A Note About Slowing Down, Keeping Calm.

A Catch Up

This past few weeks have been a blur of kid snot, my snot, visiting in laws and a roof that suddenly, DIRELY needing replacing.

image from http://thelamppostproject.weebly.com/blog/once-upon-an-alphabet-oliver-jeffers This is from my favourite kid's book, 'Once Upon An Alphabet' by Oliver Jeffers.

image from http://thelamppostproject.weebly.com/blog/once-upon-an-alphabet-oliver-jeffers
This is from my favourite kid's book, 'Once Upon An Alphabet' by Oliver Jeffers.

Those events barged into my life, and my Mojo bustled past everybody muttering:
'Sorry, so sorry, just, uh, need some time, no one reads this anyway, so, uh, I'll, uh, be back soon. Popping out for some milk.'

Thanks a bunch Mojo. Inspiration nicked off with you, perhaps for a dirty weekend in the city? EXCEPT YOU GUYS NEVER CAME BACK.


We finished the never-ending dining room renovation, and the next week we had an epic hailstorm, complete with rain for hours on end. I went out for a coffee after dropping the girls at school and came home to this.

dining room1.jpg

No power, and a water feature in the dining room. My neighbour answered my calls to come over PLEASE and got in the roof cavity with towels. I called an electrician who came fairly immediately to disconnect the light, so we had power again.

The roof needed replacing. It transpires that the people who built our house used second hand bits of tin that didn't span the entire roof height and therefore sucked the water into it's joins, rusted through and ruined everything. By everything, I mean our bank account, my day off and Mr S' three day weekend. Mr S is a super-handy Andy (everyone needs one) and has spent the better part of this month on our roof replacing tin, altering the roof pitch (you read that correctly) and learning mad skillz like replacing roofing tin and altering roof pitch.

That's as far up a ladder as I care to go. The condition of my roof terrified me as much as the height.

That's as far up a ladder as I care to go. The condition of my roof terrified me as much as the height.

'Uh, Dad, I think we've got a problem.'

'Uh, Dad, I think we've got a problem.'

However, whilst he was completing the tin replacement, he mis-stepped on a beam and BAM! VOILA! INSTANT SKYLIGHT.

It's cool because this is the roof ceiling that we replaced.

In the middle of all of these shenanigans, the girls developed a monster cold/flu, complete with body aches and endless snot. M also got a middle ear infection and a cool viral rash. The day before my in-laws arrived, I awoke feeling a bit funny in the head. And my skin hurt. Then my ear hurt. And oh yes, my nose was running. My neighbour's wife pumped me full of cold and flu tablets and sent me on my way to continue moving rusty roofing tin from one end of my yard to the other.

Once the in-laws left the girls were at a loose end and recovering from both daily sugar hits with Nanny and Poppy and their colds. Suffice to say their manners were less than ideal and after a day in town where I spent a LOT of time being that mother who yells 'MILLIE ALICE SMYTH WHERE ARE YOU?' in the shops, I was done.

I remember the ever brilliant Stacey saying that she was So Done. And MAN, this past week, I was done. I couldn't handle another day of a 2 year old screaming at me and everyone for every little thing we did/did not do. I couldn't handle another day of a 4 year old refusing to sit in a trolley, promising she she'd stay with me then nicking off into another aisle and refusing to answer me. I got sick of both of them demanding endless Netflix, then STILL talking my ear off or standing next to me saying 'Mum. MUM MUM MUM.' 'Yes?' 'MUM.' 'Yes?' 'MUM.' 'YES! WHAT?' 'Don't YELL AT ME.' I got sick of cooking dinner every night that no one ate, no one said 'Thank you' for and no one sleeping all night. Look, that last one is part and parcel of the job, but it makes the other things so much harder on the nerves.

So the next day, we slowed our roll. We went to the shops and did our errands early. We came home and began to craft. I set up my sewing machine on the dining table and just went like blazes all afternoon. M sat opposite me and cut, glued and glittered to her heart's content. I felt my shoulders uncurl a little bit and there was a tiny ray of sunshine on my horizon.

I also worked out that my epic cold that wasn't shifting was perhaps a tiny bit different to my real cold and was in fact the mysterious cold that hits me for approximately two months every year at the same time. In other words, it's hayfever again. Every year I forget. Most years I go to my GP who sits me down and says slowly, looking deep into my eyes 'You have hayfever again.' This year I took some tablets and got on with it.

I cooked and made dips. I made tahini* from scratch. I dried coffee grounds for my face scrub. I made pear butter. I made SkinnyMixer's wraps (without a thermomix omg). No one eats the dinner I cook for them, but they do say thank you more frequently now. We've got some reward charts back in action now, which pretty much translates to 'I know this is bribery but for f**ks sakes, let's do this.'

I was still feeling pretty blah blah blah-di blah, and then I dragged my pity party butt to my computer and did a Skype interview with the glorious Rach from BarefootCrafter.com. An interview for what? For my podcast silly. That's the other thing I've been beavering away on quietly behind the scenes. Speaking with with Rach made me laugh the entire time because she's not only crafty and gorgeous, she's hilarious. I told her that we have to be friends now. That's not scary and stalkerish at all, right?

In closing, today I also had a most excellent conversation with a lovely lady whom restored my confidence in my abilities, and left me wanting to go on out there and just DO IT! Thanks Al.

We're on the improve over here, and I feel much better for having cathartically spewing my woes out.

There's lots to be grateful about here. It is indeed a very good day.

* PS. I was washing the Tahini jar for re-use, read the ingredient label and felt like slapping myself across my forehead. Ingredients: sesame seeds. I promptly roasted some sesame seeds, threw them in my every trusty will not die so I can buy a fake Thermomix food processor, added a drop of liquid and bam. Tahini. Apparently it's not the same because it's not slow stone ground, but I'll take it.

It's Okay To Fall Down


Years and years ago (golly) I wrote a song titled 'Let It All Out'. It goes a little like this...


It's from my 2009 EP 'A Week Of Saturdays'. Alas, the Kitchenhands are no more and I am pretty much retired from professional gigging.

I wrote 'Let It All Out' when on some level I realised that it was okay to fall down, drop all your marbles, slowly gather them up again and continue on your merry way. In 2008 (when I wrote this song), my father had passed away the previous year, I was in a job I hated, we had to move house suddenly after my father died, and my depression and anxiety was really beating me down. Music was a solace, and writing this song was such a great help.

I'd always been concerned with finding 'The Real Me' - the big thing that I wanted to do and what would make me have an awesome career and which was the Right Way To Go? Susan Jeffers had a great diagram in one of her books about finding the 'right path'. I can't find it online anywhere, but it was essentially a straight line with a gigantic amount of squiggles drawn through it. In other words, the 'right path' is never a straight one. Incidentally, I'm the real me and I still haven't quite worked out what I want to be.

The path is never straight and true. There's always quirks and roadblocks and it's up to you as to how you deal with them. Find your path. Navigate the twists and turns that will take you to your destination. It's okay. If you fall down, enjoy the view, find your cards, get up and keep going. Enjoy the ride.

'Dark days cannot take me
I won't let this one make me
It's all over to me
I let it all out
I let it fall down
I fold my hand and I'm out of the game
Then I pack it all up
I put it all away
Here I am I can face another day.'

Written by Amy Kendall, arr Amy Kendall and Andrew Smyth

If depression and anxiety are concerning you and you'd like to talk to someone please call Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or visit beyondblue.org.au

The Daily Positive

A few months ago I deleted Facebook off my phone, un'followed' all my 'friends' on Facebook, forgot my Twitter username and turned my phone back into a phone. It was glorious for a few weeks. I still haven't put FB back on my phone nor found my way back to seeing what everyone ate for lunch, all the time. But I've been dipping back in to finding 'things' to 'do' on my phone.

I read an entirely fabulous book called 'Enough' by John Naish at the beginning of this year. I then promptly loaned it to L, she loved it, I got it back from her, read it again. And then I started reading it again. He waxes lyrical about our society's obsession with celebrity, linking it back to our primal ages when if we heard about someone's exploits or success - we probably knew them. It makes sense to me.

So I try to not be so involved in the world of people I don't know and more involved in the world of the very few very awesome people I DO know. However, I still love Project Runway and other escapism television shows. I'm pretty sure I saw every episode of 'Kim and Kourtney take New York' complete with 72 day marriage and Kourtney's obsessive coupon clipping.

I still love to read the news. I refresh several times per day and it has really started to grate on me. I have begun to grate on me. Sheesh. But news.com.au are getting Mamamia'esque in the clickbait headlines and I can't quite stand it anymore.

Surely there's some good daily positive news kicking around?

A quick google search revealed Dale Partridge's Daily Positive. Partridge is an entrepreneur, father, husband, and maintains a wicked beard. He reminds me a little of JB Glossinger's Morning Coach. I was a subscriber and lover of Morning Coach for years, and then I dipped out and dipped back to find it a paid platform - hardly surprising given that Glossinger was transparent about his desire to be a millionaire in a given timeframe.

Dale Partridge's articles are so concise and I love his storytelling style. I am not a religious type, so the fairly frequent God mentions do turn me off a little bit... but it's not stories about mutilated humans like the newspaper so I can live with it.

This week I watched and LOVED Felicity's Mental Mission on iView. She was so transparent about her mental health journey and her obvious empathy to others in similar positions was so difficult to watch without sobbing along to the iPad whilst doing the dishes. Felicity is terribly inspiring and has inspired me to be the positive I want to read about. No frequent refresh clicks, but having my own mission to find and share happiness and positivity can only be good for everyone, right?

Sidenote: I couldn't have been prouder to see my cuz, Chris Wagner being interviewed by Felicity. I know that both of our Dads would have been so chest puffingly proud to see Chris making a difference in his new role at the Mental Health Council of Australia.

So today I point you toward Dale Patridge.  Enjoy his gentle words and stories. What will tomorrow bring?