Sunday, March 30, 2008


I truly love where we live. It's not the most glamorous part of Sydney and, frankly, I wouldn't be interested in living in those parts anyway. I don't even particularly want to live by the beach because imagine taking it for granted or, worse, getting sick of it? And where would you go if you wanted a nice day out on a sunny day?
No, I love our river. OK, it's stinky when the tide is low and it's usually accessorised by a least a dozen floating Coke bottles, but there's just something about it that to me is magical. Because I love it, I see it as beautiful.
Anyway, yesterday afternoon I went off for a walk and discovered a sculpture competition across the road from our house, in the park by the river.
There was this beauty

and this

Someone had fun

Then at 8 o'clock, for Earth Hour, we headed back across to the river, where the path was illuminated by coloured paper lanterns lit by glowsticks. We took a seat and, for the first time since we have lived in the area (three years), observed the river at night. As part of Earth Hour lanterns made from all manner of recycled materials were floated upon the river.

The effect was quite enchanting.

Friday, March 28, 2008

It's autumn! It's autumn!

There's a chill in the air here in Sydney ... and I couldn't be happier about it.

Autumn is my favourite time of the year. Always has been.

And given that this year hasn't started well, I'm looking at this entry to my favourite season as a turning point. Things surely must look up from here.

There's something about the softer light that makes me so pleased.


On the Easter weekend we took a drive down to Stanwell Park, which is a nice little coastal town just south of Sydney.

We set off for a bushwalk - in the drizzle - and it wasn't long before I turned back, because slipping, sorry I mean walking, in the mud up a hill in the rain is not my idea of a good time.
So I waited in the rain down by the cars while Shaun stoically (stupidly?) "bushwalked". The view from there is quite lovely. It looks a bit like this:

Anyhow - indulge me as I share a second or two of what some might call new-age flakiness - staring out at that view something occurred to me.

You see all the white waves of the breakers? It struck me that those white breakers are like the daily dramas and anxieties of our lives. They're what we take notice of; those breakers command all the attention. The represent "the beach" when the beach is really so much more that than that. Oh yes, those breakers are captivating and dangerous.

Beyond them, from up on the cliff, I could see the swells - softer than the breakers, but swells all the same. They keep crashing in, turning into breakers. A lifetime's worth of worries, all of them out there, ever-present. Just keeping on coming.

And yet if you study the swells you can see that each is surmountable. Each one will turn into a breaker, each will dissipate on the sand.

Then - and here's where I hit upon my revelatory moment - I looked even further out to sea, to the horizon. The swells, they disappear until the water becomes smooth and calm.


There's so much of it. Stretching out past the horizon - much, much further than it is possible to comprehend.

So I figure that the old cliche "life's a beach" may not be so far off the mark. Those waves, the niggling daily worries that seem big, they're like a mere grain of sand when they're compared to the vastness of the calm and peace that's within each of us.

I do believe it's infinite and beautiful and soothing.

And that is all I have to say on this matter.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Indulge the insomniac a moment, if you would

So last night went like this:

* Watched some comedy on TV with lights dimmed to signal to body that it's night.
* Crunched a couple of Scheussler mineral salts for insomnia that the lovely Kim suggested I try. Kim, I do think they helped a great deal, I certainly felt tired before going to bed...
* Took two Valerian tablets
* Felt drowsy at about 10pm so started a 'sleep journal'. I sat in bed and wrote down my anxieties in a notebook then wrote a quick summary of all the positive things in my life. I found this to be a good experience and I turned the light off feeling good about sleeping.
* Talked with Shaun a while.
* Waiting to sleep
* Waiting
* Waiting
* 12.30 listen to meditation on my MP3. Nice, but nothing doing.
* 1am - do as Kim suggested and get up and watch 1/2hr of a DVD
* Become overwhelmed with frustration and take a melatonin tablet
* Back to bed, hoping to be asleep by 2am courtesy of the melatonin.
* Melatonin works but I'm highly irritated by Shaun's snoring/breathing/rolling about at 2.30am, so scrabble round for earplugs
* See clock tick over 3.30am
* Sleep shortly afterwards until 7am.

So, yeah, I've been trying to pick up teeny little spelling mistakes and grammatical errors on travel and business stories (on superannuation - hey, that oughta cure my insomnia) on THREE AND A HALF HOURS sleep.


TONIGHT however IS going to be different.

Oh yes, I've had enough of this.

I went and had acupuncture at lunchtime today - one of the benefits of working in Chinatown. I see this 'Dr' called Lisa who has a 'clinic' up a flight of rickety stairs above a Subway and next to a tattooist. The Monorail passes about one metre from the window of this place. You could call it no frills.

But she's good.

Damn good.

Tonight, mineral salts, good old-fashioned natural exhaustion and the acupuncture.

It's got to be a winner!

Oh and I promise not to post any more about my sleep deprivation ... because it's probably putting everyone else to sleep.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tired, so tired

There's something about years that end in '8' for me. They are not good. Back in 1998 it was a year of break-ups and emotional turmoil played out far from home. This year has been the most challenging in quite some time, for lots of reasons, but key among them is the fact that I just cannot sleep.

God knows, I try.

Every night I go to bed tired, early and ready to give myself the opportunity to actually have a decent night's sleep.

And almost every night I fail.

This has been going on almost all of this year and, quite frankly, I'm really unsure how to proceed. At what point do you say to a doctor, "give me something"?

When it first started I was waking at 2-3am unable to get back to sleep. Now it's worse, I have trouble getting to sleep initially ... because I'm so anxious about what the night is going to be like.

Now, intellectually I realise this is completely insane. I know it's all self perpetuating, etc, etc.

But can I switch off?


First I tried an over-the-counter sleeping tablet from the chemist. Basically an antihistamine. They knock me out alright ... till about 11am the next morning. They work, but the drowsiness is not so great.

Next up, I scaled back to Valerian. This worked for me for a couple of nights. These days I take them as a matter of course, but I usually need something else as well.

A good friend gave me a fantastic melatonin tablet that you can't get in Australia. These are excellent, they make you sleep without the drowsiness the next day. Thing is, I only have four left!

Then there's the prescription sleeping tablets another friend gave me. The ones that start with V. I am too terrified to take these in case I like them too much.

Exercise used to really zonk me, but this weekend we rode our bikes for 3.5hrs while my parents looked after E. You'd reckon I'd crash out after that. No, 3am it was.

Then last night I decided I would just take the Valerian and try a meditation Shaun's mum uses (it was on our computer). As he was downloading it on my MP3 Shaun said, "As if it's going to help you sleep, it won't work".

Seed planted.

Did it help? Of course not, not after he'd suggested it wouldn't (I was so upset that he'd said that - sleep is a loaded topic for me). The meditation did relax me, but it didn't help me sleep.

What to do? What to do?

I wish I knew. I try to do things by the book, no caffeine after 3pm, I'm eating well, I am trying to still my mind at night.

I suspect that is where I fail - on the 'trying' part. It's like there's an epic battle inside my brain every night. The anxiety and the worries creep in via my subconscious, and my conscious mind is there yelling, "Get out", "Don't think that!", "You CAN'T think that you're trying to sleep!"

And so it goes on.

I am a person who NEEDS sleep, who is usually a great sleeper.

Yes, I must remember that: I am usually a good sleeper.

I will break this cycle.

I will sleep again!!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

In an ideal world...

** sorry, you may have to click on these to actually read the captions, as I'm not technically capable enough to know how to make them any bigger


You know, no baby book, no parenting story, no advice from friends could EVER have prepared me for how hard this bit is.

Two and a half.

A few months ago I scoffed at the idea of Terrible Twos ... maybe we've missed it, I thought.


It was coming alright.

On the one hand with the increasing vocab comes increasing cuteness and wonder, but also raising its ugly head is the delightful spectre of...

Boundary pushing

Limit pushing

And just plain pushing (mostly occurs when the prospect of a nappy change arises).

Lordy, I hope to make it through this phase in one piece.


On a far more zen note, I am reading a truly sensational book. A book that I can feel creeping into my heart and mind with every page, a book that is changing my life sentence by sentence. It is called Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.

And I am in love with it.

I want to greedily consume every word right now, but I also don't want it to end.

Essentially it is about one woman's search to 'find herself' after a messy break-up, a divorce etc. She takes a year out and heads to Italy, India and Indonesia.

A friend lent me this book and its words are leaping off the page and into my soul.

Eloquent, beautiful, life changing.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Hey, I laughed

A few weekends ago I snuck out of the house - literally, I have a clingy boy at the moment - and I rode my bike to a cafe in the next suburb, sat down, ordered a beautiful salad (which by my definition is any salad you don't have to make yourself) and picked up the Weekend Australian. It was there I discovered this article and laughed ... what a great piece. Hope you like it too...

Terra Maternullius (lit., "a mother of a place"), a principle of law recognising that early motherhood can be terrifying. See also:
Post-navel depression, common disorder of the postpartum period in which flatness of mood prefigures flatness of belly button. (See also: “piercing regrets”.)

McConium, unpleasant waste product resulting from too much PNT (post-natal takeaway).

Burpup Peninsula,
a spit of land running profusely from neck to shoulder.

Cul de Suc, any place a weary traveller can rest her nipples.

Prepoosterous, bizarre infant behaviour prior to defecation.

any implausible explanation for a child’s bad mood, esp. “teething pain”. (“The paediatrician assured her it was nothing a good exorcist couldn’t cure, but she continued to cling to her alibite.”)

Snorgasm, the overpowering ecstasy of getting eight hours’ sleep. Sometimes related to:

the less intense (but hey, beggars can’t be choosers) pleasurable sensation associated with uninterrupted tantric vacuuming.

the ancient and utterly apocryphal art of getting what goes down to stay there for a change.

Madame Ovary, a woman so hellbent on achieving a pregnancy, she lives vicariously through her gonads.

Placentrifugal Force, the energy required to dine out on one’s afterbirth.

Proud Paparazzi,
unruly hordes of dads with more digital storage capacity than sense.

Boobonic plague, an engorgement of the brain often associated with free-range breastfeeding; rarely fatal, except socially.

Mustitis, a disease characterised by inflammation and swelling of the maternal guilt glands, spread by contact with mothers-in-law, clinic nurses, bossy older sisters and anyone else who tells you you’re doing it all wrong, then advises you to trust your instincts.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Friday night

Another Friday night home alone while Shaun drinks at the pub with his workmates ... sigh. Alright for some, huh? Anyhow, I supposed I shouldn't complain since I am on my third glass of wine. It might be the weekend but I am toasting my work. This time I mean my freelance work, because I've been commissioned to write a story about organic wines, carbon-neutral beers etc - green booze in other words.
And so, said booze has winged its way to my door. For I must try it if I am to write about it - right?
Sometimes I ought to stop a second and remember how lucky I am.
If this is work, well, pinch me...

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

So you you think you can dance?

Last night I attended my very first (if you don't count a couple of childhood tap/jazz/ballet lessons) dance class. Not strictly a dance class, but Latin American Dance Fitness, which is about as close as I am ever going to get.
I saw the flyer the other day and it's at a big sports/community centre a few minutes from my house, casual classes, all levels welcome, $12 a pop.
Why not, I thought...

Erm, I now know why not.

Hopelessly so.

I've just been to the dance company's website, and here's the woman who took my class:

And she was wearing about that much.
If I had abs like that, I suspect I'd be getting about in spangles too.

Anyhow, I thought this class would have more of an emphasis on 'fitness' than dance, but turns out ... no.

So here we are in a room with FULL LENGTH MIRRORS ... I mean, there the horror begins. I know I am hopeless and moving all the wrong bits but do I need to see that as well?? It doesn't help. It would be far better if we all just looked at the teacher and copied her moves.

We start with a big of kind of bumping and grinding the hips.
So far, so good.

We have to do some steps with a little hip wiggle thingy.
Hard, but manageable.

Then we have to add shoulder shimmies too.
Folks, I was a LOST CAUSE.
There was NO WAY I could co-ordinate all that movement. Not a hope in hell.

I could see all the other people (it's women-only) smirking at my 'moves' in the mirror. I suspect they'd never witnessed such clumsiness.

And the teacher? About 20 minutes into the lesson she seemed to have lost the will to live. (Fair enough.)

She went through all the moves veeeeeeeeery slowly.
To no avail (for me anyway).

She praised the class for "the good work" at the end.

I am sure she went home to her gorgeous Latin Lover dancer boyfriend and killed herself laughing about the clunky, chunky Aussie chick whose 'Latin moves' approximately something you might see in the boxing ring. (And she wouldn't be too far wrong there)

It was exercise alright - an exercise in utter humiliation.

So that's it for my foray into the world of salsa, merengue, cha-cha - right?
Nah, call me a fool, but I'll probably go again next week.

Everyone needs a challenge, huh?

This one is BIG