Saturday, May 28, 2011

Oh 'O', Say It Ain't So!

Lady O on the set of her Final Show (sob! sob!)

Well, that was it.
The last Oprah Winfrey Show.
An end of an era. And what an era it was.

Oprah has been a constant in my (young) life for the past 20 years. Some years I watched her show avidly, other years (baby-birthing years) it was anytime I had a desperate, spare (!!) moment. But her messages were always powerful, and so many have shaped me in becoming the Woman that I Am Today.

I remember during my dastardly teen years when I would skip school was 'sick' and had to stay home, I could think of nothing better than snuggling on the couch with a cup of hot cocoa and a box of tissues nearby, ready and awaiting my next rush of inspiration.

My bookshelves resonate with a collection of inspiring books by Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson, Iyanla Vanzant, Sarah Ban Breathnach, Maya Angelou, Ekhart Tolle and many others who were brought to my attention by Ms O.  During my formulative teen years, messages of self-empowerment and self-belief made positive imprints on my psyche.

Another memorable moment for me was the introduction of Oprah's Book Club. Was I the only one who turned into a weepy, blubbery mess while reading Oprah's recommended 'The Bridges of Madison County' by Robert James Waller (hold on... reliving memories of Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep from the film version... need tissues to wipe away tears...).

Ok, I'm back now.

What would our world have been like without Oprah Winfrey? Can you imagine?
Her impact and influence has been globally and culturally nothing less than amazing.
The power of words, the power of television, the power of giving and sharing, the power of listening.

Occassionally when I was experiencing one of 'THOSE" days, when everything would be overwhelming, I would meditatively wash my dishes and imagine Oprah was sitting in my kitchen with me, drinking coffee and eating  some muffins I'd just freshly baked. We'd be having a nice ol' girlie chat and she'd help me put everything into perspective again. "Girlfriend", she would say in her Oprah-esque voice (like she was talking to her BFF Gayle) "don't sweat the small stuff! Oh, and could you please pass me another one of those deee-licious muffins?"

Actual muffin not baked by me. This is a Fantasy Muffin for a Fantasy Scenario (image from

Well, the possibility of Oprah having morning tea in my kitchen is zilch, zero, nada, just like my dream of going to a taping of an 'Oprah Winfrey Show'. Sometimes you take for granted that something will always be there.

Oprah has been a great teacher. Not that I would blindly listen to everything she had to say. A great teacher gets you to think, question, explore, and want to know more. A great teacher shows you that even you can play the smallest part in the overall bigger picture. Everything and everyone is connected.

My biggest Oprah lesson that I'm carrying around right now is a quote by author Toni Morrison. Morrison spoke of her experience of motherhood, and 'the critical face' (read the interview here). She realized that everytime her children walked into the room they would see their mothers face judging that their socks weren't pulled up straight enough, their hair wasn't brushed neat enough, their faces weren't clean enough. Morrison realized that her face was a mirror reflecting judgement. After her 'A-HA!' moment, Morrison made a point of 'lighting up with joy' everytime her children walked into the room. Love and Joy was reflected back to the children, and they knew they were the Source of their Mother's Love and Happiness.

image taken from here

And that is what I carry with me as a mother today. I am conscious of what I reflect back to my daughters with my expression, my words, and my actions. Never a day goes by without me telling them how much I love them, and kissing them and hugging them every goodmorning and every goodnight.

Final lesson learned:

It's not just that one person can change the world, it's a person that BELIEVES in themselves, that can.

Thank you, Oprah xxx

Have you had a Great Oprah Lesson you'd like to share?

And now 'Whoa, Mamma!' will leave you with the original Soul Mamma, Ms Aretha Franklin, who will leave you in no doubt that Life is Truly Amazing.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Happy Birthday Little Oracle!!!

On this day, 4 years ago, my little Katrushki came into this world!
Katrushki is the youngest of my 3 daughters, and she is without a doubt my best little buddy in the whole wide world. She has her daddy's good looks and shares her mamma's passion for red heels.

My first children were twin girls, Little Miss A and Little Miss C.
They were a beautiful, miraculous blessing in our lives that came at a time when our family was in mourning. My husband and I found out I was pregnant just 5 months after losing my beloved father. Joy and hope came back into our home.
At 8 weeks into my pregnancy we had a scare. I noticed with a heavy heart that I was experiencing some spotting. Dreading the worst, we rushed off to hospital to have a scan. The nurse set me up for an ultrasound and with a comforting voice showed me a little heartbeat on screen.
"Everything seems fine for now", she said, "but there's no guarantee. Just relax and look after yourself."  The next 4 weeks I was treated like a queen by hubby. No stress, no exhertion and thankfully no more spotting. We were scheduled for our regulatory 12 week ultrasound to see how baby was progressing. Please let all be ok! I prayed. Going in to the dark screening room I took position on the bed, Hubby tightly squeezing my hand. All gelled up,  the nurse whizzed across my belly with her tool, as I searched her face for any pre-emptive clues. Suddenly she smiled.
"Well, here's the head, the tummy, the heartbeat, a hand, and here's the other heartbeat, and other tummy and a couple more hands. Congratulations, you're having twins!!!!!!"
TWINS!! TWINS!! TWINS!! Ever since I was a little girl I'd always dreamed of having twins. Never had I heard more joyous news in all my life! Not only were we blessed to be having a baby, we were having TWO!! Double blessing, double happiness!!! (And yes, double the chores!).

I couldn't wait to go back to work the next day to tell all my girlfriends. Most of them knew I was having a scan, many of them were expecting me to find out the sex of the baby (which we didn't want to know).
"So...?" they gathered round, "is everything alright? Did you find out what you're having? A boy? A girl?"
"Well.... ", I began, "it has two heads, four arms and four legs".
Stunned silence. I saw hints of confusion and fear come over their faces as they imagined some grotesque abomination  growing in my uterus. Uneasy smiles were frozen on their faces as their eyes shreiked pity and fear.
"It's twins!" I exclaimed, finally putting them out of their polite misery.

And The Twins came effortlessly by caesarean in January of 2006. Two beautiful, healthy bundles of love. They were the best, most content babies and I was absolutley loving being a mum. Nothing felt more real, more true in my life than being a mother to these little poppets.
In fact, I loved it so much I turned to hubby 5 months later and said "I WANT MORE!".
"Are you sure?" he whispered. Was that fear I sensed?
"Yes!" I said, and with my sexiest Dolce & Gabbanesque black slip and a spritz of Chanel he was no match for  my Mummy-Desire.

And exactly 40 weeks later little Katrushki was born. The old fashioned, 24 hour labour, worst-pain-in-my-life-I-think-I'm going-to-die kinda way, but boy, was she worth it!! Never has something so torturous  been more gratifying.

Having 3 children within a 15 month period might have seemed a little crazy to some, but I wouldn't change it. The Three Sisters are doting on each other, best friends. My little Trifecta.

And Katrushki has been on fast forward ever since she came into this world, trying to catch up to her sisters. She's only a petite little thing. A pocket rocket.
My sisters (her aunts) jokingly made a wish when she was born  that she would never grow up, that she'd always be small enough to scoop up into your arms and cuddle like an infant. Well, thanks ladies, I think your wish came true! She might be teeny but she's spunky, bold, vibrant, hilarious, luminous and her big brown eyes and beaming, dimply smile light up our lives.

One morning, when she was not quite 3 we were sitting at the breakfast table.
Katrushki leaned over to me and said lovingly "Listen to your heart, and you will find the Truth".
I choked on my coffee.
"Excuse me darling? What did you just say to Mummy?" my ears in a state of shock.
"Listen to your Heart and You Will Find the Truth", she repeated carefully, a big smile across her face. Visions of Little Buddha and the Dalai Lama came to mind.
Did I have some sort of Prophetic child? A Great Sage?  An Oracle?

Little Misses A and C walked into the kitchen just as I was imagining what I would wear if we should be interviewed by Oprah.
"Katrushki, can you say what you said before to mummy, one more time please darling?"
 Katrushki sighed, "Okay, but the last time, mummy.  Listen to your heart and you will find the truth".
"Where did you hear that, sweetie?" I asked, envisaging a heavenly angel floating on clouds, communicating with my Totally Awesome Miraculous Child.
Little Misses C and A started laughing.
"You know, Mummy.  It's from the 'Care Bears' DVD that Yiayia gave us yesterday. The Care Bears say it to the little boy who is sad".
Well, so much for the Oprah interview, and the Heavenly Chorus of Deities.

And so, to my Little Oracle Katrushki, I would like to say Mummy, Daddy and your sisters wish you a very Happy 4th Birthday, We love you so much and:

          Thank you for always eating your dinner and saying it's delicious
          Thank you for making your bed and your sisters' beds without being asked
          Thank you for your squishy hugs and smoochy smooches
          Thank you for graffiti-ing your name on our kitchen table
          Thank you for the crumbs you left in my bed
          Thank You for Being Born!

Monday, May 9, 2011

On Love & Loss: My Dad, the Butterfly

Walking my girls to school one chilly autumn morning we were accompanied by butterflies. They flittered and fluttered weaving in and out of us. "Hi Dad", I whispered knowingly, and with that the butterflies flew off.

Friday, May 6, 2011

IKEA: The Allen-Key to My Heart

Do the words 'Birkeland', 'Hemnes' and 'Malm' get you quivering with excitement? They do me. Does the sight of an allen-key make your heart race? Me too. I am obsessed with IKEA. Love it, love it, love it  to bits! I could spend several blissful hours in that Swedish Design Heaven. Hell, if I had my way, I'd pack up the kids and hubby and just move in. Everything so perfectly co-ordinated, the smell of the birch, all those wicker baskets and blissful storage solutions that hide a multitude of domestic sins (ie:  crap).

I'll tell you the secret of Family Happiness: " A Happy Wife = A Happy Life"

My love of IKEA reached manic-levels when I was pregnant to my first children. Armed with colour-coordinated textas and the IKEA catalogue I was circling away like a woman possessed. Waddling about with my industrial tapemeasure, taking measurements and tweeking floorplans. "We'll need wardrobes, bookshelves, tallboys, rugs, light fixtures, shelves, shelves, I NEED MORE SHELVES!!!!",  I ordered at my husband, who was nodding and cowering in a corner, no match for the power of IKEA. Hubby was wise enough to know that you don't argue with a hormonal pregnant woman, especially one who is carrying TWINS!!!!!

Give me an allen-key and I'm your girl! I speak-a the IKEA instruction-booklet language (definitely not understood by my husband). I feel the euphoria of an archaeologist deciphering hieroglyphics when I follow those picture diagrams. I love the twisting, hammering, aligning and the screwing and the Exhultation in Marvelling at the Finished Product (with NO BITS LEFT OVER!!!!) My family affectionately (!!!) have dubbed me 'Trucker Hands', an envious power with which I open the unopenable, lift the unliftable and break the unbreakable.

It has been said, that the state of your physical home is often a reflection of  your inner self. That being the case, then I'm a Walking Shambles. The IKEA showroom is how I'd love my House/Self to be: bright, clean, orderly, colourful and Swedish. Well, I can't do much about the Swedish bit but I do enjoy a good meatball or two (or dozen).

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Mummy War-drobe SOS: I Wanna Be Gokked

Somedays I just wanna be Gokked! Gokked hard and often. Gok me, Gok me NOW!!!! For those who may be unaware the adorable Gok Wan is a popular Fashion stylist and television host of 'How To Look Good Naked'. He is the Master of the Makeover and how I wish I could carry him in my pocket (he's tiny!) and have him dress me everyday. Every girl needs a gay celebrity stylist as their best friend!!!

The Mummy Wardrobe, or War-drobe as I've come to call it, is the Battleground of the Outfits. Pre-babies I devoured fashion. I walked the path of the Glamour Puss and invested my hard earned pennies in the latest Oz fashions and shoes, shoes and more shoes. Tonics, lotions, potions, elixirs, tubs and scrubs. Single and carefree I enjoyed the preening and the pampering. Fast forward 5 years and it's come to a screeching halt. Bye Bye $40 Aveda shampoo, hello No More Tears Baby. Au revoir Jean Paul Gaultier Classic parfum, bonjour eau de Glen 20. I had stopped wearing earrings because my babies would clutch onto them with their chubby fists, desperately trying to suck on them as if they were teethers. I stopped with the lipstick because my babies heads would be smothered in ruby red kisses resembling patches of eczema.

Since becoming A Mum my wardrobe has whittled down to the barest of essentials. And when I mean bare, I'm talking I only wear clothes for the sake of modesty. Pull-on jeans, singlet, throw on cardi, dark glasses, pony tail, ballet flats and I'm out the door. For the past 5 years I have been a stay-at-home mum and have happily gotten away with yoga pants and hoodies 7 days a week. But all that has changed as of this year. I have now become a School Mum.  My twins started school this year and that means I am out in Public!! The pressure, the pressure! I have to lift my game and practice having adult conversations again. Popping out 3 little ones in a space of 16 months meant that I did not have much of a social life (and by not much, I mean zero/zilch/nada).

My fashion choices can be deemed Nigella-esque. We may both be raven-haired, buxom, wear tight fitting cardis and have a penchant for licking cake batter, but that's where the similarities end. Porridge crusted handprints on my butt and in my hair are the only accessories which adorn me at this moment. I may have been in a Fashion-coma for the last few child-rearing years but I had sense enough to avoid committing any Lycra sins. Anything featuring hi-sheen, low-sheen, Mr Sheen and Charlie Sheen are banned wardrobe attire. I still hold onto a pair of my maternity jeans for those special occassion cake-eating days. A day shower is a luxury and bubble baths are enjoyed only by the dirty dishes in my sink. And my ultimate fashion rule of note: just because it zips up, ladies, it doesn't mean it fits.

My wardrobe is a Sea of Black. Blame it on a major Fashion Department store that I worked for for over 7 years of my young life. Black was the staple of our work uniform. Black, black and more black. It's kind of hard to shake off. Maybe it's a Melbourne thing? Colour can be quite shocking at times for me, but gimme Red Shoes and I'm hot to trot!!! I locate what I want to wear amidst the inky blackness of my closet by using the 'Touch and Feel' method. My magic fingers can usefully discern the difference between jersey, silk, cotton, nylon, polyester, wool, linen, denim and crepe. Oh, I have many hidden talents!!!

But this year, I have taken a pledge for myself. My girlies are growing fast and I'm finding myself with a little bit more 'Me' time (an extremely precious commodity!!!). I have pledged to get my GROOVE back. I owe it to me. Unleashing the Woman lurking beneath the Safe, Practical and Sensible Mummy surface. They will find a way to live in Harmony, oh yes, they WILL!!!! And the first thing I'm going to do is purchase myself some Very Impractical Shoes.

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