MBT Menu Tabs JavaScript

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Solstice Goodness

Happy Summer Solstice (again!).

Just a few images of our mini-Solstice celebrations. Thanks to Nettles over at The Magic Teapot Chronicles, I am now enjoying the delights of the Medaeval Baebes (the album is Illumination) which includes the track to which she referred in her recent post - 'My Lady Sleeps'. Well worth a little looksie and listensie... (Wish I knew how to embed bloody video to my blog. I've done it once and can never remember how to do it. Anyone who wants to share, please feel free). and yes, I do sometimes long to prance around in a flowing white dress with flowers in my hair.
Forgive the little Santa slipping in there but he's so cute! Not remotely connected with the Summer Solstice but still, so cute!

Flowers from my own garden - which is nice. Aren't they splendid? I don't even know what they are called but they come up in so many pretty colours, I couldn't resist.

Mmmm. Berries. I could overdose on cherries and berries, I tells ya.

Beanie is busy putting Christmas stickers over just about every surface we have, so I'd better go. Enjoy your Solstice celebrations (it can be tonight or last night y'see - depends on your almanac!) and put some flowers in your hair just for funsies. Yes, I mean the men too.


Monday, December 21, 2009

It is the lovely Summer Solstice - also known as Litha in these 'ere parts. A time for feasting, dancing, licking berry juice from stained fingers and nipping off into the woods with your Beloved, should the mood strike.

I am in a Fine Frenzy of musical exploration and enjoyment. I am finishing of last minute Christmas shopping and trying not to ruffle my brain too much by thinking about how on earth I'm going to fit a family sized turkey into our teensy weensy little ice box, which is already overburdened with goodies. Well, it IS summer over here and several different types of icy poles are practically a necessity.

Today is the longest day of the year. I am aware of the soft shift that will come after this day is ended. We move into the hottest of the sun months and swelter and sweat our prayers at this time. Not for us the peaceful still of winter and Christmas. Our Santa wears board shorts and thongs to deliver his pressies.

The summer solstice is the time when the Green Man is at full potency. His fertile touch is clear over all the land, where all things bloom and blossom under his strong hands. New life and the urge to make new life abounds, (and believe me when I say we got dinner AND a show at the Zoo on Saturday - baboon style!) His consort, the Goddess, our Lady of the rolling hills and briny oceans, is pregnant with his child/himself. I do feel very much part of this strange fertile cycle this year. I too am heavy with child and am enjoying the unfolding of this new life within me and around me.

Beanie and I will be tipping our hat at some solstice-y celebrations this evening. I will pick some lavender from the garden and some wild roses and we will do a little dancing, a little observing and little incense burning. That's about all either of us is able to do - her being only three and me being pregnant and about as energetic as an over-warmed slug.

I will make some attempt at sort of celebratory dinner this evening and there will be oodles of berries and fresh fruit. Dinner has definitely been more of an afterthought recently. I've been relying on the toast and tomato scenario this week and Michael has resorted to creating interesting salad's with baked potato-y loveliness for his extremely picky wife and her strange cravings. So far it's been for salt and vinegar crisps, hot chips with salt, oodles of vinegar and gravy and now tuna baked potatoes. Go figure. Never had cravings with Lily - unless you count that one (husband scarring) incident with the crumpet, the hummus and the beetroot.

Other than that it's the usual madness of Christmas to look forward to. We are hosting it at our house again this year but the family groups are each providing a course each. We are doing mains - so that simplifies things a bit. NExt year it will thankfully be someone else's turn because I'll have two ankle-biters to contend with and will want nothing more than to eat and fall into a food drunk stupor in a comfy armchair.

I love Christmas and embrace the full tacky goodness of the season, bells, whistles, and multi-coloured fairy lights and all. Yet here, in this strange country of opposites, I find it a teensy bit depressing. I am a Northern girl and no mistake. This time of year usually means a Yule celebration and fighting over who gets to hog the fire. The southern hemisphere has many delights for me and come boxing day, I'm as right as rain. But the lead up to Christmas, normally a time of mulled wine, hot choccy, freezing blood, aching bones and open fires, is strangely bereft and a fierce longing comes upon me for snow. I want to be cold and wrapped up snugly in my winter woolies. I want to disappear into snowy woods and watch as Jack Frost makes sparkling the whole forest in the night. And I can't. And it makes me slightly sad. not enough to give up on the whole Christmas preparation but enough that it feels hollow and flat. What's a gal to do?

A sane person would embrace the differences, enjoy the sun, welcome the chance to bare her feet and shoulders at this time of festivity. But whoever suggested that I was sane? Not me certainly. I was built for a little melancholy and I'm probably not really happy without a little darkness. Sad but true.

Anyhoo, today is a day to focus on what we have and give thanks for the fertility that is ours to enjoy and share. It's a time for dancing, bold experimenting and making (very) merry, so I'll wish you all a Happy Solstice - whether it be Summer or Winter in your part of the world. May the Gods look down on you favourably and bring blessings into your hearth and home.

Merry Meet, Merry Part, Merry Meet Again...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Solitude of Small Things

*photograph by mslume flickr

“You and I can turn and look at the silent river and wait. We know the current is there, hidden; and there are comings and goings from miles away that hold the stillness exactly before us. What the river says, that is what I say.”


30-Days of Happiness have flung themselves past me with rude haste. It has been a mammoth month of family, friends, birthday's, anniversary's and the run up to Christmas. I have barely had time to take a breath, let alone a full pause for reflection. Hence the almost month long absence.

This morning as I sat in our sunroom, curled into my golden armchair, letting the (soon to be too hot) sun warm me and drinking tea, I allowed myself to relax. The invisible tension that normally holds me seeped away as the room got warmer. I allowed myself the luxury of silent, unspoiled, uninterrupted moments of nothing more than tea and sunshine. I even read a few chapters of a charming book I'm reading by Louise Erdrich. Her prose lulls me into a deeper contemplation of life and pulls up from the deep, the sensual pleasure of the solitude of small things. I am at ease. I am awake. I am present. It is delicious.

So many things have happened these last two months. We had October, the months of weddings. All of them beautiful, all of them enjoyable but only one of them truly mine. The beautiful Sol-y-luna married her lovely ging and all was well with the world.

Me and My Sister - in true form

November became the month of celebrations and family. My sister arrived from England for a month and, as I always find when we spend this much time in each other's company, our relationship opens and deepens. I have so much respect for my sister. Her life is not an easy one and she seems to have to fight for every inch of space and relief available to her, but she is still full of the life, the joi de vivre for which she is famous. Her youngest child (one of six - four of them an adopted family) is autistic and approaching the very difficult rite of passage that is puberty. It is difficult for most but even more so for children with autism. As she tries to negotiate his needs and desires and ensure that he gets the care and attention he needs in a mainstream school, she must also be on the lookout for those complications that come with puberty - things that can severely offset his health and happiness, like Epilepsy, to which autistic children become prone to around this time. Obviously, her month away from her child has been an adjustment for him too and it has shown in his increasing meltdowns. But this is her life. She is enured to it and he is the main focus of her existence right now. Such is a mother's love. Such is life.

What takes my breath away is that she does it all largely unsupported, with no-one to hand over to at the end of the very long day. There is no man at her back. No-one to crumple into when it all gets too hard, as it often does. There is no-one there to share the burden of her child's difficulties, our aging mother's infirmities and our brother's mental illness. Too much has been loaded onto her plate and it starts to show through the cracks in her armour. Strangely, I welcome the cracks. I love the parts where we start to break apart, to become real with one another. Not that the indomitable willed woman you are most likely to meet is not the real her, believe me it is. It's just that when the soft underbelly is exposed, that's when I love her most. Because I feel her pain, I share it and I understand it. I want to help. Even if it is only in the holding of the moment with her. I am grateful for these little insights into another's life, particularly when that other is my sister.

The hubble embracing Movember in style

November was also the month of my 40th birthday. And what a week that was. My gorgeous man showered me with love, affection and a beautiful white gold and diamond encrusted 'Eternity' ring. There was the surprise party (which was a total surprise!) which included being serenaded (for the first and only time in our 8-year relationship) by my husband, with a song he wrote just for me and which was as funny and sweet as a ditty from Flight of the Conchords. Then came the night in the swanky hotel, the date at the cinema followed by the sharing of very messy Nachos and much talking. It was, without exception, the best of birthdays.

THEN came the wonderful transitional event planned and executed brilliantly by the gorgeous Sol-y-luna. A red tent extravaganza which I can barely even begin to describe. I was massaged, bathed in rose petals, fed bowls of berries and nourishing teas. I was escorted down my own candle-lit stairs by my closest friends, each offering spirit gifts and blessings along the way and finally, I was smudged and shown into a red tent suffused with candle light and filled with the love and the generosity of the suprising and inspiring women in my life. It was enchantment.

It's a butterfly, ok? Just look at the hair - its fabulous!

This event was an opportunity to revisit my life, to share the steps that had led me to this place - this gateway into the afternoon of my life - and a chance to bless it all and release it all before continuing on my way. It was an opportunity for the women in my life to be present, to hold space for me in a sacred and timeless way and to offer me a container into which I could pour myself over and again. Plus, there were pressies! We danced, we laughed, we shared and the love and gratitude overflowed like good wine. It was an extraordinary few hours and a thing of enormous beauty. I have been held in that beauty and grace ever since. And I am very blessed by the women who shared that time with me.

We also shared two anniversary's. The first, our own. The hubble and I have been married now for five years. The second was the first year in our own house. Both were poignant, both were happy, both make me smile.

So, you can see why I may have been less than present in cyber-space, no? It has been a crazy time but a beautiful one and I'm not likely to forget any of it any time soon.

Plus there were these precious moments:

The evil pleasure of watching small children trying to eat doughnuts with no hands...heh heh heh (dress by the lovely and talented Nettles)

Looking for Puffing Billy (the train)

What's snorkelling mummy?

Fossicking around in rock pools - glorious beach days.

Roo Love.

And so, now comes the stilling of the rapidly beating life heart. As it settles into its usual casual (if slightly erratic) rhythm, my inner life can once again come into focus. I can sit and listen and write. I can prepare. I can acknowledge the fiery, spirited women who comprise my family and friends. I can hold my fears and my failings up to the light and know that I am loved no matter what. I can take a deep breath, fill my lungs with the air of silence that now pervades and allow it to take me where it will. I can pay attention to the life that nudges inside of me.


Today I am 17 1/2 weeks pregnant. I feel the baby roll inside me from time to time. The delicate touch of its little hands or feet on my womb that radiates a smile of pleasure through me. The reassuring little knocks and pokes that lets me know all is well within. It has been tiring and will no doubt continue to be so. I have a wired, active, busy and demanding toddler to love, cherish and grumble at. I hit these walls in the middle of the afternoon that have my feet taking me towards bed and sleep, even while my head screams 'Can't!' and my toddler seeks out my hand and my awareness. I am rarely alone with this new life and there is some small sadness in that. But so it is with the second and probably third and fourth children. We are not able to give the fierce attention to the second that was the right of the first. We are not able to sit with the little life inside of us and imagine the perfection of each little finger and toe. We are occasionally reminded of its presence through the miracle of movement and then, for a moment, the grace of motherhood peeps through. The rest of the time its business as usual with small children and of course, life as we know it. So I am grateful for these rare moments alone. Or rather, not alone but with child.

Today is likely to reach a horrific 39 degrees. It is a day of Extreme weather warning which means bushfires are likely. I am spending the day sweating and moaning in the city sharing a Christmas lunch with one of my beautiful women friends. My Beanie is spending the day in the air conditioned goodness of her nanna's house and the cat, I'm afraid, is on her own. No doubt under the house lounging in the dirt, which is the coolest place around here, even now at 9am in the morning.

My 30-days of happiness has passed and, though I didn't have a chance to record it all here, consider this a mini roundup of all the bestest bits.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

30 Days of Happiness Days Eight & Nine

Here I am again. Seeking out the little things that make me smile, that make me feel tremendously grateful for my life and for all the joy I have available to me.

Today's Big Happy is the results of my maternal serum tests. I am (despite my geriatric age in pregnancy terms) in the low risk spectrum for Downs Syndrome! As I would have seriously considered having an amnio this time if the results had been different, I feel pretty happy about that. The risk is the same as that of a much younger woman. Gotta feel pretty happy about that too really! So - as far as we can tell (and we are prepared to trust the Gods on this one), our bubsy is going to be a healthy, happy little bubba not unlike our little Beanie. This also means that the hubble (who has been dying to spill the beans to friends and work colleagues for the last two weeks) can FINALLY tell everyone his wife is up the duff.

My wee girl is on a trip to the Botanical Gardens with her Auntie Elaine and Uncle Pam at the moment, so I have some rare and enjoyable time to myself. I can't help but have minor anxiety about her being without me all day though. I know it's silly, my sister is perfectly capable of keeping her safe but I'm just this way inclined. It will no doubt change with the arrival of the new baby and more responsibility. It's just I know how quick she is and how just a fraction of a second of distraction can be all it takes for something to happen. Ah the joys of nervous motherhood! She will have a lovely time, lots of fresh air and tons of attention. What could be better for a small fry eh?

A lovely clean kitchen is another thing making me smile, especially as I didn't have to clean it! i've also been enjoying the early mornings in our little inside/outside porch bit. The sun streams in there in the morning making it the warmest place in the house and with my new lovely armchairs and our little wooden table (op-shopped for a bargain!), it's just lovely and quiet and still and meditative. The view is across gardens blooming with flowers and trees coming into big leafy green displays. It's just glorious - even with a 3 yr old climbing all over my lap and shuggling my tea! My sister has taken to joining me and we've had many happy conversations there this week.

Anyhoo, it's time for a little lie down, so I'll see y'all tomorrow.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

30 days of Happiness - Days Four, Five, Six und Seven

I keep meaning to do this daily - but it's been difficult to get near the computer given the amount of crap that lies between me and the screen when I enter the door of our study. We currently have my sister and her friend staying with us and it is getting pretty squalid in here, with no spare inch of space to lean, let alone type. There is no surface uncovered in shite. I personally cannot live like that. The rubbish and food and make-up and clothes and crap everywhere, would drive me insane. Hence my reluctance to get in here and do anything. Still, while they are elsewhere and the house is quiet apart from the stringent whinging of my girl-child, here I am. I'll need a hot shower after this.

Anyhoo - many things have been making me smile these last few days.
Days Four, Five and Six were all spent at the beach with Beanie and that's always funsies. She runs and splashes and squeals and plays and talks to complete strangers (before throwing a stick and making them 'fetch'). We have enjoyed the following splendours of the beach days:

Icypoles - many, many icypoles. They taste so good on a roasting hot day at the beach.
Exploring rock pools with my Beanie is to become a child again oneself. So many magical things to delight and entertain.
Starfish - many, many, many starfish (plus a dead octopus). Lily went into absolute paroxisms of delight when I gingerly picked up one of the many starfish to let her stroke it's bristly back.
Beautiful turquoise water on a hot summer's day.
Cafe food of which I am a big fan. What is it about other people cooking your food that makes it taste so delicious?
Catching up with friends at the park near the beach.
Bagging a bargain orange silk dress on a wee shopping trip with my sis and child yesterday. It's AWESOME and great for the ever burgeoning belly.

Then we had today's (Day Seven) little extravaganza - a 3 yr old birthday party in the park. Funniest moment was Lily playing the Doughnut game - (dress kindly created for my wee girl by the splendid and crafty DocWitch of The Magick Teapot Chronicles) where a doughnut is tied to a long ribbon and hung from a tree, the child then has to try and take a bite without using their hands. First bite wins a prize. Lily was hilarious! She cheated (naturally) and used her hands and her head but she looked so gorgeously funny trying to bit the doughnut as it swung wildly about. Definitely a game to include in all future parties, if only for the adults. We talked about re-inventing it involving adults and copious amounts of alcohol. Well, my birthday is coming up...

We then had my midwife appointment at the birthing centre where the next little tacker will be born. Few stressful moments as they couldn't find the heartbeat and then there it was...right underneath my steady beat, a fast little swooshing sound - the baby's heart. Thank the Gods!

I'm also big into the Cheese Twisties at le moment - yummo. Terribly un-healthy but full of anti-nausea properties for the preggie belly. What can I say? The baby wants twisties!

Lots going on next week, guests notwithstanding, and I will try to keep the posting going in the meantime.

Enjoy your week.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

30 Days of Happiness - Day Three

The wonderful Tenzin Gyatso, the fourteenth Dalai Lama. I love this image of him. It so cheeky, like he was caught out by a really good joke.

Well, it's my day off today, so that's something to be happy about. My Beanie-girl is at her Nanna's for the day, (no doubt maintaining her worm farm and planting potatoes), while I prepare our home for incoming. My sister and her (very verbose and 'hyper' friend) are arriving this evening, for a stay of 3-4 weeks. Whilst I am looking forward to some time with my sister and will no doubt enjoy meeting her friend, I am also bracing myself for a break in the peace and quiet I have been enjoying recently. I'm not good with constant noise and I hate constant talking for the sake of it. My family is very, very good at talking and absolutely terrible at listening. In fact, the reason we are so very good at talking is probably because there has never been a lull in the conversation long enough for any of us to actually be heard. It's all about who is the loudest and who can keep going the longest. So, if my beloved sister describes her friend as 'talkative' I can pretty much guarantee that she is going to be a handful. Oh dear Lord.

Still, it's good to meet new people and the nice bit about having visitors is that they keep me in 'good parent' mode. I am definitely a better parent when other people are watching, LOL. They will also provide entertainment for my extremely active toddler AND my sisters friend is Indian, so she wants to spend her time with us cooking traditional Indian dishes. I am ALL up for that. I LOVE Indian food and have very fond memories of Masal Dosa's for brekkie and lovely veggie curries and naan at night, when we were travelling through there. Yummo.

I have spent all morning emptying our closets and preparing bed's in our study/spare room (which has recently been revamped) and in our living room. They look pretty comfy considering. Excellent score of the week was the discovery of three packs of double bed sized, fresh, white cotten sheets for the bargain price of $5 the lot. They must have been in someone's attic for years because the packaging is vintage and the price was a supermarket sticker of $2.50 each! I even put out fresh towels and flannels on the end of the bed, like hotels do. It made me smile.

Interestingly enough, I have had two different pictures of the Dalai Lama come to me in the past week. I have always loved him. I refer to him as Daddy Dalai. My dad was so far from ideal I thought I would choose my own. He is it. Anyway, the two pics came at the same time as a reminder that the Dalai Lama would be in Australia in December for a series of talks.

Happy making is also finally getting excited about having a little someone small enough to fit into a pair of these. Now if I can just bribe someone to crochet them for me...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

30 Days of Happiness - Day Two

Happy, Happy, Happy - Day Two

Finally getting my Amazon book delivery. A whole lot of books about gardening with children including the wonderful book Roots, Shoots, Buckets and Boots. Moon Garden here I come!

The quiet. As you know, noise has been an issue of late but at this time of day (early afternoon) it is very peaceful up here in these thar hills. I enjoy a quiet of soul soothing proportions broken more often than not by my own little noise maker. Tis bliss.

Spring Fairs - Tis the season of the Spring Fair and I LOVE them. Fun rides, great stalls, fresh food, little lambsies to pet and above all, lots of sunshine and fresh air. It's grrrrreat!

This song .

This clip - the funniest six minutes I've spent in a LONG time.

This photo of my beanie girl. God bless holidays.

Monday, November 9, 2009

30 Days of Happiness - Yup, Day One Again!

Rose of Grandmothers Songs by Frank Howell

I think I'll start this little effort again. It's been a weird month and I think I need to make a commitment to myself to post every day. That way, I'll find something to be happy about every day - even when it seems most difficult.

I'd also like to open this Joy-a-Day endeavour open to anyone who feels they would like to join in. Go on. You know you want to. Simply link back to this post in your first post and I'll try and make a list of everyone who participates. Note the word 'try' - I'm not that familiar with HTML code but I'll do my best.

So - 30 Days of Happiness - Day One - Again.


Well let's see. There have been many happy making days of late. Oh yes. Hence the me not being here.

Numero Uno

Weddings galore. We had the pleasure of witnessing not one but three sets of nuptuals in October. It was WAY more fun than it sounds. It started with a delightful wedding in Hamilton Island, where we spent a happy five days doing not much more than developing a delightful sunburn and visiting every more idyllic beaches. Oh and the main mode of transport over there is the delightful golf buggy, so that was hysterical. And the trio ended with the wonderful wedding of my darling Sol-y-Luna. She and the Ginge married in style in a beautiful garden setting in Beechworth at Beltane (also known as Hallowe'en in this country!). She entered like the true bride of summer and a glorious evening was enjoyed by all. It helped that the hubble and I stayed for two nights, sans kidlet, in the most gorgeous little cottage on a 75 acre farm. Oh sweet bliss thy name is no neighbours. If you happen to be up in Beechworth, do give Fleur and Digby a call at Candlebark Cottage. It's sublime. Hubble and I are thinking it might be time to bring back the name Digby.

Numero Dos
Finally finishing the painting of the Kitchen/Family Room/Dining area. It's only taken us the best part of a year. But yesterday, thanks to the babysitting sister-in-law and her new hubble, we finished it. Hurrah! It's fresh, it's white and it means that we need to paint our kitchen cupboards. It's finished just in time for my sister and her friend to arrive for a month.

Numero Tres
Entirley handing over the reigns for my 40th birthday shennanigans (or not as the case may be) to my bestie Sol-y and my hubble. Now I can simply get back to ignoring the fact that I am approaching 40 with indelicate haste and pretend it's not happening.

Numero Quatro
Spending time watching my Beanie-girl. She is so smart and so very, very funny. Even on my worst days, when I feel like I get everything wrong, I still find myself chuckling over the funny things she says or does. Plus, she's so purdy.

Spring Cloud by Frank Howell

Finally, Number Cinque
Being reminded by a good friend that I am never going to be the Earth Mother archetype of motherhood, no matter how much I wish this could be so. I am, in her words, a 'feisty' personality and as I think I have said before in my post 'On Being A Rooster' I have to start allowing myself to be the mother that I actually am. It comes from a place of fearing that I am never going to be enough, either for my child or myself, and it needs to stop. I have to find the positive aspects of being the feisty mother that I am and stop focusing all of my attention on the negative aspects of my personality. I am flawed, yes, certainly. I am emotionally unravelling, u-huh. But who knows? This may actually be for the best. Maybe when the unravelling is complete, there will be someone standing there free of all previous assumptions about themselves and free from the peril of always identifying with someone else instead of being themselves. It doesn't mean I can't strive to be better at some things but it does mean that I don't have to spend my life hating the mother that I am and wishing for it all to be different.

I know i've come to this realisation before but rather than being upset about it, I am grateful that I am being reminded that I already know this stuff. Because maybe, just maybe, it means that I know all the other stuff that will get me to where I want to be, too.

So jump on board the joy wagon and have 30 Days of Happiness with me. I look forward to reading your contributions and sharing in your happiness.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Staggering Work of Heart-Breaking Genius

Godiva by Collier

The realisation is finally dawning on me that I may never live anything but an ordinary life. There may be no extraordinary events or extraordinary talents to discover and to share with the world. This may very well be it. And for some strange reason I find that discovery to be as uncomfortable as a pair of this seasons’ Alexander McQueen shoes.

I am restless again. Always when I feel this restlessness upon me I want to move – house, state, country, and I want change – myself, my environment, and my life – as if this will ultimately change everything for the better. As if in change there lies salvation for this ordinary girl and her ordinary life. And for a while it probably will, despite the obvious realisation that while the external things may change, I – the central character in this middle-aged movie that is my life, will remain exactly the same.
Yet always the feeling is of a need to escape the now – the ‘what is’ in order to find myself in a better tomorrow. I’ve never been very good with the now. Being present is so supremely uncomfortable to me that I simply do not know what to do with myself when I am here. And so I distract myself with activity, with food, with reading (and writing – ahem) and thinking. The problem is of course that as soon as I go to bed, my jaw clenches, wakefulness descends and the weight of my unlived life slinks into the once-comforting darkness like a malevolent spectre.

I used to think I was a woman of some potential. It never seemed too important to pursue it unduly, I just knew it would happen eventually. Now I seem to just watch my life happening like it’s being lived by someone else and I wonder just what the fuck happened. I think it’s called a mid-life crisis (and according to Jung, it is a normal part of the maturation process) but I do think that these utterly miserable episodic attacks of ‘what the fuck happened to my life’ do serve an important purpose. They are a wake up call. They offer an opportunity to re-direct, re-evaluate, redress and, hopefully, they lead the way into a life less ordinary.

Now I know that there is nothing wrong with an ordinary life. (Indeed there may not even be such a thing. Surely every life has something extraordinary in it?) I guess what I mean is that I fear that I will disappear into this life I am creating and that all ambition, all desire to make a difference, will simply melt away. That I will become someone whose days achieve nothing tangible and the highlight of which will be sitting in front of the TV with a take-away, a spare tyre and a slack jaw. I fear the unlived life. I fear MY unlived life.

I always used to think that I would become ‘someone’. Someone that was known, a someone who helped people live better lives in some way, a someone who earned great money, lived in a great house and enjoyed a life that was the envy of most people she met. A small amount of fame would be expected and enjoyed. Now I realise that they will probably never happen. Sure. It could. But it probably won’t and I have to figure out how I feel about that and what I am going to do should that probability become reality.

I am fat, nearly forty, pregnant with my second child and stuck. The restlessness that is nearly shaking me to pieces is also making me want to cry. I know, I know - I’m hormonal. Some of it at least can be blamed on that, but it doesn’t really matter why it’s happening, only that it is. It’s been brewing for months and despite my acute awareness of what needs to be done – meditate, breathe, let go and be still, I have never been less able to do any of it. Laziness and lack of discipline are certainly factors here. I make no bones about that fact but I genuinely feel panicked at the idea of being still. As if what lies in that stillness will shatter me more surely than a heavy set man with a big baseball bat.

What music lives inside me yet? Why does mediocrity hold such utter terror for me? Why do I think I’m mediocre even? This wonderful life that I live with a beautiful child and a man that loves me deserves more than a title of mediocre and yet that’s how I feel about myself. Not about them. I love my family. I love living here and yet I know this is not where I want to be right now. Maybe it simply is this desire to escape when things get tough. I know a lot about that and I am, and have always been a gypsy at heart. I love to ramble on. But still. As absurdly grateful as I am for this life (even when I forget or take it all for granted), I am searching for something more. I am afraid of where this path will lead me and what it may take from me in the walking of it.

I know myself to be someone that has an unfortunate ‘grass is always greener’ mentality. Not always you understand, but too much of the time. I am, conversely, someone who can, every now and wonderful then, be so completely present in the moment that I experience genuine moments of heartbreaking joy simply looking at a garden or an apple tree or sunlight on a meadow. I feel things to a ridiculous degree yet am unable to express how much love I feel or even let people close enough in to feel it. I keep people always at arms length when what I desperately want is to hug them close enough to me to melt the ice around my heart.

If I died tomorrow what legacy would I leave? How would my child remember me? As an angry, unengaged, uninterested mother who never had time to play with her? Probably. How would my husband remember me? As a once pretty slender woman who knew her own mind but who slowly became a fat, bored housewife with PND and a reluctant mother. Someone for whom intimacy means sharing a snickers.

God, I sound so utterly self-absorbed. (Is this what a blog is? And when does self-exploration become self-absorption? Where is that line between something that is positive and life affirming and something that is obnoxious and indulgent?) And maybe that’s the problem. Maybe the antidote to this is to focus on those less fortunate than myself. Maybe for someone else my life is positively magical and I’m just a spoilt little bitch who can’t see it for myself any more. I’m sure there is more than a grain of truth in that.

Still, it doesn’t change the fact that there is something inside of me that is in an absolute panic at the moment. Outward focus will help, I know it, but I also need to acknowledge how I am feeling right now. Acknowledge that there is a grieving process beginning for all that I once was or could have been and will be no more. Just as a mother must grieve for the person she loses when she steps into the mantle of motherhood, so the 30-something must accept the loss of youth and all the dreams that may have clung to it. There is a rich cloth of myth that we cleave to ourselves as we wander aimlessly through our 20’s and early 30’s. Eventually those myths become such a part of us that we think that they ARE us. They are not. They are simply the stories we have told ourselves, about who we are and may become. The dreams we have held dear and which we must now hold out over an inky ocean until our grip loosens and they hit the cold waters of our reality below. It’s time to see what floats and what sinks. Whether I like it or not, whether I agree and co-operate or not, it will happen anyway. I may as well be willing to go along with this stripping of my skin, my soul and all that I know as myself. It doesn’t mean I like it, it means I understand why it must be. Maybe it will be liberating. Maybe it will be heartbreaking. Probably it will be both and, with any luck, it will lead me into a place of balance (and potential genius) again.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Girl in The Bubble

So, I've been having a few problems with our neighbours. They like loud music played late at night. I don't. We have an arrangement where I ring and tell them to turn it down and they do. And they are usually decent about it. The trouble is, I am beginning to get very anxious about it. My highly stressed nature is anticipating the problems to come. I am already fed up of having to phone them every weekend to tell them what they must surely realise - that they are playing their music too loud. Again.

So, I went to see my psychologist yesterday and I mentioned the problem I was having with my neighbours and how anxious it was making me. We then proceeded to have what I felt was a very combative session. She basically said that I was not dealing with the problem and that I was being 'too reasonable'. I disagreed. I AM dealing with the problem, every week actually, and as I said on many occasions during our session, I had every intention of trying to find a better solution with our neighbours, the next time I spoke with them. I was merely expressing my fears that it could all end badly. I found the session quite stressful. Rather than helping, I felt she added to my already stressful situation.

The problem is that I CAN see things from other people's point of view. From a very basic perspective, it is MY problem because I'm the one that doesn't like the loud music. Sure, they should be aware enough to moderate their behaviour and take other people's needs into account - but they don't. I can't change them. I can only change myself. My psychologist thought it was silly of me to think about having triple glazing put in when I shouldn't have to. Well yes, I SHOULDN'T have to but, as I can't really see this situation getting better over time, I need to think about ways to keep my sanity and not have to move house. This is a solution. It may not be a great one given the cost and inconvenience and it doesn't replace my need to talk to the neighbours honestly about my concerns but what it all the talking doesn't produce a change? What then? That was when she suggested that I was trying to 'control' my environment. (Well, duh!) And that I was living in a bubble.

Personally, I think that whatever gets you through the night (without being adrenalised and upset) is a good solution. Bubble is fine with me if it means I get to live my life undisturbed. I will still continue to dialogue with our neighbours but I have to do what keeps me stable and able to sleep at night. Am I wrong?

I spent all day yesterday looking into soundproof windows and triple glazing and acoustic technicians to help me figure out the best solution for our problem. It could be costly and yes, I do resent having to think about these issues at all. Before they moved in, I didn't have to. All was well. However, I am dealing with the 'what is' of the situation. Or trying to.

This got me questioning the nature of reality. Mine to be specific. Warning: This may rub people up the wrong way.

I have always believed that we have a reasonable amount of control over our own reality in a 'create your own reality' type of way. I have seen it work time and time again in my own life (for good and bad) and I have clearly seen the way it works in other people's lives. I do not, though, believe in Destiny necessarily. I think that we all have free will and that we can choose to work with or against or in spite of, the prevailing winds and/or the gentle ministrations of Spirit. Now, I am a bit of a pessimist by nature. Actually, this is not true. It is not by nature. It is by experience. Anxiety, fear and constant dread were the prevelant emotions for the early part of my life. This has definitely affected the way that I view the world when the shit hits the proverbial fan. I get into disasterising, even though I know it won't help and isn't healthy. Yes. It's annoying. I know. It's also frustrating because it's like I can't let go even though I know I need to. So, the anxiety levels rise and the body gets flooded with adrenaline and I go over and over and over the problem until I want to scream. That is what I mean when I say that I am pessimistic. I know that I can't accurately predict the outcome of this current difficulty. But I can look at it logically and say if it was going to improve, it probably would have with the first of the numerous phonecalls I have made.

I have run the entire gammut of emotions really. I have felt punished by adding yet another noisy neighbour to the two we already enjoy. I have felt totally depressed by the thought that my every weekend will be peppered with stress and anxiety as I anticipate and then deal with the inevitable noise pollution. I have felt unbelievably wronged and angry. I am concerned that my whole philosophy of life is completely wrong and that has caused a somewhat existential crisis. Well, perhaps that's a touch over dramatic, but that's what it feels like. Like I am in crisis. I feel like I should be able to look for the lesson and ask myself what I am supposed to learn by this. Why have I attracted this situation into my life? And I am asking that daily, believe me. Maybe it IS all about sticking up for myself and my needs. Maybe it is all about learning to ask for what I want and being prepared to be unpopular in order to get my needs met. I know other people who would just call the cops. However, I think that in order to get a good result for everybody involved, their has to be dialogue. There has to be at least an attempt to resolve the situation to everyone's satisfaction. I don't want anyone to lose. Least of all me.

Then there is the whole 'what if I'm totally wrong about life, the Universe and everything?' dilemma. What if I AM wrong about the way I view life. What if I am just shit out of luck. If it's just bad luck that I am living in a noisy beautiful area, then what do I do now? My belief's help me to deal with life, the shit and the good stuff, they give me an understanding of things, they help me to make sense of it all. That's normal for a spiritual belief system isn't it? So, if I AM right, I do create my reality, then why did I create this? Why couldn't I learn this particular lesson in some other, less stressful way? Like I said. Existential crisis. Oh deep and unadulterated joy.

So, as Michael directed, we are dealing with it nicely first off. We have met them, we have introduced ourselves and our daughter to them, to let them see the 'real' family that they are impacting. I have explained our needs and asked them to keep the noise down after midnight. I have since phoned on three occasions to ask them to turn it down and they have been sweet about it but it doesn't stop them from banging up the volume every weekend. So, now I have to think about how to approach it when it inevitably happens again this weekend. I have to be much more direct and explain about the impact it is having upon me and upon us as a family. I have to do all of this and it causes me great anxiety. I hate confrontation. I still do it but I hate it. It stresses me out and taxes my already tired adrenals. I don't want any of it and yes, I'm bitter about it right now. Tired and bitter and not very hopeful.

Anyway, I just needed to get that off my chest. And if anyone has any suggestions on how to tackle this problem constructively, i.e. not just reporting them to the police (that may come later!), then I'd love to hear them.

I'll post Day Seven of my 30 Days of Happiness in another post. There's not much happy in this one!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

30 Days of Happiness Day Six & Fifteen Films

Okay. So it's more of a 30 POSTS of Happiness as I simply don't get the chance to post every day. Still, 30 posts is almost as good as 30 days AND trust me when I say I am applying the theory every day, even when I don't show you guys what's making me smile. There. Justification over.

Having said that, many things are making me happy at the moment.

Poetry: I've been dipping into some wonderful poetry books recently. I wanted to share this one with you:

Why I Wake Early by Mary Oliver

Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who made the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and the crotchety –
best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light –
good morning, good morning, good morning.
Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.

The hubble achieving his first real win in his new job, which means job security, at least for now. Whoohoo! Plus, because the client fell in love with his ad, they awarded the agency LOTS of new business. So double Whoohoo with a Whoohoo on top! So proud of my creative man.

We've booked our apres Crimbo holiday at the beach with the (extended) family courtesy of moi. Yes, I diligently trawled the internet pages to find anything that wasn't already booked or exorbitantly expensive (just so I can be surrounded by a bunch of schoolies on their annual 'Binge and Barf' New Years migration) and found somewhere just wunderbar, close to the front beach (no being wiped out by surf for me, no sirree) and near Sorrento, (mmmm posh coffee). It's actually very cool and last year my libido came roaring back into startled life, so here's to more of that! On top of this goodness, it's an Eco House, so I can have my holiday and save the world. How good is that?!

Stealthily plotting Sol-Y-Luna's Hen's Party has been delicious. The invites are out so let the games begin! I do love plotting a good surprise.

Today our playgroup took the ankle-biters to an area called Birdsland in Tecoma. It's one of many beautiful picnic grounds in our area and one I had never been to before. As expected, the Beanster got wet and muddy very quickly but boy did she ever have FUN! Almost every child was there and there was a picnic and lots of walking and climbing and running amok. Watching my girl running full pelt through the white blossomed onion grass, with all of her little pint sized pals was simply joyous. I wanted to capture the whole experience and carry it in my heart. There was just something about it that I can't adequately explain, and it just caught me off guard and made me melt.

Also enjoying afternoon naps with the small fry. So snuggly wuggly and warm and cosy. Just delish.

Spring Cleaning. I know. Just the word 'cleaning' usually brings me out into a cold sweat, but there is something most satifsying about clearing out ones crap. And Spring is most definitely, fragrantly, in the air, so it's the perfect time to do it. Watching piles of things to throw out or donate building up by the door gives me a perverse sense of satisfaction and goodliness. (Pauses for a smug smile).

Fifteen Films
Now, I've been tagged by the divine Doc to name Fifteen Films I've watched or that have stayed with me. So. Da rules (as posted by DocWitch): List 15 films that you've seen that have really stayed with you, and that will always stick with you. The first 15 that you can recall in no more than 15 minutes, (gah! I know - it's quite hard, but a lot of fun). They won't necessarily be "Great Films", or even the ones that you enjoyed the most. So it's not a definitive list of best all-time films. How hard would that be? *Shudder*.

So mine, in no particular order are:

1. Snowcake - Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Carrie-Ann Moss - Very good film
2. The Changeling
3. Scrubs - not the funny TV series of which I am a mighty fan, but a very disturbing film about young people in Wormwood Scrubs Prison and starring a very young Ray Winston. It really (unhappily) lived with me for quite a while. (Young guys being buggared in a greenhouse and then cutting off their own penises will do that to an impressionable 13 yr old).
4. Bell, Book & Candle - Kim Novak, James Stewart
5. Shrek one, two and three (blame my 3 yr old who is obsessed)
6. Practical Magic
7. Lord of the Rings - all three
8. Knocked Up
9. Hot Fuzz (are you seeing a pattern here) - this film is SO bloody funny
10. Forgetting Sarah Marshall (starring the delicious Russell Brand)
11. Never Ending Story
12. Twilight
13. Dirty Dancing
14. Desperately Seeking Susan
15. Sense & Sensibility and Pride & Predjudice (a twofer as I LOVE Austen adaptations and I've been known to watch many, one after another).

So, you know the drill, do your thang and link back to this post.

I've also been questioning the meaning of life, mine obviously, but that's for a longer post.

Until then - adios amigos

Friday, September 4, 2009

30 Days of Happiness - Days Two, Three, Four & Five

Reasons to be cheerful parts two, three, four and five.

Well what a lovely few days its been.

On Wednesday we caught the best of the spring weather with friends down at Mount Eliza and spent a happy two hours on the beach with the small fry. Beanie, being entirely unbothered by sub zero aquatic temperatures, waded into the freezing water up to her kneecaps. I would like to just point out here that the water in Melbourne is freezing even on days of 40+.

Lily and BFF Lana surprise the water with their cheeky barefootedness.

It was a glorious day - one of the best I can remember recently. We spent ALL day outside in the beautiful spring sunshine moving from beach to lunch to park to a different park and finally, with much resistance from my deliriously tired child, home.

Also making me delirously happy this week is the fact that my daughter is finally potty trained.

YAY! simply does not cover it. Think of something super exciting, possibly with a loud and prolonged squeal attached, and then multiply it by 1000 and that's where I'm at. The joy I feel is slightly more than my dark lusty thoughts about Ryan Reynolds. You will note that she is wearing knickers in the above pictures. We've had a few minor accidents and one major incident which I have tried diligently to wipe from my memory, but apart from that, my girl is going great guns. When caught short outside she simply informed me that she would 'squat down here like a dog.' We don't have a dog. Should I be worried?

She is adorable, no?

I love the beach. I think I love it almost as much as my gorgeous beanie-girl. It's so nice to look forward to spending more time down there now that the weather is starting to get warmer.
Mamma and me - wellies

We've also been getting creative in the kitchen. We made gingerbread men from a Steiner snack book recipe (using molasses and honey instead of sugar) - they turned out yummilicious and we then attacked them with a huge amount of glitter gel. As you can see, we got a tiny bit carried away. Ok, I did. Still, it was funny and the gel is surprisingly tasty for something that contains almost no natural ingredients!

Our culinary masterpieces in all their...um...glory.

Also making me happy these past few days is:
Deciding to have another baby.
Discovering new artists including the delicious Bearkat
Buying some cute new swimmers for my baby girl - I may have gone a little bit overboard but damn it she's going to look so lovely when we disappear off to Hamilton Island for five days for a friends wedding. Something else that is making me very happy.
My new funkadelic glasses (photo to come) made me quite smiley. Yes, it's true, my left eye went and got middle aged on me. The right one is a little annoyed to be honest. Still, when I put them on I could suddenly see more clearly. Guess that's the proof in the proverbial pudding innit.
Just watched the second series of Flight of the Conchords and yup, it's just as fandabbydosy as the first. Some highlights for me were sugalumps and epileptic dogs.

And finally, a kiss is not a contract - remember that ladies.

Oh those cheeky boys.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

30 Days of Happiness - Day One

Reasons to be cheerful part one.

Today's Happy is Dancing the Body Ecstatic

Attending a two and a half hour dance/moving meditation class on a Sunday morning. Yes, I did indeed go and stretch forth my mind, body and spirit. It took a while for the seed to begin to poke her head out of the lovely rich soil in which she has been hibernating/hiding these past long years but when she did...boy oh boy was that fun.

I don't have a photograph of the class, so this rather saucy stripey-legged picture of Rachel Brice, tribal belly dancer extraordinaire, will have to represent my ecstatic dance experience. I will be going back for more. Oh yes indeedy.

And there's more...

To fuel my body and give me a reason to barefoot it (not to mention the skippety skip and jazz hands) around the house, I have ordered the divine CD Beats Antique by Tribal Derivations. Check it out at www.lastfm.com for all that's good about tribal belly dance music. Mmmmm it's heavenly, particularly the title track 'Derivation' - all sultry goodness. Plus LastFM is the best place to find new music. So far I've discovered three new artists that I love. Good times abound.

This post is part of my second year of '30 Days of Happiness' blogging. Given how Joni Mitchell Blue I have been on and off recently, I was looking for a reason to focus on all the things that are good in my life and, as usual, BlueBirdBaby came up with the goods. If you'd like to get in on the Happiness action, go visit Erin and leave a comment asking to jump on board, then get posting. You'll get a link to your blog and to your Happiness Posts from her blog. Plus, you get to meet her - one of the coolest chicks in blogland.

ps. If you think that dancing is just for skinny chicks, take a look at the vintage belly dancers postcard below...

Love it.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Little Gypsy Dancing Feet

Oh the ecstasy. Can you not feel it? I LOVE this photo. I wish I knew to whom it belonged but I found it on the internet and it were all by itself. This, to me, epitomises the wonderousness of dance. The pulse of spirit pleasuring the body in pure movement. The sheer delight of allowing oneself to be moved by spirit, shaped by heart and sung into being by the Beloved. I LOVE dance. I may have mentioned before that I have a background in dance and that there is a part of me (what am I? A Terry's chocolate orange? So many 'parts'...) that longs every day to pray in that way. I know. I know. Why don't I? I don't honestly know. Perhaps it is that I feel that I cannot do justice to it. That I have not the form nor the grace that I once possessed. But we both know that those are simply excuses to not allow myself to be embodied, to be possessed by the spirit of the dance and to dance my prayers once again.

Still - that urge grips me now as I sit at my computer. (Dance you idiot! Don't type!). I can feel my soul unfurling, probing, reaching towards the light, the melody, the bass. Pushing me to arch, to twirl, to (shock! horror!) gyrate! Oh ma goodness - somebody pass me the smelling salts...

* The delectable Rachel Brice

To me there is something awe inspiring about this connection to the dance that dances us. You can feel the heat of divine possession radiating off the dancers in these two photos. It makes me feel restless and edgy and I want...I want...I want. To be them. To cut some rug, to throw some shapes, to plunge into the warm waters of senseless shapeshifting dance.

And so - tomorrow I am away to tickle my spirit with exactly that. For two blissful hours I will leave my habitual life and step into my prayers with a full heart and an overflowing body. I will give myself over to nothing less than an act of worship as I allow my spirit to answer the call that throbs through me tonight. It will be heavenly. It will be vulnerable. It will be delicious.

Laughter will bubble up from dark places. Dusty corners will be swept. Tight muscles will be freed. My confetti heart will be thrown up into the air in wild abandon and I will not care where the pieces land. It will not matter. There is only to dance and be danced. I think this is truly where I touch God. Maybe stillness is not for me, not until I have truly let myself be moved? Certainly, Osho believed that the western monkey mind cannot find peace until it has first expended itself in movement. Hence his Kundalini meditations which begin with movement and end in stillness. I cannot fathom why I do not do this more.

Music has a powerful effect on me, as I'm sure it does on many people. Depending on the music I can be playful, dark, sensual, ecstatic, humorous, teasing, tribal, fanciful or powerfully erotic. When the hubble and I tapped into our inner God and Goddess during our Tantra journey (you dance for each other for 20 minutes each - argh!), I found a powerful place within me and a deeply, achingly vulnerable one. I had never before shown myself in this way to another human being. It was intense and moving to watch and to be watched. It tore down, if only temporarily, some high, thick walls inside me to allow my beloved man to see me in this way. I cried. And contrary to expectations, there was something so awe inspiring about being able to watch him dance for me, without judgement, without teasing, and to just appreciate the beauty and the vulnerability of this supremely intimate offering of love. I cried again. As terrifying as it may feel to do this for one another, I recommend that everyone have a go. It took us to places neither one of us had been before and indeed, may never go again.

And so, I look forward to exploring music with my mind, body and soul tomorrow. I look forward with sharp anticipation to the moment when I can surrender to sound and allow myself to disappear into the notes. Perhaps I will emerge a different shape, become a different melody. Or perhaps I will simply 'become' myself once again.

And what tremendous freedom there will be in that my friends.

Dancing is the loftiest, the most moving, the most beautiful of the arts, because it is no mere translation or abstraction from life; it is life itself. ~by Havelock Ellis