Almost the end of the busy season.

by Veronica on April 6, 2017

in Life

We’re at the tail end of the crazy busy season, and while I’m not dying, I’m feeling a bit under the weather. I’ve managed a few weekends off over the Summer season, but my body is telling me it wasn’t enough time, wasn’t enough resting.

It doesn’t help that Evelyn’s (very successful) entry into Kindergarten has seen her bring home a whole new slew of viruses, with sore throats and coughing, and something which seems to involve a headache which panadol can’t shake and oh my god, how many more painkillers can one woman take? (Answer: A lot. A LOT MORE.)

Which is to say, things are good, and successful, and crazy busy.

If you’re on Facebook you’ll know that we applied for some extra money on our mortgage and were successful, so hopefully we can start building an extension as soon as the busy season eases off. An extension which will involve, amongst other things, a studio and small shop front. I cannot wait to have my own space, and to be able to offer retail sales at least a few days a week, from home. Markets are lovely, but they are a lot of work and there aren’t many of them through the winter, so the year feels uneven, with craziness, followed by a period of sloth-like lack of routine. Neither of these are situations in which I thrive, if I’m being honest.

Sadly, it means my small garden I have been babying along for the last five years (through toddlers and puppies and dogs and chaos) will have to be torn out, but if it means I get a studio and a sun room and a bedroom which has a real door and isn’t directly across the hallway from my tween daughter, I’m okay with that. We’re holding out a little longer until the blueberries and the small elder tree hibernate for winter so I can attempt a transplant, but we’ll see. At least that’s what I am telling myself.

So that’s a thing which will be happening.

Kids are good, everything is good really. The business trucks along nicely, and I’m hoping I have enough stock to see me through two more major markets before I have to start making soap again. Don’t get me wrong, I love making soap, but my joints do not love me at all right now, and heavy lifting is a bit beyond my reach. I’m relying on previously made stock and hoping to cut down on some of the increasingly large range, to make it easier for myself. Well, mostly to make it easier to find room for something. 100 different soaps in stock is a bit ridiculous, really.

I’m desperately waiting on hand cream tins to arrive – tracking says they’ve been handed off to a courier, but I needed them three days ago. I have enough tins to fill a wholesale order due out, and then I might have to use plastic for Autumn Fest stock. (Autumn Fest is on in New Norfolk this weekend, 9th April, if you’re local, it’s a lot of fun. I will be there.)

I’ve missed writing, and found myself awake at 3am last night, waiting for panadol to kick in and writing blog posts in my head, so no promises, but this space is mine and I paid for the damn hosting, so I may as well use it. At least a little. Sleepless Nights is never going to be about children again, but there’s space for my writing to be about work and markets and soap and EDS and why that damn giraffe hasn’t had her baby yet.

We’ll see how it goes.

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Mummyblogging is dead.

We all know it.

It died in the face of perfectly filtered instagram photos, posed and cropped for maximum rose-coloured-glasses blur. It died in the face of recipes full of hidden vegetables and sickly coconut oil truffle imposters. It died in the face of all our kids grew up and we realised we couldn’t talk about them on the Internet anymore. It died in the face of sponsored post after sponsored post, hey guys, look at my brand new glasses/holiday/chocolate brownies with no real chocolate in. It died, and we mourn its passing in the same way we kind of mourn leggings as pants (long live the yoga pants, you can pry them off my dead body) and real cake with real sugar and actual gluten (holy fuck I miss gluten).



If I was mummyblogging still, I would tell you about Evelyn laying so still, and so calm, as she was measured for a full body orthotic suit to help keep her joints together at kindergarten next year. I would tell you about dislocating joints, and muscle fatigue and pain, about how she tries so hard, but her muscles can’t do the job of her ligaments all of the time and she’s so very tired. I would tell you how she wants to play and dance and run, and can’t, but maybe she can soon again. With a little help.

I would tell you how Evelyn spoke to another child at prekinder today – a first for her. She asked someone to play and they did, and then they ran around together, two small children, riding bikes and playing in the water together. I would tell you how she excitedly told her teacher in front of the entire class that we put up our Christmas tree early and I was so proud of her for using her words that I nearly burst, because this child. This child of mine, she struggles sometimes to find the words in new situations or with new people or even with people she sees regularly, like her prekinder classmates.

I would tell you about the whining whining whining until your teeth are as on edge as mine, but maybe it’s pain, maybe it’s exhaustion, maybe being four and the littlest just is the Worst Thing Ever and so there’s that tone in her voice until you just want to scream.

I would tell you all about how seven sucks so badly you can taste it, but ten is pretty awesome, and there’s a sense of humour brewing in there, even if it is borderline inappropriate sometimes. Hilarious though.

I would tell you about trying to juggle what is best academically with what is best physically for a child who needs help in both of these areas. I would tell you about the exhaustion of shouting GO TO BED a hundred times in a row until finally they crash and you crash and there’s not enough hours in the day.

I would tell you all about juggling school commitments and work, and parenting bendy kids with bendy joints and bendy quirky brains. I would tell you about packing soap with a child screaming under the worktable until your eyes spin around and everything is ruined forever.

I would tell you all of these things, but mummyblogging is dead.

So sad.

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It’s not a lifestyle choice you bastards.

by Veronica on October 19, 2016

in Life, Soapbox

Shutting the fuck up is gluten free. Why don't you add that to your diet you cunt.

Back at the beginning of the year, I had some new health problems pop up.

I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, so feeling dreadful a lot of the time isn’t abnormal, but this was New and Different, and actually pretty shit.

Between March and May, I had a whole round of blood tests done to check my health out. Why was I more than exhausted all of the time? Why was my hair falling out in handfuls? Why were my joints hurting beyond what was normal? Why did I feel so generally fucking awful without a new and good reason?

We couldn’t tell. I was anaemic, and iron supplements weren’t fixing it. My thyroid levels were elevated, and then they weren’t. My hair continued to fall out, and I was barely making it through my days.

As a last ditch effort, my doctor told me to give up gluten. “It probably isn’t coeliacs, but quit gluten for 6 weeks and see how you feel. If you get better, don’t eat any more gluten.”

It was our last option, but there it was. Quit gluten and see how you feel. He didn’t want to do any more tests because what else could we test for? (Coeliac markers maybe, but he didn’t want to.)

So I quit gluten.

That was back in May. I’ve eaten gluten properly once since then, and I spent the night head down in the toilet afterwards.

Gluten doesn’t agree with me. It makes me dreadfully sick. I get really spacey and my brain stops working well. I develop a rotten headache and reflux. I get nausea, and then all of my joints hurt and I get really angry. It lasts three days before I start feeling better after I get glutened.

It’s miserable is what I’m saying.

And yet here I am, justifying why I don’t eat gluten.

This is not a choice I made, but it is what it is. Other people don’t see it like that though. Go into a cafe and ask to not be made sick, and you’re some sort of evil orthorexic clean eating demanding bitch who wants to make their life hard. “Gluten Free Foodie Wankers” are the butt of all the jokes, as the tellers sit there in their bodies which work well, digesting whatever they feed themselves.

Of course they’re all very quick to point out that “We don’t mean people who actually have coeliacs, you know. Just everyone else? Right? Because they’re just being arseholes about it.”

Recent studies have shown Non-Coeliac Gluten Intolerance is a real thing, suffered by real people, with real symptoms, and I’m fucking pissed off, because everyone still acts like I’m making their life hard when I ask them to not put fucking breadcrumbs on my plate accidentally.

Being gluten free is not fun, or easy. Unless you live in the mecca of upmarket cafes, finding something to eat when you’re ou,t which isn’t another lettuce salad with no dressing, is a pain in the arse. You miss out on cake at parties. Actually, you miss out on everything at parties, because you can’t trust that your gluten free salad hasn’t had a contaminated spoon in it.

It’s HARD and it’s frustrating, and I fucking hate it. It’s not a choice I got to make. I can’t eat mostly gluten free but then have a cupcake on the weekend as a naughty treat. It takes work and planning to be gluten free.

I mostly don’t mind this, because I really like not feeling any shittier than I already do with the EDS. But I am so so so fucking sick of being asked to produce my credentials every time I mention I can’t eat gluten, or having people roll their eyes at me when I ask if their hot chocolate is gluten free (it usually isn’t) when I just want a hot drink at a coffee shop.

I know it makes more work, and I know it’s a hassle – trust me, I KNOW.

But for fuck’s sake, don’t make it harder for me.

People behave like they’re the food police, like they get to have a say what other people put in their mouths. And you know what? It’s bullshit.

Stop it. Stop questioning people over their dietary choices, or needs.

Stop making us feel like shit for needing to avoid certain foods.

And for fuck’s sake, can companies please stop cross contaminating all of the chocolate with wheat. It’s making it REALLY hard to not be a grumpy git when I can’t even eat plain chocolate.



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It was probably a good thing I had decided to take most of winter and early spring off, because the ‘flu that hit us nearly three weeks ago almost killed me and I was incredibly grateful to not be juggling markets, or cancelling engagements while dying in bed.

The downside of this is the slight twitchiness I get when I look at my (mostly) empty calendar for October, and start wondering how to motivate myself without deadline-panic looming.

Amy was sick for nearly two weeks straight, and as week three ends, she’s still very low energy. Isaac is still coughing up a storm while swearing black and blue that HE’S NOT SICK and I AM FINE, which is nice, but school goes back on Monday and I really don’t want to have them send him home because he’s full of HACKING DEATH COUGH.

Evelyn, surprisingly enough, didn’t get too unwell. It’s shocking and amazing and I am so so so grateful for the fact she merely ran a vague fever for 14 days straight and grizzled a lot, but kept eating and demanding TV programs and didn’t even need a little bit of extra medical care. SO GRATEFUL for no hospital admissions.

It’s no secret that I am disabled. It’s also no secret that I don’t talk about it much anymore, or that you can only see it if you know me well enough to get to see inside my clothing for the braces and the painkillers, and the very careful system I have in place allowing me to (mostly) run my business without too much drama.

This doesn’t stop the government demanding I provide them with all of my medical records within 14 days to prove that my genetic degenerative incurable condition hasn’t magically become curable, fixable, and not coded into my DNA. But hey, who the fuck am I to disagree with them? I’ll just go take up buckets of time at the doctors office while I explain to a locum – because my doctor for the last 27 years has just JUST retired – all of my issues and ask him very nicely to write me a report.

And it’s not so bad for me – I have access to my medical records, and a doctor who can see me within a week of asking. I have a nasty diagnosis which precludes me working, if working doesn’t involve a nap each afternoon, a carer to relocate joints and help me out of chairs, someone to lift everything heavy for me ever, and the ability to lay down with my feet in the air the moment my blood pressure goes screwy and I throw up. Luckily working for myself allows these things, even if I am a bit twitchy about a lack of markets and the need to Make All Of The Things coupled with No Energy To Make Anything.

Of course, everyone knows the best way for the government to fix a fiscal problem is to skim from the bottom of the pile. (Hahahaha, guys. GUYS. You think I wouldn’t work a real job with benefits and regular money if I fucking could? I WOULD. SO FAST.)

So that’s where we’re at. It’s a bit insanity-making to be honest. I had a full medical review done in July ’15, so to have to provide all new paperwork over again is a bit rich, and frankly it’s a waste of both spoons and medicare, but apparently disabled voices don’t count when we point this stuff out.

Hashtag stressed.

On the flip side, soapmaking is going well, if we don’t count the death flu induced recovery period. Soapmaking is kind of the perfect job for me – slow, steady, and doesn’t require too much standing (honestly, it’s basically all paperwork anyway).

Patchouli Musk

In any case, I have another month before the serious summer markets start again and I use every single spoon ever to get through the crazy three months, before I go mad with inactivity over winter again. Tassie markets are slightly unbalanced that way.

Feast or famine, baby.

But that’s me. How are you, Internet?

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Blue ombre style soap. Mint and rosemary scented.

I’ve been developing an ombre technique for colouring soap, which you would have seen if you’re on Facebook, or Periscope. This is the blue soap, which was test #2, and I’m incredibly happy with it.

You can see me make the gold ombre soap (pictured at the bottom) here on Katch, if you like. These will be available online in another month or so, maybe longer if I get around to making a purple soap in the same style today. I want to launch them together, so we’ll just see how we go.

It’s Monday, which technically means it’s my day off, but in reality, I’m spending time checking all of my social media accounts, trying to force myself to eat something, and checking stock levels in preparation for the final two Mona Markets.

We’ve just finished week 8 of a 10 week market season with MoMa and I am tired, so very very tired. I’ve had other markets during that time too, so I’m on about my 14th market in 9 weeks. I wasn’t planning on writing here to complain, but my knees hurt, my stomach is trying to kill me (possibly I’ve developed a lactose intolerance, but I’m not certain, so off to the doctor I go), and I am pretty sure that once March is over my joints are going to stage an intervention and go on strike. Which might work for a week, but then we’re back at it again.

But MoMa, oh, it’s been fun, and interesting, and I’m hoping that the people who have bought my soap seek me out once the market season there finishes and continue to buy from me. I mean, it’s really nice soap, and we all need the little luxuries in life.

It’s a juggling act sometimes, with poor health and crappy joints. I’m napping a lot, and working odd hours, and spending all week prepping for a market and trying to make sure I eat enough, and sleep enough, and physio enough, and brace enough, that I can do a market on the weekend without falling apart. I suspect I’m running on adrenaline and painkillers, but there you go.

When disability runs smack bang into my need to be doing something, it means I get to work markets, but I never leave the house for anything else.

(Actually, I went out to welcome a friend to Tasmania the other night and realised that I hadn’t actually left the house for anything except markets and doctor’s appointments since January, so there you go.)

Thank god for good braces, tight jeans/leggings (they keep my hips in place), and the support of Frogpondsrock with driving/setting up/packing down, and Nat of course, who keeps the household running smoothly while I’m practically useless for anything involving errands or housework.

I wouldn’t change the work for the world of course – it’s gratifying to sell a product I’ve made with my own two hands and to know it makes people happy to use. Small happinesses are important.

In any case, this is pretty much just me checking in. I’m not dead. The change of season is making my mental health struggle a little, but I’m used to that. I’ll double my vitamin D and see how that goes. I’ll keep running on adrenaline and smiling lots, which isn’t hard, because I do genuinely enjoy talking to people at markets.

And hopefully my left knee stays together for a little while longer, because frankly, I rather rely on it.

Gold ombre style soap. Lemon Myrtle scented

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