Thursday, January 31, 2008


On the bus shelter near Central Station.
An ad for Coopers beer

On the church noticeboard near where E goes to daycare.

Both of these tickle me.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Sometimes life throws you these little nuggets of wonder, occurrences that illuminate the everyday and that form the basis for many an extended dinner party tale. I had one of those last night. My very dear Music Ed friend asked me along to see The Police. So there we were, strolling down to our seats in the VIP area – eight rows from the stage. We’re pretty pleased with our possie when C nudges me and says, “Hey that’s Hugh Jackman in front of us.” Indeed it was. Handsome Hugh out with his wife and two friends. And then we notice another rather famous somebody is seated right in front of us as well.

Can you guess who? Can you tell by the glossy blonde ponytail and the shaggy-haired husband. Nicole. Our Nicole. Right there. About a metre away. Directly between me and the stage, which to my sheer delight gave me carte blanche to stare at her for the entire length of the show. People watching has never been so damn good. So let me begin by saying what an amazing place we live in: this is one of the richest, most famous women in the world and she is just enjoying the concert, no-one particularly bothering her (if you don’t count the gawking). Sure there was a security guard hovering near the row, but no-one tried to call out to her or ask for an autograph or a photo. When you consider her status and the fact she’s number one on the paparazzo hit list right (pics of her baby bump are commanding big bucks), that’s pretty amazing. Yes, the baby bump. Because I know she’s pregnant I could see it. Had I not known, I’m not sure I would have noticed. This woman is slender. Tall and so slender. And she was wearing expensively cut skinny (make that super-skinny) black jeans (the kind of jeans I would have given a wide berth during pregnancy, but there you go) and an expensively cut couture top with beautiful, delicate feathering on the shoulders. She stood up and danced quite a bit. Now when I say she danced I mean she swayed her head a little and did that cool-girl sashay of the hips (as opposed to me who was bouncing up and down and waving my arms around to the amazing songs). Apologies for the name-dropping, but there must be a school of rock-chick dancing in LA because Cameron Diaz did the same “I’m groovy and gorgeous” moves when I saw her hanging at the side of the stage way back when she dated Justin Timberlake. It would be hard for Nicole Kidman to dance with abandon in a public place, because let’s face it, as cool as we all play it, all eyes were on her. Imagine if she did rock out a bit: pictures of a “hard-partying pregnant Nicole Kidman” would most likely make the tabloid mags and possibly even appear in the dailies. She probably doesn’t want that. However, she probably likes The Police (she was singing along) and she is married to a muso. Keith Urban looked to be very much in love with his wife, by the way. He was very affectionate and he spent much of the night with his arm around her or giving her little kisses on the cheek. I’d love to get my hands on him though: and the first thing I’d do is give the guy a haircut. That is BAD hair. Bad, bad, bad. He was wearing an astonishing watch though. It was smothered in diamonds and easily worth half a mill … maybe even more. During ‘Every Little Thing She Does’ he pulled Nicole close and sang in her ear “I resolve to call her up a thousand times a day and ask her if she’ll marry me some old-fashioned way…” Awh. But I digress: back to Nicole. The hair was expensive honey blonde. Up in a ponytail with a black ribbon. I don’t think I have worn a ribbon since I started going to university in Bathurst and cottoned on to the fact that it immediately marked me as “country girl”. Maybe I need to revisit the ribbon though? (Nah) Her skin was … faultless yet covered in heavy make-up. Fair enough, she has to expect she’s going to be photographed at any given moment. I can report though that she has no apparent wrinkles. Most peculiar for 40. Beautifully arched eyebrows, natch. Stronger cheekbones than you might expect. She looked less alien-like than some of the trash mags have been pronouncing her lately … yet the lips did look like they had been plumped. She wore little jewellery, just a mega-watt diamond engagement ring (three whoppers) and wedding band.
Starstruck? Moi?!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

If not now, then when?

If I had a crystal ball, right now I would ask it, "When is the right time to go back to fulltime work?"
Because I truly don't know.
At the moment I do three days a week in the office and that's all good. I also try to do freelance writing from home. But here's the thing: the toddler isn't sleeping like he used to (doesn't always have a day sleep - even though he still needs one) and that is bad news for me, as this is the tiny window into which I cram interviewing people and typing like a demon.
So perhaps the answer is to increase the daycare and do either four or five days in the office?
Or maybe I resign myself to the fact that Wiggle-sitting is the new window for working?
His age is a factor too. Two-and-a-half year olds are great fun and amazing little creatures, but they are also hard work. Sometimes I think I'd prefer not to do this particular kind of hard work. Let's face it, looking after small children is not exactly easy. And certainly not financially rewarding.
And yet...
I wonder if I would regret giving up time with him.
I wonder if being with me less may change the way he sees the world in some way.
These thoughts will continue to tumble around my mind but I think 2008 may be the year of returning to full employment.


On a lighter note, sometimes the strangest things happen when you turn your back.

Yep. Clearly underfed.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Summer fruits

This from the child who will enthusiastically eat a lemon. Yep, a lemon. Little show pony.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Our own worst enemy?

I read a great post on Surfing Free's blog the other day. It was all about a flippant remark one of the women in her mother's group made. About losing baby weight.
It was a fantastic post and got me to thinking about this weird thing that happens to some women when they have a kid: they turn into these ultra-competitive, holier-than-thou freaks. They are the mums who do everything by the book, whose babies sit first, laugh first, are toilet-trained first.
And they make sure you know they are doing so.
They are the women who remark oh-so-casually about how easily the baby weight "just dropped off" when they started breastfeeding.
While neglecting to acknowledge that it may not be like that for most of us.
There are a couple of women of my acquaintance who are like this (and it is only the women - I've never met a dad who does the whole brag thing to this level). You'd swear their children never slapped, squealed or had tantrums, so Pollyanna-ish are their mothers.
OK, so one I know is an older mother who longed for ages for a child, so it is possible to understand that her view of her child may be clouded by this. But, I swear, the way she carries on about how "divine" her toddler's behaviour is requires me to reach for the puke bucket every time I speak to her.
Unfortunately, it also has the effect of making me feel like I am less of a mother than her.
Because I don't feed my child only organic food.
Because he sometimes watches television.
Because I haven't enrolled him in dance/swimming/French lessons.
Oh dear, I didn't realise parenting was a bloodsport.
See, we chicks have something deeply primal built into us - the competitive gene. That's the one where we constantly size ourselves up against other women, where we measure our success against the perceived success of others, where we sum someone up in a half-second up-and-down glance (don't you love those) when they walk in the room.
And, you know, it's not doing any of us any favours. Particularly when it comes to parenting.
I have developed a strategy for dealing with these hyper-competitive mothers. I don't know if it's actually achieving anything, but somehow it works for me. It goes a bit like this:
Hyper-competitive mum: "Little James eats all his vegetables. He's such a good eater."
Me: "Really. E doesn't like vegetables so I don't really push it, tinned can is about as far as we get."
And then, once you've opted out of the competition, the truth seems to come out...
HCM: "Oh well, um, it's really only been the last two weeks that Little James has eaten his vegies."
Okay, so there we have it.
I sometimes catch myself doing the "retaliation brag", where E has reached some kind of milestone before the HCM's child, but I do try to rise above it.
What do these women achieve, I wonder, by perpetuating the idea that motherhood is such a walk in the park, that their children are so well-behaved, that it's easy to juggle everything and still have a perfectly adjusted child?
Perhaps they just want us to like them.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Budding Picasso?

Me: "Hey Ewan, why don't you draw a picture of Mummy?"
Ewan: " OK!"

Not bad for a first attempt, though I do appear to be missing some ears.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I think someone might be ready for a big bed

At Christmas time, when we were at my sister's place, E insisted on sleeping in his cousin's bed for naps. And he slept well and for long stretches. Looks pretty cosy, doesn't it?
Think it could be bye-bye to the cot very soon.

Sunday, January 6, 2008


Last night I went to see my second favourite band in the world (my all-time, never-to-be-surpassed fave is U2. Always will be). This particular band - Shooglenifty - has a special place in my heart because the members hail from Scotland, where I spent a fair chunk of my twenties. I saw them a couple of times over there and loved every second of every show.
It's uplifting, groovy music the band describes as "acid croft" (translation: funky yet traditional).
Anyhow, the thing about last night's concert is that I. went. by. myself.
Yep, on my own.
And it was ace.
If I'd have been organised enough I probably would have arranged a babysitter, but no. And we did think about taking E in the stroller (madness!) but he skipped his day sleep yesterday and was truly despicable by 5pm ... and fast asleep by 6pm. Plus, my music ed buddy is OS and I couldn't think of anyone else who'd be interested in checking out such an obscure Scottish group.
And so off I toddled on my own to this performance.
It's not really such a big deal, after all, I did travel round the world on my own way back in the days. I went to all sorts of stuff and places on my own. It's just that I'm a bit out of the habit of doing such things at the moment.
Actually, it was super-easy. It was the opening night of the Sydney Festival and the band was performing free (yay!) so there were thousands of people out and about. I pushed my way up towards the front of the stage and danced my wee heart out.
It's funny, I found myself at once self-conscious and liberated ... if that's at all possible. Self-conscious in that I probably didn't dance in such a wild and frenzied manner as I would have had someone else been there (thereby not drawing attention to myself) and liberating in that it was so freeing and enjoyable and ... wow, I had a good time. The more I scanned the crowd the more I saw people that appeared to be dancing on their own and enjoying the band as much as I was.
Feeling rather pleased with myself for making the effort!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Dress starts with D. So does Disaster...

See this dress? Take a good look at it. I bought it for my friend Donna's wedding last week, which was on a glass-sided boat on Sydney Harbour (sensational). It was the first dress in the first shop I went to when I was looking to find a frock. I wouldn't normally go for colours like these, but somehow they grabbed me. It fitted perfectly, and it is lovely with its pleats that fall to just below the knee.
I wore this dress just the once.
I write in past tense because the drycleaner has ruined it.
Shaun popped down the road to get our drycleaning today and brought the dress home. On one side of the yellowy top bit the fabric is pulled. There is a thread hanging out where it should be silky, smooth fabric. I can't see how it can be salvaged.
As soon as I saw it, I raced down the road and took it back into the drycleaners.
I'm not ashamed to admit that I cried in front of the poor little Vietnamese lady (it's not really her fault - she sends the clothes away).
Anyhow, I am trying to console myself with thoughts such as "it's only a thing" and "in the scheme of things it's so unimportant". Yep, all that.
But ... I liked that dress. In the whole realm of all things fashiony it wasn't even that expensive. But to me it was very expensive: it cost me $250. I just don't spend that kind of money on clothes. Ever. (And I may never again after this little experience.) I really deliberated before handing over my credit card, and the reason I did was that we have another wedding to attend in a couple of weeks. Damn it.
Why the heck didn't I just try handwashing it?

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Our Christmas in pictures

So we went out to my sister's place near Condobolin which, for anyone who isn't from these parts, is way out in the west of NSW. Normally it's possible to fry an egg on your thong by about 9.30am ... this time it has just been raining (a lot) and the weather was sublime. No day was hotter than about 30 degrees - so lovely. And the water! It was just laying there in what for the past six years have been PARCHED paddocks. And I do mean parched. On the drive home we passed a black swan floating along on a 'lake' in one paddock. Surreal is the only word for it.
Anyhow, we had a fantastic Christmas and here are a couple of pictorial highlights.

You know how some people aren't too pleased to open a present and find undies? Well, this is not the case with my son. He was delighted, because these are his first undies. Wiggles undies, no less. Delivered by Santa. Yeah!

Hamish, E's little cousin, got a pool for Christmas, so in they went. In their matching swimmers (also in Santa's stocking).

Nanny was there. They got to splash her.

The girls sat around a bit while the fellas played with their new toys - they all got remote-controlled helicopters. Very cool.

We climbed to the top of the Black Range, near my sister's place. It has a nice outlook, and this is my dad taking it in.

Basically, Ewan wants to be Pop.

Shaun got this lovely vinyl hat in a dodgy work Kris Kringle. E is quite enamoured with it...

Did I mention that the way E got to the top of the mountain was on Shaun's shoulders? He carried him the entire way.

Here are the Sandersons. I love this picture of my sister, her hubby and her boy.

While we were up here E grabbed the camera and Shaun let him take some pictures. HE TOOK THIS. I'm serious. It's a brilliant shot, isn't it? But before you think I am boasting about having some kind of photographic child prodigy on my hands I should state that ALL the other pictures he took were like this: