Marina Meier

Marina.

A magical, sparkly shop was where we scheduled our meeting, surrounded by stained glass lighting, imported handcrafted Turkish rugs and handbags, time pieces hanging from every wall, sparkling jewels and trinkets on every surface. The aroma of the coffee machine seduced us away from the window shopping and straight to Bengü, Gallery B’s exotic owner. Marina and I took our preferred beverages to the alfresco area at the back of this little wonderland.

Marina is a woman I have worked with before, I wanted to know her story, and how she found herself specialising in boudoir photography. She starts by telling me the photo sessions are a process of healing, healing for herself and the woman that she is working with. She takes a deep breath and starts what she tells me is a long story. How she feels she was pushed into the decision to take this path, but the backstory is important part of her journey that she feels is her destiny.

“As you know I was born in Kazakhstan, which was part of the Soviet Union. I have a German / Russian background and am from a small village, so quiet conservative. After the revolution there was all of this equality, and woman could do whatever men could do. There was no limits they could be engineers, they could be astronaut if they wanted. But at the same time, it was two extremes woman in Soviet Union was like traditional woman, who take of the family, who takes cares of the children, cooks, cleans, and takes care of her husband like another child. But she goes to work as well full-time”.

“But there is still a lot of degrading thoughts about woman like “chicken is not a bird and woman is not a human”. Of course it isn’t the whole society but it is still part of the culture. Woman body, nude body, sexuality, sex there was no talks at all about this. It is all taboo. There was all negativity around the body and it wasn’t like I had that sort of relationship with my mum where we would talk, when I was becoming a young woman. So everything about that body image and sexuality was taboo and it was dirty and it was bad.

Marina remembers negative dialog around a woman that had left the village in her twenties unmarried, studied, had her own money, apartment, a career women. Listening to this harmful gossip as a child Marina thought no little girl would want to grow up like this woman. Much the same if you got pregnant out of wedlock or divorced, women were pushed into a mould of being a second class citizen. Marina tells me about her beloved Grandma’s story.

“I feel her presence at the moment. My grandma had quite a difficult life, she was divorced. My grandfather he was an alcoholic and quiet aggressive when he was drunk, my mum tell stories that she would break a window to run away, when he was in this aggressive mood. And I guess if my grandfather didn’t leave the family then my grandmother wouldn’t get divorced from him because it was taboo and he left the family when my mum was young. My grandma, single mother of four, working full time. They did not get married because of love, they got married because my great- grandfather and grandfather were drinking together one time and well it became more or less an arranged marriage, it wasn’t love at first sight, it wasn’t a beautiful life and I think that it is best for my grandmother that grandfather left, but it certainly didn’t make her life easier. She never married or had another partner. At any family wedding or event my grandmother would sit in the furthest part of the room from my grandfather. When they were buried, there graves are next to each other. It is quiet ironic, it wasn’t planned, it just happened, my grandmother died first and then my grandfather died a couple of years later”.

“When we moved to Germany I was eighteen. I married when I was twenty. I started to study photography at the same time and the first few years, I was still influenced by my Russian/ German background. The first day when I went into the photo studio where I met my mentor who became my best friend, I opened the door and walked in, and there were pictures everywhere framed and unframed. The first picture that got my attention was a picture mounted behind the counter. It was a black and white a2 size, it was a pregnant women, just the torso. I couldn’t see much of her face it was turned to the side, she was a silhouette. She was nude. She was completely naked. I could see her bare breasts, I was looking at a nude pregnant woman. A nude picture of a pregnant woman on the wall. It was a shock for me. Who would do that! Why would they do that! In my head everything about nudity was supposed to be private and intimate. Your nude body is supposed to be very, very private, and it was kind of dirty. It was so shocking. I was so shocked”.

marina photo 1

“So every day I started to come to this classic portrait photo studio. Classic, you know, families, babies, new borns, pregnancy, weddings, passport pictures, corporate portraits, communion photos. But she also specialised in art nudes, studio boudoir sessions. There were not many at the time showcasing pictures like this, it was a speciality that she really loved. Sometimes, when we would put pictures in the window to display them, we could come the next morning to the studio and have a lot of cigarette butts in front of the window, there was also a lot of rotten eggs thrown at the window!

As her internship progressed Marina immersed herself in her role, the work, the people and their stories, she thrived on this experience where everything was different and new. She came to recognise that the women in these photos weren’t models. But, beautiful normal people, everyday women, teachers, mums, accountants, all beautiful.

“Looking at these made me see that, oh my god, these are normal people, it’s not Sodom and Gomorrah, they not prostitutes, it’s not dirty. At that moment I was 20 and I was naïve and had all of these background stories in my head. Then I started to meet these people because I was assisting my mentor while she was photographing. Over the years I would get to know these people, because they would be photographed when they first become a couple when they are so in love, and they wanted pictures for the Christmas for the family and then photograph their wedding and then photograph the pregnancy and the first baby and the second baby and then first day of school. Then mum comes in and says: “I feel like I have lost myself I want to feel sexy, I now you can take these pictures, can you take these pictures of me? I mean I know I have cellulite and my belly isn’t beautiful anymore because of the stretch marks.”

“I really did feel like a part of a family. We were giving pieces of our souls, because it was all analogue photography and I was standing in the dark room developing these images, and I would stand there and cry, because, I would remember the story she would tell us. The intimate stories, the sad stories, the happy stories and they would all make me cry”.

That is how Marina started as a photographer, she eventually out grew her surroundings in her professional and personal story. She needed to escape, so she ran as far away as possible, to travel and study English. She landed on Australian soil on the 26th October 2007. Flying back to Germany she resigned from her job seeking professional and personal growth elsewhere. Berlin became her new residence and her new partner her home. At the time, in the back of her mind was a dream to be self-employed one day. But she never felt ready, she knew she had the talent and skill to be successful and thrived on the connection with her clients. However, arriving in Berlin she was took on a job as Manager of a photography studio.

“When I started the job in Berlin it was very different because I was on my own, I was managing the studio, and at some point I got apprentice’s that I was responsible for. I didn’t have as much contact with the clients anymore, there was a separate studio and shop and to make it more efficient I only had contact with the clients when I photographed them. I never had a chance to meet them before the session or when they would pick up the images. It started to become more money making and not about connection and that’s what made me burn out”.

Marina’s health started to suffer. Marina wasn’t eating or sleeping, her body was expressing her soul’s unhappiness as physical symptoms. Doctors couldn’t find anything wrong. The studio’s clients were happy with what they were getting, but this didn’t sustain Marina, she had lost the connection with the whole process. Her creative work wasn’t coming from her heart anymore, it was money making. Boudoir photography was growing in Marina’s portfolio in the time she was burning out at the studio. Boudoir is founded on trust. Photographer and client would meet before the shoot, she painted the faces of her client and then Marina captured the essence of the woman in images, during their three hours together. Marina would not be rushed with these creative connections with her clients.

“The boudoir shoot is how I got to know my clients, they come to the shoot and I was doing the makeup. This is where they were telling their stories, they were sharing things they probably never shared with anyone. I photograph them and see the transformation from shy and nervous, to working half nude in front of me, and we become friends, that was magical.

marina and bengu

Boudoir is not about sex, I see more of the sensual, intimate, yes it could be sexy but it is not necessary for it. It’s about the 40 something years old mum with five children that comes to me and says, “I can’t look at myself in the mirror, what I see there is so disgusting”. From being a young woman, to the abuse, to the five children, she is an amazing person I see the beauty in her eyes. Yes, she has wrinkles, her body carried five children, she nourished five children. I see the miracle of life, the miracle of giving life, the miracle and beauty of her. When she looks in the mirror she has lost the connection to her femininity. She lost connection to herself, to who she is. She is working full time, she is a mum, she is a wife, she’s a friend, a daughter, there is so much and she always puts herself last. Somehow there was something in her that realised she needs to change something that is why she has started to do things outside of her comfort zone. That is when she discovered what I am doing”.

After chasing this same connection with her clients from continuing her work at the studio and increasing her boudoir sessions, she applied for a job in Switzerland, she travelled for three days to explore the possibility. She cried for the three days, at the end of this release Marina’s heart told her that if she took this job she would be in the same situation but with a different view.

Big changes started unfolding for Marina, her dream to be self-employed started to manifest. She was petrified, fear of financial instability, but she had the support of her partner who was also going through changes at work. They started having hard conversations with life changing questions. Where do you want to be employed? Do you want to be self-employed here? Do you want to move somewhere else? They decided there new chapter would be in the place they met, the place Marina dreamed of as a magical country when she was a child, a place as far away from possible from all the struggle. They landed in Australia 14th October 2014.

Arriving in a new country Marina felt like a new woman, an independent woman, still fearful but excited. This is the part of the story where she was pushed into boudoir photography. The owner of the studio she worked for in Berlin, forbid her from using the images she had created and added to her online portfolio when applying for jobs in Australia.

“The images that I created the last four or five years I wasn’t able to use them, I mean I can understand if I was doing this and making my own studio maybe five hundred metres away from him but I was going on the other side of the world. It was devastating for me, this was my work, how do I apply for jobs without being able to show my work, fresh work. I was now depending on my partner, he got his visa and I was on the partner visa, I had a right to work and I had a right to become self-employed. I had no job and no website with images that I could use. I had to think about what had given me the most joy. When I was in this difficult time of depression and burn out I was thinking of quitting photography completely. I have been doing this for 13 years. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else! What else could I do? This is when I started the process of self-development. I realised I didn’t love myself.

marina 2

That is where boudoir photography and loving yourself and loving your body, loving you as is, that’s where it all comes together. Seeing woman coming to me and willing to change something, willing to see themselves in a different way, wanting me to show them a different side to them, wanting to reconnect to their femininity or even discover their femininity. I felt like I was seeing this as a whole picture, and boudoir was something that I could without a studio. It was something that I was enjoying most from all the stages of my photography.

I was scared to focus, I was scared that it was too focussed. I was thinking things like; there are so many people who don’t like it, who don’t get it, who don’t understand it. Why on earth would you focus on that! You would lose so many clients, if you do family portraits everyone loves family portraits. Everyone loves baby photography! Everyone loves a new born photo, families spend so much money on it that would be easier. But, the best work I do is one on one that is where I can get to know them and connect. It doesn’t have to be boudoir it can be fine art, it can be editorial. So I kept myself safe with fine art, editorial and boudoir. When I would go to the networking events or telling people what I do I was hiding myself behind fine art and editorial photography. If I said boudoir people then say, what is that? Then when I would show pictures, some would get it wrong and then think it was dirty again, and then some would be like, “ohh, who wants to do that”!

marina workng

I wasn’t standing my ground. Now I say I am a boudoir photographer. It was a process of the last three years. There were moments where I was thinking, “gosh it is kind of going nowhere”. No, I won’t give it up. I know stories of the woman I have photographed. I have photographed a woman who’s 74 years old, who has got a husband who is sick for many, many years and she is caring for him, but she fell in love. She is 74 years old and she fell in love with another guy and she is having an affair. Or is it! I don’t know, I don’t care. She is a wonderful beautiful person and I don’t think it is bad, she is great, she is a woman, she is a human being, she’s got her needs, and it’s ok. I mean she cares for her husband. But, she is in love with someone else, and she came to me and wanted me to photograph her. For me, I want to be like her when I am 74, not the sick husband, but in love and still wanting sex and live my sexuality and not thinking, “oh, ok I am 40 and life is done”. There are so many more woman like this and I know what impact it has on their lives. It is addicting to hear their stories, and see them change and transform it is addicting. And it heals me. It is ok to love your body, doesn’t matter the scars, it doesn’t matter shape, size or age. It’s ok”.

Devoting her life’s work to women and their stories, what is the definition of woman for Marina?

“Woman there is so much that pops into my head, though the first things maybe that silhouette. The next thing is pain and growth and love and seeds, like plants and their seeds. Growing the seeds putting them into the earth and seeing them come up and growing and giving fruit”.

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Yvonne Rinaldi

matriarch

ˈmeɪtrɪɑːk

noun: matriarch; plural noun: matriarchs

  1. a woman who is the head of a family or tribe.

“in some cultures the mother proceeds to the status of a matriarch”

    • an older woman who is powerful within a family or organization.

“a domineering matriarch”

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I am perched on the edge of the visitors chair in Yvonne’s office that is reminiscent of a fishbowl. Two of the four walls in her office are floor to ceiling windows looking over the grounds of Caboolture Montessori School. Next to me is Yvonne’s collection of Elephants, every colour every size. I draw in a deep breath while taking in these beauties, thinking of the traits I know about these extraordinary mammals and the matriarchs that lead them – wisdom, strength, intelligence, natural born facilitators, social intelligence, openness, decisiveness, patience, confidence, and compassion. The banging in my chest, the fluttering of wings in my belly and my shaky hands, do not at all mirror the woman sitting comfortably in her office chair, stockinged legs crossed, arms lounging on the arm rests, chest, heart and face open, smiling and confident.

The planning of Caboolture Montessori 20 years ago, was the result of two women making a decision to commit their passion, time, and money into a venture that they wanted to succeed.

“Then three years later I left and went to a bigger school, then nine, nearly ten years ago I heard that they were looking for a principal here.

I decided to come back home.”

Yvonne, like Dr Montessori has training in the medical field. Medical technology and haematology were the fields that Yvonne first trained in, she held a position working with children in Zulu land looking at protein calorie malnutrition. Working closely with little ones she discovered that children were a lot more than physical entities, that they have an amazing capacity. Ever the student, Yvonne needed to know how to understand children on a deeper level than she had been trained for. About to become a mother herself, she sought a type of schooling that would nourish the whole child, the answer was given to her through word of mouth.

“That was 39 years ago, after that I looked at education, I managed to get myself two degrees. Firstly traditional education, and when I was doing my masters, I decided that again Montessori seemed the best thing because it was appealing to all areas of learning. So Montessori is it”

Yvonne’s education on a cellular and intellectual level of children’s development and growth is what sustains her. Her wise assessment and constant wonder of watching a child be able to do things for themselves, their own development and education and not being held to the “monkey see, monkey do” phrase, influences her. She takes her job seriously in influencing others to see the wonder that she sees.

“To get the best out of who they are as adults is looking for the best in children. It’s really not words and I really believe that so strongly. That every child is magic, and it’s up to us to remove those barriers to allow the magic to happen, and then provide scaffolding for them. I have millions of these moments for me. I mean for me it’s a daily occurrence. When I see one of the students and their eyes brighten up and they say over and over again, “I have done it” and you know they have done it. That to me is a glorious moment”.

When selecting people that she can nurture, learn from, teach, be playful with as well have the strength to lead, Yvonne seeks people that: lead with their heart, must be open to learning, know how to be professional, but, most importantly knowing that their own learning is vital for the children. That it is essential for the children to see their role modelling.

“Three or four times a week, I refer to Dr Montessori’s readings and books. And read them again. When you read things again you see if from a different perspective every time. I tell the kids that. I tell the staff that. Learning doesn’t happen in one go it takes repetition, but, repetition when you are ready and you’re ready at different stages, in different areas of your life.

It is always good to go back to good things. Good books, good memories, good people. You will gather more information”.

“They really are my children. Yes my staff are my kids – in a way. It is one on one when you want to reach a person it’s not just about relationships it’s about inter-relationships and intra-relationships. If you know who you are then you will give the best to the other person. So it has to be one on one first, when you are talking to a group absolutely you will start getting a conversation going. But if you are a leader when you are in a group, you try and get everyone else to talk. When it’s two of you, you can really focus on each other. Individuality in the class room is the same you still have to have your focus on everybody, but when you are talking to a student it’s just the two of you in that space. It encourages active listening and most of all trust. If you trust somebody you will give them the best and you will want to do your best. If you don’t trust them it is superficial, you don’t go down inside. Growth is from everyone. When people say look around look what you have done. I am not being patronising when I say that, it’s not what I have done, it’s what we have done as a group. There is no way. No way, that one person alone could’ve every achieved what we’ve got here. It’s just not possible. I have staff that are so committed, so passionate and when I know that they have got that, I can aspire and push for bigger things. Yes, what we have done is phenomenal and it is not ending, now it is what is coming next? What is the next challenge?”

 

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A well respected and wise matriarch with an ability to communicate, know when to take charge and know when to listen, when to connect with other leaders and draw from their wisdom in making decisions. Yvonne, shares with me her perspective on her first five years as the head of her tribe.

“My first five years of being a principal were absolutely terrifying. Terrifying. You feel that there is so much weight on your shoulders and you really don’t have that person next to you to say, “Well let’s do this or let’s do that”. So your decision making, your perception and how you see things is totally reliant on you. The responsibility was phenomenal and at the time, I didn’t have all the knowledge and I didn’t have the experience, I mean experience is something that nobody can buy or teach you. You learn through the process. So there hadn’t been enough process, I had been a teacher, I had been a curriculum director with others helping me make decisions. Those first five years was, “you breathe, you get in do the best”. Every time. Every time I was in a difficult situation, I would go to the bathroom, if I needed privacy,

“I would say think with your heart and do the best that you can with your heart not just your head. If it’s wrong then it will be wrong, but, you have done it with the best you can give at that very moment”

Now days when I look back I think, I was ok. I don’t know if I am proud yet, but I feel that I can relax more, I still have the moments when a big decision comes my way, now I don’t feel like I will crumble, I feel like I look around and grab people to support me. I have learnt that lesson, that, there are people that will help you and I also have an amazing board. When you have people above you and you know that they are there for you it helps a lot”.

Yvonne also draws on the life of other phenomenal humans.

“Mother Theresa I feel that, that, woman spent so much time in so much angst with no support that she was phenomenal. I mean Jo of Arc is another woman that is phenomenal. I need to bring in a man. Leonardo Da Vinci, I mean that man, the brain that really says it all for Montessori. The creative side of the brain, the logical side of the brain. I mean he had art, technical skills and information. I mean if I could have them all here, I would crawl under the table and let them go for it, they could do it all. But I can’t so I suck out the elements of each. If I could have anyone working beside me in the school? I mean the obvious choice would be Dr Montessori. But I think really I would like Madame Curie, she was an explorer, she was one that never felt she had enough and even what she found and discovered she was not happy with that, she kept going.

Seeking more of her openness and female intelligence I ask what the word “woman” means to her;

“Apart from Mother I think woman to me is arms outstretched and positive and powerful”

Of course finishing of for the quote of the day is none other than the Montessori quote.

“Let me do it by myself”.

I am grateful for Yvonne for sharing her story, her journey of wisdom, strength, intelligence, social intelligence, openness, decisiveness, patience, confidence, compassion, and for being the matriarch that has guided my family through our Montessori journey for eight years. She has shown every single one of these traits to the most important boys in my world.

 

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Grandma

GRANDMA

family-history
Noun
(plural family histories)

1. an extension to genealogy in which the life and times of the people concerned are investigated
Family history puts flesh on the bones of genealogy.

Mum phoned Grandma and papa, and told them we would pop down for a cuppa and morning tea. I selfishly want my grandma’s story, I want to know about the life and experience that lead her to sixty plus years of marriage. I want to know her stories so I can have a deeper understanding of the blood that runs in my veins, I want to know our similarities. I want to know her traditions and the memories she holds dear. We took our morning tea party to the front of the house and enjoyed the sun. I sat on the brick stairs, with a cup of coffee in my lap, papa supplied the tim-tam biscuits on the table. Grandma had Papa sitting on her left hand side, Grandma’s hands were fidgeting in her lap, her body leaned towards papa, and her eyes continually peeked at him, her voice held the same wobble I get when I am nervous, she was afraid to move in case my phone didn’t pick up her voice. My whole being vibrated with love for my grandma, my eyes misted over at the details she remembered and what she didn’t recall she would lean to her left and ask Papa for the answer. My papa a proud and determined man, softened as he listened to the woman that he has been married to for 62 years was reminiscing about their early years together. The longer she chatted about Papa, her immediate family and extended family the wobble left her voice and the memories kept surfacing, the conversation had her glowing.
“I was 12 when my brother went away. Jackie, my brother turned 18 and went to Kingaroy for training, then went to Canada and then England. He was flying plains for the air force, he flew planes over Germany, the war finished in 45, and he got home in 46, I think. I mean there was so many troops to try and get home, it took them along time. Bobbie trained as well and was set to go to New Guinea, but the war ended. My dad worked at the post office in parcels post in Queen Street, he would get all the telegrams. If you ever saw the telegram boy in your street, you just felt so sick. That happened one night when I was at Aunty Dot’s. In the middle of the night there was a knock on the door, there was a young man standing there in uniform. Oh, we felt ill. When Aunty Dot answered the door it was nothing. Just a silly young drunk boy, looking for the people across the road”.
A favourite thing, we loved when growing up was Guy Fawkes Night, cracker night. It was great. We would go and buy our crackers and light them up.
“Remember, Remember the 5th of November.”

We would make a big bonfire and let off all the crackers. One night we were all trying to light the bonfire, it wouldn’t light. Later, we found out the miserable old sod at the back had hosed our bonfire. There was also always the bad kids going round and lighting up all the letter boxes”.

“I was 14 when I finished school. The teacher sent us into Brisbane to go to the chemist to buy the toiletries she needed for the week. We went in to the chemist, Della Huntys. We got the tram to go back to school. I forgot it was a one way street. I got off the tram and walked around the front and was hit by a truck. I was in hospital for about a month, then was sent home to recuperate from a fractured skull. Once I was better I got a job with my sister Valda at Leutneggers. I just went in and asked for a job, they gave it to me. I had a job sewing hats, some buy machine, mostly by hand though, they were sold in shops all over Brisbane. So there was half a dozen girls on every table, we all sat in a row and sew. I was there from when I was 15 and left when I was 18, when mum and dad moved to Redcliffe to live. All the girls back then were either milliners or dressmakers. I was never wrapped up in it. I mean it was just a job, I didn’t love it. Once I left I never thought of making another hat again. While I was still working in Brisbane I stayed with my Aunty Dot. I worked at Woolworths in the city, when I finished at the milliners, then when they opened a shop in Redcliffe I moved down there.”

grandma
I am fascinated about how young girls and women led there life in the 1940’s and 50’s, but I want to hear the love story of my grandparents. Papa gives a little deep chuckle, Grandma shakes her head and pats papa’s hand.
“Oh, it was terrible. I met papa at Rosalie while I was living with Aunty Dot. He was walking up the road with a couple of friends. I was standing outside talking to a boy, he was just a friend”. She says as she pats papa’s hand and send him a sneaky smile.
“Papa had a nice blue jumper on and he looked over and saw me looking and he said “would you like me to take it off for you”? “Oh”, I said to my friend “I hope I never have papato talk to him again”. Papa lets out a belly laugh while grandma shakes her head.
“Well, Papa’s mother heard what he said as he walked past me, and told him to “get over there and apologise.”

“Aunty Dot didn’t have a phone at the house, so we had to use the one in the local shop. The shop lady would call out to all the neighbours when they were wanted on the phone. The next day she called out “Fay, your wanted on the phone”. It was papa. Papa was on the ship working and called me asking if I wanted to go to the movies. I wasn’t very impressed but I said “oh! Yes ok”. He bought me a box of chocolates. We were sitting there and he told me a friend of his bought a girl a box of chocolates and she ate them all herself. So all through the movie I kept asking him: “would you like a chocolate” every single time he would say “no thanks”! I couldn’t even enjoy the movie, I was too worried about the chocolates”. We were about 16. Then he went off to sea, he could be gone for up to six weeks, he went to England at one time. I would check the newspaper every week to see when his ship was coming back to Brisbane. When I moved to Redcliffe, I would catch the red bus up to Brisbane to see papa. Papa would be waiting at the bus stop for me, I would leave Redcliffe about 5pm and get to Brisbane about 8.00pm. We would go to Bon’s café, we loved the pork sausages. We were married in 1955 at Sacred Heart church, Rosalie in Brisbane. I went and bought my dress from a shop in the Brisbane arcade. After my wedding, it was handed down to my sister-in-law and then I sold it for 10 pounds. We had the reception next to the Broncos leagues club, there was a big reception hall there, oh there was about 100 at the wedding. A wedding back then you just invited everybody. The football was on that night, the reception was everyone listening to the football. We had booked to go away for our honeymoon, but, oh we couldn’t afford it so we cancelled. We had a rented flat and we moved in the night we got married. I hated the colour of the walls, so papa painted them for me”.

grandma papa weddding
“Papa was working on the wharf at the time. We had 3 cents to our name after the wedding. It was hard living in those days. Papa was only paid when there was work. If there was no ships in we didn’t get paid. We listened to the radio every day, to hear his number, 2565 when it was called. Everybody that worked the wharves had a number, the numbers were called at random at 6.00am every day, if your number was called you had work for that day, no number no work. We lived in Stafford St at Paddington, we didn’t have a phone at the house, and papa would have to run up the hill to get to a phone box to call the wharf to say he would work. I would watch him out the window and if he was running down the hill he would have work. Sometimes we could go a week with him walking home which meant he had missed out on the job and was without work. Once we had the kids I would be yelling out to be quiet, so we could hear if their father had work for the day. There were ships in everyday, but, I mean there was so many water side workers”.
“Your mother was born at the Royal Brisbane hospital. There were no men allowed to be around when the baby was being born. Nobody was allowed to go in with you when you were delivering the baby, you went in all by yourself”. Grandma tells me this with a shrug. My mind and heart are spinning at the thought of having to deliver your baby with only a room full of strangers supporting you.
“I went in to the hospital, the week before all my babies were born. My water always broke the week before they were born. I would have a dry birth. I had Doctors and Professors studying me because it was so unusual that it happened with them all. The husbands were only allowed to view the babies through the glass in the nursery. Papa was only permitted to visit between 7pm and 8pm every night and at 8pm the nurse would be like; “righto, out!”
“One day I bought your grandma some strawberries and cream in a bowl. There were too many visitors at the time, a nursing sister came, got the strawberries and cream and closed the door in my face. I was left outside waiting to go and see grandma. I couldn’t get in until some of the visitors were leaving”.
“Oh, the nursing sisters! It was just like they were trained in the army, I think may have been. No one was allowed to sit on the bed, they would march up and down the ward, glaring at everybody. We had to stay in the hospital for nine days after delivering the babies, we weren’t allowed out of bed, not even for the toilet. They would bring all the babies around in a long trolley at feeding time. We would also have to express milk for the babies whose mothers couldn’t feed them, you had to express every day, and the nursing staff would get cranky at you if you didn’t give enough”.
With grandma’s recall of events I have thoughts flying through my head like: what if they mix up the babies? Nine days in bed actually sounds pretty good to just rest. Express for other babies! Is that healthy?
“Once discharged, I got a taxi home. We lived in Red Hill, I got the taxi driver to take me home so I could pack a bag and go to papa’s mother’s house. I left your mother on the seat of the taxi, went inside, opened up the flat and packed a bag, now days they would call child services if you did that”. She says with a chuckle.
“Oh, yes when we moved to Redcliffe. I mean your mother went to kindy on the bus on her own when she was 3. The bus driver would help her on the bus. Your mum would wait at the butcher shop, get on the bus. Then the same in the afternoon, they would get her on the bus and she would get out at the butcher shop and walk home, sometimes my mum would meet her there and walk with her. I was still working full time then at Woollies and your mother had kindy. So! When your mother went to school, my dad would make hot chips and take them to the school and have lunch with her. At night we would have to rush through dinner and baths so that we could watch television. We were the only house in the street that had tv. All the neighbours would come every night and watch our tv. Quiet often we couldn’t get a seat in our lounge room because all the neighbours would be there. Either that or everyone would go to the shop windows and watch the tv. When we first went to Redcliffe no one had phones, so we would go to the telephone boxes you would call the exchange and they would tell you to wait your turn. Once they connected you, after 3 minutes the operator would say “are you extending?” We would have to say yes or no and put more money in. You would talk really quickly so we didn’t have to put more money in”.
I look to my right and see my two boys 15 and 12 playing on their smart phones as grandma tells me about waiting your turn to call someone.
When we moved to where we are now in Redcliffe, this was just a big pineapple farm and dirt roads. Pineapples were still growing when we bought the land, we didn’t get neighbours for two years after we moved in. If there was a car coming up the road we would know we were having visitors. We were the only ones in the street, I would have time to yell out to the kids “hurry up and tidy up”.
So Grandma what’s the secret to having a marriage for 62 years?
“Do what your bloody told!”. My papa says laughing while wrapping his arm around Grandma, while she pats him on the leg and says.
“Oh, but it has been a lovely life here with papa.”

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My absolute favourite photo with my Grandparents.

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Sandra Conte

Sandra Conte.

Sandi and I meet at a local coffee shop, we get settled at our table with chai latte each and I ask the first question and am taken away, this is why I love doing this, I get lost in the conversation, her story flows. Sandi is incredibly open, honest, and generous, at some moments in the conversation the expressions on her face are of remembrance, fond and forgotten moments and achievement’s getting a voice. She is candid in sharing so much of her life experience, I get goose bumps.

Sandi from the age of 4 has had a love and passion for art, one of her first essays at school Sandi wrote that she dreamed of being either an artist or a pilot. She recounts to me an experience from her favourite class of the week at school. Art class.

“We were tasked with painting fire cracker night. I got my brushes and splayed them out to get the rippling effect and it was coming together and looking like I had found fire cracker night at the Nambour showgrounds. I was made an example of, I was told to put my brushes down, and stand in the corner of the class room for all art classes for the rest of the year, because, “look what this girl has done. That is not how you paint.”

Those teachers that terrified that little girl during Friday art class, didn’t squash her desire to make art, she refused to let their harsh voice define her passion for art.

“It doesn’t just block creativity when you have a person treat you like that. It blocks you in so many other ways, always second guessing”.

Sandi never did second guess her decision to chase her dream of being involved in the art world. Sandi’s parents worried that their daughter wouldn’t be able to make living from her creativity, and encouraged her to become a teacher. Studying initially in fine arts, leading Sandi to post-graduate studies in dress history and combining that with Queensland history.

“That allowed me with my post graduate studies to curate a dress historical exhibition. That was called “Dressed to kill, the impact of World War 2 on Queensland women’s dress 1935-1950”.

Sandi’s experience has allowed her to be offered multiple roles. Her work has taken her to approximately 5 different universities in an art capacity as a curator, director or freelancer. She has also worked with various local government authorities in the same capacity.

“I really just want to be around the arts. I think being a curator, it is a vicarious way of being involved. It’s voyeuristic. It’s like, ok I can work with artists, and I can still make a living. So I went into that field”.

Photo by Wild Honey Photography

She has travelled far and wide and held respected positions. Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute in Adelaide, is all indigenous owned and operated, and Sandi found this an interesting and privileged position to hold. She was in public relations at Central Queensland University answering directly to the vice chancellor, this position serviced a number of different campuses. Growth in her professional life, forced her to develop and move outside of some personal fears. Sandi, at the time didn’t hold a drivers licence as she feared she wouldn’t be a good driver. Within the first month in Rockhampton, Sandi as a passenger was involved in a car accident that nearly killed her. She decided during her recovery, she was no longer comfortable with someone else taking control of her transport. She was getting her license.

 

Intercultural activity has been critical, and central to Sandi’s professional career. While working as the PR person in Rockhampton, Sandi discovered the university held an art collection that was not being cared for or utilised in any way. Taking advantage of this art work Sandi set up in conjunction with the indigenous unit at the university at satellite gallery and launched this as part of NAIDOC week, this was the first indigenous exhibition and drew record crowds. It was called Colour my world.

“It was absolutely amazing, we had Archie Roach come up, where he performed a free concert. We bought people in from Woorabinda, and we went out and filmed some of Archie’s music”.

Sandi had the opportunity to work with Fred Hollows in Central Queensland.

“I mean he worked in Eritrea, but he also worked in our indigenous communities. He always spoke of “going away, to come back”.

Sandi’s whole being lights up, she sits straighter in her chair and her laugh is infectious with excitement when she speaks of some of the people that she has worked and flourished with, or has been influenced by.

“I remember my boss at Tandanya was Francesca Cubillo, she is now Senior Curator of: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art at the National Gallery of Australia. She is a Larrakia woman from up Darwin way. I remember her talking about particular works in the gallery space at Tandanya and how rich that desert area is, how rich with Indigenous heritage and culture Australia is. I mean she could look at an art work and tell you down to a fine hair exactly what it was, she would explain how rich the area was under all that red dirt. How it can sustain us, but, we don’t look beyond and we don’t have that cultural knowledge”.

“I am fascinated with the gender specific approach to making art, and find time and time again if you find a pairing of artists male and female, the male career takes off and the female is the supporter. Irrespective of if there is a parity or not with their particular talent. This is what was great about spending my week with Wendy Whiteley. Her visit was such a privilege. She is a strong beautiful woman. She is so articulate and has such wisdom in terms of the global art scene. She a wonderful thinker. I am fascinated by the role of the muse within the public and private life, but also like the power in front of the throne. I mean she is carrying that legacy so beautifully. I mean, Whiteley himself used to talk about the fact that she was possibly a better drawer than him. She was going to art school when she met him. I am a lover art that represents social change. Not all art is that. But, I think the power of art, and the momentous occasions when you step back and or when you’re standing in front of a canvas and you just get that feeling of; oh wow that has changed my way of thinking. I remember standing in the art gallery of New South Wales in front of a painting by Lloyd Rees, called Road to Berry and it had a line. It is referred to as an angelic line of sorts. I think that particular work/line changed Whiteley’s or impacted his thinking, I mean he made comment about it impacting him. You can look at his work, and think what would he have been without the drugs? But, he had the capacity to be receptive to other artists work. So I think it is the collaboration, the sharing of ideas in a healthy fashion that starts the world talking, thinking, changing”.

“Gauguin is my absolute favourite. Te Rerioa (The Dream), 1897. That painting sang to me. I am a deep, deep fan of Rosalie Gascoigne she came to art quiet late in life via Ikebana. I am fascinated by her story. She to me is like a bower bird, working with found objects and making meaning of them. My favourite author is Drusilla Modjeska, I got to meet her years ago and why she is so important to me is that I found my first love of reading through her when I was in my thirties. I remember discovering this book called Stravinsky’s Lunch. It is quite a weighty tome, and I remember getting up of a night and I would read for hours in the middle of the night, it was the only time I had to read. I couldn’t get enough of that book. That book was actually analyzing two female non-fictional artists who had lead very different lives. One who stayed in Australia and the other one who went overseas to find her calling”.

“I completely identify with Georgia O’Keefe, with being scared of everything in your life, I mean maybe it stems from that early start of always being anxious about everything and thinking you’re not good enough.

I also identify with her and just going ahead, and making a decision to just do it and the nay-sayers can say what they like, but this is really important to me, I am driven to do this. So make art – not war”.

Sandi held her own solo art exhibition at the age of 40. After spending time in Darwin and central Queensland visiting crocodile farms and being impacted by them, she became fascinated with the areas of environment and animals. It was called Sweet, skin, Suite and it was looking at crocodiles and body marking.

Sandi’s latest exhibition at the Logan regional gallery is, Bee-mindful. Focusing on bees, being human, empathy, how we all work together.

“I am always interested how art educates and the bees have been awareness raising. Yes it’s an environmental thing, certainly in terms of no bees, no me. The stingless native bees are so fascinating to me in terms of the intercultural aspects of that as well. Learn more wisdom, empathy. Yes, I am incredibly interested in what it means to be human, and where young people see where they fit into the world in regards to that.”

Sandi campaigns her eARTh e-mag, and how it was born from her realization that there was no platform for creatives to be recognized for their creative work, either working with, or for the environment.

“Social change can be made through art definitely. It can be person to person or it can be greater”.

“I suppose that is why the eARTh e-mag came into being. I was conscious that there were artists all over the world, who were working with, or for the environment and I want to give them air time and that is my way of contributing to the environment. I mean it is pretty hard for creatives, well not all, to get exposure, in the day and age of social media it’s a bit easier. But usually you are not the best advocate of your own work, so, that is where as a global platform we provide somewhere to talk about these artists who are changing the world and are inspiring others to do so. Its awareness and exposure. I see myself as a match maker in the art world. I love matching artists up to other creatives. I was talking to an artist recently and I automatically thought; oh, you need to meet this other person that I mentored years ago.  Oh, I love making those things happen. It’s seeing the opportunities and facilitating it. I love that, for me there is such joy in that. Community focussed projects are so important to me”.

At the close of our time together I asked Sandi what she was most proud of and what the word woman means to her.

“I have never been self-congratulatory. I always have this thought that I need to do better. So when there may have been markers in my life, say the dressed to kill exhibition or the solo exhibition. I never thought “oh I did it” it was always ok, on to the next thing. I haven’t had one of those moments. I just have so many more things to do”.

“Woman means invincible, we are here to stay”.

This interview was timed out at 55 minutes, there were no customers left sitting in what was an overflowing court yard, our coffee cups had been collected, and at the time it felt as though we only chatted for 10 minutes. Sandi is colourful and vibrant in her passion for creativity and the art world. This lady is a database of knowledge, depth and understanding. Indigenous art, the environment and animals will forever have a platform to be displayed creatively if Sandra Conte is involved, and it was such a pleasure to be an audience to her story.

If you love reading this and would like to read more interviews. Why not back me financially? I am creating a platform for me to showcase my best work, build a community and get paid to keep on creating. The more patrons in our community means more interviews, and more stories. A portion of this money will be used to pay it forward, sharing the love with other women and girls and raising their voice.

Please head to the bottom footer and leave your email, so that you will be notified every time I publish a LUV interview.

Also click the follow button on my Facebook and Instagram.

Mothering teenage boys is a puzzle.

I want to write today about being a mum to a teenage boy.

My first born was 15 a few weeks ago, and, I feel the same way I did on his first birthday. On his first birthday I cried, and held him all day. It was a multi layered cry, on one level I was relieved that we had barely survived the first year, he was growing out of the baby stage. I wept harder though, when I thought about how he wasn’t the baby anymore, that my arms would get lighter from here on out. I cried in celebration because it was our day, his birthday, and my birthing day.

This year on his 15th birthday I cried. I cried because our relationship is evolving and my arms and heart are aching for my little boy that always wanted my attention, that little boy love for his mumma. I would stand for hours watching him bowl a ball. Now he goes out into the yard on his own to practice cricket. For the little boy that would always yell out to me, just so he knew where I was at all times. For the little boy that would cuddle me just because he wanted to, now I have to place his arms around my neck. He is moving out into the world and doing things that he doesn’t need me for. He organised work experience with Queensland Cricket at Albion, which meant he had to catch two trains to get there and then walk to the fields. He was completely confident and excited to be doing this on his own. My husband and I took him the first two days and he was mortified. The third day, I sat drinking endless coffee, in my back yard staring at my phone waiting for him to call me; when he changed trains, when he arrived at Albion station, when he clocked on at work. I was more worried on that day than the day I sent him off to school. At school, the staff have to care about the students, keep them safe. Putting him on a public train, and off to work in the big wide world, where no one really cares, was scary. He was totally fine and completely nailed his work experience – the whole experience, not just the work part. But getting ready, arriving on time, being responsible.

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Date day. (I look impressed don’t I)

 

He also has a girlfriend who he wants to spend more and more time with. This is honest to god killing me. I want my little family with me at all times when I have the weekend off (which is not often). He is now wanting to go and watch her play sport and spend weekends with her. Last weekend they had a “date day”. He watched her play sport and then her family dropped them at a local beach town. My boy took his girl for lunch at a burger restaurant, splurged on ice cream, and they hung out on the beach. I actually had tears in my eyes talking to my husband about this situation. The conversations in our house are now revolving around not blowing allllllll of your money that you work for, on a girl. This conversation does not go down well. This also hurts my heart because I want to be supportive, but, am finding this teenage, first love situation stressful, and hard to navigate so that I don’t look like the bitchy mum.

The no secret rule in our house is one we have preached since we tied the knot. We always try to be open and honest in an age appropriate way with the boys. At the moment that includes lots of talk about how to treat a girl, how to be respectful. We have had the; having babies at your age will completely ruin your life conversation. We have been focussing a lot on talking to him about choices and the wrong ones will send you in a down ward spiral, how at this point in your life the world is your oyster. This was cemented last week when my boy and I had to meet at the school to decide his “pathway” through the next two years at school. My husband has been spending a lot of time with him, and his brother fishing in their little boat, surfing, riding skate boards, and mountain bikes, and four wheel driving, re-enforcing in his soul that we are always here for him, and that there is always opportunity for conversation when hanging out with dad. I feel a bit left out at the moment with all of the boy activity going on. There is a definite shifting, I feel like we are puzzle pieces that haven’t clicked into place yet, that we know we belong together, but just have to find our place. I do feel like I am grieving for the little boy days, when my husband and I were the only important people in his orbit. When the most important thing I was teaching him was how to brush his teeth or that a banana is a better choice than a chocolate.

As I sit here writing this my boy is on school survival camp. We are old pro’s at school camp, Montessori kids start going to camp in prep (prep camp is a one night sleep over at the school). This year is different again as I feel like this is a big test for him, with choices that he makes and how he behaves on camp. I am missing him a lot more than usual. And my advice to him when he got out of the car was

“Love you, have fun, learn lots, try and stay warm, don’t get any one pregnant.”

Him “OH MY GOD…MUM!!!”

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Today, I write.

I have been in hibernation this winter, hence the radio silence on the blog. I am allergic to the cold and struggle to be motivated when the air is cold, the wind is blowing, and I have to be rugged up in multiple layers. No, really I am allergic to the cold season, my skin goes into meltdown the minute the weather changes. My skin starts out really dry, and then changes into an eczema type skin condition on my neck, boobs, and stomach. It is crazy itchy, and it doesn’t matter what oil I put on it or how much a fill my gut with good bacteria like kombucha, yoghurt, green vegetables, bone broth, turmeric. The only thing that makes it disappear is spring.

Sunday morning we were at the beach, my husband truly believes in his soul that the ocean fixes everything, he was convinced that the salt water would fix my skin, and made me go for a dip in the ocean, in winter. The water didn’t fix my skin, but it livened me up. It was cold and gave me goose bumps, had my teeth chattering, and my extremities purple, heart racing, but so refreshing and cleansing. My husband and two boys frolicked in the ocean with me after their morning of surfing in wetsuits, laughing at me in my summer bikini.20170723_111225

I will back track a bit and explain how my husband made me go for a swim in the ocean, in winter and made me write today.

I have a little project that I am in the planning stages of. Anyone that reads my blog, knows that I have a categorgy called #sistertribe, where I interview women and post the interviews and photos on the blog. Well I want to expand that. I want to Interview more women and be paid for it. I have found a platform called Patreon that will facilitate this project. I have been planning and making notes and making lists of women that I want to chat to, I have been setting goals and researching and researching. To sum up, I am procrastinating.

Sitting at the football on Saturday, I put my foot down – I actually stamped my foot like a two year old, and told my husband that I would be doing more writing, that I am going to make this project work and I want his support. He looked at me like I had three heads. See he doesn’t at all, nor has ever, understood why I write, or post to a blog or want to interview women and post their stories.

“Honestly babe, I just don’t get it, it makes no sense to me. Why do people give a shit, why on earth would someone pay money to read about someone else? Why do they want to read about other people’s business? You tell me you want to do this, just do it. You want to write and talk to women, just do it! Not once have I ever told you can’t have or do something. It doesn’t make sense to me, but so what. Just because we are married, doesn’t mean I am going to agree with you 100% of the time. If you enjoy something, do it. Do not, however, hide yourself away in your office when we are all home, we need you and want you with us. Prove to people like me, that don’t understand what you do, that you can make it successful. That you can prove people wrong.”

At this point I didn’t know if I want to punch him in the face or kiss it. He kissed me, patted my leg and went back to watching our boy play football.

On our way to the beach on Sunday morning, my husband asked me, who are the women that I have on my wish list to interview. I told him about a woman from Northern Wales that is on my wish list, Natasha Brooks (please, please click on her name, it will direct you to her film), she swims in the mountain lakes there. Yes in northern Wales, where there is snow and temperatures below freezing, she swims naked. I want to interview her and ask her why, and find out her story. I told all of this to my husband. So by the time he had finished surfing and I had been sun baking/ sleeping in the winter sun, he leaned over me, dripping freezing water on me and said come for a swim.

“No, I am not swimming in that ocean today!”

“Northern wales this is not babe, it’ll fix your skin.”

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“Fine”.

 

Sitting at dinner that night we were going over our day like we usually do.

“So how much writing did you get done, while the boys and I went four wheel driving.”

My dear husband took our boys out to a local four wheel drive track for 4 hours after we came home from the beach, he text me at one point and said “we will be a while – write, do your thing while we are gone”.

“I washed and ironed clothes, washed the floor, carted wood upstairs for the fire, started dinner, baked muffins.”

“Not helping your cause babe”.

So today I write.

 

Gin Rummy Vintage

Yesterday scrolling through Instagram I found a local treasure and I went to visit Mel at Gin Rummy vintage today.  I remember when I was little it was a treat to get into mum’s cupboard with all her clothes and jewellery and the shoes (there is photo evidence of me somewhere actually in mum’s clothes). Well Gin Rummy is like a massive walk-in wardrobe that I didn’t want to leave – like literally. I met Mel this morning and told her I would come back soon and not just to add to the four treasures I found, but with a coffee. Anyone that knows me, knows that is not how I roll. But hanging out in what Mel said to me was like an extension of her home and chatting to her, trying on some of her gorgeous pieces, was such fun. So here is what the local Mumma of two told me about her business.

It is a lifelong obsession basically with dressing up, fabrics, old things and mending and making do. It is a collision of all of the things I love coming together.

I had seen the studios were available for years and always thought what a lovely thing to do. But what would I do. I started with selling jewellery and handmade accessories on line, it is a challenge and then I realised that I had this collection of clothes that were essentially things that I couldn’t leave behind. I am not a hoarder, I am a collector. I saw the hub was calling for expressions of interest and I thought, oh what the hell.  The last day before the offer closed, I stayed up until midnight writing a business plan. Then they loved my interview. I came along with my suitcase full of random things and started pulling them out and the panel were just like  – go for it.

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My prices range from $3.00 to $200.00 depending on the rarity, I have things from all over the world and brands and collections. It depends on the day which piece I love the most, they are like my children, the fabrics talk to me, and the colours fill up your eyes and gives me such joy. There are so many stories to vintage clothes, have they been cut up? Have they been mended? Did someone love them intensely? Did they die? Where have they been worn? I look at them and try and tease out the story. If I get the story, behind you know – say the vintage dress that someone gives to me and tells me the story of it that is just like oooohhhhh gold.

Word of mouth has been pretty powerful, I have a nook upstairs in the foyer, which has been great for directing people and social media is gold (ginrummyvintage). I am here daily 10.00am-3.00pm and Saturday by appointment only. I will be here till November. I am getting new pieces all the time, I am always on the hunt.

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I was taking photos of the shop and watched this beauty in action. A lady had been at the gallery on the top floor, and was told about Gin Rummy and come for a look. See, she is going to the theatre to see 1984 by George Orwell at QPAC and she was on the hunt for something to wear. She found a magnificent black cape. As Mel was listening to the story of where this piece is going to be worn, she started to cry with joy. She was so thrilled that the lady had the perfect place for it to be worn and how stunning it looked.

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You can find Gin Rummy Vintage at the Caboolture Hub – Studio 3 / 4 Hasking Street Caboolture.

Golden milk

11.05.17

 

If you have read my blog you know that there is a coffee shop I go to on a Wednesday morning with the school mums. Well it has changed hands, had a facelift and a new menu. I haven’t been there for a while, but yesterday there was a post on Instagram saying golden milk was on the specials board.

I never just go for coffee on my own, I just don’t. If I am out somewhere and want a coffee I will grab a takeaway, but today I headed to Gather and Feast after school drop off for a golden milk, because I have never seen a golden milk in our local area and was not missing out. The reno on the old shop looked fresh and bright with plenty of seating. My fav 70’s arm chairs were still in the corner next to the front window. I headed straight to that little corner as soon as I ordered my golden milk from the lovely lady at the counter. The enthusiastic coffee and brekky crowd was fabulous to see in our local area that is not known as a foodie heaven. However, the aromas coming from the little kitchen, the pretty food on the tables and the delicacies in the cabinet next to the cash register were a treat that I will definitely be coming back for (some of the food has flowers on it – how divine).

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Golden milk

 

I know that I am going on and on about the no phone experiment that seems to have changed me forever. You can read about it here, here, here and here. While enjoying my golden milk, I tried not to pull out my phone and pretend to be engrossed in it. But I did in the end because, I looked like a crazy, stalker sitting on my own, in the corner, with a yellow drink just looking at people looking at their phone’s. It still amazes me that when people are together at a table, sharing a meal or a drink that they pull out their phone. Even before the no phone experiment I have never done that. It’s rude and isn’t it more important to spend time with the person that you are actually sitting with, than someone on line.

Anyway phone rant over. Will be going back to Gather and Feast. Everyone needs to try golden milk.

Got my phone

8.05.17

 

Monday and the no phone experiment was meant to finish yesterday, I have sent the odd text but I didn’t use my phone today either.

I have an essay due in a couple of weeks for the art history and design unit I am studying. I have a few days off work, kids are at school, Scott is at work, so I got stuck in today and learnt all about 19th century Paris. Not just the art but the urban planning, feminism, the culture, the fashion, the alcohol, drugs and prostitutes. I didn’t want to research the well-known artists, I wanted to find some interesting creatives. My research didn’t really go as planned but I ended up with Marie Bracquemond, Jean Béraud, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and I love them all for different reasons, they are what I was looking for. I got sucked into the rabbit hole that is the internet. I started on the university library website and found a few articles that lead to a few more, and then I was reading websites and blog posts and then went back to the library articles.

Before I knew it the clock said 2.15pm, I forgot lunch and my coffee was cold after sitting on my desk from 8.30am when I walked in to the kitchen to brew it post school drop off. My phone was still in my handbag, on the back seat of my car parked in my garage, so another day went by without my smart phone. No phone could prove a little dangerous socially and mentally for me. I love the no contact too much, and would become a recluse. I know this about myself already, I am very well known for not answering the phone and can be a shocker for not replying to text messages. I am not being rude, I just forget, or at that moment too hard to talk. I didn’t think that I would find it so easy to cut myself off, however, my life seems to be on the phone. It has all the phone numbers of the people that I love and need in my life – before mobile phones I knew everyone’s home phone number by heart – not anymore. The phone holds my roster for work – I used to carry a diary. The phone holds my banking app – I used to do banking from desktop at home. My phone holds all my photos – I have cupboards and boxes full of printed photos from before mobile phones. I can catch up on study on my phone, the high school app is on my phone, I have kindle on my phone and can read a book, I can even write a blog post on the WordPress app, Google maps is my absolute best friend, I love how she can tell me how long to get it will take me to get where I need to go – no more upside down refedex or listening to an inaccurate traffic report.  Overall the experiment was good for me to shut off for a few days focus on my family and friends, and not be looking at the endless list of apps, social media and other features on my phone. It does seem though, it is an evil necessity.

 

Moody Sunday.

07.05.17

After my blog writing last night, there was a phone call on Scott’s phone – because I still didn’t have a phone. That J was throwing up at Mum’s place. He has been incredibly stressed and cranky lately and this is how he handles stress. By throwing up. He has been like this since he was a little boy and the thought of Santa, the Easter bunny and the tooth fairy would stress him out. He would throw up the week before any of these events (not the tooth fairy obviously). It was disgusting and traumatising for all of us. The year we told them that all of the gift givers are fake he didn’t throw up. Hence making me feel like a shit mother for putting him through so much stress and vomit for so long. He also didn’t talk to me for a couple of days for lying to him about Santa etc. Anyway he is stressed at the moment, was throwing up at mum’s, I had no phone and felt awful that I wasn’t there holding his hair back (so to speak). I spoke to mum, T and J on Scott’s phone Mum was fine and had it under control and knew it was stress, T was screaming in the background about how disgusting it was and J was moaning. I didn’t sleep all night after telling Mum I would come and get them and she replied – don’t be silly, he is fine.

I had to get up at 4.45am to get ready to go to work, Scott had already gone to work and I woke up in a mood. No sleep, wanted to see my kid and really no desire to go to work. Once there I snuck in the backdoor, after texting mum to find out about J- he was sleeping. As I already knew my allocation for the day I was relieved where I was in the department– at the back where I didn’t have to have direct contact with most people and could work on my own. My mood wasn’t great to be dealing with hundreds of people that day. Typical that I couldn’t face people that day, because I was rostered on with some of my favourite work friends and I just couldn’t do the rounds and chat. I sat at my desk and got through the day without offending anyone. I even lied to Scott about what time I had lunch, I didn’t want to have lunch with him and his mates, so I sat in the sun and ate my pork sandwich, with hospital coffee, no phone and read the Sunday paper. I had arranged to meet my bestie at her place after work and I was tired and cranky and was worried about the hour drive home afterwards.

I drove to West End in my mood. My bestie and I had went to the Montague Hotel at the end of her street, she shouted me a champagne and we chatted at a table for an hour and a half, the time flew and it felt like we had only talked for five minutes. I drove home feeling so much better for seeing my friend.

 

 

 

No photo for this one, I wasn’t using my phone and wasn’t in the mood.

Still no phone.

06.05.17

Saturday morning and still no phone. AND I am loving it. I had to be a little more organised this morning than I usually am, but that’s not a bad thing. T had football at 12.20pm but Scott left the house with the boys at 9.30am, they wanted to go to Bunnings and then watch a couple of football games before T had has game. I was not leaving home at 9.30am, so had to make sure that T had text all the grandmothers to make sure they knew what time and where to meet us at the football and make sure he had all of his gear and had to make sure I knew where to meet them at the grounds where there are 4 football fields.  This no phone experiment is also saving us money, I went to text Scott when he was at Bunnings to grab a couple of things – but no phone. I thought about it and I really didn’t need the things that I was going to ask him to buy. And he apparently forgot I had no phone and sent me a text while grocery shopping asking for 8 pork chops. What the hell do we need 8 pork chops for!!! Glad I didn’t get that time wasting text message.

When we had all met up at the football to watch T, I was fascinated and a bit disturbed as I sat in the sun and people watched. EVERYONE was on their phones, I was also embarrassed to realise that I am also one of those mums. While waiting for a game I usually do pull out my phone and check social media or call or text someone. I was watching the kids as they were warming up and observed the amount of times they look at their parents – and the parents are watching their smart phone. No photos of T at the game, no phone and I forgot my camera. His team lost but he had good fun, got a fat lip, strapped fingers and tag marks all the way from the top of his thigh to his knee.

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This is why I didn’t want him to play football.

 

 

The boys had to stay at mums over night as Scott and I both work tomorrow morning. We dropped them off after dinner and about 30004238053023 kisses from me and goodnight and have a good day tomorrow. See I always text them goodnight and good morning, but no phone. Off to bed.

No phone

5th May 2017

 

I turned off my phone last night. I had a mixed response from the 8 people that I told. I text Mum, Dad, my sister and my best friend. I told Scott and the boys.

Scott said I won’t last until Sunday

Dad text me back “ok, love”.

My best friend sent a text within 2.5 seconds of me telling her I would not have a phone until Sunday. Why? Ok?

My sister: Why? Is everything ok? Enjoy the peace and quiet.

Scott and T went fishing this morning at 4.00am. One undersized dart was caught in the 3.5 hours, but they had a great time together.

J asked for the day off school as it was cross country, he was complaining about it and that he hates to run. When I told him that he could have the day off, only if he went fishing at 4.00am and then went to the art gallery with me at 10.00am, he had his school uniform on in record time. His brother, however, jumped at the chance to have the day off. My first thought was shit – I have to find the email address to let the school know. Our school seems to have gone digital – if that’s a thing. We now need to email when our kid has a day off, it’s annoying. Why can I just ring the office! (Which I suppose worked in my favour today as I don’t have a phone)

T and I went to the art gallery after dropping J at school. We sat for an hour and listened to the artist speak about his contribution to the installation at The Hub at Caboolture Regional Art Gallery. He spoke of the breast plate that he created and the story of his nanna that inspired it. The breast plate was made from lead, it is heavy, toxic to the nervous system and it’s cold. The other element to the piece was old fencing wire to represent his nanna’s living conditions as a young child. (read the post here)

I took my camera with me and asked permission to take some photos, it was awkward walking around with a digital camera instead of my phone. We had errands to run after the gallery and headed to the local shopping centre. I wanted to print some photos for my sister and frame them for her birthday, we were having an afternoon tea for her special day – I hadn’t wished her happy birthday yet, no phone. We got to the shop and I couldn’t print the photo of her gorgeous girls because – no phone, the photo that I wanted was tucked away on my phone in my cupboard. So we had to think so something else for her birthday, while at the shopping centre I had to get my watch battery replaced as I usually use my phone to tell the time, I tried to call my husband to find out what he wanted for dinner and I also tried to check my account balance, again no phone.

We had afternoon tea with my family celebrating my sister’s birthday and I am usually the one snapping pictures but – no phone. My family couldn’t get over how weird it was that I was not using my phone, apparently there was a back and forth texting session the night before when I had told everyone I was going phone free for a couple of days, between my mum and sisters who were concerned about me and why I would want to have no phone. I think they all think I am mad.

 

( you will notice that this has taken me a couple of days to publish – keep reading my future posts to find out why)

Dale Harding

They were in a concentration camp, they were enclosed within the perimeter of a wire fence, they lived in dormitories and their clothes were not suitable for the climate. Their language was taken away from them and if they spoke it they would be punished severely, their culture, their traditions were prohibited from being practiced or spoken of. They were afforded no dignity. They were malnourished not only physically as the food was not sufficient to sustain them, but mentally and emotionally. They were forbidden to use their names and they were assigned an alpha numeric identity. Nanna was W38.

W38 was stamped into a lead breast plate worn around the neck. Elements that created the breast plate were lead, and old fencing wire. Lead is heavy, it is toxic to the nervous system, and cold. Lead in the breast plate represented the deadly way of life forced on these people. Fencing wire represented the boundaries for living as a young child.

So who wore this form of identification?

Indigenous Australians.

T and I went to the art gallery after dropping J at school. We sat for an hour and listened to the artist Dale Harding explain his art work and contribution to the installation at The Hub – Caboolture Regional Art Gallery

We took a seat in the arranged seating and with five other women of varying ages, leaving half of the chairs empty. Emotive art works from Michael Cook lined the walls and Wilma Walker’s baskets were displayed on pedestals, down lighting lit the space and the polished wooden floors added another earth element.  Listening to this world renowned artist verbalize the atrocities of his family and country, I had tears tracking down my cheeks. I was ashamed, and embarrassed that within the hour spent with this generous, honest man, I learnt more about Indigenous Australian history than when I was at school or at any time since. I was uncomfortable as a white woman in this setting, that, I had to be educated to the outrageous history of the state that we live in. History that is so new. As Dale said, while World War I and II were raging in Europe and atrocities were changing their culture and history. There were atrocities happening in our own country. In our state of Queensland. He opened up and told us that this history lesson had also skipped a generation in his family. That his mother never knew the extent of her mother’s and his nanna’s tragedy. It wasn’t until Dale started to ask about the story of his nanna that it came to light. Dale worried about asking appropriate questions to his ancestor, he was mindful in seeking her permission to share her story, he is very cultured and educated on the strict protocols for sharing women’s and men’s stories.

As T and I left the gallery after taking a few photos. I was grateful that T had the opportunity to have that experience and to learn some history from such an authentic source and to view the Exhibition: My Country, I Still Call Australia Home: Contemporary Art from Black Queensland.

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Wilma Walker – Wilma made these baskets from memory as an infant. Her mother hid her in a similar basket to prevent government officials from removing her from her family.

Happy Monday

Hi.

Do you know what I am doing today?? EVERYTHING. I have done the school run, grocery shopped – I deliberated between the $1.99 avos that were ripe and the bag for $4.99 that were hard as rocks as long as I possibly could. I shopped at the local crystal shop for a smudge stick, came home and cleansed my house – so now every room in the house smells as though I have had a session of smoking weed.  I cooked up a huge brekky for my husband and I that lead to me cleaning the whole kitchen, I have washed all the clothes I could find, towels, sheets and doona covers, I have vacuumed, weeded one of my gardens. I have sat with two cups of coffee and watched my husband absolutely lose his mind over a bolt on the ride on mower. I have had a nanna nap. AND I am writing again after a break, from baring my life and soul to all. Busy day hey!

All this spring cleaning is not because I am bored or because it is the first day of my annual leave. No, it’s because I have an online art history exam to do and I am petrified. I am being tested on Greek, Indian, Chinese / Japanese art and philosophy. Last time I did an exam if was for the subject “defining women” – I earnt a HD for that subject, however, when I sat down in front of the computer screen and clicked the begin button – I looked at those questions and thought I must have been given the wrong exam because not a single question seemed at all similar to what I had been learning. My brain completely shut down, my heart was pounding out of my chest and I was freaking out.

Hence my OCD cleaning binge this am, this post is the closest I have let myself get to the computer.

 

Two hours, an exam, a school run and afternoon tea later.

 

The exam took me less than an hour and I got 95/100.

Kat Deschan

I asked Kat Deschan Illustrator, if she would have a quick chat with me, while I was admiring her stunning hand drawn art work, she was kind enough to say yes. Her art work was on display at the Byron Bay Festival of Design. The black and white pencil A1 drawing of a pair of one piece togs, covered in sunflowers and strawberries is the art work I was admiring. Kat told me that it took her about 25 hours of work.

I wish this was my sole income source, this is all I want to do. I just want to draw. I have a lot of support from my friends, but I have never really shown anyone my art work, this is the first time today. I really hope one day that this will be it for me. I loved her instantly, as this is exactly how I feel about my writing. She was honest and generous in how open she was, especially as I put her on the spot with the interview.

“So you have never sold your art work?”

“No. Nowhere, I mean I have never tried to.”

“Seriously? You have never tried to sell this beautiful art work!”

“No, I mean I have sold some things, I have done mostly drawings for friends. My friends are happy to pay for my art.”

I studied design and photography and film. When I was studying I got carried away and thought that I wanted to work in film, I finished my study, but soon realised it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I came to Australia from Germany and met my partner about two years ago. Only a couple of months ago, I remembered that I like to draw. I did draw when I was small. And now I am back doing it. But this is what I want to do now that I am in Byron Bay.

I have my Instagram account for now but will eventually get someone to set up a website for me. I would love to do workshops that would be so much fun. Where I work everyone is so interested and want me to show them how to do it. I mean it is so relaxing. At home I listen to audio books and music and draw. I would be happy to do that all day, twenty four seven.

 

Please check out Kats Instagram account of her art work. She can also be contacted on her email: katharina.deschan@gmx.com.

Byron Bay

We are grateful to be only 3 hours down the highway and to have the good fortune of holidaying in Byron Bay the nature loving, surf metropolis that thrums to its own vibe. I enjoy the melting pot of diversity of the people that are attracted to the famous coastal town. Bare footed surfers, backpackers, families, gen y’s speaking foreign languages, hippies and the patient locals. Another thing that I enjoy while in town is checking out the local markets, festivals, and food. Driving around this week I have seen signs advertising the Byron Bay Festival of Design. My husband wanted to go Christmas shopping in Ballina, because it really shits us to have to pay for parking in Byron. Seems petty when it is only a few dollars, but it’s just something else we have to pay for and that alone stops us from going in there as much as I would like. But I said no way we are going to support the locals and local creatives and I am so glad we made the effort. We are early rises so I think we were some of the first people at the festival. I had in mind that I wanted to do a few interviews of people that I had seen on the Instagram account for the festival but I was too nervous to ask and did a quick lap around the stalls and we took advantage of the free parking at the Youth Activity Centre and headed into Byron for a look at what was going on in town. My three ate gelato, they dreamed over new surf boards, we found alley ways with murals painted on the walls, stopped in the street and chatted to our elderly neighbour from the caravan park. The streets were quiet and bare, maybe a bit early for the all the tourists to be out exploring, not many surfers around due to the terrible conditions, we listened to a van full of long haired, bare chested blokes with beards playing guitars and a banjo, we walked past a homeless man who was packing up his belongings, we stood beside a black Porsche with a flawlessly made up lady sitting in it playing with her phone while we waited to cross the road. We walked the back streets back to the youth centre and by the time I got there I had worked up the courage to go back to the design festival and ask for some interviews. Have a read of the next four posts about some very interesting women.

 

Post 100

Post 100

I made it…………………………….100 posts. What a relief that is over. I am glad I did the 100 posts but feel as though an invisible weight has been lifted now the 100 posts are done. Thanks to everyone that has read and supported my writing, I love and appreciate you and the time that you spent reading. I wasn’t sure how I was going to end my 100 posts but I want to tell you about an experience I had yesterday.

My husband’s phone blared its annoying alarm through our camper trailer at 4.20am. I rolled over and buried myself in the blankets and said “not today”.

“Yep, come on you wanted to do this, up you get.”

It was dark and the usually busy streets of Byron Bay were deserted. Street lights were on and neon lights were lit above the motels throughout town. We made our way up the hill, commenting on the amount of people running at this early hour, up such a steep hill. We parked the car at the closest car park and walked up the hill. It was blowing a gale, I was carrying my camera and phone and was rugged up in jeans and jumper.

We were just about at the top and I wanted to take a photo of the lighthouse in the dark with my new camera. I turned it on and click not working. Shit. One main reason I wanted to come up here was to get a photo of that. I was so annoyed with myself, I kept walking but was ranting about how it could have a flat battery and disappointed that I would have to take photos with my phone. We reached the top, after watching one of the runners that I had commented on while we drove up the hill, pass us on her way back down the hill. We sat down in a little alcove of the lighthouse out of the wind and watched the sky. I started playing with my camera, because I was still baffled and annoyed at how it could have a flat battery. I looked up and the sky had changed colour. I handed my husband my camera and went to the fence surrounding the light house and took a photo with my phone. As I sat down the light from my phone lit up my camera. My husband pointed out to me that I had in the dark put the camera on the wrong setting that is why it wasn’t taking photos. I was relieved and got up and started clicking away at the first light of the day. I sat in the arms of my husband, my back to his chest and watched the sky change colour again and again. I felt so blessed to be the only ones on the most eastern point of Australia, leaning up against an icon of the Country that was built 115 years ago to guide ships and protect the shore. As the sun started to rise, the crowds at the lighthouse started to rise. At one point my husband said to me “you better go and grab a spot at the fence if you want to see it”. I stood against the white wood and metal fence, with my husband at my back, listening to people from all over the world chatting to each other, I watched them taking selfies and posting to social media. Now don’t get me wrong I posted my pictures last night to social media but at the time it didn’t feel right. I am not particularly religious, I do like to go to Christmas Eve mass, but that’s about it. But with my feet firmly planted on the ground, standing in silence and watching such a colourful and majestic sight as the rising of the sun, for me sent goose bumps over my skin, my heart felt so much love and I had tears on my cheeks. It felt like more than a new day, it felt like a new beginning, a fresh start.

Post 99

Post 99

In nearly 100 posts, lots has happened. Winter to summer, school to school holidays, I was at the peak of working hard on my marriage.  Now we are still working on it but not in such an acute I love you but really do hate you way. Now it’s more of an I love you and can say to your face that you shit me kinda way and know we can talk about it.  I have learnt that emotions are what they are, and just to feel it. I had some really shit days in the beginning and fought them, there was one particular day that was really shit and I just laid out on my bed and felt it, it was awful and painful and I wailed. There have been other days that I have loved so deeply that I have felt that experience imbed in my bones. I am much more grateful for the people in my life, and I love them so. Still things I am scared of – like sharing my writing.

I have discovered that I love photography. I always did like taking a snap shot, so when my husband spent his tax refund dollars on a beautiful camera for me, I swore that that beauty would be used every day. I have discovered that I like the small details in a subject. A face, hands, eyes. I was taking photos of the beach the other day and they were nice, but it was just another beach. Then I sat down, squatted down and  laid down on the beach and took photos of the dune grass, the ghost crabs, seagulls, rocks, shells, jelly fish, blue bottles. At the Byron Bay light house I was photographing the blocks that made the lighthouse, the windows, the doors, the glass, the letterbox. My husband’s hands were an extremely popular post on my Instagram and received more comments and likes than any other post from this holiday. In saying all of this though, I still am not comfortable taking a selfie with just me in the frame.

I have become observant of my experiences, surroundings and people. I have become observant of conversations and what has been said. Some days I feel a bit creepy and purposely leave out some experiences because I don’t want to overstep the line. However, the more scary and emotional and cleansing the post was for me the more open, real, honest and raw I was with my writing seemed to be popular with my loyal readers.

One more post and I have done my 100, it wasn’t in the time that I wanted to do it, so feel that is a bit of a fail. But big wins for me was that I was published in one of my fave magazines Womankind. And, I had the privilege of interviewing awesome women and want to continue to do so and be a collector of women’s stories.

Post 98

Post 98.

“Oh your boy’s are so independent, I was watching you set up your site yesterday and was envious of you and your hubby. The boy’s jumped out of your car and went and found their friends and you two laughed and worked together putting together your camp site.” This was said to me by the lady across the road from our site that I met last year. Her and her husband have been travelling the east coast of Australia with their three year old in a van and a caravan. No more to be said really, the poor love has a threenager, who is absolutely gorgeous but is an unholy terror,  living in a caravan. That is why she was feeling envious.

The boys did run and find their friends, but once they came back to ask for food they were advised that they should set up their tent before dark. One said no he wanted to hang out with mates, the other one started unpacking the tent because he wasn’t doing it in the dark.

They have been given a little more freedom this year, they have hang out on the beach with friends but must get us if they want to go in the water. They were allowed to walk to the tea tree creek. Boy one learnt a hard lesson, he was showing off and tried a trick that didn’t work and landed wrong and hurt his ribs and abdo muscles.

“I am making sandwiches and smoothies for lunch.” I had two responses of cool thanks and one of “No thanks I am going for a walk.” Dishes done, sitting reading a book I hear from down the street coming towards me.

“Mum I am starving can you make me lunch?”

“No, I made lunch, you didn’t want it, you can make or cook something”

“What!!! I don’t cook!”

So we had a cooking lesson, I sat and watched and directed and he cooked. He lit the gas burner, collected all the ingredients for macaroni cheese. And cooked his own lunch.

They were told they could bring $10 for the lolly shop and that was it, they had to look after the money and spend it wisely. First day one of them goes to the shop, thinking he knows best and loses $5.00 out the bottom of the pocket in his shorts because he didn’t want to use his wallet.

They have both been responsible with checking in and asking if they are able to leave the park for the beach or the headland. Last night they asked if they could stay out until 9.00pm, to hang with friends at another camp site. We said yes but had to definitely be home by 9.00pm. One of them came home at 8.58pm then other 9.31pm. The one that was late doesn’t get to go out tonight.

Lots and lots of lessons being learnt these holidays.

Post 97

Post 97

We are on holidays. We are at the beach camping. We are living in a camper trailer with an outside kitchen. The toilet and shower block is across the road and a hill from our site, the beach is four tent sites down our little street and across the roundabout, the bush walking track is the same way as the beach but swing a right up the hill once you go over the roundabout and there is a path that leads over the headland. The office/lolly and ice cream shop is next to the bush walking track. The park is at our back door and can see the picnic tables through the trees when we sit at our dining table. The park is small enough that the boys can wonder, but large enough that I don’t feel like I am sharing someone’s tent with them.

I love this time of year for us, we relax and this is our happy place. For a while now I have felt restless and wanted to travel abroad. I have wanted to see other places and cultures. I had a conversation with an 85 year old lady that was holidaying in a caravan next to us. She was telling me that she had been coming here for 50 years. This was where her and her husband honeymooned, how they drove down a dirt track and camped in a tent. That there was one shower for women and one for men, and she hated the line-up. She told me how her 3 daughters grew up here on school holidays and her 11 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild are doing the same. She told me how they book out 5 camp sites over Easter for 10 days and the whole family holiday together, everyone cooks, surfs, fishes, walks together. There are people coming and going all day, every day. She told me how her and her husband struggled to put their girls through school, they had hard times and good. There has been sickness, arguments, weddings, and births. But they always holiday together at Easter and Christmas school holidays the couple are here for three weeks on the same sight they have booked for 30 years. She told me that last weekend the majority of the family showed up. This wasn’t organised she said everyone wanted to check on the couple. She said she sat at the plastic fold out table with her daughters and a granddaughter eating fresh fish caught by her husband and she told me how grateful she was to have a beautiful family.

I cried, she rubbed my hand and said you will have the same darling.

Post 96

Post 96

For this post I flicked through the dictionary and the word that came up for me was “Uncomfortable” – adjective

  • Causing or feeling slight pain or physical discomfort.
  • Causing or feeling unease or awkwardness.

I was a bit miffed actually that this was the word that appeared to me. I was hoping for a word that I had never heard of. Something intelligent, or a word that sounded lovely or something with deep meaning. So I sat with the word rattling around in my head.

Then I got to thinking about the meaning and how I had experienced some unease and awkwardness over the last few days.

In post 94 I wrote about a road trip that I had done with my little family. We drove 566 kilometres to collect my first born. He had been holidaying with my dad for the first week of his school holidays. I was agitated and a little cranky the whole drive out. See it is the first time that I have slept in the same house as my Dad and his partner since he left our family when I was 14. We have had dinner and lunch a couple of times and I never find it a pleasant experience. When we finally arrived at my dad’s place he was ecstatic to see us. I was glad to see him but extremely uncomfortable. Thankfully there are hot springs in the town at the aquatic centre so after a quick hello and grabbing my kid we fled to the water. The look on dads face told me that he was a bit hurt that I was running away so quickly. We went to the local Christmas carols and I honestly just couldn’t be myself. I kept comparing everything that was happening to when I was a child. I don’t remember him once taking us to anything remotely like carols. I could feel the resentment like a boulder in my chest, and I knew at the time my face and mannerisms weren’t polite. I struggled to engage in conversation with anyone, aside from my rock of a husband who could see how much I was struggling. Dad introduced us to his friends, and I smiled and nodded as politely as I could and discreetly left the conversation. It sounds so immature to be like this as a 37 year old woman, I just couldn’t stop the chatter that was in my head about that family driven childhood that I had wished for and only now being on the receiving end of it with my father and me as a wife and mother. The next morning after a sleepless night, I crept around in the dark, getting showered and packing my families belongings. I saw the surprise on my dad’s face that we were preparing to leave before 6.00am. These encounters with my dad and his partner that he left our family for, makes me lose my voice. I can talk for hours on the phone with my dad, but put me at a breakfast table with them and I may as well me choking on the food for the amount of ability I have in forming sentences. By the time we climbed in the car I was feeling sad for my dad. I knew he wanted more from me on this trip – I just couldn’t connect and be the daughter that he wanted over those couple of days. I was in a foul mood the whole seven hours home with unanswered questions running rampant.

This experience was followed two days later by another experience that caused unease and awkwardness. It was a job interview, I was interviewing to keep the job that I currently work in. I am great at my job (way to toot my own horn), I have 15 years experience doing the job. Yes I left it for a while but was still in the same type of job in the same field. I went into the interview with a dry mouth and a pounding heart. After I met the three women on the panel that I had never seen before and the chair of the interview asked the first question. All knowledge of my job evaporated from my brain. My actual thought was have I even done this job before. I took a deep breath and started rambling, I was pulling out words and examples from everywhere. At one point I think that I completely was off track but just kept using key words like team, experience, ethics, confidentiality, infection control, work place health and safety. This awkwardness went on for the five questions that was the whole interview and about half an hour. At the end, one of the ladies on the panel said “ok, you can breathe now”. I walked out feeling uneasy and like such a failure, and so pissed off. Annoyed with myself for not going into that office and being completely confident in the interview for a job that I know backwards. And pissed off with the whole situation. It pisses me off that it will be decided by someone that has never done my job – if I am capable of it and they are happy to give me a permanent position, that they get to decide if I get to keep my job so that I can put my kids through school. I was frustrated with myself on the drive home that I hadn’t made better choices and made myself a bit more uncomfortable and got out of my comfort zone so that I wouldn’t be in this position.  That perhaps I could’ve spent my precious time on an endeavour of my own, where I get to decide what is right for me and my family.

As I thought more about the word uncomfortable, the more that I realised that the more unease and awkward I feel the more I grow and change. The more I want to grow and change so that the unease and awkwardness at that moment is replaced and I can move onto more unease and awkward situations. Sounds uncomfortable doesn’t it.

Post 95

Post 95.

I mentioned in my last post that I am an introvert, however I have done some research and I am actually an ambivert.

a person who has a balance of extrovert and introvert features in their personality.

A couple of weeks ago I went out for dinner with some mums from school. There was 8 of us and I chatted and laughed and would’ve stayed out longer, if I didn’t have to take kids to cricket at 7.00am the next morning. At 7.00am the next morning I sat on my fold out camp chair under a tree and watched my boy play cricket, this was after I had said a quick hello to the team parents and paid the weekly fee for the end of year party.

The difference is the mums that I went to dinner with I have got to know over a long period of time. I have slowly and at my own comfortable pace got to know them and love them. The lady that I talk about in my blog all the time as my bestie, literally had to force herself on me to actually get me to open up and chat to her. I am glad she persisted otherwise I wouldn’t have my lovely friend.

The mums in the cricket team I have only met this season and am not comfortable just inserting myself in their conversation.

See once I get to know people, I am very extroverted and happy to hold a conversation and hang out. My core group of family and friends, I absolutely love to death. I find stimulating, deep and meaning conversation one of life’s biggest joys. I do however like to spend time on my own, and find it draining and stressful if I have a particularly busy week with social engagements. I get nervous and anxious meeting new people or people that I haven’t seen for a while. If I am going to a party or event where I don’t know many people, I always want to cancel. I don’t though. Part of the reason that I started this blog was to try and open myself up a bit more. The #sistertribe posts that are on the blog, are another way of me being a bit more extroverted. I find them extremely stressful, the interview and the writing but also rewarding.

 

I found a few other characteristics of an ambivert below:

  1. When you’re out in the world, you’re probably not going to be starting conversations with strangers.
  2. When a topic of interest comes up in conversation, you’re more than happy to talk in great detail about it. But as soon as that’s done, you’ll happily sit listening to the conversation without saying another word.
  3. Spending too much time with other people can be exhausting.
  4. Your calm, controlled professional self feels like a very different person to the one your friends see.
  5. Small talk is something that annoys you, because while you can do it, there are instances when it feels a bit insincere.
  6. Some weekends, you just need to spend some time hanging out on your own. And some of the best weekends of your life have been when you didn’t go home for three days.
  7. You’re known to be quite intuitive and good at picking up signals that other people can miss.
  8. Often, you just find yourself observing what’s happening around you.

Post 94

Post 94

We have just walked in the door from a two day road trip to pick up boy 1. He went to stay with my dad in Western Queensland for his first week of school holidays. The trip was about 7 hours travelling. The roads are long, the weather is hot, hot 43 degrees hot, my legs got sunburnt in the car and I was still sweating even though we had the air-con blasting. We saw more road trains on the road, than cars and the land looked as though it would self-combust. We drank 2 litres of water each on the way out, we stopped for a picnic because I refused to buy take-away and then sit in the car and feel bloated and sick, we stopped for lamingtons that are supposed to be famous for the area. I found them two big and a bit dry. We stopped in one of the major towns along the way and visited my sister and niece while they waited for their car to have a service. We walked to the pub on the corner on a melting road, the newly renovated pub had the air-con set to the perfect temperature and an Elderberry gin spritzer went down easily.

We got to my dad’s and my son nearly bowled me over with enthusiasm that I hadn’t seen in him for a long time. He wanted to spend some time with just his father and I for a while. We went to the Great Artesian Spa, and had a soak in the thermal mineralised artesian waters. We were the only ones in the aquatic centre and after getting into the pool, we knew why. It was as hot in the water as out of the water. However we paid $24 for the 3 of us to get in, so we were getting our money’s worth. We switched between the hot pool and the cooler pool, the first few minutes that we floated around in the water was actually relaxing to float in after a hot 7 hour drive. Until road trains full of cattle heading into the store sales in the next town started flying down the street directly past the pool.

After this we headed back to my dad’s place, a fair bit later than we said we would be. He wanted to take the boys to Christmas in the park. Which was as we found out; a sausage sizzle, raffle, bar, and school kids singing Christmas carols. Nice for the town folk, who being country people are extremely friendly, welcoming and will happily chat to a city slicker. But not something that we would go to where we live. I sat and listened to the carols with my husband on a park bench, slowing sipping a beer and watched the locals mingle, after nearly every single person I met said “oh you must be …………………………. (insert my middle sisters name)” “ahh no” and then the awkward “oh, we haven’t heard about you, where are you from”?

Me being my introverted self, felt almost claustrophobic watching everyone. Everyone knew everyone, everyone chatted and caught up and then moved on to the next group of people. This would seriously give me anxiety if I lived here and knew every time I walked down the street I would see someone I know. I definitely like living where I have my core people and everyone else is a stranger.

Post 92

Good Morning

4.20am 3rd December 2016. I am writing this on my break at work, yes on nights again. I am up to post 92 and trying to finish this 100 days of writing as fast as I can.

Tonight has gone surprisingly quickly, I started at 11.00am and there has been a steady stream of work, coffee, toilet stops, chatting about well anything and everything. I have music going which isn’t really helping my pounding headache, but is keeping me awake. A bit like the flashing Santa lights directly in front of me. The children’s play room has been cordoned off and completely cleaned out and has been filled with a Christmas scene – there is a fire place with Santa on top, Christmas stockings hanging off the fire place, there is spray on paint around the windows and a red and silver decorated tree. It looks very festive. I will go home this morning and put up our tree with boy 2 and deck the house out with Christmas paraphernalia before I go to bed.

Looking out passed the Christmas decorations to the car park, the sun isn’t here yet, the day is just beginning darkness is gone and there is light. That would have to be one of the only good things about working through the night, seeing the sun rise and the beginning of a new day. Having said that, on my drive home from working in the dark, I do feel as though I have an axe in my forehead and my eyes feel like they are burning exactly like the time that I accidentally bleached them.

I have just made a terrible coffee that looks like dirty water and tastes bitter. I have a piece of lemon slice that I was offered from another staff member. That’s another thing about night duty – the food. Bench tops and desks are usually covered in Tupperware filled with baking, lollies, chips and dip.

Heat packs, the hot little reds bags are one of my favourite things on night duty. I usually have one down the front and back of my shirt. If I wear the right bra, I can even walk around and work with them attached to me.

Oh don’t get me started on when the day shift walk in. I love them, like really love them and honestly tell them that, as soon as I see there fresh, wide awake faces ready to take over from me so I can go home to bed. Nearly time for me to go home to bed know. – Good night. x

Post 91

For the last 3 years we have hooked up our camper trailer and driven south down the highway to Northern New South Wales to a little place south of Byron Bay. The caravan park where we stay is tucked in between a headland and the beach. The camp ground doesn’t have many facilities in itself but the location is perfect. To get our favourite camp site we need to a year in advance. The dates that we have stayed have meant that the same people have been there each year. One lady that comes to mind when I think of Broken Head has stayed at the park at the same time of year for over 60 years, all of her children and grandchildren have spent summers at the park and her husband actually passed away there, on their annual holiday. She is an expert on the weather, she out fishes the men and can be seen walking the beach everyday.

We spend our time on holiday walking over the headland in the morning, going for a swim or a surf on the way back to camp, we usually have a nanna nap, go back to the beach for more swimming after lunch, then it is “happy hour” with cheese and wine before heading back to the beach for a late afternoon fishing and a pipi hunting session. Then back to camp and cooking on gas oven, with ingredients and produce from the fridge that we take with us, we have a comfortable set up with lots of shade, the boys sleep in their own tents, and we cover our camp site with 100’s of fairy lights making it shine brilliantly.

With mostly the same people camping in the park at the same time each holidays, my boys look forward each year to catching up with their mates from all over Australia. They spend their days, at the beach, in the park, going from camp site to camp site catching up and getting to know families. The group of mostly boys in the mornings head up to the camp kitchen and cook and feast on pancakes. Most days I have to actually remind them to eat and I always insist that they are back at our camp site for dinner; otherwise I would never for the whole holiday see my children.

One of my absolute favourite things is getting comfy in my queen size bed in the camper trailer and listening to the ocean as I fall asleep, going for long walks with my little family and practising yoga on the beach is pretty high on the list as well. The 16 days that we are away each year, living a healthy lifestyle of eating beautiful food, being active everyday, spending time together is my favourite time of the year.

Post 90

Post 90

 

Date days became part of our relationship when hubby was working away. We would devote one of his 5 days off for the month to us. Sometimes it was to go out for lunch or a movie, days we spent at home eating nice food and wine, one day we took a train to the city and ate really bad yum char. Another day we hiked a mountain with me cursing him the whole way because I hate that mountain.  Most of the time it was to the beach. There were some days when I was incredibly excited to go on a date with him and other days when it was not something that I wanted to do.

We went on a date this week to the beach. We haven’t seen each other for a while, he works in the morning starting at 6.00am and I start in the afternoon at 3.00pm, so there are a lot of text messages and I hear is voice more than I see his face. And this week when we went to the beach it was only for a couple of hours after we dropped boy 2 at school as I had to again start work at 3.00pm.

He surfed and I fried myself on the beach, we swam and I lost my bikini top in the dumping waves. We ran along the beach with our feet burning on the hot sand all the way to the car. We hiked up a hill and admired the ocean as we stood beside the lighthouse. On our way back to the car we passed a park with on the side of a hill with bench seats scattered throughout for people to be able to sit and stare at the ocean. It seemed it was date day for a lot of couples. We had a bit of a giggle and it made me feel as though we are on the right track with these date days as we saw the bench seats filled with oldies holding hands admiring each other and the ocean.

Post 89

Post 89

I asked a Instagram group that I am apart of to give me some topics to write about one of them was

Mom life tips (I know Aussies spell it Mum)

Where to begin!!!!

Always follow your own instincts. You are the vessel in which your babe has come from. You are the one that knows what is best for your child. From conception you have mother instincts, follow them.

The moment you find out you’re pregnant mother guilt sets in. On some days that bitch will kick your ass. On other days you will be on top. It is a part of your mothering gift. Don’t worry about it. It means you care.

Everyone and their mother will have an opinion on what you should be doing, when and how. Only pick out the advice that you need, don’t try and do every. single. thing.

When I had my first boy everyone would say “sleep when the baby sleeps” this drove me effing crazy, because my kid never slept. And when he was asleep I would have a shower or throw a load of clothes in the washing machine, while the whole time thinking “I should be sleeping while he is sleeping”. But it equally stressed me out when I would quickly jump into bed and try and sleep when he slept. In the end I did what was right for me on that day.

Talk to other mums. Your mum, grandma, aunts, girlfriends, anyone. Have adult conversations, don’t always talk about the baby.

In our house we have always lived by the rule – there are no secrets in the house. This means answering all questions honestly and openly and being prepared for more hard questions. My boy’s are 14 and 11. So far it seems to be working. And sometimes I wonder if I am being too open and blunt with them.

If you have boys let them be boys. Let them move and climb and throw balls and ride skate boards and go fishing, light fires ( within reason), mow the grass, chop wood. Their basic instincts are to be Neanderthals, to use and develop gross motor skills.

From a young age teach boys to be gentlemen – I do not let mine swear in the house, from the time they learnt to talk they have been taught to use manners, they are to be respectful to women, they must always kiss and cuddle any women in their family hello and goodbye. They are my muscle if I need to move things or carry things.

Read to them and read widely. Lots of genres, books, magazines, newspapers.

Let them see emotion. My boys have seen me laugh, cry, grieve, be angry, they have seen their father and I argue and they have seen us apologise to each other.

Always know what is going on with them, ask specific questions like “who sat next to you at lunch time?” “give me an example of one thing you learnt at school today”

Love them every day. Every morning my boys have had a good morning kiss and cuddle. I read somewhere once that a mother should never be the first one to pull away from the embrace with their child. Let the child break it. I have lived by this because sometimes they just need to hold on for that little bit longer.

 

 

Post 88

Post 88

The feature photo is a dragon fruit cactus. Boy 2 has a diverse palate and will try absolutely anything that is put in front of him. He has a soft spot though for fruit. A friend of his bought a pink oval shaped fruit to school to show my boy. If you think of a pear it is a similar shape. The flesh of the fruit that boy 2 had a taste of was white with black seeds and has the consistency of a kiwi fruit. Apparently the dragon fruit that has its origins in Mexico, is full of numerous nutrients, including Vitamin C, phosphorus, calcium, fiber and is high in antioxidants. From the first spoonful my youngest boy loved dragon fruit. So much so that he wanted to start growing them. We live in a sub-tropical area and the medium to large cactus seems to grow well here.

We were travelling home from western Queensland and boy 2 was yelling at us to stop the car. Now my boy gets car sick so of course we pull over at a ridiculous speed, because we have been there and done that with vomit all through the car. He wasn’t car sick at all, there was a fruit shop on the side of the road with dragon fruit plants for sale out the front. So after the initial “are you kidding me” had worn off. My husband went and purchased my son two dragon fruit plants.

He has nurtured his plants, he has fertilized them, and watered them and at one point even built a bamboo fence around them to protect them from our dog. He has sculptured them so they now look like works of art.

In saying all of this and how delicious the fruit is and how artistic the plant looks, we found out recently that it can take up to six years for the plant to bear fruit. My boy has a long wait for his treasured fruit, but I am sure he will enjoy the first bight after all of his hard work.

Post 87

Post 87

 

Happy summer, December 1st. I love summer, I get excited about the heat and the energy and the movement of summer – like running across sand when it is burning my feet, racing into the ocean so my skin stops burning, the way I launch of the seat in the 1975 Valiant with vinyl seats when it fries the backs of my legs. School is finished, holidays are here, cricket is endless and days and weeks are spent at the beach. Skin is brown and our lifestyle feels healthy and active. We eat light food and eat it outside, we have bonfires and seek relief from the heat in the afternoon under big leafy trees. The days are longer and feels refreshing to wake up with the sun, I enjoy waking up in the heat, it’s a motivator for me to get out and get the day moving early. The feel of grass crunching under my feet, the baked feeling of clothes off the clothes line, the burn of my skin when I step outside, the refreshing feeling of drinking water to stay hydrated. Light and airy clothes, bikini’s and togs, thongs on my feet, fruit that is juicy and the essence of the seasonal delicacy runs down my arm as I bite into it. The excitement of Santa, the twinkling of Christmas lights, the white noise of the fan or air-con while trying to sleep.

Maybe I love all of this because I am a fire sign (I am not a big believer in all of that – because whenever I read any descriptions on being an Aries none of it sounds like me), but maybe the time, date and year of my birth is what puts the fire in my belly in summer and the heat makes me feel alive and refreshed. Because winter sends me in the opposite direction. I feel bogged down and heavy, the clothes, the food, and the short days. I feel myself starting to go into hibernation around my birthday in March

So cheers to summer.

 

Post 86

Post 86

Second last day of school for 2016 for boy 2 today. Today he formally says goodbye to, two of his closest friends, one that he has grown and had adventures with since he started at kindy when he was 18 months old. The other he has been at the same kindy and school the whole time but only became friends with about 3 years ago. My big, little guy, I call him this because he is as tall as me and has bigger feet than me but is still only 11 and the baby of the family. He is not a book learner, give him something to do with his hands or an activity or task where he can move around and he is keen to learn anything.   This is my boys nature, even as a toddler I would read to him and he would politely close the book, while I was reading it to him and walk away or just start playing with a toy that caught his attention. Ask him a mathematics question and he spills the answer without even thinking. We made a decision early on in primary school to keep him down a grade than where he should be at. I initially, felt extremely stressed over the decision but the stress was more my ego and fears about him socially than anything to actually do with my boy. He seemed at peace with the choice and has since started listing a number of positives, with being older than his class mates.  He is excited as he will be able to get his learners licence in year 10 and he will be able to drive himself to school by the middle of year 11. He is also pointed out that he will be 18 when he goes to schoolies. I recently asked him how he really felt about not moving onto high school next year and he said with a shrug of his shoulders “I’m glad”. He didn’t elaborate and I didn’t want to hound him.

He wrote his goodbye speech to the oldest of his friends, he was a bit stressed about it because he wanted it to sound worthy of his friend and their friendship. I asked him to bring it home so I could help him with it, but he wanted to do it on his own. He asked if he could get a haircut for the assembly today, his father took him to the barber yesterday and is looking incredibly handsome. When I woke this morning he asked if I could drop him at school early to practice his speech and be prepared for a meeting of next year’s seniors that was being held at 8.30am.

I have my tissues and camera packed in my hand bag for the 1.00pm event.

Post 85

 

Post 85

I am sitting in the Coffee club across the road from the tyre shop, where my car is currently being fitted with some new rubber. We are going to be doing a lot of driving over the next few weeks and we are able to claim the amount back from our salary sacrifice arrangement. So on go the new tyres on the first day of summer.

I dropped off boy 2 at school and went to boy 1’s school to drop off the school blazer that he has worn maybe twice,  to have the left pocket embroidered with the cricket and rugby union premiership awards for 2016. One of my most treasured friends is the school receptionist, so was a great excuse to have a chat with her. We once upon a time worked together. Mostly on night duty. We met at work in 2002. I had been working in outpatients for about a year, I was pregnant and had awful morning sickness , so I started at 11am, I walked through a big heavy security door in to the area this morning and was nearly bowled over by the new girl, who grabbed my arms, and in a frantic voice asked ” do you work here?”. And that’s were our friendship started.

My husband text me this morning and I said I was going to see her and drop off boy 1’s jacket, his response was ” I will ring and change the tyres to next week!”. He knows how much we can talk. Like seriously talk for hours and hours. Unfortunately she was at work and I couldn’t hang out at her desk for hours chatting like we did when we worked at the  same desk .

So I am sitting in coffee club, sipping on an iced latte. I don’t usually buy cold drinks, but well it’s day 1 of summer and about 33 degrees. Michael Buble and Mariah Carey singing Christmas carols are the soundtrack to my coffee stop .

Post 84

Boy 1 is not here for the week, he is sweating it out in western Queensland with my dad. He was keen to go and stay with my Dad for this week, I think he thought that if he went out bush he would be given a little more freedom and not have his nagging mother on his back.  Because that is all I feel like I have done the last few weeks as well. Constantly reminding him of homework, assignments, work, cricket, cricket training, wearing the correct uniform to school, stop wrestling with your brother, don’t talk back, blah, blah, blah.

No wonder the kid jumped in the back of my dad’s car and barely said goodbye, after I wrapped him in my arms for longer than he was comfortable with and peppered kisses all over his face. He is not a touchy, feely kid so this show of affection didn’t sit well with him. My arms and heart ached when they drove out of my driveway, I stood there in bare feet and my nightie – because that is how early they had to leave, and watched the silver V8 four wheel drive power down our street. I text and left several message on both of their phones that first day, but with limited service where they were going I didn’t receive an answer. I finally talked to my dad about 12 hours after they had left and my boy was in the shower. I reminded my dad that his eldest grandson loves a long, hot shower and to remind him not to use all the water. I got the usual “he’ll be right” from my dad. He has been gone 3 days now and I miss his energy and presence in the house. I miss his face and his demands. I talked to him this morning and my heart melted at hearing his voice. He was absolutely fine and his usual self. He was getting ready for the day and sounded too busy to talk, but I piled on the questions.

“Are you ok?”

“Yes”

“Have you been sleeping ok?”

“Yes”

“What are you doing today?”

“Changing tyres”

“Please remember to drink lots of water”

“Yes, its going to be 44 here on Saturday”

“I will ring you tonight from work”

“Ok, gotta go”

“ok love you lots”

“bye”

“Bye, mate, love you”.

Post 83

Post 83

Our block of land has trees absolutely overflowing with birds. All types of feathered friends, kookaburras, cockatoos, king parrots, magpies,
butcher birds, owls and lorikeets. It can get very noisy, colourful and a privilege to see so much wildlife hanging out at our home. I often stand with a cuppa coffee at the windows that line the back of our house and watch the crazy antics of the birds, from
a distance. From a distance because I don’t like birds anywhere near me, not just wild birds, I am the same with our chickens. I am happy to throw food over the fence but that is about it. The few times that I have had to feed them, in their pen I look like
a big bird flapping my wings and making enough noise that they will not come near me. The black chook despite my efforts to scare her still pecks my feet – what a bitch, I am feeding her for god sake. I remember as a child going to some sort of zoo or bird
sanctuary and being absolutely paralysed with fear, when a bird came near me.  

 

So imagine my absolute horror when at work I receive a photo and a text message to say that my eldest son has rescued a baby lorikeet that fell
out of its nest that was in a tree in our backyard. This one text set off a flurry of responses along the line of “get rid of the bird”, “you have to make a choice, it’s the bird or me”, “call someone qualified to look after your patient”. My whole work day
was  interrupted and I was freaking internally for my whole shift as my family kept torturing me with photos of their feathery friend. My children with the bird on their head, my husband with the biggest smile on his face holding the little green ball of feathers
and the caged bird in my living room. One that said I would break boy 2’s heart if I said it had to go. I sent one back saying I was willing to risk my kid having a broken heart.

 

I woke the next morning to the bird crying, I don’t know if birds cry but it sounded like it was crying for its mother. I am finished with crying
babies, and I hate birds so was not thrilled to be woken with the cries of a baby bird. For now I seem to have lost the battle of the bird and it is still living with us. I am trying to be nice to it, I did approach the cage twice to look at it and both times
it has shit all over the bottom of the cage. Maybe it’s as scared of me as I am of it.

Post 82

Post 82

If you follow my blog at all you know that I have coffee with the school mums on a Wednesday morning. Friday night we branched out and went out for Thai and cocktails and hot chocolate as dessert. My bestie is leaving us this week for the big smoke and a much cooler and hipper part of South East Queensland.  I called it the “we love you and will be stalking you in West End dinner” (this is not a goodbye). Eight of us dressed up, left husbands and kids at home, and carpooled to Kinn thai restaurant.

Eight mums on the loose with Thai and cocktails can get pretty rowdy, and oh what fun we had. We sipped on cocktails to start with. I had a red angel, it was a bright red cocktail that came in a bottle, with a martini glass. Unbelievable value at $15 and I got, I think about 5 decadent drinks out of it. We ordered dishes that lined the middle of the table and filled our plates with massamun beef, chilly jam crispy soft shell crabs, stir fried Asian greens, chilli green peppercorn eggplant, pumpkin stir fried, pad thai, steamed rice. We moaned and salivated and piled more meat and veg on our plates, we encouraged each other to try each and every dish. The food was great, the restaurant was lively and hectic, the drinks and food arrived promptly, and the staff were friendly, the meal was good value for money. The eight of us chatted and laughed at either end of the table.

We moved next door for dessert, to the Chocolatier, I ordered an Azteca chilli hot chocolate. The dynamics changed as we sat at the outside tables, and chatted to different friends than at the Thai restaurant. If anything we became louder as the conversation morphed from kids, husbands, school holidays and house building to tattoos, penises, boobs, and bras.

Friday night dinner and cocktails was a successful as Wednesday coffee. It was a loud and happy send off for our beautiful friend and including some of her favourite things. Good friends, great conversation, scrumptious food and drinks, in a fun setting. I will be sure to write another blog post when the Cabo mums dine with her in West End.

 

 

Post 81

Post 81

I was up to my elbows in healthy ingredients: bananas, berries, apple sauce, apple juice, apple cider vinegar, vanilla extract, chia seeds, oat bran and flax seeds, when I did some baking during the week. I have been looking for recipes to make for afternoon tea that fill my boy’s bellies. Something healthy, something filling and not full of sugar. I needed something to keep them out of the kitchen for five minutes. They love smoothies when they get home from school, the big cups of creamy berry goodness fills them up, but I was looking for something else. Other snacks we have in the afternoon are cheese and biscuits, fruit, pies, sandwiches, brownies, popcorn. This recipe was included in an email I received from DailyOM, a yoga website that I subscribe to that has some full on shred yoga sessions.  I sweat and move my way through the yoga sessions, I read all of the motivational lessons that Madisyn sends via email. This recipe that was sent through for the very healthy, almost sugar free muffins, was terrible. The aroma filling my kitchen while they were baking in my oven, had everyone hanging out in the kitchen waiting for them to baked. They were barely cool enough to eat when one of my boys stuffed one his mouth and then almost immediately spat it out.  The muffins didn’t have the same fluffy shape as the not so healthy ones that I usually make, that have flour in them, they were a completely different texture.  The bananas, berries and apple sauce sounded delicious combined in a muffin to go with my arvo coffee and chat with my kids.   No these flat pieces of healthiness were bland, oh my god, so bland. The chickens loved them and I whipped up a really early dinner to stop my darlings eating every single item in my pantry.

Post 80

I stood in Woolies flicking through a home style magazine and the focus for the current edition of the glossy mag was hallways. My hallway is its own living, breathing beauty. The breeze in summer flows through the front door, and down the hall, streams into the living room at the end cooling the house.  The cold winds in winter bluster down the hallway and up through the tiny gaps in the floor, meaning my house is like a big wooden freezer. The boards on the floor moan and creak in places. Places that my boys haven’t learnt not to tread on when they are leaving their rooms and are trying to sneak along the hallway passed my bedroom – usually at 5.00am to play on the Play station. The main artery of my home has been used for a cricket pitch – this activity was not consented by me, it has been used for a photo shoot, when my boys were tiny tots, they raced matchbox cars down the hall, at times they have tried to ride scooters and skateboards down the wooden floor. The house is not level, making it a fun game to roll marbles down floorboards.  My husband and I spent a whole week painting the thirteen foot VJ walls, every single board. There’s also decorative features above the doors, two arch ways and a centre arch of decorative painted columns and moulding, picture rails that give character and are a standard feature of the Queenslander home. I haven’t in the time we have been in the house been able to decide on the perfect light fittings to light up our dark hallway. In saying that though, I have threatened several times to tape up the light switch as every single time boy one walks into the hallway he turns on the lights – every single time, day or night, it drives me mental. On several occasions I have been at our gate about to leave for the day, and sent boy 1 back to turn off the lights that I can see shining through the glass that surrounds the front door and swinging window above the door.  I also want two hall runners to line the floor, the ones that I want to sink my feet into are wool and silk Persian rugs, I need two of them. No surprise then that my floor is still bare.

Post 79

Post 78

 

I spent time on my yoga mat this morning. Stretching my muscles, my breathing, my mind.  I lost all thought and flowed, I flowed with the movements, the breath, the up and down. Letting everything go, breathing in light and energy, breathing out negativity. The breeze flowed around me in my lounge room, my hardwood floors were, where I planted my feet and followed the instruction to ground down through the earth. I bowed down and worshipped the sun, in the power sun salutation flow. I surrendered to the uncomfortable stressed feeling in my mind and body and worked through them as I :

 

1.       Breathe in, Breathe out bring hands to prayer at heart space

 

2.       Breathe in, bring hands above head, lift through chest

 

3.       Breathe out, bend forward, bending knees, bring hands beside feet

 

4.       Breathe in, take right foot back into lunge.

 

5.       Breathe out, take left foot back into downward dog

 

6.       No breath, into 8 point pose – toes, knees, hands, chest, chin to floor

 

7.       Breathe in, into cobra – lifting through chest

 

8.       Breathe out, into downward dog

 

9.       Breathe in, right leg through to hands into lunge.

 

 

10.   Breathe out, left leg through to meet right into forward bend

 

11.   Breathe in, coming up, sweep hands above head, lift through chest

 

12. Breathe out, hands to prayer at heart space.

I sweated and I repeated the sequence, my muscles quivered, my breathing laboured, it was hard work. In the final savasana, I closed my eyes and enjoyed the buzzing in my body and my energy. The rest of the morning, I was loose limbed, and relaxed, positive and motivated.

 

Post 78

Post 78

 

My husband sent me a text this morning. “Morning babe, you look hot today.” So I sent him back the feature photo on this post with “thanks love you – def don’t look hot this am, pulling my hair out over a kid who doesn’t want to do his spelling words”. This photo is my reality this morning, 6.00am I am telling one boy to get off this PlayStation and go and feed the chickens please. And I have the other one still in bed. The kettle over the gas element so far has taken 7 minutes to boil – I put too much water in there. Wednesday means homework is due in and spelling words need to be tested, for boy 2. Boy 1 eventually drags himself out of bed and starts getting ready for school at a snail’s pace.

The moment in time that this photo was taken I had just been screaming at boy 1 to get out of the shower, as  he had been in their for about 10 minutes, boy 2 was standing in front of me asking me to sign his spelling words untested. I had only had half a cup of coffee, and the dog tried to sneak through the door and sleep in the lounge room. What a morning, we filed out the door at 8.00am with boy 1 coming in the car with me so I can drop him at school and boy 2 riding along the path to his school.

Wednesday, means Wednesday coffee with the girls. We had to change venue today as our usual haunt is being renovated. We went to the local library and enjoyed a coffee at the café outside. I always claim that I am not a great school mum. However I had always thought that being the great school mum meant hanging around at the school all the time and being part of the carpark mafia. I was sitting at coffee this morning and looking at all of my lovely school mum friends as we sat and inhaled coffee, debriefed on our morning, recommended books about teenagers, and outlined school holiday plans. I love my little school mum crew catch ups on a Wednesday and am so grateful for them – love you ladies. We are a mixed bunch, of badass Mums (we still have to see that movie).

Post 77

Post 77

 

I am not a shopper. I actually can’t stand wandering the shops. However, I had a great time Christmas shopping for my family yesterday. I love gift giving and finding nice things to give to the people that I love. And most of the people that I buy for are girls, which is such a treat, I enjoyed trying to decide what to buy. The children in my family always receive books from me at Christmas, and I have a hard time making a choice when it comes to only buying one book. I spent most of my time while shopping in the book aisle and then moved on to the book shops.

My fingers itch to hold and flick through every book in a book shop. I would spend hours amongst the shelves of books if I could. I actually avoid book stores if I am shopping with someone else, I like to just be able to meander around and scan through the books and words and get lost in the different genres of books in the shop, on my own at my leisure.

I picked up the book Anne of Green Gables yesterday and it made me think of the photos that I had looked at the day before on a work colleague’s phone. She had actually visited the house where the story was set – Prince Edward Island, Canada. I love that about books– the inspiration they stir, the thoughts that they spark, that they stimulate conversations, and provide holiday destinations.

So next year 2017, will be the year of book giving, for my family and friends. For birthdays and Christmas everyone will be receiving a book, I can see and almost hear the eye rolls now. If any of you are reading this, send me lists of books you want to read and I will endeavour to get them. Maybe not all of them will be brand new books, some may be from second hand stores. But I will be giving books next year – early warning.  I will get to spend time in books shops, you know that it will be a well thought out gift and you get to read. Win- win for us both.

Post 76

Post 76

 

On a bit of a roll with writing at the moment and feeling motivated on this sunshiny Monday. Really early start to the day, after getting home at midnight last night from work. Parent/ teacher interview this morning at 7.45am. I always get nervous going to these things, bit like going to the Principals office really – not that I ever went to the principal’s office and not sure why I get nervous, the teachers are lovely . Anyway I got dressed in what I thought at the time of buying them, were a cute pair of blue overalls. When I walked past the glass doors at the school this morning, I looked like I was going to start painting the new building that is currently being constructed. I waited until 8.05am no teacher, so I left the parent/teacher interview with no interview. My husband is on a school excursion with the teacher today so he can chat to her at some point.

I did a quick pop into Woolies for more bread, milk. Had a de-brief on the phone to my bestie, made a cuppa, did some washing and got to writing. I stalked around on Facebook for a while and found a post that Daphne posted – Screw finding your passion by Mark Manson. Mark’s writing style is in your face, laced with the word fuck throughout and pretty much tells you to pull your head out of your ass and be realistic. I love it.

The common complaint among a lot of these people is that they need to ‘find their passion.’

I call bullshit. You already found your passion, you’re just ignoring it. Seriously, you’re awake 16 hours a day, what the fuck do you do with your time? You’re doing something, obviously. You’re talking about something. There’s some topic or activity or idea that dominates a significant amount of your free time, your conversations, your web browsing, and it dominates them without you consciously pursuing it or looking for it.

Womankind also had a similar article in Issue 10 – the one that I am published in (page 77). The article is “How do you measure your life”, by Madeleine Dore. “For modern people, stalked by their choices, the good life is a life lived to the full. We become obsessed, in a new way, by what is missing in our lives; and by what sabotages the pleasures that we seek” (this was a quote she used from the book “In missing out; In Praise of the Unlived life”, Adam Phillips.  The article prompts readers to think about how they measure their lives: Is it day by day or year by year? Do you measure the mountains you climbed or the valleys you explored? By the dreams imagined on the hopes dashed? By the wealth accumulated or by amount you have spent?

My motivation fix for today. Have a great Monday everyone.

Post 75

Post 75

It’s not even summer yet and it is hot. Baking hot, my clean sheets were dry and baked on the clothes line, before I was able to hang the next load of washing out. I love when I can feel the sun burning your skin when you walk outside, when the brown grass crackles and spikes into my bare feet, when the temperature is still cool inside our Queenslander home, but I can see the heat out in the yard.

I was in the baking sun, walking on my own piece of the land in bare feet that kept getting spiked with grass, gum nuts, leaves and bark. I watered the plants in our new garden that were wilting in the heat, it is next to the stairs at the front of our house and I wanted into look pretty so we filled it with a combination of plants and flowers from both of our families. There are geraniums from my grandma and papa, there are more geraniums from my husband’s aunt and uncle, and there is a frangipani tree that was my great-grandmothers on my father’s side, hydrangeas from me to my husband and a hydrangea that mum gifted my husband for his birthday. In other parts of our garden, I have a jade plant from my great-grandmother on mum’s side. I have a king orchid from my great-grandfather on dad’s side of the family. I have bromeliads from a lady that I work with.  Every time l look at these plants I think of the people they are associated with.

I was given some advice on families today when I chatted to a 102 year old lady. She is a tiny lady in stature, but has a big spirit. She is completely independently mobile and her mind as sharp as a tack. I asked her what her secret to living so long is. She laughed and said she gets asked this question all the time. She told me hard work and a loving family.

Post 74

Post 74

This week I feel that I’ve been the mother that continually makes demands from her kids. It really did feel like every time that I spoke to my
offspring, it was too ask them to do something.

 

“Put your tie and belt on”

 

“get ready for school.”

 

“get ready for work”

 

” have you got your homework”

 

We had a blow up about an assignment that was due in and it was not great, it was no where near the standard that he is capable of. Sitting at
cricket today, my head wanted to explode in frustration with the way my boy was playing cricket, he wasn’t playing to the best of his ability and was walking around the pitch waving his bat and not hitting the ball. I was the crazy mother on the boundary telling
him what to do. “Run”, “hit the ball”. My other boy was sitting with me laughing his little head off. This was after I had lectured him on the perils of borrowing money from friends and to never ever do it again. He had borrowed money from a friend to buy
a pencil with a rubber on the end at the school bookfair, I had told him no that he wouldn’t be buying a pencil from a bookfair and if he wanted to contribute to the bookfair he would be buying a book.  I was trying to teach him the lesson that if you don’t
have your own cash, then you save for the item or forget about it. I had the very same conversation with boy 1 when on the way to work on Tuesday. He his at the age (14), where he believes that everything in our life should revolve about him and that he is
entitled to absolutely everything that he lays his eyes on. We have set a limit for him to reach in his bank account before he is allowed to spend any money. This will be his emergency fund and this is the least amount that always must be in his account. He
thinks that this concept is ridiculous and that he should be able to spend whatever money he sees fit.

 

Everyday this week has felt like a battle, some ending in wine and a whinge to my husband.

 

I read an article on Facebook – by Rachel Stafford from the New York times, 10 ways to Salvage a bad morning before parting ways.

The last few sentences got to me : Day after day, you provide countless doses of love without even thinking about it. That sacred collection of loving gestures far outweighs this mornings clothing drama, and the 7am meltdown

Post 73

Post 73

 

It was my husband’s birthday the other day. In our home if it’s you’re birthday, you are celebrated. Ever since boy one’s first birthday I have always decorated the bedroom with a happy birthday sign, streamers and balloons. The boy’s try and tell me that they are too old for such decorations, but I religiously deck-out their rooms on the eve of their special day. Same went for my hubby but I did the kitchen as I didn’t get home until midnight from work and I didn’t want to wake him up.

I was able to swap a shift so that I could spend the day with him. We enjoyed a relaxed morning with the boy’s (as relaxed as a school morning can be) and headed for the local shopping centre. One of my hubby’s favourite treats if we have a morning off together, is to go to Donut king. He orders a large chocolate thick shake, six cinnamon donuts and I get a coffee and a few bites of his donuts. So we did this on his birthday. Some of our most serious and deep and meaningful conversations have been had in the food court near donut king, over chocolate, dough and caffeine, on this day we tossed up if we should get foot massages or go the movies for cheap Tuesday. We ended up at Happy Feet. After a fair bit of pointing at the “menu” of services, and filling out paperwork we are seated in comfy chairs getting our feet rubbed. As I have said in other posts, I am not a fan of massages and other people touching me, but my beautiful, elegant and very talented masseuse, Joanne (which I don’t think is her real name) had me walking out of the shop feeling like I was walking with jelly legs on a cloud.

I was starting to stress a bit around school pick-up, my husband was passed out on our bed having a nanna nap. I told my husband he had to do the school run to get the boy’s. I ended up pretty much, pushing him out the door, in a bit of a sleep haze. When my 3 finally walked up the back stairs, the kitchen was covered in more streamers and party food and cake covered the table. I wish I had a camera handy for when my husband walked into the kitchen. He smiled a big, toothy, happy smile and kissed me all over my face saying thank you, for a great day. We are, drank, took photos and sung happy birthday, before I took boy 1 to work.

We feasted on pork belly with roast veg’s and more cake for dinner, we slow cooked it all afternoon, while planting flowers and trees in our backyard. We enjoyed a wine and a beer while watching the local birds find new homes after the Sunday storm destroyed some of the trees that they called home. It was a beautiful day full of simple pleasures and we celebrated.

Post 72

My bestie invited me for wine on the deck and a bonfire on Saturday night, the day after the Christmas party; I was feeling a little tired and my stomach a little fragile. I spent an oppressively hot and humid day in front of the TV watching the Australian cricket team get absolutely pummelled by the South Africans. The heat was heavy, the sweat was pouring out of me and I was praying for a big weather change to roll through, storms are one of my favourite things. They change the energy and the feel of the day; bring relief, fear and excitement, one of nature’s most beautiful shows. Rain, thunder and lightning were just ahead of me on the drive to my dinner date with the kids in the car. Our house was on the edge of the storm we only received a small sprinkle, but by the time I arrived at my besties place about 15 minutes from home, water was over the road, the air was lighter and there was the divine earthy scent of rain (Petrichor – the earthy scent produced when rain falls on dry soil. The word is constructed from Greek petra, meaning “stone”, and ichor, the fluid that flows in the veins of the gods in Greek mythology.) The bonfire was called off, so we settled on the deck to catch up.

My bestie is working full-time as a contract graphic designer in the city and her husband is renovating their new home in Brisbane, so to aid with school drop off and pick-up, they have hired a lovely, young lady from Germany to help the family. She is adventuring around Australia for the next two years earning, learning and gaining life experience. As someone who has never travelled too far, but would love to and as woman that is double this girl’s age. I love her fearless commitment (well she portrayed fearlessness) to stay and experience Australia and herself, to have the confidence to be in a foriegn country on the other side of the world to your home and explore and know what you want and need. I was sitting on my favourite cane lounge chair, cradling a glass of red observing this confident young lady. At her age I was a wall flower – who before my first day of work in a new job, made my boyfriend come for a drive with me so I would know where to go. She knows how to participate in conversation with poise and self-belief in what she is saying. She was completely at home in the setting and happy to help herself and have no trouble asking for what she wanted. What a brave girl. Asking for what she wants and needs, there is such vulnerability and openness in the act. I can’t imagine at her age, in a foreign country, living with a family that isn’t your own – asking. I still have trouble asking for things, showing that form of vulnerability. Also very appropriate that on this same day, I borrowed my besties book written by Amanda Palmer “The Art of asking”.

Post 71

Remembrance Day was also the day of the work Christmas party. I’ve not been to any social events hosted by work. I am usually working, my husband was working away or it was just too hard. We live about an hour from the city where these events are held, public transport is not particularly safe after having a few drinks and I would never catch it on my own late at night and a taxi would cost hundreds of dollars. This year however I paid for us to go and celebrate with the people that I spend a lot of my nights and weekends with. I paid for our tickets and booked a room near the venue so that we wouldn’t have the hassle of trying to get home and so that we could relax and enjoy ourselves.

I went and bought a new shirt for my husband – it was too small, it was a different cut to what else is hanging in the cupboard. So I got my money back, because he wanted to wear a shirt in his cupboard that I am not fond of and I often tease him about. With the money from the shirt I picked out a dusky pink shift dress. Really pretty but I was a bit worried when I tried it on that I may look a bit like mutton dressed up as lamb. But the lady in the fitting room next to me assured me it looked great.

I organised for the children to stay with my mum the night, I picked up my husband from work and we headed into the city for a fun night away. We followed the lady on Google maps to the address that I was emailed on the confirmation of booking our room. We had a bit of trouble finding the parking, so we parked illegally and went to check in. At check in the reception staff were lovely, and they directed us to the carpark.  We parked and fought over the correct button to press on the lift. The room numbers outlined on the lift said that our room was on the lower ground (LG), my husband said that must be a typo, he thought we were on the LG in the carpark. We get to the room and my husband opens the door with great drama and excitement and we are both stunned. The images that were on the website where I reserved the room, are nothing like the actual room. Just to the left of the door is the bathroom, the shower is so small I don’t think that my average sized husband will fit. The double bed which should be a queen bed is in the middle of the room and there is barely enough room between the bed and the wall for me to squeeze through. To top it off though there is no window.

A friend of mine gave me her Uber code so that we could receive $10 each way on the first two trips of using Uber. It was fabulous – from our room that is a claustrophobics nightmare to the work Christmas party venue was $7.10 each way. So the country bumpkins (aka us), who never go to work functions in the city, who obviously aren’t great at choosing hotel rooms, and had never booked an Uber were the talk and laugh of the Christmas party. I was so glad that we made the effort to go it was a fun night with great people, prawns, oysters and other finger food, champagne, beer, wine and spirits, photos, laughs and a hang over the next morning.

 

Post 70

Post 70

I love interesting conversations. I had an interesting conversation yesterday with a friend that I don’t see often enough. We spoke deeply and opening about being a woman, wife, and mother. We spoke about family that is not blood but make us feel loved, connected and part of something important. We spoke about what we do for our families and friends. We spoke about dreams that we don’t know we want and being the peacemaker.

As I drove home I was thinking about the conversation. I was thinking about how women are the backbone and guiding force in families. In what ways women are the strength and the peacemakers, times when women placed others before themselves. Women are the cultivators of friendships, relationships and support to family and friends. How a woman’s vibe and energy influences the people around her. Women are the ears, eyes, heart and mind of her tribe.

I spoke about wives and mothers to an elderly Italian lady, and she told me about her 60 years of experience of marriage and child rearing. Go about it quietly darling. My husband thinks that he is the backbone of our family, pffft, I let him think that. Never underestimate the power of seed planting, she told me and patted my hand. I am the one that has made the decisions when it has come to our home, our children and family. But I have done it quietly, this doesn’t mean I haven’t fought and stood my ground, that I haven’t had to be creative, when I want my own way. And men can be stupid. She told me how they are happy in their marriage, comfortable in their finances, how she has a close knit family and friends, how she volunteers, she is active in her community and she can be happy at the end of her life that she has been kind and helpful.

I haven’t been back on social media today, after I got caught up reading one thread this morning, where women were being absolutely vile to each other and tearing each other apart because of the way they voted in the US election. At the end of the day we are all women and this was no way to treat a fellow human. There was one comment about how there will never be world peace now. It made me shrink my mind to my little world. My family and friends the people that are important to me, my work and my home, the things that I enjoy and the dreams that I have. I try to be kind and thoughtful, I make a point of hearing what people are saying. This is where world peace starts – with yourself. I have a key chain on my car keys – Be the change you want to see in the world. Women know how to connect people, build families and communities, women do have influence and will be the change in the world.

End of post 70

I opened bank accounts for boy 1 today. I set strict rules for his finances and he is excited to see his money grow.

Feature photo shows my new hair.

Post 69

Post 69

Changed this challenge to 100 posts. I have for the last 4 days felt guilty for not writing. During the four day’s I would think of topics, or things that I wanted to include in each post but didn’t have the discipline to sit and write the post.

Over the past four days, I  spent time having coffee with my mum and we did a bit of shopping my heart was full after spending a few hours with her and having a chat. I also had an incredibly interesting conversation with a lady that I work with, it was her first shift back from 6 weeks on holidays. She was telling me about her solo drive around Tasmania, the haunted BnB she stayed in, the amazing seafood, the lovely people and that for 48 hours she was listed as a missing person when she was travelling through dense bushland in the mountains of Tasmania and the last words that she said to her daughter on the phone were “ I am so isolated and frightened, if anything happens to me here you will never find me.” She was actually fine after a day with no phone service and no emergency service time was wasted looking for her.

I worked two night shifts, that were horrendous and made me pissed off and frustrated with stupid people, made me angry that anybody can procreate and thankful for emergency service workers.

On Friday night and into Saturday I didn’t see my children and my arms ached to hug them, didn’t sleep well with missing them.

Sunday I had three hours sleep, while my husband and boy 2 were fishing and diving, boy 2 was incredibly sea sick and still looked a bit green when he got home. Boy 1 wrangled another night at his friend’s house and then more time going to the movies with him. He came home tired, cranky and with a severe attitude problem, that didn’t sit well with my tired and emotional state coming off night duty. I spent Sunday with one of my oldest and dearest friends, we ate cheese, drank wine, talked while our children swam and laughed and our husbands talked and drank beer, we laughed and shared dinner together with our families, and then we all made our own individual Pavlovas. It was such a simple joy for the eight of us to be in the kitchen making a treat.

Yesterday, boy 1 went on camp, we didn’t part in a great way as he absolutely hated me for sending him to camp, apparently none of the cool kids go to camp. He thought it was also uncool to take a towel, toiletries, lunch for yesterday and water. We argued all morning about packing a couple of life’s necessities and he barely said goodbye. I cried, his father was fuming and he rolled his eyes.

I loved my husband a little bit more yesterday after our disastrous morning, when he hung new curtains in our bedroom. I have wanted curtains for the longest time, but never got around to it, or didn’t want to part with an exorbitant amount of money for material that covers a window, I also quiet like waking up with the sun. Now that I am back on nights I needed curtains.

End of post 69

Getting ready for work, the weather here is hot and humid and the makeup is sliding off my face.

Boy 1 is on school camp and can’t wait until he gets home.

Feature photo is me watching the cricket after waking up from night duty.

Day 67

My sister nominated me in the #loveyourspouse 7 day photo challenge on Facebook today. Even though I am challenging myself to the ridiculousness of writing and posting for 100 days, I don’t enjoy taking part in challenges. I had a dig around in our old photos that are stored in a box under our bed for something decent to post. My heart hurt and melted with love looking at and holding some of the photos from our past. I sat for a couple of hours on my bedroom floor, with a cuppa coffee and all of my beautiful memories. I found the very first photo ever taken of my husband and I, we weren’t together yet, but I liked him a lot. He was a 19 year old surfer, long blonde hair, green eyed, bad boy– with his surf board, part-time job and lots of friends. I was the sweet and very innocent 17 year old good girl that had just finished school, never had a boyfriend. I had purchased my own nice car, landed a good full-time job that paid well for my age.

We still joke and laugh about how on earth we managed to become a couple. We are complete opposites in our opinion of things and don’t have much in common. I met him at a party that he was right at home at, and one I didn’t want to go to, but was dragged to by my cousin. Then for the next few months I would see him at other parties and a couple of times when we were out at pubs, the photo that I posted was on a surf camping trip over Easter and where we actually got to know each other a little better. In the face of our differences we were never one of these on/off couples. We somehow managed to work our way through difficult times. Sometimes I think back to times that we have struggled and wondered why one of us didn’t walk away, wondered what holds us together, we have had this discussion between us. And the answer has been from the both of us that we don’t want to walk away, there is truly some days that I question why that is. Then on other days, my heart can’t imagine doing life without him. I was looking at the nearly 20 year old photo and it made my heart melt a little bit at the way that he was looking at me. He still looks at me like that, and although there are some big issues that we don’t agree on at all. There is also a thoughtfulness in our relationship, little everyday things that help bind us together.

The good morning text, a flower picked for me and on show in a vase on the kitchen table, he loves when I am at home and have cooked a nice meal (sounds old fashioned and probably sexist, but he has definitely done his share of this when I work most afternoons of the week.) going for a walk together. He says it drives him crazy every single night when I have a sip of whatever he is drinking at the dinner table, but I know he loves it.

So although I groaned and cursed my sister for this #loveyourspouse challenge, I have loved going through photos today and being reminded of why I married my husband.

End of day 67

Melbourne cup day.

Cannot believe it is the 1st November

Day 66

Day 66

Happy Saturday.

Summer Saturdays are a busy day for my little family. It is 7.36am, my husband and boy 1 are already at cricket, boy 2 is at home with me, he is getting ready to go and spend the morning with a friend. I am thinking of everything I need to do between now and 2.00pm. Take boy 2 to his mates house, go and get a birthday present for the party that he is going to at 6.00pm, plan on texting my bestie to see if she wants to inhale a quick coffee, go and watch boy 1 play a bit of cricket, come home cook dinner for the family, lay down and have a quick nanna nap before getting ready to go to work at 2.00pm. And all of that is why my fingers are flying over the keys this early because I don’t want to be writing this at 11.30pm again and the rest of the day is overbooked.

A couple of thoughts of the day, to carry me through.

I have four decks of affirmation cards in my office. All with varying messages. Today, I picked one from the Money and law of attraction cards by Esther and Jerry Hicks.

My life is as good as I allow it to be.

Many people focus upon unwanted things, with no deliberate attention to the emotional guidance within the, and then they try to compensate for their lackful thinking with physical action. And because of the a misalignment of energy, the y do not get results from their action, so then they try hard by offering ore action , but still things do not improve. Like the air you breathe, abundance in all things is available to you.  Your life will simple be as good as you allow it to be.

The “on this day” feature on my Facebook showed me a memory from a year ago and it is a good thought

“Thou shalt not judge, because thou hast fucked up in the past also.”

 

End of day 66

Not even close yet, seen at it is 7.52am but wishing everyone a happy day and will see what today brings.

It is now 12.09pm I have done everything on the list above and also sat in 45 minute’s worth of traffic. It would usually take 14 minutes to get home from the local cricket field. About to go and rush through a nanna nap.

Day 65

Day 65

Annual Grandparents day at the school today. I generally am uncomfortable at these school events, however today my anxiety didn’t rear its ugly head. The primary school years are closing in fast for my little family, the end of next year I will start paying two lots of school fees at the local catholic high school.  Today my boy lead me around the art displays, I chatted and laughed with some of the parents and teachers and one that has been around my family for 12 years, I also spent time with Mum, she raced to the school on her lunch break to spend time with my boy on Grandparents day. The Montessori philosophy, “help me do it myself”, was holding strong today, the wonderful parents that volunteer at the school had art / craft activities set up, one activity was to decorate a triangle that would be made into bunting for the school to use. The only way to make the calico piece of material pretty was to sew something onto it. My husband can attest to my non-existent sewing skills, he always laments the fact that he hasn’t got the 1950’s housewife that cooks and sews and knits in her heels and make-up.   However those buttons were sewn on the little piece of material in the shape of a “T” and they looked good. With confidence brimming over at my new found handiness I then embroidered “TE” on it as well.

I submitted a week’s worth of writing to Womankind magazine for a competition they were running a couple of months ago. They enjoyed my writing and it is to be published in Issue 10 of the magazine. Issue 10 was to be in newsagents and other retail outlets today, I searched the two outlets that I know stock the magazine near me and no one had it.

I started reading a new book on my phone via the kindle app, on my tea break today. “An Italian Journey: A harvest of revelations in the Olive Groves of Tuscany by James Ernest Shaw. I am only 35% into the sample, but his descriptions of the people and the place has me wishing I was sitting in a Piazza sipping palpation inducing coffee, not in the fluro lit room with air conditioning blowing like the arctic, forcing down international roast.

End of day 65

My stomach is sore from laughing so hard this shift. The last four shifts I have worked with the same lady, this never happens our eight hours a day have featured a wide range of characters and our conversations are getting funnier, louder and more shocking that later the night goes on.

Look at the concentration on my face in the feature photo! That button was going on.