A few nights of neglect

I apologise for leaving you hanging for so long, wonderful readers of this blog. I have been rather sick and a little stressed about uni. I have just started my holidays after finishing my final exams.

I had food poisoning to begin with – and boy, oh boy, is that something that you just curl up with and want to die. I mean, there is nothing classy about that sickness – it’s gross. I appreciate my parents, who just are amazing nurses when I am sick. Mum knows just the right moment when I need a hug, and they both helped me walk when I was so weak I couldn’t get out of bed.

Recently, my mum also noticed that my hair was falling out again. This happened before I was diagnosed with PCOS and my medication for my thyroid was supposed to combat it. However it didn’t, and it’s recently started  back up again – so I’m going off my thyroid meds for a while. I was always borderline and was mainly on it to help with sleep – which it didn’t. So one less thing to make me like a walking pharmacy.

I worked out with my tutor a few weeks ago about my marks for my Marketing class. According to him, I’ve done superbly well in a course where a lot of students fail. So well, in fact, that in our final exam, worth 50 marks, I only had to get 10 and a half marks to pass the entire course.

This was a huge relief, considering what I originally understood, the exam looked hard. But as my parents, my friends and E often tell me – I stress over something that I’m actually very good at. Mum told my doctor yesterday that I’m meticulous. So true. And if I didn’t pass both my classes, I will be protesting, because I think I did rather well on my exam.

I also was looking after two parents with the flu, who then promptly gave it to me. Rather ungrateful, I thought! Oh, and I crash landed onto the pavement in the city on my knees and hands. Very embarrassing, and not one person asked if I needed help.

Also, I put on my jeans this morning and – they’re too big! I put a belt on them to the last hole you can use to get it tight, and the only thing stopping them falling down to my ankles are my hips. Am I a bit pleased with myself? Yes, why yes I am.

Oh and on a completely different note – I appear to be a bit of a Gleek. Damn you show for having such catchy music AND Dianna Agron. I’m still confused though as to why all the girls are fighting over Finn…he’s not the brightest spark in the box.

My Rizzoli and Isles Season 1 DVD has been posted by Amazon – it was the first DVD I ever preordered. I’m very eagerly waiting its arrival.

Done

So, my grandmother is married. To the man I have mentioned here before. I saw facebook pics on my cousin’s site this evening.

My cousin and her children looked gorgeous.

As for the rest of it – there were pictures of people I wish I didn’t see, and the whole thing just made me…upset.

I don’t even know how to describe my feelings right now, which is ridiculous because I’m a writer.

I just know how much it still hurts that my grandfather is gone and that all this stuff has happened and I just…I just don’t know.

Anzac Day and my Hero

Today is Anzac Day in Australia. Traditionally it is to remember the men who died at Gallipoli, but over the years it has come to be a day of remembrance for all service men and women who have served and are still serving in the armed forces.

So I thought it would be fitting to tell you about my hero – my grandfather.

He never spoke to anybody but me about his war experiences. He told me a lot of things that he never told his wife or his children, and nobody knows why. Maybe he just felt comfortable with me. I hope so.

He was 15 when WW2 started, and immediately went around all the armed forces to try and get them to take him. He was too young, but instead was put on ambulance duty where he lived in England. His job was to drive around after an area had been bombed and to put the wounded and dead into his ambulance and take them to the nearest hospital/morgue.

During all this time he continued annoying the recruiters and finally, when he was 16, the Navy were so sick of him asking that they accepted him.

He became a signalman, and he was assigned to various places in Europe. His superior officer on one of this ships was Noel Coward.

Grandad 1945

Unfortunately, my grandfather had never been on a boat before, and discovered he got terribly seasick, so when he was not on duty, he spent a lot of his time hanging over the side of the boat. In those days, they also gave out daily rations of rum to the sailors. My grandfather didn’t drink rum, so he would sell his to his shipmates, making quite a nice little profit.

When he was not out on the boat, he was stationed in Hague and Belgium with families in those areas.

He was in Belgium and staying with this family when this little girl took her first communion. We have no idea what happened to her.

Julienne, 1st April 1945

He also met the Royal Marines in Belgium:

Royal Marines, Belgium 1945

Hague, Holland, 1945

On D-Day, my grandad was on his boat and they went to Normandy. They were one of the last boats to get there and he and his shipmates had to climb over the docked boats and the dead bodies of his friends and fellow servicemen to get to the shore and fight. He never spoke much about that day.

16BR CCS Tilburg BLA VE Day May 8th 1945

After the war, the navy gave him the option to go back to England or emigrate to Australia. Luckily for me, he chose Australia.

My grandad never watched the Anzac Day parades, because they upset him. I think it reminded him of D-Day and of all the friends he had lost.

He had a perfect Naval record, right up until the day he was discharged. He may not have been given any medals by his country, but he will always be my  hero because he fought for my freedom.

And every day, I will remember him.

One of those Moments

I was watching Glee tonight (just go with me on this) and I literally cried.

I was watching the episode called “Home” and I saw this:

Video

And that was when the tears welled up.

I wanted this in high school. I wanted it so bad. I wanted someone to tell me I was beautiful, that I was pretty. I wanted to have that kind of confidence in myself as a person, and in my looks.

And the truth of it is, I still do.

I’m not confident. I have no confidence in myself, or how I look. Often I’m astonished when people want to get to know me, or want to be friends with me.

I’ve received nothing but praise and positive support from my parents. Mum tells me I’m pretty and that I’m wonderful, but I just can’t see it.

Clearly this is something I need to work on. The question is…how?

Shout Out & Good Luck

Today’s post is very short, because I just want to give a shout out and a good luck to Catherine Zeta-Jones.

 

 

Her rep released a statement saying that Catherine had entered treatment for a bipolar disorder.

 

Of course, my first thought for her is good luck and I hope it goes well for her.

 

My second is – THANK YOU. The more people that talk about mental illness, that admit to having it – the less of a stigma it’s going to have. It was very brave of her to come out and say it, so thank you, Catherine and I hope it all goes well.

Tension and Embarrassment

I went to the doctor’s yesterday because I was getting frequent headaches. I do get migraines, but I thought these headaches were because of my sinuses – I get allergies and infected sinuses on occasion.

My doctor checked me over, and she thinks I’m getting tension headaches and we’ve increased my migraine meds.

My first reaction was WHAT tension? I was about to hand in my final assignment for the semester and I had already done one of my exams. My next exam isn’t until May 9th.

But then I remembered – I tend to stress subconsciously and about the littlest, most inconsequential things.

I worry about how well I’m doing at uni. I worry about pulling my weight at home. I worry about all kinds of things, like being a good daughter, a good friend. I worry about what I cost my parents – although the scholarship for university this semester meant my parents only spent $30 to send me here.

But then there’s all the doctor’s bills they pay for me, all the medication I have to take. The fact that when I go to uni – the entire family goes to uni, because they sometimes come to classes, they share in my stress.

They always tell me how important I am to them, but then I suppose that this is a lot to do with my guilt thing.

I feel guilty about EVERYTHING, even things I don’t need to be guilty about. And I say sorry – a LOT, even if it’s not warranted.

But I do most of this subcnociously – I don’t even realise I do it. So when I’m told to take it easy so that my headaches will go away, I will say I AM taking it easy – any worrying I do is subconsciously and not my fault.

Hmm.

Anyway, onto the amusing thing of the day.

I need to wear my glasses when wandering around uni. I almost ended up in the boys bathroom. Seriously not kidding. My hand was on the door handle.

What a day.

Salzburg Day 2

Apologies for not updating – uni has been very overwhelming!

When Mum and I went downstairs to breakfast at the Mercure in Salzburg, it was still dark outside. There was a huge picture window in the breakfast room and they had a beautiful little area outside. It was full of trees that had fairy lights in it, and a layer of freshly fallen snow. The breakfast was wonderful (a breakfast buffet – I had scrambled eggs to start with) and as we ate, we saw some people walking their dogs.

And not kidding, the dogs had nothing on their paws. I was like “Geez! At least give them little snow boots or something!”

My friends A and C had already left for Innsbruck and Swarovski World, and they promised to call mum and I when they were back in Salzburg. More on their adventure later.

Mum had been to Salzburg (she did a trip to Europe when she was 19) and she suggested we go look in old Salzburg. So we walked over the bridge and hello beautiful!

The paths were all cobbled and we found a line up of horses with open carriages, just waiting to take you around the city. Mum and I hopped in one, and the driver put a blanket over us to keep us warm, and we were doubly lucky because our driver gave us a history tour of all the areas we passed too. He was very knowledgeable about the area, and I loved looking at the old city and going on a horse ride.

We went to a teahouse as well, which was in a home that used to be owned by Mozart’s mother in law. There were some framed paintings of Mozart and his family on the walls. Men in full on waiter uniforms came to take out drink order (hot chocolate, duh), and then women in maid uniform’s pushed over a trolley of sweets for us to choose from. We chose apple strudel. I have to say, THAT hot chocolate and THAT apple strudel were the best ones I had the whole trip. It was amazing.

While we were in the teahouse, we discovered a small problem that mum was experiencing. Because she had packed and come over so quickly, she had not had time to buy waterproof shoes. Her feet were literally blue, so we stayed in the teahouse for a while until they regained normal colour. We later circumvented this problem by covering her feet and socks in plastic bags.

After we left the teahouse, we walked over the bridge again back to Salzburg where I spotted the marionette theatre. This theatre was where the puppets and theatre came from for the Sound of Music movie, and the puppeteers were from this business. We went inside and they were showing a puppet show of all the things Mozart had done, like the Magic Flute etc. The puppets were beautiful, and we bought some water and a pretzel to have at intermission.

After the show finished, we went on a quick tour of Mozart’s house, and then went to find something for dinner. We were back in our room by 4pm because I was starting to get sniffly again.

Anyway, 8pm comes and mum is a little concerned that C and A have not phoned. Then 9pm and mum is wondering if it’s time to call the Austrian police.

We finally heard from them at 10pm when they were back in their room. Apparently they fell asleep on the train and were halfway to Budapest before they realised they’d missed their stop. They had to get off the train, wait for another train coming back to Salzburg and then get back to the room.

Anyway, they were fine, they just almost took a large detour on our trip.

Next time, Venice, a blizzard and a cautionary tale about trains.

The Ups and Downs

Downs.

The invitation to my grandmother’s wedding arrived today. Fail. It was all done up and pretty and included a note in her handwriting to “please come” and the offer of accommodation at the Hilton (that’s where the wedding is being held in the Blue Horizon chapel)

I’m not going – because I can’t. But I noticed this afternoon that I was really angry again, really snippy. I remember feeling like this for a long time until the doctor diagnosed me with PTSD, so I’m glad I’m seeing him again next week.

 

On the upside, I’m going to Supanova tomorrow. It’s a comicon here in Australia. Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia from Buffy and Angel) which I’m really excited about because she only went to Perth and Sydney last time. Christopher Lloyd was supposed to come too, but apparently he got cast in a series!

But, on the upside AGAIN, Supanova are bringing him back in November and are going to have ANOTHER Supanova! So that will be good.

 

Hopefully tomorrow will be better. And I will be happier. And soon I promise I will get back to the Europe story!

I can see clearly now…the glasses are on…

So, first of all, sorry for the delay in my postings. Uni had me a bit overwhelmed for a bit there. I was a little behind in the readings – which I’m fine with now, and I also had to work on an assignment, which is almost finished. I finished all of it except the executive summary when I did it on Monday.

Secondly, brief interlude in my Europe story to tell you about today.

So today we had some errands to run. I had an appointment with the optometrist because I’ve been having trouble seeing the output on the overhead projector and I’m getting headaches a lot. And, apparently I’m borderline with my long-distance vision (what you Americans call near-sighted, apparently). But since it’s actively bothering me, I ordered my first pair of glasses.

It feels really weird for me, because when I was a kid I apparently had eyesight better than what was required of fighter pilots. But last year they said I did have long-distance vision problems, but not enough to actually do anything about.

They will be arriving next week.

Anyway on the plus side of all this, I got an iPhone today. I used to have a blackberry, but the stuff I want to use it for just isn’t accessible in Australia. So I got my iPhone and it’s actually smaller and thinner than my blackberry, which is a nice change.

So tomorrow I will go back to the Europe story, unless anyone has something they’d like me to talk about in particular?

The Hills are Alive…with the Sound of Music tour.

While we were in Vienna, we went on a bus tour of the city. They took us all over, showing us the opera house and we also saw an area that had been shelled during World War 2. They left the buildings pockmarked as a reminder of what had happened. It was quite startling, particularly as someone coming from a country where we don’t have any buildings like that.

We also went to Schonbrunn Castle, which is absolutely beautiful. I’m sure it’s stunning when all the garden is in bloom, but it was still quite a site in the snow and ice.

Schonbrunn Castle

After Vienna, we took a train to Salzburg. As we were leaving, they were deicing all the trains, chipping off the ice that had formed and would stop the trains moving. We found out that the day after we left Vienna, they had stopped trains there.

We were lucky in Salzburg that when we were there, it was their festival for Mozart’s birthday.  Mum hadn’t been able to get a room at the hotel where A and C and I were supposed to be staying, and she had a business class room at the Mercure. I ended up staying with her. It was also at this time that I started coming down with my cold. (Thank you, snow.)

We went on a tour of Salzburg in the afternoon, and it was wonderful. As well as seeing the beauty of the city, we also were taken to this great lake behind a house that had been frozen over. It felt very strange to be walking on a lake.

That lake featured again the next day in the Sound of Music tour. A while ago there was a special on TV about the Sound of Music, and the tour guide in Salzburg that you could hear speaking on that special was the exact same one A and C and I had when we went! He was hilarious and very well informed. Anyway, that lake that we had been standing on the day previously, is actually the back of the house and lake that was used in the film, the Sound of Music.

They took us back to that lake on the tour, except this time there were “Danger” signs everywhere and signs saying “Ice cracking”. A and C and I just stared at each other. Yesterday we had been wandering around on the lake!

That Lake

They took us up the beautiful mountains which were covered in snow, and they took us to this little town that they filmed the wedding scene. The town did not allow cars/buses on their roads, so the tour bus parked a little out. This is where the ice started to be a problem. C literally slipped off of the bus and landed in a pile of snow. It took us ages to get into the town itself, because you’d walk a few centimetres, slip, and either fall in the snow or right yourself and keep going. It was nuts!

Across the road from the church that the wedding scene was filmed, was a little café, which, the tour guide told us, had the best apfel strudel (apple strudel) in Salzburg. The walk up to the church was literally covered in ice, so we thought it best to have apple strudel and not end up with broken bones from walking on ice.

It was a great apple strudel.

Back in Salzburg, A and C were preparing for the next day. They were going to Swarovski World, a big shop type thing in the next town over Innsbruck, because they love Swarovski crystal. I was originally going to go, but I wanted to look at other things in Salzburg, so mum and I decided to do that while the girls went to Innsbruck.

Note on the culinary delights we were up to. We were trying hot chocolate in each European country, to see who had the best. We also were trying as many famous foods as possible. Mum and I discovered the Mercure were having wild board and other delights that I’ve blocked out of my mind, so we were visiting the local bakeries, grocery stores and fruit shops. We’d gather up fruit and cheese and bread and have it in our hotel room of an evening. This was actually really nice, because I liked looking at the little stores in the different cities and trying their foods. In fact, when we were in Vienna, we went to our first Aldi store, before they had been set up in Australia.

Another note on Mum’s hotel room. There was, and I’m not kidding, a rubber duck by the bath. Now, I have a slight obsession with rubber duckies. We have three in our bathroom – a little one dressed as a cop, another one with sunglasses and…The Salzburg Duck. As we were packing up to leave, Mum put the Salzburg Duck in her suitcase. When I gaped at her, she said “I’m sure it was there as a gift”.

Anyway, in tomorrow’s post – our travels around Old Salzburg, Mozart’s mother in law, and mum almost loses her feet to frostbite.