Butterfly Ring

I came across these rings in an advert on Facebook. They are a symbol of suicide awareness and having thought about it, I decided that I had to have one.

Yes, butterflies on a silver band appeal to me. They are quite beautiful. However, that wasn’t my reason for wanting one.

Over the last 18 months I have had some serious hurdles to jump and undergone a great deal of change as a result. I can honestly say that I’m not the same person I was back in mid 2017.

Instead, I am a happier, healthier and far more settled person than I ever thought I could be back then. I have found my inner peace which is a really nice place to be.

But I am all too aware that I didn’t do it alone and in fact, couldn’t have done it alone even if I’d tried. I have had people who saw I was in crisis, stepped in and temporarily ‘took charge’ until I was able to stand alone and take back the reins. Those people saved my life in more ways than I can name.Butterfly Chain Suicide Awareness Ring

Since joining the Bridge last year as a volunteer, I have found that more and more, I am giving to people around me. The more I give, the more I want to give.

Seeing someone that I’ve helped or doing something that I know will be useful to someone somewhere, really energizes and heals my soul. I know I’ll be continuing my volunteer work for a long time to come in whatever capacity is required.

During these last 11 months, I have met many people who are in some form of crisis, whether it be a big or small matter.

Some people just need a shoulder to lean on. Never underestimate the power of a pair of ears and a silent voice.

Others need to chew things over and be given ideas so they can plan a strategy forward. Once armed with a game plan, they are good to go.

Still others have gone through or are going through a rough time and just need to hear someone say “hey, how are you doing?” so they know that someone remembers they’re in a bad place and cares about them.

I bought this ring and wear it daily to remind myself to check in on others if they look like things aren’t doing so well or I get a vibe that they need to talk.

If recent years have taught me anything, it’s that nobody is an island and that sometimes, just one person taking an interest can make a world of difference.

It certainly did to me and now, I have the honour and pleasure of paying it forward.

The world has enough takers. It desperately needs more carers. If you can be one, why not?  It could mean the difference between life and death.

Suicide Awareness ‘Butterfly Chain’ Ring

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Uplifting

We all know toxic people can bring us down and it’s very hard to build our spirits up again. Too often we find ourselves believing we have nothing of worth to offer and don’t know how to recapture that feeling of value.

Here are 22 things that will genuinely feed your soul and give you back that wonderful feeling you’re missing. No companion needed to enjoy these so leave everyone else at home and go for it!

  1. Make a super playlist of upbeat favourites and go for a walk (or dance around the house to them
  2. Join a craft group. You’ll meet some wonderful people, make new friends and learn some great skills while making some really fabulous stuff.
  3. Volunteer at a neighbourhod house or other charity. You’ll get far more out of it than you give and the appreciation you receive is so different from ‘giving’ and being taken advantage of.
  4. Hiking, bushwalking or chilling at the beach. There’s nothing like being out in nature for refreshing the soul.
  5. Take some pictures. Everyone has a phone with a camera and the world is amazing place. Capture it. The more you do, the more you’ll see of the weird and wonderful. This is a great way to expand and/or change your perception of the world around you.
  6. Lots of places have clubs and groups. Jump on to meetup.com and find some people who share your interests. There’s nothing like having places to go to be around people who ‘get you”.
  7. Walk a dog. If you don’t have one, contact elderly neighbours who have one and ask if they’d like you to take it out for a bit. You’ll feel great for helping the old folks and the dog will love you for it.
  8. Buy a bunch of flowers and head for a busy shopping strip or mall. Spend some time watching the people around you and when you see someone looking like they’re having a bad day, pull a flower out of the bunch and give it to them with a smile. You’ll feel like a million bucks after this one.
  9. Contact the volunteer department of a hospital and see if you can visit patients who don’t often get visitors and/or hold babies who are drug addicted and touch-deprived. You can REALLY make a difference there.
  10. Soak in a tub full of hot water and a mountain of bubbles. Make it something special by lighting scented candles, turning off electric lights and playing some soft dreamy music in the room with you. A glass of wine is also nice. Giving yourself some pampering lifts the mood amazingly.
  11. If the weather isn’t great, see if there are any community groups that knit for charity. Knitting groups make beanies and scarves for the homeless, blankets and baby clothes for premmie babies and even small squares that are stitched together to make blankets. No special knitting skills are necessary and knowing your contribution is highly valued is a great feeling.
  12. Contact a nursing home and see if they need visitors for the lonely or people to help with activities for the residents. These folks have excellent stories to share.
  13. Take yourself to a salon for a manicure, pedicure or massage – or all three! You deserve it!
  14. Bowling. There is nothing so satisfying as slamming that ball down the alley and hearing the crash as those pins go flying!
  15. Dance class. You are never too old to learn tap, ballet or even jazz. You’ll surprise yourself and you’ll be addicted in no time.
  16. Get to a stable and go horseback riding. It’s great fun and you’ll bond with your horse in a way that will surprise you.
  17. Get out that old bicycle and dust it off. It’s time to strap on the safety helmet and hit the happy trails. If you haven’t done it since you were a kid, I can guarantee you’ve forgotten how much fun it is!
  18. If you need something to do at home on a rainy day, try a jigsaw. That feeling of satisfaction when you nail the past piece is totally worth the work!
  19. Figure out your favourite craft and make some gifts for Xmas or birthdays. Nothing is ever treasured quite as much as a gift made with love and seeing how much someone cares for it will be a constant reminder of how much they value YOU.
  20. Got kids, nieces or nephews? Start writing down some stories drawn from their childhoods and your own. Tell the tale of funny things your siblings said or did or places you all went. Even stories about school days and the mad effort to not be the class nerd can go down a treat. If you type them up in Publisher or Word, you can scan and add family photos and really make a nice project of it. It can also be printed and bound for each child as a family memento. Those family stories are priceless.
  21. Plan a girls’ or boys’ night. If you can’t do it at your place, arrange for it to be at a friends’ place. There’s nothing like a few drinks, nibblies and a good movie (or sports game) to cheer you up. People will thank you for being the catalyst to get it going.
  22. Join a drama group. Even if standing and spouting isn’t your thing, your help behind the scenes with costumes, props, makeup and lighting will be wonderfully appreciated. No performance goes on without the crew backstage making it happen.

Sign Here

So, I had this email sent to me by the Area Manager of the people who do Mum’s aged care. They look in on her, help with shopping, medications, getting to the doctor, that kind of thing. While she’s spoken of them, I’ve had no direct contact with them, until now.

Opening the email, I found a form there which had been half completed by Mum. It was some kind of Authority to act on her behalf. The only thing the email said was “please sign and return”. That’s it. No preamble, no explanation, no nothing. Mum hadn’t mentioned this at all to me.

So, I rang her this morning to fid out what the deal was. It turns out that it’s a formal notification to them that I’m her next of kin and have the authorization to make decisions on her behalf, pay bills, blah blah. That’s fine. I can handle that.

After agreeing to sign and return the scanned copy to these people this morning (I was at the Bridge, they had all the printers and scanners I needed), I also agreed to email her a copy of the signed form and to put a copy in the mail to her for her record. I got all that done before 11am.

Thankfully, she was expecting someone to drop by to take her shopping so we didn’t have a long conversation. However, I do wish she’d tell me about these things when they’re happening instead of my having a surprise turn up in my inbox of which I know absolutely nothing. She’s not big on communication it seems.

She and I are going to have to sit down and have a little conversation about that need to keep me in the loop. I cannot act on her behalf adequately if I’m the last one to know things that are important.

Call me old fashioned, but I’d rather hear the information from her directly than ascertain it via a crystal ball or Ouija board. And she doesn’t seem to get this, why?

For today, the paperwork deal is all done and dusted. What tomorrow brings is anyone’s guess.

Lost Sheep

By and large, I’m a patient person. Then there are things that just get my goat and push me to the edge. One such issue is having everyone else’s visitors landing on MY doorstep.

Case in point: I just had someone hammering at my door at 10.50pm. Mind you, he banged hard on the door to begin with and before I even had a chance to stand, he was hammering it down again. Like…wtf? When I got there, it was some guy delivering pizza. He had the wrong unit of course.

No, I didn’t order pizza. No, I don’t know who did. Yes, it’s a double block so it’s 1-3 not 1 / 3. No, I can’t help you if you don’t have any other information

He left in a huff with his precious pizza no doubt to go back from whence he came.

This morning I also had another guy hammering on my door. I was still in my nightdress and wrapped in a large shawl when I opened the door. There he stood. Mr Wonderful in dirty shorts and a ragged t-shirt holding a tattered plastic bag which had clearly seen better days.

Am I the one that wanted the DVDs? Um, no, I’m not. Do I know who did? No, I don’t. But isn’t this 1/3? No, it’s 1 -3, a double block. You need to know which unit you want. Ohhhh.. as he stumbled somewhat haplessly from my doorstep.

The problem is that I live on a double block and my idiot neighbours are incapable of giving a proper address to people. I always make sure people know the correct address when I give it. Why am I the only one to do this?

The problem is that it’s a double block numbered 1-3 and because these people haven’t got a right unit number, they get here and think it’s Unit 1 at #3, which is me.

So, they stand there on MY doorstep gaping at me like imbeciles, bleating vague information and expecting me to ‘magically’ know who they’re here to see and which unit that person is in. Like… fucked if I know! Do you want to wait while I consult my crystal ball?

People move in and out of here all the time. I have no idea who lives where. I know these people strictly by sight and only when we pass in the drive ways we all come and go. We exchange polite smiles and quiet hellos. That’s it.

You want to find someone? Do a general doorknock until you find the right person. You’re the one looking for them, not me. You’re also an adult and I’m not your mother. Solve it yourself.

This happens all the time and has done since I moved here. But, twice in one day is sort of overkill and today, it’s doing in my head.

I’ve even had cops turn up here at 7am and then argue with me that I had called them when I hadn’t. They acted like I was either deliberately lying or just plain crazy. When they finally checked their information again, they found out they wanted Unit 6, not Unit 1.

Like…yeah dickheads, did I not just stand here for the last 10 minutes TELLING you so? Why didn’t you check your information sooner instead of rudely implying that there’s something wrong with my sanity?

But honestly, I am so FED UP with getting everyone else’s guests, deliveries and workmen.

If these neighbours want people to find them, why is it so damned hard to give out a correct address and ensure people have your unit number?

Do you ever feel like you’re living in the Moron Capital of the universe?

Paroled From Lily

Sometimes news just couldn’t be better and comes like a gift from the gods and this morning, I have been graced!

I had a courtesy email yesterday to say that my real estate agent, Barry Plant Preston, had been rebranded as part of another agency and is now operating from their Thornbury office. They further informed me that since my rent was directly debited, that this would continue and that I need do nothing. Well, okay then.

I thought I would investigate this new mob a little further so I did a bit of a google and found their website. They seemed to have a gazillion property managers so I was sceptical if they would be hiring some from Barry Plant as part of this rebranding and if so, was Ballbreaker Lily still my property manager?

Did rebranding mean that they were amalgamated and the property managers from Barry Plant came with the deal or did it mean my file was now under the management of a new person?

It’s been six months since my last inspection and I’ve been on the sharp lookout for a letter informing me that I’m about to be landed with another. Nothing has come yet and frankly, I’m not really in the mood to do anything to disrupt that status quo, particularly not if Ballbreaker Lily was still in the picture. Especially not after the last run-ins I’ve had with her.

If you want more information about those encounters, try searching “Lily” and all shall be revealed. Either that or search the tag “rental”. It should come up under either one.

So, in this case, I was going to have to be a little bit sly if I wanted answers. Calling them directly would likely result in being put through to the property manager to have a chat. If that was someone new, hey, no problem.

If it turned out to be Ballbreaker Lily, then yes, BIG problem. She’d probably decide to show me she was still the boss by demanding to make a time to inspect again while she had me on the phone.

While I have nothing against inspections, having that particularly nasty woman in my home is an experience I really dislike and besides, I’d have to arrange to have a witness here AGAIN, in case she decided to act up. A witness has been absolutely vital at the last two inspections for precisely that reason.

When Ballbreaker Lily puts on her boots, she is a genuinely vile and nasty creature and completely unprofessional, overstepping her boundaries in as many ways as she can. She likes it better when it’s just her and a tenant alone and there are no witnesses. Then it’s her word against theirs and she’s pretty sure she’ll always win because she’s the agent and tenants are scum, right?

How many people do you know who genuinely need a second person present at a 10-minute inspection because of the hostile and unprofessional behaviour of the agent?

So, making a phone call was out of the question. That left me only one way to get the answer I wanted – email. They had messaged me and within the message was a contact address to message them back should I have any questions. Perchance the need had arisen to avail myself of it.

So, I wrote a pleasant, but business-like email to this effect:

  • Thanking them for informing me of the new situation so promptly (Actually it wasn’t prompt. Rebranding had happened on the 8th and I hadn’t been notified until the 15th, but I’ll let that slide)
  • Requesting the name of the property manager so that I may place this information on my file
  • Confirming my understanding that my direct debit will continue as normal but requesting that if this is not the case, to please inform me immediately so that I can resolve the situation without delay.

No, I didn’t misunderstand about the direct debit situation in their email to me. I understood the situation perfectly. I also figured that if I perhaps implied, however vaguely, that I was concerned about it and THIS was my real reason for emailing them and asking the name of the property manager, that they would swiftly be in touch.

Besides, a mere ‘thank you for the courtesy email’ didn’t seem adequate to disguise my REAL query, so, I fudged a little and it worked like a charm.

The response came sailing through a little while ago. My NEW property manager is named Jenny. I looked her up on their website and she seems to have an agreeable vibe. I’ll be able to size her up better once I’ve actually spoken to her.

However, the situation appears clear. IF Ballbreaker Lily has been transferred across to the new agent as part of the rebranding deal, then she has been allocated other files because she doesn’t handle my unit any longer. Since Unit 2 was also under Barry Plant and managed by Ballbreaker Lily, it’s likely they are now both under Jenny. I mean who would be so stupid as to allocate two different property managers to look after two units on the same block?

I am out from under the Curse of Ballbreaker Lily and free to deal with normal, rational, PROFESSIONAL people again! Yesssssssssssssssss!

A little bit more googling turned up that my unit had been sold on April 8, 2018. That would explain the rental increased I copped last year. I know that both my unit and Unit 2 were both owned by the same people but without digging up my original lease, I can’t verify the information against the new one.

However, I’m in no rush to do that because I’m content that the mystery of the rental increase has been solved to my satisfaction. It’s amazing what you can find if you know where to look.

I am also content to know that even if a new inspection IS on the horizon, I will be dealing with what I hope is a decent property manager and not some power-hungry bitch who likes to throw her weight around.

However, if I do receive notice of a new inspection, I may just have my witness here with me, at least until I find out what Jenny is like and get a handle on what I’m dealing with. Best safe than sorry, I say.

However, today it feels like I just got parole!

Update:  I have been emailed by the agent again who has said that a guy named Jarrod manages several other properties belonging to this landlord so the file for this property has been turned over to him. Yeah, okay. It’s still not Ballbreaker Lily so I’m totally cool with it.

Shame

I urge everyone to watch this message posted below and take note. I cannot applaud it or support it more.

War memorials are not places to play. They are places of solemn respect and reflection about those who gave their lives for our freedom.

Some years ago, I was at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne taking photos as we drew near to November 11 and Remembrance Day. The forecourt was filled with poppies carefully arranged and the entire building had an air more quiet than usual.

Without warning a pair of teenage girls came out of nowhere and began running up the stairs to the upper level. They were laughing and giggling hysterically, clearly having ten types of fun.

An old soldier on duty was incensed and immediately got after them, calling them back down the stairs and giving them a complete dressing down for their disrespectful conduct. I nearly applauded!

If he hadn’t gone after them, I would have. He actually moved towards them just as I was doing so. There behaviour was a complete disgrace.

Auschwitz, the Shrine, any place of service for memorial of the war dead, these are places to be respectful and give a quiet moment to recall those who died for our freedom. Men and women who never came home. Families with missing pieces. Children that would never know a parent. This is tragedy. It is not a time or place for frivolity.

That people continue to behave in such a disgusting way does not surprise me. Respect is not what it used to be. I do not believe that adults today are teaching the young anything about any kind of respect.

They know gratification. They know greed. They know satisfaction when they obtain the latest technology. They do not know people. They do not know how to feel genuine empathy for another human being.

It is fact that there are people on the planet who do not believe the Holocaust happened. It has faded into the collective memory so soundly that it is now the stuff of merely myth and fairytale.

In fact, there are also people who believe that the disaster of the Titanic was nothing more than a Hollywood creation and not a genuine tragedy that took 1,500 lives. How can they not feel the same about any war movie they see?

In a world of technology, some people firmly believe that footage of the concentration camps, Unit 731, or practically any film submitted by war correspondents is all computer generated and completely fake.

Why shouldn’t they believe it is so when they can turn on just about any movie and see any number of computer-generated special effects that look quite realistic.

We have simply not done enough to educate our young in the horrors of war and the atrocities man is capable of. Somewhere, we have failed in our duty to hand down the learnings of our past to the next generation.

Worse than this, our leaders are giving in to threats of violence to be held on Anzac Day, April 25. To this end, some memorial services have been canceled in New Zealand and Australia and people wishing to travel to Turkey to attend the annual dawn service there have been cautioned by Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, to do so with utmost caution.

While I understand that honoring those who fell in war might be significant to some sections of the community, canceling these important services because of ‘inability to guarantee safety’ is simply NOT an acceptable excuse. It is nothing short of a disgrace.

These men and women gave their lives so that we, the upcoming generations, could live in a better world – and this is how we repay them.

With inappropriate photography at the sites of unimaginable atrocities. With inappropriate frivolity at sites of remembrance. With the cancelation of dawn services because they have become ‘too hard’.

What a marvelous, enlightened society we have become. It is time to hang our heads in shame for our failure to convey to the young the lessons of those who never had a chance to be old.

Phantom Calls

From the weird and wonderful files: I went over to a friend’s house on Sunday. She’s a writer and has a pile of files that badly need organising. Since that’s kind of my thing, I was happy to help.

On the way there, I got delayed in traffic and was a few minutes late. I was supposed to be there at 1pm and at 1.08pm my mobile rang. It came up with her name on it but I was driving and in the wrong lane so I couldn’t pull over. I had to let it slide to voice mail.

It’s unusual for her to call me if I’m a bit late anyway. She’d be more likely to just wait a while and see if I turned up. She’s pretty chilled like that. Chasing me up for being only a couple of minutes late is out of character for her.

About 10 minutes later I arrived and when she greeted me at the door, I apologised for not answering her call, explaining that I’d been in traffic at the time. She had no idea what I was on about.

I showed her the phone clearly showing her name and number as a missed call. She swore she hadn’t made the call.

While I might have put that down to accidental dialing or something, a second call from her arrived on my phone as a missed call while I was there and I KNOW she didn’t pick up her mobile and dial me because we were busy going through her files at that time.

No idea what’s going on there but it would seem that someone is trying to contact me. What a pity I was in the wrong lane because I’d love to have answered that phone and found out who it was.

Just, damn! Now I want them to ring back! I’m dying of curiosity!

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