Friday, February 29, 2008

The Archys

I was going to post about how thrilled I was that Clare rang me from somewhere on a salt lake in Bolivia but I was out to lunch and am devastated that I missed her. Then I was going to post about Aussie Pubs because they're an integral part of our culture, pathetically ugly and morphing faster than Michael Jackson in his "Black and White" video, then I thought I'd blog about the fact that my two bosses just don't get on and how I had a 'bonding' llunch with Sgt Bilko which was surprisingly nice but totally weird. Then I thought about blogging about detail oriented people vs broad brush folk like me but nope. . .my mind is a technicolour yawn!

. . . I came up with the Archibald Prize. This is stream of consciousness rubbish after all. Every year, there is an Australian prize for portraiture. This is a wonderful thing - seriously! Well worth the browse at the NSW Art Gallery and yes, I'll pay my 'whatever dollars' to marvel at the skill of fine portrait artists.. (Ooh distracted momentarily by the pong of orange jasmine wafting through the lounge) The winner has not yet been voted upon but they have the 'Packer's Prize' this is a small cash prize and the judges? Those who unpack these amazing portraits, the lackeys, the roadies, the unravellers and unwrappers. This year they have voted for Neil Finn, composer, artist, singer/songwriter and founder of Crowded House, possibly one of the best things to come out of New Zealand. Painted by a NZ artist who is the first to take advantage of the fact that it's an "Australasian" competition and good on him!

The winning entry is judged by the Trustees of the Art Gallery of New South Wales and is held at the Art Gallery of NSW every year. For a mere $35,000 grant, portrait painters in Australasia (which includes NZ but no-one until now has dared to enter) is awarded. One of it's great controversies was the award to William Dobelll which was considered a 'caricature' and led to a famous court case in the 40's.

In 1943, Dobell won the prize with a painting of fellow artist Joshua Smith and the case was taken to court because the prize judges felt it was a caricature not a portrait. He won the case but his confidence was destroyed.

First awarded in 1921, the Archibald Prize quickly became a prize eagerly sought by artists, not only because of the money it offered and the publicity and public exposure it generated, but because it also gave portrait artists an opportunity to have their work shown in a major gallery. Previously, portraitists had been largely restricted to public or private commissions and these exhibitions allowed their artwork to be viewed as a serious art form.

For me, the winner is academic and they have been contentious and wonderful but the Packers Prize is the one that hits home. Here are a few recent winners of the 'real' a Archy. . . .I wish I could paint like this. Um .. I wish I could paint more than a bathroom actually!

Lovely aren't they? Poor William, he really had a hard time of it.

So, in deference to my northern friends here's a little Crowded House, which sort of describes our weather patterns at the moment:

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Doggy Dilemma

I’ve always had a dog. Life without one seems inconceivable now that Lily’s on the scene.

As child we had a labrador called Buster, he was my constant companion until brothers and sisters became playworthy. He used to do his rounds after we’d headed off for school. A reporter from the Daily Mail obviously was one of his stops and put us all on the front page thanks to a note on his collar written by my father to disuade neighbours from feeding him (why he didn’t just shut the garden gate I’ll never know.)

We went without a pet of any kind for a few years during the transition and emigration to Australia but once settled in Melbourne, we bought Sam . . . we thought he was a labrador but turned out to be something far more destructive and energetic. He was eventually given to someone with a bit of land once he’d completely ruined the back garden and chewed his way through the hose and above ground pool liner and scratched the bejeezus out of the back door and yapped persistently through the night. At least that’s where I think he went!

We then moved to Sydney and bought Ben. Another lab, great with kids, did tricks, didn’t need much exercise and was very easily pleased. My father had him well trained by 3 months to sit, stay, heel, balance biscuits on his nose which were ‘on trust’ until he was given the ‘paid for’ command. He was beautiful but used to shag anything left on the floor. We had him for 17 years! Unheard of but he had a new lease on life when we moved to acreage in 1975. Where he had more exercise space and tagged along with Babysis and I when we went riding. He finally reached his last legs on ClareBear’s Christening day . . very sad.

Then there was quite a stasis for me. Ray wasn’t a dog fan and as a young couple, we spent many weekends away so the responsibility of dog ownership was too much. We bought a cat. About which I’ll write some other time. Once Ray died, and I was left with toddlers, buying a puppy became a priority. I checked one place out and she had a clutch of rolly-polly’s but they weren’t the best strain of labs and I declined. Sur’nuf about three weeks later she rang to say she had one puppy remaining from the litter so we went to take another look. Yep, bought the dog. $400 worth of tumbling blackness. We named her Brenna “Raven Maid”. Bren was a top dog. She was largely outside, allowed in only when it was very wet or very cold so she was a little rough around the edges and had an itchy spot on her back and tail that made her scratching hilarious to watch as she rubbed underneath things with a look of pure bliss! She was a superior guard dog. Vicious to anyone who didn’t know her yet she could pick the sound of friends’ and familys’ cars and never made a whimper. Sadly, she was neglected a little on the training side due to the demands of building a house and raising a young family and never got much beyond ‘sit’ but she’d retrieve, loved a swim and was generally a loyal companion.

She was just 10 when I took her to the vet because she was struggling a little and he examined her and told me she had a huge tumour, was suffering terribly and needed to be put down . . . I acquiesced, not wanting her to suffer. I asked what would happen to her . . the vet said I could take her home and bury her, he would arrange disposal or I could have her cremated. Can you imagine! It just didn’t seem right taking her to the tip and I didn’t have the stamina to bury her myself. So, doggy cremation was the choice. I still have Brenna in a Box. Seriously! A little green box tied with white ribbon and a condolence card from the pet crematorium. They sent her back with a nice little oil and incense burner! She’s outside in a plastic tub containing painting materials and two-stroke. I just don’t know what to do with her. I was going to bury her, then thought about the bulldozers coming through once the block is subdivided and never really got round to scattering her in her little smelly place which probably would have been the right thing to do. So there she sits, in her green box, waiting to be dispatched. I think when I move, I’ll take her with me and plant a little tree in her honour. . . I haven't a digital photo of her royal blackness so here's one of bewfulls instead. I think I'll have her stuffed!

And you thought I was going to give you a smoochy view!
First one to say "nice arse" gets a slap!

Oh alright then . . .

No seriously . . I will . . .

Awww such a bewfulls wooffly snoofly!
(on my pillows I might add!) How very dare she!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Thilly Thtuff

So . . there's nothing on telly . . the boy has a new toy/s . . what do you do . . .

photograph L-a-s-e-r-s . . . .

"Mini me, stop pumpin' the l-a-s-e-r"

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Thai Smile

His bedroom was looking so tasteful until . . . . this went up

Super quick post while boy wonder takes the Fringelet home and divvies out the pressies. He's back and with a vengeance. Loves his new TV not in the least because it's HD and has a USB which is good apparently. Impressed also with the new shelves and the tidy look. We'll see how long that lasts. My master of the rip off has managed to procure heaps of DVD's including, for his weirdo mummy, the final in the Matrix series and the complete series of Star Wars yippeee! Plus a lovely little elephant, a bottle of Baileys, a 12 pack of Thai essential oils for my burners and a very pretty sarong.

His suit is a marvellous Armani rip off - really, it's well made, fully lined and fitted in a very nice self stripe material. He's attending a wedding in a few weeks so I'll snap him in his Sunday best.

He also has a plethora of Armani rip off T shirts - even bought Pink, never thought I'd see the day (must be the girly swat's influence - at last!). But the bulk of his clothes are black, you know that lint grabbing solid black . . or white with one yellow and a couple of blues. Billabong hoodies x 2, T shirts times - a whole 7kg washing machine full, sunnies, hats - one of which I might souvenir - four pairs of very long board shorts, two pairs of Diesel Thongs, Two Diesel long sleeved T's, a bag for his Motocross gear, two duty free bottles of Yagermeisterand the mandatory hand painted wall hanging featuring totally kitch orange elephants bathing in a fluorescent green forest pool. The wall hanging one HAS to have. Even Fringelet said she was sick of looking at it! And his coup - the man's a gadget freak - mini speakers for his iPod and two high powered laser pointers and an LED torch. The dart board was left behind . . .

We had a quick viewing of the video coverage which he's going to edit together. For the most part it included lots and lots and lots of elephants and lots and lots of Chang beer. He's also sporting a nice coral cut on the sole of his foot that might need medical attention if I can get a look at it . . although apparently half a litre of ethanol was poured on the gaping wound immediately annihilating any infection.

He's experienced a 'bit' of Thai culture too with an elephant safari, even watched Thai dancing and acrobatics and a tour to Phi Phi and surrounding islands with a bit of snorkelling thrown in. Fringelet wasn't keen, she's afraid of fish unless it's on her plate. Plus the touristy annoying jet skis and scooters . . .and the bed in the 'honeymoon suite' was adorned with petals with a border of red flowers and two intertwined hearts again, fashioned out of orchid petals. It was so pretty they found it hard to destroy the display in order to get into bed . . .Awww . . .so romantic - takes me back to that time when . . .!

More importantly he's come home with his romance and humour intact. Now comes the hard part after having spent almost three weeks together, 24/7 it's going to be hard to get back to normal (I know, I've been there). I think moving out might be higher on the Agenda unless he immerses himself in the band and the search for full time employment and she focuses on Uni which starts tomorrow. They are so sweet together and despite a bout of Thai Tummy and poor Fringelet returning with a horrible cold, they are in love, happy and ready to do it all again. They left Thailand at the equivalent of 4am so to avoid the jet lag, I have to try to keep him bouncing off the walls until at least 9 or 10pm . . . but it's so nice to have him home.

Monday, February 25, 2008

'ello Cocky!

I'm a little too excited about DrummerBoy and the Fringelet's return tomorrow from three weeks in Thailand to post anything serious. I've taken a day off as they need picking up in the middle of the day and focus would be tricky. I know ClareBear is safe in Sucre and exploring Bolivia because she Skyped me on Saturday morning (albeit at 3.00am). So today, I'm having an 'all is right with the world' moment.

I finally bought some wild bird seed . . I don't feed birds too often as they might become dependent and I'd rather see them in their natural habitat but in my quest to attract the shy and pretty parrots, I always end up with these . . the pirates of the sky. They're the size of a chicken. Worth thousands of dollars on the black export market and I complain because they eat all the good stuff and keep the pretty parrots away . . they are noisy . . .cheeky . . .nibble at oregon verandah timbers and are surprisingly tame and always extremely clean (I can get within a metre of them before they flap off to a nearby branch. They are the labradors of the air and are totally motivated by food . . but they are always, always entertaining:

Sulphur crested cockatoo in a pine tree? Something amiss here

That's better. Much more realistic in a lemon scented gum

Evening pair . . . mother and son share the seed (he's the twitchy one)

Grabbing the chain helps stabilise the feeder

You know how you drive past cows and feel the urge to go 'Mooo' well with these guys it's hard to fight the urge to say "hello cocky" . . .they look at you as if you're a total moron (if the cap fits). And a big, big cheerio to Bird Anonymous because her photography and the antics of her birds are a delight to see. Mine pale to insignificance by comparison.

Oh, and I think I've broken my little left toe . . I banged into a door stop on Saturday and the fact that it wiggles sideways and makes a weird cracking noise has caused me to strap it for a few days and have an excuse to wear thongs to work!

You can all go 'Awwww' now!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

You'll Always Find Me In The Kitchen At Parties

Let's face it after all the efforts to derive a 'good room' , a pergola or deck or a party space, the real action is in the kitchen and you can tell a woman by her kitchen much as you can by her handbag contents. OK you wanna piece o Me? You wanna piece o ME? Well probably you don't but this is all I have tonight. Right click and open in new window if your in the least bit interested.

I'm off to make prawn risotto and watch "So You Think You Can Dance!" Hoo roo!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Treat Others as You Would Be Treated

I've done it again, hired a documentary . . I watched Sicko . . hey the video shop has 4 for the price of 2 so I was pressured at the checkout to get another one.

Now firstly, I am VERY aware of Michael Moore's bias but this one wasn't quite as glib as Farenheit except for the Cuban stunt which was clearly done for dramatic purposes but it did make a point. What it brought to bear was the idea of socialised medicine, universal medicine vs pay your way. I'm not going to bash Americans here because 250 million of them have insurance and feel safely cocooned that they're covered for everything as long as they don't have a prior record of yeast infections. (For the record, a client of ours had a skiing accident and had she not been covered for a broken leg would have been charged $25,000 American Dollars for the surgery) It is clear that American citizens need to read the fine print very carefully and I've never, never heard of an insurance company 'changing their mind' after granting cover "oops, sorry, we found out that you scraped your knee in 1975 so you don't quality for a knee replacement".

It emphasised the principle that those who can, look after those who can't and I'm a strong proponent of that philosophy. Does that make me a socialist. I think not, I think it's human nature to help those in need or in a position of disadvantage.

I was very impressed by the bonus system offered to particularly British and French doctors for assisting in preventing disease. Now there's a revolutionary concept. I can't find out whether that exists here as we move towards a two tier health system.

In Australia, if I'm in a car accident or experience an emergency trauma and cannot pay - I don't. I choose to have health insurance because it guarantees the hospital and doctor of my choice for elective or non emergency surgery. Both my mother and my husband died in hospital after being rushed by intensive care ambulance and treated with every resource available. There was no bill even though we were covered.

If I'm all smashed up on Windsor Road, I'll likely be taken to Westmead or Blacktown but nobody will refuse to treat me, charge me through the nose or dump me on the street because I cannot pay.

What really interested me about this doco was France, Canada and Britain. They all have an NHS type system as do we (only more expansive $10 for a prescription of anything which exists here but PBS prescriptions are set at $25) but the French also offer Government sponsored child care and nanny assistance to new mothers. Six month paid maternity leave, five weeks annual leave and even a week to enjoy your honeymoon. Last time I looked, the French economy isn't suffering too badly for all it's social security payouts. Sure they, like us, pay higher taxes to cover the expense but I really like the idea that people look after other people who are less fortunate, it's the foundation of all religion and simple humanity.

I don't understand the anti-socialistic paranoia of the Americans. Well actually I can because their electoral system relies solely on donations to get candidates up. Therein lie the seeds for corruption and influence right in your face! Canada has a free health service. America's health service is inching above that of Slovinia! Patients are declined for the silliest of reasons.

Oz is in the top ten countries for health care, given a small population of only 20 million and the gargantuan size of the place, that's not half bad but we are in grave danger of following the US model. I found the absolute paranoia of the US government over many years amazing. They've never fought a war on home soil (except against each other), 7/11 terrible as it was has been blown out of all proportion and billions spent on defense, space stations, war, fucking Hollywood movies! Yet they don't look after their own in the simplest region of public health. According to the documentary in 1948 Britain, torn to pieces after the ravages of war, announced the NHS . . "if we can spend millions on war, why can't we spend millions on infrastructure and health?"

What was interesting about France is that it's people still have the verve to protest. They won't tolerate a government that doesn't serve their interests. In Australia, much like America we have lost that sense of public protest we have become lazy and complacent. We have an 'I'm alright Jack' and "not in my back yard" (NIMBY) attitude. How does a nation get to the point that they 'believe' what they're fed. The French have a reputation for being arrogant and dissident. Perhaps Australia and America should adopt that stance instead of just taking what's dished out to us. An affluent lifestyle has made us lazy and complacent.

I'd be interested to hear what my Northern Irish friends have to say about their health system as opposed to the Republic which appears to be in tatters. I am so glad that ClareBear is travelling on a British Passport and can access their system if she gets into trouble.

Bottom line - those who are capable, need to look after those who aren't. Pharmaceutical and health providers need to stop looking at their bottom line. This is not the province of a 'nanny state' this is simple human kindness to take care of those who can't take care of themselves. Health and Education are rights not privilidges and both should be free. And don't even get me started on the cost of AIDS medication to Africa. . .or the price of medicines for the chronically ill like Diabetes sufferers, asthmatics etc. How much can a bunch of chemicals cost?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Musically Speaking

I love the theatre. Avante Garde, commercial, Ensemble it doesn't really matter. I admire that actors can jump up on a stage the size of a chessboard and strut their stuff. Years ago we had a season ticket to the Ensemble Theatre, a tiny production company in Neutral Bay, down on the water. They employed well known Australian talent. Henry Szeps fantastic one man shows, Rachel Ward getting her kit off just 3 feet from the front row or fabulous Shakespeare at the Bell Theatre Company or the diminutive Stables. Then of course we've had the plethora of commercial hits. I first saw Phantom of the Opera in Melbourne in 1992 - stunning in the Princess Theatre then a girls weekend at The Windsor, all Victorian period and perfect for the piece. I saw Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar in Manchester and Chorus Line in Drury lane and a plethora of Doyle Carte stuff when I was a kid because my Nana received free tickets if she displayed a poster in her pub. I was born to go to the theatre in all its forms.

I also like art house theatre at the Seymour Centre including the Fall of the House of Usher with Warren Mitchell of all people, and a weird thing about Pirates whose name I've long forgotten. Then there was that fantastic nude but sensitive one about women who met in a soon to be closed bathhouse (someone tell me it's name!) I haven't been to serious professional theatre for about 10 years. I took the kids to see the Lion King and loved it and I've been to Sleek Geeks and the Enmore for the odd comedy show but I miss it much. Of course, when Cirque de Soliel visits, I'm in the front row but I'm not sure that qualifies as 'theatre' although it's entirely beautiful. Even went to Drummer's Dream with DrummerBoy, more demo than theatre but totally entertaining. And I'm not averse to the Crusty Demons who get more theatrical with each tour!

I'm also partial to the odd musical. In my youth it was Rocky Horror Show and Betty Blockbuster Follies. Oklahoma before anyone knew Hugh Jackman, Pirates of Penzance, even Mike Batt's Hunting of the Snark (now if anyone knows that - GOLD STAR). Then we had Miss Saigon (disappointing) and Les Miserables, Chess and a plethora of Andrew Lloyd Webber blockbusters. We seemed to have a decade of big productions and fantastic music.

There was The Sound Of Music remake No. 1003 (OK true to form and you know you know all the words so stop pretending you've never seen it) and the Queen one, I can't remember what it was called but Babybro bought tickets for everyone for Christmas so it was a family affair and very entertaining.

But today the musicals are becoming rather dour. We have Sweeney Todd - fantastic play - suck arse musical? I was dragged kicking and screaming to Menopause The Musical in no small part due to a fabulous Italian dinner before the show . but now . . Titanic The Musical? Funny? To whom? And now in production there's an Australian musical about The Baby Farmers called "The Hat Pin" where the mothers of illegitimate children placed their baby's into paid care until they got on their feet. The children were systematically murdered in a Macdonaldtown back yard (one assumes with a hat pin) by a real life, particularly horrible pissant who just did it for the money . . a musical . . .Oh c'mon. Some scenarios just shouldn't be put to music! What next The Day of the Triffids, Goodfellas, Silence of the lambs?

Um wrong in so many ways . . .

Thursday, February 21, 2008

It Bites

Shitty day today. 'nuf said. I am watching "Getaway" a holiday program on TV. Sucker for punishment but one holiday held me in awe. A riding holiday through the Rocky Mountains outside Alberta Canada:

When I have to put up with this, seriously, I've squished 3 in the past 5 minutes brazen hussies. It's only the females that bite. They're seriously attuned to carbon dioxide emissions and exacting temps so I am obviously running hot and breathing deep tonight!

I don't even 'welt' up any more . . just get the itchy's for a couple of minutes but these sneaky bitches know where to attack. Between your toes! On the soles of your feet (the tickly bits) and on your eyelids (puffy problem) but I do object to them falling in me chardy!

Now what was on the scales . . Cold Rocky's . . . mosquito coast . . . um cold Rocky's . . mosquito coast . . . it's a no brainer! I have finally lodged my British and Australian Passport applications . . Northern November . . fantabulistic!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Gender Bender

It's Mardis Gras and Carnival time in the Americas but not to be outdone, Sydney has it's own very special event. On Saturday, it's the Gay and Lesbian Mardis Gras! Oooh yeah baby!

This annual event has been going for a long time and has grown from a local gay pride event in Sydney's Oxford street red light and gay district to the most spectacular gay and lesbian event in the world. (I'm so proud!) Just recently Conde Nast listed it amongst the 10 most spectacular costume events, right up there with the Venice Festival and Rio Carnivale . . .except most of them are straight. It's the 30th year and promising to be one of the biggest yet.There has been, as always, a month of high quality arts, sporting and social events culminating in the world famous parade!

This year's theme, Brave New Worlds, reflects on the progress made for gays and lesbians over the past three decades and the continued work of advocates for homosexual rights.

The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is a four-week long festival for the gay and lesbian community held in Sydney during February/March. The festival eventuated from a protest march on June 24th, 1978 in commemoration of the riots in Stonewell, New York City. The event was held again the following year, where it was named the "Sydney Gay Mardi Gras."

It was in 1980 the post-parade dance party was established and in 1988 the parade was renamed the "Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras." The parade features proud members of the gay community adorned with flamboyant costumes, dance music and art. The Mardi Gras features floats and 6,000 marchers and is watched by over 300,000 people reflecting an ever-growing tolerance and acceptance of the gay and lesbian community in Sydney.

While the general tone of the event is one of fun and pride, the Mardi Gras has always maintained a somewhat political edge with humourous visual commentary adorning the floats pointedly directed at specific political parties and opponents. And it's not just a queer little parade, it brings in around 38 million tourist dollars and Sydney is the proud host of the largest gay and lesbian festival in the world. (oh dear!) Have to say tho, it is fun!

Once the preserve of drag queens and flamboyant gays, it's spread it's branches and members want Mardi Gras to increase involvement with other community organisations. Whilst some are concerned that Mardi Gras has sold out and gone for the lucrative dollar and in so doing, abandoned community cultural development others just relish in the fun.
According to the organisers: "Events such as Mardi Gras create a powerful statement to the gay and lesbian community, a statement of solidarity, of brazenness, of strength, of bargaining power, of coming together, of acceptance, of working in coalition, despite our differences. It is our month. We get to take over a major capital city and to occupy its main cultural institutions, in a very powerful and empowering way. "

Apparently, Mardi Gras offers an avenue for coming out for many young (and some not so young) gays and lesbians: those who grew up in Sydney, those who arrived here from country towns, desperate to define their identity, those who have left heterosexual relationships. There are many stories of people coming out to their families on national television, by participating in the parade. There is one story of a young man who even carried a placard saying "Guess What Mum, I'm Gay" and ensuring he got interviewed by a TV reporter during the parade. Of course, his mother said he needn't have gone to so much trouble, she already knew!

There is a serious side to this. Despite the public profile, acceptance and even commercial attraction of Mardi Gras, there remain many legal discriminations against gays and lesbians and continued public attacks on their lifestyle. Suicide amongst young homosexuals is significantly higher than the general youth suicide rate and there are continued attempts to oust gay and lesbian teachers in some areas of the education system because of their sexuality. Not in the armed forces though, we'll take you limp wrists and all!

Same sex relationships are recognised in terms of property ownership but marriage remains illegal. The Rudd government may change this but I've heard nothing about it on their political agenda. And of course, HIV/AIDS is still a high priority in terms of public health and education.

Hey, I don't care what they do in the bedroom. Nobody defines me by my heterosexuality so why define other's by their homosexuality. I do object slightly to the adoption of the word 'gay' which used to mean light-hearted and fun loving and now means something quite different. Better to be happy in a same sex relationship than miserable on your own.

Australia isn't alone in their gender confusion and we're no where near as in tune as the Brits. I had to put some forms together for a client today and was stunned at how progressive the stiff upper lippers are becoming. There is a section on their Pension Application Form for those who have had “Gender Reassignment” So they can explain why they used to be one way and are now, quite obviously another! I must admit I found myself uttering "cool!" under my breath.

So Happy Mardi Gras peeps. Drag out you're sequins, brandish your boa's and crank up the disco beat. Get those Dykes on Bikes and let's see how the Police Gay Liaison Unit handle a trungeon! Happy Mardi Gras!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Blue Raaaaay . . .I saw you standing aloooone!

I loves me DVD's. Sure there's nothing better on a cold and rainy Sunday than snooxing up with a doona and watching a barage of latest releases. I've been looking for a small flat screen for DrummerBoy's bedroom (his turn to be the favourite child this year) and the prices are coming down rapidly but when it comes to the crunch in matching DVD player/recorders there's HD vs Blue Ray!

Remember the old Mac vs the PC, Ford vs Holden, Betamax vs VHS? It's the same thing. Here both Blue Ray and HD are available for sale but the video shops are decidedly backing Sony's DVD. PS3 also has a Blue Ray player and already some eager early birds in the HD Set Top Box or TV enthusiasts are relegating their players to the attic. Looks like Blue Ray is the winner? DrummerBoy is talking PS3 but may have run out of cash due to his latest sartorial spending spree. Haha, you XBoxers must be hoping that Microsoft backs the Blue Ray bandwagon too although they're swearing they'll remain committed to HD.

So . . .do I buy a Blue Ray system or the highly promoted High Definition . . what's the diff? Well about 30% of the purchase price actually. And now that Time Warner are producing their DVD's on Blue Ray, the writing's on the wall I guess. HD is cheaper, Blue Ray is better and cornering the market. I wonder how he'll feel about a library of leather bound classics instead.

Monday, February 18, 2008

I'm a Caramello Koala - Really!

OK for 360 days of the year, I'm pretty amenable, happy, content, supportive, ambitious, conscientious, fulfilled but every now and then I get down in the dumps and today is one of those milestone days where if I had a weapon I might just use it.

I feel compulsed to remind myself (and a couple of others) that this is my blog. It's personal, boring, sometimes mildly entertaining and I'm lucky and very flattered that a few people choose to comment on it but it is a reflection of what's going on in my head. It's impulsive, unedited. I'm not getting paid for it and I'm not looking to win any grand awards. I don't advertise on it or promote it. It's public because when I first started I didn't have a clue about setting it up and once the comments started, I liked the interaction with others and still do. But it always was and still is a way for my kids to look on what a strange fish their mother is, her politics, her social conscience, her musical taste, her occasional sense of humour and mundane existence.(God I'm even talking about myself in the third person which is something I also hate!) My mother used to say "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all", my father simply said "Be nice . . " I'm finding that harder and harder to do these days. I don't think my epitaph will ever say "She was a nice person." Today I don't feel very nice.

Little things annoy me, big things annoy me, in-between things annoy me. Today I was empty headed and vacant. Completely lacking in concentration, motivation or care. Not just unhappy, not just grumpy and I don't mean to belittle those who suffer from chronic and devastating depression but there was a dark cloud hanging over me from 7am that didn't rain and didn't move on and I don't know why which disturbs me more than I can say because of all things I'm very pragmatic and level headed and feel there should be a logical explanation for everything. I should have taken a friend's advice early this morning and had a sickie! A sanity day! But that goes against my high moral code.

I don't know what's come over me. I feel jipped, short-changed, lonely and wallowing in self pity. I'm miserable and focussing unnecessarily on the negative. I am careless and slap-dash, unenthused and bored. I am broke and beligerant . . . I'm sick of a leaking roof, old cars, broken washing machines and noisy hot water pipes. I'm over walking on eggshells just so that others don't feel uncomfortable. I've had enough of tiny bedrooms and an unsatisfying water saving shower. I'm over a gigantic back yard that never seems to be tidy. I've had it with dog hair and lizard poo and flies in my garbage bin and spiders on my roof. I hate my ageing furniture and grubby couches, holland blinds and fly screens that don't fit properly. I'm tired of a mail box whose lid falls off every time I pick up the mail. I'm tired of picking up the mail when everyone gets home before me and just waits for it to be delivered. I've had it with being woken up at midnight with next door's U2 blaring Vertigo and Queen Alive. I'm frustrated with being such a creature of habit and being so bloody predictable. I'm annoyed that there's no space in MY shed for more than a tractor, saddle and an old wardrobe because it's full of other people's stuff. And if that Tim Forster Greenwood rings me one more time to say that Mulpha Norwest are interested in our block I'll bloody knee cap him with Adam's baseball bat . . my hopes are raised and thwarted on a weekly basis.

After tackling Drummerboy and ClareBear's bedrooms, I hate the meaningless clutter that's accumulated over the years but haven't the heart to throw it away. Who needs a 10cm statue of Eric Cantona or a broken Mitsubishi Magna Tail light on their dressing table! I'm sick of this depressing grey weather and sticky humidity. Melbourne give us your SUNSHINE! Your citizens are used to the gloom. I'm bored with my clothes and hate my hair and my body shape. I can't stand the two disgustingly mangy dogs that insist on 'nesting' in our camelia hedge and kicking bark all over the verandah and carport. I'm sooo over the junk on the verandah even though half of it's mine!

Even my lipsticks are brown, monchromatic and lacklustre everything seems 'beige'. I feel achy and neglected like some old Weatherboard House that was once lustrous and welcoming. I have a real "Alice Doesn't Live Here Any More" demeanour. I'm anti-social and scathing. Rude and impertinent. Unmotivated and unhappy. I'm disappointed in relationships, fed up with a job that I once loved and now loathe. I'm ashamed of my laziness and lament the loss of my sense of humour of late. I've come to despise trivial conversation and shallow people. Yep. Today I am the epitome of a grumpy old woman.

Ahh . . just one of those days . . I'll get over it but for now . . . indulge me . . I'm having a little wallow! Doesn't everyone feel like this now and again?

Ah, "Self pity in its early stages is as snug as a feather mattress. Only when it hardens does it become uncomfortable" (Maya Angelou - American Poet)

Even though I feel like a mint crisp, all cold and crunchy in the middle, I'm really like a Caramello Koala, hard on the outside but all squishy and sweet in the middle!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Slightly Sore and Pixelated

It's been a busy day. I vowed to do something creative with Drummerboy's bedroom whilst he was away and the simple removal of a junk ridden computer desk has opened up a whole can of worms. The boy is a hoarder of gargantuan proportions so between cruising the Hills Homemaker Centre for a suitable flat screen TV and a shelving unit (flat pack and self construct with a bloody alun key of course) there's been little time for anything else. But this isn't the point. By 4.00pm I was exhausted. You will be pleased or completely disinterested to know that he now has 8 box shelves in his bedroom and a slim flatscreen TV and DVD plus nice cream yet masculine linen and it smells of Paco Rabanne rather than . . .well I don't know what that smell was and I have an accute sense!I have bruised feet from dropping bits of heavy MDF shelving on my thong clad tootsies and the frustration of gluing dowel into the wrong holes (fucking Chinese instructions) So at the end of it all, I poured myself a glass of the bubbly stuff and tuned into the Sunday Arts Show.

I love the Yarts. I can wonder around a sculpture garden or a gallery or go to the theatre of the absurd or meander the streets during the Sydney festival and forget that there is a world other than that which art encompasses. Stay with me , there is a loose connection. Sadly, haven't had the time recently but . . On the show was an introspective on Antony Gormley, the English sculptor accredited with the construction of the Angel of the North and decidedly taking sculpture to the people. I've seen this thing in magazines and on the telly. Probably most notable was Billy Connolly's traverse around England but it's truly wonderful. The fact that Newcastle Soccer fans actually dressed it in a jersey some time ago makes it even more a sculpture of the people. I t started me thinking about sculpture that has enthralled and entertained, unpretentious and prevailing. I thought of the Sydney Museum of Contemporary Arts exhibition of 'Puppy' a 30 metre growing sculpture which had everyone smiling.

Jeff Koons' Puppy outside the MCA

Or Sculpture by the Sea, a September/October event where the walk from Bondi to Coogee is adorned with sculpture mad and marvellous. But I must admit the body of work from Antony Gormley is stunning. There! Arts on Sunday . . . my feet hurt, I hate alun keys but the TV is a bloody coup at $298! Less my $60 JV Hi Fi voucher from Christmas! I can't tell you how long it took to gently de-dust Darth Vader and his lego companions!

A map of the shopping centre where I searched for the storage solution

The number of people out shopping whilst I was looking for the storage unit from hell

How I felt after seeing the prices of several storage units from hell

The way I looked at 4.00pm realising that I'd had nothing to eat or drink all day searching for the storage unit from Hell

. . . and me right now, slightly sore and rather pixelated!

Seriously though, how good is his stuff!

And a little baby huntsman watching today's construction of the storage unit from Hell . . . the only pic here not by young Antony . . .
(Just to make you go eeuuuww - aww c'mon, look how furry and cute he is - don't worry he was only about 7 cm across and politely stayed on the ceiling)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Just Another Saturday - Move on . . .go on . . shoo!

After last night's antics I had a very productive day and didn't need a Nana nap after all. I have nothing of interest to say so go away now and keep surfing the other blogs filled with wit, charm, politics and social comment. This is nothing more than a diary entry. (The temptation to type dairy there is probably testament to my tiredness, unconscious as it is)

Met the Master farrier and son at Glenorie today - time for the ponys' six weekly manicure. My old boy is waaaaay toooooo thin! Despite hard feed and several biscuits of hay each day. So I'm going to bring him and his Royal Fatness (Clare's pony) back to Kellyville. Not that Babysis isn't doing a good job but work and kids and . . . he needs some diligent intensive care or he'll never survive the winter. On site, I can feed him twice or even three times a day and keep that porker Chippy separated in the paddock next door. They'll be able to see and talk to each other but poor old Lasalle Royal Flash (aka Laurie) who now looks like one of the four horses of the Apocalypse, will have a chance to fatten up without the Welsh Mountain jelly belly thief pinching his meal. He's an old sausage at 29 in September but hey, he's also a tough old Arab who has the potential to see 40 *gulp*. The vet tells me he's healthy, just underweight so needs some intensive fud. I just need to get the front paddock fence fixed where a tree has fallen on it then I had the brainwave that it's probably covered by my house and contents insurance. We remove the tree, they pay for the fence. Brilliant! *note to self - call Allianz on Monday*. You watch, no sooner will I move them back here and someone will buy the property. DOH!

Three cars detailed on the inside. How DrummerBoy gets so much sand and dried grass entwined in his floor carpet I'll never know and Fringlet must spend a fortune on Bobby pins judging by today's haul. That combined with the obvious shareholding in Macdonalds saw me fill two kitchen tidy bags with wrappers and rubbish and I've never vacuumed so many sesame seeds in my life (Two all beef patties, special sauce, cheese, pickles, onion, lettuce on a sesame seed bun). Ah the rock 'n roll diet. Kebabs and MacDonalds - the only food outlets open at 3am! Words will be had upon his return! Water restrictions mean that I can't wash the outside (unless I use my own spit) but I can take the cars to the recycle car wash (if only they recycled cars and not water) for $14 a piece so they'll be schparkly. The master plan is to sell DrummerBoy's Magna either intact to some dumb ass - I mean new 'P' Plater - with $2000 to spare - or for parts. Then I pocket the cash (air fare yaya!) and he gets the Corolla hatchback for nothing but maintenance costs, which surprisingly fits an entire drum kit, stands and stool, if the back seats are folded down. AND has the added bonus of running on an oily rag but makes for a poor shaggin' wagon. Clare's stuffed if she comes home early but hey. Outta sight, outta mind. Can afford a holiday - can afford a car!

Well not entirely out of mind. I've been worried about her since Monday. She threw away what she thought was an entry card when it was actually her exit card from Brasil. Slight panic because if the border guards wouldn't let her pay, she would have had to taxi/bus back to Foz and pay the fee at the Bank of Brasil and then try to catch up with the tour group. She wasn't alone, apparently two English boys did the same thing but still . . . . Apparently, my little flower is traveling through South America on PUBLIC TRANSPORT! Sure it's with a tour group and their 'adventures' and accommodation are secured but no air conditined tour coach full of blue rinse grannies, no changing seats to get to know each other, no vying for who gets to sit at the front! (thank God) I knew it was an 'adventure' holiday but crikey! I hope their buses are better than ours. Anyway, crisis averted, she paid her $80 to leave the country at the border and is now in Paraguay. Still living off cans of tuna and stolen bread rolls from the breakfast buffet by all accounts and a lite beer called Skol. She's got the snots but Skyped me on Monday with a webcam enabled and looks just fine and dandy. I don't really miss her yet. Wait until after Easter but it's already been three weeks and the time has flown.

DrummerBoy is obviously enjoying the honeymoon suite, the phone has gone silent since the shopping spree. w00t! I think he's having a good time. Although Strawberry Girl (one of Adam's pals) told me of four of her friends who came home from Phuket with a variety of ailments from broken bones due to quad bike accidents to a nit wit who burned his chest playing with a fiery rope. Apparently the Thais do that sort of thing for kicks/tourists - skip with flaming string!

Sweet Babybro not only mowed the lawn today (all three acres of it) but whipper snipped as well. (mind you I had to pick up all the fallen branches and lug them onto the bonfire and blow his mess away when he'd finished!) Took him from 11:00am until now, 4:42 but it looks SWEET! First time he's done it in five years of living here and didn't run over a single sprinkler, so there's hope that poor old DrummerBoy won't be the only maintenance man on the block in future.

Picture of Aussie manhood mowing lawn - note patriotic shirt! Is he trying to do a burn out?

Had a Skype chat with some friendly foreigners, took me dawg for a walkie poo. Vacuumed the lizard poo off me carpets and changed me sheets . . right . . time for a chotapeg and a DVD.

Oh fark, the bloody washing machine's broken again!

Adrenalin Junkie or Stupid MOFO

Some time ago I was woken from my light slumber by the sound of helicopters (yep, 2 or three) choofing loudly outside. Then by an alien light that flooded the house and streamed in every window lighting up the back yard like the MCG. Whilst no dogs barked and only BabyBro heard the kafuffle whilst everyone else slept through it, I did the unthinkable. I wondered outside to see what on earth was going on. It turned out, a break in had taken place in a bank over at Norwest, the industrial development at the end of our road and two perpetrators were on the run. PoliceAir and a couple of news helicopters were scanning the street to try to locate the escapees. It struck me . . .whilst standing bathed in light, watching the tops of the gum trees in their frenzied wind blown state . . . that the offenders may well be hiding in my back yard! Idiot. So I finally ran inside, locked up big time and swear I heard someone running along the side fence.

Tonight, I just did another really stupid thing. Even stupider than standing in the middle of the back yard eyeing helicopters scanning the paddock with a spotlight. Yep at 3am in the morning I heard one dog barking half-heartedly (nothing unusual there - possums and bats usually exact the same treatment) and a shuffling noise on the concrete in the carport so what did I do . . . grabbed my maglite and went outside. Not before stirring Lily into a snufflying frenzy so she shot out the door like a real guard dog but with little more than a skittling noise and a gruffly growl. I followed with the big Maglite in hand, waiving it in the air like a light sabre (in bare feet mind you), yelling like woman possessed and chased after a shadowy shape which was now running down the front garden. Funny how you feel no pain when the adrenalin rushes or the stupidity locks in. (My feet are sore now!)

What an IDIOT. My heart's still pumping . . thank God he took off. Then I glanced sideways and there's another one walking quite serenely, if you please, down the driveway to a waiting car! I opened my own car door as if I was going to get in and chase them down and they both picked up pace, jumped into the car and sped off! It's still dark and a quick scan suggests nothing was taken, perhaps they were just taking a short cut through the back paddock and were caught by surprise. Perhaps they were scoping the four unlocked cars in the carport . . .who knows! Just another sign that urbanity is creeping into Brigadoon.

Now every creak and tick in the house has me jumping out of my skin! It's gonna be a long night!

Perhaps I should get this version . . .looks a bit more convincing!

Friday, February 15, 2008

So You Think You're Better Than Sydney?

23° | 18°
Chance of Rain
23° | 18°
Chance of Rain
22° | 18°
Chance of Rain
24° | 17°
31° | 19°
31° | 16°

Unless you're living on the East Coast of Australia, this won't mean much to you other than it is completely upside down. Totally wrong. Just not right. Melbourne is having our weather and we are having theirs! What next? Will we get the Grand Prix and the Melbourne Cup and they'll get the NRL Grand Final and the Sydney Festival!

There is a friendly rivalry between the states, there's no doubt but I can hear the 'Nyer's' from here thank goodness there are still some subtle differences:

White beaches, great surf (except for Bondi which is full of poo)
The best harbour in the world
The Coathanger
The Circular Quay Foreshore including the ole oprey!
Average coffee, great fish and chips
Cosmpolitan nightlife, average restaurants
Great views from any high point
Our Luna Park doesn't break down every day
We play Rugby League
Shit roads and you pay through the nose
Deadly cycle couriers who would kill you sooner than say 'excuse me'
Bigger than Melbourne
More expensive than Melbourne
Fast Pace
Chinese Triads and the best Ice and Coke in Australia
Capable of winning the AFL
Trains are hard to graffiti
Lotsa gay pride
Relish open plazas and public waterfront
Better NYE Fireworks
Think that the board short is a fashion statement
We make good pizzas
We're up ourselves .. .

Largest Greek City outside Athens
Good Coffee, lousy fish and chips
Quality nightlife, nice restaurants
No surf, just a muddy bay
Luna park breaks down every day
Nice parks and cycleways all through the city
Cheaper than Sydney
They play Aussie Rules but can't win a grand final
Good roads and most are free
Smaller than Sydney
Snails pace
Great underworld crime scene and the highest grade heroin in Australia
Incapable of winning the AFL
Trains are so slow they're easy to graffiti
Believes gloomy laneways are architectural delights
Jealous of Sydney's NYE fireworks
Think the black skivvie is a fashion statement
They make good souvlaki
They're depressed . . .

Once I would have firmly stated BETTER WEATHER *sob* Damn you Melbourne, I'll get you next time . . .

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Hey Big Spender

DrummerBoy has a reputation for being a bit of a tight arse. He's very choosy about where he spends his readies. Once he's paid for petrol, a night out, a few bevvies and repaid me in pool chemicals there's precious little left but what there is tends to be spent on boys toys (pocket bikes, motor bikes and accessories, remote control vehicles, XBox games) or frittered on a variety of fast food outlets (Subway, MacDonalds or Thai food).

He does however, have an eye for a bargain and sn't afraid to ask 'how much for cash'. In fact he even when buying shoes which were listed on special at half price, he still asked and managed a further reduction of 1 cent! He likes to shop around (to the point where slashed prices can be offset by the petrol spent shopping around). He's frugal that's what he is. He's been known to save himself the cost of a taxi by stripping down to the boxers on the way home from the pub and given a lift to the top of our road in a Divvy Van!

DrummerBoy also hates to shop, he hates the act of shopping and the parting of money for something as uninteresting and unimportant as clothing. Fashion is not a priority. The Fringelet and I have finally persuaded him to toss his Grey Grandpa PJ's and I relented and bought him two pairs of Jeans and a couple of T's a few weeks ago because they were two for the price of one and I was afraid the neighbours might think I'd turned my home into a half-way house for the hard-up and homeless. His only decent clothes are those received as Christmas or birthday gifts.

T shirt that I bought him for Christmas!

Before heading off to Phuket, he's only had to raise spending money, since the holiday was a 21st gift. So the lad left Antipodean shores flush by Thai standards and pretty pumped about haggling for a good deal! Imagine my delight to receive not one but two messages that indicate my scruffy nerf herder my well be sliding into sartorial elegance:

"Hi it’s Fringelet! You should be very proud. DrummerBoy has been shopping and buying lots of clothes, he’s even bought more than me!"

Then DrummerBoy:

"Hey mum we just upgraded to honeymoon suite, have bought 9 pairs of socks, 3 shirts, 2 Oakley Sunnies, 3 board shorts, 2 hats, 1 motorcross bag, 1 tailored suit, dress shirt, free tie and a dart board for under $300. Woo! love you.

Told you he knew how to drive a bargain! Although why he wants another dart board escapes me!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A Good Day to Say Sorry

Laid out before the most powerful institution in the country, the Australian Parliament, 4000 candles flickered spelling out the words ‘Sorry, the first step’ in the evening of 12th February. It was a very moving moment by all accounts and finally at 9:00 this morning, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd spoke to Parliament and delivered his long awaited Sorry Statement. I was quite impressed.

I belong to an organisation of lobbyists called GetUp, normal Australians who collectively are trying to change policy without getting het up about sides and politics. Our voices are represented by this non-partisan lobby group according to the votes of confidence given to them by us, their members. It was they who were responsible for the candle display.

The first candle was lit by Lorna Fejo, a Warumungu woman and member of the Stolen Generations who was taken from her family at 4 years old. As she lit the candle she said, ‘A big relief…at least I’m alive to hear it, I’m one of the lucky ones’.

Her daughter Christine King who was also present said, ‘This is wonderful. It’s bringing the whole nation together like it’s never been before’.

There was a real sense of joy and celebration as people lit the candles, the whole of the press gallery came out from the inside of Parliament to record the moment.

The candles are a symbol of hope but also recognise the darkness they illuminate. The ‘sorry is the first step’ message is much more than just a celebration. It steels our minds for the journey ahead to a reconciled nation. It was really great to see smiling aboriginal faces in both Parliament and on the television today instead of the poverty and sexual abuse that so often makes the tabloids.

We have a long way to go but this first step in reconciliation and the words of the apology now put the onus for reconciliation and fair treatment on both Aborignal people and the rest of the Australian population. It is no longer a one way street. Shan't bore you anymore but I was very impressed with Kevin07's address, it was erudite, heartfelt and I think it did the trick .. should have happened ages ago. Now you Koori people, time to take some responsibility and not just hand outs. Help us to help you solve the endemic problems of poverty, abuse, alcholism, chroming. There is opportunity a plenty for you if you want to grasp it!

So far I like this guy, he's hit the ground running . . . not just with the sorry statement but he cancelled leave over the New Year period to keep ministers and public servants in Canberra nose to the grindstone. He's cutting public service spending, focussing on hospital and work place relations policy.

Hopefully he will forget his stupid tax cuts promise and help people to stop spending. Interest rates went up another .25 basis points the first Tuesday of the month. My mortgage is now teeteringly close to double digits a t9% with the cash rate at 7.00%. How come your mortgage and credit cards is always higher than the interest you can earn? This at a time when the Commonwealth Bank announces a 4% profit rise of $4.2billion! At least their shareholders will be happy . . . their borrowers certainly aren't.

Top Cat

I believe Wires rescued the cat!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Iron Petticoats

This is an uninformed ramble but it's my blog so I'll ramble as I please.

Many women have 'women's intuition' and an empathetic stance that could bring a little sense to politics the world over. Not the women who feel they have to grow balls to compete with men but women in their own right.

Tonight the 'sorry statement' will be tabled in Parliament and a number of indigenous Australians have gathered outside both old Parliament House and the new seat of government to await the phrasing of this historic piece. Some are there to applaud the actions of the Rudd Government. Some to protest Government intervention in remote Northern Territorian communities rife with disease, violence and abusive behaviour. Either way, the sorry statement is a step forward in the right direction.

Whilst chatting with a friend the other day, we were discussing both the Arab Israeli conflict, terrorism and the like and I mentioned that I'd read Islamic mothers need to give their would be suicide bomber sons 'permission' to blow themselves up. I read it somewhere and don't know how true it is but it got me thinking about the role of women in world politics. What if those mothers could be convinced to save their sons? Who is talking to them, who knows where they are or what they are feeling? I know, that to lose a son is a terrible thing, no matter how mighty Allah might be. This should be a starting point for negotiation.

Now I'm not going to quote research or journalists or academics but I have a strong feeling that in the resolution of conflict, women are ignored and certainly their role in helping to prevent it is invisible. I'm not talking about ball breakers such as Maggie Thatcher or Condalisa Rice, Julia Gillard, these are women who have become genderless representations of the female form in order to compete in a man's political arena. They've had to behave like men to achieve their aims. I'm talking about normal, female, intuitive, everyday women.

Tonight, two erudite, well educated aboriginal women featured on the 7:30 Report. Jackie Huggins, academic and anthropologist and Marcia Langton reflected on the significance of the statement. They made overwhelming sense. There were no 'male' representatives discussing the virtues and failures of the Sorry Statement, just two female elders, the backbone of the family, speaking honestly and directly. It seems to me, and this is purely an uneducated guess, that the role of women in family, the workplace, society and politics etc. is largely ignored yet so many speak absolute sense. How do we activate more women? I don't know. It's like joining the services. We all appreciate what our armed services do but few want to participate. The conundrum is to attract these sensible, empathic, intelligent females into the public arena, diplomacy and politics without turning them into men!

All this when the Australian response to recent events in Dili, Timor is to send in more troops before they even understand what went on . . wouldn't have anything to do with preserving natural gas would it now?

We could do with less androgenous female leaders and a few who can retain their feminine values but capable of wearing iron petticoats.

Just a thought. And of course, gross generalisations apply.

Another Day at the Office

I was going to write a rather vitriolic piece about how wonderful women are because they can manage to hold down a job, a relationship, a hobby - take care of kids, remember the mother in law's birthday, knit, sew, wash, clean, iron, repair things from broken hearts to blocked drains. How we can look sexy when we want to and practical when we don't. How we can turn a man on with a glance and off with a gesture and cure a tear with a Pooh Bear band aid or whip up a dinner for five with a can of tomatoes and a kilo of mince. We're even capable of putting the toilet seat down and cleaning our teeth without spitting toothpaste all over the mirror. We're so clever, how come we don't rule the world! Surely we should have grown out of a few hundred years of mysogenistic oppression by now! If only we could programme the bloody DVD recorder! We could be queens of the universe! (actually that's the only thing I can't or choose not to do that the men in my house can!).

Then I became distracted by men who are awful managers and patronising bastards because they expect you to be superhuman one minute then treat you like a dumb cow the next . . then it sort of wondered off into crazy why do IT people speak a foreign language? Then the word snowjobbing turned into a dialogue about how I love the cold and want to go to Lapland and feed a reindeer and visit Santa's kingdom - it's so shiny! (No I haven't been on the hallucegenics).

I really hate working in an office. One partner refuses to speak to me, the other treats me like I'm a schoolgirl and the other . . well he doesn't really care too much either way. The most annoying paraplanner in the world even asked me to look up a phone number for her today and was promptly met with "piss off, do I look like a fucking phone book!" (so much for my not being bitchy for lent) I wish I'd been a landscaper or a dog washer . . . in fact, dammit . . .when I'm financially fit . . . I'm going to be the Spin Doctor to the aspiring Benevolent Dictator of the world - yeh, he exists, I know him, really! I just have to wait for him to finish University and get over his video gaming habit so that he focuses on the real agenda!

In the meantime, I'm stuck in the office somewhere between the pedants and the underlings and the most annoying paraplanner in the world, getting buried in forms and procedure manuals and employment contracts and scrapping with overpaid youths about the virtues of their IT skills and drop-everything-and-do-it-now requests and printers that don't work and did I mention the most annoying paraplanner in the world?

So kiddywinks, a lesson to you . . bugger pushing a pen around for others! Get into your own business, be your own boss, be knowledgeable, empathic, treat your employees with real respect not just 'recognition' (which is a corporate word for 'we love your work but we're not giving you a pay rise') . . be the master of your own universe whether you're cleaning bathrooms or building skyscrapers. Leave 'the man' to his own devices and see if he can book a meeting in Outlook or type a letter all by himself, let alone work a dictaphone or how to copy anything double sided! Seriously, it's enough to drive a Saint to madness!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Aww Phuket!

DrummerBoy and The Fringelet will soon be going through the gates at Kingsford Smith, probably for a quick browse of the Duty Free, capture a bottle of Jaegermeister and then onto Thai Airways for their flight to Phuket. He packed everything, then took it all out and packed nothing, vowing to buy lots of stuff over there. Then he rethought and packed about half a suitcase so I think he’s finally got the balance right. He has been so excited, nervous, tense. It’s hilarious bless him. He’s terrified of someone putting kilos of ganja in his suitcase and has it padlocked and shrink wrapped.

Patong beach, Phuket . . . A little busy for my liking!

It’s his first overseas trip since he was six years old when I took them both for a relax in Fiji and broke my arm but that's another story. The excitement mixed with trepidation has him buzzing. It’s actually my present to him for his 21st Birthday last December. So off he’s gone on the romantic holiday of a lifetime.

It took me back to the year before I got married. Ray and I wanted to have a holiday but something exotic, pampery, cultural. So, we settled on Tahiti. Not in any small part due to a Cousins Imperial Leather TV commercial airing at the time which had a family travelling in a customised Jumbo with the lady of the house swanning in a bubbly spa bath sipping champagne and responding to the question ‘Where should we go for our next holiday? . . . . “Ahhhh. . Tahiti looks nice!”

How totally cool is that!

Not just Tahiti but a few of the Society Islands including Ra'iatea, Huahine, Morea, Maupiti, Bora Bora . . .so we booked our little island hop holiday. Now in 1978 it wasn’t that easy to sneak of for a holiday at 21 years of age with you’re boyfriend of a few months! We were bound by middle class values and expectations. We were no more allowed to sleep together than fly and any sexual encounters had to be clandestine and usually involved cars, beaches and out of the way places. It was weird, we were allowed to go camping for a weekend or stay over at friend’s house but absolutely no sleep overs at home. What can’t be seen and all that!

So Ray, being the gentleman he was, decided he’d have to broach this with my father and explain that whilst we were about to leave for a three week tropical bonkfest, his intentions were honourable and we were as committed as a young couple could be without cohabiting. I don’t know what he said but a blanket of comfort fell upon my parents and they were fine with the whole thing. So off we went!

It was without doubt the most fantastic three weeks of my life. Trapseing around the South Pacific with the one I loved. Drinking Mango Daquiries and Rhum Punch whilst watching the sun set over the sea. Snorkelling in crystal lagoons where empty shells from the US occupation during WWII were still evident, now transformed into little coral reefs for a myriad of tetris and angel fish. We saw young villagers dance, firewalkers and jugglers . . pretty Polynesian girls giggle at us when we asked for “Woit Woine” . . .we climbed hills, marvelled at the jungle and picked our own vannilla and mangoes. The only contretemps was an almighty fight over whose fault it was that our Outrigger canoe was going in circles. All too soon it was over – as was the holiday!

Upon landing back in Oz, we had a wedding to attend, pretty much as we got off the plane so we taxi’d straight there only to have everyone congratulating us when we arrived. There were kisses and handshakes from people we barely knew! We were shocked to be the centre of attention at someone else’s special day!

What for?. . well my father in his middle class morality had promptly announced to the world that we had actually got engaged whilst away!

Actually, I never really thanked him for the arranged marriage. Perhaps I should have! Ironically, we spent our Honeymoon in the Blue Mountains and a Week at Port Macquarie, not quite as exotic but hey, it was a honeymoon, we’d have been happy in Mawson’s Hut!

So back to DrummerBoy - have a wonderful trip darling and make the most of the exotic surroundings . . learn to travel not just tour. Be careful with your Passport and money. Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints and look after my future daughter in law - make it a really romantic holiday. See you on the 26th!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Welcome To My World

Today the weather cleared into a lovely, breezy sunny day, about 26 degrees with a cool North Westerly so after being locked up for so long in the torrential rain, we decided to go for a neighbourhood walk. Lily loves a walk. It must involve carrying a stick.

So we wondered down the road under the watchful eye of one of these. Taking a dog on a nature walk seriously limits the opportunity to photograph any wildlife . . .Noisy Mynas announce the arrival of any interloper . . .

At the end of our street is a man made sanctuary and lake, unfortunately, we also have a lot of these . . .

Undeterred, we wondered down to these . . .

Naturally explored in great detail . . .

Needed to dry off a little . . . .

Before taking a few snaps of these . . . Dusky Moorhens . . adult and juvenille. (Haha, like Lily and me although who's the adult and who's the juvinille is under dispute)

Then we found one of these standing patrol . . .

Chased a few of these . . .although this one was on a mission, sure I had something in my pocket and literally paddled all the way across the lake at 60kms an hour . . .well sort of . . .

and these . . .

And of course totally broke up a party of these . . .

Before wondering home through what my place will look like in a couple of years . . .

And down through the top of the back paddock where apparently there is a speed limit!

Frolicked around in the long grass . . .made even longer by recent rain . . .

And back through the paddock and home again . . .

Apart from wet socks and a plethora of grass seeds (the bottom of the road has been sealed off for building works so we had to go cross-country . . all in all a pretty pleasant morning! I just wish someone would give biting March flies a calendar, dont they know it's still February!