crap I say, entertainment, family, humour, life

37 years

…for someone who grew up with teeth that never quite got along with the reluctant smile, feeling inconveniently born into the wrong era, and an absolute love of dancing that persisted beyond (and perhaps in total retaliation to) my circumstances…it’s not surprising really…

…that I absolutely love this song.

The first time I heard it, I fell in love. It simply spoke to me.

“Spinning, laughing, dancing to
her favourite song….
A little girl with nothing wrong
Is all alone…

…crooked little smile on her face
Tells a tale of grace
That’s all her own…

…and she’s all alone…”

Norah Jones – “Seven Years”

* * *

I don’t remember the verandah incident

But my Mum does.

She’s told me the story many times and, although I don’t remember it – except as an anecdote of someone else’s memory – for me, it will always remain a moment in time that is purely and simply…

ME

…she searched high and low for her 4 year old daughter….

Given that this quiet, amiable child was almost never out of sight, that the house sat atop a hill on one of the busiest main roads in Perth (….at the time…you’d skateboard blindfolded down there now) and that she was (oh, Mum, please forgive me…) prone to just a teensy bit of over-protectiveness…it was, to say the least, a frantic search!

When she finally found me, after peering into countless toy boxes, cupboards, lolly jars and other child favoured haunts….she was surprised at what she found.

The front window jimmied open (of course the front door was locked! Did you not just read the paragraph above?!) fly screen pushed out….

Her daughter, tiny, free…totally alone….

…..and perfectly happy!

twirling…
….on
the…

…..front……

verandah…

“What are you doing???” (Only a “scared out of her wits” mother can get away with this tone and still sound completely loving)

“….nothing….”

“Then why on a Gods earth are you outside??!!” (Cars screaming by, brakes screeching, all possible dangers known to man lurking just beyond the verandah…….)

I just wanted to dance”

* * *

The smile’s being straightened
I still like being alone occasionally
My mother doesn’t worry about me (as much) these days…

But I still just want to dance.

(And I’m 37)

So I do

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crap I say, entertainment, life

The relief of plastic chaos (or why it’s okay to lose your lid)

Living life in perfect order

Glasses neatly in a row
Deliberately placed in order of size

Colourful cups and bowls, the plastic Ikea kind (I’m certain it’s important to clarify this) stacked into the most logical of towers, biggest to smallest, a teetering rainbow of absolutely intentional order.

Perfectly organised cutlery drawers…..
dividers firmly keeping the wooden stirring utensils from liaising with the garlic press
or getting entangled with the chopsticks.

Forks on the left. Knives on the right. Spoons in between.

Oh the joy of emptying the dishwasher with military precision!

Small glasses – front and centre, left side of the right hand cupboard

(Upside down to avoid dust collection)

Large pot – under the medium, below the small, beneath the very smallest. But next to the colander (It has holes, it’s different and requires its own system of organisation…)

Painstakingly folding the washing, matching up the socks as though they are married and the law expects it or indeed their very happiness depends upon it!

Towels. Foot mats. Hand towels. Face washers. Know your place in the cupboard please and stay there. Thank you

Have you ever wiped up spills from around the gas flame?

….even as the soup is still simmering above it?

As if the need for tidiness is so urgent that it couldn’t possibly wait for the meal to be done first.

Photo frames symmetrically and deliberately arranged. Always.

Minimalism
Cleanliness
Order
Control
Tidiness

And then……

…..there’s the plastics drawer

Nearly a metre deep, wide and long and filled to the brim with absolutely joyous clutter.

Tupperware containers, mismatched lids, drink bottles, banana scented lunch boxes, jugs, square containers with long lost lids waiting for left overs so that they may fulfil their life-purpose, red inside green, big stuck in small, all the unmatched lids ….and the smallest of containers scattered at the bottom of the pile because (all sense of order long since neglected) they simply fell through the cracks…..

To be able to retrieve an item from the dishwasher and, based purely upon the fact that it is constructed out of plastic (and not metal or ceramic) ignore the overwhelming urge to maintain order and simply throw it – quite literally, haphazardly and effortlessly (still wet and upside down) into that drawer!

It’s almost as if permission has been granted by some magical power, that this drawer will remain the one and only exception to the “rule”

The rules that never go silent….never ease up

I daren’t allow my life to become unruly
I daren’t ponder the possibility that my house could actually become disorderly
I daren’t consider, not even for the briefest of scattered moments, ever becoming a mess myself

But, the plastics drawer?

Yes.

That’s perfectly fine for it to be the one and only total lost cause to tidiness and order.

Indeed…..it is necessary!

crap I say, entertainment, humour, life, Uncategorized

A or B + C (- D?) = ENFJ

I arose from bed today aching and tired, my head pounding and basically feeling like a half baked dog poo pie, so I decided I needed to give myself the day off and do absolutely nothing…all day!

…so of course I spent the whole day doing endless personality quizzes I found on Google.

I am feeling restless (again) in my job, sales management, but not really knowing what I want to do different…and I convinced myself I would find my answer on my iPad!

They are surprisingly easy, fun and for the most part, completely bloody inaccurate

The first one had a fancy name but it was basically just Myer-Briggs in disguise. Don’t get me wrong…I love Myer-Briggs! (I am a firm believer in the wisdom of those 4 little letters) but if you’re going to rip someone off, be honest about it!

Still, it was comforting to know that after 14 years, 2 children, running my own business, moving states twice, feeling like a crap filled savoury pastry, AND….after taking the test under false pretences (that it was in fact a fancy new psychological test offering profound, previously unknown insight into “who” I am!!)…I am STILL an ENFJ.

I guess I really am then.

So, according to the wisdom of this online guru, I should probably stay in “Sales” or try teaching or HR, but avoid large corporations and the Police Department….

The next one was called the Dewey Colour System and looked really interesting as it was as simple as choosing colours you like!
I was sure I would find myself in a pot of personality GOLD at the end of this rainbow but, alas…all it did was fill my inbox with endless emails trying to convince me I should become a Dental Assistant and avoid selling as I really don’t like it. (hmmmm…probably shouldn’t pursue a career in sales then….)

I plan on doing it again and choosing different colours until I get a more suitable selection of suggested careers

A lot easier than trying to decide if I am “diligent” or “committed” (I’m sorry, isn’t that a synonym??)

or whether I am “least likely to see the big picture and spontaneously work towards it on my own in a methodical manner” or “most likely to be detail oriented but prefer not to work in a team to create the end result based on meticulous planning”

is that a trick question?

Then I took a 60 page quiz which was reassuringly lengthy and seemed to be doing a thorough job of “secretly picking” my brain…to surely reveal my innermost desires and the perfect job for me, without me having to actually go to the trouble of thinking about it and making a decision for myself.

Fantastic! Halfway through and I am feeling like Freud himself is sitting inside my iPad probing my sore head and waiting to direct my professional fate.

Until I got to question 43 which asked…

Why are you taking this quiz?:
a. I would like to find a new job in sales
b. I would like to find a new job in a technical field
c. I would like to find a new job in the police department
d. I would like to find a new job working with animals

seriously?

why did you bother asking me the other 59 questions when you were secretly planning to ask me the answer all along?

And if I knew the answer to that question…I wouldn’t be doing this God-damn quiz, I’d be wasting my well needed day off browsing SEEK instead!

That’s a half hour of my life I’ll never get back…time which (apparently) would have been much better spent applying for a job at my local Dental Surgery.

oh well. at least my headache is gone. I’m feeling much better!

maybe I should look into a career in blogging……

crap I say, entertainment, family, humour, life, Uncategorized

Death by Mac n Cheese

We have an open door policy in our house. Sure, we use locks sometimes, but we have instilled the value of respecting privacy enough that, if a door happens to be closed, we simply knock before entering.

If, on the odd occasion they forget and I’ve stepped out of the shower just as one of the boys come running in to tell me ask me for something, I simply yell “NAKED!!!!!!” At the top of my lungs – whenever I hear the door creak.

Which usually works. Although I admit it’s kind of overkill those times when it’s the cat.

My 14 year old, God love him, doesn’t need a lock on his door.

Even if you could manage to push the door open, against the ceiling high mound of debris, and navigate successfully through the half eaten bowls of Mac n Cheese to make your entrance, the smell would most certainly stop you, quite literally, dead in your tracks.

Might explain why we haven’t seen him in a few days….

My other son, Mr 16, is never here either. But that’s just because he got a part time job.

His contribution to the family ecosystem is the crusty fast food infused uniforms that I get the pleasure of washing 4 times a week, at 11pm, ready for a last minute early morning shift change.

Oh and did I mention my Friday night ritual of drowning my 9-5 sorrows with red wine has been replaced with midnight pick ups? If the cheesey bedroom remnants don’t get me first I may just die of unintentional weekend sobriety!

Yes, I do quite like living with teenage sons….

Oh, of course I sometimes yearn for the long passed days of early morning cartoons, warm milk bottle cuddles on the couch, snotty noses and crocodile tears. I look at photos of cheeky grins behind sucked thumbs, sleeping angels captured at what most surely is mother natures most serene of moments!

And I remember little love filled hugs that wrap around your thighs and promise to never let go…

Sigh……………….

But really, who am I to complain?

I mean, nothing quite says “I love you” like a smelly armpit wrapped affectionately around your skull, while the owner of said armpit squeals in delight at the look on your face.

…cheeky grins just get filled with bigger teeth and thumbs write inspired text messages of what can only be called teenage genius!

“yep. I was late to school today, but its cool, cause I’m still getting an education”

…and the equally poetic hand written words in Hallmark Cards….

“we’ll…you’re my Mum, so I guess it goes without saying, I wish you a nice Mothers Day xxx (10 years ago I might have noticed the words more, but these days all I see are the xxx’s)

Yep! The moments of feeling like you are their whole world do become rarer…
and although it drives you crazy, they remain firmly and unchangeably, your whole reason for living…..forever.

Even if living with them does

eventually

kill you

crap I say, entertainment, family, humour, life

How a plastic fork made everything right again

It’s safe to say the last year and a bit has been a rough ride for our family…

No major illness, deaths in family or even financial hardship. No, we’ve actually been very, very lucky compared to most….

But moving from one side of Australia to the other, even if it was technically a return to “home”, with a hormonally challenged teenager, desperate NOT to leave his new friends (made in those most crucial of years, 11-14…OUCH, bad Mum!) has proven a grueling enough exercise as far as I’m concerned…

In between the buying and selling of houses and assimilating to new schools, jobs and time zones, we kind of, well….I’m ashamed to say it, but it really must be done….we lost our teenage son.

Granted, you’d be forgiven for losing a whole class of Chemistry students in his bedroom lately (and did I tell you about the time I found a piece of pizza in his bed??)

but, no. That’s not how.

I guess we’ve been preoccupied by busy lives, every weekend spent catching up with friends between endless trips to Bunnings (sorry, Masters, you just didn’t get here quick enough!)

but, no. I’m fairly sure he was still there, in his room, every single time we left or returned home.

But he was definitely “lost”.

Lost somewhere between a happy, secure life he once had in Sydney and the “new” (old) life we’d so wisely returned him to…

…an “awesome” life where friends were hard to find, self identity had slipped into that hard to reach place (usually reserved for remote controls) and the only obvious cure for such misery was, of course, hating his Mother’s -and occasionally his Fathers – guts!

I don’t think he ever really cared for his brother’s guts much, so no change there

Conversations became brief

“hi honey, how was school?” “it sucks”

“How’s the cake?” it sucks”

“Where would you like to go on the weekend?” “it sucks”

Forget about asking him to actually do anything for me! Might as well ask the cat…

Days have passed, tears have fallen, talking has been done in silence and quiet moments have been filled by the noise of hearts breaking.

All of ours.

Threats have given way to begging, fear has crept in more than once. We’ve tiptoed and we’ve screamed, and when nothing else worked we drank wine, or cried, or both.

…and that void persisted, taunting our guilt stricken hearts again and again

“you’re losing him”

returning to Sydney was not an option, but staying was doing this? Just shoot me now.

slowly…..surely…we made sense of the world he was living in and with time, and love, he started to return. But the memory of ugly fights and carelessly dropped words pointing at scary outcomes remained….

It’s easy to get stuck in the bad. We even forget sometimes to notice when things have gotten better.

Today I offered both boys a lift to school and on the way out I said to my Lost Boy, “grab my lunch out of the fridge, please.”

I didn’t expect him to actually do it.
I didn’t think he’d do it after only one request…

But when I looked down at my little plastic container of leftovers, and saw a plastic fork lying on top…

(a fork which I hadn’t placed there myself)

I realized, in that one glorious moment….

He’s back!

crap I say, entertainment, humour, life

For the love of peeling potatoes

A potato saved me today.

Actually, to be completely and embarrassingly honest, it was a bag of potatoes.

and a potato peeler
and Dean Martin

Let me begin by saying I owe you all an apology…I have not been myself lately. For those of you who’ve known me long enough, I’m sure you’ll agree that my latest posts have been a little out of character. For those who’ve only just met me…I am NOT, in fact, a psychotic pessimist. I’m sorry if I’ve disappointed you…

I don’t even think I wrote those posts.
I’m serious.

Get out your tissues, as I’m about to tell you how bad life has been for me lately, how stressful my job is, how tired and emotionally unstable I’ve been…

….oh, that’s right, I’ve already done that in my last few posts.

ok, well I’ll tell you about the potatoes then, ok? I promise it has a happy ending and not a single “F'” word in sight!

I think there is a reason potatoes are called the “humble spud”. I realised tonight, when I got home from work unusually early for once, that I have not cooked my family a meal in about a fortnight. Oh God I can hear all the cries of “bad mother” and “selfish woman” now!!!

Don’t get me wrong, my family has eaten (as far as I know) but as busy lives tend to create a need for instant meals and restaurant outings, I haven’t cut, peeled, blended, baked and “1950’s house-wife’d” in as long as I can remember.

And I think that it is much more important than I realised.

Usually, whilst preparing the family meal, thrown together in haste after rushing in the door head crammed full of work stress and urgent issues I can’t let go of, I would listen to jazz or “Chillout Session” (insert relevant copyright here) in the hopes of becoming instantly “relaxed”.

But tonight I turned on the “crooners” channel and I found myself smiling.

As Dean Martin serenaded my softer side, with tales of love and longing, romance and feelings most of us living today probably don’t understand…I began to feel relaxed…genuinely relaxed. The kind of relaxed you only get from feeling completely safe, loved and “home”.

And as I listened….and hummed….and swayed…gently in time to the familiar, timeless tunes…pulling the potatoe peeler firmly and assuredly over the potatoes, I felt I was slipping back in time…

Back to a simpler time
Back to a more grateful time
To a time less stressful…

I prepared the entire meal in that state of mind. Feeling grateful for the food and for the simple pleasure of being able to prepare it. For the job that provides the money for the food.

My job is still there, my stresses are still there if I choose to see them. The hustle and bustle and imaginary emergencies are still at my disposal. But I think this view of life suits me far better.

So, even though I really do like Jazz and Chillout, and even though I don’t half mind being taken out for fancy dinners, and because (actually) I HATE mashed potatoes…I think I will be having spuds with Dean Martin more often.

Try it sometime 🙂

keep it real and keep smiling

Mandy xx