Sunday, 19 February 2017

Why I'm Not Really Missing Firefly

I know many of my friends will be shocked at that title... I mean, think about it! Firefly!!! How could I not miss it? Anyone who really knows me... actually anyone who barely knows me... Oh heck - total strangers know the depth of my love for Joss Whedon's band of Big Damn Heroes and the 'verse they inhabit. I have at least a dozen T-shirts, maybe 50 badges, a 76th Uniform, a Kaylee costume & a beautiful Jayne Hat! I know the words to The Hero of Canton inside out and back to front and have seen every episode and the film more times than I can remember... I get so excited when I meet a fellow-browncoat and I stand by my opinion that this was the greatest TV series ever to reach the small screen...
But why would I say, then, that I don't really miss it?

Well, for one thing, I can watch it whenever I want...

I mean, we have at least 2 copies of the full TV series on DVD in our home at any given time! We have Netflix on our TV, computers and iPhones which means we can watch in any room of the house, and even when we're on the road... (well, not if we're physically driving at the time - I'm not that addicted!)

What else keeps the fire burning?
I first watched this TV show back in June 2006 and by the end of the month I was chatting online with new people every day! I made immediate friends with whom I felt a connection - we were all intelligent (well either that or pretty good at bluffing... I won't tell you which I am) and we were imaginative as well. We loved the vision which Joss Whedon shared of a dystopian future where the central planets had all the money, power and technology, but those living on the rim were living in as basic a way as the early pioneers of America, Australia and so many other non-European countries where "civilisation" came with a price for both the natives and the newcomers...
We all fell for the complex characters which Joss had written for us and which a wonderful cast brought to life. Having watched the pilot episode (a double ep called, unsurprisingly, "Serenity") again last night I was struck with how comfortable and established every character seemed in their role... The charisma of the actors came through - the awkward "denial" of Mal & Inara, the relaxed, second nature love of Zoe & Wash, the sibling protectiveness & closeness of Simon and River... It is all there right from the beginning... That is rare in any TV series. If you don't believe me, go and watch "Encounter at Farpoint" - the pilot and first episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The characters were fleshed out over the series, the stories became more complex and the actors more comfortable with one another - but the writing, direction and vision of that first show was pretty underwhelming - and I say that as someone who loves that incarnation of the Trek universe!
We all fell for the film, too - although someone very nearly gave me a spoiler right in the early days... I later realised a reference made online would have given me an inkling of the outcome for at least one character, had I not been so naive about Joss's tendency to- *ahem* ...but I must not continue, lest I become guilty of spoiling anyone's experience, myownself.
We all found friends who understood the pain of having seen some perfect television, and yet knowing it was not long for this life... We shared experiences of how we discovered Firefly, where we were in the world, who introduced us to the show, what we planned to do about it's premature demise! We grew to know each other to the point of sharing our lives via the 'net and the phone... I have dated people I first met online and I have grown so close to others that I have stayed with them in their homes and with their families having never met in person before!! I have even become a God mother for the first time because of a close friendship with one of the dearest people in the world - oh, and FYI, she met her husband through the same Firefly Fandom as she met me!
My life is richer for this fandom. My adventures have been more varied and incredible since discovering this TV show, it's film and the many, many fans of my perfect TV show! I cannot say I miss it when it's impact is visible nearly every single day! I still dream of a future where we get to learn more of the stories Joss Whedon had planned for his "big damn heroes" whether that be by animation, film, TV series, comics and visual novels, audio episodes (something like "Big Finish" installments)  or some other way which I cannot even imagine, but I have no doubt Joss could surprise me with!
So here's to my many additional "sisters", "brothers" "Kaylee-clones" and "best friends", here's to the many stories we've enjoyed over and over again, here's to the folk I feel a permanent kinship with because of the magic of Whedon, and the Big Damn Heroes who brought our 'Verse to life!

Friday, 15 January 2016

Another Fun Fact You Might Not Know About Me... #11

I once literally bumped into Chuck Norris.

Yes, you read that right... I physically careened into Chuck "I'll-kill-you-with-the-fist-hidden-in-my-beard" Norris.

Way, way back in the day, when I was about 15 years old, I was in town with my friends in search of shopping, ice-cream, autographs of visiting international and local stars who were attending the annual Logie Awards, and more shopping, when a friend and I agreed to go in separate directions for half an hour and meet up roughly where we were, but as I gave the final bit of confirmation that I did, indeed, know exactly where and when we would reconnect, I was (foolishly) taking a few steps backwards, as if to end the conversation by expressing the urgency of my moving in that particular direction!

I moved right to the foot of a "downward-moving" escalator.

Church Norris was on that escalator.

He had nowhere to step off but into me!!!

I literally bumped into the actual, living being of Chuck Norris...

And I lived to te-

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Another fun Fact you Might not Know About me #10

I like to peg my clothes on the line with matching coloured pegs...
I remember when I was younger I would only colour-coordinate with the clothes I was hanging up, too - blue pegs for blue clothes, green for green, etc. - but then again, my Mother had a lot of pegs in a lot of colours...
In Australia most of us grew up with a "Hills Hoist", a clothes line which was mounted on a central column with adjustable height... the clothes could be hung by rotating the line to where the person standing had their clothes basket at hand, and in order to avoid clothes being blown against the extension of the column (which is heavily greased in order to keep it moving...) you would hang small, usually personal items such as knickers, socks, handkerchiefs cleaning cloths, then slightly longer larger items on each successive line. Sheets and large items went on the very outside...
Now that I live in the UK I have a type of clothes line which is as old as the concept of hanging your laundry out in the wind & sunshine to dry - a single, long length of nylon cord which you hang your things on and then use extendible props to raise them to gain maximum wind and sunshine! I first learned how to use one of these from playing the character of Sarah Harding in the play, "The Accrington Pals" set in 1915... Little did I know I'd be using one for real a few years later!
Now, as always, I tend to grab 2 matching pegs for each garment, 4 for sheets, 3 for towels, and one for socks (which means you can use up the left-overs!) I've discovered that folk often dry their personal items, such as knickers and bras, inside the house, rather than on display to any neighbours who might be able to peer into your back garden... This was never a problem with the Hills Hoist as the "unmentionables" were on the inner part of the line and obscured by laundry hanging on the outer lines...
I couldn't write about the Hill's Hoist without mentioning it was also the source of many games where we'd pretend to fly!! I can still hear my mother shouting from the back door that we'd ruin the balance of the clothes line... which we still did, of course... And yes, the clothes line was a bit wonky afterwards... But it was so much fun swinging around and around on it!
And, of course, I still match my pegs by colour!

Monday, 30 March 2015

Another fun Fact you might not know about me #9

I really, really, really do not enjoy those Cadbury's Creme Eggs you see advertised constantly in the lead up to Easter.
I tried one in Melbourne, once, several years ago, and it was disgusting - so sickeningly sweet but without any particular flavour. Now when you consider that that was an Australian Cadbury's chocolate Creme Egg, which is so superior to British Cadbury's chocolate and infinitely superior to America's version of the same, you'll understand why I have absolutely no intention of sampling one in either the UK or the USA...
As for those ads on at the moment - seriously disturbing... very seriously disturbing!!!

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Where I'm at...

I think I need to reboot my plans to work towards a "new" me, but then again I have made a lot of changes in my life, for various reasons, so I thought I'd share them with you!
The most amazing thing, to me, is that I am in love with the most wonderful man and he loves me, too! Graham has been a friend for almost 5 years now, & we knew each other for 4 years when we finally managed to start dating - after a very delayed 2nd date we made up for lost time, & when my live-in nanny job in London ended at the start of December 2013, I came to stay with him for a few weeks... I did secure and start a new position in January, but it soon became clear that my new employers and I had very different ideas about my role, and conversations didn't resolve anything, so I left after three weeks and returned to Staffordshire where Graham asked me to look locally for a job.

Graham and others encouraged me to put my experience to good use in a new way and after hours of work (with lots of help and support from my lovely man) I applied for a role as a Children's and Family Worker for the Methodist Church in nearby Biddulph. I was so excited when I was offered the job! I actually couldn't think straight for a moment & had to remember to breathe! I love this new role in my life and enjoy the connections I am making and the difference I feel in working for a church I love and respect so much! I am working with some wonderful people and am making friends in the community, both where I work and where I live!
Two of the first people to extend friendship when I first came to live in Stoke-on-Trent were Graham's dear friends, Chris and Katherine, with whom we have spent many wonderful days and nights playing board games, card games, eating great food and sharing some terrific conversations!

My Dad was born & raised in nearby Tunstall (part of Stoke-on-Trent) and it was through his cousins, Bev and Bernard, that I initially met Graham, and when we first started dating they were very encouraging and supportive. I love that I get to spend more time with them as Bev is like a big sister to me and it is so good to have folk who've known me since childhood around, as having grown up on the other side of the world is not that conducive to having life-long-friends you can spend time with.

There are, of course, challenges associated with making such life-changing decisions, and both Graham and I have a lot of hobbies, interests and "stuff"... I am trying to reduce what I have so I can move everything into the home we share, whilst Graham is also trying to sort through his belongings to make more space for those things I currently have in storage. Then there's the working out of our routines, with different ideas of what is "normal" and different tastes, habits and routines. We are finding it so important to talk through everything and not judge. Easier said than done, but I think we're managing to do it more than we don't! I also miss my many friends in London, and the opportunities which living in that amazing city gave me... I especially miss my London Culture Seekers and LOTNA (Sci Fi) friends with whom I spent most weekends pursuing our common love of things like history, architecture, theatre, cider, sci fi, cosplay and so many other things in between!

Graham's family have welcomed me with open arms and I feel such a part of their lives... His gorgeous nephew, Liam, is the cheekiest, brightest boy with wonderfully red hair! I get along very well with Graham's parents, brother and sister-in-law which is so awesome!
I love the skills I am adding to my abilities at work, I love the way I am using my gifts for bringing my faith to many new people and supporting others in their Christian life. I love the opportunities which lie before me and the love and support I have from Graham, family, friends and people I knew from my days contibuting to the life of the Uniting Church in Australia.

I love the things Graham and I share in common, from our love of our Christian faith, science fiction, good drama, comedy, documentaries, intelligent debate, performance & the technicality of productions, music, reading, spending time with friends and family... I love the things I am learning from him and the way he takes an interest in my own love of history, craft and literature.

I love my life and it is ready to take the next step towards loving my body and my own personality more... I might be better than I was, but I know I can take care of myself better and be more able to serve as a lay worker, as a friend, as a family member and as a partner to a wonderful man!

Watch this space!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Relieved I am sick?

I just wrote a new status update on facebook. It went like this: "Well, sometimes when I feel lousy, I am convinced half of it is in my head & I keep pushing on... perhaps it explains the (almost) sense of relief that I have at being told I have a strep throat & middle ear infection requiring massively strong antibiotics to get over... The doctor was using hyperbole all through the examination & said my ears were particularly spectacular! She was surprised one of my eardrums hadn't perforated as it is so swollen she couldn't see the back of the ear canal... I only mention this because it all proves that I am really sick! It's not just in my head & in a sick kind of way (pardon the pun) that makes me happy! ..." 
I almost immediately thought about why I felt this way... I mean, I am not happy to have a strep infection in my throat, apart from the pain it's causing & the miserable feelings it's giving me, I don't want to have to cope with another course of antibiotics, especially the really strong ones I've been prescribed... but back when I was perpetually depressed & even back when I was at school, I used to want to be sick more often than not.

Yes you read that correctly - I actually wanted to be sick.

When I was at school I hated it so much! I was either bored or felt completely overlooked when I was in a subject I struggled with, like maths, & my only joy in school was my social life with my closest friends. At primary school I was even bullied by a teacher, although it took me some years to realise this. When I was legitimately sick I could stay at home & read... I loved reading, & sleeping & not being at school in general...

Later, when I was an adult & after my brain haemorrhage, I suffered severe depression. Depression is still such a mysterious illness, which anyone who hasn't experienced it first hand, can really struggle with understanding. Even people who have clinical depression are often unaware of it, at least initially! I can sometimes be in a bout of depression without even recognising it, & I consider myself aware of the signs & thoughts that go with it. I must say that during the worst periods of my illness in the 1990s, I would almost hope to injure myself or become ill so that people couldn't expect me to fulfill commitments & obligations. I remember realising this when, during my recovery from a break down in 1998 I walked out to the back garden & as I descended the steps to the clothes line I realised a familiar sense was missing. I examined what was different about it this time, & was shocked, & relieved, to know that I wasn't looking at the wonky steps with the concrete footpath at their base as a potential injury trap... somewhere in the back of my mind, deep in my subconscious I thought that if I fell & broke a leg, arm or ankle then I couldn't work, couldn't drive, couldn't attend social or other commitments... I would be blameless AND "off the hook"... & yes, even social events were overwhelming to me.

So, as I have recovered, my health has become more important to me as well. I have learned a lot about being proactive against illness & about what natural therapies support my immune system with success... I have learned to take steps to help myself before I come down with something, rather than wait until I am completely ill before taking some preventative or analgesic... I try to keep my health on track by taking daily multivitamins & sometimes adding other supplements which support my immune system like olive leaf extract, black elderberry extract, echinacea & vitamin C or zinc. I drink lots of water, & usually have a filter bottle or a filter jug so that I am not taking in any of the pollutants in our water supply... I now hate being sick, so when I am I do what I can to get well as soon as possible.

The pain in my throat, right now, feels like I am trying to swallow around a sharp rock, & the ache in my ears is horrible... but knowing I am not so depressed that I am "wishing" these symptoms on myself means so much to me! I have a fantastic doctor who discussed side effects of the antibiotics with me & advised me to eat lots of live culture yoghurt. I was able to visit the local health food shop for some suppliments, including vitamin D, & I will do everything in my power to get over this as soon as possible & as completely as possible!
My next plan is to get healthy & have a stronger immune system!

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Almost ready...

I am making good progress with the book I am going to follow for my cleansing diet. I have been out to buy some "magic foods" - the blue foods which contain amazing antioxidents & healthy quantities of vitamins & minerals, such as blue berries, blackberries, strawberries & beetroot juice...
I have dug out some of the dietry shakes which were recommended to me some time ago, which are low in fat & contain little to no dairy, but which have vitamin complexes which will support me & give me energy while I am trying to adjust my diet. I remember having great success with these a couple of years ago, when I gained energy from having a magic berry shake with this added for breakfast. It not only helped me feel full & suppressed my false appetite (which is due to the insulin resistance which causes blood sugar levels not to register properly) but also gave me added energy which I need to be more active & when keeping up with young children!
I did break down tonight & eat chocolate... It was just one bag of m&ms but it was a big bag... I used to binge a lot. Does anyone else do that? I imagine it's a bit like bulemic binge eating - anything & everything you desire - & then purging, only I don't purge. Partly because I hate throwing up & partly because I feel like that's cheating (& I don't want to ruin my teeth) so I feel gross & sick & swear I'll never, ever binge eat again...
In the past I've done this with all sorts of foods. Back in the day my favourite things to binge on were Twisties, family size blocks of Cadbury's chocolate (the Australian version), Camembert or Brie cheeses (a whole wedge or a small wheel), any cheese really... ice cream - especially the real vanilla version with the visible vanilla seeds from the pod, sugary drinks, milky drinks, alcoholic drinks (although getting drunk was never part of the plan...) Snakes Alive, Fantails, Tim Tams (sometimes as a slam with coffee), Kingston biscuits, salami or other manufactured, hand made sausages or luncheon meats..
It's really rather pathetic reading that list, but I am really, really trying to be honest, & I don't think this is something I've ever discussed before. I feel disgusting & slightly sick just reading that list, but I also feel somehow liberated to admit that I've done this... time & again! Always promising myself, as I stocked up on forbidden treats & indulgent quantities of favourite foods, that it was one last hurrah before I started a diet in earnest... It never really was. I am very honest with everyone, but myself. I never, ever intentionally tell a lie, except where my own health or happiness is concerned. I know it has to stop.
Anyway - I am facing up to my faults & failings & hope in naming them & bringing them out in the open I can avoid them. If I am tempted to go out & buy ready mixed icing or Kraft peanut butter with the intention of spooning it straight from the jar & eating the lot, hopefully I will read this blog & remember how sickly I feel when I do so...
I am also looking to get some further counselling. I had a great series of sessions in 2010-2011 soon after my Mother passed away. It helped enormously, but I have still been through a lot more since then, believing I was going to die, or at least end up on the street, but relying on the kindness & charity of others instead & finally finding the strength to get back into a normal life again. It is not an exaggeration to put it in those terms... The depression which I went through is difficult to explain, but depression is not about feeling down or being sad or crying a lot... it's not even about the dark, heavy, suffocating world you believe you live in... it's about not seeing a way through. It's about not being able to envisage things getting better or how to get to the next stage in your life. I couldn't imagine how I would pay for food, or rent, or how I would get strong enough to work again... I sometimes couldn't be inspired enough to walk downstairs & have a shower, because I wasn't going to see anyone or do anything which required me to be that clean so why spend the energy on washing my self & my hair? Depression does pass, though... it takes strength & a belief that things are going to get better, but you will make it better, no matter how hard it is to see that possibility! It's also true that you rarely realise how depressed you are when in the grip of a bout of it... but part of the healing process is looking back & knowing how far you've come. Now that I recognise I've come through a very difficult time, especially when I am so far from home, from family & friends, & especially given that some friends just didn't have it in them to be there for me, even long distance (which is sad, but something I am slowly coming to terms with) I know it's time to sit down & reassess where I am with some professional guidance... I am looking forward to understanding myself better & learning how to help myself become stronger & healthier through taking care of my mental health as well as my physical & spiritual health...