Thursday, December 21, 2006

Blast From the Past

Many of you know that I worked for a National Police initiative called NEPI from 1995-2000 which ran the national fingerprint, names, AVO database etc. I loved it. Nice people (all tech nerds), stressy boss but it was exciting and worthwhile work until we did a proposal to replace the national fingerprint identification mainframe and the then Police Minister, Amanda Vanstone decided it was a great idea but wanted to run it from Canberra. Crimtrac was born and NEPI dissolved. Anyway, got an email from the biggest white-anter and sirrer at NEPI the other day and have since met up for lunch - I love being on leave! Had a great chat and a lovely lunch over a couple of chardy's. He's now working for IBM so they paid for my meal - thank you IBM - if I'd known in advance, I'd have ordered the lobster!

Tell ya, the public service is a monster. Full of well intentioned people treading water, making sure the process is adhered to, complying with EEO rules but not producing anything. After five years, and of those that worked at NEPI (National Exchange of Police Information) only 2 have gone into the private sector. The rest - yep, treading water in Education, Transport and others. It's no wonder we never get anything done in this country, time to introduce some KPI's and accountability rather than dwelling on flexitime - results count, not the time spent on achieving them, if indeed they are ever achieved. Crimtrac is still running but making most of its money doing criminal history checks for DIMIA (Dept of Immigration, Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs). There's still no national DNA database as the states won't agree on legislation about who can be tested. In NSW you have to be in prison or charged before DNA can be extracted without your permission - funny tho, South Australia managed to change legislation toot sweet during the Peter Falconio murder investigation . . where there's a will, there's a way - all Public Servants need is the will.

Friday, December 15, 2006

It's Official

TheMacedonian is now "TheBenchwarmer". It's sort of cute and cuddly with a slightly pathetic edge. Poor BenchWarmer dates girl, spends money on girl, moves in with girl, girl gets testy and moves on . . .he's just warming the seat for someone else poor possum . . . Never mind chicken, when you have the courage to confess to your crush, all could change for the better!

When Will This Day End . . . .

Because I've got my leave booked from tonight . . this week has dragged slower than the end of Hamlet (You know where everyone dies but talks a lot before they do . . . goes on and on and on . . .)

Gawd . . it's only 12:45 . . I finish at 1700 and I'm sooooo ready to go home and begin my leave. So here's the plan. Google a bit on marketing to 50-60 year olds as they're our demographic. Write some paper so that when I get back from leave I can finish the 2007 Marketing plan and do some cool and relevant stuff to suck in the baby boomers. Then, take a longer lunch than usual. It's the Christmas Party tonight so Thommo and I are waiving our Chardy lunch which grieves me more than I can say . . . of course I can eat two meals a day! Then again it's pissing down so good day for Red Lea Chips and Gravy . . . mmmmm Gravy. OK so the long lunch, buy Stressany's Kris Kringle for our Christmas Table . . . coupla stocking fillers for ClareBear - DrummerBoy has scored pretty well this Christmas so he's set, apart from something chocolatey. Then head back into work.

Complete some 'while I'm away' notes for Sgt Bilko and Boffin so that they feel fully informed of goings on over the next week or two. Fluff around with emails, delete and quarantine some spam . . . delete my cookies and temp files . . . offer to do some washing up . . . I'm a very 'team oriented' manager . . .waste half an hour having a smoke on the front steps (I never bring my nurrells to work except on Fridays) . . . write a wonderful "I love Yous All" email to staff, wish them a Herry Mristmas . . then choof off at about 4:30 for a shower and prep for dinner. There . . how to waste an afternoon but still look busy.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Naming Ceremony

TheMacedonian is unimpressed with my pseudonym and says it's boring and uncreative. Well that's what happens when you're outside the creative environment so here goes.

I need some inspiration. He's 22, large but cuddly, obviously ethnic hence 'TheMacedonian', terribly emotional, multi-lingual, ultimately geeky (I was corrected for quoting XBox without the 360 after it which is apparently important to devotees of EB). He likes to eat, smokes copious amounts of foreign, very strong cigarettes, doesn't drink a lot but I suspect when he does he goes hard. He's sensitive, articulate, physical (i.e. huggy). He's rarely anywhere on time and often has to be woken from a deep slumber - like this morning when he promised to pick ClareBear up from the mechanic after she dropped her car there and left her walking home in the rain . . .He's highly intelligent, well read and totally frustrating to work with because he won't do the boring things. Makes a mean cappucino . . . generous to a fault . . . desperate to find MrsRight. And yep . . . I'd have fired him if he hadn'e left of his own accord.

Now he's Damjanov to some, Macedonian Mammoth to others, Stinkovic to one (because he came to work on more than one Friday smelling of alcohol and cigarettes and B.O. after a hard night out and in the same clothes he'd party'd in!) None of which I find entertaining or flattering . . . he's worthy of something interesting yet fantastically comical.

So, any suggestions for the renaming? It has to be quirky, identifiable, true and ultimately creative . . .

P's Are Degrees!

Congrats to my sweet thing. ClareBear has officially passed the most gruelling 4 years of her life attending the University of NSW College of Fine Arts full of pretentious pricks and fuckin' charlies. Despite the rigours of GymJunkie dumping her on the last day of uni (no celebrations that night) then the reality that she's back in the dating game that she hates so much (no celebrations that week), then an escape to Byron Bay that apart from a fleeting encounter with the rather gorgeous Jack Johnson really didn't provide enough of a distraction. She finally received word that it's all over and she has her degree. My little Bachelorette of Design . . .

Whilst she's still not feeling too celebratory, she managed to party hard last Saturday and get a bevy of phone numbers from wannabe suitors, is spending a lot of time with the Macedonian . . . he makes her feel 'worthy' and he has an XBox and is also in the position of dumpee at the moment so there's lots of empathy there - she's also meeting a prospective date next weekend so it's all looking up. She looks great and the birthday hair straightener is justifying it's enormous price tag and the daily jogs paying off in looks and fitness. You're lookin' good kid . . . and I'm breathing out after the semester from Hell.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Fear God? For Christ's Sake Why?

ClareBear says that I'm judgemental and jump to conclusions . . .

We live in the North Western Sydney Bible belt . . . 900 metres from Australia's largest evangelical church Hillsong and not too far from one of the most right wing, conventional Anglican congregations in Sydney. So religious fanaticism of the Christian kind, carrying and reading of the two-columned book is a common occurence. The problem is, Christians or at least the Evangelistic Anglican kind are soooooo . . . two-faced. On the one hand, they're rude, uncharitable, unwilling to slip outside their comfort zone, help others in need or develop an empathic relationship with anyone. I even had one say to me that they don't care about the environment because they're going to be 'saved' and go to heaven which means they don't have to give a shit about the state of the world (as he blithely threw his chocolate wrapper on the ground). Another who refused to have sex before Marriage because he was afraid of eternal damnation if he did . . not because he 'believed' it was the right thing to do. What is this fear that these people are absolutely gripped with?

So, they go to Church on Sunday, get involved in the op shop, do a bit of marriage counselling (totally unqualified I might add) and that redeems their soul so that they can be negative and critical assholes to everyone for the following week before they purge their sins with arms waving, eyes shut and the lord's light beaming down on them.

Its a world where disability or obesity is not tolerated. Women have to look good for their husbands, the accumulation of wealth is encouraged and the attendance of ethnic minorities reviled- White is might - Get rich first then choose your charity.

I work with one who even has "Fear God" emblazened all over her back windscreen - now that's taking the 'fish' sign a little too far. I bet she doesn't let her kids watch Harry Potter either . . . what happened to the forgiving God, all things bright and beautiful - the Lord God loves us all - seems he's turned into a vengevul, nasty bastard whose rule of thumb has them all worried they're going to spend eternity in Hell.

OK ClareBear, you might have a point . . .

Friday, December 08, 2006

What Is It About Window Treatments?

What is it about redecorating that gets the workplace fired up. Everyone wants to put their two-cents in and everyone is suddently a member of the Fab Five just busting to take part in the magic makeover . . . except when it actually comes to 'doing' anything. I wish they had the same enthusiasm for washing their coffee cups and doing the filing. The office refit is almost finished but I am constantly asked about the foikn window treatments. We've had frosting replace our daggy grey venetians on both floors and the whole place has opened up. This combined with bright yellow walls and dark blue trim has breathed new life into a very boring old 'grey' office. Last week it was "Why are the venetians still up now the frosting's been done?" "Why haven't all the pictures been hung?" "Why does this door still stick?" Answer: because I'm too foikn busy pandering to fragile egos, changing water bottles, stopping leaks (literally), creating workflows, writing a marketing plan and putting out office fires . . . you'll have to wait for the handyman.

This week it's been the bloody board room curtains. "Why did the rods go up before the curtains?", "What sort of curtains?", "Do you think yellow is appropriate?", "Why curtains not blinds?", "When are they going to be finished?" Really, I don't care but I do know that whatever happens with this blasted fitout, I will be remembered . . . not for my five years of faithful service, my marketing innovations, my supreme practice management and people skills. Nope . . I'll be that employee that painted the office yellow and put those God awful window treatments in.

7 More Sleeps

Just seven more sleeps and I'm on leave for 3 weeks. After the works Christmas party on 15th, it's total rest and relaxation until the 7th of Jan. I sooooo need it. I'm snapping at everyone like a banshee, have zero tolerence especially for the lazy men I work with and am absolutely over the religious nutters that seem to gravitate towards financial planning . . . or maybe it's just where I live in the middle of the suburban Bible belt . . . I'm beginning to feel very NIMBY about the two columned book!
Tonight, I'm really getting into the spirit, Clare's coming home and we can start getting Christmassy. At work we have the cutest mini wind chime that sounds like fairy bells when someone walks though the door, perhaps not the most professional of doorbells but it's really uplifting. I have two bouncy Santa Clauses made out of tin and in separate poses, one with Ho Ho Ho sign and the other with a lantern and ginger bread man in his hands. Tell ya, it's Kitch but not bad taste. Babysis on the other hand is going a little too far with a fluffy Turkey which sings Christmas songs . . .
Anyway, back to me . . my bouncy Santas will form the centrepiece of our Christmas table and scored an amazing 2 china mobiles with little santas on them as well as some bouncy bottle stops. I'm definitely into bouncy things this Christmas there's a very 'boing' theme emerging. I've nearly finished all my shopping with the exception of some Kris Kringle things for work and Christmas night as table gifts. So, yep, it is beginning to feel very micrassy.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

e-Merging Madness

A recent Parliamentary Committee has recommended that due to inextricable historical links, Australia and New Zealand should form a merger and become a single nation. Now before Stan and Johnny Dodge have a heart attack, this is merely a suggestion from some silly standing committee (read public servants justifying their existance). The committee is of the view that Australia and New Zealand would benefit from collaboration at the parliamentary level to ensure ongoing harmonisation of their legal systems and to investigate future options for mutually beneficial activity, including the possibility of union.

Now in ozziespeak this doesn't mean jack shit. I think what they're trying to say is that the two countries are so alike that we might as well get into bed with each other and bugger the trans-Tasman rivalry. No way Jose!

Whilst I admit to having never been to New Zealand and that it is on my itinerary of lovely things to do one year when I can't afford a real holiday . . . there are some serious problems inherent with the combining of the cultures. For instance, if we adopted a singular currency like the Euro . . would it become the Aussibro? How do we solve the dilema of conflicting Rugby Teams . Surely the Wallabies and the All Blacks can't be friends? Then there's the political dilema - Little Johnny, friend of il diablo and the lovely Helen Clarke (I don't think she has any friends).

What next, will they ship our possums back? Do we export our snakes and spiders in the interest of equal bilateral relationships. Will Bondi become little Auckland (oops - already is).

Although on the positive side, we'd have to enter into a Treaty with the indigenous owners of Australia as King George did with the Maori. We'll have to sharpen up our extreme sports venues and buy a few more snow making machines.

Now - don't get me wrong - I'm all for friendly bilateral relationships with the Kiwis. Love taking the piss out of them and all that but as for us all blending into the same mixing pot . . it will be chaos and our merinos won't be safe. Leave it as it is Pollies.

I hear its a nice place to visit . . . .

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Puddles, showers and Downright Downpours

We all know Australia is the wide brown land but no more than at the moment as we enter our fifth year of drought and suffer under level 3 water restrictions. No sprinklers, no car washing unless you use a bucket only. Plant watering 2 days a week with a bucket or hose and definitely no hosing verandahs or patios or using pressure hoses (my second favourite power tool outside the leaf blower). Our once lush, wooded acreage has been reduced to dust and leaf mulch and 7 green olympic rings where our Envirocycle (told you we were green) sprinklers sporadically pop up and water a 10 metre circles out the front.

A friend in Jersey emailed to say he couldn't open my emails because he'd dropped his laptop in a puddle and it was behaving badly. "Puddles? What are they" I retorted, seriously - haven't seen one for months. Then yesterday the sprinkling started, heavy skies and just enough moisture to stop the washing getting dry. I knew there would be trouble as the dogs went ballistic trying to come inside before a mighty crack of thunder and wham . . . a downpour. The smell of all that fabulous rain hitting the parched earth was superlative. To make it better, it rained all night - yeah this morning I saw puddles - it usually dries off in 10 minutes in this heat. Another 5 days of this and we might have a bindi free patch to sit on during the summer! Then again, it takes more than 1mm to break a drought. Ok lads, if you're gonna pee on the garden, do it on the green patch just outside the pool . . . it needs all the watering it can get!


DrummerBoy has taken over the maintenance of the swimming pool as he's now the pool expert having worked at the pool shop for 2 years. Yesterday, he duly arrived home with one of those 20 litre blue containers of liquid chlorine and some stabiliser to make sure the water doesn't go green during ThePrincess' aquarobics and this stupid 40 degree weather we keep having. The drum comes in an unsealed plastic bag to stop it dripping where it shouldnt. No problem, does the usual, sploshes some in the deep end, then in the shallow and sits it on the side of the pool. Adds the stabiliser which is a sort of granulated white powder and sits the stabiliser packet, still 2/3 full, on top of the cholorine bottle. Oops, time for a shower and a shave before partying hard! 15 minutes later we hear a noise resemlbing a large falling branch only with a sort of explosive 'pop'. Yep, the stabiliser has dripped on some of the chloring around the top of the bottle and blown the entire thing out of it's plastic bag, blown the chlorine bottle about a metre and it's now snowing little white granular bits - very Christmassy! Good job it wasn't in your car on the way home DrummerBoy - you'd be toast. Message: don't mix chemicals, save that for the suicide bombers!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Micras is Coming

At least that's what my niece used to say when she was little and the Merry Foikn Micras phrase was born amid late night drinking bouts and games of Kings and Box Head on Christmas Eve. Trust me, it was funny at the time.

Our family Christmas comprises a select but noisy few with Babybro, Stressany, JimmyD and Hah-Nah, my two - ClareBear and DrummerBoy, Babysis, ThePlummer, Maddymoo and LittleNeph. And, over the years the odd boyfriend or girlfriend has graced our table providing they have reached the six month qualifying period to attend a Christmas meal. None will be in attendance this year sadly although DrummerBoy is making a little headway with the new chicky babe, she hasn't met the qualifying criteria.

The table looks gorgeous and we've gone from blue silver and white with helium balloons, through to bronze and sparkly, red and gold - all very themed and civilised.
The food, usually non traditional mezze plates and gourmet barbecue or little entrée delights and a selection of fabulous salads.

This year . . . it's Kitch . . probably going to end up more expensive once the Singing Turkey, LED lit table runner and various Santa Stop Here signs are erected, not to mention the chocolate fountain (probably dotted with Christmas beetles by the end of the night.) This year, it’s a glazed ham and cold turkey, sumptuous salads and fresh fruit and marshmallows to dip in chocolate. But we all know it'll go to hell at about 9.00 when Kings takes over and BoxHead makes his annual appearance.

So, I'm getting excited. I've bought my first pressie and the tree goes up this weekend. BabySis and I just love Christmas. I love spending the day in the kitchen with the girls while the boys play golf, work or mess around with remote control cars and motorbikes . . so stay tuned. Maybe this year, someone will download all the photos they take and I can post a few . . .


I have two, much younger, actually one incredibly, one so-so younger e-friends who (or with whom) I have never met. I guess as Christmas draws nearer, my desire to actually meet them is increasing. Could be good, could be a disaster . . I'm literally twice one of their age so who knows.

Arkenstone in Melbourne used to work on a helldesk that I frequently called to ask the usual inane questions and received the usual inane support - "Turn your PC off and on again", "Are you putting in the right password?", "Have you turned your PC on? His patience was admirable and we struck a chord with each other and have had long email conversations on subjects as diverse as the history of Metallica to home renovation. He's since left but we keep in touch sporadically with silly emails and links to each other's blogs and photos. Even a quick video of each other's abodes has been exchanged but lately things have been a little quiet. He's easily distracted and I'm high maintenance apparently.

During the slow periods, we've had a few chats on the ether and become quite pally. Arkenstone who has a number of pseudonym's including Crispy (I thought that's what happened to hard drives when they burned out?) has some interesting geeky obsessions which are very entertaining. He comes with, World of Warcraft, Star Wars Lego, light sabres, Kiss T-Shirts, Swamp Thing underwear, a huge Mercedes, an incredibly patient girlfriend and a plethora of gadgets that allow him to take macro pics of matcheads and ice cubes . . occasionally . . and very occasionally, there's a photo of note. Sorry Ark but I like human studies!

The other is Johnny Dodge in Christchurch who's NZPubcasts with his trusty companion Shifty Rob are sometimes boring as batshit, sometimes very entertaining. Lets' face it, get an Irishman and a Canadian in a bar with a PC and just listening to the accents is a cack. Don't know much about the dodgster other than he's a lefty with wide opinions and a hunger for general knowledge and a number of failed attempts to achieve his pilot's licence plus a vitriolic (that's my word this week) hatred of George Bush, aptly named il Diablo. Keep up the good work Johhny. I suspect he spends a lot of time reading the newspaper on line and digging out obscure stories about Pitcairn Islanders and Vicars trying to overcome the shortage of underwear in small English towns. C'mon, you've gotta love it!

Either way, I've come to enjoy the e-company of these two, even though I have no idea whether we'll ever get to share a beer or shake a hand. Keep it up boys you're my solace on Sunday mornings when I log in and check the podcast and photos.

And of course, when in Sydney . . gimme a call . . I'll show you mine if you show me yours. (City that is).

Monday, November 27, 2006

Love a Long Lunch

After a rather uneventful week the weekend managed to be eventful in both a bad and a good way. Let me set the scene, I live ina commune, a shared house. Well actually two houses with me and my brood in one and Babybro, Stressany and their brood in the other. Mine is joined to Babybro's by an entertainment area, poolroom and wet bar and BBQ area so this area is used by both families as is the garden and swimming pool. I have to walk past their house to reach the washing line and the sulo bins so without prying, it's quite easy to tell what's going on inside. Privacy isn't a big thing between us.

With the shared areas, the rule is leave things as you find them, rack up the pool table, put your cue in the rack, clear your rubbish, return any matresses and doonas to their respective homes, turn off the fridge if there's no alcohol in it. Around the pool, put the brolly down,remove towels and stuff from the pool enclosure etc. Not a big ask really. Simple one would think.

Since Babybro and Stressany have gone to watch the Ashes in Brisbane, their house has become a backpackers without rules. All week a selection of misfits has been yahooing, swearing and drinking copious amounts of alcohol while the cats are away so to speak. Even mum and dad's bed has been violated by drunken blokes dossing down for the night. How do I know? As I said, have to walk past their bedroom to hang out the washing and put out the rubbish and it's been a dishevelled mess for 4 days.

Anyway, JimmyD - naughty nephew, decided to have a bender on Saturday night and bring home a bevy of blokes and a couple of chicky babes at 5.00am on Sunday morning. More yahooing and swearing and copious amounts of JimBeam cans being tossed willy nilly onto the garden, tree branches bing snapped with much hilarity and the XBox cranked up to wake the dead I was awoken from my spurious slumber, got dressed and proceeded to chastise the bastards in no uncertain terms. Not many will be willing to return methinks.

Only the day before I'd filled 2 sulo bins full of beer and Bean refuse and cleared kilos of pistachio shells from the pool room floor, re-racked the balls and hung up the cues and whilst wheeling the bins back to their designated waiting spot could smell the inside of the house - did someone die in there or had they just overdoesed on anchovies?

Just wait until I get hold of that dickhead he will wreak the wrath of Baino and for anyone that knows me, this is not a pleasant experience. I did have my satisfaction later that day berated JimmyD in no uncertain terms until he apologised profusely for being so drunk that he'd neglected to realise he'd invited 15 people back to party at 5.00am and it would never happen again (yeah right, that angelic smile and big brown eyes don't work on me kiddo!). I did secure assurances that the area will be pristine by this afternoon and the incident will never be repeated - well until the next time!

And speaking of dicks - why do boys have to pee on your plants . . haven't they ever seen a toilet.

So, as you can imagine, furious, tired and thoroughly down on the younger generation it was nice to have a long lunch by the sea with Ros and the Engineer. Old schoolfriends who's romantic tryst has lasted since they were 18 have a beautifully renovated (well more rebuilt) home in Avalon. I see them maybe every 2 years but it's like no time has passed and we gasbag long into the evening. Had seafood and fetta pizza with a noice Cape Mentele Cab Sav and lovely nibbly bits left over from the Engineer's 50th. We were joined by Mos and Harry the dog in what was a fabulous and relaxing afternoon. Thanks kiddies I needed it.

Babybro . . come back!

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Week That Wasnt

Well the vitriole over GymJunkie has now turned from tears to justified anger. The prick has been eyeing off the receptionist at work and the GymJunkie haters have come out of the woodwork over the past week. There are quite a few of them! ClareBear is baring up well and I now curse him to a life of commission-based sales with just a $42,000 retainer and snotty kids born by a $23,000 a year bimbo receptionist in Supre clothing and . . . I haven't finished . . . may he become follically challenged and his precious teeth fall out! And . . . DrummerBoy and I are convinced that due to the sound of his interrupted urine flow - he's got a prostate problem!

DrummerBoy has had a better weekend starting his holiday landscaping job. The mornings are early but so are the finishes and he loves it. Lots of breaks and lots of variety but since most of the jobs are based on the harbour and inner suburbs, peak hour driving is taking its toll as is my bottle of cordial . . . the more he works, the more he eats and drinks . . . The pay is the nicest surprise so now I must increase his board unless he starts to tidy up his bedroom or else it will all get blown on remote control vehicles.

ThePrincess is recovering nicely, actually remarkably. The leg's fine but she's still got to be kept quite for another 3 weeks. Physio and swimming are the only exercise she's allowed. She hates not sleeping on my bed and is very cranky at being locked in the laundry. I quite frankly am getting very sick of the summer dog hair! Only 3 weeks to go and we can start some weight bearing exercise.

Well how exciting is this post . . . as exciting as watching grass grow, watching paint dry . . . being at work at 4:43 on a Friday arvo. Aha . . . that's it, I'm giving myself an early mark and going to buy something tacky for our Christmas celebrations.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Feelin Alright? . . not feelin' too good myself

OK this is definitely the last draft, maybe the sixth . . it gets . . . well, more even handed with each draft . . .I'm just so pissed that my lovely ClareBear is so upset.

Well uni has finished for ClareBear. After 16 years of education my first born now only has to participate in an exhibition of graduate’s work and it’s done. My baby is free to fulfil her destiny and this should be a happy time, gap year, choices, travel, love, whatever comes her way . . . the happiest of times – one of those milestones like leaving school or getting married - but it’s not – it’s veiled in tears.

This semester has been fraught with tension. Between soul destroying tutors, tight timelines, pretentious artists, an incredible workload and of course the ever demanding boyfriend, last week was hell on earth.

Sunday, there’s a heart-to-heart, a D & M because GymJunkie’s in a bit of a rut, feeling a bit neglected due to her uni priorities but it ends with hugs and kisses and “I’m glad we talked, it brings us closer together . .” Everyone’s happy, just the pressure of the final assignment. Uni is almost finished with just 4 days to go. Then they can spend lots of time together (That is when he’s not playing tag, going to the gym, working, watching footy and cricket, preening himself, shopping or feeling like an early night).

Tuesday he called her three times as usual and told her he’d bought tickets for Sara Blascoe for the following week – all is well, fine and dandy it seems the rut has been overcome.

Wednesday lunchtime, he hasn’t called, she wonders why and then, after some pressing due to the ‘tone’ of his voice - he announces that he loves her but is no longer ‘in love’ – just two days before her final presentation. Nice timing jerk.

She calls me in a tizz, no an hysterical moment, I race home from work and get the news that he doesn't love her any more and hasn't for a while - she is inconsolable and knows that it’s not a great sign but they’ve agreed to leave it until Sunday before making any decision on their future together. I resolve to take a couple of days off to keep her grounded.

Thursday – no news, she’s distraught and putting the final touches to this massive presentation. We’ve run out of tissues and the sleeves of her t-shirt are wet with tears. She has a feeling of foreboding but a glimmer of hope.

Friday – the big presentation goes well. The sense of relief for us both is enormous. I don’t know how she’d have actually got it together if I hadn’t resolved to drive. Her models were huge and heavy. So that’s it. . . we’re on the way home . . . she’s planning a celebration with some mates and a visiting friend from Queensland . . . once again, she’s put her problems with GymJunkie aside for now and resolved to have a big night and face the demons later.

Good job I was driving . . I hadn’t intended to it was only her fragile frame of mind and nerves that made me resolve to take her and bring her home.

Then, not more than 20 minutes after the presentation, he calls her, we’re driving on the freeway – He announces that it’s all over, he’s not prepared to try to rekindle the romance now that Uni’s finished and it’s a huge weight lifted from his shoulders we're so glad that he feels better. She can keep the John Butler ticket and try to get a refund for their Port Macquarie escape in December and maybe they’ll be friendly enough to sit next to each other at the Chilli Peppers concert next April. To add insult to injury (and we’re still driving on the freeway) he tells her that he’s consulted a number of people, including her best friend and decided that it’s the right thing to do – the ultimate humiliation, he’s not only breaking up, he’s doing it on the phone, on the road and after talking to every man and his dog about it. . Goodbye and good luck.

Well I'm really pleased that he feels better, lets face it, this has all been about his inability to understand the pressures of her final year at uni and when the going got tough, it seems the 'gloss' fell off the relationship and he became hell-bent on going . . better now than when she’s barefoot and pregnant I guess. These are my thoughts not hers, she's very forgiving.

I’m over the anger of it now (really, this is calm by comparison) and just consoling ClareBear who is absolutely gutted and was convinced this rather self-absorbed boy with a very silly haircut was ‘the one’.

What do you do when your child brings a boy home that you know isn’t quite right? He's chatty, funny - he embraces her, showers her with affection and whispers sweet nothings that make her feel like a Princess. He treats her well on this level but never buys her flowers, gifts or even pays for her concert tickets or dinner. In fact GymJunkie has never shouted her anything . . . she hasn’t a single memento from their 9 month relationship - ah but he's funny, and glib and charming and handsome (so some think). She’s besotted but I knew from the start that there’s little room for anyone in GymJunkie’s life other than himself. Even his father told me so when we first met.

He has difficulty walking past a reflective surface without checking himself out, has no interests other than sport and the body beautiful and music of course. Won't travel unless there's a gym, a shower and the opportunity to clean his teeth three times a day. Doesn't dance. Doesn't party late.

OK people fall out of love all the time, shit happens on both sides - no-one is at fault and I'm not lamenting the end of this relationship as much as Clare but frankly, this issue was about timing and it sucked.

Why couldn’t he have waited until today? She didn’t even have a chance to celebrate the one night she can say she’s truly free. She, on the other hand defends his many ‘layers’ and says that I don’t know the half of it. Bullshit, I didn’t come down with the last shower. Okay, he says he's felt this way for some weeks and was sparing her the agony during a time of stress - thanks heaps - breaking the news three days before after a three week silence - grand jesture of selflessness my boy - worked a treat.

Anyway, he’s feeling liberated so that’s OK. Here are some hot tips for you GymJunkie and I mean these as a way of improving yourself for the next relationship:

  • You will never find love when you love yourself more than the person you’re with
  • You will never have a successful relationship if you do a runner as soon as the pressure is on
  • You will never 'deal' with a relationship if you aren't prepared to put in a bit of effort when things get tough.
  • You are not the centre of the universe
  • Your table manners need improving
  • Show some respect for your parents
  • Girls don’t give a shit about how great you’re feeling about yourself
  • They also like a little selfless love . . and that goes for the bedroom
  • Stop talking everything up . . the best concert in the universe, the most fabulous workout, the biggest night . . shit man, life comprises highs and lows as do relationships so put it into perspective and learn to deal with them both. Your enthusiasm is simply you trying to convince yourself that things are better than they are . . .take a long hard look at yourself and the world around you, try it without those rose coloured glasses! Sometimes life's great, sometimes its boring and sometimes its just plain pig shit. Take it from someone who knows. Maybe I should put this down to limited life experiences and youth.

At least a relationship with my daughter may have taught you a little more about how to handle the next with more finesse. Your immaturity is evident in your need to consult others to confirm your feelings. You have no idea how to break bad news, your timing is unbelievably selfish for the sake of two days, she could have at least celebrated the end of 4 years of uni with a smile on her face. I also hope you feel so much better now that this burden has been lifted from your shoulders because Clare is still carrying hers . . . she will come to her senses but the hurt she feels at the moment is deep and infectious. You my friend are a high-maintenance self-obsessed sales pitch on legs and she fell for your dulcit tones hook line and sinker. Wow, to use your vernacular - smashed that one didn’t we!

GymJunkie, seriously just quit talking it up . . you showed her the best time of her life because she believed your glib talk and sales pitch which at the time might have been genuine, but down deep, I knew it wouldn't last. You have nothing in common . . . she cares about and respects her family, she has concern for others and the environment she is not self-obsessed and vain . . . she sleeps in and parties late, she loves to dance and hates the gym and some of the pretentious people it attracts - yet she fell in love with you, forgave you all your faults because she loves you whereas you found that the sparkle faded whilst she had other priorities and gave up on her. I guess sometimes the chemistry does just vapourise but in your case, it seemed to happen so quickly and you talked yourself into leaving rather than trying. Relationships are hard work and not always smooth sailing. Take a good long look at yourself and realise that whether at work or in your personal life you can't just spin the sales pitch . . . relationships are more than a few well placed words at the right time. You can be so much more than just salesman in a pink Ralph Lauren shirt.

I thought you were fun GymJunkie . . you were nice to have around, easy to feed, seriously flattering and ultimately presentable in mixed company and I thank you for a lovely birthday dinner, that meant a lot to me to see you actually at work in the kitchen rather than wolfing down large portions of meat without enjoying the flavour. I have to say however, that in my mind, you werre never a serious contender. Clare begs to differ - Ahh well, she'll live and learn.

Now . . who's game enough to face-off with the mother-in-law from Hell and treat my baby right? She is sweet, low maintenance, loving and takes people at face value . . she's hard working, ambitious and ultimately adorable so heads up fellas . . .who's game to run the mama Baino gauntlet and be the man of her dreams . . I know you're out there but sadly - probably don't read my blog.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Space Dog

I think the picture says it all. SpaceDog aka ThePrincess had her dressing removed yesterday and is picking at the staples in her knee . . .oh embarrassment . . .

In Praise of Praise

It doesn't seem to matter what I achieve, what good I do, how many staff I motivate or how many initiatives assist in the smooth running of the business in which I work, the principals of this business are for the most part incapable being complementary or even basically polite. Getting a hello or goodbye out of some of them is like pulling teeth, quite frankly, I'm sick of being patronised on all levels.

After a very public hauling over the coals this morning for intimating that one of the partners had neglected to inform me of something rather important, I was left feeling like a schoolgirl being chastised by the headmaster . . .

The point of this entry is how did men get to be such patronising assholes. I blame the women in their lives. Mother's who mollycoddle or were bullied by their fathers and wives who do 'everything'.

Even DrummerBoy, raised by a single female parent, brother to ClareBear who last time I looked was quite a girly girl, has turned out to be the most blokey, brusque, all farting, all boozing, all swearing boy I know who thinks that the cleaning fairy does his bidding. He's good to women but still harbours some intensely patronising and sexist views that shock me on a daily basis.

Anyway, as I was saying, what gives men their sense of total superiority, particularly I might add, men in the business world. I find men in laborious jobs or those where equality between the sexes can be more easily attained such as Teaching, IT, Web or Graphic Design, Retail or Hospitality . . .don't harbour the same patronising attitudes - "Yes Chef . . . three bags full Chef . . " However men in the medical and corporate world are a completely different kettle of fish. In many workplaces they:

  • Never change the water bottle when it's empty, that's left to a diminutive ButterflyGirl despite the fact that it weighs about 20k
  • Disappear whenever there's physical labour to be done such as moving furniture, trolleying archive boxes, assembling workstations
  • Wash their coffee mugs, lunch plates or dirty knives and forks - seems that's women's work
  • Patronise their workforce with comments such as 'great job on that . . . " when it was the most pathetic and insignificant thing such as organising a Melbourne Cup Lunch - and they never offer to help clean up afterwards.
  • Even worse . . "You sort it out . . I'm focussing on core business . . .". I'm getting angry just writing this. And my job is to? Fuck up your core business? Get in the way? I'm just a fly on the wall am I? . . Fine, I won't tell you about the power outage this afternoon . . .or the client you've just lost because you're too busy doing meaningless spreadsheets or ordering wine online or the fact that your PC has a virus that's going to eat through your cables and blow up your hard drive!

So how do we change it?. . I fear it might be too late for me but the Gen Y's who I am so quick to disparage on so many occasions, actually may have this bit right. Gen Y's don't focus heavily on work, they're intelligent, qualified and aren't interested in long service or corporate loyalty, so they don't get disappointed when they're not paid compliments or given accolades . . no . . they get even . . . they up and leave until they find a workplace that suits THEM. Work for them is just one lifestyle priority not the be-all and end-all.

Therein lies my mistake.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Loohooozer . . .

I figure the probability of me winning something substantial increases with every failed competition, bet or entry form. Yep, today's the day they race the Melbourne Cup. The race that stops a nation. Two miles of pumping horseflesh, grandios marquees, drunken soirees in the carpark and of course the office sweep.

Once upon a time when I was a yummy mummy it used to be a great excuse to glam up, a new dress, some new heels and a hat and usually involved some bloke driving a shipload of giggly women home after a long, long, long lunch.

These days, it's a break in the working day and the chance to win the company sweep! It's also the one day I actually bet on anything other than a $2 scratchie, that is if you can call a $5, $2, and $1 splurge a bet. Steady now . . not big maybe but I'm only 15 years off getting the pension . . .

So all went well. I came to work (yes we Sydneysiders have to work on this auspicious day unlike our Melbournian counterparts) armed with a barage of silly hats from rastafarian dreadlocks to kitten ears which looked very pretty on EarthMother I might add and my favourite Nepalese export. Not quite the 'fascinator' you're probably used to. SwansGirl did the sweep since I'm no longer trusted after cleaning up in 2003 (these people take a long time to forget). Bought horses for ClareBear and DrummerBoy and myself of course. Went shopping with Receptionist and put on a pretty sumptuous spread not to mention plenty of beer and champers. Even the TV reception was OK.

The result, nothin'. Not a cracker. $23 worse off and the girl that ran the sweep cleaned up. Poor DrummerBoy got dumped by his woosy mates, bought a pizza and had a beer on his lonesome. ClareBare braved the RSL club with the girly swats . . . not expecting her home any time soon . . . I was left with no profit and half a bottle of cheap champers to drown my sorrows. Oh lament . . I should be at the Cup, dressed in black and white with a big hat that flops over my right ear and sipping Lanson or Verve Cliquot. I was soooooo . . . born in the wrong family.

Ah well the Libran psyche always sees the other side of the story. I figure such a loss increases the probability of me winning next year or even something else. Then again, maybe I'm just a 'looo-hooo-zer'. At least I won't end up in the glue factory like the drop kick nag I drew . . .Torkeet . . . I hope you're a stallion for your sake or your days are seriously numbered.

Cracked Aktors

Well further to my musical rant last week, I finally have a new talent to promote. DrummerBoy's band is finally getting serious, writing a few songs and yep, actually contemplating a gig or two. The website's done, a few songs recorded and mixed so all they have to do now is get Ocky to remember the words and off they go. I'm very proud of what my little soldier boy can do on a set of $500 Billy Hyde's and a couple of Zildjians and I'll buy him a proper kit when I'm rich. Check them out . I think they're pretty good but boys . . .boys . . .boys . . the name is awful!

It's either Indonesian for you guessed it - actor, or an acrynym for the Applied Knowledge Technology and Operations Research, a South Australian Precision Engineering Company or even the brother of king Augeas and believed to be the father, by Molione, of Eurytus and Kteaus (Cteaus).

You should have Googled it first lads!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Screw Loose

Well Lily aka ThePrincess had her big op on Thursday afternoon and is now in the post operative six week recovery phase of a total knee reconstruction. That means nothing, zip, nada for six weeks other than absolute rest and maybe a bit of swimming and physio and glucosamine injections once the stitches have been removed in 2 weeks. Then 20 minutes short lead walks twice a day building up to a couple of hours a day before she can go 'free' from a lead in probably mid January . . . It's day three and the stress is killing me. She's being very good but very difficult to keep her still, especially when its time for a loo break which forms the most exciting parts of her day. I swear this dog's on springs. Her leg's bandaged to the top of her thigh but that doesn't stop her wanting to bolt off into the blue. So, with baby gates in place, she's confined to the Laundry and Family Room much to her chagrin. She thinks she's done something terribly wrong to reek my wrath and is no longer permitted to sleep on my bed. Just as well actually cos I bought nice new pink and white sheets.

One worrying thing is that SuperVet (who's recent trip to you guessed it PARIS, was financed by moi) told me a couple of the screws in the top of her stifle are a bit 'short'. And he's slightly worried they might need replacing with longer ones! For free of course because he should have measured them more precisely. Ahhhhhghgghghgh . . . I'll give him screws . . . he must be a screw loose! Anyway we'll know more next week when he does more radiographs (we used to call them x-rays) to make sure it's healing ok. So now, i'm a total of $2,610 out of pocket with a lame dog, a 12 week recovery phase and that doesn't count the x-rays at six weeks, new plush indoor doggy bed, 2 baby gates plus the Kong that she doesn't even like . . .sheeeeeeeet eyyyy!

Monday, October 30, 2006

When Everyone Has PMS

OMG its that time of the year . . . uni exams are approaching, holiday work experience has to be organised for the Horticultural DrummerBoy and there just aren't enough bugs in the world to hand in tomorrow. Everyone's major project is due. 50 bugs in 50 days are being exterminated and pinned to a piece of naphthalene soaked Styrofoam in my laundry but there simply aren't enough species so the bug cull goes on . . . anybody got a spare invertebrate . . we're OK for spiders and moths but desperate for other sub-species . . .why didn't he start earlier?

Then there's the awesome stress of Clarebear's final assignment. A full-on major work that has to incorporate her two major subjects, Environments and Graphics. Her choice of subject "Making Sustainability Sexy" was a doozie. Then she gets the Tutor from Hell on Monday's who tears her to shreds and the reasonable mentor on Thursdays that builds her up so the week graphs out like the worst and best trading days on the stock market - all jam-packed into five!

Then there's a whole bunch of self-doubt topped with hormones, tiredness, missing this morning's Biology Exam (just as well there weren't any seats left, she can do it again next week!). A tearful . . . nay . . a sobbing Clarebear calls me at work on the mobile, inconsolable, ready to chuck it all in just 3 weeks from the finish line.

Then there's me . . trying to hold it all together, nervous as hell because ThePrincess is having her knee recon on Thursday and I've been dealing with the dramas of a refurbishment in the office and trying to calm Thommo down because I gave her favourite office chair away. Then there's the added stress of, teary daughters, grumpy sons and a little doggie that has no idea what she's in for. AND, now I have to think about what to have for friggin dinner! Save me . .

It's all about putting things into perspective, staying calm, being in control, cool, calm and collected - my advice:

Scream: there's nothing more liberating than actually emptying your lungs in a fully fledged scream. Too embarrassed to do it out loud, just scream into your pillow but don't hold back.

Drink- don't listen to all that stuff about it being a depressant. Alcohol can lull you into a stupor that just lets you cry your heart out and get it all out of your system. It tastes quite nice and is easy to administer. I recommend a nice champagne or something sticky on ice like Bailey's Irish Cream . . .

Smoke - whatever you like, tobacco, gunja, weed, choof, bloody banana leaves if they do the trick. Just remember to have the toasted sandwich maker on hand for the oh so inevitable munchies.

Sleep - nothing like wasting the hours away with a nana nap whilst watching some really boring soap opera. The only problem with this is that then you feel doubly guilty for not being more on top of your game..

Curse - For example, bitch-face Design tutor who hasn't been able to design anything more exciting than a 'feather chair' and something that looks like a red bathroom puff . . . you could curse her to a life of working for Innovations Catalogue doing typography in nothing but Times Roman Medium . . . and DrummerBoy to Hort tutor who says your graphics aren't good enough curse him to a life of pruning Boganvillia and spreading Dynamic Lifter . . . in 35 degree heat. (I'm quite good at this . . . ). Writing down your curses is quite cathartic . . .

Well kiddies . . that's all I can say . . it's not brain surgery, it's not life or death but it is important. Just 12 months for DrummerBoy and less than 3 weeks for ClareBear so hold on chickens . . stick it out to the bitter end. Soon you'll be free to choose your destiny and better still , get paid to do what you've been doing for free for 4 years! You're almost there . . .

Friday, October 27, 2006

I Know Why I'm Single . . .

Because men are the laziest sons of biatches I've ever come across. I simply can't be bothered with the lazy assholes. They smell funny, they eat too much, they never offer assistance, they think they're God's gift to the female sex and have the arrogance to match their stupidity.

No more obvious was this than today at work. This weekend we're painting our offices yeay! Yellow and blue, bright and cheery but can you find a man to help pull furniture and desks from the wall when you want one? . . . No. Apart from Boffin and the Argentinian . . . the rest of the males at my place of work wouldn't lift a finger. ButterflyGirl, Receptionist and Char are the only ones that chipped in for everyone, lifting bookshelves, computers and clearing surfaces so that the painting team can come in tomorrow at sparrows fart and make their workspace a nicer place. So what did the men do?

Markyboy ran away for the weekend and despite a day and a half warning of the forthcoming event, managed to move a few papers from half his windowsill. Poor form Markyboy! You are the laziest - fortunately you have quality female assistance.

Sgt Bilko . . . well he helped with his own stuff but no volunteering assistance to anyone else. He remained cocooned by bookshelves, desks and tables and just got on with his work and won't be in on Monday to reassemble the mess of pottage that is in fact his office. Looks like the girls will be back on the job on Monday!
The Yarpy didn't even turn up . . shame, because by now, we've had enough, he'll have to shift his desks himself.

AussieOirsh (not to be confused with the NZPubcast Oirsh who I will now refer to as Johnny Dodge) waxed lyrical for hours about the colours, which wall he'd like blue, which wall he'd like yellow and whether it might hurt his eyes he then proceeded to shit stir his staff by asking them what they thought of living in yellow offices to the point that I stated if their eyes started to bleed, I'd paint their fuckin' walls blue for them next week.

Roit . . .now we're ready to go. It's a mess but there's access to every wall, sill and door . . .thanks a lot you Ergophobiacs, Dextrophobiacs and Kainophobiacs . . .

I feel better now and vindicated in my long-held belief that men are only good for putting out the garbage, carrying eskies and casual sex although even that happens far to rarely and is often not done well!

. . shame on you men . . shame, shame, shame. I hope you all come back as removalists who work only in multi-storey apartments that don't have lifts!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

What the?

What the? Vegimite has been banned in the US because only breads and cereals are permitted to contain folate. This seems really sensible since Vegemite is actually owned by Kraft, a US Company. The great Aussie icon has not only been bought but rejected . . . oh the humiliation. This link has a petition to save the black gunk for those who have expatriot friends in the US. In fact, you can't even smuggle it in any more - yep, Vegimite is contraband . . . who knows, maybe David Hicks can look forward to some company from his food terrorist countrymen . . .

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Pandora's Cupboard

It's official, I am an anal retentive geek (not a very good one). I've paused in the midst of my Saturday cleaning to check my email (ninemsn loves me) and found that at last I have some comments on my blog. Keep coming kiddies, it makes me feel popular and God knows I need it. I know it's pedestrian stuff but comments are always welcome.

Anyway, whilst cleaning my bathroom I decided to get stuck into that cupboard under the sink. You know, the one that has all the stuff you use at the front and all the shit growing mould on it stuck in the back. Well did I open Pandora's box . . . it's not that long since I ventured into the bathroom vanity but thanks to ClareBear's absolute obsession with waxing her limbs it was covered in orange veet and due to DrummerBoy's complete inability to put a lid on anything smothered in foam shaving cream. I found some cool stuff lurking in the bowels of the cupboard beyond the usual toothpaste, makeup and girly stuff . . .

2 x scented candles, unused due to the absolute miniscule size of my bath making a candle lit foray into bubbles an agonising experience
1 x bath plug with Snoopy on a chain (must keep that one if Stan and the Insta Family ever visit) not used since LittleNeph covered himself in chocolate and had to be dunked in soapy water to remove the offending scum
6 x packets of razor blades - none of which fit either of the two razors on site
4 x tubs of mango body butter (what does she do with it)
2 x tubes of body exfolient (she has got an obsession with skin methinks)
2 x tubes of hair streaker in pink and purple
My nail clippers - yeay I thought they'd gone to that place where odd socks go . . .
An unopened bottle of Calvin Klein Escape - what a coup . . just ordered some from Strawberrynet - hot tip guys and gals - cheap cosmetics, skin care, perfume, cologne, aftershave. Delivered in 4 days to your door and all wrapped in a pretty white ribbon.
2 x very expensive Abre Self Tanning Lotion - unopened

Think I might have a skin care garage sale! Anyway, all clean and tidy now.

Right, time to crank up the Vines and the Dyson

Friday, October 20, 2006

I Like Your New Stuff Better Than Your Old Stuff

OK its Friday afternoon and I have a severe case of fourthirtyitis. EarthMother and ButterflyGirl took me out for a belated birthday lunch which was just scrummy, thanks girls. This whole birthday thing seems to have revolved around food which is wonderful if not very fattening. Anyway, a mezze plate, a bowl of prawn linguine and a couple of Semillon Chardy's and back behind the PC and I'm feeling very replete and schnoozy. My typing skills have declined commensurately and my motivation levels are at an all time low

Then up pops David Bowie singing "All the Young Dudes" - 30 years old and it still sounds great - What's that? My hearing's gone? I think not baby puppy . . . great stuff lasts (bit like good cheese, wine and me of course . . .)

Got me thinking about music I love and music I hate.

I love musicals, you know everything from Okhlahoma to CATS - pathetic I know but I want to know why Andrew Lloyd Webber has gone underground. Even the Boy from OZ didn't appeal to me - musicals these days are the domain of amateur dramatic societies . . . I haven't seen a decent musical since the Lion King and I'm desperate. C'mon you young producers and directors, bring the spectacle back!

I heard a Cog song this morning that reminded me they are grossly underrated but I can't remember what it was called. Great driving / vacuuming music. (Remember I'm an old fart so housework is an important part of my weekly routine and having a bit of rhythm in the background keeps me on track). Not just melodic grunge but a cool website to boost have a look/listen to Cog

I really like Justin Timberlake's Bringing Sexy Back although I think he's a tool. I'm keen also on anything Snow Patrol. Can't help wanting to do the hippy wiggle to the Go Team and am very keen on the Killers if in the right mood. Beck from what I've heard so far is reinventing the wheel once again and that big voice coming from such a diminutive performer is always impressive.

I can't stand those girly bands with little whispy voices - Little Birdy, Sarah Blaskoe . . if you can't belt it out then shut up. Similarly Evanescence have a sameness about them that is just plain boring despite the airplay they get, it all sounds the same - variety is the spice of life kids. AND . . .I don't want to watch another black gangsta video clip with boys dressed in oversized tracksuits and their hats on crooked, donning bling that will put your back out and those ridiculous diamond grills. Get over it guys . . . it's so 1980's. At least MC Hammer's Pants were slightly entertaining! Similarly, the scantily clad skanks that swan around them flashing their naughty bits and lap dancing even in the absence of a lap - girls, get thee to a nunnery . . you frighten the boys. Lads are like collies chasing a car, and have no idea what to do with you once they've caught you. If there's not $1000 in your knickers by the end of the clip, you've wasted everyone's time. It's demeaning, vulgar and unnecessary . . . (ooops grumpy old woman episode there . . hang on while I just gather myself together . . .) Here's an idea, do something clever . . engage your audience with stunning artwork, clever storylines and smoothly integrated graphics . . . and a tune we can enjoy rather than asking us to loosen your buttons, play with your London Bridge or bringing the boys in th yard with your milkshakes - you make pearl jam sound wholesome.

And you people who hang onto the past without even acknowledging the talent out there today - move forward - Just because Sting is enduring doesn't mean he's good . . .

I still listen to TripleJ as my station of choice it's all new music and I get loads of exposure a wide variety of genre's and artists long before they hit the commercial stations - new doesn't always mean good but change is good. At work we vacillate between Nova and TripleM splashed with commercials and a rotation list of about 6 songs plus the golden oldies - I swear if I hear "I wanna rock and roll all night . . " one more time . . .surely Gene Simmons and the boys are about to kark it? They're older than me!

I've also really moved on from what I call my 80's hiatus when I thought that Billy Joel, Sting and Fleetwood Mac were just the ants pants - mind you I also thought that the Play School album and Naught to Nine were pretty damn good. "Oh I forgot my mother's birthday . . I will be shot . . " (remember that one kiddywinks . . . all the way to Tasmania . . . in the car . . .)

Doesn't mean I don't like old stuff . . . just good old stuff. I swear if I hear Layla one more time, I'll throw a sensible shoe at the plasma screen. You know who you are you culprits!

Then just as I give a serve to my closest friends for their dated choice in music, I find out that ClareBear and GymJunkie are going to see . . . Muse? Nah . . . Placebo . . .nup . . . the Mars Volter . . . er nope . . . Gnarls Barkley . . . not even warm . . . Sting? God Forbid . . . . . they're going to see Bert Bacharach

I think I'll stay up late and watch Rage

Resolution for Today: Find out who the Hell Teddy Thompson is . . he's touring next month.

Monday, October 16, 2006

20 Going On 12

Boys . . . almost 20 going on 12.
OK just ask me what happened on Friday afternoon. . .go ahead . . .ask.

I drove home from work at about 6.00 to find the carport soaked in engine oil (new fortunately for them - so not too stained) and two 20 year olds backed against the wall, remote controls in hand whilst their RM cars did burnouts on the slimy surface. They knew they were in trouble when I rocked up . . . "Lemmers where's Drummer Boy? And what's that stain on the concrete?" Lemmers gave me that sort of 8 year old "I'm gonna get a smack for this" look and said, "Oil?"

OK, it's fun but you should have seen the mess. "Where's Adam . . " and a sheepish point later I found him out the back with all my outdoor chairs stacked strategically to support a fluoro Hot Wheels track and Loop de loop. I didn't even know DrummerBoy had saved it. Nothing is thrown away with that boy . . it'll be lego next week. This, compounded with pocket bike marks all over the only little green patch left by the drought and the fact that they'd all been using my bath towels in the pool . . what do you do? . . .I wouldn’t mind so much but he still owes me because he was short on his car registration . . . obviously the purchase of a remote control car is essential to his wellbeing otherwise he would have paid back his debt first . . Today he has been armed with some laundry powder, a bucket and a scrubbing brush to remove the oil slick . . we'll see DrummerBoy . . we'll see!

I Made it!

I made it! 50 today . . . can't believe it, I still feel more at home with the 20 somethings but there you go. The weekend was mad . . . Dinner at ButterflyGirl's on Friday was lovely they've just bought a new house and it's cute as a button with everything from an in ground pool to outdoor speaker systems. Lovely stir fry and a nice bottle of Logan Chardy.

Went over for the usual coffee to Babysis' place on Saturday with all intentions of washing TheBoys as it was about 37 in the shade but got a bit settled and decided to drink coffee and chat rather than splosh ultraviolet shampoo over the scruffy pair who are in dire need of a good wash and a hair cut . . . maybe next weekend. Besides, it's a two person job - horses can make themselves very very tall when faced with a hose! Anyway, I was tossed out at 1.00pm so Babysis and ThePlumber could prepare for lunch. "Where are the kids . . ." I asked "We hired a back hoe to dig a hole in the back paddock and thrown them in with a water bo0ttle and a few toys. . ." was the reply. I think that could catch on as a safe way to quarantine kids for a bit of peace and quite . . .you should try it Stan! What an innovative way to deal with ankle biters . . . .She gave me a lovely outdoor candle and finally I have a back door mat instead of the oddly cut piece of carpet left over from when we did the pool room . . . 18 years ago! I know I could have bought one sooner but never got round to it.

Then Thommo put on a great turn on Saturday with a few surprise guests, The Merry Widow, Struth Ruth and all the kids which was fantastic. Great company, super food and a big gold wrapped present. I love shiny things . . . Not that I'm materialistic but I like presents. Even DrummerBoy gave a speech which was very nice. Acknowledging that I'm a tolerant tyrant . . and an alright mum . . . Machiavelli's got nothing on me! Thanks MarkyBoy for the kind words and the Billiecart & Salmon Tres magnifique!

Not to be outdone on the Champagne stakes, I followed up on Sunday afternoon with BabyBro who broke out the Birthday Cake and Crosier . . and more presents! I feel like I've been on a food and drinkathon which is very appropriate when one stares their half-century in the face.

Sunday night GymJunkie cooked me dinner, how sweet. He even bought his cornflour and dry sherry from home and did me a treat with satay prawns and beautifully presented rice and a nice salad. I really appreciate gestures where people go out of their way to do something nice. And . . yep, more presents . . .yeay . . I might have another birthday next week. Finally, before coming to work this morning, ClareBear gave me her little offering a beautiful Greek ceramic jewellery box with a pair of very individual earrings from Santorini . . . just my style. Thank you darling, you're a treasure.

And the booty score . . .

Decorative Outdoor Candle and a lattice hanger which makes it look like a mini Taj Mahal when lit - we ate our candlelight dinner around it last night - and a badly needed back door mat
Breville toasted s'wich maker with bells on - I think it even makes the tea and does the dishes, and a bottle of Crosier which has now met its maker
Thommo and the Merry Widow
Fabulous red leather Estee Lauder vanity and makeup case and stacks and stacks of cosmetics (they must think need them . . . I guess at my age, I need all the help I can get. ) Now I have resolved to purchase red luggage for my impending travels to match the cosmetic case.
Satay Prawns bless his cotton socks, champagne glasses and some Dusk melts, my house smells lovely but the glasses won't last long in the hands of Basher Bainbridge
Jewellery box and earrings she knows my style so well - fashion and sentiment.
Full Car detail and boy does it need it although because he's nursing a hangover today and has to clean up after the BBQ he had last night it might mean a postponement until later in the week.
A lovely pot plant with the most delicate of fragrances, now sitting in the little wheelbarrow that once housed my herb garden
Fuck all - but that's expected . . .

Thank you everyone, you made this one very spesh! I must now crack on at work when I really need a nana nap!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Fookn Foine

Aha, the bar has been raised . . Oirsh has very kindly linked me to his blog/podcast site after I sent him my menial offering. Whilst it's the lazy way to run a blog, it has a charm all of its own and for those of us with time on their hands or mindless jobs, you can tune in and pretend you're sitting in some NZ pub drinking Guinness slagging George Bush (not that you need a Guinness to go there . . ) and solving the problems of the world. Now the challenge is on. I thought he was an artoid geek type with a wicked sense of humour - turns out he's a laconic piss-pot with a penchant for the long version rather than the short. He podcasts in the pub with a mad Canadian and acknowledge that they're 'blow-ins' with some political commentary and a lot of finger-clicking to get the attention of the barmaid. I like it.

This lad from Eyre is far from stupid although very funny - he's opinionated in the nicest kind of way, has a strong political bent . . .left wing if I'm any judge and quite frankly I am surprised - dunno how the Irish got their reputation for being dim. Check it out. Takes a while for the download so use iTunes if you can. the NZpubcasts are few and far between but if you've got a spare half an hour it's entertaining to say the least to tune into the remarkably sober musings of these two not to mention trying to understand the accents without actually seeing their lips move!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Doggy Update

Well after having a general anaesthetic an x-ray and some serious manipulation, ThePrincess has definitely ruptured her cruciate and has bone degeneration in her left leg, this means a knee reconstruction (pic left). Whilst she's very sore she was hilarious when I bought her home last night, still under the influence of anaesthetic and wobbling about the kitchen, she kept collapsing and just lying there having a little think before attempting to jump on the bed. Unable to do so, I was forced to assist.

So what you say? How is this blogworthy? This my friends is no ordinary dog - this is my third child, my bedmate (yes, I share a Queen Size bed with a King Size dog) my littly pookie wookie schnooks. The vet wanted to do the op on Friday (13th) but despite my not being at all superstitious, it's a bad weekend - Birthday celebs anticipated dinner at ButterFly Girl's on Friday Night and another at Thommo's on Saturday and DrummerBoy arranging a BBQ with younglings on Sunday afternoon so no nurse at home to take care of the invalid. Then the vet is off to Paris for two weeks - what is it about bloody Paris, everyone's been there except me but that's a whole other story - so she's scheduled for 2nd November. I'm preparing my leave forms as we speak to take her first week of invalidity off to make sure she's comfy womfy. Don't even ask about the price . . . footballers don't pay this much . . . you pet owners out there . . . take out pet insurance before you need it!

Resolution for today: Remember that ThePrincess is a dog and that ClareBear and DrummerBoy are my children.

Monday, October 09, 2006


ThePrincess has pulled a cruciate ligament in her knee. Serves her right for being extra wiggly and ballistically bouncy and for racing from woe to 30km after rabbits that she hasn't got an ice cube's chance in Hell of catching. And, despite my best efforts and a stomach full of anti-inflammatories, she is going for her first anaesthetic and x-ray this afternoon - my little baby, she's only 5 years old in December! If the x-ray confirms suspicions, she's under the orthopaedic surgeon's knife on Thursday . . . that's right she has her own specialist!

It looks like my little poppet will need a knee reconstruction or a TPOL tibial plateau leveling osteotomy. Sounds impressive? They break a bit of bone to relieve pressure on the joint or something. Wait until you hear the cost AUS$2,500! She will have to be boxed up for six weeks with no movement except to go to the loo on a lead - anyone who knows Lily knows this is gonna kill her. She's a wiggly, sprinty, very active lab who knows stop and go and not much in between. Poor thing is going to think that I'm punishing her. I've just been searching websites to find out more but it looks like the best long term option. Who would have thought that running around could cause so much damage - I'm glad I don't exercise. Just as I've consolidated all my debt too . . . what a birthday pressie!

Stay tuned . . . maybe the x-ray will show something less serious.

The Week That Was

Aha . . back to work after a lovely 4 days off re-potting my plants, disposing of spider webs and their residents, cleaning windows and flyscreens, going mad with the pressure hose . . yes I know it's illegal but it doesn't use much water and it cleans concrete and mouldy walls like a charm. The irony is, I can employ someone to come and pressure hose my mouldy bits but I can't use it myself because of the water restrictions . . where's the justice . . . so I cheat. My God, I feel like Martha Stewart or that Lush woman who has all sorts of hints and tips for cleaning nasty little stains like Scotchguarding your dress if you're going out to eat Italian so that the tomato sauce doesn't stick (Monica Lewinski could have done with that tip . . . gawd, getting a bit pedestrian here . . ) Seriously tho, the Karcher Pressure Hose is my new toy. OK boys, you like your cars, motorbikes, planes, remote controls and computer games, I love my leaf blower and now the Karcher . . . just don't pressure hose bare feet, it hurts. You should see my retaining wall . . once covered with 17 years of damp and mould is now a gleaming new wall. The pavers are actually a nice sandy colour, not swamp green after all. I can't wait to play with it again.

I didn't manage to have a nice seafud lunch with ClareBear or Babysis as usual - finances are at a premium at the moment to the point where I've consolidated my debt through a five year personal loan. It's obvious the house isn't going to sell in a hurry despite the chains of Beijing Businessmen being shown around the back paddock. I did have a great lunch yesterday with YummyMummy and Overall but BikerGirl couldn't make it unfortunately so it was a small gathering. The only one bad thing about eating at YummyMummy's place is that she's lactose intolerant - oh that mud cake was just begging for a delicious dollup.

Poor YummyMummy, last time we visited it was pissing down, this time we arrived in 35 degree temperatures only to be driven inside by a southerly buster for fear of being blown off the verandah with the porch swing and the pool filter box lid! We were duly entertained by Gabby and the RibbonKid . . . dancing to one of the most obscure children's records (yep actual vinyl thing that goes round and round) Ah, I remember the age of fairy costumes and pinkness - all those ballet lessons, jazz, musical instruments and I've raised a 22 year old with absolutely no talent for any of it, I could have done so much more with the money. Overall and GreekLover are heading off to the States tomorrow I'm really envious, San Fran then the Eastern States, have a great time kids and good luck driving on the wrong side of the road.

Little else to report this week, it has been a homebody week and only one week to the day before I turn 50 - bugger! No celebrations planned, it's a real anti-climax - but you know it's real when people stop saying "Oh my, you don't look 50!" (except for Overall and Yummy Mummy who keep my ego intact, thanks girls, you're good for the soul.) I should be in Paris but there you go. I'm being very philosophical and focussing only on presents. I would like a back door mat, a toasted sandwich maker and a bottle of Verve Cliquot please.

Most disappointing was the low level of humour waiting for me in my inbox upon my return to work! C'mon you slackos . . lighten my life a little with some funny stuff. And Oirsh, you owe me your blog link!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

A Load of Balls

There are 4 codes of Football in Australia. Soccer which isn't huge with anyone over 12 because the competition isn't close by, Rugby Union which is big with the private school mob - apparently it's a gentlemen's game and I have to say that the faces of Union players look a little less worse for wear than some others and they do seem to have half a brain - hell, half of them are lawyers! Then there's Aussie Rules which is only played here but much loved particularly in Western, Southern Australia, Victoria and Tasmania with a single Sydney Team represented on the roster and of course there's Australian National Rugby (thugby) League.

OK I'm a fairweather fan as WEagleWiseMan in Tassie keeps telling me but I couldn't resist revisiting the Mars Bar challenge. Last year SwanGirl and I were bet 2 King Size Mars Bars that the Swans couldn't beat West Coast Eagles in the AFL Grand Final. Of course they hammered them and thus begain a year long limited interest in the outcome of Sydney Swans and the Australian Footbal League (ABL).

Then they hit the grand final yet again with the same adversary - yep you guessed it, West Coast Eagles vs Swans so - bang the gong, we are on . . I did actually watch the game and thought that the Swannies were unlucky to miss the comeback of the year and lost by just one point. Still, that's the great thing about not being too passionate about the game, it doesn't hurt so much when you lose. So WiseMan . . go the Weagles . . your chocolate is in the post!

This afternoon (Sunday) it's more footy final time with the National Rugby League Grand Final but for me this game holds no charm. Just a bunch of badly behaved latent homos grappling each other's inner thigh and sliding over the line hugging their ball . . .truly, it's bizarre. You run a few metres, someone pulls you down, then you have to pass the ball backwards where someone else picks it up and runs a few more metres until someone else pulls them down. It's got to be the most unintelligent sport in the world which probably explains why so many of these bozos end up on advertisements for cheap school outfitters dressed as women or in front of the judiciary for head high tackles (apparently they're worried that damage to the brains of these nit-wits is a real possibility) or being in court for indecent exposure, drunk driving or sexual assault.

Seriously, they have faces that only a mother could love thanks to years of being smashed about with balls and fists (not necessarily in that order). Few have a brain bigger than a pea and yet we get so swept up in Grand Final Fever that all around the country today there are Barbecues galore, pissups aplenty - ClareBear has run away to Seal Rocks for a girly footy free weekend and GymJunkie is sitting on the couch with his Brisbane Broncos costume on waiting for the game to start . . . he's only got 6 hours to go. Me . . well I've hired a nice video and have a bottle chilling in the fridge.

Anyway, for you fanatics, Go the Broncos . . .and well done Weagles . . . I'll toast your health in oooh, about 10 minutes?

And how does that make you feel?

Had to go to a course on 28 and 29 September and pretend I'm a financial planner. Apparently as Practice Manager and Marketing guru, it's important for me to really understand how to hook a client and close the sale. So, sitting next to rather sweet man from Melbourne we were a team. It all went very well, the view was great, the food was nice then it all fell apart with role play. I hate it. Pretend your a planner, pretend your a client . . it's such a wank. So we cheated, Melboy and I talked about our personal lives, our dogs then along came the ajudicator so we launched into " . . and so, why did you want to see a financial planner . . . . " and "how does that make you feel . . ". If I never do another role play in my whole life it will be too long.

It is amazing what people will tell you tho. He's married, wife doesn't want kids - happy with the dogs in South Yarra but he's busting for a brood. Poor thing, I had to remind him that by remaining DINKS they save a fabulous 120,000 over 18 years. Mind you, I wouldn't swap mine for a house in Toorak let alone South Yarra.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Where Did My Friends Go?

Friends . . .can't live with 'em, can't live without em but having 'em is always an asset. I've always been a bit lean on the friendship side. I mix OK but don't like most people, they're opinionated, dense, uninterested in others and generally self-absorbed and competitive so when I do meet someone with zest, personality, an opinion and a willingness to listen, I latch onto them like a mollusc on a damp rock and try desperately to never let them go. But go they do. So this is a melancholy little entry for some . . I miss the StanTheMan, he didn't stay with me long but we've been such good friends. . even though he was living in the land of the long white cloud for most of his antipodean stay it was a mighty leap closer than that little island cluster he's on at the moment. I can't wait for him to get back south and I really will make the effort to visit him and his new insta-family.

I miss the DesignPrincess too . . . last time I heard from her, she was jetting about between Ireland and Germany, buying houses in Notting Hill and swanking with the trendoids. I got a mouthful too for berating her for not talking to her friends back home . . but I haven't heard a word since . . . .

Then there's that Dancin'Queen who travelled to Prague and never came back. She's cast herself a new life as well but no news is good news from her point of view so I'm not too worried. She's a hot stop on the BIG TRIP whenever that happens, just hope that my walking frame can cope with those tight alleys and that I'm stable enough to down a couple of absynthes without breaking out the Poise.

Finally there's that Yorkshire mob, only met them first in 1995 and didn't like them much when we first lobbed - thought they were pretentious - how wrong could I be. We were reunited in 2001 and had an absolute blast. They're intellectually challenging (not challenged) and have me on my toes from name that plant to my opinion on the lack of rainfall in the Andean valley. Not to mention the book reviews . . .I'll have to read another one before I meet up with them. Still, a love of the grape and all things labrador has bridged all gaps and we're still correspondents.

And . . last but not least there's the absent e-friends, Oirsh and BeanBoy, even little WeaglesFan, never met 'em, never will but they're fun to play with on the net. Who knows, maybe next time they're in Sydney, they'll look me up.

Then there are those closer to home. Not too many and I've finally decided that if they are to remain friends, effort is to be made. that's right readers, it's taken me half a century to realise that real friends are worth the effort . . .they're worth staying in touch with, having a laugh with, sharing their problems and their joys. I love Overall, BikerGirl and YummyMummy. I love our quarterly lunches stupid jokes and broad discussions on alternative therapies . . .you girls are an alternative therapy . . YummuMummy is right I feel validated after an afternoon with you lot.

I love our sporadic dinners with TheTeacher and MerryWidow - as long as the alcohol doesn't get the best of us, tends to make the tears flow - it's lovely sharing family tales, grumpy female woes and hideous sexual jokes with like-minded people. I love our weekend forays (not enough of them mind you) with TheTeacher, MerryWidow and the VetsWife. We have to be especially careful not to make her laugh too much for reasons of a weak pelvic floor despite my constant insistance that she'work it girl'.

Then there's coffee each Saturday with Babysis. We solve the problems of the world like how much cheaper Aldi is than Coles and whether generic Tim Tams are as good as the real thing, whether the quality of the horse feed is appropriate . . . how to stop 7 year olds bashing the bejezzus out of dad's PC and other important matters . . . then I feel guilty about having not done any washingl, pack ThePrincess - all covered in mud usually - in the back of the car and begin the days 'homework'.

Then there's Thommo. Bless her cotton socks, she's been around since Jobe was a baby. I always forget her birthday, she never forgets mine. She never sends Christmas cards, I always do. She frets and fawns, I'm so relaxed it's terrifying. She's rich as rockafella, I'm poor as a church mouse . . .she's thin as a whip, I'm fat as a house but somehow there's a chemistry there that makes us the inseparable odd couple. She's one of the few people I can work with, holiday with, share a kitchen with, walk 20kms with, cry with or just do nothing with.

Bless yer cotton socks Thommo . . you're the bomb!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Blow Job

Ahh to be in Sydney now that spring is here . . .35 degrees in the shade, big blue skies, puffy Simpsonesque clouds . . sounds like paradise . . .

I have been unable to complete my Sunday blog due to 95km per hour winds and a bloody grassfire opposite number 7! I wasn't game to leave the PC on for fear of a blackout which came at about 12:15pm. I once fried a motherboard (and ate it with a glass of nice Chianti) through a power surge - also fried my DVD, Alarm and Microwave and blew up the pool pump so I'm very sensitive to lightening strike, power surges and blackouts.

Yep, yesterday was the day from hell. Hot, windy, smokey, noisy and enough to make ThePrincess so fearful that she spent the bulk of the day wedged between the couch and the side table or cowering in the shower recess.

Not unusual for us to have an Indian summer before the long weekend but this was scary Sunday. Branches from the lemon scented gum narrowly missed my roof and another heavyweight fell just centimetres from the back shed. The entire lawn area (about 1ha) is strewn with twigs, branches, leaves and other debris deposited during the wind storm. All I have to do now is get Babybro to overcome his fear of mixing two-stroke and using his mofo of a chainsaw in an attempt to tidy up around the place.

He's already panicking about the place looking a mess for the big NRL Grand Final BBQ next Sunday - he needs to chill, doesn't he notice that every Saturday afternoon, the leaves have magically vanished, plants are watered, pool is clean . . . men, they don't notice a damn thing unless it's 2 centimetres from their schnoz, clearly labelled and attached to something alcoholic as an incentive to read and recognise.

I hate gum trees, those of you who know me are aware of the affinity I have for my leaf blower and it's not for any kinky reason. Gum trees shed, leaves, bark, branches . . . even the bloody flowers waft all over your windscreen. Kill them all . . this does grate against my environmental bent but after living in close proximity with them for almost 2 decades, I can safely say that deforestation can't come soon enough for me. It will take us a week to clean up the twigs, flowers, fallen branches bark . . . if it can come loose it WILL fall off a gum tree.

Four flyscreens suffered also and three of them are now all bent out of shape and half way up the back yard and my newly spruced and cleaned swimming pool has a layer of sticky gum flowers bunging up the works.

Still, ever the optimist, managed to back up with a BBQ once the wind subsided, GymJunkie and ClareBear were already coming for dinner but ended up with DrummerBoy and a number of other post pubescents eating me out of house and home. It is nice to be able to share the virtues of a Mudgee Verdello with your son I must say . . . only the best for my little soldier boy.

Resolution for today: Try to get DrummerBoy to think of sausages as a food group not just a collection of lips and arseholes.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


What is it about the mature age worker that prevents them from embracing technology, enjoying the internet, learning how their PC works . . .learning how to type or put paper into the printer the right way round! It's pathetic.

I'm crap compared to most gen Xers but jeez, I know how to change the batteries in my mouse and add some extra RAM . . I even work with someone who still yells out to his assistant for phone numbers when he's got some pretty sophisticated industry software sitting on his PC which not only tells him the client's name and number but how often they go to the loo . . . hopeless and no desire to change.

Another things that 'they' think Excel is hard wired into the computer and that anyone who can master it must be an IT genius or bloody Software Engineer - oh no that wouldn't be right, they'd think a software engineer was someone who designs cushions.

Others are two-finger typing at a pace that is nauseating to the point that you just do it for them. You know, it's like watching Clare Bear's boyfriend GimJunkie trying to iron a business shirt, eventually you get up and do it for him because the pain of watching him struggle with a seam and trying to work out whether he's left or right handed makes your brain hurt and your eyes bleed. (Actually I didn't do it for him but I might next time . . .) We even have a guy at work who asked for some keyboard shortcuts . . not the sophisticated ones, oh no . . no F9 for him . . Ctrl B, Ctrl I, Ctrl X . . . need I say more.

I can do it and I'm old enough to remember the first PC . . . I had an A4 Apple before the Mac bit came in . . . and it was stunning. State of the art, everything a Copywriter needed and in a format that could be read. I knew my SCSI's and dongles . . even had a RasterOps screen . . I've just grown with them. I'm not a patch on young Arkenstone or the BucollicBoffin but I know my way around a directory tree. Enough to train my own younglings to optimise their Macs and Defrag their PC's.

Get with it you old farts . . . it's not as hard as it looks and I need some more legitimate adult geeks to blog with.

Resolution for today: Reassure MarkyBoy and UncleBob that the Directory Tree is actually available via their PC, not planted in the park.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Brain Dead

Ha ha, not that you'd notice but I had to recreate this because I forgot not only the login but also the password to my own site . . .shouldn't admit it but I thought it was funny.

Mudgee Magic

Just come back from a lovely long weekend in Mudgee, NSW wine country. Thommo, MarkyBoy the Merry Widow and I jumped in the Callias for a trip west and joined TheExpert and TL for three days at the wine festival. Stayed in a fab cottage with river views, an Alpaca, and Ostrich named Miss Olivia, two sheep a lonely goat and a plucker of chooks and ducks and an albino Turkey who wasn't fussy who he cracked on to. Very pretty.

We drank in the afternoon we arrived and then went to Eltons for dinner yum . . I'd forgotten how nice Veal Marsala really is. We stumbled home then played a game of Stink (I dunno we couldn't work it out either) and were beaten by TheExpert who was more pissed than all of us. Fluke or what?

The only problem living in the country is the bloody birds get up so early. Tweeting and shrieking, quacking and gobbling . . . I swear they're worse in spring so I was up spritely at 6.00am as usual, creeping around on my own waiting for the day to start.

Saturday we went to the Growers Market at the Catholic Church and bought honey and olive tapanade. Then just to show that we are egalitarian atheists, covered the craft market (I use the term loosely) at the Anglican Church across the road. You'll be pleased to know that there is still a market for tea towels with crochet edges and do it yourself cushion making . . indeed you can buy a template with a lovely rottweiler head on it or even your fave Massey Ferguson Tractor in glorious red. Bought ClareBear a little metal dragonfly made out of recycled car parts that was cute - and fitting - seeing as her major project is making Sustainability sexy!

Sight of the weekend: The country ute with the largest arials you've ever seen, Jim Beam Stickers "I'm a shooter and I vote" sticker, bull bars, roll bars, a heavily reinforced cage with the ugliest hunting dogs you've ever seen tucked safely inside and a poor wild pig, gnarled to bits on the back of the tray. Very country and reminded me to count the fingers of everyone who poured a tasting wine (make sure there were five on each hand) and to check name tags . . . I'm not going near anyone called Mable or Clitus.

Then we did the wineries, Frog Rock, Blue Wren little cellarmaster with strawberry blonde hair who gave us a free bottle of the competition's rose), De la something or other with a nice golden retriever and yummy Sicillian olives and marinated mushrooms, I think the wine was OK too - I only bought the ones with the pretty labels (who say's I'm shallow). Then onward and upward to a number of others - many whose names I cannot remember but tasted everything. Lunch at the Cheese Factory and the best macadamia and olive pesto I've ever tasted.

The late afternoon was a bit boring until Thommo hurled her bocce ball into a water feature and TL and MarkyBoy had to get their feet wet and rummage in the mud with a rake to retrieve it. Ah well . . . if anyone was going to plop it in the water it would be her. I refrained from playing . . . they were hurling the bocce like shot puts . . more arse than clarse so MarkyBoy and I, the true 'good life' Pitt Street farmers checked out their irrigation system.

Saturday night we cooked at home but it was restaurant quality, bbq seafood and a chunk of fillet that went down well but in Thommo's case came right back up again . . .at least we think it was the steak . . .couldn't possibly have been the merlot.

Sunday we had a slow start, a big brekky and hit Burnbrae where I bought a nice sticky and then on to Andrew Harris and Logan for coffee and cake with a view and a dalmation with painted claws, before heading home. All in all a very noice weekend.

My house was even tidy when I got back, DrummerBoy had been out biking all weekend and came home covered in dust with the usual horror stories, leaping of 60 foot ramps into a cliff face. He's been attempting supermans, seatgrabs, off-axis leaps and whips. I don't even want to know what sort of danger he's in when he does this. Why couldn't he take up lawn bowling or cricket and ClareBear had hardly been home with Biology excursions, Saturday at the races and wakeboarding on Sunday.
Only ThePrincess was home all weekend and very pleased to see me. This is Lily for those who haven't met my third child. Nicknamed ThePrincess by Babybro because she is overly indulged.

Ah well, that was my little excursion for the month. Back to blowing leaves, washing and cleaning for the next couple of weekends. the only thing that went wrong was within five minutes of arriving home, I blew up my oven . . .bugger . . . there went the Sunday roast.

Resolution for today: try to understand why Burnbrae Chardonnay has a 'nose' like burnt toast.

Deferred Birthday

We put our house on the market. I've lived there on a massive block of land with some member of my extended family or other for over 17 years so it's time to cut the apron strings. First with Bumper, then Hippybro, now Babybro. We all cohabit happily with our kids and dogs and washing and gum leaves and skid marks on the grass because we're too lazy to use the driveway.

Anyway, we've been gazetted for subdivision but nobody's banging our door down to buy. I can't understand why, it's a big and generous block with favourable rezoning. Sadly prices are falling . . . not even a business card in the mail box. Meanwhile we're all sitting around asset rich and cash poor.

Babysis wants to build a new house and have lots of jewellery . . but we all know what we have to do to get jewellery don't we girls and it aint wait for an inheritance.

Babybro wants to go to Queensland and live the dream even tho all his children are spread about the southern east coast. I'll give that one a couple of years before he realises that life in paradise is as boring as batshit . . you can't play golf 7 days a week no matter how hard you try .

Then there's Hippybro who's already blown most of his on a house that hasn't even started to be built who knows what he's done with the money - prolly gone into home theatre equpment or up his nose.

And me . . well I've put off my trip to Paris which was to be the starting point of a long, long holiday before launching into some sort of volunteering for a worthy cause and part-time paid work. As a consequence, I have postponed my birthday to 2007 hopefully when the house is sold, I am mega rich and can afford to travel.

So my beloveds, no presents for this little black duck this year . . hang on, I didn't think that one through at all . . .

. . actually I would like Bulgari or Dune eau de parfum, (ea de toilette is too feint), a toasted sandwich maker for those late night munchies, a case of Verve Cliquot to wash it down with and and an espresso machine . . . cappucino's for brekky. OK so I am fickle, a Libran and a woman and thereby permitted to constantly change my mind.

Resolution for today: Devise a way to receive presents without acknowledging the half century.