Friday, July 23, 2010

Potatoes, Churchill and things that drool

from StrangeFunKidz

Ok. I have a confession to make. I'm not that crazy about babies. I could take them or leave them, and more often than not, I'd rather leave them (I mean that in a completely non-negligent parent kind of way). The fact that I had two of my own has little to no bearing on this; I liked my own babes fine but I prefer them now that they're older and argumentative and independent and funny, rather than when they were drooly and whingey and shitty and needed changing and feeding all the time. That's not to say that I have no maternal instincts (hey, well, actually, maybe I don't, I don't know) or that I'm going to footy kick the next wee bairn that's handed to me, rather that... I dunno... babies don't really do anything, except become really cool little people (which is exciting, right) but until they do that... meh.
So I kind of enjoy other people's babies, certainly in the capacity that I like making them smile and coo and then handing them back when they start to emit strange odours. I've done my nappy duty x 2, so I'm not revisiting that ANY time soon (read: at. all). And I don't see any reason why I should.

So... it is perhaps completely incongruous that I am making things for a mate's baby, but really and truly, I like making stuff, and making stuff for babies is cool, you know, because they can't complain that they look kinda lame in the daggy home-made cardigan that you painstakingly knitted for them (and went near blind in the process).
The problem is, I've been googling patterns and have found that my judgement about whether or not a pattern is cute or not is severely clouded by whether or not it's on a, well, funny looking kid. It seems a large proportion of babies bear a very strong resembelance to Winston Churchill, and this is not the most appealing look in the world. Quite fine if you're Winston Churchill's wife, I guess, or in the kid's case, its parents/grandparents/direct relatives, because you love the grunty little thing so damned much you can't tell whether or not it's a bit odd looking. But to me, a slightly anti-baby-partial observer, they're not really all that. And mine were no different - being prem, they were a little on the lean side, and this gave them an appearance not dissimilar to the long skinny potatoes I see in the grocery store occasionally, you know, they're kind of unattractive but you figure they're great for mash or chips or whatever?
That was my kids.
Skinny, lumpy potatoes.
They grew out of it quick enough, once they start getting longer and bigger they invariably become cuter and more person like (less potato like) but up until that point I was frequently bothered by the cooing that inevitably occured by some strange old lady you met on the street and "oh, isn't this one cute!" and "your little boy, look at him!" (I had 2 girls).

But nowhere near as funny looking as these potatoes

The good news is, they do grow up in to adorable little miniature people, with opinions and dreams and ideas about stuff, you know, and eventually once they start talking in semi-complete sentences, they make great conversation. But up until that point, kids seem to be more of a conversation topic rather than a conversation holder - which reminds me of the classic Seinfeld episode, "you've got to see the BABY!" (although we never actually saw it, I'm sure it was quite Winston Churchill like).

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

on being a feminist bride, and other awesome stuff I write on other people's blogs. yeah.

image from Juju mama

A post I wrote on Mia Freedman's site, Mamma Mia regarding feminist brides and virginal white, being given away and promising to 'love honour and obey'.

The question posed by Mia was something along the lines of, "were you a feminist bride"... and Mia cited an example of her own interpretation of traditional marriage rites, her bridesmaid carried Mia's son down the aisle, as a fair rejection of the 'well, I'm not a virgin' assumption from days past.

My response:

Yeah, I’d like to think I was a feminist bride, even if it wasn’t a conscientious choice to be ‘a feminist bride’ – I just wanted to do things our way.

So… we got married at home, in our backyard, without about 70 or so guests (and that was a massive number blow out). We stood around and had beers with our mates before the ceremony, and then the celebrant asked everyone to assemble outside and we came out together, me, N and my daughters. It was lovely. He wore black jeans, a shirt and volleys, I wore a dress my mother and I made from black fabric and some gorgeous white lace – not what I had originally intended to wear! (I wanted to wear jeans and a tshirt!) But what we created from some fabrics that we found and loved.

We catered ourselves, asked a few friends to make some desserts.

We didn’t have rings. Neither of us are that in to jewellery, so it was a pointless exercise, exchanging rings.

We asked each of our dads to read some hilarious excerpts from a couple of books a friend gave us, ‘dont’s for wives’ and ‘donts for husbands’.

In place of the traditional giving away, the celebrant asked our friends and family if they would support us in our lives together, to which there was a resounding, and heart warming ‘YES!’

There was not a hint of ‘honour and obey’, rather, heartfelt words, and “do you promise to be a fabulous husband”… I laughed and joked the whole way through… it was a beautiful, glorious interpretation of a traditional rite that I had all my life advocated doing away with.

OMG, and the flowers! So N had brought home stacks of fluffy white chrysanthemums from his work, and we had lots of vases of chrysanthemum spread around the house. It was beautiful… I ended up with a bouquet (!) because there was 3 gorgeous roses out the front of my parents house, from a bush called ‘Julia’s rose’ (my sister’s name, I think I gave it to them when she was born?) that the night before I asked my mum if she could cut and bring over for a bouquet.

And we didn’t have a wedding cake – instead a dessert table. Cos I love dessert. So it was amazing, beautiful. A great day had by all. The whole thing was very mutually planned and organised too – I think that’s significant. Because I’m a terrible decision maker and not prepared to shoulder all/the bulk of the responsibility for what is supposed to be *our* day. Plus, obv N wanted a say in it, to us that seemed completely normal but I understand that often, brides don’t want their groom involved at all.

AND WE DIDN’T HAVE BUCK’S/HEN’S NIGHTS. Again, a mutual decision, but this whole ‘last night of freedom’ thing is bullshit, insulting and demeaning to the commitment we were making (and had already made) to each other.

And… I read offbeat bride and East side bride - both fairly religiously, as great blogs that were incredibly reassuring for knowing that it was ok to do things our way, because the important part of the day was not how the photos looked, or whether my shoes or hair or *everything* was perfect, but rather, the vows. The presence of friends and family and the commitment that we were fortunate enough to be able to make to each other.

Incidentally, I have read in a lot of places (particularly offbeat bride, because that's where I frequently read stuff) comments women made about their justification for changing their name being that they 'were not particularly attached to their surname' and that they 'wanted to have the same surname as their children'.
I didn't change my name, never had any intention of doing so, and nor was it expected of me by either my husband or my family. Why? Because I like my surname, I'm quite attached to it because I've lived with it for 31 years, and wasn't about to sacrifice this for another (albeit nice) name in honour of a cultural tradition I don't endorse.
And... I *do* have the same name as my children, because they have my name. If we had more, they would also have my name, it's not really a question for either of us, and as such I wonder if the comments that women make with regard to 'not being particularly attached to their surnames' come from the assumption that they will change their name as they get older?
I don't care if people know or not know that N and I are married; that wasn't the purpose of the exercise. So in this sense, name changing seems like a superfluous exercise.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


So a random twitter user said something about how they'd been reading my blog... and I panicked, having forgotten that I have a link to it in my twitter profile, and that, well, I used to write it, occasionally.
So, here I am, already wed, and feeling quite oddly serene about the whole wedding/marriage thing. It wasn't the fiasco I had feared, in spite of MIL's awful, hurtful comments about the cleanliness of my house, and the stress that ensued, the working bees that were fair near enforced upon us (again by N's family) and then the glorious, beautiful moments, like my cousin coming down and just...being there for me - helping me with last minute mindless things and providing an incredibly reassuring grounding for me.

The picture used for inspiration... from Green Wedding Shoes

And other little things - my mother emailing me a picture of a dessert table, which she then printed and showed to my aunts and grandmother who were like, "right, let's make it happen"... and it did, with my favourite foods, stuff that I really wanted to share with people - my grandmother's chocolate caramel slice, I made chocolate brownies and white chocolate blondies, pineapple upside down cake, a mate of mine made a gigantic tiramisu (easily one of my favourite desserts ever) and lots of little pink meringues that my grandmother made. And the crocquembouche.
It was adorable though, the guests were ravenous and launched themselves at the food N had cooked: beef porkolt, lencesfozelek (like a hungarian lentil stew), Kapros zoldbabfozelek (green beans with a kind of dill flavour... delicious), Székely gulyás (pork sauerkraut stew), uborka salata (cucumber salad) and paprikas csirke (chicken paprika stew). Lots of sour cream, lard, very rich fatty food. But oh. so. good.
What's lovely is that my friends are still talking about it.

So I'll get some pictures up eventually. But for the nobody that reads this blog, I'm sure you can wait!

In other news, research project is going swimmingly, if not ridiculously time consuming. Because I realised early on that it was impossible for me to continue playing rugby as well as all the other crap that I do (basically uni, touch footy and ferrying the girls around to all of their activities) I have substantially reduced my level of physical exercise...and not really stopped stuffing my face with food at all. Ergh.

So, I end this blog with a promise to post more. Maybe.