Writing Challenge: Days Eight-Thirteen

Day Eight: Muddle

Some days I am so exhausted, I feel like everything I do is a bit of a muddle.  I can’t throw together meals like I normally would. I let the kids watch too much TV. I take an age to make even the simplest decisions over insignificant things like what to wear or what to take with me on a trip into town. I mix my children’s names up when I’m calling out to them.  I forget phone numbers.  I become just slightly better than useless, in other words.

Today has been one of those days.  Up half the night (actually more like three-quarters of the night) with the wee boy and his teeth plus cough situation and then trying to make it through the day with three kiddos to deal with.  Thanks be for my husband who let me sleep for as long as he could this morning and who whisked the two older ones out for a bit so that I could have a shower in peace.

Managing to write something today is a bit of a triumph.  I’ve gotten to the point that I really feel like I’ve missed out if I haven’t had a chance to write each day but writing coherently is a bit beyond me sometimes.  It’s one of my baby-brain things to lose words and I know what I want to say or write but I can’t for the life of me think of it.  It’s highly frustrating given my love for words and it was downright annoying when I was teaching.  While The lad is now fourteen months old and so I can’t really blame baby brain anymore (or maybe I can…Can I?), a night with little sleep throws me right back there.

Anyway, I’m doing it.  Muddle or not.

Day Nine: Post-It

Believe it or not, despite my stationery habit, the first thing that sprang to mind when I thought ‘post-it’ was the ridiculous post-it wedding between Meredith and Derek on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’.  If you’re not a follower of Grey’s then it’s much, much too complicated to fill in all the gaps but pretty much there is a lot of sex in various hospital on-call rooms, tragedy, complicated medical cases, more tragedy, more sex and then, instead of getting married in a proper ceremony (because of various commitment issues and deep-seated emotional problems), Meredith and Derek write their vows on a post-it, sign it, frame it and hang it above their bed, declaring themselves married.  Oh, it’s all very romantic if you watch the whole thing.  Trust me.  It is.

Anyway, none of that is the point.  I have emotional attachments to Grey’s, even though I know that it’s gotten pretty rubbishy as seasons have dragged on.  I think we’re up to season thirteen now and there are only a handful of original characters left.  I tell you, the things that those characters have lived through, it beggars belief.  They’ve gotten to the point that they occasionally go all self reflexive and say things like, ‘Don’t worry about it, Meredith, you’ve survived a plane crash, a terrorist attack and a super bug, nothing more could possibly happen to you.’  (Spoiler alert: More can and does happen.  To everyone).  When it first came out, my girlfriends and I used to meet each week to watch.  It was stitch and bitch plus Greys.  Those evenings were some of the best time with friends that I’ve had.  And I confess, I am completely up to date with Grey’s.  I binge watched episodes last year when my wee lad was letting me have an average of and hour and a half of sleep each night.  Mindless, rubbishy tele was just what I needed in the wee hours.

Day Ten: Unknown

OK.  I wasn’t going to write about Trump.  I prefer to pretend that he’s just a bad joke that’s gotten a bit out of hand.  It’s getting harder and harder to pretend that there’s no possiblity that he’ll get to be president.  In some ways, I shouldn’t care.  We’re pretty far away from the US.  But the fact of the matter is that the decision that’s going to be made soon, very soon, in the US is going to have a worldwide impact.

It is astounding to me that a man like Donald Trump can be a serious contender.  Even before he started spouting his racist, homophobic, bigoted policies and ideas, before tapes that proved him to be the misogynistic predator that we had long believed him to be, it seemed impossible that a man with no political experience, a man whose main interest is and has always been himself and his money, could even be considered to represent and lead his country.  We all laughed about it to start with.  It was ridiculous.  It still IS ridiculous.  But the ridiculous may come to pass and that is quite terrifying.

I don’t know whether it will happen or not.  I certainly hope not.  I don’t like to think about what will happen if he wins.  We can’t know for sure what will happen but my guess is, nothing good.

Day Eleven: Thanks

I think it was Thanksgiving in Canada last weekend.  Maybe in the US too, I’m not sure.

I’ve always thought that Thanksgiving was a lovely idea for a celebration and holiday.  We don’t take enough time to take stock of the good things in our lives and to reflect on how fortunate we are and how we can spread some of our good fortune into the lives of other people.  I like the fact that is seems like a family oriented holiday but that it doesn’t revolve around presents like Christmas can.

In NZ we don’t have a Thanksgiving equivalent but I’ve been thinking about incorporating it into our Christmas celebrations.  We’re trying to develop a few wee Christmas traditions for our children, like the elves delivering a new pair of PJs on Christmas Eve with a note from Father Christmas, a trip to the shops to choose a Christmas ornament each on the day we put the tree up, and choosing a toy or book to wrap and donate to the local charity gift tree.  I think it’d be nice to reflect on our year on Christmas Day and thinking a bit about the things that we are thankful for.  We really want our children to grow up feeling grateful for the good things and people in their lives and not taking things for granted.  That’s the plan, anyway.  A bit of gratitude to go with our Christmas ham.

Day Twelve: Sky

I was up at four in the morning last week, getting the pram from the car in a desperate attempt to get my lad to sleep and even though I knew he was protesting loudly for being left in his bed alone and awake for more than about 29 seconds I had to stop and gaze at the sky.  It was a clear, still night and there was no moon, I don’t think, because the stars were absolutely astonishing.  It was one of those nights when you can understand why the Milky Way was named as such and the Southern Cross was as clear as anything.  It was so, so beautiful and just for a moment I was pleased to be up at that time of the morning.  Just for a moment.

I didn’t realise until we’d lived away from New Zealand just how astounding our night sky is.  I suppose it’s to do with light pollution, or a lack thereof, or maybe our positioning on the globe.  I’m not sure, but whatever it is, I’m thankful.  There’s something about the light here in the day too, that I noticed when I came back from overseas the first time.  There’s a clarity to it that makes everything look brighter and sharper.  The cynic in me tells me that it’s something to do with our proximity to ozone holes, although you don’t hear much about those anymore.  I guess they’re still there.  Certainly the UV rays are because we’ve already had a sunburn incident this year.  Regardless of what it is, it’s another thing that makes New Zealand special and a place I’m lucky to call home.

Day Thirteen: Aware

There’s all these online campaigns, challenges, and games around that are designed to raise awareness of things like breast cancer, teen suicide, bullying, the situation in Syria, refugees etc.  I’m all for being socially aware.  I’m an educator.  I believe in the need for people to have knowledge and understanding.  What I’m not too convinced about is whether these various awareness raising means actually achieve their goal, and if they do, whether they actually have an impact on the bottom line.

Take all the pink colouring that springs up for breast cancer awareness.  Does the fact that my roll on deodorant is pink this month actually make me more aware of breast cancer? Not at all.  Does it make me more likely to check my breasts for lumps? No.   Does it lead to any money being donated to cancer research?  Possibly, but I bet it’s a lot less than the deodorant company make out of people buying their product because it’s pink this month. Worse, I reckon, changing your profile picture to pink, or posting one of those ‘I know not many of my friends will post this…’ status updates, or even worse doing one of those email chain letters where you put a random sentence on your status (usually with some sort of sexual undertone) and the mystery/humour factor somehow makes people magically more aware of the impact of breast cancer.  Urgh.  I have several friends who have fought breast cancer and won and none of them appreciate the pink embellishments and silly games.  I know people mean well, but it’s just a bit too flippant and meaningless in many cases.

We need to choose some issues or concerns to support and move beyond awareness and into action.  Awareness is good, but actually doing something practical to help to make changes in the world is much, much better.

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