Monday.

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Jed is stuck in the doona cover. He and Archie are both laughing hysterically as Jed flails around, a tiny body stuck in a huge polka dot bag. “No help me! Jed okay!” as he clearly is not okay.

Archie turns four tomorrow. He wants me to sing him to sleep, so we snuggle under the (aforementioned) doona and curl our fingers together. I start with It’s a Small World, which I sang for hours and hours when he was a tiny baby, slowly sure that I was destroying both of us. He never slept well. Even now, he bends into me with sleepy eyes, but still wriggling and jiggling his legs. “I am very very tired but my body won’t sleep.” I understand that feeling, of exhaustion tipping into jittery wakefulness. We do some deep breathing as I rub his back, calling sleep in.

I eat baked chicken by the glow of the computer, shoveling and not tasting, but filling my hunger for words and news and stories and people.

There is a black wallaby in our front yard. It stays stock still as the boys yell out to it. “Wobbily! Do you have a baby in your pocket!” It turns and flees back down the hill to the river, bouncing comically through the scrub.

Someone has plastered the bridge and the roundabout with election campaign posters, or rather, anti-campaign posters. I feel a bubble of annoyance: surely this place, of all places, is above all that. I like to filter my news and thus my outrage.

We are going to Bali on Saturday. I sit in front of the heater wearing three layers as I pack the boy’s gear: three shorts, three t-shirts, a huge bottle of sunscreen, thongs, hats. I only have one decent bikini; it might be time to accept that I am 30 and have birthed two children and get a one piece. But my rising feminist streak wants to wear a goddamn bikini until I am 80 and a wrinkling, sagging old broad.

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I wrote a thing: Five common fears and how to deal with them

God knows creative types are more prone to mental health issues, amiright?!  Except maybe Beyonce, although she probably falls less under the category of ‘Creative Type’ and more under ‘Goddess from another planet’. And who knows, maybe she’s popping the anti-anxiety meds like the rest of us.

Anyway, small business owners, creative people, hell, just WOMEN have a lot of shite to deal with, and the negative thoughts (AKA middle-of-the-night-fears that cause sleeplessness and existential angst) can come thick and fast.

After years (literally, like 10+ years) of seeing counsellors on and off, and a healthy addiction to books that fall into the ‘Personal Growth’ section, I have gathered some hot tips on how to deal when you can’t shake the negativity.

More, here! And if you are a creative human who identifies as a female, consider joining the Creative Women’s Circle. It is awesome. I am on the board. They do good things.

xx

The one where I got pneumonia

Me, 22, in Turkey. With dreadlocks.

I am having a one woman pity party today. I have pneumonia in my left lung. (which sounds much more dramatic than it actually is – the reality is just heaps of coughing and an achey chest), I have an extremely messy house/car/life at the moment, caught conjunctivitis in my right eye and have run out of tea. Drama.

But! The kids are at kinder and I have just got back from the doctors and am now drinking some god-awful ginger and turmeric concoction which literally tastes like dirt but is supposed to make me better, am loaded up on antibiotics and staying in bed for the next three hours until it’s kinder pickup time. And I am going to HEAL this stupid lung with the sheer power of my mind, and modern science.

I’m also working on healing a whole heap of other shit: perfectionism, this food crap (always), the cult of busy, the need to have a Design Files-worthy house at all times. We are going to Bali in three weeks and my Bali body will look much like my current body: a pale size 12 sack of breath and blood. That sounds gross, right? But bodies are literally just a big ol’ sack of bones and organs and mucous, which we drag around and abuse and prod and ignore. Our bodies create life and people and dreams and then cop flack for not looking like they did when we were 16. I’m never going to be all ‘my stretch marks are empowering!’ because I’m slathering the vitamin E cream like the next thirty-year-old mother of two, but jeez, I wish I appreciated this bag of bones more when I was 22 and jumping off a boat into the ocean in southern Turkey, or spending three weeks on a beach towel in Zanzibar, or meeting my future husband when I was 20 and wearing my mum’s engagement dress. I had a huge blister on my toe which was bleeding profusely and preeeetty gross. He didn’t care. Because when you are falling for someone, you accept their blood and gore, right? Maybe part of accepting yourself is accepting your own blood and gore, the phlegmy lungs and start enjoying the forced recuperation from the busyness.

Anyway, I’m back to watching Broad City and coughing like a 75-year-old smoker. And washing down Big Pharma with some ayurvedic turmeric juice. Whatever works, right?

 

 

 

A realistic bucket list

SONY DSCI have lots of lists of things that I want to do, or that I will do one day. Outlines for books that I haven’t written, sketches of houses I’ll never build, patterns for clothes I’ll never make. I used to make a list of things on my birthday every year that I wanted to achieve by my next birthday, and it was an awesome way to make sure I stayed intentional and focussed. I never want to wake up one day and be 85, and think holy shit, what have I even done, you know?! I like the idea of making goals or plans, and just freaking making them happen. So life doesn’t just drift on by…

Anyway, I have made a rough list of things that I want to do in the next ten-ish years. Some of these are big, some are little, but I’m going to make an effort to get them all done.

In no particular order…

Write a really good book.

Obviously, as someone who has been in some form of paid writing gig since I was 18 but has only just begun calling herself a writer, I have always wanted to write a book. I know I can do it if I make it actually happen, it’s just a matter of prioritising and focus.

Grow heaps of our own veggies and fruit.

I have gotten VERY into gardening lately (living on a couple of barren acres with heaps of water and potential will do that) and look forward to the day when my veggie garden is killing it and I can make a whole meal that I grew myself.

Go on a bike riding holiday with the kids.

We really want to take them riding along the Danube, or the Mekong, or the Mississippi, or basically any cool river. I reckon they will need to be at least 10 and 12 to fully enjoy it, so I’ll start saving now for the trip in 2025.

Get really strong.

I don’t mean fit, I mean strong. I want to get strong enough to kick down a door if necessary. Twice-weekly pilates probably won’t cut it, so one day I want to concentrate on getting really freaking buff.

Buy art.

I own heaps and heaps of art. Prints, original works, reproductions. But I really want to buy an original piece of Aboriginal art. I always scout galleries whenever I get the opportunity and am just waiting to find a piece that makes me weak at the knees.

Get to zero debt. 

Including mortgages, credit cards, and cars. Totally doable if we go gangbusters. We don’t actually have any real debt except the house, so will focus on hammering the repayments over the next few years.

 

 

 

Things I Am Loving

 

 

Egyptian Magic Face Cream

I bought this stuff from Costco, because that’s how I roll, and it really is magic. My skin is insanely dry, and this stuff is basically pure olive oil with some weird magic bee propolis extract thrown in. It’s all melty and lovely on my skin, and definitely stops the flakiness. Plus the packaging looks cool.

Indoor plants from Aldi

Who knew? I love everything about Aldi (Australian made/grown! No additives! Extremely cheap!) but occasionally they have indoor plants, and the quality is great. I picked up a couple of Magic Bean plants, some indestructible Zanzibar Gems and a philodendron for about $8 each. My house is slowly becoming a jungle.

Aesop Shine Hair Oil

My lovely book club ladies bought me an Aesop set thing for my 30th, plus this magic hair oil stuff. It smells SO GOOD that I keep just sniffing it whenever I go in the bathroom. All cardamom and orange. Yum. Obviously I will be keeping the bottles and refilling them with Pears to keep up the illusion of fanciness.

 

The library

I go through stages with the library. Because I read mostly on my Kindle, I tend to just buy ebooks, but then I also love reading a bit of non-fiction. Cookbooks, gardening books, books about knights and dragons for Archie, books about dogs and cats for Jed (current obsessions) – the library is so ace for all that. Plus, it’s free! What else in society is there like it? Nothing. Go to your library.

Planning kid’s birthday parties

The boys turn two and four in a couple of months and there has been much discussion about the cake, the invitation, the guests, the food, the decorations… We like to keep it pretty low key and old school (no face painting or magicians here) but the kids both love to study The Book and change their mind every 10 minutes.

Musings

6am. Archie bolts out of his bedroom, scratching the sleep out of his eyes. He slams his bedroom door with such ferocity that the picture frames rattle. “I’m so hungry, mum. I was just thinking about having weet bix with yoghurt instead of milk. Is that funny? Or not?”

9am. Jed is refusing shoes. He is full of rage, tears and snot and fury smearing his cherubic face into a snarl. I throw three pairs into the car and tell him a complicated story about Grandpa and motorbikes as I wrestle him into the carseat. He looks sadly out the window as we cross the bridge, still sobbing. “No ducks, mum.”

10am. The goat in our front yard nibbles the patch of Christmas lilies. We eyeball each other as I scull lukewarm tea on the deck. She uses her horn to scratch her matted fur, then turns her back and saunters down the hill.

12pm. I remember a conversation with the old owners of our house as I clamber up the hill to the washing line. “Snakes everywhere, ‘specially when it starts warming up. We found them in the compost bin, under the car. I stepped outside one day and a big tiger snake wrapped himself around my leg.” We laugh together but I feel cold as I scan the ground.

1pm. The program I use to do our business accounts is frozen. I slyly open up trashy websites and scroll through endless beauty advice. I contemplate dyeing my hair again, or eyelash extensions. Instead, I find a tube of hand cream in my bag and slather it on my dry, garden-worn knuckles.

3pm. I hear Jed calling me from the carpark as I walk up to kinder. “MUM’S CAR. Hi Mum. MUM!” He points frantically at all his friends, his teachers. His favourite ball. Showing me his day.

4.30pm. Archie is following me through the garden, holding the end of a hose. He is obsessed with rescue vehicles, outer space and knights. He pores over the birthday cake book. “I want the swimming pool for my party day, and the castle for my actual birthday, mum, okay?”

6pm. I clean the kitchen while the boys and their dad empty the bath of water, one splash at a time. Weetbix from this morning is cemented to the floor. I scratch my nails into it, then have a go with the Chux. “You could render a house with fucking Weetbix!”, I yell to Lee, not for the first time.

7.15pm. Archie and I lay in his bed, telling stories of knights who fly space rockets to rescue aliens. He smells of sweat and dinner. I pretend to tickle him but take a deep inhale behind his ear, my hand on his round belly.

8.30pm. I lay on my bed, idly scrolling through instagram. Other people’s kids. Impossibly clean rooms. Green smoothies. I wander into the kitchen and make sultana toast smeared thick with butter.

10pm. I shove my earplugs in and mutter “goodnight, honey. Love ya.” to Lee. His response is muffled but he pats me on the bum and we hook our feet together, facing away from each other as the twin glow from our Kindles joins the moonlight, and the world retreats into inertia.

 

 

 

Lately…

2016-04-01 08.48.16So, we have had a huge month. We moved house on Good Friday, immediately all got gastro, then a week later I hosted a huge party for my 30th birthday. What a start to the year, amiright? It has been beyond hectic and I feel like things will hopefully start slowing down soon. Or not.

My mind is chockers so consider this post a brain dump (I actually hate that term because DUMP is never a good choice of word).

  • Jed is sort of toilet training and is determined to do wees standing up. He is one year old and about three feet tall so it’s not really working for him. Cute though.
  • I got my nails done for my birthday and they are this gel stuff, very fancy. I love looking down at them and feeling like a glam grown up.
  • We are all going to Bali in June and I literally own zero hot weather gear, so checked out the Myer sale today and found a pair of cute denim shorts on sale for $19 down from $80. And they were size six. I am not a size six by any means, so thanks Country Road for the positive boost.
  • My car is so insanely messy right now. It is filthy and I am horrified, but clearly not enough to do anything about it.
  • I am loving living here. We have seen rock wallabies and kangaroos in the front yard, a brown snake and heaps of cool little birds.
  • Speaking of snakes, Jed is pretty into snakes and whenever he sees a millipede he’s like ‘Mum! Snake! Sssssss!’ That’s all very cute, but yesterday he was up near our washing line (ie literally in the bush with a stunning view of the Dandenongs) and came down and says nonchalantly, “Snake up dere mum.” Is is a millipede? Or a freaking tiger snake? We will never know.
  • I have been getting really into meditating using the Headspace program. It’s really practical and simple, and doesn’t have any of the woo woo shite that some other meditation apps love.
  • I want to do a bit of a reno update post, with pics of our new house, but we all know that it will be a crappy iPhone photoshoot so I’m putting it off. That said, the house is looking mighty fine and I am loving myself sick in this new space.
  • Archie and I spent the day together yesterday and it was ace. We don’t get much one on one time so a whole day of library visits, cafe hangs and Legoing was perfect. He is turning out to be such a cool little person.

I think that’s all. Now I’m going to watch Broad City and crochet in my dressing gown, like the 30 year old nanna that I am.

 

xx