Friday, November 16, 2012

Facebook isn't all bad

There are lots of things said about social media, and how they disconnect us, and I agree with that, how they can take us away from living in the here and now, with those who are directly around us.

But there are some things that are just freakin' cool about it.

15 minutes ago, I saw this picture on my timeline:

which, shining like a beacon in that light to me was rainbow books. I love rainbows. I love colors, and especially all of them smashed together into beautiful rainbows. I saw that, and was like, I want!

So then after about a 30 second discussion with Andrew, I proceeded to do this to our movies:

Inspiration from over 8000 miles away, instituted in 5 minutes. Loving looking at the movies now!

Now I am seeing these pictures side by side in my timeline. <3 Facebook.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Daily doesn't mean Longlasting

Things that happen every day don't seem like they will ever change. There are those moments that are special, but they don't seem like it, because you feel like there will be another special moment for you the next day. It is also why change comes as such a shock, and it always comes more often than we expect it.

I remember singing in the bathrooms with Carolyn and Micah. Those were really good times. The three of us had great rapport, and we just loved singing together. Soon Carolyn left, and then Nicole came in, and she took her spot, and still the singing went on. I was offered a promotion, and I didn't take it straight away, because I didn't want to lose those times. But Nicole was the second in line for the job, so things were going to change anyway. I took the job.

I remember those 4 months, though. They were special times, but I didn't realise it until I was confronted with losing them. It wasn't like my hike on the Y at 3am with 2 random friends from work. When that happened, I knew that would probably never happen again, and that something amazing had just happened. But those days in the bathroom, cleaning and singing, because they happened every day, I didn't appreciate them as much.

I've been cleaning a lot of toilets this week, alone, and I've sung a bit. It reminded me of those times, and made me miss them.

People used to always give me a bit of a strange look when I'd say I loved working in the bathrooms. But at that time, it was the small group of people in an otherwise solitary work environment.

I guess I'm just acknowledging that sometimes there are things that you don't even think to appreciate at the time that you might later wish you did.

Like I always tried to make the most of my time with my nieces and nephew, and I don't really have regrets in that regard. I loved the time I spent with them, and cherished those moments. I look forward to having more moments with them if I can make it over next year.

I try to cherish my time with Andrew, and I do. He annoyed the hell out of me this morning, but I love that about him too. I was reading this girl's blog about her and her husband, and she was talking about how she kind of made a choice to not get annoyed with him, because she'd lost her first husband (divorce). And I just thought that's not real. To me what is real is that Andrew is the person who has the capacity to annoy me more than anyone else in the world. It's part of the package, and I will take it every day (and do pretty much), because it is a wonderful annoying part of the landscape of being in love with this man.

But one day I will have another Bathroom Crew experience, but next time, I won't ignore it simply because it is a daily occurrence.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Moments That Define You

I first watched footy (Aussie Rules football) back in 2008. I was astounded that such a sport existed, as it just seemed to combine all the best elements from basketball and football, the two sports I've enjoyed watching the most - the continuous play that you get with basketball, with the monumental occasion when scores happen.

Andrew showed me a game then, and said I should choose a side, though he really wanted me to go for the Crows. They had colors that were closer to rainbow, so I did barrack for them in that game, and I chose them as my team.

Last year, they were horrid, plagued by injury, a coach who had lost the plot, and an overall just loss of belief in themselves. This year, won the pre-season competition, and I believed all year long - maybe they could do it. Then they came out and just were not ready for finals the first week. Just did not even seem to show up to play. Hugely disappointing game, that was. Showed up the next week to see them throw up the same kind of performance for the first quarter or so, and then finally start to hit their straps, and crazy excitement as Tex dragged them back into it, and over the line.

Then today, playing to get into the grand final. Played their hearts out. Watched Dangerfield run for his life, starting out the quarter by earning two times as many possessions as any other player on the ground. And then the game slipped away - they ended up losing by less than one goal.

I watched the players afterwards, saw how shattered they were - because in the end they threw everything at it, and it just didn't fall their way. But this single moment has the power to define this team. It strips it down to what really is most important to them. Is it aching muscles from training? Way back in February? Or will they push themselves again. Or is being in a grand final the most important thing as a club? The moments are defining because they are rare, and when they come along, you finally see with clarity what really matters to you.

It's made me pause a bit, to think about those moments that have defined me. My single biggest moment was when Janardan left me. I'd been manipulated and in a cloud of emotional abuse, and started to actually see my own value again. And it changed everything, because the next conversation we had, I'd planned to tell him he could come back and stay until he figured out what he wanted to do with his life, but I decided to value myself, to stand up for myself, and I told him that if he didn't want a relationship, he wasn't welcome to come back. Then when he didn't file for divorce, I filed for it myself, and began to feel the catharsis of shedding the dead weight in my life, and to symbolically free myself from that which I had let myself be mentally bound by.

I reached a point in this past year, through the unemployment and hardships Andrew and I have been through, a point where I was going to defy the odds, instead of let the odds define me. I set myself a target of applying for 100 jobs a week until I got a job. I got a job within 2 weeks. The funny thing being over the previous year and a half, I had applied for well over 1000 jobs. I'd been defeated, and I decided I wasn't going to be defeated any more. I was just going to make it happen by sheer force of will, whatever it took.

But I always remember Janardan leaving me, because then I knew I had a choice. I'd always thought I would completely crumble if something like that happened, that I would fold, and my life would fall apart. When the moment came, I decided for myself I wasn't going to let that happen. And it spurred the single greatest period of growth in my life, partially because I had been so lacking in the previous 5 years. My life now is not anything I could have even dreamed of right before then. It was my personal renaissance. Born again, in myself.

These are the moments that define us, the tragedy that can fuel us to greater heights. Part of it is looking at yourself and seeing that you are better than that. If you decide you are, then you can be. And that is what I hope the Crows are deciding right now.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The world is magical

A walk down the street
Through the bushes
Across the creek
Down and around the curve of the path
Past the construction site
A stop in a cave
Respite from the sun
A place to rest

On down the hill
Spring flowers all around
Up to a stunning vista
Of graffiti and bullet holes

Walk down and back across
Rock to rock, rock to rock
Find a fiberglass cylinder
Stop to read a story
Sun streaming down on the rocks
Green leaves making green shadows on the walls

A living tree across the water
Climb, and climb, and climb
So high!
Look through the leaves
Sighs and smiles

Climb back down, and back  up a hill
Beautiful fields
What's at the top of that hill?
And that one?
Get to the top and see out to the vast beyond
Blue ocean with sunlight bright on the surface
Turn around and see dark storm clouds against the brightly lit meadows

Walk down
Huge gorge dug away by man
Sit on the edge
Swimming feeling, discomfort
Adrenaline from looking from heights
Throw rocks over
Sailing, sailing, sailing through the air, then
Nervous energy
Thoughts of falling over
Back away from the edge
Go away from the edge

Look the other direction
Turn around and around and around
Rainbow right
Rainbow left
Beautiful clouds
Ocean to the back

Rainbow brightens
It starts to rain

I am filled
Such beauty
I overflow with emotion
First tears, lots of tears
So, so beautiful
Then running and sighs
Loud sighs of happiness

Sun is setting
Clouds taking color
Rainbow reappearing
Looking at my love
Happiness in the eyes

Walk home
Hand in hand

The world is magical

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Ditching Disposables

I first heard about the Ditch the Disposable challenge back in 2008. I made napkins out of old t-shirts.

It's always been on my mind since then, in one way or another, what things are reusable, or could be reusable that I am throwing away?

Thought it is one that many people don't feel comfortable with, toilet paper was the second thing I worked on ditching the disposables with. Family Cloth is the name I found, and have used for it. It's not my favorite name, but it works.

I basically took terricloth and just zigzagged the edges, got a bucket with a lid, and away I went. For people who don't want to hear about my number 1 and 2 wiping, skip past these stars and onto the next stars.


The terrycloth is really nice for wiping poo. It just is. I had to use toilet paper the other day, and felt like it was just smearing things all over, instead of actually wiping it off. Family cloth though, is just excellent. Superb.

The terrycloth is a bit less effective for me wiping when I pee. My last ones were better, so I think it must be the kind of terrycloth I have. As you will read below, I am planning on getting some bamboo terrycloth, and I want to make some cloths out of that specifically for urine.

The cloths also work very well for blood when I'm on my period.


To help with the smell, I will sometimes pour a bit of vinegar in the bottom of my bucket.

Now, my new ambition is to replace paper towels. I never really used them a lot before, but with cats, spills happen a lot more often, and so they are just a lot more necessary.

I saw something on pinterest that was a bit like this, but having had experience with my terrycloth not always being the best at absorption, I wanted to look at other options. What I've settled on is bamboo terrycloth. I got a sample in the mail yesterday, and it feels so nice, and it is supposed to be like 50% more absorbent than cotton. So score on that count too.

My cheapy side says I should just find something cheap and use that, but when I went around the shops, all they had was bright pink terrycloth, and I was like, nah I'd rather get something nice and make it look nice in my kitchen, so my plan for these is to use the bamboo terrycloth and then use food-fabric for the backings for ones that will be kitchen use, and then something else for cleaning/bathroom use. But yeah, so at some point I'll order that stuff and make those.

And just a word out there, because I got a lot of bamboo samples in this pack - bamboo fabric feels amazing. The growth of bamboo is also good for the environment. The process for turning it into fabric is not the most environmentally friendly in general, although it can be - just more research needs to be done on the process for the particular one you're buying, if that is something important to you.

So here's to ditching disposables! I've ditched a few. More to come as time wears on!

No Poo and other "natural" hygiene adventures

I haven't used shampoo since January.

I'd heard about the No Poo movement before, but the person who was doing it had short hair, so I thought it was just more a virtue of having short hair, and that with long hair, it wouldn't really work. (My sister has the same thoughts). I don't remember how I came across this again, but I stumbled upon the blog of a lady who had gone No Poo with long hair. Hmm...this was getting more interesting. So I read a lot, finding out about the transition period (greaseball hair for 2-3 weeks, then your hair will adjust and be beautiful!), and prepped myself to do the experiment...which really involved doing nothing.

Now, before I came over to Australia, I used to use Ouidad products, which are pretty great for curly hair gals. Postage plus really tight money meant no Ouidad for Jennie, and I was madly missing my curls. So voila, curls reappeared straight away with no poo. I think I went about a month before my first baking soda wash. There was a bit of build-up in my hair, and that took it out very nicely. I used a bit of apple cider vinegar wash, and that brought a nice feel to the ends. I heard that the best thing for distributing the hair oil is a boar hair brush, so my mom bought me one and sent it over.

The boar hair brush is really nice, smooths out the hair and makes it look nice and shiny, but it doesn't quite distribute all the sebum, and so I have some buildup, particularly in the back where I can't see as well what is going on. So I've been wondering all along what to do, and then also wanting a wide-toothed comb to brush my hair in the shower, as that is numero uno for keeping your curls nice. Not brushing your hair after it gets wet.

So while I was searching around for some solution to my problem, and also the problem of how to clean out all of this grease out of my brushes (it looks like a buildup of dust - really weird looking, especially since you can't really see it at all in the hair). Well, I came across this method called the wash cloth method, where you basically use a washcloth in a brushing motion in the shower, and it helps distribute a lot of that sebum all throughout the strands.

Ladies and gents, this is the real deal. I have come to the perfect method for dealing with my hair. Now I haven't done this long enough to figure out if I'm still gonna need baking soda, but so far I am high flying with the water only washing. I have a fine-toothed comb, and I go through the hair with that before the shower, then washcloth and wide-toothed comb in the shower, come out, scrunch, and beautiful, lovely curly hair is my reward. If I comb it up into a ponytail or clip to dry, it drys out really nice straight with some body, and I think it'd go nice to go through it with the boar hair brush. Haven't tried it yet, but for sure will.

So yeah, I've been in love with my no poo anyway, but now I am head over heels in love, because this is the best my hair has ever been. Feels amazing, looks amazing, and is super simple. Also my scalp feels amazing. Like, just like nothing.

So this whole concept of no poo got me thinking about other things that seem necessary, and wondering about alternatives to them. Deoderant. I've tried a couple different things for deoderant. Vinegar was alright, but the smell is very strong. Right now I'm using lemon juice, and I really like that. Really like the smell when I put it on. It works for a while, an then starts to wear off, which is fine for me, because I like having a bit of my smell for my husband. Part of what allures us to people after all. I love his smell too, and nasty deoderant isn't a smell I enjoy! But he's not indulging me on that...yet.

The real thing that inspired me today to write this (besides just hopping out of the shower and being overjoyed again with my hair) is that I bought a miswak and tried it for the first time today.

MIS-WHAT? If you google miswak, you'll find a lot of people talking about the prophet Muhammad, which isn't exactly my cup of tea, but if you sift through all that, you'll find some actually pretty cool scientific backing. A miswak is the root of a tree grow typically in the Middle East. When you shave off a bit of the bark and chew on it, it forms into little bristles, which can then be used to brush your teeth, tongue, gently on the gums etc. In a study done comparing typical toothbrush and toothpaste to miswak, miswak performed better, and removed more plaque, and less bacteria in the mouth.

So I bought my first one today at an Afghan Supermarket. Now I know there are environmental impacts involved in importing plants halfway around the world. Ideally eventually if I like how this goes well enough, I'd like to plant my own tree and harvest my own sticks, but that's getting a bit ahead of myself. (Also potentially finding a source that uses ones grown closer to home).

My first impression: this smells weird...really weird. It tastes weird...really weird.

But once I got past that, by which I mean, it just comes out most when I was chewing on it, I really liked it. Like now, I am sitting here and my teeth just feel great. I also love that I don't have to go to the bathroom to do it, so I can have a miswak here on the couch by the TV, and just be casually cleaning my teeth while enjoying my television, without having to walk to the bathroom. I always hate that at night, because I am dead tired and just want to go to bed, so half the time I skip teethbrushing in favor of just slumping over and falling asleep in bed. If I can take care of my teeth while also being lazy, what could be better than that!?

Nah, but the real reason I found the miswak is because I've been brushing my teeth, and it just seems like however long or whatever method I use to brush them, they still don't feel clean, and that the time they feel the cleanest is when I run a cloth over them. So I figured there had to be something better out there for them. Behold the power of google to bring the miswak into my life.

So those are my hygiene adventures. Coming soon (ie as soon as I finish writing it, because I'm gonna write it right now) is a post on my ditching of disposables!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Survival Mode

It has been a crazy year. Over a year now, but whatever.

Unemployment is a bitch.

I finally decided yesterday that I was going to stop applying for jobs, because it was just making me more depressed than actually doing any good. I've applied for thousands of jobs over the past year to no avail.

Or some slight avail - two days of fruit picking, and a month of being paid half the minimum wage at a pizza job. A new website hobby that occasionally brings in money.

I've given up because even though I'm an excellent worker with a good resume, but my visa makes me practically unhireable.

Andrew has no such visa problems, but does have the problem of having very little work experience, and experience is desired for everything, even the most basic of jobs.

If I were Australian, I could be on Centrelink and receive benefits while looking for work. If I were in the states, I could do the same. I am neither.

So what is the answer? Return to my pizza job that still doesn't pay my bills? Look for fruit picking work where I am liable to cut my hands all up (I can be very clumsy like that), all for minimal amounts of money.

I look for website work, talk to people. They sound interested, then they fall through. I've put an ad up for an amateur photographer. I have a DSLR and some RAW processing experience, why not try that?

I've been in survival mode for over a year, waiting for this stasis to end, waiting for something to stabilise, something to respond. But I can't live in survival mode. If this is my life, this is my life, and I'm not going to wait anymore.

No, I don't have a new money-making scheme. I'm just going to live. I may have awful constraints, with no expendable income, but I will find a way to live nonetheless.

See I've been waiting to update as well. Update my blog when something good comes along. Update when there is something to write about. Well, nothing has changed, and I don't know when things are going to change. But write I will anyway.

Although I have volunteered to work in an op shop and to do some medical testing of electrolytes. Stop doing the things I can't and start doing the things I can. That's what getting out of survival mode is to me. Give up on what's not working, and try to actually start living.

Friday, May 11, 2012


It's funny how the circumstances surrounding your situation can change your view of simple details. I mean, it makes sense. This is why companies couldn't charge over a dollar for a hamburger back in the day (that precise unit of measurement), but generally charge well over that now.

$10/hour. It's an interesting figure to me, simply because it has reoccurred throughout my working life. But it has meant different things in different circumstances.

Vision Security - 2007

I'd just come from a job that had a fair commute, so getting paid $10/hour to work closer to home, with an added bonus of getting a $10 bonus when I worked until midnight, seemed pretty nice. $10/hour. Nice.

Vision Security - 2010

I'd left, then gone back, and was -finally- back to what I was making when I'd worked there before. $.50/hour still didn't seem like a huge deal, though. It was nice money, could afford to live, eat out when I wanted to, and do pretty much whatever I wanted. Celebrated by going out to my favorite restaurant with a co-worker. $10/hour. Finally.

Gulfview Pizza & Pizza Metro - 2012

I am hired to a failing business, told I am going to be paid peanuts. I hear that, but know the minimum wage is high, so it can't really be -that- bad. It is. The minimum wage if you don't have regular hours here is $18.95.  (It is $15.79 for full time, but that has delineated benefits - pay for holidays, time off, retirement fund, etc.) The economy compared to the states is such that I'd say for an average item, it costs 1.7-1.9 times Australian Dollars for an equivalent item in US Dollars. Back up to the fact that I've lived in this country for about 11 months, and been unable to find any sort of employment. When I figure out that I'm getting pretty much $10/hour (the 8-10 deliveries a night at $5/delivery really end up being more like 0-2 deliveries), I feel stuck...I haven't been able to find something else. That $10/hour at 20-25 hours a week, working 5-6 days a week, having my life dominated by the work I go to in the evening, unable to even peek above the poverty line. $10/hour. Desperation.

It's been demoralizing. I'm being paid in cash, which I know is illegal, but I feel desperate, and because I know it is illegal, I feel like I have to keep quiet about it. Don't ask me why, I was trapped in a warped frame of thinking. I was demoralized. Without realizing it really. I never felt like doing anything. I always came back from work in a horrible mood, no matter how much money I'd made. My life seemed dominated by those 3 hours a night I spent, sitting around waiting to make pizzas, trying to figure out how to fill my time, checking ingredient tubs, making pizzas, taking orders. I feel disconnected, from my eating, from my life. I don't think I cooked a meal once while I was working there. I can't remember the last time I went that long without cooking. It is part of what makes me who I am. But I didn't even feel up to that.

I started to puzzle out the things in my life, trying to piece them together, get the building blocks that usually lead me closer to happiness. Go to bed earlier, exercise a bit more, eat better. I attacked each one of these, and at some point I realized it wasn't any of those things - it was something else, and those things not being present in my life were effects, not causes of my unhappiness. I felt devalued as a human being. I've come somewhere, and the only price anyone is willing to pay for my work is $10/hour. It made me feel like that was all I was worth, that I somehow had no worth here. All this was going on without me really being aware of it, because once I started to become aware of it, that's when I began to reject it.

Because I'll be damned if I am going to let someone else decide how much I'm worth, and especially that I'm going to lend credence to that decision when it is half what the government says my time is worth. Like, when the government values me more than I value myself, then I know I've strayed down a dangerous path.

I went in and talked with my boss today, told him that I shouldn't be being paid so little, told him that it is illegal. He hedged behind everyone else getting the same, and that he couldn't afford to pay more. (He can somehow afford to pay 2-3 employees for a shift and sit and do nothing all shift himself though. He can afford to pay people who just then take from the government - his business is being propped up by Centrelink. What he cannot afford to do is be in business - that's not my affair). He said he wouldn't stand in my way. So I'm done there. I will not accept that for myself anymore. I refuse to continue to do something that demoralizes me so. People will value you just as much as you make them. If you value yourself, people will value you much more.

So I am going to file a formal complaint through FairWork, and I've been pursuing work doing websites, which I meant to do along with the pizza job, but felt too demoralized to do at the time. Funny, as I was writing this entry, got an email that someone may want to outsource some of their web work to me, which I now have to set my own price for. Whatever the price, I can tell you it will end up being more than $10/hour. I'm worth way more than that.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A year ago...

A year ago today, Andrew and I woke up in the morning. He was still feeling a bit sick (Tibercky - our nickname for him, a shortened form of tuberculosis), but said he wanted to get married today anyway. I put on my white dress for the third time, and he dressed in pants and a Carlton Draught polo. Then he realized he was wearing a beer shirt to get married, and figured he should probably change. So he put on a plaid button-up I think, and a blue sweater. We left our triangle hotel room (yes we were in a room that was a triangle, with windows along both sides - the lady upgraded us to a suite when she heard we were there to get married), and walked down a few streets to the registry office. There was a group of people walking from elevator to elevator, getting on and then getting off. Andrew and I looked at each other with a knowing glance, and laughed. It was because the upper levels of the building weren't open yet, so the elevators wouldn't go up to them. Then the designated time came, and everyone got on the elevators, and we rode up with the people who had been with us. We stopped off at level 6.

We got in line, and filled out the necessary forms, showed our identification, and then were directed to the marriage waiting area. We had to find two witnesses. Andrew said it was my turn, so I approached one of the ladies who had been with us in the elevator excursion, and asked her if she'd be willing to be one of our witnesses. She turned me down. So then I told Andrew it was his turn. He approached what appeared to be a mother and daughter, and asked them if they would be our witnesses. They said yes, though they seemed a bit put out about it. So we went back to the celebrant and told her that we were ready as soon as our witnesses were done with their business.

Enter Keanu Chong. (You must ignore any offensiveness of that name as no offense is meant by it - he just really looked like a Chinese version of Keanu Reeves). Andrew and I were keen to get married, and Keanu was the worker helping our two Maori witnesses. We thought they probably shouldn't be that long, but we watched from our marriage waiting area as he took forever to help our witnesses. So Andrew started making up stuff as we were watching and waiting, talking about how a block of wood could complete the telephone call better than Keanu Chong. Then that it was likely that Keanu Chong really had been murdered and this guy had just come and taken his place. My response: "Yeah, because that is what happens when you murder someone, you start doing their job." So I was laughing very loudly, both of us smiling broadly in the middle of this bureaucratic office. Finally, our witnesses finished up. We were taken to a room with seating for about 40, and large windows.

Our celebrant was a Maori lady, very friendly and happy face. She talked about how they had a simple ceremony prepared, but one that they hoped would be meaningful. The main part of the wording that I remember was that part of the words was just stating your desire to be married to each other. It wasn't til death do you part or whatever. It was just simple, and us saying we wanted to be married to each other. After which, she pronounced us married. We kissed, and I was in this super happy excited mood, and Andrew was in a quizzical mood, as he asked me, first thing when we were married, "Have you seen the Mutual Community ad?" I laugh about that every time I think about it. Proposed to in front of a bin, and the first words he says to me as a married couple are asking me about a television ad. Apparently something in the ceremony reminded him of this ad, which I still have yet to see. Our put out witnesses looked less put out, and were infected by our happiness, and everyone in the room had smiles on their faces.

I remember looking through celebrant websites before I came over, because I thought maybe we'd try to get married on the beach or something like that, but we ended up deciding to go to the registry office. Of all the ones I'd found, the lady who performed our marriage is who I would have chosen. Just a nice, unimposing demeanor, and added bonus that she was Maori.

We signed the paperwork, and that was it. We went downstairs, and I asked a random lady to take a picture for us. She took it, and then I thought we might go to a few other places and get more pictures, but the batteries on the camera had died. So this is the one solitary picture we have from that day. Good thing it's a good one. :)

Saturday, April 21, 2012


When I came to Australia, I said goodbye to lots of people - even if I didn't actually say goodbye to them, I mentally left them back in America, with the intention that that was that, for a long time, until I made it back to the states. It felt final, but I always knew it probably wasn't, because I planned on making it back to the states.

When I heard Jared had died, it didn't really strike me at all, because he was one of the many who I'd said goodbye to, so it just seemed like that was part of that, but as I think back more on my friends in the states, and when I might see them again, he is one I won't see again, and for the first time I'm sad for me about him dying. And so, I want to remember.

Working at Vision, it creates this weird dynamic. You talk to these people every day, multiple times a day, and so you start to build a rapport with people, get to know them, joke with them, but you could have no clue what they look like, and if you do, it's a picture from facebook.

One time there was a huge thing at Vision with lots of people there. I don't think I'd met Jared in person at that point, but we were texting and we'd talk on the phone about random stuff from time to time, so I thought he might talk to me a bit, but all I got was a head nod. I gave him a hard time about that.

Other than that, there were actually only a couple times that I spent face to face with Jared. He took me on a friend date to see How to Train Your Dragon. I remember sitting there with my arms crossed, because he'd told me that he would often hold girls hands on friend dates, and so I wanted to make it clear that he wasn't going to hold my hand. He took me to Applebee's, and talked about the church welfare system versus the government welfare system.

But my bigger memories of Jared were from the phone - him talking me into liking Jesse, telling me we'd make a good couple (with both Jesse and I within hearing), then texting with me when Jesse got a girlfriend and I was crushed.

Can't really think of Jared without Jesse. Those were my most distinct impressions of Jared, as part of the Jared-Jesse duo, the brothers who were so tight. Jesse's the one I was saddest for when I heard, just because they'd had a special bond, and it'd meant something to me, just even to watch it from the sidelines.

I remember there was this huge secrecy around Vision, because I like Jesse, and this girl Jessica liked Jared, so we'd told each other our secrets, but no one else knew because it was a bit taboo. So one day Jared says something to a customer, about how I'm his girlfriend or whatever, and I blurted out, "Not when I'm interested in your BROTHER!" in the middle of the call center. I looked around to see if anyone had heard, and thought they hadn't but I was pretty embarrassed by that, and then started to worry that I'd hurt Jared's feelings, and what if he was interested in me? We women really do overthink things.

The image that sticks with me, though, is of a phone call I had with Jared one night. It was middle of the night, and he had just been out wandering around Viriginia Beach, a few miles from home by then. He ends up in some sprinklers, and ended up hitchhiking home with some apparently cool people, but he tells me that he is going to buy a scooter, and that when he gets it, he's going to ride around with a cape on. Virginia Beach's superhero is kinda how I imagined it, just moreso a dysfunctional superhero.

He took me out when I got promoted too. I don't know if  it's because he knew I'd be divorced, so maybe no one else would think to take me to celebrate, but it was really sweet. He let me choose where to go, and took me to Communal. I remember him saying he'd rather take people out and spend his money on people, because that was what mattered to him, and also that he didn't like to be alone.

Above all, what strikes me most about Jared when I think back on him is how human he was. He had uncommon generosity, all the while trying to convince me to try drugs. He called me up one day to ask me about the pig I'd bought, and wanted to go and name a pig, and then have it slaughtered and eat it.

I miss him. I think what I really miss is never getting to talk with him about the church, now that I'm on the other side of it. Because he tried to talk to me about it before, but I didn't know how to listen then. Still not planning on trying that bud, Jar.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

I could live a thousand years, but still there would be nothing but today

There is nothing but today.

That is what the hardest parts of my life taught me, as I came out of them, having looked perpetually to the future, to eternity, or later points in my life, all the while not realizing how I wasted the one thing I actually had.

It doesn't matter what you believe. All you have is today. Even if I live another thousand years, in a thousand years, all I will have is that moment to be happy, that today. If I can't be happy today, then all I've taught myself is how to wait, and for the most part, the wait has been unnecessary.

I've lost sight of today, as I've felt constrained by my lack of visa, and limited options for making money in this country until I get a more permanent visa, or until other factors change. I think to the future time, when these constraints will be lifted, but it's a dangerous situation to get yourself into, waiting for tomorrow, because tomorrow is always in the future.

What I have for sure is today. And I shouldn't have to get cancer, or have some huge change coming to me to realize the value to me of today. The day before I die is not any more valuable than this one, if I value it.

I looked it up, the phrase "there is nothing but today" and it was linked on one part with someone who didn't have a belief in an afterlife, and how for them it meant there was nothing but today, meaning that their life would be lacking something.

None of us has tomorrow. It is ever elusive, as much as the desire for "more" can never be reached. Happiness is not found in more, happiness is not found in tomorrow. Happiness is found in today. Happiness is found in enough.

There is nothing but today is a hopeful phrase to me, because it reminds me that I don't have to wait, that I owe it to myself to value today as much as any, that no day is just any other day. Today is special, simply because it is the only now there is.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


"There's plenty of money out there. They print more every day. But this ticket, there's only five of them in the whole world, and that's all there's ever going to be. Only a dummy would give this up for something as common as money. Are you a dummy?" -Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

It is easy as I engage in my day to day to life for the illusion that what is common in my life now to seem common. It is funny how those moments happen so very often, where everything just seems like business as usual, even though I often think where I have come from, and how it just feels like a brand new, beautiful life. 
I was looking the other day at this beautiful diamond ring that I have in my hand, and the above quote came into my mind. I have this one diamond in my life, one solitary item of great monetary worth, but there are millions of them out there. Compared to the relationship I have with Andrew, this diamond is so very common. 

It is not that great men are uncommon. There are many wonderful men out there. It is that is what is rare is the man who matches so well to me. I am confident that there is not a man out there who is better suited to me. 

I decided to experiment with the no 'poo idea. I told him about it and the things I was reading about, and he told me a few days later that he's decided to do it as well. He came and played with shaving cream with food coloring in it with me, when that is what I was doing. He loves that I made bath crayons, and use them to draw on our shower walls. He was outraged that we were turned away from Clancy the Train because we didn't have children with us, and as we were walking away said he could go back and tell the guy off, and probably would have if I wouldn't have told him it probably wasn't worth it. 

It is not just that he loves me, it is what he loves about me, it is what he loves to do with me. We spent a bit of today talking about how we want to try Parkour, and so tomorrow we'll start trying to learn a few moves so we can test our skills. I love his passion for sport, too. It is something I never really got into much when I was single, but I missed it from having been involved with it when I lived with my dad. I love that we can spend an hour just rehashing the last decade of footy, and even though I wasn't here, I know who won every Grand Final, and a lot of the circumstances each of them happened in. I know who Bradman is (the best cricketer ever, for the non-cricket people out there), and I love Leyton Hewitt, because he has a fighting spirit and will never say die, and loves the challenge of any position of the game, just like Andrew. His mentality reminds me so much of Andrew. I love to see that competitive nature out on the court though, and can't wait for Wimbledon to see more. 

I love going to the beach, and not just going and having fun together. We appreciate the same things. So when there is a beautiful sunset with gorgeousness all around us, we are just back and forth pointing out beautiful aspects of it. That is something I've never experienced with anyone else. 

He also manages to make me laugh a fair bit, even though I don't think he's funny. 

I assume that being super in love and having found the person that matches you so well gives you a bit of that same feeling of having a baby, and always thinking they are the cutest baby to ever be born. It makes me feel like it is the best love to have ever happened. It really has nothing to do with comparing it to anyone else's, it's just that I can't imagine anything better. 

For me, there was only ever one golden ticket floating around, and I found it. And though it becomes common to me, as it becomes my life, and anything a part of your daily life starts to feel common. At the same time, I wouldn't trade it away for anything as common as money, or anything that is actually common at all. I'm not a dummy.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Facing Fears

I don't know how most people are about their greatest fears and how they come about, but I remember mine coming from a young age. I don't even remember how old I was, but I remember the thought, because it is a thought that I remembered often. The situation between my parents was not ideal, and I knew that, and there was a lot of awkwardness, and unpleasantness arose from it, and I remember thinking that I never wanted to get divorced.

It seemed then like some insidious force, something that could not be controlled, something that could come and get me, well, so long as I first got married. I had this dual fear of never being accepted into marriage, and of being divorced. I tried to control it as much as I could. As soon as I found someone I was sure I could get to marry me, I tried to get myself married to him. And then once I was married to him, I tried to bend myself so there would never be a problem, so that divorce would never come to be an issue.

Lots of people talk about cancer, and how it is this eye-opening experience that makes you see what really matters in life. I think a lot of that is having to finally face the reality of the fear of death, just as when Janardan told me he was leaving, I had to start to face the reality of divorce.

We're afraid of them, and so they seem monumentally scary. It seems like anything is better to think about than the subject of our fear. It seems like giving in, to indulge and spend time on our fears. But facing those hard questions, facing those questions that scare us, that is what leads us to find what is really important, and I think for most people they find it inside. It is not the sky that changes, it is the notice of the sky that changes, the realization of that beauty. To ask the question: What if I am single for the rest of my life? What if I only have a few more days left on this earth? What if that really is the end?

There are all sorts of fears, but the secret of fear is that we know the fear so intimately, it is so much a part of us, that we know exactly how to overcome it. I used to think my life would fall apart, that I would have a mental breakdown if I had a divorce. When actually confronted with it, I had and continue to have one of the biggest periods of personal growth. I came to myself, and began to value myself.

As soon as we stop being afraid of what we lack, then we can begin to not lack it. But no one is going to give that to you. Not your friend, not your spouse, not your parents, not your therapist. It is a gift you can only give to yourself. Face your fear, and you will discover parts of you you never knew existed, and strength beyond what you imagined.

Fear exposes our weaknesses, but it is just like eyesight will alert us to the fact that we are looking into an empty cup. It is simply a call to action. Fill up the cup. Overcome your fears, by facing them. What would actually happen if you were covered in spiders? Don't think to prevent the situation from ever happening, think of determining a new reaction, because why should little arachnids get the better of you? Or your ex? Or "divorce"? Or death even? Why should the thought of death take away your enjoyment of life? All of these are opportunities to see what life has to offer, even when it is at its crappiest point.

Just trust in you. Face your fears. You'll find a lot more in yourself than you ever thought possible. If you don't, your fears will rule your life, and you will fall into bad decisions, because you're thinking from a place of fear, not confidence and assurance.

When you take that last breath on earth, you will be the only one doing that. That will be an experience all of your own. Remember that. Your life is yours to live. You don't owe anybody anything, and they don't owe you anything. Your relationships are there to add to your happiness, and should be enjoyable, as well as enjoyed. Live the breaths before the last, though. Live them all, as much as possible, not in fear, but in joy. Not in weakness, but in strength. You'll find the strength inside yourself.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Keep Holding On

I remember the first time I heard this song. I was sitting alone at work in the late hours of the night, watching Glee, the main thing keeping me sane and happy at that moment. I was on the edge emotionally, of throwing my life away in some capacity, though not suicide, that's never been my inclination. Janardan had told me that he didn't like me initiating things, so I was leaving it to him to initiate contact between us. He wasn't doing so, and we probably hadn't talked in two weeks. I didn't know what to do, and I felt lost, I felt trapped, and I felt alone. 

I sobbed when this song came on, and felt like they weren't singing it to Quinn, but like they were singing it to me. I downloaded it within the next day or two, and I listened to it all the time. To me then, that felt like my life, that felt like that was going to be my life, stuck in that relationship, never speaking to each other, but having this uncomfortable presence always there. It did not altogether feel like there was a lot to keep holding onto. But this song gave me hope, just as a few weeks later, a random stranger giving me a starburst gave me hope.

It was hope for something to change, something to be different, though I didn't know really what it was that I needed to be different.

As I was listening to this song today, and thinking of the life I have now, I think of what great things I had to hope for then. There truly was a reason to hope. I would never have believed my life could be like this at that moment in time, in those moments of time, all the times I cried while listening to that song, thinking that yes, I would keep holding on.

And I did. And here I am, living in Australia, the love of my life a few feet away from me. I get more love and affection in one hour than the starved me got for an entire marriage. For example, he just came over and  told me he loves me and gave me kisses while I was in the middle of that last sentence.

This is more than I even dreamed of then. So yeah, keep holding on. The dark clouds will break and the sun will come out again. And to any of you out there who are Jennies of two years ago - you deserve love, and should accept nothing less. Keep holding on for it, yes, but don't wait til tomorrow to love yourself. Love yourself today.