Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Years Campfire.

I'm about to hit the backyard campfire with the K-Dog. This time last year we were prepping for a Depression-themed party, so this year we've kept it very quiet. Just us, two sleeping babies, an old guitar, some bad harmonies, a book of logic puzzles, half a pack of party-ciggies and a shed full of leftover champagne.

It's not everybodys's idea of a good time...but that's why we married each other.

Happy new year, blog buddies. Bestest of best wishes to you all.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

merry christmas, everybody!

from our family to yours:

merry christmas, sloppy kisses, big warm tuggles and best wishes for the year ahead.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The giveaway winner is... lamb chops!

Dear readers,

I'm sorry that this is so late, but I did promise a few weeks ago to pick a winner for my celebratory 250th-post giveaway. I haven't talked about it yet, but I was so touched and tickled by your responses to that post.

Sometimes it's a very strange and narcissistic procedure, writing what amounts to an online diary out to the ether. That's why it's always so pleasing to have a commenter join in the conversation. I was really hoping that a random lurker or two might appear, and you did, so hi! and thanks so much. Did you see that even Keith made a cameo appearance?

It made my day.

I got Ivy to help me randomly pick a winner today. It went like this:

-Ivy, can you pick a number between one and fourteen?
-(top volume) ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR....
-No, that's good, but what's your favourite number?
-Lamb chops.
-Yes, yummy, but what is the best number between one and fourteen?

So there you have it. Frogspondrock, it's you, lady! I do love your work, and you can add this Grass Roots to your foot-high pile from the 80's.

Can you let me know an email so we can exchange addresses?

I love youse all (especially you, K.)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Spam gonna make me a millionaire!

I got a request yesterday from 'KathBaker24' to link her interior design site to my blogroll. She offered to pay. I'm excited, because Keith and I totally aspire to buy this land for sale near us, but it will cost about a million and a half smackers. We have approximately no smackers.

I was a little bit surprised, because in the the post that KathBaker24 commented on, suggesting we join retail forces, I ranted in a bah-humbuggy fashion, about my attempts to fight commercialism and not buy stuff.

Well, I thought, if KathBaker24 is some kind of Esty-esque, hand-making, home-officey hipster, maybe with a baby or two, maybe annoyingly obsessed about organic underwear and chemical-free chemicals - in short, one of us - I'd better link her up. Support the sisterhood and all that.

Well, buckle my Birkenstocks, KathBaker74's site turned out to be some kind of huge, corporate concern. 150 outlets across the States.

Now, it's possible that I've been spammed by some sophisticated viral programs that has commented on blogs all over the interweb. Possibly wanting the bank details of a few. Sophisticated enough to sound sort of down-homey plausible. Thick enough to miss the anti-consumer message it purported to 'really like.'

But I'd hate to miss a potential opportunity. And also, I once had a fun email exchange with some Nigerian businessmen, and those are good memories, so I sent this email:

Hi Kathy,

Thanks for your interest. I am a little surprised at your request, but have given it some thought. I would certainly consider linking your design site to my blog. The cost would be $1.5 million (AUS.), and for this price, I would also throw in a copy of Grass Roots

Magazine and a hand-made macrame toilet-roll doll.

Please let me know your thoughts,

Kind regards,

Mama Mogantosh

I'll keep you posted.

Friday, December 18, 2009

I got the bobo, neo-hippie, anti-consumer atheist-at-Christmastime blues.

Sometimes I feel a certain melancholy about the atheism of our family. Once you get the rationalism disease, you can't go back. But there's a certain spiritual poverty that comes with giving up religion. And it's hard to fight the siren-call of consumption at this time of year. The world is whispering from every direction: 'Buy things. If you love them, buy them things...' We're lonely salmon swimming against the tide in a sea of tinsel. No Santa, and no baby Jesus - what's left for the kids of cheerless bobo, neo-hippie bastards?

Somehow, at our place, the hole left by Santa (I just don't dig on his 'make a list, order your presents' shtick) and little baby Jesus (him, no problem, some very good ideas, I think the problem lies with his biographers) has been filled by...

... the Cat in The Hat. I found this fellow waiting for me at the bottom of a garage sale crap-basket. I didn't hide him too well in my slovenly Christmas pile in the corner, and the beady eyes of Ivy found him a week or two ago. I had to admit he was visiting us, but we couldn't play with him yet, and he might appear at Christmas.

He might. He's tricky, that Cat in the Hat.

He's been turning up, mornings, in funny places around the house. Swinging from the blinds. Hiding in pot plants. Sailing through the air on the back of an Indonesian goddess.

We know he's going to appear for real at Christmas and every day, when driving in the car, Ivy says 'Now let's have a conversation about Christmas,' he features.

Creating rituals is an interesting thing. Thoughts, desires, and held ideas on what 'should' happen within the family are processed, discussed, and filtered through the circumstances of your lives, and the personalities of your children, until you end up with your own unique traditions. We've been talking about love, and sharing, and making things for people we care about. I've fought hard against myself to limit the children to a few presents. We've waved at Santa, but not sat on his lap. We've given a gift to the Giving Tree. We've been constructing wonky gingerbread men.

And with mounting excitement, we've been preparing for the Cat In The Hat to arrive.

Jumping Puddles

Lots of rain today. Filling the tanks, feeding the tomatoes and giving us a break from the slow cook we all went through yesterday. What else to do but jump puddles in the driveway?

Monday, December 14, 2009


It's nearing the end of a busy day at home. Both kiddos have gone off to bed with no fuss, after spending a happy evening playing with the Wiggles bus.

I've gotta, tell you, I'm pretty impressed with this one.

It's been a crafty day in general around here, and we've got the mess to prove it. Some days are like this. Packed with action, and full of fun. Chances are, tomorrow I'll be all tuckered out, vanquished by the laundry monster and hanging out for 7.30 so I can recover on the couch in front of Californication. But today, as often happens with Mondays around here, we're on fire.

Teddy has been staggering about the house in this dinosaur head all day. I couldn't get him in a pic though -he's too fast. Here's Ivy instead, sporting the new patch I had to sew on her beloved Warnie t-shirt, which is showing the wear and tear of her violent passion.

Had to snap this pic of the two bears eating dinner, for the first time both perched on kitchen stools. No high chair required. A new era! I thought, but moments later, I gave Ted a cup of milk which he turned blithely upside down and poured down his pants. We're not quite there yet.

I'm working on some secret Christmas sewing for my little nieces. Ivy - who doesn't sleep any more at lunchtime, breaking my heart- helped me out with the cutting. Unfortunately Keith is in Canberra, because the next bit is where I really need him. These jobbies require Velcro, plastic lining, and tricky folding and sewing. I cannot get my head to hold the required information, and I need my engineer spouse. Sneaky peek, sisters:

Here's Teddy's Xmas singlet, dye job a little patchy, but still blue enough to match his lovely peepers. It's waiting to be hand-sewn while I watch Man Vs Wild tonight, trying not to stab myself when Bear takes his shirt off.

Which leads me, randomly, to the Bear Grylls cubby Keith built the kids on the weekend. Impressive! And Ivy, tiny savage, naked but for silver sandals and a bangle.

We've been dancing to the Keating soundtrack today (Ivy's favourite number: the GST rap battle between Keating and John Hewson: 'Dr who? Dr Hewson! Sit up straight when I'm taking to you, son...'). There's only been one small animal on the naughty shelf. And Teddy, working hard on his sign language (more soon) even managed 'I love you'.

I almost burst with pride. I hope your Mondays were just as full of fun and wonder.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Don't Hate Him Cause He's Beautiful.

Ivy and I were chatting about culture this morning when she threw me a curly one.

'Mummy,is Daddy a metrosexual?'

I thought it through.

Points against:

1. The 10-year-old Bornhoffen bread bag that he finally relinquished as his bathroom kit about two years into our courtship. He traveled all the time for work. And yet he carted his toothbrush and comb around in a bread bag, and the older it got the more he loved it. Finally, I bought him a toilet bag, but he made me keep the Bornhoffen bag. It's packed away in a box. With his fossils.

2. His 'aftershave' - a good splash of Bombay Sapphire. I found this one out a week or two ago, when he trotted off to lunch with a potential research investor, after giving his face a good old slap with straight gin. (He didn't get any money.)

3. The 'Good Cream' - a bottle of health-shop Vitamin E cream that he uses sparingly, lovelingly, and occsaionally. Yes, twenty bucks makes it a precious product, I am forced to agree with him. But you bought it in 1992.

4. He doesn't use shampoo, which has caused him some embaressment at the hairdresser when they ask 'When did you wash your hair last?' and he's forced to admit 'The Howard Years.'

5. At a confererce this week, he noticed a rank smell wafting upwards. When his boss stepped imperceptively backwards, he had to admit that his son might have spewed a bit on his shirt. He went to the car and got changed.

6. He wears his underpants until they are more hole than cotton. When he has an osteo or massage appointment, it's a scramble to find his least humiliating pair. His favourites undies are labelled Mr Naughty and Mr Nice. Both have seen better days, but to Keith, they still hold many years of happiness.

Luckily, piercing green eyes, musky animal appeal and jazz hands are what I look for in a man. No nad-waxers or eyebrow-pluckers, thanks. And Keith has placed the bar for personal grooming and maintenance at a very, very low level. It is, I think, among the top ten reasons I married him.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Why Did I Put a Tic-Tac Up My Nose, Mummy?

I couldn't answer that question for Ivy, so she answered it herself.

'I think,' she said slowly, 'It was because you really didn't want me to.'

It started, early this morning, with a sudden battle, as my days often do. I rushed to intervene. 'Mummy!' Ivy wailed. 'Teddy is trying to take the Tic-Tac out of my nose!' 'Ted, ' I began, 'Leave the Tic-Tac up Ivy's - what? WHAT?'

I couldn't see it. Had it reached her brain? Would it dissolve? How much should I freak out? Then the tears began. 'Mum, it hurts!' And the remorse. 'Why? Why did I do this, Mummy?'

Meanwhile I was on the phone to my sister and bro-in-law, the handy ambos, and packing a bag for a a possible six-hour stint in A & E. Snack pack, nappy bag, books, hidden desperation treats....



Ivy was wearing a little white pellet on her lip.

Crisis averted.

This time.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Nanna's Night Out

Mum and I went to see Tim Minchin on the weekend. I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed by life at home recently. A great time to have a change of scenery.

Tim Minchin is an amazing performer, if you're not familiar. A crazy pianist, with intense, dense, filthy lyrics. Sort of 'thinking woman's crumpet'. He planted a breakdancing man in a bear suit in the audience for his number 'Bears Don't Dig On Dancing,' and he wheeled out a standing fan, unbuttoned his shirt and blew his hair back, rock-god style, for his show-stopping number 'Take Your Canvas Bags To The Supermarket.'

Here he is, performing 'If I didn't Have You', what you might call the rationalists love anthem...

Being out in the world was a blast. Mum and I caught up and had a lovely dinner.

Some highlights:

I talked to a Buddhist nun about Tenzin Palmo's book Cave In The Snow.
Bought Keith a beautiful Christmas present.
Laughed with a crowd, as teenage girls in a stretch Hummer squealed past waving champagne glasses out of the window.
Sympathised with some drunken footy types who yahood and hooted past on the back of a horse-drawn carriage, failing to look as masculine as they perhaps had hoped, as the horse sedately clipp-clopped through the city.
Jumped as a loony man walked past at Central Station, waving a rolled up newpaper in front of his crotch and shouting 'I've got a big one!'
Scared a poor lady passing-by as I re-enacted him for Mum.

Back home, the kids looked so big! And bang; there I was, back in the loop of tanty negotiation, snack creation and crisis management. And washing-up; always the washing-up. But just when I feel like I'm going south-of-sanity...they take their cute pills and perform a Chitty Chitty Bang Bang duet:

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

On post # 250...and a giveaway!

My name is Rachael. And I am a blogger.

(Hi, Rachael.)

This little post marks 250 of these vignettes, rants, little stories, random thoughts, love-notes and brain-dumps.
250 moments that I have experienced, mused upon and packaged up. Packaged up into words, and presented to you. You, my readers.

Who are you?

Who are you?


Since my first post, this blog has been an important feature of my my life at home with two baby bears. It's marked all my milestones, and breakdowns, and triumphs. All the joys and sorrows of this intense phase of my life are here, writ large, and socked away in my little corner of the Interweb.

This place has served as my diary, as my therapist, and as a link to far-flung friends and family. It's connected me with long-lost buddies and introduced me to fascinating new ones. Over the time of writing these pages I've gotten used to a new kind of life, with funny times, crazy-making times, celebratory times, and some tough times, too. I've met some interesting locals, struggled with my new town, added a beautiful new baby, and spent a lot of time complaining about housework.

To celebrate this milestone, I'd like to give a little present to one of you out there, you shadowy readers, you kooky crew, you supporters and fellow travellers in the blogosphere.

You, the other half of this conversation I've been having.

I'd like to send you a package that I would like to receive. A copy of my favourite magazine: Grass Roots. A packet of my favourite chocolate: Wagon Wheels. And a bottle of beautiful organic bubbles. All to be enjoyed in my favourite place - the bath. (I mean your bath. I appreciate you. But I don't want you lying in my bath eating chocolate, dude.)

To enter, leave a comment below. Who are you? And why are you in this conversation? I'll randomly pick a winner in a week or so.

Thanks for listening.


Friday, November 27, 2009

In which Ivy takes etiquette lessons from a first-grade rugby league player, Ted has the plague and I am healed by Craft.

It's been a rough old week. Teddy was hit with a perfect storm of illness- ear infection, chronic diarrhea and four insistent teeth. He spent a lot of time like this.

Meanwhile, Ivy has been pitched in a battle of wills with me over who actually runs the show. (She does. Don't say anything.) The naughty shelf has been looking a lot like this.

Life for a three-year-old is tough. I feel for her - I can see how frustrating it is to operate in what must seem like a set of arbitrary rules. Her capacity to process strong emotion is low, and as she gets bigger, stronger, smarter, she wants to try all these new things. I am like this bitchy bouncer who tells her she's wearing the wrong shoes and stops her from entering the VIP playroom where all the fun stuff is happening. (Matches! Taps! Plastic explosives!) Her fuse: short. Dramatic instinct: high. Emotional time bomb: ticking. Yesterday, although she's fully toilet trained, she did a poo in the hall 'just to see what it looked like.'

In general, I'm having a down week on the parenting front. The relentlessness of it all is getting to me. Mama's-got-the-blues... it's the oldest song in history. I read this great book after Ivy was born, called The Post-Baby Conversation. I've lost or lent it away since (if you love it, set it free...) but it's a great new-parent read, and the authors premise has stuck with me: that becoming a full-time, stay-at-home mum is a JOB, and you must think of it like that.

It helps me. All gigs have their bad days. Their crappy seasons. At least I'm not faced with annoying, flirtatious IT guys and bureaucratic HR chicks on 'forms committees.' And MEETINGS. The problem with modern motherhood is that it's too easy to buy into the myths - mainly that it is utterly fulfilling all of the time; and you can (and should) excel at all aspects of it.
Well, it's not. And I don't.

Not this week, anyway.

So after a couple of days of feeling exhausted, seeing nothing but an endless loop of laundry, antibiotics, apple peels and naughty furniture in my future, I turned to the healing powers of Craft.

I picked up these two bar stools at council clean-up a few months ago.

They were uggers mc-buggers, but very useful for the constant kitchen performances that run liken a thread through my days. (Mums, I know you know that show.) I pulled out the fabric box, found some scrappers, and had a good time inventing how to cover them.

The top sleeve is velcro'd underneath, and the seat cover is sewn with a ring of elastic to pull it tight. The sewing is so rough, but the act itself, and the transfer of my headspace to somewhere a little more creative, has worked.

I feel just a little more able to cope this weekend. And a little alone time is on the cards too, I feel. Ted is recovering,. or should I say, Ted is rockin his best lady-killer pose, and Ivy - oh, I love her, she kills me - won't be three forever. Obsessed with skulls, with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and - having watched an episiode of Curb Your Enthusiasm - now telling me 'Won't it be funny when a dog bites Dad on the penis.'

Once you decide not to put your head in the oven, all you can do is laugh.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

No baths tonight, kiddies. Doctors orders.

Clean kids are a health hazard! Hooray. I've always hated that anti-bacterial wipe lifestyle. Makes me think of women who use vaginal deodorant and men that wax...anything.

Via Sach, homebirth advocate and musical hipster.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Higel brings sexy back (to the library.)

This week I returned to Story Time, hoping to improve my reputation. While I sat, feigning interest and thinking about coffee, my friend arrived. Let's call him 'Higel'. He's been present for the Troubles before. Come to think about it, he's probably the ringleader.

While I tried to behave as requested in the pamphlet 'Appropriate Behaviour for Parents and Children in the Library (otherwise known as 'Four Sticks Up My Bum and Counting'), Higel made it impossible by telling me a story that made me dribble from my nose.

Recently Higel, for reasons I chose not to enquire upon, borrowed the new edition of The Joy Of Sex. (His review - bring back the hairy people.) When he returned it, slotted modestly amongst a selection of less liberating literature, he wandered away to browse, and then noticed the librarians gathering around the returns chute.

Sure enough, they had the Joy out, and soon a flock (a shelf? a fine?) of librarians were tittering, pointing and flipping through the mighty tome. (Surely searching for the hairy people.) The group session lasted for a while, and got everybody so het up that they re-shelved the book without stamping it.

Over the next weeks, Higel's fines began to rack up.

In the end, he had to have a little chat with the librarian at the centre of the saucy huddle, tell her what he had witnessed and request that they stamp the book, take the fines off his card, and if possible, put back the hairy people.

While Higel told me this story, his girlfriend 'Histie', just returned from a shopping trip, pulled a fancy new bra out of her bag to show us.

I'm not so scared to return next week - I 'm pretty sure that Higel and Histie have surpassed my pedestrian brand of bad behaviour in terms of the tea-room gossip. What's a bit of parental neglect when faced with Mr Curious and his lady wife's kernickers?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sweet pencil-wraps.

Check out these beautiful handmade pencil wraps for creative little fingers - a lovely Christmas present perhaps? Bianca is giving one away if you visit her blog in the next few days.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A happy mummy-moment.

Some weeks as a parent can leave me feeling leached of life-force, mentally foetally-positioned, cursing Supernanny and rocking back and forth, muttering 'IUD, diaphragm, IUD, diaphram, pill....'

But then there are other weeks.

The ones where I feel like things might be on track.

This has been one of those weeks.

Ivy has made the transistion into a big bed, enrolled in the most beautiful pre-school after a long, thoughtful time of planning, and her sleep-time dummy has been sent, wrapped and beribboned, to the fairy babies.

We went on a walk to the letterbox after we wrapped the dummy and wrote the fairy babies a nice letter wishing them well. Ivy clutched her package all the way and kept up her usual running commentary on life. (Current favourite resonse to my every statement: 'But that doesn't make any sense.' )

At the postbox I felt overcome with a surge of emotion. I picked Ivy up and wrapped her in a hug. 'I'm so proud of you, Ivy, 'I said, a bit teary. 'You're such a wonderful 3-year old, and you're getting so grown up. Now you're in a big bed, you'vre going to go to a beautiful litle school soon, and you're even giving your dummy to the fairy babies. What a great girl you're turning into.'

Ivy doesn't always tune into the same emotional frequency as me. But today, with a wide, proud smile, she hugged me back, and I knew she'd really registered. It felt like a layer of love settled on her, like all the work of mothering had coalesced into a moment. It felt like the enthusiastic love I shower on her, even if I get other stuff wrong, is helping her to feel proud and strong somewhere deep inside, and building reserves for whatever her future brings.
And that, my buddies, is a good feeling.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The case against cheap olive oil

Simple, Frugal, Green Co-Op is an interesting blog made up of about half a dozen writers with an ecological bent. This post on what passes for 'olive oil' is a useful one.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Wedding - A Flapper Topper

Check it out: this beautiful cake topper was made by Californian Etsy artist Erin Tinney. She perfectly captured my request, with matching outfits, tiny flapper jewellery, and two sweet babies sitting at our feet. This arrived just in the nick of time, and I had to hide it from Keith because it showed the colour of my dress...

My sister Sam organised and beautifully decorated the cake and the always-reliable Mick and Bronnie picked it up for us after a last minute panic. Behind the cake you can see some of the 150 fine bone china cake plates that me, Mum, Sam, and half the women in our familes were collecting for months. What to do with them now, I wonder?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hairy Maclary and Spoon make me laugh, and laugh, and laugh.

One of my favourite bloggers wrote such a funny post about the corkers her 4-year-old has been spouting lately. It got me thinking about some of Ivys recent gags.

1. While playing silly-bananas with her and Ted, I pretended to make my leg ring. Ivy rang her own leg, paused, then picked up her foot like a phone. 'Hello?' she said, then put it down. 'There's nobody there, Mum!'

2. Yesterday we had a wardrobe battle (Ivy wanted to wear her Thomas singlet to the Montessori enrolment, and I tried to explain that we didn't want to give full and frank expression of ourselves at this early stage.) 'But Mama!' she shouted. 'I has to keep my LUNGS WARM!'

3. The hysterical meltdown she had after falling off a chair - I was near to calling the ambulance and trying to decipher the gasping sentence she kept repeating as I soothed 'Poor Ivy, oh honey, poor Ivy.' Finally I made sense of it. 'Poor Hairy Maclary!' she was sobbing. 'Poor HAIRY MACLARY!'

4. The whole day she spent calling Teddy 'Spoon' after one game of Hey Diddle Diddle.

5. The conversation we had on the toilet. 'Those are not poos, Mummy, they are ducks. And the mother duck is my vagina. And she is sad that they have all gone away.'

Here she is this morning, just hanging out on the little couch with Spoon.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The state of me.

I'm so excited about New From Old and Handmade Home, the books I just ordered. Hoopdy-doo! Our loveable neighbours Helen and Bruce gave us Amazon and Bunnings vouchers for wedding presents. Inspired.

So I've got that books-in-the-mail anticipation...

Two sleeping kiddos (one working through some new teeth, and one sleeping off the naughty attack that preceded bedtime)...

A lonely bed and hobo dinner (cold sausages and tomato sauce) while Keith is in Canberra...

And L Word, season 3 to enjoy.

Hope you're all having a good Tuesday too.

Monday, November 9, 2009

My child has Multiple Personality Disorder. Yours?

November column for CoastKids magazine

The doctors gave me some pretty strong drugs in the hospital before I gave birth to Ivy via caesarean. Even so, I’m fairly sure that she wasn’t born a middle-aged, perma-tanned man in a blue skivvy. Yet Ivy insists on being called Anthony (famous amongst certain mothers of my acquaintance as being the Wiggle with the tightest pants.)

In public, I’m never sure what Ivy will answer when asked her name. She has a number of alter-egos, and they rise and fall in status, depending on her mood, and the laundry-needs of the Anthony shirt, the Woody scarf and the Wiggles shorts. We might go weeks living with Hairy Maclary, when Ivy will bark in response to any question, and there was a long Toy Story phase where she insisted her name was Woody, and Ted, faithful baby sidekick, became ‘Bazz,’ (Buzz Lightyear, through the language-distorter of a two-year-old.) ‘Bazz can’t walk!’ Ivy would laugh. ‘Bazz can’t talk! Bazz has food all over his face!’

It wasn’t her kindest of phases, truth be known.

Ivy is a marketers dream. An advertising sponge. Her favourite outfit looks like this: Sportacus underpants worn beneath a pair of satin Wiggles boxer shorts she found at Vinnies (a discovery that nearly made her implode with joy.) A Thomas the Tank Engine singlet (too small, too much washed), topped with a stretched-out, over-loved blue long-sleeved top known as ‘Anthony’. Ivy keeps a running commentary on its progress through the laundry system. ‘My Anthony is wet! My Anthony is on the line! My Anthony is dry! I think it is dry!’ This ensemble she tops with a pair of sunglasses I made her for her birthday that feature two Wiggles stuck on straws, leaping, maniacally and permanently, off the side of her head. (Yes, but my job is to make her happy, even when it pains me.)

How did this happen, I wonder? I try and keep her TV to a minimum. She watches ABC Kids, so at least I can avoid commercials. She watches Wiggles DVDs when I’m about to pop a parent-fuse. She’s only seen about four movies and I hardly ever buy her branded clothes and toys. But the synapse that stores pop-culture, pre-school style, is somehow set on overdrive.

I’m thankful that her most recent passion, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, predates the discovery of advertising pester power. True to form, Ivy has taken her obsession totally, pathologically, over the top. ‘Who are me, Daddy? Who are me, Mum?’ she begs ten times a day, hopping with anticipation at the answer she finds so delightful. ‘Jemima Potts?’ we answer patiently (it’s getting a little old to us.) ‘Yes! Yes!’ she cries. ‘And Teddy is Jeremy! And Daddy is… (Caractacus Potts is a mouthful so we get many versions here) Connecticalls! Caracaracs! Acticus!’ She may sing the theme song for a while here, doing her special Chitty dance (hands behind her back, Michael-Flatley style) and then spend a moment enjoying the replay of a favourite scene or two in her head. Then: ‘Who are me, Daddy? Who are me, Mum?’

They say that life can be hard for those close to a person with Multiple Personality Disorder, and for Ted, this may be true. To Ivy’s Jemima Potts, he is Jeremy. To her Woody, he is Bazz. And when she is Hairy MacLary, he must suffer the indignity of being introduced as Schnitzel Von Krumm. I suffer too. I’ve had to be Bottomley Potts, covered in spots, and Muffin McClay, like a bundle of hay. It’s not always flattering being introduced by Ivy. But my happiest days, in this surreal theatre of Ivy’s creating, are the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang ones, when she insists on calling me Truly Scrumptious, over and over and over again.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Wedding - A Coledale Romance (the movie).

There's a bit of a tradition amongst my posse to perform in different ways on occasions of signifigance in each others lives. Here is the movie that my buddies made for my 20's wedding cabaret - edited and put together by the magnificent Lucy. My only regret about this wonderful little film is that I missed the parties my buddies had secretly putting it together. Oh, how I laughed - especailly at the scene where the boys imagine a day in Keith's work life. (ps- My name's really Rachael: that's me in the 'R' hat.)

Thanks, you guys!

Friday, November 6, 2009

An open letter to the librarian who put the local mothers in the naughty corner today.

I know that often I appear as though I have been dragged through a hedge backwards. I agree that my one-year-old son has developed something of an obsession with the Harlequin romance rack, and I apologise if you have found ‘Italian Housekeeper, Billionaire Boss’ filed away under Healthy Living. I’m equally sorry for the time my 3-year old sat in a chair next to your children’s librarian while she read, holding a different book under her nose and repeating ‘Not that one. Read this one. Not that one. Read this one.’ Obviously I should have stopped her earlier but I really, really had to nip out to the coffee cart.

I did not give you my pompous look of death (pow!) some weeks ago when you handed my friends and I pamphlets entitled ‘Appropriate Behaviour in The Library for Parents and Children.’

But when you stopped Story Time today to deliver a lecture to the gathered crowd of parents, I felt you had gone just too far. I’d like to take this opportunity to let you know what I would have said had I a) been quick off the mark; b) had the balls or c) didn’t really, really just have to nip out to the coffee cart.

I’d like to address your concerns, one by one.

I cannot hear the librarian read! You are causing a disturbance!

Um, no. It’s possible you’ve spent too long in a bubble where whispering is the norm and a little heated bitching about people writing in margins is as hot as it gets. Four women discussing breastfeeding and nit shampoo is not Girls Gone Wild.

Story Time is not an entertainment service for your children.

Yes! Yes it is! We spend all day with these small people. When you sit on a chair and read them a book, you release us from our duty of care so we can stand up the back and converse with big humans. For many of us, this is the only clear back-forth pattern of information exchange we will enjoy all day, as opposed to a surreal series of words strung together and featuring The Wiggles. Is it entertaining? That’s up for debate. (Shazam!)

Story Time is a professional literary program!

All respect, lady, but singing ‘heads, shoulders, knees and toes’ and then reading a couple of Mem Fox tales doesn’t make you pre-school Harvard. Actually it’s nothing that the parents in your audience aren’t doing four times a day anyway, with funny voices, while simultaneously making dinner, folding washing and listening to a program on Radio National about sun bears, or the financial crisis, or vegetable uprisings – or, well, they can’t really hear the radio. That’s not the point. This is the point: get over yourself. And get the carrot out of your bum. Use some more of my taxes if it needs surgery.

Thank you.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

An inspiring talk on creativity. Ole!

This 20-minute talk appeared to me, as messages should, from two places simultaneously : mamamia and marvellous kiddo. It features Elizabeth Gilbert author of eat, pray, love (a book so zeitgeisty, so bestsellery that you want to hate it, but so good you read it twice.) Gibert herself is as loveable as a bag of mongrel puppies.

Here she talks about - her words -'the maddening capriciousness of the creative process" and how to basically, get over yourself. Oh, I love that. I watched this with a warm sleeping Ted on my lap, and made him jump at the end when I spontaneously shouted "Ole!'

I hope you do too.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Love, love, love, love, love.

The Wedding - first report from a reformed fornicator.

I'm back! No longer a sinful fornicator, but a WOIFE.

The pics are floating in, but all small so far, will post the best I can. And the post-wedding report will be as random and patchy as my return to pre-wed life, I'm afraid. All went well - it was an absolute blast - but I am broken afterwards.

The heart, it is happy. But the bod - it has collapsed. I have never, ever been so stressed. The wedding was a 20's themed party with after-dinner cabaret. Details later - and some clips too.

A snapshot: 5 minutes before the ceremony pictured, I was on the floor of the hall up the road, with two screaming children on my lap. My friend Dr Lucy had just pierced my ears with an ice cube. I wasn't dressed, the kids weren't dressed and I had so many stress hormones coursing through my veins that I felt moments from soiling myself in a number of ways.

The kids were swept away, I was dragged to the change room where my mum and sister threw my frock on and we all searched for the Hollywood tape that was needed to hold my bra to my dress. No tape. 'Take it off! Take your bra off!' yelped Sam, and so I did. (Presciently, it turned out, when our friend Mick performed a song at the cabaret with these lyrics; 'She's a whitey in jeans, she's an outlaw, she don't wear a bra...' One of my favourite surreal moments.)

So the lead-up was panic.

But the actual ceremony was beautiful, the cabaret went well, and Keith and I interpreted our relationship through dance... Clip to come. Honeymoon was flu-central. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and tissues on the couch. But we're home now, and bit by bit, I'm sorting through the chaos to return to a peaceful life.

As wife!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The secret life of Keith.

Before he became the charming egghead we know and love, the K-Dog apparently lived a parallel existence as a hunky, brooding himbo in 1979 cult classic The Warriors. Tireless research on the part of his PhD students has revealed his secret history. But who are his compatriots?

Out of our way, man. Me and my boyz study the systematic nature of the physical universe and if you don't get out of my face, I'm gonna drop a negatively charged dialectric thin film on your ass. Word.

Morning in the big bed.

Dammit, I'm Bridezilla after all.

I was so determined not to get stressed out about this wedding. The idea of paying a bazillion dollars for a party and then worrying, freaking out and losing sleep over it never made sense to me. After all, we've been together for years. We've got the kids and the mortgage. Why bother?

Why? Why? Because of the wedding.

I've always loved a wedding. The best a party could be. Everything is there: pretty outfits. Open bar. Bad dancing. Sentimental tears. And more romance than a Harlequin Black Label convention. It always disappointed me a little bit that Keith and I had such a wonderful marriage but had somehow missed out on the wedding.

The last time I got Keith to try on a wedding ring was years ago, on holiday in Borneo. 'How does that feel, sir?' asked the sycophantic jeweller. 'Like a noose,' replied Keith. (Apologies if you're actually coming to the wedding. I'll probably make that gag again. Just laugh politely, would you?)

So it took us a few years. Now we're going ahead, the plans have got a bit out of control, and quite frankly, I could reach back a few months and slap Past-Me in the face with a seating chart. All those big bloody ideas of mine are coming back to haunt me now I'm in final-fortnight freak-out zone. Me no likey following through on the details. I prefer the wildly imaginative, throw-them-out-and-see-what-flies ideas phase of proceedings. I'm irritating like that.

Now I have to tie up all those pesky ends and I'm getting sweaty hands just thinking about it. Last night I couldn't sleep. I kept thinking of more stuff I had to do. Finally my tossing woke Keith up. He tried to talk me down. 'Every bride would go through this final stressy point,' he soothes. 'They'd more likely be worrying about the contents of their bonboniere boxes rather than how to organise a spotlight for their acrobats (ooh! a teaser!) but it will get done. You can do it. It's going to be fun, remember?'

And then he promised that tomorrow he would make me a big Gannt chart, and I remembered why I'm marrying him. I went back to sleep, but poor Keith, wide awake by then, and worrying about spotlights, charts and bonboniere, was up for an hour.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Friday, October 2, 2009

Do you peel your bananas like the experts?

Just for a change, a piece of brilliant life-advice.

(monkey education via Cup of Jo.)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I done raised me a walking telephonist.

Teddy is on two feet, and every time he sees a phone he says 'Ah-ro.' Ivy will not take off this Warnie t-shirt, and only answers to the name 'Anthony.' I'm weddinged-out and Keith is under pressure - funding submissions, university politics, the existential crises he faces as an attractive feminist in a crazy, mixed-up world.

As for me, time is not my friend. I'm planning the wedding, wrangling the naughty-buttons and trying to keep the house off the public health blacklist. I'm way behind on email and phone-call returns, and I've been buying bread, and washing powder - two things I haven't had to buy from months. It's freakish how much work a wedding takes. I miss keeping up with the lives of my blog-buddies, and spending time processing my own thoughts and experiences through this blog. I can't wait for the wedding - a festival of fun and romance- but man, I'm looking forward to post-November, when I can settle back into the everyday rhythm of domestic life.

Keith has been in the Arctic Circle talking solar research with fellow eggheads, and we've been staying with Nanna and Pop. Having showers standing in half a foot of cold bath-water, trying not to get sexually violated by an 80 kilo Golden Retriever, and planning the wedding with Mum.

Have the babies after the wedding - I get it, I really get it now, Mum. I'm at the pointy end of the to-do list and the details are killing me. Conversations with caterers/florists/hairdressers etc all go a little like this:

'So the actual wedding is on the 24th of - Ivy, don't hit your brother with the spoon. Sorry, October. It's at the - Ivy! Listen to his noises! He doesn't like it! The beach, sorry, what did you say? Ivy! Stop it right now! - I'm so sorry, just a minute - Dodo is going on the naughty shelf. We don't hit Teddy. The beach, and then - Ow! Teddy, my hair! -at a community hall, where - oh, Christ, sorry, Ivy, please, Mummy will just be five minutes, can you just - hello? Hello?

I've got Westfield-flu after having to take them both on so many shopping trips. One memorable day, with Mum, Ivy threw the worst tantrum ever. It went for about forty minutes, at varying pitches. In between shrieking fits, she did quiet moaning exercises, gathering energy for the next attack. I tried to ignore it all, and towards the end of the mission, attempted some positive psychology; i.e: 'Ivy, you've done a good job controlling yourself for the last few minutes. If you can keep us this happy behaviour you can have a balloon from the lady. ' On the way home I put on my stern voice and tried to discuss The Incident. 'Ivy, that was very, very naughty, what you did at the shops. What was going on there?' Ivy was happy to talk though what she learned. 'I did cry and cry and cry, ' she said thoughtfully. 'And then Mummy did give me a balloon!'

I couldn't look my mother in the eye.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hens just wanna have fun. And flash boozies.

I'm back!

I'm croaking like Kirstie Alley, my liver is threatening divorce, and I still feel the lingering pain of the shampoo-flu, but mostly I'm warm and befuzzled. It's the glow of lady-love.

Oh, how I love an all-estrogen affair. This is Lucy, the inimitable Dr. Dog, who arranged the whole proceedings. She proper medicine-woman, which is desirable when a bunch of out-of-condition mothers and assorted cougars are let loose on bottle shops and serviced apartments.

And here are some of the ladies, frocked up and just a little over-excited. Shaky fingers. Quivering morals. Tenuous grip on dignity and self-respect.

No kids! Champagne! So much to talk about about! We laughed so much we nearly fell off the penthouse balcony.

Did I mention the penthouse?

Dimitria swore that there is a chemical called 'copulin' that will drive men wild. Oprah told her. Then somebody confessed that they can't talk at all during sex, somebody admitted giving constant direction, and somebody shared that they say one thing only: 'What do you want to to do to me now?'

You know who you are.

There was karaoke. Sonia didn't sing much but did a lot of star jumps. It's her signature move. And then Emma-Jane performed this version of Paul McCartney's 'My Love' that got slower and more depressed until it drove us all home to bed, and left this ringing in my ear for two days:





Next day we shifted to the Hilton, where Lucy, Dim and I tried to pony up for another nights debauchery. Chips, coffee, Nurofen, stat.

We pulled it together, Dimi did a beautiful job on my makeup and we swauntered on downstairs, feeling quite the young moderns, at least until until Dim realised she was carrying a Franklins bag full of takeaway Chinese.

More champagne, garcons! Burlesque fabulousness and hilarious good times! So many beautiful buddies. These seem to be the only pics I have, so some of the crew are missing. But not from my mental charge-sheet.

Sonia, Rach and Tiff look happy. Bianca shows the crazy-eyes.

Me with my two sexy nerds Amy and Christey.

My darling sister Sammy, who drove 5 hours from the country to see me. and lovely Katie, with the other Sam, our molecular geneticist/dancer, busting out a little Aga-Doo in the back.

Something happened onstage. Lucy and I weren't sure what it was.

Monday morning we were feeling just a little delicate.

I trundled my little suitcase through the city, got on the train and went back home, where Ivy showed me the only use she had for shimmery body-glow.

Re-acquainted me with my other friends Murray Wiggle and Big Girl Kangaroo.

And showed me the only person getting tramp-stamped in this family was Teddy.

Thank you all for being the greatest girlfriends I could ask for, and rest assured that I can never get married again - I couldn't make it through another hens weekend. Five weeks to go - bring on the wedding!