Australia Day

So what uniquely Australian thing did we do today?

Well I cooked up an Indonesian feast which I have just posted some pictures of on my food blog. Though we did barbecue the chicken for the satay and we did play some back yard cricket - so I think we were the perfect multicultural Australian family today.

We had my husband's mother, father, Grandmother and brother and wife and their friend from Japan and her son over as well. A very pleasant afternoon having an early dinner (it is a school night) and now a bit of time for a brief post before I head to bed and contemplate the mountain of work I have to get through tomorrow and Friday and potentially the weekend - to get ready a report due on Tuesday! I'm starting to panic just thinking about it. And we have two couples over on Sunday for a bowls/bbq as well now I am really panicked!


On my walk the other morning, I often think to myself how apart from one or two other walkers/dog walkers/joggers that the birds are my only witnesses. On this day I saw these four ugly ugly birds (their faces look like they are peeling I am not sure if that is intended) group together and cross the bitumen road to this grass on the other side. I wish I had have been close enough to photograph their journey over the road. Instead I tried to catch them having their brekky.

Capturing the joy of some water play on a Sunday afternoon.

I liked "catching" Gabriella's intensity when she is really out to get something. Here I am sitting on the steps while the children play in the backyard with the hose.

Trimming the tree - Queensland style.

Returning home from my walk last Thursday morning, the sun was rising quickly in the east and throwing light on the paths ahead, making me enjoy the start of a beautiful day.

Happy Days.

We are currently enjoying a honeymoon period with Elliot. Since returning home he has been very thoughtful, kind and sharing to his sister and a generally very good company most of the time in fact I cannot remember being annoyed at his behaviour once.

In terms of his thoughtfulness, when I asked for volunteers to set the table for dinner, I expected his older cousin to help. Elliot though, quickly stepped up to the task instead. He has not had a single qualm when Gabriella has followed him puppy dog like (and when I think about it even with drool) and had to share some of his yoghurt, fruitsicles with her.

Another thoughtful suggestion by Elliot last Friday afternoon: "Mum, would you like to come out on the deck and listen to some beautiful songs" "Of course "I said and sat with Gabriella on our lounges. Elliot then proceeded with much amusing facial contortion and strumming of his guitar wiht his only chord, "A", to sing us three of his original creations.

The first song was called "Eighties and the old people" and that more or less was the chorus and lyric for that song. Elliot said that he made that song because, "You know Mum the Eighties was a long time ago" "Yes, I know when the Eighties were Elliot" I wryly reply.

The next song was "Brisbane your a beautiful country" with a few mentions of Sydney as well. The final song was called "Babies" and Gabriella was mentioned once or twice. When asked, I replied that my personal favourite was naturally, "Eighties and the old people." Of course today I have been unable to get that chorus/lyric out of my head ALL day.

With Elliot's return to school today we have discussed new routines that need to be adhered to around bedtime and when waking and getting ready. The other night at dinner he surprised us by mentioning a change he would like to see initiated, "Mum" he said, "instead of getting angry at me when you get mad, could you give me a smack on the bottom instead". I was quite taken back and really lost for words when he suggested that one, I think I said something like do you think when I get angry that I should hit you and then won't you think that it will be okay to hit other people you get angry at. P asked Elliot if he preferred a physical response to a mental one and Elliot replied that he did.

It made me realise that maybe I do lose my temper too much with him and that I should really try not to let things escalate so that I don't get so angry in the future. Hopefully the new more sleep me will deal with the things that two young children and a full-time job can throw at me, better. But I have decided that I will have to heed the words of Kitschenette and actually start dealing with my hot temper too.


P on left with twin brother R

He's baaaack

Elliot ten months old 1999.

I decided to post this old photograph as a welcome home to my baby, of course he is 6 years old, but he will ALWAYS be my baby. He came home yesterday afternoon. When he arrived he raced up the stairs and I met him in the hallway where he gave me an enormous hug. He was so excited he was leaping for joy to be home. I know he enjoyed his time away but I guess it was the first time away for a prolonged period when he could do so remembering, who and what he had been missing at home.

I went through some very old photographs I have of Elliot as a baby, it was pre-digital. Luckily P had scanned quite a few of our older photographs into the computer. My sister and I took a series of photographs of Elliot when he was ten months old. I wanted to photograph him naked and before he started walking. I thought it would capture him as the essence of a baby on the verge of toddlerdom. There are so many good photographs that we have from that day. I wanted to do the same for Gabriella, but I was far too busy. Though I am just as happy with her Christening photographs and the family photographs taken in New Farm Park.

It's good to be a whole family again, the alternate reality wasn't so bad but it was too quiet really. Elliot livens us all up keeps us on our toes mentally and physically. The sleeping through for all of us is going well still. I have declared that I am a NEW woman. As much as I enjoyed breast feeding Gabriella I like the more positive outlook I have now since I no longer have interrupted sleep. Gabriella and I actually communicate differently I talk and sing to her more, while she fed I found that there was no need for words it was a silent bond, sometimes with giggles from her.

I think I now have the energy for a LIFE for me and I am more than just a woman who is a mother, and who works.

I have decided I am actually going to read the instructions on our new digital camera to figure out all the modes and have a more informed attempt at taking photographs. I really like carrying my camera with me when I go for a walk now. This means my interests could be more than writing and cooking it may include taking photographs. I am really happy with how discovering blogging has expanded my interests. There is one more interest but I need to buy a book or do a course so I will see how that goes before I write about it.

P.S The photograph above is one of P and his twin brother when they were two? three? (he says) I guess under 3. He and his brother had white hair when younger. P's hair colour is actually black. I think it is this lighter influence in my children's hair which gives them almost brown/golden locks.


Damn! I made it.

I had hoped to post a picture of some endless blue sky for Kitschenette, alas, for Brisbane, rain is forecast for all of this week. Though I am not complaining it was very balmy last weekend, in fact Sunday was down right uncomfortable unless I lay prostrate on my deck and read the papers all day and caught the breeze.

I noticed we were getting a large brown dry spot on the lawn so we definately needed the rain that fell on Monday afternoon and we were starting to talk again at work about when we could recall last having some good rain. The appearance of the rain made it decidedly pleasant when going for my early morning walk today.

Almost there.

Taking me to work.

Abundance of bottle brush

Banksia abounds.

This morning's path


This is because I am missing my boy - who I haven't kissed and hugged now for eleven days and I love hearing his voice on the phone every day - he sounds so young.

Because my last post made me feel a little down I thought I would post a few pictures of some happy summer vacation times. Like finding out Gabriella is a water baby and loves spending time in her swimmers.


My friend/manager returned to work today after being on leave since Christmas eve. Her reply when I asked how her break was:

"I told my family that I was happy to return to work, because I would be among normal people again."

That summed up her vacation time. I empathised with her discussion of Christmas day which on balance will be remembered by her and I for some frustration, a temper tantrum and some ill will (though mine was minus the ill will...I think?).

My Christmas Day did involve a temper tantrum, mine. Whenever I have been asked about how my Christmas and vacation was, I have avoided saying much more than:

"Nice, it was fine, busy."

The reality was not so pleasant. Let me say at the outset my friend and I agreed the high points of Christmas day as it should, went to the children. They were no trouble. Elliot was suitably impressed with Santa Clause's ability to deliver. Gabriella oblivious to the event and spectacle happy as usual.

The actual temper tantrum, was from me, and arose from an incident which I refer to as the:


It resulted in my calling him:

"An idiot"

Horrible, yes indeed, I regretted it as soon as the words were out of my mouth and although I apologised to him, repeatedly, he steadfastly refused to accept my apology. I tried to explain that it wasn't just about the notcuttingthesushifastenough (so my mother ended up eating the salted sushi and not the special unsalted sushi I had gone to the trouble of making) but was a product of the build-up of tension from the week preceding Christmas day. That was still not good enough for him. And I agree it is inexcusable to say horrible things to your partner and expect to get away with it.

Though in times involving family stress if you can't have the occasional blow-up and your partner take the heat then who is going to wear it from you? Is it better that it was him or should everyone have been witness and subject to my appalling behaviour? I know I should know better, but I am afraid I am human and my behaviour not always exemplary.

I spoke to another good friend of mine, V last week and again discussed Christmas and family issues and I remarked to her how frustrated I was with my family during this period. She told me that everyone was in the same boat and her husband's family were aggravating too. She also mentioned the "tension" at their Christmas event with her husband on edge and he taking some of his frustration out on her. I said that I thought it was far worse when it is your OWN family that you have the complaints about.

One point of V's tension involved the giving by her and her husband of ethical christmas gifts to her husband's family rather than the buying of presents. For example, a person would be given a card which indicated that monies had been donated by V and partner for the purchase of a goat for X family in X third world country. She had asked for our (being the girl friends) opinion on the ethical gifts a few weeks earlier. We agreed that the gifts were certainly in keeping with the spirit of giving however, we cautioned that all of her "in-laws" might not see it that way.

Which as it turned out was true, though only from one person, who ironically was the person who gave them a gift of a Bible for Christmas and had previously suffered from a Jesus complex. See you can't please them all.

The cause of my words with P didn't happen because of failure to cut sushi quickly, it stemmed from interactions between my mother and her older invalid sister whom my mother is the full-time carer of (at the expense of her own health) and the interactions between my mother and my sister and my mother and her two other sisters.

It should come as no surprise that at the conclusion of my mother's visit she declared to me:

"I am never returning to Brisbane ever again."

This was because of some bad feelings which arose between my mother and my sister and the position that my mother resolved to take towards her sisters in terms of their inability to show interest in being involved in the part-time care of their elder sister in order to occasionally relieve my mother.

Last weekend I was totally over the entire mess, emotionally fatigued having lived through it and discussed it all several times already. Only now am I actually ready to write about it.

Many of the issues are quite petty really, particularly the ones involving my mother and my sister. Though the issues involving the care of my mother's sister not so. That situation seems currently unsolvable and I had to endure much complaining from my mother over the last 3 weeks about the situation over the last 4 years, concerning how little assistance she receives from her sister's in regards to their sister's care and giving my mother an opportunity for a break now and again. Anything that I suggested to help resolve the problem was dismissed by my mother including my wanting to speak to my mother's sister about her being more willing to accept assistance from outside agencies when my mother wanted a break. My mother did not want me to discuss it with her sister. It seems my mother really only wants to talk complain about it endlessly instead.

I didn't think I was going to post all this negative stuff about Christmas and family and vacations. But sometimes vacation time just isn't all golden beaches, blue skies and water and tinsel and trim and turkey etc. Though the food was just about only one of the best things about that day - that went very well.

Sometimes it's about many different personalities who at the end of a challenging year get together and those great expectations meet reality.

Perhaps it was tempting fate that I had lampooned the David Jones and Myer catalogues version of the perfect Christmas only weeks before. Several gorgeous men with perfect smiles wearing designer clothing and several perfectly groomed women and the children. I joked with my colleagues at the time as to whether anyone they knew was having a "David Jones catalogue style Christmas" and nobody said they were - do they exist?


It was a trap for young players.

Damn P to Ebay hell! He has got me looking at Ebay more than I blog lately and that is saying something.

Just today I won a bid on a pair of Dolce and Gabbana sunglasses and now I have my beady little eyes on an "Authentic Louis Vuitton" handbag. I have some suspicions about the authenticity of the handbag but may go through with it anyway - I did ask for a money back guarantee from the seller and he said if I didn't like it he would return my money. So what have I to lose plus I have to win it first anyway.

It looks like I will have to move Ebay into the "things in common" column of our relationship.


Updated profile

I decided to change my 10 things about me again. With this next 10 I am trying hard not to duplicate anything I have revealed before about myself in the profile and isn't obvious from any of my previous posts. Not that great for any new readers I know but I have my reasons.

I decided it was time to reveal ten more things because of an opinion I once formed after a discussion with a work colleague I much admired. He expressed a view that I now embrace and it concerned a person I had just met during a course that he was also acquainted with.

I told him that I felt that the mutual acquaintance had told me waaaaaay too much about herself within the first 15 minutes of our conversation and I felt both uncomfortable and disturbed by the revelations. I recognised my own negative reaction straight away by reading my body language at the time. While she spewed all of her personal details at me, I was doing the whole side-glancing, head turned over my left shoulder to be polite while being spoken at, while my body was involuntarily turning in the other direction.

He had the same view and said that when meeting new people it should be like peeling an onion, it should involve layers. I agree, lots of details doesn't always bother me it depends on the context and on the details themselves, i.e. whether they reveal neediness or are just plain interesting.

I know most bloggers will publish 100 things straight up. I don't have a problem with that because I admire that they can assemble such a list. I had trouble collating the current 10 that I just whipped together. I don't know maybe my onion code doesn't translate to a blogger's modus operandi? Anyway I have decided to err on the side of caution and compile my list slowly and reveal me onion style.

Why Why Why?

Lately I have been participating by leaving comments concerning the whole "why do we blog posts"? I am suffering from a little issue fatigue on that matter having composed a couple of long comments and don't feel the need to reiterate my reasons now, but I thought I would like to say something about my relationship with my partner P because what I have written touches on our interaction and I don't want to leave the impression that he and I out-of-step.

While I said he doesn't understand why I have a blog and why I like to blog, equally I don't understand his passions for AFL, cricket and Ebay. Neither of us are interested in the merest detail of each others chosen professions, his computer animation bores me to tears if what he wishes to show me doesn't happen like, straight away. And his eyes glaze over if I start detailing any sort of legal phenomena.

That doesn't mean we don't have mutual interests, it just means that over the course of our relationship we have become honest enough to admit that we don't have to be or pretend to be interested in all aspects of each others lives. For instance, I don't insist that P gets up at 5am and come to the Farmer's markets with me, or shop for clothes with me. Likewise he doesn't insist that I watch the Lions vs. Swans on a Saturday afternoon or a Friday night or play X-box.

Of course I do get just a tiny bit wistful when I go out walking in the morning that I am not walking with my walking buddy/significant other like almost everyone else is, but that is not a core reason why P and I got together or remain together. We didn't commit to live in each others pockets, we committed to supporting each other and having respect for each other and we can do that without having to do everything together.

I think there are bigger picture issues that we should strive for, like compatibility and compromise with issues such as where we should live, how we raise our children, where they will go to school and what should their values be. As a couple and as friends we share a love of travel, food, wine, movies, reading and board games, we have many mutual friends and like to indulge together in the occasional cigarette - hand rolled by P using his favourite licorice papers and had only while consuming alcohol (and out of sight of the children).

This weekend I am looking forward to sharing a liqueur with P after dining out a deux. During dinner we may even feel enough largesse to indulge each other and listen to a work story from each of us. Though no promises we both want to stay awake!


Acting and not just talking about it.

I published my first post on my food blog "nOt jUsT dEsSeRtS" tonight.I wanted nJd's title to look just like that but bloody blogger wouldn't let me, nevermind I now have a new template for LIL and a new food blog - I may just be able to act on some of my heart's desires (a.k.a. New Year's resolutions I don't say them out loud for fear that I will just be regretting that I have done nothing about them six months to twelve months later).


Trying weekend

The weekend has been a little trying and mainly due to the changes that we are making with Gabriella. I have been a little emotional about the weaning and after the first night when I tried to explain to P how I was finding it difficult to adjust I ended up bursting into tears.

After the first night I interrogated P as to how it went and he told me he was up twice and had given her a bottle each time. It didn't dawn on me till after the second night when I found them both in bed in the morning with Gabriella drinking from a bottle and heard that he had given her two bottles during the night, that I realised that this was not going to be better unless further changes were implemented.

I explained to P that the agony involved in weaning Gabriella was not worth it unless it was in order to have her sleeping through the night. I didn't want to give up breast feeding only to wake twice a night for bottles, which is what we did for 3 years with Elliot.

So yesterday I bought a new book "The Mighty Toddler" by my favourite baby book author Robyn Barker and referred P to the appropriate pages. That night we put Gabriella's cot in Elliot's room. So not only is she being weaned, she is being moved into another room plus we are no longer using bottles at ANY time of the day.

I am really trying this time not to make any of the mistakes we made with Elliot as we ended up co-sleeping with him for 5 years. I do not denigrate any parent's choice of this method, it's just that it was a mistake for us as it was not a conscious choice and we found it extremely difficult to live this way due to the sleep deprivation involved.

There are really only a couple of other things I need to say about the weaning. The process is actually going very well and each day I am encouraged by our progress and the changes in Gabriella and my interaction. At first I really missed our closeness as I felt that to reinforce the change I should keep my distance. Today, I sat and let her cuddle my bosom and snuggle and breathe them in and worship them as objects of a baby's desire. I have allowed her access only one other time and that was after a particularly nasty incident involving a dropped bottle (no more of them now) and the corner of the coffee table (that has also disappeared) and her temple (which is fine now thank Goodness!). She was so distraught (and P was out) at the time that I felt it was the only thing I could do for my injured and distressed baby. She was immediately quieted by the surprise of being given access again I am sure.

The last matter of which I would like to speak on this matter involves the support I have had from the wonderful women of the blogosphere - I am so heartened by your words of wisdom and encouragement. I told my husband that given that I have been as emotional as I have, he is lucky that I am ruled by my head and not my heart and also that I am appreciative of the support from the women who have written to me.

Last but not least, thanks to you my wonderful husband - because this is being made tolerable and easier due to your commitment as well.

New Look

I finally made a change of templates, not a huge difference but enough to relieve my boredom with that green I chose 6 months ago on a whim. Surprisingly I am still attracted to greens when given a choice of templates and I thought that I should find out what that would/could/might mean.

Color symbolism and the meaning of color in the short L├╝scher test says that the green of the test contains a certain amount of blue and is the test-color representing the physiological condition of "elastic tension". It expresses itself psychologically as the will in operation, as perseverance and tenacity. Blue-green is therefore an expression of firmness, of constancy and ,above all, of resistance to chance. Blue-green: represents "Elasticity of Will" and is concentric, passive, defensive, autonomous, retentive, possessive and immutable. Its affective aspects are persistence, self-assertion, obstinacy and self-esteem.

Unfortunately I didn't save my old template and have a bit of tweeking to do to my new template. I am just elated that I have managed to resume my links to my regular blog reading list and added some I have been meaning to for some time.


Feels like...

anxiety. That is what I recognise this gnawing feeling in the pit of my stomach as, it makes me feel kinda jumpy, sorta sick. Why the anxiety?

Elliot leaves tomorrow for approximately 2 weeks with my mother and his cousin for a holiday in the Atherton Tablelands. It's a long long way away from me and I haven't been separated from him for this long by this type of distance for three years. The last time, my sister took him to visit my mother three years ago, I am pretty sure I felt exactly the same way then.

I think it may be part of the controlling features of my nature that makes me worry about him going even though I know my mother is the best carer in the world, yet... I guess it's also the mothering instinct in me. Being separated from my young I am just not used to it for more than 24 hours.

The other source of my anxiety is Gabriella. P and I decided from tomorrow evening no more breast feeding it's finished, finito, over. It is going to be so hard to do. I can't believe how much she enjoys it , but it is taking a real toll on me. I mainly feed her during the night, which means broken sleep EVERY SINGLE night. I need to claim my nights back so I can have some me time the next day. I really want no, need to get up for me and start walking again. At the moment I just don't have the energy.

So, the plan is I will be getting some sleep in the third bedroom at the other end of the house while P will settle her every time she wakes for the next few nights. How many nights do I think it will take? My guess is Thursday night, Friday night and Saturday night. By Sunday night I am hoping we have success and that Monday morning I will be up for a half an hour walk before breakfast.

I am so emotionally divided by what we are about to embark on, the end of breastfeeding my final baby and putting an end to something that Gabriella gets so much comfort and joy from. On the other hand I know that psychologically I will be able to function on an entirely better level if we can do it.

Fingers crossed.


Resuming routine

I did something incredibly difficult today. I resumed work. It was particularly difficult in light of the fact that P does not return to work till next week and my mother is still at my home as well. So while I was getting done all the usual things that must be done prior to leaving the house this morning, everyone else was leisurely breaking their fasts and planning their recreational pursuits for the day. Only Gabriella seemed to be truly affected by my having to return to work. As soon as I had my work wardrobe on she clung to me so tightly as though by attaching herself to me, she could prevent my eventual departure. Unfortunately that didn't work.

Once at work my teammates and I struggled to devote ourselves to all the tasks that my manager had left us to diligently complete. I managed to elude the "let's go for a coffee at 11am" as there was much too much work to catch up on and I begged off on the basis that I had managed to fit in a coffee before I left home for a change.

While I set myself goals today and was initially determined to complete them, I would inevitably be interrupted because if I did not ask yet another holiday-related question then I was asked another question by another team member.

By the end of the day despite my best intentions, I managed to re-familiarise myself with all the issues that were before me at the end of last year and was able to put them in perspective so that I could continue with my analysis of the problems.

We did however decide by 4.30pm that we needed a drink. Much of our conversations had revolved around our holiday drinking habits and by this time we decided we needed to ease our way back into the rest of our working week and a drink would soften the blow of our first day back in nearly 2 weeks for some and 4 weeks for another.

It really was only 2 drinks and then straight home. We have already decided no drink tomorrow though maybe we will venture out on Thursday afternoon after work.

I think this entry would actually translate on "The Dullest Blog in the World" to this:

"Went to work then I came home. Then I wrote about going to work and coming home."