About Me

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I started this blog as I entered my 40th year, and now firmly in my 40s, I continue to learn so much about life. I'm learning that life rarely goes according to plan and that there's something new to learn every single day, be it a subtle nudge or a smack in the face.... This is my blog about muddling through my 40s-working hard, writing a book, being an ammateur photographer, trying to exercise and eat well, endeavouring to be the world's best aunt, as well as having fun and laughing out loud every single day.

Monday, September 28, 2015

#78 Hospice In The Home

Did you know that on average, in Australia, only 15% are able to die at home? Granted, many people need medical assistance and are required to attend a hospital, but as I've recently learned, dying is not a medical issue - it's a natural process that isn't spoken about nearly enough. Is that why we fear it so much?

Dying in hospital has large financial implications, a burden which can be removed by respecting the wishes of those who choose to die in the comfort of their own home.

I am still haunted by memories of my Nana's last weeks in hospital, fearing that at the age of 92 she would be forced to move from living in her own home and placed in a nursing home. She was dying, but no-one said that. No-one told us she would never go home again and we argued with her about her need to stay in hospital. No-one listened to her. They/we all knew better. She died alone one early morning around 4am in her hospital bed. I know she would have been cold.

Of all my regrets, I wish I'd stayed with her instead of saying goodbye to fly 1800km away. I wish I'd advocated harder for her and took her home one more time. I wish we'd let her go home, where she wouldn't have died alone.

I guess I am just realising as I'm typing this that my latest project is very much about righting that wrong.

Last week I started an 8 week training course to volunteer for Hospice in the Home, a new not-for-profit organisation aiming to assist patients and their families to have the choice to die at home when the time comes.

I'm doing this in a way to give back to my community, but if I'm honest, I'm also doing it to learn more about death and dying.

If you want to read more about this amazing organisation, follow this link.

Friday, September 25, 2015

#77 Reading... and Wuthering Heights

I don't think it's a coincidence that every time I type 'Wuthering' it comes out as 'Withering'.

Let me begin at the beginning...

Children become readers by growing up around readers. Children learn to love reading after they read the first book that introduces them to the magic that is their imagination.

Children who love to read grow into adults who love to read.

I used to love to read in that way where you couldn't wait to finish work/run/dinner-at-friends' just to be able to get back to your book. I loved reading so much that I'd think and even talk about the characters even when the book was nowhere in sight. I could devour 3 books a week and never had a pile waiting - they didn't last that long once I got my hands on them.

But, one day, I stopped reading. And I've missed it. It's been literally years since I've read that way. The last book I read was I am Malala. It took me seven countries and nine months to finish it. I initially blamed my lack of interest in reading on the fact that I was writing. For some reason, I couldn't seem to do both. But I haven't written for most of this year, so that couldn't be it. I think I just got lazy.

It became too easy to be brain dead in front of the television, or to lose literal hours on social media. Brain numbing - brain dead. I don't want to do that anymore. I used to have an expansive vocabulary. I used to read in two languages for goodness sake! Until this week, I was lucky to be able to read two pages in a row and hold my concentration.

So I decided this week that I would fall in love with reading again. I went on an excursion to Collins Books and I bought a handful of books. I promised myself no television and no social media - just reading - and I HAVE LOVED IT.

I began by reading some Young Adult (YA) fiction - Me & Earl & the Dying Girl. I have to tell you, I hope the movie is better! Didn't matter though, because I was still motivated to read it and spent every spare moment I could until I finished it in two days.

Simultaneously, I listened to the audiobook version of Wuthering Heights just in case I really couldn't read anymore....

I also have always wanted to read the Classics. I thought this was one of them. I thought it was a love story.

My very brief summary of Wuthering Heights is this:

A narcissist with antisocial personality disorder torments two generations of the same inbred family. The End.

In my opinion, Emily Bronte grossly overuses the words ejaculate and erect. What an ugly tale about ugly people. I don't think I can bring myself to listen to Pride and Prejudice now for fear of what it might reveal.

Book-wise, I'm settling in to read The Umbrian Supper Club by Marlena De Blasi now. After just visiting Umbria, I'm excited for the memories it might evoke.

What are you reading?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

#76 Sometimes, when the planets align...

When I feel content, centred, happy, it's never a coincidence....

Garlic hanging in the sun in Tropea, Calabria
That it happens when I'm feeling connected to my family and friends....
Padlocks and blue, blue sea in Tropea, Calabria
 It happens when I'm taking photos...

Chillis - Tropea, Calabria

It happens when I'm exercising....

Herbs and spices, Civita di Bagnoregio, Umbria
It happens when I feel useful at work....

Umbria, Italia

It happens when I read....

Umbria, Italia
 It happens when I have great things to look forward to....
Umbrian Farmhouse, Italia
 It happens when I feel on top of things like work and the housework....

The Chapel at Mel & Ant's - Acqualoreto, Umbria
It happens when I watch movies....
In the garden at Mel & Ant's, Acqualoreto, Umbria
It happens when I travel....

It happens when I feel part of something bigger than myself.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

#75 Dear Rocky - The Breakfast Club

Dear Rocky,

In 1985 when The Breakfast Club enjoyed its Australian release, I entered my first year of high school, still a twelve year old.

I'd already met Molly Ringwald in 16 Candles the year before, I had only one more year to wait until Pretty in Pink enhanced my adolescence in a way on Hollywood can.

My teenage years were defined by movies like these - they helped shape us and introduce us to so many aspects of life - I'm sure many of them passed right over my head.

In the past few weeks, one of our television stations has been playing back-to-back Molly Ringwald films and I'm so happy to say, I stumbled across The Breakfast Club one cold wintery night.

Not only did I sit down to watch an iconic film from my past, I flew back in time to 1985 at a time in my life when I discovered boys and the importance of fitting in with my peers.

Those themes are still so important and maybe even more so in some ways for teenagers today. Goodness knows, teenagers today have more technological challenges than we ever had to face - but the themes are the same.

The Breakfast Club is about teenage roles and relationships - the Athlete, the Princess, the Brain, the Criminal and the Basket Case. We might use different terminology now, but the moulds are the same.

I want to share some of my favourite quotes and lessons that continue to resonate today:

I can only rate a film that meant so much in my life at the time a 10/10.

I can't wait to read your thoughts Rocky. Read Rocky's review here.

Which movie will we tackle next?

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