Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Weighing it all up

At a loose end while the family is asleep, I decided to categorise our 2018. I know it's been a great year, but I still wanted to see it on balance.

Yeah, it worked for us.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Is this thing on? Hello? It's Christmas...time to revisit my Blog.




1. What did you do in 2018 that you'd never done before?

I started my job at Karratha Senior High School. It has been a rollercoaster ride full of laughter, tears, tantrums, teaching moments, learning moments, favourite students, students who told me they loved me and those who openly told me they hated me. Best of all, however, was that I found a work place where I felt happy within my community of colleagues. Karratha is the happiest I have ever been.

2. Did you achieve your goals for the year, and will you make more for next year?

I achieved my reading goals, my cooking goals and my ‘personal space’ goals. It was a successful year, goal-wise.
I will make goals for next year and they're bound to revolve around my desire to be a better teacher.


3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

No, not really. The SF community was awash with new babies, but no one that I know personally. Oh, wait, there was this one couple that I know personally, but I'm not giving away information about other people's births in such a public forum.


4. Did anyone close to you die?

In the Trumpocalypse, we’re all dying a little more than we should each day. This is a terrible part of history and I hope we can recover from it.

5. What countries did you visit?

Not so much countries as country towns. Dampier, Point Samson, Wickham, Roeburne, Broome. That’ll do, Donkey.

6. What would you like to have in 2019 that you lacked in 2018?

Real money that can support my family on one wage. My wage is nowhere near Lee’s former wage and I feel like I’m letting the team down.

7. What dates from 2018 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? 

15 December 2018 (yesterday). A student gave Lee and me tickets to see “Bohemian Rhapsody” because he felt that I’d been important in his year. I will never, ever forget that. The movie was wonderful, as was the gesture.


8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Finishing my first year as a teacher. I discovered that I am actually good at this. No, I wasn’t perfect, but I haven’t met a perfect teacher yet. We’re all doing our best in a most-trying circumstance.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not being there to help my daughter during her darkest moment. I should have been in Perth. I wasn’t. I don’t know what to with that.


10. Did you suffer illness or injury? 

It’s been three years since my ankle injury, but I still suffer from it. Thanks to conflicting opinions within the medical profession I have never regained any real control over my left leg. I still need my walking stick from time to time (like the past 2 days) and it pisses me off, mightily. Recently I found out that the tears are constantly shredding and that it’s only going to get worse. Right this moment I am doped up on Panadol Forte and am wearing my strong brace. I want to go to the gym tomorrow, but this is most unlikely.
In positive news, at this rate I might soon qualify for a disability space at school.


11. What was the best thing you bought?

Duromine. 8kg lost. Curcumin. It really helps my ankle.


12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

My entire family because they have made the most of this year in one way or another. Some lost direction, but I do believe that they will pick themselves up.
My boss, Ben, for hiring me. He’s cool.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

A family member who made some stupid decisions and then had to suffer the consequences. However, we all make mistakes, and everything is a learning experience. Onwards and upwards.

14. Where did most of your money go?

School supplies. Teachers are the only people who steal supplies from home to take to work.
 
It's amazing how much this little girl looks like my granddaughter.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Work. I love my job. It’s freaking hard and not always rewarding, but it does MATTER.

Also, having my boss believe in me enough to give me the ATAR Year 11 Lit students. It’s a brand new course and I’m excited to be part of it.


16. What song will always remind you of 2018?

“Baby It’s Cold Outside.” For some reason, this song raised a lot of anger in the #metoo era, but for me, it was an opportunity to have a real teaching moment with my transition ATAR Lit 11s. The class debated back and forth about the lyrics and what they meant, both historically and today. It was brilliant and the moment when I knew I had them.


17. Compared to this time last year, are you: i. happier or sadder? ii. thinner or fatter? iii. richer or poorer?

Happier, slimmer, poorer. Way happier. 

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

Writing. I miss it. A lot. These holidays will mostly be about reading for my ATAR Lit course, so I don’t anticipate things changing in 2019.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Hiding from the problems going on in Perth. I couldn’t do anything concrete, so I applied myself more fully to Karratha stuff. And then things got really bad for my children.

20. How will you spend Christmas?

No religious expectations. Yay! Presents, food, drinks. And with my Battkids for the first time in years.

21. Who did you meet for the first time?

The entire English department at KSHS. They’re awesome and they are my friends.

22. Did you fall in love in 2018?

Okay, Lee and I have always been close. We just fit and our dynamic works. Lately, though, something has changed and we’re even better than ever. We’re passionate about each other, we can’t get enough of each other. I am still crazy in love with my husband and I will organise for everyone to get their diabetes shots after reading this answer.

23. What was your favourite TV program?

The Good Place by a long shot. There is no better show on TV.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

Every year I say, “I don’t hate anyone, I’m just not built that way.” This year I definitely hate three people with a passion, one of whom is my daughter’s ex. What a complete dickhead. I can’t talk about the others.

25. What was the best book you read?
The Marriage Lottery series by Stasia Black. Yep, it goes the full smut, but the post-Apocalyptic world building makes it a fantastic read that I find hard to put down. I often consider moving past the sex stuff in order to read the main plot. I would, but that would be disrespect to SB’s work, so I don’t 😊

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I have no idea. I have a musical playlist which I listen to when I’m alone in my study, working.

Laid

Love is a Stranger

Afternoon Delight

I Love it When He Calls me Names
Lay Down

Tainted Love
Total Eclipse of the Heart

How Soon is Now?
Angel of the Morning

Bad Things
Kiss Me

Moonlight Shadow
Sweet Dreams

Love Will Tear Us Apart
Never Tear us Apart
We Belong
Throw Your Arms Around Me
Wicked Game
Stay
I Know Him So Well
Drive
Deep
Don’t Stand So Close to the Window
Strokin’


27. What was your favourite film of this year?

It’s such a toss up between Bohemian Rhapsody, which was wonderful, and The Room which was delightfully terrible.




28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I was 49. My Triffkids and grandkids arrived from Perth to spend it with me. It was wonderful.

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Nothing. It was a great year and I have loved everything about it.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2018?

School Marm, 1950s style.


31. What kept you sane?

Having a cry in the staff toilets when it all got too much.

32. What political issue stirred you the most?

The murder of women by violent men in their lives. This form of domestic terrorism really needs addressing, and soon.

33. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2018.

The sins of the mothers visit themselves upon the children. My daughter faced a situation that my mother, my grandmother, my Aunty and myself all faced. We all lost. She won. I’m so grateful that she broke our curse and kept her children.

34. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

“Okay, guys. You’ve done well. I’ll play music for the rest of the lesson.”
“Miss, miss. Can we listen to…Africa?

Every single time. And guess what, these lyrics work in with my year, too.

It's gonna take a lot to take me away from you
There's nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
I bless the rains down in Africa
Gonna take some time to do the things we never had.

Africa – Toto.



Friday, December 23, 2016

Lyn Battersby rethinks the 2016 Blues

...

Or why my year was better than yours.

Hello, Blogness, my old friend.

Yes, I Facebook more than is ideal for any one person, so instinct tells me to post this there, and yet, I'm a purist, so I'm doing my 2016 Year in Review here. Hopefully people will read it. Hopefully, I only offend the right people.


1. What did you do in 2016 that you'd never done before?

I finished my Bachelor of Arts in English and Creative Writing. It has been a long, long, looooong haul, but I got there and in the end I'm totally proud of my efforts and the marks I received. I remained a person of Distinctions and High Distinctions which still makes me blink in wonder.

I made a Uni nemesis. He was a superior older white male who gaslighted (gaslit?) me on line. Idiot. 

2. Did you achieve your goals for the year, and will you make more for next year?

I wanted to attend the Temple twice and I did. I wanted to sew two garments - I did not. I wanted to read 12 novels from our shelves and I did. I wanted to stay below 56kg, but depression and my ankle injury saw me sail above 60kg. I de-cluttered 50 things from the house rather than 52. I emptied 10 boxes of books rather than 3. I completed all Uni units but I did not finish and send Treckie Travers. So, I achieved some and failed others, and yet, my year saw me attain more than I ever thought possible. I won an internship. I educated my son well enough that he'll slide into High School without an issue. I helped my husband cope with a depression that had me fearing for his long-term mental health. 

I will make goals for next year and they're bound to revolve around the Grad Dip Ed that I'll be starting in 3 weeks.


3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

My cousin Katriona's daughter gave birth to a baby boy.


4. Did anyone close to you die?

David Bowie. Admit it, we all feel close to him.

My cousins, Sue's, son took his own life. My heart aches for Sue and her family. I know what depression does to people

5. What countries did you visit?

They say the past is a different country and it's a country I constantly revisit. This coming year I hope to look forward rather than back. 

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?

My brother. But I think that ship has sailed. As I said, it's time to look forward and my brother and I keep using our shared past to damage each other.


7. What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? 


25 November. The day I finished my degree. It was so important to me to acquire a higher education and now I have. Onwards and upwards.


8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Uni, obviously, but also getting Connor back into the formal education system. He's happy to be back at school and is looking forward to starting high school with his friends. I was worried that he'd be behind, but he's not and I'm proud of that. Between bad health and bullying he's been homeschooled on and off for 5 years now, but that's over and we can all move on.

In a year where my brother decided he no longer wanted to be part of my life, I'm so happy to reconnect with my France family (my Mum's side of the family). These are my blood relations. We share DNA. They are my first and best memories and I have missed them like crazy. I hope 2017 brings actual meet ups with my Aunty and cousins because they are really important to me.

Having said that, I'm grateful for my Kiely family. We may not share DNA, but they have been there throughout the best and worst years of my life. Lee and I will be spending the 27th with the Kielys and I can't wait.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not noticing just how badly my husband was drowning in work-related depression until it was almost too late. Fortunately, it wasn't too late and we managed to get help. 

Looking after my weight. I see the photo of me with my family that was taken at last night's Bookapalooza and I just want to cry with shame. I am horrified by how big i am now after working so hard to lose it last year.


10. Did you suffer illness or injury? 

14 months ago I had a bad fall that ripped apart two ligaments in my left ankle. Thanks to conflicting opinions within the medical profession I have never regained any real control over that foot. I can walk 12,000 steps one day without issue, then need the aid of a walking stick the next. I am so angry about this injury, angry at the doctors, at the specialists, at the step that caused me to trip and, naturally, angry at myself. 

So very angry.

I also suffered depression and anxiety, but Pristiq helped me find myself again.


11. What was the best thing you bought?

Pristiq. The recliner couches. Our gorgeous Christmas Tree. It's so prettiful.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

My husband, for owning up to his battle, fighting back and coming out on top.

Erin for constantly doing her best and getting the marks she deserves.

My 15 year old nephew for coming out and including us in the conversation.

Connor for remaining positive in the face of sever opposition and oppression.

Cassie for recognising a problem and escaping with her children into safety. She has showed remarkable maturity this year and I'm so very proud of her.

Me, cos, you know, uni. 

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

A certain person at Lee's work who sparked a depression so devastating that I thought my husband would never recover.

People who would post about depression on-line, and then tell my husband that he had nothing to be depressed about. They suck. 

14. Where did most of your money go?

Credit card debt, mortgage refinancing, and these amazing recliners.

Erin's and Connor's school purchases (I nearly cried)

Oh, and an amazing 50s-inspired dress Lee bought me last week to wear to my graduation that's coming up in February.


15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

I won the Irene Searcy Award for Best Essay of 2015. It was so unexpected.

Beginning Temple preparation. I've had a few setbacks, but now it's happening. I love my spiritual family.

My 50s-inspired dress, complete with very full petticoat.


16. What song will always remind you of 2016?


In a year where the planet lost a lot of talent, to me the biggest loss was Leonard Cohen. This man seemed to put out his best work just before he died and I mourn his loss greatly.



17. Compared to this time last year, are you: i. happier or sadder? ii. thinner or fatter? iii. richer or poorer?

Weirdly, despite being fatter and poorer, I'm definitely happier. I'm in a good place thanks to my Uni marks, Lee's Magrit launch, Erin and Connor's amazing school year, Cassie's solid home life and Lee's recovery. 

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

Spent more time with Lee. This year we've spent less time together thanks to work pressures, uni, schooling and various other intrusions (including Facebook). Fortunately, we have Wednesday nights together without the children. We ignore our phones, go out for dinner, chat and decompress. We talk of our love and we discuss immediate and long term plans. It's very special and I'm grateful to Lee's former in-laws for taking the kids.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Worrying about my weight. And yet, I still do. I have issues.

20. How will you spend Christmas?

We wake up, open presents with the kids, have breakfast, drop the kids at their grandparents and then spend the day together in front of the TV with platters of food. This year I'll be going to church in the morning because the day happens to coincide with the Sabbath.

21. Who did you meet for the first time?

Blake's girlfriend, Jasmine. We went away in January, leaving Blake in charge of our empty house. When we came back we found a girl in residence. She is now a regular feature of our family and we love her. She's cute, she's funny and she just fits.


22. Did you fall in love in 2016?

Check the answer to this question from 2016. And 15. And 14. And, yep, all the others. I love Lee Battersby. I fall in love with him over and over and I still feel my heart flutter when we come together after even a minor separation. 

23. What was your favourite TV program?

Stranger Things, easily, by a long shot. But Jane the Virgin was my standout guilty pleasure. 

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

Every year I hedge around this question, but this year I'm naming and shaming. He may be the father of my grandchildren but I hate my daughter's ex-partner, Ashley. He terrorised and terrified my daughter to the point where she had to grab her kids and flee. He is a despicable low-life and I cannot stand him.

25. What was the best book you read?

Graham Greene's Brighton Rock. I felt a complete sense of desolation at leaving Pinky's world behind.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Leonard Cohen. I mean, I enjoyed him before, but this year, oh my goodness, he rose to the top of my jam-list. I love his work, particularly Nevermind and You Want it Darker.


27. What was your favourite film of this year?

Dr Strange.
Arrival.
Dr Strange.
Arrival.
Flip a coin. We watched them both multiple times.




28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I was 47. I sat an exam (for which I received an HD) then Lee took me out to lunch.

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Exercising. I miss running, I miss stepping, I miss the feel of my body moving through space. I miss the feeling of power and speed and being inside my own headspace.

Also, meeting up occasionally with my Triffitt kids in Fremantle. I love dealing with my adult children. They're really great people.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?

"This doesn't fit anymore. Better add it to the pile." The pile is depressingly high.

"I must Jamberry my nails!" Fortunately, I didn't get too fat for nail wraps.

20 years as a Jehovah's Witness, but in the end I embrace the Christmas spirit - on my nails.

31. What kept you sane?

Making lists and sticking to them. It was a year for being organised. It was also a year for forgiving myself when the list fell apart due to other considerations.

32. What political issue stirred you the most?

Lionel Shriver and cultural appropriation. As a writer I want to feel free to write anything without other presuming to tell me what I can and can't use. As a person with a conscience, I feel certain cultures are not mine to reap. And yet, as a writer, I want to subvert this. I am a woman, an ex-Jehovah's Witness, a rape survivor, a Mormon, a survivor of poverty, a survivor of spousal abuse. I am the 'Other". I am not privileged, so who amongst you can judge me.

33. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.

The sins of the mothers visit themselves upon the children. My daughter is facing a situation that my mother, my grandmother, my Aunty and myself all faced. We all lost. I hope she wins. 

34. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

My ex-husband told me (just before we separated) that I wasn't smart enough for university. So, this year I have constantly had the words "Steal My Sunshine" in my mind.

And you know you can't become
If you only say what you should have done
So I missed a million miles of fun.

-Steal My Sunshine by Len.

See, I didn't just say I wanted to do it, I did it. And it was hard. And fun. And amazing. And I did it with Distinctions and High Distinctions. I had offers of internships (2), I won awards (2), I was offered Honours and Grad Dip Ed.
And my ex-husband was wrong. I'm totes smart.


Monday, December 28, 2015

It's now after Christmas, so let's look at what I've done.

1. What did you do in 2016 that you'd never done before?  Travelled to Bali. My brother and his wife visit a lot and have connections in Bali, so Lee and I packed up the kids and accompanied my brother’s family on a visit. We had a great time that included shopping, eating and drinking, but being us we also visited the museum and drove into the forests and saw waterfalls and climbed hundreds of steps and just had the best time.


2. Did you achieve your goals for the year, and will you make more for next year? Our goal was to move house and get Connor back into the school system. Well, we moved house and we did get Connor back into the system, but the latter was a total failure and he’s back homeschooling with me. I blame the Education Department fully as it is their tolerance of bullying that made it impossible for Connor to receive the education he deserves.



3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Not that I recall.



4. Did anyone close to you die? My cousin Andrew died of DVT days after returning from Nepal. It was a shock that that really shook our entire family. He was only 51 and was the first of the cousins to go.



5. What countries did you visit? Bali.


6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015? A degree in English and Creative Writing. 3 units to go and I’m there.



7. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? I can’t single out a particular date but 2015 will always be the year that life started to get better for our family.


8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? It has been a year of achievements for me. I went overseas, I got through 5 units with High Distinctions in 2 and Distinctions in the rest, I helped Connor finish Year 5, I lost 16 kg and was offered a job with Weight Watchers.


9. What was your biggest failure? Cementing my relationship with my brother. I want to be close to him, but I somehow fail in this year after year.


10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Oh my Lordy, yes. It was bad enough having chest infection after chest infection, but to make it worse, 10 weeks ago I took a fall that completely tore 1, possibly 2, ligaments in my left ankle. I still can’t walk take more than 3000 steps in a day without experiencing pain. I’m waiting for an operation to reconnect the ligaments but we’re looking at 3 to 6 months before that will happen.
However, I would go through it all again if it meant Connor never suffered from Rumination Syndrome ever again.


11. What was the best thing you bought? Weight Watchers membership? Tickets to Bali? My Pandora bracelet that continues to acquire charms as celebrations of my achievements? All of these are because we sold our old house and bought the one we now live in, so I’d say the house.


12. Whose behaviour merited celebration? Everyone around me has been amazing this year. Lee has taken his own weight loss journey seriously and has created an exercise programme for himself that has seen him lose weight and gain strength. Erin has started High School with a brand new group of friends and is now achieving extremely high marks. Connor made the decision to be homeschooled again and has made the most of the situation, Aiden is continuing his university and has created a stable home-life for himself and Rachel, Cassie is doing really well as a single mother and Blake has faced his problems in a positive way. I am proud of my family and all they’re currently achieving.


13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed? I received a comment on a post I made about my depression that left me feeling attacked and confused. So, I withdrew my secondary family for a while. I still feel rather wounded by their attitude, but time has a habit of healing wounds, so who knows?


14. Where did most of your money go? The mortgage, which is to be expected. For once, however, we actually seem to be saving money and have managed to save up for two holidays within the past 12 months.


15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Bali. It was a great opportunity that helped Lee and I face a few issues and take action on them. I dealt with my depression, I stopped drinking, I lost weight, I focussed on my changing relationship with my children and I came back to my studies with vigour. I will always be grateful to my brother and his family for giving us the opportunity and the space to reconnect.


16. What song will always remind you of 2015? Maybe Budapest, because it’s my current jam. There’s a line in it there goes “for you, oh for you, I’d leave it all.” No matter what problems I’ve dealt with this year (chest infection, torn ankle, juggling uni with Connor’s schooling) I’d do them all again just to keep Connor safe. It feels like I’m constantly bargaining with God, ie “You look after Connor and I’ll accept whatever life throws at me next.” I know God doesn’t cause our problems (Time and unforeseen circumstances befall us all) but I do believe He helps me bear up under the strain and I will bear them as long as Connor is safe.


17. Compared to this time last year, are you: i. happier or sadder? ii. thinner or fatter? iii. richer or poorer? This has been a wonderful year for me. Yes, I’ve destroyed my ankle and yes, I continue to take medication for my chest and yes, some of my relationships are strained, but I am happier this year than I have ever been. Last year was marked by a deep depression that did not shift until April this year. My trip to Bali and my conversion to being a Mormon helped me confront some of the problems of my past and helped me reassess what I wanted from my present and my future. My depression and the way I dealt with it upset some people, and they’re very scarce in my life right now, but I remain hopeful that a reconnection will occur. I do weight less than I did at the beginning of the year and I feel more in control of my life as a result. Finally, selling our house removed a financial millstone that was slowing drowning us. Moving to this house released us from that burden. No, we’re not rich, but we definitely have enough money to live on plus a little left over for emergencies and savings.


18. What do you wish you'd done more of? Blogging. I really let it go this year and I find I’ve missed recording significant elements of my life. I’ve had a great year, but it’s been recorded in the snippets I place on Facebook which may make it more of a conversation, but also makes it less of a record.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of? I wish I’d stopped seeking approval from my secondary family. Either they love me or they don’t. Nothing I do or say is going to change that. I was significantly hurt by my parents when I was a child, so all my life I’ve sought approval from my siblings, my cousins, my aunties and my uncles, my nieces and my nephews. Now, I realise that I’m okay without it. Yesterday I attended a family event and I didn’t give in to the stress of not fitting in. I just enjoyed the moment as it stood. I do love my secondary family, but for the first time I actually allowed myself to just be in their company without feeling the need to prove that I belonged with them.
Actually, I’ve just reread this paragraph and I’ve come to the realisation that this is the year where I stopped seeking approval.



20. How did you spend Christmas? The good thing about converting from being a Jehovah’s Witness to a Mormon is the reclaiming of Christmas. Plus, I’m so new to the experience, we get to invent our own traditions. Because I’ve never really celebrated before, the kids have always spent Christmas Eve with their grandparents and woken up with them. This year I put my foot down and demanded they spend it with us. Last Tuesday we held a Secret Santa where we all drew out the name of a person. One by one we walked into Elizabeth’s Bookshop (Perth’s biggest second-hand bookshop) and bought for our person. On Christmas morning we put together a cheese platter, and opened our book-gifts. Then we spent the afternoon reading. It was the best day of the year.
On Christmas morning we woke up and opened the rest of our presents. We spent breakfast together, then at 9am the kids went off with their grandparents. At the time of writing they still haven’t returned.


21. Who did you meet for the first time? In March of this year I walked into Baldivis Ward and met a whole church filled with Mormons. They have welcomed me with open arms and I’m grateful for their place in my life.
However, I’m grateful to those people who have remained my friends during this time. Sure, I do things a little differently now, but they still love me no matter how I spend my Sundays and their ongoing friendship means the world to me.


22. Did you fall in love in 2015? Every year I look for a witty way of professing my love for Lee. So, let’s just say Lee, shall we? I love Lee completely and utterly.


23. What was your favourite TV program? Much debate has gone on in the Batthouse this week as we’ve contemplated the length and breadth of this question. Dr Who gave us its best season to date and deserves an acknowledgement. The Flash was an unexpected treasure that brought the family together in discussion as we tried to work out the truth about Dr Wells. There’s a series of documentaries on ESPN called “30 for 30” that introduced me to the complex world of American sports stars and the lives they inhabit, ad which has led me into a love of college football. Lee and I became engrossed with both Blacklist and True Detective, both of which entertained us with their intelligent plots, characters and twists. Any of these could be said to be my favourite, so I find it impossible to pick just one.


24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? Not a hater.


25. What was the best book you read? This is so difficult. I read a lot this year, but everything that stands out in my mind is either a play, a poem or a text book.
However, a week ago I sat up until 2am reading a novel called Getting over Mr Right by Chrissie Manby. It wasn’t deep or meaningful. Honestly, in a year filled with Shakespeare and John Donne and Lisa Hopkins, this was escapist chick-lit in its most distilled form. And I loved it.
Let me also add my nominee for ‘worst book’ – Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke. I didn’t not like it, Sam I Am. I did not like it at all.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery? Remember the good old days when a song would come on the radio that somehow managed to capture the feeling of the time/space you were in? I do. I think I was about 18 then. Now I’m 46 and I don’t really set my life against a backdrop of music. I didn’t really discover any new sounds or new acts. Instead, I allowed myself to be pulled along in Lee’s and Erin’s wake and music sort of happened around me.


27. What was your favourite film of this year? Again, the list is long for this. I enjoyed so many movies, including Julius Caesar (with Marlon Brando), Jurassic World, Antman, Terminator Umpty-Billion, Predestination, Gone Girl, John Carter, Big Hero 6, Inside Out, The Force Awakens and Suffragette. However, if I had to choose one favourite it would be What We Do In the Shadows, an insane arthouse vampire movie filmed in New Zealand. And Everest. And Stardust. Yes, those 3 were my favourite movies.

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I was 46 and I was in the middle of a raging chest infection that had me feeling rather weak and sick, so I don’t think we did a lot. I know Lee, the littlies and I went to The Silver Tree for dinner and Lee surprised me with a cake, but I don’t think we stayed very long.


29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? I am really satisfied with this year. I love my family, I love my life, I love my God and I love the way everything has come together. I have a lot to be grateful for, so I’m not going to ask for more.


30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015? Smaller clothes for my smaller frame. I went from a size 14/16 to a size 10 and I was even able to put on some of Erin’s clothes.


31. What kept you sane? My spiritual beliefs brought a peace to my life that had been missing for a number of years. After a dreadful year of depression, the stability of belonging to a religious community helped me find direction.
Bali also helped me regain some sense of forward momentum, if only because it helped me make the decision to quit drinking. According to my family, I really am happier without alcohol.


32. What political issue stirred you the most? The refugee situation. I feel ashamed by our government’s policies towards people in need.


33. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015. My most valuable life lesson is that I really am awesome. I have achieved so much this year, and often whilst sick or in pain.


34. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. “I know you can’t become, if you only say what you should have done, so I missed a million miles of fun.” Steal My Sunshine - Len.
The best years of my life are the ones where I have acted on the things I’ve talked about doing. Last year was a talking year, this year was a doing year, and I’m a million times happier.