Sunday, March 30, 2008

Exotic Teen Culture

Don't you hate it when the amazing blog you thought of at 1am Sunday morning does not come fully formed when you attempt to put it down at 1pm Sunday afternoon?

Anyhow, last night was another big Saturday night here, and the television offerings at Mummy-clock-off time were absolutely dismal.

I also hate it when you are anticipating a lovely night in at the flicks, and there is nothing worth flicking?

Luckily for us, we live in the modern era and V's mother did send him a lovely little number reminiscent of both the years of adolescence and Southern California school days - Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and so we watched it.

Did we ever think some fashions and styles were cool?

When discussing it, I noticed that V and I approached it from very different angles - and it wasn't just the male/female thing at play.

V lived through such behaviour and agonies of the interpersonal dramas (well, not all of them) in real life high school and mall settings as shown on the screen.

I read about them, watched them, studied them - but the weirdness of being a boarder at an all girls school in the middle of Queensland meant that it was all very theoretical fodder.

As a matter of fact, being a boarder at an all girls school in the middle of Queensland was not weird at all, to me and all the girls around me - it was what we knew (didn't always love) and in most of our cases, what we knew we would be when we were teenagers.

So when I get comments about how quaint and Enid Blyton it must be, I laugh a little laugh to myself because it was not all that (I definitely don't remember many lashing of ginger beer) and what is quaint and Cameron Crowe for me was ordinary for so many of you.

We never did see the end of the movie, however. A toilet stop towards the end led to flicking around the offerings and discovering the last 3/4 of American Beauty - ah yes, it was a very cultural evening here.

How was yours?

Saturday, March 29, 2008

My Love and Hate Affair with Facebook

I have discovered that I am as useless adept at using social media in the virtual world as I am in the real. Yep, that bad.

Many moons ago two of my friends invited me into the realm of Facebook, which, as they were my friends of many many more moons ago than that, I trusted them on and entered.

Having at that point just escaped the scorching heat of virus threats and had a new ally in some whizz bang software designed to save me from them. Well, all those lovely little fripperies offered up in Facebook just didn't look like fun to such whizz bang software and so I have no idea of all the delights.

Another problem I have with Facebook is it doesn't ever tell you really what is going on. On rare occasions it will tell me that one person wants to be my friend or its my move on Scrabulous, but really - it doesn't tell me EVERY time it is my move (and I need that information) NOR does (or did) it tell me about my
  • Water Globe
  • Bumper Sticker
  • Hatching Egg
  • 2 Grammar
  • 2 Knighthood
  • Funnest Friends
  • 8 Lil Green Patch
  • Endangered Hug
  • Dr Phil Personality Test
  • Causes
  • Pink Ribbon
  • Diamonds
  • Which Toon
  • Growing Gifts
  • Sketch Me
  • 2 Hugs
  • Girls Underwear Quiz
  • Cat Quiz
  • Hatch a Celebrity
  • What Rainbow Colour
  • Cupcakes
  • 3 How Many Kids
  • Oregon Trail
  • Booze Mail
  • Australian Wallabies
  • Likeness
  • Best Friends
  • What Colour Are You
  • My Garden
  • Funwall Friend
  • Movie Compatibilty
tests, quizes, requests or messages. Oh, I now know they exist - however if I click on them either one of two things happen:
  1. It tries to download an add-on, which my whizz bang software kyboshes and I never find out what real fun it is, or
  2. In order to access it, I must pass it along to at least one (if not all) of my friends.
I don't know if my Facebook experience is reflected in other such sites - its a bit like Hellfire Clubs - they may not all be the same, but you only have to look once to get an idea what is going on in there.

Frankly, Facebook, I don't give a damn. I do give a damn about my friends, and I do try to send them a message if I ever get past the first freak out Facebook offers - but frankly - if you want to know what I am doing, thinking, feeling or whinging about, far better come here.

As to any other social media - scares me to death and I hate being a luddite - by it is not my idea of fun being measured in popularity in any aspect of life, especially online.

Phew, glad I got that off my chest.

So, if you want me to know how you are going? Get a blog! I will get your feed and feel we have connected.

lol - okay, real life friends, I will call you back if you call me (and when I remember - sorry!!). And if you want to come visit Paradise, feel free. And if you want to coincide with the wedding of the century - yes, yes, just as soon as we organise anything YOU WILL BE THE FIRST TO KNOW.

Friday, March 28, 2008

In which Ms Salina is extremely cheeky (and regresses her mother)

Yesterday, after a wonderful afternoon of not annoying a migrainey (yes, AGAIN) Mummy while having a tea party with her new best friend from 2 doors down, 'Salina overfilled her indulgence quota and went scarily close to being in BIG TROUBLE.

See, the problem is that 'Salina has a tendency towards precociousness (I wonder where THAT came from) and, while it can be endearing and cute in small doses, it has a tendency to do certain adults heads in (especially migrainey heads) given in large quantities over extended periods - and the threshold was overreached yesterday afternoon.

"Stop being so cheeky" I screeched. However, even as I screeched, I remembered a certain incident 25 years ago that was scarily close to being re-enacted.

I mentioned previously that I spent some time in boarding school.

Now, boarding school is one place where the threshold for cheek is quite low. Imagine the average cheek of the average teenage girl and multiply by 200 - that is what is designed to send boarding school mistresses over the precarious ledge tethering them in the belief they are in the sane realm.

In an attempt to restore sanity to the average boarding school mistress (easier said than done), draconian rules and regulations were installed and rigorously adhered to.

Eventually I did learn and worked out how to dole out my cheek in methods designed to slip through the cracks and fissures - but that was about my second year of boarding school. In my first year, I hit their sanity threshold on many an occasion.

There was the moment when I broke my toe playing truth, dare. There were the times when I broke music study regulations. There was many an instance when I had to stand through meals. And then there was church.

We were a non-denominational school - which meant that every Christian religion was offered to boarders every second Sunday. To keep costs down, the majority (Anglicans) were sent to early church, and the buses then took a second load of boarders to late church of their choice.

Drawing the short straw and being christened Anglican meant you had to be up earlier than your luckier Catholic, Uniting, Lutheran, Protestant, Presbyterian or Baptist sisters. It means you got the cold breakfast as the kitchen staff were not going to indulge at such an early hour. It meant being dressed in your "white with gold trim safari suits" (otherwise dubbed "Ten-Tonne-Tessie Dresses") and Panama hats before 6.30am to be bussed to the Anglican Cathedral.

I really feel for the good worshippers at that place, as their early morning crowd was well and truly outnumbered by the little heathens that we were. One good game in church was to see if you could get all around you scratching by tipping your Panama back and having a go - then there was the yawning contests and giggles and whispers as the poor mistresses attempted to put out fires.

But the really superior (?) thing about going to first church, was if you got up someone's nose enough, you could get detention - which meant double church.

And yours truly did some great nasal investigation during her first year.

It got to a point that Mrs L, the matron, would just look at me in the morning, find any detail to get me on and sentence me to save another mistress the hassle at a later stage.

By third term, I had spent the majority of Church Sundays in Anglican first church and then another denomination of their choice. I subsequently have absolutely no time for organised religion!

Mrs L greeted me this one morning about how messy I was. This was an ongoing banter we had going, earning me a special name from Mrs L of "Princess Grot".

Anyway, I think I may have grunted or not been quite humble enough in the face of her opinion, thus I received the usual "double church" admonishment. "Whatever" may have been my reply - it was definitely my attitude.

To put it into polite words, her threshold broke and she upped the ante. "Double church until the end of term!" Again, I failed to heed the flashing caution signs and may have replied something about whether that was the best she could come up with - don't quote me on it.

"DOUBLE CHURCH UNTIL THE END OF THE YEAR!!!" she thundered, turning a lovely shade of purple. Her only bolthole after this was until the end of time, so I shrugged, rolled my eyes and taunted her to use it. She saw that she had nothing left to offer and she was infuriated that such punishment no longer worked.

She did retire at the end of that year - I am sure I had nothing to do with it, as she was already 106 and had been threatening to retire for years.

Anyhow, back to my own daughter, and her moments of driving Mummy (and V) mad.

Where was I?

Oh yes, "Stop being so cheeky" I screeched.

"What is cheeky?" said the monkey 'Salina. Word to the wise - not the phrase to employ if trying to defuse a situation.

"Cheeky is giving a smarty answer rather than just doing what you are asked. Do as you are ASKED" I valiantly attempted not to be drawn.

"Oh, what do you mean by smarty?" says Ms Smarty-Pants the endangered 'Salina.

"J-U-S-T D-O A-S Y-O-U A-R-E A-S-K-E-D-!-!-!"

Later, I explained how, when we were children, we learned the definition of cheek from our parents. Ah, the good old days, when the threat of a belting or wooden spoon helped us in our understanding of the world.

Whatever happened to fear as a tool for parental control? There are moments when it would make my job so much easier.

Either that, or we are going to have to start threatening a bit of religion around here.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Six Word Memoir Meme

sent to me by Mel at biglittlesister is driving me insane!

This is I am meant to do.
1. Write a six word memoir and post it on your blog.
2. Add a picture if you wish.
3. Link to the person who tagged you.
4. Tag 4 or 5 others, with links, to keep it going.
5. Leave a comment for the ones you tag with an invitation to play.
6. And link to the original post about the Six Word Memoir meme.

Okay - how the heck am I to memoirise in only 6 words, when it takes me 600 just to contemplate the last week - and not much happened in the last week?

How about "lippy ex-hippy verbosely procrastinates attempting wit"?

I am going to tag - umm - lets look at who I should tag because I would love their answers?

Cathy at Arkie Mama
Debby at Life's Funny Like That
Kate at Being Me, Just for Them
Bush Babe at Granite Glen
Alison at Three Times Kewl
and Lin at Hold On Tired

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A trip to the talkies

It was indeed Charly!! Thank you blogworld (and the uncommentable V). I had thought so last night when I the memory of it flickered past in reference to something or other was having an insightful conversation with my lovely V about states of consciousness.

Glad we all got that worked out - but man, how good was the school, eh? We also got to see such beauties as Romeo and Juliet - yes, the Olivia Hussey version of 1968 (must have got a job lot from that year) and The Car - a relatively recent bomb from 1977.

(Just to clue you in, I was not born when 2 of those 3 movies were made and was still a child for the other, so they were made several movie seasons before the school showed them as the weekend movie for the boarders).

Every Saturday night, we were compelled by the staff of the school to watch the weekly movie in the old chapel. This was to ensure that we let our parents know how well we were treated in Jail at boarding school and set their minds at rest as to their having left their little darlings (and large school fees) in good hands.

You know that the 1968 version of Romeo and Juliet had a 15 year old playing Juliet? In the reel version shown at school, her voice was deeper than a grown man!

I went to boarding school in a town on the Tropic of Capricorn. You know, that ring around the world that says "mild weather" to the South of it, and "stinking hot" to the North?

The school year always kicked off in the heat of January, just as the cyclone season was starting to get a bit serious. Cyclones also knew the TOC line and respected it, always choosing to hover around it while it decided to create devastation to the North, or flooding to the South.

If far-flung boarders were lucky, one hit at the right time to delay their trip back to school for a few weeks - we were never quite far-flung enough to throw our timing.

Day girls could count on at least one good cyclone causing school to be cancelled and they could miss a day or so in the first few weeks - pity the plight of the boarder who was there. Stuck there.

Firstly, to fill the time, we had lots of "prep". Prep was when you had to sit in silence in a classroom with your school books and do whatever homework there was.

Of course, it mattered not to the boarding mistresses who presided over such torture that school had only been back a manner of days and we still had NFI what we were going to study that year, let alone do homework.

All that mattered to them was silence, it was bucketing down outside therefore they could not force us outside for a drenching (although they may have thought it well deserved), they could not leave us to our own devices in the boarding houses (because, OMG, consider adolescent girls cooped up in bedrooms for hours - and then multiply by 200) and maintaining silence - because
  • (a) mistresses are badly paid women who should be able to do better jobwise, but life has dealt them a harsh blow and they are all recovering from breakdowns (okay, 90% of them) (and the other 10% will not be far off after dealing with boarders), and
  • (b) far less rebellions succeed if conducted in silence.

Occasionally (like if it is the sixth straight day of cyclone warnings) the powers that be would rummage through the troves of movies available for hire in the reel version and take pity on us.

One such time was when providence sent the school such a title towards the end of one cyclone. Hurrah - the mistresses could stop haranguing us to do unset prep, they could coop us in one room with only one required to man the doors and the rest of the staff could take a well-earned tipple with the kitchen staff.

Unfortunately, the matron (who had been promoted to such a post due to her proximity and relative cheapness, not due to any aspirations to nursing) had thought Little Darlings must have been something like Seven Little Australians, which had met with such adult approval the decade previous.

It took about 20 minutes into the first reel before the sole mistress on duty discovered the mistake and raised the alarm - 20 minutes of such freedom had been unleashed onto very bored teenage girls, and then taken from our grasp as we were advised that the night's entertainment had been cancelled, and we could chose to do prep or watch a movie in the schools coffers (called The Turning Point).

But the disappointment was too great, really, and the moment of discovering teenage angst wrenched from our grip was too much for us. We chose prep over watching more grown women wrestle with theirs. We could do that anyway, any day - in prep.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Help me please people

Movie title required.

I saw it in the eighties, but it could have been made in the seventies (because our boarding school liked to give us the latest releases - NOT).

It was about a boy who had autism or something.

He was given some miracle drug or therapy or something and "came to".

The name of the movie may be a boys name - I remember the title had it drawn in crayons.

Anyone? Its driving me nuts.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wordless Wednesday (of sorts...)

Lookee what I found in my mail today!

Yay - it looks like a present... from Trish at My Little Drummer Boys...
The Present
Here 'Salina, can you please help me to open it?

No darling, the correct phrasing is "excuse me, minion, but could you please get me my scissors", not "get my scissors, serf!".
Ordering the Minion

Oh look, 'Salina multiskilling - television and helping mother, isn't that great?

Be careful of that multitasking, darling - vital organs at risk!

Wow - a mouse - and its the kind I really like - the "not alive" version.
And look - a lollipop in a flavour that I have been assured is someone's favourite around here. Of course, this means it is now effective bribery, therefore worth far more than the value of the item!
A present...
Hmm - just noticed that someone has casually tossed a banana peel on the couch beside 'Salina - where is that minion?

Can't get that darned present out - here, will this work?
Oooh - its to 'Salina! (Which wasn't in the rules, Trish!) What is it? What is it?
A book and a balloon!!! Thank you. (Unfortunately the Borders discount may not be effective, as we are too far North of the border to have one - otherwise I would definitely be using it!)

Of course you can open mine too.
Mmm - Turkish Delight! With 60% LESS fat, which is just as well, although I will continually wonder now - less than what?
Oh look - its Eddie!
'Salina did try to snaffle the little knife as it was so cute - but I have dibs if it is going to help me make dacquiris - now, that is the sort of fun drink I would like to excel at. I wonder does it help to shave the ice? That was always my biggest problem!
Oooh - okay, one day in the future we will have a wordless Wednesday with me all Turbied up, strawberry dacquiri in one hand while I gloat over my my lovely Eddie coaster stitched by my own paws - may have a few dacquiris in my to get that far, of course (or I might cheat and just use the picture already provided!!). Unfortunately the Turkish Delight will be unable to take part - I was worried that it might lose the other 40% if I didn't take care of it RIGHT AWAY!

Thank you Trish - and thanks Lightening for organising such a fun swap!

Oh - and we just found a cute toe ring, and have fought over whose present it fell from. Unfortunately we both ended up ugly stepsisters on the issue, as it is too large for 'Salina's dainties, and too narrow for my uniquely squat toes - but V has just arrive home, and we will try it on him!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Three Bra Rule

Do you know what I did this morning?

I spent some time on me.

Yes, yes, I know - its always all about me, but this time I actually involved external forces.

I got my hair cut.

For you to understand the shock this entails, I must point out that I have long hair. This is because I shaved my head in 1995 (mid-December, to be exact - it was so darned hot!) and then decided to see how long I could go without cutting it. Of course, I have had trims since then (it would be really messy and long if not). 8 of them. I know that is falling well behind the recommended every 6 week rule, but you know, easier to spend the sheckels on everything but the girl - well, this girl anyway.

So instead of just a trim, I actually got a "style". Yeah, woo hoo me!

Then, I decided to check out some clothes. Because once you get the boulder rolling and all...

I had been given a card that entitled me to $20 towards goods to a variety of shops, and across the way from the hairdressers was Big Letter, one of the shops validating the gift card.

At first I browsed the clearance racks. Well, unfortunately I fall in the size range that is not avaiable on such racks. There was a pair of leggings that may suit 'Salina, though, so I slung them into the basket.

Then I decided to go through the "Ladies Fashion" section. The irony was there was nothing fashionable there AT ALL. Honestly, I live near a regional centre, and the style this decade is "maternity" - even when not so labelled. Is this happening in the rest of the world?

Every darned garment was designed to hid any waistline - great if you are a stick and therefore the drop from neck (or empire line) to hem flows, but if you have a bit of a bosom or some hips, the drop occurs miles from or too near to parts of your actual body and creates an effect that is the opposite of flattering.

I valiantly went from rack to rack, shelf to shelf, wanting so desparately to get me SOMETHING. Finally I found they had V-neck tee-shirts in a colour I didn't mind and decided that the ransom they were asking was actually nearly acceptable. There was also a cutish dress that looked as if it had intentions to show a little of the hourglass - into the basket they went also.

Then I moved to the lingerie department. Now, I did mention the possibility that I might be one of those with a bosom. I do - to use the vernacular, I have melons. Not watermelons, granted (thank goodness), more rockmelons - rockmelons that have served their natural purpose, so the rock is possibly a misnomer. Honeydews? Pawpaws?

Anyway, as any woman with such appendages know, you need to have something supportive to get you through the day, and you need to have something strong to last longer than a week. Have you seen what is on offer these days?

Now, I have a three bra rule - or rather, the universe has applied a three bra rule to me. Ever since I can remember, I have only ever had three working bras, because no matter how often you buy a new bra, and old one falls over immediately. To get around this rule of late (for the last mumble 2 months years), I have avoided buying any new ones. Heck, it has worked so well that I currently have four working bras - as one that had been deemed unacceptable now fits the benchmark for the new acceptable. However, given the age and state of decay of those four bras AND given the fact that a new bra brings joy and delight to the wearer, I was venturing forth to cause mayhem in the bra draw.

I chose three sturdy bras on special to try on, and as I could only take four things in, the dress came also. The first one laughed at me and advised that, really, that smaller number that I used to think I could fit really doesn't do what it should do in the back region (ie do up) let alone mount the melons admirably. The second and third were of the larger number - the second puckered and said "saggy boobs = smaller cups, sucker", while the third (same size, same brand) said "these cups overfloweth". The dress screeched "pregnant" as well as "potato sack", so I went back out with a little of my enthusiasm sucked out of me.

But I was determined. No longer would I contemplate the lower priced or on-sale undergarments, I would look instead towards brands I had found love with in the past and try to achieve a little aim. Back into the dressing room I went with three more bras and the tee-shirt. The first would have been well and good - if I didn't move and start the bounce factor occuring. The second said "rise up" not only to my melons, but also to their underwire (and yes, I did try and adjust straps to stop that happening - which still said it to the underwire but not to the fruit). The third squished and gave a neat cleavage - somewhere near my neckline, and the wrinkles there didn't look as if they needed the competition in the dressing room mirror. The tee-shirt was a scoop rather than a vee and looked - wrinkled and ordinary, which is what it is meant to hide and flatter, not highlight.

I was so disgusted with the shop, I even threw the sale item that I had considered for 'Salina back on the rack and left in high dudgeon.

Oh, I did seriously contemplate a sidetrack as I strode through the foodcourt on the way to my car and find some satisfaction in deep-fried self-esteem, but it looked old and tasteless.

I was all set to roar home and drown my sorrows in the garden, when I remembered some very pertinent points. I had to get a bra. Honestly, the four I have are no longer really embracing the concept of support. It is a case of when they are going to give up the ghost, and they fire warning shots at inopportune moments of their rapidly approaching demise.

There are two establishments in this regional centre that still have the old-fashioned "bra fitters" employed. There is nothing like the memory of your teenage years and the swish back of your dressing-room curtain to a duck braying (I know, mixed metaphors) "and how is that one - still puckering up?" to revisit the horrors that such shops can bring. Of course, for only an arm and a leg, you can then get a well-corseted and entirely flattering (if fully clothed) bosom - but its a tightrope in anticipation.

Luckily, I was saved by the low fuel gauge and the memory that the shoes 'Salina wore to school are now too small and have a large inability to save the feet from water, therefore I would need to detour to another centre and fix both problems.

At this centre, there is a Letter-Mart. And what a refreshing (for once) change offered there - they had a sale! With real savings!! On clothes I would consider wearing!!! And they had bras for melons fuller figures with a decent percentage figure off!!!! And we (with such melons fuller figures) know that a decent percentage leads to a very decent reduction in the exorbitant pricing.

As well as an adequate bra (yes, I will still have to visit the other establishments for anything truly satisfying) I got two shirts - that made like I might have a figure - and the second shirt was half of half of the markdown price at the cash register.

Oh joyous me.

So I will be bounding (but not bouncing) to work tomorrow morning. Well, right after I unravel the latest tuck shop saga...

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Saturday night

is DATE night in Paradise.

Ah yes, while we live a life a quiet contemplation the other six nights of the week, Saturday night heats up around here.

During certain times of the year, our methodical approach to life does allow a little more latitude, but as of two days ago, we are fixed on Saturdays again until October (or November or whenever they think footy season should cease for 08).

Not that I complain about the Footy. If it is a half-decent team, I might sit beside V and tease him while keeping an eye on the game. And if it is a half-crap team, I get to check on blogs while V has a snooze in front of the game. Heck, if it is Parramatta and St George, I might even get to choose the movie.

Actually, that is bs. If it is a half-decent team, I will be yelling at the ref with the best of them, but as for all the rest, it is true. Unless V really needs someone to help him yell at the ref.

But from now until that date in Spring, my window of late-night deep and meaningful conversation with an adult has been pared back to Saturdays.

As many of you reading are parents, you know full well how prepared you have to be to contemplate such d&m activities. And as most children are getting older and wiser by the day, you will also know how these preparations need constant refinement to get the full depth and meaning you anticipate.

You have to start early. Saturday morning is not too early to start your big night preparations. We try to greet 'Salina brightly (or at least respond her her morning sunshine with as much enthusiasm as possible) at the hour of morning she chooses to alight from bed - or the hour she has chosen we have to be up with her, anyway.

After ablutions, food negotiations and budget strategies have been wrestled with (by one adult while the other regales her with interesting facts and figures or decluttering activities), I get her to style up and hit the town.

The aim of this endeavour is to make her walk as far as possible, through as many supermarkets as possible while keeping just below the whinge threshhold. She keeps on, as I dangle the tempting delights of "fast food for lunch" in front of her as inducement. I love that my child considers Sunshine Kebabs her favourite junk food!

She gets a breather on the way home, and then we all put groceries away. If we are extremely lucky she has a playdate or finds something to do with Boy Next Door. Later in the afternoon, V will play with her outside while I get my downtime (V has his while we shop). If we are really, really lucky, she is exhausted by the evening, and bedtime is a breeze.

After 8.30, when we are all washed up, showered, the child is in bed and we are contemplating the day, our DATE begins.

Okay, its not all romance and candles and fine music. Sometimes it is limited to the last of the wine in the house and what the tele has to offer. Sometimes we have discussions that run the gamut of politics, parenting (or step), past life experiences and possible future ventures. We even sometimes bring up the "wedding plan" discussion - which quickly gets shelved again, as the list on the whiteboard is working well in its failure to move things to a deadline there.

Last night, we had a special treat - a Melbourne internet friend who is also an Outrageous Fortune fan found Series Two and the Christmas movie length special on DVD and let us borrow it. Honestly, folks, beg your local television stations to buy this New Zealand gem and hide it from all except the late night surfers - it is so f*ing funny. Well, it is unless you have a thing about swearing, sexual references, drug references, adult themes or the occasional bit of family violence - you probably would be flinching to much to notice I suppose.

So anyway, with such entertainment options, we have to have munchies and unless I am on a health kick (heck, even if I am on a health kick) we can generally organise a late night feast.

Ah yes, we aren't spring chickens any more but we still know how to have fun!!!

Of course, Sunday mornings tend to be a bit the worse for wear. And 'Salina still rises with the sun, being as wonderfully chirpy as ever - so we do our best not to groan at the late night after-effects. And we can smile at the memories of our Saturday night.

Just noticed that Series Three DVD is on sale after Easter in New Zealand. And we still haven't seen an episode of it.

While reading Channel Ten forums - they seem to have finally got them working - I find out they have no intention of going with Series 3 and we may have to buy Foxtel to see it. Cheaper to find NZ friends, eh?

Also sad information - Boy Next Door is moving. Waaaaah! About 6 hours away. Double Waaah!!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Presenting... (The Smiley Saturday Swap)

A few weeks ago, Lightening offered to host a swap and I decided that it sounded like fun.

Well, 'Salina and I finally went shopping yesterday afternoon (only the deadline for sending the present - nothing like doing your best work under pressure) and I had a great deal of fun.

Unfortunately, as it is a present for Baby Amore at My Little Drummer Boys, I can't show you what is inside and blog about they whys of my choices - I will when she receives it.

But it looks like this:

Oh, sorry, no it doesn't - there is no way I am sending Eddie, even if he did like the idea of the wrapping paper!

Here it is - pink is a favourite colour of Lightening's, so there had to be something pink involved. I wrapped it and there is a component - but I also used a few of my other favourite colours on the inside!

The letter starts with:

Dear Baby AmorÄ—

Greetings from Jeanie in Paradise!

I send you these presents for the Smiley Saturday swap.

It is for your head, your heart, your hearth and your heels.

I hope you enjoy playing with them as much as I enjoyed finding them all!!

Then it went on to explain - but that will have to wait for the post present receipt, because I love giving surprises!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Dreams and dramas

Hey there strangers! Nope, have not been near a computer in days. Strange days here folks - and stranger nights...

Ever had weird dreams? You know those dreams that you recognise every element and the source from whence they sprung, but sprung upon you in the unconscious with all the elegance of high-voltage conundrums set in sinking seaside cities - well, you do start to wonder about yourself a bit.

I have heard that dreams are your mind sorting your inbox so you can more effectively deal with the daily activities.

So what was happening on Tuesday evening, when Gordon Ramsay came to the tuckshop, saw the conditions and started reaming me, then took a step back and went in to bat for me with the various bodies who are contributing (by doing sweet FA) to its demise. Then an obscure soap opera star died and her mother was at my table lamenting how people only wanted the fame angle and never knew the person. Then there was some storm surge and I think there was something about some boats. I can't really remember.

So I know where bits of that come from, but what the heck were they leading to? And even more importantly, why did they have me awake at 3am on Wednesday morning and keep me that way until 5.30 - at which point I fell into deep and dreamless sleep until 6 when I was woken for my day to start.

The day started, and by 7.30 when I was ensconced in my tuckshop fortress, I got that nagging sensation that I tend to get on a more frequent basis these days. My eyes get a little irritable, certain noises start to hum louder, my stomach clenches - and I get a migraine.

There are certain things in life that I should have learned by now. One of them is that panadol has negligible effect on migraines, and the other is you cannot stare one down.

However - I had no backup, my eating public awaited and my day was ruled by the bell. So I did what any good martyr does - girded the loins, got through the day by using mindless mantras, child slave labour and a bit of luck (slow day at the office, managed to coincide dashes for expulsion of stomach contents with lack of clientele).

I arrived home - to find my honey had beaten me, as his gammy knee had swollen football size and he was forced off work for the day. However, my migraines have a tendency to trump any piddly little career-threatening injuries (well, in the immediacy they do) so we were a right pair.

Thus ended a day where I actually did not turn on the computer AT ALL.

As the headache wore off, I entered a new dream sequence last night. We bought a present for 'Salina - only we only paid half as we were doing lay by, and we didn't really know what we were buying. However, even though we had only paid half we got to take it with us - and it was a cute little pug! We were worried how Eddie would take it, but he was okay with it because he was a pug too. Then I went into the next room, and there was my beautiful Grandma "Marty". She had a totally cleanshaven head and a very smooth round face (like a young Catherine Hepburn, which she would have adored) and the bluest eyes. It was such a serene time. There was also stuff about catching trains and driving along roads near the ocean and getting places, but they happen in all the dreams.

So please forgive me if I haven't visited of late, dropped a comment or even waved. I am flat out even finding where I am at!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A Stash of Silver Linings

Something wonderful happened today. Today's job got moved to next week, and gave me a little breathing room.

Since two weeks ago, I started an avalanche of work, which is indeed a blessing (for my bank balance and confidence) but also somewhat of a curse (if you like clean floors and home cooking).

The last few days I spent visiting my extended family - and doing a little work for them. "There" is out of mobile range, and so I didn't get today's client's call until late on the trip back.

Today I called, and we are doing today's job next Wednesday - and it is with profound relief I regard the 3 loads of laundry, the unvacuumed and unwashed floors, the bathroom and the toilet.

I also have the leisure to look at getting my work web page together, my budget and business plans, my mailouts and touching base with some mentors.

Perhaps I may even look at my wardrobe and find the fixes in my sewing basket. The potential is all there!

Two weeks ago, I would have looked at my to do list and felt stress. Today, I look at it and give thanks that I have the freedom to even contemplate!

In other news -

I also have the freedom to scratch at leisure!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

International Women's Day

Its funny, but when I was a girl growing up I knew there was a difference between sexes.

I mean, growing up on a cattle property, you learn pretty early what the male role was, what the female role was and what happened to the males when they were deemed not "up to par" - in cattledom, at least.

And in terms of humans, I knew that men were there for the physical work, women were for brain work - and the rest was shared fairly equally by all.

My maternal family is one steeped in feminism - although the forebears possibly did not put such a high-faluting title on it. My great-great grandmother was the first teacher in a remote North Queensland community. Great-great aunt S secretly studied her teaching certificate to run away and work in Western Queensland. My great-grandmother independently ran a boarding house in Pialba - and brought up a virtuoso pianist in a very rough town. My grandmother and her siblings were brought up by aunts, whose lore was "never rely on a man". My aunt was a federal politician. My mother had a career before meeting my father.

My paternal family also has its matriarch - and the common sense to acknowledge and admire the women of the family.

So it was a great shock to me when I came upon sexism firsthand. I was in Year 6, and we had a new teacher.

Thommo first set the tongues wagging before school even started. As part of the immersion into the local community, he and his wife were invited to barbecues, dinners and parties.

Strike one was when he turned up separately from his wife - she in the car and he on his motorbike. It was not the problem that he rode a motorbike - it was the seventies, everyone could understand the freedom that offered. It was the fact that he let his wife drive alone on dirt, country roads she did not know by herself.

Strike two was his insistence that Australian Rules was the football code of choice. This was very much a Rugby League area - heck, we had direct relatives of Bunny Pierce in the area, and Mal Meninga was a local hero as he had carried the dirt in Biloela.

But his most telling error of judgement was to assume that he could teach and promote the boys as the holders of all the grey matter with the girls applauding quietly on the sidelines. That may have worked in some of the Southern school - well, actually, it obviously didn't, as he had been demoted to this two teacher school in the sticks.

I remember him asking me to act as his secretary to organise the school cricket fixtures - when I was needed to be on the bus NOW for the softball games as I was pinch hitter for our unbeaten (for five years) school team. I also remember detention every single day for two years for being a smart arse - it was a skill I finessed with him.

When he left, his last act was to give the inaugural dux prize for the school - which went to the only boy in our class. We, and the whole area, knew such an act was preposterous - the five of us had been in class together from the start and we knew where we all stood in academic rankings. Our last act was to present him with the detention chair, as he had made such good use of it over the two years. The education department had found a posting even more of a demotion and he was going to ruin the lives of children in a remote Aboriginal community in Far North Queensland. We only hoped he would leave the industry before he did too much damage.

I went to an all girls boarding school, founded in 1893 on the principles that women should be able to access and receive quality education. It did that, but it also cotton-wooled me against what some sectors of the "real world" thought of the capabilities of women.

Despite this, I have read enough, observed enough and worked in enough workplaces to know that my cocoon does not always protect, and that many women every day are discriminated against in many aspects of life.

As I have to rush out the door in 25 minutes and have yet to pack, I just hope on this IWD that people will keep focus on what needs to change, where and what sort of future we want to hand to our daughters, and the daughters of others.

Happy Women's Day everyone - and I will be back next Tuesday.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Tuck Shop Lady

I have had some friends from far afield who have queried what being a Tuck Shop Lady is all about.

I shall do my best to illuminate.

What is Tuck?
"Tuck" is a slang term (from about the 1780s, if the internet is to be trusted) for food. You "tuck in" when you are eating with gusto. You have a tucker box to carry food in. At school, you go to the tuckshop to get tuck shop.

What is Tuckshop?
And generally, schools have "tuckshop" - sometimes every day, sometimes sporadically depending on the size of the school and the volunteer veracity of the parents. This is a place where, for only a small amount of money parents can choose to order their child's lunch rather than contemplate and carry out making lunch boxes for their little darlings. It can also be used for bribery and reward systems.

What is a Lady?
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha - not me, that is for sure. Honorific title only.

Why the Tuckshop Lady?
I suppose "Tuckshop Woman" sounds too much like a seventies song!

Is there anything special about being a Tuckshop Lady?
There is a phrase that has achieved notoriety in Australia (due to the utterances of an Australian Idol judge a few years ago) regarding the arms of such a creature. However, one does not require to be a TSL to have flappy arms, and not all TSL have such appendages. I shall remain mute on whether I conform.

Anything else special about being the TSL?
Yep, you get to yell at the kids and be really nitpicky about the amount of noise, mess and general disruptiveness they cause. You can call them on swearing and make them do maths for you.

Anything else special about the job that does not involve latent schoolmarm tendencies?
Umm, if you are lucky you might get a free lunch.

What does the Tuckshop Lady do?
  • Work out what the kiddlies are likely to eat next week and order all the goods for that. For a school of 300 children with 3 days of tuckshop, that equates to a truckload of food.
  • Shop for any extras not on orders.
  • Put all the stuff away (isn't that always the pain!).
  • Prepare salad and fruit salad stuff, small snacks and packs.
  • Sell any snacks people might want before school.
  • Run through the list 100 times on what this much money will buy.
  • Help with children unable to decide what to order.
  • Sort all the orders and money.
  • Make all the food required for morning tea.
  • Wash up. Wipe up. Clean all areas.
  • Bag all the morning tea requirements.
  • Sell any additional snacks people might want at morning tea.
  • Run through the list 100 times on what this much money will buy.
  • Make all the food required for lunch.
  • Wash up. Wipe up. Clean all areas.
  • Bag all the lunch requirements.
  • Sell any additional snacks and iceblocks people might want at lunch.
  • Run through the list 100 times on what this much money will buy.
  • Wash up. Wipe up. Clean all areas. Sweep all floors and bin rubbish and recyclables.
  • Work out the value of the orders.
  • Count all the money in the till and bag for banking.
  • Work out what is short for the next day and order/shop.
Repeat and repeat and repeat. For minimum wage. With no volunteers. On a job you didn't apply for, don't want but still do because no-one else will.

Honestly, it is more fun than I explain - well, when there is at least one volunteer to at least share a bit of the load. But as I was the volunteer until put into this role, there is a vacuum.

Return home exhausted and find more work waiting - which should be rejoiceful news except the legs won't move, the head is stuck on watermelon balls and you know you have to look forward to it again tomorrow.

I have told the P&C I will do so for only 2 weeks. They still have not advertised for anyone. Anyone see a train wreck approaching?

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Be careful what you wish for...

Last week, I set myself a goal. Yes, I was quite surprised at myself too. It was to get myself off my sizeable derriere comfortable laurels and start bringing a little more work my way.

The work I do from home is sporadic and needs a bit more supplementing so I can choose frivolous activities - like go to a cousin's wedding, or contemplate getting clothes - let alone paying off a debt of gratitude (and a lot of dosh) to my parents.

Oh I was rubbing my hands with glee as I trotted around reminding folks of what wonders I could provide.

Then my plans started to fracture, first with the call to be the emergency tuck shop lady, second with the realisation that they think they have a schmuck and it is easier for them not to ever find a replacement once I am ensconsed, and third with the wiping out of three pay days a week for a minimum wage position that only children will thank me for (if they don't succeed in scamming me first).

But I doggedly continued. It takes a lot of momentum to get up from my sizeable derriere comfortable laurels, so once movement has taken place anything can happen.

Resultantly, for the first fortnight in ages I do not have a spare minute to scratch myself - let alone vacuum, wash, tidy, clean house, paint toenails, play ladies - hang on, strike those last two - be a good housefrau.

I haven't really been a good one yet. I don't miss the role - but man, I am starting to miss the results.

Put washing on in the middle of the night? Check. Set alarm to get up at crack of dawn to do everything I was meant to do today but didn't get around to? Check.

Look forward to money landing in the bank from being an exceptional worker on the days I am not the Tuck Shop Lady. Oh yes, mother - CHECK! Actually - be better if it were cash, but as long as it hits the bottom of the jar!

Of course, the universe must be in balance, so for every day I receive work at a really good rate, it seems windows will not be delivered to V's workplace and he gets a short week.

So universe, if you are listening to me - I am going to work like a dog tuck shop lady for next to nothing for a bit - we already have the balance sorted. Give V a wave or two to make up, okay?

Monday, March 03, 2008

Finding Focus (and the sun protection factor)


I have stopped myself from whining.
I have stopped myself from being a grump.
I have stopped screaming and collapsing from small speedbumps life throws.

You will also note this means I have stopped blogging!

Ah - this is the week we take special note of in this house (if we are very smart). This is the week that is whispered about in our shared folklore here, folks. V and 'Salina conspire and then put on their special innocent faces when I walk around corners.

This is the week where, if we were smarter, we would learn to harness the power of the PMT and sell it to warring countries.

However, until we have the technology, the smartest solution is to aim it at a worthy cause.

Start with one neglected patch of garden. Observe and then lather up in sunscreen in anticipation.

Try to remember to take the blog photo before you actually start - it makes a greater contrast.

Attack with vigour. All that frustration and anger at anything does well with a weed theme. Especially those *&$^%$ weeds that break off at ground level and pretend they are pretty and all that carp. Use prongs and cusses to try and get the potential of them excavated from the ground.

If necessary, harness V power - not only does he possess brute force and a trowel, he has OCD tendencies which meld well with the really nasty beggars.

Apply lime, water and mulch. Repeat on all other garden beds (except the one around the side because its hideable). Don't take pictures because you forget.

Collapse - and then scream in agony.

Absolute proof that sunscreen really works - when you find that bit you missed...