Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Little Lola #WriteBravely #Day3

Sleeping baby, comatose dad
Lola is lonely, woebegone, sad

Dad promised time to play
Silly old baby! Go away!

Now Lola has a tiny baby sister
She'd run away, they won't miss her!

Mum and dad are too tired, too busy
Two year old Lola is in a tizzy

A baby sister was supposed to be fun
But Lola thinks Ruby is kinda dumb

She cries and fusses, makes things smelly
Can't she go back in mommy's belly?

Lola ponders this with a pout
She isn't sure how the baby got out!

She tries to be nice, give Ruby her toys
But Mum says SHHH! Don't make noise!

She even sleeps in a big girl's bed
And Ruby has the cot instead

They could easily give Ruby away
An lady wanted her just yesterday!

She popped in from down the street
To coo at Ruby and say she's sweet

Yes! That's what she'd do!
Lola toddled off to number 22

Even on tiptoes she can't reach the bell
So she raps on the door, lets out a yell

Hey! She shouts, with a rat-a-tat-tat
But the only response is a fabulous cat

He must be the only creature at home
He's slinking around the garden alone

He slides up to Lola, lets out a purr
She squats to stroke his silky fur

Kitty cat curls up for a nap
Lola hugs him on her lap

Soon they are asleep in the sun
Lola's suddenly too drowsy for fun

She wakes up, magically in her bed!
Dad and Mum were filled with dread

Don't ever do that again! They implore
It's BOTH you and Ruby we adore!

They let her have chicken nuggets for dinner
Lola is happy, she feels like a winner

She'll learn to love her little sister
She peeks in the cot to sloppily kiss her.

Monday, 25 June 2018

Finding Fun In Every Day #WriteBravely #Day2

It's a truth universally acknowledged that life is full of dreary tasks. Mundane, joyless days blend into each other. You trudge through your monotonous existence like an automaton. Your life is so devoid of anything thrilling you become excited at the sight of a new kitchen sponge. Or perhaps that's just me.

But it doesn't have to be that way. As a wise woman once said: "In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun - and - snap! - the job's a game."

That wise woman was Mary Poppins. Okay, she's a fictional character , so would what she know? You're just gonna have to work with me on this, okay? I'm trying to help you here. Who said my blog isn't useful?

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, making jobs fun. Here's a few ideas. Some sensible. Some silly. We are trying to have fun here, after all.


  • Put on some music. Preferably nothing weepy and melancholy. We're talking upbeat and inspiring. You could even make a playlist of housework music. Bonus points for pausing to warble into a hairbrush like the rock star you are.
  • Put on a timer and see how much you can get done before it beeps. You'll even get a workout at the same time by dashing about as if your butt is on fire. Let's call that multitasking! Sure, your work will likely be slap dash and sloppy, but we're trying to have fun here. Sacrifices must be made. 
  • Do the thing you detest the most. No, seriously, do it. Whether it be making a dreaded phone call, washing dishes or walking the dog. But do it wearing a tutu and a top hat. I dare you. Even if you don't have fun, your family/neighbours will have a great old time laughing at you, so somebody wins. 
  • Reward yourself with your favourite treat. I'm thinking chocolate or cakies. Pretty soon you'll be smashing that tedious to-do list. And smashing your scales with a sledgehammer in indignation. But let's not focus on the negative. 
  • Listen to podcasts. This is actually a sensible suggestion. It actually works to make something like folding laundry a little less sucky. Just be much more sensible about this than me and mix it up a bit from true crime podcasts. Those things are not exactly light entertainment. 
  • If you're at work, why not see how many people you piss off before knock off time. Try it at home, too. Don't let me stop you. 
  • Make a tally of how many times you hear certain jargon and buzzwords that set your teeth on edge. Reward yourself with the tallied number of glasses of wine when you get home. Cheers! 
  • Book your next vacation. Every time someone ticks you off just chant "Hawaii" (or insert any other location of your choice) under your breath. This will remind you of the reason for this bullshit: cash for vacations. 
  • When you are scrubbing your toilet, dress in head to toe latex to match your rubber gloves. On second thought, just pay someone else to do that. You may have to pay extra for the latex outfit however. 😉
  • If you usually cook dinner for your family, make it fun by trying new recipes. Drinking wine helps, too.

Thank you for reading. Now go and have fun!
How do you make mundane tasks fun?

Thank A Teacher #LifeThisWeek

It's been a frightfully long time since I was at school. Thirty years, in fact. Yikes. How did that happen?

Happen it did. Quickly. Suddenly, I was 18, with no idea of what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Still haven't figured it out, to be honest. I guess I never will. Oh, well. Sigh.

Anyway, long story short, I ended up enrolling in a TAFE course in library practice. I schlepped into the city replete with my infamous mullet perm. The 80s were just about over, but I hadn't received the memo.

Throughout my years at primary school and high school one thing had become apparent. I was excruciatingly shy and quiet. Furthermore, this was a heinous character defect.

There must be some sort of magical spell or secret knowledge I didn't possess. Knowledge that would enable me to come out of my shell immediately. If not, I was doomed.

It seems that being quiet is viewed as suspicious in our society. Case in point: have you ever noticed that a popular trope in fiction is the killer turning out to be the quiet unassuming character? 

Likewise when a gruesome murder takes place, neighbours of the perpetrator are seen on the news, appalled. "He was pretty quiet. Kept to himself," they mumble to the camera. The subtext being, all quiet folk are psychopaths waiting to happen. HMPH. Not true. Granted, I am weird, but in a completely harmless way.

Look, I'm getting to the thanking a teacher bit shortly. The point is, I had been conditioned to believe that being quiet and shy was tantamount to a crime. A hideous, awful, shameful flaw. Something that had to be changed at all costs. If only I tried hard enough,  I should be able to do the thing that people commanded: come out of my shell.

I grew to loathe those words. Sadly not as much I loathed myself. I desperately wanted to be bubbly and outgoing. The opposite of my true self in every way.

To complicate matters, I didn't know that I'm autistic at the time. I believed that all my struggles to communicate were simply shyness. And yes, I AM shy. Like I've said before, I scored the ultimate trifecta of social awkwardness: shy, introverted (yes, they are two different things) and autistic.

But to get to the thanking a teacher bit! As part of the library practice TAFE course we had to do a communication module.

My teacher for this subject was a lovely lady with the unusual name of Gill Goater. She wore dangly earrings and a warm smile.

It transpired that one of our assessments involved giving a speech on a topic of our choice. OH. MY. GOD. Naturally my shy little soul shriveled at such a prospect. The thing was impossible. A knot of dread settled in my stomach.

The dread was also suffused in shame. Here I was, ostensibly an adult and I was no closer to 'coming out of my shell'. The very idea of standing in front of the class set me quivering.

But Gill smiled at me and said something to the effect: I just want you to know that I know you're shy and that's okay.

Wait. What?

"It's okay to do things in your own time," she continued. I was thunderstruck yet thrilled. No one had ever said such a thing to me before.

The upshot of it was, she gave me a get of jail for free card. I didn't have to do the speech if I didn't want to, she told me. A funny thing happened. I mulled it over, as I am want to do.

A number of people in the class were from non English speaking backgrounds. A speech would be a challenge for them, too. Upon reflection, it didn't seem fair that they should have to do it, while I was excused.

I went back and told Gill I'd do it. She suggested a topic I knew a lot about: Why not talk about shyness? Explain what it's like. Make people understand.

So that's what I did. I don't remember exactly what I said, but I do remember that you couldn't hear a pin drop until I finished and the room erupted into applause.

Gill was beaming. "I'm giving you an 11 out of ten because I know how hard that was for you!" she said.

Shortly afterwards, she left to go travelling and we had a different teacher. But I never forgot her. So, thank you, Gill Goater, for your acceptance and understanding. I wish more teachers were like you.

Interestingly, I googled Gill's name and discovered she is now a poet, with a book of poetry in print. Highly unlikely she would remember me, but now I'm keen to read her poetry. 

Meanwhile, I now know I'm autistic. In retrospect, it could have been an even more interesting speech! It certainly explains why I could never just 'come out of my shell'.

But I've never become a murderer either. And never will! That's something.

What about you?

Is there a teacher you'd like to thank? 

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Together Again #WriteBravely #Day 1

Welcome to the Festival of Words 2018! What on earth is that, you ask? Read about it here. I'm joining in for the first time, because I never really knew about it before. But better late than never, as the saying goes!

So let's get this party started, as P!nk says... Or something...

For day one, I chose the following creative writing prompt:

Day 1 – 24 Jun – Use this sentence in your post : You’d never believe me if I told you that I _____________, but it’s true and I can prove it.

Here's my story:


Image credit: https://www.pexels.com/

You'd never believe me if I told you that I'm a murderer. But it's true, and I can prove it. You see, everyone dies around me. You might meet me and think I'm a regular person. I'm witty, quirky and quick with a joke. Fun to be with. You may even want to be friends. I would advise you against it. It could be fatal.

"It's not your fault," my psychologist told me. Her eyes exuded kindness and warmth. Warmth I didn't deserve. The day they'd taken away Blake's lifeless body, all those years ago, I thought they'd take me, too. Mum was still slumped on the floor. Her guttural wails sliced through the unnerving stillness. I felt frozen in time. Floating. Surreal. How could this be happening again?

After the funeral, Mum didn't get out of bed for weeks. I made her bowls of cereal and cheese on toast which lay untouched. The only things I knew how to make at age ten. I became the mother to my mother. Tall and mature for my age, people said. They shouldn't trust me.

"Poor love," Auntie Lorraine said. "First her father, then her baby brother."
"So sad," sniffed cousin Sally. I didn't like her. She'd never visited before, why was she here now? Auntie Lorraine had always been in our lives. She was Mum's auntie really. My late Poppa's sister. I loved her. She wore brilliant coloured scarves and bustled about as she gossiped. She rarely mentioned my Dad though.

For years afterwards I replayed the accident in my mind. Dad's eager face when he saw me waving from the school gate. He stepped off the kirb onto the slippery wet road. I never knew if he saw the oncoming car. If his life flashed before his eyes in that instant. He bounced off the bonnet, hitting the ground with a sickening smack. My screams were swallowed by the clap of thunder as biting rain fell on the gruesome scene.

Six months later, Blake stopped breathing. They said it was SIDS. Sudden infant death syndrome. My already scarred ten year old psyche didn't understand. I'd been playing peek-a-boo with him. Maybe I'd left the blanket over his face when the phone rang and I rushed off to answer it. I'd murdered him, and I knew it. Could ten year olds go to prison?

Mum was never the same. She was there, but not really there. After a while I went to live with auntie Lorraine. Luckily she didn't have any children, or I may have killed them too.

"Your mum is sick, but in her mind, not her body," she explained. "Do you understand?"
I nodded. I'd made her that way. She'd probably die next. Because of me. She didn't. But she only made brief appearances in my life.

Months and years went by. I went to school, netball, piano practice. I was the good girl. I blended in, fooling everyone. Later, anger surfaced.  I became a bratty, belligerent teenager. This eventually morphed into a sarcastic, wisecracking twenty something. I was a chameleon, but drowning inside.

By now, Mum and I had an on again, off again relationship. She'd never remarried and moved around, living a nomadic life. I never knew when she'd flit through the periphery of my existence.

Somehow I'd survived university and established a career. Every day I expected someone to tap me on the shoulder. My secret discovered. I was a fraud. A freak. I didn't deserve a normal life.

Inevitably, Auntie Lorraine passed away suddenly. People I love always do. This time I planned the funeral. Mum turned up.

"Hello, Bethany," she gave me a wan smile. She'd put on weight, but it suited her. Her once coppery gold hair was streaked with grey, but her eyes were the same olive green flecked with hazel and underlying sorrow.

"Hi." I wanted to say so much more than that one innocuous word. Where have you been? I screamed internally. Then she surprised me by learning in to give me an awkward hug.

One by one, family, friends and strangers, paused to give me grave looks and platitudes, before leaving the wake.

"I'll help you clean up," Mum began clearing plates of half stale sandwiches cut in triangles.

"Leave it," I held up a bottle of wine from the fridge. Auntie Lorraine always had some on hand. She'd been fond of glass or two after a long day. "One for Auntie Lorraine?"

"Of course." Mum agreed. I poured and we clinked glasses.

"To auntie Lorraine," we both murmured. A few glasses later, we began to unwind. Or unravel. We were pouring out memories along with the wine. Laughter mingling with tears as we remembered what a remarkable woman auntie Lorraine was.

"I'm sorry, Bethie," Mum wiped the tears gently from my cheek.
"For what?"
"Everything. Especially not being there for you after Dad and Blake died."
I looked into her eyes and knew she meant it.

"You look so much like your Dad."
"It was my fault," I blurted.
"What?" Mum shook her head.
"Dad and Blake. I killed them."
Mum looked thunderstruck. Then everything came pouring out of me. I told her how Dad had stepped in front of the car because of me. About my game of peekaboo with Blake.

"I had no idea," Mum was sobbing now. "I thought you blamed me. You see, I blamed myself."

Then she explained how Dad had picked me up that day because she'd been unable to. She'd been suffering from post natal depression.

"And when Blake died, I felt so guilty. I felt like such a terrible mother, and that's why I was being punished. Why he was taken from me. You were only a child and it wasn't fair to you to be responsible for your baby brother. You did nothing wrong. You were only a girl. My beautiful girl."

She help me tight, snivelling into my shoulder. I tried to tell her I understood, that everything was okay, but the words were stuck in my own sobs. We had so much to say.  I knew I could never bring Dad and Blake back, but I finally had my mother back.

The next day we went to the cemetery together, armed with flowers. I finally felt a sense of peace as we placed them on Dad and Blake's crypt. Mum squeezed my hand. "We're all together again," she whispered.


Linking with Write Tribe for Festival Of Words.  

Monday, 18 June 2018

An Experiment

Good morning, dear people! Or afternoon. Or evening. Depending upon where you are in the world. Of course there's less than zero chance that folks all over the globe are reading this, but it doesn't hurt to remain delusional optimistic.

Anyway, I trust you are feeling fabulous wherever you may be. I just thought I'd check in here for the heck of it, despite having nothing monumental to report, and bugger all snaps to share. That's me for you. Always generous, and thinking of others.

Besides, according to some dude called Ralph Waldo Emerson "All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better." Look, it's on the internet so it must be legit.

Therefore, I may as well treat this here blog post as an experiment. I'm sure I can pull something out of nothing. That's pretty much what I always do anyway.

But today I am taking it to a whole new level. Because I have decided. Why must we always DO ALL THE THINGS? Sure, it feels good to smash that to-do list, but what if we mixed it up for a change?

Did something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. Something wild and crazy. Cutting edge and avant-garde. Something so daring and innovative it's never been heard of before and likely never will again?

You with me? Good. Let's try this groundbreaking experiment: instead of the ever present, ubiquitous to-do list, let's be bold and write a to DON'T list instead!!!

Yeah, okay, you got me. I did talk the idea up a bit more than is strictly necessary. A dash of melodrama never hurt anyone. Unless it's like actual melodrama. That's stressful. Screw that.

No, I mean pretendy type melodrama. Such fun! As Miranda would say. It works even better if you imagine rousing music in the background. Something evocative and suitably atmospheric. Perhaps the Harry Potter theme? Otherwise insert your preferred movie theme of choice. Done? Good.

On with the show.


  • Don't give up. Unless it's smoking. You should really give that up. Says the woman who can't even give up chocolate . 
  • Don't forget to be grateful for the little things in life. Like m&ms. They're little. Did I mention I can't give up chocolate?
  • Don't think you have to fix all the things and be perfect. 
  • Don't mull over what's already happened in the past. 
  • Don't worry about what may or may not happen in the future. 
  • Don't be a piker (pyker?). Not exactly sure what that is, nor how to spell it, but still. Don't be one. 
  • Don't watch dumb reality shows. This one is for me, really. You can watch them if you want to. I can't stop you. 
  • Don't stop believin'. Okay, that's an Olivia Newton-John/Journey song, but whatever works. 
  • Don't forget to pat your dog. Unless you don't have one. In which case I don't even know what to say to you. You PSYCHOPATH.
  • Don't be a will-o-mo-wisp. On second thought, a will-o-mo-wisp sounds quite lovely. And if it was good enough for Maria, it's good enough for me. 
  • Don't rain on my parade. Okay, that's a Barbra Streisand song, but Babs is awesome so I'm going with it. 
  • Don't take life too seriously. No one gets out alive.
  • Don't forget to eat your five a day. Unfortunately it's not five cakies. Again, that one was for me. Sigh. 
  • Don't forget what your arms and legs are for: movement! Another one for me. Ahem.
  • Don't cry out loud. Just keep it inside. And learn how to hide your feelings. Actually, no. That's terrible advice. What was Melissa Manchester thinking?
  • Don't write to-don't lists then proceed to DO everything on them anyway. 
  • Ditto don't write to-do lists then DON'T do anything on them either. I like contradicting myself. Shut up. 
  • Don't worry about what other people think of you. As Dr Phil says: you wouldn't worry about what others thought of you if you knew how seldom they did. Besides, they're probably dickheads anyway. That last bit is from Dr Ness. 
  • Don't stay up too late. Unless you can sleep-in in the morning. Why not?
  • Don't get up too early. Mornings are stupid. See above. 
  • Don't take advice from random bloggers on the internet, who have no qualifications whatsoever to to give such pearls of wisdom, including me. Especially me. 
  • Don't begin frying an egg then walk away, get distracted, and forget about it until the smoke alarm goes off. Oops. 
  • Don't spend too much time on social media. Bahahaha! I'm so funny. 
  • Don't forget that social media is people's highlight reels. Things aren't always what they seem. 
  • Don't be cruel to a heart that's true. Okay, that's an Elvis song, but still. It's not bad advice from The King. 
  • Don't expect your folded piles of washing to put themselves away. They don't. So rude. 
  • Don't spend winter being a sloth creature on valium because summer will be back before you know it and you'll regret it. Just me?
  • Don't worry, be happy! Okay, that's some dude I can't remember's song. But it works to end this list. And now you'll have that lovely little earworm for a while. You're welcome!

Linking up for:

What would you write on your to-don't list?

Monday, 11 June 2018

The M - Z of Me

Now for the moment you've all been waiting for! Drum roll, please...

The illustrious list of all lists! The next installment of my personal alphabet.  The M - Z of Me! YAY!

Oh okay, it's not that exciting. Sniff. But since I've already regaled you with the  A - L Of Me, I may as well finish the thing.

So here we go: 

: is for Mum. These days I totally understand why my mother often said "She went mad and they shot her!" in response to my brother and I's frequent cries of: "MUUUUUUUUUUM!!"

In addition to being a mum of three boys, I'm also MARVELOUS and utterly MAGNIFICENT.  Modest, too.

Oh yeah, and I'm married to a bloke called Mick. I like to call him Mickey Blue Eyes. He does have blue eyes, so it makes sense. Moving on.

N: Now, this is a hard one. Snorts. Nah. Clearly it's for Ness. Which is my nickname. And the reason for the name of this blog.


Look, a bit of a 'dad joke' never hurt anyone. Except that one. Oops.

And there we have it. The O word that sums me up: OOPS.

Also, I'm quite odd. You may have noticed that. Case in point: I have certain obsessions: Cakies and Carpenters. Yep. I mentioned I'm odd.

: is for pretending. I pretend that I'm normal, but you've already caught me out with the odd thing. See above.

Q: could be a quandary for many folk. (Do you see what I did there?) But not for me. Because I'm quiet. Also; quirky. And very quaint.

R:  is for reading. I love it. Additionally, I enjoy rainy days. I'm reserved, often in my little own reverie and frequently ravenous. I do tend to ramble a lot here. No, I have not been reading the dictionary! Whatever gives you that idea?!

I would also like to believe that I'm much more resilient these days.

S: is for shy. Which is a shame because I'm truly SENSATIONAL. And you may have noticed that I always descend into self-deprecation. Sigh.

Seriously though, how do I stop that? Should I?

Then there is the fact that I'm a scatterbrain. I think I'm a weird cross of sweet and sarcastic. Not sure how that works. Perhaps it doesn't. I don't know.

T: is for teatotaller. Is that how you spell it? Anyway, I drink A LOT of tea. A TREMENDOUS amount of tea. I'm also very truthful and trustworthy. That's something.

U: is for unassuming and unpretentious. That's just the way I am. Totally unique, thank you very much. So ner.

V: is another hard one. Except it isn't. Because my name is Vanessa. Ness for short. I suppose you could say I'm kinda 'vanilla'. But people tend to forget what an exquisite flavour vanilla can be. Vanilla ice cream? Yes, please. Vanilla cupcakes? Now we're talking! What's wrong with a bit of vanilla?

W: is for woman. Pretty sure I am one. And I'm often wistful and whimsical. Two wonderful W words. Wow.

: is for xylophone. Which has nothing to do with me. I've never played one. I've xeroxed some things and had a few x-rays, does that count?

: is for yodeling. I can't do it, mind you. Unless you count my enthusiastic singing along to The Lonely Goat Herd whenever I watch The Sound Of Music.. Yodelay heeee! Yodelay hee heeee!! Join in! You know you want to.

Z: is for zoo. Well, I have been to one or two in my time. Plus it often seems like a zoo around here. Meanwhile, I feel like a zombie, so there's that, too.

Aaaaand, we're done here!

Cue trumpets, fanfare and fireworks!

Look, I'm just trying to liven things up around here. You got a problem with that?

Over and out.

Can anyone really think of anything about themselves for the letters X, Y, & Z?

Monday, 4 June 2018

What I Will Never See Again

I wasn't really sure where to go with this prompt. So here's a random list. You're very welcome.

What I Will Never See Again:

  • An empty laundry basket. 
  • A clean clutter free kitchen.
  • A clean clutter free HOUSE.
  • My waist. I think I had one once upon a time. 
  • My teens. (Phew)
  • My twenties. I vaguely remember them. They came and went during 1991 - 2000. A time period affectionately referred to as the olden days by my boys. 
Me in my 20s. No 
one wants to see 
that again. 

  • My thirties. They flitted away quickly, taking my waist with them. See above. Rude.
  • Any "reality" shows; such as Married At First Sight or The Batchelorette. Somehow I got sucked into watching bits and pieces. Never again. Well, I'll probably see the ads. And that is more than enough, thanks very much. 
  • An Adam Sandler film. Enough said.
  •  Ditto for Woody Allen films. Can't stand him. Never could, even before the molestation allegations from Dylan Farrow. Weird. 
  • A new Carpenters album. This will be my lifelong sorrow. Sobs.

  • A Carpenters concert. In fact, I never saw one in the first place, because I was only a year old in 1972 when they performed in Sydney. The black and white footage of this concert is available for viewing on YouTube and I've watched it many times, but details. 
  • My babies. They are growing up fast. Mostly I'm happy and relieved about this, but sometimes, just sometimes, I'd love to be able to briefly go back in time for a cuddle. 4am feeds, and colic and poonami's (totally a thing - don't ask if you're not a parent), on the other hand... Glad I'll never see those again.
  • The runway as the plane soars off... Or will I? I guess you never know. Fingers, arms, legs, eyeballs crossed. 
  • Not much of anything if I have to keep my eyeballs crossed for ages...
  •  A Tom Cruise film, a Mel Gibson film. A Kevin Costner film... OK, I could be here all day. Why are there so many unappealing actors? I guess it's just me. 
  • My original hair colour. It was an exquisite shade of glorious titian. Also known as Ranga red. The former sounds better. Sniff. But I'm rocking the silver fox thing, so all good.
  • Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever see another blog post, given how inane my musings are. Eh, who cares. I'll be back. I can't help myself. 

End of list. 

What about you?

What will you never see again?