27 June 2010

A To-Do List is Like a Rabies Shot for the Soul.

When I moved to Georgia, I literally thought that was the hardest thing I would ever have to do in my life. And it was, up until that point. I lived in the middle of nowhere. Sushi came from the fish counter at the grocery store (blech) and they looked at me cross-eyed when I asked for seltzer water. And everyone was super friendly and in my personal space and wanted to tell me their life story.

It took 3 months but I eventually made some friends and found some places where they didn’t drive pick up trucks or wear cut-off tshirts (not joking) and I was really happy. I thought that after doing that I could do anything and that I was, essentially, Master of the Universe.

Me as Master of the Universe. A little scary, but fairly accurate.

So then I moved to Australia. After adjusting to Georgia I honestly thought this wouldn’t be too hard. But it is. I miss home and I miss Athens and I miss feeling grounded somewhere. I feel a little like some rabid furry animal- totally cute, but totally crazy.

But the best part is, its all going to be fine. I figured out Georgia and I’ll figure this out too. To help me, I made a little list of things to do this week. Lists are my friend. They give me order and sanity when my life is as ordered as a bowl of jello. We like to cuddle and go on picnics. I love lists.

So, as you can see, if I follow the list, by the end of the week I will be totally awesome. Possibly even rad, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. That’s a picture of a flying unicorn and a rainbow and some stars down there. My artistic talents are pretty legendary.

So that's about it. In summary- Life right now, not so awesome. Life by the end of the week, totally awesome. The End.

25 June 2010

I Let a Girl Named Pixie Cut My Hair and This is What Happened

I usually wait until my hair looks like a rabid, overgrown poddle before I even start thinking about getting it cut. This time was no exception. I was apprehensive about getting my hair cut here in Oz because its freakin' expensive and frankly, I just miss my old hairdresser Liz. She was my hair superstar and I credit my long lucious locks to her magical scissors. I'm not making that up, I think they had legit magical powers.

I decided to go to a place on Bronte called Dolls & Dynamite. I don't really like dolls- their little porcelin faces genuinely scare the crap out of me. But I like dynamite. So I figured I had at least a 50/50 shot at a successful haircut.

I called to make an appointment and a lovely young girl by the name of Pixie was happy to book me in. The name Pixie did make me a little nervous and sent visions of Angelina Jolie in that movie Hackers through my head.

Remember that movie? Remember how ridiculous we all thought it was that Angelina Jolie was really a world class hacker? That was not the look I was going for.

Anyway, Pixie did a really great job and I really love my new do. Its pretty freakin' rockstar. I think it raises my awesome level a solid 47 points, up to 40,000,000,047 points of awesome. A nice round number, I think.

So now my hair looks like this:

Anyway, that's all. I hope you like it.

Saturday Night Special

24 June 2010

Fred Downs

My Pop-Pop died a few weeks ago. He had been sick for a while but it was still a bit of a shock to me. He just got old and tired and I think he kind of gave up. And considering the last few months he’s had, I don’t blame him.

I grew up in the north and Pop-Pop lived on Jax Beach in Florida, over a thousand miles away. So I don’t remember much about him but here is what I do remember.

He was an incredible artist. Any iota of artistic ability I have comes from him. My uncle thinks he could have been a great American artist, and I’m inclined to agree with him. Pop-Pop told me “Draw everything. Sit in front of a tree and try to draw the other side of it. That’s how you’ll get good, kid.” He may not have actually called me kid, but that’s how I remember it.

He loved Frank Sinatra, and really the Rat Pack in general.

He smoked like a chimney, and I didn’t really mind when I was younger. And he drank like a fish. But in my mind he was more like a romantic Hemmingway. Without all the womanizing. Just this beat artist who drank and smoked because that’s what artists do.

He watched the racing channel.

He was in the navy. I’ve seen pictures of him in his blue sailor uniform with his great long legs in those sailor pants with the flare. He looks like a tall handsome movie star in those pictures.

He used to own some kind of fast red car. I don’t remember what it was because it was before me. But he showed me pictures and I could tell by the way he talked that he “loved that damn thing.”

He said “damn” a lot. He’d be sitting on the couch talking to us or telling us a story or (most likely) complaining about something and he’d draw his great long legs up under him and prop his forearms on his knees and wave his cigarette around and say “Damnit I tell ya!” I never remember what he was telling us but I can very clearly hear his voice saying that one phrase.

He made us call him Pop-Pop, that was all his choice. I think “Grandpa” made him feel too old, and he was right. It didn’t suit him and he wasn’t old until the end there. He made us call him Pop-Pop like some old beatnik poet or jazz legend from the thirties.

That’s all I really remember and I’m ok with that. I’m sure there are other things, but I can’t think of them at the moment. And I feel like that’s the really important stuff. He was a good man and I really love him. And I’ll miss him. But in some ways I’m glad he’s gone. Maybe he’s happy now, wherever he is.

From left to right: My "little" brother (what is with the facial hair? You're 16.), Dad (Glorious 1984 hair), Pop-Pop (Totally awesome.), Uncle Chuck (He has a glass eye.), Me (Please don't mock me, I didn't know any better.)

22 June 2010

Wow! My First Hater! I Must be a Real Blogger Now!

Let me start by saying that anyone is allowed to think whatever they want to think about me and the things I choose to write. So long as you understand them in the first place.

So yesterday I wrote what I thought (and others seemingly agreed) was an amusing satirical post commenting on my general appearance. Apparently not. Someone (who failed to identify himself and will heretofore be referred to as “Too Judgmental”, because that’s what he thought of me) thought I was being serious, and just a little harsh.

First I was surprised that anyone besides my mom and my whopping 3 followers read this thing. Then, I was confused. Because I assume whoever was upset with me is someone I have at least met in person, yet they chose to remain “Anonymous”. Strange…

I guess it’s my own fault. I do have a unique and searing sense of humour that most people struggle to grasp. I am fluent in sarcasm and I forget that others only possess a rudimentary understanding of the language. Like Charlie the 3 year-old thinks he speaks Spanish because he watches Dora, these people think they both understand and can comment on my sense of humour.

Like I said, it’s my own fault. So lemme break it down for you.

Here is a picture of what I generally look like. It’s not pretty, so brace yourselves…

This is legit. I did not just put on this outfit for the purposes of this picture. I have been wearing this all day and some of it for a few days.

You see, Too Judgmental, what you failed to grasp is that my letter was not so much a commentary on what Attractive Hipster Guy looks like and more a commentary on what I look like. I think Attractive Hipster Guy is, well, attractive. That’s why I call him Attractive Hipster Guy.

Myself, on the other hand, not looking so hot on a day-to-day basis. Sure, I scrub up nice, but I rarely scrub up. So I find it amusing and ironic that I encounter this man several times a week looking the way I do. If I encountered him on a weekend or when I’ve dressed to go out to a pub or movie I might stand a chance. But I don’t. Only when I look like that. (see above) You would think that I would anticipate Attractive Hipster Guy’s appearance in my day and take a shower in the morning, but I never seem to think that far ahead.

Well, Too Judgmental, I am sorry for the confusion and I do hope this clears things up a bit. Just try to read my blog (if you choose to continue doing so) with a sarcastic voice in your head. Like Chandler from the hit television show Friends. That should help you out a bit. And please, keep commenting!

Most Respectfully,

21 June 2010

This is What Gets Stuck in Your Head When You're a Nanny

Wow! Two posts in one day. Aren't you all special...

This is what usually ends up stuck in my head. Its actually my favourite part... *shame*

go Diego, go.

An Open Letter to the Attractive Hipster Guy Who Rides His Bike Through My Neighborhood

I'm working on a more substantial post with pictures and all, but its not ready yet. This will have to satiate you for now. Soon though, soon.

Dear Attractive Hipster Guy Who Rides His Bike Through My Neighborhood,

We’ve crossed paths several times now, Hipster Guy, and I would just like to formally introduce myself. I’m Lydia and the reason you see me dragging this toddler around is because I am his nanny. Not his mum. I just wanted to get that out of the way right off the bat.

I wanted to thank you for your impeccable timing, Attractive Hipster Guy. Thank you for choosing my best days to ride your bike down my street as I am losing a fight with a 2 year-old who still can’t form words. You always seem to come around when I’m looking my sexiest- the days when I rolled out of bed 40 minutes after my alarm went off, pulled on a crumpled pair of jeans off the floor, and threw on the first sweater that didn’t smell funny. I also caught you noticing the red headband I tie around my head in such a fashionable manner. It is rather attractive, if I do say so myself. And don’t be confused, I’m not a gang member, I’m just incapable of washing my hair before noon.

I have noticed you too, Attractive Hipster Guy. I’ve noticed your bike and your flannel shirt and your skinny jeans. I’ve even thought of finding a way to approach you, but that seems like it would be pretty difficult. You zip through the neighborhood at gale force speeds and I’d probably have to throw my toddler in front of you to get you to stop. Which I think would give you the impression that I would be a terrible mum. We’d have beautiful children, you and I.

Although, now that I think about it, maybe you are a little too hipster for me, which is saying something. I know your flannel shirt isn’t vintage, I saw it at Target last week. And your jeans might be a little too skinny. I’d be afraid you’d ask to borrow my pair of Paper Denim skinnies, just to see how’d they look. Not cool, Hipster Guy. I don’t date boys who wear the same size as me; I learned that lesson a long time ago.

I also think your hair might be a little too hipster- just the right amount of dirty and unkempt, not yet smelly. And I can tell you groom your beard to look that disheveled. Also, you're not fooling anyone with your mint green "vintage" one speed beach cruiser with white wall tires. I know you didn’t find it in a second hand shop in Melbourne, you bought it brand new at Cheeky’s down the street. And how long did it take you to learn to ride it without hands? Effort is so not hipster

You tried to deceive me, Attractive Hipster Guy, and for that we can never be together. Stop eyeing me like that, because it’s never going to happen. Stop imagining us perusing the thrift store together, fighting over the same argyle cardigan. Stop picturing what it would be like to seclude ourselves in the corner of an overcrowded pub, filling the table with PBR empties. Its just not meant to be, Attractive Hipster Guy. But give it time; you’ll get over me. Maybe. Go date a girl with a nautical star tattoo, ‘cause I’m just not the one.

Most Sincerely,
AKA Insane-Looking American Girl with the Toddler and Crusties in the Corners of Her Eyes

20 June 2010

Bears Love Cookies and I am a Bear.

Today I got a craving for chocolate chip cookies. But not just any chocolate chip cookies. I wanted the Nestle Tollhouse Break & Bake kind. The kind that give you warm gooey chocolaty satisfaction 10-12 minutes after you tear open the yellow cellophane packaging. The craving hit me like I was a bear. I was immediately ravenous. Its like I was a bear and if there had been another bear with some of those cookies we would have had a bear war and I would have conquered him because the craving for the cookies would have increased my bear powers exponentially.

So I decided since I was on my break from work that I would get me some cookies. I dragged myself out of my be- er… I mean, away from the important creative thing I was doing and set out. Now to get to the grocery store I have to hike my lazy ass up a huge hill and wait for the bus and then stand on the bus next to a malodorous Indian man for 20 minutes. Which was fine because my love for the cookies was driving me onward, giving me bear powers. I got to the grocery store and headed for the refrigerated section and that’s where the first moments of fear hit me.

“Maybe they don’t have Nestle Tollhouse Bake & Break cookies here…”

And sure enough, they don’t. I scoured the refrigerated and frozen sections in vein. I tore numerous bags of peas asunder with my bear rage. I clawed little old ladies in front of the jellies and jams section. I tried to politely ask an employee about the cookies but he gave me a look like I was insane. Well, first he gave me the “Oh! She’s American! Wait, what is she saying, I can’t understand her accent… Cookies? What the hell is this chick talking about? OMFG? I’m going to be one of those people who get killed by a crazy American!” When his face starting saying that I ate his head, because I’m a bear.

Soon enough, the rage subsided and I was just sad and tired in a busy grocery store surrounded by muesli and dollop cream (they love that crap here). So I dragged myself home and settled for some Tim Tams. Which are good, don’t get me wrong, but they are no Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip cookies.

P.S.- I’ve also wanted Mexican food for quite sometime but they don’t make that on this continent. Just a crap load of Asian food, which I’ve never really cared for. I had a few lovely friends send me some Mexican recipes but I managed to screw them up. First of all they don’t have Rotel here but also, I’m just a terrible cook. Who screws up a burrito? Me. I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize to Future Boyfriend, I’ll try to get better. I promise we won’t live off of frozen waffles and peanut butter. Well, we might at first, but I’ll probably get sick of it and try something else. Or maybe you should start to learn to cook, and then I wouldn’t have to. Just a thought, Future Boyfriend.

P.P.S.- I realize my mother is probably despairing at the bear rage photo as its not helping the Future Boyfriend situation and she probably thinks she'll never get any grandchildren now but its OK. Future Boyfriend will have to find out about bear rage eventually, its just a fact of life.

19 June 2010

Super Charlie Bignill Monkey Chips

It happened the other day. Charlie told me he loves me. I don't remember what we were doing- putting on his shoes or something- and he looked up at me with his perfect blue eyes and long dark eyelashes and just goes "I love you, Lydia." And I threw up in my mouth a little because I don't really like it when people say that to me. Especially kids I nanny. Because I am going to leave him one day. But then I swallowed it and gave him a big snuggle and said "I love you too, Charlie." And it was awesome. Because I do.

Sunday Morning Songs

Saturday Night Special

18 June 2010

And We're Back.

As I’m sure one or two of you may have noticed- probably just my mom- it has been a minute since I last posted anything of substance. This is because an evil little gnome crawled inside my computer and screwed it up. I wasn’t able to blahblahblahtechnicalcrapblahblahblah and it was very frustrating. So I took it to the Apple store here in Bondi Junction.

Long story…

Three appointments and a few tears later my computer is back and slightly improved. When I asked the “genius” who attended my machine why this happened his remarkably in-depth answer was “Just lucky, I guess.” Gee, thanks Forrest. You have a stupid name and a stupid lip ring.

So I am going to cheat. I am going to back date some posts and get you all caught up with pictures, because now I can.

Meanwhile- today is a sunny, albeit blustery day. The sun is shinning so bright that I am actually sitting at my computer with my sunnies on because it just hurts my eyes. I think I’ll go down to the beach today and take some pictures. And hit on the surfer guys… Probably just the former… Those of you that have been a victim of my flirting “skills” will understand why.

Also- and I apologize for the completely random nature of this post but I’m so hungry my stomach is trying to eat my spinal cord and is cutting off the blood to my brain- but also… um… my boss had her baby!

Yesterday as I was peacefully enjoying my newly restored computer in the cave dark comfort of my room I heard MaryAnne calling for me:

MA: Lydia?

ME: Yeah?

MA: Oscar is crying in his crib can you get him? My water just broke.

ME: Oh, ok.

MA: Actually, could you first get me a pad and a clean pair of underwear?

ME: Um, sure.

Ensuing confusion. Finally she and Tom headed to the hospital and just an hour ago Bignill #3 was born. They haven’t named her yet. Originally they had decided on India Grace but it appears that Tom is going to put up a fight. I’ll keep you posted on how that works out. (The theory is she pushed it out, she gets to name it.)

MaryAnne has been putting up quite a fight to get this birth going and luckily I was able to reference some of my doula knowledge to help. Exciting little pearls of wisdom like the Muslim prayer position with rocking and nipple stimulation. Yeah, super exciting. Anyway, something worked and life is about to get just a little louder. Because it was so calm before.

More updates to follow… But for now, here's a picture:

07 June 2010

Shari Lewis and Some Food for Thought

Its way too late at night but I had a coke and some chocolate creme thing and I can't sleep. Sugar OD.

Tonight I made lemon sage lamb chops and oven roasted potatoes (sweet and white), carrots, and caramelized onions topped with goat cheese next to a lovely glass of white wine. Betty Freakin' Crocker. Its usually just me and MaryAnne (The Boss Lady) for dinner and we love cooking for each other. Though, with her being at nearly 37 weeks, I do most of the cooking and she does most of the eating. ::Cutie::

Though when I was eating the lamb chops, I kept thinking about Lamchop... Awkward...

So, I didn't go to a normal college so I didn't have a Psych 101 course like most kiddies but I've been living this whole Nature Vs Nurture thing. You read that right. As a nanny I've seen kids from the time they were weeks old. I've watched them grow up and develop little personalities from well before they could speak. I've seen them adopt mannerisms that are identical to something their parents do and then I've seen them come up with something out of the blue that makes you go "Where the heck did they learn that!?" Some things we learn and some things we're born with, right?

Shift from kids to me.

In less than 1 year I have changed cultures/ environments/ "nurture" twice. I went from living in the North to living in the Deep South to living Down Under. I think my head is still spinning. Its been an interesting process and its caused me to really sift through my true nature and what I've been nurtured to do. Every time I've changed cultures I've had the opportunity to keep the things that are really me- the parts of my true Nature- and get rid of the things that were just a product of my environment.

Because we are products of our environment. Our experiences, the people we surround ourselves with, the beliefs systems we stand on, the moral standards we structure our lives around are all parts of what form our personalities. But some of them are just environment. Some of them are just survival mechanisms that we would lay down if given the opportunity to act another way.

Its been an awesome process. Because every time I go through what should be a terrifying experience of having to adapt to a whole new cultural system, I just get to find all the best pieces of me. When we set out on a journey, we expect the scenery to change but we never realize how much our reflection will change. And change is a good thing, we can't have too much change.

02 June 2010

Uneventful Adventures

Its another gray day in Oz. I'm sitting at my desk watching the rain drip from unfamiliar trees. There are moments when the weather gets ahead of herself and the rain and sun come together. It sends the birds wild and they drown out any other noise with their rejoicing.

The days are all pretty much the same. Its funny to me how an adventure never really feels like one when you're in it. There are definitely exciting moments that remind me that my life has changed. But for the most part, it just plods along. Which is how its suppose to be, I think.

That's how it is in the stories, at least. Books, not movies. Lord of the Rings, for example. They just walk for weeks sometimes. And then something exciting happens. But mostly, its just them walking. That's the only way we get any where. Just keep moving forward.

A slight change has been my boys. Mum is getting close to having her baby and I think the boys can tell. They've been fairly full on for the past week, keeping things interesting. Melt down temper tantrums and viral infections keep the days pretty hectic. But on the rare sunny day, I put Oscar in his bike and we have our own little adventures. Rides to the park to see the birds. Walks to the cafe for cakes and fruit and coffee (the coffee's for just me). And of course, frequent visits to the swings at the little park on the corner.

Both of the boys are intolerably cute and I have plenty of pictures to post but there is something wrong with my computer and I haven't been able to upload anything. Its pretty freakin frustrating and I'll probably have to give up my computer for a few days to get it fixed. So once that's done, pictures galore. I promise.

I've got a friend headed up the east coast of the states in a boat. He'd probably be irritated at me for calling it "a boat", but he'll get over it. On a day like today, pent up in this house covered in rain clouds, a wide open ocean sounds like a really good idea.