Thursday, February 16, 2017

Ha! A sort of list post. Apparently that is blogging 101. I must have missed that lesson - probably watching a DVD *

I am so luddite, I still have dvd rack.  Racks. *

And upon these racks, I have DVDs  Well, we have DVDs. 

I have seven categories of DVD, I have found.

 Now, I have daughters of certain ages, and they do watch.  Several movies.  Over and over and over again.

Apparently I am blessed with two who can not just name the whole range, they can differentiate the affiliates and rank the sequels and the stand alones.  Or something.  They seem to know what they are talking about.

While we may not have quite all of them, we do have all of the favourites.

Classics and Crossovers
 Barbie gets the nod of the occasional lazy afternoon also.  And Totoro - because that is the way my girls roll.  Cheaper by the Dozen.  See Spot Run.  The one with Rebel Wilson in it.

But there are also MY - maybe OUR classics.  The Princess Bride. The Neverending Story.  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (and the remake - I believe both have their merits). My Friend Flicka,  Kingsmen. 
(Threw that in to give myself some street cred - but it is actually my daughter's.  The older one.  Of course)

The Worthies
Let me tell you a bit about we, the unshamedly nerdy.  We like entertainment that informs.  That expands our horizons.  That give us the edge in the kitchen with a scattering of fresh herbs.  That solve great crimes and explain our quandries.

I am sure there are those who eschew such delights.  Please feel free to choose from my completely unrequired categories of Gore, Horror, Action or Thriller.  I won't be offended if you won't. 

The Intendeds
There are also many titles that I have heard great things about, that I have been gifted, that I i-n-t-e-n-d to watch one day.

I would like to blame technology, and the fact that the dvd player in the bedroom no longer actually functions in that role or the fact that the remote for the television set in the living room is irrepairedly a testament to the futility of tantrums and the bureaucracy of modern marketing.

Cryptic, and just too darned hard to transform into action, these days.

Television Series
Snapshots of our tastes (or anticipated tastes - there are several in this category that overlap into the "intended" pile), of a time, of a mindset of the community - but in large chunks, easily digested

The Unfound
The ones that I so very much want to find on these shelves.
The ones that are playing in my memories.
The obscure classics that we wax lyrically about to others...

My worst fear is that I had a doppelganger moment mis-remembered in my past where I thought I had outgrown them and passed them along to the great Salvation sorting pile.

The most likely premise, of course, is that I forced it upon an acquaintance or relative during such a lyrical wax - offering its delights blissfully unaware that one day, ONE DAY I could FORGET who I gave it to and they may well end up as...

Those that we borrowed; that we failed to watch;  that we failed to appreciate to the level expected - or worse, those that we had fogotten who initially lent them to us and thus we will never, ever be able to return.

And we can never throw them away, because one day, we might watch them, we might remember who loaned it to us (or who we loaned it to), we might get the technology - we might have a lazy Sunday afternoon to enjoy with our girls.

* Yes.  You are right.  I DID used to have videos.  I finally conceded that war had been long lost.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

This program is not captioned

I don't know what it is like to be my age for anybody else - but let me assure you, when one has a child - or children - or a partner - or a nagging pet - you have certain responses to stimuli that affect your whole life.
So, for example, you have one of those kids - or mobs - or scolds - or moggies - that can get a squeal or moan or rumble on that requires you to turn down your listening ability.

While this reaction certainly has its advantages, the ability to switch off active listening and just let the hum of family life does actually impact on other parts of your life.  Apparently.

You have to try harder - or appear to try harder - to be connecting with those other people - or animals - when such a noise is not happening.

And this, folks, is when I recently came to a startling realisation.

Its not deliberate.

Apparently, it wasn't that I had magicked the annoying noise away.  It is that the noise had been magicked away by the aging process, and the register that I didn't want and had been trying to ignore - had given up the ghost.

No matter how much I concentrated, those young people around were mumbling more and failing to make any sense whatsoever (this may actually be due to more than poor parenting and lollies after each effort on the sports field).

In this instance, it might actually be your - well, my - fault.

My body is failing me - while, in my household, it is enabling me.

Technology enables me also, and the television - what little of it that we watch these days - has a handy dandy feature where you can sub-title every day television.

Yay for digital!!!

Anyhow, some badly programmed computer or underpaid asian bilinguist breaks through the communication barrier to the middle-aged, over-tired, deafening matron on this side of the screen, and unlocks the secrets of what is meant to be being said with the visual clues.

Sometimes it is minutes behind and completely incomprehensible - I have seen news bulletins where a football story talks about "afraid rupert did come cushions free salting inns twitches..." where the presented clearly said "an affray. Reportedly concussion resulting in stiches..."

Other times it is beautiful poetry, saving us from crap reception and even translating what we the pixels are meant to be, with the advice that chirping crickets and thematic music was in our mind's eye.

However, I am disappointed that many marketers have failed to realise the potential of this little device, and do not even do a basic translation for the hearing impaired.

Indeed, they could play it even smarter than that, and really pinpoint a conversation with the viewing audience by using this technology.

While saying what a marvellous lifestyle of misogyny was on offer with a certain brand of beer during the football, the caption could actually be "yeah, laugh and clench now, love, because if the hubby thought FOR ONE MOMENT that your sweetheart would be one of these louts, it would be no action for a week and spaghetti every night of the week because he so much as smirked at something that you know to be base boorish behaviour, but you are onto that - give him a beer and toss your head, say "hmmph, satire" and pretend you get it on a whole different level - it will keep him perpetually off guard."

Bam.  Directly through to she who controls the beer budget.

Or you could be a really smart operator, and sell the caption rights for your ads through to another company - cross-promotion if you will - the censors will never see it, as they don't need captions and use the ad breaks to microwave pizzas - and so while you are selling something wholly worthwhile to parents - say lawnmowers or fence colours - you could do much for literacy levels in the children of today with a "hey, children of Australia, if you really want that lolly, how about telling your parents that you can work out the percentage difference in a sale price, because Shockolotof Sugarbars will be 50% off all this week - that is HALF PRICE - which is only three dollars and seventy-five cents.  Your parents will be so astonished at your mad maths skills, they will cave so easy"

Of course, it would need to be a really long ad to fit all of that it, because kids reading levels these days is abysmal.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Town Clothes

Do you remember town clothes?  

Did you have town clothes?

There will be those of you who have no idea what I am talking about.

But those that do - if you do, it means you know about house clothes.  When I was a kid, we even had yard clothes.

Recently, driving through town with my daughters and the older one snorted when apparently I made an involuntary intake of breath while driving past someone in paddock clothes in the main drag.

I can’t help it.  I grew up with it.  It is cultural.

Its not that I am what one would call at fashionable or even approaching appropriately attired at all times.  

However there are many women in my family that one has to either attempt to meet their standards or adopt a whatever attitude.  

And just because I have taken the latter approach – that doesn’t mean that the conditioning still has fair sway in my mind.

See, we were Country growing up – and that means at least a half hour in a car before you get to town – so there are logistics involved, some thought needs to go into the venture – and that includes pulling yourself together a bit.

 Not like you Town kids, who you stepped out of your front doors to civilization.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Please Shut the GATE

When I was a kid, there was a sign - white, with blue writing - metal -affixed to our back gate.

"Please Shut the GATE".

Did you have a back gate when you were a kid?

All the important people in our life came through the back gate.

It was the way to the shed and the yards, the clothesline and the car shed.

People of no importance - the postman or other grown ups - may have occasionally breached the front gate, with it crepe myrtle forest, or more often the side gate near the patio and the tv-antenna tower, but the really important people - Dad, Jock, Grandpa, Tex, Mum, us kids - all used the back gate.

The sign had thin cursive script for the first three words - "Please Shut the" and then gone wild with a block 3-D effect capitalised .

I remember sitting on the laundry roof when I was a kid - there was a really cool way that even a little unco kid like me could access the laundry roof - I was sitting up there and staring at this sign. I might have been about four or five at the time?

Anyway, I think Mum had caught me on the roof and made me get down and I spent a bit of time hanging out in front of that gate having a disagreement about the relative justice - or indeed injustice - being given in banning a child from being able to see the world from a height - and I must have used the sign to focus on as I had to listen to her go on about danger and plummets and blah blah blah blah blah...

I KNEW what the sign said, because it was one of those little things that people would read out aloud as they passed the threshold - but there was a moment in time when it suddenly became clear to me that this word - GATE - equated to the actual sounds of the word that they said.


How cool it was, I thought, that someone had worked out that certain shapes represented sounds - and I was suddenly absolutely VORACIOUS in seeking more words to masticate and savour.

Nothing was safe from me. Weet-bix packs were awesome, with information not only on the OUTSIDE of the box but on the cards too. I read ingredients on jars and every billboard between our home and my Grandma's.

That is how I read books. I can read books with plot and little padding, but I wallow in a good word-puddle.

 The sign is no longer there - that gate is no longer there, I am no longer there, the laundry roof is no longer there, Mum is no longer there - all that is there now is the bottom of the back stairs.

That - and this blog post.

Monday, April 25, 2016


Yesterday I aged officially by a year.  My year is now 47, which I figure is Prime.  So therefore, I am entering my Prime.

There isn't going to be another of those for six years, you know.

Therefore it is a special occasion. I decided that I would mark it.

Opportunity came that I would be at my old stomping ground at the moment in time that would transport be across the threshhold into 47's clutches, and so I saw it as opportunity to celebrate appropriately.

Dot point lead up:
  • Lightbulb moment when I realized V's specialist appointment in the Big Smoke was approaching;
  • Plans formulated inside my head regarding 
    • shopping opportunities (I have a girl in Year 12, there is a Formal - any mother who has been in this situation will realise the enormity of this statement), 
    • family opportunities (I have a 6 year old girl whose only access to play older sister is limited to sporadic meetings of her Sestricna - my niece via the outlaws on 'Salina's side) 
  • which I unfortunately fail to relay to V
  • V shows immense surprise when I present said plan fait accompli at dinner that evening
    • Yeah - hindsight hey?
  • Anyhow, once V got used to the idea he agreed to the basic concept and so then I upped the ante. My birthday.  Proximity to absolutely wonderful people of all eras of my life.  A half dozen selected from the possibilities.  Dinner.  At our apartment.  
    • La di.
  • Organise work, school, headspace.
  • 3am rise for 4am drive.
  • 6am stop for coffee and toilets - realise that the world is indeed a small place and Gympie McDonalds is the vortex.  
    • I swear.  
    • Go there and you WILL see someone you know.  
    • Or are related to.  
    • Every.  
    • Single.  
    • Time.
  • Five hour drive for a 90 minute wait for a ten minute consultation.  
    • V had doctoral thesists watch their magic machine while his knees were scanned for inflammation 
    • before the Knee God who resurrected V's knees a year ago triumphantly swung through the connecting doors (and yes, those trumpets that you heard  in the movie version of this was indeed the fanfare that should have accompanied him on this entrance).  
    • He took pictures of the x-rays and smiled at his work.  
    • He explained what he did, how he did it and why it was one of the most complex he had ever operated on.  
    • See you again next year.
  • A flying visit with a relative who had an unscheduled stay in hospital thus allowing our paths to cross and us to visit.
  • Grocery shopping (of course) where yet again the world proved itself to be very Jeanie-centric in its coincidental meetings.  
    • If you fail to make it to the Gympie McDonalds, Woolworths in Buranda is worth a shot at seeing someone you know.
  • The apartment - our home for the night - two bedrooms, air-conditioned, great view of the rail system and so very central.  
    • An oven that works.  
    • A gym. 
    • A pool.  
    • A balcony.  
    • Hidden hiding spots.  
    • Cool two way rooms and light controls.  
    • A fully mirrored splash-back.  
    • S. W. A. N. K. for some of the hicks amongst us.  
    • Ahem.
  • A flying visit with a (different) relative who had an (different) unscheduled stay in (different) hospital thus allowing our paths to cross and me to visit.
  • Cooked dinner for a dozen - or three?
  • Played dress up and had my half-dozen from different chapters of my life and have a lovely evening.

The day of my birthday dawned rather early.  Insommnia did a lovely number on me and there were several hours when I should have been sleeping where I whirred instead.  Whacked it on the head eventually with a hot chocolate.

Awoke to the feeling I had indeed been whacked on the head. The pillows were too hard for this princess.  
The sleep was too heavy for my wrists and hips.  
My skull was too small for some of my brain, which was pounding to be let out.

The 10am deadline loomed, and auto-pilot kicked in.  Get dressed.  Pack up.  Empty the fridge.  Stack the dishwasher.  Check all cupboards.  Stack the luggage.  Organise the day.  Pack the car.  Exit the car park.  Check out.

We had an adventure planned, the girls and I.  While V went to do his thing, we had an adventure on the cards.
We were going to catch a bus  (yay, a bus, what fun with my children - we NEVER get to ride a bus in a strange town just for FUN) to a Shopping Centre (yay, a Shopping Centre with shops that we don't have and shopping and people watching) and then walk to the outlaws for the playdate and lunch.

Only - well, yes but there was that misshapen brain and skull thing sort of muffling my world.  But the girls were excited and there was a part of me thinking that if I just put my mind to it, that aspect of my life would go away quietly and youthful exhuberance plus a twist of birthday luck would right the day.

Somewhere between the rather circuitous route of the bus up and down the twisting hills of the big smoke and the sanitised smell of enclosed public transport that thing in my brain said "well, the only way to solve this situation is to introduce a catalyst" and - well, I am thankful that the dress I chose had a pattern dark and confusing so you couldn't REALLY tell that I had added to the design and I pat myself on the back at how well I managed to confine this chemical reaction to my own person and barely any of the product landed on the bus itself.

So it is possible the high point of the birthday celebrating my entry to such a prime year was me washing myself with drinking water onto nature strip while my teenage daughter rang her aunt to collect us early - from the side of the road in unkempt condition.

So - shower, pills and sleep occupied the middle part of my birthday, while my children had unfettered delight with cousins.

I gradually emerged mid-afternoon, slightly less fuzzy and girding myself for the long drive home.  I ate dry toast and drank in being able to see my mother-outlaw and sister-outlaw and nephew and Sestricna.  Photos were taken.  The birthday was remembered and Pavlova was had.

The long drive home made longer by someone with a horse trailer having a far worse day than I.

We were blessed with being able to teach our children the important art of map-reading (and map-folding), we saw unexpected angles of geographic features generally unnoticed on the freeway but much more prominent on the secondary roads - now being noticed by nearly all of the previous occupants of the freeway - and lessons in relaxing at a leisurely pace, creating bathrooms out of bushland and finding sustenance at rest stops whose kitchens were shut.

And the BEST bit about my birthday? (Well, besides the getting home safely and knowing I have some very solid family members and friends who enrich my life)

The BEST bit about that birthday is that it has to be an AWESOME year with such a low bar to begin with.

And it will be