Weight loss saga continues…

I made the depressing discovery this week that I have now passed the “half-way” mark of my wardrobe.

By that I mean I have more clothes in the “don’t fit” pile than the “do fit”. It started with the odd button that was slightly too tight – and now I can only get into one pair of jeans out of the five cluttering up my drawers!

I blame the bizarre combination of a bout of Giardia a few years ago, coupled with a significant amount  of personal stress about 18 months ago, which saw me lose heaps of weight. In what was obviously a delirious frenzy of malnutrition, I got rid of all the clothes that were too big, and find myself with a whole stack of clothes that won’t fit me now!

So I either buy a new wardrobe – can’t see Souljourneyboy liking that idea – or I (shudder) actually set myself to losing some weight.

I know I’m not that big, in fact I only need to lose about 5-6 kilos. It’s just that small amount is literally a dress size for me and for some reason seems so insurmountable. As does the thought of giving up the two blocks of chocolate I seem to be eating every weekend.

Anyway I have been inspired by a colleague who has nearly completed the 12-week Michelle Bridges course, so I think I’m going to sign up for the next round, which starts on November 21. It’s kind of depressing I’ll be doing it over Christmas but I had to wait until Uni was finished, because I have absolutely no time for exercise at the moment.

So…I’m taking the plunge. Six kilos gone…hopefully by January when I have to wear swimmers in front of other people, (almost) daily exercise and lots of clean food. And I’ve put it out into the blogosphere now so I HAVE to do it.

It can’t be too hard – surely???


Computers, beauty, gambling, kids and humankind

One of the things I find interesting about being a parent is watching children being initiated into universal experiences – the kind we all face, sooner or later. Well this morning, it happened to all three of them – Bookworm, Picasso and Little Miss.

It started with Bookworm. He has been working (somewhat) hard on an assignment this week, and fired up the computer this morning to complete the finishing touches, only to find that – shock horror – the computer had died. Completely. And now, of course, his assignment is trapped inside an impenetrable spiderweb of technology. Poor Bookworm – I tried to make him feel better by telling  him of the times it happened to me – I can recall three separate occasions where I had to start essays over from scratch. Sadly, my stories didn’t seem to cheer him up much, given the assignment is due on Monday.

Next was Little Miss. She had put on her new pink Barbie socks for the first time before complaining that they were too tight and didn’t feel right. “Take them off and find another pair,” I said. A pause. “But Mummy…I like the look of them.”

Ah, Little Miss. Tis the age-old conundrum faced by countless generations of women across the globe – beauty or comfort? I was sure at that very moment there were tribeswomen in Africa discussing the same issue – not about high heels or socks, perhaps, but those neck elongator things have never looked comfortable.  I had to confess to her that the gorgeous red sandals I had worn yesterday are actually hideously crippling and will most likely mean I have to wear special fitted shoes one day. But these red sandals are just so cute. I left it up to her – and yes, like so many before her, she went tripping off to the park in the pretty pink socks, comfort be dammed.

And finally, there was Picasso, faced with a morally ambiguous fiscal transaction. He desperately wanted to buy an iPad game called “Slotto” – a virtual gambling game which is basically just a precursor to pokie machines. I gave a rousing sermon on the dangers of gambling and the pokies, and in touching detail  described the life of despair and anguish that awaited, should he travel down that lonely path. Then Souljourneyboy piped up with, “Also I think it looks really boring, You’d be sorry you spent that $2, mate.”

Well that clinched it and he made a wise choice, deciding $2 was too much to pay for the game. I’m sure on some deeper level he really was turning his back on gambling, of course.

So all in all it was an interesting morning – for the kids and humankind as well 🙂

Can I really be getting old?

I’ve tried to ignore it.

I’ve tried to get rid of it.

But alas, I am now forced to admit the truth.

I have grey hair!

A couple of years ago I spied a silvery strand when I was doing my hair for a wedding. After surreptitiously looking around to make sure no one was watching, I pulled it out. Surely, I thought to myself, one grey hair doesn’t actually count. It’s not like I’m going grey or anything as dreadful as that.

Since then, I have seen a couple now and then, and they have met the same fate.

But the other day – coincidentally just after turning 35 – I pulled my hair back in a “half-up, half-down” style. Shock, horror – there they were! A glimmering patch of white gold!

There were too many to pull out and equally too many to ignore. I quickly changed hairstyles and went to work, rather depressed.

Is it true that I am really in my mid-thirties and have grey hair? I still feel the same way I did on the day I turned 19. Well – almost – I don’t think I am as annoying as I was in my late teens. But you know what I mean – it doesn’t seem possible that 16 years has elapsed since then.

I feel like I have relinquished other parts of my body to age – like my poor stomach, which bears the scars that come with having had three children. And my joints – they actually creaked the other day when I bent down to pick up an errant toy off the ground. But my hair – surely that’s a bridge too far?

In a culture that worships youth, the signs of age can be somewhat daunting. But I think that even worse than ending up looking old, is ending up looking like you got old and tried not to. One of the things I admire so much about Audrey Hepburn is that she grew old with grace and dignity – no surgery or botox or photshopping.

That said, I’m not prepared to entirely embrace the grey right yet. I can see a visit to the hairdressers on the cards…

The kindness of strangers

I was reminded today that the world can be a lovely place.

We had set off for a family walk down to the shops to return a DVD and get ice creams, when poor Picasso tripped over an uneven patch of the cement footpath and came crashing wildly to the ground. Souljourneyboy and I were walking ahead when we hard three loud thuds – knee, knee, head – followed by hysterical screaming.

Poor kid – his knees were all gravelly and grazed and bleeding, and his head was sore – and we were still only halfway to the shops.

We were looking around for a tap, and wondering whether we should abandon the walk altogether and go back for the car, when a lovely older couple appeared from a nearby front yard to offer assistance. We went into their home and sat on their lounge while they fetched antiseptic cream, bandaids and a washer, as well as tiny teddy packets for all three kids. They kept Picasso amused with funny stories while I wiped down his knees and applied the cream and bandaids. Then – once we’d left and made it almost to the shops before realising I had accidentally left the DVD on their table – they pulled up in their car. They’d driven down the street to return it to us.

Souljourneyboy and I were blown away by their kindness. (I was also blown away by my own ability to leave things lying around, apparently even in the houses of other people I’ve never met before).

I love how life gives you gifts like that. I am certainly happy to pay that kindness forward one day!


A day in my crazy life

I thought I’d share what a day in the life of this Working Mum is like…

6:30am: Wake to the sight of Bookworm looking down at me with mournful eyes. Apparently his sore throat is now of gargantuan proportions, and he can’t possibly attend school. Can’t be bothered arguing the point. Luckily Mum already has Little Miss for the day, and can mind Bookworm as well.

6:50am: Picasso upset by thought of catching bus alone. Successfully bribed with a lunch order. Souljourneyboy leaves.

7:29am: Breakfast done, Picasso and I head out the door and into the car. Car won’t start. Mum to the rescue – we drop Picasso to the bus stop, then she takes me to the train station with Little Miss and Bookworm piled in the back wearing their pyjamas. Text Souljourneyboy to tell him car has flat battery, and suggest he call NRMA. He says he will look at it first in the afternoon.

8:30am: At work, all-essential coffee in hand.

9am: Meeting number one. Less than half the people who are supposed to be there turn up, so it’s shorter than usual – happy days.

9:30am: Meeting number two. This one is more interactive; we get to use red markers and butchers paper, which is always fun.

10:30am: Pack up my desk and head to a company car. I have to drive out to one of our work sites and meet a TV News crew to show them around for a story.

10:35am: Start my long drive. I have a confession to make: navigating large roads fills me with a kind of low-level anxiety. Just the sight of big green sign gets my heart palpitations started; I never seem to understand if I’m meant to turn RIGHT NOW, where the sign is, or at the next turn. I either get it wrong, or I’m one of those annoying people who basically stall, undecided in the middle of the road, while everyone is honking at them. Last week I ended up turning the wrong way into a bus-only lane – yeah, that was fun. And I seem incapable of getting onto freeways the right way! I always end up headed the opposite direction driving for miles at a time. Anyhow I digress – despite a rather stressful drive it’s a miracle that I get to my destination with NO WRONG TURNS.

12pm: My phone rings but I don’t answer as I’m driving and concentrating VERY hard on the roads.

12:15: Arrive at my destination, only to realise that, 1 – the person who rang my phone is the journalist and I need to call her back urgently, and 2 – there is no mobile phone coverage at the work site. I make my way into the admin building and ask to use the landline phone. I quickly call my colleague and ask her to call the journalist as there’s no coverage and I can’t use my mobile. There is a pause, during which it sinks in that I am actually ON A PHONE MAKING A PHONE CALL. My colleague asks, “Why don’t you call her using the phone you’re calling me on?” Yes, indeed, that is another option which makes perfect sense. My colleague hangs up, crying with laughter, while I try and regain a semblance of dignity before calling the journalist myself.

12:45pm: The geotechnical specialist who is going to be interviewed arrives. Quick briefing.

 1pm: Travel to the site for filming with the TV crew. Geotechnical specialist is interviewed, all goes well. Then the journalist tells me she’d like to interview another person to make the story a bit more interesting.

1:25pm: I am the only other person available. Jump in the car for 30-second briefing on everything I could possibly ever need to know about the work site.

1:20pm: Interview proceeds. Fortunately, there is a spare hard hat in the car. And you know what they say – slap on a hard hat and a fluoro vest, and anyone’s a geotechnical engineer.

2:30pm: Filming’s done! I misplace my phone and keys. Keys are found in one of the work utes. Phone is eventually found – apparently I carefully put it inside the upturned hard hat and covered it over with the fluoro vest before putting it all away inside a cupboard. Go figure.

4:15pm: Home again! Nearly went the wrong way at an intersection but just decided to follow the car in front. Luckily they were headed the same way as me. Quickly catch up on emails and phone calls before anyone gets home.

4:45pm: Jump on treadmill for 20 minutes.

5:15pm: Souljourneyboy home with kids after swimming lessons.

5:30pm: Loud and unnecessary argument between Picasso and Bookworm over a piece of paper. Ipad privileges removed and Bookworm sent to room.

5:45pm: Picasso and Little Miss start a game where they run around the house, occasionally stopping and screaming at each other, then laughing their heads off. It’s really loud.

5:55pm: Souljourneyboy and I suddenly remember we sent Bookworm to his room. I tell him he can come out of room. “Do I have to?” he shouts back. Well, no, actually. It was much more pleasant without him glowering at everyone and everything and I am quite happy for him to stay there.

6pm: Souljourneyboy and I discuss the fact we are literally overcome with exhaustion.  Dinner is tuna jaffles and weet-bix, all we can manage.

6:30pm: I read “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” to the kids, as well as a book Picasso got from the library that day. It’s a strange tale about potato people and Bookworm has issues with the plot line.

6:45pm: We remember the car battery is flat. Souljourneyboy goes to have a look. It turns out the car is fine – I had accidentally left it in “drive” instead of “park” while trying to turn it on. My feeling of embarrassment is replaced by relief that we don’t need to spend any money getting it fixed. Still, I kind of wish I hadn’t told everyone at work that my car had broken down.

7:15pm: Wrestle Little Miss into bed. Make lunches for the next day.

7:30pm: Begin the arduous process of getting Bookworm and Picasso into bed. Have to convince Bookworm of the restorative powers of Panadol and a good sleep. Have the usual going-to-bed routine of Picasso and I arguing over who loves the other more (I always win).

8pm: Collapse into bed and look at the TV screen for half an hour. Not sure I actually watch anything. Feel like I should be studying for my upcoming Uni exam but can’t muster the energy.

8:45pm: Sleep….love, love, love that feeling of going to bed early and drifting off to sleep knowing you have a whole glorious 8 hours ahead of you.

So that’s it!

Birthdays, time travel, and the meaning of life

So it was my birthday on the weekend, and to celebrate, Souljourneyboy and I went to the movies (and happy days! We saw something other than a Disney or Pixar show).

We saw Looper – which, despite some gaps in internal logic, was a really good movie. So for a while I debated whether this post should be a nostalgic, heart-warming piece about birthdays and memories and the meaning of life, or my thoughts about time travel.

And then I realised they were actually two sides of the same coin, and I couldn’t really write about one without talking about the other.

How? I’m glad you asked.

Firstly – the movie (and don’t worry I won’t spoil it for you). The central theme of Looper is time travel. I really like this kind of mind-bending sci-fi, and the endless amount of dizzying possibilities you can talk about in the car on the drive home. Generally, time travel movies fall into two camps. The first are the movies that have the basic premise that if we go back in time we can change the present. Back to the Future is a good example of this. The other kind suggests that we can’t actually change what will eventually happen – that destiny has a way of unraveling in such a way that no matter what we do, we’ll still end up at the same point. The movie 12 Monkeys has this as its premise.

I won’t tell you which Looper is – but Souljourneyboy and I had an interesting discussion about whether we think: a – time travel is or ever will be possible, and b – whether we can actually change the future, or whether destiny is fixed.

We talked about it for quite some time. And after all that discussion – you know what? I have absolutely no idea. And this brings me back to my birthday.

For a couple of years there, my birthday was a bittersweet occasion. Seven years ago, my darling nephew was born, and also died, on my birthday. He only lived for about 20 minutes. A year later, my father’s friend was killed in a terrorist bomb attack. And then a few years after that, a dear family member of Souljourneyboy’s died on my birthday after a battle with cancer.

I guess my point is that all of this tragedy on a day that is traditionally celebratory showed me a few things. Firstly, that life sometimes makes no sense. I struggled for a long time to find God’s plan in my nephew’s death, that I had to make sense of it somehow. Then I gave up – it doesn’t make sense, it isn’t right or fair. It just is.

The second thing is that love is all that matters. I don’t care if it’s a cliché – love conquers all. Love keeps my nephew alive in our hearts and minds, even though he’s not here with us. Terrorist attacks happen when love is absent. And love helps us celebrate a life well lived, after it’s gone.

So I don’t know if the future can be changed or if we’re all hurtling irreversibly towards our own fates, but I don’t think it really matters. If we just make it through today, the best we can, then that’s all anyone can ask. I’m glad I share my birthday with my little nephew because it is a constant reminder to treasure the things that matter. Like loving unreservedly. Which is exactly what birthdays should be about.

An ode to friendship

I caught up with some wonderful friends this week.

I always feel sorry for women who don’t have close friends. All my life I have had wonderful friendships. Soul Sister of course, who has been my best friend since we were 5 years old, and many others along the way. Some have been part of my life for only short periods, and others will be part of my journey always, but they have all encouraged me and blessed me, been honest with me and made me a better person.

So the other night I went out with three such friends (including Soul Sister) and while the café closed WAY to early, we had a great catch up.

The thing I love about this group of friends is that we can and do talk about every topic under the sun. We talked about our kids, and some of the parenting traumas we’re currently going through. We discussed our careers and our goals, our families and good TV shows we’ve discovered. One shared a significant spiritual and emotional breakthrough she’d recently had, which had brought her great peace of mind. Then we talked about the best way to do our daughters’ hair. We can go from politics to philosophy to online lingerie shopping to counting calories and our favourite flowers in a heartbeat.

It doesn’t matter what we talk about, I always come away feeling encouraged, and like I’m not doing this thing called life all alone.

So here’s to great conversation, and even greater friends – I would not be who I am, if you had not been part of my souljourney.  

Love to you all – you know who you are 🙂