Just when you think you can't handle one more minute - one more second of winter - the winds change, bringing the first scent of spring.
We can wear open toed shoes again, go to the beach and get sand in our collective cracks, melted gelato, open our doors and hearts to the warm air.
Like when you're all depressed and someone says to you, "It's always the darkest before the dawn." It's always the coldest before the melt. And this melting is fabulous.
I see buds everywhere, forming and blossoming and blooming. And I think, this has happened every year? Where have I been?
The bare, sad, naked trees.
On closer inspection, they are budding and about to come alive again.
The bottomless pit of sad and morose and gloom in me thinks darkly, like it always does.
"It's only the buds of tomorrow's autumn. The sun won't be here for long."
And the new, improved part of me clouts that old part of me on the head, tells it that yes, that is true.
Which is why we must enjoy the sunshine, right now this very minute.
(I just wrote that whole post, shivering in my pyjamas, out on the back deck at 8.11am in the morning. Dave came out, bemused. "Hon, what are you doing?" I told him I was willing spring on and he laughed and we had a very nice kiss. I'd give it an 8 out of 10.)
Rocco has an ear infection!!! Isn't it MARVELOUS! He's on antibiotics and his lump is shrinking.
We're *pretty* sure it's just his lymph node, doing its job. Poor lumps - they get a bad rap, don't they? Nobody likes them. In gravy, in boobs, in cheese sauce, in your stomach five days before your son gets born .... nobody wants lumps.
Yet sometimes, a lump is just a lump. Nothing more.
This afternoon, I am driving down to Glebe to meet some actual, real-life, Aussie bloggers. IN THE FLESH. Blogging is becoming much more visible here in Australia. It's a wonderful thing. I will meet Brenda, we've skyped and emailed and tweeted, and now we shall eat churros together.
What are churros? Oh, only THESE .......
Spanish doughnuts, aka pastry that is fried until crunchy, then sprinkled with sugar. We're meeting in a churros RESTAURANT.
I saw this piece of writing on a house in a field in Bali. I loved it instantly, and didn't know why. Maybe the font - the simplicity of it - turning the words over in my head, wondering what they meant to me, at that moment in time.
90% of the population of Bali is Hindu. They believe in their Gods with their whole heart, and offer up daily incense and candles and pieces of food every morning. Everywhere you turn, there are offerings. In shops, the marketplace, the hotel lobby, the fancy spa. The air is thick with the scent, and when you buy something, a lot of the time they take the money and thank God out loud, tapping the items in their shop with the cash.
I often light candles in the morning at home - at least one. To remind myself of Spirit, as I walk from room to room, picking up and sorting everybody's mess around here - unpacking the dishwasher - sitting down to try to get some work done. The candle is there, silently flickering, reminding me of something else always present. (Always watching, Wazowski.)
Since being in Bali, my candle ritual has grown deeper, with more of a purpose. I light incense all the time now, too. Add some lavender from the garden. Sometimes I sprinkle a little piece of weet-bix in there as well, to offer up the Gods some brekkie. The recovering Catholic in me thinks, you are notsupposed to worship false Gods. SACRILEGE!
But I stopped officially being a Catholic when the priest flippantly told me, as a grieving 16 year old girl, to "not waste my time worrying about my (step)father who had just killed himself ..... as he would now be in purgatory forever."
I have been searching for some kind of meaning my whole life. (Isn't everyone?) I had the Book of Mormon, Dianetics, Moonies. I have renounced God, saw dreadful evil in the world, then let God back into my heart. I *hate* the word God, and how I automatically still say He, after all these years. I believe in the God of nature, of karma, of love. I'm pretty sure generations of Buddhists and Hinduists and the like .... will not be all sent to burn in hell. They're really lovely people - MUCH nicer than many Catholics I have met.
So, my "God" is a kind of cobbled-together, broken but cool God who knows how hard it is to love life. Since I was a child, I've had a firm belief that the instant we die, we'll know all the answers.
In the meantime ..... we're here to learn and grow and evolve, as much as we can. Be kind, man. Give of yourself to your family, and friends, and others. There's a saying that's been drummed into my head over time - you've got to give it away to keep it.
The last few years have cracked me open, wide open, never to return to my old hermit crab shell. It's nice, to be open. Look people in the eyes, allow myself to feel more free and have wonderful conversations, not be so fearful and closed. I like it here.
On my last day in Bali, we were driving back to our hotel and I told Dave I had to get a photo of that piece of writing. I saw and yelled at the driver to stop, on this really busy road with cars zooming by. I ran out, just as it started to rain, jumping over into a paddy field and got my feet wet and dirty. I stood precariously on this bit of a hill, snapping away for ages, trying to get a good angle.
Life really is an offering. I light all my shiz and say a bit of a prayer, almost every morning now. I'm so grateful and thankful, to have full use of my body, a beautiful family, a roof over my head. And the incense burns ash all over the countertops, like lines of a dusty caterpillar. I don't clean them every day, just light another one in the mess from the day before, in the remnants of yesterdays intention.
THANK YOU for your kind words and love on my last post. Rocco still has the big lump. Back to the doc tomorrow for another look-see. He is snuggled up in bed with me right now, tossing and turning, with a fever. Clutching Buzz in one hand and Woody in the other.
Last night I dreamt that I was in a car crash and I didn't have my seatbelt on. I got thrown around and around, felt my limbs snapping and popping. Then I dreamt I had a big fat pile of drugs, but had nowhere big enough to spread them all out and take them properly. Then I dreamt about the generational dysfunction in my family, handed down like precious heirlooms.
Just my usual dream themes.
This morning I woke early and sent Max off to his very first overnight school camp. He has been counting down to this day since February .... he's learning the settlement of Australia lately and is down in Sydney, experiencing it as a convict. Visiting the Rocks and the Australian Museum and wandering around town with his class. I told him that my line of the family dates back to the convicts, and he widened his eyes and said "THAT IS SO COOL MUM!!"
He'll probably tell his teacher - that's ok. I think it's pretty cool too.
Rocco went into daycare, and I gave myself the day off. I've worked like a dog lately, Dave has been away and is going away again soon .... I thought I'd have just one cheeky day to myself. Get a manicure and pedicure and the most overdue eyebrow waxing of all time.
On the way down in the car, I wondered what I would do if my whole family died? Maybe kill myself, or go off to India or something and become an enlightened guru or some shit. Then I wondered if the planet was going to be ok .... whether I could still be close with Max when he moves on to deeper friendships as he gets older .... and when IS Greys Anatomy back on? It's the only show I watch.
I thought how happy I was, in that moment right then - this golden orb in the sky lighting me up - I remember it, from long ago. I think they call it, "the sun."
I parked where I always park. Went inside and got a coffee, followed by a phonecall from Rocco's daycare that he had a huge lump on the side of his neck.
They are so wonderful at his daycare .... they all know and love him, have done since he started there at 11 months of age. I spoke with the centre director, she said that it was causing him no pain, he didn't have a temperature, and was just asking me if I knew it was there. I didn't.
I told her where I was and that I would come back up.
But I didn't, straight away. I didn't want to have a knee-jerk, freakout reaction. It sounded very much like a lymph gland issue. So I stayed, got my pedi, more coffee, some raw cashews and the freshest dates.
Then I drove back up, calling his doctor who told me just to bring him straight there.
I picked him up, and he was all snuggly. Took him to the doctor - he charmed the whole waiting room with clear and concise requests for strawberries. So we went and bought two punnets and ate them ALL, sitting on our white plastic chairs. I sliced the green leaves off the top with my freshly manicured spork fingernails. He ate, silently. The lump was at the back of his head, behind his left ear. It's gigantic.
The doc took us in and poked in Rocco's ears and mouth and checked him over ... he doesn't seem to have any accompanying sickness. He is the best, this doctor. He knew how .... my brain was ticking over. I simply said "Well, we don't like lumps, in our house."
He said that in most cases, it's just a swollen lymph node - from an infection, or something harmless. And it could take up to six weeks to go down. He looked at my face - "However, bring him back in on Friday, hey? See how it is then."
He asked Rocco if he'd like a purple echidna stamp or a green koala stamp. Rocco looked from one to the other. I knew exactly what he wanted. He reached out two hands to grab both.
He sat in the bath, later on tonight. Listless and tired. Only ate a banana for dinner then let me put him straight down to bed. "Lie down." He ordered me to lie next to him, I stroked his little head and gave him cuddles until he went to sleep. Then I looked at him, knowing that of course he was fine, it's nothing to worry about .... but water was leaking from my eyes anyway.
Intellectually, I know the odds are that he is ok and it's nothing serious. Emotionally, I'm keeping myself in check because I'm prone to excess bouts of panic and worry about ridiculous things anyway. Physically I keep shallow breathing and nervous tapping. I've googled it and it could be nothing or it could be the worst thing in the world. Sometimes google just cancels itself out.
Tonight I was in the kitchen, staring at the bubbles from the washing up. They were so pretty, right there in that very moment. After a while I noticed that I had been holding my breath, the entire time I was standing there.
Why is it Saturday and I haven't posted for four whole days? This life, man. Always running to catch up. So I'm just going to spill what I've been waiting to do "properly" for over a month now, my BlogHer 2010 Recap. I keep waiting for the perfect day where I can write it all out amazingly - not going to happen. Newsflash: There is not, nor has there ever been, a perfect day where everything runs smoothly. So here it is, all jumbled up and tangled. Like my hair. While Spongebob is on and the boys give me 5 minutes reprieve. (Spongebob is HILARIOUS! I wonder what a Krabby Patty would actually taste like?) ....
So I flew all the way to New York, and had not yet met another blogger in the flesh. My first day I went on the Kodak Bus Tour. We all met at 12pm at Carolines Comedy Club, near Times Square. I walked up, and suddenly got PETRIFIED. I wanted to keep walking past the entrance. It felt so odd - like, where's the frickin rose in my lapel?? Despite myself, (I do most things in my life these days despite myself - it's the key to good living I tell you) I went inside and walked down the dark stairs feeling like the worlds biggest MORON.
And stood behind some people and was glad it was dark because I was blushing. And then I hear this, "Eden!" And it was Brie from Capital Mom. And we hugged, it was so nice, that hug. I pulled back and held her arms and squealed "YOU'RE THE FIRST BLOGGER THAT I EVER MET!" She was like, really?? She is so so beautiful, and she writes magnificently. Some of her posts leave me with tears in my eyes because she just writes about a mundane, nondescript thing in the most amazing, heartfelt way. I sat with her and her group of friends. I was SO self-conscious, but not enough to load my plate up with food. Starting with a cupcake, which I ate and said out loud, "Wow. These cupcakes are REALLY nice." And then I felt like an idiot - but later, the lovely ladies at Kodak announced that the cupcakes were made from Magnolia Bakery. (As in, from Sex and the City) So everyone made a beeline for them and I felt pretty cool that I discovered them first. Then I joined the line to get another one, pretending I hadn't had the first.
We spent three hours on top of a double-decker bus, driving around New York, snapping photos with brand new-cameras that we all got to keep. And I got to keep TWO because I was from Australia. (Thank you, ladies from Kodak.)
The whole time at BlogHer, as soon as I started talking, people would start looking at my lips, trying to lipread. Then they would say, "You came ALL the way from Australia for this?" And I laughed and said yes, but I combined it with a second honeymoon with my husband who was back at our other hotel. I liked being the token Aussie - it made for great ice-breaking in awkward conversations.
That night, I went to the Hilton to register and pick up my conference pass. I was waiting at the lobby, and out walks Lori from the lift. We SCREAMED in delight and hugged and hugged. Then hugged more. Lori blogs at Weebles Wobblog. She lives in Colorado and I call her Lozzzzzaaaaa. Years ago, the week I fell pregnant with Rocco, she held a limerick competition so I clicked over and introduced myself and submitted my limerick. I didn't win - RIGGED - but we have become friends for life. Sisters, even. She has light and love in her heart and she shines. She's taught me a lot. I love her.
Next I met my roomie, Katiepie. I was kind of crouched down in the lobby, deciding what to do. SO jetlagged. She came over, and again with the screaming fest.
She is so pretty and funny and tall. "You didn't tell me you were so tall!" "Well. SorEE." I was meeting my friends - by this time, there was nothing strange about it. Women bloggers were EVERYWHERE. And they were on their phones tweeting ... in corners on their laptops ... laughing in groups. Dave who?
We went to the People's Party, and I had to go to the loo. Oh, who should be in the toilet at a major blogging conference, holding court? THE BLOGGESS.
I said to Kate ohmygodthat'sjenny. I was so starstruck. I had to go up to her. So I did. "I just wanted to say hi - ummm, hi!" She was very gracious. She saw my big snakeskin bangle, and said "Wow, is that real?" And I said "YES - it is from a REAL fake snake!" And she laughed - I made the Bloggess laugh. My work was done so I flew straight back to Sydney right then. Not really - she hugged me then I walked off, a bit dazed. She has class, and wit and a hilarious humour. She recently blogged about a guy in an antique shop showing her some special "antiques" .... McDonalds play equipment from the seventies. Rocco's highchair could be worth a small fortune!
I walked back to my other hotel, at 10.30pm at night. In heels, and I got lost. I wondered if I would get mugged, but then I found another yummy cupcake shop - Fluffy's. I ate a white buttercream vanilla cupcake, walking along, looking for my hotel. Thinking well, I won't get mugged now because I'm eating a cupcake. Made perfect sense in my jetlagged brain.
The next morning, I hit BlogHer with a vengeance. I found my new room, with Kate. (Mate - I DID steal your mascara I am so sorry!! I found it the other day ... *sniff*). Hit the breakfast buffet, then the expo halls. Everything was big and amazing, and catered specifically towards bloggers. I was in heaven. There were of stalls, gifts, swag. It was so bloody fascinating. We entered competitions and talked to sponsors and learnt a lot of networking tips. That was in the first ten minutes. You Americans don't do things by halves, do you?
Later on, Kate and I were in our room, writing out which workshops we were going to attend. There were so many to choose from, I ended up going to the "Blogging through Grief and Personal Tragedy" one, as well as a few others. Somebody should start organising some conferences in Australia - OH WAIT THEY HAVE. The Aussie Bloggers Conference and the Sydney Bloggers Festival. And so it begins. YES.
So sitting in our room, I saw on twitter that Heather was in the building, so I tweeted her my room number if she wanted to come up and hang with Annabel. Soon there was a knock on the door. I jumped up. "IT'S HEATHER!" Opened the door .... it was frickin' ALEXA. From Flotsam. Alexa who I adore. We did IVF at the same time, her with her beautiful twins and me with Rocco. Our due dates were a few days apart. She is the wittiest, most exquisite creature. She was all, "Umm, I saw your tweet and we're on the same floor, so I thought I'd come and say hi." I hugged her and ushered her in and Kate reads her blog too and Kate and I were trying to act all cool but we were like, Alexa is in our hotel room right now. I was pretty starstruck - I had no idea she still read my blog. She's pretty much a big deal - she wrote a book and launched it at BlogHer. We talked about blogs, trolls, writing, and neuroses. I never knew she was in a psych ward - SO WAS I SNAP! It made me love her more. I sat there at her feet, a fawning sycophant trying to keep composed.
I take meeting my blogging idols Very. Seriously.
And here she is the next day, signing my book! Well, it's hers because she wrote it, but it's mine now. It's called Half Baked. Best book I have read in a long, long time. Hands down. I haven't finished it yet - I don't want to, it's that good.
As I sat gazing up at her adorable curly hair, I told Alexa how I was at my sisters house one day when I checked on her blog .... when she wrote that Baby A had no heartbeat.
Her Ames. I was sitting in my sisters kitchen, on her laptop, 22 weeks pregnant myself, crying softly. I told Alexa it was the first time I had ever felt somebodies loss on the internet so keenly. She wrote through it. She may have even wrote herself out of it. She's pretty gifted in the "word" area of life - and I'm not even jealous, so much do I love her.
(NOTE: Last night I was in bed, Dave asleep next to me, and I heard a mouse in the room. Or, a rat. I was frozen with fear, so did the only thing a middle-aged woman with kids and a blog does these days - tweeted it. THERE'S A MOUSE IN MY BEDROOM FREEEAAAKKOOOUUT. Alexa tweeted me straight back - "Get out of the house. Burn the house." I said that I couldn't, it was near the door and had me trapped. She wrote "Ok. Make a ladder from sheets and jump out the window.")
I was laughing so hard the bed was shaking. This morning I told Dave what happened, how I went on twitter, and what Alexa said. He's all, hon, what's twitter? Why would she say to burn the house? I gave up. THEN he said - oh look it's ok .... it was probably just a bush mouse in the walls. Riiii-iiiiight. That's so much better! All day long I will have have the immortal words in my brain: BURN THE HOUSE.
Back at BlogHer - Friday night was the keynote. Dave was allowed to come because I was a Voice of the Year finalist. We sat next to each other, listening to all amazing, wonderful speakers. Fascinating people, amazing posts. Jason from Out-Numbered spoke - he walked up to the podium and before he read his post, looked out at the crow. "My penis is so confused right now." Then he launched into his piece - "Valentines Day is a Greedy Whore."
Dave enjoyed them all - I think. He did ask, after a while - 'Um, hon, how long do I have to stay?"
I let him leave, introducing him to a few peeps along the way.
I never wanted to leave - I was so at home. And open - still with the open! I wanted to talk to everybody I could. Strangers, aquaintences, everybody. Waiting in line at the dinner I was behind Schmutzie. "Excuse me, are you Schmutzie?" She was so gracious, putting her stuff down to shake my hand and give me a business card. She even explained to me *exactly* what half-and-half was.
I just changed THE BIGGEST stinky nappy. And now I have poo hands. Like, jazz hands for mums. No matter how much handwash I use, the smell is ingrained. I must shower immediately. Tomorrow I will be back - pinky swear. I need to tell you about how I actually finally did meet Heather. And how I boldly went up to BHJ but ended up feeling like an total idiot. Hugging Mel. And more.
Oh - and I met the Bloggess again, properly.
Goodbye from the poo man hands for now.
(Poo man hands ... is that like the Wu Tang Clan?)
I've been shouted at asked by quite a few people lately, to tone down my blog.
I don't think I will. I don't think I CAN.
More and more people IRL are finding out about it. It's very odd.
The REAL story at the end of my job interview? When we were about to leave the meeting room office, my new wonderful art director boss David says to me: "So ...... Edenland!"
Worlds colliding, I thought what the hell? Scanning my strangely written resume to see if I had written it on there. My head felt like a blizzard inside a snow globe. I went all dumb and said, "Whaa----??"
He told me that Lyma told him. Of course. We met back in the nineties, she is one of my dearest friends and put my name up for the job. A few months ago she rang me: "You never told me you had a blog!"
I used to never tell ANYBODY I had a blog.
And now I do and I kind of let it all hang out anyway, and I pretend that nobody reads it. My motto is: Post And Run. Last week I sat down to go through all of my archives and take down all of my offensive posts. There were a lot of offensive posts. I think. I'm not sure, so I just gave up.
I don't want to read what I wrote this time last year. It makes me cringe. So it stays up ... everything I have ever written I stand by. Yes it's way too much information - yes blogs are strange, yes it makes you question your privacy values.
But I love it so much, it's under my skin. Why do I blog? For me there is an ever-changing answer to that. Today it is because I can't not.
If I didn't have children I would even blog more openly than I do. I have to be mindful that anything I say about myself, they may one day learn. Not that I'm ashamed of who I am. I used to hide everything and it almost killed me. My issues and the crap I've overcome have made me better. The world is more open to me than ever before ... and I'm pretty sure blogging has something to do with it.
Bono once said, "I wish I could teach the world to sing." Well, I wish I could teach the world to blog. It gives you a sense of introspection - what do I have to say? What do I think?
I still haven't written my BlogHer 10 recap yet, so amazing were the women I met that it's hard to put into words.
I asked my new wonderful art director boss David if he's heard the term "mummyblogging" yet. He said no. I said, "You will." And I said I was kind of like a mummyblogger. Just a dark and twisted one. And he laughed and asked me what my last name was, with his pen poised. At that point, I knew that as soon as I walked out of that office, I was going to have to call my sister and tell her to remove all traces of Edenland from the internet STAT.
Because I really wanted this fricken job. I was polished and creative, remember? Then we walked out to the other people, and one of the girls there said hi and told me she felt like she knew me because she reads my blog. And I started to fan my face really hard. She said she loved that post I wrote about Damien. And we laughed and my voice faltered when I saw the others looking at me expectantly and I said, "Oh, that was just a post I wrote comparing my two-year old to the antichrist."
I think they may have laughed but I was too busy getting swallowed by the floor.
I eventually said goodbye to all the nice, normal people.
And walked off and realised that the juice from the fruit salad in my handbag had almost drowned my iPhone. Except it didn't. Then I thought, those nice normal people are probably not even normal at all. Nobody is! We all just pretend, remember! It's just that I choose to write about my non-normalness on the internet. For free. You're welcome!
So. The ruby shoes are on, and there they'll stay.
Blog on, lovers.
Blog. The fuck. On.
* Burgergirl is me - and I still have the arm flab to prove it.
David? Let's pretend this whole thing never happened. Ok thanks.
Question: Why do YOU blog? Would you care if people found out? Have you ever let a fruit salad go warm inside your handbag for two hours? If so, did you then eat it manically in the carpark using your fingernails like sporks? Except all the dodgy rockmelon at the bottom?
Last Friday morning, I woke up after another night of broken sleep. Rocco has a new habit of waking up in the middle of the night and running in to me. Bursting open my door and jumping into the bed. It's pretty cute, and I'm too lazy to put him back in his own bed. I love his smooshy cuddles and his little sleepy smells.
Then the day began and I packed a bag for him, Max, and I. Quickly typed up a strange, two paragraph third-person resume for my job interview. Then had a shower and folded washing and searched for my computer cable, then heard the infamous line: "MUM, ROCCO'S DONE A BIG POO IN MY ROOM."
I begged Max to please clean it for me, we had to rush, I couldn't be late, I'd give him extra pocket money. So my eight year old cleaned up his younger brothers poo. He wasn't very happy about it, but he did it. I heard him say to Rocco: "Rocco, this is naughty. You don't poo in Maxs room! Gucky! If you do another poo in Max's room, Max will come and do a poo in YOUR room."
Which is fair enough, really.
I promised Rocco he could watch Monsters Inc on my laptop in the car. When he was buckled in, I turned it on and the disc wouldn't play. I died a little inside, knowing the fury to come. Fortunately, we got him excited about Buth Woody instead. (To infinity .... AND BEGIN!) Then I drove down to Sydney.
Sydney is my old lover ..... an ex-boyfriend after a particularly bad breakup. For many years I kept going back and back, long after the party was over. I even had to meet my sister in Oxford Street ... the scene of many crimes. I dropped my boys off to her just past the bus stop that I danced on (and almost fell off) after a big night at DCM nightclub, circa 1993. Next to the Exchange Hotel, where I once woke up in the toilets after passing out five hours earlier. Covered in excrement. That's normal, right?
I look at my boys and think, wow. You're both miracles to even EXIST.
I threw Linda my boys, Rocco's carseat, and a token nappy. Then I put makeup on the rear view mirror, feeling like I was using crayons. I never learnt how to put makeup on properly. It takes a lot of layers of foundation to achieve the natural complexion I once had.
I drove through the city - it really is quite beautiful. Sydney is like New York on a valium. Full of tall buildings, cool cafes and galleries - but a lot more chilled.
The thing I most noticed was this huge sense of excitement, like I was a part of something. Being in the city, doing work-y stuff ... makes me feel distinctly important. Then I felt sad that I felt important.
Is not child rearing just as important as a busy job in the corporate world? More, probably. It certainly doesn't feel like it, there's no rewards for wiping down the garbage juice on the bin ten times a day. Or changing four diarrhea nappies in a row. Getting all of the ingredients for a baked dinner onto the plates - still hot!
I parked and went up for my job interview, nervously wiping my shaking-hands hand on my jeans because I get sweaty palms. (What really helped me out was the lovely comments from you all, wishing me well. Thank you so much.) I wore jeans, red cowboy boots, my big bold red plastic flower ring, stripy top, and hair in a ponytail. I wanted to look polished yet creative. The building was HUGE with amazing views and even more amazing people. So nice, and friendly, and clever. I imagined having my own little desk there, turning up to work polished and creative every day. I could probably do it ... if I had a nanny. And an apartment in the city. And a chef.
I sat in the meeting, the guys looked expectantly at me, and I just said, "Well. I'm great with words, and ..... I'm your man!"
And we all laughed, had a wonderful two-hour interview and I got briefed for my first job.
I've had a few clients in Sydney over the years, and it was always my intention to work all the way through Rocco's babyhood. But I never intended for Dave to get cancer and for me to barely hold on, so. There you have it.
Rocco and Max and I then had a very busy, food-filled weekend in Sydney. They loved playing with their cousins, as I love playing with my sisters.
So, a happy ending, right?
When I got home, Tim had helped me out by putting on a load of washing - a big load of towels. Unfortunately, one of those towels contained the massive poo that Rocco had done in Max's room, the Friday before we left. I lifted the lid of the machine, started getting them out. The stench was pretty bad. Faeces were embedded in every piece of thread of every towel. It was beyond revolting. I stopped, then realised, *I* was the mother. I had to keep going. I threw the whole load in the outside bin. They were ruined. I felt guilty about the waste - but, maybe a rat at the dump will sniff them out and make them into a nest?
Then I had to wipe the washing machine out. It was full of .... fibres that had passed through Rocco's body. I would describe the remnants as "husks."
Cleaning out that machine made me feel SO important!
I was completely taken by this cemetery in the middle of New York. Death, right in the middle of one of the most alive cities in the world.
Nine years ago I flicked the morning news on, six months pregnant with Max. Wanting to catch the headlines, I waited and waited. They seemed to playing some kind of Bruce Willis film ... maybe it was the film critic going over his favourite action movies?
I watched the towers fall down so many times. Remember how it kept getting replayed? On all four major channels? I think the ABC finally went over to some childrens shows. I flicked over to them sometimes. Just for a breather, soothe myself from the horror.
The whole world was watching the world fall apart.
Dave and I saw so many amazing things in our recent time in New York. I'd never been before, and yet the sound of the city was so very familiar. Every time I heard a police siren, ambulance .... especially a fire truck, I wondered. Did that particular siren I was hearing ..... make the terrible sound of alarm, nine years ago? I saw so many firetrucks. Did they go to the aid of their friends? Were they covered in that terrible white dust, on That Day?
We had to visit Ground Zero, pay our respects. For so many years I've wondered what it would've been like to be there. Having the day start so normally, finish with such dark.
(When I took this next photo, I noticed the workers *totally* checking me out. Blatantly. They were all standing there, having a smoke, rebuilding the site of one of the biggest tragedies of all time .... staring at the redhaired Aussie tourist.)
I followed their gaze to my right, to gloat to Dave that I. Still. Had it! Until I noticed the gorgeous blonde next to us, a short denim skirt, thighs up to her eyes. SPEWING! I kissed Dave instead, as he looked up in awe of the cranes and building work. "Hon, check out the scaffolding. Unbelieveable!"
It must have been - it takes a lot to impress my builder husband.
We went into the temporary museum. Terrible artifacts were on display .... two police handguns, melted and molded together. Debris, chunks of airplane. Twisted, awfully grotesque huge pieces of metal, from the actual buildings themselves. I touched them, feeling immense sadness. Something I had only seen and heard about ... was right in front of me.
It felt exquisitely painful. And holy.
We went downstairs and I filled out a card, writing my thoughts and condolences, to be stuck up on a wall as part of an exhibition.
Then there were the photos. I turned to see some missing posters and photos on a wall. I remembered seeing all of those hopeful people on the news, waiting in line to talk to the cameraman, begging for news on their loved ones.
The next wall made me suck in my breath. And cry.
I hope there is never another wall like this, ever again.
I have a job interview-type-situation tomorrow. In the heart of Sydney. I have to take both boys, find a car park, meet my sister at her clinic, dump both boys off to her ... and a car seat ... and hot-foot it down to the interview-thingy. It's 11pm right now and I just thought, ohhh, I guess I need to print out a resume. After, you know, I WRITE ONE. I have applied for so many jobs, in the past ten years. Not all for writing - some editing jobs, receptionist jobs ... admin officer, customer service operator, fricken retail. How many have I got? Zilch. Not a one, nay nay nay.
It's laughable, almost. It makes me feel old - the younger version of myself could pick up a new job before it was even advertised.
Of course, I'm always working. I do all different things - manage the bookings for some holiday houses that Dave built, regular column in a trade magazine, interviews here and there ... but nothing with a big cash flow. You know how, in every relationship, there's those few issues that re-hashed and argued about time after time? Yeah, mine is that all the good jobs for me are down in Sydney. A full 2-hour commute away from our house. So I get stuck applying for dud jobs that I don't want but I don't even get. This job I'm going for tomorrow - is ideal. Working from home, freelancing, for a major bank. Nice, quiet Nepal - (Monsters Inc reference)
One day, I would love to write out a completely true, unadulterated resume. No lies - just the absolute truth, detailing the large holes. HAH.
So in the morning, all I have to do is print out my customised resume, pack clothes for three people, take back late DVDs, google directions, wrestle Rocco into the car using shameless bribery, answer Max's question of "How many more hours til we're at Tommy's house?" ... then drive two hours. I am going to be soooooo relaxed by the time I get there!
Me and the boys will be staying at my sister Linda's house on the Friday, then my other sister Leigh's house on the Saturday night. So I don't have to cook again until we come home Sunday SCORE!
I mean, I can - it's just harder than it used to be. I know I need to do some serious exercise, eat less and move more boring boring blah ... but usually I do all that in two days and I'm skinny again.
I'm not skinny again. So what do I do? EAT MORE. I've totally gorged out on chocolate and bacon and the kids school snacks. Thrown caution to the wind. Hell, may as well eat now before I start dieting. But it's jiggly. And I keep putting jackets on to cover myself up. My arm flab is pretty impressive. It just doesn't feel very nice.
I rang my sister Linda the other day, talking talking. Then I was all, "Oh that's right, I had to ask you something. So you know how I'm all FAT now - (she laughs) - well, I actually have to tuck my gut into my jeans now. Like a shirt. Like, a shirt made out of actual fat that I have to tuck in. Do you ever feel like this??"
"Well Eden, considering I've had extra kilos for ohhhh, I don't know ..... MY ENTIRE ADULT LIFE, I hadn't really noticed this predicament before. But I'll let you know - TOMORROW MORNING when I'm getting dressed. Thanks for that."
I told her she is so welcome.
Today, my stomach was so gurgly and full of gas, I had to start treating it with some respect. I ate some dates for breakfast, an organic soup for lunch, battled with myself in the afternoon as I eyed the chocolate biscuits, but made a big fresh juice instead. Carrot, apple and ginger - a huge amount. I totally tricked my stomach into thinking it's full of food.
My friend has started teaching Zumba classes, so I'll give that a go this week too. Then, once I look a bit better, I can regain my place at the gym. Because there's no WAY I'm wearing a skimpy t-shirt and leggings any time soon.
I feel like a crap sandwich (mmmmmm, crap sandwich) .... you know how all the gunk comes out and you get headaches? Yeah. But I know within a few weeks I'll feel amazing. There's a half-eaten family size box of my favourite chocolates under my bed though. I'm going to have to ask Tim to remove them from this house, stat.
Because I'd really like to see my feet properly again sometime soon.
The more I love Rocco, the guiltier I feel. Surely the more love I feel for him means there was still space in my heart for more love to go in. Why was there still space? Aren't you supposed to just automatically, immediately love your child at birth? Until your heart almost bursts with the weight of the big heavy love?
I'm *great* at guilt. I used to sit in church as a child every Sunday, staring at the bloodied hands of Jesus. It was all my fault he got crucified, don't you know. These days I don't need church - I can totally crucify myself really, really well. Tori Amos sang "Got enough guilt to start ... my own religion."
(I have enough guilt to start my own Holy War. My own Gaza strip. Massive cult. Occasionally, I let Dave peek into my head, tell him EXACTLY what's going on in there among all the apple cores and broken synapses ..... the neurons littered with dead-ends. He can't believe it. "Do you seriously think like that hon?? Bloody hell .... (slow whistle) .... poor Eddie. Glad I'm not you.")
So. My son Rocco - no longer a baby. He is developing his own hilarious, eccentric, divine sense of humour. Oh I love him til it aches. He's on the cusp of toddlerhood. He puts on funny hats and dances around and loves making us laugh. His laughing makes me laugh. I see snatches of his personality shining through. Maybe they have always shone through, maybe I haven't really been paying much attention these past two years. Ack. Owie.
I was looking into his amazing eyes yesterday as I played with him - really played. I think he's been there all along. I think I've been a bit preoccupied ... a bit of an arsehole mother (GASP).
And I'm really, truly sorry for that. All I can do is to use the pain over my emotionally neglectful-parenting and use it to propel me towards a more available, better mother. Or something. I'll probably have this whole parenting gig all nicely figured out by the time he's twenty. Max will be 26. Tim will be 35. I'll get down on my 55 year old knees and beg them all for forgiveness - they'll roll their eyes and tell me to shut up, the footy's on.
The other day, I hired out Monsters Inc for Rocco to watch. It was Max's all-time favourite movie when he was two, and I was interested to see if Rocco would like it.
HE LOVES IT. It was beautiful to watch - like handing down a baton from one brother to another.
And I still remember every single piece of dialogue - even the outtakes at the end. I told Max I bet he'll love watching it - he didn't think so but in the end he sat entranced, wanting to watch it again. Tim came home last night while it was on .... the three of them sat there, laughing as Boo banged Randall with the baseball bat and he turned all different colours.
Remember the song at the end - the one that Billy Crystal and John Goodman sang at the Oscars that year?
"Sometimes I get a little blue ... but I wouldn't have nothin if I didn't have you."
I wouldn't. I wouldn't have nothin. I'd just be this broken woman with a wonky brain and a guilt complex big enough to kill me.
OR, I could have overcome all my demons on my own, with no children or strong husband involved. Could have. Maybe.
PS YEAH RIGHT HAHAHAHAHHAHA
PPS If I really get down on my 55 year old knees I'd definitely need a cushion. The strange thing about living in this world and overcoming said demons ..... you start to age. I never expected that.
Hands - Overgrown Manicure
Eyebrows - In dire need of a wax
Eyes - Cranky because I'm so hectic I FORGOT U2 TICKETS WENT ON SALE TODAY
Hair - Cowlicky and I don't care
Photo - Blurry because I took it in the fading light in the pouring rain. Spring .... I'm waiting dude. Come to mama!
Quote - Hands down best thing I have ever read in my entire life
A lifetime ago, I sat in a group therapy session with an incredibly harsh yet wonderful therapist. One day, after I had told her my (tragic!) life story ..... she mimed herself vomiting.
At first I thought something was wrong - but no. She was completely and utterly taking the piss. "Oh Eden! Somebody pass me a bucket - I'm going to throw up. Ugh. Poor, poor Eden."
And there it was. All of my shiny, gold excuses I made, to not live life accordingly. To wallow in my self-pity and despair. My bad childhood was a gift. Throw in a few dead dads and you got yourself a bonafide eternal wailing wall.
A few months later, after much more work on myself, I came to value everything this therapist said. One day, we were talking about coincidences. She said that nothing was ever a coincidence .... she called them "God-instances." Now *I* wanted to throw up, so wanky was that expression.
But ever since that day, I have come to believe that something deeper is going on, every time a coincidence "happens."
Remember my last blog post? I wanted to write about it to kind of announce that the eBay auction was coming up. (Mine goes on sale in a few days). Plus I love the fact that I felt like I was a part of something that was making a difference.
If you haven't read it, I totally suggest you do before reading on.
(Does a solo living room dance. AGAIN.)
So. That lovely lady I was telling you about, Alex? She emailed me, after she read that post. I was holding Rocco when I read her email. He was squirming around in my arms .... I had to take my glasses off, because halfway through reading Alex's email I was crying so much that they fogged up. You can't cry properly with glasses on.
Rocco stopped squirming as I read the rest of Alex's exquisite, tender words. He looked up at me, and kept looking to my computer screen - trying to see what was making his mummy upset. Then he sternly said - "Mummy! Glassis. ON!"
Because in the brain of a two-year old, if mum puts her glasses back on she'll stop crying.
Dave got home not long after, and straight away asked why I had been crying. (Because, you know .... PUFFY.)
He was getting changed into his gym clothes, so I took my laptop in and asked him did he remember how that photographer called Alex did up a piece of art from my blog post? He did - he was the one that found it, when we walked around and around the Hilton that night. Him - the Lonely Penis in a Sea of Glorious Estrogen.
I loved it as soon as I saw it - it is FULL. I like full things. It has stuff and energy and life to it. Bits of scrawled words and trinkets and odds and ends.
See the red balloon? It's above that sparkly magic wand ... underneath the gumby-like necklace.
That red balloon is incredible.
Here are some excerpts of Alex's email, published here with her permission:
"The Dylan quote is from my father. When I was in college I took that card from an old box (he typed it when he was in college) and I've kept it somewhere I could see it ever since. I feel very lucky that we’re close. (My parents have been married almost 35 years -- which in Hollywood years is like 200. But, I have eleven grandparents. My family is complicated. ) The Dickinson quote is something I just love. No other reason than that. The “Finish the day and be done with it” note is something I keep tacked on my real inspiration board as a daily reminder:
- Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Just after I sent in my photo (of the finished artwork) in July, I went to read your blog, and started with "27 Versions of the Truth." I then emailed the woman coordinating the art auction:
12 July 2010 - “I know I can’t talk to the blogger I was paired with, but I wanted to share with you. There are moments in life when you think paths must cross for a reason.” There is a red balloon on the right hand side of the collage. I wrote to her that I carried that red balloon amongst hundreds of others to honor those affected by lymphoma. My particular balloon was in honor of my late cousin E who who had been diagnosed too late with Stage IV B-Cell Follicular Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. As I wrote to the woman from Kirtsy, “… the same type of cancer SURVIVED by the husband of the blogger I was paired with (insert goosebumps and lump in throat here). E's death is one of those things it is impossible to try and make sense of. But there is such hope and joy as I read that someone else's story didn't end the same way.”
The night I first read your 27 Versions of the Truth and reached the part about Dave's cancer, I wept. But they were tears of joy. I thought about how that red balloon photo crept into the corner as I was piecing this collage together, and it meant something to me but no one else. And suddenly it connected me to this unknown woman in another hemisphere, through something that no one should ever have in common. In the great wide world of blogs, I don't know if our paths would have crossed if not for this project...the universe works in amazing ways.
I admit that I was hesitant about sharing this with you. I almost deleted the note twice. But then I went back to your blog and read below your photo, "I'll show you my Universal Truth if you show me yours." And I decided I had to thank you. I'd been waiting since July 12th to share my gratitude. You, Dave, and your boys are proof that there is a great big life to be led after cancer. And in fabulous Chanel sandals no less. Eden, every post I read about the life you and Dave are living brings me happiness beyond words. The Los Angeles chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is on this November 6th, if I were there, I would have proudly carried a a large, glimmering, white survivor balloon in celebration of your incredible, YSL suit-sporting husband and his triumph.*
Take care, talk to you soon,
I know. Are your glasses off?
As I was reading it out to Dave, my voice grew thick and I started weeping again. And so did he. (It takes a LOT to make that guy cry.)
He said "Stop it hon! You're making me cry! What? Wow!"
I was so distressed I had to leave the frickin room, so deeply did this affect me.
We know, that every day is a bonus. We know what it's like to have your whole life hanging in the balance, hinging on the latest round of chemotherapy. It's beyond terrible.I remember thinking that it was literally horrible - filled with horror.
I was absolutely obsessed, after Dave's diagnosis ... to find out EXACTLY what kind of lymphoma he had. There's about a hundred different kinds of variations. B-cell, C-cell, aggressive, passive, lymph nodes, mestatic, blah blah blah. I ended up ringing his doctor incessantly, on the sly. I found out, went home and told Dave. "OK. Hon, you have Stage IV B-Cell Follicular Non-Hodgkins." As if knowing exactly what is was could magically help us fight it better. Dave just blankly stared at me, not caring in the slightest. My beigest, baldest, badger guyo.
E and Dave had exactly the same kind. Dave had the dumb luck of having his tumours grow so they caused him to double over in pain. If they had grown silently, they would have just spread around and not been noticed until it was too late. I was so bloody cranky when he started showing symptoms. So pregnant and so cranky.
E was a mother. A wife, a daughter ... a cousin. Something tells me she was an incredible woman. I'm so very sorry that she is gone.
I can't really find the right words to end this post.
I like things to "mean" something. To live consciously, acknowledging Grace and Spirit when they come into our lives.
Cancer has burnt and changed us all, in this family. It probably does in every family. I'm ridiculously blown open, these days. I think I'm a nicer person from it. I smile more, like a know a secret. (Life is too short. You only have today - not even today. You only have this second, right NOW. What are you going to do with it?)
It's why we went on a second honeymoon NOW, not in ten years. It's why we visited an orphanage, gave money to every bum in New York and every beggar in Bali. Why we laugh at the craziness of our heads and our lives, often. Poke fun at the seriousness and the bullshitness of it all. Often.
Life is so majestic and so stupid. There's no point on waiting for the next thing to happen - you have to make it happen. You can never "find yourself" ..... you gotta create yourself!
This is not a dress rehearsal, man. It's the real deal.
*I'm pretty sure Alex will be walking in the Light the Night Walk, in the town where she has work commitments. Also, she's not married, like I previously, arrogantly announced. I was wrong. She's still hot, though.
"The largest annual fundraiser for the LLS is the Light The Night Walk, a non-competitive walk held at various sites throughout the US and Canada, raising funds for blood cancer research and patient support. Children, adults, and seniors walk carrying illuminated balloons - supporters carry red balloons, survivors and patients carry white balloons, and gold balloons are held in memory of a loved one."