My IdeaLife

My Kingdom for a Kiss Upon Her Shoulder

It's been 18 years since his blood warmed our hearts and his, but his voice remains and still inspires...Read more...

The love of your life

Is it a man, is it a career, no it's superbaby!...Read more...

A lifetime of beauty in a song

Middle East (the band not the place) have somehow condensed the human experience into this soulful song: Blood...Read more...

Superwomen have it all by NOT doing it all

Superwoman really don't exist, it's more like Insanitywoman, so stop pretending and start outsourcing...Read more...

Friday, 28 October 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, 24 October 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, 15 October 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, 8 October 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, 6 October 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, 2 October 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

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Is Facebook going bad or moving forward?

As you can probably tell from my smattering of posts about Facebook on every social media network I’m a bit taken with the new Timeline feature. It is so fun and you can read my full rave over at JustB

Status updates 2007-style 
One of the cool things I didn’t talk about though was the hilarity of rediscovering your early posts through Timeline. You remember when the status header always had “Nicole is…”? Which was quite limiting if you were fussy about your grammar (not that I was or am, as you can probably tell). Anyway when I saw these scintillating updates I couldn’t stop laughing. My excuse is Social Media was so in its infancy and we didn’t really know what we were doing, ok so maybe some of you did, but as you can see by the below I had no idea!



Is Facebook trying to own our identities? 
The other side I didn’t really cover was the concerns people have raised about privacy. The good news about Timeline is all your posts come over with their current privacy status, so if you have only ever shared photos with friends, or even a specific set of friends that won’t suddenly change. So the only real issue is that posts from your past are now accessible to you and those they were originally shared with, that is unless you go in and remove them, delete them or change their privacy state, all things you can do.

Nobodies more interesting than Celebrities? What? 
In this age though where sharing is being turned into a source of entertainment, nobodies are replacing celebrities who formerly were the only ones that walked that hallowed ground. The new Facebook changes take advantage of this phenomenon and just bring it up to speed with tools like Twitter and Instagram. People like to be followed and now you can select content from your timeline to make public and then offer yourself up to be subscribed to. That way strangers who subscribe to you can receive your public updates in their news feeds.

The Social Media age 
For many this is great news as it gives one access to a greater audience if that’s what you’re after. The down side is the widening of the potential to make social errors, especially ones that may lead a young person in to harm’s way. But that is the case across many other social media tools already including the very controversial Google+ which insists you use your real name! The answer is the world is changing and we need to keep step with it and educate our children on the amazing potential social networks offer while drilling in to them the dangers and the rules that will ensure their safety.

Facebook Timeline goes live on October 1, but you can try it now by following the instructions here

What do you think? Is Facebook going bad or moving forward?


©My IdeaLife, 2011, All rights reserved

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Crashed and burned: what is it with firemen?

Remember when you used to get really excited when the fire brigade showed up just because you got to perve at all the firemen? It was especially fun at work so you could giggle like a schoolgirl with your similarly deviant colleagues. For me it only seems like yesterday…wait a minute it was only yesterday! Standing in a fire station yesterday with my two year old in my arms I found myself being very friendly with a hot fireman who was kind enough to be showing my son his engine. Now I wouldn’t call it flirting, because people who flirt know what they are doing. What I was doing...well I don’t think there is a word for that. 
Ok ok, so he didn't really have his shirt off, and alright, this wasn't really the one I was
talking to but this does make sense of my foot in mouth situation I think...yes?
Photo: Mosman Daily, Firefighters Calendar 2011
I was just trying to start a conversation that went deeper than “oh look there’s the hose!” with a person that looked as though he had avoided deep conversations successfully since 1995. It went something like:

N: I was a surf lifesaver for a couple of seasons, doing surfboat rowing and I found it really confr…
Hot fireman: Oh yeah, where at?
N: Coogee
Hot fireman: What year?
N: 2002/3 I think…only problem was when I had to treat someone for the first time I completely freaked out
Hot fireman: Did you row in the firsts?
N: No, I came from still water so was still learning in B crew…so I didn’t get my glove on fully and all I could think of was ‘shit I have her blood on me, her blood is on my hand, shiiiiit!’
Hot fireman: was Bec in your crew?
N: Yes she was. So what I’m trying to say is you must be a certain type of person to be a fireman, you know, you have to be so, so, so… Brrrraaaave…


S I L E N C E (that seemed to go on forever)

At this point my brain caught up to my mouth but it was too late, my gushing “Brrraaaave” had exited my mouth and was floating between this stranger and I. I realised I had sounded like a teenage groupie, why did I say ‘brave’? I couldn’t think of the word, which I think should have been selfless, as my mind went blank, probably due to our house and my body being plagued with viruses. All I knew was I had to end my stuttering somehow. And in my defence, they are in fact, brave.

Despite my idiocy and Bang’s intense desire to leave, probably because even at 2 he could see I was going down hill fast, the hot fireman only paused slightly, obviously also a bit shocked at the use of the word and responded graciously: “Well we do a lot of training”.

Phew, awkward moment passed. I managed to salvage some form of self-respect and joked about how my training had only managed to educate me on every disease I could catch from someone’s blood. BUT With Bang yelling “Mama! Mama! I want go home! That way Mama, that way!” I made my escape but not before my “friendliness” earned Bang a Fire Brigade showbag and a sincere invite to come back again soon. Hmmmm “Maybe he likes women telling him he’s brave?...Who cares!” I panicked, “get out of here before your foot gets amputated by your teeth.” Bye Mr brave Fireman.



©MyIdeaLife, 2011, All rights reserved

Monday, 19 September 2011

Make it go away Mummy

This past week has been surreal, in fact if I think about it this past year has. Something changed though last Wednesday when my son was diagnosed with pneumonia. I can’t yet put my finger on it but I suppose this post is a way to help me do that.

I feel a bit broken to be totally honest, just watching this little human that just happens to be the centre of my universe, cry out in agony while I know there is absolutely nothing I can do to stop it or fix it, is soul destroying. And watching his eyes, that have seen only two years of this world, staring at me, questioning why they are in pain. It is the closest thing to hell on earth.


I can’t imagine what parents who have kids that are seriously ill have to go through, if this is what it feels like when your child has something that modern medicine can fix. I think it’s the helplessness that's the killer. I want to run out and study medicine, but I know that wouldn’t solve everything and would probably reveal how little we actually do know. Basically I need to be Samantha Stevens, when the pain hits I just wiggle my nose.

Witches aside for a moment, this got me thinking about resilience. Our children are going to face pain, and lots of it, and most of the time all we will be able to do is sit by and provide comfort and support. So how does one prepare to be useless in the face of your children’s biggest crises? How do you stop shutting down inside to cope with our own pain at having to watch our angels get attacked and have to fight for themselves?

Unfortunately I have no idea, lately if I don’t run around keeping busy, staying numb, I basically want to scream, “Why does he keep getting sick? Is it my fault? What can I do differently? Surely there is something that can be done?” Our doctors have answered these questions for me and they go something like “He’s in the normal spectrum of illness frequency for his age, it is not your fault, if he didn’t get these infections now he would get them at school, no his diet is good, he’s active and you are using probiotics and supplements and washing his hands, no there’s nothing more than antibiotics if it’s bacterial, immunisation against some real nasties but mostly it’s viral and he will just get over it in 7-10 days, summer is better”. This doesn’t stop my incredulous reaction when after maximum of two weeks good health another feral virus mows my boy down. It also doesn’t stop me blaming myself for pretty much the whole sorry situation.

All I know is I am tired and sad and feeling incredibly sorry for him and myself. I want to take the pain away, I want to wrap him in my arms and shield him from this torturous world. He, of course, is managing having one of the most serious respiratory conditions around like a champion, and other than needing a little more sleep and cuddles, is being his normal cheeky and charming little self.

If only I could be so brave and strong…but maybe screaming when you feel helpless is the best reaction. Aurora, Emma’s mother in Terms of Endearment is her and my hero, and she’s screaming, as is perfectly appropriate when you are watching someone you love more than life itself work through pain.




So if you don’t see me here as often, it’s cause I’m off somewhere helplessly screaming loudly or more often, quietly on the inside.


How do you handle it (or not) when your child is in pain?


©MyIdeaLife, 2011, All rights reserved.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

RU OK? Day: A shadow at the door

My hubby tells me no-one wants to hear about negative things on a blog, “there is enough negativity out there” he surmises. He would be right too, there is, but I wouldn’t be being honest if I didn’t share my dark days with you as much as those where the sun shines in.

In my late teens after a dishonest and quite mean-spirited boy broke my heart, my idealistic and bright outlook changed. Not content to just see me sad he set out to destroy all semblance of confidence and pride I had. I think he did it to make himself feel like a big, strong man in a desperate attempt to cover the fact he was hurting as much as I was.

I don’t know if I was clinically depressed but I turned from being a thin, vivacious and cute 15 year old to a chubby, sad and awkward girl in under two years. And the sadness I couldn’t seem to bounce back from, threw a shadow over everything. It took advantage of the small negatives already imprinted on my brain and then drove them into deep rivers of blackness that flooded out all the positive patterns that used to co-exist alongside them.

Even my triumphs were stained grey with illogical assumptions. And thoughts spill into behaviour, where you look for evidence to prove your inner beliefs of worthlessness. It is warped, it is powerful and although it only exists in your mind it is very real and sometimes fatally destructive. And that is why contrary evidence is so important in these types of cases. A kind word, an honest ‘how are you?’ or an unconditional acceptance can go along way to challenging this kind of blackness.

I was lucky, my life took a new turn when I went overseas and I was able to rediscover my former vibrant self. I was also extremely fortunate to never have considered suicide, but so many others are not so. Suicide is a leading cause of death among young people aged 15-24 years and claims more Australian lives each year than car accidents. Maybe without supportive friends, a rowing crew and an ever-present black journal I may have been amongst them.

So tomorrow why not take a deep breath, be brave and ask someone the question; Are you ok? And if you do, maybe, just maybe, that kindness may challenge their negative point of view of the world if only for an hour. But if you catch them at a particularly dark moment it may give them that crucial reason they're desperately looking for to hang around. 


RU Ok ? Day is September 15 – asking could change a life.


Need help now - click here or call Lifeline on 13 11 14
or 
Suicide Call Back Service on1300 659 467
Planning a conversation - click here

©MyIdeaLife, 2011 Original sketch by Nicole McInnes, All rights reserved.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Hello my name is Nicole and it's been 6 hours since my last...Garbage Truck sighting...

Who's the nutter with the stop sign?
Today I found myself doing something I would never have imagined 2 years ago. After having a grown-up meeting with a colleague to talk about my return to work next year, I stopped to stare at a digger. Not content with just witnessing its mechanical genius myself I pulled out my iPhone and started videoing it in action.

This surreptitious manoeuvre not surprisingly caught the eye of the workman who started yelling at me – at first I thought they were flirting, (the wishful thought of a deluded mind), so I yelled back “It’s for my son” and when he answered “he’ll get more of a kick out of it if he sees you in it” I realised the guy was asking whether I wanted to be in the shot. Relieved at my mistake, no really, I handed over my iPhone like an excited teenage girl and started giggling in front of a moving digger.

You see garbage trucks, diggers, dump trucks, tankers, fire engines, excavators, road graders, street sweepers, cranes, cement mixers, grocery trucks, ambulances, big rigs, b-doubles and police cars are now the coolest things in the world. I have been brainwashed by my two year old and I can’t let one pass now without saying “Whoa look!” which can be embarrassing if you are not in the company of two boys under 2.5.

This obsession saw me; run with a double pram about a kilometre to see a fire engine parked in the distance (we got there!), get stroppy when we couldn’t stop to photograph an excavator because we were going to block traffic and get illogically excited about travelling (very slowly) on arguably the busiest, most truck-ridden road in Sydney. And now we can add stopping road works to my repertoire just so as to rush home and share the big digger I saw with my fascinated little boy who undoubtedly will say, “Woooow, look at that!”.
My day is complete, not to mention my life. 

Do you hear a little voice from your backseat say
"Look! Garbage truck! Quick Mummy chase it!"?


©MyIdeaLife, 2011, All rights reserved.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

9/11: In their shoes


© DailyMail.co.uk
I saw this picture and thought it was 9/11, it is not, but as I looked at the shoes I immediately felt sad for the thousands that had lost their lives on that fateful day ten years ago. The 2977 people who died had picked out shoes too, maybe with the help of their partner or maybe to spite them. They may have had their children with them, and asked them to stop jumping off the couch in the store. They had thought about the colour, the stitching, the material and the price, what they didn’t know was they were buying the shoes they would die in. 

And that decision to buy those shoes that day, like so many other every day rationalisations, was nowhere in their mind as many came to grips with the inescapable situation they were in. Instead we read of text messages of love and gratitude to partners, parents and children. We hear of stories of life-threatening heroism. We see pictures of sadness, trauma, destruction. Those every day dramas that happily rocked their worlds the day before, the weeks before were dwarfed into insignificance when faced with the end. 

As we look back on days like today I can’t help but feel foolish and a little ashamed, as they probably would too if they were lucky enough to be onlookers rather than victims. I literally spent 20 minutes deciding where to park today. I spent at least 2 hours this week feeling sorry for myself, and I told my husband off for picking up our two-year-old during a night terror instead of comforting him in his cot. I’m not saying that my feelings and decisions are stupid and wrong, I just wish when the small stuff happens that annoys us, the stuff we heap importance on, or that doesn’t make sense to our way of thinking,that we would see it for what it is: insignificant in the long term. 

Instead I wish I knew that if I was about to die I wouldn’t remember that my husband consistently put the whites in with the darks or that he doesn't always put the seat up. What probably would cross my mind would be "I wish I’d said ‘I love you’ more, I wish I’d been kinder and more understanding, I wish I'd spent more time with my kids, and I wish I’d been truer to myself". 

Days like today are precious because they remind us of the reality of our mortality, they give us perspective and inspire us to make more of the life we still have as we remember those that weren’t given that chance. We should stare at this disaster, we should soak in the pictures of grief and loss, we should try to fathom the feelings that would compel people to leap to their sure death and we should cry for them and for ourselves, especially if we are not truly living the life we have. In the end, when all is said and done, no one will remember our shoes, including us. 

As you watch the horror again, don't look away, stare at their faces and pay them tribute by celebrating the life you've been given today and hopefully tomorrow too.


©MyIdeaLife, 2011. All rights reserved. Images remain the copyright of their original source.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

He didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it" CB Kelland

My Dad is one of those men who don’t speak much and I’m not sure whether that is why he is so popular or whether it is the easy confidence he exudes, but to know him is to love him. And who was I to buck a trend? The truth is I absolutely idolised him as a child in a way only a daughter can. 

My poor mother was so excited to be having a girl (I have one older brother), someone she could pass on feminine knowledge and ways to, but I turned out a terrible tomboy and was often found under the car with Dad as he showed me how to change the oil or the like. If I wasn’t holding the makeshift electric light over the engine of the car, or passing him a wrench, I was standing on a wooden crate in Dad’s workshop watching him build whatever contraption was needed for that day’s project.

And if you saw this place, inconspicuously hidden under the front verandah, you’d understand why. It was literally a man cave in an epic way with every type of tool you could think of. With the twin wheel grinder and industrial sized clamp front and centre, there were draws of screws, washers, nuts and bolts; every type of spanner, wrench, hammer; and every kind of scrap material from flyscreen to soft lead sheets used to make fishing sinkers of varying sizes. We didn’t need Bunnings in those days, all we had to do was go to Dad’s workshop and whatever you needed was there.

Mum was not a fan of the workshop, it was organised chaos and more than a little bit dirty. And those are two of Mum’s mortal enemies. But I’d venture to say the workshop was just another thing that took him away from her. He was a shift worker for his contracting business and if he wasn’t working, he was fishing, playing his double bass in a ‘70s nightclub or in his dark workshop. I used to long for him to come home as there was definitely not enough Dad time for any of us, especially Mum.

So today, in a time when Mothers still play the primary role in the life of their children I wondered whether it was fair that Father’s got a day, “shouldn’t they just get an hour, it’s good enough for the earth”, I half-seriously considered. Then I thought of my Dad and how he had taught me what electricity is, how to change a tyre, how to hammer a nail so it didn’t bend, the nature of different metals, how to saw wood so the teeth don’t get caught and how to make useful things from whatever we had lying around. And I realised his ever-present patience and generosity to spend hours teaching me things that in the end inspired me to complete a degree in Industrial Design, deserved to be celebrated for longer than an hour.

Even now as I watch him with my two boys I see the same patience and imagination he shared with me, revealing itself again, and like many before them, they can’t get enough of him (only last week Crash, who’s only 11 months old, cried when I took him from his Pop!). 



So despite him being around less when I was young and being much more reserved in the way he showed his love, I knew I was loved and accepted as just me, and not just accepted but adored and empowered. Thanks Dad, Happy Father’s Day.


Why does your Dad deserve to be spoilt all day long on Father’s Day?


©My IdeaLife, 2011, All rights reserved

Thursday, 1 September 2011

the sense of change

Words can't really express...

I’d be lying if I said today felt like the first day of Spring, in truth the feeling started in Sydney about a week ago. That incessant chill in the air seemed to leave overnight like an unwanted spirit that had been making the hairs on our neck stand on end for months. 

But it’s more than just the warmth, it’s the smells and something more that’s hard to describe. Like a glitch in the Matrix, barely perceivable but nonetheless definitive in its altered state. This unexplainable feeling of change always makes me nostalgic. 

This time it brought back a wash of memories that seem always to be punctuated by a child’s laughter. At first I thought it was my boys as their giggles are ever-present, but it is a girl’s voice I hear and so I can only assume it is mine. Somewhere on the surface of my brain my own delights must be etched and as the seasons change it is triggered again as if it were only yesterday.

Like the birthday party where Mum made me a Maypole cake and made miniature dresses for the 2” dolls that held the ribbons. Doing backflips into the pool with all the kids in the neighbourhood over. Eating watermelon in the backyard so you could make as much mess as you like. Walking on the shore with Dad and collecting mussels. Climbing trees with my brother, who was always so much higher than me. Or the party where I had my first kiss. Dreamy. 

So the seasons change again and now I watch two new humans giggle and run and explode into the air outside because it’s warm and thick and full of fun they are yet to have. Fun I hope that will carve out memories in their minds. For when the seasons change again and it’s their turn to look back, I hope they do it with a smile.

Do the seasons changing shift your equilibrium?


©My IdeaLife, 2011, All rights reserved

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Steve Jobs and following your heart R.I.P

I was meant to write here yesterday but my content got nicked by The Daily Telegraph. So here's the embarrassing back story instead.
Do you like the professional shot?
Note the strategically placed sunglasses and perfectly coiffed hair! 
I don’t know whether a man half way around the world knows that, in part due to his life’s work, a woman he doesn’t know from Adam is crying because he is off the planet inspirational and she's just heard he is gravely ill.

Sitting minding my own business in a library courtyard on Sunday I was unknowingly about to be rocked to the core, just by clicking play on Steve Jobs’ 15 minute speech to Stanford graduates in 2005. Despite being someone who can’t sit still without a tweet or two every few minutes, I was mesmerised from the start. A lady sitting next to me was also I realised, after she asked me whom I was listening to. "Steve Jobs", I replied, suddenly overwhelmed. “What a nutter!” I thought, “bursting in to tears in front of a stranger!” She was lovely and offered me a tissue. How embarrassing, but really when faced with words such as these below, probably the most logical reaction.

“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” Steve Jobs

This man had already made my life more beautiful and more effective and now he was telling me to follow my heart. Should I have expected anything less? And then I find this out because he is close to the end of an all too short and brilliant life. I wanted to rage against the gods, “why him, why take him when there are lesser men who you could take”, but he has an answer for that too.

“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.” Steve Jobs

And this...
“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


So I dried my eyes and started to write about this man that I don’t know. And I took his advice literally and with my heart in my throat, I summoned the courage he talked of and sent the finished product off to a major newspaper. And the next day as I was telling myself I had lost nothing by sending it, except maybe a little pride, I read an email asking me for a photo of myself and that my story was to be published the next day!

I will cry again for this man I’m sure, his life’s work has been a part of my life for 17 years and his absence will be felt acutely. But today I am just thankful, not only for him giving me my favourite products in the world but for inspiring me to have faith in myself and be brave. 
He is truly the architect of our lives and our futures.

If you met Steve Jobs, what would you say to him?


© My IdeaLife, 2011, All rights reserved.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Thinking The Thinker can NOT be male

Have you ever heard the insightful statement ‘I think you’re over thinking it’? If so, did a female say it? No, she didn’t, did she. It was more likely some brain-starved male attempting to cover up the fact he didn’t hear a word a poor girl just said to him. [Bitter much, Nicole!?] Sorry, but hubby (Boom) says this to me at least once a week and I.don’t.like.it. 



I don’t like it because it’s really the total opposite of anything close to being helpful. And it’s usually said when you’re already feeling unsure or vulnerable or anxious or as is the case with me, all three.

Here's a typical scenario:
Me: What do you think of this post?
Boom: It’s alright. Where’s the tv remote?
M: Is it too obtuse, crude, personal or boring, or all of the above?
B: No, it’s fine. I’m sure it’s around here somewhere. Did the kids have it this afternoon?
M: Can you give me a little more detail?
B: The tv remote. You know. White. Buttons.
M: Forget the remote. What do you mean ‘it’s alright’? Do you think the ending could be better?
B: No, it’s fine…stop over thinking it.
M: [pause, breathe] Stop.over thinking.it?
B: Yeah, just post it and move on….then you can help me find the tv remote.
M: [let the tirade begin] Do you think that if I didn’t think, my posts would be better? Have you ever thought that maybe when you crack a smile at one of them it’s because I may have spent a lot of time over-thinking it? And do you think that if I thought my life would be much improved by a lack of thinking I would be able to just simply think less? There is no switch you know. 
B: [no response for fear of being stabbed with a crayon or more likely because he just found the remote in his pocket] 

My husband did stop to explain, probably in an attempt to put out the fire that had exploded from my head, "I'm just trying to say, don’t second guess yourself, trust your instincts and just do it”. I wish he would just say that in the first place and spare everyone feeling a little burned.

The truth is this over-thinking statement pushes my buttons, in a bad way that is, because:
1. I know I am over-thinking it because at the time I'm not trusting my own instincts;
2. Him pointing it out makes me question myself even more and
3. I am quite jealous of people who do, trust their own instincts that is. You know the ones that don’t ponder for hours the ten million potential iterations of outcomes that could result from this one action, or if they do they are so at ease with life that they don’t mind what outcome eventuates. They just think 'what will be will be and I’ve done the best I can' and then move on in a light skipping-type way, while probably humming a ditty.


Boom is one of these people, although his skipping is a little un-coordinated. He is a doer rather than a thinker and while I’m building a flowchart in my head, he’s opened the box and getting on with it without any regard for the instructions.

So, is over-thinking over-rated or 
is it reserved for the fewer but greater outcomes? 
Would we be better off with less neural activity? 


P.S. If you can’t already tell I am trialling not thinking as I write this post. So, if you don’t like it you’re welcome to tell my hubby off for telling me not to think.
P.P.S. But maybe this post represents over-thinking perfectly. Dwelling on over-thinking enough to write about it probably represents an unhealthy exercise in over-thinking (now my brain is starting to hurt). I’m going to try to stop thinking.
P.P.P.S. It didn’t work, still thinking but can stop writing.
P.P.P.P.S. Failed there too. Still here. Ok so the first and second P.S. were, how do you say, full of shit really, I've over-thought the crap out of this post for a day...as you can see over-thinking is over-rated! Arrrgggghhhh!  
©MyIdeaLife, 2011, All rights reserved

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

WARNING: Oral effectiveness could lead to marriage

People scattering as you walk down the street? Babies crying as you approach? Dates ending suddenly because their cat just called to say it was stuck in a tree? You may have unwittingly joined a growing movement in Australia, a movement that slowly but surely turns you from a normal, social being to a walking, talking human repellent spray.

That movement is tooth decay. And such is its momentum it can be blamed for almost everything from the breakdown of peace talks in the middle east to the ongoing popularity of the quarter acre block. But the real tragedy can be seen in its effect on marriage rates which have been in steady decline now for decades* (see ad below for detailed proof), and with 11 million teeth per year falling under decay's smelly spell is it any wonder?

The good news is, it's not all bad news. If you'd like to stop clearing the room of everything but your dog, here are ten easy steps to get you there:

1. Brush your teeth twice a day
2. Floss daily
3. Use a fluoride toothpaste
4. Maintain a sensible diet
5. Minimise your intake of caffeine and soft drinks
6. Drink fluoridated tap water
7. Use an antiseptic mouthwash as directed
8. Use sugarfree chewing gum
9. Don't ignore early signs of problems
10. Visit your dentist once every 6 months

And for true oral effectiveness, use Colgate twice a day and this could be you!

COLGATE


Not surprisingly, this post is not sponsored by Colgate, although they were kind enough to invite me to their Bloggers Brunch in Sydney, where I met THE one and only 'Mrs Marsh' and learnt of this modern craze (tooth decay that is, not marriage), and how to fight against it.


*Crude Marriage Rate,1989-2009 Australian Bureau of Statistics
©My IdeaLife, 2011, All rights reserved