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This week I'm grateful for... memories

How was your Easter? Did you get a chance to put your feet up and eat way too much chocolate?

I did!

We enjoyed ourselves silly down at Gran and Pops' house in Fibrotown. We always do. Gran and Pops still live in the house I grew up in and it's always going to be 'home' to me. I love that I can tuck the Tsunamis up for the night in the very room that I used to be tucked up in. I love that they can go wild with their adored cousins in the very backyard where I went wild with mine. I love that there is a memory around every corner (mostly because my dad is one of those dads who refuse to throw anything away, but more on that some other time!).

So, this week I'm grateful for...

118. Memories - and the time to indulge in them. My memory isn't the best, but I love those flashes of certainty you get from time to time when you remember something that you thought you'd forgotten.

119. Chocolate - what would Easter be without it? But I'm especially grateful that these days chocolate is a genuine 'sometimes' treat for me rather than a 'most day's indulgence. And really, who cares if 'sometimes' I eat, like, car loads of the stuff... That's still 'sometimes', right?

120. Support - I'm still a bit choked up over the support my blog received on her (she's definitely a girl) first birthday. Sob. What an honour it is to play a little part in so many wonderful women's and Glen's blogging life.  Thank you.

So, what's making you smile today? Add your I'm Grateful For post to the list below (and please, we love you, but it really does matter that your post is a Grateful one and not just a random), add the button (grab the code from my sidebar and paste it into your post) and pretty-please add a link back to me.  Then pop over to visit other bloggers who are spreading a little sunshine. 
Happy weekend to you!

[Image by Soup and Sunday]


The good, the bad and the blogly

Quietly and without fanfare, Maxabella loves...  turned one yesterday.  A whole ONE. Of course, I wanted a street parade (with bunting) (and a brass band) (and probably some marching servicemen – no, wait, that was Anzac Day), but foolishly I elected to have a mini-blogging break instead. The whimper approach to celebrating. 

Devastatingly underwhelming to an over-celebrator like myself. So I've come back a day earlier than anticipated, just to say 'yay'. 

'Yay,' she said.

I’m that amazed that a whole year has gone by in Maxabellaland that I feel the need to mark the occasion somehow. A quick whip around some favourite ‘older’ blogs tells me that the traditional first anniversary thing to do is a ‘what I’ve learned about blogging’ post.  What fun! I’m always up for a chance to show off – however ungrounded in reality the showing off may be. But since I’m not particularly wise as to what makes my own blog tick - and honestly I'm hopeless at all that SEO and meta tags and traffic stats and hyperhystericalwhyamIblogging testing (I made that up, did you notice?) - instead I thought I’d post a bit about what I like in other blogs.

I like a short post
Long posts are hard to make time for. Long posts tend to waffle on a bit. I confess that I will probably skim read any post longer than about half a page. Sorry, but I do. We need to remember that as bloggers we are both the writer and the editor. I think the editor bit gets forgotten a lot.

I like a focus
Be it your children, your art, your love of pretty pictures, your business, your dog (okay, probably not your dog, but that’s just me)... whatever it is, make something the main focus of your blog. Just so it all hangs together well. I guess your blog's focus could be product reviews and social service announcements and the like, but I'm sorry (snore) I'm unlikely to read them.

I like the unassuming blog
By that I mean that you assume I know nothing. So you’ve probably got a little ‘about me’ page or blurb somewhere. All the main characters in your blog are introduced and well-explained so if I’m new to your blog I can quickly see who’s who in the zoo. And if you refer to something you've blogged about before, please add a link to your old post so I can play catch up. This way, I feel like I can become part of your little community quickly and easily.

I like a story-teller
You can tell by my reference to ‘characters’ in the point above. Your blog is your story. Your posts are your (short!) chapters. Tell your story in an engaging, authentic way and I’ll always be back for more.

I like a topical blog
You’re posting about things that matter in your life right now. A rebuttal to a newspaper article you read on the weekend (Jacinta Tynan articles are always a good bet here); a reflection on the way a new trend fits in with your own life (wearing hot pants at school pick up – yes or no?); something important that’s happened in your life that you want to mull over a little with your blogging buddies. I want to believe that we’re talking to each other about meaningful things that are going on right now.  And let’s face it, if your posts are topical, then your readers will really, really want to comment. And you’ll like that a lot.

I like engagement
I love to read other people's blogs probably even more than I like writing my own. I try to make the time to comment on most posts I read, most of the time. I go through lengthy patches where a quick read on the train is all I can commit to, but I do try. I adamantly believe that reading, commenting and engaging with other people’s blogs is the key to being successful on your own. So, make it as easy as possible for people to talk to you.

I like it on the blogs best
I like it when you email me a reply to my comment, but I don't expect it. I've never done this, it looks like a bit of a chore to be honest. I take on board all the comments I receive on every post and my response hopefully pops up somewhere on my blog in the not to distant future. I try not to be too neglectful by emailing you direct if you ask me a question - um, most of the time. I feel slack now... let me know if you need some email love and we'll sort it out!

I like secrets
Always be snugly comfortable with what you’re putting out there, but don’t be afraid to be a little bit raw. I like the pretty blogs with the pretty people and the pretty lives, but I think I would be just as happy reading about them in a magazine. I like the blogs that keep it real a whole lot more. Real is a beautiful thing in blog world.

At the risk of making this an even longer post (see how waffly a long post can be!) I’ll be off now. But thank you all very, very much for supporting Maxabella loves... through my first year. Only once (maybe twice) so far have I ever thought it might become Maxabella loved...

What sort of blogs do you most like to read? Why do you think they work so well? 
What do you think works on your own blog? Do you care much?


edited later the same day...

I just want to say that, of course, some long posts are amazing.

[Image by sweet sweet life]


Easter chocolate break

Aaaaah... it's holiday time in Maxabellaland. I respect that Easter is an important religious holiday for many, but for me it's all about the chocolate and the mini-break just when I'm altogether flagging. Mostly flagging because we spent yesterday at the Royal Easter Show... Man! Next year I'll get stuck into a training programme six weeks out before tackling that marathon of fun, fun, fun again!!

Today we're off down to Fibrotown to spend Easter with the Grands. Delight!

The pic above was taken on my iPhone last Sunday when we got together with LOML's family for a little Easter loving. After a scrumptious Italian feast, Zia Lucia, the BEST AUNTY IN THE WHOLE WORLD (no, seriously, there is no competition on this one!) organised an 'Egg Hunt' for the Tsunamis. But this was a Best Aunty In the Whole World-style Egg Hunt so the Tsunamis came away with little trinkets and prizes and chocolates and new Autumn jackets and novelty sunglasses and invisible ink notebooks and... see? Even I can't compete!

Enjoy yourself.  I'll return on the night of Friday, 29 April with our Grateful linky. Join me then!


The praise junkie

Most of the posts I write have my incessant need for praise buried in them somewhere (go on, you'll find it). It's quite possible that I wouldn't even get out of bed in the mornings if LOML wasn't there with a swift 'you look gorgeous today, honey'. I'm such a praise-junkie that part of me even believes him.

Growing up I would seek praise like a heat-missile seeks prey. The need to please others was ingrained and impossible to shake. Which of course led to gushes of tears should I actually go the opposite way and disappoint someone. My poor parents, disciplining their daughter through a sea of snot. (Don't worry, Mum and Dad, karma came calling... Cappers is exactly the same as me. It's tragic.)

So, help me out a little. I've been nominated (by my sister, don't get too excited) for the People's Choice Awards in the Sydney Writers' Centre Best Australian Blogs 2011. It's very exciting as besides realising my dream of drowning in an avalanche of praise-sweet-praise, I could also win a creative writing course. Yes, I really could!

So, please. Vote for me. Then I will stop with this incessant groveling, I promise. Oh, at least until the Kidspot Best Blogs award comes out 'cos I've been nommed in that one too... why, yes, yes I have.

Click on the image to vote. I'm on page 2 (I always wanted to say that, or was it page 3 that had the chicks?).

[Image via weheartit and I can't for the life of me work out why searching for 'praise' just ended up with a whole lot of pics of dogs. Well, maybe I could work it out, but still.]


Good Cop… er, Gooder Cop

So, we have a problem in Maxabellaland. We don’t have a Bad Cop. Instead we have conversations that go a little bit like this…

“Nice work, honey. You were meant to be the Bad Cop in there.”

“Wasn’t I Bad? That was my Bad.”

“Talking about putting on your cranky pants and doing a little jig is not Bad.”


“What happened to Bad Cop back there?”

“I was Good Cop. I thought you were doing Bad Cop.”

“You thought kisses and cuddles and ‘ask your father’ was Bad Cop?”

So. Yes, we have a problem in Maxabellaland.

We’re definitely not the kind of parents who want to be our kids’ friends. Hell no. So we’re ready to step up and be the Bad Cop. It’s just that we’re both so easy going that we just don’t have that overwhelming FINALITY that a good Bad Cop parent has. I remember my dad in ‘hell hath no fury like a father whose children will not get out of bed on time’ mode. Man, that was BAD Cop. When there is absolutely no guarantee that your father isn’t capable of spontaneously combusting and setting you on fire, you do as your told.

Which leaves LOML and I… well, where exactly? We’ve managed to grow these Tsunamis for nearly seven years without a Bad Cop, but we can feel the need growing and growing along with their clever little minds. Without the finality of Bad Cop, we just don’t stand a chance.

So, please, have you got any suggestions to help us unleash our inner Harvey Keitel?

[Image via weheartit]


Chinese Laundry

On Saturday I found myself wandering into one of those random shopping centre Chinese massage places. My back was killing me and I thought a little massage might bring me some relief.

Everyone was very official and efficient looking in their white uniforms and matching smiles. People were blissed out at the reflexology chairs, offering a fabulous advertisement for the services rendered. I figured I could get a half-decent massage for a reasonable price. I said, "I'd like an hour massage on my back, neck and shoulders please."

An ancient lady dressed entirely in black stepped up to the counter beside me. She came up to my waist. I could have rested my drink on her toothless head. She stared up at me with the sort of contempt usually reserved for murderers.

"I do her," she said.

"Oh... really?" Ignoring the old witch and talking directly to the official and efficient looking woman behind the counter. "I really need someone, you know, strong. And tall. I'm tall... I..."

"She'll do you," came the firm reply.

I followed as the old lady shuffled out the through the main room, past the staff kitchen and through a door at the very back of the shop. The room was dim and crammed full of paperwork and potions and fungi. An entire cabinet was devoted to acupuncture needles. The shopping centre seemed very, very far away.

"On table," the ancient lady barked, pointing a gnarled finger at the sturdy massage table. "I come back, you have no bra on, you got it? Lie face down."

"Oh, okay, yes!" I yelped.

Climbing up onto the huge table I wondered how that tiny old thing was even going to reach my back let alone give me a satisfactory pummeling.  "Fifty bucks," I groaned.

She shuffled back in and barked, "You want melt stuff? I got melt stuff."

"Yeah, okay, whatever," I sighed, willing the whole thing to be over.

She poured something onto my back that felt hot and cold at the same time. Fumes of menthol and wintergreen and something pungent but unidentifiable (probably eye of newt) made my eyes water. The smell went straight to my brain and made my ears rush and my head spin. Disorientated, I barely noticed that she had climbed onto the massage table with me until suddenly I was aware that a toe was holding my neck flat to the table. Dear god, what is she doing? She held onto ropes suspended from the ceiling and she just ground her feet and toes into my back like she was putting out hot coals. She elbowed me, she kneed me, she punched me, she slapped me.

"For the love of god," I squealed.

"You, quiet!" She ordered. "You too impatient. And you got big bottom."

She slipped and slid through all the melt stuff and insulted me left, right and centre. "You too fat." Elbow, elbow. "You don't relax enough." Hit, shove. "You carry child on both hip, not one, you got it?" Punch, punch. "Stand on both feet, not one, you got it?" Shove, knee, push.

Oh my god, I thought, she's a maniac! It felt like she had put me in the washing machine and pressed 'Heavy Duty'.

"You drink that diet coke stuff. No good, you got it? You stop!" Slap, slap, punch.

"Yes, yes I'll stop, I'll stop!" Thinking, oh my god, how does she know that? She's a psychic freak* who's been sent to kill me.

"How long you book for?" she shouted.

"An hour," I heaved. "One hour!"

"I do 45 minute. You can't handle whole hour."

"I. think. you're. right." I gasped.

Next thing you know she's whisper-soft, delicately massaging the knots in my neck. "Ah, see," she crooned. "You like that, lady? Nice, eh?"

I melted along with the melt stuff, mewing like a tiny kitten. "Ah, that's lovely," I purred.

But POW the witch was not dead. She smacked me a mighty blow to the left shoulder. "This better," she barked.

Forty-five minutes later it was over. I rolled off the bench and hunched into my clothes, whimpering softly. I stood up to walk out and every single bone in my back cracked and popped like a percussion set. My foot felt weak on the floor. God, what if she's paralysed me?

But miraculously my legs moved and walking to the front counter, I found myself unfolding like an accordian. I realised that I hadn't felt this good in... years. I felt... straight. I felt... vital. I beamed from ear to ear. The old lady stood humped beside the counter, barely visible over the rim.

"You come back," the old lady said, a statement, not a question.

"Yes," I said. "I come back."

"I do needles next time."

Do you 'treat' yourself to a massage or other therapy from time to time? 
What's your indulgence of choice?

* Only later did I realise that I'd left a bottle of diet coke in the tray under the massage table.

[Image from the movie Marie Antoinette (Sony Pictures)]


This week I'm grateful for... engaged strangers

What on earth is an engaged stranger, you ask? Someone you don't know who is about to get married?


This week I'm grateful for...

115. Engaged strangers - those lovely people here and there that acknowledge the world around them and make outings with children just that little bit easier. The tough guy at the supermarket who pulled funny faces to amuse The Badoo at the checkout. The kind people who wave and smile back when my extra-friendly son says "hello Big Person, do you like Harry Potter too?" (and, really, who are all those people who just keep on walking past him with a frown? Who are you?). The lovely lady who gave Cappers a little sweet* at the newsagency (it wasn't that kind lady's fault that World War Three instantly broke out because "she got something and I didn't"). Yes, those kind of engaged strangers. I love 'em.

116. Homecomings - LOML comes home tonight. Woot!

117. Leggings - this time of year, I'm living in them. Actually, I'm kind of into them all year 'round. I don't even care that they are sooooo yesterday; I've got a feeling they are always going to be my tomorrow staple. And don't worry, I'm all about the skirt over the top!!

* You can tell me off for letting my daughter take a sweet from a stranger if you like... but we do have a rule that they are only allowed to talk to a person they don't know if Mum or Dad are with them... it goes okay. I'll write a post on the whys and hows soon.

So, what's making you smile today? Add your I'm Grateful For post to the list below (and please, we love you, but it really does matter that your post is a Grateful one and not just a random), add the button (grab the code from my sidebar and paste it into your post) and pretty-please add a link back to me.  Then pop over to visit other bloggers who are spreading a little sunshine. 

Happy weekend to you!

[Image via weheartit]


Wearing sheep's pyjamas

Okaaaaay then. I've got to get it out.

I'm judgey.

I know it's the worst possible offence of all possible worst offences, but I do judge others. Inwardly.

I wouldn't dream of being unsupportive enough to criticise someone outright, so I will nod and smile and say nothing. But inwardly...

Yesterday, for instance, I looked after six children for the day (my three plus three others). The oldest child was eight. We had a great day, but you can imagine the limp state I was in when five o'clock pick up time rolled around.

And rolled straight on by.

It was nearer to six by the time the first parent arrived to pick up her two (she had called to apologise at ten to five so all was well) and closer to seven thirty by the time the Third Child was collected by his. By then Third Child was fed and bathed and wearing a pair of Max-pyjamas, ready for bed along with the Tsunamis. Third Child thought this was just fantastic fun and, of course, at no time did I let on to him that his Mum was hours past pick-up time. In truth I had to hide my anxiety because there was absolutely no contact from his mother and no answer on her mobile despite my many calls and one or two (okay, four) texts.

I was dragging out the sofa bed when Third Child's mum finally arrived. She was apologetic (but not apologetic enough). She simply said "sorry I'm late, you know how it is."

I said: "don't worry, it happens, he's been a good boy all day."

I thought: how what is? Being two and half hours late to collect your boy without contact or explanation? No, actually, I really don't know how that is.

My main point of judgement, however, was that at no time did she say anything whatsoever to her freshly-scrubbed and proud pyjama-wearing son, apart from "Get your shoes, we're in a hurry." Not a "How was your day, honey?" or an "I've missed you all day, what did you get up to?" or even a "Look at you in your friend's pyjamas!"... nothing.

See, I'm judgey. I judge all the time and this is just one example. It's by no means a clean finger that I'm pointing with but sometimes I'm just not interested in putting my "she probably had a rough day and isn't usually like this" cap on. I'm not interested in pulling on my "not until you've walked in her shoes" shoes either. I'm not even interested in wearing my "whatever works for her and her family" pants for this one either.

See? Judgey.

I'm not going to pretend that I don't do it.

I think everyone does it, but we don't talk about it because ironically we're afraid that other people will judge us for it. 

So, we say "don't worry, it happens, he's been a good boy all day."

[Image from bluquote - I take no responsibility for the terrible grammar!]


Lush green daydreams

My whole life I've been a huge daydreamer. Some (like, say, every teacher I ever had) might call it "easily distracted". Others might say that a daydreamer is a bit vague and scatterbrained. I guess there is a reason why the expression "she's a bit of  a dreamer" isn't exactly complimentary!

But, oh, if you're not a daydreamer, you're missing out.

Besides my rampant Pollyanna disorder, I think being "a bit of a dreamer" is the secret of my laid-back success. How can I get stressed out when a pretty floral picnic blanket awaits me on a lush, green, endless hill whenever I want? While chaos reigns around me, in my mind I'm daintily snapping on Camembert and wafer-thin crackers as I watch a plump flock of ducks swim languidly on golden pond. Lazing back beside LOML, he gazes at me with a glint that says "oh rapture! Look at this amazing creature who won't stop talking such amazingly intelligent (and witty) things." His glint isn't even being sarcastic.

Funnily enough, there isn't a single child to be either seen or heard.

I'm really, really skinny too. Postitively gaunt. That's why, no matter how many times I find myself at that luscious picnic, I can eat and eat that Camembert without a single morsel of guilt along with it.

Are you a daydreamer? Where do you go?

[Image found here]


Super Mum Syndrome

LOML is away for the week, so of course I’ve morphed into Super Mum and can’t sleep a wink.

Do you do this?

The minute I’m parenting on my own, I’m super-vigilant, super-responsible, super-patient, super-tidy and super-organised. It’s exhausting, but I can’t help it. If it wasn’t for the fact that I couldn’t possibly sustain this uber-parenting style for longer than, oh, a week, I would definitely believe that kids are better off with only one parent.

I think I cruise a little bit when there is the two of us. “Oh,” I think. “What’s it matter?  LOML can read The Badoo That Annoying Princess Book later, so I’ll palm her off for now.” Or “LOML wrestled with the Tsunamis for hours this morning, so I’ll just smile and wave at them on the trampoline while I read my book.” Then there’s the enabling: “LOML’s doing his own thing too, and he’s not worried that it’s 20 past one and the Tsunamis are rummaging in the bins for lunch, so why should I?”

That type of thing.

There’ll be none of that now I’m on my own. I’m strong and steely and endlessly cheerful. “It’s all up to you,” I think. “You’re responsible for the happiness of these children today, tonight and for the rest of the week, their lives. So, mother-up, we’re going in.”

The Tsunamis love Super Mum. She’s endlessly patient, inventive and kind. Who cares if she’s a bit over-excited and can’t seem to stop moving? She’s just very, very cheery is all. Very cheery. And, Mum, MUM!  I’m still drinking that... oh well, at least she’s not bugging us to help her clean up.

No, really, do you do this too?

[Image by tibiloo]


The third drawer down is on the up

Remember when I shamelessly revealed my crazy third drawer down? Well... look at it now. Yes, that's it in the pic above. Can you believe it? I am officially crowning myself (as one does) the Queen of Clutterbusting. I'm very sorry reigning Queen of Clutterbusting, wherever you are (probably working for the actual Queen or something), but I'm taking over the coveted title.

See those little cuppy things and the bigger tray things? They all snap together and you can make any combo that fits. I bought the lot for less than $20 at Howards Storage World.

Embarrassingly, the whole job took me under an hour.

I'm freeeeeeeeeeeeee!!

Of course, I am not blind to the fact that there is a lot of room on top of all those marvellous cuppy and tray thingies so PLENTY of space for throwing things in with a nonchalance that would immediately strip me of my Queen of Clutterbusting title. So, don't worry, that third drawer down will be back to utter chaos in no time. I'll give it... oh, a week.

But let me gloat for that week, okay? I'm freeeeeeeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeee!!

How do you go with the clutter busting? Can you live in chaos or does it send you bonkers?


That entrepreneurial thing you do

A little part of me has always wanted to open my own business. Doing what, I'm not exactly sure, but maybe a children's party service, maybe a cafe (not just a virtual one!), maybe really throw it all in and open some kind of gardening business. There's a romance in doing your own thing that really appeals to me; a great satisfaction in providing for yourself.

That's the little part of me.

The big part of me realises that entrepreneurial I am not. I have neither the stamina nor the self-discipline required to run my own show. Plus I'm much too needy; who would praise and compliment me for a job well done if I worked on my own? I couldn't rely on grouchy customers, surely?

That hasn't stopped my head from being turned by those Huggies 'mumrepreneur' grants (and not just because 'mumrepreneur' is just such a lame word). Have you seen what they're offering? $20,000 to help five lucky mummas realise their small-business dream. Imagine! I've been thinking up grand schemes for weeks, conveniently forgetting with every single dream that I am still myself and $20,000 isn't gonna change that! Although, now that I think about it, $20K is a whole lotta praise, right?!

But what about you? Do you fancy yourself as an entrepreneur? Could you imagine opening your own business? What would you do? I know many, many of you lovelies already do and I would be very interested to hear what made you take the leap and just begin.

[Image via weheartit]


This week I'm grateful for... tissues

Have you noticed that I'm not getting about much? I've been working hard in a fab new role at work. I love it, but learning something new takes time so the hours have been long and full on. It's been Couch City all the way for me when I get home. And I've got a nasty, throaty, coughy cold.

So, it's been a tired old week in general.

But a good one.

This week I'm grateful for...

112. Couch City - sometimes all you want to do is lie down and watch inane television and that's what Couch City is aaaaaallll about.

113. Tissues - seriously, how did people manage with just hankies? They look pretty, but they're also pretty useless. Hanky. Even the word sounds limp and feeble. (Although, check out The Mother Huddle for a cute idea for pretty handkerchiefs.)

114. Daphne - the thought of sweet, sweet Daphne wafting across a chilly breeze - one of the great pleasures of winter. I can't wait to plant my own (still sitting in the box after I bought it in last week... hmmmm... obviously I can wait!)

So, what's making you smile today? Add your I'm Grateful For post to the list below (and please, we love you, but it really does matter that your post is a Grateful one and not just a random), add the button (grab the code from my sidebar and paste it into your post) and pretty-please add a link back to me.  Then pop over to visit other bloggers who are spreading a little sunshine. 

Happy weekend to you!

[Image found here]


Ms Nosybella: what's the one...?

Hello Maxabella Lovelies

Go on, you know you've missed Nosybella from the bottom of somewhere deep inside where you keep all your secrets... haven't you?!

I'm still coming to grips with the fact that I'm behind on my Fridge Chronicles by, like, months now (how will I ever get it back?)... so I couldn't let Ms Nosybella go the same way.

Today, I want to go deep and talk about how you live. If the things we do every single day define our life, how are we tracking? Ages and ages ago I did a post about beliefs and ever since I've been thinking about how the way we live day to day impacts on our philosophy. I have a post marinating in my brain somewhere (probably stuffed in there behind the leftovers), but before I get it out, I want to know (my answers in italics):

What's one thing you think about every day?
Sex (and how to avoid it) (Am I joking?)

What's one thing you do every day?
See above (Am I joking?)

What's one thing you wish you didn't have to do every day?
Oh, enough with the sex jokes, Ms Nosybella! 

The one thing I think about every day is how to nurture my children's creativity; the one thing I do every day is kiss my husband; the one thing I wish I didn't have to do every single day is wake up and get out of bed. But one day I will regret that wish, I just know it!

I would be very interested in all thoughtful responses (or silly ones, as long as they are really funny and not just wanna be funny like mine!).

'til next time

[Image via weheartit and lost forever more in etherspace]


As if you haven't had enough of my many and varied opinions lately, I'm over on the Mummy Panel at Alice Becomes today (or maybe tomorrow, depending on when you're reading!) talking about how I like to help Other Children's People raise their offspring.

The Mummy Panel is such a super-cool initative that I wish I'd invented it myself! Enjoy!


Wymyn and me

Whist I have an abhorrence for terms like 'wymyn' (puleese!), I have been grappling all month with the fact that I let International Women's Day slide by without a celebratory post. Back in the day, I was all about the girl power. I used to wear badges that said things like 'Billions of men, why animal test?' and 'When will someone have the balls to castrate rapists?' I went to rallies and, hell, I even did a year of Wymyn's Studies (including 'herstory') at Sydney Uni. Oh yes, I was well up on the feminist literature. I bored myself stupid.

And then, ('scuse the pun) it all just petered out.

I think it all started with the Reclaim the Night march. I didn't get why men couldn't march with us. There was a massive debate about should-they-or-shouldn't-they in 1993 and the answer came back 'they shouldn't'. Well, I didn't agree with that at all and neither did many of my friends. One of them dressed in drag and came along anyway... the reaction of our fellow marchers was anything but pretty (hey, the only way to carry a heavy load is to lighten up, ladies!). And it suddenly occurred to me that I didn't agree with the exclusiveness of feminism. I didn't think we would ever get where we needed to be without the support of the, er, myn.

I get that we had to start without them. I mean, frankly, back in Mary Wollstonecraft's day, the men were more likely to march over you than march with you. But that's kind of the point. These days (or at least back in the dark ages of 1993) men want to show support, they want to be part of the movement that says 'equal rights for all' and 'when will someone have the balls to castrate rapists?'

Then there was the whole 'gender neutral' thing. I never got that either. I think herstory has shown us that most other women didn't really get it either. Sure, a woman can do all the stuff that men can do with a little bit of help from technology (bin man, anyone?), but did she want to? Hmmm... maybe not. But at least she has the choice these days, right? At least she got to decide what her life could be like and set about making it happen. It wasn't just a given that she didn't want to be the guy lifting 185 heavy bins before sunrise. And frankly, if the bin man turned around and decided he wanted a career change and decided to stay at home and raise his six kids under five, then that was okay too (and, dear god, good luck to you, Bin Man).

But remember this, without feminism, I wouldn't even be writing this post. I wouldn't have a voice. I wouldn't have a choice. I would probably have twenty babies and pointy boobs. 

So I embrace the suffragettes and I embrace those silly raunch-culture girls and I embrace the women who wrote all those seriously mad articles I ploughed through in Women's Stuides and I embrace the women who call all men rapists (actually, no I don't embrace them at all, but still). I am still very proud to call myself a feminist.

I thank the pioneering wymyn who made it all happen for me. Who were marched over time and time again but continued to rise up and demand the right to choose. Who said 'I will not be silenced, I will not be bullied', who cried 'I matter and I'm here'. I'm sorry something went a bit wrong and your cause became deeply unfashionable. Maybe when women stop cleaning the glass ceiling, we'll realise that feminism hasn't run it's course. That there is still some heavy lifting to do.

What does feminism mean to you?
 [Image by Clouded Sunny]


Please spam me, I love you too

Talk me through spam. Who writes it? Why? What do they hope to get out of it?

I imagine that if it was a solid marketing message spammed onto carefully targeted blogs... well, it would still piss me off royally, but at least I could understand it. There's always someone who buys that stuff thereby opening the floodgates.

But, really, I don't want to BOYCOTT AMERICAN WOMEN, despite the fact that you've asked me to about 128 times now. Nor am I particularly fond of your broken-English promise to love my blog for all iturnity. And, please, I'm just not that into obscure Russian invitations to... er, what exactly?

Where do you come from? I don't understand.

Don't worry, I'm in no danger of turning back on my word verification. I probably get about six spams a day and the spam catcher thingy gets those. But, ooooooooh, ANOTHER scrouge on the world that I have to almost-read so I know that I don't want to read it. Like a lot of advertising (ssssshhhhh... I didn't just say that... you know I LOVE my advertising industry... but only the really good, clever, entertaining stuff... and I still don't want to buy anything!)

Have you ever responded to an unsolicited email? 
Have you ever bought something from a random telemarketer?
Do you think charities should be allowed to call you even when companies can't? (Just thought I'd throw that one in there!!!)

[Image via Buzzfeed]


♥ Loving twine

[AmberLawrence on etsy]

After writing my Grateful post a few days ago, I couldn't help but go on a bit of a twine spree (as you do). I confess that I have loads of the stuff, all different kinds. Can't get enough. It's the kind of stuff that makes me get all itchy I love it so much. Really, what's wrong with me!?

I was going to show you spools and spools of the good stuff, but it just looked, well, kinda like a whole lot of string. Which really didn't help build my case. So here we go... yummy twine in action.

Come take an etsy with me (I'm entering 'etsy' into the dialogue as an adjective. It means 'journey into a wonderous rabbit hole; pack a sandwich and  flask, we're going to be a while'...)

[Novachix at etsy]

[hellodahlia on etsy]

[Saratops on etsy]

[Skapligt on etsy]

Oh my! And now I feel another garland-fetish post coming on... stay tuned!

Do you get toey for the tiey stuff too? Is there another simple old thing that makes you happy?


'Cos we are living in a technical world

So, last week a colleague asked me without a trace of irony if I could recommend some age-appropriate apps for her one year old. She did.

It's got me thinking: when is technology itself age-appropriate?

While outwardly I may be a complete wanker with a wireless tv and stereo set-up where I download movies* onto one of my two laptops** and watch them on my taking-over-the-house sized plasma while setting the TIVO from either my BlackBerry or my iPhone***, deep down inside I am a total Luddite.

Hear me out.

I didn't mean to get addicted to technology. I can think of a hundred more interesting things I'd rather be doing than watching tv or playing some mindless game on my phone****. For that reason, I don't believe in television for the under 2s (although I admit that this failed miserably for The Badoo who has been tuned in since birth due to her two siblings). I certainly don't believe in computers and apps for the juniorburgers - in fact I think school age is about the age that games and google should appear.

Which is what I really do believe, but is not what happened at our place.

In this day and age there's a fear that if your child isn't unwired from birth, she's missing out. It's almost as if being able to use technology has become a developmental milestone. I was never one for propping the Tsunamis in front of the giggle box and to this day they are not huge tele watchers, but I have failed in all other aspects.

I think I freaked out when Maxi-Taxi was three and thought the only mouse in existence squeaked and terrified his mumma. Within the week he was googling Diego and by the end of the month he was busy searching for the Chipmunks on Youtube. These days all three Tsunamis know how to use the iPhone and each one tends to animals in a Tap Zoo thingy that I honestly don't have a clue about. Technology for the under tens is LOML's domain.

There's something really wrong about that. But I'm not sure what. Is this just a generational reaction that I'm having? I think our grandmother's felt the same way about television and their mothers probably thought that radio was going to corrupt us all. And they were right, of course...

What do you think about technology and the youngsters? What age is the 'right' age? Does it worry you when you see kids in nappies glued to their parent's smartphone?

* Yeah, okay, so LOML does all the techy bits.
** Work and home.
*** Seriously. What am I like? I can't give up the BlackBerry email and I can't give up the iPhone apps.
**** But only one thing I'd rather be doing than blogging.

[Image by pyxelated]


This week I'm grateful for... little bits of lovely

Anyone who reads my blog (or probably even just glances at it) will know that I love a pretty picture. For me, the world  has always been a colourful pageant of visual moments that I process and capture inside to keep for whenever I need a lift. A bottomless well of loveliness that I draw from every day.

The smallest thing can make me pleased for days.

So, this week I'm grateful for...

109. My spool of twine - the twine is rough and a bit earthy. The spool is battered and wooden. I can't stop looking at you.

110. My trug - I don't even have a vegie patch for you to assist with produce carriage, and to use you to bring in my little grabs of herbs is just ridiculous, but use you I must.

111. A ric-racked hemline - the smallest hint of ric-rac and I'm in love with little girls all over again.

So, what's making you smile today? Add your I'm Grateful For post to the list below (and please, we love you, but it really does matter that your post is a Grateful one and not just a random), add the button (grab the code from my sidebar and paste it into your post) and pretty-please add a link back to me.  Then pop over to visit other bloggers who are spreading a little sunshine. 

Happy weekend to you!

Thank you, dear sis, MultipleMum for hosting us last week. I think lots of new friends were made.

Oh, and enjoy meeting up with our British lovelies via Michelle's 1,2, 3 Cheerful at Mummy From The Heart.

[Image by Jen Gotch]