
They return.
We try to bribe them again. It is to no avail.
We make the theatrical song and dance of how amazing their food looks, and truly it does… We have even managed to select a variety of foods which both have eaten within the last week…
But are met with the defiant cries of “no it’s disgusting” ( where the F did they learn that word?!)
We attempt the oldest parenting tricks in the book – quick eat it before I do or I give it to your brother / sister.
Nope, their resolve is dead fast. Damn it. Stubborn little bastards truly are my children.

And thus, another 60 euros well spent, as we admit defeat, pay for our cold, untouched meals and drag the little terrors out of there, under the disproving eyes of our fellow diners and their picture perfect, glued on children ( seriously, how the F are they doing that?!)

Two steps up the street and cue the tantrum…
Waaaaaaaaaah, ( it sounds like a bomb alarm, diners nearly drop to the floor) passers by jump out of the way higher and farther than Olympic champions…
Waaaaaaaah.
I want to go back.
I want my dinner…
Oh, and my favourite,..
I want ice cream.

No way are you having ice cream.
Ice cream is a special treat, only if you’re good.
Were you good at dinner? “Yes”
WHAT THE ACTUAL F+*^
What do you mean yes? Did you stay sitting “yes” were you quiet? “Yes” did you listen to mummy and daddy? “Yes” did you eat your dinner “yes”
Whaaaaaat? What crazy parallel universe did this kid just spend the last thirty mins in??

The tantrum grows.
We are now full scale meltdown on the grubby dirt, possessed by the devil, arms and legs flailing, demanding ice cream.
Each no is met with a volume increase I wouldn’t have deemed possible.
Walking away results in a rugby tackle at my feet and further display of just how epic a tantrum can be.
I scoop the writhing beast up and fling him over my shoulder like a sack of spuds in a display of my super human strength, inherited as a mother.
Good god this kid weighs a ton. I don’t know how. He doesn’t eat.
He lashes out like a many limbed mythological beast.
I feel my face getting scratched. I wince as a filthy, grubby hand, covered in street dirt and litter is thrust into my mouth, my hair is pulled.
I am now as equally dishevelled as him… But slowly, calmly, I continue walking back to the hotel.
Repeating the same clear directions.
Ice cream is a special treat.
We only get ice cream when we are good.
We were not good at dinner.
I no longer even notice the stares of onlookers as I carry my heavy sack of disobedience home and enjoy a further 15 minutes of the ice cream tantrum.
I admire my core body strength that I am still able to lug him up the four flights of stairs… Although I do ponder what happens as he gets bigger as he is nearing three quarters of my height already… And I do give a moments thought to the growing human inside who just received ( not their first) sibling pummelling…

We fill the bath and toss them in.
Wash off the street dirt,
Drown out their continued moaning.
Discuss calmly the expectations of what being good at dinner looks like.
We ask if they want ice cream tomorrow.
Of course they do.
We tell them we can try again tomorrow and all they need to do is be good.
I swear they laughed.

It is bed time.
I don’t know who is more exhausted. Them or us?
Another fun family day finished with a delightful meal in a most adorable little street side restaurant.. Overlooking the grand beguiling buildings of Brussels.
Roll on tomorrow…

May your food be warm and tasty, wherever this finds you!
Love and hugs world.

 

“Butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths” …

Keeping up with the jones’

Benchmarks.
Benchmarks are dangerous, fictitious, unachievable standards, set by an alien race whom are trying to bring us undone and take over our planet.
I am sure of it.

And while bench marks are evil in so many parts of our life…
The pure horrendous, soul shattering, life destroying benchmarks are those we fire at babies… Or even more so, their weak, vulnerable mothers ( and fathers!)

The fact that it is often other mummies doing the dirty work to bring down the defeated, sleep deprived parent… Like a lion pouncing on the slowest, limpest member of the deer pack, just makes benchmarks all the more an ugly, torrid affair. And further indicates that they have been the brain child of afore mentioned alien race whom clearly is trying to wipe us out from The roots up… Stop the care takers and plunder any hope for population growth… It will leave the remainder as easy pickings… Bahahahahaha… In fact… It will also scar those that survive because their entire life will now be etched out on an impossible map of the unachievable.

And thus it is…
As my teeeeny tiny baby boy is approaching his third birthday I sit back and review the countless hours I have spent wasted… worrying about stupid bench marks. The funds given to unnecessary doctors appointments, the lotions, potions and medicines, the grey hairs, the wrinkles and the stomach ulcers, the squillion late nights spent basking in the flickering radiation of my computer screen as I desperately read pages grappling for some sense that he has reached some bench mark or another… All this pain, all this stress, all this waste… all a side effect of the benchmark. Time wasted worrying he isn’t up to scratch when in reality I should have just been enjoying his company because somehow, I will wake up next week and he will be THREE! 3!! Seriously… Not that tiny, helpless, wriggling little bundle I brought home three seconds ago… But a sassy, confident, egocentric, talkaholic with the most whacky imagination…
He can climb into his own car seat…
Occasionally use his own cutlery ( if and when he is choosing to eat today)
Climb in and sleep in his own big bed… Without guidance rails!
Laugh at my attempts to sit him on the potty and correct me that no, poop goes in a nappy and can he have a fresh bum please.
He can demand ice cream for three meals a day and throw an epic tantrum, publicly, if said request is denied.
My tiny, helpless, crying, screaming, wriggly little baby is suddenly an independent headstrong, self righteous threenager.

A three year old who DID NOT meet his growth bench marks from the day one…
Did not meet his feeding benchmarks.
Nor his sleeping bench marks.
Did not crawl until far too late and thought walking was for suckers… So gave that benchmark a miss also.
Did not have baby soft skin
Did not like to throw and catch balls
Did not hug teddy bears
Decided the clapping benchmark was over rated… As was the pincer grip and waving.
Clearly the benchmark of singing songs was also best avoided
And the big one. Talking.
Oh that’s right.
My mr chatterbox,.. Who does not ever shut up, did not talk until well after the age of two,
Twenty words at 24 months. I think not.
And while he happily smiled internally knowing he was driving his mum slowly and inevitably more bat shit crazy I fell down the whirl pool of bench mark envy…

What, your child is 6 weeks old and speaks 7 languages already? Oh no! I am clearly a failure!!! ( insert countless days of. Mummy self loathing and hating myself and beating myself up for clearly not spending enough time developing his language skills)

Your child was potty trained before you left hospital?? Good god! What am I doing wrong!
( insert hours of self hate and self doubt and nights thinking he may be better off without me as clearly I am flawed as his mentor)

Your child eats every single vegetable and asks for Brussel sprouts as a snack??
Ok… Your kid is a freak!

Seriously.
I fell for it.
I wasted days, nights, weeks… Stressing about my tiny little micro man.
I spent hours blaming myself, hating myself. Wondering what was wrong with me that somehow, he hadn’t “bench marked” and wasn’t perfect.
Stressing he wasn’t perfect and all because some moron at some point put a number in some book.

But do you know what….
That tiny little baby, who had the community nurse on our door stop every day for nearly the first month of life now stands at over a metre tall and breached the WHO growth charts before he was aged one… ( but now am I to worry that he is in fact a freakish giant because he has superseded the bench mark?!)
That roly, poly little chubba chunka who never wanted to even crawl… Well, now could be an Olympic sprinter because I sure as poop can’t keep up with him…
Forget me struggling to reach my 10,000 steps a day on my bench mark prison bracelet… I reckon if I chucked that fit bit on him we would be tracking well over 20 000 fast paced action steps.
That lazy little bubba who stared blankly at months of valiant attempts to wave and clap… Now walks into a room, claps his hands, to get people’s attention and with a melodramatic wave for effect announces to the world and anyone who’s listening… “Hello people, (micro man) has arrived.”
And words!
Words that would not come…
That were buried under a bench mark of steel weight proportions.
Words that sprouted more grey hairs with bench mark worry than their are even words in the dictionary…
Well… Those words are coming.
They are coming fast and flowing and in a beautiful, nonsensical three year old imaginative way.

I have wasted so long chasing benchmarks that weighed me down with fear.
I have questioned my sanity
I have questioned my ability
I have questioned my perfect little micro man.

The only failure in all the benchmarks unreached was that I listened. That I sat there and listened to the daggers, often thrust by other mummies, and I believed them. I hung my head in shame, I called doctors I researched like a kid before an exam… I didn’t stand up and say screw your bench mark. My kid is perfect. Perfectly him and developing at the perfect rate for him.
He might not meet the number in the book but he is doing everything he is supposed to do at exactly when he is supposed to do it. He is perfect at being himself.
And as there has never been a him before him, then of course there will never be a book with the right “bench marks” for him.
I am the only failure here. I failed my micro man for not being his voice to declare his perfection against the tyranny of bench mark nay Sayers.

Well it’s time to stop.
It’s time for this mumma to learn to shun the benchmark world and instead to listen to the crazy ramblings of her three year old.
Her three year old who thinks food is purely for sculpting onto one’s finger and performing shadow puppet plays.
And you know what. I reckon he may be right.
( if you’ve ever been brave enough to have my cooking, you also would probably agree)

It’s time for this mumma to focus on the real bench marks… The ones that say hey… I might be a late walker, I might be a late talker but I am perfectly normal and I am perfectly me.

My micro man DID throw epic tantrums not only on cue of the benchmarks… But he is so flipping advanced he threw them early. I can therefore only conclude that he is “emotionally advanced”.

He discovered self expression light years before the famous artists… Even if his choice of medium ( poop) was thoroughly questionable. I can therefore declare that he is “creatively gifted”.

He developed insanely advanced gross motor skills and can climb to the top of the craziest places. Ergo we are certain he is “physically ingenious”.

And his body awareness is amazing… Primarily due to the injuries sustained to nearly every body part during his efforts to jump or climb down. From afore mentioned heights. Thus he is “personally sagacious”

Yup…
Screw benchmarks.
My little micro man is perfect.
Some days he acts 3 years old, some days 33 and some days three minutes old… But every day he fills my world with sunshine, laughter and new experiences and I know I wouldn’t want him any other way.
And don’t even start me on the glowing perfection that is miss z… That’s a whole other blog…

It’s taken me three years,
But maybe my clever little guy is teaching me far more every day than I could ever hope to teach him.

May the benches in your world be unmarked and purely for sitting on…
Wherever this finds you.
Hugs.

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What mess?

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I hate needles.

This is simply a fact… and noone quite knows why…

I mean HATE them.

Really, truly, blood curdling, spine tingling, stuff that nightmares are made of kind of hate them…

And this **slight** medical CATASTROPHE has certainly posed me plenty of grief over the years… In fact… it is only purely my utter and devotional love of animals that got me over the line to get the yellow fever shot to see the giraffes in 2002 or the fear of dying from some hideous blood curdling death that has allowed me to survive the occasional blood test…

But this morning.. the cruel imps of my fairytale society sent me packing, not only for a morning filled with my utmost fears but a morning coupled with my second fear, the dentist… and the drill. Not impressed…

Now, to understand where this inane fear of dentistry comes from, one must understand in advance, I have CRAP teeth…

Not the kind of teeth you find on English & Irish people (Seriously, what IS that all about!!??) You know that weird hereditary Austin Powers style of jaws… no, my teeth are just plain old generic CRAP. The damn things didn;t even decide to enter my mouth till I was FIFTEEN MONTHS OLD! My poor Ma thought i was going to need dentures… or be on the soggy baby mash forever… but sure enough, delayed though they were, out popped some not so “pearly whites”.

Infact, we could call them “aged linen yellows”. Now, i don’t smoke, never have, Don’t drink tea or coffee or other such teeth staining vices… and yet, having crap teeth means as well as the mysterious lack of tooth enamel.. those chompers I do have, have and always will be a most unsavoury and off putting yellow hue. Over the years… they have been subjected to several bouts of teeth torture!

Firstly, having no enamel means prone to decay… and you guessed it, filling central… (can I point out at this point that a mouth full of silver does not compliment well my mouth full of yellow) but the fun didnt stop there…

Oh no… after a delayed start…the danged things all grew at once.. till around the start of High school I found myself strapped into the dreaded chair of Dr ARMSTRONG (Yes, seriously… and believe me, this guy had the “guns” to match that claim.. guns obtained by yanking the teeth from the mouths of unproperly anaethatised school children!)

SEVEN teeth extratced from their cosy little resting place. SEVEN bouts of the hugest bloody needle being brandied about at close range under the eyes of a terrorfied school girl… and at least 4 of those teeth man handled and forcibly pulled amongst a pissing stream of blood before the danged aneasthetic had taken full force… on one such occassion, this was despite his valiant effort and the administering of FOUR of the whopping great needles!

needless to say, herein my fear and loathing of the dentist was cemented, additional to my fear of needles… until of course..

secondly…

the orthodontist!

Every parent in the 90’s greatest fear… the money black hole of the mercedes driving orthodontist. Mine had a garlic and onion eating fetish and I am thoroughly convinced took great delight in scheduling my appointments direct after lunch!

TEN YEARS of sitting in that evil chair looking at his “Autumnal Forest” picture plastered on the wall aimed at making the place more “relaxing” (Consequently, I assosciate Autumn leaves with fear, pain and bad aroma). Ten years of train tracks, food getting stuck behind little metal bands, firing spit covered elastics, sometimes at will, sometimes to my complete embarrassment out of straining teeth and generally living with the dull, gentle ache that was braces in the 90’s.

Thirdly…

as if, this all wasn’t enough… the pinnacle of my youthful teeth history was the removal of my canines (A hint to become vegetarian?) and a hospital visit to surgically extract a tooth that had gone wayward and was growing in the wrong postcode of my mouth!

Needless to say, by this stage, my fear of needles about matched my fear of dentists…

fast forward some years… and some time spent admonishing the Great British teeth calamity and I was guilted back into regular dental care.

Religiously, every 6 months…

I went and forced myself to confront these demons and sit in the chair…

Religiously, every 6 months a new filling. But of course by now, an obstinance by me meant these fillings have all been done WITHOUT the dreaded needle!

Religiously following the advice of the armies of dentists I have tried… Brush more, Brush less, you brush too much and have brushed a hole in your teeth! Floss more, Floss less, you’re making your gums bleed. Don’t eat oranges, eat more fruit…

And all the while feeling the frustration mount as my latest dentist has put my crap teeth down to:

A) eating too many sweets (for anyone who knows me, knows I am a SAVOURY addict)

B) drinking too much soft drink as a kid (Check with my Mum, once a year on our birthday maybe!)

and my personal favourite..

C) You must have grown up in the countryside and had bad water as a kid! SERIOUSLY!

Of course, these were nothing compared to the guy who tried to convince me such teeth damage could only have occured through my BULIMIA! When i of course advised him that i neither have, nor never had had an eating disorder he scoffed…and I half expected a referral to a psych!

none the less, I digress…

after years of teeth trauma… the day has finally come when the long overdue rootcanal was set to happen…

so (as if I slept last night) I arose this morning, sick to the core with apprehension of yet another dentist chair, another drill…but worst of all… confronting the needle!

My endodontist, I might add, is about as symapthetic as a flounder… and as I sat, a trembling, broken, nervous wreck of a woman in his chair he merely started placing all the tools of torture out on the tray before me…

I warned him of my fear. he snorted. and before I knew it.. with is hands rubbing tingle cream onto my gums I was strapped in and it was the piint of no return. Eyes closed as tight as can be as I felt the tell tale jab of the needle entering my gum.. then BAM the face swell.

Yes, my face is now like that of an anaphalactic after a bee sting.

My mouth feels so big it is covering my nose.

My nose feels like it has shifted into my eye socket.

everything is numb. Everything is tingly.

I lie, eyes squsihed close as i listen to the sound of drill after drill, suction machine working overtime….

I have a rubber bag stuffed under my tooth and half across my face to cover the passage way to my mouth so the “spit” (read: blood) doesn’t all go down my throat… My mouth open like a carnival clown. Jaw clenched yet open.

BBBZZZZZZZZZ>>>>> what is that smell? The burning rubber? have they burnt the throat protector? No, that is the smell of a tooth being drilled beyond the normal city limit of tooth drilling.

more buzzing, more smell… the smell of rotten nerves… dying, decay.

more buzzing, more smell, the smell of nerves being burned… killed off and removed from their little hidey hole…

then here, let me throw this heavy jacket on you, place your finger in your already uncomfortable mouth and take an x ray.

more drilling, more burning, more sucking, more tingling.

the torture lasts at least half an hour… then reprieve…

some sounds i recognise.

the normal drill.

the scraping of filling fluid.

a filling being administered.

some tapping, some poking…

I kind of wish I could feel it now, to know what the heck is happening… but my mouth is now fixed open, balloon still in, my lips swollen to the point they may reach my forehead and my nose numbed to the point of uselessness…

Then you’re up. It’s done. finished for today…

A cruel prank, there is some water, rinse your mouth he says.. knowing I have absolutely no facial motor control, I lift the cup to where I think my mouth is and deftly poor water into my nostril, which is ok… as I can’t feel my nose anyways… Then I find the hole, throw back the water, only to discover i can’t actually close my mouth… the water drips down my chin onto my shirt like a physically handicapped bee sting victim. third attempt and the water goes in my mouth and quite possibly out my nose. I am not sure. I give up.

A small pamphlet “expect pain when the numbness ears off… take drugs. See you for round 2 in a month” and a gentle push out the door.

Blinking in the bright waiting room lights, mouth still open (Will I ever be able to shut it again?)  Awareness that my nose is runny but I am unable to blow it, feel it or even locate it on my face with a tissue, red marks from the hands that have been leaning and pressing on me the last 45 minutes and that cotton wool mouth feeling.

I fork over my hard earned cash and stare dumbstruck at the poor guy awaiting his turn to be butchered.

He gives me that all knowing sympathetic grimace and we wish each other luck then I stumble… still looking like a trainwreck to face the drive home…

At the service station, I stop for petrol… my face still like a giant balloon. i catch glimpse in the rear vision mirror. I look like a freak. I try to smile at the attendant.. Only one half of my face is working. I look like a stroke victim! He backs away fearfully from the creature staring back at him. I daren’t even try to talk…

I find even simple words merely produce garble and drool. I am reminded of my friends infant children, only I feel even they have more facial motor control than I…

I try to blow my nose… At least I found it when using a mirror… and discover that only one nostril can flare. I laugh at the strange face looking back at me… but only have the face in the mirror laughs!

and I go home. safe in the sanctity of my house. I await the tingle to be replaced by the pain.. and I await the month and a half long torture of knowing I have to go through this all again…

yep, it’s official. I still hate needles.

May your smiles come from BOTH halves of your faces.

Hugs,

Always.

L

we all say it..

we all think it…

it’ll never happen to me, right?

heck… if we really believed that, why would we even bother trying?

why go for the interview?

why take out the insurance?

why why why??

of course…usually we assume the “it”

to be the bad “it” the worse possible outcome it… the murphiest of murphy’s laws it… and alas… it is this little bindi on our existence, this thorn in our society that we remember most…

not the good “it”

the winning on the scratchie, the getting the dream job, the meeting mr right and finally feeling a life full of love and happiness…

and even though, it must be said my life is full, over the brim of the most wonderful it’s and i try sooooo hard to focus on them and be grateful for them, it was the re-emergance of a bad it this week that sent me into a spin, and consequently landed me with enough time to blog….despite months of silence (yeah, sorry about that guys…)

and “it” all started a few weeks back with a trip to the friendly GP..

of course… being  a backpacker.. i do life on a budget… but even on a shoestring there are times when the fob off from a cattle farm (aka medical centre) doctor just doesnt sit right… so thankfully, i persisted and found myself in the comedy of a moment whereby i told my non-english speaking doctor exactly which tests i should have done based on the symptoms with which i was starting to present…

for all intents and purposes i may very well have been just as successful to preform the procedure myself… but needless to say this became a strange good “it” in that by getting that one little health check done through sheer persistence and bullying of one doctor we uncovered the whole downward spiral of the bad it that today has rendered me at home…

what followed was a whirlwind tour to the gyno’s office… a few hacks, sneezes and biopsies later to uncover the it that all us women fear “pre-cancerous cells”

again, take note… despite the dark grey cloud that hovers over those very words… we often overlook the shining light the “pre” which means… thank god we found it! there’s still time…

needless to say… despite the light behind the cloud… panic overdrive and first stop into MBF, my trusted health fund, the fund to which i pay my money so diligently every month should it ever actually does happen to me… to light the way on how to afford this little health foray adventure…

and herein lies where “it” began.

“you’ve only had hospital cover for 10 months, it sounds pre-existing, you’ll have to prove it’s not. get your doctor to fill this form and submit it with your hospital papers to get it assessed to see if we’ll cover you”

down to the cattle farm..

doctor not available… i suggest you come back and wait in the slaughter house queue on market day (saturday)

but in the meantime.. enterprising as i am… i trekked to my last abode, and retrieved the “golden ticket” from my prior cattle station. last years “all clear” results…

phonecalls, stress and anxiety later.

several bouts of mis information from my misinformed tele-hosts at MBF

tied like a small round piece of plastic on the end of the yo-yo string being bounced through the motions and failing even to “walk the dog”

i arrived on the morning of my procedure (as if i wasnt fretting enough) to be faced with the prospect of pulling an extra $2000 out of my non existent mortgage to have the operation to save myself from cancer.

this it is made quite bigger simply by the fact that MBF had stated to me IT would be covered as non preexisting and they had put notes to state IT in the account and would contact the hospital.

the synopsis… MBF put notes in the wrong part of my account and officially stuffed IT!

thus, poorer but presumably cancer free i am now on the trail of my mismanaged health fund to get IT sorted and retrieve my money,. i find it ironically humourous that during this tango of phonecalls they still managed to take my monthly fee and have yet to have a problem retrieveing IT from my account!!!

so the battle wages on and the estimated time till it’s sorted currently stands at 6 weeks! so in the meantime.. thank god i had a back up… and even though we fear and dread it we all secretly prepare for that day when it does actually happen to me…

is my gripe and moan just a product of coming off the anaethatist’s drugs? is it just because i am a whinger (dont answer that… i know!!) or is it perhaps a social outcry as i know i’m not alone here….

in a world where one day it really could happen to you… it’s strangely reassuring to know you’re not the only one being screwed over out there…

so whatever your battle, fight it with all you’ve got and just sleep at night knowing… for whatever bad it’s the battle hurls your way…the good ones are never far over the next corner…

or in the very least… whenever you need them most you uncover a most amazing army of family and friends ready to stand beside you and go into battle by your side…

so chins up soldiers.

hugs

l

i mean really.

how had i never noticed before?

goodness knows i am a lover of all things in the animal kingdom..

but how funny are alpacas!??

in fact, i’d go so far as to say they’re freaking hilarious!!!

silly heads on long necks, twitchy ears and bug eyes.

i mean, what were the gods thinking when they created this comical tribute to all things mismatched??

how can a drive through the serene country outback not be broken into fits of hysterics when beasts such as these dot the hillsides?

aaah, the world surely is a funny funny place..

may the alpacas in your fields have upright ears flapping in the breezes of happiness!

hmm… come to think of it…maybe i will head to south america sometime soon in search of the fountain of happiness…which i am now convinced is kept by the gods of the alpacas and llamas and vicunas and gnu’s… (i mean how could it not be there??)

It’s funny how we get attached to silly things… like mobile phone numbers for example…

But after a few years with my same number, proud that I actually knew it without having to ring myself or write it down, you can imagine just how delighted I was to discover that I could in fact travel overseas and continue to use my beloved prepaid service (yes, i know… pre paid is for kids!!! but seeing as i rarely stay anywhere long enough to see out the 12 month contract – or god forbid 24 month contract! pre paid has always been ideal…)

none the less… at first all was sweet.

country to country… recharging online but in touch with the world.

my friends at my fingertips….

but then alas, things started to go wrong …

firstly…

Canada.. big enough country…part of the western world even… you would assume it would have mobile service… (I mean, heck, I had signal in India, the Middle East and Eastern Europe!!!)  but alas, no.. ’twas not to be… thus here I was.. starting a new life, new house, new job and all entirely without a phone…

but the real clincher…

the bitter irony that Optus’ very own bonus call credits screwed me over…

yes…with each $30 recharge I was sooo lucky to be getting $120 worth of credit… only using the phone internationally I wasnt actually able to use most of that credit… thus… through the kindness of their bonus credits.. I started to wrack up a rather impressive bonus credit account… once it hit $500 of unused credits I encountered my first hitch… inability to recharge.

yes, thats right…

I had TOO MUCH CREDIT and was not actually allowed to recharge my own phone!!! and the stupid thing is… i couldnt actually use any of that credit anyhow!!!!

so a few phone calls later… credit limit increased… temporarily patched… until… $1000

yes. I had ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS of unused call credits just sitting on my now debunked and useless phone…

so on top of the fact that recharging was a fruitless exercise anyways… optus, the darlings, wouldnt even allow me the privelege…

and thus, tentatively, I let it go… really I had no choice… and my phone service slowly died….

this of course was all forgotten while I lived my day to day life in Canada… knowing that when I returned to the sunny shores of home once more I would simply call optus and retrieve my poor dead and buried number…

a process one might be forgiven in thinking is simple…

and thus.. jet lagged and travel weary… first stop en route home was to the trusty optus shop to ask the question…

“you’ll need a new sim card”…

no worries says tired laurie…as she gets new card and returns home to place the call…

CALL ONE:

Gretchen (well, something to that effect her accent was entirely incohesive)

“your number has expired because you didnt recharge”

“yes, that is because I was overseas for 18 months and there was no optus”

“ok i’ll see if i can get approval to retrieve your number… on hold… speaks to manager… yes we can do that because I can see you are a good customer, been with us forever, regularly recharges, blah blah blah…. you need a new sim.”

“already got it”

“cool. put it in, turn phone on in 20 mins all should be perfect”

(wow…that was too easy i think… and yes… if it seems too easy.. you know it will be…)

20 mins pass… phone turns on has optus screen… yay I can contact my friends!!!  Now to put on some credit… online… “put in a valid phone number”… hhmmm…. better call to fix that….

CALL TWO

girl whose name I couldnt even guess at because she sure as hell wasnt speaking English….

“no it is not possible for you to have your number”

but why?

“I can not tell you”

“can I speak to someone who can tell me please? seeing as I was just told I could have it?”

“a manager will call you within 2 hours I promise”

(3 days later I am still waiting for said manager to call)

CALL THREE:

Miles.

yeah, I can do that, I just need to get approval to get your number out of quarantine”

“no probs, Gretchen already got approval but go ahead”

“yup, I can do that because you are a long term customer and blah blah blah just bear with me…”

(more hold time…)

“um…. I cant find your number”

“what do you mean??”

“it isnt coming up”

“well who can find it?”

“tech support” “i’ll patch you through to them now”

CALL FOUR:

Vanessa.

“this is a customer service enquiry”

“they patched me through to you”

“oh ok.. let me see if I can figure out why they cant find it”

(several conferences with supervisors later and plenty of hold time)

“I need to refer this to my supervisor because I have never seen anything like it before”

CALL FIVE:

Rose

“ok, I understand this is frustrating let me see what I can do”

(more hold time later)

“I have approval to get number for you the problem is with your new sim card it is part of a bulk activation pack. you need another sim card. go get one and I will call you back”

FIFTY KILOMETRE ROUND TRIP BACK TO OPTUS SHOP TO GET SIM

CALL SIX:

Angelo:

“Rose went home and asked me to call” (at least they are calling me back now!!)

“we need to activate the new sim and then tomorrow Rose can transport your old number over and replace the new one the activation will give you”

“I’ll patch you over to customer support to activate”

“ok – but explain to them what is happening so they do they right thing and you get the right details”

CALL SEVEN:

“hi this is Miles (or Reece?? dont know he spoke quickly) how can I help you”

“what do you mean how can you help me?? didnt Angelo explain?”

“no, but what can I do for you?”

(laurie details the last 2 days worth of phone calls)

“ok, so lets activate this sim. what phone number do you want?”

“well derr…thats the problem!!! I want my old number back  which I have been tol I can have and yet  noone seems to be able to find it!!”

“ok lets see what I can do…”

(more hold music)

“this is going to take longer than usual, I will call you back”

(I am still waiting for this return phone call also)

CALL EIGHT:

Angelo calls back (kudos to him.. he does at least call)

“how did you go, do you have the new number?”

“no, they didnt know what you wanted them to do and are supposed to call me back”

“but I explained it to them. hang on, i’ll patch you through to customer service again and explain it again”

CALL NINE:

“hi this is Bivek from cutomer service, how can I help you?”

“are you kidding?? didnt Angelo explain??!!!”

(whole saga repeated to Bivek)

“hmmm, we cant do that only tech support can do it”

“I know, but tech support has asked me to activate a new card and get a random new number which tomorrow they said they will change to my old number”

“ok, let me just see here, I need to talk to my supervisor”

(more hold time)

“I need to refer this to I.T:  please hold”

(more hold time)

“I think if I activate this and get a new number it will ruin the chances of getting your old number. my supervisor will be contacting the i.t supervisor his name is Raoul, he will call you back”

CALL TEN:

Angelo calls back (again, I give him due credit)

“do you have your new number?”

“no. they say  it will jeopardise me getting my number, something to do with I.T”

“no, Rose says you need the new number so we can get your old number”

meanwhile the phone rings

CALL ELEVEN:

“this is Rodney from optus” (I assume that is Raoul – again the accents were an issue)

” I have spoken to I.T and your number has gone into quarantine and cant be retrieved.”

“but I have Angelo on the phone who says Rose from tech support says it can”

several bizzarre technical messages relayed by me to each optus representative follows…

“cant you guys communicate with each other?”

“no, we are in different departments”

end result, Rodney says it is not possible, but Angelo says he can do it and proceeds to activate the new sim and issue me with a new number.

“Rose will call you tomorrow”

CALL TWELVE:

(Rose hasnt called)

Ray (in Melbourne – thank god! one that speaks English!)

whole saga recounted again

“Rose is in our Manilla branch and I am unable to patch you through to her but I can write her an email and in the meantime will see what I can do”

(more hold time follows as he calls I.T, tech support, customer service and his supervisor)

“I’m sorry but it cant be done. your number went into quarantine and has passed the point where we can retrieve it to give it back to you and is not yet accessible on our networks to be able to pull it back up for any other customer”

“so I can’t have my number, but noone else can have it either?”

“pretty much.”

“but Rose says she has a way!”

“I will send her an email to call you right now”

CALL THIRTEEN:

“hi Laurie this is Rose”

“unfortunately because of (reels off bunch of technical crap) we aren’t able to retrieve your number. (note here a complete contradiction from yesterday when I advised her that I would rather not be with Optus than have a new number, that I was only staying for that number and she ASSURED me she could get my number for me!!)

“it isnt any one persons decision it is the way the system works and noone has the authority to override the system as it belongs to billing. even the supervisor three levels above me cant do it”

(after much more techno talk it emerges things MAY be different if it was a contract not a prepaid)

“what if I put it on a plan? can we lift it from the prepaid system where it appears to be stuck to move it to postpaid?”

“I’ll call you back”

CALL FOURTEEN:

“sorry, the number is allocated as a prepaid number and cant be changed. noone has it, but you cant have it and even though I have approval from about 5 different managers there is noone in optus that seemingly has the capability to override some computer billing system that has put the number into quarantine”

“oh, but if it makes you feel any better, had you tried to do this 15 days ago it would have been fine. it is just that it has moved into the next month.”

so now folks…

14 phone calls, 2 round trips to get 2 new sim cards later and a heck of a lot of time on hold and I have basically been screwed over.

no I dont have my number despite being told from the outset I could and the whole bloody reason the thing got canned was because of the stupid un-overwriteable systems in the first place.

needless to say you can see I am thrilled with the orgainisation and customer service offered by my long term telephone network provider and am now actively in the market for a new one….

sure is good to be home huh?

always and ever, laurie the uncontactable.

Some people declare if they had their life over they would make no changes. Some people declare they have no regrets. Bullshit.

Everyone has moments in their life they wish they could have seen coming…made judgement calls that perhaps they should have better judged, or simply chosen to take the wrong road at the wrong time…

But what the winding paths of life are showing me…is that despite these regrets, despite those silly, often inconsequential things that somehow would change your life beyond all magnitude is one constant. You.

Lets face it. I have made some STUPID stupid decisions, and thankfully my regrets brought about by these in time are often minimal… i have also had some life events unfurl around me…seemingly oblivious of my role, my actions and my decisions that have altered the course of my life, my self, my beliefs forever and the worst, are those conscious choices we make at a crossroads in life that change direction forever… but the remaining constant in all this? Me. And given the chance to do it all again… i wouldn’t change. Not because of some altruistic belief that my life is perfect, that regret does not exist… but because despite the pain, the heartache or the ill that befalls, beneath it all… i am still, me. Those stupid hollywood moments, where you get the second chance and make the other decision cant truly exist…because even though those life changing events may have hinged on the simplest of choice… the red top or the green…at the end of the day i am still me and the decisions i made were still mine to make based on the very essence of me at that given time. Have i changed as a result of the crap that goes on around me? Maybe over time i developed a hardened exterior, but inside? Nope, still me. I am deeper than those inconsequential decisions that we lament and i am more than the sum of a few life changing moments. I am a core that is merely viewed at in different angles dependant on the direction of life at any given time.

I can look back now at the hurt the pain or the regret…i can wince at the agony of a dream destroyed…but would it have been any different given a second shot? Would i now be blissfully riding into the sunset? My inconsequential choices all added up to a state beyond my control. Even my conscious decisions have led to the spot that i am standing on right at this moment. But the fact is…those choices, those decisions…perhaps they are not as free willed as we thought.

I mean i wouldn’t wish the heartache on anyone…let alone feel to go through it again…yet despite my mind’s constant wonderings of “what if”… i have come to accept that the dream of what might have been is merely a futile search for a quick bandaid on a bleeding memory… what “might have been” truly cant have been for to do so would be selling out on myself, going against the soul and commencing a life as an entirely parallel person, who quite frankly i am not., my stupid daydreams of making a different choice and experiencing this far off utopia therefore are a wasted energy. There is no utopia. At the end of the day…whether you had to go through it all again or not..sometimes life just sucks.

So why then, knowing that sometimes…we just need to feel the hurt, that sometimes things simply will go wrong…why do we feel the need to lament and question what our role was in all of this?? On top of the pain that simply exists do we add salt by blaming ourselves and existing in the torturous state of…if only i’d done something different? Surely this self defeating, sadistic torture can be done away with if we purely accept that we are who we are and the decisions we made were made by us… that no amount of time machines would change us and that therefore..this is simply what life had in store…

And yet..in spite of my acceptance of this fate. And my knowledge now, that despite my “what if’s” the decisions i made would still weave their way into my fate do i still yearn for a life that is not mine?? For a world that can only exist in shattered dreams? For a dream that no longer exists?

And why…to further insult my quest in the search for zen does fate throw me constant reminders… repeats situations, in which only the external scenes, props and players have changed.

Why do my demons, those little trinkets that could have would have should have changed everything reemerge in a parallel situation, a parallel time…only to have me, inevitably make those same choices over again. Am i meant to have learnt something?? Make the hollywood change and reemerge with a whole new life? Or am i meant to know myself so profoundly that i am to accept the choices i made then, despite the pain, are still the choices i make today… thus merely confirming they were and therefore always will be, the right choice. For me.

Hollywood has a lot to answer for in my futile quest for perfection. Yet, given the chance to go back and do it all again, do i have regrets? Would i make the changes? Regrets yes, those are life…and we need to accept often they are beyond our control…but the changes? No? The only changes needed here is acceptance that time has passed and life rolls by…whether i am living it right now or not.

after a somewhat freakish blue phlegm incident recently… my facebook alter ego was reminded of a blast from a long since shady past…

the choo choo bar…

for those of you not so familiar…this unique aussie lolly was often found lurking in the bottom of unsuspecting showbags…

equivalent in size and texture to the famed redskin or toffee apple bar it did however have a texture and life all of its own…

now, we all know that the little redskins kick butt on the large flat ones… both for taste, texture and chewabaility… but the choo choo bar brought with it the whole new ball game of blue saliva… for it seems no matter how you did it…you always ended up with the whole sticky, chewy mess wedged into your mouth… which of course activated an instant overload from your saliva glands…

but where the choo choo  bar came into its own was its horrendous blue colour which mysteriously turned the small rivlets of saliva a funky shade of navy…

so there you were, with this godforsaken chewy mess gorged into your mouth (why are we always compelled to fit the WHOLE bar in at once… oh thats right…because it was entirely unbitable and could not be broken down into smaller pieces…thus rendering a half sucked bar either useful as an alternative to superglue or needing to be eaten in its entirety)… (and lets face it…which kid really likes the anaseed flavour!!??? licorice is most definately a taste accquired with age) puddles of alarming blue drool pooling up in the corners of your now locked jaw forming..threatening to drip and stain your chin…

and why?? why would you even bother eating these things??? well… no matter how you tried.. NOONE would swap them with you for any other lolly worth a mention…

and thus…after easter shows or holiday fairs… after months of careful planning, pocket money saving and showbag selection…one still would be left with the dreaded stash of choo choo bars and the inexplicable urge that ALL sweets must be consumed…

so upon musing this inexplicable form of self torture unique to aussie kids of a certain age… i got to thinking… what other crap did i pump into my body in such a saddistic and alarming fashion..

when it occured to me…aussie childhood treats of the 80’s and 90’s really were entirley inaapropriate and to blame for many social misgivings..

lets examine the evidence..

exhibit a:

FAGS

i mean really!!!! FAGS!!!! yes… a lolly that both encouraged homosexual slander and underage smoking!!!!! at what point did the candy companies think that creating a chalky lolly made to look like a cigarette (including ignited end) and marketed towards 8 year olds would not be an issue!!!!????

as the cool kids of the school… (who probably never ate their choo choo bars or suffered the lasting humilaiation of blue chin that wouldnt rub off) stood pretending to smoke and discussing FAGS!!!!!!

i note of course this problem has since been rectified in true aussie fashion… just like jif mysteriously became cif…today children can enjoy the cool drag of a box of  fads…

but dont worry…the ignited end is gone…so really… noone would think they look like cigarettes anymore, right!!!???

but then as we delve deeper…

one has to stop and question whatever happened to exhibit b:

space rocks… (i rack my brain here, as i know they had alternative names…)

a small granulated candy that on contact with saliva would quite literally pop and explode in your mouth… eventually turning into a somewhat benign flavoured chewing gum…

of course… you could always prove just how tough you were by eating space rocks combined with a glass of coca cola… one cant help but wonder now if the overload of CO2 created by this chemical reaction may have in fact have had some long term effect…

the kids of today may think they are tough sucking on their sour “warheads”  (which incidentally are quite sweet once you pass the outer powder…which can even be WASHED OFF!) but to experience an actual chemical reaction that results in a certified explosion i feel holds a wee bit more steam…

not to mention…the law suit just awaiting the company from the times children swallowed the rocks prior to completion of the chemical reaction..

i mean, lets face it, a chemical explosion in your oesophagus can not be a good thing… nor the resulting chunk of chewing gum that would then block your airways…

and then of course there were candy garbage bins…

exhibit c:

an active encouragement for children to consume fish bones, tin cans, dirty sneakers and other parafanalia out of your typical trash can…

yup…amidst the sugar induced high of my youth i am seriously having some alarming flashbacks…

and then when you mix all this craziness with the video hits of the day…

if you survived a space rock explosion…you may then be subjected to parachute panted sheena easton.. straddled atop the “morning train” doing the “king of the world” long before leo came to pass…but looking alarmingly suicidal as the speeding machine takes her off looking seductively (or maybe scared) into the distance…

then there’s noddy… is he or isnt he??? and should big ears have got the boot just because he refused to comment either way????

as for humphrey!!! that paedophilic bear didnt even wear pants!!! (yes..lets encourage nudity of the private region in young children) hmmm… now that i think of it…perhaps a catalyst for my now somewhat rife obsession with victory shots…

then there’s the genderless fat cat. He may have had friends… but when those friends are the likes of marty monster ( a selfish, violent monster that seemed never to attain communication skills above a violent sounding snarl…indeed more than we can say for fat cat himself…) you have to wonder the type of low self esteem that cat was harbouring…

oh and of course…lets not forget MR DOOBEE!!! a narcissistic talking bee named after a hallucinagenic drug…

yep… an aussie childhood of a certain era was a scary time to grow up…and i am just greatful i appear to have emerged the other side unscathed… or have i???

A clearly shy & retiring bunch

we met in Pharoah’s bar

Greg & Stuart knew from moment 1

they were in too deep by far

 

A bunch of golden oldies

with a spattering of youth

who knew ( besides the victory shots)

we’d be such an awesome group?

 

we’ll start with those that left us

(but clearly left their mark)

when we took over their tour

in Cairo, after dark…

 

Sally kept her legs crossed

for 9 days in a row!

and while it meant no toilet

it turned her hair afro

 

Margie played it cool

so calm, cool & demure

that is until the last night

when she cut loose on fallucca!

 

Jean & Alan loved to dive

but quickly we discovered

Alan’s fingers worked like magic!

the trip’s  masseuse had been uncovered!

 

Bonnie came in pint size

her sidekick, Em, always in tow

and inbetween their bursts of laughter

they spoke Irish very s-l-o-w

 

Brad the ambitious businessman

discovered his true calling

and in addition to 7 wives

he “sheeshed” from night till morning

 

but sadly these friends left us

and our tour carried on

so let’s investigate the stayers

who stuck out 5 weeks long!

 

First there’s Anne & Rachel

smiles & comedy a plenty

but if you tell them 8 o’clock

they’ll show up at 8:20!

 

Karen is a Sydney-sider

quiet at the start

but the ladies quickly saw to that

& discovered that vodka warms her heart!

 

Tan’s & Emma waved the flag

of kiwi land with pride

and while Emma’s heart lies with her dave

Tan’s shares her love far and wide!

 

another wife of Bradley’s

was little Emma J

a “shy retiring” country girl

whose clothes often went astray

 

Nicole from south west sydney

“pantene” to those that know

who proudly takes her hair straighteners

wherever she does go

 

next there’s Merv & Laurie

the father-daughter pair

yet snoring Merv proved a good husband

for the Queenslanders to share

 

Then there’s those from Queensland

the 5 that take the biscuit

to write here of their antics

I hardly dare to risk it

 

Zola & Glenys can be heard

in the midst of all the action

While Cec might down a drink or 2

but sheesha is her distratction

 

Angie has a cheeky side

and is alweays ready for some laughter

while Joan displayed the “drunken monkey”

to be remembered ever after

 

days 1 through 8 we hit the dester

and camped beneath the stars

we battled against the sand storm

and emptied all the bars!

 

the first shot of victory

didnt take us very long

and for the remainder of the trip

the pose has carried on

 

we battled with the convoy

in Greg’s trusty Frosty truck

dont mind the cops who yelled at us

we loved the bumps that sucked!

 

the buttbreak seat became a fave

and quickly it was found

that there is lots of fun to have

when the truck munchies go round

 

Hughada was a lovely break

beneath the sun so bright

until a few of us turned green

and fed the fish all night

 

next stop (another convoy)

and a million temples more

some birthday drinks and dances

and  wine that made heads sore

 

back to Cairo in a flash

and time to change the crew

goodbye to some old frienmds

hello to some new

 

Brian & Tara, so in love

only joined us for a while

likewise kiwi, Rhiannon

but we’d have kept her for her smile!

 

Cathy & Mike also joined

although their trumpets did not come!

but despite this disappointment

they still proved awesome fun

 

Rob & Helen on the other hand

are still reeling in the shock

i dont think they were quite expecting

the goings-on of our truck!

 

not to forget Glen & Fiona

who quickly joined our crew

Fiona  even got the otional extra

hospital – to stop the spew

 

Mt. Sinai was a struggle

but we made it to the top

and despite the rain and hail

our progress didnt stop

 

in Dahab the wind continued

but despite this friendships grew

in fact, on top of sharing fish bowls

Nic REALLY got “to know” the crew

 

On we marched through Jordan

conquering Petra and the like

some temples more and ruins too

plus more comedy by Mike

 

here we met our final few

(little did they know their fates)

julie – kiwi, Jo from Aussie

Chris, our token from the States

 

the weeks flew by

and shortly to Syria we came

some amongst us survived Lebanon

& for Stuart’s hangover – Julie was to blame!

 

we did castles, ruins and temples

some even braved a bath

we’re butt naked and bewildered

we were roughed by Madam Lash

 

finally to Turkey

a speedbump we did hit

when we had to leave poor frosty

and load a bus with all our S#$T!

 

despite a few things missing

we made it across the line

and weaved our way around the coast

with it’s water so divine

 

some leaped off cliffs and parasailed

others lounged on boats

some nursed a nasty hangover

and we all got sore dry throats

 

at last to ANZAC Cove

our fearless gang arrived

and despite the freezing and lack of sleep

the lot of us survived!

 

so onwards to the future

(whatever it may bring)

with emails swapped and hugs all round

it’s time to end this thing~!

 

 

 

hey crew….only a few more days..

thank you all for your support, kindness, patinece and friendship..

stay tuned as i take this travelling circus on the road.

missing you all already.

huge hugs.

always…..

laurie

in true metal style…. i havent even left the country yet and i have already managaed an a la dramtaic railway entrance….

ok….so maybe i am guilty of not being the most punctual person in the world…. i can admit that…. so when i take to the company of an even lesser punctual person than myself….you know disaster is looming….

and therefore…. as i prepared to trek cross country from a visit to my sister in canberra up to my parents in port stephens via a lunch stop in sydney with afore mentioned tardy person (all care of the ever so dependant public transport infrastructure) it was only natural that something would go wrong…

alarmingly, leg 1 of the trip was hassle free!! (save a few tears from an overly emotional laurie who is stocking up on kleenex for the next few days) in fact…the bus even got into sydney half an hour early!!! really, who does this happen to??

so standing in the lashing rain with my jumbo oversized over stuffed backpacks…waiting patiently for lunch date to arrive and dodging the splashes of stagnant festy gutter water being flicked up by the vehicles speeding past i was none the wiser that my supreme athletisism (as proven by the kayak debarcle) would again be put to the test…

a “healthy” breakfast/lunch of a pig’s worth of bacon, a dozen eggs scrambled and buttermilk waffles drizzled in delectable maple syrup later…and feeling full to the gills..i began the push to get to the station for impending train….

strike one…city traffic

strike two…lethargic lunch partner

strike three…slow clock…

eeeek!!

dripping in sweat as our car lurched painfully slowly through the oncoming onslaught of sydney traffic… managing to squirm sufficiently in my seat so as to be practically harnessed into my backpack before i did the bolt i did my sudden goodbyes and chose to leap at some convenient red lights…

backpack slung like santa’s sack over shoulders… carry bag of worldly goods causing biceps to bulge precariously grappled in right hand, ridiculously buldging handbag slung haphazardly over left shoulder….

run laurie run!!!!

up the slippery tiles from eddy ave nearing the corner to the first escalator when swoosh… airbourne toothbrush…it’s ok…grab it…keep running…bound up the escalator…jump over the little kids…push past the old guy….   halt. ticket window queue…. aaarrghh!!! try machine… newcastle not an available option…. rejoin ticket window queue in sweaty panicky mess..

1:10… train leaves at 1:15…

tick tick tick….

bless city rail for opting to have just one window attendant…seemingly the slowest they could muster, while two others tantalisingly stood by in the background scrathing their (… you know what) as i hop from one foot to the other…swearing mercilessly under my breath and causing people to back away and give the crazy homeless woman space….

but bless mankind…and karma strikes again…. and truly…no matter my rough exterior and seeming penchant for sticking both feet in my mouth (often simultaneously) i do believe i owe the world of mankind another good deed as the sweetest pair of older ladies (possibly offended by my at this stage total potty mouth)  asked whatever was the matter dear…. after my exasperated explanation that i needed to buy a ticket and be on the train at this stage in 3 minutes..they immediately set to work pleading my case to the fellow queue members….

and whoever may slag sydney for its cold impersonal exterior i bid you you are wrong… for all stood aside…as crazy hopping lady with oversized bags jumped queue to the front… to be met by apathetic ticket lady who in spite of my insistent pleas for a single to newcastle continued to count her 5 cent coins….

i think eventually the cheering of the gathered crowd behind me (somewhat akin to a football match barricking for the underdog) awoke said ticket lady and with ticket in hand, bags dripping off me and a giant “thank you” as i started the mad dash to the train… 1 minute and counting….

a 3 second fumble at the ticket machines i quickened the pace around the bend…even though my legs creaked and buckled under the weight of my bag like a semi trailer up a hill…. within sight of the train i quickened the pace as i sensed the platform crew doing their final checks before closing doors…and thats when it happened…

my haste to load myself with bags and neglect to ensure the bottom compartment was secured resulted in an almighty explosion of all my worldly goods… pj’s, shirts, dirty undies…cascading through the air in a backpack explosion like petals  caught in the breeze at a wedding….

i grabbed them…. like a woman possessed

and despite my limited arm capacity made the final dash for the train doors, spurred on by the ryhtmic chime of “ding ding ding…stand clear, doors closing” and leaped through the doorway just as they shut. backpack still on back, carry bag still firmly grasped in right hand, handbag still haphazardly slung on left shoulder and now arm full of belongings…..

and as the train pulled away, in unison to my own panting and heaving i confirmed…it was the right train… i was on the road to the next few days adventure….

and i even managed to get my breath back by the time i got there.

well hello esteemed regular readers (and even those of you who stumbled onto here by accident or who were unwittingly forced here by my persuasive emails..)

after years of breaking down computer systems the world over….. writing poorly constructed grammatically incorrect emails i have ventured even further out of my techno discomfort zone and am attempting the world of the “blog”…

for this you can blame my good friend (lets cool him “fate” my predictive text does) as he assures me he is more likely to read said lengthy emails when delivered in this form….

so the question then becomes…

what the hell is a blog?

what am i supposed to write??

presumably it’s like a web diary and i am to enthrall you all with my exhillarating day to day melodramas….

for today….this includes taking care of my oh-so-cute 2 year old nephew (not that i am at all biased!) who has single handedly thrown an entire cargo ship’s supply of matchbox cars over the neighbours fence followed by an almighty, everything wriggling, i’m tired and refuse to admit it temper tantrum.

in all…my day is going quite well…

anyways…am off jetsetting next week…so this is my trial run….

will keep you posted as more adventure unfolds.

hugs to all.

l