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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Holding her heart, holding mine

Isn't she pretty?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Feeling the post-modern condition

One of my units at university was called "Realism and Postmodernism". This rather expansively intellectual title was pretty hard slog, yet one of the most enjoyable of my degree.

After being weighed down by philosophical tracts by some names as Foucault, Barthes, Derrida, Cixous, and Lacan (spunk!) what be basically learned can be boiled down to one sentence:

"There is no such thing as an original thought."

At times, this is rather a depressing notion; at others, I am quietly satisfied. Like when I sit and stare at my overly long toenails and wonder, "Can I be bothered going to get the nail clippers or should I rather stick this dirt-covered nob in my mouth and do it myself?" I can then think, "I am no freak; others before my have asked this very same question".

But then where does that leave my blogging?

I have been feeling rather a crisis of confidence when it comes to writing lately. I didn't know why and I haven't had enough mental fortitude to figure it out. Then I read this by Helen Garner, one of my favourite writers,

"What horrifies me about personal email is the vastness of its message field. This is chaos, the abyss. If you live alone, if you suffer at times from an anxiety that you might not exist, email tempts you to behave neurotically--to pour into its appalling infiniteness a cataract, a hemorrhage of words, bottomless, boundaryless. What feels like existential relief is in fact psychologically shallow, a dreadful and meaningless leakage of self."**

Oh. My. God. She has written in one paragraph what it would take me at least a month to even compose, let alone shape cognitively in my skull. Yet it is precisely how I feel, just substitute 'email' for 'blog'.

Then I wonder what I could say about reading. And then I discovered, my thoughts have already been anticipated.


So what happens next? I could hop on a link-train and direct you to any other one of thousands of excellent bastions of thought, yet that would take you away from me. (No!)

No. I'll just keep haunting my little bell tower here and ring out occasionally what news I have, come good or bad. That's what most of us do anyway, right? A thought is a thought is a thought.

Am I being too abstract? Maybe. Perhaps I should go back to poo talk?

**Garner, H, 'Tutto Sereno' in The Feel of Steel, Picador, 2001, pg94. You know what I love? I do a spell check and the checker comes back to me MOST ANGRY about my Garner quote. It seems her vocabulary is superior to Mr. Computer's here. He will not accept 'infinteness' or 'boundaryless'. Too bad, sirree.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Housekeeping Issues

The entries in my "Dear Me" Project (see sidebar) have kind of...exploded! I've added eight alone over the past two days. Let me tell you, they're good. They're great. Keep them coming, tell me more, I love them.

Go have a read!

Updated: Praise be for the magnificence of Scribbit's ability to make blogging-coding jargon accesible to us non-IT literates. As you may see, I've already started tinkering and will continue so over the next few days.

Celebrating the power of collective effort

Most of us are good, kind people. We love our kids and our families and we go about our days being compliant members of society, managing our levels of stress and happiness at varying levels of success.

At the same time I would venture that many of us feel that, once all is said and done, we still run at a deficit. We watch the ads on television of various charities asking us for money and we think, "I would if I could." We feel helpless in the face of all that is wanting in the world and we feel petty for lamenting on our own toils and troubles. I know I feel like this often. Whether we like it or not money is the fuel for economy. It is also the only thing that stands between humans and survival in some countries- poor or rich.

So, my point?

You do have the power to make a difference.

Let me explain:

This idea isn't a new one, but it's one our playgroup is about to try.

Our playgroup of mothers annually (although we'd like it to be more often!) get together for dinner. Just us, no kids or husbands. We've gone out to restaurants in the past, but for our next gathering we're going to meet at one of our houses instead and 'bring a plate' (or have 'pot luck') to eat. The money we save from that alone is going to be pooled and sent to a charity of our choice. Sounds easy? Let's hope so. What I like is we're not really denying ourselves - the one of the biggest reasons people mightn't want to donate money. We're doing what we wanted, that being get together, have fun, have a break, and this way we're also doing a bit extra. What Oprah might say is we're Paying it Forward, in our own way.

Could you do the same? Do you have a bunch of friends that might be up for the challenge? I'm going to make this a permanent link on the side, to hopefully spread awareness. If you do something for the 'greater good', tell me about it, I'd love to hear. Blog about it and send me the link.

Once we've had our dinner, I'll post an update here and let you know how we do.

Thanks for reading.

UPDATE- March 12th, 2007: Here

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Why? Why Not?

Create your own Friend Test here

If you can be bothered doing it, tell me what you think!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The dear sweet sound of...

UPDATE: You know what my definition of bliss today was? Sitting on the couch in my underwear (hey, I'd just walked on the treadmill) and watching all of the original Poseiden Adventure in all its B-Movie gloriousness. Nothing like the sight of Red Buttons scurrying around like a little mouse and Shelly Winters hitching up her skirts whilst wet to make one feel better about themselves.


My gosh, it's raining. FINALLY. I have been starved of that sweet staccato for so long.

People think Melbourne is constantly wet and raining. Not so. Certainly not in the six plus years we've been living here (that long already?) at least.

This weekend I'm resolved to be quiet with myself, remove some static that I always seem to attract. My mother left on Thursday and I'm feeling better, thanks all. I've even had a few phone calls off people, which gladdens me no end, if for no other reason that it means that some of my nearest and dearest actually read this blog, the reason why I began it in the first place.

Riley's sleeping is no better, though. I postponed controlled crying (ha! victory for the infant! says non-CCers) until...well, I have a few excuses. His teething. The heat. Until Adam can help me with it. Perhaps because I pretend otherwise here, I despise hearing him cry.

Well, that's my world for you. What you all doing this weekend?

Friday, February 23, 2007

What would the resume of a Disney Princess look like?

Yes, I'm talking about Disney Princesses again.

Actually, I must have become desensitised to their presence in this house. Because, let's face it, their invasion is almost complete. I see flashes of swirly skirts and tiaras everywhere: whether it be on bed linen, clocks, books, clothes, or backpacks. I am beginning to believe that lurid pink is a legitimate base for interior design and paint. I can't help but smile when Keira puts on one of her crowns and dress-up dresses and prances all over the house. I used to be that girl, too. I can't deny it any longer.

Take a look at this though:

"Where's Ariel?"

Ariel from The Little Mermaid was indeed absent when she normally makes the fifth princess.

"Perhaps it's an example of aquatic discrimination," I said. "The purely land-based princesses are marginalising the mermaid for social reasons unknown to us."

Keira looks at me blankly.

I tried again, without the sarcasm. "She was sick the day they took this photo".

Keira looks satisfied with this answer. Then she comes out with,

"Jasmine rides a carpet."

"Yes she does."

"Cinderella dances."


"What does Sleeping Beauty do?"

Good question. "Uh - sleeps?"

Right. I mean, what else does she do when you think about it? Prick her finger, I guess.

"What does Belle do?"

Another good question. "She looks after the Beast."

Get out of there Belle!! Don't sell yourself to domestic slavery to a Beast and a couple of talking candlesticks! You're better off back with your dad, at least it's honest work!**

Have I said lately why I love living with a near preschooler? She's getting sharp. I like how she's somehow figured out that us adults have primary occupations of our time, like "work" or something to "do" in her words. And I like how she doesn't know gender distinctions or stereotypes that may bog down her imagination. I shall have to come up with some pretty creative answers if I'm to keep that alive, don't you think? Because if these Princesses ever stepped out of cartoon land into the real world, they'd need a darn good resume writer to pad out their credentials.

**Note I haven't watched Beauty and the Beast for over fifteen years. I assume the elderly gent was her father?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Thirteen Things I should do for my health...and so should you

Please note: I am no doctor. Most of what you see below you'd read about in any magazine. Or is common sense. Don't take my word as Gospel truth, but.

Check your moles
Skin Cancer runs in my family (I lost my grandmother to it) so I am especially aware of the dangers. Living in the big, bright, sunny land of Australia, you have to be very careful. You might be surprised at what you think is a 'harmless' change in a mole is actually very serious.

Get your Iron levels tested
Feeling lethargic? Could be you're low in iron. Anemia is common amongst women (especially those who are pregnant or menstruating). A simple iron tablet could help. They help me (be careful though - they can make your...poop, there I said it...hard)

Check your thyroid
Before depression is diagnosed, often thyroid levels are tested (I don't know the reason why). I think the thyroid is a hormone regulator, so it's not something to be ignored.

What's your Cholesterol Level?
I don't know much about cholesterol. I know it's bad and has something to do with the junk that clogs your arteries? Go ask. Find out yours.

Be aware of blood sugar levels
Potential diabetics need to have theirs tested before diagnosis. But those of us at the other end of the scale (who suffer hypoglycemia) should also know.

Have a massage
Do I really need to explain this one??!

Have nookie more often
GOOD nookie, that is. The kind that shakes, rattles and rolls. Those of us lucky enough to get it (occasionally...) know why...

Cut out one meat meal a week and replace with vegetarian
Because do you really need that extra pork chop?

Book an appointment with a personal trainer just to get your general fitness evaluated
This was my NY resolution. Hasn't happened yet. You might be surprised with yourself - be fitter than you think!

Laugh More
Good for stress. My secret for laughter? One (1) cat and one (1) laser lighter pen and a darkened room.

Know your blood pressure
I run on an almost dead 90/50, so I don't think I need to worry. But others do. Watch your heart people.

Check your breasts
Do your self-exams, ladies!! And if you're worried, go to a doctor. If he disses you and you're still worried about a lump GO TO ANOTHER DOCTOR.

#13 - - You tell me - what Have I missed? What else should I do?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Who'd think this is the little fella giving me grief at night?

God Love Him ;) :)


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Mother Blogger Interview #3 - Kelly

This week's interviewee is Kelly over at Thrifty Mommy. This site, like others I subscribe too, help us all with tips and great ideas to cut down the expenses in our lives. Because kids or no kids, life's not cheap. Kelly and Karen do a great job. Now I'll hand it over to Kelly! Thank you for talking to me.

When did you first begin blogging? April 2005

What interested you in beginning your Blog? Why a Blog over other methods of 'traditional' journaling (like a private diary)?

It was a way to let my family all over the country keep tabs on my new baby. Then I started blogging for Thrifty Mommy and fell in love. I don't keep my personal blog up anymore unfortunately.

What do you think of the term 'mommy blogger'?

I think it's perfect. Most mommy bloggers just want to tell about their kids and make a little money on the side. The successful ones can actually make enough money to be able to stay at home. I love that part about blogging. Someone actually pays you to talk about what fascinates you.

Does writing a Blog give you a voice that you otherwise feel you don't have? If yes, what factors contribute to this lack of voice that you feel you have?

I love my Thrifty Mommy blog. I can help other moms out there save money and time and hopefully be able to spend more time at home with their kids. You too dads :)

What you are writing, if you let it, becomes public knowledge. Truthfully, does writing for a wider audience matter? Why/why not?

Writing for a worldwide audience has helped me not be so narrow minded. I always tell of sales in my area and then I hear about sales from other areas of the world. I try to not narrow the field by just talking about stuff in the US. I know other people around the world read my blog and that excites me.

What inspires you to keep blogging? This question may be especially pertinent for those of you who are blogging semi-professionally, or professionally.

I want to be able to stay home permanently. I need to put forth more effort to get my blogs out there but I am having such a great time that I am looking to expand my writing arena. I love my blogging network, b5media, and I write for real estate as well. I just learn something new every day.

As mothers, how do you address the issue of Internet security on your blog? What rules have you self-imposed about what you say about your family/children?

I didn't really think about it at first, and then I realized what I was doing. Now I just say DD or DH so that no names are mentioned. I have a friend online that was stalked and I feel so sorry for her. She had to change everything to keep blogging. Now she herself has to stay anonymous and I am proud of her for keeping going. I talk about my family all the time and encourage others to do so. But I don't use names. I might be paranoid, but somebody has to keep my kids safe,a and God has given that task to me and my DH. We take that charge very seriously.

If you could estimate a percentage, how much of your blog is unembellished, straight recount of what's been happening in your life? (Or, to rephrase the question, do you ever doctor your tales to seem more 'dramatic' or 'funny')? Why/why not?

It depends on who you ask. MY DH would say I embellish about 75% of my life on a general basis. I say that I am a great and colorful story teller. Nobody wants to read about a kid who cried. That's just life, but telling all about how she melted over the littlest thing and then put her head down and stuck out her bottom lip any mommy can relate to. That's cute and endearing. So I'll leave it up to you. HAHA!!

Do you think that blogging – at all – insinuates a certain social standing on behalf of the blogger herself? For example, many poorer women, who themselves may want to express themselves, may not have computer or Internet access. Do you feel that as a consequence many important stories are 'lost'?

Yes and no.
No- I have a girlfriend that blogged professionally but couldn't always afford to keep her Internet access up. So when she couldn't afford access, she would go to the public library.
Yes - If someone isn't aware of this wonderful modality of conversation, then they don't know that there is a world where moms can talk about life and make a little money on the side.
So it just depends on the situation. If they know about blogging, then there is plenty of public access to blog with and it is free.

How important has blogging become to you?

Blogging is very important to me as I am trying to get the word out about the platform and the ability to make a little money to be able to stay at home with your kids while doing it.

How important are the trappings (or decoration/design) of your blog? For example, if you have heavily modified an existing wordpress/blogger/typepad template – or done your own – how would you feel if suddenly you were reverted back to a basic one? Would it matter?

I think the more you modify your site, the more you feel comfortable with the whole process of blogging. If my site were to go back to basics, I would feel a little naked to be honest with you. It has so much on it that I would miss all the extra little additional flare. I do have to admit that most of my site is done by my blogging network and I just like adding links and sites to the side. I am not as good at the whole modifying as I should be. I am trying to learn that end of blogging as I go.

If your family is aware of your blogging and are regular readers, how do you censor any personal or 'delicate' topics they may have a problem with? Or do you? (To paraphrase – do you compromise your writer's voice?) If so, how does this make you feel?

My family doesn't really read my blog with the exception of my sister and brother-in-law. So I really don't have to worry about that. But yes, I would not reveal confident or sensitive information in public that I wouldn't talk about in public. I don't feel that is in any way a compromise. I think it is just tact and more people should have some.

How important is the social networking aspect of blogging to you?

Social networking helps drive your traffic. Exposure is so very important. But I feel that Thrifty Mommy's traffic comes more consistently from communicating with other bloggers and participating in forums than lipstick or digg. Granted, we will get traffic from those types of sites, but it is usually a hit on a particular post and then they are gone. The repeat viewers are fellow bloggers that comment. I love getting to know people that way.

Which other bloggers do you admire? For any particular reason(s)?

Where do I start? I love Darren Rowse at Problogger and Hsien-Hsien at A Hearty Life and Play Library. b5media has such wonderful bloggers. Robyn Tippins over at Sleepy Blogger got me started and all my blogging is her fault. Recently I have gotten into real estate blogging and Bloodhound realty and RSS Pieces are fabulous sites in that genre. I think any blogger that can crank out more than a couple of posts a day and keep it fresh is an inspiration to all.

In your experience, do you find bloggers or certain blogging communities to be cliquey, as they sometimes are accused of?

I think they are finicky. They will latch onto an idea and drag it to death. But I haven't really noticed any cliquey types yet. I do think however, that if you can get a good comment string going, you will find all kinds of bloggers out there that are not afraid to blast you. I would hope that these people are nicer in person. Anonymous status to any extent, I think gives people the ability to say things that they wouldn't normally say and that I don't like. I do like a good argument every once in a while and have participated in a few roundhouses but I TOTALLY disagree with being rude.

Monday, February 19, 2007

About Freakin' Time

Riley's first molar has finally come through. After three long months of rising up; going back; rising up...


Operation Control Crying has begun

It was a battle plan of epic strategy. Well, I made it out to be I guess. The biggest problem was what to do with Keira. The heat was terrible and couldn't have slept in her room last night; Riley screaming or no screaming.

So I suggested she camp out in the lounge room with Nan. Under the air conditioning. She is normally pretty precious about her bed and her own space, so I expected a 'no', but instead there was a "YEAH, OK!" and proceeded to help us drag her mattress and linen out. Then from 7pm onwards she kept asking, "Can I go to bed yet?" If only she was this keen to go to bed at an early hour usually.

Without having to worry about her comfort, I turned my attention to Riley. Here's how our night went:

10.52 - 11.29pm - CRYING. Of various levels of volume and type. Mostly, when I went in there, he kept pointing at my breasts and grabbing for them (So not unlike every other night I go to bed in my own room) but he wasn't especially hungry. Just angry: "HOW DARE YOU TAKE MY BOOBS AWAY!!"

12.45am - OK, this time he was hungry. And I was too tired to argue. Feed.

5.30am - FEED

This may look like the feeding patterns of say, oh, a three or four month old. For the record, Riley was sleeping through at that age. It just went downhill at about 7 months.

But I slept. And I dreamed. I woke up this morning at a level of freshness that is quite alien these days. And Riley has woken up none the worse.

Tonight's challenge: Cut out that 12.45am feed. Or stretch it out to cut out the other one.


Sunday, February 18, 2007

Backup has arrived!

Karen is preparing mother's blow-up mattress for bedtime. It is hot - still 32 degrees at 9.00pm.

Mother: No! No! Don't worry about that, I can sleep on the couch.
Me: Mum, you are NOT sleeping on the couch.
Mother: But I enjoy sleeping on them.
Me (scoffs): Sure you do. You might! But not this one.

(Our couch, though leather, so cooler, would be as comfortable as a POW camp stretcher)

Me: Ah, it's so nice though to have someone here take the 'Mother Martyr' sceptre off me for a little while. Seriously, it was becoming too much.

Thanks everyone for your kind words yesterday - no negatives, not even a slippery anonymous email saying I am the scourge of motherdom for letting a baby cry (but they will come....oh yes they will). To them I shall say, "Gee, you should hear him then when I put him in a bath of scalding water."

Wow - I am even making a joke. I must be feeling better.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

When sleep deprivation becomes a serious matter

It happened at 3.14pm.

I called my mother - who lives in the next state - at work and asked (but silently pleaded) for her to come and help me for a few days next week.

Although she is busy (it's Ash Wednesday next week - or kick-off for Christianity's 40 Day countdown to Easter, and that's kind of important to her work) she said she will come, because that's the kind of mum she is.

I haven't let on this week, but I am still unwell, I am exhausted, and Riley's waking every 1.5-2 hours in the night is doing me in. I heave myself through a day. I am not enjoying life much. I am not enjoying my children as much as I'd like to because they've both been sick this week and I should be worrying about them.

I rely on Adam, and he does not like that much because he's tired too. The weather's been stinking hot again and we're all getting cabin fever.

Normally I wouldn't even call her, because she is busy (she is always busy) and I am way too proud to even admit things have gotten this bad. But they have. Call me a sook if you will, Lord knows that's what I call myself, but I'm calling it how I see it.

I have received emails from people saying to me how nasty I am that I have practiced controlled crying in the past (which is interesting as I didn't think I HAD even discussed it before) and now I anticipate even more because that's what’s going to happen with Riley. Very. Soon.

Because something bad will happen if I do nothing for much longer.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Riley's First Steps

Yesterday, as the melody of Entertainment Tonight began, signalling it was 3pm, Riley let go of the fence surrounding our computer and took his first two independent steps! Much to mother's pleasure...

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Movie character (and stars) names I considered for my children

  • Aurora (Disney's Sleeping Beauty)
    This name is a tie - along with the name I gave my daughter - as the original name I wanted to bestow my offspring, when I daydreamed about it as a child. It means "Dawn" which I thought lovely; and Sleeping Beauty was possibly my favourite fairy tale.
  • Leia (from the Star Wars trilogy)
    I just think it's a lovely name and you know I've never met anyone with it. Perhaps it became too popularist-culture.
  • Grace (Kelly)
    The orginal class act. The sight of her in that immense gold dress in To Catch a Thief took my breath away.
  • Vivian (Leigh)
    Great actress. The name was a front-runner until Pretty Woman, where Julia Robert's character's name was Vivian. "No way I'm naming my baby after a prostitute" I think Adam said.
  • Scarlett (Gone With the Wind)
    The original red-hot fire cracker. I used to fantasise I was her, complete with all the costumes. Most people love that green and white fluffy number she wore to the picnic. Not me: give me that red velvet number towards the end, thanks!
  • Melanie (Gone With the Wind)
    Not the most exciting woman on earth, but I thought that if my daughter tuend out half as sweet and kind as her, I'd be set. (Without the tragic ending, naturally)
  • Sebastian (from The Greatest Show on Earth)
    My first male look in (this list is hopelessly feminine). Cornel Wilde played the dashing, sexy trapeeze artist and I thought that would make a cool name for a guy. Adam heartily disagreed.
  • Ava (Gardner)
    I love her performance as Julie in Showboat. She kisses the lovers farewell at the end, and I just want to cry (and I do!) Ava is such a lovely name; except when Adam says, "It sounds like Ovum". Charming.
  • Alexander ("Xander" from Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
    A real contender, I just like the condensed "Xander" part. As you can tell, w're real fans of the show (I'm extending the list to TV now)....hence the appearance of...
  • Riley ("Riley" from Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
    ..Well, I had to explain. Adam SWEARS he didn't get the name from this show, but I think he did, and as that's the only name he stood by as wanting in two pregnancies, he got his way. He liked it that much.
  • Charlotte (from Charlotte's Web)
    I think most women I know either wanted this name for their girls at some stage in their lives, or do have this name. I like it more for the Charlotte Bronte connection.
  • Rose-Marie (from the 1930's movie Rose Marie)
    Old fashioned, yes. One of these names is Keira's middle name (but I'm not saying which. You need a little mystery).
  • "Curly" (from Oklahoma)
    A great nickname. Have you seen Hugh Jackman's performance as Curly? FAN-bloody-TASTIC.

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  • Wednesday, February 14, 2007

    Valentines, Schmalentines

    It's 2.30pm here and I've received nothing as yet. No flowers; just exchanging testy-bordering emails with Adam, who's volunteered us for all-and-sundry on the preschool committee. Not that I mind....

    Anyway, I am relieved I have not received anything, because (for once) as per instruction I too have not done anything. Not even bought a card.


    Last night, when Adam was at said preschool committee meeting, I did decide to try out a new recipe and double up the sentiment as an early offering to the little Saint. It was a melt and mix cake. A damn expensive one. The chocolate component alone cost $10. It said "300g good quality chocolate", so I complied. At 10pm Adam walks in the door, sniffs the air and his eyes brighten like a hungry dog's.

    He tastes it and wrinkles up his nose, and sounding eerily similar to Andy from Little Britain declares, "I don't like it".

    As you'd expect at that hour, this was not what I was hoping to hear. I sampled the cake myself. And, much to my dismay, I had to agree with him. It was too bitter (dark chocolate). Something was really off. He said, "put it in the bin". Chortling like any miser at the suggestion I said, "Maybe it will taste better in the morning".

    Which it did, but still not enough. I might freeze it to crumble up to go on top of vanilla ice cream. That might do the trick.

    So, my valentines offering wasn't a great hit.

    How was everybody else's day?

    My children are stepping all over me. Literally

    Yep, this is as uncomfortable as it looks.


    Tuesday, February 13, 2007

    Mother Blogger Interview #2 - Holly

    This week's featured Mother Blogger interview is Holly from Hollys Corner. I'm sure she hardly needs any introduction to some of you, because Holly is just about the most prolific reader and commentator on blogs you'll see. Many of the sites I go to, there she is, on the MyBlogLog sidebar as being there before me! I think she really is a great example of the kind of socially conscious, family orientated, smart mother bloggers there are out there.

    (*Note: the last question on this list was added after I interviewed Scribbit last week. Don't think I didn't include her answer in case it was controversial or something!)

    When did you first begin blogging? August 4, 2006

    What interested you in beginning your Blog? Why a Blog over other methods of 'traditional' journaling (like a private diary)?

    Actually, my husband had been telling me for months I should start blogging. The more he explained, the more I started to see how this tool could help me gather all my Internet personal sites/projects together under one roof, and best of all be a great backup of a lot of my files. Interestingly enough, what keeps me blogging is how easy it is to write and share it. The writing aspect quickly took the driver's seat and the majority of my time. I think what I like most about it is how current and alive I can keep content. That is big for me because it's so easy to let sites and information go stale for lack of time and attention. Incidentally, my husband began blogging in November of 2005 for the purpose of networking to find a publisher for his book. His experience is totally different from mine as he has both a techie background/ability as well as professional writing. But he immediately saw the ability for me to succeed in it and kept at my heels for several months about it before I agreed to give it a go.

    What do you think of the term 'mommy blogger'?

    I think it's a fantastic outlet and social strength for moms. Mom's need other moms and what better way than to easily share and read what others share on their daily journey? I do believe however that there is so much more to it than just moms blogging. Every mom has a life, views, personality and value beyond being a mom and blogging seems to bring that out. For many I think it helps us realize how valuable we are and our role is, especially in a world that portrays it as a second class profession. It helps us develop and recognize other talents that give us personal boost and replenishes our batteries. In short, I think it's a wonderful term and concept and I love that it's gaining more positive visibility.

    Does writing a Blog give you a voice that you otherwise feel you don't have? If yes, what factors contribute to this lack of voice that you feel you have?

    No, but it does give me an audience I didn't have and I'm finding that I really love that aspect. I've gotten to know so many great people out there and it's like a daily connection tool that is really powerful. People I've never met feel like lifelong friends.

    What you are writing, if you let it, becomes public knowledge. Truthfully, does writing for a wider audience matter? Why/why not?

    I've always been keenly aware of committing words to print. I try to be careful not to push a personal opinion as fact, deface or slander, follow copyrights etc., but I will say that I keep a lot of what I say more general because of the vastness of the audience at hand. Personal e-mails and responses from comments allow me to share more personal views and/or details but even then I always remember that what I'm saying is going down in print. There's no ignorance excuse or hearsay when that happens so you need to be careful that you're ready to back it up. Everyone has to learn through their own experience how to write to a larger and more open audience. I've been doing it for many years on bulletin boards, groups, forums and chat rooms so for me this was just a transition to a new tool, not a new concept. It does take some time to learn how and when to best channel and use your energies with regards to writing in a public forum, but experience is the best teacher. ;o) I love writing to a larger audience because it keeps me on my toes. It makes me question things that I write and think outside myself. I try to picture things from another's perspective before jumping off on a topic. For me, it's both motivating and inspiring.

    What inspires you to keep blogging? This question may be especially pertinent for those of you who are blogging semi-professionally, or professionally.

    At first it was the ability to share so much that was on my mind and in my file folders. Then it was the positive feedback and encouragement from others. The speed of success by blogging terms of reader and ranking have also been part of the motivation for me. I think we all like to be recognize and see positive results for our efforts. I haven't really used my blog to push my passions or business. But I do see a natural consequence of my adoption site getting numbers and boost from my blog which is really fun for me. Perhaps if I were driven by financial or business success goals my answer would be different. But I simply like sharing what I've learned and done in my life so far and that was always my purpose, so for me that's what keeps me going.

    As mothers, how do you address the issue of internet security on your blog? What rules have you self-imposed about what you say about your family/children?

    For me the blog is just another aspect of this that was already going. As a site owner and advocate of adoption we've shared our family face and story in many mediums from TV to newspaper and speakers at conferences. So there wasn't a "new" fear or experience based on exposure like this for me. Basically it's just about being smart. As we learned in adoption, you have to think about the information you share and if/how identifying it may be. Above all, I rely heavily on my genius programmer husband to keep us afloat of all security related issues and take comfort knowing that he manages our own server, etc. So this is a little different for me than for some bloggers who don't have that resource and control. I feel so lucky to have a little background on this topic through adoption experiences and my hubby.

    If you could estimate a percentage, how much of your blog is unembellished, straight recount of what's been happening in your life? (Or, to rephrase the question, do you ever doctor your tales to seem more 'dramatic' or 'funny')? Why/why not?

    ROFL - well, I guess my life is entertaining enough because I've never needed any embellishments. I do like to put a twist on things that make something easier to share and absorb by the masses like taking that bathroom "skidmark" to a "Life's Lessons" short. The short answer is that everything on my blog is 100% straight up.

    Do you think that blogging – at all – insinuates a certain social standing on behalf of the blogger herself? For example, many poorer women, who themselves may want to express themselves, may not have computer or internet access. Do you feel that as a consequence many important stories are 'lost'?

    I think everyone has a story to tell but few have the desire at least at the level that brings about action. I would actually say that having the ability to "publish" free and easier have actually removed a great deal of that social barrier simply because it reduced the barriers to entry. No longer do you have to secure a big name publisher to share your words with others in a reading format, no longer do you have to know all the right people in all the right places to have the opportunity to share story in print. I do however believe there is a social standing influence on blogging because the entire network was designed by computer techies. The interesting thing is to see how blogging has branched out from the technical social circle to personal and business venues.

    How important has blogging become to you?

    Important might not be the right word for me. I enjoy it so much and it has clearly taken a front seat with regards to the time I spend on my computer. I don't spend more time on the computer now, but what time I do spent is largely reading and writing blogs. I like that I'm accomplishing some journaling and personal history but if I couldn't blog tomorrow I'd simply continue the process in another way.

    How important are the trappings (or decoration/design) of your blog? For example, if you have heavily modified an existing wordpress/blogger/typepad template – or done your own – how would you feel if suddenly you were reverted back to a basic one? Would it matter?

    While I wouldn't say template is more important than content or functionality I wouldn't dismiss it as irrelevant either. So much of one's personality can come through simple things like layout. Because I've done a lot of my own designs and web designing in the past, I don't have the need to customize as much as I did years ago so it's not as important to me as it is to some of my fellow bloggers. When my blog found it's life and direction, creating a personal header was at the top of my list. I think it's an evolutionary process.

    If your family is aware of your blogging and are regular readers, how do you censor any personal or 'delicate' topics they may have a problem with? Or do you? (To paraphrase – do you compromise your writer's voice?) If so, how does this make you feel?

    My family know of my blog. My husband is a regular reader and so is my mother although I wouldn't say either are the most faithful, especially with daily reading and/or commenting. There are topics that just aren't appropriate to me for blogging, but they are the same topics that I don't feel appropriate to share in any forum. There are funny things, quirky things, etc. but then there's the "airing your dirty laundry" and highly personal things that should remain private to me. If there is something I really feel is of value to share as a result of something personal I will simply share it in a more general way. I think this is an evolutionary process as well. Everyone has to start somewhere and it takes a few "bumps" in the road before you figure it out. But if you keep at it long enough you find the balance that works for you.

    How important is the social networking aspect of blogging to you?

    I think the social networking is why blogging works. It's what keeps people both giving and coming back for more. It's nice to feel connected to other people no matter what geography or other circumstances may say. If no one connected with each other then blogging would be no different than writing daily excerpts in a personal word processor. It's the very ability to connect and network socially that feeds it.

    Which other bloggers do you admire? For any particular reason(s)?

    Oh there are so many! I really admire bloggers who have a higher goal and purpose than just daily shares. Bloggers who make you think about the good things, want to improve or generally make your day better for having dropped by. I admire those who share honest thoughts and friendship and those witty enough to write in a way that always makes me laugh. So many times I find myself inspired to write about something because I read a well written article or post of a fellow blogger. That's fun to me. I guess the answer to the question would largely be determined on the blogger's personal reasons for blogging. If I were all about building or marketing a business I'd likely list big name bloggers in that arena as mentors, etc. I think we all gravitate to those we're most like. ;o)

    In your experience, do you find bloggers or certain blogging communties to be cliquey, as they sometimes are accused of?

    I think it's impossible to please everybody and consequently there will always be someone who feels left out or unsatisfied. It's not unique to blogging. I think the reality is that even though we can do a great deal of social networking, we don't have unlimited hours to spend doing that. So we have to find a way to do it on a smaller scale. Most people find a few "connection" points and stick with that. I guess to an outsider that could be perceived as a clique. I've personally never felt snubbed but there are a few smaller circles of bloggers that I'm a regular participator in and I can see how those could be viewed as a cliquey thing. I subscribe to blogs that I feel a similarity with and that reciprocate the friendship and support I give. Relationships and friendships develop from that point on, but there are so many thousands of other blogs and interests I couldn't hope to have time to get into that I don't worry about it. I don't know if that answers the question at all! LOL

    Monday, February 12, 2007

    Just one piece of advice

    I know of at least four women who are pregnant at the moment. Two of these ladies are expecting their first babies. My thoughts go to these first-timers (one who is my best chum from high school; another a cousin of mine) and I can't help but be taken back to when I was pregnant with Keira. Spookily enough, they are both due at around the same time Keira was born, so I will have to set up some kind of sweep to see what birth dates, sex, weights, times etc are registered because, deep down, I am a compulsive gambler.

    But I digress...

    Another friend of mine (who has children) was asked by another first-time-mum-to-be this question: "If you could give me just one piece of advice about what's to come, what would it be?"

    My friend asked our playgroup of mothers what they would say because it is a trickier question than you'd initially suppose. Because about, oh, say a dozen things immediately leap to mind; many of those, while helpful, are pretty insignificant when compared with the Miracle That Is Bringing A New Life Into The World.

    Alas, my piece of advice is one of the more trivial anecdotes. When my friend asked me this question, this sentence burst forth from my mouth before I could stop it: "Buy Lansinoh and treasure it as if it were the last tube in existence". (I'm on the Breastfeeding bandwagon again. OK, I'm hopping off now).

    If I were allowed to extend that sentence with an 'and' I'd also add, "and go into labour with an open mind." But that sounds horribly reductive, doesn't it? It's like saying to a patient that's going to be operated on without an anesthetic, "this is going to hurt a little bit". Well, der.

    Still, I stand by that claim. Because, although I am a known worrier, before my labour with Keira I was completely....indifferent. My birth story of Keira has already been published before (in the legitimate media!) so I will have to go chase up the link, because it's a hoot-and-a-half. But I did get through it, I feel, because I just...went with the flow, I guess I'd say. But more of that another time.

    What would you say? If you could just give ONE piece of advice to a new mum-to-be, what would it be?

    UPDATED: Link of story found. You will need to click the "Birth According to Plan" Title. That's the 'clean' version of her birth story! (It's not really even that, is it?) I'll do the 'R' rated version at some point...

    Sunday, February 11, 2007

    Random Thoughts

    It's early here. Too early for a sustained piece of writing. So, here's my post, anecdotal style.

    1. After the tragedy of Anna Nicole Smith's death, and all this kerfuffle over her baby's paternity I was thinking, "Why, she's not that rich". I thought with all these court cases the money would be drying up. Until I remembered, you know, her billionaire former husband. Ah, lightbulb moment. In all seriousness, whenever I think about the whole thing, it makes me sad.
    2. Riley loves watching Barney and friends. He's sitting here now transfixed. He's Mr. TV. He gets cranky if anyone gets in his way if he's watching something.
    3. I finally went to the doctor yesterday. I can't believe I forked over nearly fifty dollars AGAIN to be told what I knew I already had. Labyrinthitis. Goodness, Wikipedia is great. Just reading that link, it talks about the apparent link between Labr. and anxiety. If anyone wants to know what Labyrinthitis (or Vertigo) is like, this is the best I can explain: imagine your head becomes an oversized fish bowl. It is heavy, and all the excess fluid, although you can't feel it, technically kind of sloshes around your inner ear, making you dizzy and nauseous. There is absolutely nothing you can do about this. Your brain shrinks to the size of a goldfish and slowly dies a quiet death, floating to the surface of the bowl, until the whole episode passes and you feel better. This can take days or up to a week. How do I know all this? Because, my blessed father bestowed this condition upon me in his genetic makeup. Thanks, dad (not!). So, I've had attacks since I was 17.

    Anyway, that's about all.

    Saturday, February 10, 2007

    How to encourage drawing with (you and) your kids

    I have Keira to thank for this post.

    The other day when we were at the library, after we had exhausted the kid's section, then the DVDs, we finally got to 'my' turn, which usually means I get a quick look at the non-fiction return trolley before one (or both) of the kids has a tantrum with the waiting.

    At such times, to keep herself amused, Keira often runs off and randomly pulls books off the shelves. What she discovers is better than Google's "Surprise Me!" search option. You want to know about the Trans-Siberian Railway? Thomas Eddison? How to cook authentic Moroccan food? Executing the perfect knitting stitches? Animal Husbandry? Keira will (and has) found it.

    This happened again the other day, except this time she struck gold. I have often lamented my lack of drawing skills. Little did I realise there were books out there to help remedy my situation.

    She pulled this book off and since then we've been experimenting together, enjoying our craft time all the more (well, I have) because now I can do more than draw tic-tack-toe grids and endless, endless cubes, with the occasional roof on top to make a suburb of homes because I realise these drawings may one day be used against me in a court of law and I want to demonstrate some sort of 'maternal identity'.

    So, if you'd like to brush up your skills, perhaps do a search at your library for "drawing" or something similar. Under the Dewey categorisation system, these books are numbered 741-743, so it might be quicker to start there.

    Friday, February 09, 2007

    Humblest Apologies

    I can't follow up yesterday's post very well.

    I am sitting here after a horror night with Riley (will those molars just crack already?) and my eyes are blurred. I have thrown a dressing gown on and am unsure when I'll muster up the strength to take it off again, because that means I need to find clothes.

    I can hear Keira playing with her electric toothbrush and I'm letting her because it's giving me a moment of peace.

    Otherwise, I'm sitting here pretty much with the vocabularly of an Ewok running through my head, "grub grub grub grub. Yuk yuk JUB JUB!"*

    Yep, I'm that tired.

    *My throat is feeling about as gravely as their collective voices too, so it's not an exaggerated comparison.

    Thursday, February 08, 2007

    Love is a child's dance and a teething rusk

    It's lunchtime. Riley is sitting happily in the highchair, for once, gnawing his way through a teething rusk. Hi-5 music is playing in the background and when the synthesised melody of Keira's favourite song "L-O-V-E" comes on she hops off her chair and, like an obedient automaton, begins to do the accompanying actions.

    I stare at the kitchen table before me. It is scattered with the usual suspects: playdough in all forms of consistency, unsharpened pencils, and magazines for cutting up. If I'm lucky, I'll be able to locate a stack of notes on whatever I'm working on at the moment. Currently, it is a heavily highlighted copy of Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own.

    The two-minute-odd peace may afford my ability to read a page or two. Scrape the pen through some wonderful sentence of feminist thought. Or, more likely, my mind will wander to other matters: is that cauliflower in the fridge going off? What shall I make for tea? Is Keira's throat sounding scratchy? Is she getting sick? Do we have medicine?

    And if I'm really going to be honest, I'll admit my mind turns to my first two written novels, currently gathering dust on the bookcase in my bedroom, resigned to their drafted fate. I'll rewrite a chapter in my imagination and tell myself that one day I will pull them out again.

    It is usually in such moments of reflection when Adam looks at me and asks, "What are you thinking?"

    And because it is exhausting to pick a place to begin, let alone recount the story in its entirety, I usually say, "nothing" because it is easier.

    Today, no one presses me for my thoughts; yet they were interrupted when I decided to watch, truly watch, Keira's dancing for the first time.

    I hadn't noticed how she tries to sing along with the "L-O-V-E" song, but she can only manage to place every third word or so because it is hard to concentrate on dancing and singing at the same time. Yet, when the chorus is coming to an end, she knows what the last word is and shouts "LOVE!" at the top of her lungs and that makes up for the previous handicaps of the tongue.

    Her movements are still erratic; stumbled. She reminds me of a miniature tinman, all lock-kneed and stiff. She is capable of making the 'O' shape by reaching her arms over her head and clasping hands but is lost (as am I) when it comes to making and 'E' shape for it involves lifting the leg at precisely the right beat before you need to put it down again. Yet she continues, and practices. She is getting better and she knows it. She beams. The song finishes and she scampers back up into her chair to eat her ham and cheese sandwich.

    Behind me, I hear the sound of solid food hitting tile. The 'clang' means Riley has had enough of the teething rusk and I wait for the inevitable grunting as he begins to fight his way out of the restraints. I turn to him; he gives me a toothy grin and slaps the food tray with his hands. His face says, "You've got ten seconds before I lose my temper". Normally I rue his dramatic ability to change moods, but today I decide to embrace the moment of gladness I've been given and unbuckle him, pull him out, and give him a mama bear hug. He squeals, giggling; Keira squeals because she loves the sound of anyone's laughter and we all laugh at each other. At nothing; at anything; at ourselves.

    It's not Valentines Day; it's a thousand times better. It's L-O-V-E, lunchtime style.

    Written for Write Away Contest

    Wednesday, February 07, 2007

    Housekeeping Issues

    • Is anyone having issues with reading the new site? I've been hearing (thanks Trace) that it's being weird in Internet Explorer 6.
    • Remember, the "Dear Me" Project? It's still open. Lots of you are reading about it; c'mon step up to the plate!
    • I'm still looking for Mother Bloggers - but I have received lots of expressions of interest, thank you. Please note though to send through your email if you want me to contact you. Leaving your blog address/blogger ID mightn't be enough for me to follow you up. I'd make a crappy detective, I know...

    What's been happening in our lives today? Riley's eczema has reared it's ugly scaly head again. This time on his legs. I cannot explain what has triggered it. What's worse, this time it's itchy. Normally it just looks nasty. I could blame his food - if he bloody ate anything.

    Well, actually...

    Keira's favourite word at the moment is "actually". Showing her potential in a possible career in writing, she is using this word to it's fullest potential in an example of what my former writing teacher used to say: "make your verbs count". (Even though 'actually' is an adverb, it's close enough).

    She's beginning to sound like a right little-miss. Consider this:

    We're on a walk. As usual, there is a murder of crows* lined up along our power lines near our house.

    "Mum, what are they?"
    "Crows, honey"
    "No, they're Magpies"
    Impressed by her knowledge of birds, I didn't correct her. I didn't need too. She rushed on to add:
    "No, ACTUALLY, they're birds mum."

    Well, stone me too. I had no answer for that. Except to splutter, "Well, yes, you're certainly right there."

    Maybe she'll be a lawyer too: become master of the doublespeak and badgerer of witnesses.

    I'd better sharpen up my debating skills.

    *what an odd choice to make the collective noun of crows to be. I wonder how they chose that? Whoever 'they' are....

    Monday, February 05, 2007

    Mother Blogger Interview #1 - Scribbit

    I have the great pleasure of posting the first of my Mother Blogger interviews. I enjoy Scribbit (Michelle's) writing for many reasons: it's balanced, clean, thoughtful text. She always covers a multitude of subjects from families to recipes to blogging tips. Basically, what I wish I was!

    I have not edited her responses in any way. I was only going to put in a sample, but she answered all the questions so thoroughly, I thought why deny you all the pleasure of reading it!All I have done is remove a few of my basic questions that aren't needed right here, or edited them for length because as you will probably see I am not the master of simplistic form. But I am working on it.

    Thank you for your help Michelle. Enjoy, everybody. I am interested to see what kind of discussion her answers - and others which will be upcoming - generate.

    When did you first begin blogging?

    I started in June of 2005, posting once a week off and on. It wasn’t until September 2006 that I got serious about blogging and began posting at least once a day.

    What interested you in beginning your Blog? Why a Blog over other methods of 'traditional' journaling (like a private diary)?

    Well I still keep a private diary, my blog doesn’t supersede that, it’s just a different medium for my writing. My journal was, however, the precursor to my blog. I write in my journal every week and I used to print it off, having cut out the parts that were too personal, and to send to family as a way to keep in touch. Soon I was hearing reports that my letters were making a circuit through the rest homes of Idaho. It was then my husband, who is very technology-minded, suggested I start a blog.

    Does writing a Blog give you a voice that you otherwise feel you don't have? If yes, what factors contribute to this lack of voice that you felt you had?

    I don’t think my blog gives me a voice that I didn’t have, it just gives me a means of publishing that voice. There used to be gatekeepers in the world of print: editors that decided what was worthwhile and what was not. Now with the advent of self-publishing anyone with even a small knowledge of computers can produce a blog and distribute his or her ideas to the world. I think it allows good writers that may not be typical of what you would see in the mainstream print media find a way to be successful but it also means there is even more junk available to read. It puts more responsibility on readers to pick and chose where they spend their time wisely.

    What you are writing, if you let it, becomes public knowledge. Truthfully, does writing for a wider audience matter? Why/why not?

    It matters if you are publishing sensitive material. It matters if think you’re writing for Americans only. But if, as a writer, you’re unaware of your audience and the connection between your audience and your words then there is little chance that you’ll keep your audience for any amount of time.

    What inspires you to keep blogging?

    What keeps me blogging is the same thing that got me started: the need for creativity. The need to create or produce something is what drives me to write either online or offline but with a blog I get a much neater, tighter, self-contained, packaged product rather than a bunch of loose manuscripts in a drawer somewhere.

    As mothers, how do you address the issue of internet security on your blog? What rules have you self-imposed about what you say about your family/children?

    Generally I think the frantic worry about privacy on the internet is overblown. Unfortunately there is enough graphic, filthy content available for the taking on the internet that it’s unlikely someone would bother with the clean stuff I publish. However, I do use fake names—or if you like pseudonyms—instead of our real names, I don’t have my phone number, name or address in any way connected electronically to my blog, I don’t publish information about birthdays or other material that could be used for identify theft and I’m very careful not to use certain “dirty” words in my posts that could allow the search engines to traffic unwanted visitors to my site.

    If you could estimate a percentage, how much of your blog is unembellished, straight recount of what's been happening in your life? (Or, to rephrase the question, do you ever doctor your tales to seem more 'dramatic' or 'funny')? Why/why not?

    Everything that I say happens, happens. I don’t make stories up. I do, however, generously use hyperbole, sarcasm, satire, and other comedic tools that exaggerate for effect but never in a misleading way. I would hope my writing is good enough that readers are aware of these literary devices and won’t take everything I say literally but they should also be assured that every scene I relate did occur, true to detail.

    Do you think that blogging – at all – insinuates a certain social standing on behalf of the blogger herself? For example, many poorer women, who themselves may want to express themselves, may not have computer or internet access. Do you feel that as a consequence many important stories are 'lost'?

    Not any more than how illiteracy effects people’s ability express themselves—which it does, and greatly. I don’t see that the socio-economic barriers to blogging are any greater than the barriers to education in general. However, the circles I blog in are quite homogeneous. Most bloggers that comment on my blog are white—a few Asian--middle-class, educated, professionals and mothers. But is this because my subject matter attracts this kind of reader or because other readers are barred from joining in the dialogue? Probably more of the former than of the latter.

    How important has blogging become to you?

    Important enough to treat it as a part-to-full time job. I have every intention of continuing to blog until I feel otherwise. Whenever that may be.

    How important are the trappings (or decoration/design) of your blog? For example, if you have heavily modified an existing wordpress/blogger/typepad template – or done your own – how would you feel if suddenly you were reverted back to a basic one? Would it matter?

    Yes! Besides a custom template setting you apart from the rest of the blogging world and therefore making you more memorable to visitors it’s a reflection of your tone, content and personality. Visiting someone’s blog is not that different from visiting their home, they have decorated it and defined the space in ways specific to them, their needs and their personality.

    Plus, I’ve made many revisions to my blog that increase its readability and organization—changes that aren’t merely aesthetic. To lose those finely-tuned points would be bad. Very bad. Do you hear me Blogger? Don’t get any ideas.

    If your family is aware of your blogging and are regular readers themselves, how do you censor any personal or 'delicate' topics they may have a problem with? Or do you? (To paraphrase – do you compromise your writer's voice?) If so, how does this make you feel?

    I don’t think keeping your content within the limits of decency “compromises” your literary voice any more than wearing clothes compromises your freedom of expression. It’s just good manners. As one blogger I know put it, saying bad things about another person on your blog is the cyber-equivalent to writing nasty things about them on the bathrooms walls in Junior High.

    Besides, my blog—however much time I put into it—isn’t as important as my family relations. I’d never say something about a family member on my blog that I couldn’t say to their face. And I only say nice things to their face.

    How important is the social networking aspect of blogging to you? (For example contributing to widely publicized memes like "Thursday Thirteen")

    The things you describe are a major component of self-promotion and blogging is all about self-promotion--not in an egotistical way, but as a blogger YOU are the product and if you want your product to sell you’ve got to make it visible. That means being involved in the blogging community.

    Which other bloggers do you admire? For any particular reason(s)?

    I like the way Julie at Mental Tesserae writes—and she’s a great conversationalist. And likewise for Planet Nomad. Her stories are fascinating. I like the photographs and recipes of food bloggers like Food Blogger, The Traveler’s Lunchbox and Lucullian Delights though I don’t know them personally. I read Problogger (Darren Rowse) religiously and hungrily gobble up every link he throws my way.

    And there are lots more—I’ve got them on my sidebar.

    Excercising my right as a consumer

    Dear Elle Macpherson

    Look, I'm wearing your bra! I have to say, first, that it truly is a fabulous bra. Best breastfeeding one there is, as far as I'm concerned. Pricey, yes, but I'm still wearing the original one I had when I was pregnant with Keira. It's being held together at the back with chicken wire and a quick prayer these days, but it's still doing the job. You can't say I'm not getting value for my money.


    (Come on, you knew I was building up to something)

    It's too lacy! I can't wear any scoop neck t-shirts!

    It's not all your fault. My ample DD decolletage really does require all that extra fabric. You can't hold up a landslide with a butterfly net, now can you? But it's depressing - there is almost as much fabric in my bras as in my undies. And there are plenty of other 'half cup' looking maternity bras on the market I could try. And I have. But I don't like them. Which brings us back to now.

    I shouldn't complain. I have no idea what old-fashioned maternity bras look like but I imagine they were completely utilitarian in design, starched, and only came in flesh toned colour. Even now, you can't get them in many colours. Pink is about the most exotic. How about a brash tartan? Or loud Hawaiian print? Oh, that's right, we're lactating. We can't be sexy too. Wouldn't want to blind the kid before he gets properly 'flashed' with a nipple.

    In sum: VLO (visible lace overflow) isn't a pretty sight. But you can be sure I'll be sorry come the day when I get to trade it in for my old underwires again. Because then my baby won't be a baby anymore.

    Sunday, February 04, 2007

    What is NOT cool at the pool

    The eternal question when it comes to men's swimming apparel: Budgie Smugglers (or "Speedos" as they're more internationally known) or Board Shorts?

    Most women opt for the latter, I believe. Frankly, I'm indifferent. Men as a whole generally look less like Keanu Reeves and whole lot more like Gary Busey when stripped down to the basics and a pair of pants really doesn't make much of a difference. (I'd even guess women would agree they are the same; except insert the names of, oh, Eva Longoria and Dame Edna Everage instead).



    Today we were at the pool. Being over thirty degrees it was, naturally, packed out. As usual, I preferred to watch from the sidelines (I hadn't shaved) and I could not help but notice there was a gentleman there wearing bright red speedos. Wow, I remember thinking. That's brave.
    Then ten minutes later I saw the same man, same speedos, wet.
    I did not know where to look. They'd gone completely see-through. I could see everything. My eyes watered (but that could've been from the chlorine fumes). I even choked a little (but that could've been from the chlorine fumes). This man was with his children and if I'd've been his kid I would've been mortified at the dress malfunction.



    He was having a great time. He was playing and running around. He probably didn't even know. So I feel like a snippy cow sitting here relating this story when there are other things I could talk about.



    What do you think? If you were in my position what would you been thinking right now?

    Saturday, February 03, 2007

    Books I have loved

    We were at the library today and borrowed our usual glut of books. When we got home and were unpacking the bag, this book fell out from between the pages of a large board book. My squeal of delight could've been heard in Perth, I reckon.

    This was one of my most adored books as a child (if you can't read the title very well, it's called "The Biggest Sandwich Ever"). When Adam read it to Keira, I listened in the background with a smile on my face I frankly haven't used the muscles in creating for a long time now.

    What's better (or worse, if you have a bigger sense of ownership than I do) is that the book isn't a library book. Some poor bugger has lost it. I might sleep with this baby under my pillow for a few nights before, reluctantly, taking it back to the library and putting it into the lost property box.

    Your sense of smell is linked directly into the centre of your brain, bypassing all other 'functional' and 'rational' sectors. Surely the memory of a favoured child's book does too.

    What book did you cherish as a child?

    Friday, February 02, 2007

    Attention Mother Bloggers! I need your help!

    Do you blog? Are you a mother?

    If you can answer 'yes' to both of those questions, then I want you (well, your help).

    I don't care what nationality you are, what religion, age, star sign, or technorati ranking-- everybody's opinion matters.

    I am currently undertaking some research for this paper I am about to write. I would love some feedback as to why women blog so have compiled a list of interview questions that I would love to throw out into the web ether and see what you all have to say about yourselves and your writing.

    I only have a finite period of time in which to conduct this research, so will need to put an RSVP to expressions of interest to March 16th 2007. That should (hopefully) be ample time to 'spread the word'.

    In addition to asking around, I will be approaching some bloggers who I personally believe are excelling at their 'craft'. If I approach you, yes, I suppose I'm being the sycophant here. If I don't approach you, don't worry, I still want to hear your story.

    Once you say "yes, I'll be happy to answer your interview questions" then I'll shoot you an email with said material attached and we can go from there.

    Depending on how organised I am, I would also like - pending permission, naturally, - to make a feature of about once a week of someone's interview responses here at Miscellaneous Mum. Kind of like a "Special Guest Star" for the day.

    So, what are you waiting for?!

    I'll thank in advance everyone who does choose to participate. I really appreciate it. *blows kisses*

    Questions are welcome. Post here so I can let everyone else know too, in case I haven't been clear.

    Treading the thin line between irony and failure

    I swear upon a box of kittens and my modesty that I did not in any way stage this photo. Keira did not have a good day yesterday toilet wise and it was like I was housetraining a little puppy.

    Then I come across this beauty.

    It would've been even more effective, darling, if you'd've squatted over the book itself and I could add an editorial bubble or something saying, "This is what I think of you, book!"

    Thank god she didn't 'hit' it though, as it's a library book and I couldn't face going in there to explain the...er...condition!

    Thursday, February 01, 2007

    The days when you feel like lying underneath a train

    Before you panic, don't worry, because due to the public transport crisis in Melbourne at the moment, it seems 90% of the trains are stationary and not looking like moving much in the near future, and so no harm would befall me if I lay across the sleepers.

    Which brings us to the start of my day. Adam calls to say he is stranded in a neighbouring suburb (he along with hundreds of other very p---ed off people) and could I please come pick him up? Sure. I fight traffic to get over there, with two children in the backseat I literally just picked up and threw into their car seats. Then, when I get there, he asks me to drive him another couple of suburbs away where his boss has said he'll take him to work. Hmm...OK. By now, Keira's thirsty and car sick in the back due to all the stopping and starting. Riley, by some act of God or Karma - perhaps I patted a cat or was nice to a dog at just the right time sometime lately - has fallen asleep. Just how he stays asleep over Keira's complaining is beyond me. We crawl along. We get there. By now I'm thirsty. We haven't even made it to playgroup yet, which is what was distressing Keira all along.

    "Playgroup," she whispers in the backseat, as parched as a dying man in the desert would ask for water.

    "Fine, fine, we're off" I say, after stopping briefly at home to pick up the nappy bag. We get to playgroup. Then for the next two hours, I sit for a grand total of about ten minutes in between breastfeeding, chasing kids, pushing kids on the swings.

    Then, oh joy of joys, I come home to this:

    Snap cards anyone? No trouble to play, they're already out.

    Washing up? What's that?

    Look at me mum! I got my way, got to playgroup, and I haven't even had my hair brushed today or had my teeth cleaned! It's great to be alive!

    Mum, you haven't cut up my polenta to the right cubic consistency and I'm just not going to eat it! And that trick to mix it up with strawberries to make it more interesting? I'm not buying it. Plus, I have a dirty nappy. Surprise!

    Wow. Lucky me!

    This has been written in mind with Jessica's recent reality check in mind.