Monday, December 31, 2007

Come Midnight

I don't think my life will change dramatically, come midnight, but this year - the first for many - I intend to make resolves and goals.

I am going to get myself more excited about my life - I am going to seriously contemplate my health, my career, my family and my goals. I am stopping from the self-sacked attitude and seeing what I can fashion - who knows.

I know that I could make resolutions at any point in time - and it is funny (peculiar) that the midnight hour on the 31st of December is a touchstone for these promises to myself.

I have always been resolutely non-resolution - but in this instance, I am contemplating 2008 as a fresh page, one that I have intention of etching with a bit of who I want to be, and I chose to be excited by the prospect of that.

So to everyone out there - have a safe and happy journey in to 2008, and I hope that the New Year brings all your wishes and dreams that step or two closer.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

'Salina has a new love

Rather than whine on this blustery day in Paradise, I thought I would bring forth a gem from 'Salina's stay with the relatives.

If you recall, wa-ay back in October, she was in love with BJ. Unfortunately the people who had loaned BJ also had a love for her, and she was returned.

At the start of her visit, she transferred all her affection to Bullseye - which was more than ample for the little guy.

But he served her well, and they went on adventures.

However, Grandpa has decided that she was confident enough for the next step up. And the next step up was a very big step. Meet Lacey!

Of course, for her cousin Spideyboy, this meant that he is ready to take her place in Bullseye's affections!

A WHOLE lotta love and confidence in that smile!

So one day soon, she and Lacey are going on adventure.

Maybe even with the other new combination, V and Tradesman.

(The disclaimer states:
This image (apparently) belongs to V (which is a pity as I think he is rather gorgeous!)

- but heck, if he doesn't want some other woman out there in internet land liking the look of him I don't mind that aspect!!!)

Friday, December 28, 2007

If I had a million dollars

I would create DVD's of some of the amazing drives that we get to travel courtesy of country relatives in this beautiful part of the world.

I would find stories about people who live here, who lived here, who moved away and where they came from and went to.

I would seek the narratives of the original aboriginal population and try to piece together their lore and knowledge of the wonderful bits of land.

I would give it to the world before no-one could remember or roam any more.


Remember how I had a problem with a television station hiding and moving a show I discovered?

In fact, of late Network 10 has not only switched it back and forth between Sundays and Fridays to do Pavlov experiments on viewers of Outrageous Fortune. No indeed, they have decided a more sinister approach of stuffing any night they didn't have a clueless crap program to fill the latest shift with my new favourite show - see just how desparate viewers could be.

The answer is - Not That - I like my sleep and to plan on doing so a little in advance, so I catch every odd one when I am up to it but have resigned myself to not ever knowing the full story.

Last night, however, a new twist to my own personal Outrageous Fortune drama unfolded.

Last night, V and I were doing the last minute flick around before bedtime rituals were attended. We were on WIN (country folks channel 9) and the next program disclaimer came on - Mature Adults, all sorts of references. V asked if it were my programme, but we both dismissed that as it was the wrong station and we kept flicking. Five minutes later, the station we had landed on started spouting ads so we did another flick. Would you believe - it really WAS my new lost favourite show, but a previous season.

I have a feeling that Channel Nine may have read my blog (okay, maybe there are more than I watching it and the Summer ratings were reflecting), realised that they had a season of this up their sleeves and decided to adopt the policy of Channel 10 and fill some late night space...

Either that, or it is a conspiracy...

So now I know the background to the first ever episode I watched - and I discovered that the production qualities have travelled a l-o-n-g way since this first series.

So, have you ever discovered and lost a TV show?

I try not to take it personally, and I have already braced myself that this new-found wealth of riches will be pulled at the whim of a TV executive, but it still does sting a little, like the pain of lost love.

There was Eastenders - yes, I know it was a crap English soap opera, but it was my crap English soap opera and you never forget your first.

There was Thirty Something - whatever did happen? Apparently there were several seasons after it was ripped from my eyes, but I will forever be caught in the unfolding drama of an impending divorce between the brunette and her hubster, and the divorced ones sneaking around getting back together behind people's backs.

There were comedies whose names I forget, for my affair with them was so fleeting - but they didn't make the masses laugh and they were jerked from my screen before we could fully bond.

I know, I know - I need to return to only watch ABC and SBS as they know how to engender some loyalty and have some values - and I know how good for me their programming can be, but its like junk food - you don't watch commercial television for nutritional content but the mindlessness on offer.

Sigh - oh well, maybe Outrageous Fortune will just have to remain the programme I hook up with as long as I am able, either flash new version on Channel 10 or naive young version on Win/9, but that I never allow myself to love too deeply, because I do know how those b*st*rds operate.

But there is nothing so pathetic as steeling your heart against a holiday fling.

Friday, December 21, 2007

My Own Personal Christmas Tradition

Every year I do this.

Every year I wait until the last possible moment before I do the Christmas thing.

So here is the Christmas checklist:

Have I bought any presents yet?
No - we are shopping this afternoon. Why so early, you ask? Well, we are going back to the property tomorrow morning, so I have fulfilled my Christmas tradition of putting off shopping until the last possible moment.

Well, have I sent any Christmas cards?
No - well, the o/s ones went (last week after a week in my car and a 500km round trip, in the mailbox on Sunday night) and I have a list - does that count? How do you think I know that Christmas card rates last until the start of the New Year?

How about all that baking and cooking I mean to do?
Well, with a 4.30am wake up, you will be pleased to know that everything that needs to rest in the fridge is now resting and the baking will be taking place - and soon!

Any sewing projects this year?
The good news is the stuff for kids is nearly done. The bad news is that the stuff for kids was nearly done in October and so the sewing machine will be travelling to the property with us. As to the adults stuff? Looks like a bumper 2008!

So, am I going to do all the wrapping and crap tonight?

Heck no! - that is what Christmas Eve is for, after all!!! Tonight will be cleaning up, packing for the property and trying to prise out of V what he is offering me in the way of Christmas spirits.

I know all of you have done it all already (I read your blogs!) but don't you think "Christmas Tradition" is a much better spin on it than "Procrastination"?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


The first thing you need to know is that 'Salina is horse mad. Which is a blessing and a curse...

A curse, as we live in a beachside town with room for a cat but no horse.

A blessing, as there is never any coersion needed to get her to visit relatives. My family has a myriad of horse opportunities available just WAITING for an enthusiastic child to take advantage. 'Salina loves to comply!

This last weekend, I have not been around Blogworld at all as we had another visit to the property. There was a party to attend, computer work to sort and, of course, a pony to ride.

My father loves animals, and any child that has enthusiasm towards doing something with animals is matched by him - and thus, a love affair was reignited, with 'Salina being offered a berth mustering yesterday morning. The only stipulation was she had to get herself up and ready in time.

(This differs in my childhood memories, as whether we were enthusiastic or not, we were woken by the cold washer method to take our place in the mustering team - but I digress)

With the sun, 'Salina rose and took her place around the breakfast table, wide awake and chattering away. She was absolutely STOKED, and I don't think she paused between then and when we collected her from the yards several hours later.

The pony she has to ride is "Bullseye" - half Shetland, half Shetland pony - very short and very smart. As the adage goes, a small horse has to travel twice as far - and thus, 'Salina and Bullseye travelled twice around two paddocks in that time, jigging along behind Grandpa, chattering happily, getting lost and then refinding herself often.

She was very keen to do more of the same - so I was a good mother, and returned home without my daughter while she works for the next few days.

Ah, child labour - when its done well, it feels like a holiday.

People commented on my last post that I have a good memory for my childhood - but I must admit, the memories formed from doing the same thing over and over and over again.

Christmas holidays were always like that. Every morning it was up early to breakfast, get your horse ready and be off in the truck by 7am. Every day was filled with mustering, droving, dipping, branding, needling, mothering, droving and getting home as the sun went down for a swim, a feast and a hard earned sleep - because tomorrow was another big day mustering.

I am not unhappy that my daughter will get a little of that this holidays - not (just) because of the child-free time I will have, but because it is a wonderful store of memories to draw from in life.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Break Up Day

Its the most wonderful day of the year - or at least, it is for 'Salina and many of her counterparts in the Queensland Education System.

Break Up Day!!!!

I remember how we looked forward to it when I was a girl.

In those days (post-slate but pre-computer) there were 3 school terms of about 13 weeks apiece. They were long terms, it is true, but the last term was longest with the heat of Summer sapping our brains and the knowledge that at the end of its interminableness were 6 well-earned weeks of holidays at Christmas - Hooray!!!

My memory, however, is at odds with 'Salina's experience.

How come our teachers didn't quit teaching two weeks earlier and allow us to colour in and watch videos?

No, they quit teaching about two days before - but it was only to harass us into picking up every scrap of rubbish (of which there was very little - we were constantly harassed about such and therefore it rarely hit the ground); get us scrubbing desks and chairs; cleaning blackboards, science shelves and sports storerooms; sorting stuff, throwing out stuff and shoving stuff in to our bags to take home for our mother's to treasure (or throw out).

On the final day, however - break up day - every child was at school, smiles a mile wide and pleased as punch. It would be hot but we were all in our best playing clothes. Our parents also joined us in their going to town gear - with every adult and child from a 15 mile radius, however tenuous their connection to the school was.

Big Sandy - perpetual president of the P&C - would dig pits and all the boys would gather wood for fires to be lit. The ladies would gather their plates of sandwiches and cakes in the cool of the library and we girls would run to their every whim - water for the urns, scrub another pot or mug, rock the baby, talk to old ladies and give them seats in the shade.

When the fires had died, Big Sandy would put camp-pots of damper in the ashes and we would all head to the oval for various sporting events - sack races, egg-and-spoon races, 3-legged races, mother and son relays - it all happened - and prizes awarded were cheers from the crowd amidst the laughter.

At the first smoko break, the urns would have boiled and large pots of tea heralded by the grown ups, with icy cordial our treat. This was used to wash down damper and jam, cakes and slices. As children, we were expected to drop everything and attend to the older members of the community if directed, and so various of the over 70 brigade used to sit on the sidelines and grasp us to bring a refresher for tea or a bit more of that jam tart.

During the heat of the day, presentations were made - to the students, to the parents and to the teaching staff. We once presented a rather horrid teacher with the detention chair he had made our lives hell with for his two year posting as his farewell gift - the parents all applauded our generosity wildly.

Lunch was more of the previous meal with sandwiches added, and the students were generally allowed one can of softdrink and an icecream as a treat. At this point, a few yellow cans of a different persuasion used to circulate amongst the men.

Afternoons were a walk around the classroom showing off your meritorious work, plum and apple dunking (very refreshing in the heat), slabs of watermelon and finally the biggest game of cricket on the oval involving everyone - if you couldn't bat or field, you could add your power through extremely loud commentary on the sidelines.

Farewells were generally made with the dipping of the sun, as everyone suddenly remembered animals to feed or milk and dinners to be made - and as we all left waving wildly, our thoughts were not on returning in 6 weeks or the work our fathers would give us during that time - but the feeling of freedom and fun and joy.

Today, I collected 'Salina up early from school - she was one of only 10 in her class to arrive this morning and the place was a ghost town. I wish so hard that she could have the memories that I held - but we bade a glad farewell, as the outcome is the same.

6 weeks of school holidays - woo hoo!!!

This post was mainly inspired by circumstance, but the kick up the pants to actually put it down was Scribbit's December Write-Away contest - about "My Favourite Day". She has been holding monthly contests for the whole year now, and I often mean to do something about them, but this is only the second time got my act together! Anyone can enter, with entries closing December 21 her time.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Public Service Announcements

Am I crashing YOUR computer? If my site is causing you any computer headaches or problems, please email me at "jeanieinparadise at yahoo dot com" (only take out the "at" and insert "@", take out the "dot" and insert "." and take out all the spaces).

And yes, I know the obvious answer is "how can we answer if your site crashes the computer if your site crashes our computer!" like I am some sort of dummy (or you are, and I don't mean to infer that) but if you are one of my lovely subscribers through Bloglines or Google and have noticed this, let me know. The rest of you I will have to guess about.

Those of you who follow avidly and keep and eye on the calendar will know that yesterday was not a day to mess around with me. Today I am a much saner person, and will let you in on a secret.

Yesterday, I used Red Wednesday powers for good, not evil!

Yesterday, of course, attracted the usual sort of merde - universe conspiring to undo my plans, head threatening to explode - but I rose above.

It started with my confirmation of dinner plans with the neighbour, and getting a "can we make it next week instead" response. Darn - I had not planned on cooking for the next 5 days, and suddenly I am confronted with having to thaw thomething and think of what to prepare. But I rose above, ladies (oh, and you honey) by not only cooking something, but INVENTING a whole new recipe that was delicious, involved some chicken AND used up the leftovers. I am a genius.

I also had a bad case of the grumps - but I channelled my morning grumpiness into hard-labour floor washing, and we are all grateful for that small mercy. There was something involving pork recently for dinner, and I think that the lino got a lard preparation.

I also got over the bookwork blues by bicycling to the post office and newsagency - and got rewarded with a cheque in the mail! The bank got rewarded with a sweaty depositor, but hey, with the fees they charge I am allowed to perspire.

The afternoon was threatening to be a write off, with the monthly migraine, so I dosed up and lay down - 'Salina was due to go to After School Care so I had an hour before the guilt would get me to collect - but ha! universe served me a beauty with her "forgetting" to go, so she got to see me collapse and groan while she had afternoon tea.

She wanted to play downstairs for a while, so I harnessed her youthful exuberance into handing the clothes and pegs to me and save my sinuses from killing me with the bending down - then, as she did not wish to cycle to the shops with me for provisions, stepped RIGHT into my FIRING LINE. She has not yet learned to mess with Menstrual Mother.

I texted V to collect milk, greens and sanity from the local IGA, and then whipped 'Salina in to her room for a little therapy. And my goodness, there is nothing like a banshee helping you clean up your room to make things get sorted. Things got turfed that have needed the treatment for a year. Shelves got sorted, drawers are now organised - and there is SPACE.

Do you know what? As she now has a clear desk, 'Salina has not once said "I am bored." Instead, she has spent all of her free time doing stuff on the freshly cleared surface. And how happy is she? Ecstatic. As is her mother - well, ecstatic mixed with the guilt that I should have done this much earlier - but that would be the Blue Thursday spin on things...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Better the Devil you know?

This afternoon in the back yard, we were having the "what did you do today" discussion.

I had a fairly boring day, with a school assembly, a volunteers morning tea, a very frustrating and ultimately unfulfilling time trying to track down something to complete a project and finally a very dirty and sore task of unloading half a trailer of dirt and then refilling said trailer with garden waste.

V built a house.

"We did nothing" said 'Salina. "Oh, we coloured in and played games."

Both V and I expressed our dismay that she wasn't nose to the grindstone right up until break-up day on Friday, and said that she would be better employed either starting Year 4 work or revising Year 3, working on areas that seriously need improvement.

The discussion then moved on to who got paid for what work and how (as you do - and as 'Salina's teacher may have occasion to read this - hey W - I shan't go into the transition discussion in any detail), which lead eventually to politicians.

"So you pay Kevin Rudd?" asked 'Salina. "I don't like him. I like John Howard."

Holding straight faces, we asked her why the preference.

"Because I have known John Howard forever. I don't like change." she said.

Sounds like some other people I know.

(Please note - political opinions expressed by my child are not necessarily reflections of my own political persuasion. I have long ago given up influencing her in any manner of opinion - I just sit back and watch.)

Sunday, December 09, 2007

You have to feel sorry for V

Poor old V...

Eddie attempted the 5am wake up on me this morning and for the first time in a long time failed.

I slept in until 6.45am - woo hoo.

Of course, Eddie just moved on to the next person in the pecking order to waken, so 'Salina was up at 5.10am. Which dominoed into V being up by 5.15 - but the darlings allowed me to sleep until 6.45. I am truly blessed.

Well, I got my tea and made noises about washing clothes, washing dishes, attacking gardens, convoluted trailer strategies, 'Salina's social engagements - the day has just started and my to-do list immediately sprang to the fore - so I came in to the computer to commune with nature my addictive id for a moment or two.

V came in to discuss something with me.

I responded with some comments that are not repeatable here, but just imagine breathy tones, knowledge of child-free hours soon and fill in the gaps - he got the message anyway to be on alert.

Both 'Salina and he intermittently yelled topics of discussion through to my not-yet-fully-caffienated-internet-soaked mind - about things, I wasn't really paying enough attention.

Then V mentioned that it might be time for me to "switch off the TV" (a comment often directed at 'Salina's lack of interaction) - which I did.

Then V mentioned that Outrageous Fortune (see previous rant) was scheduled for a Sunday night appearance at 11.10pm.

Then V started getting breakfast ready and I began cleaning and planning and doing and vibrating with the "to-dos". As I went to the freezer to retrieve frozen offerings for dinner tonight, V took an opportunity to mention - non-verbally - about the breathy tone scenario I had raised earlier. I snarled...

He was confused - "but 10 minutes ago" - "10 minutes is a long time, baby - especially this week" I mentioned to him.

The good news is he laughed about it. The good news is it is a few hours later and 'Salina is at a friend's house until 2pm. The other news is that V has crashed out - an avoidance of the quixotic nature of a pre-menstrual woman technique, perhaps.

So I blog in lieu of better things to do.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

I blame Network Ten - Seriously

Dear Programming Maestros at Channel Ten,

Forgive me, but I hold you responsible for not having had enough sleep last night.

You see, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, your Network bought an excellent New Zealand program called
Outrageous Fortune, and then proceeded to give it absolutely no support. I applauded you for showing more than 1/2 of an episode as the sods at Channel Nine reportedly did last year.

However, in subsequent weeks it appears that you have attempted to bury it at 10.30 at night, and then kept switching nights to fling off any viewers.

But I am far more savvy - I have lost programs before - I read the TV guide to see where they are going to dig it in this week. I applaud the fact you have moved it back to Friday nights, after trying to ruin my week by making me stay up late on Sundays - but can I make a few suggestions, Channel Ten (and I do hope someone in programming has a google alert on it)?

How about putting it on INSTEAD of some of the putzy programs you call Summer Programming at an earlier timeslot?

How about pushing it as the fantastic NZ comedic drama that it is, maybe promote it a little in like programs and let the punters know? There is so little choice at the moment. (Oh, added bonus - there are meant to be a few thousand kiwis lodging in this land - maybe they will automatically back it if you told them about it?)

Alternatively, how about keeping it to one time slot so I can try and build my life around a constant?

Your other option is to give me a DVD recorder / video recorder that works / whizz bang new hard-drive recorder so I can record it, PMSL at a more convenient time and continue to spread the gospel...

Of course, my subsequent sleeplessness was caused by my lack of Christmas planning angst, and my really early morning was due to one Eddie monster - but if you fix this one problem, I will work on the rest.

Thanks in advance.

Jeanie InParadise

PS - Oh - and bring back Life

PPS - if you want me to contact you direct, I am a woman of technology. Therefore, an electronic contact would be appreciated on your website - and not just a complaint form. That sends out the wrong message that you only want complaints. I am not complaining - just trying to help.

PPPS - if you want feedback through your forums, it would help if you made registration available.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Debating Skills for 8 year old

Setting: Sunday afternoon - overcast and blowing a gale. 'Salina and BoyNextDoor are playing in the back yard.

'Salina: "Mu-um, can I have a swim?" (Concise question requiring yes/no answer)

Jeanie: "No darling, it's too windy and cold" (Nice logical clear reasoning)

(small pause)
'Salina: "Mu-um, If BoyNextDoor's Mum lets me can I have a swim?" (Throw in a variable and see what changes)

Jeanie: "No, its too windy and cold and you sneezed this morning." (Slightly expanded clear reasoning)

(small pause)
'Salina: "Mu-um, please can I have a swim? I promise I won't get a cold." (Offer bribes to the gods and mothers to get your way)

Jeanie: "No. If you don't get a cold you may go for a swim later in the week." (Brighter future given in negotiation)

'Salina: "P-l-e-a-s-e Mum can I have a swim now instead?" (Trying the wear-her-down method)

Jeanie: "No." (Trying the "I am sick of this debate here is my answer" method)

'Salina: "But Mu-um..." (Wear-her-down method with a raised but)

Jeanie: "No." (Repetition option instigated)

'Salina: "Aw - why not?" (Examine the technicalities)

Jeanie: "Because I said so." (Bring out the big guns)

'Salina: "That's not fair. I want a swim." (I wonder what the UN convention is on this matter?)

Jeanie: "I want world peace. The answer is No." (UN mother hat on)

'Salina: "That's not fair." (Can some liberal thinker save me from the torment of being her child?)

V: Listen to your Mum, 'Salina." (Thanks honey - nice to have allies)

'Salina: "That's not fair. I want a swim." (Overbearing dictatorship regime cramps style into petulant pose with a repetitive twist)

BoyNextDoor: "Sometimes mothers know best, 'Salina" (Don't you love the training BND's mother gives?)

(small pause)
'Salina: "If I promise not to get a cold can I go for a swim?" (Maybe you didn't hear me make my offerings to the health gods before)

Jeanie: "No." (I could sing this song all day.)

'Salina: "Its getting warmer. I don't think it is windy." (looking for the loopholes)

Jeanie: "No." (la la la la la la)

'Salina: "But.. " (have I used this one enough yet - could take it to the appeals board)

Jeanie: "If I hear another word about a swim this afternoon, there will be no swimming this week. DO YOU UNDERSTAND?" (Way to go - threaten the future joy - pulling on the Judge Jeanie gown and frown)

'Salina: "Yes Mum." (If you think this is over you crazy woman, I would like to lull you into a false sense of security. Aren't I sweet?)

(long pause)
'Salina: "Mu-um, why can't I have a swim?" (Tee hee - this approach is novel and new and will be appreciated)

Jeanie: "Right. THAT IS IT..." (See silk threads blowing away over there? They were holding my sanity AND patience in place)

'Salina: "But Mum, I wasn't asking for a swim, I was asking why." (Aha - and she SCORES on the technical aspects.)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Great word, isn't it? Has so many meanings, can convey feelings both joyous and exasperated (another of my favourites), is a noun in several senses, a verb covering a few very different actions - and in this case, an almost expletive...

Today, it is going to start as such - as in "What a balls up, I failed to put my cookies (or bickies, as we prefer to call them) forward for Jenn's Second Annual Virtual Cookie Exchange" - but then I remembered that today is yesterday in Jenn's Land, and I would continue my balls analogy except I can't think of a way of working a ball into "Phew".

So here is yesterday's post (tee hee).

Way back when, I gave you Jeanie's Marvellous Muesli Bars - well, now, here is the variation of Sunday that is awesomely good (and I have testers standing by just waiting for the next batch)

Great Balls of Muesli

1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup self-raising flour
1/4 cup raw sugar
1/2 cup coconut
6 dried apricots - chopped
1/2 cup sultanas
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup choc chips
155g butter
1 tbsp honey

Mix all dry ingredients. Melt butter, mix in honey and then mix with dry ingredients.
Put into a lined slice tin and bake in moderate oven for 1/4 hour.
When you take it out, let it cool to handle, scoop up tbsp amounts, squeeze out excess butter, roll into balls and put 1/2 balls onto a biscuit tray.
Bake again for another 1/4 hour.
Really, really yummy - makes 36.

I know that "Currently under revision" sign has been on my blogroll for so long now it is embarrassing. And the longer it remains so, the more great blogs I am finding - too many for me to keep up with (despite wiping it clean every week or so, there are 3519 unread posts in my bloglines). So from today, I will update 10 at a time with those I really enjoy.

Wonderful posts recently from

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Rainy Day Ruminations

ha ha ha - thought I would check the definition of ruminations - it seemed an apt word, but I wanted to make sure.

All but one definition this fits - read assured, I will refrain from regurgitating small quantities.

So anyway, its Sunday - Paradise is currently overcast, blustery and wet - which is perfect Sunday weather unless you were thinking of mowing the lawn or getting laundry dry or looking forward to Carols on the Foreshore tonight.

I awoke at my current body alarm time of 5.45am. Couldn't even blame 'Salina today - she was flat out snoring. So was V - Eddie could have some of my ire, as he was getting mighty comfortable on my feet, but that is normal behaviour so I will have to concede that maybe it just IS that I will be up at an ungodly hour until such time as I need to be, when my body will finally find the need to sleep dominates.

Of course, my immediate thought was food. It was not a "I am so hungry, what sustenance is available" waking - more a "what ingredients do I have to cook with and what will I make for my family/friends/strangers" type of situation.

Speaking of cooking, way back when I began this blogging malarkey, I was spurred in to action by Jenn and her Virtual Cookie Exchange.

Well, now I have an oven, and so I really intend to get some delicacy together.

That was not my impetus this morning though. I had promised V some Chocolate Squares, and the visitors had never had any of my Muesli Bars so it was time to ration the butter and make as much as I could.

For some reason, the Muesli Bars were wetter than usual, so I rolled them and rebaked - mmmmMMmmmm, may just become the new normal!!

Anyway - off to eat more - calories don't count on rainy Sundays, do they?

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Early Morning Christmas Cheer

I was dragged kicking and screaming roused from my slumber this morning by a ghastly little elf beautiful child, wishing to advise me that the cat was on the dressing table and should it be allowed?

What a thoughtful child. I mean, it is so much more a reason to wake your mother than "It is the first of December. Can we get the tree out? Can we start decorating? Can I start sending you mad?"

No no no no no... For those she at least waited until I had abluted - but then the onslaught began. The time was 5.43am.

I had to be up - mainly because I don't do going back to sleep very well. But also because we have house guests. I have this old-fashioned approach to house guests - let them sleep, and to ensure that was a possibility I had to exercise some form of supervision - get the "shush" tone set so that she wouldn't escalate into normal 'Salina raised to the power of Christmas.

Old friends of mine who are also friends of 'Salina (depite Girl2 telling her this week that "adults and children cannot be friends").

Old friends (as in I have known them for about 15 years) who also benignly mention occasionally whether they should contemplate children.

I know - I should just let 'Salina loose on them with some pre-6am Christmas cheer and stomp on their suppositions, but I don't know - I like to keep my friends, not scare them away.

I do offer my child as a surrogate during moments of indeciciveness - it sometimes works (and they are all "oh, she is so gorgeous") and it sometimes works (and they are all "oh, lets get a bottle or two of alcohol").

Apparently, she was awake when V did his 5.05 morning ritual, and seeing him awake said "It is the first of December. Can we get the tree out? Can we start decorating?" Despite him being as eager as she, he saw the need to wring as much sleep out of the morning as possible and just told her "soon" and resumed sleeping.

He is awake now - he just asked me if I knew where the Christmas tree was. "Yes" I told him.

'Salina has now completed 3 Christmas games apparently, and is itching to play them with someone!

Oops - must go - although my friends are still asleep, V attempted to wake them by taking a tumble at the top of the back stairs (right beside the spare bedroom window). He spilt coffee all over a floor I only washed this week (okay, and the rain slicked up to the right consistency for his speed-racer thongs to slide on).

Okay, it was because I opened a few windows on the landing at 6 - but I swear, it wasn't raining then. Also, I openly declare to the world that I much, much, much prefer all of the wonders that V offers my life alive (to anything really, let alone pointing fingers at me attempting darling-acide).

It is now 7.30 - the Christmas season has (apparently) officially begun.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Bah Humbug

Apparently, there is only 4 weeks until Christmas. How did that happen? Didn't we just have one?

Here, I face the relentless tide of Christmas cheer (both V and 'Salina are big fans of the whole she-bang) just waiting the starters gun. Being the holder of said gun (by virtue of being the holder of the voice of reason) I am very stern in my "no Christmas until December 1". If I could get away with a later date, I would possibly try it, but it is hard enough holding to that one.

I do love Christmas.
  • I love the fact that the food is so good (especially the mangoes).
  • I love the swimming and excuse to laze around all day (except for the never-ending washing up and food preparation).
  • I love the giving and receiving of presents (well, the underlying who spent how much on who and who broke the "no big presents" rulings - oh, and the darned "oops, we didn't factor Christmas in when we did the budget" black clouds sort of dim the cheer).
  • I love the fact that it is ONE DAY in the calendar. Read that folks - ONE DAY.

  • I can handle a lead time for a bit of socialising.
  • I understand that the post office needs a few days to distribute the cards - heck, if I ever remember the cards, I often give them all of January to do so.
  • I know that at some point I will have to face the shops and try to stretch the few bucks I have stolen from next year's prosperity plan into something resembling cheer for my ever expanding network of family and friends.
  • I know that I will then scurry and attempt to concoct or create a few more gifts to show my care and consideration for them.
  • Yes, houses do look pretty with lights, and I am up to a tour of those who wish to spread the joy in that way.
  • Tinsel gathers dust, blu tack works into carpet and sticky tape leaves marks - that is why we have a tree, so it can all go in one spot - much easier for dismantling before New Year.
  • I have even been known (and don't you DARE repeat this to anyone) to open my mouth and actually sing during Carols.

But not before December 1 - please?

(Oh, and note to V and 'Salina - I swear, those 4 notes I whistled yesterday were just 4 unrelated notes, and not the first line of an obscure verse of a Christmas Carol - and it does not give you permission to start humming louder or accidentally breaking into song. Just remember who is the dictator here and we will survive the next 3 days.)

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Level Above

the little tasks I assign myself on my infamous "lists" are those that adorn the whiteboard.

That pivotal point in my family's organisational strategy has a variety of hurdles that stand between us and Nirvana.

There is 'Salina's section - "make horse book" and "fill money box" are her constants, although she occasionally will throw on "got to beach this weekend" - ahh, the simple life...

V's section has had a list of chores from several weeks ago when we were away and he wanted to have the home ready when we came back. Of course, not putting "clean whiteboard off" as one of your tasks can make you come undone. Hey honey? 'Salina also puts a little "shave" memory-jigger on his section from time to time.

The "family" section has "Organise Wedding", "find school hat" and "garage sale?" as well as beach-going strategies.

My bit - well, there are a growing list of people to ring, business things to do and my larger "housefrau" tasks.

AS I live in Paradise, the view can be marred by dust from neighbouring developments, salt from the sea breezes, mud-drips from frisky wasps and ill-aimed fertilisation available from our avian friends.

As a result, on an at least annual basis, I get all houseproud and determine CLEAN FRONT WINDOWS should feature on the whiteboard of anticipation.

This will generally get it out of my system and buys me a few more weeks, until the stars align and a more pressing demand from another part of the whiteboard make this task a suitable procrastination tool.

Unfortunately, I failed to take the before shots - but I present to you:

(I also did the whole of the rest of the room, but that was not on the whiteboard...)

V is having a day of rest today, as it was declared a rain day bog day.

When I was complaining about having to fake my OCD with such Shannon Lush behaviour, he (the holder of the family OCD tendencies) ducked my pointed suggestion very well.

My concern at that time was for all the fiddly bits in front doors.

"When we next see the need for a front door, it will be flat." I told him (in my dictatorial manner).

"You could have just brought a hose upstairs and washed the house" he said. "At least you don't have to worry about upper storey windows" he said.

He then apologised profusely when I motioned to the dozen large hoppers awaiting my attention not 2 feet away!!

Now, to wipe that one off the whiteboard!!!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Democratic Process

Just to notify you in advance, that if my political preferences were a colour, they would probably be either purple or rainbow.

ha ha - my daughter's favourite colour answer was always rainbow when she was younger - but I digress...

Yesterday, as well as sharing the joy and delights of the Family Fun Day at school, we had a democratic duty and vote for the politician of our choice.

The way that it works here is that you get to vote for a Local Member who forms part of the House of Representatives and his/her alliance with a political party helps to decide who forms Government and therefore who is the Prime Minister.

If one single candidate doesn't get over 50% of the vote, then the person with the least votes gets crossed out and the people who voted for that person gets their second preferences counted - and so on down the line - until one single candidate does.

I had six choices, therefore six numbers to put in the little boxes beside each person. Five of those people had political parties beside them. Honestly, until I walked in to the booth, I had only heard the names of two, and they were generally accompanied by expletives (or the ilk) by the other. One is the sitting member of our very safe conservative seat. The last time it went Labor, the Labor member got kicked out of the party and has been shafting them ever since. I never know who I am going to vote for until the last minute because I want all the information - and frankly, knowing that your vote will make no difference to the end result, just the "margin" makes it even more futile.

'Salina wished to know how everyone voted. Her political opinion was "if you voted for Rudd it would be bad, but if you voted for Howard you would vote for Cars-tello" - a great precis of the advertising we get.

You also have to vote for the Senate, where 3 representatives from each state (or thereabouts) get to join three who are there from the last election. Here it is more about party allegiances and blah de blah de bloody blah de crapola. I hate politics. There were 65 numbers we could have assigned in this mob OR you can put 1 number against your political party of choice. I once did the number thing - I think there were only 40 odd at that stage - but it would be interesting to find out if anyone actually did vote beneath the line.

I have spent the last twenty years six weeks hating this bloddy election, mainly because I have so many people close to me so passionate about the crap on BOTH sides of the political divide, and while I am very passionate about a lot of issues, I realise that politics is all about voting for politicians, and I hate the fact that politicians are humans who have had their blood sucked out and replaced with politics, their minds programmed by party alliances and the term "good for the nation" is tinged with whatever colour their flapping flags are.

I used to be someone who enjoyed a good argument. Now I realise I am a person who likes to be optimistic have warmth and joy in my life. Politics is a cold vacuum that seems to suck at any of that.

Can you tell I am sick of it? Thank goodness it is over.

I know, I know how important it all is and how it will shape our future and what this really means...

No more will I have relatives tell me how Labor is going to stuff the economy and how bad it was when Keating/Hawke/Whitlam was in office for their industry. No more will my they espouse to me, wanting either an argument or for me to roll over and play dead, signifying anyone who has a social conscience will do the same come the big day.

No more will I have friends tick off the lists of the evils of little Johnny and his gang and how he has been putting the screws on all the values of humanity and decency.

No more will the tv be telling me that Labor will cause your children to die from needle stick injuries in the playground or that Liberal has already caused global warming.

Of course now I will have family members peeved with me because I don't take the economic implications seriously and I will have friends upset because they thought every logical person should be in agreement about the social issues.

You are both right and I am so glad that it is over and out of my hands.

Whoo - that was more of a rant and I will just wipe my guts up from your monitors. Sorry folks.

I was going to be light and review the election coverage from you (3, and at times 4 stations of 5 so plenty to review - made me wish I was a Star Wars fan), but it seems I had something to say with my vote...

Channel 9 - enough with wanting to be seen as technologically savvy. Honestly? The shredder was good for a single impact, not constantly, and please, work out with the guys in graphics how to keep it on the screen, because it looked like you got the work experience kid to generate it. So Channel 9, though - they get what could be a good idea, flog it without looking at how it could be expanded either way.

Channel 7 - Newstopia did a great spoof the other night about the journalist-free coverage on offer on this station - unfortunately, the parody was so close to the reality it was cringe-worthy.

Channel 2 - (psst Kerry - your red was showing) It was good when they were looking at statistics - they do a great job on statistics.

SBS - I loved the fact that SBS waited until there was something to actually talk about before they began their coverage, rather than talk trends from 67 votes counted.

John Howard - only caught the end of his speech. It sounded quite gracious. Of course, the 10 minutes of it we saw he failed to mention the words "Labor" or "Rudd" but hey, maybe his speech had been going on a bit by the time we resumed watching after other more fun election night offerings.

Kevin Rudd - wow, was he stoked. A statesman's speech but hell, I suppose you only get to make your primary acceptance speech once in a lifetime. A few great phrases that obviously they knew were great phrases, as they were used several times in the speech.

I hope to goodness that all that was said was true, and that this will be a changing government where change is needed (environment, education, health, IR, social policy), a government for all the people (including the bastards deluded who failed to see the winds of change) with a strong economy.

Thats all I ever wanted, really.

Friday, November 23, 2007


I woke up this Friday morning with a clear head.

I get to spend most of my day being Tuckshop Lady.

I get a break in the middle to move the washing along.

I get to finish in time to do the groceries.

I have enough money in the bank to do the groceries.

We are having Boy-Next-Door and his mother over for dinner tonight (to share our dinner with, not to eat them).

Tomorrow is Election Day. No more political bullshit advertising, espousing and blatant mudslinging.

Tomorrow is also Family Fun Day at the school. 4 hours of screaming children on rides, 1 hour of flogging raffle tickets, 1 hour of flogging plants. I am really glad they only gave us 10 days notice on the plant thing, as that means no-one had time to get any ready, so I may have nothing to flog there.

Sunday is my day of rest. So I will do the rest of the garden - it and I both need the contemplative moments.

Although I always have a sense of impending doom at the back of my head thanks to my workaholic tendencies combined with my procrastination, its days like these that take it all out of my hands.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

For all of those who tire of my "I conquered the world" posts

You know, those days when I go so darned well on my list and I actually get down to blogging at the end; or those days when I get so darned inspired by my list I blog about it in anticipation?

Wasn't today.

Today started well - no sense of doom or foreboding.

Put on the washing - figure with the number of loads it should be finished by next week.

Started the washing up and made tea for me and coffee for V.

Did the breakfast/lunchbox/morning ritual with 'Salina and set her on the school bus.

Noticed I had not drunk very much of my tea, but decided to check my i-world before doing any more or had my own breakfast.

Hmm. Noticed my skin starting to get hot and cold and clammy. Noticed my vision blurring and a jackhammer politely tapping at behind my right ear.

Made a quick phone call where I was given some good and loving advice to get a lemon when I went to the shops, as lemon under the tongue will help offset the dreaded migraine.

Decided to hit the local shops as didn't know if I would be up to the 15 minute each way drive to the big(ger) smoke.

Local shops did have turkey - surprise I fleetingly thought about for my Californian-born darling. Smallest piece was 2.6kg - solid frozen - recommended 18 hours thawing time each kilo. Yeah, right. The fact that there was no price on any turkey articles sealed the deal - rule of thumb is if they aren't willing to tell you how much, they want a whole lot more...

Went to the butcher's for some steak. If my darling V could not have traditional Yank fare on this day of thanksgiving, then I could at least offer his favourite food.

Forgot to get a lemon.

Got home to find him already home, with pains from feet, knees and back. I advised him of my head so we slept together.

All day. And unfortunately that was all that we did.

Got up at 2, took more panadol, went back to bed.

'Salina got home at 3 - migraine had laughed heartily at the panadol offering and was now moving into other territory.

She had a bad day at school, as while she and another girl were making a surprise card for Girl2, was accused of talking about her and cold shouldered for the rest of the day, culminating in Girl1 and Girl2 kicking her seat on the bus all the way home, taking and tossing her hat and throwing around her bag while saying mean stuff.

Sigh. I wish I knew how to handle 8 year old girl politics.

She then did homework with V and then swam in Boy-Next-Door's pool, watched DVD with Boy-Next-Door and ate some pizza at Boy-Next-Door's house. I love having Boy-Next-Door next door! (oh, and his mum!)

The steak went in to the freezer. I had dry toast and V mentioned making a sandwich.

It has finally lifted enough for me to be here to fill you with such cheer...

And I am so very thankful.

Clothes still need to be pegged.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Instead of whinging

I had a half written post whinging about other people's children, but I have had such a lovely afternoon and evening that I have just tossed it into the draft bin (and that feels so much better).

This afternoon, it loomed that I had several L-A-R-G-I-S-H jobs to face when I got out of my regular Friday tuckshop lady disguise.

While I crowned in my success in getting the front lawn mowed Monday Morning!, the back did not fare so well.

Monday afternoon I was buggered a little tired; Tuesday was Guides; Wednesday I ended up working; Thursday I also meetinged, worked and grocery shopped to arrive home just before 'Salina, and honestly no tears were shed when rain loomed large - but today I HAD to, as the mossies were getting way to friendly and were seriously casing the neighbourhood.

I attempted to fire 'Salina into action to get her big project done by Monday (document and build a boat), but she is set to learn a life lesson and I have too much on my plate to contemplate how to bubblewrap her on this one. Instead she chose to see what Boy-Next-Door was doing.

Well, he was cycling and mucking about, only too happy to have a playmate and easily persuaded to ask his Mum if they could have a swim in their pool.

So this-bad-mother then donned the workgear, sunscreened up, cleared the back yard and fired up the Rover.

Aside from the baling twine incident (makes a lovely sound in the rotors, doesn't it?), the fuel mix richness after I checked for the baling twine (makes a lovely cloud that happened to highlight the downside of mixing laundry and mowing day) and the injury one received when one drops the mower onto an unshod (I know, I know) toe upon ripping the starter (I did a compensatory hobble for about two sweeps of the yard - great self-pity session I ended up laughing at) it was a very fulfilling little job - my grass-clipping mountain range at the side of the house is now becoming Great Wall of China-ish, and I am contemplating applying for a government grant for artistic interpretation of the sub-tropical back yard.

Then V got home and was duly appreciative of my enthusiasm and determination lawn-wise (I had time-managed it so there was still enough of a "before" strip to show the sheer enormity of the task undertaken when he did arrive).

'Salina and Boy-Next-Door conspired with his mother to watch a movie and eat ice blocks and ham and cheese sandwiches, so there was an hour and a half of child-free time to have us some amazing passion - in the kitchen, with our preparations for a feast.

When 'Salina arrived home, we partook. It was delicious - under-appreciated by the middle one, but hey, I am long over pandering to her narrow taste definitions. So long as she eats some, eats some more of the healthy and doesn't make too much fuss we all get along just fine.

Then we got to see her full haul from visiting her father's family last week for their belated celebrations of her birthday - and she did really well!

She is in bed now. V noticed I had left my work gear on the bathroom floor - a habit we are attempting to break in 'Salina - my defence is that I wasn't sure whether I wanted to wash them before we headed off in the morning, but a point is a point is a point and V made it very well when he loudly chastised me for it, with 'Salina cheering on!

So, what do you think my punishment should be, huh? I suggested that maybe I should be forced to do all the laundry next week too...

I am off to the 'lations in the morning for the weekend. A weekend filled with cousins and horses for 'Salina, so her life is complete. V may or may not be working, so he may or may not travel over with us or he (the other) come over tomorrow afternoon. There is opportunity for some quality Central Queensland socialising, although I also do actually work when I get over there, so may concentrate on getting them squared away with that so I can do more family oriented things on Sunday.

See you then!

Edited to add:

Night was topped of by catching a new show on Channel 10 - Outrageous Fortune - a Kiwi show that had us cracking up! Apparently Channel 9 bought and buried it last year, but 10 will hopefully keep showing it, because we will definitely give it another viewing! We got the first episode of the 2006 series, so there is plenty ahead of us.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Where are my feet?

Well, I was going to update you with part 2, but (a) I ran out of time, (b) it was too boring (well, it wasn't in real life, just in print), and (c) both of the above.


So Friday I trained then drove - and drove and drove again - across from Armidale to Coffs Harbour (if only the weather was better, if only I wasn't such a time-efficient driver, if only the camera were of better quality I could have shown you some wonderful scenery on the drive).

Coffs Harbour is where I hopped onto the Pacific Highway - our country's busiest highway. I knew there was a blogger who lived around there somewhere - but I did not see a tandem on the road, nor any netball carnivals so have had to break the sad news to her since returning. I drove within 1km of her house, apparently!

Then I got to Brunswick Heads, and the new upgrades make it freeway heaven. Unfortunately, the directions I got online had not accounted for this change, so another 20km detour got me back to where I was to meet with some friends. On Friday it was seafood with her and 2 other friends.

(I have discovered the way to ease pre-menstrual tension - sit me at a table with other women and lots of food - I ate my way through the next 30 hours).

Sunday I again packed the car, and headed North. I collected 'Salina from her relatives, popped in to various other locations where she had left / my sister had delivered various items of her wardrobe and homework. I still have 2 pairs of shoes and 1 hat outstanding.

We arrived back to rapturous welcomes from Eddie and V - and collapsed.

Since then I have been working, self-training, doing business books and self-promotion, washing, ignoring the floors and windows and trying to catch up.

Yesterday welcomed in "the visitor" with no trumpeting migraines! I also got a few calls where I could go earn more money if only I am prepared to drive 4-500 km each way - hmmm - doable, just not every week.

Today I also went in to the school to help the teacher for an hour - I am so glad I only have one child, and that she is not any one of at least half a dozen that would send good teachers out of the system.

Egads - thank goodness generally I only have to help adults learn in situations where they actually want to learn.

So - here ends another boring update - I will try to live a more interesting life soon - just when I can get out from under all the detrius of life.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Back in Paradise - Part 1

Ahhh - it feels so good to be home. Its so good to just - be - and be here with no drives in front of me, no "OMG you have to do this today"s pressing down on me. Ahhh - the little joys in life.

On Wednesday I drove South - I even drove a few clicks further South than I intended for my first appointment, that is what happens when a downpour coincides with trucks and traffic and freeways and looking out for "the second exit to Mooloolooba" - but it all worked out well and I had deposited daughter with her first set of carers.

Then I drove further South, and further and further until I was not even in my old time-zone any more. After 12 hours of driving I finally stopped...

When I packed, I contemplated possibly putting in a cardigan but at last minute decided to put in some longer sleeves and a wrap as well - thank goodness. The maximum predicted for Thursday was 15 - our coldest in Winter was 12, so 15 is a very low number in my register!

I undertook training all day Thursday - it was great, and if any of you need some assistance putting together your stock records, from Embryos, Semen and joinings through to integrating a yards system I am now your girl!!!

Thursday evening, wandering the shops was warmer than contemplating the motel room, so I searched high and low for something mindless and trashy to read in a bubble bath - there was possible many tomes that fit the bill, but not for the price I was willing to pay or at the outlets I went to, so I settled for the new Shannon Lush magazine, some Radox and some very ordinary Indian takeaway.

Friday morning woke with some excitement - I had woken from a dream involving drinking wine at boarding school (as you do) at 2.45 in the morning - and got to hear the cut and thrust of concreters riposte. I wonder about the sad disintegration of the cursive language in the modern trade world after such an experience, as no longer is there colour and expression, but a mundane repetitive use of the word "f*ck". Finally, my mother saying "it reflects on poor language skills" is a truism. After I had spoken with a higher power about ensuring that no lives were to be lost in the exchange (although I do think a job was lost) I managed to drift off again.

More training on Friday morning - so not only can I fix all your stock headaches, but I now have the skills of another accounting package under my belt (to join my existing armoury)!

Then I saddled up the car again, and this time headed East.

Monday, November 05, 2007

The Ides of November

Well, my interesting week to come and thus far I think it might have more to do with providence colliding with nicotine withdrawal than with auspicious stars.

Yesterday we put up the swing set without any major relationship fall outs, which I have had said to me is the first test. I have also learned that just because an idea crosses my mind, it is not a fantastic idea to then weave it into perceived reality and then disappointment when it does not happen AT THE EXACT MOMENT I think it should happen. It did happen, and it happened before the world collapsed - which was in God's (and V's) infinite plan, no doubt.

I also finally finished washing all bedding and clothing littering my laundry. Well, we would have had I remembered to put anything in to 2 of the loads. See, I have a method to my laundering that goes thus:
  1. Sort washing into n loads.
  2. Put in powder into machine.
  3. Manually turn on hot water tap.
  4. Start machine filling.
  5. Start pegging out.
  6. At a provident moment go back to the machine.
  7. Manually turn off hot water tap to save the entire downstairs from flooding.
  8. Load the clothes in to the washing machine.
  9. Hear the machine stop filling.
  10. Swear and dash inside.
  11. Manually turn off hot water tap to save the entire downstairs from flooding.
  12. Load the clothes in to the washing machine.
  13. Finish the pegging.
  14. When the load finishes, manually switch it to spin cycle.
  15. Unload the clothes into basket.
  16. Repeat the steps 2-15 n times - or n + x times, depending on how many times you forget step 8/12.

I blame swing set construction distractions for my x=2.

But now all the washing is finally done and dusted. Which just makes the sad old 3 year old shelf space Electrolux Front-loader a more dominant feature. Sigh, I have calling my lovely friends at LERF on my to do list today.

As are several little jobs, a promotional blitz and organising a trip away at the end of the week - by 3 today - so won't be here long.

Both Saturday night and Sunday did not fall into the "restful" category, as I had the most vivid dreams where I could have sworn I was awake - but really, really tired.

Saturdays involved making out with V on a school bus, being busted by his cousin, meeting an extended (and rather judgemental and nasty) family, lots of food, accusations of not being Christ-like (what the?) and V getting progressively younger, until as my 17 year old boyfriend unrecognisable.

I awoke, thought that it was strange, went back to sleep and proceeded to have the same dream over. Some bits were changed - the extended family grew to include my extended family including the outlaws, a gay couple I don't know and some other friends; my ex-BIL was very obnoxious and my aunt bawled him out, the gay couple were caught making out and we had a discussion and 'Salina was a nightmare in sass and behaviour, leading me to not get any food and then accused of not being Christ-like.

Last night, I had many vignettes, but all so real that I truly panicked at a few turns.
  • My father bought me a four-wheel drive that came with a boat, a coat, toys in every pocket and was part of some new film promotion.
  • I stayed at a friend's parent's house but I couldn't remember whose. '
  • I put my foot in my mouth about someone's employment.
  • Another friend was laid up in bed after a mysterious "accident" that involved flooding.
  • I let a poodle into a secret hallway that then barked and woke the whole house.
  • I forgot to pack anything and we were away from home for 5 days.
  • V's tongue had green spots and glowed in the dark.
  • 'Salina had to start at a new school and I couldn't find it.
  • I had to find my sister and it was getting dark and she didn't know where we were staying, and I couldn't tell her as that would admit I didn't know whose house we were staying at.
  • Mum wanted to take the car back as Dad didn't have the money, but we couldn't find where it had come from or my car.
  • People were talking to me but I couldn't keep my eyes open as I was so tired

I was very glad to wake up, but exhausted.

I got one call about confirmation of work I have to do by tomorrow evening (won't take long), one call about a query on past work I have to look up (again, won't take long) and one call about something quite exciting but huge that may be of interest to me in the future.

On Wednesday I have to meet my sister somewhere and give her my child then drive to where I am doing training. According to whereis, it will take me between 9-10 hours driving time (add an hour to that as NSW is on daylight savings), so will be a huge day in the driver's seat.

Thursday and Friday I will be learning all there is to know about some rural software packages so I can be able to pass on my wisdom to the software company's clients and possibly entice new business for them, too.

I have to long-distance negotiate a drop-off between my extremely reliable sister and my slightly erratic outlaw family. Ever since my ex-SIL took her extremely drunk boyfriend round to my sister's one time - or the other version, took her Zimbabwean boyfriend round to my racist brother-in-law's one time - more diplomacy has been required. Thank goodness for Baka, who thinks all my family are wonderful ladies and gentlemen - and my family look most kindly to her - all we need is for her to not be visiting the casino at that point in time and it will be sweet.

Friday night to Sunday morning I will be catching up with one of my oldest girlfriends and her posse on the beach in Northern NSW.

Sunday morning I will collect 'Salina from the outlaws and come back here to collapse!

Edited to add - LERF just CALLED ME! As exciting as that is, even moreso is the fact that their technicians are coming to my place to fix the machine - RIGHT NOW!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Adventures of an 8 year old

Today is 'Salina's 8th birthday. This time 8 years ago I was stupefied in hospital, looking at a trussed up baby and wondering what the heck I was meant to do!!

Our Day Part 1
Today were awoken at 6.15am - so a one hour sleep in - woo hoo. We had stayed up late last night (well the adults - all that wrapping!) so needed caffeine - and instead we got an episode of the Eddie mini-dramas...

Interlude: Eddie Adventure
Last night, Eddie had climbed the screen door, somehow balanced on top while he found a grasshopper to torment, and once he got him down "guarded" the recycling the grasshopper hid in - so of course, we shut him on the other side of the screen door.

By 6 this morning, he had torn the screen door in an attempt to reunite with the grasshopper - so 'Salina put him out of his misery and opened the door. By the time our kettle had boiled, Eddie had the grasshopper begging for mercy.

Now, this was not a lubbley little native keeper but a big brown locust variety - and although I am all for balance in this unnatural environment, I decided to free the little beggar because there is nothing like torture to make the morning an unpleasant experience.

I got a tissue to protect myself from nasty grasshopper feel (they give me the hee-bees) and in a smooth arc of the arm, tossed him through the window beside me.

Thump!! The window was shut. So I opened it and redid my brave feat! Lubbly grasshopper did not have a good 12 hours.

Back to Our Day
With V's coffee and my tea, we sat down for the present opening ritual. It appears 8 year olds are far more wily than your 7 year old variety, as she saw this for an opportunity to potter and play act for her captive audience. It wasn't until the family cry of "stop messing with our minds" did she get down to business.

She scored well - she knew most of the booty she was getting from me, as she shopped with me for it yesterday - but I still wrapped every item up seperately (in recycled wrapping paper - one of my OCD behaviours). She also some stationary and an address book from me (so important in the social life!), a horse crystal and light set from V, got a electric-dog pencil sharpener (from V's ex-wife), a horse brush and clothes (from my sister and her family) and clothes and a swing set and monkey bars from Nana and Grandpa!

After breakfast there were household duties to attend, as I have been a bit absent this week and there was a pressing engagement at 11.

Her festivities begin
No party was the order this year - instead, there was a request for a shopping expedition with girlfriends to check out toy stores. I whittled the number down to 2, and at 11am the first task was to collect Girl1.

After I collected Girl1 and her mother waved her away blithely into my care for as long as we wished - and our first port of call was to collect the lay-by 'Salina has been paying off for the past few months.

Then it was time to meet with Girl2, take her from her parents and start our adventures.

The first adventure was food. Now, my child is no paragon, but her preference has been tailored by V and I to look for good stuff, and she wanted a kebab. Girl1 thought about it, but Girl2 exclaimed "eww", so all three ended up eating junk. I allowed it as it was the easiest route, and I needed to follow that path with the extra girlage.

Then we went to a fantastic toy store we discovered yesterday - it doesn't have a website (yet - I enquired) but really lovely quality toys at reasonable prices - yay!!!

Apparently the store was meant to be shut before we entered, but the owner was waiting for someone and we assumed open door meant open for business - but she was more than glad to let the girls choose a few little things (that 'Salina bought for them out of her money) and 'Salina buy a real toy sewing machine from her birthday and money-box money (with only a small booster from Mum, as there were too many coins to contemplate).

We then went to try the large toy chain as it has a sale on presently - but they adhered to their early closing time on Saturday ritual and missed out on an opportunity to fleece us.

Interlude One
We went to a park we had not ventured to before - and it had one of those cycle-see-saw things - that the girls worked out could cater to all of them, so a good hour of energy was drained (and squealing achieved) there - until the call of the shops (and the screech of the bindis and threats of broken glass) stopped our fun.

The shopping frenzy
Our final destination was a shopping centre where there is the "$2 Shop" to take our last coins. Girl2 had given 'Salina money for her birthday, but had none of her own to spend - so 'Salina gave her 1/4 back - and they shopped every aisle, examining the better, more wonderful toys or options. Girl1 was cashed up, and bought for 'Salina, her mother, her father, her brother, her cousins and her sister - and still had over $20 left in her purse! Girl2 had the fiver, and so bought quite well.

Seeing Girl1 being so magnanimous, she spent $1 on something for her brother - "which is very nice for me to do, as I don't like him" she said (on 6 separate occasions).

When we left that store, the couple who owned the wonderful toy store were walking past and again chatted about website stuff - I am not a designer, but knew of a deal around town so actually felt a bit business-like for a moment - oh, and then 3 girls clamoured for my attention and I was back to reality...

Tripping Home
We dropped Girl1 back to her family (and I must say, Girl1 did a marvellous thank you speech to myself and 'Salina on the way with no prompting whatsoever - I WAS impressed).

On the other hand, Girl2 taught 'Salina the lyrics to "Don't you wish your boyfriend was hot like me" on the way home, interspersed with them playing with magnifying glasses they had bought and Girl2 saying "This makes you look even chubbier, 'Salina. You're really fat".

Home, sweet home
We came home to see how V had gone without us ALL DAY, only having Eddie, the laundry, the swing set assembly, the monkey bars assembly and the newspapers to amuse him.

(Now, I am not sure at which point I should put this in, but another request was that V and I stop smoking by her birthday - which we had good intentions to do 3 months out from her birthday - okay, 1 month out - maybe 2 weeks out? - 1 week? Nah, today is cold turkey (with some patches). And I accede to a shopping trip with 2 other pre-teens? Yeah, right... V played it safe by staying home.)

Upon seeing his posture and the fact that other matters took precedence over reading my mind, I whisked 'Salina and Girl2 downstairs again to help assemble monkey bars.

Players in the back yard
Girl2 really got up my nose, with a conversation with 'Salina (in front of the invisible me) as follows:

Girl2: Who is your best friend, 'Salina?
'Salina: BestFriendFromOldSchool and You, Girl2.
Girl2: But I mean here - who is your best friend here?
'Salina: You - and Girl1, Girl3, Girl4, Girl5, Girl6 and Girl7.
Girl2: Yes, but I am your best friend, aren't I?

BoyNextDoor was home, and as he and 'Salina play together well was invited to join in the project.

Girl2: You don't like BoyNextDoor, do you?
'Salina: We play together.
Girl2: But you don't like BoyNextDoor, he's not your friend.
'Salina: We play dinosaurs and dragons a lot - not all the time.
BoyNextDoor enters back yard and they all go to climb frangipanni tree.
Girl2: BoyNextDoor, 'Salina hates you.
Jeanie: We do not have conversations like that in this back yard, thank you!

By this stage, realising that the monkey bars needed the swing set to maintain full stability, I had dragged out the swing set pieces. BoyNextDoor and I did the inventory, I ascertained that V wasn't feeling left out by not being included in the process (he didn't want to yell at kids and that is what one of them makes him feel like doing, so he passed), laid out the first few bits, realised the self-locking screws (or something) looked too much like the short-setting screws (both in packet 2015), worked out that I didn't want to yell at kids and that is what one of them was making me feel like doing (we had a much bigger swing set at our old house, 'Salina) and the sun was about to set.

I packed Girl2 and 'Salina in the car and took Girl2 home. I am not sure how glad her parents were to see her, but there was a certain Mr Olsen look from the father...

By the way - I am not saying Girl1 or 'Salina are paragons - they just know not to show it in front of an impressionable adult...

We had lasagne for dinner, a million phone calls returned and a tired but oh-so-very happy daughter in bed (with the crystal horse as a new night-light).

I think I may head that way too - very, very soon.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

LERF? I nearly cried

Well, its only 28 here, but in this little hotbox I call my office (other people may call it the closed off bit of verandah attached to my bedroom) it is stinking hot - especially trying to work out money matters by the end of the month!

So, who put money on the Local Electrolux Repair Firm (to save typing, referred to hence as LERF) fellas actually getting back to me yesterday? Anyone? Nah, odds are definitely stacked against them on that one.

Todays update is I rang LERF (again - that would be the 13th time since the latest breakdown from my end) and spoke to Gail (again - I have had the pleasure on about 5 of those occasions) who had no idea who I am (again - I have offered to make them a dartboard with my name as the bullseye).

She is very good at the local brand of customer service.

Sorry, Pshe is berry goob ad vae locl bwanb of cushomer serbice (thats how you say it with your tongue in your cheek).

Before I began my breezy self-introduction she cut me short and wanted to know my address. Why? Because there are so many LERF customers in this town with the same name, apparently it is easier to file your cards by street address. Hmmm.

I explained the latest development of the saga, and she told me that no-one by the name I mentioned worked at LERF. (I wonder do any of them?) I said "perhaps someone with a similar name?" and then listed the many similar names to that particular handle. Ah, yes, someone did actually call that spot their workplace with one of those names...

(I have a problem with Gail - she is also the one who advised me that Rosscoe had retired and expected me to roll over and play dead).

She finally found my card and informed me that the part was not in. When I enquired what day would be a good day for me to continue the LERF brand of self-abuse, she ASSURED ME they would call when it came in. (Doubles or nothing, anyone?)

She then said that the wholesalers must not have any in stock for them not to have received it, so I should expect it on Thursday - which defies logic.

Why? Because I figure that LERF may well be passing the pain down, and that their wholesalers may have taught them the "cushomer serbice" that I have come to expect.

Silver lining on the experience is the blogging - you gotta admit, if it wasn't for blogging, this carp would be unbearable...

To the person who found my blog by googling "Electrolux Ecovalve" - great while it works, get to know your LERF and develop a positive relationship before you have to get up close and personal. Apparently you should budget on a two year turnover - which unfortunately is the rule of thumb with whitegoods in this day and age.

Other googlers:
  • "killer tummy ache" - I am sorry, but I am glad you found one of my whinges rather than one of my recipes.
  • So many people are looking for variations on "hole in the bucket" its astounding. I wonder how upset you were when you found a moan about the washing machine?
  • "Is cat eat corned beef safe" - I would say yes, make sure there was plenty of water available.
  • Many, many, many people wish to fold fitted sheets - and do you know how much it empowers me that I have provided this service to the hordes? If you wish for an even easier method, one of the commenters has invented something or other and wants to sell it to you - if anyone buys it, let me know (cause I know how to fold fitted sheets!)

Of course, some purverts (yes, I know its spelled wrong, but I don't want them to google me on it) looked for a lot of things they are unlikely to find on this blog - although if you are still looking for boob, you still have a chance to help save them, as I have internet friends doing all sorts of fundraising for Breast Cancer in the next few weeks - drop me a comment and I can connect you!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Wishy Washy

Gee, its been a while, hasn't it?

I have been meaning to get back here, tell you all about the little inspirations of my life - but you know, life, computers, work, family and washing machines are conspiring to stop me and my blog from connecting anywhere but in my imagination.

Life update - going on at a rapid rate - everything still wonderful, just more busier...

Computer update -
  • I have good anti-v!rus stuff on board now - excellent.
  • It found 80 threats in the first 12 minutes of scanning my machine - not so wonderful.
  • It has resulted in my computer g-o-i-n-g very slowly - especially surfing - during the moments when I wish for speed - hmph.
  • It gives me a lovely breakdown of who is using my wireless network every 10 minutes - great.
  • This results (my own router and V's computer) in interrupting whatever I was doing every 10 minutes - huh?
Work update - actually have a few irons in the fire and set to design a few more irons at the moment - some of the moula firmly stashed in the bank and I am thinking of ways to spend it - it seems that the computer black hole may take a fair whack...

Family update - I have had the pleasure of hosting every member of my immediate family in the last 5 days! Unfortunately, one of those visits was due to 4yo Rockgirl having a nasty accident involving boys, a barbeque, a door and her little finger... The good news is she didn't lose it - the confusing part is the medical dramas to get to that point. I have since heard that my uncle cut off the top of his finger the next morning with a chainsaw and my BIL split his face open with a branch yesterday - so that is the 3 thanks fate.

Ah yes, the washing machine update. Where were we at with this little drama?

Quick recap for those who haven't yet and don't really want to read the backstory (because they know I have a verbose habit):
  • July 2005 - Bought an Electrolux Eco-valve front-loader. Small drama with delivery, but happy and very impressed with outcome.
  • December 2006 - had a few problems. Used 25yo Simspon washer until fixit guy fixed it.
  • December 2006 - 25yo Simspon washer had a few problems. Fixit guy fixed it and front-loader. Front-loader back in action, 25yo Simpson becomes useable spare with drip-dry issues.
  • April 2007 - had a few more front-loader problems - Used 25yo Simspon washer until I could find some paperwork.
  • June 2007 - Front-loader fixed under warranty. 25yo Simpson washer back in reserve.
  • 9 September 2007 - Front-loader had a few more problems. 25yo Simpson washer back in action. I write a snarky email to Electrolux.
  • 10 September 2007 - Electrolux reply, but not with the answer or concern I was looking for.
  • 10 September 2007 - Rang and was assured front-loader would be fixed under warranty - they would call me.
  • 11 September 2007 - was called and advised they didn't ever manufacture my washing machine as could find no parts. After my assurance they would keep looking and call me when the part came in.
  • 12 September 2007 - was called and advised they didn't ever manufacture my washing machine as could find no parts. After my assurance they would keep looking and call me when the part came in.
  • 24 September 2007 - Rang and found guy who assured me front-loader would be fixed under warranty had retired - they would call me back when they knew more.
  • 2 - 12 October 2007 - Rang every other day and found no-one ever knew what I was talking about - even if I had spoken to them two days prior - they assured me they would call me back when they knew more every time. They never did.
  • 16 October 2007 - Rang and found no-one knew what I was talking about - they would send the technician on Thursday.
  • 19 October 2007 - Technician came and I was assured they would find out about the warranty status and how much/when it could be fixed - he would call me back on Friday when he knew more.
  • 26 October 2007 - a load (containing a school bag with remains of week old banana mashed into the seams) managed to dislodge the pin advising the 25yo Simpson that the lid was closed.
  • 26 October 2007 - Rang and and found no-one knew what I was talking about - but it was the manager who answered the call, so he went to check my card. He was gone a VERY LONG TIME. He returned 10 minutes later and assured me it would be fixed under warranty. They will call me when the part is in on Tuesday (which would be TODAY).
  • 22 October 2007 - the amazing V, with the assistance of a screwdriver, several cups of coffee and some creativity has fixed the 25yo Simpson... Of course, the lid is no longer connected and wires held together with a clamp protrude from the back - but it goes nicely with the drip dry problem and the hot water adjustments required to get a good wash happening, so all in all - he got well rewarded for his efforts (even got some clean clothes).

30 October 2007 - I am taking money on the odds they will not call back. I am trying hard not to show cynicism - but I have to face at least 5 loads today, which will involve 15 interactions with the Simpson and am not believing in fairy tales...

I have a partner who works in construction therefore tends to get a little dirty laundry, a daughter an active nearly 8yo girl therefore tends to get a lot of semi-dirty laundry, every family member visiting therefore acres of sheets to wash regularly and me getting fatter, therefore limited wardrobe choices and more reliant on clean laundry...

Inspirations that did not make it to this blog: - 'Salina's current nightmares; Wednesday night television; thank you notes; V (the bits I am allowed to blog); construction; Rockgirl's medical drama and the conundrums of modern medicine in a rural setting; environmental impacts and 'Salina; and Eddie, the wonder cat and our food fights.

Sorry I have not been by to visit many of you of late - I will once the computer and I are talking more civilly.

It has taken about 2 hours to do this 1/2 hour job this morning, so its more swearing than gentility we are using at present.