Dream Weaver

I love sleep. I love it now in a way I could never have remotely fathomed as a child.  A good nights’ sleep is now pretty high up on my list of good things.

The only problem is that I have an annoying tendency to bouts of insomnia – and nowadays I can’t even blame these on the children.  Discounting periods of illness (or freak nightmares in which they are swimming in baked beans), they generally sleep like the proverbial log.

The only good thing about a really bad nights’ sleep, is that the next night will be better. Here’s a brief run-down of how my bad nights tend to go:

0300 HRS:  Open eyes, after realising have been tossing and turning for best part of the night (in actual fact only past 10 minutes).

Immediately screw eyes shut.  Try to envision floaty clouds and peaceful meadows, in vain attempt to block out ‘I wonder what time it is? I bet it’s 3am. Why do I always wake up at 3am?’ type thoughts.

clouds and meadows - insomniac fodder

Please note this image contains both clouds AND meadows, and was taken by someone called ‘Allan’

0315 HRS: Get up, go to toilet (keeping eyes squinty in order to trick body it is still asleep). Tuck self back in bed and snuggle luxuriously into sheets, instructing self to fall into coma-like sleep for next 4 hours.

0317 HRS:  Resist overwhelming urge to look at clock. Tell self it is in fact 7am and alarm has just gone off, in order to trick body/brain into going back to sleep.

0330 HRS:   How can bed be so bloody uncomfortable?

DO NOT look at clock. Do NOT think about time. Time is an imaginary mathematical concept which is based on the motion of matter…

…Except for people who have jobs, and children to boss around, and phone calls to make, and shopping lists to write, and washing that they need to put on first thing in the morning or everyone will run out of underwear and STOP IT!!

Stop thinking about the time and GO to SLEEP.

0344 HRS: Give in and look at clock. I knew it. Why do I always wake up at frigging 3am??

Time is an abstract concept

Time is an abstract concept (image: Milos Janata)

0350 HRS: Commence mini anxiety attack.

Throw covers off and sigh a lot, imagine downward spiral into insanity.  Wonder at possibility of actually having nervous breakdown, and how on earth family would survive while I reside in facility reminiscent of One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest.

0400 HRS:  Remind self have had anxiety attacks in past without ever actually ending up in loony bin. Concentrate on breathing. Be mindful. Or something.

0402 HRS:  Mini anxiety attack retreats.  Feel proud of self for remaining in bed, and not alerting snoring husband to potential need for straight jacket.

Realise, however, that could not possibly be more awake.  Consider merits of Pilates session or vigorous star jumps in lounge room, in order to make use of awake time and unusual craving for exercise.  Attempt to store feeling away for morning, when such prospect is usually akin to poking finger in own eye.


Person who is not me, but could be how I looked if I did ever do pilates (image: myyogaonline)

0411 HRS:  Slip into familiar self-doubting thought pattern, and begin to ponder faults: Sedentary lifestyle, lack of financial plan, greater than ‘healthy guidelines’ alcohol consumption, failure to use legumes and quinoa enough in cooking, frequent use of sarcasm in communicating with children…

0430 HRS:  Remind self of half-decent job raising kids, running household, maintaining health professional status and fact that children don’t have scurvy.  Feel moderately better.

0435 HRS:  Hungry. Soooo hungry. Craving hot dog with mustard, sauce and cheese.

0440 HRS:  Still hungry. Now dreaming of club sandwich.  Try to channel hunger into creative meal ideas for kids involving kale.

Kale and sweet potato pie?

Hot dog with kale leaf in place of bun?

0500 HRS:  Okay, technically morning now. Hear car driving past in distance, and feel simultaneously relieved (that night is over), and sickened (at paltry amount of sleep achieved so far).

Imagine how will feel at 1500 HRS when required to be serious health professional with genuine interest in client. Hit self on forehead repeatedly. Forcibly shut eyes and attempt to conjure up existential ‘sleep window’.

sleep window

This is kind of how I imagine my elusive, existential sleep window (Image: Matthew Peterson)

0525 HRS:  Sleep window?! Where is sleep window?!?  Alarm due to go off in 1hr 35 mins and still no sleep window.

May as well just check phone..  Read blogs/check Facebook/look at photos so as to feel vaguely productive while waiting for sleep window…

0700 HRS:   What!!? Alarm going off! Shit!!

Extremely up to date with everything ever posted on Facebook, yet no sleep or creative meal plans involving superfoods.

0701 HRS:  Oooooh.  Eyes really heavy now.  Bed so warm and comfortable.

Maybe just ‘rest’ eyes for a sec while mentally preparing for the day….



My (attempted) technology break

This weekend we put in some serious family bonding time, travelling down the Great Ocean Road, to a remote farm property near Johanna Beach.  A family love-in, if you will. With no wifi, and no 3G coverage.  Yeeeek.

When we arrived late Friday afternoon, we were greeted by the farm owners and their beautiful cattle dogs Charlie Brown and Zach.  They took us on a tour of the property, and encouraged us to use the produce as needed.

After 5 hours of togetherness in the car, all that space and fresh air was like a tonic to the soul.  I was just a little discombobulated, when I found I couldn’t access Instagram to post a picture of the kids with the dogs.

Zac the sheepdog

Looks like we have to get a dog then…

We were shown to our wooden cottage with views of the serene hills dotted with cows, sheep, and the occasional kangaroo.   Ah… the serenity.  And yet, I quickly worked out that if I stood on the balcony with my arms outstretched, I could sometimes get enough reception to refresh my Facebook feed.  

We also met a very opinionated sheep called Barbara, who was well-trained in the art of voice projection.

In the morning we were hounded out of bed by kids eager to check the nesting boxes for breakfast eggs and feed the sheep.  So off I trudged – sleepy, make-up-free and clad in sensible footwear.  I made sure my phone was securely in pocket, ready to capture the picking, plucking and gathering activities.  Annoyingly however, the sheep were unable, (or just unwilling) to divulge any secret wifi hotspots.

PlumsWe took to the road again Saturday for some obligatory sights – the Apostles, Port Campbell beach, and a cheese farm.  All beautiful.  And along the way, I checked my phone and found the sky hadn’t fallen in on social media.

Back at the farm that evening, we opened a bottle of sparkling for an anniversary toast, and took in the stunning view together for a few minutes.  But when Cam returned to cooking the dinner, and the kids went checking for eggs (again), I found myself walking 500 metres up a hill, to post this pic to Instagram.

Serenity... and Moet

Moet: meet the cows. Cows: this is Moet.

The farmer looked at me like I was a little bonkers, as I waved down to him – glass in one hand and phone in the other.  Maybe he was right.

After dinner (and handwashing of many dishes) we all sat together on the couch and indulged in a bit of Winter Olympics heckling and local cheese eating.  Now this was quality family time.  We turned in for an early night, while the fog rolled in and a gentle rain started on the iron roof.  Arguably the best sound around.

All in all it was a spectacular weekend away from my laptop.  And if it wasn’t for bloody Barbara and her nocturnal exclamations, I could say it’s the most tranquil few days I’ve had in as long as I can remember.

Barbara the sheep

Barbara (old windbag)

(my laptop’s on a) Midnight Train to Georgia

Hello!  I’m back.  And I hope you’ll see me posting a little more frequently (and certainly more succinctly) from now on.  You see, I’ve been to a blogging workshop this weekend, and for the first time – well – ever, I’ve had the time and space to focus on what I want this blog to be.  I’ve been fortunate enough to have been mentored for a few days by Melbourne writer Karen Andrews, of Miscellaneous Mum.  And now it’s over to me to put all of that wisdom imparted into practice right here.  

No pressure to be brilliant or anything…

My hello! coffee, West Village, NYC

My hello! coffee, West Village, NYC

As a few of you will know, I’ve been writing about my experiences as a parent, and as a 30-something-turned-40-something woman for a little while now.  In fact, it’s been almost a year since my first nail-biting, bumbling foray into the blogiverse.

This time last year I was floating around on my own little cloud 9, looking ahead to two wonderful, child-free weeks in New York City.  The blog was merely a seed of a thought, and my anxieties around leaving our two children for that length of time had taken shape as my own personal guilt-gremlins (who were prodding me at regular intervals).

Sadly, there’ll be no international jet-setting for us this year, but with school and kinder now up and running, I find myself with just a fraction more time to myself, and a hankering to be creative.  I figure it’s time to put some concerted effort into Life is a Minestrone, and see what comes about.  You’ll be pleased to know that I also plan on putting a concerted effort into drinking coffee, and indulging in the occasional nap on the couch.  I figure I deserve at least that, after 7 years of having to go to the toilet with an audience. 

Many of you have been generous in reading my verbose accounts so far, and have made me feel so encouraged with your liking and sharing (ooh, and I do love the comments!).  It’s gratifying to see that people are reading my musings, and that they’re eliciting the odd chortle from time to time.  

So here ends my little Hello speech.  But I’ll leave you with a valuable life lesson I learnt this weekend on my way home from blogging school:

It turns out that you (that is, I) don’t need to be drunk, or otherwise incapacitated, to do really stupid things on public transport.  For example, disembarking a train carriage carrying only a telephone and a water bottle, and failing to remember that when you boarded the carriage, you were in possession of a bag (containing laptop and credit card).  Oops.  Double oops.

Flinders St Station

Bye bye laptop bag….(Photo: Omer Ziv)

The good news story is that I was saved from my stupidity by a very nice end-of-line station-master, and a very forward-thinking husband (who immediately threw the children into the car for ‘a big train chase’), after my panicked call.  He was on the platform at Lilydale when the train arrived, and had said laptop bag delivered straight into his arms.  Computer, credit card, cash, all intact.

I did have a good forty minutes or so though, to ponder my idiocy, and imagine all the ways I was utterly screwed if someone did decide to adopt my bag as their own.  There were many self-inflicted mental slaps about the face, during that time.

View from Melbourne train

An idiot’s view (Photo: Yuyang Rihcard Lu)

As a result, I am in the process of drafting a policy document for myself around the use of smart phones and various (very engrossing) social media on public transport.

If you’re so inclined, you can join me in my sheepishnes, and tell me about something equally stupid that you’ve done in recent times.

It can’t possibly be just me… Can it?