All posts by lpenn45

The Rights of Women

Ending off a rather difficult year, I decided that yesterday was a day to treat myself and see the acclaimed ‘Suffragette’ movie at the local renovated Majestic Sawtell Cinema.

This was a brilliant decision as I thoroughly enjoyed seeing a part of history being played out on the big screen. It made me reflect on how much these suffragettes suffered to ensure women had better conditions and the right to vote. It took decades for women to gain equal rights, although this is not a given across the world. Through men’s ignorance and determination to pull women down these women had the strength and determination with many suffering personally they achieved what we women today take for granted.

Reflecting on history and how long it took to gain the rights for women to vote, especially in the UK, USA, and Australia. However Australian women through the Australian movement of suffragettes, such as Jessie Street Australian women gained the right across Australia to vote in 1902 although South Australia and Western Australia were a few years earlier.

The United Kingdom and the United States followed ten years later.

When I lived and worked in Sydney I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the Jessie Street Annual Luncheons at Parliament House. Jessie was a key figure in Australian political life for over 50 years, from the women’s suffrage struggle in England to the removal of Australian constitutional discrimination against Aboriginal people. She was recognised both in Australia and internationally for her activism in women’s rights and social justice.

Although Jessie had passed away in 1970 it was at these annual luncheons that I would listen intently to the stories being told by the elders in attendance regarding their personal struggles and what they had to endure to make our lives much better today. These women were the extraordinary Australian suffragettes.

Years on and there is another struggle for women, domestic violence. Through the heartache of a mother Rosie Batty losing her son to domestic violence pushes our nation into facing the disturbing reality that as a country we have a long way to go to stop domestic violence.

Could Rosie Batty be today’s Jessie Street and achieve the ‘stopping of domestic violence’?

Happiness is Finding Your Missing Sister

IMG_0328

What is happiness? For me, it is finding our missing sister Caroline, which had disappeared for more than forty years.

Through the most amazing determination from one of my sisters Debra, Caroline’s biological sister, she discovered the whereabouts of Caroline. She left our Father with her Mother, who isn’t my biological Mother when she was about eight years of age.

Over the years that passed we all wondered and worried about her, was she all right, did she get married and have a family. Of course, there was always the dreaded thought that she may have passed.

Thankfully Debra located her and found that she is well, although she has had a horrible life. She had to confront the death of her Mother at an early age and finding that she had no family members around for support. At that time her immediate family members had moved away some got married and obviously changed their names, including me.

Caroline was a victim and suffered the most horrific abuse by her violent partner, gave birth to four children, two boys and two girls and now a proud grandmother.

Fortunately, her life has now changed for the better, she has found her elder sisters, especially Debra who lives only an hour from her. Unfortunately, I live on the Mid North Coast more than 700 kilometers from her. However, through wonderful phone calls and of course the use of social media we are all connected and can share photos, send messages to her as well as our new found nieces and nephews and grand niece.

Life has now changed for the better for all of us, this is real happiness for everyone, especially Caroline who just can’t believe it is actual, she just keeps crying with happiness, just like the rest of us.

The most beautiful and heartfelt comment came to me from one of my newfound nieces Claudia “I’m so happy that I’m now in contact with my family. I’ve been waiting for this day my whole life”

Falling in Love Missing

The end of my marriage of six years has finally arrived with a divorce being granted 13th October has spurred me into thinking about “was it really love in a committed way”.

Now all over I can do the things I really enjoy, like listening to my choice of music turned up loud while I relax in a soothing bath filled with beautiful relaxing fragrances and singing along with Rod Stewart to all those romantic songs, like; I Took One Look At You, There Someone I Am Longing To See, Crazy In Love With You and most importantly Our Love Is Here To Stay.

It wasn’t until I heard this soothing music that I knew that the ‘falling in love’ part of our relationship was missing, sad but true. It took me twelve years in a tempestuous relationship to finally agree to get married, why I still don’t know, perhaps there was some pity attached to my decision as at the time my partner lived in his place and me in mine, however, due to him having a triple by-pass heart surgery and not coping, I suggested he live with me, wrong decision!

I know that I cared for him and wanted to be with him, but complications related to his recreational drug taking prohibited me from making a commitment for all the prior twelve years. Our relationship was an ‘on and off’ one due to his mood swings, which sometimes scared me. However being away from him made me unhappy and it was myself patching up the difficulties and going back to him, big mistake. If it isn’t a good relationship don’t go there especially with a marriage.

Shame that I didn’t take my own advice.

Revisiting Your Life

Having being part of someone’s life for nearly 20 years and finding out that part of your life is over is difficult to pick yourself up and start all over again, but I did!

Although this was a difficult time in my life, I never lost my real self. Having such a wonderful array of connections in my family and friends was what helped me to survive.

The hurtful way that my ex-husband gave me an ultimatum of his way or the highway choice. Gave me no alternative than to say, “there is the door”.

Being basically a strong personality there wasn’t any choice as there wasn’t any opportunity for discussion. We were basically too different from each other and he had an extremely complex personality, something that I found too difficult to deal with and he was in denial. My life with him was a constant compromise.

Our relationship was formed on pure physical attraction and it didn’t grow beyond physical. This was the major contributing factor as to why the marriage didn’t last. Over time a good relationship grows beyond the original physical attraction and deepens into an emotional relationship and you grow as a couple, something completely void in our marriage.

Eighteen months on and I am totally at peace with the decision and looking forward to closing this part of my life with a divorce pending and of course a ‘divorce party’. Best of all not having to compromise!

Dream That Came True

Have you ever had a dream that has come true? Well, I have!

Prior to attending a Family Court hearing on the first day of spring, 1st September, I had a dream a few nights earlier about not making it to the court on time and missed out on getting a divorce.

Well, this to my horror actually came true, as apparently the distant court system failed me by not doing what they should have done by following through with locating my ex under the guidance of a comprehensive affidavit where, due to not knowing his address at the time of my original lodgement, I applied for dispensation (special consideration), which means the courts seek his whereabouts.

It turns out this is not correct, they don’t do anything, they rely on the applicant, me doing all the work or seeking expensive legal representation to do it on my behalf.

Having already paid out more than $10k on gaining property settlement through two different lawyers, one ineffective and the other extremely effective.   Under the guidance of the second lawyer, I proceeded with filling for a divorce online.

Unfortunately, my attempt to gain the divorce just didn’t happen. The court’s appointed remote Registrar mentioned via his telephone link-up to the local court in Coffs Harbour where everyone in attendance, being other applicants seeking a divorce were all part of my hearing, as I was to theirs.

Here I am in front of a microphone and speaking to a remote person, like the Registrar in Lismore Family Courts. He halted the proceedings for a few moments while he read my two affidavits then replied, “This case is being adjourned until 30 October due to the respondent not being notified of this application for a divorce”

You have got to be kidding I thought, but of course couldn’t say anything. And why hasn’t he been advised, all my paperwork and online payment for this divorce occurred 19 May. There hasn’t been any communication, apart from the Family Law Courts official stamping of my affidavits, between the court and myself advising anything other than an allocated date and time were given to me at the conclusion of my online application and payment and that was more than three months ago.

Obviously, there wasn’t anything I could do other than sit there dumbfounded at the lack of action from the supplied information in the affidavits from this futile Family Law Court system. What if he isn’t located again on the 30 October, do we start this process again?

Pondering on the day’s events I thought where are the personal privacy laws in all these proceedings? I heard before my case 20 or so applicants, three represented by their lawyers, be granted their divorce, their names, family status arrangements were all read out by the court’s office and of course the remote Registrar, whom we couldn’t see but only hear, including the shuffling of every case paperwork, while he got himself familiar with the case in question.

How hard was it for the court’s staff to go to the electoral roll and or Centrelink to locate an address for my ex-husband? Or just notify me that the case was to be been adjourned etc.

Unfortunately, we are just a number in the social service system, without any privacy rights. Due to Privacy Laws I personally can not give out anyone’s personal details without gaining their permission, but the Family Courts can announce in front of total strangers that you are applying for and in other attendees, present granted a divorce.

Personally, I was ready to give up, but friends and family have inspired me forward to take control by acquiring a process server to ensure my ex-gets the ‘Acknowledgement of Service’ and affirming he received the order served upon him with a signed ‘Signature of Acceptance’ advising that 30 October is divorce day.

A Mother’s Concern

IMG_0260

It doesn’t matter how old your children are, as a Mother you always worry about their safety, especially when it is your daughter rafting down the Colorado River Rapids on a raft together with husband and my grandchildren. A triple worry!

Prior to going overseas to the United States for a month, my eldest daughter Corinne painstakingly advised me that whilst they would be in the Grand Canyon there wouldn’t be any form of communication, mainly during the time when they did the organised four-day rafting and camping trip. That included no phones, Internet, WiFi, nothing!

Knowing that their trip was going to be an organised professional rafting trip made me feel somewhat comfortable at the time of her detailing their entire month in the United States, where they would be visiting Los Angles, Las Vegas, Utah, Yosemite, San Francisco and Hawaii.

Obviously, one of the most spectacular tourist adventures would definitely be the rafting trip down the Colorado River and camping along the river edge. This could be something that my grandsons would thoroughly enjoy and remember for a long time. Probably not the most comfortable trip though for my daughter.

The trip appeared to be one of life’s best adventures until you remember that your daughter is not the strongest swimmer!

Before they left to go overseas Corinne included me into her Tripit app details and said she would upload photos onto Instagram along the way.

This way I could see where they were and as both Corinne an Nigel her husband are both keen photographers, Nigel being the professional photographer, I knew that the photos would be uploaded often onto Instagram, which they were! Except of course when they were rafting down the Colorado River.

Having to be patient during those painful four days without any form of communication, until I heard from them via whatever type of communications they could muster was awful. My thoughts went from guess they are having a great time to hoping nothing has gone wrong!

Trying to get some solace I turned to my friends on Facebook saying how anxiousness was getting to me when one of my friends made a comment “haven’t you heard about deliverance country and the odd things happen there”.

Great, that was all I needed to read it trigger off my imagination. Were they attacked by a big brown bear? Did anyone fall out of the raft? Then the mind wondered to rattlesnakes, tarantula spiders coming into their tents.

To say the four days dragged on is an understatement. I just wanted to see some photos appear on Instagram, as then I would know everything was ok.

Then on the fifth day, I experienced that everything was all right as the most beautiful photos started appearing on Instagram, I looked and looked over them imagining what a fantastic time they must have all had, exhausting for sure, but a real adventure.

Being able to experience this type of adventure is something that a lot of us would wish for in our own lives, but rarely get the opportunity to experience.

IMG_0259

As a mother and of course a grandmother you never stop worrying about the safety aspects of such an adventure. Thank goodness everything went to plan and I can stop with the anxiousness at least until their next adventure.

The House That Snores

It is a beautiful sunny day and I am stuck in trying to finalise some financials documents and all I can hear is snoring!

The rather loud snoring is not only coming from my daughter who works overnight shift work and of course, sleeps through the day. Having just completed seven nights straight in a row without any days off, her only way of demonstrating that she is exhausted is the level of snoring, sounds like a train is coming through the house!

To top off the snoring brigade in the house is her gorgeous Himalayan cat, also currently sound asleep and snoring on the office doormat, just a few meters from where I am trying to balance the financials, which is currently out by $600. His sound is not strained like; it is more muffled, like someone with asthma.

Despite the day beckoning me to come outside into the winter sunshine, I know that trying to find the ‘out of balance’ amount is vital for my contentment.

With all the non-harmonised snoring currently occurring around me, it has become disturbing, but absolutely cute when I look towards the office doormat and see such a contented bundle of ‘fluff ball’ sound asleep Himalayan cat, snoring with asthma-like symptoms all due to his snout!

Perhaps the best solution is to stop trying to find the answer to my financial query and take a novel, grab a coffee and sit outside on the balcony and enjoy this wonderful winter sunshine.