Tuesday, September 30

Reverse sexism?

I am having a bit of an issue at the moment, grappling with the idea of feminism and equality. I know big thoughts.

I watched Emma Watson's speech to the UN and agreed with everything she said. Feminism isn't anti-men and I would probably label myself a feminist. I agree that women should have every opportunity to be equal with me. However I believe that there are some differences and we should also acknowledge those differences, and preserve them too. I worry that we are heading someway into an Animal Farm society, in a way where women want to be more equal than men. 

As background, my little world, well away from the UN. I am a woman. I went to a local primary school, followed by a girls school for secondary school. I also had the privilege of going to university (for which I paid). I started work as soon as I was legally allowed 14 and 9 months, and worked part time through year 10, 11 & 12. I had a number of concurrent jobs during uni and started working full time at 20. I am married and have three boys. I have not worked full time (by choice) since my first son was born and I currently choose not to work. 

I am lucky to have choices and I am happy with the choices I have made. I have no desire to be the Prime Minister. I have enough trouble running the house, let alone a country. But this is my choice and I am not putting down anyone else's choice. 

Alexander is at the Cuboree camp this week. There are over 4000 people there and I am watching their Facebook pages for updates. They are also on the news. My issue is that all the kids reporting and their photos are girls. His basketball team this year was also mixed. I'm not saying that it was bad, in fact the mixed basketball was really nice, a cohesive and balanced team but for Alexander and the girls, it was not their only team. 

Here's the thing, in a nutshell. There doesn't seem to be anything that is for boys only. I know that sounds exclusive but sometimes to have single sex is a good thing. In basketball for example there are girls teams, which the boys aren't allowed to join, and then there are the boys teams, which the girls are allowed to join. Again in Cubs, girls are allowed, and encouraged to join, but the boys are not offered the same in Girl Guides and Brownies. Football too, girls are allowed in the boys teams, but boys not on the girls teams. I cannot see the equity here. For all of the girls who don't fit the classic stereotype and feel a need to be doing what the boys are doing, are there not an equal number of boys who deserve the same opportunity?

I am sure that much of my confusion about this comes from my experience at a girls school. I had a great experience - loved it. As a child, I was a tomboy. I was always outside with dad - building, playing, climbing etc while my brother was inside being creative. Possibly at an early age both of us were outside these classic gender stereotypes and as adults this has certainly changed. I was physically bigger than the girls and most boys at a young age, and that changes how people, adults, treat you as a kid. Expectations of you being old, physically treated differently because you are bigger. All of those things go in to forming your personality. Then I went from an outer suburban primary school, to a prestigious private girls school and had to learn their ways. Yet, what I found at the girls school was all the competition was removed. 

With no boys to impress, or compete against, there was a sense of freedom. We were free to be. It was very firmly impressed upon us that there was absolutely nothing we couldn't do. This was an academic school and there was a certain expectation to achieve - to be a Doctor or a Lawyer. There was never any discussion that your gender could possibly get in the way. This message, whether it was explicit or implicit really sunk in for me. I have never looked at anything as out of reach because I am a woman, but on the flip side, I have have never expected things because of it either. 

I know that women here have freedoms not available to women throughout the world. We are not enslaved, persecuted or humiliated because of our gender. What I don't understand is why, with all the freedoms that we do have, are our boys not allowed to have anything that is just for boys?

Monday, September 29


 With his bags all packed, and it feels like 2 million things named, my baby boy is off on cub camp for the next week. He is fairly nervous as he only knows one other kid going, but I know that he'll be fine and come home with a heap of new mates.
 He directed me to the drop off point using the Book of Everywhere that mum had created. It was nice to not only get out the hard copy, but touch something from mum again, especially today. She would have been so proud of him going off and doing this. Giving him the opportunity to be a leader. Great learning opportunity for him.
The twins will also miss him - mich as they're excited that he's going, a week is a long time when you're 7. Have a great trip my boy.

Sunday, September 28


 We spent a wonderful weekend away at Shoreham. One of the school dads arranged the whole thing. I would say there were about 30 of us for the weekend in a school camp set up. The accomodation was basic and cheap, but the company more than made up for any lack in facilities.

With about 20 kids of similar ages, I dont think we saw them except for this visit to Merricks Beach on the way home. They were off running from sun up til we scraped them into bed. It was truly magical. So many kids, no fights, no injuries(!) and really no worries.

As adults we shared a lovely meal on saturday night after we'd sat on the deck in the sunshine watching the grand final. It was just great. Sunday was  obviously clean up day but again no fights or issues - everyone just pitched in and got it done. Fabulous
With the local we were calling in on sick, and my three well and truly OVER themselves, we had a quiet visit to the beach which was refreshing. The boys got to wear their wetsuits for the first time and had a bit of downtime, rather than being part of the gang.
After a swim and a play we headed home with a good sleep in our own beds at the front of everyones mind. 

Friday, September 26

Pinterest Win!

I saw this idea on pinterest which linked here  but I had only seen the image and thought it was exactly what we needed for our upcoming weekend away. This weekend we'll be staying in essentially school camp facilities, which means boys and girls toilets. Thats fine by me, but means the boys will have to shower in the mens and I really shouldn't be in there. 

On a whole the boys are fairly self sufficient and reliable to be able to wash themselves but they have been known to leave things behind - and I thought this could be the solution. A hanging toilet bag. 
Not only does this reduce the size of toilet bags, but it wouldn't be full of water, no soft soap which is disintergrating in the box - that is if they remember to put it back in there. 

This way I can hang body wash, shampoo and even toothpaste and toothbrush. It could hang round their neck, not have to go on the floor and in a hope, not be left behind. Awesome.

I set out with the boys to find bottles. This in itself would be a harder job than I expected. I went to every department store, chemist and supermarket. It seems that the only small bottles which are made for sale do not have the hole in the end. I went to a variety of camping shops too but nothing. I have had sunscreen on loop so I know they exist. The shopping then changed from little empty bottles to little bottles of the right format with stuff in it that I could throw out. Even this was incredibly difficult. THe only thing I'd found was a $7 bottle of sunscreen which I thought was a little much to throw out. 

I finally got lucky at the Reject Shop where I found 2 hand sanitisers fro $1. Fifty cents per bottle is certainly worth it. I decanted the sanitser into another container so it can be used, and washed out the bottles and removed the labels. 

For the boys I made lanyards with body wash and shampoo. I made an addititonal lanyard with the toothbrushes and filled one with toothpaste. Alexander is off on cuboree next week, so for him I'll reconfigure one to have sunscreen, toothbrush and also a hanging towel so it should all be easy. 

I have heaps of old lanyards lying around so just clipped it to one of them. Even though the contents are different colours, I labelled them clearly with a sharpie just to be sure no one puts toothpaste on their hair by accident!


Thursday, September 25

Sleepin Ova

These smiling faces are of two little boys who seem to be growing up very quickly. They are off on their first sleepover at a friends house - not family. It is all about them and they are LOVING it.
The were so excited, and packed their own bags (and I let them) all ready to go and spend the night and from all reports it was a success. They all got sleep and were on a whole well behaved. No doubt this is the first of many ....

Wednesday, September 24

Show Day

Dad and I took our boys to the Royal Show. A big day. The boys were excited because they had $50 each (thanks Dad) to spend, or waste as Spencer said, on showbags of their choice. We were nervous as there are big crowds, we were on trains, and it was something that Mum and Dad used to do together. 
The last time we went was 2 years ago, and Mum wasn't flash back then which is why I went along. This time she wasn't there at all, but we weren't going to let that get in our way of having a good day and making some memories. 

 We went round everywhere, bumping into friends, trying foods, seeing animals judged (to be future food - ugh) and watched the dressage. The boys love the woodchopping so we always stop in there. We missed the motorbikes and dogs, however we did see some rounding up sheep which is always great. They followed me begrudingly through the CWA and craft areas, looking at the cakes and different crafts and finally into the baby animal pavillion.

 Here was a threat that they were going to have fun or else there were no show bags to be had. Looks like they did a good job eh? Then we were off t the showbag hall to buy bags of overpriced plastic tat that will be broken by tomorrow, but that is all part of the magic.

Sunday, September 21

Organic Creations

I was on the computer today, doing jobs and Benji decided he needed to make a t-shirt with Garfield on it. I would usually be all enthusiastic and help but I was already entertained, so I told him to draw it on a piece of paper.

Diligently he did as I'd asked, setting up his toy Garfield so as to draw from life. Once done he went over it in black texta. The other two also joined in so I have three boys lying at my feet drawing while I am consumed by my mac.

Once the initial drawing was complete, it was off to my stash for supplies. Funnily enough I had white tshirts for all the boys, as well as sharpies and fabric paint. I gave them each a tshirt and told them to put their sketch inside and trace it out with the sharpie.

 Then I set the fabric paints up on the table with some paint brushes and they had to simply colour it in. I had a variety of different ones, and as it turns out, some puffy paint as well. Left to dry in the sun and then ironed (and the puff came out in Spencer's to give the basketball an extra diamention - much to his delight. )

The boys were all thrilled with the results and couldn't wait to wear them, so proud that they'd really done them all by themselves.

Now the only issue is how to get them off these kids!

Saturday, September 20

Paying it forward

So many people looked after us during and after mums illness. Upon arriving home we were often surprised with the gift of a meal being left for us. Some also cooked for mum and dad, meals that they could eat. It is during a crisis that you really are surprised by the kindness of others.

Now that we have got through that immediate period of stress I wanted to do something for those who had done so much for us. I talked about it with Dad and he was happy with my decision. Personalised casserole dishes. This way they could be used to share with others who needed nourishment, but also helpful to be able to return the containers - something that becomes very difficult over a period of time!

I bought the glass dishes with the matching lids as these would be the best for travelling with food. 
I cut the surname out in vinyl with the silhouette cutter. For all of these I used century gothic font as I like the shape of the a. Pedantic I know.

I removed the background to use as my stencil on the glass dish. The insides I used to label the lid. Both names line up and are set to the right.

 With the stencil I used a glass frosting paint from Pebeo.
 I painted a thin coat of the frosting medium onto the stencil and let it dry for 24 hours as per the instructions.
 HOWEVER, when I peeled off the vinyl stencil, the frosting also peeled off. GRRRR. At least I could simply wash the frosting off and start again. I did need to re-cut those names though.
 So, starting again I used the vinyl as the stencil but this time
 I used a sharpie paint pen to colour in the name. This one is silver but when it is drawn on it looks like frosting.

 All coloured in I let it dry completely before removing the vinyl. Sometimes there are overruns from the stencil and I removed these with nail polish on a cotton bud.
Once I was satisfied with the look I baked the bases in the oven for at least 30 minutes at 150 degrees.
Now I just need to deliver them with a little note. 

Friday, September 19


Mr P and I headed out to Leflers, the leather wholesaler in Melbourne today. I wanted to make some bags and he wanted to make a watchband and repair a bag.

There is just so much to choose from its incredible and overwhelming. Its kind of set out like Bunnings, but nothing has a price on it. That means you have to commit before you purchase. I found some hardware that I wanted - D rings and the like which I was pretty sure was reasonable. Towards the end I found the remnant bin. This way I knew that each square foot was $3.50 and each piece had a sticker on it for its size. Then I knew what I was up for. 

I hit the register and my pile was up to $115 which was when I found the smaller scraps - these were $5 per kilo. Oh oh ohhhhhh! 2 kilos later, plus another big piece, I walked out of there with a box full of things and head full of ideas.

Falcons Presentation Night

The Falcons held their presentation night tonight and it was a mighty production! There was lighting, stage and the kids were loving the disco environment. I had spent the day running around arranging the present for the coach - we didn't have a lot of money so we settled on alcohol- bicardi being his drink of choice. The big squirrel fashioned up a quick box out of fence palings he found on his way home and it came up pretty good. 

 It'll actually be a little sad that this team gets split up to different age groups as they really did form a lovely bond.

Thursday, September 18


All three boys were presenting their learning at school today. I was up their early in the day to see Alexander and the other grade 5's performing their skits and shows.

I was back up in the afternoon for the twins presentation - or flat stanley expo. They all had to sit behind their country poster and answer parent questions. What was lovely was to see how much work had been done by the kids. Benji did Russia and Spence chose Spain. I had printed out pictures for them but none seem to appear on their posters so I don't know where they came from! They were all so proud to be able to show off what they'd learnt and I was pleased that I could be there. Poppy also called in for a visit and was proud to come to the expo too.

The day was capped off by an impromptu dinner with some school mates at a local japanese restaurant. Exactly what I needed.

Wednesday, September 17


This lovely package arrived in the mail today from LeAnimale. It is a bear which is my birth token.

Birth Totem for August 22 - September 21
Personality traits: Productive, practical, introspective, humble

I loved the look of it when I saw it on Etsy and knew I needed to have it. I have had trouble being productive, and it will serve as inspiration. 

The boys all had playdates today, and they were all lovely. It is what I needed and what they all needed. I farmed out two and one was here with a mate and it was just lovely to sit back and watch them play. So innocent, involved and natural. 

Tuesday, September 16

A bit of shopping

Im responsible for the costumes for the school dance concert and thankfully there aren't too many to make this year, but I thought I'd pop over to my favourite spot to see it there was any suitable fabric. I was off to Glen Huntly Road. Darn Cheap fabrics was the first stop and I picked up some basic drill and some fabric for a birthday gift. Either side are two little shops that can't go past without a visit. Shu Mart has a range of school shoes all year round, as well as some little bargains now and then. I picked up both of these pairs for $10 each. I love a wedge and with summer coming these will be great. 

Studio Fashion is on the other side and this is where almost all of my jumpers come from. This one was full price at $45 (!) but I love the contrast. The front and sleeves are cotton knit and the back has an inverted pleat in the double georgette. Great dressy casual. 


The bell has rung and I'm in the corner catching my breath. Not that I've gone 18 rounds with the boys, but I've been screaming like a banshee - not a proud moment - and now they are all off safely to school I can calm down and rehash. Over the weekend I learned that adolescent boys actually have different peripheral vision (may not be true, I just took their word) and now I am wondering if they also have a different vision of how things may happen.

Yesterday I had Xandy home from school for two reasons. The first were these awful lumps on his ears which I thought may have been hand foot and mouth which is apparently going around. The other reason, as he really wasn't that sick, was because he hadn't done his project which was due. Our previous week was nothing but manic and we really were not home, so I didn't feel I could blame him. Little did I know he had had it for significantly longer than I was told. So he stayed home and did it all day yesterday. We did also go to the doctor and she diagnosed the ear thing as chilblains.

With assignment all finished, and a non contagious disorder (apparently a stupidity induced, but we'll get to that) he was certainly off to school today. Unsurprisingly he wouldn't wake up. I suspect this was due to the hidden iPad that I confiscated at 11pm! Already I was not giving any sympathy. What totally set me off was he couldn't find his school jumper, and really didn't look very hard. You know that annoying look where they move their head from side to side and glance around a room and if the said item doesn't jump and hit them in the face, they can't find it? That look? Yeah, well I wasn't in the mood for it and sent him to school without a jumper. Seems his emergency jumper is also in hiding. Along with most of the other items in his room - ugh.

Back to the chilblains - he reckons he got these last time he went to school without his jumper (tshirt and shorts, it is winter here) and got really cold. I am angry for two reasons. One - can't he see that he got sick because he lost his jumper and two,  he only has to have a handful of things and can't even seem to manage that! Geez - the kid is only 10, what hope have I got when he enters puberty???

So, rather than fix it and take back all the responsibility myself and do everything for them, I am pushing back. Now if homework isn't done - TOO BAD i say. Your PROBLEM. Forgot your swimmers - miss SWIMMING. Lost a notice - YOU MISS OUT. All sounds a bit harsh I know, but I am trying to help them learn. I am also setting up some prompts on our notice boards to try to trigger them to forward think. What do I need tomorrow. Pack the bag the night before. What homework do I have this week. What is my weekly schedule. Lets see how we go......

Monday, September 15

Happy Anniversary

Thirteen years ago we married and in some way it seems like only yesterday we were on St Kilda beach for this photo - in other ways it is a lifetime ago.
This morning I was woken to exchange presents - which I had none, whoopsies. I was in the post euphoric weekend hangover, with one kids staying home because of a little illness but more importantly he hadn't even started a project which was due today. My gift was a gift of love. Not that kind - well maybe that intention. I got a voucher to get waxed. I had to open it early because it was all booked for 10am that morning. Ugh.

Just for the record, a wax is not an enjoyable experience, and having been given this as a gift from him once before, one would imagine he wouldn't go down this track again. He is probably thinking I needed to get the hint, but frankly it makes me run a mile the other way. I may become a feminist and grow the hair under my arms so long I can french braid it.

Look, a lot of this rant is really about my own attitudes and feelings at the moment. Dealing with the depths of grief and not feeling very good about myself. I know there was good intentions behind this, and not purely the smutty place where I imagine, but I was the one who had to endure it. Maybe I should have booked him in for a back sac and crack to share the joy?

Sunday, September 14

The big one

Once I was done sewing a refashioned snow white costume for a (male) friend we could begin our massive day. Off to the footy presentations and then all back in the car heading for Cranbourne for the Grand Final of the Rep basketball team. I was a bit frantic as I was taking over the team manager role for the week - so I had to make sure we paid for the team sheet and didn't do anything to get disqualified.

The coach managed to get there just before the game started and we were a bit rocked by information that we couldn't play zone - or variations of it - but the others could. Not really sure what was going on there, but if it was the other teams' intention to scare us, it certainly worked. 

The boys played well but not their best. Initially in the lead, the opposition were tactically strong and worked us over. We got to within one point in the last 2 minutes, but I reckon when the boys put up about 15 attempts and none would go in, they all knew it was over. They lost by 6 points and were obviously devastated.
 WE recovered for the medal ceremony and then off to celebrate/commiserate together.
 This was the best bit of the day. These boys were literally scraped together to form a team. There were never any expectations of them, and they overcame every obstacle thrown their way in order to get to the grand final. Really a great effort and a great group of people.
 These crazy cats even decided it was warm enough for a post game swim! (It really wasn't and the pool was not heated)
 WE got to sit back and enjoy the celebrations with a glass of sparkles while the boys played touch footy and mucked around together. 

Saturday, September 13


Two winners in the house today. The first was a grand finalist win.
 The kids played hard and it was a tough but really fair game and they won!! The girls have played in 14 finals between them and this is their first ever win. The smiles on all their faces tell the story.
 One of the nicest bits of the entire game was at the end when both teams joined their hands in the circle for the refs and each team. It is not every day you see this kind of display of sportsmanship but it should certainly be encouraged.

We hung around the stadium most of the day and supported our mates in their finals. All the others lost - sad face. Then we were off to our club presentation.

Spencer won coaches award for this team. He told me he would win another trophy and low and behold he did!

We finished off the evening at a friends house for a bbq dinner. There were a group of people we don't really know, but it was really lovely to be in their company - out being part of the community.