Saturday, August 19, 2017

A real life honest dating profile

My neighbour has been online dating like a beast. Not that I'm looking but she’s been egging me on to do the same but I just can’t do it. Besides, if I were wrote an honest dating profile it might look like this:

                                   Ageing feminist seeks maverick cohort
I am a writer with a wicked sense of humour who loves long walks on the beach and sedate bike rides. On Saturdays I might be found at the farmers' market with friends, at a protest or rally, giving a workshop, working in the garden, making bread, sewing or writing.

When I asked friends what words popped up when they thought of me they said: generous, courageous, deep-listener, wanderer, resourceful, thinker, intelligent, grounded, natural, kind and wholehearted. (So far, so good, right?)

I am an introvert with extrovert leanings. I love a party and can be the life of it, but mostly will be having an intense conversation with one person in a corner. After a busy conference, festival or giving a workshop, I may need to stare at a blank wall for 24 hours to recover.
I am older than I look and come with a warning. I wear makeup and shave my underarms, legs and bikini line but didn’t for twenty years and could revert to the aforementioned makeup-less and hairy state at any moment. You need to be cool with that. Ideally you’d be attracted to me, not my body hair, or lack of it.

Hopefully you won’t freak out when I hand over my reusable cup for takeaway coffee or pack my groceries in cloth shopping bags. Perhaps you have your own? That would be cute. We could match.

Due to the lottery that is genetics, I am on the slender side of curvy but it’s not from strenuous exercise. I’m not a fan. I have an active lifestyle, enjoy going on walks and do yoga but won’t be accompanying you on 12 mile runs or training for any marathons. I am equally ambivalent about activewear.

My friends also called me stylish. I get that from my Nana, who never left the house without her pearls and lipstick. For years I have sourced my clothes from op shops, trademe or make them myself because I don’t want to be part of a throw-away fashion world and frankly, buying new is both boring and out of my price range. Ethical is where the future is at. Call me an early adopter. Oh yes...and you won’t mind about the four boxes that contain my fabric stash under the bed. Or late night frantic sewing sessions that involve loud music and swearing. You might even be a compulsive creative yourself?

In my work life, I am a kick ass professional in the not-for-profit world. Or a social change agent, depending on whose asking. That means I work that ass off for a modest wage. I sleep well at night and love my work but I won’t be booking any overseas holidays this winter.

Oh. And I come as a package deal. I have an awesome son. Who is homeschooled. Oh, I can hear people scattering! But wait. There’s more. And did I mention the little dog, toothless ancient rescue cat, the ducks and the rabbit? If you are attached to your laptop cord or phone charger, don’t leave it lying around, one of us will chew it.

Yeah. Get more cats you say? Maybe so. I was just getting started.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

School holidays rantypants

My son and I were talking about different parenting styles today. The conversation grew out of overhearing two mamas at the mall. Their kids were all within earshot while they commiserated about how hard the school holidays were and how they couldn’t wait for the little monsters to go back to school. Jed couldn’t believe they said that in front of their children. Me neither.

I asked him how he would feel if he overheard his parent saying how you couldn’t wait for the school holidays to be over etc. He said he would be looking to be adopted. With a twinkle in his eye. Later that day a friend pointed out that there are loads of articles around with titles like How to survive the school holidays and What to do with the terrors for two weeks. I hadn’t even noticed.

I understand that the change in routine and extra noise, mess and expectation of giving the kids a good time can be hard. It’s challenging to take time off work and/or organise playdates for days on end. I really get that. Kids have a way of knowing where all our buttons are and in the process of getting their needs met or expressing discontent, they know how to push them. Repeatedly. And with vigour. And this parenting milarky is not a walk in the park, I get that. It’s freaking hard work at times.

But I also get that kids want to feel connected with their parents and look forward to the holidays and having more time with their families and friends. I imagine it must be hard for many kids to hear that mama or papa is gutted that they’ll be around. I have seen little lit up faces darken and fall on hearing comments like we overheard. It just makes me feel sad. I mean, adults wouldn’t talk to other adults like that. Well, not in front of them. Why do adults do it to kids?

I am big on being honest. Kids are bullshit radars, if I am smiling and saying ‘yay holidays’ but inside am thinking ‘holy crap, this is going to be 2 weeks of hell’ my kid is going to be onto me. There’s an internal shift that needs to happen there. I’m not saying we can’t download our woes with our pals or turn to wine or chocolate – those are all good things. I just want to put out a plea to be a bit more mindful about how to take care of all our hearts. Especially those little ones.

It makes me glad that Lucy of Lulastic and the Hippyshake blog has launched the Parent Allies website. You can check it out HERE. Yay for Lucy!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

An epic day

We had big plans for a road trip up north to see dear friends. I got as far as packing but life had other ideas. Gah! I had to be a grown up and prioritise important things like viewing a new house, appointments and work deadlines instead. 
The trip will happen sometime but for now, we are free to catch up with friends and go on adventures around here. 
Yesterday we had 10 kids and 3 mama's here for the day. It was epic. The word feral comes to mind, in a really good way. The fire was on, there was rope swing action and rock climbing, the great eel chase and the kids figured out an old paddling pool made a great coracle to paddle around the swimming hole.  Later we took the older lot down to the beach to run wild awhile and I bumped into the lovely Leigh from Life in our Busy Household with the boys on the path to the beach. Perfect.
I would live on a piece of land with that lot. Easy!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Blurry guavas and slumpy creatives

It's been a great guava season and not much else great happening. Even the ports on my laptop are fried so I am reduced to taking photos on my phone. Hence the blurry guava. Gah.
I have to-do lists in every room. That's never a good sign! But. What is good? I am better. I got slammed by the flu and then bronchitis and other stuff and it was WEEKS before I could get through a day without collapsing into bed. The dog sulked because there were no good walks. I got home from driving my boy around, (when I really should have been in bed), to a care package of soup and bread and healing brews and loveliness from a friend. That was super good! Care packages are the best.

And there's other super hard stuff going on. Like, not knowing where we were going to be living in a few months time. You know, life stuff. It's delivered some doozies lately.

Have you been following along with Pip's School for Slumpy Creatives? Gold. That woman is gold.
She's been having a hard time lately and I have too. So refreshing to hear people be honest about where they're at. Go Pip! We'll get through. Homemade guava jelly on toast helps. So do friends and walks on the beach. Onwards and upwards I say. x

In case you need it, here is more Pip: 20 Things to do when you are feeling slumpy.

Monday, June 19, 2017

A single mama sort of birthday

Oh my goodness, how to respond to the lovely texts saying they hoped I was spoiled rotten for my birthday today?

My lovelies, I am a single mama. There was no breakfast in bed, no gifts, no cake, no sleep in. Hell, there wasn’t even a Happy Birthday spoken out loud for a good few hours. No kisses, no hugs. There were some lovely texts and I haven't gone near my facebook timeline yet and I am sure there is some deliciousness in there. 

I spent 2 hours in rush hour traffic this morning, trying to get to an appointment with my fabulous lawyer only to turn around and come home as my boy had been feeling increasingly crap on the way in. He was being stoic but turns out he has the flu. I couldn’t even stop and pick up supplies to make a nice dinner. 

The rest today I worked, worked some more, mopped sweaty brows, did all the fetching and carrying that mama’s of sick kiddos do, fed wood to the fire and looked for a new job and a new rental house for us. I also priced storage units in case I end up having to put our things in storage and live at the local campground until we find a place to live. (Rentals are rare here - being a seaside community, so many are on Air bnb now.) 

I think the highlight of my day was taking a nap in a patch of winter sun. Let's not underestimate the goodness and rejuvenating power of naps but so far this cycle around the sun is a bit bleak. I did save up and buy myself a little bag from the TradeAid store in the weekend but spoiled? Far from it. 

That's okay. Crappy times in life overlap with birthdays sometimes and I am grateful for a great many things. Many of them simple joys. But those add up don't you think? There is a very cute dog flopped out over my feet as I type. That winter sun is still pouring through the window. I managed to scrounge the ingredients to make a caramelised onion tart for dinner. My kid is old enough to be largely independent even when sick - this is new. And I am looking forward to sitting by the fireside writing later this evening. Wish me luck. x

Note: Just after I had posted this yesterday evening my son's dad (and friend!) came by with a few very thoughtful gifts. It's not about the presents. I know that. But it was super nice. 
Also, I know many women have crap birthdays and mother's days even when they do have a partner - that is even lonelier. I reckon it's up to us to look out for each other and plan something special for ourselves. Even if it's a scrounged ingredient caramelised onion tart and the end of a bottle of wine found languishing in the fridge consumed in between bouts of holding a bowl for your child to throw up in! Starhawk had a great quote in one of her novels, and it has always stuck with me, 'Happiness is not in the circumstances, but how we meet them'. Hard to remember sometimes and obviously not a quote to lean on in times of trauma but I find it useful in wonderful messy everyday life.