Archive | March, 2012

Minties or bust

31 Mar

My dentist told me to stop eating Minties. I complained that my side teeth were hurting and felt loose. He questioned me and I cracked. I confessed to my obsession and he all but wagged his finger at me.

I’ve always loved mint lollies and chocolates. Mint really divides people – some LOVE it like me and others wonder what I’m doing eating snacks that taste like toothpaste. But it’s just so sweet and refreshing, so delightful and surprising. What can I say…I’m addicted.

Minties are the epitome of mint confectionery. So you can imagine my HORROR when I read this week that they have changed the formula. Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

My concerns were shared by many but those who’ve sampled the new version of Minties say they are still everything that is good about a Mintie. They are sweet and chewy, they are just a little softer. My dentist will be happy, or maybe not.

Can they add a little fluoride to the formula to counteract the effects of eating them on a daily basis? Will the new Minties mean I’ll never touch a Kool Mint again?

I once heard about chocolate Minties in New Zealand. It was just a rumour and I did question friends and family who traveled there. Apparently they have been discontinued. I understand. Minties are all about that one single, amazing flavour. There’s no point confusing it. Let it stand alone.

I’d also like to mention my fondness for White Knights, Perky Nanas and Pineapple Lumps. I feel the munchies coming on! What are your favourites? Luckily my husband doesn’t share my fondness for mint. His preference is for Cobbers (remember those) and sherbet lollies (blah). But it’s perfect because we don’t take each other’s lollies. I love bullets too! Licorice is another divider.

To each their own (gobble, gobble, gooble).

I used to think I was busy

28 Mar

I used to think I was busy. I was looking after my three children, working occasionally, trying to keep up with the housework and my sense of self (both of which seem to cancel the other out). The point is that I was busy, but I still had time to THINK.

This week, I officially don’t have time to think. As I write this I am listening to a uni lecture. I am even making notes. Multi-tasker extraordinaire! My husband is so funny. He wouldn’t dare tell me to say no to extra work and he’ll carefully avoid mentioning his lack of clean work shirts (he’d do them himself if I had time to let him know that I can’t) and he tries not to enrage me at dinner, making sure to let me know that he doesn’t mind toasted sandwiches or last night’s dinner of eggs on toast.

Before you start screaming in feminist outrage, my husband leave for work at 3.30am and doesn’t get home until at least 6.30pm. Crazy hours, a crazy job but the money makes it worth it and I’m meant to take care of the rest so he can get through it all. Sometimes I pack his lunch. Sometimes I fall asleep in the clothes I was wearing that day. When I read stories to the little kids at night I skip a few pages, hoping they won’t notice. My eldest son told me that when he calls me in the middle of the night I look a bit like a monster. Monster-mummy doesn’t like being woken up and because she’s fallen asleep in her clothes and makeup she sure does look like a bit of a monster, in fact a lot of a monster.

Insert your own manic list here but this week I am – having meetings at my son’s school re bullying, having meetings at my son’s school re Trivia Night and the upcoming P & F meeting, meeting up with the committee at my son’s pre-school re my role as Treasurer, trying to keep up with two subjects of my masters degree, working way too much, doing enough housework so we can walk across a room without getting bits of food stuck to our legs and doing enough laundry so we have enough clean clothes although the clean clothes may not be the clothes we want to wear. I went to the doctor where I found out I am anemic and deficient in vitamin D. I’m trying to reduce our family sugar intake to cure my husband’s gout and improve our health overall but we’ve run out of good fruit and the corn I bought has rotted. My friend and I are writing a book together. My email inbox is struggling to cope. I think it needs some vitamins too.

Yes, I know you are screaming at me at the moment. Talk to my sister. She’s been saying this to me several times a week. “You are doing too much”. Yes, I am doing too much because I feel like I am running out of time to do all the things I want to do before I die. But I’m doing everything badly. I’m forgetting basic things like buying night time pants for my son (crucial to a good night sleep for me!), we ran out of toothpaste for the first time in eight years, I sometimes call my children, niece and nephews two or three different names before I get to the right one and I would LOVE to do a hard workout on my cross trainer followed by some girlie pushups and then wash my hair and blow dry it perfectly. Oh, I think I fell asleep for a second and had a mini-dream.

The lecture is finishing. Good. I absorbed enough to fudge my way through this week’s online discussion.

I reached breaking point yesterday afternoon when I realised I’d forgotten to organise my son’s birthday party which is coming up all too soon. I haven’t exercised for days. I feel like crap. Somethings gotta give.

I just said no to more weekday work and it physically hurt to say no because I LOVE my job. I have emailed a lecturer to drop one subject at uni which means it will take me four years instead of two to get my Masters in Creative Writing but at least I’ll actually get it. I’ve contacted a place that will host my son’s birthday party and now need to find time to drop off a deposit. This will help me for now. And perhaps I’ll stick a note on my bedroom wall that says “Say no Jo”. Catchy. Or in the words of my two-year-old daughter, “No mummy work”.

La Dolce Vita – Jo Abi

Should I choose to be offended? Nah!

18 Mar


Two very good friends of mine have given me insights into myself recently. These two comments (which I have no doubt were meant with the utmost love and affection) have left me reeling.

The first comment was that I was a ‘perfectionist’. My friend didn’t mean this to imply that I do everything perfectly…far from it. He meant that I try to do everything perfectly and if one little thing goes wrong I am left dissatisfied. This I believe to be the true definition of a perfectionist. I always thought I’d be happy to be called this because I always took it to mean someone who did things perfectly. We were discussing work at the time and I’ve since realised I am like this in all areas of my life.

I can’t be more grateful to my friend for saying this to me. This has been the root cause of unhappiness on my part my entire life and the saddest part is that I never realised what I was doing to myself.

Every day I try to be a perfect mother. As soon as I give them a less than healthy snack or lose patience I write off the day as terrible and start calling myself a bad mother, all over one or two less than perfect moments. By doing this I choose to take away from all the good things I did that day and I go to bed dwelling on the negative.

I am the same with my diet, my finances, my looks…I start off okay but as soon as one less than perfect thing happens I write off the diet, my budget and how I look.

I need to chill the hell out. Now I understand what someone else who is close to meant when they said I dwell on the negative. This I was offended by but she was right. I never recognised it before.

At thirty-six years of age I have experienced a profound revelation thanks to a dear friend and I really and truly feel that this is a turning point for me.

My kids may not eat perfectly but they are healthy and happy. My teeth may not be as white as I want them to be but at least I have teeth. I might overspend on groceries and books sometimes but it’s not like I’m blowing the mortgage payment on the pokies. Giving myself credit and allowing imperfection is going to be the key to happiness for me from here on in.

Just two weeks later another close friend lovingly called me a people-pleaser. I can honestly say that just with my perfectionist trait I never stopped to think that I was a people-pleaser and once again I have realised that the true definition of a people-pleaser isn’t that I please everyone, it’s that if I don’t please people I feel guilty and sad.

Another epiphany, so late in life, reminding me that it’s never two late to solve the riddle of one’s life.

I have to admit that it does take some practice to stop letting perfectionism ruin my day and to stop feeling guilty for everything I don’t do for people. When it comes to being a people-pleaser (which I was only informed of yesterday) it’s going to take quite a bit of practice to break this bad habit.

I’m much better than I used to be in this regard. Having children makes it much easier to not only let people down but to feel okay about it because my priority is my children. I have been setting limits lately but I’ve been feeling quite badly about it and apologising profusely.

I won’t be able to change overnight so I’ve set myself two challenges. The first is that when I have a less than perfect day I am going to repeat the mantra “Nothing is ruined, everything is just fine”. I also plan to stop apologising when I can’t do something. If I can’t do it, I can’t do it. I don’t think I’ll be able to stop thanking everyone for everything. I just feel so grateful for everything, especially when it comes to work opportunities. My husband tells me that I don’t value myself enough in this regard, that I am getting work but they too are getting my services and work.

Both these labels also explain why I am so unhappy when I think someone doesn’t like me. This happened to me recently in a group I am in and instead of focusing on the twenty people who were happy with me and my help I focused on the one person who seemed to have a beef with me. It took all the joy out of the situation, all the pride and satisfaction. Ridiculous.

I am certainly a work-in-progress and boy do I have some work to do. But with the help of friends like these, I might just make it.

And to my two friends who helped me make these realisations…don’t apologise, don’t explain…just say, “Happy to have helped”, because I am happy too.

La Dolce Vita – Jo Abi

Working weekends

16 Mar


I work every weekend so Tuesdays and Fridays are my days at home, my real weekend. Tuesdays and Fridays have become so special to me that I find myself counting down to them. On Tuesdays and Fridays I have my little boy and little girl and I also have my nephew. My nephew is key to my happiness on Tuesdays and Fridays because his inclusion on these days prevents me from having to come up with some sort of outing to entertain my children. All the guilt at wanting to stay and home and hibernate is relieved by the fact that he is here and I couldn’t if I wanted to anyway…and I definitely want to stay home at least two days a week.

The rest of the week is so full of activities and errands, work and obligations, some of which are fun and some of which are just necessary. My favourite moments as a parent and an aunty all involve me sitting down watching our children play and interact. I get pleasure from hanging out some washing while they play on the trampoline. I love watching them try to help me by putting things in the bin and calling each other for lunch. And the fact that I don’t do it every day of the week makes me realise just how special this time is.

Today we are eating grapes and playing with cheap bouncy balls I bought at Rebel Sport. My nephew has finished his grapes and is now taking my daughter’s grapes. My other son just came and told him off for stealing grapes. My nephew has just run into another room, still eating stolen grapes. He is holding a little yellow chicken toy. I just giggle all day.

When staying at home was my every day I must confess that there were many days when I didn’t appreciate it as much as I do now. I really feel like I have struck a work-life balance that allows me to enjoy everything in my life a little more.

It’s a good feeling to know you’ve struck a life balance that works for you. Now if I just get a little housework done it really will be the perfect day.

La Dolce Vita – Jo Abi

You said blogging what?

16 Mar


I don’t mean to gossip. This blog was never meant to be about gossip. I started this blog because I wanted to get into the daily habit of practicing my craft – writing. I don’t have to make it public, but for some reason, writing blogs to myself doesn’t hold the same motivation as a blog that is read by my Facebook friends and anyone else who stumbles across it.

I have accidentally offended three people since starting this blog. These people are near and dear to me and the offense wasn’t intentional. I was merely discussing my own experience and hardships, my own thoughts and feelings, but when explaining the origins of my feelings I inadvertently cause offense.

Bloggers world-wide experience similar problems. I am used to this dilemma because I used to be in radio. Radio requires you to talk about your personal life so I’d oftentimes be explaining a story and embarrass or offend someone.

I have gone through all my past blogs and deleted those that caused offense, even though the blogs weren’t about these people in particular but, anyway…

Where do you draw the line when it comes to sharing your own experience?. All experiences involve people. You can never write a blog without somehow including others. There are those bloggers who just write away bravely and refuse to consider the potential to offend as a reason to hold back. There have been legal issues as a result of some of these. Then there are those of us who although we tried to tiptoe through the process still managed to cause offense. So I’ve pressed reset and I’ll try to do better.

I could always start off my own private blog and write whatever I want about anyone I want and how I REALLY feel. I think this is called a diary. I could put pen to paper and let it rip and feel much better afterwards and no one will ever know my deepest thoughts and feelings, except my great-grandchildren who will have it published after I die and it will be hailed as great literary work.

There are so many things I’d like to write about right now. I really feel I need to say them here. Must….resist…or I could always do it vaguely like gossip columns trying to avoid legal action. Okay…here goes:

* There is someone at my work who I really don’t want to work with;

* I am involved in my son’s school and my other son’s preschool and I get the impression that some people think I’m annoying, over-enthusiastic, an upstart or all these things at once;

* I could fill seven books with family and relationship issues, none of which involve my children who I can honestly say are a constant joy and reminder of why we try so hard to get along with family members;

* I miss my friends. I am upset that they don’t call me often and I’m upset that I forget to call them;

* I spend too much. I don’t spend a lot compared to most who live in my area but I definitely spend more than my husband and I agreed on. I mostly overspend on groceries. I always want full cupboards and the freshest, best food. Not a sin but I do go overboard and some of it goes to waste;

* I love work and uni and I will move heaven and earth to never, ever have to give them up but I am worried I may reach a point where I just can’t do it all anymore;

* I want to have another baby. I also don’t want to have another baby. In equal proportions.;

* I spend too much time wallowing in the past and analyzing the actions of others.

Okay, I think that’s all properly sanitized. No one in particular is mentioned. If anyone draws offense they will be stretching. I feel better. I feel like I’ve vented. I’ve also made an important connection.

I miss my friends. I miss sitting down and chatting about life, issues, people and maybe blogging is my solution to this fact. I miss company. I miss talking. I miss people asking how I am. I miss my friends.

My husband and I try and talk and so do my sister and I but it’s abbreviated because we are always on our way in or out of the house or cleaning up something that’s been spilled. I really miss conversation, relaxed conversation. Not conversation while making sure no one abducts my children at the local shops. Real, relaxed, connected conversation.

This will do for now. I really do feel better. Is everyone okay with this? If I’ve caused offense feel free to keep your distance next time you see me (until I come and ask if I’ve upset you), write me a very long and defensive email or bury your complaint in a innocent conversation so I almost miss that I’ve upset you. Hopefully no one has to do this as a result of this blog. If I offend someone I prefer to do it to their face so I can apologise to their face immediately or at least agree to disagree and then break bread.

La Dolce Vita – Jo Abi

What was I thinking?

11 Mar


I’m not sure quite what I was thinking when I thought enrolling in uni was a good idea. I suppose one of my motivations was the fact I had been thinking about it for years and waiting until I had time. Then I woke up and realised I’d never have more time to study. Just like you never have enough money to start having kids so you may as well just do it, you may as well just enroll and figure it out as you go along.

I have enrolled in my Masters in Creative Writing which sounds pretty exciting. I am doing two subjects – Creative Writing which is an absolute pleasure and joy. Literary Theory – not so much. If I listened to the lecture for Literary Theory ten times I still wouldn’t completely understand it. I find myself typing words into Google to find out their meaning and then missing the next point. It’s like she’s speaking a different language. I feel like I need to do a course to learn how to do Literary Theory. I feel like I’ve missed a step.

In Creative Writing I enthusiastically post opinions and pieces of my writing. In Literary Theory I stall, I hesitate, I begin with..”I’m not sure if this is relevant…” or “I may have missed the point…” or “I might need to read this a few more times..”. I feel like I’m trying to walk though mud. I feel so totally out of my depth that I really could cry.

It’s only been two weeks but I can’t imagine it getting easier. I can, however imagine it getting a lot harder.

I know I’m just freaking out and I’ll probably figure it out. I will probably do pretty well in Creative Writing. If I just ‘pass’ Literary Theory I will throw a party.

La Dolce Vita – Jo Abi

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