Friday, October 10, 2014

Daily Positive - Sheila

Back when I used to work in a bookshop, I worked with a lovely lady named Sheila. Sheila was divorced, lived with her cat Ollie and loved to read. She read spiritual books, new release novels, pretty much anything. Sheils had no pretensions about things she did and did not know. I learned some huge lessons from her that I'm sure she never had any idea she taught me.
  • Sheila was humble and unafraid to show it. She showed no ego about being blown away by things that others would find mundane.
  • Generous. She would write you a note because she was thinking of you. She'd bring you a book to read if she thought you'd enjoy it, even if you'd be challenged by it. She'd bring you a plant cutting from her garden because she thought you'd like it. Wonderful, yes?
  • Curious. If Sheils didn't know something she'd ask you all about it, in a simplistic 'Wow, I had no idea. Tell me more about xyz, or more specifically, why is the xyz about the xyz?'
  • She also had a wicked, dirty sense of humour that seemed so at odds with her religious beliefs but were absolutely hilarious.
  • Sheila was so honest about her feelings, yet also delightfully tactful. I never wanted to disappoint her because she respected everyone so greatly that I always wanted to show her the same respect. In a society where it's often easier to gloss over that someone has hurt your feelings, or express it in a passive aggressive way, Sheila's simple yet workable approach was such a breath of fresh air. The environment that we worked in often left me guessing as to where I stood with my superiors, but never with Sheils.
Unfortunately Sheila stopped working with us at the bookshop after a back injury. I haven't seen her since I was pregnant with Millie, and she didn't have the internet when I last saw her. I hope she's well, I think of her often.

Is there someone in your life who inspires you? Why?

Totally unrelated to this, but I wanted to know - do you care if there's a picture in a blog post? I don't because I tend to read blogs on my phone and pictures never flow properly in an RSS feed. What do you think?

Very related to this: I think my Daily Positive posts need a name. Any ideas of something snappy?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Daily Positive

A few months ago I deleted Facebook off my phone, un'followed' all my 'friends' on Facebook, forgot my Twitter username and turned my phone back into a phone. It was glorious for a few weeks. I still haven't put FB back on my phone nor found my way back to seeing what everyone ate for lunch, all the time. But I've been dipping back in to finding 'things' to 'do' on my phone.

I read an entirely fabulous book called 'Enough' by John Naish at the beginning of this year. I then promptly loaned it to L, she loved it, I got it back from her, read it again. And then I started reading it again. He waxes lyrical about our society's obsession with celebrity, linking it back to our primal ages when if we heard about someone's exploits or success - we probably knew them. It makes sense to me.

So I try to not be so involved in the world of people I don't know and more involved in the world of the very few very awesome people I DO know. However, I still love Project Runway and other escapism television shows. I'm pretty sure I saw every episode of 'Kim and Kourtney take New York' complete with 72 day marriage and Kourtney's obsessive coupon clipping.

I still love to read the news. I refresh several times per day and it has really started to grate on me. I have begun to grate on me. Sheesh. But news.com.au are getting Mamamia'esque in the clickbait headlines and I can't quite stand it anymore.

Surely there's some good daily positive news kicking around?

A quick google search revealed Dale Partridge's Daily Positive. Partridge is an entrepreneur, father, husband, and maintains a wicked beard. He reminds me a little of JB Glossinger's Morning Coach. I was a subscriber and lover of Morning Coach for years, and then I dipped out and dipped back to find it a paid platform - hardly surprising given that Glossinger was transparent about his desire to be a millionaire in a given timeframe.

Dale Partridge's articles are so concise and I love his storytelling style. I am not a religious type, so the fairly frequent God mentions do turn me off a little bit... but it's not stories about mutilated humans like the newspaper so I can live with it.

This week I watched and LOVED Felicity's Mental Mission on iView. She was so transparent about her mental health journey and her obvious empathy to others in similar positions was so difficult to watch without sobbing along to the iPad whilst doing the dishes. Felicity is terribly inspiring and has inspired me to be the positive I want to read about. No frequent refresh clicks, but having my own mission to find and share happiness and positivity can only be good for everyone, right?

Sidenote: I couldn't have been prouder to see my cuz, Chris Wagner being interviewed by Felicity. I know that both of our Dads would have been so chest puffingly proud to see Chris making a difference in his new role at the Mental Health Council of Australia.

So today I point you toward Dale Patridge.  Enjoy his gentle words and stories. What will tomorrow bring?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A short break in transmission...

We are all sick at the moment. Pip has a middle ear infection (the dead giveaway was screaming in her sleep whilst holding her ears), Mil has a random snotty cough and cold. Two days later my throat began to burn... thanks kids. Now Mr S is falling downhill too.

It's a quiet time to the outside world here and I'm exceptionally thankful for ABCKids. I however am here to point you towards some beautiful and thought provoking writing.

Daniel is a musical friend from way back when. His band played at my album launch, and mine at theirs. We shared stages and songs for a very long time. He released a solo album this year, and whilst I'm still yet to get my hands on it (Sorry mate, I'm very slack sometimes) I've heard bits and pieces and it's beautiful.

His writing is also sublime. Short snippets that pack a punch. Make you think. Make you smile. Grab a coffee and pull up. I love to read the writings of songwriters. It's like hearing songs without the music, yet equally as haunting and beautiful.

Go and check it out here. Meanwhile, send tissues.

Friday, September 5, 2014

FFS Friday - My Co-workers Yell At Me A Lot


  • It's pretty safe to say that now I'm not in the thick of newborn sleep deprivation that I'm struggling a bit with my definition of a Stay At Home Mum. FFS.
  • There's been no posting here because I feel like I should be worried about valid world-changing things like world hunger or genocide. FFS.
  • A fellow blogger called me out on this when I saw him at the shops last week. He suggested to get over myself and push through it. Thanks, Steve. Here you go. NO FFS.
  • Instead I'm over the moon about vacuuming my house daily and how I cleaned my microwave. Is that completely self indulgent? FFS.
  • And before you say 'Raising children is The Most Important Job'... well, don't. I get it, I do. FFS.
  • I wouldn't change a thing about raising children except for I wish I knew how to deal with the epic tantrums that seem to have appeared. FFS.
  • Like, right now Pippa (22 months) is hanging off my leg screaming 'MAAAAAKE! MAAAAKE! CUUUDDDDLLLLE!' and then running off to watch The Octonauts. FFS.
  • I took the two handfuls of playdough off her that she had swiped from Playgroup and fallen asleep clutching in the car. FFS.
  • It's a pretty strange feeling that I'm not just wading through motherhood on sleep deprivation and coffee fumes anymore. My kids sleep at night and so do I. Except when I can't sleep because I've drunk too much coffee because OMG tantrums. FFS.
  • So, shouldn't I be going back to work for someone else because there's no immediate need (boobs) for me to be at home with my babies? FFS.
  • WAIT. I don't have a job anymore. They made me redundant (NO FFS) and didn't tell anyone so I still fend questions two years on about when I'm coming back to work. Awkward. FFS.
  • So, instead we craft, paint, clean, play and create. It's pretty sweet. NO FFS.
  • We're getting better at leaving the house too. We go to Playgroup every Friday and the girls LOVE IT and I get to talk to grown ups. NO FFS.
  • Lady Pip falls asleep in the car 10 minutes from home afterwards and it's often the Nap Of Death. FFS.
  • Still, it beats staying at home listening to calls of 'Mum, can you get me some food please? I'm hungry.' NO FFS.
  • The dog next door loses her mind when she sees foreign people. Yesterday she barked at me, a tree and some leaves through two fences and my sewing room window for an hour. There is also no nice way to say to your incredibly lovely neighbours 'Your dog hates me and always barks at me. PLEASE MAKE IT STOP.' FFS.
  • I rang Millie's ENT receptionist this week after she sent me an email asking me to call her. It took 10 minutes of her trying to work out why she'd emailed me two days prior. She couldn't open the email attachment I'd sent of a health fund form. If she'd said that I could have resent it two days earlier and saved us both the hassle. FFS.
  • I did a complete freezer inventory of my second 300L chest freezer yesterday. We have enough food for 30 meals in various forms. Thank god, because I have spent the most ungodly amount of money for my food shopping over the past month for some reason. Turns out I'd just been cooking and hoarding an inordinate amount of food. I then made a colour coded list of 'Meals Ready To Go', 'Meals with Minimal Prep' and 'To Be Cooked'. I was overjoyed. NO FFS.
  • When I proudly showed Mr S, he was not as excited as I was. FFS.
  • Thankfully my BFFAARBF Louise was as excited as I was. NO FFS.
  • I have been sewing some cushions in preparation to sell and perhaps begin a crafty business. When I finished one on Wednesday I showed Millie. She said 'OH it's lovely Mummy! Is it for me?' 'No honey, it's to sell.' 'OH MUMMY you are so funny! No one would want to buy a cushion. Who'd buy a CUSHION?! Silly Mummy!' WTF?! FFS.
  • When I relayed this to Mr S that evening, he laughed and got it straight away. Who'd buy a cushion when your Mummy could just make one for you? After all, Mummies make your clothes and can make anything you need, right? We don't buy presents because we can make them! NO FFS. (I'm doing this parenting thing right, after all.)
  • Also, my microwave is SO CLEAN. NO FFS.

Friday, August 1, 2014

FFS Friday - The Business Edition

Short and sweet this week. It's freezing here (FFS) and both girls have snotty noses (FFS). Cuddles are required. But before I lose my train of thought...

M requires a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy. FFS.
Whilst she has private health insurance, she hasn't held it for twelve consecutive months yet, meaning that she's ineligible for this surgery in a private hospital without a certificate from her surgeon and our GP saying it's a non pre-existing condition. FFS.
I prefer the public hospital anyway. NO FFS.
But their waiting lists are known for being atrocious. FFS.
With this in mind we put the request form for her surgery the day she was given it.
I called the next day to make sure that the form made it's way to the right people. The response was 'Well M'am, if you put it in the box we would have it. OK?' FFS.
Fast forward to yesterday. Four weeks after I'd called and we hadn't heard anything. I called again, got put through to a lovely lady who couldn't find M in the system anywhere. She offered to call me back immediately after she'd done some research. NO FFS.
She called me back about three minutes after we hung up. 'I'm so sorry, but I've just been downstairs to double check and your form was still in the box. It's been there since you put it in there. I've added her to the waiting list now and I've backdated your request. Did you happen to take the tape off the box opening to put your form in?' 'Nope.' 'Ah. Well, I'm sorry about the mix up.' FFS.
I'm glad it's not urgent surgery. Perhaps the public servant who condescendingly told me 'Well M'am, if you put it in the box we would have it.' COULD HAVE CHECKED. FFS.

In June I subscribed to RedPawPaw, a new Australian business offering a box of grocery sample products delivered for $5. Sure! Why not? It was fun getting a big box of groceries. NO FFS.
I am so old. FFS.
The second box from RedPawPaw took an extraordinarily long time to arrive, and the company doesn't answer their phones and wasn't replying to their Facebook page queries. FFS.
Towards the end of the month with no tracking number available my parcel arrived via Australia Post, not a courier as explicitly stated. FFS.
Mighty first world inconvenience - AP parcels need to be signed for and picked up. Courier comes to my door. FFS.
Filled with glossy printed brochures, the RedPawPaw box looks lush and high end. NO FFS.
What is FFS-Worthy is the email that arrived the week after the last box, stating that due to high demand they were relaunching in two month's time. And then the email saying that due to customer complaints they were changing their delivery partner (to Australia Post). They also stated that they would unfortunately have to pass on their delivery cost. FFS.
This brings the new cost from $5/month to $19.25/month. FFS.
No no, it's cool. You can cancel. NO FFS.
So I did. NO FFS.
Then overnight I got an email thanking me for my continued business and a receipt for the charge of $19.25 for my August box. FFS.
They aren't answering their phones. FFS.
Nor replying to questions on their Facebook page. FFS.
I have cancelled my box again on their website. FFS.
Who knows what will happen next? FFS.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

ParentRadar (tm)

I like to imagine that in most family homes the children can be calm and collected. Then a little jolt zaps them and their ParentRadar (tm) has been switched on.

No idea what I'm on about? I'm sure you're lying, or instagramming a prettier version of the truth.

Let me walk you through it. Grab a coffee folks, let's go.

In my house the ParentRadar (tm) is activated when my children hear me talking on the phone, closing the bathroom door, taking off my glasses to go to sleep at night, going to get a piece of firewood from outside or attempting to make conversation with Mr S. It is not activated when I cook in the kitchen, hang out the washing, vacuum the house, go and stand by their beds to say goodnight when they are asleep, or make a cup of tea.

Recently ParentRadar has been activated when they see me pull on my workout gear. A 7 minute workout last week wound up with both children crying after 2 minutes. This morning I got up at 5am after M crept into our bed at 4.55am (THANK YOU FOR LEAVING THEIR BEDROOM DOOR OPEN MR S, IT WAS DELIGHTFUL LISTENING TO BOTH YOU AND M SLEEPING IN MY BED.) and decided to go for a run.

I cooked the porridge, hopped in the shower. Pippa's ParentRadar (tm) was immediately activated and by the noise she was making when I got out of the shower, she'd been awake for a while. The weather turned rainy and I still planned to go out, but the galeforce winds changed my mind.

I decided to do a Fitball workout instead. I found the DVD, pumped up the Fitball and put the DVD in the player. It made a REALLY strange noise. I asked Pip if she'd put anything in the DVD player... I was met with 'Ummm..... Mum.... ahhh.... Ummmmm...' I discovered a paddlepop stick in there. Pliers in hand, stick removed, I began the DVD.

Approximately two minutes in, Pip lost her mind because I wouldn't give her the Fitball. This kept on for a few more minutes until she realised she could do this.

Extra resistance

Rider aboard, I kept doing my pushups and supermans. We then sat on the Fitball doing reaches and lunges. I thought 'Oh my god, my quads'. Pip said 'Wheeeeeeeeeeeee!'

Everyone was happy. M was doing the workout with me, then ran past me, tapped the ball, tripped over her own feet, on to her nose. 'OUCH MY NOOOOOOOOSE NOOOOOOOSE OWWWWW'. Pip was unhappy again that I wouldn't let her take the Fitball. 'NOOOOOO MUM MUM NOOOO'.

18 minutes of workout. Every child screaming. Mr S looking a bit worse for wear. But truly, ParentRadar (tm). Has anyone got an antidote?


Friday, July 25, 2014

FFS Friday - A Comedy of Errors

It is 9.39am here as I tap away on my computer. The girls are entertaining themselves with a puzzle and a wind up mobile. Let me tell you about the last two days as I laugh hysterically on the edge of sleep.

Wednesday

The girls are both in filthy moods all day. There's snatching of toys, raised voices, throwing self on floor tantrums and surprisingly none of those behaviours were mine. After swearing black and blue that she does not need a sleep M crashes out in the beanbag for 40 minutes. P has an unusually long sleep and looks a bit worse for wear when she wakes up. I realise that perhaps she is coming down with a cold or tonsillitis again. I hope not. Tomorrow is my six hours of freedom of daycare.

Overnight M wakes up twice saying her throat hurts and winds up sleeping in our bed wearing no pajamas but instead a sparkly princess dress. Sure.

Thursday

P looks awful when she wakes up and appears to have a fever. I hope that she's just warm from sleeping. She refuses to eat breakfast, and throws a few epic tantrums over life ruining events like "Daddy won't let me eat my cereal standing in front of the stereo". Half an hour before we leave for daycare I check her temperature again and sure enough, it's 38.3, up from the 38.1 when she got up.
We have a discussion about the correct days of the week to get sick. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday are fine. The day in uneventful and P accompanies me to the Dr for my appointment. She is ok for now, but her throat is pretty red and we have a script at the ready.

Overnight M wakes twice. Mr S brings her into our bed where she promptly sets up camp on my side of the bed and Mr S goes bACK TO SLEEP. P IS SITTING ON MY LAP as I am typing. Can you tell?

Friday

At 5am P WAkes up AND I RESETTLE Her and decide that I might as well stay awake as P's bottle leaked all over my dressing gown and ergo, leaked all over me. I'm cold and I calculate the odds of an uninterrrupted shower and a hot cup of coffee are pretty good. I decide that's a stupid idea and I could have more sleep. I go to get back into bed and discover M snoring on my side. Shower and coffee it is.

I shower in peace, have a hot cup of coffee whilst watching the Commonwealth Games. I decide to put some wood on the fire and get the porridge going. This is when my day gets laughably interesting.

The fire smokes somewhat and after putting the wood on the fire I head off to the kitchen to get the breakfast started. Suddenly the smoke alarm starts binging away madly. It's not the one in the dining room (near the fire) but the one right next to my bedroom. Where everyone is sleeping. I race through the house and wave a cushion at the smoke alarm hollering 'IT'S OK IT'S OK' to Mr S and Millie. I poke my head around the door and explain briefly what happened. M is shaken but has several explanations of Fireman Sam and what she would do if there was a real fire. As Mr S tells M that Fireman Sam won't be coming because he has realised we were just having a practice, M explains to us both that Fireman Sam isn't real, he's just on TV. I tell them both to go back to sleep and go back to the couch with my coffee.

Twenty minutes later I hear M still chatting to a half asleep Mr S. I encourage her to come out the lounge with me to let Daddy sleep. He grumbles that his alarm will go off in two minutes anyway... but still manages to bring himself to closing his eyes for another half hour.

M and I settle down to breakfast ("I DON'T LIKE PORRIDGE MUM I WANT CEREAL PLEASE") and watch the Rhythmic Gymnastics. Mr S strolls through to the shower giving me a "TV with breakfast?" eyebrow. M immediately abandons her breakfast in favour of a shower.

P wakes up and demands breakfast immediately. I'd hope so after the sum total of the food she ate the day before was a cookie, a banana, a bite of sandwich and a few crackers. M is getting dressed (again) after her shower and I try to make P's breakfast before M realises that she is eating the abandoned breakfast.

Too late.

P snarfs her breakfast, M snarfs her breakfast. P throws a tantrum when I don't encourage her to use a peeled banana as a rolling pin. M throws a tantrum when I don't let her have her dummy "BUT I AM SO TIRED" (THEN YOU SHOULD STAY IN YOUR BED AT NIGHT AND SLEEP).

I attempt to put away Mt Washmore after vacuuming, dishes, bathroom clean and making the beds. P finds me to tell me 'No more wateer?'. I foolishly think that she's drunk it all. Thirsty girl! I make my way back to the loungeroom for more clothes to put away when I see that the water is actually all over the couch. Remove couch cover. Blot couch with towel.

Hey Mr S, let's buy a cream microfibre couch. Yes, we don't have kids.
Only idiots would have a cream couch with kids.
We'll totally not still have this couch by the time we have kids.
We now own two rotating couch covers.

M is yelling for me from the bathroom. Sit down and talk her through her morning ablutions, help her get dressed again. She is screaming and I'm not entirely sure why. She scraped her knee on Sunday and she says at top volume that it is HURTING HURTING HURTING. Continue with the washing.

P finds me and I realise she needs a nappy change. Go to change her nappy, Mr S announces that he is leaving and can't wait for me to change Pip before he has a cuddle. Sure thing. They play a game on the bed and I take over Mr S's part in the game. At the punchline of the game P looks at me like I'm an idiot.

We agree that Mummy is indeed an idiot and I get back to the washing.

'Helping'

I finally finish the washing, which took a surprisingly long time given that it was only half a load. FFS.

I head to the kitchen to do the dishes where I am found and repeatedly asked the following question and I'll let you decide who is who (whom is whom? Whatever.):
'Mum? May I have a cookie please? And a macaron?'
'MUM. COOKAAAAAH. COOOOOKIIIIEEEEE.'

We agree that after I've done the dishes they may have ONE cookie or ONE macaron each, not both. It takes a few more reiterations of this before the message is clear.

One cookie is had by each child and parent. I hang up the next load of washing. I have also sat in front of the couch drying it with my hairdryer.

Coffee again.

It's now 10.11am and I have been out of my chair four times to witness M putting together the same six piece puzzle by herself 'AWESOME WORK! HIGH FIVE!' and winding up the music box for P 'MUM WORK WORK WORK'. I am about to hit up another coffee.

May I also just mention that Mr S asked me to bake 'A lot, like LOTS of treats' for his staff on Stocktake Day. I did.


He told me when he got home that day that they weren't actually arriving until 3pm. He also 'forgot' the macarons. I know he doesn't like them, but I don't really either and I thought his workmates would enjoy them. FFS.

I gave the macarons to my neighbours last night. They said they were lovely.

Yours in Fridays,

Amy

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