Cold turkey week two

How is it Friday already?

(If you’re new here, this is the second week of my 30 day challenge to use my time productively. I’ve wrangled some of you lovely readers into playing as well. It’s not too late to join in now for a mini-challenge on whatever topic you want.)

It’s been a busy brain week. The highlight was on Wednesday when I finally quit my job – I’ll write more about that next week. But it meant spending a lot of time thinking about options, and more time than was necessary thinking about clever yet cutting remarks. I love those conversations in your head where you always win, or the person you don’t like loses their temper while you stay cool as a freakin’ cucumber.

I’ve spent less time in front of the computer this week. When I start to pfaff around on the internet, I get up and walk away and do something else, like read a chapter of a book, or put on a load of washing, or go for a walk. Purposeful. So that’s a good thing.

It doesn’t feel like I’ve been as productive this week as I was last week, but you’re always on your best behaviour in the first week of a 30 day challenge.

So, K, Mimbles, Pirra, Teresa, Melski, Zoie, Philippe, how are you going?

Oh, and I’m after some tasty inspiration. I went to Flemington this morning and got a little excited by the apples. Anyone got a great recipe for a picnic-friendly apple pie or tart? I’ve got Royal Galas and Granny Smiths coming out the wazoo.

53 responses to “Cold turkey week two

  1. Rhiannon Saxon

    Apologies in advance for being the horrible miserable person AKA Spectre-at-feast but I *had* decided to try and really work up some enthusiasm for getting paperwork and housework done and looking for a job, but then yesterday my big sister died. So RIGHT NOW all I want to do is howl and eat chocolate-covered aniseed rings in her memory and screw the housework.

    And in case anyone feels awkward about politely ignoring my comment here and actually responding to the ACTUAL post, don’t. My sis would be the first to tell me to ‘SUCK IT UP!”

    I just can’t stop talking about it.

  2. Rhiannon Saxon

    Hmmm. Well – she was always in a lot of pain…she had two artificial hips, Crohn’s disease, meniere’s disease, a non-functioning thyroid, seriously damaged tendons in her ankles, etc etc…but she compensated for that by having a ‘wetsuit’ of tattoos, various facial and body piercings, a select collection of pedigree chihuahua puppies, and just generally being hardcore.
    She was the sort of girl that put lipstick and eyeshadow on the statue of Mary at the Catholic boarding school she oddly chose to go to.
    She walked most of the way up Machu Pichu with one of my brothers last year.
    She broke her arm last week visiting her 18 year old son in hospital where he was in getting 10 stitches in his forehead after accidentally headbutting someone in a mosh pit. Which she thought was sort of funny. She got up off the ground laughing at herself.

    (Until the coroner’s report we don’t really know what happened, but she reacted really badly to the phycial shock, her blood pressure skyrocketed and she was also put on nerve-blockers – the current theory is accidental overdose of painkillers. She died in her sleep at home)

    She was always the big sister who would tell you what to do, but expected people to make their own minds up anyway.
    Her three sons thought she was the most awesome woman they had ever met, which is a nice epitaph from young adult children, really. Her friends all describe as kind and loving and wise, which she was, but in a very wise-CRACKING way.
    When she decided to go back to work/study after having kids (pretty young – she was 20 when she had her first) she was so excited about being accepted into uni to study law and business management…she said, “I got in to Uni! I need a pair of Docs! And a new lunchbox!”

    People really liked her. When she started travelling to Bali every so often a couple of years ago (She managed the Comfort Inn in Karratha, so it’s a pretty standard holiday destination from there) she was the sort of person that got to know the taxi-drivers and got invited back to meet their wives and have dinner at their house.

    But she could be seriously cunning, not to mention sneaky.
    When my little sister was born, she and my other older sister who were 16 and 15 at the time woke us all up and brought us downstairs to the kitchen to watch. (Mum decided not to drive herself to hospital that time and rang a taxi – her waters broke just as the taxi pulled up, so she pragmatically looked for a floor that wouldn’t stain.)
    (I have to say right now that I am glad I can’t remember – I was 2)
    Anyway, after the birth Mum haemorrhaged and was taken to hospital in an ambulance, and Elanor (the oldest one) kindly told Guinevere not to worry about putting the others kids to bed, she would handle it all, and whisked us upstairs. Guin spent the next 30 seconds thinking about how kind and nice Elanor was – until she went back into the kitchen and realised that sneaky Elanor had left her the kitchen floor to clean up.

    She was infuriating and bossy, kind and generous, funny, witty, contradictory, never judged people until she knew them, was described by her daughter-in-law as ‘the best mother-in-law anyone could have – my second mother who always accepted me for who I am’.

    I hope she knew that I loved her.

    • Rhiannon, that gave me goosebumps. She sounds like such an amazing, fun, good-spirited and cheeky woman. I reckon she knew how much you love her.

    • Shite. I posted my first reply to this post before I read this.

      I don’t know you or your sister, but I feel compelled to say SHE SOUNDED ACE. I’m really sorry she died, and I hope you get through this as best you can. And for what it’s worth, your description of her proves that you are a pretty special younger sister, too.

      I have no idea how you are managing to even string a coherent sentence together, let alone paint with panache this compelling picture of a woman who I will sadly never get to meet.


  3. oh, Rhiannon, I just read that and even though I don’t know anything about you or your sister, that was just so moving I feel like crying even though I’m at work. What an incredible collection of memories (and I am sure you must have countless more). How unfair and fucked for her to go like that but also how wonderful that she was so well loved. (Incidentally, your comment about her ‘wetsuit’ of tattoos reminded me of a book called Indelible Ink where a middle-aged woman who gets cancer goes on a bit of a tattoo spree, shocking her well-heeled friends and adult children in the process. Not that you probably care about that right now). I hope the howling and chocolate rings bring you some comfort.

    • Rhiannon Saxon

      Thank you! And yes, that is how Elanor lived. Not that she shocked her friends or family (Well – she shocked our grandparents by HAVING CHILDREN OUT OF WEDLOCK!!!!)
      But that would appeal to her.

      Sorry for completely hijacking your post, NWN!
      And thanks for letting me share.
      (Also her favourite author was Ruth Park. I just remembered that.)
      She was only 45.

  4. Rhiannon, you have seem to have an all round awesome family. You just invoked a strong desire to hug you and to sit around in big flannelette pj’s doing shots and eating ice cream. (I have no idea why that scenario comes to mind. Blame the codral)

    My empathy, sympathy and all round vibes coming at you right now. As Te Little Prince says,

    In one star I am living, in one star I am laughing, so when you look at the sky at night, only you shall have stars that can laugh. And when time comforts you, for time soothes all sorrows, you will be content to have known me. I shall always be your friend.

    • Rhiannon Saxon

      Thanks! (Last night I wore a big flannelette shirt and ate icecream! It’s like your reading my mind!)
      My family is awesome, I am lucky to have them.

      • Rhiannon Saxon

        It kills me that her grandkids won’t remember her. I should be grateful that my nephew had children ridiculously early (he was 20 when he and his partner had their first daughter) so that she got to know them at all.
        My brother wrote a little epitaph on her facebook wall describing her as ‘still always leading the way to the next big adventure’. and said that life will be less colourful for us…the rest of us are SUCH middle-class lefties (and mostly Canberra Public servants except for me, my brother who is a circus performer and one of my other brothers who is an apprentice chef – see? Middle-class lefty jobs!) but it was very hard to pigeon-hole Elanor as she was a Buddhist who listened to American folk music and collected tattoos, worked in a mining town, drank gallons of McCafe flat whites, used to be addicted to listening to John Laws which she thankfully chucked after getting into Uni (See? Hotbeds of bedwetting treehugging lefties!) – she volunteered at the National Folk Festival in Canberra when she still lived there, she brought up her kids with the tomato-sauce-on-everything diet (which may have been the influence of her ex-husband) – she loved Turkish food…she was hard to define.
        Once she was at a party at a club and all her friends had prawn cocktails – she loathed seafood and said how disgusting it was that they still had horrible prawn eyes. She went to the loo and when she came back all of her friends had turned the decorative prawns around so every single cocktail had a little prawn staring at her with their evil little dead black eyes. That still makes me laugh even 20 years later.

        • Dude…mind link!
          My family is of the bedwetting treehugging lefty variety also.
          I love hearing stories about peoples family, you get to know people through how they speak of their loved ones. Especially those that have passed. It really does help to talk about them. (When my Nan passed away in Feb it actually meant the end of the estrangement with my mother. Sharing stories about Nan has helped to mend the bridges.)

          I love what your brother wrote…that Elanor was still leading the way. I don’t think the sadness of losing people ever really leaves you, but I do know that sharing the joy, fun, laughter and tears, certainly makes it easier to cope with.

          I think i’d still be laughing 20 years later at that story too.

          • Rhiannon Saxon

            Thank you.
            I am flying to Karratha on Saturday (if our STUPID wireless broadband connection EVER lets us book the tickets – Craig has been trying to book for three hours now and our miracle-wireless-way-of-the-future-much-better-than-fibre keeps dropping out. Ready to hurl laptop through window) – a friend of mine is paying for my ticket as I couldn’t afford to go otherwise – for the funeral. It is going to be so freakin’ tough visiting Elanor’s town and staying in her house for the first time ever and not getting to actually see her at the end of the journey. But I am looking forward to seeing my nephews and meeting her friends – and talking and talking and talking about her. She is having a bright pink coffin. And we are unashamedly going to play ‘Wind Beneath My Wings’ sung by Bette Midler because that’s what Elanor played at my Nanna’s funeral 20 years ago and neither my sister G or I have ever been able to hear the song since without thinking of E. (Clearly there is small shame or I would not have written ‘unashamedly’.)

            • That sounds like a great way to celebrate Elanor’s life.

            • I agree with Nips, sounds like it will be a wonderful celebration of the life of a woman who will be greatly missed.

              • Rhiannon Saxon

                Thanks. She really will be. Mum and Dad are surprised and pleased to read the amazing things people have been writing about her on her FB wall – and something I think that says a LOT about people’s character is how they treat people that work for them, so the amount of ‘Best boss EVER!’ comments and ‘Aww, I was going to get you a present for your birthday next month!” from all her staff really touched me.
                It’s going to be a HUGE funeral. I am going to sing – and I hope I can.

      • Rhiannon Saxon

        Ouch. ‘You’re’, not ‘your’.

  5. *more hugs* for Rhi. In fact, I haven’t let go since I first heard yesterday. Your stories about Elanor are beautiful, thank you for sharing them.

    My cold turkey week 2 has been one big fail as far as 6am risings but I’m still getting up earlier than I had been and mornings have been pretty stress free. Will keep working on it!

    • Rhiannon Saxon

      Thanks Mim – I do appreciate that. *hugs back*

      I suppose since the aim of the 6 am risings was to be more personally disciplined and reduce stress in the mornings (?), that counts as SUCCESS!

  6. Rhiannon, I’m so sorry for your loss. Your sister sounds like a right cracker of a lady.

    Well, Monday and Tuesday were a write off. But I worked in the weekend, and the rest of the week I’ve been relatively productive — but most importantly I am in a good headspace. I have my annual review next week, which is unfortunate as my supervisor’s mum is very very sick, but I’m not going to bother her while she’s quite rightly spending time with her family.

    Speaking of apples, I had the most delicious apple yesterday. It was called the “Dixie”. I have never heard of them before, but they were selling them at our local supermarket and the pacific roses, which I usually get, looked pretty manky so I branched out a little.

    Good luck to the rest of you!

  7. Rhiannon, I’m so sorry for your loss. Your sister sounds like someone I would have been challenged by and enjoyed immensely. I’ll hold you and your family in my thoughts and meditation this week.

    I went ahead and started decluttering. I’m tentatively calling myself out of the clutches of PPD and feel that getting rid of this stuff is part of embracing this new ability to breathe deeply in my life. I’m being careful not to become busy just to fill in myself with distractions. So, I’m taking the decluttering slowly and not setting any goals other than to explore healing. I’m doing a little bit every day, again being careful not to push any boundaries (holding onto this stuff helped me feel grounded and safe) and I’m surprised pleasantly to see progress. It’s good.

  8. As for my sugar free days…remember the snot factory I was? It’s official, despite not having a penis, I have the bonafide manflu. (I’m pretty sure there’s an arse load of sugar in strepsils….not that I can taste it.) But otherwise I have been pretty good.

    • Nice work. I’ve cut back on sugar too. Now I *only* eat Lindt sea salt chocolate. Yes, I am a wanker.

      • Don’t overlook the Lindt dark choc “Orange Intense”. It’s a cracker.

      • Then colour me with the wanker wand too. Lindt is the only chocolate I eat.
        (Though to be honest, I don’t eat nearly as much chocolate as I would like. I can’t have it in the house. I have no will power when it comes to Lindt.)

        • I’ve got two blocks of the sea salt at the moment. One in the cupboard and one on the coffee table. I’ve only had three pieces today. That’s positively a sugar-free diet!

        • Rhiannon Saxon

          I’m going to put my hand up here as a total Aldi chocolate convert. It is German and relatively indistinguishable from actual real Lindt.

          • Really? I’ll have to check it out. I’ve had quite a few Aldi things and they’ve been lovely.

            • Rhiannon Saxon

              They are a bit hit and miss – the good stuff is GREAT and the not so good stuff is WOEFUL.
              But we are sooooo poor at the moment that there are a few things that are very handy.
              Good things include –
              the green-apple laundry liquid
              The melting moments
              the chocolate
              the chocolate-covered marzipan
              The fresh ravioli (well I think so anyway. *defensive*)
              The pane di casa ($2 a big loaf! with proper holes in it!)
              The soy-lin bread is very similar to Helga’s and half the price.
              The *shameful cough* curly fries
              The underarm deodorant in the aqua container
              The hair-dye
              The chicken thigh fillets
              The chocolate – did I mention that…?

      • Sea salt?! I haven’t seen that one around. I love the Lindt pear chocolate though. Not normally a chocolate and fruit combo fan, but for some reason I love this one. Do you think I’d get the same effect if I DIYed it?

  9. first pfaff…and then wazoo! I love your turns of phrase 🙂

    I have not joined in on the challenge officially as I am a commitment-phobe, but I am using you as a reason to eff around less in my own life.

    Congratulations on quitting. I can’t wait to hear all about it!

  10. My reading challenge has got to a slow start Kim. I spent the first two days trying to figure out what to read! But on Wednesday I decided to pick up an Anthology of a magazine from out of Britain called Bad Idea. Here’s a link to the book for you:

    At this moment I am 100 pages away from the end, and I hope to get that done today in an hour or two if I can. I have to say, I have found this reading challenge a little difficult, more so for the time factor than anything else. I just can’t find time to relax, get my mind concentrating and read. Maybe I need to organise myself a little bit more.

    After I finish that I am hoping to read a book of essays by Ben Pobjie which I picked up in Readings Carlton the other day. I can’t remember the name of it for the life of me though! Hopefully I will have that finished by this Saturday and I would have caught up with my quota of a book a week.

    • Also – sorry for my lateness in this comment. I’ve been bad with catching up with my Google Reader :/

    • Philippe, I don’t think that’s a slow start at all. You’ve worked out what’s standing in the way of your challenge, AND you’ve done some reading.

      I also find it really hard to just sit and read. That seems to be the time that I notice my nail has a catchy bit (better file it now before I pull it and end up with a way too short nail that hurts), or that the flowers need more water (better put some in the vase now while I’m thinking about it or I’ll forget and they’ll die), or I should put the kettle on, or I should put my shoes in the bedroom, or any number of things that I feel I have to do now because they’ll never ever pop into my head again and everything will be ruined!

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