30 January 2015

Talking about death with a four year old

I have a four year old which means that I'm becoming adept at discussing things that I quite frankly have no idea about.  I'm also becoming dab hand at deflecting questions with conversations like the following not uncommon:

Her: "What is God?"
Me: "What do you known about theology, religion, philosophy and the like?
Her: "Ummmm...."
Me: "Exactly, we can finish this conversation when you know more about those"

or

Her: "Why do numbers matter?"
Me: "Great question little one, but if I tell you your Year 2 teacher will have nothing to teach you when you get there so let's leave it for her eh?"

or

Her: "Why aren't there more girl superheroes?"
Me: (Frantically thinking for good examples and realising that most of the women in superhero stories are villains or scantily clad which segues into a small brain fart about the misogynistic nature of comic books which I hadn't given much thought to until this very second and which comes out as....) "Great question sweetheart, let's ask Ms Fallon at school tomorrow"

But the interest in death I take really seriously.  Because death is part of life and while it's not an easy discussion I believe it's an important one to have as openly as possible.

"When do you die Mama?"

"When your body gets to the end of it's life sweetheart"

"When does that happen?

"Odds are when you're really old, but it's different for everybody"

"Older than Grandad?"

"Yep"

"Do kids die?"

"Sometimes darling, yes they do"

"When?

"When their body gets to the end of its life"

"And then what?"

"Well everybody gets together and talks about how great you are and how much they loved you."

"But what about the body? What do you do with the bits that you don't give to the doctors?"

Yes - we've had a conversation about organ donation previously. We describe it as when your body doesn't need something you can give it to other people who are sick, or to the doctors to learn more about bodies.

This bit about 'what about the body' is the bit I've found hardest to explain.  So I settled on this after a bit of thought and a few suitably vague answers which didn't satisfy her in the slightest:

"It depends sweetheart, but the two most common things to do are either bury them in a graveyard or cremate them. What happens then is a bit like what happens to a flower that falls off a tree after it's finished it's job being a flower, your body breaks down until it becomes part of the earth again.  Some people like to do that bit slowly so they choose a graveyard and others like to do it quickly so they choose cremation."

"But what about your dolls?"

"They absolutely go with you."

And we've wandered about a graveyard and looked at gravestones which she found incredibly boring, but which I have always found incredibly restful.  I always think that of all the things that we worry about - the graveyard shows that none of it matters in the end.

And we haven't had to go into conversations about what cremation is or how you get into a graveyard, she's okay with the broad concepts and I make it sound no more interesting or scary than talking about how owls smell.

I know that it is a bigger concept but in many ways, to her it is not.  It's another thought to be explored, another concept that she's fitting into place inside her brainbox and she pops it in to place between owls and why boys don't have babies. (She's sorted that on her own - the hole at the end of a willy is too small)

I don't say to her things like "don't worry that won't happen for a long time" when she asks if I might die or she might die. Because how the hell would I know what life has got in store for any of us? I'm not going make statements which are beyond mine to make. I just reply with something along the lines of "I hope not for a long time darling because we still have a lot of things to get done."

And she's okay with this.  I know that the conversations will get harder and more in depth and I'll have to be googling the shit out of the next level of questions that come up but in the meantime, it makes perfect sense to her that when your body finishes living, that's dead.

What about you? How do you approach the big questions in your house?


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29 January 2015

I got me a new look

Franklophiles

The day has come... Talking Frankly has a new logo thanks to the incredibly talented graphic designer - Jenny Pratt.

This is it.


Or you could look at the top of the page and see it there too.  Like any time you want.  

And I'd like to invite you to sign up to be a Franklophile!  Which basically means you'll get my newsletter regularly which will contain the secrets of the universe (this could be a lie) and absolutely no fashion advice whatsoever.  May contain giveaways and will definitely be by me. 

Sign up by clicking the following sentence -

I WANNA BE A FRANKLOPHILE

AWW thanks.... you're so lovely.

Talking Frankly needed something to take it forward into the future.  Sure I could have just given it a swift kick in the rear - but the logo is a much nicer way of doing it. 

All feedback welcome.

Big love xoxox

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22 January 2015

Does your underwear match?

Females of the world - I have a question that I need answered urgently

"Does your underwear match?"

Why do I need it urgently? Because in the early hours of the morning, when I was so wide awake that I was awaker than a very awake thing, I clicked through a series of articles and ended up at some website that said they had PROOF that women who didn't wear matching underwear WERE DEMONSTRATING THEIR LACK OF CARE FOR THEMSELVES, THEIR FAMILIES AND THE WORLD AROUND THEM.

but they love to get free records

WOMEN THAT DON'T WEAR MATCHING UNDERWEAR are the kind of women that are PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR EVERYTHING THAT GOES WRONG IN THE WORLD.

So basically, I already feel pretty lousy during the 3am 'wideawakes' and then I found out I'm responsible for CLIMATE CHANGE, MISOGYNY, SLAVERY, DAESH, FAMINE, POVERTY, ADDICTION and VELOUR, to name but a few.

I was ashamed.  Because you see - while the idea of wearing matching underwear is perfectly lovely, it stopped being a priority about... oh so long ago I was probably in my twenties. I carelessly and thoughtlessly just buy underwear that is comfortable and fits properly. That said I might choose different coloured bras to work with different coloured tops and dresses but I prefer my underpants the way I prefer my bowties - black.

And until the early hours of this morning I only gave my approach to underwear any thought WHEN I NEEDED NEW UNDERWEAR.



I know. I can hear your gasps of righteous indignation from here.  I have failed women everywhere.

How do I demonstrate my individuality if not by wearing matching underwear in colours that 'represent the vibrancy of my true self'?

How do I make sure my husband is getting the best from me when I don't start the day considering what colour underwear will reflect my mood?

How do I explain to my children that the violence visiting the world is because I am one of those women who don't start the day with my bloomers and bra in cosmic alignment?

No wonder I have made poor life choices since I am one of those women that DON'T CARE ABOUT THEMSELVES ENOUGH TO WEAR MATCHING UNDERWEAR.

I cause the chaos in the world around me by not wearing matching underwear.  And I know also that you need to be TYPING IN CAPITALS TO MAKE A POINT.

So females of the world IS it just me?  Or are there other women out there ALSO RESPONSIBLE FOR THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT?

Anyone? Anyone? Helllooooooooooooo?



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20 January 2015

Why the hate little man?

One of the things that perplexes me in life is how people can use the internet to find out incorrect information but completely fail to use that same tool to find correct information.

Another thing that perplexes me is mullet hair cuts.  It's not business at the front, party at the back, it's just a very bad haircut which flatters not a single human being ever.

source: www.prettyfknembroidery.com
Yet another perplexity is the amount of time people put into being bigots.  Imagine what they could achieve if they spent half the time and effort hating on somebody doing something else.  Like building lego or pulling weeds out of cemeteries or mindfulness. There really is something out there for everybody.

Last night I was at gathering of volunteers that come together to work out how we can help asylum seekers and refugees settle into their communities.  Actively demonstrate welcome as it were.  It's not religious or unreligious, it's not good or bad, it's not black or white, it's just a small group of people who in their own small way are living by the hashtag #dontbeadick.

source: www.prettyfknembroidery.com
Some arsehat stood outside the pub we were sitting in with a sign that was offensive.  Mainly because the information on it was incorrect as well as bigoted and the guy holding it had a mullet.  And then he posted a picture of his protest on his Facebook page which was kind of sweet because otherwise we would have remained blissfully aware of his stand against our 'do gooding'.

But then because I'm a nosy cow I started to trawl through his page (whaaat? His privacy settings are not on obviously) and there are a couple of daft comments by people that don't know any of us accusing our wee group of merry folk of being crypto christians, faux christians and drinkers.

And muslim lovers.
source: www.prettyfknembroidery.com

  1. There is nothing crypto about christianity - that's the Superman comics. 
  2. I never wear fake christians - I'm allergic.
  3. That's true. There's a lot of merit in the Bacchanalian approach to life.
  4. Also true.  If somewhat generalised.  I'm sure there is the odd Muslim I'm not fond of, just as there is the odd Atheist/Humanist/Christian/Hindu/Buddhist/Bacchanalian/Bacon lover of whom I am less than fond.  
This man spends a lot of his life being hateful.  He has pages and pages and pages of pictures of him failing the #dontbeadick test. And it saddens me quite genuinely that a man with that kind of energy for life can't put his focus on something that would result in happiness and goodwill for all.

Like the hover board.  That shit needs to be sorted by October right?  

(Sighs)  I just don't get the energy that goes into hating on people.  I really don't. 


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12 January 2015

Turns out we live here

There has been a realisation in these last couple of weeks which strangely enough, has taken us by surprise. 

We live in Sydney.  

Both girls knew the name of this building before their own address
I know, we've been here since 2007, you'd think we'd have noticed by now.  But the thing is, we never came to stay.  We originally moved here from London because I'd run out of visa options over there and he'd never been to Australia so why not?  

We originally said a year - partially because that's what we thought and partially because Nick took so long to tell his parents that we were practically boarding the plane before he dropped it into conversation that their darling son was moving with the profaning Australian to the other side of the world. 

Privately, we thought possibly two years - being realistic and all. 

And then we got engaged and got proper jobs and with me having a large family it made sense to get married over here. So we did.  And then we had one baby, and then another.  If people asked us about what we were doing any more than about one week out we were always like - it'll depend on whether or not we are living here or in London.

And it was possible.  He's a Brit, I was working for a British company and since he'd lived in three cities by the time he was six, and I had lived in five, neither of us were particularly bothered by this notion that children had to be in one place for their formative years.  

But in the past week or so we were surprised to realise that not only do we live in Sydney, we have to enrol our child in a school for next year. And we have also been made aware that we are part of a very small, practically non existent, group of people who have not spent the first five years of our daughter's life wondering where she is going to go to school. #badparenting

Source: ytravelblog - the sunset and our local bridge
We live here and must have done for a while it seems.  I no longer work for a British company, I run my own business. Nick's has been in his current job longer than we've been married. We have an amazing, supportive tribe of friends. We love the city. Our girls recognise the local neighbourhood better than we do - it is their familiar territory.  They are going to go to the local public primary school, along with friends that are, um, also local. 

In short, Sydney is home.

I still miss the physicality of London, there is no other city like it. And it goes without saying that we miss our friends and family, Nick particularly. But somehow, after almost eight years in the city, having to pick a school for our daughter has made us recognise that our thinking had shifted, without us even noticing. 

Locals hanging at the local park
That one year, turned into, um, a bit longer than planned. 

Here's hoping his parents haven't noticed yet.  

PS: No, we have not enrolled our girls in high school or even thought about where they might go.  You see, we don't know if we'll be here or in London.

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5 January 2015

The internal dialogue of exercise

Step out the front door.  Click 'play music' and 'record workout' - stride out into the blinding sunlight and go back and get your sunglasses.

You know it's true.  Rare is the moment where exercise starts as per the plan.

The First Kilometre.

It's uphill and it's in excess of 30 degrees.  This first kilometre is where I alternate between thinking that I need to set up some new playlists combined with a load of silent profanity along the lines of 'Why the FREAKING HECK did I set myself such a stupid goal? I hate walking, I hate everything, honestly, I'm just going to lie, maybe if I fall and break a leg that'll sort me out'

Repeat.

The Second Kilometre.

I FREAKING LOVE WALKING.  I could walk a whole FREAKING MARATHON.  I could walk for days.  I love walking.  Look at me walking.  Lah lah OOH GREAT SONG.  No WONDER I LOVE THIS PLAY LIST.  Oooh look at me arms up like a professional walker.  I'm ON FIRE.

The Third Kilometre.

I never knew that shop was there? Or that one?  OOOOH. I can see my reflection. Shoulders back, gut in.  Cheeses girl - you need to do some core work - that spine curvature is unnecessary.  Ooh I love those wooden whales.  I wonder if he makes them himself or buys them in.  Oh this song is too slow.  Really why do people buy dogs so small they have to be carried? What is the point of carrying the dog and going for a walk? Why not just carry potatoes and save on the cost of dog food.  People are weird.

The Fourth Kilometre.

I'm walking a whole kilometre per hour faster than the average.  There might be something in all that muscle memory bollocks.  I really liked the pulled lamb Brad cooked yesterday.  I don't get why people love cooking though - especially when it's so hot.  Hey, I've just had a great idea about how I can raise money for my World Vision bloggers challenge this year.  What if I... (brain feverishly goes up about a thousand billion notches as it starts to formulate a plan)

The Fifth Kilometre.

Whoever designed pedestrian access to bridges is an asshat.  Why make us walk all the way down to go up.  Honestly.  God it's hot.  I think I should have brought more water. WHOA - my hat.  Cheeky wind.  Oooh, I like this song. Why do I get such bad pins and needles in my hands why I walk.  Best do that dorky walking hand thing.  It does help but honestly I look like an idiot.  I bet the cars driving past are getting a good giggle out of this.

The Sixth Kilometre.

Hello little Lizard.  Why are you scurrying along beside me?  Cheeses, I'm being beaten by a freaking lizard.  Lizard, slow down. Lizard gone.  I could probably get schools involved in my idea.  Yeah.  That could work.  Surely I know some school teachers?  Actually I know a lot of freaking school teachers?  What is wrong with people? Why would you want to be a school teacher?  Mad bastards the lot of them.  But it could work.  It could be like a value add for the fundraising.  Good for World Vision.  I hope this idea still sounds good when I get to the end. Must cross road now.  When did ballet barre classes become a thing that gets them their own studio?

The Seventh Kilometre.

I really should have brought more water.  What the fuck was I thinking going for a walk without more water?  It's like I wasn't born here or something.  It is rather hot.  But still quite a cracking pace still.  Well done you.  Oh Tracey Chapman.  You're a bit sad, I'm going to skip you and ah that's better some completely inappropriate Scissors Sisters.  Ah, a quick selfie for the blog page.  Yuk.  Another one.  For the love of Dr Seuss Alison Clare smile?  Fine.  That'll do.



The Eighth Kilometre.

Almost there. This is about where those pedestrians got hit recently.  God that was horrible. Poor Rozelle.  Life is so random. I have such a headache.  I really need some more water.  Must text Nick to tell him to start driving to Pyrmont soon.  Ooh, a tap, full water botttles again.  God it's so hot. That was such a lovely NYE we had last night. So hot.

The Ninth Kilometre.

There is something incredibly satisfying about walking isn't there?  I really am too hot to think.  Take off my hat there you go idiot woman - let a little bit of breeze ruffle your hair and cool you down. It's like you're a child sometimes.  Oh shit.  Drugged out weirdo alert. He's coming straight for me. What is it about me? Aha, well avoided Al! Though poor man at bus stop stuck with him now.  Oh well, a girl's gotta. Oh FFS ladies - why do you have to walk four across?  Hello! Excuse me! Excuse me!

The Tenth Kilometre.

Well aren't you an idiot Alison - now you've got to step up the pace so you stay ahead of them. Wow Anzac Bridge looks amazing from this angle. It really is a lovely bridge.  Hey Peter Fitz - I know I know about the Aussie flag but it is looking a bit amazing flying up there.  God I love Sydney, it's like the best city.  It's not London no - but look at that girlfriend?  What a gorgeous city?  What's that little app lady?  I've done 10 kilometres? That means google maps is a liar, I was supposed to be there in 9.9 kilometres and I am NOT at Pyrmont I am still on the bridge.

The Eleventh Kilometre.

This is the longest bridge in the freaking world.  I hate walking. It's so hot I think I might die before I get there.  How can Google maps get this wrong? Mind you Apple maps did too. Aww look at those old people taking their constitutional though seriously dude you're walking on the wrong side of the past.  Fine, I'll move but only because you're old and it's polite not because you're doing the right thing.  And they say people have no manners. I even gave him a smile and a 'Happy New Year'.  I am like the Mother Teresa of walking just now.

The Twelfth Kilometre.

Almost there!  What a great down bridge.  Remind me never to walk the other way, I'd be over it before I started.  Oh, that's cooler out of the sun.  Pyrmont eh, now where do Brad and James bloody live again. Okay, there's the building.  Right.  I can't wait to have water.  If they are not there I might just break in. Here I am.

It is done. What's my distance? 11.66 kilometres. Yuk. All the sweats.

"Hey James - it's Al - buzz me in will you?  Thanks."

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