Tuesday, March 31, 2009
I thought I might upload a picture that gives you an idea of just how big Australia is compared to Europe. Distances to places are vast and it may explain why some people just never to to many parts of the country.
Most of Australia is extremely inhospitable and it takes a certain kind of person to live in some very arid places. The majority of the population lives near the coastline. The main cities have huge urban sprawl. Suburb after suburb all connecting with each other. Very little green wedge in between.
Most people would think nothing of driving five hours to some destination and then come back on the same day. Driving long distance is part of the Australia culture. I think nothing of driving for an hour and a half to visit a Farmer's Market or the Begonia show in some town.
Often you can drive for miles and miles and see nothing but brown grass and the odd tree. Utterly boring for hours on end for a child in the back seat of the car (as I recall so clearly).
I have never been to Western Australia, but have been to every other state. My mother has been around Australia around five times, getting to places that most people never would. Alice Springs has been my favorite place.
Personally, at this stage of my life, if I had five weeks to spare along with the money, I would be more likely to head overseas to experience a different culture. But I do understand the appeal of Australia to someone from overseas. My son has expressed an interest to go to some very distant parts of the country so I will look into it. Trouble is, the cost of travel is Australia is quite high, on par with going overseas sometimes so people tend to choose somewhere that gives them a different experience for the same cost.
However, I do toy with the idea of riding a pushbike around some parts of Australia. Lots of challenges and very rewarding at the end of each day.
Don't hold your breath waiting for me to do it. It is only a vague thought at this point.
I need to invest in a good bike seat before I attempt something like that!
Monday, March 30, 2009
There is something about an Autumn day that makes me forget my thoughts on bad weather. Blue sky with a haze across it, warm sun and barely any movement in the air.
I picked up my son from school and stood in the warm sunshine. The bell had not gone to let the children out of class so it was still quiet. The school gardener was sweeping the path. Now and then he used his shovel to pick up a pile of leaves and put them into the wheelbarrow. The scrape of the shovel across the concrete path reminded me of an old man that lived near us when I was little.
He would do his garden every Saturday afternoon. Rake the leaves in a pile and push them into the gutter where he would then set fire to them. Everyone did this. The smell of the leaves was delicious, the smoke would rise in the air like an enchanted genie. Sometimes if the air was damp, the leaves took on a richer smell. When the leaves had sunk down to an ashen pile he would use his shovel to pick them up and put them onto the garden bed. That same scrape of the shovel continues to remind me of Autumn days.
When I was little everyone had an incinerator in their back yard where they would burn their rubbish. It was made from one of two things. A giant 44 gallon drum or a more professional style made from grey brick blocks with a lid on top and a small opening down the base to enable the ash to be removed. We had the drum. It cost nothing.
The base of the drum would eventually be burnt out enough to make a hole in it and we would carefully push foil wrapped potatoes into the bottom of it, taking care to avoid the blackened, rusty edges of the hole, and they would cook for hours until soft. Dad would take them out and the foil would be blackened along with the skin of the potato. He would peel back the foil and make a cut into the skin and inside the flesh would be white and soft with steam rising from it. Mum would put some butter on top which would melt down into the softness and we would eat the potato slowly, blowing on it to try to cool it down. I loved the charred skin of the potato. It was thick and by the time I had eaten the inside of the potato, the butter had soaked into the skin and tasted wonderful.
Mothers hated the incinerator because the smoke would drift across to adjoining back yards and permeate the washing. Little flecks of ash would find their way into the clothes and stay there. I remember calling out to my mother that Mr So and So next door had lit the incinerator and she would come running out from inside and take in the washing before it became smoke filled.
Eventually the councils made it illegal to light fires to burn rubbish and the air became clear on the weekends. Washing could be hung out safe in the knowledge that it would smell fresh when taken in.
Of course, we then had to get larger rubbish bins as all the things that we once burnt, were then having to be thrown out. Recycling wasn't done on the scale it is now. Although, people seemed to be less wasteful then anyway so somewhere along the line things have gotten awfully complicated.
Now we have three big wheelie bins. One for general household, one for recycling and one for plant waste. They seem to get filled up very quickly. I am always surprised at how three people manage to produce a great deal of superfluous rubbish each week.
Anyway, I am digressing. Because this post is really about how lovely the day was. No matter what humans do to the Earth and her surroundings, somehow she still, in her unselfish way, gives up something so beautiful as a perfect day.
I feel very humbled when I think about it.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
I managed to get some gardening done. In two weeks is the Annual Flower Show and I want to go and be inspired by all the wonderful displays. So, in anticipation I am attempting to get the garden ready for some prospective planting. Oh, and anyway, when the sun shines I just have to get out and about.
Later in the afternoon I sat down to a movie that was made in Australia around thirty years ago called The Getting Of Wisdom. I saw this movie at the cinema when it came out and have not watched it since so it was so enjoyable to view it again. At the time the movie came out, the most popular actors of the day featured in it, apart from the main role which was played by an unknown.
Many of the actors are still going strong and it is fascinating to see how they have progressed over the thirty years that have passed. They really are so young in this movie which means that I must have been younger. Fifteen years old. Oh, seems like yesterday.
For a period of time during the 1970's Australia produced some very fine movies that reflected early Australian life. The one the stays in my mind more than any is the strange Picnic At Hanging Rock. It has a musical score that is crucial to the haunting atmosphere that pervades the entire movie.
I saw Picnic At Hanging Rock when I was twelve years old. I went with the the next door neighbours. I dressed up in a nice skirt, top and a pair of beige sandals. Plus, it was the first time that I wore a pair of panty hose. I felt very dressed up and also terribly hot. I think nylon panty hose are heat conductors. Apart from that, it was a memorable day.
Movies now are all very flash, but there is a rawness about the movies that came out pre 1980 that I just do not sense in what I see now. I think that everyone had their own individual look years ago. Their own style that had not been spoilt by some level of plastic surgery.
Also, because there are no computer graphics to fall back on, the acting is the feature here followed closely by fantastic film work. Great close ups, rich and natural colour.
Maybe people were easier to please then. Or had less of a need to be so totally blown away by visual effects. Although, I suppose the more a person experiences, the higher the expectations. I mean, it is not all that long ago that people went to the cinema to see a movie of a steam train just for the thrill of seeing the movement of it.
Movies are a great indicator of what was the norm of the time. Remember the disaster movies? Then the dinosaur phase. The super hero period. Pixar. Now it is franchising of popular books (Harry Potter, Narnia, Golden Compass). On and on.
People must be entertained at all times. Imagine the study that goes into what will get the people into the cinema. Working out what will bring in the big bucks. What will appeal to a huge demographic. Or is the lowest common denominator amongst the population.
Hence the popularity of The Simpsons Movie.
Which, incidentally I thoroughly enjoyed.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
I woke up this morning ill, headache, feverish. Plain old boring sick. Could not get out of bed until 10.30am and then made my way woefully into the shower.
After getting dressed and eating some toast I lay on the couch with my hair still wet and fell asleep.
My son woke me to ask for breakfast and I said he would have to make it himself (husband was on a music job). He ate a big piece of home made cake for breakfast.
I fell back asleep.
At 2.30 I finally got up from the couch feeling blah!
Now, I know I am sick because I am too sick to blow dry my hair or put on make upI!
Give me some sympathy.
Friday, March 27, 2009
I would not be lying if I told you that I have been on at least twenty different websites to read about technical matters relating to the humble saucepan. And let me mention that I have also been to many websites to get the best deals on saucepans.
One thing, after speaking to my younger sister who is an exceptional cook, I decided that I would buy stainless steel even if it was a bit more work to clean. She has worked in many restaurants and said that stainless steel with a copper base is that best way to go. Lasts forever.
It gets worse. Last night when my husband decided to go the Chadstone (the apparent fashion shopping capital) I asked him to go and look at some saucepans for me so that I could get some feedback. My husband is about as interested in saucepans as I am interested in wiping my finger under the rim of an unwashed toilet bowl. However, out of respect for my mindset he obliged me by going to the saucepan section of the department store and making a call home to me to discuss the merits of different pans.
"So, which one do you like?" I asked him.
"They really are all the same to me," was his very polite reply.
"Well, not really. They all have their differences. But look the Scanpan Impact and the Scanpan Coppernox. And what about the Essteele? " I droned on.
"Um, er, Gordon Ramsay has a nice milk pan," came his hopeful voice.
"Shit, I have not read up about his stuff. Oh, now I will have to," I then let husband go to continue his shopping while I went and Googled Gordon Ramsay cookware.
Then today I was back at the store studying the differences between the four main contenders.
I made a phone call to my husband, who was busy at work, to ask him the most inane question about the rivets on the inside of the pan. Patiently he listened to my worries about rivets collecting food on them. He assured me that it was unlikely that the food would be up that high in the pan anyway. After thanking him for his patience I hung up the phone and fondle a few more pans before heading home.
Once home my husband asked where the new pans were. He was ready to get rid of the old ones.
"I am buying online. I save a fortune," I said. And then proceeded to tell him what I was getting and how I came to the decision. On and on I went about heat conductivity, lifetime warranty, aesthetics of the pan, how the handle was designed so the my thumb sat naturally in the groove of it, how the lines of the pan made cleaning so much easier than the other brand and blah, blah and more blah.
What a fucking bore I was.
If you knew what a shit cook I was you would wonder why I bothered. Well, the pans will inspire me to be a better cook. Or, they will give the impression to anyone who chooses to open my kitchen cupboard that I must be a great cook with those fantabulous pans.
Anyway, in the end I chose the Scanpan Impact range. I mean, Scanpan is Danish as is my family. It was, essentially, the only choice I could make.
Finally the saucepan saga is over.
Now I can concentrate on something else.
Like world peace.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
I have been working five days a week since my office colleague took it upon herself to lose her driving licence for six months due to too many demerit points building up from speeding. She has not made it into work and, to be fair, it would take her an hour and a half to get here if she used public transport. But I have to say, if it were me, I would be in at work irrespective of the time it took.
So, I am doing her work. Which is okay. I just get on with it and if I need help I ask the wife of my boss for a hand who is in two days a week. I spent the whole of Wednesday going through piles of paperwork and having a throw out. Once again it was confirmed to me that if you leave a pile of paper long enough the contents become irrelevant. I had a lot to get rid of. It was great.
Working five days a week, and a solid five days at that, makes my brain tired. I get home not too late, but then try to squeeze a few extra productive hours out of the day. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. On Tuesday night I completely wasted my evening because I spent it fiddling with an electronic time thief. Yep, I was on a computer.
I had mentioned to my boss that I was planning on getting a new lap top. A bigger one. The one I have is just a little pip squeak surfing only device. He said to me that I could have the office laptop as we no longer use it. So I took it home. Oh, yes, I took it home a pfaffed around all night with it trying to get it to connect to the wireless Internet. Fiddle, fiddle, pfaff, pfaff. I know it worked on our wireless network at work, so what was going on at home.
Three hours later I just plugged it directly into the connection and sat with it on my lap downloading a few things it needed. I had given up trying to connect it wireless. Tired, grumpy and thoroughly annoyed that it was not going to do what I wanted, I turned it off and packed it back into the carry bag and, as I did so, a little device fell out from the interior.
I picked it off the floor and studied it. Then suddenly a little light bulb went off in my head. When the laptop had been set up for work it had to be modified to be wireless and to make it work you had to stick a thing called a dongle into the back of it.
Great, I had wasted three hours with the laptop when all it wanted was a dongle.
I have not yet tried it as I don't have a spare three hours to waste right now.
Dongle. Who names these things?
Possibly some one who felt like a dongle after wasting three hours with a computer.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
For me, being organised is a daily battle. I go through stages where I am good, really good and getting everything done. Usually the good stage never lasts long enough and is followed by a bad stage where I feel like life is one big feathery pillow fight in my head. That is when my husband and son eat a lot of second rate meals!
But this particular stage has lasted almost three weeks. Dinner cooked, washing done, house cleaned, cakes baked, food shopping done, exercise every day, work done, car cleaned and bed made (daily). It feels great!
Trouble is, my anxiety levels are creeping up a bit for I know that for me, a goody, goody, steady time is all too often followed by a chaotic and very disorganised state. I am not preempting this, but history tells me that this is so. Plus, the more successful the organised state has been, the more dreary the disorganised state ends up. The old yin and yang thing happening.
Some people are naturally organised. I am not one of them. I find it difficult to sustain long term organisational skills. For me, it is like carrying a very heavy load for a long time. Eventually I have to put it down and let the random chaos come into my head again.
But I am pretty much consistently organised at work. That is perhaps because I am getting paid. Which may be the solution to be routinely organised at home. Get paid for it. Give an invoice to someone at the end of each week.
Now, who would that be? Oh, yeah, me.
Anyway, I think the organisational urge is waning because I just cooked six litres of vegetable curry and that is a sure sign that things are heading down for a while. You know, like stocking up on tinned food in anticipation of a famine.
Yep, untidy urges, boring dinners and care factor zero impulses are on the horizon.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
You know, it still feels like there might be something in there.
The shoddy set I have came with stainless steel handles which get piping hot during cooking time. The Teflon coating started to pit slightly and the other day I noticed that it peeled off and was mixed in with scrambled eggs which then had to be thrown out.
I thought shopping for clothes was bad enough, shopping for saucepans is far worse. That is because I know diddly squat about them and have had to read up on what constitutes a good pan.
Firstly, as much as I love, love, love the shiny gleam of a set of sexy stainless steel pans the reality is that I am unlikely to keep them pristine during their stay in my kitchen. Also, knowing how I have, at times, forgotten that I have a soup simmering away on the stove top is likely to cause problems if I don't have a non stick pan.
The other issue that comes up is the weight of a saucepan. The better the quality the heavier the pan. Honestly, there were some saucepans that were very heavy for me to lift whilst they were empty so I can foresee that when I lift a full pan from the stove to the where ever I may drop it. Not that my arms are not strong enough, but it hurts my old lady wrists.
Then there is the warranty carrot. Some brands come with a ten year warranty and then other brands come with a life time warranty against the Teflon coating bubbling, peeling etc. With the life time warranty comes a slightly higher price tag. But also with life time warranty comes a sense of security that I won't be ingesting Teflon at any time in the near future.
Of course, now that I have made up my mind that I will be looking at a number of choice brands, I now have to wade through all the special deals that go with saucepan sets. The sets never have exactly the pans you want. They may have three of the pans you like and some obscure pan you may want to cook a horse in one day since it is so huge.
Or they come with a baking dish and three fry pans plus four saucepans which is fantastic value for money but still around $300 more than I may have wanted to spend. I then get into that frame of mind that maybe it is worth spending the extra money and getting a bit extra that I may use and maybe I could sell one piece on EBay if I think I won't use it and blah, blah, blah.
At that point I start to do a chart on what is the best value. Also read reviews. Then go to ten different online stores that sell them and make notes of which is the best deal. Then start to think about how much money I am going to spend and then feel a bit sick about having to part with my hard earned money which leads to me letting yet another week go by where my husband and son have eaten some Teflon again and isn't that carcinogenic anyway and now I am responsible for the possible ill health thirty years from now?
After all that angst I try to get my husband involved in the decision making process but he just says that whatever I get, to make sure there is a small pan to make scrambled eggs in.
Oh my head hurts.
Friday, March 20, 2009
If you live in Australia you have to accept that you will, at one time or another, be sharing your space with a spider.
You can bet it will either be BIG or poisonous. Or both.
We get plenty of biggies, but today I got a poisonous one.
In my laundry trough. Worse than that, it has been living in a small space behind the tap and coming out now and then for some food. Weeks I have seen it hanging suspended from the tap.
Well, today I noticed it was no longer moving. So I peered closer and to my great angst I realised it was a Red Back spider.
Small and mean these ones are. You would not want to be bitten as it would require a dash to the hospital.
I cannot believe that I have been saying hello to the blighter every day thinking how kind I was being by not killing it.
Well, it is dead now, just as well.
The laundry is now getting a major clean out in case the Red Back has made a nest as they do.
Just might wait for my husband to come home.
Spiders are not my scene.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Seven hundred posts. That is a lot of chat isn't it?
Now and then I read a few old ones and figure some are good and some are not so good.
However, good or bad, each post is a record of what has been happening in my life. Things I wrote about that would most likely have left the memory bank never to be recalled again.
Snippets of conversations, viewpoints expressed by my son, silly episodes and days out and about. Trivial day to day stuff that normally gets forgotten.
I have a couple of favorite posts that I have done. The content just flowed out naturally and the end result was quite pleasing.
Picture for a Tourist
My First Kiss
Boots 'N' Shoes
I have to confess that it took ages to find four I liked enough to point you over to them.
The rest of the posts really are random twaddle.
Anyhow, thanks for reading my posts and commenting on them.
I appreciate it greatly.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
My son's msn was still up and running and a friend had sent him a message. The message had a link to a porn site. At least I figure it was a porn site. It had the words penetration and orgasm in the link. Our K9 (sort of like a net nanny) programme would never let you click on the link.
I sent back a message saying who I was and if he sent links like that again I would print out his message and give it to his mother.
Anyway, this morning I mentioned the episode to my son.
He frowned a bit and then said, "Mum, it is just hormones. Don't worry about it. If kids want to look for porn they will find it".
"Well, I think I should mention it to his mother. She may not know he is looking at those sites and may like to be told", I said to him.
"No, that is her problem, not yours. If you tell her then it somehow gets back to me and I don't want that," he replied.
Hmmmm, I can see his point.
And he can see mine.
Think I may just leave it for now.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Summer has left. Just like that. Out the door she goes and in comes Autumn. It made me realise just how things tick over irrespective of what is going on in my world, your world. Seasons are the ultimate routine of life.
When Summer ends I pull up the canvas awnings that have been down for the past three months. They shield the house from the heat. At the beginning of Summer I shall go outside and pull them down again. My routine. I have been doing it for years now.
This weekend I will start getting the garden ready for the beautiful Autumn months ahead. Dig the soil over some more, feed it. Plant some bulbs, tidy the bushes and prepare everything for the cooler months.
Last night I went for a long walk. By the time I got home it was dark earlier than usual. Now I shall have to leave earlier for my evening walk otherwise it shall be too dark. This is what happens. Every year, the same thing. As I walked the smell of fires being lit filled the air. Only a few weeks ago people were cooling their homes due to the fierce heat of Summer and now they light the fires that warm the house. That is their routine.
Routine that I cannot change has a strange comfort for me. When things get chaotic I can always rely on the routine of seasons, sun rising and setting, birds waking me in the morning and the sensation that all that is meant to be happening is doing just that. It is nice to fit in around the sense of order that is Nature.
I change. All the time. The core of me remains the same. The things I believe in, things I base my life upon stay as steady as can be. Emotionally, around that core, change is constant and frequent. But you can always rely on me being constant when it comes to the important things in life.
Days just keep passing by. One at a time, regular as can be. The other day my son said to me that he feels he is getting older. He knows he is young but he senses change around him. Next year he will be at high school.
On his next birthday he will be twelve. I can recall very easily things I did, things I felt when I was twelve. He is making memories that are going to be staying with him forever. His own interpretation of happenings will be part of it. Unlike when he was a little boy. Then, any events that happened before he started school are memories that my husband and I remind him of for he cannot really remember them so easily.
Sometimes I think that when my son is an adult with his own complicated life, he may well read this blog. What will his thoughts be about my interpretation of life that includes him?
At the moment he is not interested in reading it. He just lives life day by day.
Which is how it should be.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
I love rainy days. Most of the time anyway. They are not so welcome when you are on holiday, but they are definitely welcome when you are at home and living with water restrictions.
Not just that, I love the sound of rain, the smell of impending rain and then when it hits the dry earth the air is filled with the scent of nature.
When it rains on a school day my son loves it. They have a rainy day timetable which means they sit inside and do fun things. So today at home is a rainy day timetable. I stayed inside, baked a banana cake, sorted laundry and just pottered around. My son had a friend over and they play the Xbox. As I mixed the cake ingredients I half listened to their laughter mixing with the noise of the game and the rainfall outside. It was almost chaotic.
When I was little, about ten, we were living in Queensland. It always rained up there. Hot weather rain storms. No wet day time table for children. We just ran outside and completely ignored the pelting rain. There were tadpoles to be found in the swelling water holes. I never cared if I got wet. We all had bare feet and ran through the puddles. Standing in a heavy downpour was great.
As an adult I really do not like going out in the rain unless I am completely waterproofed. Heaven help if my hair got wet! Or my clothes. Getting in and out of a car during a downpour is an event I try to avoid at all costs.
What a boring grown up I seem to have become.
Sometimes though, I do think it would be wonderful to just run around naked in the pouring rain. And, of course, the rainfall would have to be amidst a natural environment. I mean, standing naked in the middle of the grey architecture of the city with passing traffic does not have the same appeal does it?
No, my idea of being naked in the rain is along the lines of that scene in Lady Chatterley's Lover when Constance and Mellors cavort in the rain on one clandestine evening.
Although, when you think about it, if you actually got caught doing such a random and spirited act it would kind of rob it of it's beauty.
So, a secret naked romp is the key.
Ah, but not today. No forests here and it is a bit chilly and my arm chair is mighty comfortable.
Instead I may just think about it.
Friday, March 13, 2009
What is it like to just get undressed where you like and leave clothes behind?
It must be nice to have mummy and daddy pick up after you.
Much nicer than have mummy yell at you to pick up your clothes. But mummy doesn't really yell at you for that sort of stuff does she.
Life is short and kids have loads on their plate just growing up. Why on earth would any 11 year old boy be thinking of putting his clothes away? It would worry mummy if her son was very tidy and kept his clothes neatly folded. She would think he was anal.
And mummy is one of those doting sorts.
Just remember dear son, your wife/girlfriend will NOT pick up after you.
I would not want you to go through life thinking that or you would well be in for a rude shock.
I would like to apologise for the following misdemeanours that subsequently caused you both grief:
- Agreed I should not have drunk one litre of prune juice in two days (but it was nice)
- Also agree that eating baked beans for lunch every day for two weeks is not ideal
- Same goes for the three bean mix in the tuna salad
- Ah, yep, also the All Bran for breakfast
- Okay, and the three pieces of fruit each day on top of all that stuff.
I know that the above mentioned items are inclined to have a rather annoying effect later on, but I do feel that being healthy and having a good digestion is vital to a long and healthy life.
Okay, it did mean that I was not the best person to sit near. Or sleep next to. Or just be around for any period of time.
I respect your wishes that I stay in the hall way until my gassy disposition passes (no pun intended) but really, I would have had to stand there all night! I may sound like a horse now and then, I cannot be like a horse and sleep standing up.
Problem appears to have resolved itself now.
Hope you both forgive me.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
PMT. What's new. I am sure I have made a comment every month for three years on my blog whenever I get PMT. I want to share it with you all.
Anyway, bad night's sleep, woke up late, PMT and humid weather. Which means I also had a bad hair day. And still do.
But I am digressing a bit. My husband took my son to school this morning and when he came back after dropping S off I realised I had forgotten to give him something to donate to the upcoming school fair.
That was the catalyst to heightened state of anxiety. I had forgotten to put the item in his school bag and did not want him being the only kid who did not donate to the fair. So I dropped it off to his class on the way to work.
When I got to his classroom door I knocked on it and then opened it up enough to pop my head in. All of the children looked over at me and called out to my son. He got up from his desk, pink faced with acute self consciousness and came over to me.
"Here is the donation for the school fair," I whispered to him.
He took it off me and then leaned really close to me and whispered.....
"Bye mum, I love you", before he made his way back to the desk.
Oh, I would have given him a big hug and a kiss if I could have.
Sweet words to a flustered mother with PMT.
I was a bit surprised as I rarely bake anything fatty in it but I have to confess it has been a while since I gave anything but a cursory glance at the inside of the oven. I won't say how long but somewhere in my blog is a post about the day I got this retro oven and it may well the the last time it got cleaned inside.
So, I bought some oven cleaner with the intention of making full use of it in the next few days.
I had planned to do some baking when I decided that I may clean the oven first. Took out the can of whizz bang oven cleaner and read the instructions. It said something along these lines:
- put on thick rubber gloves
- ensure that oven has not been used in the past 48 hours
- for safety it is recommended to use face mask
- do not use oven 24 hours after cleaning
- do not inhale fumes
- do not allow contact to skin
You get the drift. It was all too hard to contemplate so I put the can back up into the cupboard and as I did I noticed, hidden behind a bottle of window cleaner, another unused can of oven cleaner.
Obviously I was put off once before.
I really don't want to expose myself that many chemicals just to get a clean oven.
Think I may get out the box of baking soda.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
A lone key on a big black tag. We have a couple of hooks that we hang all the other keys on and never, ever have I hung my keys on there. My husband always does. So when I lose my key - again - the following few little words get heard.
Husband always says: "Didn't you hang your car key on the hook where all the other keys are?"
Me: "No, no, and I never do so stop asking me that same stupid question".
Surely after so many years he would know I am never going to hang that key on the hook. Why keep asking me if I have hung the keys up there? He must know that I have either lost it in my handbag, put it on a shelf, have it in my pocket or dropped it on the kitchen bench.
No hanging it up on the key hook.
I don't, didn't, won't hang it up there.
And, why do people always say the following when you lose something:
"Where did you last have it?".
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
I finally got all mine and my husband's tax twaddle together to send off to the accountant. Yep, as usual I am getting it all done at the last moment. What a pain in the proverbial.
You would think that me, being a bookkeeper, would have my tax all sorted within a month after the end of the financial year. Not so. It is the most onerous task and it looms over me like a big rain cloud until I get so stressed I just knuckle down and get it sorted. Once I get it done I wonder why on earth I did not do it ages ago since it really only took me about an hour!
Everyone else's books I do are not a problem. I just get the stuff into their accountant straight away.
Must be like the plumber whose tap at home leaks. I don't know, but I am so relieved.
Until next year of course.
When the cycle shall repeat itself.
Monday, March 09, 2009
My mother would not let me have a Barbie. And that was because of Ms Barbie's big boobies. Yes, my mother thought that the dolly looked like a tart with those breasts. Personally, I think my mum was a wee bit jealous because she was born with no more than a handful, if you know what I mean.
Instead, I got Sindy. Now don't get me wrong. Sindy is cute but she sure has a long way to go to look like Barbie.
Then my mum bought me Skipper who was Barbie's little sister.
Eventually I bought myself a second hand Barbie at a church fete. She was a little used, but I was just happy to have her. Then my mother gave up and bought more second hand ones for me, each one had their own style.
One Christmas my mother made loads of clothes for my Barbie and Sindy dolls for Christmas. Some of the fabric she used was cut up from her emerald green wedding dress. I recall the excitement of getting those clothes as though it were yesterday. In fact, I still have the original patterns my mother used from a Danish women's magazine.
When I was about ten, my mother gave me a second hand GI Joe figurine. No Ken for my Barbie. Only a real commando dude for my girl. They set up house in a tree. I used an icecream container for their pool.
Just as well I had a son otherwise my house would be full of Barbie dolls.
My husband is very surprised I loved Barbie so much. I have always been a bit secretive about how much I adore her outfits and other paraphernalia.
She was the ultimate blonde bombshell, albeit of the plastic extrusion kind.
Happy Birthday Barbie.
It is Autumn now. The air is fresh and cool. The sun is warm. It rained a lot last week, enough for me to dig the soil over in parts of the garden. I love this time of year. Although, I think I say something along those lines each time the season changes. No matter what, I marvel at what each one has on offer.
Today I was up at about 6.30 am. Can you believe it? It gets even more unbelievable. I then jumped on my push bike and rode for about twenty minutes down to the beach where I then did a one hour boot camp session. Running in sand, carrying bricks up steep stairs, running up ramps (with a bit of puffed walking) and other insane things people do on their days off. Then rode home. The ride home took about ten minutes longer as I was a bit fatigued.
Got home and ate food. Despite having had breakfast, I had to refill when I got home. The best part was having a hot shower which just wonderful.
Later on I had to sit down at the stoopid computer and do an even more stoopid budget for my high maintenance client (as mentioned in this previous post). Because he is getting divorced, he has asked me to set up a budget for himself and his wife. Finished it, emailed it and felt a great relief having that monkey off my back.
After that I made my way to a giant craft and fabric store. It must be almost half an acre in size, or more. I find these places a trap for spending money. The object of my desire was a new ironing board cover with the foam. Yes, sad, but true. I walked out with that and also two plastic containers and some crafty tat that will be shoved in a box somewhere.
Anyway, whilst I was meandering aimlessly around the place I get a phonecall on my mobile. It was my son telling me he could not find his other thong (flip flop) and did I know where it was. My role as a mother is to know where everything is of course. Imagine his surprise when I said to him that I did see a thong wedged under the coffee table. You see, had I done the housework I would never have been able to answer his question so easily.
The day is heading for the evening and I have just the usual mummy things to do like dinner, grocery shopping, getting school clothes ready and the like.
Early night though.
I will never know how people get up early every day.
It is hard work.
Sunday, March 08, 2009
At the age of 45 I no longer have conscious issues about what went on in my early years. I am eternally grateful for the peaceful life I lead now. Besides, I am inclined to be a positive human being so, you know, I just get on with things.
One thing I realise however, is how your childhood experiences have a significant impact on how you develop as an adult.
When I was growing up, I lived in a constant state of fear and apprehension as to what mood my father would be in on a daily basis. By my very nature I was sensitive to my surroundings but I know that I ended up being over sensitive to everything as I entered my adult years and became more aware of what was going on around me. This caused me all sorts of anxiety issues which in recent years I have learnt to handle enough that it is not a problem.
However, I am still acutely sensitive to the moods of those around me. Like a giant sea anemone waving it's tentacles in the move of the ocean, my sensory qualities can pick up a mood change that the average person would never notice.
The fall of the step of my husband will alert me to his mood. A sigh that is melancholy will elicit concern from me. An expression on someones face when they are standing alone outside. Or when I go to work I feel the atmosphere in the office is active rather than still. My boss walks in with a frown on his face will have me offer him coffee to bring him back to the "now" moment until he is ready to talk.
The droop of my son's shoulders when he walks past, the smallest aversion of his eyes meeting mine or the slightest tremor in his voice will heighten my sensibilities and put me into immediate caring mode.
Sometimes it is just the change in the room as another walks in that will put me on high alert. What is wrong? What is happening? Are they unhappy? How can I fix it? What can I do? I want them to be free of that anxiety so that the atmosphere changes to peaceful once again and I relax knowing they are okay.
If you come to my house you will notice the atmosphere is inviting, warm and peaceful. I need it to feel that way so that when I come home from the outside world I can be free of the noise and chaos that is out there.
You would never know, just by looking at me, as to whether I was unhappy or not. Unless I were to tell you, you would assume that I was always okay. Sometimes when I have had weeks for profound sadness hanging over me I may say to my husband that I have really been struggling these past few weeks and he will almost always express surprise.
Not that I intentionally hide things, I am just made that way. If I tell you then it means I need you to know and want your feedback.
Sometimes though, when I am on my own in a cafe having a coffee and reading the paper, I think that if someone came up asked my if I was okay I just might cry. Then they could talk me through it.
But to date, no one has ever actually done that.
Saturday, March 07, 2009
Generally we watch ABC which is a Government run network. They broadcast a lot of shows from Britain's BBC so we get a lot of good programmes.
One of the shows is The Bill. We have been watching it forever and a day. Now my son is an ardent fan of the series. If we go out on a Saturday night he insists on being home by 8.30 pm to watch it. He knows the names of every character and can tell me the whole plot in great detail.
Unfortunately, I am sad to report, that our commercial television stations pump out the worst type of entertainment you can imagine. American sitcoms (sorry guys) that give us the worst impression of the general population of the US (which I KNOW to be wrong). Second rate Australian series that appeal to the lowest common denominator.
Let me not go into those awful reality shows that encourage the most offensive behaviour from the participants. Repetitive and boring games shows. Even the evening news is as uninformative as can be with local news being the flavour, all ten minutes worth, and then fifteen minutes of sports results.
When the months become cooler we are over run with Australian Rules Football from Friday night through to Sunday evening. And then other sport in between. You may know that Australia is a nation of sports fans so the small minority who have other interests are rarely catered for on television.
My son watches The Simpson's every single night and I have to confess that I am easily amused by that show. And, okay, I have watched The Simpson's movie about six times and still laughed each time. The other favorite is Futurama. My husband just hates them both, bless his heart.
I love British who dunnits. Midsommer Murders, Trial and Retribution, The Bill and the most wonderfully produced Foyles War. And what would we do without the lovely period series that are produced so beautifully. Pride and Prejudice, Brideshead Revisted, The Forsythe Saga and wonderful adaptations of so many classic stories.
Here, in Australia, if you watch loads of ABC television you can pretty much guarantee that you will be in the minority. Although I think this is changing as the country becomes more culturally diverse.
When I was working in Corporate the big show at the time was Melrose Place. Every time it was on all the girls in the office would be talking about what had transpired with the exception of me. In the end I had to make an effort to watch it just so that I would know what they were all going on about. I discovered how trashy a television series could be. These days I don't give a toss what anyone watches. I just watch what I want.
When my husband first met me I was living on my own. He could not believe that a twenty three year old single female preferred to stay home watching ABC television on a Saturday night. I have not changed in the slightest. Give me a load of good movies to watch any day. Oh, and gardening shows were once another favorite.
I grew up watching Friday night movies, Saturday night movies, Saturday and Sunday afternoons always had great Hollywood classics up for offer. And I was always wanting to watch them.
Just writing this post makes me realise that it has been a long time since I watched a great old movie.
Methinks I might have to book in some time tomorrow to watch a jolly good movie.
My son has booked in two hours for XBox 360 game time in the afternoon.
That is the problem when you have only one decent television.
You have to prebook for viewing.
Turned on the computer and read the news.
Outside is overcast. We have had a lot of rain for the past few days. Welcomed wetness on parched gardens.
I can hear birds outside. My dog is sitting on the floor next to the bed, watching, waiting for me to get up so that he can follow me from room to room.
Last night I did not eat much for dinner and have woken up feeling queasy from being hungry for so long. In the back of my mind I have recalled that there is no milk in the house so I cannot have my muesli. It will be toast for breakfast. One piece with jam, the other with Vegemite. Cup of hot green tea.
I am tired. Almost tempted to put my back down onto the pillow and sleep for a bit longer. But then I will end up in a deep sleep only waking up when my husband gets back from his bike ride. After 9.00 am that will be. It is 7.40 am now. No, I will get up.
My boy is still asleep. I can hear the sound of the radio coming from his bedroom. He likes to sleep with it on. If he wakes up early enough we can go up the street for coffee. He wants to buy some books to read and we have a great book shop nearby. Maybe I will buy a book as well.
We have a long weekend. Three days of relaxing. People usually go away, but I just love being able to do what I like at home for three days. We have about ten public holidays for the year. I love it.
The house is so silent. No familiar sounds of activity that go with a working day. No smattering of conversations between my son and husband. Television is off. I can hear the fridge though. It makes strange noises now and then. Usually in the middle of the night. Or maybe, we just don't hear the noises when the house is alive with activity.
We have another few weeks of daylight savings. Already the evenings are getting darker so much earlier. Mornings are different. Funny how when a season ends there an almost immediate change in the air. As though Nature knows it is the 1st of March and we are in Autumn. So she takes the heat and sends it away. I know we will have more warm days, but the biting heat of Summer is over.
I love Autumn. You still get the blue skies but the air is cooling down. Gardens slowly recover from the dry Summer. Air is moist. Before long, the dry, hot Summer will be a vague memory. People who lost their homes in the recent bushfires will be spending a long year getting their lives back in some order. They will be wondering why the rain could not have come sooner and saved them from all the grief.
I have a nice day ahead. I can feel it. The sound of the world I can see outside my bedroom window is relaxed. I might go for a bike ride. Or go and do some grocery shopping. Maybe some studio time.
Whatever I do, it doesn't matter.
I feel happy.
Friday, March 06, 2009
Went to the hairdresser's which is always the making of a perfect day. Hair is now shiny and beautiful. Sigh.
When I got to the hairdresser's she was doing her cousin's hair. He is Italian and terribly good looking. Very gay and always dressed beautifully. After he left and I sat down my hairdresser relayed to me what her cousin had said about me when I walked in.
"Who is that creature? She is so hot. Look at her bone structure. How gorgeous. And, well, her handbag is so divine", were his words.
You know, a compliment from a gay guy is the best of all. They are objective and so fashion aware! I felt very fantabulous for the rest of the day and it inspired me to go shopping. First thing I picked up were a pair of ankle boots to wear under jeans for winter. My Doc Martens finally reached the shabby shoe status and needed replacing.
Then I bought an Italian made fitted, long sleeve jumper that had an unusual collar on it. You know, the sort of collar that says "designer" about it. It was reduced from $249 to $79 which was the main motivation behind buying it as there is no way I would spend $249 on a jumper.
The colour was an unusual taupe shade and the fabric was a stretchy mix of wool and viscose. Very soft and with a slight texture to it. When I got home and tried it on again my husband looked at it closely.
"Nice, very, very nice", he said.
"Really? I think so too", I answered as I admired the price reduction on the tag again.
"Really nice. In fact, that fabric would be great to use as head lining for the Rover", he mused out loud. Okay, well, that is one way of looking at it. I will know what to do with it when I get sick of it.
The last compliment came from my son when I picked him up from school. I had also bought a scarf that looked like a big crinkly pashmina. Very groovy. Also very cheap (reduced of course).
When my son came out of the classroom he looked at me and said my hair looked great and that the scarf suited me.
Compliments from a gay guy are great, compliments from a husband are also appreciated (even if the car head lining comment was part of that) but compliments from my 11 year old son are always extra special.
Yep, I am feeling pretty special today.
Thursday, March 05, 2009
Our walls in the house are green, he thinks they are beige. When I met him, his bedroom was candy pink, he thought he had painted it beige. Once he painted the kitchen lime green, thinking it was beige.
Until he was around six years old, he thought grass was red, or whatever he thought red was. Just a few weeks ago I found out that he thought that the trunks of trees were the same colour as the leaves which could be green or brown or red. He does not actually see them as the colours we know. They are just shades of more shades.
Over the past couple of years my husband and I have had differences of opinions over what he perceives as his lack of input into the general decor of our home. He thinks I have the final say all too often about everything. When I ask him to tell me what exactly it is that we have in the house that he does not like, he say he likes it all but he would have liked to have had more say in the colour scheme. What the? I then say to him "you are colour blind, you can never have the final say".
He will never win the decor argument either but he knows that without me having to say it.
Whilst I may be fascinated at his colour blindness, he is more fascinated by the fact that I am tone deaf.
I cannot sing in tune. I cannot sing in pitch at all. My husband, being a musician, has perfect pitch. He can listen to a tune and just play it on the piano straight away. My voice is awful and no matter how hard I try I am unable to sing a tune and be in tune. When I sing Happy Birthday I think I sound okay until I hear someone else sing it and wonder how they do that so well. My husband tells me that he has never met anyone who sings so out of tune.
He has tried to get me to sing a note. He plays different notes on the piano and I try to reproduce them. Sometimes I just cannot hear the difference and other times I can. Once I leave the room I am unable to even work out what the C note even sounds like.
Even though I am tone deaf I have great rhythm and can dance. My husband, although he can play piano, tuba and double bass, cannot dance at all. He once asked me if I danced to the words or the music!
He feels sorry for me because I am tone deaf. I feel sorry for him that he is colour blind. He must see the world in a different way to me. Perhaps he thinks I hear the world differently.
I think that the differences are funny.
Two fundamentally important traits that we just can never share. My world of colour and my husband's world of music.
Oh, I won't even go into the differences in food. That is too complicated.
All I will say is that it is quite common for me to cook three different meals at night.
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
We moved factory in January. Went from a fairly new and modern factory with all the modcons and into an older, if bigger factory that we had to refurbish in the office area. We love being here because the area is great, lots of trees around and just generally a nicer aura around the place. Perhaps because the office area is so much smaller and we are all near to each other.
But the gal's toilet. Oh deary meary.
The toilet area has been retiled and a new toilet installed so it is cleaner than when we first saw it. It was then painted with a matt cream paint that must have been designed to attract every hand and finger print that ever comes in contact with the surface. Even the door handles and light switches were painted over.
I thought I may take a photo of the dingy little window which is above the toilet itself. It has louvres that are always open and some old, tatty flywire. You get a gloomy sort of light filtering through even on the sunniest day.
It is freezing in this toilet. Brick walls keep the place as cool as a fridge. When you sit on the toilet you can hear the wind in the trees (no jokes thanks) and the chatter of parrots in the trees.
The breeze blows into to the window and is sometimes so strong that it ruffles my hair (again, not joke thanks). It is very uncomfortable.
But, as some sort of funny compensation for freezing my butt of when seated, I can look at the calendar in front of me an imagine that I am in warm Italy admiring the beautiful architecture whilst eating a lovely pasta dish.
However, sitting on the can with my knickers down around my knees kind of takes away from that train of thought pretty quickly. I am dreading the winter chills.
So, there is my work toilet.
Thought you might find it, um, er, fascinating?
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
We have a good relationship. I yell at him and tell him off all the time.
Here are some of the things I say to him:
1. Is that your third donut? Bit stressed are we?
2. NOW what have you done?
3. You shit me when you do that.
4. Your desk is toxic. When are you going to clean it?
5. If you don't follow this up I am going to bring on early PMT? (always gets a result)
6. Don't spend any money.
7. Don't touch that cheque book or you are busted.
8. You cannot claim chocolate or pizza as petty cash. Give up.
9. Did you steal my pen/calculator/ruler again?
10. Hey Barney, how was your weekend? (see picture above) His name is not Barney, but if he keeps eating them donuts he will look like him.
11: You lying hound.
No Human Resources here to take me to task for being rude to the boss.
Sometimes in the office there will be just the two of us and we chat away like the good friends that we are.
The other day he said that if I retire then he will have to retire as he does not want to work with anyone else.
I could earn twice as much if I went out on my own, but why would I bother? I am happy here, even when things annoy the life out of me and I wonder why I am hanging around.
I had to work with a lot of bad bosses to get to this point.
Bit like the old "you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince" saying.
Kiss my boss! Eeeeewwww. It would be like kissing my brother!
So, there you go.
What is your boss like?
Monday, March 02, 2009
Each month I have to do these dreary things called BAS GST tax returns. I guess it would be like VAT submissions. Basically I have to gather all the financial information for the month and work out how much money we owe the Taxation Office.
Whilst I am a firm believer in everyone paying tax, I do find that the onerous amount of paperwork that is spewed from the tax office makes running a small business a bit more stressful than it should be.
Don't even get me started on my thoughts on Payroll Tax.
Generally I do around four each month as we have different companies and then, every quarter I do another three for other clients.
Well, on the form you have to fill out is a list of instructions on filling it out. One sentence tells you to fill in the form in BLACK pen. The word BLACK is in capital letters so it is fairly important that you do this.
Well, I go out of my way to use BLUE pen.
Is that petty or what?
But I feel a great sense of childish satisfaction each time I do it.
I think happiness is fairly straightforward when you are a child. It is about security, a sense of being loved and protected and random events that heighten the happy feeling. Like getting a toy or a book that you wanted. Even children who exist in the most dreadful poverty and dangerous situations seem to always find a moment to laugh and smile.
When you get older and start to muddle through life, the concept of happiness seems so complicated. You get bogged down with all that emotional stuff and baggage that seemed to sneak up on you over the years. You might want things you think will make you happy and get into debt to buy them.
You develop an awareness of what has made you unhappy and it seems to take ages to hone that awareness into a positive factor in your life. For years you dwell on the root of the unhappiness until you eventually work out that you are just feeding it by dwelling on it. Well, I do anyway.
When I think of what happy is, I just think it is not feeling unhappy. Being able to be still with myself. Waking up and the day is there and I am okay. Seeing those I interact with are happy gives me a sense of joy.
When things happen in life that take happiness away from you it puts you on guard for any prospective joy that is on offer. What if I enjoy myself too much, it might not last. Will this person rob me of any joy I have left?
Eventually you just feel that some sort of peaceful mind is a good deal in the happiness stakes.
Happiness is pretty random.
You have to enjoy those random bubbles of happiness when they appear. Before they float off.
So, I am randomly happy.
Sunday, March 01, 2009
This morning my husband was watching some old movies of when we first were renovating the house. It was 1993. Seems like yesterday in one way, yet when I look at me on the video I think it seems like one hundred years ago. I don't like watching many old videos. They make me feel sad or something. I know the reason but cannot articulate it without sounding as though I have had regrets. Perhaps it is because I am much more aware of my surroundings now and know how to be happy. Had I known how to be happy then, life would have been more peaceful for me and those around me.
I am not one of those people who looks back at myself and wishes I were that young again. I don't even wish I looked like I did in 1993. If you could see my hair you could understand why! I was just 30 years old. No thanks. Sure, I might like to look like I did when I was, say, 20. But only if it meant I could have my current brain. Maturity is that pay off for getting older.
Yesterday I went for a walk. About seven kilometres. It was sunny and windy. But not unpleasantly warm or anything. I walked a different route, up side streets and past different houses. It was quiet. That Saturday afternoon quiet that happens when people have done their shopping, come home and were now relaxing. My Ipod battery went flat whilst I was walking and so I just continued with the sound of the rustling leaves on trees, voices drifting from backyards as I passed houses and the sound of the odd car driving by. It was peaceful. By the time I got home I was tired from the fresh air and exercise. My back ached and my so did my left hip.
This morning when I woke up and got out of bed, I noticed that I had some annoying aches in other places. Normally I would immediately wonder what injury I had incurred and make moves to fix it before it got worse. But today I realised that the ache was just a generalised affliction resulting from walking too hard. Age related perhaps, I don't know. But the hot shower fixed the problem. Is this a sign of things to come?
Some weekends are productive, and this one was. In that I got things done without too much effort. Food shopping, bookwork, sorting out things in the laundry, cooked a good dinner and even some studio time. It made me wonder why on earth I am never able to be consistently productive. Why one weekend may be good and the next one be totally chaotic and disorganised.
It is Sunday evening now and I am thinking about the upcoming week. Work, routine, school, dinners to be made, exercise and all the usual processes that give me a sense of security. I feel quite relaxed.
Here's wishing you a good week ahead.