Physique Fail.

Hand-drawn Cartoon: An elderly lady stands in conversation with wild-hair Kate.  The old lady is pointing at Kate's stomach.  Kate is wearing a black dress and pearls.  The old lady's speech bubble contains a picture of a baby and a question mark.  Kate's speech bubble contains a picture of McDonald's fries and a full stop.  Caption reads: "Awkward..."

I have a problem.

Everybody thinks I’m pregnant.

I have started to keep a bitter tally of the well-meaning parish ladies, hapless school dads and soon-to-be-mortified kinder mums who have leaned in conspiratorially whilst casting affectionate glances at my belly and asked when the baby was due.  That’s my lunch you’re looking at, folks.

Food babies: I can’t seem to eat a meal without entering a phantom gestational stage.  If the meal were to contain wheat or onion or – God forbid – beans, it’s enough to send me well into my second trimester.  And my weakness for liquorice jubes doesn’t help matters.

You might remember my attempts at running.  I had great hopes that my weekly lolloping through the park might eventually result in a non-pregnant physique.  Running gave me lovely, slender arms and legs, all muscular and lithe, which only helped to accentuate my completely unaffected designer bump.

So I got this DVD – Pilates for Dummies – and I think I might be too dumb for it.  This impossibly cheerful American lady in a leotard contorts herself into myriad positions whilst reminding me to “pull my navel to my spine” and “maintain the ‘C’ shape”.  By the time I’ve convinced my body to bend into a lame counterfeit of leotard lady’s, the children are all out of bed and decide it’s “jump on Mummy” time.

Then I thought about Shape Wear.  Those magic underpants and skirts and things that try to compress your stomach and all your vital organs into a shape approximating that of a photoshopped model.  Last week, I went on a special date with my husband.  It took me twenty minutes to successfully climb into my brand-new Miracle Pants and another ten to stop bits of flab from poking out in strange places.

It was as we were dropping off the children at my parents’ (all dolled up in my LBD and expensive lipstick) that I ran into the school secretary from my old primary school.

“What lovely children you have!  And are you…?” she beamed, nodding at my midriff.

I shook my head apologetically.  Her eyes filled with panic, but her smile stayed valiantly in place.

“Well, what I mean to say is, you always look so lovely…”, she finished lamely and we quickly ran away from each other.

Now I’ve decided the problem is not me, it’s OTHER PEOPLE.  Surely there should be some rule: Don’t Ask a Woman if She Is Pregnant.  Simple, straightforward, easy to follow.  If a woman approaches you with a prominent bump, panting, and says “Please call me an ambulance – my contractions are two minutes apart!”, you should blink and say “but, whatever for?”

People are stupid and they have no social skills.  This righteous anger has carried me all through the week.  Yesterday, I was chatting to one of the kinder mums about school holidays.  “Having both of them at home full-time is too much for me,” she said, “I don’t know how I’m going to cope when the next one comes”

“Oh, I didn’t realize,” I say, frowning at her stomach, “are you expecting?”

Her face fell.  “When the next school holiday comes,” she said in a small voice, “because, um, it’s longer…”

I felt horror-struck.  There was nothing I could do.  I knew from experience that any backpedalling I might attempt would only make things worse.  I could already see that she had retreated inside herself, and that her head was helpfully playing a reel of Stars Who Lost Their Baby Fat Whilst Still in the Delivery Ward and Thigh Gap and Disney Princesses Whose Waists are as Narrow as their Necks.

The pause that followed was very pregnant.  I had become my own worst nightmare.  I reached into my pocket.

“Erm … would you like a liquorice jube?”

Not a God Post

toast in toaster

This is not a God post.  I wish it were.  I haven’t written a God post for ages.  I long to write something witty and heartfelt and spiritual and profound.  But you just won’t find that here.  I’m sorry.

I look back at the God posts I used to write, Soul Diet and Mary, Help of Kitchens and Clomp, Clomp, Clomp.  What gives?  I used to be so spiritual, so tuned in to my faith.  And Mrs Monk.  Did you ever read Mrs Monk?  I was so holy when I wrote that.  I wanted to “transform my home from domestic to monastic in eight easy steps”.  I totally wrote that.

I guess I’m just not like that at the moment.  I think that’s why I haven’t written a God post in such a long time.  I don’t feel like I have anything to offer.

It’s not like there’s something very wrong.  I’m not having a crisis of faith (I’m really not that interesting a person).  God and I are still on good terms.  I’ve just lost the sort of rich, fragrant faith that permeates everything I do and everyone I meet.  Instead, I have something a bit stale and cold.  Kind of like the toast you put on for breakfast, but then forget about until the end of the day when you happen to look at the toaster again.

It wasn’t some big, dramatic change either.  Bit by bit, I’ve somehow lost all of my prayer habits.  I used to be in this lovely mum’s prayer group that met every week, but that stopped running.  I used to meditate as I hung out the washing, but when rainy weather came, I had to resort to clothes horses and dryers (and wearing dirty clothes) and sort of fell out of practice.  I used to get up early each morning and read the bible and pray, but – and this one’s really embarrassing – when the house next door was demolished, a mouse moved in downstairs (lured in, no doubt, by the smell of abandoned toast).  I was so terrified of spending alone-time with this small, nocturnal beastie that I stopped getting up before dark and gave up on my morning prayer ritual.  For the record, the mouse’s sojourn was very short-lived, but the damage had been done.  This is why I always maintain that mice and rats are the DEVIL’S CREATURES.  Ugh!

I can sort of see why the Church insists on Sunday Mass attendance, much as it makes her sound like a bossy parent.  It’s like an anchor when all else falls away.  If it wasn’t expected of me, if the deal was “Come along whenever you feel like it” or “whenever you feel up to it ” or “whenever you feel holy enough“, then that would be the end of it, I would keep sliding away until I had nothing.

So what’s the solution?  How do I find butter for my cold-dry-toast faith?

Well, I guess part of it is in what I’ve just done.  I had to overcome my pride to write this awkwardly-worded post.  I say I talk about ‘God in the Mess’, but I would rather avoid the mess.  I would prefer to have it all together all of the time.  To be such an awesome Christian that I don’t even need God at all.  The rest, I suppose has something to do with little things.  In building back gently what has been so gradually eroded.

There might even be a God post in that.

Barking

Sometimes I think I might be a crazy person. Especially when it comes to crochet.
An idea will drop into my head, perfect and fully formed, that will send me into a frenzy of wool and stitches. I won’t be able to rest until I’ve snipped and woven in the last end of yarn. And I won’t know until the moment the handmade gift is opened whether I’ve created something special and wonderful and right-on-the-mark; or lame, attention-seeking and deserving of pity.

I wanted to share with you my latest piece of insanity.

Mr Knightley’s sister, whom I’m going to call Audrey (if he were called Mr Darcy, I could call her Georgiana, I suppose, but I digress…), lives in a different city to us with her husband and two daughters: two-year-old Holly and newborn Eliza.  They also have three big and very loveable dogs.  Now, when Eliza was born, I put my head to thinking what I could make for her.  Unfortunately, my brain had other ideas, and thought instead of a great present for Holly.  I figured Holly might need a present more than her baby sister, babies get enough fuss!

Holly is devoted to her three big dogs, which is what gave me the idea.  What if I made her three toy puppies, modelled on her favourite playmates?  And the idea wouldn’t leave.  So I had to make them.

Crocheted Dog - Fudge

Here is Fudge, a brown Labrador, and the eldest of the three;

crocheted dog - jet

This is Jet, a black Labrador who is very excitable;

Crocheted Dog - Trumpet

And here is Trumpet, a black poodle, who is more shy and sensible than his friends.

Trumpet's Tail

And he has a curly tail.

Each dog has his own collar, bed and blanket in a matching colour.  I like to think this makes them all very Montessori.  I don’t like to think that pointing this out makes me all very pretentious sounding…

I didn’t want to forget Baby Eliza entirely, so I made Miss Doolittle a soft ball which makes a crunchy sound when you squeeze it. I spent many of my days testing various plastic wrappers for sound quality before putting the best ones in with the stuffing.  People think I’m odd.

Crocheted Ball

It’s not as round as I would like it, but thankfully Eliza does not yet understand the basics of geometry, so I think I’ll get away with it…

The pattern I used for the dogs is the very clear and well written “Puppy Love” by Beth Ann Weber on the By Hook By Hand blog.   The dogs’ collars, beds and blankets are my own design, as is the ball (which explains the wonkiness).

presents

And here are the presents all together.  My parents-in-law were travelling to visit Audrey and her family, so I packed it all in a shoe box (I resisted the temptation to use a “Hush Puppies” box), wrapped it nicely and gave it to them to deliver.

Now I was stuck.  I wouldn’t know until the gift was opened if the present was good or not.  And I wouldn’t be there to see them open it.  While the box remained closed, the present was simultaneously lovely and lame.  This is a paradox known as Schrödinger’s Dogs.

Thankfully, my sister-in-law called to thank me soon after they received the present.  Holly had fallen in love with the little dogs and had been playing with them all day.  Huzzah!

As for me, my fingers are starting to itch again!

Look Look Look!

I wrote another article for Seton Magazine. And they’ve totally published it!

http://www.setonmagazine.com/family/grandparents/absent-without-leave-learning-to-live-with-my-gadabout-grandparents

The editor added the subtitle, but it’s not entirely accurate.  My husband’s parents are not also my grandparents.  I live in Victoria, not Tasmania!

Look at me: stay-at-home-mum and part-time freelance author!

Ghost Post

Or “The Post Who Walks”

I’ve been doing a lot of crochet of late.  I don’t know why it is.

I can go for ages without picking up a hook and I think I’ve given it up, but then, for no reason, I get haunted by ideas for woolen items and my fingers itch for my crochet hooks and my over-abundant stash of yarn.

Here’s one of the latest creations my itchy fingers made.  It’s more than a little daft, which I think is why I like it so much.

Phantom Tea Cosy

I made it for my cousin Joey Ramone. (actually, he’s Mr Knightley’s cousin, but, along with all his good ballpoint pens, I like to claim my husband’s extended family as my own).  If you are Facebook friends with my blog, you might know Joey as a regular and supportive commenter (only he calls himself ‘Adam’) for both my and Matilda’s posts.  In fact, Joey has been very supportive of our homeschooling efforts all year, and it was his birthday and I wanted to say thank you.

Joey Ramone is a big fan of The Phantom.  I’m pretty sure he has a tattoo of Lee Falk’s most famous character on his arm (or leg?  I can’t remember…).  Plus he loves a cup of tea, so a Ghost Who Walks tea cosy seemed the obvious choice.  But, strangely enough, I couldn’t find a pattern for such a creation.

Phantom Tea Cosy

When I searched for “The Phantom”, I got a lot of hits for “The Phantom of the Opera”, so I searched for “The Phantom the Ghost Who Walks Crochet”.  Google asked, “Did you mean “The Phantom The Ghost Who Walks crotch?“, which I thought was highly disturbing.  No, Google.  No I didn’t.  You are sick, Google.

In the end, I designed my own pattern (oh, yes, I totally did).  It took me a while to understand that Kit Walker’s head is more of a rounded rectangle than an oval or a circle, and then everything else fell into place.  I had a go at drawing my design onto graph paper, and then hooked it in rows following my little pattern.  I made a basic cover for the teapot, finishing it with a button from Nan’s stash and then sewed the motif on.  I wanted to stitch “The Ghost Who Walks” on the reverse side, but it looked lame, so I left it blank.

Graph paper pattern

Joey Ramone was really happy with his birthday present and I was really happy with his reaction (I might have hopped around and clapped my hands a bit.)

If anybody would like a go at making a Phantom motif (I can assure you, it exists nowhere else on the internet!), drop me a line in the comments.  If enough people are interested, I’ll draw up a tutorial and post it in my “Hooky Business” section.

It would be really cool if The Phantom had a famous catchphrase that I could sign off with here, but I don’t think he does.  “See you in the Skull Cave!”? “Old jungle saying: tea cosy keep tea hot!”?  Nope.

Bye, then.

Looking back…

katelikestocreate:

My wonderfully talented sister wrote this about our grandmother. The little girl in the second photo is me!

Originally posted on EmilyofOldMoon:

A little over a year ago my dear, sparkling, much adored grandmother (or Mama as we lovingly called her) passed away. I wrote some words in my journal back then, when I had first heard the news. In truth, writing words down doesn’t really help the pain of the goodbye, but it can help try to capture in some way a mere slice of the vast joy that was the “hello”. Seeing as it was her birthday recently I thought I would post a little blog for her and include some of my journal writing from last year.

One of my favourite photos of Mama and me from Christmas a few years back- such joy!

One of my favourite photos of Mama and me from Christmas a few years back- such joy!

When someone transforms from a person who Is to a person who Was, so much changes. Suddenly your experience of them becomes that of an observer, looking upon their masterpiece of life- as opposed to seeing them as a person with…

View original 388 more words

Awkward Post

cup cosies

Oh, Blog!

It’s been such a long time, and I’ve missed you like a person.

When we’ve been apart so long, it starts to get a little awkward.   I don’t know what to say.  I can’t just pick up where we left off, words pouring out onto the back of an old envelope as I wait in the car for netball to finish.  It’s not that easy.  We need to spend some quality time together and that can be tricky to arrange.

I can’t believe I missed your birthday.  And I never finished Art in August with you, even thought I have photos in my phone.  I’m sorry.

But, Blog, I’ve got some great news.  Lovely M (the patron saint of sanity) has volunteered to look after the kids for a couple of hours and sent me out to the library to write.

And, oh Blog, I’ve so much to talk to you about!

But first, we must have this awkward and rather self-indulgent post to break the drought.   Bloggy small-talk.

I hope you don’t mind.