Sunday, November 30, 2008

She Rendered me Shmooshy

I wrote a huge soppy post about how much I'm looking forward to connecting with Clare and how proud I am of Adam, and what great people they are . . .but as Im' waxing lyrical . . .The boy walks in after his 2nd Anniversary weekend in the city with his special gift from Amy, wrapped in paper and tucked gently under his arm.

He bought her tickets to Chicago next year even though he's not a fan of musicals but then he unwound the newspaper and brown paper wrapped thing on my kitchen bench . .

Two frames with black and white photos of them each in various "Facebook" style poses, and then . . a massive frame . . . the love of his life has crafted a charcoal sketch. It's beautiful . . personal . . romantic and frankly, it took my breath away and brought me to tears . . mainly because it was such a gift of love. She's drawn it, framed it and given it . . I can only imagine what he felt when she gave it to him. Clearly she agrees with my opinion of my son. Isn't it fabulous?

I'm so over whelmed that I need a dose of Transformers . . .

Friday, November 28, 2008

Friday Fuckwit (s)

That time again folks and my, doesn't the week roll by. This one's been a doozy. Fast paced, very busy and me realising that as an administrator, I make a fabulous blogger! Filling in forms is NOT my forte. Even a friend of mine said this morning, "I don't know what you're doing in administration, I can't imagine you doing that kind of work!" He was right. I'm not designed for filling in forms and playing stamps.

Friday Fuckwit Extraordinaire

Me - again! . . .for transferring $36,000 out of the wrong account for one of our most valued (and I must admit rather sweet) clients. Fortunately, due to bribes, threats and 3kgs of Fererro Rocher chocolate, I was able to persuade an international fund manager Colonial First State to allow someone to 'buy in' to one of their now 'closed' funds and Mr Client is a happy man. Well he's an Engineer so he's a 'contented' man. I don't think they have a 'happy' scale.

Friday Fuckwit 2
Mr Client who still wants to buy into this dog despite losing $15,000 since his initial investment, getting one distribution and dollar cost averaging (depositing $100 month for the past decade) into the fund. Give it to me you bastard or shred it or wipe your bum with it . . .throw it in the air and see what sticks - far more useful than sinking more into this embarrassment of a fund. Now I'm far from advocating people cut and run in this current economic climate but this is a 10 year wake up call! Bail, bail, bail . . .

Friday Fuckwit 3
Me AGAIN! Yep, last night, popped into the local supermarket, picked up two bottles of Eaglehawk Chardy and a packet of nurrells and then promptly backed into the car attempting to park next to me. Seriously, I didn't see him. Fortunately I drive like a Nana so the bump was more of a 'tip' and left little more than some bumper rubber on corresponding corner. He was very sweet and we swapped cards and phone numbers. "It'll probably polish off!" he declared and thank goodness I haven't heard from him since. Stupid idiot woman that I am - I put it down to Clare distraction - it's all her fault for occupying 99% of my brain capacity at the moment.

Friday Fuckiwt 4
I don't know if you're aware but the "safest airline on the planet" has had a few niggles lately. Gas cylinders blowing up, bits of wings falling off, plummeting to earth before righting among a litany of potentially dangerous incidents. It's CEO, who has presided over the company for the past 8 years retired today in this dire economic climate when consumer confidence is at a low ebb on . . oooh . . $12.2 million. That should keep his fluffy pussy in Dine for a lifetime don't you think? He's now handing the reins over to former Jet Star (sister budget carrier) Irishman and to my mind wannabe Richard Branson, Alan Joyce.

Qantas defended its executive salaries as a means to retain the best managers. Qantas staff on the other hand have received little more than CPI rises over those 8 years and maintenance has been sent offshore (possible reason for the bits falling off?) and definitely to blame for the surly nature of cabin crew. Apparently, from this day hence, the practice of giving excessive amounts to executives willy nilly will cease. Oooh . .look up, what's that? Damn piggy poo!

Part of his settlement however included shares calculated at about $5 each that are now worth about $2.30. Never mind mate, hang tight, they'll rise again.

So there you have it folks. Wet and warm, nice if you're with a woman but not so nice if you're being dripped on by the condensation on your Chardy glass every time you take a sip. Why do girls always get the wet spot!

I just hope the sun pokes it's face out on Tuesday morning when my girly swat wakes up, at home, in her own little bed and glances outside her window. She's flying in at 8pm on Monday night! Wahay! Erm Clare, if you're out there . . would you like to give your mother, I mean taxi, your flight number? Oh God, she's flying Qantas!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I Really Wannabe in LA

AT LAST . . three hours it's taken! I swear my internet is out to get me. I had a lovely post . . but I didn't save, then I crashed (much like yesterday when I backed into an oncoming vehicle in the car park at Coles but the guy was way decent and said it would probably polish off but we exchanged cards anyway with slightly 'I'm sorry' looks (God I'm turning into Miley).

The gist was . .of the previously written post in notebook that didn't save . . .One thing I like about America and Americans is the celebration of Thanksgiving. The thought of a celebration where Pilgrims are rescued by a scraggy chook and fed by indigenous populations is very romantic and whilst 200 years of history might have tainted this original gesture I love the idea that families come home for Thanksgiving, that families of most races and creeds and colour stick their fingers up the nether regions of an odd looking bird who's only claim to fame is the word "gobble" and as a table centre for hungry patrons. (Don't feel slighted, many of us do it for Christmas but I'm a glazed ham person myself).

I'd love to be invited to Thanksgiving dinner, in the early throes of winter, with a big red coat (why don't New Yorker's wear colour in a drab winter) with the awkward boyfriend and the grouchy carver and listening to criticism of too many apricots shoved up the fowls arse or the fact that pumpkin is pig food and not meant to be put in a shortcrust pie . . .

It sounds much like our Christmas, the one day of the year where the prodigals come home, food is paramount and pressies are exchanged then the whole night degenerates into a boozefest and games of Kings and shattered barbecue tables.

Anyway, this evening, I went Christmas shopping and scored quite well with all gifty poos plonked in a "Save Maddie" recyclable red Christmas bag. I'm glad I remembered the half kilo of prawns and sour dough bread nestling next to the . . .nope, it's a secret.

While I was driving home with a back seat full of silver wrapping paper, blue ribbons and a few pressies . .I lamented that I wasn't in America tonight. Storm clouds were gathering after a temperate afternoon and it all seems wrong having Christmas or Thanksgiving for that matter in a country where it's comfortable enough to sit outside and suffer the intolerable bombings of Christmas beetles in your champers.

I imagine it as perhaps having dinner with the Norman Rockwell family, "pass the beets daddy' and gratefulness for one's lot in life even though you've been ousted by the sub primers. Seriously though, it sounds warm and wonderful and a day when everyone is at one with the world. Women washing up and men snoozing - pogged on the couch while some weird game of football with overly padded men yell 'Hutt, hutt hutt!"

Wishing all my American friends a very happy Thanksgiving. I hope your family and friends are around and that you remember those who are no longer with you and for once in your life wear those matching knitted jumpers that Aunty Whatshername spent all summer putting together (I've got it totallly wrong haven't I?) . . I did smile as I turned into my street listening to the ratio tonight and thought "I really wouldn't mine being a wannabe in LA . ." For tonight anyway!

Does anyone wipe their cooking hands on the back of their pants and not realise that they look great from the front but like a garbo from the rear!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Your Mission Should You Choose to Accept . . .

Thank you for your consoling thoughts yesterday. I haven't yet resolved the $32,000 blunder. I have to wait for some administrative robot (hang on that would be someone like me) to let me know whether I can buy units in a fund that's no longer taking applications - proof it's a dog - but we'll get through it. The Seminar was a resounding success and the presenters, guests from Macquarie Bank, rather hot! Except one sounded like a jockey but it all went well.

Now, I've been tagged variously by a number of people for memes. It's not that I don't love you but I'm saving them for those writer's block or sentimental days when I can actually do them justice.

This is not so much a meme but Megan, my n00b Facebook and bloggy pal asked her bloggers for something to put on a noticeboard in her workplace. It seemed such a good idea. Currently, my workstation is very Clarecentric with the exception of a couple of Adam pics and of course the wonderful Lily: (you can click to enlarge)

However, she who travels a lot, comes home on Monday night (SQUEEE) and I will have her in the flesh, her photos on Facebook and DVD and her persistently messy room to give me comfort so I will need no longer to stare at her travelling visage on a daily basis. I'm ripping down the reminders of her journey on Wednesday morning. Hence, I will have a big glass space of nothingness. Not that I'm one for decorating my workspace, quite the contrary, it has the usual staplers and calculators, files, Dictaphones and water glasses and with the exception of some Children's Hospital bandaged bears to raise money for charity is pretty bland . . so . . your mission . . should you choose to accept. Is to send me something to fill that glass wall. (Maxi, no teabagging and Quickie no Brasilian bottoms). Sent me something that depicts you or where you live or what you love . . .I'll give you space on my wall and see what the office thinks of my little known hobby! I'm very proud of you so will be keen to show you off!

Keep it clean folks, I'm in full view! Email's in my profile. So go you good things - gimme Zebra or peeps from Africa, Thriftypants, tantalising teddy's, Laughing Boy and Puppychild, Massachussets grandchildren, borrowed dogs, cakes from Cavan, sailing boats, scratched cars in Canada, French farmyards and Austrian wildflowers and of course Hungarian hilarity or you in a fairy suit (hang on, I've already got one of those), Iced Coffee from Adelaide, countryside in Carolina, deer and doves in Vermont, knits in New England, birdies from Brisbane, or fabulous fish from Texas. Icelandic escapades, Roborovski's in London or if you dare . . a portrait, a photo, a pic of the real you. . . .Miley I'm not putting Brittany up there without her knickers on but I'll pay you for a lime spider or a photo of your deck! C'mon . . make it cool!

AND big thank you to Bimbimbie who is one of only a couple of Aussie compatriots with whom I blog, for her lovely Chrissy tree decoration! Photos closer to the big day . . I love Christmas . . ."Deck the walls bla bla bla-bla-bla . . ." (It was a deliberate mistake folks). Six more sleeps!

I haven't tagged everyone because I'm really tired but all can be found in my blogroll so pay each other a visit. You're a truly diverse bunch!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Just Another Day at the Office

Some days you should just stay in bed and this is one of them. I've had the day from hell beginning with realising that I have nominated an incorrect account number for a client and instead of transferring $5.10 and closing an old managed fund, I've redeemed $32,000 and transferred it into his bank account. To make it worse, the fund I've closed is no longer taking applications and he wants to put his money back in it. Great start to a Monday. I wonder if clients know or give a toss how knotted up we get when we make these mistakes. It makes me sick inside when something like this happens. It was my fault but he signed the form without checking (won't do that again I suspect) . So my day started with this lump in my throat and feeling like a total idiot. I actually relly like this client, he bought me wine not long ago he was so grateful, now that's all gone to shit. It won't be resolved for three days and if we can't get him back into the old fund even more shit will hit the proverbial fan as we try to get him into an equivalent investment.

We're having a knee jerk seminar for Clients who are nervous about markets and their falling stocks tonight. I organised quickly and I've got everything under control. Nice posh venue, screens and data projectors, evaluation sheets, two speakers. I've done the invitations, responses, booked the tea coffee and gourmet biscuits. We've all got name tags and the run sheet has been handed to the Boss who will be MC. 120 clients and friends and at 5:30 tonight he pipes up - "I think we should print these 8 page pamphlets and have them available to clients tonight" then he walked out the door! Noice. So half of them have printed on letterhead and I'm still going.

Advice to young lovers wherever you are . . . run your own businesses, be responsible for your own mistakes and take the consequences. Doing the bidding of others is no fun.

Now let's just hope the speakers turn up on time!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Day on the Piste

The weather here is crazy at the moment. The past week has ranged from 35 down to a very chilly 16 tonight so as I sit in my Alpaca hoodie which should be relegated to the St Vinnies bin but it's so warm and snooxie - snow is falling on the Snowy Mountains (there's another one of those fantastically imaginative names), soft hail, which I suspect you northerners would call 'sleet' is falling in the Blue Mountains much closer to home and the wind is howling to the point that if the leaves now settled on the verandah are anything to go by, I'm now surrounded by naked gum trees.

During winter we have quite respectable ski fields on the border of Victoria and New South Wales. Hippybro in the old days would take Adam with him for a week, and other nieces and nephews, at quite young ages. They've all become accomplished. My nephew in England especially and he forays into France and Switzerland during the winter to snowboard. Clare even snowboarded in the Snow Dome in Dubai!

My and Adam's foray into skiing was his first and my last . I brought the kid along for a weekend at Thredbo with a bunch of friends, all of whom could ski. I ostensibly went as the weekend caterer but thought I might as well try my hand.

Whilst Adam was booked into kindy ski with kids his age and the more competent skiiers tackled the real snow, I ventured to Friday Flats at Thredbo. So called because it's easy peasy, low grade and I was told full of Swiss and Austrian instructors which rather appealed to a young widow if you know what I mean.

I booked into a beginner's class. As it turned out, I was the only native, they were all Japanese.
I was very disappointed to learn that our instructor was not only a woman but an Australian. So there went any hope of apres ski canoodling with a hairless, tanned Austrian for a start so my 'attitude' may not have been as positive as my giggly companions, most of whom looked like honeymooners.

Before we started, we learned how to stop. Simple enough manoeuvre called a Snow Plough. I managed to sail into the car park with my skis crossed, completely out of control and halted only by a wall of slush into which I managed to face plant unceremoniously. Whilst our young instructor was getting the shits with the Japs, none of whom spoke English and all of whom were obviously having fun and giggling uncontrollably. Ms Sour Pus focussed on the only English peaking person in the group. "Get out of that!" she screamed, as if I'd deliberately machinated to disrupt the class. Ok easy enough to do you would think. I began to undo the bindings on my skis. "NO!" shrieked Hitler's great grandchild, "You have to learn to get up without undoing your bindings." Why? If I fall over 'over the back' I'll just undo my bindings get up and put my skis back on.

So, righting myself requires 'stomach muscles' remember those? You had them before you had babies . . certainly before you turned 30 but then something happened and they went on holiday or to the place where odd socks and spare change flourish.

So, there's me . . total focus of attention after having face planted dangerously close to the wall of four wheel drives and on a slope of about 2 degrees trying to right my skis on an icy surface and stand up using nothing more than my stocks for lift and my stomach non-muscles to propel me into the upright position.

In attempting said manoeuvre, my very nice Raybans flew off into the snow. "Oh look here . ." says she with the forked tongue, knowing full well that I'm the only one who can understand a friggin' word she says, "What have you lost there, your KMart sunnies . ." Bitch! I'm so humiliated that I don't have a comeback. I'm writhing on the frontest section of Friday Flat providing local entertainment for six Japanese tourists and the ski instructor from Hell is picking on my eyewear . . .if I could have stood up without sliding sideways I'd have taken her out with my stock!

So the rest of the lesson didn't go much better. I managed about a 50 metre downhill stumble before losing control repeatedly and landing on my bum. Each time, the cow faced troll from the underworld refused to allow me to undo the bindings in order to right myself. (Thank God for the most hopeless of us who was veering uncontrollably towards the Snowboard park and distracted her momentarily so that I could quickly unclip and get myself upright).

It was an hour of total bollocks and I was close to tears at the end of it. From then on, I've not tried to ski.

I spent the next day riding through the mountains on a tough old Appaloosa gelding called Chocolate which was much more pleasurable and the scenery was spectacular. Just me and some old Bushy called George . . we chatted about the snow gums and why they take the back shoes off mountain horses when the weather freezes, and what a travesty it was that 'they' want to stop people riding in national parks. We strolled through icy creeks and wild pathways and stopped for billy tea and a home made scones. He talked about how beautiful the place was in summer and how his wife makes the best rabbit stew and pumpkin pie . . .you can keep your piste . . .gimme a horse among the gum trees and a bushy's tales and I'm happy as a pig in poo!

And you . . , you mean spirited little cow . . I hope you heliskied on Mount Cook and drowned in powder!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Fuckwits

Has to be our friends Google who have developed a new voice recognition search tool for the iPhone which has HUGE problems understanding British accents, leading to some bizarre answers to spoken queries.

The free application, which allows iPhone owners to use the Google search engine with their voice, mistook the word "iPhone" variously for "sex," "Einstein" and "kitchen sink," said the Daily Telegraph.

Bit like ringing a share registry which I do on a daily basis and that delightful woman asks me to say what holding I'm after:

"BHP" I enunciate with perfect clarity, she says:

"I heard Telstra Holdings . . one moment while I put you through"

You can imagine what I'm saying to the voice recording whilst she's finding the wrong share registry for me . . . smug biatch! Anyway . . .

A video demonstration of the Google Mobile App on the online giant's website shows an American engineer successfully asking for pictures of the Golden Gate as well as cinema timetables and temperature conversions. The website also includes a link to a video showing people with Irish, British and Chinese accents asking for relatively complicated searches, with apparent success.

One user commented "Awesome job Google. Only problem is every time I say the word 'fish' it registers as 'sex'." (Not sure what sort of accent he had!)But British iPhone owners had less luck when speaking the word "iPhone" into the application - a Scottish user was offered a porn website after it mistook his search for "sex," the Telegraph reported. Haha . . .well I can understand that, they say 'fon' for 'phone' and 'pon' for pawn so one rhymes with the other.

A user from Surrey, south of London, had his request mistaken for "Myspace" and "Einstein" was another option offered for "iPhone" spoken with a Kent accent, it said. Well that's just plain off the wall.

The only British accent which correctly understood the request was for a user from Yorkshire, northern England, although he was also offered "bonfire."

Eee by gum . . .and he would have said "ahh-forn"

A Welsh accent gave the suggestions "gorillas" and "kitchen sink." No surprises there since nobody understands a word they're saying, I know, I'm half Welsh!

Quite liked this little tip for keeping your iPhone clean too . . .

The solution . . .talk to your iPhone with your best American accent!

On its website, Google points out that the new voice search system "is currently available only in US English." Bloody oxymoron that is!

Now you're phone might talk dirty but here's a novel way to keep it clean:

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Schoolies and Toolies

Well the exams have finished. Year 12 have left school for the last time and this week marks a phenomenon called Schoolies Week. Around 30,000 school leavers will pack up their booty and boogie boards and in the case of NSW head north. Usually to the den of iniquity that most New South Welshmen and women know as “The Gold Coast” (Other states have other venues such as Lorne in Victoria but The Gold Coast is where it’s at baby!) God knows why. The Gold coast comprises man made canals and a huge strip of apartments on a very fine beach that stretches from Coolangatta northwards. It’s a retirees paradise (Indeed, it’s most famous town is Surfer’s Paradise swamped with cheap touristy shops which appeal to the Japanese and a very nice Mall which appeals to us.) It’s hinterland has a beautiful national park, Dream World, Movie World and Wet and Wild (not that kind of wet and wild – water slides!) but the main drag is lined with multi-storey, well appointed apartments for lease and flash hotels.

The goal of schoolies from the kids point of view is basically to get pissed and get laid. You pack as many people into a luxury apartment as possible, sneak your vodca in via obscure means as glass is not allowed in the hotel rooms and hit the clubs and beach party, half price cocktails, party pashes and then come home before Christmas - marked, scarred and liberated for it is indeed a rite of passage from school into the real world

Parents hate it. Whether we admit it or not, we try in vain to distract our kids into accepting a more savoury alternative by offering holiday bribes, cars, a ‘weekend in Hawkes Nest’ or suggesting that staying with Gran might be more appropriate. Yeh right!

C’mon folks. I’m spitting chips that there was nothing like that when I left school.

My ‘right of passage’ was staying out all night after the end of year 12 formal, snogging to Dark Side of the Moon in the strobe light and sleeping on Palm Beach all the next day thanks to too much Blackberry Nip and Passion Pop!

Clare managed to squeeze schoolies in as she turned 18 on 4th December. And waltzed up to the Gold Coast . Poor Adam missed the Gold Coast bus so to speak as his 18th isn’t until the 11th and it’s all over bar the shouting, so he and his fellow underage drinkers opted for a boozy week with mates on the north coast in a friend’s holiday home.

This event has in the past been marred by drunken brawls, sick kids, ‘Toolies’ (older men coming in from the suburbs, or even interstate, to take advantage of the school leavers or cause fights with the younger boys) and the odd underage drinking bout although generally, ID is required and short of staying in your apartment and downing some Peach Schnapps, you can’t drink in public unless you’re over 18. It’s well policed by all accounts and many moons ago, we holidayed with smal kids during Schoolies and barely saw anyone in the teen realm – they’re all sleeping off the night before – the only evidence, a lot of doof doof coming from the subarus on Broad Beach and some ‘bodies’ left over at breakfast time.

So brace yourself Gold Coast . . .the first lot fly in tomorrow!

Press PhotosAAP

Monday, November 17, 2008

Christmas is Coming Whether You Like it Or Not So Thinking Caps on Please!

Right, what good are bloggy friends if not for offering suggestions and advice. OK some are silly and some are banal and I'm expecting little useful from my lot of comedic commentators but next weekend, is the only weekend I have free to complete my Christmas shopping. If I was as creative as Ces, I'd give them a drawing. Or if I had a penchant for photography a framed print. Or capable of writing a decent yarn, a bound manuscript. If I'd been to kj's Yart Sale, I'd have probably picked up a few original gems or had JD's penchant for photography a few framed prints.

I know, I know, it's early but then the problem is also compounded by two badly planned birthdays, Clare's on the 4th December and Adam's on the 11th. Traditionally, they've had decent birthday gifts and a load of rubbish for Christmas. Then we have early Christmas at the Groovy Grannies before our more traditional Christmas Day celebrations. That's every weekend in December occupied.

So here's a quick precis of the people in my life and I want your suggestions for an appropriate gift. I have the younglings covered. It's the oldies that cause me grief!

Babybro: sports freak, new to the Wii and PS3, dapper but casual dresser, likes novelties and fun stuff, keen red wine buff, music DVD fan and an habitual buyer of things in the Innovations Catalogue that rarely work. 2 years ago he bought me tickets to the Cricket (that went down like a lead balloon so I told him to ask a friend in my stead and didn't go but received no replacement). One year ago, a nice base for a large pool umbrella which didn't fit and was returned but never replaced . . .

Stressany: Petite, sporty, loves a chardy or a Merlot. Sudoku nut, bookworm, totally stressed by full time work even though she does little else (Pete's the domestic type). Likes her pampering, spas, weekends away, theatre and sports events. Needs slippers rather than the ugg boots that are drying on the windowsill but wouldn't thank me for a 'domestic' or practical gift.

Babysis: very materialistic, loves things. Nice linen, crockery, platters, jewellery, quirky ornaments (the rusty bronze garden doggy thing with a bobbly head went down well). Candles, fragrance, earrings . . If I bought her a Ba mix or a Kitchen Maid it would go rusty before being used. She loves surprises although cannot resist the urge to peek.

The Plumber: every year he asks for a pair of Havaianas and some Dunlop Volleys or an unusual tree . . .no clothes horse, family man, keen gardener, low level gamer, DVD watcher . . he usually gets his thongs and a T Shirt or a rain gauge but I want something different this year. He was very impressed with an electronic pepper grinder . . any clues?

Groovey Granny: 75, goes to Senior Citz exercise classes. They travel locally, picnic, enjoy their Sunday drinky poos and are well equipped with folding chairs, beach umbrellas eskies and all things outdoorsy. She plays tennis, cooks healthy food, likes her little knick-knacks from the little solid gold cat sitting on a silver chair to Swarsovski swans and picture frames. She's sea-sidey but slightly 'frilly'. Wouldn't go a week without her New Idea . . or Women's Weekly which is odd because it's now a periodical and published monthly.

Spunky Art: my father in law. Also plays tennis, is the ultimate barbecue guru. Slightly wizened but very active (last year I bought him nose hair trimmers by request - I never thought of implements of torture as an appropriate Christmas gift but Groovy Gran was happy that his ear and nasal hair was now controllable). He's the sort of man that if you bought a wallet it would go in the top drawer because he likes his soft bum moulded old one. He's deaf so movies hold little joy but he does like the odd 'nature' DVD (no not that sort . . the David Attenborough sort!)

Angela: My sister in law. She's a beautician. Not a bimbo. Picture perfect and no stranger to giving the odd Brasllian wax. She's beautifully 'turned out' as we horsey people say. Manicured, trimmed, classic. A redhead with a penchant for putting herself together. She likes the high life but can't really afford it. She's quiet, sweet and I see her once a year. No hobbies to speak of but crafty and impeccable taste.

GB: Ray's brother only bigger, louder. Plays golf. Sells real estate. Likes brand clothing and always buys the 'ladies' in the family a bottle of Moet and Chandon for Christmas, a tradition he can ill afford but cannot give up. Likes his food, wine, gadgets but is a technophobe. He's generous but not really 'connected' to us. Something humorous would do him well.

So thinking caps people! Next weekend is it so sagitate and prognosticate all you want but gimme some clues before Friday! I'm also open to T Shirts with inappropriate slogans so share please! We've already done "James Blunt Must Die" and "I'm With the Drummer" and "Drummer: someone in a band that isn't s roadie" and "I'm not Immature You Great Big Poopie Head".

As for the kids! I was going to buy Guitar Hero World Tour as a joint birthday present for Adam and Clare but Mr Impatient decided it HAD to be purchased for last weekend's parentless shenanigans despite his past employer now holding out on paying him for his last week's work . . .right he's now getting a Bridge Climb whether he wants it or not! Oh and the only casualties were my wall clock, smashed after an enthusiastic closing of curtains and my Bodum glass coffee plunger . . .the Fringelet thought it was adhered to the frame . . .God life will be interesting when they move out together!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I Love My Homies!

It's Spring . . the Jacaranda's mark November with their Royal Purpleness:

and the landscape is dotted with their magnificent blooms. For one or two weeks in November they are conspicuous and beautiful in the northern climes where it's warm and humid. They were one of the observations we made driving around Sydney over the girls behave badly weekend.

Friday night The Merry Widow, Thommo and I ventured up to the 'Vicar' to meet the pub crowd and an almighty spring storm prevented us from venturing onward to a restaurant of our choice so while we enjoyed the light show, we and 11 others had dinner at the pub.

We came home and chatted, opened another couple of bottles then retired before an early start to pick up Struth Ruth and the Teacher who was flying in from Melbourne at 8:30am. The weather was shit. Warm but raining and that put the moccas on our preferred cliff walk from Bondi to Tamarama so we resolved to hit Paddington markets. Deciphering the times and meters was a problem and lovely gay boy with a pretty bulldog told us we could park there until 10 without paying. I think the fact that we were conservatively dressed and didn't have dreadlocks or model good looks gave us way as Westies! We needed a heart starter and found a coffee shop with an equally gay and very entertaining owner who gave us cheek and after a latte, flat white, decaf cappuccino, soy flat and a cup of tea in a teacup and saucer (The Teacher's fussy that way). We headed for Paddington which is the respectable end of the Sydney gay district in Darlinghurst. Terraced houses, expensive real estate, fabulous shops, a wonderful market, colourful people. The Teacher and I had a scrunched up newspaper thrown at us by some drunk while the other three tried on shoes. Yep, it's that kinda place.

Then on to the markets. The markets are quality but due to the influx of tourists have become overpriced. I still bought a mask for Adam's birthday (guitar hero devilly thing . . and a cup cake kit for perfect Christmas dainty's). I didn't take many photos due to poor light and feeling a little self conscious about photographing things I had no intention of buying. I've never seen so much home made jewellery in my life!

Paddington Markets in inner Eastern Sydney. Famous. Quality. Expensive.

I guess the Big Issue, transcends posh borders . . ..outside an exclusive shop on Oxford Street.

Gorgeous shopfront of a jewellery shop with other bits and pieces. Japanese jeweller . . if only!

Then we wondered across the Domain (large green Central Park kind of space in the middle of the city) to head towards the Art Gallery. Underneath that green carpet is a 6 level carpark!

One of the many Moreton Bay Figs that don the Domain and surrounds and a backdrop of St Mary's Cathedral and the city skyline . . .

The Art Gallery. Small but interesting and this time a little disappointing because one level was closed for viewing and on it's exterior are the words "Michael Angelo" nobody fixed the poor spelling. We actually went in the hope of seeing the Monet exhibition but the queues were longer than those for the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland so we had lunch and drank and then plonked through the free bits.

I was allowed to take photos without a flash except in the Aboriginal section. Talk about precious! Apparently Japanese tourists have been digitally enhancing the brown and white blobby art and turning it into fabric . .for God's sake, I can photograph a Whitely but not some spotty aboriginal Wanjina . . .

The Merry Widow loves Whitely . . .

Thommo notices that a past prime minister actually does have opposable thumbs contrary to popular opinion . . .

Yep thats a WTF piece. A rock wedged in a bronze tree . . .

We then wondered down to Woolloomoolloo . .yep real name. It's one of many 'finger wharves' that surround the harbour where boats used to unload and in it's former incarnation was actually my first glimpse of Australia. In 1969 it looked like a cattle shed and we'd wondered what on earth had we done to land in such a ramshackle place . . .now, it's posh apartments and restaurants . . $14 for half a glass of chardy . .yes I paid! And the teacher wasn't happy having her tea in a coffee cup! Melbournians are more civilised it seems.

Which one?

We bought a fish THIS BIG . . Beautiful Atlantic Salmon that we stuffed with lemon, capers, dill and some secret ingredients. Smeared with olive oil and salt and baked fast for about 40 minutes . . perfect!

Serve with mixed lettuce and snap pea salad, wasabe, balsamic vinegar dressing, baby chat potatoes in herbs and maaaaaan . . did that fishy taste good!

Following morning we headed into the Parramatta River Festival . . the half bridge above is made out of shopping trolleys! But we found that the festivatl was all over bar the rubbish . . .clearly someone had too much time on their hands and painted sad faces on the rubbish bags . . .

But the steps were interesting . . .

Then we headed home . . .along the rainbow serpent path of course! See the little Jacaranda in the background . . .

That's all you 'need' to know. What's said on tour, stays on tour. . I love my homies!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Boys and Girls Behaving Badly

I can hear Adam on the phone:

"I've got the house to myself this weekend so . . ."
(then something about 'let's smash it' which I think is a good thing . .)
Ah now it's . . .
"I just told everyone to come around about 7 . . .It won't be a big one!"
(yeah right! Everyone? Who's everyone?)
Yes, I'm going away for the weekend with four of my most fabulous friends. I shall report on events afterwards but the last foray involved The Great Ocean Road, copious amounts of red wine and champagne and four menopausal women hot flushing in the Kruger and giggling until The Teacher wet herself on several occasions. The one before, all five of us catching a lift with a bucks party up to the spa dressed in little more than towelling robes and frilly shower caps. The one before, a weekend in the Blue Mountains where I nearly died of bushwalking (damn that poo-in-a-hole hyperactive best friend of mine) and a nose that refused to stop dripping while I had a massage. This year three of us are a bit on the poor side so we start with drinks at the Vicar (of Wakefield) then end up with the pub crowd for dinner somewhere . . it's always a mystery tour so will be fun.

The Teacher's coming up from Melbourne, Struth Ruth, The Merry Widow, Thommo and I will pick her up at 8am on Saturday morning and begin an adventure with Brunch at Tamarama or Bondi and the cliff walk, maybe Paddington Markets which is good because tomorrow's payday and they're super cool except last time I went I was booked for a parking infringement. Then lots of catching up before repairing to Chez Dural (Thommo's palatial home, set on five manicured acres, complete with swimming pool, tennis court, plasma screen and far too many Sting DVD's and 'aubergine' pained feature walls) to have a 'who can cook the best course' gourmet dinner and then get totally shitfaced and behave like schoolgirls.

So for Friday and Saturday night my fabulously now self-employed Landscaping Horticulturalist will be able to play 'house', Guitar Hero 3 on 11 and behave badly with his mates.

The last time I left him alone there were attempts to make explosions using a variety of vinegars and pool acid/chlorine and upon my return a declaration that the acrid vinegar odour was due to a new affection for fish and chips. I took the smile off his face by making him scrub the blackened pool coping stones with a tub of Gumption and a toothbrush. He took some convincing that there was little volatile about Balsamic Vinegar but gave it a go anyway. There were copious amounts of Yaegerbombing and then there was the time of faux sex with another dreadlocked mate involving a tin foil hat and a tin foil penis. Another party trick is shoving pink marshmallows up your schnozz and seeing how far you can blow them across the room. There was also an incident with about 11 people packing into a car and driving up to the servo for late night nibblies (the driver was sober). All of which have not only been caught on video but pasted on Facebook!

Thank God there's a fire ban from October to April or there'd be some pallet burning in the back yard and the possibility of some unsuspecting 'sparkly' rabbit emerging from the holes beneath the pyre . . seriously that happened once on bonfire night with loads of little children watching the illegal fireworks . . .'cover your eyes children' squealed the yummy mummies . . someone was brave enough to thwack it with a brick and put it out of its misery.

I just know that when I get home on Sunday evening the place will be reasonably tidy but not quite up to standard The Sulo bins will be full of bottles despite being emptied last night, my cooktop will be greasy beyond belief, the pool balls racked and the video games put away. My dog will be exhausted (she loves a party) and bloated with left over snags and the whole place will bear the stench of breakfast which usually comprises El Porto Portuguese chook and the house will stink of garlic and doner kebab farts and require 3 hours of Dusk "Awakening" fragranced candles to clear the fog . . . *sigh*

Should I be worried? Nah Babybro will shut them down at 1am!Thanks to for the shots.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My Quest for World Domination

We all crave world domination . . don't we? There's a bit of a blogwar in Ireland between the disreputable Maxi Cane, the not so benevolent dictator of Maxiland (please don't go there if you're easily offended or under 18 or have small children clinging to your knees or dogs who are easily frightened by deformed male genitalia) and his rival, would be 'she with Monarchial aspirations, yet butter wouldn't melt Queen of the K8opians. I'm not getting involved beyond being an abject fence sitter, berating both sides for their woosiedom and serving up the odd virtual refreshment (as a non national, I only qualify as the tea lady and yes I wear a virtual hair net) but . . . I can't compete with the evil genius that is Maxi's team nor match the cleverness of K8 the Gr8. So as with most things I participate vicariously.

However, if I did want to unleash my evil genius and put a cat among the pigeons, reach for world domination and the subjugation of all, I'd need a plan . . so I stole this fabulous link from Ellybabes and formulated my plan . . go on . . click it . . you know you want to . . then leave your plan in my comment box! Yes, I have a dark side but it's decidedly Monty Python.

So here's my blueprint for world domination (thanks Ellybabes) - yours in total silliness . . .Baino the Bombastic!

Evil Plan (tm)!

Your objective is simple: Soul Accumulation.

Your motive is a little bit more complex: To show them all

Stage One

To begin your plan, you must first seduce a chosen one. This will cause the world to wipe the sleep from their eyes, stunned by your arrival. Who is this ripe bastard? Where did they come from? And why do they look so good wearing the skin of another human?

Stage Two

Next, you must seize control of the Eiffel tower. This will all be done from a air fortress, a mysterious place of unrivaled dark glory. Upon seeing this, the world will weep uncontrollably, as countless hordes of ninjas hasten to do your every bidding.

Stage Three

Finally, you must tauntingly wave your needlessly big weather machine, bringing about something that's really metal. Your name shall become synonymous with fuzzy bunnies, and no man will ever again dare take your lunch money. Everyone will bow before your cunning intelligence, and the world will have no choice but to erect a gigantic statue of you.

And yes! I'd like a hairdo like Tilda Swinten in Narnia!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

He Has a Dream

Just had a bit of a rant with the progeny. It doesn't happen much these days except when I complain about mess and spreadage. Adam's thinking about leaving yet another job. I must admit he's being paid no more than a burger flipper at Macdonalds to create decks, driveways, gardens and plantings. In fact my sister is being paid more per hour to 'sort' peaches!

He doesn't like the men he works with, they're jaded, they white-ant the 'boss' and resent the new kids (he's one of two that cop the left handed spanner treatment and the brunt of the jokes). They lay blame on the younger two and make spending time in their company unpleasant. Well that's his take on it. I prefer to think he's a bit naive when it comes to handling older tradies. His boss is fine but refusing to budge on the pittance he earns and Ads makes more money on one Saturday working for himself (and enjoys it immensely) than he does in two days working in his present job. He wants his own business, he wants more experience, he wants to design and organise, he wants to get rich. He's happy to labour long and hard and has never shied from hard work but he wants to be paid for it. He earned more crawling through rooves laying cables, or knocking out old bathrooms before a renovation or lugging 25kilo bags of salt than he does on this job. That doesn't seem so unreasonable to me. Three years of Uni and six months later and he's being paid the same as an 18 year old shop girl! We're even paying our Receptionist more than he earns!

My problem? I'm in that betwixt and between generation that doesn't quite want total security and a gold watch when they retire but feels that you should give a job a go and stick at it for at least 12 months. I've never been permanently employed anywhere for less than five years, apart from between job freelance assignments, so it seems so impatient of him to have had two positions since February. Gen Y are of the 'me' and 'I want it now' instant gratification generation so if something doesn't suit them they flit from one thing to another. Buy the latest gadget as soon as it comes out despite his mother's protestations that he should wait until his birthday which is only a month away today.

We didn't fight. I just told him to make sure that the 'business' he thinks he has is still there given the current belt-tightening situation and not just people talking it up. I've asked him to plan a little, work out who his competition is and what they're charging. Get his business cards done up, create a little website. Insure his income in the event he's injured. Make sure he's covered with Public Liability in case he fractures someone's gas pipes - am I being to safe and stuffy? He is talking about going to TAFE (Tertiary and Further Education) to learn a little more about his craft and running a business and thinks he's got enough work to take him through to Christmas at least. I keep thinking it's time he got serious and realised that the cost of living is exhorbitant not just covered by his tiny 10% of salary that he pays to me each week. He thinks he's got it in the can and is ready to launch. Maybe he has.

In many respects my children aren't like me at all. They're adventurous, freer than I was at that age, less influenced by economics and certainly work fits in with lifestyle. They work to live, not live to work. (Then they haven't got a father banging his fist on the table yelling "You've got to get your Matric!" as mine did. I wasted four years at university only to get the degree and do a flash course in secretarial studies before beginning my far from illustrious Copywriting and administrative career)

Clare's talking about travel as a lifestyle with a few stints of money-saving work in between. Adam's dreaming of building a business and being a gazillionaire by the time he's 40. Then I think, 'well, if he's going to chop and change and find the ideal, best he does it while he's debt free and young' . . .then I think 'but his CV's going to show his inability to stick to the program if the business doesn't work out and he needs to seek employment.' I don't really care what he does I just want him to give it his best.

I also think that I wouldn't be where I am today if I hadn't 'settled' for second best as a trade off for security or if I'd got back on the dating game when I had the body and the energy (even though I did have two small children that might have been regarded as 'baggage'). I'd have got my act together, bought that little country pub or inner city B & B with a few neat rooms, new people to meet every week and a good disposable income and lived the dream . . my problem . . .I didn't have a dream at 20. I should be grateful that I have a son with some sense of 'direction'. I'm still sitting here wondering what I'm going to do when I grow up!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Lips and Arseholes

It was a busy day today. I've been interviewing Receptionist candidates with Thommo which lead to an 'interrupted' day. No lunch, just a few boardroom Kool Mints for sustenance .Then flew out at 5:30 to feed his royal skinniness and fatty boombah on their gourmet Coprice and molasses soaked chaff and Lucerne hay which would keep a Congo family for a year. Dropped into the supermarket at about 6:30 for the necessaries and of course was starving hungry so everything looked yum! So I couldn't make my mind up about what to make for dinner. I toyed with meat balls, risotto, Caesar Salad or Pepper steak but eventually fell for the easy heat 'n eat option of two frozen meat pies. "King Island Meat Pies" and yes, I succumbed and bought straight cut chips. I never buy frozen chips or pies for that matter but it was late and he who labours hard was so hungry he'd eat the crotch out of a rag doll so something quick and easy was the recipe of the day.

Now the Australian Meat Pie is an institution. You're not Australian if you don't dig a Four and Twenty at the footy and eat it with lashings of tomato sauce. It's a hand held minced meat pie rarely hot enough and likely underwarmed to the point that salmonella is simmering beneath it's crispy crust. They're available at every milk bar and take-away. Every show stand, fete and Saturday sports event and even come in 'mini' versions which are the staple of kids' birthday parties - creatively named "Party pies" but frankly . . they are so overrated. I've written about them before and they taste fine and salty until you get that unidentified gristly bit. I'm never sure whether it's the lip or the arsehole but it's enough to make me gag and bin the thing!

So, DrummerBoy and I sat down with our McCain lights, our gourmet beef pies and a few hastily microwaved baby peas . . .sure enough, second mouthful. . . out comes an unidentified gristly bit and that's the end for me. I have never bought meat pies for dinner, I pride myself on fresh and healthy food preparation where every ingredient is identifiable. But I was tired after a night of restlessness and hot flushes (yep they're back after almost six months), grilling younglings about "How would your siblings describe you" and "Where do you see yourself in five years time?" and belting out to the horses for their nightly feed I was up for the easy option.

Hey, these were 'gourmet'. It said so on the pack. King Island beef (small island off the coast of Tassie, famous for it's beautiful meats and cheeses). But nup, this was just some old cow's lips and arseholes . . tasted like puff pastry encrusted dog food! (So Lily tells me, she enjoyed them immensely but then she thinks that roadkill is pretty tasty).

So a warning to intrepid travellers to Australia . . don't be conned into believing that a Meat Pie is the quintessential Australian food. It's not. It's iconic, like kangaroos and Holden cars but it's a total pattie of crap! It's as exciting as tripe and onions, pork pies, black pudding. It's as gourmet as fish and chips - although we do those pretty well. Aussie pies are horrible. Tomorrow it's Italian Meatballs and salad!