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.
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