Friday, May 28, 2010

Bloody Facebook!

I think the downfall of society will eventually be traced back to Facebook. There. I said it.

I noticed today that I have been un-friended. How bizarre, I thought! Mind you, there's nothing terribly untoward about it, on its own. Perhaps the friend was downsizing/doing a cull of their friends list. But then, plenty of our previously mutual friends are still listed and now.... ooh, I wonder if I've done or said (or not done or said) something. Via Facebook, that is. Because that is the only medium with which I've kept in touch with them for the past two years (and my account is less than 6 months old, so you do the math, peeps).

I pondered the un-friending of this "friend" for all of 30 seconds and was over it by the time those seconds were up, mainly because I haven't actually been fussed over accumulating any of the friends I have (no offence if any of those said friends happen to be reading this!) because I still, after these past 6 months or so with the account, just don't get the whole "FB" thing and am pretty sure the end of my account altogether is nigh.

But the act did get me thinking more about good ol' FB.

The people I really need to keep in contact with, I do so outside of Facebook, and the ones on Facebook are... well, nice to have and it's good to know I can contact any one of them from that central place without having to dig out phone numbers or emails (or, gasp, that ancient practice.... go through the phone book).

I have a miserly 45 friends and can't see myself adding any more*. Well.... 44 now. It's not likely to go up, but it apparently could go down! Hadn't contemplated that happening, particularly when the "friend" in question was the one who hunted me down and asked why they hadn't been added so I acquiesced in a moment of the guilts and hit Add Friend.

It seems such a throw-away thing to do - click a button and add someone as your "friend" - because so many people seem to need to do it. But to me, it is far more complicated than that. Or should be, to more people, perhaps. I don't think I really know how it all works yet, but it seems to me that if you're not on there several times a day, watching the status updates or Most Recent Updates or whatever (Top News, perhaps? I can't remember what it's called), you'll miss many of your "Facebook friends" as they update their status. So if I don't come on for days at a time, I've missed out on entire threads as diverse as discussing global politics, the fuss about Justin Bieber (is that the kid's name? Shhh, please don't tell anyone under 25 that I'm so uncool that I thought his name was Justin Beaver... I thought that's what everyone kept saying...), their most fantastic cheesecake recipe ever, the number of times their dog farted today... It goes on and on. And I'm so sorry to say, but I miss probably 95% of it. Because I'm simply not on there enough.

I had not considered before today the weapon that is Facebook and did not realise this new social phenomenon existed. In medieval times, our ancestors sharpened their arrowheads on rocks (or flint?) and took aim at their enemies. Now, it seems "you've been un-friended" is the new equivalent. Sort of.

Besides this murky social etiquette water we find ourselves in, in this current age, there is also the question of privacy. New privacy settings on Facebook really quite unnerve me. If one of my "Facebook friends", for instance, comments on any of their friends' status - of whom I am not a friend - I get to see both that original friend's status and my friend's comment to them. I find that sort of thing really pushing the boundaries of what is and is not acceptable. I do not feel comfortable being able to see people's comments to their friends - regardless of whether Facebook is, first and foremost, for all intensive purposes a public social network. I feel like I'm eavesdropping, no matter how flippant or generalised or banal the status update of my friend's friend. I don't like it! I don't think it should be allowed.

What this has the potential to lead to is more of this social paranoia - the "why isn't my friend commenting on my status updates, when I see her commenting on her other friends' updates" and so forth - and there, for me, lies the heart of the matter:

I am not about using Facebook to be a people pleaser. I mostly use it to keep loose track of my cousins, for they are spread out over the globe, and people I don't mind having occasional interaction with. None of the "friends" on my Facebook account are people I catch up with regularly, except for one or two, and of the good friends I have "friended" on there, my communications with them are more regular and occur by phone, text and/or emails.

SO... I guess if I've appeared remiss in making comments to any of my 45 (now 44) "friends", it's because I'm not on Facebook. I didn't realise Facebook as a whole could be so fecking needy!

Oh who am I kidding? It comes down to this: I just don't like Facebook. Why the hell am I on there!?

What Facebook dramas have you experienced? Or do you hang off your every Friend Status update and love the site more than life itself? I'd love to read your say!

* (unless my dear old bestie decides to create a Facebook account and then I must add her)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Notes from the Cruise Control

Having done several hundred km's (at a time) over the past month, long distance 110km/ph zone driving, I think I have finally narrowed down the most obvious, cliché driverly types to the following specifications.

My observations have two constants:

1. A two-lane, fast stretch of freeway (or highway) through rural/bush land, clear of obstruction and superb visibility.

2. Once I hit the freeway, I set the cruise control for 2km above the speed limit - so sue me - so that I stay out of the way of anyone else who either has no cruise control or has set their own control to the exact signed limit. It just annoys me less that way.

Disclaimer: I'm using the male gender here, for the most part, but realise that either sex can be equally guilty as charged.

The Stall Guy - you think he's stalled in the left lane. But no. Wait. He is actually moving. Like a snail. Even at the speed limit, you overtake this car - usually some sort of van (tinny vertical ladder attached to rear for ease of... climbing on roof...? optional) or clapped-out *insert vehicle model of choice here* - this one makes you feel like you're playing Need For Speed. Reeeeeally well.

The Slow Creeper - this guy is one of the most difficult to judge. His speed seems to wax and wane in your rear view mirror, edging ever closer to you but also remaining equally as far away. It's a mystery. He's like a goldfish that darts in and out of the same ruddy treasure chest. All day.

The Out-Of-Nowhere Bullet - one minute, the overtaking lane behind you is clear for use to pass the Stall Guy in front. The next, you are having to hot-tail yourself out of a road rage incident because he came up so friggen' fast on you that he SURELY created the Doppler effect. And no, he was certainly not there and you just missed him! This one is usually a business/on-road rep type. Guaranteed, he will be wearing a collared shirt and driving an executive car.

The Formation Driver - this one really takes the cake. This is the guy who sits just inside or just outside of your blind spot.... for miles. You'd alter your speed, but you're frankly too gobsmacked at the synchronized driving you are witnessing and want to see how far it will continue. For you are maintaining a constant speed of 2km above the speed limit, but then, Lo! He needs to make a move.... Riiiiight when you are coming up on a slow car in your lane. Fancy, what a coincidence. With this driver, every time you encounter him, you have to come off your set limit, which you would think would make him go past, but noooo... he matches you and stays in your blind spot! Genius!

The Defies Logic Nut - this one engages you in a bit of light flashing. This is the one who gives you a bit of a chortle as you're cruising past. You see, this is the one (ALWAYS, without exception) who thinks he is your father who knows better - err, complex, much?? *note to self: explore father issues* - and decides to reprimand you for overtaking him. No matter that he is doing 10 under the speed limit and you yourself are not speeding. You are overtaking! You blighter. And you'd better say sorry or you'll go to your room. This driver also, 99% of the time, has his wife in the passenger seat. And they are both well over 60. And drive a gold Camry (or other model, but always gold... or that lovely metallic green...)

So there you have it. I think I've covered them all.

Have you noticed any others? Do tell!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Upshot for the Tabster

It's a good old-fashioned UTI. I'm no stranger to urinary tract infections myself. I feel sorry for her!

But with an anti-inflammatory, a shot of antibiotics (really just a precaution, the vet said, as there was no evidence of infection) and more of an idea where I should be heading with her dietary requirements, we're back home and "only" $145 lighter. Steve's old boy, Rusty, used to cost us more than that on a regular basis.....

Thanks to you kindly kitty-cat folk who replied, I was most concerned about her overnight and glad I could get an appointment so quickly today. God, I love our vets here up the street!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Help! Does our cat have her... period?!?

Ummmmmmmmm... Okay. I don't quite know where to start with this, so why don't I just jump in! Tootle-pip.

Tabby the (black) cat just followed me in to the ensuite and jumped into our now disused bath*, sniffed out the plug hole, squatted over it despite my loud protests and flapping in front of her face .... and proceeded to take a pee.

I was so aghast that I left her to her business (forgetting to ask if she wanted me to reach over and get her a square of loo paper, how uncouth of me) and called out to Steve to "come take a look, this is SO weird!"

By the time we got back in the room, Tabby had finished and trotted off to have her dinner like the elegant Lady she is. We peered over the side of the bath and (forgive me for saying, but) fuck me, there was red. As in, blood red. In the urine that hadn't quite made it down the hole - she was a bloody good aim, by the way.

Am I right to be alarmed or perturbed by this? The only reason I had any idea that animals have their period was because Charlotte's Cavalier King Charles spaniel, Elizabeth Taylor, got hers during the dog show. I guess it's a trip to the vet for her, either way, for we can't have an un-sterilised cat. She already looks to have had at least one litter, judging by the tell-tale untoned flab she is carrying that flaps uselessly to and fro when she runs (don't we all...).

But she is also micro-chipped. I was under the impression she couldn't be micro-chipped (or is it registered with the council??) if she wasn't spayed.

So, ummmmm... Help? HOW bizarre! Though, totally, it's just that I'm new to it, having never had any animal at all that isn't sterilised as a young'un - she, apparently, has been visited by Aunt Flo for, oh, about 5-6 years now so no biggie for her, I'd gather.

Either that, or she is not very well at all and needs prompt veterinary attention. Anyone got experience with this?

* the new bathroom in the extension has been finished for some weeks now and is divine, we no longer use the bath in the ensuite and are planning to remove it (it's very old) to make it into a super-deluxe water-tank filled fish pond soon.

A little Star Wars 'umour to start the day

I give the exact same response to the question asked about 0:58 seconds in (being adenoidally challenged as I am)......

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Here I am today

Mid-rewrites, up since 6.30am (ah! a sleep-in of sorts....), watching the sun come up over the misty bush on the hills and revealing yet another gloriously clear, crisp sky.

I've settled on a merger of the five-part final third to the book. It will now be two parts, so the book will have three "Acts", if you will.

These were the notes that jumped out at me today, over the past 2.5 hours of work:

Letting go is not giving up (or in).

“At the end of your life, you will realise that nothing you have done matters – only who you have been while you have done it.” - Neale Donald Walsch, “Conversations With God”

I no longer looked for reasons as to why she died. And I don’t believe her death was delivered as any sort of lesson. Instead, I realised when I turned around years later and looked back on the path I had been on, that all these things had been laid out for me as a result of her leaving. So, “she died because I needed to learn/do/know….” became more a case of “If Ella had not lived, I would never have met/experienced/found…” That is why death, to me, is such a tremendous gift. In a multitude of ways, it shows us how to truly, deeply, genuinely live.

Now for somewhere to include them...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Universal Traveller

In honour of one my most all-time favourite ever songs - Universal Traveller (or, when I hear it sometimes, I hear "You need a soul traveller", especially when I am writing the book alongside Ellanor and listening to this album) - here is the music. I don't think they ever made a video clip for it?

I am universally travelling, peeps. Please excuse the slack posts lately. With sickies in the house, a business to maintain (my Lord, where did all the work suddenly come from!), a creative writing e-course to 'fill in my spare time' that's helping me keep my book-writing boundaries, and the last stage of our building/reno starting - the garage and office wall is up! - well, I am just one big blur of late.

Add to this a sudden flurry of productivity around the manuscript (heading into that elusive ruddy final 1/3 of the story, I've been waiting oh so long to put it down on 'paper') and I am spent. My creative quota is largely being slurped up by that, especially now I have my characters all worked out.

Normal programming should resume shortly. If not, can someone please make me a tall drink? Preferably with some vodka in it? Ever so much obliged.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Cat Cuisine

A quick one today - in pictures - as I have not one, but two sickies sharing a blanket at either end of the couch. Steve woke with razorblades in his throat (his description, not mine) and poor wee Lol has had us up since 4.30am crying with an ear ache. I plied her with Panadol and she slept with us and between her thrashing and Steve snoring on the other side of the bed, I didn't go back to sleep but instead lay there in that maternal, on-duty state and happy to be on call despite only having finished reading my book at 1am. Why do I always choose to read for hours on nights when I'll be up with a poorly poppet? I have some sort of sixth sense for it.

Anyway. To the pictorial. It's evident from these that not only has our black cat, Tabby, settled in quite nicely, she's making use of her time here by learning how to whip up quick dishes.

Every night now, she comes and sits up at the kitchen bench on one of the stools, watching what I'm doing. Just watching, from my hands to my face. Sometimes, to amuse myself, I start talking to her like Nigella or Jamie. Oh how we laugh, the cat and I. Okay, so just I. She cracks me up, the way she watches me, silently, almost critically, sometimes stopping intently gazing at what my hands are doing in order to study my face. Or stare into the middle distance of the kitchen for no apparent reason, as if she's suddenly tired of my explanation on why I prefer to grate onions instead of finely chop them (the reason for that is, of course, a toddler who "don't like crunchy onions".... ah, I know how to disguise them!)

But it is quite cute, she's like my very own little sisterhood. It reminds me of days past when my grandma would hang about in the kitchen, anyone's kitchen, whomever's home we were in. If we were all gathered someplace as a family, you could always find grandma holding up a conversation with the cook/s, imparting cooking tips and questioning the culinary methods she was seeing in front of her, and a permanently topped-up glass of sherry in hand. Hence the name of that bear of hers, of course, who is now in Lolly's charge.

So, here's my new kitchen-talk buddy / student chef. Sans the sherry.

Diligently watching...

...taste testing...

...getting distracted from her studies...


...spellbound by my amaaaazing cooking techniques...

And voilé!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Titanic Sunday

I'm about to head off to the museum to visit the Titanic Exhibition. And I am full of anticipation and, I admit, a bit nervous because I know I am going to get really emotional.

I cannot quite express how obsessed I have been all my life with the Titanic - I mean, just deeply, respectfully, humbly interested and concerned, not rooms-full-of-crazy with replicas of the ship or third class passengers or life boats or anything creepy like that.

Would you believe, I actually sourced this image from a website that recommended it as a "Fun idea" for a gift. Ho-ho-ho....

I will never see the 'umour to be had in making light of human (or any living thing) tragedy and suffering. Never ever ever. Mind you, my one exception is the now seemingly endless/timeless "I'm the Kinga tha Werrrrld" ridiculing of 'Titanic' Director, do I even have to tell you his name James Cameron.

Nor would I ever be seen at any tribute stage shows ("Titanic - The Musical" is not on my bucket list).

Steve keeps singing to me this morning, "Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip..." and I have to admit, I have been chuckling at that, despite myself. Not that the Titanic even fits the description of a "tiny ship" leaving from a tropic port for a three hour tour.

Some may say I'm caught up in the romanticism of it (neh, I don't think so), or the rubbernecking "value" (ummm.... maybe a little, but it's not the driving force of my interest in the disaster). I've thought about it from time to time over the years and certainly in the past 48 hours since discovering the exhibition is on from this month until October and I reckon what it is, is purely a deep connection to the human element. Imagining myself in a life boat watching that enormous stern rise up out of the water. Then also imagining myself surrounded by other doomed, screaming or silent souls as we plunge into the water. Unfathomable, consuming, suffocating grief and tragedy. Not that I am a ghoul about that part of it - shit, I've had enough of my own unfathomable, consuming, suffocating grief and tragedy that I don't go looking for more of it. But there's something almost symmetrical in that same emotion that I think I now recognise and can instantly connect with.

So on the trip to the museum today, I wanted to have as much time to freely browse (and cry, I know I'm gonna need tissues, for I am a sap) and honour the stories I'm going to come across. I made a vow to myself that I would NOT take the LGBB and, if he was not so interested, I was also not going to take my other whiner in galleries - the husband. I was fully prepared to go by myself and thought, there was only one friend in Melbourne I could think of who would take an equally leisurely amount of time to blubber and read, snivel and be surprised and amazed.

Yesterday, those friends came to lunch. And without me even needing to bring it up, she mentioned the same thing: that she was going by herself if she had to, because she knew it didn't (sorry) float her husband's boat.

So we're going together. In about 15 minutes! Sheet, better go get ready. Such a crisp, sunny clear day here in Melbourne. A stark contrast to that dark, below freezing cold night in 1912.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Nude blogging

Made ya look.

Well, if you've been under a blogging rock lately, you'll not know that Jodie from Mummymayhem has started a bit of an anti-makeup for a day revolution in the blogosphere. Hear-hear, I say! Jodie wrote:

Here's what I propose. This Friday 14 May, I am going to proclaim it "Bloggers Without Makeup Day", but open to bloggers and tweeps. I'm going to use the above photo on my Twitter account ALL DAY on Friday. I'm going to put a trending topic attached to it, #BloggersWithoutMakeup, and I'm going to show all of you the real me and, in turn, perhaps practice a bit of what I preach. If you have a blog, you could also post a pic like mine on your blog (if you dare) and tweet it on Friday.

Not that I am hard-pressed to think of a day where I get made up anymore, but I don't have too many photos of me in all my 'nekid' glory. So what better way to show my flaws than in full flash photography, eyebrows-akimbo to boot. All's I can say is.... THANK GOD IT'S NOT A HORMONAL TIME OF MONTH for this particular photo challenge, or else you'd be treated to some mighty blemishes. This was taken by the Lady of the Manor herself, my very own LGBB, over a spot of afternoon tea (which I am in mid-chew with here):

And here's a very worn-looking Mama and Papa taking a naff family portrait in her bedroom:

In all seriousness, though, this exercise has given me pause to stop and consider how my daughter sees me. How I see myself. How she sees society.

I am very zealous when it comes to protecting my young charge from the desensitised nudity, body imagery and general Ick factor of video clips (to name just one media platform). It is very, very rare that she even hears commercial radio and the lyrics of mainstream songs, let alone seeing them in all their glory on screen. Mind you, she has taken a shine to this song - from hearing it a couple of times a week in the car when her Dad invariably switches stations during their swimming jaunts - and I admit to finding it very cute to hearing her sing along to the chorus, word perfect:

The relationship I have with my daughter, while very flowing and organic and as open as I can make it, has not yet extended into discussions about her outer beauty. I think, as any parent would, that she has stunning beauty. In spades. And I gather that, to me and her Dad, she will continue to shine her own brand of pure ethereal beauty which will dull all around her in comparison. That's just the way I think it goes, isn't it? So I haven't yet been thrown into the deep end of any curly situations regarding how she sees herself or needed to deflect any peers' remarks about her appearance.

Mind you, we do have a bit of a fashion-conscious glamour doll on our hands, I think. Despite me not being able to slap together a decent outfit two days in a row to save my good self, our little almost-4-year-old has made a bit of a name for herself (with friends' parents, her kindergarten teachers and the carers at her occasional care centre) as a walking runway model. She likes to match and contrast everything she wears. Blinding fury occurs if I deny her the use of a particular skirt that should go with "THAT TOP, MUMMEEEEEEE! NOOOOOO!" So while there has not been much emphasis yet on how her actual face looks, brave is the parent in this house who denies the child her chosen outfit. Fark. That is just not a war I am willing to have.

The kid gets to wear what she wants, as long as it's weather-appropriate.

I worry. I honestly do worry about what is to come for the LGBB, especially once she begins school. Will I have been remiss in not building up her image-based self esteem? Will I regret not telling her she is beautiful every day? Will she continue to go along the path that she appears to be on - that of, not really caring what people think of her looks - but will her current obsession with her clothes transfer or build into being also about "what her mama gave her"? Ugh. I could go on and on about the ways I am afraid. Instead, I'm going to liberate myself a bit further and go and check out my unsightly bits in the mirror and embrace them (figuratively).

No photos on that subject matter, peeps. No sirree, not even if you paid me. 'Night!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Date Night

On Monday night, I went out to the movies with a girlfriend. Our Date Night, a little less regular these days than we would like, but something we relish. The time out of the house, the night off from the unpaid portion of our working lives, the good catch-up conversation beforehand. And we saw - aww, sorry for using the same word for a fourth time in one paragraph - the movie "Date Night."

Despite quite liking Tina Fey and Steve Carell, I did not have high hopes for this movie. The few reviews I have read have been, quite simply, that the movie was, in a word, ".....meh." Well, I just might be very easy to please in the movies stakes, because while it was no Avatar on the scale of blockbusters to end all blockbusters, this little movie was very alright by little old me.

My friend and I cackled our way through the movie, probably to the disdain of the only other members of the cinema audience - several sets of early 20-somethings who most likely could not understand just why the opening scene was so hilarious, it was just an ordinary, everyday, mundane, unfunny "whack to the head by a 3 year-old" depiction of married life, wasn't it? Then the heart to heart the couple have in the car, where Claire (Tina Fey) gives her husband the low-down - and he gives it right back - was another scene that caused us to wheeze laughter over the familiar (very not funny when it's inside your four walls) made funny. And the outtakes at the end were so cute. Hilarious. Make sure you stay for those during the credits, if you go see it.

Quite simply, I enjoyed this bit o' over-the-top-action Rom-Com. And I rate it 3 over-easy eggs, sunny-side up, but of course.

But the funniest joke of the night was on moi. I decided to bring home the popcorn I didn't eat so that I could give some to the LGBB the next day. My friend and I wandered back to our cars after the movie finished, sauntering, discussing this and that, taking our time. And that's when I saw it, while we were standing in the highrise car park entrance and saying goodnight... The trail of popcorn I had left. I cringed and then dissolved into uncontrollable giggles, my friend joining me. What had been a quarter of a box-full was now reduced to at least half that again, dropping out of the poorly put-together bottom. A little trail of white popped corn went from my shoes, through the carpark, across the darkened road and as far as my eye could see towards the cinemas. We had walked past packed restaurants and a pub full of raucous young people.... and I had been doing my best Gretel impersonation.

Back at my car (well, Steve's actually, for I had taken his), I laughed even harder when I tried valiantly to retain as much of the left-over popcorn as I could - a mother's efforts know no bounds, it would seem - and could not stop the inertia of my body from flopping into the driver's seat straight after I had emptied most of the remainder of the contents onto it. By accident, of course. In Steve's new car. A virgin to crumbs, spills and popcorn. Whoops.

Back home, giggling once again as I tried to fix the box but only succeeding in tipping out more popped corn onto the passenger seat (d'oh), I carried the box gingerly inside the house. In the morning, I'll tell him about the state of his car, I thought. And next morning, Steve laughed uncontrollably along with me, despite the corn crumbs I'd smooshed with my derriere into his new upholstery, when he stepped onto the front porch and saw the little trail of popcorn.

At least I would be able to find my way home if I got lost. Right?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The one Steve likes to call...

... "Here's your forkin' tea"
*slamming imaginary cup of tea, with the fork in it, down on the table*

I was presented this morning with a cheese burger, a slice of pizza on toast (warmed in the toy microwave, of course, as is customary of correct reheating of - apparently - the world's favourite breakfast fare) and a cup of tea. With a fork in it.

My handmade gift from Lolly was the obligatory, gorgeous kindergarten teacher project. She proudly told me that her picture for me had "TWO photos on it" when apparently the other kids' only had one on theirs. Don't know why. Perhaps because they tried (and failed) twice to get her to actually look at the camera and stop grimacing? Cheeky minx. I love the bottom photo of her because it looks so much like the old grandmotherly type look of 'sufferance' that comes out in her when she tries to over-mother Steve and me. Look at her! Is that a shawl draped over her 3 year-old shoulders? I think it is....

I was also very spoiled by way of the LGBB's first ever self-chosen Mothers Day gift for me: a pretty pink candle. I have decided it will be the candle I light on Mothers Day, in honour of all the mums who have lost a child. Today, I remember one mum in particular who I know is doing it really tough - her first Mothers Day without her 9 year-old daughter, who was tragically killed in January - and it makes me choke up today, just remembering the staggering number of mothers trying to get through today and willing nightfall to come, mercifully, to take their pain away for the brief hours they are spared by sleep.

I remember my first one well. To be dealt the crushing double-whammy blow of coping with this oh-so-stigmatic, largely commercially driven day as well as it being the first one without our daughter here..... Well. I thought I would surely spontaneously combust. How would I get through it? How could we go anywhere on that day and NOT see countless cars full of (not necessarily happy-looking) family, driving alongside us, claiming more rightful positions in every single restaurant, at every single table. It was like the world's biggest middle finger salute in my face, every cotton-wool-haired granny's head visible in the rear of every Camry being driven around to the rhododendron gardens, all put in my way to taunt me about how old I would grow. Never to be driven around by that little pink bundle who slipped away, so painfully recently.

Today, I graciously accepted the waiter's well-trained wishes of a "Happy mother's day" to me, as we were seated at a table in a little restaurant nestled in a small township the bush, not too far from here. I smiled as I watched our second born little girl grimace about the "warm wind" - no, not her father, but the patio heater we were sitting under and to which she had taken a great offense - and I cradled in my heart all the mums inching their way through the unbearable, unthinkable, surely unsurvivable pain of this, their first Mothers Day to get through without their child, knowing that the sun would eventually peek through again for them sometime.

One day.

Friday, May 7, 2010


As in... "This is Queensland."

We were both close to tears (mine of laughter) before I caved and said, "OKAY! ALRIGHT!"

I have just had a ten minute argument with our young daughter explaining that the Tourism Queensland commercial was saying "This. Is. Queensland." She spent equally long trying to get it through my thick head that the place is called "Squeeeeeeze. Lannnnnd." And what's more, apparently, she wants to visit there.

Who wouldn't?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

As it was and as it always should be

I did it again tonight.

With the deft stroke of my fingers around her eyes, I lulled the LGBB into sleep. For the past fortnight, ever since I helped her relax one night when I realised she was far too wired/spooked by the wind to settle down and I really *needed* her to go to sleep and not play the 'Up and Down 10 Times For Umpteen Excuses' game, Lolly has requested I rub her eyes.

"Just a little bit," she negotiates.

For me, as a mother, this is delicious unheard-of territory. I can remember putting the LGBB down in her cot, when she was a wee 8 week-old. I joke not, the kid would look at me witheringly if I so much as lingered by her side, let alone try and stroke her forehead, pat her back, rub her chest.... Nope. None of that hands-on lovey-dovey stuff for Our Lolly. She would literally stare me down, a look of confused "Why are you still here? You are dismissed!" on her face, and I would wander out, rather dazed and confused myself, thinking, "But aren't I supposed to comfort her? Isn't she supposed to fuss so I can go back in and do the "shhhhhh, Mummy's here" rock back to sleep?"

Only rarely did this happen, usually in times of teething or illness. And don't get me wrong! I am not looking the gift-horse in the mouth that was my self-soothing child. She just came out that way, even though I tried to make her dependent on me (obviously), it didn't rub off on her. But I do admit to feeling a bit useless as a mum sometimes because of it. A tad... obsolete, as it were.

Now, for some reason, she asks for her nightly eye rub and I am happy to oblige and indulge. Most nights so far, she has not gone to sleep (I was concerned this would start to be the crutch that kept me in the room and I don't want to be encouraging that) and instead, grins at me when I am done, rolls over and hugs her dog and bunny and we don't hear another peep. But a couple of times, while I have been only part way through, her eyelids have just looked sooooo....darn....heavy..... that she nearly makes me nod off with her.

Tonight, the request was no different.

"Mummy... you rub my eyes a little bit?"

And so I began. I use a technique fashioned from something I picked up when I used to do Shiatsu yoga several years ago. Along the principles of the leylines of the body - the Chi? the meridians? depends who you talk to - and it uses little pressure points. Release points, where stored tension melts away. I'm rusty on the details, but do recall being ever so fascinated to find them on my own face that I have always remembered them.

If you move your finger around your eye socket, directly under your eye (inline with the pupil, I believe) you will feel a little tiny divet - a groove - in the bone. You can feel this on both sides of your face, left and right. Applying a little simple pressure (I slowly, almost imperceptibly, make circles when I do this on Lolly's face) for a few moments before moving on to the next points which are part way up the bridge of the nose, I'd say right where your cheekbone meets your ... nose bone? The next point is right in the inside corner of your eye socket, about the closest point your two fingers are going to be when tracing this path around the eyes. Moving up to the top centre of the eye sockets, you should be able to feel another of those ever so slight little grooves in the bone - if not, you're weird just go for that middle point again. The circle is made complete by pressing on the outermost edge of the eye socket.

From there, I find the two centremost points on her cheekbones (these too have a little groove in them - on my face, they are not very obvious but they are there) and give them a good slow-motion pulse as well. These points are great for stuffy noses and sinus troubles, it just eases the face a little from all the tension of sniffing/nose blowing/blocked sinus.

And then I do various other feather-light fingered traces over her forehead and a super trick to calm the toddler-beast: Make a V with your pointer and middle finger at the hairline, trace it down to a point at the third eye area of the nose between the eyes. I like to infuse my fingers with a little bit of energetic colour as well - usually Electric Blue. A few of those strokes should begin to see a noticeably calmer difference, colour or no colour application.

Whenever I do this, I find myself relaxing into it too. I know that it's no good rushing this and, given I have finally been bestowed with the honour of assisting M'Lady with her slumber routine, I'm not about to wish the time away. So I really get into it. Another 10-15 minutes out of my day, bringing peace and deep relaxation to her in this way, while she is willingly requesting it, is the least I feel I can do.

And then there are moments like tonight, ones that I cannot ever actually adequately put into words. When the moment of sleep overcomes my daughter and she suddenly looks so tiny again. And her face softens and her cheeks look somehow like those cherubic baby cheeks again. The pulls and tics at the corners of her delicate lips, denoting deeper and deeper travels into her subconscious. And the tugging down of the corners of her dear little mouth and her chin as it furrows like she's about to whimper. And sometimes she does, perhaps already dreaming.

I sat and I watched tonight. I smiled and I melted. And I yearned. For whenever I see the LGBB asleep like this, I see her sister in her. Most times, it is a fleeting moment of recognition. Something lovely and "just is as it is". Other times, like tonight, I have to really fight the urge to wake her back up. Animate her. Because that sleeping image of her big sister, whom she asks after more and not less as these months and years wear on, is the one thing that taunts me and chases me around in my daily life.

Lolly told me just yesterday a great big meandering story of events, one that she had put some thought into, obviously, and I felt my heart hurt about Ella for the first time in ages.

"Maybe... maybe you could... I know! Get a pram! And take it to the hostibool and... and... and get baby Ella and bring her back home in it. And then we could go for a walk. You, me, Daddy and Ella. In the pram."

Aeeeeeeeee. My heart. My achey breaky heart. I just don't think it understands.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What IF: Creating a positive force for change?

I was deeply moved by this video. In the online world, "IF" stands for "Infertility." I found that out the hard, smack-in-the-kisser way. Oh, didn't you know? We are technically infertile. It was a hard thing to admit at the time. A strange thing to wrap our heads around, particularly after we gave birth to our first (and then second) child, unaided by the medical profession. But, be that as it may, our recurrent miscarriage "efforts" afford us that branding. And on paper, yes, we are indeed... IF.

This is a courageous video, made by a woman on a mission named Keiko Zoll. I love her work:

What IF? A Portrait of Infertility from Keiko Zoll on Vimeo.

Read the full description here:

IF. A word of possibilities, choices, paths. IF, the acronym in the blogging community for infertility, a world full of choices, paths, possibilities... IFs.

This video is a response to RESOLVE and Melissa Ford's #ProjectIF, as part of National Infertility Awareness Week 2010. As a member and blogger of the ALI (Adoption/Loss/Infertility) Community, this project is so important this year to bring real stories, real faces to the issue of infertility. My hope is that this video illustrates the "everydayness" of coping with infertility.

I'm known on the internet as Miriam, writing for my IF blog, "Hannah Wept, Sarah Laughed." It is my hope that by publicly "outing" myself and my struggle with infertility that I can help erase some of the stigma surrounding the subject. I hope I can be a voice for those women and couples who can't speak up or speak out for themselves. I hope that my legislators can see that yes, infertility IS a disease, and that healthcare coverage of infertility treatment is a worthwhile cause to the health and welfare of their constituents.

When infertility takes so much of your sense of control away from you, it's advocacy projects like these that allow us to take charge again.

What IF we no longer remain silent about our infertility?

What IF we give infertility a face, a name, a story?

What IF we can become a positive force for change?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Cross-promo madness

I've joined the modern world and gone and created my business its own page on Facebook.

Is that wise? Time will tell....

Feel free to visit, and tell your friends!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Planned Child

by Sharon Olds

"I hated the fact that they had planned me,
she had taken a cardboard out of his shirt from the laundry
as if sliding the backbone up out of his body,
and made a chart of the month and put
her temperature on it, rising and falling,
to know the day to make me --
I would have liked to have been conceived in heat,
in haste, by mistake, in love, in sex,
not on cardboard, the little x on the rising line that did not fall again.

But when a friend was pouring wine
and said that I seem to have been a child who had been wanted,
I took the wine against my lips
as if my mouth were moving along
that valved wall in my mother's body, she was
bearing down, and then breathing from the mask, and then
bearing down, pressing me out into
the world that was not enough for her without me in it,
not the moon, the sun, Orion cartwheeling across the dark,
not the earth, the sea --
none of it was enough,
for her, without me."

This is a poem I found towards the end of my pregnancy with the LGBB. It almost choked with its realism at the time. And it said for me what I had been trying to decipher for myself: that a child so planned, so yearned for, whom I tried to "catch" so often.... was made into reality because our world was not enough for me without her in it.

I can hear that child right now, exclaiming to the descant recorder she fell asleep holding last night (she currently has a penchant for musical instruments, perfecting her baseball and golf swings on the Wii and Chuggington and Waybalu). And without her in my life, I would surely have been tipped over the edge a long, long time ago. She is the salve that soothed my aching, raging heart back then. I would never have come as far in my healing as I have, not without her.

I don't feel quite as emotional now as I used to when I read this poem now - a sign I am either lost to cynicism or have come a fair way in my recuperation of our troubled conception journey. I like to think it's the latter, at least for the most part.

Archived Posts


Related Posts with Thumbnails