Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Last Post in the Electrolux Ecovalve Saga

Long-time (okay, long-suffering) readers will recall that me and my washing machine haven't always had the most harmonious relationship.

Waay back in July 2005, I was doing my washing while working on the computer when the power went out. The power went out because the old battle-axe that was my top-loader in my previous life had decided that not only would it cease to work, it would do so in an explosive manner and the safety switch had determined it - and everything else in the house (including my computer) should receive no more juice for it to work up into combustive manner.

Luckily, I had done my tax early that year, and the relationship with the Electrolux Ecovalve began.

Pretty soon after I moved to Paradise, it started to play up, and during an ongoing liaison with the LERF it has sort of behaved - right up until the day after the warranty expired.

Since then, it has been a steadily more unreliable partner in the washing stakes, complaining when the water wasn't draining quickly enough (that happens when the laundry tubs have tiny outlets), when the load was too heavy (a call that happened with lighter and lighter loads as time went by) or when the Moon wasn't in the right house.

Add to that the fact that the computer board within no longer took any notice of what programme you have dialled, it would only do one wash program (even if you asked for drain or turned it off).

By last week, it had gotten to the point where I was having to restart it 3 times per load - which when extrapolated against the time it takes anyhow to do a load meant that my 3 loads every two days meant I was washing all day, every day (it seemed) and getting my 10,000 Steps in on the back steps alone.

And then - and then on Friday, with a more than usually full laundry (great decision, that strip beds one, hey?) it got one and a half loads into the quota for the day - and decided it would thumb its nose at me, curl up its toes, emit a few piteous alarmed beeps and die.

As it hasn't worked properly for so long, it is more the financial and laundromatical aspects of our relationship being over that is causing any trauma.

We have decided we are going to save and invest in some quality engineering (possibly German) this time around, and in the interim the 28 year old Simpson has been hauled back into action.

I mean, it might be a brute, but it is fast (aka on laundry on SPEED), it tries hard and it is far better than handwashing - oh, and its lid-sensor has been deactivated, so only have to go down and encourage it once per load.

So please - sell me the vices and virtues of your laundry equipment - we have an idea of what we might want, but willing to be swayed with your reviews.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

On pink clouds, orange cats and stupid birds

This morning was another beautiful start to a beautiful day.

Eddie gently (ahem - poetic license involved) nudged me from my slumber. The 5am sky was bright, tinged at the edges with fluffy pink clouds.

I like to be the first to wake. I like to drink my cup of tea (I know, second child, I allow myself a little latitude) slowly and alone.

My mind takes this time to arrange my day. It is the only time that I truly feel I have any control of it, and it is a fantasty that I can spin for hours.

Of course, I am generally joined after not too long by V and/or 'Salina. V is a "give me a double caffeine hit before small talk" sort of morning person, 'Salina has two morning modes - wide awake and bouncing or "why the heck am I out of bed?" lethargy.

But this morning - this morning I had just made my tea and sat at the computer to contemplate the emails and twitters and blogs that were available for respite through the day - I would say my "set for the day" meter was at about 35% when...

Well, one of the morning rituals is, of course, letting Eddie out after an evening of being locked in the house. I wait until it is daylight for this, as I figure it gives the local wildlife - especially the birds - a fighting chance. The fact that he is orange and therefore doesn't blend too much with foliage and lawn combined with the tinkly bell that accompanies his every move ups the odds even more, and his tally is rather paltry.

Paltry, but not zero. There are birds who are designed with self-preservation strategies and then there are birds who just ain't. Occasionally he chooses the latter...

This morning, he chose the latter. Of course, rather than capturing prey and dealing with it in the wilds of the back yard, Eddie is a social animal and would far rather share the delights of his expedition with the humans he most loves. Cue the sneaking it upstairs, bringing it into the living room and let it loose for a little sport.

Woke me up immediately, as you can imagine. Then he chased it into 'Salina's room. 'Salina has pretensions of being afraid of birds, so this was a lovely way for her to go from "sleeping" to "screaming". The domino effect of this was to rip V from horizontal to vertical. So the scenario - pregnant lady chasing cat chasing bird around the house with accompanying music of child eeking and husband adding a baseline of "what the..."

The time was 5.30am.

We rescued the bird, chastised the cat and - and that is how our Saturday started.

How is yours going?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Turtles, tourism exhibits and tummy

On Sunday, we went for a walk down to Paradise* centre as there was a gathering called "Joggers for Loggers" - not about timber, as one might imagine, but Loggerhead Turtles, one of the turtle breeds that chose a beach just up the coast for laying eggs (and therefore hatching).

There could even be a few under the water in this picture!

Of course, the term "Fun Run" is a bit of an oxymoron as far as I am concerned, and so we were more going for "fun swim" and "fun catch up with girlfriends" reasons than the free grub if you got all sweaty over the 8km on offer!!

Paradise* is a fairly elderly beach village (well, elderly in local terms which is fairly recent in other parts of the world), and still has some of the origial beach dwellings along the esplanade. While this wall is not a true "Kanaka Wall", it emulates the style found throughout the area.
"The Kanaka Wall is a well-preserved piece of history. Kanakas were Melanesians from the South Pacific Islands who were indentured to work in Queensland cane fields during the period from 1879 to 1904. Part of their work was to clear volcanic rocks to allow cultivation of fields. The rocks were packed together to form fences and these could be seen all over the district."

What the above fails to mention is "indentured" actually means a form of slavery - one of the nastiest pieces of local history is that of blackbirding, where many were stolen from Pacific Islands and brought to the region for cane cutting and land clearing purposes.

Of course, Paradise*, like many other beachside sleepy-towns, is growing more and more of these things as it uproots the old fibro shacks and grow with fertilising words such as "luxury" and "resort". If you want a few hundred apartments for your investment portfolio, I could even do a whole post on the "For Sale" signs.

This is the hustling centre of tourist activity of Paradise*. The Ice Cream options are fantastic at the Scoopery, not our favourite Fish and Chips outlet (but apparently does a roaring trade in excellent Pizzas) and a rather swish cafe - there is more activity around the corner, but I don't have a camera that takes shots around corners!!

This part of the beach has been developed beautifully for tourists, with shady picnic spots, a fantastic Turtle Park and a pedestrian/cycle path that goes for about 10km (part of the day was the opening of the new section that goes right around to Mon Repos). This is the boardwalk section.

Notice in the background the volcanic rock walls used to create beautiful safe swimming spots.

While there were organised Turtle Sculpting activities further along the beach, 'Salina (nor her friend, Mad') is not really a follower of organised activities (especially when there is some serious splashing or sandcastle building on offer).

I sat in the shade and dozed built my own air-castles while these two frolicked.

On our walk home, I contemplated showing you just how suburban Paradise* can be, but I could find no outstanding examples of mundane - those that fit were not really something I felt the requirement to photograph, and those I felt worthwhile of photographing would not have been an average enough representation. So instead I give you a street I walked.

I was knackered by the end of that morning.

Of course, this is what I was lugging around.

* Please note, Paradise is the term I use for this blog. My town isn't really called Paradise. No, really, it isn't!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Letter

Humble Abode of Jeanie
Paradise QLD
Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Dear Mr C

On Saturday afternoon, I was grocery shopping in your supermarket as I regularly do.

Accompanying me was my 9 year old daughter, who enjoys greatly selecting things from your stationery display to spend her pocket money on. On this occasion she chose a notebook, valued at $1.72. Not a huge purchase but an important one in her mind.

To encourage her independence, I suggested she make her own purchase in the Express Lane while I put my groceries through one adjacent. She gladly queued behind the 2 customers prior to her.

As it became her turn to be served, two teenage boys appeared from an aisle and reached over her to place their purchases on the counter. What shocked me most was the checkout operator in the Express Lane at the time served these boys immediately, completely ignoring my daughter and her purchase.

As she was upset at this behaviour, she immediately came over to where I was putting my groceries through.

I realise her purchase was minimal, and she is only a young child and therefore possibly not as important a customer in the mind of your checkout operator as his peers.

However, I also understand that one of the tenets of retail is good customer service, and I feel that this incident on Saturday failed to fall into the category of “good”.

Had there been a more senior member of staff available, or had it not been as busy in the store I may well have been tempted to complain of his shortcomings in offering such service at the time, but I refrained.

I do believe, though, that such advice may be better coming from you and perhaps as a reminder to all staff. I do realise it is a slight infringement, and definitely not a sackable offence – but I also realise that this could be a learning moment for your operators.

I leave this in your hands.

Yours sincerely


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Saturday afternoon shopping - fraught with dangers

I know I SHOULD be more organised and do the groceries basically any other day of the week. I work from home, I SHOULD be able to work around a grocery trip - but every week it gets to Saturday and every week I get to the realisation that I will have to stock up or feed my family soup until Monday and therefore every Saturday I do a little list and get shopping - with varying degrees of success.

On the good weeks, I meal plan, organise my pantry, consult the specials brochures (online and paper form) and have a cracker list. We get to Softball, go to the library and then do the health food shop (always fun), the big smoke supermarket, the fruit & veg shop and the 2 local supermarkets and somehow manage to keep within budget and get nearly everything.

On the not so good weeks - we go to softball and get home, when I panic. I figure what we will eat based on what I see in the shops, I double up on things I think I might need and completely forget what was absolutely necessary, I am limited to the 2 local supermarkets and the budget gets blown with only enough good stuff for 2 days.

Guess which one yesterday's was?

It wasn't that dire - however little shops like that will strangle whatever financial sanity you have, and add a nearly 10 year old into the mix...

My gripes with the shopping yesterday, however, weren't about menu planning or meat specials or other customers lack of consideration of aisle usage or old beans.

They definitely weren't about the cutest little kids abounding on a Saturday afternoon at Local Supermarket Number 2 (the blow in). I don't think it is cluckiness, I think there just happened to be a mother-lode of cute little kids at that particular time at that particular place. One little boy was so chatty, he struck up a conversation with me whenever I was anywhere near - even though I declined his offer of a drink (he has worked out all the smooth moves before the age of 3!).

It wasn't about the gorgeous, slinky young things in backless togs and towels in the toiletries aisle - they looked to be having fun together far too much for me to work up a full grump about frumpy matrons, it just made me smile.

It wasn't the fact that my "oh my goodness how much is she growing up" girl disappeared on me for most of the shop for "her favourite aisle" (she is a stationery junkie), reappearing at opportune moments to ask "can I have some money?" (the answer to that is generally no, but she still has to try it), "what is my allowance this week?" (a sliding scale where we hope she aspired to get 100% of, and often receives less - unfortunately she remains happy at getting whatever, and so the bribery is not as effective as it should be - I blame relatives (who do not read this blog) (I hope) who blow our economy with gifts of 3 figure amounts making the 100% of our weekly aspiration look paltry)... I am loving the fact that, in Paradise the supermarkets are not so big and faceless that she can't track me nor I her and she does get a little bit of liberty... Sob, my girl is getting so grown up.

It wasn't that last week's lotto didn't give us the $400,000 I was sort of banking on to solve all financial dilemmas and build a few of our dreams, but I did invest in another chance for fate to step in and do so for us this week. The only guarantee with lotto is that if you don't enter, you will NEVER win.

It wasn't even the fact that a lady in Local Supermarket Number 1 (the original) said "excuse me" in the stock and gravies aisle and then laid her hands on the bump and rubbed - I am far more perplexed by this strange behaviour than outraged, although the whole "personal space" issue can be a bit of a hurdle for me, especially when coupled with the transgression by complete strangers (it freaks me a little when closer acquaintances do it) but she obviously felt it was important enough and did apologise beforehand.

However, there was ONE EVENT that tipped me over the edge yesterday afternoon during the shop - and I am ashamed to say I did not do what I should have done at the time about it.

'Salina had found an object of desire fitting into her budget and was quite excited by the prospect of being the owner of this object (a new notebook - just her kind of candy). I suggested she go into the express aisle for her own purchase with her own money and she was more than happy to comply.

The store was staffed - sparsely - with all very young things - nothing wrong with young things if they do their jobs, and in general there is a certain amount who do and a certain amount who don't - but it is important to note there was not one person working there who I would have called a senior staff member. It comes into play later in my melodrama.

Paradise is made up of mainly by retirees and holiday-makers - families are definitely the smaller third group. 'Salina waited patiently while a few elderly and a few out-of-towners were served. Just as her turn arrived, two teenage boys reached over her to put their purchases on the counter, and Gra#me* served them.

'Salina turned to me to say "did you see that" and I did say out loud (which can be quite) that I had seen that and it wasn't on - and for all the effect that passive aggressive action had on the young thing staff I may as well have been talking from within a plastic bubble - or at least, outside of theirs. Thwarted.

I took her under my wing and put the previous notebook amongst my purchases, scanning the store for someone senior to place a complaint with - but my search was in vain.

My own personal young thing serving me was diligently avoiding any eye contact should I wish to complain to her, and by the time I was at liberty to tackle Gra#me, he had a queue to serve and I stayed silent, defeated into seemingly mute acceptance of this display.

However... However, Mr C, the local owner of Local Supermarket Number 1 (the original) will be receiving a letter, and because Mr C is neither Young nor seeking the admiration of teenage boys above loyal customers I am truly hoping that my Saturday afternoons shall not be ruined by any Gra#me's in the future.

BTW - to those who saw my desperate Twitter last night, inspiration answered my plea and the risotto was fantastic!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My formative musical years in Toto-lity

One of our Wednesday nights rituals here is watching Spicks and Specks.

V is a whizz at most of the trivia served up, having been immersed in musical culture from a very early age. I am okay at bits of it - mainly the trivial - but there are large gaps in my knowledge even though I may have lived through the eras that are represented.

But do I ever feel dumb about this? Not really (well, not unless it is THAT WEDNESDAY that hasn't come along for a few months now) because I have an inescapeable excuse.

I can blame my upbringing.

See, while others may have grooved out to their parents extensive album collections (like V did) there was a theme running through Mum and Dad's records that didn't exactly trill "seventies style". On the upside, any Charley Pride or Val Doonican songs ever featured on SnS are a shoo in for me.

Don't take too much pity on me - after all, there were occasional glimpses of life in the outside world - "The Best of Abba" did come into the family home (this shot is 1 side of the album - the side Mum chose to display - the other side was Dad's favourite - anyone remember why?)

We did get exposure to some exceptional tomes, don't get me wrong. When our next door neighbour married, he married well - a girl with a Hot Chocolate album in her collection. My uncle's marriage brought a fantastic aunt - and some compliations that mean bubble gum music is not a completely foreign concept.

Unfortunately there were not enough eligible local bachelors nor enough funky city chicks marrying them to mean that my grassroots understanding of hip culture was all encompassing (man, I have dyslexia this morning - that came out as emcomappsing first go round).

If I had to rely on the local media I was up the creek.

Countdown was accessible via the television station we could receive (in a very grainy grey, it must be admitted. I thought Big Bird was grey for years!) but only available if we could fool our parents into letting us turn on the TV slightly earlier than the news - that was not always as easy a task as it sounds.

The local radio station had a rather limited budget, and tended to buy 1 album a year - I remember the year that they invested in Toto (and see, I always thought that the album must have been called "Africa" - its not, its Toto IV).

I just checked the Wikipedia entry on the song and had to laugh to read this:

Without a doubt Toto’s most recognizable song, "Africa" was almost omitted from the Toto IV record prior to its release. Having spent a great amount of time producing the tune, the band became so tired of the song that they didn’t want it on the album.

Without further ado, here is the earworm that defined that year for me:

Another year George Michael got the guernsey. Anyone up for a rendition of "Last Christmas"? No, me either.

The good news is that the decades after I have managed to track down and bone up on my lack of education in these areas and don't appear to be too strange when matters wander onto pop culture during that era. I can fudge it pretty well, and even manage to answer some questions and appear somewhat knowledgeable. (A secret I have just exposed - I am fairly competitive when it comes to fluff)

However, if I occasionally look at you a little strangely when you ask me to hum the opening lines to "Can't Get it out of My Head" by ELO, its because there are bits of my youth I cannot recreate (but I can tell you what ELO stands for).

When was your musical awakening? And have you ever been hip?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Using the sunlight of others to guide me...

Yet another 3.30am start here - getting boring. The worst bit really about insomnia is not the lack of sleep, its the lack of energy come 9am - you know, when I should be DOING STUFF!!!

Still, I have put it to good use this morning. Yessirree - I have me a list already (shhhh for those who may say its really yesterday's list that didn't get done) and I have found my silver lining.

We don't have daylight savings - so really, that is 4.30 in those deluded Southern states - which I have moved into my "acceptable times to be awake" category of late.

In New Zealand, it is 6.30 - that is a really reasonable time, I could just pretend to be Kiwi (except I would feel all funny about losing my vowels like that).

Its 10.30 yesterday morning where V's mum is, so I can imagine a whole 'nother day at my disposal.

Its 7.30 last night where 'Salina's grandpa lives with a good night's sleep in front of him...

Thank goodness for the internet where I found those silver linings - because the howler from the North done blown away all the clouds and its far too dark a sky to find anything!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Insomnia came flying in on a broomstick this morning...

It is an absolute howler here - I don't know how that bird outside is twittering above the whir of the shutters as the wind, fresh from the Pacific, slices through the house and any crack it can investigate is sought.

I can also hear the washing machine. No, I haven't already been up and done a load (it is still dark outside no matter WHAT Eddie says) but the ghost beeping I heard before bed last night that I was willing to blame on imprinted memory from the beeping the three times previous on the same load was apparently the real thing.

V is lucky, industrial deafness has cured him of the ability to get completely annoyed by this new trend of the washing machine. Me, on the other hand - it rattles my psyche and although I put on a veneer of bravado and assure him (and myself) that it is a drainage issue with the tubs, there is a part of me thinking of the sagas this machine and I have shared and shuddering at the possibilities.

This is why my washing never gets completely done, you know. A front-loader is wonderful for some really good reasons - less water, clean clothes - but the downside is the time factor. Add to that a few times requiring me to press the button to stop the beeping (assuming I am here and therefore able to respond in a timely manner) and the "coupla hours" for a load can well cover half a day (or more) - times the number of loads I am having to do anyway due to the backlog, it seems EVERY DAY is washing day around here.

After a rather interesting end to the weekend involving making my daughter cry and me using a curse word for effect during my lecture (up there with my fine mothering moments - sorry Mum) both 'Salina and I have agreed that we are going to try switching our brains on as much as possible during the day and see if we can develop a new habit.

Of course, my brain switching itself on at an early hour is an old habit that does not always have beneficial side effects... I have confidence that today will be different, and I intend to go for an all or nothing approach to each hour and each task.

Obviously I am also quite delusional (probably the lack of sleep) but what are your tricks to having your brain switched ON and making the most of your day?

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Mad cats and pregnant women get up in the pre-dawn light

Doesn't have quite the same ring to it as the original that I have modified to suit current conditions.

Poor Eddie is crossing his legs and climbing the walls because I am the sort of horrible cat owner that follows the "while the sky is dark the cat is in" rule. He does have kitty litter and the birds need to waken before I let the domestic tiger out. I think he might be getting a little slow for the birds, but its not something I am going to test.

Unfortunately, its not the cat who woke me. I don't know what time it was I actually awakened, but my mind started immediately to gnaw away on worries a week away and worked its way back until I threw my (metaphorical) hands in the air and cried "enough".

I would like to blame baby, but although I feel it a fair thing to throw aches, twinges, farts and forgetfulness into baby's lap, it probably isn't justified to give it the full responsibility of this morning - given that I have struggled with insomnia for years.

Anyhow - the baby update is STILL lying sideways, more a scrabbler than a kicker and getting darned heavy whichever way I lie in bed.

Not much to add - one upside to insomnia is all the extra hours to dedicate to making a to-do list, so I am off to concoct one SO MUCH BETTER than yesterday's.

Cue photos from last week for the curious.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

List of 50 lessons learned over the weekend...

  1. If your organisational skills are in any way reliant on your washing machine being timely, be prepared for rude reminders that your washing machine has a mind of its own, and it is going to be as obstreperous as possible.

  2. Even if you chose to circumvent the time consuming nature of the washing machine by employing the dryer, you will not be guaranteed that it will either be timely OR completely dry its contents.

  3. To get through the list and retain as much whinging time as possible in the day you may be tempted to gloss over some more "houseworky" items. Do so at your own peril - for although the "there will always be housework" advice rings true, there will always be MORE housework for those who slacken.

  4. A plant is a great present. A citrus tree is a marvellous present. An overloaded sedan with a child in the back seat (who has a track record with defoliation) and a (prickly) citrus tree loses something in the fantastic present giving feeling process.

  5. Getting away at any point earlier than when you are ready is impossible. Getting away at any point earlier than an hour later than you thought was possible is also impossible. Getting to the other end of the journey earlier is also a feat worthy of Hercules no matter what the leaving time is, so do not dispair.

  6. You meet interesting people waiting for the toilets in petrol stations.

  7. If you decide to go off the highway to find some local fare for dinner and see a Fish'n'Chip Shop doing a roaring trade, do not thing "oh we can come back to that if we can't find anything else", because
    1. you may not pass by that way again,
    2. even though you may not get lost, you may get disconcerted by this strange town,
    3. some towns are downright creepy at night, and
    4. you may be disappointed in the final dinner options available and contemplate many what if's.

  8. Noodles are impossible to eat while driving - even if you got a fork.

  9. Apparently not all Mongolian Beefs taste like Mongolian Beef. Some Mongolian Beefs are a little bit sweet and satay-ey.

  10. Apparently when chilli is mentioned as a flavour on the noodle menu for your totally foreign sounding second dish, this is a serious promise.

  11. Some children have crap taste in pizza toppings.

  12. Some pizza franchises have crappier pizza topping options than others - and if you are not a connoisseur of pizza franchises you will invariably end up with flavours out of your experience range.

  13. 9 year old girls happy to be having crap pizza for dinner will not notice.

  14. Drivers frustrated with noodles and requiring food will - but will eat anyway (thinking about the what-ifs of Point 7).

  15. Giving a 9 year old child the task of calling relatives to advise of dinner plans and estimated destination times will be successful in the transmission, but by talking to another 9 year old to give details will not guarantee the adults at the destination will know of said dinner plans.

  16. The alphabet game has 3 very difficult letters - J, Q and Z - on a highway. I truly feel for anyone not living in Queensland on the second of those 3 letters.

  17. The decision to go through the guts of a city rather than facing the task of using a tollway that now has no options for payment ON said tollway is a good one generally late of an evening.

  18. Well, it is a good one if you do not decide to go through an area where many people converge on a Friday night to drink copiously and act like buffoons.

  19. Drivers who do tend to travel into said areas are rude, arrogant schmucks who do not understand the concept of "keeping intersections clear".

  20. This applies equally to professional drivers (buses, taxis) as to the unprofessional variety.

  21. There is at least 1 lovely policeman in Brisbane who deserved the round of applause received in our car when he cleared the intersection after we had waited for 5 light changes to get through and on our way.

  22. Harking back to point 16, said relatives will wait dinner for you until ungodly hours if it is in their culture to offer food on arrival.

  23. Noone is really that hungry at 11pm.

  24. Pregnant feet swell horribly after being in a car for most of 6 hours.

  25. 'Salina has excellent reflexes for kicking cousins when being kicked - even when asleep and top and tailing in bed.

  26. 72 year old ladies who have had 2 knee replacements will look much younger and happier with the success of said operation.

  27. Cultural offering of food is fantastic when one is hungry enough to appreciate the gesture.

  28. No matter how much you eat, some cultures like to insist on you eating more!

  29. Instincts on finding parking spots based on experience over 3 years out of date are occasionally pleasantly surprising in their abilities.

  30. Meeting up with women who, in some cases, you have not seen for 23 years at a venue you have never been to can be daunting.

  31. Never arrive on time for such a meeting - you will require a pot plant to hide behind while people watching and a task to perform while waiting.

  32. Mobile phones are handy to find said task.

  33. Some people change beyond recognition in 23 years.

  34. Luckily, some people don't.

  35. Ankles can resemble balloons after a day of Brisbane heat (especially after driving the night before).

  36. Never buy household staples at petrol stations!

  37. 'Salina can eat fish that have bones, heads and tails in tact.

  38. She prefers them to be filleted, though.

  39. Uncles can be very indulgent.

  40. Houses can be built on the sides of hills. This is especially freaky to us now, as there is only 1 HILL in the realm of paradise.

  41. Hills are beautiful.

  42. Even if you didn't love a house you once lived in, it is still sad to find a block of apartments where it stood.

  43. Children, no matter how much they love one another, need time out (more so if both children are onlys)

  44. A champion team can beat a team of champions (especially if a large section of the former are Queenslanders!).

  45. 23 year old people are an excellent addition to the dinner table - even if they do make you very cognisant of your age. This especially applies when you mention a year that you suddenly realise was prior to their birth!!

  46. The road home can seem quite long. Never more so than when you are behind the sort of driver that speeds for overtaking lanes and dawdles on the in-betweens.

  47. You never know who you will run into at a park 200km from where you live and 200km from where they live.

  48. This is far more likely to happen if the park has a great playground, of course.

  49. Sometimes trying a new road will save you time and let you see some wonderful sights.

  50. Cats do not appreciate being left for an extended period in a safe and healthy environment, and are not afraid to shirk from yelling their displeasure at you.
I feel like a far more enlightened person.

Did your weekend teach you anything?

Friday, October 02, 2009

October 2 to do list

Because it may not get written otherwise.
  • Write list
  • Stuff around
  • Sort washing, put first load of washing on
  • Breakfast
  • Make 'Salina's lunchbox
  • Do household budget
  • Find cat, violin and sadly overdue library books
  • Stuff cat into catbox and put it, 'Salina, her lunchbox and other items into car
  • Deposit cat at Garfield's Purrfect Cat Motel, get violin tuned, drop books into library, find mechanic to give me a screw (in the mounting around the front passenger side tyre), drop 'Salina at vacation care
  • Do other seventy-six million (okay, 3) loads of washing, peg them out in a timely manner
  • Colour hair
  • Water gardens
  • Do work budget and any outstanding worky tasks
  • Shower
  • Work out details for the weekend
  • Pack
  • Vacuum
  • Sweep
  • Clean kitchen
  • Contemplate cleaning bathroom
  • Collapse
  • Pack car
  • Collect 'Salina from Vacation Care
  • Hit the road
  • Drive for 4-7 hours

oh, and

  • Blog

What does yours look like?

Thursday, October 01, 2009


How the heck did that happen? Hang on, 2009, you are getting waaay ahead of yourself.

I vote for it still being August - anyone with me?

Thank you all for your comments about the moments made special. On Monday, there ended up being many of them.

'Salina decided she wanted to make a picnic for visiting cousins and so there were chicken and egg (separate) sandwiches, banana muffins, fruit and cordial packed up for feasting and adventures.

We met up with my brother and SIL and stole their three children for our entertainment (and gave them leave to have a few child-free hours - they looked quite lost at the concept)

We went to a new playground. New playgrounds are fantastic - no graffiti, the bits of tree are still soft fill and not hardened torture, all the pieces of equipment still work (and aren't vandalised) - and so exciting to explore.

(note to playground designers - you know those useless ladies and/or gents following your target audience around - a request for a bit more shade for them to loiter in please)

After dropping off one cousin to an appointment with her dad, we went to the Botanic Gardens ('Salina and I are still arguing the toss on it being "Botanic" or "Botanical" - signs were contradictory supporting both arguments) for the main drawcard we offer visitors - the little train that circles the gardens on random days during the holidays.

(As an aside to shake a stick at bureaucracy gone mad, apparently the State Government were making noises that the small voluntary group of train enthusiasts who lovingly restore old diesels and steam trains for this circuit of no more than 3km at a top speed of around 5 km/h and who have NEVER had an accident should adhere to the same standards as their soon-to-be-sold-off public network which would cost them about $1 million in upgrades - that is a heck of a lot of $1 train rides to flog to little children, isn't it?)

Unfortunately, we had not gambled on the day we chose being one of the random days they weren't running the trains during the holidays so we elected instead to use our legs and explore.

Note to the wise - if you are going to ramble through lush trees and look at ducks and lizards and splash in puddles and marvel at disappearing turtles, do it with a 3 year old in tow. Increases joy all around.

Of course, one of the problems with dragging children around in the tamed wilderness is the sudden of toilet needs (not to mention pregnant lady requirements) - but one of the attributes of tamed wilderness is that it is never too far to another building that might have toilets.

The best, best, BEST thing about the gardens, however, was the bit of lawn in front of the cafe when three children could run wild round and round and round for about 1.5 hours while I sat and watched!

Today, however, our special moments have consisted of "do I have to go to Vacation Care" and grumbles, as someone has seen fit to request me to type all day in their meeting.

Still, tomorrow is another day - and it is one where we aim to venture down to the Big Smoke for a very speedy catchup with an unofficial school reunion, 'Salina's dad's family, old friends and fit in the footy grand final before returning to the real world on Monday.