Hot off the Press – 29th November 2021

Published November 29, 2021 by helentastic67

Hot off the Press

So, Melbourne recently was freed from its sixth lockdown to slow the spread of the plague (cannot keep mentioning the C-Bomb!)

Just in time for my birthday, but a lot of cafes have not been able to put patrons back inside while socially distancing and it requires more staff to police and restraints in the evenings is pretty similar.

Starting with the first lockdown in 2020, I started doing more take away lunches, even collecting and taking home in-between appointments, anything to support my favourite cafes. Gotta have a place to go write my blog again, right.

On Wednesdays, being the day, I haven’t been to my regular Wednesday locale I started shaking things up a bit. A fish and chip lunch, a Lebanese wrap lunch, even a beef curry pie and all of these on a steady rotation.

Fridays became the days to support my regular haunt. My Girl Friday and I would order in, wait out the front for our order and then sit in the car for what we dubbed Car Café. Here is what the dashboard looked like.


I would call on Thursday to ask if they could put my new favourite thing aside for me. My new favourite I for years ignored due to its simplicity. But now, I’m convinced that thing has crack cocaine in it. Because the humble ham and cheese toastie has something in it that just makes it next level. I think I know what it is, it’s not drugs, but either way, I’m hooked.

They also started making this naughty little thing Robert (the owner) came down from his office one day and grabbed one. I asked what it was and he told me if I didn’t have the last one, he might come back and get it too. And I did. Treats are always cut in half so I can share them with Girl Friday. Shared calories equal no calories as far as I’m concerned. I went to order one a few weeks ago and I was told they were not doing them anymore. They were only over winter. But I had only bought 2 and I had shared them both with my Girl Friday. FML. This is the “Fly Me To The Moon” and the very addictive Ham and Cheese Toastie.

Ways to survive lockdown in Melbourne.


Cheers,
H

Thursdays

Published November 22, 2021 by helentastic67

Thursdays

Thursdays is a rather quiet day ideally for me at home. I usually run around like a bare assed rabbit Monday – Wednesday. Friday is another long day of hunter-gathering and it’s the day my apartment gets its once over with a vacuum and mop. I try to do my admin but even if it’s 40 degrees in the shade, I might venture out on hellonwheels to do some of the things to get ahead of the demands on my one shopping/food prep shift each week.

It’s a great feeling of independence, power and achievement to get out and get things done.

Yesterday I got to the post office. Tick! Tick! Tick! Got to the Pet Shop. Tick! Tick! Tick! Chemist Tick! And the eco-green shop. Tick! Then home.

One of my regulars questioned why I was not there on the Friday?

The woman at the Greek deli gave me good advice. I had explained I was trying to get ahead of the following day and she said “Never worry about tomorrow. It’s going to happen anyway”

Vulnerabilities

Published November 15, 2021 by helentastic67

Vulnerabilities

Yesterday I had a brief experience of feeling vulnerable. It’s not my happy place, and I can generally roll with the punches. I’m stuck in my routine in many ways but I can be flexible and move things around while I’m on the fly.

But my vulnerability is I need someone in my home (a man who doesn’t know me at all outside the brain injury group we are both in) and I was wearing my ‘around the apartment’ clothes. A colored t-shirt and shorts you could see my hairy legs in. And I was in slippers (they were O.H. & S.) standard so I don’t slip over in my socks on the kitchen floor and most annoyingly, I didn’t put on a bra.

So, it is to say, I have one persona of black steel.

I know I can’t believe I even wrote that, when I’m out I want to be seen as slim, sleek, stylish, class, etc. Blah! Blah! Blah!

But when I’m at home I wear clothes, I do not wear them out. Colors, shorts. No one sees me, my carers don’t judge me, my cat doesn’t care. She looks at me weirdly when I have my hair out.

Yeah! That’s a hard pill to swallow.

That’s why I go out of my way to NOT make myself vulnerable. 

Crisis

Published November 8, 2021 by helentastic67

Crisis



I’ve recently suffered another birthday. Did I suffer? No! Given the alternative, I’d rather suffer another birthday.

I turned 48, yes! I know you were all wondering, so I just ripped the band-aid off. I don’t even have an issue with being this age. What’s in a number?

I’m going to start to bring into my writing influences of age and wisdom. Maybe this post should be called that? But it won’t always be subtle, but it will be there.

My beautician (yes! I’m that age where I consider I have one of those), one day I turned to ask how her day was and she had spent her morning helping a younger lady because she was not even upset but distraught because she was about to turn (wait for it!) 30.

Did you hear me? Fucking 30! Eye roll!

I asked said beautician (let’s call her J), “Did you slap her?” I am not about to shame the much younger generation so hang in there. Allow me to teach you something?

Up until 20, you learn, you play really. You know NOTHING, you think you know everything. Then your 20’s. In your 20’s, you sort out who you are in life. You hopefully work hard, play harder, but you settle into the who you will grow up to be maturity.

Then 30, again, say it with me now. FUCKING 30.

That’s when you should be able to not need to make the big decisions in life. They should be done with and should still be working hard and be able to play harder too. So, it is to say, I know I’m not ‘young’ anymore. But I’m not old either.

I learned some years ago I was no longer ‘Young’, when I saw a ‘cool’ pair or streetwear jeans on a younger girl and she and her friend were getting off the same train I was getting off, I said “cool jeans!” and she said nothing and after getting off the train, she and her friend shared an embarrassing giggle.

I clearly wasn’t asking where to buy them. I did my streetwear jeans like a pro in my 20’s and now my left foot would get tangled and I would fall over. Let alone, I can’t get in and out of jeans in a hurry when I need to, or I just can’t do jeans anymore.

But a lesson to the ‘young’, when someone is giving you a compliment, be graceful. One thing is required of you and I want you to practice it with me now. Say “Thank you”

Some old lady (me in this case) used to be you and she just appreciates what you have going on, even though she no longer can. That is the correct and only thing required of you. Most importantly, you will be old(er) one day too. (If you are lucky)

Now, to the older generation.

I know, I’m not as old as you, I already make the noises you make when I get up and to the older generation. You have not survived two world wars, one maybe. My friend Bette survived the second world war. She was fostered out of London, from her parents to stay with a family on a farm back in that era. The government paid the families to feed them and she tells me they used them as slave labour.

Anyway, I digress

I’m saying, I am old enough to recall a time when there was such a thing as customer service. Oh, what’s that? It’s when someone greets you when you go into a store and just in passing asks you how you were, it’s a friendly way to let people know you are there if you need any assistance and you would assist people even if it meant directing them to another store. Because the mentality was, if you wanted good customer service they would come back.


The irony is even with my blogging process, my cafe/writing process and my now Girl-Friday typing up my posts and the fuck you Covid putting a serious kink in my access to cafes to write and here we are I only just turned 48!

Not complimenting too many young people these days, but still intend to.

Hate

Published November 1, 2021 by helentastic67

Hate

It’s a strong word and by November every year, it’s an emotion I find I’m overwhelmed by. It’s when I also purposely don’t write. I just shut down and deal because I’m so very grumpy, but if I never write about it, maybe everyone out there in the world will never know they are not alone.

So, months later, ok two months later, I sit to write, hopeful that the strong case of grumpy (or hate) has mellowed sufficiently so people I know don’t all quickly reach for the pills or razors or tequila (just don’t do it!).

Later October it’s my birthday, I mean, I normally try to upsize all of October to make it “my month” But while Covid kicked everyone in the face in 2020, the few things I look forward to in October, I missed out on. Going out for lunches, cake, coffee and adventures.

My birthday generally sucks anyway and not because It’s when we get older. Whatever, who gives a Tutti Frutti. (Trying to swear less this year? See how long that lasts!) but my birthday is not a big celebration.

Not since my 8th birthday when my baby sister was born and a year later, we were both sick on my 9th birthday and her 1st birthday. So, 15 months and a week after her birth, she passed away from cancer. It was very ordinary.

To say in the early 80’s people, family, complete strangers did not know how to deal with the grief of losing someone so young. Still don’t, but really didn’t back in the ’80s. So, anyway birthdays suck. Check!

November rolls around and I have to start thinking and planning what is happening for Christmas. The ladies, my mum, two sisters, one partner at sister and me, that’s five. Check!

We go out for a lovely lady’s lunch, somewhere nice. Often expensive. There is wine (not for me, thanks) yummy dessert and banter. The exchanging of gifts to be unwrapped later (maybe).

My older sister is often issued the warning “No shakey, shakey!” She is terrible, can’t help herself. It’s hilarious.

Money is always an issue, some of us worry about money, some don’t. So, there is a balance of power thing going on. Then there’s actual Christmas, who will be where? My mum and younger sister live in the country, I lived there with them for two years around 2000. The home is perfect for them and putting a third in the mix unhinges us all. Upon arrival there I’m issued a warning as soon as I get out of the car. Be careful. There is the constant OH & S (Occupational Health and Safety) warning. Yeah, I get it. It’s a fucking hazard! (That didn’t take long, did it?) I could slip or trip or just plain face-plant. There was the year I stepped onto my mum’s front verandah to smell the fresh country air. This was the warning I received, “Be careful! If you go for a walk over by the water tank! There’s a snake living in the weeds!” To which I promptly turned around and went back inside. FUCK NO! I did not come home to be messing with any snakes. No! No! No! No! No!

My older sister and her now fiancé, live in the opposite direction. We all used to gather down there so we had Christmas together, they have a holiday house that meant we could stay there without being all over each other. Obviously, there is always a matter of who does the most on the day in the kitchen, but even one-handed I can pack a dishwasher like a Pro and I do my share as best as I can. But I miss the fun times in the kitchen, planning some yummy pasta dish for Christmas Eve, the hands on making of it, the hunter, gathering to prepare all the ingredients, etc too. Unfortunately, I am excluded and that hurts.

For about 4-5 years now I’ve gone home to my mum’s. Yawn, the place I lose my independence as soon as I arrive. We are all tired, grumpy and have our own interests. By which I mean I am not sitting and watching Survivor or MasterChef episodes from earlier in the year. Just NO!

So, I spend a lot of time alone. Mum gives me her bedroom so I can spread out. I take my cat (normally) who stays down that end of the house. We hibernate, I binge watch my TV shows too, because when I come out to see what’s happening, I’m literally shooed away. And if I don’t go home to mum’s, my older sister doesn’t think to include me. There’s the whole cat/dog ratio thing too.

Dog people/ Cat people!

When I have taken my cat home, they also have a cat, and they need to be kept apart. There’s are outdoor neighbourhood cats, they roam, looking for food. What a nightmare.

My father? Oh, my parents divorced twenty-five years ago, after twenty-five years of marriage. Don’t get me started, from my mum I never hear the end of it. I love both my parents.

I try every at Christmas, to see my father when I’m up north and It’s hard because my dad is not completely understanding all of my disability quirks. He is just very opinionated that I must move out of the city so one day maybe I can save some $$$$’s for a deposit and own something one day. He does not live in Helen’s real world. He does not know; he would not understand and there’s no point trying to teach him.

So, people think I’m included in Christmas and that’s the end of the stay. Last year (2020) I stayed home alone in the city, because it was better than being somewhere I need help all the time and lose my independence immediately.

Christmas and family time. I’m just saying. It’s death by 1000 cuts.

In January, I’m just glad IT’S OVER! I get next year off.

Hot off the Press – 25th October, 2021

Published October 25, 2021 by helentastic67

Hot off the Press

Today I thought I’d do a little old school style Hot off The Press.



Sometimes I share some profoundly wise words with someone and they want to share or quote me, now I’m like, “Christ! Now I’ve got a post to write that has a stick of TNT attached. Because they want to quote me in their XYZ, you know I can’t recall and it doesn’t matter.

So, here are some wise words.

“Carers need to be aware that they may not value the same things as their client, but when they are with their clients, they put their own values aside!”


Cheers,
H

Busy

Published October 18, 2021 by helentastic67

Busy


I have never known how to not be busy. I’ve always been busy. When I was 16 years old (yes! back when there were dinosaurs!). In the 1980’s, I was a full-time high school student, I worked part time as a checkout chick. I was doing hours of art folio preparation to get into college, I was a live-in babysitter to baby sister and I definitely didn’t have time for a social life or boyfriend. I did the household ironing and more than my share of the housework.

All while planning to be a poor art student, didn’t do a 4,000-word assignment until my first year of tertiary. I was still living at home then and it was all hand written. No computers, so many drafts, then only the battle of whiteout back then. You kids don’t know how good you have it.

So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that when I moved to Melbourne to be a poor art student when I was nineteen, that while being a full-time student, I transferred my supermarket job so I was working part time and being 100% responsible for my shopping and cooking. I introduced a little social outing in the form of going to clubs. I met one woman at college that went to a big commercial club very close to me. In simple terms, it was a very big wog club that was like a meat market. Huge dance floor in the middle of the room, upstairs, you spent much time going for a walk around the perimeter with a friend. As you travelled around a line forward and you just kept to the left. To your right was a line of people going the other way. As people passed on your right A guy’s face would loom into you to go for a kiss. Brushing them aside, all of a sudden, they would be pulled away by their girlfriend who had them by the hand and asking why they seemed to be holding them up. This is not why I stopped going to this kind if club.

The first few years I studied in Melbourne (two years actually) and I would go home long weekends and maybe a week of term break.

At Christmas, I’d transfer my supermarket job back to the country and also pick up seasonal work in the farm of blueberry packing. The last season I did some picking too, but while very stressful, packing paid better.

But to take a break from study and be at home in the country over Christmas meant I was literally working from 6am until 9pm with only a few hours off in the middle. Not even after college, I picked up some work in retail and clubs, which I literally set the hours according to what I considered it required to ‘get the job done’. So, my weeks, day and night were full.

I guess I’m saying life before my disability was always hectic, maybe why little symptoms I could later contribute to my AVM diagnosis went unchecked. So busy, my life has always been busy and I’m sure it’s not the last time I will cover this topic, or topics.




Magnificent – Continues

Published October 11, 2021 by helentastic67

Magnificent – Continues

Later that night, I discussed my legendary stopping traffic in Burgundy St Heidelberg and my mum was all like “Omg! You could have been killed!”

Seriously, now she cares, I’m kidding, she cares. 

I mentioned again the above to my Heidelberg taxi driver Sean (is his real name!) and his reply that was simply put “Cabbies like pro-active clients!”

Nailed it!

I like to imagine I’m aware of my surroundings enough to not put myself in danger. I also like to imagine (call me crazy!) that nobody has enough insurance to hit someone with a disability.

And if that Gold Merc driver had been any danger I wonder if he would have appreciated a walking stick imprint in his boot?

I knew he would have been all “I’ll sue you!”

I would have been all nice like “See you in court!”

I wonder if the judge would have been empathetic. 

So, yes! I’ve thought it all through.

Magnificent

Published October 4, 2021 by helentastic67

Magnificent

I have to say, today was magnificent! Wait!

I went to my first of two appointments today in Heidelberg. I have made it a habit to walk to a local take-away shop to pick up a vegetable pide and I book a taxi from there to scoop me up and get me home. 

Today none of my regular taxi drivers could fit me in so, I rang for one. What’s the damn address? I get to tell my regular guys simply ‘the take away place’ and they manage to get a park across the street or call me to tell me they are around the corner. I waited.

I noted there were no free parking spaces for a taxi to pull in. It’s a very busy shopping strip where traffic is non-stop. Car spaces open up and are taken again very quickly. Some spaces become available. I message to see where my taxi was and had the option to speak to my driver that had accepted my booking. I spoke to him and told him I would step into an empty carpark and he could pull in.

I stepped into the back of three empty car spots, in a row of cars, a car went to back into where I was. I shook my head and moved towards the passenger window. I briefly explained my dilemma. 

“Taxi coming to pick me up. He would need to pull in.”

This was fine. He pulled into the middle carpark and as he was getting out of the driver’s side (on the roadside not curb-side), another car also considered parking where I was standing. I stood firm. I looked through the car’s rear window. I could not make eye contact. I should point out; I should be wearing a face mask as Covid is a thing.

I stood firm, other cars were lined up wondering what was happening. I looked to the driver trying to steal my car spot. He was driving a vintage gold Merc.

Say it with me now, three things wrong with that sentence. Ok, two. Vintage is ok.

I realized the driver was an older (he was old!) Greek man, I shook my head, “no!” at him. I pointed to the Audi in the road, waiting for this situation to be resolved. I did my default stone face. “I’m not giving in!” and shook my head again. I asked the man who had parked by now if he could tell the old Greek man why I was not moving. He explained to me that he could not see me.

How could he not? I am dressed in the standard uniform that is Melbourne. BLACK & BLACK & BLACK, TODAY. It’s cold, the end of summer but finally we have some blue sky. 

Quite frankly, just happy it’s not 40 degrees in the shade as it was a week ago, because I could not wear black.

So, where was I?

The Greek man in his vintage gold Merc drove away. I had indicated again to the Audi waiting for traffic to be resolved and traffic continued to move. The man and his wife got out of their car that they had picked and the husband told me the old Greek man had been none too pleased. I smiled and said I had noticed he was rather grumpy.

My taxi driver pulled in and I unloaded all my handful of yeah, bag, walking stick and things. And the day went on.

There are many times I stand my ground as a not young, hot and sexy something-something woman but I will always stand up to people like my disability didn’t happen because there are certain things I don’t stand for.

I am magnificent!

Normal Friends

Published September 27, 2021 by helentastic67

Normal Friends

In my earlier years of having case management, I mentioned as one of my goals that I wanted some normal friends and contact with the outside world that didn’t constantly throw me in with people with brain injuries or depression/mental health, etc.

I mentioned it specifically like this as my previous C.M. had a tendency to favour the ‘Clubhouse’ their organization ran. I would joke that they literally did a drive-by, push the door open and shove you out! Exclaiming “Have fun!”

My monthly meetings with my C.M. went on and while trying to maintain my independence, find funding for the different things, refer me to O. T’s and all the ‘other’, more attainable goals finding ‘normal’ friends was always pushed to the side for more important and pressing things.

This new potential friend was occasionally mentioned to me and because I insisted on more details, I was assured she was witty and smart. I confess, I don’t have much time for slow, dim-witted people. 

What? My brain doesn’t have much time for. C’mon! Hurry the fuck up! I can’t help it. My brain is busy and Stephen Hawking I am not. But, over time, I was volunteered more and more info about this new potential friend. I had not been terribly keen as she was living across town. I don’t have the energy to get to the people I already know and love to go across town.

Are your spidey senses going off yet?

Mine have been from day one. I should point out, C.M. works like this. I self-referred. They come see you or vice versa, you sign contract, they get paid.

Everything I said I wanted and needed, which they said they could do, they fuck all did.

They did the easy things.  They only met with me as often as I insisted because I pestered them and because I’m fun and cool and amusing. Imagine, if someone isn’t cool or fun or can’t implement Pester Power?

That part of me is still in that childlike era, I do exceptionally well at Pester Power. So C.M. tried to shake me loose. “Hey? We haven’t done all the things yet!”

You realise, you sign that contract, they get paid and if you don’t keep on them, they can get away with never seeing you again.

So, the C.M. let slip one day, could I help the client with her rostering of carers? She couldn’t manage her roster, didn’t return calls, couldn’t schedule, etc. Could I help her with that?

So, she wanted me to do her job now?

People often don’t even realise I have a disability. Well, several really. So, they see me upright and walking and talking and smiling until one day I make a BOLD statement and people are shocked into a different idea of Helen’s normal.

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