Who now Mrs Doubtfire?

You are a star.

On my way to work yesterday morning I was listening to the radio when I heard the news about Robin Williams. I gasped out loud. I didn’t know much about his private life and his struggle with depression. I only really knew what I saw of him in movies. I introduced my son to Mrs Doubtfire last year and he loved it. I also remember watching Mork and Mindy when I was a kid. He was a great comic, and entertained us all and I think when what you know of somebody is being funny, their death by apparent suicide is unexpected and sad.

My Facebook and Twitter stream has been full of other peoples thoughts about him too. He’s left a great legacy for us – his fans. We’re lucky.

I think suicide has touched us all at one time or another, some more than others.

I had a phone call from an ex manager one day to tell me about a colleague of ours who’d committed suicide. Apparently my manager became concerned when our work mate hadn’t come to work so went to his place to see if he was there. The door was propped open with a shoe and my manager found him – dead. I had no idea about my colleague’s private life, only that he had a young son and was divorced from his wife. I suspect that many of us are really good at hiding things. And I wonder how many people hide their depression in the workplace because they don’t want to be labelled.

I’ll never forget him because when I came back from my overseas holiday in the year 2000, he asked me – jokingly – if I’d come back pregnant. Unbeknown to him, I actually was pregnant and I nearly choked when he asked. I would have loved to have said, well, yes, I am pregnant actually,  just to see the look on his face, but I was standing in my boss’s office and that’s not how I wanted to break the news.

A few years later I bumped into another colleague and chatted to her, and offered my condolences about her daughter in law who was tragically killed in a traffic accident. She told me about a person that we’d both worked with who’d committed suicide recently. I didn’t know this person that well but had picked up that she was a bit highly strung. Again, I had no idea of her personal struggles.

I don’t know what it’s like to suffer with depression. I know I go through down periods but I know that it’s temporary and that in a day or so I’ll feel better. I’m lucky. I like to think that if any of my friends are depressed and they need someone to talk to or help with something that I could be that person.

While deaths of celebrities like Robin Williams are awful, it does highlight that depression is real, and not something that you just snap out of.

A bit fit

Walk the line. Day 244/366.

A few years ago I started running. A few months after that I stopped. However, during this process I was using Runkeeper to track how far I ran and I continued to use it after the running finished but I only tracked my walks and of course it wasn’t indicative of how far I walked each day.

I wanted to use a pedometer to track how far I walk each day so a couple of months ago I bought a Fitbit. On Shai’s advice I bought the Fitbit One.

My goal is to walk 10,000 steps per day and my morning walks only cover just over a third of that quota so I have to fit more in during the day. I suppose I could get up earlier and walk for longer. I know the dog would love me for that and maybe when it’s a bit warmer I’ll set the alarm for ten minutes earlier and just do it. I know excuses excuses.

The Fitbit One also tracks your sleep and I seem to average around 7 – 7.5 hours per night. That’s not too bad. I did wonder if wearing the Fitbit to bed those first few nights contributed to bad sleeps? I’ve found the wriststrap I put on to put the Fitbit in comes off during the night sometimes so I wonder how effective the sleep tracking component is.

But that aside, the steps tracking is great. I forgot to wear it to work the other day and as I’d had a few walks during the day and climbed lots of stairs I added that in manually based on a similar day. I pretty much wear it all the time and it’s become a competition with myself to see if I can reach the 10,000 steps per day. I think it’s equivalent of just over an hour of walking briskly but it’s amazing how much housework and supermarket shopping can bump up your steps.

I haven’t friended anyone in the Fitbit community and I may or may not but I’m good at being in competition with myself. If for some reason I don’t walk in the morning because it’s raining then I wonder how I’ll make up the steps I missed during the day.

Walking has great benefits and I’ve seen first hand the effects of not exercising enough. Mum doesn’t get much exercise and she’s been plagued with knee and hip problems and she’s overweight. I’ve vowed that I don’t want to be not as mobile as I get older and as running is off the table then walking it is. I do Pilates once a week for strengthening too and that’s made a difference I’m sure.

I chatted to a colleague recently and he’s been getting up at 6am before work each morning to walk for 6kms and he does more on the weekends. I asked if he’d noticed benefits and he said he’d lost 14kg since February when he started. He said he’d changed his diet a bit but for the most part, walking has helped with his weight loss.

Michael Moore has written about why he walks and it’s a great read. He doesn’t walk to lose weight, he walks to feel good. And it’s true. I know it helps clear my head and even getting up early to walk the dog before work helps wake me up and gives me a really good start to the day.

Do you get out walking? How does it make you feel?

Walking near work

There’s some great walking trails near where I work so we went for a drive recently to check it out. I managed to drag the teen and the dog along – not that the dog needed much persuading.

Phoenix

I think he enjoyed himself, and so did the lad – so much so that he’s keen to go back. When it suits him that is.

20140629-DSC00346

I do have quite the stubborn child. He’s always been stubborn and I know these teen years are going to be testing times for me as a parent.

I’ve given up nagging him every day about tidying his room. As he tells me, when I’m asking him to do something, it’s just blah blah blah to him. He now has to put his clothes away, I won’t go in there when the room’s messy and I can’t even get to his drawers. That seems to be working, and the last couple of weekends when I’ve given him a list of jobs including tidying his room, it’s been done.

I’d let the dog accompany him to bed but I managed to put a stop to that last night when I said that if he continued this practice that he’d be in charge of changing and washing his sheets. Dog hair sticks to flannelette sheets and there’s a doggy smell that lingers a bit when the dog’s been on his bed. I prefer bedrooms to be a no-go dog zone.

Took the dog to a dog training session the other day. Very interesting. That will be a separate post. This adopting a rescue dog has been quite the eye opener.

Winter flower

Outdoor laser skirmish

13th birthday party

What’s a boy want to do for his 13th birthday? Why, shoot at his friends of course. When researching places to do it you’ve got your indoor laser skirmish places but he wasn’t too keen on doing that. He enjoys it when he does do it, however.

He was keen on ice skating but our local ice skating rink was very prescriptive on the times they do parties and the times didn’t suit us. I’m glad. The noise at an ice skating rink is pretty loud.

Searching the web lead us to outdoor laser skirmish, and surprise surprise, 11-12 year old boys are their main demographic.

Invites were done and sent out and I did the usual stress of thinking nobody, or few, people would come because it was a little bit of a drive and who knows what the weather would be doing that day?

There was a storm the preceding night and the day was grey and wet but the party went on nonetheless. It did rain a few times but only small showers – so nothing to deter 20 excited boys (ten in our group and ten in another birthday party group). They were even rolling down the hill so would have got wet from the ground anyway.

If you’re looking for outdoor laser skirmish in Adelaide, this one’s up in the hills near Picadilly – 2 World’s Collide.

The host, Chris, was really good with a group of very excited boys who love to backchat and he explained the rules matter of factly and with a great sense of humour.

Before too long the boys were unleashed into two teams with their weapons ready to shoot shoot shoot.

I remember back when JJ was a baby, that there were going to be no guns, no shooting. There’s no getting around that, it’s in the boy DNA I think.

They spent about 40 minutes on the first game, then there was another game. The guns are wired so that they score hits.

But most of all it’s really fun.

They all really enjoyed it and it’s gone down as the best birthday party ever.

There aren’t any close-by facilities to feed the hungry troops afterwards so I managed to feed and water them from the boot of my car. Like a pack of seagulls they were.

13th birthday party

13th birthday party

13th birthday party

13th birthday party

The birthday cake went down a treat and I forgot to have some at the actual birthday but managed some later.

Birthday cake

OMG, there’s a teenager in the house

This time 13 years ago a baby was born – a 9lb 6oz baby boy. One that gave me third degree tears and while the doctor was stitching me up suggested that next time I may have to have a caesarean. There has not, nor will there be a next time.

Now, he’s about 5’7″ – all legs and feet. I just bought him size 11 shoes the other day. He’s like one of those puppies with huge paws who will grow into big dogs all too soon. The trousers I bought him at the beginning of the year for a wedding, the pants I hoped would do for his school formal at the end of the year, are already too short. He’s told me that people are already asking him what’s the weather like up there? I told him to get used to it as he’ll be one of the tall ones.

He’s always hungry! When there’s a cupboard and fridge full of food, there’s NEVER anything to eat…. And he’s very quick to critique my cooking. Apparently I’ve finally nailed spaghetti bolognaise and butter chicken though, so that’s comforting for me.

I love his honesty – well usually. He’s also not afraid to talk to me about very personal things, things I would never have dreamt of discussing with my parents at his age. I hope this continues even though it can be a bit embarrassing answering some of his questions.

He’s quite switched on – predicting what will happen next in a movie or tv show, or dissecting the personality of a friend or of my (now ex) boyfriend.

I’m very proud that he got into the high school he wanted to get into. While he’s anxious about moving onto high school he’s coping better with the thought of it than he would have a few years ago. But at the same time he acknowledges that he’s ready to move on from primary school.

Quite a few of his peers already have deep voices. They’re too young to have deep voices. JJ doesn’t yet. He got his teeth late, he walked late and I think puberty is hitting him late. I’m pleased about that. Although he is interested in girls. I gather that this will pick up.

I’ve stocked up on wine and hair dye, and am always working on developing a thicker skin to get me through the next few years. And I know that those teenager years will fly by.

Here’s a photo album of him.

She’s crazy like a fool. What about it Daddy Cool?

Boney M at The Gov

I went with my sister and while I knew a couple of other people that were going I bumped into a school mum. She said I won’t tell anyone if you don’t. I said, shout it from the rooftops. Who cares, I said. I also bumped into JJ’s baseball coach and his excuse was that his friend bought the tickets. So is a bit daggy to see Boney M? Who cares? The last band I saw at The Gov was The Scientists – poles apart from Boney M. I’ve got broad music taste!

I checked out the crowd. I felt quite young in comparison. A couple, probably in their 80s, were sitting near the courtyard door, walking sticks propped next to their chairs. There were some people in their 20s – there with their parents maybe? But mainly the crowd was in their 40s and 50s.

About 20 minutes before the band started we moved towards the front of the stage and took the stance. My stance is I take up as much room as I can so that the inevitable crush impact is lessened. I don’t think it works but it makes me feel like I’m doing something to give myself a bit of dancing room.

Five minutes before the band starts the people who were too slack to get there earlier move in and take up those spare places. One minute before the band starts more people – the loud one – and the one with the big handbag – come and stand near you. That handbag ended up on the floor by the end of the show because I kept bumping into it. Tip for the women. Leave your big handbag at home when you go out to a venue that will be crowded. Put the essentials in a smaller bag that you can sling over your shoulder. Much easier to handle and not as likely to piss people off.

But the band starts and it doesn’t matter so much any more. I always seem to get stuck behind someone that bit taller than me who obstructs my view a bit.

Last night I saw Boney M. I grew up on a bit of a Boney M diet. Both mum and nana were fans and every Christmas that we spent at nana’s place we listened to the Boney M Christmas album. I didn’t invite mum along because there’s no way she could have stood for over an hour watching them and the seating space was limited and with it a limited view.

In year 8, my dance group did a performance to Rasputin at the high school concert. I wore a black leotard and black tights. The next day when I went to school some bright spark – Shane, it was you – called me spider legs. My legs were much skinnier then.

The Boney M band came on stage, then the singers came on stage. I thought they all looked too young to be original members and as it turns out there’s only one original member left. But they did all the songs we know and love, ending with Rasputin and Rivers of Babylon which they dragged out for ages while the audience participated because of course we all knew the words.

It was all finished by 10.30 and as we had a last drink, one woman lamented that it had finished so early she needn’t have taken the day off. I wonder if they were catering to the older crowd?

Do you remember Boney M?

Boney M at The Gov

Boney M at The Gov

Boney M at The Gov

Boney M at The Gov

Good news about high school application

jules

It was all worth it.

About six weeks ago my son and I were in the midst of writing his application for high school. Well he was writing it, and I was nagging him, typing for him on the sidelines cheering him on.

Last night he got the acceptance letter saying he was in!

It was such a relief to get that good news.

Entry into high school here is automatic to a public school in your zoned area. Our zoned high school hasn’t got a good reputation and everyone I spoke to about it didn’t have anything good to say. As those years are very important in a kid’s life I didn’t want him spending them at a high school that might not suit him.

Plus there’s certain things he’s interested in and the high school he’s been accepted into perfectly suits those interests. The only thing is that to get in the student has to write their own application. He could have used another format like film or powerpoint but he chose to write.

It was like a job application and for a 12 year old to write it, is pretty full on I think. But that’s one of the reasons why this school has got a good reputation because the kids that go there want to be there. I’m sure some slip through the net but the majority are keen to be there.

I got the letter last night and took it over to after school care so he could open it. He opened it in front of everyone and thank goodness it was good news. He’s pretty resilient but it would have been hard to get bad news in public like that. He wouldn’t let me look over his shoulder but it didn’t take him look to yell and jump and announce he’d got in.

To celebrate I offered to take him out to dinner but he said he wanted fish and chips and to watch a movie. Don’t watch The Hungover Games. It’s crap! Even JJ said it was crap after we sat through it. But it’s what he wanted to do. I even cancelled pilates so I could celebrate with him. Big of me I know!

Now I’ve got a gajillion forms to fill in but I don’t care. I’m stoked.