Friday Fabulous

All I’ve got for today’s fabulousness is this: music and flashing lights.

The first time I was playing with it, I had my speakers off, but thought all the flashing lights were quite pretty. Then when I went back and happened to have the speakers on … well it became a whole lot more fun. And pretty.

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The possibilities …

Back when I was much younger – and much more free of the responsibilities of parenthood – I used to sit and plot out where I’d like to travel and how I’d achieve it, what I’d do there, what I’d eat and buy and drink. It was great fun. Most of it never happened – I had an entire year plotted out for an odyssey around Europe, plans for China coinciding with the 2010 World Expo, trips to Turkey and Syria.

Two years into my time in Japan, my sister and I started earnestly planning a trip to Mexico. The plan was to teach English while taking side trips around Central America. She was learning Spanish, I had English teaching experience and plenty of Latino friends, we figured we’d make it work. Then I got pregnant and that promptly shelved things for me (including living/working in Japan, as I’d been doing). My sister was pretty pissed at the time, but eventually went off and had a fabulous time on her own. Such a fabulous time that less than two years after the first year-long trip over there, she did it a second time.

Presently she’s back in Australia, saving money again for a third trip. We were discussing it yesterday; in her words, she’s ‘craving Mexico again’. She has diving master qualifications and thinks she’d like to get some diving work in Mexico. Tulum, specifically (according to her, it’s the most magnificent beach in the world … and girl has travelled to a lot of beaches, from Spain to Thailand to Columbia, so she knows). I jokingly suggested if she’ll pay for flights, my son and I will go with her. To my surprise she liked the idea, and we discussed it for another half hour or so.

The chances of it happening are slim to nil, of course (of us going with her, that is – but there’s very little doubt of her going). But it was exciting to think about, and one of my greatest desires is to take a year overseas with my son while he’s still young. I honestly believe a child can learn much, much more in a few months in a foreign country than in a year at school. A year in Mexico with my five year old? Yes please.

Would you consider taking a year out of your life at home to live and work overseas, even if it meant living on very little money, leaving behind friends, family and everything familiar to you?

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Being a Stay At Home Mum

I was pleased to read this list of ‘five most common regrets’ and realise that I’m mostly on the right track.

I was living and working in Japan when I conceived my son. When at seven months my partner disappeared, I was incredibly fortunate that my parents welcomed me back into their home, and allowed me to stay there for the first year and a half of my son’s life. In that time I did both a TESOL course and a writing course, both of which I breezed through in the comfort of my home – and in the company of my baby son.

After that year and a half, I made the decision to return to university to do my masters. I left Adelaide for Melbourne, and while I struggled (having stupidly left behind family and friends – WHAT WAS I THINKING?), I got through it. At the completion of my masters, I returned to work fulltime.

That sucked. A lot. My son didn’t cope well with being at childcare from 6.30am until 4pm each day, and I struggled knowing how miserable he was. Housekeeping became extremely sloppy, generally I was so tired by the end of each day that I fell into a habit of simply grabbing take away several nights a week. I gained a LOT of weight.

When it came time for work to renew my contract, I asked if I could cut down to part time. In return, the contract they offered me was on the 24/7 roster. Which would have meant weekends and night shifts. I obviously couldn’t sign that contract, and lost my job as a result. I made the decision that I wouldn’t look for another job – instead I’d spend the next year and a half at home with my son. He would be starting school again soon, and as a single parent I’m anticipating that covering our costs is going to mean I’ll be working a lot once he returns to school. So this was a golden opportunity to just really spend some quality time with him.

Becoming a stay at home mum – without the benefit/cover of studying – has been hard. For a start, the boredom can be crushing at times. I enjoy studying, learning, writing. I enjoy regular grown up conversations and interaction. Being at home with a four year old every day can feel mind numbing at times.

There’s also people’s attitudes. It can be a struggle admitting you’re a stay at home mum. People judge. You’re ‘just’ a stay at home mum. But at least you’re being supported by a partner. As a single stay at home mum, people often don’t even see me as ‘just a stay at home mum’. They see me as ‘just unemployed’. Just a dole bludger on welfare/benefits. I had a so-called friend who never missed an opportunity to call me a bludger, a dole bludger, a lady of leisure, a scab, a big-spender of his hard earned tax dollars. Several months after cutting him from my life, I can still feel ashamed and guilty for making this decision to be with my child.

But reading the above list reinforces my belief that ultimately I made the right decision. I’m getting much needed time with my son. I’m living my life the way I want to at this moment. I’m doing my best to allow myself to be happy, at home, with my tiny family of two.

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Boot Girls in Weimar Germany

Aren’t these boots just amazing? Made in the 20s by the French Maniatis Bottier, located near the Pigalle red-light distract in Paris, they’re actually the boots of a prostitute. Specifically, one of Weimar Berlin’s Boot Girls. You could determine the Boot Girl’s speciality by the colour and laces of her boots! In the case of scarlet boots, the prostitute’s speciality was forced feminisation and transvestite humiliation.

This is precisely the sort of trivia that absolutely delights and fascinates me! It might also have to do with my masters project (prostitution in medieval London). Your brain never fully shuts off from a project like that, and prostitution in a historical context will always interest me.

Other colour and lace codes included:

—Black boots: buttocks cropping (lying on bed).

—Brown boots: asphyxiation by boot or stockinged foot.

—Cobalt blue boots: forced feminization; penetration by female.

—Lacquered gold boots: bound feminization; physical torture.

—Poisonous green boots: psychological enslavement.

—Brick red boots: buttocks flagellation (tied to bed or cross).

—Scarlet boots: forced feminization; transvestite humiliation.

—Black laces: punishment with a short whip.

—Gold laces: defecation on chest.

—Maroon laces: verbal humiliation.

—White laces: collared like a dog.

—White ribbons on top of boots: a roleplay scenario in which the male customer begins as the dominant figure and ends as the submissive party.

Fascinating, no?

For more, see Cabinet Magazine.

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Yuval Hen meets Gabriel Rossetti

My teens were shaped by my love of Pre-Raphaelite art, and the work of various Pre-Raphaelite artists are probably the greatest contributing factor to my spending a few hundred dollars a year on maintaining my red hair.*

So I was delighted and amazed to see this beautiful, romantic and breath-taking homage to Pre-Raphaelite artist Gabriel Rossetti by UK photographer Yuvan Hen. Note the William Morris roses and wall paper.

Recognise the model? Imagine she has a family of red-headed brothers …

*That and covering all the tell-tale greys that have plagued me since my 23rd birthday, but let’s just speak of THAT in whispers, shall we?.

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Your Vagina. It looks fine.

Do you ever sit down and think about your vagina? Do you just ignore it? Feel self-conscious about it? Love it unabashedly?

Unlike the penis, which men are obliged to look at several times a day (… and no doubt think about even more), our lady parts are tucked away from sight, easily forgotten and ignored until a sexual partner wants to get down there and have a look, or you’re due for a pap smear. At which point, I believe many of us start to feel a bit uncomfortable and insecure with things.

Why do we feel this way? Could it be because we’ve never seen another woman’s vagina? Because images of vaginas in porn show vaginas that seem distinctly different from our own? Have you even looked at your vagina?

I can remember feeling uncomfortable once when my Brazilian lover wanted to have a look at it one sunny afternoon, and how I felt quite dubious when he told me it was a beautiful thing to see. That aside, I’d never really given a lot of thought to my own until I got pregnant. More specifically, post pregnancy, when to my horror my female doctor was giving me a post partum examination and flippantly said “are you doing your kegels regularly? Things are pretty loose down there!”

Way to soothe those post pregnancy concerns and PND, Dr Dumbarse.

I’ll admit it. After that I went home and unabashedly started looking at porn. I googled ‘vagina’ and ‘post pregnancy vagina’. I even googled ‘vaginal prolapse’ (NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART, LADIES!).

And you know what I realised?

They’re all different. Very, very, very different.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Goals for the Week

Something I’ve noticed while trying to lose weight is that breaking things down to the smallest possible goals is SUPER helpful. I’ve got my overall goal, a few ‘mini goals’ about 6 weeks apart … and then my weekly goals.

I’ve really wanted to make the most of this last year of my son and I being home together every day, but sometimes it’s just hard to do it day by day. By the time we’re out of bed, had breakfast, showered and just generally woken up/sorted ourselves out, it can be 11am or so, and when you rely on public transport and you’re getting around with a four year old, that’s almost too late in the day to bother with anything.

So I’m going to extend my weekly weight loss goals to overall goals for the week.

Yay!

This week …

  • I’m aiming to lose  500g-1kg.
  • I’ll be having a cafe brunch with my son, preferably in a cafe we haven’t yet been to.
  • Not spending any money outside of my budget.
  • Taking my son to a library story time session.
  • Get a heap of stuff listed on ebay.
  • Write and submit an article to … whoever.

Start small, right?

Image credit: MaryKateMcDevitt

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