Blogtrotter July Tour

blogtrotterThere are more people blogging on WP than there are countries in the world to visit. Where do you choose to go first? Do you rely on pot luck, the ‘stumbled upon’ approach or a fool proof system that ensures you only see what interests you?

Armed only with a keen desire to find some great bloggers, I’ve set out to bring together some of my all-time favourites with new and inspiring content.

I’d like you all to meet Stuart Perkins. Unfortunately he was unable to be here but luckily I’ve spent some time over at his blog recently and can give you a bit of a rundown.

You’ve heard of the Dog Whisperer and here in Australia we have a Horse Whisperer too.

Stuart is the Bus Whisperer. He’s from Arlington and writes about the everyday moments and turns them into humorous stories (true). If you choose to drop by, some recent posts include Carol’s rendezvous with a black snake and George’s attempt at bringing a new girl into the fray.

Story Shucker is where you’ll find Stuart and I reckon he’s got a good thing going. Starting only last month, he has seen 257 people follow his blog already and over 4000 hits (if you’re a stats lover).

Now, Brian, the Jogging Dad, would probably rather jog the 4 miles Stuart travels than catch a bus. He’d be all sweaty by the time he got to work and would probably be crossing his legs as he’s not fond of relieving himself on the run. I suggest you don’t ask him what fartlek means and if he is not running away from his parenting duties he performs epic fails by his own admission.

Brian thinks when he runs whereas I’d rather just think about running and hope it has the same effect. He’s funny as and even has a t-shirt with joggingdad.com printed on it. He thinks it’s tasteful but you can make up your own mind. Keep your eyes peeled around Sydney Harbour in case you run into him. Jogging Dad’s been around the blog block for a while and I’ve been running with him in spirit for quite some time now. He’d probably die of shock if he knew I planned to do the City to Bay 12k run in September.

Only today, I found Kahn’s Wise Words. Sharon and Bud Kahn offer a daily quote, saying or inspirational thought. I’d love to have a desk to put one of the those desk calendars on. Being a relief (temp/substitute) teacher means I don’t have a desk to call my own. I can now have it on my laptop screen though, and may use it to inspire me for future posts if my muse goes missing.

When it’s peace I seek and a moment to pause, I drop in to see Laurie at Laurie’s Notes. Since the beginning of this year Laurie has enabled me to seek refuge at her blog and remember to breathe. She employs beautiful images and gentle words to offer comfort, affirmation and healing to her visitors. After reading one of her posts I always feel a sense of calm and that the inner hustle of my thoughts have quietened. It only takes a few moments as Laurie’s notes are always short but profound in their message.

I created the Blogtrotter logo to represent the journey that writers take as they venture around WordPress, knowing that there are no far corners, just endless opportunities and limitless creativity to be found. If you’d like to use the logo on your blog, feel free.

Love your work.

Kelly

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Love is in the Wind

Love is not a virgin on the Guest Blogger scene anymore. I did the deed over at Merbear’s this week.

Knocked Over By A Feather

*WARNING*

The wind may change direction at any given point during this post and may have dire consequences. I’ll probably be wearing one of those constipated expressions and be stuck with it. I’ll also apologise now to Merbear, if her follower count hits rock bottom as a result of the possibly funky smell left wafting past your nose by the time you finish cutting through all this crap.

See over at my hangout it’s all about the love. Feeling the love, sharing the love and sometimes questioning, ‘where is the love?’ That in itself is enough to give anyone the shits right there!

Love’s been in the wind recently. As much as I’ve tried to keep a firm grasp on it I feel like it’s being whisked away. Now I tend to walk on the positive side but seeing as this is where I’ve landed, after surviving gale force winds…

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Love in this Day and Age

‘You’re only as young as the woman you feel, or in my case – man.

I am younger then by the same amount of time it takes a foetus to reach term, if that stands to reason. There is a gestation period of difference between my husband and I. His parents wouldn’t have even known that they were going to give birth to their first child, a son, the day I was born. So while I was taking my first breaths of air he was still sucking on amniotic fluid. He was growing downy hair all over his body when I moved onto solid foods. By the time he was born, I was on the move; wearing out the knees of my romper suits and collecting lint and hair off the floor.

When we’re young it’s all about the milestones and birthdays. Cheers ring out and hands are clapped in delight as a baby or toddler manages to learn a new concept, skill or ability.

As we get older those milestones are more about the number attached to us. We carry that sucker around like an extra appendage. Some lie while others are creative with subtraction. For many it’s a matter of remaining young at heart-it’s the inside that counts, after all.

At a visit to the doctor with Now 6 when he was a 3 year old, an elderly gentlemen sat down beside us. He must have been close to his octogenarian decade but seemed to have retained most of his faculties. He took an interest in the scribble drawing my son was doing and then said to me, ‘that’s a fine looking grandson you have there.’ I do remember mumbling a reply about him being my son as my heart only just managed to regain a regular rhythm. It was fortunate we were at the doctors as I was certain a heart attack was imminent. Perhaps he was there to see the doctor about finally getting a prescription for glasses.

Several weeks ago, I had an informal meeting with the principal at Now 6’s school. I was being scrutinised to see whether I would be an appropriate replacement for the German teacher when she takes leave in the Spring. My experience was asked about and when I answered the question I included the year that I first began teaching. I was met with raised eyebrows and an audible ‘wow’. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve hung around 5 year olds for nearly half my life that has kept me young. Hmmmm.

When I met with the teacher whose role I will be filling she kindly concurred about the difference between my chronological age and my perceived age.  (Note to readers: I have known this teacher since 1999 when I taught her son who is now 26 and we have kept in contact since then). Apparently I am thinner now even though I’ve been the same weight since high school, except during pregnancies, and have given birth twice since then. I don’t have a forehead full of Botox and on a good day I feel every one of my near-40 years. This ‘holding my age well’ card might come in handy if I ever have the need to chat up some young gents at the R.S.L. I could fill the role of a 60 year old cougar to get a free shandy or two.

If I had to categorise myself, I am one of those people who find it to be a difficult and dicey situation when someone asks me how old I think they are. Think of a number and subtract 15? That should cover all bases. When I’m asked how old I am, particularly by cheeky students who haven’t learned the unwritten code of conduct for someone who wants an ‘A’ this semester, my generic responses include:

‘How old are you?’ -answering a question with a question sometimes deflects the inquirer.

‘How old do you think I am?’ -see above.

or

‘Old enough to be your mother.’ – which normally puts them back in their box.

The time will come soon enough where my final response will have to change to Grandmother.

So herein lies the question. Does it matter what’s written on your birth certificate or what others think? How do you tackle the age old questions, ‘how old are you’ or ‘how old do you think I am?’ Have you ever done creative number crunching, turned 21 for fifteen years in a row or had someone overestimate your age by a whole generation?

Image from: here.

Love in Overdrive

driving mum madLove’s driving me crazy.

There’s nothing like a confined space and two small people with loud voices both competing to be heard.

My favourite driving experiences are:

The School RunShort and sweet. Hmm, short yes, sweet no. Those few short minutes can feel like sheer torture. Is the bickering and banter their way of saying, ‘I’ll miss you or I’ve missed you?’ Whatever the case may be it’s enough to drive anyone batty.

The Trip to the Grandparents: similar to the School Run just longer in length. There’s also the added anticipation of arriving. The excitement builds to a crescendo just as we pull in the driveway. My eardrums feel as if they might explode and the grandparents think that a tornado is about to hit the house. It is obvious to all concerned that I have little/no control over my terrors.

The Big Day Out Drive: setting out at shortly after the sparrow’s have sung their morning tune and arriving home close to dinner time denotes a Big Day Out. Wherever we may be headed we have a packed lunch, picnic rug, esky and bag (filled to the brim with spare clothes, hats, sunscreen, etc). The expected, ‘Are we there yet’s?’ start when we’re approximately half way there. It’s been smooth sailing the whole way if we don’t have to stop for petrol or the toilet en route.

The Great Escape: we’ve prepared for this for weeks but nothing can prepare us for the journey ahead. The car is crammed with half the contents of our house. The tailgate on the wagon will only just close. There’s pillows between the kids on the seat. It’s like we’ve tried to build the Great Wall between them so they can’t touch or see each other. The kids have got numerous things to keep them occupied. A game of ‘Eye Spy’ starts before we hit the freeway. If we’re lucky they’ll nod off (syncronised is heaven) for a while shortly after, ‘Are we there yet-i-tis?’ has commenced.

The Solo Cruise: doesn’t happen too often but when it does, Oh Boy! A chance to listen to adult tunes at any volume you please. Window up or down, whatever takes you fancy. And that annoying noise coming from the back of the car? It’s completely gone!

Mum’s taxi will be off again in the morning with the boys I love on board.

How do you cope with the calamity of children in cars for the quick trip or the long haul?

Footnote: After originally publishing this post in February, I decided to revisit it today as it was one of the first ‘pieces’ I wrote that exceeded several lines in length and had some substance. It is also the basis for the idea of my first picture book manuscript. My self-imposed deadline of June 30 is looming. I think my set of wheels needs a car detailer.

Image from: here.

A Pot of Love at Rainbow’s End

A Rainbow of Love

Mother Nature produced a spectacular display in this neck of the woods recently.

Not being one who particularly likes rain, I shifted my focus towards the blue sky in the east.

Unfortunately we were headed west which looked grey, dark and miserable except for the majestic rainbow that had materialised in front of us.

As I drove Just 3 to our first stop, Now 6 and I talked of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

We neared our destination and I said, ‘Look! The rainbow ends right on top of the roof at childcare. Maybe the teachers know where the pot of gold is.’

Now 6 chimed in with a positive comment concurring with my suggestion.

The talk of rainbows and the illusive treasure ended as I hustled Just 3 through the drizzle, without the aid of an umbrella, in through the front door.

The formality of hugs and kisses over, I made the dash to the car and Now 6 and I continued to our second stop.

School drop off completed, I headed for my final destination-work.

Reverse the above scenario of stopping and starting until finally arriving home in the afternoon.

At the dinner table that night we all talked about our respective days as is customary when we all spend it in different places. After hearing recounts of everyone’s activities, highlights and plans for the following day, Just 3 had one more thing to add.

‘I asked the teacher today about the pot of gold.’ With eyebrows raised, palms up and a shake of the head, he said, ‘She didn’t even know where it was.’

Love those golden moments.

Image from: here.

Love’s Going Bananas

Does Monday roll around quicker than any other day of the week? There’s a touch of fruitcake-iness going on here today and this mum is definitely in a Momdaze. Trying to shake it off will probably be a fruitless exercise.

The banana phone is renowned the world over for giving us a glimpse into kid’s imaginations.

If the conversations that have been relayed through the crescent-shaped fruit could be recorded and put into a book I’m sure it’d sell millions of copies.

My offspring would be able to contribute a few humdingers.

Last week Just 3 picked up his banana from the bench. He took it, sat down and started to have an animated conversation. I listened, not sure who he was talking with. After some pauses, where one can only assume the other person was talking, he said, ‘Mummy can’t come to the phone right now. You like to leave a message?’

As he peeled his banana and started to eat it, I said, ‘Buddy, I’m right here. You could’ve handed the phone to me.’

‘They didn’t want to talk to you and I wanted to eat my banana.’

Ah. Out of the mouths of babes.

Image from: here.

Show Me the Love

moneyShow and share the love.

On Momdaze it’s difficult to think creatively, write about current issues or delve deep into my psyche and bring forth something worthy of discussion. With this in mind, I bring you humour at the beginning of the week.

The day will come when I, as a parent, am told something I was totally unprepared to hear by my child’s teacher.

Until that day comes, I feel it is only right, if not my duty, to share one of those moments that I had as a teacher which had me giggling and then cringing.

This story is almost folklore in the school that it happened at over ten years ago. Innocence met a bunch of hidden truths and learned a valuable lesson.

Show and tell (a.k.a news time, show and share, sharing time, news, etc.) takes place at schools across the globe every day of the school calendar. Kids bring in something they’d like to talk about in front of their peers. Sometimes they just share news of current events from their own lives. It fosters confidence in oral language skills and speaking in front of an audience.

The kids were gathered on the carpet and two had already had their turn this particular morning. Adam brought a paper bag to the chair at the front and was ready to start.

After greeting everyone he pulled $500 in notes from inside the bag.

‘This is my Dad’s money. He had it hidden under his side of the bed at home. I saw him put it in there and he told me he won it on the horses. He asked me not to tell Mum because she thinks he just loses all the time.’

While the children oohed and aahed at the large amount of money being waved in front of them, my eyebrows were trying to come back down from hiding in my hairline.

Adam finished his turn and I promised to look after it until home time.

I don’t know if there has ever been another time in my life where I have been responsible for $500 that doesn’t belong to me. I knew being mugged was unlikely but wasn’t sure what to do with the money to keep it safe.

It was decided to keep it at the office until the end of the day and then give it directly to the parent.

Mum came to pick up Adam that day and the moment he saw her he burst into tears.

I told him not to worry and that I would explain everything to his mum.

He said, ‘I’m not worried about getting into trouble with Mum. I’m only upset because Mum is going to be so cross with Dad. I bet she’ll probably take his money away and ground him from the horses for a long time.’

Show and tell taught me a lesson that day. I’m pretty sure Adam’s dad learned something too.

To find a new hiding place, possibly?

Image from: here.