Am I Really A Mum?

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So it’s Mothers Day this week.

The day when mothers everywhere are either celebrated or forgotten; possibly a combination of both.

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I’m not quite as down on the day as I was last year, which is good. I’m sure the kids will do lovely things and it will all be as wonderful as it can be. I know that my children do love me. Or at least tolerate me from time to time ūüėČ

There is something that has come to my attention though: Mothers Day sales. Now¬†I don’t get a lot of catalogues in my mail box (to be honest I don’t have a lot of shops in my town), but I have seen a few online, and they have left¬†me shaking my head. At first I thought it was because shops don’t understand (or like) mums, so they try to market all this really mundane stuff at us. But the more I looked at them the more it became clear, that based on the information¬†supplied to me about what mums want, it’s entirely possible that I’m not actually a mother.¬†(Four children who have come out of my body not withstanding.) The catalogues with their market driven ‘proof’ have shown me that I am not the person that this special day is aimed at.

This seemed the place to insert a random monkey image

This seemed the place to insert a random monkey image

For starters: I don’t want a dressing gown.

My mum bought me a dressing gown for Christmas one year when I was a kid and I cried. I’ve never understood dressing gowns. Get out of bed and get dressed is pretty much how I roll. If it’s four degrees in the morning then I just run to the bathroom. Problem solved. I have no desire to own a bulky piece of clothing that I put on to take off again. I don’t get it.

Also slippers. Just… No. All the major stores want mums to have slippers¬†for Mothers Day and I don’t understand why. Is there some kind of slipper over-abundance, that they need to deal with? Is Mothers Day really ‘International Buy New Slippers Day?’¬†I got slippers once and they drove me nuts because I couldn’t wear them outside. If it’s cold and my feet need warming, I want ugg boots that I can wear out.¬†And no, not down to the shops, (I’m not a complete bogan) but just to the washing line. You know, that place women hang out at for fun? I’ve got no time to change from slippers to shoes to get washing off the line. That’s insane.

On a similar vein¬†to dressing gowns and slippers, let’s talk about pyjamas. Now I’m not opposed to the idea of pyjamas, but since when did Mothers Day become the ‘holiday’¬†to recognise the thing mothers never get? ‘Here, have new pyjamas, slippers and a dressing gown. You haven’t had uninterrupted sleep for the past 12 years, but at least you’re prepared, just in case it should happen.’ I think it’s a little mean.

I don’t want pyjamas for Mothers Day.

If mothers were an animal, they could be owls. Up all night, and wishing they could sleep all day

The tired eyes, the look of patient frustration… this owl is clearly a mum

More proof that I’m not a mum, is that I don’t like¬†knick knacky things. I’m probably in the minority here, but I don’t like them. I hate having those things in my house. They collect dust and then I have to clean them. Or the kids want to touch them and they get moved, and then they never look like they are supposed to. So no,¬†I don’t want a new vase or a pot or a bowl that you can put things in. I don’t want a candle that needs its own special display case. I don’t desire a statue of a woman and her child, or something similar. I don’t want them. That’s not me. I mustn’t be a mum.

I do not want this

I do not want this

I would tolerate candles presented to me in this fashion.

I would tolerate candles presented to me in this fashion.

 

This may come as a surprise to some department stores, but I already have¬†shampoo, moisturiser, and, ‘shock-horror,’ deodorant. I’m a woman who visits the grocery story and buys these items when I need them. I wash my hair regularly, and maintain a healthy level of hygiene. I do not need to receive a bottle of Pantene for Mothers Day. If I was presented with one, I would be quite happy actually, as I would assume that someone else had done the entire grocery shop for me, and saved ¬†a couple of hours of my time.

Apparently though, mothers don’t buy these things, so the second Sunday in May is the day to bestow them as gifts.¬†It makes me kind of glad I’m not a mum.

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And the final proof that I’m not a mum?

This infographic. The other day when asked what I wanted for Mothers Day I said, ‘sparkling wine and a foot rub.’ That’s all. That would make me happy. Although it’s apparently in the minority of answers, apart from the lumberjack. Which fair enough – I never found one of those in the catalogues.

Lumberjacks for Mothers Day? Maybe not, but the kids would have fun playing with these guys. (And the fact I thought that is proof I'm a mum more than anything else.)

Lumberjacks for Mothers Day?
Maybe not, but the kids would have fun playing with these guys. (And the fact I thought that is proof I’m a mum more than anything else.)

So there you have it. Proof from the powers that be (i.e. major department stores), that I’m not a mum, and will not be celebrating this special day on Sunday with all the other ‘actual’ mums out there. Instead I’ll be commandeering a foot rub, a glass of bubbly, and a couple of hours reading Game of Thrones.

Happy non-Mothers day. :)

Are you a ‘mum?’

What are your plans for Sunday?

No disrespect to those of you who are greatly hoping for a dressing gown, clean hair and something pretty on your mantle. I hope you get just what your asking for :) xxx

Linking with Grace

Failed Pancakes and Mercy #IBOT

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The past few days, I’ve been thinking of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukamaran. It’s hard not to when it’s been on the news as much as it has, and when you’re talking about two young men who are a similar age to you; who’ve grown up just as you have, and yet not how you have at all. I’ve worried, for a long time, that this was the way this story would go, although I’ve hoped it wouldn’t.

To hand down judgement when you can offer mercy seems a ridiculous way to live.

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When I read yesterday, that their crosses had already been engraved… well horrified would be the emotion that comes closest, though it’s hard to put it into words.

When I gave birth to Ava, I had a long horrid labour that they thought would be short and quick. After visiting the hospital at 11pm on Wednesday, she was born at almost 11pm Thursday. When I presented at the ante-natal clinic Thursday afternoon for a pre-booked appointment, they couldn’t find my file, because it was on the birthing floor, complete with two little ankle bands.  They were so certain she would be born Thursday morning, that Ava had already been assigned a hospital number and everything was written except for the details only birth can bring.

It was surreal; almost like a birth note before a birth.

There’s something equally surreal, but tragically so, about a tombstone  before a death.

What an insult.

What a mercilessly callous statement.

But this post is not about the death penalty; I have no mental space for anger at an immovable and allegedly incorrupt legal system. I have compassion for two men who are facing their last hours.

How do you process that? What do you do? What do you think about when the end is close and known?

I’ve had a week where I’ve been angry at myself and my kids; I’ve been short-tempered and then guilty. Irritated and then repentant. So many emotions, but mostly… there’s been frustration. Parenting is hard and exhausting and it often feels like you’re not getting anything right. Like it’s all just one big glop of mess that no one can redeem.

My sister – and I hope she doesn’t mind me sharing this- put  a picture on FB of a gluten-free pancake fail, which, let’s face it, is not cool. When you’re looking forward to pancakes and you don’t get them, it’s a disappointment. I commiserated with her, as sisters do, but then she said something that struck home. Failed pancakes were not really a problem when there was an earthquake in Nepal and two men on death row in Bali.

People, sadly, die; sometimes suddenly – sometimes slowly, painfully, and in the public eye with everyone having an opinion on whether they deserve the right to another day – and too often not only do I complain about the little things, but I spend  a lot of time beating myself up for not being who I think I should. I hand down judgement on myself, and never think to extend mercy.

But if it was my last day; my last hours, what would I do?

Would I remember these days? The busy, constant, endless days. The days where the dishes pile up and the folding grows tall. Would I remember how much I was over it all?

Would I remember the exhausting days? When no thing I do seems quite enough? When my children look at me with that look that makes me wonder where I went wrong.

Would I remember the guilt? All the times I felt not enough. All the hopeless and useless self-criticism that served to do nothing but belittle my extraordinariness. At the end will I agree with my critical self, or find the grace to forgive the fallibility of humanness?

Or maybe I would have the clarity to see that hard days and frustrating days, and irritation with yourself for not being who you think you should, is just like a pancake fail; pointless and inconsequential. That what matters more is not all the times you failed, but the times you tried to make it better.

Like two men  in Bali who’ve tried to make things right.

Failed pancakes and mercy; everyone deserves a second chance. 

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Just Write#5. Dear Facebook…

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Dear Facebook,

We need to talk.

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No, I’m not pregnant, nor is this a breakup. Think of it more as an intervention. You need help, and I’m here for you.

I’ve spoken about you before, but never really to you, and I feel like it’s time.

You are driving me nuts.

Seriously what is up with you? Are you having some kind of breakdown? Are you going through a crisis? Like really, what is happening?

First, you stopped showing me people’s faces; anyone who had updated their profile pic in the last 3 weeks was suddenly landed with your little no face icon. It’s disturbing. I don’t like seeing people with no faces, besides you’re kind of missing the point of something. Your name is FACE book! Without faces you’re just book! And not a very good one.

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Where are the faces of these lovely bloggers Facebook? It’s very disturbing to not see them

Secondly, let’s talk about your algorithm the little computer that dictates what I may or may not like and filters my news feed accordingly.¬†I think it may be broken and I’m going to suggest a few improvements.
For starters, if, by chance I have not liked something someone shared, please don’t continue to show that to me for the next three days. I didn’t feel the need to hit the thumb the first time, and by the seventeenth I’m getting a little annoyed. I don’t care if I may have liked every single thing that person/page has shared before, making you certain that this information is pivotal to my existence; if I don’t like it, I won’t ‘like’ it. Let it go. I’m allowed to have an opinion.
Conversely, if I have liked something, or perhaps even commented on it, I don’t need you to keep reminding me of that either. It was great yes. It inspired a reaction from me. But the moment is over. Move on. There are other things to see.

Again, in the words of Elsa, ‘Let it go.’

Sometimes Facebook, I read an article. For instance, the other day I read about the expectant royals. It was a reasonable article; I won’t say it enriched my life in any great way, but it gave me the information I wanted.
I noticed that you then suggested to me that I might like other articles on Kate and Will. Which is thoughtful yes, but less so when they are the exact same articles! If I’ve already read it, I don’t need to read it again.
And while we are on the subject, I know it’s all about you tailoring my feed to my likes (supposedly anyway), but it’s also a bit stalker like. It’s one thing when it’s funny cat articles, but another when your encouraging me to read what certain celebs had for breakfast. Somethings do not need to be shared. #Justsaying.

Finally, I understand that people seeing the things I like is great from a page owner’s perspective. It’s like free advertising to them. However, I’m a little over it. I have a wide range of friends and interests and sometimes they don’t all mesh. Sometimes I just want to be the nerd who likes every single thing Grammerly shares, without my less grammatically inclined friends thinking I’m odd. Is that so hard?

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Plus you always share the things I don’t want. Like the time I engaged in a conversation about g-string preferences, and something like 17 of my friends popped into say they had seen it. It was great day for Janet and her reach; less so for the privacy of my knickers.
So if you could cut that feature off, or at least let us choose when to use it so that we can like that ‘naughty’ joke without our grandmothers seeing it, they would be nice.

Dear Facebook, I know you’ve got a lot on you plate, and I haven’t even touched the page owner stuff, but do you think you could please, pretty please rectify these problems as soon as possible?
I don’t want to have to break¬†up with you.

Yours sincerely,
Jess.

How’s Facebook been treating you lately?

Linking with Grace for some blog flogging fun!

Just Write #2. A Sad Day for English #IBOT

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I became aware of¬†something rather unfortunate a month or so back. I was quite upset about it at the time, and was going to take to Social Media to bemoan¬†the news, but I didn’t. I would like to say that it was because I wanted to be alone with my grief, but really I just thought that most people would shake their heads at me and wonder what I was on about.

It wouldn’t be the first time that had happened.

Anyway, after deciding yesterday that the next two weeks are just about blogging everyday, and not over thinking things, I’ve decided to share this sad news,¬†because I think people will benefit from it. Or they will think I’m crazy anyway, and at least then I’ll know it wasn’t all in my head.

The English language has dropped the letters ST.

Shocking isn’t it?

Now before you panic, it hasn’t dropped it in all circumstances; you can still come firST. You can still STab someone in a STable (though I wouldn’t recommend it.) And you can still adjuST to acroSTics written by acupuncturiSTs.

You can not however do that amidst something, or whilst doing something else. That is no longer allowed.

Now I follow lots of word loving Facebook pages that occasionally lament the death of the English language as we know it, and most of the time I wonder what they are going on about. Of course there is the blatant disregard¬†of a words actual meaning in some circumstances (I’m looking at you ‘seen’ used in the ‘saw’ context), and I don’t know why twerking is aloud to exist. As a word or anything else for that matter, but in general, I thought English was doing ok. Or as ok as a language that is very weird can do.

Really, it's a wonder any of us can use it at all

Really, it’s a wonder any of us can use it at all

And then they went and canned the ST¬†in whilst. Apparently it’s too ‘archaic’. Well to that I say ‘pfft!’ What’s wrong with a little ¬†archaism in the written word? Surely it’s got to be preferable to the overuse of the word like?

The thing is, I didn’t realise it until I was informed of the death of ST¬†but I was quite dependent on those two little letters; I thought they made me sound clever. Because let’s face it, when writing a written argument the sentence:

‘While the overuse of the word seriously in EssentiallyJess’s spoken vocabulary was intolerable, she was redeemed by her perfect use of archaic expressions in written form,’

does not have anywhere near the same power as when you start the sentence with whilst.

Go on, read it. Argue with me if you dare ūüėČ

‘Whilst the overuse of the word seriously in EssentiallyJess’s spoken vocabulary was intolerable, she was redeemed by her perfect use of archaic expressions in written form.’

Likewise there is something about amidst¬†or amongst that adds a little bit of class. Can you imagine what will happen in classrooms all over the world, if teachers are forced¬†to say ‘talk among yourselves for a moment?’ The world as we know it, will change.

The world, sadly, already has.

Now according to my TAFE lecturer, the use of these traditional idioms is not allowed, and so, because I am a perpetual rule follower and a bit of a nerd who has been wondering how uncool it is to email and ask how to turn an A into an A+, I have cast aside the ST in favour of good grades.

However according to google (and we all know how right google is), it’s all based on location. So¬†if you’re American or Canadian, you’re going to be shaking your head at me, wondering why I would even care about this, if you’re British, you might also shake your head, (unless you’re a little bit old-fashioned, at which point we can drown our sorrows over¬†this destruction of the English language with¬†tea and cake), and if you’re Australian, you probably¬†have stopped reading by now.

Which was the exact reason I never shared my woe in the first place. *sigh*

Anyway, all of that was just to say this: ST¬†is out, it’s all very sad, and before you know it the English language will have dissolved into a whole bunch of ineffectual contractions and overuse of acronyms that sounds better when spelt. (LOL anyone?) So if you need me I’ll be amongst my British ST loving friends, drinking tea whilst researching more archaic terms I can never use again.

Anyone wanna join me? :)

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Do you think the English language is dying?

Do you care at all, that whilst is now considered archaic? Would it sway you at all on its use if I said the George RR Martin uses it prolifically in his books?

Have you just skipped ahead to this part so you can say something in the comments and pretend you’ve read the post? I won’t hold it against you? ūüėČ

Just a reminder IBOT will now be closing earlier, at 12 midnight WA time.

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Achievement Unlocked: EssentiallyJess the Food Blogger #IBOT

The best non-food loving food blogger

Every now and then I get asked the question: “what type of blogger are you?”

Or alternatively, “what do you write?” (To which I bite my tongue so I that I don’t answer with¬†‘random crap.’ Although I have been assured it’s ‘good crap’.)

good crap blogger

It’s hard to categorise myself. Generally I would say I’m a personal blogger,(whatever that means) but I’ve also worn many other hats. I’ve been a parenting blogger, a video blogger, a tech blogger, an entertainment blogger, a christian blogger, a craft blogger, a fashion blogger, and the list goes on. Now however, ¬†I can add something else to the mix; I’m a food blogger.
You know how some people, like really love cooking shows? They watch them and rate the food and provide social commentary on what they liked and would have done differently?
I’m not one of those people.
At all.
I think it’s because generally speaking, I don’t like food. I wish that it was unnecessary. Or that pizza was acceptable for all meals. Either way, if you find the word for ‘opposite of foodie’ I’m that.
So when last Thursday I found myself on what looked like the set of a reality cooking show, I had to giggle. Blogging is cool and weird. It throws me right out of my comfort zone and then makes me have fun there.
But I’ll back up.
A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by the agency representing Tefal to give their new cuisine companion a go. I said yes, but that I couldn’t make the launch/demo night on account of it being in Sydney, and me not being in Sydney.
They said they’d fly me over and I said “thank you very much, I’ll be the best non-food loving food blogger ever.”

< div>It helped that they greeted us at the event with champagne. REAL champagne, not sparkling wine.

There is a difference.
I may not be a foodie, but I think I would make an excellent wine taster. Just saying.
The best non-food loving food blogger
Anyway, after being shown the wonder that is the Cuisine Companion (which I shall blog about in greater detail later), myself and my fellow food bloggers entered the afore mentioned cooking room and the stage was set for some magic.
The stage in question. Photo credit goes to http://instagram.com/ingrid2034

The stage in question. Photo credit goes to http://instagram.com/ingrid2034

The magic was not me.
As I will now tell you.
To begin with, ¬†I got all confused and tried to make Jules do all the work. When she informed me we weren’t working in pairs, I then stole her cheesecake making glory, by way¬†of using her gloves. (Sorry about that Jules. Your risotto was very pretty though.)
She still seemed very happy with the whole thing.

She still seemed very happy with the whole thing.

Then I set about reading the recipe wrong,(I’m talented like that,) which meant I had to wash out my bowl and start again. Except of course I couldn’t find¬†the tea towel, or the paper towel… which¬†was right in front of me.
Not to be undone I attempted to dry my machine with a spare chux. It wasn’t the greatest idea I’ve had.
At that point the Tefal rep took pity on me and did my dishes. Ten points to Tefal for that.
I did however don both my serious face and serious gloves

I did however don both my serious face and serious gloves

Now not that I ever watch those cooking shows (not a foodie remember), but I always assume their workstation is clean.
Mine, was not. Not even a little bit.
You know if you’re at home, and you drop something, and it’s annoying but it’s ok because it’s your house and you can kind of blame the kids maybe? It’s not like that¬†when you’re out. ¬†When you’re in a room of bloggers with clean work stations and you have stuff everywhere, it kind of suggests to everyone that you were the wild card on invite.
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The dismal state of my area (think water everywhere, discarded chux, a tray with piled up bowls) meant that I was becoming quite flustered (although I’m sure I looked perfectly poised),¬†which then meant that¬†I forgot to line my cheese cake with the provided baking paper.¬†I stupidly thought that was for Jules’ risotto. Since when baking paper has been necessary for risotto I have no idea, but obviously prior to this I was¬†not a food blogger.
Now of course, it’s a totally different story.
I have no idea if the cheesecake stuck to the tin or not, because I didn’t get to plate it up, but I like to think all was well.
baking paper is not for risotto
Of course I had also forgot to set the timer, or even check the time when I put it in the oven. It was pure luck that I even remembered I had made a cheesecake, that saw me take it out in time.
Thankfully for me, it was fine and perfectly cooked.
Though possibly glued to the bottom of its not baking-paper-wearing-pan.
It was at this point, that the ever accommodating Tefal folk saw fit to remove me (and everyone else), from the Master Chef kitchen, into a wonder room set up with candles, and bread rolls and fish lights. I may have been married to a fisherman for too long, but how pretty are these?fish lights
It was in this idyllic location that this non-food-loving-food-blogger, who eats very little on account of extreme fussiness, was actually convinced to try a slice of said cheesecake when it was plated up, and didn’t hate it. (I’m generally a chocolate cheesecake or nothing kinda food blogger.) That if nothing else makes the whole night a¬†success.
somewhat brave taster of cheesecake
Thankfully the kind people at Tefal were quite forgiving of my ineptitude, and my every gracious blogging friends Jules, Glow and Karen, didn’t alienate me for my ridiculous faux pas. Instead we finished the night in much the same way we started it; with great wine, great company, and a fun new toy to talk about.
And the best bit of all? I can now classify myself as a food blogger.
Achievement unlocked.
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Last Times #IBOT

Hogs Breath. A place of so many good times.

It’s been a year today, since we left Darwin.

A year since I’ve felt that awkward combination of stupidly hot as well as horribly sticky.

A¬†year since I’ve watched¬†the rain come in sheets.

A year since I’ve heard the cacophony of a chorus of frogs.

A year since I’ve seen my mum.

My time hop has been filled with all sorts of memories. I like Time Hop for that; reminding you of the things that you thought important enough to capture at the time.

Like this. I remember it like it was yesterday. Cleaning a house is dull.

Like this. I remember it like it was yesterday.
Cleaning a house is dull.

When you think about moving on, it’s easy to remember the big things. The heart-felt goodbyes and the last time you did something. It’s nice in a way because there is closure to those things. You know this is it.

Then there are other things that kind of sneak up on you. The Last Time’s you never saw coming.

Like who would have thought that the last time we had our date night Fasta Pasta meal, it would be the last time we ate from there ever? They’ve closed down now, ostensibly because we left and weren’t providing them with business. Even when we go back to Darwin for a holiday, we won’t eat there.

Oh I miss it.

Oh I miss it.

Likewise the Hogs Breath Cafe in the city closed down. That place was an institution, and now I’ll never eat a chicken burger from that particular building again.

And I never knew that the last time, was the last time.

Hogs Breath. A place of so many good times.

Hogs Breath. A place of so many good times.

There’s also another anniversary coming up this week. Another last moment, that I never really considered at the time.

It was such an innocent moment; one I thought I would repeat time and time again. And the fact of the matter is not that I couldn’t do it anymore, it’s just that somewhere along the line I decided I didn’t want to.

It was the last time I never saw coming.

*Cue overly dramatic music*

It happened the week we arrived in Port Lincoln. I was due for a hair cut and colour; I always do it in early March because of¬†my birthday, but sometime on the long drive south, with little to do but stare at my own reflection in the car’s side mirror, I decided that I needed something done sooner rather than later. My roots were a tragedy¬†and I was moving somewhere new; I needed to not have bad hair.

There's not much else to do in Coober Pedy apart from take selfies and lament your hair. Also, other things I've written about before, but we won't mention right now. ;)

There’s not much else to do in Coober Pedy apart from take selfies and lament your hair.
Also, other things I’ve written about before, but we won’t mention right now. ;)

Our first day in the city we had an interview with the kid’s school, and we also needed to hire some crutches, since a certain someone forgot how to walk on the drive down, and sprained her¬†ankle. Once ¬†the blessing of being able to walk from one place to another was again bestowed upon me,¬† I hobbled around Coles and resolutely bought myself a home hair colour, thinking that it would tie me over until I could find myself a good hairdresser.

Little did I know at the time, that it would be the last time I coloured my hair.

I’m not sure why I decided to stop. Maybe because I haven’t found a hair dresser I like, or maybe because the close-to-natural colour ¬†I had chucked on, muted the regrowth in some way, and I found I didn’t mind it.

Or maybe, just maybe, I decided that getting a fresh start, and getting to be me, somehow made me embrace my hair the colour that it was. Just as I was learning to embrace myself for who I am.

Hair as of today.

Hair as of today.

Although that sounds unusually deep for what is fast becoming known as Random Tuesday. (In my mind at least.)

Either way, as the anniversary of one of our biggest life events comes hither, I find myself reflecting that the decision to not colour my hair is almost as significant as the one to move states,  and therefore just as worthy of a mention.

So I want to take a moment here to honour the changes of the last 12 months; the last times I embraced, and the ones that caught me by surprise.

And also to honour my hair. My crowning glory that has forgiven me through multiple colour changes, too many home fringe cuts to count, and on most days, the abuse of a messy doubled up pony tail.

Thank you. You’ve loved me well.

Special credits go to Chantel from Red Dirt Blue Sky, who wants to wear daisys in her hair

Special credits go to Chantel from Red Dirt Blue Sky, who wants to wear daisys in her hair

Ever had a last time you didn’t realise at the time?

Do you dye your hair?

How often?

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Dear ABC… #IBOT

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The other day I read an article about several shows that the ABC had canceled in Australia due to public complaints. It all started with Peppa Pig and Mr Skinny Legs. Having seen that particular episode, I will admit that when Peppa (or whoever it was) declared that spiders are friendly I laughed out loud. And then I would have said a rude word if rude words were what I actually used.

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Anyway the article¬†went on to detail other episodes that had been canned for whatever reason, and I was quite surprised that the ABC took those complaints so seriously, as most were downright laughable. It then made me wonder what would happen if I were to write to the ABC about shows I would like to see? Could they possibly procure them, or in many instances, contact the show’s producers and get the episodes drafted?

Well you can see where this is going can’t you?

Dear ABC,

It has come to my attention recently, that you are taking requests from members of the public regarding your programming schedule. This pleases me greatly, not only because you are so accommodating,  but  because I have a few requests of my own, and I just know that you will do your best to see them eventuate.

Firstly, I would really like to meet¬†Charlie and Lola’s parents. I assume¬†they exist,¬†because someone is¬†always shouldering Charlie¬†with ¬†parental responsibility, but it does bother me that we have never seen them. Why is that? Are they not pretty enough for TV? Are they camera shy? Or do they actually not exist, and Charlie and Lola are orphans with ghosts for parents? Which would make for a much different, and yet still rather intriguing (although creepy) story.

Charlie and Lola? An adorable family? Or neglected orphans with ghost parents?

Charlie and Lola? An adorable family?
Or neglected orphans with ghost parents?

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Secondly, you know Norman Price? The incorrigible young ranga from Fireman Sam, who is always in trouble, and despite what I assume the producers are going with, is not loveable? Can he for once, get in some serious trouble? And not just a stern word from Sam or Elvis or Station Office, what’s his name, but rather be subjected to some actual, severe, life-threatening, terrifying incident that causes him to at least try not to get into so much trouble. I think, for the safety of the town he needs it. In realty he should be in Juvie by now.¬†

Yeah that look is not doing much Sam...

Yeah that look is not doing much Sam…

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And whilst we are on the subject of bratty children, can someone please tell that Little Princess ‘no’. Just once. It won’t hurt her, but her screams hurt me. My ears and my feelings.¬†

She looks angelic, but we all know that's not true

She looks angelic, but we all know that’s not true

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I would like to see a documentary version of In The Night Garden. I think David Attenborough could do that quite well. In the program could we please discover exactly what Makka Pakka¬†is, and maybe get some help for his OCD. I would also dearly like to know where Iggle Piggle sails to every night, and how he makes it back to the garden without drowning. He doesn’t wear a life jacket you know.

Ben and Holly is the clear favourite TV¬†program in this family, and it’s quite obviously because it appeals to me as well as the kids. The sexual chemistry between Nanny Plum and The Wise Olf Elf keeps me guessing every episode, and I would dearly love to see them finally realise their¬†exceedingly¬†great affection for one another. I understand this might not be suitable for children, so I would suggest that it be organised for a later time slot, and a more¬†appropriate¬†rating attached.¬†

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Could you please follow-up this program¬†with a similarly themed episode of Bob the Builder. How he and Wendy aren’t together already I have no idea.¬†

Finally, I do quite enjoy the celebrity guest posts on Sesame Street. Do you think you could organise Josh Radnor at some point? No real reason, I just think he and Elmo would get along. He could say how he met the letter E or something.

I may just be missing HIMYM, but I think Ted and Elmo would work really well together. They could even play the blue french horn

I may just be missing HIMYM, but I think Ted and Elmo would work really well together. They could even play the blue french horn

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And with that, I conclude my letter. I look forward to receiving your reply.

Kind regards,

EssentiallyJess

PS. On the very off chance that someone from the ABC actually reads this, it was all written firmly tongue in cheek.
Except for the part about Nanny Plum and The Wise Old Elf.  
And Josh Radnor.
Apart from that, I’m not being serious. Much. You do a great job,¬†by the way.¬†:)

Do you think they will oblige me?

What would you like to see on kids television?

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Four Ways Writing a Book is Like Marriage #IBOT

4 ways writing a book is like marriage

So yesterday I was sitting at the computer, lamenting a lack of tolerable words, that not even an abundance of homemade chocolate chip cookies could assist with. I had words, that wasn’t the problem; more that I just despised each and every one of them, and as result, could not, in good conscience release them to an unsuspecting public.

My problem stems entirely from reading quality material.¬†I blame¬†Game of Thrones.¬†I’ve succumbed to it well and truly, and now spend a good portion of the day looking forward to night, so I can read uninterrupted. It occurs to me that this is why I stopped reading for a while; the addiction of it.

Anyway prior to the brilliance that is the written world of Westeros, I read some less than quality works. The last actual book I read was decent; a great story line with good, solid writing. Not brilliance but very enjoyable. The kind of thing I would hope to accomplish.

After that I borrowed a collection of short stories from the library on a whim, and¬†that¬†was terrible. One of the stories was¬†just¬†tolerable, another was awful, and I couldn’t even bring myself to try the rest. I have no idea where my mind was when I read the blurb and thought my life needed enriching with that literary classic.

Anyway, it was the sort of thing that one reads and says, ‘if they got published, then there is hope for me too.’ Or anyone really.

It was a lovely sort of encouragement.

Except that the reading of second-rate words does not improve your own at all, and so it was time to step up the game. Turns out Game of Thrones ¬†was a thousand steps up, and whilst I am loving the story, when I get to my own, I want to cry over its simplicity. It’s like George RR Martin is a scholar and I’m a year one student who still struggles to write my full name.

(FYI, I choose not to write my whole name. Jess is preferable to Jessica.)

And it’s not just GoT. There are others as well; stories that move me with their brilliance, whilst I stare at a blinking cursor on the page wondering how to make this paragraph better. Wondering if I could ever hope to do something that well. Questioning if it’s conceited to want to.

Anyway as I lamented my lack of prowess when it comes to creating literary masterpieces, it occurred to me that¬†the author/novel relationship is very similar to that of the long-term romantic kind. Which then,¬†considering my complete lack of apparent coherency when it came to said novel, led me to the timely decision to explain my revelation to you. Because it’s Tuesday and that’s what I do.

And so presenting…

4 ways writing a book is like marriage

1. It’s Love at First Sight

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In the beginning of both book writing and romance, everything is wonderful. You walk on air enabled¬†by the complete jubilation of falling in love. Everything in life makes sense, and nothing could ever possibly go wrong. This is the person you were made for; this is the story you were made to write. Of course there are a few niggly things, but you’re nothing but realistic;¬†somethings will need to be worked on later, but right now, all is well.

2. There comes a point of commitment.

You realise, somewhere into the relationship, that this is ‘the one.’ It’s the real deal, the real McCoy and all manner of other clich√©s. Sure¬†the idea might have come to you in the middle of night after a couple of Chardy’s (I’m ¬†talking about the story here obviously), but you know now that it’s legit. You are going to make this work, and it’s going to be magical. Nothing will stop you.

3. Reality Sets In.

It’s slow at first. A grammar error; a word out of turn. You’re surprised he said it, but you let it go, until one day you notice gaping holes in the story, and all the characters need a good slapping to get into shape. The honey moon is over and if it’s really bad¬†you will find there’s no chocolate either. It’s the moment that you realise nothing is going to work unless you decide your commitment in point two actually ¬†meant something. It’s the time you work the hardest.

It’s this moment that the desire to compare sets in. When all you can see are the faults (and in a manuscript you’re looking for them; hopefully you’re not in a marriage), it’s important to not compare to something ‘better.’ Yes there are some brilliant novels out there, and chances are, at this point, yours isn’t one of them. But the best stories aren’t¬†told in the first draft. They’re refined and worked on for what feels like forever. And they’re always worth it in the end.

This is also the time when it can be tempting to jump ship. You had another idea, that might be better. That other person would never leave towels on the floor. Maybe you need to start again. In my experience, that doesn’t work. In stories or relationships (not that I’ve tried it on the latter.) You keep going until it’s done; push through the hard times and make the story shine.

4. The Happy Ending

Whether or not that’s how the plot pans out is irrespective; the final edit beats all the happy ever afters there ever will be. Knowing you made it work, knowing you gave it your all, and that what you have done is nothing short of amazing.

Hopefully.

Of course this is where the analogy ends, because in the book writing world you are probably ready to start the next one, which I wouldn’t recommend in a marriage, but you know. No analogy is ever perfect. You do what you can. :)

Also I’m well and truly stuck in point three right now, so it’s not entirely helpful for me, but at least there’s a happy ending in sight right? And if nothing else, here’s to halfway coherent blog writing.

Now, does anyone have any chocolate?

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Essentially Jess vs The Grammar Gremlins #IBOT

In everyone’s life,¬†¬†there comes a point when you have to make an important decision on who you want to be. ¬†And whilst the process of decision will be different for everyone out there, at some point, in this age of information and autocorrect and incorrectly spelt hashtags, you have to pick a side: grammar nazi or no.

I think, finally, I might be ready to make this decision.

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The inspiration occurred to me the other day. I was chatting to a friend, who was all sad and miserable looking. Something truly terrible had happened that threatened their reputation and the very essence of who they are.

This friend of mine is an admin of a¬†Facebook page with someone else, and their partner had posted something that day, with, wait for it…

An error.

It was awful. They wrote ‘their’ instead of ‘there,’ or maybe it was the other way around. I don’t remember. I do know that we were all quite shocked, as was one gentleman commenter who pointed out this grievous mistake in the most heart wrenching way; by writing the correct ‘there.’ It was a good lesson for us all.

Being the¬†kind-hearted and compassionate person I am,¬†(who has fallen prey to many a grammatical error in her day), I set about showing my friend¬†how to fix this blunder, should it ever happen again. We are hoping it won’t.

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FYI, I’m in the purple segment

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Can I just say, how grateful I am for that edit feature? Do you know how many times I have posted something online only to discover not long after that I had spelt it wrong? Or that I had placed an apostrophe in the wrong place? Or that autocorrect changed book to boob, and hello to ‘you suck you horrible beast you!’ (Well the last one is a little dramatic and hasn’t actually happened, but honestly some of the autocorrects I get have me scratching my head.)

It’s happened a lot.

I have posts on my faux pas’. Here, here, here and here.

I’ve always been a person who loves¬†good grammar. There are a great many things that have me wishing for a proverbial red pen, or actual permanent marker, but I’ve never been a nazi, and probably because I have made too many mistakes in the past. Honestly, so many mistakes. Not ¬†a status update goes by¬†that I don’t find some error in. Usually after I’ve posted it.

Part of it is because I’m in a rush and I just see what I want it to say. I think that happens for a lot of us. You don’t notice the flaw in front of your face, because when you’re reading

“My small child has spent the day treasuring a broken hair tie she calls her ‘worm.’ Why do I ever buy toys?”

That’s what it says to you.

Not

“My small child has spent the day treasuring a brooke hair toe she calls her ‘worm.’ Why do I even boy toys?”

So yes, my flaws are partly my fault, not denying that.

However, I don’t think it’s just me.

You see some days, (particularly with blog posts), I read and re-read, and read again, looking for errors. I read aloud, I read in draft view, I read in preview. I pick up mistakes, I look and check and study as hard as I can, and finally, when I am satisfied that all is perfect I hit post.

And then it happens.

Gremlins. Nasty little grammar gremlins who live in my devices, and are determined to destroy the earth by inciting grammar filled violence at every turn. The trolls on the internet are not the ones to be feared: it’s the¬†grammar gremlins that jump in and move apostrophes and change random letters, completely destroying the readability of sentences and the flow of stories.

They are the true enemy.

They are the ones intent on ending world peace.

And I bet it was spelt that way before they changed it!

And I bet it was spelt that way before they changed it!

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There’s no other way to explain it really. (Apart from me not proof-reading properly, and yeah like that would happen ūüėČ ) How else does a perfectly fine article,¬†suddenly appear error ridden once the post button is pressed? This is the only logical solution.

And thus entered my philosophical quandary of life. Because if the internet is actually ruled by grammar gremlins set to war against us all, I am a sitting duck with nothing to defend myself, except a dodgy spell checker which is probably in cohorts with the gremlins. It’s clearly obvious what my options are here: I keep writing, trying to do it right;¬†filling the pages of my blog and my Facebook wall with beautiful thoughts only to have them¬†littered with errors¬†like ‘supposably,’ and ‘its going to be ok,’ and ‘wear are there shoes?’

Or I can can go to war. Become a Grammar Nazi, inciting terror and violence at every update.

Now it may just be because I’ve read far too much Game of Thrones lately, but the latter sounds so appealing. Oh to sit upon a tower, high and lofty and search out¬†those, whose apostrophes fly willy nilly about the place, and inform¬†them with one word answers. It seems a truly magical role to aspire to.

And don’t get me wrong; this is not about judgement or condemning the innocent; this is a fight about honour. It’s giving the uninformed the information necessary to hit that edit button I’m so fond of. To find the imperfections and make the stories grand. And if I don’t do this, the Gremlins will live to infuse our¬†words another day.

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And so I have taken the first step. I have branded my sword, I have donned my armour, and… I’m going back to school. I’m going to study writing until I know all the rules and technicalities with which to slay the enemy. Those grammar gremlins will never know what hit them.

Never fear writers of the world: EssentiallyJess is here to help you fight the bad guys.

So tell me:

Are you a Grammar Nazi?

Have you fallen prey to gremlins?

Would you like to join me in the war?

How many errors did you find in this post?

Did anyone realise this was just a really long way of saying, ‘yay I got accepted into the professional writing course I applied for?” :)

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The Days of Jess’ Life #IBOT

the days of Jess' life part one and two

I’ve been using the school holidays to edit my book. Not that I couldn’t do¬†it in school time, but I’m at the point where paper and a red pen is for more constructive than trying to find errors on the computer. Besides ¬†it has the upside of me not being on my Mac all the time, which means I’m less likely to get crabby when interrupted. An event¬†that¬†happens more than once a day with four children.

Anyway, since endeavouring to become a cutthroat editor, ruthlessly removing any text that serves no purpose or just sounds dumb, I have realised something about the way I write. I have an obsession with dramatic ending paragraphs.

Given the choice between ending a chapter with something reasonable like ‘he left the room, never noticing her tears,’ or the more attention grabbing, ‘he stormed out in a blaze of glory, never to know the devastation he would leave in his wake,’ I choose the latter.

Every time.

And whilst that’s not always wrong, when your whole paragraph is normally written and then you end it like an episode of Passions, it does sound a tad ridiculous.

My job at this point is (among other things), removing the overstated sentences. Some of the brilliance I have thus far changed include… (and I fully expect you to read them in your most scandalous sounding voice, and add a ‘dum dum dum’ on the end)

Nothing is ever quite so tragic as the forth month of the year

Nothing is ever quite so tragic as the fourth month of the year

There was no hope has a nicer ring to it, and is equally as devastating

‘There was no hope’ has a nicer ring to it, and is equally as devastating

Hauntingly beautiful? Or just tragically overwritten?

Hauntingly beautiful?
Or just tragically overwritten?

Everything should be done without the presence of plovers. I stand by this quote.

Everything should be done without the presence of plovers. I stand by this quote.

Presenting them in Word Swag Only adds to their theatrics.

Having completed this little exercise though (the word-swagging and paying myself out; not the editing), I have finally decided on some life direction.

I’m going to write soap operas.*

It’s just been staring me in the face this whole time.

Now when considering the best way to write a soap opera, two things really stand out at me.

Believability, and drama.

Ok just drama.

But lucky for you, my blog line is crazy, hopeful AND authentic, (just the other way around), and so my soaps are going to be nothing but the actual truth of life.

One might even say, The Days of Our Lives.

I don’t know where I get this stuff. ūüėČ

And so just for you, on this¬†most¬†special of Tuesdays (for no real reason whatsoever), I thought I’d give you a little taste of my new-found career.

Presenting:

the days of Jess' life part one and two

the days of Jess' life part one

Chilling isn’t it?

Wait till you see the episode.

And because one is never enough…

the day's of Jess' life part 2

Some creative licences were taken with this script. A good screenplay is always at the mercy of a cameraman who doesn’t want to tidy the kitchen

So what do you think? Do I need to start pitching my stuff to Soap Opera Central?**

Or do I just stick to blogging?

Either way, one thing is clear…

it will change the world

*No. No I’m not.

** Not a real place. I think.

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