Sunday, May 31, 2009

With a heavy heart

Ella’s condition had become complicated. The doctors and nursing staff went to great pains to explain to Steve and I that it had not worsened, as such, but that with her growing body placing more pressure on her lungs, the complication of her heart condition meant that she had to work harder. Her breathing had quickened and she was having more frequent desaturations – her blood was not oxygenating enough due to the holes in her heart and its leaking valves and the shared aorta. To help her become more comfortable and, in turn, allow her body to concentrate more on growing than on breathing to stay alive, the doctors had decided to place her on CPAP again. It was highly distressing for her whenever she was awake. I was finding the strain extremely draining, of seeing my baby struggle with the tubes, often pulling them free angrily with her hands, coupled with my now quite regular inability to console her with any of the usual methods I had learned. It tore me up whenever I was not able to successfully settle her and it impressed upon me an even greater importance to be at her side as often as possible, given that, from my perspective, I was becoming ineffective as a mother altogether as she grew more uncomfortable and I could not ease her distress.

I have been forging ahead with performing a re-read of my manuscript this past week. It has been a hard slog this time, the reason possibly two-fold: I am aware it is being read by an objective third party (the Editor) and.... I have an irascible toddler just chomping away lately at every last grain of patience I possess.

It is mostly due to this latter 'reason' that I am brought to my knees whenever I think of the two ends of the parenting spectrum on which I am sitting right now. On the one hand, I am gnashing my teeth over every little thing the LGBB is doing that grates on my nerves and encroaches on my personal space. On the other, I have this memory of the history I have shared with her amazing older sister.

And once again, I am torn into pieces. I have been a horror head to Lolly recently. It's only just been tonight that the penny has dropped: of course I have felt things more keenly. I seem to think I can just stroll on through the script that was our lives, Steve's and mine, as we walked alongside Ellanor (not to even mention the enormous hill we climbed before we even met her), and yet not have it affect me.

Silly, silly, silly girl. When will I learn that to carry the two, I must be aware at the same time of the different energy expenditure required of me?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Signs your child is bored with you

She starts asking the dog to play hide and seek. And then thinks the dog is actually playing with her.

Picture this: the LGBB politely asks Jazz if she would like to play hide n' seek. Jazz continues to gnaw her back leg and relieve the apparent itch to end all itches there. Then the LGBB walks around a corner, saying to Jazz, "Ok, Daz, I count. Ready? One, two, FEEEE! Ready ah nut, here I come!"

Cue Jazz still working away at her itchy hindquarter.

"I find you, Dazzy, I find you!! AAAHHHHH! Yaaaaaay!" squeals Lolly as she rounds the corner and uncovers her eyes.

Kept her amused for a good five minutes, mostly because one time after the LGBB had gone back around the corner to count for three - who the hell could hide in three cat-and-dogs?? - Jazz had moved to the door. Oh, whoops, I mean... Jazz had gone and hidden. In plain view. But, somewhere different, is the point here.

D'oh. My brand of fun is just not cutting it right now.


I just don't get it.

Nothing you say will make me get it!

And I have no desire to get it.

But I'm intrigued by those who do.....

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Just a bunch of crazy coincidences.... Right?

I was saying to Steve last week that I had heard on a number of occasions from various people now that the LGBB can read our minds. I have always put it in the "Oooooo-kay" basket. I err on the side of healthy scepticism, you know a bit like: "You've made the statement, now let the facts speak for themselves". Thing is, with things that are mostly in unseen dimensions, it's kinda hard for any "facts" to be concrete or confirm themselves absolutely.

Or so I reckon, anyway.

So here we were, having this rather uncomfortable conversation. Uncomfortable mainly because Steve was now doing the "Ooooo-kay" thing, even though I have recently become more and more convinced that, if not reading my mind, the LGBB was certainly doing an A+ job of guessing things I was thinking very accurately.

"Like how?" Steve wanted to know.

And that's the thing. I can never remember examples. It was the same when I confessed to a girlfriend (last week as well, which was why it was at the front of my mind, hence mentioning it to Steve). She wanted me to list a few "like how's" and I couldn't. It was just that too many times now, as I tried to explain to her, I've been thinking or concentrating on something and Lolly will call out, from wherever she is (and usually it happens when she's not really doing or concentrating on anything as such, like when she's doodling on paper, etc.), "Mumma, what you thinking?" She only asks this when I am deep in thought.

So, easy enough, I'd reckon, to put that sort of circumstance down to her reading my face. She's done that for as long as I can recall her talking in sentences. It's not much, on its own. Sometimes I'd ask, "What do you think I'm thinking?" and I'd think of something quickly, like "blue car"... I remember one time, she said "car! blue!" when I did that. I put that, too, down to a lucky guess. She wasn't even two at the time.

This past weekend, after the discussion we had about it, the three of us were outside doing our own things. But together. Steve leaned over and was reading the paper I had spread out under the LGBB's painting easel. She was in her cubby house on the deck, singing. Suddenly she stopped and leaned her head out, calling to him, "Daddy whatchoo thinking?"

I asked him to tell me if he had just been concentrating on something. "Yeah," he said, "I was just trying to work out from this article's map where they were talking about with this new building."

Anyway, lately her questions of what I'm thinking have increasingly become replaced with actually saying out loud what I was actually just thinking, as part of what she is absent-mindedly singing or saying as she plays or draws. I regularly - at least once a week - stop short and think to myself, "Nah! She couldn't have just said that, I was just thinking it!" But it's hard to prove. Especially to the Sceptics' ultimate poster-boy, who we happen to live with.

The best example of this I can give was Sunday night. We had arrived home late and I needed to make something quick and easy for Lolly's tea. I was pulling ingredients out of the fridge, thinking to myself as I went. I would make her a plate of finger food type things. Cherry tomatoes, little blocks of sheep's feta cheese, salmon sandwich sushi rolls (thinned out bread, crusts off, rolled up with salmon and cream cheese inside and then sliced into rolls - cute and easy!). But it didn't really seem like very much. Then I remembered I had some ricotta in the fridge. "I'll make her a ricotta sandwich too, that'll pad it out," I thought as I worked.

Meanwhile, Steve and Lolly were kicking back on the couch. Steve was playing a game on his iPod Touch, the LGBB was sitting with notepad and pen writing a "shopping list" (read: scribbling on the pad and listing ingredients we needed at the shops). I wasn't listening to them, but was hearing Lol say stuff occasionally... "bread, eggs.... milk, we need milk..."

Steve called out to me, "Are you making a ricotta sandwich for her for tea, by any chance?"

"Uhh... yeah, among other things," I replied distractedly. "Why?"

"She's just 'written' on her shopping list... "ricotta... sandwich."

We looked at each other. I smirked at him and raised my eyebrows, "Well, now what do you think?"

"Yeah... that's pretty good," is all he will still admit.

What I reckon is, sometimes the LGBB can pick up words here and there but if she doesn't understand what we're thinking, she asks. At other times, she is able to actually say what she hears me think. I know it sounds bizarre. And to be quite frank, I think many, many young children can do this. It's just that..... well, do we ever really listen to what they're saying? Do we stop often and long enough to tune in to them? I wonder if she will switch off too. We all seem to, before we even hit adolescence. I hope she doesn't, but I also don't really know if I want this feeling of being 'different' to be in her future. All I can do is teach her she has something special - normal - and the rest will be up to her. I sure as hell am not going to wave her off. But I'm not "into" encouraging it, either, for then it is not pure (ie. you can't be sure after that when a child is merely trying to do party tricks).

I don't know. It's all just very..... interesting and special.

Have any of you ever had any specific things like this happen? Would love to hear from you! As always, if you don't want to openly comment, feel free to email.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mother Lolly

We had to go out to the shops for an appointment today. A rainy, wet old day.

The LGBB was most pleased to bring her beloved Sherry (she is very fair and cycles through her various dozen or so "best friends" and takes them on her outings, so today was apparently Sherry's turn). She obliged when I told her, "Jacket on, hood up", as if I was confident she would keep it zipped up, on her head, not struggle with buttons or pockets or zippers - she gets very Two Going On Twelve when she pulls this sort of caper, the "I don't want to wear this jacket" because her father or I have chosen one that doesn't go with her shoes.... don't believe me?? then odds on you haven't got a girl.

On the way back out, imagine my delight and surprise that, not only was the jacket - which just last week apparently had razor blades sewn into the inside at right angles - now suddenly hunky dory and the best fashion accessory she could hope to get on her in a hurry, but she announced to Sherry, "Oh, Shewwy. You don't want to get wet. You come in my jacket too?"

So I did it. I humoured her (and made a right task for myself, trying to fit the jacket around their two little pot bellies) and I buttoned her jacket up around her bear. The LGBB was tickled pink as we headed back to the car in the middle of some godforsaken sodden carpark in the back of the (packed) shopping centre.

"Mum," she said to me as we walked. "I've got a baby in my belly." We had just been spotting pregnant shoppers while we were indoors and going by her lack of a response at the time, I just thought the LGBB hadn't been listening or been interested.

"Have you?" I asked, looking down as she strode along, arms swinging like she meant business and obviously very chuffed at how she could carry her "baby", Sherry, without holding her.

I couldn't help it. I HAD TO take a photo. Ok, I took four. But only just in case one didn't work....

And p.s. she's wearing one of those skirts!! (You said you wanted a fashion parade of photos...)

Struttin' in the (car)park

Proud as Punch

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A farewell to Autumn

We're in the final days of Autumn. The days are getting decidedly crisper in their coolness, as if the sun doesn't quite pack the same punch in the afternoon already. And in a final flurry of seasonal duty, our tree just dumped 3/4 of its leaves in a matter of days. It reminds Steve and I of the eternally funny Meaning Of Life...

I looked out of my bedroom window a few days ago and was greeted with some morning sun on our beautiful Liquidambar tree. I gazed at the thinning leaves on the branches, soaked in their gorgeous autumn colours. And slumped my head and hunched my shoulders as I cursed the brown leaf carpet across the entire lawn. But really, in perspective, a once a year task worth all the raking, if enjoying the majesty of this tree is the reward.

Monday, May 25, 2009

How could I forget?

The critic in me says, "But his left arm is too short in proportion
to his body and the kink in that right leg is unrealistic..."
Slap her for me, will you?

Sometimes, I think it's just too easy these days to lay your hands on things to do for kids, thanks to the internet.

For instance, I am one to search for images of the LGBB's fave characters of the moment (right now, she has a soft spot for Elmo, Shaun the sheep - and who doesn't, I'd like to know! - Charlie and Lola and she doesn't mind a bit of Wubzy either). Then I print them out so she can colour them in.

Lately, I've stopped doing it because, well, there's nothing really fun about seeing your child not really enjoy the print-outs, grab a coloured pencil, do a few strokes and tell you they've "finished".

Last night, I was doodling with a piece of paper and a pen while the LGBB was having a late meal-for-one (we got home late so I made her up a plate of little toddler finger foods and she devoured it - God, she's a sucker for anything out of the ordinary, I could give her the same sandwhich she's been refusing but if I make it with a teddy bear cutter... she's putty in my hands). So I sat with her and thought I'd just do some absent-minded drawing to keep her company and amused, keeping that changeable toddler mood swing at bay as long as I could.

Her glass was there next to her. It had Elmo on it. I found myself just deciding to draw him freehand, copying what was on her glass. And oh my God, if I didn't have an absolute ball despite myself! This was far more fun. For both of us (the LGBB and me, not me and Elmo). She squealed with delight as he came to life on the paper. And I have to say, I was pretty chuffed with the enormous hugs of appreciation I got from her, before I'd even coloured him in while she sat there eating.

I used to draw all the time. In school, my curriculum was made up of arts subjects. Art and English, they were my "thing" and I'd blitz them with straight A's consistently throughout the years at high school. So why did I stop drawing? I think it happened when I became so aware of the amount of time I had to myself, while we were trying to start a family. It was like this constant, ugly reminder - that I had all this time to create stuff.

In actual fact, it was probably the best thing I could have done - "escaping" into my art and drawings. If only I had done it more often, who knows? Who knows what could have happened? For me, there is such healing to be had through using my hands to create something and put effort into. It is also a rare opportunity to tune out the rest of the world, for you cannot talk on the phone while you do it, you can't chat online or surf the net when you're concentrating on a piece of art - no matter if it's a huge canvass or a little slip of paper with a doodle of Elmo on it. It forces me to zone out and tune in at the same time. And I forgot just how much I find it incredibly uplifting. I avoid doing it. For all the wrong reasons - "I don't have enough time", "I can't be bothered getting everything out and cleaning up again once I'm finished (if I'm painting)", "I don't want to attempt something that doesn't turn out how I want it, I haven't got room in my head to berate myself for things my critical eye will undoubtably pick up"... blah, blah, blah.

Anyway, I am so pleased I have something I can impress the LGBB with. I admit it. I want my child to be happy with me. I spend so many hours of the week feeling like a spitting lioness, growling at her. It's like a rebalance of the not-so-harmonious times we have together week after week - hey, any of you reading who have young children (especially an only child, for siblings are wonderful distractions from the mundane, I'll bet - albeit with their own brand of bringing the house into banshee-levels of shouting sometimes, of course) will surely know it can be so difficult when their voracious minds are devouring activities a mile a minute.

But in this outlet, we can be connected. Who says the kids have to have all the fun drawing and colouring in?! I must remember that a simple little drawing, like Elmo, can nurture, defrag and fill both of us up.

Ready for the next round....

Mandala Meditation Monday #3

For those still playing along at home, here is what I was given today. Let's not forget, we're all connected. I've no idea if this is of any use to anyone and what they may be going through personally at this time. But this is what I received. And once again, you know... in case it's pertinent to just one of you....:


the colour of …LIGHT MAGENTA
the sound chord of …F minor 7
the stone essence of …APOPHYLLITE…Facilitates the attunement to your body as well as to higher dimensional life forms. It creates a conscious connection between your physical form and your spiritual self. Enhancing your mindful analysis with love, APOPHYLLITE allows you to recognise truth and to act upon it. It helps you realise that the state of perfection is the natural state of being. APOPHYLLITE facilitates astral travel and provides you with a clear, definite connection with the physical during such travel. APOPHYLLITE can assist by sending information which is received by your conscious mind; it helps you remain conscious whilst astral travelling. APOPHYLLITE can assist you to access the Akashic records; it facilitates the exchange of communication to do with past life experiences. It encourages a reflective quality so that you can recognise the nature of your attitudes and behaviour. It will encourage you to seek, recognise and correct defiances. It also provides you with the necessary energy for such times. APOPHYLLITE opens you to the ability to see your future. It stimulates energy so as to bring Light and energy into your being and Love into your heart. APOPHYLLITE enhances your intuitive vision. It assists you to traverse time and space, so that you can arrive at a stargate. It maintains the necessary energy for your acts of preservation and rejuvenation and clears and refreshes your eyes.

The Magenta oval and the White spiral within this Mandala, together with the Yellow pyramid,• constitute the dawn of the intuitive worker.

The oval of this Mandala
• will connect you with Universal Law;
• will connect you to the natural self-acceptance that comes from focussing on attaining the ability to be cooperative;
• is the home of recognising that All is One and of learning how to cooperate without your ego’s attitude of denigrating the noble Art of Cooperation;
• houses energy belonging to Nature to assist you to reach further. This energy belongs to the Mother role of giving birth to new concepts that will benefit the Earth, and of giving yourself to the world.♥

It is often difficult to balance giving yourself to others whilst retaining something to give to yourself, yet such balance becomes increasingly important as you expand (or open to) your intuitional flow, and as a greater amount of energy for understanding what is for the betterment of all becomes available to you.

This Mandala will assist you with such balancing. As your life experiences test your self-acceptance and you question how to keep a steady flow of energy available, this Mandala will help you closely monitor and define your ego. While you are certainly responsible for your actions and expressions, remember that you are learning how to detach from assuming that a particular situation belongs to you alone. You should not take a personal view of the situation’s consequences as they present to you, nor succumb to their energy.

It is time for you to know that you are not in charge of the service of healing. Universal Guidance is given for universal care, because such energy is too whole for just you to use. This is why you must always give healing. In the service of healing others, it is your responsibility not only to communicate intuitively with the healing energy given, but also to use your own energy in many different ways in service. This means that you may find yourself having to scrub someone else’s floors or clean their windows!

If you do not enter into some form of practical service that is not necessarily of your choosing, you risk having your most precious intuitive connection emasculated.

• of Mandala No. 41, The Seer’s Sunlight
♥ When intuitive expression becomes an aspect of your life, you can easily lose sight of your physical onus to monitor your health and learning. If you neglect these, hardships can manifest at a later time. You may find that your spine and legs require energy healing because, when you prepare to transpose your energy into your social cause, it will be the spine that will hold your motive and your knees that hold the energy for your new momentum. Such energy healing should, therefore, commence at your knees because it is the knees that hold not only your anger, but also your dedication and devotion.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Who said gluten free was tedious?

I feel like dinner tonight: A gluten free base, topped with sugarless - I opt for zero added sugar on every label I read now, no more excuses or short-cuts - tomato paste, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and red onion. Topped with dots of ricotta and sprinkled with basil. And for extra decadence, some guacamole on the side to dip it into.

Uh.... that'd be me. Because six years ago, when I first went on the Candida Diet to (you guessed it) clear up the candida that was triggered by a combination of anti-biotics and multiple pregnancies in a short space of time, it was so hard.

Why was it so hard?! And why have I waited this long to get back to the gluten and dairy free diet I know my body needs and works best on? I am indulging in a bit of chocolate here, a bagel there... and it feels so good. It feels good to not be giving myself these "reward" foods on a constant, daily basis and makes them all the more enjoyable when I do splurge.

I have even cut coffee down. Now, I was a 3-5 cups a day gal once upon a time. When I reduced it two years ago to one a day (and I snuck in an extra one or two every few days), I thought that was very good of me. Phenomenal, in fact.

Since the detox I did about a month ago, I'm lucky if I have three coffees in a WEEK! Unheard of!

I'm loving this. And my previously aching, weary, stiffened joints are too.

Friday, May 22, 2009

And the love-in is over in 3, 2, 1......

Just in case you were starting to gag on my repetitive joy-posts, I'm back to my usual sodden programming.


I GOT LESS THAN THREE HOURS' SLEEP the entire night last night. Thanks in no small part to the bagpipe that apparently lodged itself in my wind pipe and wheeeee-whaaaawwwwwed ALL FU*****G NIGHT whilst I tried to breathe. And every third breath, that bagpipe *ok, so it was mucus, obviously, but perhaps with a nice tartan outer covering* dislodged and tickled the tops of my lungs like a mo' fo' and made me cough. Cough it right up. Upon which time, yet another bagpipe *perhaps from the O'Donnell clan this time* settled right back in place of the previous one.

With all the wheezing and groaning in my chest, the tickle, the rattle and by morning, the exhausted, hoarse bark, who was I kidding, thinking I required more than between 11pm and 2am to get me through a bad-ass Friday??


This is not going to be an ace day. I am OVER this godforsaken Supercold I have had for nigh on four months now. Crap. This is just crap. When I spoke to a doctor about it (last time I was there with the LGBB for her nappy blister woes), he said to me most unhelpfully, "Well, stop kissing each other and passing it back and forth." Well, thanks for that blatantly obvious tip, Doc.

Thing is, Steve and Lolly aren't sick at the moment. Neither of them have had so much as a cough or sneeze for weeks. There's no obvious reason for me to stay clear of them in case I catch something back off them. So by the doctor's suggestion, I should actually just stop kissing my loved ones "just in case". I am still sick. I get, at best, a five day leave of absence from my symptoms before something else (if not a full blown cold again, then something slightly left of field like, oh, say, a bout of food poisoning) hits me. It's quite clear to me that I am depleted of possibly several vital nutrients/minerals because I'm not firing on even one burner at the moment, let alone all four. My voice is only marginally better today than it was two days ago when I woke without it, much to my dismay as I was going to meet a girlfriend and she then had to put up with my hoarse croaking (I'm still sorry about that!). Then of course, yesterday, more talking.

Another girlfriend, whom I've been missing seeing for various reasons and cancelling on because of short notice work commitments and also being sick, tied me to a play date today. They're coming here. It's her daughter's curriculum day at school. A daughter who never gets to see the LGBB anymore, because she started school this year, and whom the LGBB really loves to play with. I can't cancel again. I have to go out to work this morning. Two stupid, out of the way jobs that I have to travel for to a corner of the city that isn't on my way anywhere.


And worse still..... I lost it at Lolly this morning. By 8am, I had been up for six hours already and I'm sorry, but those demands that begin precociously with, "I WANT....." and end in a food item that she knows she's either not allowed to have or that she simply does not need and is just saying for the sake of seeing it in the fridge when I've opened it in the umpteenth attempt to get myself my own breakfast sustenance in between getting her organised for the day and helping her finish her own breakfast... well, it's just not my idea of not poking the bear with a pointy-arse stick.

Lord help all those in my path today.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

We have lift-off

Well. The hand-over is done. It was a monumental meeting. For me, anyway. Over two years on this draft alone, not to mention the scores of as yet unused work that have had time, energy and tears poured into them. When I think about the encouragement I've had, from so many of you simply reading along with this blog, not to mention those closer in to me - and those who have first-hand gone into the trenches as I first began to uncover all these vaulted points in our history (one person, in particular, springs to mind for her tireless typing of transcripts from my often-rambling voice files.... a pigeon-toed fanks to YOU) - I just find it overwhelming that I was helped (nay, more accurately dragged) over this first line...

I am so very grateful to have so very many special souls surrounding me :) HOW did that happen, I ask myself often and am honoured to be sharing this journey with you.

The Editor was fantastic, very humble in sharing her well-honed talents. And get this: she did IVF to achieve her, possibly only, child. We spent half the meeting sharing stories about births, about the years of being misread and misunderstood by very well-meaning but ultimately short-spanned supporters around us. It was a very interesting and validating conversation. Here, again, was a woman with a brilliant head on her shoulders, echoing what I've heard so many times before now. And what I silently went through myself for those years while I strived and survived.

Symmetry, people. It's called symmetry. I had no idea hers was a tricky path to motherhood too - no wonder, in hindsight, she was hoping I would contract her to do this with me. And what a boon for the end piece, that I already from the outset have someone in my corner to use a professional, detached broad brush, yet come from an angle of having personal experience in many aspects, herself, of what I've written!

So, all in all a successful morning. I have nothing to report, really, for the moment except that she's keen as mustard to start reading, has taken copious notes about characters I am dubious about including, points I hope have come across, seeking her opinion on some of the token symbols of the piece (she was right on the same page - heh - with me on that one and has already earmarked a few of her own, having had a glance over the first three or four chapters this week).

Oh and for those playing the What I 8 game: I had the most out of this world caramelised banana French toast that disappeared in my mouth (although I'm guessing the same disappearing act can't be said for the resultant effects of such carb-loading). And about three soy latte's. Surrounded by huge lime green-leaved gum trees and dappled warm sunlight on an otherwise bone-chilling blue sky day. Heaven. Pure heaven.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


That's the number of words in my manuscript. So far. I'm told that's an excellent count, for when writers aim between 80-120,000 words, this is usually then diminished through cutting of sections and then it has to be padded out and tweaked to get to the final submission. So I have lots to play with already to help me with the rework.

There's been one person on my mind for quite some months now. Ironically, right when I was flagging with this "project" of mine, we happened across a documentary about J.K. Rowling, following her during the writing of the final book in the Harry Potter series. It was timely. And she was so interesting. And by the way, she only downed a half bottle of champagne when she finished the last chapter?? Oh... I suppose it was just one chapter. And, ah yes, she took it in one sitting. So, we're not talking about half a bottle for the whole book. Well, I was going to say! Right. Ummmm.... *coughs... shifts feet sheepishly*

I'm continuing with my writer's block at a cracking pace (hence the move to bring an Editor on board now). Now to actually finish the book - I have no clue yet where it will end, for I don't want it to be a cliché "happy ending", all rounded off now, etc., nor do I necessarily want it to end on a downer either. But to finish it, I will have to write more words. Words, words, words. Sigh.

My thoughts tonight, as I sip a glass of wine and stare at this huge wad of paper, over two years (not counting the actual prac!) in the making, are that I do know, deep down, why I've had such a block. It's because I don't know if I want this to become a real possibility. I don't know if I want to put myself up to be rejected - right now, the possibility of being taken up seems real enough. Right now, my optimistic brain thinks... "Well, why not you?" and I am reminded of the words of advice from my sometime mentor that I wrote about last February, when she quoted Mandela to me seemingly so long ago: "Who are you NOT to shine?" Indeed.

In the real world, though, this ream of paper is most likely going to end up in shredders of agents and publishers across the country. And I want to bury my head in my hands when I consider that prospect, for this is my story. Our story. My girl's story.

But I have to finish. It's pointless to come this far and pack it all in. Ho yes, I certainly have been considering that as a mighty fine prospect! I can't do it, though. I just can't let her (me) down like that. Not at this hour. So. I have to find a juncture to close off this first book and soon.

See you on the flipside of tomorrow's first meeting. Let the fun begin!



I just had a hankering for Cheds. And now I have a craving for Cheds. I can't stop tasting them. Or saying the name in my head.

And I won't stop thinking about Cheds til I get a box.

Nooooooo!! My two week old wheat and dairy free diet has been severely compromised!

The puffiest

Anne's dress that Matthew bought her may well have been "the puffiest". Well. I have it on good authority that the LGBB has the twirliest of skirts. Eat your heart out, Anne Shirley.

In my ever-increasing attempts to keep the LGBB in "pretty skirt and toights", as she declares she must be each and every day upon waking, I have splashed out to complement her mostly pre-loved wardrobe with these stunning little skirts.

We. Heart. Them. Especially that green one underneath (with the red embroidery) - cos it's a long cheese-clothy feeling full skirt that just opens out and out and out, but hangs slim. She wanted to wear it last night with a little dark brown singlet with orange blanket stitched edges and the slogan 'Hippy Trail' emblazoned across it. It was weird seeing the outfit on her, while she was twirling and grooving away to [oh god] ABBA's Nina Pretty Ballerina, she looked so grown up. So right in it. So... folksy. Like the true inner hippy I believe my child totally is (despite me not being one... go figure). I keep trying to preppy her up. And she just individualises herself again at the first chance. Atta grrl.

Me, personally, I just LOVE the red one on top - it's a thick woven fabric. So winter warm!

And all of them. The twirliest.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Mercy me, Internet, I did it....

I just booked a time to meet with the Editor I've just had this good feeling about for a few months now.

We're meeting this Thursday at 10am. I'm about to send her my draft via email because she'd "love to see what [I've] done so far and the direction [I'm] heading."

Holy shit. I'm shaking.

I may very well have to eat this forever


I love preparing it.
I love getting the oil to the right temperature.
I love making it.
I love watching over it tenderly while the vegies are in the oil.
I love that they love eating it.
I love how the LGBB went all Japanese-style table prep on us.

That is all. Please, carry on with what you were doing.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Start 'em young

While she wants to wash dishes, I will *sigh* let her wash dishes.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Starlight Appeal

I received a letter today from The Starlight Foundation. They write to me regularly throughout any given year, as we are regular supporters of this marvellous group. I guess you could say, this has been my "charity of choice" for the past several years now, ever since the day I left Ella's side once to go home and shared a lift with some loony young adults who were dressed as space aliens (or something)... they were sooooo cheerful, they even put a smile on my face.

And then of course, I instantly started to cry. My heart felt like it was bursting because I realised, in just a few short years, these would be the sorts of kooky visitors that our Ella would see visiting kids on the cardiac ward at the Children's hospital each time she had to have an operation on her growing heart (she would have required life-long monitoring and replacements of an artificial aorta, surgery that was being scheduled for her the first time when she died from the NEC infection).

It took me many months to feel comfortable and "charitable" enough to donate to The Starlight Foundation, now that our future did not hold such visits in it with Ella. But I have always maintained a silent little promise to myself that by donating to them, I am honouring what she faced and the strength it took her... to actually bow out gracefully early. I know that might sound ghastly or bizarre. But it's where I come from on the matter of her passing.

So. To today's letter. A copy of it is on the Starlight website, but basically, with the recent bushfires in Victoria and the current economic downturn, the Foundation is seriously hitting rock bottom. I've received updates from them for five-ish years and never before has it sounded quite this dire for them.

I guess I'm posting this in the hopes that, if you are prone to making spontaneous donations and would be able to help financially, this information is coming to you at a fortuitous time... for the kids.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mandala Meditation Monday #2

Today, I want to post the mandala relating to a lovely stone called Garnet.

I was carrying a little piece of garnet around in my bra for several days last week. I don't know why, but on Monday I was searching for some other stones, found them and then put my stone container away. When I glanced down at the bench, I had taken out this piece of garnet (must have been as I was sifting through to find the others I was looking for - some Sodalite and Citrine pieces) and must have absent-mindedly set it aside.

Going with the instinct that there was a reason I needed the garnet, I tucked it into my top and gave it a little silent thank you for putting itself "out there" for me to notice. I paid careful mind to remember to look it up when I had some time.

On Wednesday, I made that time. I was really pleasantly surprised at how supported I felt by this particular stone and its relative mandala and would like to share it today (albeit at this relatively late hour). As a side note, I had to pause work on this to collect the LGBB from her Monday morning play at occasional care. When we returned home, I was changing her nappy when she said to me, totally out of the blue,

"Oh no! Mummy's stuck!"

I asked.
"Yeah! Mummy's stuck in a round wave!"
Wow, I replied. What colour's the wave?
"Blue!" was the shouted reply.

With those specific details in mind, get a load of today's mandala image. They always told me this kid is going to keep making me "do my work". Towards being spiritually responsible, that is.

Once again, just in case anyone reading finds any resonance or relevance in the text, either now or at a later date when you might happen across this at a pertinent point in your journey:

the colour of ...LIGHT RED
the sound chord of …C 7
the stone essence of...GARNET...
Aligns the emotions with the spiritual bodies. This addresses your ego problems and spiritualises and uplifts your emotions, calms anger and discord, eases eccentric behaviour, and stimulates your spiritual essence in relationships. GARNET activates your willingness to serve others while remaining conscious of yourself. It stimulates your imagination, aligns your astral and etheric bodies and improves your flow of etheric fluidium which has beneficial effects especially on the lungs (where it increases capillary action especially in the lung tissue) and the skin. GARNET strengthens the kidneys and the thyroid. It is especially beneficial in cases of liver and heart disease, and it alleviates anaemia, in particular. GARNET increases the ability of the intestinal lining to absorb nutrients (in particular, Vitamins A and B) and alleviates general nausea during detoxification. It lends greater flexibility to the skeletal system and balances the spinal column. GARNET may be used to help with hormonal problems especially heat flushes. It is also useful in cases of venereal diseases (such as herpes and syphilis), sex-related psychological disorders, and for open wounds.
Adapting yourself to cope with discord is the experience this Mandala offers. It will help you to resonate with the Middle Path and will return you to that centred pathway whenever you stray. As you meander along on your life’s journey, this Mandala will highlight the patterns and textures of the “thought-bricks” that make up the pavement of your pathway.

Few consider that contemplative thought structures are important on the life-journey. Many of you are too distracted by the importance of the destination and hurry on. Others among you prefer to stop and smell the roses, taking in the physical beauty to feed your senses. All of this is worthy and necessary, but now you will have to find a seat by the side of your path to take stock of your thinking-patterns, for contemplative thought structures are what you now must create.

In an active day of walking many steps, your thoughts will be a million-fold. Now, each brick of each thought will require your attention. (How else will you be able to confer with your conscience and change accordingly—from discord, or from re-cording, the same experiences again and again?) By taking time to accept your active thoughts and by focussing on the pattern of the way you “walk” with them, you will come to a more fluent understanding of the journey ahead of you before you stumble on an injury, or halt your course.

To become a conscious being, what you have to do now is change your thought patterns. Instead of rushing ahead for quick results, you have a responsibility to assist your journey by using the mosaic (or music) of your thoughts to track the record of your experiences. Sometimes you will listen to a memorised recording that seems to have spiritual significance (déjà vu). You may stop to explore the wonder of this connection, but do you ever stop to explore the assistance for your journey that lies within this connection or this memory?

This Mandala will show how you need to surround yourself with the beauty of the whole garden, allowing it to embrace your sensitivity whilst you take time to be lifted by this Mandala’s caring capsule into an open space where your circumstances will be clarified and your capacity to cope and conceptualise constructively becomes obvious. In this space you will be able to know what your thoughts are, for this Mandala will help you take the time to observe how you compose them, brick by brick. Meditating with this Mandala will help change to occur so that you can cease your unnecessary circular trekking around a broken disc!

Unnecessary trekking around a disc? Stuck in a wave? Six of one, half a dozen of the other, perhaps....

Mother of all days

Back home a few days later, with a head full of memories and camera full of glorious photos from our trip, we made arrangements to get a new wedding ring made up for Steve. He felt more complete and I was glad to see him happy with the replacement. It was not the same. But it was new, so somehow also represented a new beginning with the awareness we now had of our very real challenges on the road to conception.
At the same time, Steve surprised me with the insistence on getting me an eternity ring.
“Are you sure?” I stammered. It seemed far too generous to buy a piece of jewellery for no apparent reason.
“Yes,” he answered, squeezing my hand warmly after I had tried the ring on. It was exquisite and complemented my engagement and wedding bands perfectly. “It’s our resilience ring,” he continued. “It will always remind us of everything we’ve come through together.” He was a man of few words but he certainly knew how to explain himself when he needed to, did Steve. We stood and smiled at each other, eyes glistening. It felt like there might just be more positive times ahead.

This exerpt of the book is from 2002, the time when Steve bought me a beautiful almost crescent-shaped diamond eternity ring, with five small pointed diamonds on it. In my mind, four of the diamonds were representative of our four lost babies to date. The fifth diamond, I decided, would be our "lucky" one.

It wasn't. The fifth diamond represented another miscarriage, at seven weeks.

So then, when I confessed to Steve after we'd had Ella that those little diamonds had, for me, been reminders of our babies, he joked that Ella was the "big diamond" (the one on my engagement band). When we lost the next baby after losing her, I remember us joking one day "Well, hey, we can still move on to the ten little diamond chips in my wedding band" [what is it with us and diamonds? I'm not exactly dripping with them and don't even really wear jewellery, but just that one finger has inadvertently become a tiny fortune's worth] but it was a rather humourless joke. I didn't exactly relish the thought of another ten miscarriages.

So I sort of stopped the diamonds:babies ratio after that.

The next most precious piece of jewellery arrived yesterday. In the shape of a Mother's Day gift that I received from Steve Lauryn:

A white gold "E" pendant.

I already love it like I've had it forever. It helped keep me mindful of Ellanor all day. Of course, she was close in my mind because it was Mother's Day, after all. But this was the first year that wasn't bittersweet. I didn't feel even a touch of sadness. I'd like to think it was partly to do with having this pendant around my neck. This symbol, on display, without me having to keep the 'pause' button on our story in case any random stranger sees our beautiful little toddler and asks if we have any more. Now I know that people will know. When they look at me, they won't be able to miss that there is a very special person in our lives whose name starts with "E". Even if they don't ask, don't think to ask and don't even realise the significance, they'll see it. And this brings me great peace and comfort for some reason.

The other most precious little gift I received was from the sweetest little heart in this home:

How excited was the LGBB to give me a present she'd made "with the kids"!! I adore it and want to clutch it to my heart. But... it's a bit pointy and hard and not very rewarding. So I've hung it up in a very prominent place instead so we can treasure it always.

This Mother's Day thing is not in my list of extremely important days, it may surprise you to know. I shall write about this in another post later in the week.

Regardless, yesterday Steve, the LGBB and I had the loveliest day together, not pulled in any other direction but whichever easy flow that the day took us - late rise, a play in a bush park, a bite of lunch at a patisserie, playing around the house, then I went to the cinema and checked out a movie by myself last night as a final treat.

I hope that all the mothers reading had a gentle, easy day yesterday.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

In lieu of a Mothers Day post...

(and ohmygoodness if you're coming here from your RSS/blogfeed, I'm mortified because I spelled 'lieu' wrong in the title before I corrected it)

...I'd like you to humour me for a moment, if you will. I'll get to my phenomenal Mothers Day presents in the next installment.

The LGBB had a little friend over on Tuesday. They were so cute watching Monsters Inc together that I took this photo of them. Telly front and centre. My set of three new rectangle mirrors to the left.

Ummmm.... what do you see in that mirror? Bear in mind you are seeing the kitchen bench and the cupboards underneath in that shot. I have wracked my brains here for ages wondering what might have been on the bench at that time. Steve has already helpfully suggested, "It could have been a bag..." but I doubt he's certain it's just that at all. If it was a bag, well, to me it was a very coincidentally placed "bag", to make shadows in all the right places.

So. What do you see? (click on the photo to enlarge)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

More on that later

The food poisoning I got on the night of our anniversary, that is, which knocked me flat til... well, what time is it now? Yowzers.

But for now, please allow me to share with you the moment when Family Guy somehow plucked the facetious little voice that sits on my shoulder and whispers into my ear these very words, often and incessantly (and yes, the book is coming along verrrrry slowly, thanks for asking) - it's uncanny, even the number of years I've been working on this thing is the same. Damn that baby, Stewie for being so accurate!!! *shakes fist at ceiling*

And by the way, I dare you not to use the same annoying little sarcastic voice, creeping higher and higher, when you talk to your loved ones. Dare you.

You wanna... a cup of tea? Is that... is that what you want? Want me to, uh, put the kettle? On? Put the kettle on for you? Hmmmm?

Can't. Stop.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

10 years ago today

Ten years ago today, I:

• Woke in bed alone, at the age of twenty-three, for the first time in four years. Alone, that is, except for Pepper (I let her sleep on our bed with me..... just this once.... because I had spent the night at home alone).
• Greeted my girlfriends and my sister at the door as they all slowly arrived.
• Stepped into a dress I would wear this one special day. A memory to last the rest of my life.
• Was choked with emotion that I was going to be making official, in front of our loved ones, the commitment I had already made, years before as a 17 year-old teenager really, to live out my days with my Stevie (aka Lemons.... aka McLemons.... the bells of St Clements... yes, I do call him that).
• Felt like nothing, ever, anytime, was ever going to come close to being so special (forgive me, Lenny, but I was slightly incorrect on that one).
• Was so excited because in two days' time, ten years ago, we were boarding a plane to London to take an eight week trip around Europe for our honeymoon.
• Was just about the most happy and fulfilled I've ever felt in my life.
• Had no idea the course our lives would change, virtually immediately from that day on, as we decided to have a family of our own.
• Was told more than once by the wedding photographer that she'd "like to get some more serious, straight-faced shots now"... because I was grinning from sun up to sun down like a giddy, happy fool. Not that there's anything wrong with that, in my books! Hence, the "serious" shots are ridiculous and look forced because all I wanted to do was beam.
• Also had no idea we would produce two most magnificent specimens of children, nor lose so very many more along the way.
• Thought I was the most bootiful I would ever be in my life. I certainly felt as beautiful as I was ever gonna get!
• Never once paused to reflect and give silent thanks for everything that I had in my life, a regrettable part of being a 20-something who feels "on top of the world".
• Didn't see all that we had achieved, together as a couple, or that we even had each other in the manner in which we did. Basically, I took a lot for granted and as a "given".
• Was thankful and relieved that my sister had thought of everything in regards to the smaller details of the day - right down to taking a disposable camera into the fitting room of a dress shop (something I would never have dreamed of doing, let alone think of!) to snap the detail on a halter neck dress that I adored, could never afford and eventually had a dressmaker masterfully replicate and tailor to me.
• Had the day of my life.

It was the day we got married, but we were already bound together long before then. From the moment I met Steve, I felt a sense of belonging. By the time we were together three weeks, I had the warm, fuzzy, safe, comfortable feeling (like a familiar old snuggly blanket to curl up under) of having known him much longer. We fit. We bunker down and get through. Everything. We are a team.

It's a soppy, overused saying but, oh, how it's true:

Ten years ago today, I really did marry my BFF.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Six things I've realised today

1. A soy chai latté tastes infinitely better than a skinny chai latté. I know! Totally healthy and allowable within the confines of my detox.
2. There are more than the obvious health and wellbeing benefits to be had from doing a 6am dash to the gym: if your child has vomited up everything she ate from last night to Sunday past, it gives the dearly beloved husband and father ample time to collect up the chunks, whisk shocked, frightened, somewhat skinnier now child into a warm bath to lather up and get rid of that salmon we had for dinner. Last Thursday.
3. It's beautifully cold here today. My toes are still snap-frozen. And I've been and exercised, got all the circulation going, all that. And it's 3pm. No way they'll thaw today now.
4. There is never a 'wrong' time to quote a line from a movie in our house. Point in case: Steve says to me as I come in the door, "I hate to say it but...... darling, you didn't use canned salmon, did you?" in exactly the same tone and accent (you'll all just have to watch this - below - which is just about my most favourite scene from anything Monty Python has ever done, to be able to understand that question)... It's a Mr. Death. He's here about the reaping? Oh, my sides.... here, watch!

5. I love him more when he's not here. Steve, that is. Not the Grim Reaper. Although... him too.
6. If I am going to tie Jazz to the outdoor furniture, wearing my best friend, while the lawn mower guy is here - so that she doesn't force me into the foetal position with her incessant, excitable barking at the mower, I must must must remember to go get her again. Preferably sooner than two hours later.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Detox THIS, you little *****

Today was day one of a complete liver, gut and general blahness detox for me.

Oh the shame of it all. I've been hideous. Me n' sugar, we go a long way back. Well... me and sugar and coffee and wheat and....

I haven't detoxed like this since the three months prior to falling pregnant with Ella in 2003. The memory of that is weighing on me heavily as I do this. It's a different thing I'm doing, a different year, a different house, a different reason. But it's a trip down memory lane. The night I sat in folded-armed silence and hot, hellish anger directed towards my traitor of a husband because he'd sat at dinner and tucked in to a dessert of rich chocolate cake as I sat and watched him and my other friends (one of them 9 weeks pregnant and loudly protesting her morning sickness). I felt like he should have gone out in sympathy with me; that I was making the biggest sacrifice - the food one, for the sake of being as healthy as I could be for hopefully "this time" making a "perfect" baby - and he was to that date still not even popping one pill, sat bitterly with me.

This time, I am struggling with the fact that I am doing this simply... well, for me. I don't take care of myself well at ALL. I am fearful that the LGBB is watching me, all flawed and Tassie devil-like, and learning from me. Perhaps she's learning how not to be. Today, she's taken to watching me carefully with probing eyes (she has such probing, wise eyes!) when I come in to the room, as if to gauge the pressure in my head... "When is she going to blow her top?" ask those eyes.

Well. It turned out, the time for a top-blow was nigh, given the past two weeks of almost constant whinging, whining, unsettledness because of her teeth and an incessant cold*, this detox that feels like it's been started on a whim (it didn't last night - last night, it felt so empowering!), a period that's.... oh geez, I don't even KNOW how late now (no, I'm most definitely NOT, thangeweverymuch, but it's not helping the feeling of expectation and general "not rightness" in my body right now) and to top it off, the clanger:

She hit me. It would have been a clean slap to the face at close range, had it not been for the tentacles that are her fingers - how do toddlers digits get so STRONG!??? they dig into legs and arms and other fleshy body parts and leave little bruises, they're like bloody drill bits! - making contact with both of my eyeballs. That's right. Not only did the LGBB clock me in the face, she gouged my eyes. Both of them.

That was the final block that tumbled for me. I gasped in shock. I've had a horrendous headache since lunchtime (phew, nasty coffee withdrawals..... I'm terrible, Muriel)

And I snapped. But my reaction was not one of anger. I burst into tears, turned and walked out after telling a belligerant-looking little miss that "we don't hit people" and left her father to continue getting her ready for bed.

Down in her bedroom, I did the burnt-chop mother routine as I stood packing up today's toy explosion and rehanging her beautiful clothes. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed and let all the little bastards that had been niggling at me with their sharp arrows have a good go and just stab me right in my heart. To twist it in a bit further, just as I would expect her to, the LGBB had forgotten her trespass by the time she'd finished brushing her teeth. I couldn't shake it off, so I couldn't read to her - Steve did it (he usually does, it's their "thing", but every so often when she wants that little bit more of me, she'll ask for me). And she didn't even care! Brushed me off, which compounded it all.

I just felt so downtrodden in that moment, after a day of noticing just how very effing much I'm asked questions - useless, lazy-driven questions that the other adult of this household ought to try and answer for himself - and then the spiral stopped. Right at the bottom. From there, one can only ever really start on the incline again. So I'm heading back up - slooooowly - now she's out of my sight and in bed.

Every family has their little traits, patterns, nuances. Mine is particularly tricky, marred as it is by a - well, to put it frankly, there are some elderly members of the large maternal side that call it the "sick gene" - and I am intrigued as much as I am angry about it. I have to look at it from all sides so that I don't head down the same path with my daughter. I constantly think, in these times when we're at "odds" (which sounds so silly, she's only a toddler yet, heaven help me), that I am stuffing up the ONE chance I've got left... and the insidious voice on my other shoulder sits in the darkness and snidely tells me Ellanor was lucky she got out when she could. It's dark, dark, dark where that voice comes from. Dark and cold. It is my mother's voice.

I'm licking my wounds and picking over the events of the day that got me to this state - I want very much to break the cycle, passed down from mother to daughter, who then became a mother and passed it to her daughter (and so on and so forth), and it is my life's promise to Lolly to crack it. To never turn a blind eye to it - that's impossible now, I'm on the look-out that I'm almost uni-vigilant, if that is indeed a way to be.

And boyo, is she keeping me on target with working it out. Deeeeep breaths.

Gawd, what a mess of a day it's been!

* Hey, I'm not complaining she's been sick... but... GAHHHHHH it gets verrrrry tedious caretaking for extended periods sometimes, doesn't it? This is the moment where the light switches on in my head and I slap myself as I consider what it might mean to have a child who is permanently dependent and I feel about 2 foot small for losing my cool...

The metal hat dance

The thing I really don't like, more than finding a piece of mouse poop on my bedside table (yes, folks that'd be right next to my HEAD!!), is when Mickey decides to eat so daintily from the jaws of death that it's not quite a clean snap across the back of his noggin. And he therefore pirouettes across the floor with a metal trap strapped to him, which shakes and clunks. And wakes me up.

Geez. How inconvenient. Being woken by the sounds of a maiming [cringe to self: It's got to be done, it's got to be done, keep telling yourself]

Saturday, May 2, 2009

My brother from another mother

Apple iPhoto has an excellent new feature called Face Recognition. It scans through your photos and builds up a catalogue by face. You can teach it who's who by going through and telling it, when it's guessed at trying to find a face and sometimes gets it wrong, and eventually it guesses correctly more and more. It is a fan-tastic way to view your photo library. So convenient if you want to find photos of a particular person! It zooms right in on everyone's face and takes a little thumbnail and ferrets it away in the catalogue for that person. And it gets smarter and smarter at working it out, still finding the correct faces when only a smidgen of them is visible in the shot. Awesomeness.

Sometimes, as I said, it gets it wrong. Here it is, trying to learn who my little bro is. Erm... I think it's almost on the right track [whistles Sesame Street's One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other]...

And then, there's all the trips down memory lane you get when you see them all, of the same person. I nearly crumpled into a liquid puddle when I sauntered past this, taken of the LGBB in December '07 when we'd just bought this place and were there one day renovating. She would have been 17 months. And only just crawling and sitting up (typical, right when I started packing boxes and needed everything at the other place to be diplay-home-neat).

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