Monday, July 28, 2014

The Distant Hum Of My Childhood Fear


IMAGE : MORGUEFILE.COM | The Distant Hum Of My Childhood Fear

I remember when I was a little girl, I developed a crippling fear of the sound of aeroplanes flying overhead.

Admittedly, I was a bit of a sensitive, worrisome kid so it's no great surprise that I found something else to be afraid of, but nonetheless, the distant hum of an aircraft thousands of feet above me terrified me to the core until its sound had faded far into the distance. (I know - totally weird, but it's not really kosher to judge a six year old so stay with me....).

When I think back to this fear, a certain memory provides a perfect, clear definition of how I felt. I remember very vividly walking the picturesque dirt roads of our coastal home hand in hand with my beloved grandfather. I was probably six or seven years old and we strolled chatting just as the sun was setting and the half light of dusk was falling over us like a soft sheet. My grandfather was just about my favourite person in the world. At well over six feet tall, he towered over me and his enormous warm hands were always there to protect me from a fall or to scoop me up into an enormous bear hug. On this day, as the light faded, I still remember hearing the faint sound of an approaching plane. It was likely to have been a light plane delivering mail across the Tasman; not exactly a huge threat to humanity but nonetheless I remember being gripped with fear as it flew over us. I tucked right up under the wing of my grandfather as we continued to walk and I prayed like mad that this wasn't the plane that was due to deliver the much-discussed nuclear bomb sent to wipe us all out. 

In the late 1970s, the nuclear threat between the U.S. and Russia was a long standing, well-exposed conflict that hovered over the world like Damocles' sword. If I think about it, we're probably so much more conditioned and indifferent to the horrors of humanity now; much more than we were back then. We watch the conflicts in Syria, Sudan and Gaza and we simply shake our heads numbly, but back when I was young the tension and threat of a nuclear attack felt very real and scary, especially to a kid like me who was born to worry and fret.

Back then, we didn't really need to grapple too much with the ideology of terrorism; not like we do these days. The unrest in Northern Ireland was about as horrific as terrorism could get and of course that conflict showed no possibility of hitting our shores anytime in the future, which thankfully was true. In the 1970s, despite the absence of what we define as 'terrorism' so flippantly today, I began to worry. I began to dream of mushroom clouds and survival plans. I thought a lot about our animals and where they would go and if we would feel the end should a nuclear bomb hit our shores. Just how far away would one have to be to avoid the effects? Or would the entire world be wiped out by one bomb? It goes without saying, that's a lot to take in as a six year old and I wonder if our current worrisome six year olds grapple with other, equally as disturbing fears thanks to the many varied horrors that infect our world currently?

I suspect they do but perhaps like us they've become a little numb too? I choose not to test the theory - we don't watch the nightly news like we did in my house growing up (thank goodness for the internet) as there are just too many confronting horror stories to attract the innocent eyes and ears of our inquisitive, ever-questioning children. I guess by sheltering them somewhat from the dark side of humanity, I'm trying to avoid my kids experiencing the same unnecessary, unchangeable fears that haunted me when I was young. Life is hard enough and I suspect it's generally harder and more complex for kids now than it was thirty five years ago. Let's face it - no one really needs to lug around an exaggerated fear of attack if they don't have to!

Clearly, I grew out of my fear of aircraft over time; thankfully by the late 1980s the threat of nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia had diminished significantly and I suppose I began to either see the insanity of my fear, or I simply found something else to worry about. (I suspect it was the latter).



Monday, July 21, 2014

MH17 - Bring Them Home.....


It's Monday morning here in Melbourne; it's foggy and cold and people everywhere are shuffling off to work perhaps feeling a weighed down by a bit of Mondayitis or the return to school routine after a holiday break. It's almost impossible to comprehend though, the infinite amount of suffering many families are enduring right now at the hands of this unspeakable tragedy, the missile strike on passenger flight Malaysian Airlines MH17, Thursday July 17th (Friday AEST).

I feel like I have to write something down. I feel like my brain may just explode with the overwhelming amount of empathy and sadness I am feeling for these people, in particular for the Australian parents who have lost their three children and the children's grandfather charged with the job of accompanying the kids safely back to Perth for the beginning of the school term. I can't process it;  I simply cannot fathom how they are functioning. How are they getting up this morning in their house, drowning in the physical belongings of their kids knowing they won't be coming back? How does the human body have the ability to continue functioning in such circumstances? What does the mind do to ensure the broken heart keeps pumping?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Winter Holidays 2014 - Done And Dusted!

 
IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | Winter Holidays

Okay, so maybe the above pictures aren't of us frolicking in some exotic location which requires one to pack only a passport and a string bikini, but I'd say they include pretty happy faces overall given the distinct lack of adventurous holiday destinations on our schedule this year.  During these school hols, we've managed to bunker down at the beach house and survive the cold pretty well given the insane arctic conditions Victoria is serving up currently. We've just arrived home and I feel like a bear emerging from its hibernation period thanks to the return to the miracle that is central heating.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Do It Like A Girl!


WATCH 'LIKE A GIRL' VIA YOUTUBE - CLICK HERE

Have you seen the latest advertising campaign by Procter and Gamble?! 'Like A Girl' is great. It's simple and it's meaningful and it has all the qualities I have such trouble finding in advertising and media generally these days.  Big thanks to my friend Sal for sharing it with me - you can watch 'Like A Girl' by clicking image caption above or here.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Me And My Jawbone...


IMAGE : WWW.JAWBONE.COM
* THIS IS NOT A SPONSORED POST. NO REALLY - I JUST LIKE IT. 

Are you a fitness band wearer? I totally am. Six months to the day, give or take. Yep - Merry Christmas to me. 

I just love my JawboneUP.

Truth be told, before I was a Jawboner, I wanted a FitBit. I wanted a FitBit because that's the only band I'd heard of, its name made perfect, rational sense and lots of other people I knew had one. Nonetheless, on Christmas morning, I unexpectedly unwrapped this thing called a Jawbone. Santa had done his own research and had decided that one was better than the other on my behalf (good one, Santa) and so the Jawbone was the result. Weird name, still can't explain it but that's what Google is for. Go forth if it's troubling you. (I prefer the mystery).   

Thursday, June 26, 2014

How It All Goes Down In My Head (A Blog Hop About The Writing Process)


IMAGE : MORGUEFILE.COM | A Blog Hop
I've been invited to participate in a 'blog hop' by my dear friend and fellow blogger Kate from One Small Life - how cool is that? A blog hop is a bit like the old fashioned chain letter but without the annoying need for stamps or for your mum to ring someone else's Mum and let them know you're not allowed to participate because you have too much homework.

Kate has asked me to write a post about my own writing process. You should read hers here; it's an excellent piece, as are all her posts over at One Small Life. She has set the bar very high on the subject of personal writing, nonetheless, here's my take on our shared passion.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

To See Or Not To See? (I Really Don't Want to Talk About It, Thanks)


IMAGE : WWW.EYECHARTMAKER.COM | To See Or Not To See?

I witnessed the most Oscar-winning performance from Miss A at her first routine eye test last week.

I should have known. I should have been more switched on given she was broadcasting to everyone with great excitement even before the big appointment, that she was "definitely" getting a pair of pink glasses. While I know she can be pretty convincing when it comes to getting her way, I certainly didn't expect the performance she put on for the lovely optometrist who was thankfully able to see through A's dramatic interpretation of  'Stevie Wonder - The Early Years'.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Judy Blume - Thirty Years On


IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | Judy Blume Thirty Years On
If you're a child of the 1980's you'll probably remember these books (although they look a bit different now).

I loved Judy Blume books. They introduced a 'tweenage' me to all kinds of concepts such as self esteem, bullying, body image, friendships, the beginning of adolescence and the realities of life generally. I felt so grown up reading them; Margaret became a kindred spirit and I learnt that Sheila the Great was simply a misunderstood and frightened know-it-all.

My ten year old girl adores reading. Her head is always in a novel of some sort and it occurred to me recently that she's now at an age that she might really enjoy the Judy Blume series, just as I did. I've purchased a few of the books relevant to her age bracket but I might leave 'Forever' alone for a while - I don't think we're quite ready for the boy/girl relationship business (!).

Sunday, May 25, 2014

That's A Wrap On Another Mother Of A Week!


IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | A Mother Of A Week

It's Sunday - finally. I love a good Sunday.

I'm parked firmly arse-down on the couch today in front of a humming gas log fire while two kids make a well worn path between the TV and the pantry still wearing their standard weekend uniform; pyjamas. It's pretty loose around here on a Sunday when there are no plans. Laziness is generally acceptable, TV is permitted and no one has to brush their hair until evening bath time, me included.

This week was crazy...!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Resilience, Rainbows And Other Ramblings


IMAGE : PIXAR 'Boundin' | Resilience
WARNING : MAY CONTAIN TRACES OF SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS. 

I seem to spend a lot of time talking to my girls about resilience. 

Resilience is pretty much defined as having the ability to cope with, and bounce back from life's speed humps, big or small. Some kids are naturally more resilient than others (I suspect environment plays a role in their ability to cope) and some kids need to be taught. Not surprisingly, mine fall squarely into the latter category. Even as I type, Miss A (five) is snivelling uncontrollably because Miss O (ten) doesn't want to play Minecraft with her. Her tears, heartbreak and lack of acceptance of this momentary rejection demonstrates pretty clearly that we have a lot of work to do in regard to her resilience but then again, she's five so no great surprises there.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Life And Its Lemons.....


IMAGE : PINTEREST.COM | Life And Its Lemons
You know the famous expression, "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade"..? 

Well as it turns out, sometimes life doesn't just hand them to you. Sometimes they are literally hurled at you and often at the most unexpected times. 

Sometimes, you can catch them one by one and immediately engage the appropriate response by simply adding a little positivity and sweetness to create the proverbial lemonade. But at other times, the lemons are really big ones and they come at you like a giant landslide and engulf you because you had your back turned, comfortably believing in your own immunity to such things. I guess we're not immune though, are we? Doesn't matter how much of a fine upstanding citizen we are, no matter how much we consider others, give back to the community or even how many times we politely give way in traffic, the lemons are neither sympathetic nor selective and they can find us at any given moment.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

I Do WHAT????

IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD
At the school Mother's Day breakfast this morning, a video was shown of the Preps discussing what they think their Mums do while they're at school.  I was absent from the event but apparently Miss A in her usual unpredictable fashion declared to the 200 odd guests that, "when I'm at school, my Mummy shops for toothbrushes for herself".

Seriously? I swear, I'm going to make sure her 21st speech is the definition of embarrassing - REVENGE WILL BE MINE!!

(And for the record, while I DO support a healthy dental regime, I DO NOT shop for toothbrushes on a daily basis. Special thanks to the multitude of school mums who checked this fact with me this morning!).

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Five Minute Chat....


IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD
Every night at bedtime, my ten year old girl asks me the same question. "Mum, can we have a five minute chat?".

This is her way of telling me she needs me to herself for a period of time, without the distraction of homework, electronic devices, chores and most importantly without her doting five year old sister skipping around us like a chihuahua on Red Bull. Truth be told, sometimes it's also a great way for her to delay the orders for sleep but I figure I owe her a little one-on-one given that most of her spare time usually belongs to her sister. And what better way to learn about what is actually taking place inside her world than to spend time talking and listening to her without distraction? It's amazing how much insight I'm able to gain when she's in the mood for conversation. This is where the usual ritual on the drive home from school where I say "What did you do at school today?" and she replies, "Nothing much" is finally abandoned and the real details come spilling out.

The five minute chat originated about a year ago when Miss O was entering a new phase of her life where friendships suddenly became complicated.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Finding A Voice - A Year In The Making


IMAGE : VOICESOF2014.COM.AU
I've never been very good at reaching goals. I LOVE to set them; I love listing them in lovely neat handwriting, I love imagining the steps I will take in order to reach them and then visualising myself atop the metaphorical podium accepting whatever accolades are associated with the end result. (I recall with fondness my Olympic dressage circa 1985 goal which sadly was not to be thanks primarily to a distinct lack of talent from both me and my humble steed).

When it comes to goals, I'm not often one to follow through and do the hard yards regardless of the usual impediments and challenges associated with reaching success. Either the life has gotten in the way, the goals are often just too Mount Everest-like for me to reach, or I'm just plain lazy and I lose interest with a loudly declared *yawn* as I fall back onto the couch. Indeed, my consistent failure is the result of all three in most cases.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Happy Delusions Of A Holiday...


IMAGES : THE MOTHER LOAD | The Happy Delusions Of A Holiday


How good are school holidays when you actually get to go somewhere?!

We're home from a long overdue family trip to one of our favourite places, Noosa.

(Or 'Noooooisa' if you're a bit of a hoity toity).

Noosa! The place where you check your Melbourne blacks in at the door, head straight for the nearest bathing suit store and purchase the brightest, happiest, most overpriced beach dress you can find followed immediately by a stop at the pharmacy for a vat of tan in a tub.  Hooray! Holidays!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Go the F@CK To Sleep ...(Please)


KIDS PLEASE DO MORE OF THIS | Go The F@ck To Sleep
IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD
See this face? Looks like an angel doesn't she!? But do you know what we've gone through in order to get her to reach this blissful state? DO YOU!? Our nightly sleep routine is officially making me crazy. Night after night, it's like someone sounds a magic trumpet and the two tired, irritable souls who roam the hallways in full whinge mode between 4-7pm suddenly come to life like feral night cats. Apparently, it's party time and we're all invited!

Our nightly repertoire usually commences with such favourites as "Mum! I need water!" followed two minutes later by "I (think) I need the toilet" (for the twelfth time). Then there's the "I'm hot - I need my fan" or "I'm cold I need a blanket" and let's not forget last night's classic, "Mum! I need to tell you that I've learned to click my fingers!!!! Can you hear that?? I'm doing it!!" Snap, snap, snap. Truthfully, I can't work out if it's her fingers making the sound, or my unusually tense shoulder tendons coming undone, one by one.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Gerdi And Her Friends...

IMAGE : ALBERT BREDENHANN  | Gerdi And Her Friends



I watched a beautiful video recently based upon the woman above, Gerdi McKenna. Have you seen it? If not, you can watch it here. In the video, Gerdi's friends get together for a special photo shoot to support her through a recent breast cancer diagnosis. I don't share this as lightly as I do most other things, because there are many raw nerves attached to a cancer story; especially amongst the regular readers here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Byte For A Bite - How's YOUR Week Been?


IMAGE : PINTEREST.COM | Byte For A Bite
Hello Melbourne, I see your weird and freaky weather is back for another season? I'd say welcome but I'm currently busy removing the thermal puffer jacket to reveal further unnecessary layers of clothing that require urgent disposal whilst madly trying to apply 50+ now that the sun is suddenly searing my face. 

What's happening in your world this week? I'm feeling chatty today; chatty in a desperate need to be distracted from work kinda way which means that when I launch into 'Mother Load' mode and away from 'work' mode, my pay packet decreases considerably (read as entirely). Still, here I am - perhaps I'll endeavour to re-arrange my priorities next week.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Tree Change, Sea Change or Me Change?


IMAGE : MORGUEFILE.COM | Tree Change, Sea Change Or Me Change?
You know what I would like to do right now? I would like to do a big crazy life change that gets me as far away as possible from the daily grind that currently engulfs me. Call it a moment of temporary insanity or an early (not that early) mid-life crisis but I have a sudden yearning for a big, beautiful, spacious house with enough land for horses, and swing sets, a view of rolling hills and maybe a lake. See the picture? I want that driveway. And I want big verandahs, and a country kitchen in which to bake bread - I want to take up bread making! Yes! Why not? Know what else I'd like? I would simply like to put a stop to the 'groundhog day' monotony that currently defines my world. Is that too much to ask?


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Para'Kito - Au Revoir, Moustique! (French for Later, Mozzie)


PARA'KITO PRODUCTS


FREE PRODUCT REVIEW: Does anyone else have kids who are so attractive to mosquitoes that they resemble victims of the Ebola virus after an evening outside during summer? I do. They blow up like a couple of puffer fish, scratch themselves stupid until we've bled, cried and 'tantrumed' our way to recovery (me included). If I dare lather them in the usual chemical repellents to prevent the bites in first place, I'm fairly confident that it's their constant sneezing and loud whingeing about the smell that deters the mozzies and not the repellent itself.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Media Hypocrisy - Charlotte Vs. Grant


IMAGE : NEWS.COM.AU
I'm disappointed in the media hypocrisy this week.

On one hand, the overwhelming media message after the death of Charlotte Dawson is all about being nicer, kinder, more accountable and more supportive of those who are vulnerable. Yet two days later, here are photos and an invasive story with 'judgey' undertones about Grant Hackett (equally as mentally vulnerable as Charlotte I would argue) in a complete flap after his child goes missing from his hotel room.

Yep - his unfortunate choice of outfit might win him first prize at a questionable toga party, but wouldn't it be weirder if he'd taken the time to dress appropriately before searching for his missing child at 3am? Did onlookers expect a suit and tie under such circumstances? Good on him for considering his child first before worrying about the ass clowns who take these photos for sport in the first place.

And if you've never had one of those moments where you've lost sight of your child, I applaud you and bow down before you; your time will probably come. It happens to the best of us so there's no judgement here.

Dear Media - you are part of the problem, not the solution.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

For Charlotte - Engaging Our Social Responsibility


IMAGE : PINTEREST.COM | For Charlotte Dawson

Yesterday the news broke that a well known Australian TV personality had taken her own life as a result of depression. Reports suggest that although she was predisposed to the condition to a degree, her depression had often been fuelled by cruel and vile taunts on social media in recent years, prompting a previously unsuccessful attempt at her own life in 2012.  While I didn't know Charlotte Dawson personally and didn't pay much attention to her public achievements, I took notice when Twitter erupted against her a couple of years ago and witnessed the very public, downwards spiral she suffered and subsequently fought hard to overcome. Today, I have a pang of sadness for someone I never met and a strange sense of social responsibility for her fragile state given the social media cesspool we've all been happily swimming in and tolerating over the past few years.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Gripping Too Tight (And Other Nonsense)


IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD | Gripping Too Tight And Other Nonsense

Righto - I think I have a problem. Actually, I KNOW I have a problem and it's much more about me than her but nonetheless, here it is.

Remember I said that Miss A was positively brimming with excitement at the prospect of commencing her first year of school?  Well the enthusiasm seems to have evaporated somewhat and my obsessive, everything-must-be-perfect personality is having trouble dealing. I'm not having trouble in a shouty, impatient mother kinda way (I reserve that part of my personality for other precious moments like when it takes what seems like ten minutes to climb into the car and fasten a godforsaken seat belt) but in a begging, "oh please please love school, it's so much fun" kinda way.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

'Having It All' - A Society Standard Gone Wrong?



IMAGE : MORGUEFILE.COM | Having It All
New title for me - gym junkie. Look at me go!

Actually, no not really - I'm lying. I'm there by the skin of my teeth and if ANYONE was to utter the sentence "Free for a coffee?" at school drop off, the gym would be ditched quicker than Kim Kardashian's ex-husband. Nonetheless, I was there this morning and as I clumsily did my fifteen minute Cliff Young-esque shuffle, I was drawn to a segment on Mornings featuring a panel of guests including the lovely and wise Lisa Wilkinson. I always tend to agree with EVERYTHING Lisa says and even though she was muted by the gym's annoyingly loud 80's megamix (granted, agreement with Ms. Wilkinson was a little more challenging without sound) today was no exception.

The crux of the segment seemed to be about how Jennifer Aniston is portrayed by the media to be downtrodden and sad because although she is defined as 'successful', she hasn't yet fulfilled some society-assumed standard goal of having children and therefore she has supposedly failed to reach the top of the 'having it all' pyramid.  This got me (and the panel) thinking: