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Showing posts from June, 2016

Another little house...

Another family home photo was uploaded to Facebook last night. This was also my grandmother's - you can see her yellow house in the background (the black tar-paper there on the left of the red house). This little red house was tiny, that front wall was about five metres across, I reckon (I'm trying to figure it out by remembering the layout of beds up under the eaves upstairs). Downstairs, you walked through the little white door there into an enclosed verandah, the toilet was at the far end. Boot, coats etc. came off there - because they'd be wet. Then through the front door there were steep stairs directly to your left leading to the attic bedrooms - the attic was divided in two, though towards the end of the house's life the dividing wall was knocked down. Downstairs was an 'open plan' kitchenette/living area, in the main part of the house, and in that little annex at the back was a step up to a sitting room and tiny bedroom (Amma's double bed filled th…

Home...

I woke up this morning to a family member had subscribed me to a Facebook group for the village I'm from in Iceland. When I say I'm from this village, I don't mean that I am born there - I'm born in Australia. I mean, it is where I lived the longest in Iceland. It is the village I know like the back of my hand. I have literally walked every street of this place.

Someone had posted a bunch of photos, and for some reason, several photos included my grandmother's last house in the village. This house had been torn down when I visited in August, so I was very excited to see it. These photos are taken from around the time we moved to the village last. My grandmother's house is the yellow house in the middle of the photo. She didn't own the house*, she rented, and she only rented half the house - the right side of the house with the black tar-paper cladding exposed around the windows.


When we moved to live with Amma in December 1982, three of my aunties, one unc…

Chances are you're not a loner...

I saw this poster on social media this week and I thought, what a strange way to define a loner. If a loner is now someone surrounded by family and a few good friends, then aren't most people loners? It's a bit like the poverty thing, people crying poverty when what they mean is they can't afford a holiday, or they can't afford copious discretionary spending. I would have thought a loner was someone who didn't relate to people, a hermit, someone who kept very much to themselves. Just as a poor person would be someone who struggled to meet their basic needs, not someone who could afford organic food, new clothes every month, and subscription television.
I wonder what it is that has people looking so hard for the deficit in their lives these days. To have family and a few good friends is to have a lot. That is not to be a loner. There are people in this world who truly have no one. I have found whenever I have said that I cannot relate to other people, that I feel l…

I know you can do it...

The Grumpy Old Man cried this morning...

Tears of joy, and tears of relief. He cried in the car after dropping the boys off at school, and then he cried again at home when he told me the story I'm about to tell you. He apologised to me for crying, but I told him there was nothing to apologise for.

We are currently in the process of having Ari assessed. There is a strong likelihood that like his mother, his grandmother, his uncle, and several other extended family members, Ari has ADHD. He is extremely bright. He reads well above his grade level (he's half way through grade two and reading Star Wars novels now), and his maths is even stronger than his reading. His writing lags a little, not because he struggles with spelling or anything - he's a whizkid speller - but because he can't focus his thoughts to put a story together on paper. He can TELL you the most fantastic stories, but when it comes to writing them down, he gets very frustrated and anxious and restless.

Ac…

Prom...

Erik went to his senior school prom on Friday night. Don't know why they call it that - I thought in Australia it was called a formal? He scrubs up well, doesn't he?


Not that he'd ever acknowledge this, but this is my favourite haircut for him. I've been trying to get him to cut his hair like this again for the past five years! It really suits him! Also, hello Icelandic cheekbones. He may have the Bird chin and the Bird brow, but though are my Amma's and his Amma's and his mother's cheekbones!

He's looking good. It's breaking my heart that we didn't get to have this Erik. I hope she appreciates that she has this Erik because we raised him for the first 16.75 years and even though he didn't appreciate our efforts, we really tried our best. I don't think we did a terrible job.


Finding Joy...

I've talked about how pain is unavoidable, and how the more you resent the presence of pain in your life, the more you will feel pain. The flip side of this, of course, is that when you find joy, you need to soak in it.

That's it.

Feel it. All of it.

Feel the pain, really feel the pain. Feel it in every cell of you being, acknowledge it, know it is there, but it is transient.

Then feel the joy, really feel it!

Yes, the joy is also transient, that is why you need to REALLY feel it. Acknowledge it.

Too many people are afraid to acknowledge the joy because they fear people will make light of their pain if they reveal any joy at all. They rob themselves of the joy in their life because they feel they can't have both joy and pain, that their pain can't be real if they don't have joy. They are too invested in their pain. Their pain means too much. Maybe their pain garners them sympathy, friendship, status. Maybe it allows them to feel included in a group, or it ensures …

The Perfect Job...

The perfect job was advertised last night on a network I'm registered with. I can't apply for it for various reasons, but suddenly I found myself looking at it going, 'Yes! That is what I want to do!' I haven't had that experience in a long time.

My plans are in line with doing a job just like that in the future, so I'm not heartbroken that I can't go for it now. If anything, I see it as a confirmation of sorts. I'm keeping the details under my tichel on purpose, so please excuse my vagueness but you know how it is when you say too much too soon and then you get all angsty about it. Who needs that, right?

I had a bit of an epiphany about education.

We go on and on about the importance of a good education, and I found myself posting the following on social media the other day...


I commented that I truly believe this and that is why I find myself falling out of love with academia lately. Now, that might seem like an odd thing for someone doing a PhD to sa…

Labels and Excuses...

I was recently reading a very interesting discussion about the recent release of the movie, 'Me Before You' - a movie about a tragic person with a disability who takes his own life. The movie is based on a book and is a real tear jerker. The discussion circles around two main points of issue, first that - once again - the actor playing the part of the disabled person is an able bodied person despite the vast availability of talented actors with suitable disabilities to play the part, and secondly, that the characterisation - once again - plays into the duality that is often depicted of people with disability, that they are either tragic victims of their disability, or that they are heroes.

I have often encountered this duality. I am constantly 'complimented' about my 'achievements' in 'light of my challenges' - you know, as if having and raising four children, learning to speak, read, and write three languages, fail high school, and still manage to star…

Finding his feet...

I wanted to write about Lukas today.

So much of focus has been on Erik over the years - because he needed it - and often I have felt this was to the detriment of the other kids.

Lukas is turning fifteen this month. He's always been a bit of a strange one in the family. Quite laid back, but the one we know can explode if his somewhat length tether is yanked on...

He's the milkman's child. The odd man out in the family portrait. Our golden haired boy.

When he's trying to get out of doing something he doesn't want to do, but doesn't know how to just say no, he giggles nervously, like a little girl.

He is mature and sensible for his age. He sees the lay of the land and flies under the radar wherever possible. He's phlegmatic - he takes after his late paternal grandfather in that way.

Lukas' greatest fault is that he is lazy as the day is long. It's probably the only thing he really works hard at. This used to worry me quite a bit. The kid would only eve…