Sunday, September 11, 2011

Moving House

Hello there!

I've now moved my blog to a shiny new house over on Wordpress. You can find Maggies Scribbles at Please come on over and join us - would love to see you there!

M :o)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Like an Alligator Waiting for Lunch

I was once told by a psychic family member to 'watch out for the circles within the circles'.

It's puzzled me for years. I was never able to work out what it meant. By contrast there was another message accompanying it that actually nearly made me crash the car when it was told to me (yes I was driving), so pertinent it was. The second message's veracity was why I gave credence to the 'circles' message, but however hard I tried, I never did get that one.

Life tends to go in cycles, I admit, and while its true that out of one's work, home, emotional and social lives it's rare that you'll get all of them firing on all cylinders at once in terms of positivity, there also seems to be times where at all goes completely to shit at once.

Nothing outward need ever have happened, (but sometimes it does) and something inside perhaps triggered a switch from happy to not happy and bang! Down you go, and the work starts once again to climb out of the mire and regain the good ground.

Its severity can be low or high, but the direction is the same. Its cause can be chemical, emotional, due to the weather, or any number of other crazy sources. And the voice in your head (presumably, hopefully, your own) is saying 'why am I feeling like this, I was perfectly fine' while the body responds to the question in feelings, the internal life equivalent of an interpretive dance.

So we seek the solutions;
Good relations with our nearest and dearest - check
Get checked out at the doctors - check
Return to abandoned spiritual practices - check

And you survey the scene from your lofty new post only to see that its pretty much just the same crappy soup as before, just with a few more ingredients, and you sink down into the mire again, remaining still, eyes just above the mud line like an alligator waiting for signs of lunch.

Then stuff begins to happen.
An opportunity arises and you find a voice to express what you're going through in a safe place. Words put out there, onto paper, screen or in conversation, no longer let the things they emote have power inside your head any more.
A loved one reaches out for help, and because you've trodden that particular part of the path before you can act as a guide for them. And in helping them on their healing journey, you begin to heal yourself.
You get the chance to laugh and to make others laugh, and the laughing continues the healing.

And then the mire starts to fall away, and clarity begins to return. And the weather gets better (Spring! Yay!) and the cycle of positivity turns towards the regaining of equilibrium and things just don't look so bad.

The key things here:
Patience - the last thing you have when you feel down; you're so scared you won't get back out of the pit that panic can set in.
Quiet - when you're down it’s actually a really good place to take some time for stillness. Don't plan anything, just be where you are. You can't dodge around this; you just have to get through it. Try a bit of meditation, tai chi or yoga and know that it will always pass and things will start to seem better.
Tolerance - show yourself a bit of love. Take care of yourself, do things to nurture your spirit body and mind. In the midst of the storm it’s the best that we can do for ourselves.
Hope - probably the most important thing because it allows you to exercise patience, quiet and tolerance with a peaceful heart.

I've probably written this piece as a memo to myself as much as to anyone else; to remember the way back - my personal trail of breadcrumbs. It’s not a solution to clinical depression which is another ballpark altogether, and perhaps one that I will write about in the future. This is about those times that if we don't address them can turn into serious depressive episodes, and I reckon if I go through these kind of down times, then probably others do, too. Thankfully I have learned to manage that ol' black dog and it has been many a year since it came calling at my door.

Maybe this is the circles within the circles, that we're part of a chain of healing and its only by reaching out to the person next to us, to help them make that one step you've made before, and the person on the other side of you does that for you too, that we become part of those circles? Its open to interpretation, and thankfully this one isn't too tortured!

We have in each of us the means of our own health and liberation, we need to believe that always, and we sometimes need to write it down just to remember that fact.

Have a lovely week.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

How You Made Them Feel

We live in an age where there are unprecedented opportunities available for us to communicate with each other.

No longer restricted to face to face, letters and phones the internet has produced not only new channels and environments in which and through which to communicate but it has also done away with the tyranny of distance so that at any time, anywhere in the world we can speak with anyone we choose.

And yet, it’s still down to us to put the thoughts and then the words together before they get sent out. It’s still down to us to be brave about what we want to say, and accept responsibility for what we say and do.

So the irony of this blog will not go astray when I say that over the past few weeks I've had two of the hardest conversations I can think of in recent times, and all the gadgets and gizmos in the world did not aid one bit in either of them. It’s ironic also because Communications is my game. I'm a comms junkie who happens to work at it one way and another for a living and for leisure, and it's fair given me a slap on the butt about that communication channel we tend to forget first amongst all the new toys - face to face.

It can be scary, eh? Actually being in someone's presence, talking to them and making yourself vulnerable by revealing what's inside your head.

There's no hiding behind a computer alias or even a Facebook status (which can often seem quite faceless, actually). There's no anonymity and no LOL factor to add which might take away any sting (actually, I loathe LOL and have never used it!).

So, both times, I screwed up my courage after literally sleepless nights and disturbed days, and I went along, sat down and said exactly how I felt.

And guess what? The earth didn't shatter and I didn't lose those people. What did happen were deep discussions that can only happen when we take the courage to jump into that area that perhaps everyone is thinking of but no one goes there first. The result was an enhancing, rather than a diminishing of our relationships, and peace of mind restored.

Give it a try. Take 10 or 15 minutes to go and talk with someone rather than sending them an email. I'm a great believer in the saying that 'People won't remember what you did, but they'll remember how you made them feel.’ Grab back that opportunity to make people feel good by talking to them face to face, over a coffee or a beer or just a desk-perching moment.

That's something that we can't get from emails and Facebook status updates, but that quality of communication is something that we dare not lose, because if we do lose it, we lose part of our humanity.

Have a great week!
M :o)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Bucket List Quest

Hey y’all, it’s been a while!

Bit of a newsy one this time.

July was very busy with theatre and comedy. Son was working as crew on Avenue Q for the month and so needed the mum/dad taxi service, meanwhile I was gigging every weekend for the OOTS Comedy Galahs around town.

That itself was a wonderful experience. We’d turn up and there would be 19 other comics all ready to go on and do their bit. I don’t know what the comedy scene is like in other cities, but in Adelaide we’re blessed to have a great one. The comics are all friendly and supportive of each other and take a real pleasure in seeing each other succeed with audiences. It fair warmed the cockles of my heart.

Also, one of the greatest pleasures was to see almost all of the female comics there too. We weren’t a token one or two on the bill, neither were we the total lineup which can also be tokenistic if you’re not careful. We were all just part of it, and great fun it was.

I congratulated the producer (and comic/David Tennant lookalike) Mark Trenwith on his great gender mix lineup and like the lovely guy he is he was genuinely dumbfounded. “I just hire people because they’re funny,” he said. Love that guy!

In other news, the Three Stuffed Mums have embarked on a project to compile a book of funny mum stories ‘from the trenches’. We’re asking mums to write in with their story that might not have seemed funny at the time, but you decided to keep it for their 21st, to be included in the Mum Book. The scheme was originated and masterminded by our more business-minded mum Kate, so if you’re interested, log on to and tell us your story.

My exciting news on a more personal level is that Fringe registrations opened this week for the Adelaide Fringe 2012. So, in the interests of crossing another thing off my ‘Bucket List’, I’m embarking at 50 years of age on my first solo Fringe show! It’s called “Sold!” and it will be a mixture of stories, songs and comedy.

Just this week I’ve received from my Musical Director Extraordinaire, Le Monsieur Mike Pitman, the backing tracks and scoring of two of the songs wot I wrote. They sound great, and now all I have to do is rack my singing voice up a notch or three to match the great quality of the arrangements.

The concept of “Sold!” is around those things we get sold on – whether its ideas, things, people. We have to be sold on them in order to justify our investment in them with our time, energy and loyalty. Sometimes we get swindled, but sometimes it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to us. How do you get ‘Sold!’ on something? Tell me by going to the Facebook page for the show - Just click the badge to the right of this blog entry or search for me on Facebook under ‘Maggie Wood – Sold’. Oh and please click 'Like' on the page if you'd like to be kept up to date with my progress with the show.

And that’s probably me for this epistle. The weekend lies ahead as open as the prairies of Oregon (if they still have prairies there), for R&R and general navel gazing before the work week kicks off again on Monday.

To all of you out there, have a lovely weekend and a great week, and remember to look after each other. We’re all we’ve got!

M :o)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Moderation Musings

There’s such a storm just happening now both at home and work. Projects flying around, gigs to prepare for, new directions and opportunities and at the same time paying attention to consolidation of current projects, as well as family, dogs and all that entails.
It seems like there is hardly a moment to think, never mind act and the temptation, even on a Sunday afternoon, is to open up the computer files and start planning and working.
It’s taken me this long to realise that any work done under these conditions won’t be very productive. Without rest, and without paying attention to the important things first – health and family – the head won’t be able to fly as free as it needs to in order to produce the best goods possible.
The head space needs to be calm in order to work well. Balance needs to be maintained for mental and spiritual health, and yet it’s difficult sometimes to defy the feeling of obligation to get on with things. Thus the internal struggle seeps across the weekend, eating up precious free time.
So, for this moment anyway, I’m off to do some of that head clearing.
Have a wonderful week, everyone, and remember to take time for your sanity.
As one of my personal mantras says; everything in moderation, including moderation!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Grow A Pair

Two weeks ago I turned 50.

Now, I know that many people dread that milestone, while others don’t care one way or another. Me? I’m grabbing and running with it. Woo hoo – I get to be an adult whether people like the way I do it or not. You can criticise my technique but you can’t argue with the chronology, buddy!

I get to grow old and I get to do it however I want to. Grumpy or smiley, I can do it with impunity, for now I am a senior citizen. Going by what friends have experienced I’ll soon get those lovely letters from the Government to prove that I’m 50, which cordially invite me to get a titty squash and jobbie assessment to make sure I don’t have breast or bowel cancer. Such fun!

And if I want further proof that I’m a senior citizen I need only walk past the Norwood Senior Citizens club and read the sign out at the front door that tells me that Tuesday and Friday afternoons are for the ‘Over 50s’. (Note – the first time I realised that this may apply to me I shuddered.)

It’s a strange situation; I’d always pictured someone who goes to these clubs to be self-admitting themselves to God’s waiting room. I don’t actually know of anyone over 50 who has time to attend one of their sessions. Everyone I know who has passed their golden jubilee is far too busy either enjoying their increasing freedom as the kids leave home or they’re starting new careers.

Is it a Baby Boomer thing? That we shall never knowingly grow old and doddery like our forbears? Or is it a continuation of the ‘I Want and I Shall Have’ mentality that refuses to give up getting until we’re falling down?

For me, I know it’s the absolute fascination of ‘I’ve got this far and I’m not dead yet!’ feeling, and wondering how much further I can push my abilities and courage.

It’s got a lot to do with courage. I’ve spent a lot of my earlier life being fearful – a reflection of the way I was brought up. But I’ve found those fears to be unfounded so with renewed confidence I grab my 50 returns of the sun and plough off into territory that is new, exciting, and is filled with infinite possibilities.

Happy birthday to me, and to my decision to ‘grow a pair’.

And if I can do it, so can you!

Five ways I know I’m now 50

1. I’ve started to be very selective with how I spend my time and who I spend it with.
2. I like to be home at ‘a decent hour’ and I don’t like being out two nights in a row.
3. I eat weetbix for ‘digestive health’.
4. I am coming to understand the concept of ‘spare wine’.
5. I listen to ABC radio. By choice. And enjoy it!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Looks Like a Bomb Hit it!

Hey all!
Holiday Monday here which means its busier than normal day. What with some work this morning, haircutting of son's giant afro, quick catch up with pal and then what may be a long meeting with Adelaide Theatre Guide colleagues, the actually most exciting thing is the formal launch of my new website! I say my 'new' website - it's also my only personal website.
We do have the Three Stuffed Mums website which is and I have to say there are some exciting things shaping up for the Mums in 2012. And now there is my website at which brings together all my skills for hire under the one 'shopfront'.
Have a look and I'd welcome feedback and comments.
Rushing off now to tidy house that looks like a bomb hit it!
Have a great week!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

...With a Cleaver in His Hand

I'm drinking a glass of the most delicious orange juice from one of the trees in our back garden. I've been doing this every winter since I came to Australia 12 years ago, and still I'm awed by it.

Where I lived in Scotland, stuff didn't grow on trees, except for leaves, and maybe chestnuts in the autumn but that was an 'English' thing and even if we used them for games of conkers we'd never have had a clue about how to eat them. At one point, when I lived in Red Rd Court there wasn't a shop that sold fresh fruit and veg closer than two suburbs away. There was a supermarket but they gradually stopped selling the fruit n veg in favour of getting more freezers in. If you wanted an orange you had to get on the number 8 bus to Springburn, which was once every 30 mins if it turned up, and take your chance there.

It wasn't so bad when I moved to Govanhill. Allison Street was a long corridor of fruit and veg heaven. There was a huge population of Indian and Pakistani people in the suburb, and the women would shop daily for their cooking needs, which gave us residents the follow-on benefit of being able to walk into a shop at up to 9pm at night if you were longing for a banana.

And oh, the banana wars that went on! You'd see the signs go up 'Bananas 6p a pound', then the rival down the street would offer them at 4p, then someone would go to 2p.

My bestie, Linda, whose flat I shared, revelled in the banana wars and would report the latest to her dad, Jim, with the same enthusiasm a broker would have for the stock market. Her ultimate triumph came one day when she was able to proclaim 'They're giving them away for free!'.

There were also shops that sold all the cooking implements needed at very low prices. You'd see these yuppie folks on the telly with their latest chic item, like a mortar and pestle, that would have cost them a fortune. Stroll down Allison St and you'd get it for a fiver (I did). My one regret is not buying a chapati pan when I could. I'd actually really like one now so if anyone knows of where I can get a decent one in Adelaide, let me know.

They also had a few Halal butchers in Allison St. My main memory is when I was still dewy-eyed about the ex husband and wanted to take him to meet the parents. Called my mum who said 'well, we're having pork chops tonight but it's a public holiday - can you get a few more down Allison St and bring them up with you?'. And so, quite unthinkingly, I sent the ex into the Halal butcher to ask for four pork chops while I sat in the car.

I knew something was up when I saw him bolting from the door shouting "Drive! Drive!". Apparently its is something of a dangerous faux pas to ask for pork chops from a Halal butcher with a cleaver in his hand.

Have a lovely week!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Gein' it Laldy

I always find it therapeutic to join in when Tina Turner appears on the telly, and thus I’ve just greeted Sunday morning with a full belt version accompanying Ms Turner singing River Deep Mountain High. Thanks goodness we have tolerant neighbours.

Singing, though, it’s a great thing, eh?

After singing at the top of your lungs, whether it’s in the shower or on the stage at Radio City Music Hall, it’s such a cathartic experience and leaves you feeling great. I hope it’s the same for everyone. Singing’s become very commodified and it’s felt amongst some people that unless you’ve spent amounts of time studying music or paid your dues on the stage that you rank lower in the singing pecking order than others.

Stuff and nonsense, I say.

I grew up in a family where the gatherings and parties centred on people doing their ‘turn’. Everybody had a song that was theirs and after a few drinks were taken in smoky living rooms, the first person would, after much persuasion and (false) modesty start up the singing.

I can remember my cousin George Burns gein’ in laldy (tr. giving it everything/big licks) with The Donkey Serenade, Auntie Mary would sing On Mother Kelly’s Doorstep or ‘Always’, my dad would – very occasionally – sing Chattanooga Choo Choo. Auntie Jean would sometimes sing ‘When You and I Were Young, Maggie’ and go all teary as she looked at my mum. Uncle Pat would sing ‘I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen’ to my cousin Kathleen, and after heaps of cajoling Auntie Mona would sing ‘Ave Maria’ in her warbly soprano. Oh and cousin Lily would sing ‘Ten Guitars’ and somebody would always have a go at 'The Crystal Chandelier' and the superbly maudlin ‘Nobody’s Child’.

My early attempts were well received, and I usually was rolled out to sing the top of the day’s hit parade ‘Two Little Boys’.

To us, singing was as natural as speaking. It didn’t really matter how good or bad you were, and if you were challenged tonally, you usually managed to develop a style that got you through. There were no stars, no divas, and if anyone tried to do one they were soon cut off at the knees.

These days, we don’t sing so much, which is sad. I love getting the gals in the office to join in a chorus – everyone always smiles afterwards and it adds a zing to the atmosphere. Maybe it’s the making of the noise as much as anything.
I remember the first time I heard a women’s drumming group – sure after five minutes it got a bit samey, but in those first few minutes there was sheer pleasure in the noise itself and I couldn’t stop grinning from ear to ear.

Acknowledgement and kudos have to go to some people who are already working to remove the exclusiveness of singing today. In particular I’m thinking of Sidonie Henbest, Nikki Aitken, and Matthew Carey who organise the superb Cabaret Live that welcomes everyone who wants to get up on stage and have a bit of a sing. It’s on the first Sunday of the month at La Boheme in Adelaide and it’s a fantastic night of entertainment, always packed.

Luckily a lot of my friends are all involved in theatre or comedy or music which is fantastic because we probably sing more for pleasure than most other segments of the population. Some of them haven’t been able to do shows for some time due to work and family commitments, and it’s a shame to lose that joy that singing either by oneself or together with friends brings.

That’s why I’ve been talking to some of them about an idea for singing circles. It’s a bit like a book club, but instead of talking books we get together, have a few wines and have a bit of a sing. We could sing together or do a solo. We could sing songs about where we’re from, or from the latest releases, it doesn’t really matter. It’s not that there would be no stars amongst us – we’d all be stars. All ability levels welcome, and perhaps stories and poems too. It’s just a gathering and a chance to spread the joy.

Who’s in?

Message me!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Two Metres Short

Isn’t it weird how the pursuit of things turns you into a stalker?
Or is it just me?
Exciting Saturday afternoon spent in Spotlight (a craft and material store) in town, chasing after a particularly patterned piece of material.
I saw what I needed, picked it up and admired it, but put the bolt of cloth down to go see if there was something else that might fit my purpose even more. Alas, when we went back to where I’d put it, it was gone! Arrgghh!
I spied it – a group of young girls were up at the counter with it. Double aarrgghh – there wasn’t that much material left on the bolt and I needed four metres. For now it was gone. We (patient hubby and I) decided to visit a nearby store of a similar vein to see if they had any. Alas they didn’t and we headed back to Spotlight. The group of young girls were now at the counter getting a length of MY cloth cut. We hovered around the side and back of the counter.
“Its gonna be all gone!” I whined.
“Its ok,” said hubby as he exerted his radar hearing, “she only wants two metres.”
Hope rose in my heart.
We made another circuit of the very large counter island and glanced downwards as the gaggle of girls walked past us with their cut of my cloth.
Where was the bolt? Where was it?
Not on the near part of the counter, so we shuffled through the queue towards the far side, and not there either.
Oh panic! What to do!
And then I saw it peeking out of the pile of previously purchased bolts and whipped it out.
Clutching it to my chest (yes I over reacted) I grabbed a number, got in line and glared at anyone who even glanced at my precious cloth.
Our number was eventually called and I asked for four metres. The lady measured out the cloth remaining on the bolt. Exactly two metres. Blast!
Hubby helpfully muttered “That girl got your two metres dear” and I cursed her under my breath.
But it wasn’t her fault. It was my fault for not trusting that what I requested had been delivered. That’s what happens when you second guess the universe – you end up two metres short!
If I was a church of Scotland Minister on the famed TV program ‘Late Call’ I’d now say the words “And life’s like that..” and then go on to give a really cheesy analogy from real life to illustrate the principle.
I’m not a Church of Scotland Minister but I will go on to say that so many people expressed a wish that they’d seen our show Three Stuffed Mums at the Adelaide Fringe but didn’t have the chance. Well the good news is that the Universe is throwing you a second opportunity because we’re at the Cabaret Fringe on the 3, 4 & 5 June at The Maid once more and we’d love to see your there. Book at BASS on 131 246 or go to Please.
Cheesy hard sell over.
Have a wonderful weekend and week!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Colour and Fairytales

Had a fantastic week off work.

Its the first time in over a year I've had more than a few days, no shows, not being ill, just good quality time to do stuff, and do stuff I have! There have been a few things that I'll go into in later blogs that took up time, I got to have some great family time with hubby and sons, and all in all just get my act together a little bit more. One of the things I haven't done is clean the house so its in as much of a shambles as it was this time last week. Oh well, lah de da.

Did you watch the Royal Wedding? I wasn't going to but there was nothing else on the telly! And boy do you get sucked in by all that pageantry. The bride was lovely in her Grace Kelly-ish dress and the groom looked handsome in his uniform. Plenty of swords there amongst the uniformed guests' posessions. Could have been interesting if a rammy broke oot at the purvey (tr. "If a fight had broken out at the reception).

The whole thing was worth it for the laugh when we got to see the two York gels dribble out of their limo dressed as the ugly sisters for the panto. Why didn't anybody say anything to them? Costumes by Central Casting, mascara and eyeliner by A Clockwork Orange. Jeez.

I could never have attended. Three hours in church without a toilet break? My idea of hell. Funny also to see the priests all dressed like peacocks in their finery and the two nuns looking miserable in their greys.

I once knew an apprentice nun who was lovely and who's order wore navy blue. After she'd been to her first massed meeting of nuns she exclaimed that she'd never seen so many shades of navy blue in her life. A feeling I later reflected on when I was asked to attend the reception of a Glasgow footballer's wedding and I realised I'd never seen so many shades of blonde and spray tan in my life. And as for the ladies... boom tish.

Anyway, it seems that the theory of the purpose of these royal weddings is to distract the people from what's really going on. It had its work to do here in sleepy Adelaide, as about 2km down the road from us, on the same day as the wedding, there was had a triple shooting and seige. A man opened fire on his neighbours, three people were killed, one injured and then a policeman was shot and his colleague injured. The shooter then holed up in a neighbouring house and didn't come out for nearly 12 hours. All very horrible stuff.

It was very weird, because that part of the main road was blocked off for almost 24 hours and the three things I had to get to that day were on the other side of the blockade. The whole situation felt very wrong and absurd. I had to get the dog to its clipping appointment, yet three people had been killed. What was horrifying was that I could consider this dilemma quite rationally. Part of my head is yelling "PEOPLE HAVE BEEN KILLED FOR GODS SAKE!" and the other side is going "Yeh but how do I get to the poodle parlour?". I'm not trying to minimalise or trivialise what happened here - the ability of our minds to rationalise the situation is quite scary, and by the looks of the number of vehicles who still tried to get through the blockade (while the seige was still going on) I wasn't the only one. Businesses were carrying on, walkers and joggers stood at the borderline of police cars to have a look, and the media hovered there as well in search of the latest updates.

Have we been desensitised to others' tragedy? What pushes us forward with the routine when things like this happen? Is it our safety zone, that if we keep on doing as normal then it's proof to ourselves that it hasn't happened to us? Those poor families tied up in this, losing loved ones to bullets and, it seems, mental illness, is too much to comprehend - especially when it happens on our safe, Adelaide suburban streets. Where do you go when something so horrible happens within coo-ee distance of home?

Apparently, we retreat to the safe, to the known, and we sit down and lose ourselves in a pageant of colour and fairytales on the other side of the world.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Fire and Attitude

Hellooooo! I'm back in blogland! Its been a while but its been such a busy while that even if my body had been still enought to write then my mind wouldn't have been.

Its been a whirl of overseas visitors, comedy, work, more comedy and good friends (like a venn diagram, a lot of these groups overlap into each other).

I've had a bit of an epiphany, a bit of an arse kicking (self administered) and I'm shaping up a bit sharper in a whole lot of ways than I was before. All is good.

First off, update on the nightmares. There have been no more. There was one dream post-blog and post lovely emails and phone calls from concerned loved ones.

In the dream I didn't shout or rant or anything, I just quietly explained that that particular fear mechanism was no longer useful and it should take its leave. And it did. end of. Lovely. Thanks for all your messages on that, I really felt loved.

Next, doing Three Stuffed Mums got me back into standup and now I seem to have a voracious appetite for writing and performing again. Haud me back!Currently have gigs booked for May, June and July, either with the mums or solo, so going not too bad so far.

I've got a website being built and getting myself organised to be able to offer all of my out of office hours skills for market. More anon.

Then, we had a visit from the wonderful Brenda and Pip, extended family members who are out here on hols from UK. Had a great time taking them round the Adelaide Hills and to a comedy show. They loved both. Also got to see them a couple of times at family gatherings which was great - they're fantastic company and I'll miss them. They've now departed for some time in Melbourne before heading back to blighty.

One fantastic surprise was an email from a very old pal (not that she's very old, but that we've known each other since forever) who informed me that she'd be in town in a few days, all the way from Scotland. We had two great days to catch up and talk incessantly. It was so brilliant. I hadn't seen Roona in nearly 20 years (or it seems like that) but when we met in town it was like nothing had changed and we just picked up where we left off, filling in all the details of the time in between then and now.

Seeing her was another episode in a series I seem to be having now of meeting people who remind me of parts of myself I'd forgotten. I think its probably a symptom of moving countries and fitting into your new one, then dissolving a marriage, then losing my dad - all things that in their own ways severed connections with who I used to be and also those parts of me that lie in hibernation.

Seeing Roona and seeing my bestie Linda in the UK last year woke up parts of that, just like seeing the lovely Janey Godley here during Fringe and speaking with her recalled to me with such clarity the fantastic heritage we have as Glasgow women. Its a proud, strong heritage and I'm so glad I've rediscovered that part of me.

It also reminded me of all these great women I have in my life right now who aren't afraid to speak up, wherever they're from and the great respect I have for them - thinking here straight away of people like my cousin Kathleen who's so strong and yet so full of compassion for the young people she works with, and her mum (who in some ways is my other mum) June.

Memories too of my mum Meg McGinty, who could be a fearsome opponent in full flight. I've seen taxi drivers, government officials and some of my cocky young male teachers tremble in her presence. I hope I've got even just a wee bit of that fire and attitude. Seems to me its the right recipe for growing old disgracefully.

Have a fantastic Easter!


Sunday, April 3, 2011

I Have Nightmares

Please indulge me in this one. I’m writing this as a bit of therapy and in the hope that it can move me forward past an impasse.
I have nightmares.
Sometimes I don’t get one for a while then they’ll come back night after night and I wake up in fear, until I remember after a few moments that it can’t happen, but the fear lingers on for a while into the day.
The nightmares change location, but they always have the same storyline. I’m going about my life as it is now, happy, content, and then my ex husband reappears.
In the dream he threatens to wreck my new life. He comes into my home, takes food from the pantry, lifts and discards the knick knacks about the rooms and snickers to himself. Sometimes there is an unknown woman with him, at other times he’s alone. He never looks at me in the dream, always averting his eyes, and mostly looking directly to the right or the left so that I only see him in profile.
I shout and scream at him to leave, but he ignores me. I try to push or punch him, I pick up heavy blunt instruments to hit him, but he seems to have an invisible shield and I have no power. Nothing connects and they glance away. With all my power and might I’m still at the mercy of his horrible whims. Even when my husband and family are present in the dream they seem unable to intervene, like they are behind a veil.
Eventually he always walks out, leaving the front door open, telling me that he’ll be back, and that’s how the dreams always end.
I’ve tried to seek information on how to deal with this. Mostly people say that you should face up to your monsters in your dream and thereby conquer them, but that doesn’t apply in this case. I do face up to him and I’m impotent to stop him. One thing I read says that this kind of nightmare is typical of post traumatic stress disorder.
Certainly it was an unhappy and at times abusive marriage for most of its 12 years, and the breakup was extremely unpleasant, but I haven’t seen him for nearly two years. He’s never taken any real interest in our son, and in real life there’s no way he could wreak the havoc that happens in the dream.
His behaviour back then did create fear in me because there was never any rhyme or reason or pattern to it. It got slightly worse, as in unpredictable, after we split up. You can get a measure of what it was like when I can cite occasions like the one where the police phoned me up during one of his access visits to warn me about him and recommending I go retrieve my son from him straight away.
So, how do I stop this? How do I get past this? It’s been seven years since we split and I’m really over these dreams. Does anyone have any advice, any pointers on how to put to rest the last of what was a very unpleasant period in my life?
Thanks for reading, and have a great week.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Funky Old Kadina

Time to shake myself out of that post-Fringe funk and get back into the blog!

its almost a week since our fab gig at Kadina. Three Stuffed Mums and Granny Flaps (aka Lori Bell)had a wonderful time in that town last Friday night with around 300 ladies choosing to spend a night rocking out with us. I also got to do my Yorke Peninsula Medley! One more thing ticked off the bucket list!

It wasn't without its dramas though. Foolishly we took my car which chose to have a flat 15km from Kadina. For anyone unaware of the area, that's roughly in the middle of nowhere. Luckily the mobiles still worked and the RAA was called. Glynn, Kehau's husband was dispatched from Kadina to fetch me while Steven stayed with the car and we managed to have our sound check ok. The downside was that the spare was fine but the other front tyre was also dodgy, so we had to take it slowly back to Adelaide at no more than 80km/h. It took us two and a quarter hours to get home!

However, that didn't dampen the great feelings engendered by a great show. Can't wait to do it again!

In other news, there is no other news. Post Fringe funk had surely set in and its only today its started to lift. I've spent the week ploughing through work, enjoying my lunchtime walks in the autumn sunshine to the beach, and sleeping. Its a time that's made me remember the importance of rest and recovery. After spending a month living on nerves and adrenalin during Fringe, when your body demands rest then that is what it needs, hence my relative silence.

Kadina, you were a blast. Sleep, similarly you are awesome.
Have a nice weekend.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Power of Three

We had the Adelaide Fringe awards were last night and while the Three Stuffed Mums had a nomination for the People's Choice award, we didn't get a win. However we're still stoked with the nomination - to be up against around 750 shows and get a nomination isn't too shabby at all. If you'd like to read about how our season has gone, get over to our Mum'blings blog at for the full update. (stoopid blogspot won't let me link outside blogspot - sorry)

For me, it's time to relax somewhat. It's a beautiful day and we headed out with the dogs this morning. Took a stroll past my sister's place to say hello/cheerio to my nephew Ben who's on a flying visit from Canberra. Since we've got back the dogs have all collapsed in slumbers and I've been writing on the computer. It's kinda hard to relax as they're building a new house at the back of ours and some sort of power tool is interrupting the hazy buzz of the sunny autumn afternoon. I hope they get a power cut.

Doing the three Stuffed Mums show has been a revelation. Kate, Kehau and I have all known each other for a long time, and we've worked together so well on quite a few projects. We've always been a good team, but when work on this project started it was like the heavens aligned. We all three discovered strengths we could contribute that hadn't been there before and it really did become the power of three - and that includes the fun factor. Cannot wait to see those gals again soon!

The other thing that's happened with this is I've realised that I can't 'retire' from standup. I tried to last May. I'd done the gig at the Stand in Glasgow - a wonderful gig that was my personal 'Everest' and I didn't think I could top that. But when I got pulled in to do the Mums' show I've realised I still have the bug and I've started writing again. Oy vay!

Right, I'm gonna sign off and go enjoy the sunshine while I can, and pray for that power cut for across the back so their whiney screechey power tools stop making that racket!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Let's Enjoy Ourselves!

Just a short update: we're three quarters of the way through the Fringe. There's a show tonight (Saturday) and then Tuesday through Saturday again.

However we look at it, this Fringe has been a huge success for the Three Stuffed Mums. There have been great houses, fantastic audiences and lovely reviews. Even with a week to go we have post-Fringe bookings, some awesome plans in the pipeline and a bundle of songs and sketches awaiting development for the full stage show.

I've been having Thursdays and Fridays off during Fringe to accommodate energy levels and it's worked well. It's been a good balance, with the normal Monday to Wednesday workdays grounding me and stopping me flying off into Fringeland entirely. It pays to remember that Fringe isn't the real world and it's as transient as any of the Tivoli Garden setups in the parklands. It's beautiful and enchanting when it's there, but it's not there for ever. And if you've seen our show, you'll know the Mums are all about keeping it real.

The one thing about the show that has surprised us and blown us away is the sheer joy of it.

We knew we were having fun putting it together, but we didn't bank on it being this much fun night after night. We also didn't bank on the sheer joy of our audiences and the great energy they are feeding back to us.

When we talk to them after the show they say things like 'I'm glad it wasn't just me thinking that', and to hear them talking about how it feels better to just be human and flawed, that they feel happier in themselves because they know they're not alone in feeling how they do and how great it was to see their lives reflected back at them, well it makes your heart swell.

Its exactly what we've had underpinning the project all along - helping that connection set up and continue, to get us talking about parenthood with a laugh rather than a psychiatrist, and to know that none of us need to be alone on this journey through parenthood. I say 'parenthood' rather than 'motherhood' because some of the great feedback has been from the dads who were at first reluctant to come along. Yet,when they did they realised that it is just as applicable to their lives as it is to the mums'.

If you'd like to know more about what the Three Stuffed Mums are about go to (silly blogspot won't let me link it!)

Ah, it turns out this hasn't been as short a blog as I thought it would be! So, heading into the final week of Fringe, lets all enjoy ourselves!

Happy Fringing!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

I'm Stuffed Just Thinking About It!

Well, with two shows under our belt and the third due today, the Three Stuffed Mums have got into the swing of Fringe 2011.

Its been a busy week with lots of radio interviews, dress rehearsals and then opening night on Friday night. So far audience numbers and reactions have been great. Everyone's found something to relate to in the show - even young single males!

It finally feels that we've given birth (so to speak) to this vehicle where we can utilise our talents in a positive and progressive way, so onward and upward!
The comedy industry here in South Australia is so oriented towards young single men that previously womens' voices (of all ages) haven't had much of a forum. That's not a bad thing, its just how it was.

Now we're creating that forum for both ourselves and hopefully for other female comics to come forward. That's probably going to be one of the best parts of the Stuffed Mums project - to help and nurture new talent and give it a voice in the world.

We've already been booked to play the Ascot Theatre in Kadina in March, and with a Mother's day show in May and some interstate shows looming, its all looking rather good.

Internally, its an interesting time. I don't feel that big high that I used to get at times like these when I was younger. In its place is a very deep calm and contentment that, paradoxically, seems to anchor me to the flow of what's going on. Its not a new feeling, but its never been this strong before and I'm enjoying it very much.

Its a rainy, cool Sunday morning here in Adelaide. Between now and the 5.30pm twilight show there's washing and tidying to be done.

No.1 (step)son Andy is home from the Gulf - his ship got in this week so its time to claw back his room from the tide of office and exercise equipment to make it liveable once more as a bedroom.

Jeez. I'm stuffed just thinking about it!

Have a great week!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

It's Called Sunday

Peaceful Sunday morning.

From my chair here at the kitchen table I can see the sun shining outside beyond the shaded deck, the gilt of the pre-noon sun making the greens of the garden even greener thanks to a wetter than usual summer. The sky's a soft pale blue, not the usual brazenly glorious blue that you just want to dive into. Today's sky has a slight haze and the temperature's cooler than the oven-like conditions during the week.

The kitchen's a mess. Remnants of last night's rather lovely bottle of Marlborough Sauv Blanc, a couple of glasses, spoons from when we shared some ice cream straight from the carton while watching a late movie, condiments, a dirty blender jug from breakfast and the kitchen table containing the minituae of daily life - newspapers, magazines, telephones cameras laptops glasses pens cds posters for Fringe. I told you it was messy.

The only sounds are that of the birdsong outside and the occasional huffing sigh from one of the three sleeping dogs.

Its very peaceful.Out there.

Meanwhile inside my head the world is whirling: edit the standup for the show (again), learn it (better), learn the script, tidy up, do the washing, get some dusting done, get something ready for tea, do some exercise, send out more publicity stuff for the show, what am I forgetting, there must be something I'm forgetting, think think think.

And so it goes on, for at least 16 hours a day, and much of the 8 that I sleep, I suspect, as I go from world to world not quite able to keep up in that one, and only slightly less cack handed in this one.

Perhaps its the remnants of the virus I had this week that's making its way through my workplace, sending us all dizzy and cramping.

But its probably not. These are the usual conditions inside my head.
Why can't I absorb the peace of my surroundings? Perhaps I need to develop a more 'fuck it' kind of attitude.

Ah well. I suspect I'm not the only one with whirling brain syndrome, virus present or not. Chances are you have it too. What's the solution?

Well, I heard when i was a child that in Iceland television was dead on Thursdays. There was no TV service at all to allow families to spend an evening together hopefully communicating.Maybe we could have a kind of 'time out' day to kick back and relax?

Oh dur, I've just realised that we do. Its called Sunday.
I think this is where I came in...

Have a good week!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Stop The Brain Spinning

Its 23 January and a significant date in a couple of ways.
First, its my lovely husband's birthday and so very special because of that. I never knew that two people could fit so well together, that even when we're doing different things in different parts of the house, it feels so much better just knowing that he's there. We'll celebrate two years of marriage this year and its funny, it still feels new while at the same time it feels like we've been together a million years.

In another way its a significant day as we've taken one more step in bringing Three Stuffed Mums - both the show and the brand - out into the real world. We had coffee this morning with one of our superb Fundbreak supporters, Linda. We met in the coffee bar and within a few minutes you'd have thought we were old friends. conversation flowed easily and happily with many laughs. Its good when you meet people who are so easy to be with - makes you feel like you're in the flow.

And the third way that today is significant is that it means we have only three weeks and five days until the show opens. Heavens, its been so long in the planning and production that it's actually going to be real! Our songs and our comedy, married into a brand new show and a new outlook on what we're doing with our performing careers - what a blast!

So, I'm going to tootle off just now to see if I can stop my brain spinning for a while. Hope y'all have a great week!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sending Love Across the Ages

Can love be sent across the ages?
Can strength and healing be sent back in time?
Something has happened this week that's made me desperately want this to be possible.

Having just dipped my toes into the whole genealogy thing, looking at my family mainly from their time in the late 1800s in Donegal, their move to Glasgow and subsequent generations, has been a revelation.

By what seems sheer chance I've been put in contact with a cousin I never new I had (hi John!) - a grandson of my grandfather's sister.

It seems the genealogy bug had also hit John and he's amassed an amazing amount of information, but one episode stands out and is particularly heartbreaking.

My grandfather Thomas was the eldest in the family. By the time he married my grandma in 1917 his youngest siblings were still young. His mother had died and soon afterwards his father died leaving Bridget (11) and young John (10) as orphans - that's them in the photograph below with my great grandmother Margaret Gallen, Sarah and Mary at the back, and in the front row, Bridget and John.

From what we can see of the documents my grandparents applied for some relief to the responsible body, saying they were happy to have the children with them but they would need some help as their total earnings were little more than two pounds a week - not much to house, clothe and feed five people, as a baby had appeared by then.

It seems the request for relief was refused and the children were taken and sent to the poor house.

Not much is known after that bar a few notes on the official documents that John found (and wisely advised my sister and I not to read them at work).

On Bridget there isn't much. Some papers later say that she bore a male child in 1929 at Stobhill Hospital. There is a record that he was baptised but no name and no birth certificate found as yet, and certainly no marriage certificate - she was still listed as McGinty, our family name.

On John, when he was admitted he was diagnosed as being 'mentally defective' and 'feebleminded'. This poor wee boy who'd lost his parents and now was taken away from the rest of his family - even his sister. Of what happened to them later, John seemed to catch TB and was discharged from hospital back to the guardianship of the state as a 'mentally deficient' in 1925 and he died in 1940 at the age of 32 of 'acute pleurisy and myocardial insufficiency'. We don't know as yet what became of Bridget.

The thing is. I knew I had photos of John and Bridget and this weekend I searched them out as they were pics of them as adults. I'd looked at them before with interest but now, knowing their story, well, quite a few tears were shed. There were photos of them as adults, but I also discovered some of them as children too and I just wanted to grab them and take care of them myself, but all I could do was a bit of useless weeping.

So, if by some miracle of deity or science there is a way of sending love and comfort to two little children over the distance and time back to 1917 at 61 Oran Street, Maryhill, Glasgow, then please do that.