Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Holiday: Day... er... Whatever

Dignity is for wimps...Never let it be said that I don't suffer for my art.

Actually, this is the latest step in my mother's campaign of revenge. Yes, I have this theory that now that I am experiencing the joys of motherhood she is taking the opportunity to exact revenge for Every Single Time I was a little shit up until I left home. Needless to say that's a lot of revenge. She's sent a frog umbrella hat as well. Hubby looks quite fetching in it.

Day Whatever of the holidays has been a lot of fun. Met up with Mum and my sisters in the city and flung ourselves wholeheartedly into the sales. DJs is heaven at the best of times, but when its 50% off everything its even better. DJs (David Jones - huge deparment store in Sydney for those of you in Poland and beyond) also has a food hall that is on a level with... dare I say it... the food hall in Harrods. Okay, well maybe not that good, they had, after all, run out of marron glace. But its pretty damn good. I actually spent more time and money in there than on clothes and the like. Yes, I have my priorities.

We ended up in Treats From Home which is packed full of British lollies and other bits and pieces (like Alpen, oh how I miss Alpen - its breakfast cereal BTW). Our purpose for being there was for me to prove to my sister Clare (who currently lives in London) that Frazzles give you a really weird headspin after you have eaten three packets. But, THEY HAD NO FRAZZLES. So my point must go unproved. They did have bags of other goodies that I have not seen for years - I moved back here from the UK in around 1995 - and if I'd known earlier that all it took was a Yorkie bar to make my husband a very happy man well... actually I'm not really sure where I was going with that. Hmm.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Holiday: Day 8 & 9

Unsurprisingly the cruisy pace has continued at our house. Yesterday was pleasantly interrupted by kidless coffee with a friend down from Queensland and a potter around a garden centre. And today has been spent in the garden.

Dinner tonight included red cabbage, potatoes and celery all from the vege garden.

Okay, I'm really tired, and there just ain't that much going on... I promise to do something exciting tomorrow. Promise.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Holiday: Day 7

Right now I'm blogging in my pjs. In fact I've been in my pjs All Day Long.

It has been One of Those Days. Entire family in pjs, spent the day unwinding, playing with new Christmas toys and eating leftovers. Not that I was entirely unproductive. I made Madeleines this morning...

In my new Madeleine making tray. And I made NINE litres of pea and ham soup out of the fucking unwanted ham. I can officially say I'm over the ham. I will not appall you with a picture of the soup, whilst pea and ham soup is utterly delicious it is the exact same shade of green as serious flu snot.

This afternoon - whilst the screamies entertained themselves bickering in the paddling pool and trying to damage themselves falling off their new bicycles - I lay upon my bed, reading a Marion Keyes and eating all my favourites (mini picnics, white chocolate, crunchies...) out of a box of... er... Favourites. When I wasn't lying on my bed I was on the couch with my feet in my new foot-spa breaking up the chocolate with perfectly ripe peaches and mangos.

Are foot-spas hedonistic? I think I might be developing cracked heels so the whole foot-spa thing was probably more along the lines of necessary podiatric maintenance, than being completely decadent. I do love a good foot-spa though.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Holiday: The Big Day

Nothing says Merry Christmas quite like festive bogroll. I live in eternal admiration at my mother's attention to detail.

Its been a good day. Actually its been a great day. Santa arrived as expected (and the stockings are hung out again tonight, just in case!) and the day has been a frenzy of good food, wonderful relatives and lots of lovely presents. We still have one over-excited child with a serious case of sugar withdrawal bouncing around the house but I'm hoping she'll crash out soon.

I hope you all had a good day as well. Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Holiday: Day 5

Another trip to the beach today, but this time for sitting in a cafe, sipping babycinos and catching up with old friends over from Sweden.

This was the weather and the crowds at Collaroy Beach this morning...Even Miss Nearly Three didn't want to get wet. There was a wedding going on just to the left of this photo and the bride was wearing a white low cut see-through number. I just hope the glow of her own happiness was keeping her warm - there was bugger all else to do it.

Its been a long day, but I think Christmas Eve is probably a long day for most people - all that worrying and checking and mental-listing and making sure you've planned all the meals and got enough presents and not forgotten anyone who could spend the next year giving you the guilts. I was up at the crack of dawn (literally and its around 5am at the moment) and at the supermarket at 7am when it opened. Missed the worst of the rush, but by the time I left at 8am the place was going bananas. Still, got all the last minute things; milk, bread, batteries... Well I hope I did. Too late now. I am not spending Any More Moneys.

I've kind of been back-pedalling a bit on Christmas with the kids. At nearly three and Four and a half they're still just a little on the young side and have found the whole thing exciting, but bewildering. But today we went into full-on Santa is coming mode. I have milked it for all its worth, even picking up the phone to call Santa to tell him not to come when they were being especially evil.

So the stockings are up and waiting by the fireplace. There is a mince pie and an apple juice for Santa and a carrot and an apple juice for the Reindeer. Now we just have to wait and see if the big guy is going to appear!

So, Merry Christmas to everyone out there. I hope you all have a great day tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Holiday: Day 4

Today was a beach day. Dragged the screamies up to Umina where we had a picnic amongst the flies. Storm clouds were gathering as a south-westerly change made its way up the coast. It was close and still and so humid. Heavy purple clouds hung low in the sky and a lazy swell rolled in from the ocean. Perfect Sydney summer weather. The rain started just as we left.

After we got home and had naps, we watched the Ice Queen. I always find that tale a bit unsettling, but the kids took it in their stride - mostly because they thought it was about the Ice Cream.

Then we had some lovely visits from the neighbours. Across the road brought us some biscuits, still warm from the oven. There were a lot, lot more but hubby got to them before I found the camera.

Alas we were all in our underwear when they arrived and they had to wait outside whilst we sprinted around the house getting respectably dressed. Sigh. But really hubby in his underpants is not a sight for primary-schoolers (or any other human for that matter).

Then Louise-Next-Door popped in with some chocolates...
Hubby has put them out of reach. Bless him.

I had a dig around in the vege garden, planted my tomato seedlings and dug up some potatoes.

They may look a little grubby, but they are mine and I grew them! Bit like the kids. Only I wouldn't eat the kids.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Holiday: Day 3

Today has been a totally cruisy day. Sent the screamies to daycare and then hubby and I went to scour the shops in search of a bedside table. This basically meant we ambled from one cafe to the next. Although we did discover the Lazy-Boy recliner shop in Hornsby and amused ourselves for a good twenty minutes reclining .

Sitting in a chair like this makes your legs look short, your boobs rest on your bulging stomach and your chins double. Amazing but true. I have the appalling photo on my mobile to prove it. Alas I can't get photos off my phone for some reason (yes, a tragedy) so you'll all just have to imagine.

Was rather a fan of the cup holders in the seat arms though.

Then in the afternoon we went baby snuggling. Oh yes. Congrats to wonderful clever Louisa and a big welcome-to-planet-earth for her adorable new bubs. At only a few days old he was very obliging and slept for our entire visit, only waking up as we left. We were utterly charmed. So charmed in fact that we had the lets-have-another-one discussion on the way home in the car. You may as well know, we've decided to try for triplets...

OH KIDDING - breathe Diana, BREATHE.

As I said to my mother yesterday... 'that shop is so closed.'
And as she said to me... 'its not the shop you need to keep closed.'

Speaking of my mother I'd also like to report that the chickens made it unscathed through the night. The anti-fox precautions are effective - so far... Egg count: 2

We arrived home to find a quote to fix up our pool in the letterbox. $40,000. Yup - WTF doesn't really cover it. They were even going to charge us extra for keeping our own filter. It was an entertaining read, and is now nestling in the recycling bin.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Holiday: Day 2

Oh the eating, oh the desserts, oh the cups of tea, oh the liquid fish oil...

Today we had a wonderful pre-chrissy get-together with my immediate family; to see my sister who'll be with her in-laws on The Big Day, and see my other sister who arrived from the UK last night. Mumndad went the full catastrophe; turkey, chestnut stuffing, roast potatoes, pumpkin, parsnip, force-balls, ham (don't get me started), gravy, bread sauce, peas... And then followed it with clafouti, three types of ice cream, poached pears, Christmas cake... An amazing, incredible feast.

After lunch we wobbled down the hill to visit Mum's new chickens. My mother is a collector of creatures, at last count she had my father, two alpacas, a horse, two sheep and 25 heifers (who are about to find themselves pregnant as they keep breaking in to next doors bok choy patch and so are clearly in need of distracting).

On Friday, with some ceremony, four chickens were added to this menagerie - and my girls couldn't wait to meet them. You can imagine my mother's utter stunned mortification when she arrived at the chicken coop this morning only to find a large hole, a few feathers and all the signs that somewhere out there is a very well fed fox. Desperate phone calls were made and four more chickens were swiftly procured. By after-lunch they were settled and in place doing chickeny things (like laying eggs) for my daughters to be charmed by.

We've come home with six eggs - though this is causing Miss Four and a half some worry - she's concerned about the baby chicks that will be coming out of the eggs. Yes. I am trying to find a way to explain to a pre-schooler that only fertilised eggs turn into chicks. Hmm. When a mummy chicken and a daddy chicken are not fighting about the unfair division of chores in the household then... no... well, maybe she'll just forget about it... maybe?

This evening we're still too full to be interested in food. (HAH - you know, that even sounded plausible to me as I wrote it!). Let's put it this way... Somewhere deep inside my brain a small voice is claiming that I'm full - but despite this small annoyance I have made in-roads into the Unwanted Ham - on principal really plus we've got 5.5kg of the wretched stuff to go - AND eaten a lot of the ice-cream leftovers (waste not, want not, I always say). But now I must pay the price, now it is time for the fish oil.

I have a real hate-hate relationship with fish oil.

See there... on the left, fish oil. SHUDDER. Jessica, my awesome naturopath, has me on this selection of herbal supplements (iron, vitamin b and stuff to boost my thyroid levels). She talked me into fish oil once before - to boost my omega threes and help with my ultra-sensitive skin. But I was pregnant and after vomiting it up twice I left the stuff in the fridge until one of the kids got hold of it and poured it into my handbag (words cannot describe how that handbag reeked after that - it used to attract flies - so it went in the dressing up box and now I have my new handbag into which I can easily fit two bottles of wine and a 90K manuscript - who said good things don't come from bad situations?).

But now I have NO EXCUSE. Jessica says I MUST HAVE Fish oil or my skin shall all peel off. It MUST NOT BE in capsules (because she feels the stuff the capsules are made of should not be polluting my pristine body). Thus I must consume it in all its disgusting fishy sliminess. Really its a bit like treading on a slug with bare feet only it tastes fishy and you burp it for about three days afterwards...


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Holiday: Day 1

Well, given that I have not set anything on fire this week, I think we can declare it a success! siiigh.

I have been completely, totally and utterly caught up in pre-christmas rush. I thought I had it under control, I really did. Really. I mean I've been shopping since late November, made lists, spent an unseemly amount of money and last week even declared Christmas Under Control.


In the space of two phone calls everything unravelled and I was hurled into an almighty pre-christmas panic.

I should've sensed trouble on Wednesday when my mother said, "oh and you are making the christmas pudding like you do every year aren't you?"
"Of course," I said breezily, whilst wondering how the hell I'm going to get suet at this late date, let alone find eight hours to steam the wretched thing. I had no idea that Christmas pudding had become my Christmas thing. Happy to do it, naturally, but c'mon people, if I'm to become part of a tradition I'd like to be, you know, TOLD.

So, by the end of the two phone calls I had a sizable list of cooking to do and people who I'd forgotten to get Christmas presents for. Yes, well, it wasn't so much I forgot, as failed to remember. Ahem.

Today has been the first day of hubby and my Christmas break. No work for a fortnight. No childcare either (Help Meeee), fourteen days in the company of the screamies. It'll be fine. No really... Selfish bloody childcare people closing on Christmas Day - what is the world coming to I ask you.

Anyway. Unable to face the Christmas crowds at the mall I have spent the day in the kitchen. I have made the Christmas pudding (got my suet from the butcher - I love independently owned butchers, they always have what you want and don't value-add bloody everything AND they know what suet is, rather than the twits who run franchises and can't even provide you with a rack of lamb because they just sliced them up and crumbed them all. I mean why crumb them ALL, surely I'm not the only person in this suburb who prefers their lamb naked.)

Now where was I... Christmas pudding... steamed it for eight hours, made three different types of ice cream, slow cooked and glazed 6kgs of ham, oh and did toasted sandwiches for lunch and spag bol for tea (they were cooking so they count). I sensibly kept my energy levels up with cups of tea and mince pies - we had twelve this morning and now there are four - I blame hubby.

Chrissy pud about to be steamed...

And the ham being soaked...

The camera went tits-up after this so I'm afraid I have no after shots.

The ham has turned out to be a bit of a fiasco. Yes. The Great Ham fiasco. You see I have spent about six hours today baking and glazing my ham only to have my MOTHER ring tonight and inform me that actually, they have a ham.


Not only do they have a ham but they surely totally and positively DO NOT WANT MY HAM.


Who does that?? I mean who does that?? Says they want ham, wait until their poor daughter goes out and spends $74 on 6kgs of ham and then rings to say WE HAVE HAM AND DO NOT WANT YOUR HAM.

I am still sulking (as anyone would). Am planning to take some Cumberland sauce for Ham (its basically melted red-currant jelly with port) tomorrow so I can sigh a lot and say things like 'this sauce was for MY ham that NOBODY wants'. Just so they know.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Bloody Marvellous... No Really

So we've had another day of rain. For over twelve hours its been pissing down. Yes, I am obsessed with weather. Plus it nearly burnt our house down (oh ALRIGHT, nearly set the pool filter on fire, allow me some dramatic flair (flare?? snort).


Only ME.

Water and electrictiy do not mix. They create fire. A fact which we are aware of and had taken precautions against. Only in this case it was the actual safety switch that keeps the pool filter safe that got wet and caught alight. In addition to this our main protection - the clipsal safety switch in the main fuse box - took some time to go off. To start a fire like the one below in torrential rain there would've had to have been one hell of a lot of sparking.

What you're actually seeing is one hell of a lot of expensive damage - that blue scorched box is the automatic cholorinator which wasn't cheap, and I suspect the pump motor isn't going to have fared well either. The pool electrics are going to have to be totally replaced (for the second time in as many years). Plus its the second time the clipsal hasn't gone off when it should've which means it can't be trusted (which is a massive worry) and will have to be replaced asap. Plus the resulting power surges have fried one of our computers - the one we keep all our movies and DVDs on. Yes. All the kids fave movies gone.

Bye bye bedroom makeover. But at least I got the carpet.

New Carpet

Of late I've become a frequenter of Persian Carpet shops - looking for the right rug for the appalling bedroom. On Wednesday I finally made the big purchase. Its currently spread out in the play room. I like to lie on it and stroke it, sometimes humming to myself. It totally weirds-out the kids. Heh!
Got out the haggling skills and negotiated $600 of the final price. I love to haggle. If I had the chance I'd haggle my way out of Coles once a week with the grocery shop. I learnt how to never-take-the-first-price shamelessly when I was in China - back in 1998 - and funnily enough its been a really useful skill to have.

I enjoyed buying the rug as well. I got a full lesson on Iranian carpets including the history and how they're made from the shop owner. Plus a run down on the different types and qualities of carpet, illustrated with different carpets in the shop. I even got to fondle a $15,000 one, it was like velvet. Beyootiful.

But I think I'm most pleased because I've got a start on the bedroom renovation. I'm going to use mostly white and then pick up the blue from the carpet to accent it. Its a nice neutral colour combination, not to feminine but still pretty.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I am redecorating. Actually, not so much of the re - more like decorating from scratch. As a Christmas present to ourselves Hubby and I have decided to do something about our bedroom.

This is the colour of the walls...

I did not choose the colour, it was here when we arrived. Its actually not the worst colour in the house. Trust me.

And there is the colour of the curtains, yes dark blue - they are hand-me-downs from our previous house. The colour of the floor, and the dire state of the furniture.

The ceiling has a big hole in it where we got rid of the ceiling fan and is speckled with the bodies of squashed mosquitoes. On the wall you can see the holes where we took the air-conditioner out, and the people before us had a tv in the bedroom (I hate tvs in bedrooms) and the wall stand it sat on is still sticking out of the wall - despite repeated efforts by us to remove it. Won't budge. The only artwork is a collage I made of cards we were sent for our wedding. One entire wall is MIRRORS. And only one of the three ceiling lights words. I know. Appalling.

And this is supposed to be my sanctuary from the world. It probably explains a few things.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Summer in Sydney

Excuse me whilst I complain about the weather...

And a top of 19 tomorrow. 19.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Decorating the Tree

Despite all the drama and heartache of the last week we did manage to decorate the tree last Sunday. We've even hung up lights outside the house. Although we're feeling slightly outdone by next door who has light-up reindeers on his lawn and across the road who've gone multi-coloured.
Here is the totally lame photo I managed to take of our chrissy lights. Actually it is better than the three I took before which were just black. No, not because it was night as I first thought, but because I was photographing the inside of the lens cap.

But on the up-side I did get a snap of one of our awful possums.

At that point a mosquito bit my foot and I came inside.

Friday, December 05, 2008

For Fuck's Sake

My children have invented a new game. I like to call it For Fuck's Sake.

What you do, is you pick up a shoe, or dolly, or lego, throw it across the room. Storm over, glare and it and shout For Fuck's Sake. Repeat ad infinitum.

Yes. I blame their father as well.

This morning in the car on the way to work a small voice pipes up from the back. "For Fuck's sake make the traffic go faster."

Actually, I rather agreed with her.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

I love her. No really.

Yesterday I took the screamies to MacDonalds. For a treat. They'd been pretty fractious all day, oh OKAY, even more fractious than usual and I Just Had To Get Out. Preferably to somewhere where they couldn't break anything. I thought McDonalds was an inspired idea.

So, despite the distraction of the playground I got them to sit and eat nicely without too much drama. Then sent them off to play. The playground was quite busy, and I was happy to sit and watch. They're all so cute. Playing away. MacDonalds was busy, there was a meeting of all the local Managers in the party room that overlooks the playground. One by one the other kids headed home and soon it was just us. It was all good.

Until Miss Nearly Three peered down from the very top of the equipment.
"I'm going to take all my clothes off," she said. I tried my extreme very best to talk her out of it. But one by one each item of clothing was stripped off, shoved through the gaps in the lattice to land on the floor. The final item being her somewhat soggy nappy. Splat.

She peered at me again. "I'm not coming down."

And not come down she did. FOR AN HOUR.

So I'm standing there, with the most stubborn naked three year old on the planet, holed up in the top of the play equipment, trying to talk her down. Threats, bribery, leaving, waving bye bye, sending her sister to get her. NOTHING. The little bugger was not moving. The managers and other Maccers customers were vastly amused.

Did I mention it was very hot yesterday? Yes. And up the top of that equipment it was even hotter. I could tell by the colour of her face she was feeling it, naked or not.
"I'm going to sleep now," she announced, and curled up to do just that. Frankly, if it hadn't been so hot I'd have left her there, had a coffee and waited until she got really, really bored. (And this is the child that nagged for three hours non stop to make me let her wear her sisters shoes - I did not). But it was hot, and I'd started to get worried. So off came my shoes and I climbed up the slide and managed to get myself up there with her, tackled her and hauled her down.

Do you have ANY idea what it is like to appear at the bottom of a slide grasping a screaming naked child in front of a resturant of grinning people and twenty or so managers? ANY IDEA.

I pretended like this was what happened on a daily basis at my house. Oh wait a sec. IT DOES. Got her dressed and made a dash for the exit. Of course the door directly onto the carpark was locked so I had to run the gauntlet through the resturant and Not Make Eye Contact with anyone.

Hubby came home from work early because I just didn't think I'd make it through the afternoon.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Getting on with Things

Firstly thanks to everyone for their kind emails. I appreciate the support.

We are getting on with things. We picked up Ella from the vet yesterday and have buried her in the garden under a beautiful climbing rose. We miss her horribly, she was part of almost everything we did and its going to take a while to adjust to life without her.

The kids are pretty bewildered about the whole thing. I've explained that Ella got a nasty tick and died at the vets and won't be coming home. Miss Four and a half accepts this, but Miss Nearly Three thinks she's been stolen by Santa. Hmm. They ask me about Ella every morning and I explain again and I think in time they'll understand she's not coming back.

We do plan to get another dog, but not for a long time. Yes another Cavalier, perhaps one that has been given up rather than a puppy.

We had treated Ella with a preventative for ticks just six days before she got the tick. However we were having troubles with the stuff not getting rid of fleas and it looks like it wasn't working for ticks either. We were not using Advantix because it is toxic for cats and Pepper is still with us. I'd chosen not to put a tick collar on Ella because she comes into contact with the children so much, but with the clarity of hindsight I'd rethink both these decisions if I had the chance.

So life goes on.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Farewell Ella

Dear Ella,

The last thing I expected was that today would be the day I'd have to say goodbye to you. The last thing I expected was that our walk on Wednesday night would be the last one we'd take together. The last thing I expected was that you'd be in my life for four short years.

I had plans you see. Dog training plans, and you sitting curled up at my feet whilst I wrote a bestseller plans, and family holidays at places where you were welcome plans, and you growing up with the kids plans. I don't even think they were plans as such, I just knew they were going to happen. And now they're not just because of one horrible paralysis tick. It isn't fair.

I sit here, tired and teary, and my head is crowded with memories of you. How you loved to hide under the cubby house and you'd pop up out from under it looking like you'd just had a really cool adventure. Hubby and I used to speculate you had a jacuzzi and a kick-arse stereo system under there. I loved that you could spend hours scuttling around the herb garden, unsucessfully catching skinks and making the air smell of lavender and thyme.

How you always knew that sneakers meant walk time and you'd twirl and twirl with delight so it was impossible to get the lead on. How, no matter where I was, you were there, just a few metres away keeping an eye on things. How the kids would try to feed you and you would only eat the delicacies you particularly liked. How the kids could drag you around and you'd never so much as blink at it, just give me that hang-dog look as if to say 'now would be a good time to rescue me,' - and I always did.

How when the kids were on the naughty chair you'd always go and visit them. How you'd peep through the cracks in the fence when we were going somewhere in the car without you. How you'd sell your own mother for a schmackos. How you hated getting up in the morning as much as I do. How you'd give me that eyes-half-shut I love you doggy smile. How you were without doubt the best catcher and eater of flies Australia has ever seen. How you had the softest ears.

Words cannot say how much I will miss you dear friend. Rest in peace beautiful Ella.

Stir Up Sunday

Its Stir Up Sunday. This - because its the Sunday before Advent begins - is traditionally the day that you get the chrissy pud or cake baked and finished all ready for The Big Day. This year I have my second pudding left over from last year (mostly because I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown and didn't get to Christmas in July) and so I'm spending today decorating the christmas tree and attempting to put the rest of my family into a sugar coma. Photos tomorrow.

I've not used the recipe below before - generally I use Delia Smith's one - But you know, I think I might switch...

1 bottle brandy
2 cups dried fruit
1 cup butter
2 cups nuts
4 large eggs
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbl lemon juice

Cooking Method
1. Sample the brandy to check quality.
2. Take a large bowl, check the brandy again.
3. To be sure it is the best quality, pour one level cup and drink.
4. Repeat above step.
5. Turn on electric mixer. Beat butter in large fluffy bowl.
6. Add sugar.
7. Beat again.
8. At this point it's best to make sure the brandy is shtill ok.
9. Try another cup………just in case.
10. Turn off the mixerer.
11. Break 2 leggs and add to bowl and chuck in dried fruit.
12. Pick fruit off the floor.
13. Mix on the turner
14. If the dried fruit gets stuck in the beaterers pry it loose with a sdrewscriver.
15. Sample the brandy to check for tonsisticity.
16. Next, sift two cups of salt. Or something. No one will notish.
17. Check the brandy.
18. Now shift the lemon juice & strain your nuts.
19. Add one table. Add spoon of sugar or somefink. Whatever you can find.
20. Greash the oven.
21. Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Fingers and Toes Crossed for Ella

There's a lot of shit going on in the world right now. I'm checking the news regularly to see if there is any news of the 37 Aussies missing in Mumbai, vowing never to travel on an A380 plane as nobody seems to be able to maintain them so that they can fly safely, checking the pool gate is firmly shut every time I think of the twin toddlers up in Gosford... Last week my parents lost a friend to prostate cancer...

I know that horrible, terrible things are happening to ordinary nice people. But this morning I woke up to a very sick puppy. Our dog Ella, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, had picked up a paralysis tick. She could barely walk, couldn't blink, was vomiting and having difficulty breathing - clearly in a really bad state. But you know, she could still wag her tail - which is so Ella. She's the cheeriest little soul and no matter how shit everything is she's still upbeat.

So I rushed Ella to the vet, they found the paralysis tick on a back leg and have begun the tick treatment. Cavaliers have a harder time with ticks than other types of dogs, because of their pushed in nose (so the vet tells me), but Ella is very healthy with a good heart, liver and kidneys so she's got the best chance she could have. On the way to the vet, Staying Alive (by John Travolta) came on the radio and I have taken that as a sign she's going to be just fine!

I still want to cry though. has analyzed my blog personality and this is what it said ...

ESFP - The Performers

The entertaining and friendly type. They are especially attuned to pleasure and beauty and like to fill their surroundings with soft fabrics, bright colors and sweet smells. They live in the present moment and don´t like to plan ahead - they are always in risk of exhausting themselves.

They enjoy work that makes them able to help other people in a concrete and visible way. They tend to avoid conflicts and rarely initiate confrontation - qualities that can make it hard for them in management positions.
Hmm, well I was sure it was going to say "a sarcastic and surly individual with deep seated indifference and sibling rivalry issues. Do not under any circumstances let this person take care of your children, pets or husband."

Especially attuned to pleasure huh? I want to know when the hell that's going to happen. Same for surrounding myself with sweet smells - clearly they have not experienced hubby's feet.

Friday, November 28, 2008

My evening walk

Interesting things I see most evenings when Ella, the dog, and I go for a walk...

This house has possums on the roof trouble so they've thwarted the little buggers. As one who unwillingly runs a free possum bed and breakfast - I envy these people.

This is the view the houses in the street behind ours have. We have no view. Especially not out the bedroom window where the Murryana hedge has grown so high (read, not been trimmed since our wedding in 2005) as to obscure even the ferals that live across the road.

The local Catholic church has this cross in their garden. I rather like it.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Cool doesn't even begin to describe me...

Having the Top Gun soundtrack in the car started out as a joke between hubby and myself. However, as most things in life are wont to do, its gone horribly, terribly wrong. The kids love it you see. Totally love it and refuse to listen to anything else.

Danger Zone is their all time favourite. They demand I play it over and over at loud volume, with the windows down, and sit in the back yelling "Go faster, go faster." Its hard to go faster in the suburbs where the speed limit is 50kmph.

But, I do my best. So if you see a faintly embarrassed woman belting around the northern reaches of Sydney in a grey four-wheel-drive blasting Playin With the Boys, that'd be me.

The video still makes me grin tho...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I Love Your Blog

As the stat counter on the blog ticks over 10,000 hits, I was very touched that Rhian Cahill nominated this blog as one of her favourites.

Now I'm supposed to go ahead and nominate my favourite blogs, but look to the right (no not your right, the right of the page...) and there is a list of my all time faves. I visit most of these blogs on a daily basis, know/have met all the people that write them (with the exception of Spike who writes This Isn't Sydney - his is down the bottom of the list because his RSS feed isn't working right now. Its a sensational blog. I do plan on meeting Spike one day. He walks around Woy Woy where I am frequently found on the way to Umina Beach with the kids - so if ever I see a fellow with a camera strolling about I plan to leap out of the car and accost him. He won't mind. You see I'm a natural blonde with unseemly big bosoms and men rarely, if ever, mind when I accost them - well except for hubby, but that's another story.)


I KNOW I've banged on about it before, but I've been blogging now for four years. Yes FOUR. And despite my best efforts to give up blogging earlier this year don't seem to have been able to kick the habit, unlike smoking. Yes, I have quit. Been a couple of months now. I love my blog. It brings me endless joy and endless satisfaction that it amuses other people as well.

OKAY. Enough of the gushing. I will now return to my normal sarcastic self...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Spring in Sydney

Despite the shithouse weather (nineteen degrees on Sunday - I ASK YOU) it is actually the very end of spring in Sydney. The Jacaranda's are in full purply blue bloom that seems to glow luminously in the evening twilight. Beyootiful.

I love it when the Jacaranda's are blooming. At work - which is a large university for those of you just tuning in - they say that if the students leave their studying until the Jackies are in bloom then they're up shit-creek. Spring time is also exam time you see, so whoever they are, they have a point. Right now campus is swarming with stressed out students and invigilators. Oh I love the invigilators. They sound so much like they should be toting large scary looking guns or something. The reality is, however, that they're all Enjoying Retirement and probably wouldn't tote anything more full on than a couple of cheese sandwiches and a good book - oh I Don't Know - what the hell do people Enjoying Retirement tote around? Tasers?


Monday, November 24, 2008

The Bane of My Life...

This is the bane of my life...
The Huggies Car. A toy I foolishly saved up coupons from nappy boxes and then paid $18.75 for.
The child is not the bane of my life, though its a close run thing a lot of the time.

It was cold and wet and horrible on Sunday, so my Marvellous Husband decided it'd be a good idea to get out the Huggies Car. What he didn't realise is that there is a Very Good Reason WHY the Huggies Car was in a small scrumpled up heap wedged behind the old vacuum cleaner where Nobody Would Ever Find It.

Every single time it puts in an appearance the squabbling begins. No amount of negotiating, adjudicating or yelling will put a stop to it. I even tried leaving them to it, but after about forty seconds of shrieking I have a sense of humour failure.

Council clean up day in two weeks and counting...

Went and had coffee with Janine today. Her little boy is the cutest baby I have ever seen. Have told hubby that we should start thinking about having number three - but only so I can see him go all white and fainty at the thought. Heh.

Revenge is sweet.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Love it...

A BROTHEL owner says he is unfazed by the revelation that NSW Premier Nathan Rees is operating an electorate office in the same building.

"It's a little embarrassing, yes," said the brothel owner, Mr X. "We're sick of all the seedy characters hanging around. But respectable businesses like ours aren't going to be driven out by the likes of them."

Rees moved his office to Best Road in Seven Hills on September 5. A large sign outside the office clearly bears the words: "Member for Toongabbie."

It is understood the local council has received several complaints that the office is bringing down the tone of the neighbourhood.

Complainants include the brothel, a mob of drug-dealing money launderers, an international arms dealer, an arsonist, a gang of slave traders, the crew of a Somalian pirate ship and a merchant banker.

A council insider told The Sun-Herald: "We have to take all complaints seriously. Apart from the merchant banker's, obviously."

Full report here

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Nanoing away

Have been writing my butt off. 25,000 words in 15 days. Yes. It has been keeping me glued to the computer no doubt about it.

After 4,200 words today this is all I'm pretty much capable of...

Actually I remember doing this in a nightclub many years ago. I thought I was the COOLEST!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


We Interrupt this Haitus...

K, I'm not normally one to make excuses for not blogging. Generally this is because I'm off having a life instead of writing about it and I know that you guys are all fully aware of this.

HOWEVER. This time is different because I hurt myself and so have something to complain about. Yes. Was picking up Miss Nearly Three and tore the muscles in my shoulder. Ouch. I actually felt them tear. Anyway, its been bloody agony, so have I been floating about on a cloud of Neurofen Plus (ahh codeine). Its incredibly painful to type - that reach forward movement of my arm is agony - so I haven't been blogging or even doing nanowrimo. Not a thing.

Yes. I have been suffering.

AND NOW I'm not having a very good morning. The kids are being even more feral than usual. I mean seriously evil. Gwyneth Paltrow is presently swanning about on Oprah going on about how she never diets but does work out 2hrs a day 6 days a week (saw the footage, man she sweats) and I am sitting watching with my jeans unbottoned because I porked up so much when the inlaws were here nothing fits except my fat pants (which are in the wash) and I have lunch spilt down my front where my rice paper roll disintergrated. Yes I AM THAT LOVELY.

I'm a bit stuck over the kids though. Miss Nearly Three has been so evil that we've instigated the super nanny naughty chair. And it is working. Well for her anyway. Miss Four thinks the naughty chair is the best fun ever and requests to be allowed to sit on it. Of course I say no. So she goes and bites her sister or something equally horrible so that she gets put on the naughty chair, then sits their (their? their? I can write novels, me. SIGH) grinning. Argh.

Super Nanny never had these problems.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Oh busy week

Its been a very busy week at my house.

Since Monday I have...
  • Lost $10 on the Melbourne cup - my surefire winner picking method (ie choose the horse that matches the locker number I was given at the gym) was apparently not quite as surefire as myself and the blokes in the butchers seemed to think. I was all lined up for a party with the Mother's Group girls, but alas Miss Four slept right through the race, so Miss Two nearly Three and I watched the race. She loved it and we had to watch the racing for the rest of the afternoon - hmm.
  • Cooked Leek and Potato soup.
  • Had three nights of interrupted sleep; coughing, snoring, bed swapping, rougue christmas beetles, really good book, it all conspired against me.
  • Spent the day with my mother
  • Watched Obama get elected and even managed to watch some of his acceptance speech live - until the kids realised they were missing the Mr Men anyway.
  • Fed my children McDonalds
  • Refused to admit I'm getting a cold
  • Got a cold
  • Invited Janine over next Tuesday
  • Wrote a lot of words for Nanowrimo. About 6000. Very happy with that.
  • Cooked chicken
  • Felt smug about our miniscule credit card debt - it won't last - and was almighty pleased interest rates dropped again. We were pretty much maxed out with the mortgage payments and its making life much easier.
  • Came to work, twice. This has included in sitting in three traffic jams and proabably another one tonight. I am over traffic jams. Go Away Traffic.

Yes, another scintillating few days. Sometimes I don't know how I manage.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Another Dear-Old-Thing Blog (NOT)

Well, you'll all know I'm a bit partial to blogs written by those enjoying the later years of life. I adored Olive, the world's oldest blogger, and she lived just up the road so that made it extra special. I still miss her.

I came across Margaret and Helen recently. Their perspective on life and current affairs is totally refreshing in a no-holds-barred kind of way.

My fave quote so far...
Now I am an old broad. We didn’t talk about this stuff. I really don’t know why gay people want to get married. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Just ask Harold. But I guess if one consenting adult wants to declare their love for another, why would anyone have an issue?
Struggling on day three of Nanowrimo, current word count 0. Marvellous. Have been left alone in the house with two litres of full fat milk and 3/4 can of Milo - its not pretty.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Its ANOTHER Lolly Competition

  1. Its Samhain Publishing's third birthday (and we know how three year olds feel about lollies)
  2. I'm going to be up on the front page at Coffee Time Romance all of November (howdy to everyone who had made their way here from there)
  3. I'm embroiled in the insanity that is Nanowrimo (and not doing too badly thus far)
  4. My husband was over-zealous with the purchasing of lollies for the trick or treaters and I am on a diet (and have nothing in the way of will power)...

I'm having a Aussie lolly giveaway.

Leave a comment on this post, or any others over the next week, and you'll be in the running for a swathe of tooth rotting goodies. Low fat, diabetic friendly options available - yes a jar of vegemite - find out about the culinary loveliness for yourself!!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

That is candy corn - for those of you not in the US - its made of sugar and food colouring. Its traditional American Halloween fare (my American neighbour was feeding it to me when I was a small thing in the UK - yes that would be 25 years ago - cripes) It is addictive and tastes like small nuggets of condensed milk only sweeter. So far today I have eaten about a kilo courtesy of the US expats at work. Am not sure if its the food colouring or the sugar that's given me a headache. But one hell of a headache I have.

I love Halloween. Here in Australia it isn't embraced with the enthusiasm that you find in the States and to a lesser extent the UK. Something I think has quite a bit to do with the fact its spring here and its hard to whip up enthusiasm for death and ghouls when the days are getting longer, lambs are cavorting in the fields, and its 36 degrees outside. Okay lambs are not cavorting (too flippin hot), but you get what I mean.

Happy Halloween everybody, or Samhain for all you Wiccans.

Oh what's that you say? Samhain is the NAME OF MY PUBLISHER.

Yes. Its their birthday. I shall be in their cafe posting galore tomorrow in celebration. Also my ad is going up on Coffee Time Romance tomorrow... more on that later. Its going to be a busy weekend.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Woe is I

It is pouring with rain. Here is my washing. All of it. And yes those are hubby's underpants in the middle of the shot. He's 6ft 5 and his underpants reflect his overall enormousness. In fact after four years of marriage they still make me laugh when I fold them up. How can anyone have such ginormous underpants??Anyway, the washing is not just a bit damp, its absolutely totally and utterly dripping.


Oh, its just been one of those days. Am exhausted due to sleepless night, inside with feral bored loud children and on day one of post holiday diet (did pork up rather due to all that eating).

So, at a loss as to what to do with the screamies I decided to make pumpkin soup out of pumpkins and have a go at a bit of Halloween craft at the same time. Yes. It seemed like a Good Idea at the time.

Here is our victim. No not the dog - am not yet that close to the end of my tether.

So without injury managed to get top off and start to scoop out insides. Kids were able to help with that bit. Note excellent and artistic drawn on pumpkin face. All my own work you know.
The flesh itself however is really hard to get out and after a good hour of scraping the screamies had buggered off and I was left to hack at it with any implement that I thought may make the job easier...

Note to anyone else trying this. Vegetable peelers are not good pumpkin gutting implements.
Two hours later we have enough pumpkin to make soup, my hands are orange, the children are orange (due to plastering each other with red and yellow paint which had to be brought out to distract them from trashing the house whilst I completed our project - I had come Too Far to let it go) and I am never ever carving pumpkins again.
And the finished result...

Yes, how completely LAME.

We do have pumpkin soup for dinner tho. Marvellous. Fucking bloody marvellous.

So, then managed to stretch morning tea into lunch and kept the screamies eating until nap time. Was looking forward for a nice sit down, cup of tea and a shower - hadn't actually managed to get dressed yet - ahem. Had nice low fat lunch (okay except for the mayonnaise, but I mean honestly how many calories can be in mayonnaise?) and then went to check on the kids. Miss Bugalugs was hanging around outside her room.

"I've done a poo," she said. Yes. Nothing new there, its happened twice a day for the last nearly three years. Not really bloggable. But what she didn't add was that she'd used it to redecorate her bedroom. I did nearly take photographs. Nearly. But there are limits to what I'd inflict on you guys. I shall not describe it either. Suffice to say teddy, monkey and Baby (a toy called Baby not Miss Bugalugs) are currently going around and around in a boil wash (there is a LOT of stuffing going around and around as well so it looks like we may have had a fatality) and the dog is outside for the foreseeable future (DO NOT ASK).

So, get that all cleared up and its time for our playdate with Diana up the road. Thank fucking christ. By this stage had postponed diet to tomorrow and stopped off to buy packet Tim Tams - I deserved them. No I did. Diana is one of my mother's group friends - a group of women I have blogged about before, who have kept me sane and grounded over the last four years - words cannot describe how awesome these girls are. So today is no exception. Diana sat me down, listened to me rant for an hour, made me two cups of tea, made me put the biscuits down and eat WATERMELON. I know. Watermelon. Given the state I was in that was akin to giving a rabid dog a snuggle. But she did it. What a friend.

I left feeling calm, in control and reassured that my children will not be decorating their bedrooms with their own excrement when they are say 15.

Naturally it all fell apart the moment we got home and I have eaten seven Tim Tams in the last hour, but for that three minute car trip I really thought I'd got a handle on the day.

Rang my mother to complain about the injustices of the day only to be informed she's off to Tetsuyas (posh nosh resturant - yes m'parents are worse about food than me). I wished her poo in her icecream.