Monday, 28 December 2009

Punching Sandcrabs, and Other Christmas Tales

I am alive!

We have been at my MILs since Christmas Eve ... and nobody has killed anyone yet. It's a fricken miracle. I have *finally* realised the trick of surviving in this house ... expect a terrible time. Expect a really shit, annoying, terrible time, and anything better than that is a bonus. We are all going really well. Which has been kind of disconcerting to me. I am not used to it. We opened presents and then took the boys to the beach on Christmas morning - nobody else was there. We had it all to ourselves.

This is the sandcrab that Dave caught, I managed to snap a photo before Rocco came over and punched it, then stomped on it. It survived and ran onto my leg and I screamed - crabs are WAY too similar to spiders for my liking.

Max pretending to be sad. But he's not - he's staying up late every night, eating too much chocolate, and counting down the days until we drive further north to a cabin. (Nothing fancy, it's in a caravan park. I have packed my Bingo markers ..... I am ADDICTED to Bingo when we come up here.)

Oh Rocco. He is the boss of us all. Dave keeps telling me that he was this blonde when he was Rocco's age, which is a crock of shit. He has this habit of making up his own reality and believing it, therefore it is my mission to set him straight on things. So I innocently asked my MIL what colour hair Dave had when he was small. "Brown." HA. I ran into the loungeroom. "IN YOUR FACE. YOU HAD BROWN HAIR I ASKED YOUR MUM." I didn't realise she was right behind me .... she will always, always take Dave's side in anything. "Oh, actually, he did have some blonde. Yes. Yes it was blonde." Dave was smirking, I wrinkled my nose in disdain, mouthing "BROWN!" .. to him as I walked off.

Here he is frowning at the beach on Christmas Day. See that ridiculous tattoo on his arm? It's a lion. SO DUMB. It appears to be jumping out of a hole in his skin. At least once a month for almost ten years now, I have turned to him and feigned surprise and said "Ohhhhhh, wow! It looks like that lion is jumping out of your arm! WOW."

I can't imagine why he thinks I'm annoying.

Here is my Widdle Timmy. He now gets so irritated at me taking photos of myself in stupid poses that he's started doing it on my camera to get me back.

Have I not taught him The Ways of the Wanker? I'm so proud.


I was telling my sister what a great time I'm having. My sisters always laugh at me coming up here, because it is beyond dysfunctional. I'm even washing up every night -usually I just come and sit down with the guys, as my MIL has a "no men allowed in the kitchen policy."

Which just leaves, you know, ME ..... but, I thought I'd actually make the effort to get on with her this year. My goodness she has responded. I can be a real bitch, but in laying down my weapons, I'm finding she is doing the same. Who knew?

So I was raving on to my sister how great I feel, and she said wow, those happy pills do the trick eh?

And I thought oh fuck, am I actually having a good Christmas this year or is it all false? WTF? Apparently I can never go off these even keel happy pills until I'm 90. By then, I'll deserve to be a crusty, angry, viscious pyscho bitch.

I thought of last years Christmas, which included a particularly nasty argument with Dave on Christmas Eve about wrapping paper.



I pondered this strange, peaceful state this Christmas.

I was so happy in that moment I could burst. Grateful and happy and peaceful and content and full of love.

And then this morning, Dave got up and left to go to the beach AGAIN, for his "time out." And woke Rocco up AGAIN before he left so I had to get up at 6am and mind Rocco. Then Dave came back three hours later, said he was tired, and went to SLEEP.

I was beyond irritated. We had an argument, and I have had a really shitty, annoying day.

THANK GOD. I *am* still real. I am alive.

Apparently anti-anxiety medication cannot stop the fact that your husband can be a real arsehole and piss on your good mood.


Dave asked Tim a while back to find out what I wanted for Christmas. "Ok, what I *don't* want is a SAT-NAV for my car. I know I need one, but I want something for Christmas that's personal and maybe pampering. Please."

Tim mocked me, but said sure, no worries.

I carefully choose presents for all the boys - mountains of wrapped, thoughtful presents. On Christmas morning, Dave looked at Tim and Tim looked at Dave.

"Ummm, where's Edens present??" "You had it." "No I didn't, you had it."

I was annoyed, but enjoyed watching them squirm. If they didn't find it, I was going to have SO much mileage out of it. They found it, in some random bag. I opened it.

It was a SAT-NAV.


Dave had another present for me. I opened it and cried.

He had the school photo of me in Fiji blown up and framed. He said he loves it, thinks it's so exotic. And funny, that I stand out like dogs balls because I'm the only one with red hair.


Later that night, I realised why I cried - Dave is the only person who really "sees me" as a child.

I love him ..... crap lion tattoo especially.


I hope you are managing your holiday season ok. I hope nobody got a fucking SAT-NAV. (Bo-ring).

..... a lot of you are in winter, so I apologise for the beach snaps. (Such a strange concept, to have Christmas in the cold!)

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Jingle Bells, Batman Smells

Remember when you were ten years old .... so glorious and beautiful, all the boys liked you and you always looked so cool. All the girls in your class were so jealous of your effortless ways of looking chic.


Me either.


I actually remember quite a few strange looks when that photo was being taken.


Christmas is upon us. Rocco has destroyed our tree. He nearly shat himself when he saw it all decorated ..... he is obsessed with soccer balls, so he ran towards it shouting BALL! BALL! And then gave all the "balls" on the tree a hug.

Then he ripped all the lights off, as well as the tinsel, santas, and candy canes. I was so sick of re-decorating it all the time that it will now stay like this.

And when I went to take a photo of Max's homemade Angel with only one wing (I love the symbology of our Angel only having earnt one wing) .... I discovered a spider has now started decorating the tree too. With it's shiny web. Can you see it sitting on her left shoulder?

I *hate* spiders, but have granted this one a reprieve. I love the symbology of an angel with one wing sitting on our christmas tree with a frickin' spider on her shoulder.

Lastly, here is our nativity scene. I bought it a few years ago .... a then-three year old Max went running up to it and added his Shrek and Buzz Lightyear. This year we have a skateboarder, Donkey Kong, and of course Buddha sitting next to Mary.

Mario is consoling poor Joseph who lost his head last year. (Which was symbolic of our household last year when the paternal figure almost died.)

I saw Rocco playing with Josephs tiny head saying "BALL."

And now I can't find it.

This nativity scene is not a joke - it represents all the different views and melting pot of people who come together at Christmas time, trying against all odds to make some fun and joy and love out of this fucked-up life.

Merry Christmas, my magnificent friends in the computer. Thank God for blogging. I hope your Christmas time is going ok. I wish you one thing - peace in your heart.

And I hope you don't lose your head too much.

love Eden XOXOX

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Better. Better get a bucket ..

I've so much to say and so many posts to comment on .. but I just got back from the hospital, Max, Rocco and I are all sick. Tummy bugs, rashes, exhaustion. Had World's Most Indifferent doctor, who might actually work on his bedside manner after being reprimanded by me. Who shouts at a one year old? "OK you, come here. Now."

He's lucky I'm sick.

We are all ok, at home. Thank you for the comments and emails on my last post. I was telling Dave about what you had to say. He was thoughtful for ages ... then goes, "Hon? How does blogging work again?"

He just doesn't understand the concept, calls my bloggy friends "the computer."

"Aw hon you're not going to tell the computer that, are ya?"


Here is a pic I call, "Christmas Sharing." It's probably how I ended up with Rocco's tummy bug.

It was kind of worth it.

Friday, 11 December 2009


Recently I weeded the entire vegie garden. I took a walk around our house .... to find weeds the size of triffids. We have a big area around our house. I was gobsmacked. "DAVE! THERE'S WEEDS EVERYWHERE!"

"No shit, sherlock." He was amazed too - at my obliviousnessnessness.

So I start weeding. Hardcore weeding, man. Heaven. There is nothing better than ripping big long tall weeds out of a garden. I should have hired my garden out, for anger therapy. I was on a mission. Bent over in an inappropriate denim skirt that hung too low and my bumcrack got sunburnt, wearing Havianas and no gardening gloves. Hardcore. My hands became thick and calloused and permanently dirty. When I closed my eyes I saw weeds. I started seeing weeds everywhere ... Max's school, outside the video shop.

Dave just shook his head. My brother came over, finding me weeding again. I said "Mate, this is proof that I can get addicted to ANYTHING. I CAN'T STOP."

I had the choice of getting weedkiller and be done with it. I refused, preferring the natural way much better. I noticed all the different types of weeds. Some were tall and thin and came straight out. Some needed two hands. Sometimes, the weeds were so darn pretty. I felt like I was committing genocide. Who am I to decide who is to stay and who's to go? You! No dirt for you! The purple wildflowers stayed, I didn't have the heart to pull them. Dave would bring them to me years ago, to the small pokey house we lived in while he was building this one. There is something so lovely about handpicked flowers.

I miss that pokey house. Life was simpler then.

After many many days weeding .... I looked around, and got disheartened. There was so many! It was like I'd done nothing! Yet still I kept going. I got to know them. The little soft ones .... the out-of-control succulents, the ones that grew quickly and aggressively, exactly like Daves tumours did last year.

There is a particular type of weed around here ... the mothership. The core issues of weeds. Like, your fucked up childhood in a plant. It grew so thick, and coiled. I couldn't get it out. And it was strangling all the other plants, tangled up in everything and making it all look terrible. I pulled and pulled but could not get it out. It would break off at the surface of the soil, so it's roots were still in there, growing and moving. Like a shapeshifter.

I cracked the shits at it so bad. Using all my strength, it would not budge. I cursed and kicked it and got so angry, ripping pieces off where I could, knowing it would just grow straight back again.

It had overtaken my garden.

It needed weedkiller.


A little over a month ago, things got so bad for me I didn't know what to do. I had let things slide, ignored my need for therapy, my moods turned into some kind of mania. In all my years of being fucked-up, I'd never really experienced anything like it.

I would be at the shops and suddenly think, oh my God something terrible is going to happen to Max or Rocco I know it I know it AHHHHH. Panic attacks? Maybe. I'd rush to pick them up and couldn't believe my luck that they were ok.

At night, I needed complete silence. Tell all the boys to shut the hell up on a regular basis, worried that they would wake Rocco up. I always feel nervous and a bit scared when Rocco wakes up. Flashbacks? Maybe.

No social outings, no friends, no dinners. Just gardening and chocolate and scrabble. At 2am in the morning because I couldn't sleep. Felt wired and strange.

Had a major meltdown in the carpark of Toys-R-Us. I made both boys cry. I wasn't even angry at them, I vented and raged my frustrations out so inappropriately. As I drove off, a woman was looking after me in shock. I was so embarrassed, I thought the carpark had been empty. There's a woman out there in the world, who thinks I am a terrible mother.

For a while there, I WAS a terrible mother.

Crying for no reason was normal. I'd eat nothing or everything. I knew something was happening that I couldn't ignore any longer, something I'd been resisting for a while now. I needed some kind of anti-anxiety medication. The kind of medication that for ten years, I have heard some people in meetings share about, and silently judge them. Because, you know. WEAK. Just go hardcore!

I've had to eat a lot of humble pie, lately.

I needed weedkiller.

My doctor definitely thought so. It has been a month now. I told my brother about ... a few days in he walked inside and asked how I was.

"Even keel, mate. Even keel!"

I asked him if this was how I *should* have been feeling all these years? Is this how normal people feel? He said no way .... everyone's fucked up to some degree.

I don't know that I agree with medication, but God knows I needed it. It was a big decision, and not one I took lightly. The price to freedom is eternal vigilance .... I need to be wary about taking "a magic pill" that makes everything better.

But, it hasn't made everything better. It does not give me a "buzz" or a "feel-good." The main thing I am aware of is the absence of the intense worry. When I wake up in the middle of the night now, my heart isn't racing at a million beats per second, in terror. I've stopped crying in my car every time I'm alone. Stopped yelling around my kids. Started to be a bit more manageable again.

I don't know how long I will be on them .... perhaps a few months, a bit longer. I think my brain needs some retraining. Maybe?

(Please feel free to email me or leave a comment if you'd like to know more - I have nothing to hide, but it's a tricky subject to navigate. I feel judgemental of myself, for Gods sake.)

I know that nothing will ever kill off that whole kick-arse weed entirely. The weedkiller made it wither and it got cleared away.

It will always be there, under the surface, growing and twisting around.

I'm ready and waiting. I hope the weeds never get so huge and insurmountable again.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

The Ugliest Photos in the History of the Internet. You're Welcome.

It started off innocently enough ... fooling around in my office with Rocco, snapping some pics.

Then I thought I'd try to take a photo of my new glasses, and write a blog post about What The Glasses Saw, detailing all the things my old glasses saw, and pondering on all the things these new specs will see. Things will happen and I don't know what they are yet.

After about a billion and seventy photos, I still wasn't happy. I know, how about I prop my head on my hand and look all thoughtful?

Nuh. Not happy with any photo. I clicked away. Realised I've worn glasses for 25 YEARS. What's older than a cougar? A mountain lion? A goat? Yeah, I'm that.

Then I realised how white my eyes are, and snapped a mere trillion of those.

Then I made this crazy, kooky face. Because I am such a crazy, kooky person don't you know!

Things quickly degenerated into something quite ugly.

Rocco had been watching me the whole time, and finally got bored and tried to get in on the camera action.

Outta my way baby .... mumma has some more Ugly to do!

Seriously, who does this? What is wrong with me? There's something wrong.
In this shot I look like a fricken serial killer. Eating liver with a fine Chianti.

My nose. MY NOSE. Hey Eden - America called. It wants the Grand Canyon back.

TRUE: On windy days, I feel my nose hairs rustle in the breeze.

I've had a stressful week, trying to not let Christmas swallow me whole like it does every year. Dave is going through something pretty huge right now. I'm here, trying to stay balanced and supportive. Getting a standing ovation from Max's class for the Bart Simpson cake and watching my sisters incedulous face as Rocco tore through her house like a cyclone .... I owe her three cushions, four Christmas decorations, and a round delicate shell ornament that he threw around her house like a "ball".

I need to do stupid things, remind myself that life is just too damn important to be taken seriously.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

The Goddess is Dancing

That was the bumper sticker on the car in front of us this morning.

"The Goddess is Dancing."

I like it.

After lunch, Dave and I were talking about the next few weekends, so I pulled the calender out - and realised, that today is exactly 21 years since the suicide of my dad.

And I had forgotten about it. This, huge thing that used to rule my entire life. I only remembered it halfway through the day, and didn't even think enough to tell Dave.

It's more than half my life away, now. Twenty-one years ago since I walked my little brother into the toy shop with a wad of cash and told him he could pick anything, anything in the whole shop. And the shopkeeper scoffed and said something about "being spoiled." And I ignored him, because I was still the nice Eden back then. But how I wanted to grab that shopkeeper by the lapels and scream at him that our dad was lying in the fucking morgue. Then pound his head against the counter until blood and brain juice came streaming out.

I looked down into my brothers eyes and they were worried and hollow. Right then I realised that nothing, not any toy I bought him would make one bit of difference.

I remember when I fell pregnant with Max in 2001 .... the doctor told me the due date would be the 1st December. The date I hated most of all - but now, a baby was due to be born on that date. My baby. It was a sign, symbolising the turnaround in my life that I knew could happen if I did the right thing.

I was only 29, and had been busy raising hell. All of the people in my life - even Dave, I suspect .... thought that me becoming pregnant was the worst thing in the world. But I knew I would have the baby, and had this deep inexplicable sense that things would be ok. It was hard to articulate that to people, and they only realised the deep changes in me many months, even years, later.

Max didn't end up coming on the 1st December after all, he came the following day.

If you'll excuse me, I have a Bart Simpson birthday cake to ice.

The Goddess is Dancing.

Saturday, 28 November 2009


This morning, on our walk, he lazily kicks off one shoe, stuck his foot out of the stroller, and laughed as the weeds brushed against his sole.

He had run into my arms this morning, his arms outstretched. For the first time ever .. overjoyed to see me. Me!

I gave Max a piggyback through the park, his gangly pre-teen legs bouncing away. Mischka was let off the lead to run as far and wide as she could.

Last night I dreamt Big again. Tribal elders had come to our house, to sit at an ornate table. They then cleansed and smudged every room, with tinkling bells and sweet smoke. All the cancers wake was gone.

I woke up with the same feeling I get when I look into this blue:

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Dedicated Follower of Failing

"There is no failure here sweetheart ..
.. just when you quit."

- U2 "Miracle Drug"

Back in October, I signed up for NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month, where you are supposed to log in a minimum of 1600 words per day, to end up with a book by the end of November.

I failed. I can't do it.

At first I was full of the familiar contempt and disgust I have for myself ... but you know what? Fuck that. Fuck it! Let's celebrate our failures, I say. The people who actually finish NaNoWriMo need failures like me, to make them feel better about themselves. You're welcome, NaNoWriMo winners. Enjoy.

I was thinking about all the things I have so far accomplished during November, there's actually quite a lot.

  • Cooked 24 dinners for five people

  • Sacked a shitty therapist ... and even made an appointment to see a new one. After I thought to myself, nah, I'm fine now. (I have been thinking "nah, I'm fine now" ... for over a year now.)

  • Walked out to the veggie garden for the first time in two years, shouted out to Dave "HON! THESE WEEDS COME UP TO MY THIGHS!" He couldn't believe I only just noticed.

  • Weeded said weeds out of the entire garden, in two days. Is there anything more satisfying than pulling weeds out of a garden? (Maybe cleaning your ear out with a cotton bud.)

  • Cleaning my ears out with cotton buds.

  • Cleaning Max's and Rocco's ears out with cotton buds. Also snipping their toenails and fingernails, washing their bumcracks, and hugging them almost daily.

  • Getting up for Rocco approx 4 times every night because he had manflu. And feeling love instead of rage.

  • Noticing the tears in Dave's eyes when he came back from quoting a job in a childrens special needs home and told me all the perspective it gave him.

  • Eating a whole big box of Guylian chocolates for dinner the other night, secretly.

  • Pulling out the empty box from under my desk right now to spell Guylian correctly.

  • Realising that I may be The Lonely Vagina .... but when I am happy, everybody's happy. It's like I am the Lonely Vagina Overlord of the Manor.

  • Instead of yelling at all the boys for lining up the empty toilet roll holders in the bathroom to look like a shooting game at a carnival AGAIN, I laughed and took a photo to post on my blog.

  • Writing a facebook status update about how hungry I am lately and maybe I have wormies. Then thinking about that at 2am in a panic ... who writes things like that? IDIOT.

  • Discovering steamed dim sims at the Chinese Restaurant. Dave and I can not BELIEVE we have lived our whole lives eating deep fried dim sims, when steamed taste so much better. Oh my God.

There's a lot more. There's tons of stuff I've done ... we've all done. Why are we so hard on ourselves?

We should all celebrate our failures, as much as our success. Our failures and our fuckups, each as mundane and profound as the other.

Monday, 23 November 2009

I may be the only female in my house but I sure can grow some hair.

Dave, Tim, Max and Rocco were all waiting for me in the car. I jumped in, looked down at my legs, jumped out, shouting "HANG ON I'LL BE STRAIGHT BACK."

Dave groaned, I shouted over my shoulder "Shut up! I always wait for you yet you never wait for me ..."

Ran back inside and searched for my razor. The weather is so bloody awesome, we were all going to the beach ... as soon as I shaved the Amazon forest off my legs.

In a panic, I did something I haven't done for about 20 years .... a dry shave.

Ran back to the car in record time, slammed the door, off we drove to Sydney.

My legs felt a bit tingly.

By the time we got down there, they were covered with a mass of welts, so itchy and so sore all day. I limped around, whimpering and complaining like an idiot.

Dave teased me mercilessly about my ingenious dry shave. In the car on the way home, I needed relief so bad, I slathered them with Rocco's nappy cream. Bad idea, it stung like a bitch. So I used his wipes to wipe the cream off.

White pain. Oh the agony.

Yelling :"YEEEEEEOOOOUUUCH. What the fricken frick!? These are supposed to be GENTLE. They are for BABIES BUMS."

Daves retort: "Yeah, well hon ...... Rocco doesn't dryshave HIS ARSE."

I'm pretty sure the boys laughed all the way back home.

Max: "Even Rocco is laughing at you mum!"

Me: "No, he's only laughing at you laughing."


Saturday, 21 November 2009

The Therapist is OUT

I went in to my local doctor the other week, to get a referral to see a therapist. I had to tell him what was wrong with me. Before I went in I almost had a panic attack. Which was funny, considering I was there for my anxiety issues. The receptionist made a joke about me not sitting down, and I laughed and told her I had to hold the wall up. Earlier that morning I was listening to John Mayer on Nova FM, he has been in Australia and was getting interviewed. He was funny, saying that before he died he wanted to release a pop song, have people dance to it in clubs.

"So, I can be at home, playing with myself and watching sports while people get off to my pop song."

The people at Nova used all of his sound bites and made up this faux pop song, and played it. "Playin' with myself and watchin' sports ... sports ... sports ..."

So this was the song rattling around my head when I sat in my doctors office trying to tell him that I was falling apart for a while now, and now my whole family were looking at me strangely. I didn't want to tell him. Wished I could just pull up my shirt and show him inside my heart. I wondered what he would see? A withered teeny sapling? A furnace of hate and fear? A burning skull? All I could think was "Playin' with myself and watchin' sports." And had to stifle my laugh at the absurdity.

A few days after, I had my first therapy appointment. 10 minutes before I went, I rang my sister and she put me on loudspeaker because she was with my other sister. We laughed our usual mania, as I told them that going to see a therapist for the first time is like a first date - a really fucked up first date where you tell someone everything, all the crap and mire. Like, an anti-date.

I drove there, parked the car, and knocked on the door. She opened it, to a house that stank of dog. BAD. I walked through to her office, and as soon as she told me where to sit, I knew this was not going to work out. Great. How the hell was I suppose to break up with a therapist on the first date, before therapy had even occurred? And it wasn't just the dog smell, or her sternly pointing to where I should sit. It was the look that fluttered across her eyes when she saw my tattoos and black toenail polish. The same look I probably had when I studied her stern bun of frizzy hair kept up with hairspray and sensible cardigan. It felt like I needed to teach her how to have an orgasm.

We muddled through a few things. She didn't seem to know quite what to do with me, rummaging around her folders for printouts on stress relief techniques. When she started to explain what the word "just" meant, in the English language, I couldn't help it and started smirking. She looked straight up, annoyed, and said, "What? What is going on right now?"

I told her I did not feel comfortable; she could not have rushed me out of her office fast enough. We were like two Mr Beans, fumbling around each other together. Polar opposites. I think we both scared each other.

So, it's off to a new one next week, hopefully not a bun in sight. I need a therapist I can say "fuck" to, someone who does not have yellow walls with no pictures.


The last few days I have been thinking and praying for Anissa Mayhew and her family. I just read this post from her husband Peter. If you are the praying kind, please spare your thoughts for her recovery. And if you aren't the praying kind, they need your prayers even more. God always listens more intently to new voices, because obviously it's something very important.


Rocco turned 18 months old this week. For some reason, it seems more of a milestone than when he turned one. He brings me joy. I'm starting to feel more and more grateful every day, for every moment I have.

About fucking time.

Monday, 16 November 2009


I was driving along the freeway, pumping U2. Full boar. I haven't listened to them in the longest time. (Not coming to Australia for their current tour *WAH*)

And I was thinking about Bono, wondering what he would be doing at that exact moment in time. Like, that very second. Out there, in the world, somewhere.

I drove up behind a van, overtook ...... and could not believe my eyes.

Can you even bloody believe it??

I grabbed my camera and lunged toward the passenger seat to take that photo. On the freeway. As soon as I snapped it, the chick driving spotted me and laughed and waved, and I waved back, giving her the thumbs up.

It was surreal - what are the chances? I felt like I was in the Truman Show ... obviously, Bono was saying hello to me.

(What's the difference between God and Bono?
God doesn't think he's Bono.)


I showed Dave the photo later, still all giddy. He scrolled through the ten, maybe fifteen photos I took after that one - me driving, me pouting and driving, me giving the peace sign whilst pouting and driving. He shakes his head and walks off.

Friday, 13 November 2009

A Do-Over

So, it's been a pretty intense week around these parts. I can't even write it about yet because I'm still processing it.
I think we are all headed closer to fine. All of us. It has taken a long time to get here, though.

The cruncher for me to seek help was not the crying jags, the mania, the terror-filled panic ...... it was seeing what my hair had become on my all station-stops to Crazytown .....

That is the hair of a loony bag lady with fifteen imaginary cats.

My hair is still in shock from it's unkempt status, but word has it is headed for a full recovery.

Have a lovely weekend. And wherever you are, be there now.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009


As a kid, I sometimes attended services for Remembrance Day on November 11. My grandfather fought in the war, so it was big deal. We'd go to the local RSL and eat lunch after the service, wearing our poppies. A poem would always be read out for the fallen, containing the lines "age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn." Years later I understood the emotion that day held for my grandfather, why everybody looked so solemn.

My stepdads birthday was November 11, so every year for ten years I would give him a present. The last present I gave him was a crossword book, in England 1988. After he died it stung, that his birthday would roll around and the day was called Remembrance Day. I remembered every damn day.

November 11 2006 was one of the most amazing, intense days of my life. I queued all day in the sun at a U2 concert, got right up the front, and during the night Bono knelt down and held my hand as he looked at me while he sang. 60,000 people a teeming mass behind me.

November 11 was good again!

On November 11 2007, a baby was born across the world, over in America. She came too early, and struggled so hard to stay alive.

She was the most beautiful baby you've ever seen. Eyelashes that take your breath away. Parents who adored and doted on her .... who went through so much in those early days. Days where it was touch and go. Imagine having your child in the NICU, with all the beeps and sounds and nurses and fear. Imagine not knowing if your baby was going to make it through the night.

She grew bigger, got stronger, and went home. She played with her mama late into the night, adored her Rigby, loved music, got fascinated with her dad strumming his guitar. She put up her dukes, had a little breakdance routine in her high chair, and on November 11 2008, chowed down on some mean looking cream puffs. At her party, Maddie was the cutest little Pebbles you will ever see.

All was well! This was a gorgeous family, living their lives with spunk, sass, and spirit.

In April this year, Madeline passed away.

And nobody who has anything to do with the Spohrs has ever been quite the same since.

Unbelievable. Tragic. A dreadful thing to comprehend, understand. There are some things in life that will never be made sense of. The loss of such an exquisite, beautiful child is surely one of them.

If this happened to me, I would just kill myself.

No, you probably wouldn't. Nobody can say how they would handle a grief this size, until they are actually going through it. I can only imagine what it must be like ... indeed, Heather tells us. Sometimes Mike does too.

They have both continued to parent their precious Maddie, after her passing. Setting up Friends of Maddie, a non-profit foundation to raise awareness and money for packs to send to NICU parents some comfort in an uncertain time.

There are parents of babies who haven't even been conceived yet, who will be helped by this organisation. Bringing glory and honour to their daughter. She did not die in vain.

There's a lot going on, out there in this big world. The story of Madeline and her life has touched so many people, in profound ways. It's touched me. Heather sharing her deepest pain kind of cracks you open in ways you don't expect to be. I think she shares for many reasons .. to work through her grief, to educate people, to ensure people never forget her precious daughter.

I think of Maddie most days. Every time I walk out to my blooming lavender bush at the front of my house I think of her. Madeline reminds me to love my loved ones, right here and right now. This second.

I thought of her a lot today, on her second birthday, and imagine she would be running around by now. She has left such a Presence, in the world.

Heather and Mike taught her so many things, in her short life. And now she has become their greatest teacher.

Happy Birthday, Maddie Moo. Wherever you are, it must be beautiful.

"Age shall not weary her, nor the years condemn."

Monday, 9 November 2009


What does an alcoholic do when he gets into a rut?
Decorates it.

- Overheard at a recovery meeting

This morning, I drove in the driveway and the sun came out. I pulled up, still dressed in my pj's after dropping Max to school. Rocco sat in the backseat in his pj's, and I noticed the still in the air and for a brief respite, I could feel a calm. A droplet of dew on a leaf was caught by the sun, and it looked like a sparkling diamond. Like a fricken 5-carat diamond, swaying there with its balls in the air, in my front garden.

I unbuckled Rocco and for a change, didn't hurry him inside, didn't rush and get preoccupied. He gathered up a golf ball, a broken tennis ball, two dummies, and his Beru. And walked around, holding his treasures tightly to his chest. Then handed them all to me, one by one, I had to say "ta" after each one. This was repeated twelve times. Slowly.

Nothing was more important in that moment, for either of us.

Earlier, I called Max into my bedroom and asked him to lay down next to me. I told him I wanted to tell him something, he looked up at me gravely. I explained to my almost eight year old, patient, sensitive, beautiful son ... that I've had a very hard time lately. That out of everything I've ever been through in my whole life, this year has been the hardest. That I'm working it out, and I promise to stop yelling so much. And I was so sorry he had such a stinkbug for a mum sometimes.

Probably all too much info. I just don't want him blaming himself.

He looked at me with his unconditional love again and melted my heart again.

Every single issue I have ever had in my life is now triggered. Game on. This week I'll see two different doctors and tell them the exact same thing and see what they both say. There's a sense of palpable relief, just knowing I have made the appointments. One of them has known me for 11 years, the other not so much. I have been a staunch non-believer of medications for years. It's tricky territory, for me. And I have valid reasons ... but now it seems I will have to eat my words. Again.

I need to do something - not for me, but because it impacts my boys so much. My real diamonds.

Pffffft. Pussy.

Swear to God, by the time this is over I will be the EXPERT on what to do when you have abandonment issues caused by your fathers killing themselves and you grow up in an abusive home and then you wipe the worlds floor with your twenties and you almost die but don't but then you really DO die, spiritually, and get re-born and try to unparent yourself and have a baby with a guy you love. And he has kids and a messy past but you make it work and then you want ANOTHER baby because it was so fucking great the first time. So you do then while you were growing the second baby in your tummy, your beloved husband is growing some nasty tumours in HIS tummy. And then a week before the baby is born, he will bend over in pain and say, "Hon - what side is your appendix on? There's something wrong." And you knew there was something wrong because that's what life is, after all. A series of really fucked up things where something goes wrong. And everything you love will all turn to shit anyway, dufus. The next year is spent waiting for the cancer to come back. It was easier to be dark and love nothing. Wasn't it? HELP. So then you cry all the time and you get stuck, in the well. And you remember that your grandmother used to call you a "deep well", and she was the only person who used to really look at you, as a child. And kind of give a shit, you know?

Yeah. I will *totally* be an expert on all that ... so if you know anybody who goes through it, send them to me and I will tell them what to do. (As soon as I find out myself. Pfffft. PUSSY)


Here is a funny photo I took last week. Because this is what we must do ... laugh at funny things. Especially unfunny things. Just ask my sisters and brother.

Max came home from school and said he had wet shoes, so he took them off.

Max: "My feet are wrinkly, mum."

Pre-occupied, distracted, arsehole Eden: "Yeah mate everyone's feet are wrinkly."
Max: "Ummmm, they have wrinkles all over them. Look."

I walked over and looked, about to tell him again that everybodys feet are wrinkly.

But not this wrinkly.

Oh we laughed. The sweet blessed relief of laughter. A tear fell down my cheek, like a diamond.

Thursday, 5 November 2009


The world has sharp edges this week. I've found myself thrown around again, with no life jacket. Sick of the sudden ups and downs, sick of my own self. Sobbing SO HARD into Daves chest the other day, hiccupping. "I thought you were going to die! And you didn't die! Aren't we supposed to be happy every day for the rest of our lives now? We got through ... but why do I feel so BAD."

Walking around the house, waiting for the next disaster. A helicopter is poised to smash into my house, at all times. This is how I constantly feel. I know it's not normal, but then again, I never said I was normal.

I would *hate* to be married to me. Dave married me exactly four years ago today. "It's your wedding birthday!" Max told us both this morning.

But Rocco was crying and Tim was late and I was cranky and Dave is stressed and lunches and sick and bottles and recess and school clothes and taxes and quoting and emails.

That was all before 9am.

Life swallows me up and I crumble like a sack of shit and Dave is there ... always there, being the ground and the earth and drumming his drum.

And he didn't die.

All is Well.

Four years married, nine and a half years together. Being faithful to each other. We are good for each other, I think. When I was little I would stare out my bedroom window and imagine having a husband one day. I'd think about it all the time. "Somebody out there is growing up, just like me. And one day I'll meet him and fall in love and get married. WOW."

Now I show him my old-lady knees and he laughs and tells me I'm not old. (Did you know knees sag?!)

Happy Wedding Birthday, Davey Gravey. You deserve a motherfucking medal.

Monday, 2 November 2009


Today I went to a womens recovery meeting. As I walked in, I got asked if I could think of a topic. Without breaking my stride I said:

"Marriage is stupid."

There were many raucous laughs ... but it's supposed to be a "proper" topic like, faith vs. fear, anger, patience etc. I relented and said ok .. how about tolerance then? The girls just laughed MORE. Even better ... they kept my original suggestion. So every time somebody new walked in and asked what the topic was, "marriage is stupid" elicited much laughter.

I shared super-awesome juicy stuff, then got the privilege of listening to a shitload of awesome woman share about how outdated the institution of marriage is, and that maybe men and women are simply not suited to living with each other. It was bliss. I love meetings. Rocco ran around and around, making everybody dizzy. A headslap here, stolen banana there. He was the youngest of all the kids .. and clearly the boss.

(I tried to do my favourite meeting yesterday in Sydney, but forces conspired against me. I cried from the frustration, and had to resort to PRAYING. I KNOW.)

Today we went to the pool. Rocco + water = HIGH ALERT

He has no fear. Jumps in, time after time after time. Then runs off, me racing my saggy bottomed five year old swimmers after him, screaming his name. My friend works there as a lifeguard, thank goodness. Scooped him up as he went past. "Having a good time?"

"Nope. Not at all."

It was exhausting. The only time he stopped was when he picked up a discarded bandaid. At one point, he banged his head so hard that it bruised straight away, so he let me hold him close. With heaving sobs he looked up at me, in pain. "MO-RE?!"

He wanted to get straight back in.

Here is sir in some photos I snapped last week, bathing al fresco on the back deck -

Right after this was taken, he climbed out and capsized the whole thing. Sat there, spluttering, coughing, and laughing. "More?" -

From the day he was born I've said he got all his strength and toughness from his dad.

Today, sitting in the meeting, I realised he also got a decent amount of strength and toughness from his mum.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Blogging Out Loud

Blog like you mean it. Blog when you want to ... but especially when you don't. Never think your stories aren't interesting ... if something is told well, with truth and meaning, it will make people smile. Or relate. Or cry. And come back to read more.

Don't box yourself in ... you are the boss of your own blog. You do not need to belong to any genre, or niche, or style. Be nice .. but do not be afraid to show your dark side; your faults; your defects of character. These are the things that will make people love you more. (We all have them, anyway.)

Don't try to be Dooce .. that gig is taken. Don't worry about stats, or readership numbers. Just write. Even if you just have that one person from Tennesee, or Rome, or Budgewoi commenting ... keep writing. If you stay put and stay true, people will listen. Build it, and they will come.

Spread yourself around ... be generous with your comments on other people's blogs. Think about who the person is. Make them smile if they need it. If all of the comments to one of their posts is about the same thing, choose one other thing to comment about ... the knick knack behind them in their kitchen. What you think the horse in their dream means. Be thoughtful, and mean what you say.

Never blog for comments. Never blog for comments. It doesn't work. People smell falseness a mile off. And don't think too much about what you want to write about. The best blog posts I've written are ones that I've just let flow out. Then think to yourself, well, I can't publish that. Publish it anyway.

It will keep you up at night, then the next morning you will go to take your post down and find that fairies have come in the night, disguised as people, and sprinkled a shitload of fairy dust over your depression-laden, pain-fuelled tirade. And you will crumple and cry at the sheer gratitude and relief you feel. At having been heard.

"I was here," says every comment. "I was here and I saw you struggle and here are some kind words, to help you through. Sounds like you need them."

Sometimes you will be the fairy, and somebody else will need your words, to help them through.

Be generous.

There are blogs for every conceivable thing. They are everywhere. Hang a welcome mat out on yours. Brew some tea. Shoot the shit. What's your darkest fear? What did you think when you were five? What's your take on the Russian Revolution? Do you think Jessica is totally jealous of Ashley now? What's your story?

Start your own damn meme. Make it the "This Blog Kicks Serious Motherfucking Arse" meme, and award it to seventy people. Have some fun. Show your mole! Dance! Tell us what makes you cry. I promise, you are not as boring as you think you are.

I wish my blog was more polished, with less swearing and more intellectual shit that I know I'm capable of. Alas. I started this blog as a way of showing prospective employers my writing style .... yeah right. This blog is now the last thing I would want prospective employers to see. As Jim Carrey profoundly says in Liar Liar ... "I can't ..... lie!"

I can't. My blog became way too personal, way too quickly. Occasionally I get a twinge, that too many people now know my stuff ... but so what. I'm actually not that important anyway. What a relief!

Don't embarrass others. Write often. Write for yourself. Don't think about it too much. Compose your next post as you stand in line at the grocery store, walking the dog, doing a wee. Laugh at yourself. Bring your petty jealousies out for all to see. "Check out what I think about this! Aren't I King Wanker!" People will nod and laugh at, and with you.

Don't mind the trolls. They are here to stay, but try not to let them get under your skin. Imagine yourself inviting them over for a freshly brewed coffee at your house, sharing a joke. That's probably what they yearn for anyway.

Be daring.

Be generous. You are amazing. You are terrible. Discuss.

All of it.

Lastly, but most importantly ... you do not need a reason to blog. None whatsoever!

As Kenickie says in Grease, "Rules are ... there aint no rules!"

I still don't know what I'm blogging for. And I kind of hope I never find out.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Vlog: How We Roll

I could try filming this 47 more times, pack makeup on and not swear and have a long tendril of hair to cover the MOLE .... but, pffffft. Life's too short.

I want to show you Rocco's new highchair ....

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Scar Tissue

I got a new tattoo last night. Just like that. Drove down with Dave, picked the font I wanted, and had a sharp needle slice my skin and fill it with black ink. I knew I had to do something drastic, had to mark this weeks Neun. Chase away all of the dark that has been calling me lately ... with a pain of MY choosing. So I did.

It hurt like a bitch. Sweet sweet pain that I strangely got off on. Tough and raw and hardcore. "See!" I said to Dave. "We still got it! We're not boring!" He laughed. Then asked me again why I chose to get "Know Thyself." He didn't understand, thought it was pretty stupid. When I was telling the tattooist where to stick the stencil, I moved it from his symmetrical position, and stuck it on my wrist, at an angle. He and Dave stared. I wanted to cover the stupid scars that were there, from that terrible night in my early twenties. Everyone tries to kill themselves and then go to work the next day like nothing happened, surely?

"Umm, I want to cover the scars." Nobody said anything and my face went hot. Then he started it. Halfway through the K, I realised this was REALLY going to hurt, wondered if I could just get KNOW done. Dave kept making small talk with the guy. I didn't want him too, wanted him to just concentrate. At one point, Dave goes, "So, can you push the needle in so far that it bursts a vein?" I turned my neck angrily, said maybe he could ask that question AFTER my tattoo is done, yeah? He didn't get it. Yabbering away, he wants this sleeve and that ... at one point, he engaged the guy in such a way that he stopped tattooing me for a while. I just wanted it to be over. He had done KNOW THYS.

I almost shouted "HON. For fucks sake, let him do the ELF. LET HIM DO THE FUCKING ELF."

We then went out to dinner, and actually talked to each other. About things, and where we are going and where we have been. He told me he thinks my new tatt is amazing, and he really understands it now. On the drive home, we listened to Chilli Peppers sing Scar Tissue, and it was so fucking appropriate on so many levels that I almost cried. But Dave kept talking so I couldn't dive into the moment properly and I laughed and told him I loved him so much right now. I really do.

I love it. It's perfect. I was telling my brother about it, and he asked me if I 'd got the idea from the Matrix - the Oracle has it above her door, which I'd forgotten all about.

This is why I had it done .. feels like I need huge reminding of it, lately. That, and I like the symbolism of those two words covering my scar.

"The saying "Know thyself" may refer by extension to the ideal of understanding human behavior, morals, and thought, because ultimately to understand oneself is to understand other humans as well. However, the ancient Greek philosophers thought that no man can ever comprehend the human spirit and thought thoroughly, so it would have been almost inconceivable to know oneself fully. Therefore, the saying may refer to a less ambitious ideal, such as knowing one's own habits, morals, temperament, ability to control anger, and other aspects of human behavior that we struggle with on a daily basis. To truly 'know oneself' in this sense involves a deeply personal, spiritual transformation whereby a person would seek to orient themselves towards understanding their own phenomenological perceptions of reality, so as to gain earnest insight into aspects of one's own existence."

This last photo is symbolic of the fact that I am the biggest wanker ever.

I take so many photos of myself in stupid poses, it drives Tim and Dave NUTS. The camera is full of them. I do it in front of them, act all ghetto and pouty. Why? WHY? They scream at me.

"Because nobody ever takes photos of me, so I have to take them myself." They groaned. "Actually, you're going to have to use one of these self-snapped photos at my funeral."

Dave told me he will get a really wanky one enlarged, prop it up on my coffin for people to cry over.

That man is so thoughtful.

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