Thursday, April 28, 2011

Job Hunting

So today, between episodes of Survivor China (yes, I'm hooked and if I was American, I would apply to go on the show), I updated my resume. Well, not really updated it. I actually made one that was traditional and formal and didn't refer to my giving birth or marrying a rockstar.

Then, still from the comfort of my own home, I sent out a dozen CVs in the hopes of scoring some work. Most jobs were for online websites looking for content, so hopefully some of them will be happy to have my work submitted via the interwebs, rather than me having to move to Sydney or something drastic.

I'm actually pretty hopeless at the traditional job hunting thing. Almost every job I've ever gotten is because I knew someone or sent in some crazy version of an application or resume. I don't think I've ever scored work through a chronological list of my achievements and my education and jobs. Hell, if I listed every job I've ever had, you'd need more than a page or two, even if I didn't list my duties!

So I'm hoping that kind of luck will still stick with me as I accidentally sent my "less traditional" resume (which can be read in an early blog posting) to at least three future employers. I had two versions of CV saved and still feeling a bit lightheaded from the monster migraine I suffered a few days ago, I attached the more lighthearted version of my life. I'm hoping that the people that get it, will actually get it and see what a witty yet hard working writer I am. That resume probably speaks more about me and tells more about my highs and lows than any other version I've written in my life.

Do people prefer the polished and shined version of a potential employee's life or do they like a resume that gives them a real sense of what that person is really like and what they've done? Both CV's are the truth, they just tell portions of the story from different angles.

I'm interested to see the feedback, that's for sure.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Mushroom Man

This painting is part of a series that I did just before I moved to Australia. I consider it a self portrait cos it basically is how I felt at the time that I did the original sketch.

The original sketch was done when I was about nineteen,  living in a warehouse in Toronto and working in a nightclub. I used to wear army boots, cut off overalls, lacy bras and a leather jacket. My hair was platinum blonde in a long bob with a short fringe. I was never without red lipstick. I felt like I was finally in a group of kindred bohemian spirits and was free in a way that I had never been going to high school.

I was loving going to clubs, dancing, sketching and meeting all sorts of wonderful new people. I felt like I was part of a real SCENE. It was a magical time although it didn't really last long.

I eventually went back to Manitoba cos my grandmother was really sick. When she passed away, I moved to Vancouver, then Japan, holidayed in Thailand and went to Europe. I worked in Europe doing portraits, then when the season was done I went back to Manitoba to work for the winter. I then moved to Mexico, then back to Paris for another season doing portraits and then back to Canada. I ended up in Toronto for a few years and then decided to move to Australia.

Before I left I stayed at Mum and Dad's on the farm. They have a massive studio that is the perfect place to create. I had about fifteen or so sketches that I really loved and I decided to put them on a canvass. I had done some paintings before while I was in Mexico, but Dad gave me these round canvasses which felt really natural cos Dad always painted on rounds while I was growing up.

I think I cranked out all the paintings in less than two weeks and finished the last one just before we left. I was definitely riding high on the top of a creative wave and the energy coming out of the brushes was awesome!

So my little mushroom man was all about the joy I felt when I was nineteen and was enjoying again at twenty five, ready to start a new adventure down under! The painting has actually come to Australia now and is at my home. I have a few others from that series, but I know a few were sold, a few were gifted and I'm not sure about the rest.

I think the sketches are still in the studio so I'll see if I can get Mum or Dad to scan them for me and I'll post them too!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

friends and family

is there anything more wonderful?

Nothing Says Bad Hair Like....

Nothing says bad hair like this ugly haircut.

I don't think anyone can beat me on this.

I was about five months pregnant, my hair had been dark red with a fringe for several years. I thought I would mix it up for the final part of my pregnancy. I'd bring it back to blonde, get it layered and have myself looking all nice just in time to be Joe's plus one at the Aria awards.

Well, that didn't really work out did it.

I believe his name was Pop and he works in Lismore and came highly recommended by Rebecca. Thanks for that, Rebecca! I owe you one!

The guy looked like a typical doofer, albeit a bit old, but no worries. Rebecca's hair always looked fantastic. I explained that I wanted a big of a different look - something a bit shaggy and layered, but not rock chick - more groupie. Or even better - Plus One!

He assured me there would be no problem.

An hour and fifteen minutes later, a hundred or more bucks lighter in the pocket and shell shocked I left the shop wearing my hat. I actually put it on as I paid.

Rebecca asked me why I was wearing my hat. Joe stood in the background shaking his head - Don't mention the war, Rebecca! Don't mention the war.

Wordlessly, I removed my hat.

No one even tried to comfort me with "Oh it looks fine!" or "It will grow out in a few days!" or even "It's so avant garde!"

No. Rebecca went straight to the apologies.

"Oh my god. Oh my god. Carmel. Your hair. Oh my god. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry."

It was so bad I didn't even cry. We just got in the car and drove home. Silently.

I went to my friend Tanya's place for some tea and comfort and she offered to do some waxing to make me feel better. My legs got waxed, my armpits got waxed and then she offered to do my eyebrows.

"Oh my god. Oh my god. Carmel. Your hair. Oh my god. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry."
I only have about ten hairs on each eyebrow and they are all pale. So you wouldn't think you would miss half if they accidentally got waxed off. Well, you would think wrong.

My friend Emjay was going through a difficult divorce at the time and all I know is that these pics were the only thing that made her laugh the entire year.  I mean really.

In the photos, I know I'm not wearing make up and my hair is a bit messy, but I don't really think that is the main problem. One side of my head has distinctly longer hair on top than the other. It's like he was still coming down of whatever pill he had ingested the night before and just started cutting to the sounds of a really bad dance beat.

And then there is the colour. Oh. The colour.

The hair at the roots is black, the mid level roots are fried white and then it goes from.... well as Emjay put it - What is that colour? Tangerine?

And if you look closely at some of the pictures you will see I only have half an eyebrow.

I was at the fat stage of being pregnant. My haircut was absolute shit. My hair colour was something that looked better on seeded fruit. I looked like a cross between David Bowie in the Ziggy Stardust days and an extra from the musical Cats. With a missing eyebrow.

And the Arias were in less than a week.

Here, There and Every Hair!

Nothing says bad hair like bad hair. And I've had plenty of bad hair. Not just hair cuts.

Lately I've been contemplating dyeing my hair black. I've been natural:

dark natural blonde:

platinum blonde:

strawberry blonde:

dark red:

really really red:

and even dark brown:

But never black. Well only with wigs.

So the question is...should I go there? Or should I stay natural? Or go red again? Or a whole other colour?

I'm finding adding photos is a real pain in the arse on this blog, but if I figure out how to make it easier I will continue adding heaps of photos. My plan is to do a lovely essay dedicated to the worst hair moment in the world, but it requires the adding of photos and that is sending me nuts! lol

So in the meantime feel free to comment on the hair colour of your choice. The brown haired pic is shit, but it's the only one I have so....

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Family fitness

About a year ago (or was it longer? maybe two years ago?) I joined the gym for three months. The first few days were so hard, especially when I had to walk down our front stairs and my body almost collapsed and sent me stumbling down onto the grass. Gradually, after about three weeks, not only did I notice that I felt no pain and I was enjoying going, but I was also looking heaps better! I never weighed myself, so I don't know if it was just losing a few pounds, but I just felt trimmer and stronger and fitter.

Anyway, my Mother's Day three month trial expired and I thought I could keep it up at home as I had been going for an hour and a half a day, five days a week. I thought I knew the routines inside and out and also had the discipline to keep going. I got Joe involved. We worked out hard core for about three days and then Joe twisted an ankle and I hurt my foot and we basically never did it again. Lol.

In the meantime, True has become more interested in getting fit. He enjoys a lot of gaming and I enjoy a lot of computer time and we both enjoy eating well, so I agreed that some sort of routine would be good for us. We got bikes. We go to the beach and swim. He boogie boards, I read books at the beach. But we needed more. We needed someone to make us do it.

The trip every day to Woopi would be hard to organise between school and the fact that Reve is too young to go, so we scratched that idea. Instead we got a Kinect "game" - The Biggest Loser Fitness Program. Joe and I used to enjoy watching The Biggest Loser, usually while we were pigging out on popcorn and chocolate, so I thought True and I could give it a go.

We did it last night and we were in a sweat after twenty minutes. We did a program that was Challenge level but I think it was just right for us. I've done heaps of the exercises before so it was pretty easy for me to follow. True needed a bit of help from me to get what the dude was saying, but he was really into it. And surprisingly, the first thing he said today was that he wanted to give it another go. 

So we've just finished another twenty minute work out, we're hot and sweaty and we are heading to the beach. I'll try and take some before and after pics of us as we go and put them up at some point this week. I'm just really excited to see how we go and I'm stoked that True is going to be my partner in getting back to a great level of health and fitness!

Oh yeah, and Reve sometimes bops along beside us. Or just plays with lego. lol.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


So I've told you about my kids births and today I'm celebrating mine, along with probably ninety percent of the planet. I've been told it's a national holiday in several European nations. Blush!

I asked my mum about my birth on several occasions for several reasons. Dad wasn't there so he's not much help although he did tell me that I was conceived in a tent in Saskatchewan at the time man was on the moon.

Mum said she doesn't remember if it was day or night because apparently there were no windows. WTF?!? Was there no clocks either? No one owned a watch? I think the real reason was that mum was so ripped on gas that she doesn't even remember giving birth. I was out crying and tap dancing doing my best jazz hands and there's mum fighting the nurse for another huff of the puff, insisting that there was another baby on the way. Well there was, but that was eleven months later and another story altogether!

I was the beautiful first granddaughter on both sides, the gorgeous much desired darling daughter and the sweet coveted little sister for the whole family to enjoy. Mornings were now filled with my squeals of pleasure at the breaking of a new day, the house scented with the intoxicating perfume of newborn joy, and i was drinking lustily from the bottle, something I still enjoy doing....

I could go on and on about my other qualities but I'll leave that for everyone else to do in the comments. I'm going to go try out the big rod my darling Joe gave me this morning for my birthday present!

If you need some inspiration I'll include some amazing clips that Joe made of my life....

Monday, April 11, 2011

Rêve's Birth - when I realised it's all pretty funny....

I have a theory… first children are born out of ignorance… y’know, I’ll be glorious and beautiful when pregnant, labor will be five or ten painless minutes and then I’ll be sweeping down the streets wearing something fabulous carrying a gorgeous bub, graciously acknowledging the barrage of oohs and ahhs that accompany our every step. Well it was sorta like that. Cept that labor was thirty six hours and painful enough that when it was over, the first thing I did was look over to my mum and say “I’m never doing that again…”

Second babies, I reckon you have to get knocked up when you are pissed or something. It took me six years to belly up to the baby bar again. Joe, I said, Joe, I’ve been to this place before so I’m easy, I’ve had my drink, but look, if you’re thirsty, I’ll pull out the cork. But it’s now or never Joe, cos I’m ready to hang up the party frock. Well, you know, who could resist an offer like that? Besides, True had convinced us saying that we weren’t a real family until we had a baby… and a cat and a dog… well, he’s got the baby and recently a Digimon for a birthday pressie from a friend, so close enough…
I had only three requests. A tub, a boob job after breastfeeding and a nanny. Right.

We decide to give it a go.

Soon enough, I’m up the duff. I’ve fallen pregnant. Yep, tripped and landed flat in that puddle of sperm. Bun in the oven. We’re having a baby.

Okay, well, now it’s time for the part where I get beautiful. Last time, I had thick blonde hair, gorgeous velour dresses made by my girlfriend Zoe, the most perfect bump in the world, and not even a belch of morning sickness.

Well, this time I didn’t have morning sickness.

But I did have cravings. But not for food. Cravings. Desires. Salivating drooling fetishes. For rubber. For dettol. For vapo rub. For the smell of the garden shed. I’d see a bit of tire blow out from a semi on the side of the road and wish we could stop so I could grab a piece. I found a bit of rubber matt in a store and kept it in my purse to furtively sniff when I thought no one was looking. I’d have long luxurious baths in our piddly little tub under the shower, not with drops of lavender or jasmine, but with a cap or two of dettol. Sometimes I’d just take the lid off and inhale. Vick’s vapo rub in a thick smear under my nose ever night. And I’d volunteer to get anything out of a shed, a cellar or any other musty man room. Mmmm.

Just at that in between bit where you aren’t sure if you are preggers or just kinda getting fat in the can, I decided to take my brilliant red hair and return it to my “natural” blonde as I was sure the baby was going to be blonde and wanted it to look like me. So I booked myself in for a hair appointment in Lismore with a hair “stylist”. I realized too late that … well should I have been more specific about what I wanted? Should I have made sure he wouldn’t use my head as a canvass for creative expression? Should I have made sure he hadn’t spent the night doof doof doofing? Should I have booked  with someone else? Should I have emphasized rock groupie not rock chick?

What was supposed to be a blonde gamine look resulted in something that was a shrill platinum blonde at the roots bleeding into an angry orangey red at the ends. Hair came in every length on my head – literally – like the left side was four inches long and the right side was about four centimeters….it was like Linda Eastman McCartney meets David Bowie in the Ziggy Stardust years… I had my hat on before I left the salon. Luckily for Joe, my pregnancy seemed to have filled me with a zen like calm so I wasn’t hysterical. Unluckily for Joe, he wasn’t blind. It’s not often the love of your life describes your hair as horrific. To your face. And you can’t say anything, because it’s true.

Well, I thought, oozing with a Buddha like calm, it can’t get worse. 

I decided I should pamper myself and wax the old legs, spring had sprung. So off to another girlfriend’s who shall remain nameless cos as a beautician she has a rep to protect. So we are waxing away and I ask her to do my eyebrows. Now that’s a funny one cos I basically only have a dozen or so pale little hairlettes per brow anyway… who would miss em if they disappeared? Well, when a big blob of wax goes astray and accidentally rips off half of the right brow, you would be surprised…
So now I’m a chubby looking, tangerine colored mullet headed, one and a half browed pregnant woman. And Joe’s band has been nominated for an Aria and the awards are in a few weeks. And I’m his red carpet date. I don’t know who is more excited.

The brow appears to grow back in time and the hair, well, after two more rounds of coloring, and a chemical haircut, it looks like I’m wearing a slightly yellow helmet but compared to the previous do, I feel like Marilyn Monroe. Or Marilyn Monaro. The blimp has turned into a bump and I feel cute enough to let Joe stick a photo of me in his comic of his aria adventures on the grinspoon website – if you are interested. I’m the one with the hair sticking up all over and the face mask on. 

And my velour wardrobe…? well that works well if the majority of your pregnancy is in winter but basically I was happy with a wet sarong this time. Lucky for Joe, he spent a lot of time touring.
Anyway, after visiting a doctor in Coffs who was lovely but spent the majority of the consultation visit chatting with Joe about music, I decided that I wanted to look into birth alternatives. When I had to get all the blood tests and stuff, I noticed Joe suddenly had to leave the building and do “stuff” so I thought that he might not be that useful in a hospital environment.

Phone phone phone frustration. Hmmm. We went to check out the hospital. Hmmm. It wasn’t looking much like the Byron Bay homebirth I had with True. No candles this time...

Then another visit with the doctor. Again, lovely chap. I enjoyed waiting forty minutes to go in and watch him eat a pharmecudical sponsored bagel and bit of cake during our visit. I also enjoyed how he couldn’t figure out my due date and had me at 17 weeks instead of 12. and how when it came time to do the only thing that I couldn’t do myself (like I know how much I weigh thanks…) which is hear the baby’s heart beat on the Doppler, he left Joe in a different room. Uhh, I think the dad to be might enjoy this moment too, dude.

We were stoked to meet up with Joie, although I’m sure she would have been more excited if we turned up on time, even once. I know she was suss on our excuses. Seriously, there was roa works,  a car accident and once my special girlfriend, Sophie, called me while we were en route to tell me she was on her way to her mother’s funeral. Sophie’s mother’s death had been sudden and unexpected and the news hadn’t yet reached me. Sophie said she was feeling down and wanted to take her mind off the impending funeral and thought she would call me… Then she said I should make her laugh. There is no coverage near Bundagen so sometimes you just stop the car.

Once we decide to have a homebirth, I decide I have a list of rules. They include no bongo playing, no harp playing, no whale songs– all fine with joe, he promptly burned a cd with our fave music from Blondie to Loretta Lynn; no wearing purple – he promptly burnt his favorite purple caftan to appease me; no one gets naked except me – Joe just padlocked his belt buckle incase he got the urge; no getting in the tub – I couldn’t get Joe into a tub if it was filled with bubbles, champers and a nude and horny me so I’m pretty sure he won’t be craving a dip in water filled with mucous plug and a moaning pregnant woman; no looking at my pink bits unless there is a baby’s head coming out and in that case you have to have a very narrow focus – again he’s agreeable; no cradling of the placenta, no dressing it in a nappy for me to drag around with the kid for a week until it rots and falls off, no baking it in bread, meatloaf or ingesting it in any way – we both agree the placenta has no place in our food or our child’s clothing: oh the list went on.

Joe decides he has a list of requests too which I have no idea what they were because, as his pink bits were not going to be stretching to accommodate a watermelon, well, they just seemed unimportant and I promptly forgot them.

But that got me worrying. My mental state was as foggy as a bong smoking uni student so I realized I was getting low on iron. I went and had it checked and when the sirens started going off and the nurse checked if I was flatlining, my suspicions were confirmed. I started getting regular pokes in the arse with a long needle which is about as sexy as it sounds. I’m a bit upset that my career as a thong model is over now due to the big huge purpley brown injection stains on each cheek but again, my Buddha like demeanor carried me through this scarification with a completely Zen serenity. Ohmmmm…
We organize our birth team. We decide to have Rebecca be our main support as she is an old friend, a mother of two, has had a homebirth, studies homeopathics and wafts around in such a cloud of lavender and calmness that you get stoned on her presence so we know she will be a gentle and grounding force for us. She is a gorgeous person and was the perfect choice.

Near the end of the pregnancy, I decided that we should ask Joe’s mum, Nancye to come too. At the beginning I wasn’t too sure because, y’know, there’s a lot of crotch shots involved in this birthing process and I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to share that with my mother in law nor her with me… but near the end I realized that it was a wonderful thing to have my mum there for True’s birth and how great it was for the baby to have a couple generations there to welcome it to the world. Mum couldn’t come over from Canada this time though, which was a downer but what can you do? I also thought it would be great for Nancye and Joe to have this moment to share as I found the whole birth thing really brought my mum and I to a new level of closeness and friendship. She loved seeing True being born, although she was less stoked with pouring hundreds of buckets of water on my back. With this and my modesty in mind, we decided Nancye should come but shouldn’t have to be responsible for anything heavy. Like buckets of water. She could hang upstairs with True and potter around until the fun bit (the actual birth)  started and then come down to enjoy the view. 

The due date nears and I, as a patient Aries, am sure that I am going to go early on this one. I’m already well past the size I was when I had True and so I’m really excited around the end of January. With the February 5 due date approaching, I call up various friends to get them to enter a contest to see who can guess the correct date. We did this with True and Joe guessed the right date. Everyone responds enthusiastically. Zoe guesses February 11th and I cross her name off my Christmas card list. Days pass. I ring Zoe laughing that she might be right and will she forgive me for calling her “Bitch” a few weeks before.  The eleventh passes. My Buddhist calm exterior is showing hairline fractures, particularly at night when I heave myself onto the bed with huge tragic sighs. Joe’s Buddhist calm exterior starts to show cracks too as he stares hopelessly at the wallowing, sobbing mass of self pity in the bed next to him. I ask him nightly if he thinks the baby is going to come that night, a question as loaded as “does my ass look fat in this dress?’ I contemplate ways to get the baby to come out, slapping my inner thigh with a coat hanger as I think aloud…

I get bigger. The nights get hotter. I gaze enviously at Joe, twitching like a puppy in his sleep. I want to wake him and make him as miserable as I feel. I realize I probably am doing this already with my incessant nightly whinges. He takes to drink. I take to castor oil. Neither of us feel good in the morning.

I read about rubbing the cervix and how it might start labor. Joe, get your glove. Joe’s got his hand up my clacker and we both decide this is not at all romantic or sexy. And it doesn’t really do anything. Except now Joe knows what my cervix feels like. I’m sure if you ask him, he will tell you he feels better knowing it.

I read about nesting and do useful things like wash the shower curtain. Then I think about washing the dishes. I think abut washing clothes. I realize I hate housework and decide this whole nesting thing must be some story made up to coerce impatient women to clean the bloody house before they become too incapacitated to do it.

I start to get stressed out worrying that the baby is getting too big to come out. We decide that we can’t handle “it” anymore –“it” being me and my bitching – so we book a visit with the doctor.
We speak to Joie on the 19th to confirm that we have made an appointment with the doctor. Well actually Joe talks to Joie, as I have now entered the cave on the mountain and have become a hermit and a recluse. I speak to no one. I go nowhere. I can’t handle anymore kind hearted people asking me if I’m still “here” or wise old ladies telling me they’ve seen thousands of pregnant women and they can tell one hundred percent by my shape that I’m having a girl. I’ve already resigned myself to the fact but I’m scared of having a girl as I’ve been one myself. I don’t think I can handle the teen years. I buy a gorgeous little white dress. I see the upside.

Joe’s mum has arrived and we decide to go to the pub. Joe’s not had a drink for weeks thinking that any night could be the night but now we reckon bugger it – drink for godsakes, drink. I leave after a short time to get True ready for bed and leave Joe to enjoy a few quiet beers with his mum. Of course, he comes home fairly tipsy and in good spirits after three or four schooners on an empty stomach and two weeks of abstinence. Nancye minds True as Joe and I go for a walk. He reveals to me that Joie suggested going to the headland to pay tribute to the slaughtered Aboriginals. Well, I think that’s what he said cos he was slurring a bit. It was a lovely thought but probably would have been a bit more feasible if there had been a moon or he had brought a torch. In the end, we blindly feel our way to the beach and try to make out the headland from a distance. I feel little twinges and am keen to keep moving to encourage them. Joe’s happy to head home as the beer is making him sleepy. We laugh all the way to bed and then Joe passes out.

He is thrilled when I wake him a couple of hours later. Of course labor is starting. Why would it have started in the past two weeks when he was sober? It’s much more fun when he’s cloudy and tired and feeling a bit seedy. I’m happily ordering him around, getting the tub filled, calling Rebecca, doing my hair and makeup (seriously) and posing for photos. Obviously labor is mild.

Things start to get fairly uncomfortable around dawn. Not just for Joe, who is probably feeling burnt out and wishing he had some hair of the dog. Rebecca arrives. I forget to tell her my rules. She’s in the tub. With me. At least she’s wearing clothes and none of them are purple. The girl is a freak. She’s so busy multi tasking I’m sure she’s cloned herself. She looks after True, makes Miso soup for everyone, massages me, assures Joe, discusses things with Nancye and Joie and photographs the entire event with three different cameras (color, black and white and digital, of course!)

 I spent hours fussing away in the birthing rooms making it gorgeous – pink furniture, green blow up pool, candle altar, paintings, photographs, perfect music, fluffy pink towels, a rack of every kind of supply you could possibly want, a big bed…everything except something to lean on. I end up spending most of my labor bent over the washing machine in the grey room next door. I’ll tell ya, those domestic machines look like torture racks to me at the best of times…

I’m panting like a husky in the tropics, so Joie suggests doing some sounding. Did I forget to mention one of my rules? No singing? I’m almost passing out hyperventilating so I decide to give it a whirl. Ugh. I hate my voice, but it seems to help. The only problem is I can hear Joie singing along. She has a great voice but it drives me nuts when people sing to me. For some reason I just find it embarrassing. The second contraction comes and Rebecca has softly joined in. I’m pissing myself laughing inside – it’s to weird and I feel like a freak. I don’t want to be rude but in the next break I have to tell them that it’s too distracting. Every now and then I can hear one start up but then they quickly realize and stop. Now I’m distracted by the sound of my own voice. I sound like a really shitty Japanese Rice Rocket (motorbike). I sound like I’m changing gears as the contraction gets stronger. It has nothing to do with hitting notes, let me tell ya. There is a reason I was asked to mouth the words in choir.

Rebecca is massaging away for hours on my back. It feels great. She needs a break. Joe takes over, bless his cotton socks. He’s really enthusiastic and has really strong thumbs. That bore into my back. In two circles. The size of fifty cent pieces. After a while, when the pain of his massage starts to compete with the pain of the contractions, I suggest that perhaps he might want to widen his circle just a bit. He suggests maybe Rebecca is better at it and should take over. I agree. We are both relieved.
Eventually I’m back in the tub. Joe brings me frozen lavender cloths for my head. Unfortunately I’d stuck them in the freezer about a month ago and they are rock solid. I bang them gently on my forehead until they melt. They smell nice anyway.

We have run out of hot water. Ever one is humming and hawing what to do. Between contractions I put on my generals cap and make joe scale the fence, break into the neighbour’s laundry and steal his hot water. That runs out too. We go the old fashioned route and the women start boiling water. I feel like a lobster when I am accidentally scalded.

The pain is now much more intense than I remember with True’s birth. I feel quite panicky. I secretly contemplate my chances of getting the keys to the car and driving myself into Coffs to the hospital to ask for drugs and a cesarean. I wonder if anyone here will try to stop me.

Joie has taken a nap knowing that she will need her energy for later. I tell Joe and Rebecca that I want yet another dilation check. Just like with True, I stayed at three cms for hours and hours and found this discouraging. I was sure that not much would happen until my water broke, like the first time. With True, this meant another seven to nine hours and I needed to pace myself. That’s what I kept telling myself anyway. Joe and Rebecca played good cop/bad cop trying to bargain Joie another half hour of sleep, until I think they could see I was getting really crabby and about to get hysterical again, so she was woken up and quickly came down to do a check. 3cms. I feel like I’m going to lose it. She sees bulging forewaters or something. I can’t remember exactly if I was saying break em, don’t worry about interfering or what, but if Joie hadn’t popped them, I’d have ripped out my teeth and bit them open myself. So it was good she did. Then I did flip out cos there was gunk in the water and it was everywhere and I thought the baby was dying cos there was meconium in the water so it was really intense in the room for a few minutes while Joie tried to calm the panic. Nothing snaps you out of a bout of hysteria like some major contractions. I’m back in the tub. Joie tells Joe to get in. He’s torn between doing as she tells him and adhering to my no tub rule. I give the nod and he’s in. I think I did it to be cruel. At least he had the presence of mind to keep his clothes on. 

I remember yelling “nine nine nine ten ten ten!!!” cos that’s the centimeters I wanted my crotch to be at. Well, it worked a treat cos in no time I was there. 

Okay push push push time. No, wait. Out of the tub onto dry land for a more scenic view. Okay push push push. NO wait. I’m yelling get Nancye and True! Nancye and True! They come rushing down as excited as two kids going to the Harry Potter movie. I’m pushing away and nothing is happening. Bugger. True’s been checking it all out. He’s sitting on the chair copying the sounds I’m making. It’s funny. He hangs out on the bed for a while. I’m still pushing away and still nothing is happening so Joie checks again and there is some cervix that has to be breathed open. Bugger. 

Around this time I get stuck on my back for a contraction and all I have to say is whoever makes a woman labor on her back should burn in hell. Gratefully, I’m soon back in my fave reclining position. Pushing away. True sees a bit of the head. I think it gets referred to as a walnut. True has no idea what they are talking about as he doesn’t really know what a walnut is and I doubt what he saw looked much like a baby either. He soon gets bored and is off to play outside. I wish I could go too. 

More pushing. The head starts to squeeze out. So does poo. Rebecca thoughtfully arranges the mirror so Joe and I can see. Is that good? Joe nods, yeah, it’s great. He later tells me that all he could see was my ankle and he was glad of that. Probably didn’t want to break anymore of my rules. I see the head come out. Whoa…it’s kinda big.. My face is all hot and sweaty. I see it in the mirror and think, bugger, me makeups run…oh well one more push if I remember correctly from True’s birth, and the baby should be out and I can go for a powder! So I push. And push. And push. I hang between Joe and Rebecca. Not working. I’m slippery with sweat. Joie tells me to get on my hands and knees. My hair is a mess and I quickly re twist it into a French roll. For some reason this becomes a topic of hushed and amused chatter. Okay let’s push. I push and push. Nothing. Joie’s got her hands or fingers up there. I don’t know what’s going on but I feel a bit bovine. I know it’s not right but I feel fairly calm at this point and just keep following Joie’s instructions. At some point I’m facing the curtained windows and I don’t know how it happens but the baby slides out. I kinda twist over the cord and lay back on the bed in a big pile of relief and I see big huge red balls and I’m so surprised and happy and I cry out “it’s a boy!!!!” which should be the high point.

 But then he’s not breathing and it’s all fucked. 

I’m blank. 

The world is standing still and the only thing moving is Joie, Joe and I. But I’m in slow motion. Joie is suctioning and massaging. Joe is rubbing the baby and saying “breathe little man, breathe” and talking to him and just so there. I feel like my brain is going to lose it. All I want to do is pick him up by the legs and smack him on the bottom like they do on TV but I also don’t want to do it so I keep lifting his legs up and down. I don’t even know how to talk but I think I was saying stuff like c’mon c’mon breathe little man! Echoing Joe. I don’t know. I don’t think the baby will die but then he starts to turn blue to me around the face and I can feel terror coming on. It feels like hours. Breathe baby breathe. He’s like a little car that can’t start. There is a little gasping noise. Then nothing. Then again. Then nothing. Three times. The next bit I think I’ve blanked out. Nothing was happening fast enough for me. Joie is a blur. I can hear Joe. I look at the baby and I want him to cry and breathe and live. With all my heart. 

Then I think Joie must have taken him. 

Then he’s in my arms and he’s crying and crying and crying and crying and I’m crying and Joe’s crying and Nancye’s crying and we’re all crying and the world is fucking great! 

True picks this moment to come back in. What is it?  It’s a boy! True’s smile lights up the world. He really wanted a brother more than anything. Except maybe a new bionicle. Ahhhh lucky boy! We got you one of those tooooo! He heads over to the club across the road in the next while to tell everyone that he has a new baby brother and he’s got really big red balls. 

I am lying there in the bed and it’s all so surreal. I then have a tragic moment where I think that the next hiccup will be that I will die of blood loss delivering the placenta but that doesn’t happen and I’m relieved. I have a huge burst of energy and they ask what I would like to do. I definitely want a shower as I have blood, mucous plug, meconium, amniotic fluid and human feces (now where did that come from??? Blush…) all over me. Joe and True are cuddling the baby, Rêve (which means dream in French but Vroom Vroom in Australian…) 

So I go upstairs and clean off. Then I jump into bed and start gobbling down Brie, salami, crackers, champers and baileys – my requested post birth foodstuffs. (Which was great at first but then I ended up with severe constipation. Oh lordy. Let me tell ya, birthing a couple of those puppies made Rêve seem like a walk in the park… drink your fluids, girls, and stay regular, that’s all I have to say…)
After a while I start to feel lonely and holler. Hello? Hello? Can someone bring me the baby? They all laugh when they realize that I’ve been in there alone for a while. Rêve is crying his brains out and does this for ages but we are all so stoked that he’s alive that the crying sounds better than music. Joie comes in to check the condition of my crotch and for some reason is showing it all to Rebecca, something that seems normal at the time, I guess, but we find highly amusing in the days to come. Especially when I have to ask Rebecca where my tears are and she’s graphically describing my pink bits with lovely hand gestures. Too weird. 

I undress the baby as it’s stinking hot and he’s rugged up like a little baker in his white pants, jacket and hat. Joie comes in to show us the placenta. After everything we went through, the placenta seems so unimportant and all I can think of is how I hope none of it gets on my beautiful white cotton sheets. Then Joie weighs Rêve. I nearly pass out when she says he’s nine pounds.  He’s got a monster melon like his big brother too. He has massive hands and feet. His balls are so huge they make his doodle look small. My dad reassures me on the phone that the handle always matches the suitcase. We’re not really sure exactly what time he was born because Nancye accidentally dropped the watch into some of the massage oil during the live or die moments. But it doesn’t really matter cos you know, when do you check the time? When he’s out? When he breathes? And how important is it in the big scheme of things?

Nancye is excited a few hours later when she thinks he smiled. I’m inwardly rolling my eyes, as grandma’s always want to claim the first smile. But she is right. He smiled again. And again. And again. And then a day later he started to laugh. It sounded just like my dad. He hasn’t stopped yet. He is really the smiliest kid I’ve ever met. I think it’s cos he is happy with his decision to stay here.
Remember the three requests I had?

 The tub? It didn’t happen. I squeezed myself into this little raised square of a thing at the bottom of the shower right up until the end trying to tell myself it was comfortable and almost like a real bathtub. And I still am.

The boob job? Well, I’m still breastfeeding but it doesn’t look likely. I’m trying to be pragmatic about it. I mean really, it is a lot easier when they are saggy and stretched out of shape. If they were pert and perky would I be able to shove a nipple in the baby’s mouth and then head into the kitchen to do the washing up? I doubt it. Sure, sometimes they get accidentally sucked up by the vacuum or twisted up in the phone cord, but whose gonna complain? They just make life easier, like when you are driving and the baby starts crying and you just whip a titty over your shoulder into the backseat and save yourself from getting dirty looks for using a pacifier?!? Not me! And with the new nipple tassles I bought, I’ll never have to sweep the floor again…

And a nanny?!? What was I thinking!!!!????!!!! He’s gorgeous! We love him! He’s our dream come true!…ok we can’t afford one.

True's Birth - written when I thought you had to be spiritual when you talked about birth....

I was living in Byron Bay, Australia when I found out I was pregnant.
Since I had no medical coverage, a doctor aqquaintace suggested that I
visit midwife Pam Sonia, who works out of the Mullumbimby Medical Centre
and have a homebirth. Not only was it financially more affordable, it
seemed natural and I had always assumed I would have my baby this way
since I found my sister in law Christine's copy of Spritual Midwifery.
Christine and my brother Sandy sent me my own copy as well as rasberry
leaf tea and back issues of the Compleat Mother! There are so many
practising midwives in this area of Australia and I was lucky to connect
with Pam, who  is also a nurse and  has over twelve years of experience
of catching babies - I think it was over four hundred at last count! She
was very non interference and into natural medicines and homeopathy. The
hospitals are very respectful of homebirths and I would have a bed,
ambulance and Dr. Miller, who reintroduced homebirths to the area, on
call should anything go seriously wrong.
My pregnancy was wonderful - I had no morning sickness, no stretchmarks
(apricot kernal oil and at least twenty minutes of sunlight a day on my
belly), no emotional upsets and I looked and felt fantastic. I had a
great wardrobe of hipster pants, halter tops and angel velour gowns -
great for getting your tummy rubbed!
Four weeks before my due date, I moved house and redecorated, two weeks
before my due date my mum arrived from Canada and we spent everyday
walking around the town and lazing on the beach. My mucous plug came out
and became the centre of many jokes.Then one evening I felt
contractions! Yipee! Mum, Dunk and I were so excited. Pam came by late
in the evening and told me to get some rest - the baby's head was still
not engaged.  Naturally I did just the opposite and was still marching
around the house and yard twenty four hours later when she came back to
check on me! I was only one centimeter dilated! I sat in the tub for a
while, mum and Dunk pouring water on my back,  and then my water things really started to move. I moved around the house and
when I went back to the tub we had run out of hot water. I could hear
Dunk running back and forth to the neighbours to get hot water - it was
pretty funny. When I heard him heating up the kettle in the kitchen, I
thought this is ridiculous - besides I hadn't slept for so long, I was
getting exhausted and I wanted this baby to be born. I decided to move
into the living room and use gravity. Dunk and I tried a few positions
and then decided I would sit in front of his lap because it was the
easiest for all of us and we could all see. I was so proud because I
hadn't yelled or swore or any of those awful negative things that you
hear about. Pam instructed Mum to shine the flashlight while I started
pushing ...the head was crowning...check cord...flash light away... and
True was born by candlelight at 1:56 am. Pam lay him in my arms
immediately - he was healthy and gorgeous! Dunk cut the cord and Gramma
held True while I pushed out the placenta. Forty weeks of pregnancy,
thirty one hours of pre labor and labor and now I was a mummy! We all
went to bed, True snuggled up beside me. Pam and Dr. Miller came the
next day to check on me and baby and Pam came everyday for ten days
after that. True breastfed the next morning and has had a voracious
appetite since...He is fourteen months and still feeding on demand. He
is smart, energetic, extremely happy and smiley and is an amazing little
human being. He goes everywhere with me - first in his sling and now in
his big wheel stroller. Why is he so amazing?  I am sure some is due to
my happy pregnancy and his gentle birth at home, breastfeeding, our
family bed,  the support of my partner and family, the help and wisdom
of Pam Sonia and all the love that is showered on him!
Byron Bay is a great place to have a baby - the support for midwives and
for homebirths and motherhood in general is amazing!

My Up To Date Resume

5 Rudder St.
Red Rock, NSW
(02) 6649 2668
0401 020 141

1888 - graduated as class Valedictorian from a one room prairie school with six other students, one of whom is Manitoba's number 17 seeded curler, others all farmers and religious zealots

1989 - teen TV star! on Pilot One

1989 - former teen TV star as Pilot One is cancelled after seven shows (ironically due to a writer's strike...)

1990 - travel, travel, travel - learn German, French, and enough Japanese and Spanish to order a beer

1991 - J'étais un artiste de portrait qui a travaillé les rues de Paris - un rehaut de ma vie!

1992 - spend three years thinking I'm super cool because I work at award winning Citytv in Toronto

1995 - holiday in NYC and realise Toronto is a shithole. Buy ticket to Australia.

1996 - get knocked up

1997 - give birth

1998 - married rockstar Joe Hansen - score!

1999 - spend this and subsequent years backstage drinking the Grinspoon rider and gathering material for FOIWTB

2000 - studied Stand Up Comedy Writing with Mandy Nolan and performed at various venues in NSW and Queensland

2001 - wrote and sold Beef Week to John Brousek, producer of Wog Boy, Hating Alison Ashley and The Tender Hook

2001 - 2006 - worked with script editors Joan Sauers, Stephen Davis and Susan McGillicuddy on Beef Week until the project screeched to a halt

2002 - quiet year

2003 - knocked up again

2004 - give birth again. decide homebirths suck

2005 - grinspoon wins an ARIA. nearly get kicked out of event for throwing a chair without having enough rock star credentials.

2006 - gainfully employed by the esteemed Woolgoolga Advertiser and wrote celebrity column called Speakeasy

2007 - another quiet year

2008 - awarded one of four Australian Writer's Guild Mentorship grants to the value of $10,000 including mentor Matthew Dabner and a complimentary set of steak knives

2008 - retrenched by the esteemed Woolgoolga Advertiser

2009 - keep flogging Fuck Off I'm With The Band - these boobs ain't gonna grow themselves!

2010 - worked at Yarrawarra Aboriginal Cultural Centre with my Red Rock/Corindi family and then dedicated the rest of the year to something that died in the arse like a dead gerbil.

2011 - decided this was a year for me to go for it. and write about it me going for it.  art, writing, food and style. well, maybe not style so much...

Life of a Plus One

How did I become a writer?

It’s funny you know, Baz asked me that the other night. I laughed lightly as I admired the pedicure he was working on. I looked at him all wide-eyed and innocent, staring up at me with the adulation of a teenager. Catherine stopped brushing my long thick naturally blonde hair and leaned forward with an air of expectation.
I modestly mumbled something about just being naturally gifted and tried to brush off their comparisons to Woody Allen, William Goldman and Cameron Crowe. I reminded them that I was not remotely like them. I am female after all.
“What about Diablo Cody?” suggested Catherine.
That’s when I ushered Ms. Catherine Martin Lurhmann’s ass right out of my house. I am not going to be compared to that sleazy little pole-dancing hussy. Brook Busey (yes, her name isn’t really Diablo…) may have  won an Oscar but I doubt they would let her keep it if they knew what she did with his shiny bald head.
Of course I let BL stay on. He still hadn’t finished my left foot.

Back to me.

You know the saying ‘When hell freezes over…’? Well, it has and that’s where I was born. The cold harsh Canadian prairies gave this girl yearning for sunshine and a better life as soon as she realized that temperatures could rise above –30 degrees. I globe trotted for several years in between stints in Canadian television where I worked as a host for a teenage variety television show, an entertainment reporter for a news station, a fill in host for a live breakfast show and various other industry jobs. I also was a DJ for Osaka Mall's radio station FM Banana, a portrait artist in Paris, a go-go dancer in a gay night club in Toronto, and sold surfboards in Byron Bay.

At the age of twenty-five, I landed on Australian soil for the first time and immediately decided never to leave. Snaring a rock star husband gave me an Aussie passport, two kids and a new appreciation of beer, sport and AAA passes. We lived in Byron Bay for several years where I worked as a freelance photographer and stylist for several Aussie publications and tried my hand at standup comedy. I came across a book called “How to Write a Screenplay in 21 Days” that appealed to my ADHD personality. I wrote and sold ‘Beef Week” to producer John Brousek in just minutes over the allotted time. I now knew what I wanted to do. I was a writer. While developing the screenplay, I was lucky enough to work with talents like Joan Sauers, Stephen Davis and Susan McGillicuddy. They have all successfully completed therapy for post traumatic stress syndrome.

Meanwhile, Joe and I moved to (undisclosed NSW location) as a result of his fame, financial status and a stalker. I worked on Beef Week and breeding and he worked on how to reduce blisters on his fingers from playing the bass. Blood blisters are really gross when they turn into calluses and harden and get all brown and yucky.

I  worked as a Journalist at the highly regarded Woolgoolga Advertiser penning my own column, Speakeasy. Speakeasy was a celebrity Q&A spot where basically I went through Joe’s phone book and called up his mates, and then went through their phone books and called up their mates, etc.

I was lucky enough to win a mentorship from the Australian Writer's Guild. This is how I met young Matthew Dabner. Now this guy has everything going for him. Now.

Before we met he was a struggling wanna-be with an idea. Luckily I was able to guide him on the right track and now he has a writer credit on The Square, a producer credit on The Cedar Boys, and an AWG card in his wallet. I’m not saying this because I want a pat on the back, but just between us, that last re-write I did on the Square really nailed it. I’ve told Matthew to take the kudos for himself, his frail little ego needs that boost, whereas I am quite happy to melt in the shadows, quietly watching him grill his aging skin under the glow of media scrutiny.

While we weren’t sprucing up Matthew’s projects, eating sushi or drinking bottle after bottle of reds from Western Australia, we (and here I mean ‘I’ only because Matthew is a really bad drunk and usually was passed out by the third bottle – what a lightweight!) would start working on my sitcom script.

Plus due to a merger with APN or APC or one of those big companies, I was retrenched from my job as a journalist at the Woolgoolga Advertiser. Now I’m not saying nothing, but when you don’t have any writers on staff, it’s not really a newspaper, it’s an advertising flyer. I do still gather all the papers that get dropped on our street only because it’s basically litter and I need something to light the fires when I go camping.

Which is why I will now direct you to this amazing bit of cinematography. Mommie Queerest is another project I’m working on that is loosely based on my life as a mother. I wrote, produced, directed and starred in the production, not because I’m an egomaniac but because no one else in Red Rock would do it. Our budget was slabs of beer and bottles of Stones Ginger Wine so the production values are a little less than stellar, probably because we paid people their alcohol before we started shooting. That can be an oops.

I see the future taking me places. In particular, I see it taking me to the plastic surgeon’s office to get my boobs done. But before dedicating my time to physical enhancement, I would like to get the TV series up and hopefully that would result in one or all of my films finally getting made. From there, I can see myself syndicating my column and perhaps  landing a gig as a guest panelist on a forum show like Beauty and The Beast or The Know and sharing witty banter with the likes of Ita Buttrose and that chick who stormed off the set in a huff never to return. I’ll become a red carpet staple, finally the holder of the invite, not just the plus one. I’ll have a highly publicized red carpet cat fight with Catriona Rowntree, who will be driven insane with jealousy over the paparazzo’s attention to me and my wild rock star ways. Her longing to emulate my style and attitude will prompt me to write a book on How to Rock – I’ll even send her the first signed copy as a show of gratitude for being an inspiration. Then in a Madonna like move, I’ll reveal to the world that I’m not just a shallow piece of trash by exploiting my life as a mother to publish a series of children’s books based somewhat on the television show. The sales will skyrocket and surpass even Kylie’s book about her being a princess. Most press will agree it’s because people relate to me more writing children’s books as I actually have children. Then who knows, the biography? The movie based on the biography? A new found interest in some obscure religious cult?

And if all that fails to eventuate, well I'll make my living as an artist again.

And if that also doesn't happen, well I'll work on my line of retro clothing.

And if that fails, well I'll become a caterer and take over the restaurant side of the Red Rock Bowlo.

This blog will record my journey. Buckle up. It's time to hit the road!