#showtherealyou

I was motivated last night to get back into writing while watching the state of origin (Queensland WON).  I was on Instgram, I found a post from the mummysomniac.  She had been featured by @aliceinhealthyland for a Q and A #showtherealyou.  Long story short, I commented that I was motivated by her answers to get back into writing.  Well shit I thought, when she commented back that if I write something so will she.  SO here I am.  I thought I would borrow the questions from the Q and A she did and answer them myself.  Here we go. (I was going to change the questions slightly, because I wasn’t interviewed but decided to leave them).

 

I love your Instagram name!I think it is so clever! Can you tell me how you came up with it?

@medwardsblog, is an extension of my blog name.  ME blog. ME blog came about in November 2015.  I participated in 30 day blogging challenge, and LOVED it. I sat for ages trying to think of a cool, quirky, memorable name for the blog that I had no intention of telling anyone about. Every name I came up with sounded ridiculous and a bit tri-hardy.  My initials are ME, I thought that ME would be a good name because; they are my initials, the blog is about me, and it’s simple.

 

Can you tell myself and my followers a little about why you created @medwardsblog?

Well once I started writing in the 30 day blog challenge and was loving it so much, I wanted to share my writing. Instagram seemed a good place to promote my blog. After stalking around on there and finding thousands of people promoting everything from their boobs, to their business, their babies, I thought I could get some readers to my blog. I don’t only put up blog posts, I also post images or quotes that I find motivational, inspirational or funny. The quotes don’t always apply to how I am feeling at the time, but I figure that they may mean something to someone.

 

As a busy mumma what is your go to workout?

This is hilarious. I don’t have a go to workout. You can read all about my fitness struggles here and here and here and here.

HOWEVER, when I am motivated, feel unsettled or my body feels tight.  I do love to press play on the ipod and lose myself in a yoga session, or go for a walk.

 

How often do you find the time to move your body? 

Lately not much at all. Cooler weather, makes me want to hibernate like a mumma bear, mix that with night duty and moving is the last thing I want to do.  I do know that I need to kick my own butt and get moving, because moving is good for my mental health, and my body does cope with stress much better after a good power yoga session, or a brisk, sweaty walk.

 

Favourite activewear?

Mmmmm, I have been known to have a burnt toosh, from doing downward dog on the beach in bikini bottoms. I do have a pair of Lorna Jane shorts that are extremely comfortable. Otherwise it is shorts, tights, bikinis, yoga pants, for yoga and walking. But I mean always up for an active wear company to throw me some products to try out.

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When you are having a rough day, what do you believe helps you to pull through?

Wine… No if I am having a rough day at home, I just need to be left alone. I need to be able to be sad, or cranky or depressed all on my own. I don’t want someone to fix me, don’t want to talk about whatever is bothering me until I am ready. If it’s a work, same, just let me work I don’t need to chat about my rough day.

For me early dinner, long, steaming hot shower where my skin just about peels off, and an early night is what helps to pull me through.

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Favourite quote or mantra?

This one keeps popping up for me;

“What if I fall? Oh but my darling what if you fly?” I keep seeing this everywhere over the last few months.wp-1464840221846.jpg

And absolutely without a doubt one of my faves is: Your vibe attracts your tribe”

 

 

 

 

 

Proud mumma moment?

The tears and sobs were flowing last year at Jazz night at the high school my boy goes to. He decided he wanted to learn the clarinet. Now this boy is a sports kid head to toe. But he wanted to have a go and I encouraged him to go for lessons at the school. Jazz night is a showcase of all the children at the school who have been learning an instrument, and by learning I mean some of these kids play for the QLD youth orchestra.  BUT my boy wanted to have a go.  He was so nervous, I was so nervous, he got up on stage in front of the musical elite at the school and played his clarinet. He stopped a couple of times, he made that clarinet squeak like a parrot and he got a standing ovation.  He put his head down and almost ran off the stage, he hid out in the back room until the night was over, snuck out a back door and tried to get to the car before anyone could see him. My heart was so full for that brave boy, who got up and had the guts to have a go. That experience for my boy is one of the proudest moments I have experienced as a mumma.

 

Something you do for yourself?

My house is all boys, husband, kids, and dog. I mean we do have 5 chickens that I have an absolute love/hate relationship with. (I love their eggs, but hate the freaky bitches that peck my feet when I try and feed them). So sometimes I really need to get away from the testosterone, the endless competitiveness, the constant sport talk and do something girly just for me. Sometimes that is getting my hair done, or my nails, often it is a coffee with my mum or a friend.

  

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Who inspires you?

I feel as though I should say my husband is the pinnacle of my inspiration or rant on about my awesome tribe, or how my kids are my inspiration, or how my mum or dad have inspired me to great heights. But in reality it is the people that have broken my heart just a little.  I don’t mean the people that have hurt my feelings and I think “oh you bitch”.  No, you know when someone says or does something that hurts your heart, even just for a second and leaves a blemish right there on your heart, and then the people that have hurt you so bad they don’t leave a blemish, they leave a scar. They are the ones that inspire me to be a good person, to be the best Mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunty, friend that I can be. To stick with my morals and beliefs, to not be a bitch. To not repeat the hurt that has been done to me.

Dream job?

To be paid to write. Like my blog description says: to write beautiful conversations, about stories, people and places I want to share.

There is so much beauty, pain, love, so many experiences and millions of stories in this world. I would love to be able to write just some of them and be able to earn my living from doing something that I am passionate about.

 Best advice you have been given?

Just keep finding you, keep doing things that help you find you. Love this I was told this in a tarot card reading.  It is another form of motivation for me. It makes me always want to find out what I may like, or be good at or find what I don’t like.  Kinda like a treasure hunt.

 Favourite beauty product?

Well at the moment it is the De Lorenzo Novo Silver shampoo. I decided a couple of weeks ago that blondes have more fun, went to the hairdresser and went a silvery, pearly, platinum blonde.  I am usually dark, dark brown.  The silver shampoo is my absolute favorite and necessary beauty product at the moment, so that I don’t look like a yellow headed, $2 hooker that needs her re-growth done.

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Pretty Knickers and preparation

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After the initial pounding of my heart and hysterical laughter, at me being chosen for the boudoir model shoot, my emotions swung from:

Excitement about, wearing pretty knickers, getting hair and makeup done and feel all girly.  To freaking the hell out that I have answered an ad on Instagram. I am meeting a stranger in a hotel room in the middle of Brisbane, and what if it is some dodgy set up.

 

I started with a bit of research:

What is the definition of Boudoir:

“Boudoir” is a French word meaning a lady’s private dressing room or bedroom. In photography, boudoir refers to a style in which women pose for photographs partially clothed or in lingerie.

Boudoir photography

An intimate photo of a man or women, suggestively covered but not fully nude, meant to tease the senses.

 

Well I know the literal meaning, so what about examples.

I made a rookie mistake, and went on Instagram and searched # tags for boudoir and boudoir photography. Of course all the women looked like Victoria secret models (I shut down that search quickly).

Pouring a generous glass of wine I settled in to do some online shopping for lingerie.   What an eye opening and kinda creepy shopping experience. It is completely different buying lingerie when you know you are going to be photographed.  I mean have you ever really taken any notice of how small knickers are? I hadn’t until I knew that someone with a camera, that I had never meet was going to take pictures of all that skin. After looking at far too many women in almost nothing. I purchased what was described as a “lace bikini” and a pair of black lace knickers. Let me tell you, the online seller needs to work on their descriptions. Thank fully I did not spend a fortune and the shipping was free. Because the “lace bikini” that I thought I would be comfortable in, because I wear bikini’s to the beach. Turned out to be a barely there lace G-string (the string at the back is the equivalent to tooth floss) and the bikini top has slits from top to bottom so your nipples are on full display. Now the black lace knickers have gorgeous black lace at the front, again tooth floss at the back and the real kicker is they are crotch less – yes CROTCH LESS, not even sure how you design or make a crotch less G-string. These are now shoved in the back of my knickers draw, not much to them so they aren’t taking up room. (These were NOT worn at the shoot).

I am a sucker for pretty lacy confections with bows, and flowers, and ribbon. I have tiny boobs, so bras for me are like decoration, no support really needed. I had planned to go lingerie shopping on my own, especially after my hilariously disastrous online shopping experience. Of course on the day that I decided to equip my kids with back to school items for 2016, Target would happen to have a sale on the exact attire I was looking for. My poor darlings waited patiently on a chair outside the waiting rooms while I tried lace, ribbons, and bows on.

After my successful shopping, I spoke to Marina on the phone. Her gorgeous German accent, her open, calming, friendly, and professional manner all made me feel at ease. We chatted about why I was chosen – (my email connected with her, she was looking for someone that had not done this before and was looking for a new experience). She was put off by the women that assumed that they would be chosen because they had boudoir experience. We spoke about why I wanted to do this – I explained to her that it had never even crossed my mind to seek out this type of experience. That for a busy mumma it seemed like a luxury.  My main point though was that being constantly surround by active, sporty, boys, it would be indulgent and luxurious to have an afternoon where I am the main focus, being spoiled with hair and make-up and wearing pretty lacy things.

The prep for this mostly naked nerve wracking experience was:

Not only did I buy a new wardrobe, I miraculously scored an appointment with my hairdresser, and practised yoga twice a day for the 2 weeks leading up to the shoot.

I was also trying to follow Marina’s instructions:

Plenty of water (more coffee than water)

Lots of sleep (This was the week that I worked the most that I have in months, kids were going back to school, not much sleep)

No tanning (After spending 16 days in Byron Bay, I had a killer tan)

Pamper yourself – go and get a manicure/pedicure.  (Work and kids back to school – no relaxing mani/pedi. I slapped on two coats of nude nail polish after shaving armpits to ankles, the morning of the shoot.)

Learn something new everyday.

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“Blogging”, lets learn some interesting facts about blogging.

The word “Blog” is a combination of web and log.

Blogging was thought to have started in the early nineties, by an American college student. Initially blogs were a platform that people used as an online diary. That has expanded now and there are some people who are able to make a living out of blogging as professional bloggers. It is thought that some professional bloggers have up to four blog sites.

This seems to make sense as it is thought that in 1999 there were about 23 blogs and know there are about 1.3 billion. WordPress and BlogSpot are the most popular blog sites with about 40% of people preferring WordPress.

Views can increase up to 94% with the use of images on your blog.

Most people read blogs in the morning between 7.00am and 10.00am

People are thought to have more trust, connection, and perceive the business as healthy and thriving if they have a blog.

Approximately a third of bloggers are mums with children under 18.

Over 80% of blogs are written in English.

Blogging has made such an impact on mainstream media, that they acknowledged that blogging and social media is changing the face of news. Richard Sambrook, the director of the BBC Global News Division, spoke at Oxford Social Media Convention, saying that, citizen journalism is something that needs to be taken into account. That this new media is delivered with transparency and that is what builds trust with consumers. He went on to say that news has to be delivered accurately and fairly and that consumers need reliable source of where the information has come from. Journalists are no longer gatekeepers of information but are having to share it in a public space.

Have fun blogging everyone.

Fly out Friday

acceptance

Today was fly out day for us, the end of 7 days of R and R for my husband and back to work for 21 days. We have lived this routine for 2.5 years now. Some fly out days are tough, like crying and lots of emotion tough. Other fly out days aren’t as bad, still hard but, ahh you know its fly out day and we will get through. Today for me was an odd one, I was sad like emotional sad, but also ahh you know its fly out day. It was one of those r and r’s where we were disconnected and living in our own worlds and our own priorities of work, kids, sport, my husband wanting to do his thing on his days off and me just wanting to get through the week and everything that entails. Its ok to have R and R’s like this, it doesn’t happen all the time. But ahhhh you know when it does, I get to fly out day, and look back with some regret, that I didn’t try harder and some indifference, because well it is what it is. Not every time he is home is going to be a fairy tale of fabulous conversation, date days and undying love.

Over the last couple of years, I have seen our relationship morph into different forms continuously. I am not sure if that is an acute observation, because emotions run so high when we are separated for 21 days a month and then try and cram all of that pent up emotion into 7 days or if I am just more observant of our relationship. Either way having a marriage while living the fifo lifestyle can be a roller coaster. I think for me the trick is to acceptance, this is the lifestyle we have for now and to accept the time we have together for what it is. Some days will be off the charts fabulous and other days not so much.

Eye opener

I totally judged today, because I don’t understand.girl

(DISCLAIMER) I am going to sound like a judgemental, snobby cow in this post, sorry if I offend anyone.

Today we had to go to our local police station to renew a licence and to the local court house to have some forms witnessed by a JP. What an eye opener, we walked into the Police station and up to the front desk, where there was a harassed looking mid-aged woman, who looked like she wanted to murder the person she was on the phone to, as she said through gritted teeth “it’s still not working” as she was slamming the mouse in her right hand on the desk. I didn’t realise how loud I had spoken when I said to my husband “I have never been in a Police station before”, he coughed out a half-hearted laugh and the murderous woman looked up at me with raised eye brows and bewildered look on her face.  I promptly retrieved my phone from my hand bag and proceeded to be completely anti-social. The front doors opened and in walks a man with the skin like leather, ratty dirty hair, smokers cough and hard look on his face. “You been fuckin’ looked after yet?” he says from behind us, as he looks at the lady on the phone. My husband replied in an equally hard voice and pointed to the lady, “she’s busy”, I stood with my head further in my phone.  The unfortunate lady behind the counter processed our forms after slamming the phone and asked if we wanted to pay for one or five years of the licence.  My husband and I replied at the same time, I said five (because I do not want to have to come back here in one year) and my husband said one year, because it was cheaper.  Old leather face behind us pipes up, and starts ranting how ridiculous the price of a licence is and that we are mad if we pay the five years, he was absolutely pushing the buttons of the reception lady. I was on repeat to the poor woman, five years we want to pay five years, just take the amount for the five years off the savings account.

I pretty much ran out of the Police station, away from leather face and another two men that had walked in while I am chanting five years to the receptionist, that looked like they had just got out of prison. Next we had to make our way to the court house to see the JP, where there was a line up out the door of people, waiting in line to be processed through security to get in to the building. I will not go into what this lot looked like cause I really will sound like a judgemental, snobby cow. Let’s just say that our local justice precinct is in a particularly low socio-economic area with a lot of crime, unemployment and violence.

As we were signing papers with the JP, a woman strides through the doors like she owns the building, in shoes that are flip-flopping off her feet, her top is falling off one shoulder (I’m pretty sure that particular top isn’t designed to do that) and a skirt that is dragging on the ground. She is communicating to the government employee behind the counter that; no she didn’t get to her court hearing yesterday, because she has shit to do on a Monday, and that today is a better day for her to go to court over her few outstanding warrants, and she is not sure why everyone has their knickers in a knot over her not being in court yesterday. My face obviously portrayed a WTF look because the JP, smashed his lips together in an effort not to burst out laughing at me.

I know I can’t judge, I don’t know their stories, and I’ve not walked a day in their shoes and all that. But holy hell, you know what leather face, if the price for five years is $150 then that’s what you pay no big deal, if you don’t have the money, only pay for one year. But don’t take it out on the lady on the front lines of the Police station, having deal with people like you throwing ridiculous points of view at her all day. To the lady that has shit to do on a Monday, if Monday doesn’t suit you to go to court, don’t do the friggin crime and stop wasting tax payers dollars on having to now reschedule to have your court date changed.

Boy in the green pyjamas

I spy you through the privacy shutters on the window. You’re curled up next to the woman that you love most in the world on a stark white, stiff, uncomfortable hospital bed. I watch as you whisper sweet things in the ear of the woman who draws strength from your presence. Your hand clutched in hers is an anchor that grounds the agitation and darkness that’s lurking in her eyes.

I’m caught by you for my spying when you look up and catch my eye. I want to apologise to you, I have interrupted a private moment. A moment of comfort you gave the lady when you soothed her concern over her breakfast and promised her warm milk with her corn flakes. This small gesture of routine changes the emotion in the room from dark and heavy to bright and carefree. The cartoons on the tv compete with the laughter in the room, while a race is on to see who can eat cornflakes the fastest. The hospital issued sandpaper – otherwise known as tissues, wipe my tears and running nose that have drawn attention from my co-workers, who role and shake their heads at me. “What the love in that room is overwhelming” I say. Again I am graced with more eye rolling and shaking heads.

I turn back to spy once more, the primal inner caveman in you is out in full force. The dynamics have changed with the introduction of a social worker and a Doctor to the scenario. The woman in pink flannel pyjamas is frantically trying to fix her appearance, you are a sentinel beside her. The doctor in his casual jeans and polo shirt looks as though he would rather be anywhere else in the world than in this room, and the social worker with her clipboard and list, red glasses and look of determination on her face looks ready to battle.

You obtain the upper hand, you have done this all before that much is very obvious, and your voice is like steel hard and unyielding. “I am a good boy, we help each other do everything and if we can’t do it the ladies from the church help us. I am a good boy at school and always do what my teacher tells me”. You take a big deep breath, your hands clenched at your sides.” Mum walks me to and from school every day, we eat dinner and breakfast at the table and our house is clean”.

Jesus, this is way too much, now I am openly crying next to the photocopier. Even my hard ass co-workers are showing emotion.

The lady in the red glasses strikes, “where is your family and why don’t they support you?” “ I left when I was a teenager because I wouldn’t let my step-father do unspeakable things to me”.

Ok I’m out, I tell my co-workers I am going for my break.

Once I finish my break, I walk past the room that held love, sadness and determination, to find the bed made with perfect hospital corners and sheets so tight that I could have bounced the change from my caramel latte off it.

I quickly scan the discharge notes to find out they have been given a referral for support and a cab voucher to make their way home together.

I wish I could have held that chubby little 7 year old face in my hands and told the boy in the green pyjamas, that he was a boy wise beyond his years, and that he should be very proud of himself.

Day One

Summer has officially started for me, even though in Australia summer officially starts on 1st December.

I originate from a dedicated cricket family, my grandfather founded the cricket club in his home town, and my Dad followed in his footsteps, he was a successful all round cricketer, in one game he took 6 wickets, and my Dad, is still faithful to the Australian game. I recall as a child having our television, locked to Kerry Packers Channel 9, to watch every 5 day test and every single one day game, the worst of all for me was the Boxing Day test in Melbourne.

For people who don’t know cricket, it can be an extremely slow game of 11 players essentially playing a bat and ball game, where the aim is to get the most amount of runs, while keeping as many of your wickets as you can, this can go on for 5 freaking days. I have memories of streams of tears flowing down my face in frustration on sweltering days, and being forced to hang out in our lounge room, to watch these tortuous games with men standing around in white clothes, hitting a red ball with a piece of wood that is shaped as a cricket bat. Sounds traumatic doesn’t it. Fast forward 20 years and with this devoted line of cricketers, I was forced into becoming a cricket tragic. I now have two boys who are so devoted to the game that when they play and win a game, the emotion displayed is the equivalent to winning the Ashes (this is the pinnacle in cricket for an Aussie). At the moment we spend about 6hrs training a week, and then 6 hrs every Saturday playing the game.

So why am I ranting about cricket? Because today “The Gabba” in Brisbane, hosted the first day of test cricket between Australia and New Zealand (yes a test that goes for 5 days), and I was there (AHHHHH). Believe me when I say that is a good AHHHH.

I am extremely fortunate to also have a dear friend who is also a cricket tragic – actually probably more than me (that’s saying a lot), so we spent the day at the cricket.

So what did our day involve? Oh where to start…..Weeeelll lets start at the beginning. Brisbane city council offers free transport to the game, from selected locations for anyone with a ticket to the cricket. So we took advantage of the council’s generosity and took an early bus, to the game. This is after mum duties, of getting our kids safely tucked away at school so we can go and enjoy our day, watching men in white, hit a red ball with a piece of wood. Our aim was to grab fabulous seats in the member’s area and more importantly be settled with a cup of coffee, watching the first ball of the game being bowled. We totally missed all of the above, because the bus took the longest way possible around the city to eventually arrive at the cricket grounds (Sounds like a bad start to the day doesn’t it.). Due to our unfortunate bus trip, we rushed, like almost ran into the stadium, to try and find seats and see what was happening in the game. Well, who should we run into, but one of the best fast bowlers and one of the most talked about Bollywood stars in the world – Brett Lee. What a sweet and generous man to indulge a couple of Mumma groupies in taking selfies with him and then shamelessly posting them on every social media site we are members of and tagging the hell out of them. What a fabulous start to the first day of a five day test, where at lunch we went and spoiled ourselves with a glass of champagne each, of course this is after visiting the coffee van lady. Only to find ourselves in the “man bar” as we called it. As we elegantly sipped gorgeous $19 sparkling wine, and scrutinised the crowed, only to find that we were the only women surrounded in a bar full of beer swilling men lined up out of the 18 + area waiting for a sausage sizzle, while listening to a live musician belt out songs from the 70’s, like Piano Man by Billy Joel, and I was educated on the fact that Madonna was not the first person to sing American pie.

After lunch we watched David Warner rack up his 13th test century and New Zealand struggle to keep the Aussies under control in the field.

We had to depart our member’s seats at tea (3.00pm) to catch the bus, the long way back to the car so that we could pick – up kids from school. Oh, but we will be back tomorrow, cannot wait to see what day 2 involves.

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November 1

First blog post of November and I am nervous and a bit excited. See I have signed up for NaBloPoMo . NaBloPoMo is a 30 blog challenge. I have toyed with the idea of a blog for mmmm probably 12 months. I dipped my toe in the blogosphere in June with the posts Bikram, mountains and fly in fly out, Brazilian, Twenty-one days, and Cricket mum and quickly jumped back ten feet, from dipping said toe, because you know I didn’t get a million likes or comments. My confidence took a nose dive and I was way too scared to try again, because well obviously no one like my writing (no naïve and obviously no clue about blogging). So I am back, ready to roll up my sleeves and get my typing fingers tapping away, creating blogs posts for the next 30 days.

Don’t get me wrong, still worried that no one will read my blog posts, that everyone will read my blog posts, that no one will comment or like, that everyone will comment or like, that I may get negative comments, that I may get positive comments, am I writing in a style suitable for a blog, am I writing interesting content. Oh for god sakes, what a way to melt my brain……………….

My main aims for the next 30 days is to enjoy my writing and my build confidence. I have no plan for how I am going to find content for the next 30 blogs posts, I am thinking maybe experiences from that day, or things I love, things I hate, maybe include a quote and what that quote means to me, one day I may tackle just posting images.

So with all that being said “Happy November” and stay tuned for my next blog xx

Bikram, mountains and fly in fly out

My girlfriends are the most beautiful, supportive and fit women in my life. I am not one for the gym, but my exercise of choice is yoga. I am in a love/hate relationship with Bikram yoga.

Bikram yoga, the type of yoga where I sweat it out in a 38-degree room for 90 minutes in a series of 26 yoga poses, like ‘Awkward’ pose. I  drag my ass into, two classes each week. If my gorgeous friend Helen, didn’t come with me and make me feel guilty, lazy, and unmotivated if I didn’t go, then nope, I wouldn’t put myself through the torture.

In the hot room there are a few things I struggle with and it doesn’t matter how much I try and surrender to the yoga instructor’s voice, I cannot shut-up my internal chatter. Other times, it is my body screaming at me. Almost always it is the sweat. I hate sweat, I hate it when it goes up my nose, I hate it when it drips in my mouth, I hate it when it trickles in between my boobs, I hate it when it runs down my legs. But the moment I conquer a class and hit the showers, none of those things matter and I have a sense of triumph, and feel like I can do anything.

I have also included a new form of torture. Again, I have the most beautiful and supportive, fit girlfriends I could ask for, and then I have the two ‘bitches’ (I called them that during this walk) that drag me to a local mountain to “go for a walk”.  The mountain of choice at the moment is about 10 minutes from my house. It is the worst 700 meters that I have ever walked. From the very first step it is insanely steep, and I mean…straight-up steep. No meandering path, no gentle climb, nope, straight into the steepest freaking concrete path I have ever seen. The first time that I did it, I really did think that I was going to die. My heart was beating out of my chest, I couldn’t for the life of me catch my breath, my legs were burning, and my mind was in overdrive with the most dreadful names that I could think of to call my friend.

On the second go up this god-awful mountain, I changed my plan of attack. I decided I can only look at my feet. If I look up and see that steep, torturous concrete path I get overwhelmed, my breath shortens, my heart races and my mind turns negative. My mind tells me I will never get there; my mind tells me to stop. But if I just concentrate on my feet and take one step at a time, I don’t get overwhelmed, my breath slows and I can concentrate. It is only then that the tortuous path does not seem as bad. It is still tough, I defiantly get a work out, but I can manage it, and without too much name calling.

In the same spirit of the yoga and mountain experiences, I have been struggling with FIFO this swing. The 21 days have been like that god-awful, torturous concrete path, and I feel like I have defiantly been sweating it out with sweat going up nose in the Bikram yoga room. However, during my post-mountain walk emotional high, I saw the similarities of the extreme exercises of yoga and mountain walking, and the last two weeks of this swing. If I stop looking at the date that Mr S comes home and only look at today’s date and what I need to get done today and only concentrate on today, then like that concrete path and the sweat, I will get there. So, I can say this much…The time Mr S is away will be crap and I will have dreadful names running through my head about what I think of FIFO. But when I pick Mr S up from the airport at the end of the 21 days, I will have that same feeling of Bikram yoga and mountain climbing triumph, and I will feel like I can do anything.

Brazilian

Announcing my arrival I am asked to have a seat. Abbie my stunning beautician with model looks, perfectly styled hair and dressed in her pristine black uniform, greets me and directs me to the beauty room. She opens the door and I am engulfed with the most refreshing yet soothing fragrance. I have no idea what it is, I make a mental note to ask her, when I am not feeling so nervous. “Fabulous” she says, “ok strip down so everything is off your bottom half, there is a box of wipes for you to freshen up, lay down on the table, place the towel over you and I’ll be back”. With an elegant turn she is gone. I am left standing in the middle of this refreshingly, soothing fragranced room, stunned into silence. I knew that I would have to bare all, but hadn’t given it much thought until now and the wipes, oh dear lord how embarrassing. I do as I am instructed and lay on the beauty bed, contemplating how ridiculous I would look if I left this minute. Abbie glides back into the room in all of her stunning beauty. Checks a pot sitting on bench which I assume is the wax, comes over and whips the towel off, claps her hands and says “great let’s start, spread your legs and we will get rid of all this hair”. Oh. I. want. to. die. Me the woman who can count on one hand, how many people have been between my thighs! One husband, one obstetrician that I had for both boys, and one gp, who has done all my pap smears and know Abbie the beautiful beautician. “So have you had a Brazilian before?” “Yes, but never waxed”. “Oh” she says as she scrunches up her face “it always hurts the first time but after that you’ll be fine”. Fantastic. Abbie walks over twirling what looks like a  large paddle pop stick with pink wax on it. She applies the molten wax and it actually feels quiet pleasant and warm. I try to concentrate on the very white ceiling, while forcing myself to keep my legs open. Abbie is professional in her job, she lulls me into a false sense of security with her happy chatting. She rips the now hardened wax with hundreds of hairs attached, from the follicle on my vagina, I feel myself launch off the bed and I think that I may have also screeched “fuck”. She smiles and walks back over to the wax pot. I have decided Abbie the beautiful beautician, is fucking evil. Abbie continues her chatter, I continue to have to talk myself out of punching her in the vagina. This is after she informs me, that she has only ever had one Brazilian in Beauty College because they hurt too much.

At one point near the end of this ridiculousness, she swipes one very large patch of molten hell from top to bottom of my poor red, but now hairless lady parts. I actually start giggling uncontrollably with the thought that she has to rip that fucker off. She must be able to tell that by now I am in shock, because mid-giggle. Rip. Yep the beautiful evil beautician rips the wax off. I think my skin is on fucking fire. Then to my absolute horror, she pulls out a pair of tweezers. She assures me that we are nearly done and that she wants to make sure that I am completely hair free. I am now grunting in response. As my eyes burn holes in the ceiling, my cheeks also flame red at the mortification of this experience, my lady parts are sensitive and throbbing.

Abbie comes over places a large, heated towel over me tells me that we are done and she will meet me out at the counter to pay. While I stand, at the counter paying an obscene amount of money to have my vajajay put through hell. I am cursing myself for wearing my pretty lace knickers that are now scratching my poor abused vagina, I have an overwhelming wish to go commando. I don’t register until I am in the car that Abbie the beautiful beautician, has booked me for a follow up Brazilian in one month. I will be cancelling and I do not care what the fragrance in the room was. I will associate that smell with beautiful evil beauticians and molten hell.

Twenty-one days

I contemplate our lifestyle as a Fly in– Fly out family and it isn’t about the money. I’m increasingly worried about Scott’s mounting frustration and tension with being away for twenty one days.

Twenty-one nights in a single bed that feels like a piece of concrete. I know he craves, our queen- size bed, with his big strong body curled around mine, holding me tight, not having to wake at 4.30am. No line-up for breakfast, lunch and dinner, his stomach turning at the sight of what is on offer. I can’t wait to sit down and savour a home cooked meal with him.

Twenty-one days of running along the fence line, because the gym overflows with the same people that he lines up for meals with.

Twenty-one times of blowing in the breathalyser, despite having no access to alcohol.

Twenty-one days a month 600kms away, to support us. Transported by a car, plane and bus to get to the 400- man camp that he stays in. The compound could be mistaken for a jail. I know that after a long and detailed process, the gas that is being extracted is only used for domestic use. To top it off, working in 50 degree heat and minus zero temperatures.

In this next swing, I will not spend Easter with my husband, he will miss our oldest boy’s cricket grand final and our youngest boy’s school recital.

The screen is black, the ring tone bleeps as I anxiously wait for Scott to hit connect. I mean, how ridiculous that I am anxious, he is my husband.

As FaceTime connects I see the green eyes and scruff that details a strong jaw. His face beams at me and I know that my face has an equally blinding smile; my eyes sparkle with tears I will not shed. “Hey beautiful, no crying,” he says. Oh god, my heart melts seeing his face and hearing his voice at the same time.

“Hi babe, so I need to interview you on fifo!”

“Yes dear, what do you want to know?” Scott sighs, sounding exasperated. He loathes talking about work and being away. Preferring to spend our time together hearing about home.

“Babe, before we start on this interview let me have a quick chat to the boys.” As I listen to Scott laugh and talk to our boys about school and cricket. I am eternally grateful for modern technology. Jack sits at our much- loved kitchen table, with his dad on FaceTime working through Year 8 maths homework.

Toms laughs as he talks to Scott. “Yes, mum’s doing the dishes!”

“I wish I was doing the dishes with you babe,” Scott yells through the computer screen. The dishes have always been our time at the end of the day to chat and catch up. Now text messages, phone calls and FaceTime are our way of catching up.

I grab the laptop and make my way to our bedroom, so we can chat without interference from the boys.

“So what do you hate about fifo?”

“Seriously, that’s your question?” His unconscious movement of running his hand over his short back and side’s haircut signalling signals his pent- up frustration. “You know the answer to that. It’s fucking shit.” Beautiful green eyes hardening, jaw tense and eyebrows drawn in so far they nearly touch. “It pisses me off that I don’t get to come home to you and the boy’s every day. I want to be home for Easter.” Swipes his hair again. “I am here working my ass off, dealing with idiots that couldn’t organise a piss- –up in a brewery. Working on a public holiday with no penalty rates. After twenty one days I hate the ass holes I work and live with. I did five hundred squats today. Five hundred times I had to squat down and tie off cable. Because some idiot ordered the wrong equipment and refuses to send it back. It’s bullshit. They want us to work harder and faster, with no additional tools and resources.” I scan over his chest and face as he sits rigid and tense on the single bed, as he swipes his hair.

“We got told, that there has been 9 suicides since Christmas, that’s nine blokes that who killed themselves. Fifo and everything that goes with it did that.” (My stomach sinks and I consider the poor men that got to that point, and the families left behind to deal with that devastation.)

Abandoning the questions I had prepared, we chat and catch up about home. Scott now lounges casually on the single bed and his smile reaches his eyes. It makes me think of last month when I picked him up at the airport.

He crossed the zebra crossing dragging his bag behind him at a furious pace, the backpack used as a carry -on slapped against his back, black cap pulled low down over his green eyes. I could see he had no intention of making eye contact with anyone until he reached me. He made sure to wear the black t-shirt that I love. It shows off just a peek of his tattoos, on the arms I adore. Dressed He was dressed in his low slung jeans that hang off his gorgeous ass perfectly. Scott reached our four- wheel drive that took us camping for that break and wrenched the door open. I just about jumped the seat to get to him, I had missed him the past three weeks.

Bringing me back to our conversation he laughs. “Mel, you need to go babe, I can hear the boys arguing.”

My whole body slouches in sadness, tears slip down my face at having to say goodbye. Scott’s eyes are full of love and with a beaming smile across his face. “Love you, babe,” he declares as he hits end. His image is frozen for a second on the screen while the connection drops out. As I stare at the image, I am the one left feeling frustrated and tense with Fly in and Fly out.

Cricket mum

Cricket Mum

It’s 5.00am on a Saturday morning, the heat and humidity are oppressive even at this hour. I shuffle into the kitchen an addict seeking a hit, hunting my drug of choice

The two things that contribute to my survival, especially on Saturday, are;

  1. Coffee: I can’t form a sentence until the first sip of glorious liquid has been consumed.
  2. Shower: I’m not leaving the house without soaping up my body first.

With the above, the check list every Saturday morning of the cricket season includes: whites soaked and ironed to perfection, lunch packed, two folding chairs, five litres of water, two bottles of Gatorade, one giant tube of sunscreen.

Why do I put myself through this at an obscene hour? Because from October to March, my blond- haired boy aspires to be the next Brett Lee with his bowling; he possess the ferocity and passion of Mitchell Johnson as he powers down the pitch to claim wickets. His under-14 cricket games are taken as seriously as Michael Clarke takes The Ashes.

My Saturday cricket buddies (aka other parents) are a good bunch.

The coach is a high-school deputy principal. He pushes the boys and has a quiet, tough-love influence that is astounding to watch.   He’s led them to three premierships.

Jim, assistant coach, also our next door neighbour. The supportive and encouraging one.

The drop-and-run parents of triplets in the team; no idea who they are.

The older parents in their late 50s . He’s blind with a cane. She asks him every time their boy does something significant, if he saw it. Some days I want to yell “No, he didn’t. He’s blind.” Other days when I have had more caffeine, my eyes fill with tears at I tear up at her commitment to share the experience with him.

The single Dad of two: my kindred spirit in caffeine addiction. He always has my back when it comes to coffee.

The divorced couple who sit at opposite ends of the field and send messages to each other via the children.

The passive-aggressive competitive couple. Our kids went to kindy together and now the same high school. I avoid her by burrowing into my camp chair. When she does corner me, I feel my teeth grind.

Over the past three summers we have witnessed the benefits of participating in Australia’s iconic game. Mateship, working as a team, the art of graciousness in winning and losing, responsibility and leadership — and I’m not talking just about the kids.