Archive | Uncategorized RSS feed for this section

Hunter Walk 4 Freedom

29 Apr

I’m lacing up my joggers and putting my feet where my mouth is. Well, kind of.  My foot has often been in my mouth, but this time it’s for a good cause. The Hunter Walk 4 Freedom is about raising money and more importantly awareness about human trafficking. All sponsorship money raised will go to The A21 Campaign to help rescue, shelter, care for and nurture girls who have been sold, trafficked and held captive in the sex industry. It will also help to see that justice is done and human traffickers are fined and imprisoned.

Most of us think that slavery was abolished in the 1800’s but there are more slaves in the world today than at any other time. And their value is decreasing. A human being can be bought for as little as $90.

This Sunday’s walk is about valuing humanity, and saying that trafficking is not ok with me. I am fortunate to have a voice, so I am speaking up for those who can no longer raise a cry. Check out the website and A21 for more details. And then join me! Or sponsor me. Whatever you like. I’ll be the one in the black t-shirt 😉

Advertisements

Holiday Mode

18 Jan

I’ve been blogging for Sunny Days again…

http://www.sunnydaysmagazine.com.au/Stories/Stories/Holiday-Mode.php

Tomorrow’s the big day…

14 Jan

I’m super excited. Tomorrow I have a travel piece that is being published in the Sydney Morning Herald. This is super exciting for me personally and professionally, as I hope to be a writer when I grow up. 🙂

My blogging has dropped off as the real world/paid writing I do has increased. Ever so slightly.  Oh, and it’s also school holidays so trying to get much of anything done is like pushing sand uphill with a paddlepop stick.

So tomorrow there will be champagne. There will be celebrating. Hopefully, it’s the start of some solid writing work. The sweetest of sweet rewards- a nice fat cheque- will be waiting at the end of it. It’s only taken three years.

🙂

Spare time? What spare time?!?

3 Jan

Two posts in as many days. Who’d have thunk it?

Sitting down to blog about the cake incident, as it’s being referred to in this house, I remembered just how much I love writing. It’s flow for me. I sit down at the keyboard and hours have flown by. Something like being in your element, I guess. It’s only taken me 30 years to work it out. Better late than never, I guess.

Anyway, as much as I love writing, and I do love it most of the time, there is such a thing as the pressing need to earn an income. Precious little money in writing, and none whatsoever in raising kids. So I’ve started my own little business,-along with my cards and my book and my Sunny Days work- and I’m making something I’ve called a silky chill. It’s an icepack for kids. Satin soft and freezable, it’s for all those bumps and scrapes that my kids have every day. That’s enough plugging from me. Check it out here

www.madeit.com.au/detail.asp?id=199367

If you like the look of it, let me know, or better yet, tell all your friends!

Oh, I will get to that synchronised swiming blog, too. Might save it for tomorrow though. Here’s a taster.

Upside down cakes, synchronised swimming and ‘little scraps of underwear’

3 Jan

 

I know. Kind of a crazy title. Well, there’s quite a lot to explore and it has been a long while, as some of my regular readers have been reminding me… (Thanks for the prod, Shelley) 🙂

What with the end of the school year, the end of Sunny Days work for a brief few weeks and the prepartions for Christmas, I’ve had my hands rather full. There’s been lots of things that I’ve wanted to blog about, but time has been a precious commodity, with not quite enough of it for me to ramble on on my little self-indulgent rants…

So the upside down cake. That was my daughter’s fault. Poor kid. She’s too mch like her mother.

And as such, she has been organising surprise parties. Yes. In the plural. The latest of which was for her best friend from school. Lexie is moving away. Not just to another school or town, but to the other side of the world. South Africa, in fact. It might just be a tad too far to visit, so Lolly threw a party to farewell her in style.

For those not in the know, Lolly is just nine years old. She’s a kind-hearted, generous girl with very good organisational skills, except when it comes to organising her personal belongings in her own bedroom. But that’s another story…

The date for the party was set. The teachers were all clued in. The food allergy notices, Muslim dietary requirements and the food pyramid had all been taken into consideration. Every body was bringing something to eat, the money had been collected for the gift and the card had been signed. Lol was barely able to sleep, she was so excited. It was the night before, and this Mummy had been frantically orgainising lots of other elements of family life. All that remained to be done was to cook a cake. As I headed out to bookclub- I told you I was busy- I left out the recipe and the ingredients for a banana cake, her favourite. Daddy was coerced charmed into cooking the cake and everything was falling into place nicely. How prophetic those words were to be…

The next morning, we whipped some cream and decorated the cake with Lexie’s name and chocolate shavings and it looked amazing. Lolly was fair to burting out of her skin she was so flushed with excitement. We loaded the car with all the bags, hats, food, gifts and children for the trip to school. It was probably just an accident waiting to happen, but I let Lol carry the cake to the car.

It didn’t end well.

As I locked the house, I heard the shrill scream. Followed by the stunned silence of disbelief. And then partenered of course with the balling tears of a nine year old who had just totally lost it.

The cake had fallen, upside down- freshly whipped creamy topping first- onto the passenger seat of the car. Frustration, disbelief and the memory of an incident years before when a milk carton had spilled in the car in stinking hot curdling rancid January ran through my mind in jut a millisecond. Did I mention the fact that we were running late and I had to get to work?

I’d like to say that I was calm and encouraging, not bothered at all by the mess and wasted effort of the once pristine but now hairy and gritty cake. I’d like to, but I can’t. I let loose an unearthly yet strangely familiar groan/bellow/yell of frustration and “You can’t be SERIOUS!!!!”

My little organiser was falling apart before my eyes. Her longed for party was now, in her eyes, an abject failure, represented by the pile of squished cake and cream on the front seat of our car. All her plans and hopes of a touching farewell celebration were crushed, by that one, single albeit messy incident.

Somewhere deep inside me the wise maternal element was belatedly awoken. I grabbed my daughter and let her sob, trying to reassure her that it would be ok. We could clean up the seat- and if it started to smell, well, so be it. We’d lived with the sour milk smell before, we could do it again. The image of people ‘falling apart’ is used so often, but it really did feel like I had to gather all her broken bits of self-esteem and glue them all back together again, and fast! My reaction to the incident was crucial in how she would remember this mistake in the years to some.

 

It gave us a great opportunity to talk about life and it’s inevitable stuff-ups. It’s not if we make mistakes or not, but how we react to them and learn from them that counts. If our kids never get to experience those disasters, they don’t get to think on their feet and relaise that it’s really ok to mess up and that we can usually fix things up somehow anyway. It’s not a fun lesson, often it’s messy in lots of different ways, but the lesson was a poignant one all the same.

Thankfully, in our enthusiasm we’d whipped too much cream earlier that morning, so we grabbed the bowl from the fridge, mopped up the mess as best we could and with now only a slight hiccup or two from the child who moments before was hysterical, we drove to school.

I’m incredibly thankful for the terrific teachers at our school. Far from dismissing my daughter from the staff-room with a quick ‘you’ll be fine’, their sympathy was touching as they related their own culinary disasters. Her red rimmed eyes and still-swollen top lip from crying probably helped garner their support, but they willingly scraped off the top of the cake and replaced it with the fresh cream we’d brought, as I dashed to work, confident she was in the hands of people who would look after her emotional as well as her educational well-being.

The farewell surprise party went without any other hitches. The kids ate heaps, gave Lexie her card and gift and she was suitably farewelled from our little school. It was another success to chalk up to Lolly’s event planning career. And another learning curve for her, and for me.

NB Due to the length of this ramble, the synchronised swimming and little scraps of this titled piece will have to wait for another installment. Stay tuned!

Silver threads

23 Nov

There is something powerful in the bond between a parent and a child.

I have a vivid memory of being in a classroom as a seven year old. I remember sitting at my desk and imagining a long silver cord running from my heart, over the desk, out of the class-room, through the playground and up the hill to our house where my mum was at home caring for my little brothers and sister.

That cord was representative of our love. Our bond. Our connection. It was strange imagery for a kid in Year 1, but I can still see it clearly.

Back then, I still had a bit of separation anxiety on being left at school. Despite thriving at pre-school, I cried every day for the first three terms.

Looking back on it as an adult, I guess it was a way for me to console myself that even though my mum wasn’t there with me, we would always be attached. Over the years I have discovered that the silver cord is super stretchy, as it has never been broken yet.

It’s funny the things you remember.

Keeping Abreast of the Situation

15 Aug

The last 24 hours have really brought home society’s fascination with all things mammary. I can’t turn around at the moment but I’m confronted with the same issue, and then, when I do turnaround again, there’s yet another (rather stretched and saggy) pair staring right back at me. 🙂

It started  innocently  enough.  I generally don’t go out fully clad for war on my high horse looking for an agenda to push, but it so happened that the agenda was thrust upon me regardless.

Yesterday, I was standing with the other mums, braving the icy blasts of wind on the sidelines of a soccer pitch as our collective sons were trained by a kindly, soccer-savvy dad. One of the mums has a gorgeous three month old baby who sat in her stroller, protected from the wind by a mountain of pink fluffyblankets. My clucky goo-goo ga-ga baby love still burns brightly, and I was cooing over this adorable chubby-cheeked baby who was a picture of health. Cue reactionary comment.

“You gorgeous little bubba. Look at your cheeks! Your Mummy has such good milk” said I.

Now, the last time we met on the windy sidelines of a soccer pitch, said Mummy had been breastfeeding said baby so my comment was not totally without basis.

Her quick comment back to me was “Oh no, I’m done with all that. I’m a bad mother, but she’s on the bottle now. We’re done.”

This sparked a dicussion amongst the other mothers about the old breast versus bottle debate, how people always tried to make you feel guilty when you stopped breastfeeding and the Nazi-like reactions of baby health clinic sisters to the possibility of early weaning.

I am learning to only give my opinion when it is asked for, so I said nothing, prferring to be enthralled by the cute pink bundle swaddled in her blankets.

Later on, somehow it got out that I wrote for parenting magazines and I was quickly labelled. “Oh, you’d be the one who wrote the ‘Breast is Best’ article, wouldn’t you.” My comment that I didn’t actually write that article or any like it was lost in the once-again heated discussion that included words like ‘guilty’ and ‘versus’ and ‘bottles’.

It all became clear that the whole ‘breast-feeding thing’ is used as an indicator by women and society of our ability as mothers. My friend herself told me she was a ‘bad mother’ as she’d stopped feeding her young baby, yet felt angry that the baby clinic sister would try to encourage her to continue nursing and dissuade her from her choice to formula-feed.

Breastfeeding raises a whole lot of issues. Whether or not we choose to feed our babies our own milk depends on so many factors. Sexuality, self-image, attachment, bonding, cracked nipples, mastitis, night feeds, health, culture, allergies all play a role in successful feeding. Despite earning the name of ‘fun-bags’, breasts are designed for feeding our young, whether or not we choose to do so.

That was yesterday. Today I saw breasts, quite literally, in a whole other context.

This morning, after dropping the eldest two at school I had to take my youngest son to the doctors. Our GP bulk-bills for every consultation, apart from the first visit of the year. Due to my son’s ruddy good health, he hasn’t seen the doctor so far this year, so today we needed to pay.

Like most doctors surgeries, our good GP is stuck somewhere in the last century, as indicated by the age of the magazines in the waiting room and the lack of EFTPOS facilities. Yep. I needed the hard stuff. Good old fashioned cash.

We headed next door to the rugby club. Seeing it was only 9:30am they were, understandably, closed. The only other ATM in walking distance was at the purple pub on the corner. I’ve got cash from a pub ATM before, no big deal, I thought.

I should have twigged something was up when I saw the hordes of men in hi-vis shirts swilling beer on the back deck. At 9:30am.

I found my way in, with my four year old holding my hand. As I peeked into the bar, I asked a guy where the ATM was. He pointed to his right, and there was a woman standing not too far away.  I thought her shirt was that funny flesh colour when it looks like you’re not really wearing anything, and then I realised that she really wasn’t wearing anything.

My belly jolted with the realisation of what I had just stumbled in to. I felt like I had just entered some parallel universe. Call me prudish, but I really wasn’t ready to see a naked breast in a pub at half past nine in the morning. At anytime actually, but especially in the middle of surburbia on a week day. Here I was, a mum with a pre-schooler in toe, just dashed in to grab some cash and here I am confronted by this woman’s bits.

What a different kind of conversation was happening at the bar compared to the one where breasts were being discussed on the sidelines yesterday. The tone here was different, the playing field a whole new ball game. This was a place of objectification. Symbols. Innuendo. Voyeurism.

As I stood stiffly at the ATM, giving out ‘married, clothed and maternal’ vibes, I felt degraded. I was embarassed and my palms were sweaty and I couldn’t remember my PIN number. I felt sad for the girl. I wondered if those mens’ wives knew where they were. And I hoped and prayed like crazy that my son’s attention would be held by the fascinating multicoloured texta I shoved in his line of sight . Thankfully, it was.

So that’s the boob story. Twice in 24 hours the significance and connotations of breasts have hit home. Be they objects of nutrition, beauty, sexuality or fertility, it seems society has a never-ending vested interest in the female body and what it can do for others.

All this serves to make me evaluate the way that I feel about my own body. What are my hang-ups? What do I allow? What do I believe is best for me and my family? How am I treated and am I valued?

I realise that I’m at ease with the decisions I’ve made. I don’t feel guilty or regretful. Society might have lots of ideas about the way I should feel about my body, but I’m glad I get the final say.

Apron strings and other things…

11 Aug

Once again I’ve been experiencing the familiar guilt pangs of the battle that rages in my mother-heart.  You might like to check it our here.

Domestic Blitz

2 Jul

I can’t really believe I’m going to rhapsodise about the joys of housework. And I’m not. I promise.

I just can’t believe how FREEZING it is here lately. It’s 12 degrees  in my bedroom today. At 2pm! I’ve been bundled up in singlets and spencers and skivvies and scarves and other articles of clothing that don’t start with the letter ‘s’, as my children say courtesy of  Cool Runnings- ‘freezin’ my royal Rastafarian nin nans off’. I may not actually possess Rastafarian nin nans, or nin nans of any kind, but you get my drift.

Responsible eco-aware mother that I am, we try not to use the heater during the day. (And He Who Pays the Power Bill is careful of our use of it in the evenings too, as luck would have it.) Instead, I find often myself typing with fingerless gloves on with a blanket over my legs, granny-style, to keep our power bill and little black balloon count as low as possible.

So today, after the million small chores that make up the running of a home and family, I procrastinated no more. I got out the trusty Dyson, mop and bucket. I scrubbed the toilet, the sink, the mirrors. Vacuuming, mopping, packing away, I tidied like a frenzied thing. And as I did, the layers came off. I got HOT. Not just warm, or pleasantly comfortable, but hot.  There may have actually even been some perspiration present.

It’s quite a lovely sensation really, to be toasty warm. The only place I really feel warm at the moment, warm to my bones I mean,  is swaddled under my cloud puff of a doona in my bed. Well, I can’t say it any more. I am also warm when I’m doing the housework. Whether or not that will be enough inspiration for me to continue doing it on a regular basis, and what that means when it gets hot again, I don’t know. But for now, I’ve got my blood flowing, my home clean and I didn’t have to bother about going to the gym today.

Lest any readers out there think that my home is spotless and my domestic goddess trophy is gleaming on the  now dustless mantle, be fooled no more. Although I would like to achieve that Nigella Lawson peaches and cream, tasteful cardigan-ed glow, the truth is, we’re having take away for dinner tonight.

The Hobbit’s Birthday

23 Jun

Today is my youngest son’s fourth birthday. Amid the flurry of wrapping the ‘parcel the parcel’, baking cupcakes to take to pre-school and trying to get the washing dry, I have scant time for writing. So thanks to the wonders of  technology, here’s one I prepared earlier. Two years earlier to be exact. Though my son has changed, my feelings are pretty much the same.

____________________________________________________________

Today is the Hobbit’s birthday. At 4:45pm exactly, he will be two years old.

As his sister and brother crept into our room this morning, laden with presents for him and anxious for him to waken, they both cooed over his sleeping form.

“Oh, he’s such a cute baby!” I laid there beside him, sharing my pillow and gazed at his creamy round cheeks and long lashes. He was a sleeping angel all right, but it occurred to me, rather rudely I thought for such an early hour, that he’s not a baby anymore.

He’s a growing, independent toddler, who in the last week has replaced his baby names of “barduk” for “bird” and “rah” for “dinosaur”. He can tell me he’d prefer a mandarin to a banana, and this morning even said “milk” when I asked him if he’d like juice with his breakfast.

Our little Hobbit’s decided to toilet-train, despite my wintry concerns. Scorning his nappy and removing it whenever the mood takes him, he wants to wear his new plane undies. Instead of his sippy cup, he likes to drink out of a normal cup like his older siblings. He’s even sitting on our normal dining chairs for meals, not his chair with the booster on top.

He thinks he’s more grown up than he actually is. Yes, I know he can play a CD on the stereo himself, get out his own toothbrush and jump on the trampoline, but he’s only just two! His rate of maturity has just hit exponential growth, but there are clues that he’s still little, really.

This kid doesn’t know himself when he’s tired.  His level of self-awareness hasn’t yet progressed to being perturbed if he happens to be carrying a pooh around in said favourite undies. And despite the wearying baby years of sleep-deprivation, I have never yet fallen asleep while still clutching a cup-cake in my hand as he did the other day.

So today, as I bake and decorate a car birthday cake and justify the dinosaur lollies because they have all natural colours and flavours, I choose to celebrate the change. I will comfort myself with the fact that my baby may be growing up, but my son is still his gorgeous vibrant self, a precious part of our family. I am thankful for the future joy of watching him grow for many more years, into someone that I really like, and am incredibly proud of.

Happy Birthday, precious boy.