30 October 2012

Public Festivals for Single Parents - yes please!

My husband has been in Dehli for a couple of weeks to celebrate his friend's wedding.  He's had a marvellous time seeing the fireworks to celebrate the beginning of Diwali and throwing tumeric at Amit and generally having a fab time at the wedding and pottering about the city.

People keep saying "ooh, bet you hope he's not having too good a time".  Well no.  He better be having an awesome time because he's supposed to be having fun for the both of us since funds didn't allow for us all to go.  So when he looks at something that he thinks "ooh nice" he better be saying out loud "OOOH NICE".  

But I'll be honest, I'm ready for him to come home.  I've missed him, the girls have missed him and I'm able to tell you factually and with no guilt that I am in no way equipped for being a single parent.  I've never thought it easy but having gone through a period where I have to be the good guy, the bad guy, the on it guy, the cook, the cleaner, the Dora fan, the night timer getterupperer and the going to the toilet with a child attached to both leggerer I am ready to contribute my time and funds to build a giant memorial as a permanent accolade to single parents.

And when I think that so many single parents are teenagers or young adults that haven't even had the luxury of sleeping away their 20s and early 30s and who are raising children on their own while studying or holding down a job I say round the buggers up and give them cake.  None of this slagging off in the media - there should be public festivals in their honour.

I declare November National Hug A Single Parent month.  And I encourage you to hunt them out, give them a hug, tell them they are doing a great job and give them a cupcake.  Because chances are if that I crave adult conversation and a little hip hip hoorah after two weeks, there are a lot of single parents out there who are going to appreciate you sharing a little bit of your love and energy - even if you can't be arsed with the cupcake. 

26 October 2012

All hail to Eden Riley - Goddess of the well made point

If you haven't already - rush rush rush rush rush to http://www.edenriley.com/

This woman writes beautifully, amazingly, honestly, heartbreakingly and sometimes hilariously.  She is words.

And her latest blog post, is so wonderfully eloquent - and ends with a picture that speaks a thousand words and is so refreshingly brash - I want to make sure that the few people that read my blog in its early stages understand that Eden Riley's writing is the kind of writing to which I aspire.

All hail Eden Riley and her bum. 

25 October 2012

The woman after me

I heard a throw away line on the radio today by a woman saying that if she was unlucky enough to die young, she hoped her husband stayed faithful to her memory or married a 'lesser woman'.  And it got me thinking - why would you want that?

I adore my husband.  I adore my daughters. They are the world to me.  If I was unlucky enough not to get the 102 years his grandmother has under her belt so far (or even the 86 my own grandmother achieved) I would want only the best for him and the very super best for our daughters.  And lets face it - the vows are until death do us part not until infinity and beyond. Hello - we're not Buzz Lightyear here!

I would want the woman after me to be vibrant and energetic and as madly in love with him as I am.  I would want her to be wonderful to my girls, inspire them and support them and love them.  I would want her to give him the courage to embrace life and I would want him to be the foundation for her life as he is the foundation for ours.  I would want her to be secure enough in her relationship with him that they can remember me and share stories about me with the girls so that they would know how much I loved them and what I wanted for them in life.  Which is to be kind and confident and loving. And perhaps better dancers than their daddy and me. Though we do alright in the enthusiasm stakes.

I would want for my husband and daughters the same life after me as I hope to have with them now.  One that is full of love, full of laughter, adventure, possibilities and the occasional blue caused by having four stubborn as buggery people under one roof.  I would want them to be encircled and supported by the same wonderful family and friends that we have now, along with the new friends that they will meet along the way.

Why would you want anything less for people you love?

23 October 2012

To sleep, perchance to dream

Sleep is defined as (noun) 'A condition of body and mind such as that which typically recurs for several hours every night, in which the nervous system is relatively inactive, the eyes closed, the postural muscles relaxed, and consciousness practically suspended.'

I'd like to draw your attention to the 'several hours every night'.

You can keep your 50 shades of grey, your Brad Pitt in perfume, your fetish for shoes - whatever - and know that all I think about at the moment is sleep.

I try really hard not to bitch about the lack of sleep I get having young children. I may not always be successful but I do try. Yes I am tired but my daughters are such in blessing in themselves that sleep seems a small price to pay for having such joy but oh, I really really really miss the irresponsibility of a lie in or even the defined SEVERAL HOURS every night.  

My girls have a neat set up at the moment where they take it in turns to be awake during the night or in need of cuddles and love so recently I haven't gone more than a couple of hours with consciousness suspended either practically or impractically. I appreciate that some people have babies that do this for years but I'm not sure I have it in me.

Basically - don't bother telling me anything you'd need kept secret in the event of torture or provocation. They would not need to dirty their hands. In fact they'd only have to offer me 8-10 hours of sleep in a big bed with cool pillows and a snuggly duvet and I'd tell them whatever they wanted to know if they led me to that bed.

I long for that opportunity to be woken by the morning sun and stretch out luxuriously before curling myself back into the foetal position and burrowing my head in my arm and returning to sleep.  I dream of waking up in a leisurely fashion rather than pulled brutally in the world by a crying baby or a distressed 'Mummmmmy' from my toddler.  I wish to roll out of bed slowly keeping my body aligned rather than jackknifing into an upright bolt.  

And it'd be nice to have languid conversations about the weather and the upcoming day with my husband over breakfast rather than competitive tiffs about who slept most and who was most worthy of the title 'most tired' so we could head off to work with the kudos of being 'the better parent'.  It's a valuable commodity sleep and one more precious to the two of at the moment for its scarcity. It's not quite Blood Diamond territory but my husband is more handsome than Leonardo.

To all of you in the same boat - big love and to all of you with the opportunity to sleep as you will. So jealous.  So so so soooooooooooooooo jealous.

22 October 2012

A good hearty no agenda chuckle.

I read this article by Annabel Crabb over the weekend and loved it.  I giggle every time I think about #proudtobecurious and amused myself on the train this morning thinking of moments where the hashtag is super funny (I've been up since 4am - humour and caffeine are essential for today's success).

I shared the article with an English friend of mine who spent three years living here in Australia and put in a concerted effort while here to visit all 132 of Australia's 'big things' and the smaller out of the way towns that nobody ever visits.

He replied that when he stopped in Benalla in Victoria they were going with 'Why go to Paris, when you can shop in Benalla?'.  Which is EXACTLY why he got so much enjoyment from his slightly diverse approach to travelling around Australia.  And he still hasn't figured out the answer.

I must admit that I have shared the article, and re-read it a few times because it continues to make me laugh and I am committed to going to the Home of the Meat Ant before I die. But it struck me as I re-read it this morning that one of the things I like about the article is the simple enjoyment of the daft.  And I really don't think we get many well written chuckles from newspaper columnists these days without some major agenda underpinning the joke.

And I liked it.

19 October 2012

Cancer is a bitch

This week we found out that one of our beloved friends has leukaemia.  Aged but 30 years old and not feeling particularly sick, she went to the doctor about a bruise that wasn't healing and less than a week later she's having chemotherapy and her husband's heart is breaking as he rallies to provide her with the love and support she needs.  

This is the second of my girlfriends to be diagnosed with cancer this year.  The first was diagnosed with breast cancer, gave up a boob and underwent extensive chemotherapy and radiotherapy to kill off the disease. She's now in that post poison stage where life becomes relentlessly normal while you wait and see.  She's back at work, her kids are playing up and her husband still doesn't clean the bathroom quite the way she would. Life changes.  Life doesn't.

Another friend my age has had cancer for 11 years.  He's down some lymph nodes, a rib and his Bondi lifeguard lifestyle but he has a beautiful daughter, wife and doesn't skip a beat when it comes to giving his all to life.  A couple of weeks after his last chemo round, he rowed a silly amount of kilometres as a member of a support team for an ocean swim over in WA.  Just to be helpful. Life changed.  Life did not.

And this is the bitch about cancer.  Diagnosis is a shock. Treatment is nasty. It all takes time and you are powerless to do anything useful (unless you happen to be a research scientist finding a cure RIGHT NOW).

Ultimately it's a battle they face on their own.  They will argue again with their partner about the housework, you'll moan again about your weight and the clock will keep on ticking.  You can offer the support, you can share the love, send cards, raise money but ultimately it's all peripheral.  Cancer follows no rules, shows no mercy and it takes considerable strength not to drown under the weight of the word, let alone the actuality of the disease.

As a friend, you can't share the poison, you can't magic the cancer away and and you can't fix it by writing a list. A person once told me the most tedious thing about cancer is reassuring people when all you want to do is drum your feet on the ground and scream "how the hell do I know??" and "Why me?" and "I don't like casserole so stop making them for me."

So, for this friend, no casseroles.  I'm a crap cook anyway and she lives in another country and exporting bad casseroles is surely illegal.  I'm going to be resolute about being there for her and for her husband.  I'm going to be educated so I don't just say "there, there".  I'm not going to be a better person despite all intentions but I'm going to think positive thoughts, send prayers and I'm going to be present and in touch.

For while they are small things, they are all I have to offer.  And if you happen to have discovered a cure for cancer - please let me know.  I know somebody very special that would think that news marvellous.

In the meantime.  Big love LD.  Big love.

16 October 2012

What do I know?

I was following the twitter feeds from people attending the Problogger conference over the weekend and noticed that about, ummm, ALL my favourite bloggers of the moment seemed to be attending that event. Making me mad with envy (well apart from the bit where I attended my beautiful friend's wedding and watched her declare her love for happily ever after).

And I noticed that time and time again people were talking about their blogs needing to have a purpose and that we should always talk about what we know.

Which I find kind of interesting.  Because I think I blog because I don't know.  Really.  I don't think I know much about anything.  I sure don't have the answers.  I find the act of blogging gives me the opportunity to explore my thoughts on a subject, lay them out, cleanse the spirit as it were.  It gives me a chance to find out if I have words to express my feelings on a subject, ask questions on a topic or generally 'rant'.

But do I have answers?  Do I know?  I don't think any more than most.  One of the things I've been a lot better at in recent months is acknowledging that the things I am good at are not things I should apologise for just because other people aren't good at the same things.  But do I know why?  No.  Can I hypothesise?  You betcha!  What's my pop psychology like?  Second to none!

I mean I don't know why heaps of bloggers take photos of their feet for perspective in their illustrative shots. I don't know why people can justify trolling as art.  I don't know why people find the act of volunteering to be so difficult.  I don't know why people can't use deodorant before getting on public transport. I don't know why people are obsessed with the Kardashians.  I sure as hell don't know why people are so vile to each other.  I don't know why Madonna's Hanky Panky doesn't make it on her Best Of Album.  And I really am unsure where I was the day the music died. (That last one I don't know because I have never bothered to google when it was supposed to be so I could take an educated guess).

Anyway, perhaps next year I'll go and schmooze with other bloggers and try and act really cool when I meet the ones who I admire.  Which gives me 12 months to work out what the fuck I know.


11 October 2012

Parental fallibility - where were you when you noticed?

I was talking with a friend today about when we realised our parents could be wrong.  It's a fairly pivotal moment when your entire life to that point has been steered by their moral compass, their world views and their preferences.  And then, with a small sigh of a tear, there is a chink in the completeness of that world and before too many years go past, that tear will move from being barely noticeably to a schism the size of the grand canyon.

And its part of growing up, learning to negotiate that rent in your relationship. First you question that thing you notice, then you question so much more.  You firm up your own views and create the black and white universe of your adolescence where everybody else seems so sure of themselves that you yourself adopt absolutes to try and navigate your way through without drowning.

And the world gets more grey as you move into your twenties and beyond and all being well, you can look back with increased self awareness and laugh at your earnest 'right' self and understand that there was so much more for you to learn, but you hadn't quite fathomed that the learning didn't stop with graduation.  

Your colleagues, new friends, lovers and the world at large present you with more options and because your world is bigger and wider and brighter and more brightly coloured, the chances of your parents being wrong increase. And along that journey, you have that second revelation that your parents are people.  And fallible. And in fact, they even have names that aren't Mum and Dad.  

And hopefully, if you've any self respect, you accept responsibility for the person you've become and are thankful for the things they were right about and recognise that they too once had a moment where they realised that their parents were not always right.

In fact, because they are people just like you, they are still travelling through a world of black and white and grey and the glorious kaleidoscope of colour that is experience.  And there is something quite powerful and reassuring in that shared reality. 

And while it wasn't the first thing - I just want to have it on record that the bubbleskirt did come back in and it would not have been a waste of money. 

9 October 2012

My love affair with social media

Today has been a fascinating day to be on twitter.  I appreciate that some of the success of twitter lies in who you follow, when you're looking at it and the events of the day in question but wow! What a day!

The election of the new speaker, the resignation of the old speaker, Julia's double pow pow to Abbott, Stella Young's brilliant observations on what constitutes a valid life, Father Bob's biting retorts invoking Hitler as the original architect of genetic selection, some passionate support of the Destroy the Joint campaign - it was a wonder I got any work done.  And then laced through it - David Campbell's bumhole hashtag providing some light relief and a little bit about Legally Blonde - The Musical.

And this is what is great about social media.  The ability to engage with people that challenge your thinking, articulate your point of view better than you can, re-evaluate your opinions, contribute to public debate or give you an evil chuckle.

It is invigorating.  It is maddening. It is addictive.  I love that it connects me with issues I am passionate about and educates me about things I would like to know more about and occasionally bores me rigid.  In the midst of all the really fascinating things going on today I 'unfollowed' somebody who I believe has a profile and an intellect high enough to talk about more than her swimsuits.

It makes me laugh, it pisses me off, it perplexes me.  It has introduced me to some fascinating writers and worlds.  It's awesome, awesome, awesome.  And occasionally tiring.  It definitely keeps me occupied when my daughter's need feeding in the early hours of the morning!

If I was actually speaking this rather than typing, my words would be tumbling over each other - with my voice going up and down and my hands waving all over the place.  I'd be bouncing slightly on the balls of my feet and you'd be looking at me oddly.  But I find it strangely intoxicating to have been privy to such a variety of passions, interests and opinions.

And only 20 years ago I was wondering whether or not I needed a mobile or an email address.  I absolutely adore progress!

8 October 2012

Designer hoohars

I just saw an article entitled 'Rise of the designer vagina'.

I can't even keep up with designer fashion or shoes or haircuts.

And now there are designer vaginas.


On this occasion I'm going to run with ignorance is bliss.  I know what vajazzling is - surely that's enough?

Sorry should be an act of free will

Genetically I am programmed to never utter the word 'sorry'. I come from a long line of people who preferred to take their chances with deportation to the colonies rather than say it out loud.  Our family approach was of the defiant celtic model because forming the word 'sorry' in their mouths would have caused my forebears to choke and die.

Consequently, in many circles it is generally acknowledged that actions speak louder than words, so it's better to demonstrate you are sorry by ignoring the problem and just being really lovely. And as a system it works because it's molecular.

However, it is a fact that a genuine 'sorry' starts a conversation.  It doesn't end it.  It's not weak.  It takes guts to say it. It acknowledges that you have the strength of character to admit that you got it wrong. 

Which is why I don't understand why people can't say sorry without adding 'but'. If there is a'but', there should never have been a 'sorry'.

You don't need to apologise for things that aren't your fault.  You can apologise for the tone you used if the words are something you're quite pleased you said.  You can apologise for being an arse without pointing out the other person was one as well. 

And with that - sometimes you have to accept that people don't want to apologise.  Or that no matter how much they apologise you're never going to believe them.  So why badger them for it?  It's going to lack meaning - like when you were young and you were sent to your room until you were sorry.  Well of course you were going to say it eventually because there is only so much fun to be had locked in your room (this was in the days before everybody had full computer and home entertainment systems in their rooms ok!?)

It's the same when you're an adult.  If apologising is the only way to get people to leave you alone, you'll say it. But the word 'sorry' should be offered as an act of free will.  Which is why when I read the news at the moment - from Alan Jones, to Mitt Romney, to Nicki Minaj, to Assange - I say leave it.  If they mean it, they'll say it, if they don't, they won't.

5 October 2012

Even if it means donkey love, I want it.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that I don't give a monkey's what Tony Abbott watches on TV.  I don't care who cuts Julia's hair.  I can't name the current Green's leader (whoops). I think Bob Katter is a douchebag but his hat doesn't impact me at all.

And why?  Because I'm looking for leadership not celebrity.  Genuine, aspirational, passionate leadership.  I want a political party and leader who has a vision, can articulate the vision and drive the vision.  People don't always need to be right, mistakes can be made, but I'm sick to death of the naysaying of Australian politics.

People are not going to vote for Tony Abbott because his wife likes him. She will.  And good on her - loyalty is lovely. He needs to be getting out there and having an opinion, providing leadership and a contrary vision to the one Labour provides.  His current approach of just being a negative nelly is boring.  He needs (sorry Tony) to pay attention to Mr Turnbull.  Like him, or love him, his is a well articulated opinion.

And Julia needs to stop expecting to be stabbed in the back like Kevin and get on with it.  At election time, people will respond to results and to evidence that representative democracy works. Representative - not the views of the MPs - but those of their electorates.  As our first female PM, she could be so much more and we'd let her be because we need someone to jolt us out of our apathy and get us caring again.

I want a vision for Australia that doesn't use minorities such as our refugee as pawns.  I want equality for all people even if it's a slippery slope to donkey love.  I want the strength of our dollar to continue.  I want good education for my children.  Opportunities for my friends.  An aged care system that will support my parents.  I want us to be the lucky country because our policies are based on fact not fear.

No wonder the new black market in christmas hams got such a long article today.  If the only other news on offer is that Margie likes her husband, we are officially screwed.

4 October 2012

Is she really going out with him?

Late one Friday night in London in 2006, after a boozy night out with my beautiful man, we came home and turned on the TV and ended up watching the UK's inaugural version of Beauty and The Geek.  And for the next few weeks we were thankful for the 11pm closing time in London's pubs because we became complete addicts.  

It was car crash tv.  But sweet.  Inexplicably sweet.

And so in 2012, we are sitting down channel surfing and there is the latest Australian version.  And still strangely inexplicably sweet.  

The flip side of course is as the average joe on the couch, there is a touch of the patronising in the way we end up looking at both groups.  We are pleased we know what gibberish means and what town planning involves and we also know that we would never in a million years go on the show.  

And its all a little bit staged and cringeworthy and a little bit sad.  But here I am sitting through the entire first episode.  And I can almost bet money that I'll be watching the finale even if I miss all the ones in between.  Just to see who wins.  And it makes no sense to me - I'm loftier than this, more idealistic than this, busier than this! 

(And my beautiful man is wondering whether or not he should get a fake tan or wax his nipples.  So we know who he's identifying with this evening.  Ha ha)

Oh reality TV - you are the downfall of civilisation.


3 October 2012

A day full of gheegle

I recently became acquainted with the word 'gheegle' which is a Filipino word which means "The irresistible urge to pinch or squeeze something that is unbearably cute".  It's a brilliant word and its a pity that English doesn't offer up something equally as descriptive. But that's the funny thing about English.

Anyway, I digress.

Today the sun was shining with a fervour that spoke more of summer than spring and my girls and I encountered nothing but lovely people everywhere we went.  And every other moment one or other of my girls would do something, or give me a look, or a laugh that made me want to gheegle gheegle gheegle.

Sometimes my love for my daughters is such a physical thing I want to shout it from the rooftops, hug them, kiss them, squeeze them and capture every moment on camera because I have a terrible memory and I would hate to forget a moment of their awesomeness.

My heart lurches.  My breathing becomes more rapid. Like with rage I just want to stand and yell. But I want to yell 'Look world, look at my beautiful daughters'.  And while others will see gappy toothed, smiling, mucus monsters I just see two bundles of wonderful.

Now one is slumbering and the other is protesting sleep with the passion that only the very young can and I am content with my world and the little unit of love that is my family.

Gheegle. Gheegle. Gheegle.

2 October 2012

In defence of Abbott

I never ever thought I'd be saying this and please nobody think it changes my overall view - but I think we need to give Tony Abbott a break.

Yes it was a Young Liberals event and yes Tony Abbott is a Liberal and yes, mostly he perpetuates the xenophobic and small minded policies so revered by John Bloody Howard BUT he didn't make the comments and he didn't endorse the comments. In fact he condemned the comments and was supportive of Julia Gillard.  Sure he might have only said as much as he needed to say but that's fine - he wasn't the one who was nasty.

I would go so far as to say he behaved decently and sympathetically on this occasion.  Which of course means now that I know he's capable of it, I'll judge him all the more harshly when he acts otherwise.

Alan Jones is the only person responsible for those comments even if the event did themselves no favours by inviting such a contrarian to have an open session on the microphone.

So lets end the blame game and stop giving him air time.  Now that would really piss him off.

1 October 2012

We know he's a tosser

We all know Alan Jones is a tosser - its just been a matter of degree depending on where you sit on the whole left to right political spectrum.  His comments were out of line, in a long line of out of line comments.  I'll tell you what has had me flabbergasted in this latest round of media coverage which I had missed before - he has OVER 30 GODCHILDREN!!!

That means there are over 30 children who have had their spiritual upbringing entrusted to Alan Jones.  He is supposed to help guide them in their faith and assist in the development of their values, their morals and their ethics.

And that's what has me flabbergasted.

The man has no moral compass, no obvious ethics and worships as far as I can tell at the altar of his own arse.  Yet over 30 people have thought - hey - Alan Jones would make a great godfather.

What the fuck?  I mean seriously - what the fuck?

Who are these people so deluded? Were they drunk?  Forced against their will?  Do they hate their children?  Why?  Why? Why?

And breathe.