Monday, March 31

Here I sit..... my office. Yep, you read that office. I have whined blogged endlessly about the lack of progress on our renovations and told how we actually moved a load of stuff into the office in preparation for it becoming a real office. Well, didn't. Now, don't get all excited and admiring or anything still isn't. However, it is now set out exactly as it shall be after it is painted and new flooring is done.

This is my theory. I have been saying for some time that I find it difficult to work without a designated space that pleases me. I did not use the room that was going to be an office because it wasn't 'finished'. Then I realised that it can still be a pleasing environment to work in temporarily and when the painting and new flooring are ready to be done it will only take an hour or so to move everything out again. Tom agreed, so we did it and I am now sitting at my desk looking out of the window at some big old gum trees, a few cows and the windmill (ok, I'm actually looking at the computer screen but that sounds less poetic and I only have to move my head the tiniest fraction and I can see all that other stuff).

It is a pleasing room. Not least because it is not just any old office. It is our office/gompa or offpa or gompice. We always have a part of the house that is used as our meditation space and as this house is lacking in extra rooms we needed to create a hybrid and this is it. One third of the room is separated by a bookcase and behind that bookcase are our mats and cushions and other meditation paraphenalia. I always tell my meditation students that you don't need paraphenalia to meditate - and you don't - but you can if it helps. I find it helps. So that the room maintains a feeling of warmth I have deliberately avoided furnishing it in a professional officey style. I've stuck to old wooden furniture (desk, drawers, bookcase) and soft lamps and even a few textiles.

The result is a warm and gentle place to work, infused with the scent of Tibetan meditation incense and that peace that develops in the places people meditate. It gets the morning sun and there's nothing more inspiring than being drenched in that kind of fresh new sunlight - it feels like anything is possible. So here I sit, engulfed in the sounds of Deva Premal and watched over by Tara. What could be better?

Om Tare Tuttare Ture Svaha

Saturday, March 29


..we have a child free weekend....excuse me for a day or so while I laze around talking to my husband uninterrupted, drinking wine, eating grown up food (and lots of chocolate), surfing the internet, sleeping late TWO DAYS IN A ROW and briefly pretending that we're one of those child free couples.

Woo hoo!!!

Thursday, March 27

A post about nothing

Yet another car conversation:

Aislin: I can't see nothing.

Me: You mean you can't see anything....

Aislin: No mummy, I can't see nothing.....

Me: Umm, no really, it's anything....the word is anything.....

Aislin: .....silence.....

Me: Do you understand what I'm saying? You know, about the word?

Aislin: (patiently) My imaginery friend is called 'nothing'. I can't see you understand?

Me: Ok. Right you are then.

Sunday, March 23

Easter morning

Because my children do not believe in sleeping in any day, let alone exciting days like Christmas and Easter, we were up at the crack of dawn for the annual Easter Egg Hunt. After our heatwave we are now experiencing really cold mornings (lovely) so we were all wrapped up (Hannah wore two pairs of pyjama trousers) with winter dressing gowns and thick socks and Wellingtons. I realise it would probably make more sense to just get dressed but hunting in PJs has become a tradition. The 'Easter Bunny' didn't want to leave the eggs out all night as we have rather a lot of possums and faeries in our garden, all of whom believe that if it's left out it's for them. So he got up very, very early and did the hiding then came back to bed freezing cold - I was not happy. Shortly after that the children woke up and we blearily (the Easter Bunny and I) and excitedly (Hannah and Aislin) went out into the cold morning to gather the eggs.

Apologies for the reflects my energy levels at the time

There were eggs everywhere...

So with the faeries, bunnies and eggs all sorted we went to mass - we like to keep all bases covered in this house.

Saturday, March 22

Autumn Equinox

Some wine for the Willow faeries......

and our harvest offering....

And the next morning..........this is what it looks like after a faery piss up....

Tuesday, March 18

Meet William.....

William is Hannah's teddy. A family friend gave him to her for her first Christmas and he is her absolute favourite. Other toys come and go but William is her one true love. He usually wears a yellow jumper, it is just out of shot, also hanging on the line.

Because he is so loved he goes everywhere with Hannah and because he goes everywhere he gets dirty and often needs a bath. The only way to dry him is to hang him his ears. I feel a bit bad about this, but I make myself feel better by telling myself that he likes it.

Monday, March 17

Letter to a 5 year old

My darling baby girl. Yesterday you turned 5. I can hardly believe that five years have passed and here you are about to start school. You are desperate to start school, and ask me every day how many days it is now. I have mixed feelings. I know that you are ready, oh so very ready, to take that next step into the world, and there is a part of me that is ready too. However there is also a part of me that almost cannot bear the thought. We went for a baby cino the other day. I had my soy latte and you had your little cup of froth. This has been one of our 'things', we call it having coffee together and you laugh at the idea that you are having 'coffee'. I looked at you sitting there with the chocolate powder all over your nose and my heart broke a little as I realised that our days of doing this together, just the two of us, are numbered. Since Hannah started school it has been just you and I, hanging out together playing 'Guess Who?' or 'The Wiggles Game' or watching Play School, doing the shopping or running errands and now my little companion is going off to big school. I will miss you.

I wonder how school will change you, you have always been shy and until this year didn't want me to leave straight away when I dropped you off at kindy. Now you are more confident and while you still like me to stay a while, you don't mind when I go. Today you had a school visit and you went off without a backward glance, but when I came to pick you up you you ran to me the way you always do and tonight, like every other night, you wanted me to lie beside you for a while after stories. Sometimes I do that all the while thinking of what I need to do when I go back through - not tonight though, tonight I lay a little bit longer and just appreciated the moment.

I'm writing this post as much for me as for you, I want to remember all the things that you did when you were 4. I want to remember how sweet you are, how you never expect presents for your birthday and seem surprised when we ask you what you want. You don't demand parties or tell us 6 months ahead of time what you want for Christmas. You are accepting and placid and loving. No-one tells me they love me as often as you do - that is several times a day. Your favourite is that you love me 'from here to the moon and back.... as big as the world.... as big as the universe and even as big as the Eiffel Tower!!' in your mind that is the ultimate in size, forget that measly old universe, you love as big as the Eiffel Tower (Gustave would be really chuffed about that). Sometimes you even tell me you love me in sign language - words are never enough. You call me sweet mummy and tell me I smell like rainbows. Today you were delighted to see I was wearing my black t-shirt, it didn't matter to you that it is an old, rather shabby black t-shirt, you loved it and told me how glad you were that I was wearing it again and how nice it looked. All this love isn't exclusively for me, you adore your daddy and your sister, you would give Hannah everything you owned.

Of course it has to be said that you are also pretty feisty at times, as generous as you are to Hannah you also torment the living daylights out of her, you know exactly how to push her buttons and do so whenever the mood takes you. You take my breath away at times with your mastery of comeback lines. One day when you were being particularly naughty and rude I told you I didn't like rude little girls, to which you instantly replied 'well I don't like cross mummies'. Last week I was very busy (organising your party in fact) and you were hassling me for something, eventually I snapped that I would do it in a minute, you looked at me solemnly and asked if I wanted to do some meditation, when I asked why you said 'because meditation is good for you, it makes you calm and happy'. Point taken.

Happy Birthday Ash, I love you as big as the Eiffel Tower....and then some.

Checking out the universe...

Saturday, March 15


Today was Aislin's birthday party (her actual birthday is tomorrow). My mother and father in law arrived early in the morning to stay for the weekend and we also have two extra children staying with us. It's kind of busy around here. The party went well, thank you baby Jesus for inventing play cafes. Aislin got lots of lovely presents - many of them with a million pieces which is my very favourite kind of toy, grrrrr - and she ate cake and fairy bread and enjoyed being the birthday girl.

For some reason we didn't take nearly as many photos as intended, sometimes it's just hard to supervise children, organise cakes, wipe mouths, sooth bumps and take photos as well. Here is one that has been vigorously cropped to remove the embarrassing view of my cleavage (as I bent over the cake). Be thankful I spared you.

Friday, March 14

Hot nights....

...and no, it's not what you're thinking. It's more about this and trust me, it's no exaggeration. 30!! Overnight!!! I consider 30 to be a hot day, but overnight it's obscene.

Then there's this other problem, one of those is close to us. Fortunately it's contained. These people should be sainted, they had 120 fire fighters and 25 appliances to that fire and contained it within the hour - in horrendous conditions, it's hot, it's windy and it sucks - and they don't even get PAID for that.

So here's Adelaide's Heatwave - the musical.

Thursday, March 13

Pirate day

Hannah had to go to school dressed as a pirate today. They have just finished a unit of work about pirates (hopefully not for future career options) and they are having a celebratory day of swashbuckling adventure in the classroom (oh and a special lunch of salad wraps and fruit - very piratey).

Because it's been a busy week and I knew we had roughly the makings of a pirate costume I didn't actually start thinking about what she would wear until this morning. A manic search for swords and eyepatches and bandanas ensued. However, she was eventually ready to go.

The most exciting thing about this particular pirate dress up is that, for the first time, Hannah's look is historically accurate dentally. Because she has AT LAST lost a tooth! One of her top front ones fell out last weekend. She's been very upset that despite having about 6 loose teeth for what seems like months she hadn't lost any. See the gap?

Actually it's not quite true to say it fell out. It had been very, very loose for a week or so and she was desperate for it fall out. Her Dad told her a story about himself and a piece of thread tied to a door handle. She thought this seemed like a good idea, she carefully tied a piece of thread to the tooth and was standing at the door handle too scared to do it. Aislin has little patience with such things so, before Hannah had time to think about it any further, she grabbed the thread and yanked the tooth out.

That's my girl.

Wednesday, March 12

They don't call it an ex-'curse' -sion for nothing

Today I went on another kindy excursion. I know, I know, what can I tell ya...I'm a glutton for punishment. This time we went to a conservation and wildlife park, on a 40 degree day. Fortunately we had a bit of altitude so it was moderately cooler, there was lots of shade and we had some indoor activities as well, so all in all it could have been worse. The kids loved it and that's all that matters (no, really, I mean that).

Anyway, not only was it another excursion, I was in charge of the same two little monkeys as last time, my own daughter Aislin and her best friend Poppy. This lovely shot will be displayed at their 18th birthday parties....that should be right after they get home from Brat Camp.

Look pretty innocent don't they? Don't you believe it.

So we walked around the park, seeing all kinds of interesting creatures roaming free. Including this albino kangaroo and her joey (looks like a tight fit).

We saw koalas in every kind of reclining pose....they certainly know how to relax.

We saw creatures majestic...

...and handsome...

...and cute.....

...and slithery....

....and spikey......

My little charges nearly drove me to distraction with their constant 'can I have my drink please?', 'I'm hungry now', 'my legs are tired', 'I'm hot' and 'can we go see some other animals now?' (this was 30 seconds after we arrived at the current animal). I resisted the urge to drop them into the monitor lizard's enclosure and let them fend for themselves in there for a while. And I won't mention what went through my head when it was dingo feeding time.

Eventually we arrived at school to pick up Hannah and return Poppy to her mother. The girls decided they needed to use the bathroom and we sent them off to do so. This wasn't an irresponsible act (no, really) this is the school these two have been around since their siblings started here 3 years ago, they know it well, they start there themselves next term. They are often to be found in their sisters' classroom making themselves at home or off visiting the principle in her office. Also, the toilets were round the corner, about 30 metres from where we were waiting. Off they went. However after 10 minutes they hadn't returned and the bell had gone and they were nowhere to be found. To cut a long story short we had half the school searching for them and myself and Poppy's mother were beside ourselves with panic. They were eventually found, enjoying the lotions and hair products in the female staff toilets. The only person who hadn't been alerted to their disappearance was the principle. Which was a mistake because it turns out she was the only one that actually knew they were in there, because she had a conversation with them when she'd been there earlier herself. The really annoying thing is that at one stage I went into those toilets and called the girls' names and there was no response! The little monkeys were hiding!

See....Brat Camp....I'm telling you.

Monday, March 10

Good question..

Humorous Pictures

Friday, March 7

Warning - sarcasm, curse words and insults

This week I received an email meme. This one was so bewildering I wasn't sure exactly what it was trying to achieve so I thought to myself 'anything this pointless belongs on my blog'. Also, it seemed preferable to put it on the blog rather than do the whole email thing (although I did send it to the person who sent to me - it's called pay back).

However in most cases it just seems rude to force this on anyone. I figure if you're here you may want to read the blog. If there's something you don't like on the blog you click away - I call this 'having a choice'. However if I land in your inbox with my inane ramblings it's just a bit.....forward and pushy. So it's here, if you want to read it go for it, otherwise tune in later for something less sarcastic and self indulgent (actually I can't promise that anything I write will be less sarcastic and self indulgent, sorry about that).

Warning there is some bad language, I am trying not to curse on the blog so much, it shocks people, especially the 'f' word. Although if anyone is missing it let me know and I'll bring it back because really, it's a vital part of my vocabulary.

Also there is a response in there that may, or may not, offend my American readers. I apologise for this, it is there purely for comic value and not intended in any way to be hurtful. Although you guys do need to look at your spelling - just sayin'! God bless America.

Anyway, here goes....welcome to the utterly ridiculous 2008 edition of 'getting to know your friends'.

1. What is your occupation?
Archaeologist and adventurer……just kidding.

2. What colour are your socks right now?
Are you serious? It’s f&&%ing 39 degrees - why would I be wearing socks?! I'm hardly wearing clothes.

3 What are you listening to right now?
The whirring of fans (see previous question)

4. What is the last thing that you ate?

5. Can you drive a stick shift?
Speak English, do you mean a ‘manual car’? Of course I can. I can also walk and chew gum at the same time....I'm coordinated that way.

6. What colour would you be, if you were a colour?
Eh? How could I BE a colour? I may have a different skin tone if were of another race but frankly if I were an actual colour I’d be seriously concerned and probably consult a doctor rather than sitting here answering questions about it.

7. Last person you spoke to on the phone?
None of your business, who are you people, ASIO?*this is cover up sarcasm because in truth I can't remember.

8. Do you like the person who sent this to you?
Yes, she has good taste in friends.

9. How old are you today?
Now that is none of your damn business. Let’s just say I’m youthful.

10. Favourite drink?
Alcohol……..and it is too a drink.

11. What is your favorite sport to watch?
Sport? To watch? Do me a favour. Pffft.

12. Have you ever dyed your hair?
Don’t be ridiculous.....

I get someone else to do it.

13. Pets?
What about them?>

14. Favourite food?
I don’t exhibit favouritism where food is concerned and my ample arse is testimony to that.

15. Last movie you watched?
The Devil Wears Prada. I aspire to be that much of a bitch – I’m getting there (some would say I reached that destination a long time ago).

16. Favourite Day of the year?
This year or last year?

17. What do you do to vent anger?
Do the words ‘fava beans and a nice Chianti’ mean anything to you?

18. What was your favorite toy as a child?
If you mean favourite – it has a ‘u’ in it in civilised countries - I can’t remember. It was a long time ago.

19. What is your favorite, fall or spring?
Again with the misspelling….I don’t measure by seasons I measure by temperature. I hate hot. It is currently autumn and yet… is hot, therefore today I hate autumn. If it were cool today, or even better, cold, I may love autumn. Do you understand?

21. Cherry or Blueberry?
Oh absolutely (just humouring you now).

22. Do you want your friends to email you back?
Well I'm not emailing them so that would be silly.

23. Who is most likely to respond?
How should I know, is this a trick question?

24. Who is least likely to respond?
You’re starting to annoy me.

25. Living arrangements?
Yes I have some and I’m avoiding the dying arrangements for as long as possible.

26. When was the last time you cried?
Monday - what’s the point of this question, surely you’d be better to ask why? I’m not telling you why though.

27. Who is the friend you've had the longest that you are sending this to?
Your grammar is as bad as your spelling. Atrocious.

28. Who is the friend you have had the shortest that you are sending this to?
Oh my God, you are almost illiterate!

29. Favorite smell? Vanilla or frangipanni
Aren’t there more smells than that?

32. Plain, cheese or spicy hamburgers?
I’m vegan. Now do you feel stupid?

33. Favourite Car:
Oh, ok finally one I can answer. S-type Jaguar. Drool.

34. Favourite cat breed?
Is there a point to all this? I like cats ok? I don’t believe I have a particular breed that I prefer. I’m not too keen on those bald ones though.

35. Number of keys on your key ring?
Why didn’t you ask about dog breeds? That’s discrimination that is.

36. How many years at your current job?
Let me see now, in 1936 I was working as a respected archaeologist at a New England university when I had an adventure in which I was pitted against the Nazis. I travelled the world trying to prevent them from recovering the Ark of the Covenant….so it must be 72 years this year….oh hang on, that wasn’t me.

37. Favourite day of the week?
I don’t measure by days I measure by temperature. I hate hot. It is currently Friday and yet… is hot, therefore today I hate Friday. If it were cool today, or even better, cold, I may love Friday. Are you getting this at all?

38. How many states have you lived in?
(WTF?) Oh thousands, honestly…… thousands!

Is it over?

Thank God.

Thursday, March 6

Cool and happy about it

We got a new air conditioner this week. It may seem a bit late in the season to be buying a new air conditioner but we currently have a heat wave that shows no sign of ending.

The air conditioner we had was inadequate....well actually it didn't work at all.... and as I now work from home I can no longer escape to my tax-payer funded, icily air conditioned office and work all day in cool comfort, blissfully unaware of the searing heat outside. No, now I am stuck with the heat day in, day out. It gets to me. I'm not a great lover of the heat and regularly whine about it on this blog (yeah, sorry about that). If I'm whining about it a lot here you can imagine how much I'm whining about it in person. To Tom mainly. That got to him. Also he felt guilty because he received a lot of the whining by telephone as he sat in his tax-payer funded, icily air conditioned office.

So he organised a new one. And it's not hot in here anymore. Huzzah!

So now I have think of a new excuse for not getting any work done.

Wednesday, March 5


It's hot again. It's been in the mid to high 30s (95+ for non-metrics) for the past 5 days and I just checked the weather bureau and it's continuing for another 7 days.....reaching over 100 at the weekend. I say 7 days but that is only because they only forecast 7 days ahead at a time. It might be longer.

I might die.

To avert this disaster I just keep taking my medicine.

Oh Autumn....why hast thou forsaken me?

Sunday, March 2

Eclectic Sundays

Today Hannah I watched the Transformers movie. It was my choice. Because when it comes to sci-fi, vampires, zombies and robots I have the mentality of a 14 year old boy. I have no idea how this happened and no, it doesn't clash at all with my equal love of Shakespeare, Jane Austen and anything to do with The Crusades. It's just all part of the rich tapestry that is ME.

So we watched Transformers and I spent the rest of the morning striding around saying 'I AM OPTIMUS PRIME' in my best deep, robotic voice.

Once I was over that we completely changed pace and made potato scones. Kathyann sent me a parcel with, among other things, a couple of books of Scottish recipes (because I was complaining of homesickness). Today I introduced my children to more 'food of their heritage'.

Their Scottish blood flows so strongly that they loved them and wolfed down several in one sitting. Of course the other half of their heritage is equally strong and there was nothing I could do to stop this...

Now in case anyone is wondering if I am gradually turning this into a food blog, don't worry, it will never happen. I will from time to time display examples of things I make. This is due more to the fact that I hate to cook, so when I do cook I want it recorded for posterity. I have no desire to pretend I'm Delia Smith nor any delusions about the results of my efforts. I really loathe cooking, I do it because I have to feed my children and occasionally I want to eat.

Tom finds this completely bewildering because I watch TV cooking shows like there's no tomorrow. Hannah and I settle down a couple of times a week to watch the likes of Nigella, Rick Stein and Maggie and Simon . Everyone must be quiet and I must not be disturbed while I watch. Last night Tom was talking about this strange phenomenon. He insisted that I must like something about cooking because I love those shows so much. Then I realised what it was, it isn't about food or cooking or even eating. It's about watching someone create something. I also like to watch Star Portraits and I'm willing to tolerate Rolf Harris because I love to see the paintings being created, I like watching Grand Designs to see some amazing houses being designed and built. I have many different outlets for my own creativity but it doesn't mean I don't enjoy seeing what other people do, and really I'd much rather it was them than me slaving over a hot stove, painting some stroppy celebrity or stressing over the budget and time constraints of a new build.