151 days to Antarctica..."We Gotta Get Out Of This Place" The Animals
Approximately 16 minutes reading time
“You will never be entirely comfortable. This is the truth behind the champion – he is always fighting something. To do otherwise is to settle.” – Julien Smith
Hello, I hope that you have had a good week. My apologies for the late post. This has been a very hard week, hence the delay. Gratefully some wonderful things happened.
Lyrics from Alice in Wonderland
For a very important date!
No time to say "hello", "goodbye"!
No, no, no, no, no, no, no
I'm really in a stew!
No time to say "goodbye", "hello"!
Lyrics transcribed by Disneyclips.com
Lyrics by Sammy Fain and Bob Hilliard
Performed by Bill Thompson as the White Rabbit
Julien Smith’s words from his book “The Flinch” are important and helped me this last week. My belief is that if you really want to live. If you want to win at life, you must fight! Fight for what you want. Fight for what you need. Never give up! If you want a happy, rich full life you must fight for it! Whatever life you want, you must fight for it! The fight changes but it is always ongoing! Fight for what matters! Fight for what is important to you! Fight and keep fighting as the fight changes!
Spending time in Sydney with my sister, niece and nephew was lovely. On my drive to Sydney I was tailed by a Police car. I had been driving about 116Km p/h (one hundred and sixteen kilometres per hour) which is six kilometres over the speed limit on the highway. The Police scan your Number Plate so he would have known that I was outside of my local government area. He followed me for about ten minutes. I was sure that I would be pulled over. Luckily, the police car pulled into a bay in the large verge between the north and south side of the highway. I was surprised and delighted. There was no traffic but more cars on the road than I expected.
Smelling the briny ocean breeze and seeing the Pacific Ocean, hearing it roar and watching it’s rough, powerful energy as the waves ebbed and flowed, crashing into each other and the shore filled me with joy and soothed my soul, as it has, always.
Working with the children for their home-schooling was incredibly challenging, hard work. I was impressed with their knowledge and abilities. They handle home-schooling well. My six year old niece had my focus. I wasn’t very good at following her schedules but I improved with the help of the children. We had a picnic day and lots of fun, My eight year old nephew challenged me to a game of Chess for his school activity. I am not a great player by any means, every now and then I enjoy playing and most especially beating the children who think that their winning over me is a given. Not so. My nephew is a great player., so is my niece but she doesn’t love playing, like me. I played with my niece, as a team against her brother. Although my nephew expected to win, we thrashed him, twice, check-mate. He was not happy and could not believe that I beat him and so well. Sometimes I play with my nephews face to face over the phone as we are all in lock down. They hold the phone, show me the board and we play. I love the gift of technology that we can do this and have these options. I am grateful that with an internet connection there is no additional cost or financial burden to enjoy each other’s company in this way. At times we watch movies together, remotely like this and I love it. After our games of Chess, we all laughed. My nephew, as did his sister, learned the valuable lesson of not underestimating their opponent. I learned that they had previously discussed with my other three nephews, their cousins, my remarkable and surprising ability to beat them all, on occasion, despite their superior talents. I could not stop laughing. My brother-in-law shares their sentiments as I have done the same thing several times during games of soccer and cricket. He thinks I hold out on my abilities but I don’t. I don’t like Sport and I suck at sport. I only ever enjoyed Gymnastics and Hurdling. Every now and then I surprise myself. I only engage in these activities out of love for the children. The things we do for love...
My stress levels have improved. Although looking after children is hard work as I am sure you all know. I feel for my sister, working, home-schooling and looking after the children on her own while her husband is away. It’s a big job for all families. Doing this successfully is a testament to all you wonderful, capable people and families, truly a credit to you all!
Upon arriving at my sister’s Schrodie met his first rabbit. The rabbit was terrified. Schrodie was so curious, wanting to look at it closely and assess it, sniff it and play with it.Their relationship evolved and improved as we slowly introduced them to each other in a non-threatening way. Schrodie kissed and sniffed the rabbit who remained calm as my sister held him. This was a wonderful beginning and firm foundation for them to start their relationship. My sister was rightly worried that as a prey animal the rabbit would have a heart attack if chased by Schrodie, a predator, if he ran. I assured my sister that if anything Schrodie would chase and pin down the rabbit for us to retrieve him rather than hurt him. This is what Schrodie used to do with our rare breed ducks, his friends and playmates. No duck ever had a heart attack or was injured by Schrodie. Ducks are more flighty, pardon the pun, than rabbits. If anything my sister was more scared and nervous than the rabbit. This proved challenging for us all. Next time will be even better.
On Monday I received, from Masterton, the builder of my new home, a bushfire rebuild, a reminder to pay the retaining wall bill by signing the amended variation, which stated that I had requested the retaining wall. This is simply not true. I ignored the request. I received another reminder on Friday. Speaking with the lawyer it was agreed that this situation was not right and complex. I wanted to pay the scheduled fee, contracted for the roof as long as I maintained my right to redress. The lawyer asked to me to once again request confirmation of the completed job as per compliance and contract requirements. I explained that no such reply, if any would be received as these were constantly ignored by Masterton. Friday morning I received a reply that this had been provided weeks ago, not true. Once again, as expected, they ignored my request. I made the payment in protest on Friday, with the help of my fabulous Banking Team, despite the tight and less than ideal turn-around time.
It was Tuesday morning when I received a missed call and emails from the building Site Manager’s Area Supervisor. He threatened that the build would not proceed without the 1000 litres of water for the bricklayer who was scheduled to start building my home, this next week. In addition, I was told that I needed to supply a Water Truck on site, on stand-by for at least three (3) hours before the bricklayer could finish his job, once the bricks were laid. He said that they did not want to delay the bricklayer or the job. This truck would costs thousands of dollars. This was my first notification of this requirement. I was mortified. Neither did I want any further build delays as there had already been weeks of delays by the builder. Already, I was barely functioning from all the incredible stress I was under as these people continued to gouge me for money. These were hidden costs outside of the contract, already amounting to too much money. I was all but crumbling under this pressure. Luckily I could still laugh, smile and play with the children but not easily. I was a constant, crying mess. Even listening to The Beatles had me in a state of inconsolable sadness and tears. This made my sister sad and uncomfortable, for which I was sorry as it was not her fault but I couldn’t help it, try as I might and did, constantly. What to do? Which way to turn? I could do nothing but wait. I hated not being able to act. The stress and pressure continued to mount. Functioning and engaging in relationships was unbelievably challenging. My tolerance for just about everything was shot.
Feeling like a terrified piglet, trapped in a pen, by hunters with their sharpened, pointed spears aimed at me, I did all that I could to survive. I stood motionless. I sat on my hands and waited it out, for the looming threats to diminish in any way possible. I am stuck in this position for now, mostly but not entirely. I act as much and as carefully as possible.
I told my sister that I would call my neighbours across the road to ask for help or ideas. I told my sister that my next door neighbour was the best choice but given her hostility towards me since the builders destroyed the fence and her yard, this was not ideal for me to ask her for help and water. I was not comfortable asking her. If it were me, I would volunteer help. My sister told me that I knew what I needed to do and she was right. Feeling sick with dread, I called my next door neighbour. A few days earlier when I’d seen her while I was at my property, her friend chatted with me. My neighbour looked at me with hostility, ignored me unsmiling and proceeded to close her open front gate. The phone rang and I was preparing to leave a message when she answered frostily and with hostility. I explained that it was hard for me to ask her for help and that I needed water for the bricklayer to build my house. I told her that I would pay her. She softened and her chilly tone warmed and she said no to my offer of payment. I was told that she had already provided water for the building of the retaining wall, which I told her was not known to me and I thanked her. She agreed to provide the water and also give them the hose and access to her yard to access the hose. I thanked her for her assistance and support. Layers of pressure and stress melted off me, for which I was incredibly grateful. I called the Masterton Area Manager who asked if they could call her as required when I asked for time-frames for my neighbour. I sent her a text to which she agreed to them calling her. I passed on the information. One problem solved. The bricklaying could begin and my house build could progress.
This is why I NEVER give up on people as they can and do surprise you in the most wonderful way, when you least expect it. Hopefully my relationship with my neighbour is restored. I feel optimistic and delighted.
I also received a text message from the Store Manager at Dan Murphy’s about my scheduled September return to work. This was weeks after our previously scheduled conversation. We scheduled an appointment for next Friday. This too left me uneasy.
Johnny and I have been on a break over the last week as I did not take my guitar to my sister’s place. Schrodie and I have walked every day having new adventures along the Coast and Harbourside on the Northern Beaches. I have walked up and down more stairs over the last week than the last ten years and I feel it in my muscles. I push through the physical pain and nerve pain. I have banged my elbows a few times, aggravating my Ulnar Nerve. My Physiotherapist said that the increased pain is due to increased inflammation in my body. Also that my left Radial Nerve is causing the pain and discomfort in my left arm and hand. This nerve was injured when I broke my neck and sometimes flares-up. Stress has aggravated this old injury. I have had some fluid retention in my calves, ankles and feet which I saw whilst I was showering. I believe these are side-effects from the medication and stress. I expect this fluid to remain for two to three days as previously. My Dietician said that my weight gain is fluid retention not fat, which is plausible. The weather too might be a factor creating side-effects. I look forward to coming off all the medications over the next year. My poor diet is not helping the inflammation in my body. I can’t wait for the fluid to disappear again. I know my heart is strong and in great condition as it was checked countless times in hospital with various scans and tests confirming these results. My Rheumatologist did not call after my blood tests so there seem to be no inherent problems with my organs or system, for which I am grateful. One step at a time.
Today I have cooked, for myself and the children a small roast beef with potatoes, carrots and onions seasoned simply with salt as the children are fussy eaters. The meat is resting. It is golden brown on the outside but succulent and tender on the inside. The vegetables are golden, caramelized and sticky with golden crunchy potatoes filled with soft, fluffy hearts. My niece only likes mashed potato and tried the baked one saying it was just like mashed potato. Aside from Christmas, I haven’t cooked and enjoyed a roast for at least two years. Good company is important during a meal and will help me eat. We look forward to our early dinner which we will be enjoying shortly. It smells so delicious. I have been eating more food, more regularly and more easily whilst with my loved ones. The company really helps me and I learned this upon my first release from hospital last February. This is actually known to be true and factual.
Sleep deprivation, poor eating are serious problems also weighing on me, pardon the pun. After speaking with my Dietician, we agreed that I would once again reduce my insulin to combat my erratic and dangerous low blood sugars. At least until I would once again start eating regular and consistent meals. I explained to him that throwing up after meals and intermittently from stress was a concern with respect to my blood sugars and well-being. This becomes more problematic once I have had my required insulin dose with my meal, especially when I throw-up more than one hour after having my meal and insulin, I had been overloading on sweets, soft drinks and easy, non-filling fixes, including various take-away food options to redress my lack of carbohydrate consumption and low sugars. I told him that I had packed on four kilograms in the last few weeks which was not sustainable. He said this was impossible. I explained that this was true. I saw it in the way my clothes were fitting and checked my weight on my sister’s scales. I am consciously cutting back on this poor diet. I barely ever ate this way before and would return slowly to my preferred and normal healthy diet. As soon as I go home I will buy a rowing machine as I used to love the rowing machine and spin classes at the gym. They give a full body, low impact work out and tone the entire body. I will do my exercises to music under my Disco Ball, my favourite way to exercise and I cannot wait. Schrodie and I love our daily walks, wherever they are and whatever path he chooses for us. I might start up yoga again. A couple of months ago whilst out on our daily walk, I met a lady I liked who is building her own straw bale house in Bowral who runs a Yoga Studio. I might join her lessons.
Under lock down I miss my Meditation Group, my guitar lessons and Trivia as well as other social activities. Strangely though I am managing to meet new people and build new relationships whilst trapped in the house. These new relationships are with people I really like and they have developed randomly and organically through conversations with others.
Checking on the status of Council works relating to my property, being three burnt out pine trees on my front verge, and the property rates, I was transferred to speak with a Bushfire Liaison Staffer. During our conversation she relayed that I had often been a point of conversation amongst a number of people within Council and third parties dealing with Council. I was told that I had a large group of supporters, which I found incredibly humbling. I explained that I knew that a number of people were working to help me, for which I am incredibly grateful. Just before lock down, a man I know had mentioned that I had a large group of secret admirers, also humbling. This has all been very welcome but unexpected news, especially given my circumstances. This has helped to buoy me throughout all the ever growing and seemingly insurmountable challenges and despair I constantly face on a daily basis. This dance of one step forward twelve steps back is exhausting physically, mentally and emotionally. Baby steps, one step in front of the other is how I continue. Breathe, reminding myself to breathe when I forget is important to maintain my path. There are times where I feel that it might be easier to stop fighting. Truth is, I can’t stop, I am a Fighter, A Warrior by nature. There is too much at stake. There is too much to lose if I stop fighting. I just want my home again. I have suffered so much. I lost everything. Protecting my home with the best insurance cost me much, it was almost everything I earned, with great sacrifices which were worthwhile but took a great toll on me. I need to go home before my Insurance runs out and my rental accommodation runs out and I am homeless. I am paying an exorbitant amount of money, within a clearly defined, written contract to build the house I want and need for a safe home. Other people’s incompetence and lack of care, flagrantly breaching my contract, is not acceptable to deprive me of what I am paying for to have my new home as agreed contractually. As long as the build continues and I can go home soon, everything can be redressed later. My aim is for amicable resolution for these problems and issues. These looming deadlines terrify me as meeting them is out of my control.
Over the years I
have learned that open and honest conversation with others
opens all sorts of doors filled with exciting and optimistic opportunities
which have helped me achieve my goals. These relationships have always been inspired
and reciprocal, which to me, is important. These have never been agenda driven
conversations for me but always interesting and organic. It’s amazing how life
and synchronicity work. For me, this has always happened unexpectedly. It’s
wonderful. I hate surprises but I love these exciting workings of life and
interactions with people. Joy lives here in these magical workings and
happenstance. Perhaps it's Karma at play. Usually this happens when I feel that I am ready to let go, of everything.
Anyway I received a beautiful email from the Council Staffer who runs Events and Communications for Council who said the most wonderful and complimentary things and telling me that I had inspired her and that I need to pursue becoming a Motivational Speaker and helping others. My goodness, wow, how humbling. More importantly, I was told of a Government Project, I think it is local, state and federal, centred around people sharing their stories about resilience and recovery after The Black Summer Bushfires. I was provided with the contact details of the organizers. A few days ago, I had my first zoom meeting which was positive and inspiring with the man running the creative side of the Project. His background is Media and he seems very accomplished. We agreed that I would start a Podcast Series in an interview style as a way for people to share their Stories. For me this is not about dwelling on trauma and despair but experiences and how people are coping, managing or not as a way to start the conversation about how to proceed towards their desired and fulfilled future. Discussing and sharing the experiences of trauma and despair and how to proceed through these will be tackled by me in another conversation and Series. These are conversations for another time and forum which will be scheduled as soon as possible. I have no idea how to do this and he has told me that he will teach me the required technical skills. I told him that I am learning about Social Media as I have no interest in it at a personal level but as a platform to work with and help others. I told him that I have been researching Podcasting and would be glad for his help and support. I explained to him that I need help learning how to best structure a Podcast for maximum interest and value to listeners. The scope of the Project is to start small and local with expansion on the horizon. We are both very excited. I have much work to do and will feel my way, as always. I continue my research. I look upon this in my Scientific mindset as an experiment.
If you have any ideas, areas of interest around this topic, please let me know in the comments below or via email.
is still a distant dream with the Covid-19 situation around the World
threatening my trip. I remain hopeful. Even if my trip is once again delayed by Covid-19, I will still get there, eventually, or die trying, as I have done all that is within my power to get there and enjoy this adventure of a lifetime.
"We Gotta Get Out Of This Place" The Animals is the song that is one of my natural defaults if and when I start to feel trapped or stuck. It’s great music and a great song. I hope that you enjoy this song of the week as much as I do and it helps you, inspires you in some small way.
Thank you, as always, for your company and time. Feel free to leave me any comments, ask questions, anything in this blog or let me know anything else that might interest you. Please direct anyone you know or come across who might benefit from anything in my blog here, to read and follow this crazy journey with us all. I hope, that as always you feel better in some way after joining me on this adventure. Whatever it is you’re going through, hang in there, you are not alone. Your experience might be different but whatever it is you can get through it no matter what you face. It’s not easy but it is achievable. I only share my story in the hope that it might help you see the dim light ahead that will get brighter.
I look forward to your continued company on Wednesday and Friday when I post my pages which I hope interest and inspire you, as they do me, even if it’s to laugh and have fun, which are so important every day. My aim is still to post every Sunday, or as close to, as possible when life gets in the way.
Stay safe, take care and have fun. Please treat yourself, every day, to something that brings you joy, no matter how small. Laugh whenever you can, every day, if possible. I hope that you have a good week.
Until next Sunday.
Watch this space.....