Monday, December 30, 2013

Feeding frenzy

An empty bowl?!

A travesty!

A momentary display of manners...

When's this nazi going to give us the go-ahead?

Finally, we can eat!

Is there a similar daily dance at your place?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Does buying your kid a second-hand Christmas gift put you in Scrooge territory?

I bought my daughter a second-hand present this Christmas. It's a trampoline and she LOVES it (yes, it's set up already). Part of me felt mean going the second-hand path, but after thinking about it there are many benefits:
* It only cost $80.
* It was already partially assembled. I was able to piece it together myself while the Prospector was at work. He was happy about that.
* No massive box and miles of padding, usually requiring a trip to the tip, to deal with. Ditto re Prospector being pleased.
* Buying a used item is gentler on the environment.
* We wanted a trampoline (in good condition), the sellers wanted theirs gone. Win-win.
* Rose doesn't give a toss how old or cheap it is. All she knows is she loves the things and now there's one in the back yard. 


She's not yet two so I thought she may have been a bit young for a trampoline. But every time we've been somewhere with one, she climbs on up and has a ball. She also decided the low-hanging shade sail over our veggie patch (which has allowed the weeds to run rampant but come hot weather does nothing for the perkiness of my tomatoes) was a trampoline and repeatedly asked to bounce on it. Clearly, I had no choice but to try and get one for her. Not that she's spoilt, or anything.
And, yes, I admit it's kind of fun for me too. Do you want to know how high I can jump before scaring myself?
Also, it's handy when I finally do my hand washing and need to lay everything out flat.

What's your take on pre-loved gifts?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Working out how to work out

As of tomorrow I'm going to have to get creative about exercising.
Twice a week we go to a council-run play group, which also operates as a crèche for parents who want to use the council gym. So Rosie 'plays' and I work out/walk on treadmill while reading on my iPad.
And today is our last play group session for the year. Ergo, the last time for a couple of months that I can drop Rosie into a room full toys, babies and preschoolers and hope they keep her occupied.
I always look forward to these sessions. Because I love the little gym. And exercise isn't bad either. Especially exercise done alone. The 'alone' part is more desirable than the 'exercise' part.

My local gym. Yes, all of it (plus a couple of
racks of free weights you can't see). And
this is usually how I find it - empty. I get it all to myself.
I've always found some joy in working out. But for a long time it was also stressful. Something to squeeze in around work and home chores, and too often with the sense I hadn't done enough. Plus, I was forever comparing myself to whomever was on the machine next to me. They always seemed fitter/stronger/hotter/better overall. 

The weight I have on my squat bar - a whole
7.5kg each side. Go me! Plus the bar - I don't
know exactly what it weighs but it's in the vicinity
of freaking heavy. 

None of that really happens any more. Now I enjoy exercising, as well as having exercised.
But finding ways to do it can be a challenge when a crèche isn't available.
There's walking of course. We do a lot of that. Gets a bit trickier in summer when the only bearable time to be outside is between 7pm and 7am. And the toddler is not in favour of going straight from the containment of one space (her cot) to that of another (the pram) in the morning.
Swimming laps drives me spare. And again there is the issue of child minding.
So, what to do?
Thankfully, the prospector works shorter hours at his new day job, so some afternoons he will be in charge of toddler care.
And I expect to make use of these:
A couple of my kettlebells.
Doing a kettlebell workout in your bedroom (because it has the best air con) alongside your shoes and shirts while a kid and cat look on from the bed isn't weird is it?
And there's always the option of dancing to the Wiggles. Which is bloody hard work, believe me.

Does scheduling exercise take a bit of work for you? How do you fit it around work and family?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Mid-week mundanities

It was just Rosie and I again yesterday, with the prospector back at his new-old day job (more on that later). Had a productive yet relaxing day, but was shattered by the end of it. Waking early takes it's toll and every morning I think 'am definitely having a nap when young miss does today' but then I get caught up (usually in reading) and often don't. And then when she woke after only an hour I was glad I hadn't tried to sleep - I'd have got about 5 minutes and felt ripped off.
It was my first day of following a system of spending allotted hours on work/chores - from my to-do list, at least, not things like cooking dinner, folding washing, so on, that have to fit around other things and can't be put off anyway - some 'structured' play (because I'm told you're meant to do these things) with Rosie and taking the rest of the day as it comes.
Went for an early walk to Moran's (IGA) - before it got too hot and before she was likely to get tired and fall asleep in the pram, which results in day-nap malfunction. 

Breakfast time. Thank god for onesies
- in them she still resembles a baby, not
the toddler she really is.

In the morning: Churned through a good chunk of the to-do list. Even made custard. And by leaving it on the stove for an eternity it actually did thicken on its own - why can't the recipe say it takes more than half an hour? Apparently you're meant to stir it while it thickens but I'm not standing at the stove, spoon in hand, that bloody long. The recipe is from the Commonsense cookbook but devoting close to a (pretty much mindless) hour to something that results in less than half a litre of food doesn't sound very sensible to me.
I left the mix to its own devices, gave it the occasional stir to get rid of lumps and whaddya know, I got custard. Proper smooth, thick creamy custard. Which incidentally makes me want to hurl (always has) but Rosie would be hooked to a custard IV if she could and I'm sick of buying commercial stuff, so it was made for her.
Whacked it in a nifty EZ Squeezie thing, handed it over and it was met with approval.
I've been making my own chocolate fudge stuff (dairy and sugar free) for a while and needed to make another batch. Tried a new recipe. Didn't like it. So made a batch of the original stuff and mixed the new stuff in to try and mask it. Kind of worked. Eating the blend will be no hardship, but will stick with the original one in future. 

In hysterics with Trixie. And no, I have never
before allowed dogs inside. I must
be getting soft.

Later in the morning: Tackled one of my most hated tasks. Fecking filing. Finished it and promptly researched ways to cut down on paper crap. Subsequently swapped what accounts I could to email billing.
Late afternoon: Rosie's lack of sleep caught up with her and she decided she needed to be glued, or, when that was too boring, within arms reach, of mummy for every remaining moment of the day. Glued to me on the trampoline, much wailing when I dared move a few metres away and ducked inside to check on dinner, more wailing when I wouldn't watch TV with her because I was serving dinner, glued to me while we ate dinner... (She was very relieved to get to bed. And she wasn't the only one. )
Earlier, the prospector had come home with a ginormous hamper of Christmas 'goodies'. Seems every staff member got one, provided by the guy who picks up the scrap metal. By 'goodies' I mean processed, sugary, gluteny, preservative-y items generally called food. And a jar of salsa. At least I'll enjoy it. (Yes, it's a lovely gesture and I was impressed and grateful. It's just not the sort of stuff I appreciate like I once did, what with the paleo/clean eating thing. Bah humbug.)
The hamper, containing about half it's contents.
I had to pull the rest out so it would
fit in the cupboard.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

2013, where are you going?!

The calendar tells me 2013 is almost done, even though it feels like it's only a few months old. It's been quite a year for this rambler. 
I had some significant losses - my dear old dog (the other dear old one is battling on), my grandfather-in-law, who died in January, I had an early miscarriage and the prospector was retrenched from his day job. 
Also, my baby became a toddler.

January 2013. Kindly sitting in one place.
Late November 2013. Playing in the rain.

Of less significance, I lost patience with a few TV shows. I can no longer tell you what's happening on True Blood, Sons of Anarchy or The Newsroom. I probably can, however, tell you what letter Anthony used in his alphabet segment on the latest Wiggles episode. Should you like to know.  
I also made some significant gains/discoveries. Chiefly, paleo/primal living and minimalism/simple living. To me, these are almost the same thing, and I interpret them as focusing on being kind to yourself - your body and soul - as well as those around you, and the planet. 
I feel like have been leaning blindly towards this kind of lifestyle for a long, long time. And it has been a revelation to finally stumble on practical theories and guides on how to actually live it. 
Also gained were new skills and confidence through my graphic design course. Though my lack of practice means I've forgotten half of them now. 
And two cheeky puppies have moved into the rambler residence.

Cleo and Trixie.
We travelled a bit this year (three trips over east and back and two to Perth, for Rosie and I). And between that and study and freelance work, the year was busier than I'd have liked. Still, I count myself lucky to have also had countless wonderful moments and (almost) every day living life exactly as I want to. 

How's your year been?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


We had a night of wild wind recently and when I went outside the following morning I discovered our driveway gate had broken. One shoddy hinge had sheered off a shoddy post. No surprise - it's shoddiness comes from partly from being old and mainly from being poorly made.
My bigger concern was that my dogs had escaped. My fear was misplaced, however. The poor old body of the elder one, Razz - the escape ringleader - was also broken. She could only manage a couple of steps and her back legs would collapse.
She was 12 years old and arthritis had been creeping up. But it seems something had happened overnight that suddenly resulted in nerve damage and severe pain. So we had to say goodbye.
And we went to bed that night with our hearts broken. 

She was my first baby, so to speak.

She had to be involved in whatever you were doing. 

She loved being on holidays.

Hanging with the toddler (in the last photo
I ever took of her).

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Just imagine...

Image from

Children are simultaneously a source of great inspiration, and an impediment to, creativity.

I'm currently doing a part-time graphic design course. The tutors - obviously - encourage us to pursue creative past times. Doing so is also recommended by the primal living guy.

Both say its good for the mind and soul. That it doesn't really matter about the quality of what you produce. The process is the point. Devote enough energy to the process and, more importantly, have enough fun with it, and the results will take care of themselves.

My current lifestyle allows ample opportunity for creativity, at some level. My 'job' involves lots of mindless tasks during which my head is free to turn over ideas. And there's Rosie herself, of course. Her laugh, the tiny curls at the back of her head, the light resting on her round cheeks, little hands and feet in action - it all has me longing to capture every fragment that is the beauty and joy of child and childhood.

Yet whenever I sit and attempt to commit these concepts to paper or pixel, it is invariably that moment in which she climbs on the couch and falls off/gets stuck under a chair/gets a little too affectionate with the cat/has a meltdown because some toy or random object won't do as she wishes ... You get the picture. 

And I remember it's not just about chasing my own creative genius (ha!) but being a mummy who comes to the rescue. Who soothes that precious little soul so it can dust itself off, jump back up and once again follow where imagination leads. 

Imagination at work in recent weeks.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Going bush and facebook shame

Those of you who see my facebook feed may have noticed a recent status update - about camping - with no punctuation and no capital letters. None, I tell you! How embarrassment.

This is because I committed the cardinal sin of fiddling around on my facebook page, getting distracted (I'd like to blame the toddler but it more likely was the fact that my coffee was ready, or the mail was delivered) and leaving it open without logging off. My husband (who never met a rule of the English language he couldn't disregard) came along, assumed it was his page, and posted the offending update.

Now, he never logs out of his facebook page, which has me constantly shaking my head. I've 'liked' any number of things - mummy blogs, nappy sites, feminist writers etc - on his behalf, thinking I was logged in. But this time it was the other way around. Thank god he put up something so innocuous - though omitting full stops remains a grave offence, in my book.

Typing and facebook felonies aside, we did indeed have a 'good camping trip out to the block'.

To clarify, 'the block' is a parcel of land less than an hour from home on which we have a prospecting lease. I don't go much for the prospecting, but I do appreciate having somewhere peaceful to escape to for short camping trips, or even shorter day visits. It's not an actual camping site, just a patch of bush, so we don't have to share it with anyone.

I've always loved camping. And since reading up on this primal lifestyle thing I'm an even bigger fan. Turns out being out in the fresh air, away from crowds, being in sync with the sun, getting a bit dirty, staring into a fire, all the usual camping business, is how we're designed to live.

While out there Paul, the prospector, obviously did some prospecting. In his slippers. Including a stint on the edge of a dam:

This is why, despite repeated requests to do so, I did not buy him a pair of uggs of pure wool and costing upwards of $150. I knew something like this would be their fate and the $12 Kmart jobs were the best option.

He also did a bit on dry land with his 'helper'.

Who also helped with the sieving of product.

We saw a rainbow. And an echidna, emus and a baby goanna that popped out of a log once it was on the fire. Luckily it didn't fall into the flames, and the Prospector got it to safety.
Then we came home and I revelled in my flushing toilet and comfy bed. This is the 21st century, after all.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Doing it for me

There’s been very little activity here lately. Obviously. I’m hoping to change that. Well, a little, at least. Because I’ve kind of been missing blogging. Not all of it – some elements of blogging I feel like I ‘should’ do can become a downright chore. And, hey, I don’t have the world’s most fascinating life, so topics can be hard to come by. But the actual writing bit, I love.

Image from

So, my plan (as it stands today, anyway):
1. Take a leaf out of the slow blogging book. I only just heard about this, and basically it means uploading the odd post now and then. Not caring about how relevant your timing is to current events. It also means taking time to create thoughtful, well-considered posts. Ha! Think I’ll skip that bit. I’m not that bloody dedicated. If I’ve actually managed to write something, it’ll get a review or two and posted.
2. Write about what interests me. Which is myself, basically. What I do. Where I go. What I think about. Clearly this means my posts are likely to be rather mundane. Dull, even.
3. To elaborate on point 2, my topics will probably consist of:
* My daily life. Bet you're dying to read all about that.
* Rosie. Of course. Naturally, these ones won't be in the least bit dull, not even for readers completely uninterested in new teeth, nappies, breastfeeding and so on.
* Some work I do as part of my graphic design course. Figure I may as well include it.
* My move to a simpler, more – as described by its proponents - primal life. This was prompted by the enormous sense of calm I felt when I left full-time work and my days followed the rhythm of a baby. But then life got busy and draining again (not that I’ve returned to full-time work. Or much work at all) and I started looking into ways of reclaiming that sense of physical, mental and emotional wellbeing and vitality.
The first step was deciding to quit eating sugar. And led to adopting what is called The Primal Blueprint (and Primal Connection). The most tangible way of practising this is through food and exercise, but there is much, much more to it. So you, lucky readers, will get the chance to hear all about what I eat, my strolls through the countryside, and various attempts to live ‘in the moment’. Again, bet you can’t wait.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Working it

I have a new 'workspace'. Behold:

One where the toddler cannot grasp any number of cords and play giddy-up with them. Or pull down the flap on the printer, stash away some food, and retrieve it several hours later. 
The old set-up had been cramped for a while. And I kind of said in a workspace safety audit review I did earlier in the year as part of my graphic design course, that I'd purchased a new cabinet that meant operating the printer (which had been basically at floor level) was now ergonomic. 
It was the first piece of flat pack furniture I've assembled myself. Being married to a fitter means I'm generally relegated to unfolding the instructions, which never get read, passing tools/screws/'the f***en top bit' and bearing audio witness to streams of obscenities flat pack projects inevitably elicit. 
Granted, the table needed a bit of expert touching-up once the fitter arrived home. Gratifyingly, he resorted to power tools for the adjustments. 
All in all, I'm happy with the result. Of course it remains to be seen whether it leads to any increase in the amount of work actually done.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Has this breastfeeding 'debate' been overblown?

I've been living half under a rock lately and have only caught glimpses of the apparently raging debate about public breastfeeding on social media (Twitter, Facebook and a couple of blogs). 
I suspect it's been overblown. 
Women who are tired of a lack of support for breastfeeding, including doing so in public, have answered back at their perceived critics. 
Which is like waving a red flag at a media that seems forever itching to paint women as irrational and reactionary shrews, always with a bee in our bonnets over something. And bingo, a war of words is born. 
So I'm going to add some of my words to the war.
* I breastfeed in public and while have had a few awkward moments, have never been stigmatised. For which I'm grateful. I've even nursed at the local pool and no one batted an eye, as far as I could tell. 
* However should anyone feel offended by me doing so, tough luck. You don't like it, look away. 
* Breastfeeding is an inherently discreet exercise. After a brief and essentially unavoidable flash of skin the baby's head covers any 'scary' bits. I don't dispute claims some mothers flaunt themselves but really cannot believe this happens much at all, let alone at alarming levels. I've never seen it. 
* Having said all that, these days I often do go somewhere private to feed. Not because I'm uncomfortable, but because it doesn't take long for babies to become enormous stickybeaks. My daughter has the sense - unlike some in the community, it seems - to realise there are far more interesting things to look at than my boobs, and so we find a place where she can focus on the job at hand. 

If people are uncomfortable with mothers breastfeeding in public, fair enough. They probably can't help it. But they need to learn to live with it. And asking us to 'calm down, all we want is for you to be discreet' is unfair because it implies we are irrational (which we aren't) and that we are deliberately indiscreet (which, in my experience, we aren't). 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Who wears short shorts? I do, provided no one sees me

God bless Coolgardie and its bush tracks. I've posted a couple of times about why I love living in this little town (here and here). But I also love how you can go for a walk along the edge of town and not see anyone. Or, more importantly, have no one see you. 
This is particularly handy when I look a right fright because I am wearing either 
A) ill-fitting shorts from not just the pre-baby age, but way back from the pre-65kg+ Emma era; or
B) baby vomit, and very likely also some kind of kitchen leftovers, be it last night's dinner or baking mess; or
C) panda eyes. Mascara doesn't come off very well when all you tackle it with is a quick scrub in the shower; or 
D) some combination of a, b and c. 
It also means my dogs can poop in the bush and I don't have to worry about anyone frowning at me, or cleaning it from my back yard. (Please don't mention this to council.)

Not my actual lower half. In fact,
I don't think this lower half even
belongs to a human.
Image source.

My actual lower half.
But should anyone see you, one thing you must not do is refuse to wave. Chances are you know each other, and if you don't wave they'll probably think you're a snooty cow. They won't realise you're hiding your head in shame and pretending you haven't been caught wearing shorts that should have last seen the light of day when Kevin Rudd was in charge of the ALP. 
As you can tell, it's all glamour out here. Just the way I like it. 

Is finding exercise gear that is comfortable and suitable for public consumption tricky for you too? Or do you look like you've just stepped out of a Lorna Jane ad?

Update: Summer has forced me to fork out for membership at the local air conditioned gym. As im more likely to encounter others there I invested in some longer though not much more flattering shorts. I decided if I scare anyone they'll just have to live with it.  

Linking up with Jess from Essentially Jess for I Blog on Tuesdays. Thanks Jess. 

A lifetime ago

Rosie as a newborn in May last year. Mere months, yet a lifetime, ago.
Taken on an Olympus E30 and edited with Photoshop CS5.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


Taken at Twin Falls, Kakadu National Park, with a Pentax K20D
and edited with Photoshop CS5.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Hottest of the hot updates

I fully expected to get jack of the constant Facebook and Twitter updates about the heat earlier this week. Kind of like these people:

The wisest course of action would have been to not log on. But how boring would that have been?
As it turned out, my social media feed was quite entertaining.
So, my favourites from Twitter:

And this was shared by Jasmine on Facebook:

See? Hilarious! Bring on the next heatwave. (No, really, don't.)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - My little sun seeker

Rosie prepares to destroy a castle during our trip to  Cape Arid NP.

Once again, linking up with the amazing Trish from My Little Drummer Boys (check her blog and you'll see why she's amazing) for Wordless Wednesday again. Thanks Trish!

My Little Drummer Boys

Conversation off the menu

Life is always more romantic in cartoon-world.
Image from Dreamstime
They say communication is the key to a healthy relationship. Yet it seems verbal communication, at least, can vary in importance, depending on your relationship stage. 
For example, one couple on our street recently jetted off on a child-free holiday (lucky devils). Value of conversation during holiday: pretty high, I imagine. 
While they're away their 18-year-old daughter has the place to herself. And every time I've stickybeaked happened to be going by I've noticed her boyfriend's car in the drive (lucky young devils). Value of conversation there: a secondary consideration, surely. 
While they are all, presumably, revelling in their rare together-aloneness, I've had a couple of days of revelling in plain aloneness. Well, relative aloneness - I've Rosie, of course, and my mum is visiting. But with my husband away for a few days, my nights have been pleasantly peaceful. And I've spent pretty much zero time in the kitchen. Bonus!
Can you tell we're the ones with the married-for-a-decade-and-now-there's-a-baby relationship? No young love here, folks. Nor second-honeymoon romance yet, either. Value of conversation to us: meh, we can talk later. 
Which is just as well when it comes to things like anniversaries. Of which our 11th is approaching. I have vague plans to celebrate with dinner and a movie. Because we do enjoy each other's company. Really. 
Not that you'd think so if you spotted us out at a nice restaurant. We'd be the couple barely looking at each other and - yep - speaking even less. Even though it's the perfect place for meaningful discussion. 
This is due to my husband loving his food and being an avid people watcher. Deploying the 'men can't multitask' argument, he claims tucking into a seafood buffet while eyeballing other diners is as much as he can handle. 
I've long since accepted that eating out means eating in silence. And why complain, really? After all, I still get to enjoy the novelty of wearing nice shoes and having someone else cook dinner. I can talk to him the other 364 nights of the year. 

Is conversation important in your house? Do you get it when you go out?

Linking up with Jess from Essentially Jess for I Blog on Tuesdays. Thanks Jess. 

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