We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It is not just in some; it is in everyone.
[Marianne Williamson]

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

In the windmills of my mind

(Fractal: 'I sleep only to dream of you' by longan drink)

Like a circle in a spiral
Like a wheel within a wheel
Never ending or beginning
On an ever-spinning reel

It is 4am. I woke up to go potty two hours ago. I should have gone back to bed but the seductive glowing screen called to me from the darkness. I should go back to sleep now, but something has been turning in my head for days... I must risk greeting the dawn with a yawn again because I want to share it with you - to record it for myself - to make it real - and this is the only time that I have.

Like a snowball down a mountain
Or a carnival balloon
Like a carousel that’s turning
Running rings around the moon
Like a clock whose hands are sweeping
Past the minutes on its face
And the world is like an apple
Whirling silently in space

I started week 4 of the podrunner series this morning. I was so stiff and my hip hurt. Even after 5 minutes marching on the spot to warm up and 5 minutes stretching, I was limping when I started the first walk interval. I told myself "Just give it a go. You can stop if you need to." Then came the chime for the first jogging interval. My body started to move. Running is still slower than walking, but there's this magic that happens in my head. Once my feet start pounding, my thoughts roam free. Maybe it's the extra blood flow to the brain, maybe the endorphins streaming through my system, whatever it is - I think better - think clearer - than at any other time.

Like the circles that you find
In the windmills of your mind

I love spirals. I've always loved spirals. Beautiful fractal coils, endlessly spinning around themselves.

Like a tunnel that you follow
To a tunnel of its own
Down a hollow to a cavern
Where the sun has never shone
Like a door that keeps revolving
In a half-forgotten dream
Like the ripples from a pebble
Someone tosses in a stream

As I run, I think. I think about spirals. I think about spirals as a metaphor of my life and suddenly I feel something click. Back in August, on my 36th birthday I first felt this peculiar, invigorating click inside me.

That was the moment I changed from someone sedentary to someone active. From someone who was drifting with the flow and getting fatter and flabbier with every moment to someone willing to swim upstream against the flow of time... someone with the determination and drive to get up before the babies wake and learn to run, someone who voluntarily teaches their body to move in new ways. In July, if you had said to me that by December I would be running, doing situps and pushups, I might have laughed. If you insisted that I could be that someone, I might have cried. But here I am. I am doing it. This is me!

Like a clock whose hands are sweeping
Past the minutes on its face
And the world is like an apple
Whirling silently in space
Like the circles that you find
In the windmills of your mind

Back to the spirals and that second inspiring click I felt last week while running.

Life as a spiral. Always spinning inward, inward, inward into the center. Searching for that mote of perfection inside myself. If I could just find it. If I could just polish it bright enough then it would shine so radiantly. Everyone would recognize my brilliance. Everyone would love me. I would have all the answers. Failure would no longer frighten me. I know it is there, somewhere inside me. If only I could find it.

Academic achievements, two university degrees with first class honours. Nope. Not there. Self indulge the study stress, the relationship stress. Stop eating, not consciously, blame it on illness. Psychosomatic. In my mid 20s I weighed 53 kilos. That's 10 kgs less than the ideal weight I am aiming for now. Maybe if I faded away to a shadow that brilliance would shine through. Didn't work. Marriage. Children. Still not it. Still seeking, searching, spiralling inwards.

Keys that jingle in your pocket
Words that jangle in your head
Why did summer go so quickly?
Was it something that I said?
Lovers walk along a shore
And leave their footprints in the sand
Was the sound of distant drumming
Just the fingers of your hand?

Thinking all of this. Running. Hearing the birdsong behind the beat of the music. Watching the sunrise gild the treetops... turn the sky from grey to blue. Thinking of the boys and my husband, my darlings, asleep inside the silent house. Thinking of lists of things to do. CLICK. Suddenly the spiral turns.

Suddenly it is no longer spiralling inwards. Suddenly I can feel the potential of energy spiralling outwards. A quiet, shining, spinning pool of light in my centre sparking out into the universe. In that moment I feel immense, tremendous, powerful, capable of anything, not the meagre, pinching tightness of the old inward spiral. This is something new. Something amazing. It's a feeling I am trying desperately to hang on to. To remember. To put into action. But the old habits of thought and action are so strong.

Pictures hanging in a hallway
Or the fragment of a song
Half-remembered names and faces
But to whom do they belong?
When you knew that it was over
Were you suddenly aware
That the autumn leaves were turning
To the colour of her hair?

I do not need to search any more. My perfect self is not elusive. It is not hiding in some dark inner crevice awaiting my discovery. It is me. The me that is here and now, with these hands, with these feet. This flesh is at my service and I have the will to put it into action, to use it for good. To make a difference.

I have to start small. Baby steps.

I have dusted off my flylady control journal. For three days now I have kept the bedroom (where the boys and I co-sleep) and the playroom (a gated off section of the loungeroom) clean and tidy. Neither the boys nor I eat nor go to bed nor go outside until I can see the floor and everything is in its proper place. New rules. New beginnings.

To put this in perspective, housework is my anathema. I was raised in a mess (despite my busy mother's best efforts) and I just don't notice the clutter even when it hits me in the face. If I am going to spiral out and change the world I need to first start by changing my own environment. The internal changes are working. New habits are forming. I am fitter. I am stronger. I can do more. Be more. That click of the spiral is shifting my focus outwards, showing me that it is possible. I CAN do more. I can be that person. I can have it all.

Three months ago I was a person who didn't "do" exercise. Now I am a person who does. It is a deliberatly chosen way of life that I want to maintain for the rest of my life. Three months ago when I started moving for 30 minutes a day on my mini trampoline I honestly could not imagine the possibility of learning to run, of logging over 100 exercise minutes in a day and feeling it wasn't quite enough. It has made such an incredible difference to my life. If I can hold onto this feeling, this awareness, this energy - if I can channel it outwards - what a difference can I make to the lives of my loved ones? Already I see an improvement in the boys' behaviour, in their ability to settle and concentrate. Can I keep it up?

I've been through stages like this before, and always I can find something to blame for sabotaging my efforts. I slide back into the old ways so easily. But this time... I want to believe in that spiral. I want to flow outward, not inward any more.

My mother-in-law returns from holidays tomorrow. That is my first challenge. When it's just us, when I am responsible for the house running smoothly, it is easy for me to take charge, take control. When she is here I have to share the space. I slip into negative interactions, hide in my shell, let her do the work or clash with her efforts. I don't share easily, not when the spiral is running inwards, when it is all about me. I wonder if I can change that too. Plenty to think about. Plenty to act on. I have my baby steps planned for tomorrow - oops - for today. If I do my pilates now, I can get the area around the computer tidied up before the boys wake up. I'm already awake and I can always join them for naptime after lunch.

Happy start of December! Have a blessed day :D

Like a circle in a spiral
Like a wheel within a wheel
Never ending or beginning
On an ever-spinning reel
As the images unwind
Like the circles that you find
In the windmills of your mind

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Possum's Problem

Tomorrow I have to hand in my last two assignments and I am nowhere near ready... I got up at 4am to work on them, but instead...

I recently obtained an ex-library-copy of Anne Pellowski's The Story Telling Handbook. The boys love the story of 'The Noisy Gecko', and ever since reading it another story has been clamoring in my brain...

This morning I found I could ignore it no longer, so...

A first draft:

Possum's Problem

It was early one morning. The pale moon and the stars were still hanging in the sky, waiting for the first light of the sun to come twinkling over the treetops.

Wombat finished her dinner of sweet juicy grass and yawned. "Time for bed!" she said. But instead of curling up quiet and cozy in her burrow, Wombat decided that today she would like to try sleeping outside.

She snuggled down in a pile of leaves underneath a big eucalyptus tree and soon she was asleep, dreaming happy wombat dreams.

High up in the branches of the tree, Possum was sleeping too. Suddenly, the tree started to shake! Possum hid his little pink nose beneath his brushy tail and tried to ignore it, but it didn't work. Blinking in the bright morning sunlight, he clambered down the trunk to find out what was happening.

At the bottom of the tree he found Wombat, scruffling and scratching and wriggling and squiggling. "I can't sleep!" she complained to Possum. "Could you please ask Ant to stop crawling on my fur? She is tickling me terribly."

Possum went to see Ant. "Ant," he said, "why are you crawling on Wombat's fur? You are tickling her terribly, so she is scruffling and scratching and wriggling and squiggling at the bottom of my tree, and I want to go to sleep!"

Ant said, "I am scurrying around searching for food for my family because I heard Currawong calling 'We've got rain! We've got rain!' I must make sure there is enough for everyone to eat before the storm gets here."

So Possum went to see Currawong. "Currawong," he said. "Why are you calling out 'We've got rain! We've got rain!'? Ant heard you and is scurrying around searching for food for her family. She is tickling Wombat terribly so Wombat is scruffling and scratching and wriggling and squiggling at the bottom of my tree, and I can't sleep!"

Currawong said, "I heard Frog crying out 'Kek-kek-kek, Kek-kek-kek!' I thought she was warning everyone that the sky was going to fall, so I was just passing on the message."

So Possum went to see Frog. "Frog," he said. "Why are you crying out 'Kek-kek-kek, Kek-kek-kek!'? Currawong thinks you are warning everyone that the sky is going to fall, so he is passing on the message. Ant hears Currawong calling out 'We've got rain! We've got rain!' and is scurrying around searching for food for her family. She is tickling Wombat terribly so Wombat is scruffling and scratching and wriggling and squiggling at the bottom of my tree, and I can't sleep!"

Frog said, "I heard Wattlebird yelling 'Ker-klonk, ker-klonk!' I thought there must be a snake in the grass and I was telling my friends to hide."

So Possum went to see Wattlebird. "Wattlebird," he said, "why are you yelling 'Ker-klonk, ker-klonk!'? Frog thinks there must be a snake in the grass and is telling her friends to hide. Currawong hears Frog crying out 'Kek-kek-kek, Kek-kek-kek!' and thinks it's a warning that the sky is going to fall, so he is passing on the message. Ant hears Currawong calling out 'We've got rain! We've got rain!' and is scurrying around searching for food for her family. She is tickling Wombat terribly so Wombat is scruffling and scratching and wriggling and squiggling at the bottom of my tree, and I just want to go to sleep!"

Wattlebird said, "I was angry because I heard Whipbird calling 'Coooo-whip! Coooo-whip!' I know that he thinks his babies are prettier than mine!"

So Possum went to see Whipbird. "Whipbird," he said, "why are you calling 'Coooo-whip! Coooo-whip!'? Wattlebird thinks you are boasting that your babies are prettier than hers, so she is yelling 'Ker-klonk, ker-klonk!' Frog hears Wattlebird and thinks there must be a snake in the grass, so she is telling her friends to hide. Currawong hears Frog crying out 'Kek-kek-kek, Kek-kek-kek!' and thinks it's a warning that the sky is going to fall, and he must pass on the message. Ant hears Currawong calling out 'We've got rain! We've got rain!' so she is scurrying around searching for food for her family. She is tickling Wombat terribly so Wombat is scruffling and scratching and wriggling and squiggling at the bottom of my tree, and I can't sleep!"

Whipbird said, "Can't you hear Kookaburra laughing 'Kookoookakakakaka'? She's been laughing all morning and I want to know what the joke is!"

So Possum went to see Kookaburra. "Kookaburra," he said, "why have you been laughing 'Kookoookakakakaka' all morning? Whipbird wants to know what the joke is. Wattlebird hears Whipbird calling 'Coooo-whip! Coooo-whip!' and thinks he is boasting that his babies are prettier than hers, so she is yelling 'Ker-klonk, ker-klonk!' Frog hears Wattlebird and thinks there must be a snake in the grass, so she is telling her friends to hide. Currawong hears Frog crying out 'Kek-kek-kek, Kek-kek-kek!' and thinks it's a warning that the sky is going to fall, and so he is passing on the message. Ant hears Currawong calling out 'We've got rain! We've got rain!' which sends her scurrying around searching for food for her family. She is tickling Wombat terribly so Wombat is scruffling and scratching and wriggling and squiggling at the bottom of my tree, and I am not getting any sleep!"

Kookaburra laughed and said, "I am happy because it is such a lovely day, and the sun is shining so beautifully and brightly."

So Possum went to see Sun. "Sun," he said, "could you please stop shining so beautifully and brightly? It is making Kookaburra happy, so she is laughing 'Kookoookakakakaka'. Whipbird is calling 'Coooo-whip! Coooo-whip!' because he wants to know what the joke is. Wattlebird hears Whipbird and is angry at him boasting that his babies are prettier than hers. Frog hears Wattlebird yelling 'Ker-klonk, ker-klonk!' and thinks there must be a snake in the grass, so she is telling her friends to hide. Currawong hears Frog crying out 'Kek-kek-kek, Kek-kek-kek!' and thinks it's a warning that the sky is going to fall, and so he is passing on the message. Ant hears Currawong calling out 'We've got rain! We've got rain!' which sends her scurrying around searching for food for her family. She is tickling Wombat terribly so Wombat is scruffling and scratching and wriggling and squiggling at the bottom of my tree, and I need to get some sleep!"

Sun shone warmly down on the tired little Possum. "There now," he said, "You just go back and tell Wombat that if I didn't shine so brightly, the grass wouldn't grow and she would have nothing to eat for her dinner. If Ant is annoying her, she should go and curl up quiet and cozy in her own dark burrow instead of complaining."

Possum beamed at Sun, and went back to see Wombat. "Wombat," he said, "everyone is doing just what they think is best. It would be wrong to try to stop them. I suggest you go and curl up quiet and cozy in your burrow where you won't disturb me, because now I am going to sleep."

Wombat looked surprised. Then she nodded, yawned and shuffled off to her peaceful burrow. Possum climbed to his favourite branch, curled his brushy tail around his little pink nose, listened for a moment to the sounds of the bush, and Possum





Thursday, October 22, 2009

One woman's rubbish is another woman's treasure

Final exams start next Monday... studying like fury and also trying desperately to keep up with my new goal of daily exercise...

At first I thought yesterday was going to be something of a failure. It took forever to get the boys dressed and outside, then the moment I started cardio, they headed off in opposite directions, and that was the end of that! By nap time the temperature had soared to 33 degrees, so when Yeti volunteered to take Wombat off my hands, I chose the more sensible option and grabbed a few hours study time. When they woke up I got busy rearranging the lounge/play room so we could fit the portable air-conditioner back in. Suddenly it was 5pm and no exercise done...

I wrestled the boys back into their clothes, popped Munchkin in the stroller and told them we were going for a walk down the street. I figured it was better than just sitting still, and I'd count it as my cardio - the stroller's tyres are in dire need of pumping up, so it's harder to steer than a shopping trolley :P and besides, it's council clean-up time, and who knew what treasures the neighbours' might throw away...

Halfway down the street, we found it! Reclining on a pile of polystyrene packaging, a grand old lady who had seen better days... underneath the dirt and cobwebs I could dimly see the words "Malvern Star Superstar". I hopped in the high saddle for a glorious moment of freedom. She whispered that her name was Daisy. Then I wheeled her home (stroller and all lol). She is dark green (I think, under all the dust) with a 'lady' frame (I've never enjoyed riding a man's/racing/straight frame) and cruiser handlebars. She has a head & taillight, and an original toolkit! She's dusty, rusty, her tyres are perished, but in the 30 seconds I rode her for, I could feel her potential and knew we would be best of friends.

Luckily Yeti knows quite a bit about bikes and has agreed to help me get her back into working order :P At the moment her seat is too high, but other than that she is the perfect size for me. (She had a companion, a gold Bennet with a straight/racing frame and racing handlebars - way too tall for me and not my style, but I went back and got him too, for spare parts or in case Yeti wants to fix him up for himself...)

By the time I had made two trips up and back, pushing stroller and bikes, I figured I'd had my workout :P I finished up with the 10 min bootcamp routine after dinner. Other goals - eating healthy, study, posture, parenting are more or less on track. Wombat woke me at 1am to say he had a sore tummy, but I got him back to sleep. Munchkin woke me at 2am by falling out of bed... after I got him back to sleep I discovered I was wide awake and thinking about Daisy, so I decided to get up early and tell you about her before getting on with my study.

Have a great day! I'll take some before and after pics when I wash Daisy tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


Arrgghhhh... Telstra recently decided to stop hosting free home pages. That means my site is gone, and with it, all the background & header images I had linked from various blogs and everything is in a mess.

Don't panic. I haven't lost anything - I've even got my own domain now (WOOHOOO):! I found free hosting for the domain at, but they don't allow external linking of images, so I am left with a pile of broken links and no time to fix them. I've wasted half an hour just trying to get the image back on my header here... I've uploaded it over and over again, it appears successfully in the edit header widget, so why is it not showing??? *sob*

As I'm sure you know by now, EVERYTHING is on hold until the end of October. I shouldn't even be here now, I should be writing notes on Due Diligence in Commercial and Corporate Law... but... but... my blogggggggssssss need me (I hope you can hear the anguish in that cry!)

I haven't posted a daily photo at Fleeting Reality for months, but I am going to catch up, I promise... I've still been taking photos, so look forward to a massive retrospective life-dump in the near future...

My last review at What, Wombat? was in January, so there is another huge backlog there... and Baby Wombat is a guilt trip writ large - will Munchkin be forever traumatised because I never recorded his milestones in the loving detail lavished on his big brother?

As for Scheherezade, well, I'm not sure why the Sultan hasn't cut my head off yet...

However... I will be finishing my exams just in time for November, and we all know what November means: NANOWRIMO!

Since I am on a roll when it comes to long term goals at the moment, I am determined that this will be the year when I finish The Seven Ravens. I can hear you sniggering back there behind your screen. You don't think I can do it, do you? Hah! Just watch me. (lol, yes, I am talking to myself...)

Just right now, though... many trees have given their lives for me, and I must dutifully honour their sacrifice by decorating their compressed corpses with multicoloured scrawls and magical formulas designed to protect me in the ordeal that looms ever nearer.

Shalom. I need it!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Once upon a time...

I recently discovered a blog by a most awesome and inspiring author - Sarah Beth Durst. She writes young adult fantasy novels with a fairytale theme.

Imagine - Rapunzel's daughter Julie, living in the everyday world. There's a talking mirror on the wall, her mum wears makeup to look old, and The Wild lives under her bed... and steals things... and converts them into magical objects...

You can read the first chapter of Into the Wild here! (There is also a sequel, Out of the Wild.

Or imagine - you live in Alaska and you suddenly find that the mother you believed long-dead is actually being held captive by trolls. How do you find out? A polar bear speaks to you on your 18th birthday, and promises to help you rescue her... IF you will be his bride!

That is ICE!

I love the premises of these books, their lively humour and commitment to true fairytale romance...

I first found Sarah's blog by following a link to her collection of obscure fairy tales, and I am very glad I did.

I was a bit bored with my attempted rewrite of Sleeping Beauty, and after reading around Sarah's blog, I scrapped what I had and started again. I think you're going to like it... but since I can't enter the contest (US residents only) I will wait until entries are closed before I post it.

I was, however, able to enter Sarah Beth Durst's competition for an advance reader copy of Ice. Don't enter - I've got enough competition there already lol!

I have an ulterior motive for mentioning it... Sarah called for her readers to name their favourite kick-ass female heroines (I chose Polgara) and as a result, the comments are full of books that I now MUST READ.

So this whole post (other than being an outpouring of admiration) is really just a link to a comment treasure box. I can foresee a trip to the library in my very near future!!!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Dollies and a Booby

I think the thing I like most about blogging - other than the chance to get my writing out of my head and into a space where someone else might read it - is the opportunity it gives me to communicate with people I would otherwise be isolated from. My sister is in that category - if it wasn't for blogging, we would not know each other in the way we do now.

Another person I am very grateful to have met through blogging is Farida from Saints and Spinners. Although we have never met in person (and most likely never will, living on opposite sides of the world) I count Farida among my dearest friends. I have been fascinated by my glimpses into her life, from the first time I stumbled across her blog and was captivated by the image of her daughter dancing with the dust fairies, through the gradual expansion of her storytelling business, to her recent successful venture into the world of doll making.

You can see Farida's dolls at her etsy store: Alkelda

So far, Farida has been concentrating on nature dolls and elementals. A collection of saints is also planned and I can't wait to see what she comes up with! They are sweetly detailed little creations, just right to hold in your hand or inspire you from windowsill or tabletop - and I am lucky enough to own two of them.

It all started when Farida mentioned - possibly as a joke - making a doll to represent the heroine from The Seven Ravens fairytale. I immediately started thinking how I could a) coerce her into making this dream come true and b) make it mine! (My favourite long-term writing project - and the one I am most determined to finally finish one day - is turning the Seven Ravens into a novel.)

Thinking back, I remembered Farida once expressing a wish for a Blue-footed Booby puppet, and so a trade was proposed and accepted.

Here she is - my lovely Seven Ravens girl. She sits atop my computer monitor and nags me ceaselessly, as all good muses should. Her cloak is embroidered with the sun, the moon, a sprinkle of stars and a track of raven footprints. She is independent, impatient, anxious about her siblings, and in her minds-eye, already far from home having marvellous adventures. I love her!

Seven Ravens Girl

Seeking her brothers,
she has crossed oceans to be
my inspiration.

Then, when Farida opened her etsy store, I went window shopping, knowing that I could not afford to indulge myself by buying dolls, no matter how beautifully made. I fell in love with one, in particular.

Dressed in cobalt blue, with embroidered dragonflies skimming her skirt, standing tall and elegant with her staff topped with delicate blooms in blue and pink... I immediately wrote to Farida, intending only to express my sincere admiration for her creation (and my intention of 'stealing' her dragonfly embroidery design). In an incredibly act of friendship and generosity, Farida decided I should have her, and now she stands beside Seven Ravens' girl, as my totem of love, hope and courage! Sweet Borage is cosy and stay-by-my-side, ready to light my way through the darkness with her starflowers, and inspire my dreams with her flitting dragonflies.

Borage: Starflower, Herb of Courage

A kindred spirit
one mother to another
lighting the darkness.

It has taken me many weeks to finally, publicly acknowledge these lovely creations - partly I wanted to keep them to myself and enjoy their company, partly I was waiting for sunshine so I could photograph them as they deserved, and mostly, I was waiting until I FINALLY finished my part of the bargain. With two small boys constantly demanding my attention, it seemed to take forever. I have been stitching seated on a toddler-sized wooden chair in the playroom, I have been stitching out in the grass watching the acrobatics, I have been stitching under pine trees (and lost my needle).

Starting with nothing but a blank sheet of paper, a bag of felt and fabric scraps and a lot of imagination, I amazed myself by creating a blue-footed booby that I am actually really happy with! (Wombat loved it too, so I am crafting a second one for him - he was really disappointed that I wouldn't let him play with the first one!) I would love to share it with you, but I want it to be a surprise for Farida when she opens the box...

Oh, all right - just a sneak peek then!

Although I would dearly love to follow Farida's example and begin my own etsy store, I have way too many irons in the fire and could not justify the neglect of my children which would necessarily follow me indulging my obsession with making things. I have no self-control when it comes to such matters... and so I live vicariously, enjoying her adventures, and counting myself incredibly lucky to be gifted with such companions on life's journey :D

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Oh what a beautiful morning!

I wished I'd had my camera this morning - I went out at 7am to rescue the washing on the line from an icy gale force wind. The full moon was still shining white in the bright blue sky, and the rising sun was making the treetops glow. Then a flock of about 50 sulfur crested cockatoos took off into the wind, they were all spread out like a huge flag as the wind caught them, and the sunrise was colouring them, gold and pink. Really beautiful! My camera would never have captured the picture in the same way I saw it. One of my favourite photography quotes is:

"Often while travelling with a camera we arrive just as the sun slips over the horizon of a moment, too late to expose film, only time enough to expose our hearts." (Minor White)

That always consoles me on those times when I see something really wonderful but can't take its picture :P I am chilled to the bone now, but it was worth it to see that!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

A message for my father

Dear Dad,

I think it is great that Steff is getting you involved with our side of the internet- facebook and blogging. However, I wish she had warned me first.

This particular site - Brand New Ending - is my personal space, and if you find it, I would ask you to respect my privacy and not read any further. I am not going to remove all links to it from my name, as I do not wish to sever my connection to other internet friends.

There is nothing here of any great importance, but that is beside the point. I have had this space for many years and it means a lot to me. This is my sanctuary. Please do not violate it.

You are, however, extremely welcome at my photograph blog site. I believe I invited you when it was first set up - Fleeting Reality.

I trust you to understand how I feel.

Thank you.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Absolutely hilarious!

I mean it!

With lots of thanks to Sarah Beth Durst. She said: "If you grew up in the 80s watching music videos, or even if you didn't, you are going to piss yourself laughing when you watch this."

I did... and I did!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Winning the battle - from the inside out

As you know, I've been reading a number of things lately which have been helping me become a better parent - not perfect in any way or by any means, but at least I feel more like a positive work-in-progress.

Today I read an article from one of my favourite new resources, and I wanted to a) share it and b) make sure I remembered where to find it, so I could read it again and again. I will post it here in full - The Battlefield of the Mind: Anger and Parenting:

If we create a battlefield in our mind against our children, then all is lost. By battlefield, I mean the minute we begin thinking, “My child is doing this on purpose!” “My child is out to get me and make me miserable!” “My child knew what they were doing and planned this!” “My child is just wanting to push each and every one of the buttons I have!” Keep reading to find out the implications of what I mean by that!

Mamas, I have been there and done that and I would like to share something with you that I have learned: If we create a us versus them mentality in our mind and in our attitude before we even open our mouths, then we have lost.

We have lost the opportunity to warmly hold the space for our children, we have lost the moment to guide in peaceful energy the behavior we would like our child to show, we have lost the connection between us and our child.

For those of you who follow this blog who believe that childhood development unfolds according to seven-year cycles, the things we think in the moment of anger are then not even logical according to this framework! To a Waldorf parent, a child under the age of 7 does not view themselves as even separate yet; they cannot at this point “do” something to “you” because that separation from you does not yet exist. To a Waldorf parent, a child under the age of 7 is truly not logical, does not pre-meditate and pre-plan. Yes, they do test boundaries. But it is most likely more spur of the moment rather than pre-planned!

For those of you who follow this blog who are attachment parenting, to you I would say that one of the foundations of loving guidance is putting respect and empathy at the core of your parenting. Look at the situation and your child’s needs through your more experienced life lenses ( and no, you do not have to use words to ASK them all this! You are the wonderful, smart, intelligent adult who can figure this out without asking them!) What did they need in that moment where they were doing something different than what you expected or wanted? Did they need food, a break, something to do, guidance as to what was acceptable in the house or not, your attention, sleep?

And most importantly, once this occurs and we are feeling angry, can we step back and find our needs underneath the anger? Why are we so darned angry anyway? Maybe we need respect, peace, quiet, a chance to sit down?

Can you take a breath and change the scenery? Can the child make restitution, make a “healing action” to make the situation right again after everyone has calmed down? Restitution is a very important part of parenting. It shows the child that we all can make mistakes, but it is what we do with the mistake that is most important.

Most of all, no guilt trips on the child. They don’t understand the extent of the emotions you are feeling, they really don’t understand all the words you are using, and all they feel is your anger. Less words, more breathing, more warmth, more action toward the positive.

For you to meditate on is this concept of POSITIVE INTENT. What could possibly be the positive intent behind this situation, behind this interaction? Can I see it this way?

Because if you continue to play out the battlefield in your mind, the last person standing will be you with all the children around you out of the connection in the game.

Enjoy your children, find the joy. You can do this!
This was written by Carrie at The Parenting Passageway. This blog is written from a Waldorf homeschooling / attachment parenting point of view, but for great parenting advice, I have not found anything like it.

These questions come from another of her posts - Making Yourself a Priority in the Parenting Equation. I have written them out and taped them to the wall in our bedroom, where I can be sure to read them several times a day!
Ask yourself, “Is this establishing connection and trust with my child?” “Is this a respectful way to treat my child?” Ask yourself, “Is this a short-term solution that has really bad long-term consequences?” Ask yourself “Is this about my inner balance? My own stuff?”

Other posts I want and need to bookmark for myself at this moment are:

Many many thanks to Farida (Saints and Spinners) for suggesting I take a look at The Parenting Passageway, and a huge thank you to Carrie for writing such fantastic, thought-provoking guidance. My boys thank you too!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Magic Circle

In a fit of early morning procrastination, I decided to catch up on some blog-reading and found myself inspired by a challenge over at Diamonds and Toads. (I have saved a few other challenges for future posts.)

It is funny, the deeper I get into law study, the more I feel the urge to write fiction. But then, in not-so-idle musing, it occurred to me that being a good lawyer really means being a good storyteller - especially in court. Much of my nervousness surrounding the upcoming presentations I must make at the residential school has vanished with this realisation. Advocacy may make me wobble in my socks but storytelling? That I can do. Then there is the whole 'parenting = storytelling' paradigm that I am experimenting with.

So, in an attempt to render my procrastination productive and possibly even entertaining, I present the "What's happening here?" challenge.

The story spirals from a visual inspiration:

Painting by J.W. Waterhouse
The Magic Circle
Date: 1886
Medium: Oil on canvas
Size: 183 x 127 cm
Location: Tate Britain, London, UK

And then a name:

Your fairy is called Columbine Iceshimmer
She is a bone chilling bringer of justice for the vulnerable.
She lives in mushroom fields and quiet meadows.
She is only seen when the first flowers begin to blossom.
She wears lilac and purple like columbine flowers. She has icy blue butterfly wings.
Get your free fairy name here!

And so it begins:

All winter they searched... a desperate, barren winter and a desperate quest with no end in sight. Frozen grass crackled under hoof and the only other sound outside themselves was the harsh cry of ravens, lurking in the neverending rows of cypress trees that bordered the empty paddocks. Then came the rain. Bitter, unrelenting rain, scouring the rocks, rutting the path so that they stumbled and fell in the mud, blinding them with stinging sleet. Still they travelled and at last, blinking in disbelief, they emerged from a dark forest into the gentle warmth of a sunlit meadow. The air was fragrant with crushed herbs, and everywhere the two travellers looked, tiny fairy-rings of red, white and gold spotted mushrooms were sprouting.

In the middle of the meadow stood a cloaked and hooded figure, harvesting herbs with a golden sickle. She moved amongst the flowers on bare feet, flitting like a butterfly from plant to plant, tucking little bunches into the brown girdle tied at her waist. Glancing up at the weary travellers, she smiled.

"I've been expecting you," she said.

"We have come that you may perform what you have promised." Looking into her dark eyes, the travellers felt ashamed to disturb such a peaceful existence, but she was now their only hope. They blurted out their story, their words tumbling over each other, hardly knowing who spoke what. "The old king is dying; the prince has no wife and is tortured by self doubt; day and night his stepmother whispers to him that he is unlovable, that no maiden would want him for anything other than his wealth and power; she tempts him constantly to come to her bed for she has long lusted after him and nothing means more to her than retaining her position as queen; he resists, clinging to the vision his mother gave him on her deathbed - the vision of you; he fears you to be no more than fantasy, Columbine Iceshimmer. He fears that, even if you are real, the sacrifice required of you is too great. He fears that his stepmother speaks the truth and his head swims with the effort of resisting her enticements. She overwhelms his senses with perfumed incense and rich food, hoping to trick him into succumbing but while he languishes in that luxury, the people suffer. The queen is greedy, she strips the land to supply her table and furnish her palace. She insists that nobody laugh or sing or dance on pain of death, for always she suspects that they are laughing at her. The walls of the city are festooned with the heads of merrimakers, many of them children."

Here they broke off. One sobbed, and the other comforted him with a firm hand on his shoulder.

"Once we were parents. Once we delighted in the joy of our children, but the queen has stolen them from us. Our only hope is the prince and his dream, and so we come to you, Columbine Iceshimmer. We ask of you an impossible task. The old queen trusted us. Before she died, she asked us to protect her son, to give everything we had to keep him safe. We have done that, we have nothing left. But she also told us of you. She said: "When all else is gone, when all hope is fled, when joy no longer dares to sing, find Columbine Iceshimmer and tell her of your need. She will know what to do."

The young woman listened in silence, then she turned, eyeing the raven who flew cawing overhead. With a finger on her lips she led them through the meadow which ended abruptly in a steep cliff. She vanished over the edge, following a narrow path that wound along a perilous ledge. The travellers hobbled their horses in a patch of lush grass and followed her, helping each other over the rough ground. When they reached the bottom, Columbine ushered them into a dry, comfortable cave, furnished with a little wooden chair and table, and a simple wooden platform for a bed. The walls were hung with drying herbs. Speaking softly, she bid them hide themselves and no matter what they saw, not to interrupt her.

"The ravens are spies for the queen," she whispered. "They will not be able to see once I complete the magic circle. You must remain here. Only approach when the coals of my fire are cold and nothing but ash remains. Dig through the ash and carry what you find, unopened, to the prince. Tell him it is a gift for his wife from his mother, but do not delay on your journey. The old king is dead and the prince has agreed to marry his stepmother in one month's time. He must give her the gift on their wedding night or else all is lost. Now rest. We must start at dawn."

At first light, Columbine walked alone into the clearing. Ignoring the cries of the ravens gathering along the edge of the rocks, she carefully built a fire of elder and hazelwood, throwing in bunches of basil, thyme, and honeysuckle. On a tripod over the coals she placed a golden cauldron that had been polished until it blazed. Drawing a glowing stick from the embers she carved a protective circle in the dust, starting from the east, with her eyes fixed on the rising sun. Ravens circled in the clear dawn air, landed, clustering along the rim of the circle, cawing and rubbing their beaks in the dust as though blinded by the smoke.

Chanting under her breath, Columbine removed her cloak of heavy purple wool. The travellers gasped to see icy blue butterfly wings unfolding from her shoulders. She pulled from her girdle the golden sickle, curved like the new moon which still hung in the brightening sky and with one swift motion she severed her wings and cast them into the heated cauldron. A pillar of white smoke billowed up as they burnt; she threw her sickle in too, and bunches of lavender, dandelion and clover, as she walked around and around the fire constantly tracing and renewing the circle with her smoking stick. They could hear her chanting as her tears dripped and sizzled on the nearly molten metal. Then she bent and grasped the glowing bowl in her hands, shaping it into a square casket, without removing it from the flames. Suddenly dropping the stick, she leapt inside and the lid of the casket clicked down to cover her.

As soon as the smoke from the circle died down, the ravens moved in, but the wind from their wings fanned the coals and they were driven back again and again by the heat. Eventually evening fell and the huge black birds flew off to their roosts in the cypress trees.

The next morning, the travellers emerged from the cave in the chilly predawn. They stepped around an ancient human skull, buried up to its eyesockets just outside the circle and with trembling hands they sifted through the cold ashes, listening intently for the sound of the ravens returning. Finding the small golden casket, one hid it under his cloak and together they ran up the narrow path to their patiently waiting horses.

Day and night they galloped, stopping only to change their steeds at the waystations, eating in the saddle, fighting the urge to sleep. After a week they reached the coast where the prince's ship was docked. It took three weeks for the ship to reach the city, and the whole time they paced the decks, trying to fill the sails with an endless effort of will; when the sailors managed to convince them to lie down, their restless sleep was haunted by the cry of ravens.

At last they arrived, to find the city preparing for the prince's wedding, but with no rejoicing or celebration. Everywhere there were signs of mourning for the old king, and a black bunting of ravens clustered on the soaring turrets of the palace. Inside the palace, however, the rooms were overflowing with priceless tapestries and jewelled dishes; a riot of colour that contrasted sadly with the grey faces of those that moved amongst the treasure.

The travellers followed the dawdling servants and found the queen and her cronies drinking golden liquor from crystal goblets, clothed in sumptuous silks, with painted faces and nails, their hair piled in elaborate curls... but the prince was nowhere in sight. Finally they located him, alone in the chapel, lying naked on the stone floor near his mother's memorial, his gaudy wedding clothes folded neatly on a pew. They handed him the casket and repeated Columbine's instructions. He rose as if in a dream and donned the clothes laid out for him. Making no other acknowledgment of their presence or the successful completion of their mission, he carried the casket to the queen. She looked up in surprise, but spying the gold in his hands she bit off her sarcastic comment and her eyes gleamed. She grabbed the casket from him, greedily tearing it open. Inside she found a golden chain suspending an ice-blue shimmering star. She eagerly insisted the prince place it around her neck. His fingers were clumsy and she tugged at the necklace impatiently as she yearned towards the full length mirror that spanned the wall.

The moment the jewel touched her throat, the chain began to shrink. It pulled tighter and tighter, choking the queen, until her elaborately coiffured head rolled off and landed at the feet of her shrieking friends. Within moments the room was empty, except for the prince. Still moving like a sleepwalker, he lifted the delicate chain from the dead queen's body and returned it to the casket. As he did so, he noticed a tiny cocoon attached to one side of the golden box. His brow wrinkled as he stroked the cocoon gently with his fingertip. Instantly it split and a pale blue smoke emerged, filling the room with the sweet scent of herbs and banishing the queen's overpowering perfume.

When the smoke cleared, the prince saw first that the queen's body had vanished. Then he noticed a young maiden standing by the window. She was not beautiful. Her dusky lilac dress was crushed, its embroidered hem tattered and stained. Her feet, bare, dusty and coated in ash, her long black hair wild and tangled. But she looked the prince in the eye and smiled. Blinking, and shaking his head, he smiled back. With quick steps he crossed the room and looped the shining star jewel around her neck. She touched it fondly and tucked his arm around her waist. Together they stood by the window, talking in low voices. As they watched, they could see the ravens feasting on something brightly coloured, in the distance, beyond the city walls.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The story of Whistling Wind

I'm on a roll with the parenting books at the moment. I know I said I was going to talk about the Faber and Mazlish books I mentioned last entry - and I still am, but I have something else to share today. The boys are both sick and sleeping in the middle of the day - I am three weeks into my course and already a week behind... should be using this time to catch up... but...

I scored a great book on ebay last week - one I have been really hoping to get at a reasonable price: Susan Perrow's Healing Stories for Challenging Behaviour. Basically, it shows in a very practical way how to nudge children towards better behaviour by telling them a story! There are lots of different stories there - for almost every situation you can imagine - and best of all there is advice and ideas for creating your own stories - even if you are not a creative person to start with.

I love it! I'm only half way through, but when I sat down to study this afternoon, I found myself writing a story for Wombat instead. Being sick is really getting him down. He won't take any medicine - even refuses a spoonful of honey - and when I got him to eat a banana this morning, it came straight back up again. The only treatment he will accept is hugs - and he wants them constantly - "Hug me forever, Mummy!" You can imagine that with Munchkin sick too, that is rather difficult for me to do!

So I wrote this story:

Once upon a time, when stories were real and dreams still came true, there was a wind. A mischievous little wind who liked to make other people feel sad, and her name was Whistling wind.

Whistling wind had a song she liked to sing. It went like this:

"Blow, blow, worry and woe
slow, slow, soft and low
Down your cheeks the tears will flow."

I don't know why Whistling wind liked to make other people feel miserable, but everywhere she went, she sang her mournful song.

One day Whistling wind was blowing through the long grass in a field when she saw a little mouse. He was lying on his back, looking up at the clouds and the daisies waving above him, and he seemed to be very contented.

"Hmmmm," thought Whistling wind. "Goody! Here is someone that I can sing my song too!"

So she did.

"Blow, blow, worry and woe
slow, slow, soft and low
Down your cheeks the tears will flow."

Little mouse heard the song, but he didn't know who was singing it. "What a strange song," he thought. "It makes me feel a little bit unhappy!" And he pulled his eyebrows together into a tiny frown.

"Aha!" thought Whistling wind. "It's working. I'll sing my song and blow even harder now!"

So she did.

Looking up at the clouds, Little Mouse heard Whistling Wind's song. Suddenly, he saw a cloud that looked a little bit like his Mummy Mouse. Normally that would have made him feel very happy, but not while Whistling Wind's song was in his ears.

"Blow, blow,
worry and woe
slow, slow, soft and low
Down your cheeks the tears will flow."

Little Mouse started to cry.

"Mummy's always so busy. She's always running around cleaning the mousehole, or collecting seeds for us to eat, or looking after the baby mice..." (Little Mouse had
lots of little brothers and sisters.) "Mummy Mouse never has time for me anymore," sobbed Little Mouse. "I don't think she loves me like she used to when I was a baby

Well, Whistling wind felt very proud of herself for having made Little Mouse feels so sad, so she danced a little whirling windy dance to herself, down among the grasses and then up up up into the clouds. While she was dancing among the clouds, she whirled one of them around into her dance. It just happened to be the cloud that looked like Mummy Mouse, and it had been covering the sun. As soon as the cloud moved to join Whistling Wind in her dance, the sun popped out with a warm happy "peekaboo!"

Little Mouse looked up with tears streaming down his cheeks. He was still feeling very sad and lonely but the warm glow of the sun started to make him feel much better. He remembered how warm and lovely it felt when Mummy Mouse smiled at him. He remembered how good he felt when he did something kind and helpful and Mummy Mouse said thank you. He remembered that even though Mummy Mouse sometimes got a little bit grumpy if he did something wrong, she always forgave him when he said he was sorry.

Suddenly, Little Mouse jumped up with a big smile on his face. "I know what I am going to do," he thought.

Creeping through the grass, Little Mouse made his way quietly back to the mousehole.

Whistling Wind looked down from the sky, feeling a bit confused. She didn't know what was happening, so she decided to watch carefully and see.

There was Mummy Mouse, sweeping and swooshing the dust out of the mousehole. She looked very busy and very tired. Behind her, Whistling Wind could hear all the little baby mice crying and calling.

"I don't need to do anything here," thought Whistling Wind. "Mummy Mouse looks like she's going to start crying soon too, without any help from me!"

Then Whistling Wind saw Little Mouse creeping through the door.

"Oh good, thought Whistling Wind. "He's going to start complaining too. That will definitely make Mummy Mouse start to cry." But Little Mouse didn't.

On soft little mousey feet, Little Mouse crept over to the baby mice. "Shhhhhhh," he whispered. "Mummy's busy, but I am here. Now what's the matter?"

The baby mice were so surprised to see their big brother mouse that they all stopped crying.

"We want Mummy!" they squeaked.

Little Mouse thought. Then he had a good idea. He cuddled up next to the baby mice and said "I know I'm not Mummy, but maybe if I tell you a story, it will make the time go quicker while she finishes her jobs. Is that ok?"

"Yes please!" squeaked the baby mice, "and could you sing us a song as well?"

"Of course," said Little Mouse.

So he did.

When Mummy Mouse finished sweeping, she came inside wondering why all the baby mice
were being so quiet and good. She saw Little Mouse with all his baby brothers and sisters curled up around him, snuggling together as they listened to his story.

"Thank you, darling Little Mouse," said Mummy Mouse, and she gave him the biggest, warmest most loving hug that he could imagine.

"Little Mouse looked after us!" said the baby mice.

"I know," said Mummy Mouse, "and that makes me very very happy."

Well, you can imagine how disappointed Whistling Wind was when she heard that! She took a deep breath and got ready to sing her sad song.

But then, she looked again at the little mousehole with all the happy baby mice clustered around their Mummy and she saw Little Mouse, with a big smile on his whiskers, and she thought "Hmmmmm. I'm tired of making everyone feel sad. I think it's time I sang a different song."

So she did.

"Laugh and be happy,
it's no fun to be sad.
Smile and be cheerful
and you'll make others glad!"

As she sang, Whistling Wind started to feel a little tickle at the corners of her mouth, so she sang her new song again.

"Laugh and be happy,
it's no fun to be sad.
Smile and be cheerful
and you'll make others glad!"

This time, the tickle turned into a giggle and before she knew it, Whistling Wind was
roaring with laughter. The sun started to smile too, and all the clouds did their best to make happy shapes as they swam across the sky.

"Hey," thought Whistling Wind. "That feels REALLY good! I don't think I am going to
sing my old sad song ever again. From now on, I am only going to sing my wonderful new song, and wherever I blow, I am going to make everyone feel happy."

So she did.


They both just woke up, so my apologies for any rough areas... it was written really quickly... but you get the idea. I'll let you know how it goes! Right now, I'd better go see if I can tempt them with some lunch :D


Quick notes based on first telling:

  • too much negativity in first part - only sing the sad song twice - three times is too much; sing the happy song three times!
  • middle line of sad song is uneccessary; works better without it!
  • too much detail in Little Mouse's introspection; cut back & make less obviously self-referential
  • Also more detail in middle part - have Little Mouse help a few other people before his mum - say a turned-over beetle and a bent flower stem?
  • Put more details into the story and song Little Mouse tells to his siblings - and make them happy magical sparkling details. Remember aim of story is cheering up, with secondary idea of being helpful to make others happy too, so increase balance of positive to negative otherwise it's a bit of a downer and too transparent in its efforts to get the child onside.
  • Things that worked? the sun - particularly the 'peekaboo'... Mummy Mouse's hug... and the happy song... but the ending fell a little flat - too obviously didactic?
  • So Whistling wind whooshed off hither and thither and everyone who heard her song danced through their day with a happy heart - show, don't tell!


Final conclusions?

Too moralistic (lecturing)... instead, needs to be moral (inspiring)...

Really two stories here - Whistling Wind Changes Her Tune and Little Mouse Learns To Help. Separate them and each one will become stronger. Introduce more surprising/unexpected moments. Work at keeping the tone light and upbeat, even in the 'sad' parts.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

It was

THAT kind of a day :(

Here's just a 5 second snippet. I won't subject you to more...

Added incentive to perservere with my new books: 'How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk' and 'Siblings without rivalry' both by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish.

Everywhere I went on the net where child (and parent) behaviour was discussed, these books kept popping up as the number one recommendation. I figured, if the Catholic homeschoolers, the Montessori mamas and the Charlotte Mason devotees ALL loved these books, they HAD to be good. I was right! They are just common sense, but sometimes it helps to have things written out as a plan. They work for all relationships too :) I'm even putting them into practice with Yeti lol...

I wasn't taught much about communicating when I was little. I can't handle anger - my own or other peoples - effectively at all. If someone criticizes me (for anything, no matter how small and trivial) I burst into tears. What is worse, I am teaching those bad habits to Wombat. What you can hear above is him screaming "Hug me, mummy... please hug me... just hug me" with the desperate broken-heartedness of a 3 year old who has just gotten into trouble and consequently his world is ending. But this is happening constantly - everytime he doesn't get his way... everytime I am busy with Munchkin (who is also screaming in the video. He's a very sweet-natured baby, but BOY does he get furious when he has a problem. Not just a little bit angry but absolutely off his little rocker. Gets over it quickly though - much like his daddy in temperment... Wombat is more like me and can make himself sick with crying and stress.) That's the thing... I find myself using all the negative comments that made me what I am and which I vowed never to use - "stop crying, you'll make yourself sick" - I realise now my mother was perfectly genuine (and in some ways justified) in her response and I find myself feeling that same coldness and lack of empathy - but I KNOW it doesn't work, so I went looking for an alternative method that suited me. (ps. I am not picking on my mum - the older Wombat gets, the more I sympathize with her - and pity my younger self lol - I just don't want to use the same methods and repeat the cycle for another generation.)

Just don't fall into the trap of congratulating yourself on how well you are doing with communication now and how there are fewer tantrums in the house and the problem is solved... otherwise you will end up with a day like today! A number of the reviewers on Amazon said they read from this book every day! That sounds like a good idea. Reminder to self: it's a work in progress and will continue for the rest of your life :D THERE IS A LONG WAY TO GO!!!

You will probably be hearing about these books (and others) again - there are exercises for the parent to do... I'll post mine here for my own record and the amusement of others...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Pay it forward

I will make a handmade gift for the first 3 interested people who comment on this post. I have 365 days to do it in...

What it will be and when it will arrive is a total surprise!

The catch is that you must participate as well: you must have a blog and before you leave your comment here, write up a pay it forward post on your blog to keep the fun going.
(just cut and paste this one if you like!)

I was wandering around following links from here and there when I ended up at Beyond Pink and Blue. I noticed there was still an opening in her 'pay it forward' game, so I left a comment, and now it is my turn to play!

I am having fun with the craftiness at the moment, and have plenty of photos to share, but I will put them in another post so as to leave this one uncluttered. I wonder if anyone is out there??? First in first served, and anyone is welcome to play, whether you are family, a rare and regular commenter, a lurker, or just someone passing by on the great rabbit trail of blog-links :D

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Snail drop number two

Dropped: Camden, NSW
Number of toys: 1
Made by: Schelle
Dropped by: Schelle & family
When: 28 March 2009

And: I had hoped to leave this snail riding the ferris wheel, but the queue was a mile long and she whispered to me that she was afraid of heights. We rode the spinning teacups instead. She was a bit dizzy after that, so I left her to have a rest on the fence between the teacup ride and the playground, where she could watch lots of children enjoying the show. It will take a keen eye to spot her against all that colour and movement! I wish I could have stayed to see what happened :D

Not quite where I wanted to drop her, but the boys were hot and tired and it was either leave her here or take her home with me again and I didn't want to do that :)

(I do know she was gone the next morning when they were packing up the show.)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A slippery snail drop

The snails I made for Wombat's birthday turned out beautifully. I will post a pic of them when I am finished making their mat to race on (my sewing machine has not been cooperating, so I have only been able to finish things which could be done by hand.)

I couldn't find any felted wool jumpers that I was happy with, so I ended up crocheting the shells. This was a trial and error process, so I had a number which were good but not exactly what I wanted. Yay!!! That meant more snails for toy drops :P

Steff, recognise the body fabric on this little guy? It's the waistband from the maternity jeans she passed down to me after her first pregnancy. I wore them for two pregnancies and most of the time in between, until the denim part was full of holes... and now they live again lol

Dropped: Camden, NSW

Number of toys: 1

Made by: Schelle

Dropped by: Schelle & family

When: 27 March 2009

And: When I left, this friendly fellow was happily admiring the magnificent steam engines on display at Camden Show.

I have another snail to drop this morning - I am hoping to leave her riding the ferris wheel :D

I have won Yeti's approval for this now so I am sure you will see more drops from me in the future - probably not as many as some as I don't get far from home very often - but every chance I get! Yeti likes the street art aspect - that's what got him on side :D

Monday, March 16, 2009

The bird is the word

Yup, the bird is out - in more ways than one :)

First, YIPPEEEE! My birdies were found!

The Toy Society website is back up - the birdies are drop #153. If you don't have time to click on over, here is what the finder said:

Found safe and sound, Friday 13th March, one pair of cute little twins. They were hanging out in bushes at Austinmer beach enjoying the view of the ocean and eagerly waiting for the sun to rise. The twins will take up residence this weekend at Berowra Heights when I visit my grandchildren. They will have a good home and be well looked after.

Thank you for the beautiful work


Isn't that nice?

Also, I don'tneed to worry about Yeti finding out lol... he was looking through the photos I took at the beach - and I forgot to delete the birdie photos. His comment:

"Why are they hanging in a tree????"

So I explained all about the Toy Society (his comment: "sounds weird")... with the proviso that I was planning to make a set for the boys (true) and I wanted to test the pattern out (true), and had found some things I wanted to do differently (true) and just decided to give away my first attempt rather than keeping them as clutter (true)... I didn't tell him I was doing it because it was FUN! and EXCITING! He might have thought I was even weirder (he knows how weird I am but he still married me lol).

I left up The Toy Society website later in the day so he could see it was all legit... he had a quick look, shrugged and said "all right..." in an "I still think it's completely weird but I'm prepared to humour her this time" kind-of-way. Hey, he didn't say no, so I am going to take it in a "yay, you go girl - within limits" kind-of-way lol.

Next on the agenda - Wombat has requested a cuddly snail for his birthday, so I am going to make him this racing snails game. I will need to make a test-snail first, of course.........

His birthday is less than a week away so I had better get a wiggle on - just having trouble getting Yeti to part with some old felted jumpers - he's only got two wardrobes full of clothes he never opens lol... but when I pulled out some candidate jumpers (felted, way too small, and full of moth-holes) he got a little offended, so now I must gently nudge him to choose some himself. (I showed him the snails, and he likes them... and if he won't do it for me, he WILL do it for Wombat lol). I'd use some of my own jumpers but I shoved everything that didn't fit in a bag and took it to St Vinnies lol (dratted decluttering... I knew I would need them someday...) {ROFL @ Yeti's tongue-in-cheek suggestion: "Can't you find some old felted jumpers on eBay?"}

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Two little lovebirds sitting in a tree.

I made my second drop for the Toy Society today! I am blogging about it this time, because it was nowhere near home :)

Although I know someone took my bunny home, no-one has contacted the Toy Society to say they found it. That's not surprising - I'd say that was true for the majority of toys that get dropped. It doesn't alter the addictiveness of the experience lol - it just adds to the excitement of wondering where your toy is now :D

I had so much fun with this one - I wonder if someone has found it already - though the Toy Society blog hasn't been updated since Monday. Very unusual... I guess Bianca, the brains behind it all, has a real life as well lol! I hope it comes back soon - I love watching what other people make and where they drop them - and especially reading about toys that are found :D

Dropped: Corrimal Beach, NSW, Australia

It was a BEAUTIFUL day for the beach. We were on our way to pick up an eBay purchase from a nearby suburb, so we gave the boys a treat after the long drive.

Number of toys: 2

I did think about making two separate drops, but they looked SO sad when I tried to put them in different baggies... I couldn't bear to keep them apart! (Plus, it is our 17th anniversary next week, and I'm feeling romantic.)

Made by: Schelle

Sitting at the computer at midnight, I suddenly realised we were going to the beach today... and it would be the perfect place to drop a toy... and I DIDN'T HAVE ONE READY! I grabbed the first piece of fabric I found in my craft cupboard, a handful of embroidery threads... and a few hours later these little lovebirds were hatched.

Dropped by: Schelle

I am keeping my toy-dropping a bit of a secret lol... otherwise Wombat would claim every toy I make as his own! I am also not entirely sure how Yeti would feel about it - he's a bit sensitive about time management at the moment, and me getting enough sleep. Staying up late to make toys for strangers may (or may not) fit in with his idea of priorities. It also makes things more exciting!!! I waited until Wombat and Yeti went off to explore the rockpools, and I snuck around behind a great big bush, while Munchkin watched from the picnic mat.

When: 12 March 2009

I sat with Munchkin for about an hour, during which time a number of people walked past from the car park and went up the steps to the road. They didn't see the bag - you would have to be walking down the steps to see it. I was worried about Wombat spotting it while he was running around - but I told him he had to be careful not to scare the real birds ----->

And: This 'tweet' pair of lovebirds should be right at home on this bush while they wait for their new nest-owner to find them - there was a family of Superb Blue Wrens bouncing around them!

My camera is great for many things, but it is just hopeless at photographing birds! Anyway, this gives you the idea :) and shows the steps down which the birdies' new owner will have walked.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Out for the duration

The boys aren't that sick, just enough to be demanding extra attention (there's a voice in my ear right now - "Mummy, you have to make lots of cars. Lots and lots of lego cars!")...

and my home journal planning is finished & being put into practice, so the housecleaning has started and is going well (yesterday I washed the velvet curtains in the loungeroom - for the first time in two years!!!)...

and Munchkin is getting more mobile (I was filling Wombat's bath last night, sure that Munchkin was still snoozing soundly in my bed... he heard the water running - loves his bath - and tried to crawl out to us landing nose first on the wooden floor OUCH!)...

and I have to re-enroll at the College of Law this month, which means getting all my notes in order...

and Wombat's birthday is coming up, so any computer time is vanishing into the search for perfect presents (for a little boy already so spoilt by eBay that he expects something new every other day)...

and the posts I wanted to write are piling up behind me in an avalanche of "shoulds"...

and the doctor tells me my insulin resistance and blood pressure are too high as a result of the extra weight I am still carrying from the pregnancies...

and I have decided to go back to drinking full cream milk as breastmilk is still an important part of Munchkin's diet and he is very obviously craving fats to build that growing brain. I was cutting all fat out of my diet in the hope that my body would burn some of the extra I was carrying to feed Munchkin, but it's just not working that way, and I refuse to compromise his development. The change is obvious - he is instantly sleeping for longer periods and is more settled. I used to notice the same thing with Wombat whenever I started drinking lite milk while feeding him. I was just being stubborn about it, but oh well... I have cut out all sugar from my diet, and the only other answer is more exercise... which takes time I would otherwise spend at the computer....

so I am declaring a time out :D I won't be writing or opening my Google Reader, so please excuse my absence. I'll probably be back after Easter. In the meantime, I will still try to keep up with my daily photos at Fleeting Reality - I am taking photos every day, and just getting them up onto the internet when I can squeeze in a few moments for myself, so they tend to appear in clumps rather than one at a time - yay for being able to backdate posts!

See you soon... I'll miss you... but a mama's gotta do what a mama's gotta do!!!

Friday, February 27, 2009

G is for... great expectations

I am having trouble with Tricia's blog - The Miss Rumphius Effect - every time I go there my browser crashes and I have to restart the computer. I can't even leave her a comment to say it is happening (or to let her know about my poetry stretching lol. This one wasn't that good an effort, but I did like my sijo(s)?).

As a result, I am not linking directly to this week's poetry stretch instructions, because I have finally got my computer stable enough to post my poem (I hope)! This week's challenge was to write macaronic verse - a poem that uses one or more languages, usually for comic effect. Here's mine (nowhere near as good as the other offerings she received!) but my brain is not working at its best, for obvious reasons :P

The boys are cranky.
They are sick.
Sniffling, snuffling, sneezing.
I am sick too.
Ich bin krank.
God Bless You.

You don't want a photo of us in this condition (trust me!) so here is some gorgeous, gentle green instead.

Can you see the little froggy hiding in the centre of the pumpkin leaf? We counted 5 green frogs on the pumpkin vine yesterday :D

It is still too early here for the Poetry Friday roundup. I shall try to locate the host and do the link later.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY (Tuesday 24 February 2009 )...

Outside My Window... last night's thunderstorm has left everything clean and freshly washed. The sky is now blue and it's looking like a nice warm day ahead.

I am thankful for... my new bluepearl earrings - a valentine's day present that arrived a little late :)

I am thinking... about all the things I need to catch up on.

From the learning room... lots of lego.

From the kitchen... mmmmm pancakes today - tomorrow is Ash Wednesday.

I am wearing... more striped flannelette pyjamas shades of blue this time.

I am creating... still working on the home journal and the button book.

I am going... to get Wombat dressed before breakfast.

I am reading... this nice idea for prayer during Lent - Lenten Lights.

I am hoping... to get lots of washing dried and put away today.

I am hearing... Wombat sitting on my lap and chatting about a playdough elephant he has made.

Around the house... the bugs have hatched out in the humidity caused by all the rain, so we are all itchy again. Lots of washing and vacuuming to do.

One of my favorite things... Wombat's imagination.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:

  • try to get to Mass tomorrow

  • continue building my home journal

  • battle the bugs

  • decluttering

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...

Munchkin - soon to be on the move...

This snippet of my life brought to you courtesy of the Simple Woman's Daybook. If you would like to join in too, you will find all the details here. Thanks, Peggy!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Come to the water

I am behind on everything this week... so I will backdate this to Sunday lol... Steff found me the words to the hymn I was looking for (THANK YOU!!!) - no music this week, sorry. If I get the chance I will sing it for you sometime this week :P

Come to the water

Come to the water, you who are thirsty
Though you have nothing I bid you come
And be filled with the goodness I have to offer
Come, listen, live.

Why spend your money on what cannot fill
The emptiness deep in your heart
Listen to my word and you will enjoy
Goodness and peace in your heart. (ref)

Just as the heavens are high above earth
My ways and thoughts beyond you
Call me your father and know I am near
I will be Father to you. (ref)

Just as the rain falls to water the earth
Just as the seed becomes bread
My word upon you can never return
Until my longing is filled. (ref)

Friday, February 20, 2009

F is for fantastic fun!

This week's poetry stretch was so much fun - I couldn't stop at just one! Tricia, from The Miss Rumphius Effect, challenged us to write a sijo! This is Korea's answer to the haiku. I'll leave you to check out the rules over at her blog - and even if you don't want to know how to write one, you should read the example she posted by Linda Sue Park - I will never look at a storm in the same way again!

Here is my first one:

An Amphibian's Nightmare

A tiny frog balances delicately on a blade of grass.
It trembles under his weight as he peers at his own reflection...

He jumps - startled! For a moment, he feared he saw a handsome prince!


Here is another...



Fluffy yellow wattle flowers cluster thickly together,
branches drooping under an avalanche of perfumed pompoms --

a buzzing bandit flees, saddlebags overloaded with gold.


And another (a true story lol)...


Lessons in forgiveness

A little boy takes the papers his mother has measured and cut
with careful precision and pours his glass of water over them.

As she starts to yell, he smiles... says "Mummy, thank you for having me!"


And the last one (for now - I am sure this is a form I will return to! Thanks, Tricia - I love it - though I don't know how successful these will sound to others!) Wombat was playing outside, getting bored with my preoccupation (I was composing the above). He said - "Tell me a story about DIRT, Mummy!" So here it is:


For thousands of years, this soil
has been forming: from broken trees
and mountains eroding
into tiny particles of dust...

for God, in his wisdom, knew
that little boys need dirt to play in!


I had my camera ready - this is Wombat's smile when I got to the punchline :D (note the state of his clothes lol)

This week's Poetry Friday is graciously hosted at The Holly and The Ivy. For some reason my internet connection drops out whenever I try to open that page, so I hope I get the chance to put my entry in before it is too late!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I did it - finally!

For several months I have had a handmade toy bunny packed in my bag waiting to be 'dropped' for the Toy Society. Today...

I finally managed it!

Go on - click that link and see what I'm talking about!

(I could have linked to my blog or flickr account, but since both have lots of photos of the boys and the toy was dropped at a local shopping centre, I suddenly felt all protective and didn't want them being recognized at the shops lol)

Now to get sewing on the next toy!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The veggie patch

It is almost exactly a month since I first wrote about the raised garden bed which Wombat and I revived as a veggie patch, and since I have lots more photos of it I thought I'd do an update.

Shortly after the last post, an unknown predator chomped the top off all our lovely bean plants! There are a number of likely culprits - wallaby, wombat (the four-legged ones) or one of the feral deer that roam our bush.

We replanted, and after a little searching around, I gathered enough pieces to build a rather functional fence. I was quite pleased with myself as it actually looks quite tidy. I slid the piece at the back (to the right of the photo) over the star stake, so it opens like a gate. Wombat loves it as it gives him more places to climb :P

The bean seeds seemed to approve as well - especially after Wombat and I raided the old chicken pen and scraped up all the loose straw to use as mulch (with a pram and/or shopping in the boot of the car whenever we go out, it has been quite a while since I last managed to get a bale of straw home lol)

Everything started to look a bit sick when we had weeks of extreme heat, but a little more searching under the house revealed some rolls of shadecloth. Problem solved (and more fun for Wombat).

When the rain started last week we were instantly faced with fungus problems (gotta love this place!!!) so I removed the shadecloth (storing it nearby so it would be quick to rehang when necessary). The sun and breeze made short work of the fungus. It was a good thing I hadn't wired the shadecloth on as I originally planned! It was so hot when I hung it that I just tied it with a bit of string and anchored it with clothespegs from the washing line! Turns out that was a very practical solution as it can be removed and replaced according to the weather.

We moved a nice egg tomato from a pot (where it wasn't getting enough water) into the garden, and at Wombat's insistence we planted corn (seedling emerging below). Corn technically should be planted at the start of summer, not the end, so we shall see what happens.
Here are the bean seedlings now - Wombat is waiting anxiously for them to get tall enough to be twined around the wire! A hint for gardening with toddlers - you can't keep them out of the garden, so add stepping stones! It took a few weeks practice, but Wombat is now very good at only walking on the tiles (and the bean pole and fences) and not treading on the soil.

This is the whole setup - beans at left back, tomato mid-right, two patches of corn (5 seeds in each patch) at front left and pumpkin/melon at front right. Not sure what it is as it popped up from the compost we spread as we were restarting the garden. The compost came from kitchen scraps, so it will be interesting to see what fruit develops. There seems to be two plants, as there are two different types of flower - a big orange flower which I think is a pumpkin and a small yellow flower which might be a melon.

If you are wondering how I plan to grow both a pumpkin and a melon (as well as everything else) in such a small patch (just over 1.5 metres square) the seedlings popped up right in the corner, and I just trained the vine out over the edge. I left a gap for it to creep under when I built the fence Now the 'pumpkin' is sprawling to the left and the smaller melon is trailing to the right, all providing nice shade for the soil and helping to trap moisture in the surroundings.

I will do another update in the future to show how things are developing.