Thursday, September 29, 2011


It could have been worse.

Does anyone remember Pollyanna anymore?
You know, the girl from the books. She was an orphan I think and went to live with her aunt. Or someone.
Anyway, somewhere in the town, lived a cranky old woman who was perpetually sick and as cantankerous as the bedsores she was probably sitting on. Pollyanna, in her impertinent way, made friends with this lady and introduced her to ‘the glad game’.
‘The glad game ‘is a game where no matter what the circumstance is, you find a way to be positive about it.
It’s completely cheesy, but I have to admit, for many years now, I’ve been playing it too.
I’ve always been a ‘glass is almost full’ kind of kid; I’m too lazy to be upset, it requires too much energy.

Here’s how I play the game with my recent experience…
·               I could have gotten sick when my mum was teaching and then I wouldn’t have had anyone to look after Q.
·               My husband could have been unwilling to move to his in-laws for 6 days so I could recuperate
·               It could have been glorious warm spring weather. Rain and cold meant I could lie on the couch in tracky-dacks and not feel like I was missing out on anything while simultaneously managing to cover my dreadful, ugly full-body rash.
·               It was only acute bronchitis. Very close to pneumonia, but it wasn’t. That would have really sucked.
·                Could have happened right before we were heading OS in which case I would have had to delay my departure for sure.

See how it works folks? Suddenly having breathing difficulties, a head to toe magnificently itchy rash and serious exhaustion doesn’t seem so bad after all!

Try it peeps, see if it works for you.
Have a great weekend. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


I have been impaled on a stake of misery.
My torso strapped there with some serious oxygen deprivation issues, my hands and feet each held in place by fatigue, bronchitis, asthma and aches.

I seriously don’t think I have ever been knocked around this badly. Of course, it doesn’t help that I’ve been pushing things for a while now, feeling rubbish for longer and trying to hide it all from my ten-month old, husband and family.

I am not a pretty sight.
But it’s not just me who thinks so.
Below is an exact transcription of the conversation I had with the doctor on Monday.

What’s wrong?

I suspect I have a chest infection and asthma.

Yes, I can hear that. I’d say it’s quite serious. Let’s prescribe…(and then he rattled off a cocktail of drugs that I know from my asthma days are not exactly butter menthols).

Oh no thank you, I’d rather not take those. I’m breastfeeding.

You’re still breastfeeding? How old is she? Ten months? You look dreadful. There’s not much to you. You look really run down, exhausted. 
Remember without proper treatment, asthma can kill you. It nearly did my neighbour. It’s just lucky I’d come home for lunch so he dragged himself over and collapsed at my front door. Fine, we’ll change the drug to this, but if you get any worse you must go straight to the hospital.

And then he ordered a blood test on account of how dreadful I look.

It was that quick and that brutal.

He is not my usual doctor.

But it was a matter of some urgency that I get air back into my lungs and my doctor doesn’t work on Monday.

So, what do all independent, mature, capable adults do when they don’t feel well?
They move back to their parents’ place that’s what.

And here we all have been for the past 5 days, me lying on the couch sounding like a chain-smoking Darth Vader, while my parents and various uncles entertain my busy girl and Gregory goes to work.

I tell you, the kookaburras are onto something. Their concept that all in the family helps raise the young is a genius idea.
Many hands do indeed make light work.
Although, to be fair, I’m not providing many of my hands at the moment, as in addition to finding breathing a difficult task, I had a reaction to one of the medications I was given and am sporting a rash which requires my hands to soothe on a regular basis.

So now I have fatigue bruises under my eyes, thin hair and poor skin from breastfeeding, a red nose from blowing it, cracked lips from constantly breathing through my mouth, a horrible wheeze, a nasty cough and am covered head to toe in a spotty, dotty red rash that’s so itchy I want to rip off the top layer of my skin and completely destroys the idea of being seen in public if I actually had the energy to get out there anyway.

I suppose that Doc is right.
I do look dreadful.
Now, I’ll accept most of the blame, but he’s the turkey whose prescription gave me the rash.

The lesson?
Never go to the doctors on Monday.
They’re too busy writing fake sick notes for people wanting a long weekend, to remember their bedside manner.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


A tinge of the ginge.

Tim Minchin says that only a ginger can call another ginger, ginger so as a card-carrying life-long member of the ginge brigade I am completely qualified to write this blog.

There’s been a bit of talk around the cyberhood about redheads this week, so I thought I’d be utterly original and join in.

I don’t quite know when the redheaded renaissance began. If, in fact, we were ever fashionable to begin with.

Perhaps it was due to Nicole Kidman in BMX Bandits, before she sold out to Hollywood and bleached her freckles and hair to smithereens.

What about Molly Ringwald. Now there’s a redhead to be proud of.
Breakfast Club anyone?

Maybe it goes all the way back to Anne Boleyn. She was after all a wife of the King. 
Never mind that her beheading was popular sport one sunny afternoon, we haven’t forgotten her have we?

I grew up in a small country town and attended an even smaller public school where the only other redheads were my brothers.
I don’t know if it affected them, but I still recall the pain of people calling me
Carrot top
Bluey – which seriously made no sense to me as a child.
Fanta Pants – which now makes me chuckle but back then was a torment worse than forgetting your sports uniform on Friday.

And as a teenager
Fire crotch (which honestly, took me a while to work out, but then again I am known for my naïveté and puberty was a little late to hit)

And most recently

I’m not sure you should be allowed to dye your hair red as an adult. It doesn’t seem fair that you get to do it when it’s cool and accepted.
You should have to suffer. Endure a decade or so of schoolyard bullying.

The redheaded ridicule has once more come to a head (pardon the pun) because apparently Denmark, home to the world’s largest sperm bank, is no longer accepting redheaded sperm due to a lack of demand.
How rude.

I however, have some insider knowledge on that exact sperm bank, as it helped grow the delightful daughter of some dear family friends of ours.

According to them, the bank is very definite on matching sperm as closely as is reasonably possible to the mother/s involved.
And lets be honest, how many Europeans would actually be authentic redheads. Maybe a few Italians (unless my childhood language teacher was lying to us all) but who has ever seen a Norwegian redhead. Or a lederhosen wearing ginger.
It just doesn’t happen.

I think in fact, that the sperm bank is acting in the interests of the unmade children.  Performing a pre-conception civic duty if you will.

The only retort my mother would ever let me utter to those mean little kids was that old gem sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me, which was a complete lie because the words did hurt, and I wasn’t interested in testing the theory by being hit with a stone or stick either.

These days I’ve dealt with my pain, it’s made me a stronger individual, just as that other cliché my mum used to throw my way whatever doesn’t break you makes you stronger predicted.

These days I prefer to refer to this elite group of individuals as blondes with heart and brunettes with personality.

And as I gaze at my daughter and note the tinge of ginge in her few strands of hair, I wonder if that’s just the response I’ll be telling her to say in years to come.


Once upon a time, (approximately 20 months ago) two Sydney women fell pregnant.
While they were busy growing their first ever humans, their mothers were busy telling anyone who would listen that their babies were now growing their own.

In an uncanny twist in this remarkable story, these two mothers of soon-to-be mothers worked at the same school and finally tried to tell each other that their daughter was pregnant.
'My daughter is pregnant.'
'No, my daughter is pregnant.'
'When is yours due?'
'End of November. When is yours due?'
'End of November.'
'No way.'
'Yes way.'
'They should meet.'
'Yes, they should meet.'

And so it was that the two women growing humans at the same time, were bullied into a blind date by their well meaning mothers.

Several months later, (neither of them remember who contacted who first) they met at a cafe local to one of them and over decaf coffees and stale raisin bread (they didn't dare have caffeine in front of a fellow human grower, you never know the response their going to give, and will now both admit that the toast was horribly stale and they really shouldn't have eaten it at all) they got beyond the fact that they had walked their rolling their eyes at their mother's determination that they met and discovered the other person to be quite pleasant indeed.

Months went by and the ladies' friendship grew along with their stomachs.

Soon there wasn't any more room for their little humans and two delightful girls arrived on this earth in the same birth centre at the same hospital within twenty-four hours of each other.

And so now the cycle continues, and these two new little girls, just as their mothers were oh-so-many months ago, are forced to be friends several times a week, as their mothers muddle through this parenthood gig together.

But where one mother can sing, dance, act and write to an apparently mildly successful but not full-time employable standard, the other mother can also sing, write, and dance well enough to bust a move on the dance floor at a wedding.
But she can also make jewellery, baby shoes, toys and clothes.

Check them out at her blog.
She is seriously clever.
And she's also my friend.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


As a mum, there are some things I choose to do with Q in my arms.

·               Hang out washing for example – before she was crawling, but was Captain Cling and couldn’t be out of my arms for a second.
·               Make dinner – I am very good friends with slow cooker, all you really have to be able to do is open cans and chop stuff up. So yeah, things might not all be the same size, but the only person that upsets is my husband the chef, which thereby results in him offering to cook tea. Brilliant.
·               Fold laundry – Q over my shoulder practicing her standing by digging her feet into my abdomen.
·               Write a blog – I am a demon one-handed typer.
·               Answer the phone – don’t actually manage to have an intelligent or lengthy conversation with anyone this way, but at least acquire the essential information.

Then there are some things I do with Q at my feet, hanging onto my leg.

·               Clean teeth – she loves the sound of the electric toothbrush – weird because she’s scared of the hand blender and they’re nearly the same sound.
·               Shower. When you’re staying in a motel with no bath in a country town without your husband and she’s covered in the mandarin she destroyed at dinner and therefore so are you.
·               Pluck my eyebrows. That would be very dangerous if she were in my arms. I’d look like a chicken on its way to the oven.
·               Washing up. I can often distract her with a wide selection of Tupperware and a couple of nicely pitched pots and pans.

Then there are other things I choose not to do with Q at all.

·               Ride a bike. Some people possess the required skills. I, unfortunately, do not.
·               Go to an audition. While she’s cute and all, she’s also a horrible distraction, not the least because looking at her may dilute my want to get the gig and leave her at all anyway.
·               Talk to my superannuation fund. I don’t understand them at the best of times.
·               Stretching post run. Very difficult to stretch your quad with Q hanging onto it while you try. As a result I am tied more tightly than an actor’s purse strings.
·               Wax my bikini. Seriously, not an activity I need her along for. Not so my neighbour who bravely decided to take her daughter up to the local salon. Armed with a bumbo seat, she places her child inside and lets the beautician get to work. Very quickly her daughter realises something is awry. Why is mum squealing? Why is that lady making that horrible ripping sound? What is that hot, dripping substance in the big bowl over there? Why is my mother’s leg braced against the wall, her other one at an angle that makes it look broken? What is that weird, annoying, waterfall elevator music and how do I make it stop? So there my neighbour is, teeth gritted, legs spread, hoo-ha exposed and her daughter, serenading the experience with her ear piercing shrieks. One could argue it would detract from the pain of having hair ripped from your nether regions. Maybe my neighbour is onto something after all… 


Once upon a time there was a tattooed, smoking, whiskey drinking chef who worked at a bunch of swanky joints in NYC.
After falling in love - and marrying - an Aussie performer, he packed up his knives and shipped his cookbook collection to the other side of the world.
Discovering the joy of being home for dinner and going spear-fishing with his brothers-in-law on the weekend, this chef sought a chef-change and grew a huge garden in his in-law's backyard, quit his executive cheffing and took a job at the local cafe.

That local cafe is now beginning dinners.

Join us for our first, with a 3 course spring inspired menu on Thursday 6th October.
At this stage, dinners will only be fortnightly, (next dinner Thursday 20th October) and bookings are going quickly, so please call during the day on 9818 1607.

Hope to see you there...

Monday, September 19, 2011


You know you’re in the country when curried egg and prawns drowning in mayo are the sandwich selections at the one bakery in town.
Most people are clued in enough to go for the egg, neatly observing that country towns are – by definition - nowhere near the coast.
Not so the best man of the wedding I attended this weekend past, whose unwise selection early on Saturday morn nearly saw the understudy called in for his role in the proceedings.

Other giveaways you’re not in the big smoke anymore are the inordinate number of Holden’s hooning down the main street, always in either sparkly turquoise or bright bottle green.

The number of roadkill featured on our national emblem is also a fairly sure bet.

Everything shuts at 12.30 on Saturday, which means that the brother who forgets his belt, shoes and hat has to stick his belly out, wear his scuffed chucks and lots of suncream and avoid our mother who will loudly pronounce the shame he brings to the family name.

(Not half as bad as the wedding where he turned up at the post-wedding brunch still in his suit, a rip in the knee, because he had spent the night in a local orchard picking…ah…cherries shall we say).

Yes, missing shoes got nowhere near the response from mum as that did.

Further evidence you’re in the land of the windmills and pig troughs is the DJ playing Cold Chisel and Men At Work like they’re recent discoveries. 
Any band later than the early 80’s hasn’t yet reached Australia’s interior.

Jack Daniels and Coke in a can is also fair indicator, as is champagne served in red wine glasses – actually quite helpful for people like me, those of us encumbered with a large nose.

The stars shining on the paddocks at night, winking to you as you observe the quiet sheep. Fields of canola, a rich, honest yellow disappearing into the valley below.
The air, plenty for everyone, wafting undiluted through your allergy stricken nose.
And the people.
Quiet, calm and considerate. Plenty of time to take care of you in their pragmatic, matter-of-fact-ness. Proud, independent, strong, determined.
The litmus test for being in the country?
Ask a local for help and if they reply ‘she’ll be right mate, no worries,’ you know that’s exactly where you are. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011


You know when you’re on the second leg of a round the world trip after several takeoff and landing delays and a 6 hour layover in some god-forsaken airport and you’re not even travelling premium economy, let alone business or first class, and your eyes are gritty and your brain feels like it’s too big for your skull and your dehydrated and hungry but your digestive system has shut down because it can’t eat anymore of those altitude-affected rock hard bread rolls and you’re sneezing because your immune system is saving itself for more important things than allergies and you have coffee-breath, but not the attractive kind because you’ve been doing too much open-mouthed breathing, and you’re skin looks grey and you’ve definitely put on weight overnight.

That’s how I feel.

Except it’s not because I’m returning from a fabulous holiday sipping on wine and supping on cheese in the south of France, but because I’m on the back end of a couple of weeks of a spectacularly appalling sleeping performance by my daughter, Little Miss Q.

My disclaimer here – before you all tell me to ring Tresillian – is that the poor kid has been turned upside down of late with travel, late night events and nightmares.
She is a nightmare, but I also think she’s having nightmares. 
Poor kid.

And the fun isn’t going to stop just yet. 
Because we have another out-of-town wedding this weekend.
And Q (being the socialite that she is), thinks everyone is there just for her - bugger the bride - and at last week's reception finally fell into an exhausted face-plant on her grandmother’s arm at 10.16pm. (Waking again back at the hotel for another round of cocktails, then rising at 5am for an early morning post-wedding brunch).

She is made of kryptonite. The only person that suffers unduly is her dear, doting mother.

Coffee has once again become my very good friend.

Speaking of…it’s time for a top-up.

So enjoy your Friday friends, I hope you have a wonderful weekend.
And if you get too much sleep, send some my way! 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


I’ve had a new idea for a book and I’m very excited to get started on it, so since today is Nona day (Nona being my mother) she pushes me out the door in between feeds so I can actually try and get some work done.

But before I left, I had to decide which notebook to start my novel notes in.
Yes, I do do the bulk of my writing on my dear computer (I used to give my computers names, but every time I did, they died a tragic death, so they now remain nameless) but I like to jot down ideas in my books in a haphazard mess that makes sense to no one but myself.

I’m quite particular about my notebooks. 
They have to be lined. They have to fit in my purse. 
I don’t like ring binders because I am left-handed and they get in the way, I prefer off white or beige rather than stark white and I certainly don’t like that paper to have a shine. 
Matt recycled if you please.

These Naomi-specific books take up an entire shelf on my bookshelf, some lying in anxious wait, hoping they’re the next to be plucked for use, others filled with thoughts and anecdotes about the people, places and experiences I’ve run into in this funny little world.

So this morning, while I was selecting the one to use for this new novel (I have a general notebook for every day occurrences, but I can’t mix those with a specific topic, that wouldn’t do at all) I found the book I’d used when we did the road trip across America before we moved to Australia last year.

And I tell you something people, Australia comes a pathetic second to America if we judge a nation by its billboards.

Have a gander at some of these gems.
I swear I’m not making any of them up.
I’m not that funny.

Nb – we started off in the more liberal of the US states, and slowly worked our way South. See if you can notice the change…









And my absolute favourite…


See, told you, I couldn’t make that stuff up.
God Bless America.

And now to get started on that novel...


Thanks a lot you inconsiderate bastard!!!
I had to take my wife to the hospital last night and because you’d PARKED IN FRONT OF OUR GARAGE I HAD TO TAKE HER IN ER INHEA TAXI.

This is the note my sister-in-law found taped to her car early Monday morning as she headed off to work.
It seems that when she’d parked her car the night before she’d rolled forward so as to avoid a NO STOPPING zone, failing to notice the private garage she completely blocked instead.

This after copping a $400 speeding ticket from a highway patrolman, who followed her for FIVE WHOLE MINUTES before she noticed the flashing lights in her rear vision mirror.

‘How did you not see me following you?’ the policeman asks, informing her that the conversation is being recorded so she should be careful what she says.
‘Well,’ my sister-in-law begins…and then she is off.

Now, I’m known amongst my friends as a bit of a conversation igniter, but I’ve got nothing on this lady, her talking skills are unparalleled, and before the policeman knew how it had happened, he was standing on the side of the road for twenty minutes listening to this cute Irish blonde talk about how she was dealing with a tough issue at work and had suddenly had a Eureka moment (yes she actually said that) and was nutting it out as she drove.

‘So are you just visiting then?’ the cute, young officer asks and everyone but my sister-in-law thinks he was trying to pick her up.
‘No, I’m out here on a de facto visa,’ she foolishly replies. 
(My brother later informing her that he’s willing for her to lie if it gets her out of paying another four-hundred dollar fine).
‘Oh,’ says the officer, but still he keeps his pleasant tone. ‘Well, here’s the ticket. But you could try and appeal it. Ring this number and tell them you were doing 80 in a 60 zone. Not the 110 in an 80 zone that I actually clocked you at.’

Thank you Australian Police Force.

And thank heavens my sister-in-law doesn’t yet have an Australian licence. Because if she did it would have been revoked and then she’d lose the job that caused her to speed in the first place, which would mean she wouldn’t have the four hundred dollars to pay for the ticket anyway.

What I love about this lady is her complete devotion to a topic to the exclusion of all else.

And what Gregory loves about her is that she took the pressure off him and his
$700 fines for running two red lights in two weeks.

What is it with these foreigners?
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