Black Dog

Five years ago today a very good friend of mine completed suicide (psychologist term). Today always causes me to pause, reflect, think about my friend and think about me. I miss my friend and I hope he is in a better place. I also hope his family and wife (widow?) still love him and are not mad at him.

I have been thinking about whether to write this post all afternoon and evening. I have started seven other blog posts and three of them are well advanced, so wasn’t sure if I should start another one! Also even though people try and convince others that depression is not taboo, nothing to be ashamed about, it is with many people. People just do not want to discuss it. But we should be able to! I have a friend who has spoken up about domestic violence, so here I am opening up about depression.

I know the day my friend was going to tell me about his depression. We caught up every now and then for a coffee at Gloria Jean’s and this time he e-mailed that he wanted to tell me something. We chatted about work and he told me that he had stomach ulcers again, but I knew that wasn’t the ‘something’. I didn’t pry as I just don’t like appearing nosey. He didn’t mention anything else. Not long after that it was Christmas and he and his wife took off for a drive to Adelaide. His wife mentioned this in her eulogy and things started to make sense about some of his actions. I wished I had been nosey. What if he had one more friend that understood what he was going through?

I understand completely. I understand why someone would feel like suicide is the only option. I understand the constant struggle – to smile, to operate, to live. I understand the feeling of total isolation, from everything and everyone. What I do not understand is why people think suicide is the easy way out – what is harder than making the decision to leave your family (parents, spouse, children etc) behind? Why are people so mad at the person that completed suicide – should you not feel some empathy to what they must have been going through to make such a final decision? Are people just trying to put the anger they feel at themselves onto the one that has passed? I do not the answers, these are just my thoughts. I am not mad at my friend for making the decision he did, I am just sad. Sad he didn’t think he could talk to me, sad that he didn’t think he would get out of the darkness, sad that he is no longer around for his wife and family.

When I found out about my friend I went into a dark place pretty quickly. Things were mad for me that January and February. Our Kalgoorlie house had settled, but our Perth house was not ready, so we were homeless. I had a lovely friend that took hubbie, Makita and me in for a week or so, until a unit that belonged to work was available. It was month end and I was trying to pass on all my knowledge to my replacement, and January was the worst month end at my previous employer, because it had a December year end, so that meant in January there was a lot more reporting, plus you had to roll over all sorts of models in time for January’s month end. I was stressed about the Perth house, things were taking too long. We also had to pack, and since I was going to be in Kalgoorlie for another month until I finished work, I had to ensure I didn’t pack certain things. And because the Perth house wasn’t finished we had to store our entire life contents somewhere! We had planned our wedding trip for March, so we were busy planning that. We were also building two units in Kalgoorlie, so there was some extra pressure there too. Plus we were about to get married! Not that that was a stressful thing for us, since we were going to enjoy ourselves in Las Vegas! But it is still a lot to deal with at once!

At the funeral, his wife read outMichelle's Labyrinth a book that her late husband related to – I Had A Black Dog by Matthew Johnstone. Holy bleep! How I related to the words she read out. How things made sense. It was exactly how I had been feeling on and off for a year or so. How brave and strong she was to read that out, at her husband’s funeral in front of hundreds of people, and being so young herself. How wonderful she was/is!

Since February 2008 I have been on and off anti-depressants. There was a 18 month section in the middle where I wasn’t on them; I was really enjoying work. But the black dog feeds off stress and fatigue, and I had been in highly stressed roles for years. I don’t talk about my black dog, well it is more like my dark cloud. I smile and laugh and have been told how great my laugh is and that I am the happiest person someone knows. My laugh is happy, and it takes a lot of effort to laugh sometimes, it is exhausting, then I get fatigued, then the black cloud takes over. I have tried to talk about it, but have then been asked what do I have to be stressed about? So I shut down.

It is not about being stressed or being sad. It is not something you can build a bridge and get over (something else said to me). It is a chemical reaction, a ‘brain state’ as it says in I Had A Black Dog. I guess you could say depression is like alcoholism, addiction, diabetes. It is a disease. I am not weak. I am not a whinger. I just have a black cloud that is always near by.

So I just wanted to say that there are people out there that are willing to listen, without judgement – like me! Our lives are hectic, we are moving a million miles an hour but we need to take care of ourselves. We are often told to slow down and smell the roses, or enjoy the sunset. But how often do we do that? We should make more of an effort to make time for our family, our friends and most of all ourselves. That is what is important.

On a different topic, I did my first felting project today! I have been seeing lots of lovely felted fantasy creatures on Facebook and Etsy, so I thought I would give it a go. I watched the youtube videos (Make a Felt Sheep, Part 1 &2):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XijouQJyE4U
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nEhjPIs95M

And got some ideas from Facebook pages:

http://www.facebook.com/FeltingIsFun
http://www.facebook.com/TanglewoodThicketCreations

So this is what I made:

Michelle's Labyrinth   Michelle's Labyrinth

The inspiration from Labyrinth:

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Felting is fun. You stab (I mean poke) wool with a small needle until that tangles the fibres until they join into the shape you want. The stabbing is fun and I think it is going to be a new method to remove any excess anger :)

And also I was serious, if you ever need me, for any reason at all… I am here for you.

DIDYMUS:  AND REMEMBER, FAIR MAIDEN, SHOULD YOU NEED US…
HOGGLE:   YES, SHOULD YOU NEED US, FOR ANY REASON AT ALL…
SARAH:    I NEED YOU, HOGGLE.
HOGGLE:   YOU–YOU DO?
SARAH:    I DON’T KNOW WHY, BUT EVERY NOW AND AGAIN IN MY LIFE, FOR NO REASON AT ALL, I NEED YOU– ALL OF YOU.
HOGGLE:   OH, YOU DO? WELL, WHY DIDN’T YOU SAY SO?

 

 

 

Scruffy vs Clean Cut – Part 2

Well I sure have had fun searching Google for pictures to post and I had to stop myself after a while, or this post would never end! Part 1 of this blog post showed a lot of current cuties. This time I am going to compare a mixture of well aged (like fine wine), newbies and cartoons!!

I said cartoons? How about Fred Jones versus Norville “Shaggy” Rogers from Scooby-Doo! I am not just taking about looks, but personailty too! I just remember Fred knowing he was good looking – very annoying. My favourite part of the cartoons were Shaggy and Scooby’s side adventures! Laughter goes a long way. (And see the below exhibit comments – I am not the only one that thinks that way!)

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Michelle's LabyrinthFred and Shaggy can also be compared in the 2002 Scooby-Doo film. Freddie Prinze, Jr. (left in picture) is much too clean-cut for me. Matthew Lyn Lillard is much more to my taste (Matthew grabbed my interest in the 1995 film Hackers). And Matthew is looking quite fine now! Picture below from 84th Academy Awards Red Carpet 2012.

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Source of Scooby-Doo pic:
http://www.imdb.com/media/rm1177589760/tt0267913

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_Lillard

 

 

 

Now for a couple of aged scruffy vs clean men:

Michelle's LabyrinthHow about the boys from Bridget Jones’s Diary? I do like Colin Firth (aka Mark Darcy) who is on the right; but of the two, Hugh Grant (aka Daniel Cleaver) is still my favourite. I love the boat scene; and the fight scene that spills into the restaurant! LOL!

Now for a couple of cop duos – Tango & Cash (aka Sylvester Stallone on the right, and Kurt Russell on the left). I am not sure how many would consider Sylvester “eye-candy”, but he is looking sharp in this photo. He is no Kurt Russell though! Even Goldie Hawn agrees with me and has since 1983 :)

Of course there is Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson on the left) and Roger Murtaugh (Danny Michelle's LabyrinthGlover) from the Lethal Weapon movies. Danny Glover is made out to be a family man, so its very hard to compete with Mel Gibson. But Mel is to die for! Those blue eyes, cheeky smiles, buns of steel! I think anyone that can wake up, light a cigarette, drink from an old beer can, eat a bite of a biscuit and give the rest to the dog, and make all that look sexy has a gift!

Source: http://www.ology.com/post/24654/top-cop-duos-of-all-time

I also love the the sceneMichelle's Labyrinth when Danny Glover and Mel Gibson meet up in Maverick. Danny Glover has a cameo and there is a moment when he looks at Mel Gibson with recognition in his eyes and just shakes his head… Classic! 

 

 

I thought I should include some musicians in my blog. Now being a lover of 80s music I thought I would include Rick Astley (left) and Jon Bon Jovi (right). Rick usually looked clean-cut, so I thought I would include a picture of him with longer hair… sorry, but I am sure you know who I think is steaming!!!! (I chose a nice picture eh?)

Michelle's Labyrinth  Michelle's Labyrinth

Source of Rick Astley: http://www.last.fm/music/Rick+Astley/+images/29570535

 

Michelle's LabyrinthNow for the newbies:

The adverts for Franklin & Bash have caught my eye. I have only watched a couple of episodes – I watch too much TV as it is! I am drawn to Breckin Meyer (aka Jared Franklin on the left) more so than Mark-Paul Gosselaar (aka Peter Bash). I think I just like someone that makes me laugh 😀

 

 

 

Michelle's LabyrinthI thought I better include some Aussies on my blog. Hamish Blake (left) and Andy Lee (right) are two well known comedians in Australia (and afar) who are fairly new on the scene. Now Andy tries to look scruffy – longish hair, irregular shaving, but he looks clean-cut next to Hamish. Hamish just cracks me up every time I look at him. If I had to choose between the two it would be Hamish!

 

 

Source: http://mediasearch.com.au/fashion/spotlights/davidjones-sydney2008

Since we are on the topic of Aussies, I cannot leave out the doctors off Offspring. Don Hany (left) as Dr. Chris Havel was hot! Until Matt Le Nevez (right) as Dr. Patrick Reid came into the story. Dr. Patrick is smoking hot!

Michelle's Labyrinth  Michelle's Labyrinth

Source of Matt Le Nevez: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/whats-up-doc-20110610-1fvg0.html

One last comparison and I’ll leave this topic alone (I have been having way too much fun!), but please leave comments on your thoughts of these fine male specimens :)

Michelle's LabyrinthAs you have probably worked out I love Johnny Depp. So I thought I would compare a couple more pictures of him – this time where he has long hair.

On the left there is Johnny with a clean-cut appearance, and below he is as scruffy as a man (or pirate!) could get.

Hmmm…. yep! Still LOVE both!

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Source: http://wallpaperswide.com/captain_jack_sparrow__pirates_of_the_caribbean_on_stranger_tides-wallpapers.html

 

Link to Scruffy vs Clean Cut – Part 1 (in case you missed it :)  )  http://michelleslabyrinth.com.au/wordpress/scruffy-vs-clean-cut/

 

 

My Biggest Fan

My biggest cake fan would have to be my niece Aimee, my sister’s daughter. She has told me I make the “bestest cakes ever”! So here are the cakes I have made for her since moving back to Perth:

2009 – Fairy Cupcakes (6th Birthday)

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This was early on in my cake making activities. I thought the store bought fairies were cute. I thought they were too cute to eat, but I saw my niece chomp off one of the fairies heads! I guess she liked them :)

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2010 – Fairy Castle (7th Birthday)

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I asked my niece for suggestions this year, as I had made my first fondant cake in July of 2010 and was now open to a whole new world of cake ideas! My niece wasn’t determined to request a specific cake (like her brother was – Buzz Lightyear!) and seemed happy with my fairy castle idea. I bought the fairy (inedible) and was hoping to make the dragon. But my niece and nephew are born 4 days apart, hence two cakes needed, so I didn’t have time to make a dragon and ended up using one of my dragons, from my collection, to peer at the fairy! Aimee got to keep the fairy, but the dragon was quickly snatched back by me once the candles were blown out. It was mine! This was also the first cake I worked out that children love bright coloured icing – a piece of cake with the rainbow was demanded by most!

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2011 – Fairy Toadstool (8th Birthday)

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I had bought a couple of Debbie Brown’s cake decorating books off Amazon.com and wanted to try and couple out. So this year the cake for my niece (and nephew) was a surprise! I made the Fairy Toadstool cake from 50 Easy Party Cakes. My niece seemed suitably impressed and this was the year she said I made the “bestest cakes ever”!

The fairies went down well too. I left it up to the birthday girl whether she wanted to keep them or share them. Keep them of course! This caused some crying by one of the other girls, so my brother-in-law gave the crying girl one of the wings. My niece told me later that she ate the fairies all by herself over the next few days and they were delicious!

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2012 – Equestrian (9th Birthday)

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The most recent cake I made Aimee was an Equestrian cake which was Aimee’s top choice. In late June or very early July I had asked my sister to get some suggestions for the cakes this year. My niece had obviously been discussing the Olympics at school and asked for an equestrian cake. My lovely sister thought that may be a little difficult and asked for a few more suggestions. When I heard equestrian I honestly did feel stressed. I was still working at the time, in my last couple of weeks of work, so my stress levels were elevated anyway. But after I finished work and had some time to Google, I found some good ideas.

When I walked through the door on Aimee’s birthday she jumped up and down and said it was exactly what she wanted! I asked her later on which cake she had liked the best over the years and she said it was the equestrian one. It is hard for me to pick a favourite cake I have made, because they are all so different, and for different people, so mean different things to me! If that makes sense. But I loved making this cake. I loved the challenge my niece set for me, and the horse and rider lead me to some new ideas for other cakes, like my pirates cake!

Do any of my readers have a favourite cake I have made and blogged about? And why?

Michelle's Labyrinth Michelle's Labyrinth Michelle's Labyrinth

 

 

 

 

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