time out

Time Out With Purpose, Peace and Pets

time outWe don’t have money for expensive holidays, but I was thinking today how lucky we are to have family and friends who live in beautiful places that we can stay with for time out. I love driving so am not phased by distance. I grew up with long road trips and I find it an enjoyable part of the whole venture. I’m really grateful for the opportunities we have and to those who welcome us.

We arrived home a few days ago from a week house sitting my uncle and aunt’s place near Mudgee. I’d jumped at the opportunity, and made the most of this much needed break.

Time out means different things to us all. And it means various things to me depending on how well this ol’ engine’s running. She keeps getting bogged in the mud lately – not at all where she wants to be. But as my therapist tells me – the beautiful lotus flower grows out of mud – and we humans are the theoretical lotus, striving to grow and prosper throughout the many facets of life (the mud). At this time, I really needed to get away to somewhere I could focus on anything other than current situations.

I’d completely lost my cool on a couple of occasions – a clear sign I was losing my perspective and stability. I had been incredibly affected by the nasty comments of someone who can’t help themselves, and coupled with a really confronting situation where I was volunteering, I was struggling to keep my thoughts in a good place.

The universe can be pretty amazing in it’s timing. Luckily for me, my uncle and aunt’s usual house sitter had cancelled and the ‘job’ was offered to moi. With Jessie being schooled via distance ed, we’re able to travel out of time outschool holidays which is one huge plus. And our neighbour likes our cats and is happy to look after them whenever we’re away, which is lucky. Everything fell into place – as it always does, one way or another.

So we left our two moggies in good hands, to look after two other beautiful moggie sisters, two lovely natured boxers, three friendly chickens, and three Indian Runner ducks – all of which have left an impression on us. Jessie, being a cat girl, immediately formed a bond with Billie, the extrovert of the two sisters. Ella was quite shy for the first few days, only coming in for dinner. After a few nights of pats at dinner time, she figured we were okay and started hanging out with us. The warmth of the fire had to be a drawcard too! Our two sleep on my bed at home, so Jessie loved being Billie’s human to snuggle.

time outI had the company of the boxers on the bed in the mornings, so I wasn’t left feeling lonely. I didn’t mind being Ginger’s pillow, while Chili slept at the end of the bed keeping my feet warm. Chili is 9 and a beautiful boy. Ginger is 18 months old if I remember correctly, and full of playful energy and youthful curiosity! I was told she liked to chase the ducks, which would’ve been hilarious to watch.  They were amusing enough to watch waddling around with their long necks, honking away to each other. However we did get a good routine worked out. Everyone had run of the yard for some part of the day, without anyone being harrassed by anyone else!

I learnt quickly to allow the ducks time to get to time outtheir bush before letting the chickens out. There’s obviously been some unfriendly banter between them while safely separated in their coups – I’ve never seen chickens attack before! The mild mannered, innocent hens snapped, becoming psycho thugs and the kerfuffle would’ve been a viral hit! My uncle did say he likes duck eggs, so that may just have pushed them over the edge. That was an interesting fight to break up – something I reckon should be added to my resume.

Jessie was initially intimidated by the dogs, but she didn’t stay that way for long. We took them for a long walk on our first day, and she got to see how obedient and well behaved they were, even in their excitement. Ginger was on the lead as she likes to chase things and go awol for a short while, and insisting she hold her own lead had us in stitches. She thought that game was so much fun. Chili’s simply a gentleman. From then on Jessie had no time outhesitation in taking them for walks, and did so on her own numerous times.

We enjoyed our afternoon walks, mainly because we delighted in seeing the kangaroos and wallabies, many with joeys in their pouches. They’d stand and stare at us before taking off, one big fella in particular, thumping loudly as he bound along the fenceline at high speed. The power in those hind legs is incredible and we stood quietly until we couldn’t hear him any longer.

Our time out was relaxed and peaceful. Being a prosperous wine region, we visited Huntington Estate Winery where I bought some wine before having the best wood-fired pizza ever at di Lusso Estate Winery. Definitely going back there. We also enjoyed the pop-up cafe at Burrundulla Winery and Vineyeard – awesome play area for little kids. The rest of the time we chilled out with the animals at home.

Nothing was rushed, there was no pressure or stress. There were no sirens, no traffic, no 3am deliveries to the school. And no skateboard guy! He flies down the hill anytime between 12 and 2am. There was no construction noise, no reversing trucks with their alarms. No drunks, no car accidents, no noisy neighbours. Just peace and quiet, and space not consumed by humans but by nature.

 

I’m looking forward to going back next week, I have another couple of days time out. I’m just hoping it’s still cold enough at night for the fire! I could very easily live where I need to light the fire during winter. I found it strangely satifying lighting and maintaining a fire to keep us warm. Watching the flames flickering and dancing over the timber was my meditation before bed – calming for the mind and body…

 

“Hello holidays. I’m so happy to see you.”

 

recharging

Recharging the Batteries in Mollymook


rechargingMollymook is so beautiful. The sheltered beach was quiet, with just the sounds of the water around me. Perfect for recharging the batteries. Particularly when staying at Bannisters Pavillion with a free upgrade to the penthouse! Checking in, that was a welcomed yet unexpected surprise. Tired, and stewing over unnecessary drama created by a woman I was volunteering for, my drive down wasn’t what I’d hoped it to be. Needless to say, my welcoming arrival saw me immediately uplifted. Having made nothing of my life academically or professionally, staying in a penthouse anywhere, was not an expectation I’ve ever had.

recharging

recharging

 

 

 

 

 

I may be 46, but prove I did, that the 5 year old in me is still going strong. I did manage to act my age initially, although squealing on the inside. As an adult does, I calmly walked around, yes, yes, all very noice, very noice. A squeal escaped as it hit that I wasn’t here to clean – OR DO ANY KIND OF HOUSEKEEPING AT ALL!!! And out she came.

I had to let Jessie know I’d arrived safely anyway, so snapped a gallery of photos to send as well. Everything was sussed out, poked and/or touched, amid intermittent squealing. Every cupboard and drawer was opened. The mini bars were both opened and contents registered. Typically, party pooper adult said no ($38 for a 500ml Vodka). I sat in all the chairs, bags’ed my favourite lounge, checked out the huge balcony, smelled all the products in the bathroom (they all smelled the same by the way), then poured a glass of my complimentary champagne (the adult said definitely), then set up my photo shoot – ‘Poured Champagne with Biscuit and Cheese – Featuring Fireplace’ I call it.

recharging
‘Poured Champagne with Biscuit and Cheese – Featuring Fireplace’

After the obligatory post on Facebook, I was kindly reminded to do the jump and flop back on the bed, which naturally, was done immediately. I was to leave with no regrets! Being a luxurious king sized bed, I was looking forward to sprawling out without cats restricting my movement and stealing my snuggle pillow!

My priority was recharging the batteries and indulging my senses while I was away. This was an opportunity that doesn’t come along often – a generous birthday present from my parents last year. Consequently I wanted to allow my mind to be free from the usual day to day worries and routines of life, and stay relaxed in each moment. Contrary to my usual city self, I found this quite easy in Mollymook.

rechargingI spent time at the beach, searching for tiny shells along the high tide line. The beach was all but deserted, and all I could hear were the seagulls and the calming sounds of the waves. The northern end of Mollymook beach is quite rocky and I sat for ages watching the water rise and fall around the rocks. I want to bring my surf shoes next time and take on those rocks and go exploring.

After spending a couple of hours there, completely in my own world, I had two and a half hours at the Day Spa being pampered. Floating after that, I enjoyed a cocktail upstairs in the bar lounge, relaxed in a bubble bath before heading back upstairs for dinner. It was all about me, me, me, and although I missed Jessie, I knew time away would be good for us both. (I probably got the better end of the deal!)

rechargingI guess everyone’s idea of respite differs, but the need for it is the same. Every parent raising child or teen with mental health issues, needs timeout for themselves. It’s an incredibly draining and exhausting occupation! It’s constant and heartbreaking, frustrating and generally fucked because I can’t fix it. It hurts because a) Jessie’s not happy, b) she can be so nasty to me at times, and c) I know her outbursts at me mirror her own pain and struggle. I find I’m always on high alert, and with Jessie being schooled from home it’s a 24/7 feeling.

Requiring a break, has nothing to do with diminishing levels of love. Without the opportunity to recharge, the mind and body will burnout, leaving me no good to anybody. I’ve let that happen before, and I now recognise the benefits of taking guilt free time out for me.

The relationship you have with yourself, sets the tone for every other relationship you have. 

 

going away

The Down Side to Going Away Is Coming Back

going awayWe’re back from two weeks holiday, staying with my second cousins. We had to come back 5 days early which started my feeling blue. The down side to going away is that we come back to normal life – a bedroom covered in torn up school work, the reality that my only child is going to fail school through pure lack of participation, that overwhelming feeling of failure and hopelessness. Added this time is the feeling of rejection and the reminder that I’m really nothing but food, unsavoury to most in this part of the world.

The down side to going away is coming back to the loneliness of home. I had one person I was really looking forward to seeing, but the feeling wasn’t mutual. My old friends who want to spend time with me all live where we visit, or come up to see family. Lismore and surrounds is home base. My plan had been to relocate, but those plans I’ve had to quash. Something I’m feeling selfishly resentful about, but that is how it is.

My life isn’t mine. I feel trapped but I have to shut that out or I feel claustrophobic and can’t breathe properly. I see clearly in front of me what I really want and where I want to be, for the first time, but I can’t have it. It can be nothing but a dream. I’m crushed. I’m really struggling being in the city. There is no life here for me anymore. I don’t belong here.

going awayNot even my cats are happy here. I’m always being yelled at because they want to go outside but they’re not allowed. I got home to soil all over the freshly cleaned carpets, covering the bookcase, in the power board – it was everywhere. They’d decided to use my pot plants instead of their kitty litter. They’d also managed to get outside and dig up a number of plants. There was dirt all over the verandah. I had to clean as soon as we got home, before I could do anything. It wasn’t pretty. If anyone ever needs to know, it’s $75 per cat to surrender them and $100 each to have them euthanised. Ours were lucky enough to remain at home. They’re outdoor cats though, it’s not good for me or them. Not what I wanted. The balance between give and take is out of whack.

So there, the down side to going away is upon one’s return one may suffer through an existential crisis -possibly quite devastating, leaving one feeling shell shocked and fucked up.

The sooner I can accept this life and all it’s experiences, the happier I will be.

going away

Eureka

11 Sleeps and Counting Down…Eureka!

eureka11 sleeps before we start our drive to Eureka. I’m hanging out for 2 weeks of awesome company with my cousin’s. I love the sounds of nature and the absence of traffic and catching up with some my closest friends. No pressures, no stress, lots of love, lots of laughter – my soul food.

I’m feeling completely drained after the last couple of days, so this trip has come at a good time. Jessie had a huge meltdown a couple of days ago because of schoolwork that is now overdue – week 2 of the distance education work. Week 2!!! Not a great start. I’ve been reminding her all week as she’d only done the English work, minus the story she’s supposed to write. The work is minimal, it’s easy, I’m struggling to see why she won’t do it.

So week 2’s work was torn up and thrown at me as she absolutely let loose at me. My Mum would’ve taken me out if I spoke to her the way Jessie does to me. “I brought you into this world and by Christ I can take you out again” as the old saying goes. Will I dare call it a proverb? It’s not very politically correct, but then political incorrectness is one of my favourite things.

Jessie’s aggression wears me down. She uses it to try and manipulate me and she really tests the boundaries every now and then. I go and sit outside and smoke, and wait for the swearing and the demolition to settle down. I think of two things:- a) is she harming herself, and b) what’s getting damaged this time. The only way she will regulate her emotions again is to let her be and hope for the best. It only stops for me after she has come and apologised and I am sure it’s over. The extended adrenaline surge leaves me exhausted and not in a good way.

I grew up in the countryside around Eureka and I miss the lifestyle.

I want to be surrounded by animals and not people again. Jessie is different in the country too. She gets outside and off the computer, and I’m sure farm life would do her good. So by this time next year I plan to be living back up there. We’ve been here five and a half years – my longest time in the one place. I could probably settle now if I find the right place up there, but I’m ready to go from here.

In the meantime we wait patiently for our upcoming Eureka trip. Being Spring there will be snakes about plus the usual wildlife, all preparing for babies. The orchard will be in fruit. My old friend Russ has fresh prawns and fresh fish he caught himself, so I’ll be seeing him on our way through Lismore to stock up. Life is good up there. It’s where I feel I belong, and I want Jessie to feel that too.

 

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