For the later part of this year, fabulous has been in short supply, for me anyway. For that reason I have let this littIe corner of the interweb lie dormant. A few times I even thought perhaps it should be decommissioned, shut down and forgotten. It seemed there was nothing fabulous to report. I tried, many times, to write something that was worthy of a page dedicated to fab but I felt like a fraud.
“If you can’t say anything fabulous then don’t say anything at all”
The fact is, I need to find fabulous more than ever cos, like plenty of people, I am drowning in the bilge water of life right now. If organising my thoughts into some meaningful structure and sending them out into the World is how I locate the sequins in the sewer then that is what I am going to do.
If those names mean nothing to you then you can be forgiven, after reading this, for thinking I am certifiable.
If you do know (and appreciate) who those bands are then you will understand why, on discovering that they were playing on the same bill, for ONE gig, in early July 2014 were compelled to purchase tickets to attend that historical gathering of Rock and Metal fabulousness!
Yes, it is true that the evening we bought the tickets we had had a couple of glasses of wine with G’s great friend and fellow music enthusiast (known to the girls as Uncle Toy). It is possible, that we were a little rash in making the decision but… ‘fuck it’… as my wise father would say… you only live once!
The morning after, with what could be described as a slight headache, I checked my emails and found the confirmation. We had indeed bought four tickets to see Ozzie, Mike and Chris play at British Summer Time in Hyde Park, London on July 4th. This was really happening people!
There were a few minor logistical issues that I needed to sort out:
G had no leave… no problem! His boss thought the idea was just crazy, batshit, mad enough that he let him take a week off (BEST BOSS EVER)
We have three children (and the concert was during the school holidays)… sorted! My mother thought the idea was just crazy batshit mad enough, and loves her grand babies and us so much, that she agreed to take them for a week (BEST MOTHER EVER)
Oh and then there is the fact that London is rather a long way from Brisbane, Australia. Actually, a really long way away. Thank goodness for frequent flyer miles!
So… to tell a long story in a few hastily snapped pictures (courtesy of G)…
Was it worth it?
Absolutely. Every jet-lagged, fucking moment! It helped that our tickets gave us front row access!
Mike Patton and Faith No More were… Epic! They played mid- afternoon. It was hot and the crowd of 50,000 were half-cut and dehydrated but from the moment the ‘Vicars’ stepped out onto the stage (or should I say onto the alter) we worshipped before them. Patton was deliciously wicked, shouting obscenities from “the exorcist” at the exalted crowd. For me, turning to see G and Uncle Toy, eyes glazed with devotion, singing every word of every song, they seemed transformed, was almost as great as seeing Patton do his thing. Faith No More also played two new songs at the end of the set. We witnessed a real miracle. Praise Jesus, you motherfuckers!
The irony of their Anthem Midlife Crisis was not lost on me as I surveyed the crowd. There were plenty of hot young forty-somethings (myself included) reliving a misspent youth. There were also an impressive number of black clad grandpas (and grandmas) rocking out to Mike while they waited for Ozzie to take them back to the time of their life. Some of the band shirts sported by the crowd seemed to have shrunk a little since their original purchase as they stretched across they middle-aged bellies of the fans!
Impressively though, I estimate that more than half of the audience I saw were young music lovers. Many of those I spoke to were musicians themselves, aspiring, gigging or enthusiasts, there to pay homage to the some of the most influential Rock and Metal Gods of all time.
Soundgarden? Sublime. G saw them touring on the back of ‘Superunknown‘ in Brisbane in 1994. 20 years since the album was released. At Hyde Park they played it Start to Finish. Musically and technically incomparable. Chris Cornell IS Rock! Be still my beating heart.
The sun was setting as Sabbath took to the stage. I was nervous, ready for anything, even a vaguely comic swan song, from the Fathers of Metal. To be fair, Ozzie did ‘amble’ rather than ‘stride’ onto the stage and for the first 5 minutes I was worried he might not remember the words (not that he needed to, the audience sang every word of the opening number, War Pigs).
I don’t know how I could ever have doubted.
WHAT A SHOW!
To quote Uncle Toy, ‘You are witnessing the birth of Metal, people’.
Ozzie was Ozzie. Relentless and Magnetic.
Tony Iommi? To quote Uncle Toy again, ‘A fountain of riffs’.
Into the Void, Iron Man, God is Dead…
It was loud. It was hard. It was spectacular. It was exhausting.
It was fabulous.
Thanks for reading. Now go listen to some music!
Yeah, fairies wear boots and you gotta believe me
Yeah I saw it, I saw it, I tell you no lies
Yeah Fairies wear boots and you gotta believe me
I saw it, I saw it with my own two eyes,
Oh all right now!
A couple of weekends ago, whilst driving to Bunnings (an Australian hardware superstore) on an emergency plumbing mission, my iPod randomly started playing, Mad World* and I found myself on the side of the road gulping through heaving tears of overwhelmed exhaustion.
The outburst, obviously necessary, lasted a short while and I soon pulled myself together enough to finish my journey and mission. We now have a working washing machine, not to mention transformers for all our ‘asian plugs’, a high pressure hose, paint, glue and a compost bin for the back yard…my personal version of retail therapy!
Yes, finally, we have moved from our temporary accommodation into a place to call our own, at least for a little while. Despite our best efforts and a close call, we didn’t find a home to buy. Then our ‘stuff’ arrived from Lao prompting the need for a quick decision so, for now, we are shacking up in a cheap and cheerful rental house with lots of bedrooms, creaky pipes and sloping floors and a possum living in the ceiling (though some nights I think perhaps it is an elephant or family of hippos hosting an all night rave up there).
As it happens the place has a lovely energy about it, despite being old and full of ‘personality’. We are on a quiet street with lots of lovely neighbours. The kids now have scooters (even little Chilli) and spend hours cruising up and down the footpaths, to the park, shops, school… with me traipsing along behind carrying all the bags/ hats/ groceries… I am calling it ‘exercise’ rather than slavery!
It is five months since we found out our family was moving back to Australia. Since then I have spent every waking moment, ‘in transition’, managing the practicalities as well as trying my best to guide my daughters through the emotional upheaval. It has been tough and often very lonely. I have wondered more than once if this was the right thing to do (not that we really had a choice in the matter).
Well, I am done with all that now. This is our new life. It is a very different life to the one we knew in Lao (Footpaths for goodness sake) but it is still interesting and privileged and full of opportunities for adventure.
It is time for me to get back to living… dreaming, growing and finding my fabulous!
I am going to start today with something completely frivolous and self indulgent… a long overdue visit to the hairdresser!
I like change. It keeps life interesting. But this month things are moving way too fast for me. Have you ever watched a pirated DVD where the sound and image have not quite synced? (of course you haven’t, pirated movies are illegal) I AM LIVING IN THAT MOVIE. My mind is about 3 seconds behind my physical reality… it just can’t process the changes quickly enough. Needless to say, where possible I am avoiding social interactions. I just come off like a total retard.
Firstly. My big princesses returned to school. Relief. Pride. A touch of sadness.
It is no secret (read this… or this… or this) that I find found the Summer Holidays challenging. I returned from drop off on their first day back, collapsed on the bed a cried. I had made it to the end. No-one was dead or seriously injured. Threads of my sanity remained intact. Despite my fears and doubts and moments of being the most ‘yellingest, horrible, most mean mummy in the world’, mostly it was good… dare I say fun… dare I say rewarding.
Seeing them return to a familiar environment made me realise how much they had grown over the break. They are rare and caring little people. Mostly, I am proud of my daughters.
Then, a few days later there was this change…
My baby, my littlest heart, started part-time in the toddlers program at the school. MY BABY! She looked so small with her skirt length around her ankles and her backpack dwarfing her frame. She looked so big with her hair in pigtails, grinning from ear to ear as she showed off her uniform.
‘Mine! Mine! Mine!’, she exclaimed loudly… and repeatedly. ‘Same, same sista! MINE!’
But, of course, She didn’t let me off lightly. The were tears. Tears of indignation. Tears of anger, confusion, pleading, fear.
Week three and now there are sniffles. ‘No cry, no cry, no cry!’, she repeats to herself as she buries her head in my neck at drop off. ‘No cry. no cry, no cry!’, I repeat to myself as I walk back to the car each morning.
There was also this…
What an exciting milestone for this 6-year-old. Though I can hardly understand how it happened. It seems to me that only a few weeks ago we celebrated the arrival of the very same tooth.
Heartbreakingly, said tooth was washed down the drain by the overeager 6-year-old, who was trying to make it shiny for the tooth fairy. A handwritten note of apology slipped under the pillow seemed to placate the forgiving and generous tooth fairy. However, I was absolutely devastated, still am.
There have been changes on the domestic front too. Despite the myriad ongoing niggling maintainance issues, ‘The Big Wooden House’ has become home to our little family here in Laos, so after some consideration, we decided to renew our lease.
With the realisation that we would be staying here for a while longer my inner ‘Martha Stewart’ has been unleashed on our home. I have been in a frenzy. Each room has been examined with a forensic zeal. Clean, reorganise, reposition, keep, sell, gift, toss. New furniture and new beginnings. Exhausting but rewarding toil…and necessary as our family grows and changes.
There have been bittersweet partings with the no-longer-necessary equipment of babyhood. Another reminder that my baby ain’t such a baby anymore.
As a result of all this activity, Chilli has moved out of the nursery and she and her big sisters now sleep in one room. New beds are on order and soon even the cot will be a memory. They love sharing a bedroom, though each has a place for their own favourite treasures.
Our bedroom has also been under scrutiny. We have a new bed, finally. A bed big enough to accommodate me, G and at least one.. two…or even three extra guests without relegating me to the couch.
But what of the former nursery?
This is what it looks like now…
In an act of sefishness, or perhaps self preservation, I have claimed it. It is MY room. I am filling it with MY favourite treasures. This will be my nest. What am I nurturing in here? The part of me that has been neglected. The me that is longing to be inspired. The part of me that is fabulous!
To start, I am going to sit for a moment and catch up with my body.
Here in Lao, as in many parts of the World, it is Summer Holidays. Coming from Australia, I find this hard to digest. Summer, as far as I am concerned, is December/ January. It is soaring temperatures and expeditions to the beach, Christmas, New Year!
July/August should be cold and wet, I should be accessorising with an assortment of fabulous scarves and battling chilling winds. Instead, Laos is giving me ferocious storms, 100% humidity and hot, hot, heat!
‘Summer Holidays’ meant nothing to me until I had children… and those children started going to school… and school- decided that for 8 weeks, ‘over summer’, I would be responsible for my offspring 24hrs-a-day, 7-days-a-week.
For fucks sake! SERIOUSLY!
So here I am, almost one week into the ‘Summer’… again! What a strange time. What a pot-luck of highs and lows.
The best part has been waking up in the morning and not having to cajole, humour, threaten, bribe and yell to get us all out the door – preferably fed, cleaned and dressed – before 7:45am each morning. Instead, there have been long morning cuddles and leisurely showers, albeit with a toddler and two little people sharing the bathroom with me.
Watching Monkey and Pigeon play with their little sister, chasing her around the house as she squeals with delight, dancing together, smashing the poor keys on our keyboard to create a sisterly symphony of tuneless noise, more squeals of delight… I find myself clutching my chest as it bursts with love and pride.
What’s more, for the most part, I find myself enjoying the company of my older daughters.
This week we have had our hair cut, our nails done, we have seen a contemporary dance performance. There have been several play dates, a shopping expedition across the boarder into Thailand. They have crafted and painted and made cookies and swum. There has been a trip to the Dentist and several trips to the clinic for a variety of ailments. We have even had a wart removed (I won’t say who or from where!!). We have been really busy and it has been fun.
But by this afternoon, we were all exhausted. Chilli was doing circle work and walking into walls well before 6pm. Pigeon, who had nothing left to give, lay on her bed in the fetal position weeping because, “My eyes are too tired and my nose won’t let me sleep!”.
But it was my eldest who was the most impressive. Around 4pm this afternoon, Monkey morphed into Demonspawn. Two award-winning tantrums in as many hours. She bulls-eyed just about every button she chose to push. She fell asleep, wailing even until her final moments of consciousness, I practically sculled three-quarters of a bottle of red wine and sat in the dark for over an hour before the call of nature dragged me out of my catatonic stupor.
… and this is only week one… fabulous!
Thanks for reading… I make no promises about writing again until the “Summer” ends, but it is good to know you are here if I need you.
Last week was pretty bloody miserable. There were more bodily fluids violently ejected from little bodies than in Monty Python’s “The meaning of Life”. My mother, who is visiting, was overcome by a series of illnesses, culminating in something called tri-geminal neuralgia. This left her incapacitated and plagued with absurd facial spasms that would have been funny had they not been so obviously painful.
I was not immune from whatever horrid bug has been working it’s way through our household. For the record, I can confirm that nausea and cramping are even less pleasant when your abdomen is still healing from major surgery.
Around the time this plague of misery descended on our Big Wooden House, G left for a series of meetings in Australia. Let’s just say I didn’t accept his absence graciously!
In the midst of it all I had to attend a series of handover meetings for a new (temporary) job, which involved juggling sick kids and popping pills to ease my own symptoms so that I could endure the hideously dull training sessions without hurling.
I would love to say I kept my sense of humour throughout. I didn’t! I was grumpy and, on more than one occasion, indulged in a little late-night pity-party for one.
I would love to say I tended my sick brood with only compassion and tenderness but the truth is that there were moments when I just wanted my exhausted, hungry, miserable. clingy, vomiting toddler to leave me alone for five minutes.
There is no denying that the last week sucked. We all hate it when Daddy is away. Sick children break your heart. Vomit smells bad. Dettol smells worse. Feeling sick is… well… feeling sick.
But here’s the thing…
The last few days didn’t suck.
Unexpectedly, Daddy’s trip was shortened and he arrived home early. I missed him so much. His return made all his girls so happy.
I have not opened a Dettol bottle since Monday. Could it be we are all on the mend?
Going to work hasn’t been too bad. Despite the gear change it will mean for out household, I think it might be fun.
I could give away (almost) all my stuff tomorrow and likely find a deeper happiness.
But that does not change the fact that a thing of beauty makes me smile. Like my eldest daughter, I have a strong visual compass. Like my middle child, I am a sentimental fool and will cherish an item because it reminds me of a person I love or a moment of great joy.
Last weekend we introduced Monkey and Pigeon to the the fabulous Julie Andrews and the pure unadulterated kitsch that is The Sound of Music. It is rainy season here in Laos and ‘These are a few of my Favourite Things’, has since been sung, repeatedly, during the many recent thunder storms.
So in celebration of Julie and Stuff and Love…here are a few of MY favourite things… (forthis week anyway!)
I bought this vintage bag a few weeks ago at a market stall in Bangkok during a very special weekend with a fabulous yummy mummy friend of mine. I love everything about it. It sparkles. It is fringed. It is a little bit OTT and a big bit glam. Though it has not yet been out for a spin in public yet, I have been guilty of carefully taking it out of its tissue wrapping and wearing it around the house, just to catch a glimpse of it in the bathroom mirror… soon my pretty, soon!
YOU ARE MY FAVOURITE WORK OF ART
I saw this beautiful painting at H Gallery in Bangkok in 2009 and fell in love with it. The painting evokes in me a sense of serenity and belonging. In 2011 we visited H again and coincidentally the Artist, Khun Therdkiat, was having another exhibition. His style had evolved quite a bit but I was still enthralled by his work. I commented, in passing, about the pigeon series and the painting that had captured my heart all those years ago. H rushed into the warehouse and 10 minutes later he and his assistant emerged with the very painting I was talking about. At 2.5 metres wide it had been difficult to find a buyer. The artist, on hearing our little love story, sold it to us for a substantial discount.
We checked the bloody thing in as oversized baggage and carried it, frame and all, back to Laos where it now lives.
It will one day be left to our Pigeon, for obvious reasons.
MOTHER’S LITTLE HELPER
I heart my expresso machine. With children who think pre-dawn is an acceptable time to start the day, I NEED this mechanised medicine machine. Perfect with Lao local beans (remarkably good if you haven’t tried them). G and I take it in turns to crank out thick, black shot’s for eachother in the morning, a simple act of devotion and caring.
THE BEST CHAIR IN THE WORLD
My grandfather died when I was 7 (or maybe 8). This was his chair. Bossy’s Chair. This was the chair he sat and smoked his pipe in. Watched the news in. Read the paper in. There was just room enough in this chair for me to wriggle my way onto his lap for hugs and tickles and silly stories…’Get away you scallywag!”
This chair used to be dark red vinyl (God bless the 70’s). Thirty years ago my Grandmother had it recovered in a more subtle shade. I’m not sure how I was lucky enough to end up with the chair but since it has been my possession it has travelled with me from house to house, state to state, and now country to country. It is battered and beaten and badly in need of repair. Soon it will be restored… in dark red (leather if possible). There is just enough room in this chair for my girls for snuggle up with their dad, or mum, or grandpa for tickles and cuddles and silly stories.
This is Bossy’s Chair.
THE PERFECT SHADE OF RED
For years I have envied those women who could pull off daring, red lipstick without looking like they rented by the hour. I have never had any success with the scarlet shades, though my mother would likely say I spent much of the 80’s dressing like a streetwalker!
I stumbled across RoxyVintageStyle.com when I was in Bangkok recovering after my surgery. That girl OWNS her Ruby Red’s. Inspired, I made it my personal mission to find just just the right rouge. Shopping for cosmetics in Bangkok’s large department stores is a lot of fun. The sales assistants are all passionate about their product… and mostly men… dressed as women! Ever so helpful and as excited as I was by the task at hand, ‘the girls’ and I had a lovely time finding the perfect shade for me. Obviously, such a hue is not for the everyday but I can’t deny I do love my little red pout.
The winning shade, (for those who are interested)… Channel Rouge Allure no.104 Passion
There you have it, five of my favourite fabulous things!
It would make my day if you wanted to share your favourite stuff.