Saturday, April 27, 2013

Footsteps Revisted: Because I Can Always Use a Remind!!

Everyone knows that beautiful poem about the footsteps in the sand. There is only one set during the most troubling times of that person's life. And it turns out those were the times that Jesus did NOT walk by his side, but carried him.

Nice sentiment.

I have learned this week that everyone needs to walk their own path. That I can be there to help someone with their journey, but that everyone is ultimately responsible for their own journey.

I cannot make everything better for everyone. I cannot help those who do not wish to help themselves.

I cannot carry you along your path. (And I cannot force you to come down mine.)

It's a liberating sentiment for me. That I do not need to take personal responsibility for every sadness I see, that I do not have to right every wrong, save the world and bring about a burst of universal consciousness that will have us all loving one another as brothers and sisters in a united world of peace and love and...

Brothers and sisters fight like cats and dogs.

I'm a tough person to please. I not only want you to like me. I want you to like everyone. And everyone to like everyone back. I want us to live in balance and harmony with one another, custodians of a peaceful eden on earth, where where there is enough food and water to go around, there is no poverty or war or injustice, where we are solving the problems of disease together, where everyone has dignity and purpose.

So if I seem a little frantic at times, now you can see why.

I do not think too much. It is a gift.

I do not care too much. It is my legacy.

I started my own journey running confidently alone, sure in purpose, with no need for anyone besides me. I tripped a few times along the way. I staggered bleeding through dark times.

And now I am slower, a peddler in old shoes, with fraying baggage, no longer a child sprinting barefoot through flowered meadows, confident of the rainbow at the end of my path.

As a peddler I am learning to see others, on their own paths, and to let them be.

Do I still want universal harmony, universal consciousness, the eden on earth, paradise, lasting salvation?

Damn straight I do.

But I can only follow my own path to find it.

As I sat in the park this week, a profound feeling of my own insignificance finally hit me. Not that I have to struggle to help everyone else to see the light, but that I am such a small piece of the puzzle that there is nothing I can do for anyone. Except myself.

This would all be extremely profound if it wasn't already stated in the Tao thousands of years ago.

So that I am still a peddler on a journey. But a peddler who has laid down some of her baggage.

And some of yours.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

ANZAC DAY Without War : Last Year's Tribute

Sorry!  We, uh, had a birthday party to go to this year.  Still love watching the kids march.  Still love being the good guys.  And still pray, pray, pray that one day we can put soldiers to use for purposes other than war. 

ANZAC Day Without War
Proud new patriots at last year's ANZAC parade

I held back tears at least year's ANZAC parade. Mostly because I had been here only half a year and I was embarrassed to be so worked up about a country that hadn't even granted me permanent residency yet. (I spent that first year unable to make it through the national anthem at Friday's weekly school parade without tears too. Might have been the pregnancy hormones. But mostly I think it was the intense relief and gratitude I felt the moment our plane touched down in Brisbane.)

Sometimes the most loyal patriot is a new patriot.

In any case, people were scared to sit next to me at assembly last year.

This year, it always stuns me when people ask where I am from. "Uh, Strathpine, north of Brisbane." Until they then ask where the ACCENT is from and I remember that I had a life before Australia.

TWINE! Tomato, potato and water as well. (Although when I recently pronounced potato correctly - in the middle of my American accent - it brought just as many laughs. Apparently I sounded English, not Australian. You people are very hard to please sometimes. KARTOFFEL! So there.)
Lawnton State School students at this year's ANZAC Day Parade

I love having my kids march proudly on ANZAC day.

Veterans Day in the USA always held associations with Vietnam and probably now with Iraq and with whether we should have been there or not. There was a lot of ambiguity over whether we should be proud or not. And there were definite sides - the far right which felt we HAD to be proud or else we were traitors to the American flag - and the far left which felt that the soldiers sent to Vietnam were criminals. It's mellowed some with Iraq; even those against the war itself had learned enough from the divisiveness of the Vietnam era to respect the soldiers being sent over to fight while at the same time protesting the fact that they were being sent over there.

You see what I mean? Blah blah. The Americans can't march without sides being drawn.

Matthew and Andrew at the War Memorial in Kallangur last year

The Germans don't march at all. (Which makes the rest of Europe breathe a sigh of relief any day! Ha ha. Sorry I couldn't resist that one.)

There is a Day of Remembrance for victims of WWII but it is a quiet day off, not a celebration.

It came to me today that if Germany could acknowledge their collective guilt and move forward, they would be my heroes for owning up to what happens when everyday people make very bad choices.

(An Aussie friend of mine went to Germany on holiday recently and toured a concentation camp while she was there. After seeing the piles of human hair and the shoes and the other horrors that the German guide had no problems showing them she asked if the Germans had apologised for what they had done. Ah, the innocence of Australians always surprises and pleases me! "It was war." she was told. "You don't apologize for war." Ah, maybe you might want to consider it, mate.

Matthew watching from the sidelines at this year's parade with a 102.5F (39.4C) fever

It would be in very bad form to honour a military that, according to Valkyrie (the movie with Tom Cruise) anyway, had more than one chance to do the right thing - get rid of Hitler - and continually chose not to.

Of course that doesn't stop me from mourning the 12 year old boys they sent into battle at the end.

But he rallies bravely!

Being a pacifist does not stop me from being grateful to soldiers who had to fight to protect the freedoms that we have today.

As the spitfire flies overhead at the end of the parade I think back on our trip to Dresden and how horrendous it must have been to hear that sound in Europe and know that bombs were on their way.

I remind my kids as we walk to the march that war is an evil that kills indiscriminately.

I talk to them about the other purposes a military could be used for: building roads and schools and hospitals, immunizing children, providing clean water and teaching about proper sanitation. Helping people help themselves.

As the spitfire flies overhead I think of the young soldiers today - Australian, American and other, who come home from Afghanistan today and drop to the floor trembling if someone drops a bag of groceries in the supermarket.

Or of Damon's uncle who still suffers from night terrors since he returned from Vietnam 4o years ago.

ANZAC Day is a day to be proud of our country - sorry Cara, countries! - and of our soldiers.

Honouring soldiers of past wars

And future soldiers I hope never have to go to war

It is a relief and a joy to be in a country always seen as the good blokes, the mates, the ones who come to aid, but not the ones who start anything. Free of moral ambiguity and political implications.
(Compared to the Americans and Germans anyway!)

But for me any commemoration of our soldiers will also be a day to remember the horrors that war brings.
Who ARE these people. Ryan a year ago, sitting on a pregnant Mommy to hide her belly!

And to hope that someday soon, when I am at the parade watching my grandkids march perhaps, we will be honouring soldiers who haven't had to fight a war at all.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Creation, Destruction and Balance

It occurs to me that this might all be the work of Shiva, The Destroyer.

Without destruction, there can be no creation. 

Without death there can be no rebirth.

Without change there can be no growth.

No Shiva, no Brahma, no nothing.


Is that how Buddhism sprang from Hinduism?!

In any case, I've had Vishnu all wrong too.  As Brahma is the Creator and Shiva the Destroyer, Vishnu is the Preserver, the balance, harmony.  In times of trouble he comes to earth as an Avatar, the last few being Rama, Krishna and Buddha.    Hmmm.

Balance isn't any more static than creation and destruction.

There is a time to every season and all that.

I keep thinking that to be balanced I have to have a strict routine, that I have to get up EVERY DAY at 5 AM to exercise, that I have to keep the house neat ALL THE TIME, that I should have a specific day for laundry or for groceries, a routine again.  That Ryan and I should work specified hours every day at the specified time.  That I should write very night.  Or every afternoon.  Or at least when Ian is napping. 

Except that is often when I am working with Ryan.  Or cleaning the house.  Every now and then I lay down for fifteen minutes myself.  Sigh.  This is less often than I would like, once a week at best.

Today I worked out from 5:30 to 6:30, got the twins ready for school at 8:15, set up Ryan on the computer for an hour of work while I drove Andrew to district soccer try-outs being held from 9 - 2.  I didn't stay.  I came home, helped Ryan with a minor personal drama, reviewed her short story, sat and read with Ian while she rewrote the ending, worked on fractions and then, at 11:20, sat the two of them in front of Sesame Street while I vacuumed and picked up the house for a last minute meeting with the real estate agent.  Then the pool safety guy came by.  Lunch.  More maths.  Gypsies.  Picked up Andrew.  Grocery run.  The twins.  Set up for soccer at 4:30.  One hour to work on my story before my writing group, dinner and off. 

Last night we did homework and reading.

Friday night we played board games.

Sometime in the last two weeks I've cleaned the bathrooms.  Maybe three.  Weeks not bathrooms.

I haven't written much of anything until just before our meeting.

Working out, writing, keeping house, feeding everyone and most importantly, BEING PRESENT, are all important to me.

But I have two hours  from 5 AM to 7 AM to either workout, write or - and some days I just need this - sleep.  I can't go on four hours sleep for more than two nights.  SIx is doable for longer.  But at some point I need eight.  Preferably more.

Being present for my children has taken priority to an immaculate home, to a finished novel and to down time for myself.  Sleep I need.  And exercise and writing.

What I am learning is that there are ebbs and flows to this balance as well.  Some weeks, or months, I am more capable of staying up late to write.  Other weeks I need to run or work-out.  Yoga. 

It doesn't make me a less-balanced person to go with these natural ebbs and flows.

Because the true balance in my life right now lies in being there for my children.  The rest are necessary, but minor, counterweights.

If I can't find God in my family, if I can't find God in myself, then I am looking in the wrong places.  My children are my Destroyers, but they are also my Creators and my Preservers.

Hindus believe that there are many paths to the One Truth.

My family grounds me enough to allow me to find my own.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Now THIS is the word that describes my life!

Ryan and I found it today as we were reading about Gypsies and their incredible adaptability and flexibility under difficult conditions.

Webster's New World Dictionary defines vicissitude as a condition of constant change or alteration, as in a natural process, such as the vicissitude of the sea.  It also refers to unpredictable changes or variations that keep occurring in life, shifting circumstances, ups and downs.  It is often associated with adversity.

In the past two weeks we have had one car in for electrical problems they haven't been able to solve for the last year and a half, a huge problem in Queensland since this involves a loss of air-conditioning in 30+ degree weater, another car collapse entirely onto itself as the axle gave way, and the loaner vehicle given to us as a replacement car for the first vehicle, rear-ended during a freak hail storm on the way home from school pick-up.

Meanwhile Matthew finally described his reading difficulties to me by explaining how hard it was to differentiate between the words 'plant' and 'planet' when that 'e' kept shifting sizes and disappearing from the page. 

"When that e goes all funny, they look exactly the same though Mom, don't they?"

As if I should know what he's talking about.

"It's like that god movie, Mom."

What?  And then it hits me.  We'd been watching Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief the week before.  Percy is actually half-god, the son of Poseidon.  He is also dyslexic.

A second set of special bifocals for Matthew and some reading exercises.

Andrew's dentist is sure he should get braces asap.

Ryan's ASD testing is coming up. 

And then they notify us Friday that they can't renew our lease since the balcony is falling apart and the owner can't pay to repair it.  This after finally getting the pool fixed,  the leaking aircon serviced and the faulty oven repaired.  All in the past month.

That evening my yoga instructor's weekly words of wisdom were "when the difficulties of life are wearing you down, try to remember other difficulties you have overcome in the past to make you stronger."

Difficulties?  These aren't difficulties! 

The lowest time in my life was that move from Altdorf, those last days packing frantically while Damon copied work papers onto his computer, euthanising the dog in between packing up the car, preparing the apartment for inspection while planning for an October in Germany, summer in Queensland and selling the rest.  Except for what went into the container. 

We might need to move a few kilometres in the upcoming weeks?  PLEASE!  Don't waste my time.

The other stuff I have been thinking of as the normal baggage of a middle class lifestyle.

I mean, really, when you can complain about two cars and the pool not working, you're better off than you think you are.

There is no one shooting at us, or bombing us, or threatening us in any way.  We aren't starving or ill. 

This is the universe, or God, or Brahma, or the Tao, giving us a kick in the pants and telling us to get a move on.  You are too comfortable where you are now.  Stasis does not become you. 

Our biggest problem is the abundance of opportunies around us and the need to choose a path.

This are the ebbs and flows of  this life, the price of being a spirit in a human body, what we need to learn while we are in this form on earth. 


It's how you view your circumstances that makes all the difference.

These aren't problems.  This is life and opportunity.

And we are so fortunate to have them.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

So Not Normal!

It's funny, there are some things I could just never see myself doing when I was a child.  One was growing up and holding down a boring, steady, leave your house in the morning and lock up, return tired at night, kind of job.  I just figured I would grow into it, like everyone else.  You now, grow up and be normal.

December 29, 2012 South Bank, Brisbane

What I did always envision was myself in a wheelchair, overcoming some handicap with admirable pluck and determination, somewhere in middle age.

I'd always imagined this to be a physical handicap I would overcome through perserverence and profound inner personal strength.

It occurs to me now that I have been fighting a battle with a handicap since I was thirteen, that I have done so with admirable determination and pluck, that I have shown great perserverance and inner personal strength.

The handicap wasn't the Asperger's.  The handicap was my unawareness of it.

On the Big Wheel in South Bank

Thirteen was the first time I recall standing in my grandmother's bathroom running something sharp across my skin just to feel something. 

I don't want to make a big deal out of that.  I wasn't trying to kill myself or even inflict self-harm.  I was just dead inside, I was numb, and I wanted to feel something, make something hurt a bit just to feel real pain.  I didn't understand what was wrong with me but it sucked.

Of course I was diagnosed with depression in my late teens and early twenties.  Wasn't everybody?

Being diagnosed as depressed made me feel like a personal failure, like there was something wrong with me, a personal flaw I should be able to overcome.

Being diagnosed as Asperger's feels like a personal triumph, like there isn't something wrong with me after all, a personal strength that makes me unique.

I've worked so hard my entire life, way more than most people would bother.

But I've accomplished more than most too.

Now that I know that I have Asperger's - and okay, I don't officially, but I am fairly sure! -  I don't feel like I have a handicap anymore.

I had always had this feeling there was something wrong with me, something inadequate. 

Except for when I've felt superior.

Now I don't feel either.

But I do feel different.  I do feel extraordinary.

Performing at South Bank.  We CAN do magic!

What I feel is like taking that wheelchair and racing it down the biggest hill I can find!!

Is that normal?

Doesn't matter.  I am not normal.  I am not like everyone else. 

I am free.

Monday, April 8, 2013


Self-Affirmation Pledge for those with Asperger's Sydrome  written by Liane Holliday Willey  (Willey 2001, page 164)

Words to live by, for all of us!

Boreen Point, January 2013

I am not defective.  I am different.

I will not sacrifice my self-worth for peer acceptance.

I am a good and interesting person.

I will take pride in myself.

I am capable of getting along with society.

I will ask for help when I need it.

I am a person who is worthy of others' respect and acceptance.

I will find a career interest that is well suited to my abilities an interests.

I will be patient with those who need time to understand me.

I am never going to give up on myself.

I will accept myself for who I am.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Impairment in Communicaton? Me?

On page 50 of his book 'The Complete Book to Asperger's Syndrome', Tony Attwood, a leading authority on Asperger's Syndrome and Asperger's in girls, lists five qualitative impairments in verbal or non-verbal communication that mark Asperger's Syndrome in adults.

Me?  I have a problem with COMMUNICATION?!

December 29, 2012 South Bank, Brisbane

1.  Tendency to turn any conversation back to self or own topic of interest.  Well, yeah, it's how I relate to you, through letting you get to know ME!  Sigh.  You should hear conversations between me and horse girl.

2.  Marked impairment in the ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others.  This I CAN do.  I just talk about ME!  Cannot see the point of superficial social contact, niceties, or passing time with others, unless there is a clear discussion or activity.  Uh Dad, sound like anyone you know?  More on this later.

3.  Pedantic style of speaking, or inclusion of too much detail.  Are you laughing with me or at me?!  Although, really, how you people live without knowing what's up is beyond me.

4.  Inability to recognize when the listener is interested or bored.  Even if the person has been told not to talk about their particular obsessive topic for too long, this difficulty may be evident if other topics arise.  I, for the record, can tell if you are bored.  I just don't care.  This is also one of the first points Ryan's teachers mentioned about her in Germany, her inability to care that the other kids weren't interested in what she was saying.

5.  Frequent tendency to say things without considering the emotional impact on the listener (faux pas.)  Interestingly, or perhaps only to me!, I can tell how I impact others, I just don't care sometimes, because I don't get why people don't want to acknowledge the truth.  It's out there.  We all know it.  So why not be honest about it?

Attwood says that most adults diagnosed with Asperger's are relieved.  They have always known there was something different about them from everyone else.

"There can be a new sense of personal validation and optimis, at last not feeling stupid, defective or insane.  'That's why I'm different; I'm not a freak or mad."

It's an AH- HA experience.

Now.  Will someone please tell me the point of superficial social contact, niceties, or passing the time with others unless there is a clear discussion or activity?!  Really, please.  This is why I drank. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Good Kids? Since You Asked....

So, we're at the horse barn the other day.  All of us.  Ryan and her entourage of four brothers.

Ryan riding Quadrille at Open Day

"You're kids are always so good," they told me. 

"What's your secret?"

Turns out on this particular day I had bribed them with lunch at KFC's afterward. 

My boys do behave fairly well, most of the time, in public though.  So if KFC's isn't profound enough for you, how about these little parenting gems?

Two class councillors and a star of the week!

1.  I spend time with my children.  I enjoy spending time with them.  We play board games.  We play sports games.  We read.  We do art projects.  We talk to eachother around the dinner table.  We spend a lot of time together, and then when we don't, they know how to amuse themselves.  Creatively.  Without a television, an Ipad or a computer game.

2.  They are allowed to roughhouse and be wild and run around the soccer field and park.  I don't expect them to be sitting quietly with their heads immersed in a book all the time.  They can be silly.  They can jump on eachother and sit on eachother and throw things at eachother.  Outside.  At the appropriate time.  (Usually at home and usually all afternoon!)


Justin Bieber and Jaden Smith showing off their grammies  (Never Say Never!!!)

3.  But then when I DO expect some behaviour and cooperation, my standards are high.  They are given time to be children.  They have time with family.  And then there are times when they need to listen and be patient.  This is hard.  This sucks.  But this is life.

4.  We take them places starting at an early age.  They go to music group or playgroup or singing at the library.  They learn how they are expected to behave in a group.  We go to sit-down, family restaurants every now and then.  And we teach them how to behave there.  We go to kids' theatres and shows in the park.  We go to museums and we go to amusement parks.  We don't expect them to behave for three hours at the opera.   We sit through child theatre.   Which teaches them to appreciate the arts at their level.  And I certainly expect that they can manage to play quietly, safely and respectfully for an hour at the barn. 

We are a family!  I got all my brothers and me.

5.  We do a lot of family stuff together.  Sometimes it is about soccer and baseball and the boys.  Sometimes it is about Ryan.  Or Mommy running.  Or a few of us run as a family.  It is not always about them, but it is about us. 

Of course, there are times I want to throw my daughter out of the house, via the second-story porch.  And there are days - like yesterday - where I can't even get a decent breakfast into her. 

I'm not perfect.

But I think I'm a pretty good mom.

Pretty in pink.  Surrounded by crazy!

The biggest secret isn't KFC's.  It's the time I spend with my kids, the time I take to be with them, to play with them, and to speak with them.  They aren't a chore to be gotten out of the way, they are my life. 

It's important to remind myself of that sometimes.

Friday, April 5, 2013

My Fairy Child

It's Friday and Ryan has started her Friday morning private riding lessons.

Which isn't to say that it wasn't hard to get up this morning after a week off.  In fact, it was so hard to get her out of bed, it was impossible to get her to eat anything more than a mueslix bar.  And although she was excited once we were there, she was so exhausted and undernourished she almost passed out on the horse. 

She did pass out three months ago, also during the holidays, when we just couldn't get her to get up and eat regularly.

I'm sure it's exacerbated by puberty, but this inability to get into the swing of things - basic things like eating even - if the schedule is off - is not normal.  I will have to spend a week or two getting her back into the routine of schooling after every break.  Even after only one week off, she is sluggish to the point of - well, of passing out doing her favourite pasttime.  It is going to be a constant struggle to keep her going, and to teach her to keep herself going, over the next few years.

I drag her with us on family outings.  They are becoming more and more important to us.  She hates to go.  She won't get up.  She wraps herself up in weird clothes and scarves and jackets.  She brings her knitting and her sketching.  We aren't even trying to pretend she's an average thirteen year old girl anymore!  Who would we be kidding?!  She does come out of her shell, eventually, usually, and is even happy then.  We, her family, are her world.

The diagnosis of Asperger's never entered my mind because of the label "little professors."  These people are supposed to be brilliant at one thing.  (It's a steroetype, but what a nice one!)  And I never considered Ryan particularly brilliant at anything.  Certainly not her schoolwork.

And then I watched her ride.  And she is doing dressage.  Okay, she's still on a little pony, but the teacher is working with her on skills I never could get my body to understand.  And she really follows them effortlessly.  She's really really good.  Naturally talented.

Eh, it's not anything noteworthy like Einstein or Spielberg or Gates.  Except she COULD compete internationally as an adult and do quite well.  Professional athlete might not be what I considered brilliant, but it is certainly laudable.

And it takes single-minded dedication and determination.

Which she has.

On reflection, she also has a lot more knowledge about horses than I gave her credit for.  It's all just superficial stuff, like colours and markings and breeds, I tell my mother.  But how many people know all that?  I do.  And I know a lot more besides, like all the diseases and the care and husbandry.  Not only do I also have Aspergers, though, I am a veterinarian.  I studied this stuff at school.

I've been comparing her knowledge to mine instead of to the average person.

Ryan doesn't have to be brilliant at all.  But her riding skills AND her equine knowledge certainly register as out of the ordinary.

Out of the ordinary.

My child the fairies sent me.  Riding her unicorn.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Social Butterfly is Really Social Mimic!

Until now, although I've dabbled on the internet a bit,  I havn't read any major books or papers on Asperger's syndrome. 

I've only even considered the term for Ryan since November and myself since December.

The biggest help I've had is from friends with children also on the spectrum.  When I tell them my concerns, or cry over the major dramas, they tell me that their children do similar things, that they have similar issues, that those are the classic signs and concerns of autism.


Both of us are just so high-functioning that it's easy to dismiss it as personality quirks, or being stubborn, or just plain adolescence.  Or depression.

"You, of all people, Christine, cannot have Asperger's," most people tell me.  (Except for the ones who also have it or have a child with it, in which case they saw me coming from a mile away!)

December 29, 2012 in Brisbane

The thing is, you people exhaust me.

I have spent a lifetime mimicking societal expectations - and for the most part doing it quite well.

But I've never understood especially female interactions. 

"When I think back on all the crap I learned in highschool, it's a wonder I can think at all."

Ian's World

Except it doesn't end at highschool.

Why don't people say what they mean?  And what they think? 

Why do they say one thing, like for example, oh we love going to the beach and spending all day in the water, and then come with us to the beach and spend the whole time complaining about the sun and sand?  And that the waves are too high?  Or whatever.

Why not just say you don't like the beach?

And why get mad when I am finally honest and say I hate shopping and hate to be indoors and no, don't count on me to be there for an indoor activity on a sunny day in southeast Queensland?  Look, I spent enough forced time indoors in Europe to last me my lifetime.  I did not come to Queensland to hang out at the mall.

Which isn't saying you can't.  Or shouldn't.

Ryan's World, only meters away

And why tell me that I was totally right to ask who I wanted to the highschool senior prom and then turn around and tell everyone else - not aware I was within hearing range - that I deserved all the animosity the guy I didn't give a chance to ask me was dishing out at me.

It appears to me that most of the women's interactions I see around me mimic highschool even now.

And I don't get them.

Why waste all that time and energy being disingenuous?

Or is everyone just lying to themselves?

Ian meet Ryan's world!

I spent hours on the phone every night in highschool in the thick of the turmoil and drama.  And I was so good at it.  So good.

Maybe people get mad because I fit in so well and then just decide it isn't worth it anymore and give up.  I tire of some social milieus very quickly.

Maybe I'm the one who is lying by pretending to be like everyone else.

I'm pretty certain I do have some degree of ASD traits because social interactions exhaust me.

December 31, 2012 at White Water World, Gold Coast

What a relief to finally admit I would rather be at home with my family, that I would rather be writing or running or doing yoga.   

What a relief to be able to allow myself to be comfortable with who I really am, instead of who I always thought I should be for everyone else.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

April Goal

That worked surprisingly well for March. 

I don't know how I did it.  It didn't seem particularly hard.  I didn't feel like I was working on it all the time.

It was baby steps, maybe.  Or just timing.  Focus?  Damon doing all the washing up and putting to bed?

It feels like magic.

Which gives me hope for the other goals in my life, the weight-loss mostly right now, but other things as well. 

Now that I do carry that notebook, and have been for three or maybe even four years, and now that I am able to take what I see and experience daily and record it regularly in a (fairly) readable manner, I find it is time to be brave enough to at least attempt the next step.

Yes, Mr. Editor, I realise I could cut a HEAP of words out of that last sentence to make it stronger and more definitive.

I'm  just not that confident yet.

The goal for April is to take those everyday observations and thoughts and writings and turn them into something productive for my novel.

The idea of the novel has been in existence since the beginning of July, 2012.  Which, lo and behold, is just about nine months.  It has changed drastically in that time.  It has evolved.  It has grown.

With the discovery of some friends also interested in furthering their fiction, now seems like the perfect time to announce the arrival of my new creation, a fictional story about a teenage girl.

Readers, meet Ryanne. 

And help me write her world into existence.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Park Run Take Two

My second North Lakes park run was on Saturday, the day before Easter. 

Bobbi and Nicole at 6:30 AM on a Saturday.  Why I run!

I expected the turnout to be small, but there were still almost one hundred people there, just like last week.

A lot of kids and families and parents pushing prams though.

Good, this was more my element.

Baseball and riding trophies, last Saturday

I started off better this time, I thought, even though I had run 12 kms the day before.  I was with the main back.  At the rear of the main pack.   Like a comet's tail behind the main pack.

I was alone.

Did those parents have jet engines tied to those prams?

I tried to keep up with the 20 year old girls but they were steadier. 

Ah good, the dads running with their kids.  I might be able to hang with them.   One dad was singing to his 12 year old son behind me. 

"You can get back at him by asking him 'are we there yet, are we there yet?' for the final two rounds,"  I told the son over my shoulder.

"You're embarrassing me, Dad, " he said as they sped past me.


There was the dad with three kids under six though, I thought I could take them. Maybe.  I caught him on the last lap with an empty pram, two kids left on the lawn behind him, going the wrong way.  Had he lost a kid?  Or more importantly, had he finished and back-tracked? 

'Cause that's four people I beat if he hasn't!

My goal had been to get lapped by less people than last time.  Which was an admirable goal.  Except they kept coming by me, sooner than expected, and in greater numbers.  One.  Two.  Three.  Four.  Five.  Six.  Hold on people!  At least have the decency to wait until I finish the first lap.  What planet do you people come from anyway?!  And isn't there a runaway subway bus or train that needs saving somewhere?

All in all I got lapped by 18 people this time.  Twenty if you count the two kids that last guy was pushing in the double pram.

I mean come on people!

Pas de duex

The first nine runners finished in under 20 minutes.  The first 20 in under 23 and the first 50, which is about half the field, in 26:30  and under.

I still love it though.  As the first runners are crossing the finish line, I am thinking,man, if I was just a little bit faster I'd be done now too.

A little bit faster.  As in 15 minutes faster.  Twice as fast.  Or even faster than that, if we have to be honest about it. 

That last lap I catch up with old buddies.  The kids mostly.  Like the eight year old with the mild hypertonia who - lo and behold - has been ahead of me this whole time and is still going.  I am humbled.   

I briefly run with my two new girlfriends, about Andrew's age.

Before they shoot off like the stars they are and leave me in their dust.

Where'd everybody go now that I have the ball?

I finish in my own time, my just about 35 minute time.  For now. 

And I am happy.

I don't mind being at the back of this crowd at all.  It beats being at the front of any other. 

It beats being earthbound.

I like being the comet's tail. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Running High

Or is it running wild?

In any case, the only reason I went running this past Friday was because I was up at 6 AM anyway and it was either get out and get it over with or wait for the only class at the gym that day which wasn't until 9:30 since it was Good Friday.

Which meant I would have had to deal with the twins and Ian who were all up and running around the playroom downstairs while Damon was asleep on the couch.

It was a no brainer really.

Lets face it, I started running to lose weight but, since that isn't happening, I do it to prove I can.  And to get away from the kids.

I figured I'd do my usual route, out my front door to the right, up Lawnton's Pocket Road past the Lawnton Pool, left onto Gympie, past the highschool and then left back onto Bells Pocket Road and then home.  I was pretty sure it was about 5 kms, perhaps a bit more.

I'm pretty low tech.  No running watch.  No map my run.  No water bottle.  No ipod.  Just a good pair of shoes and a sunhat.  Never go anywhere in Australia without a sun hat.

I felt pretty good.  It was still fairly cool at 6:30 AM.  I made it the 2 kms to the Lawnton pool okay.  And Gympie was good.  Left onto Bell's Pocket and still going strong.  No leg pain.  No burning lungs.  Damn.  I must be going slower than I thought.  I hate pushing myself to the point of pain.  But I must have been daydreaming.  Here I am passing home and I still feel pretty much as good as when I started.

And this is where the brain starts talking to itself.  You don't have a voice inside your head telling you what to do?  Well I have two.  At least.  This time neither was going to let me stop.  The debate was about where to go next.  I needed to stay on the route.  To be safe, I had told Damon to come looking for me if I wasn't home by 7:15.  Which I figured meant he'd come looking at around 8:00. 

I knew that back up to the pool was 2 kms.  And back from there another 2 km.  That would be cool.  Especially since I'd never done more than 7 - 8 kms before.

I get to the Lawnton Pool and both voices are telling me, what the heck it is either 2 kms back along that boring road or about 3 forward.  And then you can say you did it TWICE!  Friggin' overachievers, both those voices!  At least one did let me stop in front of the pool to let me stretch my back.

After that I stopped talking to my voices.  And listened to my body.  I walked a bit in front of the highschool.  The sun was getting hotter.  Damon did a drive by right as I was about to turn off of Gympie onto Bell's Pocket, so I figured that was about 8:00. 

He just gave me a honk and a thumbs up and kept on driving.  So I guess I looked like I wasn't doing too too bad.

I don't know how fast I did it.  Probably about 1 hour and 40 minutes, with one stretch at 8 kms and two walks between 9 and 11 kms. 

I guess.  Approximately.  Because as it turns out the route is 6.1 kms.  And I did it twice.  Before 8:30 in the morning.

I'm still not happy with how this body looks.  I am so annoyed that I am eating next to nothing and running and working my heart out and it's still not working my ass off.  I'd like to blame it on the thyroid but more than that I'd like to not HAVE to blame it on the thyroid.

And so I ran 5 kms the next day too.  In 35 minutes.  And I will continue to run.  And to work out.  And to diet. 

I like the high I get from being able to do these things.  Damn, I can run 12 kms!!!

I like what this body can do.

As long as those crazy voices keep it going.