Un-wagged

I got an email from school today, and in it read, “If your child is away today, please advise us via email blah, blah, blah”. Now, my little fucking head just about exploded. Our eldest is about to turn fifteen and just yesterday he asked me via text if he could have the day off school today. Toe tapping moment, hands on hips…of course I replied with “not a chance Mate!” So, as my mind flapped around like a fucking crazed lunatic, putting two and two together, I began to call him while I browsed the L’Oreal colour chart at my product suppliers. I may have called him, perhaps five times in a minute and of course I got no answer. So then I text him. “Call me NOW!!” ….. Crickets chirped as I was slowly losing my calm…. No reply. Call me now always worked.

That silence then led to a text to hubby, so then hubby started texting him too. Fuck knows how many texts and calls this kid has received in the past 10 minutes from his psycho parents. Anyway, after about 10 minutes, and after I had cooled down a fraction and rationalisation has come back to roost, I think to myself, “I better call the school and find out what’s going on”. Yeah you do that Nom, instead of turning into a crazed mother! The reality was, that there were “a number of school absences today without explanation, but your children Naomi, are accounted for”. The little person on my shoulder begins to tell me I need to lighten up a little and relax. I rattled over the phone to the Office Lady that I just panicked when I read the email, and assumed that it was sent because one of my children wasn’t present. She laughed and tutted at me while I told her I had been on a calling-texting rampage and that my child would be none too impressed when he finally sees his phone. Particularly when the email wasn’t aimed at him at all, and was generic… yup, I immediately thought it was Mitch, it could have easily have been Colby.

While I was having my freak out moment, it dawned on me that we were perhaps reaching that age where he might just decide to wag. I mean, who didn’t wag as a kid (besides me?). If I wasn’t at school my mum knew, that’s not wagging right? My head spins at what I was doing while not at school, and the thought of my almost fifteen year old doing those exact same things makes my toes curl. Bloody also shows just how quick I was to throw him in front of the bus! In reality he’s the smartest kid I own, and to be really honest, he’s really not the wagging type. So why did I even think he would?

I think more than anything, my panic was more about not knowing where he was. In a day where the world really IS so accessible and so EASILY accessible too, with trains, buses, trams and even cars to get you from A to B really quickly, and very easily. My fear is just that, that ease they know will be the start of a wrong turn. Being somewhere unfamiliar and some distance away can very quickly be the start of the end. It sounds over the top, but when teenagers think they’re safe it’s because they’re comfortable, and without even realising they end up being somewhere that’s not easily found by Mum and Dad.

Living in the “Big Smoke” of Melbourne, there really is a whole ‘world’ just here in this city. Even living in the suburbia, it has no boundary, and trips into the city with mates are common for Mitch. Always in a group and always in contact, we know where and what they’re doing, yeah I know, to a degree. We give them that trust, and expect that they respect it. If Mitch fucks that up, he’s a goner and I guess that’s why he is at school today, and didn’t wag, because he knows his boundaries, for now. He asked yesterday of he could stay home and I said no. To him, that was enough.

Stepping away from your children so they can begin living independently is not easy. Watching your babies morph into these street smart, city wandering teens is scary. In a period of history where kids are hurt, maimed, stolen, killed, abused and heaven know what else, you just have to trust that they respect themselves enough to follow their gut and stay out of harms way. Kids have always been in danger, forever, but with the world as open and exposed as it is right now, it just makes you want to wrap them up in cotton wool. I won’t though, because that’s not giving them opportunity to learn new skills and problem solve. They’re going to make mistakes, I know that, but hopefully they’re all small ones. I really fucking thankful that today wasn’t one…lol

Make sure you turn the teapot twice clockwise and once anticlockwise!

Nom

Family Curve Balls

My life has been turned upside down a couple of times. The ending of a major relationship, death of a parent, having children, losing jobs and it’s no doubt that I haven’t seen the end of it all. Life is going to throw you some curve balls and you just have to learn how to hit them out of the park to get past them and move on.

One huge curve ball for me was the death of my mother ten years ago. Her death was profound, and truly was the making of the woman I am today. The strength, resilience and fortitude I embraced from her death will hold me in good stead for the next curve ball I guess. Having said that, her death was the catalyst for other types of curve balls.

Watching my father move on with his life has been difficult at times. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t hard seeing him with another woman, it was hard watching him push himself out of his little circle and into another. He didn’t notice the changes, probably still doesn’t but that’s really not what this blog is about. It is what it is, and I have moved past that.

This is about the personal growth I’ve had to push myself through in order to keep him in my life. It’s not been easy either. I walked away a number of times, because I thought my opinion or feelings on a matter weren’t important enough to even run past me, and then when I was heard, my opinion wasn’t even considered. Decisions were made because he made them, and that’s the brunt of it. But that’s okay. I won’t bend to being anyone else but me, and my opinion does count, even if he doesn’t want to hear it, and to get my feelings heard I just went around him and went about it another way, because trying to get him to understand that every decision he makes effects everyone else wasn’t working.

Earlier on supporting him in moving into a another relationship after Mum’s death was easy. I wanted for him to be happy, to be loved and not lonely. I encouraged him, even if he thought I wasn’t or didn’t. I advised him when he asked and would say what everyone else was thinking but didn’t have the balls to say. In the end that was my worst move! I agreed with who he was seeing, and never have I told him that I disapprove, simply because I always approved. Other people have their views on what I did or didn’t do or say, but not one of those people actually approached me and asked what I was feeling or how I was. To them I say FUCK YOU!! Mind your own business and keep your opinion to yourself, because if my feelings don’t matter to you, then you’re feelings don’t matter to me. Fair is fair. Even now, I still support his relationship, I never stopped and to this day, I just cannot grasp why anyone thought I didn’t.

Living a distance from him probably hurt the whole situation marginally, not being involved daily or weekly is not easy, you miss out on simple events like a Sunday roast and table conversations about sport and growing vegies, even just normal relationship stuff like helping change a tyre or babysitting. None of it was happening and dysfunction set in. I stopped calling every second day because I never got that call back, you get past that point of trying and trying and I began to believe that I was not important anymore. That really eats at you, and it poisons your soul. I was broken there for a while I’ll admit. I couldn’t even fathom being around him and my skin crawled at the fact that I felt so alienated. The ideal had disappeared and I now had no relationship with my father, the man who I loved with all my being, the man I still loved. It’s been a while since I felt this pain. I’ve worked really hard at getting my head and heart right. Moving past the hurt that he didn’t even know he was projecting. I don’t believe he has done any of this to hurt me, he is after all male and a simple creature.

Over this period of a couple of years a few events happened that I regret I wasn’t part of. Whether it was because of my own self pity or something else, it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that I hope I have mended some of that damage by being the bigger person. Some of my actions hurt me as much as others, probably more and for that I will be eternally sorry. I tried my hardest to not involve others, but in the end there is always collateral damage.

This curve ball, I believe has been hit maybe not out of the ball park, but at least against the park fence. I’m doing my best to try to fix the damage. Perhaps a long way to go, but at least I am trying.

I didn’t want this blog to be just about the shitty stuff. For me it’s more about celebrating what I have coming out of it. I’ve thought long and hard about it and I am truly grateful for a number of things. Life without my sisters would have been intolerable. They have been understanding and supportive on my darkest days, and even at one point they just left me alone to do it. I’m sure they were confused at the time, but on the other side of it they are still here. I love them both dearly and will never forget all they do for me. I also have a new sister… yup a 22-year-old one. While I was ‘away’ the adoption of my step mum’s youngest daughter went ahead. My reaction to the news that this was happening was not ideal, I know this, but I hope I have made the right moves to mend this relationship. I’m looking forward to building a strong relationship with not only her but her other three sisters, my three step sisters. Yes essentially my dad has seven daughters now… it’s really quite a thought process to fathom seven daughters. My new sisters aren’t quite so new, I have known them almost all my life, so getting to know them isn’t what it’s about. Its more about looking at them and them in turn looking at me in a different light, like family. Including everyone in birthdays and celebrations because you want them there, not because your obliged, that sort of thing. I’m hopeful that my efforts will be rewarded with a strong uniting, this I want more than anything.

I can also say that I now know where I stand with family coming out the other side of this. Clarity has been important to me, and transparency, people with no agendas and who mean the very best. I thought I was important to a number of family members, but it seems I was wrong, really wrong. Those relationships I will not be trying to fix. I am happy where I am now and that’s all that matters to me. I am grateful for the family that’s actively involved in my life, and they aren’t all blood I can tell you.

I’m excited about the future. Building my relationship with my father again, and the hope of building a bond between myself and my step mum; hopefully seeing their pub in the footy off-season and spending some quality time with them. I’ve put the right foot forward and hopefully the left foot will follow? Fixing bridges on your own is hard, and at some point you have to meet halfway. Just writing this blog has been a huge step for me, to allow people into my thoughts and feelings, the place that my soul and heart reside. I dearly hope that any reaction from this blog a good one, as it’s coming from a place of my hopes and dreams and that place is a good place. To understand my hopes and dreams you have to understand the lows associated with it and without explaining those, all of this growth and accomplishment is worthless.

Anyway, what will be will be, and I hope that we all meet at the right place. Celebrating family is important and with my fortieth birthday just around the corner, having all of my family there means the most.

P.S. Happy birthdays to three of my sisters for today… Lana, Ash and H… mwah mwah mwah.

Make sure you turn the teapot twice clockwise and once anticlockwise!

Nom

Brrrrrr…..

Gosh it’s cold tonight. I’m not a fan of the cold, the rain, the wind or anything remotely chilly. Except perhaps an Irish whiskey 2125026476_13e68eb496_zwith water on ice. As a kid we would jump on frozen puddles on the way to school, a thick layer of ice covered the tops, waiting for us to smash em’. The frosts were harsh in Clunes and the grass would stay white for hours after the sun was up. We would run through the icy grass listening for the crunching blades under our feet. Granted it’s not as cold as those mornings back then, or as cold as it’s been here in Melbourne recently, or probably going to get in the near future, but I’m bloody cold right now. My toes are icy in my socks, and my fingers are about to snap off as I tap on the keyboard. The nana rug across my lap just ain’t cutting the mustard either, and I’ve just cranked up the central heating a degree, of which I stovewill tell you now, I fucking dislike. What sort of heater doesn’t have somewhere you can park your arse on and toast, right? This is the first house we have ever lived in with central heating, and I must say, I am not a fan. Yeah it keeps the house at a comfortable level, but it’s just not the same as a wood fire, or gas heater where you can lift your skirt or nighty up and roast ya bare arse… Go on, tell me you’ve never done that! I burnt my arse on a gas heater when I was a teenager, I may have been somewhat intoxicated and part naked when it happened, but the blister it left was not pleasant on my backside.

I grew up in the heat of a pot belly stove. A roaring steel cylinder, full of coals that glowed red when we had it stoked to the max. Mum would burn through a tonne of wood in the blink of an eye. Keeping the fire going was our job too, along with lighting it. To this day I can light a fire with just about anything and keep it going. I can split kindling and wood easily and actually love to chop it. It’s a little bit of ‘home’ when I’m splitting wood up the river and tossing it on the fire. There’s something wholesome and natural about it, and it just feels good to be around it. The smell of fresh-cut wood is something else. Even the smell of the chainsaw has a gut warming effect on me.

WP_20141101_21_28_29_ProStanding around a campfire has to be one of the most pleasurable experiences there is. Watching the flames lick into the dark, and sparks float into the black night, its something really special. It’s mesmerizing and captivating. Sitting by the fire up the river with my family and friends can be a silent affair at times. All of us happy to sit in silence, kids included, just watching the flames dance and the wood burn, warping and charring, breaking and changing WP_20141101_21_28_23_Prointo faces and shapes, perhaps an animal or other inanimate object. The bed of coals glowing white-hot under the massive river red gum logs on top. Flames leaping into the night, cracking and popping, breaking the comfortable silence that lays in and around the circle of chairs enveloping the campfire. It’s the best place to be… unless the smoke is blowing your way.

I miss the direct heat of a fire in our house. That comfort, warmth and smell it brings to a home. I probably don’t miss the wood stacking, bringing in wood and fire stoking that goes with it, but really, it’s worth the trouble in my eyes. Maybe one day, I’ll get my own pot belly stove to stoke? One day…

Make sure you turn the teapot twice clockwise and once anticlockwise!

Nom

Bob’s your Uncle… nah, really he is!!

When my Great Uncle Bob passed away, it was truly one of the saddest days of my life. I loved that man. I loved everything he was and every single thing he stood for. I loved his humour and his quick wit; his demeanour and his sincerity. Everything about him was on face value, you earned his smile and his wink, his hand shake and attention. He was a great man. I found his funeral pamphlet going through some stuff today, and it made me smile.

My earliest memory of Bob goes way back to an age when the whole family spent Christmas together. Summer days were stinking hot and the nights were not much cooler. Days where games of back yard cricket in the G Marts huge back yard and British bulldogs were the bomb. Bindi-eye’s jammed in our feet and drive you crazy itching from the stinging nettles beside the fence. Bob would be watching over us, leaned back in a chair, leg up leaning on something while chewing a match stick. He was observant and never missed a thing.

29258_385777838917_4944579_nHe was a rotund shaped man with huge round, fat head. To Bob, his head was the trade marked ‘Abbott Head’ also known as a ‘puddin’ head’. He loved any big, fat round head, and would remark about a few of our kids having one. For years I thought it was odd that he would mention it and thinking about it now, I guess to him he saw his breeding; the fat round head was who he was, and who we are.

Bob was for many decades the local baker in Rainbow, a well-known and well-loved local, resident and friend. To us he was Bob, the bloke who made the best fucking Chocolate Éclairs in the World, our uncle who loved shooting foxes and skinning rabbits; feeding his twenty chooks and walking his foxy terriers; he was the town story-teller and joker, never short of a word to say and never scared to say what needing to be said.

In my later years and after Bob had retired from the bakery, I was lucky enough to be handed down his Choc Éclair recipe and more so the method that went with it. It’s a recipe many know but can’t replicate, only Bob could make them just right. So the day he offered to show me his recipe I jumped on it. The kitchen in his home was small and warm. A cosy place to create a miracle on a plate. He had all the ingredients on the bench ready to go, his apron tied around his big belly and a cap on his fat head. God I loved that man. He made me smile just looking at him. He had an awkward charisma that just held you focused on him, awaiting his next word. His recipe includes a fair amount of storytelling and lots of laughing while trying to be serious.

We started by measuring the eggs, this called for an un-level window sill and a fucking BIG measuring jug. With the jug sitting on the window sill he cracked the 20 something eggs one after the other until they reached the 10 fluid ounce mark on the jug. Which probably means that it’s not actually 10 fluid ounces as its sitting on a sill with a serious degree of un-level going on. Moving from the eggs he melts the Fairy Margarine in a pot on the stove with the required amount of water. While this is melting he measures out his flour placing it into the old winding sifter that’s sitting on two sheets of newspaper on the bench. Running the flour through the sifter into the paper he explains that this next part you need to do really fucking quick and aggressively. He strides over to the stove and brings the bubbling pot of ‘fluffy’ melted margarine to the bench, lifting the paper with the flour, he pours the flour into the pot. Quickly and roughly he stirred like fucking crazy with a wooden spoon while puffing and looking out from under his craggy brows, he laughs about how this is the most important part. Let it cool right off he puffs, spreading the rue out onto the bench to cool to tepid. He potters at the sink washing the pot as the rue cools. Adding eggs one at a time and whisking with a flat whisk he smooths the mix into a beautiful silky batter, ready for the HUGE piping bag he has spread open and waiting.

The oven is already heating. The tray he uses to cook the éclairs on is hand-made, black, shiny and really heavy. Bob believes that this tray is the secret to getting the bottoms perfect and stresses the importance of not ever washing the tray in soapy water, nor the piping bag full of the mix he is squeezing onto the tray. These perfect lines of batter, all the same length and width, in perfectly even rows, one after the other… clearly the 30 years in the bakery made for his perfection. It was truly a delight to witness.

He pops the tray into the oven and closes the door softly. Striding back to the bench he says, we cook them until they’re “dried out, browned and not frizzling”.

Watching the whole cooking process through the oven door, I am thinking to myself I am so fucking excited to see this all unfold. One really doesn’t appreciate just how special that moment was for me, watching him bake the most recognised recipe he ever baked. Then watching him whip the cream and mix the chocolate icing ready for them to cool enough to ice. Icing them first was essential, then you slice in half, long ways and pipe in the cream.

De’FUCKING’licious!!!

Pancreatic cancer took Bob from us, and it took him quick. It was secondary to Bowel cancer undiagnosed I think. When he found out he had it, he made light of it. Commenting in jest that if you have ‘white stools’ (say stools with an extended ooo) then “get ya back passage checked!” He faced it head on and laughed through it as much as he could. He fought as hard as he could and what upset him more than anything else while facing death was that he would miss his Grand-daughters grow up. He loved those girls like nothing else, and by God he was a fantastic Grandfather.

The last time I saw Bob, was at my Granny’s house. He dropped in for a cuppa and fresh dog turd, “straight off the grass out the back”. As he was leaving that day, for the first time ever, whispering in my ear as he hugged me goodbye, “I love ya Nom”.

Pivotal.

I knew, that day I would never see Bob ever again. He knew it too. I never saw him in hospital, I couldn’t go, but I called. Not sure he knew it was me, but regardless, he was never forgotten. He will always be remembered and treasured, My Great Uncle Bob.

Make sure you turn the teapot twice clockwise and once anticlockwise!

Nom

Not Me?

I’ve been having some cracker dreams lately. I always dream, every single night, and for me not to dream is a really big thing. My dreams are normally in colour too, or well I think they are, or seem to be… I wonder if that’s just a play on my imagination? As a kid I had nightmares every so often and as an adult, probably even more so.

Last nights dream was a weird one, not as weird as some, but for sure it’s not quite right.

It was warm, and breezy. I remember the trees and leaves gently blowing in the street I’m walking along. My dark curly hair bouncing around my shoulders. It’s like I can just shut my eyes and I am back there, in that street, meandering along, watching the leaves rustle and the sun glare off the shop windows. The sun warming my face. The big elm trees shading the dark asphalt path, while a dry, littered cobblestone gutter ran along the street beside me. People walking beside me in a hurry, others sitting at tables drinking lattes and sucking back their cigarettes talking about the fat lady sitting across the street.

I blink and I find myself up in one of the elm trees, looking down onto the street, cars passing by under me, people strolling beneath my feet. No fear, just sitting and watching, perhaps waiting? My busy patterned red and yellow skirt hitched up around my hips, hanging and flapping in the breeze showing my panties. Really? Showing my panties? A conscious thought that I would never do that skirts around the edges of my mind. Scratchy bark prickling the backs of my bare legs.

Dropping to the ground I’m transported to a dark wet market scene. Mud squelching under my feet, my hair stuck to my head wet, flat and sodden. Shivers of cold. An uneasiness crept into my dream, I know I’m dreaming, but its all so real. It lurked by, nudging the nape of my neck. Licking my lips I can taste blood. Stopping under a dripping canvas tent I wipe my mouth with my finger tips. Red smudged across the ends of my fingers. The pain, the unwelcome movement in my mouth, the sharp flick of ‘something’.

Swallowing back a mouthful of thick, bloody saliva, gagging as that something tries to exit through the back of my throat. What is that? Coughing into my hand a fragment of tooth falls into my bloodied palm. Around me I sense confusion, people with rushed voices and hurried commands. My skirt is heavy and stuck to my legs, and I realise I hate my legs. Grabbing inside my mouth, my fingers probe.

I watch myself pull the rest of my hollowed out incisor from my mouth, like porcelain, fine and fragile. Shards crumbling between my fingers. Panic as I clawed at my gums. A gaping black hole took over my face and all I saw was black and blood. Black and blood. Black and blood. Eyes stretched wide and contorted. Horror gripped me and then rage followed. I howled like some ungodly animal, retching and writhing, swinging my head back and forth like a crazed maniac.

The dark whirred around the raving woman who I was watching, particles of her tooth flying around like debris in a wind storm. Is that me? Is that someone else? I don’t have a skirt like that. I don’t have curly hair. The tormented moans softening to sobbing.

And then it was gone.

I guess I could dissect that, and come up with numerous explanations for what this dream meant. Do I want to do that, I don’t think so, but what really gets me is that I dream about my teeth all the time.

Make sure you turn the teapot twice clockwise and once anticlockwise!

Nom

Away… just away.

Right now, I wish I was anywhere but here. Normally I’d be getting ready for our long weekend away up the river, to see the fog like the picture above, but this year we are home. Our baby turns 13, so a party is to be had.

A holiday somewhere warm and sunny would fit the bill real nicely. I’m over my day-to-day fucking shite that just keeps on a’giving… shite! Constant bitching and constant dribble. I’m over it. No longer can one express their opinion or view without offending someone else, or hurting ones feelings. People need to toughen the fuck up already and grow some fucking balls.

A while back I tossed out all the drama, walked away from sport I love, people I thought I loved and needed, who I can clearly live without, only to be bamboozled by a new lot of the same shit. Does it ever fucking end?

From people who say they’re one thing yet their actions completely blow that out the water, and it’s the complete opposite; to having to explain myself to people around me to avoid major conflict because if I speak my mind I’m a fucking bitch but if I don’t I get walked over; and then there’s the people who ignore you until they want or need something; not forgetting those who abuse you for doing the right thing and that’s okay until the shoe is on their fucking foot and the fuckers too fucking tight!

Just so over the crap people continuously dish out. It’s my fault that I work, that I volunteer and then work some more, oh and have sick kids at times so then something gets missed in a general conversation yet I’m supposed to know what’s going on because I’m a fucking mind reader, information that I should have been told about personally and it really hurts that I’m not as important as I thought I was. It’s pretty clear where I stand with that now, so have a great life! And that’s happened more than once.

Every day I speak with people who are far worse off than me, who are fighting battles I am fortunately lucky enough not to have had to deal with, those people keep me going, those people remind me that I am who I am and fuck the rest of you who think I need to change.

About the only person right now I want to be around is my hubby (and a VERY light sprinkling of family/friends), coz he checked my tatts ticket this morning and made me smile. Sitting somewhere warm with him and perhaps my kids if they start fucking appreciating shit around here, sounds real fucking pleasing. When can I leave?

I’ve turned the teapot already today and now I’m ready for the Jameson!