Crazy Eyes and Cold Comfort

While in Australia at Chez Mothership, we came across a bulging folder of all the "stories" I'd written in kindergarten.

It was clear as a five year old I was already disgruntled with my appearance. I had very short red hair and hated it so much. As if my inability to hold a pencil properly wasn't already holding me back, but cropped ginger hair too? Dude.

I was spewingly jealous of my follically-blessed classmates. There were at least a dozen stories about my long blonde friend Marnie. This is Marnie, I would write. Marnie has long blonde hair. Marnie is very pretty. I like Marnie. I love Marnie.

Holy crap, run for your life Marnie!

In this story I daydreamed on an Ideal Me, all flaxen locks and pretty bows.

This is me wenn I'm pretty

Sometimes I would attempt a more honest depiction of my appearance, as in the April 1983 masterwork, "The world is big and we live on it".

The world is big and we live on it

Although if you look closely you can see the madness in the eyes.

Psycho killer

Another highlight of our Australian jaunt was the consumption of this here chocolate thickshake at Gus' Cafe in Canberra. There must be half a pound of ice cream in there! Just wrapping your paws around that frosty metal cup feels like home.


I'd already had a thickshake at the magnificent Paragon Cafe in Goulburn but I had to squeeze in one more in before heading to the airport. It tasted all the sweeter because The Mothership, Rhiannon and Gareth were there too… the first time the four of us had been in the same place since I introduced the future son-in-law on Mum's 2004 Scottish tour. I think she can actually understand what he's saying now.

43 thoughts on “Crazy Eyes and Cold Comfort

  1. I just have to ask if you’ve ever read In A Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson? I think it’s hilarious, but would love to know what someone from Australia actually thinks of it. Your picture of the large spider on Flickr made me think of it because Bryson spends a large part of the book talking about all the things in Australia that can kill you.

  2. I had a “pretty me” picture too! I distinctly remember drawing myself dressed fashionably like a 1983 Boy George, all ribbons and bracelets, in a multicoloured smock coat and leggings. I was particularly sensitive, even at a young age, about my hairy legs, and one of the annotated arrows I added to the picture pointed to my legs and was labelled “lovely smooth hairless legs”. Shocking to think that even at that age I was so embarrassed about my appearance.

    By the way, I recently subscribed to you and cheered you on 43Things – I was so excited to find out you have an account there!

  3. You’re amazing, Shauna. In the space of just a couple sentences you took me from tenderly sympathetic and I-can-remember-feeling-like-that tears to hysterical laughter. My eyes are still watering. And my mouth is watering for that shake.

  4. Shauna, your too funny! You were also quite the atrist in Kindergarten. I just found you, and now I can’t wait to rush out and buy your book. I have my very first Weight Watchers meeting tonight!

  5. Cute! My parents have some of my old stuff and it’s fun to go through it. Embarrassing sometimes, but fun. And my god that milkshake looks amazing. I’ve been craving one for a while, I might just have to indulge…

  6. When I was in 1st grade I too had short hair. I hated it and looked like a boy. (thank you mother) When my teacher held up the pic for the class to see (teacher did this with all the pics ) they all laughed. That was almost 45 years ago….broke my heart and I never forgot it. Now I have that pic on my desk. I love that kid!

  7. you know, i think this blog is you when you are pretty. you are such an inspiration. thank you and i hope you find new satisfying paths in life.

  8. Aww, I missed you in CBR! I would’ve given you nummy chocolate and taken you out to lunch too! Kek got all the fun!

  9. I want to cry, laugh and rush out and get a thickshake all at once. I love your drawings but I’m not convinced it’s madness in those eyes, maybe wit, individuality and a whole lotta spunky!

  10. Mmmmmm Shauna….Gus’s choc shakes are the best. They are meal by themselves and they are sooo worth it! I bet that now when I walk past on my lunch break today all i’ll be able to think about is the sweet sweet shake……delish!
    Glad you had a good time back in Ozland!
    p.s. had the most amazing piece of sweet delicious slice from cornucopia the other day. *drool*

  11. Those eyes! Very … um, expressive.

    Actually, I think it’s a bold, confident move to post your younger self’s art work. But for us to really judge your artistic progress, shouldn’t you balance it with some of your more modern works?

  12. That milkshake looks AMAZING. Reason enough to visit Canberra, esp now flights to Australia are cheap! (ish.)

    Anyway, I had to tell you that I found your book in my school library the other day! It was ridiculously exciting, I think I may have squealed. πŸ˜€

  13. Haha, I’m Dutch living in Edinburgh and I’m married to a Scottish guy, my mum and dad still can’t really understand what my husband is saying sometimes. I have to be the translator! They have met him several times though. But my husband does have a very heavy accent and he can rattle on as well..

  14. mmmmmm….. thickshakes….mmmmmmm
    that is so sad – you’ve always been pretty, I wish you’d known it (but then we wouldn’t have met so there you go)

  15. the shake is worth the journey folks, if you’re ever in canberra!

    @Kelly – I’ve not read that book! Gareth read it though, as a wee intro to Oz πŸ™‚ Needless to say he refused to go in the water!

    @Abs – Oh that’s hilarious… bittersweet… your first shave must have been a joyous day! I’ll look for you on 43Things!

    @Lisa – Hope you enjoy the book if you end up getting it, and best of luck with the ol WW πŸ™‚

    @Amanda – I knooow! Was only in Canberra stupidly briefly, I wish I’d had more time there. It’s changed so much, in a really good way!

    @nani & berni – thank you… yer very kind πŸ™‚

    @Merry – i don’t think i’d have progressed much since then, art was never my thing πŸ˜›

    @Cindy – Dang! I’m heartbroken I didn’t have time to go to Cornucopia… best sausage rolls ever!!!

    @Marieke – cool! have you picked up a scots accent at all? trying to imagine a scots/dutch accent, it would be dead cute…

  16. “The world is big and we live on it” is so cute and funny! You should print the whole picture as a T-shirt!

  17. OMG I am laughing so hard! Yes, the crazy eyes!

    However, I will tell you this: as a child I was pretty and had the long blonde hair. My niece used to call it “princess hair.” I can assure you it did not make my life one bit happier or better!

    And now I have short red hair. On purpose.

  18. Oh, fellow ginger child, I empathise with thee.

    You know what you need? One of those milkshake containers to drink your water out of!! I have drink out of them at home and work. Love them. Makes me feel happy! And I’m not even being fucking sarcastic!


  19. Aaaaah…the Paragon’s thickshakes…and milkshakes/thickshakes served in metal cups. It’s the little things I miss about Oz…

  20. I don’t think a little maddness in the eyes isn’t such a bad thing…

  21. Hahaha classic and utterly adorable! I hope the April 1983 masterwork, “The world is big and we live on it” is now suitably framed and displayed for all to see.

    It is incredible to know how early our patterns of self-criticism and destructive thinking get set in. You are such a beautiful lass – in personality and looks.

  22. daysssss after first reading post, am now sitting here with thick and creamy iced coffee thickshake…. convinced myself I need it in attempt to stay awake past 8.30pm… mmmm, thanks!

  23. @beetricks “And I’m not even being fucking sarcastic!” I truly LOL’d with that one πŸ™‚ It’s a great idea!

    A faint thanks for the comments you guys, from beneath my pile of moving boxes.

  24. Those drawings are so f*cking poignant!

    It’s great they were saved all these years. I have NO idea what my self-portraits at that age would have revealed, although perhaps that’s a blessing? I was an odd little kid.

    Thanks for the reminder that even in our most self-critical moments, there is always hope for a bright future. But no thanks for the reminder of how good a chocolate milk shake tastes. Mmmmmm…

  25. Hey DG – You are a true joy! I read your book in two days which is amazing for the snail pace I read at. I laughed and cried in airports and planes in the Eastern USA. You gave me the strength to peel my lazy lard ass self up and get back into gear! Thank you doesn’t seem to cut it! Thanks for making this stupid weight thing seem a little less dark. I lost 40, gained 16, sooo now I have 50 to go…dammit…I wish I didn’t type that! Reality stinks. Cheers…oh and BTW – I really want to see Australia now!! It sounds amazing.

  26. Hey Shauna, you’re back! I’ve been stalking through your archives this month so I just today noticed that you’ve returned from Oz, welcome back! I wonder if you caught any of the Biggest Loser while you were there? Do you have an opinion on the show? (And that thickshake DOES look tasty…)

  27. What a fun trip down DG memory lane! I’ve always been jealous of red heads (I’m a brunette…) so there you go!

    I want… need… desperately crave… one of those shakes! Holy moly!

  28. @ dg
    I picked up several words over the almost 4 years I’ve been here. I don’t know if it’s cute, most people think I’m Polish (?? I don’t think I sound Polish at all) or sometimes Swedish (must be the blond hair pale face thing..) I think I sound like a mix. Hehe.. Although Aussie and Scottish must sound pretty good together too.

  29. Hi Shauna, I was at the magnificent Paragon Cafe in Goulburn less than 2 weeks ago. It was w-a-a-y too cold for a thickshake, though. I had a steak sandwich instead.

  30. omg, dietgirl, I love you, you are my hero, but that drawing and caption made me laugh until i cried…almost as good as when doctor G wrote that entry!

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