Am I ever going to blog your June again?

Backdating this filler post due a sick child.

There’s nothing but tired and sick people in my house.

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Back on the Blog June

I’m pretty wiped out this week so I’m resurrecting an old post from Blogjune 2013: Monday Meme: 20 questions …but on a Tuesday.

Oh, and I should clarify something. A friend asked about the hidden song game. The song title is hidden in the title of the blog post. I substitute a word in the song title with the word “blog”, “June” or some variant thereof. Just put your guess in the comments but you have to be quick to beat our resident shark! (Two words are changed today.)

Now, on with the redux.

1.      When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought?
2013: Ugh.
2021: I look tired.

2.      What shirt are you wearing?
2013: A lolly-pink sweatshirt (as a pyjama top)…it’s quite cute, really.
2021: A blue nightie with a cartoon pig on it and a caption that reads “when pigs fly”.

3.      Do you label yourself?
2013: Constantly. It’s probably one of the worst things I do.
2021: Not as often as I used to.

4.      What does your watch look like?
2013: It’s a stainless steel Lorus. Plain and functional. I love it.
2021: An Apple Watch with a navy blue band.

5.      What were you doing at midnight last night?
2013: I was snuggled up asleep with my bf.
2021: I was in a hospital waiting room with that same guy who is now my husband. We were there with our sick daughter.

6.      Last furry thing you touched?
2013: My adorable cats. Or technically, I’m touching the inside of this sweatshirt…but I guess that’s more fluffy than furry.
2021: My cat. The other cats have since passed away. This is a 3yr old cat.

7.      Favourite age you have been so far?
2013: I loved being 25. Life was pretty good and I was  heaps thinner, I had a lovely group of friends and a job I couldn’t wait to get to everyday and hated to leave at night. No money but I was happy.
2021: 25 sure was good but I think the best time for me began a few months after I last answered this question because that’s when my little girl came into our lives. So I’m going to say 37/38.

8.      What is your current desktop picture?
2013: I’m at home right now so it’s some abstract background thing that cycles periodically. I’m not massively attached to it.
2021: Ditto…but the desktop pic on my laptop is an underwater pic of my daughter.

9.      If you had to choose between $1,000,000 or to be able to fly what would it be?
2013: Given my bouts of dizziness and fainting, flying just sounds freakin’ scary! So I’ll take the money thanks, Eddie.
2021: Well, I still have the dizziness and fainting. I also have a bunch of stuff that needs fixing and $1,000,000 would cover it.

10.  The last song you listened to?
2013: Lullaby by Priscilla Ahn.
2021: Whoa, Back Buck by Leadbelly.

11.  What time of day were you born?
2013: 12.30am
2021: Ditto.

12.  Where did you live in 1987?
2013: The suburb of Redcliffe in the City of Redcliffe, Qld. I still live in the same “city” (we’ve been downgraded to a “region”) but now I’m about 2 suburbs away from where I grew up.
2021: Ditto.

13.  What do you do when vending machines steal your money?
2013: Swear profusely and do my best to do some “percussive maintenance” (i.e. I give it a shove).
2021: I don’t really use vending machines these days. If it happened, I’m not in a position to give them a whack. I’d probably call the service line and have a Karenish whinge.

14.  Would you move for the person you loved?
2013: He moved for me so I guess I don’t have to but, yes, I think I would.
2021: I’d move heaven and earth for him and our precious girl.

15.  Name three things that you have on you at all times?
2013: Mobile phone, watch and Claddagh…those things also apply when I literally have nothing else on me.
2021: Phone, rings (wedding and engagement) and my crucifix. I can’t wear the Claddagh anymore. Unfortunately, oedema and hypersensitivity from the stroke mean I can’t wear anything on my right hand.

16.  What’s your favourite town/city?
2013: Redcliffe probably because it’s home and did get homesick for it when I lived overseas but I’m also quite fond of Perth, WA and Dublin, Ireland.
2021: Ditto.

17.  What was the last thing you paid for with cash?
2013: I honestly can’t remember. It was probably lunch one day last week.
2021: Pocket money to my daughter.

18.  When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper and mailed it?
2013: I can’t remember this either.  Do Christmas cards count? Probably not. It would be in the vicinity of about 15 years ago.
2021: Same answer applies but add 7 years to it!

19.  The last time you dressed fancy, what did you wear?
2013: I dressed as a Eurovision contestant for the ALIA Library Week Trivia Night last month. I’ll dress up for any reason at the drop of a hat!
2021: 7 years ago I answered this as if it was “fancy dress” as opposed to “dressed fancy”. So I’ll answer as it should have been answered. That said, I can’t even remember. Oh, I wore a fancy black lace night thingamajig last week. That’s as good an answer as any and about as fancy or dressed as I get nowadays.

20.  Does anything hurt on your body right now?
2013: Quite a bit. Mostly my head because it always hurts and I’ve been coughing all day and my knee hurts a little because I fell on it when I fainted last night.
2021: My entire right side of my body. It’s a stroke thing.

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I want a new blog

This will only be a short update because I’m posting this from my phone from the emergency department of the hospital.

My daughter is sick. We’re still in the waiting area and the hospital is busy tonight.

Today’s hidden song title is pretty obvious. Sorry, I’m not up to creating a challenge.

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I write the blogposts

I sat down to write this post tonight feeling as though it would be another of those cop-out posts I often do. However, I’ve decided that I did have a subject after all.

Today is Sunday. It’s a day I go to Mass. Friends and long-term readers will know there’s no surprise there. The interesting thing that I have to report since last Blogjune is that I’ve been composing music.

I wrote my first original composition in music class in 1988. Actually, we had to write in a few different styles so I can’t actually remember how many pieces I wrote. I’m not sure how it is for other composers but I seem to work better when I’m putting pen to paper or clicking notes into a notation program than when I’m at my electronic piano. Don’t get me wrong, I can improvise at the piano pretty well but I can’t ever seem to get the notes and rhythm right when I go to note it down.

After the first foray into composition as required by the school music curriculum, I didn’t write any more until the late 1990s. I recall writing some music to accompany a psalm for Mass after a retreat weekend with the young adults’ group from my parish. Then I had a hiatus until 2007.

It was around then that I became the music coordinator in my parish. Many of the older musicians and singers were struggling with a particular Mass setting which was heavily syncopated. I’d run them through it and they would inevitably straighten out all the dotted notes. All the cool off-beat stuff was rammed back onto the beat. 1 and 3. I found it so frustrating and disappointing.

I tend to be most creative when I’m feeling negative emotions. All my angsty poetry as a teenager just streamed out of me on the bad days. My music was no different. In the course of one night I wrote a whole Mass setting. At that stage we weren’t often singing the Gloria in suburban parishes so I didn’t bother writing one of those but I belted out the standard Gospel Acclamation (Alleluia) and 4 Lenten Gospel Acclamations, a Holy Holy, the 4 Memorial Acclamations, Great Amen and a Lamb of God. Some of these even had full accompaniment. Not a bad night’s work…especially as it was New Years Day. My greatest challenge was to resist the urge to write in a minor key!!

It was used in the parish for a while until we moved on with the new translation of the Roman Missal and the Mass parts mostly got re-worded. The Mass for Peace (as I’d named it) was relegated to a little blip of parish history.

Copyright is an interesting part of the law and as both a musician and a librarian, rarely a few days go by without me having to do something which causes me to reflect on some aspect of copyright law. Last October, I had reason to revisit my composition and update it in order to address an inconvenience caused by the shadow of copyright. I don’t want to go into it (it’s long and boring and a bit convoluted). Suffice to say, writing my own music solved the problem.

Since then, I’ve been playing that setting every week at Mass and the congregation have really learned it and are singing it well. I followed up my updated Mass by getting into writing psalms. I began with common psalms which could be used for a few weeks at a time and now I’m composing music for at least one psalm per week. They’re never going to be chart-toppers, that’s not the idea. I just want to write music that is singable for the average person. I try to make it a little bit interesting without making it difficult.

Here is a list of my compositions (original or updated) since October 2020:

  • Mass for Peace
    • Glory to God
    • Alleluia
    • Lenten Gospel Acclamation
    • Holy Holy
    • We Proclaim Your Death
    • When We Eat This Bread
    • Save Us, Saviour
    • Amen
    • Lamb of God
  • Psalm 96 (Christmas)
  • Psalm 50 (Common Psalm for Lent)
  • Psalm 21 (Palm Sunday)
  • Psalm 117 (Common Psalm for Easter)
  • Psalm 97 (6th Sunday of Easter Year B)
  • Psalm 46 (Ascension of the Lord)
  • Psalm 103 (Pentecost)
  • Psalm 32 (Most Holy Trinity)
  • Psalm 115 (Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ)
  • Psalm 91 (11th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B)
  • Children of God (an Easter Offertory)

I should acknowledge the assistance of my long-suffering husband who, with his perfect pitch and incomparable sense of rhythm, has helped me when I’ve hit a snag or two.

My greatest challenge now is not to avoid writing in a minor key but rather to play the notes as composed. Today I fudged two bars of the psalm at Mass because even though I wrote it I’d never actually played it until I was there singing and playing with a full congregation in front of me!

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Rubber blog

No post to speak of today. I’m too tired. I had a big day which included supporting my daughter at her soccer game.

But here are two pictures I took at the game today.

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The June you Blog

The hidden song titles are proving to be too easy for one particular player. I have substituted two words in this title and it happens to be one of my absolute favourite songs of all time.

Now, on to the post…which, like many others this week, is a backdated one for reasons I shall outline below.

I’m forever being admonished for “overdoing it”. I’m not entirely sure what I’ve overdone. I get that they’re saying I should be less busy but I’m not sure how I got to be busy in the first place. I don’t think the blame falls completely at my feet. I know I’m not good at saying “no” but it’s not like I seek out things to do and hoard all the jobs.

It almost seems like victim-blaming to say that the culpability for my busyness and subsequent exhaustion falls fully to me. The people who land these jobs in my lap know me and know my capabilities. Perhaps they consider me more capable than I really am. Perhaps they aren’t aware that I don’t have the bottomless pit of energy and commitment that I once had.

Once upon a time, I was a single person with no children and friends who were geographically distant from me. Time was something I had plenty of. I willingly took on jobs that I enjoyed or felt that I could take some satisfaction in doing.

do ALL the THINGS - do ALL the things!!!!1! | Meme Generator

Then I got married. Still no kids at that point. The friends were still geographically distant or I was able to connect with them through the jobs I took on. I got involved in my professional association and made my social life revolve around my life as a librarian. I was often mistaken for ambitious. I never felt that I was. I was just committed to being the best, most informed and connected librarian I could be. The desire to be connected professionally really speaks to how disconnected I was in other parts of my life. My professional connections turned into personal ones and I still count those people as some of my dearest friends. My second marriage was actually to one of these professional connections!

That second marriage led to my family increasing by one and probably my greatest life achievement. My daughter. Hands down the most perfect thing I have ever created. With her in my life I did manage to divest myself of some tasks but I think I took on others so the end result was that I was just as busy but with different things.

Then I had a stroke. My commitments slowed down but really only for a month or so. It was a life-changing event which has left me with permanent disability and yet it you’d be forgiven for thinking I was charged with superpowers. For it was shortly after the stroke that I became as busy as I have ever been in my life.

Here I am now three years post-stroke and think I need a personal assistant to help me stay on top of my life. Either that or just a big pause button that will stop time long enough for me to catch up with myself.

Posted in #blogjune, disability, Family, Life choices, Reflection, Stroke | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Baby Blogjune walk

I have almost no energy at all. I have realised that I missed two blog days this week so I shall update those tomorrow. This is literally a phone it in post as I am dictating this to my phone while lying in bed. I am seconds away from turning out the light and going to sleep.

All that remains is to say that the hidden song title game seems to be a two horse race. At least those two horses are enjoying it.

Please enjoy my latest TikTok.

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Wish you blogged here

Oh look! Another day fell down the time hole!

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Save your blogposts for June

I recently attended a seminar run by parenting expert, Justin Coulson. The session was mostly focussed on helping our children become resilient but the talk incorporated quite a number of other areas of interest to the parents assembled. One of the points that stuck with me was with regard to encouraging your child to get ready for school in a timely fashion. What parent hasn’t had to say at least once, “Hurry up or you’ll be late!”

The pattern for most people is to crack the whip and chivvy the child. This naturally creates resentment on the part of both the parent and the child. The child does not typically speed up as a result of this and all you’ve done is create tension and damage the relationship.

Dr Coulson’s message was to turn correction and direction into connection. This sounded very catchy and buzzwordy as he said it but it made a lot of sense. The edifying thing for me was that many of the strategies he suggested for creating that connection are already a part of our daily life with our daughter. That’s not to say I didn’t learn anything new from attending the seminar. I certainly did. But what I really took away from it was something that he was not there to talk about.

Since having the stroke, I am not able to be as present a parent as I was prior to that life-changing event. My near-constant fatigue means I can’t keep up with the activities of life going on around me. My physical deficits mean that I am rarely able to pick my child up. That’s not so much of an issue now that she’s nearly 7 but I missed out on the years of picking up for cuddles since she was 3. That’s time I’ll never get back. Even now, there are so many things she needs or wants me to do that I’m simply not able to do. Is it any wonder that I think I’m failing her as a mother?

So my big takeaway from the seminar was that even though I’m not doing all the usual things that we associate with being a “good mum” I’m doing other things which build my connection with my child. I show her how much I love her in so many other ways. She comes to me for cuddles in my bed after her breakfast every single day…even the days when we are running a little bit late. There’s always time for cuddles. We sing in the car on the way to school every morning. I’ve been exposing her to a range of musical genres since she was in the womb so it’s no surprise to me that she has a complex array of likes and dislikes and I take pride in the fact that we often like different things. I didn’t have a child because I wanted a clone. She is very much her own person and I couldn’t be happier about that.

This morning I played a song for her for the first time. It came up randomly from my music library and I thought it was a cute one to introduce to her. We listened to it once. I sang along. She sometimes joins in if she knows it or can sense where the music is going. She didn’t join in today. I thought, oh well, no big deal. I asked if she liked it and she said she did. The next song came on (another new one for her) and she joined in within a few bars. I dropped her to school and thought nothing more of it.

This evening she came home and was singing that first song as she unpacked her bag and got ready for the evening routine. I think my heart just about burst on the spot. It was a reminder that those little moments, seemingly meaningless, are incredibly powerful. I’m not failing her. I’m raising a happy and incredibly resilient child. She’s had to cope with so much change in her few years on this planet and she does it all with a song in her heart…and sometimes it’s the same as the song in mine.

Today’s hidden title has two changed words and it is the title of the song in the subject of this post.

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Free bloggin’

Well, the musical challenge/hidden song title game is going well. Today’s might be a little bit more challenging.

I’m pretty exhausted today, having gone to the gym on a day that I wouldn’t normally. Throwing additional physical activity into my week is dangerous at the best of times. Husband joined a gym and I went along as a guest. I did pretty much the same kind of routine that I do regularly with my exercise physiologist. I was just about completed when The gym trainer came over and offered an orientation. I was happy enough to go along with that when I thought it was just a look around the facilities. It turned into and additional 30 minute workout routine.

I’m used to pushing my physical limits. I have to in order to stimulate brain function in my dead spot. However, when pushing the limits results in near catastrophic bodily failure, I need to question the value of that effort.

Today’s effort was beyond the acceptable limits. I’m going to seriously pay for this. I can feel the storm clouds brewing.

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