Posted by: learningwoman | October 13, 2008


I got out of the habit of coming here and then for some reason felt a little resistant when I thought about writing. At first it was just that I was jet-lagged, or that there was so much washing to do, or that we were getting ready for the school year. Then it was that I’ve needed to catch up on studying, or replenish our winter wardrobes or…… well you get the picture.

In the meantime, my boys have been growing, learning, fighting, laughing. Me too. And A.

So I’m here, rambling aimlessly for a little while, just to flex my writing muscles and remind myself that it’s easy and fun.

I found myself missing people here too.

BeThisWay, with her kind, down to earth, financially astute writings. Kate and her calm, honest way, KatyBoo, who feels like someone I’ve known for years, GoodFountain, who is encouraging and lovely. FallenAngel whose other blog weaves words into a kind of magic. And others, all of whose blogs I visit for one reason or another.

Having written that, I’m suddenly eager to go and see how you all are, what’s happening with you.


Posted by: learningwoman | September 3, 2008

We’re back

We’ve been back for a week. It was fabulous and lovely and also a little confusing. This trip threw up more questions than it answered about when/where and how we might move back to Australia.

I keep thinking to write about it but every time I get here and start to type, one or other of my boys begin a small but escalating series of wind-ups upon the other, necessitating my intervention. They are used to much outside activity now and are chafing against being inside for longer than five minutes at a time. They need to go to school.

Luckily S. goes back tomorrow and Z. starts at his new pre-school next Tuesday. We’ve had a great time with them but the time has come for routine to be restored before we all go a bit lunatic.

When they asked me what we going to do today, their little faces shining with expectation, and I told them we need to clear their cupboards of clothes that don’t fit them and go to the charity shop down the road, they were outraged. But seriously, their cupboards are so full of clothes now, most of them in the wrong sizes, that I haven’t been able to unpack S’s bag yet and having piles of clothes on the floor is driving me crazy. Not least of all because they keep jumping in them and strewing them across the bedrooms, landing, bathroom etc…

Since we’ve been back, we’ve tramped in the woods in the rain, skateboarded in the park, been to the playground many times, visited with friends and now the time has come. The big holiday anticlimax. Damn.

A. has gone to Amsterdam to watch the Stray Cats in concert and won’t be back until tomorrow, arriving safely after the morning school run. Lucky man. I love Amsterdam.

Right. The small male people in the house have started their half-hourly playfight, which will inevitably turn into something that will require my attention, so I’ll get a head start and take them upstairs with me.

I’m looking forward to having more than ten minutes to write. 🙂

Posted by: learningwoman | August 3, 2008

Having a great time

So far so good. We stayed the first couple of days in Redcliffe, just north of Brisbane, in a motel on the beach. Great cafes, amazing playgrounds for the kids and lovely beach walks.

Then to Moffat Beach on the Sunshine Coast, where we stayed in an amazing apartment, again on the beach. Beautiful sunrises (I know this because the kids are jetlagged and getting up at 3.30am!) and the parakeets start their dawn chorus at exactly 5.45am everyday. We love this place. The beach is wonderful, no crowds, best fish and chips we’ve had for years and a really relaxed, friendly feel to it. People are lovely. We’ll be back.

This morning, after having been to a couple of outdoor weekend markets, to buy fresh fruit and vegetables, we drove up the coast to Maroochydore. I’m so disappointed! It’s grown into a crowded, touristy, expensive, flashy awfulness. We booked into our apartment, where we’re staying for one night and went straight down to the swimming pool, which we had all to ourselves. I feel much better now….. I’m sitting at the computer, in the sun, in my swimming costume and a sarong to write this. Does life get any better?

Now I’m off to get ready for when my cousins come for a visit.

Hope all’s well with all of you. 🙂

Posted by: learningwoman | July 29, 2008

Eight hours to go

In eight hours we’ll be at the airport, ready to on a ‘plane to Australia. I’m so looking forward to it!

It’s been a hectic few days and we’re all ready for some time away together, some laughing, some sleeping(!), swimming, walking, adventuring and researching.

Because this is the big research trip. We’ll look at areas of the Queensland coast and hopefully narrow it down to a few places we think we might like to live. If we’re really lucky, we might even find somewhere we all love. Either way, we’ll look at schools, houses, banks, bike paths, beaches, sports facilities and a whole lot of other things we have on our (long) list.

We also want to take the kids to visit with some of my family and to at least one theme park and the Australia Zoo, as well as camping and hiking. It’ll be great!

My plan is to write in to this blog every now and then so I can look back later and see what we’ve done but it’ll probably be a bit erratic for a little while. Have a great summer!


Posted by: learningwoman | July 24, 2008

Five more sleeps!

The holiday’s getting closer, the house is almost in some sort of order, my friends arrive tomorrow, I’m friends with my children, the shopping is done, the washing’s almost finished and things are beginning to feel less stressed.

Yay! 🙂

Posted by: learningwoman | July 23, 2008

Crappy evening

I miss my Mum. She’s away, doing good things for people in another country and I wish she was here, saying soothing things to me.

S. has finished school for the year and he’s tired. Tired enough to be cheeky and hard to get along with. He’s a good person, sweet and kind and thoughtful but like most of us, he’s not fun to be around when he’s exhausted.

For the past few days, he’s been pressing buttons with me until I end up feeling furious. Not just a bit annoyed or upset but beside myself with anger. I start off being very reasonable, I always let them know when they’re reaching a boundary. I want them not to be surprised by big outbursts of anger so when I feel myself getting angry, I tell them. Then I try and find a way to avert it while still sticking to my guns about whatever it is I’ve asked them to do. Sometimes I lose my temper and that’s okay, I’m human and I figure it won’t hurt them to know it.

Tonight before the bath, I explained to S. that even though there’s no school tomorrow, he needed to go to bed at a reasonable time so he could get a proper sleep, since he stayed up late last night. He took it well, we did the bath, read books, put Z. to bed and then I settled down to tell S. a story. I reminded him again that he wouldn’t be coming downstairs and invited him to snuggle up.

He started having a tantrum. Z. woke up and started to cry, I calmed him and spoke to S., who wasn’t listening but was working himself up into a hard-done-by fury. I knew he was tired, so I just hugged him and led him to bed, telling him gently but very firmly that it was time for bed and he needed to stop now.

He didn’t. He freaked out and suddenly, just like that, I turned into my mother. I don’t mean my friend, the person I can talk to about anything in the world, I mean the woman she was when I was a child. Post-natally depressed and shrieking.

I yelled, I shouted, I worked myself up into a towering rage and I said things to my little boy that I regret. He cried and I became cold and distant. I wished him goodnight, hugged him perfunctorily, and came downstairs to ring my Mum, feeling dreadful already and forgetting she was away.

Dad answered the phone. He’s good my Dad but he isn’t what I needed just then, he’s too attached to advice-giving and the need to be right to be able to listen to me properly at times like this. I listened to what he had to say and then said goodbye.

Then A. rang. He’s good too but again he wants to present me with solutions and I just wanted to lie down and weep.

I don’t want to live in a house full of anger and freaking out. I don’t mean that I want things to be controlled and bland, just that I don’t want this. I don’t want to teach my kids that the way to deal with things is to become enraged, or cold and distant and I don’t want to be on the receiving end of those teachings when they’re teenagers and adults.

I went back up to hug him and he’d fallen asleep, his pillow wet with tears and it made me cry harder than before.

I can’t be objective about this stuff tonight. I feel as though I’ve failed myself and my boys.

Tomorrow will be better, things usually are with a bit of perspective but tonight I’m worn out and I need a cup of tea.

Posted by: learningwoman | July 22, 2008

Busy days

The house is in turmoil….again…. carpets being cleaned, stuff everywhere, people coming to stay, BIG spring clean, end of school year celebrations, summer holiday clothes shopping, kids restless, etc, etc..

Such fun!

Bring on the holiday!!


Oh and by the way, Spud-U-Like sent me a lovely letter, thanking me for letting them know about the service I’d received and they included a voucher for a free meal for two. Now that’s some good customer relationship building!

Posted by: learningwoman | July 19, 2008

Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson is one of my very favourite authors, not least because his books always make me laugh.

I’ve just finished reading ‘A Walk in the Woods’, where he attempts to hike the Appalachian Trail with his friend Stephen Katz. It’s full of interesting and sometimes obscure facts, very funny descriptions of people and places and of course merciless ribbing of his friend.

I’ve recently discovered that Bryson is Sagittarian, which immediately made sense to me. He’s a bit off the wall, interested in everything, excited by things that seem quite ordinary, until he tells us how he’s seeing them. He loves to travel, so much that he became a travel writer, among other things. He’s impulsive and not always practical in his decision making, seems kind, has a strong sense of justice and finds humour in all but the most hellish situations. And of course, he’s perceptive and intelligent.

For those who have no time for astrology, just ignore that paragraph and move on.

I’m not sure I’d like Bill Bryson if I met him, he’s a little inclined to write people off as stupid if they annoy him in any way, and I’m not sure how I’d fare in that respect.

Having said that, if, in some highly unlikely twist of fate I found myself having a coffee with him, I suspect I’d enjoy the conversation. A lively mind is a joy.

I remember when I was heavily pregnant with S, sitting in a local cafe, reading  ‘Down Under’ , which is about his travels in Australia. I laughed so hard that the man next to me moved over a few inches. I think he was worried I might go into labour and he’d have to help!

If you haven’t read anything by him, give it a try. At worst you might learn some strange and interesting new things and at best you might scare the people next to you with your loud guffaws.


Posted by: learningwoman | July 19, 2008

All’s well here.

Health has been restored to this fair house and there are smiles all around. Wooo!

Posted by: learningwoman | July 17, 2008

In which a lot of time is spent in the laundry

I was woken this morning by A. asking in an urgent voice for me to “Come and be with S.” so he could go down to Z.

I walked into the bathroom to find S. sitting on the toilet, his face the colour of parchment, holding a plastic container in his hand, into which he was dry heaving. When he looked up at me, his eyes were dark and sunken, his expression pained and yet somehow resigned.

I should have known. When he was touchy and shouty and annoyed by everything yesterday, I should have known.

When he woke me in the night to go for a poo I should have known.

You’d think I’d know the signs by now but it’s been months since he was sick and I’ve been lulled into what turns out to be a false sense of security. It was his school picnic today too, poor babe.

So there’s a lot of washing to do. Towels, bedclothes, pyjamas etc…

Right, I’m off to hug him, then occupy Z, so S. doesn’t get jumped on.

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