Blog

Growing pains, Motherhood

My baby is leaving me

This is a true story, she really is leaving. Today is the day when we drive almost five hours away, spend one last night together as a complete family in an Airbnb, then drop her off and (here’s the worst part) drive away.

How will I drive away? Well W will be driving because I’ve never been good at driving with blurry eyes.

As I type this impromptu blog post, my heart is crumbling.

My mothering-heart has two beats, her and him. My little man’s heart is breaking too. Tears last night about wanting to hang out with her and her friends…her last hang out, her last ‘playdate’ I explained to him. “But she never plays Mario Kart with me, mom’.

Our first daffodil of the season – I miss them being this small

W is being strong but I know he’ll have his moments, not so public possibly.

Alpine Leadership School is the reason, an amazing opportunity. I am so proud of her. I am so proud of the adult she growing into. She’s funny, she’s clever and smart. She is so much smarter than I ever was at her age. That she gets from her daddy.

We get to pick her up on my birthday and bring her home…best present ever! But that’s nine weeks from now, but who’s counting?

She’s walking around our cold morning house in a blanket, singing, as she downloads the last few final songs she can’t live without. She’s happy. I’m happy. Music is the air in her lungs too.

She can’t take her phone. This is a great thing because when you live in your 14-year-old bubble, your phone becomes the only thing you see. Tunnel vision. Her heart is bigger than her phone, a meme, a gif. But sometimes she can’t see beyond her anime obsession.

Because she also loves her books, I don’t beat myself up as her parent. She has almost a whole suitcase packed of books. I lost count while helping her pack–this she gets from her mama.

We will be pen pals. She will learn to put pen to paper. 4 pm is when the post is delivered at the school. 4 pm will be a happy time for her as I will write her often, for me.

So if you see me around without my usual smile, give me a hug, I’ll need it.

Feature Photo by Gabriela Braga on Unsplash

Me stuff

Music, the best present ever!

Ever since I can remember, I have been madly in love with music. The melody, the emotion it can provoke and the lyrics…the words. Music has taught me how to love, how to feel, how to get back up and how to heal. Music has helped me find who I am.

Through the years, my taste in music has changed and we have more variety than we ever had before. More access to music without having to buy the album.

In The Beginning…

Music first came to me in my baby crib, a wind-up mobile overhead. I remember when I was a little older, the countless times I took a musical toy to my mother and ask her to ‘make it go’.

Then when I was old enough to wind-up the toys myself. I had one particular toy that I couldn’t get enough of. It was a box, a music box of ‘Jack and Jill’. You would wind the plastic knob until you couldn’t. Then the nursery rhyme would play out in visual drawings that scrolled along with the song until it lost its energy and another twist of the knob was required. I spent hours, hours listening, watching and singing ‘Jack and Jill’.

Photo by Simone Acquarot Unsplash.com

As the years pushed on, I got a tape recorder when I turned twelve (BEST PRESENT EVER!) I would spend hours (and I mean hours) listening to my clock radio. When a song would end I would race over to my tape recorder ready to push the play and record button simultaneously if the DJ was about to play a song worthy of my blank cassette tape. If the two buttons had been pushed, I would go around the house with a finger in front of my lips telling everyone in the house to be quiet because I was recording. I was very important and my tape was going to save the world one day.

Usually, after I had told them I was recording, they all came into my bedroom to hear what song made the cut with overly mouthed words ‘ARE YOU RECORDING?’ Pointing with big eyeballs as I still had my finger to my lips, shaking my head yes and eyes of death if they ruined my recording. If someone spoke accidentally, and they usually did. I would hit the stop show my exasperation and rewind the tape to find the spot where the last song had finished.

You always had to allow a few seconds of recorded emptiness between the songs. I learned after a while that I could hit play, record and pause at the same time, then when a song came on, I just had to release the pause button. A much better way to record without the clunk of the buttons being recorded on the tape.

Photo by Tobias Tullius on Unsplash

Mixed Tapes People!

I got a little older and the cool ingenious invention of the ‘mixed tape’ was born. This was the grandfather of playlists. If you were lucky enough to receive a mixed tape (BEST PRESENT EVER!) then whoever gave it to you thought you were really something special. Like, I mean you were one of their number ones. Like, at the top of their friendship or crush list. I received a few mixed tapes in my time and I have given them too.

You would put your entire heart and soul into making one of these for someone. It could take you weeks, months especially if the song you were waiting for needed to first be played on the radio. But technology matured and the stereo with a double cassette player was invented. Dun Dun Daaa! This changed everything! You could record from a record to a tape, tape to tape and my favorite…radio to tape without being quiet.

Then hail the Compact Disc. The CD sort of chased away the mixed tapes for the technology junkies, you know the ones that were always jumping on the bandwagon for the next best thing. I liked CDs but mixed tapes still held a big place in my heart. I would walk around with my off-brand Walkman listening to my mixed tapes until I wore them out. Yes, they could break…sad but true.

Then the discovery of the Discman appeared…

Now you can listen to your favorite CD while walking around. It was bigger and chunkier than the Walkman but who cares! I got myself a Discman from a garage sale. By the time I got mine, people were starting to get sick of them. You couldn’t really run or exercise with a Discman because the laser could skip and scratch your disc. I think maybe some went back to the mixed tape, and then there were others who never left.

Hail The Digital Age…

Photo by 90 angle on Unsplash

Now years, many many years, have passed and the Y2K bug is a thing of the past. In October 2001 a company called Apple (the computer company) came out with a thing called the iPod! Say what? It was smaller and could fit almost your entire CD collection! My husband gave me my first iPod, a pink one, a second model they called the iPod Mini (BEST PRESENT EVER!). I was excited but had no idea what to do with it but I learned quickly how to download my CD collection onto this teeny little device. After that, I never went anywhere without my iPod and my book.

Then cell phones got more sophisticated and today at the touch or our fingers we can click onto a memory. Memories of the people we once were, memories of the people that once touched our lives, memories of the people who helped us become who we are, memories of the moments that made us who we are today.

A BIG thank you to my mom and dad who were lovers of music and always had it playing around the house. Love you both to the moon and back.

Here is a soundtrack of my life…

Put your headphones in your ears and settle back and enjoy this ‘Mixed Playlist’ for you. My favorites over the years, 50 of them actually, I had too much fun putting this gift together for you. Just click on the links. You’re welcome.

Oh! But wait, before you go, will you share a song or two with me in the comments below? What song makes you weak in the knees or has stayed with you over the years? I love new music…Thank you!

Before my time…

James Brown – ‘Try Me’ (1958), The Letterman – ‘Hurt So Bad’ (1964), Glen Campbell – ‘Witchita Lineman’ (1968), The Doors – ‘Love Street’ (1968)

The 1970s-Me Decade

Neil Young – ‘Old Man’ (1972), Billy Joel – ‘You’re My Home’ (1973), Fleetwood Mac – ‘Landslide’ (1975), Pink Floyd – ‘Wish You Were Here’ (1975), The Beatles – ‘Here Comes The Sun’ (1976), Kiss – ‘Beth’ (1976), Paul Davis – ‘I Go Crazy’ (1977), Bob Marley – ‘Three Little Birds’ (1977), The Commodores -‘Still (1979), Christopher Cross – ‘Sailing’ (1979), Dan Fogelberg – ‘Longer’ (1979), Kermit the Frog – ‘The Rainbow Connection’ (1979)

The 1980s-Old School days

The Climax Blues Band – ‘I Love You'(1980), Styx – ‘Babe’ (1980), Dire Straits – ‘Romeo and Juliet’ (1980), Boz Scaggs – ‘Look What You’ve Done to Me’ (1980), Journey – ‘Open Arms’ (1982), Restless Heart – ‘I’ll Still Be Loving You’ (1985), Peter Gabriel – ‘In Your Eyes’ (1986), Kenny Loggins – ‘Meet Me Halfway’ (1987), Garth Brooks – ‘The Dance’ (1989), The Judds – ‘Young Love’ (1989)

The 1990s-The Dot-com Decade

Collin Raye – ‘Love Me’ (1991), Richard Marx – ‘Hazard’ (1991), Little River Band – ‘Lady’ (1992), Alabama – ‘Angels Among Us’ (1993), The Whitlams – ‘No Aphrodisiac’ (1997), Ben Folds Five – ‘Brick’ (1998), Willie Nelson – ‘Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground’ (1999)

The 00s- Gen Z

Heartland – ‘I loved her first’ (2006), Pete Murray – ‘The Game’ (2008), Zac Brown Band – ‘Free’ (2008), Blue October – ‘My Never’ (2009), Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova – ‘Falling Slowly’ (2009)

The Twenty-Tens-Here and now

Ed Sheeran – ‘Kiss me’ (2011), Hillary Weeks – ‘Beautiful Heartbreak’ (2011),Alan Jackson – ‘Where were you’ (2012),Prince Superbowl Medley (2012), Jason Mraz and Christina Perri – ‘Distance’ (2012), Chris Stapleton – ‘Tennessee Whiskey (2015), Until The Ribbon Breaks – Blondie cover ‘One Way or Another’ (2015), Red Hot Chilli Peppers – ‘Dark Necessities’ (2016), Kenny Chesney & Wendell Mobley – ‘There Goes My Life’ (2017), Colin Hay – ‘I just Don’t Think I’ll Get Over You’ (2017), Phoebe Bridgers & Noah Gundersen – ‘Killer’ (2018), The Weekend – ‘Call Out My Name’ (2018).

Feature photo by feliperizo.co | heart made on Unsplash

Australia

Yackandandah is Yack-amazing!

Yackandandah the country town

If you live in Victoria and you don’t know about the Yackandandah Folk Festival, you really are missing out. This place is magical in the ordinary sense. All its residents really care about the environment and show it in their actions. We can all learn from Yack…

Photo by Thandy Yung on Unsplash

In 2018, Yackandandah only had ONE rubbish bin that went to land fill! ONE rubbish bin for the whole year from a whole town. That is truly incredible!

And here’s what they do with the money the town makes from the festival…

In case you are not aware, Yackandandah is now the greenest festival in the country with a share of all ticket sales going to TRY. TRY is Totally Renewable Yackandandah and with the funds from the festival – and other sources, TRY has purchased solar panels for community facilities. With the funding provided Yackandandah now generates more than 5 times the power used during the festival.

They will be the first Victorian town to totally go off the grid. The term “off the grid” refers to living autonomously without reliance on a utility for power. Off-grid living is often ideal for rural locations where there is a lack of reliable grid access. Off-grid homes will require alternative power options like solar energy.

Yackandandah the music

SO you know now how amazing this sweet little town is but let me tell you about the Music Festival they created and have been hosting for past 22 years. My family and I have been lucky enough to attend the last three.

Photo by Tony Rojas on Unsplash

The Yackandandah Folk Festival sells out every year with two camping options in town. Quiet camping and loud camping, each set on a footy oval. Quiet camping is exactly that, where families usually camp and loud camping is where the artists are usually found strumming, singing and drinking into the sunrise.

Each year the festival is set up little different. There are anywhere between 9 – 11 different stages set up around town. Outdoor and indoor stages. Big stages, small stages. Some totally free and some you need to have the Music festival wristband for entry.

You buy a little program book or download the free app to see who’s playing where and who are they. I like a bit of a strategy going into it as it’s impossible to catch every act. So you’ve got to find your taste then soak up their talent.

I always fall in love with some incredible acts. Usually, their music sings right to my heart or makes my body want to dance. Last year it was Ukulele Death Squad. The year before that it was Les Poules A Colin a French-Canadian band that came over for the festival.

One of the best things is having access to these talented artists on the way to bigger pastures. After each set you can find them selling CD’s for $10-$20 and they will be more than happy to have a chat and sign your CD.

This year I even got several hugs and you know that makes me happy. I was in my element listening to beautiful heart-telling prose accompanied by acoustic rhythms. There were great places to get beautiful food but I just wanted something quick to appease my stomach as I ran to the next stage.

There were so many acts that turned my head. Lovely people with amazing music. I don’t buy CD’s from everyone. I have a budget I need to stick too (sort of) and my son obsess over how many CD’s I usually purchase. This year I kept the number from him but I’m happy to share it with you.

I purchased CD’s from all of these artists, in no particular order so I can reive my fun experience in Yack over and over…Joel Havea, Fred Smith, Maja, Montgomery Church, Monique Clare, Melissa Crabtree, The Neon Effect, Dayan Kai and the Maes. PHEW! I’ve added their websites to their names. Check them out.

Maja

Love this girl!
Photo taken from Maja’s facebook page

First my heart skipped a beat when I listened to the beautiful Maja, a Melbourne girl originally from Brisbane. She is young and extremely in tune with all the life lessons that have come her way. She learned things that took me 40 years to understand. Her songs opened the doors to her personal life with a welcome mat to brush your feet on before you came in and sat down in her world. Look her up. Incidentally, she is playing in Fitzroy on 16 April at The Night Cat. Please check her out on www.majaofficialmusic.com.

Melissa Crabtree with Dayan Kai

The increadibly cool and talented Melissa Crabtree

On Saturday afternoon, in the intimate Clarence Room, I had the pleasure of hearing the poetic prose of Melissa and Dayan. They have been playing off and on together for over 17 years. Both American and extremely talented. They are born performers and in an instant let you into their personal world with details of each song. They took turns singing their own songs while the other accompany with sweet harmony and Dayan plays a rainbow of instruments.

From the first strum of the guitar strings and their harmonized voices together I was captivated so much that when Melissa said: “the next song is about a river in Utah.” I put up my hand and said, “I’m from Utah.” I met them afterward to buy a CD and offered up my house for a gig in Melbourne which took place on Monday night. I was humbled to have them play in my living room for family and friends.

My living room in Newport Australia right near The Newport Lakes Sanctuary

Dayan (and partner Maya) have gone back to Hawaii, however, Melissa is still here in Australia touring around for another month. If you are in Byron Bay next weekend, check her out…

On a little personal note, Melissa has had some serious unforeseen financial tour complications and is kind of stranded in Australia at the moment. If you have been touched by this post and/or her music feel free to make a donation to a traveling musician. The easiest way to make a donation is to go to Melissa’s “about” bio page on her website https://www.melissacrabtree.com/bio and scroll down past the bio and quotes and you will see a tab that says “donations”. If you click on that tab you can donate directly here. on her PayPal account at melissacrabtreemusic@gmail.com

Also here are some links to their incredible work together… (here).

Thanks for reading everyone!

My sweet husband

Holy undies, Batman!

Today my lovely husband (the over returner) asked if I could return some undies he bought a little while ago at Costco.

“Sure. Where are they?”

He then hands me a plastic shopping bag with three pairs of used Calvin Klein undies. Clean but used. He’d only had them a few months when holes started appearing in the undercarriage area. I hesitate for a moment then grab the bag from him unsure of how I felt about it. I talked myself into it, he’s bought tampons for me over the years, he even rode my girl bike with flowers on the basket into the city to get it serviced. Now that’s love. Yes, I can do this.

I’m in line at the register. A guy with David on his name tag smiles. I walk up to him with my plastic bag of used husband undies. “Hi, I’ve got an embarrassing and bizarre return but I’m sure you have seen lots of weird returns over the years.” “OK,” says David hesitantly. “I’ve got a bag of undies my husband has asked me to return, but I promise they are clean.” David almost takes a step back from the register unsure if I’m joking around with him. “I’m completely serious. My husband bought these not long ago and holes have started appearing.” I open the bag to show him. He takes a peek but keeps his distance. No man wants to look at another strange man’s used undies. His uncomfortableness fills the gap over the counter between us.

Photo by James Barr on Unsplash

David starts looking on his computer-register for the purchased undies. He can’t find them. That’s when I learned that even though my husband and I share the same Costco membership, we have different card numbers and the purchased undies where on his card. So David starts to scan my husbands card purchases.

“Are they XL?” David asks. I handle the undies looking for the tag that will reveal the size. Nothing. David is pointing and telling me where to look. Nothing. Finally I say, “How about we say they are XL.” “Done”, says David. And finally I can close the bag and we can forget the undies ever happened.

I make small talk as David does the paperwork for the return. “So what is the weirdest thing you’ve ever had returned?” I ask. “The return I just did.” We both laugh and I say I should have made my husband return them.

“Where is your husband?” at my son’s basketball training I tell him and I explain how I take my daughter to her ice skating lessons each Wednesday. “I would have made him take your daughter ice skating so he could do the return.” Then I tell him how my husband does lots of lovely things for me. Like purchase tampons. David said, “Buying tampons is nothing.” as he has me sign the receipt to complete the transaction after I tapped my card which made it heavier by $23.50. I thanked David and walked away from him with the image of my husband riding down Footscray rd passing other bikes on my baby blue vintage bike with flowers haloed on its basket. I smile. He loves me. I wish David the same sort of happiness in his relationship one day.

Feature Photo by ActionVance on Unsplash

Australia

Newport Lakes Flasher of 2019

It’s come out recently in the news, that we had a man expose himself to some ladies walking around the Newport Lakes. This is where I walk every morning, by myself. With music in my ears, but never in the dark for safety reasons. But it seems it’s not early in the morning when you need to worry. This flasher works his magic after lunch time. Here is the news article from a few days ago. Since this was written he has been caught and locked up and Newport Lakes is currently rid of this flashing pervert.

Photo by Matt Benson on Unsplash

What is so special about the Newport Lakes?

Newport Lakes is the best-kept secret in Newport and Williamstown and quite possibly in all of the inner west. It is my peace, my sanctuary and it’s only a 20-second walk from my front door. It is the reason we bought our home.

Twitchers come from all over the state to get a look at the rare birds that find their way to this peaceful special place. Walkers and runners pound the trails in the fresh air. Families enjoy balancing on the big boulders, that separate the two lakes, watching the wildlife enjoy their sanctuary. Newport Lakes is a very special place. It’s my families backyard. We’ve played too many games of hide-and-seek to count. A place that my two children are growing up in and one day will share with thier own children.

Newport Lakes Park is a bushland oasis created from a former bluestone quarry.[7] The park is 33 hectares in size and has been extensively revegetated using native plants, with over 200 species of plants and 85 species of birds recorded here. The park has a picnic area, toilets, drinking taps and free electric barbecues.[8] Dogs may be exercised in the Pavey’s Park and Picnic Area, the north west area of the park and in the Arboretum.[9]

What is so different now?

Last month, I walked around completely clueless that there was even a threat inside my sanctuary. I pass the same people each day. We would share a smile and a ‘Good Morning’ simultaneously. Mostly older men breathing heavy out for a jog or a brisk walk. But sometimes you don’t see anyone because of the all the trails and pathways.

Now that the Newport Flasher has been on the 5 o’clock news, the community is talking about it. When I went for my walk on Saturday morning, there was something different in the air. The lakes were the same, the animals still scurrying in the bushes, the happy birds overhead singing their songs, the ducks doing their water skiing landings and me watching out for the two foxes that live in the area. The difference was those men, the same men I always passed, they seemed nervous as they passed me. No simultaneous ‘Good Mornings’ today. I said it first and they would give me the nod. These men who love the lakes as much as me, are now cautious over the recent flasher news I’m guessing.

They are not worried about being flashed, they are worried about being accused of being the flasher.

Since the whole #metoo movement, some good men are left unsure of how to talk or act around women and that’s all because of those other men who think they can have whatever they want.

A Story my good friend told me…

She asks me, “Did I tell you about the time I was cat-called last week?” She was walking home from the train station when a group of boys in a car yelled out to her, “Show us your vagina!” Now she could have been upset or disgusted like the rest of us, however, I love how her brain works. She is one of a kind and they broke the mold after they made her and that’s why I love her so much. Anyway, they call out “Show us your vagina!” She wants to yell out back “Are you sure? I’ve had three babies. Do you still want to see it?” Those silly boys had made her night and before she could yell out “THANK YOU”, they were gone. And she walked the rest of the way home with a sping in her step.

So what kind of a world is it now?

So we have a flasher in the Newport Lakes (x a million in the world), a car full of boys being boys (x 100 million in the world). We have 7.7 billion people in the world, every second person (a woman) is trying to figure out their place in the world. Now I don’t need to be cat-called by a carload of boys, or flashed by some pervert to make myself feel better about getting older. However, I don’t want those good men and boys out there to feel uncomfortable about paying a woman a simple compliment either. Nothing is wrong with giving up your seat to a woman on the train. Or opening a door. Men are unsure where they stand in this modern age of women finding thier voices and making them be heard loud and clear.

Another friend put it beautifully in some of his writing I just read this weekend. He was writing about an old boxing coach he had and what he learned from him. This line sums up so much about how things are today… “I learned about what it means to be a man in a world where masculinity is poisoning such concepts”

So what do you think? Tell me? Am I way off base? This is just my opinion and I would love to hear yours. This is also coming right off of my post about International Women’s Day.

And a big THANK YOU to the Friends of Newport Lakes and all you do to keep our land beautiful and all you’ve done to make it what it is today.

Feature photo by Alessio Lin on Unsplash