Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Ruby

Taronga  Western Plains ...making lunch interesting for Ruby up a 15ft ? pole.

 I was taking this through the bush/folliage in front - hence the yellow.

I love the Big Cats at the Zoo ...just wouldn't want to get up close.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Fifty Sheds of Grey (A Parody) Better than the alternative -

And how do I figure that ...well I started reading Fifty Shades of Grey 2 months ago and I still haven't finished it .

A friend, L lent me her well thumbed copy, passed on surreptitiously at the Saturday Farmer's markets by her friend - S (a new acquaintance to me) - she smiled slyly at she passed it over and said "You'll like it -it's interesting" ). 

Lucky I had another bag with me to hide it in quick. 
I started it and I have read about half way through, just can't even find where I put it down.

Fifty Sheds of Grey (A Parody) is a compilation of shed erotica for the not-so-modern man...{or woman} It is based on the tweet account @50ShedsofGrey .

I finished  Fifty Sheds of Grey (A Parody) in one day and I'm still re reading it. It's short, it's funny and a little bit naughty or not so depends how you read it!

It would make a great shed coffee table book...

You will know how funny these 140 character tweets are - if you have seen the random tweets pop up in the tweet feed.

Colin Grey's life was happy and simple until the day everything changed – the day his wife read THAT book. Suddenly, he was thrust head-first into a dark, illicit world of pleasure and pain.

This is the story of one man's struggle against a tide of tempestuous, erotic desire and of the greatest love of all: the love between a man and his shed.

WARNING: The images below contain graphic shed-based images. Please don't look if you are easily offended. 

Even my hubby laughed as I read out loud some of the one liners . I haven't dared read him THAT book. I liked the double entendres or puns ... he wasn't all together sure why I was laughing so hard that I choked up - breathless unable to go on - at a few. My friend, L was highly amused too.

"I stared longingly through the shed window and adjusted my trousers. The sight of her dewy, slightly unkempt lawn had awoken my inner gardener." 

You may want to send hubby somewhere a little more private before he reads this. Like his shed.
Disclaimer  - I wasn't paid for this book review - all opinions are my own.

I really needed a little light hearted-ness today as I feel the heart wrenching grief a few online friends and other IRL people are experiencing right now.
One has lost a father, one her husband and another beautiful online friend of 5yrs whose cancer was diagnosed very recently, after mine, is now having palliative care and trying to establish pain control

Fifty Sheds of Grey (A Pardody) | C.T Grey
November Publication

RRP: $19.99
Pan McMillan 

Did you read THAT other book ?
Do you like to read the parody of  real books ?  
 I confess I hardly knew any of  these parodies existed.

Linking up with #IBOT

Friday, 26 October 2012

I heart my body

Loving my body has been an ongoing struggle , my whole life I've been aware that I'm different from other girls.

Especially, once I was old enough to know how cruel people can be.
I was bullied and teased at school for my appearance. Not mercilessly but enough to make school unpleasant.

I was teased because I have a genetic disease that causes skin pigmentation /birth marks - cafe au lait spots (and lumps and bumps that became more apparent in adulthood).

Google 'Neurofibromatosis' images and you will see why I'm not going to be sharing my body here.I now have thousands of small lumps mostly on my torso. They cause me no worries except cosmetic. I don't want to talk about the tumours. I was only diagnosed at 22yrs old. I am thankful I can cover up most my birthmarks and lumps.

I have considered showing my mastectomy scars (with lots of filters) but I don't have access to do it right now on my iPad. (I am with my sick boy in hospital and thankfully he is much better today)

I learnt from an early age that beauty is skin deep.
I chose not to be a slave to it.
Instead I've sailed through the storms of life , adjusting my sails , not caring what people thought. They can like me or not. I love Internet because it cares not about the faces behind the urls.

I've never liked my photo taken.Mostly my eyes bother me because I've got a slight turn due to a childhood injury at school. I have a few small facial lumps now and lots of wrinkles...meh' we are all going to end up with them.

I've never bothered much about makeup & hairstyles , shopping for shoes or even keeping up with the latest fashion. They are just so far off my radar of things important to me. Not that there is anything wrong with wanting to look attractive and enhance your best features.

Recently I've had significant physical challenges to deal with. I've endured very radical changes to my body. Choosing to undergo a double mastectomy when faced with breast cancer , losing one boob was without question the only choice I had , the other was extra insurance and peace of mind.

Chopping off my long locks of hair that I once loved , it was going to fall out anyway, was hard but not too distressing. My hair will grow back.

I embrace a renewed sense of 'immense' gratitude for my body and the scars that cross my chest. I'm trying to love my body by nurturing it with healthy food, rest and exercise.

I feel comfortable in my decision not to undergo breast reconstruction, not to mention saving my family the out of pocket costs of $10,000 upwards.Truth be told , I'm just not willing to endure the pain of it . Implants don't last forever either.

While there is no gain in physical sexual sensations , there are of course recognised gains in self esteem and sense of sexuality .

I appreciate not all women feel this way. It just doesn't worry me. I don't grieve the loss of my breasts. I am more concerned with living and getting through chemo and on with my life.

Right now, I look like a chemo patient and I'm accepting this season in my life . I look haggard and aged beyond my 46yrs. I don't feel too sick most of the time.

My body though it outwardly represents a picture of the physical me - it does not show who I am on the inside. It can't show my faith,  what's on my heart , in my mind and what drives me to keep going. These are the things I heart body for.

I am most grateful for a body that despite some challenges allows me to live in the fullness of life - to experience and give love, to think and to feel, to see, hear (with my hearing aid) , taste, touch , smell , run and dance very uncoordinated in the rain if I choose to.

I am rich in this body of mine.

What do you love most about yourself ?


Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Hunt for the Ultimate Trackmaster

Sponsored by Nuffnang

Do you think your little train engineer can build the Ultimate Trackmaster track ?

Last week my budding engineers were delighted to test drive the Thomas and Friends TrackMaster  ‘Risky Rails Bridge Drop’,  motorised railway.

The boys and I (plus Dad) had a lot of fun creating our track. Sam and Joel dressed up for some extra fun.

First we got the pieces and instructions in order. I was impressed that the parts were all well labelled and my boys could identify the different pieces of the 3 towers that went together and what track pieces went where.

It was a little tricky at first to push the joins firmly in but then it all came together without anyone blowing their stack or letting off steam. 

Toot toot ... the adventure began.

This track is full of twists and turns, they were very excited as the motorised Thomas goes swiftly down the risky rails bridge drop! The chute dropping the boulder into the basket, which slides down the zipline, added to the fun and adventure.

Sam and Joel have loved Thomas and Friends since they were toddlers after inheriting their older brother’s Thomas trains, DVD’s and videos. They love steam trains and recently we enjoyed a Father’s Day outing on a steam train.

The search is now on for the Ultimate Trackmaster 2012 – Calling all budding TrackMasters to use their imaginations , to build their track in a crazy* place, make it full of twists and turns, super long or really fast ! Then shoot a video of your ultimate TrackMaster™ track in action, upload on and go in the running for weekly prizes. The most popular video will win the major prize (so a good idea is to share the link and get your friends to vote – they can win prizes too just for voting) 

*We were tempted to build track in the middle of the garden but the outside picnic table worked better.

Entry is open to all permanent residents of Australia and New Zealand, aged between 2 and 7 years old as at 25/9/12.

Every entry has a chance twin Prizes ! As well the major prize there are weekly prizes including the new TrackMaster™ playset based on the Blue Mountain Mystery movie and the DVD.

There are  3 different prize types:
- Each week, over a period of  10 weeks, 5 entries will win 1 TrackMaster Risky Rails Bridge Drop Playset and 1 TrackMaster Little Friends Engine

- Each week, over a period of 10 weeks, 1 voter will win TrackMaster Risky Rails Bridge Drop Playset and one Thomas& Friends Blue Mountain Mystery DVD. So make sure you check the gallery to vote even if you can’t enter.

At the conclusion of the competition the video with the most votes - The Ultimate TrackMaster - will win the major prize estimated at $8000 {retail value}.

The Ultimate TrackMaster™ winner will get to meet “Thomas” and receive private tuition to drive him along the historic Puffing Billy railway in Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges! Imagine a private family steam  experience on board Thomas, with Sir Topham Hatt and taking home $3000 of Thomas and Friends merchandise !

Read the full terms and conditions before you enter . The Competition closes at 11.59pm AEST on 18/12/12

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Bald as an Egg

Pink Ribbon Day - Oct 22nd -
Even though the future seems far away, it is actually beginning right now.
Mattie Stepanek
Almost done after 5hrs Chemo Taxol  #1 / 12 -
You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.  ~Eleanor Roosevelt

A nice lunch is always important- thanks to volunteers~ Pink Ladies

Bald as an egg !

Monday, 22 October 2012

My week ~ Instagram #2

  1. Sunset
  2. 4pm - FMSphotoaday my new bedroom floor
  3. New Cattle crush
  4. What I wrote -Exercise notes for #operationMOVE - FMSphotoaday
  5. Makes Me laugh - FMSphotoaday 14/31
  6. ~Charlotte's~ Rose blooming #Madeyousmiletoday 18/31
  7.  Letters - FMSphotoaday 19/31
  8. Mango - Fruit -FMSphotoaday 17/31
  9. Joel - watching sunset atop trailer with icecream - His Idea and doing
  10.  Pregnancy Infant Loss awareness Day 15th October
  11.  Sunset
  12.  Fairybread for school lunch #Motherof year or not !
  13.  Calm - FMSphotoaday 21/31
  14.  Sam's building
  15.  #BakeAtHomeWith Zumbo #Mail
  16.  Pregnancy Infant Loss awareness Day 15th October - Candle for Wave of Light
my week according to instagram


Thursday, 18 October 2012

If life seems jolly rotten

Today, as I was driving home from town I heard this song playing on my car radio. I started to sing along to the chorus , as you do ...cheesy song or not.

words and music by Eric Idle
Some things in life are bad
They can really make you mad
Other things just make you swear and curse.
When you're chewing on life's gristle
Don't grumble, give a whistle
And this'll help things turn out for the best...
And...always look on the bright side of life...
Always look on the light side of life...
If life seems jolly rotten
There's something you've forgotten
And that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing.
When you're feeling in the dumps
Don't be silly chumps
Just purse your lips and whistle - that's the thing.
And...always look on the bright side of life...
Always look on the light side of life...
For life is quite absurd
And death's the final word
You must always face the curtain with a bow.
Forget about your sin - give the audience a grin
Enjoy it - it's your last chance anyhow.
So always look on the bright side of death
Just before you draw your terminal breath
Life's a piece of shit
When you look at it
Life's a laugh and death's a joke, it's true.
You'll see it's all a show
Keep 'em laughing as you go
Just remember that the last laugh is on you.
And always look on the bright side of life...
Always look on the right side of life...
(Come on guys, cheer up!)
Always look on the bright side of life...
Always look on the bright side of life...
(Worse things happen at sea, you know.)
Always look on the bright side of life...
(I mean - what have you got to lose?)
(You know, you come from nothing - you're going back to nothing.
What have you lost? Nothing!)
Always look on the right side of life...

I probably heard the tune dozens of times {& more} but I've never really listened to the words freaked me out as suddenly got to a certain bit - you know that moment when you realise the actual lyrics...That !

ANY SONG mentioning death or dying makes me anxious . It was the second time today too !!.

In retrospect I have to laugh now, it is kind of a cheer me up song.

I was feeling very down and irritable today ... I can't use the expression 'pulling my hair out' anymore...but you get the drift.

I felt very vulnerable , deciding to attend the boys' school assembly to see their singing item {and see them not get the awards that are due to them}. 

Even going anywhere lately I feel anxious and paranoid. I see the second looks I get. I am continually wondering if my hair 'headgear' looks okay or crooked, weirdo or is scrunched and freaky. My husband wasn't here today to tell me - though the other day I was later horrified at his idea of fixing and straightening my scarf ...argggh !

Today, I couldn't help looking at another 'cancer' lady (about my age and obviously bald and wearing a CanTeen scarf and with a gauze pad taped to the back of her hand - I guessed rightly it was chemo related) .

I saw her{& hubby I presume} first in the HCF (Health fund office) in main street , then 30 mins later in the shopping mall across the road. As I was going down the escalator - there She was sitting down along the side wall, outside the loos, alone. We made eye contact and she smiled at me , I smiled back.

Then I walked over and said 'Hello'. We exchanged a few details. She thought she'd recognised me from the local cancer centre. 'Probably not' I told her - 'I am just about to start there'. Then I told her I have 'breast cancer' and she replied 'pancreatic cancer'. . She said ' I might see you around sometime'. I wished her well and off I went.

Other conversations are ...awkward. It just isn't the right word. Uncomfortable ? I don't know what to say , when people I barely know, ask me 'how am I going' or 'how am I feeling ?' People such as ... the School Principal and the boys' teacher or a random mother I've chatted to a few times. I am guessing they don't really want to hear the details of my side effects .... insomnia, flatulence, nausea, irritability, hot flashes , mood swings etc.

So, tactfully , I respond with "I am good, thanks !" The checkout guys and girls too - what is it with asking me how my day has been ?

Instead - I try not to make eye contact with anyone. Especially, now my eyelashes are sparse and my eyebrows too - coupled with my slightly crooked & turned eye, I probably look like a zombie. When I look in the mirror I see a zombie stranger.

I don't dwell too much on my appearance - seriously ! I know my hair will grow back...eventually. It could be worse, my SIL's friend just lost her foot to cancer {she has started chemo too}.

The final point - Today, I'm thankful for my new memory foam boobs and better fitting bras lovely perky but comfortable soft boobs . Why I will never consider reconstruction is another post for another day.

Have you ever not realised the actual lyrics in a song ...or ones that were different to what you first thought ?

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Wordless Wednesday - My boy ... my hat too !

"twinkle twinkle little boy how you fill my heart with joy..."

Monday, 15 October 2012

DIY - bringing new life to your home + {giveaway}

I confess , I am totally a  novice when it comes to sewing. I love browsing home furnishing stores and textiles for inspiration to bring new life to my living spaces.

Recently I was invited to attend The IKEA 2013 Catalogue and Living with Textiles launch.It showcased an inspiring introduction into the creative and limitless world of Textiles. A highly covetable , collection of stylish home furnishings and textiles at very affordable prices.

Plus a host of neat ideas for even the least crafty among us me ! (and I was pleased you can do many without a sewing machine* ) I was amazed how 'seamlessly' IKEA has transformed simple Textiles into unique, personalised and statement pieces.

I especially loved the Children's extraordinary havens of play ...when they are not supposed to be sleeping ! The Children's range of textiles is awesome.

Ceiling canopy

Do you think this will encourage you and spark your child’s creativity ?
Would you let them join you with textas,
I love the TIDNY Colour in fabric ! We have a bolt of it ready to colour once I get new textas.
paint, scissors, glue and an open mind to transform their spaces into extraordinary havens of play!
Or then again  DIY - all by yourself.

Fancy a Teepee par'tee or picnic ?

We have these little $5 stools, I bought a while back - now I can't wait to play textiles with them.

I loved the Polka dots.

The new exciting IKEA interactive app has lots of ideas too.Hold your Smart phone or tablet over the phone to unlock an interactive world that leaves no cushion unturned.

I have the opportunity to share the exciting world of IKEA textiles with you - with two gorgeous copies of the SY – Love For Textiles coffee table book as a giveaway for two of my lucky readers.
This beautiful book will make anyone a DIY pro, and expand the creative horizons of even the most crafty designers. 

I'm excited about using the ideas in the book to bring fresh ideas into my about to be renovated temporary home. Easy ideas like refreshing a sofa with new cushions or throws, tranquil tricks with quick bed - headboards and maybe a canopy and new curtains.

My style is simple and snuggly - I like comfortable pieces and with two lively boys I have to be creative , so the less expensive fragile items the better. I also like to be bold and a little adventurous the bedrooms.

To enter and win tell me your style or what room or area needs a little inspiration in your home.I'll chose the most original answers . Easy !

Closes 24th October.
Australian residents only.

PS - *I do own a sewing machine and I have plans to learn to use it more.

This is not a sponsored post , I received some fabric to colour in and I received a Book at the launch and the PR will be sending two two winning readers SY – Love For Textiles coffee table book.

Linking in with Jess @ I blog on Tuesday even though I published 8pm Monday.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Up and down , Get up !

Yesterday, was a very long day we left home at 6am to travel to Sydney for my last review appointment. We arrived home at midnight. I felt for my husband.

Up and down the emotional rollercoaster the highways and by-ways is physically, emotionally and mentally exhausting - the round trip is 700km /10hrs... I wasn't driving. It's a relief my next treatments will be 15mins from home. 

The Oncology review clinic was running 2hrs late - we exited our 10:45 appointment at 1:30pm. We saw Dr #1 at about 12:45pm for 10 mins, then waited 15 mins in between to see the Oncologist for 10mins.

It was all good with nothing new to be learned. They don't even examine me. I'm not not complaining , just saying I'm glad we had another reason for the trip down to Sydney.

When you arrive you wait in big 'muster' waiting area before being 'drafted' in smaller waiting rooms down the corridor or waiting for your beeper to go off saying they are ready for you in Chemo or in Radiation.

I'm  a little bit thankful appointments were late, because I got to briefly catch up with my 'old playgroup' friend, A. She was diagnosed with Breast cancer a month prior to my diagnosis. A was there in big waiting area, waiting to be beeped for her chemo as the chemotherapy treatment clinic was also running very late.

We chatted about our eyebrows (or lack thereof ) , dark painted nails , diets & cancer food and positive ways of coping , as you do... In the 'quiet 'crowded waiting room I'm sure everyone was aware of us.

Not everyone looks sick , though you can easily spot the cancer patient from carer usually by the head gear or the ones gently guiding frailer looking older people . Some people talk in hushed voices, guarding their 'personal' and emotional space. They just stare ahead at the TV, their phone or iPad or old magazines. Styrofoam cups of tea, coffee and 'plastic' biscuits are available if you like.

Sitting there you feel such a strong range of emotions ; anticipation, anger (One lady was very 'agro' because the clinics were running so late) , hope, sadness, even boredom ... mirrored in the sea of faces that surround you. Though now the chairs are banked, fixed in rows and close together instead of around the walls you don't make so much eye contact.

This morning I was feeling down, as well as tired and cold (yes it's blowing a gale with wild weather here as everywhere). I'm grateful my SIL who minded our little boys, at the other farm due to our late return, was putting them on the school bus.

I couldn't summon the emotional energy to get up. I'm don't exactly feel depressed, in fact  I feel physically better this week. Some days are better than others. I think it is returning to the Dr's office and talking about cancer that reminds me of my diagnosis and the interruption that cancer has caused to our life.

We also visited our old home for 15 mins , it's empty (tenants vacated), while still filled with memories ...not to mention clean carpet, my big kitchen , my roses , a lush green lawn and our old life.I still love the farm, our 'homely shed' and living here. Just sometimes it feels lonely and isolated here. I miss my friends.

Eventually, I stumbled out of bed at 11:30 am , only after my darling hubby made me tea and toast in bed, then lit the fire and went off to borrow firewood from the neighbours ; ).


I happened upon this song - I like it ! GET UP !

I'm a bit fired up now by the song and the fire.Though going back to bed is still inviting ...did I mention it's cold , grey and blustery and my hammock is like a parachute in the wind. 

Do you ever feel like you just want to stop and catch your breath ?
Would you like to hit pause, lay low and stay in bed all day ?

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Wordless Wednesday ~ Soaking in the Sun

A free ranging Lizard at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo ! ...Shameless I did not Google what kind of Lizard he /she is ? It was so fearless I got within metres of him to snap this with zoom lens , no less.

The Ultimate Kid's Birthday PARTY !

Finally !

I don't know about you but even after doing kids' birthday parties for 18 yrs , the very words stress me. 

Recently my friend and I were discussing her twin boys' upcoming 6th birthday. She was asking for my expert opinions how to make it a success and as simple as possible ? 

I was glad I wasn't alone in my feelings of overwhelming inadequacy !
I said your asking the wrong person !

Though I've certainly picked up quite a few tips and tricks in the organisation of my sons' birthday parties and in delivering my eldest for attendance at countless other raucous birthday events. My eldest being an only child for 13 yrs had yearly birthday parties.

My own little lads started planning their raucous 6th birthday party with plans to invite a infinite number of 5yr- 6yr olds within days of starting school {80 kindergarteners}. I trembled every time a new friend or three was added to the list. I was filled with absolute fear at the birthday party monster they were creating.

Each day my head spinning off it's axis their heads filled with yet more requirements for their own party, 10 different birthday cakes, 20 different foods and 1000 lollies , jumping castles or a pool party {in July} . 

My experience ; I knew that throwing a party for my 'child' (twins now) and a few closest
friends ensured a far more enjoyable experience for me all involved. Yet, dare I cause a classroom war meltdown ? 

Life had other ideas.Thankfully, or really with some disappointment, before the first invite was officially issued.

Their birthday was 6 days after I was discharged from hospital for my surgery and in the July school holidays to boot. I'd originally planned for it to be when school resumed. Plans were cancelled : ( 

Instead , they settled for an impromptu backyard party {at my brother's} with a few friends from our old church & playgroup, their cousins , balloons , the trampoline and a Skylander's cake. They had a ball anyway.

It was awkward recently when only one of my twins, S {though both are in same kindy class} was invited to a backyard birthday.I asked twitter for advice and they said to let the
mum know. 

I did, on the last day to RSVP - she didn't know they were twins and had strictly limited her son's invitees. She said it was OK - J could come because she had kids who couldn't come. 
In the end only 3 of 8 kids invited were there. I didn't get to see how organised or stressed she was take them because I was in hospital {an overnight visit}, my sister-in-law dropped them off and picked them up.

The answer to planning your next birthday party ?

The ultimate Australian guide to kids’ birthday parties !

Oh Yes, we chorus ! 

Parties can be fun, exciting and joyous...

with the right planning, and by breaking the day down into smaller, manageable 

components, you can give a professional party planner a run for their money. 

In this book, you’ll find all the hints, tips and ideas you’ll ever need to throw the kind of children’s birthday party that will be remembered for years to come.

Ten fully illustrated party themes include
fairy princess, outer space, dinosaurs, cars & trucks, the zoo, craft,
cooking, popstars and more.

 The book is full of ideas and step-by-step instructions for amazing decorations, food (both sweet and savoury, and including the all-important cake), costumes, invitations and games to play, Party! will help you create the best-ever party for your child’s next birthday
(with as little stress as possible!)

Now before I turn into one of those intensely annoying mums who puts a ridiculous amount of pressure on themselves (or you) to throw the perfect party I'll go make a cup of tea and come visit your blog.

What do you love or hate about birthday parties ?

PS : I love this book and it really is brilliant. I can sit back knowing I have 8 months to plan for their 7th birthday which they are planning , already, too.

The Ultimate Kids’ Birthday Party Book
1 October 2012
RRP $24.99/Paperback

I received a copy for review purposes only.This is not a sponsored post - all opinions are my own.