Sunday, 27 January 2013

Tickles (27/365)

Wow, it's been wet!  The rain was horizontal, the road outside was river-like (see video below) with a lake a couple of doors down.  A towel stuffed under the back door only slowed the flooding into the utility room.  So with flood, wind and tornado warnings, Pickle and I were stuck inside today.

After drawing, an animated movie, snacks, lunch and a nap, I became a climbing frame (this is not an unusual situation with my cheeky monkey).  But then the tickle monster came out, and Pickle's giggle was infectious.

27 January 2013

So glad I managed to snap a photo of him in full laugh!

Cheers, KangaRue :)

Australia Day (26/365)

While the weather wasn't what I ordered for my first Australia Day in a dozen years, we still managed to barbeque with friends.  It was a nice chilled day, and Pickle obviously enjoyed himself - here he is all tuckered out after the 5 minute drive home!

26 January 2013

Cheers, KangaRue :)

Friday, 25 January 2013

Frogwatch (25/365)

After my previous Toadgate rant, I awoke to find this cute little fellow* on the front porch light.  Isn't he adorable, he looks so happy!  He's obviously a tree-frog and in his element, up high.  Unfiltered, this is his actual colour - gorgeous.

25 January 2013

He stayed all day, and only left again after dark.  Pickle said good night to him after his bath, but by the time we'd had a story, a little song and our night-night routine, the froggy had taken off.

Any idea what I can do to encourage him* back?

Cheers, KangaRue :)

*yes, I'm aware it could just as easily be a girl frog, but I'm taking literary license!  Besides, I'm not going to check, it might incite more girlie squealing.

Update: Definitely my favourite photo of the week, so I'm linking it up...  TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Toadgate (18, 23 & 24/365)

I can be pretty pathetic when it comes to creepy crawlies - I'll admit there have been bouts of girlie squealing on more than one occasion.  My Twitter peeps will know when a tree frog jumped in the house, I wasn't best pleased.  They're cute, but outside please!  I despise cockroaches, but if I've a rolled up newspaper handy, I can take care of those, along with some frustrations.

18 January 2013

But in Queensland, Cane Toads are the pest beyond exception.  These nasty critters not only eat native frogs, but kill household pets and wild birds as they're poisonous.  They're also damn ugly.  Most nights, and always if there's a drop of rain, I'm greeted by an army of them surrounding the house.

23 January 2013

It took me a while to learn how to distinguish them, besides not being a bright lime green like the tree frogs, they have a ridge that runs from each eye socket to the end of their nose.  The little guy in 18/365 was a baby between the sliding doors to the back garden... inside the house.  Not happy!  He got fried in the heat between the glass panes though (more's the pity).

24 January 2013

And they're getting bigger!

The traditional way of dispatching them is with a golf club, though that's frowned upon by the PC brigade.  Another option is spraying them with disinfectant - apparently they froth, swell up and dance a right old jig on their way out.  I'd love to know a hands-off, humane approach (I will not be picking one up in a plastic bag - I'd have to TOUCH it - and then put it in the freezer WITH MY FOOD... are people nuts?!).

Would love to know any of your suggestions, thoughts etc!

Cheers, Kanga_Rue

PS.  While I'll apologise for the lack of photographic clarity in these shots, they've been snapped with my phone, at night, and I'm not getting any closer! *girlie squeal*

Little Lie Down (22/365)

Pickle is not a fan of having sunscreen applied to him every morning.  But it's not an option in the harsh Australian sun.  I think he exhausted himself on this particular day, and crawled up on my bed for a LLD.

22 January 2013

Do you think he looks happy enough now that his ordeal is over?

Cheers, Kanga_Rue

Blue Peeper (21/365)

A friend told me about the Colour Splash app, where you can turn a photo into black and white and then add back the original colour into the photo.  This was just me mucking about with it.  It wasn't a close shot, so the resolution isn't great - will have to see if I can sort something with my camera, and I love how blue Pickle's eyes are.

21 January 2013

Cheers, Kanga_Rue

A boy and his fish (20/365)

Pickle and I often meet our friend Deb for a walk along the ridiculously long Urangan Pier - it's a good bit of exercise to the end and back, and lovely just to enjoy the views.  At the start of the pier is this statue that Pickle is just fascinated with.

20 January 2013

There are some intriguing statues dotted around the Bay - some more bizarre than others.  Once the Cargo Bike arrives, I'm sure I'll be doing some posts on the art works as we go past them.  Be prepared for a lot of whales!

Cheers, Kanga_Rue

Retro Toys (19/365)

A friend of a friend was moving home and I managed to buy up a few items that her boys had outgrown.  One of Pickle's favourites items has been this Etch-a-Sketch.  I loved these as a kid, but never had one myself, so I'm living vicariously!  (He told me he drew a cat by the way.)

19 January 2013

I love a Slinky too - can't wait to introduce him to one of those down the track!

What are some of your favourite retro toys?  

Cheers, Kanga_Rue

PS. No I haven't forgotten 18/365, but I've been slack posting photos on the blog, so am doing a #toadgate compilation!

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Hunting for Hermits (17/365)

Pickle and I went on an exploration of parks, and discovered this beach at the top of Point Vernon, near where we're currently living in Hervey Bay.  There are a few rocks amongst the sand, and as it was the end of the day, we decided on just a little splash.  Pickle pointed out a pretty shell, and when I picked it up I realised there was a creature inside.  Not only that, but the beach was absolutely littered with them... all of a sudden, the scatter of shells seemed to come to life before our eyes.  There were dozens and dozens of tiny hermit crabs making their way out with the tide.  Pickle was absolutely intrigued, and spent ages watching them.  He occasionally picked one up for a closer look, but put them back again.

17 January 2013

Apparently there can be baby turtles on occasion too, so this is a beach we'll definitely be going back to explore the rock pools!

I originally edited this photo on Instagram, but preferred the length of the original shot, and wanted to straighten the horizon - I think it makes a better look in the original, unfiltered form.  Hope you agree?

Cheers, KangaRue :)

Painting (16/365)

Yesterday while running errands with Bubbah, in one of the local malls, we discovered an art & craft stall set-up during the school holidays.  Pickle was intrigued, so we settled down with some paint and he started creating.  He had a blast!

16 January 2013

I think it only fitting he painted his own boomerang ahead of his very first Australia Day, don't you?

Cheers, Kanga_Rue :)

Scooting About (15/365)

My new friend, Deb, is not going to thank me for this photo.  She's not looking her most glamorous here.  But I think that is the sign of a good friend - when you don't feel the need to get all "dolled up".

Anyhow... she dropped over for a glass of bubbly and got suckered kindly offered to push Pickle around the garden on his Mini-Micro Scooter.  Now, Pickle is perfectly capable of pushing himself around on it... but it's obviously far more fun to be chauffeur driven, by the grin on his face!

15 January 2013

Thanks for the company Deb - promise I'll make the photo up to you!

Cheers, Kanga_Rue

PS.  Deb is another friend I've met through Twitter.  She's not the first Tweeter I've become friends with IRL, and I don't expect she'll be the last.  Have you met friends this way, or through any other "unusual" channels?

Swinging III (14/365)

I will never get sick of the joy on Pickle's face when he's swinging!

14 January 2013

Previous posts here and here show his ongoing love of the swings.  Hasn't he grown up!

Cheers, Kanga_Rue :)

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Missing a few steps?

Well, I wasn't expecting to write about dating quite so soon!  But I had a call the other night, from a man I've know in a professional capacity over the many years I've visited the Grandparentals in Hervey Bay.  Let's call him Dr. Coy (not to be confused with Star Trek's Dr. McCoy).

Dr. Coy is recently divorced, he seems quite reserved, and I expect he's lonely.  And it must be difficult not to become fodder for gossip in a semi-rural location like Hervey Bay.

Anyhow... Dr. Coy proceeded to tell me about a board he was on, and a conference he was due to attend in a couple of weeks.  Now, I'd recently mentioned my counselling studies to him, so I wasn't quite sure where this was going to start with.  Call me naive if you will.

There would be outings and dinners, and would I like to join him?  For the weekend.  It wouldn't be suitable to bring Pickle (understandably), and there's no way I could leave him for an entire weekend, with the elderly Grandparentals, but that's beside the point.

Whatever happened to "would you like to join me for a coffee/drink/dinner"?
I still think a mini-break is a big deal - if not quite as much as Bridget Jones' "a mini-break means true love".

I actually have no idea if I have anything in common with this guy - being stuck in a car sharing the driving for six hours each way, let alone the rest of the time, could be a nightmare.  And let's not even discuss sleeping arrangements!

I must admit, there's a little Jewish voice whispering in my ear: "go out with him, he's a doctor"... But then again, I'm a Very Bad Jew ;)

But perhaps I've jumped the gun, and that wasn't his intention at all; what do you think?

Cheers, KangaRue :)

Speed thrills (13/365)

Pickle loves to be pushed on a skateboard.  His (girl)friend, Mia and her brother Felix are both lovely and patient playing with him, and I think you can see from the looks on both Mia and Pickle's faces, that they're having a blast!

13 January 2013

Not the best resolution photo - I'll have to get some more on my camera rather than my phone next time.

Cheers, KangaRue :)

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Dating Dramas

Back in the days BBW (before BoyWonder aka Pickle's Daddy), I enjoyed dating.  Get your mind out of the gutter, I mean actual dating:  meeting for drinks or dinner or something more adventurous (again, mind out of the gutter - my first date with Pickle's Daddy was indoor rock-climbing, after we'd met at a mixed pole-dancing class that is!).

Yes, that is BoyWonder on the right!
I had my fair share of amusing horror-stories, and they all had nicknames so my friends could keep up (yes, that is how and when BoyWonder came to be named as such).

There was the guy who sat down with my pre-dinner glass of wine, and said "so what do you think my name is?". Seems the night we'd met at a book launch he'd given me his working pseudonym - but in the three weeks since then, and our almost daily emails, he hadn't thought to inform me of his actual name!  All of a sudden I wasn't on a date with a Rick*, and instead was dating Adrian*... he then proceeded to split the bill exactly down the middle, and our after-dinner drink was at my expense as he'd paid for the pre-dinner drink.  I would usually have offered to get the latter drinks, but thought him a bit miserly since he'd asked me out, picked venues etc, and it wasn't what I was used to.

But I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and agreed to a second date - making it a weekday lunch, he came to Canary Wharf to meet me during my break from the world of international finance (well, working as a Personal Assistant to a high-flier anyhow).  It was a bitterly cold day in the depths of a London winter.  I booked a table and said I'd meet him at one of the local bar-restaurants.  I had got caught up in the office, and had phoned to tell him I was running a bit late, so I was surprised Adrian* was standing outside.  Thought that was a bit weird considering the weather, but he was "admiring the view" as he'd never been to the area before.  And then he proceeded to tell me he'd left his wallet at home, but our next date would be on him.  Now I wasn't even sure I wanted this date, let alone another.  So I made my excuses about it being frantic in the office (which was true) and could we take a rain-check (perhaps not so truthful).  I walked him part-way to the station - more to make sure he wouldn't see me double back, phone my friend who worked nearby and ask if she's had lunch already as I had a table booked.  She wondered why I had a table booked and I told her for that answer, I'd need a glass of wine...

I'm not sure if I should be dreading the potential dating dramas of the future, or relishing them as blog fodder?

Care to share any of your dating dramas?

* names have been changed to protect the innocent... or perhaps because I've forgotten them

 Cheers, KangaRue :)

Going Car-Free

When planning on our move to Australia, I had to decide what to do about my car aka the Purple People Eater.  The Grandparentals have been driving the PPE for 13 years now - I've owned her for 14... I was only planning on going to the UK for 12-months!

Rather than leave them stranded, I embraced the idea of a lifestyle change. Hervey Bay is relatively flat.  I love to cycle - I find it really mentally relaxing.  And while having Pickle behind me on my gorgeous vintage-style bike was OK, he was neither thrilled with looking at my back, but we also couldn't carry much in a pannier bag. Shopping, or even a day out would be tricky.  So I looked into cargo bikes and trialled one in Cambridge (very helpful chap up there, and I'm regretting not buying my bike from him in hindsight).

I decided on the Bakfiets brand of Dutch Cargo Bike.  It's not cheap, that is the major downside.  But they hold their value and are extremely well made.  The research I did into cheaper Chinese-made models varied from worrisome to downright scary.  So I decided to go with a classic, and after riding one, was hooked.

I thought the bike was going to be cumbersome, heavy and awkward.  Pushing off with all my strength, I wobbled as I'd over compensated.  The bikes are well-balanced by design.  It was easy to ride the Classic model, in both the Short and Long versions.  I decided on the Long version, which can theoretically fit four kids - or Pickle and a shed-load of shopping (and a friend or dog down the track perhaps).  But I'm getting the power-assisted model - the power only kicks in if you pedal... but I figure Pickle is only going to get bigger, and as a replacement to regular use of the car, when it's full and I'm going up a hill, it will be really helpful.

And I'll still have access to my car when it's needed - trips desperately seeking culture and old friends in Brisbane and Sydney for example.  In addition to the Grandparentals needing the car, the environmental impact and a healthier lifestyle, I really don't want the responsibility or the continual expense.

Unfortunately, there have been ongoing delays with my bike's delivery.  Firstly the stock count was wrong, and there were none in the four colours of my preference, only one in red, which is not really me.  And investing the money I am, I want a colour I'll enjoy.  Then there were shipping delays, so the new bike that was supposed to be delivered before Christmas arrived today.  Except it wasn't the e-bike I have paid for and need.  So two months after I was hoping to have my bike, I'm having to draw on my inner reserves of patience.  Going car-free will have to wait for another two or three weeks...

Any ideas of names for the bike please? Pickle's Pedals is the working title.  

And I'd welcome any suggestions for personalising the cargo box at limited cost, but with oodles of style please?

Cheers, KangaRue :)

Cooling Off (12/365)

Today was a scorcher - it was 32 degrees Celsius (89.6 Fahrenheit for my North American friends) in the shade!  So after Pickle awoke from a brief afternoon nap - I think he woke up because he was just too hot - I ran him a cool bath.

12 January 2013

There are rules to the accommodation I'm currently staying in: no taking drugs, no growing or producing drugs, nobody to stay and... no paddling pools.  Since wine is my drug of choice (we all have to have some vices, and if that's my worst, I'm doing OK!), I'm happy with all rules, with the exception of the bizarre ban on paddling pools, a little incongruous alongside the others, I think.  So, for now, we'll make do with splish-splash-sploshing in the bath (I may have joined him towards the end).

Cheers, @Kanga_Rue

Taking the dog for a walk (11/365)

Santa took a liberal approach to Pickle's "something to wear" this year, and brought him Patch, the doggy backpack with a lead.  He absolutely loves taking Patch for a walk.

11 January 2013

I always said I'd never put my child on a lead... and then I had an extremely active baby.  He's far happier walking around on his own - he doesn't always want to hold my hand, and he's getting to be too much of a lump to carry everywhere.  This way Pickle gets some independence, while I can make sure he's not wrecking havoc.  

And he loves Patch - he even wants to wear him inside (the strap is removable). Definitely one of Santa's better ideas.

Cheers, @Kanga_Rue

Holding Hands (10/365)

Pickle was sitting on my lap while I was reading to him, quite casually holding my hand, when I managed to capture this shot.

10 January 2013

It just makes my heart melt.

Cheers, @Kanga_Rue

Update: I've linked this photo as my favourite of the week - come see some others entries by clicking here... 
TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Pier walk (9/365)

I went for a walk with my friend Deb (whom I met via Twitter!) today; along the Urangan Pier. It is long & the day was surprising windy. Pickle insisted on getting out at the end to watch the waves.

He even got to touch his first fish on the walk back... I don't think it was what he was expecting!

9 January 2013

Cheers, @Kanga_Rue

Two Cheeky Monkeys (8/365)

Here is Pickle with Charlie in the back garden where we're currently living.  Most evenings Pickle & I venture outside to spot the birds as they fly home to their nests. If we're lucky, we spot lorikeets or a friendly kookaburra.

8 January 2013

Cheers, @Kanga_Rue

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Horsing Around (7/365)

Pickle was ecstatic when two police horses came into view today. Not Hervey Bay locals, they're visiting from Brisbane for the Scout Jamboree.

He showed no fear, despite them being 16 & 17 hands high - which looked enormous in comparison to Pickle!

7 January 2013

Cheers, @Kanga_Rue

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Pickle: Self Portrait II (6/365)

While I took some photos of Pickle at the playground today, none were as cute as the self portraits he took of himself this evening.  I turned the camera on the phone, so he could see himself, and showed him which button to push.  So while there are now loads of shots, this is an early one and his cute little grin is captured.  He's grown up so much since the first self portrait he took almost a year ago.

6 January 2013

I think the three-hour nap he'd just awoken from agreed with him, don't you think?

Cheers, KangaRue :)

Saturday, 5 January 2013

It's in his blood (5/365)

I don't suppose I should be surprised at how good a climber Pickle is, considering that his parents first date was rock-climbing!

But today when we went to check out the local playground, he clambered his way up this ladder-type construction to make it to the slide.  I hovered near him, and it was only on his third go that I risked taking quick snaps with my phone before dashing back to have my hands nearby in case he slipped - not that he needed me, but it's better to be safe than sorry.

5 January 2013

Each time he got to the top, he applauded himself, which was just adorable... then zoomed down the slide!

How many other 16-month olds are this agile I wonder?

Cheers, KangaRue :)

Update: I've linked this photo as my favourite of the week - come see some others entries by clicking here... 
TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Friday, 4 January 2013

40th Birthday Tattoo (4/365)

Today is my 40th Birthday.  I'm not one to worry about the "big" birthdays.  I don't generally set targets of what I "should" have achieved by a certain age (though 27 was a doozy, as I was "supposed" to be married with two kids by then, and I was newly single!).  Since studying counselling, I've come to realise that using judgemental wording in an internal dialogue is neither helpful nor constructive... but back to the far less lofty theme of this post.

While tossing around the idea of a tattoo for years, I've never been comfortable settling on an image that would permanently adorn my body.  And where would I want it?  I liked the idea of it being discreet, so I could wear a strapless dress without it being visible; but I would also want to be able to see it, otherwise I didn't see the point.

Quite frankly, I had body issues.  But then I became pregnant, and my body, including its lumps and bumps, was growing a baby.  I loved my body more than I ever had before during my pregnancy.  In fact, I think it's the first time I ever truly loved it.  I'd appreciated it before, liked certain aspects, didn't mind others, and had my fair share of hang-ups and things I didn't like.  But I think my Demi-shot shows how amazing I felt during my pregnancy.  And all in spite of the immense SPD pain.

One of my earlier "mother
& child" drawings
And while I must acknowledge my new singledom at this coming juncture in my life was partly a catalyst, my beautiful Pickle was the inspiration for the design.  Early civilisation honoured women and motherhood, and  matriarchal societies were prevalent.  Spirals were typically used to represent the mother-goddess.  So with this in mind I started searching for images; even starting a Pinterest board.  Some were almost right.  But wanting something truly personal, I started drawing some ideas, inspired by and combining some tribal designs.  And it all came together when I had the realisation that my hip would be the perfect place to have it.

Kisses from Pickle &
a balloon from a friend.
Another friend said
"naughty at 40"!
I got some recommendations and headed to Frith Street Tattoo for a detailed consultation and later headed in with my hand-drawn design, where it was tidied up and applied (is that the right word?) by Oliver better than I could have imagined. (And while there was some discomfort, it was nothing like contractions, though I did utilise my HypnoBirthing techniques to manage the sensations!)

So for my 40th birthday present to myself, I now have a mother-goddess spiral topped with an E for Pickle's IRL name.  I wanted colour, so had the E filled with turquoise, one of my two favourite colours.  To me this celebrates my body being an amazing thing that grew an even more amazing person.  Happy Birthday to me.

4 January 2013

Let me know what you think?  Do you have any tattoos?

Cheers, @Kanga_Rue

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Tough Day In The Bay (3/365)

Off for a swim.  That's the Grandparentals bottom-right.

3 January 2013

This is their usual spot for a morning coffee, just outside Enzo's on the Beach. Bubbah always goes for a beach walk, and today they both had a swim to beat the heat too.  Pickle and I also went for a swim, and it was the first time since we moved over, that he wasn't a limpet attached to me in the sea. He loves swimming - get him in a pool, and he's all kicking legs, ducking under the water and jumping off the side to me... but I think the enormity of the sea threw him a bit to start.  So hopefully we'll be able to have a regular dip in the ocean, and not only rely on the hospitality of friends (though we had a second swim at a friend's pool this afternoon!).

Cheers, KangaRue :)

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Cooling Off (2/365)

Today was HOT. Here Pickle is, enjoying his mango-coconut "icecream".

His milk-protein allergy is still active, but I'm managing to find non-dairy and healthy treats, which he's clearly enjoying!

The Good Enough Mums Club

Pondering my previous post about what the right tools are for a happy life, it occurred to me that surrounding yourself with positive and supportive people is so important.  Reflecting on some lovely friends I have across the world, reminded me of seeing my friend Tasha in a workshop of The Good Enough Mums Club just before leaving the UK.

I expect this workshop was a little different from the show Smash, not only was it paid, but only Mum's were considered to audition, and childcare costs were supported too!

Monologue driven, there are loads of laugh-out-loud moments.  I'll never look at Mr Bloom quite the same way again, and Calpol (paracetamol) has forever been renamed "sweet, sweet nectar".  But it was from the second song, that I started sobbing and pretty much didn't stop for the rest of the show.

Yes, that is a tampon up her nose.
This has only hit home since Pickle's
own discovery recently (see below)...
The show is brutally honest, in ways only your closest friends will ever be.  The second number is all about how each Mum considers all the other Mums are coping really well, and they are the only one struggling with self-doubt, sleep deprivation, and wondering if they are a good enough Mum for their precious little one.  While you don't have to be a parent to appreciate this play, to understand the depth of self criticism and worry, it certainly helps. Having the support of, and inspiration from, trusted friends is invaluable.  I needed this support with Pickle's lack of sleep (he slept through the night for the first time last night, at 16-months old; and for a while there I was getting a combined total of 5.5 hours of broken sleep a night), but the support has never been more necessary since becoming a single Mum.

Pickle's very own
The Young Ones "mouse" moment 
Leaving some of those friends behind in London has been truly difficult and painful, but my SilverLining is the friends I still have in Australia (not least Bubba & Nanna, Pickle's Grandmothers), and the new friends I already seem to have been lucky enough to discover.

So when The Good Enough Mums Club premieres in London, and it will, because it's frankly just brilliant, I strongly encourage you to hurry and see it (and make it such a huge success that it makes its way to Australia, so I can see it again, please!).

Cheers, KangaRue :)