The dilemma of, “How are you? “…

What is your response?

I find I am sometimes left feeling a bit silly if I have assumed the person asking the question is actually interested. Part of the problem is that I am an introvert, with a certain lack of social awareness (I’m often left thinking, “Shut up Jennifer”, but my mouth just runs away and I’m left with egg on my face).

I’m fine with acquaintances asking me, the reply is usually a breezy, “Fine thanks” , but I have been caught out when it has been someone I know well and feel a connection with.

I was once accused angrily of spoiling a friend’s day when I replied that I wasn’t sleeping well!

What to do? I guess, just continuing the thought that people who ask the question don’t want to know the honest answer and if they do, they will ask again.

How about you, are you as socially awkward as me?

Random thoughts after wasting a day…

Today I spent hours watching Youtube videos of people using camping washing machines…why?

My dearest friend is in a lot of emotional pain which she is fighting with shopping and having the most hectic social life imaginable. Being dumped at 58 somehow has killed a tiny part of her soul, my heart aches for her.

I thought my Covid vaccine was no biggie. I thought I would be in the majority for whom it is nothing much…instead I experienced a severe and sudden headache that made me want to rip my brains out and forced me to cut a night out with friends very short. The accompanying nausea I can tolerate, but I don’t get headaches often and this was awful. At least I will be prepared for the second injection in 12 weeks time.

I had forgotten how “un” maternal my Mother was. Mum is living with me and it has been quite an experience, sometimes not great tbh. She gets cranky and I get short with her, I think I am turning into her. When I injured myself pushing her in her wheelchair, she got annoyed with me when I stopped and gave a quiet yowl of pain. I asked her why she didn’t even ask what had happened and instead just got cross, she seemed genuinely nonplussed, but still uninterested in me. I checked with my daughter if I was turning into her Grandmother and she told me no. She has been quite amazed at how quickly her Grandma can give a negative response, even if opinion is not asked for.

I miss being cared for, although, if truth be told, I think I spent more time caring for my husband, than he spent caring for me.

Maybe, I should say, I miss being cared about.

I would like to be nurtured and loved, a hug would be nice… is 58 too old to think these thoughts?

Thoughts after discussion on the parable of The Good Samaritan

Before you read this you need to know that I am a practising Christian, part of a congregation of a very small church whose members are deep-thinkers (liberal and conservative), theologians and academics, as well as those with physical or mental disabilities, we frequently disagree with each other…

I sent this email to a member who wrote a thought-provoking message about putting the parable of The Good Samaritan into the context of the present day.

Thanks ___,
Little makes me more nauseated than someone in the media announcing, “thoughts and prayers are with (insert unfortunate individual/ area/ minority group here). I have been thinking a lot about prayer and whether or not it does any good, I know it makes me feel better, like I’m actually doing something, but…The results are not necessarily there, is it because my prayer was too knee-jerk or formulaic, or superficial, or God knew it was mainly just for me???
I actually love the story of the Good Samaritan because deep-down I am a busybody/do-gooder and can’t walk past a person who looks like they need medical help- that’s something I can do.

I need to question my motives, am I really as good a person that I like to think I am? I am certainly occasionally curmudgeonly and I can’t abide time-wasting, some people interpret this as me being not a nice person (certainly not my intention), but who am I really helping here (or trying to convince…myself?)? I don’t believe brownie points get people into Heaven, I don’t believe in the place.
In _____’s talk, I was one of those who thought the majority of people would do nothing for others. I live in a NIMBY blah blah blah area, where the local rag is full of people complaining about the latest efforts to make life better for people other than them that may lower the value of their abodes (eg- a hospice for dying children in Swanbourne- omg, NIMBY!).

I am someone who believes in the inherent good of people, but this has taken quite a bashing over the years.

The “Greater Good” seems to no longer be something we all work towards.

(explanatory note- NIMBY- not in my backyard)

Changing Lives

Do you ever sit and think that your life lurches from one crisis to another?

2020 has been a bastard year for the world, although we are doing okay here in Western Australia (thanks in no small part to our Premier Mark McGowan who has shut our state off from almost everyone else with a very hard border), despite the good Covid-19 figures we have here, it doesn’t mean we haven’t been affected. My daughter has found the first half of the year pretty tough, unable to settle, asking the big questions of what she wants to do with her left etc etc, it appears my mermaid daughter no longer wants to work in the ocean. I feel some small concern about this, although the path she is now looking at has also been one of her main interests for years, so hopefully enthusiasm and direction are just around the corner for her.

She is still at home with me (and champing at the bit to leave, which is only appropriate for a 22 year old ), unfortunately limited resources are forcing her to stay a while longer. We had just sorted out a comfortable, minimalist-ish shared home when someone up above had a laugh and said, “Yeah? Nuh, here comes a whammy from left field”.

My dear Mum (91 in October) has had her third major health crisis in three years. My brothers and I have been hoping she would move closer to us, although moving house at that age is perhaps a ridiculous thought. We have been visiting her as often as possible (her home is 3+ hours drive away) and had organised support to help maintain her independence and her home in between visits.

So a couple of weeks ago Mum ‘phoned me and asked me to drive down and take her to the doctor (remember the 3 hour drive?). She was clearly very ill and I urged her to go to hospital (she initially refused as she was sure she would be wasting their time). In the end, a lift was organised and she was admitted with pneumonia and heart failure. She was in hospital for a week (half the time in isolation until her Covid swabs came back negative) and during that time she expressed a need for more care, suggesting she go into an aged-care facility.

NO WAY JOSE!!!

So over the course of a day, my craft room was reorganised into a bedroom for her and she is now living with me, she is still quite ill but getting better every day.

I am exhausted but grateful that I could this for her, I think she is happy to be with me and she knows we are happy to take her home for visits when she wants to go, so I think this just might work. Mum is as sharp as a tack, although her body has let her down over the years, so the care is all physical (and I say thank goodness that I took a detour into nursing as a younger person).  My dogs drive her crazy, but the younger one has adopted her and keeps her company through the day (I think secretly Mum doesn’t really mind), she has access to 2 libraries and we are currently enjoying a Welsh series on Netflix (did I say Mum is Welsh?). She is gradually learning to use her new IPad, although she misses her ageing (and largely obsolete) IMac and she has decided a new mobile ‘phone would be a good move as hers is past it’s use-by date.

She is a cracker, with a very black sense of humour and we love her bits.

But I can’t have cereal for dinner anymore as I now have to cook for someone again.

Changing lives…

Happiness is…

Being able to have my dear lad over for Sunday dinner again

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It’s been 3 or 4 days since we’ve had a new case of Covid 19 diagnosed here in Western Australia, some of the restrictions have been relaxed including allowing up to 2 people to visit. It was a joy to have my boy here, lots of laughter and real gratitude that we are all okay.

[I feel so proud of both Australia and New Zealand for getting on top of the Covid Crisis (especially New Zealand, out government  here in Oz took a bit longer to rally), things are still fraught but we’re on the right track. It’s been heartening to see the care that people have for each other, the horrid attitude of “every man for himself” has been replaced by a genuine desire to connect in caring ways; I am hopeful we have all learned that working for the collective good is actually a wonderful way to live life].

Farewell Dear Friend

IMG_20190818_093138.jpgDear Paul,

We all miss you, we all wish you could have been cured and you would still be with us here.

Your piano without you is just wrong, the flowers reflect your love of the bush and our indigenous plants, but what good are flowers now that you are not here?

Seeing the grief of your family makes it so real, it’s easy to think in the abstract but seeing the tears is raw and real.

We love you.

http://www.paulgioia.com/

No title, just blog

As I write this, a dear man I have known for nearly 34 years is dying. He is beyond visitors and has not managed to return home to be in his bed when this happens. Instead, he is in a hospital bed, his wife and two sons with him, trying to get as much out of the time they have together.

This man is a giver, not a taker. He has given of himself, so much over the time I have known him. He is a writer of music, a jazz musician with a spiritual side, a good Italian son who plays the piano accordian (of course) as well as several other instruments of jazzier reputation.

He is a clean-living, family man who has had a marvellous life, apart from the bastard cancer that has wracked his body. He has lived with the disease for 26 years and outlived his initial prognosis by over a decade, but it’s not enough and it’s not fair and I am thoroughly pissed off about the whole damn business.

I cry for his wife and boys, for the huge hole that will be in their lives when he leaves, I cry for us, his family of friends and dread the gaping wound that will be left behind when he leaves. I know I am being selfish, I know it’s not about me, but when someone this special dies, the impact is like a huge wave of grief in so many peoples lives.

We love you P and hope to see you again someday, rest easily mate and leave the pain behind.

Long time, no see…hear..etc etc

It’s been a long time since I posted anything here on this blog.

No excuses, but a reason.

EXHAUSTION.

After 3 house moves in 18 months ending with the purchase of my lovely, tiny home, I had very little energy left for anything much. I haven’t really had much left after the days at work and  I actually thought there might be something seriously wrong, so off I trundled to my GP. She looked at me with some concern and said she wasn’t surprised, I have been through a lot and am still recuperating, but she did some bloods and all is okayish except low Vitamin D  and marginally high cholesterol, (these may be related), so she diagnosed me clinically with exhaustion and gave me some suggestions as to how to remedy these.

It’s been a slow improvement. There are still some days when I get home and just stretch out on the sofa and haven’t the energy to do anything; there are others that end with walking the dogs (yes, I now have two little rescues, a mother and daughter combo), cooking dinner and deciding on my next project.

Added to this, my dear 89 year old Mum became very ill and after spending a week in hospital, recuperated with my brother for a fortnight and then at my place for 4 weeks. It is very sobering when an aged parent has a health scare and we know every day is precious. She is back home now and doing well, she now has a cleaner which has certainly made a difference as she would get quite stressed about having to do a big clean before people like me came to stay. My brother and I would both like her to come and stay with us, as it is a worry that she is 2 1/2 hours away, but she is in her home, where she wants to be.

I bought some classes on watercolour painting and have started those and am doing them very slowly. It is a little disheartening that my artistic side has been buried under years of keeping a family together, my abilities have regressed, but I am making progress and enjoying small steps.

I have actually sewn stuff and sometimes enjoyed it (sometimes it has just felt like work).

 

My young, new garden (the garden was a mass of weeds and poorly placed plants) is thriving, although the lawn has taken a battering over summer as there are no trees to protect it.

I have redecorated to make my new place just me and I love it. New flooring, new window treatments, new low-profile security screens, an attic ladder (so the excess stuff is in the roofspace), a new sewing room (formerly a storeroom with bare walls and lawnmower oil on the bare concrete floor), some new furniture to add some colour etc etc… this is an expensive process.

Phase 1 to make the house feel like me, is over. Phase 2 is much more expensive, solar panels on the roof, a new kitchen and a remodelled bathroom; these will take serious money and will need to be saved for. My mortgage is huge (considering my income), so there is little left over for anything except life, Phase 2 is a long way off.

In a couple of weeks, a friend (who I have not seen since 1985) and I, will be meeting in Melbourne and driving back to Perth. The holiday is the drive. We will be following the coast all the way, incorporating a helicopter ride over the Twelve Apostles (so-called, although there aren’t twelve of them), a fishing trip, a desert stay on the Nullabor and some very long hours spent driving. I am experiencing some anxiety about this trip, but I think it will be okay. My friend and I have holidayed together in the past and he is a good conversationalist with a good mind- we are just friends and hopefully will stay that. This trip is quite long and it has been a long time since we have seen each other, I would hate for it to turn out that it compromises our friendship.

I have a week off at the end of the trip to recuperate before I return to work, then it’s back to the grindstone.

I am tired just thinking about it!

Seeking beauty

I have been out of commission lately due to moving house (again), buying a home (needs work before I make the move…yet again) and the collapse of my elderly mother a week ago (with subsequent family round-table discussions as to how to help her either stay independent where she is or move from the country to live with one of us…watch this space).

My former husband served me with the Divorce papers a few days ago and while I was okay with it, there was a tinge of sadness that things worked out the way they did. No-one gets married with the thought that divorce is the back-up plan and everyone does the best they can with the skills they have at the time.

Anyway, all that navel-gazing caused me eventually to look outward and to seek beauty in things we often ignore because we are caught up in the busy-ness of everyday life.

I saw this magnificent gum tree the other day whilst walking to work. It has been there for generations, shading the land below it and witnessing the changes that happen- horses and tracks, cars and roads, mia mias and houses, offices and traffic lights; all the while helping living things breathe better air and providing homes to insects, animals and birds.

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I always feel more relaxed when thinking of or being with Nature.

Jenn xxx