The lovely Terence McDanger (why does the name Terrence always make me go a bit South Parky) who, when he found me declared "I like the cut of your jib!" has tagged me for a meme and it's a nice one because I can do what I do best - talk about myself! Now, because I don't give a rats ass about anonymity - lets face it I need all the friends I can get - here is a very long-winded, you probably-already-know expose of she who would like to be obeyed!
What are your nicknames?
Nell. Old derivative of the Lancashire "Ellen". My grandmother was Nell. I hated it but my father insisted on calling me 'little Nell' from being a toddler and long before the suspendered Rocky Horror Show nemesis, despite the fact that my name is HELEN (hello . .theres an "H" in there). Then in about year 10, we were spelling our names backwards in some boring class and I was Neleh Nnud, it stuck, so my school friends kept calling me Nellie. Still hated it but like the curly hair - I've given up - one cannot fight the unfightable. My younger nieces and nephews think that's my real name! GAH! And I hate getting formal invitations to say, weddings, to 'Dear Nellie'. I'm only called Helen by he who must not be revealed, those who are angry, Adam when I'm ignoring him, JD and a couple of Adam's friends. I stole Baino . .that's actually Clare's nom de plume.
What TV gameshow/reality show would you like to be on?
Spicks and Specks. I'd be lousy but I'd have Miff Warhurst as the expert and a comedian on my left and I reckon I could do a pretty good drawing of a song title or ride that bloody bike with more rhythm than most.
What was the first movie you bought in VHS or DVD?
Play School . . my Nanna passed away and left us all $3,000 each, I was pregnant and we bought a TV, Stereo and CD (no DVDs in those days) so in anticipation of my new bub, I bought the Playschool CD! "There's a bear in there, and a chair as well . . open wide, come inside . . it's Playschool!" hahaha!
What is your favourite scent?
Bought? Pretty much anything Calvin Klein and Chanel No 5.
Natural? Gardenias on a summer night. I get out of my car after work and the perfume just oozes through the passageway to my front door. And the orange jasmine outside my bedroom which has no smell during the day but permeates the bedroom at night. Much as I hate the bloody bark, leaf and branch dropping bastards, Gum Trees after a summer storm, all smell eucalyptusy and lemony.
Babies . . now I don't like babies but they do smell nice providing you sniff the right bits. Puppies . . they smell better than babies, sort of buttery. Clare . . oh, my darling Clare, her room no longer smells like her so I spray it with her favourite perfume. She's in for some serious sniffery when she comes home in December. Apparently I have an accute olfactory! I can smell people when they walk in the room and know who they are . . . go ahead, try me.
If you had one million dollars to spend only on yourself, what would you spend it on?
Myself? How could I? My family? Can I cheat? Defo get rid of the kids uni loans (HECS debts). Give them a little to get started.
Go on that WORLD TRIP. I have my itinerary already. Visit bloggers (especially the new England mob) and Ces in Texas and JD in South Carolina and check out the land I inherited in Louisianna. Follow Cook's mapping of Plymouth Sound in eastern Canada and visit a real Labrador. Go to Ireland . . . not for the country but the people. My mother's bridesmaid Mae Tiernan, still lives somewhere in Clare and of course I want to sail with Steph, and cook with Grannymar and hill walk with Thrifty (or maybe babysit so that you get a chance for a nice romantic night for two), argue with Nick and Jenny, and check out the wally who tagged me for this meme! Are you really that 'fit' McDanger? Play with K8 and the kids in Wicklow and climb that stupid Sugar Loaf thing they call a mountain. . None of this kissing the Blarney Stone stuff, just visit. (And payback the Paduan of course)
Then, Prague . . always wanted to go there. I have a friend who lives there but I've lost her momentarily - her family will know how I can get in touch - then PARIS. I care not if the French are rude. I want to be thrown out of Chanel for being too fat. Eat a baguette in the Latin quarter, drink coffee from a bowl, be slapped by a Gypsy, sit on the steps at Mont Matre, visit Notre Dame, the Louvre and the Pompadou centre, see an opera at the Paris Opera house (I've never had the urge despite our fantastique Sydney Opera House) . .bury myself in the Catacombs . . it's a long time dream because once in 1995, I came so, so close but was worried about funds and didn't go . .I've regretted it ever since.
One place you've visited, can't forget and want to go back to?
Ahhh . . Vienna . . .beautiful, unpredictable, historical, artsy . . horsey . . .I loved Vienna but only spent two days there. Take a look at Maria's blog . .she gives you a cook's tour every day. Nice people, everyone speaks English, great coffee, fantastic chocolate, stunning history from the Hapsburgs to Russian occupation . . .*starts singing Ultravox song*
Do you trust easily?
Oh yeah! Sucker for punishment. Everyone is good until proven otherwise. Although I've only been disappointed a few times so I'm not about to stop now.
Do you generally think before you act, or act before you think?
Bit of both. I'm a planner and very organised but then I do silly things. Babysis buys a horse, I buy two. If Adam's subwoofer is bigger than mine, I go out and buy a bigger one. I know I can't afford it but I still get that $125 jumper. Some complete stranger emails me and I email back. Which fortunately, has worked out just fine but it could have gone pear shaped. Nope, I think the heart rules the head . .I'm very impulsive in a rather organised way.
Is there anything that has made you unhappy these days?
Personally? Sitting on an asset that I can't realise. I cannot tell you how frustrating is is to be rezoned, ready to sell and have no buyers. Once we sell, I will be free . . no more money worries but that could be 2 years away. I desperately want to get my life back and that takes $. Not buy a Ferarri and live the high life but travel, have a nice little house, give a little to charity, pay off the kid's HEC's debts and perhaps a deposit on a home of their own. To not worry about having $14 in the bank the day before payday or to have to ask the farrier to bank the cheque next week because I'm low on funds.
On a larger and more philosophical stage . .the World makes me unhappy.. I am unhappy about poverty, political shenanigins, inequality, slave labour (did you know that Ivory coast farmers kidnap kids to pick Coca beans and we buy the chocolate - these kids don't even know why they're picking the pods that make us so happy). I'm unhappy that we all think life as we know it will end if our Plasma screen is reposessed when people are being chopped up with machetes in Darfour or Zimbabwe. I get cranky at the troglodites who don't believe the globe is warming - ask a polar bear - better still ask a Russian, they have their eye on the 'soon to be visible' Terra Nullius that they can claim for oil and other natural resources. I despair at people who don't treat others with respect. I am so unhappy that Gleds can't get off the smack like millions of others. I am unhappy that my South African friend has to leave an amazing country to escape corruption, inflation, a dissolving rand and racial turmoil. I'm unhappy that we won't allow gays to marry - what's so wrong with such commitment? I'm unhappy that a woman cannot have an abortion without someone preaching pro-life and making her feel guilty for an incredibly difficult decision. I'm unhappy that disabled people dont' have the facilities to help them bloom and their carers don't have the respite they need. I'm unhappy that ecological management policies mean killing wolf pups and desexing their parents or culling kangaroos (which should be our natural food source, in favour of beef and ecologically unsustainable hoofed animals). We should be eating crocodiles, emus and kangaroos as sustainable food sources.
I'm unhappy that The Elder Statesman at work didn't even say thank you after half an hour of grovelling under his desk (at 51 and with creaky knees I might add) to install his fucking multi-function centre. Ungrateful prick. And I'm unhappy that the development up the back brought a very LARGE black snake into my back yard this afternoon! Grumpy old women? I wrote the book! There's more . .posts for another day perhaps.
Do you have a good body image?
Shit no! I hate my body. I'm built like a brick dunny. I watched Trinny and Suzannah once and they identified a whole load of body shapes then dressed the women in very embarrasing blue lycra body suits and made them stand on pedestals in some shopping mall . . the poor sap holding the, "I'm a pear", "I'm a triangle", "I'm a thunder thighs" and the "I'm a brick" sign looked exaclty like me . actually, I'm a brick, emotionally and physically it seems. Chunky and straight up and down. I hate being 51 I hate being overweight, I hate being unfirm (notice I didn't say infirm). The thing is, when I was slim, firm and fabulous, I never realised it. I gained a lot of weight before I actually even had my kids then I lost 35 kilos after having Adam, and my lovely husband didn't even notice the difference. Bless! Loved me for who I was. Needless to say, I've erm . . padded out a little since then. But apparently I give good hugs so there!
What is your favorite fruit?
Mangoes. No question. Probably the only truly seasonal fruit in Australia. They're available now but uber expensive. By end of November, they'll be $15 a tray and we'll gorge on them until New Year. Mango on its own, Mango Smoothies, Mango puree on ice cream, Mango with pork, Mango Daquiries . .this year I'm going to be brave and freeze some for the winter. Don't fall for the Fijian models, they're pungent and not as slippery. The very best? Bowen Mangoes from Queensland - juicy, sweet, they taste like nothing else so if you've never had one, I can't describe it. Nothing like the flavour of the canned jobs. One should only eat a mango in front of people you know - very well, they're messy, they're juicy, but they ARE the bizniss. Second runners of course are the other stone fruit of summer, cherries from Young, local peaches and nectarines, apricots and Glenorie strawberries. I love summer fruit.
What websites do you visit daily?
Mostly blogs because the list is getting longer and there are so many out there that are fun and human and interesting but so little time to do them justice. Of course there's the work website which I maintain, Macaquarie Bank, Spectrum Super, COIN Software and a gazillion other work related sites. Australian Tax Office, ASIC etc. On my iGoogle page there's The Onion (thanks Fenton) and The Register although I'm not a geek, I need to know what's happening. Last Minute.com which has holiday and event specials, my own bank . . and Flickr where I store my pics. Pretty dull and pedestrian really. C'mon folks I work 40 hours a week I haven't got time to trawl the web other than to visit you lot!
What have you been seriously addicted to lately?
What besides chardonnay? Skype IM and voice. Actually have been for a couple of years when a blogger, with whom I who no longer speak, to introduced me to Skype. Since . . it's opened up a whole new world of possibilities and for that I thank him. I Instant Message (IM), I talk, I use it to speak with Clare and can see her pretty face on webcam to the point of dissolving into tears. It is total fun talking to Absolute Vanilla in Sarth Efrika . . Thrifty when he's pissed (well Thrifty when he's sober either way it's cool). JD and cuz Dr Don in Sarth Carliner, Grannymar re toyboys and daughters in Belfast - lovely soon-to-be Dishy Daddy and just turned 40 Stan the Man in New Zealand, TheBenchwarmer in Castle Hill, (who by the way is no longer warming the bench and has found a babe -Oh Dame, I've still got your muffin container - come and do drinks in the garden!) and gorgeous Gaye early on Sunday morning when I know she's in her PJ's and wearing the same bedhead as me. Even Adam in the next room! Yeh, sad init but we've done that! Crispy and Brethred in Melbourne, also with webcam. And most of all, to someone who prefers to remain nameless who through Skype I have developed the most amazing and unusual friendship over the past 18 months - now I could never, never have done that without Skype. Now if I can just get Carole from Yukon Chatterbug to actually ping me, that will be a coup.
What kind of person do you think the person who tagged you is?
You know, I have absolutely no idea. I know he's happy with his body, giggles inappropriately at lap dancers, he's pale and interesting (get's sunburned easily) he is incredibly witty, urban despite a fondness for cows and should be writing travel reports for the Pilot Guides or better still appearing on the show. He's a Cavan man , not a caveman - I seem to have a strong connection with a few Cavanites - loves his Scanpan, posts infrequently but when he does, it's a joy to behold. Oh and he likes Hyman Way. (Home and Away) and he introduced me to my first Aussie Blogger Kath Lockett so for that I'm very grateful because otherwise I wouldn't have found Miley either.
What's the last song that got stuck in your head?
For some reason and I have absolutely no idea why, every morning, I wake up with "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" swimming around my head, I can't put my pop sox on without humming it. . Then if and when I chat to a certain, young-enough-to-call-it 'inappropriate' person, Marvin Gaye's "Lets' Get It On" springs to mind . . .but he'll get the humour in that!
I am a schlep, a scruff. I never wear dresses or skirts and I am a freak for thongs and sensible shoes. A pair of comfy cotton and lycra blend yoga pants, bootleg - to even out the jetty stumps and a 'rollover' waistband plus an XL David Jones T shirt, I rather like my Jacaranda blue one, it's very summery and makes me look tanned. Literally cap it off with a peak cap (the ones with the velcro at the back to keep the pony tail intact), and I'm ready for action. If I must dress up, I have a fab pair of Resort Report linen trousers that magically don't look like I slept in them all night and a beige, knitted silk three quarter sleeve sweater - very finely knitted. I feel very trendy in that getup. Must look OK too cos I've been complemented on the ensemble many times.
Do you think Rice Krispies are yummy?
No. They are ultimately boring. But, add 400grams, blended with 2 tablespoons of melted butter, two melted king sized Mars Bars mixed thoroughly, pressed into a lamington tray, topped with melted dark chocolate and chilled until firm. Then sliced into bite sized pieces. Mars Bar Slice - to die for. And out here, we call them Rice Bubbles. What self respecting man would eat a cereal called Rice Krispies.
What would you do if you saw $100 lying on the ground?
Drop something so I had a reasonable and inconspicuous way of bending down to pick it up. "Oh lookie here . .what could that be . .oops, dropped my phone . . " Then I'd use the $100 to buy a new phone plan. And 'no' all you goodie two shoes, unless it was blatently obvious who'd dropped it like the hunk of spunk in front of me at the Coles checkout, I would not give it back. They should have been more careful that's a lot of kish in my book so anyone throwing $100 bills away deserves to lose it.
Items you couldn't go without during the day?
Two cups of Irish Breakfast tea with two bags and one sugar and milk, a cup of decent coffee - white and one and four cigarettes. I know, it's a healthy brekky. A shower, my hair curling serum and a goodly amount of hair spray to stick the mess in place. Lippy and mascara . . I don't feel dressed without a little lash and gloss. My camera. I'm getting into the habit of taking it with me everywhere.
What should you be doing right now?
Applying spakfiller to the cracks before I commence painting the interior of my house. It's my give up drinking/smoking strategy but is harder than putting up the ironing board if you know what I mean!
I have to tag six others at the end. Time to pwn_teh_noobs Moon when he's finished getting hitched, Annie Ha and Megan, Miles McClagan hoot mon! The very literary and slightly cross-eyed, Christopher and fuzzy feelgood Bear Naked. Go for it peeps!