Thursday, 26 August 2010

Grief and Loss.

Some friends of ours came home yesterday to find that their cat had died after being hit by a car. After having some time and tears for themselves they had to decide how to tell their two children especially their five year old daughter.

I had a lot of pets as a kid and when they died my parents used to let me spend time with them.  I used to take my time stroking and cuddling them. Sometimes I would take clippings of their hair and then together we would bury them in the garden. This whole process would take hours and as I think about it now, I love that my parents let me go through the process in my own time.

The first pet that dies when I was a kid was our kitten Baby Puss. I was only five and she was also hit by a car. We planted a small tree on her grave and it was always called the Baby Puss tree.

As parents I think having a pet teaches our children about love and responsibility. About sharing and generosity. But at the other end they also teach our kids about life and death. Grief and how to process it.

So today spend a moment thinking about your pets past and present in memory of Kaylee and the little girl who is mourning her first pet.  I'm remembering all of mine and what each of them gave me. Thank you Mum, Dad and Inge for letting me share my childhood with so many animals.

Baby Puss, Kane, Marco, GT, Mowie, Soxie, Maya, Toto, Arthur, Tara, Powderpuff, Pickles, Bluey, Meega, Morris, Thai, Oden, Angus, Kira, five rabbits, five guinea pigs, about 50 fish, 10 mice, and I'm sure I've missed a few.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

The Anti Bucket-List

I saw this site today.  Basically the idea is the opposite of a Bucket List. Its a list of thing you never want to do again.  Things you wont tolerate anymore.  Things that you feel life is leading you towards that you just don't want to do. The woman who's blog I saw it on calls it her 'F**k It List'.

Now I'm a bit of a believer in the whole bucket list idea.  As long as its a list in progress, a list of things that you actively look at and find ways of crossing things off now, not waiting until you turn 70 to start.  And in the same way I think I can embrace the idea of a f**k it list.  So the idea is that you think of five things for your list.  Knowing me, mine would change on an almost daily basis.  But as it stands today, f**k it I don't ever want to:

1. Act old (wish it could be feel old but I think that may be out of my control)
2. Worry what people think (if it feels right and it hurts no one)
3. Run a marathon, climb a mountain or bike ride around the country (who am I kidding, I am never going to be that woman)
4. Laugh quietly.
5. Iron more that 3 times a year. (if it hasn't happened yet then let's face it, I'm never going to be that woman either)

So what would be your top five f**k it list things be? Or for that matter what are your top five Bucket List things? when was the last time you crossed either of them off? 

Monday, 23 August 2010

ReTweeted Tunes

I'm following twitter more and more these days.  I rarely tweet myself but I like reading peoples tweets and especially checking the links people share.  In the last few days there have been two quirky little songs that have been linked to by people I follow on twitter.

The first has some swearing in it (actually its mostly swearing) And also a little disclaimer, some of the lyrics are a bit ...uncool ... so just be prepared if you decide to click.  Still I'm sharing cause, DAMN, I can't get this song out of my head.  The chorus is so catchy and I think that what they say is true, almost everyone can relate to the sentiment behind it.

F**k You (Ooo Ooo Oooo) - Ceelo Green

The second comes from Nick (thanks Nick)  Someone has taken a Justin Bieber song and slowed it down by 800%.  It seems to me that this is the only way to listen to Justin Bieber.  It starts to sound like a meditation inducing whale song versus a teenager telling us what its like to be in love (I swear if I ever hear, Baby Baby Baby Ooo again, my head may explode).  Anyway this is the song, U Smile both as it was released and then the actually palatable version once its slowed down to 800%.  Give it a little listen it starts slow but gets better about a minute in.

Monday, 16 August 2010

It Could Be a Four Coffee Day.

Today has not gone well.

1. Got to school to have Jack for the first time ever say he didn't want to go. I have pilates this morning and decided that this was the universes way of trying to give me a reason not to go (I'm good at finding reasons not to go). After lots of talking and cuddles, plus talking to the teacher and a friend to keep an eye on him I got the ok from Jack to leave.

2. Pilates was cancelled !!

3. Get home have coffee #1 and decide to scrub the house.

4. Start by hand washing the rug from the lounge room floor in the bathtub. Leave the bathroom while the water drains to go and watch 5mins of X-Files. Go back into the bathroom to find the bathroom floor ankle deep in water. Still have to rinse the rug so decide to just crack on and end up having so much water on the floor it makes it over to the other side and wets all the dirty laundry. Have coffee #2.

5. Decide to vacuum and wash floors. Vacuum cleaner decides to make all the right sounds and it seems to have suction but its not picking anything up off the floor.

6. Spend 20mins vacuuming same room until I decide to pull the whole vacuum apart to see if I can locate the problem. Manage to empty lots of weird things and a load of dust from vacuum cleaner on the carpet I just tried to get clean. Figure it will all be ok cause I'll vacuum it up once its fixed. Put it all back together.

7. Vacuum cleaner totally buggered and now the carpet I was trying to clean (been at it for an hour at this point) is dirtier than when I started.

8. Go out to empty washing machine of one load and put another load on. 

9. Accidentally push the start button instead of the open button.  Had (stupidly) already put liquid in for next wash so now have to run the towels through again. Which will take another hour. I still have 4 more loads of sloppy, wet, rug smelling laundry to go. Stop for five minutes and have coffee #3

10. Start chopping things to make casserole. Once most vegetables are cut go to get my one and only casserole dish. Only to remember that I dropped it last week and it smashed.

11. Looks like we are having vegetable soup again for dinner.

Some days you wake feeling great but the day seems to have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed.  I think its time for coffee #4 seeing that's its too early to start drinking wine.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

The Akinator

The web in bringing up some weird and wonderful bits for me at the moment.  The Akinator is mostly weird and a little wonderful.  It guessed all of mine correctly.

I thought of:
Queen Elizabeth
Silent Bob
Neil Gaiman
Ewan McGregor
and Sean Bean (which I did for Treen and even though most of my answers were I don't know it still came up with the goods)

Friday, 13 August 2010

How To Be Alone

I don't generally 'do' alone well. And although I'm getting better, it perplexes me how an only child like me raised by a single parent can be so very confronted by the idea of 'alone'. And even when the kids are driving me nuts and I beg AB to take them out for a while so I can breathe. The quiet of the house drives me to distraction in a very short amount of time.

Whether you are good at being alone or not I think this video is lovely and it felt like the sort of thing that needs to be shared.

Conversations with a Nine Yr Old.

The boy next door had an interesting take on our home after watching me cook dinner.

Harry: You know what! Even old houses are still good.
Me: Yep
Harry: Cause it still does everything important like cook dinner, and you can sleep and your toilet is outside which is a bit yuck but it's ok cause your lucky to even have a toilet.
Me: *grinning* Yep
Harry: So some houses are nice and new.  But old kinda ugly houses, they can still do all the same things. You just don't think they would.

I'm very interested to see how Harry thought we lived before he saw me cook dinner :)

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Who Knew Wool Could Be So Enlightening?

Today I was having an Osteopath appointment.  At one point I was resting on the bed while he worked on my shoulder.  Then he said something unexpected. He asked me to look inside to see what I could see/feel.

Anyone who knows me, knows that meditation is not my strong point. I have tried many times for just as many years and I have never once managed to either a. Sit still long enough or b. See/feel anything of any consequence (usually I can focus quiet well on what needs doing, or my shopping list though).

So when Steve (the Osteo) asked me to look inside I rolled my eyes (under closed eyelids).  I couldn't decide what to do.  Either once I managed not to see anything do I tell him in an embarrassed tone that I couldn't see/feel anything of importance.  Or do I make something up, hoping all he wanted was a one line answer and then would get back to fixing my shoulder.  I needed to have a think, so while I was thinking I looked inside to see what I was feeling/seeing.

Just to prove me wrong I started to see something.  This was a big thing for me so I relaxed and tried to explain what it was I was seeing.  It turned out that Steve wanted to talk about what I was seeing/feeling for 1/2 an hour (making me very very glad that I didn't make something up).

To cut a long story short this is what I saw.  And sure its a bit weird, and it surprises even me how strange it makes my mind seem.  So instead of going through the 1/2 an hour conversation I'm just going to give you the quick points.

There was a ball of wool all tangled and frantic.  Who wanted to be some beautiful loops of yarn.

To the tangled ball of wool, the yarn looked so calm and relaxed.  It looks easy for everyone to find the yarn's ends.  The wool had been trying to be more like the yarn but the more it tried the bigger (and more perfect) the yarn got and the smaller (and more frantic) the wool got.

It wondered could it even become the yarn? The yarn was too big, too perfect, too different to the ball.  Plus the ball liked some of the bits about itself that the yarn didn't have.  It liked some of its craziness and its frenetic energy.  It just wished that there was a way that it could untangle itself just enough so that life wasn't so frantic all the time.  It knew it couldn't be the yarn.  And even if it could, it wasn't sure that it wanted to be.
But what could it be instead?

Maybe... maybe it could be a pompom

The End

Truthfully I'm sure that at least 1/2 of you are reading this and thinking that I am nuttier than you thought :)
I told Andrew about it and he said "after three years of therapy, it took an Osteopath to make you realise that?" 

So why am I sharing this? I'm sharing because I think that in our own ways we are all the ball of tangled wool.  And when we think about where we want to be, most of us want something resembling the soft loops of yarn.  And some people achieve that.  And some never will.  But even if you can't be the angel-like yarn there can be something that you can be that is more you. 

For me, I think I am a pompom.

Who in the Twitterverse?

Over the last few weeks I have been trying to get my head back into Twitter.  Its not that I don't get Twitter, I do.  In the same way as I get facebook, I can see peoples interest in it is.  The problem is that not enough of my nearest and dearests are using Twitter and so for me what is the point?

Then I remembered that a lot of people follow famous people.  So who would I follow.  The first few were easy, Neil Gaiman, Kevin Smith, Will Wheton but then who? Who do others follow?

So I decided to search for who are the most followed on Twitter?.  A few interesting facts (well I think that they are interesting.

- The Top 5 are: Brittany Spears, Ashton Kutcher, Lady Gaga, Ellen DeGeneres, Barak Obama.
- In the same order they have tweeted: 427 times, 6010, 454, 2484, 849.
- Al Gore is #40
- Perez Hilton has tweeted the most (for a single person not a company) with 49,038 in just 42 months.
- CNN have been members longest (within the top 20) at 44 months
- The longest in the Top 100 was Bizstone (whoever they are) at 53 months.

Did all of that help? not really.  I wouldn't follow any of the top 20 and only two or three of the top 100.  But it was interesting enough to share :)

Monday, 9 August 2010

My Week in Photos (or Close Encounters of the Idol Kind)

Photo by Treen, taken on iPhone (am I the only person who doesn't have an iPhone?) 

Last week has been busy.  The first half was busy with the kind of crazy boring stuff that is unbloggable.  But the second half has been filled with the kind of coolness that in so many ways defies explanation (plus I'm to tired to try :)

So these photos should cover most of the best bits.

Hamish turned 4 on Friday (isn't he just the cutest thing in the world).  We celebrated by going out to hang with Aunty Treena and Uncle Nick who have been in Camden for the week.  Hamish had a blast when Uncle Nick let Hamish play with his iPad.  This was incredibly giving of Nick seeing that his iPad is his current pride and joy.

It's super cute watching my kids play with Treen and her family.  Treens mum showed Hamish how to throw the ball in a way that it wouldn't hit their zombie dog 'Stinky Pete' and let him feed the fish.  And her brother walked him round the garden and talked about all the different plants.

Aunty Treena then read books, played Bakugan and generally listened to Hamish talk up a storm.  She even mastered skim reading the books in such a way that Hamish didn't realise that she was only reading a few words from each page ... a skill that took me years to perfect.

The next cool thing for the week is that it was finally time to go to the Opera House for the 'Graphic' events I booked over a month ago.  On Saturday a friend and I went to hear Neil Gaiman read his short story 'The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains'.  It was performed in front of 2000 people all listening to him read while a four string quartet played and images from artist Eddie Campbell flicked on a screen behind him.

See that tiny dot on stage .... that's Neil Gaiman.  I have written multiple posts about him so I wont go into detail except to say that in my eyes he is an absolute legend (almost verging on godlike).

Then on Sunday night the same friend and I went to the Kevin Smith event 'An evening with Kevin Smith'. It's basically a Q&A night and as always he was inappropriately hilarious.

And that not quiet so tiny dot on stage is the effervescent Kevin Smith.

These two men are in the top 5 of my pop culture icons.  And the fact that I was able to listen to them both in their relative styles over one weekend was one of the most awesome and awe inspiring things I have done.  Seriously, at one point there was talk of Neil being able to do a signing and I wondered how I was going to be able to stop myself getting on my knees and bowing yelling 'were not worthy'!!!

Monday, 2 August 2010

Small Things #16 - Sparklers

As I wandered past the washing machine late last night, I saw a packet of sparklers left over from Hamish's party.  I thought about how much I enjoy sparklers and how it seems like a long time between parties when I get to play with them.

Also the problem with having sparklers around kids is that most of your attention is on the kids.  Teaching them how not to burn themselves, how to spin them to make cool light circles and taking a million photos (cause there is nothing quiet as special as watching your kids play with things you love from your own childhood).

Then I realised, those sparklers on the washing machine are mine!  And in spite of how I feel (sometimes), I am an adult and if I want to light a sparkler on a non party day then that is perfectly within my scope of reasonable activities.

So I lit the sparkler and watched it fizz and sparkle, I bent the end and made big sparkler circles and then it fizzed out of fizz.  So I lit another one and just sat and watched. I soaked in the sulfur smell that reminds me of my childhood and faced the age old problem of 'what do you do with the hot metal stick once you have finished spinning it round in circles'.

Tonight as I wandered outside I saw the sparklers again and lit one.  They are so beautiful.  But I reminded myself that part of what makes sparklers special is that they are a once in a while item.  I put them back in the party box and decided that next time I need a lift, I'll try and remember to lite a sparkler, but not so often that they run out of special.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Hamishs 4th Birthday Party - The Monkey Party

Its been a busy week and the last few days have been spent getting ready for our Hamishs 4th birthday party.  This year he wanted a 'Monkey Party'.  As I have mentioned before, my kids ask for a theme and then I try and make them invitations and cake in that theme.  I also print out pictures in keeping with the theme and stick them on paper bags for party bags.

This year everything felt very together and organised until people arrived.  Then we had a manic 4 hours of 18 kids and 10-12 adults running around in our house and backyard.  Thankfully the weather was fine and slightly warm and the kids were happy playing with the party bags and climbing in the tree house.

The problem with being the host of a party (and the only person in the family who takes photos) is that there are only a few photos of the day.  Thankfully I got a few photos of the cake before we actually brought it out to be cut and devoured.  But I got no photos of the party bags and very few of the birthday boy.

This year I also decided to relax my ideals about food and toys.  So we had the usual cut fruit, sausages, hummus and vege sticks and little dukkah pizzas.  But we also had fairy bread, crackles, crisps and a few extra lolly in the party bags.  Jack seemed to enjoy the food and I was pleasantly surprised at the choices both of my kids made, eating a few crisps and then a few pieces of fruit and so on.

Hamish was to busy opening present to eat much.  Seeing as I was relaxing about presents, we now have a few superheros, some gratuitously noisy toys (including a very cool electric guitar, and a voice changer that the kids love and mummy might accidentally drop in a puddle :).  We also got a few long time favourites like volcano making kit, dinosaur excavation, puzzles and books.

We had a few costumes.  This was the only one I managed to get a picture of but we also had two homemade monkeys and one phone call an hour before the party asking if a monkey costume was a requirement to come.  It made me realise that while my kids want these themed parties, I may need to add a little more detail to the invites so as to not freak parents out.

Hamish was also rocking his new haircut that my gorgeous friend gave him earlier in the week.  This is one of the only photos I got of him and its not the best to show off the hair (or the grin he had on his face for most of the day ... honest he had a really good day, this photos just doesn't show it)

I asked this pair of friends to stand together so I could take a photo.  It was hilarious, at first they went to do the usual kids cuddle and then decided to strike a pose.

Later in the evening we started a fire and had some sparklers.  Both of my kids are a little nervous of sparklers having both burnt their fingers at different times.

Notice the focus, he has only just burnt his thumb.  Bless him he decided to give it another go.

And ever the cautious one.  As soon as Jack saw the sparklers he backed away.  But then he worked up the courage to give them another go.

Finally the party boy fell asleep half hanging off the recliner.

20 minutes later the last of the revelers crashed out together on the couch.

It was a lovely day.  The weather was perfect, we had just the right amount of food, everyone arrived, and left.  Today we spent the morning digging up dinos, jamming on the guitar, fighting superheros, learning about flags of the world.  Then they spent the afternoon with the kids from our street, running from house to house skating on Hamishs new skateboard, jamming more with the new guitar and the keyboard from christmas and playing superheros.

Thank goodness its all over though, I'm exhausted.
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