Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tangled up in Monsters

"There's a scary monster under the bed, mummy," my Sprocket informs me. We lie in the dark, waiting for sleep.
"Sweetheart, I promise you, there's no monster under the bed."
"Yes there is!" he protests indignantly.
"No, darling. There is not. Monsters are just a story. They're not real. There's no such thing as monsters."
"O-kay," he says, in the tone of one humouring the mad mummy.
"Pink monsters with sparkles aren't scary," my Poppet pipes up. "Pink monsters are friendly. They love me."
"If there were pink monsters I am sure they would be friendly. And they would love you, but there's no such thing as monsters."
It has become a matter of urgency that we get rid of all suggestion of the reality of monsters. At present every mishap and every naughtiness in the house is being blamed on - you guessed it, the monsters. We even had to stop the car on the way down from Queensland to tell the monster (who bit Poppet's hand) to get out of the car.
"The monsters have all gone away?" Sprocket asks.
"No, hon. There were never any monsters. They're just a story - like---"
And here I pause. I can't say they're just a story like Father Christmas and the Easter Bunny and fairies,  because of course they believe Father Christmas and the Easter Bunny and fairies are real.
"They're pretend. Someone just made them up," I try, yet again.
Why didn't I just tell them there was no such thing as monsters the first time they brought it up. And the second. And the third. And the fourth.
I weakened. I went with the story. I tried ordering the monsters to go away. I tried telling the kids the monsters were scared of mummy and daddy. I tried telling the kids that monsters could be friendly. I  tried saying my Sprocket was responsible for the monsters being naughty and if he didn't control the monsters he'd get quite time.
Why didn't I have a firm monster policy already in place for the first time the kids brought up monsters under the bed? Or outside the window.
Because now, much as I try to tell them that there's no such thing as monster, my Poppet's voice pipes up happily: "I saw a monster last night."
Sigh. Why didn't I have a consistent monster policy in place, all thought out and ready to roll?
Because now I'm all tangled up in monsters, and I'm not entirely sure I know how to escape.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunday Stills 4/52

1. My sprocket surveying the world from the tree tops
2. My beloved's folks have been staying with us the last week, cutting down trees, putting up fences, taking away junk and basically making everything all wonderful. Now they're driving back up to Queensland and we're so worried for them with the floods...
3. Sprocket and Poppet hugging
4. Sprocket on the trampoline with his Nana
5. My beloved and his dad putting the pickets up on our brand new front fence. Did I mention my beloved's mum and I painted 160 pickets... two undercoats and then a final coat in situ. But... ooo they look good now!
6. Trialling how our pickets would look
7. Painting gear. Crocs may be ugly but they're so good for slipping on and off when you've been painting outside!

It's been such a hot and hectic week. We've been watching the smoke and keeping an eye on the fires all week, and now as my in-laws drive home to Queensland we're suddenly worried about flooding and tornadoes instead... (we love a sunburnt country... )
Now, we have a brand new, blindingly white picket fence (which I know if a cliche, but I still love it!)
The weather here has thankfully cooled and this week we really step into the routine of the year.
Joining with Em at the The Beetleshack for Sunday Stills.
And wishing everyone a wonderful new week, hopefully with neither floods nor fires.

Saturday, January 26, 2013


1. My Poppet eating a banana. Paint splattered from all the painting we have been doing
2. My Sproket, not unusually, up a tree.

Joyfullly joining with Jodi at Che and Fidel for the fourth week of a portrait of our kids once a week. Am I imagining things or have my little ones grown since the beginning of the month?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Getting Ready to Celebrate

So folks, I'm sure you're all getting into the festive spirit and preparing to celebrate.
Deliberating over the drinks and screwing your face up about the menu, pondering the playlist.
Yes? No?
I know I am.
My friend Jenni at The Ex Expat reminded me, not that I'd forgotten of course, that it's... Burns Night tonight!
She's also created a fantastic playlist for the event which you should totally check out,* because...
put on your kilt, cook up your haggis, practice your 'Address to a Haggis'... tonight we celebrate the life and wondrous works of the great Scottish poet Robert Burns.
You know, the genius who wrote Auld Lang Syne, My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose, A Man's a Man for a' That. (I figure I'm allowed to have a leetle crush on Burns as he's been dead 200 years. I am not entirely sure my Beloved agrees, so let's keep it to ourselves.)
Jenni has also provided a great recipe for cranachan, one of my very favouritest desserts.
And while I can't say I'll be tucking into a haggis, a cranachan sounds very do-able, involving as it does  cream, whisky, honey and raspberries!

So will you be celebrating Burns Night?  (Papa, you might find it hard to get your hands on some whisky in the wilds of East Timor, but don't worry, I'll have some for you... although heavily laced with cream and honey to get it down, I fear!)

*It includes some brilliant choices, particularly from Eddi Reader's great Burns album and including my Sprocket's song - You're Welcome Willie Stewart - his middle names, after my dad and a dearly missed friend. It always makes me want to dance and cry at the same time!
I might have chosen Paolo Nutini's version of A Man's a Man for a' that, but a minor quibble!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Late Again (Sunday Stills)

I'm very late with my Sunday Stills this week! (I know, it's Thursday!) but we're halfway unpacked from our time away, I'm almost finished lamenting my poor scorched plants (Alas, gardenias, I loved ye well) and things are in more of a routine, so I have hopes that next week will be more to schedule!

1. A little brown nestling that fell into our garden. The children never noticed it, and it's parents retrieved it (I hope they did, at any rate, it stayed hidden until it disappeared.)
2. The tree from which (we presume) it fell. We've been very grateful for the shade.
3. One of the parrots eating our apples.
4. Poppet in the playground.
5. Sprocket  swinging.
6. Sprocket, monkeying around.

Belatedly joining with Em over at The Beetleshack for Sunday Stills.

Would it Smell as Sweet?

Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet?
Say, if roses were humperdinks instead, would we like them as much?
I still love hydrangeas, although I'm not a fan of their name. I think it makes them sound deranged. I prefer them when I think of them as snowball-bushes.
I'm in the midst of a character (re)naming.
It's the middle of the night, (1.54 to be precise) and I'm finally getting some editing done after a holiday hiatus... and... I keep seeing one name and stopping. It's just not right.
My character is small and sharp, vivid and mercurial. A barista (with a degree in International Relations her mum nagged her into getting) she's the eldest and mama wolf of five sisters who re-discover the magical world of their childhood. And I need the perfect name for her.
She's a secondary character in the book I'm editing, but she'll be a primary in a book I write later in the year. (Overly Caffeinated Werewolves Are Not Pretty - yay for a great excuse to drink A LOT of coffee and do some intensive pinteresting!)
And she started off (years ago) as Chardie. I know. I don't know what I was thinking either. I must have been momentarily deranged. And not in a nice hydrangea-y way. In a totally flipped way.
I moved on to Bella. But realised that a certain vampire series makes that name a bit used. Passe. Old hat. Which is a shame, as I loved it until the whole Twilight thing was pointed out to me and I deflated.
I moved on to Belle. But then realised as the main character is called Nell... that's not quite where I want to go. Nell-Belle, Pell-Mell. Sigh.
So now I'm searching for a name. The name. The one that sings.
Midnight inspiration... please strike soon.
Something short (a diminutive of a longer, elegant name preferably), something sharp. Something that makes you think of an edgy, no-nonsense, latently were-wolf, coffee snob? Preferably ending in something other than L, O, A or Y.
Not that I'm picky or anything.
Midnight inspiration please strike soon... soon... soon... Sigh.
Looks like I'll be hitting the name books tomorrow.

Monday, January 21, 2013


1. My Sprocket, looking very noble.
2. My Poppet, looking into the yonder.

This week the problem wasn't choosing from many photos but finding any. We've been recovering from our big drive from Queensland to Victoria... and putting in a new fence. (Digging fence holes is hard - who knew? Especially in this heat, so glad it's cool today)
Finally got around to downloading photos - and I'm sorry Poppet - not the best one of you, but I'll make it up!

Belatedly joining with the beautiful Jodi of Che and Fidel with the project of a portrait of. the kids once a week for 2013

Monday, January 14, 2013

Sunday Stills (2/52)

It's early Tuesday morning and my Sprocket still sleeps beside me. Last night we tumbled into our own house after our epic three day drive home from Queensland to Gippsland. So this is a leetle late for Sunday Stills but here's the roundup for the last week.

1. My Sprocket looking very old in his Nana and Grandpa's garden.
2. My Popppet about to eat one of her Nana's tomatoes. (It wasn't the birds)
3. My Sprocket  up a tree. Note lovely aqua nails.
4. The dolphin, Patch, the kids fed at Tin Can Bay on the way up to see friends at Hervey Bay.
5. My Beloved putting away the chess pieces after he played a game with an old friend who has just moved to Hervey Bay. (I was asleep on the couch savouring the sea breezes and hopefully not snoring too loudly. We woke at 4.45am that morning to get to Tin Can Bay in time to feed the dolphins. Soo sleepy!)
6. Photos from our trip home. Quick paddle at Coff's Harbour where we stayed the first night. Just before our epic drive to Canberra.
7. One of the amazing rivers along the NSW coast. Did any one else know NSW has stolen ALL the big rivers. Every few miles we crossed another massive water body.
8. Port Maquarie. The best. We stopped for fish and chips on the beach. (Sublime fish and chips.) Great surf, amazing sweeps of pale sand beach after pale sand beach. We can live here. My Papa  says I just felt at home because of my convict roots as it was an old penal colony. Whatever. We can move.
9. We hit Sydney and it started bucketing down and the temperature plummeted.* We could hardly see the road. And don't get me started on the almost sheer vertical mountain (don't they know about tunnels? zig-zags, going around?) between Sydney and Canberra. In the rain. In the dark. So scary.

But now we're home!
Sleepily joining with Em at The Beetleshack for the second Sunday Stills of 2013. Time seems to speeding away very fast this year! Are we truly two weeks in?

*The rain was of course a GOOD THING because of all the fires. We were scanning for smoke and  checking reports the whole drive. The first drops were such a relief. 

Friday, January 11, 2013


The second week of taking a portrait of my children once a week. And it hasn't really got easier choosing one photo!

1. My Sprocket, up a tree. It's out of focus (obviously I meant it to be. ahem) and his mouth is grubby. Holidays are meant to be spent out of doors and it was too hot to brave the beach.
2. My Poppet. Getting sleepy.

Joining with Jodi of Che and Fidel for 52 weeks of portraits. (Very soon I'm going to sit down and get the lovely button by Rebekka Seale, but my apple isn't doing the double click so I'll wait till I'm home and do it on my beloved's beast.) It's been wonderful seeing all the beautiful portraits of everyone doing the project. So much fun to look back on at the end of the year!


This year I'm concentrating on being joyous.
So far I've managed hot and sweaty. (With moments of  delight)
But I thought I'd think about the things that make me feel joyous, so I know how to search them out and savour.

The sea. Swimming in the sea, eyes open amidst the green, held in a cresting wave.
The shore. wandering the tideline searching for ocean treasures
The lull of the waves on the sand
The sound of the rain on the roof. The drama of storms
Open fires (particularly burning dried lavender or spices)
Cuddling in bed with my children, reading stories.
Spending time with my beloved
Music. particularly celtic. particularly live. particularly live celtic. (Port Arlington Celtic Festival 2013 here we come!)
Encountering an animal in the wild. a dolphin. an echidna. a wallaby. sharing a moment. I dream of diving deep and seeing a seahorse. One day.
My kids gleeful, uncontrollable, wild giggles.
Talking with my little ones about the day, when lights are out and all is still
Flowers. just thinking about them makes me smile. roses. gardenias. magnolias. fresias. daphne. blossom. peonies. lilies. lavender. hydrangeas. frangipanis so many. love. and love. and love.
Gardening. admiring my roses, carefully bedding my seedlings, plucking bounty from my garden
Twilight. walking by twilight when the world smells fresh and the stars are first appearing
The hilarious things the kids say
Walking in forests, when time slows to the leisurely fall of a leaf and the flow of a stream
Beginning a new book by a beloved author
Discovering a new, and wonderful, author
My kids arms around my neck, their hugs and noisy kisses
Beginning writing a new book or finishing writing a long dreamt of book. equally exhilarating!
The perfect dessert. sticky date pudding. mmm. apple crumble and custard. creme brulee.
The perfect cup of tea. or coffee. or hot chocolate.
Heady, wine fuelled debate and discussion
The flight of birds
The heart-piercing image
The unexpected kindness
The love and friendship of family and friends
Travelling to new places
Packing for new places

And the thing is, so many of these are so everyday. It's so easy to light a candle, put on some music, pick some flowers, spend time in the garden, read a story, walk the dog in the dusk, tickle a kid, make a cup of tea, hold hands with my beloved.
Today I'm joining with Maxabella and 52 Weeks of Grateful, so thankful for all the many things in the world that bring joy. So grateful for the moments of still. The moments of wild exileration. So grateful to look forward to a year crammed full of joy.

What brings you joy?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Sunday Stills (First of 2013!)

Summer is passing in a lazy whirr. Our days up here in Queensland are coming to a close and we're beginning to plan the drive back down to Gippsland. Another adventure.
It's so lovely to look back over the photos of the last week and see all that we've crammed in. Culling the photos has not been so fun. I keep aiming to keep my Sunday Stills to seven (see all those lovely sibilant 's's! But no. Fail! (Again!)
Despite my failure to adequately cull, it's lovely to be joining - for the first time in 2013 - with Em over at The Beetleshack for Sunday Stills!

1. Poppet and Sprocket at the beach. Waiting for the 8pm New Years fireworks at Bribie Island
2. Sprocket searching for crabs (and sea monsters!)
3. Poppet - very festive for the New Year. In the costume her Nana brought back from Egypt (Doubling as a nightie!)
5. Gotta love a glowstick!
6. My precious monkey boy (Costume courtesy of Lifeline op-shop, Brisbane CBD)
7. Unknown but lovely white flower from Brisbane Botanical Gardens
8.Poppet holding her first fishing rod
9.S-s-s-nake. I'm originally a Melbourne girl. Snakes are a rarity for me. This was a red-bellied black up the street from my in-laws. Yep. Photo taken from the car. Luckily I didn't see the brown snake that was removed from the front doorstep yesterday. Gulp. Have to say they move beautifully. Like a dream to watch.
10.From our first ever family fishing trip

Saturday, January 5, 2013


Last year I greatly enjoyed looking at Jodi's project on her blog, Che and Fidel- a portrait of her children once a week for a year. This year, (along with many others!) I've decided to buckle down and do the same.

So - this is week one of fifty two. 

My Poppet, looking older than her two years in an elephant costume I found in a Lifeline shop in Brisbane. (This year is also the year of my challenge to tread lighter on the earth and buy nothing that isn't second hand of hand made - or food. So far, it's been going well)

My Sprocket on New Years Eve at Bribie  Island - pretending to take a photo of me as I take a photo of him. 

I'm so looking forward to reaching the end of the year and being able to look back and see how they've changed and grown through the year!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Summer in the City

 (Very happy, with citycat in the background. I Love the citycats! My beloved would be in this but he still has dreams of being an International Super-Sleuth so doesn't like to have photos taken)

My Beloved and I gave each other a couple of nights in a hotel for our Christmas presents, and with my Beloveds wonderful folks taking care of the kids, we've been spending the last few days being beautifully decadent.
We've been going to the toilet all. by. ourselves. and sipping leisurely coffees. We've been waking up after seven. We've been strolling Brisbane city hand in hand without rounding up any little munchkins.
Although there have been a couple of times we've nearly weakened and gone 'we could just pop up and see the kids for dinner/lunch/cuddles' and we've had a few phone and skype conversations (cue tears, we haven't seen our wee ones for hours) we've been enjoying serious 'us' time. (And I may or may not have raced through 4 books sprawled on the ultra comfy bed - just like in my pre-kid days. Yes - once I  too, was a wild-child, up to all hours of the night!)
Today I've got great big list of joyful gratefuls to spill out.
I'm grateful for my Beloved (of course!) and for time to enjoy each other.
For my in-laws who are looking after two very happy kids and giving us this time.
For Brisbane - a city I'm just getting to know. She's a lovely, welcoming and relaxed old lady, fond of bright colours but with a beautiful sandstone backbone. We strolled through the botanical gardens which, while small, were lovely (and okay, we did spend some time exclaiming how much the kids would like it, especially when we saw the massive lizard and mangrove boardwalk) and I went on the citycat for my very first time.
And can I just say?
The citycat, - ferries that hop up and down the river - are the best public transport I have ever been on. (And I love my public transport) Scenic, fast, the city sites spread on either side, friendly helpful staff, the wind in our hair. So cool.
I'm grateful for summer days and cool breezes
And big comfy beds and lots of books
For deeply green gardens
Amazing desserts (I told you about my healthy eating kick, huh. That had to have been at least two serves of fruit!)
And just holding hands
And antique shops and op-shops
And that very soon we'll be with our little ones again!
So... I'm joining with Bron of Maxabella quite overflowing with gratefulness for this first (belated) 52 Weeks of Grateful  for 2013! That has to be auspicious!
What are you grateful for this week?