Weird Weather

February 7, 2011

Two years ago the drought and dryness made Victorian country crispy brown. The warnings, the heat, and then the wind leading into Black Saturday were so extreme and uncontrollable.  This year we have experience the cyclone and as I write Melbourne is under flash flood conditions. Roads closed, power and lights out and the  Elwood Canal broken its banks, drains blocked my storage flooded.  So on the second anniversary of the fires I am sweeping up water and dirt moving wet cupboards clothes and plastic boxes. Then the beds  2 mattresses a bed base  so heavy although only the bottom 6 inches or so were  wet.  Pillows bedding all musty and needing airing.  A 2 hour job which ended up taking five hour with the help of dear friends and not finished.



Stink of Pink

January 5, 2011

It is the New Year 2011 and I am catching up, on one bit of scrap paper was a scribbled ”   – pink is ok punk is better.”  It was inspiring to see the changes and challenges this UK based group is bringing to the sterotyping of young girls and boys by the media and department stores.  For me it brought home the commercialisation of young children’s desires to be like and copy their parents and grandparents in daily activities.   I am questioning myself on whether organic blusher and brush was sensible for a seven year old who for the past 2 years has be asking me to buy her ‘make up that won’t give me itchy bits.’

In the seventies first readers come home from school that had Betty in the apron in the kitchen and John sitting reading the paper after work.  At least both the male and female children were playing with the dog, but that did not stop the reader returning to school with pasted over changed text and illustrations, including what I like to think of as gender neutral, equal, and what then was called ‘role reversal’.  A meeting with the head master,and teacher  did not change the reading program drastically overnight.  It did allow for some of the early feminist writers and their childrens book to come into the school and be read.  It is interesting to note one of the books involved  a small girl fighting dragons and it is being read to the third generation right now.  (Title ……   Author ….to be sourced)

Sometimes I think we have a long way to go and have look at what I have achieved -2 mortgages on four properties today, when my first attempt was met with ‘we don’t lend to women, you can only keep the house if you get your (soon to be ex) husband to allow you to stay on the title.’  He did, but can you imagine my feelings on this issue, when I was the one wanting a house and paying a good share of the mortgage.  That is until I was told if you don’t resign we will fire you. You have to stay home and care for the baby.  It is not your husband’s job.’    The husband wasn’t working and wanted to care for the baby, I was interested in working. The mortgage had to be paid and good jobs for women were opening up.

Unexpected grief

February 21, 2010

Watch out for STUG     Anticipating and the After Effects of Anniversaries    10/2/2010

These reflections show the wide variety of responses surrounding anniversaries of traumatic events. For those of us living in Victoria, it is the first anniversary of Black Saturday and the media bombardment is continuous. This adds to the personal memories, and the thought processes, such as increased anxiety and worry or its contrast, the relief it is all past; difficulty making decisions; body symptoms including rashes, headaches digestive upsets; and changed behaviour.

This is an attempt at managing the event that is an emotion-laden time with such a wide range of reactions, grief, fear, anxiety, stress, frustration, anger, avoidance, irritation, and blame. It can include physical symptoms, ulcers, colds, depression, restlessness, and accident proneness.

The affects spread through the wider community reminding them of their vulnerability and activating memories of past situations. Now I know why I was buying food at midnight for possible evacuees, sweeping leaves as autumn descended on the city in summer, holding my breath as TV footage aired a year ago, threats activated from 26 years ago as though it was now. That’s what can happen, but not predictably, not always.

This is referred to as Anniversary Reactions, a way of revisiting to increase mastery and understanding and protection through re experiencing the past in some way. It both protects by increasing awareness to threats and gives another chance to visit and share events with others.

Anniversaries have a possibility of deliberate choice, (I will be there) or it can sneak up, (I don’t want to be reminded.) They also allow for a resettling and often assist the event to move to the past.

Sneaking up has a phrase for those times, cruising happily along, and someone says ‘How are you? It’s so terrible’ Bang, you’re STUGED or it’s one of those slow, going wrong days, and nobody says ‘hello.’ STUGED again.

What’s STUG? Subsequent Temporary Upsurge Of Grief.

It has reminders of being stuck, stunned, staggered, silly, (as in ‘get over it’ I’m being silly’) surprised, and sat on. (by the elephant in the room; – what’s not said or what can’t be spoken). Other triggers can be weather, sight, sounds, and smells. The body can remember when the mind has ‘forgotten.’ It is exhausting.

The anticipation of an event has two areas, the positive, being with others sharing stories and acknowledging what happened in the past, joining in, thanking the community. The negative is anxiety about what happened, the feelings that might arise, the differing opinions, worry about arrangements, and clashes with other commitments. It can be hard to predict which might arise. The anticipation is worse than the event.

This first anniversary is past. Take a moment now, and next year so you are not ‘stuged’ from behind when you are ‘over it.’ Others might think is right and proper to recover, it might relieving their distress but not yours. There is no right way in loss rather many different paths.

An Icon for Redesdale

February 18, 2010

Full photo of Our Lady of Recovery -Click on image for enlargement.

Reflections on Our Lady Of Recovery

February 12, 2010

Reflections with our Lady of Recovery

Our Lady of Recovery  – Redesdale

Exceptional people do exceptional works and here is an art work imbued with so much love and care that I want to share it with the wider community.  Ivan Morozoff  created an Icon for the Redesdale and surrounding communities affected by the fire on 7th in 2009.

Our Lady of Recovery was presented to the Redesdale Community on Febuary 7th 2010 at the 5pm Anniversary Service at St Laurences Church in Redesdale.

It was standing room only, by the time all manner of people, children and pets crowded in, to witness the blessing, listen to the children sing, and afterwards talk and eat in the Redesdale Hall.

My photo was taken in haste, amidst crowds, and do not do the art work justice.   It does include the church and people, as though they are becoming part of the art, as the children’s painting are part of the whole.   The children each did a drawing and they surround the main picture, adding piquancy  and optimism.

I have a card with the Icon at home and each time I see it I want to share it and let others know of this work .

” When you look upon this Icon give thanks for our Community and its people :

Give thanks for the children who are its future.

Remember to pray for all those recovering from the Feb. 7th fires:

Remember with love all people and help when you can.”

Reference for text – 2 Corinthians 1 :3-4 “Written by Ivan Morozoff (the artist) with the thanksiving tokens by the primary school children of Redesdale, Mia Mai and Barfold .”

The anniversary gift of thanksgiving honours the Fire brigade members of Redesdale and other places and also the volunteers and helpers of our Community who assissted during the fires of Feb 7th 2009.

Redesdale Fire Tile Memorial

February 8, 2010

my tile contribution representing the evacuation  and   the  beginning of the tile wall and behind it more of the tiles click to see it