Monthly Archives: November 2013

Date night- the inception

A couple of months ago Mr L and I started “date night”. I always thought this was a slightly bizarre practice when I saw other couples doing it. I’m not really sure why, it’s not so much that I felt we were one of those “smug married” (thanks Bridget) couples who didn’t need to designate a special date night because we revelled in each other’s company at home every night- sort of an “every night is date night in our relationship” attitude, no it wasn’t that. I think I thought it was a bit self-indulgent or irresponsible or something- kind of like “What did you expect being married with kids- of course you’re going to be at home watching TV after 7pm every night for the rest of your lives, silly you.” I think I also dismissed the possibility that going out for dinner with someone with whom you spend most evenings bathing children and getting on with dinner in a more pragmatic fashion (ie to satisfy hunger) could possibly be romantic.

And then a few months ago I went out for dinner with 3 of my girlfriends (go Carrie!) in the city at Bistro Felix. It’s a nice (not ridiculously fancy, but nice) restaurant with good food at what I consider to be reasonable prices (but high enough to remind you that you wouldn’t take your kids there- in case you needed another reason). The fact that I had never even heard of the place and one of our group had been there several times already reminded me that I just don’t go to anywhere remotely cool or grown-up any more. I got to dress up (slightly traumatic but I coped) and I also got to limp the 100m from the carpark to the restaurant in high heels for the first time in several months, strengthening my resolve that I refuse become one of those permanent-flat-shoes-don’t-you-know-I’m-a-mother tragics (no offence to any mothers out there who don’t wear heels, ever.)

We had such a lovely night and much as I was stoked to get out with my friends, I couldn’t help but get excited about the idea of going out for a nice grown-up dinner with Mr L. The menu is sort of French Bistro and as I read through it I noticed all the things I knew he’d go for- the steak tartare, the chicken liver terrine, the duck confit, the oysters, in fact I wondered how he’d choose what to order at all. And suddenly I thought, “well why don’t we come here?” In fact, why don’t we go to more of the places we used to go to, or hear about from friends but save for a special occasion or tell ourselves we’ll be able to go to once the kids are older (like what, 21???)

Fortunately we have a regular babysitter we know and trust and Master L loves her (Miss L loves everyone, she’s still too young to be particularly discerning). We are also in a position where we’re able to splash out semi-regularly for 2 or 3 hours of babysitting in the evening. I know not everyone has this luxury but we thought “bugger it, we may as well enjoy it” -“it” being life as well as a bank balance in the black (well if you don’t count the mortgage, that is).

So we made a list of restaurants we wanted to go to. Actually no, I made a list of the nice restaurants I’d heard of and when I ran out of ideas after number 3, I looked up the hat winners from this year’s SMH Good Food Guide and copied down anything that didn’t look too trendy, too expensive or too much hassle to get to (ie find a parking space near).

I must say Mr L was quite enthusiastic about the whole idea and we’ve really enjoyed the 3 dates we’ve had (we’ve managed a monthly regime so far). I’d be lying if I said it was terribly romantic but then I’m not a huge believer in all that at the best of times (when he proposed I was quite relieved he waited until after dinner instead of doing it at the restaurant in front of other people). No, but it’s nice to actually have a couple of hours to enjoy a conversation that’s not interrupted by a) children b) internet c) TV or d) falling asleep. (Having said that, 1 of the 3 dates has been at the movies- but we had noodles beforehand and the car ride to and from the movie to enjoy each other’s conversation).

So, I admit, I am now a fan of the date night.

First Post

Well, here we are: my first post.

I’ve been contemplating starting a blog for ages and Mr L’s finally convinced me to do it.

Why? Lots of reasons I suppose:

Narcisissm– I’m not sure this should go in as reason number 1, but ultimately that and voyeurism are at the heart of what motivates people to use social media- aren’t they? Perhaps narcissism is the wrong word, “attention-seeking” might be more apt. When you think about what makes you post something on Facebook, it’s that you want people to know what you’re doing (for whatever reason), or you want people to know what you’re thinking (usually because you think it’s either important or funny) or you want to shape people’s impression of you, generally for the better.

Creative outlet– I like writing and I like the conversational style that blogging lends itself to. As a teenager I was an avid letter-writer (this was pre-internet). I had one friend in particular overseas who I’d exchange frequent (2 or 3 per week) lengthy (between 6 and 10 page) letters with. Nowadays my emails also tend to be about 10 times longer than they need to me, whether it’s a newsy catch-up email to far-flung friends, or a quick note to try and organize a weekly mothers’ group catch-up.

Journaling with extras– I’m also a journal-writer from way back. Somehow there seems to be more purpose to a blog. For a start you have an audience (or at least a potential one). Journals aren’t generally written to be shared (which is just as well, as mine were always full of fairly clichéd teen angst and would have been incredibly boring, not to mention a tad embarrassing.) So I’m hoping this will become kind of like my grown-up diary and that the editing process will ensure some sort of quality control…

Romantic ideals of being a “writer”– I make no particular secret of the fact that (like probably most of the female population) I fancy myself as part Bridget Jones, part Carrie Bradshaw and part Lynda Day… all with journalistic tendencies. Right now, writing is probably just about all I have in common with any of them- aside, perhaps, for Bridget’s weight-preoccupation, Carrie’s technophobia and Lynda’s temper.

My very own soapbox– I am, of course, the voice of reason and an authority on many, many things, I just have to convince the world of that fact. Mr L refers to my frequent diatribes as “rants”- they rapidly gain a momentum that he dares not interrupt but he tolerates them with amused resignation. In order to immortalise my words and to fool myself that I am benefitting others with my wisdom, what could be better than committing my rants to a blog?

Self-improvement- ok, so I know this sounds a bit wanky, but if I’m going to write about stuff and lay myself open to anonymous criticism (actually I haven’t decided if I’m going to do that or not) I’m going to need to do a bit of homework. While much of what I write will be my own perspective on things, I’m expecting that a bit of background research about the topic will make for a more satisfying blog experience for both myself and my audience (there I go again, assuming I will actually acquire an audience). I spend quite a lot of time thinking about many things- on my way to work, on my runs, in bed at night, etc etc. A lot of this thinking is pretty tangential and muddled though and I kind of wonder if putting my ideas down in black and white will also help me straighten some things out in my own head.

Peripatetic blog-reader myself (there you go, I’ve improved myself already, didn’t know how to spell peripatetic until I looked it up then)- I go through phases of blog-reading, there was my baby blog phase, then my mummy blog phase, followed by my minimalist blog phase, then my anti-mummy blog phase… they have all inspired me in different ways but I’ve yet to find a “me” blog, that suits me in any of these different phases.

Why not?

My main reservation about blogging was that I had little to offer that was original or different. Then I thought actually, I’m not doing this primarily to win readers, or earn money, or educate people, most of the reasons I’ve come up with so far are fairly self-serving, so what does it matter if there’s another blog out there like mine…

I already waste far too much time on the internet and have a perpetual to-do list that I could be getting on with instead of wasting more time on it. But my hope is that my own internet surfing might be somewhat more focused, not to mention contributing to something vaguely constructive.

So in short I’m hoping that my blog will at least partially satisfy all of the purposes I’ve discussed above. If someone is entertained, comforted or, heaven forbid, educated by something I’ve written, well, that’s a bonus. However, at this stage I think I’ll be happy if the only someone is me.