M Train

I finished reading M Train on Sunday. Finally, after all that angst.

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Image via vogue.com

It’s the kind of book you fall into and get swept away by. It’s a meditation on love, loss, omens, travel, routine and simplicity. I won’t pretend that I understood it fully, the vast majority of the literary references were completely lost on me, but the essence of it resonated with me. It made me think about vulnerability and strength, simplicity and discord and how fleeting all things really are. Patti Smith writes with brutal honesty, and it is confronting and comforting in equal measure.

I didn’t read it the way I thought I would. It was catch as catch can, a few pages while I waited for Augie to fall into a deep sleep before moving him, a couple of chapters while I was doing my glucose tolerance test, paragraphs here and there while Augie was feeding. It actually seemed kind of appropriate – my reading of the book matched the book itself – meandering, divergent, dream-like.

I loved it.

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Late Again

So, blog posts on Tuesdays might not happen as regularly as I had intended.

Here’s why …

Photo on 5-03-2016 at 1.53 PM #2This is one of the many faces of Augie. I call it ‘The Grumpy Man’.

He’s with me most of the time. I thought babies were supposed to sleep a lot. Augie didn’t get the memo on that one. He makes a lot of weird noises, eats more than I ever thought possible and goes through a lot of nappies, but sleep? No thanks! He has too much fun shit to do, like binge watch Nashville at 3am. And cuddle.

That’s fine with me, because our ideas of fun are pretty much the same. But it means that all the things I planned on doing while the baby was sleeping don’t get done. So forgive me for the lapse in my blogging schedule. If sleep starts to happen I’ll try to resume normal transmission.

 

Introducing …

                                            my son, August.

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August arrived last Monday at 5.48am after a short but intense six and a half hour labour. He weighed in at 3.9kg (8lb6oz) and measured 53cm long, confirming my suspicions he was going to be a good-sized boy. People say he looks like me.

The last week has been a blur of cuddles, constant feeding, visitors and more love and happiness than I have ever known. I’m typing this one handed while I feed, watching the little expressions that flitter across his face (Blue Steel, Kissy Face, Old Man) and marvelling that Tyson and I made such a wonderful creature.

Welcome to the world, August. You are more loved that you could ever know.

The Omelette I Almost Didn’t Eat

This is the omelette that I almost didn’t eat.

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I was having a pretty tough day. I felt tired and flat, and even though I had an ambitious to-do list, I just couldn’t muster the motivation to tackle anything. I sat on the couch, not watching tv, not reading, just sitting. As the time passed, I started to get hungrier and hungrier until I dragged myself to the kitchen and opened the fridge. There were plenty of great ingredients, but nothing ready to eat.

Carrots and cucumber, I decided. Wash them, cut them in half, eat them. No mess, no fuss.

No love. No enjoyment.

That’s when I started thinking about how much I would really like an omelette.

A nice, cheesy omelette with some crispy bacon and squishy, buttery mushrooms. And a salad on the side, maybe with the juicy peaches I picked up at the greengrocers the day before. I stared into the open fridge door, willing it to appear in front of me like a minor miracle.

But miracles, even minor ones, are rare, and I knew that if I wanted that omelette I was going to have to cook it myself. The thoughts rattled around in my head – can I be bothered?  Is it worth the mess? Is it worth the time? Is it worth the hassle? Is it worth all of that, just for me?

Is it worth all that, just for me?

It was at that precise moment that I had a little epiphany. If my sister, or my husband, or my best friend was having a tough day and they wanted an omelette, would I have made it for them?

Hell yes. Without a thought to the mess, time and hassle. With all my love and kindness, I would make them that omelette.

So I did it. I pulled out everything I needed and I made the omelette and the salad. I went and picked chives from the garden, and used the truffly bits in the truffle salt. I took time and care to make it right. And I enjoyed the process of creating it, of giving myself a little bit of that love and kindness that I would be so willing to give someone else. I sat down and ate the whole thing at the table like a human being, not watching tv or reading or being distracted. I ignored the mess on the counter and the dishes in the sink, and savoured every mouthful of my lunch.

I felt good. I felt nourished. I felt like my day had taken a turn for the better. Even when I was cleaning up the mess, I was still glad I’d made it.

The next time I catch myself wondering ‘Is it worth it, just for me?’ I’m going to think of that omelette and I’m going to remember how good it feels for the answer to be a resounding ‘hell yes’.

Just to be clear – once the mess was cleaned up, I still didn’t tackle my to-do list. I made popcorn and watched The Godfather instead.

 

 

Patti Smith Paralysis

Patti Smith’s book, Just Kids, is one of the most memorable books I have ever read. It transported and moved me in a way that very few books have, and I was completely absorbed by and obsessed with the world she shared with with me. I was quite devastated when I finished it. I haven’t re-read it since that first time. I don’t know why. Maybe I don’t want to lose that feeling it gave me, maybe I don’t want the romance of it to be diluted the second time around.

So when I read Sarah Wilson’s review of Patti Smith’s latest book, M Train, I was ridiculously excited. I ordered it immediately, and waited impatiently for it to arrive. It landed on my doorstep mid last week, and … I haven’t opened it.

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I have my copy of M Train, and I’m paralysed. I’m waiting for the perfect time and place to read it, I suppose, in case circumstances don’t allow me to fully relish it the way I want to. I don’t want to read it in a hurry, I want to savour it. There is only one opportunity for a first reading and I really don’t want to screw it up.

I fight with myself about it.  Read Just Kids again, then go straight onto M Train. Save it for when I need to escape. Read a chapter a day. Read the whole thing in one sitting.

For now, it’s on the shelf. Waiting. Until I’m ready. Until I make a decision.

I’m pretty sure Patti Smith would have just read the book already.

 

 

What?

I’m not quite sure what happened with my last post! I just realised that ‘A Little List’ wasn’t a little list at all, it was completely empty. I’ve fixed it up and republished it – I hope you enjoy it!

A Little List

It’s less than two weeks until my due date, and I thought I would share a list of things that have helped me through the last stage of my pregnancy. I generally don’t like ‘can’t live without’  lists, because they are usually full of things that people can (and do!) live without quite easily. So this is just a little list of things that I could most definitely live without, but that have made life a little bit nicer over the past couple of months.

 

image via TrustBreatheBirth

Sukin BioNatural Skin Oil

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not claiming that this oil will stop you from getting stretch marks. I have stretch marks and I have used this oil religiously from early on in my pregnancy. But it is a really nice part of my daily routine, and I think it has minimised the damage to my skin.

Leaf Baby Bump tea (available online here)

I LOVE Leaf Tea. When I was living in Melbourne I used to stop in Geelong to stock up whenever I could. I love their black teas, I love their herbal teas, I love their rooibos and green teas. Unfortunately, to be on the safe side, the majority of their teas were out of bounds until I hit my third trimester, and now I drink a pot or two of the beautiful Baby Bump tea every day.  Apparently it is rich in vitamins, minerals, iron, magnesium and calcium.  The ingredients include raspberry leaf, jasmine, spearmint, lemongrass, chamomile and rose petals, and it tastes lovely.

These beautiful birth affirmations

I have been working my way through the Hypnobubs online hypnobirthing course, and one of the things that is recommended is to have affirmations visible around you to help to embed positive messages about birth in your subconscious mind. They recommend writing your affirmations over photos of your pregnant self, but by now you probably understand how I feel about photos, so this wasn’t really something I wanted to do. I printed up a few of the affirmations from the link above and stuck them on the wall above my desk. I also plan on taking them to the hospital when the time comes.

Prenatal Yoga

I have been practicing prenatal yoga on and off since my first trimester, but have been more consistent since we moved back to Geelong. While I was in Melbourne I attended prenatal yoga with Allie at Eve Studio in Thornbury. Now that I am in Geelong, I am loving my weekly sessions with Erin at Womb2Move (held at the Birth House in McKillop Street). When I wasn’t able to attend formal classes, and whenever I get the urge, I practice the Yin Yoga pregnancy sequence from the excellent ‘Complete Guide to Yin Yoga’ by Bernie Clark. I find that any kind of yoga practice is beneficial for me, and I love knowing that I am doing something good for myself and the baby.

My journal

I use Decomposition Books and a mashed up journalling structure that works for me. I will write a post about this soon! I use my journal to track my habits, keep track of appointments and important dates, to reflect and decompress, to practice gratitude, set goals, make lists and generally stay in control of my life. I also like to mess around with lettering, layouts and embellishments to make it all look lovely.

So there you have it. Five little things that bring me joy. I could live without them, but I am glad I don’t have to.

What little things make your life sweeter?