Thursday, September 24, 2015

Farewell, Old Friend..

IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | Farewell, Old Friend

She lay still on her bed, knowing that her old body was slipping away long before her head and her heart were ready. I cupped her heavy head in the palm of my hand, nuzzled her old grey face and she gazed back at me with her black eyes, pushing aside the pain she was enduring.  Both she and I knew what that nuzzle meant.

It was a little over a month ago when our beloved HoneyDog above left us at the ripe old age of seventeen. I haven't been ready to share, not so much because of any great sense of overwhelming sadness, but more because I wanted to write about her with spirit, with happy reflection and with love - completely befitting to the gracious old dame that she was.

We are well aware that we shared so much more time with our Honey than many; seventeen happy, healthy years is considered to be a life well lived in a rescue dog like her. And she knew it too. Honey always had a sense of owing those around her - it's weird to imagine a dog embracing the concept of gratitude, but she really did live her life with a serve, protect and behave mentality. I think if you're an animal person, you will always have that ONE companion who you remember as the 'special one', the one who had the greatest impact on your life. To me and in fact to all us, that was definitely her.

We knew losing Honey was coming but the knowing doesn't really make it any easier. From around the age of about fourteen, we began to see any year that rolled past as a bonus and thankfully, we had an abundance of those bonus years which were largely free of illness. Last year she was diagnosed with suspected cancer, but when a dog is sixteen cancer seems like a non-event as you're aware that there's a multitude of other things that could take her as the old body gives up.  So, on the vet's advice, we basically forgot about it, did nothing and thankfully it never had any impact - it was not the reason she left us in the end. One night, she had simply had enough.

Honey came to us in 2001 on the day before the twin towers came crashing down. We bought our first house as a couple and promptly marched to the RSPCA to select the perfect 'furbaby' to complete our 'family'. Truth be told, she wasn't anywhere near perfect in the early years - a messed up rescue dog who has been badly treated bonds to you like superglue much quicker than you expect and of course, quickly decides that whenever you're out of sight the world is coming to a dark end. Separation anxiety becomes an inconvenient part of your daily ritual and I laugh now at all the things we would do to try and trick her into thinking we were still there while we were actually at work - generally she couldn't be fooled for long though so there was always something unpleasant to come home to. Still, you learn to deal with the anxiety and you're more than rewarded by their love, loyalty and staunch companionship. Looking back I wouldn't change a thing (except maybe having to re-spray Mr MotherLoad's prized 1971 Porsche after she dragged her enormous bone onto the roof of the car so she could keep a closer eye on the street where we would eventually return - OUCH.)

Nonetheless, resprayed cars and ruined back doors in every house we ever owned aside, she was truly worth every maintenance bill and headache. As fate would have it, we recently sold that first house we bought in 2001 and the day before we handed the keys onto the next owner, Honey died, closing that long chapter in more ways than one. Saying goodbye to our house and to her in one day was very strange and poignant but weirdly appropriate in some ways.

Honey was our companion, our comforter, my co-worker and protector for fifteen years and while it was hard to say goodbye, we hope she's up there with the countless number of other pets who have come and gone in our family during our lifetime. We imagine she's swimming in an ocean and catching a frisbee somewhere up there, and we hope there's a chicken neck or two waiting for her at the end of each day.

Vale HoneyBear.


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Is This Thing On....?!


I know, I know. It's been three months. Three bloody months!! My creative well has been bone dry for THAT long and I fear I'm now tapping away here for the sole purpose of my own self-therapy once more, maybe devoid of any kind of audience at all. Are you even here? Is this thing on...???! *microphone squeals to life*.

I'm not going to meticulously fill you in on all the juicy details of the last three months; I'm not even going to do what they do in TV shows to catch you up by rolling a package of highlights. I'll just say that while 2014 and 2015 were especially shaky for a while there, things seemed to have turned the corner and I suspect the ship is once again heading in the right direction. Yay for that.  And now it's September. SEPTEMBER!!! When did that happen? Did we even have a July and August or did we totally skip them? I read that someone had finished their Christmas shopping the other day. Pfft. If that's you, please stop reading this, head to a mirror and take a good hard look at yourself. Then punch yourself in the face for being annoying.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Dreaming Of There (And Not Here)

IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | Dreaming Of There (And Not Here)

We've had lots of the proverbial shit-up-hill day to day stuff lately, and it got me thinking. I sooo need a holiday!!!

Truthfully, there's almost nothing I wouldn't give to be in the photo above right now. Winter has set in here (I hate winter), life is a bit one step forward, two steps back and therefore I'm craving the warmth of the sun and the simplicity of decisions that revolve around which ice cream flavour to choose or whether the day requires beach or pool time. (Sun, ice cream and water fixes most things for me).  I long to feel warmth on my feet, hear the sound of my kids happily playing at the beach and have a few lighthearted conversations for a change.  Who's with me? Anyone else feeling the same?

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Our Social Media Sabbatical

IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | Our Social Media Sabbatical
I don't profess to be the perfect parent. Although I may at times make the mistake of striving for perfection, I often fall pretty short in the parenting stakes. Generally if I fall short, I always try and get up, dust myself off and learn whatever lessons there are to be learned. Then I come here and share these lessons with whoever wants to listen. (Or I eat a block of chocolate - whatever gives the most satisfaction). I certainly don't declare what parenting path I choose to be the best way or the right way but it's just... well, my way.

This post is perhaps one of those lessons I'm choosing to share - whether I'm right or wrong in my approach only time will tell.

Friday, May 29, 2015

So - What's Been Happening?

IMAGE : PINTEREST.COM | So - What's Been Happening?
Hello, Blog. Hi Bloggy Mates. Remember me? We used to hang out together quite a bit. Then I went kinda AWOL. It's nothing personal, I just needed some time away to sort out the real world for a bit. Now I'm back and although we're a little stuck for conversation right now, I'm hoping it'll be just like old times really soon.

What's been happening? Oh! Glad you asked!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Raspberry And White Choc Muffins - Julie Goodwin Style

IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | Raspberry And White Choc Muffins

So as my quest for Mother Of The Year continues, at some point every week I'm baking homemade yummy stuff for the lunchboxes. I know - I'm a regular Margaret Fulton. Sadly, I missed out on a MOTY nomination this year but I reckon these muffins would have definitely got me over the line.

Today, it's raspberry and white chocolate muffins, a recipe taken from the fabulous Masterchef herself, Julie Goodwin. I love Julie - she's down to earth, she cooks stuff that all of us can successfully conquer (not major flouncy stuff) and it's always deadset yummy. So in the spirit of sharing the deliciousness, here's Julie's recipe. It works. And it's yum.

Raspberry and White Choc Muffins

2 cups of self-raising flour
3/4 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup white choc buds
1 1/2 cups of raspberries
2 eggs
1/2 cup of milk
1/2 cup of vegetable oil

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl (include the choc chips).
Chop half the raspberries, combine all the berries with the dry ingredients.
Make a well in the centre of the bowl.
Whisk the eggs, milk and oil in a smaller bowl. Pour into the well and mix with a spoon or spatula until just combined and there are no lumps (but don't over mix)
Spoon mixture into muffin cases and bake at 180C for 20-25 minutes.

Eat at least one warm - it's a crucial step. And while each bite may require two hours on a treadmill to cancel out the damage, I have no doubt you'll agree that it's totally worth it. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Dangers Of Being A Social Media Vigilante

IMAGE : MORGUEFILE.COM |  Being A Social Vigilante
Here's a good lesson for all of us to consider if we ever choose to become a social media vigilante.

Earlier this week, a Dad was shopping alone when he spotted a life size Star Wars figure outside Target. He promptly decided to take a selfie in front of it for his kids. (Yup, a little nerdy, but sweet and harmless nonetheless). There were other children around him waiting for their turn and as he held up his camera phone to take a pic of himself, a woman assumed he was photographing in the direction of where her children were standing. Thinking he was a predator, she promptly snapped a pic of him, shared it on her Facebook account, publicly accused him of being "a creep" while calling for everyone to keep an eye out for him and report him to the police.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Ten Things About Me

IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | Ten Things About Me
Hey! I want to write and write but there's literally nothing happening in my life worth sharing this week. Nothing, I tells ya. Do you have 'bell jar' weeks like that? Literally, NOT ONE THING about me is interesting right now. So, in the spirit of the Instagram hashtag #tenthingsaboutme, I'm sharing some bits and pieces about myself that most people don't know. Here goes. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Getting Crafty With CleverPatch

IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | Getting Crafty With CleverPatch
Look at us! We're doing craft! (I know. It's a certified miracle - save your applause, please.)

As a parent, you either love the idea of craft or you loathe it. I so wish I loved it a bit more but I must admit I'm usually too busy quietly stressing about the state of my Eames chairs under all that paint, glue and glitter to really relax and let go. I know. Life's too short. (But c'mon! Eames chairs, yo!) Admittedly, my two girls are both really creative types so I often find myself having that eternal parenting struggle between protecting the furniture and simply letting them go for it. Too often, the furniture wins.

Having said that, yesterday we absolutely, undeniably went for it. Craft ahoy. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

I Hate Swimming Lessons

IMAGE : PINTEREST | I Hate Swimming Lessons


Between the hours of 5-5.30pm every Friday you will find me at home dedicating the necessary amount of time to breathing deeply and recovering from the insanity and mayhem that is, the after school swimming lesson.

I hate swimming lessons. It's not actually the lessons per se, but more the indoor pool environment that I've grown to loathe. I. Hate. It. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Am I Blogging As My True Self?

IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | Am I Blogging As My True Self?
I've been asking myself this question quite a lot lately. 

Am I really blogging as my true self?

This question has been bugging me in recent times, niggling away at the creative side of my brain which most of the time also doubles as my harshest critic. Truthfully, the answer is that I'm no longer sure. Maybe I am but I feel a bit of a disconnection to my own story lately and the words aren't flowing quite so freely. I feel like maybe I'm censoring myself a bit? This might be because I'm going through a few life changes; not the type of changes that see me driving a red sports car and shouting hormonal obscenities at random strangers, but more the kind of lifestyle changes that flip your world upside down while you hang on by your fingernails and hope for the best. More about that later.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Movement For Change - A Family Violence Forum


"I want to tell people that family violence happens to anybody, no matter how nice your house is, no matter how intelligent you are."    
Rosie Batty, Australian Of The Year 2015.

Here's a statistic that I didn't know existed before I took notice of Rosie Batty and her anti-family violence campaign. Domestic violence happens to 1 in 3 women here in Australia. 1 in 3. The Breast Cancer Australia Network suggests that 1 in 8 Australian women are likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer under the age of 60 - that's a high and pretty devastating statistic in itself but 1 in 3??! If that's the case, how do we not all know at least two women around us suffering some kind of family violence? Truthfully, the answer is we probably do. We probably just don't know about it because of a) the stigma attached to being a victim of domestic abuse and b) because a large portion of society suggests that in some way the woman is to blame if she doesn't "just leave".

And therein lies part of the problem. Stigma, a lack of understanding and support, and silence.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Lunchboxy Stuff...



Look! Bento Lunch boxes!! I know! Bento!

Do you have a bit too much love for lunchboxes like me? If not, you're excused and may I suggest you read one of my more sensible and thought-provoking posts. If you  love the plasticware vibe in a most unhealthy way, let's chant the mantra together:

"While my plasticware drawer may be spewing containers, dividers and colourful lids, I do indeed have room for one more lunchboxy thing".

Say it with me.

"While my tupperware drawer may be spewing containers, dividers and colourful lids, I do indeed have room for one more lunchboxy thing".

Are you now convinced?

You need to check out Little Bento World. They have really cool lunchboxy stuff and if you're on the long and arduous quest for the perfect school lunchbox as I am, head to their website by clicking on the Little Bento World box in the right hand sidebar over there and all your problems may well be solved. Or at least your craving for that one more piece of cute plastic will be fulfilled. Either way, winning!

(Now get yourself to therapy before it's too late, you plastic obsessed minx...)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Making It Count - An Invitation To A Family Violence Forum

IMAGE : MORGUEFILE.COM | Making It Count - A Family Violence Forum

The world of blogging has exposed me to so many fantastic and varied experiences since I began sharing here​ a few years ago. By far the experience I'm anticipating most is the opportunity to attend a forum hosted by The Nappy Collective on family violence next week, where I will have the chance to hear Australian Of The Year Rosie Batty speak about family violence from the front line and discuss the passionate campaign she has devoted herself to since the tragic death of her son Luke in 2014.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Aldi - If You Dare

IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | Aldi - If You Dare

So I've recently discovered the benefits of shopping at Aldi supermarkets. I know. Aldi. It's a whole new world. 

I've discovered that I can pretty much cover our weekly food shop with a bit of clever planning, for about a third of what I was spending elsewhere. Seriously, A THIRD. And we're a family of four hungry hippos who live solely in anticipation of our next meal so that's good news all round I reckon. I did the Aldi thing a few times just to try, then what followed was an overwhelming sense of smugness for my new found economic windfall and therefore I've been back for several weeks in a row. Let me tell you, the smugness has not yet dissipated and in fact, it increases every time you step into a mainstream supermarket and get completely fleeced at the checkout. 

The checkout. That's where things at Aldi somewhat unravel for me. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Saturday Night In Da Hood..

IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | Saturday Night In Da Hood
Hi Monday, you evil minx. Why the hell am I so tired today? Oh yes, Saturday night. 2am. Salt 'n' Pepa's extended mix of "Push It". Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun". That explains it.

We have the most fabulous neighbours. I think we underestimate how much better life is when the people who live around us are also our friends. On Saturday night the folks opposite turned the big 5-0 and they put on a 1980's themed shindig in their backyard (hence Vanilla Ice and his Debbie Gibson-esque date in the image to the left there).

Friday, February 13, 2015

Hello, Friday Night....

IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | Hello, Friday Night


Made it and not a moment too soon. Forget the two junior members of the family - I'm totally spent from a huge week and if it was age appropriate I'd have thrown myself on the floor, my arms and legs would be flailing and I would be releasing a high pitched screech by now. Instead, I've loaded a spoonful of Nutella into my gob - clearly that's how I tantrum in my forties. Sarah Wilson would be so proud. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Spiritually Speaking......

IMAGE: THE MOTHER LOAD | Spiritually Speaking
Hi! Remember me? I've been a bit sporadic lately. The beginning of 2015 has seen me balancing precariously on a knife's edge to be honest. Picture that guy who walks a thin line across incredibly high crevasses wearing those funny ballet slippers and you get a sense of where I'm at except instead of that long balancing pole he carries, I'm carrying shopping bags. Always the damn shopping bags.

You know when there's stuff happening, it's big and life changing, and really it's not just your stuff to share, but also other people's? Well mostly it's our stuff but let's just say I'm hoping that lots of heavy, oversized jigsaw pieces fall into place very soon and I can come down off the high wire. I don't want to jinx a positive resolution by opening my big mouth and declaring my needs and wants to all so instead, I'm calling on the universe privately to show a little kindness and guidance and I'm promising to do the same in return. REALLY promising. I'll happily become Mother Flippin' Teresa if I need to.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Standing Up With Rosie

IMAGE : SMH.COM.AU | Standing Up With Rosie
I feel so strongly about anti family violence campaigner and newly appointed Australian Of The Year Rosie Batty. 

I can't quite put into words what affect she has had on me, but I find myself in awe of her as a reluctant celebrity but also as a woman who could be my beloved next door neighbour, or friend. I find myself paying attention to her message so closely, wondering how I can help her movement in some way. I study her expression intently whenever she pops up on my screen, just to see if I can read how she really is behind her focused determination. I study her to see how she is doing not as the voice of an important cause, but as a mother who lost a son, and as a woman who is still very much emerging through her own dark times. I look at her and I remind myself that I can really cope with pretty much anything in my own life if Rosie is successfully putting one foot in front of the other. And man, she is. She's doing so much more than that. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

NGV Summer Children's Festival 2015

IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | NGV Summer Children's Festival


Last week was one of those annoying groundhog day weeks where every day kinda imitates the one before. Wake at the same time, shower, have in depth discussions about who's having what for breakfast, nag about fresh air and sunshine and basically enjoy the finer points of parenting all day until it all starts again the following day. By Saturday, I was ready to quietly climb out a window and run far, far away. (Instead, after hearing "Mum, I'm bored" for the 112th time, I screamed into a pillow for five seconds and felt much better).

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Wasted Energy Of Envy

IMAGE : MORGUEFILE.COM | The Wasted Energy Of Envy
Envy - noun, plural envies.

1.a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another's advantages, success, possessions, etc.

Envy. It's perceived to be a pretty ugly trait isn't it? I've always thought that people who waste their time and energy on such an emotion are by definition ungrateful for their lot and have very much a 'glass is half empty' attitude. It's a black and white view which may be partly accurate, but now that I'm in my forties and have experienced a bit of what we call 'life's rich tapestry' (a nice way of saying the crappier bits of life) I'd say it's often a bit more complicated than that for some. Circumstances are usually to blame for a person's envy of another, and although it comes down to their perception of these circumstances, sometimes it's damn hard to see the majestic sunset through the dark forest, even for the most optimistic of us. And I get that.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Best Chewy Choc Chip Cookies EVER

IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | Best Chewy Choc Chip Cookie EVER
You know that feeling when you excitedly reach for a perfect-looking choc chip cookie and upon first bite it feels as though you've just bitten down on a piece of granite? Yeah - I know. The very definition of a first world problem.

Allow me to introduce you to the easiest, chewiest choc chip cookie you'll ever eat. It's fine. You can thank me later when we're both at the gym working these little beauties the hell off our expanding rear ends cos they're filled with gooey, fatty evilness. Nonetheless, rest assured that every bite is worth it. (And yeah, we call them cookies thanks largely to the generational influence of Sesame Street). 

Friday, January 2, 2015

There's No Place Like Home

If you could live absolutely anywhere, where would it be? I mean even if you're completely happy with your current roots, where would you love to call home if you had to relocate without limitations? 

I'm a total homebody. I'm not at all adventurous and I have never strayed too far from the security of the place I've always called home. Some people are restless - they live for journeys, new experiences and exploration but that's not really me. I love to be surrounded by the familiar and predictable. I know - I'm the very definition of boring. Look up boring in the Oxford and there's a boring, nondescript photo of me in a knitted jumper stroking a boring cat. At times I regret not having the urge to experience new horizons but my comfort zone is where I live best and on most days, I happily accept that. 

Lately however, we've had to give thought to expanding our horizons due to a quest for new job opportunities. The tides are shifting around us like tectonic plates and although change is not something I choose to suddenly embrace and celebrate, sometimes it's not about choice but about surviving, evolving, thriving and succeeding. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Merry Christmas, Muckers!!!!

Wishing each and every gorgeous one of you a wonderful Christmas break with friends and family. 

Thank you for all of your support, encouragement and enthusiasm this year - my humble 'lil blog has kicked some awesome personal goals in 2014 and I certainly couldn't have done any of it without all of you feeding my love of writing and gently shoving me forwards. 

Here's to a healthy, happy, ass-kicking 2015! There's good stuff just around the corner for all of us - I can feel it.

Now carve up that ham before I eat the legs off your chair..!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

My 2014 Summer Reading Wishlist...

IMAGE: THE MOTHER LOAD | 2014 Summer Reading

So - Christmas, eh? I can't quite believe it. Wasn't it February like five minutes ago?? Surely!

The way I see it, there are two distinct ways of looking at the festive season. For me, the first involves general panic, a multitude of lists and a tendency to overspend as we prepare for the big day while madly trying to juggle the end of school activities, work, and the stuff that doesn't end just because Christmas is coming. That's where I'm at right now and it's where I've resigned myself to be until 24th December at 5.00pm (as per last year, and all previous years).

The second way to approach the festive season (and indeed my preferred way) is to think about the break that will be our reward after the mayhem, allowing us to finally stop at the end of a relentless year, catch up with friends and family and eat way too much leftover pudding. After a somewhat challenging 2014 for our family, I'm looking forward to taking some serious time out, have some chilled out conversations that don't revolve around a schedule, and to read a book or two from my long and neglected reading wishlist.