Thursday, December 22, 2011


I have a problem.
Lots of them probably, but I’ll only deal with one right now.
My husband has taken Q to the garden at my parent’s place so she can eat snails and chicken manure, giving me much needed time to pack for tomorrow’s beach holiday.
(Hear that Mother Nature – BEACH HOLIDAY. Because it is SUMMER. And that’s what people do in the summer. They go to the beach for a swim because it is HOT. Summer is one of the reasons I live in Sydney. I am really mad at you, Mother Nature, also because you duped us with a few scorchers in October and I bought a pair of shorts that I haven’t worn since. You owe me 24 bucks).
Anyway Q isn’t here and the apartment is quiet and only in a state of semi-destruction because she wasn’t here long enough this morning to make it complete.
She and I hang out a lot. Pretty much 24 hours a day for over a year. She’s kind of like another appendage except that she doesn’t obey my commands.
And now, without her here, (even though it means I can wrap the one gift we got her - a book cos I’m so bored of the ones we’ve got - and G’s gifts - won’t write it here on the off chance he reads this post - and can actually pack without the great unpacker around to ruin all my hard work) I miss her.
I miss her.
I miss her little mischievous, toothy smile, her annoying back-of-the-throat groan she does when she wants to be picked up, the way she pulls out all the books and throws them all over the room, the way she gets up on all fours and crawls about, always carrying some treasure in her mouth. I miss her unpacking my wallet and the food she throws about while she’s eating.
Actually, I really don’t miss those last two things. My glasses are not that rose tinted.
And now I’ve wasted precious packing and wrapping time and must stop this separation nonsense.
I doubt she’ll learn Russian while we’re apart. Or start to hop. Or read. And I’m pretty sure she’ll still know who I am when we see each other again.
The cloth nappies do nothing
for her derriere.
I am a loser.
Start packing Hart.

You deserve one big eye roll.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Here in the land of Q we’re a bit late getting into the spirit of Christmas. Not because we’re Grinches, but because we’ve been rather consumed of late and because the weather BLOWS. 
If it’s going to be a cold Christmas I expect it is because I am in the northern hemisphere drinking eggnog and wearing enough layers to hide the eggnog that has stuck to my waist and thighs. I do not expect Christmas in a semi-hot, mostly cool, perpetually damp environment where no one can decide if they want to drink a margarita or a rum toddy.
So as the agenda was rather free today, we decided to jump a bus into town and join the festivities. Really get amongst it. Throw ourselves in the elfish deep end as it were.
This is how things went:
·               Q woke up really early, meaning that she wants to take her 1 nap at about 9am, which is not ideal because it is then a long, slow, agonising ride until bedtime that night. If you choose to try to delay sleep – as we did – you pay for it with the whinge. It just depends if you want that whinge from 9-12 or from 11-8. I prefer the former for obvious reasons.
·               We left half an hour later than planned and G heads for the bus stop that is only local stops, so we watch 3 express buses sail past before heading to the other bus stop where I realise…
·               G hadn’t brought the gift he needed to return because he’d bought the wrong thing, with him.
·               G returns to house.
·               Without keys.
·               G returns to the bus stop and we realise he doesn’t have enough rides left on his travel ten.
·               I go to the newsagency to get another pass while G returns to the house with my keys to get the gift.
·               We leave Q at the bus stop.
·               Just kidding.
·               We get on a bus whose breaks screech and whose tires skid every time the driver slows down. We begin to doubt our survival until Christmas in the first place.
·               Every man and his dog, aunt, cousin, spouse and CHILD is in town and as you walk past people all you can hear is;
·               ‘why didn’t you tell me that in the first place?’
·               ‘what took you so long?’
·               ‘christmas is not just about you, you know.’
·               G goes to get us coffees while Q and I block traffic outside the diamond store in the Strand Arcade.
·               I should add that it is raining.
·               We do not have umbrellas.
·               We gather a few gifts interspersed with countless phone calls to our family to make sure we get the right thing. People can be very vague with their gift list.
·               Myself included. I asked for new bras because none of my non-breastfeeding ones fit, a terrible, horrible disaster that I don’t care to dwell on in this blog. I do not know my new size.
·               G tries not to swear as person after person does something stupid in front of him as he pushes Q through the throng.
·               Q has reached her limit, we head for the bus stop.
·               G realises he has lost his Amex card.
·               Is not successful in stopping his swearing in front of his child.
·               This annoys me and I head for the bus stop while G heads back to the shops to buy my gift.
·               With what card I do not know.
·               Q and I get home, (she has meanwhile yelled her disgust at still being in the pram the whole bus ride home) to discover that G still has my keys and so we can’t get in the front door.
·               Send G an urgent text since he’s not answering his phone. Odd since that thing is stuck to his ear most of the day. Q crawls on the wet, muddy ground and gets filthy.
·               G returns home.
·               I make a cup of tea.
·               And now I’m going to get my toes painted because I want to be decadent and spend money unnecessarily.
·               This has been the Christmas story Llewellyn/Hart style.
·               The end.

Monday, December 19, 2011


At the end of November when we decided to investigate opening a restaurant we didn’t presume anything much would happen for 6 months at least.
In barely a month of research, we have found a venue, taken a builder through, met with accountants, lawyers, brokers, designers and purveyors, written and rewritten a business plan and tried to locate the funds necessary to open the thing in the first place.
In between this I’ve had a couple of gigs, Q turned 1, we celebrated US thanksgiving, had a quick work trip to Melbourne and apparently it is Christmas this weekend.
Who knew?
Yesterday I wished someone a happy Easter.
Gregory turned to me the other day and said; ‘do you think things are moving a bit fast?’
And I replied ‘what? Like how we met and decided to get married within months, then flipped a coin and decided to leave NYC and move to LA, then road tripped across the US and ended up in Australia, then discussed the possibility of falling pregnant and discovered we’d be parents 9 months later. And now that human is one and we've decided to open a restaurant? Fast like the last few years have been? I don’t know what you’re talking about.’
My saving grace is that Australians are inherently lazy and even thought it has been a total shite summer as far as weather is concerned, every person we’re dealing with from the landlord to the lawyer has loudly declared they won’t be doing much between now and say, oh, the middle of January.
Fine by me.
Happy Easter everyone. 
See you on the flip side.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Today we are taking our builder through the restaurant space we are considering taking over which is all sorts of exciting and grown up and serious and small-business-like, but we are also taking Q with us which is all sorts of stupid.
I’ve mentioned before my child’s unwillingness to sit placidly in her chariot and be pushed around while all her favourite people walk free around her.
Why can’t I explore and follow my whimsy? Must I be subjected to following yours instead?
You can’t walk yet Q, which means that some surfaces – like restaurant kitchen floors – are not ideal for you to go crawling about on.
But mother, I don’t put my knees down, there is no danger I’ll wear out my clothes.
True daughter dear, but I’m not sure it’s all that clean.
If you don’t let me out, I’ll kick and flail and scream and yell my frustration until you do. And it should be well established by now that my stamina and threshold are far greater than yours.
Also true my darling child, I shall of course grant your request.
I know this is what will happen today, and this should also explain to well-meaning friends why cafes and restaurants are no-go zones for Q until she’s approximately ten.
The upside to this excursion is that we’re taking a posse with us.
One brother who finds himself at loose ends today is tagging along, and another brother and his girl and her brother are going to have a snoop too. (She’s heading OS today, so my brother has used it as an excuse to make a few well timed phone calls, answer a couple of key emails but actually take the entire day off work).
Work smarter not harder sis, he’s always telling me when he knocks off at 1pm.
The builder is a mate of our dad’s and we’ve grown up with him renovating our laundry and roping you into holding the hammer so you’re a captive audience to his many conspiracy theories.
Seriously, he should be on talk-back radio. Although, giving his ideas a public forum could be very dangerous indeed.
So off go Gregory and I, about to undertake the biggest professional decision of our lives (I consider packing my bags and moving to NYC to perform, a mere dip of the toe into the pool of big decisions in comparison to opening our own restaurant) with two brothers, one pseudo sister-in-law, one pseudo sister-in-law’s brother, one non-compliant child, one mad builder and an unfailing sense of optimism.
What could possibly go wrong?

Monday, December 12, 2011


I am a night-time shower-er. My whole family is. We feel quite strongly about it.
Shower in the morning as well if you wish, but don’t even think about putting your sweaty, smelly day-old arse between my sheets without cleaning it first.
It is gross and nasty and as for the chance of a dirty doodle and a nasty ny-ny ever meeting in the dark…you will find yourself more celibate than a nun.
 It’s a tough stance, but some things are just not up for compromise.
It’s been known to nearly end a few relationships, until the offender sees the error of their ways and comes around to the Hart way of thinking.
Recently however, this evening showering business is wreaking havoc on my beauty regime.
My beauty regime goes like this;
·               Wash body in soap of the non-allergic variety. Use it on face too, even though that is widely recognised as a cardinal sin in the beauty world.
·               Shampoo and condition hair with whatever product was on sale when last I shopped.
·               Towel off and cover body in sorbolene. (The tight-arse/allergic kid’s attempt at preventing wrinkly skin).
·               Scrunch some de-frizzing product into hair
·               Put on pj’s and go to bed, drying your hair on your pillowcase. The benefit of curls being that sleeping on them doesn’t make them any better or worse. In the morning, you just add a bit of spritz (or just wet your hands and scrunch with water) and you’re done.
Not much to it, the real beauty (ha ha) lying in its ability to be appropriated to any environment anywhere in the world.
Wherever you go, your beauty regime follows. Even if you're camping.
It’s always been enough to get me by. There was never any danger of me being a supermodel, I’ve had wrinkles since I was 12 and I have reactions to most of the expensive smelly stuff anyway.
It’s been enough up until now.
Up until when I became a mother and breastfeeding almost literally sucked the life out of me, causing my nails to stop growing, my arse to diminish, my hair to lose its curl and fall out entirely and my skin to become as desiccated the Murray-Darling riverbed.
My face looked like a Cruskit. 
I rang the Breastfeeding Association for advice, but in their typical, propaganda fashion, they just told me there must be something wrong with my diet and to eat more nuts.
Really people? Exclusive breastfeeding for over a year and that’s what you tell me?
Add to the monumental weight of mother’s guilt why don’t you? Thanks very much.
So just when I was about to ween Q cold turkey, she decided the independence of drinking milk from a cup quite suited her independent nature and I was saved. My boobs are now only used morning and night.
During the days, they are mine, all mine.
I cut my nails for the first time in over a year, my lips stopped cracking allowing them to return to their former shape and size, and my hair began to grow, sprouting new shoots like a nervous young plant.
New shoots that now frame my face in little wispy tufts, too fine to curl, too short to blend into the rest of my hair.
Made all the worse by my nighttime shower.
Come morning, my hair having dried overnight, I look like a pubescent lion.
There are not enough bobby pins to save me.
Suddenly I’m finding more than a scrunch and go is required and frankly, I just can’t be bothered.
Of course if I skipped this nighttime shower, the problem may be solved.
But I couldn’t do it. I can’t do it. I’ll never do it.
Bad hair be dammed.
I look like this, only better.
At least I know my sheets are clean.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


I married an American. Which meant that after 6 years of living in the US and not being able to audition for Broadway because I didn’t have a Green card I was finally able to do so.
The night before our Green card interview Gregory had run around the house checking things out.  “Spare razor, second drawer in the hall.  Undies top left.  Favourite colour purple.  Toothbrush is purple.  Mother’s maiden name is Thompson.  Wife puts toilet roll in so it rolls out on top.” 
“I do?” I ask.
“You do now,” says Gregory.  “And you also have a purple toothbrush.  That is going to be my default answer.  Purple.  Whatever it is, it’s purple.  If we get separated remember that.”
“We’re not going to be separated,” I say rolling my eyes.

We had heard horror stories – people being told to pull out their keys to prove they matched and therefore lived together.  When they didn't they deported the woman on the spot.

On the big day, we allow plenty of time for traffic issues, park easily, join the line for security,  exit on the top floor and come face to face with two women barely in their twenties, shuffling along in shackles, their hands cuffed behind their backs.  

Then we check in with the guard on duty, and calmly sip on our drinks while listening to a woman beg for her husband.  “Please,” she cried, “they’ve taken him.  Here’s his passport.  Please.” 

I finished my coffee and headed to the bathroom, fixing my hair in the mirror trying to see if any particular style made me look more married.  Deciding ‘out’ made me look relaxed and in love, I left the bathroom and wandered back down the hall.  
“Quick!” Gregory’s voice echoed off the walls, “they called us already.  The lady is waiting!”

I sprint towards Gregory and our carry-bag of legitimate love. It was a huge binder stuffed with information, but part of me wondered if it was overkill and made it look like we were trying to manufacture a relationship that wasn’t really there.  
I had dressed with caution in an elegant black dress and my grandmother’s pearls hanging around my neck.  Pearls gave you a look of legitimacy.  I hoped.  They’re always handed down from someone, which I thought could indicate I was a good ‘family person’ and would disguise the fact that my dress came from the second hand store around the corner.

He and I have more in common
than just a big nose.
Six minutes later, not a single question about where I keep my socks, who last cleaned the shower and what type of face cream I use, our interviewer gives us the official paperwork - a dodgy photocopied letter congratulating me on my change of status, my name written in with her bright red pen. 
And that, my friends, was that.  No one was mean, the questions were not invasive, I wasn’t threatened with deportation, or subjected to a strip search.  It was really all rather anti-climactic. 
And then we moved to Australia.
Which meant I never got to audition for Broadway, we’d wasted three thousand US dollars at a time when the US dollar actually meant something, and then had to go through the whole process again with the Australian embassy.
And now I’m going through it for the second time, because Australia only gives you provisional residency until you can prove 2 years later that you’re still married to the same Aussie you got in with.
So last night while Gregory went to the pub with a mate, I sat down in front of the tv to fold Mount Washmore and fill out forms.
Yes, upon typing I realise there is something wrong with this scenario.
But all shall be remedied tonight when I embark on a baby and husband free girls’ night.
I don’t know who comes up with the questions for this residency, but I sure wouldn’t mind being the person paid to read through the answers.
Seriously, they make you answer:
·               how you share and separate your financial commitments (easy. I don't earn anything so Gregory pays for them all).
·               how you split the housework (G is a gun in the bathroom, I cover other areas and we both hate the oven).
·               who does what for the kids (I'm her primary carer and G is our financial backer. It's a perfect relationship).
·               explain the social aspects of your relationship (does takeaway thai with your brothers count?)
And my favourite one…
·               describe the nature of your commitment to one another (like you're going to tell them you're just kidding and only got hitched 'cause you want to live at Bondi)
I diligently filled them all out, wondering as I went what they’ll think of the fact that the entire form, whether they be Gregory’s questions or mine, is written in my handwriting.
Would that be grounds for deportation or confirmation that we operate like most other hetero couples I know, where the woman is in charge of the papers and the man takes out the recycling?

Sunday, December 4, 2011


On Saturday a friend and I had a facial.
Because that’s people who don’t have any money coming in do.
It’s not as bad as a woman I met yesterday who said that when her restaurant went belly-up, (her partner was determined to do it without the benefit of a chef in the kitchen) she got herself an American Express card and took two of her children to Fiji for 8 days, staying in fancy places and buying them whatever they wished. She’s been diligently paying it off since then, not realising all she’d been paying off was the interest, so that her $17 000 bill had now become $25 000.
I am not as bad as that.
 The facial was at a fancy place where they offer you a choice of rosehip or lavender tea as you sit on a couch and answer a form with questions like:
What are your sleeping habits? (I would like to have a habit. At the moment it is a hobby).
Rate your nutrition level from 1 to 10 (Depends on the day. I am still holding to the fact that breastfeeding takes 500 calories a day. Probably not if you’re only doing it twice a day now like I am, but lets not wax semantics).
What is your beauty regime? (Sorbolene and soap and I don’t want to talk about it).
Then my friend and I were escorted to separate rooms by our individual therapists and I don’t know what happened to her after that.
I was told to sit in a chair, close my eyes and inhale as my therapist rubbed his thumb up the bridge of my nose while passing a smell underneath it.
‘Your body will pick which one is right for you,’ he said calmly.
I chose the second and he said ‘ah’ and nodded his head, like he had expected that all along.
‘Your body chose clarity,’ he said with a meaningful gaze and I tried to work out just why that would be.
Turns out the other two were purity and perspective. My friend’s body chose purity, and given that she’d been eyeing off my brother and his army mates at our recent Thanksgiving when they took of their shirts for a swim, I’d say there could be something in that.
 I return from the facial and shortly thereafter Gregory returns from work and announces that due to (probably what should have been foreseen) circumstances, he would be finishing up work 3 weeks early.
I doubt I looked this good
Happy Christmas Q. Lucky you think the recycling box is exciting. 
Clarity. A little late body.
If only I’d had the massage a week earlier. I would have seen it coming. 
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