November 2011

Purple Happy Stuff- The Story Behind the Before

by Lori Dwyer on November 30, 2011 · 22 comments

“By the way, how long did it take you and Tony to find each other?
Tell us your story.”

The lovely and gracious Mrs C, who I’ve blogged about before, asked me this question a month ago now, and I’ve been meaning to answer ever since.

Why of course, Mrs C, I’ll tell you our story, and I’d say that it’s for no other reason than to have it written here for my children… but if I’m honest, it’s simply my pleasure; to lose myself in the memeory of something sweet. The only problem is it’s painful once it’s over, coming out the other side… sometimes memories fit like warm gloves, and the cold when you take them off again is unbearable.. it feels like frostbite.

I’ve written before, kind of briefly, about how we met, and ironically I ended that post with “And we all lived happily ever after.”

If only I’d known.

Tony and I, we met in a collision of perfect timing. I was newly single. He was over being single. And both of us were looking for That Person.

Romance is lovely, the sweet peaches feeling of falling in love is even better. But a long term relationship- a marriage, I guess- is built on more than that. Respect, commitment, a desire to make this work… I think anyone who’s celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary will happily tell you that. Marriage is hard work, and you have to be in it from the beginning.

And both of us were.

We discussed this many times… we were both looking for That Person, the one who was stable, fun, bright, who kept us interested… and who felt secure enough, real enough, tangible enough  to begin to build a life with.

Our ‘we bought a Purple House!’ photo

I guess it wasn’t so much that we begin a relationship, and then gradually saw our lives together fold out from that. We began our relationship with the unspoken intent of getting married, staying together, having kids. Building up a lovely little suburban life.

Which, of course, was what we did.

Mrs C asked me how long it took to find each other. I don’t know how long Tony had been actively looking…. but I’d been waiting for him for years. Getting married, having babies… that was on my bucket list, remember? I was just looking for the perfect bloke to do it with. And Tony was looking for a girl, different to all the ones in the area he lived; a girl to settle down with. And he told me later, in hindsight, that the second he saw me he thought “I could marry this girl.”

So, for my babies, who may read this one day and see it in grainy tones like old holiday photos, I guess these are the things you should know. The things that mean nothing at all… but tiny threads weave magic into the fibre of healthy relationships.

The first time I met your father, I was wearing brown cargo pants and a pink singlet top; and he amazed six months later when I asked him, and he remembered.

And on our first date, your father borrowed his best mates car, because he was so afraid his would break down and leave us stranded on the side of the road. And the first time we kissed was in the front seat of that car, before the evening had really started, nerves making him kiss me far quicker and less romantically than I would have wished.

Your father, he asked me to go bowling for our first date, and I laughed at him- that would have been far too embarrassing, bowling in front of someone I barely knew. Instead we ended up at a restaurant in Leichardt, me too nervous to eat, teasing him about having ‘bad coffee etiquette’ because he licked the froth off his spoon, and he remembered that too, and mentioned it only weeks before he died.

We went out for the first time on a Wednesday, and weren’t supposed to see each other until Saturday, but just couldn’t stay apart. And- embarrassing as this may be for you to read, I’m putting it in anyway- it took until Saturday night, four dates, for us to all in to bed together, nearly biting chunks from each other’s skin in an effort to get closer.

Two weeks after we got together, I had my wisdom teeth out and was in pain for days. Your father bought me a pink teddy bear carrying a love heart under it’s arm, and it reminded me so much of him… carrying his heart and soul under his arm, unprotected and prepared to lay it out in front of me. I wish I had kept it- the teddybear, I mean, the heart and soul I still have.

The first Christmas we spent together- just a year before the first of you was born- we drove all the way to Cowra, slept in a tiny, freezing house; and came home with a kitten we named Diddy that ran away two weeks later.

One night, after we’d been together about three weeks, I turned to your father and whispered to him in the dark “Do you love me?” and the answer that came back was “Can’t you tell by the way I hold you, that I do?” I know, because I wrote it down in my diary, but your father, he never remembered that one.

When we moved into our Purple House, we were as happy as two people have ever been.

And that’s the most important thing to know… no matter what happened before, or what came after, we were, at so many points, two very, very happy people. And you are the direct product of that happiness.

Love is, as they say, a many splendoured thing… but it’s not always grand. Sometimes, the best bits of love stories… they’re the average bits. The everyday bits. The little bits of ordinary that happiness turns into magic.

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The Christmas Cloth GiveAway

by Lori Dwyer on November 29, 2011 · 26 comments

Those of you live in Sydney will know, it rained all last week.

I’m not even exaggerating. It rained all week, bucketing down steadily, soaking the earth, the last of the November Spring rains…. maybe the last big nourishment before a parching summer.

It rained so much that the underneath of house flooded, and i discovered what I previously thought was a ‘drain’ was actually a bucket hole cut into the concrete- the perfect size to submerge a plastic ten litre and scoop the water out. Close to 140 litres in all.

Laundry sits piled around my house in various stages of decomposition, smelly and slightly damp. It’s the weekend before I finally get around to washing, piling my Hills Hoist with as much damp cloth as it will take, let the wind whip the mustiness away.

I love the washing. Odd, I know, but it’s lovely to wash stains away, care for different fabrics and make them last as long as I can. I work actively to reduce chemical usage and waste, and I feel like I am doing something practical for the planet, tiny as it may be.

And all that is intensified, times thousands, when the load of washing is question is a load of cloth nappies (diapers, whatever). I’ve blogged quite a bit about cloth nappies before. I’m just reiterating, really.

There is no sense of smug satisfaction that compares to the smug satisfaction of pulling in a load of crisp, sun dried cloth nappies.

Forget the environmental and health benefits. It’s that awful-but-lovely smug satisfaction that keeps me going.


Which brings me to the really cool part of this post- the giveaway!!

You may remember I was sponsored to attend the ProBlogger Training Day by the awesome people from Rascal Rumps. You can find them here on Twitter, and also on FaceBook. They are an Aussie cloth nappy store with beautiful stock and very reasonable prices. And they have decided to let you all in on the cloth fun with a Christmas Cloth Giveaway, here at RRSAHM.

Up for grabs we have a large Fattycake AI2 made by Leah from Fluff E Stuff. The sizing is 10-18kg, and the RRP is AU$45.

And it just looks delicious.

OK, jellybeans… entry is simple and open to everyone, including those of you outside Australia- in the case of an overseas winner, full postage must be paid, to be organised with Rascal Rumps following the draw..

Simply visit the Rascal Rumps site and have a browse. Then leave a comment here, on this post, telling us which product you would choose to stuff your Xmas stocking.

Answer that most amuses or confuses our judges- Lee and Erin from Rascal Rumps– wins. Bonus points for creativity.

Entries close midnight, AEST, on Friday the 2nd of December.

Winner will be announced via FB, Twitter and this blog soon after.

The winner will be emailed by myself or Rascal Rumps soon after the draw is finalised. They have 48 hours to respond to this email, or the prize will be redrawn.

For your entry to be valid, you must leave a valid email address with your comment.

The judge’s decision is final and no discussion will be entered into.

I think that’s it. Go, browse, drool, my lovelies. Leave comments and hope Santa’s elves are very, very nice to you.

This post also marks the beginning of Xmas here at RRSAHM.


I’ll catch y’all tomorrow.

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Blogging Myself Back To Whole

by Lori Dwyer on November 28, 2011 · 26 comments

“And with that first brave, crooked line, she literally began to draw herself back into existence.”
Stephen King, Duma Key


I feel as if I have blogged the life back into myself. Written air back into my lungs and some kind of smile back on my face. Discovered myself an existence again, somehow kept myself attached to the essence of who I am, through all of this that’s happened.

I know, if you’ve been reading for a while, since the Before, you’ve watched it happen… watched the insides of me gasp for breath, then taking gulping sips of it, and sometimes it’s whooshes air in and out of my soul.

In the Before, this blog felt like a patchwork artwork of stories and writing and in-jokes and social networking, of photos and clips and links.

I remember sitting down to write that horrible post, in a friends lounge room, staring at the computer screen. It was a Thursday night, and my husband was lying unconscious in a bed in the ICU twenty kilometers away.

I used to run a meme on a Friday called FlogYoBlog.. it lives at Glow’s place now, if you’re interested. In fact, that’s what I was about to do, when Tony came home that afternoon and every shade of hell broke loose… I was just going to write a blog post. That’s all I had planned for my afternoon.

It occurred to me, sitting at the computer on that Thursday afternoon, that I could lie. Simply post FlogYoBlog as if nothing had happened, as if everything was normal… there were people In Real Life who were pushing for that, telling no one ‘until we knew for sure’, whether Tony would live or die.

It would have been so easy. Connections online, they can be so fleeting. Post FlogYoBlog, hit publish on the five or so posts I had in drafts folder sporadically over the next two weeks or so, then just stop blogging. A few people may have wondered where I was… but people disappear online all the time. The find other hobbies, different things to do.

I could have told no one what happened, except those flesh and blood Real Life people who would have found out anyway.

But that would have just been the beginning. That would have marked this as something to be ashamed of, a truth to slink from. There is no shame in this.

And so, I blogged. And I watched from behind a foggy wall of trauma of grief as my blog became an outlet for pain, and little more. Bleeding words all over the keyboard in a desperate attempt to get them out of my head.  Obviously, all the things that embellish a blog- those pictures, links and what not- they disappeared from my posts, and it became little more than a continual expression of conscious, painful thought, that I can’t even read again now, and don’t remember writing.

But the colour is, slowly, coming back. I find myself taking photos, spending more time online, proof reading and spell checking.

It feels as if I’m blogging myself back into existence. Taking sustenance from what I get here; but also using it as emotional barometer. I can write about things other than the pain now. I can take the time to reread things without them biting them too hard. This has become a little more like art again, a little less like therapy.

It’s a good place to be.


The blogosphere is a pretty good place to be this week.

I’m proud to be linking this post up my lovely Tune Into Radio Carly’s blog hop for International Day of People With Disability.

It’s a UN sanctioned day to promote the dignity, health- both psychical and mental, well being and rights of people with disabilities… the kind we can see, and the kind we can’t.

Any of that aside, I’m just proud to call Carly a mate of mine. She has awesome boobs and an infectious laugh. She is brave, strong, outspoken, calls a spade a shovel, and she knows, even more than I do, what it’s like to have people be afraid of her. And she stares that in the face with grace, dignity and total kick arse-ed-ness.

And it’s her 30th birthday this weekend.

Happy birthday Carly. I hope every wish you have comes true.

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