Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

Happy 2013!

December 31, 2012

We are home.  It is 11pm, only one hour until the New Year in New Zealand.

We had a great time in Queensland visiting family and also having a little just-us holiday as well.  I have lots of photos and stories, and hope to post them in the next couple of days, in between laundry loads and post-Christmas catch-ups with NZ family and friends.  I suppose I should also do a 2012-in-review! I have been remiss in posting here just lately.

Meanwhile, celebrate safely and well.

May 2013 treat you kindly, bring you joy and laughter, challenges and successes.

© UpsideBackwards 2012.


April 12, 2012

Susan Niebur, 1973 - 2012 (photo credit: Kristen, @mommy4cocktails)

Every time I look at the stars, I think of Susan.  We used to talk about the different constellations we could see in our different parts of the world.  She longed to see the Southern Cross one day.  When I look up and see it, I like to imagine her standing next me, looking up too.

Every time I read about advances in cancer research, I think of Susan.  How she tirelessly advocated for new, better, different research, especially into metastatic cancers.  How she participated in clinical trials, and encouraged women to join the Army of Women for further research.

Every time we read a “The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That!” book, I think of Susan.  Her love of science, and her skill for communicating that, especially to children, and how she inspired so many mothers to encourage their children’s questions and help them find the answers.  She gave my kids a Cat in The Hat book, and it’s one of our family favourites.

Every time I hear of a new planet being discovered, I think of Susan.  For all my own interest in science and astronomy, I hadn’t really thought about what a planetary scientist might be or do until she taught me.  And now I can’t think of a more fascinating job.

Every time I taste Whittaker’s Dark Caramel, I remember the first day we met, when I gave her a block as a gift.  She offered to share it, but I told her to taste it first – after all, I can have it any time at home, but it’s not readily available in the US.  She did, and the most incredible look came over her face.  “You’re right,” she declared, “this is not for sharing!” and she tucked it into her handbag.  We both laughed.  I sent her a couple of “care parcels” later, and I know she did share them.

Every time I see a beagle, I think of Susan.  She loved beagles, and fostered rescued beagles.  If I ever get a dog (which admittedly is unlikely), I think I’d like to call it Kepler, after her beloved pet.

Every time I write a blog post, I think of Susan.  She was my very first, and closest, blog-friend.  She wrote a guest post for Kelley which sums up the sort of relationship brilliantly.  She also introduced me to lots of my other blog-friends, including Kelley, Stimey, Jenny, Marty and plenty more.

Goodbye, dear friend.  Thank you for all you taught me, and the friendships you have gifted me with.  You are always in my heart and mind, and I will never forget you.

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

For Whymommy

January 24, 2012

Susan’s blog ToddlerPlanet was one of the very first I discovered, and quickly became my favourite.  What a great name for a blog, and I loved her pseudonym “Whymommy” too.

She’s a scientist, and a mum like me – her younger boy and my Fainjin were born just a few days apart.  She seemed like a kindred spirit, although I only knew her through her blog posts.  She was sick, but fighting hard, and she got better for a while and I celebrated for her and her family.

When I started my own blog, I wasn’t sure of the etiquette about linking up, and I write her an email to ask her permission.  She was very sweet to me, so welcoming, and even sent a tweet to her followers asking them to welcome me too.

But she’s like that.  Sweet, and generous, and open.

Our friendship grew, through comments on each other’s blogs, and emails and twitter, and finally last year we got to meet.

I had suspected that, given the chance, we would be firm friends, the sort who could chat a morning away over a cup of tea, talking about everything and nothing, enjoying each other’s company unreservedly.

And I was right.  We clicked.  There were no awkward moments, it was like we had known each other forever.  When it was time to go, we realised we would miss each other – and we’d only “known” each other for a couple of hours.  Except that we knew each other pretty well online for quite a while before that.

Susan is a writer, a mentor, an advocate.  She is a wonderful mother, perhaps the most present parent I have ever known.  She is funny and caring and kind.  She has taught me an awful lot, in ways she doesn’t know even know about – and more than likely in ways that I haven’t recognised myself yet.  If I had to choose one word to describe her, it would be grace.  She lives a life enveloped in that beautiful quality.

Susan is in hospice care now, at home.  She is surrounded by the love of her family and friends, and the hundreds or thousands of people whose lives she has touched through her writing.

If you’d like to add a message of love, please leave her a comment here.

Susan, dear friend, thank you.  For all of it.  The science, the kinship, the laughter, and even the tears.  This is not goodbye, I know you’re not ready for goodbyes yet.  I certainly am not!  But it is another beginning, another chapter.  May hospice bring you relief and comfort, and more good times with your lovely husband and children.

Much love,


© UpsideBackwards 2012.

Two years old

April 13, 2011

I missed my blogiversary!  It was April 10th, the second birthday of this blog.  In the last year, I’ve written 301 posts, a bit slacker than last year but still not too bad I think.  And you lovely readers have left me about 300 comments, even more than last year!

The most popular posts in the last twelve months have been Crazy Hair Day (a perennial favourite and search term – I hope it’s given inspiration where it was needed!), Words I Thought I’d Never Hear, and Blessed Are The Peacemakers.

Thank you again for visiting and reading and leaving comments (they make my day!), and to other bloggers for being such fun to “converse” with.

Fainjin is getting more and more independent, it’s great to see him growing up.  In the mornings he takes himself off after breakfast and gets himself dressed now.  It seems like yesterday I was talking to the nurse at his 4-year-old checkup and feeling rather embarrassed to admit that he couldn’t/didn’t dress himself.  He chooses his own clothes, and is resolutely in t-shirts, shorts and sandals despite the onset of autumn.  We provide a warmer change of clothes in his cubby at daycare in case he needs one, but he doesn’t seem bothered by the weather most days.

I’m beginning to think that maybe he will be ready for school by the start of next year, after all.  Whew!

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

Multiple identities

January 23, 2011

My Gran was displeased that I didn’t change my name when I got married – apparently it showed a lack of commitment.  She needn’t have worried, an involuntary name-change soon came along.

I’m hardly ever “Kate” any more.  I’m “Pearl’s mum”, most often.  I even find that I introduce myself as that, under some circumstances.  I’m also “Fainjin-and-Babess’ mum”, of course, and as they become more sociable that name is gaining more currency.

The Dad has undergone a similar change, although to a lesser extent since he doesn’t interact with the school parents as much as I do, and the daycare parents retain their own names a little more at least amongst themselves.

On arrival at daycare in the afternoons, the first child to see us will often turn tail and run, calling out, “Fainjin!  Your Mum’s here!” or “Babess!  Your Dad!”  (it amuses me that they all recognise each other’s parents without fail).  That’s fine with us, it’s even quite cute.  But then the other day The Dad arrived and Babess was the first to see him.

“Oh!” she said, “Fainjin’s Dad is here!”

“I’m yours too!” he protested, but she was already running off to find her brother.

Do you see my cool new button, down on the right-hand-side of my home page?  The “No Princess Fights Alone” one?  Click on it, you’ll see Susan/WhyMommy’s latest post on joining a clinical trial, updating her will (with an insensitive lawyer cracking jokes), and being lucky.  Leave her some love, will you?  And if you have a blog, go collect a button from Amie at MamaLoves.  She’s donating to Crickett’s Answer for every button that goes up in the blogosphere – and so is Leticia at Tech Savvy Mama, so make sure to leave her a comment, too!

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

My first bloggy meet-up

January 3, 2011

I write this blog for the benefit of far-flung family, so that they can feel they somehow “know” their grandchildren, nieces, nephew, and cousins.  It’s also aimed at our many scattered friends, and to some extent saves me writing lots of catch-up emails through the year.

But more and more I find that I have joined a community of bloggers.  We read each other’s blogs, leave comments, and form friendships, although we have never met and might never do so.

While we were in Melbourne I had the great privilege of meeting one such friend, Marita (@leechbabe) from Stuff With Thing.  We arranged to meet in a central-city playground, which was the perfect setting.  Our kids were itching for a run outside after a week in rainy Queensland, her girls love that playground, the weather was gorgeous, and Marita and I could natter away while the children occupied each other.

Happy kids and sunshine

Having arrived in Melbourne just the night before, we were ill-prepared in terms of snacks, but fortunately for us Marita had packed a wonderful picnic for everyone, an act of foresight and intelligence as well as generosity that had me regarding her with awe.

Her girls played beautifully with our kids, sharing a fabulous baby doll with an enchanted and envious Babess, and showing Pearl and Fainjin the best trees to climb and places to hide from parents when it’s time to leave.

Thanks, Marita, for everything – including the fact that I now have one more reason to visit Melbourne again!

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

Excellent news Friday

July 30, 2010

Friday is fast becoming my favourite day of the week.

Last Friday was great.

Today, we had a call from the harp teacher at the local music centre.  She has space for one more student, and Pearl has been given the place!  So tomorrow, she’ll be coming home with a 22-string harp, more music, and a practice notebook.  She’s very excited, and so am I.  I hope she likes it as much as she thinks she will.

Also, my friend Whymommy met with her oncologist today and got some excellent news of her own.  I’ve been breaking into a little “happy dance” ever since I heard!

Some blogs have a regular photo feature called “Wordless Wednesday”.  I would love for “Excellent news Friday” to become a regular feature here.

© UpsideBackwards 2010.

%d bloggers like this: