Monday, September 29, 2014

Grand Adventure Part 6 Day 2

A fairly quiet day. Mostly 'Elfing'

Elfing is something I do a bit and has become a tradition in Sydney with my friends Rick and Loni. While they are at work I will clean, iron, cook, etc What ever I feel like doing. Yes really I do like doing housework, especially for other people.

Today's Elfing consisted of:
Cleaning the kitchen
Fish feeding
Grocery shopping

I became a house elf because Kim asked them to give me a piece of clothing so I could come home

So, Elfing occurred. I had one of my famous 'Sydney' phone calls. This one was fairly benign. In the shopping centre, a customer satisfaction call from the spa Al and I went to last week. It was brilliant by the way.

This evening I had the very great honour of seeing Loni pole dancing, Yes really. The off to pick up dinner from Zeus.

Relatively quiet day.

Tomorrow night is the bridge climb!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Grand Adventure Part 6 Day 1

Lovely morning!

We started off with a lovely walk at Lapstone hill to see the Lapstone Zig Zag.  The site of the Lucasville station. Spike had a jolly good time at the lookout.

Breakfast at the Crusty Loaf at Blaxland. I had the most amazing spinach and feta roll. The off to visit the resting place of Sir Henry Parkes. Next stop, The Prime Ministers' Corridor of Oaks. Joseph Jackson conceived the idea of an avenue of oak trees to be planted by all the Prime Ministers of Australia or their nearest surviving relative.

Then it was lunch at Schwarz Patisserie in wentworth Falls. 'It is not only well known in the Blue Mountains, it is famous as a specialist German bakery throughout the region with visitors travelling from far a-field just to grab one of their delights.' Absolutely amazing food!

We toddled off to Leura cascades, Wentworth Falls and Lennox Bridge. We wandered off to Glenbrook Lagoon to see some ducks for Gem. We had tea with himself's dad and then it was off to the pub for dinner and a quiet trip back to the Elf Sanctuary. Spike and I had a fabulous day in the Blue Mountains. We shall see what tomorrow brings!

Pictures here

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Grand Adventure Part 5

Way early start to the day to head off on an adventure with Paul Pavlinovich, Charles Strebor and Xtian... and Spike of course. We went on track patrol and had an amazing time check out the awesome that is checking out a train line in a nifty yellow railcar.

After that it was back to Casa Christensen to do the final packing before flying out to Sydney. Al hung out at the airport with me until it was time to board. The I was off Sydney for another part of the Adventure to start!

Grand Adventure Part 4

We packed up at the Bat cave and headed to Casa Christensen. We stopped for coffee on the way and met up with Shari Mattox and Peter Sherriff. There were some mighty fine cows there as well.

After some time catching up the Steve and playing with Charli, we headed up to Sky High to take photos of the sunset with Paul Pavlinovich. Paul was a wee bit late and managed to scare us half to death resulting in a lost lens cap... We had a chat and coffee than back to Casa Christensen.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Grand Adventure Part 3 Day 5

Late morning this morning with a lovely lunch at Temuru in Rhyll. To die for BLAT (bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato) and the most enourmous mugs of coffee ever. I am sure you could almost bathe in them.

Then off to The Nobbies for some amazing views and the occasional penguin. The water was stunning as was the sky. Highly recommended (wear warm clothes and wear a beanie if you have a hole in your skull)

 Pictures here

 Back to the bat cave for fish and chips!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Grand Adventure - An explanation

I just realised I had not explained the reason and story behind the Grand Adventure. I had organised my annual trip to Sydney for the mid year University break. Everything changed and I could not fly out as originally planned so I moved my flight to the September University break.

The wheels fell off everything. My Father had an accident and broke his neck. After 5 days he lost his fight and went to be with my Mum. The day I was supposed to fly out was the day of his funeral.

I had decided to go back to University when the semester started, I went for the first week and realised that I was in too much of a mess to be able to cope with University as well as my grief and declining mental health.

I went to see my psychologist and we flew out to Melbourne straight after the appointment. We had a few days there and came home. While we were away a dear friend had a horrific crime occur resulting in significant and mental damage. He would be in Melbourne six weeks after our visit and I was desperately worried about him . I booked a flight so that I could catch up and see him while he was in Melbourne.

I was in need of some time out away from the daily reminder that my Dad was gone. So the Grand Adventure was born. This is my way of keeping in contact with family and friends while I am away and to share some of the experiences I am having. It will be a reminder for me about the adventures I have had while keeping the chronology in perspective. I still have problems tracking past events.

So I leave you with this explanation of the Grand Adventure. I am having an extended trip away on my own trying to manage my mental health.

Grand Adventure Part 3 Day 4

It was a slow morning followed by another trip to Nude Food for brunch.

Following that, Ms Al and I headed to 'Island Healing for 2 hours of bliss. It was a surprise for Al. We had a 1 hour Body Massage, 30 minute Hand & Feet Massage and a 30 minute Aromatherapy Facial!

After our blissing we popped down to the jetty for some photography. Al had an extra bit of an adventure. We picked up things for dinner and headed home.

Fantastic dinner then bed.

Edit Topped off by a phone call from my beautiful boy who missed his Mummy cuddles and a chat with my darling husband

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Grand Adventure Part 3 Day 3

We took Mr Charles back to his hidey hole. Spike went with us for morning tea but hid before I could photograph him. Ms Al has the evidence.

After that Ms Al and I went down to the beach for a beautiful sunset. Playing in the water and sand was nifty. I got the legs of my pants wet. The lengths we go to to help our friends.

No photos from me today

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Grand Adventure Part 3 Day 2

We started the morning with breakfast at 'Nude Food', this has become a wee bit of a ritual. We popped off to Rhyll and wandered around taking photographs.

We dropped Mr Charles off at the bat cave for a na while Ms Al and I went in search of staples. We had a lovely dinner at the bat cave, chatted then off to bed for sleeps.

Grand Adventure Part 3, Day 1

Picked up form the hotel by the lovely Al and Steve. Found somewhere for coffee and food. The 'Threshermans Bakehouse' lovely coffee, the spinach quiche was yummy as was the greek salad and the chickpea salad.

We dropped Steve off and Al and I wandered off to a school front garden to sit and chat for a while. We headed off to kill some time, fill Al with food and grab some essential food items for later. Spike came with us.

We toddled off to meet up with the ever beautiful Vikki and the amazing Mr Charles. We had a nice chat, the gang was back together. All too soon we had to split off with Vikki leaving on her own. Mr Charles came with Al, Spike and I.

We arrived at Cape Woolamai and unloaded the car. It was time for dinner so we headed to the favourite haunt, 'Magic Lands'. The food was lovely as was the company, although Mr Charles had a disappointing Parmigiana. Back to the bat cave and off to sleep after some chatting and relaxing.

Grand Adventure Part 2

Off to Rydges CBD Melbourne. I checked in, lugged my bags into my room and had a flop on the bed. That is when I found spike! He had stowed away in my suitcase.

I wandered off in search of a late lunch and found 'Self Preservation', it was the planned site for the Melbourne survivors coffee meet. I had the most amazing sandwich and coffee there. The atmosphere was beautiful. The staff were lovely. This is on my favourite places to eat in Melbourne list.

I wandered around a bit and picked up some essentials I hadn't brought with me. I took that back up to the room and then vegged out for a while. I spent some time that evening trying to decide if I would go downstairs and eat in the hotels restaurant, flop on the bed and stay there or order room service. Going down to the restaurant would mean getting 'dressed'. Flopping on the bed would mean hunger and not really being able to take my medication. Room Service would just be obscenely expensive.

I needed food. I didn't want to deal with a crowded restaurant. I put my coat on and found a subway after walking around the block and having a look at things. With subway in hand I walked back into the hotel, past all of the people in the restaurant and up to my room. I got to have food and flop on the bed!

Off to what turned out to be the worst night sleep I have had in a long time.

Grand Adventure Part 1 Day 1

Part 1 saw my brother, the lovely Claire ad little Jake coming to see me off at the airport. The gate was changed as we were almost on it and then delayed. We sat around talking, discussing planes with Jake and some of the things I will do while I am away. We have decided that when he is 10 we will do the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb!

Jake was very upset when he had to leave and we had to make a couple of deals. #1 If jake is missing me he needs to have cuddles with Dad and Claire. #2 I will be back next time he goes to stay with his Dad #3 I will show him photos from my trip away but especially the climb when I get back. #4 When I was to phone him the day after I got to Melbourne.

The gate for the flight changed. The plane we were supposed to be on the go to Melbourne was delayed on its flight from Sydney. The flight was further delayed when we were boarding. Relatively smooth sailing until landing in Melbourne where the baggage claim carousel was changed.

Met up with Mon and Liz and head off to the lovely home. I got to play with two beautiful bunnies and a cat! I had the most wonderful sleep. I really enjoyed my time with Mon and Liz.

Then it was off to the hotel (Part 2)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

3 years 7 months

Things have been a little odd.

Number one - I started pottering around in Mum’s jewellery box and had a bit of a twilight zone thing going on. Some of our jewellery is very similar and some identical. See rotten phone pics below.

 Mine are on the outside. Mums are in the middle

Mine is the blue one

Mums on the right

Mine is on the left

Mums is on the left

Mums is on the right

Number two – I posted a link to the Eumundi Community Fundraiser Concert being held on October 24th. A beautiful talented young lady I have known since she was born will be opening for Katie Noonan. One of my brain buddies asked how I knew her. I explained that I have known her mother for about 20 years and quite literally have known her since birth. As it turns out, he was a teacher at her school. This lovely young lass’ mother also had another mutual friend with my brain buddy. Just to throw some more into that mix, my mother in law used to sing with Katie Noonan’s Mum in Queensland Opera.

There has been some spectacular asshattery. Some nubbin ran up some charges on my Dads credit card. He has been dead since July 6th and these charges were on the 29th and 30th of September. No chance of Dad having made some random purchases… and I had also zeroed out his account before these new charges. The bank is being very understanding and as I understand it, will be writing the charges off.

My eldest son was a complete asshat. He called me. Actually rang. We spoke for a while and then he had to go. I caught the bus home things about nice it would be to have all four of our children in contact. I was sad that Dad didn’t get the opportunity to see him again. I was thinking about suggesting that we go and have coffee somewhere the following week, not wanting to make him feel pressured. I was really looking forward to seeing him again. Then I got another phone call from him. Can ‘we’ stay with you? This is the fifth house I’ve been kicked out of. If ‘we’ can’t stay with you we will either be on the street or in a tent in someone’s backyard. We’ve dropped our ‘stuff’ off at Nan’s. I’ve been through my whole contact list.

I said no. I cannot trust him. Needless to say I was shattered that he had phoned just so that he could try and guilt trip me into letting ‘us’ stay here.

I am the Brain Buddy Coffee Queen! I have had three Brisbane coffee meets, the last one was last weekend. This weekend I will be having one in Melbourne and the week after in Sydney. There will be another one of sorts on October 24th on the Sunshine Coast.

I will be flying out on Friday to spend some zone out time with some beautiful fiends in Melbourne for a week. The following week I will be spending the week with some more beautiful friends. I am very lucky to have such generous, understanding and caring friends.

In terms of Brain things, with the stress and mental health issues I have been and am living with at the moment, I have slipped backward with some things. My memory is horrific. If it is not written down I 100% will forget. I can forget what it was before I write it down. If I have made plans for a day and that pattern is interrupted in a good or bad way I will be thrown right off and lose whatever it was I was supposed to be doing. I am stressing about everything. I have to have things nailed down as much as possible or I get really agitated. I was in tears last week, I couldn’t figure out what my back up plan would be in specific circumstances over this trip away. My thinking is very much not straight.

Thanks to Catholic School, I have the world’s most amazing skill and being filled with guilt. So far I have managed to feel guilty about:

  • Going away
  • Going away for the period I am 
  • Abandoning my family
  • Not feeling the appropriate level of grief (antidepressants are working)
  • Enjoying the trip away
  • Spending money
  • Staying with people and being a burden
  • Upsetting other people’s plans
  • Did I mention going away?
  • Doing things I have been planning since I was pre-op
  • Having coffee with brain buddies (I’m not sure how that one works)
  • Going to the Concert in October
  • Generally doing things on my own
  • Not doing the Twilight Bay Run this year
  • Not being as available as I ‘should’ be for my family
  • Not ironing shirts ahead of time (I did 11 yesterday)

Now for some stressing:
What happens if –?

  • My fight is cancelled.
  • My bag is over weight
  • I miss my flight
  • My bag goes missing
  • My camera get damaged
  • I can’t be picked up 
  • I can’t find the people picking me up
  • I have nowhere to stay on Friday night
  • The hotel has lost my booking
  • The cafĂ© is closed
  • I can’t find my brain buddies
  • I can’t find Al
  • I can’t get to PI
  • I can’t get back from PI
  • Flight stuff #2
  • I have no accommodation for the week
  • I miss the Bridge Climb
  • The Bridge Climb have lost my booking
  • I have the wrong day
  • I miss the coffee meet with the brain buddies
  • I miss dinner with Markham
  • Flight stuff#3
  • I lose my wallet/bags/camera/bookings/tickets
  • I don’t have enough medication
  • I can’t contact anyone
  • I get sick at PI/Sydney/Bridge climb
  • If anything happens to Kim, James, Henry, Casey, Brendan, Claire, Jake
  • Anyone gets offended that I didn’t see them

I will be doing the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb on this trip to Sydney. I am looking forward to this trip and I hope that I will be able to chill out enough to actually unwind.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Things. Random things.

There are things that happen that make you wonder if you are actually on the same planet you were on yesterday.

This last week has been a lot like that. I burst into tears reading the subject of an advertising email about fathers day. When fathers day actually got here.... nothing. Perhaps it was because I was so wound up about it but I kinda flat lined on it. I did have another gut wrenching family event. It tore my heart out and I am not quite sure where that is going to sit with me.

I have been stressed beyond comprehension. I have worried about anything and everything and tried to keep all my bases covered and plans planned. Tiny things set me off in a panic and there doesn't seem to be a lot of rhyme or reason to it, other than change. Certain things, not everything, need to be set in stone. I cannot, rather am not coping with any changes in plans that are a 'threat' to my ability to know the how, when and where of my own movements.

Am I going to x? If I am how am I getting there? What if things don't quite work out the way they are currently laid out? Should I pack A, H and Q now so I don't forget? Should I just make a list and then I will know what I am and am not supposed to take? Should I just give in to this insanity and go and do all those nutty packing things? and which bag am I packing?!?!?!

You get the idea...

I feel kind of okay. Not dropping my bundle all day everyday. I think 'Oh I don't need these antidepressants anymore" and then without days my world goes to pot and I am in that place where I know if I didn't have the chemical safety net, I could be in a very bad place. For now I'll keep going with it and see how it all works out. I have no intention of being on these long term and would like to be off them as soon as I can possibly manage it.

This is random and jumping all over the place and probably difficult to read. I'm just running where my brain goes at the moment.

There have been some great achievements as well. I have finished some of these courses and finished some early with pretty reasonable results. I completed one of my many #Because I Said I Would projects. 25 bags of unneeded clothing and manchester packed up and delivered to life line. There are a few more bags at Dads house but There will be more there so we'll wait til we are done with that before shipping them off.

I am questioning myself and where I am going from here. Right now I cannot see myself going back to University. If I do, I'm not sure I can study a science degree. I'm not sure I can wrap my head around it enough. May be I should be studying something else, if at all. I'm pretty lost in all of it right now.

I am looking forward to my time in Melbourne and Sydney. I am feeling guilty for having so much time away. I think part of that is that I usually only go for a week and usually not trips that are so close together, I was only in Melbourne a few weeks ago. I feel like I am somehow cheating the boys out of that time. I think part of it is that I am so used to thinking about what is happening with Dad, who will be keeping and eye on him and how lonely he will be.

On the other hand I will get to complete the second part of my three part, pre op life goal. I will be climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I climbed the Story Bridge earlier this year. The third of three is obviously another bridge climb. The last one is in Auckland. The three climbable bridges in the southern hemisphere, and the world (last I checked)

Story Bridge Climb
Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb
Auckland Bridge Climb

I am also having coffee meets with some of my fellow brain tumour survivors. I am not sure what is happening with the Sydney meet as one of the gentlemen who was going to be there passed away quite recently. I am becoming the 'Survivor Coffee Meet Queen' I organised the one in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and there will be another on the Sunshine Coast. There was also a brief one at the Brisbane airport with one of the ladies from Holland! 

As you can see, I'm a bit all over the place and finding it hard to sort the things out from the other things, it isn't easy right now for me to be able to take that step back or out and see the bigger picture. Right now it is all 'in my face' and raw.

If you made it this far you are a champion and deserve recognition!