Wednesday, June 30, 2010

People see you the way you see the world

Personally, I don't think it's a finite rule. I don't think people's opinions of me can change as much as I tend to change my mind about how I feel about "the world" as a whole.

I mean, intrinsically, I know the world is beautiful - in my heart of hearts, and if I could look inside the heart of all others, I trust that I would find a collective of good that would outweigh that same collective's "shadow side" or ill-positioned states of being - but some days, I am more cynical than others. Some days, I wake up with a chip on my shoulder which screens the beauty I would usually see.

Hmmmm... thinking about it now, perhaps on those days, if you were around me and I was truly showing myself (like I do with a loved one or/and someone who knows me and I feel safe with), I'd probably appear a bit more arse-holey than if I had woken with my more lateral thinking self at the fore. Those are the days I cherish having friends who can talk past my bullshit and bring my overswinging pendulum back to my centre.

So maybe people do see me the way I see the world! A nurturing, filling-up, breath of fresh air some days .... a cold, blustery, mean byotch to deal with on others.

Know what I mean? Lost anyone?

People see you the way you see the world: True or false? What do you think? Discuss.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Violet Day

This week, I find myself in a strange place. I'm in a pit. Of self-pity and past patterning, familiar to me yet so completely redundant that I feel quite ashamed I displayed it so obviously here on my blog.

On getting in to work this morning, it took only a few moments on the phone to a mentor to discover that what I am dealing with here is a sort of.... full circle energy. Something that needs to be completed. Passed over, if you will.

There have been a number of incidents here at home in the past week and, in no particular order of importance, they are:

• Steve quit his job, after 17 years (more on that in a later post, for I am ever so proud of him) - definitely a tying off of loose ends happening there, as he is being made to work out his 4 weeks' notice;
• The LGBB got into a punch-up last Friday, in a push circle with boys. I'm intrigued by this and am working with my own feelings about it (and hers - although she seems mostly unaffected, which is surprising to me as it turns out), coming to points of needing to clear energy surrounding that event as well. I was shocked, baffled, sad that she was in that situation, and then this has swiftly given way to looking on the situation as something she wanted to take on - the details around the fight, from Lolly herself, indicate that she decided to take matters into her own hands, so it looks like a clear-cut case of experimentation and mimicking (copying something she knows her father and I do not condone, so an exertion of independence, rebellion and a bit of stealth - none of them reported it to the teachers - going on as well);
• I had my birthday on Sunday. I am putting an end to another era - the era where a fuss is made over you on your birthday. Well.. not fuss, I suppose, but... focus? Something else, perhaps? Fryingpan-gate was merely a ruse, for the real issue I was dealing with, I discovered this morning, was the fact that my father - the only parent who is coherent and (apparently) in my life, has completely forgotten that he greeted me 35 years ago on Sunday. So, dealing with the last remaining "harumphs" over that (like a brattish teen).

At this point, I can see I am uncharacteristically lashing out and being quite insensitive - nay, actually, probably uber-sensitive is more to the point - with the people I share this house with. Over the past two nights combined, I have had barely 10 hours' sleep (Steve has another cold and is rattling like Darth Vader) and it is helping to impair my judgement somewhat. But it only dawned on me this morning that I am taking on whatever they are dealing with as well.

When a child goes to day care (long/short/occasional), they come home with a lot of group conscious conditioning. I have been remiss lately in helping the LGBB "de-sponge" herself and close down before going to sleep. The Monsters have been making their predictable appearance in tandem with that.

And with Steve and his workplace situation, I am being entirely neglectful - hurtful, even - in not throwing him a bone for the monumental death process he is stepping through. How insensitive of me. All I could bang on about (no pun intended) was frypans. Woe is me. Bloody 'ell.

So today, I am calling in to practice what I do know about this worldly process of energies - what is unseen but affects us and meddles occasionally in the equilibrium of a more peaceful life - and I am writing it here as testament to my commitment to get back on track with what I know I am supposed to be doing.

Some may read this and say I'm being too hard on myself. But the thing is, it is my responsibility to be true to myself and honour my space and place by keeping spiritually 'active' - I am a sensitive, I am affected by energies bouncing off others. I can ruddy well do something about it, instead of flailing into a pit of self-wallowing (and self-loathing for said wallowing, when all is said and done)! I keep forgetting that last part. Hnngh *pitiful Frank Spencer look to camera*

Without further ado, I'm off to do a clearing. Have a happy, productive day, peeps!

Monday, June 28, 2010

I came to read this blog and all I got....

....was a lousy, whining post.

To top off my birthday yesterday, someone decided to un-Follow me! WAHHHH!! I don't think I've ever stopped following someone in all the time (a year? two? more??) the feature has been around. It's not the first follower that's dropped off my count, but it's the first one in a long while.

Mind you, I don't use my Blogs Following list the way I used to. These days, many of the blogs I don't like missing posts on come crawling through my Top 10 feed. There are still quite a few I've yet to add in there, though, and I still do miss many of the posts from people I like to keep loose track of. Gulp. Maybe the un-Follower (sounds a bit like the undead) had a keen eye on my favourite blogs and noticed his/hers didn't ever come up in it. If it was you.... ummmmmmm *small voice* Sorry!

It's got me thinking, though. How do you really see this Followers thing? I'm more appreciative when I come across blogs that have a link to mine down the side - when you're a follower, your little picture comes and goes (moreso if the blog has heaps of followers and you're just one of many). While the number of followers might indicate how many people have had a passing - or longer - appreciation of what one writes about, I think the longevity of that interest in a blog is more indicative of where your blog is 'advertised' on other blogs.

What do you think? Have you ever lost a follower (or more)?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

If it looks like a present...

It's my birthday today.

I've been given a two-pack of frypans by the husband. Oh, and a thermal mug (love those).

That's it.

I'm very easy to please, and always accept presents graciously. Usually. But I've gotta say.... I am getting pretty ticked off with the lack of thought that goes into my presents the past several years by my partner. No, wait.. that's not quite correct. I'm actually quite gracious about that as well. I don't CARE how much money is spent on me, I don't mind that sometimes I get a bogus gift - I'm not saying that. And I don't want to come off sounding unkind or ungrateful that there was any present at all.

But ... come on. Really? A two-pack of frypans?! They weren't even wrapped. They were given to me in the plastic bag they were shoved in by the checkout operator. It seems my significant other is stuck in a present rut. These are the sorts of gifts I have been getting - ones for the home, nay, for me to use on the family in the home, no less - for the past several years. If it is totally acceptable and I am just being very ungracious, do tell. Help a guy out!

Tell me: am I being a princess here? Do I really have to suck it up? Is it the lot of being a parent/mother/significant other for almost two decades? Could he REALLY have run out of ideas already?

Do you happily accept gifts for general/family/home use? Have you ever regularly received one for your birthday? If you have, tell me what kinds of things your family buy you, in the name of a present.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Why Having A Toddler Is Like Being At A Frat Party

Today's post is a repost from Brenna's brilliant blog post on this subject. Many of the 309 comments are just as hilarious as the original top ten list. Enjoy!

Why Having A Toddler Is Like Being At A Frat Party

10. There are half-full, brightly-colored plastic cups on the floor in every room. Three are in the bathtub.

9. There's always that one girl, bawling her eyes out in a corner.

8. It's best not to assume that the person closest to you has any control over their digestive function.

7. You sneak off to the bathroom knowing that as soon as you sit down, someone's going to start banging on the door.

6. Probably 80% of the stains on the furniture contain DNA.

5. You've got someone in your face at 3 a.m. looking for a drink.

4. There's definitely going to be a fight.

3. You're not sure whether anything you're doing is right, you just hope it won't get you arrested.

2. There are crumpled-up underpants everywhere.

1. You wake up wondering exactly how and when the person in bed with you got there.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Oh dear, a cyclamen. You shouldn't have...

Oh, how you very shouldn't have.

Steve knows (or he should by now, but sometimes he forgets) that I kill cyclamen. Not that it's something I'm necessarily pathological about. I don't plan it. I don't deliberately treat them poorly. I don't overwater them, I twist the stems of spent flowers carefully so as not to harm the mother plant. I do all of that.

And still....I kill every single cyclamen that's ever been given to me. How can it be, that I am most often given the plant that meets its demise in my care? Why am I never gifted a lovely maidenhair or a daisy or, better yet, a native of some sort? Nope, 'tis always these poor little blighters, so perky and upright with their beautiful leaves all nice and stiff and healthy looking.

I'm looking right now at the gorgeous white cyclamen I was given last night at my birthday dinner (hold your wishes, peeps, it's actually this Sunday ;). I know it's probably not going to see out the winter.

I always get so nervous when people give me potted plants to care for. Just about the only one that has ever survived has been Ella's rose - thank goodness, oh I wouldn't have been able to bear losing that one - and it was given to us by an old friend who never comes over so doesn't see the plant in its thriving glory.

The friend who gave me this cyclamen visits our home quite regularly, though. This puts added pressure on me to keep it alive! Unless anyone knows of a fake cyclamen shop where I can get a decoy (preferably dish washer safe, that'd be handy).

Either that, or...... any green thumbs particularly versed in the best care for these sensitive little beasts?? I'd be ever so grateful to learn what I'm doing wrong.

In the meantime, there is a paper on Cyclamen, I'm sure of it. I'm going to go dig it out now. What's the bet, the Plant Wisdom in this is something I need to really listen to? Crap. Forgot about all that...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

We regret to inform you...

After wrestling a jumper onto my daughter, who likes to think a summer outfit is perfectly FINE all year round, even in weather where we are having to crack the ice off the door jamb before we climb in the car, she did an animated dive onto her bed.

I turned as I closed her cupboard door, asking her in that thinly veiled disapproving-mother voice, "Lolly, you're not going to jump on your bed, are you?"

She looked at me, unable to keep the smile completely off her face. I could see it, twitching at the corners of her mouth, her demeanour mature, calm and deadpan as you like when she climbed to her feet (still on her bed) and broke it to me as gently as she could, "I am, Mum. I'm sorry."

We both gave each other the same face - a look that displayed equal measures of regret, love and 'uh oh' - and she slowly started to bounce, her smile widening as the pleasure hit her in ever-increasing waves.

I kept my 'face' on until I left her room, whereby I crumpled into fits of giggles. The cheek of the kid!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

That's the spirit

I am still thoroughly enjoying living in the town we moved to nearly three years ago. This is a place where community spirit feels very strong. Due to the lay of the land, it has not had the opportunity to sprawl into surrounding suburbs so much, and this has helped create the feeling of a closeness - but not closed in.

Now that we have been here a few years, I know many of the regular walkers and town "characters". The gorgeous people at the post office (who know me by PO box number, not necessarily name and jokingly greet me by said number whenever they see me); the odd bank manager who wanders down to the shops on her lunch break, looking dazed and blinking in the harsh sunlight; the elderly neighbour who "borrows" a shopping trolley to cart his shopping home, saying loudly to all passers-by that he is NOT stealing it for a joy ride and he will return it post haste and then returns it back up the street, just as loudly proclaiming he's returning it (and he does this no matter if there is anyone in sight or not.... he's a funny one but highly entertaining); the local busybody who knows everyone and everything (always good to keep conversation to a minimum with those ones, I have found!).

Each time we step out the front door, the charm of the people as a collective strikes me again. The other day, my bins had been wheeled in from the street for me. Yesterday, I saw a different neighbour doing the same for someone else across the way. Last week, another neighbour and his father fixed 10 metres of picket fencing for their old neighbour, recently widowed and away on a short holiday with his children. The fence fixing was completely impromptu and done as a matter of "got to be done, so we may as well do it for him so he doesn't have to think about it when he gets home."

When we had the bushfires, everyone within 20 or so houses banded together, knocked on doors, kept everyone accounted for. The CFA had not long since gone up our street calling for residents to evacuate now or prepare to fight ember attack on our homes. There was a group decision made to stay and fight. It still chokes me up to remember it.

All these sorts of things were quite unheard of for Steve and me in our last home (where we lived for 11 years). But yesterday, I saw something that made me think again.

The LGBB and I were waiting to cross the busy entrance to the local shopping mall. We were walking home, bags in hands, waiting for cars to leave before we attempted to cross. The first car came up, driven by a young male on his P plates. He made eye contact with me and I waved him through. He gave the international index-finger "thank you" salute and drove out. The second car did the same, this one driven by an older female, who smiled warmly at my little girl as I waved her through. Giving one last check in all directions, we decided to wait for a car that was driving up the road, in case it was turning in. This car's driver made no attempt to look at me, acknowledge that there were pedestrians waiting for her, or even (incredulously) to slow down all that much as she zoomed into the driveway of the mall's carpark. It was lucky we had decided not to chance a crossing in front of her because she was so intent. This one was driven by a woman who was my age, baby seat in back.

It's not the first time I have noticed that the people who usually DON'T smile and say "good morning" as we walk past (either myself on my own or with the LGBB), and the people who don't consider anyone around them and just barge on through.... are mothers of young children!

Don't get me wrong, I realise this is probably a broad generalisation and heaven knows we all have times when there is plenty on our minds - there are plenty of mums around here who are as gorgeous and friendly as the next person, and I know I am very mindful of letting someone through or not holding them up. But invariably, it's a mum in the 30s-40s age range who behaves as if she is SO busy that everyone else can just wait, I have noticed. Damn or be damned, perhaps. I think it is highlighted to me because our town has a very elderly population, all of whom are quick to say hi. Even the young teenagers are generally very considerate. And then there are these women - busy, no doubt, but coming across as quite belligerent.

It got me thinking. As a collective, do you think we are too "the world OWES me" in our attitudes towards others? If you are not a mother, do you identify a similar attitude in your gender/age bracket/home town? Are you ever ashamed to be included in the Motherhood? I never thought I would say it, but sometimes... just sometimes, I am.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What the Fendi?

So much potential. So much anticipation! So much promise in a poster.....

SATC2. And I didn't get it. Wait......... nope, I don't have a penis, I just checked. So it's definitely not a gender thing. I am going to touch briefly on plot points in this post and I'd give you a spoiler alert but, really, there ain't no more spoilin' to be had. This one has definitely gone off the boil all on its own :(

I fear I may be kicked out of the sisterhood for saying this - way more danger than when I admitted this - but....... I went and saw the new SAT2 movie at the cinema last night (all two hours, 45 minutes of it) and it was awful! Awful, awful, awful.

The first movie took me a couple of watches (I made myself watch it again, just to be sure I wasn't disappointed and, as it turns out, I can watch that quite happily now). But I daresay I will not be watching SATC2 again.

I'm not so difficult to please, movie-wise. I sat through Intolerable Cruelty (and it was) and Twilight. Heck, I didn't even walk out during Iris. But this was just too bad to enjoy, no matter how very, very much I wanted to.

I went with a similarly unimpressed friend - we were BOTH very keen to sit back and immerse ourselves in our onscreen "friends'" latest. Two minutes in, already I could tell it would have to really work hard to convince me. And I'm afraid, it just didn't.

The acting seemed wrong, the characters were therefore different. They truly felt like they'd only just come back together, having read their scripts in different corners of the country, and turned up on set to film. I'm talking about the guys who play the husbands and partners as well. The only partner who was convincing this time was Smith (mostly because, probably, he was "on location" and only appeared in one scene on the phone to Samantha after their estrangement so stuntedness would have been expected). Oh, wait, I do apologise - Chris Noth was great. But he had plenty of scenes to prove his greatness in. Poor old Harry and Steve only got a split second look-in and it was a real car wreck to watch.

And do not even START me on Liza Minelli's cameo. Dear heavens above.

The plot was implausible - I can see how they may have thought it was, but they just threw in too much. Tooo, too much! I mean..... bringing back Aidan was a very good plan. Great move! Certainly had me a-twitter with anticipation to see what was going to happen. But the circumstances in which she came across him? Come ON! Noooooo! By this stage, I was already peeking out from behind my splayed fingers. By the time they blatantly tried to score some cinema-going "WOOT!"s from the mothers in the audience, using the Charlotte-Miranda "we're hard-working mothers" vehicle, I was almost in the foetal position. I wanted to align with them SO much, I truly did! But it was so bloody contrived! And Miranda is usually my favourite. By far.

Carrie was a brat. And she twirled in wonder at her surroundings FAR too much (even more than usual) for my liking. Samantha was tired and far too "done". Charlotte.... she did have a great scene or two, particularly when she was in the pantry crying (could have really put her on my shoulder and her given a comforting, sympathising back-pat there) and also in the closing panning scene in Carrie's apartment - this was my only real fave heart-soar moment in the entire looooong endurance. Miranda was .... nnngh. Again, I wanted to like her like I've always done. But the writing was not good enough. In saying that, she was the only one worth staying for if you ask me. I wanted to smack Carrie in the kisser and tell her to grow up, frankly. Sorry, SJP, but really. Really?

I'm sorry! I feel the need to pause here and apologise. To all the people who so enthused about the movie that I felt excited to go. To all the women who enjoyed it so much and are confused by my passionate dislike of it. Ok....

That out of the way, let me just say, they did get a couple of things right. Namely, the quick flashback moments:

But, overall, there were so many bads that the few goods were too outweighed to save it. Such as, the karaoke scene (below). I'm sooooo disappointed!!

This was NOT the thinking woman's fluff movie. I am a loyal fan of the series, I eventually enjoyed the first movie. But I think they ought to have stopped at one. This second one felt over-indulgent and more "let's make more" than "let's give the fans what they want". There was nothing clever in this.

Sorry sisters!

I can only afford this one over-easy, overdone egg....

Have YOU seen Sex And The City 2?
What did you think of it? If you loved it, tell me why! If you didn't, quick... let's slink sheepishly away together and discuss our defection.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


1. pertaining to or involving emotion or the emotions.
2. showing or revealing very strong emotions.
3. governed by emotion.
4. all of the above.

I don' t know exactly why - that is, the root cause is unknown - but I have been a tad "all of the above" these past couple of days.

Today was my tipping point.

I have been bombarded with Ella-related statements this week. I eventually resorted to showing the LGBB her baby album (a scrap book which I started when she was born, continued up til she was about 11 months old and haven't looked at since.... you know, one of those jobs), when I was being challenged about the fact that she and Ellanor were at one point the same baby.

I know she is not confused about this. She never has been before and I have to work hard to keep my adamant refuting at bay. It's simply not going to be an issue, I cannot allow it. But in her mind, the way she sees it at this point in her evolution, Miss Lolly was indeed Ellanor when she was a newborn. She is very specific too, about the time period. It is a little disconcerting and if I didn't know any better, the hairs would be raised on the back of my neck. But this kid has had plenty of experiences in her short four years so far that have sometimes rendered me stunned. So I am not about to continue to challenge her and make a "thing" of it. I am just going to do the grown-up thing..... cover my ears and "la-la-la-la" my way out until she gets distracted and drops the claim.

So that was the first thing to rattle my cage. Next, there was the nail-biting wait when an interested overseas publisher responded favourably a couple of weeks ago to my request for permission to send some of my book chapters for consideration for publication. Today, I received feedback - in the positive!!! - and a feeling like second base has been achieved there. Oh my giddy aunt, but I haven't finished and it's all a mess and my characters are flawed and nowhere near strong enough (anyone know where I can get some inspiration for beefing up character development????) and... and... and...

I feel like Charlie Bucket being roused by his granddad the night before presenting the Golden Ticket at the chocolate factory. I need to shine my hair, brush my shoes, polish my teeth! I'm all confused and a-tizz!

Third, and finally, on the subject of This Parenting Gig and not realising an almost-four year-old could already slay me with words and make me feel like I was back wearing my high school uniform being taunted by the most cruel of the girls in the group, as well as feeling sometimes like I'm the only grown-up in the house, I sent an SOS email to a kindred friend. She sent me a very sympathetic - and topical - reply that made me feel very much more normal in my Good Cop/Bad Cop role.

I freely admit: I was in my Kid Shoes when I wrote this. Felt completely raw and stripped bare after a week of it. But thought it wouldn't be an honest-injin blog if I didn't offer up the downright ergly as well as the witty. Right?

Me: Am choosing to feel a bit kicked in the teeth right now. Just spent the morning out of the house, went and booked Lolly's party (mini golf) and did all of that. Got Steve a couple of new shirts, L some swimming shorts and a beanie. Had lunch all together. Was a decent morning of family time.
Came home, Lol helped me "clean" the kitchen so we spent good time together then. Sat together writing out all the invites, more time together. Then, and I can only think it's because lately I've been saying I can't play with her a bit more than usual, she tells me "I don't want you to come to my party. I just want to go with my Dad." And she said it really possessively.
You know how BIG an event a kid's party is to a kid - I can't help feeling that her intent was to hurt me. I was just like "WhatEVERRRR".
I hate that I have to be the one who dishes out the discipline, dishes out the instructions on chores, reprimands the two of them (sometimes when they're the two who are bickering!). Just on and on and on. I've been crying this afternoon. I'm so over it today.

She: Ah dude that sucks :( Was she looking at you when she said it, like trying to see your reaction? Was she just over-partied out cos of writing the invitations etc?
It sucks that you're the bad cop (I'm guessing?) Because you're sooooo a good cop. The type we need as police commish cos you won't be corrupt. The type who won't go out to Sizzler when there are bushfires. (eluding to this, for if you're not within Australia, you won't get the reference, I daresay)

Me: That just made me cryyyyyyyyy more! You know when you've been crying and your eyes hurt and then something makes you laugh, so you laugh sort of like a crazy person and then you cry again because the act of laughing after the big cry makes you remember you've been.... crying?

THAT, dear reader(s), is why good friends are worth their weight in gold. I feel mucho better and snapped out of it.

And when you get around to reading this.... Much obliged, my good lady friend!

(but can I just say, again, in very small, small print: SQUEEEEE! A publisher!????!!!)

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Lol-cabulary: My made-up word to describe the vocabulary of Lolly. So I don't forget it.

Memo - not, as you may think, of the notation variety. Nor a man of Greek Ostrayan descent, the likes of whom was made (in)famous on Acropolis Now. No, this is Memo (spoken: "ME-moe") as in "I want to watch Finding Memo."

Yesterweek - last week. Of course.

Lastday - oh dear. Those pesky English language inventors really should have consulted with our daughter. I mean, yeah. I'm with her (she argues this with us regularly): Why, if it is "yesterday", is our word for the day before the current one not "lastday"? Or, alternatively, why can't we have yesterday and yesterweek? It's just silly.

Smushmallows - the little fluffy balls of sugary delight that you roast by campfires or pop in your hot chocolate.

• "Yo Gazza Gazza" - apparently an Aussie version of Yo Gabba Gabba just begging to be made... I can just imagine what DJ Lance Rock would be wearing in that version.

• Cathay - the place you go for a 'cino and a light snack.
Used in a sentence: "Come on, Mummy, let's go to the cathay for a milkshake."

• Matcher - use these to light candles and fires. I guess it makes sense, when all you hear is "Where are the matches?", "I need the matches" and so on. How does she know it's not matchers? Again, I'm almost with her.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pimp My Lunchbox

Having recently been inspired by this delectable blog, sent to me by a dear friend, and also having a Japanese sister in-law (handy!), we are set for a Japanese style "take away lunch" frenzy here this winter. Have you heard of bento? I had, but did not realise the extent to which you can go crazy on it! It is, basically, in my layman's explanation and understanding, 'cutesy-prepared lunches gone crazy.' A pimping of the lunchbox, indeed.

There are all sorts of lunchbox shapes. Police cars, Hello Kitty heads, bears, bunnies, firetrucks. And that's just the containers. Then there are all sorts of stamps and food colour pens and shape cutters and lunchbox dividers. And if you think "Ahhh, I could do that with stuff I bought from Woolies", which is what I thought, you'd be mostly correct. But not like this. Not purpose made. The Japanese, they do this as a culture. The place is oozing with accessories for your bento box! And I'm wantin' me some merchandise.

Lucky for me, I have a supplier, ready and very willing to post me the whole kit and kaboodle. AND teach me the tricks of the trade, along with some simple kiddy-friendly Japanese recipes that aren't readily found here. Awesomeness. I'm so pumped about it!

I have spent hours scouring J-List, in tandem with my SIL, and we have decided this is almost as good as shopping together (which we can also do for hours, but only every 2 years when they holiday out here and stay with us). At least we don't have to worry about the kids this way.

So I decided to try out a little bits 'n pieces cut lunch for the LGBB yesterday, without all the gorgeous little shape cutters or cute Hello Kitty lunchboxes (which I am going to be receiving in a large package from my SIL sometime in the next month) - Lolly is ALL about Hello Kitty lately!? Don't ask me why. Just is flavour of the month right now.

Anyway, here we have little flowers cut out of a cheese slice, cucumber sticks, "sushi sandwiches" - rolling pin 2 slices of bread with crusts cut off, spread with ricotta/cottage cheese/cream cheese and fill with slices of salmon, then roll and cut like sushi (L loooooves these and is a sucker for this different take on her usual triangle-cut sanger) - some walnuts, a couple of dates and a googy-egg. Quite heavy on the protein, this lunch, now that I look at it. But she had had a significant amount of fruit in the morning, plus a hearty breakfast. We are in an all-day-graze "I'm still hunnnnnngreeeee" phase at the moment. I daresay there is a growth spurt coming on. So this is a good way for her to feel like she is getting a lot to eat because there is a lot for her to feast her eyes on.

And I just love making her lunchbox interesting every now and then. I am one of "those" mums who puts faces on boiled eggs, draws pictures of love hearts and butterflies on her drink bottle and lunchbox, tapes a little drawn picture inside the lid, yada yada..... So go ahead and hate me. I love 'er. I love making her feel special. And loved. She loves surprises, I love surprising her. We often love each other more when we're not actually within the same vicinity. We're a match!

I am all for bento. Bento on! I'll keep you up to date with my fledgling attempts as I foray into this new world of lunch box preparations. Takes a bit more time and effort but, hey, it is SO much fun. And everything gets eaten. Double bonus!

Procrastination-arily speaking

The LGBB and I wandered around to a neighbour's home today, to invite a playmate over for a couple of hours. The plan was, my young charge would be amused by her little friend. The two of them would play merrily, whereby I would be able to work, uninterrupted for another sneaky hour or so.

Ha! Best laid plans....

It was gorgeous having her friend here, though, I'll grant that. How I do love a friend who loves my daughter and treats her toys and things with the same respect and care as Lolly herself. In her excitement of having someone over to play in her room, it was actually Lol herself who has had to be calmed down and reminded to treat her things gently, and not the delightful friend, this time.

When we went in to our neighbour's house, after being neighbours for the past 2 and a bit years, it was strange to see the inside of this lovely home. I was struck again at how interested I am to see how other people have their places set up. The outside is neat as a pin, a gorgeous stately old place. Inside.... well, it was rather more lived-in than I had expected, compared to seeing it from the outside. Then again, I was really impressed that my neighbour, amongst the jumble, had a perfectly neat and clean sink. Not a dish in sight. There were papers and piles of books, clothes, toys, a right dog's breakfast from here to there. But the kitchen sink was immaculate. It put my own to shame.

After coming home, I was given cause to ponder how my house would appear (say, for instance, to the LGBB's friend's mother who would be coming in a couple of hours' time to collect her daughter). The pile of un-dishwasher-able dishes to the left side of my sink seems to be permanently there. Given the high priority I gather she places on diligently having the dishes done, I daresay I'd look like a slovenly sloth, me and my umpteen melamine character-transfer kids' dishes that DON'T GO IN THE DISHWASHER *angry grimace*. I don't do them every day, it's just something I put off, in favour of other chores, paid work, playing with the LGBB and..... ok, yes, blogging. It struck me that to anyone visiting, they're just a little pile of dishes. But to me, they are the most annoying of little jobs that I put off and put off and put off. Which is ridiculous, really, because they are so in-my-face and cause me such a grievance to see them every time I'm in the kitchen (which is one of those kitchens you can see from everywhere so you see dishes in plain sight all the time).

Oh, the whole thing just gets me a bit hot under the collar. Silly, really, comparitively speaking. But still. There you have it.

What is your put-off chore? You know, the one that is really a piece of piss to do, but you never do it? And then it not only builds up and gets worse the longer you put it off, but drives you nuts every time you pass it, either busy doing something else or otherwise just cannot be fagged doing it right then and there? I mean, I have several, but this dishes thing... it's really one of the most annoying!

Monday, June 14, 2010

What a dogs' dinner

No, really. It's the dogs' dinner. You thought I might be about to start talking about my abysmal character development, huh? Not today.

I ask you: would you eat this? Good quality pet grade (or is that an oxymoron?) mince aside, the dogs eat better than us some days.

Here' what they get:
Corn kernels
Short noodles (think they were vermicelli bits)

Our dogs fall all over themselves to get their din-dins every night now. Operation: Ditch The Can is in full swing here, coinciding with Snack-Free June. We are horrified at both the quality of dog dinners in-a-can and the expense of them if you want a good one. The snack-free part speaks to Steve's ability to bring back $20 or more of snackage that we just don't need - either for our waistlines or wallets.

Years ago, I used to cook all Pepper's meals. I haven't done it since we got Jazz. Pepper is most pleased, I should think, that on a recent visit to the vet, Jazz was deemed underweight - too much so - and a good hearty diet was required. The vet recommended giving her a meal at morning and evening time. This, of course, was before I discovered that the culprit responsible for Jazzy's Olsen-esque was none other than Steve, who had only been giving them a single can between them - no dried food - for several months. I'm going to put that down to extremely poor judgement on his part. And move on. I have finished my berating and decided it's time to bring out Mama's big stew pot. Perhaps this was the plan he hatched with Jazz all along.

The doggies are loving us for it. Jazz has reached a healthy weight again in only a couple of months. And, although it's cooking for the dogs - and perhaps non-dog lovers won't get this - but I get a sense of satisfaction from doing a big nosh-up for them.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Literal Lolly.... strikes again

In another installment of Literal Lolly (there could have been plenty of others, but I keep forgetting to share them)...

Me: "We're going to Grandpa's on Sunday to help him move house."
LGBB: *very perturbed expression* "Won't it hurt our fingers when we put them under there? I think Grandpa needs to just find a new house. That would be better."

In the same vein as "Daddy's going to pick up his new car tomorrow" and her saying, genuinely concerned for her Dad's wellbeing, "Is it heavy?" - he answered that, yes, it was so she suggested he'd "better get Mummy to help you lift it."

I love that kid.

Steps to having a great day

Lolly's day yesterday, in pictures....

No one can ever tell you too much eye shadow - on your cheeks - is enough

Pose to look bewdiful, give simmering look to camera. Then...

When you've seen said picture and realised your lippy is *aherm* slightly outside the lines, run around and around and around the island bench in a cooped-up-inside stupor, which you may want to occasionally fuel by

pausing a moment to check your reflection in the oven door and checking over your facial artistry

and a dash to the bathroom to put a comb through your hair (through, mind, not "stuck in")

then scarper again, squealing at the same point in the kitchen like a trained monkey each time you pass it, cos that amps up the fun factor

round and round and round, remember

finish off with a cheeky giggle

and then grab the camera and take a photo of your Mummy looking like a crazy cat lady.

Job well done!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

How could I not?

Cold. Blustery, cold days. Rain as far as they forecast could see.

Sheets drying for endless days over chairs.

So I ask you....

How could I NOT build her a cubby house? These are the moments I know she's totally lapping up her childhood. And it makes me giddy with joy.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Character development

There's nothing better when someone who's read your draft - and who is "not a dog person, in fact, I hate dogs" - tells you that they really connected with your dog through your writing.

Mind you, there's nothing worse than someone else telling you they couldn't remember who "so-and-so" and "who-whatsit" were, or anything they said or did, the minute they put the book down.

That's an example of good character development vs. bad/non-existent. And it's currently what plagues me. Oh, that and....... *big breath in* the 38 pages of rewrites that got totally wiped. I could cry. Nay, I have cried, about that today. Just so much effort! Wasted. Hopefully, I can get most of it back (from my head, that is). But I don't like my chances.

Here is an example of my happy "baby", Pepper, and me in 1999 - I just got tagged today in this photo by my cousin from the UK who was staying with us (I remember him taking this photo!) - when she was a spritely 5 years old.

My god, that makes her practically ancient now.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

My sobriety

I'm feeling "between realities" right now.

I spent five hours straight yesterday, writing the book. And more again today. The chapters that have been taunting me for a year are finally out of my head. Yes. A FULL year has passed with this writer's block! But now, on the back of a most encouraging new round of praise (one from a prospective interested publisher and the other from a very well-read, well-connected friend - it was just a matter of time before I drew her into the "readerly fold" for her critiqueing, she herself is no stranger to NICU's and premies), I am both buoyed and fired up.

I think I can see the end. I can see it, guys! Holy fark, how long have I (we) been waiting for this?! I feel like such a faker and a charletan so often here, as I have made soooooo many (broken) promises to finish.

Now, tonight, I see the end. Sweet relief.

And at the same time, I am so incredibly emotional about being steeped in this time period. Currently, I am locked in the space of 2004. The year I lost our girl, then two more pregnancies (including another girl just before Christmas). Revisiting all this, seeing the timeline so accurately spaced..... well, it's no wonder, really, that I have subconsciously been protecting myself from writing about it. So hard. So arduous.

And then the LGBB walks in. I hug her. Wrestle with her on the ground in a delicious tickle-fest. Share her delight in counting out her shell collection from our summer holiday. Kiss her goodbye as she climbs into the bath with Daddy. Go back to writing about our angst-ridden first year without her sister. Aaaaagh, it's cathartic and mind-fucking all at once. A mind-mash, if you will.

But by God, I'll finish this juggernaut. As Ella is my witness ;) So very sobering and humbling, all of life right now.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Don't light that thing up in here!

I just realised I'm sullying Jazz's good health reputation when I noticed my recent Ebay clothing auctions have stated, "Comes from a smoke free home (we have an outside dog)."

What the?! What planet was I on when I crafted that statement? Well. At least she thinks to take a drag outside. Right?

And yes, Pep is still staggering around blindly like Judy Garland in between takes - I just didn't think it needed to be mentioned that we have two dogs.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Big Questions: How I answered them. Today.

They're starting again.

With my head in my hands, I left my daughter's room this evening, breathing the deepest sigh out of my lungs. Really feeling, in my body, how her line of questioning had made the yearning ache come back. Instantly.

Ironically, since my very recent previous post (regarding the book) this afternoon, and despite me not saying a word out loud about either the contact with my editor or what I had posted about, the LGBB began her questions about Ella.

"Muuuuuum!" she yelled out from the toilet where she had been merrily singing away as she carried out her obligatories. "I need to cry!!"

I went in there, wondering what on earth she was on about now.

"What are you needing to cry about?" I asked, with the slightest hint of 'Don't be testing me' in my demeanour (we have been going through a real phase lately, regarding using a "whinging tone" for things that simply don't need it), which I instantly felt guilty about when she replied, "I miss Ella and I want to seeee her. I want to go there."

Ohgodohgodohgod. It has been a good 2 or 3 months since the last time Lolly brought up the subject of missing her sister. Last time, it had been Steve who was caught out. He had told me that in the amount of time it had taken for them to pull in to the driveway, happily singing away to something on the radio, and then for him to stop the car and go around to her door to let her out, she was sitting there in her carseat with her big blue eyes full of doleful tears, telling her Dad that she misses Ella.

What do you do with that? When a child, a baby herself really, realises that there is another person she was supposed to look up to? Someone else in the family whose face would not be seen. Ever, ever, ever in her life. I can remember knowing how young I was, from an early age (my family at various times have called me a freak for my accurate recall of events and places we visited when I was only a tiny tot), and thinking how very, very long all this learning of things was going to take me. Possibly an odd thing for a small child to ponder, but ponder it I did. Quite frustratingly often. So I can sympathise with these moments that Lolly is having, more and more, as she is probably grappling with the dawning realisation of just how tantalisingly long it's going to be that she won't be able to share her life with her sister.

So, what did Steve do with that, exactly? And what did I do, in response to her today? We both simply agreed with her and said we missed her too. Putting it bloody mildly.

Usually, in the past, this has been enough to satisfy Lolly. But today, she continued this discussion with me. Wanted to know where she was, wanted to know why she was an angel (she corrected me on that one and told me Ellanor is a fairy - probably more accurately, faery, I guess, because I don't imagine her as some flitty little delicate Disneyfied version of the definition of "fairy", which is all you seem to be able to find these days). She wanted to know why she couldn't see her, and her tone was a very frank "Enough of this, I demand an explanation."

I ended up talking with the LGBB about the fact that Ellanor's heart was sick and she just couldn't stay. I surprised myself by not tearing up this time. And the mood was lightened when Lolly declared, in perfect comedic timing, "I did poo." Right you are, m'lady. Happy you're ready to move on, for now.

But then this evening, going to bed, Lolly (using that ruddy whingey voice we've been advising her she doesn't actually need to put on in order to get what she's asking) announced she wanted me to read her a story before bed. "I want two ones," she whispered to me as she hugged me tight. "One about Ella and another one."

Ohgodohgodohgod! That one! The one I can't ruddy well get through without a half a box of tissues (I'm getting better, see) and she wanted me to read it to her all of a sudden. She knows it exists, she's said yes to having it read to her before but I've never made it past the middle of the second 'chapter' where our names are mentioned. And it happened that way again tonight.

I read to a very attentive Lolly, right up until the bit about us loving all children and wanting a baby of our own.... And then she firmly told me she didn't want to read anymore, rolled over and told me softly that she had been a baby once too. Far OUT. Far out. Nobody anywhere could ever tell me the right way to do this, but I'm sure anyone, if faced with the same situation, would muddle through admirably. And so I did.

"Oh, yes, you were, a most adorable, beautiful little baby," I told her, gently stroking her back as she faced away. "And you are our precious big girl now."

Lolly turned back towards me, a furrow in her brow and a down-turned mouth. She was still trying to figure this all out and get her head around why she can't see her sister and yet, she is still technically in our family. Good luck to her, it's been six years and counting for me, I thought to myself just quietly.

"She's a angel... a fairy-angel," she said, as if what we talked about earlier today had dawned on her suddenly. And then a look of shock. "She's not... in the hospital anymore." And you could have run me over with a steam roller at that moment, I think it might have hurt less. My baby girl made the connection. And it tore off a bit of my heart.

"No, she's not," I stated factually.

"But where is she?" Again.

"Well.... her body.... stopped growing." I didn't know how else to put it by this stage. "But the very special 'thing' that makes Ellanor Ellanor, well, that is still alive. And that is the part of her that is in our family."

Lolly seemed fairly okay with this explanation, although the puzzled frown was still there. And then she told me, "Ella's... well, she's in this house... but she's not in our family." I agreed that sometimes, yes, she probably was in this house. But I corrected her and said she will always be in our family. A very, very difficult concept for a young person to comprehend. I'm going for rote memory on this one, it's all I have for the time being.

"Yes, she is (in our family)," Lolly decided I was right after all. "I know her," she told me adamantly. So I just nodded.

All this conversation was happening after lights-out. I was asked to stay, she had looked kind of unnerved by all the thoughts that were obviously chasing around in her head, so I stayed and we had this chat. As the conversation naturally wound down, I remained by her side, stroking her forehead gently. And I whispered a few paragraphs from one of my most favourite books of hers - a present we were given by an exceptional, dear old friend (the mother of a primary school friend of mine who took me under her wing during my rocky childhood):

"I wrap you in a rainbow of light
To care for you all through the night
Your guardian angel watches from above
And showers you with her great love.

This rainbow, with all its colours, will keep our hearts together
All through the night.
You, me and the Rainbow."

I finished by telling her that she was right, she does know her sister. "You and Ellanor came from the same place. You do know each other." Lolly opened her eyes and nodded soberly at me. And then eased gently into sleep. I sat there and looked into her face closely for the longest time. Tonight, I only saw her. Our little Lolly, whose chosen names mean "Place of honour/victory", "Reborn".

And on that note, I give you one of the most astoundingly grand children's books I have come across for dealing with situations such as these - it has been purposefully written to help children dealing with all sorts of traumas, such as divorce and, hey, it's handy in dealing with the death of one's older sister too. I would highly recommend it. It is simply stunning in its easy, yet profound, imagery and story - a little self-contained healing ritual for nights when worries seem bigger just before bedtime. It's written by psychologist Petrea King, whose technique with this story is so subtle and simple:

Automatic thoughts

I came across a pile of notes today that I have made over the past three years, relating to my writing of the book.

Coincidental I found this notebook today, while I was looking for a work book and thought initially that it was one and the same, because I made contact with my long-lost editor just yesterday. After many months of not communicating, we've both made it back to working together again - I went AWOL to take on board her many valid points about the restructuring required of my manuscript and she went AWOL due to some really heavy-duty personal circumstances - and we have decided to work out a deal where we trade time-for-time using our respective skills to help each other out.

The point is, though, that the book is rising to the surface in importance again. When I flicked through my notebook, it fell open to a page where I had been searching to ground my intentions and purpose for writing such a deeply personal account of death and birth and everything in between. For it has become far more spiritual than I would have ever imagined I'd be comfortable sharing in print. But if it does make it to print, readers will be coming on the journey that has been me being introduced to that realm I have been getting more and more familiar with.

When I asked myself these questions, in 2007, and wrote down the answers I don't think I realised how profound I would find them, some three years later and in desperate need (once again) of some inspiration to continue on with this story. For what I wrote was thus:

What is the purpose?
"The purpose of the book is to simply tell Ella's story. The whole thing. From my perspective/experience. Her coming into existence and my awakening awareness. Her physical story. The impact of her life and death from a mother's point of view. The challenges presented when living with a child's death."

But most amazing of all, and I don't even remember writing this even though I remember where I was sitting (in a gorgeous garden in the country on a really beautiful, crisp, cool, sunny day), was what I wrote of the running theme of the book. Something I'm not entirely sure yet that I've adequately captured, so I will have to go back and take a look:

"The task of the mother is to insure the continuum of the soul of her child, after their death, amongst those still living."

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

"If my makeup is uneven when I get home, you'll know it didn't go well."

Those were Steve's parting words to me this morning as he headed back to work after two months' long service leave.

You think I have the title of this post mixed up with the content, don't you?

Let me explain.

If you are fairly new to this blog, you will be forgiven for not knowing that many, many things in our household are related back to either a movie line or a Simpsons quote of some sort or other.

So it will come as no surprise to regular readers to learn that as Steve was getting ready to head out the door, I just had to reference his return to work to one of my all-time favourite quotable movies - Flying High - wishing him a good, productive day and hoping he did not feel like he had to "calm down" or "get a hold of" himself.

Steve, of course, was talking about the woman who tries to apply makeup as if nothing is wrong, while the plane is crash landing and there's bedlam all around her, and not actually the woman who loses her composure and begins to freak out - and by the way, NONE of this is going to make the slightest sense and, even if you have seen the movie, it's probably only amusing to one or two of you... or, let's face it, just to me. But it's my blog and I'll write what I want to, so you'll have to just humour me.

Why he would liken himself to an elderly Jewish woman putting on her eyeshadow and lippy is an entirely different kind of post...... "All together". But it was a bloody funny visual when he said it, all the same.

I shall now let the clip speak for itself and back away before I make any bigger turkey of myself. Or my husband.

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