Friday, August 29, 2008
Or a blow by blow description of a movie that they have just seen.
And an in depth run down of a book they just read.
In enormous detail as well. Not a little five minute synopsis which will allow me to make the decision to see or read it myself. No, no, a great big long one hour blab about it.
If I have a dream I may briefly mention that it was good or bad, but that is it. I don't feel the need to share the entire event. Especially since most dreams are quite nutty and make no sense, even to someone like me who can see sense in nearly everything.
And movies. It is great that someone enjoys a film. Give a brief outline to me if you really need to. But please, don't spend an hour and a half going over the entire plot so that I never have to see it for myself as you just spoilt it for me.
Also, if I am watching a great detective movie, don't come in at the last five minutes of it and say to me the following:
"What is the film about?"
'Cos I am not going to tell you.
You should have stayed in the room and watched it yourself. I can't remember what happened. It was a transient couple of hours that I cannot draw on in ad infinitum detail.
And, read the book yourself. Don't ask me to tell you all about it. Or if you did read a jolly good book, loan it to me and say that you think I may enjoy it. My house is not a book club (which is the only place one is allowed to talk in detail about books).
When I have seen the movie and read the book, we can have a long talk about it then.
Until then, spare me the details.
Brief outline is fine.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Years ago I just loved winter. The cold days, grey skies and blustery wind made me feel like going for long walks when I was younger. Now, a cold day makes me shiver and turn the heater up.
I think years ago I led a life that welcomed being indoors and never felt bothered by the restrictions that bad weather can bring. I would leave the house early in the morning and make my way to the interior of a train, to the interior of an office building in the city and then back home on the train, late at night, to the comfort of my home. On the weekends I may have worked on a Saturday and then spent time inside my house to clean up and get ready for the next week.
So, not much time outside.
It is not like that now. I leave the house so very reluctantly when the sun starts to shine that little bit warmer. As I step out of my front door I can smell the sweet scent of freesias that are coming into flower after being dormant for months in the damp ground. The wind just picks up the fragrance of them and throws it at me as a reminder that soon the days will be brighter.
When the days start to get longer I am outside as often as I can be. Whether it be sitting at the backdoor to read, pottering in the garden, going for a walk or for a bike ride down to the street I want to hold that day around me for as long as I can.
Now as I drive to work and the light of the day is different, the clouds not so heavy and a sense of promise drifts into my car if I let the window open. I feel a thrill of anticipation.
Even though the days are still cold, I don't want to put my winter clothes on. I open the wardrobe and look at my meagre collection of clothes, my hands seeking the white shirt or the taupe skirt of linen that can only be worn on a warm day. Soon, soon I say to myself as I look at it. I decide that soon I will wash some warm weather clothes and freshen them in anticipation of the first warm day.
Apple season is almost over and some summer fruits arrive at the grocer's. Coffee shops put more tables out the front to catch the warm sun that customer's love so much. I drive past the beach and the water is azure blue and inviting. It would be freezing to swim in, but it looks warm.
When I go into the shops all the summery clothes are on show, a sure sign that people will be shaking off the winter chills and are ready to say goodbye to those cold months once again.
Even though this process is repeated each year, the newness of it never escapes me. I feel like I am wriggling out from a cocoon and ready to stretch and embrace the bright days that are making their way from the other side of the world and over to me.
It is all new. Fresh and beautiful. Every year gets better and better.
It is great.
Monday, August 25, 2008
I was leaving a full time and well paid job and therefore had to go and work part time in my father's bakery. Otherwise I would be forced to ask for financial handouts from my new husband and that went against all my work ethics.
If you ever want to fulfil your dreams of working like a dog, cleaning like a skivvy and being put off cakes for life, get yourself a job in a popular cake shop.
I worked on weekends and any other spare moment I had. When you work for your family you have to work harder than anyone else. That is the expectation.
I also had to make sure that anyone else working in the bakery was pulling their weight. So, it was natural that no body really liked me that much, not the baker, not the apprentice, not the full time young girls. Not that it mattered.
On the weekend the bakery was packed with people picking up pre-ordered Danish pastries, birthday cakes, speciality breads and creamy cakes that would be eaten for afternoon teas. I cannot recall how many times I shouted out "who's next please" or gave the run down on what was encased in the flaky exterior of an almond and sugar encrusted pastry.
So many choices were on hand that people would stand for ages staring into the glass fronted, refrigerated cabinet, deciding as to whether or not to buy the French vanilla slices, or the sweet, custard fruit tarts. Maybe the chocolate eclairs filled with fresh cream would be the treat for the day. In the end, many of them would buy four or five of the sickly sweet cakes to take home.
Most customers were great, friendly and chatty. A few grumpy sorts. Whiney children pointing out cup cakes and gingerbread men that were invitingly displayed at their eye level from behind glass were a common event.
And then there was the guy who wore bike shorts.
This man always managed to come into the shop when I was there. He was, what I would call, a pervert. He was tall with blondish, curly hair worn in a cropped style all over except for a thick mop of it on the very top of his head. He was tall and well built, pale blue eyes and had womanly full lips. All in all, his appearance was rather creepy.
He oozed with an arrogant, self confident kind of sexuality which did not match the reality of what he was actually like to the general female population. Even though he was tall and quite well built, his skin was milk white, smooth and hairless. There was even no hair under his arms. He would wear a tight singlet under which his stomach strained against the fabric due to the size of it. And he always wore lycra bike shorts irrespective of whether or not he was on his bike or if it was cold outside.
His appearance in the shop would make my stomach sink. For he was a guy who thought it was fine to talk to my breasts and not to my face. His eyes would rove around my face and then down to my apron covered mammary glands in the most obscenely sexual manner. Sometimes another customer who was in the shop at the same time would express a non verbal awareness of this guy's lewd mannerisms by way of a raised eyebrow or smirk. He certainly had a thing for me as he would always refuse the other girl's offer of service, waiting instead until I was free.
When he asked for his cakes of choice he would keep his voice low which forced me to lean over the counter to get closer to allow me to hear him. I am sure it was deliberate. Then he would let his eyes meet mine and lick his lips in what he thought was a sensual way. In reality it was just the most revolting thing I had ever been exposed to.
This went on for months.
I am fairly tolerant of a person's odd behaviour. As far as I was concerned he was just a pervey kind of guy and besides, he made for good gossip after he left the shop.
On one particular day he came in and asked for four chocolate eclairs. To get the eclairs I had to make up a little cardboard box, pick up the tongs, open the rear of the refrigerated unit and squat down to reach in and get each eclair. Whilst in that position I was given full view of customers from their waist down.
Anyway, there I was bending down in this precarious position and this creep is standing at my eye level in his bike shorts. He then puts his hands onto the waist band of the black lycra shorts and pulls them up slowly so that his "package" is enhanced. The whole movement is repeated with a slow, semi thrust, to ensure I am given no doubt as to his wish to draw my attention to his "eclair" whilst I getting the eclairs out from the fridge.
When I stood up my face was flushed from anger and embarrassment. I handed the eclairs over and he gave me a knowing smile as he passed me the money.
After that episode I made a point of going out to the back of the bakery the moment I saw him come into the shop.
But for years I wished that I had spat on those eclairs.
Unfortunately, my good breeding and manners would not allow me to sink that low. I can tell you however, that in the few seconds from when I put the final eclair into that little white box and then stood up, the thought was on my mind.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Now, I know this may well go against everything that is suggested as "ideal" in today's parenting rules, but I don't have a problem with children playing with toy guns, pretend swords or battery operated space guns. I think they are fun to play with for girls and boys and nothing beats running around the back yard trying to shoot someone with a water pistol. And, I also love cap guns (great smell and sound) and spud guns.
That does not mean I like gratuitous violence, it just means that I know where to draw the line and my son knows what is real and what is not real.
But I am digressing. S was really, really into the Army and when we all went to the Royal Show this particular year they had a fantastic Army display with tanks, jeeps, guns and men in camouflage cargo pants. We spent around two hours looking at everything. Climbing in, out, over and around whatever he could. He was given a show bag packed to the gills with bits and pieces of Army tat.
One of the items in the bag was a Frisbee with a free number to call about joining the Army. I found this amusing as it implied that one day someone would be out throwing their Frisbee, see the number and think that joining up may be a good idea.
When we got home that day from the show, S spent hours sifting through all of his show bags. He threw the Frisbee around the house and then went on to something else. Later that evening, I packed all his things away and put them into his bedroom.
The next afternoon both S and I were at home together. He was fiddling around moving from room to room whilst I was tidying up and cleaning. After a while I noticed that the house was silent except for some movement in the office. It sounded as though someone was on the telephone.
I crept up to the doorway and peered around to see what S was doing. He was on the phone, the Frisbee sitting on the desk next to him. He was making a phone call. He had obviously first come across a recorded voice and was listening to instructions. His little fingers pressed a couple of buttons which put him onto another department.
Then I heard the following words come out of his mouth:
"Hello, I want to join the Army," he said in his lovely little voice.
Someone asked him a question at the other end, which obviously I could not hear.
"Um, I'm five," he replied.
A few more words were said to him. He nodded his head a few times.
"Okay, I'll ring back when I am seventeen," he answered.
After another nod of the head, he said goodbye and hung up the telephone.
That he went into his room and searched for the Frisbee, found it, taken it into the office and made that phone call without so much as a peep really floored me. It was astonishing and at the same time I realised just how much of his own little thoughts he had then.
A few years later his Grandad was asking him if he would like to join the Army.
"No way, you might get killed," my son said.
"In the Army you make great friends that are with you in every way for ever," defended his Grandad.
"Well, what good are friends to you if you are dead?" said S. Those were his thoughts, not mine. Over the past few years my son has seen enough of television to make his own mind up.
His Grandad thought he was cowardly. S did not care what anyone thought.
He is still into guns, shooting games and all those other politically incorrect toys that I buy irrespective of what is apparently good and not good.
I still have that Frisbee. It reminds me of his little spirit that had an pure view of the Army life. When it was all a child make believe game and he had not seen the truth and reality of it on the six o'clock news.
Here is my result!
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
He is such a wag.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Years ago I would buy a practical and modestly fashionable handbag once a year and use it until it looked shabby. Then I would go out and buy another equally practical one and so on.
Then one year my niece brought back a Mandarina Duck casual bag from Spain for me and I was astonished how useful and beautiful it was. The following year she bought for me a very fashionable leather handbag from a funky designer shop whilst she was in New York. It cost me an arm and a leg compared to previous bag purchases, but I loved it and realised just how gorgeous such an accessory can make one feel.
Then I went on Ebay and bought a Mimco handbag. Then another one.
When I went over to the UK I came across a brand of handbag that you cannot get here. It is called Radley. I fell in love with a little brown number and brought it home with me, carefully wrapped in tissue. I use it nearly every day and there is not a time when, in the process of getting something out of the bowels of the bag, I do not admire the thoughtful lining, the little zipped internal pockets. It is the most divine bag I own.
Radley bags have a signature little leather terrier dog that hangs from the handle by means of colour matched leather strap.
I went back onto Ebay and then purchased a new Radley tote bag to carry my laptop. It cost a small fortune. I also use it for small shopping trips. It must be the most expensive way to carry milk, bread and other supplies. The internal lining is lemon, the external fabric is inky black with an array of lemon floral patterns adorning it. It also has some fiddly little bags attached to the outside. The little terrier is lemon coloured to compliment the interior. I want to kiss the bag because it is so sweet.
Sad isn't it.
But, they have a range of bags that I am really, really keen on. When I look at this collection my mouth waters and my mind just melts at the gorgeousness of them. I first saw this range of Radley bags in a street just near Covent Gardens. It was in the shop window, on it's own, perched upon a tall white pedastal. I stopped in front of the window and just stared and the lovely thing. The price was a bit out of my range but what else would I expect from such a work of art.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
The couple I am going to call Jens and Sharon. The reason I am not going to put their real names down is because they were quite popular and I can actually Google them both and I don't want people I know reading my blog (no logical reason why, I just don't).
Sharon was the epitomy of the harsh Aussie broad of the day. Thin, tanned, chain smoking and good looking sort with a flat, nasal accent. I think my father rather fancied her, and in fact, most males did. Even after three children she was able to sport a bikini in a way that would put most girls to shame. Although, my mum did tell me that Sharon had her breasts enlarged which I guess certainly helped enhance her womanly shape. Her husband was a jovial man, once handsome I suppose. But he drank quite a bit. He spent most nights at the pub. I think this caused a problem between them.
Sharon owned a couple of Chihuahua's. Nasty little snapping dogs that would bite and bark at any given moment. She would have them tucked under her arm or sitting on her lap most of the time. If your feet were bare and dangled down near them they would bite at them. I was so fearful of their sharp teeth.
They lived in a suburb called Scoresby. Scorseby had come about in the late 1960's. One of those new suburbs where everyone flocked to and lived in neat brick homes with orange laminex kitchens, paved barbecue areas, an above ground pool and a garden that was full of low maintenance ground cover. There was a time in the 1960's when urban development really started. Big companies built display homes on large tracks of vacant land and people just loved the urbaneness of it all. All organised, as opposed to happening by accident.
They always had a lot of barbecues and friends over. Very sociable. We went quite often to join in the get togethers. Most of the children were either the same age as my younger brother and sister or my older sister. There were none my age and I kind of just hung around different groups at various intervals throughout the day.
On summer nights they would hold a movie night in the garage. Big reel to reel movies that were showing at the cinemas at the same time. We would all sit and watch them, eating pretzels and drinking Fanta. I have to say, some of the movies were not terribly appropriate for me, aged around 7 or 8 at the time. Dirty Harry, Carry On movies and the Summer of '42. They were quite grown up for me (and others) and left their mark scorched in my very impressionable and curious mind.
From the occasional conversations that I have had with my mother, I think the marriage was not a good one. Jens drank a lot and was the perpetual teenager. Sharon was lonely and apparently slept with a couple of her daughter's male friends. We moved on up to Queensland and I guess my parents kept up some sort of sporadic contact with them.
Many years ago Jens and Sharon separated. Sharon bought one of those tickets where you could win a house and a car and actually won the first. She bought a pub in a rural town which subsequently lost money hand over fist. Jens continued his life as per usual, work, drink and play. In the end it caught up with him and he died a couple of years ago of a heart attack.
My older sister went to the funeral and saw my father there. He was very upset as he had not kept in contact with Jens and felt the grief of lost friends and opportunities. I suppose his own mortality was brought to his attention. He said to my sister that we should all just get on with each other and forget all the family dramas, naturally she agreed. I mean, my father had not spoken to us for a long time.
My sister said that he wept with grief at the funeral and really seemed so genuine about all of us catching up again. Putting the past behind, life is short etc..
Well, he obviously forgot about his words and tears on the way home from the funeral as he still does not speak to any of the family.
He is 78 this year. His mortality must really be knocking on his door these days.
Somehow I doubt he will listen.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Proof of this fascination is in the following posts:
- Poo Twaddle
- Travel and The Toilet
- Very Very Silly Twaddle
- Health Food Shops
- Natural Remedies
- Fart Twaddle
I read on the internet that the average woman farts ten times a day, the average man around fifteen. You know, I think that the people that were surveyed were lying because once I decided to count every time I farted, and let me tell you, it was way more than ten times in the day. In fact, I have to confess, that I may have reached triple figures by the end of the day.
I don't mind confessing my low standard of behaviour on my blog. It normalises what is essentially a natural human reaction to food. Besides, it is not like you are going to meet me in the near future, although if you did, I promise to hold back. By the way, I never fart at work. Only in front of loved ones who have earnt the right to be subjected to my, um, bad habits.
Oh, yeah, well, the point of this post is not to remind everyone that I live like a farm animal, but to announce the realisation that I have to now raise my standards in that area.
My son has become more vocal in the fart department. And, when a boy gets close to teenage years, it is not very funny. In fact, it is totally gross. He does the longest, noisiest and most disgusting farts around and then follows each one up with a shriek of laughter.
I cannot really tell him not to when it appears that I have set the standard of the day. But my reasons for farting are not for entertainment, they are therapeutic. That does make the motive a little different. And unlike my son, I say nothing after I, you know, let one go (although my husband and son may object loudly a short time later).
I asked a group of friends if they ever farted in front of their partners and most of them said that they never did. How unhealthy. My older sister told me that she NEVER farts. What the? That cannot be good for you.
Well, anyway, you could call this an early New Year's Resolution. Hold back when in the company of loved ones.
Not that I think it will make a difference. I think it is in the gene pool. Like cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Low standards run high on my side of the family.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
I only own one pair of dressy shoes. They are black and pointy. Kitten shoes they are called. The point extends around two inches past my toes and people often step on the tip of them. Very low heeled as I actually cannot walk in high heels. I bought them around five years ago and they get worn around four times a year.
The shoes I wear are terribly practical. Doc Marten's, clogs (three pairs, red, black and white), Birkenstock sandals for summer, boots and my runners (trainers). That is it. I buy each pair after a great deal of thought, spend the money and look after them.
I am not a sexy shoe kind of girl. Not shimmery high shoes for me. I work too hard for my money to waste on a pair of shoes that will only see the light of day twice a year. Practical shoes for practical feet. Of course, it does not help that I have marginal foot drop in one leg which makes walking in high heels nigh impossible, but even before that happened, I was always a girl who like her feet flat to the floor.
As a result of my unsexy shoe style, my son has developed his own thoughts on what women should be wearing. He thinks high shoes are ugly and make girls look silly. I have personally never said anything to him as to why I don't wear them, I just don't.
So, here we were inside a shoe shop where I was agonising over whether or not to spend a measly $29.95 on a pair of shoes that I know I would never wear again. Everything was reduced but still I was unable to bring myself to spend the dosh. Suddenly my son motioned to me to look down at a pair of very lurid shoes on a lower rack. They were hot pink, pointy toed and very high heeled shoes. The leather was patent and there were diamante and gold embellishments scattered across the top of the shoes. Incredibly glitzy and totally useless.
"Mum, they are slut shoes," he said quietly to me.
I stared at him.
"I'm sorry, what did you say," I asked him.
"You know, they are slutty shoes," he repeated, a little more confidently.
"What exactly do you mean by that?" I said laughing (okay, I know I should not have, but it was funny).
"Well, only a slutty girl would wear that type of shoe. You know, like Paris Hilton," he replied.
I laughed out aloud.
I swear that I have never made any such comments about aforementioned celebrity.
My son came to his own conclusion.
I ended up not buying any new shoes.
Just wore my little black ones and put up with people stepping on the pointy toes.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Son: "When I get a girlfriend, if you don't like her, well she is out".
Mother: "Oh, really?"
Son: "Yep, and if she does not like you, she is not going to be my girlfriend".
Mother: "Really, well, we will see".
Son: "No, seriously, I cannot have a girlfriend who does not like you and who you do not like. You are too important to me".
Mother: "Thank you darling. You are such a good son". (said with little wistful laugh and an accompanying kiss).
Son goes off to play on computer.
Mother thinks that his thoughts will change with the onset of teenage years and the "pussy power" of future girlfriends.
Then husband tells me that there was no way he would have married a woman that his mother did not like.
So, maybe, who knows.
Still, since no one will EVER be good enough for my son..........
He may have to stay single for a long, long time.
I headed off to work this morning full of vim and vigour. Music belting out of the car stereo, sun peeping through some gloom clouds and traffic was steady.
I was first into work at 9.30 am. Rather nice not having to do an early morning these days. Been there and done that and nothing will inspire me to do it again.
When I get to work, I turn off the alarm, turn the lights on, on with the office heating (including the warm heater under my desk), turn on my work colleague's computers and make my way into the kitchen where I get the coffee machine going and empty the dishwasher. Once back into the office area I turn on the radio, pull up the blinds and then sit down and sort out what is happening for the day. Sometimes I check the answering machine if I am in the mood. Reading emails and logging onto the work bank account is the next process. The balance of the bank account will determine my mood for the day.
A nice little routine to start the day. When my assistant comes in she makes me coffee. I know, I seem a little spoilt, but I do also make coffee for her.
So today was pretty much along those lines. But it was also payroll day and that is always very time consuming. Lots of costing to be done and allocating all sorts of expenses goes with doing payroll.
As the day progressed, my mood went from happy and focused to mildly pleasant with a pervading shittiness starting to make it's way into my sphere. It built up to a level where I had to stop what I was doing and try to work out what was triggering it.
I realised it was because my husband's cousin was coming over for dinner tonight. I do like her but I don't really like having people over for dinner during the week. But it was not just that, well, she is a neat freak. I am at the other end of the scale.
You see, my house is clean enough to be healthy. Her house is clean enough to perform open heart surgery in. I mean she is clean. The smell of bleach is always in her home. One time she came to visit me and, after using my bathroom, she commented on the state of my shower screens and gave me a suggestion on how to get them looking like new. I told her that I knew how to get them looking like new, but that I did not give a shit if they did not look like new. They were clean, there was not a scrap of soap scum on them and, really, I don't even think I have to defend myself.
Everything in her house in neat. If you open a cupboard it is neat. No messy third drawer in the kitchen at her house. In my home, everytime you open a cupboard there is chaos. Now and then I spend a day making it very ordered, but really, I do have other much more interesting things to do than pfaff around making my cupboards orderly.
Anyway, my husband said to me that he would cook dinner. That was fine. However, at 2.30pm I got a phonecall that he was going to be late home, could I pick up S at school. This also translated as "could you cook dinner". No problems with that. Pick up son from school, go to supermarket and get provisions, stop off at Blockbuster video to get a stack of dvd's to watch whilst boring Olympics is on and then race home with all of that.
So cooked dinner. Three different meals because we all eat different things. Spend around an hour and a half cooking. Have to take sewing machine off dining room table, move clothes horse out of dining room along with ironing basket loaded as high as the Eiffel Tower and shove somewhere in teeny weeny laundry. Husband cleans bathroom, makes bed and then vacuums. House is suddenly nice and tidy.
Dinner gets finished and sits in oven keeping warm. I have resigned myself to loss of my evening.
Her time of anticipated arrival came and went. More time passed and my son made hungry noises. I ask my husband to call his cousin to make sure she actually remembered that we were expecting her.
And, she had forgotten. Okay, her daughter was in labour with the first grandchild which would make a dinner date rather unimportant.
Shitty mood abated. Especially since my house is so tidy now and I have enough food for dinner for the next three nights.
And time to do a boring post about it.
Monday, August 11, 2008
Sunday, August 10, 2008
When I was about six years old, Mormor (mum's mother) came over to stay with us for a few weeks. The only childhood memory I have of her is being smacked with a wooden spoon. My mother told me I must have been very naughty as Mormor had never, ever smacked any of her seven children.
Mormor used to send me birthday cards. I recall her long writing across the card. The message would be in Danish and my mother would translate it for me. She also sent all the children small gifts. One of them I still have. A round name tag with all my personal details on it. I wear it frequently. It has my maiden name on it and I quite like that little portion of me still clinging on. I saw her last in 1994 when K and I went overseas. She was in a nursing home, my grandfather had died the week before we got there. When I offered my condolences she brushed them aside saying that she was glad she would have the remote control all to herself. The next day she gave to me, via my dear aunt, some money to spend whilst I was in Denmark.
We never had any contact with my father's family. The only time I ever realised that he actually may have had one was when I was about nine years old. He got a phone call from Denmark to tell him that his father had died in a car accident. It was the first time I had seen my father cry. It was a very sad as the last time he had seen his father was when he was 14 and they had an argument. Two years later at the age of 16 he joined the Merchant Navy and ended up in Australia never to see his family again.
When my son was born I recall thinking it would be nice that he had grandparents to have a relationship with. My mother in law was in the middle stages of Alzheimer's by that stage and passed away when he was about six years old so he has almost no memory of her apart from what we tell him and a collection of photos around the house. My father in law is in a high care nursing home and my son only rarely goes there. Even when he lived next door to us, S was not inclined to visit because he was a bit of an old grump and never wanted to know what my son had been up to, he rather preferred to tell him what he had done as a child.
My mother lives in another state, miles away. Never rings to speak to S, usually forgets his birthday but I know she loves him. My father, as you know if you read this blog, no longer speaks to me and is not interested in a relationship of sorts with any of his grandchildren (or children).
When I was quite young, I was always full of envy that my friends had grandparents. They would visit them on special occasions or the odd Sunday. Once I went with a friend of mine and her family to visit her grandparents. Her grandmother had made scones and served them with jam and cream. We ate them out in the sunny backyard. It was almost a scene out of a Milly Molly Mandy book.
So, I had this idea that my son would have what I never had, and that is couple of sets of grandparents to visit. An idealistic view of having little cakes made in anticipation of his visit, spending time with them and learning about their lives.
I think I wanted grandparents so much because my own little life was not that happy. Perhaps grandparents would have been a peaceful haven. It does not matter to me now. I have made my own happiness irrespective of everything that has happened in life.
As for my son, well I can tell you that he is not bothered by the lack of grandparents, the small family unit we are, the quiet Christmas's that are now part of his life. It shows to me that the worry I did about somehow making the perfect family one day was a waste of time.
It is not how many in your life that bring happiness, but the calibre of those around you that (hopefully) pave the way to a sense of joy within.
Took me a few years to work that one out.
Thursday, August 07, 2008
Most of the comics she bought were Archie, Charlie Brown and Mad. At age six that was my introduction to American culture and humour. So, with those comics and my Enid Blyton books, I had a pretty well developed idea of the world around me.
My favorite comics were Mad. I would pore over the characters for hours on end. Read all the dialogue and take it in. There was one segment that would take popular song and change the words to it. I would hum it in my head. I may have been very young, but I had a pretty good sense of humour.
This morning I heard the song "Yesterday" by The Beatles and I recalled that this tune was one of the amended songs. The words came flooding back to me.
They went like this - remember to the tune of Yesterday.
I was mailed a letter
From a friend of mine three blocks away
He sent it off on Saturday.
Made me hopeful but to no avail
Just a postcard for a clearance sale
That's all there was in Monday's mail.
Tuesday was the same
All that came was just a bill
Everyday I look
Like a schnook I'm looking still.
One fine day
When I'm ninety and my hair is grey
That letter may come my way
Mailed to me on Saturday.
Isn't it amazing what the mind stores over the passing years.
Apart from being an invasion of privacy, it is just another time wasting activity to do on the internet. I spent an hour last night looking at friend's houses on the Google Maps Australia. It does not matter that I can jump in the car and drive past, even drop in and see their house. The fact that I can see it via Google is fascinating.
Apparently they drove a car (or many cars) around town with a camera on top of it and took pictures of the surroundings. It freaks me out that they did that and I did not see them doing it.
You can also email the picture of the house to a friend. So I found the photo of my brother's house and emailed it to him saying I found it on Google. I am sure he found it disturbing as he is one of these "conspiracy theory" kind of guys. I cannot wait to speak to him about it.
I found my work address and there it was, with my car parked in the front. It was creepy.
Sort of like being a celebrity but without the glorious trappings that go with it.
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
The skill of getting a child to eat vegetables seems to have failed in our house.
My son hates vegetables. Years ago I could hide them in other foods. But he is now at an age where I think he needs to be able to eat his greens on a social level.
Recently I have started to come down hard on him at the dinner table. I put one bean, one broccoli floret, one small pile of carrots, one potato and a small nasty vegetable like a brussel sprout onto his plate. He has to eat it before he leaves the table and gets no dessert if the tiny collection of vegetables is not eaten.
The first night the lone bean just happened to fall on the floor. Another night a broccoli floret met the same fate. The brussel sprout just disappeared never to be found. Plus, when I picked up his plate from the table I noticed a few carrots had been slipped under the rim of it, out of sight.
The look on his face when he sees a plate with vegetable matter on it is pathetic. You would think I was about to give him a suppository or something equally hideous.
I have not told him how I actually hate most green vegetables, especially once they are cooked. That would give him ammunition of sorts.
I have a girlfriend who has three children. Two of them eat all vegetables whilst the third refuses to eat them at all. She has gone back to mixing them deep within his pasta sauce after deciding that him sitting at the table in front of a small pile of vegetables until 10pm at night was pointless.
Sometimes I serve up his dinner with fruit with his meat just so that he gets some fresh produce.
He does like potato.
I guess that is a start.
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
But when we moved there, it was just a house being sold, the history no longer relevant.
Up the road from us, in the same street was a family consisting of three children, two parents and a grandmother. Of the three children, one girl was my age, her brother was 16 and her older sister must have been in her early twenties and had long ago moved away from home.
My mother and the young girl's mother became very close friends and I was good friends with Sharon. We played with one another a great deal and went to kindergarten and then primary school together walking side by side each week day, even sharing the same prep class.
Sharon's parents were English. But they were also South African. I am not sure how that worked really. The way they spoke about it, it seemed as though being English and South African was somehow the same in those days. Sort of the last legs of the British Empire.
Her father was a heavy smoker. He had a droopy moustache and he coughed a lot. I recall that he was quite bad tempered and shouted a great deal. Her mother was a very tall and thin woman with a dry sense of humour. I always felt a sense of kindness from her. Whenever I spoke to her she would stop what ever she was doing and give me her full and complete attention.
Sharon had the most amazing collection of toys. Bayko building set, Britains Floral gardens, Enid Blyton books galore and a collection of hard plastic horses in various poses. She was horse mad.
My memories of visiting Sharon are quite significant. I cannot explain why. There is a mix of the sweetness of childhood and the loss of innocence mingled amongst the memories. Her house was full of interesting things. Glass fronted cupboards filled with ivory figurines, fragile china tea cups and a variety of little ornaments. In her home there were things you were not allowed to touch which amazed me as in my house everything was allowed to be handled, albeit very carefully. I would peer in the cabinets with intense interest at the contents.
The rooms in her house were always dark, with the exception of the spartan kitchen with it's butter coloured walls. Along one side of the sunny, utilitarian room was a kitchen bench fixed to the wall with two hand made brackets. It was timber and painted white. Sharon and I would sit there and have afternoon tea which consisted of thick white bread with butter and sugar on top which was then soaked in cream. I was only ever allowed white bread as a treat on Sunday's in my own home so you can bet it was eaten with great relish. I can still remember that lovely snack. If we were very good, her mother gave us each a tube of condensed milk and we would sit on the concrete back step in the warm sun squeezing the sickly goo into our open mouths. It may explain my numerous visits to the dentist years later.
Often I stayed the night at her house. One morning I woke up early and could her the sounds of the rest of the house awakening. Her father turned on the radiogram that sat in the hallway and I heard the song "When there is no getting over that rainbow" by Karen Carpenter drift into the bedroom. The smell of toast made me hungry and I made my way into the kitchen where her mother gave me a piece thickly spread with soft butter. She patted my hair very softly as I ate it. Whenever I hear that song, I am able to capture that moment of feeling small and treasured.
Her mother had a dress up box which was full of clothes that she no longer wore. One dress was a full skirted black and white checked number with appliqued Scottish Terrier dogs around the entire hem. It had two green and white stitched pockets on the front and I recall putting it on and going home wearing it with the full intention of keeping it. Unfortunately my mother forced me to take it back.
We played in the back yard with her many toys. After her father mowed the lawn Sharon and I would rake the grass clippings into a big pile and lay on it in the warm sun, the lush smell filling my head as I looked up at the blue sky.
Sharon had a collection of small dolls that were made of rubber. The brown hair was painted onto their smooth heads in the style of a Marcel Wave. They had little red lips, brown eyes and eyebrows all painted onto their small faces. Even the little red shoes and short white socks were in paint. The clothes, however, were glued on. Sometimes I would peel off the clothes just to see them naked and smooth. There is actually a small toy shop not far from where I live that still sells those funny little dolls and they have not changed at all.
One year her mother bought her a jar of luminous paint. We painted our teeth and skin with it and sat laughing in her darkened bedroom at our funny faces. Unfortunately you can no longer buy that paint, I am sure it was toxic as it did have a rather hostile smell and taste about it.
Her grandmother lived in a bungalow out in the backyard. She was always very sweet to me and would give me a lolly whenever she saw me. Her little living space was filled with all sorts of china. Cups and saucers, t-pots, ornaments, fancy dishes and a great variety of vases. For a building so small, she managed to fill it entirely with all sorts of bric a brac. Years later my mother told me what an interfering bitch that the grandmother had been in the marriage of her son and Sharon's mother.
When I was six, Sharon's brother, who was 16 at the time, molested me in the shed. I went home and told my parent's and was told to forget it, which I actually did until I was 24 years old. The memory was pulled to my immediate world when I heard the sound of an outdoor awning flapping in hot wind on a summer day. It was quite confronting to recall it so clearly, but what was more confronting was the fact that when I was 16 my father had hired Sharon's brother to work on our house for a few weeks. He was 26 and had just come out of jail after being inside for sexually assaulting a woman.
Why my father would employ a man who, only ten years earlier, had sexually molested his daughter, has always been a difficult thing for me to understand. It says a lot about my father.
We moved away from the area but my mother kept in contact with Sharon's mother. At one point her mother became seriously ill with cancer. It was a long struggle but she got on top of it. We moved up to Queensland and my mother would ring her from time to time. We moved back down to Melbourne and then bought a house just around the corner from Sharon's. My mother decided that instead of ringing the mother and telling her we would be moving down near her it would be a great surprise. The night before the move my mother got a phone call from Sharon's father telling her that his wife had committed suicide. For years my mother could not forgive herself for not telling her she was moving nearby, perhaps it would make a difference. The reality was, the cancer that she thought she had beaten had come back with a vengeance and she could not face going through it again.
We moved back to the area and I went to the local high school. Sharon went there but we were no longer friends, she was very academic and athletic. I was the opposite.
Her father died years later of a smoking related disease and spent the last twelve months of his life attached to a bottle of oxygen.
I last saw her in 2006. She had just left a very abusive 20 year marriage and was leaving to do charity work overseas. I think she was finally happy. She talked a great deal about her mother and I gave her my own mother's phone number in case she wanted to know more. But she never called her.
Such fond and significant memories are intertwined within that small window of time in my life. Those long sunny days, that lovely food, the kindness of her mother, the innocence and subsequent early corruption of of a childhood already troubled in many small ways.
Even then I think I knew how special it was.
Sunday, August 03, 2008
The party has a theme. And the theme is Casino Royale. They are having roulette tables, black jack and some other gambling thingy. All with fake money, but the croupiers are professionals. All in all I expect it to be a big night as his wife is very good at organising parties.
With the theme being what is I am at a loss as what I should wear. Easy for men, wear a dinner suit. Or, if you have a body like Daniel Craig, come to the party in your bathers!
You know I actually hate dressing up. It is bad enough going shopping for a pair of jeans let alone an outfit for a party. What I have in my wardrobe is not really appropriate. The two lonely dresses I have (one from Ebay) are for wedding's. Not for a James Bond themed night.
Initially I thought I might buy some sort of 1970's evening dress which I could pick up from one of those vintage clothes shops. However when I looked through what was available I could not picture myself wearing any of them. Being polyester every vintage dress managed to harness the body odour of the previous owner and also the mothballs that were in the wardrobe most of the clothes were stored in. Also, really, the 1970's was a rather unfortunate fashion period. A few choice clothes were around but they have not made their way to the second hand shops.
And I am at the age where someone may think I bought the dress new....
Then I thought that maybe I could go as some sort of retired aging Bond girl. I thought that maybe I could cut down a pair of satin pants that I have and make them into shorts (hot pants) and wear it with tights, boots and maybe a gold top and then wear a gun belt and have that Bond action mum look. Then I put the lovely black satin pants on and realised they were a bit tighter than they were last time I put them on. They were initially purchased when I was underweight and I have filled out since then. And not only that, they were rather expensive and I cannot bring myself to ruin the gorgeous things.
I then trawled through the internet looking for glam dresses with no luck. In my opinion, dresses are just not my thing. When I do wear a dress I cannot wait to get it off and get back into jeans. Does not matter if the dress makes me look fabulous, I just hate wearing them.
One week looms ahead and I will be trying to think what to wear for the whole time.
I really, really think the theme should have been Star Trek. I would have gone as a Borg.
More my style really.
Saturday, August 02, 2008
A couple of years ago I tried to do my fresh fruit and vegetable shopping at a funky place called Macro's which is an upmarket food shop that specialises in selling organic food, ethical foods and also cleaning and personal products that are eco friendly. All at the most over inflated price. The Macro outlets are all situated in well to do suburbs and I have to drive at least 2o minutes to get there. I now shop at a variety of more reasonably price local organic shops which are not so trendy but provide the same produce.
Now, whilst I will endeavour to buy organic fresh produce when I can, I cannot, for the life of me, bring myself to buy organic milk. I have some sort of psychological revulsion at the thought of putting that stuff in my body. I tried to work out the logical reason for this aversion and there is not one. The reason is not logical in the slightest. Whenever I think of organic milk, I think of cow dung. I do, I really do. I cannot separate the two. Organic milk and cow shit just go hand in hand together in my head and I am unable to get past that visual picture. In fact, once I brought home one litre of it to see if I could overcome my weird thought process and almost vomited when I poured some in a glass for S to drink. I then would not let him drink it (not that he cared). I tipped it down the sink (sorry to confess such a waste).
I know that the cow that made the milk may well have been happy and healthy in a nice field whilst groaning with mastitis (as it is not natural for a cow to have to produce milk on tap) but I just cannot bring myself to be that considerate.
I now have my vegetable garden planted out so I am hoping that this summer I have a good crop of something.
Now I am going to go a bit off track with this twaddle. But it kind of relates to it as well.
I have a darling niece who is turning 28 this year. She and I are very close. When she was a little girl we spent a great deal of time together. I used to fly her down from Queensland on her school holidays so that she could stay with us. When she was about 17 she rang me and asked if she could stay with us for a few weeks as her mother (my older sister) had kicked her out of home and her father did not want anything to do with her. I said sure and she came down and stayed with us for 18 months. Then she moved out for a while and came back for another 18 months. So, she is very special to me. In fact, she is my son's guardian should the worst happen to K and I.
Anyway, she is what one would call a very fashionable mung bean kind of girl. Her job is working as an environmental advisor for a local council. Her clothing is all organic designer style. She is a vegetarian and always buys organic. She has a rather magnetic personality and has a similar appearance to Gwyneth Paltrow. Tall and willowy and rather charismatic creature that she is, there has been, over the years, a slight inclination to spend money as fast as it comes in.
A few years ago she moved in with a very nice guy and they have travelled around to a few places around the world a couple of times. Then they bought a flat together and the word "budget" eventually had to make it's way into their vocabulary. But it did not arrive voluntarily. It was dragged kicking and screaming into their life as the realisation that more money was going out than going in.
One day she rang me up and talked about how she worked out that between her and the boyfriend spent around $25,ooo dollars per year on food.
"Are you for fucking real?" I said (scuse the bad word).
"Yes, that includes lunch and going out for dinner," she replied rather defensively.
"Listen, I spend less than half that and there are three of us," I said.
She then went on to tell me that she was now budgeting and having to buy her food from Coles supermarket. Coles supermarket here is not a low cost place.
"What do you mean Coles? That is hardly a budget supermarket. Coles as opposed to......?" I queried.
"Well, as opposed to Macro's. In Armadale," she said. Then continued to espouse the virtues of shopping there. How it felt good to be part of the organic process.
Well, it is no wonder her food bill each year was so excessive. If you shop at Macro's for your weekly food you can bet that you will be spending 60% more.
"Honestly, you need to come over and see me. I will show you how to budget without affecting your lifestyle and ethical stance on the world," I suggested.
I could not stop laughing about it for days afterwards. That is like saying that you cannot afford to buy your cotton knickers at Harrods anymore.
Oh, life is tough isn't it.