Saturday, March 31, 2012


Im gonna try my darndest, but if I'm not here, you'll find me over at Hartsyard, keeping a diary about opening of a restaurant.
Stop by and follow our ride, but more importantly, stop by once we're open.
We'd really love to have you.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


In my mind it was entirely possible to;

  • be mum to cyclone Q, my 16 month old dazzler.
  • open a restaurant - which continues to be more work than I ever wanted to anticipate (and I was anticipating it was a fair bit)
  • keep the home fires burning. (Not gonna lie. That has involved the dryer almost every day this week. May as well use the bloody thing since we just paid $125 to get it fixed!)
  • and maintain two blogs - this one and the one for the restaurant.
Some days this is all just a bit too hard.

Where are the night elves to help me out with a bit of this stuff overnight? If you've got some sitting around idly cleaning magic dust out of their navels, can you send them on over?

Thanks. I promise I'll stick to union guidelines.

Monday, March 26, 2012


I've been a little absent of late and here's why.
I miss this little blog, and hope to see you all again soon.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


In short:

  • Last night the tickle in my throat became a full blown head cold preventing any sleep.
  • The accompanying busy brain did not help, I suspect.
  • Nor the 16 month old that felt the need for close-up cuddles between the hours of 3 and 5.
  • I awoke, regrouped and drove said 16 month old to my fabulous friend, who was going to take her for a few hours while I did work for the restaurant we still don't own.
  • We still don't own said restaurant because of a dispute between other parties that we are helpless to resolve.
  • If the sale doesn't go through tomorrow, we shall have to walk away from the whole deal, regroup and run off on a holiday with the money we've borrowed from friends and family. (I am kidding about the last part, but if I wasn't, I'd go to Vietnam I think. Stop off in Laos and Cambodia, and maybe a couple of nights in a fancy resort somewhere on our way back home).
  • Upon arrival at my friend's place, Q began to sneeze all over her daughter's toys, and I suspected our close-up cuddles had been a very bad idea.
  • I left my friend to disinfect her toy room and returned home with Q to my husband and the designer (our friend who landed from New York on Tuesday morning expecting to get right to work) to discover that nothing further had transpired regarding the sale.
  • Q was Captain Cling, didn't want to eat, felt the need to whinge and snug simultaneously, and finally went down for a nap at 12.40pm.
  • It started to rain (surprise, surprise) so I loaded the clothes into the dryer and pushed start.
  • The dryer no longer works.
  • It is only just out of warranty.
  • It is going to cost $125 to fix.
  • Neither of us have jobs and rent is due this Saturday.
  • It is now 12.20am and it is really rather stupid that I am still awake given how wretched I feel, but contemplating the dual facts that the last 4 months of work (and trust me people, setting up a restaurant requires a lot of work) will likely have all been for naught, and that the money we have already spent is decidedly unrecoverable makes it hard to sleep.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

Isn't that how the saying goes?
Yeah right.

When life gives you lemons, sometimes it just sucks.

Monday, March 19, 2012


Sorry peeps.
It's been FULL ON.
I've had a blog about 'mother's guilt' running around in my head for a week now, but I don't have the time to write it up.
Left, right and centre.
But I did make a bread and butter pudding in the crock pot using all the leftover bread in the freezer.
Channeling my grandmother once again. I should have been born during the great depression.

I've also been trying to get the blog up and running over at the restaurant site, Hartsyard.
It's in its infancy, so check in and watch how the fit-out progresses.
Hope you're all well and not suffering mega-mother's guilt.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Q got into day care.
If you’re not a Sydney parent, you’ll be wondering why this statement is significant.
Seriously people, it’s far more than just significant.

This is like saying you beat Ian Thorpe. Or got upgraded to first class on a long haul flight with Qantas. Or had a helpful customer service operator.

It represents one of the major parenting victories. A success story to be shared around the dinner table, passed along over the back fence when you’re watering the garden, to be retold for generations to come.

How the Mighty Q found herself in day care with one email and a deleted application form.

Let me start at the beginning…
It became evident some months ago (like the day she turned up) that Q was the kind of kid who would benefit from a variety of inputs owing to her inexhaustible nature and quest for adventure.
More recently I finally acknowledged that despite my best efforts of parks, walks, swims, books, adventures, people and excursions, I was still not giving her quite what she needed or desired. (Hence the full throttle, full body, full volume tantrums).
Most recently, I was forced to concede that opening a restaurant, moving house, Q’s developing language and social interaction and opening a restaurant may in fact mean I need to find some assistance in the raising of the divine, unstoppable Miss Q.
I cannot be everything to my girl. I have always believed it takes a village to raise a child.
It’s time to call on the villagers.

And so, on the recommendation of a friend, I shot off an email to a day care, got an acceptance response, met with the owner for well over an hour, where not once did she make us feel possessive, neurotic, ridiculous or obsessive, and Q is due to start just after easter.

I know, I know, I’ve just found the holy grail for inner city parents – child care the days I wanted at a place I like, who doesn’t care if I only put Q in for a few hours until I’m brave enough to leave her for longer.
Complete, utter, inner-city victory.

The funny thing is, I’m not that kind of girl. I never win raffles, I’m never in the right place at the right time, I’m the tortoise. Slow and steady, and even then I usually don’t win the race.
This is something weird. Some odd cosmic collision of need and opportunity.
Thank you world, and thank you villagers.
My little girl is on her way… 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


If you were rich, you would never have to put the cover on your own quilt, you would have a maid to do it for you.
I pondered this today as I was doing just that, because I find a quilt necessary now that the world’s crappiest summer is over and we are officially in autumn.
Can you imagine if you could offload all the shit jobs to some other poor sucker?
Apart from the obvious stuff like cleaning, cooking and going to the Post Office, if I were rich I tell you what else I’d try to get out of doing:
·               Q’s nappies. Enough said.
·               Mending. Even a button. Especially a button.
·               Standing inline for bus tickets.
·               Filing receipts. Even the fact that they mean a deduction on my tax isn’t enough to make me enjoy that task.
·               Taking out the recycling. Jeez that’s annoying.
·               Tupperware sorting. (We now have a rule, no bottom can go in the cupboard without its top. Even Q knows how the system works).
·               Dusting the picture frames. How pathetic are dust mites?
·               And, of course, I would never, ever again make any phone calls to customer service operators. Yes, for the record, I am still at war with these Panda Bears of Humanity and it is really, really doing me in.

Monday, March 12, 2012


Panda Bears wandered down an evolutionary cul-de-sac and now they're stuck. 
They are – evolutionarily speaking – a waste of good bamboo.
Chris Packum of The Dailymail suggests we just let them die out.

It occurs to me, that customer service operators are the Panda Bears of humanity.
Totally useless human beings who are nothing more than oxygen thieves.

But before you have a go at me, I’m not being discriminatory, I feel this way about all customer service operators. Those in healthcare funds, superannuation funds, telecommunications…especially telecommunications. 
They’re all spectacularly unhelpful, infuriatingly vague and trained to PISS YOU OFF.
‘Is there anything else I can help you with?’
Anything else?
You didn’t help me in the first place.
Who trains these people?

Today I rang my healthcare fund and got a trainee, who was so maddeningly clueless she passed me over to her trainer.
The poor girl is doomed. It won’t be possible to learn a thing. Her trainer didn’t have any information to pass on.

I don’t start out annoyed. I never ring them when Q is awake, I make my cup of tea during the wait music, plug in my headphones so I can file my nails (a job I only ever get around to if I’m on the phone to customer service operators or on a long haul flight back to the US) and always have a sweet treat to take the edge off.

And yet, my good intentions are sabotaged. Every single time.
It’s extraordinary.

But I think I might have cracked their code - the only thing they’re ever taught.
Are you ready for it?
I think they’re taught to evade, avoid, deter and dodge…and then hope. 
Hope your tea has gone cold, you’ve run out of both your scotch finger biscuits and your patience, they’ve transferred you around the world enough times to get you motion sick, and then the clincher…that your baby awakes and you have to abort the issue 1 hour, 23 minutes and 16 seconds into it, with no resolution in sight.

Far worse than Pandas.
At least they’re lovely to look at.  

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Last night G was required to do restaurant research.
With my brother and sister-in-law.
At the pub.
I mean really, how dumb does he think I am?

So, while he was out having a good time, spending money we don’t have, I was at home like a good little 1950’s housewife, caring for the children and keeping the home fires burning.
Enough of the martyrdom, in all honesty I really wasn’t fussed.

I had a girls night with my favourite girl instead. It started with a late afternoon walk in the puddles, followed by a spot of house-destroying while I cooked dinner. Cupboards are looking a tad desperate in our house at the mo’ owing to the general lack of income and the general focus on bigger issues like opening a restaurant, so I resorted to my New York standard…tuna surprise. Tinned tuna mixed with whatever else I could find in the cupboard.
Which turned out to be cheese, garlic, bacon, a sad looking onion, some big cannelloni that I ripped into smaller pieces, pumpkin from the garden (about the only thing to survive the floods), and a dash of red wine, added as an afterthought, direct from the cup I was sipping.
As surprise meals go, it wasn’t one of my finest, it sort of had that fermented smell of cheese fondue and the consistency of cat food.

Nevertheless, low standards have dropped even lower these days, so I plopped down on the floor while Q sat next to me in her special chair and we shared our dinner from the same bowl while we watched the last ten minutes of the Tomliboos.
Wine isn’t enough to make that show make any sense, but Q seemed entertained enough.

After cat food surprise, we headed for the bath (ba in Q speak) and soaked our puddle jumping bones in a delicious bubble bath. Countless kids books later, a round of dress-ups and after we’d given all the bear-bears kisses and put them to bed, Q said ‘mum, mum, mum, mum’, raised her arms up, I put her in her cot, she promptly went to sleep, I made myself a cup of tea, ate one piece of all 3 of the desserts we currently have in our house and got back to the business of sourcing chairs, bar stools and water bottles for the restaurant.

God bless the internet. Remember the days of yesteryear when you would have had to schlep to all of these places for real? In torrential rain? With a 15 month old? You can see how the concept of the kit home became popular.

So I sat down in front of The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, which – by the way – is really sad, and it’s hard to find the exact antique hinge you’re looking for when you’ve got tears in your eyes, so I poured myself another glass of wine and ate another piece of rocky road.

The point of this whole story being that I will miss these girls nights when I’m working at the restaurant every night. I really, truly will.
But when I’m down there dealing with an irate customer who is late for his reservation because he couldn’t find a park in the rain and now he wants me to rush his meal so he can get to the Enmore Theatre on time, I have to remind myself that last night was almost the exception and not quite the rule. Not every night is filled with such mother-daughter love and mutual appreciation. More often it’s whinging, tantrums, bed-refusal and a sneaky wee on the carpet before the nappy gets put on.
And I doubt I’ll miss all that very much at all.
See, I can always find the positive. Even if (as in this instance) the positive is actually a negative. Positively speaking.

Happy Friday people, now that’s a positive, unless of course you work on the weekend.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


I have our music on shuffle at the moment, and have just listened to Creedence Clearwater* sing about the ‘bad moon on the rise’, which reminds me of a story a friend of mine told me, about how his mum always thought they were singing ‘there’s a bathroom on the right.’

A couple of months ago, Q would finish her milk, then hold her cup out and moan at us, and we would say to her ‘would you like some more please?’
So now she thinks the word for milk is ‘more’ except she says ‘nore’ neither of which are right, but you can hardly blame the girl for trying can you?

I think learning a language must be one of the most difficult tasks to master in the whole world, and have a slight inferior complex because I seriously think I am missing that part of my brain. I did 4 years of German at highschool (it was either that or commerce and I’d rather shove a pin in my eye than learn about economics) and the only thing I learned was how long it took to get from Oxford Street (where we had coffee and raisin toast with the locals still out from the night before) back to school, thereby missing double German but not missing assembly.
That, and ‘um die ecke’ which means ‘round the corner’ which my Oxford Street accomplice and I tried using when we were in Germany many moons ago, but of course those show-off Europeans just replied in flawless English.
Arguably, if you’re only going to remember one phrase, ‘round the corner’ shouldn’t have been it.

I place anyone who speaks two languages on such a high pedestal I get a crick in my neck just looking at them. As for those prodigies who speak several, well really, they’re so clever they must be on the brink of discovering the cure to AIDS, climate change and city rail timetables.

But there's a part of me that think's everyone is just making it up. When I hear someone jabbering away in a foreign tongue, I’m convinced it's all a ruse.
‘There’s no way they’re actually saying real words,’ I think to myself in English. ‘It’s just jibberish.’
Which is probably why I never have a problem understanding my girl. It appears that despite 32 years difference in age and developmental ability, we are, in fact, on the same wavelength.

*Don't judge me too harshly. The next song was Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue.

Monday, March 5, 2012


Yesterday I finally got myself a new phone which is good because my old one didn’t ring (a fairly key function with a phone) but is bad, because now I have no justifiable reason for not answering it when it does ring.

Or do I?
I just find it impossible to have a remotely intelligent, cohesive conversation with Q asking me for ‘book, book, book’ or ‘up please, up please, up please,’ or ‘gumboot, gumboot, gumboot’.
Gumboots are her very favourite shoe, even in the blazing summer sun. 
Her ultimate outfit is a to be completely naked except for her hat and gumboots.
She grew out of her first pair, but not before Gregory (ever the chef and to avoid a tantrum) considered spraying her feet with cooking spray so he could slide her too-big feet into the boots. Luckily for all involved, a family friend also has a shoe fetish and gave us a fantastic red pair that don’t, unfortunately, quite fit.

‘They’re too big,’ I said to G as we watched Q rip off her nappy and clump up and down the street, happy as Kim Kardashian in a pair of Jimmy Choos.
‘Good. It’ll be like those kids in the polio shoes. Maybe it will slow her down.’
My husband is master of the inappropriate. It gets him into trouble all the time. 

But luckily, that’s not too controversial a statement because kids these days are vaccinated against horrible things like polio. Well, most of them are, but that’s a contentious issue all on it’s own and not one this sleep-deprived mother feels competent to tackle, but it does bring me back to the early days of owning Q, when another mother said to me ‘careful, not wanting to wear clothes is one of the first signs of autism.’
What is it with people? Women in particular. We just love to tear each other down don’t we? It’s a known fact. At least I think it is. Women are a competitive bunch, even if we say we aren’t.

Whenever I was dealing with green card, social security or visa issues in the US, and I’d been in line outside the embassy since 4am in a February snowstorm just to be sure I was one of the first 80 in line, I would stand there chanting ‘please let me get a man, please let me get a man,’ because I knew that if I got a woman my age who somehow, for some reason, resented my position, she could deny my request without any need for explanation.
(Luckily this never occurred because I would always let people ahead of me, to ensure I got the middle-aged father of 3 who just wants to do his job with a minimum of fuss).

But I began this blog talking about my new phone. The new phone that I have just discovered doesn’t work and I have spent the entire time I’ve been writing this on the phone to technical support while they try to convince me that I need to hand this phone in and wait the 15 days it will take them to send me a new one.
Really Opt#s? Really?
I might not answer it very often, but when I do, I would like my phone to work.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


When I turned 21 I had a party. I seem to recall it involved a blue coloured cocktail, a jukebox and several people wearing stockings with open toed shoes. Is that a fashion faux pas? I wouldn’t know I live in my gym gear.
It also involved the discovery that I wasn’t the perfect child I’d always imagined myself to be. Come on, I have 3 brothers, how could I be anything but?
But it turns out that my early behaviour was so wretched, my mother delayed having her 3rd child because she was exhausted from my antics.
At the tender age of 21, when I was surrounded by my friends and family and meant to be hearing nothing but praise and accolades for my fantastic life so far, I hear I caused my mother to reconsider procreating.
It wounded me to the quick and I considered chucking a tantrum about it but then I remembered I was 21 and it wasn’t acceptable anymore.

And now here I am, 12 years on from that horrid revelation, to discover that genetics can be a real bitch.
The apple does not, it seem, fall very far from the tree.
Karma has bitten me but good.
For you see, I too, am now the proud owner of a similarly tempered girl and she is giving me a serious run for my money.

The other day I was looking after my friend’s delightful human, born just the day before Q in the same birth centre, but the turnover is so high in that joint, we didn’t even high five each other as one went in and the other went out.
Anyway, there I was Little Miss Q and her buddy Ini, on our way up to playgroup which required we cross the road. Ini obligingly stays in my arms, but not my girl, no, she commences a complete, full-throttle meltdown on the corner of one of the busiest roads in Sydney.
Throws herself down on the footpath, writhes and thrashes, arching her back like an electrocuted eel but with the noises of a hyena caught in a trap.
Pride and dignity flew out the window as I watched my daughter’s performance with awe. Ini, delightful Ini, observed from her perch on my hip, a look of bemusement on her cherub face.

My mother said she did some reading back when she was enduring the same, and the book said ‘if you find yourself laughing,’ it does not mean you think it’s funny, it’s a sign of hysteria. That you don’t know how to cope and this is the only response your body can think to have.'

I’m pleased to report that I did not, in fact, laugh hysterically, but yesterday (having endured these episodes at least daily, one of them for a full 35 minutes) my body responded by crying. Great tears of desperation and fatigue.

I have it on good authority (my mother-in-law) that my husband’s tantrums were the stuff of legend as well, which leads me to believe that we should have considered adoption far more closely.

You can't really blame Q for her nature when she’s the direct result of Gregory and I. Our procreating is like two meteors smashing together in space. You’d hardly expect there not to be some fallout and debris now would you?

But I'm a Pollyanna, constantly looking for the positive. 
Today dawns a new day. Full of new promise and opportunity.
Don't preempt her I tell myself, she might surprise you.

There was a small scale hissy when I insisted on shoes before our first adventure for the day, and the usual rage when we dress and suncream her, but so far there have been no full body episodes.

Not strictly true, we only allow her chalk.
Then again, it’s only 10.21 and we’ve got another 9.5 hours till bedtime…  

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Curse you Mother Nature and your never-ending rain.
Look what you forced me to do.
With my 15 month old cyclone.
Call me a bad parent, but after that experience (which involved a bath and full soaking of all participant's clothing) we put our gumboots and raincoats on and went singing in the rain.
My girl's response? Well, she was happier than a pig in mud.
Happy Friday people.
Stay dry, drink some lovely red wine & tell folk tales about the drought of yesteryear.

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