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What I’m thankful for May 26, 2011

Posted by sunflower71 in about me, Life with 3 princesses, Uncategorized.
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Busy mummies are not only that.  Obviously.  We are also women, wives, colleagues, sisters, daughters, friends, etc.  And being human (I hate being apologetic here, but somehow when one becomes a mother, other roles tend to become secondary) we also get our full share of different emotions.  Among which that pesky feeling of being ‘down’.  Now when does a working mother of 3 little girls have time to feel down?  But you know, sometimes it happens.  The reasons could be various.  For me usually it happens when I make comparisons.  I know they are odious but I guess they are also part of human nature. This time the comparison was with my single younger colleagues.  And I got a general feeling that I was born too early.  I started missing the freedom to do as one pleases on the spur of the moment. 

And then a friend notices my ‘face’ looks different and after a few days of seeing this ‘face’ asks me “do you have something missing in your life? Why are you sad?”

The question shocked me.  I wasn’t expecting it and anyway it took me some time to give myself an answer.

In reality what is missing in my life?

The things I listed are not worth mentioning here. 

My friend then surprises further me by sending me this poem:

Die slowly by Pablo Neruda

He who becomes the slave of habit,

who follows the same routes every day,

who never change space,

who does not risk and change the color of his clothes,

who does not speak and does not experience,

dies slowly.

He or she who shuns passion,

who prefers black on white,

dotting ones “i’s” rather than  a of emotions,

the kind that make your eyes glimmer,

that turn a yawn into a smile,

that make the heart pound in the face of mistakes and feelings,

dies slowly.

He or she who does not turn things topsy-turvy,

who is unhappy at work,

who does not risk certainty for uncertainty,

to thus follow a dream,

those who do not forego sound advice at least once in their lives,

die slowly.

 He who does not travel,

who does not read,

who does not listen to music,

who does not find grace in himself,

she who does not find grace in herself,

dies slowly.

He who slowly destroys his own self-esteem,

who does not allow himself to be helped,

who spends days on end complaining about his own bad luck,

about the rain that never stops,

dies slowly.

He or she who abandon a project before starting it,

who fail to ask questions on subjects he doesn’t know,

he or she who don’t reply when they are asked something they do know,

die slowly.

Let’s try and avoid death in small doses,

reminding oneself that being alive requires an effort far greater than the simple fact of breathing.

Only a burning patience will lead to the attainment of a splendid happiness.

Then reality hits in and I realize I have nothing missing.  Instead I have a lot to be very thankful for.

And this list is definately worth listing here.  The order is not in order of importance.  It would be too difficult to put an order….

I am healthy.

I have 3 beautiful, healthy girls.

I have a husband who loves me and is fully dedicated to our family.

We have two jobs, a house and food on the table.



It’s not a long list but it is a lot to be thankful for and enough to blow away any ‘down’ feelings.

Thank you for reading.



My project February 7, 2011

Posted by sunflower71 in about me, Life with 3 princesses.
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This blog chronicles what I’ve come to see as my life project.  I feel my life has a direction, I know where I’m going, what my efforts are for.  I also know who my ‘colleagues’ in the life project are. And I’m loving their company!  I’m also thankful for all my life has become….I’m where I had always dreamt to be but for many years thought and felt impossible.  Thank you God for giving me my dear man and our three beautiful princesses.  Please make me more worthy of this priceless gift of my family.

Dolomiti (4) August 6, 2010

Posted by sunflower71 in My trekking holiday.
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🙂 This post concludes the series

Nearly a month has passed and I hadn’t had the time to focus on the last day of my trekking holiday.  But here we are now…my memories as fresh as ever!

11 July

0815 Sunday’s symbolic lie in

Last night we decided to skip the planned walk as it is 5 hours long and do only a part of it.  So I left Villa Chele for the last time … but before leaving I had to take photos from my bedroom windows and a lovely breakfast of tea, fresh bread and my host’s home made jams, in the garden.  Thank you Signora Louisa for your hospitality!

a room with a view...

My friend and I drove to Rifugio Passo Giau at the base of the Nuvolau.  We will do only about a fifth of the circular walk one could take around this mountain.  From this Rifugio we tried to identify some of the peaks that outline the blue sky.  I’m feeling on a first name basis with the mountains now.  They no longer look identical to me.  And the sense of awe of these massive rocky peaks is now turning into interest.  I’m also very aware that this is my last day here and in my head I’m planning on when I could plan to be back.  This summer if possible!

1030 Rifugio Passo Giau

The cappuccino before we start off is now our routine. And off we go in the direction of Rifugio Averau.  This is my rockiest path to date.  I hardy used the walking sticks today. I was holding on to the rocks on both of my sides to go around the Nuvolau.  In my head the names of the peaks I’ve been lucky to observe are playing a merry-go-round – Cristallo, Il Pelmo, Nuvolau, Croda da Lago, Civetta… with such names even without seeing them one starts to wonder and tries to wander.  The views from this path are again amazing and different from the others we saw the other days.

(As I’m going through the photos I see that I have only videos and I also can’t find a way of uploading them…sorry:-(  But I took a still and here it is.)

Just a taster of the view from under the Nuvolau

A few people are free climbing up the steep rocks to the top.  I know I’d like to do something similar one day… who knows, next time I might try might hand on a Via Ferrata – with a qualified instructor, of course!  Suddenly, I know, I’d like to go higher… and maybe get to the top of  one of the mountains one day.

1230 The beginning of the end

Lunch of toasted panini at the Rifugio and one last look around.  Today the place is full.  It’s Sunday so it’s kind of normal but it also seamed that all the bikers of the area decided to meet up in the car park.  They ruined the atmosphere with their black jackets but I guess they too need their hobby (I was feeling benevolent…usually I’m know to declare that if I ever make it to become prime minister – not that I’m planning to – but just in case I happen to become one, I will ban the noise making two-wheelers!) We were nearly done when the heavens opened multiple taps.  The rain alternated with hail and suddenly it got pretty chilly.  We complimented our selves on our decision to not take the whole talk.  At this time we would have been still quite a way from our end point.

During our drive back to civilization I fell silent.  This is me all over.  I’m usually very silent at the end of something. It is also still raining very hard.  I sort of try to absorb all that I had missed before.  This time it was the Christmas tree looking trees that took my attention.  We were driving on fairly steep and winding rounds descending from a height of …..  The hills here are very steep.  They are also full of the Christmas tree looking trees that grow vertically independently of the angle the terrain they grow from makes with the horizontal.

Hitting the auto strada (highway) on the way to the airport, the sun is shining again and the heat is now unbearable, sort of preparing me to get back home and our summer heat.

1900 Some afterthoughts

I thank you Iaia for initiating me to the Dolomiti and this beautiful hobby.  Can I really take up your offer and come again soon?  The only thing that was missing was my man’s presence to enjoy it all with me.  I hope one day, I’ll take him where I was and that we will explore new paths together.

Dolomiti (3) July 26, 2010

Posted by sunflower71 in My trekking holiday, Uncategorized.

Saturday 10 July: Rifugio Croda da Lago


Today we left home earlier.  We had a longer trip by car to get to our starting point.  The weather is very fine.  The air refreshing.  A quick coffee at Rifugio Staulanza and off we go.

1030 first break

Today’s walk is longer but easier.  The terrain changes but is less rough than that of yesterday.  I’m also gaining confidence and can now walk and look around me, not just the path!

During these walks I drank a lot of water but ate relatively very little.  The best snack was my friend’s idea: dark chocolate and plain biscuits.  Eating chocolate here feels so very very right!

Break time! As you can see I'm now quite comfortable around the dogs! This, for me, is pleasant by-product of this trip.

after the chocolate, I can start again!

Being a Saturday we also met more fellow walkers – tired or not, sweathy travellers, suntanned, capped and backpacked.  Hm…. Today I felt, I was one of mountain lovers who take to the mountains every time they can.  So here we met all sorts, the only common thing between us was the love of the mountains and the shoes.  For the rest, no one really knows.  We cross paths, smile, salute – hello, good day, buon giorno, salve, buondi – and proceed.

We also came across a considerable number of bikers.  Here one can see where the mountain bike got its gears and name.  I was quite fascinated by them.  It was a challenge for me on my feet but they took to the slopes on wheels.  I guess this will be one I’ll give a miss.

1300 Croda da Lago

This bit of paradise is our destination. People can come here by jeep from Cortina.  But I prefer the way we came.

1400 The weather changes

We sort of cut short our coffee at the Rifugio Croda da Lago to start our way back.  Clouds are gathering on the horizon and the air has turned chilly.  We want to get back before it starts to rain.  We walk non stop till we get to where we had parked the car.

1700 We beat the rain

We made it!

This field was at my left.  So significant.  Hundreds of forget-me-nots!

I have never felt as tired as I’m feeling today.  I’m hungry, my legs feel like jelly, my hands are aching, my back is feeling the strain.  I feel one whole mass to tiredness.  I’m exhausted. But who cares?  I’m not maybe a tentative intermediate mountain walker!

Down and up May 18, 2010

Posted by sunflower71 in about me, my opinions.
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Today was a day signed by many different and contrasting emotions.

Sadness.  I cried this morning.  Could easily have cried my eyes out had I not gripped my self on time.

Pride.  I watched TC announce her class’s song during her school’s celebration concert.

Amazement.  At TP who sang her heart out and danced happily away with her class mates during her concert.

Panic.  To make sure there was going to be dinner (a healthy one) on the table in between going to my princesses’ school no less than 3 times (at 9 for TC’s concert, at 11 for TP”s one and again at 2 to pick them up – each age group is too numberous, the hall too small to hold more than two invites for each child of each age group).

Happiness.  At meeting up with an old friend who has since we last met moved to Ireland, and had two girls the same age as TP and TC. 

Wonder.  At seeing my girls and my friend’s enjoying themselves dressing each other up.

But it’s about my sadness that I’d like to write today.

Try to picture this:

the school’s stage – about 12, 3 year olds standing up in a line next to each other facing the audience singing at the top of their voice “Wind the bobbin up”.  Then to the left, next to the standing children, sit two children with a Learning Support Assistant – she is banging on a tambourine – the two children are looking everywhere and no where.  I fight the first tear. I find a seat for myself at the back of the school hall. I settle down.  And see next to me an older girls in what looked like a very complicated wheelchair – next to her another Learning Support Assistant writing on what look ed like a copybook. And I simply broke down. 

I cried with the mothers of the two children sitting on stage, whose hearts must contract every time they look at their children who are not able to stand in line with the others.

I cried with shame at how enormous I see my problems when in reality they are minute in comparison.

I cried with a doubt so deep that I started wondering if maybe the inclusion policy of the Education Division of this country has missed the point entirely.  Why wasn’t that older girl with her class?

Then I told myself that I had to stop making a show of myself and let the happy voices, poems and movements songs fill my mind.

As my emotionally busy day proceeded,  I repeatedly thanked God for our general good health and for giving me so much. As I do now, at its end.

I am jealous of my daughter! May 11, 2010

Posted by sunflower71 in Life with 3 princesses.
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When the light starts changing from bright daylight to dusk, TC makes sure I also notice this and from wherever she is in the house comes running to me to tell me, “Qed jidlam!” (“It’s getting dark!”).  This is also her message to me that she wants to put on her pjs and get into bed.  She has now a firmly established routine that I’m not about to change for anything.  I change her into her pjs, put her in our bed on my man’s side and after the prayers and me reading her a book or two, I let her watch some winding down tv – her favourite channel is Baby TV (that has the ability of putting anybody to sleep).  Soon after she drifts off after which we (more often than not) my man carries her to her bed.  More often than not she is in the land of dreams before it is even dark.

How I envy her this freedom to head off to bed when she feels her day is over!

The most challenging job in the world April 30, 2010

Posted by sunflower71 in my opinions.
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Until becoming a mother but also till not very long ago, I used to think that the most difficult job in the world must be that of the president of the US or that of the head of the World Bank or maybe the job of the General Secretary of the United Nations.  It’s not that they have easy tasks or that we can in any way down play what the people who sit behind these desks are doing but this post (http://frommumtomom.blogspot.com/2010/04/have-you-ever-smacked-your-child.html) by 1950’s Housewife (http://frommumtomom.blogspot.com/) and the comments her readers posted made me think a lot.

(I have recently discovered her wonderful blog and I can now say that I’m officially addicted to it….as can be observed.)

I now would like to say that I think that the most testing, the most exigent, tricky and tough job in the world is that of being a parent. 

On this job we learn by doing…. read that … from our mistakes… or let’s say that if we are half lucky we learn from the mistakes of our parents or of our friends.  As parents, the only models we have is our own childhood (mine took place in a completely different era) and our friends who had kids before us.  There are no courses, no traineeships, no on the job training.  It’s kind of there was a moment after becoming a biological parent when the penny dropped and I realised that I was not only the biological mother fo my children but also the only mother with all that entails…..

So I’m here going to try to make a list of the challenges of the job:

It is not only feeding the baby/toddler/child but also feeding them healthy food and instilling health eating patterns and a love of all things healthy exercise, etc.

It is not only keeping the baby/toddler/child clean but also teaching them where the germs are and how to combat their effect on us had we to ignore the  existence.

It’s not only clothing the baby/toddler/child but also painstakingly teaching them how to get dressed and in what to go where (pj for bed, uniforms for school – yes here from 3 TC is already wearing a uniform and no it’s not a private college she goes to).

It’s not only reading them a story but instilling in them a love for reading.

It’s not only asking them how their day was but also continuing by open ended questions when sensing something is not quite right.

It’s not only stopping fights between 3 year old TC and 4 year old TP but also reasoning with them on how to arrive to a compromise and finding ways how to preventing fights from happening.

It’s not only putting them to sleep at night but waking up 3, 4, 5 and even 6 times in 6 hours if they call out for you in their sleep.

It’s not only ensuring they have regular health check ups but also nursing them through an illness.

It’s not only taking them to their favourite play area after school but remembering to pack up some goodies (healthy ones..what else?)  for when they get hungry.

It’s not only teaching them the p’s and q’s but also how to say sorry and mean it.

It is about replying truthfully but simply to their questions without underestimating their understanding. It’s about being playful but fair, loving but strict, tender and consistent.

Without any shadow of doubt this list is not exhaustive and I’m sure that if anyone had to read the above they can add some other tasks to this 24 x7 job spec.

The list obviously ignores the fact that every mother is only a human being but in the eyes of her children she is perfect and has to act perfect every single minute of every day and night.  (Let’s face it, even as adults our expectations of our mothers remain pretty high.  Mine are and no matter how many times I remind my self, I fall into the trap of thinking that mum must be perfect and therefor not do or say whatever.)

And so, in conclusing to this long rambling, along I plod along this twisted but pretty flower-lined (pink flowers only please) path of motherhood, luckily supported by the best companion I could ever find, my princesses’ father, my man.

What is worth doing, is worth doing well. April 25, 2010

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This post has been begging to be written since I started ..em…blogging and even before that since what I’m going to write about today is probably the main stumbling block I had.  It is a real difficulty not a perceived one.  So let me explain.

My first language is Maltese.  I was brought up in a household where Maltese and more precisely the local dialect, was what we spoke.  The language spoken at the schools I attended in the same town where I was brought up was also Maltese.  Lessons were all conducted in Maltese (if not also in dialect) including languages.  Can you imagine learning English and French through Maltese?  Well it is true. The only person who taught us a language as it is supposed to be taught was my teacher of French of 3 years – Mrs Daly.  She managed to pass on to us not only a love for the language and the culture of the country but also the proper way to speak this beautiful language.  Unfortunately this was not the same for English. I don’t want to blame my teachers for their attitude.  I want to think that they genuinely thought they were doing things right.  All the class got their O levels on time including English often deemed as the main difficulty for proceeded to further studies.  So they weren’t doing it all wrong.  But I belive they lacked the passion for the language and the grammar I learnt helped me to write correct sentences not beautiful ones.  (Mind you, I think there were fellow students who could write better than me.) I remember my feelings towards English at the time.  It was sort of necessary subject to get somewhere decent in life instead of some factory’s assembly line (with all due respect and more to all factory workers past, present and future) as parents and teachers alike used to warn us. 

(Factory work popped in and out of my thoughts several times in my life, but more about that some other time.)

Back to English Language and its sibling subject English Literature that made it’s appearance on my school timetable when I was 14 years old.  This latter was surprisingly and uncharacteristically my favourite.  I remember looking forward to the two sessions a week dedicated to poems and prose, Shakespeare, Keats, Silas Marner, Brutus, The Eve of St. Agnes …. . I still have in my small library my treasured and densely annotated copies of my old text books.

In spite of this new-found aspect to English, my further studies focused on Mathematics and Physics.  I was however lucky to have studied at a time when a new subject was introduced to our curriculum during our Advanced Level studies.  This subject was called Systems of Knowledge.  I think it is to date a controversial subject that most students hate and try to scrape through.  But I loved it.  I’m glad I have had it and I will be eternally grateful to my lecturers of the time.  A downside to this is that I’ve been since then aware that in my education I have the equivalent of the Black Hole – the absence of  a real understanding of the arts.  I know it is there, I know it’s vast, I know it’s beautiful, I know I miss it.  With it I know that while I can verbalise my thoughts in writing in English, I know I will never be able to this in a beautiful manner.  

So why choose English as the main language for this blog? I am not aspiring for a vast international readership but this language remains the one that I feel most comfortable using for expressing myself.  

This time what is worth doing (as I’m still thinking this blog is for me) is worth doing even if maybe not perfectly well.

3G April 21, 2010

Posted by sunflower71 in about me.
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This is not about technology but about people….

3 generations of women together can be a lot of fun…my youngest daughter, my mother and me. Add that my sister and the fun increases…. the more the merrier but not only…. The Star has 3 people to take turns to entertain her which keeps her happy and the other two are free to chit chat and catch up.  And without men in the party, the pace of things is somehow easier, simpler and doesn’t include those bored looks when we stop to discuss the new shoes in the umpteenth shop window. 

The best conclusion was lunch at my favourite square Pjazza Regina in Valletta under the shade of this beautiful building!

numbers March 25, 2010

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I’m more a number person than a word person.  At school, I always felt more at home solving mathematical  problems than writing essays.  When I grew up I became a mathematics teacher.  I graduated in 1993.  Since then I was in class for a total for 7 years.  Because I also enjoy doing other things and better, more interesting work opportunities came my way and I took them.  A friend once told me ‘a rolling stone gathers no moss’.  I think she meant to say that I should stick to doing one thing and gather ‘moss’ there.  But I don’t really like the idea of me covered in yellowish-green moss. I’d rather be doing different things. New things. because I believe that we carry our experiences with us and we are better able to handle new contexts.

But back to numbers, I still and will always be a number person and finally I start seeing these genes in my princesses.  Two of them seem to feel very comfortable around numbers too.

These are photos of TC showing me the number of ways here chubby fingers make 3 (her age).