TMI Tuesday – Ghosts of Christmas

1. Would you rather work on Christmas day and earn 4 times your daily salary or spend the day with your family?

For a large part of my working life I worked in the food manufacturing industry. Not surprisingly Christmas is a dominating factor in almost every type of food manufacture. For some reason people think they need to purchase a ridiculous amount of food and stores think that factories can just double their production over night. The flip side of this is that in the days following Christmas people realise that they have more food than they need and stores stop stocking most products, consequently expecting manufacturers to turn off the production tap just as quickly as it was turned on.

This phenomenon is OK if you make a product that has a long shelf life like biscuits or pasta but if your business is anything to do with fresh produce it is hell on legs. Any farmer will laugh at you if you suggest to get cows to increase production overnight or chickens to lay an extra egg or two just for the month of December. Just as they will laugh at you if you ask them to turn their production off on the 26 December.

So would I work on Christmas for four times my salary? There has been times when I had to and I certainly didn’t get paid four times my salary. I am certain all the doctors and nurses in hospitals all around the world also don’t get that choice.

2. Would you rather spend a snowy day outside playing winter games/sports or spend a snowy day inside with your most annoying relative?

As I explained in my last TMI post snow is a once in a lifetime experience for the vast majority of Australians. Unless you are into skiing and even then you wouldn’t be skiing every year. So my annoying relative can go to hell. I am making snow angels and snow men.

3. For the month of December would you rather sing jingle bells really loud every time you enter a room or wear a Santa suit every day?

I love getting into the Christmas Spirit by wearing a really crappy Christmas T-shirt. I actually own several, along with a selection of Christmas earrings, headwear and a few Christmas print dresses. So Santa suit please, although there better be air conditioning.

4. Would you rather choose your presents or be surprised?

The IDEA of being surprised is appealing but of course in that fantasy the giver of the gift has great insight and gives a gift that is perfect. The reality is slightly different. As a person who is extremely conscious of the amount of STUFF we humans seem to accumulate I would rather receive a gift I have a use for.

5. Would you rather be Scrooge before he meets the ghost of Christmas or be the Grinch before becoming good?

I would rather be Scrooge. Even though he was a grumpy old man who would’t let his employees have a day off he didn’t actively try to sabotage the whole day. Today I am dealing with a bit of joint pain and I am feeling a bit like Scrooge.

Bonus: Everyone loves boobies

I have probably posted this before but who doesn’t love a pair of novelty Christmas nipple hats.

Filthy Dirty Money

Photo by Mathieu Stern on Unsplash

1. True or False. You can never have enough

I think it is human nature to always want more. So the idea that you don’t have enough is always there in your mind. One of my favourite movie lines from a movie I have no idea of the name of the movie but the line is; “if you aren’t happy with what you have how will you be happy with something else?”

Ponder it for a while.

2. Will money solve all your problems? Why or why not?

In a word no. It won’t make people more kind. In actual fact it is what makes my students act like entitled fuckwits and it won’t really get me anything significantly nicer than what I have already.

3. Agree or disagree.  I will not buy something unless it is new (e.g. furniture, car, clothes).

Mr Jones would be better at making this argument but in essence a new car is more cost effective. In this stupid post Covid market where people are selling used cars for higher prices than a new one (possibly an Australian phenomenon) this is even more true.

4. Is it important to save for a rainy day (aka emergency fund)?

Rainy day no. You will find what you need when you need it.

Retirement yes. Living off a government pension for the rest of your life is not going to be the standard of living that I am interested in.

5. Complete the sentence. If I win millions in the lottery I will _____ .

Be very surprised. We never buy lottery tickets. But if someone wants to buy me a winning ticket I will go halvsies with them.

Bonus: Dating costs money: dating apps, outfits, grooming, and the date itself. Tell us how you plan to make a great cheap date?

The Pharmacist and I have been discussing this a little of late. I am happy with a pub meal and a nice chat in a comfortable house with a bottle of wine we bought on the way home. As long as there is great conversation I am happy.

Fake It Until You Make It

In my TMI Tuesday post this week I mentioned that something that I have been struggling a lot with recently is mental health. I am OK. I am not having suicidal thoughts or needing immediate professional help. So what is happening to me? Why do I say I struggle?

Firstly I will quickly go over symptoms. For me I know things are not right when I feel like falling asleep at times when I wouldn’t normally. Driving home after work (this one is a little scary). In the middle of the day, or feeling like I need to go to bed really early. Often this is accompanied by some kind of insomnia. There are other things that alert me as well. Short fuse, easily frustrated and inability to concentrate on one task at a time.

Recently I have struggled to post. I simply cannot focus to put words on a page. I have ideas, I start a story and then I get distracted by something shiny in the corner. And so my readers have been left to their own devices. As they say “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” I, my friends, am going straight to hell. Maybe there are a couple of other reasons but good intentions is a big part of it.

In the comments to my post someone mentioned that they didn’t see me as a person who struggles. They felt I was one of those people who always had their shit together and seemed so confident. My response to him was that I was very good at faking it until I made it. Apparently this results in people thinking I have my shit together. I am here to tell you all it is a lie. I am just very good at getting my game face on. Except when I don’t. One of my students commented to me the other day that I seemed to “Have my Karen on.”

Out of the mouths of babes.

Someone a bit smarter than me once told me that you should always be kind to people. You never know the struggles they have in their lives. The person who has the amazing hair and always looks completely put together had to get up five times to a sick toddler last night. The woman who bakes every thing in her child’s lunch box from scratch is struggling with an elderly parent who is transferring from living independently to a care facility. Everyone has something in their life that challenges them. Everyone needs some kindness in their day.

And so there are parts of my life that aren’t easy. Some of it is related to my present, a lot is related to my past and some of it is my brain chemistry. But I am working on it. And I am OK.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

TMI – Life Choices

The questions this week were multiple choice answers but in the nature of that kind of thing the choices weren’t quite right. So you all will just have my answers! Enjoy!

1. What are you focusing on in your life right now?

In my vanilla life I am focussing on my fitness and general health. There has been much discussion and focus on diet. Annoying but apparently you can’t eat what you want and stay slim.

In my sex life I have been exploring a few things. Some impact play with some friends and with Mr Jones wax play

2. Select one thing that you value most right now.

Forming good friendships both vanilla and spicy or even a vanilla friendship with spicy friends. There has been some upheavals with a couple of friends recently one of whom what a very long term friend. I am still reflecting on the events and conversations that led to the current state of affairs. I am not without blame of course but I have become more convinced that I don’t need drama lamas in my life right now.

3. Which type of well-being tool is of most interest to you?

The choices for this one were interesting

a. guided meditation
b. life coaching workshops
c. personal therapy
d. social content

I am going to go with a little bit of a. because I don’t have the self discipline to meditate. Even weekly. I also think a little bit of c would be helpful but the whole drama of finding a practitioner blech. So here I am avoiding life coaching workshops and laughing disdainfully at social content.

4. On a scale from 1 to 5. How much are you enjoying your life?

This is interesting. There are things about my life that I could stab in the eye every day; my 50 minute commute is one of them. As explained earlier, certain people can go suck a dick. however I get to work with some cool people and my Young People surprise me every day. So I think I am enjoying my life about 3.5 out of 5.

5. What have you been struggling with lately?

Mental health is something that I have been struggling with. I find myself struggling with things I used to take in my stride and getting frustrated to the point of tears over some things. I don’t like it but it is a reminder to me to take better care of myself.

Bonus: On a scale from 1 to 5, how hopeful do you feel about the future?

I spend my working day attempting to educate the tradesmen and women of the future. Sometimes it is successful sometimes not so much. I guess you have to consider what the definition of success is. Am I confident I will be able to get my light switches upgraded and my toilet fixed in the future? Perhaps. At least as much as there will be a doctor intelligent enough to help me with my health problems and I won’t end up in a nursing home.

TMI Tuesday – Airing the Dirty Laundry

1. Just curious. If you are in an open relationship, would it bother you if your partner’s new lover sent you pics of them together? Why or why not?

If I was unaware that he HAD a new lover and I got a random pic on my phone it would be a little disturbing. Just because of the surprise value. Otherwise I absolutely welcome it. I love the idea of Mr Jones having a good time and the affirmation I know he would enjoy if he had sexy time with someone else.

2. What is the rudest thing someone can do in your home?

I tend to be fairly selective of people that I invite into my home. So I haven’t had random people do rude things much. I think the rudest thing would be to show disrespect to the other people who live here. We have several “layers” of people living here; my daughter, my parents in law and another long term friend. All of these guys have very different perspectives of us and so anyone who comes into our house needs to respect them and their needs / right to be comfortable in THEIR home.

3. What would you change, if anything, about your experience growing up?

I would change where I went to primary school. I was home schooled, essentially because my mother didn’t want to be tied to a routine that either involved us being at home at a certain time every day to participate in school of the air or her driving 15 – 20 minutes to meet a bus to take us to the local school.

The outcome of her choices was that when I started high school and for the first time was dealing with a regular classroom I had no idea how to socialise. It caused me great distress and the five years of high / boarding school was traumatic.

4. The absolute worst fight you have ever had with a significant other, what was it about?

One of the hallmarks of Mr Jones’ and my marriage is that we don’t really fight. There isn’t a lot of yelling and sleeping on the couch. Moments of tension definitely happen, along with differences of opinion and at times we do hurt each other. But they get resolved, eventually. Usually without a screaming match or any crockery getting broken.

In the early days of young children and establishing the relationship there was tension around the amount of sex or affection between us. Without going into details there was an imbalance and my history of being made to feel guilty about EVERYTHING made me feel defensive. In true form, no one ever heard us yelling at each other and no one slept on the couch.

5. What is your favourite place to visit in your city or town.

Brisbane is right next to Moreton Bay. So within a couple of hours we can be in a pristine part of the world with a few other select people who own a watercraft and feel a million miles away. How can you not love that?

Bonus: Were you your mom or dad’s favorite kid?

I don’t think so. I was the eldest so I was the one who was expected to be responsible and set an example etc etc. Preferential treatment was always given to my younger brother. These days, as far as I am aware, I don’t even feature in the will.

Happy Anniversary

At this time on this day twenty – four years ago, I was on my way to my wedding reception with Mr Jones, my Matron of Honour and his Best Man. Our wedding was relatively simple. Especially compared with the productions that I have witnessed amongst, co-workers, friends and children of friends. I think the total cost of our event was less than $5000. That included everything, dress, suits, cars, reception, bar tab, hairdresser, the whole box and dice.

The simplicity and low budget of the event has been a hallmark of our life together. A wedding is just a bunch of frivolities. A way of demonstrating social standing to a group of people who don’t really matter. Of all of the people who actually attended my wedding a very small number are in my life today. I could count the number of them who I would invite to a replay on my fingers. Many girls fantasise about their wedding their whole life but don’t think to plan their marriage. I have to admit that I didn’t think about how my marriage would look a whole lot but I have learned that a wedding is a tiny fragment of the rich tapestry of a marriage.

And how has my marriage played out? There have been times when I wondered if it was the right thing. Times when the only way to describe it has been hard work. But without all that hard work, I would not be here now. Financially stable, even successful, two children who have grown into functioning adults and, most importantly, the confidence to life my own best life. This is one of my biggest achievements. Being able to be adult enough to call people in my life out for their failings and make strong, objective choices about what I will tolerate and what I won’t. I haven’t gotten it right all of the time. But these days I am getting it right most of the time and that is an achievement.

And so, as we eat sushi for our anniversary lunch lets look forwards to another year of living our best lives.

The Word for Today; Ouch

At the start of this term at for pole I made a choice to return to a couple of instructors classes because I knew they would push me. I had let The Unicorn convince me that moving away from one of these ladies in particular, lets call her The Domme, was OK. In my heart I guess I knew it wasn’t. I haven’t gone backwards but I haven’t gone forwards as much as I would like.

And so here I am. The morning after being smashed all around the studio with a bunch of strength and agility building exercises wondering how much my body is going to hurt tomorrow because sometimes the pain takes a couple of days. I have been working on training my mind out of negative self talk and so I am trying to focus on the things I CAN do rather than the way the younger, fitter girls just frog jumped and crab walked around with apparent ease. My climbing is getting better, I can do more vertical pole crunches with better form than before and my splits are getting better and better.

Happy Friday people!

TMI Tuesday – Grudges and Misdirected Mail

Photo by Jiawei Zhao on Unsplash

1. Confession booth. Confess two things right here on TMI Tuesday.

I love perving at dad bods. My twitter timeline is full of them. Current favourites @midwestdadbod, @preacherbear, @filoufilou

2. I am guilty of _____ .

Eating too much chocolate.

3. A big box is delivered to you. The address is correct but the name on the label is not you. Do you open the box?

Kind of tempting but I will admit I am too much of a goody two shoes to open it. I would probably try and return it to the sender.

4. How long have you held a grudge?

Until I don’t. Sometimes that can be a few hours, sometimes a lifetime. I recently had my first experience of having to block an ex-friend on social media. It didn’t sit well with me and while I would like to think I won’t be seeing her in my life again there is part of me that is not entirely convinced.

5. Does anyone have a grudge against you? Why?

See above! What the grudge exactly is for I am not entirely sure. A collection of things I think related to her twisted perception of the world.

Bonus: There is this one thing in my life I wish I had not done. I wish I had not _____ .

Let my mother take over my wedding. I was young, she had controlled my life mostly up to that point. I let her dictate most of the aspects of it and I regret it completely. So much so that I considered having a “do-over” on my 25th anniversary.

Bonus Bonus

After so much serious stuff there has to be boobs!


Menopause Diaries – Hot and Cold Flushes

In March 2021 Marie Rebelle started “The Menopause Diaries” as a place for women (and their significant others) to post stories of their experiences with various aspects of peri and full menopause. At the time I thought “I need to get on board and support that” And then I went on this voyage that took up a lot of my brain space. I honestly tried and managed a couple of posts but I feel I let the side down.

When Marie announced that she was changing the format of the diaries I had a renewed sense of needing to get on board with that. And so here I am attempting to cross as many squares off the bingo card as I can. Maybe I will even share the stories of some of my friends. We will see. But for now here is my first post.

As I complete the prompt I will add a circle. Hopefully this keeps me honest!

One summer, a couple of years after I turned 40 I noticed that I had started to sweat A LOT. It wasn’t that I  felt particularly hot it was that sweat just seemed to drip from my face so much that I took to carrying a small towel around with me. I live in the sub tropics, Brisbane does get humid during summer so sweating is really par for the course. But this was more than normal, I knew that. My family seemed to think my towel was OK even though I thought it was a little weird. I refrained from taking my towel out in public even though there was times I wished I had. 

At the time I didn’t stop to consider that approaching menopause was the cause of these changes. My mother had complained about the symptoms of being old ever since I could remember. I also remember she had a similar towel. Mimicking her behaviour I started to make jokes about getting old. Not once did I read an article about menopause or the symptoms. I was about 42. Such things seemed a very long way into my future. 

As time went on Summer turned to Autumn and then winter the sweating eased a little and I went on with my life. Of course it returned when the weather warmed up but I accepted that it was a normal part of my life now. I was, after all, getting old. Life went on, sweating happened. The whole towel thing became a regular part of my life. I began to notice that it wasn’t just a constant thing. There were definite sharp increases in temperature that caused a definite increase in sweating. I began to consider that I was experiencing some symptoms of pre-menopause. I was still considered to be quite young to be experiencing this kind of thing so Facebook posts and things about menopause didn’t really come my way. At least not like they do these days. 

Some time around 45 – 46 I noticed other changes and I stopped taking the contraceptive pill. A GP confirmed that my hormone profile had changed and I was medically considered to be post – menopausal. I had mixed feelings about this event which I will discuss another time but one of the more positive thoughts I had was that maybe my body temperature would get itself sorted out now. Because of course, now that I had gone through menopause life would return to normal. 

Wrong. While these days I don’t have to carry a towel around with me, even in the depths of humid Brisbane summers. However my body still struggles to regulate it’s temperature. I do the ‘blanket dance’ every night once the true heat of summer is over. Go to bed cold, put the blanket on snuggle down, get warm fall asleep, wake up several hours later sweating. Throw the offending blanket off, get cold, put blanket back on, get warm, go back to sleep. Repeat a couple of hours later. Even when it is very cold I have to cool right back down again or my body will just stay uncomfortably hot. Add another body to the bed and things get worse. Sometimes I can trick my body by putting a foot out but not always. 

The same happens during the day. Get a chill from air conditioning or such like, put jacket on, get warm like everyone else, then get hot, not like everyone else, take jacket off, cool down, get cold, put jacket on. Several times per meeting. There is no middle ground, I am either too hot or too cold. I am not sure if this is improving over time but at the moment it seems like the blanket dance, and the jacket dance are a permanent fixture in my life from Autumn through to Spring.

The Menopause Diaries