Monday, June 30, 2008


cartoon from

Cartoon by Dave Walker.

David has asked his readers to answer the question "Do you Procrastinate?" Which is good because I'm short of blog fodder, probably because I actually have been busy . . .unusual for me I'm usually in control and not too fussed about running around like a chook with it's head cut off . . .So do I? Of course but I am a contradiction in terms.

I'm uber organised. I'm never late, I keep track of things at work via a CRM which allows tasking and timing. I plan projects on . . .well MS Project. My files are up to date. I plan meals as best I can given the itinerant condition of my family at the moment. I am ultimately a creature of habit. I am predictable (so I've been told many times) I have my little routines. . . . early morning I check blogs and emails, have 2 cups of Irish Breakfast tea with milk and 1 sugar. I iron the day's clothes, shower, dress and tidy the kitchen. Pat the Princess, plump the cushions and head off to work . . .in the evening, come home, put on my comfies, watch the news, pour a glass of chardy, and then make dinner. I always wash up and sweep the floor before going to bed. I have coffee with my sister ever Saturday (when sport finishes) and do my grocery shopping every Sunday morning. I am ultimately reliable.

So why, when it comes to quite important things do I procrastinate . . just look at this lot!

  • Interior painting - been talking about it for a week but there's still a nasty grubby stain on the ceiling where the valley gutters leaked since torrential rain in April, all I've done is locate my paint tray and roller.
  • Washing my curtains which are decidedly grubby, I think the lounge curtains were last washed in um 2001 . . rather tardy for someone who's a fastidious house keeper
  • Passport application - ready to go. All I have to do is make a booking at the local post office, have the interview and pay the cheque
  • Buy shoes . . I have two pairs of work shoes . . sensible Colorado types but one pair has a crack clean across the sole on the ball of my foot . . why don't I just go out and buy another pair?
  • Photography course, I've missed three intakes and if I don't get cracking I'll miss the next in July!
  • Then there are the things that I know cause procrastination because they're unpleasant . . cleaning the oven, tidying the wardrobe, venturing into DrummerBoy's bedroom and climbing over the tool kits and overnight bags, playstation boxes and piles of clothes to change his sheets! Cleaning the Envyrocycle sprinklers which have become bunged up with mud after recent rain. I even went to Bunnings this weekend and bought a new leaf blower but the hinge on my kitchen cabinet is still hanging off - it didn't cross my mind to buy one whilst I was there.
So yes, I procrastinate . . I've had three balls of yarn and knitting needles in a drawer for three years . . I've had kitchen shears waiting to be sharpened on my computer desk at work for two! It's taken me 10 years to finally realise that I really must do something about my weight . . .It'll take another year before I have the courage to tell my brother that I'm pulling the plug and selling up . . .I still haven't bought my sister-in-law a birthday present, her birthday was in May . . or my sister a birthday gift . . hers was in June! It's not that I don't care, it's not that I'm lazy . . frankly I think it's because there are other things I'd rather do such as talk online or enjoy drinks and nibblies with my son and his girlfriend on a Sunny Sydney afternoon.

So why do we procrastinate? Apparently because:

  • poor time management, often associated with a distorted sense of the time available . . Oh yeah! I get carried away on Skype, Facebook, blogs, emails . . .big time!
  • an inability to prioritise . . What isn't drinking and enjoying lunch in the sun a higher priority than scrubbing the floors?
  • overload of tasks at a specific time OK I'll grant this one . . too much dirty washing on a Saturday, why couldn't he be a tie-wearing executive instead of a mud lumbered landscaper!
  • anxiety about the task, so time is spent worrying rather than doing . . Definitely true of a garden the size of Central Park, even a day's work barely makes a dint!
  • difficulty concentrating . . who me? Oh look at that pretty butterfly!
  • not knowing what is required . . .definitely not . . I KNOW what has to be done, I CHOOSE to not do it!
  • feeling overwhelmed by the task(s) When it comes to cupboards . .absolutely!
  • concern about failing or not meeting your own standards . . .nah . . .I've learned to relax a little about failing . .hey . . . if it happens often enough you get used to it!
  • fear of success and its possible consequences . . Possibly . .maybe that explains the passport thing . . once I've got it, I'll have to use it.
  • perfectionism, often associated with unrealistic standards Probably . . .unrealistic standards but perfectionism has never been a big thing. (I can hear my daughter yelling "W-h-a-t, you have to be kidding" from 12,000 miles away!
  • negative feelings - e.g. "I'm stupid", "nothing ever goes right for me" Oooooh yeah! Bowm Bowm . . chicka chickahhhh . . .
  • being bored by the task DEFINITELY . .what's fun about washing, cleaning, tidying, scooping, blowing . . .I'd rather be . . spotlighting possums with a Maglite
  • avoidance of things which are disliked or difficult . . Ever tried cleaning an oven after three years use?
Actually I think I really procrastinate on a lot of maintenance type things because I don't like doing them on my own. Even if there's someone just holding a shovel or pottering beside me doing nothing much, it's so much nicer doing the jobs you hate when you have company . . .and my 'company' make themselves very scarce when chores have to be tackled! Look, life is like ironing . . once you get motivated to put the board up . . it's all good!

Hey, slackers of the world UNITE . . . . . . .tomorrow! Procrastinate now, don’t put it off! Here are the top 10 reasons to procrastinate:


Saturday, June 28, 2008

Ah Iz Boss Doggeh

ClareBear is missing her pooch, her jogging companion and her schnooxy girl so my darling, this post is for you . . .Love you much . . .Ma

Ah is watchin' youz!

When I iz not snoofin' wabbits

You tookz this! I iz neva gonna forgive youz

Dont'z flash me when az sleepin

Stretchin' before helpin ma in de gardenz

That Adam iz slack chlorinatin' de pool

A iz takin yeh place in de socca team - girlz rule!

Kizz ma Azz! I haz stick

Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday Fuckwit

Can't tell you how glad I am this week is over, one more day of end-of-financial year madness and we can all go back to normal. I've decided that this is a good category on which to finish the week. This Friday the Friday Fuckwit goes to . . .drum roll please

Robert Mugabe who despite his opposition withdrawing from the race will take his people to the polls tomorrow and have an election anyway! Triffic, and we'll all vote for this one horse race will we. If the man wasn't so dangerous it would be funny. I hope he loses. (Doh!)

And closer to home . . a parochial Friday Fuckwit award to one of our partners at work who was the only staff member who refused to contribute towards Carly's leaving gift. She left today for 2 years in Europe after four year's service as our highly valued Administration Assistant and the man didn't donate a cent! How nice it is to know that your staff are so highly valued! I've already bought him some cufflinks for Christmas . . .

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Cat Can Look at a King!

Ok I confess, I am an ogler, a sexist, a lover of the young and handsome. There, I said it, so sue me for being as bad as the wolf whistlers hanging of scaffolding but this week has been cause for giggles and admiration of the fairer sex (Men that is)!

Enhanced by a little imbibing via a farewell lunch for one of our admin girls today, talk began of the sweet things we have come in contact with over this past week. There have been three of note. Mattie of course who is lovely, clever, funny but perhaps not the drop dead gorgeous one. Shallowly notable are: TheModel, PP and AlphaMan. (All of whom I might add are funny, intelligent and playful)

So, the men I work with are, well, sort of ordinary (as am I by the way). They are somewhat serious and a little glum. Their idea of a jovial conversation is comparing a Margaret River Red with its Victorian cousin or describing that amazing pitch on the 17th before the crow ate their ball. And I know for a fact that there’s a little smut going secretly across the ether but nobody talks about it. Their jokes are old and as well worn as a beggar's boot, they don’t vent, they don’t get down and personal, they certainly don’t get a fit of the tear-pouring, knicker-wetting, oh my God I-have-to-leave-the-room-giggles!

The Quadrangle of girls however, are open, enthusiastic, bitchy, recriminating, giggly, gossipy, totally sexually unrepressed and much fun to be with. Within this battlement of workstations, I’m the oldest at 51 the youngest is 22. We’re in various states of wedlock, singleness and defacto living. At about 3:30 in the afternoon, unplanned but always regular, we tend to swivel in our ergonomic typists chairs and have a coffee and a chat. The chats are usually about raising children, moon cycles, frustrations with partners, bitching about someone or other and sex!

Since Tuesday, the topic has revolved around young men and a week where five of us have shamelessly enjoyed sweet boys and fabulous eye candy. Hey, as my mother would say, "A cat can look at a king!" I’m well known for flirting outrageously - it works. I get results. So it’s usually up to me to be cheeky enough to make the introductions.

First event, five of us had software training. Two went on Monday, the remaining three on Tuesday and beyond the He Who Can't Teach, we met a few of the support team that do an amazing job in helping us out when we struggle with technology or the software goes bad. Of course I HAD to meet my boys, two of whom are nom de plumed as Husband No 1 and Husband No 2 by our receptionist since they call with such frequency.

One great surprise was TheModel. He was so sweet and helpful on the phone that I had previously Googled him to see if I could find a face to match the voice. All I turned up was a Dallys model headsheet an a Cleo Bachelor page for 2008. So as a joke, I sent him an email:

“Guess what, I think I found you on the internet . . so this is your new job?”

to which he replied

“Only on the weekend hehehe!”

Naturally, I thought it was a big joke.

So as I stood in amid the COIN workstations, waiting for my favourite boys to make an appearance I was dumbfounded to find, not only was he drop dead gorgeous in a modellish kind of way (I am not so shallow as to judge a book by its cover and Mattie Rattie is still my fave) but he was indeed, the model on the headsheet! Char and Jaime said nothing. Gobsmacked doesn’t cut it, while I presented them with wine, chocolate and thanks. The girls were well . . .speechless and for them that's a milestone! Hilarious moment that we’ve had much fun recounting since.

Another is PP an accountant who works for a firm with whom we deal. Bit skinny for my liking but Char things he’s the hottest thing since Green Thai Curry and would do anything to have him audit her books! He’s an athlete, with Olympic intentions but oh so pretty if not a little pointy. Again, we look like something out of a Dolly Parton movie when he walks through the quad, each swivelling slowly and following his steps lesiviously until he disappears into the board room. Then 'mock' fanning ourselves in feigned swoons.

Then there’s Alpha Man. He does our phones, patch panels, telephone lines and electrical work. He’s more your rough and ready type, pulling conduit through the roof and a real Mr Fixit, with a neat leather belt full of tools that we pretend are sex toys. He looks like something out of Manpower with his lovely little tool belt and piercing blue eyes and wide white smile. All he has to do is walk across the room and five of us coo and flutter and virtually wet our knickers. The console for our phones is in the kitchenette at work and watching five women spring to the coffee machine just to watch Alpha Man’s buns as he bends over the phone lines is . . .well . . .frankly pathetic but abjectly funny. Fortunately, he has a sensational sense of humour and ‘plays to the crowd’ if you know what I mean.

So to all you lovely helpdeskers, tradies, models, and young and lovely things . . enjoy your youth while you have it. We're enjoying 'playing' with you whenever you're around. All too soon you’ll have beer bellies and hair growing out of your ears . . .and apologies for the shameless adoration that you received from the sexist, hypocrites at Parkside. If you were women and we were men we'd be berated - gotta love a double standard - We love your buns! (And I’m not talkin’ hot cross!)

Can you blame me?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Weary Wednesday

Sorry, not much tonight. Just had a long conversation with Clare Bear who has managed to perloin a couch with her cousin for 8 weeks (rent free so she's not complaining). She starts some freelance work tomorrow with a smik agency at Tower Bridge bless her cotton sox. I'm busy at work with the end of financial year panics and I'm a little weary and ready to relax. Time to watch Spicks and Specks so here for your viewing pleasure:

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Those Who Can't - Teach!

I've never really believed this dictum "Those Who Can't Teach".But it helps if you're proficient in your subject.

We have industry software that forms a client relationship system, address and client details database and assists with forward projections and strategies for clients financial situation. Our Planners are pretty good at using it, in fact we often break it because we are among their top 10% of users in terms of stretching its limits. It's sophisticated, useful but if there's a glitch or a problem, we'll find it! Now before you get totally bored with the topic, stay with me.

Today, Char, Jaime and I wondered into the city for a four hour 'advanced' session with someone who had been forewarned that we would ask the curly questions and want a detailed tutorial on the lesser used capabilities of this particular software package. We sent a forward Agenda for which our company is paying a handsome sum so lack of preparedness was no excuse.

I also had on my mind that at last I'd get to meet two young men who have made my work life very much easier by being cooperative on the Helpdesk and as Level 2 support. These two lads know their stuff. They speak plain English and allow me to flirt outrageously and have a laugh while their little cursor bobs around my desktop thanks to dial in technology such as GoTo Assist. Armed with two bottles of wine and some chocolate for Mattie Rattie and TheModel we hit the citybus and travelled into town.

None of us had bothered to look at a map or even take any notice of the street address, we just needed Level 8 in Castlereagh Street. Silly women. I thought Char knew, Char thought I knew ended up Jaime had a friend who knew so we finally found our destination.

Before we started with He Who Can't Teach, I asked to be introduced to Mattie and TheModel to thank them for their help. I thought he'd turn me loose so I could speak normally to them but no . .he cantered up behind us, introducing me to people I either had never spoken to or did not want to meet before the two boys sauntered down the aisle of 30 or so workstations for rather embarrassing introductions. Matt I knew what each other looked like, we're Facebook pals so he was easily recognisable. TheModel, I didn't but hands shaken, wine passed on and He Who Can't Teach babbling in the background made it a rather edgy and uncomfortable rendezvous. The boys smiled, thanked me for the gifts and we were literally whisked away by He Who Can't Teach. I could almost feel him creeping up behind the three of us as if he had 12 metre arms, curved and shooing us towards the training room like a farmer with a brood of chickens. I would have liked to invite the boys for coffee after the training session or voiced a little more than a quick "thanks chaps love your work" but no . . we were now the possessions of He Who Can't Teach and he wasn't sharing.

It became clear only an hour or so into our deep and meaningful exploration of COIN (the software package) that we knew more than this idiot trying to show us. Our questions were making him tweak his collar and blush. He bumbled through sections reading directly from his notes which were downloaded from a Help menu that we could have easily accessed in the office. He insisted on breaks we didn't want to take and then when completely flummoxed by our inquisitiveness rushed out of the room to seek an expert opinion. All in all, we learned a bit, we questioned a lot and he knew bugger all! What really made me mad was that I'd asked for someone expert in the advanced use of COIN and got He Who Can't Teach . . I know he can't teach. He's a BDM, our translation "Brochure Delivery Man". His role is to keep the client happy, pop in now and then and tell us what fantastic innovations have been added to the next upgrade. He's a warm and fuzzy man who isn't very warm and fuzzy. I've had him before as a tutor and was not impressed. We didn't pay $600 to waste 2 hours of our time when we could have been having coffee with Mattie and The Model. Just wait until I get the Bill! Tonight He Who Can't Teach will be doing his homework!

Sorry chickens. Next time we'll get organised in advanced! Matt - share your chocolate!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Flame Trees Will Blind the Weary Driver

Had a really nice day today. The sun was shining, the weather warm and although Saturday is generally cleaning, washing, visiting Babysis and getting a good dose of Vitamin D - I did all but the latter two at a fairly leisurely pace. I think I'm getting over my anal retentiveness to have everything spotless every week and to run around frenetically blowing gum leaves to kingdom come. It's simply impossible with dust blowing in from all directions thanks to building up the back. As long as the bathrooms and loos are clean, beds changed and a rub round with the Dyson is done I'm a happy camper. I've become a little more relaxed about having everything spick and span. Whilst things are looking decidedly grotty due to old age and I really need to wash my curtains and seal the slate (I'll do that after I've tackled the painting), I slowed down a bit today and didn't run around like a chook with my head cut off. I did plonk around the garden with my camera, mainly to play with the settings and test out some of the macro stuff. I found a really weird vine that has massive seed pods on it the size of chokos. It looks like a choko vine but it's voracious stuff, seems to be strangling my camelias and is very resistant to herbicides.

The bloody things are now popping open with gossamer filaments attached to seeds just waiting to be carried by the breeze to infect some other unsuspecting host. Even the resident horticulturalist doesn't know what it is, just that it's BAD. Shame, it's strangely beautiful.

I've given up on the ducks. There are too many to keep shooing so they can have the pool until the chicks hatch. Hey, we're not going to use it until November. Everyone is pairing up and getting nesty for the spring so I guess once they mate and lay, they'll wonder off which is usually the case. The duck poo on the coping stones is thick and sticky and nothing short of a pressure hose and a good dose of bleach will prevent us from having a nice dose of e-choli in the summer. What can you do? Their water holes are diminishing and a naturally aqua coloured pool (we thought a blue pool would look a bit silly amid our wild green and brown garden), to them it just seems like another pond. (I'm ALMOST too embarrassed to show you a photo of the pool party! These are Aussie Wood Ducks which apparently nest in trees although I've never seen a nest. Just look at the mess!

Duck Parade . . four of 15 co-habiting on my 'pond'

Honeymooners . . .above and below

Bewfuls Drake, not yet found a partner as handsome as he!
But he does 'meow' seriously! All night!

Although I have to remind myself that it actually looks like this after a bit of TLC

Um . .no that's not me . . except in my mind's eye! I am a legend in my own lunchtime!

So, as the chill moves in and the evening approaches. It's alone at home again . . Ad's is off playing PS3 at Otley's and has finally worked out that a splitter will enable them to play on two screens so I've hired a couple of DVD's and am about to put on the heater, pour a chardy and hunker down for the night with Miss Faithful.

Who has already hit the hay and scrumpled my clean linen!

Oh and admire the flowers that I bought myself . .

My baby is flying to London tonight . . .one door closes, and another one opens . . .safe trip Possum! By the looks of it, she's conquered the Gringo trail, the east and west coast of north America and eastern Canada over the past five months and ready to take on Europe! Her hair has grown . . as her chin by the looks of it . . miss her like a limb. Poor fringelet has to deal with big hugs whenever I see her . .love that girl and just want to squeeze the life out of her . . .

Conquered the Americas . . now dealing with the expense that is England!

And while I'm uploading all of this, I'm listening to Triple J and realising that Sara Blascoe's version of Flame Trees is truly lovely and that The Streets does have one or two decent songs. So , as I head into an evening of mushroom risotto and DVD's a calm has washed over me . . enjoy - this is for you ClareBear. And that damned alarm is going off again! I'm such a mum.

Oh, this is a flame tree by the way

Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday Fuckwit

When Lara Bingle starred in an Australian Tourism advertisement and asked the rest of the world "Where the bloody hell are you?" The Brit's bit their stiff upper lips and objected to the 'language' used to promote a country where we 'go to "Wangabloodyratta to shoot kangabloodyroos". They weren't the only country to object to the light-hearted Aussie ad trying to encourage tourism to our fair shores and many changed the 'wording' so as to edit out that awful word.

What do you think? It's not actually screened in Australia. Offensive?

So it seemed a little precious when the usual whingeing Aussie minority on their moral high ground started jumping up and down about Gordon Ramsay's Hells Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares which incidentally screen each week on commercial free-to-air TV in Australia. Actually DrummerBoy and I enjoy, particularly Kitchen Nightmares where Gordy takes on the useless and the hopeless and turns their businesses into something viable, even if he does shout at the staff and colour up a few home truths with the 'f' word. Apparently this week he dropped the big 'C' which is just not done darlink. Goodness knows why, Chaucer had no problem with either word!

Upset by the colourful celebrity chef's expletive-ridden tirades, a Senate committee into swearing on television has recommended possible changes to broadcasting standards. Australian broadcasting standards are very liberal after about 8:30 at night where sex and swearing are commonplace and remain uncensored. Shows such as Six Feet Under, The L Word, Oz, and other's are broadcast with impunity. As so they should. All little darlings should be well tucked in their beddy bies by 8:30 or at least parentally supervised so that they aren't exposed to the same language they use in the playground or learn that when they walk in on mummy and daddy in a clinch they're really not practising their life saving skills. Hey, there's always Dancing with the Stars or a plethora of crappy American crime shows!

The Senate's environment, communications and arts committee examined the issue after Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi took offence at Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, he clearly didn't 'get' the title of Ramseys earlier series "The F Word". Senator Bernardi today said one episode had contained "the F-word" 80 times in its 40 minutes. "And I'm not referring to fondue," he said. Gotta love a polly who can stick a joke into a serious press release.

The report, unanimously endorsed by the committee, recommended parental lock-out systems should be made an industry standard for all digital televisions sold in Australia. Oh for goodness sake . . The report also recommended broadcasters should consider permanently displaying the classification symbol of a program on screen. Australian Broadcaster's warn their audience by posting such things as :

"This program contains explicit sex scenes, violence and frequent coarse language" or

"This program contains images and voices of Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders who are now deceased"

What they should say is

"There's a load of sex and swearing on this next program so if you don't like it, turn your telly off!"
Apparently, submissions Senate Committees time were offended by the way Ramsay directed his language towards restaurant staff rather than the type of language he used. I actually agree with this. I don't know but if any of you have been a dish pig in a restaurant, the scene can be pretty dour with or without bad language. Our local Restaurateur has been in the area for 25 years and hasn't managed to keep one apprentice for their entire term! He's managed to piss them off without the use of expletives. It's the 'bullying' aspect that people don't like, in a country where every other word is punctuated by a profanity. We don't mind swearing, we just don't like bullying . . . it's Ok to say 'Fuck that shit!" meaning 'You're joking aren't you?" or "I don't believe that!" But to say "Fuck you then!" or "Fuck off" or " You're a fucking idiot" is likely to spark a stoush. So basically it's not what you say that offends, it's how you say it.

So Gordy . . fling the 'f' word around at your leisure but be careful how you use it. We love a good barney but we hate a bully! There, that should cut your 80 'f' words in 40 minutes to about 50! And what's with the pencil behind the ear?

Now it's Friday and I have fuck all to do tonight so I hope there's something blue on TV! Have a bloody good weekend!

Gentleman with ABC voice over says

"This video contains frequent coarse language, viewing by young viewers is not recommended"

Thursday, June 19, 2008

No Longer Listless

I'm very organised today. I've launched on a new project at work that I'm actually quite happy about. It involves lots of timelines and getting things in order, so I began thinking about getting my own 'business' sorted and wrote a list:

Paint the inside of my house which is looking decidedly grubby and neglected because I've done little to it thinking a bulldozer would have been long through like a Vogon battleship building an intergalactic highway.

Wash my car. For the first time in I don't know how many years, this weekend we can hose our cars (damn now I've no excuse for a dirty car) It needs a 'good going over' as my mother would say, inside and out. Who knows what I might find in the bowels of the boot or under the seat! It'll be interesting to actually see what colour it is, I've forgotten.

Book my passport application interview because you never know, I might win that overseas trip or have a rush of blood to the head and spend the weekend in Paris. The papers have been completed, signed and witnessed, I just need a Postmaster's stamp and I'm ready to roll. Only problem could be the two year old photo . . pfft

Book into my photography class at TAFE which I've procrastinated over for two terms. One because my partner in crime had touch footy and couldn't come with me (clearly had his priorities wrong) and the second because funds were a little short at the time. Now I have no excuse, so will do it and attend next semester. I have a Mickey Mouse Canon EOS 40D SLR and two lenses and no idea how to use the manual settings which results in lots of black when I try to take pictures of possums.

Fix the pool auto cleaner before the Liquidamber leaves begin to fall which will be any second now, clogging up impellars, blackening the bottom of the pebblecrete and forcing me to put hands in icy water as skimmer boxes explode with the weight. Curse my sister for giving that tree to my father before the pool was built! It will be restored to it's former glory by summer.

Get the pressure hose out and clean away the duck poo. Seriously, I put my car in for a service today and a colleague picked me up this morning to get to work and there must have been forty wood ducks munching on the over grown grass at the front they have adopted our pool over the winter as their safe haven and the coping stones have become a daffy dunny.

Fix the kitchen cupboard that came off it's hinges last night thanks to a slightly exhuberant opening by a thirsty DrummerBoy looking for a glass and a stressed hinge which has simply snapped. The kitchen's only 5 years old! Either we clearly drink too much or they don't make 'em like they used to.
Replace my living room sofas with a decent sized lounge and sofa bed. They should have been tossed years ago. No amount of steam cleaning is going to clear the gunge so it's time for something new and no self-respecting couch potato can schmooze on a dirty sofa (I'll wait until I've painted).

Check out two year interest free deals on a new washing machine. Mine's screaming like a banshee under the stress of washing filthy King Gee gardener's clothes and the pump means I have to be on stand by to get a 'syphon' working during the spin cycle. I should have been a Queens Guide I'm so handy.

Book a family week in Hawks Nest in January just to chill and watch the dolphins and read and eat fish and chips on the Tea Gardens Wharf while the sun sinks slowly in the west and wear nothing but bather's and sarongs and thongs for the whole week. I might even try to find a dog friendly rental so that Lily can at last frolic in the surf and immerse us in sandy doggy slop.

On a more immediate note - Start a course of glucosamine to help with my ailing fingins and hands which are feeling increasingly arthritic and red clover to stem the hot flushes - don't ask, I'm the only person who sleeps without bedcovers in the middle of winter - it's better than dealing with the crimson wave and 'moon cycle' as my friend calls it.

Oh and buy a present for BabySis who's birthday it was today but has gone pretty much unmarked. Shame . . we don't do cake and jelly any more or wear silly hats and frilly dresses.

Happy Birthday Doo-Doo! I'll swing by on the weekend!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

While my Heart Gently Weeps

The weight of the world seems to have hit me today. Possibly because there's been some sadness on the blogs I visit and possibly because it's hump day and possibly because I watched 2 hours of news because I've missed it over the last couple of days.

I was going to write a diatribe on social injustice and how unforgivably horrible we are to each other or about how selfish and seclusionist we've become and how we've forgotten the basic moral values of looking after those less fortunate than ourselves even though some would take advantage of small kindnesses.

How we should hand the reins of power over to the young and let them determine their own future since we're making such a hash of it. Someone like Severn Suzuki who's 1992 plea to the UN Earth Summit seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Boy would she make an international benevolent dictator! How there's still oil in Alaska from the Exon Valdez, 20 years after the fact and Exon Mobile is taking fishermen to the US Supreme Court because paying them out might set a dangerous legal precident. How Afghanistan after 20 years of conflict is suddenly seeing the advent of suicide bombers, never before heard of there. How blowing up poppy fields is seen as a way to curtail heroin supply rather than offering Afghans a more lucrative way to make a living. How Zimbabwe is ruled by the machete and the tyre necklace and nobody wants to stop it. How Ethiopia is once again sinking into famine or Sudan has hardly any support - even Medicins Sans Frontiers deems it too dangerous to work there apart from a team of 11 who chose to stay in Turalei and Agok.

How three US warships carrying aid were sent back home by Burma's cruel junta due to a real fear that they might invade - such is their reputation. How countries are slipping into recession due to bad management and corporate greed. How pharmaceutical companies are fighting the distribution of cheap and generic medicines for AIDS and worse still, curable diseases. How children in Cambodia with missing limbs are still playing in mined paddy fields while a meeting in Dublin deliberates over whether cluster bombs are appropriate yet China, the US and Israel don't even send a delegate. Or how Australia still sells yellow cake to countries who will not sign an anti neuclear (George, it's NOT Nucular any more than film is filum) proliferation treaty.

How the technology for improved fuels and energy (such as replacing diesel with chip oil!) is available but nobody seems to want to put it into commercial production. How the homeless are getting cold this time of year and how another friend is battling his demons with depression and drugs and I am powerless to help.

I was going to write about how disgusted I am that the news can juxtapose a story about abject poverty in Brasil then seguay with a commercial for MacDonalds or interest free electrical goods. Or about the poor quality of the press who seem to focus on politician's petty squabbles and reams of football coverage or celebrate Tiger Woods win at the US open, hack actors and super models and the real stories are relegated to page 9. How the Hell can we pay sports people millions of dollars for kicking a ball, sinking a put, weilding a raquet . . .spend millions on fantasy films and watch a sizeable part of the world suffer in abject poverty.

Then I was going to whinge about my pool cleaner being broken and that seemed so middle class and superficial or how one of my kitchen doors has broken, and the nasty brown stain on my ceiling is being exacerbated by winter rain. Or how sudden expenses seem to appear just as I seem to be getting on my feet with finances, or that my dog eats better than most third world children. Or how I have resolved not to visit my daughter in London this July because the money would be better saved and spent on a proper holiday rather than 3 weeks in a Greenwich bedsit while she works. The guilt tonight is all consuming as I sit preparing a dinner of Atlantic salmon and baby peas with a glass of cheap chardonnay and wait to be lifted by the comedy shows screening on ABC.

Maybe it's the winter blues. It's grey and leafless, damp and uninspiring. Empathy is a bitch and being powerless to do much more than support a couple of well-meaning charities is so very frustrating. Maybe this day, my cup is half empty and tomorrow everything will be half full. I have no reason to complain. I am healthy, happy, warm, fed, clothed, housed and loved. There is no wolf at my door so why do I feel like this?

Then . . .I got in my car, cranked up the radio on TripleJ expecting alternative or indie rock and they reprised something I had heard earlier in the year. In fact I thought at the time I had tuned into the wrong station and I never caught his name. Not only are George Harrison's strains beautiful and sad and soulful . . but this guy gives them a new interpretation on a wonderful and unusual instrument. Take the time to hear it through. It might not cure the blues but it will lift your spirits, just a bit. Grandad, Ian, AV, Gleds and Paddy . . .and of course, ClareBear . . . this is for you.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Boardroom Bananas

There's nothing more likely to bring out the inner feminist than two days in a boardroom with five men, three of whom are partners, two who never say please or thank you to the receptionist who belts across the road to bring you your triple strong, extra hot, skinny latte or arrange for your luncheon sandwiches. Or who scatter their mint papers all over the table, leave their cups and plates and treat the only woman in the room as if she's been grabbed from the typing pool! Yep, yippee kay ey! I've been in a meeting for two days solid. Locked in a room with a bunch of blokes who talk too long over the unimportant things and play lip service to the essential. Now I have another hat to wear . . . Business Succession Coordinator! I'd better get a pay rise this July! I blame their mother's who obviously never taught them to push in a chair upon departure. It's an uncomfortable feeling knowing that each thinks about sex every fifteen minutes apparently! I want to put wasabe in their mint slices and toothpaste in their Oreos, that'll fix the boardroom bananas!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Grass Widow

Hole in one!

I walked into work this morning and The Elder Statesman, The Boss and Char were talking about Tiger Woods epic putt at the US Open. Apparently he's drawn level with another golfer and they'll have to play the whole 18 holes again . . .what? No penalty? No play off? No best of six? They were all very animated and excited.

I don't understand the passion for golf. I come from a long line of successful golfers. My father actually severed family ties and chucked the rest of us on a tin can boat and emigrated to Australia because he could no longer afford the golf fees at Romily Golf Club (oh the shame!). My mother took ladies day on Thursdays very seriously and ended up playing Pennants and enjoying the 'mixed' on Sundays. My brother changed Christmas for a game of golf (we used to celebrate on Christmas eve but there's a boozy golf comp on so it was moved to Christmas day and now everything is over in a rush. And my brother in law won trips to America by virtue of the fact that he could play in the left-handed championships. Even my son at an early age was 'enrolled' by Grandpa and has a 'good swing' and a 'long drive' apparently.

My husband was only deemed a suitable match because he was Vice Captain of the Golf Club and played off a handicap of 2, therefore 'must' have been a decent chap despite leaving me as a grass widow for weeks on end to the point that I forgot what he looked like in the daylight. Our holidays comprised driving mega miles to compete in the Coffs Harbour Championships. Easter was spent in freezing and soulless Canberra for the ACT Championship. I spent many a Sunday pulling a golf buggy during 'pennant' season in an attempt to seem interested in his sport but never, ever had the inclination to learn the game. It's something you do when you're retired, I told myself. Yet people go giddy over golf!

Why do golfers only wear one glove and who hits a ball with their legs apart and one arm rigid? Keeping your eye on the ball apparently is very difficult and the reason most beginners have difficulty connecting a bat that is way to small with an equally diminutive plastic, dimpled sphere with a bit of lead in the middle!

It is also mandatory to avoid all sense of colour coordination and dress abominably. You may also wear a stupid hat. Then lug a load of metal sticks around a manicured lawn and use them to occasionally slam a ball into at tiny hole so small they need to put a flag in it, called a 'pin' on a special bit of 'bent' lawn that nobody is allowed to walk on without spikey shoes and has obviously been cut with a sharp pair of dressmaker's scissors. Apparently, these obviously named 'greens' (whoever came up with that one had a vivid imagination) can be fast or slow but in all my caddying life I never saw one move at all.

I don't understand Ladies Tees, Men's Tee's and Championship Tees - sounds like a varied apparel collection . . then you can bogey (sounds like something better left up your nostril) . . .birdie or eagle. If you've got a long drive (no not as in a road trip to Brisbane) you can possibly score an albatross. Oh the image of snot and dead birds scattered on the fairway is too much to bear! Before you actually do anything you need to address the ball, clearly it knows not where it is to be delivered. From the Tee you 'drive', short shots you 'chip'. You come in over or under par and if you get a hole in one, the said ball is usually mounted on a plaque and taken 'straight to the pool room' for everyone to admire. "Oh look, a golf ball on a plaque - how impressive!" You can 'shank'and 'slice', 'chip' and 'putt' and if your ball goes in the rough it's hard to find. If it goes in the water, you need a telescopic ball retriever . . .and when they get dirty you need to wash your balls in a purpose built ball washer! If it's out of bounds you take a drop. It's the one place where Big Bertha is popular, you use an iron to hit on the fairway (I could probably manage hitting a little ball with my Philips Steam Shot) and a sandwich, I mean sand-wedge to get you out of a bunker.

Then, even if you do have a 'par' round, you come back to the 19th hole and describe every shot in painstaking detail whilst I look into the bottom of my glass and my eyes glaze over!The 19th hole becomes a refuge and ensures you're always late home for tea or asking the barmaid to fib when the wife rings to ask where you are. The trophies usually comprise a boxed set of bath towels, too small to wrap around a midget or something hideously domestic to bribe the little woman. When I got married, he had the Glory Box!

The one good thing about golf courses is no children . . .maybe that's its appeal. Ankle biters under 12 are forbidden! Nope, I know those who play it love it with a passion, but golf . . .it's for the birdies.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Come On Baby Light My Fire

Whilst waiting for the action, one drums . . .

Or poses for a photograph in their "let's pretend we're rural firefighter's " gear . .
But eventually there has to be tongueage . . chuck a snag on the barbie . . .

Then of course blow shit up . . .

Sit around feeling toasty . . .

Wear a few glow sticks . . .

Take a promo shot of the band . . . .

Award a prize for the best home made OH&S Outfit . . .

Mix it with family (ThePlummer and Babysis)

Act up in front of the camera with a glowstick that doesn't glow for a flash . . .

Yeh, good night. A little restrained due to fear of reporting but a good night. It's 1.00am. I'm going to bed. They're still toasting their tootsies and eating spring rolls and sweet chilli sauce. I think I may have guests for breakfast!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday Funny

Well another week has rolled by without incident. Always a good thing and the weekend is upon us woo-hoo! Just had drinks with the Merry Widow and planned our dream trip whilst going 'awww bewfuls' at the new puppy. Simple things amuse me these days! Then found this:

Blow-up dolls and dressed-up dogs are among the "passengers" drivers in New Zealand have been using to get around transit lane rules. Drivers in the Auckland suburb of North Shore can only use the lanes if there is a minimum of three people in the car or face a $NZ150 ($A120) fine.

The lanes, which can also be used by buses and taxis, are designed to ease traffic congestion by encouraging carpooling. "They've certainly found some creative ways to try to circumvent the rules," says North Shore City Council traffic safety manager Andre Dannhauser of New Zealand Police, "But it's important to us that we enforce the rules properly."

Some drivers have put blow-up dolls and mannequins in the car, while others have dressed up dogs in children's hoodies. Another driver quizzed about the whereabouts of a third passenger quipped "he's in the toolbox in the back seat", Dannhauser said.

He said an earlier scam involved students making themselves available at the beginning of a transit lane to drivers and then getting out at the end. "They stopped after a while - fortunately they got tired of running back up the hill to the start of the transit lane again."

Hahaha . . here's a little fun to 'rap' up the week.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Burn Baby Burn

Well I hope not but if we didn't hazard burn, maybe!

In 1995 when the family moved to the new house in Kellyville it had been heavily wooded. Large Eucalypts were cleared but only to make space for the rambling new house and a plethora of 'stumps' the size of giant's fima's were bulldozed into an awesome pile.

A survivor so far threatening to fall on my carport! Branches have done so - twice!

The lower end of the paddock had already been cleared and the stumps were pushed up there for safe burning on a regular basis. So began the annual Queens birthday bonfires in an effort to finally disintegrate these hardwood corpses. For 30 years now, we've had a bonfire on or near the Queen's Birthday long weekend. Outside fire season, safely and sometimes with legal fireworks sometimes with the odd stash bought by ThePlumber from 'Thunder'. Don't ask. More clandestine than an illicit drug deal and far less satisfying in the end.

Now back to the present . . .It’s been raining in Sydney over the past three months with few bright and dry weekends. Atypically, everything is damp. As always happens with eucalypts, shit has fallen off . . everywhere. There’s a fallen tree over the paddock fence and another balancing precariously over the neighbour’s cyclone fence. Both need a good chainsawing and stacking on the bonfire. The bonfire itself, has been neglected and will be built to it’s former glory by about 6pm on Saturday night. Little at the moment but the saplings behind are seedling 'toast'

Big as it seems, it’s basically kindling comprising fallen twigs and branches with eucalyptus soaked leaves and a few substantial logs underneath. Within 20 minutes of being lit it’s a gentle glow. Nice to sit around, share a few bevvies, warm the tootsies, sacrifice that sweater that your girlfriend always hated and generally have a feral evening in a silly hat before lobbing into bed smelling like an ashtray with a face full of smoke and charcoal under your fingernails. Sweeeeet!

Remember how the Firies turned up last year and berated me as the irresponsible adult for not having a permit for a burn (then posed for photographs as they departed) ? I narrowly escaped a fine so thought that this year, we’ll do it right.

The fire permit application is not a simple process. And bear in mind, we are outside the October – April Fire Ban period. First I need to receive an Environmental Protection Certificate which warrants the burn of piles up to 150cm in width (Oops – our bonfire is about 3 metres but no mind, nothing a rake can't fix once she's aglow).

A woman from the Rural Bushfire Brigade, who takes her job very seriously because she’s a public servant you know, inspected our property yesterday. I called this morning to see if we had been ‘approved’ and indeed we have but only after being given plenty of advice about it being too wet and causing smoke, about mulching instead of burning and being considerate of the encroachement of suburbia . . fuck suburbia! What consideration do I get for being hemmed in and covered with dust whilst their fancy pants houses are excavated and erected. What consideration do I get when power tools scream all weekend? What consideration do I get when your poxy alarms go off while you're swanning around the Whitsundays on your yacht? Was the woman blind? Did she not see the ‘mulch’ in my gutters and around the garden that is now six inches higher than the level of our concrete verandah it surrounds! I bet she lives in a friggin’ McMansion with a cowra pebble garden and not a real tree in sight!

Seriously this dons my garden beds and gutters

What? Too damp! Has the woman never seen the explosive potential of a gum leaf when exposed to a Bic lighter? These are trees which ignite from a cigarette butt! Would she rather us do what the Rural Fire Service do and begin back burning on a windy 30 degree day often setting fire to inaccessible gulleys? Surely being ‘damp’ provides an extra safety precaution. (I swear there are more bushfires ‘started’ by backburning and arsonists than back yard burners) As for creating smoke which may waft into encroaching McMansions and mess with their hypersensitive olfactory – won’t happen. The petrol will take care of that! Seriously, one quick douse, a huge bang and all the damp stuff is instantly dry! No smoke. What little there is, will waft across the valley with the westerley breeze and accross the golf course, well away from encroaching suburbia.

That’s not the end of it, the EPA certificate then has to be taken to Kellyville Firestation and they need to issue a permit. This task is not so bad since I arrive there at the change of shift and it’s wall to wall firies. God we women love these guys, even the sooty smelly ones are deserving of a calendar. (Ok gratuitous sexual perve over . . it’s been a long time between drinks.)

So very nice fire chief called Kevin is VERY empathetic and understands completely the fun of huddling around the fire. We have a very long chat while he explains that he's only doing his job and they're not treated well by the public and they need more than a 2.5% wage increase since the CPI is 4.2%. We discuss changing Kellyville, beaurocratic red tape and how if they’re called they may have to come out anyway but as long as we’ve got permission they might stay for a sausage sizzle unless needed somewhere else. In fact, they’d be happy to come out and blow shit up for us if we’d like. (politely declined, I don’t think they’d approve of the toilet paper firestarter or the fiery flying fox which traditionally sparks the first flame.) He couldn't find his permit book and the delicious smell of roast beef permeated through the fire station so I think he had dinner on his mind. He'll drop the permit in! Despite my protestations, he was quite insistant and sure enough at 6:00 a fire engine drives up my driveway, Kev gets out and hands over the permit. Now that's just showing off! He's lovely. Understands that kids wanna have fun. Hates the beaurocratic system but says he might see me Saturday night in the big red truck for a snag and a mag. I have a feeling they'll drop in whether there's a call or not!

So, done and dusted. If it doesn’t rain, we’re on . . . we can burn baby burn – all legal like! Boys, no fireworks, bungers, sparkler or bottle bombs. I will be watching!

And whaddayaknow . . I feel another Talking Heads song coming on . . . That reminds me, must pay House and Contents Insurance tomorrow.

Now a quick shout out . . if there's anyone willing to queue outside the Apple store on George and King on opening night next Thursday, 19th June and grab a free T shirt for my lovely boy Crispy in Melbourne . . there will be a prize, you have to be in the first 2500 after 5.00pm opening to qualify. I'd do almost anything except queue outside the Apple store for 24 hours for his geeky bewfulness.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

There's Nout Queer as Folk

Lesbians are revolting!

Now calm down ladies, I'm not pointing fingers.

True, the natives of the Greek Island of Lesbos are revolting because gay girls have hyjacked their national identity by calling themselves Lesbians. Proper disgruntled are the those who live there, that their namesakes choose same sex relationships and it is something up with which they shall not put!

Three islanders from Lesbos told a court last Tuesday that gay women insult their home's identity by calling themselves lesbians. The plaintiffs - two women and a man - are seeking to ban a Greek gay rights group from using the word "lesbian" in its name. Also known as Mytilini, Lesbos was the home of the ancient poet Sappho who praised love among women, hence the origin and ultimate suitability of the term to describe female homosexuality.

"We are very upset that, worldwide, women who like women have appropriated the name of our island," said Dimitris Lambrou, a magazine publisher who is one of those bringing the complaint with other islanders. "Until 1924, according to the Oxford English dictionary, a Lesbian was a native of our isle," he said. "Now, because of its new connotations, our womenfolk are unable to call themselves such and that is wrong."

On a more serious note, the hearing coincides with a highly charged national debate over gay rights. Lambrou insists he has "nothing against lesbians" who flock to Eressos - a resort on the island that is famed as the birthplace of the 5th century BC poet Sappho - and whose contribution to the local economy has been considerable.

But human rights campaigners say the court action has been motivated by barely disguised homophobia in a nation that remains reluctant to accept gay people. "No other group faces such discrimination in this country," said Grigoris Valianatos, a long-time homosexual rights advocate.

"The [Orthodox] church is literally out of control in its approach towards us, the media full of hate speech and the conservative government both hypocritical and indifferent," he said. "This trial is a reflection of the homophobia that prevails in Greece."

The increased visibility of gay people - including the first marriages between two lesbians and two gay men last week - has been met with consternation by some, with the ruling conservatives holding emergency talks to deal with the issue. Odd, as California and Australia revisit legislation and gay rights that those in Greece are still pushing jelly uphill in a bid for acceptance. Stranger still when you think that their ancient forebears immortalised their homoeroticism.

Frankly, I don't fancy their chances . . . a new name for same-sex girly swats . . . I don't think so, it would be easier to rename the occupants of Lesbos . . . Lesbithians, Lesboans, Lesbonites?

Or maybe our famous Dykes on Bikes will become Motoring Mytilinis . . . has a ring to it!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Once In A Lifetime

I watched a rubbish DVD last night “Fools Gold” with that Matthew "Oh my God bod" Machonachie and Kate squintyeyed, whatevers, skinnyblonde. The plot was basically about a treasure hunt for some lost dowry, safely sunk on a galleon called Aurelia!

Didn’t that open a can of worms! The ship upon which my family travelled to Australia as ten pound poms was called Aurelia. Yep, sometime in September in 1968, The brood from Cheshire arrived in Southhampton for the journey of a lifetime. Mum 34, Dad 36, me 11, HippyBro, 9, Babybro 7 and Babysis 2.

We were very impressed with the ship until we realised that it was in fact the P & O Fairstar that actually had us agape and agasp, complete with white linen, floral displays in the dining room and full fare paying passengers.

Notice three rows of portholes below deck?

We were to follow her fablious giganticness across the globe wishing it was us on her lofty decks instead of squished on the tiny Aurelia creeping demurely behind her at every port. No flowers on our white tablecloths - I can't even remember if there were table cloths! It was an Italian owned and run ship but originally made in Germany and named the Huscaran and after just one voyage was seconded by the German Navy and saw service as a troop transport, armament freighter then sub marine depot and was eventually captured by the allies in 1945! Far Canal! She was refitted in Liverpool in to carry 775 passengers and Sold to Pacific Canadian. She became a Beverbrae . . .seriously she brought refugees from Bremen to Canada and freight from Canada back to Europe. In 1954 she was sold to Cogedar Line and renamed Aurelia. She was rebuilt for emigrant service to accommodate 1,244 passengers with the sole purpose of supporting emigration originally from Italy and eventually from England. She re-measured at 10,022 GRT. Her first voyage was from Trieste to Sydney. Incidentally carrying the mother of a girl I was to meet in 1995 and eventually write a 50th birthday speech which is how I found out about the Aurelia connection.

Notice one row of portholes below deck?

Later incarnations saw her reborn as a Mediterranean cruise liner, for 177 passengers (now you get the picture of how many people were on this little ship!) Romanza and then Romantica – she even survived an engine fire and was eventually taken to Alexandria in 1997 for scrap. Quite a life the old girl had!

We all have differing memories of the six week sojourn having never been on a ‘cruise’ before, we had no expectations . Families were split into different cabins. I don’t really know why. Mum, Babysis and I were in one cabin to ourselves. Dad, BabyBro and HippyBro shared with Alain Fageurey and a non-English speaking Spaniard called Christian. All BabyBro remembers is the Spaniard forcing him to smoke Gitanes or some other strong French cigarette and being locked out for periods of time while Alain entertained the ladies.

Babysis remembers the p urser. He would approach with arms waving as if about to shout out a warning and kiss her spaghetti smeared face, pinch her cheeks and announce to everyone in a bellowing voice “Ciao bella . . wanna day I’ma gonna eata that kid!” He never seemed to tire of kissing this disgustingly sauced (literally) two year old or pinching her chubby cheeks. She was a poppet of a kid with short-cropped, dead straight, blonde hair and massive brown eyes. He loved her.

My memories are of a pungent odour near the galley, attending school for a few hours each day, colouring in Australian native animals and learning the words to Waltzing Matilda. This was apparently introducing Aussie culture to the foreigners . . . we Poms had been exposed to Rolf Harris and Skippy and knew all about Australia.

I remember everyone being so ill that the place was deserted crossing the Bay of Biscay other than the brave souls who believed that rising and falling with the storm waves would help them acclimatise before hurling their breakfast over the side. We were all incredibly sick for four days.

I was very disgruntled at almost being a grown up and forced to eat at children’s sittings which comprised invariably of spaghetti bolognaise and ice cream for dessert and cups of incredibly weak tea with powdered milk sachets. In fact a quick round-table at our family lunch the other day, revealed that we did indeed eat little else than spag bol for six weeks. None of us could remember breakfast or lunch.

There were parties, dressups, crossing the equator shenanigins and fun. . . all it seemed, for people a little younger than my parents or a little older than me. There were movies, and play centres, and a teeny weeny swimming pool . .it wasn’t a large boat. And I had a pair of blue buckle shoes with a kitten heel that matched the colour of the ocean and I saw my first albatross and sea lions – I loved those shoes.

I remember Las Palmas where I celebrated my birthday and received a pretty Spanish fan. I remember a disgusting birthday cake which, instead of frosting, was spread with coffee flavoured butter and a sprinkling of icing sugar. I remember the NO Blacks signs in Capetown where we had a wonderful milk shakes with fresh milk (only powdered for the peasants) and I remember having afternoon Tea in Kings Park in Perth . . more toasted sandwiches and thinking that this place wasn’t so bad after all!

Because it involves water flowing and change and how my father must have felt and I just like it!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Chips Gravy and Other Useless Information

Since I am absolutely hungover from overimbibing during a family lunch yesterday which concluded at 9pm and after about 8 bottles of very good red and chardy, I have little to offer. Many brain cells have been relegated to moosh but Kath Lockett tagged me and saved the day. Go on, have a go, you know you want to!

What was I doing 10 years ago?

Much the same as I'm doing now. I've been in stasis for the past 10 years. I had a 13 year old daughter and 11 year old son, little money to rub together as my savings dwindled and working in the public service with great hours and crap money. Social life was largely 'at home' events with friends BYO barbecues with the exception of a season ticket to the Ensemble Theatre. We did a lot of camping which was fun. I had one of those trailer tents that I could easily erect by myself with only a little help required from kids "hold that pole" in order to erect the annex. Another joy (read moment of madness) of that time was buying horses and being able to ride over the back with my daughter, and son on a bike in tow, before all the new houses went in. Life was simple and uncomplicated and comprised largely of work and an over absorption with tweens.

Five snacks I enjoy in a perfect, non weight-gaining world

I'm not much of a snacker to tell the truth. Often a day goes by and it's 3.00 before I realise that I haven't eaten anything. Hence my propensity to carry weight, my body is in constant 'famine' mode but here goes:

Hot chips and gravy from the local chippy which hasn't suffered since the Greeks moved out and the Koreans moved in.

Phoques Cove King Island brie with lavosh and strawberries - I never quite worked out how to pronounce 'Phoques'.

Iced coffee without the cream (you get more iced coffee that way)

Baileys Irish cream on ice (now reserved to Christmas only)

I'm pushing for a fifth . . .probably a Wendy's Mocha Chiller or Boost's All Berry Bang!

Five snacks I enjoy in the real world

MS mini-chocolates on the reception desk at work, 70cents each (I do it for charity - honestly)

Bacon Lettuce and Tomato toasted sandwiches. The sort of healthy snack if you forget the mayonnaise

Pistachio nuts, salted and in the shell except pick the shells up off the floor they hurt like tiny pieces of lego if you tread on them in bare feet

Prawns . . .Queensland tigers, in the shell. Not quite a snack but a treat nonetheless.

Wholegrain vitawheet and Vegemite, for some reason these have the regular habit of dislodging old fillings and result in remedial dentistry. The most expensive snack I've had this year.

Five things I would do if I were a billionaire:

Pay off my debts and the kid's HECS bills

Buy the block next door to my sister, clear all the crap away and build a dream house

Donate a sizeable amount to homeland charities like the Salvation Army or the Smith Family. Charity begins at home.

Travel . . Paris first . . then perhaps Scandinavia and spend Christmas in the snow all snooxed up with a blazing fire and a turkey feast. Then map a path around the world to visit bloggers and overseas friends.

Hire a personal trainer to force me to shift my ass and get into a regular exercise regime

Five jobs that I have had:

Strawberry picker - it wasn't very successful I was fired after 1 day for eating the profits. I didn't mind, it was hard on the knees and was only paid $1.50 an hour.

Chicken packer at KFC from 16-21, fun times since most of my family and friends also worked there. It paid for travel, a car and a horse and we got to take leftovers home at night to munch during the Saturday night creature feature. I never found out what was in the 11 secret herbs and spices, they arrived in plain white packets with no ingredients listed.

Girl Friday - can't call them that any more. Clerical support to two product managers. One of them had a hyphenated name and an awful stammer, it was hard not to laugh. I was 'broken in' with an old electric typewriter and carbon paper. Remember that . . white to the client, pink in the file . . .I never worked out what happened to the blue copy.

Copywriter/Marketing Coordinator in an in-house Creative Dept. for an American multinational. Great job. Did it for 15 years before being made redundant by an asshole called Michael Coldwell because he thought I threatened his rise to power. I guess I did, he's now Managing Director the prick.

Project Manager for a national policing agency. I was PA to the director and project manager for the National Fingerprint Identification System (NAFIS) replacement project. Did such a good job that Amanda Vanstone, the then Minister for Justice, granted our $50 million request to replace outdated technology and took the project to Canberra and laid everyone in Sydney off! Good parting package though so I wasn't bovvered . . .

Three of my habits:
Lapsing into smoking cigarettes more often than I would like

Having two cups of tea and one cup of coffee, every morning before I go to work. If one is missing, the day just doesn't start correctly . . is that a bit OCD?

Chewing the quick on my fingertips when I'm nervous

Five places I have lived:
I've lived in many more than five places but these were the best of them:

Born in Stockport Cheshire where I lived until I was 11 and we became 10 pound poms and emigrated to Australia

Donvale Melbourne where I began high school, bought my first horse and had my first kiss but didn't stay long enough to make many friends

Kings Cross - although my mother insisted it was Elizabeth Bay because it was a posh flat even if there was a call girl across the hall who insisted sitting naked in front of her window.

Parramatta, just across from the gaol in a tin box flat with 70's burnt orange benches and second hand furniture. Lived there just after I got married and had dinner parties on a fold away picnic set. If I stood on the toilet seat and peeked out of the bathroom window, I could actually see inmates being hosed off the roof during a prison riot. Also had our car stolen from the carpark and the man downstairs complain because we 'walked too heavily' across the lounge room.

Kellyville Sydney . . where I am now on five glorious acres being encroached upon by McMansions and civilisation and nosey neighbours who call the fire brigade every time we have a small pile burn because they think it's public land and we're causing a nuisance. A place where we once never had to lock cars or doors. Great place to raise kids, have parties, ride horses but plagued by a mass of ever dissiduous gum trees that have made me and my leaf blower inseperable.

Five people I want to get to know better:

I'm copying Kath here and tagging, because I really do want to get to know these people better. They're intelligent and intriguing and when I have my billion dollars I will certainly visit them in the real rather than the virtual world - if they'll have me that is!



Jefferson Davis