Thursday, 29 December 2011

Laughter and being talkative...

I don't think I have ever laughed more than I have laughed in the last couple of weeks.

Most of the things TLOML and I laugh about are too silly to describe...  I could say "you had to be there" but even that was not enough for the poor girl sharing the row with us on the plane.  Last night, taking my nightly meds, we were giggling, as we so often do, when TLOML pointed out that I was laughing too much to take my antidepressants!  If laughter is the best medicine I can probably cease all other treatment!

One of the really strange things that has happened to me, since this wonderful falling in love experience began, is that I have become incredibly talkative... a real chatterbox.  Anyone who knew me as a kid will not be at all surprised because I was quite hyper-communicative as a kid...  I laughed a LOT, smiled a LOT and got the gabbles with monotonous regularity.  My mouth was constantly struggling to keep up with my brain.

I wrote in a blog a few months ago that vim and vigour had vamoosed and that being in pain and somewhat fatigued all the time had removed my "live wire" personality.  Well no sooner do I write the words than this miracle comes into my life and makes me a liar!  Suddenly I am animated again, enthusiastic and effervescent; suddenly I am busting to talk about everything and to tell my stories...  I have again developed verbal diarrhea!  Just like the old days!

TLOML and I are quite alike in many ways (aside from sharing the same unusual name) we are both lively and excitable, talkative and giggly, thank Herbert we both love those qualities in each other as well.  Back when we were at school together (over three decades ago) we used to get into trouble for talking and giggling together and not much has changed.

But everything had changed...  I had lost that zest for life, that certain joie de vivre that had been such a hallmark of my childhood and early adulthood.  I think I had become grumpy and even at times perhaps ... morose... (eep that is hard to admit).  I'm trying not to be too hard on myself about this because it really was situational...  I have been through some very difficult times and suffered some gut-wrenching losses.  On top of that my vitality, which was such a part of my very identity, had flickered to a barely discernible glimmer.

My mother (my oft quoted mother whose death was one of those gut-wrenching losses) always said it was "darkest before the dawn".  In this case she was so SO right.  Things were pretty grim.

Well not any more!

I am still hurting.  I still NEED to be horizontal.  I still get tired far too quickly.  My balance is still crappy. But things have changed in so many ways and for the better.  When I'm hurting TLOML asks me what I need and how she can help.  When I need to be horizontal I often have company and laughter.  When I am tired I am soothed and spoiled and brought cups of tea and loved and cared for.  When I stumble or lose my balance TLOML is there to hold my hand and steady me.

There is no doubt in my mind that I am the luckiest woman on earth, not only for the love and care I receive, but for the laughter and chatter that fill our days and envelop us in a giant bubble of happiness.

In spite of this nasty condition my old talkative self is back with a vengeance!

Monday, 26 December 2011

Christmas in the tropics

I must apologize in advance that my brain has turned to mush and I have lost any pretense of incisive wit or erudite commentary on the world at large.

Yesterday, on Christmas day, TLOML and I rose very early and headed to the airport (her lovely and dutiful brother gave us a ride), we set out on less than four hours sleep.  I think we could both have been forgiven for being crabby, overtired and short tempered.  Two flights, an hour waiting, twice, in two different airports, I think grumpy is understandable.  On the first flight someone had put their bag in the overhead locker over me and their water (I hope it was water) had dripped through the side of the bulkhead and poured down on my shoulder.  At the airport mid way, we both, in turn, waited through long rest room queues.

Well, I have to admit that I am playing with you, dear reader...  We were unfazed by any obstacle.  Never has flying time or waiting time gone by more quickly.  Any thoughts of naps on the plane fell by the wayside in paroxysms of giggles and almost uncontrollable laughter.  The flight attendant was so delighted with our laughter over the dripping locker that he gave us a bottle of wine.  On the second flight we happily played hangman for over an hour and laughed so much that the man in the seat ahead of us was giving us dirty looks.  Laughter is very disruptive.

TLOML has some really wonderful friends here.  We were picked up from the dock and dropped to her house and then we dropped by to her best friend's house where we hung out in the pool and ate delicious Christmas leftovers.  In the evening we went to another of her friend's houses to a party that was full of really terrific people who were good fun, welcoming, and easy going.  Lots more laughter and lots more yummy food (including a home made rocky road that was absolutely sinfully decadent!!!).

Today has been outrageously slothful including eleven (yes count them, eleven) hours sleep overnight AND a mid afternoon nap of over two hours!  One of my best friends from the US, and her girlfriend, called on skype and the four of us chatted.  TLOML went to make a cup of tea and I told my friends how incredible all this is...  There has not been a single thing that has been obstructive or difficult, every potential obstacle resolves itself before we reach it, I told my fellow ex-Minnesotan friends that it feels like driving behind the snowplow!  Every step we take seems to have been cleared in advance of our arrival.  Falling in love has never been so easy nor has it ever seemed so natural and perfect before.  The unbelievable fact that this amazing and beautiful woman loves me too is just the most incredibly fantastic and awesome event in my life!  (Have I included enough superlatives in that sentence?)

Right now I am lying naked in her bed while a balmy breeze blows through the window, the sun is setting and I have a view of tree covered hills, palm trees, and (just so I don't forget I am in Australia) there are gum trees moving in the breeze.  TLOML is making dinner (which has just started to smell delicious), she has popped outside to put her chooks (chickens) away for the evening, a kookaburra is laughing in the distance...  It is idyllic.

Can you blame me for letting my brain turn to mush?

Saturday, 24 December 2011

I survived

Actually I survived and perhaps even prospered.

It is midnight and Christmas just began with a kiss...

In four and a half hours we have to get up and go to the airport from whenc. we shall jet away to TLOML's island home.

The family do today was very nice and went quite well.  I think we were all being rather careful to stay on our best behaviour but it was successful.  My step-sister really rose to the occasion and kept the conversation light, bubbly and inclusive, my nephews were terrific and my straight brother and I exchanged phone numbers and even shared a chuckle or two.  The Boy was charming but a little distant and I am glad he had the opportunity to spend some time with his cousins.  All in all not too bad!.

The evening was spent with TLOML's brother and his family and The Boy and I could not have felt more welcome.  It was a lovely evening capped off by a call from TLOML's niece who is in Germany.  She especially wanted to talk to TLOML and I which was really special and inclusive.

Things are going pretty damn well actually!

I need to talk about the physical stuff soon but I just don't have time for now... surviving on that front has been a bit more of a challenge but more on that later.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Gush, swoon, gush...melt...swoon

I have been having a wonderful time with TLOML.  We have spent time with her brother and his family and it has been really delightful to see people interacting with her and loving her.  They are a loving family and clearly she brightens their world as she does mine.

There has not been even one thing that has not gone beautifully.  I feel like I am living in a love story, I would say a romance novel but there has been no conflict or crossed wires to hang a plot upon... We are actually sickly sweet and swooningly into each other.  She is very solicitous and thoughtful; in some ways more sensitive about my need to conserve energy and take it easy than I am. I'm loving being cared for and cared about but I do get a bit stubborn about wanting to contribute.

Today we did a massive shop because tonight we are having a dinner party.  While up at the mall I took her in and introduced her to my little mate at the optometrists (he agreed with me that she is beautiful and was very happy for us).  Mostly we have been spending time with her friends and family which is wonderful for me.  I don't have to carry the conversations and I can sit back and watch her interacting with her people.  Tonight we are having two other lesbian couples for dinner.  The first couple are the people we stayed with when TLOML first arrived.  Lovely women, her long time (childhood) friend and the friend's Irish partner.  The other couple are friends of mine, my long LONG ago (early 80's) first serious girlfriend (actually the first person I was ever in love with) and her terrific current partner, who I have only met twice but who I really liked on sight.  It should be a good evening.

I'm going to make some garlic prawns and scallops and serve them over French bread and then we are also going to have roast pork, apple sauce, and some baked potatoes and pumpkin with steamed green veggies too.  It has been fun planning together and shopping for dinner.  I'm lying here getting some horizontal time while TLOML makes us some lunch.

My Gay Brother has reached out to me which is fabulous and he and his partner will be down in Sydney on Friday evening in time for us all to go and have dinner.  That will be the first and only introduction of TLOML to my family this Christmas...  Well not including The Boy - he will be getting home tomorrow (Thursday) and I'm picking him up at the train station at sparrow's fart.  I expect he will meet with TLOML some time tomorrow, maybe in the evening.

All the pieces just seem to keep falling into place for us, I can't believe how wonderful things are, how natural and perfect it all feels, how compatible we are.  I am spending a LOT of time feeling incredibly grateful to Herbert.  I was so low so recently that it is hard to believe this spectacular turn of events.  Sometimes I just smile and shake my head and I can hardly believe that it is the other Displaced from school...  Of all the people in the whole world WE have fallen in love with each other after 31 years apart.  In all honesty I am having to downplay this for you or you would all have to be taking turns at throwing up!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

EXTRA EXTRA Read all about it!

Quick post... women in love don't have much time for writing...

Things are kicking arse and taking names here, going gang busters, awesome, wonderful, phantasmagorical even!!!  Those of you who predicted that I would indeed find true love (here two months to the day ago) were RIGHT!!!

TLOML is everything I could have ever dreamed of ... words escape me... (clearly I have got it really bad!!!)  In my wildest dreams I never imagined that I would have a woman as fabulous as she fall in love with me.  I am totally smitten, overwhelmed by her humour, her beauty, her kindness, her loving approach to life, and quite frankly everything about her!  I'm like the cat who got the canary and I am spending part of every day saying... "pinch me is this real?"

Christmas is looming...  We spent time with her family today and I know now that after enduring, and hopefully surviving, our Christmas-family-stress-out The Boy and I will both be welcome to join their family for the evening.  We will get to see people being loving towards each other (for a change)...

TLOML is busy telling me that I should not put her on a pedestal and that she is far from perfect...  I know, I know... I'm not unrealistic I just know, and acknowledge, a good thing when I see one!!!  

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Dear Mum, Happy Birthday.

Dear Mum,

today is your birthday and you would have been turning 94. Every year since you died I have written about you and told my friends what a wonderful woman you were and how much you will always live on in my heart. Yet every year since you died I have not been able to speak clearly of my own life because I have known that you would have been worried for me and perhaps disappointed.

When I went back to the US after your death I seemed to draw some strength from you and I found my spine and almost immediately extricated myself from the terrible relationship I was in at that time. I just knew that you would never have wanted me to be abused and manipulated as I had been.

Finally, three years after your death, I have things happening in my life that I know would make you happy. I've been living in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, in your old stomping ground, and the memories of you, my aunts and uncles and my cousins, are very strong nearly every day. You are omnipresent in my mind.

I know you often thought my partners didn't treat me well enough. I always knew the bias of your love and the way you so selflessly cared for the boys and me. I knew that your standard was virtually unobtainable. But Mum, I think I've found the one you would have loved. She is everything the others lacked, soft and good humoured, ready to laugh, kind, caring and oh so very loving.

I sometimes wonder if you would perhaps remember her, or at least remember my speaking of her. She doesn't recall ever meeting you but your steel trap of a mind would remember her if you had met when she and I were at school. I wish you were here to see how she loves me, I think you would approve. It's a bit like the one really good relationship I had, only better. I'm more ready now, Mum. I couldn't stay still before; I was stagnating.

All of my life you only ever wanted to see me happy and yet the last ten years of your life you saw me in almost every condition but happy. I'm happy now. Mum. For once I really think I am with someone you would have loved.

I'm sorry the boys and I have not stuck together, I know that was your dying wish, I will try – I will see them both at Christmas and I will forgive and be open to closeness with them. The Boy will see his cousins and I will take it all in for you. 

Happy Birthday.  I love you.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Old friends, New friends and friends becoming ???

What an interesting day it has been!

Today I went out to Parramatta and met up with The Boy and then we were joined by The Lioness and her lovely daughter for lunch.  The "kids" discovered a shared love of the TV series "Charmed" (I can't believe how into it they both were... discussing costumes worn in particular scenes!!!  I asked The Lioness if she could name the clothes worn by her favourite characters on MASH - Green Uniforms Of Course!!!  Life was simpler when we were kids LOL).

The Lioness is one of those people who I have loved since the day we met.  I remember well our meeting.  I had been cast in a student production of the play Woyzeck (A torturous painful story) and The Lioness was to design the costumes and the set.  I went back to her house for a cuppa that day and we have been friends ever since.  At times we have been disconnected by time and distance but I have never felt anything short of love for her.  Now here we are, each with a child who just finished school, all lunching together.  It was lovely and too brief but the love was strong and it always will be.

After lunch we popped in to visit some new friends.  I met her at the hospital on Eileen's birthday... the last time I saw Eileen.  The Boy and I became closer to her and her family at the funeral.  It was a lovely but brief visit.  Such warmth and kindness from new friends.  I have been giving her some business advice from my marketing days... I should have thought to take her a copy of my book... Sometimes I don't have the bright idea until too late.  Oh well - Next time!

Tonight is the last night before TLOML arrives in Sydney tomorrow afternoon.  For some reason I seem to have reached a place of calm certainty.  Suddenly I'm not as nervous as I was.  I'm not as excited as I was.  I'm not as wound up by it all.  I just feel very calm and steady.  I feel very warm and comfortable and loving - not nearly so frenetic as my energy has been in the lead up.  Almost fatalistic.  In truth what can we be but fatalistic?  It will be what it will be and I will always treasure this time, this phase; it has its own merit and value.  It's too late to start trying to make myself beautiful - that project should have been commissioned twenty years ago!

In my life I have only ever met two women who bear my name.  One was a sales assistant in a department store when I was a kid... a stranger in a black dress who said "that's my name too".  The other was TLOML...  When I try to imagine how many people I have met in my life time it is inestimable.  The shared name is freaky weird but our relationship isn't freaky or weird in any way.  It just seems natural.  Whatever happens I know these things, we are both sensitive and kind people, we are both honest, there will be nothing harsh or unfeeling.

And who knows... this could be it... this could be forever... maybe we really are living in a love story!  It sure feels like it!

Monday, 12 December 2011

Thoughts on vulnerability...

I was raised by the ultimate stoic.

"Never let them see they've hurt you."
"Never let the bastards get you down."
"Don't give them a victory by letting them see you are upset."

I'm a pretty obedient person in most ways and I took these messages to heart.  I worked on trying to always hide any hurt I felt.  I can't begin to tell you how much time I spent crying in the bathroom on my visits to my father's house as a kid.  It felt like I was always suppressing tears, always trying to recompose my face so that I could get out of the bathroom and face people.

School was similar.  I remember countless times trying to hide my pain or trying to hide the effects of tears.  I was bullied and teased.  One might call it harassment   It peaked in 9th grade.  That was the time when the "wild girls" were really wild!  They were vicious, cutting and relentless.  I went to a private girl's school in Sydney and teenage girls can be completely heartless.

There was a moment in year 10, I think, but it might have been year 11, when I accidentally overheard something that changed the way I think about the face you show to others.  I was at school with a girl who is now very successful and quite well known in the UK and here in Australia too,  I will call her The Chef.  In year 9 The Chef was one of the cool girls, she was rather mean and was definitely a wild girl but with the passage of time we became friends.  We used to have a double free period between recess and lunch in year 12 and she and I would to jump in her car and go out to Watson's Bay and sit on the pier eating fish and chips.  We played hooky together and contemplated life, the universe, and everything,  Back to year 10... The Chef and I were in our transition from enemy to friend.  On day I was in the bathroom shut in a cubical.  I heard the door crash open and the sound of someone crying, within moments the door crashed open again and I heard one of the teachers speaking to The Chef.  The teacher was making consoling noises, trying to calm her down.  I didn't quite know what to do.  I was accidentally privy to a very private moment.  I remained silent.  Then I heard The Chef say something that really impacted my attitude to vulnerability.  With a tear-stained voice she said, "Why can't I be more like Displaced?  None of these people ever upset her."

I was STUNNED!  Totally gobsmacked.  I was stunned for a number of reasons... Firstly I was surprised that my act had worked - I had completely fooled this person who had been one of my tormentors.  Secondly I was stunned to find that she actually thought I wasn't hurt.  I was also really surprised to hear HER say something positive about me, as if SHE admired me.  At that moment I began to wonder if maybe my mother's methods were not the ideal methods for me.  Perhaps if I were to show my pain more people would realize they are hurting me and back off.  Perhaps it wasn't all about victory and winning.  Since that day I have always been more cognizant of my feelings and of how much I repress them.  I have worked on becoming more open and honest about my vulnerability.

Today I saw my Psychologist.  I was talking about the forthcoming Christmas affair.  The subject rolled around to how I handle my condition, my disability, with them.  Instantly I knew that I would suck it up and fake it until I couldn't stand it any more.  I have tried to talk to some members of my family about my condition but they just don't seem to get it.  I get a lot of comments like "yeah getting older sucks" and "oh me too I get a bit of arthritis in my knee now"  They just don't seem to get that I am in constant pain and that I am immobilized by breakthrough pain.  They don't hear me when I say I am having terrible fatigue.  I share the responsibility for this.  I have a really hard time letting people I don't completely trust know my soft spots.  There is not a lot of trust here.  I am loath to show my weakness.  This is really adding to my stress level as regards the Christmas gathering.

Between seeing the Psychologist and starting to write this blog I received a couple of really nice messages from my nephew.... "Hello Aunty"...  I haven't seen him since he was about 4, he is a little younger than The Boy.  This is the first time we have messaged on Facebook, though I do keep an eye on his posts and occasionally I comment.  He is really excited about everyone being together for Christmas...  Maybe it will be okay.

Vulnerability has gotten me in trouble many times.  I have revealed something personal to the wrong person and had them use that information against me.  Betrayal has been a painful recurring factor of my life.  Yet I open my heart and mind through this blog every day.  Why is that different?  How come I can trust the stranger who is reading this *waving* and not my own family?  I strive to be as open and as vulnerable as possible in this fledgling relationship; I don't want to start a new life on a false or brittle foundation.  I know I can survive almost anything.  I know because I have been to the depths of despair and I have lived.  Trust is a precious and fragile thing, no amount of superglue can put it back together once it has been shattered.  How many layers of positive and caring interaction does it take to cover the cracks of broken trust?  Too many.

Yesterday I was sent a link about 30 things to STOP doing to yourself ... I found it pretty interesting.  The first one is to stop spending time with people who suck the happiness out of you...  Hmmm... It has been very thought provoking.  We'll see.

Health/Love Update - Counting down!

Today I had my last visit for the year to Professor McCool. 
He, like everyone who sees me, couldn't help but notice the elevation in my mood and energy level.  It was an uneventful visit comprised of reports on a series of negatives.  They say you can't prove a negative and I suspect that is the problem with rotten old Fibromyalgia.  Until they can find some specific physiological symbol we are just a bunch of people with a range of similar symptoms who aren't testing positive to any of the things that could be causing our problems.

Good news was that the MRI was totally clear and my brain (and I resent this comment) "is perfectly normal".  Aside from the slight against my exceptionalism it really was very good news.

I don't have any of the odd things he was looking for.  There are still some irregular markers of an auto-immune condition in my blood but whatever it is has decided to remain anonymous.  He did tell me to go ahead and take the Lyrica prescribed by the Pain Clinic, but he was concerned that it would need to be increased and the Pain Clinic doc had not allowed for that in the script.  I was on Lyrica for a while in the US (before I ran out of health insurance) and it had no effect but who knows?  It's worth a try.

I have been feeling pretty good lately.  Fatigue levels are quite low, baseline pain is manageable and breakthrough pain is nasty but at least it isn't constant.  It might not surprise you that this growing thing with TLOML is keeping me pretty excited and upbeat.  We are down to counting hours (being inside 3 days).  In the last few days we have progressed to talking on Skype.  

It's interesting but this relationship has moved through these stages of growth in such a way as to remind me of when The Boy was young.  Those of you who are parents will probably identify with this metaphor.  You have a baby and it stays whereever you put it then it starts to roll over and sit up and you LOVE the new stage but a part of your mourns the old one...  Then the baby starts to walk or crawl and becomes mobile and you LOVE the new phase but you mourn the one that has passed... Then they become fully fledged toddlers and you LOVE etc etc... Then you have a school child and you LOVE etc etc and so on through to adulthood.  I distinctly remember the pain of knowing that my baby wasn't a baby any more, my little kid was a teenager, my teenager is a man...  I have felt this way during the growth of this relationship... we started with instant messages... moved to texts... to phone calls... to skype... in less than three days we will be together.  Each phase has its joys and leaving each stage has been a little bit scary, a little bit sad, and a big bit exciting!

I saw a documentary a while back (I have tried to find information on it unsuccessfully) in which scientists identified scent profiles and who would likely be attracted to them.  Then set a bunch of hetero people loose in a cocktail party kind of environment with instructions to sniff the necks of the people of the opposite sex.  They then compared the participants statements of how attracted they were to the various opposite sex participants.  The interesting thing was that there was a strong correlation with the chemical analyses prediction and the anecdotal reports.  Their conclusion was that we are pre-programmed, chemically, to be attracted to certain scents.  It appears TLOML and I have only the scratch and sniff component of this relationship to confirm.  We are wondering if the scent profile for people who like each other as friends is the same or different... Mostly because we already liked each other all those years ago when we were nearly blank slates.

Between you and me (and the giant internet stranger who might be reading this) I think the pheromone check is almost a formality *Smile*...  I just hope I can live up to her expectations.

Stay tuned for more news ... same bat channel... same bat station!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Women Do Something (Continuing the conversation)

A couple of weeks ago I attended an event called Women Say Something and, naturally because I tell you guys almost everything, I blogged about it.  Thanks to that first event and the wonders of Facebook I am now hooked in to some super cool active women, the kind of women who get off their arses and make an event like this happen.  It seemed natural that I would go to the follow up event, after all it was free and I am broke, it's about feminist issues and I'm a feminist.  Best of all the event was attended by the fabulous Kimberly Dark.

Kimberly is a sociologist and a story teller.  She uses humour, irony and anecdote to open our eyes to the strange and interesting diversity of thought and perspective in our world.  I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to attend and to enjoy her work.

Me under the star with the star of the show, Kimberly Dark.

Lots of very interesting topics were raised and discussed by the group.  Many would be worthy of exploration and commentary.  The thing that resonated with me most intensely was the need to hold to our beliefs and represent our points of view every day in as many situations as we encounter.  One articulate young woman pointed out that thirty or forty years ago there was a huge gap in equality, it was blatant and gaping.  It was easy to see the cause, to know what was needed in the fight for Women's Liberation, for the Women's Movement, for Feminism.  So many things have changed and so many barriers have been broken down that it is more difficult than it was back then to simplistically categorize the target.  Yet inequity still exists in every arena.  As the young woman put it, "there are many small gaps rather than one large one".

I can't remember a time in my life when I did not believe that we influence the world one person at a time.  Mostly, on a day to day basis, I just try to make people smile in the hopes that they too will make someone else smile.  Long before that disgusting schmaltzy movie "Pay It Forward" claimed the high ground I believed in the difference small interactions can make.  As a lesbian I have always been "Out and Proud" in virtually every situation I have lived through.  This is how you combat homophobia.  You keep showing people that gay people are just normal everyday people like them, they/we are their friends, co-workers, family etc.  I don't think anyone has ever said this better than Hilary Clinton did recently at the Human Rights Day in Geneva, here courtesy of the Huffington Post is a transcript of her brilliant speech..  I digress...

Feminist is (as Girlwiththecane said in a comment on the last blog) still a dirty word..  But I don't really care what we call it (though it would be convenient to have a title that symbolically represented basically the same thing to everyone) but I do care about women and equality.  I believe we need to not shirk the day to day responsibility of having the courage of our convictions.  The courage to clearly state what we believe and why it matters to us.  I believe that we need to be Out and Proud as women and as feminists (regardless of the title).  We are 51% of the population, the world over, and we own less than 1% of the world's property.
Courtesy of Girl's Guide to Taking Over The World

This fight has not been won.  
This struggle is not over.  
This complacency is killing us.  

Every day in every interaction, we, the ordinary people not just the high profile organizers and activists, WE need to take this debate to our friends, our co-workers, and our families...

Stand up and be counted or stand down and be trodden on.

(As an aside some of the women were kicking on for a drink at my old stomping ground The Imperial but unfortunately I was starting to get that urge to be horizontal so I gave it a miss... maybe next time!)

Saturday, 10 December 2011

What a difference a month makes...

One month ago I posted a blog


In that blog I made a series of wishes.  Strange events have been afoot since I broadcast my wish list into The Universe (aka Herbert).  Many of my wishes were for the planet and for all people and it's hard to tell if they are coming true.  Six of the wishes were specifically for me.  At the time that I wrote the blog times were pretty tough for me.  I was seriously flaring and in a lot of pain and I was dragged down by tremendous fatigue.  I had other basic personal issues that were causing me a great deal of anxiety too.  I felt unloved and unlovable.

The 11th of November was a Friday.  I was born on a Friday.  "Friday's child is loving and giving".

The 12th of November just happened to be the birthday of one of my old friends from high school.  We were connected on Facebook and you know how you get the birthday notification?  Well I left her a brief happy birthday message.  Later that afternoon I saw, for the first time, that she was online.  I umm'd and ahhh'd about sending her a chat message; I didn't want to intrude.  Finally I decided to say "hi" and ask if her birthday was going well.  My entire world has changed because of that message.  I know that seems a little drastic but it is completely true.  My old school friend is TLOML.  We started talking and we have not stopped.  She is everything I never dared to dream of in a partner and for some strange cosmic reason she seems to adore me too.

On the 14th of November I had my first appointment with the Immunologist Professor McCool.  He has taken an aggressive approach to trying to identify all the various issues that are plaguing me.  He has also put me on an anti-depressant for pain.  I have been doing better since I started to see him and I feel a real sense of security as his patient.

Since the day I made those wishes I can honestly say that each of the six wishes, that was personal in nature, has been positively impacted.

  • I am more healthy - not perfect but substantially improved
  • I am loving and I am loved in return
  • I have the hope of a safe and comfortable environment in which to live
  • I do not have as many things that are worrying me
  • I have laughed more in the last month than in the 12 months before combined
  • I have been spending a lot of time with interesting, caring, socially conscious people and there is the a promise of much more to come in that area
So there you have it.  It has been quite the turnaround.  In the last month I have fallen in love with someone I have liked and respected for over 30 years.  I have gone from quite a dark and depressing situation to one of great hope.  I feel easily twice as good as I felt then.  Maybe I am just high on that drug money can't buy or maybe ... just maybe ... Herbert has decided it's my turn to have some of my dreams come true.

Makes me wonder if maybe I should have wished for buckets of money too... oh well... money is nice but it can't hold your hand when you are feeling crappy, it can't make your heart leap and your eyes glow, it can't open your mind and enlighten your conscience, it can't make a beautiful woman swoon (well not the kind of woman I would ever be interested in).

The more I talk with TLOML the more it seems that we were kind of destined to be close.  We share strange things.  Other than our time at school together there have been numerous times we were in the same places, frequenting the same haunts.  Here is a little list of some of the odd coincidences.
  • We have the same unusual name
  • Our Dads were both doctors
  • Our Dads left our mothers when we were the same age (6)
  • We both have older brothers (her one me two)
  • We are both the youngest child
  • We both had step-mother issues
  • Though I come from completely the other side of town my step-mother took me shopping as an 8 yr old in her neighbourhood (she and my Dad lived there when they were first married)
  • She knew my first cousin before she ever met me
  • We swam at the same harbourside beach as kids - we might have even played together who knows?
  • Then we were at school together and sat side by side in Geography and Home Room
Although we have not seen each other since school....
  • We attended the same University, and took the same subject, in the same year
  • We share several mutual acquaintances
  • We both lived in the same rural region during the 1990's
  • She worked at a place that I have been to many times
Now to the present
  • Her nephew is in the same class at school as The Horsewoman's daughter (which is why I got a weird facebook friend suggestion for the lad - we had two mutual friends)
  • The Horsewoman sat next to TLOML's brother and sister-in-law at a school function recently
  • We are both single
  • We are both 49
  • We are both ready to make a relationship that buries forever the dysfunction of our previous relationships
  • We are both crazy about each other!!!
Now I understand that Australia is not as heavily populated as the US but Sydney is a city of over five million people.  These kinds of things don't happen every day.  You talk about five degrees of separation.... try heaps of versions of one and two degrees of separation?  It feels like all roads lead to TLOML and I might have been a moron not to get the message any sooner!!!

In reality it is the right time and the right place... I think we are both ready to be happy and I am enjoying every second and valuing it as a gift from Herbert!

Batting out a quick blog!

Well I have had a really lovely day today.  Sydney was looking sparkly and bright, not too hot and not too cold... beautiful one moment and perfect the next! (to steal the old Queensland advertising slogan). 

First I got to have a wonderful long talk on the phone with TLOML and everything is copacetic and blissful in that direction.  (Only 5 days until she is here!!!)  Then I went over to visit with my friend The Actress and her delightful hubby The Percussionist, I got to gush over these developments in my personal life and bored them silly I am sure.  We went to see one of the houses on their street go up for auction, which was very interesting.  I spent a few years working as a Realtor back in Minnesota so I found that quite educational.  

Then I wandered off to visit with The Best Friend and her wonderful hubby The Optimist and they were having seafood night!  Yahoo!!  I brought the wine and we enjoyed fabulous garlic prawns and then fresh crabs (that were sweet and succulent and totally delicious).  Then we had a beautiful fruit salad with banana, mango, and peaches - to die for I swear!  The Boy was there and it was great to spend some time with him.  He was getting ready to go out with friends, hitting the town on Saturday night.  Had a cuppa with The Best Friend after dinner and bored her silly too.  My friends are so patient with me.

My fatigue level was really low which is wonderful and the baseline pain was totally manageable.  I have to say if every day was as good as today I think I could rule the world....  Not that megalomania runs very strongly in my veins.  

Now here I am.  Showered and clean , and sans all the crabby mess I acquired eating dinner and very shortly, probably the moment I post this blog, I will be settling in for a good night conversation with TLOML.  To put it bluntly... How much better does it get than this???  

The Universe (aka Herbert) was shining on me today!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Shopping... ugh...

The other day while I was waiting in the pain clinic I saw an advertisement on TV for some shoes.  I need some new shoes.  When I came home from the US I was RUTHLESS, I tell you, I was completely devoid of all RUTH!  Any shoes that were uncomfortable, worn, of just plain ugly were unceremoniously consigned to the Goodwill.  Any jeans or shorts that were too tight, same destiny.  (I still ended up with so much excess baggage to cost me nearly $1000 in baggage fees AND my carry-on bag was over 50 lbs and I couldn't lift it into the over-head locker without some help!)

Unfortunately among the rejects were some very nice semi dressy sandals that had a little heel (maybe an inch and a half), I used to wear them but the leather was a bit hard over my toes and they cut into my feet if I was in them for to long.  I also ditched my crocs (making The Boy happy because he thinks they are the ugliest shoes in the world) and my 'go to' comfy heels.  So anyway, the shoes advertised were very reasonably priced and I thought I might find something suitable there.  There was only one problem...  None of their stores are anywhere near where I live.

So today, after a pitiful night's (I say euphemistically) sleep I decided to head out to the factory outlet stores in the western burbs of Sydney.  In spite of the fact that I arrived only fifteen minutes after the centre opened there  was no handy parking, and there were definitely no disabled parking slots.  I'm not sure why but it seems here in Australia there are more "people with babies in prams" parking spots than disabled ones... I'm not sure why, but if I ever figure it out you will definitely hear from me.  I eventually found a parking spot and made my way into the stores.  The shoe outlet definitely did have lots of potentially suitable shoes but they only had a couple of chairs to sit in while trying on the shoes and working one-handed (as my other hand was busy with my portable banister) I juggled several pairs to try on.  I chose a nice pair of sandals with about a two inch heel and for good measure (and to annoy The Boy) I popped for the $5 for a pair of navy blue imitation Crocs too.  There is a reason I, a butchish lesbian, wear heels...  I know it seems a little incongruous but I have bilateral partial ruptures of my Achilles tendons and flat shoes cause all kinds of pain in that area (unfortunately heels cause all kinds of pain in other areas far to often).  A glance towards the two open registers showed lines of at least ten people each, so seeing as I was already there I decided to check out the jeans.  The good news is that I have lost about three inches around my waist!  (Never fear there is still plenty of me to go around, or should I say to be gone around?)  Anyway I did choose a pair of French blue jeans that I think look a little more flattering than the super baggy over-sized jeans I have been wearing lately.

Queues are NOT my friends.  Not only am I forced to be on my feet for much longer than is actually comfortable but I also have some issues about having strangers in my personal space and so I get a little anxious when I am in any kind of a "crush" of people.  I generally have to practice some self meditation to endure a queue, I picture golden sands, soft breezes, palm trees etc... I waited, for the most part with good grace, I did get a woman behind to hold my place for a moment while I grabbed a shirt for The Boy's Christmas present.  I finally paid and escaped and had a collapse for a few minutes on one of the couches in the middle of the passageway.  I did make one other purchase of a Christmas present from a cooking shop but by the time I was out of there I was seriously dragging my arse (which is ironically the antithesis of "hauling ass").  I was moving very slowly.  Normally my left side is much more painful than my right, for some reason, so I have become accustomed to holding my cane in my right hand but typically today, when I am also carrying shopping bags, my right knee decided to demand my attention.  It was very odd trying to coordinate with my cane in my left hand... it felt wrong.

When I got back to the car I was so relieved to flop into the seat that I just sat there for a while before pulling out, to the irritation of the people waiting for my spot.  I'm very happy to be home and horizontal again.  What an ordeal!

On a lighter note, today it is only six days until TLOML arrives for her first visit.  Things have been progressing very nicely on that front.  I still feel a little strange using her name and I'm not sure how comfortable I will be whispering "Displaced" to her in a tender moment, the idea of beginning a relationship with someone who has my name is kind of odd.  My friend The Mathematician calculated the odds of two people with our specific name becoming a couple and it came out to around one in a billion (based on name stats and population of the US, and a presumption of % of lesbians, and the eye of a frog and the hair of a stegosaurus, add water and stir).  It is entirely possible that we may actually be the ONLY couple in the world who share our particular name, which is really pretty cool I think!

It's no secret I am besotted!  I must say I have been getting a little anxious about our first meeting, the idea of my mental image of her combining with my memories of her from school and amalgamating into the reality of her live and in person sitting in my passenger seat is VERY exciting and a little frightening too!  Still, this experience is the best thing that has swum into my ken (to borrow from Keats) in many long and miserable years and win, lose, or draw I am grateful for every moment.

Rest assured - I will keep you posted!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Pain Clinic Update

Well, today was the day...  I couldn't sleep and woke very early after probably 4 hours of broken sleep.  I was very early to the appointment but it did mean I got a great parking spot!  (I always say I will never win the lottery because I use up all my luck on finding parking spots!)  The hospital is huge and it was still a very long walk through to the clinic (I wonder why they don't have moving footways like the airport?).

First I saw a psychologist and answered about 4,672, no hang on it was 4,676, questions.  Next I was meant to see a physiotherapist but the physio was off sick so I ended up with a wait of about an hour and a half before seeing the doctor.  I didn't have to exaggerate the pain today, though it was still a pretty good day by and large, all the sitting around was really starting to take a toll by the time I got in to see the doctor.

The doctor was young and very muscular, he was also very understanding and quite irritated by his pager that went off at least 6 times in the hour I spent with him.  He was very sweet doing a trigger point examination; he apologized each time I squealed and had to be scraped off the ceiling.  He diagnosed me with... wait for it... I hope you are on the edge of your seats...


Well that was a huge surprise, not the diagnosis I have known that for ages - a medical facility where they believe in FMS!

He has decided to put me back on Lyrica, which did nothing for me in the four and a half months I took it in the US.  Who knows, though, the dose might be different, I might respond differently.  He is also putting in an order for me to go into hydrotherapy which I think might be terrific except that there is not going to be an opening until next year and ... well... with the developments in my personal life I may well be in a completely different part of the country by the time they get me scheduled in.

The Lyrica is not covered by the government pharmaceutical benefits program but because I got the script filled at the hospital they only charged me the benefits rate which is pretty cool!  It also means that I will have to get to the hospital pharmacy at least once a month which is rather inconvenient.  Not that I mind if the damn thing is helping!!!  I did get the script filled but I have decided not to start taking it until I see Professor McCool on Monday.  I just feel like I trust him more to make sure there are not any harmful interactions with the other stuff he has me taking.

By the time I got back to the car I was really dragging pretty badly and I was in a lot of pain.  Straight home to the blissful relief of being horizontal.  I even had a nap - something I almost never do in the day time.  I'm still feeling exhausted and pretty sore but that's it for appointments for this week.  Back on the treadmill again  with McCool on Monday and McLovely on Tuesday.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Where's the catch?

Ok... hang on... let me check...

This is strange...  I'm not sure how to respond to this...  I don't know what to say...

I can't see anything about to slam into me at the moment...

Sssshhhhh... Keep this under your hat

Things are actually going well.  (Pause for explosion.)

Ok before I float away on a cloud of euphoria I need to remember to grab my parachute.

Ten days until TLOML arrives from her tropical paradise, jetting into Sydney specially to see MOI!!!  My mother always chastised me for wishing my life away when I said things like "I can't WAIT until she gets here!"  But it feels like an eternity.  Today I didn't have any appointments or any demands or plans so I have just hung out and done some reading and had a long bath.

On the health front I am actually feeling pretty good.  My arms are still a little weak and the vertigo is still hanging around so I'm wobbly but pain is the most manageable it has been for a good few months.

You know how when you take your car to the mechanic and say "It makes a grinding sound every time I turn left" and the mechanic does a test drive and it won't make the noise?  I suspect that might be going to happen to me on Wednesday.  I will be off to the pain clinic with less pain than I have experienced in MONTHS!

Why can't they give people pills full of endorphins?  Well I guess it is just a form of self created morphine.  I'm sure that's what is making the difference.  Talk about a drug of choice!  It's interesting in all of the fitness training I did when I was younger (including going all the way through the boot camp at the Police Academy for 4 and 1/2 months) I NEVER once had an endorphin high!  I have read that people with Fibromyalgia don't experience that, or was it the bloke in the video, the one from Stanford?  Oh well somewhere in the last week or so I have read that FMS endurers don't get the "runners high"...  THANK the Goddess/Universe/Herbert that I can get an endorphin high from falling in love!!!

I can't say I feel strong but I am experiencing less pain.  I'm toying with the idea of doing something to sabotage myself before Wednesday so that I turn up there feeling as crappy as I normally do.  Maybe a game of golf tomorrow if the weather clears?  That knocked me out for a week last time I tried it!  Ok I'm half kidding.  I really am very grateful that I'm feeling OK at the moment.  I've lost about 10 lbs in the last three weeks though it feels like more.  When I moved back to Oz from the US I didn't bring all the smaller sized jeans that didn't fit me, I figured it was silly carrying things I couldn't wear.  Now I really wish I had brought them 'cause I am stuck with all my big jeans.  I think a little shopping expedition might be in order tomorrow though I would have to get a great deal cause I am trying not to spend money too.  So many competing priorities, as per usual.

Please address all correspondence care of Cloud 9.

Friday, 2 December 2011

The Marriage Equality Rally

You guys are going to start thinking I am a professional protester!

I got the most wonderful parking spot, on the edge of Hyde Park, only maybe 100 metres from the rally stage.  I was alone.  Well alone with about five thousand people.  This is the first time I have been to Hyde Park since I moved back to Oz three months ago and it was a beautiful day.  I couldn't resist taking a few pics.
This is the Archibald Fountain and St Mary's Cathedral I just liked the way it was framed.

For some reason Apollo pointing at the spires of the cathedral appealed to my sense of the irreverent being that I was at a marriage equality rally.

The speakers were a little difficult to hear at times but the crowd was wonderful.  I listened to a conversation between a mother and her little boy who looked to be under 3.

Boy "Why are all these people here?"
Mother "For a rally darling"
Boy "What's a rally?"
Mother "It's a way for people to gather and show everyone what they think"
Boy "What do these people think?"
Mother "The want everyone to be able to marry whoever they love."
Boy "I don't want to get married"
Mother "Well maybe one day you will and you might want to marry a man or you might want to marry a lady and these people want you to be able to choose."

I caught the mother's eye accidentally and we exchanged a smile.

The entire time I was there the thing I heard more than anything was people on their mobile phones trying to direct other people to where they were.

"I see you - keep walking and then turn right."....
"Are you walking towards the fountain or away from it?"....
"I'm to the north side of the stage"...

On and on this went.  These people (most of whom were quite young) will never know the anxiety and irritation of searching for your friend in a big crowd, nor for that matter the excitement and pleasure of finding them!  Technology giveth and taketh away.

The speakers led the crowd in a selection of chants that would be used during the march.

"Gay straight black white - marriage is a civil right"
"Julia Gillard ALP - we demand equality"

It wasn't too long, maybe an hour, before the crowd headed off down Market St on the way to Darling Harbour to where the Australian Labor Party was having it's National Conference.  I decided not to walk along, I was a bit wobbly and it seemed a little far for me, I also would have had to come back to the car.  This is one of those times when it would be handy to have a scooter.  I followed in the car for a while taking note that all four of the mounted police were women (not the horsemen of the Apocalypse SotA girls!)
The four mounted police women at the back of the march.

I kind of tried to get down to Darling Harbour to meet the march at the end point but it turned out to be virtually impossible with the terrible traffic and the lack of parking.  By then I was feeling a bit pooped too so I headed for home.

I really wish TLOML had been here to go with me.  It would have been a lot more fun if I was sharing it.  This blog will have to suffice.

Marriage Equality...

There is a lot going on in Australia at the moment around the issues of same sex marriages and civil unions.
This rally is taking place tomorrow and I am considering attending (depending on how I feel and what else comes up between now and then).  The Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh, has weighed into the fray and is pushing for endorsement at the Australian Labor Party National Conference (where the march ends tomorrow).  Ms Bligh and her party enjoyed a success on Wednesday when Queensland passed a civil unions bill.  The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, clearly supported homosexual rights at some point as this image from her university days proves.

Personally, I don't know if I am really the marrying type but it does get me to thinking of how my life might be different if same sex marriages were legal and binding a couple of decades ago.  Now remember I have been an out and proud lesbian for close to thirty years.  So which of my partners would I have married?  How many divorces would I have under my belt by now?  Will I ever want to take advantage of this step towards equality in the future?

I'm pretty certain that I would have married at least once and possibly twice previously.  I might have married my long term partner, the one with whom I had The Boy but I'm not sure of that one... we were both pretty laid back and neither of us seemed to feel the need of a formal commitment.  I would definitely have married her if she had a strong desire to do so.  We were together for ten years.  On the issue of lesbians marrying and raising children I wanted to draw your attention to this wonderful video.  The articulate young man in this video would be a credit to any family.

The person I would definitely have married is my disastrous first American partner, I will call her Lucrezia (Borgia).  Possibly the worst relationship in my life, and definitely the most destructive and damaging, I can remember clearly a desperate desire to cement that union.  My life would have been very different if we had been permitted to marry.  The formal process of "Divorce" would have protected me from much of the damage caused by our separation. That's a really long story that I am not going to tell, but believe me I was royally screwed by the US Court system exactly because there was only civil litigation, and no divorce procedure, to resolve the dissolution of our partnership.

So I guess it is feasible that I would by now be twice divorced - that is not a pretty thought.  

The only time I ever did have any kind of commitment ceremony was not with either of these women.  It was with my lover before either of these and it was a terrific party!  Her friend, dressed as the Pope, pronounced us wife and wife "by the authority of the lady at the fancy dress shop".  We were genuinely expressing our love for each other but we were also looking for a good excuse for a party.  If it had been a real marriage, legal and binding, I actually don't think we would have done it.

TLOML and I have already talked about marriage.  It started with a text from me saying, "If we get married I am NOT going to take your name.  I'm sorry but I draw the line at that."  (Remember we both have the same rather unusual christian name.)  She quickly replied, "That's ok because I am more than happy to take yours".  I went on to suggest that it would be very difficult to sort the mail and she parried that we could hyphenate in reverse order.  Clearly we are kidding around... at least mostly...  

So here in this age of acceptance, this day of imminent same sex nuptials, I find that as much as I support the cause, as much as I believe in the principle and the necessity of complete equality, I personally am unlikely to take that step.  I don't need a piece of paper to validate my love and commitment.  I don't need external acknowledgement.  In some ways I would really rather keep the government out of my personal life as much as possible.  That said, if TLOML really wants it - count me in!