Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I'm Still Here! : Kinda, Sort of...


Well, hey there!

How nice of you to stop by!

I'm still here, (well....kind of, sort of...)

My mind is taking a bit of a bloggy break, of the mental health kind.

Time for a bit of Mamma Time Out.

I'm hoping to get my writing mojo back soon.

Very soon.

I hope you'll be back to read my shenanigans.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by.

It means so much that you still think of me.

I'm still avoiding domestic drudgery by hanging out in Facebook Land.

If you want to join in the fun, you can find me there, at


Thanks so much for popping in!

Did I tell you that you look lovely today?

Well, you do.

Just thought you should know...


Sending big, bright shimmery love your way,

♥ Jess

xxxxx





Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Blank Page



Blank.

My mind has gone blank.

So much to say and share but my voice is quietly protesting.

Stubborn.

The cursor just blinks patiently as I open up the laptop, wanting to write but nothing comes out.

Is my voice shy? Tired? Bored? Protesting against frivolity?

Maybe she needed a bit of time out?

A holiday away from Whoa Mamma Land?

Maybe my voice said: "Ssh! Listen. You hear that? That's the sound of your family needing your presence, the greatest gift you can ever give them. Stop checking in on Facebook before kissing them good morning. Stop trying to take the perfect pic to post on Instagram and just ENJOY the moment. It will never come again".

Oh, the irony!

When life is in a frenzy, that's when my voice is the loudest. I would blog on the run,  while cooking dinner, I'd wake in the middle of the night. Whenever the inspiration would hit, I'd take a 'Mamma Time Out' and charge at the laptop.

Now, life is quieter, things are falling into place. There is a contentness and a serenity to the rhythm of my life, which is wonderful, but also scary, in a way.

The New Year is fast approaching. It will bring about great life changes.

An exciting new business venture for darling Le Husband; opening a restaurant! Hurrah!

The New Year will also see my baby girl joining her bigger sisters and heading off to school.

I often jokingly rub my hands with glee when speaking about my baby going to school.
But the truth is, I'm sad.
It's the end of an era.

For years (6.8 to be exact) I have pondered what it would be like to have all 3 kids at school.
To have FREE TIME.
It's been so long, I don't know what to do with it.

Return to work? What work? Panic sets in when I think about it.

Freedom.
Something I've been yearning for for so long, but it's terrifying me.

You see, I need a purpose.

My last 6.8 years have been dedicated to staying home and raising my children.
That was my choice, that gave me a sense of purpose.
Now, there is a slot of time that I can Dedicate To Me and I'm panicking.

What to do with this precious time?
Work, study, relax, clean, volunteer, work from home?
Sometimes I feel I need to validate my time. Crazy, yes? No?
I don't know where to start.
I'm going blank.

I've loved being a Stay At Home Mamma (well, not every minute of it, to be quite honest, but every other minute). It's become such a great big part of who I am, that sometimes I'm not sure who I am without it.

Can I still be a Stay At Home Mamma even when the kids are at school?


The new era is a Blank Page and the cursor is patiently blinking.

The Blank Page is Me.

What am I going to write on that page? 
I'm the author and the editor. 
The main character, the star of my show. 

I'd rather fill that page (and my life) with inspirational triumphs over tragedies, panty-wetting laughter over self-indulgent tears, and swoonworthy/butterflies-in-tummy romance over not-worth-wasting-my-breath drama. I want to fill that page with adventures and engage with wonderfully inspiring and creative characters that add colour and passion to my life. 

I want to turn that Blank Page into such an engrossing novel that I just never want to put it down.

Well... I guess my voice had something to say afterall...

P.S What do you think of this ending:

"And she lived Happily Ever After"




What do you do when your voice goes quiet?

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Summer of the Dress





As the days become longer, and the sun shines warmer and brighter, my mind turns towards the impending Summer.

Each season has its own beauty, of course.

Autumn is aflame with the majestic reds and golds of falling leaves.
Winter is the romance of a misty haze and the sound of rain falling on roof tops while we snuggle cosily in our warm beds.
Frivolous Spring makes us giddy with delight, fragrant blossoms fill the air and the earth, once again, is reborn.

Then there is Summer.
Long, hot, beautiful Summer.

Summer is...

Frolicking at the beach!




Sweet delicious cherries and juicy watermelons.

Lazy siestas sleeping under a shady tree.

The chirping of crickets and cicadas, our lullaby for hot, Summer nights.

Icy poles and ice creams.
(Pistachio gelati for me).

Squirting the children with the garden hose as they squeal with delight, then running for my life as they chase me with buckets of water. (Of course, I let them catch me!).


Glorious sunsets.
Sultry cocktails.
Isn't it romantic?

Stillness.
Serenity.

And the dresses.
I love Summer dresses.
Summer dresses teamed with espadrilles.

I can't wait to unravel the heavy layers of Winter and pop into a frock.

I love the gentle feeling of a cooling breeze as it swirls about my bare legs, it's like my dress is dancing.

A summer dress makes me feel like Sophia Loren, Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor.

All woman.

Girly and twirly.


Fitted in all the right places.


My curves, long hidden, come out to play.


Summer has a rhythm that I just can't wait to dance to. 


Are you looking forward to Summer?

What's your favourite Season?



Well, hey there!
Thanks so much for stopping by!
If you enjoy my blog, would you like to share that love and vote for me in the Circle of Moms 'Top 25 Aussie Mum Blogs'? You would?! How fabulous!
You can vote for 'Whoa, Mamma!' with one easy peasy click HERE!

Thank you!!!







Friday, September 21, 2012

In Search of 'Kefi': Lost and Found


I like to think of myself as, generally, quite a Happy Soul.
At my best, I feel joyous, exultant, buoyant, radiant.
At my worst, I am merely content, (but ALWAYS grateful).

I do get the Blues occasionally (ok, well monthly, if you know what I mean) but when I am Swimming in the Depths of Sad Waters, I know that this will (eventually) pass.

But for me, Life is all about the Pursuit of Happiness.

The Greeks have a term for this Happiness that lives inside us: this Joyful Spirit, this Passion for Life, this 'Joie de Vivre'.
The Greeks call it 'kefi'.
And as a proud Grecian Goddess myself, kefi pulsates through my body and my DNA like a passionate, rhythmic dance.



For Greeks, kefi is found in the sparkle of our eyes, the cheekiness of our smiles, the warmth of our embrace, the abundance of our feasts,  the heartiness of our laugher, the generosity of our hospitality, the gusto of our voices in song, the passion in our dance. Kefi celebrates the joy of being alive.

This morning my kefi was quashed because of one sad little daughter in our house.
There is a saying that goes (with which I wholeheartedly agree ):
"A Mother is only as Happy as her Un-Happiest Child".
And it was very true this morning.
When my children are truly unhappy, it guts me and torments me. It's the most wretched feeling in the world.
Upset and defiant, there was nothing I could do to soothe her troubled mind (stubborness is a trait she gets from her father, I might add, just quietly). It saddened me to leave her at school this morning, red eyed and with quivering lips.

When child is sad, mother is sadder.

I got home and my kefi plummeted. I had no joy.
Not even Pinterest, nor chocolate, nor offers of a massage by Mr WhoaMamma could settle my troubled heart. I could not rest until I knew my child was okay.

I looked at the time and grabbed my keys. It was time for  recess.
"I'm off!" I shouted to Le Husband. "Just want to check that Little Miss C is okay".
"I'll join you", said my partner in crime and off we went, Mr & Mrs WhoaMamma, arm in arm, to the school grounds to spy on our offspring.

And there they were. Our twins. Laughing and playing amongst their friends, screeching with joy.
We were spotted and towards us they ran, embracing our legs, breathless with delight.
"What are you doing here?" they queried.
"Oh, Daddy and I were just having a coffee nearby and on our way home we thought we'd just pop in and say 'hello'. So.... 'hello'!"
Miss C looked at me with a Knowingness and hugged me extra tight.
"Thank you, Mamma. I'm happy now!" and with that the bell rang and off they skipped back to class.

I may not be able to solve the world's problems but I'll sure as heck be there for my kidlets in any way I can.

The sun shone and the birds tweeted extra sweetly.
I 'high-fived' Mr WhoaMamma and gave him a cheeky wink.
I could contain myself no longer.
Arms outstretched, fingers clicking, a quick kick of the left foot followed by a quick kick of the right, I joyously slapped my ankle.

My kefi was back.

OPA!

And now... a musical expresson of kefi, kitschy Greek-cinema style. Enjoy!
(From the film My Daughter the Socialist (1966) starring Aliki Vougiouklaki)


If you enjoy what I do here in Whoa Mamma Land, I'd love it if you'd take a moment to vote for me in the Circle of Moms 'Top 25 Aussie Mum Blogs'! Just click HERE to vote! THANK YOU EVER SO MUCH!

What gives you 'kefi'?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Haunting Words of Mr F


Artwork by Katie Daisy


I awoke, determined.

I often make promises to myself, many I have failed to keep.

Changes needed to be made.

My intentions are (mostly!) good and pure, in this one and only precious life we have.

While half of me is grounded in the domestic drudgery of cleaning, cooking, shopping, organising things for school, entertaining kiddies and le Husband and just trying to catch up on stuff, the other half of me is soaring in the clouds, dreaming of adventures and Pretty Little Things to create.

I have a special little shelf in my cupboard for my 'When I Have Time...' projects.
Beautiful fabrics, golden threads, bamboo handles, glass beads, earring backings, embossed paper, silk ribbons, watercolours, vintage flowers, nuggets of turquoise, Yiayia's unfinished embroideries. My collection has been sitting there patiently for about 6 1/2 years, since the day my first borns came into this world. My Box of Pretty Things is awaiting the moment I latch onto the Runaway Horse of Creative Inspiration when it hits, holding tightly on its reigns, galloping and yee-haaa-ing with joyous glee instead of shrugging my shoulders and waving glumly as it passes me by, yet again.

My heart cries out as I scrub another crusty pasta pot:

"Oh Spirit of Creativity! Do not abandon me!
We will be together! We will create!
I promise! I'll Try!"

The words of my 4th Grade Teacher, Mr F come back to haunt me. 
Mr F was tall and dandy. He had a head shaped like an egg, bald and shiny on top. 
He had round black-rimmed spectacles and wore pinstriped pants that made him look as tall as a tower. To these pants he would attach silver bicycle clips near his ankles so that his trousers would not get caught up as his long, spindly legs powered his bicycle to school.

Mr F was very Proper. He relished in the Queen's English and rolled his R's when he spoke: (Rrrrrrrodney! Please stop harrrrrassing that poorrrrrr girrrrrrl and rrrreturrrn to yourrrrr seat prrrromptly!). He was very theatrical and was in his element when conducting our music lessons. We would sit on the floor as he took position at the schools piano, under a portrait of HRH Queen Elizebeth II, resplendant in her puffy yellow gown and majestic crown. 

"Zippedy Doo Dah! Zippedy Ay!
My Oh My What A Wonderful Day!
Plenty of Sunshine Heading My Way!
Zippedy Doo Dah! Zippedy Ay!"

His energetic fingers would thump away at the piano keys, like an octopus flailing it's tentacles. Mr F would bob up and down, the piano stool squeaking threateningly. It was a wonder he never broke it or fell off it.

It was the night of parent/teacher interviews and my parents took their places on the little squeaky wooden chairs positioned in front of Mr F's desk. I sat meekly behind them.
"Well!", exclaimed Mr F, "What can I say about Jessica? She is a puuuuuuuuuurre delight!
A's in writing, A's in mathematics, she loves herrrrr arrrrrrrt and parrrrrticipates most joyously in ourrrrr musical prrrresentations".
"Therrrrre is one thing, I could add, howeverrrr....." 
He leaned in closer. His change of position set his spectacles ablaze reflecting the light of the classroom. He looked almost Supernatural.
"She is a most fabulous student, but...... I have neverrrrr seen herrrr trrrrrry....."

I have mulled over those words all my life.

Was this good or bad?

Things would just naturally click in my mind while I was at school.
A quiet achiever.
I loved reading and I loved writing stories. Maths just seemed to work in my head.
My grades were always high (except for Physical Education, but that's another blog post. You'll get your chapter, Mr S).
If I could achieve things without trying, wasn't that a good thing?

" I have never seen her try...."

Mr F was right.
Many things in my life seem to have happened effortlessly.
Whether it's been willing it with all my heart and soul or putting it out to the universe, things just seem to fall into place. But not always. 

In some instances I have tried and failed badly. I have fought hard. I have tried to make relationships work, putting all my heart and soul in them but to no avail. What more could I do? What more could I give? It wasn't meant to be. And in hindsight that was a good thing, the best thing. For I was not being honoured or respected or cherished. Those lessons made me stronger and wiser.

The biggest battle in my life at the moment is balancing the needs of my family against the needs of My Self. Family inadvertently always wins. But maybe I should rephrase that.

It's not about Winning and Losing.

This is about Winning and Winning.

My first pledge is Not To Give Up.

Even as I type, my children are fighting, spilling milk, shredding tissue paper all over my loungeroom floor, my husband is shooing the cat off the kitchen bench, my sister is asking me to drive her somewhere, I have 5 baskets of washing waiting for me in the laundry, the fridge is practically empty, I have no idea what I'm going to cook for dinner, my grandmothers want me to come to visit, I still haven't done our taxes, the plants in my garden are withering, I'm wondering what's going on in Facebook Land, my floors are crunchy, I'm still in my pyjamas, and I do believe I'm due a toilet break.

But look here, Mr F!
I am trying!
I am perservering!
It would be so easy for me to succumb to my Haus Frau Guilt, get off this laptop and tend to Life's Messes like I usually do. Deny my passions, deny my Right to Write.
But I'm not, am I?

Right now, I choose me.
I choose to ride my Creativity Dragon and release these humble little words.
I have created a Blog Post!

And do you know what, Haus Frau Guilt?
I have picked up my Yiayia's unfinished embroidery and I am doing a little section EVERY DAY.
Little by little.
Each little strand I weave makes my heart smile bigger and bigger and bigger.
And next week I am going to make some earrings.
Dangly ones, with gold and turquoise.
And the week after that, a handbag with bamboo handles that I will fill with treasures and carry proudly around with me when I go to the shops to buy more fabric softener and cat food.

I am going to Keep On Going.

And as long as I keep on going,  I am Winning.


What happens when you 'try' in Life?
What would you like to 'try'?
Are you afraid of failing? Or succeeding?



I'm so excited to be nominated for a spot in the Circle of Moms 'Top 25 Aussie Mum Blogs!'.
If you'd like to help me get there, please feel free to click on the link and Vote!
Thank you for your Love & Support, my precious ones!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Oh, Happy Day!



Today we celebrated darling Le Husband's birthday.
(Happy Birthday, agapi!)

We had yummy pancakes for breakfast followed by scrumptious chocolate birthday cake topped with choc icing, candy sprinkles and fresh strawberries (to make it healthy, obviously!)


Waiting for Daddy.
I whipped up a quick batch of spinach, ricotta and feta rolls in the oven for lunch 
and we decided to eat them in the park. 
The sun was shining.
It was a glorious day.

The girls delighted in the swings...

Squeeeeeee!

Higher, Mamma, higher!

Darling Birthday Boy and I delighted in them.


Ssshhhhh! Do not disturb blissfully content child...

Oh, Happy Day indeed!

What made you happy today?


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

In the Haus of Madam V


Have you ever met a woman who was so extraordinairy, so unique, so perplexing, zany and inspiring, that they've left their mark on you forever? Madam V was one of those very, very extraordinairy ladies.

A bit of an enigma.
Endearilngly eccentric.
One of a kind.

When I was a child, Madam V lived across the road from us for many, many years.
She was a zany Jewish lady aged in her 50's or 60's.
Artistic and Bohemian.
Slightly frightening.
She had a frenetic bob of riotous auburn curls that jiggled as she walked. Her eyes were a searing hazel green that she often lined with kohl liner. She drove a deep scarlet vintage Jaguar with cream leather seats. She always looked out of sorts behind the wheel, as if she should have had a personal chauffeur driving her. She would often wear a big black velvet swing coat in Winter which engulfed her tiny frame. She was so short and petite she looked like a child wearing her Mother's dress ups.

My favourite image of Madam V is seeing her walk to the local milk bar, dressed in leggings, Grecian sandals and a big white man-sized t-shirt emblazoned with the words 'Leave Me Alone'. She walked like she was a woman on a mission, charging down the street. She was never without a cigarette (tobacco or other). A thousand lines etched little paths around her red stained lips.



Madam V lived alone. Her husband had died years earlier.
But her house was always a haven for artists, writers and intellectuals.
When I was 17, my next door neighbour Miss M, who was only a few years older than I, approached me and asked me if I'd like to earn some extra pocket money.

'Sure', I said, 'what do you have in mind?'
'Would you like to help me clean Madam V's house for a few hours every fortnight? She's just fired her cleaning lady and wants someone she can trust' 
'Why not?' I replied. A girl had to earn money to sustain her shoe habit.

And so I journeyed into the Haus of Madam V.

It was a beautiful house. Tinkling chimes and statues of Buddha graced the front door. Sunshine beamed through the giant bay windows illuminating the tiny dust particles that danced about like little fairies doing a jig. Every room was  painted white. The furniture was white, the doors were white. The floors were covered with white flokati rugs, which at first glance for my naive eyes looked like dead polar bears. The house smelled like gardenias and jasmine with a dash of patchouli for that extra touch of exoticism. Vases of white lilies adorned every room. Big bold paintings adorned the walls majestically.

Her house was always spotless. All Miss M and I would do was vacuum, clean the bathroom, dust and mop. Classical music always greeted us when we walked in. My time cleaning the Haus of Madam V educated me in the soulful melodies of Bach, Mahler and Saint Saens.

My favourite room in the house was Madam V's bedroom with its white walls, white linen drapes, a soft woollen throw strewn over the white sheets of the bed. A vintage dressing table gleamed with little crystal bottles of perfume that I would so lovingly and delicately dust. French doors opened up to a private little courtyard bursting with roses. The most striking feature of the room however was a beautiful mural painted on the wall at the head of the bed. It was by one of my favourite artists, Mirka Mora, who Madam V happened to be very good friends with. It was at the Haus of Madam V that I was exposed to such beautiful, vibrant art that touches my soul to this very day.

Artist extraordinaire, Ms Mirka Mora in her studio
Image source here
The mural featured whimsical angels (like the ones below). The angels warmed my heart and kept me company as I beat the dust out of the flokati rugs with a rattan racquet.

''Two Angels' 1970 by Mirka Mora.
Image source here
 Madam V would never be home when we cleaned. She would leave money for us on the table with a note of thanks. Though there were two occasions I remember when she arrived home early.

On the first occasion she had been to an event that commemorated the Jewish Holocaust during World War 2. She opened up to me about the time when she was a little girl in her homeland. Her family were hiding in secrecy, trying to avoid Nazi capture. What stayed with me was what had happened to her father. She told me that there was not enough food to feed everyone so her father sacrificed his portions. When the food was close to running out he decided to go in search for more to feed his precious family. He never returned. Was he captured? Killed? No one knew.

On the second occasion Madam V burst into the house dancing. She had drunk in the joys of champagne and was feeling festive. I was packing up the mop when she called me in her thick, Jewish accent.

'Tzesika! Come here! I have somethink to give to you!'
She held out a lovely handkitted purple scarf.
"Zis is for you, darlink girl. I vant you to vear it vith Suffragette Pride!" she exclaimed as she wrapped it around my neck. She'd been to a luncheon celebrating the anniversay of women getting the vote and was high on the glories of Sisterhood.

I cleaned Madam V's house for almost a year and then stopped when I got into University.
She moved house not long after, taking her magnificent Jaguar and Bohemian-ess with her.

I think of her often and adore her for living her life so openly with her free-spirit and 'Who Gives A &*^%' attitude.
And come Winter, I dig out my purple scarf and wear it with great big, glorious Suffragette pride.

************

Linking up with the lovely Jess from Diary of a SAHM for 'IBOT'!


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