Thursday, January 24, 2008
But I hate posting when anyone is around. I am a closet poster. Sometimes I might start a post when my son is on the other computer playing games. Generally though, I like to post at my own private leisure.
So, tonight instead I spent two shameful hours on my favorite websites.
Now I am going to bed with a head full of rubbish.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Click on that link for an explanation.
I am sure we have had them at one time or another in life.
A couple I recall are:
- You are a big healthy girl (thanks Robbie, that made me feel great at 16 years old)
- You are not fat, just womanly.......(huh?)
- You are not fat, you are cuddly....(huh?)
- You are not fat, you are voluptuous....(oh, okay, I get it now)
- I don't like skinny women, I like them more like you....(thanks dear husband)
- You have a big cheesy smile....(errrr....okay)
- Even though you are old enough to be my mother, can I give you a hug...(an apprentice said this to me at a Christmas party one year)
Today I had another one.
Before I go into the detail, I want to clarify something. I am happy being 44. Don't want to be any different to what I am. Just do not need anyone holding up the number 44 flash card too often.
I am in the car park of Bunnings Hardware and making my way out when a van turns near me and, as he looks a little too close for comfort, I manoeuvre my car out the way slightly. His window is open and he stops and the following conversation takes place:
"Hey love, don't worry, I won't hit your car, I am a nice guy", he calls out to me from his open window which is next to my open window, only slightly higher up.
"Oh, that is okay, I was just being careful", I politely replied with a pleasant smile.
"If I hit your car you would have to give me your phone number", he says with a smirk. I cannot move ahead with my car as there is one in front.
"I see. That is one way to get someones phone number I suppose", I am tempted to shut my window but that would be rude.
"So, you up for a drink then?" he asks.
"No thanks", I start laughing with disbelief. You see, he is about 25 years old.
"Come on. Say yes", he leans slightly out of the window with a juicy smile on his face.
"No, really, thanks but no thanks", I say very nicely and start to put my car in first gear to move on. Personally I feel rather flattered. He is quite a bit younger than me. He probably thinks I am younger than I really am.
Then he says..
"Go on love, you look like you could use a Toy Boy".
Then I drive off, kind of laughing. After a few seconds the laughter stops and I realise I am actually a bit offended.
Did he mean I looked like some old broad who needed a shag?
Or some cougar on the prowl at the Bunnings car park.
I have decided to take the "I am flattered" stance on this one.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
I picked him up at around 5.00 pm and he was so tired that he kind of shuffled into the car.
On the way home he said something about needing to go on the computer when he got home.
Need? Needed to go on the computer?
I started to blab on about what defines a true need. You know. Need versus want etc.
And then, in the midst of my very important wordy blab, he farted.
Worse than that, he farted in MY car.
I am not sure what was the most offending part of the whole thing. That he farted when I was trying to explain an important life lesson to him. Or that he broke the cardinal "no farting in mum's car"rule.
If he farted as a statement in response to my talking, was that an expression of how he felt about what I said. Did he do it to shut me up? Did he do it to express his utter boredom of my twaddle?
I decided to assume he only farted for the fun of it. To extract a reaction from me. Because, if he did do it as a reaction to my talking, I could not make a comment on that sort of response to a conversation. If I did, I may put the idea in his head that to fart at someones deep and meaningful talks is very funny.
"You farted in my car, you know the rules", I said in a semi annoyed voice.
"You fart in your car", he answered back.
"Only in extreme emergencies do I allow myself to break that rule", I replied.
"How do you know if my fart was not an emergency?"came the retort.
"I can tell it was for fun by two things. Firstly, the loudness of the fart indicated to me that you forced it from your body for maximum effect. Secondly, you turned you head and smirked at me immediately after the fart. These two things tell me you did it on purpose", I explained.
"Whatever. You can't do much about it now anyway can you mum. It is not like I can take it back".
"When are we home? I really need to go on the computer"".
Obviously my earlier blab about need versus want was not taken in at all.
Which did confirm to me that his fart was for the funny factor only.
Monday, January 21, 2008
Sunday, January 20, 2008
I packed a lunch as the food at the museum is hideously expensive.
The two boys started off their trek in the 'in house' forest and studied a variety of displays. As much as I tried to engage the two of them in the detail of what they were looking at, I realised that when boys get together there is no room for any level of education. I schlepped around after them like a pack horse with lunch, bag and camera and just made sure they behaved. Which they did.
It does not matter how mature you may think your son is. When he gets together with a friend of the same age they revert to some sort of ape brained creature.
Upstairs in the Museum is a section that is dedicated to the human body. The photo below shows some resin statues of naked people in various shapes and sizes. I suppose the idea is to present to children especially that normal has a wide range and that the naked body rarely meets the "ideal" that is shown to us constantly via the many forms of media.
Either that or it is to make two ten year old boys almost wet themselves laughing and say eeeeeew. After having a major point and giggle at the naked forms, they continued on into the exhibition and searched for anything that made fart noises or looked disgusting. There is also a section there that goes through the human reproduction process. Before entering that particular area there is a sign that gives a fair warning that some of the topic may be inappropriate to children. S and his friend wandered off into there to have a look. As they did I said to them that if they were going to be silly they may as well turn around and come back out. They reassured me they were not.
I am not sure what they were expecting to see, but one thing was not the film of a woman in labour. They came out post haste and asked to go to another section of the museum.
This section is where they have lots of insects and spiders on display. The spiders in this photo are actually dead ones set in a special glass. They are not Australian ones, they are ones that are found by Customs when smuggled over here. At the museum they do have some live ones and they are big, soft and hairy. Everytime I look at them I feel compelled to perform some twitchy little dance of revulsion. I also find I keep flicking at my arms and hair as though one may have escaped captivity and found its way upon my body.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Our first trip overseas together was in 1994 and we went for six weeks. We were to go from Melbourne to Singapore then to London. We also had a short trip to Denmark on the agenda.
Before we arrived in London we had a three night stopover in Singapore which was great fun despite the huge blisters I got on my feet from wearing pretty but useless shoes. Lots of people, rain and interesting food to sample. I bought a portable cd player for the princely sum of $400 and I still have it. Although I never use it.
We went to a place called Newton Circus (I think it is called that) where I ate a dish of chicken curry and rice washed down by warm coconut milk.
When I embarked on the plane that would take us from Singapore to London, I carried some extra baggage in the form of a food bug. However, it took about two days to actually acknowledge to myself that it might be food poisoning. The reason for this delay in self diagnosing was because my unsympathetic husband thought I was plane sick and attention seeking.
Once on the plane I felt ill and was unable to eat for the entire 12 hour flight. I was, however, able to visit the toilet at least 18 times. In between those visits I would vomit in the air bag or lie in a semi-conscious state with my head against the cool window. I thought I was air sick and was wondering how on earth I would get back to Australia at the end of my holiday as there was no way I was getting on a plane again if this was going to happen.
When we landed in London, my incredibly sympathetic husband said the following:
"What is your problem? 399 other people on this plane are perfectly okay and you are just being sick". (Oh, he did live to regret those words).
Once in London we had to drop our luggage off to the hotel and kill time for six hours until we could book into our room. We managed to freshen up and feel a little more presentable after that long flight. I was still terribly unwell, pale and weak but determined to enjoy myself.
Now, my husband had lived in London fifteen years earlier when travelling the world and was going to show me all the great places to visit. The trouble is, when you revisit a town the memory of distance and the interconnection of different areas can get a little mixed up. This mix up resulted in us walking all over London to find Harrods. At one point I threatened to crap in a rubbish bin if he did not get me to a toilet urgently. Walking and having a seriously upset tummy is very, very difficult to do.
When we finally arrived at the door of Harrods, the only place I wanted to go was to the toilet. And I had to pay money. It cost me $5 to use to toilet but by that stage I would have donated a kidney to get into the cubicle.
K then suggested we go to Covent garden. We took the tube and, despite being unwell, I was able to enjoy the whole journey through the underground tunnels. When we disembarked, we then had to make our way up to the street. You could either take the lifts or use the spiral stairs. As there were so many people waiting for the lift K talked me into doing the stairs. All 150 or more of them. By the time I got to the top I was incapable of speaking. All I could say was "toilet - NOW".
Perhaps I was imagining it, but there was an extreme shortage of public toilets and we had to walk for quite a distance before we finally found one. It was one of the first automated public toilets I had seen and was situated in an area buzzing with cars and people. I think that I may have had to pay to use it.
Anyway, I was sitting rather miserably upon the throne with my head in my hands for what seemed like a long time when I casually looked up to see a little sign that said "Warning, door automatically opens after ten minutes". What the! I had been sitting there for at least eight of those minutes. I panicked and grabbed the toilet paper. It was double sided shiny paper and came out of a little unfriendly cardboard box one sheet at a time and I had to pull it out as fast as I could to get enough to do the job.
I just want to say this. Nothing is worse than wiping your bum with shiny toilet paper when you have been suffering from food poisoning AND you have to be out of the toilet in approximately 45 seconds before the door opens and allows the passing world to view your helplessness. I managed to make myself decent before the door opened. To top it off I could not get the tap to work or the toilet to flush. Apparently all that would happen upon my exit.
When I stepped outside I said to K that we had to go back to the hotel now.
Once back at the hotel K went out and bought me some Imodium with the thought that perhaps that would help my stomach. I took four of them with the thought the more is best.
Then next morning I was still unwell and we had to go to a Doctor's and get a script for Lomatol. I was duly informed that I had food poisoning and was not air sick at all. The entire trip to the doctor's and paying for the script cost us $360.
I took the Lomatol as advised. Then I took some Imodium as a back up.
I did not have a crap for the next seven days. Without a doubt the combination of those two drugs completely dehydrated my body.
I found it so traumatic that I ended up with neuralgia across the entire left side of my face which was excruciatingly painful and I had the urge to slap anyone who came within five feet of my aching face. That episode lasted for four days. Despite it all, we had a lot of fun and once I recovered the holiday took on a completely different feel to it.
But I have never eaten chicken curry since. And the smell of coconut milk makes me want to vomit even after 14 years.
Friday, January 18, 2008
Bowling was a popular social activity in the 1970's here and from then on had a rapid demise into tragic oblivion. It became an activity for the local low brow. Over the past few years ten pin bowling has been "sexed up". A new generation is around to enjoy it's fun aspect. Within the City centre, there are a couple of bowling places that have funky music, party nights, corporate functions, glitzy lights and night to line the lanes and twinkly bowling balls in pinks, oranges and lime green.
At the end of the game, the boys were lured to the arcade games.
I personally like good old fashioned pin ball machines. Put your money in the slot, pull the spring thingy back and shoot the silver ball through the little lane and onwards. Lots of pushing of buttons and shoving the machine itself.
Not the children of today. They get a token which costs $1.00 and they feed it into this machine (as per the one below). The idea is that when the flashing light gets closer you push a button and out of a slot in the front comes a number of tickets.
All the kids crowd around for a piece of the action. Watching the flashing light and then making little oooh and aaaaah sounds when the thing makes a noise.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
I use the word antiques loosely as essentially anything goes here. But mostly it is old. Even the 1970's has it's place here. We spend a couple of hours snooping around here. Looking through old books, vintage linen, old kitchenware and furniture. You would always be able to find something here to take home and shove into a cupboard.
It also has an exceptionally nice cafe and we have lunch there.
Mmmmm, it is all in the genes.
Monday, January 14, 2008
Saturday, January 12, 2008
The contraption has a separate boiler for the water. A brass lined boiler. Attached to that is a fabric coated tube which is then attached to the iron. The iron itself has a very heavy base and heats up enough to iron my pure cotton bed sheets in record time.
I am scared of it.
When I was little, my mum cooked a lot of food in a pressure cooker. You kind of chucked everything in the pan and then sealed it shut with a double twist lid. On top of the lid was a little cap that rocked and whistled as some sort of warning.
It was more than once that my mum forgot to attend to that pressure cooker and the pureed slop in the pan was forced at great speed through the teeny hole in the lid and ended up on the ceiling above the stove top.
It used to freak me out whenever she cooked in it. Firstly because of the ominous noise and secondly because it meant we were going to have something gross for dinner.
This new iron reminds me of my mum's pressure cooker. I live in vague fear that it will expel hot water from the boiler one day when I am pressing the sleeve of a shirt or the leg of a pair of trousers.
This iron I bought came with a list of instructions and warnings. It makes hissing noises and the shot of steam is so loud that my dog runs out of the room. It also came with pins to clean things and rubber rings seal things for something else. And some special water measuring tube.
All too hard.
You also need to allow about eight minutes for it to heat up to full capacity so I have to keep the old iron for things that need and iron post haste. The new iron is for people who are organised with their ironing. Sigh.............one day.
However, I am getting used to it and it is good.
But I realised something recently when ironing one of my fussy, fiddly white cotton shirts. When they have washing instructions it should also come with a gauge on how shitful the garment will be to iron.
It should say "quick and easy to iron", or "you will be spend 12 minutes ironing this shirt and want to say the f word a lot".
It may not prevent me from buying the clothing, but at least I would know what to expect.
Looks can be deceptive.
How convenient that K is out on a music job and will not be back until midnight.
Which means I have had to do the dishes. And not just any dishes. The dishes that have sat jam packed in the dishwasher since Thursday.
Worse than that, K has been trying to fix the dishwasher and with each respective wash the crap that is still not coming of the dishes has been baked on even more with the drying cycle.
I hate doing dishes so much that I don't even own a dishrack. I had to wear rubber gloves and they are yucky. Waaaaah!
It has taken me ages. Then I dried them. Oh the childhood memories of wet t-towels.
If my brother were here I would flick the wet towel at him as a reminder of childhood chores.
I cannot, really cannot believe that I even suggested doing dishes as a family thing.
So, we all do things to help the transition into the aging process.
For me, it is exercising fairly hard. You know, get those muscles to hold everything up just that bit tighter. Loads of squats to build up strength in my thighs and reduce saggy bum factor. Upper body weights for stronger arms with less batwing syndrome.
I buy All Bran and Bircher muesli for breakfast rather than a lovely, soft, white bread roll with yummy jam on it. Have to look after one's digestion after all. Eat vegetables and fruit every day. Multi grain bread. Low fat milk. Just the stuff right out of every woman's magazine to help me stay healthy.
Good skin care. Wear sun screen etc.
Healthy diet, lots of exercise, a quality skin regime and a positive outlook are the things I work on to help me feel fit and strong mentally and physically.
Well, I just want to say that all that effort is totally wiped out after two hours in the garden.
If you ever want to feel old, just sweat it out in the garden pulling weeds, raking and digging in the hard and dry earth.
My back, which never gives me trouble, is now aching. Two fingers on my left hand, which are slightly arthritic are puffy and sore after pulling out big, grunty weeds. I had a headache from the mild sunshine smiling down on my head. I sweated into my eyes. And, whilst I may think I am fit and strong, I could not pull out the dead and puny camelias up the blind side of the house. I had to get father and son to do it.
Then had to come inside and sleep for half an hour to recover.
Could be worse.
Oh, that's right, it is worse. Because the dishwasher died today after 17 years good service.
I made the suggestion we should try life without a dishwasher. A family event each night to wash and dry dishes.
It was rejected.
I must have had been out of my mind to even consider such a thought.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
I know that things have come about to make our lives easier such as the dishwasher, the washing machine, cars with bells and whistles, mobile phones and computers on which you can store your photos and do the household budget.
All those things just leave us more time to think or to work. They do not actually make life easier.
The thing that I have trouble with at times, is the incredible moral responsibility that I have to exhibit towards society in the form of Eco friendly behaviour.
I have Eco-guilt syndrome.
I am unsure about how things are in other countries, but here in Australia the push towards not being an Eco vandal is monumental. This is something I am all for. But could someone out there do me a favour? Stop putting the onus onto me all the time.
If you don’t want me to use plastic bags, well, hey, don’t have them in the store and I will make sure I remember to bring my cotton bags very quickly. If you need to have me reduce my rubbish load how about someone stops putting six screws in a plastic bubble pack fused to a piece of cardboard. Sell it in bulk just like it used to be. Or charge me per kilo for my non recyclable rubbish and I will certainly do even better than I do already.
You want me to use less plastic, why doesn’t someone go back to cardboard cartons or glass bottles for milk. So we don’t want disposable nappies in land fill, then how about a law that forces manufacturers to come up with some seriously Eco friendly alternatives.
Stop making it so easy for me to weaken when the opportunity arises. I have enough trouble thinking what I am going to wear each day let alone work out the most Eco friendly way to live.
I now read in fashion magazines about wearing organic cotton clothes, using organic hemp sheets and towels. Can I not even go into my wardrobe to pick out a shirt to wear without feeling a pang of guilt that I somehow left another big carbon footprint on this Earth.
We have water restrictions here due to the long dry spell we have been experiencing. Consumer’s use 8 percent of the water here and yet you would think we were using 80 percent with the media coverage going on. I am almost too scared to admit that I don’t have a four minute shower each morning. I have a ten minute one and sometimes even fifteen minutes. There is not a snowflakes hope in hell that I can wash and condition my hair, wash my body and shave my legs in four minutes. I tried and failed. More guilt. I try to offset my shower overuse by not watering my garden on nominated days.
I try to be thoughtful about things. Nearly all my furniture is second hand so that is one household less of new furniture to be manufactured. I replace towels and sheets on an as need basis and not just because I like to change my décor. My crockery is ex hotel ware and unless it gets broken I don’t buy any more. I buy shampoo and conditioner in bulk. My clothes I wear until they are ready for the rag bag. I ride my bike when I can so that is less petrol.
Make it easy for me. Just produce and sell what is best for the environment and I will go with the flow.
So, I apologise for once again buying the soft white toilet paper. You know, the one with the lovely ridges in it for extra softness? The one that was just near the beige stuff, the one that was recycled and looked scratchy? Sorry, just could not bring myself to have it in the house again.
Of course, had there been no choice, well I would have just picked up the itchy and scratchy brand without complaint.
I admit that I am weak.
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
David, a fellow Australian (and Melburnian) has a very popular and funny blog and today on his blog I was nominated for Post of the Day. Along with some other posts, of course, a collection for the day.
David's blog is worth a visit as there are lots of funny things to read.
In the meantime I shall bathe in my ego boost while it lasts.
Then tomorrow morning I shall wake up and be reminded by the small voice in my head of all my insecurities.
Even before I got married I knew that my prospective mate was, under no circumstances, to be into sport or I should die of boredom.
I have been to three football matches. Once when I was twelve years old and twice as an adult when working in the corporate world and occasionally forced to do some networking. All three experiences were forgettable.
My husband once asked his father to take him to watch football. He was maybe about 8 years old at the time. Off they went and sat dutifully watching the game. Half way through he said to his dad that he wanted to go home.
About two years ago S asked to go to a football match. My boss gave me free tickets and off we went. Father, mother, son and his cousin. Half way through the boys asked to go home.
Cricket to me is a bit boring to watch. I had a boyfriend a long, long time ago who played cricket every Saturday with his old school friends. A couple of times I sat at the edge of the field and watched him, as girlfriends are inclined to do. In the end, not even my infatuation for him was enough to tempt me to sit and be bored to tears.
Last night my son went to his first bonafide cricket match at the MCG.
He had stayed Monday night at a friend's house and the father was taking them to the match the next day at 6.00pm.
When he came home after the match at about 11.00 pm his eyes were glowing and bright, his forehead was shining with sweat and his voice was loud. He had been shown another side to life that he had never seen.
The cricket crowd.
He told us about the people, the swearing, the crowded toilets and drunk people nearby. He loved the roar of the crowd when a six was hit or when everyone did a Mexican wave. He saw police roughing up drunk patrons. There was bad behaviour amongst the exiting people. The crowds on the train going in and out. The visit to the toilet with his friend was crowded and full of the possibility of getting lost on the way back to the seat.
"Were you scared?"I asked.
"Yes, I was kind of scared, but more than anything, I was excited by the whole thing." he replied, his eyes wide open as he told me.
I looked at him. Looked at his young boyish face and saw the merging teenager at the same time. He looked different, a tiny bit older perhaps. Or was that just me seeing something that I felt within me being reflected back. I felt he was older as he had a worldly experience in the 36 hours since I had seen him last. Something big happened in his small world and I was not there to experience it with him.
My heart ached with happiness for him and yet, at the same time, a sense of loss at yet another letting go experience for me.
He slept in until 10.00am today. A big day needs a big sleep, no matter how grown up we may be.
I looked in at his sleeping form and his soft face more than once.
Always my baby, always.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
When I worked in the city and caught the train in everyday, my journey would take me up the same side street. Up and down, no matter the weather. Walking with my umbrella above my head to shield the rain or carrying my jacket over my arm during hot days.
I have seen small children sitting in prams grow up to be old enough to drive a car. Young women, pregnant with big bellies in the way whilst they do some gardening smile a polite greeting as I have walked past. Then suddenly one day a pram is in the front yard.
One house is a home for adults with mild disabilities who are able to live within the community. When I walk by there is often one particular man who stands in his driveway having a cigarette. His face lights up when he sees me and he calls out loudly to me.
“Hello ma'am, have a nice day,” his voice is almost a shout. I wave to him and smile. I saw him the other day. He has not changed apart from the usual aging process. His greeting was the same as it has been for 17 years.
Some houses have been replaced by new two storey rendered boxes. Many old homes have had a unit built in the backyard so that from the street the facade has not changed. I don’t mind this so much. At least there is a feeling of continuity.
There is a house I used to pass that was inhabited by an elderly woman. She probably was only in her early sixties when I first saw her. Her garden was full of rose bushes that were old and gnarled and yet from the knotted branches beautiful roses would still spring forth. I would often walk past and, time permitting, stand and chat with her for a few minutes and admire the fat, sweet smelling flowers.
I liked her house because it had aged in a comforting way. Slightly faded awnings over the front windows were like eyelids drooping. Some paint peeled from the window sills showing colours from previous coatings beneath the flaky surface. The garage door hung in a crooked manner and appeared to be wedged shut.
She pottered around in the garden, swept the driveway, pruned the hibiscus each year and took cuttings from the geraniums in grey concrete pots and placed them around the garden bed indiscriminately. A floral apron was always protecting her clothes when out in the garden. She was delightfully old fashioned.
Over the years she saw me dressed in corporate clothes, maternity clothes, walking a dog and a pram and jogging in my tracksuit. She had seen my life changes just as I had seen other peoples lives wax and wane.
After a while I changed my walking habits and so would not pass her house so much. In fact months would go by and I would only drive down the street occasionally.
Last year I started walking some familiar routes again as I had decided to stop jumping in the car to just pop up the shop. I walked past her house and things had changed slightly. The hibiscus had been chopped down as had a lovely large conifer. The garage door was now new. The tired awnings had been replaced, windowsills painted and fresh. The house looked fresh and full of new life.
A new car in the driveway along with a boat confirmed what I knew. The old lady in the house had gone. Whether she passed away or perhaps had moved I was not sure.
So a new family in the street, more changes to watch for. The life cycle of decay and rebirth going on around in the streets.
I am part of that decay, yet in that process itself there is new growth happening within me.
Simple things that are constant make the movement of life so interesting.
Monday, January 07, 2008
- Don't call your wife a coward just because she is afraid of a spider. Probably in case of real danger she would prove to be quite as brave as you.
- Don't try to regulate every detail of your wife's life. Even a wife is an individual, and must be allowed some scope.
- Don't forget to buy your wife a pair of gloves occasionally. She will always be pleased to have them.
- Don't always say, "Ask your mother,"when you don't want to be bothered by your children. It is conceivable that she doesn't either.
- Don't condescend; you are not the only person in the house with brains.
- Don't drop cigarette ash all over the drawing-room carpet. Some people will tell you that it improves the colours, but your wife won't care to try that recipe.
- Don't neglect to insure your life for a reasonable sum.
- Don't imagine your wife never wants to see any other man but you.
- Don't begin your married life by expecting too much. If you expect little, you will be saved a good deal of disappointment.
Dont's for Wives
- Don't open the door for yourself when your husband is present.
- Don't nag your husband.
- Don't sulk with your husband.
- Don't get into debt if you can possibly help it.
- Don't forget to 'feed the brute' well. Much depends on the state of his digestion.
- Don't give your husband burnt porridge.
- Don't despise the domestic potato.
- Don't permit yourself to forget for an single instant that nothing is more annoying to a tired man than the sight of a half finished laundry work.
- Don't pile up money for your children.
- Don't have any secrets from your husband in financial matters.
So, anything helpful for you there?
I think they are all rather cute.
Sunday, January 06, 2008
It has always been a great source of amusement to me even after forty four years.
I can get to the letter J in burp mode. And that is doing it clearly and at an even pace. I am sure I could get past J if I were able to prevent myself from laughing at the whole silliness of what I am doing.
My older sister and I used to have burping battles. Who could to the largest etc. Many times I have almost vomited after preparing for a giant boip. One time I woke myself up with a huge burp after one of my battles. All that air was stored down in my stomach for hours before resurfacing four hours later in the dark of the night.
Over the years I have just kept it to a general belch level. That is, I usually don't do requests - just do burping on an "as need" basis. I think that may be trying to keep the feminine mystique thing going. Although, I wouldn't mind challenging my brother to a belching duel. I think he would give me a run for my money.
Recently though, S has been badgering me on how to burp. I am able to have him in stitches laughing when I produce a huge one that would put Homer Simpson to shame.
I explain to him that it is not a bodily function one can learn, one needs to be born with that ability. Still, he wants me to explain in detail how I do it. Perhaps in the explaining he may be able to pick up a tip or two to help him develop the action.
To no avail though. His disappointment is obvious. It is a trick that I am sure he would like to take with him through life's many parties etc.
There are some skills that, as a parent, I cannot pass onto him no matter how hard I try.
Burping is one of them.
"Mum, next time you buy me undies, make sure they are boxer ones because that is what boys wear in high school".
Okay, got that. But I need to clarify something because he is not actually going to high school for another two years and he has about two years worth of underwear in his drawer. So I ask him some questions. Does he want just the cotton ones or the smoother kind of silky ones. And, does he not want the normal jockey kind of ones anymore? And how soon does he want this change of underwear to occur.
"Just buy the silky boxer shorts for school and the normal ones for home and weekends. Just whenever you stock up. Just so I have both".
Obviously he has been noticing things. Is working out what is the in thing. Right down to undies.
Can't say that foundation garments were even a thought in my head when I was ten. As long as some were in the drawer each morning I was fine. And if none were in the drawer I would just wear the same ones I had on the day before. I mean, that is how unimportant my underwear was to me thirty four years ago.
I have enough trouble picking out me own knickers.
Saturday, January 05, 2008
Friday, January 04, 2008
I have actually known him for 21 years in April.
In two years I will have known him for half of my life. A rather daunting thought.
We don't actually make a big fuss of it.
Generally we are of the belief that each year added onto the previous in a marriage is pretty good.
So, we appreciate each day. The majority of days being a happy ones. You need the ups and downs for the sake of interest.
When we were first married we had a set of six blue and white striped mugs (Cornish Ware). Over the years five have been demolished by me in various temper tantrums. The fifth one was broken years and years ago. We made a joke that when cup number six breaks we have to get a divorce. Cup number six has a cracked handle which looks a bit fragile. I have found where to get six more mugs just in case.
I mean, really, imagine putting that reason down for divorce. "Wife smashed me last mug so out she goes".
Cannot pass on any secrets to a longish marriage.
Just always say please and thank you and knock on doors before opening them.
Keep cool when in a bad mood and don't say mean things that you cannot take back.
Stuff like that, in general, is a good thing to remember.
Oh, and apparently trying to keep the femine mystique is important to some men.
As I was reminded when pulling a rather ugly face this morning whilst eating my breakfast.
Also when plucking the odd hair from my chin.
And rubbing cream into my heels because they were dry.
Hmmmmm, I don't think I can change some aspects of my persona.
Thursday, January 03, 2008
I collect stuff. I also have attachment to many inert objects. Sentimental to say the least.
The trouble is, the older you get, the more room you need to store the stuff that you collect. This is not a problem if you live in a huge house. You can just find a spot to put it.
It is just as well that I do not live in a huge house. Three bedrooms, dining room, lounge room, kitchen, office, laundry and two bathrooms. That is a good size and we have managed to fill almost every spot there is available to fill. Furniture on each and every wall. Cupboards full with stuff. Drawers with things in them. Pictures on walls.
It would not matter how big my house was, I would have to fill it with lots and lots of old things.
Now and then I have a half hearted effort at a purge. But the only things I manage to throw out are clothing that is past it's use by date and other similar items. As good as I may feel about that purge, deep down I know it is a bit pathetic. I even have the t-towels given to me when we got married 17 years ago. Admittedly they were of the highest quality French fabric and have at least another twenty years in them.
Before my mother moved to another state, I used to visit her quite a lot. With each visit she would pass on some of her stuff to me and I would bring it home and shove it somewhere. When she moved, despite my sadness at her being so far away, there was a bit of relief on the home front as I stopped bringing home things from her house to mine.
Early in 2007 after my father in law had a stroke and moved to a nursing home, K had to empty out the unit they lived in. More stuff. He had to make tough decisions on what to keep and what to throw out. Things like thirty years of Christmas cards had to go. A very, very large amount of stuff came over to our house. I asked him just how he imagined we would fit all the extra items into our house when already we were bursting at the seams.
His theory was this. Imagine getting a truckload of mulch delivered to the home to spread over the garden beds. It may seem like too much, but once you just spread it out it is not much at all. So, we spread the stuff out and about in cupboards and drawers throughout the house. Well, what a crock that was. Every time I open a cupboard I am confronted with things, things and more things.
I had a discussion about it the other day. I said to him that we need to sort things out, decide what we really, really want to keep, box it and label the box clearly. We would then store it up on the mezzanine floor that we have in his garage. He agreed.
Firstly though, we have to sort out what is currently stored up there before we can store more, if you know what I mean.
I have boxes of books, books and more books which have been packed away for a few years. And they were packed after a book purge so they really are my favorites. Then I have my son's special toys from baby years, his books, lovely baby clothes, blankets and other extremely sentimental things that I have to keep. My Bayko building sets are in two huge crates. Some other boxes of weird toys and other collectibles that had to be squirreled away due to space issues.
Some things I have started taking out and bringing into the studio and now in here is beginning to fill up rather quickly. But I like the feeling of all my things around me. My own little cave.
So, tomorrow I am off to buy some more boxes to begin the process of sorting things out.
Trouble is, knowing myself the way I do, once a some room is made in the house, I will be out looking for something quirky to fill it up. That urge to collect is constant.
Just cannot help myself.
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
My brother loves to collect timber. Long lengths of beautiful timber saved from old houses that have been demolished. The exterior of the timber often looks grey, but once sandpaper has run across it a few times, the lovely grain comes to life. He has piles of this type of timber lying around, waiting to be brought back to life.
So many lovely pieces of furniture have been made in his workshop. Long and heavy tables made of recycled mahogany or huon pine. There is a gorgeous mellow quality to old timber. Felled over 100 years ago, the trees from which they came from would have been old, fully grown, the grain tight and the colour rich. After being milled the timber would have been part of a house and continued to age even after life was essentially over. Once again the timber is revived, only this time not hidden within roof space as a form of support, but as a table to be admired and enjoyed for many years.
Sometimes my brother goes down to his workshop at the end of the day to just wind down and relax. He has some old wicker chairs to sit on and a small black and white television to watch. He sits with a cup of tea and reads the paper. Life can be stressful at times for him. He and I share a similar nature. We like to be alone quite often.
I know he would love to have shown dad the things he has done, his workshop, his children. So much time has passed now that, like myself, my brother no longer wishes to entertain the thought of our father suddenly deciding to reconnect with us again. There is a limit to how much a wound can be opened and reopened before the pain becomes too difficult to even contemplate.
We actually no longer talk about the whole thing anymore. There really is no more to talk about and we have lives to live right now that are far more important than talking about past issues.
He and his wife often visit with their two boys. They have ups and downs in the marriage like most people do. As far as personalities go they are at extreme opposites and argue. When things get too hard for them they come over to have a cup of tea. During the course of the visit, a discussion will entail about their argument. I don’t take sides but will talk it over with them. When they leave they always say to me that I am like their marriage counselor which makes me laugh.
At least I am free, I always say.
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
I like reading old books about medicine. There is a lot of what seems like outright quackery woven in amongst the very pompous paragraphs of some of the volumes I have gazed upon. And, some of the remedies are frightening, to say the least. Especially if you should be so unlucky as to have ended up in an institute for the insane.
But I have one favorite book which I read over and over again, each time picking up some fascinating piece of information.
The book is called "The Lady's Manual of Homoeopathic Treatment in the Various Derangements Incident to Her Sex" and is written by E. H. Ruddock MD. The edition I have is the tenth edition and is dated 1892.
Firstly, I would like to briefly mention how amusing I find that the word "derangement" is used in the title. It does give a fair idea of how women were perhaps viewed by the medical world all those years ago.
The book basically goes through the process of the female development starting with puberty, menstruation, marriage, pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding.
There are some great little paragraphs here and there. In one section they talk about the early onset of menses and state that activities such as hot baths, eating stimulating food and drinks, excessive dancing, excitement from novel reading, too much sitting and late nights will bring it on far too soon. These days they blame early puberty on eating hormone laced chicken and beef.
They also mention that the education and general habits of the present social conditions produce too much pressure on young girls and boys and throw them into adulthood too soon. One comment written is that the "precociousness which the habits and fashions of the present generation engender". Now, this was written in 1892 and the same sort of worries are present. We worry about society forcing children to grow up too soon, as did they.
Throughout the book there is a lot of encouragement for young women to be thoughtful with their diet, to get out and exercise in the fresh air and to have good sociable interests. After a woman gives birth, the instructions are for nurturing the mother, ensuring her diet is good and she gets plenty of rest. Demand feeding is encouraged to build milk supply etc. Even mention is made to watch out for post natal depression which is referred to as melancholy-mania.
Of course there is so much more detail in the book, which would fill pages and pages. Along with each symptom is a tonic of sorts to alleviate the condition. Some of these seem a bit outdated but a lot of them are still used today.
I love books like this. Books that give a great insight into how people lived all those years ago. This book is now over 100 years old and each time I pick it up and read it I think of all the people who held it before me. There is a stamp on the inside cover with the name of the chemist it was purchased from on 10th October, 1900. The chemist is Martin and Pleasance and they are still functioning out there in homeopathic land.
What is shows to me also is that people really never change over decades. The same concerns abound. Our desire for children being children for as long as possible, tackling new (and not so new) health issues and seeking out cures for them all, diet and the constant battle to get it right.
Human beings are just a product of the era they are born in.
Books from all the eras show us that we are so normal even if the world seems so very different to how it used to be.
Drink less, eat less, smoke less and exercise more are the four most common resolutions that people are continuously making and breaking. They are big ones that are mostly broken within a week or two.
In fact, everything about a resolution indicates that, deep down, people are never too happy with themselves. Does not seem to matter much the good things that an overweight, lazy, smoking and drinking person may have achieved during the year. The fact that he or she still is perceived to be indulging wipes all the good stuff out.
Wanting to better myself is always a goal. But I never want that to be a resolution. It is too complex to make a grand statement about on the 1st of January. So much to be worked on and chipped away at to make any foray into so I just make it a daily fact of life.
So, the big annoying things about myself are like a lifelong project. The big picture is too big for me to see the edges of so I have to zero in on the little, tiny and pesky things to feel I have some success. Otherwise I would be totally disheartened and stay in bed.
Here is a small list of the things I hope to tackle in 2008 as they really annoyed me in 2007:
- Consistently go to bed early. Notice the word consistently. Does not seem to assert itself often enough.
- Get out of bed early. Hard to do if I am not successful with number 1.
- Be patient and kind with myself. Now I am in the studio and getting back into drawing and other fiddly things, I am faced constantly with the fact I have the attention span of a pea and am incredibly self critical which then is followed by complete despondency at my total lack of success. My success is measured by the size of the urge of have to rip up what I have done. The greater the urge is the more dissatisfied I am with what I am doing. The urge seems to be on a constant and grand scale.
- Keep the interior of my car clean. Speaks for itself.
- Stop wiping my hands on jeans if they are sticky, wet, grubby etc.
- Resist the urge to throw clean clothes into the laundry basket just because I am too lazy to hang them up.
- Make full use of my diary which means fill it in every day AND carry it with me in my bag AND read it each day.
- Write in my journal when I feel the urge and not when I have time as the ideas come and go like the wind and not when I always want them to.
- Try to reduce the contents in my handbag as it now weighs about 12kg and that means I cannot put it on my passenger seat in the car or it beeps to put the seatbelt on my handbag. Also may help with the chronic ache in my right shoulder....
- Try to be a little bit spontaneous now and then, even if it bothers my routine to the point where I feel my whole week is ruined because I missed my Monday walk (or something similar).
Okay, that is ten changes - not resolutions - I shall be working on over the next few months.
As for things like housework, ironing and other domestic activities. Well, I sorted those out a couple of years ago. I just do them when I feel like it and if any other members of the household object to that mantra, hey, they know where the vacuum cleaner is..
Happy New Year to everyone.
So, goodbye 2007
Sweet year you were to me
You gave to me peace
And then I was free.
Monday, December 31, 2007
Yesterday we went down to the beach to have an ice cream. Whilst the boys love to eat the the creamy ice cream you get from the van, I always get the gelato. The bright colours reflect the shimmer of a hot day. A gelato from the van parked down at the beach is usually the cheapest version of one that you could get, but still it is my favorite. They are usually too big for me to finish and most times I hand it over to K or S to eat when I am half way through.
I had a perfect birthday yesterday. My brother and his family dropped over in the morning with a gift voucher from an art supply shop. They stayed and chatted for a while before heading off.
Then my work colleague dropped over for lunch with her teenage daughter. J has just bought a brand new car and we spent some time peering through all the nooks and crannies, admiring the smooth plastic interior and the new car smell. She had also bought a GPS and, being a complete troglodyte with map reading of any sort, I was duly impressed. My husband, who is my online GPS when I get lost, rolled his eyes and muttered something about precious skills being lost with all these gadgets. I said that I never had the skills of map reading so it was no loss if I got a GPS.
After she had left I went immediately down to the art supply shop where I spent more than the voucher (as happens) and came home with a brown paper bag full of lovely things.
In the evening we went down to the beach. It was full of people, the wind was quick and whipped around us. By the time we got back into the car my skin was salty from the air. The weather had cooled down when we had arrived, but there were still people in the water. Lots of people bring down chairs, food and families and spend the day down here.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Although a lot of people are wanting to get out and fill the shopping centres, the atmosphere is one of relaxation and low key excitement. As though anything that matters is put on hold until the New Year brings about the routine once again.
Today is hot. One of those hot summer days that take your breath away when you step out into the open air. A blast of heat that dries any moisture from your skin, making lips dry. On days like today I always threaten to cut my hair short as it is hot and heavy against my neck. I end up wearing it up around the house.
I had to go out to the shops today. Picking up fresh fruit and vegetables and something for dinner. There is a strip shop about twenty minutes drive from my house. It is my favorite. I spent many teenage years walking down there.
It has changed greatly now. The suburb, once a not particularly popular one, has become one of affluence. Houses that were cheap now cost too much for the average person. So, the nature of the shops change to suit the available income of the local person.
Often I browse through the clothes shops, many of which are full of interesting designer items. Skirts with strange patterns and colours, shirts of fine cotton with odd pieces of silk ribbon attached on the collar or cuff for added interest and dresses with floral patterns that one never sees in a department store. These are clothes made for people who want to spend a lot of money to make a statement. Individual and yet at the same time common to those who can afford it.
Sometimes when I look at the shirts I am tempted. The fabrics are usually of a quality you no longer can get easily. Soft white muslin, white cotton and pale silk. Fabrics that make no noise when you wear them. Fabrics that make your skin shiver when you slide your bare arm into the sleeve. Fabrics to handwash carefully and hang away from the harsh sunlight to dry naturally. Fabrics that look insolently expensive, even if you have worn the shirt all day.
There have been odd occasions that one of these shirts has been reduced enough in cost that I make a decision to buy it. Perhaps the price drops from $320 down to $120 which, even though it is still what I consider to be expensive, it is low enough to make me want it. Generally the ones I love most are white, fairly plain and have a boyish yet feminine look about them. A small piece of lace, an imprint of a flower in the fabric or the sleeves are so long that the cuff finishes at the finger tips. These small touches give it an individual look that I am so drawn to.
When I have one of the shirts, I treasure it. I wear it with great thought and take care of it. Not because of the purchase cost, but because of the beauty of it. The relationship I have with it can be personal and full of tenderness. When I open the wardrobe I look at it hanging separately from my everyday clothes. I touch the sleeve, or the front of it and may be half tempted to wear it to work.
But, these shirts only get worn on weekends. When I decide to go out for a cup of coffee or perhaps just for a walk down the street I will wear it. I do not want to sully it's beauty with the tedium of work. I want to feel it against me, see a reflection of it in a shop window. The shirt knows it is special. It has it's own life. A spoilt, but love article of clothing.
Eventually the life of a sweet shirt such as this comes to an end. Perhaps the fine fabric wears thin in places or a small tear may appear in the fragile silk. At that point in time I will decide to wear it to work. Get the most out of it. After that I may keep it for years only wear it less. A new one will replace it but the old ones stay as a reminder to the bond we have.
I am due for a new shirt. I saw a few today, hanging like white ghosts waiting for a wardrobe to haunt. Touched the fabric, stroked the cuffs and collars and held the shirt up against my body. One of them had a little bell attached to the washing instructions to lead you easily to the information. Although they were close to what I wanted, they were not quite right, not calling to me like a Siren to a passing ship of sailors. When I get the tempting song in my head then the shirt has chosen me, not I the shirt.
I still have a few more places to find one, and when I do I cannot wait to put it on.
Friday, December 28, 2007
Now, I need to tell you a bit of history about S and his bedtime.
I was a very anxious mother from the moment I brought my son home from hospital.
When he cried, I picked him up. All the time. No controlled crying in our house. In fact, I thought how fantastic it was that he would fall asleep so quickly and easily in my arms. I could move him out of the car and into his cot without any problems.
Crying babies make me very anxious. Even now, if I hear a baby cry I think it should be picked up and held until it stops crying.
One day the local mother craft nurse came around and saw that S was asleep in my arms. She warned me that if he did not learn to sleep on his own there would be problems years down the track.
I just thought "well, I don't give a fuck, it makes me happy to pick him up, makes him happy and I am prepared to do it".
Another time I took him to the doctor with an earache and some mention was made that S had been in our bed at night. The doctor asked me if this was common and I said it was. He then said to me that he was not concerned about my son's earache, but more about the fact that he was in our bed so much still at the age of eight.
And I was prepared to do all the other things to help him sleep like let him sleep in our bed if he woke up. Which until early this year he did for about five nights each week.
For years one of us would lay with him in bed until he went to sleep (and us). Then do a very, very careful movement to get out of bed without him waking up, then more careful movements to get out of the room and avoid the creaking floor board or he would wake up. This stopped at just past age nine when I had to take a hard line and force him to go to sleep on his own. It was a traumatic week for us all. But he managed.
Nothing is to be moved in his room or he cannot go to sleep. He actually does not shut his eyes to go to sleep, he just keeps them wide open until they drop shut. Once I moved a picture on his wall and he could not go to sleep as he liked to stare at it to sleep. He tells me that if he shuts his eyes he sees monsters.
He still sleeps with the light on. Not just a small light, but the entire room is lit. We have recently started turning it off once he goes to sleep as he requested us to do it.
He also has had a cd playing audio books and he has listened to hundreds of hours of great novels as he goes to sleep.
But a few weeks ago K let him watch a Tintin dvd on the portable player whilst he would go to sleep.
I was a bit annoyed about this as I have a rule about televisions or dvd's in a bedroom, especially a child's.
Watching a dvd does not help a child get to sleep, it keeps them awake. I walk in to his bedroom and he is lying there like a zombie with his eyes fixed on the action. And it is ten o'clock at night!
So I have said to K that since he allowed it, he has to disallow it.
That was weeks ago. S is still watching dvd's to go to sleep. He knows every Tintin dvd in such great detail that he has started noticing little faults with the background scenery. As he also reads the books, he is able to tell me any mistakes being made in the dialogue.
Looks like I might have to be miss bossy boots again.