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At the Hell Service Station

So, I was at the petrol station this morning. When I'd hurried into the car earlier to take the Tsunamis to the dentist before school, the car beeped at me continuously and flashed that the range was '0 km'. Man, I hate that. I hate all the stupid beeping, but I especially hate the fact that once again I'd let the car's fuel tank get critical. Why do I do that?

Is there anything more stressful than running late to the dentist who is about 5 kms drive away and being continuously told by your car that your range is 0 km? The petrol station was also about 5km away, slightly off the course of the dentist which is about 2kms from the petrol station. I pfaffed about a bit, determining with calculations that went absolutely nowhere that because I had parked the car on a hill, there was probably still at least 7 km left in the tank. At least.

I drove all three Tsunamis to the dentist, I drove from the dentist to the petrol station, I ran out of fuel about two metres from the petrol bowser. I made that hose stretch, baby. I filled up the car, I went into shop and paid.

Then Maxi needed to go to the toilet. Of course he did. I got him out of the car, locked the girls in, went and got the key that was attached to an actual wheel hub which was so 'country' it was hilarious until I realised it was really, really heavy and you couldn't open the toilet door and just leave the key in it, you had to take it out and park the wheel hub by the sink while you used the toilet. Ridiculous.

So we did the business, hauled the wheel hub back to the front counter and came out of the shop. A guy in a ute (they are often Ute Guys) screamed, literally screamed, at me for taking so long.  He was so furious he was spitting and his ute was rocking like it was 1976. Now, I'm about as patient as a guy in a ute when it comes to having to wait, but this guy wasn't there when I went into the shop to take the wheel hub back, so he hadn't been there as long as you might think. I ignored him and continued on towards the car. He yelled something really derogatory about housewives who've got all day and what he'd happily do to them with all their extra time (what a wanker), so I told him to go 'f' himself. I actually said 'eff' because I was with the kids. I really, really wanted to say go fuck yourself, but I didn't. Because I was with the kids.

So, into the car we get and I asked Maxi if he had his seat belt on and he did. I asked the girls if they still had their seatbelts on which, of course, they didn't, so I got back out of the car to help The Badoo into hers.

Ute Guy lost it completely. He got out of his ute and staggered menacingly across the tarmac, purple with rage and screeching something that seemed to be about housewives and where he wanted to stick them. Fellow bystanders languidly kept filling their tanks as he lurched towards said housewife. Thanks for nothing, Languid Bystanders.

I stood my ground. "I'm putting my children's seat belts on," I said calmly. "It's for their safety and it's the law. Do you have a problem with that?"

"F you, lady. Some of us have got f-ing jobs, lady. We've got f-ing stuff to fill our f-ing days with rather than sitting on our fat f'ing arses doing f-all all day." You will kindly note that he was not as restrained as I and indeed used the actual f-word around my children, whose ears were flapping wildly in the back seat of the car.

"He said fuck," I heard Cappers shout with glee. "I knoooow," said The Badoo. "Fuck! Fuck! Fucking Fuck!" they chanted joyfully.

I looked at the kids, I looked over at that Ute Guy. I was ready to pounce on him with everything my vocabulary had and pulverise him into an incomprehensive blob with my words. But I didn't. Because I was with the kids. The gutter-mouth kids.

Instead I looked over at that Ute Guy like one might glare at the losing politician after a caucus ballot. I stared him down through half-slit eyes, my mouth like a constipated cat. He growled (also like a constipated cat, one could assume) but unexpectedly backed away and raced back to his car. Yeah, I thought, you'd better run.

But he wasn't running. He revved his engine and made it lurch forward, as if to accelerate into the back of my car (seriously, what a wanker) but ha! HA! He stalled it. One of the Languid Bystanders snorted in derision. Ute Guy slammed his hand on the steering wheel in unparalleled frustration. I got in my car, very slowly, and drove, very, very, very slowly - very slowly - out of that petrol station. I said nothing as a crawled away, I didn't even look back. Because I am a housewife and I am dignified and proud. And because I was with the kids.

Do you ever get the 'housewife' tag?
Is it ever actually attached to something nice they want to say?

[Image from Nero Magazine Italia via Piccsy]

... or maybe I am.

I've been thinking a lot about my last post. I'm rather sorry I wrote it. Yes, I know.

This is all coming from me. I haven't received any hate mail (although I possibly deserve it!) and I thought the comments left on my post were considered and thoughtful. No, it's me. Wondering about what I said and thinking that it wasn't quite right.

I think I see 'sorry' as 'regretful'. I don't regret a lot of things, but I want you to know that I am not a bull battering through the feelings shop (most of the time). If I have hurt someone, or done something wrong, I am the first in line to apologise. I was raised to put other people first in my life and consider their feelings, so when I get it wrong (or when I decide to just be a bitch and hurt them regardless, as we all do in anger from time to time), I am very quickly humbled and remorseful. I am acutely aware of other people's feelings so often I just know when I've trod carelessly, but I hope I am open enough for someone to tell me when I got it wrong. Tell me, and I'll do everything I can to fix it. Everything.

But I stand by the fact that looking back on my life, there is not a lot of carry-over things I'm sorry for. I hope that I have made amends for wrong-doings as I've gone along. Squared it away, made peace, moved on and here I am.

Thank you for listening.

[Image via weheartit from etsy not found. Please let me know if this work is yours.]


I'm not even sorry that I'm not especially sorry

I've loved reading some of the posts on Edenland's Fresh Horses linky thingymajig this week. The 'I'm sorry' week. What people are sorry for is amazingly revealing.

Or not. Most of the sorrys seem to be pretty much the same when you really think about it: sorry I'm not perfect.

I'm not sorry for much at all.

I'm aware that there are things I did or didn't do. Roads I took or didn't take. Unmentionables I said or didn't say. All the stuff and nonsense that make up a life, that make up a heart, that make up a me. There's loads of things to be sorry about, I suppose. But I'm not especially sorry.

Aware, but not sorry. Learning, trying, remembering, bettering... but still not sorry.

I'm not crawling around looking for reasons to hate myself. Slithering into corners to mull over my problems or wonder about the couldhaveshouldhavewouldhaves. I'm not over-analysing all the little bits of little that went wrong for me, for him, for her, for you.

I'm not sorry. What's there really to be sorry about? That we're human? That we fail / succeed / fuck-up / get it right / forget / remember / enjoy / loathe / live / breathe? That we breathe?

No, I'm not especially sorry. And I'm not sorry for that either.

Do you apologise a lot?
Do you apologise to yourself a lot?

[Image via weheartit. Not even Tineye can find the owner. Please let me know if it's yours'.]


Giveaway: Kindness in blogging and in all things

Have you met Tessa from Down That Little Lane? She's a sweetheart, that Tessa. Her words are kind, her heart is true and her family is so gorgeous you actually might not want to look. Oh, go on, do look. She's a doll.

Tessa's been on my rounds for ages as a blog I visit often. She recently launched the most astronomically wonderful online boutique called, you guessed it, Down that Little Lane. Again, it's a place full of such beautiful things that you might not want to look. Oh, go on, go look! It's so darn yummy that you won't be able to resist buying a truckload, but it's all such good stuff, what's it matter? Wallet? Stop frowning at me, Wallet. Look away.


One of the items I just adore is this 'Be Kind to Others' print by The Press Gang. I love its simplicity, I love its vintage vibe, I love its colours, but most of all I love its message. I have just now purchased one for my girls' (as yet still unstarted) shared bedroom. I think it might help them settle in together?

Tessa has very kindly supplied one for a lucky winner too! Yep, it's about time I had a fresh giveaway, don't you think?

All you need to do to be in with a chance to win one of these prints is leave a comment on this post. Tell me why kindness matters to you or tell me something else. Be sure to leave an email contact. That's all.

You can follow me, like me and follow Tessa and like Down That Little Lane too*. Of course you can, and I highly recommend it, but only if you really, really want to. I'll draw a random winner after entries close midnight on Saturday night (Sydney time) and post the lucky kid's name on Sunday at 4pm.

Leave a comment. Be in with a chance. 
And be kind to others, won't you?

* Defo sign up for the newsletter, though. From next month, there will be fortnightly random giveaways for newsletter recipients. You'll want to be in on that one!


Child labour

When is the right time for kids to be responsible for their own stuff?

If I never have to clear up Cappers' 'craft table' again, it will be too soon. That table, that craft, that girl... they are impossible. Little bits of all the little bits that I foolishly purchased and gave to her. All those little bits of little.

Everything ends up on that table. Everything.

I threaten to sweep the whole lot into the bin if she doesn't keep it tidy and then wish I hadn't because I have to sweep the whole lot into the bin. Later I have to get it out of the bin. It then creeps back into her room like a child in the night. All snug and cosy and randomly scattered everywhere.

I see it creeping and a little part of me sighs loudly. Then I allow it because it allows her free access to the art and craft she adores. I love giving her free expression, but I don't want to have to clean it up. Why can't she clean it up herself?

When do you think that will happen?
When will I be free?


52 Weeks of Grateful: Courage

It takes a long time for me to work up to something. I'm that kid standing on the edge of the pool saying 'count me in, count me in' and then not getting in. It can take many, many counts. Still not in.

And that's just fear of cold water.

Confidence, belief, trust, security - these are all the things that make you brave. And then there is something more, something indefinable. We are either leapers or we are not. I don't think there is a middle ground.

But, recently I did something scary and I did it without hesitating and I haven't over-analysed it and I haven't looked back (I actually haven't looked forward either - that's probably the main reason for my sudden bravery!).

 So, this week I'm grateful for...

212. Courage - The absolute knowing that something must be done. Trust in that knowledge, grit your teeth, square your shoulders... and you can do anything.

213. Generosity - So many people are so willing to share their expertise and experience. Thank goodness for generous hearts.

214. Maxibon icecreams - There is simply no better non-alcoholic way to celebrate.

Don't forget to visit me at our Kidspot Grateful group where I am talking about Dress-Ups!
I'd be interested to know what you think.

So, what's making you smile today? Add your 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) and pretty-please add a link back to this linky. Then pop over to visit other bloggers who are spreading a little sunshine.

[Image by Aya Smith via Flickr]



1. Unresisting acceptance of something as inescapable; submission. 

All that rolling. I resigned from my job. Unexpectedly and without much preparation, I resigned and that was that. It was something that I needed to cross of my list of things to do before I go insane. I'd never quit a job before. Well, I'd left jobs to go travelling or to university or to another job that seemed better at the time, but I'd never quit because I just couldn't stand it any more.

It was one of the most brutal things I've ever done. 

After five and half years, I am leaving a job I love. The reasons are many and varied, but have everything to do with the way that people are managed in a large corporation. The things that egos will do to get ahead and the type of shenannygoating that goes on and is acceptable. It's not for me. It was never for me, but I loved it regardless.

I honestly can't understand that and frankly don't want to.

I'm terrified to soon be untethered from my career. A lot of my sense of me is tied up in that lot and I'm uncertain and bewildered to be almost free. Regardless, I can see the light and it's bright and brilliant.

Have you ever quit?

[Image via Facebook]


Getting ready to roll...

Do you remember when all you needed was a hill?

When you did things just because they were fun?

You didn't worry about getting dirty or getting hurt...

... or maybe you did, but you went ahead and did it anyway.

I am on the top of the biggest hill ever and I'm getting ready to roll. 

I just really hope there's some rock with my roll.

Oh, please, just catch me if I go too fast!


Things I have seen that I wish I could see forever

Forget unseeing, my life has also known so much beauty that my eyes get tired from looking. Here I could put my husband, my children, Ryan Gosling and all the usual suspects. I'm going a bit more 'external' than that. I have also allowed myself only two travel-related items as I could write down twenty of them without stopping if given half the chance.

Things I have seen that I wish I could see forever.

1. Petra at sunset
It would mean going back to Jordan, but it would be worth it.

2. Fireflies in Mozambique
It was the most amazing sight you could imagine.

3. My house just after I've cleaned it
If only it would stay forever in that state. Forever clean, I wanna be forever clean... sorry, had a bit of a random Youth Group moment there.

4. Our bank account just before we put down the deposit on our house
It was so big and purdy.

5. Picasso's La Joie De Vivre
 So hard to choose a favourite, but I think this might be it.

What things have you seen that you could look at forever?


Things I have seen that I wish I could unsee

I'm sure we all have images burned onto our retinas that we can never take back. Once seen, they can never be unseen. They are part of us for life.

Five of the things I have seen that I wish I could unsee.

1. A man getting brutally bashed.
This was in Nairobi. He stole a bag. They bashed him.

2. Inside my friend's vagina.
This is a story I only ever tell after about 47 glasses of wine and 3 tequila shots.

3. The lint filter of my washing machine after discovering that my 2 year old washing machine has a lint filter.
No further correspondence will be entered into on this matter.

4. The ultrasound of a blighted ovum pregnancy
That sweet mother's face is the bit that I can never unsee.

5. The home of an obsessive-compulsive hoarder
I have had an aversion to clutter ever since.

What things have you seen that you wish you could unsee?

[Image (which technically has nothing to do with this post but it has binoculars and is pretty) via weheartitbutdon'tcreditit - please let me know if it is yours]


Do I really want to 'do' Easter?

I'm a sucker for a celebration. I like to throw myself into these things with abandon and go large. Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, sometimes Australia Day, sometimes not.

Easter has always been, well, Easter. Little old Easter. If you're not religious (and if you were, I'm guessing Easter is big), Easter is the most relaxing holiday of them all. Start with a few chockies left by the rabbit in any old hat, throw in bunch of flowers, a croissant breakfast and a disorganised backyard hunt complete with melting eggs and lots of fights. Easter. 

Now Pinterest has come along and I'm seeing that Easter can be so much more than that. There's this whole random Spring-themed, chicken-birthing, egg-painting thing going on in many homes. 

Do I want to deck the house with a pastel themed tree like Martha recommends?

Or add a sweet little wreath to the door to add a touch of Springy humour to Autumn?

Am I going to make egg candles with Martha (please, Martha, do go away)?

Gulp. Do I want to do the Every Kid In The Class thing?

Do I really want to do Easter? Another seasonal celebration that we're kinda in the wrong season for?

Do I? Do you?

[Main image: Easter craft and image by Kim at Retro Mama]


52 weeks of Grateful: Nature

I'm generally a big fan of nature. There isn't a problem in the world that toes-in-the-sand can't solve. Or the smell of gum leaves. Or cold mountain air. A valley view.

I really don't like a lot of it, though. The random things that bite. Great wads of leaves just flying everywhere. Things pooing with abandon, spiders lurking. And don't get me started on getting sand out of the car - the laborious cost of those wonderful toes-in-the-sand moments.

Yeah, I'm really more of a patio kind of girl.

But throw my Tsunamis into our backyard, let them climb and run and dig, swing them on the tree swing and I could never, ever go back to city living. And boy am I'm grateful for that.

Now gals, I've noticed a distinct drop in Grateful link-ups lately. Sob.
Are you over linkies / me / being grateful / life? 
Do let me know what I can do to win you back again.

Come visit me at Kidspot today!

So, what's making you smile today? Add your 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) and pretty-please add a link back to this linky or to Kidspot. Then pop over to visit other bloggers who are spreading a little sunshine.  

[Collage of my backyard made using my new best friend: Photovisi]


Newborn mums

This post is for my dear friend, who is struggling right now.

'Baby' is such a beautiful word, so full of history and promise and love. Squishy-ishy cuddles and sweet smells and overwhelming joy that makes you look at your partner in a whole new way. We made this. The closeness that a baby brings is magical. We made this, together.

'Baby' is such a scary word, so full of hurt and responsibility and unknowables. Selflessness, smells and overwhelming worry that makes you look at yourself in a whole new way. I did this. The terror that a baby brings is gut-wrenching. I did this, only me.

Late at night when all is finally silent and you're lying there, wide-awake, wondering, know this:

You are a newborn mum. You were born only eight weeks ago.

You are still missing the womb. Your baby and you; both utterly terrified to be out. Untethered. Nurture yourself as kindly and carefully as you nurture your new baby. There are no wrong ways, no right ways, just ways. There is no blame or guilt, only you and she and him and right now. The newborn world is relentless, but it has a rhythm of its own that you will find if you are gentle. Give in to the moments and trust that the future will take care of itself when it is ready.

You are a newborn mum. You were born only eight weeks ago.

What advice can you give my friend right now?

[Image via Facebook]


Cutie pie vintage

I adore getting creative with clothing. If I was skinny, I would be one hot dresser but it has come to my attention over the years that pre-1998 no-one appeared to be overweight and they certainly weren't six feet tall. Nothing vintage fits me. I'm lucky to get a roomy Sussan XL to fit me right now, but that's another story.

I initially wanted this post to be about gorgeous vintage clothes and the girls that become them, but I noticed something odd when deciding who to feature. The poses. All the gals who do the vintage look, well, they do the same poses as well. Are the poses vintage too?

What happens is that all these wonderfully quirky individuals end up looking a lot like each other. Somewhere along the way, whatever makes them 'different' makes them exactly the same. And, really, what is it with the 'little girl lost' poses? Does wearing vintage also mean you have to regress back in time yourself? The women I'm featuring here, and the stunning clothes they wear, are all marvellous, absolutely marvellous. And yet...

I'm not sure what to do with it.

The hair twirl
(aka the cutesy one leg bend)

This is Veronika from Girl and Closet

This is Ally from The Vintage Valley

This is Keiko from Keiko Lynn

The something very interesting is happening over... there

This is Rachel from Smile and Wave

This is Elycia from Love Elycia

This is Sophie from Her Library Adventures (love this girl)

The leg cross

This is Esme from Esme and the Laneway

This is Amy at A is for Ampersand

The skirt tug

This is Lilli from Frocks and Frou Frou

This is Kaylah from The Dainty Squid

The 'who little ol' me?' pige
(my personal fave)

See? Like I said, I don't know what to do with it, but there you go.

Do you like a vintage fash blog too?
Are you partial to a leg cross? A pigeon-toe? A twirl?

Click here for Sophie's gorgeous response to this post.

[Main photo is by Rachel at Smile and Wave]


My life, but not my life

The thing about this raising children business is that we can't live their life for them. When the chips are down and their little faces are creased with worry or sadness, I just want to step in there and take over the reins. Pull that great steed called Life up and say 'whoa there Life, whoooooooa'.  But I can't.

My mantra of 'I won't worry unless they worry' only works if I'm not worried. Maxi spent last Monday at home with a 'sore tummy'. I know what makes a tummy sore: frangled nerves. Because he always struggles with change (new school year, new classroom, new friends, new everything and, worse, no best friend because Elliot moved away at the end of last year) we decided to humour him. He stayed at home in bed, for the whole day. LOML was on duty. He let him out of bed for 5 minutes at 'recess' and 10 minutes at 'lunchtime' and the rest of the time he was bored out of his brain.

On Tuesday he skipped off to school with a trio of stuffed rats in his pocket, 'just in case'. In case of what, I'm not certain, but I think they were there in case he didn't have a friend in the playground. Made my heart and my bottom lip wobble. The fact that he was skipping in, the fact that he'd come up with a solution to his worries all on his own - all that was lost on a worrying mumma. My boy, he struggles. Or maybe it's me that struggles.

We can prepare them, we can love them, we can smooth their shirts and fluff their hair, but we can 't live it for them. We send them out there day after day into a world we know can often be cruel and indifferent. We try to focus on all the bright lights and the kind gestures and the fun, the games, the simple joys. But the fact remains, we are as uncertain of their path as we are of our own.

We can't live it for them. We can't even live it for us half the time. So I'm trying really hard to stuff my pockets full of rats and be happy that they're in there.

What worries you most about your babies out there in the big wide world?

[Image by Charles Gullung]


Through the Instagram: Little peek at January

I still miss my Fridge Chronicles and often wonder when I'm going to get around to bringing them back, but I'm well into these little Instajournals each month.

Dancing on the beach one moment...

... dancing in the rain the next. That was January in Sydney for you. What am I gonna do when Picnik closes? Does anyone know of a similar type of site that let's you collage your pictures?

But back to January...

Always a momentous occasion when I grow an actual fruit. The strawbs are flourishing in the rain and then rotting on the bush as the Tsunamis think they are too sour. I can't win.

Random nautical people - I just love this shot. See below.

We went to a pirate / mermaid themed one year old's birthday party on a harbour cruise. It looks fabulous up there, but it was all a bit nauseating in reality (I am not good with boats). 
Plus, the actual party looked like this...

Note to self: cruises are not a good idea for kids' birthdays. But I knew that already. The green sea-monster woman up there is my darling sister-in-law (the Best Aunty in the Whole World), Lucia. She's my right-hand-woman for all things party and she was a godsend for our friend at this one too.

Yes, I still have pimples at 40. Oh, and ignore the boat hair, won't you!

There's another lovely beach. This time at Manly, where we excitedly met LOML after work off the ferry...

... and I thought 'I could do this life'.

I could definitely do this life.

A night out for pizza. We'd never been to GPK before, but it was really lots of fun. The pizza was pretty awful, but I'd recommend the decidedly un-pizzaish Teryaki Chicken.

We've so enjoyed our watermelon smiles this Summer. 

Or any kind of smiles, really. These two are so like my little sister and I that it just makes me want to go back in time so we can play together. 

A little mushroom light I bought at Lark. Awful photo, lovely mushroom light.

And then it was back to work...

... and back to school.

And that's a January wrap.

Do you still get pimples?
How long have you had them?
I have had them for 29 years.