Tag Archives: back to school

Our Disaster Recovery Expert to the Rescue

This being the day before tomorrow (i.e the last day before school goes back), something was guaranteed to go wrong.

Not to disappoint me, the kids who know drinks don’t go anywhere “within cooeee” of the computers, spilled their fruit smoothie splat right onto the keyboard. That’s right. There’s now soy milk and fruit oozing around the keys in a thick, pink, oozy sludge…not to mention honey and all that Natural Tasmanian Yogurt all the way from the Tamar River!!!

“Not Happy Jan!!” (this phrase has swept across Australia following this ad for Yellow Pages Advertising)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2akt3P8ltLM

Lady says: "You Can Count On Me!" She must have taken a few lessons from Geoff in IT maintenance. Perhaps, she could get a job in tech support and Geoff could stay home and sleep all day instead!!

However, all was not lost! While the kids ran for the hills while Mum went berko, Lady came to the rescue. She was only too willing to help: “You Can Count On Me!”

I’m in two minds about having the dog lick the keyboard but I know enough about IT to know that drinks in the keyboard is pretty much a terminal event. That keyboard was looking so much like a dodo, that a bit of dog slobber wasn’t going to be fatal and there’s always disinfectant.

Besides, the keyboard is hardly a dinner plate. At least, it shouldn’t be!!

Lady must have taken a few lessons from Geoff in IT maintenance. So far so good. I haven’t tried plugging the keyboard back in yet and it’s now sitting face down on my desk until Geoff gets home.

Hmm…After Lady’s efforts, I’m thinking she could get a job in tech support and Geoff could stay home and sleep all day. Indeed, Geoff would look quite a sight lying on his back next to the couch with his arms and legs in the air looking for a tummy scratch! I don’t think he’d be complaining.

I don’t know what dog slobber is going to do to the overall damage but either way, the keyboard is going to need a good clean and my nervous system is going to need a good sedative…and we’re still not ready for school yet!!

Something tells me that it will be easier to get ready for “back to school” once the kids are already back at school!!

xx Rowena

A wet and misty day in paradise.

A wet and misty day in paradise.


Looking very much like a scene from a Northern winter, it's summer in Sydney...not quite your postcard perspective!!

Looking very much like a scene from a Northern winter, it’s summer in Sydney…not quite your postcard perspective!!

Happy Australia Day 2015! It’s overcast, wet and even the cricket has been delayed.

Just in case you didn’t check out yesterday’s post, this was yesterday:

Mister still roasting as a very hot Australian sun sets.

Mister still roasting as a very hot Australian sun sets.


People often tell you that tomorrow is another day and most of the time I’ve politely nodded while feeling highly sceptical, cynical and plain unconvinced. How could my entire world change completely overnight like waving a magic wand? Surely, there would just be more and more of the same and one day surely follows another. Why would it change?

Well, overnight, we have seen an absolute change in the weather here in Sydney. Yesterday, there was blue sky and the sun was blazing overhead like an oven. I’ve always meant to actually test whether you can actually fry an egg out on the raod on days like that but eggs are rather messy and I always seem to forget. I’m sure someone somewhere has tried and can tell me if it works but that would somehow spoil the magic.

While our last day in paradise has been spent indoors, I was watching a few yachts sail past and even a couple of what I could only call zealous kayakers paddle by and then I realised that they were out there carpe diem seiziing the day despite the rain. I didn’t know whether that was a good thing or just blind obsession but as much as I love going out in the kayak, I don’t like that sensation of having wet raindrops patter again your skin. It’s sort of creepy…as in scraping fingertails down a chalkboard kind of creepy. No, I’ll stay inside.

That said, I am considering a swim in the pool. It was so balmy warm last night. You see, it has solar heating and we haven’t adjusted the settings so it was like swimming in a balmy soup. Yes, it’s going to need a good dose of something when we leave. Unfortunately, at those temperatures it’s going to become amoeba soup.

We will be heading back home tonight. Tomorrow, will be our last day of school holidays where we will be quickly trying to adjust our body clocks to the inevitable early mornings and trying to get all our ducks lined up for the real new year.

At least, I’ve made a list.

Sadly, something tells me that we’ll be relieved just to pull up at school on time with hair done, shoes on and something in the lunchbox. We are still struggling to implement our scouting motto: “Be Prepared”!!

By the way, I still have the boot on my broken foot as we start the new school year and the operatic cough is starting to look like I’ve had whooping cough. While this might excuse me from being wondrously organised for the start of the new school year, that isn’t going to help the kids get a good start or perhaps aiming well beyond our station…actually, get ahead.

Wish us luck!! We really, really need it!!

xx Rowena

Inner Beauty Therapy.

Yesterday, my daughter treated me to the works at the beauty salon. The salon as such was our bathroom and my daughter was my Beauty Therapist. It was the most awesome experience. As she  gently stroked my face for the very first time, I felt the rains fall in a remote part of my heart which rarely gets a drop.It’s not that I don’t feel and know that I’m loved but we’re so busy and there are the usual challenges of getting the kids to do anything and of course, I’m running after them. I’m sure you can understand and appreciate the ups and downs of parenthood.

My daughter is 8 almost 9 and she’s growing up fast…especially whenever she struts around the house in the silver diamante high heels which I picked up for her from the charity shop. They’re not a huge size but they almost fit. Yikes! I’m not prepared for all of this. Not at all!!

Relationships of any sort are challenging and complex. Even when we’re trying to be caring, loving and thoughtful it can be difficult to synchronise our watches. Create that blank space where we can actually just “be” together. Build the bubble and somehow step inside and be with one another… one on one…no distractions, disturbances, mobiles, texts, or @#$%!!!!

Yesterday, my daughter and I managed to do just that. It was only for about an hour but it was an hour I’ll never forget!!

Miss... an inner beauty therapist!!

Miss… an inner beauty therapist!!

We escaped the to-do list, the mountains of stuff desperately needing to be re-housed and even the lingering Christmas tree, which long been begging and indeed pleading to be taken down and hauled outside to the green recycling bin and we found each other.

Yes, I know you all probably pulled your Christmas trees down weeks ago but I always find this something of a heartbreak and put it off as long as possible. Each Christmas when we set up a real Christmas tree in our home, I am transported back to the world Hans Christian Andersen’s: The Little Fir-Tree.  We all fall in love with our tree and fall under its spell. Now, how can I just throw out all of that love and wonder and stick our tree out beside the road to be crushed up into splinters?

Yet, we can’t start the new school year with our Christmas tree still up either.

The kids go back to school next week and as I’m sure you can appreciate, the start of the new school year heralds all sorts of miraculous happenings. Forget getting the kids organised, I’m still stuck on my own list of resolutions. This year, we are all going to be on time, organised, neat and tidy and homework done on time. We will also plan ahead. Be prepared. We will. I have list, schedules, strategies, tactics and the only thing now standing in my way is …me and of course, the kids!!

Anyway, my daughter has a real knack for ignoring my rising tide of jobs and my blogging commitments and going for the jugular: “Mummy! Mummy!!!!! MUMMY!!!!!!!”

This becomes pretty hard to ignore and indeed, you instinctively know you have to get moving or else your child will be in therapy for the term of their natural life.

My daughter painting my nails.

My daughter painting my nails. Don’t you just love the newspaper?!!

So, I was off to the beauty salon for the works…nails, facial and make-up. Well, it was a beauty salon with a difference… set up in our bathroom. Miss had arranged something like 50 bottles of nail polish I’d bought over something like the last 20 years on the stool in neat little rows, looking quite the professional beauty therapist. Some of these bottles, I must admit, are quite ancient and date back to a very different era before marriage, kids and skin sensitivities. They represent all sorts of hopes, dreams and special events, which have long since merged into the kaleidoscope of memory. Fortunately, it looks like nail polish withstands the tests of time and doesn’t go off.

So there I was transformed from a mere mortal into Her Royal Highness Queen Mummy perched upon my royal throne with newspaper underneath my hands and feet as Miss artistically painted my nails rainbow colours: red, orange, yellow, green and blue. That was my choice!!

I might be a supposedly sensible, mature 40 something wife, mother of two kids and two dogs but that doesn’t mean I have to conform. Be boring. Muted and lose all sense of colour. After all, just because we’ve grown up, that doesn’t mean we have to stop growing and stop living. No one is forcing us to to stick to the safe, the conservative and socially expected. I am, we’re all allowed to take a walk on the wild side. Besides, when it’s school holidays, the rules all go out the window. You can do whatever you like and just blame the kids. Guaranteed, even the stiffest conservative will break into a loving smile when I tell her that my daughter painted my nails and of course, they’ll blame her for the rainbow colours and think I’m the best Mum in the whole wide world!


Tapping away with rainbow nails.

Tapping away with rainbow nails.

Having my nails painted was fun and I also appreciated having Miss there to paint my toe nails. It’s not the easiest thing to do yourself and who doesn’t like to be pampered?!! Actually, you’d be surprised. Almost everybody is too busy and or too serious for a bit of self-indulgent pampering, which isn’t just frivolous, superficial beauty but also love in action.

The Body Shop's Warming Mineral Mask. Yum! I mean wow!

The Body Shop’s Warming Mineral Mask. Yum! I mean wow!


Anyway, the pampering ramped up a notch when it came to the facial. I can’t remember the last time I had any kind of facial but I’m thinking it was definitely BK (before kids). Well, I had this tube of the Body Shop’s  Warming Mineral Mask. It’s the most amazing stuff. You wet your face and when this stuff comes into contact with water, it heats up and feels so amazingly soothing. For those of you who are into facials, it is a clay based mask which promises to remove impurities. Hmm… I wonder if it can also remove all my faults and idiosyncrasies and make me a better person? Somehow, it will take more than just a face mask to pull that off!!


Here I am with cucumber eyes and face mask on.

Here I am with cucumber eyes and face mask on.


So there I was with my eyes closed and my daughter somehow managed to find a cucumber in our fridge and applied a slice of cucumber to each weary eyelid. Ooh! I’ve never experienced that before and the effect was immediate, relaxing and cooling. Wow it felt good. Not just the cucumber either. I am so deeply touched that my daughter has been so loving and spontaneously thoughtful. She has even brought in a newspaper for me to read, although I preferred for us to talk. She had thought of so many small details…I can’t tell you how that made me feel. As we all know, parenting isn’t always easy and we all make mistakes and press all the wrong buttons and instead of saying or showing “I love you”, it is all to easy to say: “Not now”, “I’m too busy”, “Go away!!” “Can’t you play by yourself?” or “Can I phone a friend to come and play with you?”



Miss in bliss.

We’re all guilty of that.

Anyway, as my daughter gently stroked my face as she applied the mask (in between patting and occasionally rubbing it like an orbital sander), I felt drops of rain fall on a very thirsty, dry and parched desert soil. I lapped up that tenderness like a kitten thirstily lapping up a much loved saucer of milk and feeling totally satisfied.

Miss also enjoyed being pampered herself, although I suspect she preferred running her own beauty salon. She loved it.

We’re already planning our next session. Next time, we’ll be over at Palm Beach and indulging ourselves by the sea in a place that surely must be close to heaven on Earth.

I encourage you to take the time out for a bit of pampering, heart warming love.

Who knows? Perhaps, you too might start smelling the roses. I can assure you they smell fabulous!!


Rowena & Miss xxoo




Restarting the New Year

This morning, the kids went back to school after the Easter break.

I don’t know about you but for me, the start of a new school term is like the beginning of a whole new year chock full of promises, vows, getting down humbly on both knees and begging for change. Although we all know that we’re still who we’ve always been and that nothing has miraculously changed, we still have faith. We believe…

Most of my frustrations with getting the kids off to school each morning aren’t rocket science. There’s no brain surgery involved. It’s all  Simple Simon stuff like brush your teeth, put on your shoes, make your bed. Yet, getting the kids to complete these basic tasks, which should be as automatic as breathing, is like extracting teeth and they head for the hills. Or, should I say, some form of electronic device if I haven’t got them under lock and key!

It is bad enough that the kids don’t do what they know they’re supposed to do but what I hate even more is my response. Of course, we all picture ourselves as the epitome of calm…the rational parent. However, we all know how quickly our good intentions disappear and all the words of wisdom we’ve extracted from the pile of parenting books beside the bed, soon evaporates. Suddenly, out of nowhere, you hear this very harsh, snappy voice in the room: “I’ve had enough!! I’m leaving!”

No! It’s not the kids threatening to run away. It’s you and this time you’re really and truly going and no cries of “Mummy! Mummy!” are going to bring you back. Oh no! At least, not until you’ve actually finished your cappuccino or skim chai latte and at least flicked through a magazine. I don’t know where runaway mothers go these days and whether people still join the Hari krishnas or move to Nimbin. However, if you’re going to runaway, you have to go somewhere exotic. You just can’t doss down in the local park!

Mummy escapes- Palm Beach

Mummy escapes- Palm Beach

Anyway, I’m not running away from home today because, as I said, it’s a new school term and we are a new family. The kids ticked all the boxes and we were even on time.

You see, miracles do happen!

The kids on school holidays...Pittwater, Palm Beach.

The kids on school holidays…Pittwater, Palm Beach.

However, I thought I’d recap a little so you could appreciate the huge Everest of obstacles we’ve had to overcome to get there.

Firstly, there’s “The Case of the Missing Shoe”. While technically not a serial killer because nobody is dead or at least nobody’s dead yet, trying to find that expletive missing shoe when we’re rushing out the door, is a killer. These days, after years of prolonged exposure, my nerves have been so completely and utterly frazzled and fried that at the mention of the word “shoe”, my entire being explodes in lurid panic. Our kids have a uniform so it’s not like they have to decide what they’re going to wear and which pair of shoes. It’s not a fashion parade. It’s school. One morning the impossible happened. I pulled up out the front of the school and my daughter piped up: “But Mummy. I haven’t got my shoes on!” I looked over into the backseat and there she was sitting there in her socks! Her brother has been no better. One morning he managed to get to school without his bag!

How hard can it be? Do I really want to find out?!!

While the case of the missing shoe has been a perpetual drama, an even more recurrent nightmare has been: “The Case of the Uneaten Lunch”. While the media harps on and on about childhood obesity, I’m lucky if my kids eat anything at all and my daughter in particular is living, breathing proof that children can survive on air alone without starving to death. The dog who is something like the size of an overweight hippo despite his diet, is further proof. I lovingly made those sandwiches with my own blood, sweat and tears each morning while desperately waiting for my coffee to kick in and that’s the appreciation I get… a wagging tail!

Just like bad luck runs in threes, so do bad habits…or at least our bad habits.

This brings me to our third and hopefully final fault although I’m sure there are more faults hiding under the carpet or perhaps its all the books stacked up on top of the carpet. Mind you, I can’t see how having lots of books could ever be a fault just like you can’t have too many friends.

Anyway, our third and final (yes!I said final!!) fault is running late for school.

As far as my husband is concerned, my struggles to get the kids off to school on time are a complete and utter mystery just like those other great mysteries of the world such as the creation of the universe, whether Santa, the Easter Bunny or even the tooth fairy exist and who built those huge, enormous statues at Easter Island. These are things that keep even the most mindful person tossing and turning at night, crazed by all sort of theories and possibilities but no definite proof.

My husband is the same. He says that’s why he’s turned grey and points to photos of when we first met and he indeed does look a very different man. I have also wondered who that young woman is next to him in the Austen Healey Sprite, a sports car which taught me that sports cars don’t always equate to romance (there was a certain trip to Byron Bay where we were diverted inland by the Grafton flood and we had to cross the Tenterfield Ranges. It was dark and the rain, as it is in those parts, was pouring down. Geoff and I were soaked despite wearing raincoats because the car was designed to leak and then the muffler got caught on a pothole and fell off. This was a frequent problem and Geoff was very good at reattaching the thing but you had to wait for it to cool down and it was always tricky, frustrating…incredibly unromantic!! )

Anyway, we have had a dreadful track record with running late for school and it really doesn’t make a lot of sense.

When Geoff leaves for work at 7.00am, the kids have usually had their breakfast and are dressed or almost dressed when he leaves and ideally they are starting to get stuck into their homework which isn’t much at their age. We have a list on the whiteboard and they, well there’s usually one of them who is having a good morning and the other one who has fallen off the rails and in the process of trying to keep track of the two of them while I very slowly eat my breakfast, drink my coffee and take what really does amount to two mouthfuls of tablets, that one somehow manages to slip through the net and usually finds some kind of electronic device.

I also have to confess that I am another source of early morning distraction.

Inspiration hits, usually some time after Geoff leaves and what starts out as a few quick lines, soon evolves into an epic poem something along the lines of the Iliad or a post for the blog and a thousand words have found their way on paper. How often does that inspiration hit on paper and not when I’m sitting at my computer screen and I can just type it straight in???!!!

To be fair to myself, too, I am doing this parenting thing while living with a high maintenance chronic disease and while I do get on with things and squeeze the marrow out of life, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have a major impact on my daily life. It does. However, that said, we still need to live and that means getting the kids to school on time with both shoes firmly attached to their feet, lunches made and bags packed.

As I said, the start of each school term is like the launch of a whole new year and along with it the usual vows that things are going to be different even though we are still who we are and nothing much has really changed.

However, today is the first day of term and they were on time. Their shoes weren’t lost and if they’ve eaten their lunches, that will be a trifecta!

Wish me luck!

xx Ro