Friday, September 30, 2011

The Bachelor Party of Destiny!

Do you believe in Destiny? I do.
Call it what you will: Fate, Intuition, the Guiding Hand, Guardian Angels.
All I know is that what I call Destiny, worked it's magic on me 11 years ago today.

At a Bachelor Party. In Greece. And no! I was NOT the entertainment!

Let me set the scene. Me, 24, freshly graduated from University. On my first liberating, thrilling, solo adventure travelling across Europe. I didn't have an itinerary. I went wherever my hunches were guiding me. Staying in hostels, pensiones and monasteries my heart was brimming with delight every morning I'd awake. I felt grateful and blessed. I felt I was on the right Path.

My father was born in Greece and I wanted to visit the town where my father was born. It's a beautiful town located by the sea, at the base of Mount Olympus (home to the Ancient Greek Gods). So yes, you may refer to me as a Grecian Goddess :)

I really didn't know much about my relatives but they knew all about me. I was greeted with amazing unconditional love, feasts, hugs, paraded about town, elderly people stopped me in the street because I bore an uncanny resemblance to my Grandmother, who would have been about my age when she boarded the Ship for a new life in Australia.

As it happened, my timing was impeccable. I'd arrived in time to attend a wedding the next day of a cousin I'd never met. Staying at an elderly Aunts house my cousin came to introduce himself. He wanted to take me out to his Bachelor Party that night. Desperately shy and with my extremely bad Greek I tried to back out of the situation saying that girls don't traditionally attend these events, so the boys can let loose. He insisted he'd take me out for one drink then he'd bring me home. I was about to protest again when THE VOICE inside me (intuition? guardian angel?) confidently and gently said: "Go...Go...". Whatever that voice is, it's never failed me. I knew something was instore for me that night so I accepted. And this was the moment where my Life Changed.

My cousin took me to a stylish bar where a group of young men were waiting for him at a table. There were all dressed nicely. I was in my best backpacker outfit of black capris, black skivvy, Camper Mary-Janes and a little Virgin Mary handbag I'd bought in Barcelona. I had no hair product so I'd tamed my frizzorama with coconut suntanning oil. But I was wearing my ravishing Red Lancôme lipstick from London so I was not totally feral.

Introductions were made as we sat down. An empty chair was next to me. My cousin called out to a young man ordering drinks at the bar. His back was turned to us as I scanned him up and down. He was dressed in a Parsian/Nautical style with a striped sweater, jeans and luscious black spiky hair with a hint of salt and pepper. He turned around and KABOOM!

His smile, his eyes, the long lashes, the Cary Grant-esque dimple in his chin, his humour, the mischievous twinkle in his eyes. I felt like I was HOME.

One drink turned into 3 drinks, followed by another club, followed by dancing at the Bouzoukia, the night finally ending up at a little cafe serving 'patsa' (a soup made from pigs intestines perfect after you've had too many drinks, mmmm...mmmm). There was joy in our smiles, incredible beautiful energy connecting us and everyone could see it. We were inseperable. We danced, he made me laugh all night, we communicated via his broken English and my juvenile Greek. It's like we'd known each other all our lives.

There was no hanky-panky or kissy-kissy that night but the feelings were there. I'd never ever felt like this before. I'd never felt more comfortable, or at ease, or natural with anybody. I KNEW.

My cousin walked me back home at 6am. As soon as the doors of the lift to the apartment opened I was greeted by my dishevelled aunt, who looked up at the ceiling as if searching for God, and doing the sign of the Orthodox Cross.
"Oh my God, Heavenly Father!! Where were you? Where did they take you? Why did you take so long? I thought you were dead somewhere. What was I going to tell your father? What was I going to tell your father?!!!!!!!!!!!". And then she made the sign of the cross about another 20 times.
I greeted my aunt with a cuddle, a kiss and a smile of Bliss as I floated back to my bedroom. Life was Good! I grabbed my journal and wrote these words: "I know I'm crazy, but I LOVE him. I LOVE HIM! I LOVE HIM!!!

I had pre-booked a little side-trip to Italy which I was now reluctant to take. But it was only for 2 weeks then I'd return to Greece. I used it as an opportunity to clear my head and open my heart to what Life had in store. Sitting in a little chapel in Venice, at the feet of the Virgin Mary, I prayed. I would not call myself religious, but more Spiritual. I vowed to honour myself and my feelings and to speak my truth. My Truth being that I was in Love. Real Love, not lust nor infatuation. I never knew anything more completely than I did this fact. And I had to be Brave to admit my feelings. It was Now or Never. I had to tell him. I would rather face Rejection and Humiliation (my biggest fears) than regret not giving this a chance.

I returned to Greece and my cousins took me out for a drink. As Fate would have it, my Beloved was at the bar. I sat next to him, my heart in my mouth. He turned to me and said "I was counting the days while you were away". "Oh, really," I answered, "how long was I gone for?" He turned to me and looked me directly in the eyes and said "Thirteen". It's true, I was away in Italy for exactly 13 days.
He then continued to say in his shy, soft-spoken voice that he didn't know how I felt but that he'd developed deep feelings for me. KA-CHING!!!! He then looked away, awaiting rejection. I took him by the hand and admitted I felt exactly the same way.

To cut along story short, I took the plunge and moved to Greece. I said goodbye to my friends, my family, my work. It was the Wildest, Bravest, Craziest, Most Honest act I'd ever done in my Life. My beloved and I became engaged and we ran a Greek restaurant by the sea for a couple of years (my adventures in the tavern frying calamari warrant blog posts of their own!).

After 3 years in Greece we married and began our new life in Australia. I now look at our 3 precious girls and think that they wouldn't be here if this shy, young gal hadn't taken the Biggest Leap of Faith in Her Life.

In the Beginning...
At our tavern in Greece 'Zorba's' (yes, very original, I know)

Our Wedding in Greece
Entering the Church together
Here I was counting all the Blessings that
 brought me to this very moment in my life

Our Life in Oz

Our Cheeky Minxes

Moral of the Story is: Follow Your Heart Always and Trust your  Intuition.

Has Destiny played a guiding hand in your life?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Whoa Mamma Blues

I'm lying in my bed
I don't wanna get up
But I need another coffee
As I stare at my empty cup      

I think I have a fever
My head feels in a spin
The spin is pounding faster
As Miss A yells out for her twin

Someone call a Doctor
Mamma's feeling ill
And if he looks like George Clooney from ER
It would give me such a thrill

We have no more milk
And I think we're outta bread
The girls are getting hungry
Please don't make me get out of bed

I hear the taps a-running
Followed by cheeky giggles
Why can't they stay out of trouble?
Please sit down and go watch 'The Wiggles'!

I haven't had much Luck
Things keep on going wrong
So that's why in my delirious state
I thought I'd write this song

And what is a Mamma to do
when she has no oven to bake in?
It kerplunked on me the other day
Just as I was putting my moussaka in

Have I forgotten to mention
That I've a stye in my right eye?
And I have to have my photo taken
for my passport before I can fly?

Did you hear about our car
that went up in a puff of smoke?
Someone lit it like a candle,
I wish it was a joke

We had to put our cat down
She was such a pretty kitty
At 20 she was deaf and blind
My heart broke, what a pity!

But I'm a Big-Hearted Mamma,
Who goes where she is needed
I'll soldier on,
Turn my Woes into Whoa's!
And trust one day that my Dreams will be heeded.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hello? Spontaneity? Come Back Please!

image from here

"O where, o where has my Spon-ta-ne-i-ty gone?
O where, o where could it be?"
This year I have been making many pledges to myself. Trying to find the 'Me' in 'Mother'. Ever since I became The Mum, everything that (I thought) I was, everything that I had dreamed for myself, changed. On my very first day as a Mum, I had new priorities and there were two of them (twins). They were my new world and nothing else mattered. Well, that is not entirely true, because my Darling Hubby mattered, and I mattered, but I couldn't get my head around how to fit 'us' into the priorities anymore. So I began editing madly, like a frenzied Tarantino. Social life was over, too hard! Cut! Jewellery and accessories? A choking hazard! Had to go. Cut! Friends? Most were still single and carefree. Schmoozing and cocktails was definitely out. Gone were the 'Sex and the City' days, hello 'Tired and the Bleary' days. Cut! Cut! Cut! Reading and writing? Are you serious?! My treasured novels were replaced by a 'How-To-Raise-Twins' manual, and the only opportunity I had to proudly display my delightful penmanship was when writing out the endless grocery lists I handed over to Hubby: Go Forth and Shop! I could not find the time nor strength for anything else in life which was not baby-related. Well, that's not entirely true. Hubby and I must have found time for something because I was pregnant again by the time the twins were 6 months old! Three babies within 16 months!!!!

The whirlwind that is Motherhood, I've found, has stripped me of my Spontaneity. Remember the thrill of being able to just leave the house at anytime, and go anywhere, and do any old silly thing you felt like? I miss those days. To survive (and for your kiddies to survive) planning, scheduling and researching (generally) make  life as a Domestic Goddess much easier. Let’s see, there are Meal Plans, Daily Tasks, Weekly Planners, Laundry Days, Grocery Days, Sex Days (just kidding...or am I????).  Cooking, cleaning, washing, ironing (ha!). Some days I just feel like I’m living the same day over, and over, and over again.  Which brings me to the dreaded word ....'Routine'. Granted, things tend to run smoother in life when we stick to it, but 'routine' hides another word: 'rut' , and I'm pledging to get out of one.

    Somewhere under the Mum is the 'Me'. She's been very patient and obedient for the last 5 years, a model citizen, but somewhat frozen in time. I fear she's been feeling a little bit forgotten and unappreciated. She used to be daring, exciting, spontaneous! The girl that set off to buy toilet paper one dreary morning in London, and found herself 3 hours later on a flight to Menorca with her bestie, enjoying 3 days of sangria, communist youth hostels, secret nudie beaches and Espadrille heaven! Oh, spontaneity! I miss you!

‘What about me?’ pouts the inner-Girl of Yore. 
‘Yes? What about you?’ replies the exhausted Mummy-Me Exterior.
‘What about all the writing, and the travelling, and the designing, and the creating, the villa in Tuscany and the Academy Award I was going to win?’ (High hopes, a girl can dream). 
‘Well, you have CHILDREN now, you have a HUSBAND, YOU HAVE RESPONSIBILITIES!!!!’ says the Mummy-Me, as she gives the overflowing baskets of laundry the Evil-Eye.
‘Yes, but can't I still do things? I promise I won't get in anybody's way?’

And that's the sad truth. I'm slowly trying to find ways of doing things that will enhance my soul and my being, but without it impacting or detracting from my family time. It's a juggling act, and as is often the case, I just drop the balls and give up if my family needs me. Mother Guilt is the nagging voice that kills off spontaneity, and more often than not, I heed her call.  I started up at the gym last year, signing up to a 12 month membership. I've attended sporadically 10 times in the last 12 months. I was given gift vouchers for  sewing and bagmaking courses which I had desperately wanted to do, nut they ended up expiring because I stayed home to tend to sick kiddies. My family needed me. The scary thing is though, I'm almost setting myself up for a fail. I find it's easier to just opt out of a situation because I half expect it to fall through anyway.

Ever heard the of the term "Getting ready to get ready"? I think Dr Phil throws it about alot. It basically refers to preparing, planning, researching and scheduling your next step in order to take the Next Step. I’ll admit, I've been doing this for a while now. I think it's best known as PROCRASTINATING. I’m probably the Queen of Procrastination. Well, not anymore, sister! I've had enough of it! I'm not going to just say things and wish for things to happen, I'M GOING TO MAKE THEM HAPPEN!!  Ladies Who Lunch? Ha! I'm going to be the Lady Who Launched.  Taking the plunge, going out there, facing my fears and jumping off the edge. And Blogging has been my very first step. I've always loved to write. I have a trunk filled with journals and sketchbooks from when I was a child. Growing up I was never without a notebook or pencil. But I had stopped writing over the last 5 years and it had almost felt like a part of me had died. Do you know the TERROR I felt when I pressed on that little orange 'PUBLISH' button for my very first blog post?  I may as well have been posting rudie-nudie pics of myself all over cyberspace, that's how exposed I felt. But I DID IT!!!! Yee-haaaaa!

 This year is all about Inspiration and (Re)Discovery. I'm surrounding myself with beautiful things and ideas that uplift, inspire and enthrall me. Searching for the exciting, sparkly, shimmery things that make life magical. Bringing Adventure and Spontaneity back! Seeking the thrills! Not just for me, but the whole family! If mummy sparkles and shines, the family will enjoy the benefits. A Happy Wife = A Happy Life!!  Through the fabulous wonders of Blogging and Social Networking, I have connected to, and been inspired by, so many women  out there who have created their own businesses around their families, making beautiful objects that they love, following their passions, strengths and talents. IT CAN BE DONE!!!

And that is my Mummy-Mantra: 'Don't just dream about it. DO IT!!'
Follow your dreams, follow your heart.
What are YOU waiting for? xxx

*First published on the super duper MUMS LOUNGE Billboard

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Hills Are Alive With the Sound of Swooning!

I have a little confession to make. 
I may have blabbed it all over Facebook, but in case you missed it, here it is:
I have a secret crush on Captain Von Trapp from 'The Sound of Music'.
Is it the sparkling blue eyes? The thin lips struggling not to smile?  The Naval uniform? That lovely, bastardised accent (Austrian/Canadian/British) when he drawls "Fraulein"?
Or is it the way he blows his whistle?
I can't decide but it's all good.

Captain Georg (pronounced Gay-orgg) Von Trapp
as portrayed by the delicious distinguished actor, Christopher Plummer.
Ok everybody, sing along with me:
"The Hills are alive.....with the Sound of Music.."

"Climb every Mountain,  ford every stream,
Follow every Rainbow till you find your Dream"

Just once in my life, before I leave this Precious Earth,
I must make my way to the Alps and spin, spin, spin!

"You may call me... Captain!"

The Captain sings 'Edelweiss' swoon, faint, shivers & quivers!

Maria & The Captain falling in love (sigh!)

Love declared ....
Maria marries the Captain

"So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Good Night"

My favourite scene from the film and, yes, it does make me cry.

Am I the only one enchanted by this film, and Captain Von Trapp's whistle-blowing techniques?
Does anyone else feel the call of the Mountains? Do you dream of dancing in a storm with the mail-boy?
Would you like to sing hymns with the nuns at the Abbey? Traipse around Salzburg in clothing made from drapes? Sit on a pine-cone, escape from Nazis and have tea with jam and bread?

I don't know about you, but 'The Sound of Music' will always be one of My Favourite Things.

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