Monday, November 30, 2009

It's late and I'm up

Why, why, whyyyyy have I got Shandi by Kiss stuck in my head?

I can't sleep because of it!

Somebody, please... put another song in my head. Quickly!

Shandi, tonight must last us forever (and ever)
We'll say goodnight and go home

It doesn't even make any friggen sense!!

AAAAAARGHH!! Damn you, Paul Stanley!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Not just any old bird

I thought it was high time I cranked out another animal totem. This one, as well as being rather pertinent timing, was sitting on my desktop this morning when I got up to write another chapter that's been floating around in my head (hence all the pictures of Jazz recently, for I am up to the point when we saw her at the pet store, this time 5 years ago). I had it opened from a couple of days back when I was entering it in to the system - I have been recataloguing the manuals into a powerful database format, called Filemaker, for the people at Peace Space so that the information is more of a reference/look-up guide for them too.

I must admit, I've been finding it so handy to have on my own computer the ability to search with the touch of a few buttons, as there is just a wealth of information on so many things (I was up in the middle of the night a couple of weeks back searching the stones database for information on kidney/bladder troubles, for instance, when I was plagued by an infection that set in for about three weeks, to see if I could gain some understanding about why it had manifested in quite that way).

Anyway, to today's animal totem I wanted to share. Might make some of us think a little deeper about the gift from the actual bird on the table before us this festive/Thanksgiving season.


Turkeys originated in the Americas. They were domesticated by the Mayans and Aztecs before they were taken to Europe to be bred for the banquet table. Later they were returned to the North American content in the time of the Pilgrim Fathers who established the tradition of eating Turkey at Thanksgiving. In North American First Nation cultures, the Turkey is known as the “give-away eagle” or “earth eagle”. The philosophy of giving away is honoured by many tribes who traditionally give away what they own in order to help others. In doing so, they recognise the sacrifice made by themselves and others, for the Turkey gives up its life so that others can live. Traditionally, Turkey is the symbol of gifts and blessings for its flesh is used for food, its feathers become decoration and its bones are made into whistles. Hence it represents a connection with Mother Earth, the blessings She gives and the human ability to use these blessings to advantage. Today the Turkey is still used for Thanksgiving as well appearing on the centre of tables at Christian Christmastide, and its feathers are made into feather-dusters. Many saints and mystics practiced Turkey wisdom by responding unselfishly on behalf of the needs of others. Turkeys in their natural habitat live in open mixed woodlands and roost in the trees at night. Even though their habitats have at times been threatened, they have been able to adapt to new environments. They feed on berries, many kinds, nuts, acorns and insects. They move about in small groups of about 10-20, finding safety in numbers. This reflects a sense of sharing, as does the practice of Turkey hens who will often share their egg-laying nest with others. The Turkey displays many colours—green and copper tints to its feathers, red legs, red and blue on its head. Upon the male’s head is a red wattle which is mostly seen hanging limp on the forehead. This, in ancient traditions, is linked to higher/ inner vision (the “third eye”) and so connecting it to the feminine energies and Mother Earth.

When Turkey appears as your totem, it is time to look at the gifts you hold and the responsibility you have to honour and share these as blessings with others. True giving is sharing without expecting anything in return. Turkey reminds us that striving to gain everything to get ahead does not come from your true self. Your true self rests in the knowledge that what you do for others is – in turn – what you do for yourself. When Turkey comes into your life, it may be time to celebrate your true virtues* without fanfare. Honour the virtues
* you hold in your heart. Acknowledging your own need for self-encouragement will inspire you to help others in need. Be like Turkey and remain open to the world about you and the needs of those around you. This is not a time to be shut off and possessive of your time, space and possessions. It is time to share and take advantage of what you have been given to work with. Holding on to others or possessions for the sake of gratifying your life will only bring dissatisfaction and discouragement, but sharing your true heart’s desire will bring recognition of the gifts you hold. Place yourself in the centre of your own table and celebrate the gifts and virtues you have received and can share with others, for these are what Turkey wisdom gives freely. The gifts you bring into your life and the lives of others will be full of colour. When you share your gifts there is much to receive. Let Turkey take you on a meditation to ask the inner wisdom of your Higher Self what creative gift you have not yet realised.

* Virtues – Three Theological Virtues: Faith, Hope, Charity (Love)
Four Cardinal Virtues: Courage, Justice, Prudence, Temperance
Other personified Virtues: Patience, Gentleness, Humility, Obedience, Perseverance, Chastity, Peace/Harmony

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Another of my little babies all grown up

I have been searching for ages for these images of Jazz as a puppy! Found them on an old email when I was searching for something for work this morning.

This is Jazz, age 9 weeks. The day we brought her home. LOOK AT HERRRR!!! My heart melts for those lost puppy moments, the way you do when you look at baby photos of your big kid now. She was our baby. Back then, she was the little breathing, joyful, heart full little treasure I poured all of my stagnant nurturing into. I loved her for being there for us while we healed.

I diddn't believe that the dogs on those Hallmark cards actually existed. Until we laid eyes on Jazz. I found these photos in an email I sent my Dad and, I'd forgotten til I read again, we only just nabbed her! She had been on hold for another guy (on a promise until 10am that day, the girl had said) and when I rang at 1pm, I told the girl we'd be straight down. I remember now how panicked I felt that we might lose out on her, and even as we were there completing paperwork, the busy shop seemed to come and go with no less than three other families enquiring about "the little brown female." It was at that point that the girl got Jazz out from her pen with her two brothers (one of whom also sold while we were waiting) and passed her to me so that no more enquiries came in.

I remember standing there with silent tears pouring down my face. I was crying for Jazz's mum, was she lost without her babies? Gahhh, I was always such a sap for these things at the "best" of times, but now, even moreso.

And here she is just a few days ago, posing for the camera, as she does. This dog full-on knows when she's in the middle of a photo shoot.


Friday, November 27, 2009


Really enjoying this version of the children's song. Er.... 'cept I never knew about that... poor little lamby.... *looks around, uncomfortably shifting in seat*

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Ummm, excuse me...

Who are you and what have you done with my baby girl???

I looked outside yesterday and saw a leggy blonde in place of my little daughter who used to be there, in her place, just last week.

Now, she's all 'Kira and Sonny are my friends' and 'I want to wear tights and a Xanadu top to the pub'... we walked up to the local bistro for a family dinner and she was insistent on wearing this get-up, which looked strangely familiar:

"A million lights are shining and there you are, a shooting staaaar...
*guitar strum-strum-strum*


I thought about saying no. But then I heard my objection in my head [NO! It's far too cold, cover your shoulders, Miss, you're not going out to the pub dressed like that!!] and realised I wasn't commanding a teenager to tone down the dress code. And anyway, she had already made me put the "Kira-ribbons" in her hair. The outfit wouldn't have been complete without them. Olivia Newton-John has a lot to answer for.

So I decided not to rain on the parade of a little girl so beautifully gripped by her first real obsession, dreamy with the ideal of a friendship and believing in a world where you can jump into a brick wall and enter another dimension making a whooshing sound as you go (shit, I hope she never tries that or we'll have some explaining to do to the plastic surgeon who has to try and reconstruct her face).

Lolly swanned up the street, fanning her "pretty Kira dress" out all the way and doing little pirouette-type moves. It was gorgeous. And I was so happy watching her being a little girl. Although, I am beginning to wish I could put her in a time capsule or bronze her up like Han Solo so I can just keep her at this age. It's a tricky thing, losing one little girl and only having the one child here - I constantly have this sense of underlying panic: "What if I forget to remember everything about her? What if I forget to enjoy everything about her? I didn't get to do any of this with her big sister, and I may never again get to witness it with any subsequent children for it just seems less and less likely we'll have any more..."

The balance of allowing her to grow at her pace - without wanting to stifle her rapid development and at the same time wishing she'd slow down so I can drink it all in, lest I miss this second (and only) child of mine growing into the unique person that she is destined - is tricky. With a capital T.

And look, I'm really sorry for the swag of the X-word related posts of late. But the thing is, it's all I am surrounded by at the moment. We are in full manic grip here *presses face to monitor* GO, LEAVE ME! SAVE YOURSELLLLVES!

Christmas shopping cheat

Have you done yours yet? Started? Finished?

I just finished. With the click of a button.

If you want a great place to buy cheap books (with free worldwide delivery!), you have to check these guys out at The Book Depository. I use them several times a year and they have always been super fast with their delivery.

They also have a 10% off deal at the moment if you go to their website by clicking this link (which will take you to the screen you need to be on to read up about it and get your code).

Happy shopping!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Observations of a day

1. Plasterboard is flecking heaving to lift. Surprisingly, deceptively heavy.
2. You can't risk a sneeze when you need to go toily. Just can't.
3. There is no point whining about weeding. In the end, the weeds will still be there unless you pull them.
4. I saw a false eyelash on the floor of the gym. It weirded me out a little because it looked closed, even though that's impossible.
5. Can someone tell me how to stop saying "That's so raven" every time I see the brand name 'Raven' on the draft flap of my front door please? It's annoying me.
6. Who the HELL wears false eyelashes while they're exercising?
7. Tradies are whiny people if you give them half the chance. And they whine about each other too - "that plumber hasn't even finished fitting it off" (ooookay....), "tell your chippy he's holding us up until he installs the grate" (right-eo and he'll know what that means then?)
8. Charlie and Lola has become ever so firm a friend incredible favourite. If only they'd not teach kids how to cram more words than necessary into one sentence.

9. It turns out, there ARE too many times I can listen to the Xanadu soundtrack *withered look to camera* She won't stop listening to it.... make it sto-ho-ho-hohhhp.

10. Twilight: I STILL don't get it. And I daresay, now, I never will.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Someone has prayed for mercy today.
Someone has told their worst secret today.
Someone has lied in their faces today.
And it's all so sad and yet, beautiful.

Somebody's decided he's leaving her.
Somebody's found out he was sleeping with her.
She can't go on with him beating her.
And it's all so sad and yet, beautiful.

Somebody found out they'd be parents today.
Somebody was asked for their hand in marriage today.
Somebody decided to travel today.
And it's all so sad and yet, beautiful.

A parent will hear their baby's first cry today.
A father will lose his firstborn today.
A mother will cry the most tears of her life today.
And it's all so sad and yet, beautiful.

A kiss on a hand sent a thrill today.
A caress of a face showed tenderness today.
A moment to express love was siezed today.
Sometimes it can be too late to do.

I felt a change on the breeze today.
I sensed a need to change me today.
I vowed to make my peace today.
And it's all so sad and yet, beautiful.

Someone chose to be different today.
Somebody rose to the challenge today.
Something changed someone's world today.
And it's all.
Incredibly sad.
And yet... so beautiful.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Deep breath in

Hold for the photo. Aaaaaaaand...... out.

Another Santa photo accomplished. If I look back over all the years when I have walked past these monstrous trees, stood by idly while my friend's baby was having her photo taken (and I was still empty armed), or even taken our wee one herself to the shopping centre and stood with other parents, waiting to get their child's photo taken with Santa, I see how much I have changed during the process.

I've always been a bit of a sap for lovely things, getting all dewy over something sweet or endearing. So it's no wonder this has escalated ever since Ellanor died. And now, I can't walk past a shopping centre Christmas tree Santa setup and not get teary-eyed. For joy. The looks on those little mites' faces is so priceless.

I used to actually quite enjoy grabbing a coffee and smiling as I looked on. The gravity of what I was doing would stab me in the guts somewhere around seeing child #5 on Santa's knee, though, and I would wander away when I felt the pain too much.

Then, of course, once our very own LGBB came along, I grappled with whether or not to begin a tradition I wasn't even sure we wanted to prolong/endure. But now that I see her, proudly walking up to Santa to sit with him and be in awe of his.... beardliness.... I'm so glad we have done the Christmas thing with her. For her. She has been so intent on getting to Santa to make this year's request for a little present. And it is so very little. Awww.

The dastardly nature of "The Lie" doesn't factor into it. Not for us. Not yet, at least. We don't use Santa the way my parents used Santa - "if you're not good for the next 365 days, Santa will know and you won't be rewarded with material gain" - but we do make the season a thing of wonder for her. We talk to her about other children who have no toys at all. We encourage her to help us choose a toy (or toys) she no longer has any use for or has grown out of, to leave out for Santa so that he can take them back to his workshop to make into new toys for another little boy or girl.

Reuse, renew, recycle. Yada-yada.

And what did the LGBB tell Santa she wanted this year (hence the beaming Cheshire cat face you see below)? It was a simple request. One easy word:


Santa nodded, baffled, as if he knew absolutely what she was going on about - I hadn't the heart to whisper in his ear in front of her and let him know, "You know, the movie. With Sonny and Kira? The same Kira who looks uncannily like Sandy from Grease, which is her other favourite movie. Yeah, the one where she wears rollerskates and those enviable skinny ribbons in her hair."

All you have to do is check out the Recently Played Tracks update on the left side of my blog to witness how many times I've had to endure the soundtrack. We hear it upwards of four times a day. Hey, if it's what lets me get the housework done while she perfects her coming to life out of the wall number, who am I to say no?

In the breakfast tradition

with fresh strawberries, frozen blueberries and a drizzle of honey

The "tradition" for us involves, most mornings, a playful argument over the fact that cereal, porridge, toast, eggs... in fact anything served at this time of day is classified as "breakfast." I get told that I am a silly Mummy for suggesting food for "breakfast" other than porridge because, apparently, that is the only meal worthy of the title. Everything else, especially cereal (over which the LGBB is strangely very protective), is most definitely NOT breakfast.

Whatever, Toots. Just eat. 'Kay?

You know when you get that inner knowing that you're actually doing the 'right' thing for your child? Some stages I go through, I feel like everything I touch turns to poo [hey, I'm living with a 3 year-old whose answer to everything, when she wants it to be, is "Poo", so get used to hearing me bandy it about every now and then myself] and then I have moments where I just know I've done something right by her. Like serve up a hearty breakfast that she actually enjoys. Instead of yelling at her to stop whinging when she won't tell me what's the matter and just stands there, whining and sniffing and looking like the crocodile who was trying to squeeze tears out.... And then, when I had eventually had enough and made it perfectly clear we were "NOT going to have ANOTHER day of this whining without using words" (it's become a pastime of hers, I'm absolutely sure of it, to see if she can make my head blast off after she sees the smoke coming out of my ears from the incessant belly-aching), I asked her to go to her room if she was "going to make that noise".... and she looked up at me with big tears welling in her baby blues and finally managed to get out, "Daddy went to work" in such a sad voice that I felt hellishly big and ogre-ish compared to her very simple reason for feeling like crying.

And then I say "Tinkersmell" instead of "Tinkerbelle" and she laughs her lungs out. It's so easy that I wonder why I get so wound up half the time. Oops.

Aaaaanyway... I'm just sayin'.... Could've happened. At 7:42 this morning.

Mother Of The Freakin' Year nominee signing off.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Behind the lines

I feel compelled to share something with you. Something a very dear friend (like one of those people you wonder may have been sharing the same umbilical cord as you because you're so alike or see things so similarly that it's a bit unnerving) is going through with her son.

It pains me to say, I have been the person she is talking about in her post here. I have been that impatient, ignorant tsk-tsker who looks to the parent and wonders where their sense of consideration for others in the general public has led them astray when raising a "good, decent citizen" instead of an "impudent, disruptive little monster."

That was, until my friend began opening my eyes to the hidden underworld of life with a special needs child.

Special needs that are not obvious, for they are deeper than the surface. There is no sign above her son's head, no markings, no deformities, no scars. His is one of the most handsome faces I have ever seen on a child. And because of my friend, I see the boy within - I adore the boy within - instead of writing him off as an inconvenience to society - and it also helps me pull my head in when I am out these days, witnessing a parent struggle to "contain" a child throwing a tantrum. We're not talking your usual, everyday supermarket hissy-fit here. My friend is confronted with the trials and challenges and demands of being a parent to a gifted, highly intelligent, remarkable young man, marked by an invisible rearrangement of his brain wiring that falls on the autism spectrum.

I cannot ever know how deeply affected my friend's life is, but I listen to every word she says about it and read every word she writes. It is the least I can do. And then I take it out in the community with me and it makes me more aware of what I am really seeing.

Put simply, I have been shown yet another book I cannot (and have no right to) judge by its cover. That tolerance for others goes a long way, even if you don't breathe a word or even look in the direction of someone who is having to deal with something tricky out in public. It has made me grow my awareness of just how much I was looking at every person (Parent) I passed and putting a split second summation of their life and circumstances on them - an awfully automatic thing, which many would pass off as "human nature" and yet, it is not our natural state to judge and/or belittle another even if only in your own mind.

My friend is courageous, although she wouldn't think so. My friend puts an extreme amount of pressure on herself to do The Very Best by her son (and her other child and her husband) - her diligence with this puts me to shame. I pull my head in many times in any given week when I think of her and what she goes through daily, how she strives to be on top of the latest research, methods and teachings for nurturing and developing children with this particular syndrome and how she taps in to resources to provide the very best care and enlist professional support services wherever she can.

My days are remarkably tame compared to this, but still, I make more of things than I need to. I stand back and look at things from a different perspective when I read posts like her latest. And I thank my friend and her son for reminding me to grow that compassion towards others.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Feeling close to Ellanor

I don't know why - and I don't search for reasons anymore - but my firstborn little munchkin is on my mind a lot this week.

There was a corner handwash basin I was supposed to buy (no, stay with me - the two are related...) and I have gone back to that same plumbing place three times this past fortnight, as well as one or two others, not to mention scouring the internet to ensure I was getting something that would a) fit and b) not cost the earth, considering its basic purpose.

Each time I went to this particular local plumbing shop, I held off deciding on one and just purchasing the damn thing, already. I don't know. It just felt rushed. I felt under-researched or... if truth be told, I felt like the showroom showgirls were just that: there for show. Each time I went in there, they didn't seem all that interested in helping me so, uh, I didn't feel all that interested in spending time with them going through the ordering and purchasing motions either.

But today, a new face was there. A new face with an enviably neat pregnant belly. This woman was different. She was lovely. She was paced and welcoming and just .... normal. She even showed me that the very basin I had been considering all along was on special - $55 off, nothing to sneeze at! - and I mused silently to myself that the girl who "helped" me yesterday did no such thing. Pah.

So we went along, finally settling on this hand basin and a mixer to go with it. The ordering almost complete, I did something I NEVER (repeat: never) do these days, not since all our troubles began and kept continuing as recently as 12 months ago... - I acknowledged her belly.

"So you're going to get a baby for Christmas, then!" I said. I know. I suck at opening lines involving pregnancies too - as I said, I never do it. Pregnant bellies confront me more than anything and I almost always allow the expectant parent/s to do the bringing up, after which time I willingly and genuinely chime in with conversation. But I don't ever bring it up first.

"Yeah," she said. And then she told me her first baby boy had been born at 24 weeks, her membranes rupturing at 20 weeks. He couldn't be saved.

I sat and fixed my eyes respectfully on this lovely mum while she went deeper and deeper into her story. She just about leapt over the desk at me once I divulged a little of our journey as well. And although it's something I don't willingly offer anymore (my need in this regard has passed, some years ago now), I completely appreciate the need for someone in her position to hear as much about it as she can. She has never met anyone else who has lost a baby before. I was so heart-full to know I had given her some tangible, walking, surviving proof.... that it will be okay.

I am choked up now remembering again how her brilliant blue eyes misted over and her face contorted, touching briefly on the fear of what the next few weeks will bring. How would she get through the birth this time, she wanted to know? How could she possibly be okay, not knowing until this little one was laid into her arms, breathing, alive, that everything was alright?

I recall the moment vividly when the LGBB entered the world. There was not a sound. You could have heard a pin drop. I was completely out of it with fear, pain and then rising hysteria when I couldn't focus on what was going on. I hadn't heard her cry yet. Jesus, why wasn't she crying!?? I had to yell for attention, they were milling about my pasty-grey little second-born, who still had not cried. I was told she was beautiful - but that didn't equal alive to me.

Lolly needed respiratory assistance straight after birth - a common thing, many have said to me, waving me off - but in light of the fact that she had come along after such an intense and precarious birth, not to mention the 6 year-long journey and loss of her older sister in our past, I have always considered this lessening of my fear state at that time a real oversight by others.

They'll never know what it's like to anticipate a subsequent birth, let alone the pregnancy up to the point of giving birth. Not unless it happens to them. And this is not a slight against people who do attempt to say the right thing - not at all - just more, I guess, a verbal expression of the big sigh I feel inside when I hear about this sort of thing happening to others (because I remember it so well happening to us - we were supposed to be happy now, all had been righted, we had a live baby to take home... what more did we want? Surely we didn't need to keep talking about that firstborn of ours or process the birth of our second child??).

And so, I cherished today for the umpteenth countless time that I had this history of mine. It felt useful. It felt like what it was all about, this experience I have shouldered. Today, I looked in the face of a woman who represented, in the flesh, the many whom I have met online but not sat with in person as they go through their anticipation and reservations.

I did something else I have never done before I left the shop - I gave the saleswoman the name of my website and invited her to go and read it, as she had been saying how isolated she felt about it all. She avidly jotted down the address and thanked me.

I feel so incredibly privileged. And this mother will be in my thoughts in the lead-up to Christmas. I hope I hear from her again. The likelihood is, I never will. Either way, I feel so close to Ellanor today. Perhaps this woman is the reason why my baby girl has been on my mind so much these past days.

Please Don't Judge A Mother

Please don't judge a mother

As she struggles with her grief
Time is NO great healer
Whatever you believe

Please don't judge a mother
As the tears fall from her eyes
You have your child here
But to hers, she said goodbye

Please don't judge a mother
When she feels the need to say
How much she loves her child
Each and every day

Please don't judge a mother
If she feels the need to talk
She'll never get to hold her child
Nor see her child walk

Please don't judge a mother
If she feels she cannot smile
The guilt if she feels happy
Lingers for a while

Please don't judge a mother
If she feels she cannot spend
A minute with your child
You see her pain it never ends

Please don't judge a mother
When she needs to be alone
She needs to wallow in her grief
In the privacy of her home

Please don't judge a mother
When she feels she can't join in
Pain is all she feels
Having fun feels like a sin

Please don't judge a mother
For anything at all
Just listen to her, hold her
And let her tears fall

Author: Christine Wildman

Time for another book update

I just wanted to share this. It's such a funny memory. I wrote it in to the book about midway through all the blahness... I hope it works. And, finally, an explanation of where the Lenny thing comes from!

One morning while we were on holiday, I came out of the bathroom, face moisturiser in hand.
“What’s that?” Steve asked groggily, still lying in while I had begun the day.
“Face cream,” I replied, looking for my hair brush and distractedly adding, “Oil of Ulan.”
Steve looked at me, a hint of confusion evident on his face.
“Oi love you… too,” he said, not wanting to hurt my feelings by questioning what I had said and making a brave attempt to match what he thought was my new tone of affection towards him.
I stopped what I was doing then and turned to him, realising he had completely misunderstood that I was telling him the name of my moisturiser. We had, for some reason, started calling each other Lenny. It’s a long story, involving the book “Of Mice And Men” and a rather simple thing I had said one day that caused Steve to tell me I could also “tend the rabbits”, just like the character, Lenny, in the novel. And now, Steve had obviously thought I was calling him Len and was expressing my love for him. Using a really strange accent.
I fell about laughing and he joined in when I explained what I had actually said. We were well and truly back in the groove with each other.

To this day, we still occasionally pass each other and one of us will say, "Oil of you, Len," to which the other naturally replies, "Oil of you, too."

As you were, peeps.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Happy dance

I asked for a weigh and measure this morning when I went to the gym. Just thought it might be a good idea to get a close-to-starting-point, seeing as I started seriously going again regularly about a month ago.

Now, considering my last weigh and measure was taken during this fiasco and I really haven't been more than half a dozen times in six months and let's just factor in that I haven't been in over a week due to the LGBB being sick (and I had a UTI - wahoooo, lucky moi - which I am still not completely over).... I'm very excited to say I've lost a whopping 21.5cm's in total!! Granted, this figure is over a three month period. But still, it proves why the new bra I ordered with a dear friend who now sells lovely intimates was loose after just a fortnight (I bought it at the beginning of my start back at the gym after the raising of the tooth) - she was right, it wasn't abnormally fast stretching of the bra.... it was weight loss! WOOT!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Don't Touch!!

What was meant to be a couple of hours' of craft fun with the LGBB, making little snow angel decorations, has turned into a weekend-long pilgrimage. Nay, a "quest for fun." Just wash my mouth out with soap and call me Clarke Griswold right about now.

I feel like the father who spent all that time on his kid's science project, in a scene from The Simpsons' ep "Duffless"...
Chuck: {Can I touch it?}
Dad: {I've worked too long and hard on this for you to
screw it up now.}
Chuck: {But it's got my name on it.}
Dad: {Just stand over there!
[kid walks off screen]
Over there!}

I know exactly how the guy feels. Seriously! I've been pushed to the brink by glitter. Glitter, of all things!

They do look very cute, though. And Lolly is strutting around like she did every cut, every painstaking fold. She helped put glue on the wings, dipping the unglued parts of them in glitter (how do they do that?? miss the blobs of glue and put glitter on all the unglued parts so that there's no glitter on anything when you dry it?) and then asked, "Can I eat the glitter off my fingers?"

Awww, yeah.... coochy-coo. Now move out of the way, Toots.

Steve had to make dinner tonight just so I could finish the second angel and be done with her. It would have been fine, as a little project, if I had read all the instructions carefully. Little did I realise, but they were not as meticulous about the hair, face, arms or legs as they were about how to fold, cut and assemble the dress, body and wings. I had to freestyle it and, thank God for the perfectionist in me, I wasn't driven to drawing out several versions til I got it right. No, I hacked up a coupla bits of paper and slaved over the damn things (with the LGBB jumping all over me and hugging me so tight I thought my jugular might snap at one point - she loves it when I get down on the floor), then slapped on the glue and said, "There y'are!"

The LGBB paraded them over to her Dad who made the obligatory (and just as well) "oooh's" and "aaah's", then she proudly brought them back.... and chucked them at me before flitting off to play with something else that had taken her fancy.

I absolutely dread getting involved in any of her creative school projects. I know what I'm going to be like. Chuck's dad. Fer sher *grimace*

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Hump T. Dumpty

The BlogThis Challenge this week is a photographic one. And simple. Photograph something old.

The instant I read the challenge, my most favourite of the fave childhood musical toys jumped into my head. Humpty Dumpty. He's almost 40 years old and still going strong. He is not the prettiest toy on the shelf. But the memories he has provided me of my early childhood are priceless and beautiful.

The hair around his mechanism (and that is no euphemism, dear reader) has worn completely away, from countless re-winding of the little pin that creates the tinkly rendition of "Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall..."

My most favourite, and possibly one of my earliest, memories is of travelling back home of a night time after visiting my grandparents - me and my family, in our combi van, the car silent (except for the extremely loud characteristic buzzing of the VW engine), and with my ear pressed firmly into Humpty's chest. I would rest my head looking up out of the window, watching the orange street lights whizz past, the rhythmic whirring of the wind-up music box inside him heard faintly after each play through of the tune had finished.

The mechanism is one of the old style - they don't make 'em like this anymore - and is favoured by some of the older maternal child health nurses, who say these are the best, for they lull a little one to sleep much better than the modern wind-up music toys that usually just stop without

My little Humpty Dumpty is now a treasured friend in the car for my own little girl. And hearing the sweet, tinkling music when I wind it up for her, watching her as she presses it to her own ear and gazes dazily ahead whenever we drive home late, sends happy waves through me.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The "Get To It Later" spot

Do you have one in your home? I used to. In my last house. When we moved here (nearly two years ago... already!), I had to accept the fact that there was no spare space, no cupboards (we have ONE, yes, ONE narrow cupboard which I use for linen - I'm talking, no cupboards in bedrooms, except ours, no storage at ALL, not even in the laundry). I had to accept that I would move that clean basket of laundry from the couch to the floor to the other couch in the lounge to the top of the washing machine to the laundry floor, etc., if I couldn't get around to folding it there and then.

I'm here to say, I am COMPLETELY over not having any space. I was barely living with it for the past couple of years. But at least I had the laundry as a fallback crap stack. Now, the time has come. We must be squeezed into even less space as building works encroach on us that little bit more and inch the three of us into the corner. Can you see us? See me? I'm the one cowering, saying, "No! Please, no. Don't take my only cupboard and the only room I have ever had in this house where I can shove something out of my sight and close the door on it til I'm ready to get around to it. Pleeeease!"

But take it away, the builder must.

This weekend, I'm moving everything out of the linen cupboard. There is NO place to put it. Steve's parents are bringing suitcases over for us today. For me to pack and run away to Paris. No, I mean, to pack full of our sheets, towels and blankets. I'll have to stack the suitcases.... I dunno, in the kitchen or our bedroom or something.

Then I have to clear out the entire laundry. The laundry is a really decent size. It's a big, square room of nearly 3x3m. It's as big as the ridiculously small 3x2.4m spare room (which has been enlarged .5m in the process of the extension to the house).... in fact, it may be bigger. We're going to build one of the four household-use cupboards into the space behind the laundry door. There's room for a utility cuboard behind that. I'm so, so excited. I will, literally, be a kid on Christmas morning (for we plan to be finished enough to move back in to that half of the house by Christmas), with all my cupboard space.

What the feck am I going to do with all my laundry stuff? The LGBB's art and craft tubs are in there - pretty easy to shift, they're just big tubs - and all my sewing stuff, there's the green shopping bags (they could live in the car for a month, I s'pose), all the odds and sods of a laundry - they'll have to go into tubs or a spare laundry basket as well. All fine and good... but then where do they go??! Hmmmmmmmm. They will literally have to sit out here in the open, where I can kick them, stub my toe and curse them umpteen times a day.

I made the LGBB and Steve stand in our storage cupboard last week. Each time I go out there, I look at the floor space of this thing and give a silent thanks that it snuck past everyone on my house plan. I've been questioned on it several times by different people, including the builder ("You sure you want a cupboard that big?" "That's a pretty big cupboard." "Most cupboards are half that width.") Yada yada yada. And then I lead them in to the main part of the house, point at the little cupboard I'm dealing with and say, "Okay, there's not even a cupboard in my daughter's bedroom and now, her clothes are at the bottom of this apparently acceptably named 'linen cupboard'. If I'm saying we need a big cupboard, you'll BUILD me a decent, big cupboard." *pant pant pant*

I. Need. A. Cupboard. Just one, I'd be happy with for now, til we're done building. The new design has two linen cupboards, a storage cupboard (the one in the photo here, which I plan to use to store games, crafts, winter blankets, small children, etc.), built-in robes in the two bedrooms and a utility cupboard in the laundry. There. That oughtta do it!

But right now, oh I am SO over the no space thing. Canya tell?

And where is your "get to later" place? You know, the place where you put some chore if you want it out of your sight so you feel less pressure to get around to everything in the same hour/day? Is it a spare room? Your laundry? An out of the way corner, perhaps (we don't even have any of those anymore)? A couch? Your bed?

Two of the loves of my life with my newest love...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Instant pancake mix! Nigella-style

I nabbed this really nifty idea from Nigella Lawson. It's fantastic having this in the cupboard, ready to just add some quick wet ingredients to and whip up some pancakes for a quick snack or breaky.

Homemade Instant Pancake Mix

Mix together:

• 4 cups flour (we used gluten free - nobody can tell these days, gf has come a loooong way!)
• 3 Tbsp baking powder
• 1 Tspn salt
• 2 Tbsp, plus 2 Tspn, sugar

As per the great tip in the recipe, I now keep this in a large jar. On the jar, I have written the wet ingredients I need to add to every 1 cup of dry mix. Too easy! Don't need to grab any recipe books out!

To make the batter, add the following to each 1 cup of pancake mix:

• 1 egg
• 1 cup milk
• 1 Tbsp butter, melted

Spoon 1/2 - 2 Tbsp batter onto hot pan and flip once bubbles appear on the surface.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Say it like you mean it.

Tonight, I got my very first ever unprompted, uncopied and simple...

"I love you, Mumma."

My breath caught in my chest and I drew my little wonder to me as I hugged her goodnight. She cupped my face in her hands and if I was one to burden her with my own stuff and insecurities, I would have blubbered like a baby and put my head on her shoulder, I think. It was so sweet and heartfelt!

I waited 3.5 years, but I know without a doubt that she felt it and has simply said it in her own time. I've told the LGBB I love her, often, she's repeated it back to me (sometimes) but mostly, she just smirks and doesn't return the sentiment. I've never made a thing of it, for then I would be imprinting on her something my mother imprinted on me ("I love you" and "I'm sorry" became two tension-defusing statements I was programmed to use when the air was positively, pathologically icy - I was taught/forced to say them until all meaning became stripped) and I just won't weigh my own daughter down with that sort of guilt tripping.

We've spent such good, fun time together in the past couple of weeks. I seem to enjoy her more each day and, even though this week has felt like we're in particularly close-quarters because we now have everything we own in three small rooms while we extend the house and it's just too cramped for a rambunctious toddler who needs room to run and bounce off walls occasionally, I'm not craving for her to get out of my way like I was when I was run-down and working too hard to someone else's timelines.

So, here I am. Floating, on top of a cloud. My little girl said she loved me with every piece of her happy heart. I feel full tonight, knowing I have obviously also filled her up with love and good things these past couple of weeks. Hahhh, yes, quitting that permanent job arrangement was most definitely a wise idea.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


The LGBB's owl.

Now, I'm most excited by this because, see, the LGBB hasn't been drawing anything lately. Too busy perfecting her numbers (she can write them up to 9 now, with prompting) and the thing with this is, she is sooooo hard on herself (pffft, oh I wouldn't know where she gets that from) that it sometimes stifles her attempts to even give it a go. So drawing, too, has been a thing of frustration for her. I can remember, as a young child, knowing what I wanted to draw, seeing it so perfect in my mind, then putting pencil to paper... and not commanding enough control over the pencil to actually draw what I was expecting. I'd get so mad at the lack of control I had over my hand. I must have been very young.

So, I was very pleased to see a little figure on her board. The first we've seen in several months.

She drew this last night at about 8pm, after waking from a quick hour-long power nap (her last vomit was about 6pm and she went to sleep after this, for what we assumed would be the rest of the night). But up she got at 7 o'clock and she was full of beans. She downed a small cup of chicken broth that I'd made on the stove while she slept, nice and salty and clear. Wanted more. I said no. Poor kid hasn't eaten anything since the night before, but you wouldn't have known it last night.

I was treated to a chalkboard instructional. "See, whatcha doo izz...." she kept saying, while she mastered the knack of holding her ruler in various vertical and horizontal positions and drew lines with her chalk. I came over to see exactly what she'd done.

"And who is this?" I asked.
"Thassan' owl," she waved to him casually.
"And what about this little fella?" I asked, pointing to the blob with obvious eyes sitting off to the owl's right.
"That's his friend. Bird."

She then stepped back to reveal what she'd done with the ruler: drawn four lines, one around each side.

"There! That's his house! I made him a house! YAY-YAY-YAY!" she jumped, before I asked her to stop... just in case I was treated to a projectile that would see me wash my fifth load of clothes and cushion covers that day.

Ahhhh, Lolly. It's always great to have you back.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Mother gene

What is it with your ill child that makes you completely wake up and be at full, willing attention at 3am?

I was hot anyway. And awake. So why not put my insomnia to good use and go tend to a poorly little poppet who seems to have caught a vomiting bug overnight. She's asleep now. I'm not. And you know what, I don't care in the slightest!

If the LGBB was arking up, playing the fool, acting silly or (my pet peeve) whinging over something or other, I would have far less patience for being up and 'on' at this time of the morning.

But there's something about that call out, Nightingale style (sans the oil lamp and groovy nurse's kit-out), that really calls me to service. I feel so incredibly useful. Mind you, I'd prefer not to be beckoned in this way too often. But there is something very gratifying for me, nurturing perhaps a part of myself, in knowing I am offering my ill or frightened child some comfort, enough to allow her to fall back to sleep. I know what to do for her. Get a bucket, a little scented antiseptic in the water at the bottom, a cold flannel, tissues, spare night gowns and Homoeopathic remedy (for puking - oh totally, yeah, there's one for that!) on hand, along with rhythmic soft strokes of her forehead, and I am well equipped to give her all I know how.

I feel far more put to good use in this manner, compared to those days and nights spent alongside my other gorgeous girl. In the NICU, there is no way to really comfort like this. So new to it all, anyway, and in an alien environment, none of which is familiar to your sense of instinctive mothering, there is little that can be done. And even less which is allowed, depending on the hospital and the 'trends' of the day. During our stint with Ellanor, in January/February 2004, there was a distinct change in instruction for us: it went from quite blasé, even encouraging, views on parental-infant touch to something far less friendly. The day I was told by a Registrar that my touching my own baby was harming her progress was the day something broke inside me just a little bit more. We fought and won that battle, adamant that there couldn't possibly be so much harm done in cooing gently through a tiny plastic porthole to our dear one while we gingerly held a pinky finger so she could curl her fist around it, that it demanded a finite rule.

Don't get me wrong, I know I'm not "making up" for lost nurturing with Ella. My girls are completely different and, therefore, so too is my relationship with both of them. I would never ever dishonour Lolly's place in the world and in my life, our family, by overlaying my nurture or mothering of her with anything that I felt I missed out on with her big sister.

I do often wonder what the nights would be like if I had two wee sickies to dart between. Or if they tag teamed and got ill on alternating nights to stagger the overnight loss of sleep for me. Would I be nearly as tolerant of all this if I hadn't already lost Ella (and so many other bubbas who never made it)? I'll never know.

It remains yet one more extremely handy gift she has left me.

Monday, November 9, 2009

One of the many benefits of living with a man of few words

The email exchange went exactly like this (hint: makes more sense if you click on the links):

"This puzzle is what I've been looking for, for Lolly for Christmas.
It's buy now from UK. But inc. postage, it's only $18.
Should I get this one? (of the girl)"

His reply:

Then seconds later, I found a disastrous monstrosity on the same page from other international sellers, so decided to send that link to him as well (go on, click on it...):

"Ummmm... or wait, there's this one."

His response:

Nobody but me can say my Lenny is simple. These replies are both very typically "Steve".

But let's just pause a moment, before I go, on that layered puzzle! $18 incl. postage! I have been hunting high and low for anything similar under $30 but with no luck. And this one has the organs too. Woot! The LGBB loves the layered puzzles at occ. care so she's bound to love this one.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sunday in photos

One of our most favourite things is to give the LGBB control of the camera. These are the photos she took when Steve handed it to her in the early evening while the two of them were inspecting the progress on the extension:

I just think this is hilarious of Jazz - her face doesn't look quite like this for neither Steve nor I.
No, this definitely looks like a Pal Pose, exchanged privately between Jazzy and Lolly.

"Oh, Peppeeeeeh"
(remind me to tell you all about the wonders of human glucosamine tablets on an elderly doggy's joints... she has a spring back in her step and, if I am not mistaken, was even seen to kick up her heels a little, in the midst of jumping off the house extension this past weekend - not bad for an old girl who was born in mid-1994!!)

Then it was Steve's turn to take the camera back off the toddler.
"What shall I take photos of?" he asked her.
"MEEEEEEEE!" she declared, true to her 3.5 year-old form.

The real meaning of Christmas

An interesting question posed for this week's challenge, set by BlogThis. It is one I've actually asked myself many times during festive seasons over the years. Only when we lost everything (in 2004) that truly meant anything to us did I really *get* the whole concept of giving thanks and forgiving others' trespasses from throughout the previous year.

I wrote about "the meaning of Christmas" in my old blog, just before Christmas 2005. Retrospectively, I was being decidedly cynical but attempting to lace it with 'umour, as had become my method of survival during that period of my life. I wrote:

Another year of wondering what it's all about.

K: So what is it, anyway? Is it about the kids?
S: Nah.
K: No, I mean, it started with the birth of Christ and all...
S: That's the story.
K: ...but the tradition now is for the children. Yes, it's totally over-commercialised and it's possibly taken for granted by many. But for the kids, it's still exciting to see their families all together at once, isn't it?
S: Yeah.
K: And forgiveness. It's such a crock that warring people have to 'put it all aside' to spend Christmas together. Look at WWI, WWII. The story is famous, how they put down their weapons and had a spot of turkey together. What's with THAT?
[Thinking: But maybe that's it, maybe without Christmas and that one day's grace from grievances, there isn't any other time to take a breather from all the sadness that goes with fighting and disharmony]
S: *continues driving in silence*
K: So then... what is the meaning of Christmas? What's it all about?
S: *decidedly, as if he had just been waiting for me to shut up and ask him* The food.
K: Huh?
S: It's about the food.
K: What!??
S: When else do you get to have yummy ham and yummy turkey? And that stuffing?
K: It's..... about..... the food....
S: *quite pleased with himself* Yuh.

I wrote this post at the end of the second, most arduous, year after losing Ella. We had done our NICU stint for 31 relatively very short days (although it was, literally, a lifetime we spent there with our firstborn) the previous year, in 2004. The first Christmas without her was spent cradling my sore belly from a termination we had to contend with (this one at 10 weeks) the day before Christmas Eve. For fear of my family dismissing Ella, or thoughts of her, I didn't tell them. In fact, we downplayed the whole thing, because that first Christmas was meant to be her first. Our first, as parents.

It was our first Christmas as parents, technically. Except there were no presents for our little 11 month old baby girl under anyone's tree.

By the end of 2005, I knew that the pettiness was not going to stop. A second year filled with my own growing anger and cynicism, coupled with an equally measured confirmation by others that there were going to be no special favours or allowances handed out to me or Steve, had shown how far open the chasm could grow between us and our loved ones.

The meaning of Christmas was lost in amongst the taste of an awfully bitter pill. I flayed myself that second year, in 2005, for not being more "up". A well-meaning and gorgeous family friend took me aside and said, "What are you doing all this for? Don't you know, you are so vital?" The intention was genuine, but it left me feeling even more alone, for I was not doing anything on purpose. I was simply surviving at this time, still, two years on.

It was an incredibly stifling time, I felt gagged from airing my feelings anymore, for apparently the use-by date on how often I was "allowed" to bring up Ella's name had long passed. For me and for Steve, so much of what we were expressing and how we were interacting with people was done through a filter of immense grief. Of a core-deep fear that we would never again be able to come close to filling the hole our daughter had left in our lives. We had another baby on board that Christmas in 2005, but even she did not comfort in the way a new beginning ought. For we had been there before, so many, many times (the LGBB was our 10th pregnancy and, so far, she remains our only surviving child).

I've spent more Christmases feeling hopeful in my life than not, though, all this moroseness aside. Even during my years of attempting to conceive (no less than six), it marked the beginning of a new start. A fresh year just around the corner that maybe, this year, would be "our year" and we'd be parents by the end of it.

Christmas was such a magical time in my childhood. I truly loved it. I loved the presents, I loved the food, I ADORED sitting with my Granddad and his silly, sweaty paper hat at their table for a post-Christmas (Boxing Day) feast. My Grandma made the best stuffing. My parents (I think it was mostly Mum) made Christmas pretty magical too. They did their best. There was a lot of fighting too. A lot. But I have tended to shut that out over the years, because overall, Christmas has always been a season with an energy of renewal about it.

Replenishment, restocking and renewal.

So. Back to the Challenge.

What does Xmas mean to you and your family?
Have you got some traditions??
What will you cook?!
Who will you spend it with?
Got a favourite Christmas memory?
How are you decorating??

We don't have any traditions. These were all blown out of the water over the various breaking downs of our family/ies over the years. Not noice, no, but real. And just how it is.
We are unfortunately not going to decorate this year. We've a bit of Topsy-Turvy Land going on here at the moment, with the house extension in full swing. So if I have to see one more bit of clutter (and this year, the Humbug in me has come out on this one), even if it is in the shape of a glorious bit of tinsely ornament, I will cry.
I don't know what I'm cooking (or if I will), nor who we're spending it with. Our habit over the past five years has been to darken the doorstep of our gorgeous inlaws, once removed... my brothers' inlaws, to be exact. A more welcoming home, with better company or food, you would be hard-pressed to find. I hope the invite is extended again this year. If it's not, well, we have a new room now! So it might hopefully be finished into some state of readiness for a barbie and we can return the 'favour'!

What does Christmas mean to me? Outside the obvious reminiscent markers of being pregnant, grieving a lost pregnancy or then - the big one - realising everyone else's children were getting older and their lives were progressing and their presents tastes were changing?

It means closing in around those people and things that are important to you and letting them in to surround you too.
It means not rushing around with the best prepared plate of food or the cleanest floors or the widest smile.
It means gathering with those who are truly your kindred kind (and this is not necessarily family).
It means stopping and playing with the children in your life instead of standing in the kitchen and lamenting all that you have to do (or that this feels like any other day to you, just with more food to prepare).
It means copious amounts of belly-full laughter.
It means realigning yourself with your partner (if all the time they really take is over Christmas/New Year).
It means Meet Me In St Louis (a MUST for me each festive season, even through the hard ones, has been to watch this movie, ever since I was about 11 years old and my cousins introduced me to it once on a visit from Perth to our place)
It means wandering around our neighbourhood looking at Christmas lights - now that was a moment (last Christmas when we did it for the first time with our then 2.5yo) when I knew I was a parent... we had a ball and the three of us came home so full from our walk :)
It means cracking out my beloved oldies Christmas tunes by Mel Torme, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Nat King Cole, Perry Como and the likes (love, love, love the old and big band festive stuff!)
It means tipsy giggles with the womenfolk in their kitchens.
It means wandering out to a grassy lawn to play volleyball or totem tennis or some other ball game with the menfolk and the kids (one and the same, in my experience, usually!).
It means happiness that makes your heart swell.

And it always, always, means hope for another, better, year.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Analyse This

Anyone care to tell me why I had a dream last night about Ross Wilson going on Hey Hey It's Saturday to sing State Of The Heart? And when they crossed to him, he pulled a screen down over his face and said to the audience, "When you come to see Ross Wilson in my show, this is what you'll see...." before he sang it?

And as I sat, in my dream, watching the tv and laughing at the absurdity of it, I mused to Steve how Jacqui McDonald had obviously chosen to accompany him on the.... HARP????.... to prove she was not that crazy, kooky, googly-eyed broad she used to be.

Okay. Discuss. Please, because the bizarreness is just disturbing me.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

When it works, it works

I found out on Monday that a dear, gorgeous friend of mine is almost at the end of her first trimester. She has been trying with her husband to conceive their second child for over five years.

She is currently on self-prescribed bedrest. Fighting a yucky virus at the moment, which hasn't helped matters of morning sickness and the likes, she was also describing how faint she felt every time she got up. An alarming situation for her, this baby (as are they all) is so precious - she has one tube and endometriosis, neither of which are exactly on their side where their chances at conception are concerned - and she also has two cysts to contend with as well. Oh, and spotting.

So, a real grab bag of dicey circumstances.

After I got off the phone from my friend, I busied myself with my day. My thoughts kept turning back to her, though, and I consciously put the thought out there, to Upstairs, that I was more than willing to give her anything or assist if it was permitted and/or if I could.

I left it at that.

We went to bed, had some rain just before 5am which woke up the LGBB. Steve took her back to bed and then came back, slipped under the covers and began snoring again instantly. I wanted to return to sleep but had that familiar pull, drawing me out to my place by the mirrors. I honestly didn't want to get up, it was cosy in bed and I still had more sleeping to do. But then suddenly, my friend's name entered my head. It was for her I was being called out. I was up like a shot.

For some reason, I found it quite hard to concentrate. Possibly had something to do with the fact that the rain was still coming down and I had to leave my post to go and attend to the LGBB no less than four times, and the fact that this was the first time I've done any of this work with her in the next room (such as it is currently, what with her bedroom in the lounge temporarily).

But before long, I had a couple of things just land in my head.

"Magnesium," I heard. Okay. So maybe she has to check her magnesium? Maybe it's low? I only assumed a deficiency, for I am used to the depletions that occur during pregnancy - I had awful anemia with Ella - and made a mental note to run it past my SIL who's a naturopath. The other curious bit of work I had to do involved "restringing" some leylines - fascinating - again, something I had no real idea why, but I have been learning to trust what I'm being asked to do and not searching for the answer or even understanding (I might do this for myself a bit too often, seek to know why/how/what, but I never do when I am working on behalf of someone else). But anyway, I reattached these newly spun, golden "strings" from outside her head somewhere into her pelvis. It was a real strengthening, restructuring exercise.

After I had finished, closed off and begun the day, I sent an email to my dear friend. "Check your magnesium level," I suggested. "I think it might help? Though I have no idea how."

Later in the morning, I got a return text message from the lovely SIL: "No magnesium supplements in pregnancy! It causes low blood pressure."

Not too long after, a return email from the friend that went something along the lines of: "I looked up magnesium online. Thought I had been doing the right thing taking supplements... hadn't asked the doctor about this being a possible cause because she didn't mention it. Thank you!"

So, okay, I'd thought she needed magnesium. But she actually needed to stop taking the magnesium she had been on (unbeknownst to me)! Another little mini lesson for me to not assume anything about what I'm being given to offer someone else.

I am hoping she returns to somewhere near normal before too long, after she sees her doc and comes off the supplements. I realise they would have worked out what was going on sooner or later, but I'm still pretty chuffed to have helped out a little.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Challenge #23 - My Dream House

My first BlogThis challenge post! And I was going to get this post done sooooo much sooner. I hate handing in my homework at the last minute (but I always, always did....)

Given that the back half of my *cough* dream home currently looks like this...

Note the LGBB's bedroom in the photo below, in pink, displaying just one wall without exposure to the elements:

Hence, the three year-old overtaking our living space in the main house

... and it means that our family of three has been smooshed into very close quarters while the back half of the house is closed off to accommodate the new extension, it's sort of a given that I'm squeezed for time. We're doing the Owner-Builder Thang. So I am chief nursemaid, nurturer, cook, site manager, hardware orderer, building inspection organiser and boudoire extraordinnaire (er.... some rare nights, fatigue permitting). But I also couldn't go past this challenge!

I'd be living with my family somewhere on the coast, with cool green forest and a bit of open pasture as well (I'm sure that place exists!). I'd live in Australia. Though I am really drawn to the north eastern corner of the US/south eastern corner of Canada. Yes... Anne Shirley country.

Let's start with the bathroom, shall we? I'm assuming that in this challenge, there are ample funds for a twice-daily clean by ... I'd say cleaner but, well, as long as it's anyone other than me and they do a sparkling job, I don't mind. I'm particularly drawn to this one not only due to the glorious "swanning" room (to simply swan about, in the middle there, with my arms out - can you tell we're living in very close quarters during this reno?), but also because of the muted tones, the romantic lighting, the glossy surfaces (I just want to confirm.... there is a cleaner coming, right?), the little tele mounted up there in the corner and the gorgey little firebox.

If I had my way, in a house anytime during my life, it'd have a fire place of some sort in it. Preferably one that was double sided, able to be enjoyed in bedroom/parents' retreat and bathroom. My love affair with the design started here, at Chocolate Gannets on the Great Ocean Road.

When I was doing this challenge, I noticed I was drawn to water. Still water, preferably (though rocky crags get me going too - I do love the ocean and often feel compelled to be near it, the wilder the better, just to gaze).

Therefore, this outdoor spa would most likely be my little stopping point from the house on the way to the....

Horizon pool.

Which I'd get to via the...

Pool by the house.

Mind you, all this water may lead you to believe I swim. I don't. I can't. True story. I just love being with water. Just not often in it.

Keeping on the same theme for the moment, I'd throw in a couple of vantage points of this water I am apparently so deeply enamoured with (yes, I am a Water sign - a Cancerian, if you please).

This one

And one of these for good measure
(with or without my dearly beloved and a glass of bubbly and a rug for my knees)

I also wouldn't complain if this were the view that greeted me every day, off my bedroom.

Speaking of bedrooms, okay it's a tricky one. See, I LOVE fresh linen. I love nothing more than the feel of crisp, clean sheets as I glide into them. If I weren't environmentally conscious (and if I had the time or the will), I'd be changing my bed sheets every day. Sooooo.... seeing as this is my fantasy house-life, I'd have to say that I would create three bedrooms in this masterpiece.

One: My Day Bedroom - the decoy (oooh except, sans the fussy insect netting, blurgh - although, they do tend to lend themselves as accompaniments to a good, luxurious, lay-about read of a Jane Austin or other such novel, don't they?). White. Soft. Voluptuous, cool, clean, crisp, minimal white. I love the angles on this ceiling. I'd go a trippy roof/ceiling height and design throughout the house too, for good measure.

Two: The Real Bedroom.
The one that Steve is allowed to use, with me. Because, let's face it, boys do mussy up bed linen faster than nothing else (except a bouncy toddler doing knee spins on your duvet.... grrrrr), even if they're lying still as a log. How do they DO that? He messes up the pillows and just. Doesn't. I dunno, sleep neat or something *ok now I'm just showing signs we've been together a looong time*. So I'd need to know there was another bedroom I could scarper to, just to know it hadn't been "boyed up".

Three: The aptly-titled "PoW bedroom" (well, it was on the website I found it on, anyway - Palace On Wheels, it's called....... *shifting feet uneasily* That's unlike any palace I've ever seen, just quietly).

So this is the one he'd be banished to if he ever came and messed up the sheets in my girly bedroom:

The guest room would be something cute and cosy. Like this (oh yeah, totally, you could come stay! You know how to clean and polish bathroom surfaces?)

A bedroom for the Lolster would be hard. I mean, I think this is gorgeous:

But whether she would, is the point. At present, she is telling me she wants a blue and green bedroom. Green I can accommodate. But blue? Mmmmmmmm, not together anyway. So perhaps her fancy would be more like this:

The girl has some eye for colour. On thinking about it, green is a great bedroom colour (right Karelle? ;)

I would also dearly love to have the time, patience and follow through to do something like this on her wall. Just discreetly:

Okay, enough with sleeping arrangements.

I wouldn't have a ridiculous kitchen. And I do love clean lines in this room of the house. So this would be about it and I'd be happy. Again, especially if it gets cleaned for me. Huzzah!

Off the kitchen, I'd have to go for a cosy feel for family and friend gatherings. Something gorgeous and soft and with lots of natural light, like this:

Naturally, I'd also want to know there was a place for little people to go tearing about. So I'd make sure there was some sort of light-filled atrium, with views to a garden of tall palms and other cool greenery (not that I could find ANY images of one of those, mind, but it's there, just off the side of this shot in my mind's eye):

There would also be a nice, quiet place for me and Steve to sit and read and just be in silence and stillness together.

Oh, and I'd go for something like this for my office/work space. Something not too girlied up and gender neutral, strong but not imposing, comfortable with a laptop on my knees and the iMac somewhere over yonder on a simple glossy wooden counter along the wall:

I never knew, before doing this, how "into" white I am. Ha. And here I have been, trying my damndest to break out the bold colours.

Don't think I will now, when the extension is done. I think I'll stick with cool whites, greens and wood tones. Hahhhhhh. Easy, breezy!

It's been a bit of a trip. An eye opener. I've realised I don't go for glitz and glamour so much as comfort and what I personify as style. I love soft, muted colours and clean, simple stuff. A bit of homely clutter of furniture in some gathering rooms, but wide open space to roar around in others. Above all, I don't think I'd be all that happy in anything too grand. And I'm extremely happy to know that.

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