Friday, December 23, 2011

My Christmas Post Contribution


Gotta love the clothes and hair.
Anna Vissi is like the Olivia Newton Johns of Greece.
Don't you just love her 'fuck me' eyes?
Are they TV screens in the background? Where was this shot - in a Bing Lee store?
And why did they both drop a Prozac before singing this?

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Thursday, December 15, 2011

They Told Me About Themselves

The year is coming to an end and I ponder the stories, experiences and journey's I have read in the blogosphere. I appreciate the entertainment they give me. I understand their pain and frustrations and I acknowledge their life through their words.

The pregnancy announcements from Love & Other Drugs and My Path to Insanity & Beyond were the highlight. I have followed your journey from years of trying to the tears shed from miscarriage and now viable pregnancies with beating little hearts. The journey continues for you both, you are still not at the magnificent end. But my prayers and thoughts are always with you.

New births from Riding the IVF Roller Coaster and Yolk confronted the reality that infertility does not always win and beautiful babies were born to deserving people.

Then there are the ones still fighting the battle of infertility. With their gorgeous first children tucked close by as they struggle to give them siblings. Secondary Infertility is not a myth and should be acknowledged as any other scramble of life. InfertiliTee and A Year On - A New Beginning (private blog) represent this struggle that some of us take for granted of its importance.

Whilst Beckie and Ree recently nurse their wounds of unsuccessful cycles. Hope still lingers as they comfort their weary souls and this enduring battle of bringing a baby home one day.

The darkness lifts and I appreciate my lot in life and the blessings of my child who makes me smile; yet I question motherhood and I have never really confessed it here until today, that it's been hard. Haidee and Singular Insanity wrote from an open and honest heart and they get it - how I feel on some days.

So I eat food for comfort, my weight loss is trudging along but not there yet. A Half Baked Life blows me away for her originality and amazing gifts of delicious recipes and life adventures and instruction.

As the year closes, new life and new beginnings will come roaring from the bend. I'm looking forward to meeting the babies of Making Baby Giraffes and One Perfect Emby. Let's not forget double trouble twins from The Daily Miracle and Diary of Taking Small Steps (private blog). Journeys fought and the new challenge - motherhood will be new to some.

And then there are these goddesses. Mothers who are honest and proud. Mothers who keep me updated on their regular shenanigans and insight to their struggles, highlights and happiness of motherhood. Lauren, Helen Romina and Kate - You make me laugh out loud!

I'm not one that follows rules so I won't indulge you with the obligatory rant of 7 things about me - 'cause you can read my blog instead! But I would sincerely like to thank A Journey Not for the Lighthearted for recently presenting me with this Award:



Thank you.

I pay it forward to the blogs I have linked above because they are not scared to tell me about themselves. There are also the colourful buttons on the bottom left side - blogs I love and read often.

Go on ... Link them, Read them, Appreciate them.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wordless Wednesday


"Only where children gather is there any real chance of fun."
~ Mignon McLaughlin - journalist and author.

Monday, December 5, 2011

4 Photos That Sum Up My Holiday

THE VIEW



WHERE I SPENT MOST OF MY TIME




FATHER AND SON




A FRIENDLY KOOKABURRA




"Don't underestimate the value of Doing Nothing,
of just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear,
and not bothering".

~Pooh's Little Instruction Book.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

"A Field That Has Rested Gives A Bountiful Crop"

The family and I are off on a short holiday. This tired body needs a rest. A rest that will hopefully, eventually help with the creative mind, the strength to play, and the motivation to live.

Here is where I shall spend most of my time:


And here:



I might spot one of these:



I'll definitely be wining and dining on this every night:



I might come back with this body:



Ta-ta....



Image credit HERE

Friday, November 18, 2011

Because Violence Against Women Is Just Not On

Today I'm Speaking Out about White Ribbon Day. You can get involved or read other blogs by going HERE. "This event date is strategically set to lead into International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on Nov. 25. One in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. The aim of this event is to bring awareness to the cause and encourage victims to speak out and seek help." ~ Wanderlust.

My post today will reflect on the other victims - their children.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I've been fortunate to have a father who is a good man and a husband who is a great man. I've never been scared for myself. I've never been put in a situation where I had to protect my mother, my sister or my son. Although my personal life has seen its own trials and tribulations, it is the work that I do for young people that has opened my eyes to the reality of domestic violence. A position I wish I never had to be in, but nevertheless a position that allows me to support and advocate for young people who in particular, have experienced domestic violence first hand.

As a youth worker for 17 years I have come across many young people who have sought my help. I can't count the amount of times I have wiped away tears, offered information and advocacy, sat in a dreary court room or held their hand in the hospital emergency room. Their reasons for seeking me out is to find someone who they can trust and talk to about the relationship breakdown of their parents. How they stepped in between them, trying to stop dad from bashing mum. Having to call the police on someone who they love. Feeling alone, desperate and victims themselves.

Such beautiful souls that I have met during my life and my career. Such innocent young people who should never have had to be put through this horrible situation in their young lives. Some left their families and became homeless, abusing drugs and alcohol to try and forget. Others now living in single parent households, free and safe. The very few who through counselling and intervention now live happily with both their parents. Whilst others still struggling to stop the violence.

“Nobody believes that domestic violence kills and nobody believes it is detrimental to children. This world has got to wake up. To me, if there is domestic violence, if the children see it or hear it, that to me is detrimental". ~ Denise Brown

Thank you Wanderlust for creating the Speak Out campaign.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

For information, support, a safe place, advocacy and how to end the violence,
Please go HERE.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~





Monday, October 31, 2011

The Drawing

You stand at the coffee table, the cartoon show blares in the background - mum is not allowed to change the channel. The table is covered in an array of pencils, crayons, textas, bits and pieces of paper, 5 cent coins and a rock collection from the garden. You don't notice mum looking at you whilst she slowly sips her coffee. She is so proud of her baby with his cheeky smile.

You have the blue texta in your hand now, the table itself is already covered in green, orange and red scribblings . Mum secretly smiles that the textas are water-based and can easily clean off the table once today's art class closes and nap time begins. Maybe she'll finish her cup of coffee then. You notice mum looking at you. Ask her to draw you a picture. Mum picks up the orange crayon and draws you a flower, then the yellow for the sun, the black for a house and the green for three special people who live in the house. Your eyes never leave the crayon as it delineates so carefully on the paper. Transfixed to the images that's now filled the blank white page.

You ask mum to draw a dog, then a cat, a cow, a guitar, a car. She obligatorily continues to indulge you.

Mum then asks you to draw. "Draw a face" she says. Draw a circle for the face, draw the eyes, "how about a nose and mouth?" You yell out "moustache!". So you draw it. Mum asks "where are it's ears and it's hair?". You finish your drawing and mums mouth falls. Gone are the days of the free flow scribbles but an actual drawing of a Face.

My little man, merely 2 years old and is already starting to grow up and draw pictures.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

KARITHOPIDA - Walnut & Syrup Greek Cake

As promised, I return to the blogging world with one of my beautiful mum's famous Greek cake recipes. You can also view other recipes, here.


Karithopida - an old recipe that dates back hundreds of years, (with the exception of it's evolution using varying ingredients depending on availability), was first enjoyed by the high society women of Athens. Sitting around coffee lounges whilst their men went off to probably sharpen their spears or "bond" with other men. The women indulged in friendship and gossip, drinking their tea or coffee, and surrounded by architecture and culture.


It's basically the one cake that I truly enjoy in the company of my mum and aunt. My aunty is THE QUEEN of making this cake. She knows it's my favourite and whips in up as soon as I enter her humble abode. We've had a few good laughs whilst eating this cake and the greatest part is the actual health benefits of the KING OF NUTS - The walnut.


It's benefits include the ample presence of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients and it is one of the leading foods that promotes good heart and circulatory systems. Walnuts help reduce metabolic problems such as unwanted fats especially in the tummy region, treatment of Type 2 Diabetes and also has anti-cancer benefits. Some studies also suggest that walnuts can improve memory and other brain functions. It is high in Omega-3 fatty acids as well as Vitamin E - worried about cellulite? Eat walnuts!

It looks like a brain!
 Καρυδόπιτα


Ingredients
100g walnuts very roughly chopped
400g grated walnuts
400g all purpose flour
400g sugar
125g butter
8 eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
4 tablespoons cognac or brandy (optional)


Syrup
320g sugar
400ml water
a splash of lemon juice (optional)


Method 
Beat the butter, sugar, cinnamon the yolks of the eggs in a mixer for 10 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl.
Clean the mixer bowl and beat the whites of the eggs in the mixer until it becomes a meringue.
Add half of the meringue to the yolk mixture.
Mix the baking powder with the 400g grated walnuts, gradually adding the flour.
Add this mixture to the egg yolk mixture along with the remaining meringue, stirring gently.
Transfer the whole mixture to a 30cm oven dish, 6cm deep, which has been well buttered.
Spread the 100g roughly chopped walnuts on top.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Meanwhile, put the sugar and water in a pan and boil for 15 minutes. Some recipes also add a splash of lemon juice (optional)
Remove the cake and cut into pieces and spread the syrup over the top, followed by the cognac or brandy.


Important! The cake must be completely cool before the syrup is added, otherwise it will be very soggy. Whipped cream, icecream or fresh fruit can also be served on the side. Enjoy!


Simple yet delish!


Image credit here.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

International Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day - 15th October


The 15th October marks
A day where all mothers, fathers, families, friends and the community unite to support and understand.

I remember the day.

The day my period was late and an old unused pregnancy test sat in my cupboard. A test I never got to use a year earlier after an IVF cycle failed.

I was sitting on the toilet, peeing. Thinking that I was just stupid, that this test after so many years, would ever be positive. After nearly 6 years of infertility and failed assisted conception treatments, I couldn't even fathom that a pregnancy had resulted and that it had come naturally.

It was Greek Easter week and I thought of G.od.

The test eventually did show 2 lines.

I was numb yet excited. I was scared yet appreciative. I didn't really know how to react. I walked like a zombie, delirious with the reality that I was finally blessed. The next few weeks my life had slowed down. What life presented to me felt like I was stuck in an old movie reel - pictures, people, words, movement, sounds and colours fading in and out. My concentration was solely on what was growing inside of me and the fear I felt, engrossed my entire body and soul. Nothing in the world was important to me. Nothing but this miracle inside of me. All those years of tears and sorrow were becoming dark shadows, still lingering to remind me of my past yet the secret smile on the corners of my mouth were gently moving in position to eradicate them.

The day I miscarry was one of the worst days of my life.

It happened quickly and mercilessly. The bleeding began and the painful cramps camped in my belly. It teased me for a few days but after a visit to the Emergency Hospital, it brought that sneaky smile crumbling down beyond sadness. But a depression so deep and profound. The blood test showed low numbers. The scan showed a heartbeat struggling to keep up. I was sent home to be surrounded by my own comforts and to miscarry my little one. Friday, the 13th June 2008 I held my little bean, bloodied, wrapped in toilet paper and I buried it with my beloved dog.

Yes, this post is callously descriptive of what occurred that day. It needs to be, so that if you have never had a miscarriage or don't know of anyone close to you who has been through one, then you will understand what it was like for me - to want to be a mother so badly, yet so easily given to others. See me crying desperately and huddled for days in a corner wishing my life would just end. This is how it is like for millions of women worldwide. 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. A devastating time regardless of how far along you are.

I remember my pregnancy for the little soul that lived in me for those 7 weeks. For the few moments of happiness it brought me.

I remember the losses that my friends experienced too. Some of them now blessed, like me with miracles; we hold our children's beating hearts in our arms with kisses and cuddles every night. Some of them pregnant again - hoping the babies they carry will be born alive and healthy. There are others still fighting to achieve those illustrious 2 lines - waiting for their first born or for a sibling. Whilst others journeys have already ended with only memories of their angels to hold on to.

I raise my glass to you:
Alana, Anne-Marie, Bec, Chhandita, Chon, Claire, Deb, Elphaba, Emma, Felicity, Geena, Jayde, Justine, Kelly, Kirsty, Kristy, Laila, New Year Mum, Ola, Rachel, Ree, Sharon, Skye, Tee & Wave.

"When all we wanted was the dream,
to have and to hold that precious little thing."
~ Wait, Sarah Mclachlan


Robyn Bear, Founder and Lisa Brown, Co-Founder of http://www.october15th.com/ "envisioned a day when all grieving parents could come together and be surrounded by love and support from their friends and families, a day where the community could better understand their pain and learn how to reach out to those grieving. This would be a day to reflect on the loss yet embrace the love. While our babies’ lives were so brief, they were also very meaningful. Yet, their was not a time to talk about them. Our society seemed to forget or perhaps, simply didn't know how to reach out. We are asking everyone in all times zones, worldwide, to join us in a candle lighting ceremony at 7pm on October 15th".

Will you join me?


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Showing Support with the Written Word


 Please click on over to a dear friend and blogger,
who needs support, love and hope.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Your Beauty & Worth Cannot Be Measured


"The problems with modern life is obsession" ~ Gaius Baltar

Thursday, September 15, 2011

R U OK? DAY

“The good I stand on is my truth and honesty.” ~ William Shakespeare

I'm taking a pause on my blogging break to post about this important day:

What is R U OK? Day 

R U OK? Day states that it is:
"A national day of action which aims to prevent suicide by encouraging Australians to connect with someone they care about and help stop little problems turning into big ones.

On that day we want everyone across the country, from all backgrounds and walks of life, to ask family, friends and colleagues: "Are you OK?".

Staying connected with others is crucial to our general health and wellbeing. Feeling isolated or hopeless can contribute to depression and other mental illnesses, which can ultimately result in suicide. Regular, meaningful conversations can protect those we know and love.

It's so simple. In the time it takes to have a coffee, you can start a conversation that could change a life".

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I have a friend who took her own life a few months ago. I wrote a post about it, but I deleted it because an unfortunate snowball effect occurred. Someone who was acquainted with my friend discovered the post. Even though only her first name was written. (Google at its worst?) She told someone who then told someone that then led to someone I know who was also a very good friend of my friend. She expressed her disappointment and enmity for my post. She commented that I aired my friends circumstances for all to read without regard. She believed that my post may garner gossip amongst other people who also knew my friend and evidently disclose the issues she had in her life.

I respect her opinion. I did not want that post to darken the beautiful memories we have for our friend. I just did not want to increase the grief nor cause any further offence to her, and others who knew my friend.

I wrote the post during a very distraught and raw time. I was so ignorant and naive to think that my lowly blog and that post would even be discovered. In the post I questioned things, mentioned possible issues she may have faced. I was trying to put the pieces to the puzzle together. I wrote about our friendship and the loving memories I had of her, the bulk of the post. Essentially, I wrote in the hope that what I was feeling in my grief: lost, despondent and confused, would allow transparency for those left behind after suicide as well as information and links to those who were feeling alone and depressed.

I'm not proficient in my writing and being only new to blogging, I wrote from my heart and I attempted to destigmatise suicide with written conversation. Maybe my words didn't come across that way. I didn't air anything that wasn't already known by many and would eventually be a topic of heartfelt discussions and not as grounds for gossip. Hopefully the people who were in her life would find peace and resolution for those who sought it. Possibly the answers to the WHY? It makes me sick to my stomach to think that someone would abuse the truth for scandal (or be accused of it) rather than reflection and an understanding of a beautiful soul.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

As a youth worker for the past 17 years and most especially as a human being, I have always supported and advocated for young people living with mental health illnesses, child abuse/neglect, domestic violence, body image, self esteem and suicide prevention. By censoring these topics all we do is continue to stigmatise. All we do is become emotional blanks, who turn our backs to those who need support and help. I'm no one special, just someone who gives a shit and someone who had a friend who died by suicide.

I will continue to support, advocate, provide comfort and share my experiences. I will never judge. Talking and writing about these issues is important. I believe we all have a responsibility and obligation to talk about suicide and the issues that may have led to it in order to dispell myths and increase community understanding; as a means to provide information and support and to not allow these issues to continue being taboo. As well as providing enough resources for prevention.

"Nothing will change until someone acts" (R U OK? Day)

Since the death of my friend, R U OK? Day is EVERY DAY for me now.

I will NEVER bury my head in the sand.

How to start a R U OK? Conversation. Click here.

Go on, pick up the phone and call someone.

Services and Websites:

I would also like to thank Madam Bipolar for all the support and information you have given me. I appreciate everything you do. You are definitely an amazing and inspiring woman!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

BREAK Life Into Parts, and Handle One Part at a Time

I'm taking a blogging break.

I can pretend that I have writer's block but alas I'm just feeling lazy. The spring air that is teasing me at the moment is motivating me enough to open the door, breathe in the air and then quickly walk back inside as I'm sneezing a lung here.

I usually blog when there's a quiet moment at home (and sometimes work, ssshh...) There's no money in it for me nor is it a business venture, let alone any writing opportunities. There are far better writers and bloggers out there, just look at my sidebar! I write for fun and a laugh or sometimes to just get stuff out of my head. Most of all it is a link for others who may find hope in my infertility journey. It won't be missed. It's time to utilise my free time for other things I have loved doing during my life: reading books and television.

It's time to dust off The Strangest Adventures series. Written at the tender age of 13 by Alexandra Adornetto who is an Australian author. As a youth worker, I've always supported young people and their talents and I was completely amazed at this young writer. I have yet to finish the series and look forward to losing myself in the colourful characters.

And then there's the classic serial killer book that I have been inspired of late to read again after meeting a couple of my beautiful forum friends and another very soon. How the fuck did I tie forum friends and serial killers together you ask? Well what would go through your head when you are just about to meet people you first "met" on the Internet?

Then I will grab a bag full of delicious cheese and bacon ball chips carrot and celery sticks and watch my all time favourite TV cop show The Shield and then indulge in the period piece The Tudors.

In between the relaxing times I will again be a mother, a wife, a sister and daughter. A friend, an employee and a gym attendee. I will also be researching and documenting my mum's Greek recipes and hope to inspire you, feed you and salivate your senses when I return.

Ta ta...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Shopping Centres and Tantrums Are The Equivalent to Arse and Undies


They go hand in hand.

They are the same.

One can not live without the other.

Shooter and I decided to go to the food court for lunch on the weekend. With The Boy in tow and a vibrancy in our step, we were hanging for some good 'ole fish and chips. The pram was left at home so the kid could run his hearts content up and down the many aisles. We explored the various shops with it's glorious colours and noted in our heads the Christmas Gift shopping list. We carted too and from the abundance of the crowd.

Until we hit the DVD shop.

And The Boy spotted it, right down on the bottom shelf.

A Wiggles DVD. The four blokes and their skivvies.

And he had to have it. Grabbed it and walked off staring at it, oblivious to the nearby escalator. Consumed with it's front cover images.

We tried to pry it out of his small hands. Distract him with something else.


We tried.

Then the hysterics started. The screaming, stamping, epileptic "I'm being murdered" tantrum began.

Eyes bulging, mouth wide open with foam pouring from the sides and a ferocious cry, legs kicking, shoes falling off. Helicopter twisting when I tried to grab his hand and lift him up. Pushing me away, running away crying "Wiggles Wiggles Wiggles". Tears that flooded his little face.

People staring, some giving me the look of understanding. Others with contempt. The rest just laughed.

I felt like this:

We gave in of course. $20 later. Who the fuck puts children's DVD's on the bottom shelf?

Next time I go to the shopping centre, I'll be wearing this:

I've got to hand it to the kid though, he did put on a marvelous performance!

Image credit here

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Guest Post on Martyr-hood

Today I'm guest posting on Marty-hood. Romina has a history of infertility and recently welcomed her 4th child to the miracle list. She's currently on a maternity blogging leave break and asked me to help keep her blog alive.

My post centres on the issue that is close to my heart and plagues me on a regular basis. Compared to Romina's abundance of children, my post is regarding One Child Families.

Check is out HERE...

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Blog With Substance Award

The lovely Chhandita from As Good as It Gets? recently awarded me. I am very humbled to receive this considering that I am not a regular blogger let alone that my blog has any substance.

I've lately been reading Mel Ford's Stirrup Queens blog where in her latest post she writes about her experience at the BlogHer conference. One sentence that made me wake up and confirm why I blog was this: " I do the unpaid, sometimes unappreciated work for the human connection." Human connection - how odd that I feel the same way. How odd that I need to connect with humans as I type on a keyboard, oblivious to the outside world where real humans lurk. My time to write and express about my son's milestones, history with infertility, heartbreaks and other ponderings.

Has my life really resorted to sitting here alone, hoping that some human will connect with me?

Mel was mainly referring to the connections she has made in real life because of blogging; however for me her sentence defines it so much in what I feel.

I write because I like it. I know that I have improved in my writing. I will never be an author. I may have been born in Australia and English I consider as my first language now, but I never grew up surrounded by anyone academic to assist me with homework or encourage me in my educational endeavours. My parents are migrants with very little English and their existence is based on work ethics. I suffered in school because of my illiteracy and lack of support.

I've come a long way though. But does my blog have substance? What's the point sometimes? I often think that if I started writing a blog during my infertility years I would likely have tripled my followers and readership and no doubt the comments would be in 20+ range regularly if I was posting about my sufferings and negativity towards the fertile world. Later, it would have dwindled to nearly nothingness once I became pregnant or god-forbid had peace and resolution in the journey.

I blog to remember and to note some portions of my life. In the following months my posts will be a series of my mums beautiful Greek recipes. To remember, to record how she cooks so that I will continue her legacy and our culture.

I think then my blog will have substance. At least on the culinary perspective.

The rules are simple:
Name 7 random things about yourself and nominate 7 bloggers.

1. I pick my nose in public on the train. I don't care who's watching. When that booger needs to come out it bloody will, tissue or not.
2. If I was born male I would have been named Lambros after my grandfather (typical Greek tradition)
3. I can't swim properly. If the earth flooded I would definitely drown.
4. I have mild obsessive compulsive disorder - I'm a clean freak and always straighten photo frames or art pieces in other people's homes. So if you invite me over, make sure they are straight!
5. I got the cane in primary school when I was 6 because I threw rocks at the maintenance man. Even then I knew he was a dirty old man.
6. I once closed the door on my best friends fingers.. on purpose.. because she was giving me the shits.
7. I have had scabies, nasty little fuckers that I caught from homeless kids when I worked in the crisis refuge.

I enjoy reading every single blog that I follow and those that are in my Top Blog section are fantastic. Although the ones that I believe deserve some recognition, attention and what I truly believe have substance; are the ones that make the effort for others. The ones who find the time to not only read but to actually sign in and bother to write a comment.

Nothing bitchy about that paragraph, just a reality that there are still some of us still here, writing and wanting needing that human connection.

1. InfertiliTEE
2. My Path to Insanity and Beyond - My TTC Journey
3. A Half Baked Life
4. Love and other Drugs
5. One Perfect Emby
6. Who Said 3 is a Crowd?
7. A Year On.. a New Beginning

Other substance-worthy blogs include: madambipolar for her amazing insight and first person account of living with bipolar disorder and the immeasurable support and information she offers her readers. Theres' also Maybe Baby (or Maybe the Loony Bin)? and Marty-hood who are recently on maternity leave but still worth the read.

Monday, August 1, 2011

How 4 Men In Skivvies Forced A Laid Back Chick Like Me To Become A Manic Mum

The Wiggles are coming to town.



They're celebrating 20 years of skivvy wearing finesse. The Boy loves worships them. At least once a day, he will ask me to pop on their DVD as he jumps with excitement when the opening credits roll and the finger dancing begins.

I love them too, not for the fun but because for about an hour I can sit and watch my son's smile and captivation of the screen whilst I slurp slowly on my coffee. I'm looking foward to their concert and observing how he inhales the excitement of the silly yet catchy songs, the frivolity of the dancing, the colourful lights and sensational characters as well as soaking in the breathtaking crowds.

In five minutes the Sydney concerts were sold out.

About 20 years ago I was that skinny girl with the long brown hair, stone washed jeans with holes in the knees and a black Bonds t-shirt; who camped outside the local shopping centre with her steadfast mates, a six-pack of beers and a torn sleeping bag; waiting for Ticketek to open its doors for us to buy front row tickets to Pearl Jam or Faith No More, U2 or Alice in Chains. I was so close to the stage once that Anthony Kiedis from the Red Hot Chili Peppers blew me a kiss.

Well I think it was me that he was eyeing.

Today, as I tuck my tummy inside my waist high jeans, pick the nanna undies from my fat arse and tie my receding long brown hair in to a knot on my head, I feed The Boy and wash the dishes and wait till 9am. The sleepless night before was not because I was drunk with excitement or a mouth sore from laughing so much but because The Boy had a booger-fest party in his nose that kept me up, hourly checks on his breathing and tightly tucking him in to his blankie. My eye on the clock, stressed and panicky. Worried that I would miss out on tickets. The clock chimed exactly at 9am and I ran to the phone and dialled the number. Tickets bought with a credit card.

All grown up now, excited to take my child to HIS first concert.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I Made An Old Lady Cry

I am fortunate to have a loving family. Not only the miracle of my son who entered the little family Shooter and I created but also my extended family. My parents, my sister and the few relatives and friends who harmonise in our existence.

My parents recently moved close to me to help babysit The Boy whilst I work part time. The bus stop is conveniently across the road from them. The bus that takes me to the train station that I catch to go to work.

The bus stop where I met Kate.

A little old lady in her late 60's. Shopping bag with wheels in tow; whose been meaning to drop in to the "loud old Greeks" a few doors down to welcome them to the neighbourhood and maybe steal a recipe or two of baklava and kataifi.

As we shook hands, introduced ourselves and exchanged the few pleasantries, Kate asked me if I had children. I haven't been asked that question in a while. I beamed, and answered yes and described what my little fella looked like. The words he has learned and the sentences he now constructs together. The toys he likes and how much he loves his grandparents. I can't catch a breath when I talk about my son. After all, he took a long time to find me and I deserve to relish in my achievement. Kate smiled and delicately said "that I am blessed with a true miracle" something she has never had the pleasure of having.

I just met another woman who has experienced infertility.

Kate was brought up by two loving parents and 3 other children in her family. She grew up and accomplished as a secretary and married a hard working man. She suffered 2 ectopic pregnancies, several operations, lost a fallopian tube and then eventually a hysterectomy. She was married for 20 years and then he left her. She lives alone now, on the pension and loves her gardening. Her siblings are estranged from her. Her nephew and nieces live in Queensland. She sees them rarely. Kate tried for many years to have children. She described to me the heartache and especially the stigma that she felt in a society that revered mothers, in a time where 4 children were the norm and working women were shunned. Fertility assistance like IVF didn't exist then. If it did, it would have been in the experimental stages where only the comfortably rich could afford it.

I then felt compelled to tell her about my IF journey, not for pretentious reasons but just so she knew that it was difficult for me to have children too and that her comment about him being a miracle rang more true. I acknowledged her discomfort talking about this issue and could empathise with her history.

I could see her eyes become watery and then she reached to her bag and grabbed a tissue to wipe the tear that had just trickled down her cheek. In that moment, I could have put on my counsellor hat on and leaned back, actively listened and nodded, but instead I grabbed her and hugged her and cried with her. The other passengers on the bus would have been oblivious to the fact that we were 2 women who had only just met, from dissimilar religions and cultures and distinctive generations, yet one identifiable factor joined us - infertility.

I survived, she didn't. To this very day she feels pain. To this very day she wishes her life had been blessed with a child. To this very day she cries for what she doesn't have.

My heart bleeds. If only I can describe to you how my heart and soul aches for Kate. Only a few of you will understand.

Let it be written... again - that I appreciate what I have in my life.

We are thrown many obstacles and experiences in our life. Open your eyes and you will see the truth. Appreciate what you have.

I will never forget Kate and I know where she lives.

“Blessed is the influence of one true, loving human soul on another.” ~ George Eliot

Monday, July 11, 2011

Happy "1st" Birthday Blog


You started as a seed. A true story of infertility and hope. Reaching out to people who were searching for information and inspiration for their own journey.

The blog remained stagnant for a few months, just a page and a blot in the blogosphere. An amateur at writing but with many stories, feelings and thoughts that needed to escape from the head and be written.

The seed was planted and you were born. You wrote about your sister that garnered thoughtful comments.

You teased us with recipes of sweets that formed pools of drool on the floor.

A makeover made you look pretty.

Parenting after Infertility added you to the Stirrup Queen's Roll Call. This post and this one brought you new followers and readers.

Your fat bum series caused many to smile at your adventures of shedding the kilo's, though it has been suggested that a finale is on the horizon.

Your head ballooned to a double size as you were awarded for being versatile and stylish.

You hosted a baby shower for a special friend who battled infertility and now holds her precious son in her arms and is trying to get him to latch on to her boobies.

The month of June was your saddest as the tears continue to flow for a friend who lost her life to mental illness and another friend who lost her baby.

You remembered our soldiers whilst remembering your experience with infertility and busted a myth.

You are proud to be a working mother.

Your favourite posts though would have to be about your son. His eyes and his stickiness.

How odd that you share your name with an American baseball movie. It's as boring as Cricket. But you're not boring, no not to me sweet pea.

You are still looking for that perfect bag.

Although you are not a regular poster and you do not blog for profit, I thank you for your insight, knowledge and humour. May you celebrate the day feeling all warm and fuzzy. Happy Birthday and now let's eat cake!




Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sydney For Under Fives Book Giveaway

Thank you to everyone who left warm and thoughtful comments on my previous post as well as the many emails of support. I'm dealing with the situation as best as I can, but life must go on for those who are living. My friend will always be in my thoughts and I will remember her for her enormous smile, kindness and friendship.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I'm happy to present to you today this amazing book written by mum of 4 children, TV producer and author Seanna Smith. I first saw the book 'Sydney for Under Fives' reviewed in Babyology and just had to grab a copy of it. I found that once my son became a toddler and I couldn't amuse him with rattles anymore, I had to get my skates on and open the front door and show him the wonders of the world. But what do you do and where do you go? Where I live is an assortment of playgrounds and activities but some of them get quite tedious and boring. We had to explore! This book once in my hands opened so many options of fun, educational and interesting activities. It also allowed me to consider visiting some suburbs of Sydney I have never been to.

Seanna kindly donated 2 books for me to the giveaway on my blog. This is a fantastic book for any Sydney resident who has exhausted their own neighbourhoods and is in need of exploring new places. Or it could be an eye-opener to a playground just around the corner you never knew existed. The book can also be a fantastic gift to give to anyone thinking of travelling to Sydney or knowing someone who lives in Sydney and needs to get outside with their children and start enjoying life.

I'm looking forward to summer and I'm sure my son is going to appreciate it too.


Here's an extract about the book:

"Sydney For Under Fives is the best guide to family-friendly places in Sydney. Whether you’re pushing a baby, holding the hand of a toddler or chasing after a preschooler, this is the guidebook every family needs.

Find all the top spots for tots; cafes and restaurants, swimming pools, play centres, safe beaches and dozens of fantastic playgrounds, plus baby-friendly cinemas, art galleries, museums and more. The book details over 300 places which are great to visit with your kids".

Chapter 1. Cafes and Restaurants with Kids
Chapter 2. Best Beaches, Baths and Ocean Pools
Chapter 3. Family-friendly Swimming Pools
Chapter 4. Animals Fierce and Furry
Chapter 5. Playgrounds Deluxe
Chapter 6. Soft Play and Play Centres
Chapter 7. Culture for Kids and Carers
Chapter 8. Stroller Walks to Stretch the Legs
Chapter 9. Public Transport
Chapter 10. The Joy of Playgroup
Chapter 11. Showtime! Music, Theatre and More
Chapter 12. Borrowing Books and Toys
Chapter 13. Baby-friendly Cinemas and Screenings

To enter is quite easy. Become a follower, leave a comment and tell me what your favourite activity is with your children. Please also ensure that your comment leads to your blog or provide your contact to your comment so I can contact you if you are a winner. You do not need to be a blogger; anonymous comments are welcome as long as you let me know who you are and leave a contact in the comment or directly to my email (found in my profile page) The winners will be drawn randomly out of a hat!

Australian residents only can enter.
Competition ends 15th July 2011.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Welcoming ICLW & Thank You Rows of Remembrance

It's been a while since I participated in ICLW. I'm looking forward to reading your blogs. For the new readers - I'm a mum to a gorgeous yet naughty swearing cheeky little man who is nearly 2. He came in to my life after 6 years of infertility. A hard, frustrating and amusing road of assisted conception treatments that failed, a diagnosis and the surgical removal of endometriosis, a miscarriage, drinking disgusting Chinese herbs and then I ah hum, yeah relaxed. Well not quite. My clacker still had the cervical mucous check, the toilet paper inspection cycle. It was the month I let go of negativity and accepted my fate. It also included living healthy - gym and food and finding my spirituality.

My blog started as an avenue for other IF women to read about my journey and hopefully glean some information and hope for their journey. It continues to reach out to the blogosphere as a means of support as well as writing about a slice of my life - as a working mother, as a trying-to-lose-weight woman in her late 30's, as a One Child Family, as an amateur writer and as a parent after experiencing IF.

So grab yourself a few timtams and a cuppa. Put up your feet and relax and read about my adventures.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Rows for Remembrance for recently posting me my crotchet little blanket in acknowledgement of my miscarriage in June 2008.



"Rows for Remembrance was created to minister to mothers and fathers who are sometimes forgotten in traditional ministry. Some parents never hold a baby in their arms, but forever hold them in their hearts. This ministry is designed to bring them a way of remembering their little ones, no matter how short the time they were carried with them.

Rows for Remembrance strives to bring hope to families who feel like their world is crashing around them. We also strive to provide a lasting memory as a comfort to the families we call our Angel Families.

If you would like to help, please see our How To Help page. If you would like to receive a blanket in memory of your child, please see our Apply For A Blanket page."


Friday, June 17, 2011

It Ends With Something Sweet

The Sydney wind blew my perfectly straight hair today into a fuzz ball. It usually hangs long down to my waist. I’m scared to comb it for fear the whole lot gets pulled out. As I get older the hair falls out and I’ve noticed wrinkles on my olive skin face. Some I recognise from a bygone era of smoking the Winnie Blues. Others have recently introduced themselves to me. Hello Arseholes. I look out the window and know that I live in Australia. My eucalyptus tree needs some loving. Like my hair, its branches hang long and low kissing the aloe vera pot. There’s no koala in there though. She died of syphilis. Poor love.

My memory is also starting to fade. I’m not sure whether it’s because I am getting older or because I’m a parent now - a repercussion of pregnancy maybe? I know there’s plenty to do – laundry, cooking, dishes, and mopping but all I can think of right now is my son. The little guy who still says “no” to everything. Yet his vocabulary in English and Greek is so advanced. He can say and point to all his body parts in both languages. Parrots and understands all our words. He (not surprisingly) has caught on to the 'fuck' word. Not just your usual fuck – a drop in the ocean kind of thing. No, the fuck when he crashes his trike into the wall or drops his juice on the floor. Yeah that one. The emotion filled "I did a doozy but I know I shouldn't say it" fuck. He also has this ridiculous almost obsessive fascination for The Wiggles. “Wiggles, Wiggles, Dorothy, Wags, Henry, Wiggles, Toot Toot, Big Wed Car, Woogles”. I hear this every day, almost all day. He is relentless in his pursuit to force me to pop on any one of their DVD’s. The fucking colourful skivvy wearing Wiggles. Or better known as The Cockroaches back in the 80’s.

I can’t remember the last time I read a book from beginning to end. I have so many sitting on the bookshelf begging and pleading for me to crack their spines, flick the insects and delight in its words. Anything recent that resembles a book was to review BabyCentre’s Pregnancy Book – a favour for the editor and now in a plane heading towards a dear pregnant friends hands. I highly recommend it. I might just have to lock the bathroom door, sink into the bathtub, let off a soap bomb and pour a glass of red wine. Anything to help me unwind and to remember to be me again.

How is it possible that my beautiful mother, who is heading towards her 60’s and babysits my son 3 days a week. Puts up with the old man’s bitching and my younger sisters whingeing. Does all the housework because that’s what good-Greek-women-do yet can still pull off this delicious tasty treat for us to eat?

I’m definitely from a different generation.

KATAIFI - καταϊφι (Almond & Walnut Syrup Pastries)



Makes
18

Ingredients

• 1 1/2 cups almonds, skin on, roughly chopped
• 1/4 cup caster sugar
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 cup fresh white breadcrumbs
• 2 teaspoons vanilla sugar
• 1 egg, lightly beaten
• 375g packet kataifi pastry
• 250g unsalted butter, melted
• Syrup
• 1 lemon
• 4 cups white sugar
• 1/2 cup honey
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 6 whole cloves

Method

1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Lightly grease a 2cm deep, 24cm x 30cm (base) slab pan. Combine almonds, sugar, cinnamon, breadcrumbs, vanilla sugar and egg in a bowl. Mix until well combined.

2. Lightly pull pastry apart. Place on a plate. Cover with a damp tea towel to prevent pastry drying out. Using 1/2 cup tightly-packed pastry, spread strands out to a 7cm-wide, 30cm-long strip. Lightly brush with butter.

3. Place 1 tablespoon almond mixture along short end of pastry closest to you. Roll up tightly and place in pan. Repeat with remaining pastry, butter and filling, leaving 1cm between rolls. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden.

4. Make syrup: Meanwhile, peel 1 large strip of rind from lemon and remove pith. Juice lemon. Place lemon rind, 1/4 cup lemon juice, sugar, honey, cinnamon stick, cloves and 2 cups cold water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until sugar has dissolved. Increase heat to high. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 20 minutes or until syrup thickens slightly.

5. Drizzle hot syrup over warm pastries. Allow to cool completely. Serve.

Enjoy! I know I will ....with my red wine.

“My creed is that; Happiness is the only good. The place to be happy is here. The time to be happy is now. The way to be happy is to make others so.” ~ Robert Green Ingersoll.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sending Out Some Love - (Semi) Wordless Wednesday

There's been too much sorrow these last few weeks. Miscarriage, loss, failed cycles, relationship breakdowns. Estranged relationships between mothers and daughters. Odd mother in laws. Even a soon-to-be birth hasn't gone to plan. Pregnancy bleedings and writers block. Anxiety.

Some blogs remind me of old Western Movies - tumbleweeds blazing through and a whistling wind for company. Emails unanswered. Questions still hanging in the air.

People need their space.

However, there are still those like me, hoping that you are OK. All I can do is show you a picture just so you know that I am thinking of you and care.

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Book Giveaway Winner

Thank you to everyone who left lovely comments on this post and for participating in The Infertility Handbook giveaway.

Without further adieu, the winner is:




Enjoy the book and I hope the information and support it offers finally delivers you a baby in your arms. I wish you all the best in this IF journey. For those who missed out, the link is on the left sidebar if you would like to purchase the book. I highly recommend it!

I'll be having another book giveaway very soon. Seanna Smith who wrote Sydney for Under Fives has kindly offered 2 books. For a sneak peak, go here.

Thank you to everyone who left beautiful and supportive comments on this post. Miscarriage has always been a taboo subject and I hope some understanding of it has been explained as well as providing much needed love and support for its survivors. There are many organisations both here in Australia (bottom left sidebar) and overseas if you would like to find out more information or need help and support.

My IF Journey Success Story is also featured in Stree Free Infertility. Please go and check it out and read other wonderful women's success stories too.

I'm taking a short break from blogging as I've been invited to do a guest post on Marty-hood and need to get my motivation on. I've also been invited to put in a submission to hopefully acquire a paid writing opportunity in an upcoming blogazine. So we'll see how that pans out.  I need help with ideas on topics! I seriously need some inspiration and more time!

I'll still be reading your blogs and my comments will still be rolling.

See you soon.

(If you've been having issues with commenting on blogger, the following has been suggested by the Blogger Hotline:  Don't tick the 'stay signed in' box when you sign in. Go to 'tools', click on the 'delete browsing history' - tick all the boxes - press 'delete'. Or download google chrome)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Another Dedication, To You Dear Chon

Please be advised that the following post will contain memories and description of miscarriage and thoughts of suicide and feelings of depression. This post is brutally honest and has no intention of offence but to allow someone dear to me to know that I understand and acknowledge what she is going through.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I know it was very hard for Tee to write her post. She told me she couldn't, but I am proud of her that she did. If there was going to be anyone who acknowledged Chon's miscarriage first in a post it would be her. Tee your heart is so strong and honest considering you have your own battle to win against infertility and miscarriage. Your friendship is immeasurable. I'm glad that if ever life throws something horrible to me, you will be there with your everlasting support and love.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Dear Chon,

I woke up to the news via a sms that you were bleeding. My heart sank yet I held on to hope. Hope that it was just an implantation bleed and the little bean burrowing in to your uterus, making itself comfortable. I know you laughed when I sms you the term "fanny fart" as an explanation of pressure being released. I thought my stupid humour would at least make you smile, just for a moment, amongst the anxiety and sadness you were feeling.

A day later it was all over. Any inkling I had of hope was destroyed by reading your post. Your blood levels were not reflective of a pregnancy, the ultrasound did not detect a fetus. I was shattered and knew exactly how you were feeling. I felt useless sitting in Sydney reading your news, all I wanted to do was run, run as fast as I could to Melbourne and hug you. Emails and sms just doesn't justify the connection, but it was all I had to show my support and understanding.

I know that feeling. I know the minute it was confirmed that you were pregnant, all you wanted to do was hide and maybe camp out in a cave for the next 9 months until that kid was born. After all these years of trying, the IVF treatments and transfers and the endless operations just didn't qualify you as a happy fertile who jumped with glee and rang the world of your news. A stolen hug and kiss with your husband - he feels the same as you - the excitement of the extended family. In my case, my mother cranked up the Greek music and bellydanced her heart out. You were happy to see their happiness but deep down in your soul you were not ready to celebrate. No not like any other fertile woman. Infertility robbed you of that.

I know that feeling. The blood, some cramps. Those pregnancy symptoms diminished. Women's intuition - you just knew. But like a robot, you went to get the bloods and the scan, craving for hope. Praying to God that there was just a glitch in the system. You were prepared to deal with a difficult pregnancy, just as long as there were signs of life.

At 6 weeks 1 day, my bleeds started and faded and started again. At the hospital my hcg levels had wavered. There was no increase but the nurse had optimism. The radiologist didn't, the heartbeat was only 72  - anything over 100 was considered viable. At 6 weeks 6 days I saw it, it looked like a little kidney. Fell out of me into my hand. Covered in blood. I wrapped it with a tissue and buried it with my dog. They could at least play in heaven together. 6 weeks, 6 days, 6 years of IF, Friday the 13th. The devil entered my life.

I know that feeling. Carrying a fetus, my baby - it was dieing. I knew it was dieing, its heartbeat decreasing as I watched TV. I knew what was going on inside me. Waiting for something to fucking happen.

After all these years of infertility to finally kick the goal and then the trophy be taken away from you. It utterly sucks. Suicide was my first thought. Crawling into a dark hole and just withering into nothing. Death seemed so much more simpler than telling my husband and my parents that it was all over. But it doesn't end in just tears does it?

I know that feeling. Dark thoughts and paranoia - I will never be a mother now. Miscarriage added to my Resume of Failure. Walking around like a zombie - household chores tick, work tick, cook dinner tick, go shopping tick - see a baby in a pram - cry tick. And lets do that all over again....Waiting for my period to return. Waiting for another cycle to begin. Waiting - what do I do now?

And then I found them - Ree, Kelly and Felicity. I've never acknowledged them till now. Other women who survived miscarriage. The website we both know about - the Miscarriage Support Board. They picked me up on fucked up days, they made me laugh. Most of all they knew and they were there. It was because of their support and encouragement that I survived too.

One of them asked me once - Do you still want to be a mother? Yes I replied.

"Then get your skates on. You can grieve for your little one. Never to be forgotten. You were pregnant, but now you are a mother to an angel and one day you will be a mother to a live and healthy baby. There is still hope."

You know how my story ends. I know we are not the same and my experience is not yours. But my heart aches for you, we are sisters now more so than ever.

Your journey does not end here.

Please grieve, be sad, hate the world. Let those tears flow. Don't you dare feel guilty though - you are not to blame. Connect with the support that is surrounding you and loving you. Find other survivors and most importantly, if it gets too tough get counselling. I did and it did help me acknowledge my experience and focus on my next steps towards motherhood.

I really care for you mate. I know we haven't met in real life but we will one day. And that day will be glorious, because you are my friend.

Love Athena.

"My little one
You have left us too soon
Though my body can no longer hold you
I hold you forever in my heart
As precious and beautiful as this flower caught in time
A mother's love does not forget"
~ Author Unknown

Friday, May 27, 2011

"Take It, If You Must, This Little Bag of Dreams"

My bum is still fat. Sitting on this hard surface of a public transport train seat is more comfortable with a cushiony arse. Looking out the dirty windows as I depart home, leaving the tree covered hills behind. The brown fallen leaves rustle and the frosty chill of Autumn weather hugs me. It's nice sitting here. So quiet. A seat to myself to sprawl on. The carriage is empty - I pick my nose, finger the Best n Less undies out of my crack, daydream about handsome naked men and sipping cocktails by a lagoon. No interruption apart from an abrupt wake up of the train guards inaudible announcement.

Did I tell you it was quiet?

No kid here. Here no kid.

The parentals packed up their tiny City flat and moved to my neck of the woods. Post-retirement for the two of them so they can be close to their grandson. A grandson my mum babysat after hauling him and travelling nearly 2 hours to get to her home in the City. Now it's a 20 minute walk. Down the road, turn right and we are at their cottage style home with petunia's greeting you in the front garden.

How fucking great is that?

But today's post is actually about my bag. It sits beside me on the train seat. My mate for one and a half whole years. A nappy backpack. It still contains the contents of a nappy, wipes, a dummy and bum lotion. My diary, my medications, books, wallet, deodorant, old train tickets, pens, Libra pads and lip gloss. Scattered items I haven't bothered to throw out.

I'm a part time working woman now with no toddler travelling with me. Most items in this bag are irrelevant. When I was pregnant I indulged in an Oi Oi Nappy Bag that set me back $220. I used it for 3 months. It was useless. Bulky, impractical. Gorgeous but stupid. The strap hurt my arm. It unbalanced me as I held the kid. It stuck out hanging on the pram. Fucking annoying expensive yet gorgeous piece of crap.

The backpack was cheap and functional. I carried it on my back or hung it from the pram and it suited my lifestyle. I will still use it now till the kid starts using a toilet. It will continue to accompany us when we go out to visit friends or play at the park or go shopping.

So I need a new bag for work. Something conducive yet cool. Something to go with my youth worker attitude. Funky jeans and black tops. Zierra shoes and long brown hair with a touch of cherry lip gloss.

I feel like this chick flooded with too many options. Or is it a bloke? Nevermind.


If you have any suggestions, let me know. Unless someone wants to buy me this Chanel Diamond Encrusted number.



What the flying fuck is this?

Louis Vuitton Urban Satchel Tote Bag.

Apparently it's in the Top 10 of the most expensive bags in the world. I can make this myself - someone pass me the Winnie Blues and used tampons.