There’s a big hole where you used to be.

I’ve lost a friend. Back in August he fell from a balcony onto the footpath and has been in a coma ever since. At first we were waiting for him to wake up. As time passed and nothing changed we started waiting for him to die. Then he did.

I thought I was ready for it to happen. The more time that went by, the more it became clear that death was the least cruel of the options. The damage to his brain was so severe that the person we knew was gone, whether he lived or died. So you start preparing yourself for the loss, but when it actually happens, it’s still such a shock.

I’ve struggled with myself over the last few weeks. Waiting for someone to die doesn’t feel good. Wishing it would happen quickly feels even worse. But to live would be worse than to die.

It was a cruel death. A terrible accident resulting in death is a tragedy. A terrible accident resulting in a long, drawn out death is so much more painful. It has the ability to break people.

This death has tried lots of us, but it’s also made us stronger. And it’s made me realise just how tenuous life is, and how important it is to spend it with the people that you love.

We won’t forget you, Glenn. You deserve the peace that you took so long to find.

It’s almost time.

I think the time has almost come. It’s been days since I last blogged. I logged on this morning to write but the only stuff I have to write about is baby related. I swore to myself that this blog was not going to become one that logged my progress as a pregnant woman or gave you facts about my babies in utero – the kinds of facts that are fascinating to me but mean absolutely nothing to anyone else. It would be like becoming one of those people that sends out a constant stream of photos of their babies doing stupid things.

My parents tell a funny story about a couple that they were friends with when they were my age. This couple had their first child and they would invite people over for drinks and then put their baby in the middle of the room and make everyone watch him for hours. If it’s not your baby, it’s just not interesting.

It’s also not interesting to hear me moan about how bored I am at work. I have one more full week to go and then I’m outta here – forever. It hasn’t sunk in yet. I’m not sure it will until my last day when I’m packing up 13 years worth of stuff into a small box and pulling out of the carpark for the last time. Things have changed here so much lately that I don’t feel sad about leaving the job, just the people. But I’m so excited about what’s to come that it overshadows any negative feelings.

You’re probably not interested in the fact that I’m having my baby shower this weekend.

People find it much more interesting reading about the bad behaviour of a girl that goes out on weekend benders and does embarrassing things and I’m just not that girl any more. At least, not for a while.

I’m having trouble letting go though…

Starsigns

I have always struggled a bit with the concept of starsigns. I am someone that doesn’t put much stock in ‘hippy stuff’. I need scientific logic behind things – and while many people claim that starsigns are scientific, no one has actually managed to come up with the evidence to convince me.

My starsign is Leo and to be fair, I fit pretty bang smack into the middle of the description of a ‘typical leo’. I could however fit into quite a few of the other signs, and if I was brought up believing my birth month to be something other than August, then I suspect I’d think I fitted quite well into whichever sign I was brainwashed into believing that I was.

It works the same way for daily starsign predictions. If you read all of them you can probably – with a bit of lateral thinking – make any of them fit your situation. So yes, I’m a sceptic.

The other day a work colleague asked when my babies are due. When I told her, she said she’d bring in her ‘birthday book’ so that we can see what they are going to be like. WTF? The book has a full run-down of virtues, vices and personality traits narrowed down to the very day you are born. I scoffed in her face and came up with my usual barrage of what-kind-of-idiocy-is-this? comments.

Then I had a thought… based on her logic, I could influence the personality of my child by scheduling my elective c-section accordingly. In theory there is a week long window over which I can choose to have the babies. Brilliant. If babies born on December 12th have the personality of a wet fish (what the hell is with that saying anyway?) then I could put it off for a day or two and have babies that really shine. I could set them up for life. How easy! Why don’t more people know about this?

Slightly affronted by my reaction (but surely not altogether surprised – she does know I’m a Leo after all) she decided to conduct an experiment. We have a mutual work friend – I know him very well. She decided that she would print out his birthday, along with 4 others and I could read them all and see if I could judge which was his.

And I could. Hands down no question about it. Right down to the fact that he doesn’t care about what is happening to the world. I was blown away.

I read my page. And yup… it was me. Maybe there is something to this after all.

But I still don’t read starsigns.

A bit antsy.

I like to think of myself as a fairly self-sufficient woman. I’ve never needed a man to take care of me. I’m stronger than the average woman and I’m not neurotic. So my behaviour over the last few days has come as a bit of a surprise to me.

Shaun is away on a conference. He’s been gone for several days now. My weirdness started on the very first day. It wasn’t really my fault.

It was the ants.

I went to feed the cats and noticed lots of ants around their food bowl. This has happened before – Auckland has a lot of ants. In the past I’ve told Shaun and the next day the ants are gone. He has some magic ant slaughtering liquid that he bought online from an ant exterminator. He puts into some traps that he made out of plastic containers.

I wasn’t sure of the exact process so I went for a slightly older school method of putting the cat bowl in a tray of water to create a moat. That worked for a while but the cats dropped bits of biscuit onto the floor, resulting in a feeding frenzy. I got a cloth and wiped up the hoards of ants. That turned out to be a mistake. I have heard that ants let off scent when they are killed to warn other ants not to come near. Apparently it’s true and these particular ants have a lot of it. The low-end genocide caused the entire room to smell like raw sewage. Not conducive to eating, even if you are a cat.

So I decided to bite the bullet and find the extermination water. I filled a trap – a small plastic jar with a lid and holes drilled in the sides. I don’t get exactly how it works as according to the instructions on the bottle, the ants are supposed to drink some of the poison and then take it back to their ant lair. It is clearly apparent to even the stupidest of people that the ants climb into the jar, fall into the liquid and drown. But I did it anyway because to be fair to Shaun, he does get results.

After filling the trap I lay down to watch TV. For about 5 minutes. Then I got worried about the cats and the trap. If it got knocked over, the liquid would pour out and Julio has a reputation for drinking random liquid that he finds lying around (sometimes very handy – other times not so much). So I went and constructed a hut around the trap with cardboard boxes and went back to lie down.

Then I heard the cats playing on the hut and got freaked out again. I went and taped the hut together so that it wouldn’t fall apart, revealing the traps. The next time I lay down it occurred to me that if an ant didn’t fall into the trap and drown, but somehow managed to drink some poison and then make it’s way back to the lair, that one of the cats might eat it en route, therefore ingesting the poison. If he ate enough of the poisoned ants, he may die himself. And that wouldn’t be good.

I spent the night getting up and down constucting covered passageways to cover the trails of ants. All I succeeded in doing was attracting more attention from the cats.

I’ve given up. I am self-sufficient as long as there are no ants around.

More religion.

Of all the strange coincidences, my mother called last night to talk about baptising babies. She had been talking to a friend of hers who is an Anglican minister. He is going to baptise my sister’s baby. He asked mum about mine and she said that Shaun and I don’t go to church and aren’t religious. His response was interesting. He said that we have integrity.

Apparently lots of people have their children baptised because it’s the socially acceptable thing to do, or because they feel pressure from family or society. I can’t imagine compromising my beliefs for either of those reasons. For any reason, come to think of it. 

The minister suggested to mum that he could perform a blessing at our naming ceremony (which is what I am calling it for want of a better term). I quite like that idea. I made it clear that we don’t want it in a church and we don’t want any religious content, but I like the idea of a ceremony of some sort – followed by a party.

I asked mum if she thought he would be comfortable with the ‘no religious content’ bit and that is when the conversation got really interesting. I have always wondered why my parents go to church, because I know they don’t believe in religious dogma. I know that they don’t even believe in ‘God’. Mum believes that ‘God’ is the good part of a person – the part that makes us think before they we say something hurtful. The part that makes us want to give to others. The part that makes us love.

I told her that I believe the same thing, but that I don’t need to go to a church to celebrate that. I don’t believe in organised religion. She told me that much like how I go to Youthline, she goes to church to be in the presence of people that are celebrating the good part of themselves. They leave their ‘badness’ at the door. It’s a place of peace.

I suppose I understand that.

Religion

I’ve talked politics and sex already so I might as well keep it up while I’m on a roll.

I’ve never kept my religious beliefs a secret. I believe in neither a god nor religion itself. I was brought up in a family that is religious in a mild kind of way. My parents attend church once a month or so – they like how peaceful it is. I went to Sunday school as a child – mum and dad wanted us to be armed with information before we decided what direction we wanted to take with regard to religion when we grew up. All three of us chose the no-church route. My sister perhaps less so than my brother and I. She went through a reborn phase during her teenage years (which passed as quickly as it came – thank god) and chose to have a church wedding.

Which brings me to the purpose of this post.

I have been happy with my non-religious stance for the last 20 odd years. I attend church for weddings and funerals only. I sing the appropriate songs and listen to the appropriate prayers – because they are important to the people that are getting married or buried. I was fortunate to marry someone that feels the same way that I do. Shaun attended a religious school so has also made an informed decision not to believe in god or attend church.

But what do we do for our children? I think that every individual has the right to make up their own mind, but I also have some inherant issues with the concept of religion. I’m not sure that I am comfortable sending my kids to church and I don’t think that non-religious schools teach religion any more. Although I understand the concepts, I would be hard pushed to give my children the information required in order to make their own decisions without influencing them.

The children aren’t born yet and the subject has already arisen. My mother brought out my christening gown a few months back. I told her that there won’t be a christening. It seemed to take her a while to get her head around that, but to her credit, she didn’t debate it with me. She knows it’s my decision to make. I told her that we would have some sort of non-religious naming ceremony/celebration.  She suggested that perhaps the baby could wear the christening gown to that. I told her that I had already bought a superman costume complete with built in cape and we were thinking that perhaps that would be more appropriate. As it turns out, we then found out that we would be having two babies and above all other things, my mother is fair. There is no way she would allow one baby to wear a special outfit and not the other!

Interestingly, my sister has decided that they will be christening their child.

I’m thinking that sounds like the perfect time to crack out the superman suits.