And now for something completely different …

I have a thing for circles lately. I don’t know if there’s a hidden message in it. Maybe I’m subconsciously thinking I’m back at square one in the circle of life (possibly a mixed metaphor there but whatever).

Once again,  I have a small baby which means I’ve pretty much lost my independence for a while – at least until she’s weaned.  But it’s not so much the constant demands on my time, sleep and body that troubles me.

It’s money.

Even though I’ve been doing a little bit of work here and there, it hasn’t been regular and has equated to little more coffee money (once upon a time they called it pin money – but who needs that many pins?).

It certainly hasn’t been anything that could cover some expenses while I’m on maternity leave. Fortunately I go back to work in a few months – and I say fortunately because I can’t stand not bringing money into the house.

Money is such a touchy subject for me. In my first marriage, I felt incredibly guilty about not working for the first six years, even though the main reason was that we had three kidlets under the age of five and could not have afforded the childcare costs.  At that stage, I only had the qualifications to be a check-out chick – so I would have basically just handed over my wage each week. Add to that the fact we were in the Army and moved on average once a year and my prospects were really poor.

Even though it seemed the logical choice to wait until they went to school – I ended up getting permanent part-time work when the youngest was 12 months old – I was made to feel that I was a burden because I didn’t earn money. And it wasn’t my imagination either – he said those very words to me years later.  It may have just been the divorce talking but it still stabs me right in the heart to recall it.

Nowadays there are so many articles highlighting the ability of stay-at-home mums to improve the lifestyle of a regular household. After all, they cook, they clean, they mind your child … if dad plays his cards right, he may get some “personal time” …

To pay for all that (and I don’t actually think they included ‘personal time’ in their sums) calculates to some ridiculous six-figure amount.  Even though it seems a terrible shame to put a price on motherhood, at least it gives us a measuring stick in terms that modern society can understand.

So I work hard to enjoy these precious 10 months or so that I have with Little Miss before we all get thrust back into the fast-running stream of work, daycare, home, chores, bed, repeat. I budget whilst making sure we still have a bit of fun. I do what work I can from home to bring in a little extra.

But even though it’s a totally different situation with a totally different partner who I know doesn’t have the same viewpoint, I still can’t seem to shut up those niggling inner demons about being perceived as a burden and not pulling my weight.


Books I like a.k.a Influential Literature

One of my favourite books of all time is Watership Down, a tale of adventure involving a group of rabbits.  If you’ve only watched the movie, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a children’s story but it, as with many tales involving animals as main protagonists, is so much more.

My Dad read it first then gave it to me, saying “Here. Give this a try. You might not get all of it but it’s a good story.” I’m not too sure how old I was at the time but it was probably around 14, as I do know I was in high school but only about Year 7 or 8.

And he was right. I didn’t get a lot of it until I reread it as an adult but at the heart is a great little story about a bunch of rabbits following Hazel, the First Follower of his Lone Nut brother Fiver, to find a new area to establish a rabbit colony.

As with all adventures, there’s excitement and danger along the way in most forms you would expect but some that take you by surprise.

I think I’ve read it about 4 times since that first time waayyyyy back as a burgeoning teenager and every time I’ve found a new message hidden between the lines – usually something that directly correlates to whatever’s happening in my life at the time.

So with this drawing thing, I thought for my next subject I’d do a rabbit from Watership Down. Actually, I thought I’d do a whole series of drawings from WD and plaster them all over Little Miss’s room … then I remembered the not-so-cute parts of the story and wondered if that was such a good idea.

Maybe I’ll just do one of El-ahrairah, the mythical “Prince with a thousand enemies” and leave it at that.

This one is pretty simple but at least it didn’t take me a week to put pen to paper again!

Getting back into it

I’ve been feeling restless lately so I challenged myself to get back into drawing again.

I could have a big whinge-fest about my motivations: the highs and lows of motherhood; the wanting to feel like I’m achieving something every day; the desire to maintain and build on skills … but firstly, there’s so many other bloggers out there who can do it better than me and secondly, I couldn’t be arsed.

So instead I’ll just show you the picture I drew yesterday. I want to say “I challenged myself to do one drawing every day for [insert appropriate timeframe here]. Here’s Day One.” but why set myself up for failure?

I might do one every day … I might not. You’ll just have to wait and see.


Marks for NYR progress

NYE-R2You know how you have that week where it’s supposed to be quiet and it’s not? I’ve had two of them in a row, which is how I choose to start the analysis of how those pesky New Years Resolutions are going:

1. Draw in Journal

Michelle started well with good intentions then got sidetracked with other things and the journal she specifically bought, sized to fit in her handbag so she could carry anywhere and draw at whim, has now become a “To Do” list of sorts, featuring sporadic scribbles (usually done whilst on the phone or when listening to her online classes that she’s trying to catch up on). Disappointing. 5/10

2. Massage once a month

You’d think this would be an easy one but it has proved to take rather more thought and action than anticipated. The score so far is 2 massages over the past 4 months but she has made a booking for number 3 next week. Better than expected. 7/10

3. Body Balance/Yoga classes

Like all things, Michelle started with enthusiasm then completely lost it. However, she has started swimming laps so technically she is still doing something for her health that is relatively stress-free on her body whilst toning muscles. Of course, we wait to see how her progress goes now that cooler weather is here. Satisfactory. 8/10

4. Keep criticisms to self and give out love and acceptance

Woeful. Hardly attempted. Has resorted to yelling/sighing loudly/rolling eyes whenever Kat from MKR is on the screen. Made NIH watch Cinderella and conceded to view Fast and Furious 7 as payment. Rolled eyes so many times from implausible scenarios/terrible lines almost fainted from dizzy spells. Meanwhile, NIH was called to work halfway through movie and has asked for no spoilers, even if they come wrapped in sarcastic remarks. Tempted to give a zero but at least she is aware of her judginess even if she can’t seem to control herself. And did feel sad at dedication to Paul Walker at end of F&F7. 2/10

5. Write blog post once a week

Was doing well but has gone off the rails over the past few weeks. Blames workload. Suspect just disorganised. 7/10

6. Mini clean up/declutter once a week

Hmm. She did clean the ensuite bathroom today. And has finally got rid of the books/DVD’s/extra bibs and bobs that were marked for culling in the last clean up done 6 months ago. Fortunately NIH has done up a job board for the two young men who still live at home so perhaps future clean ups will just mean moving NIH’s shit from the dining room table to his desk. And her shit from the kitchen bench to somewhere else. She’s trying. 5/10

7. Bake Bread

Consistent effort throughout the past three months. Has settled into a pattern of baking which begins on Sunday night with getting the starter out to warm up overnight and ends on Tuesday night with baked bread out of the oven.

Number of loaves: 12
Number of times bread has been like a tasty brick that makes great crunchy toast: 10
Number of times bread has been fluffy goodness: 2
9/10 for effort

OVERALL MARK: 43/70 (61%)

That’s a pass, right?


New Year, New Goals

pencil watercolourIn all aspects, 2014 was a pretty spectacular year for me. The NIH and I made it official with a twilight ceremony at the soccer fields on what was possibly THE hottest day in recent history. It was a sweaty afternoon but a lovely one just the same. We also traveled extensively overseas, seeing the sights I’d only read about and drooled over in movies and TV shows. Career-wise, work picked up and a few projects really pushed me to better my graphic design skills. My studies took a bit of a hit, thanks to the two months away and a complete overhaul of their online study site but I only have three modules left and will be pretty chuffed with myself when I finish them off by June.

So, with so much done last year I do wonder how on earth I can top it in 2015 and recently sat down to make some realistic goals. I separated them into the subject areas of Drawing; Relaxation; Health; Personal Growth; Writing; Household and Food and came up with a list I think I can actually manage.


I bought myself an A5 visual diary and pledge to draw, paint, doodle or otherwise scribe in it every day. It doesn’t have to be Michelangelo level or an entire new piece every time but it does have to make me work on my illustration skills. There’s no getting around it, people. I’m a sucky illustrator and I’ll never get any better if I don’t practice. The picture above is something I worked on over two days using new watercolour pencils. It didn’t take long and was kinda nice to do for an hour in the morning with a coffee by my side.


Recent health has been shoddy at best and downright piss-poor at worst (namely ending up in hospital attached to an IV cocktail of antibiotics). It’s nothing I really could have avoided but it has very much made me aware of the preciousness of my health. So, as part of a routine to take care of the physical I will have one massage a month. Doesn’t sound hard, I know, but I am really not the ‘massage’ kind of person. Once upon a time the idea of stripping down and a stranger touching my body in a non-sexual way would have made my skin crawl. “How could a massage be considered a treat?” I wondered. Now that stage has passed, I need to get into the habit of doing something that is not only relaxing but quite necessary for good health.


I’m a fairly active person but the last few years have seen a real struggle with weight, despite trying every 12 week program there is. Unfortunately, if your hormones are shot and your body is out of whack, no amount of ‘diet’ or exercise will help and it becomes a real study in frustration. Fortunately, I’m onto a program with the naturopath and have completely cut sugar from my diet and results are starting to appear. This year, I want to be a little more gentle with my body. I don’t feel that cardio really helps me and it certainly doesn’t make a difference on the scales. Instead, I want to be stronger and calmer. The local gym does “Body Balance”, a Les Mills program combination of yoga, tai chi and pilates, and I really enjoy the classes. More of that, please.


This is one I will most definitely struggle with – criticism. Criticism of myself and of others. I will make a concerted effort to keep my trap shut and turn my thoughts and words from negative nellies into positive pollies. I will look for the good in every situation, person and deed. I will let go of past hurts and grudges and move on with love and acceptance. My NIH may have snorted derisively at this one …


Blog once a week. That’s the goal. And if I stick to the rest of my goals, I should have at least one semi-interesting thing to write about.


Clutter and mess annoy me no end. And instead of grumbling about others being messy or hoarders (which I can’t anyway since I have pledged to stop criticising and start being positive), I will have a mini-cleanup of places other than the usual each week until the house resembles something more like Better Homes and Gardens and less than Hoarders USA.


My dad had a fantastic sourdough starter and made the most awesomely fragrant bread. Since he died, I’ve struggled to get a starter happening but this year is my Year of Baking Bread. This year I am going to master the starter and the art of making authentic sourdough bread that tastes fantastic and in no way resembles a doorstop. I have downloaded ‘Sourdough 101’ from the Sourdough Baker and I am going to do it over and over and over again until I get it right. How hard could it be?

So there you go – seven totally doable goals for 2015. And now I can tick a blog for Week One off the list …