Sunday, 29 April 2012

A reason, a season, a lifetime

This morning I had breakfast with friends.  I love having breakfast with friends.  And having breakfast with these friends is always fun because these girls have known me for 31 years.  Well, one of them has.  One has known me for 26 years, and the other for 22 years.  Whatever.  It’s a long time in anyone’s book.  Especially when you’re 38.  I have another close friend who has known me for 26 years, but she lives interstate and when she visits, we always catch up.

I adore making new friends and I always feel extremely fortunate when someone expresses an interest in being friends with me.  Call it low self-confidence, call it what you like, but I am always pleasantly surprised.

When I was in my final year of high school, I naively assumed that the good friends I had in school would carry through my entire life.  As the years have soldiered on, many of those friendships have died (some natural deaths, others not so natural) and the large posse that I once had (and believed would have forever) has dwindled immensely.

But in their place I have found new, equally wonderful friends that I just adore.   Friends who have taught me things about myself, and some who have made me laugh so hard I’ve cried.  As I get older, I find it easier to accept that people are in your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.  And I can relax into the friendship and enjoy the time we have together.

But the ones who have been around for a long time are few and far between.  These ones have been around since before I actually knew who I was.  I have history with these girls.  They knew me when my hair could give Diana Ross a run for her money; when my forehead was a zit farm and when I hated my thighs.  They sang Wilson Phillips songs with me, and danced to “Groove is in the Heart” with me countless times.  They made fun of me when I thought I was smoking (I wasn’t inhaling).  And, like the good friends they are, patiently taught me how to inhale the toxic fumes into my clean lungs.  Then laughed like maniacs when I choked on the smoke.  Only good friends would do that.

They’ve watched me grow from an awkward teen into the woman I am today.  We're lucky.  We’ve managed to grow together and everytime we get together I am thankful for what we have.

I’ve blogged about them before and this is what I wrote:

There’s something about old friends.  Something safe and warm and incredibly comfortable.  They’re like my tracky daks after a day of corporate wear.  Do I need to explain?  Didn’t think so.

I have a lot of friends.  And I love making new friends, meeting new people and seeing things from different perspectives.  Through my children I have met and made groups of friends I would probably have never met B.K. (Before Kids).  Sometimes it doesn’t work, but other times, it does, and it’s great.  So my point is that I have a lot of friends and I know that through my life, I’ll make even more friends.

But nothing comes close to my old friends.  The friends who were there before kids. Before my husband.  Before I had a job. Before my Mum and I started getting along.  They know things about me that I don’t even know.  They remember things I don’t remember.  They’ve been with me through bad hair, bad skin, bad clothes, bad boys and bad, bad make-up.  And they still love me.  And I, them.

Are you the same?  Do you still have a strong connection with school friends or childhood friends?

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Compass with no north

Little Warrior had his second day in daycare yesterday.  He had a great day.   He played, he ate,  he slept and he got carried around by all the carers who thought he was adorable.

I, on the other hand, was not so great.  We’re talking about someone who cries at her daughter’s first cross-country, so the odds were never going to be stacked in my favour.  But I was unprepared for the feeling of loss.  “A compass without a north” was a phrase I used more than once yesterday.  I couldn’t settle on doing any one thing.  I drove around aimlessly for about 30 minutes before coming home and half-heartedly cleaning the house (is there any other way to clean?).  I didn’t draw a real, deep breath until Little Warrior was back in my arms.  Which meant I was shallow breathing all day.  Truly.  I think I was on the verge of passing out for the six hours he was in care.

I called The Architect and cried down the phone.  He said “I think it’s great that he’s in daycare now – it gives you a chance to get your life back”.   And I just wanted to shout: What life?  These kids ARE my life!

It was an awakening.  I know that I have dedicated the last (almost) three years wholly and solely to my children, but didn’t appreciate the scale of how much of myself was wrapped up in them.  Polynesian Princess is at school now, and Little Warrior is entering the system by starting daycare.  And me?  Well, as Polynesian Princess so clearly articulated to me yesterday “what are you going to do today Mummy?  You’re going to be allllllllllllllllll alone”.

Relaying this story to my friend today, she laughingly said, “you can try to recapture the woman you were before kids.  Would you even remember who she was?”  Straight off the top of my head, the answer was “no”.  I don’t remember.  But then I said, “I DO know that woman couldn’t bake”.  Or cook a proper meal.  Oh how the times have changed.

I realise now my mistake was not having anything planned.  I should have organised lunch or a movie with a friend.  This would have helped.  This would have ensured that I had a north for my compass.  Something to anchor my day.  I didn't do this yesterday, but you can be sure that I will be doing something next week. 

The next step is re-entering the workforce.  Once that has been achieved, I will be one step closer to being the woman I used to be.  

© Valkhromov | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

Sunday, 22 April 2012

I have a dream...

I have a little secret.  Or maybe secret isn’t the correct word.  Maybe it’s a dream.  A wish for the future.  Or perhaps it’s merely an item on my to-do list.

I want to/would like to, learn the guitar.  There.  I said.  Not a big deal right?  Well…thing is, I’ve been wanting this on and off for a few years now.  I enjoy singing.  Not that I’m great, I hasten to add, but I can sing.   And I would really love to learn guitar simply for that reason.  I daydream of me sounding like Kina Grannis (you'll need to fast forward to 1:40 to get to her performing):

I think she sounds fantastic – and I’ve always loved the simple sound of someone with a nice voice and a guitar.   But my other secret is: I don’t believe in myself enough to try.  And because of this I will throw up any obstacle or reason to NOT try.

“I don’t own a guitar”

"I'm too old to learn a musical instrument"

“How would I learn? Lessons cost money!”

“When would I practise?”

“I’d just annoy everyone in our house/street/suburb”

“I’d get the guitar and never do anything then have to sell the damn thing on eBay”

I’m not being melodramatic.  I’m not being harsh.  I’m being realistic.

A year ago I took my Dad’s broken banjo and secretly had it repaired and restrung for him.  My intent was to get it repaired and then learn how to play one song and perform it for my Dad on his birthday.  That was last January.  His birthday (in May) came and went, and then I moved the deadline to Christmas.  It didn’t happen then either.

The banjo has been repaired, but I still haven’t made any arrangements to learn a song.  I keep staring at this banjo in our study and berating myself for not fulfilling this project.  But every time I look at the thing, it looks like too much hard work.  Where do you find banjo lessons in Brisbane?  And do I really want to pay for lessons when I only want to learn ONE song?  It doesn’t even matter what song it is – I just want to play something for my Dad and then return it to him.

Anyway, I’m digressing.  By writing this blog I'm making a promise to myself.  Before I die I will have learnt the guitar and sung at least one song for friends and family.  Eeeek!!  Now it looks like I'm in the market for a banjo teacher AND a guitar teacher.


Do you have something that's been niggling away at you to achieve? Learning a musical instrument?  Competing in a triathlon?  Finishing that painting you started years ago?

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Blithering Idiot

Polynesian Princess (PP) had her first cross country today.  And I blubbered like the sentimental fool that I am.  Oh why, why, WHY must I be so emotional?  I held it together.  Mostly.  But when I saw her running past us just after the starter’s gun went off, I was so proud I swear my heart was going to burst.  Either that, or the lump in my throat was going to block my airwaves and I would pass out.

It was a 700 metre run which I think is a decent run for a five year old.  I remember my first cross country which would have been when I was eight (about grade three I think).  I don’t know how long the run was, but I recall being surprised at how fast my heart was beating, and how ragged my breath was.  It was the first time I had experienced any kind of physical exertion and I wasn’t keen on repeating it.  Probably why it took me another 18 years to re-visit the ol’ running gig.

But PP had a great time.  She crossed the finish line with the biggest smile on her face and I almost crushed her ribs with my hug.   A few tears squeezed out but I was cool.  Be cool DD, be cool.  It’s only a cross country race!

This isn’t the first time I’ve been like this.  Last year, at the end of PP’s kindy year I was a blithering idiot as well.  You can read about it here.

Man oh man, I am going to have to have a cup of cement and harden the hell up, otherwise what is high school graduation going to be like?

So suck it up Diva.

Suck. It. Up.

Are you an emotional parent?  Is every little milestone prised from your hands with a handful of Kleenex?

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

The prodigal phone returns...

Sixteen days.  That’s how long it’s been since I’ve been without my iPhone.  And today I got the call.  THE call.  It’s ready for pick-up.  Squeeeeeeee!!!!!  For those out of the loop, my phone has been getting repaired after Little Warrior broke the screen.  You can read about my rant here.

But I now have a replacement phone and I'm a very happy Diva.  So after a quick sync with iTunes and a message or two to the Architect to find out our various passwords, I was back in business.

I want to send out a big thank-you to the two phones that got me through this difficult time.  The first (my old, old Dopod) died on me after about a week but the second (a $29 Samsung purchased at Australia Post) got me through the rest of the time sufficiently.  So thank-you.

I would have to say: the one thing annoying about waiting for a phone to be repaired/replaced is getting used to using a new (old) phone.  Waa Waa – yes, it’s a whinge and I know I’m very fortunate in many ways, but can I just say this?  Please?  Going backwards and trying to type texts the ole ye fashioned way was doing my head in!  I became a little (more) curt in my texts, and I apologise to some people who I have totally ignored in this time.  Communicating got all too hard sans my iPhone.  What’s that you say?  Why didn’t I just pick up the phone and call someone?

Eh?  What.  And actually communicate with somebody??  Pffft.  I don’t recall the last time I did that.

Oh wait.  Yes I do.  Last week I got a gift in the mail from a wonderful friend.  She posted me a copy of Julie & Julia.  She knows how much I love cooking and blogging, and she highly recommended this movie to me.  I had never seen the movie, but always had it in the back of my mind to watch it someday.  So it was with pure delight and happiness that I opened this package last week and there was a copy of the DVD from my friend.

That definitely calls for a telephone call.  A reach across the wires to contact somebody who thought of me, and thank them wholeheartedly.   I watched it and loved it.  And yes, now I’m somewhat inspired to start a food blog.  Hmmmm…

So happy Wednesday everyone - I hope yours has been as rewarding as mine :)


Monday, 16 April 2012

Give us this day

What is the one website you use daily? And let’s exclude Facebook and Twitter, because for me, they are my daily bread. And my RSS news feed. But the one website that I use daily aside from the above, would have to be

I love cooking.  Love it, love it, love it.   I haven’t always.   Infact I only started cooking when The Architect and I got together.  And over the past five years I have developed a real love for cooking and especially finding easy, tasty, simple recipes. has brought me (and the family) so many meals over the years.  It’s practically what our whole Christmas feast is based on, and many other celebratory catch-ups too.

Today I used four recipes from three different sites.

I made Polynesian Princess’s (PP) lunch for the week. The fail-safe mini-quiches which she requests each week.   This recipe isn’t from Taste (it's from a site called Exclusively Food), but it’s one of those recipes that has been used so much (I've been making them for about five years) that I don’t need to consult the recipe anymore.   I make one batch on a Sunday and that does PP for her lunch for the entire week.

Image courtesy of
You can find the recipe here.

The second dish I made was for the kids’ dinner. It’s a basic chicken pie recipe that I found in one of my Australian BBC Good Food magazines (my FAVOURITE food magazine ever). The pies were a hit.  But they always are.  And that's not me being arrogant.  That's just me acknowledging that if I wrap anything in puff pastry, my kids will eat it.

The third dish I made was from Taste.   I made chocolate shortbread for my girly catch-up tomorrow in the park.

Image courtesy of
There’s a thunderstorm forecast, but I sincerely hope we can still catch up because I made these shortbreads specifically with these friends in mind.  I’ve had three pieces already and I’m not sure how I’m going to eat my dinner.

Which brings me to my last recipe.   I've been staring at three chicken breasts all day wondering what I'm going to make for our dinner.  I was stumped.  I didn’t have a lot in our fridge given I haven’t done our grocery shop yet and the chicken wasn't enticing me in any way.

Also I was looking for something that involved baking, so that I could prepare it early, and let the oven do the rest later while I watch Margie face her fear of heights on The Biggest Loser Australia (I've since realised that this isn't happening tonight).  Anyhoo, I stumbled upon this recipe for lemon and garlic chicken parcels.  I prepared it in ten minutes and I put it in the oven for double the time it recommended (15 minutes wasn't enough time to bake a chicken breast).  It was delicious.  And simple.  And easy.  So it ticks all the boxes for me.

Bon appetit everyone!  If you have any favourite recipes, I would love (LOVE) to receive them.  I think there's an email button somewhere here on the page isn't there?


Thursday, 12 April 2012

Knife. Edge.

The hackles are up and I’m on a knife edge.

Knife.  Edge.

Everywhere I look there’s mess.  Through these black-tinted glasses I’m wearing, the entire house is a disaster zone.  The bed’s are untidy, there’s still a pile of ironing to do, the kids have shredded muesli bar all over the rug and is that a piece of apple those ants are marching across my floor?  The floor that I vacuumed and mopped this morning?  Oh and awesome – the strawberry shampoo is lying on the bathroom floor and has leaked over a third of the floor.  Including the bathmat.  I close the door.  Can’t deal with that right now.

I can feel the hackles rising and I’m ready to snap.  Add to the mix Polynesian Princess teasing Little Warrior and the requisite sound of him screaming his disapproval.   Con-stant-LY.  Oh yep…I’m that much closer to the edge now.

I pick up the $29 replacement phone I bought from Australia Post yesterday (due to Little Warrior smashing my iPhone’s screen, hence it’s now in as an insurance claim), and find that it’s switched itself off.  Again.  I grit my teeth.  If I grind a little harder, I swear I can taste powder.

The muscles between my shoulder blades now feel so tight they could be played like a lute.  Although I think if somebody just punched me between them it might alleviate the tension a little better.  I think if somebody started strumming my back right now, I’d behead them.

The microwave beeps and I take out last night’s leftovers and start to “get their dinner ready” when the phone rings.  I snatch the phone up thinking “WHO THE FUCK IS THIS NOW?!” and it’s an angel.  My angel on the other end of the phone.  My girlfriend asking if she can pop over and help me with the kids.

I release the breath I don’t know I’ve been holding and say “please”…

Image: Victor Habbick /

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Mozzies be damned, I still love camping

Polynesian Princess was excited.  We were going camping this Easter for three nights.  Three nights!  That’s the longest time we’ve camped so far.  The Architect and I are slowly building up our camping stamina with two small kids.

Whenever I talk to people about how much I love camping I get a similar response from most of them.  There’s a quizzical look, a tilt of their head and most times, a smirk.  Then the inevitable “I wouldn’t have picked you as a camper”.  I never know how to take this.   Do I not look outdoorsy enough?  Or perhaps I just don’t look like I would enjoy sleeping in a tent?  Either way, I shrug it off because the love of camping always shines through.

My love of camping probably started in my childhood, when my parents took us camping a couple of times, and once rented a caravan on Fraser Island.  Those are very fond memories for me, and the smell of an outdoor fire, the chill in the night air and the fresh, coolness of the mornings have always made me happy.

I have to stay away from places like Anaconda, BCF, Big W and Kmart camping sections, Kathmandu and all the rest of them.  Otherwise, I could spend hours ‘pon hours ‘pon hours perusing, musing and making up reasons for buying that hand warmer.  I’ll definitely need this, it’ll come in soooo handy!  I think I’ve used it a sum total two times.

When we’re camping, I am at my happiest in the ‘kitchen’.  I love getting the dinners ready and will happily shoo away The Architect’s attempts at washing up.  I don’t know why, but I feel it is totally my domain and I love the whole process from start to finish.

This particular camping trip shall be memorable for two very different reasons: mosquitoes and gastro.  Yup.  Nice.

First, the mosquitoes.  We had been forewarned by our friends (who had travelled up the day before us).  “There’s heaps of mozzies” they said, “buy one of those mozzie spray pffty things”.  I knew the very aerosol spray they were referring to so immediately went out and bought one.  And man, I couldn’t believe the mozzies.  They came thick and fast and munched on Little Warrior’s face and neck.  They munched approximately 24 times if you count the red pockmarks that still adorn his face today (we arrived home two days ago).  They seemed impervious to the Raid Automatic Insect Control System, the Aeroguard spray, the Aeroguard roll-on, the mozzie coils, the mozzie sticks and the smoke emanating from our campfire.

Gastro struck our campsite on the first night and I have continued with this to current day.  It started with Polynesian Princess, then passed to me.  Little Warrior has shown signs of illness, and The Architect is looking nervous and making sure we’re stocked up with Imodium and Hydralyte. 

And yet, despite all of this we all still had a wonderful time.  The kids ran around like wild things from dawn til dusk, their feet were black with dirt and they were sticky with Aeroguard, Easter eggs and marshmallows.  And after they went to bed, the parents gathered around the fire, ate smores, drank and laughed.  This is what camping is all about, right?  It’s about unplugging from the rest of the world and concentrating on what’s right in front of you.

Even if it IS a mozzie.

Image: Simon Howden /

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

My mobile, my friend

Little Warrior has killed my iPhone.  With one swift downward motion, my communication device was shattered.  Three and a half years I’ve had an iPhone and in all that time I haven’t damaged it.  Yes, I may have lost one, but damage?  No.  Never.

I can remember a time before I had a mobile phone.  A time when, if you HAD a mobile phone, you were considered a wanker.  Or was that just the friends I had at the time?

If you were running late to meet someone, you were just late.  They figured you were late by the time 30 minutes had ticked by and there was still no sign of you.  There wasn’t any texting or calling saying you’re just popping into Baker’s Delight for a scroll or tear n share, and do you want anything?  If you couldn’t remember what type of yogurt you had to buy at the shop, you just had to rely on your memory.  If you hadn’t called your Mother for her birthday, you had to wait until you got home or call from a payphone.  And if you were waiting for a phone call, you actually had to stay home.  Barbaric.

So blah.  So boring.  How dynamic we are now.  Now we can be in touch constantly.  That thought alone makes some people shiver.  But me – I love it.  I love having everything at my fingertips.  Calendar, music, contacts, telephone, shopping list, to do list, weather, eBay, internet.  It all works so beautifully until a certain two year old decides to fling my phone with all his might in a downward motion onto the bathroom tiles.  Sigh.  Really, Little Warrior?  You couldn’t have just given Mummy the phone and BRUSHED YOUR TEETH?

Everything was in that damn phone.  I had to desperately copy out my shopping list whilst at the Optus Shop, plus my to do list.  I even had to borrow a pen.  I haven’t had a pen in my handbag for at least four years.   I had to go into my Period Tracker app to find out when my next period is ferchrissakes!  Hey - I’m nothing if not honest.  But it’s true!  Hello, my name is Leanne and I use my phone to track my cycle. 

So now my phone is off to the insurance peeps at Optus and no doubt it will cost a bomb to replace and then where will I be?  At the moment I’m using my old Dopod.  Remember those?  I think that’s what the HTC was before it was HTC.  It’s fine, it’ll do.  It’s a phone, but it’s not my iPhone.  Sad face emoticon.

I’ve come so far from my first mobile phone.  A bright yellow Alcatel mobile phone.  My mobile phone lifeline looks like this:

Nokia (didn’t everyone?)
Siemens (tiny little silver thing)
Motorola (hellloooo Moto)

So until we meet again my trusty phone,  thank-you for keeping my entire life running smoothly.  I'll miss you dear friend.  Now has anyone got a pen I can borrow?

Have you ever thought about your mobile phone lifeline?  How many have you been through?  What's your favourite?  No prizes for guessing which is my favourite in my lifeline.

Image: Idea go /