Hair

Last Thursday I had the urge to shave most of my head, a drastic change from the 1930’s pin-curled black bob I had been embracing for the previous 6 months. That was the goal of two years growing out a pixie cut- a vintage bob that Dita Von Teese would be envious of.

(The hair was cut before the accident. It wasn’t a completely unplanned action)

I nearly chickened out, but my five year old daughter gave me the same rhetoric I often serve her: if you say you’re going to do something, then do it. So I did. 
I love the cut, and I even liked the short dark ash blonde sides with the long black bangs. Then, as I do when things get out of control, I start tinkering…

I no longer own a sewing a machine to run up some Pretty in Pink op shop finds, so instead, I’ve bleached the life out of and currently have a mix of conditioning treatment and hot pink dye sloshed all of my remains tresses.

I guess it’s a bit of a mundane thing to blog about, but for the moment I’m in dire need of catharsis after the shock of last week’s still unresolved events. 

Deceased

Thursday night, my husband was hit head on by a drunk and high driver who had just overtaken a semi-trailer despite the double white lines clearly indicating it was unsafe to do so. My husband didn’t have time to react and as the airbags expelled from their casings and the cabin of the car filled with smoke, he struggled to open the door to escape…

Thursday night was, the eve of a year since my husband was made rendundant. It signalled a long year of job searching and ended in a new life forming and a job in a completely different town. Our incubating baby is thriving according to all the scans. The job is disappointing (understatement). We’ve been unsure if it’s worth moving for such an uninspiring role in such a negative and disorganised company in a town I couldn’t wait to escape from 16 years ago. Thursday night’s event has begun to unravel all of the determination to make the best of things, and the situation is feeling even more frustrating than it did this time last year.

The reality of Thursday night is beginning to sink in today… and we have to take him back up there tomorrow. What was meant to be four days of normal family life in a long distance family existence, has turned into a mix of complete gratitude and utter frustration.

The police and ambulance officers are amazed that he walked away, let alone without a bump or bruise. Witnesses equally amazed that he’s okay. The car is a write off. Our future plans and financial success yet again messed up. What was already a tricky situation is now feeling desperate. All because one asshole’s common sense is deceased.

Anti flux and a little premonition.

Christmas Eve morning. 2:45am.

BANG! and then fizzzz….

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! Goes the NBN emergency battery box.

THUMP! THUMP! THUMP! Went my heart and I sat up straight in bed.

Brown out.

Restlessness set in and within hours I discovered why. It wasn’t the loss of electricity that kept me awake. It was a sense a surprise pregnancy and an undesired move would not be the only unfolding events in our lives these summer holidays.

log-lady

 

The phone rang at 9:30am to break the tension.

My grandfather had finally had enough trying to hide from us this past month or so. Nan had called the ambulance at 2:50am as Pa struggled with extreme abdominal pain and breathing difficulties. Like the bullheaded man he is, he fought the entire time, eventually giving into the emergency care.

The old bull trudged through two days of precarious treatment. Doctors wanting to avoid surgery due to his chronically bad circulation. Finally, upon council between his two sons and specialists, they decided it was the only potential help. A Do Not Resuscitate order was signed. The medical staff relieved that at least this one time, a patient’s family wasn’t trying to prolong the life of someone in such ill health and advanced years.

Stubbornness won again with him surviving the removal of part of his intestines. No bag either, but completely delusional. Regularly muttering about the bakery he sold 35 years ago and repeated attempts to remove the various attachments form his saggy skinned body ensured the hospital’s rostering a special for him. These special assistants in nursing, brave persons ensure he doesn’t escape or terrorise the rest of the patients in his petulant state.

I was volunteered for a few days to stay with Nan. Her agility is definitely compromised. She seems to be on her arse more than her feet these days. We enjoyed ourselves as best we could under the circumstances; binging on documentaries about Scotland, the land of her mother and father, a land she never got to see because of my Pa’s firmly planted feet.

I’ve since shipped her to her younger sister’s place. They are having plenty fun watching old British sitcoms like One Foot in the Grave. Though, a sadness sits behind her eyes. She says she just misses her chair at home. I know it’s because she knows she’ll have to leave her home forever, sooner than later.

Unsurprisingly, Pa’s recovery is still ridiculously slow. Two weeks have passed and we are impatiently waiting for the news that we either find him a nursing home or send him home making him eating Meals on Wheels. Either way it may send him off to the great beyond.

As I sit here, sipping peppermint tea to ease the agitation in my own stomach, I wonder what will actually transpire in the next few months. I’m not sure 2017 is going to any less intense than its predecessor. It feels like the opposite of flux, anti flux and it was confirmed by a little premonition.

O Holy fright, the stars are dis-aligning?

How to start this post without sounding like a hyperbolic banana?

There’s no way really, so here goes:

My husband has been without work since April when the company he worked for went for round three of redundancies.

I still am secure in my job though have had three principals in 8 months which meant adjusting to all kind of managerial approaches, not to mention assisting the teachers implement some significant changes. It’s also only part time.

I started university this year, as you know, and with an exuberant preschooler, it’s been a challenge.

My grandparents have aged dramatically this year and I’m over there several times a week some times.

… And as for the mother-in-law, I finally got strong enough to stop enabling her and see the terrifying reality of her manipulation for what it is- toxic and unabating. I’ve had limited contact for 8 months.

I think I’d be ok for the first half of 2017, with healthy boundaries instated with afore mentioned family member, and a decent rhythm to our days.

EXCEPT…

It started with Husband taking a job in a town 6 hours away, beginning January, leaving me to be a ‘single mother’ as it were while he sees out the probation period and our daughter begins her first year of schooling. It’s got long hours on a rotating roster, weekend and on call work. Not ideal, but after 7 months searching, we took it.

We took it, hoping something else would come up in the meantime. It feels really dirty to do, but one part time income is not the easiest to live on, even with our minimalist expenses. Time is running out though…

The concerns about eventually leaving my Grandparents with less support has made me realise that I need to start backing away and encouraging them to access the in-home care they need (which is fine because they are still adults and need to make adult choices). It’s not easy though watching my Nan fade from the brilliant blue hue she used to be. It feels even worse wondering if us moving will send her off this mortal coil.

I’ve deferred university this semester so I can concentrate on moving the husband and making sure we get as much family fun in as possible over the holidays.

HOWEVER, the biggest surprise is still making its reality known… pending confirmation with next Thursday’s ultrasound- I’m Up the Duff; 6 weeks tomorrow. Due, get this, one month after my husband’s probation is complete, and the month my daughter and I were going to move!

 

giphy
Giphy: Dogma movie

 

It’s a been a grounding thumping experience.  I’ve been telling myself I can do the 6 months on my own with all our current commitments. Now, I’m not so sure. I’m not upset about being pregnant after the initial surprise. It has simply been 4 and half years (same time as our first) and pretty much a given we were done with the nappies. We were moving on to our next chapter.

We’ll keep it secret squirrel from the Mother-in-law for as long as possible, last time she turned it around and made it about her a bit too much (I’m also hoping she hasn’t found my new blog).

If you happen to know me in real life it would be great for secret squirrels there too.

But excuse me, husband has just opened his Talisker whisky, a gift from his dad, and now I need to boak…

nausea-vomiting-pregnancy-large
http://www.dietinpregnancy.co.uk

Linguistics

Oh, so long since I last published anything here…

To spare anyone who cares the copious details, in short, 2016 has been part best friend, part life coach, part schoolyard bully. Between starting university, husband being made redundant 6 months ago, caring for ailing grandparents and still mothering and working, it’s been quite the year. I doubt I will miss much of 2016 other than to pay it respect for being the year I decided that nurturing my body, soul and spirit as a foundation to meeting the needs of those around me and limiting death bed regrets.

The next few years will be very busy with my little one beginning school and the continuation of the afore mentioned items, so I am considering posting some of my university content for constructive feedback. The hope is that it will develop some resilience in my ability to take criticism, improve my critical thinking and writing, as well as provide a place for discussing various subjects or encourage/inspire others to be brave and life the life they design, not designed by others.

I have enrolled in the summer trimester in an attempt to expedite the degree, Bachelor of Arts: Linguistics and Languages…

Now, without further procrastination, behold, my first forum posting for the trimester…

What is Language? 

The brief from our tutor is in italics below:

The forum for this first module involves some self-reflection. 

Take some time to think about the following questions, and then share your answers in the forum:

– Why are you taking the trouble to learn about language? 

– What do you expect to know by the end of the semester?

– How will you use this knowledge?

I am intrigued by humanity’s proclivity for creativity in every facet of life. Language is an elegant example of such freedom of expression and creativity  we as humans posses within the grammatical and semantic structures we innately learn as children. As Edward Sapir (1921) expressed, “Language is the most massive and inclusive art we know, a mountainous and anonymous work of unconscious generations,” and as an avid reader, music enthusiast and writer/blogger I could not agree more fervently.

The most engaging aspect of Language to me is the symbiotic relationship between linguistics/language as art and also science. Throughout my life I have viewed art and science as opposites ends of a magnetic rod and as two separate magnets, both repelling and attracting dependent upon position of the poles proximity to each other. My hope is that by engaging with this unit I will begin to understand more fully how this interplay functions.

I expect several learning outcomes from this unit. My long term goal is to work in interpretation and translation (French and Japanese to begin with) of which this unit should provide a foundation for. At some point, I would also like to become a published author and so I find myself taking the advice of Irvine Welsh, “I think young writers should get other degrees first, social sciences, arts degrees or even business degrees. What you learn is research skills, a necessity because a lot of writing is about trying to find information.” Ultimately, I am simply curious to know more about one of the cornerstones of humanity.

Black, Adam, 2004, Literary Sparring: An Interview with Irvine Welsh, 3AM Magazine, viewed November 19 2016, <http://www.3ammagazine.com/litarchives/2004/feb/interview_irvine_welsh.html&gt;

Sapir, Edward, 1921, Language: an Introduction to the Study of Speech,  Harcourt, Brace, New York.

edited: 20/11/16 (as per feedback from a faithful friend).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unfriending, Donald Trump, and Character Development

I recently read a comment via the Washington Post about the importance of remaining friends with Trump supporters even if one strongly disagrees. It’s an interesting piece and one that we need to keep discussing so we may maintain and improve freedom of speech and the balance in political correctness. I’d like to compliment it by suggesting how disconnecting with those we disagree with negatively affects our individual characters.

Caitlin Dewey, a digital media critic for the Washington Post focuses on how our clicks manipulate algorithms on social media sites into suggesting similar content, and apps that can censor parameters individuals choose to set. She proposes that people have taken to blocking and unfriending those with conflicting opinions thus shaping their online experiences to a degree in which they become intolerant and nasty. She also contends that critics have argued this approach to social media is contrary to the core of what we value about our democracies. Her article emphasises throughout how remaining balanced in our online interactions keep a healthy perspective on reality, community and political intelligence both personally and societally.

I’m of the opinion that everything in our lives has a holistic affect on our person and narrowing our political views is no different. By choosing to focus only on those things we agree with we lose growth in resilience, assertiveness, and intellectual reasoning. I’m sure there are other things, but for the sake of keeping this short I’ll leave it at those.

First up, Resilience. Resilience is the ability to continue growing despite and in spite of stress and adversity. When we lack resilience to maintain our convictions and opinions in front of the other, we are weakened in our resolve, discipline and development of good habits. Without resilience we are no longer able to fulfil the capacity of thought, action and progression in our relationships, careers and personal development in which we should be capable. Without resilience, fear wins and failure thrives. We personally become shadows of our authentic selves, a little bit like Smeagol/Gollum in Lord of the Rings.

Next, Assertiveness. Assertiveness is the ability to share our thoughts and go about our day with confidence. The lack of confidence is a decline into mediocrity where resilience takes a significant hit. If we are not assertive in sharing our thoughts while listening to another then we allow negative and damaging mandates and treatments to come upon us. We begin to live in a way that becomes existence, where other people dictate our direction and state of being. We become any body’s fool and every body’s slave.

Finally, Intellectual reasoning. No one is going be the epitome of intellectual reasoning all of the time and it would be even less common if we chose to block out parts of the arguments and thinking of those we disagree with. How else are we able to remain firm about our personal convictions or change the direction of a toxic cultural norm if we are not able to rationally and intelligently persuade people otherwise? If we choose to eliminate whole sections of the argument we are missing out on opportunities to deepen our cognitive skills. If we choose to remain ignorant and stunt our critical thinking we are inviting mediocrity into our person.

So, if we choose to eliminate voices we see as the antithesis of our world view we rob ourselves of our best. To reject all of a person for one part seems obviously destructive in our character development. It is an inability to deal optimally and healthfully with offensive opinions and principles. We need to see opposing sides as a way to check our own character and develop humility in our own views and beliefs. The result of eliminating opposing and grey-scaled voices are one of these- apathy and atrophy OR becoming as dogmatic and narrow minded as the ‘other’ side. That is a serious character flaw and one of the few things worth unfriending.

If you’d like to take a look at what Caitlin Dewey’s proposition for yourself go here.