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Ready

We’re on the home stretch everyone, the end of school holidays is in sight! Oh I don’t mean to be one of ‘those’ parents that can’t wait for their kids to get back to school but I must admit this past week (or two) I’ve felt very ready. Ready for the little man to start school (well, as ready as I’ll ever be) and ready to go back to work. But more than that I’m just ready for a bit of routine and normalcy to come back into our lives. The past week has involved me driving in and out of the city to visit my dear friend in hospital every few days. Thankyou for all of your kind thoughts and messages after my brief mention of her in my last post; all of our prayers were answered and I’m so so happy to say that after coming far too close to loosing her, she’s on the road to recovery.

Our little man also seems to be going through an anxious time which he is expressing in the form of never letting me out of his sight…like literally. If I get up and walk into another room in the house he follows, if he needs to go to the toilet I have to go with him. It’s become a daily battle just to get him to let me have a shower and even then, half the time he ends up getting in with me. He’s been asked on play dates and sleepovers but refuses to go. “I just want to be near you always” he tells me. Sweet? Yes. Exhausting? Yes. As an introvert I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m craving my own space at the moment but I’m trying to be patient. I’m not entirely sure but I feel that the start of school looming may be the cause. A few other parents have suggested that might be it. We’ve been trying to down play the whole school thing but he’s a pretty smart kid and with everyone constantly asking him if he’s excited about going to school (of course no malice intended, it’s just because they’re excited for him) and the fact that mummy is soon going back to work, well, maybe he knows our time together is going to be limited. I’ve tried to talk to him about it of course, but I don’t really get any answers and so I just continue to try to be patient and reassure him that I’m not going anywhere.

And on top of all that, I’m readying myself to go back to work after a year of long service leave (has it really been a year?!) People ask me if I’m looking forward to going back and the honest answer is yes, yes I am. I have always enjoyed working, I like my job, I like the people I work with and I like to keep my mind busy. And, oh yeah, I like the extra income too 😜

So, with just one week left until school starts and another week after that work, I’m busy ticking off to do lists, buying school supplies and filling out calendars. Because in the midst of change, planning and being organised is what makes me feel calm…and ready.

How are you feeling about the return to school? Any first time school parents out there? And for all those parents who have done it all before…any advice for keeping my shit together would be greatly appreciated!

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Summer Holiday Memories

A little over two years ago we purchased an onsite caravan in a quiet little coastal town on the Bellarine Penninsula in Victoria. We wanted a getaway place for our family, somewhere we could escape to whenever we wanted or needed. We had hoped it would be a place where we could make many happy memories with our son; a part of his childhood that he would look back on fondly when he is a grown man. It’s proven to be one of the best decisions we ever made. We’ve just spent two glorious weeks at our little home away from home. Sometimes it was just the three of us, others times our caravan was filled with friends or family who came to visit and stay a night or two. We loved it all. When I think about our Summer holidays at our caravan here’s what I will remember:

– Watching our son make new friends, ride his bike and play outside every day until after dark.
– Slow mornings and snuggles in bed.
– The smell of sunscreen, insect repellent, the beach and BBQs.
– Taking the time to read a book..or two.
– Kevin, the old guy a few caravans down, telling us war stories from Vietnam.
– Drinking cider in the sunshine.
– The walk from the caravan to the toilet block, made many many times each day.
– John, the caravan park caretaker, doing his daily rounds, telling the kids to slow down, put their helmets on and stop jumping in the pool.
– The view of the ocean as you drive into town.                                                                – The day trips we took.                                  – Long chats with good friends.
– The donuts from the donut van at the pier; the best I’ve ever had.
– The clear night sky, filled with stars and the sound of silence (often experienced during an early morning dash to the toilet)
– Riding dogems cars at the local carnival.
– Swimming in the ocean.
– Family bike rides after dinner.
– Hunting for shells and skipping rocks on the shore.

We came home from our holiday a couple of days earlier than planned after getting some bad news about a dear friend. At the moment, we are still waiting for more news. I don’t mean to be vague; it’s just not my place to say anymore about that in this space but I also felt it was something I needed to acknowledged here. You see, we are currently in a state of limbo and it’s a strange thing that when terrible stuff happens life still goes on around it. And so it does; life goes on as we wait and those happy memories we made on our Summer holiday still remain, even with a tainted ending. Thankyou to everyone who has sent kind messages and well wishes, they are greatly appreciated.

What have you been up to these Summer holiday? Have you managed to get away?

 

 

 

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One Word

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and hopefully managed some time with your family and friends, away from the daily grind. I’m currently down the beach with my boys, enjoying a nice two week holiday.

It’s tradition at the start of a new year to make resolutions; promises to ourselves that we either will or won’t do something in the coming year. I’ve never been one for new years resolutions, it’s just not really my thing. But I know hat many other people choose a word, just one word, that they want to represent that coming year for them. I think this sounds kinda nice so I thought that this year, I would do that instead.

My word for 2017? Be.

Last year, I discovered I find it really hard to ‘just be’. I’m forever thinking ahead, planning, worrying, preparing for the next thing. That’s not always a bad thing of course; it’s good to have goals and things to look forward to but not when it’s to the detriment of enjoying the present moment. As my son starts school this year I have this overwhelming desire to just press pause on life. I just want to be.

Be still. Be present. Be in the moment.

Be happy. Be sad. Be excited.

Be curious. Be kind. Be myself.

Let it be.

Just be….

And so that is my word for 2017, just two little letters. BE.

Have you made any new years resolutions? If you had to choose one word for 2017 what would it be?

 

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True Friendship

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They say there are three types of friends in life; friends for a reason, friends for a season and friends for a lifetime. Growing up I always had friends. I wouldn’t have ever called myself popular but I always had friends, at least the type of friends one has when they’re young; friendships that are fickle. One day your ‘best friends forever’ and the next day you’re not. I’ve had many friends come and go over the years.

During my teenage years I had a close circle of girlfriends, we’d have sleepovers and pass notes to each other in class. Towards the end of high school I moved to a new town and changed schools and it left me in no mans land. I tried hard to stay close with my friends at my old school but always felt a bit out of the loop. I tried to make friends at my new school but never felt like I really fitted in.

Friendships in my twenties consisted of my then boyfriend (now husbands) friends and the people I worked with. Conversation basically revolved around what had happened on the night out before or work; even outside of work. But then we grew up. People broke up. Others finished their uni degrees and moved on to different work. To this day I remain in contact with a few of those original work friends, and one in particular has gone on to be one of my closest friends…we still bitch about work but our friendship these days is based on so much more than that.

Now I’m in my thirties (and a parent) and I feel like I’ve finally hit the golden years of friendship. It’s the years when you discover your best friends really are your husband, your mum and your sister. It’s the years where you figure out who you are, walk away from toxic friendships and have no time for people who only ever call when they want something. I’m surrounded by good people, good friends. There are those friends that I may not see that often but know if ever I need them, they’d be there in a second. We can go for months without seeing each other and it’s like time never passed.

Then there are those friends that I see more often, on a weekly or sometimes even daily basis. These friends have been my saving grace these past few months.
My bestie (who I’ve written about here before), she’s the one who waits for me in the car park everyday at kinder because for me, just knowing she is there if I have a panic attack is enough to make me not have one. She’s also the one I called the day I had a massive panic attack at the check out at the supermarket and I had to walk out leaving my trolley full of shopping behind. She was there within five minutes to pay for and collect my shopping. No judgement. Ever.

Then there’s the new friend I’ve made this year (who also happens to now be my boss) but who I feel like I’ve been friends with forever. She’s the one who’s reintroduced me to the art of the telephone conversation. When I first started working with her I would email her (having worked in local government for over a decade, that’s just the way we communicate) and then she would call me. I would text her and then she would call me. I pretty quickly figured out she liked talking on the phone, a rarity these days and so it was a weird for me to start with. But now? I love those daily (sometimes three or more times daily) phone conversations. We get each other, without need for explanation and that’s a really nice thing to have.

I am a firm believer in everything happens for a reason and I know the people who are in my life are meant to be here, right now, for a reason (and hopefully a lifetime). I now know exactly what true friendship is and I’m lucky to have an abundance of it in my life.

Are you surrounded by true friends?

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NaNoWriMo- What I Learnt

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As many of you would know, this year I signed up to participate in NaNoWriMo (national novel writing month) for the very first time. The goal? To write a 50,000 word manuscript during the month of November. I managed 12,227 words. Now, for me it was never really about the words, I said that right from the beginning, it was more about the experience. I have never written a book before, I’ve never even tried, so I was really interested to see how I would find it. NaNoWriMo was something I was using to hold myself accountable, to at the very least, make a start. I started off great, managing to keep up the first week or so but then it all got pushed to the side when my mental health took a nose dive. Then, the most important thing for me became that. The story went out of my head, the characters left because my mind was focused elsewhere, it needed to be. And that’s ok, life happens. I learnt so much in just that one week and 12,227 words that I certainly don’t regret signing up and I am far from feeling a failure. Instead I’m thinking about all the things I learnt and how they will help me become a better writer in the future.

Here’s what I learnt: 

I learnt about the gap. If you’re not aware of what the gap is, let me explain. The gap refers to that space between the story in your head and the story on paper. It goes like this: you think up this story is your head and it’s amazing. The characters are so real, the story is captivating. And then you go to write it and it just doesn’t come out the way you picture it. You can’t find the right words, the right description, it just doesn’t seem…right. Writers hate the gap. It’s our goal to close the gap. And for me, I discovered the gap was large. I had/have the story in my head, the characters are all there, major plot points etc but when it comes to actually getting that out…it all came out a bit wrong. Closing the gap is something I really need to work on.

I learnt writing a book is hard. I mean of course I knew that, if it was that easy everyone would write an award winning novel and get it published straight away. But as I was writing I was really wondering how people do it; like literally. Not only does it take time and talent but also a lot of patience and perseverance. I’m not sure that I will ever have that type dedication. I mean writing a draft is one thing but then reworking and rewriting that draft, pulling it to bits and then having others pull it to bits, sometimes often for years, well, I just don’t know that I’d have that in me. It just makes me admire my favourite authors even more.

I learnt the need to put perfectionism aside. Particularly when writing a first draft. At the beginning it was slow going, I kept rereading over what is written, fixing up parts, trying to get the words just right. Then I realised if I ever wanted to finish I just couldn’t do that. It’s like Shannon Hale said “I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.” I like that.

I learnt I need to work on my creative writing. Everyday writing, blog posts, opinion pieces, social media, that all comes quite easily to me. Creative writing? Not so much. When I was a kid and into my teenage years it was the only way I would write. But it’s been years. Maybe I’ve lost that, or maybe I just need to find it again. Maybe I need to do some short courses, polish my skills or maybe, just maybe creative writing just isn’t my thing. Time will tell I guess.

I learnt there is always time for writing. Even if your life is busy, you work,  you have kids, whatever; you can always make time for writing if you really want to. Simple as that.

And so, that’s what I learnt. If you joined in NaNoWriMo this year I’d love to hear how you found it. What did you learn?

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Julia

A quick post today but an important one.

About a year and a half ago I was sitting at a table at a blogging event when a lady came and sat next to me and introduced herself as Julia. We began talking all things blogging, she told me excitedly that her blog was currently being turned into a book.

“Oh wow, that’s awesome” I said “What’s your blog about?”

She told me she started her blog when she had been diagnosed with bowel cancer a couple of years prior.

“Oh I’m so sorry to hear that, but everything is ok now?” I asked

“Oh no, its terminal” I fell silent in shock, not really knowing what to say. The woman who sat beside me looked like the picture of health; glowing and smiling from ear to ear. Julia went on and told me her blog was called Five Fairies and Fella, she had four young children, all girls. Man, can you even imagine? Being the mother of four young children and knowing that you are going to die…and soon.

 

Julia’s blog did get turned into a book, it’s called Breakfast, School Run, Chemo. You may have seen her on 60 minutes a few months ago. If you’re part of the blogging community then I’m sure you’ve already heard of Julia and her story. She continued to blog and keep everyone updated on her fight against cancer over the past year. And what a fight it has been. Julia has continued to defy the odds and push for more and more precious time with her family, any little bit she can get. I have read every single one of Julia’s posts yet rarely commented. Why? Because the words have always failed me. My words have never seemed enough. But today I hope that my words might be able to help somehow. Because this week Julia was told there was nothing more that can be done. She is to be discharged into palliative care and her beautiful friends are rallying behind Julia and her family to raise some much-needed funds so that Julia’s husband Gary, will be able to take some time off work and spend it with his wife and girls during this difficult, and precious, time. At last check the count was nearing $30,000.
If you would like to donate (every small amount helps) you can do so here. And if you want to read more about Julia’s story head to her blog here.

Sending you love and strength Julia.

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Taking Stock

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A quick catch up today as it’s a public holiday here in Melbourne (Cup day) and also officially the first day of NaNoWriMo. I have no idea if I’m going to be able to keep up with blogging or if I’m even going to feel like writing after attempting to write 1500 words everyday so if things get a little quiet around here you know why!

But before I jump head first into the month long writing challenge I thought it was a good time to stop and take stock with Pip’s Taking Stock list. Here we go:

Making: An indoor herb garden. It’s on the to do list for this week! I’ve got herbs, just need to buy the pots.

Cooking: Nothing much exciting lately, I’ve been in a bit of a slump but that’s gotta change! Anyone got any great simple recipes to share?

Drinking: Freshly squeezed orange juice with my breakfast.

Reading: These books. I’ve also just finished The Dry by Jane Harper which I loved. I’m not sure if I’ll get much reading done in the next month though.

Wanting: My anxiety to fuck off.

Looking: Forward to summer and Christmas holidays.

Wishing: My anxiety would fuck off. (Noticing a theme here?)

Enjoying: Daylight savings.

Waiting: For our great bunch of friends to come over and celebrate Melbourne Cup day with us today.

Wondering: How our little man will go at school next year. I hope he loves it!

Loving: My friends. I’ve called on two in particular in recent times, they get my anxiety and have really been there for me. Thank you. You know who you are.

Pondering: How I’m actually going to manage to write a 50,000 word novel in a month.

Listening: To Smiling Mind meditations at bed time.

Buying: Christmas presents. I started last week, determined to get it all done early this year!

Watching: Some good new Aussie dramas- The Wrong Girl and Doctor Doctor. Who else has been watching?

Cringing: At the recent online drama. between two bloggers That’s all I have to say about that.

Needing: A nap…always.

Wearing: My PJ’s

Knowing: It will be ok. 

Thinking: too much. It’s a problem of mine.

Getting: Sick of hearing about the American election. Is it over yet?!

Bookmarking: House floor plans. We’re dreaming of a new house again!

Disliking: Spam, auto bots and the follow then unfollow trend on Instagram. Annoying much!

Giggling: At our lil mans dance moves. Crack up!

Feeling: Loved.

Celebrating: Melbourne Cup day! And lots of little ones birthdays this month.

Embracing: The next three months at home with my boy before I go back to work next year! 

For those of you that read my post last week and are wondering what the results of my biopsy were, at this stage, it’s still a bit unclear. Pathology results came back as not being skin cancer however the specialist was not happy with some parts of the results and still wants to remove the lesion. I’m currently seeking a second opinion. Whilst I know it’s better to be safe than sorry with these things I have also unfortunately had bad experiences in the past where I’ve undergone procedures that just weren’t necessary, so I’ve learnt now to question things. I won’t be cutting anything off my face unless I need to and will also be asking for a referral to a plastic surgeon if that is necessary. Thank you to everyone who commented, called or sent me a message after my post, I really really appreciate it.

And that’s it from me for now. What’s new with you lately?

’til next time

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Book Reviews- October

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It’s been all about non fiction books for me this month. Here’s what I’ve been reading…

Gut, The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Under-Rated Organ: Giulia Enders

Giulia Enders is a German writer and scientist who has been studying the human gut for years. In this book Giulia explains in simple and often humorous ways, the inner workings of the gut and how it affects so many aspects of our health. I found this book really interesting, in particular the relationship between gut health and things like anxiety and depression; it’s definitely opened my eyes to some things. If you’re into learning more about how your body works and how to manage your health in more natural ways then this is a must read!

On Writing– Stephen King

I’ll admit upfront that I’m not a Stephen King fan, as in I’ve don’t think I’ve ever read one of his books or watched any of the movies. But I certainly respect him as a creative mind and even more so since reading this book. It is part memoir and part instructions on writing; and the two blend perfectly together. Because I didn’t know much about him, it was interesting to read Stephens life story and he has some really great, practical advice on writing. I also love how he is straight to the point and just tells it like it is. Every writer or aspiring writer will find pieces of gold in the book, I’m sure of it.

Bird by Bird– Anne Lamont

This one has been on my ‘must read’ list for a long time after having it recommended to me by so many people. Similar to On Writing, Bird by Bird is a must read for any writer, no matter what level you’re at. It has so many great tips on how to get started, how to overcome obstacles, where to find ideas, how to get those ideas out of your head and more. Anne shares her own experiences on writing and publishing openly and honestly which was a nice reminder that it doesn’t come easy to anyone; all writers have to do they hard work.

Cabin Porn– Zach Klein

This book is based on the tumblr website Cabin Porn which is a collection of beautiful images of cabins submitted by people from all over the world. The book contains two hundred of these images as well as ten ‘behind the scenes’ stories about the people who built the cabins. It makes a gorgeous coffee table book and flipping through it makes me want to runaway and build a cabin in the woods.

What have you been reading this month? Any of these books tickle your fancy?

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One Step at a Time

A couple of months ago I was at my GP, “What’s that on your face?” My doctor asked, squinting and leaning forward. She was talking about this…

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“Oh I dunno” I said, touching the spot “That’s always been there…what is it?”

My doctor said she wasn’t sure, nothing to worry about at all but she could give me a referral to a dermatologist if I liked, they could probably just shave it off, make the skin smooth. Sure, I said, why not. So she gave me a referral and I made an appointment.

On the day of the appointment I considered cancelling it. The spot didn’t really bother me that much so did I really need to go? But I kept the appointment anyway. The dermatologist came in, asked me a few questions then started to examine the spot. He went very quiet. After a while he asked me,

“How old are you?”

“33” I answered.

“Hmm” he paused “So, I think what you have there is skin cancer.”

Say what? Did he just use the C word? I tried not to panic and focus on what he was saying. He explained that he believed it was a BCC lesion, the most common type of skin cancer.  My mind wandered back to just twenty minutes before when we’d been walking down Chapel Street and had spotted Jarryd Roughead, the footballer who’d had a skin cancer spot removed a couple of years ago only to find out recently the cancer had spread. This is what I was thinking about as the doctor spoke to me.

He assured me that it is very rare for this particular type of cancer to spread, it is usually self-contained. The first step would be to get a biopsy, just to be one hundred percent sure that his diagnosis was right. It would need to be removed obviously. Non-surgical removal wasn’t an option, it would need to be cut out and due to its size he recommended that it be done in hospital under general anaesthetic (and we all know how I feel about hospitals). I asked a few questions and the doctor answered them but mainly he just said we need to take it one step at a time, starting with the biopsy. So that’s where I am today, off to get the biopsy done. I’m trying not to worry, of course it would be great if the results come back and the doctor has made a big mistake but if it turns out he’s right…well, like he said, one step at a time.

Regardless of what the results say I’ve learnt a good lesson; something I’ve read about and heard about and been told about before but never really worried about before; check your spots, know your body, get any changes checked out. It is always better to be safe the sorry.

I’ll keep you updated on how I go, wish me luck!

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SAD

Every year, around this time, I get a case of the sads; seasonal affective disorder that is. It’s totally a thing you know; depression caused by winter. A friend who used to be a nurse told me that it was one of the first things she learnt about at uni; to look out for the SADs. She said that the incidence of depression and suicide sky rockets during the winter months and I believe it too.

It took me a few years to figure out that my depression would usually rear it’s ugly head during the winter months but now that I know I try to take steps to prevent it happening. Being aware of it is always the first thing. Experts say to try to keep up the exercise and eat well…I know I definitely find it harder to do this in winter. It’s too cold to go outside for a walk and its much easier to eat healthy in summer when you feel more like eating salad or fruit. This year I’ve also tried to just embrace it and focus on the positives of winter; camp outs in the lounge room with blankets and a good movie is never better than in the dead of winter. One of my best memories from this winter is the day that I spontaneously picked up my niece  and nephew, rugged up my son and told hubby to hurry home from work. Then we drove about thirty minutes to the top of a mountain in a nearby town where it had been snowing that day. It was the first time all three kids had seen snow. There was lots of throwing snow and lots of laughter…it was the best day.

But this winter has been long… it seems to be lasting forever and my patience is wearing thin. I’m craving sunshine and warm air. I’m craving being outside…maybe I’m just craving a holiday. I’ve been googling tropical holidays like it’s going out of style, knowing full well that even if we could afford to go anywhere right now (which we can’t) hubby just wouldn’t be able to get the time off work anyway. But still, I continue to torture myself. Spring started a few weeks ago but it would appear that Melbourne has yet to get the memo. It’s been all rain and cold wind here. We’ve been blessed with a few sunny days and we all get very excited. My son made me fill up his little outdoor shell pool the other week when it was only 19 degrees, we ate icy poles on a twenty degree day. Yeah, we’re really hanging out for summer here as much for our own sanity as our past white skin!

This week it looks like much of the same; cloud, rain and wind (it’s been so so windy!). I see a little picture of a sun next to Friday and hold out hope…bring on the sunshine Melbourne!

Have you ever experienced a case of the SADs? Or are you one of those lucky people that I see on my instagram feed living in a warmer climate, wearing a pretty dress and smiling? I’m not jealous at all…..ok I’m totally jealous, can I come for a holiday?blog signature, www.sarahdipity.com.auP.S. Did you know that you can subscribe to this blog and receive every new post direct to your email inbox? Well you can! Just pop your email address in the box below. I promise I won’t annoy you with daily emails or spam (cause ain’t nobody got time for that) but it’s the best way to ensure you never miss one of my posts.



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