Camp cramps

There are all sort of parents in this world, and you see them at the school camp drop off.

Those who are whooping their way out of that bag drop, punching the air and screaming “Look out silence, HERE I COME!”  They wave enthusiastically at a tinted window their child could be behind (but who would know), knowing everyone is going to love this little break.  As they smile kindly at a tearful mother and feel they should place a gentle arm around her shoulder, they are trying really hard to think as quietly as they can – “YES! SLEEP IN’S, WINE FOR DINNER, NO WEE ON THE TOILET SEAT, BED AT 6PM, AND NO SOCCER PRACTICE WOOHOO!!!”

There are those who are late for the bus – and they are the ones who are never, ever late, apart from this day. Somehow in the lead up, whilst packing for an 11 year old on a commando course (because we do that all the time),

commando outfit
“I think this outfit is perfect for a commando course”

trying to think of how to combat travel sickness in absentia, trying to teach them about the importance of a shower – with soap, or teeth brushing – at all, packing 5 lots of thermals in case it’s cold in Coffs Harbour, and then implementing the crash course in karate should anyone be mean to them, school camp for these parents is the final tug of the lace bringing everything unravelling. Nerves – 1, Mum – none.  They are running to roll call, they are sitting three abreast on the bag to try squaaaaash it in on top of 100 other suitcases, sleeping bags, pillows, back packs and giant teddy’s. They reach up a hand with a kiss on it to a disappearing cheek up the bus steps, and they say “I love you darling!” to the closing doors.  

Then there is me. We have been packed for weeks, so I didn’t have any callouts for new trakkies at 10pm last night – or that’s what I’m telling you, anyway.  We have had conversations, trying to be casual and not frightening, about safety – of friendships, of personal stuff, of health, and of looking after the precious person that is you, my child. We have talked about whether, because “Undies” is not on the packing list it means they are not needed.  We have worn in the “old shoes” we had to buy. We have discussed what you can eat if the bus stops at McDonalds (as all our parental fear-mongering about the place comes back to bite us on the bum).  And we have planted spy’s in Coffs Harbour with fresh fruit, vitamin C tablets, his bedtime teddy’s, a nice fluffy doonah and perhaps, just maybe, a getaway car.

I don’t take lightly to my child being away from me. For a week (yes, four days is a week). On the other side of the country. You are very well taking my heart right out of my chest and driving it away on Forest Coachlines.  

You are very well taking my heart right out of my chest and driving it away on Forest Coachlines.

I do know he’s going to have an amazing time. I do know this year 6 camp is the “coming of age” camp.  But am I ready for him to come of age? No. He is just fine as a not-teenager. So, bring him back. I can just see his beautiful face as he goes into the indigenous preschool with all the gorgeous little kids – I know already this bit will touch his gentle, gentle heart and change him for the absolute better. But he is the BEST already, so, bring him back.  I can hear him, as he rock climbs, bushwalks and surfs, laughing confidently with friends – a place he has worked hard to get to. He is confident now, so, bring him back.

Because until you bring him back, I am half a person here.

But I know if you do, he will be the half a person. I have to let him grow up. Little by little, I have to let him go.

Advertisements

Missing Mother

Breaking News:  Reports of a possible missing person. 

A stay-at-home mother from Sydney’s Insular Peninsula appears to have disappeared. The missing mother is known as a woman who quietly and boringly got on with her life as a housewife and children’s Uber driver.  She was not known as social, being as she was mostly stuck in the kitchen and kitchen’s do not talk.  Nor was she known as adventurous – going to Coles was a big day out – and those close to her say that she likely may, or may not have, left of her own accord.

The missing mother was released from her cage – err, household, last Thursday.   She was sighted at Sydney Airport with a woman said to be an old friend from school.  The old friend was allegedly feeding the poor unsuspecting missing mother champagne at 8.30am.  It is not known if this friend is an accomplice, as she is also usually a mother at home, or if she is a suspect.

The missing mother and her friend were then seen at Auckland Airport, with yet another friend, who is a known policewoman, leaving the airport with a bottle of Tequila.  Kiwi’s, cops and tequila – it is not looking good.

It is believed the missing mother was planning to attend a wedding.  The word “Chenery” was overheard by witnesses on numerous occasions – detectives suspect this might be secret code for ‘Brewery’, which was the possible wedding venue, or it could be the bride’s name.  Despite the alleged wedding being full of cops and lawyers, detectives are not holding out much hope that law enforcement would prevail. They know their own kind too well.

Local fisherman, next to the wedding location, believe they spotted the missing mother, although personality descriptions do not match accurately.

mohawk-sideways-copy
Facial composite of the missing mother

  The missing mother’s family in Sydney said it would be very unlikely to be the same woman if she was seen dancing all night long and up on the stage pretending to be Salt n’ Peppa to the popular 80s song “Push It”.  The family also refute claims that the mother would put a fluorescent pink mohawk on sideways for something called a “photobooth”, accidentally or not. 

Nor would she ever be seen singing into love hearts on sticks, somewhat like a microphone, which the bride had painstakingly decorated her wedding venue with. Her husband said it was always, always, a wooden spoon or kitchen implement she sang into.  

There have been suspected sightings of the missing mother back in Sydney.  But the woman singing Whitney Houston while she baked, and dancing to Salt n’ Pepper while she vacuumed, did not resemble at all the drab woman who once stood in that apron in that spot, so those claims have been dismissed.  Other reports say this same all-singing-dancing  woman did not have a nightly glass of patience – err, wine – as the missing mother used too.  Justifications along the lines of a detox of gin,  tequila and other unremembered beverages, have also been dismissed.

The search continues.

 

Practising Kindness. Kind of.

My late rising New Year’s resolution is kindness. Be kind, show kindness, kind, kind, kind.

It’s everywhere – the new catch phrase to counteract narcissism generated in our age of the selfie.  Me me me it’s all about me, verses Be kind to one another. I should have been an anthropologist or psychologist instead of a mother.  (Same thing, I hear you say? Need one as a mother, I hear you say?)

This woman is fabulous – take the 10 minutes to watch Orlay Wahba speak on kindness, it will change your life.  http://blog.ted.com/the-magic-of-kindness-orly-wahba-at-ted2013/  She nails why kindness is essential and exactly how it makes the world a better place.

So I’m going to be kind. I’ve already started.

I was really kind yesterday when my toddler screamed his way out of swim school, all the way to the car, screamed when I asked him to get in the car, then screamed about me locking him out of the car (never leave a child unattended inside a car), then continued his little screaming argument all the way home.

He is still alive. See? Kindness.

Part of kindness is that it brings you to noticing others. For example, like last night.  My husband must have been practising kindness because when he was putting the rubbish bins out, he noticed the next-door neighbour nicking our greens bin from the verge.  “Hey, isn’t that ours?” came kindly out of Happy Husband’s mouth, to which Naughty Neighbour replied, “oh just taking it to put our palm fronds in”.  Happy Husband practiced further kindness by not saying anything more – perhaps because his mouth hung open in disbelief but hey, the bin was theirs.  

Currently, I am practising kindness with great fervour. Along with noticing, being kind also generates gratitude.  As I write this I am looking out my window at the pool company (here is a description of them), draining thousands of litres of water-slash-money down the plughole, and jackhammering big chunks out of the concrete walls of our brand new pool.  But hey – I am super grateful that we had the pool for the kids for Christmas, because we can’t afford to eat anymore let alone buy something as frivolous as Christmas presents.  And I am tremendously grateful to the actual people who work for the pool company, because now when I turn on the news Donald Trump really truly looks like a super nice guy to me. Really, he does incredibly honourable work, don’t you think?    

So, after a successful week of practising great kindness, I’m going to celebrate. Here is a selfie of me with my big glass of kindness to myself. But we all know it’s not all about me…

woman-with-big-glass-of-wine

   

 

   

Ageing Disgracefully

Hair

Remember these?

troll
Felicity having a good hair day

Well, this was me as I hit my 21st year (times two) of life. 

When the grey’s popped up in my mouse brown hair, I thought blond highlights would be a good idea to blend them seamlessly away.  Beginning with just a little blond, I found myself a year later unsuspectingly sporting Marilyn Monroe bleached everything. Consequently, this turned what was supposed to be a low maintenance do, into hair of Kim Kardashian-mega-maintenance proportions, as I tried to keep on top of dark roots rearing their ugly heads every 0.00003 seconds. And, because hair goes limp along with everything else as you age, I had also been blow drying my golden locks – to near extinction. 

A kind hairdressery friend told me I was no longer allowed to blow dry and that dark was less damaging than Marilyn-blond. So, dark I go.  But now I have the old grey’s back partying front and centre forehead. So I decided to whack in a quick home box dye to touch them up between hair dresser visits. There is a problem in the translation though: Box-speak for dark brown is black. Coupled with my dead straight (and no-blow-dry-limp) hair, someone asked me which part of Asia I was from the other day.

Skin

In my 20’s I was a beauty editor. This meant CUPBOARDS and GARAGES and PUBLIC HALLS full of all the world’s most expensive creams, hair stuff, make ups, fragrances – Chanel, Dior, La Prairie, Guerlain, Yves Saint Laurent, MAC and so on were coming out of my earholes. Now that I have skin those anti-aging creams would love to get their free radical fighting mitts on, I can afford Olay from Coles.

One day I was bemoaning this situation with a friend who’d experienced the same beauty industry gluttony and had gone back to work as a beauty therapist just to keep her supplies going. She recommended Vitamin C powder – once a day, slap it on and voila, 21 again. Then we got interrupted, but that was fine, I had all the essential information.  So home I go via the health food shop to pick up some Vitamin C powder. 

Day 1 I rub the gritty stuff all over my mug. I feel it tingling (ok, well, maybe stinging) and think yippee, it’s working!  Luckily that day I did not need to alight the car to collect my kids so no one else saw me except for them and their thousand questions about the white crumbs falling off my face.

Day 2 and I decide to dissolve the powder in a little water after looking up a recipe online. I smother my face in the syrup and enjoy more tingling of skin. A while later once it’s dried, I put my moisturiser over the top then foundation and go off out into the world. A while later than that, standing amidst about 5000 people, I rub my jawline, and see a shower of what looks like sand. But is in fact vitamin c granules mixed with foundation. 

sandface
“Ah! I look like a sand sculpture!”

Day 3 and I manage to dissolve the powder to nothing, slather it on my skin, do cream, do foundation and check for sandpaper-like appearance of face. There is none.  Pop out into the world amidst about 7000 people, and someone asks: “Why do you look orange?”     

Weightwatchers

What kind of mathematical person thought this idea up? I mean – 4 points for a glass of wine?  It certainly wasn’t a mother.

Yes, I have joined up to shed the kilo’s that hung around after the baby no longer did.  I am absolutely certain now that the weight intends to stay forever like a bad tenant and without some concerted effort in years to come it’s going to be much more and nigh impossible to be rid of. 

So on day two of Watching my Weighters, I went to the gym and proudly (perhaps smugly) added into my WW app the hour of high intensity interval training (yes, it hurts as much as it sounds), setting the intensity level at “High, cannot talk or sing” (because I often sing when I’m in a gym class). I earned 10 points – woohoo!  But wait – I don’t get to eat those 10 points – those 10 points go yippee and bye bye suckeeerrrr disappearing off into the ether with an evil laugh. Now I have to eat no-point-air for the rest of the day.

But there’s more.  Did you know, when you’re doing Weight Watchers and watching those points like you used to watch the sausages cook, that everywhere you go – shops, kindy drop off, afterschool sport, library, public toilets – everywhere, it’s everywhere I’m telling you, someone is cooking bacon?

How’s your ageing disgracefully faring?     

Staging a #Fexit

I’ve staged a #Fexit.

That’s a Facebook exit.  Unlike the #Brexit I did not consult a whole country. I did however let my ‘friends’ know I was outta there, lest I miss something vital, like a baby, engagement, or self-tan gone hilariously wrong.  I asked them to pick up the good old dog and bone.

And I had several calls from my beautiful friends, God bless ‘em. All to see if I was alright. Staging a #Fexit has become a major concern, you see.

But there was no need for worry.  It was just time to be gone from the old FaceAche (wish I could claim this one but put your hands together for the ultimate wordsburger Ms Mari Budgewoi), for a little hiatus, a wee holiday.

Probably like everyone, there is a lot of my life that is mundane and boring. It is in those moments, whilst cutting the 65000th apple into a creative dodecahedron for lunchboxes, that I’d drop into FaceAche to look at other people’s non-boringness. But after a while I’d stopped seeing what I was scrolling through and was whizzing past a whole load of who knows what.

And it was making me feel far busier than I in fact was.  FaceAche sucks up nearly an hour of the average person’s day according to a recent New York Times article. “That’s more than any other leisure activity surveyed by the Bureau of Labour Statistics, with the exception of watching television programs and movies (an average per day of 2.8 hours). It’s more time than people spend reading (19 minutes); participating in sports or exercise (17 minutes); or social events (four minutes). It’s almost as much time as people spend eating and drinking (1.07 hours).”

More time than reading or exercising?  Well that’s not good.

If it adds up to that much time, don’t I have a better way to spend it?

But, like a smoker, I needed something to fill the space and occupy my hands where my habit once was.

So I looked up: “Is crochet or knitting easier for beginner?” Google told me crochet.

Google was wrong. crochet

Avoiding the temptation to inform the world of this momentous new knowledge on the FaceAche, I decided to defy the internet and try knitting. This is how that one ended up: 

knitting
Guess what you’re getting for Christmas

Much better.

Not only did I learn to knit, but I learnt that it’s reeeeally relaxing. Meditative, creative, and something you can do together – which face in phone is most definitely not. Yes, even the 11 and 9 year old boys wanted to do it and enjoyed it.

On my ##Fexit I found my brain space was a little clearer – which is fantastic for when you’re trying to be a creative type. It’s also fantastic when you have a lot of stuff in your head which needs to be organised or achieved – you do all this organising while you’re knitting and the achieving while you’re on your #Fexit, rather than when your head hits the pillow and should NOT be organising and achieving and keeping you awake.

On my #Fexit I feel like I’m on a holiday, not being connected all the time – you can put your feet up and stare at the view. I look at my children and husband rather than my phone – they look pretty good in fact. I now need to actually speak to my friends to find out exactly how closely their fake tan resembles Dictator Trump’s, or that their child got the Superstar Award this week. And I can hug someone in genuine congratulations in person, instead of clicking a Like button. I can choose what I want to investigate on the internet, not what’s fed to me.

Admittedly I’ve only been on my #Fexit for a couple of weeks. And in all honesty I haven’t staged a full #Fexit, I just took it off my phone. Because I still have a host of lovelies who live in other time zones that I need to check in on, and it would also mean having to ditch my blog page which I can never do!  However, just that little measure has given me back a real life, rather than the FaceAche one I seemed to be living.  I can highly recommend staging a #Fexit.

 

 

 

Formerly Fabulous??

I once actually had a fabulous life, you know. Not just a trying to be Fabulous Authoress life. Mercedes Benz Australian Fashion Week (MBAFW) reminded me this week.

Yes, I used to be that Fashion Editor in the front row at Australian Fashion Week.  I had a Chanel handbag and a MaxMara coat.  My makeup was an endless supply of MAC and my perfume wardrobe overflowed to the garage. I wore heels like stilts. I wore my dark glasses inside some of Sydney’s grungiest and most divine locations while the music thumped, the lights flashed and my excitement at such creativity peaked. I may have even swooned. And, with all the freebie hairdressing I was privy to, I was having a truly awesome hair life.

I thought about how it would be if I went back to work in this industry….

Trending: #FelicityLenehansHair. 

greyroots copyFashion doyenne, and housewife Felicity Lenehan shocked the world’s magazine editors at Day 4 of Australian Fashion Week, sporting cutting edge grey roots and completely and utterly unblowdried hair….

Instagram: Wowing the glitterati in cutting edge Kmart and new look Band Aided feet #TrakkiesFrontRow  #Where’sTheSlippers

Project Runway - Front Row - Fall 2013 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week
#TrakkiesFrontRow #Where’sTheSlippers

Front Page, SMH: Children Who Don’t Pick Up Their Toys: Backstage at MBAFW.

It’s no wonder models stomp out on the catwalks looking like they’ve only done half their eyeliner with hair that’s never seen a brush – you too would have lost your tools in the disgraceful mess that is left lying around backstage at Fashion Week.  Our undercover reporter, Motha Lenehan, unveils the disrespect behind the curtain.

Ginger and Smart wore the look of designers who are sick of telling their subordinates to pick up after themselves. “1, 2, 3…” they cried out, as models left clothes all over the floor and exited the room without heeding the warning. Nor had they listened earlier, it was blatantly clear, when “eat your breakfast!” was being repeated, yet again….

Facebook: AWayWithWords checked in (a looooong way away) at Carriageworks, Eveleigh for Fashion Week…. #What’sWrongWithWarriewoodSquareIAskYou

Tumblr:  Ginger & Smart’s giant sun hat accessory #SkinCancerYouLOOSE  #DoubleAsAWeddingGown  #CantSee hat

 

 

 

ToniMaticevskiHandcuffs

 

Toni Maticevski’s jewelled handcuffs.  #WrongExpoMyFriend.

 

 

 

Yes. Well. Back to the old Fabulous Authoress for me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two Funerals and a Brain Scan 

Last year was one of those years – I couldn’t go to Coles without catching pneumonia. At one point I just took my sick-after-sick-after-sick kids out of school and we ran away up the coast to a big wide open space with no snot in it.  Add to this a brain scan for me, two family funerals and an evil piece of a skin cancer chopped out of me, and I was about to give up and go and live with the hippies. Then I remembered those filthy dreadlocks….

Before you feel as sorry for me as I was, all remains well.  The funerals were the finale to two well-lived lives, they found a brain in my noggin, the kids got their Gloria Gaynor on and “I will survived” and 2016 is a brand spanker of a new year.

However, in the thick of it all, one asks oneself: What is the dent I want to leave in this life?

What was very clear to me at the time was that my greatest work will be – sorry Book World – my kids. 

Part of this, of course, is Book World, or becoming la Fabulous Authoress. It’s leading by that good brave, ‘go-get-‘em’ example, showing them that they too can do absolutely anything they want.  Getting up when you face plant in the publisher’s office, faceokantshowing them what having a passion means and that hard work pays dividends.  I hope and try my hardest to show them a balance – to do both mum and work in the proportions that matter to our family, and hopefully not too frenetically (although I know this last part is my biggest failing).

A funeral brings up how you might be remembered.  You think of the person you’re saying goodbye to in the best and fondest of terms – will people think such things about you? At my 99 and a half year-old Nan’s funeral, these words were in my head: She was consistently kind and strong. 

This was the answer to my question.   

When it comes down to it, when my children have to stand on their own two feet, which thankfully God-willing is not right now, what I want them to be is kind and strong. 

Rather shockingly, a Harvard study a couple of years ago gained a lot of attention when it found 80 per cent of teenage participants chose success as their top priority, over caring for others, which was chosen by a measly 20 per cent. Apparently the kids said that these priorities mirrored their parent’s priorities. Parents – what would you think of this if your child was the one who needed the care shown to them?  I want my kids to be kind.

And strong – to know right from wrong, to be able to stand up for themselves – to everyone, not just to the usual issues parents nag about like drugs and bad behaviour.  I want my fairly timid kids to be certain about their beliefs and what feels right or wrong.  I want them to have strong instincts. And good perspective and balance in life.  But not a bland life – no way! Find your passion, my darlings. 

Feels like a huge job when you write it all down. Best I get to it.