Epiphania

Regular readers of this blog might have noticed that I’m not blogging the 12 Days of Christmas this year. I began #blog12daysxmas back in 2010 and this is the first year since then that I haven’t done it.

2016 has been an interesting year.

If you follow the media reports, it was a horrible celebdeaths2016year. It was the year of celebrity deaths. The world mourned the loss of musicians and actors and other notable names. David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Prince, Gene Wilder, Muhammad Ali, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Fidel Castro, Leonard Cohen, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, and a multitude of others. It was the year that the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. It was also the year that Donald Trump was elected President of the United States of America.

For me, 2016 had a bit more balance. There were good times and there were bad times.

It was the year I got news from Rome that I had been granted a Papal Dissolution of my first marriage. This left me free to wedding_1marry Sean…which I also did in 2016. Words cannot describe the feeling of marrying someone who has brought so much happiness into my life. The process of requesting the freedom to marry and then providing all the information to support that request was perhaps not as bad as I had anticipated but it was no picnic either. The hurdles. Mishaps. Delays. The long wait. More waiting. Then JOY!

The wedding itself was wonderful. The liturgy was beautiful. The readings, the music, the Sacrament. It encapsulated who we are as a couple. It was the perfect establishment for our married lives together.

We followed that with a very relaxed and enjoyable afternoon with our friends and then a honeymoon (or “Bees’ Honeymoon”, according to Róisín) which took us to some very beautiful parts of Queensland. Not only was it our honeymoon but it was also our first family holiday with just the three of us.

Such wonderful and happy times were had this year.

But 2016 has not been without its personal lowlights.

I have spoken at times about my desire for a Cuddlepie for my Snugglepot. This year we took massive steps towards turning that desire into a reality. After receiving news at the end of 2015 that a natural conception was nigh on impossible, Sean and I decided to undertake assisted reproductive procedures. I’d always been against IVF for me but we navigated the ethical, moral and spiritual minefield and signed on. I won’t bore you with the process but suffice to say it wasn’t pleasant. You wouldn’t choose this method of making a baby if you didn’t have to.

Some of the illnesses I’ve suffered this year can be attributable to the side effects of the medications and procedures I’ve undertaken. I was left immuno-compromised and susceptible to whatever viruses and bacteria came my way. It was really adding insult to injury to get sick after all that I’d gone through.

I don’t want to make this a post about our fertility issues. I really just wanted to talk about the impact of the experience. We had two attempts at conception through IVF. Given that I’m not making any happy announcements tells you that both attempts were unsuccessful. In fact, the specialist said to us after the first attempt that a second try would be worthwhile but a third would be pointless. Ultimately, the message that we got through the process was that a second baby in this family would have to be a miracle.

My challenge now is to accept the reality of our situation. It has been very difficult to accept that our family is complete but accept it I must. Science can do many things but it can’t turn back time. I find myself crushed at the thought that my child-bearing years have been lost. I must look forward, not back. My child-rearing years are still with me and I have a wonderful little girl who needs a mother to be both present and positive.

So, I guess with all the ups and downs of 2016 I’m facing 2017 with renewed resolve to be positive. I want to accept the reality of things beyond my control. I want to take joy in the things I have, not mourn what I have not. I know I am loved and that my life is full and happy.img_2536

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Hair-free Fi

Yes, this is another post about my hair. I know I keep writing about this topic but it’s been a part of my identity for as long as I can remember. Just look at the name of my blog! Bun-Toting Librarian!

You can read the full story of my hairdentity over here. The short story is that I began life bald and then ended up with really long hair. I mean REALLY long. Like to my knees long.

I’ve explored all lengths and colours and styles. Other than cornrows, I don’t think there’s a style I haven’t experimented with.

Now I am greying. I always said that I would stop dying my hair when I started to go grey. I colour for fun, not for vanity or shame. If I am grey then that’s who I am. I have been trying to find the right time and the right method to make the transition. I have long since decided that, when the time was right, I would shave it all off and start again with whatever amount of grey there was.

Now is that time.

Hair-collageI could just go ahead and do it but I had another thought. So many people use shaving their hair off as an opportunity to raise money for cancer research. Why not join them?! I want to do this as a positive step in my own journey of self-acceptance but also as a positive step to contribute to the wider society.

How can you help?

Please support the cause of cancer research by supporting me in my quest. Simply go to this page and donate.


 

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A simple blog to occupy my time

I’m going to start with the Musical Challenge. The title of today’s post is taken from a lyric in the song, not the title as I have done with the other posts of #blogjune 2016. There’s a lovely sentiment intended if you work out the song title.

Below are the results as they currently stand. There are still three unanswered titles to be won, including today’s post. I feel safe to say that Rachel’s win is assured but the silver and bronze medals (theoretical only, I’m sorry) are still anyone’s.

Rachel – 15
Cherie – 4
Leesa – 3
Abigail – 3
Peta – 1
Neil – 1

Now, for my reflection on the month of #blogjune.

#blogjune2016I said at the beginning that this would be about love, librarianship and laughter. I’ve covered love and librarianship a bit but I was a little light on the laughter. I think Sean‘s posts have been providing that and I wasn’t really in as happy a mood as I usually sport. Being sick for most of the month has taken its toll on my good humour. Laughing leads to coughing and that’s just no fun.

Most years #blogjune has lead me down a path of self-discovery and enlightenment. Sometimes it has lead me to disclosure and acceptance. This year feels a little different. I haven’t revealed any personal secrets. I haven’t searched my soul. I haven’t plumbed the great depths of existentialism.

What have I done? I have connected with myself. I have found the energy to commit to a challenge that made me think about where my life is and where I want it to be. I feel at peace with parts of who I am. I am having the inner conversations about who I am in the world. I often didn’t feel like blogging and I admit to sort of phoning it in on occasions but I’m glad I served up 30 posts in 30 days (give or take a bit of backdating).

4eb28-e5715239e8d444ce8c80de0961381baf_7I will say one thing that I’ve really enjoyed and that is playing with the illustrations for each post. The images that accompany the vast majority if not all of my posts are of my own creation. I love expressing my creativity in this way. In some of my professional roles I’ve been able to use my amateur skills in photo editing and…let’s call it “graphic design” for want of a better term. I even got to use my talents in this area to put together the handbook for the 3rd International Evidence Based Librarianship Conference waaayyy back in 2005. More recently, I’ve put some of my designs into my Redbubble shop and made a bit of pocket money for my efforts. I don’t know if I have enough talent to actually get a job in this field but I’ve sure had fun scratching this itch.

Thank you, #blogjune, for presenting me with another opportunity to reconnect with myself and my peers. And thank you, dear reader, for indulging me.

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Fat bottomed blogger

I’m a chunky girl. I’ve got curves. Hell, I’ve got arcs and parabolæ!! To say I’ve got back is an understatement. I don’t like the term fat. I’m not ashamed of my size. I just don’t like that word.

I’ve been bigger than your average bear for a while now. My weight and shape tend to yo-yo a bit. I was at my skinniest back when I was about 19. I’d been bigger when I was 17/18 but I got sick and my circumstances changed so I dropped about 10 kilos in 4 months. I was a size 10 then. I looked so gaunt and bony that I decided I should never be that skinny ever again. According to the BMI charts, I should have weighed even less than I did. I shudder to think what I would have looked like.curves

I bulked up a bit after that until I was about 23. At that point in my life I was in a job which was eating my soul (long story) and my brother had just died. I quit not only my job but I cut all ties to that career and moved to Ireland. One hour after I started my job search I landed a 6-week temp job at Guinness. That was extended to a year after they actually saw me work. It was an amazing place to work. The wages were enough to cover my rent and utilities but didn’t leave much over for food. Fortunately, Guinness employees are given  one meal a day in the staff dining room. If it weren’t for this meal I would have starved.

I walked everywhere. I didn’t have a car. I lived within 2km of Dublin city centre and couldn’t afford buses anyway. I ended up losing over 20kg in the years I lived there. I wasn’t trying. I was just poor. Because I was losing so much weight I had to keep buying smaller and smaller clothes. I went from being around a size 18/20 to being about 10/12. That blew the budget.

Then I returned to Australia after my Dad passed away suddenly. I went back to my hometown. So poorly served by public transport (yes, we’re still waiting for the trains to come) and so far away from the jobs I ended up getting that I got into a car and drove from that day to this.

A sedentary job. A sedentary lifestyle. I don’t exercise at all. I don’t enjoy it. All those promised endorphins seem to have bypassed me any time I ever did bother to go to a gym or do something by way of physical activity. I enjoy what would probably be considered an old fashioned style of healthy eating. I like regular old meat and 3 veg kinda meals. I’ve never eaten kale or wheatgrass. I don’t mind lettuce but I think rocket is something that goes up into the sky.

Ultimately, my inputs don’t match my outputs and I’m back up to the biggest I’ve ever been. That includes when I was pregnant. Actually, I only gained about 2 kilos during my pregnancy. After Snugglepot was born and then for a period of some months after, I lost about 15 or so kilos thanks to the birth and breastfeeding.

I have gone through short phases of wanting to be a different size or shape but that was mostly in my early to mid teens. Once I hit 18 I was just happy to be me. This is still true. I try to wear clothes that make me feel good about myself. To hell with fashion. I don’t follow it. I don’t care about it. I want to look in the mirror and see myself, not some version of a picture in a magazine that shows someone else’s style with my body shoehorned in and my head stuck on top. I have my own style thank you very much.

So why am I bleating on about this now? Well, in just over 7 weeks from now it will be my wedding day. I have chosen a gorgeous dress that makes me feel good. At least it did when I bought it…last year. I find myself in the very unusual position of trying to fit an outfit. I have always worked from the opposite stance. The outfit must fit me. It has to match my feelings, my style, my persona, my shape, my size. I found a dress that did all of that but I found it at a time when I was a little smaller than I am right now.

I never wanted to be a person who was so consumed with looking a particular way or weighing some magical number that I forgot to live and enjoy life. I hate reading “inspo” posts. Life is for living, not hating who you are. I hope I fit the dress on the day. I’ve got all my accessories chosen to match it. If it doesn’t happen I will be a little upset but would the world stop turning if the bride wore jeans?

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Taking care of blogness

Flexnib recently posted about keeping up.  I’m not keeping up. I really want to. Even though I’m a stay at home mum, at some point I will want to return to the workplace and I don’t want to be out of touch. I don’t know what I’m going to be doing in three or four or five years time. I know that I will want to be fully a part of whatever career I choose. I might go back to being a librarian. It’s unlikely I’ll go back to working in HR. I’m considering other options at this point but it’s all academic right now.

If I do return to a career in librarianship I won’t want to start at the bottom of the pile. I realise I won’t be able to come back in at the same level I previously was.  And while I’m enjoying the life I currently have, I don’t want to cut all ties from the library world.

Picture1If I go back to my library career, I think I’d like to re-explore academic library, if they’ll have me. I’ve worked in this space before and even as a medical librarian I had a great many dealings with students and academics placed at the teaching hospitals.

One of the best ways I can think of to stay a little bit in the library pool without fully diving back in is to  stay connected through Twitter and blogs. Twitter can appear very noisy at times. So many posts are just reposts with links to here and there. I am more likely to read an actual conversation between colleagues about a particular topic than I am to fly off to some link without a good reason. I prefer to have a little curation around what I read.

As Con said, with the demise of Google Reader there has been little to fill the void when it comes to a good home for blog reading. Insofar as I might use a feed reader, it would be Feedly. It does an ok job but it’s no Google Reader. I kinda feel like it’s a part of the information world that is neglected if not dying altogether. I find myself pretty much just following the more appealing links I see on Twitter (provided there’s some decent teaser) or whatever pops up in my WordPress Reader, which is really quite limiting.

The truth is I want to keep up. I think I have a good reason to. I even probably have the time. Why does it have to be so hard?

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You can kiss me on a Monday Meme

Monday meme1. The most recent text you received was… Dinner plans with a friend.

2. What is an overused word or saying that you hate? “Amazeballs” What the hell does it even mean? Also, very few people over 30 can say this without sounding like an idiot.

3. What was the last book that you read? Where is the Green Sheep by Mem Fox.

4. The best purchase you’ve made recently? The silver birdcage veil for my wedding. I try it on almost every day. I love it.

5. What was the last image you posted on social media and why? A selfie…because I went to the hairdresser today and new hair always means new selfie!

6. What was the last movie you saw? The Hunt for the Wilderpeople. Touching. Quirky. Funny. Sam Neill.

7. What is the last risk you took and how did it turn out? Chicken and broccoli casserole. Looked great – tasted dreadful!

8. What kind of mood were you in today? Busy, exhausted, sleepy…they’re not moods… Ummm…good? I got stuff done so I guess I was happy.

9. What has been your biggest challenge lately? Blogging every day! Actually, trying to find something meaningful to blog about every day. I’m pretty sure I had a few “filler” posts in there.

10. What is one new thing you have learned? I am by no means perfect but I am happy with who I am.

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Will you still meme me tomorrow?

I have an actual, honest-to-goodness blog post in the offing. But not today.

Tomorrow is Monday and that means Monday Meme. It’s the last one of the month.

I have struggled with what to put together for this one. Then I remembered that I’m keeping a diary of daily musings. It asks me one question every day. I write it just before bed. Some of the questions repeat, which is a little annoying. It also seems to be directed at someone a bit younger than I. Anyway, I thought I’d select 10 of those questions as the final Monday Meme for 2016.

Here they are:

  1. The most recent text you received was…
  2. What is an overused word or saying that you hate?
  3. What was the last book that you read?
  4. The best purchase you’ve made recently?
  5. What was the last image you posted on social media and why?
  6. What was the last movie you saw?
  7. What is the last risk you took and how did it turn out?
  8. What kind of mood were you in today?
  9. What has been your biggest challenge lately?
  10. What is one new thing you have learned?

 

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