“Living without you, living alone
This empty house seems so cold”
Oh Journey…you haunt me.
My beloved family has departed…leaving me to fend for myself on this massive remote island. I am closer in proximity to the Malaysian Prime Minister than my own relatives now. Best not to think about that too much.
Instead, I shall dwell on all the wonderful times we shared …once we got the nose situation under control, that is. We frolicked on the steps of the Opera House, danced to the didgeridoo at Circular Quay, played in the sparkling sands of Balmoral Beach and hid from a rainstorm under the bridge. We even ate Aussie food at an Irish Pub where Mick, the ball-busting waiter shared his displeasure with our Olympians…
“Tired of hearing your bloody anthem mate!”
Okay, now that’s just awesome.
Mom’s arrival brought even more bliss. We flew kites on the crystal shores of Bondi, caressed kangaroos at Taronga Zoo and attempted to enjoy the clowns and carnival of Luna Park.
Our first attempt was met with alluring lights, celebratory music, and a closed sign. Our second effort was thwarted by a recently revised ticket policy. No longer are visitors to Luna Park allowed to purchase individual tickets, only a pricey “ticket package”. We had to take a stand. It wasn’t easy convincing the little ones that our boycott was justified, so we bribed them with fairy floss (cotton candy) and festive clown encounters.
There was also good grown-up fun. Mom and Kirsten and I had one heck of a night out on the town. Mom was a champ. She was willing to enjoy the nightlife even though the excursion would commence at 1am Pacific Standard Time.
We decided to take the train from Chatswood to Darling Harbour where we would locate an eatery worth eating at. On our way there we were fortunate to happen upon an Asian festival where a Celtic band was playing an obscure song called “Orphan Girl” that my mom recorded with my sister and I for her latest album. It was a surreal “Small World” sort of feeling as we Americans sang along with Irishmen at an Asian festival in Australia. All that were missing were some an African goat drums and a couple sombreros.
Once we arrived at Darling Harbour, we scoured the promenade with purpose, in an effort to find the perfect spot to imbibe and nibble on the finer things. We finally found what we thought was an ideal location; a seafood joint with outdoor dining and a water view. It was beautiful, crowded, festive and fricken freezing. The heat lamps were no match for the mighty winter winds that lapped up against our hungry cheeks. (That was my lame attempt at a more poetic writing style). Although we were pleased with our culinary options and our waiter, we did not feel like having frigid fun. So we took our drinks and headed inside.
Our indoor accommodations were sparse. No jovial neighbors surrounded us, the wait staff was disorganized and disinterested, and the table was cold and barren. We had made a poor decision. We scanned the room and found a more alluring option. A booth, with a decorative bamboo backdrop and a better view…sort of. At least we could see something blue at the bar. Unfortunately, it was also home to a run away AC unit. It was like trying to have a drink in a wind tunnel. Since no one cared to feed us at that point anyway, we paid the bill and departed.
Then, it happened.
We found what we were looking for. We found Nick’s. Nick had it goin on; outdoor seating, effective heating elements, a magnificent menu and a friendly staff that seemed more than happy to take in customers on the rebound.
There was a minor martini incident…but other than that…
(The following clip contains some profanity. My apologies. It was my alter ego Delores…not me.)
The evening ended with the singing of a popular folk song called, “We Are Australians.” The song recently gained popularity in mainstream media due to a moving Olympic inspired commercial. We performed the song in three-part harmony on the streets of Sydney in hopes that somehow our melodious effort would ignite an impromptu Sydney sing-a-long, in the tradition of Fame or High School Musical. It didn’t.
Mike and James also had a night out on the town. They walked the Harbour Bridge and hit some of the famous Sydney Pubs. I hear much of the night was spent trying to feed Big James in a town that doesn’t believe in serving anything edible after 10pm. I believe the adventure ended with beer and pancakes. ???
There was more, much more, but since I am into the whole brevity thing we will fast forward to the airport…
I did what I could to not weep openly as they headed to the concourse that would lead them home. I am not an attractive crier. My nose and lips tend to swell and my skin gets very red and blotchy. Needless to say, I left that day in the aforementioned state.
In the somewhat altered words of Journey,
Fortunately Mom and Mike were there with Open Arms.
We decided to head out to our favorite pizza joint to lessen the sense of loss and continue the fun. It was a good night. There was a minor incident involving mom, food aversion and a fever of 101, but over all…
Random Trivia: Aussie’s shorten everything…to an irritating degree. It’s not breakfast, it’s brekkie. It’s not lipstick, it’s lippie. It’s not flight attendant or air hostess, it’s hostee. I mean, Come on guys. Are you being a little ridiculous, or should I say, rickee!
Poll: Is Delores too vulgar?
Fun Family Fact: Mom and I discovered some incredible local hangs that we would like to take future guests to, including: Palm Beach, Whale Beach, Serpentine Beach and the Royal Botanical Gardens. What a grand time we had Momma!
Phrase of the Day: Choof Off: To leave or depart.
Homework: Learn “We are Australians”
Most of my time these days is dedicated to preserving two human lives. My goal is to provide my offspring with the best childhood memories possible. If all goes well, they will still like me when they leave the nest and need minimal therapy. The rest of my time is spent trying to run our household. Since Mike (God bless him) has been been confined to a desk from dusk till dawn ( such is life in a penal colony) the onus has been on me to keep things running here on the home front. Those of you who know me well, know that my administrative skills are only slightly better than my track and field abilities. And domestically, I really only have one gift and that is cooking. I can cook the bee-jeebies out of a hunk of meat, but cleaning up the pan after the fact is a hell I try to avoid at all cost. And then there is the art of laundry. I am sort of a Jackson Pollock in that regard. I like to sort of throw a variety of color in the wash and see what comes out. Mike (God bless him) will not actually let me near his garments. I think he just doesn’t understand my genius.
I have learned some very valuable life lessons from my time at home with the wee ones though. Particularly from my oldest…since she is the only one that is currently speaking a dialect I am familiar with.
Lesson 1: Any argument can be won by using made up words.
Me: Kenna, I need you to put on your shoes, it is the last time I am going to ask you!
Lesson 2: Fake plans will get you out of anything. I call this maneuver the Crane. There is no defense, if done properly.
Kenna: I want to go to Joan’s house.
Lesson 3: Life is like a sitcom
Kenna: What is going on in this show mom?
Lesson 4: Singing a song can chase your blues away.
Lesson 5: Its harder to be cool when you have kids.
I just want to be cool forever. Which brings me to my next life lesson!
Lesson 6: It is possible to be cool forever.
Poll: What songs would you select if you decided to use the Kenna Pasley mood adjustment.method?
Fun Fact: * In 1832, 300 female Convicts at the Cascade Female Factory mooned the Governor of Tasmania during a chapel service. It was said that in a “rare moment of collusion with the Convict women, the ladies in the Governor’s party could not control their laughter.”
Phrase of the day: galoot: a foolish person
*I realize that at a glance, my fun fact for the day has nothing to do with parenting or life lessons. But consider this: when you feel imprisoned by a monotonous life; when you are incarcerated by day to day responsibilities; when it seems no one is on your side…
Did you know that when you ask for ketchup (or Tomato Sauce as they call it in Australia) you are given a maximum of two packets. If you ask for more, they will just look at you funny and give you one additional packet. As if an extra teapoon of “tomato sauce” will be satisfactory. In fact, I never knew what an absurd amount of “tomato sauce” we use in America until I came to this land of little ketchup. Mike believes the real problem is the packet system. After all, it is a dipping sauce. What the heck is it doing in a packet. It should be in a container suitable for dipping. (1 point America)Did you know that there is no baseball here? Cricket is the game of choice instead. It is sort of the older cousin of our beloved sport…or maybe the dirty uncle. The cricket batting instrument is about as wide as a dollar store fatbat which immediately makes it less of a game in my mind. The players wear polo shirts and sweaters. What? Do they think they are better than me?
The one upside is that the game uses words like “wicket” which is a word I like to say aloud. Wicket. That is until the announcer says something like, “the batsman has taken out his wicket”. Then I just feel dirty. Especially when I consider that the wicket is made up of three stumps. (1 point America)
Rugby is awesome. Almost as awesome as the NFL (a.k.a Grid Iron football). It involves a lot rough housing and ballyhoo with little padding. Instead of touchdowns these thick-necked lads score “trys”. Isn’t that pleasant? Sometimes at the South Sydney Rabbitohs games, I yell, “Nice Try!” They probably are tired of that joke, but what can I say, I love word play. (1 point Australia)
Australian Rules Football is a lot of fun as well. Mike actually prefers it to Rugby, but I am not yet persuaded. It is a fine sport though. I like the oval playing field and clever uniforms. The name of the sport brings me some joy as well. It is so literal. They didn’t try to come up with some ridiculous name like Awesome Ball or Bombastic. They decided to just call it what it was. A game involving feet and balls and rules made up by Australians. Not big on the cutesy little nickname they use for it though: footy. But that is kind of how these Aussies roll. It’s not a diaper, it’s a “nappy”. It’s not a breakfast, it’s “breaky”. It’s not lipstick, it’s” lippie”. (1 point Australia, 1 point America)
Did you know, that Australia has just edged out America for fattest country in the world? What? What? Are they sure? Must be those Banana Benders in Queensland because the residents of Roseville are as fit as a fiddle. (0 points awarded)
Did you know that American Food Chains are plentiful here? (See paragraph above) But, don’t be fooled. Kentucky Fried Chicken is not the KFC we know and love. For example: I once asked for a biscuit. A soft, buttery, processed, biscuit. The man behind the counter looked bewildered by my request. You see, in Australia, like many other nations represented in the Commonwealth, biscuits are actually what we know as cookies. Shockingly, it appears they do not serve biscuits or cookies at KFC…or should I call it AFC! Nor do they make extra crispy chicken. The Cornel would not be pleased!
I ran into the same problem at “McDonalds” which is affectionately called “Maccas” in these parts. I wanted a sausage biscuit. A buttery, soft, processed, biscuit with mystery meat tucked quaintly inside. No luck. Oh, but the place is crawling with English muffins!!! Friggen POHMs. They make up for the biscuit void by putting beet root and fried eggs on the burgers. I always thought Ronald was a sinister looking clown anyway. I never trusted him. (2 points America)
On the way home from our biscuit-less endeavor today, Chaylee threw-up in the car. She then ate a partially digested raisin. It sent Kenna into hysterical laughter. Which was good because she was miserable and sickly prior to the unfortunate event. Nothing like a little chunder down under first thing in the morning. Did I mention that I accidentally left the vomit soaked car seat in the sun? Awesome! (No points awarded)
It’s a beautiful day.
Kenna Quote of the day: A little context-Kenna splashed a significant amount of water onto the bathroom floor. Mommy got agitated. Kenna responded: “Mom, it’s not my fault! The government made me do it.” Good on ya Kenna. When in doubt, blame the government!
Chaylee Milestone: Chaylee high-fives, blows kisses, gives pats on the back and likes to find steps to sit on so she can swing her little feet back and forth.
Poll: Throw up your best vomit story? Love that word play.
Fun Fact: Did you know that Australia has its own version of Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, Big Brother, Battle of the Choirs, Gladiators, and so on. They have some of their own as well, like “I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!” which is a reality show that requires Australian superstars to survive in the Outback. They are pushed to their breaking point until they have no choice but to shout the aforementioned phrase.
Word of the Day: Centralia:
Warning to my male readers: This blog contains graphic and disturbing imagery that may cause you emotional distress and discomfort. Read on at your own risk.
The time has come to ween my beloved Chaylee Jane. As a newborn, Chaylee was a baby icon. Never had there been a new life that slept so peacefully, cried so little or latched onto the breast so naturally. Her only quirk, a strange inclination to put her tiny hand in my mouth as she suckled. How sweet. How tender. Her tiny fingers exploring my teeth, gently discovering the intricacies my cheeks. However, the once tender quirk is now a hellish nightmare….
She has become a deranged dentist, clawing at my gums, gripping my mandible and thrusting it downward with inhuman strength, scraping my taste buds with her tiny talons!
You may be thinking, why don’t you simply move her head out of the way Heather? Good question. And I have a good answer. Because samurai toddler over here goes mortal combat on my cakes and grabs my trachea with her ninja death grip. You may suggest pulling her off the breast when she goes for the mouth. Well, I would if she wasn’t a biter.
Case in point. A few weeks ago, I awoke at three in the morning on the couch with Chaylee biting down on one nipple while pinching the other like a vice. “There is no escape” she said… with her eyes. How could I have let this go on for so long. Sleep deprivation can make people do crazy things I guess.
For nearly a year I have allowed myself to live like a show pig at the Puyallup fair. I lay in bed at night allowing her to have her way with me like a ravenous piglet with a keen interest in dentistry, just so I can enjoy the benefits of an hour of sleep. I have been in prison and lactating has been my only crime. It’s parole time baby. I love you Chaylee. You are my little star, my precious possum, my baby girl, but it is time for mommy to find a new dentist.
Weened at 18 months. Photo taken at 3 years. Just in case there is any confusion.
Poll: What is worse:
Words of the Day:
Oh little Chaylee, this too will pass and you will once again be a Happy Little Vegemite.
I got the call at 7:30pm.
“Meet me at Ashley and Archer, ” he said.
It was dark, very dark. The enormous, silver, diesel, she-beast sat in the carport waiting for me. Naked…no plates. But that didn’t matter because it was dark, very dark.
I strapped my trusty sidekicks into our new silver bullet and then attempted to enter the vehicle confidently, but on the wrong side. My second attempt was more successful but equally disconcerting. Everything felt wrong. Windshield wipers where the turn signal should be; my left hand suddenly responsible for all the most important tasks, i.e. shifting, stereo manipulation, air conditioning… With very little experience and no “rego” I was an outsider and an outlaw.
I rolled out slow on the creep tip with track nine settin the tone in the background T-Town style.
“They see me rollin, they’re hatin, patrollin, tryin to catch me ridin dirty…try to catch me ridin dirty, try to catch me ridin dirty, tryin to catch me ridin dirty”
Paranoia raged within me like a stoned teenager. The soundtrack somehow helped though. And when I saw my man approaching I rolled down my window so he could hear our rebel anthem. He nodded. I nodded back. _______
My next excursion did not go as well.
In order to register a vehicle, one must get a green slip (insurance) a blue slip (auto inspection) and a pink slip (from the DMV which is called the RTA). A gal from down the street was nice enough to let me follow her to Castle Cove so I could obtain said Blue Slip. The drop off was without incident, but picking up the car proved dangerous.
I packed Chaylee and a carseat in the pram and picked up Kenna from Kindie and walked 1km to the mechanic. This time I would have to take the car into rush hour on my own. I took a wrong turn within 5 blocks.
I found a landmark I was familiar with and got back on track.
Jane, a friend from down the street happened to pull up behind me as I drove (still dirty) carefully down the crowded street. Her presence brought minimal comfort and a great deal of pressure. I must perform. I must let her know that her children are still safe to walk about in the neighborhood with me on the road, I thought.
Nearly home, I sat patiently on Penshurst waiting to take a right (which is akin to taking a left at home). The cars kept coming and coming. The sun was piercing and distracting. Panic begin to seize me…
Jane is waiting. They all think I am a terrible driver. I have not plates. Is that a cop? Grow some balls Hev. Come on! Just turn right. There’s a gap…go, go, go….
And go did I. Straight into the right lane…the wrong lane.
There I sat frozen, staring into the young man’s eyes whom I nearly struck head on. I pleaded with him like a deranged mime begging him to back up so that I could get off Penshurst and experience my shame and total loss of confidence in the quiet of my own culdesac. He obliged, stunned and curious. I rolled down my window and shouted in my most apologetic voice…
“I’m sorry. I’m American!” Once again representing my nation with dignity and grace.
Jane consoled me from her automobile and I pretended to be fine. I wasn’t. As she headed on her way I started to cry. Kenna caught on quickly and attempted to reassure me.
“Don’t worry Mom. We all have accidents. Sometimes I pee.”
I laughed briefly and then proceeded to cry some more. The crying continued off and on throughout the evening. Peaking when I picked up Mr. Pasley from the train station. My wingman Michael “Maverick” Pasley offered to drive home and I suggested I turn in my wings.
Click on this link for dramatization:
Pray for me dear ones. I am homesick and longing for the peace of mind that comes with knowing how to friggin drive.
Poll: Would you rather:
Trivia: In the early years of English colonization of North America, English driving customs were followed and the colonies drove on the left. After gaining independence from England, however, they were anxious to cast off all remaining links with their British colonial past and gradually changed to right-hand driving. The first law requiring drivers to keep right was passed in Pennsylvania in 1792, and similar laws were passed in New York in 1804 and New Jersey in 1813. Only 1/3 of the world drives on the left. (Wikipedia) America, a truly independent nation!
Words of the day:
I use to think I was a Figjam Seppo, but now all the Cockroaches know this drongo doesn’t know how to drive worth a darn.
Family Fact: Chaylee loves vegamite. Kenna does not. Chaylee walks, sort of.
Love to all. Pray for safe travels with me behind the wheel…if I can bring myself to ever drive again.
It was just a drizzle. A gentle tickle of rain. I dressed Chaylee in a valor sweat suit with a hood just in case the chill in the air began to nibble at her soft cheeks. We were off to pick up Kenna from kindie.
I didn’t bring much other than my phone and some sultanas (raisins) for Chaylee. I wanted to pack light so that I could negotiate the pram with greater ease. It is a 40 minute round trip walk so every little bit helps. The walk was a dream. The cool temperature, a welcome departure from the scorching sun.
Kenna was eager to tell us about her day and walked along side the stroller with much to say. I could only listen with moderate attentiveness however, because I was distracted by some ominous clouds that were quickly approaching. They were black. They were bulbous. They screamed of pending doom!
“Hey Kenna…we may need to pick up the pace here dove. It looks like rain is heading our…..” No sooner had I spoken did the dam break.
This was biblical rain.
I grabbed my phone from my pocket and placed it in a small compartment next to the cup holders that were steadily filling with water. It would be safe there. Kenna screamed with delight. Chaylee splashed in the pool that had developed in her tray. Water begin to fill my shoes as it rushed down the sidewalk. It was then I looked down and realized…
I was naked.
How could I make such a terrible wardrobe error? A long sleeved white shirt, a black brazier and a pair of thin light beige pants? WHAT? Nothing was left to the imagination. Every curve and crevice was on display. I begin to push with even greater fury and purpose. I kept my head down, my stomach sucked in and my arms arched so as to prevent shirt suction.
It did not help matters that the entire neighborhood was out in force picking up their children from school. Umbrellas floated all around me. Children ran all about in rain jackets and clever hats. My children looked as if they had been thrown in a pool.
At least we survived. My phone was not so lucky.
An old family adage: If you can’t make it good, make it memorable.
Poll: Would you rather:
Trivia: They are referring to this summer in NSW as the “lost summer” due to the unseasonable cool temperatures and abundance of rain.
Word of the Day: Nuddy: Naked