Think About What You’re Asking.

My sister just called out to me from the kitchen while she was chopping vegetables.

Her: Are you two big vegetable eaters?

Me: If they’re big, we cut them up first.

Her: Huh?

Me: How do you even cook it unless you cut it up?

Her: No. That’s not what I’m asking.

Me: *looks at her expectantly*

Her: Do you eat a lot of vegetables?

Me: See now, that’s an entirely different question.

Her: *shows me the saucepan* Is this enough for four of us?

Me: No.


And she has the nerve to walk away rolling her eyes. Some people are just hard to please.



My New Career… Or Not.

Today I was at a potluck lunch where the guests included a number of my relatives. 

When I walked in, my sister-in-law congratulated me on the award I won this week for my book, Nova. 

“What did you win an award for?” One of the ladies asked, with a time that suggested she was surprised that I could win an award for anything. 

“Pole dancing,” I replied. 

Nobody laughed. It was such a good line, too. 

One lovely young lady, whom I didn’t know, said, “Really? That’s fantastic!”

Seriously, one look at me should have told her I am no pole dancer. Between my decrepit spine and my fibromyalgia, the only thing I can ever climb these days is the pain scale between 1 and 10. 

“No, it was for my book. I write poetry.”

“Oh. That’s… kind of cool.” 

But not as cool as pole dancing. I get it. 

You know you’re from Warrnambool when…

You know you’re from Warrnambool when the conversation goes like this: 

Him: So, you haven’t seen much of Amanda this term.

Me: No. She hasn’t been to school, obviously, and she hasn’t been coming out for drinks. 

Him: Has she been going to Simon’s?

Me: No, we’ve been going to the Clovelly since it got cold. 

Me: Oh! That Simon’s! (Where Simon is Amanda’s fiancée who lives six hours’ drive away.)  Yeah. She has. 

There’s a Bear in There…

Some months ago, I was driving in town with LMC in the car. 

We passed a big blue house that I pass every day on my way to work. 

“That’s where the bear lives,” I said.

“What bear?” LMC asked.

This surprised me, as she watches a fair bit of TV and I thought she’d get the joke. 

“You know… the bear in the big blue house? Like the TV show?”

“Never heard of it,” she said. 

Typical. All was silent in the car except for the sad sound of a great joke falling over and dying.
I didn’t think any more of it. In fact, I had entirely forgotten about it until last Sunday when we were all having dinner together. 

“Hey,” she said, “I told my friends about the big blue house in Warrnambool, and they didn’t even know that’s where it was. They thought it was in America somewhere.”

“What?”‘I asked. 

“You know… that TV show. You showed me the house…”

Trying not to laugh, I looked at her and said, “You do realise I was joking? It’s just A big blue house… not THE Big Blue House.”

“But I told my friends! And they wanted autographs.”

“Which you were going to ask me to call in and ask for?”

“Well… yeah.”
This kid never misses an opportunity. I’m just lucky it ends in laughter most of the time. 


LMC is at our place tonight. The weather has cooled down this week, so she’s discovered that the clothes and pyjamas she has here aren’t sufficient to keep her warm.

My husband said he’d lend her a pair of pyjamas, and walked away to get them.

Her teenage mind instantly went into overdrive.

“Then what will HE wear?” she asked me with a mischievous grin. Then she said, ”
Oh, never mind…”

I rolled my eyes, as I do so enjoy doing.

“He’s got more than one pair, you know!” I said.

“Oh.” Her laughter was a definite giveaway that she had immediately jumped to a rather bare conclusion.

So, he gives her a lovely newish pair of flannel pyjamas that he hasn’t worn since he was in hospital about 18 months ago.

“Oh,” I said, “those are the nice ones I bought for when you were in hospital.”

“Eeeerrrrrr!” she grunted. “I don’t want to wear them!”

“They’ve been washed since, you know!” I said.

“Oh. That’s okay, then.” And with that, she picked them up and took them to her room to get changed.

When she came out, she said, “It’s a good thing I’m not a boy. Although if I was, it would be okay cos these have got that awkward hole thingy in them.”

“If you don’t need the awkward hole thingy, can’t you just ignore it and wear them anyway?”

“Well yes… I was just saying.”

“Well, I’m just telling you to change the subject,” I said firmly.

And then we found something for her to do so that she has something else to think about.

I wonder if she has these conversations with her mother, or if she just saves them up for me.


Just now,  LMC and I had this conversation. 

LMC: “You’re a nut.”

Me: “No. You’re a nut.”

LMC: “Nutty’s a nut.”

Me: “No, Nutty’s a squirrel. I’m a genius.”

LMC: “Because you’re wearing jeans?”

Me: “Yeah. I have a jean-y arse.”
She cracked up again. Honestly, she laughs at the littlest things. 

Nothing up my sleeve…

So, I forgot to tell the funniest part of last night’s fart story. 

After she finished laughing, she asked me, “Is that all you’ve got? Or is there something else up your sleeve?”

And I said, “That wasn’t up my sleeve, honey.” 

Riotous laughter ensued yet again. 


High-walled gardens and tree-lined paths. Private mansions. Beautifully presented low-rise apartment blocks. Smartly dressed people walking briskly in the soft rain when they alight from the tram. Maseratis and Alfa Romeos parked by the kerb.

“I think there’s some money here,” says my brother-in-law from the back seat.
“You think?” I reply.

We drive on.

The answer to the question “How are you?”

People think I am so strong.
I’m not.

I’m trying to be patient and encouraging, but I am failing dismally.

I’m flawed and broken and frustrated, and I keep on going because I don’t know what else to do.
I’m so tired. I’m tired of pretending everything is ok when it’s clearly not. I’m tired of trying to stay positive when everything feels like it’s turning into seventeen kinds of crap on a daily basis.
It terrifies me that the doctors still don’t know what they are dealing with.
It scares me that my usually active husband is pale, sleeps all the time, and has fevers on a regular basis. He’s losing weight and not eating. He’s been poked and prodded, he’s had surgeries, he’s been on the receiving end of all sorts of tests, scans and needles.
I’m angry and resentful and impatient and scared and as miserable as hell, and there isn’t even anyone to blame.
It is what it is and there’s not a damned thing I can do about it.

And that’s all before I even start to deal with any physical pain I experience on any given day.

People tell me to let them know if there is anything I need, and I say I will, but I don’t. I’ve been conditioned from an early age to not ask for help, to not talk about money, to not express emotions that might make other people uncomfortable, to not show others our weaknesses, to soldier on and go extra mile after extra mile. As a rule, Christians are expected to help those in need rather than admitting to being needy in some way. Even the word needy makes me cringe. Nobody wants to be needy. Ugh.

People tell me to make sure I take time out for myself. Treat myself. Get pampered.
That’s going to happen.
I’m totally going to go out and indulge myself while he’s lying in hospital, a shadow of his former self.
As if.

Others have expressed surprise that I am still staying here with him.
What else did they think I was going to do? What part of who I am have they so obliviously overlooked? Or do I actually give people the impression that I that much of a selfish cow?

And if I did go home, even for one night, they’d be the first to tell everyone how heartless and selfish I was to do that.

Oh, home.
I miss home.
I miss my housemate/bestie and I miss LMC, even if she does test my patience with incessant chatter sometimes.
I miss my dog and my cat.
I miss my own bed. I miss my comfy chair.
I miss my bathroom, and I really miss having my own laundry that doesn’t cost me $20 every time we need clean clothes.
I miss having my own space that I don’t have to pay for at a set rate per night.
I miss falling asleep without crying for an hour or two first.

I just want him to be healthy again so we can go home.

And to the person who suggested that I’m kind of lucky because I’m “getting an extra holiday”… Why don’t you try it?

Please, don’t ask me how I am. You probably won’t like the answer any more than I do.