We mark the progress of our lives by marking milestones - birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Less often, we remember and celebrate the moments that make up those milestones.

This is for those moments.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Sandy Hook, Newtown, CT

Woke to the news of the tragic and senseless shootings in Connecticut. My heart is weeping for the victims and their families, for the small community of Newtown, CT, for the survivors and the family of the shooter -- all innocent victims of one person's actions.

Until all the facts are known, it is pointless to speculate. I'm always disgusted by the media who post "Breaking News" headlines, clearly designed to elicit a strong emotional response, only to retract them later when the facts are finally known. The damage has already been done; the rumours and the social media response begins as soon as the words are 'published'. That cannot be so easily retracted, and it only serves to spread fear, anger and hatred in a world that needs more patience, understanding and empathy.

Once again the loud arguments for and against tighter gun controls will rage. I believe in tighter controls; after the Port Arthur Massacre in 1996, new gun laws were introduced in Australia and, though it is hard to say if they have made a difference (as Australia has never had a high incidence of mass shootings), the fact that there has never been a repeat of Port Arthur speaks for itself.

Admittedly, gun controls only work if everyone respects and follows the law. At the end of the day it is up to every individual to make a choice.

Amid the cries for tighter gun controls, we should also remember that there is a need for greater awareness of mental illness, be it depression, schizophrenia, or any of the myriad conditions that exist in our increasingly complex and bewildering society. Addressing those needs, seeing drug addiction as an illness to be treated rather than a crime to be punished, remembering that "there but for the grace of God (or which ever higher power you believe in) go I" -- these are the things that will ultimately make a difference.

Western values have changed dramatically, often driven by the chase for wealth and happiness, as though the two must go together. What a difference there would be if we all took time to expand our world beyond "me and mine", swapped some of our selfishness for selflessness.

Where is our empathy? It gushes out at times such as this, but seems to be sadly lacking in general. We are all in too much of a hurry far too often.

Nothing will bring back the lives lost today, nothing will ever justify the senseless loss. As long as tragedies like this continue to occur there will be wounds that never heal.

Hold your loved ones close today and every day. It can be over in the blink of an eye. My daughter is six, I'm watching her play as I write. She doesn't understand why mummy is so sad. We shouldn't have to explain things like this to our children.

A National Tragedy: Helping Children Cope - Tips for Parents and Teachers

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Silver linings and shelter

They say every cloud has a silver lining.  I certainly hope so.  Too many clouds around these days in too many places and for all the wrong reasons.  

We have become a society that cannot take the blame for our own actions.  "Sorry", "I've made a mistake", "Let me fix that" are phrases heard rarely these days.  You're more likely to hear "so what", "not my problem/job", "go ask person x, they'll know."

Google is not the answer to everything, nor is Wikipedia: they can point you in the right direction but you still have to think for yourself.  And there is no weakness in admitting you don't know something or that you were wrong. 

Sadly a majority of us want the correct answer to our questions immediately: sorry peeps, but life doesn't work that way.  Go to Bunnings, buy some timber, build a bridge and GET OVER IT!

All I seek is a little sanity, for people to not make assumptions, for others to think before they throw problems created by a lack of planning into the laps of others.  

Most of all I seek a shelter from the storm.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Plating Up Is Wasted On My Child

When you've got an active six-year-old, what's more important - what they eat or what it looks like on the plate?

In this house presentation is all about what actually gets the food eaten. So if that means making smiley faces with tomato sauce on poached eggs or serving food in the can, so be it!!

Take this typical dinner - yes, that's tuna, still in the can (as well as the [cold] baked beans), along with frozen peas and corn kernels - very frozen 'cos they crunch' - and stuffed olives. And a big thank you Ikea for making the teeny serving bowls which delight my Katie (yes I do realise they are for dipping sauces). :)

Served like this, every morsel is eaten. That's lean protein, three serves of veges (Katie calls olives a vegetable) and pulses - nothing wrong with that little lot. If I tried to dish it all up pretty, steam the veges and warm the beans I'd be lucky if she ate one-quarter.

It may not score highly with the MasterChef brigade but who cares? Not Katie, not me. Beats serving up nuggets and chips or overdosing on sugar and/or fat. And it's quick, being on the table in under five minutes. Anyone with a small child can tell you that this is crucial after a hard day at school ;-)

Her tastes will change as she gets older; she is curious about lots of other meals I cook and I know one day she will try the risotto, the chilli, the pastitsio, the lasagna. Until then I will be thankful for kid-sized portions in fun-size tins. And a healthy, happy child.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Cuddles - six years and counting

Katie was given this bear on 19 February 2006, when she was two-days old. He's not really a bear, more like a 12" square blanket with a bear's head and arms sewn on the centre. Whatever you want to call him, he is the most precious thing in the world to her.

He has been there at every milestone and major event in her life, except her actual birth. He has spent nights in hospital with her when she had pneumonia, respiratory infections and asthma, clutched tightly through every test and procedure - except the x-rays. They nearly didn't happen until the radiologist agreed to let Cuddles sit on the bed with Katie. He has sat through x-rays for a broken collarbone, a broken ankle and chest x-rays. He's a tough old bear.

He was there through the day care years, the first day of Kindergarten and PrePrimary and, this February, the first day of Year One.

Now Katie is six and shows no sign of letting him go yet. When she is ill, tired or just unsure you can see her gently rubbing the silky binding between her fingers, reassuring herself. Sometimes I wish I had a Cuddles of my own.

He is worn, a little threadbare, his silky binding is frayed and his bow has been replaced several times. I have a reel of thread in his original apricot colour that is tucked away especially for patching the dear old fella up.

Today it was his ear that needed Mummy's best nursing care. A job done with love and joy, the reward Katie's beaming smile and watching her snuggle her 'best friend in the whole wide world'.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Heatwave - no-so-tropical

We're on the way to breaking a 115-year old record here in Perth as we look down the barrel at our eighth heatwave since November 2011.

What's a heatwave? It's defined as three consecutive days over 35C (95F). The previous record of seven was set in 1977-78.

What does it mean for West Australians? Severe fire warnings (catastrophic in some areas), total fire bans, cancellation or rescheduling of events to avoid the worst of the heat, risk of heat stroke and severe sunburn. And you need to keep your shoes on unless you feel like leaving part of the soles of your feet seared to the pavement :-o

What can you do? Rehydration is critical. And stay out of the sun between 10am - 3pm. Heat stroke is dangerous; it can, and does, kill people every year. Don't light anything flammable outside or use anything that may cause a spark - like some power tools.

Monday, December 26, 2011

So exactly where did 2011 go?

Wow, didn't realise how long I had been away from here. The past 12 months have been a complete blur. Katie has grown up so much it scares me. She's now 127cm tall (4', 2") - the tallest in her class; very tall for a five year old. She lost four teeth this year; two have regrown and the top two are coming through. Thankfully no broken bones or hospital visits this year.

In 2010 she was still my baby with chubby cheeks and a round face.

And now she is very much a little girl.

What changes, achievements and challenges will 2012 bring?
Katie starts Year 1. She is so excited about that.

I hope to buy a home of my own and stop renting. I'm very nervous about that. Property prices in Perth are ridiculous and the only area I can afford to buy in is about 30km south of where I live now. The size and scope of the commitment a mortgage requires frightens me a little. Twenty-five years.

One step at a time.
One day at a time.
And remember to breathe.

Monday, January 24, 2011


2010 was a very eventful year for you - including two broken bones. In June you had a fall at daycare and broke your collarbone, then in September you landed awkwardly on the trampoline and broke a bone in your ankle. You were in a sling for five weeks then in a cast and wheelchair for almost six weeks. You never let either of them get in your way; you adjusted so quickly to the restrictions and found ways to do most of the things you enjoyed.