Saturday, May 31, 2008

My latest little (big) crush

Two words: Arrested Development.

I resisted for so long, I don't know why. I think it was Jason Bateman who stopped me initially. I couldn't quite get over the whole Teen Wolf II thing. Well, so it was a combination of the thought of him in TW and also Portia "who'smyface" de Rossi (love, stop with the enhancements, pleeease, you were so pretty about five fix-its ago and then you went a bit overboard) that was stopping me get into it.

And then, Steve borrowed the entire series from someone at work and brought it home.

I'm in a heaven of comedy. I haven't laughed so heartily in SUCH a long time. Not at least since that time Jazz met Simon (okay, granted, I may have laughed once or twice since then).

I. Heart. It.

And ummmm..... okay, I did a backflip on JB himself too. I find myself thinking lusty thoughts after him and sit here sometimes imagining my fingers running through his thick hair. What the hell is wrong with me??! And did I just admit that out loud?

They've been teasing with talks of a movie since December last year. It makes me nervous. Look what's currently happening with Sex and the City, after all (and don't you think wild horses could keep me from seeing THAT one, I'm going in a few weeks, I don't care what the critics are saying). When TV characters come back after a few years off our screens, they seem to come back older, somewhat wrinklier or with more sun damage. And oh dear, there is such pressure not to flop.

The actors who collectively make up the Bluth family are just such a big part of my world at the moment. I cannot believe this show was axed after only three seasons. I think it's got to be one of the most consistently funny, fast-witted sitcoms ever aired. If you haven't already, see if you can't check out an ep or two. If you don't laugh.... well. You and me probably wouldn't be compatible on one of those Love Match(dot)com sites. And don't that make your brown eyes blue.

Now... one more time (because it's my blog and I'll perve if I want to), please excuse me while I sigh dreamily and immerse myself in some steely eyes *siiiigh*

Did I mention?

After the whoops and hoop-la surrounding this momentous occasion, there have been scarce little steps taken by that little minx, the LGBB.

I asked the physiotherapist what this means for her baby book.

Me: "How do I fill out the First Steps Taken bit? I mean, is she walking? Technically, she has walked. But can we say she is walking?"
Physio: "Well, no. What we say is, she has taken her first steps..."

Hey, at least she took me seriously and answered my question. I'd only been half-joking, but I supposed it was a real nagging question I now had.

So now we're well into the LGBB's twenty-second month. She is still largely walking assisted. At least it's a case of "yes, yes, everybody can see that you have walked so they know you can walk and perhaps the medical profession at large will leave you alone to get on with it in your own time... now, we'll just look over here and pretend we didn't notice you walking around". We have to be most careful not to overdo any praise or encouragement, lest it cause her to retreat from her efforts (it's backfired a few times on us and now it's more a case of telling Lolly routinely that I am not going to help her, that she can get up and walk over and get 'whatever' herself). But little miss isn't giving in without the good fight. She will stand like a mule with its heels dug in and set her jaw in such a way that I know we're in this confrontation for the long haul. I get every procrastination and whiney, toe-digging-into-carpet angst-ridden protest under the sun, along with a scrunched-up, badly acted face that I suppose is aimed to make me soften and come and rescue her. I know she's only a wee sprite, a mere dot on the planet, but holy hell after two years of carrying her around and now feeling increasingly like I'm being played.... it's kinda starting to wear thin, especially when her peers (and younger) are at least self-sufficient in their upright mobility now. She's as stubborn as her mother, this kid *sigh*

Just this week, I vaguely recall my mother's voice saying (when I was about nine), "Just you wait, your children are going to whinge and complain to you and then you'll know what it's like." Poor mum. What a long time waiting for her retribution.

But dang, the old girl was bloody right. And shit.... the LGBB's nowhere near the age I was when my mother flipped out and said what she did, in what could only have been a moment of sheer frustration at whatever it was I was currently bellyaching about (I know I whined a lot as a kid, I'll freely admit). Good Lord, what am I in for in future years? *grimace* Thank heavens for my mother I was not a rebel or a trouble-maker, I think I would have been terrible to "control".

So given that we want the LGBB not to go backwards or get slack in progressing, we've had to continue to up the challenge, devise ways of enticing her to strengthen those little matchstick lower limbs without realising or thinking too much about it (for you can sometimes see her thinking, waaaaait a second I'm walking and they want me to walk and...noooo I don't wanna now!). The latest has been 'taking baby for a walk to the shops'. This is no easy task for a little girl, to take her baby to the shops. Isn't it funny that you never saw just how uneven and precarious the footpath is until you walk it like you're two?

It takes a bit of forward-planning and sight to prepare for the LGBB to either make it part way or the whole way to the shops. Properly fitted shoes are a must. A drink for all those rest-stops and a whole heap of free time ahead of you so you can spare the hour or so it takes to make it the usually five minutes' walk up the street, factoring in all the "Oooh! Birds! OOH!! Blue car!" talking points (which also necessitate long pauses in the walking). But there's not been a day yet that she has made it the whole way there and back. So the most important take-along is the LGBB's pram for the ride home.

We took these photos a couple of weeks ago, Steve with his pram and Lolly with hers. It's handy her baby both fits and doesn't mind fitting (pram and all) in the lower part of her "mummy's" pram for the stroll home.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Back in the day.

I've been knee deep in a bit o' nostalgia, from a time back when ads were entertaining. Kids were kitsch. And floor shows were all the rage.

No, please. Indulge me further and I'll explain.

When was the last time you saw an orchestrated (read: really pissy but highly entertaining) kids-dressed-up-as-adults advertisement that was as innocent and damn catchy as this? I dare you to watch this and not get it in your head. I DOUBLE dare you.

I admit to being a little impressed that somewhere in the recesses of my brain, I had managed to stow away most of the words to this little jingle, along with many of the visual cues. How imprinted was I? And how much telly? Oh, the wasted hours of youth.

There was once a time when the mere sound of a particular piece of joyous music would make the heads of me and my little bro spin around from our Playtrak faster than we could say "Hotwheeeeels!!"

That music... was this.

What was not to love for an eight year old? "Work on the wail woad ... Wobcat tractors." I wanted to zoom that flying fox. Mostly, I wanted to ride the mini trams and have a snack aboard Wobbies' snack train - it's always, always been about the snackage for mine and what you can eat when you're out (but goddamn, mum was so organised and would pack salad sandwiches for us bluuuuuurgh).

I wanted it ALL. And I wanted it now.

But let me just set the scene: Wobbies World was not as they claimed so cheerfully in this television advert, an international-style play park. No. Wobbies World, in reality, was about two acres of the most crappily thought-out and expensive (while ironically being very shoddily slapped together) "entertainment" you'd ever come across. It was Melbourne's best answer to an "amusement park" in the 80's. Hell, I was pretty damn unimpressed with Gumbuya Park on the one occasion we finally belly-ached our parents enough to take us. So if we ever actually made it inside Wobbies World, I would have been crying bitter bitter tears of defeat.

How did they make the ad's look so enticing? It was the music. The music drew us in from whichever room we were in and made us stand, arms dangling, eyes glazed over and watching the screen imploringly. Basically, I think we were just desperate for a bit o' entertainment and we saw Wobbies World as "it" (when I say "we", I'm talking my brother and me - I do realise there will be many far more enlightened Melbournians reading who will have been much less keen to visit Wobbies World, but I dare them to look inside themselves and honestly say.... they never wanted to work the helicopter by themselves).

My parents did load us up, as I recall, and drove us all the way there once. When they saw the admission prices (and then discovered it was a fee for each ride - Oh. My. GOD. Can anyone say extortion?), we turned right round and came home. I think it took me a good hour to stop shuddering from the tracks of my tears *sniff*

They followed up their 80's ad's with more edgy, modern music and new vision when this one came out. By this time, I was over it. I was a teenager by then. I'd pouted and put the whole no-go Wobbies World experience behind me. We would see the ad by this time and be all huffy and lofty about how the rides were crap.... all the while a bit jealous that "the kids of today" now got to go in mini spinning helicopters, play mini golf and be asphyxiated in a ball pit.

And not until I uncovered this one did I realise that the fireman staring down the camera and squirting his hose was a little, uh... suggestive? (or is it just me and my need to find fault because I'm embittered that I never actually got to go?)

Now, super-fun happy slide amusement parks aside, who remembers The Swagman? "Melbourne's own". They said it was best. Yes. I suppose they probably would have had to talk themselves up. The closest I got to seeing the floor show at The Swagman was having one of the dancers as my ballet teacher when I was a wee poppet of four years of age.

Come on. Don't sit there and tell me you wouldn't have wanted to go. Not with an inviting, chintzy song like that one.

Melbourne had it aaaaaaall. Back in the day.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

You can't keep a blogging addict (or their dinner) down...

Gastro. Lurgy. Spinning head.


Four kg's lost since Sunday (they'll soon be found, alas, no doubt) and tummy only just beginning to right itself. I feel like I have the Gravitron going on under my shirt.

At some point overnight on Sunday while I was lying on the bathroom floor, freezing, wrapped in a spare doona, aching and teeth chattering, going crazy with a goddamn Hi-5 song on incessant replay in my head (doesn't matter which one, really, because any of them would drive even the hardest to tears after the fourth hour, but for the record it was that bloody "Bang that drum, go BANG BANG BANG, shake that rattle go SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE..." eurghhh *shudder*), I had the presence of mind to reach for the bathroom spray and squirt the insides of the bucket down.

Yes. I haz bucket. Because the toilet was occupied for "other matters". Or matter. Or... well. Hmmm, this is just turning into yet another of those posts where I should have been kinder to my pregnant readers. Sorry.

So at least after that little brainwave (the only brainwave at that time), I only smelled the spray. It didn't stop Nathan, Kelly, Tim, Kathleen and Charli, but it was minty fresh. And that's all that counts.

I spent, in all, about eight hours on the floor because it just wasn't worth the trip back to bed each time. Cripes, I don't remember being that frequently ill since my last child care centre placement back in 1993. There were hallucinations, there was drifting in and out of dazed sleeping. I managed to crawl back to bed at about 8 o'clock Monday morning and couldn't sit upright til the afternoon. The LGBB and Steve got it too, not with nearly so much gusto and none of the hurling, save for Lolly's first and only effort on Friday, and she's just been off colour since - nothing you can put your finger on... in. Sorrrrry! Thank God for her there's been no further vommies.

We're all pretty sore and sorry for ourselves today, though, and by jingoes I am going to lap every minute of this restful toddler up while I've got her in the cosy crook of my elbow on the couch. I don't care that all I want to do is lie down to make the spinning and stinging head stop. I miss her. It's only been a couple of days, but I miss watching her. Isn't that so naff of me.

I'd like to say it was an okay way to start the week. But it really has not been. We're out of the woods but I'm not putting the bucket away just for the time being and if it weren't for pesky clients (why is it that only on days where I am flailing about like a fish out of water that strange/unlikely/unheard of requests from clients come out of the blue???) then I wouldn't even be here.

The screen is moving left to right. Who's doing that? Is it you? I'm leaving.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Just don't know if I can do it

It's an empty box of tissues.

It's just an empty. Box. Of tissues.

With teddies on it.

This box of tissues was bought in the year 2000. I was six weeks pregnant. I was going to put this box of tissues in the nursery for that baby. About seven weeks later, I was shattered for the first of many times when I had to have a D&C for the missed miscarriage that had happened.

The box of tissues stayed in the top of our pantry. I didn't tell Steve about them. Just kept them there. He never needed tissues so was never going to open a box. They were safe there.

Each time, through each pregnancy, and the painful months in between when I was either recovering from miscarriage or waiting to find out if I was pregnant that month, I'd glance into the top of the pantry and in a split second, be placed back in that hospital theatre room just before they put the mask over my face. Knew that the box of tissues had always represented to me what I had lost that night.

In 2003, when I was 16 weeks' pregnant, we painted the bedroom that was to be Ella's first nursery. I took out this same box of tissues and put them on the shelf we'd put in there. This time, I thought. This time I'll have them to use in the baby's room.

After Ella died, I actually took this box out of the room that was to be hers, even though the rest of the furniture remained intact, assembled and in place, until Lolly used it as her first room two years later.

The box of tissues went back to the top of the pantry.

I almost beheaded Steve one night in 2005 (I shall unashamedly blame fertility drugs) when he - who the feck knew he used them - needed a tissue. He reached up to the pantry and brought down this box. He had no idea they'd already been there for over four years when he tried to use them.

That's when I had to tell him through embarrassed and broken tears that I had been saving the box for our baby. Any baby. He'd pierced the perforated top. He apologised profusely and rubbed my arm and then drew me in for a big hug. I sobbed. And then I laughed. And he laughed. It was so ridiculous, It's just a box of fucking tissues, I said.

And that it is. We've used them now. I ceremoniously cracked open the box, starting at the hole Steve had made with his thumb the year before, when the LGBB was no more than four weeks old. Every time I've seen the box in there, I have remembered its story. In, out, up, down out of that ruddy pantry and baby's room.

Tell me it's just a box? I actually want to reduce the clutter here, not add to it. But I'm finding it a tad hard to flippantly toss the thing. I can't actually even reduce the box down for putting in recyclying rubbish. Is that pathetic of me?

Erm, yes, and I am sentimental. Very... just in case it's not been obvious before now.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Is it so wrong?

Tonight before her bath, the LGBB played a game of Go Fish with her dad and me. Except, it didn't end up being Go Fish. It ended up being Memory.

We used five pairs of flash cards - each pair with an animal on them - and Steve and I stared at each other over the top of her head in stunned disbelief as she blitzed the table, getting 100% hit rate without appearing to think twice. Even I struggled to remember where the lion was and who last turned over the "kulala" (koala).

I'll only be impressed, though, if she can follow that performance with cooking me a lovely three course meal complete with suggestions of appropriate wines to complement each aspect of her menu. I want to see evidence of sound knowledge of which side of the vineyard the grapes came from or it won't believable.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Will she ever smell the same again?

This morning, it happened. For the first time ever, I had to clean up someone else's vomit. That word I can't even see typed on a screen without my stomach contracting and twinging and threatening to sympathise.

Yes, that is correct. The chunder bus dropped off its passengers in the LGBB's bed. Well, technically, mostly in her hair, on her mattress, down her pj's, spattered on Scraps and dear Marley appears to have taken the brunt of the explosion.

She awoke to discover the carnage and let out some rather alarmed "Daddeeeee"s. Daddy was half way to work by now, as the LGBB had still been asleep when he left this morning. So, unbeknownst to me, I headed in to confront the stench. And when I stood looking down and she looked back up at me, half crouching, half suspended above her soggy chunky mattress, I had half a mind to call Daddeeeee and tell him to turn right round now and come help me, let me tell you, or else I'd have more than double the amount of spew to clean up.

Are my prego readers enjoying this, by the way? I do apologise, but if not.... I can't see why not *insert most evilly coy smiley here* Perhaps just avert your eyes until the next entry...

So once my mind connected the dots (ie. smell hits olfactory nerves, foggy morning brain cranks into action, recognises the strong acidic fumes, realises it gave birth to the thing causing the offending smell and that there is nobody else responsible enough in the house to clean it up for you, you'll just have to reach your big girl hands in and grab the child out of the mess), I undressed Lolly in her bed, lifted her out and held her at arms' length over to the change table. Ahh. Great. Both ends needed cleaning, it seemed. Highly unusual for her to have a dirty overnight nappy. I was thinking at this stage the poor poppet must have something brewing in that upset tummy of hers.

She thought it was funny when mummy jogged her up the hallway to the bathroom. What she didn't know was that mummy heard the horrifying plops of chunks of chunder falling from the LGBB's hair. Oh dear God. And she also didn't notice mummy calculating just exactly how much trouble it'd be to just shut the door on that end of the house forever and live in the front half. Surely nobody would miss half the house. It'd sure as hell save any confrontation of half-digested stomach contents.

Is anyone still reading? Muahahahaha.

So in the bath, I rubbed and scrubbed. Good and proper. The dear wee girl stood and watched as the bath filled, she had those sicky-shakes, you know the ones you get when you've put all your energy into heaving. And even though I washed and rinsed and washed her hair.... it still makes my eyes water this afternoon in a confined space.

What am I going to do if she never smells fresh again?! Shall I give her head a buzz cut? Is Lolly's hair like Jerry's car now? What's more, she's been in bed asleep for two hours now and *whispers* I can still smell sick. At the other end of the house. It's in my nose. Maybe it's in my nostril hair! Do I have nostril hair? (Of course I do, it's a dumb question... skip that)

And what's worse, I've washed my hands so many times today but just before, I leaned my head on my hand and..... I smelled it there too. Eeeeeeeew.

We had to give Marley, Scraps and Comee (the bunny) a good hearty bath too. In the kitchen sink. Suds aplenty. The LGBB was most satisfied with our work. And then, oh joy, they had to get dried. I don't think I've laughed harder than seeing the little tails of these two dogs "wagging" in the air of the ducted heating vent. I have no idea why I thought it was amusing, but it tickled me no end, seeing these two lay-abouts lapping up the warm toasty air like all their doggy dinners had come at once.

The smell is now also altering my sanity. Obviously.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Last night, Steve was walking the LGBB to the bathroom. She was trailing behind taking her baby for a walk in the pusher.

S: C'mon, it's time for a bath.
L: *stops, busies herself* Wait a minute.

With this, the LGBB got to her knees and 'walked'* to the rug, where she had left her "pretty" (her headband is called pretty for some reason), shoved it on her head, smooshed it around a bit so it wasn't doing any of its intended purpose - ie. keeping hair out of ones eyes - and stood back up at the pram saying "Okay" and walked on.

The other day at occasional care, the babies were all having lunch. Julie and Tess began to discuss whether it would be nice to take the kids outside for a play after they'd packed up from lunch. And apparently, the LGBB announces to them, interjecting on their conversation together, "It's little bit cold". She's nothing if not helpful, our Lolly.

And I've noticed a tactic she now uses to cheer herself up. Yesterday, we had to go out and I think I interrupted her during a poo that hadn't quite left the building... gee, I know how I hate to be interrupted (sorry for THAT visual forever and ever)... So I guess it was probably quite uncomfortable when I had to fold her into her carseat for the short trip and she just apparently did not want to go for a drive at that moment. Sometimes, though, ya just hafta suck it up, sista.

She grimaced and griped. She grizzled. She groaned woefully for a good two minutes, which felt like 52 in a confined car. In amongst this, she decided to start impulsively listing things she loves (or loves saying). Just as the lights turned green and peak hour traffic started moving, from the backseat, I suddenly heard a string of words that went something like this:

"Oooh, green light GO! Oooh... daddy-car. Mummy-Daddy. Hi-5! Oooooh!" The oooh's were more stifled grizzles I think.

And just on poo. Last night, standing at her table, the all too familiar smell wafted to me as I was starting tea in the kitchen. Yeah. I know. One of those ones if you can smell it from ten paces while you're preparing food. So I call out to her

Me: Hey, Lolly.
LGBB: Yeah? *turns to look at me happily*
Me: Do we need to change your nappy?
LGBB: *pausing, cogs visibly whirring in brain* No?
Me: Are you suuuuuure?
LGBB: *adamantly* NO!
Me: That means you're not sure. So we need to, I think (God I'm mean, catching her out on a slip-up of double negatives)
(now, this is where she would normally just accede and allow me to change her, but I dunno, the combination of little biscuits, her dolls house, The Jackson Five - did I mention? She's a psycho for a high-singin' bit o' young Michael - just about presented her heaven on Earth, apparently)
LGBB: Mummeh! *holds hand out in Stop sign* You go..... Bye Mummy, bye. *I paused* Go-orn, Mummy. In. You go. In kitchen. Go-orn!
(and then she actually pointed to the kitchen and motioned for me to get back in there like she was telling Jazz to get outside)

Steve walked in the door then. What timing! He bundled the LGBB up and I said "We were just going to change Lolly because she's finished her last biscuit now." And before Steve could answer, the LGBB pipes up, "No, Mummy. Kitchen." She stared me down. From the arms of her tall father, my daughter actually stared me down. So I pushed it, didn't I?

Me: But.... your nappy *ok so I was really teasing now*
LGBB: *slight frown, staring at me as if warning me not to explain to Daddy and give her game away - er, as if the stench didn't do that for me* KITCH-EN.

I guess I get the 'tude I deserve. To be perfectly frank, she scares me a little. Absolutely gorgeous and lovely and compassionate and funny. But.... just a spoonful of scary.

So there you have it. A day in the life of Lolly and me at the moment. She's running the rings and I'm in the kitchen.

* Oh, did I mention? "We" are still not walking. First steps is all I could have called what she did a few weeks ago, judging by the knee-'walking' still going on here. Eughhhhhh *sigh*

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

It's dissin' time


Anybody, anyone at all, if you can explain to me how it is asseptable for one adult (that'd be him) in this house to make major and expensive out-of-budget unnecessary purchases and then be scolding and derogatory towards the other adult (that'd be me) when they make a decision with regard to curtain furnishings..... I'd like to hear from you.

WHY does every dollar and receipt I rack up get scrutinised? Why is it, after "That's nice" or "That's good", that the second thing he asks is "How much was it?" Sure, I don't contribute nearly as much anymore to the combined income. But, by jove, I did for the first ten years! Considering we've only been living together for 15, uhhh, that means I've put in a great deal too even though I mightn't have for the past four (with great reason, I might add). And it's not like I don't earn now.

This. Shits. Me.

And I believe it's where the seat of the "stay at home parents are worth more than this much *insert latest ludicrous amount here*" argument lies. I don't want money. I want a bit of recognition that, yes, whilst lovely and fulfilling and all the flouncy stuff, it's farken hard to live looking at the saaaaaame things - especially when unfinished or botch jobs, etc. - day after day and not want to fix them so that you feel better about being in that space you spend so much freakin' time in. When your home is also your work space (some of it), this just compounds it. Me, I need a neat and clear work area. Otherwise, my mind feels very cluttered and I find it difficult to get started (and then find it hard to concentrate, with my mind constantly off to one side going 'I need to get this done so I can move that out of the way so we can get to those...').

In a renovators' dream/nightmare/bane of existence, it's all multiplied by a bajillion.

So, buddy, don't you scoff at me and make me feel the size of a pea when I spend money on something that is actually adding value to the place (instead of being just a very expensive and unnecessary toy like a widescreen plasma tv - I don't care how much they've come down in price), as well as looking nice, of higher quality and well made. I don't want to look at something that will be used every day - ie. the window furnishings - and say "wish we'd spent a bit extra to get something that looks half decent". If I went by a man's rule of thumb, it's better to spend money on something worth half the price and then replace them - thereby spending the same amount - to get them replaced when they look shoddy in a couple of years' time....... Ahh..... Does anyone see the major flaw in this theory I've just been haughtily given? That at the end of five years or so, we'll have an inferior product needing replacing for the second time? And we all know that wouldn't happen and the house-bound stay of the two of us would be seething every time she tries to close blinds that now don't hang properly. Hmmmm...

I just do not understand how he doesn't understand and still wants to defend his position, to boot.

EUUUUUGH. Bloody main bread winners. Sorry. I assume I will look at this in a month and say "Get off yer high horse, you twerp". But right now, all I am is a little bit of pissed, as evidenced by the amount of italicising going on in this post.

In the meantime, if anyone has any contributions to this steam-blow, please feel free to rant and make sense (or none, whichever) in the comments. They might just add a bit of weight to my explanation. And, hell yeah, I want to be able to point to the screen when I read them out to him and go "SEE????? It's not just me." (It's ... not just me, is it?)

Victorians, are you with me?

This would have to be one of the defining tv commercials of any Melbourne kid's youth (if they grew up in the 80's).

If you asked anyone now, over the age of 30 and who grew up in Melbourne, to recite this ad ... they could. They'd at least remember it. He was a household name. But only because of his bloody annoying commercial.

Me? I delighted in dancing around to the piccolo music, reciting it word perfectly. Around my little brother. Who would be purple in the face by the end from screaming "Stop iiiiiiiiiiiit!" This ritual dwindled to the slightly less annoying simple recitation only. Without the dancing. But my older bro would come racing out of his room with the obligatory older brother "KEEP OUT" sign on the door anytime he'd hear the music on the telly. And he'd join me with saying it. Migalo, Migalo, Migalo...

This guy must have had oodles of advertising dosh. The commercial was on every ad break, every channel, every show. You couldn't escape it. I. HAAATED. IT. So I teased my baby brother to make it more fun. Ah, the memories.

Monday, May 19, 2008

I'm too sexy

There was no reason for me to be laughing today. I'm coming down with a cold so have that "here comes a freight train, right between my eyes and I haven't even got the energy to dodge it" feeling. You know the one.

So when I was giggling by the end of this, literally snickering out loud, I thought I needed to share it.

Oh, but don't get too expectant, though. This isn't anything earth shattering or clever or witty. Just some people falling over. On catwalks. Unfortunately without Funniest Home Videos sound effects, but still. Funny.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Creative thinking caps required

So it's been a while since I last promised an update on the kitchen splashback and I haven't yet delivered. We've been living with a hastily slapped-on single coat of the warm red we're thinking of. It took Steve until last Friday to organise collection of the actual glass sample to bring home and test out.

We've decided. Red it is. But only on the short side (it's about 2-3m long) under the overhead cupboards. The long side, running past the sink and under the window, just would not be able to carry the red glass well. It'd be too dark, I suspect, and the contrast between looking out the window and the darker glass colour around it might cause lots of squinting. And heaven knows my crows feet don't need any more help to become established.

So, only thing left to ponder: does the corner where the two glass colours meet look too weird? We are actually really liking the contrast. There is a new metallic paint (or do they put metallic "bits" into it?? I don't know) and the effect looks awesome; we are planning to use that with white, just to break the harshness of the white.

Don't mind the red paint poking out behind the white glass panel (or indeed, the width of the panel itself) because we were just testing. We're not going a crazy red-white racing stripe number up our kitchen wall or anything.

Oh and see those metal cases there? Yuh. They'd be the FECKING USELESS mousetraps we bought for Stuart Little and his friends. Not one rodent caught yet, but not for lack of trying. But anyway...

Whaddaya reckon? Any thoughts for us newly-inducted renovators?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Fielding offers

Conversation with the LGBB this morning went something like this.

Me: Do you want bread? Or toast?
LGBB: Ummmm...... CHEESE!
Me: No, you can have ... bread ... or toast.
LGBB: *speaking carefully in case I hadn't understood the first time* ... or cheeese!
Me: *stifling horrified but impressed guffaws* Lolly, you can have bread or toast.
LGBB: *not even missing a beat, she adds quickly, in staccato* ..or cheese! *slow grin spreads across her face, her eyes narrow to warm-hearted, cheeky slits*
Me: HEY! No cheese! Bread or toast, which one?
LGBB: *happily, as if the previous exchange hadn't even taken place* Bread!

Faaark me, this kid is going to wear me out before she's five, mostly because of my having to work hard not to turn to putty and just give in with an accompanying round of applause at her quick wit. I'll need the agility of Ali to stay ahead of her *pictures being put through paces wearing a sweat-stained hoodie*

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Book bits

It's somewhat strange, placing myself back there "in the thick of it" and writing as if I was still right there in the moment. I don't feel like this anymore nearly as much. I guess it's a lovely confirmation at how much one can heal and work through over the years (however long it's been). Kind of like writing a journal, but back to front...

This is what has come out of yesterday's brainstorm.

What I found myself being told, or telling myself, internally was a dialogue that was constant. All consuming. I really worked hard to learn as I walked the path I now found myself on, for I never wanted to feel the pain of that sort of intense grief ever again. And I seemed to know, innately somewhere in me, that if I “got it” and got the learning in all of this – in fact, in all of my life’s experiences to this point – worked out, then I would not have to even come close to feeling this sort of heat again.

So I began to listen in. Truly sit still and listen to my thoughts. They went something like this:

"The you, the character of you, that you had come to depend on when you were alone – that person is the silent victim in a life changing situation like this. There is little to no comprehension of how deeply and wholly you are affected. All the safety outlets – whether it’s a television show you used to enjoy watching, a certain book genre, a local favourite restaurant perhaps, whatever – they all become extremely painful to visit or watch or read or see. Not only have you changed in terms of relating to loved ones, you can’t even comfort yourself the way you have been so used to because everything contains a memory of the person you were before.

Whether or not you had problems, or even if you thought you did, you certainly had no idea until the bottom of your world as you knew it fell out that you were going to find something as seemingly simple as visiting your favourite coffee shop so bitterly sad, so much so that you avoid it and the pain you know it will bring (perhaps for good, or maybe just until you feel stronger). You shut off from things in this manner, because you also berate yourself: “Don’t be ridiculous, it’s a coffee shop, take yourself in there, order and sit down.” But you can’t do it. It just hurts too much. The last time you sat there, your belly was pushing on the table. Or the last time you read that comfort book, you know were happy. So blissfully unaware. You remember how you felt then and it feels so alien and far removed from how you radiate now. More honest and true to yourself and how you're truly feeling, stronger, but yet so much more wounded.

What was the point of going through all this, to gain a deeper understanding of how things work, if you're then sentenced to a half-life? Of not ever feeling like you will enjoy life again? No, that can't be. It won't be like that. You can't imagine your life without hearty laughter or caring deeply for another person. For people. It will change. But it will take time and more learning and preparation before you get there.

You had been so sure about how straightforward your life was going to remain, weren’t you? And why would you think any differently? You had never heard of anyone around you even knowing of someone who knows someone whose baby had died. All those miscarriages you had. Yes, they were painful. Absolutely no doubt about it. In the moment, those were the worst times of your life, the most horrible things you had to work past and accept and, hell, “just get over” on your own. You told yourself that. The reactions of people around you when you tried to let them in told you so too. Just to get up in the morning and go on as if it didn’t matter, that’s what was important. As if they didn’t matter. As if you didn’t matter. And where did that get you? You wound up with a baby, sure, but that baby left too. And that is a separate issue entirely, not for consideration right now. SO! Who are you? Who are YOU?

It was a challenging question.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

And it goes something like this

Each time I work with the other realms, I get this great urge to share a little bit of it. And then, I lose most of what I wanted to say because there is just so darn much that's heartening, enlightening, downright useful... and then I end up mostly sounding like someone who's got "Crazy Cat Lady" written on her cards for the future.

But here goes, anywho.

I was just doing a protection and clearing today - bit late in the day to be doing it for the day, given it's after lunch now - and found myself really appreciating the simplicity of receiving what I do. I'm growing more and more respectful and tuned in to not just waving off what I *see* and *hear* - sometimes it's just a flicker of a vision and often, it's when my eyes are closed that I mostly see colours and shapes, sometimes numbers.... sometimes it's numbers shown to me in a particular colour. I have become diligent in capturing not only what I'm seeing in these moments, but also their sequence. This is nothing unique, nothing I even find particularly special - the difference is, I've just started to try and pin these things down and not dismiss them as not being special or not things that are being handed to me on platter after platter (which previously, I was just oblivious to, through fear of "getting the message wrong" or being seen to be weird or "making this stuff up" or just downright ignorant of it).

So. Today. I'm there, clearing a particular situation involving our little family here and another family with whom we have had a long-running estrangement, standoff, lack of seeing eye to eye.... one of "those" things. It's taken some time, work, energy and healing to come to a point where it's just another drop in the ocean to me (not least of all because it was catalysed by Ella's death and the ensuing support, or lack thereof).

A pertinent meeting had been arranged for the weekend past. I was not able to make it, nor did I even see fit to go anyway (my presence there was not vital and actually, not required at this point). But still, for whatever their reason - which is none of my business to even guess - the other party left before Steve and the LGBB turned up to see them. They knew they were on their way. Still, they couldn't stay. I am intrigued, it's only human nature... but I'll probably never know why they did that.

The unrest that is obviously still causing a fracture of sorts here is definitely in the air. Avoidance of the topic is rife. Skirting conversations. Missed calls. All that sort of cloak & dagger stuff which, after two years now, is actually just really so piddly on the grand scale of things that Steve and I find it almost amusing that it keeps getting trundled out. It's like a bloody family heirloom now. The Great Estrangement of '05. But, granted, even while it's not important to me (and I daresay, to Steve either), I am perfectly aware other people involved continue to have a bit of a time getting their heads or hearts around things. Hence the blow-off on the weekend, which (if you ask my narky side) was performed to effectively say "Scuh-rewww YOU, buddy!" but was actually received by us as a rather pissy-sounding deflating balloon.

So I cleared a bit of it. Not sure how much was permitted, I simply did what I could and while I was there, concentrating on purely the situation and the higher selves involved (which I have faith and trust really do project nothing but love towards one another outside of our feuding bodies!). I was shown a big round circle with a central core. Yup. Ok. Whatever that means, I thought. I closed my eyes again and saw colours move from strong magenta, through yellow-ish to orange. I closed off the procedure and came out to the living room.

Looking through the main manual, I could not see the symbol I had visualised - only the first 65 mandalas are actually in this manual; in total, they number in the hundreds, so I was disappointed but not really surprised it wasn't in there. But then, i found this reference chart at the front. It was a tiny thumbnail version of each of the mandalas in the book. And there it was - all scaled down and with great loss of detail (so all the finer interconnecting lines through its middle were not visible), it was Mandala #8: "The Surround of Scope" - the colour of bright magenta (from my vision). In part:

This Mandala is the boundary of social interchange for the growth of one to another. It relates to social respect without control or attachment and provides the bridge from fear towards love of another.

It is spiritual justice based on evaluation for the sake of truth and emotional honesty...

... Fear of intense feelings - passions, power and anger - are issues which surface our learning platform in the new century, thus allowing our ability to stand and speak directly and clearly of the truth and belief we hold, without fear of repercussive battles of the will and wit which pertail to social expectation or method.

The lesson here is not with individual battles of will and wit, but rather with non-attachment and with a unification towards social respect for one another. This is a time for stillness and quiet, for contemplative renewal of the personal self whilst one avoids harassing or embarrassing motives from another or towards another.
You see, the whole thing about it is this: we have felt emotionally manipulated (or attempts to be) and we have had great challenges in standing and speaking clearly of our truth and beliefs, because... well, I won't go into it publicly in specifics, but suffice to say, this mandala speaks directly to this situation. All sides/parties, it seems, have been saying they feel unheard, disrespected, unacknowledge... and this really does create a stalemate if ever I saw one, regardless of my past indignation at the "rightness" of our stance in Our Corner on this issue between us. I read it out to Steve tonight and he was also very impressed with its symmetry with what we have been dealing with. And dare I say, relieved to receive any assistance in shifting and lifting the heaviness of it all as it most squarely rests on his ample shoulders due to its nature.

The point is, I think something shifted today. I think I was given permission to shift it. And next time there is an exchange between us in any form, I daresay there will be a change in gear having taken place, if only from our side of the family (for that may very well be all that has happened here and it is a shift that has occurred perhaps for just me and Steve, which is fantastic and all I can hope for really). Seriously, the situation has come to the fore so many times over so many countless months now that hopefully, it's now transmuted into something positive for "next time" an attempt to connect with each other is made.

I used to think, when in my very early learning at Peace Space a few years ago, how the hell could all this come together and why do they keep referring to these ridiculous mandalas and it's all very well that they give me this to read and, yes, it seems to fit and they do make sense... but so? I don't understand how a little drawing and this specific piece of text can actually have just come to them - voilé! - to give me.

But now as I work, symbols sometimes come to my mind that I have never laid eyes on before and when I have looked them up, they are so suited to the purpose or the clearing that I can't keep denying them. And one of the greatest questions I had has now also been answered, for it used to bug me that so much of the Peace Space work seemed tied to the mandalas and I could not accept that, if the whole world didn't have access to them, how could it not just be some great hoodwink? Now I get it. I wouldn't have received these images in my mind before receiving the manuals over the years..... sort of like someone not being able to expect to get sales calls until they have their phone line put in - and someone may very well try and call that number but it's more likely that they'll wait til they know you have your phone line activated to attempt to contact you, won't they?

It's also been very much about gaining more confidence and understanding (not only of my own sensitive abilities but the growing 'bigger picture' view). And not only that, they really are just an extension, an enhancement, of the learning, the tools. Just like a seamstress could still make a dress without a sewing machine, but it's a darn sight easier to do the job with this tool than without.

So with this particular situation, time will tell, I guess. Heaven knows I have enough to occupy my mind while I wait to find out.

To everything, Turn! Turn! Turn!

I still can't believe we are in charge of a beautiful great big old, old tree. And I'm also yet to learn what, when, how we are supposed to get rid of all its leaves.

This is a liquid amber (so we're told on good authority). Last weekend it was in mid-turn, with lots of green underneath, but as the week has worn on, it's been turning faster and dropping big lazy yellow leaves.

We took these shots just before the main deluge which is now covering the lawn. They don't do the colours any justice whatsoever, really, now I look at them on screen...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Alike, yes. Sometimes too alike.

Last night I followed Steve down to the LGBB's room as he adjusted the heater, turned down her music, checked her one last time, etc.

Peering in to the cot, she was stretched out along the far edge, lying on her assorted stuffed animal "friends". Gorgeous.

As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, though, I caught sight of her face. She looked so identically like her sister. Again. Nothing I haven't seen before. But that coupled with the lack of breath sounds made something leap in my breastbone so violently it left a pain in my chest. The thick surge of familiar adrenalin pumped into my neck, creating instant pressure that threatened to burst my head off.

"Is she ok?" I whispered to Steve. He nodded, "Yeah, fine." And that was the moment she silently stirred awake and casually reached her hand out for her dummy, found her mouth and shut her eyes again like we weren't even there.

I was already walking up the hallway, a little shocked at once again having to face the mortality of my children. I don't know why, but I always imagined as Lolly gets older, she would stop looking so much like her older sister. But it doesn't appear to be happening. Steve knows and sees it too. It's kind of bizarre. Comforting in some respects, all respects actually... except this one. It's just not nice to gaze at your child and know what she would look like "that other way".

It will always be like this. Well.... for as long as I have to keep checking on her while she sleeps, it will.

Here are their photos for the wall I'm doing; it's nearly finished, by the way :)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Lolly: her first photo exposé

The LGBB's first ever photo was of me. She took this about a month ago. Delight over capturing an image in a little square by pressing a silver button.

Naturally, her next photo was a self-portrait. Here is her first effort at it.

Next, she began to get experimental and arty - purely by accident of course (the camera is as heavy as a brick to little hands). Her use of perspective here is overshadowed only by her accidental ability to make this next shot look like she's done a bit of the old gaussian blur filter in Photoshop trick.

And this one, well, this is just showing off.

But this last one is so far my absolute favourite, for it's just so her (completely accidentally, let's get it on the table here and now - there is no way I am seriously saying my child has deliberately got this shot looking "just so".... it's purely coincidence that the arms and legs of her little play mate are perfect, made even more hysterical because Bunny is so very "ooh err" anyway and that pose she's pulling here, just the way Lolly has plonked and left her, is just classically captured).

Back story: we sit often of a late Autumn afternoon and look out the window to watch the cars, the people, the world go by. This day, Bunny (Come'ee, the LGBB calls her - "come here" for short, we're guessing) was propped atop the window sill already. I had snuck out to grab the camera to capture a few photos of Lolly looking out the window (you can actually hear Bunny - "mmmfgghh" - as she's squished against the glass to look outside, there's a good pal). Inevitably, I was spied with the camera and the incessant "Press button?" requests began.

So, I let her press the button.

"But this time," I told the LGBB, "look through this little window here and then press the button. What do you see?" She lined her eye up, steadied herself, got her little index finger in position, lined up her sight through the view finder again.... and clicked.

I will forever cherish this. Her first go at an actual point-and-shoot photograph:

Easy, Cujo. Easy

I did one of those things the other night that you shouldn't really admit out loud.

The walk to the shops from here is deceivingly fast during the day. So I thought I'd feel safe enough doing it at night, reasoning I'd have Miss Jazzus with me. So off we trekked. To the shops. A puffy girl and her quietly shit-scared-at-being-found-out-by-the-other-dog-for-getting-favoured dog.

But I found that at night, wouldn't ya know, isn't it a long way? Past all those trees that look like people waiting in the shadows? Damn those bloody C-grade horrors I watched in my youth*

Arriving in the lights of the local mall, I was about to choose a pole to tie Jazz to. And no sooner had I stalled (to test her to see if she'd sit immediately, and oooh she did, the good grrrl) than a kid comes bowling up asking, "Can I pat your dog?" He was so confident that I immediately got paranoid about his intentions. Not, like, "he wants to ask us for her paw in marriage" intentions, I mean like I suddenly became unsure about leaving her tied up out the front there if she'd already drawn attention to herself. She's so boodiful and we get stopped all the time when we take her out (when she was a pup, we wouldn't get down a street with her without someone cornering us for a chat, we met so many really nice "doggy" people who all had a dog they wanted to reminisce with us about, on seeing Jazz - she's one of *those nice dogs* who'd fit in to anyone's family really easily.... that is, until they discovered she's a maniac who eats her own poo and teases her older sister mercilessly and then wonders why her face gets ripped off and then they'd be all 'Uhhhn second thoughts, you keep her'.

It was very near nightfall when we left. But me being me, I just could not get what I needed and get out faster, could I? No. I had to go traipsing up the very aptly-titled "Specials" aisle (they do it weird in this store, they put a lot of the specials in their own aisle, tucked away in the part only the freaks like me and the tall thin guy with the art student haircut go: the organic section ......) and look at toe socks - which always look so annoying to me, who would want that much fabric between each toe, I ask you - and strange beverage mugs with way too much text on them to bother even beginning to read.

And because of this meander, it was quite dark when I went back out. Greeting my poor pup as she showed the whites of her eyes from beneath Halti, a small group of young inebriated teens at her side. I calmed my churning insides and made eye contact with her, doing a bit of the old, "Oh, hello, patting the dog, were you? Heh heh... hope she wasn't annoying you, heh. Heh. Hmm..." just in case they had flick knives.

"Ohhhhhh, your dohhhhhg, she's so cuuuuuuuuuuuuuuute," one of the girls cooed, swaying at me and smelling like she'd just swilled lighter fluid. And at that point, gee, wasn't I relieved I hadn't left the LGBB chained to the pole while I perused the shelves for bargains instead.
"Yeah. She's a beauty," I chortled jovially. I didn't want the hairs on the back of my neck to be raising, but geez, y'know, when it's dark and you're not used to being out at night in a new neighbourhood and there's a bunch of young guys with a couple of girls, all nursing their own cans of alcohol, well.... I just absent-mindedly started calculating the number of metres to the nearest police station. And when I lost count, I made my polite g'byes and rescued Jazz from her pole.

We walked home then, both of us with quickened steps. She's nervous walking at night! Hah. Not me. *buck-toothed grin* Ok, ok... me too.

When we got to the dark bit (the dark bit is kinda dark during the day too, it's a short cut via a lane to our street but it's one of those "cut through the churchyard, down behind the car shop" numbers, not wise at night, I daresay), I could hear the group of teenagers behind me in the carpark. Deciding not to tempt fate or the Boogie Man, I chose to walk down the less dimly-lit main road and we kept a cracking pace the rest of the way home.

When we rounded the bend near our place, I wondered why it is you don't recognise how shoddy the street lighting is unless you're a rather unfit, shopping-laden nervous Nelly with a dog who's so submissive with her halter (which is exactly why you bought it to save drugging her with the doggy equivalent of Ritalin). And just as I was thinking it would be a good place to ambush someone at night, I saw three more youths heading my way. Two guys and a girl (I can't be sure about the pizza place, but maybe?). I kept hold a bit tighter of Jazz's lead, wishing I hadn't bought the washing powder because it was weighing me down. But it had been a good bargain! And anyway, it might be a good whacker if I needed to take a defensive swing now.

So I plastered a half smile on my face and tried to look all non-confrontational but also not an easy target and angled my head towards the ground. They came closer to us and we to them. Then one of the boys crossed to the other side of the road. Hmmm, I thought, I wonder why he's done that. I hope this isn't part of their ambush method. So just in case it was, I can't believe I did this but you know I did .... I pretended to tighten my grip on Jazz's lead as if she was trying to make a bit of a lunge at them (she wasn't, she was just so in the zone - the "get me the hell off this dark street and take this thing off my muzzle, it makes me far too docile to enjoy your company, where is the fun these days?" - that all she was doing was trotting like a Lipizzaner in a prize show). And then, I muttered as the girl and guy went past me, "Easy, girl."

Needless to say, once they passed me I could see this couple were just the cutest skinny-legged kids.

Easy girl. Hnnnnngh! How very Brett Craig of me.

* Can you add to the list of thingsIhavetotellyouoneday the "horror" flick Steve and I watched a few years back, called Bloody Pompoms, about - oh, yes, you guessed it - a cheerleading camp with a crazed "something" killing all the cheerleaders.... and, ok, I'm about to ruin the surprise... it ends up being .... A KNIFE-WEILDING POM-POM. Oh God, I loved it.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The mother of all days

Wishing you an enjoyable Mothers Day with yours and if you have children, I am sure you'll have had your head sat on and the covers thrown back and bouncing with the glee of something exciting being in the air today... even when they're trying so hard to give you a sleep-in on the one day of the year you won't feel *too* guilty for it.

Mothers Day. Huh. What a day. It's always been rather uncomfortable as a day for me. I was raised to view Mothers Day as THE most important day of the year for my mum. Until her birthday came around at the end of the year and then THAT day was THE most important day of the year to her. It took me a few years to cotton on that she was making a fuss and ensuring we all made a fuss of her on two days. Hell, more power to her, right? I would have given her anything I could if it would just make her happy (I know, I tried). Strange thing is, being an adult now myself and knowing how adults function/think/work somewhat, I see now that she needn't have laid it on so thick - all the "you bloody kids can't give me just ONE day where I feel special" - because we were all pretty much on deck with the innate sense of needing to tiptoe and be on the alert for any sign of a meltdown anyway. There was no way we'd have done anything to fuck up either of those days.

But invariably, despite being at our peak good behaviour and doing all within our power as kids, there'd be an excuse for an explosive fight with someone (usually Dad or an older sibling).

By 2000, I had painfully made the choice to remove myself from my mother's life. She was barely in it, having created the kind of relationship with me (and every other person in her life from what I gather) that served only her. That sounds harsh, doesn't it? If you've never met anyone in your life, let alone a mother (who at her height of child rearing did an absolutely outstanding job of nurturer, she was the most gentle and soft, loving person and nobody could have raised me better, she was gorgeous when I was very young) who is narcissistic and doesn't know it... you haven't met anyone with a mental disorder. My mum has several. Undiagnosed effectively - but the nearest one to accurate appears to be Borderline Personality Disorder (which most often goes hand in hand and, therefore, masked with another mental disorder such as Bipolar, of which she also has many traits that seem familiar to that disease) so we as a family have never been properly skilled or guided in how to manage it with and for her. The rest of the family still in contact with her do their very best and I do not envy them the task at all.

I did the best thing for my survival and removed myself quietly and without fuss from her world eight years ago. I have twice been to counselling over my decision and the angst it created and have been told by two different therapists that they are glad I made this move and that, for now, it is still the best thing to do.

This flies in the face though, doesn't it, of the mother daughter relationship? This creates a myriad personal stumbling blocks for me as I now raise my own daughter - especially when I hear the marks of my mother's teachings coming out in me (which I have been reminded to see the flip-side of and recall also all the wonderful things my mother has given me, so I focus on the times mostly before I hit puberty and it all started going to shit with her mental health).

And it means Mothers Day is piled with a lot more stuff than just a happy day now with my child. For me, I have the added memories of the Mothers Days I spent as a mother but without a child here. I still had the invitations from family to go and spend it with them - and their children, some of them babies very close in age to Ella - but how could possibly? For I was no longer the child, already seeing Mothers Day as being tainted; I was also now mother. But neither of those memories offered any emotional protection from the day. In 2004 and 2005, MD's were just hollowed-out days that were so painful and lonely and blatantly in my face about my position, while everywhere I saw reminders that people were having theirs (and many of them probably complaining, like the woman I heard yesterday at the mall, yelling at her adolescent kids about the arrangements for today... I am sure I will be kindred with her in ten years' time, it's certainly possible, but I'm not there now and so it's very hard for me to see something like that and not think perhaps she's missing the big picture outside her own front door). In saying that, in those years I couldn't see past my own hurts far enough to remember and realise there were others hurting too. Something I can safely say I am well aware of now. In many things I do, I realise somebody is not experiencing this with their child (for instance) so I am able to give thanks as I go, daily, for what I have and everything that I have experienced to shape my days today.

So anyway. Not only am I missing one of my children, I have this added history of Mothers Day memories past - when some of my most brutal emotional hurts from my mother were administered, in later years played out in front of my new inlaws, which horrified and saddened me further - and it's just a really hard day.

I realise this is a really bittersweet day for so many of you. Whether you are remembering a mum who you thought would always be here to give milky cups of tea to today or whether one of your big heartstrings is tethered to your child who will never be here for the rest of your own Mothers Days to share it with. Or, indeed, whether you have made the gut-wrenching social taboo decision to forego the relationship with your mother for the safety and survival of yourself and your own family now (possibly the hardest for others to fully understand and justify to anybody who hasn't had to do this for their own reasons too).

So in solidarity with those who have issues or a little underlying melancholy on Mothers Day, for whatever reason.... I say, may you have a gentle easy ride today and feel the warmth of all your loved ones (here and not here) surrounding you.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

If I said to you "raw vegie salad"...

... and you were Steve, you'd reply without words. Just a frozen stare as if I were mad.

But if you really do appreciate yummy raw vegetables and want a different way to eat them than your traditional cut veg salad (or steaming, roasting, boiling, etc., them), you might like to try this whip-up. It's one of those basic things you've probably eaten or done before, but if you're anything like me, sometimes if you have something simple to follow in writing, it sort of makes it more novel and easier than having to make it up as you go. Y'know?

This is super easy and I can't eat enough of it.

What you do
Grate: 2 carrots, 1/2 continental cucumber, 1/2 large zucchini (or 1 small, whatever you've got)
Dice: 1 avocado, 1 small red capsicum
Add 1 small handful of fresh baby spinach (chopped) and another handful of broccoli florets.
Combine everything in a bowl, add a dash of Tamari (wheat-free soy sauce), the juice of 1 lime and 1 lemon (recipe says 2 lemons but it's very strong... if you like that sort of thing, use the 2!), a little sprinkle of extra virgin olive oil.
And if you wish, you can add a small tin of fish (tuna, salmon, etc.) and/or a small sprinkle of sesame seeds - toast them first if you have the time.

Must say thanks to my awesome sister in law for this one, it's delish. Mmmmmmmmmmm!!!!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

By jove, I think she's got it

I must preface this entry by addressing the comment made about this one. You know, it's funny, when I came home last night, I meant to take that fear-induced "disclaimer" about losing readers out of my last post. I honestly did. I came back from Peace Space yesterday and had already been handed a slap from Jen for doing it (for I admitted to her that I had made the slip) - it is really taking all the respect out of the give-take between my blog and whoever visits it. A rather misguided (and insensitive) error of judgement on my part. Oooh. This sounds like yet another disclaimer. But I forgot to remove it. And that's no accident in itself, I guess. For perhaps, now it's been publicly brought to my attention by way of a respectful "pull yer socks up and get over yerself", I won't wonder. Better to comment than not (despite how uncomfortable you may be right now reading this!). I will remember my audience, remember not to disrespect them and take away the power that might otherwise be in their choice to read (or not) whatever it is I've written and take away their own opinions and perspectives. I totally forgot/missed that responsibility.

So, anyway, xxAxx ... yes, I have certainly received your constructive criticism in the nature in which it was intended. Your own disclaimers have been lovingly accepted and understood, mwah :) Your exchange has been really helpful. And yes. I get it. I shan't be apologising for my experience or abilities again..... this week. Anyway. *cough*

Now to this post.

Yesterday, I did Yellow ray healing. Well, ho-lee, what a whopper it was. This one was a, for want of a better summation, perceptional upgrade. A big part of yesterday was learning my own boundaries. I have yet to properly master the personal/public/professional crossovers - mine all seem to blur and I let various projects all spill into the other, which creates really crummy energy and time management on my part. It also affects my health. I knew that, but I thought I was getting away with it. Two days ago, it affected the LGBB and I am not prepared to allow that to happen. So as well as learning some really good winding down/off techniques for the two of us, I am also in the process of just energetically setting myself some boundaries. Sand-bagging the front door.... something like that, anyway.

Obviously, everyone's journey and life and soul is different. For me personally, the take on the day and the class was that this is IT. I feel like I've just walked through a door into the "next room". Kind of like when Homer is given the key to Monty Burns' private bathroom and it's this awesome hall with marble pillars.... I'm not in any work toily anymore. I'm in the palatial pooper.

Uh, perhaps that ended up a rather unfortunate analogy, but for want of another...

In a nutshell, it is this (but not only the following):
YELLOW helps you see your existence as it is and evaluate the way you are living it.
You should always see to it that • your 'desires' are not listened to and attended by competitiveness or false self-gratification, and • that your desires do not 'soully' serve ego-driven, striving control, but are always for the greater good of All.
It is also very definite in its ability to sort and shift heavy, or burdened, energy.
As you stand in and for your individual truth, it can seem as if a spotlight is directed upon you and you alone.

And it is that last sentence, I think, that is the seat of my issewes. Those which I am working towards working out at this point in my journey. My upbringing did not promote good, positive self-esteem. I was put down a lot. I was also put down for being sensitive, just to name two destructive things. Add pregnancy and neonatal loss to that, and a fractured family, and there's the beginning of a really important mix of ingredients to create, yes it can't be denied, a fantastic learning ground. But also a pretty tough cliff face to navigate. I'm doing it, it's just taking a bit more time which I understand is possibly confusing for the more self-assured supporters around me. I sound confident a lot, don't I *wink* (so, actually, Alliecat I guess this is where I answer your comment's first question: Yes. I was, very serious!) Now I just have to stand and believe in the strength that apparently so many others can see. God I can be high maintenance (just ask Steve).

Aaaanyway, all this is to say that yesterday was yet another of those days (of which I have had quite a number now, since starting my ttc journey) that I know I won't go back from. An experience or a deep knowing that you understand immediately, now you're aware or awakened, that you can't 'unlearn'. You know? In a good way, I mean. Sort of like a real spiritual accountability sesh. Walk your walk, don't just talk it. Gulp. Big ask, so we'll see how I go.

I have the really blissful feeling you won't be hearing me talk myself down again. It's a warm feeling. Like I just peed my pants.

More later on the feedback from Jen on my book! I can haz feedback from a counsellor's POV! *spinning in circles*

The need for a good system

WHY do I always think I can attempt to separate dryer items from line items without the need of a basket or two?

I squat at my open front loader (no, that is NOT a euphemism) and begin to sort the wet pile of clothing - dryer items on one bent knee, items for line drying in my fist or vice versa. It's a ridiculous feat to attempt. And it all starts going to shit the minute I lose concentration and start absent-mindedly putting the wrong things on the wrong pile, getting all the stuff not suitable for going in the dryer mixed up with the things that are about to head in there.

Gahhhhd, when will I learn and stop doing it?

It's the exact same trait that makes me attempt to take ev-er-y single bag of shopping, even if the combined weight is about as much as two Gary Colemans, in from the car in one trip. I can do this! And even when a dog tin rips a hole in the side, drops on my shoe and rolls under the car, as if to illustrate the point that I don't need to actually take everything all in one go, d'ya think I admit defeat? Hell, no! I take it all inside still and come back out. For that one tin. Who ruined the perfect car unpack.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Where I've been today

Otherwise entitled: The blog where we discover she's gone completely barmy.

I awoke this morning, early, my head full of notes Re: the book to jot down. After I had done that, I knew I had to spend time writing today. So excited, I dropped the LGBB off for her coupla hours of pre-booked day care and ditched work for writing on the book. Just me and the lappy and a cosy local café couch. Just the ticket on a chilly autumn day. I love it when my work on the draft is impromptu like this. There is absolutely no forcing the words out on days like today. It's almost as if Ellanor's there, at the ready, quill in fist.

I cried in public today. First time in so long. But there they were, the telltale tumbling warm tears. So big and fat! They wet my whole face. Lucky the place was near empty when that happened, not that I cared. I'm a silent, discreet public crier, having grown used to it a long time ago.

I had no idea where my fingers and my memories were going to lead me. And I am still really afraid to share stuff like this (below) because I really honestly do worry that I won't be taken seriously. But I can't convince anyone who won't be convinced that I don't make this shit up. I might forget, hence it coming out little by little, but I don't make it up. I didn't even think this part should be in the book. But now it's in. And I am a little bit afrit about it. There's more, but I won't be sharing it all (otherwise nobody will ever have to actually read the book if it ever gets off the ground and goes anywhere, they can just come here!) - suffice to say, I also wrote today about the other occasion I had mulled over and was uncertain should be included, the decision apparently being taken off me as my fingers sped over the keys this morning. That section was about my (long deceased) grandparents paying a visit one sunny arvo a few weeks after Ella was born, which frightened, surprised and comforted me so.

Anyway, so for what it's worth, here 'tis - yet another passage for consideration.
*ohgod-ohgod-ohgod, she thinks, watch the reader numbers drop like flies*

One day, as I sat at Ella’s side, I gazed around the rest of the NICU as I often did. But this time, I was rocked to the core at the discovery that each individual little life being kept alive was clearly audible to me. As in, I could hear them all talking (or at least, attempting to). I sat rigid in my chair and allowed sobs to cough out of my throat as I slowly realised what I was witnessing, the emotion almost choking me.
“Do you need to go downstairs for a break, darling?” Ella’s nurse thought I was overcome about my own child. I could not even begin to describe to her what I was feeling. So I politely declined her offer that I should take myself out of the ward for a while. And I sat and amazed myself by discovering I could tune in.
Straining a little, I distantly but distinctly heard them all. Each with their own voice. The sound it made was not dissimilar to a crowded room of people carrying out various conversations. They were all saying something and, I imagine, each of them had something different to say, but with all of the talking at the same time, I did not hear any one of them separately. They came to me as a whole. And I had no idea how to help them. So I sat and I cried. I cried for them, for their parents and families, for how precious they all were and how they were all in the process of changing the lives of the people around them forever. Even if they never made it home. It was a thoroughly humbling experience and one I will never ever forget. Somewhat interestingly to me, I did not hear my own child’s voice in the throng. Perhaps because I had already heard her. I don’t know.

Nasal spray strikes again

Definition of an uncomfortable moment, coming up:

Sitting in an otherwise empty café, a middle aged man pacing as he waits for his bacon and egg roll and coffee to go. I'm working on my book, head down. Concentrating. Tune in all of a sudden to the commercial on the radio. The guy stops pacing. I look up. We lock eyes, too late to glance away and pretend we were looking past the other at the opposite wall.

An erectile dysfunction ad is rather a personal thing to be blazoning across the airwaves. I'd never thought of it before, having not been in the company of anyone outside of my own car when hearing one in the past. So there it was this morning, shouting into the silence of the public place.

I think the other customer's almost imperceptible shift in stance and look of mild discomfort was a sure giveaway, despite what I'll bet was his strive to be still and not draw any further attention to himself. Poor bastard.

Monday, May 5, 2008

AGAIN with the pre-emptive post

So you know how I was all a-twitter about the LGBB's steps? I spoke too soon. Our world has not as yet opened up, for I am still trying to encourage one very determined little girl to stand and walk on her own two feet and convince her she does NOT need a hand to hold to do it. She's done it! We've all seen the (very embarrasing for Mummy and her breathy excited exclamations) footage now.

But she hasn't taken any more. Not a one. Like..... no, not even ONE slight shuffle on her own.

Excuse me while I lay down and curl up in a ball with my head between my knees. At least I know she can do it, yes, yes. At least her legs work, har har, yes, yes.

But whyyyyyyyyyyy oh why does the will of my little girl precede every little thing she does? Just on the cusp of a monumental milestone, she gets all "Nu', not gunna" and so Steve and I have to get very blasé about it.

Sigh. Back to struttin' around on her knees. She has also begun to perfect what I shall call The Pout. Oh yes, it deserves capitals. And whingeing and wailing like the sky is falling down when she meets an obstruction that I know and she knows and I know she knows I know... she can get over/under/around by herself. But does she? Does she even try??

I can picture it now: she'll be sitting her Year 10 exams, get to Question 2 without realising it, remember she normally puts on an act that she can't do it on her own unless one of her parents is there to coax her along and then flail about and chuck a hissy-fit at her desk until they call me to come and cheer her on from the door.

Ok, so maybe that's a bit far fetched of me. It'll happen in a uni-level exam.

Forgive me, Lolly, while Mummy just chucks one of her own.

A very brief summary on PGD (IVF), amongst other things

I made this post recently somewhere else *taps nose*. After writing it, I discovered it was probably quite a good summation of our history, which I don't think I have anywhere on this current blog. So... FYI's sake if nothing else, here it is. You can find out more about Steve's balanced translocation, from our perspective/understanding, here.

My husband has a balanced translocation and whilst we seem to have no trouble getting pregnant, retaining a pregnancy has so far proven almost impossible.

After enduring three m/c's in a row, we did some testing and it was discovered then that Steve had this chromosomal anomoly. We went for genetic counselling, at which time (in 2002) PGD was still relatively new in Australia and they - the genetic counsellors at the IVF clinic - virtually steered us against doing it.

I had one more miscarriage before conceiving our first daughter, who chromosomally speaking was perfectly normal. She passed away due to completely different issues so we had to start TTC again. After two more failed pregnancies the year she passed ('04), I decided to try IVF - Steve had wanted to do it earlier but I had personal issues with it, it was a big decision for me. We discussed adoption and looked into it extensively, also considering foster parenting at this time too. But because we had conceived and then lost our only child to date, it seemed far too difficult and rigorous an emotional journey for us to contemplate taking on. It seems, in hindsight, that IVF appeared the least strenuous (for us as a couple) option at the time, even though it took far more an emotional, angst-ridden toll on us than we expected.

We tried PGD twice in '05, yielded really poor results - for PGD, where the more fertilised eggs for testing purposes, the better - and ended up with only one normal/balanced emby to transfer both times (only 3-4 eggs fertilised from 6-7 retrieved, both times, despite our high fertility rate naturally, I was devastated I had not "performed better" and of those, most were carrying the unbalanced translocation anyway). There were none to freeze, obviously. The second time I had a chemical pregnancy and we decided we could do that on our own at zero financial expense! So we stopped IVF (we were going to do 3 tries).

I fell pregnant naturally the following month with our only surviving child to date, another daughter. She is a carrier but otherwise healthy in every way.

In my opinion, there was a lot of good to come out of our brief IVF journey including -
* It meant we would not always wonder or regret not attempting it if we found ourselves childless at the end of our years of trying to conceive.
* We made the most of the information that was gathered during our stint. The sperm testing was most important (they offered this as a free non-diagnostic test - as it was then in trial phase and so we would also be helping them with their studies into the accuracy of the data, etc.), as it showed my husband's own specific sperm quality. He was at his peak in health, incl. being on naturopathics to increase chances of the lower volume of healthy sperm being the ones to get to the egg wink.gif so it was a very good indicator for us.

They found approx. 26% of sperm was normal. It was consistent with what we had been informed by the geneticists the whole way through the process so it was good to have it confirmed, it was more than just general statistics. For us, roughly 4 in 6 pregnancies will be abnormal/unbalanced. We've had 11 pregnancies so far.

The decision to start trying again naturally was hard and scary. But as we had no dependants and we were still in our late 20's and early 30's respectively, we agreed that we would live with whatever the outcome (for us, an unbalanced child would result in varied high care mental/physical disabilities so a very serious consideration). That "whoever" came to us in whatever form, we would handle it.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Colour my world

Next week I'm doing colour ray class #5: Yellow Ray Healing = logic mind

All this has to make sense for you as you live physically in the logical world. YELLOW is the Ray of the logical mind and will help you to bring what you know to be true from your spiritual perceptions into the daily logic of your existence on Earth.

Along the way, this Colour Journey will teach the basic respectful principles of healing. The Colours will care for and nurture you as you travel, and you will never be expected to venture further than you are willing to go.

I am starting to get the hang of just integrating what I am learning (or rather, hearing, because often I will be sitting there with a concept flying way over my head and yet on some really deep unspoken level, I do get it and just can't find the words to explain how or why I get it).

I'm slowly meandering towards my future path. I think I'm actually on the path. But kind of like Dorothy starting at the very beginning of the yellow brick road and winding around those initial tight circles, I know there is a lot of unravelling (or revealing) yet to be done before I am fully on my way. Er... not that I think I'm headed for some Emerald City. My metaphor ends with the yellow brick road thing.

And how funny to me now as I sit here typing, that I chose that actual analogy: Yellow Brick Road. I find it no coincidence.

Each time I try to explain what I do here, on my blog, I sort of do a back pedal. I freak. It just feels like it's too personal. Not to mention kooky. Sometimes I publish an entry and then delete it immediately. I am still testing my public and professional boundaries, I see. But in the privacy and solace of my own home - as messy and unfinished as it is (ooh, which reminds me, I have an update on the splashback colour - to red or not to red) - I really know intrinsically that my intuition is blossoming and I'm well under way now. I always thought I was different. I always knew I had something in me that was, well, not like anything I could fully understand without having it explained, which nobody ever did, of course. Nobody nurtured it in me, although my mother is extremely intuitive (as has been said, though, she is probably a good example of what can happen to a powerful mind that is left to go idle - it sort of implodes if not guided or trained to do 'good') and I have had some awesome conversations with siblings and other members of the family over the years - I think there are quite a few of us who have "the Shinning".

Eventually, if you ignore the signs, it does go away. And mine did. Ella forced it back - coaxed, perhaps, is a gentler word more befitting of her nature - and I am compelled now to continue because it just feels right. This is me. I am going about this growing of awareness more safely than in the past. I am using it as a tool to contribute my particular skills for the betterment of my little part of the world (and the people in it, if they so choose to seek me out).

It all feels like it's coming together anyway, I guess is what I'm admitting. Don't know why I can't shake the humble sense I get of being bestowed a really important job like this. Perhaps it is because of just that: it is so important and so beyond just little ol' me and I often marvel at how I can even dare to hope contribute towards what is so huge. I'm still learning to get comfy in my shoes (even though they are not new) and I'm still practising saying that I do do this - Earth healing, for want of a better generalisation - and I can do it, that I'm getting better at it (and transferring the messages I receive) all the time.

Have never been too flash with the self-praise thang *blush*

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