No, I’m not getting pregnant. But thanks for asking.

So, Christmas. It really is that joyous time of year when family think it’s okay to get all up in yo bizznizz and ask inappropriate questions and say inadvertently hurtful things. The fact that I have not become pregnant yet or made any attempts at becoming pregnant in order to give my in-laws (or my own parents) grand-babies has officially been pointed out to me. This has not been helped by the fact that distant relations of child-bearing age have been popping out kids left, right and centre. Not to mention my own sister is up to number two. The traitorous bitch!

(No. Not really. She’s just a bitch. ;) )

I feel for the Outlaws. While my mother and father have come to accept that I am probably not going to be the one to give them babies to spoil (because my little sister is fulfilling that role spectacularly), my Outlaws, particularly the manbeast’s mum, are feeling left out of the grandparents stakes. They only had one child – adopted one, in fact, so I think that it makes it a little harder for them for them to come to terms with my childlessness.

I should really make it clear that the Outlaws have not said anything directly to me (or the manbeast, as far as I am aware) but comments around the topic have been heard. Comparisons between myself and another baby-bearer in their family have been made – within earshot.

This is not terribly new, though. The whispers of the possibility of hearing the pitter-patter of little feet started shortly after I married the manbeast and turned 30 – three days apart. Those comments were very occasional, most of the time in jest but even so, there was an underlying tone of “So… when are you actually going to have a baby?” Of course now, six years later, those whispers are turning into shouts of “You’re STILL not pregnant?!”

Outwardly, I can only smile and shrug. Inwardly, I cringe. And get a little annoyed.

Renlish.com - Inigo Montoya

Let me say here and now that I love kids. LOVE them. I am not by any means anti-child at all. I would happily steal everyone’s kids. I’m the cool aunty who hypes up all small people under the age of 10 on sweets and evilly hands them back to parents at the end of the day just before the sugar crash happens.

Seriously, that ALONE is reason enough to never have children. Anyway…

I would love to be a mother. But…

I am anti-pregnancy. I am anti-gene pool. I am anti-starting a family in a turbulent marriage. And it’s not just my decision either!

Okay, so probably having my mate Inigo help me sum things up isn’t going to cut it…

Reason 1: Pregnancy is Gross

It is. I find the whole idea of carrying a baby abhorrent – and I am sorry if that offends anyone. And I know perfectly well that my feelings on the matter are totally irrational and stupid but that’s the way it is. No amount of trying to convince me otherwise is going to get me to change my mind. I know a couple of people who loved being pregnant, adored the idea of new life growing inside them, enjoyed the feeling kicks and sucker punches to their bladders. Most people I know who have kids didn’t like the pregnancy so much but it was simply a means to an end for them. They wanted kids, they had them. Of course you have to get pregnant to get the kids.

Me? I tell everyone “I want kids – I just don’t want to get pregnant.” The confusion on their faces as that sinks in is highly entertaining.

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I find nothing endearing about the process, and no, contrary to what many people tell me when I say that I am anti-pregnancy, I am not afraid of giving birth. That can be virtually painless if I want it to be. It’s the nine months leading up to birth I don’t want to deal with. It’s the idea of this… thing… growing on me and in me. It’s the hormones which, in all seriousness, screw that! My hormones have been messing me around enough as it is. I am a physical and emotional wreck.

Reason 2: My genes suck.

No, I am not talking about appearance because I am gorgeous and the girls in my family get the maternal genes. No issues there.

How do I put this sensitively? I am a firm believer in the idea that mental dysfunction is hereditary. There have been studies which prove this – though I suppose there are studies which prove anything if you throw enough resources at any given topic. But I’ve found this to be true in the case of me. In every single branch of my family there are issues.

No. Just no. I cannot and will not deal with that possibility. I grew up with it.

Selfish much? Hell yes.

This is the reason why I have not take up a friends half-joking-half-serious offer of surrogacy for me. Yeah, she can have the baby but it’ll still be from my genes and NO. All of the no.


Reason 3: It’s just Not a Good Time

I know there are loads of people who’ve been unprepared for their pregnancy – who have felt that they’re not ready, but “Oops!” and they’ve dealt with it with aplomb. I also know a couple of people who HATE being mothers but love their kids and if they had their time over they would make different choices. I don’t want to be either one of those people.

I am however a firm believer in family units. Kids belong in environments where they have loving, supportive guardians who want them. My marriage isn’t wonderful at the moment. Enough said. I refuse to become pregnant and have a baby in this environment and I am definitely not going to get pregnant and start popping out kids just to please specific people or fulfill my destiny in the social norm.

And the next person who says I “don’t know what love truly is” until I have kids, I WILL punch you in the fucking face.

Reason 4: And, well, the MANBEAST doesn’t want them.

This is the one thing that irritates me the most. As the potential sproggin-bearer, I am the one who cops all the looks, all the comments and questions, and all the sideways glances. Does the manbeast? Rarely. Me? Not a day goes by when I am not reminded that my biological clock is running out of battery power.

But has anyone actually asked the manbeast if he wants children?

Guess what? I have.

The answer is no.

Though we both agree that I would make a great mother.

So there you go. If I thought it would make a difference, I would post this blog to all the people who keep asking about the state of my uterus, but I doubt it would make any difference.

I am going to grow old and alone.

And I’m okay with that.

An Open Letter

How do you tell someone they are wrong? How do you cut through their delusion, to show them that what they are thinking is incorrect? That statements they’ve made are simply patently untrue?

You can’t. Not really. Not when they really think what they are saying is true.

So it has been with a friend of mine – no longer a friend of mine.

History has repeated over and over again with this one and I never seem to learn. I’ve tried to understand and come to terms with and, most importantly, accept all the parts of him that make him who he is. This is my failing – I cannot accept his problems because he ultimately turns them into my problems. I found discussions from as far back as seven years ago which are an exact carbon copy of this very situation and I’m sure the break that ensued even before then was a result of the same thing. Like I said, history repeats.

From all the years of (off and on) friendship, from all the conversations we’ve had, I do understand that this comes from a good place. It does. Which is why it’s hard for me to remain mad. I get that part. He is ultimately a really good person.

But the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

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Not even my closest girlfriend here would dare say the things that he has to and about me – and it’s not for fear of my reaction but their respect that those issues are absolutely none of their business unless I choose to let it be their business. They know that to be friends with me is to accept the whole of me, no questions asked, no assumptions made and as I have said to several people, I love just having them there. No one needs to do a thing. Just be there. Be a presence in my life. Friendships are not something you should feel the need to set boundaries on and yet that’s what I found myself having to do so he would just back off and stop making himself so involved.

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He thinks that I am a time bomb of emotion. Tell me, dear reader, if you’ve known me throughout the years have you ever known me to not be volatile emotionally? It was the whole reason I started blogging nearly 20 (holy shit!) years ago. Go through the stuff that I have. See if you end up the same coming out as you did going in.

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But I wear it. I deal with it. I get help when I need it – I detest having “help” thrust upon me.

Boundaries.

Strangely enough, I haven’t had this problem with anyone else. A fact that amuses me a bit because he thinks this has happened before and it has – but only with him. I think he’s forgotten that, much like I had forgotten it too. I have a handful of friends that I have had the most awful blow-ups with but then we’ve moved on, forgiven each other or at least agreed to forever disagree on whatever it was that caused the problem in the first place. In the excitement of all the great things that happened last year, my friend and I definitely got lulled into a sense of delightful ignorance of our past. I guess with some people, you just can’t change rhythms.

I appreciate everything that he’s done for me and everything that he wanted to do for me. I am sorry that I cannot be what he needed in the same way that I am sorry that he could not be what I needed.

I can honestly say that I hope he finds peace in his topsy-turvy world, much in the same way that I am trying to in mine.

Reluctant Resolutions and Plans for 2015

I didn’t really want to make resolutions for the year.  For the past few years I’ve been avoiding making them because I know that putting any sort of pressure on myself for the year really only sets me up for disappointment by the time December 31st rolls around again. But I thought I would make a bucket list of sorts for the year. Stuff that I will aim to do but if I don’t, no big deal.

Last year was horrible. Mentally, emotionally, physically. Just horrible. There were some good parts and some pretty awesome parts but on the whole, 2014 can go right back to where it came from. I don’t want a repeat of it. It involved mental breakdowns, fights, friendships gone awry (more than one of those, oy), physical atrophy, and more. But it also involved a trip of a lifetime, some wonderful moments with friends and family and some small accomplishments.

I am sure this year is going to have a few bumps but I’m determined this will also be the year of trying to simply do better and be better.

So my 2015 Bucket List of Resolutions:

  • Lose weight. Derr. I haven’t got on the scales since just after Christmas and I was at 110kg… There’s been a couple weeks of solid nomming since then and I no longer need to wear a belt to hold my “fat jeans” up.
  • Drink more water. Going for days without a drink of water (or anything) is not good for you, mmmm’kay?
  • Exercise no less than three times a week. The body needs to be doing things. I’ve lost all my gym fitness over the last half of 2014 by simply choosing to sit on my butt at home.
  • Sleep!  My natural light sleeping patterns and stress-induced insomnia have been causing havoc and I average on five hours of sleep a night. For an elderly person, that’s fine. For me? Not so much… the bags under my eyes are so deep and blue that people have started asking me if I’ve been punched.
  • Read more books. I’d forgotten the joy of reading. That was brought back to me at Christmas when I managed to get through two very solid novels.
  • Write more words. This goes hand-in-hand with the reading. I noticed as soon as I got a little more reading done, the inspiration to write hit me. Go figure.
  • Create. Create ANYTHING at least once a week. Even if it’s just a doodle or an epic photomanipulation or a quick pair of earrings. Just create. I find my happy place when I am creating.
  • Learn something new. Whether it be just to cook a new dish or research a topic of interest or a new computer program, learn something new at least once every few weeks.
  • Stick to a project. This is a big one. I have lost count of how many times I’ve started a blogging or a photography project and it’s always lasted approximately 2.7 days before I’ve either forgotten or developed a case of the “can’t be bothereds”.

That’s my resolutions done.

Now, as for plans for 2015, it’s going to be a relatively quiet year, I think. I am going to concentrate on expanding my horizons, starting with this blog. I really want to get stuck into doing more beauty stuff with makeup and post some of the umptymillion looks that I’ve done on myself (I have to get better at taking selfies) and also learn how to do make videos for vlogging and gamecasting. I want this blog to be slightly more meaningful and useful than just being an occasional brain-dump.

I’ve made a good start on that with changing the layout of the blog with a great new face and menu system. Now I just need to add the content.

It, like I am, is ever-changing and always growing.

Or that’s the plan, anyway.

Last one for the year…

An important message…

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Everyone, please have a very safe and happy Christmas (however you celebrate it) and a glorious, fun new year.

I will be back for 2015 with plans to get back into the business of blogging regularly with interesting things to show and say.

And for those who are still waiting for a review on the Lumosity thing, it is still being tested. I am brain training every other day or so – trying to remember to do it is a hassle and I have to set reminders on my phone, but in the short term I do feel more alert and able after doing the brief training sessions. Some of the games that I have encountered are fun, whereas others are harder and frustrating. Anything with numbers and/or timed is my nemesis. My only beef with the system is that you only get to play five short games per session with no option for any “free play”.

Over and out.

Broken Brains & Lumosity.

So, I have this Thing. It’s a Thing that causes me lots of trouble. It’s a Brain Thing.

And this will probably be the first time in my blogging history that I have admitted this “out loud” at all in any serious way.

Sometimes this Thing apparently makes my brain not want to work properly.

It started with a slight stutter that began in high school. Don’t ask me why it started then. It was early on, probably in Year 7 (that’s junior year of high school, I guess, for those of you who may not understand the Australian grading system). I was sad, lonely, friendless, depressed, being bullied by a particular girl who made my life a living misery for twelve solid months. I wagged almost a full term of my first year. How I passed I really don’t know. I think I was also overcompensating for a mouth full of metal – metal which I had for SEVEN. FUCKING. YEARS. For all the good it did me. I didn’t want to talk, I still couldn’t get my lips to move around the braces properly but then I would get so stressed about it that even when I could speak, the wrong words came out.

It was something which became more noticeable to me as I got older and as a result I simply got quieter.

It’s something that continued to the present day.

It was a few years ago now that I was hit with a scenario that will probably stay with me forever – because it made me realise that this wasn’t just a little inconvenience. This was an actual, serious Thing. I was stuck at home because my car – my lovely old 1978 Datsun 120Y Coupe (mustard yellow, if you please, with all leather interior) wouldn’t start. The battery was fine (because I’d only bought a new one the month before) so it wasn’t just an issue of jump-starting it and heading off. In my despair, I called the RACV for help.

I mean, seriously. This how ridiculous it gets – and I can laugh now but when it happened it was painfully embarrassing.

I was reciting my registration number and I said “G for Dad”.

G for Dad.

There was a brief yet intensely uncomfortable pause and then a snortgiggle at the other end of the line. I joined in, even though I was cringing and then said I was having a right shit of a morning and I was late for work and I really needed someone to come out and get my car started for me SO STOP LAUGHING AND PLEASE HELP.

So there’s that.

And now there’s the memory thing. I have been having trouble remembering things. Short term, long term, it doesn’t matter. There have been days where I have arrived at work and I don’t remember certain parts of my journey. For a twenty-minute ride, that’s impressive. A little bit scary. I have trouble remembering things at work that I should be remembering after 18 months being there. The list continues.

And numbers. Seriously, I hate it when someone calls with a problem with their account. It takes me forever to work it out – if I can even work it out. I don’t see numbers right. I cannot work things out in my head. I would be in serious trouble without a calculator.

I’m not smart. I would really like to consider myself intelligent but I know that I am not. I have a basic knowledge of many things so I can carry on a conversation well enough. But I am not smart. I have many friends who may disagree with me on this and while it would be sweet of them to say so, I know that what they perceive as intelligence may just very well be the fact that I am more perceptive than intelligent – when you spend a lot of time not talking because you can’t physically and mentally form the right words, you tend to observe and take in a fuckload of information. But at age 35 (almost 36) I would expect my brain to be working at it’s peak, not heading in the opposite direction. Intelligence I can improve on with practice but ye olde grey matter needs to be in working order for that to happen.

So with that in mind, I joined up with Lumosity. I’ve been doing some brain training which, if nothing else, makes me a little more alert afterwards. It’s basically playing a set number of games each day to improve brain function. Activities include things like memory, speed, reaction time, complex recognition, spatial memory and all that fun stuff. There’s a whole lot of science-y stuff around it but I figure that anything which will help my poor little neurons to pick up their game a bit is a good thing. I’ve also got mum and the manbeast into it as well seeing as how a family subscription was only $30 more than a single.

I guess I’ll report back in a few weeks and let you know if there’s been any marked improvement.

Dadisms, again.

Dad just posted this ripper on Facebook:

So, they have landed a washing machine size hunk of junk on a comet.
I am so impressed… Not.
Why would you want to?
To study the origins of the universe?
Simple.
There was this big mother-fucking bang, all the shit went everywhere… and here we all are.

(His words, I just corrected the grammar.)

It’s made me laugh far more than it was supposed to, really.

The Short-but-Epic Trip to USA for DragonCon 2014! (Part 4 – Day 1 of DragonCon 2014)

So Friday, the 29th of August (bloody hell that seems like a long time ago now) was the first official day of DragonCon 2014. I was all a-twitterpated and excited to get started on my first real con experience. However there was one minor problem…

I was fighting a losing battle against the dreaded Travel Lurgy. The cold which had remained hidden until the moment I sat my arse down in that first plane out of Melbourne, reared it’s ugly, snotty head in a proper manner. I had gone from a tickly throat and a bit of a cough to starting to feel claggy and unwell. Really unwell.

John was doing his best for me, as per usual – loading me up with medication we thought would help but what we thought might have just been a coughy thing turned out to be an actual cold thing. It wasn’t bad at that stage, I could deal with it. If it didn’t get any worse, I would be just fine with that.

When it came to costumes for the day, it was decided that Friday would be Firefly Day. Unfortunately, in my forgetful and somewhat panicky blondeness, I had left my costume neatly folded on top of my dresser – IN MELBOURNE. Not much help to me there, was it? I’d gotten dressed in civvies at that point, quite prepared to be the tagalong friend who carries everyone’s stuff (aka The Handler) and just enjoy the sights. Well, my mate Tracy wasn’t having any of that and in her preparedness, offered me a choice of Indian saris to wear so I could play Inara. Watching everyone else get dressed up made me maybe a tiny bit jealous (and foolish) over having no costume so I let Tracy wrap me up in a gorgeous black and gold number.

I’d like to note at this point that neither of us knew what the hell we were doing. Thanks to the Font of All Wisdom on Random Shit, aka Google, we managed to figure out how to put on a sari. So we wrapped and folded and wrapped and folded and pinned, pinned, pinned, and wrapped and folded some more until I looked like… well, me. In a sari. I was the blondest Inara you could imagine. I was also buggered if I needed to go to the toilet at any stage. There were pins everywhere. Absolutely everywhere. They connected the sari to my pants, my tank top, to itself. It was almost scary sitting down for fear of popping one and ending up with a pin ending up somewhere it ought not be.

So, I was Inara (chubby blonde version), then we had John who was Wash and Tracy and Grant who were Kayley and Jayne respectively. Naturally Kayley and Jayne have the biggest following in that show so Tracy and Grant got a load of attention. A couple people asked to take their pictures and then belatedly realised John and I were part of the group and called us in for a group shot when they recognised who we were playing.

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John, me, Tracy and Grant.

Yeah, we don’t fit the mold – but it’s still loads of fun.

And thus began my first foray into cosplay and conventions.

The first panel of the day was this guy:

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His thinking face, maybe? I dunno.

That’s THE Sir Patrick Stewart there, folks. Sorry for the fuzziness. My camera couldn’t quite handle the lighting situation but… I was in the same room as one of my favourite classic actors. I was a little bit in awe. (Actually, a lot in awe. And it wouldn’t be the first time that’d happen too.) He is such a great speaker. So engaging and witty and absolutely adorable. Of course he was peppered with the usual questions about X-Men and Star Trek and it was great listening to him tell his stories. The hour-long panel went by so quickly.

Speaking of panels – there is one common thing that links them all.

THE QUEUING.

God in Heaven. I’ve never experienced anything like that before. Lines for panels went around the block and double-backed on themselves to head back around the other way. Queues snaked up the middle of buildings for several floors. People were milling everywhere.

Lining up to get into Sir Pat’s (we’re totally on casual name basis now) panel was an exercise in patience and sheer force of will. We had lucked out when we arrived and joined the line when it was just a few hundred strong. From where we stood, we watched what seemed like thousands walk past us to find the end of the line and it was like that for a good hour. I won’t mention the incident where one of the volunteers tried to get the small group of us in our area to move off because we weren’t standing in the right spot – even though we’d been told to stay there. Pigs would fly if we were going to join the end of the line at that point, not with the several hundreds/thousands who had tacked themselves on in all the time we’d been waiting. Needless to say, we scared the poor lass who, to be honest, was only doing what she was told as well. But she came through and made arrangements for us to stay where we were.

Oy. So, lesson learned. Turn up at least 90 minutes early to have a better chance of securing a place in the queue.

With that panel done, our next appointment was in another hotel to see a Firefly panel. This was pretty much the whole reason we dressed up.

We saw this guy:

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A terrible picture of Adam Baldwin and panel moderator.

Adam Baldwin of Jayne Cobb, Firefly fame.

He’s a funny bugger too. He really took over that panel. Sadly Ron Glass (who was Shepherd Book in the show) was a late-comer to the panel, having been “caught in traffic” (I can imagine) and much quieter than Adam, though he had his moments as well. Grant was totally geeking out at this point. Adam is his hero from that particular show.

There was an amusing moment before the panel started where an Indian couple actually asked if I was in costume or not. Tracy confirmed that I was and they were impressed at the good job we’d done. We laughed and said there were pins everywhere and there would have been no chance of me putting it on by myself, to which they replied that Idian women grow up dressing in saris and still need the help of many hands and many pins to make it work. We felt rather proud of ourselves after that.

The last event of the day before we were totally wrecked and needed to eat was the Doctor Horrible Sing-a-long. John is a massive fan of Dr Horrible. I’d only ever seen a couple of episodes as they were being posted up online years ago. It was fun seeing the whole thing together in that environment.

Facebook B&W Challenge

It’s been quiet around here.

Truth be told, I’ve been dealing with issues which I won’t bore you with but it involves my hair… Yes, still falling out. Yes, thin patches are becoming bald patches. No, there doesn’t seem to be any explanation for it. And I’ve been priced for a human hair topper at $900 which is money I simply don’t have anymore.

Long gone are the days where I could make a $1000 purchase and still have $1000 to last me for a fortnight.

I am looking into a good quality synthetic topper (which comes at just under a third of the price of a real human hair wig) – there are many that look quite real. Until then, hats and bandannas are going to become my best friends.

Anyway… I was tagged to do the current challenge that’s trending on Facebook at the moment. A 5-day black and white endeavour.

I figured I could commit to five days. The original rules were to take and post a new photo every day for five days, but since I really couldn’t be bothered doing that, I decided to publish some never-before-seen images from my collection over the years.

And now I share them with you.

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Serenity. Yi Yuan Gardens, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia
Renlish.com - Facebook B&W Challenge
Embrace. Bruno’s Sculpture Garden, Marysville, Victoria, Australia
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Solitude. Healesville, Victoria, Australia
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Sleeping Beauty. Boudoir shoot, 2013
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Challenge. Torndirrup National Park, Western Australia

I encourage everyone to do this, whether it’s take a new photo every day and post it to your blog or your Facebook wall. It’s a little bit of fun and it can be a nice walk down Memory Lane.