I’m on the move!

Not too far, I promise but to a different Blog. You can now find me at http://apeonyformythoughts.com/ C’mon over…! This blog will be closing down shortly.

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On blonde

Today I went to visit Ange at my hairdressers. I shaved my head at the back end of February, so it’s had a good three ish months growth. I asked for a tidy up and to go blonde.

She clapped her hands with glee, bustled off to get the dye ready and came back to the chair. After three big globs of dye going on, she let slip that they’re closing the shopping centre (completely) for renovation where the salon is. O.O

So I will have nowhere to go to top my hair up, or trim it, or nothing. I’ve tried going to other salons, they stuff up my hair to the point where I despair of it. Ange and her husband Sam are taking a month off to think about what they want to do – should she rent a chair somewhere, should they invest in another salon somewhere, should they, could they? The possibilities are endless, for them. But for us punters who trust them both, and their staff with our barnets, it’s not easy. I hate trying to find a new hairdresser. My hair is thick, grows quickly and needs a damn good strong cut on it to manage it.

It’s not something that can just be found overnight.

I have had four really good hairdressers. Chris, who moved to Australia from Eastbourne, WHERE in Australia would be handy to know(!); Kim who used to book me in last thing on a Saturday afternoon so we could go out for dinner together; Jacqui who is one crazy lady, we met at a Mess do and got roaring drunk together, she consistently made me look beautiful and for whom I’d lie my way into Sandhurst Military camp for; and now Ange, who has looked after me pretty much since I landed in Oz.

So today, I’m sat there with goop on my head, committing myself to a blonde ‘do’ and have no hairdresser to maintain it. What to do? Find someone else I guess, to look after it at least for the next visit, then when Ange and Sam are sorted, go back to them.  If I’d known there would be no salon in six weeks, would I have gone blonde? Who knows.

I’m happy with the result, I’ll post a picture tomorrow. I’ve had too much red wine and am too angry to take a good picture tonight. Not over this, something else that is frustrating the bee-jee-pers out of me, something else I can’t go into on here.

Hubs loves it, Peanut loves it, I love it. In a hair cut, that’s all that matter really?

A most marvellous day

Boy did we need that. Not the 5:10am wake up call with a toddler telling me he had a stinky bum. Not the cleaning the bathroom, in dire need of it that it was. Not doing battle on a Saturday afternoon in a supermarkdo to get provisions to batch-cook tomorrow. But everything else that happened today was truly splendiferous.

After I’d cleaned him up, Peanut and I sat on the couch watching Grand Designs while Hubs dozed in bed after his late night that football in the CBD. I enjoyed my coffee, folded some washing, Peanut unfolded some of it, then sat in the laundry basket watching the diggers and concrete mixers on the program. I was well and truly over Shaun the Sheep this morning, so I told him I’m watching something I wanted to. He hopefully asked ‘Gromit? Yes?’ Not a chance, I wanted something that wasn’t claymation for half an hour.

While I carried on folding, he pottered about picking up toys and playing with them. Mostly his wooden truck given to us by family friends, but he was also playing with his Boris the Dinosaur from Dinosaur Train, given to him by my brother in law. We’re on a mission to find the loudest, most objectionable toy to give to our niece for Christmas; as our 4am wake up call with Boris roaring at us with the toddler in our bedroom is still smarting more than a few weeks later.

Hubs was in the pool with Peanut for his swimming lesson this week, so I had a shower and got ready to go out for the day, bags packed we headed out and the best half hour of my week began. Swimming is so important to me, it filled my life from 7 till 17, literally, and I love that Peanut loves the water. He’s jumping in on his own. Swims of a fashion under water and comes up grinning every time, asking for ‘More! More!’ as soon as you’ve held him so he gets his breath back. He’s nowhere near able to go near water on his own, but he’s got no fear, is happy and confident splashing about. I love watching him with Hubs, I love helping him when it’s my turn.

Whoever is wet and chlorine-i-fied just gets dressed over their swimmers, then has a shower with Peanut when we get home. I’d booked us a table for 10am for brunch, so we did a quick change today, and shot back out the door in about 15 minutes flat.

We went to a gorgeous place, Rivers of Yarrambat, it’s all of 10 minutes drive from our house. It is a garden centre, conference venue, has a duck pond and a spa, as well as a cafe sensitive and aware of food allergies and intolerances. They also bring out children’s meals first as a house rule. We ordered pikelets for Peanut, they came out sprinkled with icing sugar, a perfect ball of vanilla ice cream decorated with a mint leaf, a green apple delicately cut and spiralled and also a chocolate scroll to boot. He was over the moon, pointed out the leafy bit, devoured the chocolate and was quite happy tucking into the pancakes and ice cream (with his fork), until our breakfasts came out when he decided he actually wanted sausage, eggs, mushroom, toast, mushrooms, sausage, mushrooms, bacon. He’s normally sound asleep by the time we were eating, it’s hard work swimming solidly for half an hour, so he did really well to hang on for his nap until we’d eaten, fed the ducks and he’d peered into every available pot in the garden centre to tell us which had water in and which were empty.

I love seeing the world through his eyes. How many of us would care if a pot had water in or not? For him, today, it was important to tell us. He loved the huge urn water-features with water pouring down the sides, he loved the little red goldfish darting in the sun in one tank, he loved smelling the flowers as he walked past them.

We got back to the car, and in about 30 seconds he was sound asleep, so we drove around, chatted, caught up with each other and by the time Peanut had woken back up again after an hour, we’d practically written our business plan.

We headed home, spotting various modes of transport on the way. You know you’ve a toddler in the car, you automatically point out trams, buses, trucks, diggers, vans and so on. Sometimes you tell the adult that is in the car with you where they are too.

We puttered about the house, weeding the veggie patch (Hubs), cleaning the bathroom (me), dusting and sweeping (Peanut). We sorted out the spare room ready for visitors at the end of the month (all three of us), ran yet more washing loads, then late this afternoon we ran the gauntlet at the local shopping mall/centre (Aussie/English).

I had a very quick chat with my brother, who showed us round most of their new house, the wonders of wi-fi and a laptop. I got to see my niece and nephew, and while we had to cut the conversation short, it was the first time I’d seen the family in over a month, so it was lovely to check in with them. We’re going to try and finish off the chat tomorrow, if not we’ll talk next weekend.

Tomorrow we’re cooking: curried sausages, chicken curry, pumpkin scones, beef stew, bolognese sauce, chilli con carne, macaroni cheese, a couple of risottos, as well as a roast leg of lamb and a roast chicken in the Weber. Our freezers are depleted (Old Mother Hubbard really) and we’ve got that many plastic pots stacked in the cupboard, we play Jenga every time we open it. We’ll have food in the thermomix, the slow cooker, the oven, a BBQ and a couple of things on the hob pretty much all day.

But now, I’m going to finish my G&T and run a bath. I’ve got Miss Marple’s Short Stories awaiting.

Black and white

I’ve had an epiphany this week, which some of you will find funny, but in the process of clearing my head, I quite often clear out things at home. Ask Mon Bears, because the amount of stuff I donated or threw away after my first marriage broke down amazed them. I was in a little study, on a futon, but still managed to get rid of about a bin bag of things a week. Sometimes two.

So while I was tidying my closet this week, I thought ‘Black and white’ from now on, unless something jumps out at me, I’m just going to buy clothes in those colours. I thought of Jamie Lee Curtis, who also decided to do the same thing, ‘It makes getting dressed easier’ and I’m all for that.

I was going to do #Project333 again, but you know what, I don’t have much I can cull now. I’ve pretty much got a capsule wardrobe. I’ve separated out summer dresses (brrrrr), short sleeved blouses and my thinner suit – and that’s all the pairing down I can do now.  I added some old jewellery I don’t wear any more, mainly because the dress I brought to wear it with got to be too big for me a while ago, and whenever I’ve tried it on with anything else, it didn’t suit it. I kept the necklace and bracelet for over a year, tried it intermittently, and now someone else can use it, and hopefully love it. I also went through my scarves and pashminas. Now, I love me a scarf. I’d rather wear one of them than a necklace any day, but again, some were donated because I don’t use or wear them any more. They suited me then, they do not suit me now.

Yet some things I can’t donate or sell. No matter how often I look through my jewellery. I’ve got two garnet (my birth stone) necklace and earring sets. One I thought about getting re-set for my wedding to Hubs, but nearly fainted at the price. I look at them, I think of my Mum and I can’t do it. I cannot get rid of them, they’re beautiful, dressy pieces, I may not get dressed up to go out as much as I used to (ex-Army wife and all that), but every so often I may do.

And you know what, I’ll have either a fabulous black or white dress to wear with one of them.

Down and out

Well, that was a fun two and a bit hours.

Shot off an email to a friend, said “I must go, I need to collect Peanut in 8 minutes”, closed the email, shot out the door. No keys. Had grabbed my sunglasses, purse and phone (thank goodness), but all four doors to the house were solidly locked.

Phone Hubs, no answer. Texted Hubs, no answer. Phone again, still no answer. Texted again, still no answer. Phoned childcare, said I won’t be there for at least an hour if I have to walk, and if I can get hold of Hubs, he’ll be at least an hour too. Phoned landlord, who’s in bed recovering from stomach surgery, no answer.

Mild frustration is now setting in, so I try to break into the house. At least I can solemnly report, from my ham-fisted efforts, we’re safe.

Try Hubs desk phone, success. He leaves work to collect the wee man, I’m now wondering what to do with myself on a blustery cold winters evening. Landlord suggests I walk to the leisure centre at the end of the road, at least I’ll be warm. I decide to try the library. Get halfway there, remember I’ve left the hammock on the frame, it’s windy, it’s now by a window, if it falls over…

Turn around head back home, unhook hammock. Walk to library, the one day it’s closed? Thursday. Head back to the local supermakardo, more like an inconvenience store really, but they have an off-licence/bottle shop. After hunting high and low, I find a pre-mixed G&T. Zip up hoody and walk home guzzling from the can, feeling like a hooligan.

I’m sat on the front step texting a friend who’s laughing uncontrollably at my peril when Hubs arrives home with Peanut. The only solace? I’d made a vat of bolognese sauce so dinner was practically ready to go, all bar cooking pasta. Up until then, it had been a great day, as I’d also made a vat of curry and chilli con carne and defrosted the freezer downstairs to store it all in.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll remember my arse from my elbow?

On vulnerability

I listened to Woman’s Hour on the way to visit a girlfriend today, Brené Brown was on talking about vulnerability. I’m going to listen to her TEDTalk, when I’ve finished this. I’m also going to buy her book. ‘Why?’ I hear you all ask excitedly.

Brené talks about perfectionism, and about how if you try to line all your ducks up in a row and outsmart your shame by showing everyone how ordered, perfect, fabulous your life it – it really isn’t.

Hello?

Universe, whack me over the head why don’t you?

People who show up in their lives, who accept themselves as they are, realising that they are enough, are much happier, have the ability to show they’re vulnerable, to ask for help, to just be. I keep hearing the same thing said in different ways, and still I don’t always get it. I let the external forces of (and in my life) dictate what I feel I should do.

Which is why I think this year has been huge for me. My integrity, honour and professionalism were being taken into question. My name is all I have at work, my reputation precedes me when I send an email. Trying to do what was the right thing, what had been the right thing, suddenly wasn’t. It threw me a curve ball that I wasn’t able to cope with, because I didn’t have the time in my life, in my day, to figure it out.

I spent all day working as fast as I could to get things done on stupid deadlines, because why plan to do things on time; when even if you asked for something two weeks ago, you’ll only get it back the day before. I’d run around to get home, to then run around to get everything ready to leave the next day again. While the systems I’d put in place were working, my health and mind suffered. I didn’t leave room for me, because, apparently it’s more important that my house was clean, rather than me going for a walk. It was more important to surf the internet, than to stop and think, it was more important to have a smartphone, than to actually keep in touch with the people it was meant to keep me in touch with.

Ok, I had a commute into and out the city every day, Facebook keeps me in touch with people, but does any of this add up to a hill of beans when I’ve a stack of books by the side of my bed I’ve not had a chance to read, because in my vulnerable state, it’s easier for me to surf the internet and look at crap, rather than channel my thoughts internally, in case I don’t like what I find?

No. A big, fat, rainbow yawp of a no.

This is my life. My only life. It’s not a dress rehearsal. Making a decision to leave where I was working, was the biggest decision I’ve made since we as a couple decided to get pregnant. I kid you not. I could have sat there, doing the same shit, every day. Complaining about how hard done by I was. But then I spoke up about something so fundamentally unfair and illegal, and got shouted down, after that choosing to leave where I had once loved to work – it was easy.

Finding a new job was problematical, there wasn’t a huge amount about, but on my second application, I got lucky. My ethics are still as strong as they ever were, I’m still here, I may have been a bit bent, bashed and battered, but you know what? I have lived through worse.

But I didn’t have a child to show ‘This is how you do what’s right’.

I hope that I can continue to grow and be vulnerable. Be enough. Just as I am.

So long, and thanks for all the fish

Good Afternoon,

My last email to y’all, I find it easier to type about this (believe it or not!), hence my reticence to speak at tea today.

The past three years have been large in my little family’s life (please note, this list is also in the correct format, thank you K):
· We moved house three times
· I pranged the car once, got it fixed, for someone else promptly prang me
· We became an Aunt (or an Uncle if you happen to be married to me) three times, but twice on the other side of the world, to children we’re watching grow up through the wonders of Skype
· We got a cat, one Chief Brody
· I helped row one beloved person out on their final journey, but again had to wait by the phone, too often, for news from the other side of the world
· Most importantly, we became a parents.

More stuff happened than I care to think about, and certainly not list line by line, but to say these past three years have been eventful would be an understatement, and today is no exception. Hubs is revving up for an exam at 6pm for his Masters in Project Management. Peanut is getting ready to graduate from one room to another, but will celebrate with his toddler friends with cake, because tomorrow our sweet little man turns two. Yes, two.

I’ve learned a lot about myself. I also made some beautiful friends who I know are going to be with me for life. And for that, I will always be grateful to work. From the bottom of my heart thank you for:
· the laughs
· the tears
· the chocolate
· the alcohol, I definitely make it Pimms O’clock!
· the chocolate
· the pancakes
· the giggles in the Team Meetings
· the chocolate
· the general joie de vivre of people willing and cheering each other along
· our new vista
· the chocolate
· the sheer unadulterated filth of the fridges and microwaves, oops – sorry, I shouldn’t thank you for that, I should nag you to clean them.

So, please take it as read that whenever you open the fridge, I’ll be tutting at the state of them again, chuntering at the exploded food in the microwaves again, complaining that I work with a bunch of bears with clothes on again, as I wipe down the kitchen – AGAIN.

But then take a long, hard look to whose standing on either your left or right, because I’m so very proud to have worked with the loveliest bunch of big-hearted, generous people. People who specialise in pulling rabbits out of hats, and continue to meet daft expectations and ever-moving goalposts with a stoic shrug and a ‘Here we go again’, so I guess you can’t be good at everything.

But seriously, you could catch listeria or something, clean it up! Be strong, be brave, be vocal, be there for each other.

To all of you, from me. So long, and thanks for all the fish.
M x