Saturday, June 30, 2007

Michael Bolton is The Last Straw

Grumpy old woman kicks in. Tonight we have a bonfire happening. Loads of twenty somethings having a giggle fest about I don't know what. Explosions, I suspect bungers which I have had to put the kybosh on and am about to intervene as the parental unit. A fire is wonderful, warm, bonding but when they start singing "You've got that lovin' feeling" I have to intetervene. The dogs have taken cover due to the odd explosive 'booofff' as branches are added and the bunger incident. Now, copious amounts of highly explosive eucalyptus is being swagged on the flaming fermament and I've had a bottle of champers so am just about brave enough to be the evil witch of the west and go up and tell them to pull their heads in and start singing something decent and the time of night makes Metallica's Sandman totally appropriate Rock on old farts!.

Six Degrees of Separation

You know when you hire a couple of DVD's and you find that there's a common actor, plot or location? It's spooky. Or you meet you kid's friend and find out he's the nephew of someone you went to school with? I watched a movie this afternoon that opened with loads of antique clocks ticking in someone's 'parlour' and it reminded me of someone I know who has an interest in timepieces and the six degrees theory kicked in. Years ago, my milkman was the estranged father of an old school friend - she never spoke of him but I spoke to him every day. I have a friend in NewZealand who's uncle served in the Hong Kong police at the same time as my Godfather - he doesn't know if they knew each other. I worked for a man who turned out to be the husband of a dear friend of my friend who lives in Melbourne the connection made only because he has an unusual surname. I have another friend who's family emigrated to Australia on the same ship that I did and I met her 25 years later. I'm yet to make a Pennsylvanian or Irish connection but it's really weird how you are separated from people by often much fewer than six degrees. *queue twilight zone music* Any stories of six degrees or less in your world?

Friday, June 29, 2007

Karma - Kinda

Friday ended well well with a few drinky poos and a nice brie in the board room at 4.00pm to celebrate the end of the financial year - this week has been ballistic. Financial planning you know . . they get excited about that sort of thing, almost as invigorating as reading the census results. Came home, had dinner with ClareBear, nice bouillabaise with mussels and green prawns and chilli with olive panetta. Then the water went off. Popped next door to see if they had the same problem to find BabyBro holding the dishwasher hose in a large plastic garbage bin. It had taken on a life of it's own, spiralling out of control and spewing forth with the pressure normally reserved for fire hoses. It appeared that the valve was faulty. *understatement*. As he struggled to control the writhing snake, I took hold so he could turn the water off at the mains.

Stressany is away on a netball weekend. He had everything planned for a boy's night at home. A nice long bath, a pizza, home delivered (he's not normally allowed to eat them) a couple of beers and the footy. A good night in. He got out of the bath to find the kitchen/family room under 3 cm of water, the carpets soaked and little rivulets of water streaming through the brickwork onto the verandah! This follows a leaking shower for which an insurance claim is going to see carpet replaced in 3 bedrooms and the hallway has already been claimed on insurance so this was the last straw. He's not been my favourite person of late but I felt for him although the thought crossed my mind that karma and household breakdowns might push him to the limits of realising that living in a 30 year old house requires a little more maintenance than desired and it might be time to cut his losses. Aww. Bless him. I did feel sorry for him so we spent an hour slooshing water out of the house and walking around the tiled floor with towels stuck to our feet and pulling carpet up to try to dry the wet patches. Ah domestic bliss, hail the simple life!

I haven't yet had the heart to tell him about his leaking septic tank, the faulty electrics on the pool cleaner or my four non-functioning downlights. Maybe next Friday.

Poorly Boys

It’s winter in the antipodes and of course with every change of season come the colds and flu. Australians are notorious for getting a head cold then taking a week off for mistakenly calling it the ‘flu’. This behaviour is commonly called 'taking a sickkie' and doesn't require a particularly severe illness. In my day, (indulge me it’s PMT week), the flu meant ‘influenza’. You were wracked with joint pain, your temperature gave you the shakes, sometimes you were nauseous and simply not fit for anything other than sleep, fluids and vegemite soldier boys. Fortunately, there are vaccines you can have a few months before the onset of flu season which are about 95% successful in preventing the onset of influenza. Our company actually pays for staff to have the vaccine and we have about a 50% take up. Trouble is, the flu vaccine doesn’t prevent the common cold, the snots, the drivel and the snivel and the accompanying patheticism of the male workforce.

As a consequence of the inability to cure or even stem the onset of a common cold, I am currently surrounded by a couple of men who besides behaving like three year old bears with sore heads, are downing Codral and flu medications more enthusiastically than a 95 year old scoffs viagra.

There are a couple of universal symptoms suffered by the ‘head cold’ afflicted male.

The slightly backward head tilt and impeded speech. This happens when you ask someone how they are feeling (a question that should not be asked at this time – you will ALWAYS get more than you bargained for). The head tilts back slightly to the side and the mouth refuses to open properly as they lament “Ive god a code id the doze” . . .or worse “Oh Ibe fide . . splashCHOOOO!” *spittle goes everywhere* . It’s a known fact that men cannot sneeze quietly into their hands or tissues. It has to be at about level 11 and audible through lead walls and spattered against the office glass.

The slump shoulder snot walk. This means that when upright, we have to have our chin slightly rested on our chest, shoulders slumped and enough shuffle of the feet to generate static electricity so that you zap everyone who’s hand you shake with your snot infected germ palms.

The “nobody is taking any notice of my illness” sigh. This is different to the exasperation or sympathy sigh, it’s a heavily heaved chest and a strong exhale that irritates the throat and forces a cough. Not a really productive cough but one of those pathetic “kha . .kha . . . " kinda coughs that lets you know he’s feeling a little bit poorly.

The cold afflicted female either takes the day off work, and recouperates through the nourishment through healthy fluid imbibement (or in my case a hot toddy), panadol and rest, or ensures that her spittle is reduced to a confined area. She ensures her germs are produced into a tissue and hygeinically disposed of rather than forced into a disgusting cloth handkerchief and reinserted into an equally snotty trouser pocket or blasted like particles of a supa nova into the air conditioning system.

And . . even if we attempted to be as pathetic as the mere males in our lives, we would be given no sympathy, no quarter. There would still be dishes to wash, kids to feed, washing to be done, meals to be prepared. . .no lounging on the couch with the remote control for us!

Just remember, if you cry wolf and claim your cold is the flu, you won’t be believed when you really have an ailment, so save me from your bloody whingeing. Go home and take your self-serving suffering and your filthy virus with you!

Confused Marsupial

Gotta love this. Taken just outside Canberra, last weekend, normally in the grip of drought and never the site of snowfalls.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Fashion Victim

Posts have been a bit serious of late . . time to lighten up.
I sometimes wish I had a clue about fashion. I know what I like but being on the wrong side of a size 16, (don’t laugh, so was Marilyn Monroe) we’re hardly spoiled for choice unless a purple psychodelic tent dress and crympolene pants count as catwalk material.

My choice of dress is usually smartly sensible, straight leg pants or bootleg jeans, a sweater or tailored T-shirt and in this weather a 3 quarter jacket or suit. A little bit of lippy and something interesting poked through my ear lobes. If I want to be particularly groovy, I let my hair do it’s own thing and whack it up with a headband with little curly bits sticking out. That’s my band look . . . Janis Joplin would be proud me. I on the other hand am constantly contemplating shaving my head but I don’t know what scars lie beneath or whether those two bumpy bits at the back would look ugly.

So, I tuck the hair up in a french roll dress rather plainly and try to accessorise or add a bit of flair with bits and pieces. Very unsuccessfully I might add. My favourite attire is black, and blacker with a splash of colour so that I don’t look like a shop assistant or get mistaken for wait staff. I’m a fan of unusual earrings and my favourites are the odd couple, a sun in one ear and a moon in the other or my Santorini dinner plates, lovingly chosen by ClareBear whilst in Greece.

This morning it was cold, really crisp and edgey, so I decided to decorate a pond green sweater and pants with a nice knitted cream scarf. I looked like the michelin man only with all the curvy bits coming from the chin. I have a friend who can sling on a scarf, pack on a pashmina, hoik on a hat and she looks a million dollars. I try to tiddivate with a bit of silk or hand woven wool and I look like a bag lady. So, by 8:45am, I hava a plethora of Fendi silk, knitted scarves, various headbands and pashminas littering my bedroom floor to the point where I couldn’t see the carpet. From whence did all these damn things come? Some were inherited, some bought for me, some Clare’s, some knitted by the GroovyGranny . . . not one, looked right on me. I gave up.

I am resigned to the fact that my favourite items of clothing are without doubt my scruffy knitted hoodie that makes me look like a medieval peasant and my black trakky daks combined with the comfy fairaisle slipper socks DrummerBoy bought me for mother’s day or my bigger than big, white velour dressing gown that looks like I pinched it from a five star hotel but actually I spared no expense and purchased the thing.

Thank goodness bloggers are blind and my friends don’t see me in my comfies too often. At least I look better than the MerryWidow who was wearing her 92 year old mother’s maroon chenille dressing gown last time I dropped by!

Maybe it’s time to focus on shoes and handbags but I love my little leather back-pack and my sensible shoes . . .

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Family vs Lifestyle - My Conundrum

You continue to be so sweet and gentle that you can lose yourself in the relationships that rule your life. It's time to let your partner know what you are really feeling. Although there's no need to go overboard, you don't need to be afraid to express your needs. If you don't let others know what you want, they can't know what to give you

This was my rather prophetic Google horoscope this morning. Strange because today, I am thinking about how to broach the subject of a property sale to my ‘partner’ i.e. partner in asset ownership, BabyBro. These last two months have been particularly difficult with house insurance, rates, car registration and breakin repairs, wisdom teeth behaving badly and the coffers are empty and I don’t get paid until the 15th. As a result, the already exploding credit card is copping a hammering. I have a personal loan and am accumulating mortgage debt on our line of credit that’s eating away at my potential inheritance.

I’ve rambled on about sitting on a developable property, being asset rich and cash poor but my limits have now been reached. My social life is dictated by the amount of money I have to spend. I have severely curtailed my drinking and smoking, two of my remaining pleasures. I don’t buy clothes and shoes, I can barely afford to run a car and things have all come to a head. I want to cut and run. The property is a deceased estate. Because two of us own equity, I own 40%, BabyBro 34%, we are expecting a ‘return’ of sorts. The others just have their inheritance - BabySis 20% and the remaining 6% to HippyBro– he took his inheritance early when BabyBro bought most of him out. And at the top of the real estate boom.

We agreed to hold on and attempt to reach a certain price but with the real estate market still declining, no developers are offering anything, let alone the amount we want. I’m now feeling that not only is BabyBro’s investment declining but our inheritance has hit the wall as well so all of us are suffering.

My problem. BabyBro and Stressany are well set up. The both work full time, he’s servicing a small mortgage and all but one of their three children have left home. Their expenses are declining and it’s no problem for them to hunker down for the next 10 years if necessary. He’s 47 and a long way from retirement. He’s made small improvements around the place, mainly cosmetic but it makes a difference but doesn’t do any ‘maintenance’ that’s my job.

He’s difficult to talk to. I hate asking him to repair things despite the fact that he’s an electrician and the pool timer isn’t working and I have five downlights that need replacing and a bloody big hole at the back of my TV where he started to connect Foxtel then just left it unfinished. He’s a ‘voice raiser’ and resolves issues by shouting then running away - reasoning with the unreasonable is difficult and I can’t expect any support from Stressany, she doesn’t see it as her business although I’m sure she has an opinion and a huge influence when it comes to pillow talk time. I’m dreading the ‘meeting we have to have’ to broach the possibility of selling under our agreed price in order to gain some financial freedom. BabySis, although also half of a double income family is onside – she likes to spend. HippyBro is being unusually fair and wants BabyBro to break even despite having a half-built house that he can’t afford to finish.

The upshot could be one of three things:

  1. We lower the price and accept the loss but still can’t sell as there may be no takers. Developers are flooded with land and not interested in acquisition at this time, no matter what the price. I will have fallen out with my neighbour and will still be stuck next door to him.
  2. We lower the price and sell and BabyBro doesn’t talk to any of us for the rest of his life. This is becoming less of a loss I must admit as our relationship is deteriorating anyway.
  3. We stick to our guns. Babysis and I make more financial sacrifices and hold out for the price which could be as much as five years away. No holidays, no extravagances, no ability to help my kids with their HECS debt, more ‘million ways with mince’, let my teeth go grey and if my car dies, I become a public transport commuter.

I’m being urged on one side by my brothers to hang in there despite the stress and limitations on lifestyle (while they enjoy a good lifestyle) and on the other, I’m being pressured (by my sister, children and friends who see my depression over this) to face the music and suffer the consequences in pursuit of my own happiness.

This is an incredible conundrum . . . I have to weigh up the value of the relationship with my brothers. One is already disenchanted with me for other reasons and now I run the risk of alienating the other completely. The thing is, my relationship with both is pretty non committal. They are both rather selfish types who look after themselves and bugger the rest.

I just wish it wasn’t up to me to rock the boat but I’m not sure how long I can hold on, knowing that life could be so much easier . . . So, do I heed what some electronic gypsy advises or persevere and hope that good things will happen in time?

Mood today, contemplative and a little blue. I think I’ll go and buy a scratchie an do some alcohol research.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Never in a Month Of Sundays

Part of my position as Executive Ass for TheBoss and his compadres is ‘hospitality’. This is a euphamism for cow-towing to clients, sucking up to people you don’t like, making tea and coffee, arranging biscuits neatly on a plate or running through the rain to arrange a sushi or sandwich lunch at short notice. (Hard to believe I'm a people person isn't it?)

It means you become the whipping girl if we run out of milk or the fat ass if the biscuit jar is empty. It’s your fault if the rubbish is full and God forbid if a dirty cup is left in a boardroom the world as we know it will end. Fortunately, due to my seniority and deliberate grumpiness, I am rarely asked to partake in ‘hospitality’ for fear the requester might end up with a black eye or verbally assaulted ear. Nobody dares ignite the wrath of moi! One of the priviliges of age - I make Germaine Greer look like a pussycat. I have a Receptionist and Adminstration Assistant to cop the Partner’s patronising abuse, poor thing. Now don't get me wrong. If a client came to my house, I'd offer them a cuppa . . . but I wouldn't be compulsed to do so . . it would be an act of free will.

Now it’s not snobbery . . I’ve earned my stripes in a servile role – believe me. Besides being a wife and mother (suck that for starters) I’ve dressed up as an orange for a photo shoot, I’ve done ‘hostessing’ in liquor shops trying to get people to buy Bundaberg Rum and other disgusting spirits. I’ve worked behind bars and in fast food outlets. I’ve bought other boss’s wives flowers and booked their holidays making hubby look like an absolute saint. I’ve shopped till I dropped trying to buy the kids a birthday present cos he (and it always was the he’s) had forgotten. I’ve chauffered dignitaries and police commissioners. I’ve entertained on yachts and launches, I’ve organised conventions, farewells, dinners and Christmas parties and have generally been appreciated but . . . the reception offered to those providing ‘hospitality’ in the downstairs boardroom is nothing other than damn rude. No ‘please’, no ‘thank you’ . . . not even enough energy to to remove used cups and pop them ‘near’ the dishwasher. That is the job it seems of female Exec. Asses and their administrative support. These chauvanists have little women at home and at work to pander to their every whim and fancy.

So, when a singularly and particularly offending partner arranges a staff event at ‘his place’ on a Sunday . . am I going to attend and run the risk of becoming the dishwasher stacker?

Shit no! Will I be involved in a very promising luncheon where I won’t have to do any washing up . . . sheeet yeah!

I have managed to wheedle my way into a much more civilised lunch with liberated men and women at DeeWhy near the seaside. I don’t care if its raining I will have an ocean view, fantastic company, great conversation, total appreciation and a guaranteed laugh without having to lift a finger.

There is no way on the planet - never in a blue moon - not in a month of Sundays - not even an ice cube’s chance in hell - that I would give up a valuable Sunday for a business lunch until the powers that be learn to say “please”, “thank you” and “Oh, you sit down, I’ll do the washing up!”

Moon Me!

June 2007 can boast a Blue Moon . . . No it’s not just a variety of Coors beer . . . or the title of a lovelorn song . . . that’s when the full moon appears twice in the same month. The first full moon this month took place on 1st June and the 30th will be full also. There is a blue moon once every two or three years so it’s not that rare an event despite the ‘once in a blue moon’ phrase meaning rarely, becoming folklore. Over the next twenty years there will be a total of 17 blue moons. No blue moon of any kind will occur in the years 2006, 2011, 2014, and 2017. How do I know . . because I read it on a NASA sight in an effort to get in touch with my inner geek.

Two full moons in one month may occur in any month out of the year except for February, which is shorter than the lunar cycle.

There have been occasions when the Moon has appeared to be blue in hue. This isn't an astronomical phenomenon. Instead, it is caused by dust or smoke high in the Earth's atmosphere. The dust is thrown up by major volcanic eruptions such as Krakatoa, Mount St. Helens or Mount Pinatubo, whilst smoke can come from large forest fires.

A blue moon was reported during forest fires in Sweden in 1950 and Canada in 1951. People reported seeing a blue moon for nearly two years after the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883. California may have a blue moon due to the recent spate of bush fires. Hawaii too may have one due to the regular tantrums put forth by Kilawau. Who knows, maybe even Beijing’s pollution will reveal a bluey tinge on the old sattelite.

Whether it's dust or smoke, the tiny particles have a strange effect on the moonlight (or sunlight) passing through them. If the air is damp and heavy, the water droplets scatter red and green light, allowing other colours to pass. They scatter the light in every direction, but red light is scattered more strongly than blue light, so that less red light passes directly through the dust or smoke. Thus the Moon has a blue tinge. A white moonbeam passing through such a misty cloud turns blue. Clouds of ice crystals, fine-grained sand, volcanic ash or smoke from forest fires can have the same effect.

Will you see a blue moon this month? Have a look at the night sky on June 30. Well, I will be because I like the concept, it’s sort of ethereal and romantic.

Look out, the lunatics are on the grass . . .

Monday, June 25, 2007

I Do Not Stammer (normally)

I’m not going to bore you with politics because our two major political parties are barely different, making the choice impossible. However, it is a well known fact that Australia has one of the worst internet/broadband networks in the world. Yet we’re so far away from civilisation who do you think needs it the most?

The issue of widespread and improved broadband has been an election promise of both parties in contention and is now gaining weight. And the “Australia Connected” initiative has been born to bring fast broadband to city and rural communities. Labor’s plan, should they be elected, is to to invest $4.7 billion in cross-country fibre optic networks delivering minimum speeds of 12 megabits a second.

The good thing is that our emails and/or voice won’t have to kangaroo hop half way around the world, taking the longest route, to actually get to their destination. Or so the theory goes . . .

After attempting to talk to a couple of US pals on Sunday, I realised how truly shit our internet is. I have ADSL at home, it’snot the best but it’s OK. I can gasbag to the Irish, the English and the New Zealanders with ease and no break up or delay, however, it seems the east coast of the States is out of bounds. It could have been a ‘hopping’ issue as I was technically informed as one server tried to find another as if it had bought a round the world air ticket and could only progress in one direction – obviously it took the long route via Asfuckistan.

I don’t care about bits and mips, bytes or bandwidth. . . I just want to be able to make a phone call to the US without m-e-e-e-e-e- s-o-u-n-d-i-i-i-i-i-i-ing, like I have a st-a-a-a-a-a-amm-e-e-e-er or without hearing my own voice on delay 20 seconds later which leads to the longest silences on the line you can imagine .

Then again, it could have been something to do with our foul winter weather, a summer storm brewing in Atlanta, or a wombat digging up the copper cable in Cunamulla!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Dog Day Afternoon

Hey, today was much like any other Saturday. It was cold this morning so I curled up amongst the pillows and pretended I was invisible until the usual gruff voice demanded I get up and attend to my ablutions. We hung around for an hour or so, drinking tea, smoking, blogging, just generally taking the morning slow. It was cold so all the heaters were on until the house was cosy. The washing was done, so we walked out to the line. Had a sniff around the bins, Keira, licked my right ear profusely which was a bit of a shock in the early morning frost and quite unexpected. Then the usual daily ritual began, cleaning, spraying, sweeping, swiping . . .all a bit tedious really so I decided to take some time out and do something different. I noticed the electric fence but since my collar wasn't on, it formed no impediment so after the second trip to the washing line and chasing the wood ducks off the swimming pool, I just went for a cursory sniff. I didn't mean to wonder but there was a stray soccer ball, a creek full of water, ducks and rabbits everywhere so while she wasn't looking I sort of accidentally on purpose shifted into 2nd and did a runner. It was fantastic. I traversed the next three blocks, about 500 metres in all. Had a swim in two of the ponds, chased at least 50 ducks. Barked at that bitch that has the same name as me but she can't do a damn thing about it because she's confined within the swimming pool fence - die biatch. Then through to the construction site at the end of the road. Ahh . . . paradise, builders. Boofy blokes in blue singlets and rather unflattering yellow hats but their food boxes . . . . little plastic tubs of ecstacy. First there are the Lebanese labourers who bring their olives, flatbread and lamby meaty things. Then there are the Aussies who eat all of the pie except the crusty bit at the end, then there's that really sweet Greek bunch who share their Souvlaki, not to mention the fetid mess of rubbish that's been stacked up all week waiting to be removed by the bin men. That incredible blend of plastic, rancid food and left over MacDonalds papers . . simply bliss. So once replete, it's time to have some fun. Down to the lake. The ducks have me sussed and have moved out to the island in the centre but those idiotic moore hens are nesting in the reeds, they're stupid. They look one way and run the other so there's at least a half our of confusing the shit out of the bird brains but ooooh . . . there's Brewster, been at least a week since we've sniffed buts. Fabulous, now I have a partner in crime. She won't mind that I've had a little jaunt, even if I have lost track of time. Won't be happy about the muddy bits but hey . . .I am having a ball! Oooh . . more building sites and a now charcoaled fire that smells . . . can't quite put my paw on it . . .rabbit . . .of course. The bastards think they're so cute. Simply ossu bucco on the run as far as I'm concerned and when i catch one . . .and don't think for a minute I won't . . . well maybe . . .but I'll keep trying. So now I have a beautifully charcoaled face from rummaging below the embers. Bastard rabbits got away again. They're worse than the viet cong with their tunnels and labyrinths.
Ok looks like Brewster's given up . . it's only been . . .holy shit. Seven hours. I'm in strife. I'm 5 kms from home . . .she who must be obeyed will be driving around in that crappy honda shouting "l-i-l-l-y" or something babyish and banal like "Here lilly pilly . . woo hoo" She can only whistle once with two fingers and every subsequent whistle is a mixture between a squeak and a raspberry. Just as well my hearing is acute. Ah, foik her. If I make her sweat I'll get a Pantene shower and a decent meal.
Roit. Off to the Edgewater Drive lake. Have to be careful here. Do-gooders pick me up and take me to the vet where I'm scanned and spoiled and then picked up by she who must be obeyed. That's not a good thing becaus it costs her paper chits and she gets the shits so dinner rarely follows these excursions.
Feeling a bit toired now. I'm miles from home but the trail's fresh. Some builder bastard has put up temporary cyclone fencing on my usual route so it takes a bit longer to get back to base. Well at least the mud has dried. I've been away so long now that she'll be beside herself, so pleased to see me. Christ I'm glad I haven't got that electric collar thingy on, running back up the drive won't be quite as traumatic. "Muuuuuuum . . . I'm home" Here she comes "Muuuuum". Ahem, right not quite the greeting I was expecting. Let briefly inside only to be ushered into the kennel out the back. Not a word . . . not a single word . . .I think she's mad. I think I'm in the shit and will probably be locked up all week. She won't even come to the door if I do the cute paw scrapey thing and mew like a newborn cat. Crikey, I've done it this time. Perhaps a 7 hour bender was pushing the envelope. Maybe I'll get a Pantene shower a little later when she's calmed down and be allowed back on the bed. Then again, it's clean sheet Saturday and I've been a skank. I don't like my dog bed . . . it's cold . . I'm hungry . . . it was just a jaunt for goodness sake . . .just a little tramp across the building sites . . . just some harmless socialising with men in blue singlets and a bit of slap and tickle with some bird life . . .can't a dog have a bit of fun now and then . . .

A Sheltered Life

I was chatting with Drummer Boy late last night. He was still pumped about reaching the second round of the international band competition which Aktor have qualified to play in September. The venue was a pub/club in downtown Sydney where the rich tapestry of characters provides a good perve and can be a little scary for a suburban boy. He's no stranger to the city but after the big gig he and groupies sought respite in the Newtown Pub. This by his own admission was a real eye-opener. Apparently he didn't want to let go of TheFringelet for fear some derro would accost her. The bar was full of old timers, junkies and down and outs, locals, gays, punks, arty farty types, business people and uni students - a kaleidascope of alternative city life that we don't see in the burbs or even in the city clubs where suburban younglings tend to congregate until late before getting back on the Westbus and heading home to their sanitised lives.

I think it was a realisation for him that we have become homogenised in the outer suburbs in our 70 square rendered architectural masterpieces graced with lap pools and so close to our neighbours that we could lean out of facing bathrooms and clean each other's teeth. We've lost 'character' that can only be found on the city streets and have become a Stepford sprawl of middle class monotony. We have clean buses, trendy shops, neatly dressed private school children who have selective school coaching on Mondays, play piano on Wednesdays and netball on Saturdays. Yummy mummies with perfectly coiffed and coloured hair, pushing lethal three wheel strollers occupied by designer babies. The only stand-outs being the odd bunch of emo try-hards with their designer black jeans, perched precariously across their bottoms flashing silky Calvin Kliens.

Our suburb is filled with samish robotic types who drive new cars, dress for the times, talk about light fittings and renovations and service their incredible debts. They maintain their manicured gardens despite water restrictions and think a good night out is dinner at some pretentious restaurant where soup is served cold in a shot glass.

Newtown is inner city. It's a mix of impoverishment, university and public housing, yuppy renovations and a tolerance for the unusual that makes it a colourful place to visit. Just 2kms from the city centre, King Street is strewn with pubs and restaurants from Lebanese Kebabfests to Thai surprises and African delights. The shops range from fetish to fashion, homewares to hippy havens. It's smattered with Viet bakeries and old fashioned barber shops, trendoid pubs and disgusting green tiled locals. It has alternative clubs and venues with alternative patrons. Parking is a nightmare in the higgeldy-piggeldy tangle of federation style streets, so narrow that a u-turn is impossible. If you drive into one, the only way out is to reverse.

If you want to buy something unusual for a gift, Newtown is the new town. It's the hub, the coolest place to be and reminds me that the colourful differences in people is what it's all about and that the burbs have lost their character.

Sydney suburbs, well certainly in the affluent North West, have sprouted from the ground over the past 30 years and are now great sprawling patches of treeless gardens and red roofed homes without eaves so that the tiny land space is totally maximised. New houses are built on tiny 500sqmetre blocks with no garden but all mod cons. Plants now reside in ugly highly glazed pots on terracotta porches. Parks are contrived and 'planted' to look natural but manage to look manufactured like a Disneyland sound stage and skateboarders and BMXers are discouraged as evil influences. We have a plethora of faux pubs - the Irish inspired Mean Fiddler, the cartoon inspired Etamoggah the slick and cityfied Euro Bar and Hillside Tavern and of course the gargantuan RSL.

We have massive shopping malls which deny you a peak of the outside, like casinos where there are no windows so that you don't realise how late it's getting but keep shopping, spending, consuming, playing. Food halls where the fat are force-fed MacDonalds and spurious sushi whilst a voice in the background announces the specials. No less than 25 cinemas . . . where the young congregate and compare belly rings. No transvestites or derolicts here.

We're fortunate as we live a semi-rural lifestyle that allows us to be set apart from the urban sprawl but it's creeping ever near. I'm often asked, where will I move when we finally sell this place and I'm not sure . . .I love the rural life . . .I love the buzz of the city but the suburban wasteland in between is soulless and repetitive . . .houses made of ticky tacky and they all look just the same. It's true, we all live a sheltered life. Viva diversity!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Midnight Quickie

Just watching the Keiser Chiefs on Rage, they're bollox. It's after dinner with the girly swats. The Merry Widow is far from merry, she's getting old and boring and declined the offer to come back for coffee and Easter Eggs (no chocolate with coffee). Struth Ruth is a champ! Love her to death and Thommo is worth her own blog. Italian food, Italian men . . . ciao bella! Homey menu
and the friggin' restaurant was freezing. Yep still sitting in the hoody looking like medieval surf but today was the shortest day so it's all downhill from here. Now, to bed or open another bottle (stop growling Lily) and stay up for the duration. Thanks for sharing. Am I making sense?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

I Know You're Out There

Ha! I know you're out there . . . I installed a Stat Counter which I thought would be VERY depressing but I've had 24 hits between 7.00pm and 9:53 . . . so leave a comment/suggestion you bludgers! Bolster my ego and reveal yourselves!

Winter Solstace

Because the world was invented by people in the northern hemisphere, and globe manufacturers can't get their spheres the right way up . . . many of them forget we're even down here or that the Winter Solstace is in fact today, not 21st December.

We may not have Stonehenge to prance around in wode and sandals or wicker men to burn but we can still partake in the solstace rituals. Winter is well upon us and it's friggin' freezing by Aussie standards. It's the shortest day and whilst I'm a lover of the cold, I've had enough, my tether is tensed, my nerves are freyed and my temper short. I even dodged DrummerBoy's pub gig tonight because it was wet, and cold and I'm having a wintery sulk. I'm sitting here in me trakky dax and me fave chunkyhoody cardy and me muvvers day slippy socks looking for all the world like a medieval surf (hope nobody drops in). I'm thinking I might light a bonfire, paint myself celtic and do a Billy Connolly in the buff once the flames begin to leap. Then again, my neighbours, distant as they are, will be sure to complain about the overweight pagan streaker distracting them from the telly.

In the absence of company to dance around a fire with, I've discovered a winter ritual that is supposed to welcome the solstace and warm the cockles. First, we cleanse the home with herbs, soaps, incense and the like and wash our hands in warm water with gold sprinkles. (I'm not making this up) Good job Grandad's on holidays, he'd be sneezing from here to kingdom come. Then we chant mantras calling on the univers and spirit guides to assist "Please mighty ones, make the fan on my heater more effective." Then, we light a candle, one with seven knobs apparently. I think that refers to bumps on the stem, not several phallus sticking out of it although the imagery is very warming indeed! Then, we light an 'image' candle in either the female or male gender, then a couple of pyramid candles (we seem to be mixing cultural metaphors here). After all this praying and knob lighting, we work through the seven knob candle burning a little bit (down to the next knob of course) for the next seven days. Then we draw a red circle on the floor (not on my grey loop pile you don't) and bring in a couple of logs and some ears of wheat for the duration of the 7 day ritual.

I dunno, all this talk of knobs and burning . . .I'm feeling quite warm now.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Emotional Rescuers

This is not a depressing post. In fact, it’s about an awakening, an emotional rescue by both predictable and highly unpredictable influences.

I do not cry. I have rarely cried. I cry only when I am absolutely furious and frustrated or injured by surprise, like when you crunch a toe on a concrete step or bang your finger with a hammer, no amount of swearing eases the pain, but a good cry does the trick. I might cry whilst listening to emotional music. Oddly enough bagpipes and Elton John’s Circle of Life bring a lump to the throat – go figure? In fact anything to do with emotions rarely makes me tear up.

I feel a little emotional these days. It’s a combination of my place in the world at the moment, separation anxiety, work, age, insecurity, loneliness, financial woes and frustration with my lifestyle – all of which come into play at different times - but something’s happened recently. It could have been Thommo's epiphany talk. She told me to bite the bullet, face the family and sell the property for sanity’s sake. She told me I need to get a life, get out more and to acquire the will and the means to do the things I want to do. But her overwhelming concern and finally actually having the nerve to ‘tell’ me did move me to tears and definitely had an emotional effect. As do her ‘seven second hugs’ (they always make me feel better but still make me cry).

ClareBear’s ‘stop worrying and being so unselfish' talk also hit home. I'd never really thought of myself as being unselfish. I’ve been hanging in, raising and caring, feeding and tidying and worrying about others when I could walk away with enough money to be debt free. This might not solve all my problems but it takes the biggest out of contention. I’ll have money to visit ClareBear during her gap year overseas in 2008 (the thought of 12 months without seeing my daughter is overwhelming). . . money to buy DrummerBoy a new kit and having the ability to throw him a 21st Birthday Party and discharge both their HECS debt and set them up quite nicely for the future - it's all within my grasp. Finally, money to take the holiday that I’ve had planned in my head for so long – Eastern USA, Canada, England, Paris and Santoring and the possibility of visiting the owners of some of the voices I have come to know so well through podcasts. Money to regularly visit Stan and the InstaFamily in New Zealand who always seem so close and yet so far.

Yep, now I am an emotional being but in a good way. I read an email about someone’s emotional state, family sadness or heartfelt issues and I’m sitting here with tears welling up with both empathy and a gladness that they’ve chosen to confide in little old, unimportant me. I read a blog that moves me and I’m overflowing with empathy. I hug my best friend or my children and am overcome with the emotion of it all. I even pat my dog on occasion and just think what a fabulous creature she is and how much happiness she brings simply by doing nothing. I tickle my son (too cool for cuddles) and we swap silly names . . .but even that makes me well with pride and love.

It has clicked. It’s not me falling apart, it’s simply that I have learned to relax about the emotional me. I have been able to talk openly, write openly, express myself truly openly for the first time in a very long time, thanks to Thommo and Clare and in no small part to two people I have never met . . . I have started to feel ‘in touch’ with my soul. I don’t care if I cry at the drop of a hat. It’s a good cry, it’s a caring cry, it’s a cry from the heart that lets me know I can feel again.

I’ve been on comfortably numb 'pause' for so long, waiting for the kids to finish Uni, waiting for the block to be sold, waiting for early retirement, waiting for Mr Goodbar, you name it, I’ve been a lady in waiting for nearly 10 years now and I’ve realised that I’ve had enough. The numbness that has enveloped me over this past decade is slowly melting away. I’m feeling alive, conscious, concerned, happy, ambitious, sad . . . the bottom line, is I am feeling.

The work done by my fleshy friends has been consolidated by two bloggy and email pals who whilst worlds and years apart, have touched my heartstrings, shared some very private thoughts and befriended me in a way that I find surprising, flattering and wonderful. I’ve learned as much from their resilience as from their frailty.

So to you contributors of my emotional well-being . . . you all know who you are . . . thank you for coming to my emotional rescue.

A Little Depression a Disaster Does Not Make

A little bit of parochial news. We are in the middle of an atmospheric low. Nope, we’re not depressed in the psychological sense but we have had a couple of low level cyclonic weather events over the past month - something different to el Ninio, al Ninia or the Indian Ocean Anomaly apparently - and so far, June is the wettest June since 1950. Welcome as the rain is for this parched land, it’s not really hitting the drought affected areas but a little is falling into the catchments. We are still on level 4 water restrictions because ironically, there is no way of capturing this coastal downpour and putting it to good use. I'll talk another time about water policy.

For the rest of this tiny antipodean population nestled close to the east coast, it’s bloody awful. Temperatures have plummetted, we’ve had 95km winds, driving rain, snow and ice in the Blue Mountains, trees falling and even a thumping great ship grounded at one of our northern beaches. Sydney thankfully is cold, windy and wet but no flooding. Different story an hour up the coast where the picture of the farmhouse above was taken. So yes, over the past week some people have had it tough and are cleaning up wet carpets and sadly a small, very small number have lost their lives.

Not to be outdone by it's more regional neighbours, Sydney media has been keen to establish the modern coastal city as a possible target for devastation. Last night the news warned of catastrophic weather, 8 metre waves and the likely impact of a cyclone which was about to hit the east coast with 100km winds at exactly 2.00am. We were warned to stay away from windows and to stay off the roads so we waited.

Well yes it rained a lot, and I guess there was a little bit of wind which is unusual at night but it was hardly the ballistic forcast we were expecting. The media had done it again, gone into an absolute frenzy of pre-emptive hysteria.

Mummies kept their kiddies close, pets were brought inside, cars were locked up in garages, hatches battoned and all the necessary precautions taken . . .I even took my wind chimes down in case they flew off.

This morning, clearly, every radio and TV station had scheduled reports on the anticipated destruction that was supposed to take place overnight - it was a non event. Very embarrassing for them really. Fairly dry reporters with their umbrellas duly intact stood in front of jettys an wharfs waxing lyrical about the big waves as they gently sploshed behind them. Not quite the inside out brolly weather and 8metre seas they were expecting. Only the first two Manly Ferries were cancelled, more due to lack of light than the swell.

Not content with making up the devastating cyclone that never was, the big story of the morning (OK I do have Sunrise on while I’m getting dressed) shifted focus to the Pasha Bulka, a 225 metre coal hulk which grounded earlier this month was apparently about to break up and cause an environmental disaster. Besides the fact that the ship is empty – it was here to pick up coal, not deliver it. It is also so full of watery ballast and so stable that we can’t get the bugger off the sandbank. Claims that it was 'bobbing up and down like a rubber duck" were absolutely ridiculous. The things been sitting there for almost a month - even the salvagers are still arguing about how to move the bugger. This ended up being a totally fabricated story with the Ports Authority making the now 'redundant' reporter look like a right pigs ear! Everything is under control, the only issue, how to free the stricken ship once the rain stops (although why that makes a difference I don’t know, it’s in the sea – aint the see wet? It’s like telling a child it can’t go swimming because it’s raining . . .

Our media is just crying out for a disaster. It’s been years since the Bali Bombing. Not since Cyclone Larry destroyed a tiny bit of the north Queensland banana crop 18 months ago have we had a tale to tell. Nobody’s bombed our underground or hijacked our planes. Only 2 people died in the summer bushfires and despite our ass-licking of George Bush, neither the the Iraqis or the yanks know where we are. A recent poll of US citizens showed that we're wedged somewhere near Pakistan and the skiing's great. It’s been over 5 years since we’ve had any decent backpacker murders. What the hell’s going on? Why the media are so quick to put our nice little backwater into the limelight, I'll never know. Good news doesn't sell apparently.

So, disaster predicted, overplayed, falsley reported and finally averted, the media is now depressed, more so than that small cyclonic depression now making it’s way towards New Zealand. Look out Dodge, you could be in for a sunami.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

What I really really want . . .

I’m not sure where we get this idea of ‘the one’. I was in love once but I’m still not sure he was ‘the one’. And actually he was the third ‘the one’ that I thought was ‘the one’ and just happened to be 'the one' I married - so obviously he wasn’t ‘the one’.

I’ve been quite content to be single as the kiddywinks were growing up and as I've said before, being a widow, there seemed no urgency to get back in the saddle so to speak. There were enough distractions to keep me busy and I’m also partial to my own company as long as I can stay in touch with friends and talk to myself ad infinitum. However, if I was in the position where someone found me interesting enough to begin a relationship, what characteristics would I embrace, how would I know whether he’s ‘the one’ or frankly at my age, I’ll settle for the one sitting next to the one sitting next to the one . . .

My standards are very high but not difficult. I think I frighten men off:

Must be taller than me
Well groomed - clean shaven or well trimmed, sweet smelling
A kindness in the face – hard to describe that one, it’s a combination of smile and eyes a sort of knowingness
Can perform as appropriate – likes spooning
Own teeth an advantage

Can remember to put the toilet seat down after use
Some mechanical or fix it nouse. If I’m going to do his washing and ironing, he’s got to be able to get my tractor going and fix my down lights.
Rembers bin night and puts them out on time
Good conversationalist
A foodie
A filmgoer
Comfortable camping in a park or in a canoodling in a penthouse
Impeccable manners
Able to ‘take care’ of me
Good in bed . . not a thrashing machine . . .just ‘in tune’
Must drive

Isn’t jealous but is a little posessive
Passion for life and a clear understanding of his goals
Calmness under pressure
Generous to his friends and family
An ability to lead
An ability to make confident decisions
Absolutely honest but able to be so with humour or sensitivity
Someone who can take charge without taking over
Capable of real emotional commitment
Great sense of humour
Empathic and understanding of the situation of others
Will oblige me with things he doesn’t like to do but does it anyway to keep me happy, much as I would oblige him things he likes to do just because it keeps him happy
Someone with whom I can completely drop my guard

And in return, I can promise a clean dwelling with three meals a day, complete housekeeping service, fast internet, a clean bed and a bit on the side.

Right . . . so that’s why I’m single . . . .

Monday, June 18, 2007

Secrets and Lies

Aha . . but which is which (self-indulgent slurry that I am):

I once spent time in a maximum security cell
I've ridden an elephant
I went to four primary schools and 3 high schools in two countries
I have a crush on someone I've never met
I've never lived further than 20 kms from my maternal/paternal home
I once had the holiday of a lifetime in Tahiti
I only brush my teeth once a day
I'm allergic to depilatory cream
I can hold a wee for up to 14 hours
I never brush my hair
I like the feeling of picking my nose
I only own 4 pairs of shoes
I can't leave the house without straightening the towels and making the bed
I drove a Police Range Rover down the M1 in England without a licence
I have a fear of being burned to death
I can't stand being called 'Ma' or 'Mrs B'
I have a crush on someone I've met but can never have
I can't boil an egg so the white is hard and the centre is dippy
I was zapped by an electric stingray
I've dated an Ice Cream Man who's van played Greensleeves
I've never jaywalked
I've shoplifted
I can drive a tractor
I spent six weeks on a ship and travelled 12,000 miles
I assembled a coffee table, dining table, eight chairs and two bureaus of Ikea furniture in one night
My favourite colours are blue and yellow
I've never lied about my age
I've never been asked for proof of age
I once managed to start my car, many times, by hitting the starter motor with my shoe
I once had a large spider on my sun viser so got out and left my car by the side of the road
I can't program a DVD player
I capsised a catamaran then righted it and sailed home
I'm not keen on chocolate
I've been down a coal mine
I can roll my tongue - it's genetic
I'm learning Spanish
I've rowed a Waka (Maori War Canoe)
I've walked through a glacier
I can't stand margarine
I hate having my feet tickled

The truth is stranger than fiction . . .

Food for Thought

I have nothing but neither does TV so here's a really easy recipe that takes about 15 minutes and tastes 'spicy' serves 4:

2 cups spirali, rigatoni or farfalle pasta
1 whole pepperoni
Crushed garlic clove
4 chopped shallots
1 can crushed tomatoes or a punnet of grape tomatoes (yellow and red ones look pretty)
Handful of mixed Italian herbs (oregano, thyme and basil)
Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive oil
Shaved parmisan or pecorino
Handful of baby rocket
Handful of kalamata olives (black ones)

Cook the pasta 15 minutes in boiling salted water until al dente
Peel the pepperoni and slice thinly into rounds. Saute in a little olive oil with garlic, shallots and olives until warmed through
Pour in tinned/fresh tomatoes
Drain pasta and stir through tomato mix
Gently stir in baby rocket and chopped Italian herbs then take off the heat
Plate up and top with shaved cheese.
Pepper to taste.
Serve with sliced Italian bread or garlic bruschetta

Maybe tomorrow my brain will return.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Crikey it's Skype!

OK you all probably know all about this but it's news to me. Just when I thought I had my internet obsession reduced to a reasonable amount of time spent blogging, chatting and visiting . . . I've been introduced to Skype. You can call your friends all over the world for free if they're also members, it's amazing. It's got an instant messaging service too . . I rang Brainf to test the line today and it was FANTASTIC. Although I was a bit 'reserved'. Nervous actually. It's weird hearing yourself talk with the cans on let alone speaking to someone you've never met.

CRIKEY, how cool is it? All you need is a headset and microphone. Plug it in, join Skype and you can talk to anyone in the world for freeeeeeeee! Now I just want to call everyone I know and have a conversation . . . if only I had something interesting to say.

Thix Fingered Thethpianth

Last night I had a Thespian experience. A friend's hairdresser, now stay with me, is also the Director fo the Bilpin Arcadian Players, an Amateur Dramatic group. He used to live in our area but has now relocated into a more rural part of the neighbourhood about an hour away in the lower blue mountains. Keen to patronise his hobby, my friend frequently buys tickets for a 'table' at their performances and last night, I was asked to join a table of about 14 for a night of theatre. Bilpin is an orchard area in the lower blue mountains. Not remote by Australian standards but it is a little microcosm of its own with local families who have lived there since the settlers days and a few yuppies who have weekenders to escape from the city heat to enjoy the rural lifestyle. There are no supermarkets or malls, it's a village atmosphere with the general store and a few little restaurants and fruit stands dotted along the only road that links it to the Blue Mountains.

So, with TheBoss and TheDane talking business in the drivers and front seat, Thommo, Rhonda and I squished into the back and talked girly things such as curtains and separation anxiety. As we wound up the Bells Line of Road, in the rain, we'd agreed to meet at the Bilpin Bowling Club. Lawn bowls that is, the pasttime of many retirees in Oz. It's really just grown-up marbles as far as I can see. So, we pull in among the utes and four wheel drives donning multiple arials and bull bars and eek our way past the 50th Birthday Party being held in the main area of the club and settle in behind the bar. Crowding isn't difficult as this bar area is little bigger than my cottage kitchen! The revellers celebrating obviously from the pink and white balloons, a female 5oth birthday look like something out of that film with Duelling Banjo's, Deliverance. The men have mullets. Short back and sides with a swag of hair at the back hanging shoulder length. Many are wearing really classic jackets bearing the insignia of Jack Daniels and Cougar. Some are wearing their football jumpers, obviously the dapper country man's choice of formal wear. The women are similarly identifyable by their 'country' good looks with missing teeth and slicked back, jus- got-out-of-the-shower hair. No GHD straighteners or spiral perms here. By now, the inner snob in me is absolutely having a field day.

We order a delightful round of drinks from a select list of beverages that included beer (three types of draught), spirits and soft drinks or that delicious goon that you get out of cardboard boxes usually with names like Fruity Lexia or Hock . . . it passes for wine up there apparently. Fortunately, we brought our own from home for later. Eager to get out of this place, TheDane is now standing there with his arms crossed, not happy about this environment at all. I can see him scanning the room and counting the fingers on the patrons just to see if there are the requisite 10 or if inbreeding had actually enabled them to grow a few extra. He was absolutely dreading the theatrical experience ahead. If this was pre dinner drinks, what was the rest of the night going to be like?

Back in the car and off to the Arcadian Theatre. Quite a cute little hall with a stage and proper curtains. About 12 trestle tables neatly laid in red white and blue with real knives and forks and wine glasses, not the plastic cups we had expected. Nibbly bits comprised those frozen samosas, mini pizzas and Aunty Mabel's home made meat balls with BBQ sauce but they were hot and we were hungry. A meal of roast beef and chicken with little frozen baby carrots, peas and corn mixed together and a potato bake (an aussie staple) were plain but wholesome and tasty and supplied with white bread rolls and little tubs of real butter. None of your yuppy low cholesterol high omega margarines, it's the real deal up here!

Then an eerie silence decends and the lights dim as the play begins. Actually it wasn't too bad, a little French farce about a woman who had three grown children, each by a different father but needed to marry one of them (the fathers that its) in order to 'save face' with her kid's fiancee's. Too long but only a few prompts from the sidelines were required, loud enough for everyone to hear them. And of course the Director's end of show speech, thanking his wife, children and God for the accolade afforded by the tiny crowd as if he was accepting an Acadamy Award. Generally, it was a good night, cheap, warm and cheerful despite the awful weather.

What really surprised me is that you can drive just 50 minutes from middle class suburbia and land bang smack in the middle of hicksville. We could have been air lifted beyond the black stump, way out in woop-woop and found ourselves in a similar environment. The only exception, dogs of the four legged kind weren't admitted into either venue. Amazing . . .I'm just glad we didn't dress up for the occasion or we would have looked much more out of place. As it was, the cabernet and chardonnay set were a little conspicuous among the local crowd but got into the spirit of things anyway.

I don't think we'll get TheDane there again . . .

Saturday, June 16, 2007

One Step Further Away from Technopeasantry

My internet didn't work yesterday, or this morning and I realised just how addicted I am to checking my mail and blog comments and browsing my little list of faves. ClareBear too was freaking out because she had to do some online templates and couldn't get her messages from TheCricketer. Shit happens. So, after venturing into the pouring rain to meet the farrier at 9.00 in the morning and being snotted on by two very wet and dishevelled horses whilst they endured a muddy manicure, I ventured into the RTA to register my vehicle. Thirty minutes of people watching and listening to a persistent 'bing' alerting punters to their need to attend an i-mac booth to pay the exhorbitant fees required to be allowed to drive on our shitty roads was not a fun experience. Especially since my shoes were drenched with water, covered in horse shite and my jacket swathed with pony snot and little grey hairs where Chippy chose to rub against my shoulder just to be annoying. Car registered and the Virgin Mastercard (contradiction in terms, it's a whore of a card and has been used many times) absorbing even more credit, I ventured to EB to buy what I thought I required to get the internet up and running - a router. OK, I'm a technopeasant surrounded by smartass geeks but there wasn't one handy this morning so I took my life into my own hands and wafted (literally) into the store.
Me: "I need a router with 8 ports please"
Geeky Indian: "Wireless?"
Me: "How the fuck should I know . . .the one I have now has a plug" *real response - I don't know*
Geeky Indian: "We have one with a single ADSL and four data ports"

*ring ClareBear to get her to count ports*

Me:"Ok I'll try that one"
Geeky Indian: "It has an inbuilt modem, wireless capability, ADSL and 4 data ports, you'll be happy with that one madam."
Me: "I'm cold, wet (again not in a good way) smell like a horse and have snot on my jacket, just gimme the dam thing . . ." *real response was 'thank you'*

So I drive home once again, squish into the kitchen, gingerly take said router out of the box and it looks absolutely nothing like the little thingamy at the back of my computer which turns out to be a 10/100Mbps switch. BabyBro has the router on his server and we're networked in. What I need is just a DLink switch with 8 ports.

Fark. Now I have to go back to the store and since I can't be bothered getting out of the now damp rather than sodden horsey gear, I just change my boogey smeared jacket into something a little smarter and go back to the shop.

Nope, they don't have a switch. So I wait half an hour for a refund. It wasn't wasted, I browsed the heaters while I was there and got a demo model for $10 off so my bargain hunger was satiated. Off to another shop. Yep, they had the gear. 8 ports, guarantee, warranty, all the bits and jiggers to go with it. So, back in the car again and assemble the DLink. Nup . . still no joy.

It turns out that BabyBro had a new firewall installed on Friday morning and since all the networked computers were switched on during the installation, nobody had rebooted so that the server recognised the LAN. All it took was everyone to reboot and life as we know it resumed. So . . I'm $79 poorer. Have 2 data switches (a spare is always handy I guess) but importantly, I'm back on the net before anyone missed me. Now there's some arrogance for you . . .

See, I now know the difference between an ADSL port, a data port, a router with inbuilt modem and wireless capability and a simple data switch. I have also learned that the blue cables are the computers and the grey cable is the ADSL but I'm not sure what the yellow one is yet.

I learned a lot. I am now only 98% technopeasant and 2% Super Geek. Yay!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Shop till you drop . . .I don't think so.

I love Friday’s. It’s raining and cold and likely to be the same all weekend so a surprise lunch with Thommo was a welcome invitation. We chit chat about kids, work, life the universe and everything. She’s worried that I don’t have a life. True, but only through lack of funds. So after some salient advice and deep concern – and two glasses of Goundry Chardonnay and a lovely prawn risotto, we went our separate ways. I love that girl.

The weather being so inclement, I walked through the mall. About 2kms of shops with doof doof music bouncing off the walls and all with names like Cruise, Tarocash, YD, Crush, Jeffro’s and Dotti . . .obviously marketing to the younger element. Yes there was a plethora of three-wheel motorised shopping carts being driven by ultimately focussed geriatrics . . . not focussed on impending collisions with shoppers and yummy mummies with 15 babies in the one elongated stroller but focussed on getting from point A to point B as quickly as possible. It’s amazing that normal pedestrians actually manage to negotiate the centre at all without being clipped by either a stroller or a gerry zooming out of control. Thank God they have little orange flags on the back.

And I don’t get food courts! Why when there’s a perfectly good piazza with inexpensive lunch deals, do people cluster in the cattle ring devouring their El Turko kebabs, sushi rolls, Red Rooster, KFC and MacDonalds? Or even worse the bain marie’s full of festering Chinese somethingorother and curries that smell the same when they go in as when they come out. It’s the most horrible eating environment with cleaners fussing around your every move, people bumping your chair which is cemented to the floor so it just swings in an anti clockwise direction when nudged and a TV screen in the middle of your table blasting the lunchtime news or a continuous string of commercials encouraging you to shop, eat, consume.

For some reason, the sales are on again. It seems to be perpetual these days. Summer Sales, End of Season sales, just because we can’t shift our stock sales. In fact if you pay full price for anything these days, you either really want it or your’re a sucker. Stop buying people. Consumer confidence leads to high inflation which in turn leads to an increase in interest rates and then no body will buy my bloody block!

Now I’m not a girly girl – gimme a pair of jeans and a warm jumper and I’m a happy camper - but I am drawn to a bargain (I am female after all) and of course David Jones have their half yearly clearance on and tables are strewn with shoes, discount perfume, clothing (much of which is trawled out from the previous sale) but what can a girl do? I have to walk through this den of iniquity, this tempting cave in order to see the light (or the drizzle in this case) and venture back to work.

Yeh. I did have a little browse. OK I didn’t buy anything due mainly to my current bout of poverty but I did fancy a pair of boots on the way through and - I may go back, a rather nice plush pink sweater that had been knocked down to $75 from $150 and of course Madam Rochas and Bulgari Blu is on sale for $69. Ooh ooh ooh . . .sooooo tempting. But like a brave soldier, I forged my way through the marauding women trying to find the ‘other’ shoe and the harassing shop assistants insisting that I sniff their little bits of fragrant paper . . . I sloshed just about every perfume I passed on a different pulse point while they weren’t looking. Fingered an uber trendy handbag that I almost bought since mine’s so old fashioned but remained stoic in my resolve to save money.

Now I’m back in the office, ready for the afternoon’s onslaught, so wishing I’d bought that jumper, and smelling like a tart’s boudoir. . It's a good job I hate shopping.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

If You Can't Say Anything Nice . . . Shut Up!

In my five years as a Practice Manager (that’s someone who manages a Practice, not someone who is still practicing to be a Manager), I have noticed a distinct lack of respect, eye contact and genuine praise from the higher-ups and an increase in rudeness, ignorance and criticism for the lower-downs. Something to which I said I would never succumb. In fact, no matter how cranky I am at someone I try to emphasise their good points before slapping them from here to Tuesday! If you can be critical of someone, you need to counterbalance that in the case of almost everyone, except George Bush and John Howard, with a little praise and encouragement.

Effective praise is a skill set that must be learned like any other. Leaders often find themselves spending an inordinate amount of time identifying what is wrong, identifying mistakes, and concentrating on errors. Effective leaders look for opportunities to find people doing things right and offer them the encouragement and the support they need to keep succeeding.

There are five things a leader can do to insure their statements of praise are effective.

Make sure the praise is authentic. Authentic does not mean it must be a tremendous accomplishment. It does mean it has to be honest. You don’t need to wait until your friend has finished his novel to administer praise. In fact it may be more effective to acknowledge when he has reached the 200 page goal. For example “Well done sir for attempting a fantasy novel even if your hero has a disciple’s name . . .which means small . . ha ha Paul the Small . .. .oops getting off topic.
Make sure the praise is specific. Acknowledging the excellent way in which something challenging was handled is an excellent example. Identify areas of strength and acknowledge them. “Your squab stew is absolutely delicious . . did you shoot it yourself?”
Make sure the praise is immediate. Providing positive feed back as soon as things happen is a powerful tool to encourage them to happen again. “Thanks for making your bed and hanging your wet towel up DrummerBoy” . . . DOH! That’s right, he’s in Canberra.
Make sure the praise is untainted. Tainted praise has an ulterior motive. Tainted praise often has the addendum “but” attached. Ooops previous praise of young author now null and void . . .tainted . . .sorry”
Make sure the praise is private. Recognising someone in public is often more a performance by the speaker rather than support for the subject of the praise. “I can’t praise you here because everyone of my bloggers and readers will know who I'm talking about and then it won’t be private but I think you’re really really sweet, mature, sensitive, clever, talented, intelligent, honest, heartfelt and funny and you have a truly wonderful voice/accent.”

However you elect to reinforce others, it is important that you do so on a regular basis . . .So praise up and praise regularly. I loves yer werk!

The Internationalists

It’s funny how one post leads to inspiration for another but I watched the morning news this morning and there were some codgers announcing that July 17 would be “International Talk Like A Pirate” day - ‘talk like a parrot’ I heard, and thought that might be fun – Not! But it also got me thinking about the myriad of ‘International Days’ ribbon days: Police Rememberence, Breast Cancer, AIDS, ad nauseum.

Now there seems to be an international day for anything. I supported UNICEF International Children’s Day and Amnesty International’s Day of Peace. The United Nations support no fewer than 50 International days . . including International No Tobacco Day (Boo hoo), International Poetry Day (Yawn) and World Television day whatever that is.

Of course unofficially we have; International Surfing Day (Grouse!), International Webbloggers day (June 16th if you’re interested), International Shut Down Day where you boycott computers (I can see that one taking off), International Day of Solidarity (that's enough about my body shape), International Texting Day (R U OK), International Earth Day (Hug a tree) I could go on but you’ll get bored.

Does anyone actually celebrate these or are they just fed to the media as fillers when we have a day where for some obtuse reason nobody gets blown up in Bagdad and they're 30 seconds short on stories?

I’m up for International Paris Hilton Day (where she is publicly berated at every opportunity), International Chuck a Hissy Fit Day (when you can have a complete mental breakdown without getting fired), International Wear a Silly Hat Day (just because I have a lot of them) and International Go to Work in Your Pyjamas Day (The Dalai Lama can so why can't I) . . .any further suggestions?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

So Much to Say and So Little Time

So I'll keep it short. June is a busy month in the financial industry so I'm flat out and dog tired.

The Dalai Lama is in town. He giggles a lot, thinks Koala's are lazy and is living quite well for a Tibetan exile. His glasses I think are Donna Karan. Our Prime Monster has given into public pressure and will meet with him despite it risking our national economy due to our trade links with China. C'mon?

I have lost an ancient filling in one of my ancient teeth. It doesn't hurt - yet. But the first appointment I can get is 27th June. I think not baby puppy, time to break in a new dentist and thanks to ClareBear's dentalfest earlier this year, I have no more health cover for fillings. Fark! What do I pay $300 a month for? Buggered if I know. Ah yes! So that I can have massage therapy and a new pair of sports shoes. I really want free fillings!

I just had my car serviced before registration on the 17th. $200, Road tax, $260, Third Party Compulsory insurance $530, Pink Slip $45 and Third Party Property Damage $360. We will be eating pumpkin soup for a month. I am ready to marry for money! Any takers?

The farrier is due on Saturday to give the boys their six weekly manicure. Another $160. I'm in the wrong business. I am ready to sleep with someone for money. Any takers?

I'm really over Witawheat nine grains and vegimite which I've been eating for lunch for the past three weeks because they're free. Not only did they dispatch my age old filling but they're beginning to taste like rusty poo (I stole that from Dodge but don't tell anyone) Work supplies them. The upside is I've lost 3 kilos.

DrummerBoy has his first 'road trip' gig in Canberra on Thursday and I'm not going because I have to work. He's staying with another band that he's never met, in a house he's never been to and all of a sudden he seems about six year's old. I am a pathetic hangontoyourchildrenatallcosts mumsy.

My dog ran away today. The electric collar is not working or it was worth having 200 volts zapped through the scruff of the neck. Why isn't 3 acres of roaming enough. I wish I could speak dog. She came home after dinner time and was summarily NOT FED! Biatch.

I finally bought three light bulbs to replace those that fizzled last week. Not one of the fuckers works. Coles are the megamart from hell and I will deliberately drop something glassy with gloopy filling on their floor next time I visit.

There was a frost this morning. It looked very romantic but all of a sudden, I'm thinking that 35 degrees and a glowing complexion aint that bad. Crippled nipples at 6.00am is not erotic.

We had chicken rissoles for tea. They were working class, comfort food, and absolutely delicious. Thank you to my mother in law for teaching me how to make onion gravy. But I am the queen of mashed potatoes! (This is not indicative of our daily diet - just one of those meals that's homey and yum!)

BabyBro has done something weird to the electrics since installing 3 phase for the concert. My pool cleaner has blown up and if I have the computer and the heater on and attempt to boil the kettle . . .the lights go out even tho there's somebody home. Damned electricians . . .can't they blow up other people's houses. Just leave mine alone!

There. Bed time. Sweet Dreams my bloggybuddies!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

He's a Little Bottler

I was late home from work today due to four foreigners entertaining me via their bloody podcast. Drummer Boy spied the chicken fillets in the fridge and made a fantastic Thai Red Curry. Thank you chicken lips, you're a little beauty - I love you a lot!

Is Monogamy a Myth

I just watched a little documentary on divorce. Three billion dollars a year is spent on Australian weddings. You know the full merangue dress, 200 guests, flowers, cars, marquee's or harbourside venues, romance and photographs but six billion is spent on divorce. This program featured, 'normal' people, working class, middle class, swingers, family people and yet the promise hadn't come to fruition for them, men or women.

Then ClareBear emerged from her bedroom saying "I can't understand why men find women so impossible to understand". She has an interest in a fellow who doesn't seem to comprehend that she has an interest. He flirts but that's it. She's made it perfectly clear that she's interested but he just doesn't get it. Is that our problem? We just don't get each other?

I have good relationships with men, boys, in-betweens but the rift between the sexes is difficult to bridge. I often wonder (and I think I am 'wondering' now) whether I would have stayed married had my lovely boy not passed so young. I was 32, he 35 we had a two year old and a four year old, a mortgage that was breaking our back but by and large we were happy. We didn't fight, but our hours were weird. I was a stay-at-home mum, keeping daytime routines with small children, him working evenings and often not coming home until late. How long could we have sustained this ships in the night arrangement? I really don't know and it's a question that for some reason preys on my mind. Not that it matters.

There seem to be three waves of separation. The first 4 years. When the magic of the glamfest fades and issues such as family and becoming seriously financially committed raise their ugly head. One partner is ready, the other isn't. Then there's the famous 7 year itch which in my experience is more like 10 or 12 years when it all just gets too hard and the trials of owning the Australian dream and raising a young family just springs to breaking point like a perished rubber band and one partner decides it's too much. Then there's the 20 year "Who the hell are you?" when all that family and career stuff has been achieved and two people find themselves locked in a relationship without really knowing each other. Now this is a simplistic analysis to say the least but it has borne out in my experience. Then, to contradict this theory (I sometimes hate being a Libran) there are the childhood sweethearts and I know a few. One relationship that has held through the decades and beyond the kids leaving home. I envy those but wonder whether the people involved ever wonder what it would be like to 'be' with someone else.

I'm just throwing this out there. I admire fidelity and no matter why people don't get on and resolve to go their separate ways, I find it really hard to tolerate infidelity. Cheat and you're gone . . . but I guess we have to look beyond the cheating as to the reason for it. I think some people get so safe in their relationships that they think a little fling won't cause too much havoc.

The bottom line: I have a theory that monogomy isn't natural, we're meant to have several partners - not necessarily at the same time of course - but it is what society expects and when you decide to cohabit or marry, fidelity is one of the most important ties that binds. I don't know whether our relationship would have stood the test of time. I know that I haven't really been looking for another but after all these years, I can be more objective. Then the romantic in me hits hard. I'm still looking for that knight in a shining boiler suit for all I care, as long as he's intelligent, funny, reliable and promises that monogomy is not a myth.

Monday, June 11, 2007

A Bum Steer

I drive. I'm not a bad driver. I'm not a particularly good driver but I know that if I turn on the ignition, point my car in the general direction in which I want to go, it will move forward, provided it's in gear it will go where I want it to and respond in a way I expect it to. I also have the benefit of an all wheel drive vehicle which will turn on a five cent piece and respond immediately to the slightest touch of the steering wheel. It's also 14 years old.

Today, I will be driving another vehicle, similar all wheel drive, much newer than my old jalopy and capable of a large load. It will be a shopping trolley. Laugh if you must but why are these contraptions so difficult to steer? Initially, it will be quite easy. After racing the woman beside me for the first available and wrenching the offending vehicle from a long line of neatly stacked others, I'll trap my fingers in the kiddy seat and get the safety belt caught on one of my buttons. So as I go through the automatic gates at Coles, I'll look like a retard or some poor old sodette who has a severe back injury. Once I've disentangled the child safety belt from my jacket button and righted myself, I'll drop my dilapitated purse into one of the many 'green' shopping bags stuffed in the said child seat section but my keys will miss their mark and become entangled in the mesh at the bottom of the trolly. As I go down on my knees (not in a good way), I'll draw attention to myself in a way that is far from desirable as I bend beneath the trolley to retrieve the trapped car keys.

I'll head first, down the closest aisle which happens to be soft goods such as bread, croissants and other pastries. This means that all the soft and squishy stuff lies in the bottom of the trolley. Who designed this place!

As I meander up and down each consecutive aisle, the trolley will become fuller, heavier and inevitably impossible to steer. It used to be handy having a toddler grabbing the front of the trolley and perched on its frame to reweight the thing so that it did actually travel in a singular direction and in a straight line but by the time I reach the shampoo and tampons, it's loaded with cans and jars, juice and boxes and refuses to go straight. At this point, I'll avoid a small child running out of control with an irate parent chasing it and crash duly into the neatly stacked collection of toothpaste (with a free toothbrush) which I would otherwise have missed and take advantage of the free offer whilst I clumsily try to restack the mountain of gold foil boxes.

Having crashed, of course the carefully placed cans and jars will land heavily on my croissants and wholemeal, squashing them into oblivion at which point, I'll remove them, leave them on the shelf where the dog food resides and vow to revisit the squishy aisle to get a fresh loaf and half a dozen more croissants.

A final run of the frozen section for baby peas (that's all I buy frozen) and I'm done. Again, I wobble towards the checkout, now with one rear wheel refusing to right itself and the trolley has developed a screeching squeak which alerts every shopper and checkout chick to my presence. At the moment I reach the end of the queue and begin unloading the harder items, I remember that I've forgotten to pick up my loaf of Helga's MultiGrain and have to push past irate waiting shoppers, each with their own trolley challenge and race to retrieve tommorrows vegemite toast.

Finally, all items sorted in order of firmness, they're packed into the greeny bags, I fumble for the right credit card which is slammed one more time with a bill I can ill afford and the bags are loaded back into the trolley for dispatch to the car boot.

Now the worst bit. I have to navigate the now completely crippled and squarking wire frame contraption through the revellers enjoying their cappucino and free cake from Michelle's Patisserie scraping their chair legs as I go. Through the automatic doors where I am the only shopper in the world that smiles at the security guy (he sees me coming these days and gives me a sheepish wave) and down the flattened curb towards my car. The trolley now, weighted has gained velocity and is actually pulling me towards the old jalopy before crashing into the pre-scratched bumper.

Almost done now. With the greenie bags unloaded the empty trolley is pushed back up to the trolley bay and thrown into it with such vim and vigour that it bounces straight out and has to be caught on the fly before it scratches the brand new Landcruiser parked badly near it. With a flushed face, underbreath mutterings and a firm hand, it's lodged once more with its compadres ready to drive another shopper insane.

I'm thinking long and hard about home delivery . . .

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Undiscovered Treasures

My best friend said to me during my slightly depressed state last week . . ."You've got to get out more and stop blogging!" I think she thinks I'm one of these sad and lonely geeks looking for something online that I can't find elsewhere when in fact it couldn't be further from the truth. I'm drawn to the blogisphere . . . I’m drawn to a particular circle of bloggers who have one thing in common – they’re not lonely nerds – they’re writers and for the most part, damn good ones. Some are conversational, some are poets, some are all rounders with a wealth of novels, prose and short stories but they’re all eloquent.

I fancied myself as a bit of a writer but I’m purely in the copywriting and editorial style, catchy bi-lines and short promotional copy, usually for corporate promotion. I write much as I talk and my pragmatic personality doesn’t lend itself to flowery verbosity. I can string a sentence together although like Jonathon Swift, my spelling is atrocious. This combined with the field in which I work has stifled my creativity somewhat. I began this blog as a combination of a lazy way to chronicle things for my children, to vent my frustrations and as a form of literary expression but it took on a life of its own somehow and became a collection of random thoughts and daily grinds.

Having dropped in on the likes of Jefferson Davis, Problem ChildBride and Skint Writer among others, I’ve realised that there is a wide network of critically decent authors and poets that aren’t pretentious or posing, just talented - and for the most part undiscovered. Mind you some of them are pretentious and to my mind ingenuine but that's the way the 'real' world is as well.

So next time someone asks me what I’m reading, I won’t have to feel inadequate that I don’t have a hefty literary volume tied like some albatross around my neck . . I read online. Fantastic poetry, and I’m not a fan of poetry but some of it moves me to tears. Wonderful short stories and soon, I’ll venture further into essays and on-line novels. Blogging is more than a pastime, a cathartic representation of life or a channel for the geeky and lonely, it’s a complete escape from the idiot box and provides a rich tapestry of literary genius if only you take the time to filter through the garbage (and there's plenty of that too!) and find the little treasures buried deep within. It really is worth taking the time to find them and to become inspired, moved and pleased with the incredible wealth of experience, honesty and fine literature, not always printed on the page but right here in the ether.

The Fringelet

I like this girl. She's DrummerBoy's squeeze and the sweetest thing you could hope to meet. She's tall, very slim, fashion-conscious and definitely a girly girl and stays over for one night but brings enough 'equipment' for months. Hair straighteners, product, makeup, shoes, clothes . . .always prepared. She laughs - all the time, likes dogs and loves Adam so that's good enough for me. She's at uni studying Business and Accounting but has the knack of saying the silliest and funniest things:

"Oh Helen, you dropped a fork" (It was a knife) . . . "How come there's always singing in Disney musicals . . ." O dear . . . see what I mean?

She's easy to talk to, easy to mix with and a delight to have around. I hope they work out over the long term. They've just celebrated six months together and they're like peas and carrots. He's a scruffy 'doesn't give a shit what he looks like' type and she's always perfectly manicured, beautifully dressed. When they go out, he sends her movies of his proposed wardrobe so that I can be instructed on the most appropriate shirt to iron - yes I iron his shirts because it's pathetic watching him do it himself.

She's also got him where she wants him. He dotes on her . . gets her drinks, makes her meals and their bed (more than I could get him to do in 20 years!). Today they've moved two mattresses into the living room and are bunked down like siamese twins canoodling in front of Star Wars with DrummerBoy explaining the complex nuances of the story. I'm sure she'd rather see a chick flick but puts up with his blokey choice of DVD.

Well there's little room for me with the rest of the couch potatoes so I'm off to do my grocery shopping. One of the weekend's lesser joys.

The Force is With Me

It's a shitty long weekend when we usually have a MASSIVE bonfire in the back yard with loads of people trudging mud through the pool room and a tent city full of warm little bodies sheltering from the cold. Then on Sunday morning we rekindle the fire and see if we can blow up baked bean cans . . .three pops and they're off.

But not this weekend. The rain has subsided to a calm drizzle and there's a patch of blue sky which means I can probably hang out my washing. So what did we do instead. We, The Fringlet, DrummerBoy and ClareBear have been totally couch potatoes. I have done my mandatory cleaning because I can't relax until my dunny's clean but apart from that we've been living on pizza and ribs and schlepping in front of the entire Star Wars collection. My sister has it and brought the lot round yesterday so the marathon began. Poor Fringelet has never seen it and when you start at the beginning which was really the end, there's certainly an assumption that you've seen the first three which are actually the last three - are you still with me? I've got to say that after 25 years, the old movies still hold up. They've been digitally remastered and there are some new bits in them but Harrison Ford was a hottie and James Earl Jones has the best voice in history. Eye candy . . yep . . .silly script . . . yep . . .over digitised . . .yep but you all know the lines "I thought I could smell your foul stench when I boarded this ship!" and "Luke I am your father" and "scruffy lookin nerf herder" - "Who's scruffy lookin", "laff it up fuzzball!" ha ha . . .Tomorrow (Monday), I'll attend to the fallen trees and bark strewn all over the garden but today . . The force is with me!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Hey, It's raining and I'm bored!

You Are 50% Normal

While some of your behavior is quite normal...
Other things you do are downright strange
You've got a little of your freak going on
But you mostly keep your weirdness to yourself

Friday, June 08, 2007

It's Raining

It's Friday night and all is well with the world of Bainos. It's pouring and has been for three days, better still, it's falling in the catchment areas and eastern rural districts during the wheat planting season, that's a good thing. The surfers are loving it because the swell is huge, big enough to ground a coal tanker off Newcastle which is causing havoc on the north coast. The boys (I'm not sure how many of them, I'll do a body count in the morning) are anhiliating islamic fundamentalist on some XBox game. I've taught DrummerBoy all I can by 20 years of age but went in disapprovingly in relation to this game so I think they've switched to Need for Speed. ClareBear has gone off to the RSL to play Agony Aunt when I think she would have rather been embracing a movie and a Doona. I've just eaten Satay Prawns and Sang Choy Bow and feeling replete and ready for bed and ThePrincess is lamenting the rain, not that she's seen much of it, and is wedged between the couch and side table just in case there's thunder and lightening involved. I'm almost hopeful that a large branch will fall on my car because the insurance pays for 'resultant' damage so it will be worth paying to get the hefty bough removed and the possibility of a new vehicle is exciting. I have dirty washing in the basket and the machine that's just going to fester there because there's no way it will get dry for the next couple of days. The 'boys' are wet and miserable standing under the trees with their tails to the wind. They're so spoiled . . cows don't have rugs so why should they? The pool is overflowing and substantial eddies of water are flooding the verandah. . . This might sound strange to some of you but the blissful sound of rain is such a blessing. It's good, hard, downpouring rain and even though the topsoil probably won't survive, the rest of the garden will. Tomorrow, I will sleep in, snuggled tight in a blanket of feathers . . even if I wake early as I always do . . just to spite the world because it's cold and windy and no real reason to get up . . there's rain teeming down outside and a wild wind blowing. It's wonderful.

I Hate Paris

I’m so sick of Paris . .

not that Paris . .

This Paris . . .

For over a week now, our news headlines have been based upon the demise of Ms Hilton’s fortune for being the fuckiest bimbo in the world and drink driving again . . to her 40 day confinement, mystery illness and dramatic reduction of her sentence to 25 days incarceration. Then there was her clandestine entry to prison just before Midnight on her first day and then her equally surprising departure just after midnight on the third day . . . by doing this, she can count five days instead of three, cunning little bunny.

So after 3 days of these shenanigins, we now have to put up with the insufferable media parked outside her mansion while she seals her book deal “My Three Days of Porridge”, or “Slut in the Slammer” and ponces around the proverbial mansion on the 7:30 Report with what I suspect is a jewel encrusted ankle thingamejigg to make sure that she doesn’t leave the heated pool and landscaped, luxury premises. There's no escaping, turn off the TV and she's featured on the foikn radio.

Was that a marquee I saw in her garden?. . .Yay! Nicole and the whole anorexic bunch can come and play in her backyard and barf up their Margarita's. We’ll have a house arrest party . . soooooooper!

Kill the biatch! Dammit . . she’s even got me writing about her, the friggin’ amoeba.

*my apologies to all single celled organisms*