Snap, crackle, pop (Post 25)

At the best of times, when I get tired I get testy. If you add the woozies and a sensation of being off-balance, the tiredness comes earlier and the grouchies follow.

I was fine at work for most the day, with the dizziness and imbalance setting in as I left for the day just after 4pm. It had been a pretty good day health-wise so I was disheartened when the same old sensations returned. By the time I got home after the 1 1/4 hr commute, I was suffering.

Then it doesn’t take much. The joking response of ‘really, do I have to?’ from my husband when I ask him to take Kid1 to calisthenics. The call of ‘Muuummm’, which usually means one of the kids, or both, ‘need, something. Realizing the bins aren’t out yet. The dog faithfully following me every step around the house as his way of saying he hasn’t been fed yet.

Snap. Crackle. Pop.

My family has worn this for the last 2 months. In my life at the moment, the world does end with a bang, not a whimper.

Sorry.

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Memories of my mum (Post 23)

I’ve been sewing tonight (damn calisthenics costumes!) and it’s made me think of my mum.

She sewed a lot for me as a child. I remember calisthenics costumes she sewed – and she got the double whammy as I’m a twin, poor thing. There was a gorgeous princess dress – puffy short sleeves, a fitted bodice and A-line skirt in a satiny light blue, and a Pinocchio costume of shorts with braces and a white shirt. I’m sure there were others but they are the two costumes I remember.

A couple of years later there was also a ruffled peasant skirt with a broderie anglais blouse, and a corduroy a-line skirt with matching vest. Yes it was the ’70’s. Mum didn’t actually like sewing much, but she did it. She fair preferred knitting, and was a very talented knitter.

I got my love of knitting from my mum. I remember loving the jumpers she knitted me, as a child, as a teenager and as an adult. Unfortunately knitting was one of the first losses through Alzheimer’s. We weren’t aware that Mum was suffering from Alzheimer’s at that stage, and she blamed arthritis in her hands. Afterwards it was more apparent that she wasn’t able to follow the patterns anymore, and forgot where she was up to.

The last couple of things she knitted were a baby blanket and jumper for my first child. By the time Kid2 arrived, Mum had stopped knitting and within 18 months she was diagnosed. I still have the blanket and the jumper, and will keep them always.

I regret I didn’t keep the many jumpers she knitted and the clothes she sewed, but the sentimentality just wasn’t present then. I do have her knitting needles, and her old knitting box which has holes in the lid to determine the needle size – all imperial measurements of course. She used to have lots of old knitting patterns when I was a kid, but sadly they were discarded in a house move.

I have tried to pass my love of knitting and sewing on to my girls, but with no luck. It still may happen, but I think it’s unlikely. Perhaps I can have a go at the grandchildren, if I’m that lucky.

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5 years ago (Post 22)

With no original ideas to post about today, I’m following Snail’s idea to think on where I was 5 years ago.

Five years ago – 2009 – I was in a program management role, working across Australia and New Zealand. I worked with some fabulous people, and some who really didn’t want to know I existed. I was still reasonably new to the role, and a bit thrown by reporting to a group versus an individual. But I really enjoyed the role. It involved setting up a PMO and PM methodology, and working across a lot of projects. The original scope of the role was for three years, and that’s how long I stayed.

On a personal level, 2009 meant Kid1 was in Gr6 and Kid2 was in Gr4. It was an easier time re the kids – pre-teen!!! Having a look at my old FB posts, I was sampling FarmVille (geez I was addicted to that for some time), and the family got its first iPod touch.

We adopted our dog Buddy, who is now very much part of our family. He was 16mo and came for a home that had wearied of him. The wife had bought him when she was pregnant with no. 3, and 1 year on ( with a 4yo, 2yo and 1yo) she had no time for him. Sad.

He was (and still is to an extent) timid and submissive. He loves Kid1 the most, me 2nd and Kid2 and hubby come an equal 3rd. He is the sweetest, most non-aggressive, laziest dog alive, and we love him. The photos are from the first day buddy came to live with us.

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Teen parenting…. Karma (Post 21)

Last night there was a small incident, that it won’t go into to respect the privacy of the innocent, but it made me think back on my teen years, with my current perspective of a parent of teen daughters.

OMG! How did I survive my teens? To put things in context, my parents had but a small place in my teen years. My father was absent (returning when I was 18) and my mother abdicated from the role of strong parent. My older brother escaped the family home when I was 14. As a result my other brother, sister and I were pretty much left to do what we wanted, unsupervised. And we did.

It horrifies me now – both in terms of what I got up to and the risks I took. Boy, if I’d had me as a parent I would been locked up with the key thrown away. I mixed with a rough crowd – into alcohol and things by 15-16yo. I was very much on the periphery of this group, as a somewhat straight teen trying to be way cooler than I was. As an insecure girl, without a huge amount of self-esteem, it was risky place to be as I was joining in things I knew were not right and that I didn’t really want to do – but I didn’t want to be seen as the conservative, uncool person that was really me.

Now I see my daughters and worry. In some ways the risks are less – they are far more knowledgeable than I was. And they both generally have more confidence than I did. But the risks, though changes, are still very real. For instance, any slip ups now, and it can be immortalised on social media. The peer pressure is still there, as are woeful teen self-image issues, and alcohol and drugs are ever present.

So I tell my kids:
– tell me anything. I will always have known worse and I’d rather know.
– trust yourself and your gut instinct over anyone else.
– the friends you have in high school (as a teen) are generally friends by proximity only. As an adult you will choose your friends differently, based on what ‘you’ like, rather than a need to be part of something.
– accept that the teen years have a load of crap that is a part of it all. Very few remember their teen years as ‘the best of times’.

I know they will both grown into wonderful adults but I hope their paths are not too bumpy. You need some bumps to develop the ‘smarts’, but I hope they don’t have too many so they get damaged on the way through.

At the end of it all, I think I turned out OK – so my kids should be fine. But there were some rough, vulnerable years there.

I am ‘sweet’ 16 in the photo. Not sure what the hair was about though 😉

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Family in the way (Post 15)

I meant to blog last night, but family sorta got in the way. It’s not very nice of me to say that, but we had a belated celebration for Miss 17’s birthday with 19 members of the extended family descending around 5.30 for dinner.

I tried to keep things easy by having a pizza & pasta night… Boy can they eat!!! I will say they had all left by 8.30, but I was so exhausted that by the time I’d cleared up everything I was done the night.

It was not long into the gathering that I realised I had forgotten how much noise the younger ones make. They make a little gang, with a 4yo, 6yo, 8yo and 9yo, and there are no wallflowers among them. Having said that, there are few wallflowers among the adults either – there’s really only my sister-in-law (on my side), and I think she barely copes with it all.

But the nose and ruckus for the young’uns was quite disturbing. I am positive my ones made this much noise at the same age, but I’m just not used to it anymore. Their gang now (12yo, 14yo, 15yo, 2x17yo) hangs quietly in one of side rooms, talking secret disparaging teen things.

The adults, especially on my husband’s side are a loud, gregarious bunch who you do really have to get used to. My family is much quieter, and I was always the talkative one in our mix – but I am absolutely no match for my in-laws. Which is lovely. Just a bit wearing when one’s not in full health.

So there’s my excuse, and it’s lame. I’ll try to do a 2nd blog a bit later to even things up.

As a family illustration I found this lovely cross-stitch. I’d love to stitch this… Perhaps I should do this for niece’s wedding later this year?

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Blackout (Post 14)

A few weeks ago we experienced a blackout, which is a rare occurrence for us. The lights flicked off, flickered back on, and then off again. They stayed off for about an hour and a half.

As it was about 8pm, the house was plunged into darkness. It was easy to see it wasn’t just us, as a quick peep out the window and we could find no light anywhere. Afterwards we found out it had spread across about 5 suburbs. I still have no idea of the cause.

The first squeal of alarm came from Kid2, who was in the loo! I assured her she was quite able to finish her business without light, and Kid1 and I went on the hunt for candles and torches. What woeful treasure we found. Once upon a time I had candles bought purposefully for such an occasion. I have no idea where they are now – I obviously put them in too safe a spot. So we collected all manner of tea lights and fragrant candles, eventually finding a couple of larger ones that would last longer.

Setting the candles up in the kitchen/dining room, we began to wonder what had happened to the Man of the House (Moth). We found him outside I the garage – his Moth cave. He’d been listening to music, headphones on, and saw no reason to change his activities when the lights went out. We left him to it. He only appeared an hour later, grumbling about lack of Internet and hunger.

In the meantime, the kids were perplexed. What to do? A quick check of chat on phones determined the blackout was widespread and not likely to end soon. So we decided to play Rummikub, one of our favourite games. I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time – we had a brilliant time! Kid1 cut up a fruit platter (we’re being healthy together at the moment – 5 weeks in now) and we amused ourselves with the game and singing TV theme songs.

When the lights came back on, we got a truly hilarious surprise. In the dark, the blue tiles look like black tiles – and our game of Rummikub was a farce!!!! After an hour of sweating the strategy, all our moves counted for crap – there was barely a legitimate play on the table. I nearly wet myself with laughter.

Afterwards Kid2 commented that she’d like blackout more often. It’s sad that we have to remove the electricity to ensure there is no TV or computers. I think I’ll have to bring in no-screens Thursdays again.

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White dresses – and what they do to women!! (Post 4)

So I’m sitting here watching Randy to the rescue, and Say yes to the dress. I just can’t help myself – I cannot turn it off.

I’m not really sure of the attraction. Almost 20 years ago I was certainly not into the big wedding dress thing. My dress was made by a dressmaker I knew and together with the rest of my outfit, cost a whopping $200! We did the ‘wedding-on-a-budget’, including the reception which I’m sure cost about only $4000. It was a fair amount of our money at the time, but in comparison to others, it was a low key affair.

My most recent exposure, or closest thing to it, was my daughter’s debutante ball earlier this year. OMG. I had tried to tempt her away from the idea by a serious offer of $1000 towards a car when she turns 18. But no – she wanted the White Dress.

What a saga!!!!! Trying to get a size 14 teenager with self-image issues comfortable in the dress of her choice – not easy. I think she was finally happy on the day – but the dramas in the lead up we’re not easy. As a result I have told her, when (if) she chooses to get married, choose the maid-of-honour wisely – as it will be that lass who wears the dramas! Not me.

Having said this, Miss 14 is already thinking of her debut. She is fair more likely to create less drama, but it am so glad it’s 2 years away.

With all this, I am surprised I still love these tacky wedding dress shows. Maybe it’s the transformation of ‘finding the right dress’. Or the outstanding rudeness of families and friends trashing the bride-to-be’s choice of dress? Whatever it is, I can watch show after show!

(And Miss 16 did look stunning, in my opinion anyway!)

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