Monday, March 30, 2009

We're huntin' Jazzies

I wanted to keep the birds from our figs. No, that is not some kinky euphemism. I seriously did.

So I put a bird net over the tree. Afterwards, our neighbour told me how full of spiders they are. Okay, I gathered they might be at the time. But thanks for telling me AFTER I was in there.

Then, a few hours later, Jazz the drongo space cadet went barging out from under the bush and headed towards the centre of the backyard. Of course, she got trapped. We laughed ourselves silly at the sight. And then we went and rescued her. I helped Steve put the net back on this time. He went in and I stayed out. When he came out, he had a huntsman on him.

As calmly as I could, I told him, "Lenny, there's a spider on your left hip pocket." The thing was crawling by this stage, not helped by the fact that Steve was now spinning in circles, arms in the air and repeating, "Where? Where? WHERE???" and not listening to me, but also trying to thinly disguise his terror. He doesn't necessarily care for spiders, but he sure as hell doesn't want one ON him.

I shall pause here and say calmly to you, dear reader: DON'T click any of this post's links, by the way, if you don't want to see examples of these spiders up close n' personal *wink* I've just included them for our international readers who may not know these man-hand sized SCARY-ASS creatures of nature. There. I've composed myself now.

I repeated calmly (and loudly) "ON. YOUR. LEFT. LEG. EEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!" (that's when the thing dropped to the ground and ran.... oh, the huntsman, not Steve. He's more like a daddy long legs in my mind)

That was yesterday.

Tonight, we were having dinner outside. Crash. Smash. There she went again. This time, Jazz was pushing on the net for all she was worth - "I'm gonna make it outta here, I know I can do it" - and she was making little piggy ears out of those cute floppy Labrador ears of hers. It looked kinda sore.

"I HAVE to take a photo of this," I wheezed as Steve and I started running over to help her. I came inside for the SLR. I mean... come on. It's not every day your dog gets trapped in a bird net that looks like we've set the trap deliberately.

Well, okay. Maybe it's every other day. Apparently.

Ummmmm...... okay, this is a bit embarrassing.
Uh... little help please?

I'm a Labrador crossed with Kelpie crossed with a bit of Staffy.
And you want me to SIT STILL???

Oh for the love of..... I've gone blind!! But hey. I can still laugh in this thing.

Okay, this isn't funny anymore. Orright-orright-orright.
I'm sitting still. Sheesh.

I'm. Almost. Freeee. And, no? That's not a look of desperate concern in my eyes. It's... it's. I've got an eyelash in my eye, okay? An eyelash. It's making me stare.

Ah! All disentangled. Now. What else can I mangle for you?

One of the down sides to creating a love of soy milk

Idle soy gossip:
"Ooooh that's terrible!"

"Mm-hmm, and then they stood me down. Told me they didn't need me anymore. I'm out of a job!"

There is, I have discovered, a down side to attempting to switch the LGBB from cow to soy milk by way of cutesying up the longlife containers..... She formed a bond with the first little "Bonsoy milk man".

By the way, looking for THE BEST tasting soy milk? (stay with me, people) You've gotta try Bonsoy! I swear, you can hardly tell it's not dairy.

Anyway, I decided to introduce Lolly to the new container by making it talk. She has been so used to pouring from the cows milk carton but I've been lazy in getting us both back onto soy. Being the fraidy-cat I am, I didn't just give my toddler the benefit of the doubt and I created a voice and a personality for the little container.

Little did I know that the wide-eyed LGBB would form a bond so great that there were heeeuge tears the morning I broke it to her gently that a new container was coming along because the first one was finished. I wasn't allowed to throw it out. I had to even put the empty one back in the fridge door with the new one - looked at sideways by a dubious Lolly as to its character and dependability compared to her beloved Bonsoy friend - and I went to great pains to let her know that they would do a "milk transfer" and the new one would fill up the old one.

Sigh. Pant, pant. Would it work? I cut the second one and didn't even think twice, assuming I'd be able to make a simple switch. But no. You can't get anything past them can you?!? Apparently, the second one looks shifty 'cos she was not buying any of it.

I am pleased to report that I have since managed to do a shifty change several times now. The trick? Keep the "voice" the same! Silly me had used a higher-pitched hoity toity voice that first time I cracked open a new container. When will I ever learn?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Here I go again on my own

It's a normal day. The sun is shining. I have a healthy 2yo asleep in bed. I have housework to do. I have the weekend with my family to look forward to.

But it's always, always there.

I feel sad that the LGBB is the only one of my children who gets "the best" of me. And it's a questionable best because I feel like it's tainted. So often. And forever. Because of what we've been through.

Granted, this feeling of inadequacy where the LGBB is concerned isn't helped by the upbringing I had - my self confidence and belief in my self has been self-taught in my adult years, more than anything, so I am still getting there on that one. But this. This experience of loss undoes even the strongest, the happiest of people.

And just while I'm on the (loose) subject, if motherhood of a healthy, normal child can be one's undoing...... well, why isn't more done to ensure the childless mothers (and fathers) haven't fallen through the cracks??? They rushed to help me when I finally admitted outside of my four walls that I was going under (and found someone who didn't just pat me on the shoulder and say "yes, babies are hard aren't they!") when Lolly was four months old. The only contact I had from any doctor or MCHN after I had Ella was a condolence card and a sympathies phone call to my answer machine. After that.... zilch.

How is that hole there in the health care system? And why?

My tears are really close to the surface today, don't know why. These are the days where I cannot see the good I have done, the progress I have made, the friends I have. Ooops (sorry! It shall pass, it always does). This time, I want to capture it in text. To read it back later when I'm "all better" again for the time being and just see what I can see. It is a time where none of my usual supports I have meticulously put in place do me any good. And from that, I can only deduce that this is a necessary, growing, permitted experience for me to have. This is all part of me lining my tool kit. Perhaps it's the découpage day for my soul's housing? ;P

There's nothing significant about today. But that's just my point: over five years since the last time I said goodbye to my daughter's body as they wheeled her away in the opposite direction and the thing is, the normal thing is, there shouldn't HAVE to be a reason ("it's been only x months", "it's your due date anniversary"..... ETA: oh holy crap I just realised... this WAS Ella's due date!!! OMG OMG OMG, that's possibly why?! it was only 'significant' to me that first year, I didn't want yet another date to have to think past, iykwim, and commemorate every year).

There's nothing to say, nothing to be done. I don't want to call anyone because I don't want anyone to *fix* anything. I just MISS HER today cry1.gif cry1.gif

A gf called this morning about something totally different. She lost her little girl through still unknown causes after 7 days. She was born at full term the year our dd was born - 2004 - and went on to have another bub the same year as our second - 2006 - and we both go months and months without mentioning our daughters. And then today for no known reason to the two of us, she called, I don't even remember who brought it up, but we got chatting about how we must somehow be so "evil" that we just can't twitter anymore about ANYONE having a baby these days. I told her I was genuinely always pleased and relieved that bub and mum are ok..... I know too well how different it could be. But any more than that and I find it so difficult to be "happy" for them. My heart pulls too much.

I recounted to her my recent stint at a phone support grief counselling course where I befriended a lovely woman in her 60's who had just one child and that child died at full term, was delivered and she never laid eyes on her baby. She never had any other children. She was the MOST fantastic woman. She leaned over and said to me "My dear, it never goes. You never truly feel 'happy' for anyone" and I knew what she meant - she brought it up, not I, and that was even more comforting!

And then my gf and I got to talking about how utterly grateful we are for our second children, our only surviving children to date for the two of us (and our partners). She spoke of how her DH sometimes comes out with glassy eyes, simply from seeing his child, happy and resting in bed. I concurred. It's ALWAYS there. I told her how last night, I had this missing Ella feeling coming on and that I had locked eyes with my DH. He smiled, I couldn't tell him. "I miss her" was all I needed to say. But I just could not be bothered with the mental and emotional exhaustion that this sometimes brings with it. I am getting over a cold. We didn't have time, at *that* time of night - the toddler bedtime routine - for me to go under. And the moment had passed by the time it was a *good* time.

We left the call with her in tears and me close to it. But enriched and nurtured for sharing and admitting these things we hitherto thought were SO wrong of us to feel. It was a relief and a comfort to us both, as we verbally expressed, that we were not completely alone. Mercy.

So in those moments, I tell myself I miss her. I silently scream it, in fact. This is the feeling that never goes. That silent yearning scream. And it feels so lonely.

Sooner or later

It was bound to start. It always does.

I was heading out of the shower yesterday and was cornered, as I stood nude by the dresser gathering my underwear, by a twittery little toddler asking what "that" was.

"This? This is a [I'm not a prude but I shan't type the V word for obvious internettery reasons]", I said.

"A jamima?" asked an enthralled Lolly.

I thought for a moment. About how cute that name was, about whether if I corrected her, would she repeat it (I hoped so because it was so gorgeous she had named it that even though I was telling her the correct name) and if it was really okay for her to call her bits whatever the heck she pleased. I corrected her. And she repeated her misheard version. Hooray!

"A jamima! Mummy has a jamima and Lawen has a jamima because we're girls!"

For the remainder of the day, she mentioned jamimas and girls in varying contexts. Most of them incorrect and unnecessary and deliciously cute, as is the way and want of a toddler delighted by "rudy" body parts all of a sudden.

This morning, as Daddy headed out of the shower, I asked her what Daddy had. She told me he has a "mima" too (it's all nickname basis already, apparently). And when I said no, look, Daddy is different because he's a boy, she took a more careful look at an exposed and slightly coy Daddy as he got ready for work. And then she promptly fell about the bed laughing.

Daddy has "wobbly bits". Amaaaaaazing! And a trifle weird, judging by the slight furrow of her brow. Ah, she'll get it one day.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The long overdue curvy body update

I promised myself, quietly, that I would keep a running update of my body shape changing success (or otherwise) here, to keep myself motivated.

I just finished the six-week intensive challenge set down by the gym. Weekly training with a personal trainer who put me through my paces - each week, I shared my food diary with her and she tailored a program to my body type - and I had to commit to attending at least three times per week and keep my heart rate at over 75% for the entire workout.

I did all that. Except the past two weeks I could only get there twice in a week. I was really disappointed in that, because I wanted to see how much I could change (and hopefully lose, in weight) in that six weeks. I injured my calf half way through, which made anything to do with my legs impossible these last two weeks. I still cannot squat (which is hard with a toddler) as it siezes and is excruciating - all stemming from my lower back, which I am working on from a Peace Space perspective. More on that some other time - I'm sorry, I know I say that a lot!

At the end of it, it was just half a kg loss on the scales. HOWEVER.... 9cm total lost on my bicep, bust, waist, hip and thigh measurements! Not bad in six weeks. So I am guessing a fair bit of the lack in weight change is a reduction of body fat and increase in dense muscle. The proof is in the measurements and how many of my clothes now fit me nicely. I look at my upper arms and can see they are smaller. This is saying something. I am usually very derogatory, but at the moment I am really attempting the Think Positive attitude.

I am going to persevere with the new regime (exercise at least three times per week and keep that heart rate up while I'm there), along with eating more often - my biggest enemy was a sluggish metabolism due to my lack of eating for hours and hours and sometimes not for an entire day from dinner time to dinner time (yikes), coupled with a serious shortage of protein. I've upped this to the 1g per 1kg of body weight they have recommended for maintaining healthy muscle. I guess you could say I am fortunate in that I build muscle incredibly easily, however this can cause an awful, hefty and somehow masculine body shape if I don't exercise (heh!) a little restraint. At my peak, just a few years ago, I could bench press 40kg and I maxed out on the leg press at 25okg. Yes. 250. Ridiculous! Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. I had gargantuan thighs that made me look more beefy than lean. So I am also going to go light on the weights and do more repetitions to keep it a more cardio-based workout each time, with a little weight added in for resistance.

But the true test is going to be in maintaining my own drive and determination to reach my goal. I have enlisted Steve to help me here - I am going to get him to keep measuring me for incentive. I asked him to measure me on Tuesday night (I will keep it at Tuesdays like it was with my trainer) and so far, in the past week:

Another 2cm off my thigh
Another 2cm off my bust
Gained 1cm on my bicep
Gained 2cm in the waist
No change in my hips

... so that's 13cm in just seven weeks! Huzzah!!! It's working!

I can take the bust and thigh measurements as accurate because I used the same method to find the point at which my trainer's been measuring me. My biceps, hips and waist are a bit more iffy and inaccurate but now that Steve is doing it, we have a new benchmark to go off for each week from now on.

I've decided to only look at my weight every six weeks and see if there's a change. Doesn't mean I won't hop on the scales and see what I'm doing, but I am only going to mark it that far apart.

Got a long way to go to reach my goal weight, but now I'm thinking the weight isn't as important as losing the cm's. I think I have to keep this in mind as my more realistic target because I am quite obviously *aherm* a dense person. Oy! Enough with the snickering.

Surely I have to try!

The LGBB has recently discovered her love of Hello, Kitty (thanks to her Japanese cousins who drew her likeness every day they were here and now Lolly recognises little Kitty wherever we go).

I have to try and make these for her 3rd birthday! Hey, I've got a little under four months to practice...... wanna dare me to attempt them?! They're so cuuuuuute!

The recipe is here at Bakerella.

Monday, March 23, 2009

1, 2, 3, 4.... Hi-6

The LGBB was watching Hi-5 on Friday. This is what I heard at the beginning of the show, when the team were all introducing themselves....

"Hi, I'm Kelly!"
"Hi, I'm Tim!"
"Hi, I'm Kathleen!"
"Hi, I'm Nathan!"
"Hi, I'm Charlie!"
"And I'm Lowen!"

And together.... they're Hi-5. Plus one.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Welcome back, Blogger

I don't really know what to explain about my absence lately, suffice to say that there has been a LOT going on in this 'ere noggin.

I am in - shall we say - another direction. I am focused on the LGBB, as always, and of trying to find new and meaningful craft projects to do with her (which I NEVER seem to have time to research to my satisfaction), I'm distracted by yet more work that has come in (always got to take it if it means paying some more bills) and then there's the Intuitive Factor.

It would seem that things are hotting up in my broadening sense of myself as an Intuitive Healer. Hmmm. I'm still too scared off and entirely too humble to even go there, although I'm told I am ready, bored (hence the explosive outbursts I can't seem to stop myself from creating) and ought to already be consulting *cough.... GASP..... nooooo!*. The latest class I've just completed was mighty useful. And next Wednesday begins the Energenetics course (delayed because of the bushfires), which I am both anticipating and deeply nervous about attending. I'll leave it at that.

And now to possibly the main reason why I've been quiet: The Book. The ever-present, won't-go-away book. I have been angst-ridden over where it is going. And now I think I remember. There had to be more on how I've come through my journey the way I have - it's one of the things I am most often asked (even amongst kindred people, like at the grief counselling course I did recently, I am asked to explain how I've done "it" and gotten through, not that I am really sure what "it" is myself yet).

Anyway, on speed reading through a particular section, I came across the few paragraphs that have reminded me where I'm meant to head it...

I liken it to the enormous impact a viewing audience might feel when, watching the nightly news, they see a story about a child losing their life too soon. We immediately think of children we know – they may be our own children, they could be children in our family, perhaps neighbours’ or customers’ children – and reference them to the age and sociability of the child who has passed. We feel sadness, sometimes very deeply depending on the circumstances, we may feel remorse or regret. We can place ourselves within the proximity of being one of the parents – “the poor mother, imagine being that father and coping with this now” – and at the end of the news story, we might still be affected for days. But even during those days, we are distracted often. Other things – our lives – happen. We don’t mean to, but we can shake off the impact of this story, no matter how deeply affected or aligned we are to it.

This is not possible when one is at the heart of the story.

Steve and I found, with a certain sense of recycling grief, that there was no such relief, not for many months, regardless of whether we wished we could simply not think, even if only for the briefest of moments, about our girl and what had happened to her, to us, to our lives as we knew them. Every time there was a moment to think, the quiet would instantly fill with images of the ward where she was housed, snapshots of “The Room” where we were ushered several times to be delivered hard news to hear about her condition, viewpoints only a mother knows such as the top of her head with my fingers laid delicately over her hair and ears. And it was hurtful. Hurtful to think about those things and dreadfully painful to admit secretly to myself that I wanted to try and avoid some of that pain – my baby should not have been inflicting this pain on me!

So began another little thread of healing for me out of these thoughts and moments – I vowed to strive to live above and beyond the pain of losing Ella. For her memory and her life, I was quite certain, was not destined to merely cease in this painful way, with little to no impact after the initial shockwaves petered out. No, I knew this much angst over our entire journey to date was meant for a greater reason than being experienced just within the confines of our relationship. And I vowed to express myself, somewhere in some way, though I didn’t know how or where yet. Nor was I fully clear on why at this point. I was focusing only on today and tomorrow and not much beyond there.

My creative writing is being stockpiled, if you like, and I find that time and space for meaningful blog posts is just not there. I don't have it in me to pour my best into my book and then some into the blog.

I feel (fear?) this means that this little web space is going to suffer. I'm afraid.... I must let it be so. I promise not to run away entirely.

More later

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Talkin' It Up...

This thing gets funnier every time I see it, I swear.

It's a Saturday Night Live clip feature Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake (one of three that have aired since 2003 on the show), playing brothers Gibb - Barry and Robin - on the fictional The Barry Gibb Talk Show. One can imagine... the real thing (if it existed) might just go something like this, with the slight air of submission from the younger brother and the evidence of the older's alleged anger problems and inability to let the "good old days" go *wheeze-snort*

And as usual, here's a disclaimer: I happen to LOVE The Bee Gees so don't be thinking this is a dissin' post. This is just appreciation of good 'umour.

Every time I listen carefully, I catch more words to the song or the dialogue and... man, it just cracks me up. Steve and I have now started to sing the theme song to the show (you'll see what I mean and, oh yes, you can "thank" me later, after it gets stuck in YOUR pretty little heads) going about our daily grind. Example: yesterday doing the pooper scoopin' thing in the back yard after the dogs, I was humming the tune to my own made-up words:

Talkin' it up
On the Jazz n' Pep Talk Show
Pickin' up dog turds
In this ... crazy, crazy backya-ha-ha-haaard

Go on. See if you can stop yourself doing it too.

Monday, March 16, 2009

They're calling on you!

Here is a new recycling program
for a wonderful cause.

Spread the word!

Melbourne's Triple R and Melbourne Zoo are drop off points for your unwanted mobile phones.

Some facts I'd like you to consider:

Mobile phones contain the metal coltan and its illegal mining in West Africa is threatening the survival of the Mountain Gorilla (and other primates such as chimpanzees) through loss of habitat and violent unrest.

With 9 million new mobile phones sold in the last 12 months in Australia alone and the fact that we upgrade our mobiles every 18-24 months, that's a huge demand for coltan.

Each time you recycle your old phone the need for coltan is less. The funds raised from recycling phones goes to Zoos Victoria for primate conservation.

from here.

Did you know?

More than 800 million people around the world currently use mobile phones and that figure is growing daily!

In Australia alone, it is estimated that there were 9 million new mobile phones sold in the last 12 months.

Australians typically upgrade their phones every 18-24 months! This exerts enormous pressure on the mining of resources such as coltan needed to manufacture new phones.

80% of the world’s coltan reserves are located within the Democratic Republic of Congo.

As the forest is denuded for mining, the protection once offered by the habitat in it’s pristine state is now no longer able to shelter gorillas and a range of other species from the bush meat crisis.

In Kahuzi Biega National Park, more than fifty percent of the mountain gorilla population has been lost, leaving the species on the brink of extinction.

You can make a difference simply by donating your old mobile phone!
from here.

They are citing four ways we can help:
  1. Visit Melbourne Zoo to collect a postage paid recycling satchel, and post your mobile phone to the Aussie Recycling Program. Your phone will be refurbished and resold to disadvantaged community groups.
  2. Download and print a copy of our postage paid label and post your phone today!
  3. Donate a corporate fleet of mobile phones by following these four easy steps! To register your support simply email the registration form to or fax it to (03) 9285 9377.
  4. Schools can get involved too! Please contact Kate McCabe at Melbourne Zoo by email or phone (03) 9285 9471 to discuss integrating this program to your curriculum whilst inspiring students to take action for wildlife.

When Melbourne Zoo has made it is so easy to send your old phones in - with their reply paid label you can download straight off their site and return via free post within Australia - well... what other reason do you need to hold onto your old one/s? (Or worse, throw them out)

Why aren't these sorts of findings plastered across billboards in every city of the world? I just don't understand man's need for greed when we KNOW there is a way to prevent such devastation of natural reserves.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Low-carb, low-guilt muffins

These turned out really well! Lucky we made a big batch. The LGBB and I made the blueberry jam versions yesterday in our little star moulds and the vote is unanimous (from aunt and uncle right down to the sometimes hard-to-please-in-the-baked-goods-dept. Steve): Make These Anytime!

I found the recipe here whilst looking for recipes to use up some almond meal and, well to be frank, I reckon ours turned out looking far more appetising... Amazing what a shape will do to make something look enticing. They actually taste like something you'd buy to go with your coffee - very friand-like and not like a muffin much at all. The egg gives them a tacky outer and the almond meal, sans any flour, creates a firm but crumbly inside. Mmmmm... need to go sneak another....

"These versatile sugar-free and low-carb muffins can be the basis for many variations, including low carb blueberry or apricot muffins" - from here. To tell the truth, I was so unsure when I was spooning the mixture in. It had the elastic too-much-egg-white texture about it and I was worried we'd have the LGBB forcing herself to eat something inedible simply because it had a star shape. She helped me spoon out the portions of jam and then had a great time pushing each daub in to the batter slightly.


* 2 cups almond flour (almond meal)
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup butter, melted
* 4 eggs
* 1/3 cup water
* Sweetener to taste -- about 1/3 cup usually works well -- liquid preferred
(I used just 1/3 cup hot water to dissolve 1/3 cup castor sugar and it's turned out just fine)

1) Preheat oven to 350 F.

2) Butter a muffin tin. You can really do it with any size, but I'm basing the recipe on a 12-muffin tin.

3) Mix dry ingredients together well.

4) Add wet ingredients and mix thoroughly (You don't want strings of egg white in there and you don't have to worry about "tunnels" when you are using almond meal).

5) Put in muffin tins (about 1/2 to 2/3 full) and bake for about 15 minutes.

Variations: Add 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries for blueberry muffins. For apricot muffins, take a teaspoon of sugar-free apricot jam on each muffin and push it in slightly (it will sink more during baking).

Nutritional Information: Each of 12 muffins has 1.5 grams effective carbohydrate plus 2 grams fiber, 6 grams protein, and 185 calories. Suitable to freeze.

And for more flavour, try:
1 1/2 cups almond flour and 1/2 cup ground flaxseed; add 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. dried lemon peel. I think adding the cinnamon alone would be a great idea (am thinking I should have done this... next time!)

For a great no-sugar jam, I cannot go past St. Dalfour's range. Oh my... you will thank me! They are in Woolies and Maxi Foods, so hopefully in a supermarket handy to you.
Pricey, yes, but worth it.... double yes. The ingredients are simply 55% of whatever the fruit (so if strawberry jam, you'll get 55% strawberries), lemon juice, grapefruit concentrate and fruit pectin. That's about it. No preservatives, all natural. I KNOW!!!!

Now, go forth and BAKE!

Friday, March 13, 2009

The first rose

Ella's rose didn't flower last year.

It's a beautiful Autumn-blooming fragrant rose, deeply coloured with hues of pinks and purples. In full flower, it looks ridiculously gorgeous.

A childhood friend gave this gift to me five years ago, on her first (mercifully short, for we were still not great company) visit to see how we were going after Ellanor died. I remember looking at her standing in my kitchen, concern etched on her face, and me apologising that I just "can't do it, I can't be cheerful this time, Treen..." and she marvelled with me then that I was actually still standing. She didn't need me to "be" anything, she assured me. I could relax then, for I heard that she understood. But I was completely bereft. Concerned that the me I knew, who she knew, who all around me knew, was lost forever. I had always been able to make my friends smile, giggle, belly laugh in fact. Now, despite my sense of humour, I couldn't do it. I was heartbroken, doubly so that I was not being for my friends and family what they'd come to know and love. Would they love the new, broken me? The pain and fear was so huge.

This girl is salt of the Earth stuff. She's just great. I am ashamed to admit, I don't contact her nearly enough. Ours is one of those enduring friendships, across miles, across faith differences, across other mutual friendships that have ended around us. And always, there is this friend. We went to kindergarten together. Then high school. Then we parted ways. I married, she moved overseas to live. But even still, she's a firm fixture in my mind.

And the gesture that day, of giving us the rose, this "Eternal Moon" - from her and her family - is something I always give thanks for each time I pass by the planter at our front doorstep.

I don't know why I didn't plant it in the garden in my already thriving rose garden of our old place. A blessing, I guess, in disguise because I would have been very sad to part with it if ever we moved. I chose a heavy, simple sandstone planter - something that made two removalists groan and curse when they had to move it here last year - and have watched it wilting in this relentless heat.

I honestly don't know how I didn't see the buds on it. It's as if they literally sprung up overnight last night. Because today, a flash of colour caught my eye. Oh wow, two opening buds! And more. At least half a dozen more. I was doubting I'd ever see it flower to its former glory again, fearing the different conditions here (it's notably cooler, not more than ten minutes' drive up the road, like a more mountain climate - odd and interesting) and the changed aspect towards the sun now had screwed it for good.

But no. She blooms. She grows.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Tough new work laws

I've been in negotiations allllll afternoon over the strict new work rules put in place here recently.

*vision of calm and poise, folding washing doefully* "Yes, sweetpea?"
"You get a jellybean when you do wees on the toilet."
"WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!! Want-JEL-BANE!" (she thinks the faster she says it, the more likely it is to slip by me and I'll agree to it without realising)

See, the rule used to be, if you sit on the toilet you can have a jellybean. If you do anything whilst on the toilet (as in, use it how it was intended "anything", not like make a macramé pot holder "anything"). We ditched the whole reward system for sitting on the toilet after less than a fortnight, over a month ago, because it quickly went from something to be feared to something to get a quick sugar fix. Nuh-uh, Toots, we're onto that one.

Now, the rule is, no jellybean until there's evidence by way of something hitting water in the bowl. Obviously, we're explaining it in simple terms for the LGBB's sake. But basically, that's the upshot.

On and on and on it's gone this afternoon. The LGBB had a nap this arvo - it's become a staple in her day again, blessed are we! - and on waking, she was dry. No time like the present, thought I. So off to the toily for a sit and contemplate it was.

I could fold washing in the laundry all afternoon, against the backdrop of a wildly irascible toddler doing her best from her loo-perch to negotiate a new deal. It's funny how when I know for sure what Steve's and my decision is, I can stick to it no problems. I get no instant stress sweat on my top lip, no twitch in my shoulder blades (the seat of my stress, where I hold it all - lucky moi!).

It's only when I feel unsure about my decision - more accurately, about whether I can emotionally scar my child for the decision I make, given her gutteral wails of protest that render me slightly unnerved that perhaps denying her a second biscuit or not letting her lick the sole of a shoe to get my attention was not a good parental decision - that I get flustered and lose my nerve. Of steel.

Oh, one more thing

Bit of an addendum to the last post, for those playing along at home who suggested quite correctly that I need to mention something about the lack of nappy changing going on: I have spoken to the Big Cheese at the child care place about what happened - it was the first thing I did, in fact, when I got home that day - hence the carer greeting me full of excuses and putting the used nappy into Lolly's bag as solid (boom-tish!) evidence, I guess.... they had been spoken to by the Director.

That part, all taken care of!

Now to work out how not to sound like a Whingey Wendy when we go back today and broach the subject about the nappy getting tucked back in the pocket of our bag....

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ok! I get it!

The LGBB has always been pretty sensitive when it comes to nappy rash. One false move and our finely balanced nappy area can come undone in a matter of mere hours.

Such was the case two weeks ago when my poor girl endured what we detected on the first day as red hot and "a bit sore", from her reports.

Of course, I completely overlooked reminding the child minding place where she goes once a week to do their job and change her at least once. I collected her after the three hours was up and we went straight to do the grocery shopping. It's common practice at every child care centre I've ever come in contact with (either worked at or visited with my child or others' children) that they change your child just prior to the time they are due to be collected.

This is a new centre we've just started going to. The LGBB LOOOOOOOVES it there. Has made firm friends already with a couple of the kids and in general, it's just a very enriching, nurturing environment. It's close to home - within ridiculously easy walking distance - and I couldn't be more pleased with how well it's all turned out.

So to come home after our shopping trip (now four hours in the same nappy, unbeknownst to me) and change the LGBB's pants, only to find massive welts and blisters covering her entire front area, I tried as best I could to mask my horror. She reported, as you'd expect, that her bottom was now "vewy sore". Immediately, I began with a homoeopathic remedy, hourly, which prevented any new sores emerging. Each time I tried to reduce the time between dosages, new blisters reappeared. At one stage, they all joined up so that down both sides of her frontal area - okay, so I'm obviously trying not to be too graphic here.... this is the innernet after all and even I, apparently, have my limits to what I will write and how - were covered entirely in a wobbling mass of fluid-filled blisters. I was in tears every time I tended to her bottom changes. In fact, she spent days out of nappies, only having them on when she announced she "needed" one. Little cheeky minx, she is SO ready to toilet train. But will she yet? Nooooooooo. (Why would she when she's got two suckers doing all the work for her, I hear you ask)

Finally, those blisters have gone. It took a lot of persistence with the remedy I had her on (something called Ars Alb, but I'll be darned if I know what that's short for - all I know is, the stuff is potent and it works on a number of things!) and was even dropping it into her sleeping mouth nightly so as not to go too long between doses overnight. But we did it, is the point.

When I took the LGBB back last week to the weekly play time at the centre, I was greeted with a most apologetic (and full of explanations) carer. I wasn't really interested in hearing excuses, but I graciously accepted their claims that they had checked Lolly. Three times, in fact. And all times, she had been dry.

Now, forgive me for being pedantic but I just have to air here (cos there's no point after the fact, nutting it out with them).... how does a kid, in the space of what they are inadvertently claiming must have been an hour from the last time they checked to the time I got her home from shopping up the street, have a wet, full nappy hanging so low it's almost at her knees? And she hadn't drunk hardly a drop from her drink bottle either in the time she was there. Soooooo.... I just don't see that she had that much in her to make that much wee in that small space of time because she certainly didn't have a heavy nappy when I went to get her.*

I know it was just an unfortunate combination of circumstances - she was already brewing a sore bottom, she didn't drink enough (I've asked them now to remind her/encourage her to drink more often), they didn't change her. They didn't change her the week prior either, but her nappy was only a bit wet when I got her home - and checked out of interest how many nappies they'd been through from her bag and saw that they were all still there and she was still in the nappy I'd sent her in. That's just not good enough, for mine. Especially when they then make detailed excuses.

Anyway, the lesson's been learned from my point of view. I will never assume she's been changed on pickup again. I will always ask when she was last changed if I plan to take her out somewhere after collecting her from occasional care.

But what I found really quite pointed was, tonight, on tending to packing the LGBB's bag ready for the morning, I discovered a used nappy - plus wipes, oddly - inside a plastic bag tucked in the front pocket where I keep her nappies.

Okay, ladies. I get it. You changed her. I don't need to see the bloody evidence! Or if you believe I do, canya at least advise me you've gone against the rules, again, and put the used nappy back in her bag in a spot where I don't look until I check to see if I need to restock so that it doesn't sit there stinking up the bag for a week?? Ta!

And thank you for letting me vent that. I shall now let it rest.

* Trust me, they are ACE when it comes to planned activities and care and fun and, as I said, a nurturing and enriching environment. They will hopefully get their acts together a bit more during the course of the term (we started late, as an under 3's group, which formed out of a general need in the area which has been awesome for meeting other mums in the community - one lives just two doors up from me and we've already set a play date for, of all things, our dogs!).

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Trying to get a life

Obviously, I am in need of one because the only thing I can report (rather, have time to report) is that it seeeeeeeeeeriously peeves me when Jay Lagaia pronounces "kookaburra" as "koo-koo-burra" on the LGBB's Play School CD. It's not remotely related to the cuckoo, son. What're you doing?

Urrrrrrrrrrgh. Makes something twitch in the base of my neck.

That is all. For now.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

I give you.... latest blog design 'masterpiece'. Hope ya don't mind the traffic, Mel! ;•P

I mean, to be honest, it wasn't that hard. This blog, An Exploration of Creativity is a delectable delight to stimulate your senses. I love the things Mel finds and puts here. I can see why she's getting inspired to feed her burgeoning sewing talents. They're all really gorgeous. And of course, things I'd love to have in my home. Why not go over and check it out? But be warned: it'll make you want to explore all the sites she finds. And you know what that means..... loss of time and money, people. Loss of time and money!

Friday, March 6, 2009

It's a twister! It's a twister!

I swear, that's got to be what's coming next.

Question for all you Melbourne readers......... did one of you just have amazing sex, or was there just one mother of an earthquake???

Holy guacamole, I'm shaking!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Welcome to my new look!

Well, you won't get this effect if you use a Feeder to read my blog... so get on over 'ere and see the changes! (just this once)

First, I set about making all the flowers (from scratch) and added layering and effects to them so they were sort of scrap-booky. I'm not a scrapbooking gal, not heavily into it, for there are other addictions that sap up all my time and a lot of my creative productive time along with them. But by nature, I would for SURE be right into it, given half a free day here and there each week.

Then, I created the background. A filter here, a gradient there, whack in some overlaying and... well, perhaps I ought to think twice about my betrothal to Russell because I tell ya, Photoshop would give 'him' a run for his money, actually.

I'm so excited, I've never pushed myself to stick at getting a design done for my blog. But I got all inspired and spent last night and some of this morning on it, tweaking it (fiddly little things! it took quite a bit of playing around to get it looking spiffo for min and max screen sizes and resolutions) and now, why, you can even go to my business website by clicking on my logo in the top left corner - hey, every other bloggy background designer does it, so why not add a little free advertising for myself, right?

Ahhhh. Now I can pay attention to the other 4,002,367 things needing to be done.

Unless..... one of you tells me something's NQR with it. Can you all see it okay? Is it doing anything weird? Wait. Maybe it's best I don't know.... No, tell me!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Book update

Steve and I learned very suddenly that we could not, and did not have to, hold a promise to anybody. All bets, as far as we were concerned, were off. Our baby girl’s death was proving to be the bright light that shone into every ugly, preferably left dark and uncovered, corner of not only our marriage but our relationships with loved ones around us. It felt far more real on the one hand, but on the other it was quite scary and confronting when we weren’t controlling that light.
There didn’t seem any option but to grasp this new, more honest way and we used it to clean up the mess we hadn’t even realised was around us. And it was arduous, challenging, very scary work. But we simply dug in deep and did what we needed to survive the days and that first alternately long yet lightning-fast year. “No going back now”, we would both say to each other, often.

This is an extract from one of the more "tricky" chapters I've found to be written.

So tricky, in fact, that I toss and turn at night about them. Am I saying too much? Am I not saying enough? Am I capturing the essence of what I really want to say? Is it all lost in words?

I'm most of the way through the latter chapters I have down on screen in the manuscript so far. I headed in to them (post-memorial, which is around chapter 14 for memory), assuming to be ditching if not whole chapters, then at least big sections left, right and centre.

Thing is..... since I made some changes and moved the order of the components of these last four chapters around - it was my goal last week to get the timeline of our story corrected because I jumped around a bit which was confusing to readers, according to the feedback - it now flows so well that I am stuck again with thinking it all needs to be left in!

My announcement on the weekend about "news" pertaining to the book was going to be focused on the removal of these chapters (or most of their contents). I felt finally ready, freed, of any need to voice and vent and justify why, how and when I felt wronged, hurt and betrayed. Ummm... I think it's all staying in.

I'm nervous. But yeah. I think it's all in. NOT that this is my final ruling! Farken 'ell, I can't make up my mind (obviously).

In other exciting book news, I think I may have an editor! She's a friend of a relative, off on maternity leave, her field of expertise more than qualifies her to cast a critical eye over my book and its specific subject matter (shall we say, without giving too much away, given that I haven't firmed things up with her yet).

Okay, so I'm nervous AND excited. I don't know what I was ever expecting. I mean, I knew the day/year would come. But now I've got Steve in one ear gently pushing/guiding that my "next step" ought to be to secure an editor if not a publisher/agent, and things falling into place just ahead of my next "decision-time" that only serves to confirm this is all happening at exactly the right pace.

Yesterday, I wandered into the local oogidy-boogidy shop as I've done many times before and there, after my asking, I found the most amaaaaaaazing pieces of mookite stone!! Little pocket-sized working pieces. I bought three. I thought it was perfect time for this productive stage I'm finding myself in with the book. I've already been advised that this stone is very pertinent to my work. To find it in the week when my book is picking up speed towards the finishing chapters.... well, it's not lost on me.

Synchronicity, people. That's what I'm looking out for to guide me here. Synchronicity.

Nine months

That's how long it took me to believe she wasn't going to leave me too. I remember walking in and seeing the LGBB propped on our bed like this (don't look at our mismatched pillowcases, orright?) and feeling it like a hit to the stomach: "Oh wow.... A baby. I'm seeing the vision I never thought I'd see - our baby, in our home, on our bed."

I spent the remainder of the first year of Lolly's life still astounded she had come.

I don't actually think I will ever stop giving thanks.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

No fireworks, but a fire memorial

We arrived last Saturday night back at the festival for the fireworks, as duly promised to the LGBB. After a ride on the "Round-round" (that's what she calls ferris wheels) with Mummy and Aunty Nic, we took our places with the gathering crowd down at the edge of the sports field.

What we were greeted by was a most poignant and fitting tribute to the many lives lost (and threatened) in the recent spate of fires across our state. We stood in the crowd as people cheered, cried, clapped and called out their "THANK YOU"s to the hundreds of volunteer men and women, decked out in their fire fighting gear, who streamed on to the cricket field where they usually hold the annual fireworks display (a highlight of the festival).

I couldn't help myself. I cried as I stood there, listening to the facts being recited by the MC from the middle of the pitch. The fireys all stood silently, flame torches lit. And as we were asked to observe a minute's silence, they extinguished their flames. Out of the silence came...

"Whassat over there? Where the fire gone?" from the LGBB, confused by the sudden lack of talking from her aunty (who was holding her). I turned and gave her a warm, gentle "shhhhh" and a smile while Aunty Nic explained we had to be quiet "just for a minute." Cue Lolly tenderly placing a pudgy-fingered hand on my shoulder and whispering, " 'sokay, Mummy", giving me a bit of a patronising pat and then leaving her warm hand there. It was so darling. And it made me spill a few more tears.

When they mentioned our town in the list of places that had been affected recently, the LGBB squealed out (and forgive me for not plastering the name here, I'll call it Toon Town), "Toon Town!! Oh, yay, Toon Town!" because we've just started explaining to her where we live. She loves the name of the place so much, she asked if we could go there. Erm, well yes.... we can. Ta-da!

(It reminds me of the time when my little brother, on seeing a Victorian Tourism ad on the telly, made the adamant statement that "Victoria looks like a nice place for a holiday. Less go there!" and my mother had a similar tricky concept to try and explain on her hands)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Sometimes, I do things right

Our breakfast of caramelised bananas on pancakes the other week. The LGBB couldn't even sit still in her chair for a happy photo, she was so keen to keep savouring it.

I'm still reminiscing.

'allo, narna's! Walnuts... Miss you already. Love yooooooo.

*waves hanky forlornly at photo of the best breakfast she's ever made*

The face I got when I said...

"No more (BLEEPING) Beyoncé concerts!!!!"

I'm not even kidding (oh, 'cept about saying the "bleeping" bit). This is the 'tude I got. And don't you love the dangly bits on her ponytail? Goes with the snazzy headband she wore on the weekend, I think. Gosh some people have talent! (Special mention to the lip gloss, by the way, it was the first time I've acceded and let her actually put some of mine on.... I think that's why she never wanted this day to end. I also painted her toenails. She has since shown ev-er-y-one her toes, even takes her shoes off and waits, one foot in the air like a horse waiting to be shod - I'll look down while I'm being served at a counter somewhere, wondering why she's wobbling about holding onto me - yep, foot up, shoe off, ready and patiently waiting to show the store attendant. Awwwww!)

The Sulking Twonager
...after an afternoon of twirling and engaging, interpretive body girating that was apparently supposed to never end. I ruin all her fun. Already.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Wedded bliss

(First let me please begin this post with a big shout-out THANK YOU to all you very kind and generous women who've messaged and emailed me through my 'grey day' last week. It is very much appreciated, as I am sure you'll all already appreciate, to hear from people who sound like they know exactly what you're talking about - cos they've been there too and also aren't afraid to say they're imperfect - and I am certain it makes all the difference. So again, thank you to each of you, even those who read and nodded in solidarity but didn't actually contact me - you're equally as appreciated! Back to our usual programming.....)

I smell dinner cooking.

There is something so nurturing to me (as if I've rounded out everything I've done today) when I can smell something cooking in my home during the day while I go around doing other things*. I've chopped and sliced all morning - piles of gorgeous vegies - and started my dear Russell Hobbs dual-pot going with two different meals that will last us several nights this week. A Japanese curry based one and the other a good old-fashioned soup-can-sauce trick (cream of celery tonight).

Is it wrong to have romantical thoughts about one's reliable kitchen appliance? It's just so easy to turn on. Use. And not feel guilty about doing either of those things for my own gain. Not to mention simply leaving it to do the one job I've asked it to do and trust it'll be done, to complete perfection without me having to ask it again.

Y'know? *coy*

Hey, by the way, stay tuned for a book update. I hope to update on latest thoughts and progress tomorrow!

* I'm all about finding the balance -- the yang to the yin... or something like that -- so I will proudly state here in this disclaimer that I can thank my mother for that. The same one I was cursing two days ago. She was a crockpot/pressurecooker fan in the 70's and 80's. Hey, feeding a family of six, you'd be crazy not to have enlisted its services. We had everything in that thing, including porridge that would be set to slow cook overnight.

Archived Posts


Related Posts with Thumbnails