Monthly Archives: March 2007

Real Women

Nutmeg tagged me for the Real Women….meme.

These are my responses…

Real women…are proud to be called sister.

This photo of my sisters and I was taken in Melbourne in 1977. I am on the left, I was eleven, Sussanah is in the middle, she was four and Peta is on the right, she was seven. These girls rock my world. We live about 3km apart and raise our children in a collective fashion. Each of our children has called all of us Mum at some point. None of us has left Townsville because we know we would miss each other and our children unbearably. We can be honest with each other (sometimes brutally so). We can turn to each other and say “What will I do now?” and expect a supportive answer in reply. We can allow each other to be in a bad mood without taking any offence. I love these girls!

Real women….proudly raise nerdy sons. Last night a program called cuttlefish, the brainy bunch was advertised. My son declared, “Cool. Can I watch that?”

I love that he has a sense of wonder at the world and is always investigating something. School has not managed to beat this out of him. He watched the show with concentration (and a dislocated looking arm).

Real women….listen to loud, and often inappropriate, music. I love music where people are angry at the ‘system’ and question the status quo. This one says

Why don’t the presidents fight the war
Why do they always send the poor.

That sounds like a fundamental truth to me! I love people who use their artistic talents to make a point, to stand for something. I have an inner hippy and an inner punk! This song is heavy and it does contain bad language. You have been warned.

Real women….apologise to their children.

In the last post my daughter left me a comment. I reacted to her being in my space and made a flippant comment in response. She said, “But I said something nice to you.”, in that hurt teenage fashion. I went back and re-read it and it was genuine and heartfelt mixed with just a dash of sass and sarcasm. (This girl will go a looooong way in this world!) I have known her for her whole life, but our adult to adult relationship is still just new and sometimes I stuff it up. In order to suck up offer my humble apologies I will leave you with her favourite song. We hear this song at least fifteen times each night. I suggest that you play it on repeat to get the full effect!
Click here to listen and enjoy (beacuse I can’t get the damn thing to embed!)

Kirsty, I tag you to tell us what real women do.


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A Pretender

In the very depths of my mind I often feel like I am a pretender. I feel that one day someone will say to me ‘You are really crappy at that.’ Then I will have to confess that I have been pretending all along. I very rarely allow myself to feel successful and worthy.

Maybe this is due to my own personality – I am somewhat of a perfectionist and I am well aware of my own inability to be perfect. Maybe this is due to a childhood where my efforts were never quite good enough. I’m not sure of the origin of these thoughts. Nor do I believe that they are necessary, but they some times exist. I don’t even believe that external affirmation is needed to make me feel any different. My own mind causes these thoughts.

I have been feeling a little overwhelmed. The verbal attack which I endured recently left me a little shaky. Changes are afoot in my family as my son has begun his teenage years and my daughter finishes high school. I think a lot about these things and at times they are difficult to rationalise.

I wasn’t going to post tonight at all. That was until I saw Nutmeg’s post in which she nominates me for a Thinking Blogger Award. I feel honoured by that. I know that what I write here is well-considered before I press the publish button and I am glad that others are able to see that.

Thanks Nutmeg, you just made my day!

A voice behind me just said, “If that’s what you think then you’re a dork!” Oh yeah, have kids people, they’ll bring you back to earth with a thud every time!


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No Respect

I was interested to read Stomper’s recent post about real parents.

I am a pretty free and flowing parent. I don’t even think that I parent any more. My children are 16 and 12 and they never make a decision that disappoints me. Please don’t assume that my children are perfect…lots of hard work was done when they were younger. Now they are just cruisy, easy-going, well-mannered young people.

I have always been a big believer that personality is innate. You are born with a personality. Your environment can influence you, but essentially you react to it in the way that your personality programs you. I have not fought against my children’s personalities. They are very different human beings and I have allowed them the space they needed to be themselves (in a socially acceptable way!)

My children talk to me fairly easily. Our family is very open about our lives and no topic is taboo in our family. We are not easily offended by topic or language. I like that. I am very grateful to have this relationship with my children.

This week my daughter came to me to discuss a car accident that was reported in our city. An 18yo driver had lost control of a vehicle and killed his 16yo passenger. This is a media focus around Australia at the moment and is quite close to home for us. I reminded her that she always had a choice about getting into a car. She only had to call on us or one of my sisters and we would pick her up any where, any time if she was uncomfortable.

“Never get into a car with someone you think is a dickhead!” I said to her.

She gave me a knowing smile and nod and with big, innocent eyes said, “Hmm. Last time I travel with you then.”

Fancy ME having a smart-mouthed child!

No Respect!


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Quilting and Jogging

See that? It is my brand new quilting machine fitting beautifully into the space that had been created for it in the studio. Notice the large dent in the side, right above the last ‘M’ in millennium. It took quite a knock during transit. Thankfully the damage is only cosmetic and a replacement top cover will be sent to me. It did give me quite a fright as I was unpacking it though! It is beautiful to use…I am in love with it!

The quilt pinned on the frame is one that I have made to donate to the music program at my daughter’s school. They will raffle it to raise money for a music tour that they are taking later in the year. It has a large violin appliqued onto it. I’ll post a photo of it when it is finished.

Sometimes I wonder if I am jogging through my life. (Not that I could actually jog…or would really want to) Today is a jogging day. I have to pick up my daughter from school at 1pm, she finishes early for study. We go and have sushi together for lunch. I enjoy spending time with her like this, especially as I know that the time she has to spend with me is almost over.

I pick up my son at 3pm from school. I cook dinner at 3:30pm because I have to take my son to guitar at 4:30.

My daughter often likes to go to the public library during the 30mins of the guitar lesson, otherwise I just sit in the car and read. Half an hour is not long enough to drop off and come back again. I come home in time to get changed and go for a walk around the river with my Pete. This is often my favourite part of the day. We just walk and talk, bliss. We walk for an hour, come home to eat our dinner. By now it is 8pm and I feel like I did absolutely nothing all day!! Nothing, but jog from place to place!


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Reflections on Aggression

This week I was verbally abused by someone in my work place (not a fellow-worker). There was a trivial, piddling matter last week which she felt that I had not resolved the way that she would have resolved it. She held onto her anger for six days, then approached me. She had no desire to engage in a discussion and resolve the trivial matter, she only wanted to attack me. She left me with no room to speak at all. She attacked my character, my professionalism and my ability to make decisions. She finished by telling me that she would take the matter over my head to my administration team. This was when I finally got to speak. All I said was “That sounds like the best thing to do. Go to the admin team, go there now.” When she left I was shaking; my hands, my legs, my confidence were all shaking.

I work in a very supportive environment. She was just as abrupt when she got to the admin team. They were incredulous when they saw her reaction to such a minor issue. As a result of her behaviour she has been sent a warning letter. If there is another event she will be banned from our grounds. If she breaches this we have the right to involve the police.

All of that is academic. It is straight forward and an easy procedure to follow. This does not begin to describe the way I am feeling. I do not understand aggressive behaviour, and in truth I have no motivation to begin to understand it. I find it unpredictable, without logic, as such I cannot plan for what may happen next. I cannot prepare myself for how this person may repsond to any situation. My solution would be to put myself into a place where I would simply not cross paths with her ever again, but this is not an option. I will have to deal with her for the rest of this year. Today I was going to the shop and I found myself worrying that I may see her there and wondering how I would deal with that. I know that with the benefit of time this will disappear, but right now I just don’t want to deal with it.

Maybe Silverchair said it best:
No more maybes
Your baby’s got rabies
Sitting on a ball
In the middle of the Andes
Yeah, I’m a freak of nature
Yeah, I’m a freak…… What ever that means!


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For the Uninitiated

THIS is a quilting machine.

This is the one that I own now. This will be my small one when my new one arrives. The sewing machine sits on a frame, which has tracks which go left to right, and on a carriage, which has tracks which go forward and backward. This means that it can move smoothly in all planes by pulling the machine across the quilt as it sews. This frame is four metres long to allow me to quilt even the biggest quilt by pinning it to the rollers that you can see. The actual sewing machine, which is to the right of the photo, is only a sixteen inch throat, meaning that I can quilt the width of the quilt by about fourteen inches at a time. This one attaches to the computer, so I can program a pattern and it will stitch it out using vectors.

My new machine has a 26 inch throat, but only a 3.6m frame. It has stitch regulation (the feature that I was desperate to get), which means that when I move the machine across the fabric it will do ten stiches for every inch of movement. The motor is activated by movement, so if I move slowly it stitches slowly. I will use it to do custom work by hand.

Does that make sense to everyone? Now you can see why I needed a big space to fit it!


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My Studio

Ten years ago my Pete and I built the house in which we live. At the time the plan included a two car garage. Since we were already paying for floor and roof, we opted to make this a room and extend the roof forward to make an open car-port for our cars.

This room has been through several incarnations. It was initially called the toy room. In true socialist manner I hate the notion that one child might ‘own’ a toy and not let the other enjoy it. In the toy room all toys were available to all children. At times large lego cities were established that couldn’t be broken, but that was ok, we could just close the door.
For a while my sister, Peta, and her husband lived in this room with their bed, tv and fridge, as they waited for their new house to be built. It was quite a happy arrangement. It didn’t cause us any stress because they were able to have their own space, and they cooked the dinner half the time.
The room then became a bit of a teenagers’ retreat. It housed computer, tv, stereo, playstation etc. When the children had friends to visit we could again close the door. All the toys that we couldn’t throw out were moved into the spare bedroom.
NOW the room is my studio. We have just pulled apart and re-arranged the room in preparation for the arrival of my new quilting machine. It should be here in the next few days.
Against this wall are some old school library shelves which my Pete made into this fabulous unit of shelves.
The opposite wall has the computers, tv,stereo, playstation and my fabric cupboard. See that drawing board in the middle of the room? I have been trying to get rid of that for years, but my Pete is quite sentimental about it. (Wish he could be sentimental about things small enough to fit into a shoe box!) Architects don’t even use drawing boards any more, but he spent MANY hours late into the night while we were at university sitting there and drawing. The little table is my working table for when I am quilting.
This is my desk. It was an old bank desk which my Pete has restored for me. It weighs a tonne! Opposite my desk is all the space that my children have left in this room – a couch and a play station.
This open space is awaiting the arrival of my new quilting machine. I don’t know if it will fit. My Pete has counted out tiles and he thinks it’s big enough. If it isn’t then the drawing board, couch and playstation will be finding new homes!!!

I spend many hours in this room with the airconditioner on and the radio blaring. Where do you spend many hours?


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Just blinked once and…

she grew up.

This year my daughter is in her final year of school. By this time next year she will have launched herself into the world.

Like all well adjusted, studious, hard-working students in their final year her thoughts are firmly focussed on…

the end of year formal.

She is already considering what she should wear. Some people are already deciding who should be their partner, but she hasn’t told me that she is worrying about that. (She hasn’t told me.) My daughter is a beautiful girl – petite in a way that I never was, olive toned in a way that I could never be, confident in a way that took me many years to learn. She is probably what I would have yearned to be in those years before I decided that I was pretty happy just being me.

Today she and my sister went frock shopping, well browsing actually. Just to see what is out there, she what suits her and what she might like. Of course they took the camera. Look at these results

This colour and fabric look just beautiful, but she was worried that she might have to spend a lot of time making adjustments to maintain her dignity – either that or invest in some heavy-duty skin-friendly double-sided tape.

This one was her favourite design. It was comfortable and showed her off nicely, but the colour is not quite right for her. It only costs $995.00. (CHOKE) I doubt very much that my car would fetch that much on the open market! I don’t know why she would want a dress for that price when I can find treasures like this online for less than $500.00. Surely the gold wonderwoman look is fashionable!!

It is going to be a long year!

PS My children are regular readers of my blog. They laugh and mock me mercilessly. Their heads grow bigger with each nice comment that you make about them. They think that they are inside my head and can work out how I think. Like a good and balanced parent, from time to time I need to cause them embarrassment. It is my responsiblity as a parent of teenage children.


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Grand Final Winners

On Saturday my son’s team played in the junior futsal (indoor soccer) grand final. The teams were very evenly matched. They went goal for goal and both goalies managed to stop lots of attempts. At times the play was very tense.

The game was drawn at full-time and went into extra time before a member of my son’s team kicked the final golden goal. They were awarded bronze medals for being the top of the table and gold medals for winning the grand final. Here is a very sweaty victor. (Be glad that you didn’t have to drive home in the car with him!)

I have shown very little quilting content lately. This is not because I have been neglecting sewing or showing the results. I have been doing some secret stuff. One is a magazine comission which will be published in July and the other is a competition piece. I am experimenting with quilting my backgrounds before I add applique.

I am pleased with this quilting and haven’t quite decided if pre-quilting is something I will continuw to pursue. It has its pros and cons in the final result. I like that I have unbroken lines like topography lines across the fabric. I have used hand-dyed fabrics on a black background, which gives a dynamic result, but I’ll show you after I have entered it into the competition. I am also quilting with metallic thread. I love the glitz that it gives, but I hate having to deal with metallic threads, they do not behave!
I am still eagerly awaiting my new quilting machine and have pulled apart and re-ogranised my studio in anticipation of its arrival.
This week’s song is by special request for my sister Sussanah, who really should get her own blog! Nutmeg recently had a quote from Tom Hodgkinson’s How To Be Free on her blog which was commenting the inability to find happiness through consumerism. This song has a similar theme. It is questioning the hollow nature of the consumer society. I love a song with a political statement or one with lyrics that read like poetry. I especially love these lines:
I wanna be better than oxygen
So you can breathe when you’re drowning and weak in the knees
I wanna speak louder than Ritalin
For all the children who think that they’ve got a disease
I wanna be cooler than t.v.
For all the kids that are wondering what they are going to be
We can be stronger than bombs
If you’re singing along and you know that you really believe
We can be richer than industry
As long as we know that there’s things that we don’t really need
We can speak louder than ignorance
Cause we speak in silence every time our eyes meet
Last time I left you a song Nutmeg commented that the singer looked too young and made her feel old. Sorry this is a young guy too, but his words are wise beyond his years. Hope you enjoy it.

Something weird is happening with blogger formatting. On my screen there are spaces between paragraphs that don’t appear here. Sorry if it’s hard to read.


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A Lesson for Everyone

I truly do love children. Especially in those early years of schooling, when they are curious, talkative creatures with a lust for life. I can talk with children for the longest time. I love to understand what they are thinking, how they view the world. I am very patient and would hate to make a child feel embarrassed or humiliate them in any way. I know how fragile ego can be and how essential ego is to level-headed adults.

This is a conversation I had this week with my niece who is in her first year of formal schooling. She is five.

I couldn’t eat my sandwich at lunch time today, Tracey.

Really? Why not?

It was too soggy.

How did it get soggy?

It had water on it.

How did it get water on it?

Someone accidentally flicked their yoghurt onto it, so I washed it under that tap.

Well, that would make it soggy.


I think there’s a lesson in that for all of us!!


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