Wednesday, 31 October 2012

"It was the badest thing I ever done."

He went missing a few days ago ... was not where he was supposed to be. I thought I'd lost him forever, thought I would never see him again and my whole body went heavy. Very hard to breathe ... just as we called the police, he was found. So we uncalled the police and the relief washed through so fast my legs buckled.

"He's alive? Great. Now I'm gonna kill him."

He's only ten - almost eleven. I give him freedom and trust, rules, boundaries, jobs. I tell him ... I know it's hard, being a kid! Sometimes I'm not such a great mother and I bend at the pressure of it all, this constant being in control of these humans that came out of my body.

And then I remember that my control is only an illusion, anyway.

He was so sorry, so contrite .. thought he would get away with it, didn't realise we would all be out looking for him. Wrote me a note ... "Mum! I'm so so so sorry for making you worry and sad. It was the badest thing I ever done and I won't ever do it again!"

I rang my mum and told her I wish I could move into her spare room. Told her that parenting is BULLSHIT, that children aren't even GRATEFUL for all of the sacrifices we make. Mum completely understood, as only a parent with four grown-up kids can.

Dave and I have been parenting children of various ages and sizes for many years, now. It's a privilege, it's wonderful, it's frustrating, disappointing, tiring. I've learnt a lot about parenting, mostly through trial and error. We muddle through, think that it will get easier as they get older. I'm starting to realise it's harder.

Late the other night we went through punishments and grounding. Apologetic letters were written, promises made. He's so little and big at the same time. The elongated face of a pre-teen and the heart of a lion, starting to find his feet in the world.

"Mate, the thought of something happening to you ..... breaks my heart up into a thousand pieces."

We cried. I climbed up onto the top bunk and held him like I've always held him and I wished we could stay like that forever.

Monday, 29 October 2012


This post is sponsored by Gumtree.

Dave would say he is a "collector." I would say he is a "hoarder." We have so much stuff laying around our house and garage ... it just sits there, waiting. Sometimes I get a bit fed up and a few of Daves things go missing. I tell him, I just don't know where it went, hon!

I've fantasised about all of our belongings perishing in a fire. We just do not need a lot of our stuff.

Remember that saying, "Imagine having to carry everything you own?" Objects weigh us down, can sometimes stop us from moving forward. It's why it feels so good when you purge, you're allowing room for new things to enter. A couple I know have a wonderful rule - when one of them brings home something for the house, something else must be relinquished. It helps keep the balance of the things they own. 

We've already de-cluttered so much this year, especially after Dave came back from Mexico and had a huge epiphany about how he wanted to live. But we will always have room to cull.

I was asked by Gumtree if I'd be interested in working with them to showcase a few things I could sell on their site and write about how easy it is. I said yes straight away, started writing Lists of All The Things.

Some really lovely people from Gumtree come up to my house to help me value my stuff, and give me an overview of how it all works. We sat in the sun and drank tea. There’s everything on Gumtree - books, trinkets, paintings, toys, clothes, cowboy boots, garden furniture. When the time came for me to actually upload things, I expected it to be really hard and take a long time. It took me a bit over five minutes to get my first listing on there, complete with my details, photos, and item description. All for free.

I’ve now also downloaded the free Gumtree app, which means I can just walk around my house, take a photo of something I might like to sell and BAM. Upload it it straight away while I’m waiting for the jug to boil. It's so simple - Gumtree is Australia's largest free classified website.

You can sell anything - for example, a full-size billiard table that's been languishing in your messy garage for four years!

Gumtree listing here.

When Dave was going through chemo, one of his uncles gave him this billiard table, straight from Chatswood RSL. She is beautiful, came complete with the lights and cue set. But we just never play her. 

We also had a retro Singer Sewing Machine just lying around ... with original thread and patterns.

Listing here.

You can turn it upside down so it just becomes a table. It's very pretty, but I just feel like she needs to go to a new home.

Next up: some beautiful dresses that I bought with good intentions but have never worn. I tried to wear them, I really did. But jeans and cowboy boots just feel so much better.

Some are from a New York second-hand boutique, some brand new still with tags. 

(*Edited: It's sold, sorry! Am about to go through some more, though. I have a lot of dresses.)

I went through my bookshelf, and have a selection of books up for sale by authors like Sarah Silverman, James Frey, Haruki Murakami .. even a biography of Lady GaGa. 

Listing here.

This antique thermos that I bought Dave about seven years ago as a homage to Fred Flintstone. 

Listing here.

It's cool, but has just sat at the top of our pantry gathering dust. 

I've clearly labelled all of my listings. There's no joining fees or hoops to jump through, as Gumtree is a classifieds.

It was hard to price this next thing:

Listing here.

Why? Oh, only because I was the editor of this esteemed publication for a few years, back when Max was little. Stop laughing.

(There are some KILLER patterns to make dresses for your porcelain dolls.)

There's one thing that Dave would not let me list, even after frequent badgering:


Yes, that IS a handmade gong made from Indonesia that he got especially shipped over straight to our house one day unbeknownst to me. 

I have tried putting that gong in every room. It just doesn't fit anywhere, doesn't match. Possibly because we don't have a Balinese house? One day I even had it out on the front porch and a courier guy asked me how much.

(Technically the gong is not for sale.)

There's a few other things up for sale. I'll be following this post up with how everything went.

I keep looking around the house, wondering what to sell next. If my family ends up eating dinner on upturned crates and wearing potato sacks, we can always go to Gumtree to buy more stuff.
Gumtree on Facebook and twitter

Ever want to sell all of your stuff and start again? Anyone want to buy a gong?

Sunday, 28 October 2012


I purposely sent this guy off to pre-school photos looking like this. The world needs more shaggy-haired, untamed wild boys.

As soon as I took that photo, he caught sight of the bird seed behind Buddha and leapt over to grab it.


(We have since changed the bird feeder location.)

Underneath Buddha is bugs and webs and split wood. I like it.

Later we went for a drive and I looked up the sky.

So many messages in there! The whole time our stepdad Jim was dying, and the weeks afterward, my sisters and mum kept finding solace in the sky. Like it knew, and was on our side.

I noticed we were driving past the local crematorium and there was a funeral taking place. So that sky wasn't for me. It was for somebody else.


My last post made it onto Schmutzie's Five Star Friday,  along with some other killer posts, like this one from the Trephine. One of the best pieces of online writing I've ever read ... ironically, about online writing itself:

"Frankly, if all I felt allowed to publicly discuss were my Bedazzler or my kid or my wedding or a television character, I would not be able to stop myself from poking my own eyes out with those cute striped straws everyone is using to drink everything. .. I consider the discussion of those topics, and only those topics, to be a disservice to society in the same way that displaying photos of skinny women, and only skinny women, is a disservice to society. 

My friend Karen from Rhythm and Method gave me a pep-talk email recently, after I told her my despondence about blogging and this whole online space and what it all means.

"It's your space, Eden. You can do what you want with it. You could post your favourite art works, broadcast your favourite YouTube videos. Curate your own space."

CURATE. Now there's a word.

I can't wait to read all of the Trephine's writing, so thank you Schmutzie, for doing Five Star Friday every week. (Nice curation, Schmutz.)

Thank you, SO much for the messages and comments on my last post. I didn't think about it too much or I would have chickened out. My mum wants to do a whole online nude calendar to raise money for charity. In her text: "Let's show the whole world our arses!" I love my mum.

Even my husband walked up to me and said it was a great blog post. He's never said that before. I expected him to just shake his head, but he loved it, started laughing.

"Yannow, if you bent over ... you could've been a mummy'o'blogger."

Thursday, 25 October 2012

I Am Mummyblogger.

I'm just going to say this and shut up about it because MAN it's getting boring.

The term "mummyblogger" originated online in America, after a huge influx of parenting bloggers hit the web. In the 2005 NY Times article "Mommy and Me" it was said "the baby blog, in many cases ... is an online shrine to parental self-absorption."

I've been blogging since April 2007, and have watched the explosion of mommyblogging in the US and UK .. and the controversy and fallout that came with it.

"Mommy Bloggers are a force to be reckoned with. With the tip tap of their fingers on the keyboard, they can bring awareness to a variety of issues, throw down on a brand or just simple share a story that will touch the lives of many." - The Continuing Reign of Mommybloggers, Technorati.

Most women bloggers who happen to have children bristle at being called a mummyblogger. I don't mind it, except when it's used in a tone that drips with derision and disdain. Underestimate "mummybloggers" at your peril, for the collective online power they can wield is immense, and only just being recognised in Australia.

Canadian blogger Catherine Connors from Her Bad Mother wrote:

"Bloggers, of the quote/unquote mommy variety or otherwise, are a new species in the wild of public discourse, but the history of women, and especially mothers, being discouraged from speaking out and telling their own stories is a long one. Feminine virtue in ancient Rome – pudicitia – was actually defined, in part, by the quality of being able to keep one’s mouth shut and remain passively and modestly behind the veil of the private sphere (as opposed to male virtue, of course – the word virtue is even derived from the Latin word for male, or vir – which was defined by its public character.)"

As a direct result of her blog, Catherine now works as Editor-In-Chief at one of the biggest parenting websites in the world, Mommyblogging is routinely dissected and discussed in America, and is now very-much accepted as a legitimate and accessible way for women to communicate and form communities. Even make some money, as savvy marketers and advertisers in the digital space have found out. 

Million Dollar Mommy Blogging - Reinforcing the Feminine Mystique? - Huffington Post

Queen of the Mommy Bloggers - NY Times

In her blog post "Mommy Blogs Are Women Blogs" Liz Gumbinner from Mom 101 talks about how some of the blogs she loves are even written by women who aren't mothers - a view I whole-heartedly agree with.

"I always wonder if I would have read mom blogs, had I discovered them before I actually spawned. Whether I would find kindred spirits in the community of women writers, writing about womanly things and shared experiences."

The debate about mummyblogs has been quietly going on down here in Australia for a while, mostly on the blogs themselves. A lot has been written about "mummyblogs" in the press, especially since the morning tea at Kirribilli House. 

Back in August, I watched President Obama address all of the attendees at BlogHer New York via live video-link, like it was the most normal thing in the world to do. (Probably because it was.)

Today I had a lengthy chat to John McTernan, Director of Communications for Prime Minister Julia Gillard. I had a few questions for him, asked him if Julia Gillard thought I was a soft vote.

"Eden, do you think you're a soft vote?" 

I laughed, told him I know I'm not, I'm just getting a little peeved at the consistent use of the term"mummyblogger" being meant in a derogatory way. John told me that the PM will be holding another get-together for people in the online space, possibly before the year is out. He sees the landscape has changed, that there are now new channels and new mediums to interact and communicate with people. A lot of the public digital discourse occurring online today is by women.
Some journalists are dubious of that.

When John told me that the Prime Minister and her office places value on intelligent, opinionated people who have their own views, are authentic .. that she actually really is interested in a rich and varied public discussion .... I believed him.

When we hung up I went straight into a video conference call with my fellow World Vision Ambassadors about our trip to India. We talked about slums and poverty, child labour and the logistics. We leave in seventeen days. I shouldn't be going, for so many reasons.

I'm going.

Then I had approvals for two sponsored posts I've written, which will be up on my blog soon. I feel good about them.

Then I had a look around the internets and came across Freerange Shae's post she wrote today about her body. She joined up in an I Heart My Body campaign that over a hundred women have so far linked up to. I adore Shae .. one of the funniest, most real women I have met online. She home-schools three young girls, is passionate about wholesome food, feminism .. things that MEAN things. The good stuff.

I decided to join in too. When Dave got home I asked him to write "mummy" on one cheek and "blogger" on the other. He didn't bat an eyelid, used a permanent marker. I love that man. I could not be married to any other.

I've entitled this photo, "Kiss It."

Sure, I'll be your mummyblogger.

Now I'm gonna moonwalk outta here.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

What I Have To Offer.

This morning I got up and constructed my reality on the way to the coffee machine. Read my morning reading, then forgot it. My clothes are on the floor. I felt as strange and disconnected as ever.

"Another day? Didn't we just HAVE one of those things? How long is this going to continue?"

On the way home from the school run I sang every single word of Cleaning Out My Closet. I cleaned my whole kitchen, wiping up crumbs and down bins. Put a load of washing on, hung out two, swept the floor. Lit six candles all in a row, to bring some Spirit to the table. The empty washing-up rack smiled at me. It's nice to appropriate life into your inanimate objects.

What things can I use ... to get through the day? Because we all use something. We all feel as empty and useless as each other, and fill up that insatiable hole with a whole host of things designed to distract us from ourselves.

Eden, you're going to have to watch the Charlie Kaufman video that BabyMac and her husband sent to you. Again.

So I did.

No words, for what this video means to me. You should watch it.

My clothes are still on the floor, but that's ok.

There's always tomorrow. (Except when there's not.)

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Eden Riley Of Edenland: Recovering Alcoholic, World Vision Ambassador.

Last night I watched a show called Mediawatch. They did a story on myself and a few other bloggers earning money from their blogs, and that's how I was introduced.

"And Eden Riley of Edenland – recovering alcoholic, World Vision ambassador, plain-speaker extraordinaire."

I heard it and winced. Played it for Dave when he got home and watched him wince. It's a little embarrassing, being known as the recovering alcoholic blogger. It's not like I'm a recovering brain surgeon, or a recovering Nobel Peace-Prize winner.

But it is the truth. I lived it. And I wrote it.

I've been blogging for five and a half years now. Watched entire online landscapes come and go. Waited patiently for Australia to play catch-up to the rest of the world when it comes to this digital space. I've learnt and grown and made mistakes on this blog. I've evolved, told the truth, ranted, matured. I've bent over backwards to disclose any sponsorship I may have with businesses and brands and could not be more transparent if I tried. I don't have anything to hide, I adhere to my own personal code of ethics, as do most every other blogger I know. The ones who don't, don't last long.

I signed with business dynamo and talented woman Lorraine Murphy from the Remarkables over four months ago. She is helping me value the time and energy it takes to maintain a blog. DISCLOSURE: I'm not out to earn a million bucks. I've had an unsteady relationship with money ever since my dad killed himself over his finances back in 1988.

I've never blogged for stats or money, or fame. Some days I don't know why I blog ... but then again, some days I don't know why I do anything at all.

You know what's a great thing to use your blog for? Drawing attention to things that you passionately believe in. Like social justice, feminism, child abuse, poverty.

A few weeks back I met up with World Vision CEO Tim Costello and told him there was a chance that I could be travelling to India in November as part of a World Vision blogger trip. Tim told me all about the caste system and I told Tim all about rehab. He didn't bat an eyelid ... I love how World Vision are cool with aligning themselves with somebody like me. Maybe I kind of fit into their ethos of digging deep and making a change in the world. (In my case, I had to start with myself.)

In a few weeks time, I leave for a ten-day trip to India to blog every day about child labour, children living in poverty, and women's rights.  I've never wanted to go to India - too hot, overcrowded, stinky. Had to google it the other night, told Dave it was two countries up from Afghanistan. I have a feeling I'll be blown open in ways I can't pre-empt. Like my last World Vision trip to Africa, I'll be using this blog to bring some attention to parts of the world that often get overlooked, but also focus on a lot of the positive goals and initiatives that World Vision are achieving over there.

The other bloggers on the trip are Carly Jacobs from Smaggle, and Kelly from Be A Fun Mum. Renowned mobile street photographer Misho Baranovic  and Joy Toose from World Vision Australia will also be coming.

I'm so privileged and lucky to be going. I'm incredibly grateful to my husband Dave for being so utterly supportive and continuing to run his own building business up here in the Blue Mountains while taking care of our two young boys, while mummy goes off on a not-so-frivolous globetrot. It means the world to me. I'm also really grateful that the (not huge!) amounts of money I have earned from my blog can go towards groceries and childcare so I can justify going.

In conclusion:

Blogging IS mainstream, being a recovering alcoholic is SO much nicer than being a plain alcoholic, and I'm getting immunised tomorrow for a trip to India to raise awareness about issues that "the media" appear to have lost interest in.

It's a long way to travel for a prawn vindaloo.

Who's with me?

Should I google India ... or just wing it when I get there?

PS. Maybe there is no media. Maybe you can be your own media.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Came Home Like A Stone.

Last night we stopped off at Bar Italia in Leichardt. I first took Dave there when we became girlfriend/boyfriend, all those years ago.

We always order the exact same pasta dishes, then finish with chocolate and banana gelato. It's a family tradition.

It was still light so we took the guys to the park and Dave pushed them on this swing until Rocco cried and Max fell off.

The boys cheered at the planes flying overhead and we were all so happy, so very off-the-cuff spur of the moment happy.

Found Wile E. on our way back to the car.


We piled in the car and when we got home I slept for ten hours. My spirit slept for a hundred years.

Woke up feeling so renewed and powerful all over again. Decided to stage my own comeback. Bring it on, life ... what else ya got?

Saturday, 20 October 2012

The Weight Of A Man.

My two identical twins sisters, my mother and I, all met outside Gate F at the Sydney Entertainment Centre and ate dumplings and laughed. Big, raucous, inappropriate, laughter.

We were low and tired and sad, waiting for Mumford and Sons to come onstage. The next day the movers would come to mums house and she would leave the last house that Jim ever lived in. 

The band came onstage and blew everybody out of the water like I knew they would. Mum bought us all tickets while Jim was in hospital. 

When the lead singer sang, it was with his whole heart. I want to write like he sings.

After four hours sleep we all got up and helped mum pack up the last of her stuff.

I wondered if Jim was hanging around. I asked Leigh, "Do you think he's here right now, watching us?" 

She turned and shouted HEY JIMMY!!!

I don't know what I believe in anymore.

Mum has no idea how amazing she is, just keeps getting up every day and facing the world again and again. She didn't go back to say goodbye her old house and I told her she didn't have to.

We got to the new place and it's perfect. Maybe everything will be ok after all. Who the hell knows. 

Mum worried that Jim might be getting hot in the car so I went and got him. I carried him down into her new house, the weight of ashes and bones in my hand. The measure of what's left. 

He was heavy. As heavy as our hearts. Set him up on the bedside table next to a candle and then unwrapped some more kitchen boxes, then drove off to my life while my mum came to terms with her new one. 

 Mum this song is for you. 

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

A Letter To Eminem On His 40th Birthday.

Dear Marshall,

Do you ever look back on your career and wonder how it all happened?

"But when it's all said and done, I'll be 40 before I know it. With a 40 on the porch telling stories with a bottle of Jack, two grandkids in my lap, babysiting for Hailie ... while Hailie's out getting smashed."
- Drug Ballad

Hailie's not out getting smashed and neither are you. Well done on your recovery, man. I didn't buy Relapse when it came out because you kind of lost it there for a while. But you came back, bigger than ever, with a powerful force behind you. People usually don't come back from where you've been. The statistics aren't great.

"Whats it take, to get it through your thick skulls? As if this aint some bullshit. People don't usually come back this way, from a place that was dark as I was in .. just to get to this place." - Lighters

That thing you do with words is outstanding. Only twenty-six letters in the alphabet and you arrange them just so. Your words are a cascading calvacade of calvary. You cut things up and fuck it all off. Thanks for helping me get through my life, especially lately. My stepdad was dying in hospital recently and the only song I had on my phone was No Love. (Seriously, how the hell did you do that?) It helped me harness the rage and futility. I blasted it so loud my ears almost bled and I didn't care. You make me not care, and sometimes I need to not care because I care so much about this stupid shitty world and all of the stupid beautiful people in it. I have other heroes and people I admire but you make me feel ok about punching holes in the sky and being brave enough to stand up and tell it like it is, not how I wish it was.

"And I am, whatever you say I am. If I wasn't, then why would I say I am?" - The Way I Am

There's been many days in the past few months where I thought I wasn't going to make it through. Our demons are related. You are currently slaying yours like a champ, slicing them with your words and wit and heart that grows stronger with every beat of every rap. Mine almost killed me. I got ten years shiny years up and then it all turned to shit last year. It's been a hard slog to get back. A few weeks ago on 9/11 I had a solid twelve months up but I didn't care, didn't dare announce it because I was in negotiations with my own heart about whether to even continue in this world.

I'm continuing. I'm getting stronger. When I'm in my power I am STRONG, like you. Guess we just have to keep moving forward. I like the terminology and care you take when you describe your recovery ... it's easy to see that you got it. You got it so much and I hope you always do. I hope you feel a huge sense of achievement at even making it to forty, and I can't wait to see what you do next. You're my writing mentor and you don't even know it. So many times I've sat down and played Cold Wind Blows again and again until I strip all the care back until all that's left is the tainted, ugly, beautiful truth. I can't thank you enough.

My husband and I took our ten year old son to see you in concert last year in Sydney, you blew our hoodies off. I'm cool with my sons listening to your lyrics. Your music will hopefully give them an outlet to express their rage and anger that I hope they feel at the world. Anger is a misunderstood emotion ... you harness it well. My dad never wanted to know me, either. It's the source of my biggest pain but I still continue to call him an arsehole long after he is dead. I probably should forgive him but fuck that.

Tomorrow I am meeting my mum and two sisters to help her move house, because we live in a Jimless world now and it's hard. Life changes on the turn of a dime.

Today I'm blasting your music and the notes come through my speakers and help me form my armor. I'm living a life where I need a lot of armor, and I just want to say thank you for helping me do that. I'm a chameleon and mainly broken inside so it takes a lot to reach me. Thanks for punching all the people who live inside my head out of the way, especially the ones who want to tear me down.

Thanks for helping me stand up.

People email me a lot about their recovery and addictions. I'm honoured. It's a common thing, yet so incredibly shameful and embarrassing to own up to. You taught me the immense power that comes when you own something. When you tell the truth about something in life, it helps other people tell the truth too. Thank fuck for that, and thank fuck for you.

I have Not Afraid as my ringtone at the moment, so everytime I get a phone call you tell me that you're not afraid. Which makes me think that maybe I don't have to be so afraid either.

Happy birthday, Em. I hope you have many more, you motherfucking cocksucker of hope.


Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Using Your Blog For BAD.

Yesterday I had an interview with Mediawatch about the state of blogging in Australia as compared to the state of mainstream media. I fear being stitched up, as the Mediawatch motto is "Everyone loves it ... until they're on it."

If I end up being quoted on the show next week, I'll have to stand by my words because I said them. I may not be the most sharp or cultured tool in the shed, but I have a keen interest in world issues and a firm belief in trying to make a difference.

One of the biggest and best ways we can use social media and blogging is to shine some light on things that would ordinarily go unnoticed by "mainstream" media. Lori from RRSAHM is going to Borneo to meet endangered Orangutans. When Mrs Woog decided to raise $250 for Loud Shirt Day because her second son Jack was born profoundly deaf ... at last count her readers have donated over three thousand dollars.

New-York based blogger and advertising executive Liz Gumbinner just got off the plane from Ethiopia, a blogging trip she made with twelve other ONEMoms. All real women. All using their blogs and making a difference. All Things Fadra recently set up Charitable Influence  .. "Connecting bloggers and their unique voices to charities and non-profits." Genius!

THIS is what sets me on fire about blogging. Doing something that means something. If I get all self-obsessed and sad and gloomy, the very best thing I can do is take the focus off myself and see what I can do for somebody else. It's one of the biggest meanings to life.

I wake up in the morning in my big house with all of my beautiful guys and we're all safe and warm and fed. I'm privileged and able-bodied. If I don't help others, I'm an arse. If I don't teach my kids to help others, I'm an arse. It's my moral duty. I spent my entire twenties not giving a crap about anything and anyone, so now it's payback time.

All of the small things are just as vital as the big things ... helping your neighbour out. Asking somebody if they are ok. Donating stuff to Vinnies. Signing up for something in your local community. Doesn't have to be huge or overwhelming.

Cate Bolt is off to Indonesia again this week. Last time she was there I donated $100 to her orphanage and THIS is what happened.

I wept and I wept, at being able to make a difference to somebody. Without even getting off the couch, because I am the laziest arsehole in town. Give me bonbons while YOU go change the world. I'll hit my Paypal button then go get a pedicure.

This week is Blog Action Day, otherwise known as BAD. The theme is "The Power Of We."

I'm watching the rise of blogging and social media explode in Australia's consciousness, and I really hope we can harness some it for doing good.

If we don't stand for something, we stand for nothing.

"Mum ... don't you mean The Power Of Wee?"

I'm a Spider-man carrying, pigeon-toed World Vision Blog Ambassador. I'm a recovering alcoholic looney tune with an inferiority complex. I'm an able-bodied, privileged, white woman who can do more things than she will ever realise. I turned forty this year and just want to get stuff DONE. Give me the next decade, Universe. Just ten years. (Then when I turn fifty I'll need a hip replacement and probably move in with my mother. She can teach me how to sew buttons on. We can dye our hair purple, donate to worthy causes from the couch.)

Look at all of these bloggers, using their blogs for BAD. 

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Scenes From A Blogging Conference.

Blogging conferences are weird things for weirdos.

Beautiful weirdos. 

Walked around marvelling at how poised and grounded everybody else was. I suspect everybody else thought that about everybody else.

There were lots of panels to go to, keynotes to hear, new twitter handles to learn, crap coffee to drink.

Valerie Khoo, Kerri Sackville, Allison Tait talk blogging and writing. 

It was a pleasure to hear Sarah Wilson talk. She was interviewed by ex-journo Nikki and they both spoke so well about media and blogging. 

Practically twins!

Meeting Sarah has made me want to get fit again, for my mind and spirit as well as my body. To eat well. (As soon as I finish my cake.)

The conference went for two days, so I got the chance to catch up with people I haven't seen for ages, as well as meet some new ones. 

Smaggle, me, Lizosaurus, Rah, and Rhi (Liz I am SO sorry for spitting ice on your leg. I was nervous.)

I flitted around for a little bit, wishing I could go get my photo taken in the photo booth but then I saw Anna Spargo-Ryan in front of me like a beacon of hope. She offered me a lift back to my hotel and I said yes. Then no, than maybe. Then yes again ... so I followed her out, and didn't say goodbye to anybody. (See: weirdo.)

Anna dropped her parking ticket and went to pay and fumbled with money. I told her that the physical world was bullshit.

She said, "I know. I should have stayed at home in my computer."

We chatted and swapped some cool snippet stories. When I got out, I walked up the Docklands, found my hotel, but couldn't open the sliding glass door onto to the street. Friday night was in full merriment swing but it was also a bit deserted and I felt scared. I almost started crying because the whole time I was in Melbourne I couldn't stop thinking about Jill and wondering at the senselessness of her death. I felt fear, standing there in the cold while people and groups of guys walked past me. I NEVER feel fear like that. Sucked. I don't know that guys will ever truly know how vulnerable a woman can feel sometimes. Regardless of how tough she is or where she lives or if she knows kung fu.

Finally I got in, after ten frustrating minutes.

The next day I caught up with Richenda, who I'd met exactly a year ago at last years Problogger Conference.

Richenda has left World Vision now and started up ntegrity. "A social media agency with a difference." Richenda was instrumental in getting me to Africa this year .... we still can't believe we pulled that off.

Mrs Woog, Lorraine, Nikki and I were on a panel together, Nikki wrote about it here. 

Double-shot blogger selfie.

Got the chance to catch up with these ladies and do a Hands Up For Health!

Joy from World Vision Australia, Louisa Claire, Annabel Candy, me and Emma Stirling. It's nice to get involved in causes and feel a bit of passion about things ... makes me feel included and useful.

I love this photo of Problogger sitting at his own conference, listening and learning.

Bono once said that he hopes he always remains teachable .... I hope I do, too. There's always something new to learn, some fresh way of looking at things.

Darren took us all outside and told us to look around Etihad Stadium.

Said to imagine this as the blogosphere.

"Nobody is better than anybody else. Every "big" blogger started small, and every one of us has the potential to do something. Make a difference, start a new thing. So go home and do something."

Ok Darren, I will.

Thanks, weirdo.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Putting On My Best Face At The Problogger Training Event. And A Giveaway.

The best beauty advice I ever received was my grandmother telling me to always moisturise my face. I was fourteen. She gave me a tub of cream, a bottle of glycerine and rose water, and these words:

"Edie, if you put cream on your face every day starting from today, and use this toner ... you'll thank me when you're older."

Oh I thank her. But .... she forgot to tell me to also moisturise my neck.

Don't even get me started on my knees. Aging is fascinating!

Today I'm headed to Melbourne for the Problogger Training Event. I almost didn't go because I feel weird and sad and I'm easily overwhelmed. But, it's Problogger.

Darren Rowse is one of the most successful bloggers in the world, as well as being an all-round genuine, decent and caring guy. I waited in line to get this blurry photo taken with Darren at this years Digital Parents Conference, and felt like a really geeky fangirl.

In contrast, Mrs Woog just walks up to Darren with her scarf lasso and ropes him in like a cowgirl.

Yesterday I realised that I was flying to Melbourne TODAY, so had to do a whole beauty revamp. I woke up pre-menstrual, sad and weird, and SO UGLY. You know those days you feel dreadful? Yeah.

I got my eyebrows shaped and eyelashes tinted, immediately felt better. I took a gamble and decided to colour my hair with an unknown colour the day before a blogging conference.

My hair colour is a big deal for me, people would always ask me what colour dye I used and I'd say, none! Alas, the colour is fading so I have to bite the bullet. I think I'm going to get more brassy and bold the older I get.

Fiery Red 

Putting Rocco in the bath, he watched as I dropped the colour dye all over our sandstone bathroom floor, swearing, bending over naked scooping it up with my bare hands and putting it back in the container. (Dave you can hardly notice the stains I promise.)

Very quickly the dye became bright red.

"Mum why are you bleeding YOU'RE BLEEDING ON YOUR NECK."

I had a terrible, foreboding feeling about this dye session so I washed it off after just fifteen minutes. It was a huge gamble, but I LOVE it.

Next up - found out the kids have not only taken out the batteries of my nose hair trimmer AGAIN, but lost the end part of it so I had to go to Kmart Katoomba and buy a new one for fifteen dollars. Also bought a new black top for $6 to wear tomorrow. Score!

Finally, my makeup routine.

A few months ago I was given a Maybelline New York makeover by amazing Makeup Director Nigel Stanislaus. I can't thank him enough ... I'm forty years old and never knew the importance of matching the right foundation to my face. There's a range called FITme, and my number is 135. Simple as that.
So whenever I want to feel a little less .... old and haggard, I do my routine and it takes me less than ten minutes.

Dream Smooth Primer, FITme Foundation 135, Colour Tattoo "Too Cool," Great Lash mascara, FITme Pressed Powder 135, FITme Bronzer, lippie.

You can buy all of these at a great price in your local chemist or supermarket.

Or drugstore in Seventh Avenue, New York City.

Choosing a new Colour Tattoo eyeshadow.

I told Maybelline I was writing about them and asked if I could do a giveaway and they said yes! If you'd like to win a basket of Maybelline New York makeup worth $200, just leave a comment below telling me your one most valuable piece of beauty advice. I'll choose a winner and announce it here next Tuesday 16th October.

It can be anything .. for example, mine would be to use flushable toilet-training wipes to remove excess hair dye from the back of your neck while you're naked in the bathroom and your kid is screaming in the bath.

Makeup on, hair red, neck still crepey. Let's go.

I'll be talking on a panel at the Problogger #PBEvent tomorrow with the Queen of Makeup herself, Nikki from Styling You. Also Lorraine Murphy from the Remarkables Group and Mrs Woog. Please come and say hi. I'll be as overwhelmed as ever.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

The Speech Heard Around The World.

This was quite something.

Overseas coverage of the Prime Minister's speech yesterday was vastly different to local coverage, as noted by Mr Denmore in The Failed Estate:

"One principle in journalism is that the closer you are to a story, the less likely you are to see it. In this case, a passionate and thrilling speech by a prime minister about sexism and the low-level tactics of a political opposition leader beyond cynicism attracted world attention. But our gallery are too clever to see that."

New Yorker (USA) "Ladylike."
Salon (USA) "Australian PM Takes On Misogyny."
The Spectator (UK) "More Than Just A Man's Bitch."
The Telegraph (UK) "Julia Gillard's blistering attack on sexism was her best card."
Buzzfeed (USA) "Australian Prime Minister Destroys Opposition Leader For Hypocrisy."
Jezebel (USA) "Best Thing You'll See All Day."
Huffington Post (USA) "Australian PM Launches Blistering Attack."
... and many more.

Transcript of the Prime Ministers' speech in full -  Sydney Morning Herald

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Are We Allowed To Talk About The Rampant Objectification And Sexualised Violence Towards Women?

A few days ago, my two sons and I went into the local service station to buy some comics. We walked over to the magazine section and stood there for about, twenty seconds. Looking down at all of the pornographic images. I'm not easily shocked - but these were really nasty stick mags, proudly out on display. They were the ONLY mags on display. Not even a Who to be found. I looked up to the man behind the counter but he wouldn't meet my gaze.

As my ten year old and four year old boys stood there, I almost took a photo. For the contrast. All the black leather and boobs hanging out ... the blondes on all fours who love it ROUGH. In ALL of the holes. It was absurd. Ludicrous. I knew it was wrong, but my boys didn't.

Sexual violence, sexist attitudes and the objectifying of women are reaching epic levels. It's ingrained, everywhere.

A photo of the last few years of the GQ Magazine Men of the Year winners:

Silly Lana forgot to put her tux on!

I'm not quite sure what this image is trying to convey. Something about power?

Marc, is it a perfume or a vibrator? I'm confused.

One woman is killed every week in Australia. Can you believe that? Usually by somebody they know. Sometimes, by somebody they don't.

I've been thinking a lot about Jill. 

As soon as I saw the Facebook page her husband set up to help try and find her, I had a terrible feeling.

And I was right. Many other people had a terrible feeling too, and voiced it on twitter, Facebook, blogs. Armchair detective agents in droves, publicly commenting on theories. It was disgusting and wrong, culminating in both the police and her family repeatedly appealing for privacy, for people to stop public conjecture on a shocking crime that needs to go through Australia's justice system.

Social media played a huge part in piecing together what happened to Jill that night, but it also served to victimise her further. She was blamed for walking by herself late at night, for having a few drinks with colleagues ... even for being attractive and respectable. "Why does a pretty white woman get so much media attention?"

We live in a world that has sexually objectified women beyond belief. So much that even women themselves are numb to it. I am. I also judged Jill, sitting safe in my armchair and watching the haunting, despicable CCTV footage that made me cry and feel sick. I judged her shoes. "Jill, you can't run in those shoes."

In 1999, the United Nations General Assembly declared the 25th of November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, with a white ribbon as its iconic symbol. White Ribbon began in Australia in 2003 as part of UNIFEM (now UN Women).

White Ribbon is Australia's only national male-led violence prevention campaign, and the White Ribbon Campaign is now the largest global male-led movement to stop violence against women.

Read this piece of writing. Every woman in the world has a story like that.

I'm fed up. Our children are being indoctrinated right under our noses. I'll be actively working to undo this, as my boys grow up. Open conversations about body image, respect, the use of violence. I'll be telling my sons that, despite evidence to the contrary ... women are not sex dolls.

I'll be doing something next month for White Ribbon Day ... for Jill, for her family, for all of the women who are silently struggling against violence. I need to care about this, for my sons, your sons ... and everybody's daughters. 

Monday, 8 October 2012

Sunday Morning Coming Down.

Over a year ago I bought this Tijuana Christmas vinyl record, because it looked so cool.

"One day,  I'll get a record player and we'll listen to it."

Mum is moving house soon and culling a lot of stuff. She gave me her record player so that I could finally listen to my record. She also gave me two *huge* boxes of records.

The past weekend was our last at the beach before school goes back today. I sat down and opened the boxes, expecting to make one pile to give away and one to keep.

There were no piles ... we're keeping all of them.

This is just a snippet ... there's about a hundred all up. Elvis, Billie Halliday, Ella Fitzgerald, Beatles, Louie Armstrong, Bing Cosby, Bucks Fizz ..... SO MANY. I called mum straight away and left a message on her phone.

"You are the coolest woman in the world." 

When we saw this, Dave and I started laughing.

When we first met, he had a copy of this album on CD and would play it over and over and over and over again. I think I accidentally threw it out, but now it's back.

That old Gypsy Kings chestnut.

To celebrate the record players arrival, Dave restored an old sideboard and painted it in bright colours. It took all weekend. The boys watched as he set it up, unsure of this new technology.

I couldn't wait for Bamboleo to finish so I could put this on:

I know all the records so well. I've grown up with them. There's something so delicious and mindful about listening to music like this, like it's an actual thing to do.

Especially the way Kris Kristofferson sings "Sunday Morning Coming Down." Sunday mornings throughout my twenties were so lonely and weird. And terrible. I always felt like there was a better life for me somewhere, but I didn't know how to live it.

Now I know.

We danced to Heartbreak Hotel then listened to Rodney Rude (for 4.5 seconds) then Me and Bobby McGee then Bamboleo once more.

All because of one record ... one little bug that went ka-choo.

Anybody still play vinyl?

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