Wednesday, December 30, 2009
He: There's left-over cous-cous there, I made too much, can you give it to the dogs please?
He: Just cous-cous *walks away chuckling*
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Not that the extension is finished (we're laying the flooring this coming week, Steve and I - all 63sqm of it, yikes!), but we whacked the big old wooden dining table in there. And whaddaya know? The room dwarfs it!
Utterly stoked. Stoked to have a sense of normalcy back (it's fun to eat a casual meal here and there together at the island bench but, seriously, every friggen day and every meal? Bit much... bit toooo casz), thoroughly rapt that I can sit and work this afternoon and look out the windows at green, glorious, majestic, commanding bush up on the steep hills that rise the height of the entire window, from my seated position, and really blessed that I have a family to share it with.
Am a happy camper today. Life is full.
Monday, December 28, 2009
I mean "monopoly" as in (dict. def.) the exclusive possession or control of something.
Ever get that lightbulb moment that blinds you so bright it knocks you off your uncomfortable perch? Such has been the epiphany of the past few days, where an altercation with a long-standing friend of ten+ years has seen me question my own "rights" to feel hurt and pained when I haven't actually been straight as an arrow myself.
In assuming my position of "quietly pained but never letting on", I see now that I've been most unfair to my oblivious friend.
When a shattering occurrence happened here on Boxing Day, this friend behaved (as per usual) by delivering judgemental vitriol (about my reaction) on cue. I have perpetually given such leeway, such grace, such patience in my stance of "that is her way, if I speak up then I am going to be called too sensitive and told that I can't take a joke (even when it is blatantly obvious that the 'joke' is a thinly-veiled callous remark or put-down towards me or someone else), so best for me to shut up and pretend like it doesn't hurt because I don't want to be hurt more by being told I'm being silly or sensitive or mental, etc."
But I've just realised that this monopoly I have always seen as being held by her, from my victim stance and totally enabled by same, has actually turned into manipulation by me of our friendship.
See, I called my friend on her words to me this particular time. Why this time? Out of all the other countless times? Was it the straw that broke the camel's back (and therefore, because it has built into a mountainous pile of times I wanted to tell her to back off me, my reaction seems far overblown compared to this current circumstance)? Was it the work I am currently doing on, heh how ironic, transcending these sorts of interpersonal things and getting to the heart of the matter (of my soul)? Maybe. I think it's actually a little from column A and a little from column B.
So here I am, working away, with this friend and our current Friend Status on Red Alert in the background of my awareness. It could literally go either way from here but we both know our friendship as we knew it has now ended - I would like to think that we've just transposed our friendship into something more positive, transcended it into something else on a mutually more honest basis, if you will. It remains to be seen if this has, in fact, happened. Am I ready to shine a light on this part of my nature? Am I ready to walk the talk and put exactly what I am currently studying into practice? I guess I am, it's become a huge test of my dedication (to my Self).
The interest I hold now is in my commitment to my Soul and my study. This friend has been somewhat of an addiction for me, if truth be told. As my vantage point of my world has changed over the years and become more and more stripped of my old-world judgements of others and how they live/what they do, this friend has been like a little island of delectable gossip. Insidious and cynical and familiar to my psyche.
But.... now the conundrum! I no longer operate from that same place. And hence, the lie I have been perpetuating within our friendship. I have been the illusionist here, not her. And she has been blind-sighted by my actions, perhaps receiving her own shattering bolt out of the blue which she can either repel from or act with accordingly (that is her ordained and/or personal free will and choice).
I love the intrinsic nature of my friend. I love the glimpses of kind-hearted spirit I see in her. I love the striving, seeking nature of her. I also know that we attract what we are - the law of like attracts like - and so I see that the shadow side of her personality, which I have always (from my pained body stance*) assumed is my attacker, is also within me.
Therein lies the challenge for me personally: do I continue to ascend and transcend my outmoded egoic strive to "fit in" and/or "be put down"? Or do I allow my true nature (my Soul) to speak up here and take a seat in the driver's pozzy?
So. I sit at the other end of the empty see-saw and I wait. Timing is everything and I owe it to both of us to just let the grace of passing hours soothe us for now.
* Read Eckhart Tolle's "A New Earth" for a brilliant description of the pain body
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Christmas pud's to rot your teeth on
Milk & Dark choc royals (the biscuits with the marshmallow sitting on a smudge of jam and then a biscuit bottom), topped with melted white chocolate, then a little raspberry and a coupla chopped mint leaves.
• This time last year I was wishing we had the extension all finished. Some things never change.
• It's probably not a good idea to store your wallet with your spare sanitary pad for those "just in case" times. You'll prrrrobably end up pulling out said pad with your wallet to pay for your Christmas drinky-poo's and not notice until you glance down and think, "What's that bright blue packaging?" as you go to slip out your credit card. In front of the nice young boy who's already in the process of being very self-conscious because of that pesky Glee Club tryout-ruining breaking voice ("When it's time to change, you've got to re-A-RANGE").
• I can't be sure, but I've spent the last half hour with "drinky-poo's" on my mind, trying to recall who said it (and got picked on for saying it). And I have concluded, it was Graham Garden from The Goodies. I haven't googled. Some things are better left un-googled and, therefore, apparently in this internet age, unanswered. Unless any of you know? Or have googled the answer?
• This is my last post before Christmas. Sound the bugle.
And have a good one, peeps. Eat! Be merry! Laugh lots!
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
A boat docked in a tiny Mexican fishing village. A tourist complimented the local fishermen on the quality of their fish and asked how long it took him to catch them.
"Not very long," they answered in unison.
"Why didn't you stay out longer and catch more?"
The fishermen explained that their small catches were sufficient to meet their needs and those of their families.
"But what do you do with the rest of your time?"
"We sleep late, fish a little, play with our children and take siestas with our wives.
In the evenings, we go into the village to see our friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar, and sing a few songs.
We have a full life."
The tourist interrupted, "I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you! You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch.
With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat."
"And after that?"
"With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middle man, you can then negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You can then leave this little village and move to Mexico City, Los Angeles or even New York City! From there you can direct your huge new enterprise."
"How long would that take?"
"Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years." replied the tourist.
"And after that?"
"Afterwards? Well, my friend, that's when it gets really interesting", answered the tourist, laughing. "When your business gets really big, you can start buying and selling stocks and make millions!"
"Millions? Really? And after that?" asked the fishermen.
"After that you'll be able to retire,
Live in a tiny village near the coast,
Sleep late, play with your children,
Catch a few fish, take a siesta with your wife
And spend your evenings drinking and
Enjoying your friends"
The moral of this story is:
Know where you're going in life...
You may already be there.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
A little something I worked up in my spare few seconds a few weeks ago. I plan to hang this in the LGBB's room (it's a photo I took of her and her Dad on the beach during a beautiful full moon at Surfers Paradise last year when we were on holiday). Looook at those liddle legs!!!
I have a hoard of people coming on the 27th. We have reneged on our offer of Steve's family here for Boxing Day (choice was taken out of my hands and I would've done it but must admit to feeling quite a bit roomier with that extra day I don't have to organise for). I am yet to even think about what to feed said hoard.
I have now resorted to muttering a To Do list to myself, most recently in the carpark at Woolies while I loaded shopping into the car.
The last thing I said: "Five hours. Right. I've got five hours with her there so I can work. Five hours. Should be enough to make a good dint. Five hours..."
So here I go. My start point - 11am - and I have five hours to reach up and out there and bring back down some inspiration to do some magical weaving of this awesome work so I don't feel so utterly useless at it. The work? It's all to do with how we constantly manage to fill up our time with "whatever else" that takes us away from our true selves and how this affects the collective consciousness.
Yeah. I'll just whip that up, create a wordful masterpiece worthy of presentation at their next series of classes in the New Year. Then go pick up the LGBB and do the Mummy thing in the arvo. Sorted!
Sunday, December 20, 2009
We had a long-overdue visit yesterday from an old school friend of Steve's. We lost touch with him some years ago, in fact I don't think we've had contact since the mid-90's. But in that strange "other world" that is Facebook, they found each other. Funny, the two of them don't actually use Facebook and also both only just joined.
Dave hasn't intrinsically changed. His hair is longer, more unruly, he's a Dad now, he is still impossibly affectionate and good looking, in a very seasoned, rugged way now. He had his stunning, charming 10 year-old son in tow - a real, easy-going salt of the earth kid who would make any adult melt - and was a bit older around the gills. But it was still the Dave we affectionately remember.
I noticed early on in the visit that Dave now has an involuntary tic. A head nod he is apparently unaware of. I guessed that what he had seen during his years as a medic in the army (he has seen action for most of his 15 years' service) would deeply affect a person as sensitive as him. I felt so humbled when he spoke of his time serving - in Rwanda, Somalia, Bouganville to name a few - and although some of the stories we have heard before (having told us during his tours or when he returned and was still in the heightened gung-ho-ness of it all as a much younger man), I heard a much more harrowing, truer version. As if he had lifted the veil on the romanticism of having mates and good times, hijinks and high adventures in different countries that didn't speak his language.
When Dave turned conversation to the children, I braced myself. I truly had to put on my professional hat and not go into the personal effect on me, that what I was hearing was healing for him and not for me to own - not right then and there, anyway. I could go away later and have my cry, for him and for the children. I'm yet to do that, I think I'd like to actually go and do a bit of a clearing on it. It was a stark reminder that there is so much suffering, of the nature we rarely if ever hear about and yet, there are people, young people with their now-affected lives ahead of them, cleaning up the effects of warring factions - literally scraping these "effects" up with shovels - gruesome, harrowing work.
Dave spoke openly this time about his breakdown which came about six years ago. A car backfire sent his body into such a state of shock that he lost control of his bodily functions. Can you imagine a shock so great that, years after you thought you had buried the event and recovered from it, you were rendered useless? I can't actually. But I was so grateful to the brave man standing in our kitchen yesterday, who showed us a very healthy way through such a traumatic life-altering journey.
I never knew, but after spending time holding babies in his arms so they could "die knowing they were loved" (maimed or beyond any surgery, after their mothers had been killed from landmines or gunfire), Dave furthered his training by becoming a Paediatric Nurse. He specialised in theatre - cardiac at first, then neuro which he said fascinated him more - and the intrigue that studying the anaesthetics held for him was evident when his face lit up.
He asked questions. Interested, educated questions, about our time with Ellanor. He was exceedingly gentle and pained. Every time Steve went out of the room, he sidled over to me and wanted to express what, I guess, a mate can't say to another mate (I know girls do, I don't think boys feel they can.... which is sad) - that he was simply "gutted" to hear what had happened to us. That he had tried, so many times, to reach out to Steve.... but he didn't. Something held him back, I guess. An inability, even after all Dave had seen and experienced during his time serving, to know how to approach someone he cared for dearly and say he was sorry.
Perhaps he felt it wouldn't be enough? Perhaps he thought Steve was being cared for already?
No. Neither of these assumed presumptions is correct. Should never be correct, if you are concerned about how to approach someone who has lost their baby. Bridge the divide, before it's too late and you feel the moment is gone. Reach out, you won't be sorry. It will be appreciated. Particularly, and I underline this for emphasise, those fathers. Don't forget the Dads! Please. It is such a silent, insidious, continuously underlying grief for so many men. So much so, I'm certain many aren't aware how it has permeated their character and affected how they interact with everyone around them - it simply sidles on in and becomes them. And it doesn't have to be that way, if they are encouraged to open up in a safe environment. The partner who has lost as well cannot be that sounding board, it's impossible.
In our case, I was Steve's only sounding board. I wished he had Dave around to talk to. Dave would be/is perfect. He has had so much experience with death, more than anyone I have ever met. It nearly sent him under. It has affected him physically and the mental scar may never completely go away. It is his to hold onto as he wishes, it's what defined him, I suppose, as a person.
But you know, the amazing thing I saw yesterday was what I really wanted to share before this mammoth post comes to a close. I've only ever had this experience once before. Very interestingly to me, it was another man (my obstetrician, actually) I witnessed it in. That time, he had taken me out for lunch about four days after Ellanor died. I was so nauseated I couldn't manage to eat. He talked to me, about what I have no specific recollection, but I do remember it was about his own experiences with death of babies. And what I saw that day was the same as what I saw working through Dave yesterday.
Dave was talking about some of the specific children he remembered from his time there. The funny things he did with them, the defining moments of their deaths. And I swear, despite the kids giggling and playing the Playstation games in the background and Steve standing to one side and other peripheral things, Dave was focused on what he was saying. The way he talked and what he was saying, reminded me of my Ob six years ago. His face was so intent, his voice soft, steeped in the recollection of what he was saying, as if it was right in front of him.
I realised then that this was probably the moment when the "real" Dave was "born" - he made a connection with his soul purpose. I could hear it in his words. It was as if an angel had come down and touched him lightly on the shoulder and given him the big nod. What a blessing. For him, for those kids, for anyone who meets Dave. He has that attracting and attractive light about him.
It was interesting to me, because just the day before, I had come across the quote I have shared on here once before - mistakenly attributed to Nelson Mandela, but apparently it's not his! - and it reminds me now of Dave:
Towards the end of their visit, Dave was talking (he loooooves to talk, even more than me!) about blood groups. He said his was B-positive, like his Dad. Mine is too. And we had a bit of a chuckle over that similarity (because apparently, it's not all too common). He didn't get me going, all the time he was sharing his experiences with us, but when he said that during his darkest times he chose to consciously tell himself that, like his blood type, he "has to Be Positive, because it's running through my very veins", I went to mush and teared up. He nodded, grinning widely and pointing at me. He knew I knew what he meant - "Ah! HAH?! Right?!!" he said.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Yup. Too right.
It is exactly what I have told myself, privately, so often these past ten years of our struggles and trials. Be Positive. It's in your veins.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Friends and their mums.
The other day at occasional care, I put the LGBB's bag in her locker and noticed on the ground a Christmas card written by one of her dearest friends' mothers to another little girl, fallen from a bag no doubt. I thought how sweet it was and assumed that Lolly would receive hers once she entered the room and began the day. But Charlotte didn't present her with a card. For the rest of this week, there were no cards handed to Lolly.
Lolly had no idea and has spent the final week of the year playing gleefully with her mate, Charlie, and Charlie has still played with her.
It's just one of those things. I'm sure what probably happened was that Charlie was given a certain number of cards and her mummy asked her who she'd like to give them to. Charlie probably listed off the person she last saw, whatever she laid her eyes on right at that moment - "the table!" - the dog and her Dad. Her mum maybe had to remember the kids' names at occ. care for her.
So I can see how it might have gone down. But it's just...... well, we invited this same girl to the LGBB's third birthday in July and I never even got a decline RSVP from her mother. Again, something I dismissed and made excuses for her (perhaps she's busy, maybe they lost the invitation, maybe she thinks it's ok not to contact me at all, etc.). I pass her in the hall - we both know whose children are ours and it's quite obvious they're friends - and she doesn't look me in the eye, let alone raise a smile when I say hi. Hmmmmmmmm. Again, I've been waving it off and making excuses, but damn. It highlights something for me that I'm only just beginning to become aware (become paranoid, let's face it) of - that I might somehow affect my daughter's relationships with her friends when the mothers of those friends "don't like the look" of me. And I'm not even sure it's that, I mean, maybe her mum is a blinkered get-in-get-out kind of person. Shit, maybe she thinks I want to corner her to make smalltalk.
Huh. I guess I knew it was coming. I always thought if I kept out of it, it'd sail over my head, this sort of social minefield. I'm not the natter-at-the-school-gate type person. I don't make small talk very often, I just don't have the capacity for it (I can do it, sure, I spent years of my life catering to that need in others....). That's not to say I don't talk to people at all, but I just don't think I'm going to be great at keeping up with all the mums in the LGBB's class.
And I'm a bit nervous about it, to say the least. I'm all for getting involved with her school and the school community, that is something I will always allow the time for in my life, because I believe it benefits Lolly, knowing I am contributing. But when it comes to the growing familiarity of smalltalk that then turns into bitching about others, the school, the local shops, whatever... that part I have heard about and really don't relish. But how do you avoid it?
So we've almost ended the year at this occasional care place. The LGBB is only going one day next year, as she starts 3 year-old kindy just across the road here, and Charlotte will be a distant memory after next year (I'm assuming the girl is going back again next year too). And Lolly will move on and have new friends.
I can only hope I pass the muster of these friends' mothers. My old high school insecurities are starting to playing up - is my uniform too baggy, are my socks at the correct mast on my legs, is my bag not trendy enough, is my hair boofed beyond recognition and sprayed meticulously into place so that I look like every other drone, will I be accepted today, will the bitchy group leave me alone - and I have to fight them down hard so that when my little girl forlornly tells me (like she did yesterday) that "Charlie and Maxie didn't let me play with them, they weren't my friends", I can always upturn it into a positive and explain how some games only have two people and that when friends don't play with you, it doesn't mean you're not still friends.
It just means you have more time then to go make other friends in the playground for that day.
Gah. I have a hard time convincing even myself. I want to go in there and tell them to let her play, that's what I wanna do! *stamps foot* Little poopers.
I'm certain this isn't my last post on the subject. It's making me a tad hot and bothered.
Friday, December 18, 2009
One of my fave Christmas holiday rituals with Steve is to eat Christmas chocs and watch one or two (or three) of them. It would be a luxury to do that these days, during the day, but we still manage to watch at least one this time each year.
I. LOVE. This movie. Particularly, this scene from this movie.
By the time they get to "Thass Capricorn, izzit?" I am on the floor.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
I keep forgetting to remember that most of my blog readers aren't on Facebook. Rather, aren't my "friends" on FB. I don't want to go mixing it up like that. Too easy to find me/stalk me and all that... never the Twain shall meet, etc. etc. I keep the FB crowd small. Ridiculously, I-really-have-no-business-being-on-FB small. And that's just how I need to keep it.
So anyway. I'll fill you in.
Very suddenly, it's all come about that I needed to put "something" together so that the one or two people who were asking could hand their clients my information, in order that they might confer with me (over matters pertaining to infertility, miscarriage and similar heart rending stuff that I'm rather familiar with). I said yeah, I'll get right onto that a couple of times throughout 2009 but never did, until suddenly, the other night, I just sort of.... went ahead and actually did it! I willingly created something, it just came spilling out - the wording took a little more thought and actually mostly got 'downloaded' into my head while I was hanging out washing on Monday afternoon in the backyard - and when I mentioned it over the past couple of days, I have had another several people, health professionals/health care providers of different modalities, saying they would like a "stack" of my cards when I have them printed so that they may refer people to me as well.
To say I'm sort of gulping on the speed of all this (like I've been dunked under the water before taking a deep enough breath) is putting it mildly.
Mind you, it's not like I haven't had lots of time to ease myself into this. It's not that I haven't tried the coat on, even, over the past one or two years and even sounded it out loud (home alone here) "I'm an energetic consultant" and seen if it fits. I'm not even sure what I am. I'm not comfortable with that, or any, label. I just wanna say, I listen.
Steve and I have (me more seriously than him) considered that I might simply put that on my business card: I'm The Listen Lady, just like Marge Simpson when she starts a listening/help line and answers it "The Listen Lady" (Mo calls and says, "Yeah, listen lady, I got this problem...")..... Er. I guess you'd have to know The Simpsons really well to even raise a smirk at that one.
I shouldn't be so flippant. I'm not anymore. I've worked out where I sit in my morality and comfort level with how to charge for my time - this was a real big issue for me and also held me back, ie. I never want to be asking the sorts of fees other consultants/counsellors, etc., charge but on the other hand... I can't very well do it for free either because it takes a lot of preparation before the consultation even begins, so roughly double or more the time I spend seeing someone will be spent getting "in the zone" and tuning in to them. I can't really not charge for a bit of that time, otherwise I'd have to not do it at all (because I do still need to contribute to the household income or we'd be screwed).
Anyway, because I can't define what I do (or I'm not comfortable doing it), it hasn't manifested. That was, until Monday night when I put the artwork together. I wrote my name. Yep, cool with that. My mobile and email address. Easy. Hmmmmmm... but now for the tricky part to see in stark black and white: what it is I'm actually willing to offer. Well, I've always been willing to offer help, but I'm making it official now that I "do this". Of course I do this. It's what I've been studying for the past 3-4 years for heaven's sakes. Where did I think it was all leading!? Certainly not just for me to personally gain from my discoveries. I know the work, I know how amazing and graceful and non-denominational it is. I have to stop fearing that I won't know it when I'm in front of someone. That's just silly talking! I get told all the time (by strangers and loved ones/friends alike, but mostly strangers these days cos those who know me have already said it) that I'd be "so good at doing this for a 'living'..." or that I'm "really good at this stuff" (detaching and feeding back constructive, useful, contemplative suggestions etc.) and I've always waved the suggestion away, even while I've been knowing deep down that I know I have to start working in this capacity soon. In fact, some have begun mentioning to me that I have this (I suppose you could call it) quality - that I have started to exude some sort of calming effect over them when they're talking to me on the phone! Uh... ah ha! That'd be my tricky, trippy cosmic anaesthetic vibes working! No. Not really. I can't explain that one, except to say that I'm chuffed they feel so calm and uplifted (sometimes) when talking to me. So I can obviously put my "work" hat on and not even really notice. Now's the time to make it official, though - do it in a fully consciously aware state - where I can be more fully in control of the energy that I'm giving out. Always work to do!
So. I'm ready to say it. It's not my job, my business venture (god no!), my career or my "little hobby."
This is my passion, my calling, my work, my duty. My responsibility this lifetime. Ok. I'm an energenetic healer. (Want to know more? Email me)
Eeeeek. Pass me a bucket for my nerves, won't you?
(You'll have to click on the images to actually read them..... and do forgive the blurring out of the obvious contact information)
Monday, December 14, 2009
The LGBB was delighted.
Miss Jazzmus was rather not. But she'll pose for anything. If you look closely, you will see she is in fact looking at me out the corner of her eye while attempting to appear unfazed.
Here they both are, standing in the 14cm of floor space we have left to stand/turn a circle/play on that is not taken up with our belongings or building "bits"
*chanting: Living in all this mess WILL be worth it, living in all this mess WILL be worth it*
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Mine is that awfully bad habit of pulling both legs up next to me, ankles together, and sort of sitting with my legs to the side (right). Naughty posture. In bed, I've been prone (ha!) to only being able to get to sleep on my stomach, facing the right. It's caused a crick in my neck that I can't get rid of.
For years now, I've noticed my old girl Pep prefers to sleep with her chin resting on a soft, doggy paw pad. It's only now, when I look at her and feel her coarse, broken fur and thin whip of a tail and knowing that she is breaking down in front of us rapidly so our time with her is surely growing very short, that I have ever thought to capture it so that I can remember how she likes to sleep.
Curled up facing the right, her right front paw tucked under and her face resting along the underside of this foreleg. Her right back leg always gets tucked underneath her body and pokes out a little at the side, so the front of her body and her head are all sort of lying over her right legs. A tad complicated and contorted, but she'll sleep happily like this for ages and it's always a position I see her favour.
Funny old lady 'Reeny. As in Pepper...ini (cos Pepperoni was always too obvious), which became "Lurleen!" the way Homer Simpson says it when Lurleen Lumpkin tries to flirt with him and he catches on (eventually). Aherm...herm. Oh! Are you still reading?
So what's your favourite pozzy? On the couch or to get to sleep?
Friday, December 11, 2009
These gingerbread cookies are as delicious to eat as they are fun to make. I think my kids enjoyed making these gingerbread cookies even more than sugar cookies this year. Perhaps it's because the gingerbread people seem to have a bit of personality. Use whatever decorations you have on hand. We found red and green striped white chocolate chips and thought they made terrific buttons for these gingerbread men.
• 1/2 cup butter, softened
• 1/2 cup firmly-packed brown sugar
• 1/2 cup molasses
• 1 large egg
• 1 tsp. vanilla
• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
• 3/4 tsp. baking soda
• 1/4 tsp. salt
• 2 tsp. ground ginger
• 1 tsp. cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp. cloves
• gel icing for decorating
• M&Ms or striped white chocolate chips for decorating
1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the molasses, egg and vanilla. Beat well.
2. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon and cloves.
3. Stir into the wet ingredients until well-incorporated (you can do this with your hands).
4. Separate the dough into three pieces. Form into logs and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
5. When ready to bake, remove dough from oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
6. Roll dough out to a thickness of 1/4-inch. Use cookie cutters to make gingerbread people.
7. Bake 8-10 minutes. Let cool and decorate.
For the icing, I used this recipe and coloured it with a touch of food dye:
2 cups (230 grams) confectioners sugar (icing or powdered sugar), sifted
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons milk or light cream
Assorted food colors (if desired)
Read more: http://www.joyofbaking.com/GingerbreadMen.html#ixzz0ZMtkR6KH
In an electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), cream the butter until smooth and well blended. Add the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in the sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beater. Add the milk and beat on high speed until frosting is light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes). Add a little more milk if too dry. Place the frosting in a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip and decorate the gingerbread men as desired.
Tint portions of frosting with desired food colour.
Read more: http://www.joyofbaking.com/GingerbreadMen.html#ixzz0ZMtyNJMU
It's fascinating how it is unravelling for me. But extremely personal, hard work. I am co-presenting my first class next Feb/March (depending when we finish the manual!) on it, so I'm being taken to task on it, something that began for me in September when I first agreed to take on the work.
It has been interesting to actually observe it in others as well, now that I am more consciously aware of the things we say and do, tell ourselves "it is the way it is, this is how it has always been and how it will always be and I can't change/escape", etc.
For instance, our dear hard-working builder, whose body is old before his time (he's in his late 30's) from lots of hard physical labour, heavy smoking and drinking and simply not treating it with respect, says things all the time like, "I'll die young, we all die young in my family." It's like he's talked himself into dropping off the mortal coil in his mid-60's simply because "that's when all the men die in my family." And he is going the right way about it, sadly....
These family patterns are strong. The things we tell ourselves and the patterns we have unwittingly had passed on to us, that are not part of us really but for all we unconsciously know may as well be, can be a prison. Or a very convenient scapegoat.
"I lose my temper because my mother/father used to with me, I learned it from them."
It may well be true. My father actually says that anger is a learned response. He's right, I believe. Kids don't come into this world "angry". But that aside, I don't want to use it as an excuse for my behaviour or this pattern - the more responsible path is to unravel it. Unpack it, shine a light on those things I know are not mine and simply learned or ingrained so deeply that the separation has blurred.
Can we change these things? Of course we can. Once we recognise them, name them. We can choose, just like the builder can raise his awareness up and out of the expectation that he's going to die "young" because "that's just the way it is in our family."
A brief overview of the violence I remember in my childhood household includes (and was mostly meted out by my mother):
• Parents lifting hands to each other. I myself was rarely hit more than a smack but I have seen both of them laying in to my siblings.
• Screaming, yelling, slamming doors so hard you could hear splintering of the door frames.
• A foot through a bedroom door.
• Baiting, belittling, laughter at others' (in the family) obvious pain and hurt.
• Living in fear of saying or doing the wrong thing because we never knew what would tick her off - when she did fly off the handle at us, nothing would stop her and the hysteria would rise, seemingly uncontrollably.
Scary stuff, considering this all happened before I was 12.
After an "episode" like this, licking our emotional wounds and confused as all hell in our bedrooms, we would be waited on (served dinner, have our washing folded, all the usual motherly duties of the household) in utter silence. It was a real mind-f@*^ of a situation, seated at the table with your kid brother, unable to get your mum to talk to you, unsure how you should "be" or if you should even be heard breathing, not knowing when the next shrieking explosion would occur. And she, never apologising, never showing remorse or regret. The only thing to do was let her calm down, ride it out. She would ignore us, sometimes for days. After my father left, I can recall many times where me and my younger brother would sometimes go entire weekends not being able to get a word out of our mother, despite apologising (not that we had any clue what we had done - and in reality, we had probably done nothing wrong at all), and she would hole herself up in her room. In hindsight, I'm aware she was probably depressed (undiagnosed/untreated), stemming right back from her mother's untimely death when my mother was 16. What I can't fathom is how she could keep taking it out on us, all her pent-up anger. She was completely unconscious. I know that now. I do forgive her. But I won't pay for it any longer and nor will my child after me. I am now completely awake to it and, even if I continue to feel the urge to yell (I'm talking, beyond firm/stern, reasonable words here, people), I will be fully conscious of it as I was earlier this week. It's slipping from me, this hold my learned anger/outmoded pattern of behaviour has on me.
I am becoming more fully aware as I grow older that my mother was "simply" re-stepping through patterns handed down to her by her own mother/parents' power plays and displays. Some of the stories (of physical and emotional violence) are unbelievable.
I had a dream last night that my mother was violently murdered. A gory, gruesome, very real-feeling dream. Strange significant details of the dream include the fact that her body was not found, but we could see, from the evidence left behind, that she had been scalped. I am yet to research what exactly that scalp (the hair) symbolises, but I am certain it is pertinent to what I am going through personally. Interesting moreso because, when I went to bed last night, I was actually in the middle of a process to actually heal my past redundant "anger patterns" - the stuff I've come to recognise as not being mine, not my true original self and passed down through a genetic pattern. The significance of having this most vivid "ding-dong the witch is dead" symbolism on this particular night is profound to me.
I'm not satisfied with the excuse that I can get angry at my child because "we all do." No. "We" don't. That's something we've told ourselves is okay - safety in numbers, perhaps - and it just doesn't sit comfortably with me anymore. Does this mean I'll stop yelling? Here and now? Nup, probably not. Does this mean I'll judge people who do yell? Hell, no. Gives me no such pious right. But am I conscious while I yell? Can I hear myself, at the very same time, saying "this is not you, you don't have to communicate this way"? And do I want my child to receive the baton that was handed me from my parents?
I am a work in progress, seeking my own truth, which is given to change depending on what I uncover and discover about myself and the nature of all life forms. An exercise I was involved with on a study day last week asked us to go in and find our own personal mantra - wait for it to be given to us in the silence of sitting still.
Mine was rather fitting.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
You never know, they too could be "stuck" playing the role of someone they can't get out of.
If you are heading into this festive season absolutely dreading those family patterns that you mercifully manage to avoid the rest of the year and only have to "deal" with or get through that one day around Christmas with them... why not get an oil burner and put in a few drops of Lemon Myrtle essential oil?
Here is a rundown of this lovely oil's healing and supportive properties:
LEMON MYRTLE (Backhousia Citriodora)
Lemon Myrtle lifts and lightens dark and dusty dimensions of beings, places and spaces. Particularly when you find yourself bound somehow to past energetic constrictions and restrictions, which you may not exactly be aware have managed to affect you, yet you sense and feel that there is a crusty or dank energy attaching it to you. Lemon Myrtle relieves the plodding feeling when one is caught in the ploughing through to find the light in the congestion of being among too much or too many energies at one time. It highlights the causes and concerns of being caught up in genetic patterning of past disruption from family historical structures affecting your energetic wellbeing.
It assists in times of sifting and sorting through outmoded family energenetics that will be limiting or inhibiting your potential and spiritual growth and change. It lifts the spirits of the worn out and the weary and those beings who are seeking the brightness of seeing and sensing another positive day so that they can find inspiration to make change for themselves to move beyond the limitations of the past. The love that Lemon Myrtle gives off permeates the channels of the etheric, neuron and immune systems while opening all the senses of your being. Lemon Myrtle has the ability to disperse toxic release that has become built up in one’s etheric and physical systems. It is particularly effective when one is facing the need to treat the effects of viral intrusion or to simply ward off any such intrusion. It potently deals with those times when familial constrictions and restrictions have entered your patterning, causing viral, bacterial or fungal infections to enter.
Lemon Myrtle braces you when you feel yourself slipping back into the old way of toxic behavior. It assists to help catch your thinking in moments that once would have had you slipping into incorrect or inappropriate behaviour or communication. Lemon Myrtle lifts the positive into your thought processes. It assists and stalls incorrect behaviour. Burning Lemon Myrtle oil will bring in the Divine will of intent, allowing it to enter into all pathways of your senses and etheric patterning. This wonderful oil is the one which will support your ability to wonder anew and bring in newness to create and recreate again a better place and pathway for yourself. Bring this oil into your home space when going through the sifting, sorting and changing for a future new life and, at the same time, will also open you to your own new ‘home space’ within.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
If you haven't yet discovered her, I thoroughly recommend you to. Have been listening to her albums of late, we were introduced by Steve.
The old softy.
Addendum: I think I jinxed us.... I wrote this post last night. It was a day of angst - the builder was removing the first little 'landslide', which to us was quite major. The building inspector was due in the afternoon. We were sure he was going to tell us it was all over Red Rover. But he came through, telling us we could just remove the earth that had fallen back in and put in some blinding concrete to fill and strengthen the trench.
Well, after hours of labour, the builder went home (it was after 8pm) and we had a peaceful night. This morning, at 7am, I heard loud expletives from the front of the house. I looked outside and saw our builder there, hands on head, staring down at his handiwork.
The earth has fallen away, creating a cavernous, dangerous hole in the ground. It was 12m long and about 3m wide (and 2m deep) at its widest, unstable point. The stress cracks down the walls were now evident. The ground has fallen away right past our fenceline and over to the neighbour's (very flimsy) concrete driveway.
So the concrete truck was cancelled and we have made the executive decision to fill it in. Days of labour lost, excavation costs wasted.... and worst of all, the dear earth so scarred and disturbed. For absolutely no reason at all. I feel AWFUL about that the most.
We are going to let the ground settle and reassess in a month. I think we'll have to settle for a carport and some sort of shed. Thing. Who knows what's going to happen?
Oh the joys of renovating and extending.
Friday, December 4, 2009
"Yes," I confirmed, for the umpteenth time. "And look... I can see her mummy has signed her name, so she's already here! C'mon! Let's go see her!"
Walking past the toddlers' room (which you can't see into unless you're adult shoulder-height), the LGBB stopped still and said to me, "Nah, she's in this room today."
"No, she's not," I said. "Remember? Makaylah had a birthday so she's three now. She's moved up to the big kids' room, with you!" Her name had also been on the kinder room register. So I was absolutely certain in my reassurances to Lolly that her friend was, indeed, in the big kids' room as she had been for 3 months now on a Friday.
"No. Makaylah's in this room." Lolly was adamant. She stood by the toddler room door, pointing to it.
"Well, let's go in the big kids' room," I motioned to her, getting a bit impatient. "C'mon, I'll show you. She'll be in here."
Dubious look on her face, the LGBB followed me inside the room. I busied myself putting her hat and drink away. Lolly scanned the room then came up to me.
"Makaylah's not here," she said. I looked around. Ah. So she wasn't.
"Where's Makaylah?" I asked one of the carers.
To my (not so much anymore) astonishment, she pointed to the window adjoining the two rooms and said, "Ah, she's in there. She felt a bit funny in here so we let her go in with the younger kids. She wanted Lolly to be here before she came in."
Now, firstly... awwwww at the two littl'uns being such adoring friends of each other that the one wants to only be there with the other.
But secondly.... I don't care what any excuse or reasoning anyone puts on this one, cos I was there and if I wasn't, I might not quite believe the uber-wowness of it. But she seriously could not have possibly known that.
The girl's got a talent for... something. That's fer sher. Maybe she'll be like those sniffer dogs at the airport.
"There's drugs in that one." Hah. Useful!
Thursday, December 3, 2009
From the moment I met her five years ago (well... if truth be told, she stalked then contacted me and we were a trifle startled to discover we were living not more than 10 minutes' drive from each other with a delectable coffee haunt in between), I knew this girl was different. In a positively disarming, refreshing, mercifully EASY to be around way.
Over time, on occasion she has ducked her head under the water to grab my collar and hoike me back up from the depths. We've had countless laughs and could talk for hours (and usually do). We've squabbled like two people who love each other. We've stated truths, no matter how scary or hurtful to hear. And still, we have continued to come back together. Like some sort of spiritual sisterhood bond that doesn't break, no matter the days, weeks or months in between laying eyes on each other, or speaking on the phone or even chatting by email - we always pick up where we left off. I'm so grateful for that and I will always have space in my life for her.
And now, she's gone and written a smashingly good book and got herself published!
I didn't know, when I met Amy, that she was an astonishing wordsmith and a genius-level writer. Her knowledge of so many subjects and the ability to furnish scenes using her mind (and getting those on paper) are just amazing. She tells me it was I who inspired her to strive to become a published author. Well... I don't know about that. But I can say one thing - I am mighty impressed and inspired myself, by her and this monumental achievement!
So very proud of you, Ms Ames xxx Love you.
Review from The Sassy Librarian:
"This book is exactly what it bills - a how-to guide - and the layout and imagery are fantastic. I think the best comparison is if a DK book and Cosmopolitan magazine had a vampire baby, this book would be it! You can take quizzes on your vampire style, get advice on how to shop for a coven you might want to belong to, or polish your vampire etiquette.... Gray does a terrific job directing readers to not only the ouevres of these popular authors but also lists graphic novels and movies and series that readers might enjoy...."
Reader's review from Amazon:
"From the moment I picked up this book, I was led deep into a dark crypt of fantastical wonderment! Amy Gray has really captured the essence of what is like (or could be like!) to be a newly-born denizen of the undead; this book is a rollickingly great read, and while both humorous and conversational in its tone, is almost encyclopaedic in its knowledge of creatures of the night. While squarely aimed at younger, vampire-mad readers, the beauty of this book is that it never for a second talks down to its audience - it speaks with an earnestness that only transports you further into its dark, magical world - and I can thoroughly recommend this to anyone who has even a fleeting interest in vampires. It is clear that the author knows her subject well, and 'How to Be a Vampire' is chock-full of ancient vampiric lore, whilst giving a nod to modern-day vampire stories such as Buffy and Twilight. Both informative and whimsical, this guide will have you longing to be transformed into a blood-sucker, and is very much a book anyone can sink their teeth into."
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
I guess we didn't really consider the downside to living in an old riverbed until we tried to dig to find solid ground for the garage wall.
Two metres down, the excavator conceded defeat for the day. When our next door neighbours arrived home, it was to discover our shared side fence down and a trench right alongside their usual car parking point/s. They also informed us that when the graders came to dig out for the asphalt on the road (the neighbours have been here for centuries, I think...), the huge machines were up to their roofs in the pit they were digging to find foundations. Gee. Great. Yeah, we have no hope!
We've had two mini landslides overnight - not helped by destructive yabbies doing their.... yabbying.... - and now we're urgently trying to locate a fire rated replacement boundary wall material, other than the brick we were counting on. Any suggestions?
See all that junk up on the deck? That'd be the contents of my laundry. And some furniture we can't fit anywhere else in the 2.5 rooms we are living in.
On to the good stuff! In that same picture (above) you can see the wall we are going to take down (the one with the glass windows above and the one next to that) - we're not replacing the diagonal part, this will be a wide step down onto the deck Steve and I are going to build between the existing one you see and the point where I stood to take the photo. It's going to create a bit of a courtyard behind the garage and a room where I plan to eventually start consulting (IF WE EVER BUILD IT NOW!). And the rest of it (to the left) we are replacing with some sort of horizontal timber screening.
The temporary fence for the dogs, now that the excavator has taken what was left of the driveway and old garage slab.
I made Steve's week when I told him he should take the spare room and turn it into a games (read: boy) room. I draw the line, though, at permanently closed curtains at the window. So he must compromise.
There is enough room in here, now we've widened it a good .5m, for a couch and we've decided not to put cupboard doors in until we need it to be a cupboard (below) - which gives perfect hanging space for a TV.
Here is the LGBB's room, ready to go.... just as soon as we put on the architraves, cornices, paint it and do the floor. I designed a wide cupboard and an open bookshelf (with space for a small built-in desk) to the right of that, in the foreground there. We'll get some wardrobe internal configuration from a place I found down the road here. Systems are still "GO" here for an apple green and white room, as per the LGBB's request.
Just a little reminder to myself about the lovely view so I don't get too despondent amidst the never-ending dirt, mess, plaster dust, crumbling foundations....:
I'm so looking forward to sitting in this room when it's finished. Early morning sun streaming in the windows, kissing the tops of the trees with the mist rising off them. Ahhh!
When I asked the builder for a cut-out (the back is not on it yet) at the end of the 'hallway' to create a bit of a focal point for some art, I didn't expect him to give me an interim visual - "The Coffee Cup", by esteemed artist Ronald "Ranga" McDonald.
The shower in the middle of being waterproofed. We're having floor to ceiling tiles in here, the floor space is a nice, roomy 1200x900 (our current shower floor is just 800x800mm - ie. crammmmped! - so we'll probably end up using the new one til our ensuite is done, on the 12th of Never, when we have the funds, going by the way we're throwing away money like no one's business right now). I'm hoping to find a nice earthy toned, large tile for the walls and floor. We have chosen chrome fittings and a round-sided bath set in to a hob so there's plenty of space for toys, candles, soaps, etc.
And the down side to locking the dogs inside overnight now that they can't sleep where they usually do up on the deck (because we no longer have a side fence or gates)? Our old lady, Pep, just cannot hold her water for that long anymore. She pissed on the floor, right in the hallway, poor darlin' :( I can only imagine her horror and shame (she has NEVER disgraced herself inside, ever, in all the years we've owned her). And it stopped only about a centimeter from one of our last remaining whole plaster sheets which we really need!
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- Well... it only took 2 years
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- Sneaking in one last one
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- This Christmas, don't forget to Shine
- It's come to this
- Be Positive
- Community service announcement
- The other mothers
- That's Capricorn, is it?
- I keep forgetting
- The height of delicious immaturity
- Your favourite position
- As promised... Gingerbread cookie dough recipe
- Past family patterns
- Literal video version: Total Eclipse Of The Heart
- One more, Sir? It's waffer-thin.
- Timely for Christmas
- Bit of super-coolness in action
- Something to sink your fangs into
- Major design flaw
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