Wednesday, 27 June 2012

There's Still Life on a Bedside Table

The other night I went to hop into bed, but when I saw how gorgeous my bedside table was, I had to take a photo.

I thought, this must be what together, normal people feel like when they go to bed.

It was a decent hour. The things on my bedside table were uncluttered, not dusty. Constant house inspections have me on top of my game in the housekeeping department, and it feels GOOD.

My table seemed to hum with a certain energy. The silver bangle Dave bought me from Mexico. A cup of herbal tea in my yellow recovery mug. (Still unchipped!) Favourite lip balm, the Anne Lamott book that three different people have told me I need to read. And the bunch of flowers are from Rocco ... we walked past a florist in Katoomba, he runs up to the bunches, pulls one out and gives it to me.

"These beautiful flowers are for you mum." So I went in and bought them, for me. From him.

A sweet-smelling votive candle, a nude from a local artist .... it just felt so damn wholesome. Like I was treating myself with care.

Some nights I stay up way too late and eat crap on the couch like a boss. Some nights I go to bed early sipping on organic chai tea like a lady. It all has a direct impact on how I feel about myself. I learnt the value of taking care of myself years ago, way back in early early recovery. I find myself continually re-learning it, over and over.

(Haven't actually read the book yet .... a trashy magazine fell into my hands instead. I'll get there.)


Now for some blog housekeeping.

1) Kelly Exeter has chosen a winner of her Smile Collective print. Nina Downes won with this entry in the giveaway: "Hi Kelly - my favourite line in your wonderful manifesto is "Perfection is not practical or possible" I just wish I could learn to live by this. I'm struggling so badly to accept in my heart that there is just no way my life can or should be how I imagine it must be in my head. I have built up a vision of a perfect mother with a perfect family and I know deep down that this vision cannot be achieved yet everyday I beat myself up for not achieving it. I have long admired your manifesto and know I am probably a prime candidate for having it on my wall and taking all the words in! I admire your Smile Collective crusade!"

Congrats, Nina! Kelly is offering 20% off everything in her shop until midnight on June 30 for everybody. (Just enter the code EDEN12 after the Paypal part.) Um, may I suggest Kelly's Manifesto For Youth? WOW.

2) My latest post on MamaPop ... Young People Getting Piercings And Tattoos. YAWN.

3) I felt nervous about my post yesterday because I didn't want to be seen as judging another mother's parenting choices. Then I just owned the fact that I judged another mother's parenting choices. I don't do it often, but MAN. And no, that lady was not having a bad day. If there was a bad day competition, *I* was having a much worse bad day than she was.

4) THANK YOU for your continued concern about my stepdad Jim. He is sitting up in bed! Mum says  he is doing much, much better. SO BLOODY COOL. I can't wait to see him again.

In the meantime, I'm taking my kids to see Brave today. A strong red-haired female character who can fight her own battles and does not depend on a man? Yes please!

Utterly, hopelessly in love with these guys so hard.


Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Hey lady in the cafe: Not everyone thinks your kid is awesome!

Yesterday I sat in a cafe with my husband. A little kid came right up to our table, banging on it, then stood there staring at us. Dave kind of smiled and said the obligatory, "Oh, hello!"

I didn't engage with the kid at all. I don't feel so hot. The mother was sitting directly behind me. You know how some parents talk really loudly to their kids as if the kid has a PHD, but the kid is only about twenty months old and just started walking? Why do parents do that? Do they just want the people around them to listen to them talking to their kid? I don't understand.

I didn't move my head to turn around and smile at the mother, because honestly? I wanted her kid to leave us alone. The kid then bangs his toy on the table, pulls the spare chair out .... and sits up next to me and my husband.

Oh excuse me, did somebody call a toddler business meeting? How remiss of me to forget.

I sat stony-faced and unmoving. The mother then taps me - hard, on the shoulder. And says,

"Do you hate little people?"

I said, "Pardon?" Because it sounded like she asked me if I hated little people! She said it again.

"Do you hate little people?"

I turned to look at her for the first time.

"No I don't hate little people. I just dropped my own children off to school and daycare and now I'm trying to have breakfast with my husband."

I take my children out to restaurants and cafes all the time. It's a bit stressful, because I'm always making sure they are well-behaved and not annoying. My kids have as much right to be there as anybody else, but within the constraints of reasonable behaviour. I do not let them run around, shout, or misbehave. I'm a big believer in socialising our children within communities and society, it takes a village and all that. It also takes common courtesy.

The lady behind me "tried" to get her kid away from our table. "Ohhhhh, well THAT is different then. Come on, sweetheart. Something's going on here that you don't understand yet! These people are trying to have some time together!"

The kid didn't move, and sat there for about another two minutes. Two minutes is a long time when you're trying not to lose your shit - and I'm not talking about the toddler.

I didn't cause a scene or say anything else because I was so angry it would have all come out wrong. Asking if I hated little people was really shaming and aggressive. On a good day, I might have humoured this kid and asked him what his name is. I sat sipping my coffee trying to answer Dave's questions while this mother's child sat with us, banging on the table with his toy, and playing with our sugar container.

I wanted to tell that mother a thing or two. For a start, I like that her son's toy was a pink baby doll. Major props right there. But stop talking to him like he's an adult. He's not. Also, not all people are going to be as enraptured with her kid as she is. Maybe some people just want to sit down and talk to their husbands in peace. Maybe some people are worried sick about their stepdads who are lying in a hospital bed miles away. Maybe just look after your kid properly.

I don't hate little people. I don't hate anyone. But some big people need a lesson in boundaries and manners.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Women in Politics, Foreign Aid, and Twitter Lunatics.

A week ago I sat in a crowded venue waiting for my stepdaughter's school performance to begin. I was sitting with a bunch of school parents who were all drinking red wine. If I drank red wine it would lead to a six-day bender so I had diet coke instead. I went on twitter to write a stupid tweet like, "I have bad PMS. Can I stab all of the people?"

I noticed that Prime Minister Julia Gillard had tweeted me, to thank me for coming to her morning tea. So I didn't tweet about stabbing people because I didn't want her to think I was an unhinged lunatic. New, vicious tweets soon appeared in my stream. CC'ing both the PM and me. From ..... actual unhinged lunatics. Helpful and considered things like,

"Why don't you go and get f*cked you c*nt."

I was and still am, appalled. I'm sure the PM is pretty tough and can cop it, and it takes a hell of a lot more than that to offend me. But, this is the online world that we're living in now? You just start a twitter account and spill forth the worst bile you can think of, with no thought or even any meaning behind it?

The thing that bugs me the most is that most of these tweets are sexual in nature, because Julia Gillard is a woman. So everything gets reduced to her physical attributes and what she should do with them. I often forget that sexism is so entrenched in our culture that a lot of us - men and women both - just kind of live with it.

Last week the PM announced Australia's further funding to the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, specifically targeting regular food supply to the world's poor with things like agricultural productivity and improving nutrition. In short, Australia will be doing our bit to help world poverty, especially in the Pacific, Asia, and Africa. I love this news.

A few months ago I sat in some village in a dustbowl of Niger, and watched a woman called Ramata tend to her garden. It was boring to me. I was hot and tired. When people use jargon I fade out pretty quickly - it reminds me of school. But I did learn the impact of World Vision introducing new seeds to gardens over in Niger, how the new plants thrived and were accepted by the villagers. Sustaining them.

That's Ramata, proudly watering her garden. She is wearing her best clothes. She loves her cabbages. Her hard work helps feed many people in her village.

Aid programs work. Sometimes it's as simple as that.


The tweet stream of abuse continues. I guess it's part and parcel for anybody in the public eye, to be scorned and criticised with such intent? When the PM says anything about anything, people are outraged that she's not doing something about *their* particular cause.

"Why don't you help Assange, you f*cking mole."

"You killed the asylum seekers MURDERING B*TCH!!!"

Those are just the nice ones. I notice nobody is tweeting about the size of any male politicians dicks, or what they should do with said dicks.

I'm impressed at how the PM cops this level of abuse. But then again, I probably could too. So could a lot of my friends.

Women are pretty tough like that.

(Thank you for the comments on my last post. My mum read them all and cried. Thanks to people who shared their stories .. so nice to know we are not alone, that there is hope. Still no diagnosis yet. It's hard.)


Sunday, 24 June 2012


Five months ago my stepfather Jim was diagnosed with Guillain–BarrĂ© Syndrome. His health has been up and down ever since. Pain management has been hard to negotiate, he had to retire early, my mum doesn't know if she can ever go back to work, and all of their travel plans are now out the window.

They've been married for - almost twenty years? I can't remember. Jim walked me and both my sisters down the aisle at our weddings. He is the best father figure we ever had and has had a huge grounding and calming influence on our family.

Early yesterday morning my mum found him on his side in bed, kind of blue and hardly breathing. She called an ambulance and they shredded his new pyjamas to save his life.

We don't know if he's had a stroke or reacted to this stupid analgesic pain patch. We wonder if he'll ever be the same again. He's scared. He keeps thinking he's dead and we all reassure him that he's not. He knows that Black Caviar won at Ascot and tells us who's playing in the footy.

He crunched my hand so tight last night and told me that if he dies, to just be ok and keep living. I looked straight back into his eyes and told him, okay, I will.

He's spoken more of love in the past day than he ever has in the past twenty years. It's spilling out of him. He loves us all. And we all love him - everybody who knows him, loves him. He's that kind of guy.

Last night we watched from his hospital bed as a helicopter landed right outside his window. The nurse was solemn.

"It's never a good sign when the chopper comes."

A teeny incubator was wheeled off the helipad. Somewhere there was a mother, aching. Human dramas get played out every day.

The helicopter sent everything around it into chaos, throwing leaves and litter and debris all up against the wind. Helicopters fuck shit up.

We had to leave at 8pm and Jim didn't want us to go. I searched in my handbag and found a red leather shoe keyring that Adel gave me on my last day in Africa. She said it was a token of how much we had travelled over there. I gave it to Jim and told him that if he can see it and hold it, it means that he's still alive. Mum and my sisters promised him that he wouldn't die.

We all went back to mums house and had stir-fry and pizza and laughed. A lot.

He kind of went downhill, today. Tomorrow, answers will be demanded because it will be Monday and all the doctors and specialists better be on the ball. I'm home now but will go back soon. We're aiming for effective treatment, so that he gets better.

Mum and Jim don't deserve this. Does anyone? They've worked hard for their entire lives.

There's nobody to blame. It's just life. It's why we have to travel now, do that thing, make that difference, tell that person. Now, man. Right now. Right now.

(I don't know why I wrote this. I guess, my family could use some good thoughts. Hopefully one day soon Jim will read it and say, love, I was fine all along.)                                  


Friday, 22 June 2012

"This is your time. This is your century ... these are your constituents."

My bloggy friend Cate Bolt is in Indonesia right now, at the orphanage she created called Foundation 18. She wrote about leaving here. Not long after I returned from Africa, Cate uploaded this Henry Rollins video onto her blog and emailed me ... Eden, you will love it.

I love it.

"So why give a major chunk of change ... to people halfway around the world? That is the test of just how awesome you are. To see beyond your next bag of groceries. To look at the world in this tremendous wide-shot." 

Yesterday I donated straight to Foundation 18 and asked if she could buy some huge bags of rice and oil and eggs, from me. She said she will and she will. She means what she says.

I happen to believe that helping other people is the meaning to life. To get the focus off ourselves and on to somebody else is incredibly relieving. I think if you have money to spare, to help people out, then you have a moral responsibility. Cate was on twitter last night, uploading pics of a four-year old street kid, working the streets alone. I don't know what she meant by "working the streets" and I don't want to know. Four. Same age as my kid.

(I was on twitter watching yet another Christmas Island tragedy unfold. Substitute the word "asylum seekers" with "people.")

Donate to Foundation 18 here or buy the eBook "TheThings They Didn't Tell You about Parenting" HERE. For just $4.99, all proceeds go to Foundation 18.

Cate's 17 year old son is with Cate, and he went to his Facebook page last night and wrote about how he finally understands how lucky he is. Cate was in tears that he is so fired up and passionate. That their work is now reaching a new audience, a new circle of people. Priceless.

Go, Lightning Bolt.


Thursday, 21 June 2012

I'm Bringin' Donkey Back.

See my face in that photo? It's the proud, triumphant face of a middle child who was allowed to sit on the zebra. I GOT THE ZEBRA, ARSEHOLES! So incredibly thrilled. Behind their Queen sits my three siblings: Linda, Cameron, and Leigh. In Tijuana, Mexico, 1982.

Sad thing was, I looked down and realised I wasn't sitting on a zebra, it was a donkey painted with white stripes. The paint came off and stained my green velvet knickerbockers. I couldn't wait to get off that donkey, and I stank of him all day.

Six years later my sisters, brother, and I clung to a floating beach toy in the ocean. We took it in turns to get up and jump off. We laughed and talked for about an hour out there in the sea.  Our stepdad (my brothers real dad) had just killed himself. We were the shellshocked and broken children, and the only ones on the beach. There was a new sense of camaraderie forged between us that day and I'll never forget it.

Growing up in my family was like an episode of Survivor. We all outlasted our dead dads. We all have our own unique pain around that.

You know what's a direct antidote to unique pain?

Inappropriate humour.

Last year I uploaded this photo onto my sisters Facebook walls, under the heading, "GIRLS: I found dad!"

Our real father was a red-haired Scot. He died from acute alcoholism, yet here he was in my local bookshop, masquerading as Old MacDonald.

Hilarity ensued. Leigh cursed his bushy eyebrow gene. I was all, mate - at least you didn't get the alcoholic gene! Remarks about a dead-dad-in-a-bag being like soap-on-a-rope were made. Microwave popcorn. Most of our Facebook friends were silent and probably appalled .... but we just couldn't help it. We laugh about our dead dads because it's not funny.

My siblings and I have bumbled through adulthood the best we could. Sometimes the worst we could. But we're still all here, trying to kick some goals, make some sense, do meaningful things. It's hard. Life is hard. Sometimes we find ourselves clinging to the wreckage of the past like at the beach all those years ago. Unable to work out how to even get through a stupid day.

Sometimes we stand up and catch a wave, gang-sign to shore like a hero, and we all clap each other like crazy.

                                It's Barrie. It's good.

After a few particularly glorious weeks (sarcasm) ... Linda commented on the Mexico picture yesterday on Facebook. For absolutely no reason at all she wrote "I'm bringing donkey back."

It is the funniest, most ridiculous thing I've heard in a very long time. I love it, especially when sang to the tune of Justin Timberlake's "I'm Bringin" Sexy Back." YEAH.

It doesn't make sense.

Most thing's in life never do.


Me at MamaPop: In the beginning, before all the suicide and death ...  there was Atari.  Confessions Of An 80's Atari Queen


Tuesday, 19 June 2012

The Power of the Smile Collective.

This post is sponsored by The Smile Collective

I've been in love with words since I learnt how to string them together. They're powerful things.

Notice how words and phrases are popular as tattoos, these days? I have Redemption tattooed on the tuck-shop part of my right arm. Know Thyself  is on my left wrist. One of the first things I ever learnt in group therapy was the importance of choosing our words, carefully.

They can destroy people. Or build them up.

Kelly Exeter launched The Smile Collective in April 2011. A beautiful initiative, with manifestos to match.

Kelly is on a mission. A crusade ... and it's working. She's filling the world up with beautiful, inspiring, uplifting words. One exquisite canvas print at a time. Available from the Smile Collective Shop, the manifestos are available in a variety of different colours and sizes, in poster or canvas. You can even order them already framed.

                                                    A Manifesto for Mums

A Manifesto for Mums is the perfect gift for a new mother.

"When you become a mum, you are inundated with information about all the things you should and shouldn’t do – and you spend a lot of time agonising about all the things that you aren’t doing ‘right’. Which is silly really, because our kids aren’t sitting there giving us a score out of ten. All they want is our love. That’s what A Manifesto for Mums is all about - a reminder that the needs of our kids are very simple indeed!" - Kelly Exeter, Smile Collective


There's even a Manifesto for Kids. So cool! And one for Dads.  The beauty about these prints and manifestos is they are neither preachy or prescriptive. Just a gentle reminder that we can sometimes overthink things. If we dial everything back to their simplest form, are kinder to ourselves ... how much easier does life become?

Every time I read one of Kelly's manifestos, I feel relieved, find myself taking a big breath. Both the online and the real world can be full of harsh, cynical words. These manifestos are an antidote, a welcome breeze. They come as an 8x10print ($20), A3 print ($30) and A3 canvas ($90). Available to everyone, no matter what country you live in.

Would you like to win one of her gorgeous Manifesto for Mums worth $90? Perfect for a new mother, or mum-to-be. In the comments below, tell Kelly your favourite line from her Manifesto for Mums and why. Open to people in Australia and overseas, until midnight Friday 22nd June. Kelly will choose the winner.

Like the Smile Collective on Facebook.
Free printables, postcards available.

And homies? Word up.

Not down.

                                   Choose your words.


Monday, 18 June 2012

The People in my Parenthood.

Tim, Max, Dave, and Rocco

My stepson Tim calls me "Fakemum." I love it, and tell him he is my best and most favourite Fakeson I have ever had. He turns 20 next week, all he wants is money for a new tattoo.

My stepdaughter Phoebe terrifies me.

She is fifteen, beautiful, thoughtful. A creative force of fire. Last year she came to live with us full-time, and I have fumbled along with no guidelines or rulebooks. I don't know how to do girls! How am I supposed to nurture and guide her? It's hard.

On Saturday we all went to her school performance. I had ragey PMS and a short temper, but as soon as Phoebe came onstage I was spellbound. And really proud.

She had a stage presence that blew us away. I keep telling her how utterly beautiful and amazing she is. I hope she believes me.

The concert was seriously amazing. I was struck by these talented, fresh, spirited teenagers. Life hasn't beaten the shit out of them yet! They sang and danced and laughed. Watching them just be who they are, gave me this strange sense of faith in the future.

Rocco, 4. Max, 10. It's never too early to appreciate a tea ceremony.

Parenting four children between the ages of four and twenty is no mean feat. As a family unit, we are only as happy as our unhappiest child. Identifying each need and where all the kids are at and worrying about how they are in the microcosm of the family and if they're being appropriately heard? Yeah. EXHAUSTING. I look back to my own violent, alcoholic upbringing and think, sorry kids. You got it easy, now do as I say. (My husband spent time growing up in boys homes, so he completely agrees.)

I want them all to know they are loved, to be inquisitive, to keep striving. To be bold and stand up for themselves. To have compassion, do the right thing. I want them to stop getting bloody tattoos. To clean up the goddamn kitchen sink properly. Stop pissing on the floor. Stop fighting. To shut up. To speak up. To change the world. To never stop fighting.

That's all.


Friday, 15 June 2012

Julia Gillard, the Bloggers, and the Agenda.

The day started with a helicopter next to me on the M7 but it wasn't actually a helicopter ... it was my blown and smoking tyre. Standing on the side of the road for twenty minutes, forlornly live-tweeting how I really wish I'd learnt how to change a tyre. I didn't know what to do and I felt like an idiot. It was odd, in this instant world of quick-fixes. My husband was back at home with the kids and I'm not with any roadside assistance. Silently cursing God, suddenly a guy called Andrew drives in to my woeful bay and changes my tyre.

Andrew told me that I could have just turned around, walked over to the emergency phone, and the M7 road guys would have come and changed my tyre for me straight away.

                         I didn't notice this phone because I was too busy cursing God. 

Profusely thankful, I offered him money which he declined. I told him I was on my way to meet with Julia Gillard. He looks at me, smiles, and says, "Well maybe Julia can come help you change the tyre."

Then he asked me the second-best question I've ever been asked. "So, do you work for the government?"

It took him about half an hour, in the cold, getting his hands really dirty. I was so grateful, and asked if I could write about him in my blog. He said yes. So, Andrew ... thanks mate. You're the only one that stopped! Everybody on twitter declares the need for more Andrews, in the world.

The traffic was heavy but I made it in time, walked through the gates of Kirribilli House , and met up with a really varied mix of about thirty prominent women online in Australia.

We drank tea and coffee out of dear little cups.

                                     Photo by the gorgeous Kim from All Consuming

But it wasn't about the cups, was it? I'm still not quite sure what it was about ... apparently the PM and her staffers would like to get more of an understanding on female bloggers and online writers. Which is definitely savvy on her part, and a great recognition for women in the world of Australian digital media.

There were no official proceedings, just a cuppa and a chat. The Prime Minister stood and chatted to all of us for over an hour ... about anything. I heard people talking to her about zombies, childcare rebates, Sydney traffic, being a carer of a child with disabilities. She posed for a lot of photos.

I was entirely shy and nervous about meeting her.

 Thank you Mia Freedman for taking this ridiculous photo.

I absolutely fumbled my words .... but didn't want to miss this opportunity. I told her that I saw the West African food crisis firsthand last month, and she told me she had read about me and knew I was the World Vision blogger.

Mum Blogger Eden Riley gives Prime Minister a bag of seeds 

When I asked her about foreign aid, her demeanour changed from relaxed to polished professional in a split second. The PM explained to me the government needs to be careful about where money given abroad actually goes, especially in crisis. She said that she will be talking to other leaders at the G20 Summit about foreign aid in a few days, and that she intends to slowly increase the funding.

I told her how proud I was to see so much good being done in countries like Niger all from using money raised by Australians. I told her about the readers on this blog, spreading the news and raising money and sponsoring children, and the good that can come from social media.

Then I thanked her and wished her luck. She was really very nice, approachable, and human. MUCH nicer in real person than I thought she would be. She seemed ... softer. Her answers were considered and thoughtful. Kerri Sackville asked her how she relaxed, and got into a great conversation about reading in the bath and waterproof kindles. Mrs Woog accidentally called her Julia Roberts, Chrissie Swan asked her if she puts peas in her tuna mornay (she does) ... and Kim spoke to her about what it's like being the mother of a child with special needs.

I've emailed the PM's office since I've been home, with more questions about a dollar-for-dollar matching program for the West Africa Appeal, and the chances of a child sponsorship program with government stakeholders. They've already gotten back to me. I've been in contact with all of the beautiful and smart workers at World Vision. Janet, Joy, Richenda, Adel ... WORD UP HOMEGIRLS. What just happened? I love, LOVE being your sweary renegade tattooed blogger. Love.

On the way home I thought about Andrew going out of his way to help a complete stranger. Andrew would have stopped for anybody, and I was just as inspired meeting him as I was about meeting the Prime Minister of Australia.

PS Computer, one day I will tell you the first-best question ever asked to me in my life. But not today ... it's too rude and I'm pretty sure the PM is going to read my blog today.


Thursday, 14 June 2012

Meeting Julia.

Tomorrow morning I'll be having morning tea with the Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard. Every time I tell someone the first thing they say is, "WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO WEAR?" And I laugh because I never think about what to wear ... I only ever think about what cowboy boots to wear.

I keep wondering if I'll actually get to talk to her, how much time I will have, and what I would say.

What would you say? Would you talk about the weather or the view at Kirribilli House ... or the foreign aid budget? Would you talk about asylum seekers? Roadworks, hospital funding, and the importance of carers in Australian society? Childcare rebates? The scones?

I've narrowed mine down to two things:

1) Drug and alcohol education for children and treatment centres for adults.

2) Foreign aid. Specifically, for the West Africa Food Crisis.

People have talked about how you're supposed to get the PM a gift. I couldn't think of anything, so I just got her some seeds.

                           Buy World Vision Gifts  for as little as $5 HERE

I wish I could tell Julia how proud I felt back in April when I stood at wells pumping clean water for the first time, in remote West African villages. Proud because in some places, ENTIRE infrastructure was made possible by Australians who donated. Us Aussies are a caring bunch.

I do not envy Julia her job, at all. You simply can't please all of the people, all of the time.

I know Bern Morley asked on twitter if I could mention this article about her son Sam and how the online world has helped.

I know that Cate Bolt is always getting her political rant on which I LOVE .... she is about to leave for a visit to the Indonesian Orphanage she set up, for her charity Foundation 18.

If Nathalie from Easy Peasy Kids were there tomorrow, she'd probably talk to Julia about what it's like caring for her precious mother who has Alzheimer's.

There's so many more examples I could give right now, but it's getting dark and I haven't cooked anything for dinner and my husband is due home soon.

Because I am a MUMMYBLOGGER, you know.

I belong to a huge community of women (and men) who are all online using various social media platforms, sharing information and telling our stories.

I have a plan ... I am indeed going to talk to Julia for at LEAST seventeen seconds, give her my blog business card like I gave one to Bono, and tell her to read this post.

What would you say to the Prime Minister?

PS My two issues are related because (government subsidised) rehabs led me to a better way to live which led me to blogging from Africa. If a person is given adequate care ... they are capable of realising their potential. THANKS JULES.

PPS Am I even allowed to publish this post?

PPPS Imagine if we stopped asking ourselves if we were allowed to do things and just did them anyway.


Wednesday, 13 June 2012

I accidentally bought a pair of the biggest douchebag hipster glasses of all time.

I've been hiding behind glasses since I was twelve years old. During all the big house cleaning recently, some cleaning products were unearthed from blogging conference swag bags. Who knew? The abrasive soap scum moist towelettes were actually so effective in my bathroom that I used them on my glasses. So I had to buy some new glasses.

How annoying is it when you're trying glasses on but you can't see what they actually look like because you don't have your glasses on. I had about nine minutes to choose, while my family waited in the car. (Note: Don't ever do that.)

Now I don't usually go with current fashion-y things, I just pick things that look good on me. But I tried on a pair of trendy hipster-fied glasses and thought, hmmm. COOL. Bought them, waited the obligatory three weeks, went in to pick them up and realised I looked like a complete tryhard MORON and I'd have to choose some new glasses.

But I can't afford to. So. Here's my old faithfuls that have stood me well for a good few years now:

And here is possibly one of the biggest hipster middle-aged douchebags of all time:

Thing is ... they've grown on me! My sister Leigh came up to visit and she told me they looked great, which made me like them. So, they'll stay. I'll own my douchebaggery.

In a random twist, I found a pair of glasses I wore from the years 1987-1989. This is not a joke, I actually wore these babies. I was the dorkiest, small-voiced thing you never heard. Ready?


                      I'M READY TO GO IN COACH. JUST GIVE ME A CHANCE!

Can you believe, I never had a boyfriend in high school?

I tried doing sexy.

I'm putting these babies on later tonight. My husband is a lucky, lucky man.


Me at MamaPop this week: How Minecraft Smashed My Sons Innocence.

Lastly: Words can't express how much your comments and linking up means to me on my last post. I will be reading and commenting on every post that was written. (From all eleven of you.) It's so refreshing when people look inside themselves. (Thank you. You are bloody amazing.)


Saturday, 9 June 2012

Who The Hell Are You?

I've spent the past few weeks slowly reaching a crescendo and I just can't take it anymore. Smoothing things over, deeply worried about how it all looks. Frantic phonecalls, tears, scurrying around.  Fighting, hand-throwing, almost giving up.

But I haven't given up, and now it's here.

Today is the first day of our open house inspection. 

People will come over to my house and look at all my stuff. Open drawers, look in my pantry .. maybe even my cupboards. I've tidied up and cleared as best I can, but I know that people are still going to judge. It's human nature. When people stand here and pick apart my furniture, the greasy range hood, my taste in style ... I won't know because I won't be here. I don't WANT to know. If they bitch about my house, it will be done the old-fashioned way: away from me, so I can't hear it. I'll be at the park with my boys, then we're going to buy hot chocolates, some cardboard for Max's overdue Mongolia assignment, and hire out some movies. 

In the past few months I have been asked by journalists intensely personal questions about my husband. Whether my sisters have substance issues too. (For the record they don't ... I took that bullet for them because that's what good sisters DO.) There's more, but this one keeps bugging me: "Surely you're going to have a LOT of explaining to do with your boys, when they're old enough to read and understand your blog?"

This week I've been in the most annoying email exchange of all time, with a google executive who so kindly helped me take my first blog off the internet. I'd forgotten my password and email address, so it's just been hanging there, in cyberspace. Somebody was pressing me on it so I went and had a look - I was angry, inappropriate, and hurtful. A mad scramble ensued, to take it down. I'm going to go through it and take out the posts that are hurtful. My words hurt people. Words are so powerful!

I keep having to write new bio's for things. I hate it ... even had to re-write the "Who is Edenland" on this blog. I erased the old one and put a new one up there. My About Me's keep changing, because I keep changing. It's a good thing. Change and evolution, baby.

Lately I keep wondering who I am. Back in Niger I stood there on the last day, and Adel from World Vision West Africa just looked at my clothes. "You like black a lot, don't you Eden."

I laughed, swung my red scarf around my neck and said "Yes but I like red too. It goes well with black." 

Later she gave me a beautiful card, with carefully chosen words. "... you really are a complex woman."

I didn't know what she meant but I knew it made me want to cry. When I was in Niger I got more than a few comments and emails from people saying they'd always put off coming here to read my blog, " .. because, well, YOU KNOW." (These were lovely emails, but the thing is, I didn't know what they were talking about. Not sure I want to.)

Then I came back home, won the Sydney Writer's Centre Best Blog Award, launched with the Remarkables, and found myself eating a lot of cake on my couch. I felt greedy, embarrassed, and under some intense scrutiny. I've been fumbling ever since, with laryngitis. Other people's assumptions made me lose my voice. 

So the question remains. Who am I?

*throat clear*

Today, I don't know who I am. I forgot. As a kid, when people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up and I told them a pop singer who gives all her money to charity. I meant it with my whole heart. I get shocked when people question my motives. Then I look around and start questioning other people's motives. Who is real, and who is fake?

I get paranoid easily. (Kids. do NOT smoke pot.) I believe pineapple has no place on a pizza, and a raisin has no place - anywhere. I love my kids. I love my kids. I love my kids. I'm too sensitive. I'm too tough. I'm too abrasive.

I have a big shadow. I manage it as best I can. I have mental health issues. I'm a trained copywriter who used to work in radio and advertising. I cried myself to sleep when Molly died on A Country Practice. Once when I was about 22 I woke up under a car in Kings Cross after hiding there the night before. I'd jumped a cab, and fallen into a drunken sleep. When I eased myself out, early-morning commuters were shocked so I looked at them in disgust. Like, THEY were the ones with the problem. Rii-iiight.

I have a heart of gold. I care very deeply, about many different things. Just because I say "Suck my mummyblogging dick" on twitter doesn't mean I'm a rude idiot. Wait - it does! Sorry. I never said I was perfect. I'm mostly doing the best I can. I learnt a long time ago, to not take myself so bloody seriously. I used to be a barmaid, an ice-cream scooper, a receptionist, a nanny. A dog walker, a magazine editor, a lover.

My children will know that their mother struggled a lot in life but kept getting back up again. Hopefully they'll be down with that.

I like cheese.

Edenland's Fresh Horses Brigade

Come stage your comeback .... who are you? It's a really simple question. Hard to answer.

You can go deep or just skim the surface, there's no right or wrong. I used to do this Fresh Horses Meme every week ... it's back. Once a month from here on in. Just feel like drawing a line in the sand, today. Starting over. I'm good at that.

Are you?

(Write a post, grab the code, then link below.)

PS None of the people at open house today will know that Rocco just pissed all over the toilet floor for the krillionth time.

PPS Mr Linky will be open all long weekend. Hanging to see who you are. Remember when I used to say, "We're all in this together." Those were good times.

Important: This is link-up of blog posts that have been written expressing who you are, not a general link to just, pimp your blog out for free. 


Thursday, 7 June 2012

We Live in an Ancient World.

We live in an ancient world. Go outside and look at the moon.

If you listen closely, she'll tell you her secrets.


Me at MamaPop this week: Jason Alexander issues apology after gay cricket joke.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

The Fancy Lipstick Building.

Last week I flew to Melbourne for a visit with Maybelline New York and Garnier. Before I left the house I ran around making school lunches, assembled a slow-cooked beef stroganoff for the boys' dinner, searched for the right cowboy boots, and broke up two fights.

I was SO impressed with myself when I made it to Sydney airport on time. Waited for the bus shuttle with an apple core in one hand and my phone in the other. Threw the apple in the bin, got on the bus, sat down ... to find the apple still in my hand. MAGIC! I ran up to the bus driver. "Please can you stop I just threw my phone in the bin!!!" He sighed, heavily .. and watched as I put my entire arm into a garbage bin in public.

I got back on and told him thank you, I'm here all week try the veal. He didn't crack a smile.

                                  Snowy Mountains are snowy.

Mrs Woog and I DIDN'T die in a plane crash. We soon arrived at one of the most spectacular hotels in Melbourne, the Cullen. Dave rang to tell me his solicitor saw a photo of Dave on my blog. I replied with how much he would love the art in my hotel room:

I text this photo to Dave. One of Dave's aunts did their Riley family tree, to discover that years ago, the Kelly gang and the Riley clan used to knock about with each other.


The next day we went to the building that looks like a lipstick. It was a whirlwind of talented people, new products, beautiful food, and a massage from a guy called Sven.

Bob, showing off his mad Garnier skillz. And kindly not saying a word about my open pores and lank complexion. He used the Three-in-One Pure Wash Scrub and Mask ... so refreshing. (My husband, step kids and I will all fight over it can share it.)

This thing?

GAMECHANGER, aka the volumising Garnier Fructis Thermo-Active Spray. Best thing I have ever used on my hair - gives this volume and texture to it. I'll be using it for the rest of my life.

When we got to the tanning section, I told them about my unfortunate tanning incident of 1985. I stole my mums fake tan and took it to school for a sports carnival. Great idea, right? I thought it would work straight away. I slathered and slathered - nothing. Over the next few days, two things happened:

1) My mum was looking for her missing fake tan. I feigned innocence.
2) I started turning a curious shade indeed. Especially the skin in between my fingers.

My mum and sisters then kind of knew, who stole the fake tan. (YA THINK!?)

It's safe to say that tans have now come a long way.

We were then shown by THE Nigel Stanislaus how to apply makeup. And what colours were good, how to blend. All the things I never learnt. I got by in my twenties with some red lip liner in my back pocket and regular eyelash tints ... it's only as I grow older that my need to use makeup has increased. Especially with concealers and foundation.

Nigel made me laugh, taught me tips, and matched me up with the Maybelline Fit Me Creamy Natural

They all said I would love these Colour Tattoo gel eyeshadows and I do. Mine is called "Too Cool." And it really is.

Nigel looks humble and teary, like he just won an Oscar for Best Makeup. (My stepson walked past just now, looked at that photo and laughed. "Your bicep looks like it's sitting in a hammock." No words.)

Georgia deserves massive props for putting this whole thing together. And for realising the huge value for brands in working with bloggers, both with outreach campaigns and digital advertising. Ahead of your game, Georgia.

She even put together a little something at the end of the day, after Mrs Woog and I sat for an hour talking to all of the executives and account directors about blogging and social media in Australia:

Mrs Woog superimposed over her own hair dye ... and me superimposed over RUBY ROSE'S BODY. Georgia's tagline for my mock-ad? "You can't outrun your shadow .. because you're born with it."

We flew home weary but looking FABULOUS. Got home at 10.30pm to find Dave waiting on the couch, hoping to strike it lucky with his glamour wife. He did.

The next morning I plucked the longest chin hair I've had in quite some time. It would have been there the whole day and everybody saw it and nobody said a goddamn thing.

Disclaimer: Maybelline New York is sponsoring me to fly to New York to attend BlogHer in August. I was given products to try, a hotel room, and a non-crashing airplane flight to Melbourne. I didn't have to write about or link to any of these products ... but they're so good I can't not. This post has been sponsored by my chin hair and my hammock bicep.


Monday, 4 June 2012

There's Nothing Like Australia.

Wow. This brand spanking new ad for Tourism Australia is MAGNIFICENT. Beautiful song too. Anyone know who sings it? I googled for like, twenty seconds and couldn't find out. (Remember when information used to be slow?)

I have no affiliation with anything to do with the making of this ad campaign .... I'm just proud and grateful to live in the best country on the planet.


Sunday, 3 June 2012

This Here Life.

The very first words out of my mouth this morning:


Then I decluttered eight years worth of garbage and crap from the entire kitchen. Then I stood up on the breakfast counter, opened the window, and swung around like an abseiler to clean all of the glass. Half hanging out, with no bra on. If I fell, I would have seriously hurt myself.  SO COOL. Extreme clean.

Yesterday I systematically went through my entire office. Papers, letters, photos. I picked up a jewellery box that my real dad gave me in 1982.  Opened it up, and there's my WACKY pink zipper earrings and John Taylor badge. I wound the box up and it played "My Way." Which is ironic, because that was my second dead dads' most favourite song.  The ghosts of them both played around my room and my head, until Dave came up and broke the spell.

I found three rehabs worth of writings. I've written for my entire life - especially my dreams. How odd is it, that during the hardest times of our life, we dream the most? From 1997:

"Dreamt that Dennis Franz from NYPD Blue was my dad. He took me out to buy sandwiches and told me I could have ANY filling I wanted. He kept looking at me in the eyes, so maybe he actually gave a shit. I don't think he was talking about sandwich fillings .. I think he was talking about life. If I can just stop drinking, maybe I'll have more choice. About everything."

Then I found some things I wrote during some dark drinking times. I found all the Holy Cards my very Catholic beautiful grandmother gave me. Letters from doctors in the early nineties marked with "UNFIT FOR WORK."

In 1999 I had been clean for a whole year but couldn't sustain it. "I'm dark again. Why does this happen? It's like vultures. I should be scared. Trying to feel something but I can't."

So much, in a life. We can do so much.

I had to take a break, so put on my long-lost Emmylou Harris CD that my mum gave me in 1995 and lay down on the living room floor. Spreadeagled and spun out.

I did it for kicks and I did it for faith 
I did it for lust and I did it for hate 
I did it for need and I did it for love  
Addiction stayed on tight like a glove 
So I ran with the moon and I ran with the night 
And the three of us were a terrible sight 
Nipple to the bottle to the gun to the cell
To the bottom of a hole of a deeper well 

The kids - all four of them - walked around me, in and out. Can't remember the last time I just sat and simply listened to a piece of music. Dave came and sat down with a cup of tea. I told him that I don't like the physical world .. I much prefer the world inside us. He laughed. We waltzed.

We're getting our house professionally photographed tomorrow, to list it for sale. A house we never thought we would ever sell.

It feels so good to let things go.


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