Tuesday, November 21, 2017


Apparently a celebrity arrived at (every) Shopping Centre in the local big smoke over the weekend.

I am afraid I am fairly firmly on the "Humbug" side of the ledger when it comes to the whole success story of Santa-marketing strategies.

Don't get me wrong, there are some truly lovely things about Christmas, but they ain't the jolly old man in red malarkey (in my opinion).
I will tolerate - and I ask that the rest of you tolerate my lack of the enthuse.

Luckily (?) my children have not inherited my attitude.

Don't get me wrong, there will still be no Christmas Cards of my kin on any red-trousered knee.  

(Well, there may be, as 'Salina is now a legal voter and she got some other rights thrown in with the birthday as well, so while I may HOPE that there is no knee activity of any sort of Christmas Card she may choose, I have to accept the lot in life that comes with the price.

But I am pretty sure that it will not feature any birds, fire or Santa suits.)

Both of the girls have a terror of the strangers dressed up as Santa.

I am pretty sure that I need NEVER worry about Paris breaching the 4 metre zone around such dangerous creatures - that is not based on intuition, she is quite verbal in what is not an acceptable request even when it has never been (and unlikely to ever be) requested.
 I was going to be the mother that was honest with her child and would NEVER foster the fairy-tale, and thus not build the song and dance routine that seems to accompany the whole performance.

Initially, I was unwittingly aided and abetted by my mother-outlaw, Baka, who presented the 13 month old with a "Singing Santa" -it was a scream.  Quite literally.  Salina only had to look in its direction to start screaming, let alone insert the batteries and turn him on to sing and dance along to her hysteria.

I was talked into terrorising her again at two - the only difference is she had really learned to gain control of her reaction and put some POWER into it.  Some other little child thereupon received the joy of Christmas through the delights of the Op Shop after that.

However, when 'Salina was three - when 'Salina was three I was advised that she was "going to marry Santa Claus as she loved him so much".
I mean, I know that, as a mother, I will break my children's hearts throughout their childhoods, but that was a very big crossroads moment for this mother to chose the path of least resistance.

As she is the eldest of all of the cousins, 'Salina still "believes" because she knows the true value of Christmas - stay schtum and ye shall receive (the gratitude of my siblings and their spouses) (not me, the original grinch in the beginning of this story - still under this fun loving exterior).
Paris, on the other hand, interrogated me with evidence and theories of the non-existence when she was only 5. 

Ever the thinker, she mysteriously changed her tune (after frank and earnest discussions with 'Salina) and I was advised that her new policy would be to believe in whatever I want her to believe.  I think that she too has realised the true value of Christmas - stay schtum and ye shall receive.  She is one of the youngest - she doesn't need gratitude.
And whatever you do, don't get me started on that bloddy Elf on the Shelf. 

Out of my way on the 22nd December, folks - that is my designated Christmas shopping day.  Tra-la-expletive-deleted-LA.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Baka's Kolaca, Golden BB and time March-ing on...

(This post comes with a warning of a possible Irish influence - Irish Cream, to be sure... but that is March for you.  Not always exactly what you expect, and possibly not all of what you may need - but its what you get.)

Tonight I am attempting to concertina a little time...

You see, when Baka taught me this recipe, the most important ingredient always stressed was TIME.

And time I do not have - due to time on the weekend expanding and overflowing its bounds. 

(The weekend was a glamorous, glittery destination filled with of fine cuisine, fine-tuned teenagers, fabulous feasting with fantastic people (frantic, fairy fiersome foes and friends navigation for the 7 year old), and a festival for (technically) my longest-serving friend (True, there were also incidents with hammers, horses, heroics, histronics and hugs in the intervening years))

Ooh boy, was Paris weekended out! (The one window I had to get ingredients for a luncheon tomorrow slammed shut by a sleep-deprived, over-stimulated, post-afternoon-napped doppelganger of Paris).
(* this post was not sponsored by Arnotts - unfortunately - however a special at the supermarket this afternoon meant the absolute need for such a sponsorship was negated somewhat.  Note to the US especially - you can't get these over there, and your Kolaca is resultantly very expensive - finding plain sweet biscuits in a rectagular shape was a mission over there that I am still  recovering from!!)

Which toppled the dominos well and truly.  In my mind, I had this orderly progression of the steps to create the perfect imitation of Baka's Kolaca.
Just by being me, my bar is already far lower than the standards maintained by Baka in the creation of the cake.  When she first met me, she advised her son that he was to treat me like a snowflake.  However, once she learned of my rather slap-dash approach to perfection there were words exchanged in Hrvatski that may not have been always referring to my qualities.
So tonight, all I had to do (after getting Ms Paris to get past that whole "I'm not tired" song and dance routine and settled into the ten-foot-under slumber that is the first half of her night) was make the chocolate cream (cool it for several hours) layer up the (cooled) coffee-dunked biscuits and the (cooled) cream, melt the icing and spread and refrigerate overnight.
When you start time is after 9 and you expected finish is WELL after your bedtime, might I suggest that investigating your newly acquired liquor over ice is a most excellent way to assist in the cooking process?

It helps when you realise that you didn't apply enough vigour to the early stirring of the cream mixutre to avoid the requirement to delump for the whole million years it takes to get the right consistency and add the chocolate et al.
It helps when you realise that the last of the fantastic (cool) coffee has been demolished and you need to speedily cool a fresh instant for the layering.
It makes snapping the biscuits to fit the layers less perfect - but, ah well.  Baka won't be having any of this.

It makes spreading the melted chocolate layer smoothly that much less important when they will set before they spread if you take "action" shots.
Mmm - now, who can I get to lick the bowl...

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

The Great Glitter Explosion 2017

This post shall not be littered with photos - I shall expect you to use your imagination - as long as it constantly throws glints of gold from every angle, its working well.

Allow me to preface this with the first world acknowledged fact that young girls do like a bit of the glit - well, all young girls who I have birthed that is true for, anyway.

And we all know there is never "just a little bit" of glitter, is there?

So yesterday, we saw out the end of Summer with a little craft before bedtime - a pinch of gold was used to accessorise the odd colouring in, but all in all it was relatively contained - if relatively equates to across the table, on the dining room floor, around the rubbish bin and traipsed through the house.

But relative is relative.

Last night, Paris was slow to go to sleep.  I put it down to it being hot.  I put it down to being melancholy at her sister starting her new life far away.  I put it down to her fidgeting.  I put it down to her needing to go to the toilet.  She took an age to wash her hands post this reminder.  Hindsight would have cued the ominous music at that point.

Then she started crying, and voiced her fear that the whole school would laugh at her.  I did my mum thing and lay down with her and talked her around from the anxiety of anticipated bullying and mean girls and how to win the schoolyard skirmishes and positive approaches to the new month and resilience and by the end of my little talk, even I was feeling like grasping hold of life anew.  Go me!!!

I could even feel glitter between my teeth when I was getting ready for bed, and I did notice that the bar of soap had a very bright sheen.

As I said, relative is relative.

We are currently breaking Paris of the habit of crawling into our bed and taking up 70% of available real estate EVERY SINGLE NIGHT.  Until recently, our mattress was extremely uncomfortable and truth be told V and I almost raced each other to nab hers when that moment occurred in the wee hours of the morning.  However, her area requirements are growing AND we bought a more comfortable mattress, so we heralded change in this area to go with the changes in every other area of her life this year.  It is an ongoing process.

She went REALLY well last night - only one 3:30am sneak in for a cuddle and return to her own bed.  I was very chuffed at her and vowed to myself that the promise of scrambled eggs was as good as cooked.

When I had finished my morning rituals including the promised eggs, I went in to waken her for the start to her new day, the new month and the new attitude to life, and...

I awakened a GOLDEN child.  From her eyelashes to her toes, there was glitter.  The trail of glitter across the books at her bedside (and strangely, bottle of nail polish.  Huh?), pooled throughout her bed and piling underneath the bed belied a saga of a little girl who had a glitter nailpolish desire after lights out, and how it went so HORRIBLY wrong.

The poor darling.

No amount of showering, scrubbing and empowering discussion would erase the hue, the tone and the fear of eternal chastisement from the THEM at school and she never, ever wanted to leave the house again.

It was a VERY LONG MORNING.  The eggs helped a little.  The promise of school swimming today had torrential repercussions.  There was the leading with the front foot lecture (where the title of this post comes from).  The negotiations required were very delicate, pivoting precariously at every juncture.

When we got to the classroom this morning, she was slightly buoyed by the greeting of one which didn't SEEM to be too mean.  The teacher had just dealt with one child broken down by the lack of her swimming bag, and greeted Paris with "well, at least you aren't crying and you have your togs, hooray!" 

I advised her of our morning and she remarked "you look quite glorious yourself" to me.  When I told her of Paris' big fear, she deserved every shekel of her salary when she responded "Oh darling, they won't laugh at you.  They will be jealous.  You look FANTASTIC!"

Thursday, February 16, 2017

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

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

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

I have seven categories of DVD, I have found.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, February 12, 2017

This program is not captioned

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

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

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

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

Its not deliberate.

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

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

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

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

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

Yay for digital!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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