Posted by Naomi on Aug 28, 2013 in random sweet nothings...
Do you know what is outside the window? Sunshine. Warm, happy making sunshine. Blue skied, window opening, new air being breathed into the house sunshine.
It has been a long year. As well as one where time slips away. Unused.
Life is the double bloom camellia outside the window. It is walking passed the palliative care nurses station without making eye contact. It is the too often uttered word, cancer, weaving in and out of my days. Friends. Family. Stories of people unknown.
It is making time for running. And time to sit and read. Head buried in a book, forgetting, just for a while, what the world away from crafted words is offering.
August has been full of life. The dark, cloud heavy life of reality. Of plane trips and visits. Of laughter, tears and one too many coffees. Of theatre, ballet and singing loudly with hundreds of others to a well loved movie. It has been friends, new and old. Full of text messages and conversations.
It is the as yet unmade decisions on the lesser of two evils election. It has been Syria’s unending devastation, and a Prime Minister talking about crimes against humanity; while actively perpetrating some of his own offshore. All in the name of votes.
I am waiting for spring. Reality will not change. But sun will warm skin. Feet will be uncloaked from socks and boots. Shoulders will bare themselves to the sun.
I am coming back into myself. The long hibernation of soul that is winter is shedding its blanketing layers. Reality will not alter. But there will be warmth to welcome it, and blue sky to light the dark.
Posted by Naomi on Aug 22, 2013 in random sweet nothings...
The theme from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly is playing in my head. Tumbleweeds are rolling.
The past weeks have been filled with the dregs of winter. It’s the time of season summer heat is longed for. Open windows, bare arms and feet.
Training is hard in bitter cold, wet tracks and wind.
I am over comfort food. Over heating bills. Over waking in the dark.
I am not sure how much more I can take of pre-election news. Or of the imminent feeling of gloom, no matter which major player and party is elected.
My head aches. My throat swells. My body years for sun.
Words are on hold. Stuck in the end of winter slump. The ebb and flow of seasons. Of words.
The sky is grey and weighs heavily. The closeness of winter is bearing down.
I am waiting. For words. For blue sky. For warm winds and the promise of the beach.
They will come. All of them. In time. But for now, the tumbleweeds roll, and a western movie theme plays in my head.
photo credit: scismgenie via photopin cc
Posted by Naomi on Aug 8, 2013 in thinking out loud
Tick, tick tick.
An election is coming. Again. While politicians and the media scramble for sound bites the voting public watch on. Who to vote for, how to vote, how not to vote, where and when, and this election, for the first time, why?
I have always loved voting. I couldn’t wait to enrol when I was 18. I still remember my first election. Remember the thrill of walking into a church hall and marking the squares. Remember knowing my vote meant something, and that at the end of the day, my vote was for the side that won.
It was not for another six years that I realised I was in the minority. It was an odd feeling, and a less than successful election party.
My political playground was Tasmania in the 1980s. I cut my teeth on the Gordon below Franklin Dam, the protests and the subsequent high court ruling. I had been on the Franklin River while on a family holiday, and watched protestors canoe past. Bob Hawke was a hero. He promised to stop the dam as part of his (successful) election campaign. In my mind, and from what I saw, people could do great things. Politicians it seemed, listened. Protests became movements, became political parties. Bob Brown took office in Tasmanian State Parliament the day he was released from prison for obstructing work on the dam site. He became a house hold name, and the eventual leader of a political party.
It is no secret my politics is to the left. I am one of those soy latte sipping, tree hugging lefties. I have been to rallies, marched on streets. I have placed bumper stickers and bought slogan T-shirts. A social gathering is not the same without healthy political debate. I have been verbally abused by strangers with views different to mine. There was a time I thought it may be wise to remove some stickers from the back of my car. But at the end of the day, I was proud of my politics and stood firm in the process of voting.
The election this year is different. For a start, it has been called twice. Over the weekend I walked through a local electrical goods store refreshing twitter and feigning interest in kitchen appliances. I announced that the election had been called to a somewhat bewildered shop assistant, who quite frankly wanted my attention on the features of the toaster he was holding. It used to be that I was excited about an election being called. This time, after the initial twitter buzz, I was at a loss. The party I thought I could vote for? I am not sure it exists now.
News comes in tweets and link baited page updates. Politicians are on twitter. They have instagram accounts and facebook pages. Gaffs and crawl-under-your-seat embarrassing interviews are on youtube faster than you can say preference votes. But the real news? The news where there is real debate, actual policy discussion, you have to dig for that.
When politics came onto my radar, I thought politicians listened. Yes I was young, and no doubt a little naïve. But it seemed they at least tried to be on the side of humanity. While those who governed were not faultless, I’d rather be wondering at the ambitious, and (to the cynically inclined) vote grabbing phrase ‘By 1990 no Australian child will be living in poverty’ than ‘you won’t be settled in Australia.’ The former at least looks like humanity matters.
When the day arrives, armed with as much informations as I can find, I’ll walk to the local school and vote. Because some part of me still believes in the process. In the right to have my say and use my voice. Because some part of me holds out hope. It’s a very small, slightly jaded and cynical part. But it is there all the same.
photo credit: Christopher S. Penn via photopin cc
Posted by Naomi on Aug 7, 2013 in writing
There is a new space in the house; a new (old) desk, with soft light from a window. I’m seated there now. At my feet, a sleeping fox terrier. Picture perfect writing space if I do say so myself.
The beauty of a husband who works in a creative industry is he understands The Slump. He was the one who suggested I desk hunt, and open scrivener again. Write more of the story I have in my head. Turns out there was less story than I thought. What with a change in computers, an update and a healthy dose of neglect, all that remained was around 200 words. There rest, lost. My husband had the good grace to only mention backing up once. That I heard anyway.
So now I begin again. As I said to Hubby, can’t have been much of a story if I neglected it. I have a new one brewing. This time though there will be actual planning. There will be closed doors and writing. I will learn to save the editing for later. Get ideas down, mould words afterwards. No point in a perfect sentence if there are only three of them.
Before I begin there will be a proper learning of software. I will spend time doing tutorials. I will remember to backup. I will shut off emails and twitter, facebook and the phone.
But most of all I will write. For me. But also to be read. I hope. Because writing is all good and well, but it is, at the end of the day for sharing.
Posted by Naomi on Aug 1, 2013 in wellbeing
Today’s post is not mine. The words that follow are from my friend Pamela. Friend is a small word for something that spans over 30 years, but it’s the word we use nonetheless.
Ok, so here’s the thing, over the past few weeks I have looked Cervical Cancer in the eye, stared it down with resolute bravado, and punted it to the kerb with a solid boot. I have avoided making a big fuss, kept it low key, cringed away from any associated drama and taken sympathy in small doses. I have jumped on and off the Big C rollercoaster in record time and have come away with a story to tell. I ask that you take a few minutes to read it.
After months, even years of symptoms tap-tapping away at me like a persistent kitten’s paw, I have endured blood tests, scans and intrusive prodding in an attempt to find out what was going on inside. Just a few weeks ago I took a repeat test, a simple, routine test, which managed to reveal everything on the tip of a cotton bud. Indeed I had to undergo further testing following those results, but I have no doubt in my mind that it was that one simple test, on one ordinary everyday day, that gave me the chance to kick this.
I, like most women, despise having a pap smear. The potential act of undressing in front of a relative stranger and giving them full access to my pink bits fills me with dread. The smear itself gives a nasty sting and I bleed like a stuck pig for days following. There is nothing nice about a pap smear. Nothing. It’s yuck. In a big way. But I’ve now learnt that despite the yuck, it’s worth it.
I have always been one to groan and roll my eyes when those little reminder notes wedge their way into my letter box letting me know I’m due for a pap smear again. And again. And again. But this once vocal disser of the dreaded Pap is now grateful beyond words that she lives in a part of the world where smears are not only encouraged, but expected.
When I was first given my diagnosis, emotions clashed. Yes I felt fear, anger and upset, but at the same time I felt lucky. Of all the horrid cancers that have struck my friends, family and acquaintances, I got a potentially good one. A ‘happy’ one. One, that when caught early, does not mean the end.
For me, my diagnosis was a swift cuff to the back my head, a reminder that no matter how busy I am and how fast I keep running at work and home, I am not invincible. That I need to slow down, listen to my body and take care. It was the gift of a relatively easy fix; a blip on my mortal timeline that would soon be behind me.
Seven days ago I folded two fresh nighties and my Kindle into a basket and strode into hospital. I refused to let myself become consumed with anxiety or black thought. Was I scared? Yes. Was I dreading the inevitable post-op pain? Yes. Did I grieve the imminent loss of the part that once cradled babies blossoming in my belly? Yes. Did I cry when I heard the newborn babies cry just 5 rooms along? Yes. Did I feel that somehow, in some very strange way, I had failed as a women? Yes. Yes. Yes. But above all, I felt lucky.
Not once did I lose perspective or give into potential doom and thunder. I trusted that my very sweet, teddy-bear-of-a Gynie was going to take care of me. He would fix me in just under 3 hours. The cancer, still in its early stages, would be coaxed out of my body contained in the protective tissue of my deflated uterus. Onwards I would go. Looking forward. Rarely back. Feeling lucky.
So in the last week I have hurt, I have smiled, I have cried, laughed and felt everything in between. My Mum has been a Godsend; my beautiful man, a bastion of strength. Today I have showered, dressed, painted mascara on my eyelashes and managed to pull a pair of warm socks onto my own feet. I still face another week without driving and then a further four of limited activity. But after that… in the long run… I live.
In the last few weeks I have discovered that in fear there is strength. In pain there is hope. In early diagnosis there is the possibility of a happy ending. I have also discovered that you actually use your pelvic floor when screeching at an uncooperative pre-teen (ouch!) and that the love of a dog can make you smile regardless.
So here I am, rabbiting on. Why? Because now it’s my turn to pass it on.
It’s my turn to become that persistent kitten’s paw. I’m tapping here at the side of your face telling you that I’m not going to stop until you book in for that pap smear. I’m not going to stop until you ask your mum, sister, wife, aunt, grandma, daughter or best friend if they are up to date with theirs. I’m also tapping on your other cheek to remind you that when your doctor offers you a complimentary breast exam, you need to put aside the awkward and whip them out for a quick feel.
Boys, I’m tapping at your faces too, telling you that it can be as easy as a simple blood test. Maybe a routine finger and cough; yes it can be intrusive and uncomfortable, it’s actually a gift. Use it.
Today I am feeling sore but lucky. I’m grateful that I, and those I love, are given access to a health system that can keep an eye on us, cradle us, remind us to live safely and, with a blessing or two, save us.
Ok so my story is over.
My rant is over too.
But I’m still here, tap tap tapping.
Go make an appointment with your GP today.
Please note that these are my own personal thoughts and feelings and experiences and I am fully aware that the journeys of others may be very different.
Posted by Naomi on Jul 31, 2013 in Giveaway
I can safely say winter is wearing me down. Even on the warmer than usual days. Hibernation is all good and well, but sometimes even I have to admit there is more to life than soft pants, uggs and so bad it’s good reality TV.
I’m sure many of you feel the same. Nothing makes me change out of my less than socially acceptable clothing faster than live performances. My love of theatre is no secret, and living in Melbourne means there is always lots on offer. I don’t think I will ever get tired of going to the theatre. Even being in a foyer pre-show is something I love. Dance and song warm the heart almost as much as good ducted heating.
When I was offered the chance to see two upcoming shows I jumped at it. Nothing says Ha! Take that winter! Like a night out.
Hot Shoe Shuffle, featuring some of my favourite 1940s songs, including Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off, is performed in the tradition of Broadway musicals. It is one of the longest running multi-award winning musicals ever to be produced in Australia.
Stomp began way back in the 90s. Since then it has been encouraging people of all ages to bang on pots, rubbish bins, buckets… pretty much anything that can make a noise.
To say I can’t wait pretty much sums it up. Luckily for you I have double passes to each show to give away. I’d say that’s just the ticket!
First up: Hot Shoe Shuffle. I have two double passes to see this Broadway style show for Friday 9th August at 8pm at Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne. Each double pass is valued at $210
Next up: Stomp! For this fast paced all action, no voice show I have two double passes for Tuesday 20th August, 8pm performance at Comedy Theatre. Valued at $158 for each double pass.
That’s eight tickets in total.
The fine print. To be in the running to win a double pass, leave a comment below telling me your perfect night out. Be sure to say which show you would prefer to go to – Hot Shoe Shuffle or Stomp! You will need to be in Melbourne on the dates of the performances. Tickets are for the dates and times specified only. Each winner will receive one double pass. Entries close Wednesday 7th of August at 6pm, at which time comments to this post will close. Winners will be notified by email.
Disclaimer: This giveaway is a partnership with Cavanagh PR. I have been compensated for my time, receiving tickets to each of the shows mentioned in this post.
Photos used with permission.
Hot Shoe Shuffle is on from August 9th at Her Majesty’s Theatre Melbourne. Tickets available here.
Stomp! On from 20 to 25 August. 8 Shows Only at Comedy Theatre. Book at Ticketmaster.com.au
Posted by Naomi on Jul 25, 2013 in running
It does seem a little ridiculous to be writing a post on half marathon training less than a week after I was having a not so good week. But that’s just the way things go.
This week began the official start of training. As of Sunday, it was twelve weeks until race day. I thought long and hard about blogging my progress. It does help keep me accountable, so here it is.
This week is a slow week. My joints are still getting over the flair up. As much as I wanted this next half to be finished in around 2 hours, I know it may not happen. My body just doesn’t work that way anymore.
Training outdoors in cold weather is hard. More warm gear has been purchased. I feel more like the Michelin Man than a runner some days. But keeping warm is important. Running in the dark is not an option here. There are limited street lights, and I may be worried about zombies lurking in the dark. What? Like you’re not.
Instead I have a schedule that gives me rest days as well as running days that fits in around work and other commitments. The dog comes on some shorter runs. He does love the extra exercise, but he really is a hindrance more than a help.
So, the schedule this week is for three runs; 3km, 5km and 6.5km. The other days will all be rest days while my joints get used to moving again. In the weeks to come I’ll add low impact cross training to some rest days.
Things to sort out this week:
Rejigging my running playlist. I’m getting bored with it.
Choosing the right combination of warm and high visibility gear for early morning runs in fog and low light.
Remembering to eat decent food, drink plenty of water and get enough sleep each night.
So, here’s to week one. I’ll be instagramming, tweeting and facebooking my progress with the hashtags #nomesruns and #run4refugees
You can sponsor me for my run. All money goes to The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.
Posted by Naomi on Jul 24, 2013 in random sweet nothings...
The bedroom boasts a bow front antique mahogany chest of drawers. It was the first grown up purchase we made as a married couple. We couldn’t afford it, but bought it all the same. Interest free, hire purchase.
Inside one of it’s empty drawers I found an old button. Fabric covered, weft and warp worn from years of hiding.
I imagined this new very serious piece of furniture would make me into a neat drawer person. Carefully I folded and arranged all my clothing.
Over the next few weeks I not so carefully shoved clothing items into the drawers and stacked its top with all manner of stuff.
My drawers are still stuffed full. In no particular order. Every year I decide enough is enough and sort them out. Remove clothing items not worn. Make neat orderly piles. Fold to perfection. I open and close drawers with ease and a smile. I find wanted tops or jeans at a glance.
Then I undo all my good organised work. Drawers protest at being closed. Clothes scrunch and hide. Undies get lost as they fall down the back of the drawers.
I wonder, will I one day have neat orderly drawers? Will I one day find need to have things in sectioned neatness? Or will there always be a rebellious teenager living inside me and my drawers?
photo credit: sarahgb(theoriginal) via photopin cc
Posted by Naomi on Jul 19, 2013 in Giveaway
It is a well known fact I am a terrible singer. Terrible. Even four year olds I teach give me a look as if to say really? Do you have to? My own children also get very eye-rolly when I sing along in the car, or at home. I often have song lyrics in my head, and there can sometimes be a disconnect between brain and mouth. Realising too late I’m singing what appears to be random lyrics out loud in supermarket checkout lines.
This is why the Sing-A-Long-A Sound of Music is such a good night out. A Mecca for all the people who just want to sing along and not be told to SHUSH! Home for the out of tune, the in tune, the I know all the words please let me sing people. Who knew there were so many of us.
Last year was my first foray into this event. Not knowing exactly what to expect, I wondered if people really would sing all the words. If people really would get into the spirit of the experience, or would I be a lone singer in a sea of naysayers. Or should that be naysingers. I needn’t have worried. As soon as Maria come on the screen and the well known music swelled, the whole audience began to sing.
What followed was a great night. The group behind us seemed to be having their very own high notes sing-off. Others had a knack of perfectly timed sneezes and comments; usually frowned upon in theatres, at Sing-A-Long-A Sound of Music, they brought laughs instead. This is movie going like no other. There were cheers for Julie Andrews, wolf-whistles for Christopher Plummer, hissing at the Baroness and booing at the Nazis. And the moment when Maria and the Captain finally kiss? Why it’s accompanied by a theatre of simultaneous party poppers sounding as their lips touch, naturally!
Due to popular demand (a lot of which may be mine) Sing-A-Long-A Sound of Music returns to Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre for three performances across two dates. Friday 16 and Saturday 17 August.
Watch the movie on the big screen with song sub-titles incase you don’t know every word! Dress up and take to the stage yourself in the pre-movie parade. The talented Chelsea Plumley returns to hosting duties to guide the audience through this unforgettable show and tribute to The Sound of Music.
You know you want to go. And now you have the chance. I have one double pass to give away for Friday 16th August. Show starts at 7.30 pm, State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne.
To enter, leave a comment below telling me what song you love to sing along to. From the Sound of Music, or any other song. If you could like my facebook page, that’d be great too.
Entries close Friday 26th July at 6pm. Comments to this post will then be closed. Winner notified via email.
Sing-A-Long A-Sound of Music
Venue: Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre
Dates: Friday 16 August 2013 at 7.30pm and Saturday 17 August MATINEE at 1.00pm and 7.30pm
Bookings: can be made through Ticketmaster
Also check out the Facebook page.
This is a collaboration with Cavanagh PR. I have been compensated for my time.
Posted by Naomi on Jul 17, 2013 in just keep swimming
Yesterday was a not so good day. What seemed like an ordinary day went down hill fast. I should have known. The telltale signs were there around 7am. Pain in my hips and knees. A stiff back. Slow moving wrists.
You don’t look like you have arthritis I was told by 10am. A cursory glance at my hands followed.
I keep pretty active I said. Trailing off. Feeling deflated.
That’s the thing. I don’t look unwell. Some days I’m not. Some weeks I’m not.
My day was spent sleeping, or wanting to sleep. Timing hours so I knew when to take more pain killers. Making notes to fill the specialist in next visit.
The good in all this is the kids are older now and get it. When I say I’m having a bad day they know that means they will be the ones doing all the washing and dishes. That the heater will be turned up and I will be mostly giving orders from bed, or the couch.
The bad in all this is I ache. A lot. I am tired. More than I should be. I have not run in a week. I miss it. I should be happy I can still run at all. That my specialist supports me in this, albeit begrudgingly. But today I can’t see that so much. Today I don’t want driving a car to be an effort. Or making a cup of tea. I don’t want to have to watch how much wine I consume, or remember it’s not just my joints. Lungs, heart, eyes all get a chance at being affected too. As do my kidneys, not helped by daily medication.
Here’s hoping this flair up is short lived.
Time will tell. Tomorrow is another day.