So. Um. We’re on fire here. Like the whole damn country. Fires on a scale NEVER seen before. Fires deemed ‘unfightable’ burning over millions of hectares of land from one side of the country to the other. With the two hottest months of summer yet to come. We’re safe where I am (so far) but its terrifying no matter where you are.

Led by the most inept man we could find for the job. Prime Minister Scott Morrison swanned off for a Hawaiian holiday right as this situation went from horrific to catastrophic. He’s told victims and volunteers alike on numerous occasions that it sucks that they’ve lost houses and family members and pets, but the Aussies are doing super good in the cricket so at least they can watch that to cheer themselves up! He turned his back on victims when he finally got off his bum and visited devastated towns. Actually physically turned his back on people who lost everything. Because they were angry and he couldn’t deal with it. One woman refused to shake his hand and he grabbed her by the arm and tried to force her to. Just for his happy photo shoot. He’s urging us to not play the blame game. But he’s the top of a pretty big pyramid of idiots who ignored and overlooked this way back when they could have done something to avoid it. We were warned again and again that this fire season was going to be awful. Now its beyond anyone’s worst nightmare and he’s throwing his hands up in the air shirking his share of the responsibility because he’s not a firefighter so what can he do?

Black Saturday was a decade ago. The last worst fire in our history. That one came quite close to where we live, only about a five minute drive away and we had burning embers falling in our yard that day. Black Saturday shook our country, especially Victoria. We were hit hard and you don’t get over it. Every person I know impacted by Black Saturday learned from it. Most of them chose to stay and defend their homes that day and from that experience decided to never take that chance again. People evacuate now. It isn’t worth dying. Pack a few things you can’t replace and get out before you can’t get out. People learned from Black Saturday. Why didn’t the government? It became so clear what was possible and absolutely NOTHING was done to prevent it from happening again.

Its not all bad though. The ‘aussie spirit’ that we’re famous for is visible even through the ever present smoke. In a couple of days we’ve donated enough supplies to overwhelm pretty much every charity we have. I do question how a bunch of nobody’s can be stocked and ready to mobilise in 48 hours but the government with endless resources can’t?

There isn’t much anyone can do now. We look after the victims. We donate money and food and water and supplies where we can. And we wait for the rain. We’re exhausted, we’re frightened, we’re angry, we’re frustrated, we’re changed forever again, we’re at an absolute loss but we go on. Again. I’d actually really like to see co-ordinated parties in major cities. Rain dance parties. All rain themed songs where people can get together and hurt and vent and scream cathartically and dance out the tension. And maybe raise some much needed cash at the same time because we all know our leaders can’t spare any to save us.

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The ponytail beanie.

The story goes, my sister wants a ponytail beanie, buys truly horrible acrylic (two balls) and hands it over expectantly with a couple of photos “something like these please”.

Unfortunately there is enough that I have to do two.

With no pattern I just made one up.

And because I’m a half decent person. Here is the pattern.

8 ply acrylic and 3.5mm needles.

For size small cast on 100 stitches and for large cast on 120 stitches. Photo is size small but my tension is pretty tight.

Join in the round

K1, P1 rib for 12 rows

Knit 2 rows

Purl 5 rows

Knit 2 rows

K2, P2 rib for 3 rows

Knit 2 rows

P4, K1 for 8 rows

Knit 2 rows

Moss stitch for 8 rows

Knit 2 rows

Purl 7 rows

Knit 2 rows

K1, P1 rib for 3 rows

Knit 2 rows

K5, P5 for 5 rows

Knit 2 rows

Purl 3 rows

Knit 2 rows

K8, P2 for 7 rows

Knit 2 rows

Moss stitch for 3 rows

Knit 1 row

Next row: K8, k2tog, repeat to end

Next row: P7, p2tog, repeat to end

Next row: P6, p2tog, repeat to end

Next row: P5, p2tog, repeat to end

Next row: P4, p2tog, repeat to end

Next row: P3, p2tog, repeat to end

Cast off.

Ok… so where the pattern says ‘moss stitch’ it refers to the british version. Known as ‘seed stitch’ to all the americans.

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My never was.

Today is the due date of my first pregnancy. The one that went so horribly wrong.

Every single year on this date (probably for the rest of my life) I have a bit of a cry by myself and miss the life that isn’t in my life.

I feel guilty because my perfect child that is here would never have even considered if my first baby had been here turning 5 around now.

But I still want to go back in time and find a way to make that pregnancy go the way it was meant to.

Miscarriage is so common. It hurts in a way that nothing else does. It changes your DNA. It takes a part of your soul with it. You never fully recover.

To anyone going through this, to anyone who has gone through this, to anyone who does go through this:

Your child is real. Whether it ends a day after you find out or four months after you found out, your child is real.

Whether you bleed and double over in pain suddenly or find out at a scan when someone can’t avoid telling you any longer that there is no heartbeat, your child is real.

Whether only you knew or you’d excitedly told everyone you ever met and any strangers who made the mistake of making eye contact, your child is real.

Your child will always be real and there is no right or wrong way to live your life after that.

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Food nazis.

Isaac started Kindergarten this year. And I remember food at kindy as being fruit that appeared magically peeled and cut up and you ate what bits you wanted out of a communal bowl on the table. There was also a honey sandwich in there somewhere. Easy. Peasy.

The following is an actual list of food rules at Isaac’s kindy:

No nuts or food that may contain nuts

No dried fruit

No cake

No muesli bars

No honey

No cold deli meat

No flavoured yoghurt

Nothing with a high sugar content

No white bread

No fruit juice or flavoured milk

Now… I understand the no nuts rule. Thats fine. There are kids there with serious allergy issues and I have no desire at all to kill them. But no saltanas and squeezy yoghurt is hurting us baaaad. These are kids. And mine woke up when he was 2 and decided all food was evil. He’s been limited to his sandwhich with a slice of cheese and a banana (which he refuses to eat but gets put in there anyway). Poor kid is starving.

But I have discovered a scone recipe that has zero sugar and I can hide any fruits and veggies in there that I want! I even use wholemeal flour do as not to accidentally sumon the devil when refined white flour crosses the threshold of the kindergarten building. Its wholemeal self raising flour, cream and soda water. You can add baking powder if you want to make them a bit fluffier. But mush up anything you want and chuck it in. Old bananas that have come home day after day? Banana scones! Carrot, pumpkin, cheese, apples. Anything! I’ve got some figs off Nan’s tree I’m going to try.

Scones. The answer to life’s problems.

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So after the horrible end to the guinea pigs I organised with a dude I work with who breeds guinea pigs for food to get a couple of his girls. And I fully intended to go around, pick two nice looking girls and head on my way. Only they were all either 2 days old or at least 2 years old and pregnant.

So we took two nice looking girls named fatso (she was clearly full of babies) and poo face (she has a brown stripe on her face) and agreed we would take our pick of whatever they produced. Poo face was renamed by Isaac. To Norville. And I’ve got serious doubts that she’s growing anything.

But today fatso produced FIVE little bundles of joy. Chances are there will be at least two girls in that lot. And they are so so cute!

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Mum guilt of the week…

He doesn’t know the correct names for genitals! 

He starts Kindergarten in a week and a half and I have failed him! Actually I’m not entirely sure if I failed him or if he’s just somewhat dense in this area. 

He knows there are girls and there are boys. But he has no idea why. He’s stared at me while I shower asking “mummy where is your doodle?” enough times now that he really should understand I dont have one. But then yells out helpful hints to me while I do the ‘I gotta pee’ dance at the supermarket, like, “mummy just squish your doodle and the wees won’t come out”.

It may not be my issue to stress about if I die of embarrassment. 

To be fair it was my mum who taught him ‘doodle’ for his penis. I used the much worse generic term ‘bits’. But I even blame mum for that. I grew up in a house where we all just pretended nobody had any bits. I grew up in a repressed house in the 80s and 90s. I’m not prepared to deal with this new fangled era of body awareness! 

A while back he got a fair whack to the ‘bits’ when he ran (literally ran) into the couch, and as four year olds do, ran over for me to fix it. Through tears and sobs “mummy kiss my doodle better” and I had a big chat with him about how nobody, even mummies and daddies, can kiss doodles better. And if anybody ever tried he had to tell me. So I’ve tried at least.

The biggest problem is that he’s four years old and he has no idea we all have such issues with bits. To him its just the dangly bit wees come out of and its just not a big deal. And I get that. When I was at kindergarten we went swimming and I had no idea why I had to wear bathers. I’d never worn bathers to go swimming in my life! You would absolutely have your children removed from your care if you let them swim at the beach starkers these days. Its up there with leaving them alone in the car or giving them alcohol in their bottle to help them sleep. But back then it was a sea of naked kids. And I honestly don’t remember wondering about anyone’s bits. I’m sure we all had them, but we were kids so they didn’t count. 

I’m going to get in so much trouble the first time he yells “doodle” at kinder.

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4 whole months.

That’s how long Annie and Clarabel lasted before our foray into pet ownership abruptly ended.

It was not my fault. I did not kill our two girls by means of neglect, starvation, forgetting them in the sun on the recent 40°C day, forgetting them to drown in the last two days of constant rain, over feeding, over affection or escape never to been seen again. 

Unfortunately where Isaac’s (my) two girls were concerned I actually wasn’t a bad pet mother at all. 

However, even the best pet owner is completely helpless against a wandering rottweiler who helps himself when you aren’t home.

Also unfortunately, he was one of the sweetest, friendliest, most beautiful dogs I have ever spent an hour of my life with. It wasn’t his fault its in his nature to kill rodents by any means.

We haven’t gotten a dog yet. When we do get one, he is exactly the sort of dog I would like to get. Without the guinea pig killing tenancies of course. Ironically, we haven’t gotten a dog yet because our yard isn’t secure enough to keep both it safe and the neighbourhood safe from it. 

So we’ve spent a very sad day doing things like explaining to a four year old boy that his first two pets aren’t around anymore (they went to go and live with a little boy who was really sad and we thought he needed Annie and Clarabel more than Isaac because Isaac is a very lucky boy who has lots of things and its good to share) and working out what we do now (we’ll find out how our local council is going to deal with it during the week and I’ll sort out a new Annie and Clarabel while I’m at work Wednesday*). If the dog owners can be found, they won’t get their dog back until a resolution to the situation has been found. I really hope they don’t get their dog back at all because they don’t deserve him.

So RIP little girls. I hope there is lots of grass where you are now (trying very hard to forget exactly where they are now).

*I work with a guy who breeds guinea pigs. To eat. For real. I will rescue a couple of those girls from his slow cooker.

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