Thursday, 17 April 2014

Random Lettuce.

My friend Beth and I were in a textathon the other night. She is beautiful and generous and HILARIOUS. Back and forth, back and forth .... then she suddenly sends me a pic of the quarter pounder she ate on the weekend. Ages ago I told her about my craving of all cravings while I was pregnant with Rocco - six nuggets gently nestled inside a quarter pounder. Beth very much liked my use of the word "nestled" to describe the situation.

"Edie, look at the random fucking lettuce on my quarter pounder? LOOK AT IT MOCKING ME."

That piece of lettuce had me laughing so, so hard. It's not even supposed to BE there.

In other news, out of all the places in Australia they could be today, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are headed up the Blue Mountains to meet with people affected by last years bushfires. This is a huge deal for local tourism. I'm not up there at the moment but if I was, I'd be camped out at the Three Sisters with a pair of mini ugg boots to give to Prince George. I'd tell William that he is an extraordinary young man and that his mum would be so proud of him and when the press asked me what we spoke about I'd tell them it was private.

Rocco and I have been at the beach house by ourselves the last few days. I've been driving the car Dave bought his daughter Phoebe Rose for when she gets her license. About 11.30pm the other night, the car alarm went off. I lost my shit because I knew it was a ploy by bandits to get me out the front to murder me and take my child so I rang Dave and woke him up to ask what I should do. I was seriously terrified, and not in the emotional state to deal properly. At all. He told me to go outside and press the button a few times, to make sure all the doors are shut, and see if it goes off again.

"I can't go outside! What if there's a murderer out there?"

"Eden there's no murderer out there."

"What if I go out and they come around behind and take Rocco?"

"Hon what the fuck are you talking about? There's nobody there! It's just the car!"

"YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE A WOMAN."

"Look there's nobody there. Just go outside and check the doors. Just do it."

Crying uncontrollably. "I CAN'T GO OUTSIDE!"

"For fucks sake. Will I call the police?"

"DON'T TALK TO ME LIKE THAT. Fine I'll go but when you try to call me tomorrow and I don't answer, YOU'LL KNOW WHY."

Grabbed the green kitchen knife I bought for five dollars at Kmart and ran outside into the rain wearing just a t-shirt and undies, screaming obscenities. Not one neighbour came out to inspect. What are car alarms even for?

Dave and Max are back now, so I can remove the knife from my pillow.

I'm taking the boys to the movies today ... I've no idea about that Frozen film everybody is banging on about but this Lego Movie is creating big waves in my household. Huge. Might even go all the way and get a black bean burrito for lunch. Buy a new pair of shoes. I've a hankering for new shoes. Which is good. Means I still have places to go.

What are you doing today? Do you cry when you see Prince William on the news? Ever been so angry at your husband you felt like stabbing somebody? Do you know the muffin man? Worst pregnancy craving? Do you like movies about gladiators? Ever been in a Turkish prison?

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Arriving In Deadwood.

"Don't you know, at some point, we know these fucken things? Don't you know, the world ... says its fucken name to us?" - Calamity Jane

The characters of Deadwood are living in me. Great art always resonates. I am all of the people; they are all of me. Jane is my favourite, even if Al Swearengen narrates my thoughts. I've only two episodes to watch until the end of season three .. then it was axed, cut short in the prime of its life without resolution. Sound familiar?

I imagine you watching Deadwood. I imagine you imagining yourself living back in those easier times, with just the gold mines and the filth, lawlessness and smallpox. A time when a man knew he was a man. I imagine you watching it and wishing yourself away like always.

This is a telegraph.

I've been crook. Finally the antibiotics have started to work. Last week I lay on my bed too weak to turn over. God can't forsake you if you forsake him first. I cried about you like I always do. The tears have turned red and they burn. The Widow Garrett said that she's not sure if she's living her life or if its living her.

Max has drawn close to me like he always does when I need it most. He's developing into quite a young man. He told me he thinks about you every day. I'm deeply saddened but relieved you didn't allow yourself to get closer to the children in your life. It has spared them much pain. (But still, he thinks of you every day. What would you have made of that?)

When I was a little girl I'd look out my bedroom window at night and imagine all the people, right then in the world. All of the things they were doing. It panicked me. Still does.

I'm finding it increasingly difficult to attach meaning to things.

The opening soundtrack to Deadwood is on constant loop in my head. The actors have appeared elsewhere ... an angry bank customer is Merle from Walking Dead. My beloved Calamity Jane is the lawyer in Sons of Anarchy. Hotelier AB is the Police Chief from True Blood.

Sometimes you get real people playing characters who were real people, all explaining to us who we are.

It's exactly six months today since you left. It's even a Tuesday. Yesterday Rocco bought a packet of balloons and asked if he could use Uncle Cams gas to make the balloons go up high in the sky. I said no. I didn't tell him it was a different kind of gas, for it was time neither for a macabre science lesson for one so young or an emotional display (from me) in the middle of a supermarket. To his little head, gas is gas. I envy both his simplicity of thinking and the matter-of-fact way he mentions your name.

What's so important about six months? Not a goddamn thing. Tomorrow it will be six months and one day and the pain will still be as great. I thought I knew pain before. I keep hearing the sound of life laughing at me.

Cocksucker.

Tonight will be a bloody lunar eclipse. Good.

I've decided that you wouldn't have gone away if you'd had children. I always waited for the day to see you hold a baby in your arms so I could whisper, "See? I told you you could feel more." That's entirely a projection of my own making that nobody will ever know for sure but the thought comforts me nonetheless.

I cannot shake the feeling that your death has made a mockery of my life. We shared similar sentiments of the world and the people in it.

This is a telegraph.

The cowboy boots in Deadwood are pretty serious and mean business. Back in the day when men needed only one pair at a time. I'll soon put my cowboy boots on again if I'm to make it out of this mess. I haven't worn a pair in more than a year. They always help me on to the next chapter, even if it's a chapter I don't particularly feel like galloping off into. Too busy re-living old hurts and all.

If you whisper to me in the dead of the dreamless night, I will hear you. And even though you still won't be present in life the next day, and the day after that, it'll make you not being here in Deadwood with me a whole lot more bearable.




"Every day takes figurin' out all over again ... how to live." - Calamity Jane


Monday, 7 April 2014

Bane Cat.

All I want to do is sleep for a year. If people ever ask me how I got through this period of my life I'll just say I didn't. Like that guy who had to cut his arm off with a swiss army knife to save himself, left a part of himself behind.

There's scattered body parts all over the road up in here, but I still have to cook and clean and be a mother. One of my favourite parts is the influence I have over my kids. Music, values, food ... ridiculous You Tube videos.

Last week I sat down with Max and showed him Bane Cat.



AS SOON as Max finished watching it, he was Bane Cat. Walking around the house with a running commentary. I'd ask him to unload the dishwasher and he'd respond, "Do you feel in charge, Mothturd?"

Or I'd tell him it's time for bed.

"This gives you ... power over me?"

When were sitting on the couch together I impersonated E.T. ... then HE impersonated Bane Cat impersonating E.T. One of my proudest parenting moments to date.

Rocco loves Bane Cat too ... but his favourite was when I came into his room and asked him if he'd ever seen Airplane Banana?

Bolt upright. "Mum. WHAT is Airplane Banana?"




We laughed so hard.

"Mum I nearly wet my pants!"

"Me too!"



Friday, 4 April 2014

The Five Stages Of Grief After You've Been Hated Upon By Haters.

Ever been bitched about on the internet? Bullied at school? Harassed at work? Bad-mouthed by anonymous douchebags via every possible social media channel? This is for you.

DENIAL
Horror. How could they! What? No. No way is my name right there next to all of those mean things. No WAY. I can't believe it. Surely they can see I'm a nice person? This is ... this is just wrong. This can't be happening to me I am NICE. What?!!

ANGER
I pour my heart out, give it my all, and THIS is the thanks I get? You have NO idea how it feels like to be me. Can't even see me. You're wrong. Fuck this shit. Fuck you.
"Imma be what I set out to be, without a doubt undoubtedly,
And all those who look down on me I'm tearing down your balcony." - Eminem

BARGAINING
Look. Ok. I never said I was perfect. I can change. Can I? Do I need to? Who do you want me to be? Just tell me and I'll be it. I know you can like me! Just give me another chance. I'll strip away all that you don't like and be different. I can be better. Show me who you want me to be and I'll be it! I am so sorry.

DEPRESSION
This is useless. I am useless. I am, whatever you say I am. It's true ... everything you say is true. I'm a bad person. Shouldn't be trying to do or say or achieve anything, in case I make you feel angry, or outraged, or inferior, or jealous. I can give up, if that's what you want?

ACCEPTANCE
Wait. 
There's nothing I can do or say or somehow act any differently to convince you of who I really am. I guess you've really made up your mind? Huh. Well, I might just continue on with what I was doing anyway. Because this *is* who I am. Not everybody is going to like me or agree with me. That's cool. I get it. I sure as hell don't like or agree with a lot of people either. I guess that's called, being part of the human race? Anyway, if anybody needs me I'll just be doing my stuff over here. You know - creative, ridiculous, or successful shit. I like doing that. Fills me up in a way that you'll never, ever know.

"I write from my soul. This is the reason that critics don't hurt me, because it is me. If it was not me, if I was pretending to be someone else, then this could unbalance my world. But I know who I am." - Paulo Coelho




Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Why I Blog. (And Why You Might Want To.)

I started an anonymous blog seven years ago, to document my IVF treatment. Called myself Topcat. My first post was about two paragraphs long and I was all nervous and shy.

I couldn't seem to find many other Australian bloggers at the time, so I hooked up with some beautiful Americanos. The freedom of being anonymous on the net meant that I could write whatever the hell I wanted .... all of my family secrets, all of MY secrets. You just don't write such things in your real name, you know?

It was pretty liberating. In my real life I was incredibly protective and secretive, but in this fake life I could just say whatever.

Top tip: If you have an anonymous blog on the internet, you WILL get found out by people in real life. Trust me on this.

I got pregnant with Rocco in September 2007. So my blog became a kind of pregnancy journal. That thrilling feeling of seeing one of my posts commented on .... somebody likes me! My belly grew and I took selfies at bad angles with bad hair and didn't care. The very first time I posted a photo of myself on my blog and published it I almost vomited. It just felt so .... weird. I'd put myself out there, in the netherwebs where ANYBODY COULD SEE ME.

Other bloggers will attest - you get used to it. You write about yourself, your personal life, post photos, like it's second nature. Back then, for me ... it was to share. And read other bloggers sharing too. That's all. No brands/agencies/PR. No ulterior motives. Just writing. Shooting the shit, taking the piss.

My much-sought after miracle baby Rocco was born in a hospital room where his dad had to sit on a plastic beige chair because of all the tumours. Who goes through a cancer diagnosis and birth in one week? Us arseholes, that's who. So I didn't shut my incredibly inappropriate Topcat blog down. I needed it more than ever and I was PISSED. My Americanos (and now some Aussies - looking at you Vee) supported me and left me comments and kind of held me up, you know? I was so glad I'd started one - once I wrote a post called My Milkshake Brings All The Boys To The Yard. It was about 3am, I was crying, had cabbage leaves on my enormous boobs that apparently contained no milk sorry baby, try this bottle of formula!

I was so angry. Around that time, something happened in my writing. It was maturing. I started experimenting with essay-style posts and I liked it. And I started to get good at it. I'm not a person who's been good at much in life. My grandmother always told me I'd be a writer and I believed her because there wasn't much to believe in back then. My lifes dream is to write a book one day. Just one. I've started and I have a lot of words down, they just need assembling. And cutting. And chopping. You know what blogging taught me? How to write. I'm incredibly grateful for that. I just kept coming back, writing my little bits of fluff in the beginning - almost gave up so many times because what's the point?

Whenever a person tells me they've just started a blog, I tell them great. Just keep writing, keep getting the words out, consistently. Then come back to me in a year.

Everybody seems to want it all instantly. Good things take time - build it slowly. In telling other people about yourself, you're telling yourself about yourself. There's a deepness in that that you won't realise until you're in it. "Blog" is a stupid word - but this is not a stupid thing. Not at all. Cast aside all the crap and bullshit and commercialisation of every damn thing on the internet and just carve out your own space. I always call my blog my mound of clay ... you can make anything! A fashion blog or a food blog, book blog, political blog. Get some blind faith and pour yourself in there. Just keep going and see what happens. Hint: ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN. And that's not just inspirational bullshit, it's true. I never could have known seven years ago that writing those stilted, self-conscious posts at the beginning would lead me to be interviewing the Prime Minister of Australia.



Eventually I made the big decision to change my blog and write it in my own name. This blog has been called a few things, but eventually I settled on Edenland. I decided to stop writing so openly and with so much rawness, and strictly write professional pieces.

HA. Didn't last long. I know I write things that most people keep under their lids. Sometimes I'm pressing publish and just wincing. I believe it's called blogging tourettes? I used to be really private. Apparently I'm not now.

"Blogging" is one of the best things I've ever done in my life. I opened myself up on the page and in the world. My cancer-free husband and I saved up and flew to New York in 2010 where I went to BlogHer at the Hilton and met other bloggers in the flesh for the very first time.

I started blogging as a hobby. I went the whole "professional" route and it didn't fit well so now I just take ads in my sidebar. I never set out to make a million bucks. I want to say a huge thank you to readers of my blog who have commented and emailed and tweeted me lately following the death of my brother. You beautiful people lifted me up and made me cry in the same breath. You give to me what you say I give to you. You can't tell from this post, but I'm currently going through one of the hardest things in my life. I can't even blog it yet, that's how bad I am. But I will. I always do.

My blog has blood, and guts, and a skull, and flowers. I'll never stop. I've come too far to turn back now.

“I went to the blog because I wished to blog deliberately, 
to blog only the essential facts of life, 
and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, 
and not, when I came to die, 
discover that I had not blogged."

(Apologies to Thoreau)

What makes you read a blog?
Bloggers, why do you blog?

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Making Things.

So Rocco Riley stood up on a dining chair the other day and announced that he was going to make a bookmark.

"Awesome! Can you make me one too?"

"Of course, mum."

                                                                     *dies*

He wasn't the only one making things around here. Opie is growing up and wanting to explore more, so Dave got all three boys to help him fence off an area in the backyard. Max was in charge of getting the starposts in, Tim was watching, and Rocco was copying.


My sister Leigh put a pic up on Insta of her daughter Billie-Bea's string handiwork:

                                            Cup and saucer!

Dave commented that he could do Sydney Harbour Bridge, Leigh said she'd pay to see that and bang:


I was suddenly surrounded by three guys frantically watching Japanese YouTube tutorials on how to make the Eiffel Tower. I text Leigh that pic captioned with, "This is what you have created."

Many, many Barrie lols ensued. Nobody ended up making an Eiffel Tower or Harbour Bridge, though Dave swears he's not finished yet. I just sat there doing the cats whiskers, over and over again ... looked over and Tim had made the BEST. BATMOBILE. EVER. (I forgot to take a photo, sorry.)

That night I made four pizzas and baked a vanilla cake with lemon icing.

                                                Dave was all, you baked a cake? 

And I was all - I baked a cake. (It was a bit burnt.) The next day we found the half-eaten cake completely naked on the kitchen bench. I knew straight away.

"Rocco, did you eat the icing off the cake?"

"No! I *sucked* the icing off the cake."

So everybody was making things. If there is a Creator and we *are* created in his image .... then that makes us creators too. You know how you feel better when you create something? A song, a fence, a pork roast dinner, a patchwork quilt, cup and saucer on a string - it's endless. It's in us.

One of the best things I ever created was this blog. I'm incredibly grateful for the opportunities, friendships, and growth it has given me. In the next few days I'll be blogging about blogging, something I haven't done for ages. (I've a lot to say.)

I'm taking on new advertisers in my sidebar up there. If you have a blog or business to spruik, the spaces are $120 for April or $199 for April AND May. Just send through the artwork and it's in - easy. Email edenriley@gmail.com

PS MY SON SUCKED THE ICING OFF THE CAKE AND WASN'T SORRY. I'm kind of in awe.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

The Pearnguin.

All my life I've wanted to meet a pearnguin but I wasn't even sure they existed. Like, a mermaid. Or a wolfman.

One day last week I went shopping and there he was. Just like that, I find a pearnguin.

Hands shaking, I gently lifted him up and paid the fifty cents. (I don't know how I knew he was a he, I just did.) And rushed home.

"Hon! I FOUND A PEARNGUIN!"

"The fuck's a pearnguin?"

I showed him, and he smiled. The pearnguin needed some time to be coaxed out. I let him sit for a few days, until I bought the right size black marker for Dave to coax him out.

Pardon? You've never seen a pearnguin either? Here he is.


See him in there? Did you know there's always things in things?



His eyebrows could now raise. He was smiling. His wings were long and thick. The boys loved him so much, I had to save Mr Pearnguin twice from being eaten.

I knew he couldn't stay forever. Nothing can. And I could tell straight away he was as melancholic, as deep-thinking as me. That's going to get him into some trouble.



It was time. We didn't say goodbye, and I just watched as he jumped down from the table, rolled down the back garden stairs, and waddled off without looking back. Searching for his kind.

We all gotta search for something.



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