Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Other Side

Life is very strange at the moment. On the one hand I'm dealing with Vegemite smeared on the walls and a long weekend in which we cancelled camping plans to spend 2 of the 3 days making a dent in the household chaos. On the other hand there is the exciting farm project we are working towards and following on from being awarded the grant for the road, I managed to get my ugly mug in the Saturday Magazine. It's a weekly feature called "The Other Side" and comprises random questions accompanied by a big, disconcerting photo in which I was directed to sit on the bed of spiky pine needles and act natural. Alrighty then.  

The thing that occurred to me when answering the questions was that most of the answers can be found within the pages of my blog. You all know that I love knitting, am a total grump in the mornings and crack myself up over the things that the Kids say. However, for those that may be new here, I thought I'd reproduce my answers for a bit of fun. Don't worry, I'm fairly certain this concludes my "15 minutes of fame".

My first memory is…

collecting the old glass milk bottles from the front porch and dropping them on my toes

I love being….

a Mum to my 5 wonderful and funny Kids

My favourite time of day….

Definitely not the morning! I love Dusk - the general chaos in the house starts to subside, the Wallabies start roaming into the house paddock and the light over the Coal Valley is breathtaking.  The “Golden Hour” in Tasmania's Autumn is particularly magical.

When I lose my temper I…

get out into the fresh air for a brisk walk.

My father taught me….

that life is not all Beer and Skittles. He is very much of the “work hard, play hard” variety and instilled in me the importance of being self-reliant, to have fun but not at anyone else’s expense and to have a crack at things.

The secret to my success is….

Whatever your own definition of success is, I think it's also important in life to have a positive attitude, embrace change, and have good sense of humour. 

The thing I fear most…

aside from anything bad happening to my loved ones it is driving in the car with a Hunstman Spider crawling across the steering wheel! 

My biggest regret…

not a huge regret but I gave up my spot in the Opening Ceremony of The Sydney 2000 Olympics to follow my (now Husband) to Tasmania. I think the Kids would have got a kick out of seeing me dressed up as a flamboyant Sturt Desert Pea.

My first job..

was a waitress when I was 14 and 9 months earning $4.50 an hour. Before that I used to make creations out of modelling clay (FIMO) to sell around the neighbourhood.

When I was a child I wanted to be..

Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz.

When things go wrong I…

sigh a lot. 

The thing people first notice about me…

is usually my 5 little appendages. Not a day goes by that I don’t get asked “are they all yours?”

When no one is watching I like to…

Turn the music up loud and shimmy up and down the galley kitchen

The thing that would surprise people about me is ….

how much I love knitting.

The hardest thing I have ever done…

was leaving my family when I was 15 to live in Germany as an exchange student for a year. This was the days before e-mail, Skype and other forms of social media so contact was mainly through letters. I couldn’t speak the language and my host family couldn’t speak English so it was quite a personal challenge but one that made me want to embark on more personal challenges throughout life. 

I really don't like…


The thing that makes me laugh loudest is..

the funny things the Kids say.

When I can't sleep I ….

breath deeply, have a glass of warm milk and watch some comedy. But honestly, with 5 Kids in the house and almost 10 years of sleep deprivation, nodding off mid sentence is more of a problem than not being able to get to sleep!

There wasn't much time to think before answering the questions and the hardest question was the one about regrets. In reality, I really don't have any major regrets except I am almost regretting my answer to the question about regrets because it almost sounds like I would rather have been in the Opening Ceremony of an Olympics than with my Husband. However, in reality, I could have done both. I could have actually stayed back in Canberra for the 6 months of training that was required and followed Daniel to Tasmania later but of course I was madly in love and didn't like the thought of being separated for that length of time. I only thought of this as a regret because the Olympics have been on and I caught myself saying to the Kids "I was almost in the Opening Ceremony of the Sydney Olympics" just like I said 2 years ago when the Beijing Olympics were on. It would have been nice to say I was in the Opening Ceremony. 

How would you have answered that question? I'd love to know.


  1. Nice article Mel. I admire how at ease you are in front of a camera. I just cannot cope in front of cameras. At all. My family and friends know this well and most have given up getting photos of me. 95% of my wedding photos were candid rather than posed because I cannot cope with having my photo taken (especially posing for pics). I was actually worrying for weeks beforehand about having wedding photos taken - what a stupid thing to lose sleep over! I don't mind doing public speaking (which I do regularly as part of my job) but photos I can't cope with.
    So far as regrets.... I think probably the only real thing is I regret not asking more questions of elderly relatives about their lives and experiences before they passed away. And I regret to a smaller degree being a bit of a doormat back in my teens and 20's before having an epiphany just before my 30th!

  2. I love these things and always wonder to myself "what would I say if I was asked these questions" when I read them in the paper - maybe I might have to interview myself.

  3. i think your answers show just how much you love your kids & being a mum :)

    My first memeory is of being in a cot with a tint blue heeler in there withme & looking out the window at some goats. When i told my mum about this a few years ago she was stunned & said there was no way I could remember that because I was only about nine months old! Weird!

    My only regret is not going to uni. I know I still could but with the big kids & the babies & a FIFO husband I cant see me ever having the time.....

  4. Lovely answers Mel, it's nice to get to know you a little better. You left home for a year at 15? Oh golly that would have been so hard I imagine.
    My only regret is not having any sort of teenage rebellion! I was a super-sensible teen, hardly ever drunk, no boyfriends (only the one I married) and no girlie holidays clubbing in the Med! I'd still like to end up where I am now but with a little more excitement on the way!

  5. Mel, I think your answers are all fantastic... interesting, well articulated and giving a great glimpse into your life. I thought you must have been given the question via email or something to have come up with such great answers :) And you are always so photogenic! Your stint as an exchange student must have been such a challenge! Thanks for sharing this with us Mel xx

  6. I think your answers are great Mel, particularly if they were put to you on the spot. Regrets, well probably living so far away from family, and for as long a time as I have might be mine x

  7. That'a lovely picture of you and you do look very natural even with those pine needles! I also regret not finding out more details about the family from elderly relatives. Sarah x

  8. Hey Mel,
    Love the picture. I hate on the spot questions, because I always torture myself with the better answers to the question game. I like the 'are they all yours?' comment. I often get 'you spaced your three out a bit' followed by 'were you hoping that Olly was a girl?'.

    Leanne xx

  9. I love this. You have so much going on at the moment, you are amazing. I was in a Commonwealth Games closing ceremony when I was about 11. It was a skipping rope demonstration ha! Best thing was where I placed was right in front of the Queen xo

  10. You look fab in the pic! I think your answers are great - definitely doesn't sound like you would have rather been in the Opening Ceremony than with your husband. By the way, I was an exchange student too - I went to Switzerland for a year when I was 17. Also in the days before email. It was an ENORMOUS culture shock but I had a fabulous time. x

  11. A really lovely photo of your, despite the pine needle discomfort! So nice to read your interview and learn a little more about you.

  12. I love this post Mel, it is good to get to know you. I didn't leave home until I was 24.... I just hope my kids will go sooner! I don't have major regrets but I do wish I had known my two youngest boys when they were babies, we have no shared memories until they were 3 and 4.5 years old, which is a shame. I love your picture. I would have insisted to hide behind some barrel, with only my face and feet visible. The in between is quite unsightly. Cx

  13. I think your responses were great Mel. We all have regret of some kind, but maybe it just sounds different when its' voiced? I think you would have made a wonderful Desert Pea, but obviously you made the right decision. What a great article to look back on in times to come - and what an exciting phase this is for all of you - great times ahead! cheers Wendy

  14. You are getting quite famous...oooh soon we'll we wanting your autograph! Lovely to find out some more things that you like/dislike. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia

  15. I enjoyed reading your responses to the questions. It would have been very special being in the Opening Ceremony of the Sydney Olympics, however, sounds like you ended up with a great deal ( your husband) instead.
    My regret is that I left Sydney just before the Olympics, which meant that I stopped going with my girlfriends to our regular bar the Slip Inn, the bar where Princess Mary met Prince Frederick during the Sydney 2000 Olympics. Drat, it could have been me!

  16. That is really cool. You gave great answers. I'm glad to see you getting all famous, even if it's temporary. :)

  17. Well, if that (and the PM & dummy photo of course ;-) are your 15mins of fame, yey for the chance to say exactly what you want (albeit without much thinking time) and to be honest and natural and real. I'm sure a whole lot of people would like to know you better, now!
    The only regret I can think of atm is not working harder in maths in high school. I lost interest for lame reasons in year 9. But really, would better maths make my life now any different? I don't think so. I guess I still feel guilty about letting myself down. One of the so-called benefits of hindsight.

  18. How brilliant that you got to do this! Well, not brilliant that you had to sit in a load of pine needles, but you know what I mean!! I try really hard not to have regrets, I often jump in with both feet into things then change my mind and have to climb out again, but I don't regret it as there is always something that I can take away from the experience to move on with in life. I guess that I would have answered the question though in this case by saying that I regret that I don't always take time to sit and smell the roses and watch the world go by. I learned how to do that one on holiday last year and I regret that I didn't do it before. I can totally understand why you answered that one the way that you did though, and it would have been really cool to have been in the opening ceremony!! xx

  19. Any fame absolutely deserved m'dear, however short lived (though I bet it won't be) ... I struggled enough with four kids and I didn't have a mega project on the go. You wait, sooner or later you'll be Tasmania's Business Woman of the Year, or whatever equivalent accolade exists over there. And you will clearly handle all on the spot questions and awkward photo ops with great aplomb!

    Right now I regret not being able to remember what I was talking about this morning when I said to Ted, "I don't have many regrets but I do regret that."

  20. ah the glamour of being famous. Great photo even if you were getting pine prickles in your pants :)

  21. Loved getting to know you better:)

  22. Such fun!! What 15 minutes of fame it is too. Loved getting to know you a little better and to answer your question, I go by the motto of NOT having any regrets, there is no point looking back unless it is to relive a beautiful memory! xoxo

  23. You look great ... love your answers and I think life is to short for regrets ... Bee xx

  24. Great article - the photo is lovely too! I don't know about regrets - I know that sometimes I wish I'd done things differently or approached things differently but I don't think I have any major regrets. I loved the bit you said about the desert pea! xx

  25. This is great - go you! Great photo too. It's always lovely to know a little more about you. I always regretted giving up piano lessons at age 13. I wish I'd kept up with it, I can barely sight read music and pick out a tune anymore, such a shame when my mum and sister both play so well. x

  26. Dear Mel,

    It's been a while! But I have really enjoyed getting into your past few posts. There's a lot of reflection and action happening in your lives now and I am grateful, as a reader, that you are sharing parts of this with us. I am truly impressed by your courage and drive. And this particular post? Compelling reading as always and it's so good to get a little glimpse here and there into your personality and way of life.

    Warmest wishes from glorously springlike France :-)