Thursday, May 7, 2015

Burnt bunting and baggage

 We have baggage. Heavy, hormonal baggage. Ironically, whilst I'm on drugs to suppress mine, I've particularly noticed the proliferation of grunty, teenage hormones that are charming and chatty one minute, then snarly and monosyllabic the next. At least our three he-teens generally like to rotate the foulness between them. When they get a little tired of being grouchy they pass the baton of beastliness to another brother from the same mother and have a little lie down in a scratchy bed of angst. It's harder for the she-teen for she must carry the banner of flouncy, high pitched she hormones nobly aloft on her roller coaster mood ride though. Tres dramatique!!!

The one below (see fig. 1) doesn't usually carry much "baggage" although, like most students of today, she does need to carry a ridiculous number of bags. For Year One there is the swimming bag, the library bag, the homework folder and the big bag for anything else you might need. Remember when you took a "port" with a pencil case, a sandwich and an apple allowing us to grow up with healthy backs and undamaged spines except for the fact that we have to carry their bags!

figure 1
Due to the excessive number of bags required to deliver a six year old party to the park, the Short One was told quite clearly that we would not be playing musical chairs and carting 15+ chairs or  cushions to her party. (I never did know exactly how many children came to that event.)

It was the one game she wanted and she would even forego the tedious parcel passing if the chair game was permitted. So we compromised and played musical paper plates. They stood in a line and passed the plates along so they had one each and stood on their plates in a row. Lala's friend played the Gruffalo's Child on the portable Barbie CD player and they all flitted about being fairies and elves and butterflies and mosquitoes. (see fig.2a) We just took a plate away each time till it was over. Much more fun than a line of hard furniture. Each child that was out got to run up for a lolly and a pat of the dog with the father of the birthday girl and there was no prize for last man standing- just another lolly and pat of the dog. You could even recycle the plates and serve deconstructed rainbow cake on them (see fig. 2b) but I didn't - people were watching.

figure 2a
figure 2b
As it turns out I could have though because they were distracted by the beautiful Japanese paper bunting on the cake which is apparently highly flammable. Who knew? (see fig. 3) I cheered and blew out the bunting before throwing it on the table and patting it out. They all looked up and paused and cheered too. She will always remember the birthday where there was hot flung bunting (not to be confused with hot flung chicken from the boys' parties) and they danced on the mock crockery. Hopefully it will be a good memory and not something she will consider "baggage".

figure 3
Luckily the big boys were there to take photos....

Go figure

Sunday, March 29, 2015


Hello my lovelies. It's been so long but a lot happened since that last post.

I wonder where that mug got to...

I've wondered about continuing here and would like to keep the record of our life happening for the childers. I have been guilty of climbing on the Instagram express because it is just so easy and quick and you don't have to be at a computer. Not that there's anything wrong with that it is just not as nourishing sometimes- a Macca's snack as opposed to a balanced full bloggy meal It just feels like time to reconnect and get some thoughts down and out of my head.

The very evening I wrote the last happy post in the cubby, we got a call that something nasty had been found in the excised breast reduction tissue. There I was all happy and chilled on my cloud 9 drugs thinking it was all done and dusted. Finally I had symmetry, new perkier ladies that were mine, all mine and they tell me it's all about to start again??? That was a whole three days of thinking we could maybe get back to being normal again.

Must get back to the cubby this holiday for R and R.

So it was a bit of a shock. When I mentioned this to the doctor who had performed the operation he commented that he was "a bit surprised" too. Of course he was, as he had not bothered to mark the tissue or request  tumour margins or mentioned that I had a tiny bit of breast cancer history on his pathology request forms. So the pathology told us nothing- just that it was there. We don't know if there was more or if it was contained or if there were safe margins because he didn't ask for them in the most routine of tests usually done for that procedure. To make matters worse, the wee beasty lump had not shown up in the $500 non-rebatable MRI weeks before- or the ultrasound or the mammogram earlier in the year. I have rather lost faith in these ridiculously expensive tests. Anyhoo, the surgeon said he was a little surprised as he gazed out the window, giving me no eye contact and no apology. I would prefer not to see him again.

The annoying doctor Tweedle with his poking fingers.

So the option was another mastectomy which could be followed by months of reconstructive surgery with expanders and implant to follow or a more conservative course of radium again. I opted for the latter. There was just one person who thought I should just be off with it's head to be sure to be sure, but I am still at more risk from the original B.C. and really could not face more surgery and hospitalisation after last year. The possibility of another muffinectomy to rebuild a breast was impossible as they had used it all up. If only they could do a buttockectomy- but alas.  Maybe I'll regret it later but my mind just could not accept another major amputation and surgical recovery. My family simply wasn't up to it either.

Part of a graffiti piece from work that reminds me of radium treatment...

The radium was much easier than last time as it wasn't as deep or ferocious. I kept working and going for the daily treatments but it got tiring toward the end as much from the daily drive to the hospital as from the radiation. It all wound up on Christmas Eve as a rather lovely present. The staff and doctor at the Wesley unit made it infinitely more tolerable and were like the gentlest family to me. To be honest the tiredness from the radium only hit me in the back to school weeks as it was the first time I had stopped and been without the offspring for a few hours. Oh yes. Did I mention I had to leave the most wonderful job in the world as it just didn't pay enough to cover the medical bills and children's expenses.
The view from my old desk- sigh
This is all a bit of a tirade. There was a lot to explain and a lot to get off my chest. (excuse the pun!)
I have the time for a brief window to regroup and reconnect with you all if anyone is still out there. It seems many of us have gone over to the instagram side and I have caught up with a couple of you there but it did not feel like the way to share this wee story. Hopefully this clears up a few of the questions and kind enquiries from you gentle souls. Your support was always beyond imaginable when this began in 2012.

Sometimes it feels easier to be open to people outside the immediate family and friend circle  where so much is clouded by emotion and angst and a misguided compulsion to try to help in all the wrong ways.
a "foxy-moron": when love stings

Thanks for the past and for the now and, hopefully, for the future if I can get my blogojo back and there is somebody still reading out in the cyber wilderness.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Pop Art Class

The kids at work have been making pop art paintings. 
I posed for some of them as I sped through the rooms.

Then mine made me cross on the way home because they wanted Maccas and I simply shan't buy it for them again. I shan't! 

The big fella has been consumed with love for his puppy now she is one and all devoted and such. 

We should have named her Diablo, the vixen!

Life has progressed with more deep and meaningful twists and turns of the medical and philosophical types. Questions, questions....I am all questioned out now and just need a little lie down. I am also very tired of popping my girls (I may start calling them "the nuns") out of my shirt at Dr Anybody-who-needs-a-look, last week three days in a row. I'd have less demand made on them if I loitered at Hooters, I tell you. 

So I made a couple of these for my own boys' rooms. This one isn't finished as he needs his jewels (aka skull rings) to be tweaked.

This one is looking at me like I'm mad sitting here at 4:35 pm on Friday. I think I shall hang him at the entrance of the house to ward off all the teens that seem to wandering in and out of late. Some of them aren't even mine!

Speaking of Pop gorgeous four sisters took me to see a real live piece of Pop Art last Saturday night for my birthday/ recovery/ reunion celebration. It was at the Powerhouse which only rivals GOMA in my building affections and it was the funniest thing I have seen in years. We laughed so hard our throats still hurt the next morning. Maybe there should be a Medicare rebate for comedy tickets 'coz it's a LOT cheaper than the Wesley and it actually makes you feel better!!!!

"Sing out, Louise!"

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Today I realised why I had been blogging a lot less. Of course there is the obvious lack of time and energy when work becomes a full time prospect but there is also less quiet, still time to just notice those everyday marvels that I used to feel so compelled to record.
Due to the disease (whose name we will not mention today for I am cross with it)- I have spent a lot of this week lying on my back in an endone haze. Monday I had some reconstructive surgery which is all good and fine and dandy, then I read a whole book Tuesday, much of which I may not remember, and Wednesday I walked to my neighbour's for a cuppa and leg stretch- quite limited activity for a gadabout like myself.

Today Shorty and I were alone in a quiet the olden days of yore when it was just her and I... everyday. We decided to do one of our favourite girl things together.

 "Down the back" is getting less and less use from the older offspring as they tend to use out the front more with their own friends and a little more independence. Down the back has languished a little since the Year of Chunders.

The giant ginger plant that sheltered and fed the ladies with all manner of bugs and lizards has shrivelled to dry stumps in the drought but the recent rains has sent new shoots popping out all over.
The ladies scratch around in relative chicken luxury under a bower of red hibiscus and taller natives.

The ladies' garden is back on track with egg production back to where it once was and the rain tank being full enough to get water down there.

That will help with getting these dormant old vege patches back into action. They died off and dried out when I lost the energy and will to tend to them in the Y.O.C. (Lets just call it YOK from now!)
I'm thinking that stump of gum tree left over from the 2008 Gap storms would be good as a stool or table up the front. Too rustique? It will be considered.

Back in the cubby there are residual shells and stones from the beach holidays of years past and dingly dangly stuff from when the bigg-uns were wee-uns. All these things hold their own memories and make me smile.

 Sitting, having a cup of tea, while Shorty Divine makes glitter sand cakes and chatters along with the cockatoos and chickens is like a restorative salve. I feel my back unknotting, my mind clearing and the anaesthetic residue wafting away on the warm, spring breeze. It's not New York or Straddy but it is my sanctuary above the chooks in the cubby with a cup of tea and my baby. Things are looking up.

Sing it, Johnny!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Street Mermaid week

It was that week again where the streets are cheerful and blingy and laugh out loud hilarious. I saw a mermaid, a Cat in the Hat and a superhero walking along with backpacks on within a few metres of each other and they made me laugh out loud- not an easy feat after I've just got the fearsome five up and out in the morning.
Book week was on and we threw some gear together for the two youngest offspring. They kind of had themselves sorted this time as they are independent lasses and I'm a little jaded and time starved in the a.m. SO Lala found an old furry tail from when the boys were little, a fluffy jumper and the face paints to put her scary wolf eyes on. She said later her teacher yelped when he was marking the roll and she was looking down at her desk.

It reminded me of that scene in Indiana Jones where the besotted student writes "Love You" on her eyelids for Dr Jones to notice her. We recently bought the original movie for nix and watched it with the offspring. The big ones vaguely remembered it. I loved it. Have to go back for the other ones now.

I've just introduced the girls to Mary Poppins. The boys saw it years ago but like many of their original films, it was thrown out as it was on a video. These two love Ms Poppins and Lala in particular has been singing "Feed the Birds" endlessly. At least it's a break from "Let it Go" which like loom bands seems to have (thankfully) been let go. Last week we went to a Frozen party and, for a freaky, frozen second, I couldn't pick my own child out of the crowd. How do penguins do it?

Meanwhile back at book week, the shorter one decided to go as Thumbelina as there was to be a sea of blingy blue  frocks a la Elsa in Frozen. In the dodgy $2 version of Thumbelina that we have, she is wearing a pink dress so Shortstuff seized the opportunity to sport a hot pink tutu under the guise of being the Thumbster.

Likewise this morning was "wear something pirate" day. The black eye patch was not in the yellow dish where she said she left it. We were already late when my eye fell on a pink tiara in the junk  ornaments next to her bed. "Pirate Princess" I exclaimed and the ruse worked. She bunged on the bling and trotted off happily to school perhaps for the better as I did see one preppy walk into his car door, no doubt due to his impaired monocular vision from the eyepatch that he was wearing. Clearly his yellow dish had not been tampered with.

May all your yellow dishes be untampered with too.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Dr Skyring in the library with a Powerhouse

The Powerhouse is one of those lovely old buildings where you feel the presence of the people who were in it originally. If these walls could talk they'd tell stories of gruelling work and noise and smoky air in the time of the original power workers. The era that saw it used as a graffiti producing, homeless sheltering, rave venue may have experienced the same- noise, smoky air and challenging logistics. How did they ever get up to those high wall tops to make some of that graffiti?

It seems you can now go on a tour of the Powerhouse which is well worth the visit. There is a treasure trove of amazing artwork hidden in the non public spaces of the building. Some are backstage, others are in mouldering corridors in the basement. How dark and creepy would this have been when it was an abandoned building? Did they have torches, generators, exorcists? There is, of course, a ghost story which is gruesomely industrial and lots of other little secrets that you don't normally see.

This tiny door is high up in the building and was used for managers to keep an overseeing eye on the workers down below. You have to love a secret door especially in ghostly green. This one would look quite at home in any horror movie that a sneaky 13 year old might try to watch with his friends in your house on a Saturday night. (Just saying....I know what you've been watching, Fish Boy.)

Creepy clowns are also present while we're touching on the whole horror genre. This is an enormous example of Anthony Lister's work. It is high up on the roof where they have now incorporated a stunning terrace with views across the river to Bulimba. It can be hired for functions. I'm thinking my Dad's birthday next year if I win Lotto or inherit from a long lost relative. 

Meanwhile a mere ferry ride away there is this little gem of an exhibition on at the Southbank library.

It shows so much of what is quirky and special about Brisbane and it's development in the mid- 20th century. There is a selection of lovely furniture, much of which is on loan from local collectors. I could have enjoyed a few devils on horseback and a martini in this mock up living room quite easily. Perhaps a mid century snack bar could be incorporated next time. 

The most mouthwatering part of the exhibition for me was the drawings though. Long before CAD and digital graphics were around, designers used paper and pens and paint. The examples of these plans are mouth wateringly lovely to look at. There are huge books with drawings and plans of once futuristic buildings, exquisitely rendered. I think this one was once the main admin building at Queensland University. Maybe it still is. It's been a while.

Imagine a time where plans for a building or landscape portrayed not only the features of the space but the personalities of the clients. 
Note Dr Skyring's casual yet stylish group of friends conversing about music, life and a perfect world with nary an iphone in sight. There is a water feature and modern sculpture with the ladies sitting together and men slightly apart. Particularly note Uncle Eric marching into the frame in a jaunty fashion in the top left corner!!! Dr Skyring may well have been a Bond villain given the luxurious features and his name.

Another favourite was this design for a single bedroom. The little details are delightful. There are the cutting edge features like Sputnik legs on the furniture, an innerspring mattress  and a light switch on the desk. Perhaps most telling though is the fact that she has a dedicated, mirrored make up applying area with a token letter writing shelf. All a girl needed really.

The accompanying screen prints are tempting too. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Far Ma

Excuse the crop on the photo but we have a new farmers' market in our neck of the woods and it is GOOD!
I've been a little off farmers' markets since the last one I went to whilst heavily pregnant with number 4 and three toddlers under four trying to get on the pony while the big fella went to look at some tools.
I ended up perched on the curb holding them by their shirts in the dust. It has taken me years to recover. Sunday, a friend summoned me to the new local ones. The trick, it seems, is to go later when it is less busy and amazingly cheap.

So this year we are wagging the Ekka*. Once upon a time the school took the kids for us but those days are long gone. The youngest two offspring are Ekka-neglected. However, as far as Shorty Divine and her friend No-no go, they have been to something Ekka-ish and it's all good.

At the market there were farm animals- baby ones to cuddle and large fibreglass ones to climb.

There was fabulous food and a generally orange theme it seems. These tangellos were such a big hit they were deemed worthy of brain break for Prep. We bought a bag for $2.

There were rides and games to play...

We also went to the local shops to do free craft activities as I love anything free/ crafty and Shorty was desperate to show No-no the medallion making area. (Commonwealth games related)
The rides at this sideshow alley were $2.

Then all that fresh produce got the baking mojo fired up again. This double batch of cookies lasted till breakfast this morning. They can't eat while they sleep.

Ekka schmecka. Too hard basket with the fivesome this year. Maybe next time.

*Ekka- The Brisbane Exhibition or show. Big, loud, noisy, expensive and you always get sick afterwards but it is FUN!

Sunday, August 3, 2014


Lately there has been a little flurry of making going on at my place of work. There has been nothing in particular but lots of small demonstrations for different classes which make work quite a soothing prospect on certain days. Meanwhile, at home there has been not much more than the making of huge piles of dirty laundry followed by piles of folding and making the occasional batch of biscuits or pancakes. There has been:

. the making of a small snug away from the busy parts of the house. This room has had several incarnations over the years but is now a playroom and snuggery.

 . the making of graffiti with the boys at school on their dedicated graffiti wall.

. the making of Warhol pictures.

. the making of prep paintings.

 (This is the fifth and last time I'll be doing one...I think...)

. the making a nuisance of herself with the chickens.

. the making themselves at home in the new digs.

 . the making of clay monsters for the little monsters.

. making a grand exit. Always a favourite! (let it go, let it go!....)

. Making an effort to pop out a blog post once in a while now there are a couple of tentative toes back on the wagon.

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