27 February 2014

We met Peppa Pig and are supporting The Big Splash

In our house at the moment all we think about can be shown in the chart below:

As you can see - my beautiful man and I are out of step with the ruling parties.

However, last week we had the opportunity to meet Peppa Pig who was in town to launch "The Big Splash" which is an initiative of Life's Little Treasures Foundation.  They raise funds to support premature or sick babies so that they can grow up to drive their parents demented watching the same Peppa Pig episode on repeat for approximately 24 billion hours.

Meeting Peppa Pig had the girls so ridiculously excited they woke up even earlier than they normally do. Like so early it was practically still the day before.  However, off we went in our best party dresses to meet with the girl herself.

For those unfamiliar with Peppa Pig she is a subversive feminist character designed to instil a love of muddy puddles and anarchic behaviour in small people.  She is supported in this by an assortment of other animals representing leftie bleeding heart ethics.

Or the other view is that she is a small pink cartoon pig in a red dress, who likes to jump in muddy puddles and explore the world with her brother George, her parents and various extended family and friends. Children like the show because it's bright, cheerful, funny and friendly.  Parents like it because it makes their children happy.

Anyhow, it was a lovely morning.  When Peppa Pig made her entrance, Cassidy went rigid with shock and fear and spent the whole time burrowed into my shoulder.  Tully and her friend Millie generally fangirled her in the way that three year olds do and then we went and participated in the big splash activity.  This involved approximately 20 children screaming in delight and jumping up and down in the pool, kicking their feet and generally behaving like children.  It is without a doubt, the easiest party you could ever throw in your life.




And you can do it for a good cause either in your backyard, at the beach or at the local pool.  And if you do it in your backyard and it rains on the day, just dig a hole for the genuine muddy puddle experience. I'm such a thinker.  The parties can happen any time between 1 March and 30 April and best of all, if you are awesome at the fundraising there are prizes to be won courtesy of Peppa Pig.

Go to THE BIG SPLASH for more information and register your own party.

In the meantime if you go to the Talking Frankly Facebook page and share this post with all your friends before Thursday, 6 March at 12 noon ADST, you go into the running to win THIS

         and THIS  

Which I appreciate wont get you very excited but will make you the most popular person to any small people you know, so get splashing my friends.

*Please note that this is not a paid post however we did get to meet Peppa Pig and the giveaway is coming from Peppa Pig via Kids Business who have supported the launch of The Big Splash on behalf of Life's Little Treasure's Foundation. Oh and the girls scored a towel each and free cupcakes and yoghurts.  

26 February 2014

The Run Diary - Week 2 - Slowly Slowly

I'm keeping this short and sweet people.

In this past week

  • I ran my five kilometre time trial (result: I run very slowly) but I ran the whole way so I was quite pleased with myself
  • Discovered it is possible to get pins and needles in one leg all the way up to your thigh while running. It is a very uncomfortable feeling
  • Did 100 squats.  They might not have been the lowest squats ever but I did them.
  • I learnt how to do a left jab, right hook, and some weird hopping punch down move. It's boxing but not as you know it.  Not when I do it anyway.  Joey promises me it will help me run better.
  • I worked out to make my special running watch tell me things in kilometres rather than miles. 
  • I can advise that underpants choice is important.
  • I learnt that chaffing caused by a wet sports bra (rainy run) makes day to day life incredibly painful.
She started this. Lucky I love her
My personal goal for the 23 kilometres is to make it without doing something daft like tripping over my own feet and breaking a limb.  Some of the people in my training group are focussed on personal best times (indicating they have run a half marathon before), some on achieving something personal for themselves, but me, I'm doing it for the money.  

And for Ms D.  Because she's lovely and cancer sucks.  

Though the number one learning for this week? It is possible to run even slower than you walk. Yes. Yes it is.  

So you should sponsor me PLEASE. Click here or here or even here

24 February 2014

#MyFirst.... car accident

My first car accident was on 21 March 1992, 19 days after I received my licence.  I was 17 years and almost three months old and my parentals had expressly forbidden me to drive anybody's car or take any passengers until I had built up experience in the family Urvan.

So having lied about where I was going and what I was going to be doing, I headed off with a couple of my friends and with the express permission of my friend's parentals, was driving their old style VW station wagon to a series of auditions that were on that day.  My friend had a buggered knee and was on crutches and couldn't drive herself which is why I had 'stepped up' and the other friend, well he was sitting in the back busy holding onto his skate board which is mostly what he did back then.

The VW station wagon was like a Porsche in that it's engine sat in the back.  We were toodling along at the speed limit chatting away, seatbelts on because we weren't stupid, jersey caramels on the dashboard for munching.  It had been drizzling but was not cold and we had the sunroof slid open.  I had hair that went past my backside back then and I had it all piled on my head with a large bright blue hairband making me look more like Marge Simpson than was probably even remotely cool but it amused us as it peeked out the top of the sunroof if I sat up straight.

We came down the road to a roundabout.  This was Canberra so a roundabout was not an unexpected occurrence. I drove into the roundabout, right indicator on.  I took the roundabout too closely and bumped the right wheel against the gutter.  I immediately braked which cause the weighted back of the VW to swing around until the front of the left wheel bumped against the gutter.  The momentum caused by (what hindsight and experience tells me was overly enthusiastic) braking, a slight hill and the two wheels against the gutter caused the car to roll over, doing a complete 360 degrees, jersey caramels spinning around our heads and the terrified yelping of three 17 year olds accompanying the shattering of the windscreen. It felt like it rolled for hours but in fact, probably took seconds.

Back on it's wheels we sat starring through the (now absent) windscreen, my friend sobbing already in pain which wasn't surprising since she'd just put a dent in the metal dash with her buggered knee.  The next thing somebody yells out "don't touch the driver, she's broken her neck, she went through the sunroof". And then there were sirens everywhere and ambulances, fire engines and police cars arrived as if by magic.

It all gets a bit hectic then, he in the back just got on his skateboard and scooted off to tell people at the auditions what had happened and the other friend and I were escorted off to hospital to be examined.  Even though the witnesses to the accident said they saw my head hit the ground before the car came down around it, since I was 'not noticeably concussed' the doctor at the time refused to x-ray me in case 'it affected my ovaries'. (This is a true story - hence it took a year before the damage to my spine was discovered - but hey - twenty years later I have two beautiful children so maybe the incompetent swine was correct!)  My mother came in and having determined I was alive, covered up her relief (that's my interpretation anyhow) by getting incredibly cranky, called me disobedient, deceitful, dishonest and a fourth d word I can never remember but was probably deserved and after discharge packed me off with my Dad to apologise to my friend's parents for crashing their car.

They were just glad nobody was seriously injured and I spent the next few months working to raise the funds to pay off their car.  And I was grounded for what seemed like a lifetime.  This was the early 90s people. You could still ground people without having fiery crosses burned in your front yard and your face plastered across the front page for 'crimes against humanity'.  Though, that didn't stop me being very disgruntled about the grounding.  Fledging adults are so contrary.

Lesson 1: Don't crash cars when you've lied to your parents.  It makes them very cross. About both.
Lesson 2: Don't be eating your favourite lollies if you have an accident. You'll never eat them again.
Lesson 3: If you roll a car, get the x-rays and f&*K the doctor and your ovaries. It'll save you grief later.

You're welcome.

**Linking up with Kerri Sackville today for #Myfirst....car accident at Life and Other Crises

19 February 2014

Run Diary 2014 - Week One - Oh Shit

The goal is the ultra-half marathon on the Great Ocean Road on 18 May.

The reason? Money.  Not for me unfortunately - for Cure Cancer.

What does a half marathon look like?  Insanity my friends - absolutely insanity.

This is the elevation map. It shows HILLS.

How was week one of training?  Painful.

As always a really lovely bunch of people make up the training group.  The team captain, the mentors and the coach - all delightful.  In fact, if it wasn't for the running thing, I'd really enjoy catching up with these people.

The coach is a professional triathlete.  She exercises not for fun but just because that is her job.  This is so inexplicable to me I've decided to focus on the fact that seems okay with the fact that she has me in her training squad, so she's obviously up for a challenge.  And that's an admirable quality in anybody!

My first Wednesday night training session was a disaster.  I had not eaten enough that day and got very dizzy running around in circles on the oval trying to breathe properly.  And because I'm THAT smartarse in the group, it was mildly embarrassing.  If you're going to be a smartarse, you've got to keep up. First rule of smartarse.

Then on Saturday morning, we headed off for a 45 minute run or 6 km, whichever.  I made 5.25 kilometres in my 48 minutes and didn't die.  Lots of people kept talking to me though and when you're concentrating on just breathing, talking doesn't work but nor do you have the energy to trip them up so it works out for everybody.

Got some great advice from the coach on breathing though....I do it wrong.  I only use my mouth and if you want to make running easier you are supposed to breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth.  Who knew I was so ill equipped for exercise I don't even breathe correctly.

Monday night run and fit - to help me build up my (currently non-existent) fitness.  This was like turning up to class taught in a language you don't speak.  Squat and box, scissor kicks vertical, hop and squats, planks, lunges, star jumps, weird arse star jumps, crunches and so on.  All I can tell you I HAVE NO CORE.  The doctors must have cut it out when they took my babies out.  By the time we'd finished all this up and downing (exercise apparently), we had to go for a WARM DOWN RUN.  I could barely lift my legs up the hill.

It is now two days later and it still hurts to laugh.  Who knew the stomach had so many muscles I haven't been using.

Anyway, people donated and thanks for that.  I'm a little bit closer than before.  I haven't killed any of the eternally cheerful people that surround me at each session and we only have 13 weeks to go.

Anything is possible

18 February 2014

It's not good enough. We need to do more.

Today's news about the deaths and injuries on Manus Island broke my heart.

And it should break yours, particularly if you are Australian.  Because it's being done in your name. 

And none of our political leaders are getting angry and calling 'Bullshit' on it.

More Australian's turned up to protest a shark cull than our treatment of people.  The shark cull is bollocks people, yes.  But locking up asylum seekers who are breaking no laws and are in genuine need of our assistance is bollocks too.  Subjecting them to the indignities and the inhumanity that we are doing in the name of populist politics and then flipping past it in the paper because it's too depressing is bollocks times a lot.

We are sending unaccompanied minors to live in places some people can't find on a map, and you won't let your 10 year old walk to the shops on their own.  How is your child more important than any other child on the planet.  How is it that you can't find the time to protest this either by emailing your MP or making a phone call or even just challenging the dickheads in your workplace that talk about the 'illegals'?

Would you let your kids catch a plane to the other side of the country on their own?  Nope?  And yet there are parents desperate enough to see their child get to safety that they put them on a boat and send them on across an ocean in the hope that they will find safety.  And we say NOTHING as our stupid governments pack them off into detention centres.  Nothing.  We are complicit in these atrocities because we say nothing.

Detention centres are just prisons.  They are cages full of desperate people who have done nothing, nothing I tell you, but take a chance on a better life.  And if the odd one turns out to be a faker, does that make them all wrong.  Does one man raping a woman make all men rapists?  Does one woman cheating on her husband make all women adulterers?  No.  Then when did we start buying into generalisations as the foundation of policy?

There are refugees that are granted visas that are suffering mental health issues that aren't caused by seeing their families murdered and fleeing for their lives, but because of the excessively long and completely pointless incarceration in detention centres while our stupid governments quibble for political points by locking up the desperate.  We need leadership.  Humane, compassionate, bold leadership.

We're paying thousands of dollars for interviews with convicted drug smugglers and addicts but yet, somehow, we can't see our way to investing in the future of people who are desperate to become part of the community and pay their own way and work hard and live gratefully in relative peace and safety.

We are completely screwed if as a nation, we think we are the country of fair go, or compassion or any of the like. Being born here doesn't make us better people.  It makes us lucky sperm.  

We need to be angry about this.  Because it does matter people.  It does.  Your life with all it's own complexities and ups and downs does not absolve you from caring about your fellow humans and acting in your own small way.  For if all of us do something small, we do something huge.

And we need to start recognising people's human rights.  We need to be grateful that we're not fleeing persecution, war, famine and a range of other things that we can not even in our darkest nightmares imagine. We need to recognise that the only way to be part of a peaceful and compassionate world is to live as if it already existed.  

So next time you do your one hundred days of grateful, how about you 
hashtag - I'msoridiculouslyluckynottoneedtoseekasylum. 
hashtag - especiallyfromaustralia.

Be the change people.  Care. Proactively care. 

17 February 2014

Love is the answer

There have been a few articles and blogs recently about stay at home parents versus working parents and how we all understand and love each other's perspective and shouldn't buy into all the us versus them stuff.

But I found too many of them a little bit smug and patronising.  Oh look at you SAH parent - you dedicate yourself 24/7 to your children every day of the year and never get that adult stimulation - how brave.  Oh look at you working parent, you work all day and then come home and guilt parent so you never really get any you time - even though you do get to pee on your own.

You know something.

It's middle class angsty bollocks.  Judgemental, middle class, angsty bollocks.

The fact is - the vast majority of parents are doing the very best they can, with the resources they have, in a manner that works for them and their families.  Nobody is right.  Nobody is wrong.  We do what we have to do to make the life we choose for ourselves. And we are lucky to have those choices. Some people's choices are inexplicable to us because they seem downright bonkers.  But that's fine.  One person's bonkers is another person's sane and reasonable.

Bringing themselves up beautifully
It's like home birthing.  A number of my girlfriends wanted (and got) home births.  See this just seems ridiculous to me - not because of all the medical vs natural vs psychological vs whatever - but because giving birth is really freakin' messy and I can not fathom why you would want to spend all that time pushing a baby out your hoohar and then have to think about the housework before you fall into the dazed and confused sleep of the new mother.

It's not that it's wrong or right.  It's just daft to me.  Because I never want to think about housework. Especially when I have just given birth.  Or the 18 years after. #Justsayin'.

Or consider the recent fuss around 'stimulating' home environments.  Sometimes when the kids and I are at home we do craft, or blow bubbles, or dance, or yell, or do something which is considered 'structured play'.  But we don't do it because it's 'structured play', it's because hanging out with my kids is fun and sometimes they want to do craft, or blow bubbles, or dance, or yell.  We're not doing it for the development of their brains, we're doing it because I love them and they are really, on the whole, very easy to please. Especially when you spend the $12 on a bubble machine and you don't actually have to blow them, you can just play with your smartphone or photograph the little darlings trying to catch them.

Sometimes all they want to do is lie on the couch with me and watch the same episode of 'Dora' 357 billion times. So we do.  And I don't worry about how many minutes of screen time they have had on that particular day, because I'm not that kind of parent.  Those are not the parameter's by which I judge my own parenting.

My own.

Not yours.

If structured play and counting minutes of Dora is your comfort zone - go absolutely gangbusters on that. And please invite my children around because they'll probably have a ball.

Don't judge yourself by other parents, or your parents, or your in-laws, or your work colleagues, or your friends or that nosy cow in the supermarket who decided to add her ten cents of advice - because no matter how much you love them, they are not you.  They are not raising your children, living your life or dreaming your dreams.  It doesn't matter that they disagree with you - you're probably doing just fine doing it your way.  So listen to them.  Then ignore them.

You don't have to do it anybody else's way but yours.  Stay at home, go to work, take them to work, whatever.  Just love the kids.  Love them big.  Love them boldly.

And it'll all work out fine.

14 February 2014

Buying into Valentine's Day? Hell Yeah

Do we 'celebrate' Valentine's Day?

Hell to the yeah.  The same way we do every year - pizza, bottle of wine, DVD and a card.  Sometimes a present but sometimes not. Depends on how we feel the week before when we discuss it.

Our last childless Valentine's - see how well rested we look
And yes I know Hallmark makes money out of Valentine's Day.  I know it's crassly commercialised and blah blah blah but STOP, you're boring me.

Why wouldn't I buy into something which encourages people TO BE NICE TO EACH OTHER.

I don't care what the excuse is, it's a lovely way to stop and remember to say I love you. If you've got the dosh and want to shout your lover a trip to Fiji, or a big fancy piece of jewellery.  Go bonkers.  Why not?  Sure we shouldn't need the excuse but the fact is most of us are just busy getting on with our lives most days and forget to be all spontaneous and romantic.  Some days we even forget to just be nice to each other let alone nice enough to say 'I love you'.

And single people - send Valentines, organise group dinners with other friends and get drunk in the middle of the most romantic restaurant you can find and end the night serenading strangers with 'Baby baby, I get down on my kneeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees to you'.  The Righteous Brothers and Top Gun didn't make that a hit for nothing!

If you're married to a guy named Andrew who has a birthday today, you don't need Valentine's day because you can already spoil him with presents because it's his birthday and throw in a free I love you in the card. BONUS!

So don't apologise for being a romantic, and don't apologise for not being.  You don't have to buy in, you don't have to buy presents, or cards or anything, just remember to take the opportunity to be actively lovely to people that you care about.  And for god's sake stop bitching about successful marketing campaigns and crass commercialisation.  Because it just makes you look like a miserable arse.

PS: If you have the money to send somebody to Fiji for the weekend but no-one to send - email me and I'll send you my address so you can pick me and my passport up on the way to the airport.

And nope, I don't need to take the hubby, he'll be happy if I'm happy - right sweetheart??

12 February 2014

Fun Run. No. No, not at all.

At the end of 2012 my sister found cancer in her throat and lymph glands.  She was 28 weeks pregnant at the time and the diagnosis came so completely from the blue that most of us lurched around muttering 'how the fuck did that happen?'  She's not a smoker, she leads a healthy lifestyle and plus, she was 32 and about to have a baby.  It wasn't fair.  

We are not a family that talk about feelings much and we definitely don't wallow, so we all got on with being supportive in our own ways.  Variously those ways were practical which means that we gave her things and sent her messages and if she was close enough we patted her on the head and didn't mention the ridiculous weight loss and all our unspoken fears.  Our friends and the wider community were amazing and threw their support behind her, her husband and the baby that had to come out at 30 weeks so that treatment could begin.  That little girl is now the chubbiest, cheekiest one year old you ever did see. My sister is now cancer free. 

But she did it tough.  She doesn't bitch much (that's my domain) and she's never said 'Why me?'.  Mainly because she accepted that sometimes the universe is just an arse and even if you are the second healthiest child out of six, sometimes things go wrong.

And so, in looking for something practical to do, I decided to join the CanToo program and raise money for Cure Cancer.  Throat and lymphatic cancers aren't sexy cancers, they don't have heaps of charities set up in their names and CanToo is an initiative of Cure Cancer which funds research into all types of cancer.  They've been going for a long time and some of what they have funded in the past is now used as standard practice in hospitals across the world when treating cancers.  (This isn't a sponsored post by the way you cynical ones out there, this is just something I support.)

Which means I had to run 9 kilometres and raise $800.  I could do that.  Running is obviously way harder than chemoradiation therapy so it felt like I was doing SOMETHING useful. 

Since people were being generous and I ended up with over $1000 quite quickly, I said if I got to $5000 before I did my 9 kilometres I'd run a half marathon this year. Well I got to almost $6,000 and now, today, I am starting training for the half marathon.

Actually an ultra-half.  That's an extra 2 kilometres which means in May I'm running 23 kilometres along the Great Ocean Road.  I hope all of you sadistic generous bastards who call yourself my friends are perfectly happy with yourselves.  I'm dreading it.  Even with my new running watch which makes me look the part.

However, just yesterday I found out one of our closest friends, who was battling cancer about the same time as my sister and who also ended the year on a high having kicked cancer's butt, has been dealt a stealth blow and has found that her cancer is back.

You know something - 

Fuck Cancer.

This year's ultra-half marathon is dedicated to the young, the gorgeous Mrs D. 

And then that is it.  You listening friends and family? No more cancer.  Because

Fuck running.  

I intend 100% to retire after this run.  So,if you'd like to donate to this insanity and the end of cancer SOONEST, click HERE.  

And thank you because every dollar counts and I really am hoping that this year, this year, could be the year that sees the breakthrough which makes cancer something future generations will only know about through history books.

6 February 2014

Roar Roar Roar If you feel you want to-oo-oo

On Thankful Thursday I have decided to be thankful for my ability to ROAR!  Which is also one of my three words of the year so I'm kind of pleased it's kicking off so early.

I have roared in delight this week because all the pitching and talking for my new business is starting to pay off and my new business OFFICIALLY HAS CLIENTS.  Woohoo!

Which not only makes me roar, but do fist bumps with myself and funny little happy dances in my home office environment. And then I roared because of those bloody Dora game pieces I mentioned in my last blog.  (Mental note: must pick the buggers up)

I have roared this week with heartbreak, bewilderment and fury because of a staffing decision at my local childcare which is completely unfathomable to me and a number of other parents.  Worse, it is being reported in seven different types of bureaucratese which just stonewalls the parents and gives us no understanding of a choice which has such a huge impact on the centre, that I, and others, are unable to believe it is a good decision or a right decision.

And I have roared with laughter this week because of my two zany, feisty and hilarious daughters who just take joy with them into every room they enter, and throw it around along with most of the contents of their toyboxes.

 It is for them I must learn to roar the loudest and how easily they inspire with their good humour, their trust and their openness.

My final observation on roaring is if even the wildest of animals look a bit daft doing it, I am so pleased nobody can see me when I do the roaring, dancing and fistbumping.  Lordy me but it must be a sight!

4 February 2014

Working from home

The biggest challenge about working from home?  Is well, working from home.

There are no people idly gossiping about television.  When you read something that really gets you excited or pumped up, the only person you can tell is yourself.  Nobody offers to get you a drink when they are popping out for a coffee.  You frequently lose track of time. You go to get up from your work desk and step on a tiny Dora the explorer game piece and you can't complain to OHS about workplace hazards.  You work a whole lot harder because there are no distractions.  When the computer goes bust you can't just wander around to Tan's desk and ask him to fix it for you even though he's not the guy you're supposed to ask. 

Under the desk in my home office
I do miss being surrounded by people. I'm a social being, I thrive on interaction with others and now I can go days where I don't get to have idle conversation, or quick lunches with friends. I don't know how people worked from home before social media.  At least I'm able to check Facebook and find out who needs more coffee.  It might not be the same as an animated conversation about the state of the world but it's something. 

There are definite positives. Mark Dapin is back on the internet and dabbling with communicating with people and he's a funny bugger.  I don't have to get out of my pyjamas unless I'm doing the childcare drop off.  I can play music as loud as I want to play it and it doesn't even have to be socially acceptable music. I don't have to share the toilet, lunches are much cheaper and there are no d(*&heads in my office space.

Well mostly.  Even I have my moments.

See, I couldn't share that joke with anybody. I had to laugh at it myself and just imagine you all rolling your eyes  I'm worried I might lose my comic timing.  Lost the dexterity in my sarcasm.  I will have to catastrophise my possible demise WITH NO AUDIENCE.

Or I could blog.  Sorted.  Now back to that proposal I was writing.