Saturday, February 28, 2009

It's what she does

There are few things that don't eventually end up amusing the LGBB. She'll usually find the 'yumour in anything. But I really love watching the facial journey as performers/entertainers/TV shows/relatives all get put through their paces if she's in one of *those* temperaments.

Take, for instance, this photo essay that I shall call "Funny Mister Man" - what Lolly called him - the clown who was entertaining today in the open library at the festival we visited in our district.

You'll see here the expression I like to refer to as the Prove Your Worth - characterised by the triple chin-esque pursed-lipped grimace. The angle of the head is a give-away - this look says to me I hereby reserve my judgement of your entertainment value and I shan't give away anything of my ruling until I am assured of your hilarity.

The poor dancing fool in front of her will then get the lift of the chin, an almost imperceptible grimace of uncertainty. This look says... you'll have to try much harder than that to impress me, but you're getting there. Keep up the good work.

Then, surely, the LGBB will begin to lose herself in the entertainment. A very faint yet brief smirk crosses her face. You're almost in... but don't stop trying your best, Funnyman.

So the poor sod tries balloon animal joke after twirling umbrella-hat joke....

...which all fell flat. Apparently. Although in her eyes, I see the slightest encouragement, with the lifted brows.

And then. The Master does it. A farty-noise....

.... Oh, NOW you're talkin' toddler language. Or... bottom burping it, anyway.

One more "prrrrfppppbbbbt" complete with poking out tongue and googly eyes and she was putty in his hands.

It's such an awesome day, this community festival. We went last year for the first time.*

So we've vowed now to go each year and so far, the first two years haven't disappointed! Today we had a picnic on the grass, like last time. We've come home for a rest (OMG OMG OMG she is asleep!!!!) before heading out tonight for the fireworks display. Last year it was great. Here are some shots. Check out how little the LGBB was! Awwww. She wasn't even walking yet.

* Er, despite living in this area for eleven years... it was one of those things we used to see each year, if ever we happened to drive through, you can't miss it for the traffic and the balloons and carnival rides - but was never something we would have enjoyed just the two of us. It's a family-oriented festival for the community, one which we felt so, so, so separate from, year after year the feeling got worse.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Just so we're all clear...

I tend not to write about the shittier side of things here. This post is not one of those posts.

I'm going through a patch. A crisis patch. It's so much less than what others are going through, I know, but this is my turf, this is my method (or lack) of coping, this is my brick wall. The one I keep butting my head against.

It's so ridiculous that I feel so incompetent simply because my house is a mess. I mean, for the past week, I've had two new leads, a new client place an order already (printing and a website), done three auditing assignments (my other 'line of business'), had three existing clients contact me and request updates, upgrades and alterations, I've begun a database to streamline the Peace Space work (which I am working on after hours to get it finished, something I am doing as a contra deal so it must be done). As well as this, I've used up whatever energy I have left in seeing the LGBB right for interesting and nutritional meals and snacks, a couple of outings, some projects at home..... she's a full time day job in itself. She's dropped her day sleep for over a week now and I am starting to really feel it. I'm grinding to a halt and yet still, still I feel like I am not a) doing enough and b) doing it "right".

I'm pissed off at myself that I can't even make jelly properly. I tipped the crystals into a bowl that I forgot had (clean) water in it that I hadn't needed for the curry I made tonight.

I'm pissed off with Pyrex for creating stupid glass pouring measuring jugs that spill whatever you're pouring onto the bench and not into the bowl. Why? WHY?

I'm pissed off that I can't be everything all at once, is what it boils down to. I feel really angry (at myself) that I can't 'keep house' the way I'd like - ha ha ha *she says with a dry laugh* not even close - and can't even seem to manage keeping the kitchen clean some days. I know it's probably only a few days out of the entire week when I don't get a chance to do dishes, put even the basic things away, but it feels like day after day after day of the same. Damn. Thing.

Namely, me feeling so overwhelmed that I am plunged yet again into a depressive state.

I'm going to blame, just this once, my mother. And hell, my father too. The people I learned from. I am working very, very, VERY hard to reverse the damage caused by growing up in my childhood house. In the meantime, I am flogging myself for not being the kind of mother I envisaged I would be. The one who stops and takes time - every day, not just three or four out of the 7 - and is basically available for her young charge. Whatever she fancies.

But try as I might, once I put myself in that position, I dunno... I only last a couple of days feeling all zen before SNAP!!!! I just flip out at the LGBB. She demands and demands and demands. I call it The Demand-athon because it really is like a running, never ending list of things I am being called on to provide. And I, like anyone, have my limits.

Add to this the fact that we, Steve and I, have very firm ideas/ideals about the kind of person we hope the LGBB will turn out to be. She is considerate of others, empathic already, but inside the home, she seems to be exercising her strong will more and more and more. It is wearing me out (or down).

I don't want laughs here. Please..... don't laugh 'with' me if you feel compelled to comment. I am purging right now. It goes against every grain in my body to admit my faults - and there are many of them - as a parent. Especially one with the added guilt and pressure (placed on me squarely by myself first and foremost) of mothering after loss and such a struggle to even get ONE child here. But yeah.. walk a mile in my shoes and all that.

I resent my mother. I resent her for not being competent enough to support me EVER in my adult, let alone adolescent, life. She's here, alive and well, but unreachable. Even if she was in my life, she would be of no use. Believe it's not true if you will, but you would have to know her to really understand that. I get angry that I have to make do with just us, basically. Me and Steve. I get angry that I was never shown the proper skills to look after myself - to balance - properly. I'm paying for it now. And yeah. Some days, like this one, I'm resentful. Writing this out, I'm calming down. Surely it's obvious by now, that writing is my life/wheel alignment. At least I have expression.

He gets home of a night when I'm like this and just receives the full force of my atomic blow. It's not fair on him. I don't want to be this unattractive to him. Add to it all the fact that I am in the process of changing my old punishment/reward habits (of snacks and too much alcohol) by getting fit and healthy and stopping with the excuses and.... I feel like I have no safety net right now.

It'll pass. It always passes and I have faith that it will. It's hard, I know it's hard. It gets harder, I know it gets harder. I oscillate between wanting out and realising this is just me having a major adult tanty. Please allow me the floorspace to do it here, somewhat more safely than taking it out on anyone right in front of me. Far healthier, methinks.

For today, though, see me in my ugly form: The Stressed Out Mother/Wife/Business Owner/Friend

*deep breath in aaaaaaand* Ahhhhhhhhh. Thank you. Now I can go finish dinner for them.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A-Tagging we will go

I’ve been tagged by Dani

Here are the rules:
1. Go to the section of your computer where you store all of your photos.
2. Select the 6th folder.
3. Select the 6th photo from that folder.
4. Post and explain about that picture.
5. Tag 6 other people

How did I ever know that this, taken by Steve at my request, would be one of only two times I got a closeup of our sweet girl's fingers safely inside mine? This was the day I felt so punch-drunk happy. Could have taken on the world today, my heart was bursting out of my chest. I had a lid on my concerns and dread, for she was so tiny, but this day my baby Ellanor was just making me soar.

I shall leave it there, I think.

Now, come on you lot... I tag Peta, Mel, Danni, Amoir, Kay and Meaghan! Off yer laurels, you readers!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The plans are in!

They're in! They're here. I feel like I can swing a cat already.

Or something.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Primitive Dog

A while ago (at least a month), the LGBB drew a chalk drawing of Jazz on our driveway. Aside from the fact that I just took this photo today and it is still pretty much as crisp as the day she drew it, such is our drought down here, I think it is a really good little drawing! She drew the head, tail and legs as I prompted her and this is what she came up with. We forgot the ears...

Very special! I love this little drawing, it's right near our front door and I let out an audible "Squeeeee" sound whenever I see it. It's my love-heart-song. And it sounds rather like the air being let out of the tightly pulled mouth of a balloon.

Now, a month later, the LGBB was standing at her chalk board on the weekend and I asked her if she would draw me a picture of Jazz (I don't often ask her to draw me something specific, but both times I have, I'm so uninspiring that I've asked her to do the same object - inventive, arn'I?). And again, a pretty similar shape came out.

And some traily thing that goes around to the right and over Jazz's head... yeah, I'm going to go ahead and say that she was drawing the trajectory of Jazzy's ball and it flew out of her jaw to be caught by someone. ... Too much? Too much. Ok.

So I think ... I think this is the LGBB's first drawing/s! Of her dog! Awwwwwwww. Sniff.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The day Beyoncé confused us all

Something I've hitherto not admitted is...... oh no, here we go.....

The LGBB is in love with this song. Why? Why that one?? But okay, it's happened, we've had our cringe and we've decided to move on (and allow her to douse us all in replaying of the damn thing over and over - I did it when I was a kid, but my song of choice to singe my parents' ears was Mamma Mia).

Yesterday, on about the four hundred and twenty-eighth replaying of it, I snapped. I stopped what I was doing, turned to Steve and said, "What is she going on about? Hair on what?" And Steve stared back at me blankly, the LGBB dance-jumping between us.

"Don't be scared if you see it's got hair on it?" I recited.

It's totally beyond me, what Beyoncé says in that section of the chorus. I don't really care to know. And we've made a bit of a sport of it when it comes around in the song.

Don't be scared if you see it's got hair on it?
Lather up if you see it's got hair on it...?
Don't be fair if you cheat and have cheese with it.

Oh we have no idea. And frankly, it's more fun not to know.

I feel so old. And yet, so juvenile at the same time *snigger*

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Random thoughts plucked from my brain

It's been days now since I had a moment to myself. Literally, a moment. I've been working from sun up to sun down and let me just say... Well, perhaps I'll just let this video do the talking:

Spousal insanity has been declared in this house, yes. Though I haven't done any writing on the walls.... yet.

So as the days have passed and I've been running around like a blue-arse fly (are they real? Is there really a species of fly called The Common Blue-Arse?), I have had these sorts of things floating past my attention span:

• When the dogs come inside at night for their nightly "Special Time With The Peeps" hour, I swear we say "Mat!" "On the mat!" "JAZZ!!!! MAT!!!!!" so often that we are now calling her Hazmat. Because Hazardous Material just about sums her up.

• Yesterday, in my "free time", I plonked the LGBB on the trampoline where she practiced her "running round and round reeeeeally fast" while I picked up dog biscuits. No, not Boneo's. Not Good-O's or any of those other cute-named shop bought biscuits. I mean like... rear end bickies. One of our girls (and I'm tippin' it's that old one *squints narrowly*) doesn't have enough fibre in her diet, let's just say, so I was reduced to picking up around this big backyard of ours what I can confidently describe were rabbit-poo-sized dog turds. Fun? You betcha! Nearly drove me bananas (please refer to vid at top of screen if you've forgotten already). And what made it all the more sort of stir-crazy hilarious was that, here I am, Pooper Scoopin' my way through a shopping bag full - they've been hella busy this week, apparently - and I look to my immediate left and there, right near my feet if you don't mind, is Hazmat. Lying upside down, all four paws luxuriantly in the air. Grinning madly and doing that favourite doggy move they do: the back scratch when they wiggle their bums from left to right to scratch nice and goooood. As if to say, "I'm having a glooooorious time here, all my work (shitting and eating) is done. Ahhh!"

I stood there, thinking "Nice. Thanks for rubbing it in, Turd-Burglar."

• Whichever comedian it was (I think Jerry Seinfeld?) who mused that when aliens spy on Earth, they will assume dogs are the leaders because we are going around picking up their crap, was so on the money.

• I then announced out loud, to the LGBB and possibly any neighbours who were outside in their yards, that I was going to get myself a new business card. "You poo it out, I'll clean it up for ya" I just feel like the world is one big pile of poop waiting for me to clean it up some days. If it's not the dogs, it's the LGBB. Yes. Toilet training is going THAT well *withered look to camera*

• I have it on good authority that this is still Tim. "Funny Tim", he's been christened by the LGBB. Even when he clearly states his name is Stevie (wtf? why not just Steve? why do you have to cutesy it up, you're already on a cutesy show with a cutesy haircut, man! Dooooh I'm cross). I hope I never have to have that sit-down "Oh dahl... c'mere, I need to tell you something" talk with her or she'll be crushed. And I don't wanna see that bottom lip pout when she realises that her Hi5 Tim had to stop singing and dancing because of his splintered vertebrae, the poor bugger.

• I loved Tim and Nathan. There. I said it. In a time of day (that time of day, you know the one) when I try to chop like a butterfly and cook like a bee - similar to Ali, uh huh - and need some sweet mercy, I usually allow an ep of Hi5 to sneak its way on the telly. And ok, so on the surface Nathan always appeared to be a tool. Or a fool. Or both. But seriously, so good at the old-fashioned piss-take of himself! Funny, funny stuff. Not afraid to be a dill, that's what he was.

• I can't bring myself to watch new episodes of Hi5. It's all gone to shit. Kelly and Nathan were just hanging on in those episodes they're showing now. She looks so incredibly sad and he looks, well, rather uncomfortable. And the newbies - Funny Tim, Funny Kathleen and Funny Charlie (who at the moment is still the real Charlie but with new-and-improved hair?) - are just wrong, wrong, wrong when you're used to seeing the originals in their younger, happier days. God, it's like Days Of Our Bloody Lives.

• I bumped into a local woman who used to own a café round these parts. It was this café where I first really started to head into the deeper writing of my book. I'd sit for a few hours and just let stuff pour out. Really good stuff, some of my best was written there. So I have a very soft spot for that place and certainly this lady, I'll call her M, and her husband, R, who is a chef extraordinnaire and created the most divine menu of curries and light eats. Healthy, nurturing, lovingly thought-out. Well. They've sold it to people who are in it for the money. The place has lost its appeal fast. So sad. I now use it as a quick coffee pick-up (they do great coffee still) and am trying to break the habit of going there for breaky now and then with the fam because in a few short weeks, hand-over will be complete and R will not be in the kitchen.

Anyway, M and I always got along but never really talked about any truly "deep" stuff. Picture us yesterday, for almost two hours, standing outside the local crystal and oogidy-boogidy shop (that's what I call it in front of the MIL - I think the stones and books on animal wisdom scare her so why not take advantage? muahaha) and discovering that our paths are heading along a very similar track. She has had the most amazing and unexpected confirmation about her natural ability to listen, to heal and uplift people, since selling her shop. Part of what made the place so fantastic was her. She is slowly beginning to accept this but is still mighty uncomfortable with it, even though it's plain as day to everyone else that what she brings to a place, you couldn't market or bottle or sell or teach. It's her.

Now this is very much the pot calling the kettle black here, I know, for I have a similar denial going on. I'd barely sat down, literally, and begun that grief workshop when I had several people tell me how amazing I am (eeek) and the good I am doing (bluuuuurgh). I'm too humble. That's my annoying problem.

So anyways.... I started thinking as I was listening to M and it started coming out that she had been told she was going to be helping women who had been in hardship and needed nurturing, a back rub, some counselling perhaps, or at least a place to talk and feel safe. Perhaps we'll be doing something together somehow, she and I. Because I too have been told, ever since the year I lost Ella, that I would be helping mothers and babies (a concept that, at the time, made me recoil in fear and doubt because I couldn't look at pregnant bellies then, let alone acknowledge the women they belonged to). And I, like her, have been resisting this suggestion because I haven't got any formal degrees hanging framed on my wall. She hit me when I said that, a "Get OUT!! That's what I think!" moment of complete understanding.

So yeah. I think it wasn't such a chance "bump into" meeting at all yesterday. And I will be watching with interest (we swapped numbers) where and when her new business venture pops up, because I think I just may become one of the practitioners there.

Gosh, there's sooo much more I want to tell you! But I seriously don't have time. BZZZZT! That's it. It's up.

Monday, February 16, 2009

What is Koala saying?

Alrighty, here I go again with another post I'm so uncertain about sharing but forging right on ahead.

I'm working around to doing a more indepth post on Koala as an animal totem. But for now, here are my random, scattered thoughts.

Not only because we've seen many photos these past weeks showing koalas coming out of their trees to accept water from human beings (unheard of!), but I have had this growing sense of kinship to this wonderful native Australian animal for some months now. I think somehow it goes with Mookaite.

So far, amongst my research and what has come to me via others' previous work on this gorgeous furry friend:

• Koala means, loosely translated, "No Water" or "No Drink"
• Dreamtime legend of the Koala basically revolves around the Koala having the power to inflict drought on the lands
• The Koala is, like the Kangaroo, unique in that it gives birth to its young prematurely and nurtures it within with its life-giving milk (I believe this is why I felt a pull to the Koala, as this is possibly one of the keys to its importance in my future area of intuitive work)
• In terms, again, of the resonance with what I believe is my calling/to stay close or true to, I also found this fascinating:

From here

Important Koala Teaching: Holding On

“Koala, with a firm grip on life, always knows where he is going (even if he appears to be going slow) by the opportunities that he has been presented with.” Copyright: “Wisdom of Australian Animals”, Ann Williams-Fitzgerald.

“The Koala is a reminder that we are stronger than we imagined, and we will be able to hang on through whatever situation is occurring in our life.” Copyright: “Animal-Wise”, Ted Andrews.

Koala’s Wisdom Includes:
Ability to Climb Over Obstacles
Finding Safe Haven
Giving Support
Having a Firm Grip On Life
How to be Comfortable With Your Own Company
Holding On
Being Focused
The more I read, the more I firmly believe that this has been my personal totem for my whole life - waiting for the right time (a Koala's pace!!) to be uncovered by me in my slow (also at a Koala's pace ;-) spiritual awakening.

So what are these Koalas actually saying? Literally coming up to our faces to tell us? If you would like to read more now, I found this absolutely fascinating and may also be of interest to you. Well worth the read, I think.

I am getting a rounder sight about it and hope to put something on paper soon (it might be a fair while, months even, before I publish it here for I will get it drafted and most likely it will form part of the work I'm doing this year on Dawn/Masters Pink... OMG they think I'm going to be helping bring that work through, yikes!!).

But I do truly firmly believe that what is happening here with these marsupial-human interactions is so incredibly profound, far beyond a simple "No water up trees, coming down to seek water." I mean.... why are they bowling up to humans? Humans who happen to have cameras, no less?! It's not even lost on me that these photos are flying around cyberspace, further reducing the vastness of the world and bringing us closer in so we really look at these creatures and ask...

What are they trying to tell us?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Stark reminder in the air

We're into our second day of completely smoke-haze covered skies here in outer metro Melbourne. The rest of the state must be under the same conditions. More is to be expected into next week. It's so thick today that the hills, right in front of our faces usually, are hardly visible if at all.

It is truly heart breaking. I got up to go to the gym this morning and the sun was red. A glorious, unnatural, surreal red. I took a photo but it doesn't do the big angry fireball nor the macabre orange-filled sky much justice.

Last night, the moon was magnificent. It's a half moon now. Through the smoke screen, it shone a brilliant orange. I took these photos after 11pm at night and yet it was out, shining tantalizingly in full view of our front porch. I stood in the relative darkness, scanning my eyes across the sky. Not a star could be seen. The street light glowed in what looked like mist on a cold winter's night. But the heavy, unpleasant smell of thick smoke in the air and filling my lungs left me in no doubt.

Again, photos here do not give the majestic moon any justice. It was huge, as if it had been hung there by some massive unseen hand. Such a shame I've not learned yet to capture the moon looking as large as it really is because we get the most phenomenal moon rises here every month.

What you may not properly see is the deep aubergine colour of the sky. It was, quite simply, stunning last night here.

The sunsets since Sunday night, a day after the fires first started, have been equally as surreal. Beautiful yet kind of hard to appreciate because you know just how much suffering and impact has happened for you to be viewing such an amazing array of colour across the sky. My computer isn't representing the richness of the colours very well, I haven't corrected them at all yet.

I am trying hard to find the beauty in this forced change. I truly am.

It is interesting to me, with my book writing on hold during this trying week of emotions (my heart is mostly "out there" with the souls lost, the souls searching, the survivors and all the untold animal and plant life lost that we may never fully realise), that this is very familiar territory.

Five years ago, Steve and I were going through our own monumental, life-changing crisis. Coming to terms with the devastation, the survivor guilt, the desperate need not to be engulfed whole. We were just two individuals, so tiny, insignificant in the wide world.

I see on a grander scale the absolutely heart-wrenched need for able-bodied, affected but much less so, people on our periphery who clamoured to do anything they could to ease our suffering. There wasn't much they could do. But they did it. The very, very few broke through and did it. Thank God for them.

Now, out of nowhere today as I drove home from my workout, my lungs so filled with smoke they felt like they were on fire (and that was inside an air conditioned building), another small unexpected piece of healing was given to me quite out of the blue.

I see more clearly now that back then, and in the years since when people have offered us their genuine gestures, those comparitively small offers were so sincere. They were all those people knew how to try and give back. To us, it was like tiny pebbles being chucked into a bottomless, cavernous pit.

That was not the point. It was NEVER the point. The size, the frequency, the duration of the giving was not ever the point. The point was that it was offered. How very blessed were we. This is the very thing that keeps the human spirit connected.

And today, as I drove home realising this, I tuned in to a local talkback station and learned that they are already rallying to create community gardens. "A place of healing, of coming together, of regrouping..." I cried then. I am crying now.

Out of this will surely come so much good. It has taken absolutely unthinkable loss and suffering. The impact was tremendous and the fallout will continue into the weeks and months and, on a lesser scale, years from now. However, the foundations we all have been provided to now come together are incredibly poignant and meaningful.

I hope we never lose our sight now. Like my masthead says....

Knowing what's important is what's important.

Friday, February 13, 2009

It's all about HER!

Just another day, tellin' it like it is....

Here's the shortened version of what happened when we farewelled our family back to Japan after they'd visited for a couple of weeks in late January. When I asked the LGBB what we did at the airport, I expected her to say "we said goodbye to Mia and Emma" or words to that effect because, after all, that's all she had said for the past half hour after we waved bye-bye to their plane. But no. She was going for the immediate past, as in what happened when we were walking back to the car.

And you've just gotta love a kid who tells you in no uncertain terms that the previously enjoyed singing you delighted them with has suddenly fallen out of favour with them. Don't you? I wasn't that bad, I thought....

Scrapsy make my better from Lolly Lovers on Vimeo.

Did you mean .... Airily?

There's one thing about my name that has always presented a challenge for computer spellcheckers. My Dad has always said you can't say my name angrily. He thinks it's the "ily" ending that does it. I tend to agree. Then again, I've never been so cross with myself that I talk out loud to myself and say my own name in anger. Except for that one time when I let on to my best friend that I really liked Nigel (shuddup that was his name, yes really, and he was heavenly) and then discovered that her older brother was very good friends with said Nigel and this one time, when we walked into the school library, there he was. Nigel. And my very own BFF threw me to the wolves when she called out excitedly to Nigel, "Nigel! That's the one I told you about!" and pointed to me so close that she actually dug her finger into my upper arm. Sigh. Groan. Cringe. Vomit. I was fourteen. That time, that time yes, I really let myself have it when I got home and yes, probably definitely did utter my own name in disgust at myself for being so stoopid as to divulge my secret love.

Hennnnyway, I was amused today when suggestions to correct my name were thrown at me when I was completing a report for work....


Rather boring, really. But none of them could be said whilst sounding enraged.

It got me thinking. Would any of these, seriously, cut it as a yuneek-sounding name? Personally, I don't think so.

So, tell me (either including your "real" name or not), what have spellcheckers called you? Nothing offensive, I hope. And in your opinion, would they make the Best or Worst Names list?

Jeans for Valentines' Day!

All Jeanswest stores around Australia are donating their profits for the entire day to the Bushfire Appeal on

Saturday 14th February!

What a great excuse to go buy a new top, blouse or pair of pants for yourself. Or for him!

So go shopping and know you are contributing to making a difference to the victims of these fires.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Big Girl

The LGBB has begun announcing that she's a "big girl". I am taking this opportunity and flagrantly exploiting it by announcing that "big girls don't wear nappies." It's an ongoing thang.

Yesterday, she came out of our ensuite with her arms outstretched to the sides. I could swear it looks like she's airing her underarms, I remember thinking.

And so she was, apparently. She walked past me, all teenager-like, and says with a flick of her wrist as if to motion towards her damp armpits, "Did my armth." Like, as if I was not supposed to touch said "armth" in case I ruined her application of my roll-on deoderant. See, I knew exactly what had gone down as soon as she'd said that. She had been in my "lady drawer" in our bathroom and used my deoderant stick on herself like I sometimes do, pretending to roll it under her clothed armpit. With the lid still on.

Oh how I hope she never discovers there's a lid on my deoderant. Or that lipsticks and balms have twisting applicators that make the good bit go up and down. I'm just waiting for that one, too.

Tonight, after various challenges throughout the day, which are increasing in intensity and frequency lately (and not nearly as funny or cute as that aforementioned anecdote), I had to do a straight-faced, silent giggle into my dinner when all of a sudden, Miss 2.7 beside me puts down her fork, leans back as if to stretch her belly like Uncle Rob does at Christmas time after too much turkey and says, putting her hands behind her head, "I'm just checkin' ponytail." I tried not to make eye contact. Oooookay.

"You," the LGBB went on, motioning at me with a wave of one hand, "eat and talk."
"Eat and talk?" I asked.
"You.... you, you, you (she's got a fast-mind stutter thing happening lately) keep eating and talking. To Daddy."

Right-eo. Not only must I do as she says, I have to do it with whom she says too now. This kid's got ideas. If she learns how to program the Foxtel iQ so that Hi-5 continues recording, I'm screwed. She will officially no longer need me.

And now, here is the girl herself, signing off:

flhfffff3uuhuH3uy5y29J2P02JP0ZΩ∆ƒΩªqjjjjjjjjjjjjzz8,zz 050iwt9509t0 g drrr

HOW do you get those strange symbols? If she's gone and sworn in Latin, and you speak Latin, well I do most heartily apologise. Only a flat-handed toddler on a keyboard could conjure them up onto the screen, 'eh?

Five years

I really can't believe it's been five years today that Ellanor suddenly passed away.

When I say "suddenly", I mean.... they phoned us at 7am while we were organising to both come in (wouldn't you know, Steve had decided not to go straight to work that day and detour past the hospital - something he hadn't been doing because he would go in at night after work and sit with her for hours... just looking at her, with me by his side). They - the doctors - were not scrambling in a life-threatening way at this point in the day.

They were getting increasingly concerned by lunchtime. We were on our way out to grab something to eat - still unaware that they were just so worried about her - and we sat at fricken McDonald's (my stomach leaps and punches my solar plexus with an acidic burn every time I pass that particular fast food outlet near the hospital) and ate whilst trying to distract ourselves from the worried looks that had been belying the staff's reassuring "let's just try and figure out what's going on, she's probably 'just' got a virus" gestures.

By mid afternoon, she was dead.

I think that's what shocked me most about Ella's dying - the fact that there was no indication the night before. The fact that even in the morning, though she was very pasty-looking and did not want to open her eyes (like you do when there's bright lights over your head and you are just feeling crap), we were oblivious to this being just SO terribly irreversible.

NEC takes hold so fast. For some premies, they will miraculously survive. With Ella's heart condition the way it was, she was already pushing uphill.

My beautiful big bubba was born to die. I became firmly convinced not long after her death. And I determined back then, I think, without knowing, that I would one day share her story in such a manner that her death itself was not the key point. Certainly not the final fullstop in the book.

And it's not.

A quiet day will be spent today. We're taking the LGBB for a swim, the three of us. Doing things that remind us we're all still here, we're all still close. Ellanor will most likely not be here. I can tell when she is and I feel a great sense of respect and honour for her, that I do not pull her close in my thoughts - call on her - on days like these just to fulfill my own desires. I don't need to anymore. She's there, not gone, and I'm here. Living.

Today is a day when the clouds will look just that bit more whispy, the bush on the hills more commanding and majestic, the LGBB's face much sweeter, Steve will seem far more vital in our lives. We will be living life today. That's what the anniversary of our memories from today, five years ago, is all about.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Boot Camp City, Baby!

More on my adventures up to Peace Space to do Crimson class in a later post (it was so unutterably amazingly well-timed, with its "beginning New Life" information, which has been set in motion in the manuals for months now, was so heartening to hear.. given our current dire situation here in Victoria).

But today, dear reader, I would like you to hold me accountable. For the promises I made last night to my trainer at the gym.

Ho yes, Operation Kick That Flab To The Curb has fired up again in earnest this year by me. I was stalled on the fitness front by the H,F&M for about four months last year - just not up to it, health-wise - and I've made recent starts to get into it again, but when I found out there's a six week intensive going on at the gym I go to... well, I just HAD to sign up!

So. It entails committing to keeping a food diary, increasing my protein (in order to build healthy muscle), resting more, eating more (woo hoo!) and exercising at least three times a week for the next six week - thereby, hopefully, getting back in to my fitness groove of yesteryear and enjoying my previously healthy and fit body and mind. I also had another weigh and measure and am ecstatic to discover another itty bitty loss since my refocus sesh just under two weeks ago. "A loss is a loss", and that's a positive thing when you're talking "weight loss".

My list of goals for this first week:

• To eat every 2-3 hours (ooops, or was it 3-4.... dang!) - I believe this is probably KEY for my weight loss because I can have a coffee for "breakfast", manage to get a few bites of toast in by midday, eat lunch at 4pm and then dinner around 7 o'clock. We don't eat poorly, we just eat weird hours around here!
• Drink more water more often - yes I know. Another key. Key, key, key! I'm good at skolling 1 Litre in the final few hours before bedtime if I think the 3-4 glasses I've had for the entire day wasn't enough.
• At least two more visits to the gym - I've begun getting up at 6am to go in then.

All this, to me, points to my little subconscious self screaming out for some ME FIRST time.

My 6-week end goal is to comfortably fit into the size I am juuuuust squeezing into (I've just reached it after already dropping 3 dress sizes since early November, which I can hardly believe - most of it, don't be letting me fool you or depressing you now, is hormonal fluid). My longer term (3 month?) plan is to drop one more dress size and then I'll be at my ideal.

I'm not too sure about that. I will believe it when I see it. But I seem to have some over-achieving disorder in my brain. I mean, I'm already on the precipice of getting back into the size I was before having the LGBB (I worked really hard after having Ella and scraped my way back down but never fully got rid of those last kilo's from my pregnancy with her).

I cannot keep "blaming" pregnancy hormone weight, although I do maintain that my pregnant-weary body has been thrown into disarray - though cycles have always been so consistent, bless their cotton socks, thankfully - so I plan to be enjoying my newly-shaped smaller bod for at least the remainder of 2009 before giving it back over to any new little sibling that may or may not make it into the LGBB's (and our) life.

My, what a hotch-potch of a post this seems to be. I feel like I haven't written forever, such has been my focus on the fires here. But I need to strike some balance now. Have a decent sleep. Keep praying. Re-stock.

More later...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Just want to say thanks

Hi there!

I have to confess something.... It's a really crummy week to be a Saucy SITSta, and I am so humbled and amazed at being "chosen" and on that list. Thank you!

But I know the amazing hits on this blog and comments of support are not for me. They are being accepted here as a loving arm extended out to all Australians as we head further and further into our mourning. For there is still far to go yet.

It will be a long while before the shock gives way to acceptance. Thanks so much for continuing to visit and raising awareness!

What would Pepper say?

I know Jazz would be up for a new temporary playmate or ten... but what about the old girl?

To donate or offer other assistance for domestic ANIMALS suffering in the wake of the fires you can contact Animal Aid on (03) 9739 0300.

To donate urgently needed $$'s to WILDLIFE VICTORIA, go online here.

To directly support RSPCA staff and volunteers at the front-line caring for animals affected by the bush fires, please donate here.

Can you help further? To support the RSPCA's emergency relief effort in other ways, please complete their assistance form detailing the support you can offer. If they can accept your generous offer, they will contact you soon.

I may yet see if we can take in any animals for people. Will have to see. But I will definitely be donating money for them to feed and house the poor little guys.


Monday 9 February

Coles to donate this Friday’s profits to Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund

Coles will donate this Friday’s (13 Feb) profits from its 750 stores nationally to the Government’s Bushfire Appeal Fund in partnership with the Red Cross.

Customers will also be able to donate to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund at all Coles stores. Donations can be made at all Coles supermarket checkouts from today.

Coles Managing Director Ian McLeod said the bushfire tragedy had touched a number of Coles team members, some of whom have lost loved ones in the fire, and a number who have lost their homes.

“Like everyone in the community, we’ve been shocked by the devastation these fires have wrought, and we extend our deepest sympathies to those who’ve suffered loss in this terrible event,” Mr McLeod said.

Mr McLeod said the size of this Friday’s donation would depend on customer support, but could be several million dollars.

“We hope Australians will help us make this Friday’s donation as substantial as possible.”

Coles has been helping ground level relief agencies over the weekend, providing essentials such as food, water and toiletries, and will continue to provide additional local support as needed.

Further information,
Jim Cooper
Ph: (03) 9829 4354

Monday, February 9, 2009

Something in the air

No wonder it felt hotter than a hairdryer on its hottest setting being blown directly in your face whenever you stepped outside last Saturday in Victoria. The scene was absolutely ripe for a fire of record magnitude. But even so, I'd never have dreamed it would get this horrific.

(As a quick aside) I'm so sorry to continue on this one topic for days now. I just can't see anything else in front of me. Even mothering my delicious little LGBB has been a test beyond any previous measure for me in these past days, I don't know quite why it is affecting me so - perhaps I'm still rather shell-shocked a little from what could very nearly have been our own personal loss of property, had it not been for skilful and available resources and a wind direction change (they've said since on the radio that the blaze near us was deliberately swiftly dealt with, given the locale and higher density population - we're not classified as rural like so many of these other razed towns). I'd not been expecting the fire to come quite so close as it did in the time it took. As well, it is to honour the tremendous loss of life, the displacement, the harrowing trauma for the survivors. Thinking of the children and how they will be affected, possibly for life, by what they've seen and heard and endured. Not to mention the adults.

Latest reports in have confirmed that (I thought my ears were imagining things when I heard this on the local Emergency Radio station 774FM report on Sunday):

UNPRECEDENTED weather conditions made it impossible for authorities to predict the extent of Victoria's horrific bushfires, experts say.

The fire danger indices, based on a range of variables and used by authorities and climatologists to determine the intensity of a blaze, reached uncharted levels on Saturday.

A rating of 100 indicates that a fire would be uncontrollable, according to David Jones from the Bureau of Meteorology.

On Saturday, it reached 400.

"The general idea about the forest fire danger index is that it rates the speed of the fire," Dr Gill said. "But when it reaches unprecedented levels, it's hard to know what the relationship with speed and spread becomes."

FOUR HUNDRED!!! We never stood a chance. And still, the facts will not ever fully and clearly demonstrate just how ferocious those winds, the heat, were. Consider also that humidity was merely 3%, or so it was reported yesterday. Virtually zero air moisture. It was simply Nature at its most monstrous, yelling loud and clear. But yelling what, exactly? Just what are we meant to hear? These are the times when my trust and faith is sorely tested.

And the most unfathomable creatures playing God amongst us all.

With 130 people confirmed dead, just fifteen of those have been identified so far. My heart and thoughts go out to everyone still waiting to hear about the people they love and fear for. It's going to be such an agonising wait. Authorities have warned it might take weeks to confirm fatalities.

Preparing for change

I think it's safe to say, our lives will not be the same after this sobering event in our state. A climbing death toll (human lives only, and the full scale not yet realised) stands at one hundred and eight. Although it is in this one small corner of the globe, it seems the group consciousness when something devastating like this happens is wide and far-reaching. I don't know if anyone else can feel it, but a pall seems to have been cast at the moment. A blanket of sorrow and grief, the shock will slowly start to lift over the coming weeks as collective acceptance - the human spirit - sinks in. And it will be a group conscious effort to support not only the victims but everyone who's been affected.

Despite the physical donations, there is something I've been attempting to maintain my focus on: the only non-physical thing I know to do, and that is clearing and protecting All. Nature herself has been thrown into chaos and confusion, with trees dropping leaves in the staggering heat last week only to burst new buds out yesterday because of the flipside cool. I'm looking at birds as they fly around my home here and wonder if they are disoriented. Stories have emerged of possums and koalas and other native animals, usually frightened of humans, traipsing onto verandahs and balconies desperate for the water bowls placed out by caring residents. So I am simply throwing the net wide over all these creatures, great and small, human, flora, fauna, and sending all the positive energy I can muster.

It seems futile, but remember (if you are willing to do anything similar): the positive intent and the trust that it only takes one grain of sand to move a mountain is what counts in times like these.

There is such a strong desire to get in ones' car deliver food for the dogs and cats, toothbrushes, hair ties, combs, clothes, soaps, sleeping bags - this list could go on for pages - however, we've been urged not to deliver items. Rather, money and blood are being sought.

I am definitely going to donate money and blood. There are 20 or so victims (as at this morning, this could have risen) currently in our major trauma hospital in Melbourne on life support. One report I saw claimed the hospital has run out of morphine already. I cannot even dip into the horror of the severity of what's going on there, for it goes only part way to allowing into my conscious awareness the devastation that is yet to be witnessed out there on the ground, in places the emergency services are yet to reach.

If you would like to help but haven't known where or how:

LATEST INFORMATION @ 4:45pm Monday 9/2:
Authorities and radio are requesting that anyone wishing to donate, phone the Red Cross 1800 811 700 to find out the best way and method to do this.
(I think this may be because there is now such an inundation of items that they are trying to streamline co-ordination of donations)

To donate blood call the Red Cross on 131 495

To donate funds, go to the Salvo's website or the Red Cross (or freecall 1800 811 700 within Australia) - both are secure online forms.

Or you can make a direct deposit via the Victoria Bushfire Relief Fund (this is the one I'm donating to and you can check the details here, part of local Melbourne Nova 100's radio station website):

NAB account
BSB: 082-001, A/C no: 860046797

For information on the ongoing fires:
CFA bushfire hotline - 1800 240 667
State Emergency Service - 132 500

I heard someone say this morning that the current state of crisis in Victoria is as if "the end of the world" is coming. Well.... I'd like to gently suggest that, yes, it sort of is. The end of the world as we knew it. How we rebuild from here may make all the difference.

Above all, I hope wherever your loved ones are - whether here, around the country or the rest of the world - that they are safe.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


The number (expected to rise) of human lives lost in Victoria so far. Over 640 homes. Many people unaccounted for, trapped in their towns.

We are safe (completely out of danger, fire is out where we are now). Thank you for your emails and messages. Our fire team up here did a miraculous job. When I drove down the highway (they reopened it today), what I saw made the tears come to the surface. Incredibly, they appear to have saved all homes that were under threat and there are several homes untouched yet totally surrounded by completely blackened blocks. It is the weirdest sight and I cannot imagine the terror of the families within.

My thoughts tonight, though, are with the families still to determine who amongst them are safe. I'm shattered from the grief counselling course. I feel battered about what I'm feeling with regard to these fires, it seems to have layered over the intensity of grouping this weekend with people who were brought together for a common goal. More on that, perhaps, in another post.

For now, there are simply no more words I can say to express the sadness. It brings back memories of Ash Wednesday, at the time a disaster I thought (in my 9 year old mind) would never be topped. It seems this weekend, it has been.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Before I collapse into bed...

As if today wasn't going to be a strain enough, when I left this morning the forecast was "brace yourselves, Melbourne, for our hottest day ever recorded."

It was 8.30am. It was already 33ºC and went on to reach 46.something in the city, maxing at 47ºC, nearly 48ºC elsewhere around the state. I phoned Steve from the car and told him I'd leave my phone on silent, on the table with me, and briefly confirmed with him what he needed to pack in the car in case of fire evacuation.

I just had an inkling. Looking at the sky, hearing the forecast, there was a sense of foreboding.

Well, it happened. And I'll give it in debrief point form, for as long as I can muster some energy to record this monumental day:

The sight that greeted Steve over the neighbour's yard

• I got a call from a very Cool Cucumber husband at about 3.30 today, politely advising me he was sorry to interrupt the course but didn't want to alarm me - I wouldn't be able to come home because the highway was now blocked.
• He told me he now couldn't see the hills directly behind our place (less than 1/2km away) for smoke.
• I checked with him that everything was packed and asked if he was being serious here. He said "Yuh.... it's pretty hairy."
• An hour later, he called again. It had worsened. He was outside now, hosing embers off our house and backyard. The wind gusts were blowing in our direction, right from the fire. Neighbours were losing odd plants here and there (we later found out from several people that their hair had burned with floating airborne ash while they were outside hosing down their properties too).
• Steve reported he could see flames as he stood in our yard. He estimated the fire was less than 200m from our home at that point.
• I asked if everyone seemed okay. He said "Yeah, the neighbours have been all great, we're all out here just checking in with each other."
• I sat, distracted, for the next 45 minutes. The group broke earlier than planned, it was far too hot and unsettled outside that window. Like one massive Earthly hairdryer blowing on high in your face as soon as you exited from the air conditioned indoors.
• As I drove closer to the hills (at the foot of which is the valley where we live), the sky was an ominous orange glow. Traffic was being funnelled down one tiny feeder road, the highway having been blocked.
• At this point, I phoned a friend for some good old-fashioned blubbering and swearing. She was ace (thanks Mel!).
• I got home and discovered that my daughter had been turned into a Cling-on during my absence. The water helicopters were droning and low, ferrying big tubes of water time and again from the nearby reservoir into the wild fire that was still threatening homes just across the road from our place.
• I was not expecting the fire to be that close to us, even though it was exactly as Steve described. I just couldn't imagine it til I saw it for myself and saw the flames.
• At its peak this afternoon, there were 13-14 engines attending the haze. Now there are just a couple, it is an ongoing but contained fire. I am certain imminent danger is averted. Or perhaps that is just my mind convincing me it's okay to get some shut-eye...
• I can't stop thinking of the animals. All the native darling animals!
• I feel desperate and sad, as I think so many of us do, when I see the widespread dangerous fires burning across our state. The people, the properties, yes... but the animals. It really makes me so very sad.
• The highway is still blocked. This is not giving me a safe feeling. It means they (the fireys and police still out there, literally one house block away from us over our back fence) don't think it's safe enough. That doesn't make me feel like sleeping a wink tonight! But I am oh so exhausted, mentally, from the exertion of today's learning.
• Steve and I went on one of the most bizarre couples-walks ever, wandering with neighbours who were cautious but not hysterical. They are used to this. We've been here just over a year; many residents have been here decades and see fires like this (and this close) every few years.
• For now, we have been stepped down from immediate danger but have been warned to stay on alert tonight as winds (they've stilled to an eery lull for a couple of hours now so I think we may be okay) might pick up. It tends to be quite blustery here, as the wind gets channelled through the narrow valley.

Something to get used to. The area, the community, the scenery, is well worth the imminent threat - believe it or not. I've never been more proud and felt more love for the community I live in than I did today. So caring and jovial. I feel very safe here, in terms of being looked out for - worlds away, it seems, from the "each to himself, me first" collective attitude of our previous "community".

In the thick of it:

And on a (semi) clear day, you can see forever... Here is the view almost back to normal after the wind changed and the smoke retreated off the hill:

And..... our Foxtel is down. Steve threatened he was was going to be one of those annoying consumers and call them to complain about our signal being down. I slapped him for you, dear reader.

Over and out.

Something to make you miss me while I'm gone

FINALLY. A toilet seat that would literally scare the crap right out of your child.

No more painfully long and laborious toilet training. Problem solved! *crazy stare*

Friday, February 6, 2009

Good grief

Well, this is it. The eve of the grief counselling course. It's weekend-long, so I am expecting to be beat by this Sunday night. Beat, but full.

Next week is Master Crimson class too. This year, I plan to study the Masters colours (having done the 13 Colour Rays healing course last year, which was all about the 13 levels of human perception - lots of 'work on yourself/heal the healer' stuff). The Masters colours are an extension of this work, where I will really start to expand my levels of responsibility and spiritual energy within myself and how to responsibly share that out toward humanity. And the biggie, the one I've been really itching to get into, starts this month too, on the 25th: Energenetics.
"Energenetics is a method of transforming the body’s cellular memory, of assisting the individual to release outmoded, genetically influenced perceptions and pathways from their etheric pattern and to create new perceptions and pathways that are no longer co-dependent but uniquely their own" - from here.
Must remember not to wear eye makeup tomorrow! Should be great, I am really looking forward to expanding my learning, as always when I take on a new course. This is it, my baby girl, my greatest teacher - I am beginning to pull it all together now and give it back out.

It's been five years. It's time.

How to get felt?

More accurately, what to make with felt?*

If, like me, you've always wanted to know... look no further! Just stumbled upon an Etsy shop that combines all my desires: making toys of distinction (and not plastic) for the Lolmeister, using my hands for good (sewing, in this case) and something time consuming to both distract me from putting my hand in the cookie jar (or making another batch) and most likely end up making me blind with dedication to doing the job properly. Oh how I love to embark on an impossibly intricate project - such as my ever-present book project that keeps growing and growing and growing. I find it always feeds my sense of low self-worth quite adequately.

Who reckons I'll never make this? *meekly putting my hand up first - beatcha's to it, all ye of little faith!* Oh how I very much want to make it. That is, if I get finished making this first... and this. With this for dessert. Damnit, why can't I have lots of wasteful, luxurious time???

* Reminds me of something I've always meant to blog about: the business name I happen to drive past routinely in a neighbouring suburb.... "Get Felt" - on a big, crazy billboard outside (I'm guessing) Mr and Mrs Felt's house. And yep, they manufacture Australian felt. How very specific.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Hearts for Tuesday

I just came across the most heartfelt idea for a grieving family that I have heard of in a long while and had to contribute to the action.

Some of you reading may already know of little Tuesday Whitt, the most delightful little girl who was diagnosed with cancer at age just 18 months and who passed away this week in the arms of her loving family. I have been heavy with sadness for their loss since coming across their blog. Tuesday is our Lolly's age (just three months between them) and so it hits even closer to home.

If you would like to add a message of strength or comfort for the family, click on the link at the right of my blog. There never seems like "enough" to say. But this one blogger alone is offering such a beautiful gesture. I think the mere sight of so many hearts with loving and supportive messages on them might go some way to cradling Tuesday's surviving family.

So many painful years ahead. But so many gorgeous memories left behind. Bittersweet.

Hangin' with Mr Pidey

Doing some weeding last week, I left the green waste bin out in the garden. Next morning, I was treated to a glorious web with this very dainty looking spider sitting at the helm.

I wonder if all the little stumpy spiders pick on this slender spider behind its back. Oooh look at meeee, I've got such looooong legs. EVER HEARD OF A HAMBURGER? Does she even EAT? I saw her just pushing that fly around, I never saw her take a bite. And she works out, like, 18 hours a day. Constantly fixing that web of hers.

Spiders are such byotches.

Must. Stop. Reading. Bloggggs!!!!

But before I do (did), I am so glad I found this entry for Rainbow Cookies.

So excited now, I can hardly sit still. Isn't it ridiculous what a bit of colour and a chance to bake something easy will do to me? Which reminds me ... to soon share with you the ludicrously easy recipe for lemon curd that my sister in-law bestowed on me while they were visiting recently. Now I finally have something to do with our billion and one lemons! Perhaps I could donate jars of the stuff out front. Become known as the Lemon Curd Lady.

Ok, maybe not.

But anyway, I swear, if I make these cookies - and then if they turn out looking good and not, like, either something colourful from Jazz's rear end or something the LGBB mashed together - I will take a photo of how ours turned out and post it here.

But only, y'know, if.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Her Morning Elegance

I think I've just been hypnotized. Highly watchable! (in an open-mouthed how'd they DO thaaaat? kind of way)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The week that was

Well. What a week for Melbourne it's been. I won't reiterate here, I'm sure those of you up with the news will have probably heard about the crazy (and unspeakably tragic) times that have hopefully now passed us. A brief summary can be found here, but it's by no means comprehensive.

Amongst the victims of the heat were two wee baby birds who had just hatched in their nest in our lemon tree. I had sheer thrills of delight - like when I was a kid, on our 2 acre property amongst the nature there - observing the mother native wattle bird tend her young. Their little beaks would appear over the top of the nest when she flew back to deliver their food.

They're dead now. One gone and the other blown out of the nest in high winds preceding a freak lightning storm yesterday morning. Its condition indicated it had probably perished days ago. I was really distraught, not so much for just these birds alone (and the poor mummy bird, who hasn't been seen since the heatwave, probably no need for her to stay around anymore), but for all the creatures - including the leafy varieties - left to fend for themselves in this relentless heat. With no water or shade. Not a pretty way to go, heat exhaustion.

Changing tone now, another victim this week was our TV. What you see here may appear to be harsh punishment ("You! Turn around and face the wall and don't you ever let me see you show us Tyra Banks' talk show ever, ever again!") but it was in fact what the doctor ordered. See, yesterday morning, a storm came through the valley here. A really intense storm with lots of lightning hitting things on the ground. I swear, if the dogs had been outside I wouldn't like to have thought what might have happened. As it was, Steve and my brother were out on the deck "enjoying" the light show and the rain. The LGBB was cradled in my arms, quite alarmed but not really petrified, and we were singing My Favourite Things (because she is now a life long fan of Freulein Maria and sings that movie's musical score randomly throughout any given day).

And then, the most enormous explosion I have ever heard rocked my house. It pulsated the floor. I bit my tongue in surprise. The girls all cowered and the telly.... well, bow your heads, readers.... it went ftzzz. And is now fast asleep. Along with its friends, the amplifier, speakers and dvd recorder.

We had no idea where the bolt had struck. Steve and my brother were rolling about on the deck in fits of shocked laughter, squinting their eyes (probably to check they were still seeing) and mouthing at my sister in-law and I through the window, Did you SEE that??? Oh my f***** dog! It was loud.

Later that day, an SES truck pulled up out front of the neighbouring house. The boys sprinted through our house down the back, following the SES worker's path down our fenceline - they guessed they'd turned up to inspect property damage related to the storm, which had now passed. And they were right.

The SES worker stopped, hands on hips, gazing up at the massive oak next door (adjacent to the LGBB's room, somewhat alarmingly). The big old tree had taken the force of the blow. It had travelled down the trunk and blown the bark clean off the tree. This is the best shot I could get over our fence.

I guess we'd better break the news to the LGBB when she wakes.

The TV is poorly. And it can't play her "the Monsters one" or her beloved Maria until further notice. Wish me luck, folks *cracks knuckles in preparation for some toddler sized heartbreak fallout*

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