Sunday, April 22, 2018

A woman's dress should be like a barbed-wire fence: serving its purpose without obstructing the view - Sophia Loren


This will come as no surprise to you but there are a few things I really love in life:

Sewing
Eating great food
Drinking bucket loads of good coffee
Talking shit with friends
Getting all gussied up

When I haven't done these things in a while I don't wait for the universe to bring me an opportunity I create my own destiny and go all Oprah 'n' shit and whack together a Facebook event to give me an excuse to do all these things.

My latest I named La Dolce Vita and the theme was LITTLE BLACK DRESS.



After a long discussion over coffee and cake my gorgeous Italian descended diva friends Mz Anna, Mz Carmel and Mz Marianna suggested having the next get together at ANFE Italian Club.  

LO ARDORO !!!! SHOW ME THE CARBS BABY!!!



What can I say?  It was favoloso.

30 of my closest horn- bag vintage loving fashionista dames all sashayed into the restaurant in Newstead looking like something out of a 1950s mafia movie.  
Some of the older male patrons who were playing the Italian card game Scopa on the other side of the room mentioned it looked like a funeral wake of incredibly stylish widows.




The food was DIVINE and I'm happy to say that even though we all LOOKED wonderful we all REEKED of garlic........ and it was AMAZING.

I had the mushroom arancini for entree (I could have eaten about 10 of them they were so good). 
For my main I had the Spaghetti AOP. I still have no idea what AOP means but the meal was SO  good. Filled with garlic and chilli.   I gave up trying to look refined and resorted to just shoveling the pasta in my mouth like ravenous albino hyena flicking olive oil and chilli flakes everywhere.
For dessert I had the pannacotta and fruits. It was delicious and I wanted to lick the glass clean but I'm not a savage so I just stuck my finger into the glass to get every last drop..... like a lady.



I discovered San Pellegrino chinotto which is like a sweet cola drink but it is bitter like it has lemon rind in it. I loved it.  I also had the most delicious affogato with strong espresso coffee with hazelnut gelato. SO GOOD.


Everyone is just so busy with LIFE that time gets away from you so it's just wonderful to get together and have a good old chin-wag and vent. This venue was PERFECT for that as there wasn't a lot of noise so you could hear each other speak.










I am so blessed to have these wonderful supportive and down right sexy broads in my life. 
In my little self indulgent speech I gave I said that even though it might be months between get togethers, it does seem like it was just last week and that even though we may not get to see each other physically, we are always there for each other due to the miracles of modern technology.

Thank you to Maria and all the beautiful staff of the ANFE for the great service and delicious food.




GRAZIE MILLE


10 Wyandra Street, Newstead
Ph:  3252 2387


Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The important thing was I had an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time. - Abe Simpson

I've done it!!!!
I've finished my Certificate IV in Ageing Support.
Wow what an experience.



During the class time I met a group of amazing women from all sorts of back grounds and we really bonded over learning about pressure sores, the knowledge that elderly people still do the horizontal tango and how to effectively pull back a fore-skin to wash it.

After we completed our class time and did our First Aide/CPR training it was time to do 120 hours of full time on the job training.

The facility I was placed has  levels of care - independent living, dementia/palliative and wing for dementia residents with 'behavioral' issues.  I was put in the dementia/palliative wing and I also had  days in the 'behavioral' wing. (Behavioral normally means the resident wanders or has issues with aggression)



It was challenging to say the least.

I have to add that during my time there I was completely aware that most of the residents have advanced dementia and so when they would do and say things that are somewhat shocking I never reacted personally.  My main focus, at all times, was ensuring the resident was warm, safe and cared for in all ways.

These are some of the challenging situations I encountered. 

Poo - I knew there would be poo but nothing could have prepared me for the quantity of poo that can come out of a 95 year old woman who weighs about 30kg.  I discovered that I am actually fine with poo and cleaning people covered in poo and sometimes being pooed on. I didn't gag once.  I also toileted a person who had done a poo that was the size and shape of a large grapefruit. I was impressed.



Showering - Oh my goodness. This is the area that I really struggled with. Most of the residents cannot walk and a lot cannot follow instruction so undressing someone who is extremely frail and doesn't know to lift their arms or who is very stiff from muscle degeneration is crazy hard.
Add to this the fact that they get FREEZING cold very quickly, you have to shower them with these super super hot heat lamps on. It is like a sauna in there.  The sweat was literally POURING off me and into my eyes... but you can't wipe your eyes because you have gloves on.  You have to shower every inch of their body and in every crevice while making sure not to hurt them, then make sure they are really dry everywhere and then moisturise them, then redress them.... in a room that is about 50 degrees Celsius.

Verbal - A couple of the little old ladies who would smile at you all day and be so calm suddenly morph into a crazed tiger when it comes time to toilet them.  I was called "A dirty girl", "A fucking bitch", "A slut", and told "I'll fucking kill you you whore". This didn't worry me. I was very calm because I know that certain things must be quite traumatic for a person who has dementia. You just have to watch because they try to scratch your eyes, grab your boobs and punch you.



Emotional - I found that I coped better than expected emotionally. There are residents who are quite young with advanced early onset dementia. Like in their 50s and 60s. It's just heart breaking. One of my favourite things that I did was give a lady with early onset dementia a thing called a blue bath. It is like a bed with sides covered in blue rubber. You put the resident in it and wheel them into the shower and wash them as they lying down.  The dementia had made her body go into a permanent state of fear and she would be very stiff and when moved would go like a plank and dead weight. In the shower we took our time and massaged her and you could see her body uncoil and relax. I washed her hair and she smiled. I almost broke down crying with love for her.  I was so happy that I could give her just 10 minutes of calm.

Physical - I reckon I walked about 20 km a day. My feet, legs, back, arms ... everything just ACHED. You don't realise how much physical effort it takes to move a person who can't help you or is thrashing about.

Co-workers - 98% of the people I worked with were amazing, beautiful caring people who were great. They were patient with me (even when I was overwhelmed and flustered), they explained to me not only how to do things but WHY we do it that way and were really friendly. I only encountered 3 women who I would call tyrants. No patience for students. They were extremely rude. (seriously when a person says Good Morning to you don't just scowl and walk away). They were really abrupt. I complained to the RN and management about them and was placed with new buddies.  I'll never understand how people can be like this.



Residents - You aren't supposed to have favourites but I really bonded with 4 residents. 3 have the early signs of  Alzheimer's and so you can have a conversation and one lady can't speak but can gesture yes or no.
We all got a teary yesterday when I said good-bye but I promised I would come back to visit soon.
Two of them have no family at all and so have no visitors.

Feeding - I had to feed a few of the residents and I loved doing it. It's a very bonding experience. One lady in palliative LOVED sweets (one of the effects of later stage dementia is sugar cravings). This lady talks incessantly but just a jumble of words and sounds that make no sense.  Giving her some custard she swishes it around in her mouth and very animated goes "Mmmm mmmm mmmm mmmm mmmmmmmmmmmm LOVELY".  Next spoon full "Mmmmmmmmm mmmmm mmmmmm DELICIOUS". She also loved me humming Andrew Sisters tunes to her.



I learnt a lot about myself over the last 3 weeks.

I am emotionally stronger than what I thought.  

I am physically weaker than what I thought.

I have a stronger stomach than I thought I had. 

I've learnt to work in Aged Care you need a lot of empathy, compassion and humour.

As much as I LOVED the residents in high care dementia, the physical demands of the job are just too much for me.  This old grey mare ain't what she used to be.
I have the rotten fibromyalgia and the heat of those showers kills me.
I have fallen into bed and have seriously had trouble walking because of the pain, swelling and weakness in my legs.



Where to now?

I see myself working in community home care.  I have no problem assisting people with showering and dressing and I still feel very passionate about working in the CARE industry.

If I have one word of advice it is is

MOISTURISE 

Seriously, when you get old your skin can become like tissue paper. If you start now it will save you so much pain when you are old.  Get cracking with that cream now.









Monday, January 8, 2018

And as soon as you're not a human be-ing, you're a human do-ing. - Brad Goodman


I've spent the last 6 months unemployed.
By choice.

This is unheard of for me.
I finished year 12 in 1989 and during those school years I worked at the local service station/corner store/produce store/takeaway shop on weekends while at school.  
I finished school and started work two weeks later at a video store in Toowoomba.  
I have never NOT worked.

In July I had a total mental breakdown.
Yes. I was not in a very good place at all.  Even doing the most menial tasks would stress me out.
Luckily for me I have an incredibly supportive husband and a fantastic group of friends and family who all rallied around me.  

"What in the name of shit have you been doing for the last 6 months?" I hear you wail.

For the first 2 months I applied for heaps of jobs with no response. I was interviewed 3 times but didn't get the jobs.  This stress of looking for work and the slow pulverizing of any self confidence I may have had buried quickly turned my nerves to over load.  It added to my negative thoughts that "there must be something wrong with me. I'm defective. I'm useless".
I started to sleep a lot and eat.... a lot..... 

On one particular day I was a mess. I was shaking and crying and thinking some very dark thoughts.
I rang my doctor but he was away so I took an appointment with the temp doctor. 
I will call him Dr Nick.



I went in. I was bawling and trembling and I told Dr Nick that I didn't think I wanted to live anymore. I told him that I needed help.  He sat there looking at me sternly with his arms crossed.
Blowing my nose and sniffing I told that I really needed to apply to a temporary disability pension. 
I explained that I just needed 3 months to get my head in order.
Still with arms crossed Dr Nick shakes his head. "No. No you don't qualify for that".
I burst into tears and stammered "Why?"
"Because your breakdown is related to your job experiences not directly related to your Bipolar".
I told him that I cannot deal with the stress of looking for another job and I need to be referred to a good psychiatrist.
"Would you say you are anxious?" He interrupted.
I looked at him incredulously and sobbed "Ummmm yes???!!".
He prints out a script and gives it to me and says "Just take these. There's a good psychologist upstairs just go see her". 
I was just too drained and exhausted to retaliate so I muttered "..mmm.kay" and walked out.
I went to the chemist and put in the script. 
The chemist came out to me and asked if I had used this medicine before.
I sighed that I didn't even know what it was.
"It's Diazepam. Valium. Sleeping Tablets." the chemist answered.

So let me get this straight. I went to a doctor and told him I was suicidal and his solution?
Give me a box of 50 sleeping tablets.
The people in the chemist must have thought I was mental. Here's this woman in an old stained t-shirt and shorts, hair everywhere, bright red puffy eyes and nose, dark circles under my eyes and I just start laughing in the shop. I mean cackling like a total loon. It was just so ridiculous.



I went home and had a big talk to hubby. aka My Big Hairy Angel.
We made calls to the bank and our My Budget people it was determined that we could afford for me to take some time off. Thank fuck for good budgeting. Yes it would be tight and we would go backwards a bit with our savings but ....................
========================================================

The last 4 months I admit I have spent a LOT of time sleeping.
I gave myself permission for the first time ever......
TO DO NOTHING.

HOWEVER

The anxiety ridden Vicki in my brain screamed at me that I was "wasting time" and I should be using this time to "declutter the whole house/paint the eaves/paint the walls/build a garden/sew 500 dresses" and on and on and on.  You see, I am a "project" person. 
I find it very hard to sit still and do nothing.
 TIME TIME TIME TIME YOU ARE WASTING TIME WASTING TIME.
This goes around around in my head.
I had written myself crazy long lists of all the things I felt that I had to do and then I would get so upset with myself if I couldn't do it.

So each day I set myself ONE task to do.
Monday - Wash socks and jocks.
Tuesday - Vaccum
Wednesday - Clean Bathroom
etc etc etc
I told myself I only needed to do that ONE thing. 
It was hard. 
I felt like I was letting Mick down if I didn't have the whole house scrubbed each day.
After all..... I'm not working so it's not fair I sit around and watch Netflix all day is it?!!
I read a couple of great self help books, I binge watched TV shows, I sewed, I listened to podcasts, I napped, and I told myself "it's ok".


I also did a 14 week Certificate IV in Ageing Support with the view to becoming a Personal Support Worker/AIN.  This was the best thing ever.   I absolutely LOVED going to class 2 days a week. I LOVED learning new things and doing assignments.  I LOVED meeting the incredible woman who did the course with me.  My teacher Dianna was just so wonderful.
This class was so incredibly cathodic for me.
I start my 3 weeks of full-time on the job experience on Monday.
I'm nervous/anxious/scared but also excited.
I've had to remind myself that if I do the 3 weeks and decide that this kind of work isn't for me ...
It's okay. It's fine. I gave it a crack and I met some fab funny people.



Why Aged Care?

I realised that what makes me happy is making others happy.
Not in a martyrdom or self sacrificing way.
I put on my Fancy Dress Disco each year. Yes to raise money for beyondblue but because I just love to help bring a night of joy and happiness to people.
I organise luncheons to get frocked up and eat cake because I love to bring people together and make them smile.
I makes me feel good. I makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

So I figure, if I can work with people who are lonely, frail and unable to care for themselves then maybe I can bring a bit of light into their lives and make them feel good and there-fore make myself feel good too.

I realise it's not going to be all lavender sachets, Tabu perfume and Avon powder.
There will be poo, heart break and sadness too.
I'm not going in with rose coloured Ray-bans.

I expect to be exhausted. 
I've worked for the last 20 years as a desk jockey and am now going to be doing a very physical job.
I've never had to shower anyone, toilet anyone, change a colostomy bag or feed someone before.

I have a good feeling about it though.
It feels good to be going to a CARE industry. 

2018 is going to be a great year.
I feel it in me gutz.
xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo


Friday, December 29, 2017

2017 - Another epic year in the life of this blonde dumpy selfie lovin' dame.

JANUARY 

Saw the year in with my favourite people. Played The Mouth Guard Game but with a difference. We read X-rated erotic fiction.

Celebrated Chinese New Year in China Town. Fed a dragon a cabbage.

Celebrated Australia Day in true fair dinkum style in the pool eating twisties and drinking fruit cup cordial.

Went to see the amazing Sunny Coast Rude Boys at the Triffid and skanked until I nearly pulled a hammy.

FEBRUARY


Kimberly and Amy's fabulous Engagement Party.

Catch up with the gang from the OLD days.
Took my Father in-law Mick to see his crush Suzi Quatro in concert.

MARCH
ROCKABILLY REVIVAL

Donated plasma for the first time - AB NEGATIVE BLOOD = PLASMA GOLD

APRIL

Ladies Luncheon at Paddington Deli & Epicerie

Sheree's 40th birthday Great Gatsby Lawn Picnic

MAY

GERTIE Meet n Greet at Needlefruit.


JUNE

LADIES LUNCHEON - PLAID IN THE SHADE
I quit my job
Then I was fired from my new job.
Then my brain exploded into little pieces of grey and red goop.

JULY

Christmas in July party
AUGUST


GREAZEFEST WEEKENDER


Saw "My Dad Wrote a Porno" podcast live at The Triffid.

Mr Timmy visited from San Fran


Started my Certificate IV in Ageing Support with this bunch of amazing women.

SEPTEMBER

My favourite dirty ho Mz Lyndie came up from Melbourne to stay.

My annual FANCY DRESS DISCO supporting beyondblue




OCTOBER

SPOTLIGHT sent he a stack of awesome Gertie fabric !!!
Had a stall at the Rewind Mid-Century Garage Sale

Kate's Birthday Miss Halloween Pin Up Pagent Party.


NOVEMBER

Those Darn Sew and Sews Meet n Greet.

Lisa's birthday drinks at "Can you Keep a Secret?"


DECEMBER

End of Cert IV class training celebrations
Mick's work Masquerade themed Christmas party.


BOXING DAY BANQUET

R.I.P HARVEY POOKAH. 2001 - 2017

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