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Mwa ha ha ha ha

31 Oct

Last year when the note came around I said to the lads and the mister, ‘No, no we will not be part of the Halloween trick or treating the Norte Americanos are organising in our apartment complex’. I was all American Imperialism this and culturally inappropriate that*, but in the end, they joined the rounds because it’s pretty hard not to let your kids be part of a candy-fest when they can see it all happening outside their window, and not to mention the other parents sort of insisted that our children joined in and I ended up feeling bad because we were all take-take-take and nothing to give.

So when the mister went off to the do the shopping on Friday, I said, ‘Can you get some boxes of sultanas and some muesli bars that we can give out for trick or treating?’ and the lads are like, ‘What? Sultanas?’ and I was like, ‘You’re always saying, “Why can’t we have the little boxes of sultanas, why do we always have to buy the big bags?”‘ and they were like, ‘Yeah, but it’s supposed to be candy,’ and I was like, ‘Last year, you came back with FIVE KILOGRAMS** of compressed sugar between you, so this year I am saying you can go trick or treating, but I am giving out sultanas,’ and they were like, ‘mutter, mutter, mutter,’ but what can they do because me and the mister were agreed and you don’t want to argue too much with Mum when she gets like this because who knows what she’ll say next and obvs they aren’t going to be spending their allowance on candy that they have to give away and anyway they aren’t allowed to spend their allowance on candy.

Then we’re sitting at tea last night, and I said, ‘Can’t wait til trick or treating tomorrow night when we give out all those boxes of sultanas,’ and the lads said, ‘Muuu-uuum’ (except youngest lad had a bit more of the Mom to it, and in that explanation I was going to write Moooo-ooom except it made it look like he was imitating a cow, which he wasn’t) and I said, ‘Do you know the best thing about giving out sultanas? The best thing is that everyone is going to say to you, “Your Mom is hopeless and she only gives out sultanas” and I am not going to care because I am 41 years old and no longer care what others think about me, whereas you are 8 and 9 years old so you still care a lot about what your friends think.’ I sounded a lot like my own mother when I said that.

There was a tiny moment of silence and they looked at me with the look I particularly love which is all ‘fark, she really knows her shit’, and then they laughed as much as the mister and I were laughing, and one of them (but I don’t remember who) said, ‘Mum, you’re hilarious.’

And sometimes, not often, but every now and then, I’m exactly the mother I wanted to be.

*I just want to qualify, that I’ve been to Halloween parties in Australia and even organised one myself when I was young, and I’m not really into the ‘we’ll all be rooned’ carry on about whether or not we should have it in Australia, because why not, it’s just that it felt a bit wrong doing it here…I know, consistency, I’m totally on top of it
**yes, I weighed it, which just goes to show that sometimes instead of being the mother I wanted to be I’m just the mother I was always destined to be.



2 Apr

It was our intention to be away for definitely two years, but expecting ourselves to stay away longer. Like at least three, possibly four.

But two years, definitely, for sure.

Then, as you know, things turned pear-shaped, went arse-up, generally soured and I started to see things a little differently. I still wanted to make the two years, I didn’t want to run away again, I wanted to give things a chance.

I had to develop some good coping strategies. One of those strategies was to start taking things in smaller chunks. I’ll get to June, I said to the mister and see how I feel after my trip. Made that. I’ll stay til Christmas, I told the mister and see how it goes from there. Got there, still going okay. Came back from the Christmas trip, things had changed a little. Plus the weather was freaking glorious, and the lawn in our courtyard took root. Okay, I said to the mister, the March school break.

Then I got my job, and all of a sudden things were easier. I am going to be extraordinarily sad to say goodbye to my job when the time comes. In fact, if I were living anywhere else, I would probably never leave that job. It is my dream job, and not only that, the people I work with are wonderful.

Nonetheless, for me, this is not a city of permanent livability and the only reason I know I can stay is because I know that I will go. It is the future makes the now seem possible.

The problem with this state of mind is that my brain is constantly looking ahead. In my mind, I make calculations…how many months, how many weeks, even, one time, how many days. The future is a good place to think and to dream about, but it is not a place to live.

If I’m just going to spend my time dreaming of the time when this time will be the past, then I should just pack up now. Passing time by wishing it away is not time well spent.

So, I am trying very hard to do that whole living in the now. There is nothing more important than the thing you are doing now. The past is gone, the future is yet to come, only the now is here. And so on. I am trying to concentrate on getting my book written, enjoying my job, watching my children laugh. When I feel my heart race in anticipation of what might be, I close my eyes, take a deep breath and bring myself back to now.

Oh, dear…if we get to June and I start quoting Elizabeth Gilbert at you, you will tap me on the shoulder, take me into a quiet corner and have a word with me, won’t you?

I know it’s just google, but sometimes it really is spooky

25 Jan

Questioning google searches intrigue me. They used to annoy me, librarian-trained as I was when databases were the Next Big Thing, the internet was but a twinkle in Tim Berners-Lee’s eye, and boolean logic was most certainly in the exam. ‘Keywords people,’ I would think. ‘Use the quotation symbols,’ I would snarl from behind my screen.

These days, I’m much less personally affronted by the ‘what time is it in adelaide’, ‘what time is it in adelaide right now’ or ‘what can I do in adelaide’ searches I see in my wordpress dashboard. Life is too short, has moved on, and boolean is just a word.

Besides, I like the poetry of the google questions that come my way. Like today:

can i run away for my 40th birthday

it asked.

Well, dear 39-year-old whoever you are, wherever you currently live, I don’t know what other answers you found, but here’s mine:


Yes, you can run away for your 40th birthday. You can buy a plane ticket, get a stamp in your passport, bury your head in the sand.

But whatever it is you’re running from will, no matter how tightly you pack your suitcase, slide its way into the space between your knickers and your socks. And it won’t come out in the wash.

But that’s okay, because one day, you’ll wake up and you’ll realise that just next week you’re turning 41.

PS And ‘green liquid from back of fridge’ person? If you’re still there…this time of year, my bet’s on basil, bought in a fit of ‘let’s have pesto’ exuberance.