Thursday, December 8, 2011

Alien baby!!

Conversation with Little Red last night...

"Is the baby coming tomorrow?"

"No darling the baby has to get MUCH bigger before it comes out."

"But maybe we could make it smaller because then it would be much easier for me to carry."

"No sweetheart - if babies are born too small they will be sick."

(Considers)  "Okay mummy.  Mummy?"


"When the baby is ready to come out, it will BURST open your belly!"

"Ah... no...."

The funniest thing about this last exchange, is that it was said with such gory delight and glee - no concern at all for mummy and the carnage of her poor belly!   Has my child been watching Alien??    Or Breaking Dawn?  LOL.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Booze Grinch

The worst thing about not drinking when pregnant isn't missing the alcohol itself, much to my surprise. (while my infatuation with chardonnay pre-baby knew no bounds, I've found absence actually makes the heart grow a little more distant.... and after 12 weeks I now regard the whole thing with a kind of detached nostalgia.  Somewhat like looking back on those joints you smoked in uni - good times, as you kind of recall, but not something you're compelled to do again immediately).

No, the worst thing about not drinking, is being around people who are.  Copiously.
And this time of the year, that's quiiiiite a frequent occurance.

I was the "designated driver" (another joyous perk of pregnancy) for my hubby and two other friends to a Foo Fighter's concert last weekend.

Things started out well:  we were all boyant.  Me naturally pumped up, and they with the aid of an esky full of "travellers", consumed on our 1-hour journey into the city.  We sang along to Fooey's songs in the car and I laughed along to all the high-spirited jokes and jibes.

Cue the concert.  Drinking by my companions continued with gusto, despite the highway robbery of $7 thimbles of beer at the venue.   Several hours in, and this started to get to me... just a little.   "Another one?"  I said as hubby procured another $10 note from my purse.  "Can't you wait until we get home?"
(this line of logic, of course, never applied when I was the one wasting $9 of a flute of champagne)

Later, it's 10.30pm and waaaaay past my bedtime.  It's starting to show.  The music's just becoming a bit repeditive now, our seats are crap and everything's beginning to bug me.  This is the time that really seperates The Drinkers from The Non Drinkers.   I could really have done with a nap right about then; on the other hand, my companions were up for an adventure.

"Let's go sneak in somewhere else," my hubby urged, and tiredly I complied, dragging my 3-months pregnant desperate-for-a-nap self down to the lower levels with them.  Miraculously, we did find better viewing and actually spent quite a nice 45 minutes cuddled up with hubby on some stairs.  That is, apart from when he's singing in my ear - LOUDLY.   Oh, and grabbing my boobs and butt.

"Wow," he keeps saying, sloshing his beer; "The crowd here is AMAZING!  Isn't this the BEST!   Everyone's just so amazing!"

Not to dull your enthusisam, babe - but um, I don't really see it.

People jostle me.

A bloke takes off his shirt next to me, and gyrates his hips like it's a night club.

On an upper level two pissed chicks throw water from their water bottle down onto our heads.

My tolerance needle is inching towards the red.

Concert over, it's time for the drive home.  Now I'm really, REALLY tired.  Like, supersonically tired, in a way that makes me wonder if I'm actually safe to make it home.  But make it I do, no thanks to the fools in the back (and front) seat, yahooing the entire way home, poking my seat and repeating themselves over and over.  The main two questions are: "Did you have a good time?" and "Are you okay?" - neither of which I'm quite sure how to answer at this stage.

We deposit our friends at home and now, hubby wants to go to another party.  It's 12.30pm and I think my brain might actually be seeping from my eyeballs, but I drop him off there.  I'll spare you the conversation that went on enroute, and suffice to say, the tolerance needle passed the red, began making a loud ticking noise and started emitting smoke.   I didn't attend the party, obviously :)

Ah, grinch much?  But really, there's a certain point and then The Wall hits, and I definitely reached it that night.  Why is it you don't realise how obnoxious people are when they're drinking until you're not?  Was I really that annoying?


Ah well... bring on the next event!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Merry Christmas darling... here's a toilet!

The Tradie and I are practical people, both of us.  Over the years our Christmas, Valentine's and birthday gift-giving has waned from effusive to perfunctuory to just plain non-existent sometimes (in the case of V Day).

It just seems silly to spend on each other when there's so many bills to pay, and we're sort of useless gift-givers anyway.

It's become even worse since we bought our first home a year ago; there's just SO much that needs to be done and so little cash to do it with, I don't believe we've exchanged so much as a plucked garden rose and a card between us the last 12 months.

But this year's Christmas will take the cake.  Instead of presents for each other this year we decided we'd buy something "for the house" instead.   Makes sense.  But what does "the house" need right now?

A new toilet.

That's right, we're buying a dunny for Christmas.  Seasons greetings honey!


Tell me you find this as funny as I do. 

Do you and your partner buy Christmas gifts for each other?

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Pink Balloon

Amongst the endless hours of frustration, boredom and not-in-a-good-way challenges are those motherhood moments.

The times it hits you what it's all about.   The moments, when the love and pride you feel puffs out from your chest like a vast pink balloon... one which is surely visible for all the world to see. 

Oh the wonder of them...the wonder of having created them!

Some of my Pink Balloon moments...

1.  The little standoffs... she, arms crossed, determined.  Telling me that black is white and night is day, and that is that, Mummy.  Because  - naturally, at three and a half years old - she's blessed with an infinite knowlege of the world to which mere adults are not privvy.
Like David to Goliath, she will stand up for her assertions (even in the face of irrefutable proof otherwise).  That immutable sense of self.... I hope you never lose that my darling.  You are fierce, my tigress.  I admire you.

2.  Believing in magic.  That broccoli will make your arms grow long enough to reach the monkey bars (she believes this so feverently, she's even been known to snack on raw broccoli at night before bed - now that's commitment!), that if you brush your teeth every night you will have teeth like a Disney Princess, that Santa really is talking to her from the North Pole, not just me with my poor ventriloquist skills booming "ho ho ho"!

This magic wand, powered by the fairy dust of generations of believing, is right there at my fingertips.   I promise to use it wisely.

3. Boundless enthusiasm and delight in the ordinary.  A piece of toast, cut into a different shape to yesterday ("Wow!") A new episode of a favourite show ("This is my best show, ever ever!").  An ant.  A old, broken toy.  Plastic bubble wrap.  Tickles.  I want to learn from your joy in free things, too.

4. Sitting watching TV and stroking smooth little arms and legs, unconsciously, as you sit in my lap.  Soaking you in through the pores of my skin.   I am as helpless to stop touching you as our planets are to resist the gravitational pull of the earth. I wonder if my own mother misses this. 

5. Hero idolation for doing the smallest thing, like setting up your paddling pool ("That's SO super dooper!  Mummy you are my BEST friend.").  I wonder if you know that those words - that I am your best friend - fill my heart with lightning-bolts of joy.

6. When it's always, and only, me who can soothe and comfort after a fall and apply a Dora bandaid "just so". 

7.  When I sneak in to fix the doona and gaze at the chubby face that, hours earlier was berating me singing the "wrong" words (read: different to her interpretation) to an advertising jingle, now transformed in repose.  Sleep melts years away and I see my newborn, my 6 month old, my wobbly beginner-walker in those flushed cheeks.

I see the face of what's becoming too.  And the beauty of it just breaks my heart.

What are your pink balloon moments?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Week 8, feeling great!

This is apparently what my baby looks like right now.   Awww, look at the little flippers... how cute!!!  My adorable little sea-creature is being a good boy/girl too, thankfully sparing me the nausea this time around.

I'm a bundle of other first trimester woes: constipated, flatulent (sorry Tradie), bitchy, pimply as a teenager - but no nausea really.

Well that's not entirely true... still feel a little seasick from time to time, but nothing that's put me off my toast yet.

Blimely I'd forgotten how nice carbs are!

Cereal... OMG.  I think I want to marry you.  Muesli with fresh blueberries and yogurt and skim milk.... *drool*  This is my nirvana at the moment.

It's strange but after over a year of low-carb dieting I'd much rather tuck into a wholegrain muffin with honey, than a chocolate bar anyday.  I am in heaven just eating a pasta salad for lunch.

Different from last pregnancy, where if food didn't come from the Golden Arches, or have a list of preservatives as long as my arm, I didn't want to touch it.

I wonder if that's why Little Red is such a junk food-a-holic?

Have put on 2.2kg so far.  But that's kind of expected, going from not eating pasta, rice, bread etc. to suddenly eating it again.  This week my weight stayed the same though, so hopefully that's going to be the most of my first trimester gain.

Bloated, a little chubbier but not showing my secret just yet :)

Booked in for my first visit with the midwives at the hospital on 29 November.  Little prawn I can't wait to hear your heartbeat!!

I have to go to Monash Medical Centre, for "high risk" pregnancies.  At some point I'll share with you all why that is, but I don't like to dwell on my last labour too much, lest I revert into a shivering, rocking-back-and-forth mess of jelly in the corner. 

Oh, the horror.   But needless to say, am doing it all over again - too late to back out now!  and that's that.

Better go, it's time for the half-hourly feeding of my face.  Love to you all!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I cut my own hair with kitchen scissors. And other cheap-arse confesssions.

I think I'm a bit of a beauty tight-arse.

It strikes me as incredibly indulgent to pay someone $150 to lop off your hair.  I'll go to Price Attack and still feel peeved at handing over $40.  Usually I get my lovely hairdresser sister in law to cut my hair, but, truthfully, I've also been known to have a bit of a go of it myself with a pair of scissors.  Sometimes it doesn't look bad either.

(but mostly it's crap.  Don't try this at home.)

I won't pay for waxing - I've been doing my own for years.  And what about PLUCKING? Who pays someone to PLUCK their eyebrows, for goodness sake? 

Next people will be paying for someone to shave their armpits.   Imagine: "That'll be $7 extra for shaving cream".   Don't laugh, I bet a salon out there is having a lightbulb moment as we speak. 

Nails; I haven't had mine done since my wedding, and that was a disaster.  I spent the entire honeymoon peeling off my doomed acrylics. 

There was one time I bought a Clinique moisturiser, but mostly I go for Ponds or Olay or whatever is under $10 at the supermarket.  I will pay for makeup; but by god I'm not happy about it one bit.

What are you a bit of a tight arse about?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Mummy's sore boobies

Sore boobies are one of those pregnancy symptoms that are particularly hard to explain to a 3-year old, particularly when that 3 year old doesn't really know you're pregnant yet.

"You have sore boobies mummy?"  enquired Little Red last night after I extricated myself from yet another mammary-crushing hug.  "Did you trip over and fall on them?"

".... no.........." I said,  completely at a loss of how to explain.  "They're just sore".

Little Red: "And I can't touch them?" 

Me: "No, darling."

Little Red: "Can Daddy touch them?"

Me: "Ah, no, I think your father has done enough already."

LIttle Red: (deep in thought) "Mummy." 

Me:  "Yes darling"

Little Red:  "I think you'll have to go to the doctors.  He will put the stets -a stope on your chest and your boobies will be all better."


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Another little strawberry on its way (I'm pregnant!)

It looks like there's going to be one more little person and a lot less chardonnay (for a while!) in the house of Strawberry.

Yes it's true, the double lines came up so it looks like my seduction techniques  weren't such a fail after all.  We're going to have another baby!!

We've been trying for 10 months so are really really stoked (and relieved!!).  I just wanted to share... with someone.  I'm only barely six weeks so early days yet but no morning sickness or anything too horrible, just sore ta-tas and the ability to eat my weight in any sort of food, hourly.

Speaking of eating.  I gained 28 kilos during my first pregnancy.   Seriously.  I was a Big fat happy Mumma-to-be, merrily stuffing my face with McDonalds, cheescakes, foccacias... there wasn't a carb in sight that was safe from my sausage fingers.   And boy did I have fun doing it!

But after a full 3 years losing that weight I'm determined not to go down that path again.  Pregnancy weight does NOT just "fall off".  It is torturous, painful and expensive to lose; it's fat, just like regular-person fat. 

Must say though I'm looking forward to finally easing up a bit and having pasta now and then!

ps.  I debated blogging about this so early but frankly, it's too hard to blog about your life while ignoring the BIGGEST thing going on in your life.
Also, some of you may've noticed I posted this up a week or so ago then took it down - figured I'd better at least tell immediate family, before spilling the beans here... LOL .  
Did I mention how excited we are?    Just for good measure... *squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Saturday, October 15, 2011

My 10 Favourite Books of All Time

Up until now I haven't touched much on the "literature" part of my header intro, so I thought it was about time for a few posts on my favourite topic.

I'm a writer.  It's scary to say that because there are so many amazing writers in blog-land; frustrated writer/bloggers are almost their own cliche, now aren't they?  Like the waitress declaring she's an actress.   But it's true.  Although marketing is my day job now, my degree is in Professional Writing, it was my first job, my precocious hobby and lifelong obsession.

But it wasn't my first love.  That was reading.

Curling up with a good book was, and is, my favourite thing in the entire world to do. Having Little Red has sort of slowed me down a bit (I can no longer spend entire days in bed reading) but I can still manage to chew through a small novel in a week, a fat one in a month.  I don't purport to have highbrow tastes but I am a voracious book-reading machine.

So without further ado I thought I'd share with you my Top 10 Books of All Time... just in time for some summer reading perhaps?  I realise you all won't necessarily have the same tastes as me, but in my opinion these are all top-notch reads; maybe something will spark your interest.

1.  The Bride Stripped Bare - Nikki Gemmel
You know how sometimes it's not just the novel but the very context in which it is read that evokes such fond memories?  This book unfolded for me on a ski lodge holiday, and I'll forever remember the sheer delight of insatiably licking each word from its smutty pages, with a glass of red in hand, as a crackling fire in the background.  At least I could blame the fire for my red cheeks.

This novel is hard to describe.  It's shocking - almost pornographic in parts - and has an ending that will literally make your jaw drop.  But it's also a tender parable about motherhood, about the search for meaning within oneself, as a woman, as a wife, as a sexual being.  It has echoes of  Nancy Friday and Lady Chatterley's Lover but is totally unique for all that. 

It rocked my world.  (I will never lend my copy of this book out, it's that good.)

2. Tully - Paullina Simons
It was really hard for me to pick a favourite Paullina Simons book.  I call her the thinking woman's Jodi Picoult... she has all that juicy characterisation which keeps you on the edge of your seat, but with far more depth to her characters and less tendency to wrap things up in a cheesy American ending.   Tully is one of those beautifully flawed heroines you want to punch and protect in equal measures; and you'll be spellbound by her story.
I also adored Simons' more popular, uber-romantic Bronze Horseman trilogy.

3. We Need to Talk About Kevin - Lionel Shriver

This book won the Orange Prize for literature so I like to think of it as a scholarly addition to my 'list'.  Ahem.   In reality, it's anything but dry - a story about a serial-killing teen, a high school shooter, written from his mum's perspective.

Shriver takes this horrific scenario to an altogether different place than you'd expect - largely due to her writing but also her incredibly astute psychological observations.  Brilliant.  Just brilliant.

This is being made into a movie soon.  I'll be waiting outside the cinemas.

4. Wideacre - Philippa Gregory

Another prolific writer from whose catalogue I find it hard to choose.  Most of you will know Philippa Gregory as the author of "The Other Boyleyn Girl", which was made into a movie recently with Scarlett Johannsen.   Gregory is undoubtedly the doyenne of historical bodice-rippers and her heroines have amazingly large balls for their time.  But in my opinion her Tudor novels weren't her best.  This series, set in early colonial America, has a heroine even fiestier than Anne Boyleyn... and in several parts even made this open-minded chick draw a sharp breath.

I don't know what it is, but I do have a soft-spot for the villianous heroine, the one who will do, fight and fuck anything to get her way.

And do it on a horse in a corset too; well, take that modern feminism! 

5. The Book Thief - Marcus Zusak
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.  If you want a story to melt your heart, try this.  Book lovers will identify with the protagonist, a little girl called Liesel whose only solace during the  horrific Nazi times she grows up in is her precious books.  Each one comes to her in a very special way, and has its own story.  This is about 'the power of words to create worlds' says the blurb, which is apt.  Grab a tissue box.

6. The Time Traveller's Wife

I won't say a whole lot about this book because most of you have probably seen the movie with Eric Bana, however I will say, it definitely deserves a place in this list, and thoroughly deserves its widespread success.  Absorbing, unusual; incredibly poignant without a trace of saccherine.

7. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur GoldenIt's probably no accident that a great many of my favourite novels have been made into movies, but in some cases it's a shame, particularly when people don't get to experience the book first.  In this case, I wasn't a fan of the movie but this book remains one of my all-time favourites.  It's completely tranporting, one of those rare novels with the ability to make you feel you're actually in the other person's skin, looking out at the world through their eyes.

This is fiction but I love the whole 'real-life story' genre... real people going through hardships and struggles in different cultures, through illness, addiction or abuse... yes it's voyeuristic (but hands up who isn't a voyeur), but I also find it strangely uplifting and life-affirming.   What the human body and mind can survive.

8.  The White Masai - Corrine Hofmann

White chick on honeymoon in Kenya falls hopelessly in love with a Masai Warrior, leaves her husband for him and goes to live in a grass hut in Kenya.  Ridiculous plot?  No, real life experience.  Un-putdownable from first word to last, as the unlikely pair try to forge a relationship despite a vast cultural divide.   Read this in one sitting.  (Also a movie, but don't bother)

9. Before I Go To Sleep - S.J. Watson

It's hard to say much about this without giving it away!  But here's the premise.  Woman's memory is wiped clean every night as she sleeps... the result of a horrible, mysterious accident.  Loving husband takes care of her.  But is everything really as it seems?  She has to employ some desperate measures to find out, and what she finds is a twist you won't see coming.   Like a sinister version of 50 First Dates - another up-all-nighter.

10.  Outlander Series - Diana Gabaldon

A lot of my favourite books have plots that sound ridiculous when you try to describe them, yet somehow they work brilliantly - it takes a leap of faith to try and that's why personal recommendations are so powerful.  You'd never try a bunch of novels unless someone told you you must.  So it was with the Outlander series. 

A time-travelling nurse steps through some magical stones in Scotland and finds herself in the 1700's, falling in love with a Highlander despite being married.  Sounds stupid doesn't it.  I thought so too, but 5 books into the 6 novel series and I can barely put it down to make dinner.  Forget Scarlett and Rhett, this is one of the most epic love stories ever told.

Special Mentions:
* The Hypnotist - Lars Kepler  (for those Steig Larsson fans out there)
* Left Neglected - Lisa Genova (brilliant psychological drama)
* A Million Tiny Pieces - James Frey (yes, despite the Oprah saga)

I'm sure there's more but this is waaaay too long already!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Things I know. Creepy psychologists, new table, dummy withdrawal and other stuff

My very first things I know post, inspired by Shae at Yay for Home! Sorry it's such a downer ...

Here's some things I know tonight.

I know that I'm not better yet and that I try not to take my insomnia medication but fail most nights.

I know that I get up at 11.30pm after trying to fall asleep for 1.5 hours and google "Stilnox and pregnancy" and "valerian and pregnancy" and "melatonin and pregnancy", even though I"m not pregnant, and that doesn't help me sleep at all either, because I'm taking all of them and I will probably have a deformed baby if I ever have one.

I know that my psychologist is not really clicking with me; I think he's creepy and although we did have a breakthrough this week he also told me that my husband is "crazy" not to want to sleep with me more because I am a "very attractive woman" and that I am pretty certain crosses some serious professional boundaries and his house smells like dogs and he only has decaf coffee and I cannot understand how I ended up in this position to be talking about anxiety to old weirdos who make me feel even more on edge.

I know that I had a pretty good day today.  We went and picked up a brand new table from my sister.  Well obviously it's not brand new, because it's her old one, but it's the newest and most modern furniture we've ever owned, it's a gorgeous dark wood square hulk of a thing, with ivory covered fabric chairs and looks elegant in our house.  I know that made me happy.

I know that despite the dummy fairy euphoria of nights past, it's taking Little Red on average an hour longer to fall asleep these nights and that is exhausting me.

I know I've pinched this "I know" format from other bloggers... but damn, it is useful.
What do you know?  Others know stuff here... read all about it!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Dummy Fairy

The Dummy Fairy visited our house Monday night.  She was invited.

This is remarkable stuff because for 3.5 years, Little Red has enjoyed a love affair with her dummies surpassed only by her passion for lollies, Dora and pulling the cat's tail.  Actually I would have bet she'd give up all three of the former before the dummy was willingly surrendered.

I blame the nurses at the hospital.  It was their fault this whole thing began.  As Little Red cried and cried her wrinkled red newborn face off, they said gently  " you have a pacifier?"   I said, NO - of course not!!    With the righteous misguidedness of all new mums, there were going to be no dummies in my baby's mouth.   (No TV either, no formula feeding, no McDonalds... we all know how those things turn out. )   "We'd recommend you get one," the nurses said.

Oh really?  Okay then.  I guess.... if I have medical permission? 
Of course, as all dummy mummies know, it's not all sweet sailing; until it is, and then it isn't again... and so on.  We've had an up and down relationship with the little rubber buggers - literally up and down, some nights.  

For the last few years she's actually had five of them in the bed at once, and needed to have one in each hand, and one in her mouth, to fall asleep.  Although we phased out daytime dummy use around age 2, night was non-negotiable.

After several hideously stressful aborted attempts at taking them away, and many, many chats about being a big girl, not a baby... and dummy fairies, and comparisons with friends, it all culminated last year in putting our hands in the air, bascially.  It wasn't worth the stress.

But Monday night, when I gave Little Red her dummy (sorry, container full of dummies) as usual, she said "I'm a big girl.  I don't need it."  And put them back.   

Then she promptly slept 12 hours through the night, and hasn't asked for them since.  (Waking up to a special "treat" from the dummy fairy was icing on the cake!)

Wow.  There's nothing like the realisation that inside your son or daughter, beats the heart and will of a fully fledged adult-in-training, already making their own decisions and choosing the path of their lives.  The decision to give up the dummy might seem like a small one in the scheme of things, but in the end it was her choice and she made it.  It was her victory, and hers alone.

The Dummy Fairy took away a piece of my baby on her gossamer wings... but left behind a very, very proud mum.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Why I don't miss my 3 year old for a week

Little Red has been on holidays at her nannas for the week.

When I've told people my daughter is away on holidays (all of 5 nights mind you) the reaction is normally this:

"Oh... what do you think of that?"

What do I think of that?

I think that I've won the bloody lotto, is what I think.

I'm not sure if that makes me a BAD mum, probably.  Sorry bout that.  But Red has a ball on these holidays, so does nanna, and frankly, so do I. 

Here's a list of just a few things I've done this week:
  • Actually had sex with my husband.  Twice.
  • Cleaned the entire house in under 2 hours.  Including washing the windows, cleaning the stove and rangehood, vaccuming, mopping, the entire thing.  It's amazing what you can achieve when a little person isn't trying to ride the vaccum cleaner like a horse.
  • Caught up on 4 episdoes of The Borgias and finished an entire novel.
  • Not only got to work on time, but sitting at my desk 15 minutes early.   With an ironed shirt, beautifully straightened hair and carefully applied eyeshadow. 
  • Shopped for a new bra.   And purchased one.   Anyone who has a 3 year old will understand what a monumental achievement this is.  
  • Gazed apon my gorgeous, clean house, and committed every spotless nook and cranny to memory, before it once again, erupts in a volcano of Dora merchandise.
Now I have my Princess back, and of course, I missed her like crazy.

A clean house doesn't make up for that lonely corner in your heart where the cuddles are missing.

But you know what; I don't think I should feel guilty about enjoying my little holiday.  It was pretty damn cool, and Red is happy too.

Mum, however, might need a few months to recover... LOL.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Going to get my head shrunk

"So...Tell me about your fazzzher?"

So the insomnia thing has culminated in me being put on what's called a "mental health plan".  

This, ironically, is making me very anxious indeed.  A psychologist; wow.  I must be nuttier than I thought.  Either that, or I've woken up in Hollywood. 

It all feels very 'first-world problems'.  It's just not "on" not to be able to cope with things you'd normally be expected to cope with!!   I mean: gee, I have a 3 year old and I work.  We're in a bit of a financial pickle because of our new house and bills and stuff.  Hubby's got his own work stresses.  Big fucking whoop, it's not like I have 6 kids and am a single mum or anything.  I don't think what I'm going through is much.  I should be able to get my act together.

Frankly, it's embarrassing.

But my body has told me it's had enough, in no uncertain terms.  It's saying "something's wrong" and I'm frightened of the terror it unleashed on me the last few weeks.

So I'm going to go ahead with the suggested counselling visits because, for starters, it's free, and secondly I am concerned about how lovely the Stilnox has been these last several nights; and what happens when I don't take it?  If I can never sleep again, without drugs, what the hell do I do about that?

Maybe the shrink can suggest some other coping mechanisms (I think they call it cognitive behavioural therapy)

It's all a bit scary.

If I start talking about getting a little dog that fits into my handbag, alert the authorities will you?

And maybe a little cyber-hug wouldn't go astray?   Thanks guys.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Manifesto of the 30-plus Rock concert goer...

1.  Thou shalt not worry about what to wear.  You'll inevitably get it wrong, but don't worry.
Fuck all those 16 year olds in the perfect combination of ripped white jeans and artfully placed, layered band singlets and leather cuffs.  You do not have these items in your wardrobe anymore for a reason.  The reason is because you're no longer on Centrelink benefits.  Just go with a dark jean and some sort of black top, and survey the crowd cooly with the refreshing absence of teenage angst.  You'll find they're envying you, possibly because you wore a jacket and they're dying of hypothermia.

2.  Thou shalt remember your pedigree.You were around when Motley Crue began, unlike many of those surrounding you, who were but twinkles in their parents' eyes.  Not only that,  but you've seen so, so much more... starting with the history-making Guns N' Roses at Calder park when you were 17.
You've seen Foo Fighters, Alice In Chains, Faith No More, Kiss - three times.  You went to the very first Alternative Nation, the first Big Day Out.   You remember when security was permitted to take water bottles, not just give you a cup to pour it in.  When sniffer dogs didn't exist.  And when there was no water at all to be found sometimes, except from the fire-trucks who were hosing down fainting teenagers.

3. Thou shalt not drink (much).. or maybe wait till afterConcerts used to be about drinking.  That was when a) drinks were actually allowed inside venues, and b) a drink didn't cost the price of the average small car.
These days, when weighing up between an $8 shot of sparkling "wine" (term used loosely) and missing out of 3/4 of the concert by lining up with three hundred others, one wisely chooses to enjoy the music sober.  And that's cool.

4.  Thou shalt actually watch the concert.It's an extraordinarry notion, in this age of smart-phones, in-built video devices and all number of secret recording devices, that you could actually go to an event and WATCH THE SHOW.
Well, if every second person around you has their eye glued to a screen, and the wash of scenery in the darkness before you is lit by camera phones, rather than the flickering of bic lighters, you know what?... more fool them.

Maybe one day they'll wish they actually watched it, rather than had some footage to upload to youtube afterwards.

My final word to my fellow veterans?

5. Rock on.

It's your god-given right.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Dear body....

It's time you and me had a talk.

For starters, what the FRIKKING hell is up with waking up at 12.30am every morning and not allowing me to get back to sleep?  I know we've got good books to read right now but seriously.  I'd much prefer 8 hours thanks very much.

Didn't you get the memo?  Sleep deprivation is so 2008, maybe 2009 (okay, some part of 2010 too).  But now we have a 3.5 year old who sleeps through the night, this is just unfair.

And let's not even start on the panic attacks.  What the hell are you panicking about?  We're safe, we're fine, we're all good... we're lying in a safe comfy bed, counting sheep.   No need for the hysterics.

I do thank you for the kilo and a half you've shed since you decided to up and wigg out on me, that's kind of cool.  But it's hard to enjoy your skinny jeans while halucinating and nodding out during the day, and dark eye bags don't complement a whole lot of outfits.

On the balance of things, I'd rather a rest and my love handles back.  Ta very much.

So now we've been prescribed Stilnox.  All good, but Body... you didn't think this through, very much, did you?  It says on the packet "Do not consume with alcohol."   You stupid peanut.  No alcohol.   No.  Alcohol.   Slap yourself on the bloody forehead would you.

I'm going to give you one more chance, Body.  Pull your bloody socks up.

Let me get some sleep tonight.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Grab your backpack... let's spend!

What's the collective noun for a group of over-excited, be-ribboned and ever-so-slightly psychotic 3 year old girls in party dresses? 

A "Dora".

At least that's how I shall now refer to them.  ( as in, "We went to a playcentre on the weekend, you should have seen the absolute Dora of kids there.")

Yes, we braved the concert circuit for the first time, going to see "Dora the Explorer LIVE!" at a local arts centre.

Having been forewarned of the aggressive marketing of 'goodies' at these events by a mum who came home $100 out of pocket from the Wiggles, I went in with a strategy firmly in place.  

"Don't ask mummy for any treats,"  I said to the immensely excited Little Red in the backseat as we parked.  "Or balloons," I hastily added as I saw another little chap emerge from the centre with one.  "If you're a good girl, we'll get an ice-cream after the show."  "Okay mummy," she promised.

Immensely satisfied with myself, we paraded in the doors.  What a paragon of forward-parenting I was!!  Only to discover there were actually no lollies on offer, and much more than just balloons.

There were DORA SHOWBAGS.  $30 each.  And every kid... I joke not, was clutching one.  The pleading began immediately.

"Mummy, I want like the girl has," my pouting princess cried.  "I really really want.  Pwwwwesssee.  PWeeeese mummy!"  I hadn't veoted bags.  Only treats and balloons.  Loop-hole!   Dammit.

"No darling, it's too much moneys."  (30 bucks for a few pencils and stickers in a plastic carry bag?  Are you freaking kidding me?) .  "Remember, we're going to get an icecream afterwards?"  But everything I said fell on deaf ears.

There were still a good 20 minutes until the show started and piggytailed toddlers everywhere were "exploring" their goodie bags with glee; Princess peer pressure at it's finest (and don't those merchandisers know it).   

Little Red's tantrum built to a epic-proportion crescendo, the type which even polite parents have to stare at.  Mummy wasn't budging though.  I won't get sucked into this marketing hype!   I'm too savvy for that.   Ridiculous!

Then she pulls out the big guns.  Dropping her adorable little lip, she sits down on her bottom in the middle of the floor, party frock all askew showing her undies, droops her head dejectedly and says in a small voice, "I don't want to go to see Dora any more."

Hear that?  That's the sound of my heart breaking into a million tiny pieces, and my will simultaneously with it.  FUCK.  I can't spoil her day over a stupid $30.   I bought the damn bag: angels sang, and the sun lit up and shone once more.

In the words of Swiper the fox... "Oh, Man".

Funnily enough, that showbag has actually been worth it's money, with every cheap plastic object pored over a million times since the show. 

Sometimes this parenting thing is crazy hard.  How hard is it to know when something is really, really important to them, when hundreds of really, really important things are asked for every day, refused and forgotten about moments later?  Sometimes their important things are not your important things.  Sometimes their important things come in packages you least expect - plastic, disposable ones.

This, apparently was one of the important things... and I thank my lucky stars I did buy it, because we ended up having a super day.   A memory-making day.

When have you given in to The Drop Lip?  Do you think I did the right thing?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

That gorgeous moment....when they're finally asleep

Oh god I love my little Red. 

But I love her so much more when she's asleep.

Some days I have absolutely no idea how I made it until the end of the day.  I have no idea how someone with two kids make it to the end of their day.  If I had 6 kids, I think I'd probably need Matt Damon to swing in and help me, guns blazing, and shirt torn, and muscles a'sweating, to get to the end of my day.  Hats off to mums of multiples.  Seriously.

Sometimes I think I just have a particularly irksome kid.

There is nothing that I say that is right.  "Why don't you put your leg in this way, sweetheart," I suggest.  "NO, I DO IT!!!!!!!!!!" she says, sticking her foot in the underpants back the front.
"Okay," I say.   And she'll wear them that way the rest of the day.

"Dolly's going to the hairdressers!" I say brightly.  "NO! She's going to the DOCTOR'S. Silly."

"Ooookkkay.  Silly me"

"This is a circle Mummy,"  "Um.  It's more like, a triangle baby".  "IT'S A CIRCLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"



I knew I was stupid but until I had a 3 year old, I didn't realise, exactly how stupid.  (Guess this is good training for teenagehood. )

But now, as I go in to tuck her in... her red hair - that everyone told me since birth would "change", and yet is still as radiant as a summer sunset...that gorgeous hair strewn across her cheek in wet tendrils she won't let me dry.  Face flushed with the tiredness of a long spring day, her little eyelids heavy on the pillow.  A little leg sticking out from the doona, with a tiny sock, I have to adjust so it stays on.

This little miracle transforms in the night.

One day she will be the woman I can't believe came from me. 

I only hope one day she remembers some of this, this love, and thinks me worthy.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Seduction fail

Sex in a long-term relationship.  My assertion is it's either fraught, virtually non-existant or midly narcotic.  Add in trying to concieve while you have a child already, both working and both exhausted, and it's near on ridiculous... in an I-have-to-laugh-this-is-so-unsexy fashion.

One of the most hilarious aspects I've found is actually having to ask.  Since (excuse my generalisation) it's usually the woman who's tracking her cycle, this duty falls on her - and with a tiny 12-36 hour window to work in, time for subtleties fly out the window.

It's painful.  It's embarrassing.  But it just has to be done.

So here's a short list of the ways I've tried to ahem "seduce" The Tradie over the past months when the clock's gone "ding!".  

1. "Wanna Make Luuuuurve?" : yes, with deliberate Fabio impersonation. (I know, it was an attempt at levity)  I personally wouldn't recommend this method, unless your partner has a penchant for hairy chests, or old men in trenchcoats.

2. "We have to have sex tonight" : Wow, nothing like clean-your-teeth instructions to get that pulse racing.
3. "Let's have sex!" (with hand-clap and bubbly smile):  Yes, it came across as psychotic as it sounds.
4.  "Want to cuddle?":  Only once.  I nearly threw up in my mouth a little even as I said it.
5.  Tried sidling up on the couch and just holding hands suggestively.  I got "You want to watch Underbelly?".  Blokes don't do subtle.
6.  "You got 10 minutes?":  Hey, at least I didn't say five.
7.  My latest attempt, inspired by the movie:  "It's Date Night!"  (groan)

There's just no dignified way to do it.  At all.  For the millionth time I'm very glad I'm not a man.  How do you... ehm, "suggest" nookie to your significant other?  Or are you still in that touch-and-fall-in bed-naturally stage?  (I hate you.)

NB:  I know the above are lame, BUT, in my defense at least I haven't used that favourite of the fertility forums - "Baby Dancing" - a scary euphemism that reminds me of that dancing baby off Ally McBeal.  *shudder*

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The one I should have written on Father's Day.

I know, I know.  I'm a bit late.  But better late than never, hey?

This is my hubby.  He's a pretty simple bloke.  I love that.  I spent years mucking around with swarmy dickheads who did my head in with games; the only game The Tradie plays regularly would be the ones on his PS2.

He's reliable, trustworthy and a super dad.

Tradie wasn't ready to be a dad.  Little Red was what you might call a "happy surprise".  Well, happy for me.  Quite devestating to him.  At the time.  Although we were happily - albeit newly - married, the baby wasn't in the short-term plan just yet.

But he came around, and how.  A part of my metal-loving, guitar-playing, rough and ready, VB drinking lad is a pure, little boy full of wonder and he absolutely delights in his daughter.  She is the great love of his life, and watching them together can often bring a tear to my eye.

It's not been all roses with us.  There's an anger (at himself and the world), impatience and darkness I sometimes feel I can't reach; tantrums that frighten, edges a little too rough.    Maybe I've done something to smooth them a little over the years.... I hope so.   But what I see, and have always seen, is that core of innate 'goodness', that desperation to do the right thing, boundless generosity and the solid values that make me certain we'll grow old together.  He's might be a 'teenage dirtbag' (as the words to one of our favourite old songs went) - but he's my teenage dirtbag.

And in a white sea of eyes
I see one pair that I recognize
And I know

That I am
I am
I am
The luckiest

I love you more than I have ever found a way to say to you

Next door there's an old man who lived to his nineties
And one day passed away in his sleep
And his wife; she stayed for a couple of days
And passed away

I'm sorry, I know that's a strange way to tell you that I know we belong;
That I know

That I am
I am
I am
The luckiest

- Ben Folds "The Luckiest"

Monday, September 5, 2011

Unplugged mama vs. the Screen generation

We watch our four-year-olds frolicking outside, and chat about a fellow playgroup mum's studies.  She's lamenting how many books she has to buy.

"I bet by the time they're at high school they won't even have books," I postulate, gesturing towards our kids.  "It'll all be screens.  They'll just pop along to school with their I-Paddy thingies."

"It's already like that!" says another mum, overhearing.

"No!"  We all exclaim.

"Yes! I know a school where the whole class hires IPads, basically a hire-to-buy system, and there's no books.  They have a Wi Fi signal or something."

We're all amazed.  The future it seems, is already here.....

But my four-year-old could have told me that.  Although the only "screen" she has access to is a television, if anyone in her radius has an IPhone, an IPad, a Kindle, a Nintendo DS, basically anything with a screen, she's onto it in five seconds flat, poking and playing with a dexterity and sophistication that amazes me.

How do they learn this?  I think it's something hardwired in them; our children, born with a mouse in hand.

And you know, I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing.  I'm delaying the "Screen" thing for as long as I can, but I look forward to the day Little Red can explain to her mum exactly how to download and edit video from the camera; or songs onto my yet-unused MP-3 player.  Or how to play The Sims that's been gathering dust since DH and I gave up on it 6 years ago, or help me figure out which SLR camera to buy.   We can swap novels from our ebook readers, and Skype each other on school camps.

I think it'll be nice to learn something new; and I can tell her how retro and "cool" real books are (were?).

There's another big advantage of this bookless generation, no... two.   Less backaches from carrying heavy school satchels... and, inexpensive textbook downloads for mum. Booyeah :)

Are your kids "plugged in"?  What screens do they have and what are your rules of engagement regarding screen-time?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Working class man

I've always had a bit of a "thing" for tradies. 

Sorry, but I must reference Jimmy Barnes here.  Not the bloated Barnes of now, but the young, buff, slightly dangerous one who sang "Working Class Man"; in front of a field of burning sugar cane, his long hair dripping with sweat, sweat glistening off his slim yet toned pecs in his white t-shirt with the sleeves cut off.

Excuse me while I take a minute. (breathe in)


There's one lyric in particular which always gets me from that song, to this day, and I don't know WHY it evokes such a strong emotional reaction, it just does.

"And he loved a little woman;
One day he'll make his wife...
Saving all the overtime
For the one love of his life."

Now this is incredibly curious, because not only have I never needed a bloke's "overtime" in my entire life, I've usually earned close to twice as much as any guy I've ever been with.  Far from being a helpless little woman.

And yet part of me (that part below the belly button... heh) finds the whole thing *waves hand over the above* incredibly sexy.

It's probably why I'm a serial tradie-dater (and marrier, come to that); and I'm not alone.  Lots of my college-educated girlfriends are exactly the same.  Maybe it's just that coming home to the honest simplicity of someone who can unplug your drain or screw your cabinets together - metaphorically of course - is refreshing.  After all, someone has to understand the intructions from Ikea.

The only problem really, is a difference in energy levels.  Blokes who work hard all day, understandably, want to come home and veg on the couch.  Preferably with a beer.  I swear some days if Jennifer Hawkins sashayed past wearing a thong bikini my husband would ask her to please move out of the way because he's trying to watch Tosh.0.

After sitting in an office all day, I'm exactly the opposite.  I crave some physicality.  Some summer nights, I'd love to go for a family walk after dinner.   On weekends I'd like to go to the park, or ride bikes, horseriding.  Dancing.  Or dammit, even climb a rock wall or two.  But instead I morph into Homer Simpson's sidekick, watching tv beside him.

Anyone else in the same boat?  What does your hubby do and do your energy levels match?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fat.... yet Fragrant!

So.  Today I have eaten:* 1 x Celebrity Slim mint-choc diet shake (see, started the day with good intentions!!)
+ coffee
* 1 apple
* An olive, 3 chunks of yummy cheese on crackers, 4 x Spring rolls, 2 pappadum thingies
(it was 'International morning tea day' at work)
* A tin of chicken on corn thins, plus a sizeable side-salad
* A piece of hedgehog slice, half a lamington, a tiny shortbread biscuit and a piece of Violet crumble.

And it's only 12.58pm.

Damn... if smoking doesn't kill me, I think quitting and becoming morbidly obsese surely will.

Just can't. stop. putting. stuff. in . my. mouth.  I am, however enjoying not smelling like smoke.  That's nice, and refreshing.  Women should smell like women.  I enjoy being fragrant :)

Just an update on TTC.  It's been 8 months now. 
Next month it's off to the fertility specialist if this month doesn't work.  Hence, another good reason for quitting the fags. 

Oh well, at least I have the "eating for two" part of getting pregnant downpat (even though it's been a massive fail in every other department!)
Wish me luck and LOL Cats!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Someone please stab me in the eye with a fork

I think it would be more fun than quitting smoking.

Yes that's right, Strawberrysmum is an evil little smoker. Or, was.  Up until yesterday.

Back on the patches again; and it seems harder each time.

Why do I not remember this completely unpleasant, crawling with bugs sensation?
Why will that voice in my head (ciggieciggieciggieciggieciggiecigge... come on, ciggie?) not SHUT the f*ck up?  The patch is supposed to stop that, right?
Why does my mouth taste like ass?
Why did I do this to myself.... again?

Usually quite a lot of blame usually gets thrown the Tradie's way - living with a chain-smoker is bound to result in frequent relapses.  No matter how saintly you've been, a fresh clean set of lungs causes temporary amnesia, and few glasses of chardonnay makes that ubiquitous packet sitting on the bench look mighty tempting.  But I can't go on blaming him and making him a scapegoat forever.

His journey is his journey, and mine is mine, our choices are our own.   And while I feverently hope he'll follow my example, I know from experience that forcing or trying to manipulate that particular outcome is futile.

I wish to god I could go back to 19 year old me and say: "Hun, put down that 1mg Dunhill.  It's not cool, and you look like a dick.  It's certainly not fun 15 years down the track when you have to stick that smelly thing in your face every two hours. Just don't even go there."

But hopefully I can do something even better than go back in time.  I can set a good example for my own little girl.

So here I go again ... begone bugs, a fresh start awaits.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The wall

How often, as a blogger, have you had an idea for a post and then thought about it a little too long and decided... nup, that's crap, I won't post that.

And that idea dies a little death, and your voice dies a little death with it.

I'm going through this at the moment.  I'm reading a lot of blogs... amazing, inspirational, intimidating, and wet-your-pants-hilarious blogs, and while I'm in awe of everything being put out there, unfortunately it is stoking the fires of the "I'm not worthy".

This is what I call The Wall.  It's what stops creation.

My mum visited me last weekend.  She bought with her a folder of stuff my grandpa had collected over the years of me and my brothers.  Amongst it - actually, most of it - was writings of mine from when I was in primary school.

At 9 years old, I wrote a series of books.  Much like Mr. Men (isn't everything derivative?), but my main character was Apple, and his friends were other fruits, like Grapes and Bananas.  Apple went on lots of adventures, like to the circus, his first day at school, even spring cleaning (Lol).

What's remarkable to me as I read them over was not the content - the stories were pretty basic - but that I'd written THIRTEEN of these mini-books, and all of them were carefully illustrated, stapled along the edges and "bound" with sticky-tape.  I was a pretty serious amateur author and clearly I was posessed by my project at the time.

I haven't felt that way in a long time, and it's sad.  At what stage did I give up my dream to be a proper writer?

I think a lot of people in the blog community can probably relate to this.

So now, as I ponder whether to post THIS or not, I'll say fuck it, and post it.  Because I do have a voice, and it's me... and although my blog may still be in its infancy and not yet know what it wants to be, I'm sure others can relate.  Many others have been where I am and can relate.

My beautiful sister in law gave me a book "Writing a Novel for Dummies" :D (Goddamn those Dummies people do everything, don't they?).  I'm reading it at the moment and ideas are gestating.  New ideas start with a tiny blastocyst in the brain and become something; they're born from that crazy thought you had, that you finally gave the respect it deserved.  Somebody's brain has to do it, why not mine?  The only thing stopping me is the wall.  YOU?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tired face

I have Tired Face today.  This little known, but terribly debilitating condition is characterised by a series of little syndromes and is typically bought on by poor sleep.  

Tired face's most classic symptom is itching eyes, that get itchier as the day goes on and the more you poke your fingers in them (I know, I know).  Water doesn't help, either; especially not surrepitious water you apply with your fingers from the water bottle on your desk.  Nor, strangely enough, does saliva (don't ask)

Then there are just totally bizarre, random itches that just pop up from no-where.  LEFT EAR!  FOREHEAD!  FOREHEAD AGAIN, A LITTLE TO THE RIGHT!

It's  like the face has Tourettes but instead of swear words, it spouts histamines into one's dermis.

There's really no point applying makeup on Tired Face.  But if you do, prepare for it all to be gone by 11am, with whatever remains congealing under the eyes in an attractive Alice Cooper-esque fashion, or in the wrinkles which have magically deepened overnight.

Tired Face is greatly helped by the application of caffiene (internally, 3 cups) and chocolate (at least 3 rows, dark almond preferably).  The cosmetic effects will be minimal but symptoms become easier to bear.

Finally, a word to others: we know we have Tired Face.  You know we have Tired Face.  We know you know we have Tired Face.  But point it out to me and I'll probably punch you in yours.   (When did "You look tired today" become an acceptable greeting?  Thanks!  And you look especially haggard too!)

The only thing that cures Tired Face is sleep, and we're currently campaigning to have this important medicine added to the PBS.  Please help support the cause by leaving your comment here?  Thanks very much :) xo

Sunday, August 14, 2011

What the pluck?

Imagine if you will: it's the mid-1990's.  Brooke Shields is sooooo last decade and for girls who think they're grownups it's all about the shiny, satin business shirts, big drop earrings,  seriously matte Burgundy Poppy King lipstick and tonnes of Eu De Poison.  And plucked brows.

Plucking my brows into almost-obsurity was one of the more daft decisions of my youth (and that's a pretty distinguished honour).

I blame Shannen Doherty.  Damn you Shannen.  You and Jennie and all the other 90210-ers with your little brows and big overalls and long flowery skirts which somehow looked cute on you but didn't quite translate to chubby 20 year old.

You see I used to have brows.  Lovely ones, very lush and full.  But somehow in my mixed up teenage mind I equated fat brows with, well, FAT and while I was at a loss to know what to do with my thunder-thighs I had the perfect weapon against disgusting fat eyebrows right at my fingertips.  And pluck those buggers I did, right throughout my late teens and 20's - actually make that early 30's as well.   Until one day I realised I missed them.

It may have had something to do with an article I read stating that full brows make you look younger.  Or the fact that, evidenced by nearly all models and actresses in magazines these days, the Skinny Brow has absolutely had it's day.

But much to my horror, I stopped plucking... but they didn't grow!  Or rather, they did grow, but not in the places I wanted them to.  There were sparse bits here and gaps there, although they had absolutely no qualms growing everywhere I didn't want them (note to eyebrows: monobrows, are not, and never will be in.)

I discovered, as many before me have done, that overzealous plucking is a no-way back street.  And now I'm doomed to wander the earth forever, morose and brow-beaten, searching for the perfect colour eyebrow pencil.   THANKS SHANNEN!!!!!!!!!!!

What about you?  Did you stuff up your brows in your youth?  Any other beauty decisions you regret?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sleep, interrupted.

Before kids, if asked which Super-power I'd like I would probably have answered Invisibility, or the ability to fly (particularly handy in peak hour traffic).

Now, I'd probably answer The Ability to Sleep.  At will.

Having Litte Red seriously stuffed up what for 32 years seemed like a pretty basic bodily function.  Mind you, she's been a very Crappola sleeper, in all the colours of the Crappola rainbow.  The sort of thing that is bound to mess around with your body clock.

From newborn night-partier to early toddlerhood still up 3 times a night with a bottle, we've battled every battle and read every book.  Now, after what seemed a brief reprieve, we've entered the "Nightmare" stage of the imaginative 3-year-old.

"MUUUUUUUUUUUUUMMMMMMMMMMY!!!!!!! ARRRRRRRRGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!" Last night I lept of bed to this piercing scream, certain she'd been murdered.

"The Snakes!!!!!!!"  my sleepy poppet screamed.  "The Snakes!! They're all in my bed!"
After establishing the offending serpents were not, in fact in her bed, I wearily went back to mine.

But as usual, I couldn't get back to sleep.  I couldn't get back to sleep if a poisonous frigging Asp bit ME on the frigging butt.

Laying awake for hours I wondered just when I'd lost my ability to sleep, and how my snoring husband beside me seems to manage quite perfectly.

Then, of course, my brain kicks in and all is lost.  Thinking about doing THIS post, for one.  Then something I forgot to put on the shopping list.  Then about something I should have said to someone.  And other things I need to put on the shopping list.  And a brilliant idea for a novel that was lost before morning.

And before I know it, a new day is dawning.What about you?  Do you have similar night-time struggles?  Any advice?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Word worship

God I love words!  I could gaze all day at a beautifully crafted paragraph, in much the same way others may appreciate a photograph or a gorgeous painting.

So please excuse me while I genuflect for this passage.

"Babies are soft.  Anyone looking at them can see the tender, fragile skin and know it for the rose-leaf softness that invites a finger's touch.  But when you live with them and love them, you feel the softness going inward, the round-cheeked flesh wobbly as custard, the boneless splay of the tiny hands.
Their joints are melted rubber and even when you kiss them hard, in the passion of loving their existence, your lips sink down and never seem to find bone.  Holding them against you, they melt and mold, as though they might at any moment flow back into your body.
But from the very start, there is that small streak of steel within each child.  That thing that says "I am," and forms the core of personality.
In the second year, the bone hardens and the child stands upright, skull wide and solid, a helmet protecting the softness within.  And "I am" grows, too.  Looking at them, you can almost see it, sturdy as heartwood, glowing within the translucent flesh.
The bones of the face emerge at six, and the soul within is fixed at seven.  The process of encapsulation goes on, to reach its peak in the glossy shell of adolescence, when all softness then is hidden under the nacreous layers of the multiple new personalities that teenagers try on to guard themselves.

In the next years, the hardening spreads from the centre, as one finds and fixes the facets of the soul, until "I am" is set; delicate and detailed as an insect in amber."

- Dragonfly in Amber, Diana Gabaldon.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

High Jump With Happiness

Isn't this beautiful? 

Idea from here...

I think this will also do for my Friday Gratefulness post :)  Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What 'colour' are you?

Ever attended a work "Team Building" session?  If you have, you'll know what I mean when I say...


or maybe,
Urge to kill......... Rising.......

or maybe, just:  LOL, WTF?

Most of these things are just fucking ridiculous.  There was one, for instance, where we had to pass around a "Bop It" gadget (for those who don't know, it's this thing that plays a techo-type beat and tells you to either 'bop it' 'twist it' or 'pull it' and you have to twist its various levers in time, or you're "out" ).  As I said: WTF?

So you'll understand my first reaction to being invited (read: compelled) to go to a team building session entitled "Understanding Self and Others" was somewhat lacklustre, to say the least.

But it actually turned out to be interesting.  It was something I hadn't done before, at least.

Apparently, each one of us has a unique behavioural style - at work and otherwise - in which we interact with others.  This has evolved usually from childhood, when we begin figuring out what behaviour "works" for us to get what we want.  We approach people with a certain behaviour that's innate to us, but it may not be the same behavioural approach of others, and that's where conflicts and misunderstandings can arise.

The author of this theory categorised the behaviours under four different colours:  Red, Green, Blue and Yellow.  You do a little survey to figure out which one you are.  I guess it's very Jungian in its approach and it's probably nothing new but I found it really interesting.  

Here are the four types:

RED: Spirited and fun, comfortable taking risks, charming, playful, good sense of humour and naturally optimistic.  Motivated by prestige and recognition.  Bored by details and structure. Handles ambiguity well and thrives on social contact. Can be inconsistent, emotional and unrealistic.

BLUE: Very goal-oriented, enjoy getting immediate results and love a challenge.  Enjoy looking at the 'big picture', comfortable being in charge, quick decision makers and thrive on competition, tough workloads and pressure.  Flare up quickly but just as quickly cool down again.  Inefficiency and indecision irritate them.

GREEN: Accuracy and numbers are important.  Perfectionism is inherent.  They have a systematic approach and thrive in orderly, conflict-free situations.  Great at critical thinking and planning.  Can resist change because it may threaten structure and order, can get buried in 'details' and feel overwhelmed when they don't measure up.

YELLOW: Have a warm and caring style.  Family is their number one priority.  Concerned with the needs of others; these are the best team builders, highly empathetic and sensitive.  Generally content with status quo, practical, dependable and patient.  Easygoing, but can hold grudges and procrastinate.

These are very short summaries of what were about a typed page each.  It's very interesting and I think relates not just to work but life in general.

Me... I'm mainly a RED with a few blue and green traits. (I can't believe I have virtually no yellow!!) It's a bit like star signs, isn't it... you're never ALL what they say, but I found a lot of mine remarkably accurate.

It's hard to do without the survey - which I'm attempting without luck to find online - but which category do you think you'd fit into?  What's your worst ever "team building" session story?