Tuesday, October 28, 2008
The second is that I have been filling shoe boxes. Every year, Operation Christmas Child, organised through Samaritans Purse send shoe boxes filled with little gifts to underprivileged children across the world. Children who would not otherwise receive anything for Christmas. Children who have very little of their own. I have been collecting bits and pieces all year and have managed to get enough things together to fill six shoe boxes (five of which are in the photo below). I also got the team at work involved and have been running things to raise money to buy more items and to cover the cost of sending the boxes. I hope to send 18 boxes this year.
The boxes are filled with the most basic of items. Things that are cheap to us, things that we take for granted like toothpaste and toothbrushes, combs, soap and flannels, pencils, gloves and woolley hats and scarves. Pens and other stationary (some of these children cannot go to school unless they have their own stationary), little toys like yo-yos, playing cards, soft toys and toy cars. Some boxes go to families so poor that they take the wrapping paper off the boxes and decorate their home (a shack in a slum) with it. They use the box and the rubber band that holds the lid on. Nothing is wasted.
Why do I do this for children I will never meet? The reason is quite selfish I'm afraid. I do it in memory of my niece who was killed last year. I spend the money I can no longer spend on her on these children because I wanted something good to come from something so sad. I do it because I had wonderful Christmases as a child and I find it sad that some children don't get a Christmas. I do it because it makes me feel good. And really, in the world we live in these days, what's so bad about that?
Monday, October 20, 2008
Dessie is a Bearded Dragon and hails from Australia. At the moment she is still a baby at about 10 inches long but she will grown to about 2 feet (including tail). Just look at those markings down her back - isn't she beautiful?
Dessie is not the most active of creatures, choosing to mostly bask under her heat lamp on her favourite branch. She comes down for her twice daily feed which includes crickets and veggies, though she much prefers the crickets. She is extremely docile and hand tame and enjoys watching the fish in the aquarium. So far Bob the cat has not really shown much interest and as long as he doesn't have to share his food I don't think he's bothered!
I have quite the home menagerie these days with Bob, the fish, the two geckos and Dessie. I like having animals in my life.
Monday, October 13, 2008
This last year has not been particularly traumatic. It has been very stressful, but not traumatic. An outsider could even say I have had a successful year as I gained my Masters degree and got promoted at work. These events passed by uncelebrated however with no congratulations from my family and somehow the the wind was knocked out of my sails.
Some of you know that I have been through a couple of traumatic years prior to the last 12 months. I have been through surgery, divorce where I lost not just a husband but friends and security, the loss of my niece in a car accident, and the additional stress of carrying extra work while my boss was ill for 9 months (not to mention my mothers illness and hospitilisation). Hot on the heals of all of this came the personal attack from my brother followed by the closing of ranks from the rest of my family. I felt like I lost them all. I am not being dramatic when I say a piece of me shrivelled and died because that is exactly how it felt. So much loss.
A year on and I have realised that my mind has been trying to work things out. Analysing what has happened, trying to make sense of it. In short I have been looking for closure (awful phrase but so very apt). The truth is I don't really know why my brother launched such a personal attack on me at a time when I was so very vulnerable. I don't really know why my family turned their backs when I asked for help (because I have gone over it and over it and I did not deserve it). I don't know why my marriage ended with so much bile and why the person who once promised to cherish me let everything go with no attempt at reconciliation and no discussion. No closure.
I have been trying to second guess because no-one would talk to me. Every time I tried I met a brick wall, so my mind has been patiently beavering away for over a year now, trying to figure it out. That's a long time to be living in the past.
Of course, me being me I have blamed myself for everything. I felt unlovable and so it must have been something wrong with me, right? Wrong. The problem comes because I have no other explanation. Sure I have guesses and suspicions. I suspect my brother was hurting from the loss of our niece and took it out on me, I suspect his pride stops him from apologising (though this doesn't explain his other mean behaviour), I suspect my ex and I were going different ways. I suspect my surgery and other events placed a strain on my marriage. I suspect my family would rather avoid an emotionally difficult situation and hope it goes away. Truth is I just don't really know and the most awful thing about living through all of this crap is that I have been left to try and figure all this out on my own. To try and put it behind me and move on.
So, I have to accept not knowing (very difficult for someone whose favourite question since being a child is 'why?'). It is time to snip that umbilical chord to the past events and just deal with things as they are now. My new estranged relationship with my family makes me sad but when I look at it I realise that they haven't changed, just my perception of them has (though this was my world and so it's not surprising that it has felt like it has shifted on it's axis). I think I should stop being so hard on myself and if no-one else wants to celebrate my recent achievements then it's up to me. I hereby give myself permission to pat myself on the back and say 'well done. You did good kid, despite everything you still came through'.
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
I have missed the interaction with my blogging friends and fear that my status as AWOL has meant that some previously well trodden virtual paths between my blog and some others are well and truly grown over. For those tenacious souls who have dropped by just to say hi, I want you to know that I truly appreciated your thoughtfulness. Thank you.
I am afraid I haven’t done much except work or chores or sleep so in the absence of anything interesting to blog about I thought I would share some quotes from a page a day desk calendar I have on my desk at work (given to me by CrazieQueen last Christmas). Everyday it provides a quote about friendship and while some are sickly sweet some are worth sharing:
“A true friend never gets in your way – unless you happen to be going down”
“A good friend – like a tube of toothpaste – comes through in a tight squeeze”
“The proper office of a friend is to side with you when you are wrong. Nearly anybody will side with you when you are right”
~ Mark Twain
“True friends are those who really know you but love you anyway”
~ Edna Buchanan
“The loneliest woman in the world is a woman without a close woman friend”
~ George Santayana
“You can always tell a real friend: When you’ve made a fool of yourself, he doesn’t feel you’ve done a permanent job”
~ Laurence J. Peter
“No people feel closer or more friendly than those who are on the same diet”
Based on these I think I can count my real friends on one hand, but then I have never been one to keep associates.