Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Being Mindful of being MindFULL

So I finally remembered something that I've been meaning to blog about. It is the whole notion of practising mindfulness. As you can imagine, I am most inept and have been trying all year to master the concept but with very little success. If truth be known,  I think I am becoming more absent minded as the days tick by. I do know one thing though for certain; I am excellent at reaching a state of mindFULLness.

HM says to go outside and sit peacefully in the backyard. Smell the herbs and watch the activity going on with the bee hives {Yes, we have 100,000 bees carrying on and busying themselves with their honey routine in our own backyard}. HM is able to go outside and watch the bees for AGES. Like a whole HOUR. I go out, I watch them for two minutes and then I am off thinking about a million things that need to be done. I am just incompetent when it comes to this Zen stuff and I think it is because I lost the ability to single task many, many, MANY moons ago. Long before the kids came along.

Like many people, my brain is busy. Active. Always thinking about something. It never stops. I try to calm it but so far I can't manage more than a minute or two of complete mindfulness. I've tried everything. Meditation, yoga, pilates, the aforementioned bees, lying on the beach. Even when I follow my mindfulness meditation app I still find room in there, especially when the sexy Scottish voice over pauses between instructions {I'm sure it's Sean Connery}, to ponder whether Hammerhead has a clean pair of school shorts to wear tomorrow and if there will be enough ham to make three rounds of school lunches.

When I watch a movie, I can't just focus on the plot. Oh no. I have to work out all the other movies that the actors were in. And bonus points if I can think of a movie in which two or more of the actors appeared in together. If there are no recognisable actors, then I'll try and work out what city the movie is set in or something--ANYTHING, to detour from the plot which I'll also manage to follow quite comprehensively. This habit of mine drives HM right up the wall. "Just focus on the movie", he says. "Who cares what they were in - this is what we are watching NOW". So I try to stay with the movie but it's only seconds before I start thinking about how I can go and look up IMDB and find out for certain. I should perhaps clarify here that I LOVE movies, particularly foreign ones, old ones and cult ones. The WORLD MOVIES channel and IMDB are my BFFs.

If I go for a walk along the beach, I will not be able to think of just the cool grains of sand under my feet. I will do that for a minute but soon I'll be thinking about what to cook for dinner, what Barnstormer's teacher said this morning, what HM said he had to do after school, the fact that I left the washing machine on soak cycle, the fact that I can't find that short black summery cardy in my wardrobe and so it goes on. Eventually, let's say 10 minutes, I'll remember to go back to just thinking about the grains of sand. Even with a relaxation app, these thoughts creep in.

Probably most telling of all is that even as I write this post, I am thinking about whether I should go shopping before or after school pick up while also devising ways to avoid participating in a round of Super Mario Brothers. I can't even be mindful of my MINDFULNESS post.

What chance of mindfulness do I have when my mind is FULL? My lovely psychiatrist just says PRACTISE, PRACTISE and PRACTISE every day. Train your brain to think of just one thing... your happy place. My happy place is a particular beach at Rottnest [below]. It is an absolute paradise and probably the happy place of thousands of people all around the world. You would think that I would be able to sit and focus on this stunning place for more than a minute.

The good news is that I can actually travel to this place IRL in less than an hour!

Anyone else having trouble with mindfullness? Got any tips?

Jane X X X

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Nativity scenes, old apartments, scary neighbours, coincidences, it's all good.

I compose the most scintillating blog posts right before I go to sleep. I'm too lazy to get out of bed and write them down at the time. I can't remember a word of them the next day. I can't even remember the topic. I pretty much can't even remember going to bed. But I remember my dreams. Always. I've even talked about this before. But anyway, getting back to what I was saying ... these so called amazing posts never eventuate ... and during the day I seem to be going through a phase of wordlessness.

So I'm resorting to two bottom of the barrel anecdotes here:

1. The Pre-primary school play: In about two weeks time Hammerhead's class and the other PP class are presenting a nativity play (with a twist) at an extended school assembly. As I've mentioned on FB he has the illustrious honour of portraying a sheep in this play, which will be his dramatic debut appearance. It is a non-speaking role. We were all instructed early in the term to organise a costume for the character and Lordy, you would think that it was the costuming department on the set of Moulin Rouge. There are a MILLION costume-related emails criss crossing each other with far too many reply-alls.

Mrs X is concerned that every single costume hire place in the universe has costumes for Moses (was he even there??), Jesus, Three Wise Men, Joseph and Mary, but no shepherd costumes. HELLO--when I last looked, shepherds in those times were pretty much wearing a sheet with a basic cord to secure it and donning some kind of Yasser Arafat tea towel headware. Surely, one can find these things at home in the linen press.

Is it just me or does this shepherd look like Shane Warne V 2.0?
Mrs Y is in a flap about the fact that not everyone who needs an angel costume has followed her lead and purchased the $35 angel costume off eBay as per her email instructions which she promptly sent out the night that the costumes were allocated. She is now upset that the various angels are not going to be coordinated. Mrs Z laments the fact that all of the angel costumes seem to be designed for girls and does not want her boy wearing an angel frock.

We must remember that it is a pre-primary play for the parents and not the high school drama  extravaganza a la Mr G.

I guess I should be thankful that they do a nativity play at all in these increasingly silly PC times ...

Meanwhile, Hammerhead is running around sniggering every time someone mentions "baby Jesus". In fact, the other day, when he was gobsmacked about something, I heard him utter loudly: BABY JESUS! He now sees this as a legitimate way of using what he calls a 'swear word'. He is still mystified as to why Mary and Joseph named the baby after a swear word in the first place. Actually in this house we call them 'shed words'. They are words that HM occasionally uses in the shed that are not to be uttered anywhere else. Sometimes they are also called 'footy words'.

Actually, now that I think about it, a modern day PC version of those times might be really funny. Imagine doing the Wedding at Cana where Jesus turns water into wine. I'm sure it's been done.

Jesus stuffs up the orders after a trip to Subway...
*sorry I have no idea where this pic came from so cannot add source.
2. Coincidences: The other day HM and I were privy to a number of crazy coincidences all in the space of an hour. It was like The Twilight Zone. In short, while playing at the park (the kids not us) we discovered that one of the school mums lived in the same apartment in Highgate that I lived in for seven years... in the same room, for pretty much the same amount of time and even had the exact same reminiscences of the area and the scary neighbours. This apartment is worlds away from where we live now. And her name is Jane. Bizarre.

Then walking home, we discovered that the grumpy old man who lives across from us (the one who washes his 4WD every single day) used to share an office with my dad in the small country town where I grew up. The final coincidence of the hour was that said grumpy man mentioned a teacher to HM whom he may have met at his new school. HM had not heard of this person and there are hundreds of teachers at the prison school where he works. End of conversation and we returned home. There on HM's phone was a text from that very teacher ... he'd been asked to get in touch with HM by the deputy for some reason. BIZARRO. What does it all mean I wonder?

Ok, so that's it. Two quite unrelated anecdotes and I'm done.
But I would like to know if anyone else is experiencing weird coincidences of late.

Jane X X X

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Crappest birthday ever

This is not a woe-is-me post. It's just that for the first time in the history of my life, I experienced a fairly crap birthday. While I should be UTTERLY GRATEFUL that I have had 43 most excellent birthdays, I am choosing to document my one (and hopefully only) crap birthday.

Yep. I turned 44. We live at number 44. It was supposed to be a monumental milestone celebration but instead, it was fully sick. I was fully sick. HM (always sicker than me no matter what) went all out and contracted pneumonia a week before and even though I'll never, ever, EVER be as sick as him, him being a man and all, I succumbed to various flying bacteria and came down with some just as vile bug. The kids are sick too. We are all just getting over things now but still on our medications. I now have an ear infection and sinusitis and it's a whole WEEK after my birthday.

So on The Day not only were we feeling disgustingly poorly, we decided (for the sake of the kids' birthday excitement and anticipation) that we should at least venture out of the house for a coffee and perhaps some brunch. But this trip was fraught with bad omens.

First of all, HM put the window down in my car, completely forgetting that it was faulty and not to be touched. I then tried to put it back up once we arrived at cafe as it looked like rain, but to no avail. Something I should never have bothered with.

Secondly, Barnstormer, a cafe connoisseur who is usually well behaved on such outings, decided that on this day of ALL days, she should display all of her learnings from Precociousness 101. She'd had a school excursion the day before and was experiencing "the hangover". I won't go into the deets but let's just say it was in our best interests to leave.

So we returned to the car after her performance only to find that I had a flat battery due to the tampering with the window without the engine on. Was this really happening I thought?????

I decided that I would first call a cab as HM was seriously struggling with pneumonia and had to get home as soon as poss. OF COURSE, it was grand final day meaning that ALL TAXIS were being used to ferry the revellers to their GF viewing venue of choice. Absolutely no taxi driver in the entire universe--not even a newbie on his first day--was going to come to our cafe to drive us one whole suburb away. HM even scoured the beach looking for a surfer or ANYONE he might know to provide a lift.

Meanwhile I called the lovely people at the RAC. The handsome RAC prince arrived in only 20 minutes and worked his magic. Five minutes after that we were dropping HM at the front door, with us continuing on to give the battery a bit of a charge.

In the afternoon we decided we would take my home-made birthday cake with the sugar crafted decoration of a champagne glasses $3 Coles bday mud cake to the park and let the kids run around. Got everything ready; candles, plates, spoons, serviettes and off we went. Arrived at the park and the kids had an absolute ball running around for ALL OF 15 SECONDS before HM and I decided it was more freezing than Antarctica. So we ate the cake in the car, in the car park. So sophisticated.
This is not my cake.

During the day I had bought a bag of prawns (laugh if you will) with a view to cooking up a storm while watching the GF, but as things went from bad to worse with my health, all I could muster for lunch was second hand snaggers in white bread with tom sauce. Dinner was even worse with fish out of a box in the freezer and left over chips from the cafe visit that morning. Yep, you know it. That horrible mushy cardboardy taste of reheated chips. Anyway, the whole lot ended up in the bin and I actually did resort to cooking up a wicked prawn pasta. But couldn't really enjoy it. Now normally on my birthday HM would assume all cooking responsibilities or even take me out to dinner but he really was down for the count with the pneumonia. The Surfer was absent and Hammerhead's culinary repertoire, while very creative, does not extend further than ham and cheese croissants, which we'd already devoured mid afternoon.

The whole messy affair of the birthday culminated in HM and I trying to outdo each other with coughing and spluttering on the couch (I am more sick than you) while watching a Rock Husdon/Lauren Bacall movie. We spent the entire movie trying to work out who "the other guy" was and HM fell asleep in the crucial last five minutes which explained everything, as he is wont to do.

... the Other Guy was Robert Stack. Thanks IMDB.

HOWEVER, there were some highlights. I did get some divine presents and HM even went to shops in the midst of his pneumonia which I shall always remember. Also I did get to see my lovely parents on the day, straight after the RAC fiasco. And I was privileged enough to watch Hunters and Collectors put on a great show at the GF (on TV). But nothing is quite the same when you are feeling vile and in all honesty I just wanted the day, and the expectations that it brings, just over and done with.

Hope all of you have gotten over your winter/spring lurgies!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

News from the trenches

Well, today we are celebrating 10 000 page views. My how time flies.

I don't know quite why I have not been blogging this year. This year has been strange--but is OK at the moment.

I don't think I have much to say anymore. I feel I have said it. I don't want to sound like a broken record. I've been reading some old posts on this blog and not a lot has changed really in terms of mentalness.

Everyone is good. The Surfer is number 2 in the state and off to national titles in December. I'm kind of thinking that maybe HM and I could tag along as pit crew. Maybe the little people can stay at the best grandparents in the universe's house for a few days. Hmm.

HM has a new career. OUT OF THE HOUSE. And onto the set of HOUSOS. Well not exactly, but let's just say he is now teaching at one of the more challenging high schools with gangs, weapons, drugs right out there in the open. Where cops are hiding in the bushes. Where deputies walk around with ear pieces alerting others of "incidents". Where kids are smoking in the toilets. OK that happens at all high schools I am sure, but at this one they are smoking crack. There is total lockdown during school hours, complete with barbed wire fence. Not to keep the kids in, but to keep others out.

Anyway, HM is actually loving the knife edge atmosphere that comes with this mid-life career change. And I am really happy for him. He even seems to be getting through to some of the more hectic kids in a Dead Poet's Society kind of way. If you can imagine that Dead Poets was set in a prison. With Samuel L Jackson in the Robin Williams role. And with no poetry lessons.  I believe the quote is:

And me, well I am still trying to live the freelance dream but it is just not really working for me. I hate the feast or famine existence. I hate the unrealistic turnaround times. I hate trying to work out how to budget the lump sums for the times of famine. But then again, I love the freedom of picking what jobs I want to do. I love the fact that I can drop and pick the kids up from school (bizarre I know!). And I can do yoga at home whenever I feel like it.

I even love doing the parent helper thing at school. AND I simply adore being able to go food shopping during the day sans kids. But dammit, I NEED to get dressed and get out of the house. I am going nuts.

Having said that, there is a distinct lack of suitable jobs that aren't full time... though I will keep searching.

I am sure the nuttiness is totally getting to me because, drumroll please, I'm thinking of taking up running. Yes, laugh if you will. But I've been inspired recently by this lovely lady and maybe I should consider it. Everyone I know who runs says the same thing. Stay tuned. In the meantime, this is what I look like at the moment for those I haven't seen in a while:

SO what's new with you people? ANYTHING AT ALL??

Jane Jane Jane x x x

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Long time between drinks...

Again, I have not been as prolific as promised and 2013 is turning out to be a different year in more ways than one. However, AGAIN, I'm on the wagon.

BORING I know, but I cannot emphasise enough HOW MUCH of a difference it has made this year. It's been since Jan 15. While there has been the occasional beer on a hot day, I think I could count the alcoholic drinks on one hand. It really has made a MAJOR difference to my mind this time, as opposed to the last stint on the wagon, which I later went on to evaluate in this post. In the meantime, I've become totally obsessed with soda water. I can't get enough of the stuff. I don't even add anything to it, not even lime juice. It's crazy.

Yes, I'm still drinking bubbles!!!

I've really been having a great time of late. We've been away for like forever, and all over the shop in general, but it's all good. Finally Barnstormer is at kindy 3 days a week and Hammerhead is there full time. I'd like to say I miss them during the day but in all honesty, I don't have time to miss the little cherubs. I drop them off and then whooooooshka, it's time to pick them up again! I do also like that we have more quality time together on the weekends and after school.

Barnstormer is seriously starting to overtake me in the intelligence stakes and yes, this is a concern, her being 4 and all. But her relentless critical thinking and questioning is hard work. Just recently I was lost for words in the Church of Bunnings when she demanded to know exactly how the seed from the man gets into the mummy's tummy to make a baby grow. The queue at checkout all glared at me, waiting for my response. "You're just not telling me that part of it, Mum." She is not one for wishy washy answers.

The Surfer has become a minor superstar on the surfing stage and a major celeb around town with the school crew. It's all good and he is happily gallivanting about the country attending all sorts of camps and scholarships and competitions. He's in Margaret River at the moment, Byron Bay in a couple of weeks and then Gold Coast in May. He's even managed to collect a few stalkers on the way. Of course, none of this has bought me any closer to Mr Slater but we are working on it. And to use the words of the wonderful Mumabulous (who lately has been saving my sanity a lot with her very inspiring blog) here is SOME CRUMPET for those of you playing at home.
Yes I know he's now bald and much older but really does it matter???

Ok, I am off to have lunch with the beloved HM who has decided that once a week we should eat barbecued squid at Kailis' in Trigg. It is totally divine and one day I will post a pic of the scrumptious stuff but I never get round to photographing it as one wants to just dive in immediately.

Late note: We meet at Kailis' and the BASTARDS have taken their signature dish, yes--the aforementioned barbecued squid, OFF THE MENU. They've replaced it with SEARED squid as an entree, but IT'S TOTALLY NOT THE SAME! I hate when places do this. That stuff was SOOOOOOOOOOOOO popular, everyone who goes there orders it.

Got something irritating you that you would like to share?