Dot Points.

In lieu of a proper post (as if I do those anyway) here's my life in dot points.

Drinking : Black tea, coffee, decaf coffee, decaf tea, water. Oh, and the yummy yummy Strawberry Lime Rekorderlig.
Reading: I've just finished 'Running and Stuff' by James Adams. It's one of the most enjoyable books about running I've read.
Wanting: Sleep. Sewing time. Quiet time.
Looking: at the girls eating pasta with tuna and watching a movie.
Playing: hair washing games with Pippa. Comprises of Pippa 'washing' my hair with a dry sponge. Feels delightful.
Wasting: Toddler food. Still.
Sewing: I've cut up my Marmalade Fat Quarter bundle to make a me-quilt using this pattern. Exciting!
Wishing: People would stop turning up at the door when I'm wearing my size 16 preggo trackpants.
Enjoying: Caitlin Park's album, The Sleeper. Beautiful.
Waiting: For my runjuries to heal.
Liking: My new chest freezer. I know. Nerdy, right?
Wondering: What sized tubs I could fit in the new freezer to properly categorise the incoming meat?
Loving: Pippa's beautiful hands and feet, and the squeezy hugs she gives everyone.
Marvelling: At the fact that when I was pregnant I fed my body food and it made babies. Way to be weird, bodies.
Needing: Patience.
Smelling: Tuna pasta.
Wearing: Aforementioned trackpants, a comfortable shirt and hiking socks. All glamour.
Following: Toddlers, issuing gentle reminders of cleaning up pipe cleaners and cotton balls.
Noticing: My girls are beginning to look more alike.
Knowing: that everything is okay.
Thinking: About coordinating fabrics.
Feeling: Happy but infinitely thankful that it's almost bedtime.
Bookmarking: Health fund options. Rock and roll. I went with in the end. Their customer service is fantastic and prices amazing. After 12 years with Bupa they wound up making me feel manipulated and fearful for my health if I didn't have cardiothoracic cover. 
Opening: My eyes.
Giggling: At Millie's Millie-isms. She'd like some 'pricewhee' whilst she goes to the toilet, please. 
Feeling: All the feels. Post race endorphins have worn off, pain receptors are firing and I am feeling all the feels.

I leave you with this amazing quote from Kate Gordon's blog - 

'Life can be so many bricks on bricks. They are hard and they are heavy and they are too solid to break. But between them there are slivers of courageous light and it’s in those slivers that, if you squint hard enough, you can see fairies dancing.
Of course, with me, there always has to be fairies.
And you can’t be sad, not really, knowing that there are fairies. And if you don’t believe in them, not any more, just ask my small, sweet girl. She’ll tell you that they’re real. And, when she tells you this, you try and tell me there’s no hope in this world.'

My name is, uh...

Amy! That's right!

Pregnancy #1 gave me baby brain. Sleep deprivation made sure it stuck around. It lifted, momentarily, then I fell pregnant again. Pregnancy #2 made me more of a dullard than ever.

Pregnancy #2 Dullard Highlights

  • I forgot my name. Several times.
  • When I did remember my name, I called myself by my maiden name.
  • I forgot how to use my ATM card. I stood over the machine, holding my card, certain I knew how to do this. The kind manager at Australia Post gently reminded me, to be rewarded with my pregnant embarrassed awkward brand of vitriol.
  • I forgot what day it was.
  • I once almost forgot to pick Millie up from daycare.

Now, I'm not pregnant anymore. A reflux-free life aside, I was looking forward to being able to remember such key important life skills as:

  • My name
  • How to drive the car
  • and other such important matters.

I did forget how to drive the car the other week. That's not how I bingled it and wound up with a fancy hire car for two weeks, incidentally. That was a whole other fun story.

I've been blessed enough to accidentally get my first gig in 18 months for this weekend. I say accidentally, because I was at Playgroup, and the venue owner was there with her kids and said 'HEY AMY! WANT TO DO A SUPPORT SPOT FOR DEBRA CONWAY?' (We yell a lot at Playgroup. There's a lot of loud small kids around.) 'SURE!' I said. Forgetting that I hadn't played guitar in about a year, banjo for two and a half years. I figured when I said I wanted to be paid that they'd rescind their offer. But alas, they did not. Oops.

Muscle memory is a beautiful thing. My hands know how to play my songs, my voice knows how to sing them. My brain has ABSOLUTELY no idea of the lyrics. This is bad. I've spent a week or so feeling confident that I had this, that my head could remember the lyrics and we'd just keep singing. After all, that's what I'd done for five years on the live music circuit and my brain had always come through.

Ah, no.

Instead of taking over and filling in the words as I open my mouth, my brain goes
'Winter comes, and I don't know his name, are charity and faith all just the same, if anybody asks do I still feel the same, I'm just waiting for the thaw.... And...uh, well, um. Shit.'

I worried quietly about this for the remainder of the week, convinced if I could just keep singing it I'd remember. I don't know if I've got those lyrics written down somewhere, and I panicked that I wouldn't be able to find them if I did.

Eventually I said to Mr S late one night 'Hey - do you remember the beginning to the second verse of Thaw? It's just that I can't remember how it starts, and I know it should be just there, and I'm sure I can remember it, but I haven't been able to do yet, I think it starts with the melody dum dum dum...'

He looked at me and said 'Did you listen to the CD?'
'Yes. Remember your second album? When you recorded that song?'


Wish me luck this weekend, be prepared for plenty of witty banter and potential humming.

Toni and David

When I was pregnant with M, Mr S and I affectionately named the Braxton Hicks contractions Toni (Braxton) & David (Hicks). Conversations between us used to go a little like
'How are Toni & David today?'
'Toni is singing her greatest hits and David is banging on about Human Rights. I mean, quite rightly so, but he's particularly vocal today.'

Thankfully, Braxton Hicks contractions end when you give birth, so I didn't need think about them for not very long at all a little while. This time around they started up EARLY. As in, from about 13 weeks. Which is manageable when one's baby isn't particularly huge, therefore the surface area for a Braxton Hicks isn't particularly huge either. But now, LORDY. Given that my baby, therefore my uterus IS particularly huge, Toni and David are very active.
'Toni will not shut up with "Un-break my heart" and David is very shouty. Very very shouty.'

Or when one hits in public people around me start to look very concerned. I have pregnancy induced asthma this time around so the squeezing of my entire middle coupled with my reduced lung capacity often has me feeling a bit pale and breathless.
'Er, are you in labour? <nervous giggle>' I'm highly tempted to say yes, just to see what they do.

So for the next few weeks Toni and David will continue to sing on loudly and bang on about human rights, and then I'll give birth. And I will make sure I will not have to think about it for a bit longer this time.

What we want for you... 12 months on.

Yes, this is a repost from 13th July, 2011. It's become especially relevant again as our government moves to make same sex marriage legal in Australia. 
I remembered that when I originally wrote this I hoped that same sex marriage would be legal in Millie's lifetime, but I really didn't hold much hope. What a change a year makes!
I enjoyed re-reading this passage, and I thought you might too.

If you want to know how you can help, GetUp have an automated petition on their site so you can send your support to your local MPs. But as I stated last year, one of the best things you can do to help is to talk about it. Start conversations in your community, go and chat to your MP and feel confident that by passing this legislation we're on our way to making an equal society where no one is discriminated against for their sexuality, race or gender.

Read on! Please share this post if this is an issue you feel strongly about. Let's keep the conversation going. Thank you!

What we want for you…

There’s a passage in my daughter’s Baby Book that is headed ‘What we want for you in this world’. It’s still blank because there’s so many things we want for her that I haven’t been able to articulate them.

I want Millie to grow up in a world where she has choices. A world that is free from poverty and disease. A world where she feels she can make a difference. Heady stuff. She’s already got a great start on this. She was lucky enough to be born in Australia, a first world country with many things. 

Federally funded health care. Work equality. Freedom to speak her mind. The freedom to make choices about birth control. Running water in her house. A non leaky roof over her head. Parents that love her. Freedom to marry whom she chooses, for love is all you need. Wait one minute.

Before I jump on in, let me begin this by telling you that I am married. And when we married last October, the non-removable part of our vows was along the lines of ‘In Australia, The Marriage Act defines marriage as the union between a man and a woman.’ Because right now that is how our country defines marriage.

Now let’s rewind a bit. The big issue when my baby boomer mother was in her formative years was women’s rights and equality. The big issue when I was growing up was homosexuality. In my household it was no big deal. We spoke about it and my parents went to pains to make sure my siblings and I knew it was okay, a non-issue. I vividly recall a conversation between early teenaged me and my father - ‘What do you mean he’s gay?’ ‘Yep. He’s gay.’ ‘Oh. So <insert name here>’s his boyfriend then?’ ‘Yep.’ ‘Huh.’ And that was it.

It wasn’t like that for a lot of people, and when I was growing up to be called homosexual was still an insult. I can’t imagine that in many schools today that it’s still an insult and for this I rejoice.
It never occurred to me until years later that same sex couples were not allowed to marry. I’m proud that Millie will grow up in such a household where homosexuality is not a big deal. We may not speak about it, because it’s not a big deal.

Back to marriage. I cannot buy into the idea that same sex marriage devalues a traditional marriage. I cannot understand it. Why, on some level, are we still comparing ourselves as superior to others? It’s like saying African Americans can’t patronise the same bar as Caucasian people. Or saying Aboriginal Australians can’t vote. Thankfully we don’t advocate these backward ideals anymore.

I’m constantly avoiding arguments about same sex marriage within social & traditional media because I can’t believe it’s an issue. I don’t care if couples of the same sex get married. I simply don’t. I care that they can’t make a choice to, because I love the country that we live in and part of that love of our free country is the choices you can make.

  • Vegemite or Promite? (As if that’s a question anyway? Vegemite always wins.) 
  • Buy a house or rent? 
  • Have more children or only one? 
  • Go to work or stay at home? 
  • Regular unleaded or premium petrol? 
  • Openly practice a religion or state your atheism?
These are very basic choices. Followed on by a choice that only straight couples can make… 

  • To marry or live in a de facto relationship?

I’m baffled by the time and energy expended by both non religious and religious folk in making sure the government decision for same sex couples to marry will be still a ways away yet. I’d like to know why other’s decision to marry offends your sensibilities. How does another’s expression of love change your expression of love? If it helps, my husband and I are not religious. We got married. And I was pregnant when we did. Does that offend your sensibilities? Why? What does it make you feel about yourself?

I hope we live in a time where my daughter grows up and feels confident about stating her sexuality and is able to marry whomever she chooses. And that should she choose to marry, she will not be applauded or made an example of, because I wish for anyone’s decision to marry to be a joyful one that can happen any day, to anybody.

That is what I wish for my daughter. Choice.

(There’s information over here, but the best way you can help is to talk about it. Start conversations and talk away.)

A Crappy Cowboy

As I mentioned last week our septic tank overflowed and we required an immediate septic pumping, which was completed. This is what I didn't tell you, because it was really so ridiculous it required it's own post.

After Mr S came inside and informed me of the septic overflow I picked up the phone and started dialing. Admittedly it was 9pm on a Sunday night, but this is the Country and I wanted to see if I could organise someone, STAT.

I spoke to the man (Company A) who had dealt with all of the septic tanks in my street (highway) for as long as he'd been working. He told me the approximate location of our septic tank, and also that he retired last year. Oh.

My next call was to a man (Company B) who was recommended to me by the man I'd just spoken to. Company B was rude, and we have decided in hindsight, drunk. He asked our address five times within a minute, and upon explaining this to him he informed me that if we couldn't expose the septic tank lid he wouldn't come around. I put him on to Mr S, who chatted to him for a bit longer and said we'd call him in the morning if we wanted him to do the job. We did not call him.

I rang plumbers, septic tank cleaners and what felt like everyone under the sun the next morning, until I called Steve the Country Plumber (who has saved our bacon more than once) who turned up within the hour. He exposed the pit, I booked a septic pumping company (Company C) and all was well.

At the time that Company C was due to turn up, this happened.

I have never been so overjoyed to see a septic truck.

Overjoyed with the concept of a working toilet again, I said 'Oh it's you Company B - you got here anyway!' As in, 'I know we live in the sticks, therefore Company C contracted you.' To which he replied 'Yep! That's me!' And proceeded to pump out the septic tank. That was it.

My first 'DING DING DING' should have been when I heard Company B's offsider call out 'It's all done mate! Should I put the tank lid back on?'. I zoomed outside and said 'Yes. Yes you SHOULD replace the lid to the septic tank thank you.' (Really? Do people leave them off?)

5 minutes of small talk later, I farewell Company B, who stops me and says 'I need payment.'
'No no, I paid over the phone.'
'No you didn't.'
'Yep I did. Ring Company C. I paid with my credit card.'
'I'm not Company C. I'm Company B.'
'What are you doing here?'
'You rang me last night.'
'Yes, but we didn't call you back OR book you.'
'I need to be paid. That's $280.'
'I didn't book you. I booked Company C. And they were $40 cheaper than that. Stay here, outside, I need to sort this out.'

At which point I stormed inside with a phone in each hand attempting to ring Company C BEFORE they turned up and trying to ring Mr S to find out precisely what the bleep I should do? I got on to Company C, who were trying to ring me to tell me they were half an hour away, but oh so kindly refunded my money. Company B knocked on the door and said he'd accept the same payment...

I was thinking he could go and get...?

I couldn't believe this was actually happening. It's like a shitty horror movie. Sorry, the poo jokes were everywhere over the course of these two days, otherwise I'd have cried non stop. 
At no time did Company B say 'Hey - just stopping by to see if you wanted me to do the tank? I know you didn't ring me back this morning, but I was in the neighbourhood.' I felt like a silly housewife who'd been taken advantage of - I'm smarter than this.

It was a series of unfortunate coincidences. He turned up at the same time as Company C, so my small talk and his non-talk led me to believe that all was well and good. Instead, he's just a crappy cowboy who made a crapload of assumptions and let it all turn to shit, then expecting his money.

Mr S called him that night and to our amazement, Company B made no mention of a mix up, just how exceptionally full our tank was. Just like him, full of shit.

Did I feel stupid and naive? You bet. Would this have happened to anyone else? Probably. Am I going to tell you who Company B is? Not here. You can email me if you're in the Valley and I'll tell you everything.

Thankfully I had the delightful company of Sarah in a chat window most of the afternoon, who helped me out by making poo jokes, but we both agreed that Company B was indeed, a shithead.

Who incidentally, left a metre long streak of raw sewerage on my driveway. That's just crap.

When a Preggo wants beer...

I realised that since early 2010 I've either been trying for a baby, been pregnant with a baby, breastfeeding or pregnant again. There was a glorious two months at the beginning of the year when Millie wasn't feeding as much, and not at all overnight, so I began to slowly drink a glass of wine with dinner again.

Then I fell pregnant again. Are the two connected? I will never tell.

In my pregnancy with Millie I craved beer. I would (and still do) swipe sips of Mr S' beer but it was truly not the same. Let us not forget that even when I could drink beer, I wasn't really overly fond of the taste unless I'd just completed an epic hike and had a steak as well.

So, pregnancy beer craving it was, and is.

I mentioned this to Mr S Snr as we chopped vegetables for dinner one night this week, and the next day when Mr and Mrs S Snr went to the supermarket I asked them to pick up a can of Coopers non-alcoholic. Just to see what it tasted like. I'd never bothered previously... but I had the craving.
Bless Mr S Snr, he is a Very Good Man. (Clearly it runs in the family.)

The IGA did not have any non-alcoholic beer so he also went to Woolworths, but discovered that the Coopers had a low alcohol content. I would not have minded. He searched the shelves high and low, and brought home a six pack of Holsten Non-Alcoholic Malt Drink. Aka Preggo Beer.

Curious, I put one in the freezer to chill quickly and 45 minutes later popped the lid off. Non-alcoholic, saintly angels fully covered from neck to knee sang. Ice cold, this was comparable to a premium light beer. Or was it my lack of recent alcohol imbibing experience talking? Whatever.
I am Very Impressed and have enjoyed an ice cold malted beverage of an evening every night since. I proudly swig my FauxBeer and stir dinner, pretending that it's still summer and I'm drinking a Boags premium. Or a Cascade First Harvest 2005. Or a James Squire Golden Ale.

Well played, Mr S Snr. Well played.

Do you have a favourite non-alcoholic wannabe boozy beverage? Please share. There's only so much lemonade one can drink.

Mrs Smyth... is bitten by the sewing bug.

Someone send help. I can't stop sewing.

I didn't let my lack of sewing skills stop me. I read the Apron Pattern (it's a Simplicity one) several times, sewed things, unpicked things, ironed lots and went slooowly. And that is quite a departure from my usual smash and grab crafty pursuits. This took time. And I loved it.

These are special christmas presents for special little people and I think they'll like them. Now, Millie certainly needs an apron, and I can think of other little people who do as well.

Aside from anything else about the aprons, check out the pleats above. PLEATS. I love them.

Someone pointed out to me that Etsy sell sewing patterns... oh dear. It's purses next I think.

What's your latest sewing/crafty obsession?

Mrs Smyth... can't read. But she can bake.

On Saturday Mel from Honey, You Baked, her husband Ash1, our friends Ash2 & Erika got together to celebrate Mel's birthday with a Brownie Bake-Off. After a relatively disorganised morning where Millie couldn't sleep, the dishes needed doing, I hadn't baked my brownie offering yet, the fire went out and aliens crashed in the front yard*, I was ready for our guests to turn up. Millie finally asleep, I checked my phone to find a message from Mel with directions to Ash2's house. Oh...

It turns out that checking Twitter at 2am perhaps requires a) more attention that I was giving it and b) one to wear one's glasses. Oops.

Luckily my friends are wonderful and all happily relocated to the Huon Valley where they knocked on the door and I was lying on the couch with Millie halfway through a nap. 'Hi, welcome! Err... I'll be up soon.'

But brownies prevailed and I was in sugar shock for the rest of the evening. Millie had a great time talking to her future husband Oliver and I cherished having a houseful of friends. Friends who bake.

Mel wrote a great post about it all over here... so without further ado I'll leave you to go and bask in the glory that is several brownie recipes.

I baked these brownies again, with the addition of white chocolate, dark chocolate and dried cranberries. I also didn't undercook them this time, so they were just brownies. But still - yum!

*may or may not have happened. But you get the gravity of my situation.

Us Kendalls. Always an opinion on something.

Us Kendalls. Always an opinion on something.
Schrieben. Construct. Compose. Create.

My highly talented brother Benjamin D Kendall has been sharing his journalism-style essays over here for a while now. Whilst his writing is sometimes sporadic, it’s always good great, and I look forward to his new posts whenever they pop up on my screen.

I can write you a song that precisely dances around my feelings and leaves you often with an understanding of what I meant without actually saying it. But I can rarely tell you exactly how I feel without thinking that I’ve somehow muddled it all up somehow.

My big brother however - he’s just got a way with the written word. I love reading his posts and discovering another facet of his personality that fits so flawlessly with the public side that we see but remains so hidden, only to be revealed in his writing.