October 2011 ~ My IdeaLife

RIP Philip Seymour Hoffman 1967 - 2014

An awe-inspiringly gifted man, lost to himself, to us and to his loved ones...Read more...

What is happiness?

Money, fame, success, being ultra cool? Brene Brown's answer is what your humanity will recognise as true...Read more...

Ten Movies that make me PML!

If you don’t know who Maude is nor what an existential detective can do for you, then this list is for you. I hope you also p1ss your p@nts laughing...Read more...

All I want for Christmas is... the cheesy shite that brings us together! x

Once a Christmas fire engine rolled past our holiday house running carols over its very loud PA system complete with Santa on board throwing lollies...Read more...

The Bachelor restored my faith in humanity...no really

I have made no secret that from the second I saw Ali twinkle her eyes in the light reflecting off Tim's shiny hair ...Read more...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Friday Night Lights - Part 1: Lasers

Friday night 2004-style:
Notice amazing dance moves and alcohol in background, of course they are not related!
When I was single I looked forward to Friday night the way a junkie looks forward to their next hit. It was a night of dreams and potential that instead usually materialised into copious amounts of alcohol and embarrassing dance moves (strangely enough this never dampened my hope for the next week and one of them must have worked out as I ended up married with two kids seemingly overnight). Seven years on and Friday night still manages a small bleep on my weekly radar but for very different reasons, and although watching Better Homes & Gardens is a cause for a small amount of tragic excitement (I like the pet segment ok!), it is more that Friday night is the night before a day that my husband is at home to help with the boys. WOO HOO!!!!!!!

Friday night just gone was looking like it's usual slightly exciting self at 11.20pm. I had somehow dragged myself away from Twitter and was snuggling into bed when an unfamiliar green light flashed on the wall. "Hmmm, I am either having a flashback to the many nights I spent in my ad agency's free bar or some idiot is shining a laser in my bedroom window" I thought in my near-dream-state. Unfortunately it was the latter.

 
The normal amongst you would have closed their eyes, put earplugs in and ignored the increasing hum of drunken teenagers gathering on the street outside. As you probably have figured out I am not that normal. So I went out the front door in my PJs, barefoot and braless no less (although I don't really need a bra anymore it seems), stared across the street and above the rabble politely said "Guys I've got toddlers asleep here can you keep it down and stop shining lasers at the house ok?".

Friday night 2011-style
Lose the smile, ugh boots and toddler and this is what a party of teenagers saw!
No wonder they dispersed so quickly!
I remember women like me when I was a teenager, I remember how stupid and boring I thought they were and how they needed to loosen up and piss off, but that memory seemed to escape me as I pressed on. "Seriously guys, stop with the lasers or I'll call the cops". This inaudible whining of the mad woman in her PJs was met with dismissive giggles and a few throwaway "stupid bitch" type comments.

Unfortunately the swarm of hormones and alcohol in front of me had no idea who they were dealing with, the guys probably will still have that look of shock as they stare at their equally sleep-deprived wives in years to come, but the girls will one day understand...poor things. I stormed off and with drama fitting of a good stage play I called the police right in front of them under our sensor light which flashed on and off as I paced on the balcony.

The poor boys throwing the bash started ushering their friends home, one drunken male headed my way, but was held back by a friend. By this stage although I stood my ground, belying my peaceful sky blue, cloud covered attire, I noticed I had started to shake a little. The stupidity of what I was doing was dawning on me, I was exposing our house and possibly my family to harm. Panic was setting in. As the last two boys wandered towards our house on their way out, one of which was the threatening one, I thought I'd try to fix things. I called out to the boys and explained that the only reason I was freaking out was because I had two toddlers asleep inside and having lasers shined in their rooms was not ideal. They said sorry and said they didn't realise about the lasers and it all became very amicable. I apologised for being so boring and said I know what it's like as I used to party hard too. (Shit I'm a dag!)

So everything was looking right with the world again and even more exciting both toddlers had slept through the whole thing. I told my husband, who'd missed the whole thing as he'd been at the back of the house with his head inside the idiot box (well that's my way of saying he was watching sport...again), and it was my turn to have strips torn off me. Calling me stupid wasn't unique to Generation Y it seemed. We went to sleep abusing each other, as you do, but it was not long before we were awake again.

(Click PART TWO to find out what happened next! )

How has Friday night changed for you?


©MyIdeaLife 2011, All rights reserved

Friday, October 28, 2011

Motherhood Unearthed


As I write nearly three billion Google searches have happened, 98 million tweets posted and 210 billion emails sent and that’s just today. We are living in an age of information, it is everywhere and for most it is easily accessible, that is, until we reach the topic of childbirth.

Traditionally mystery has shrouded this rite of passage, so to speak, but in a time when we are exposed to the sex videos of try-hard celebrities, gruesome crime photos or graphic footage of surgeries, surely the details surrounding childbirth are mild in comparison?

I have given birth twice and I went to the antenatal classes the first time, I watched the video of the screaming woman, but I still had no idea of what I was in store for. I knew there would be pain, I knew my options for drugs or not and I had been told by lots of well-meaning mothers “make sure you get lots of sleep before the baby comes.” That was about it.

Now is when I could choose to fill the gap with some gory details to help prepare any blissfully, waddling first-timers, but a couple of things have given me pause.

Firstly when I asked newly pregnant twitter friend Emily Jade O'Keefe what advice she’d like, she said ‘Only share the good please, I’ll find out the bad’. Secondly pre-baby I vaguely recall hearing some advice but it seemed to go in one ear and out the other. It made me wonder is childbirth and being a new Mum inexplicable to footloose, childfree women?

But what finally sealed the sealed section on childbirth for me was the fact that women are classic worriers, pregnant women are on the anxiety-ridden, hormone roller coaster and new mothers are often near to being committed. So if we were to share the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me drugs, would it help or just send them over the edge?

So I’m not going to explain to you what an ice-filled condom is for, or what happens to your empty belly soon after giving birth, my friend is right – you’ll find that out soon enough.

But there is one thing I wish I’d known: that my life would be turned inside out and upside down and that during the tumultuous and emotional change you have to be kind to yourself. Becoming a mother is one of life’s biggest changes. You’ve probably heard this one by Raphael-Leff (1994) from me before but I love it, they say new Mums are “plunged into a state of inner disequilibrium and external upheaval quite unlike any other encountered in adult life”.

I made the mistake of expecting that I would be an automatic natural earth mother, because understanding and knowing how to rear a child was in both my X chromosomes, wasn’t it? The previous generation didn’t really help as even more was expected in their day, difference being they were often already managing the home so adding children to the mix was tough but not as life-changing. Going from corporate meetings and making decisions on million dollar campaigns up to 60 hours a week to being housebound, while providing food from the stove and my body, and all within a clean environment was like expecting my husband to converse with me during a football match.

The remarkable thing is how remarkable humans are. You adapt and you change and you see the world in a whole new light, one that is broader, deeper and very rewarding. So if nobody has really explained the details of childbirth or been able to articulate what you’ll feel when you first arrive home with a gurgling, wholly dependent, little poo-and-spew ball, then don’t worry – just remember as you get shoved into the deep end of this particularly choppy sea, be kind, be understanding and give yourself a lot of leeway to be as mental as is fitting to one of the biggest challenges you’ll ever face.


P.S. And before the birth cook as many meals as your freezer can store while having your favourite takeaways on fast dial, the last place you want to be is near an open flame on 3 hours sleep.

Inspired by the heavily pregnant Emily Jade O'Keefe, Motherhood Unearthed first appeared on KleenexMums and later on Emily's blog Emily Everywhere

©MyIdeaLife, 2011, All rights reserved

Monday, October 24, 2011

Problogger Training Day: Rangars, red wine & blogging from the heart

After 9 days enduring, I mean enjoying travel with two unruly toddlers and a very stretched hubby I fumbled to a seat at the Problogger training day 15 minutes late, sweaty and flustered. The next 15 minutes was spent swearing under my breath about the wireless connection that decided to cave under the pressure of 270 bloggers telling the twitter world what they were seeing and doing. 

Once I accepted the wireless-free situation and switched on my 3G I looked up and saw this slide…

…and immediately regretted not listening for the last 15 mins. Darren Rowse is a classic, and I was missing out on the intelligence and deep understanding he has of humans that has got him to where he is today. That is a huge blogger making more than a healthy living from what he loves to do.



But I was still feeling a little faint and when Nathalie from EasyPeasyKids tweeted she had a bag full of chocolate, I jokingly tweeted back I needed food and minutes lately I was tapped on the shoulder with a chocolate - the breakfast of champions. And behind me was not only Nat but the lovely Yvette Vignando who if you don't know her face already can be found occasionally slumming it on The Morning Show. So cool to at last meet her IRL and thank her for her online generosity to me. 


The rest of the day was filled with gems of wisdom and a reminder of all the things that I need to sit down and do, instead of danging around on twitter and facebook. Including Nicole “PlanningQueen” Avery’s advice to do your writing before you check your email, a practice I am undertaking now and probably the reason you are reading this – thanks Nic!

But one thing that stood out more than any other comment and it was from Tim Ferris, the guitarist from INXS, well that’s what I thought, but really he is the genius behind the four hour work week. He said “Decide what success for you will look like in three years time, now” It seems so simplistic but I have a blurry undefined feeling about what I want from blogging and I have never sat down and clarified why I spend hours and hours writing, dwelling, tweeting and researching all for a relatively unpaid pursuit.

So I am going to head off and write down what I want to achieve and then I may have half a chance of getting there, wherever 'there' may be.

But before I get too productive I have to take the time to mention the bloggers. It was so cool to see people you only catch a few times a year and to meet people that you feel you already know from hundreds of exchanges on twitter. Liss from Frills in the Hills single-handedly helped me to breathe out for the first time in 10 days with a much-needed, gorgeous hug - thank you! x. Eden was the perfect lunch partner as she didn’t mind me speaking to her with my mouth full, in fact she joined in too. We were only one step away from opening our mouths mid-chew to gross eachother out! Maturity is obviously over-rated...which Danielle from Lenovo fame, Nathalie from easypeasykids and I took to a new level in the afternoon session. They helped to remind me that we are still teenage girls on the inside, giggling during class to ward off passing out. Laney from Crash Test Mummy and Denyse Whelan were hilarious drinks partners, and it was so cool to realise that Andrea from FoxinFlats and I unknowingly share a besty in real life!

Exhaustion has such a pretty face - NOT!
Can’t wait to see everyone again at the next meetup and I promise to be well-rested next time – then I might make more sense….then again maybe not!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Toddlers at 30,000ft: just flying "high"

Flying with children, especially very young children, is always a source of some anxiety for parents. Such was the case on Thursday when we woke at 5.30am to ensure we were on our early, but short flight to Melbourne.

All was going ok with the only casualty so far being the Virgin Lounge floor and a few very serious Lounge patrons (I love the looks I get when Bang or Crash make Pro Hart’s carpet ads look amateur, mainly because pre-child I was fantastic at delivering them too, karma).

Anyway things started to turn ugly when all the planes behind and in front of ours started boarding – the space next to ours…empty, the only clue to the delay was the ever-changing departure time. Three amendments later we were called and then seamlessly aboard, phew!

Things just kept getting better, takeoff was a breeze with a bottle shoved in Crash and cloud-spotting with Bang, I was feeling very smug and stupidly proud of my brave boys. Other than their desire to climb all over the aircraft once the seatbelt sign was turned off, we were coping pretty well. Then Crash passed out which was perfection.

Even the pressurised water bottles that turned into one metre high fountains at 20,000 feet weren’t going to dampen my spirits.

But then we looked away from the ocean, that is my 2 year old, for only a second. As my hubby and I were patting ourselves on the back for a race well run, a huge wave hit in the form of the seatbelt sign flashing on. We still didn’t see the magnitude until it was too late, but the simple and unavoidable act of strapping Bang back into his seat unleashed a screaming tsunami. No amount of “listen for the wheels!”, “ooooo look a digger, did you see the digger!?” and so on could stop the deranged song he intended on entertaining the whole plane with until we hit the ground.

I went into this adrenaline-filled state, eyes darting around frantically looking for distractions, my mind-spinning thinking of calming things to say, all in an overly animated voice that when I think back sounded like Giggle and Hoot on speed.

We got some respite as we taxied towards the gate as there were planes and trucks to be wondered at. But the hysteria that was sitting just below the surface was triggered again when we had to leave the window full of big planes to watch for the baggage carousal. At this point I almost forgot I had another child. Refreshed by his nap he just quietly looked on slightly bemused as his big brother writhed around lunatic-like. When it was my turn to take Bang for a walk to calm him down while we waited for the straight-jacket, I mean pram to come out of oversized baggage, I spotted a cherry picker and with insane hope and excitement headed towards the beeping equipment. My dreams of a screech-free world were quickly shattered by even more intense screams and I found myself sort of insanely walking in circles towards the cherry picker and away again as I tried to decipher the reactions and tear-filled shrieks.

This is when I started to laugh, which of course didn’t help my poor exhausted boy, but I couldn’t help it. It was so insane it was funny, and the picture of me doing circles with a toddler that had lost his nut just tipped me over the edge.

The pram arrived and we strapped our inconsolable little man in there and left him to cry until the hire car arrived and then ten short minutes later as we drove, all shattered in our own way, Bang passed out. His exhaustion demon was quiet for the first time in an hour and beautifully replaced with the angelic peace of sleep.

We can’t wait for the flight home. 


If flying with toddlers your armory should include:
A bottle or dummy for infants or lollipop for toddlers during takoffs and landings - A laptop or iPad with Toy Story DVD on pause - Small toys, favourite books and sticker books - A fun way to explain why we all have to put our seatbelts on - Snacks - Water bottles that don’t have pop-up straws - An imagination that would rival the writers of Shrek - An off-the-wall sense of humour - Did I miss anything flying parents?


©My IdeaLife, 2011, All rights reserved

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Holding on


I was about 30m away, my joyous 2 year old son, Bang, was running across a field, one he always heads for after we’ve been to the playground adjacent. He was not alone, he was with his Grandmother, but he’d picked up speed and was heading for the car, I yelled for him to wait as I began running. But before I could get to him he had passed through the railings and was on the road. I yelled again.

My story has a happy ending, because as he ran across the road, there were no cars. On the same day another family of a nine year old boy was not so lucky. Like me, his mother shouted “Stop, wait” but ignoring or not hearing her he ran across the road without seeing the bus that would end his life. This lovely boy was running to return a toy his younger sister had mistakenly taken from the Doctor’s surgery they were just at.

As I read about witnesses describing the mother’s screams my heart broke for her. Every time I think of her and so many other parents who have had to some how live through such a tragedy the agony pushes tears from my eyes.

I can only imagine how broken and lost she is feeling today and for so many days into the future. It is every parent’s worst nightmare. Ever since I became a mother I have these visions of horrendous things happening, like cars losing control and hitting the pram as we cross the road or them falling awkwardly at the local playground the second you look away. Despite these harrowing daydreams, I assume sent to heighten my protective instincts, I still don’t really grasp that by some wicked chance, I could be that mother screaming to fight against a reality too traumatic to grasp.

As I watched Bang not even glancing sideways as he ran across the carpark lane to the car, I got a little glimpse into the fragility of our contented lives. Even though I have drummed road safety in so hard that Bang told me off the other day for standing on the road behind our car, these things can still happen. He knows not to go on the road, but in a moment of thoughtlessness there he was. I suppose that’s why they call it an accident, you just don’t see it coming.

Nonetheless it is a timely reminder for me to be extra vigilant. And to pay tribute to the beautiful children who’s lives have been tragically cut short I’ll be holding on to my boys’ hands so tightly and trying to remember as I get distracted by a screaming toddler or a friend or a phone call, to never take my eyes off them.



©MyIdeaLife, 2011, All rights reserved

Thursday, October 6, 2011

"The architect of our lives" RIP Steve Jobs

RIP Steve Jobs 
1955 - 2011

“Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” Steve Jobs, 2005

The quote above comes from a speech everyone should watch. Not because the man died today, not because he was arguably the most amazing visionary of our time but because he understands humans. Like the intuition he has embedded in his products, he seems to have amazing insights into the human condition. His journey has taught him some truths about life, death and fulfilment. And as the world loses him, let us not forget the brilliance he has left us with but celebrate it by being brave and true to ourselves. 


My tributes:

Thank you Steve Jobs for inspiring the world.


If you would like to share your thoughts, memories, and condolences, please email rememberingsteve@apple.com

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Blogging and the bright side

There are two groups of people who have an unlikely but uncanny resemblance to each other they are:

Eternal optimists you know the glass-half-full types that can turn being shat on by a bird, for example, in to a life lesson. “Bird poo in your eye, a lucky day is nigh” they sing song, smiling a smug smile, as they reach for a tissue.

And Bloggers normally the glass-half-empty types but that was until they started blogging! Now every “bad” situation is an amazing opportunity for a blog post of comedic proportions.

Tripping over slippery dips, previously a painful shock, now at the very least a hilarious tweet. Locking yourself out of the house, once a terrible and frightening inconvenience, now the basis for a soon-to-be-documented fantastic adventure to Mr Shu-Fiks. Being caught naked by a lorrikeet, usually relegated to the top ten dreaded moments in life now becomes what you live for. Being terrorised by a small furry creature, other than your husband, becomes the stuff you only thought you couldn't read about


There’s only one disclaimer, one red light in your new world of greens, that is: did you get it on camera? Those dark moments can suddenly turn dark again if you didn’t have the foresight to whip out your iPhone mid-spew, slip, spill, crash or poo moment.

Bloggers are the new paparazzi for their own disasters among other things. Here are a few I was lucky to catch.
I can't work out whether the Emu attack or the poo bath(not shown)
is my favourite disaster life lesson...

So once a whiney negative moo moo, blogging has transformed me into an annoying optimist, cheerily philosophising “well it’ll make a great blog post” as I get splattered with projectile poo...Tissue please!

What are some of your favourite proverb-making moments?


©My IdeaLife, 2011, All rights reserved