scraps from a bemused mind.

A full time mum who also works full time, a lover of coffee, dark chocolate, wine, and sunlight. A little bit of tomboy, a touch of 5 star, a smidgen of elegance and a lot of fierce.

Being on the outside

Maybe having a dozen primary schools when I was younger is the reason, but I hate the feeling of being on the outer. That feeling of ‘it’s not that you can’t join us, it’s that you are not one of us.’

The absolute revulsion for that feeling ironically is getting stronger the older I get – ironic because the older I get, the incrementally less I care or need to belong. Growing up that feeling was a constant and had me permanently in a state of trying to fit in and the anxiety that comes with it. For many reasons – even in one primary school, my childhood hospitalisation and medical needs would have probably placed me on the outside and my aptitude at school would not have helped. Now, however, those things would not have been anywhere as much of an impediment.

In fact, in today’s society, it’s never been more OK to be off centre, outside the norm or ‘nearly but not quite.’

But the feeling still makes me feel sick, and icky and uncomfortable. I am just better at getting on with things now.

Workplaces are tough, moving to a new place and trying to get friends and supports in place is even tougher. For me though, where conformity, jargon and prior knowledge is needed are the worst.

The best example of this is a gym. There are words and terminology used that are unfamiliar in the daily lexicon, there are rules about etiquette and such that can show you up as an outsider if you don’t know and follow them and there is equipment that you can waste your time on and injure yourself on if you don’t know how to use it.

‘But there are trainers to help you!’

True. And in all the gyms I’ve tried these trainers are young, fit, mildly impatient and with little or no empathy to you and where you are up to on your journey. Some gyms have had better instructors than others but it’s not hard to feel like you are nearly, but not quite right for the place.

They use jargon like you are expected to know it, from what they call the exercise to the name of the equipment. For the unfamiliar it’s intimidating. It’s not the terminology that is the problem but the assumption that I know what it is.

They repeat ‘motivating phrases’ without sincerity because they learnt they should something positive when training you.

And they are often unencumbered with the realisation that for many people – turning up is half the battle. Whether it’s because you struggle in the mornings, or your schedule is tight or your head is not in it or because you are intimidated to turn up and be ‘the new person’ every day in a class – for many, turning up is a win.

I know in my profession, this feeling of exclusion is actively taught as we are educated to try and remove jargon and such from our vocabulary with clients. And I know why.

And I know I struggle with being ‘nearly but not quite right’ in many settings – but currently I’m battling that feeling about gym. And since I joined a gym to allow me a place to exercise whenever I can, this makes it very hard.

But, reflecting on this makes it even more important to me to be inclusive wherever I am – a smile, a sincere welcome, removing assumptions, inviting people to join a conversation.


You dog bastard, you.

What a year it’s been. Huge things – from a health scares for the youngest Master, DH finishing Uni and I starting it, job changes and decisions, the boys sport flourishing and both Masters have achieved great things this year personally and at school.

The last 6 months have been tough on me with starting Uni again and a brand new job doing a role I’ve never done before in one of the highest demand winters. I’ve weathered all things reasonably well without feeling anything other than what I surmise is normal or expected stressors.

However at the time of writing this post (November) I feel that hyena of anxiety harrying my ankles.

It’s a palpable chest tightness and nausea, with symptomatic increase in resting heart rate, irritability, shorty sleep and currently a fragility and apparently loss of resilience, which particularly sucks when you are a grown up and in leadership roles.

I know it is temporary, situational, not harmful and I have all the tools I need to manage and monitor it, but it’s been under control for so long that I’m really resentful it’s back. I was enjoying having a baseline like everyone else.

So I’ll switch it, and if the self management measures don’t help l, then I will escalate more urgently. I’m all covered. Thank goodness because I’d hate to anxious about THAT too.

Grey area

So I have had the odd grey hair pop through since I was 18. I was always amused as for me, my thick hair has been a hindrance at worst and occasionally a rocking bun. I never learned to do my hair and any skill I now have has been gained in my 30’s and is limited to a bun, ponytail, top knot and sometimes I can blow dry it straight and it look only vaguely hedge like.

I’ve colored, cut, blow dried it, not blow dried it and done whatever I wanted because it’s only hair.

I have had it long and short, fire engine red, purple, and dark brown plus long stints of natural as well.

I have a skin condition called seborrheic dermatitis which is like chunky cradle cap for adults and so my greatest interest in my hair is not looking like a lamington!

I’m currently dying out a brilliant red stage which was fun and I’m due to go back (or not) for another color. Or cut. Whatever floats my boat. And I’ve noticed silver greys popping up.

I’m actually excited to see them for some reason I can’t tell you as I honestly don’t know. And I’m undecided why I’m going to do. I mean, I will go color it again but that is because I’m bored, not to cover the grey hairs (there is literally only a handful but…) as I’m intrigued by their appearance.

Husband Dear cares not either – and has never had an opinion other than ‘You’re hair looks lovely’ or ‘are you bored and going to change it?’

I know some women who totally rock their grey hair and some women who banish them and maybe I’m excited because I will get to find out which woman I am?

Anyway, the irony is not lost on me that my grey hairs are a grey area of decision for me either!!

My knees hurt

My knees hurt.

Not a great sentence to start a blog post with but, there you you go.

I know I have very limited time left with function and manageable pain with these aching joints (which will need surgery due to a congenital condition regardless) and yet I’m playing great basketball and going strong at the gym. It’s all good unless I need to squat, kneel, or do stairs…

What I was mourning about this was that each game of basketball I play could well be my last – the shot clock is on and I can hear the clock ticking.

It’s not the pain and stilted gait that I will live with that saddens me.

I’ll miss the game, you see. I love the sport of basketball. I don’t know why, I’m not at all talented at playing it. I am not big enough or fast enough to be particularly good at playing the game but I love it. It’s the perfect example of something brining you great joy without the need to be brilliant at it. I take great comfort in that knowledge.

I have realized that I get such joy watching the game that I’m hoping that when I retire my basketball shoes, it will be enough. And I’m finding great joy (and heartache!) in coaching youth basketball.

All the aspects of the game that I love is there, with very little pain in my knees to pay for it.

The struggle, the hustle, the heart and the joy is all there.

I just hope I get a few more games in before I officially retire. And that I get to choose when it’s my last game – and not an injury!

Lonely at the bottom

So it’s been six months since I started the new gig and it’s largely a success.

All the expected challenges have been realized and the unexpected challenges are within my reach of ability.

I’ve had to swim all by myself a bit more than I thought, but I have the tendency to be able to dog paddle well and keep my head above water. And I have some marvelous support with my family.

One thing I didn’t expect though is the loneliness.

I’m one of the noisy introverts who loves their own company, but when fully charged can be egregious, but needing solitude to recharge. My low maintenance needs, high busyness and difficulty with some situations makes it hard to make friends – I have lots of acquaintances but a small number of friends.

It’s always been that way.

But I’ve spent the last 5 years in a team of colleagues. And prior to that a huge team of colleagues. Lots of social interaction (sometimes more than I needed!) and room to moan, celebrate and tell poor jokes.

As a manager of a team though, I don’t get that any more. And where that gap would normally be filled by external social networks, I don’t have that either.

Some of that is because I am studying, and being a mama and working, so my level of low maintenance becomes wafer thin.

In many ways, I’m still the new kid in town and haven’t broken through established networks to join in. And the ones I know and like are often as busy as me if not more so.

None of this is a whinge, just a reflection of the social support I obviously receive previously.

So, when study finishes for the year, I’ll work my arse off to reconnect with people and see if that helps.

Or build a blanket fort instead.

Reflecting on the latest journey.

So in the last 5 months I have dived into a brand new and unfamiliar role.

I have left clinical nursing and I am now a nursing unit manager.

This is a completely foreign field to me and I’m not even managing in a clinical area that I am expert in.

However, like most journeys and challenges, they present significant opportunities for growth, reflection and learning.

I’ve snagged myself a mentor – we meet and have honest reflective conversations over wine and food – shifting my perspectives, allowing me to test ideas and explore new ones as I seek my own path away from the bedside. This mentor has been instrumental in helping me challenge my own boundaries about what it means to be a nurse:

‘Am I still a nurse when my role is not 100% clinical?’

‘Is it ok to have ambition?’

‘What does it mean when Clinical ‘wins’ no longer give me job satisfaction?’

These have been highly challenging for me and thank god – she has walked the same path – from high levels of competence in critical care, to Executive Director in a non clinical role.

We talked about what it meant for ME to be a nurse – why I got up in the morning.

It boiled down to some very simple premises:

1. The best outcome for each patient.

2. Developing the professionals that work with me.

3. Keep learning and achieving.

All of these are possible at the bedside. But the circle of influence is small.

However, away from the bedside my circle of influence is less laser like but covers a greater area.

So to move into those role you need ambition. And to permit yourself to still call yourself nurse when most days you aren’t directly providing nursing care.

So that’s how I ended up in my first management role. And I’m excited to see what happens from here.

What matters to me

My husband said something recently that resonated so strongly with me that it clarified and solidified ideas within me like a tectonic plate sliding into place. It was a visceral response.

The discussion was around the kids sports but it actually doesn’t matter what was being discussed.

What matters is that DH summed up our entire parental philosophy in one sentence.

“If it matters to our son, it matters to me.”

Sounds simple. Sounds obvious. But it has resonated so strongly with me, it has become emblazoned in my brain.

It’s so simple.

If it’s important to my son – then it’s important to me. Everything else we do parenting wise merely runs off this simple premise.

All our parental actions, advocacy, intervention, choices and interactions run off this very elemental philosophy.

And we can apply it in other relationships as well. But I will always apply it fully and wholeheartedly to my parenting role.

My Tribe

I’ve often referred to my friend group as my garden. A garden of friends, diverse individuals that each bring something to the garden. 

There are many types in my garden. I have shade trees that stand alone but being solidity and respite. 

I have groundcover that is everywhere and hard to kill off. I have my ornamentals that are hard work to maintain. 

I have my cactus friends – needing very little input at all but giving me great rewards when I need it. 

There are a few weeds and a few Venus fly traps too but on the whole, my garden is a wondrous and diverse place. 

Some of my greatest flowers are mostly via text. I can send out a random, not politically correct text and get back EXACTLY what I need. When I need it. In full loving honesty. 

These friends are the ones who can read tone in the text and seemingly know exactly what I mean when I say ‘fuck’. 

They have a great emoji and gif game, and bring it at all times. 

I’m appreciating them greatly at the moment as the weight of finishing one job, starting a new one, doing online Uni, and life with kids etc hits full swing. 

I have no idea how or why people like me. Truly. But I must offer something valuable to people and I’m grateful for as long as these people stay or pass through my life. 

My tribe has mums, dads and non breeders within it and to be a member my tribe you need a sense of hunour, a sense of honour and a sense of self. 

And they provide feedback for my sense of self and reward my sense of humour. 

Mummy, my hands have disappeared

For friends and family – Master 7 is FINE. I am blogging about this because the worry of the last 3-4 weeks  is over. He does not have any brain pathology or findings. I am happy to answer any questions in private messaging.

But Master 7 will love telling you about his eye test and MRI if you ask.

The doctor who gave us the results of the MRI was wonderful. It had been a tumultuous few weeks and this was the defining moment – the results would dictate what the next step would be. Master 7 had been re examined, and his investigations had been reviewed. We were moving on to the working diagnosis, and discussing what would happen next.

Master 7 had been a trooper for this whole time, being prodded and poked by many doctors, having eye tests, being late to school, leaving early and with having an MRI his biggest hurdle so far.

I was worried about the MRI – not the cost, but how he would feel, being locked in, with the noise and such and needing to be still for the best pictures.
“Can you lay still and quiet for 20 minutes? Let’s practice.”

“Why mum?”

“Well we need a picture of your head, lots and lots of pictures, to see if we can find your dizziness, headaches and eyesight problem.”

So he practiced at home and watched some videos of MRIs.

He did great, with the noise and the stillness and having his shoes off. He was most proud of the films, telling everyone that they are great pictures because he laid so very still. In fact, we were at the doctors and the doctor and I were finishing up the chat of what to do next when Master & starts fidgeting next to me.
“What’s up?”

“The doctor has not looked at my head pictures yet. I brought them for him.”

I look at the doctor, who solemnly asks Master James for the films. He pulls them out, looking up at them, making serious noises like “Mmmmm” and “I see that looks excellent” and “Oh, very nice angle”.

Master 7 beams with pride – “I laid so very still, so they would not be blurry.”
“Well they are simply the best quality head pictures I have ever seen – I can tell how hard you worked for these – well done and thank you.”

And that is when my heart broke. This boy, with his unique innocence and old soul quality was most worried about if the pictures would be good enough.

I was worried about brain tumors, Multiple Sclerosis and multiple other terrifying things to think about when you tuck your son in at night and kiss him for sweet dreams. I couldn’t help but picture the worst, and DH and I were in the middle of a dark and stormy night, wondering what might be found on the MRI, and what did that mean…..

Master 7 was worried that he had not laid still enough for his brain photos.
Moving forward, it looks like Master 7 may have a type of migraine. At least, that is what we are working on…..but first we have to have blood tests and Master 7 would like to practice this one as well – this time to make sure the Magic Numbing Cream really works!




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