Friday, 26 March 2010

When will my life stop being so hard?

In a few short hours LQ and I will be on a plane again.

We are off for another two and a half week vacation - this time to my old stomping grounds.

I know it is a hard life I lead, but I shoulder the burden well. I probably wont be posting too much while I am there, so I'll leave you with our Disneyland pictures.

I didn't edit them so you will just have to put up with the bad lighting in some of them.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Looking Back

My parents own a dog.

Her name is Tessa. I was still in high school when they got her. My youngest brother hasn't known a time in his life without her. She smells bad, all the time. She can't control her gaseous emissions. When I first came home from America (after becoming engaged) I was given the task of looking after the house and the dog. It was a lonely period of my life and for a bit of company in the evenings I would let her in the house. I could pick when I would need to leave the room because just before I detected the smell with my nose I would hear a tiny "pffft". That tiny "pffft" was no indication of how lethal that smell was.

But this isn't a post about Tessa's bad smells.

Back in her Hey Day, Tessa liked to stretch the arms from our bodies as we held the leash when we took her for a walk. It was decided she needed dog obedience school. Off she went with the only sucker who seemed to have the time on a Tuesday evening to take her - ME.

The first lesson the owners learned was that if the dog seemed to be lacking, it was the owners fault. Most weeks I left in tears. Tessa refused to do anything that the other dogs were doing. And all because she couldn't stop looking at the other dogs. When we asked to show how our dogs heeled, Tessa would walk beside me, only backwards so she could see what the other dogs were up to. Walking in out of the circle of dogs was pure hell for me.

I think I may have given up after the third or fourth week of wretched humiliation.

I was reminded of this part of my life as I watched LQ dancing this morning. It lightens my soul to see how delighted and animated LQ becomes when she knows she will be dancing. Her excitement overflows throughout the class and she will let out an occasional squeal that sounds insuppressible. She tries so hard to stay in line waiting for her turn, but sometimes it just takes too long. When every other little bottom was swaying from side to side with the music, LQ couldn't help but run all around the large room, squealing as she flapped her arms.

What is most familiar to me each week is when dance teacher "J" is showing the class what to do. She will change what she is doing every so often and each little child tries to follow along. Except LQ whose back is to Teacher J while she looks at each and every child who is behind her.

Waiting in line to drive

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Time for a change in Management

I am MOTHER, hear me roar!

I wonder if you remember this post about Doormats and Feelings. I can NOT believe it was four months ago. It really feels like it only happened a day ago.

Some really great advice was given and taken. I decided to pick and choose my battles. Unfortunately the battles that I decided were not worth the fight were the only battles that LQ came up with. LQ is generally a very easy going little girl. She doesn't demand much, so when she makes a request I usually acquiesce. If she protests a decision I make it is usually such an unimportant thing I will let her have her way.

I didn't realise I was creating a monster.

Two and a half weeks of vacationing and letting LQ have whatever she wants and the monster had grown six tentacles.

This morning saw the Mummy and the Monster go head to head in a battle of hair and wills. The Mummy explained quite exactly and nicely that if the Monster wanted to go dancing, then the Monster's hair would have to be pulled up. The usual meltdown occurred. The Mummy decided that it was time that she started being the boss of the house again. A lot of screaming and hair doing meant the Monster's reign was over.

The change in Management means I am going to have to win EVERY battle for a while. I am going to be a meanie mum. I am not going to collapse with tears every time I hear my daughter cry with frustration. I am going to re-establish order in this home. I AM the boss!

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Just a man

*Ahem* - cough - cough.

You didn't really think I was going to do 500 posts? 500 = 5 in the world of Hel.

Actually I have every intention of following through with my threat, but it is not going to be an every day affair. Too much is going on right now for me to really make that sort of commitment. I don't know what I was thinking when I announced to the world that I would post 500 days in a row. One day I will do it, but not starting today.


But this post is not about posting. It is about Dal.

I don't write much about Dal on this blog. He used to do movie reviews for us a season ago, but I guess he and I are alike in that regard - blogging doesn't hold our attention for long enough.

We have officially started our fifth year of marriage today. And although a total of four years doesn't mean a lot in the world of marriage, I am secretly pleased with how our marriage has gone so far.


It is all Dal's fault. Our marriage is so perfect because he is the. single. most. ever-loving, patient, wonderful man you will ever have the pleasure of meeting. If you are single, let me give you a tinsy bit of unsolicited advice. Come and spend a few days with us. Watch and learn how a woman SHOULD be treated (from Dal, good heavens, he treats me better than I treat myself). Once you feel as though you know Dal, then search. Search for a man exactly like him. Isn't my advice helpful?

When you are here, you will see a man who tolerates mountains of clean clothes on HIS side of the bed. Most evenings he patiently scoops up my best intentions of folding and puts them back in the baskets, only to have the best intentions confront him the following evening.

You will also see a man who takes an interest in what I do every day. A man who applauds when I tell him I was able to have a shower today. Because he knows that it is an enormous accomplishment. There is not only applause, there is also celebration. And I glow from all the praise.

You may also get to see a man who rolls with the punches. A man who realises that a cuddle in bed is ten times better than any advice he may want to give. He is a man who doesn't tell me to "get over it" after hearing the same problem for the 20th time that week. A man who KNOWS that even if it IS hormones it is still okay to be sympathetic.

Dal is also the sort of man who will always want some sort of physical contact with me. Not always in the most romantic way (have I told you the first time we met he flicked me on the leg? It set my heart aflutter) but the constancy is a gentle reminder of his love for me. Really, he doesn't beat me... I promise!

If you stay up late enough, you will probably see the man that rolls out of bed when all I can do is feebly say "yes" when the call of "MUMMY!" comes in through the door in assaulting waves.

I could continue for quite some time giving you a smug list of wonderful attributes my husband possesses. His gentleness, his humour, his smarts, etc, etc, and so forth. It is only because I fear a smack down from someone wanting to get on with their life and finish my post that I stop.

And if you really think I have no business gloating about four years of marriage, go on over to this blog. She's been married for 25 years and writes a LOT better than I do.

Wedding mosquito

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Flaking out

That's right... I am taking a day off from my 500 posts. Disneyland got the better of me. I have one more day to cram as much fun into and then we are off back to Australia. I am hoping my memories come back tomorrow.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

500 DoM - Day Five

A favourite picture is placed carefully in my photo album.

The picture shows two small children peeking mischievously out from an old sixties model Volkswagon Van. They know that hidden somewhere in that van is a treasure of untold wealth and luxury - Minties!

Each visit made by the children's Grandma to their home in Northern Queensland means a packet of sugary goodness just for them. But the real treat is trying to find the Minties in her traveling Volkswagon. So many places to look. Comfort oozing from every corner of the vehicle. Well worn sheepskin covers. It is a playground for a 4 and 6 year old.

Many people knew Grandma by her van. We knew her by her smell, her Minties AND her van.

Monday, 8 March 2010

500 DoM - Day Four


We are on our way to the Happiest Place on Earth today. We will be there for the next four days and then we will be on our way back to Australia. Did I tell you we are in the US?

Anyway, to celebrate our trip to Disneyland, I am posting a weeks worth of happy memories. Nothing quite so heavy as yesterday.


Todays memory is a picture. Taken yesterday evening. LQ let the tears flow when it was time to say goodbye to her cousin. They have been as thick as thieves for the past week.


Sunday, 7 March 2010

500 Days of Memories - Day Three

The last day of school. Grandma was visiting and mum allowed us to stay home instead of joining in the last day of school festivities.

The morning didn't start off well.

My brother and I had been playing outside on the playground we had industriously made ourselves. It was wet from the night's rain and as my brother ran along one of the logs he slipped and fell, trying to cushion his fall with his arm that was weak from a previous break. His arm cleanly snapped in almost the same place as last time. Mum, not wishing to take all five children to the emergency room, called Dad home from work. Dad came and took my brother to the hospital.

I don't remember when, but at some point during the day, my brother came back home.

Grandma announced she was going to take a nap because she wasn't feeling well. The rain had stopped, so Mum suggested that she take us all outside to play. This may have been mostly for Grandma's benefit now that I think about it. At the last minute Grandma decided to take a bath first.

I ran back in to the house. I fish around in my memories to find the reason why, but there's never any reason why I was in the house alone.

My reason took me past the bathroom downstairs.

I stopped to listen after hearing an unusual sound coming from the other side. I was puzzled. The only reason I could conjure for the noise was a pig in the bathroom with Grandma.

I shook my head. My eight year old brain knew that just was not possible. But there was the noise again. It was the only explanation.

I began to run. "MUM! There's a pig in the bathroom with Grandma!!!!"

Another hole appears in my memory. Mum must have believed me and ran to the bathroom to investigate.

Grandma had locked the bathroom door. The noises continued and Mum frantically tried to beat down the door with her fist, yelling to her mother. As she tried to unlock the door with whatever tool she could find my Mum asked me to help my older brother climb up the outside bathroom wall to look through the window.

I ran out with my brother. We scrabbled at the wall but couldn't reach the window and called out to advise Mum of the situation.

We hurried back in. Mum had managed to unlock the bathroom door and we see Grandma laying unconscious in the bath tub. A quick phone call to the ambulance and Mum is back in the bathroom cradling my naked Grandmother.

Grandma regained consciousness for a few moments and was able to talk to my Mum. My own memory can not tell you what was said in that moment, but I know that Mum was able to tell us later that Grandma had finished her bath, become dizzy and disoriented and stepped back in the bath. Once back in the empty bath tub, Grandma slipped and knocked her head on the side.

I have always been ashamed of this next part of my memory.

As Mum cradled Grandma she asked my brother and I to stand out on the main road to flag down the ambulance. Our house was located on a service road running parallel with the main road. Although the service road was separate to the main road, it still owned the main road name. Thus confusing any visitor driving to our home for the first time.

This is why we needed to stand on the main road. We both said we didn't want to. I was too embarrassed to stand on the main road and wave frantically at an ambulance. While my Grandmother lay dying, I was Too Embarrassed.

Grandma was taken to the hospital after suffering a major heart attack. I only visited once but it seemed Grandma was no longer Grandma. Several days later her children decided to let her go. I have many good memories of Grandma that I am sure I will share over the course of my 500 days. This memory, however, had the biggest impact on my life.

My mother never let us lock a door in any home again.


If anyone can tell me how to remove accidental postings from other peoples readers, would you please let me know??!!

Saturday, 6 March 2010

500 Days of Memories - Day Two

A snapshot memory made only last week.

My daughter sits alone on the raised king sized bed gazing lovingly at a preschool television show. She is flanked on both sides by the slight indents made by bodies that have known the comfort of routine for many years. Her unwillingness to acknowledge my presence indicates a confident comfort level that only comes with love. Isabel is surrounded by love shown perfectly by her immediate surrounds. The well used bed she sits on tells us in its own subtle way that her grandparents have love. Love for each other. Love for their children and overflowing love for their grandchildren.

Isabel finally leans over to the edge of the bed making her face align with mine. She puckers her lips and plants a kiss on my lips. I couldn't feel anymore content in that moment.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

500 Days of Memories - Day One

Five children huddle around the door to their playroom. Each with fingers stuffed in their ears. Watching in horror at the scene that is unfolding before their delicate eyes.

It is a perfect playroom. A playroom that the five children had only previously dreamed of. Its awesomeness only surpassed by the attic. And now the playroom has been taken over. Taken over by a man in a skirt.

The man in the skirt is the children's father and he is blowing so hard into the long black pipe that the second oldest child wonders if his eyes will blow out from his head from the pressure. His eyes are certainly looking dangerously bugged out. The familiar tunes blare out as the instrument is inflated, squeezed, inflated and squeezed. The second oldest child is certain the people stuck in traffic two blocks away are also being serenaded by her father and she wonders if they appreciate the sacrifice she and her siblings have made. She also thinks that her father could have chosen a less obtrusive instrument to play.

But the girl knows that then there wouldn't be that special daddy time spent sitting on his knee as he plays the long black stick by itself.

Over the course of many years (and many homes) the father plays his bagpipes less and less. Space doesn't allow for it and the children demand more time from their father. But every time the girl hears the sweet strains of the bagpipe it reminds her of those days when she would stuff her fingers in her ears and hope like heck that the practicing would stop before play time was over.

postscript: The father is now a self taught banjo player and on special kind of days the second oldest child is blessed with the sweet dulcet sounds of the banjo scales as she attempts to talk to her mother on the phone. She feels really lucky that she has a father who taught her the importance of practice.


Count them.... Four posts last month. You would be forgiven for assuming I don't care much for blogging anymore.

I thought I didn't. I thought I was done. It seemed to be consuming my life and there was not a healthy balance between computer time and other time.

But after pulling away from the blogging world for a while, I have decided that I CAN have balance. I just need to look at blogging objectively. I need to stop worrying whether people will be offended if I "return a comment" or not. And I decided that I needed a purpose to my blogging.

Have you heard of the film "500 Days of Summer"? I have only heard of it, not seen it, so I can't really comment on the film. But the title intrigued me. I wanted to do 500 Days of ----- something. So I have decided to commit to 500 Days of Memories.

I will attempt to post EVERY. SINGLE. DAY for 500 days. And each post will be one of my memories. Boring, I know. But not for me. And a perfect way of putting down a lot of what I didn't write in my journal when I was younger.

500 days, though. Am I crazy?

Only time will tell. See you tomorrow with my first memory.