Thursday, April 30, 2009

Who Drinks Water Anyway

Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink. More Aussie nonsense for Theme Thursday. It's been a hellish week and my sense of humour has left me dry as a dead dingo's donger but here goes.

I live on the world's largest island continent. Apparently as our national anthem would have us believe we are 'girt' by sea so water is everywhere along the coast and pretty much nowhere in the centre. The problem with the apparent propensity of gulf water is it's salty. No good for drinking, no good for irrigation. Oh Hai! Let's build a salt water chlorination plant that will service 5,000 homes for a gazillion dollars . . mmmm one gazillion dollorrres . . .

We've been under 'water restrictions' for nigh (does anyone say 'nigh' anymore) on 10 years. Drought still ravages north western NSW and QLD and SA. Hay is $19 a bale - the horse owner's barometer on drought recovery - we're not allowed to use a hose and can only water plants twice a week. Bushfires in Victoria from Christmas are a direct result of poor rains and land management (well and an arsonist or two).

The more resourceful of us capture our grey water from the washing machine and plough it on the garden or stand in showers with a bucket at hand to succour every drop. Prices have increased 100 fold to encourage us to become the great unwashed and yet . come January while Victoria is burning, north Queensland floods. In February NSW has it's highest rainfall for, um a lot of years, except in the catchments and Kakadu comes to life as it always does with the torrential monsoon rains.

We buy water in bottles because apparently our tap water isn't good enough (rubbish). We have shower saving devices that mean even someone my size has to run around to get wet. We've invented new things like 'drip feed' irrigation and yet our water management policies suck ass.

Why? In a country that is so deprived of water do we have open irrigation channels in parched areas? Why? In a country that is so deprived of water do we feel the need to have clean cars? Why? In a country that is so deprived of water do we feel the need to hose leaves from our driveways? Why in a country so deprived of water are we one of the worlds exporters of rice and cotton?

I have a solution. Charge an INCREDIBLE amount for water usage. I mean treble what we pay now. Stop Coca Cola mining our deep springs and putting it in bottles which only cause problems with landfill and dupe a susceptible public into believing it's actually better than what comes out of the tap. Seriously, people are less inclined to recycle water bottles than any other recyclable material. Charge $10 a bottle for your pretentious"Mineral Water" with the pink lid. Or recycle the bottle, fill it with perfectly pure tap water and pretend! Shit! We do!

Build catchments where it rains . .you wouldn't believe it but the major Sydney catchment is way west at a place called Warragamba where it hardly ever rains. Fuck the NIMBY's and ploink one in Epping or selubrious Beecroft because it always rains there. They're forever complaining that their gum trees fall over after a storm . Why? Too much overwatering!

Stop believing these nutritionists that tell you 8 glasses of water a day is healthy. It isn't, you pee in it, you brush your teeth with it, you brew a cup of tea with it, you make wine with it . . . for God's sake there's no need to drink it straight. It's just not meant to be drunk on it's own. Why do you think they invented cordial or cold distillation? Water is so boring it needed flavour!

Get this, if I want to use my pressure hose (which by the way uses less than 80% of water dispensed by a normal garden hose, it's illegal but I can pay someone to come and do it because they have a permit and their business depends upon it.

Then I'm OK cos I've got a speshal permit . .Landscapers get away with murder!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

One Year Ago

Welcome back to the Madhouse where we ponder where we were a year ago!

A year ago was not much different to any other. I had what I thought was a secure and reasonably satisfying job. I was accumulating debt, waiting for that magic wad of cash for a property that nobody wants to buy and our first and only offer fell through. Wishing I could afford more than a long weekend for a holiday. Wondering if my car would make it through another year. Both my kids out of Uni and making their own way in the world. Annoyed at the amount of maintenance required around the house. A creature of habit and routine . .much like now.

However this time last year our tiny family of three was one less. My soulmate and daughter, had been away from home for five months . . traipsing the wilds of the Gringo trail before 'doing' Mexico, America, Canada and Europe - and I was desperately missing her.

Thanks to Facebook, Skype, blogging and Webcams . . I could follow her every move, see what she saw, almost feel what she felt . . .although I missed her smell, her embrace, her chatter . . she was wonderful and kept in touch every three days, sometimes more often. Four days without seeing her lovely visage was unusual. It all seems so far away now as she leaves for work each morning and returns each evening, well entrenched in normality and not much excitement. She messes up her bedroom and splotches mascara on the mirror. Is back to Weetbix and banana for breakfast and partying hard on weekends. Much as she did before she left.

I missed her and I'm so relieved and delighted to have her home but I know I can't keep her, despite my best attempts to build an ivory tower around her. . she'll be off again next year only this time, I know that she's mature enough to handle herself, experienced enough to be mindful, frugal enough to make her money last, adventurous enough to really experience her surroundings and that whatever happens, she will always come home again!

When My Baby Goes to Rio

Puppet on a string

Games Only Toucan Play

Bridge over Troubled Waters

On the Road Again

Just Another Brick in the Wall

Aint no Mountain High Enough

She's a Golddigger

Castles Made of Sand

Blue Bayou

Walk the Line

Come to Paradise

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Coin Operated Partner

I've been single for a long time and am quite used to it but with the impending loss of my job, I've been thinking that it would be so much easier to bear with someone who was understanding, employed, empathic and well, life would be so much easier, emotionally and financially, with a partner by your side. Why is it so hard to find the right partner these days? I know the good ones are taken and the single ones are not about to go there but . .surely there are people like us . .sensitive, nice, ready for commitment (I've just scared all the single readers haven't I?)

I have a beautiful 24 year old daughter, intelligent, attractive, fun loving, well travelled . . she has wonderful manners a sense of obligation and fantastic ethics . . Ok she can burp with the best of them and her language can be blue in the right circumstances (she is her mother's daughter after all) but when I see her leave the house on a night out . . well it's enough to turn me gay! (No that didn't sound quite right but you know what I mean - she's a stunner!) All she wants is a decent man with visible means of support and a sense of humour. Someone interesting and romantic unafraid of commitment but willing to party. Someone who can talk the leg of a chair or deal with the pregnant pause. (Ok less of the pregnant but you know where I'm going here) Someone who loves her in her gladrags and smokey eyes as much as when she's wearing her flanny PJ's, Ugg Boots and Panda eyes . . .oh and he has to like dogs and horses and to be able to cook something that doesn't involve chocolate because she has that covered! Where are you late 20's supermen with you're big burly arms and wonderful mother-impressing manners!

Biker Girl - who is not a biker at all but an instructor and races occasionally. All she wants is some intimacy and a man who can tell her he loves her and embroil her in passion and embrace. She's barely 40! Gorgeous . . intelligent, interesting, well travelled, experienced in love and life, a good cook, great conversationalist. No baggage just warmth and a smile that makes even me melt. Where are you, handsome mature men unafraid of emotion and commitment?

The Paduan - He's shy and masks it with arrogance but take some time and he's sweet and generous. Fun loving and a bit of a speed king. Well-dressed, clean shaven, moral and quite hilarious. He's intellectual, well-travelled, well educated, well read and totally interested and aware of the world and all it's foibles. I don't think he can cook much more than pot noodles and toast but he's young, he can learn - then he was also a guest so didn't have the opportunity. Where are you chicky babes?

The Photographer - sensitive, quiet, creative. Self supporting. Now he can cook! Articulate, romantic (perhaps a little too so), well dressed. Observant of the human condition, environmentaly aware and politically naive, a bit of a dreamer and gentle as a lamb. He's just hanging for a redhead with big green eyes that he can call his own. . .Where are you ginger girls?

Me! Ok I'm a little on the pudgy side but self sufficient, entirely capable and I can fix machines and stuff. Apparently, I'm 'alright looking', (someone else's words not mine because of course I am stunningly beautiful) intelligent, slightly anal retentive, also well travelled and a Good cook . . you should try my sauces! Rich in life experience. Fun loving, young at heart and hardly any wrinkles (except those little ones just there that you'd hardly notice with a pair of beer goggles or some mood lighting). C'mon you silver foxes . . .

Seriously, how do people meet people these days. Once you get to a certain age and it doesn't seem to matter whether you're 21 or 51 . . it becomes exasperating. Small talk and chit chat . . .flirting and flauting . . .I know, I jest. None of the abovementioned are what I'd put in the 'desperate' category but it's just so hard to mix and match without putting yourself in uncomfortable crowded pubs or clubs or making the first move and dealing with ridicule and rejection or joining a singles club or speed or internet dating.

I wish you could just 'design-a-mate' online and get them home delivered like the designer gourmet pizza where you choose the topping . . or order one like the couch you loved but not in that colour and so select the perfect fabric for your tastes so that it's just a perfect fit.

When you have a life partner . .whatever life decides to throw in your direction . .good and bad . .it really is much nicer, the joy higher, the dispair easier to bear if you are able to share your experiences, your joys, your problems and worries with a kindred spirit.

Not sure where all that came from, my fingers made me do it. . .Ces, you do it unconsciously with a pallette knife or a pencil . . . I just blither out the words.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

See it and you will . . .

You know those "See it and you will shit brix . ." kind of pictures . . .the ones with little photoshopped black men playing peek a boo or the ghostly shadow in the mirror or children buried under leaves or naughty bits accidentally exposed. Well I was uploading some photos from last week and discovered something rather strange on the lemon scented gum outside my kitchen window . . .when you see it . . you will . . .

Hopefully not shit brix but can you see the box-headed alien on the tree?

These are purely natural markings. Dunno what caused them probably some branch destroying bug but I thought he was rather cute!j

Mystery solved:

Me: Hey Adam, come and look at the alien on the tree
Son: What alien, what are you talking about?
Me: Out here quick it's still there on the lemon scented gum, it's got antennae and everything!
Son: Where? What? Ohhhhhhhh . . THAT Alien
Me: You know about it
Son: Erm yeah, I was washing the van with the pressure hose and felt the urge to doodle!
Me: Damnit . .now I look like a total wanker and have to delete all reference from Facebook and face up to the bloggers . .l . ittle shit!
Son:Yeh, I know . . good tho init? Yer a Git, you know that don't you? You'd believe anything!
Me: *retreats in embarrassment* "Little shit . . "

Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Fuckwits

Some people seriously have nothing to do. We're in a world recession, the wheels are falling off and yet some copyright zealot has lost the plot or is trying to justify his existence.

Once Australian-owned biscuit manufacturer Arnott's Biscuits, says the Krispy Kreme 'Iced Dough-Vo' is too similar to its 'Iced Vo-Vo' and is threatening a law suit for breach of copyright.

No not it's Iced Volvo . . .

It's Iced Vo-Vo . . . .

Arnott's Biscuits has issued a legal ultimatum to doughnut maker Krispy Kreme, alleging that its "Iced Dough-Vo" is too similar to Arnott's "Iced Vo-Vo".

Arnott's lawyers have asked Krispy Kreme to stop using the name Iced Dough-Vo.

Arnott's says that Krispy Kreme's product visually resembles the Iced Vo-Vo biscuit, and the Iced Dough-Vo tag is phonetically almost identical.

It says this is clearly misleading and deceptive, and violates the trademark on the Iced Vo-Vo name, which it has held since 1906. The Arnott's biscuit is topped with pink marshmallow fondant, a strip of strawberry jam and sprinkled with coconut, while the Dough-Vo is also covered in pink fondant and coconut and we believe, filled with jam.

But, while it reserves its right to take legal action, Arnott's says it may not take action if the offending doughnuts are renamed.

Krispy Kreme doughnuts says it will not remove its Iced Dough-Vo product from sale. The chief executive of Krispy Kreme, John McGuigan, says the product attempts to pay tribute to an Australian icon.

"We did receive a request from lawyers representing Arnott's that we withdraw these from the shelves in our stores because we were allegedly in breach of various trademarks," he said.

"We've taken advice on that of course, and that advice is, that's not the case, and that Krispy Kreme customers are pretty smart and they can tell the difference between a doughnut and a biscuit
Yeh, that does look like a doughnut . . .with a very teensy hole!

The offending 'Iced Dough-Vo' doughnut

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Where there's smoke . . . .

Theme Thursday and I'm at a loss . . after being 'fired' writing about 'fire' seems to have lost it's verve! Yep need a fire lit underneath me! Well you know what they say,
"Where there's smoke . .!"

Here's a ceremony frequently practised at the opening of buildings, sports events, to welcome dignitaries and generally bless the earth we share.

For the Australian Coori people, the land has a spiritual connection; it’s their mother. The human spirit is born from the land and returns to it upon death. The land supplies them with everything that they needed for living.

Land has become increasingly harder to access for Aboriginal people. In urban areas, its appearance and use have been changed. Aboriginal people are concerned for the land and wish to be part of the healing process. This can be done by being actively involved in land management or by conducting ceremonies, or even by a combination of both.

The Smoking Ceremony is an example. Green leaves from plants used by the group that conducts it are placed on a small fire. The smoke is used to cover the participants’ bodies, ridding them of what is not needed. It also cleanses the area. The group feels that it is leaving behind troubles and beginning something new. Reasons for holding the rite are then discussed. The ceremony ends with entertainment, such as dancing and singing.

This ceremony is also an historic step in recognising the desecration of spiritual, practical and cultural bonds with the land that occurred during invasion.

Smoking Ceremony as part of the Sydney 200 Olympic Opening Ceremony

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Surplus to Requirements

Missing my contribution to the Madhouse today but don't let that stop you wondering over.

I wasn't going to post this and I have edited it heavily to make sure that I'm not recriminating myself or casting aspersions at others but it's a huge deal and I needed to vent.

Last night, I had the talk that had to be talked and on May 15 I'll take the walk that has to be walked. Yep, got fired. Well made redundant, retrenched, surplus to requirements. I knew it was coming but was hopeful that business profitability might pick up over the past six weeks. It hasn't. I was given a 'heads up' that my position was being 'evaluated'. But since nothing has happened and I've been given a Seminar to manage for 3rd June, I thought perhaps they'd decided to keep me on. It seems they were waiting for the March quarter reporting before driving that little metaphorical stake through my heart.

I'm a good employee. I don't take 'sickies' I'm a good mentor and communicator a great organiser and motivator. I'm punctual, great with clients and have learned more about databases, industry software and servers than you're average mumsy type will ever know. Perhaps I'm a little 'out there' for something as staid as Financial Planning but I'm loyal, honest, innovative, a quick learner and prepared to take on whatever's thrown at me. (Are you prospective employers hearing this?)

I admit that I can be too outspoken which sometimes doesn't lie well with others and as my psychometric profiling dictates, I do not have an eye for detail. And I don't suffer fools or rudeness or white-anting and I will stand up if I see an injustice or something that's untoward or unreasonable. I am however, one of these people who gets stuff done, copes well with change, takes a lead when others don't, won't or can't.

My main role in this SME is Practice Management, Marketing Communications and some administrative support. When the markets were buoyant and income no issue, I managed to fly. I had the confidence of the partners and and was given a free reign. I strategised, organised, instilled processes and costed their services. I built their Client Management System, revamped their Records Management System, I wrote policies and procedures. I hired and fired. I created Disaster Recovery Plans and Marketing Plans. I managed their website, organised their seminars, wrote their newsletters, marketing collateral and quarterly reports, built their corporate ID and even gave them their name. I lugged their office equipment and solved their IT issues. I oversighted the refurbishment of the office and resolved their conflicts. I built teams, communicated and was generally the go-between for management and shop floor. It was all very nice, a great combination of organisation and creativity - right up my alley. I even washed their tea towels and cleaned their fridge.

I was given a raise every year and never asked for one, told my position was secure, (anyone who knows me understands that job security is all to me . . .I now understand that it simply does not exist) I was told I was appreciated, valued, needed. In my zeal, I'd created (with the help of others of course) a great office environment with few hassles and had actually made my own position redundant in doing so.

However like so many small businesses, planning during the good times was not the best. Advice from business consultants and mentors was not implemented. Charging and servicing was inconsistent. An ability for all three partners to agree seemingly difficult. An equity-partnering deal was sealed with a huge Fund Manager and I was increasingly left out of the loop. Marketing was considered unnecessary in harsh economic times, especially when we could piggy back their expertise and basically as the highest paid, non-revenue producing member of staff, I was the obvious choice. I might have pissed off one of the partners with an errant email for which he has never forgiven me. Actually in fairness and if I was totally objective, (God I hate empathy) I'd have fired me too.

They've been decent and given me a good redundancy package that will see me through to Christmas or in the event I get a well paying job prior to that, I can admonish some of my debt. Although I am having trouble coming to terms with unemployment. Being laid off is more than uncomfortable, it shatters the self-esteem and the prospect of interviewing and finding a new position on the same wage at 52 years of age is well - beyond daunting. It may take some time for me to look at this as an opportunity to do something I like. I'm constantly being told that this is what it is - an opportunity! Frankly, it's an opportunity I'd rather be without. I feel bloody worthless today. I've been to the depths and am clamouring myself out . but it's hard, very hard.

I've been here before but I was 35 years old then, younger, employable, creative, fresh, enthusiastic and most importantly, debt free. Now, on the wrong side of middle age, Jill of all trades, master of none. I can do whatever I turn my hand to but won't be paid the same as I am now with younger, brighter, qualified things taking on the more highly paid positions. So it's back to temping, finding work, slogging away for shit per hour until I can prove that I have what it takes and deserve more. I'm so tired, so, so tired . . .so, so sad! So I did what any self respecting unemployed person would do . . .went and cashed in last year's Mothers' Day voucher and had a facial. I might not have a job but my face is as smooth as a baby's bum.

I took today off to sleep after a restless night, take stock, spruce up the resume and to nurse my still very sore back. I've had the shock and awe, worked through the anger, felt the depression and I'm now in the resignation stages of grief but it hasn't stopped me tearing up on a regular basis and wondering how the next four weeks is going to play out pootling around the office and taking on the 'poor thing' or possible 'gleeful' looks from colleagues who once respected and befriended me or who are glad to see the back of me. I wonder if I'll be able to tell which is which. So once again, I am dehumanized and feel totally worthless. It's no fun becoming a job loss statistic. It's terrifying wondering where your next dollar is going to come from and actually contemplating that your life insurance would cover your debts if only you had the gumption to take that step. (Which incidentally, I'm too chicken shit to do) It's even worse knowing that for one reason or another, I virtually engineered it myself!

Please send all job offers to I now have to find a new home for the wonder wall.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Mummy Meme

From what I can gather, it started here at Her Bad Mother

It's been going around the globe since March but for me started with K8 . . . .One extraordinary Irish Mammy. Here’s how it’s going to work:… I’m going to link to a couple of other 'mum' bloggers, from other countries around the world, and they’ll write their posts, sharing 5 things that they love (or maybe what they don’t so much love - this playground doesn’t force conformity) about being a 'mum', and then they’ll tag a few more bloggers from their own country and from other countries, and so on. And you’re more than welcome to join: just write a post of your own (5 things that you love about being a 'mum' ) Be sure to let them know that you’ve tagged them!) - and link back here and leave a comment and we’ll add you to the ‘itinerary,’ ….

1. I miscarried my first pregnancy, like many others and then becoming pregnant became very important. It began with a load of early morning back pain and hot showers, huffing and puffing whilst straddled a dining room chair (breathing exercises don't work by the way) then an an epidural, a fainting father, an obstetrician in his pyjamas and a vernix covered 7lb 6oz blob of wonderfulness and a mighty 2 week itchy rash cured only by phenergan and copious doses of champagne. No wonder she's such a calm kid. It went on with a let me out pain at 5am, nausea, my mother yelling at my husband to get me to the hospital, an 'almost dropped the bundle' in the lift and a drug free delivery of another slightly blue 7lb 10oz blob with a squished face. He still manages to get it into that post birth grimace.

2 It carried on with a whole bunch of Playgroup, chocolate covered snot and paint daubed dungarees. Nappies (yes, green ol me used cloth nappies) full of peas and pong, first steps at Christmas and novelty cakes for first birthdays. Santa photos and Freidel clothes bought at le Petit Bateaux by a Nana who didn't understand the complexities of washing velvet. Summer holidays at Grandma's and potching on the beach. Elephants on the curtains and red teensy chairs and tables and duplo blocks that lodged in the small of your foot whilst walking to the loo late at night. And moving from cots into big beds and tiny Nike sneakers.

3 Then a plethora of dance schools, baseball teams, pony club. Saturday soccer, netball comps. Birthday parties and bicycles. Magicians and fairies at birthday parties. Goal charts and 'kids stay free' holidays. Peter Coombes and Playschool Concerts . .dammit we know 'there's a bear in there'k! Beaches and barbecues, 'eat your greens' and school reports. Stealing chromies, communions, confirmations and an appreciation of McDonalds cheesburgers. Sneaking into my bed late at night, wetting my bed late at night. Watching inappropriate movies in my bed late at night. Beetlejuice is a kids movie right? . . .

4 In a blink it became boys and girls and alcopops and snogging.Spewing in the car. Mountain bikes and camping trips. Olympics and live sites, mobile phones and sleepovers. Wednesday dinners in nice restaurants with Grandpa. School plays and leaving Cert's. High heels, motocross and hoodies.

4 Now, it's conversation and giggles. Business and fiscal responsibility. Skiing and extreme sports. World travel and long absences. Parties and partners. Tears and torture. Cars and carnivals. Being each other's bankers. Double beds and scruffled doonas. Bum slaps and bear hugs. Sweet snuggles and repremands. Arguments and 'talk to the hand'. Rescues and respite. Reaching where I can't, ;them cooking when I won't. Thoughtful gifts on high days and holidays and the most amazing friendship I could imagine. From yummy mummy to old fart, the journey has been fantastic and I still cant resist kissing the napes of their necks, touching their faces as they sleep or blowing a raspberry on their sweet shoulders.

Although they really should have left home by now . . I am blessed with happy, healthy, intelligent, fun loving young adults. They're not exceptional by world terms, they are able, healthy, well adjusted. They are decent human beings and the sleepless nights, the trials of illness, the discipline, the worry has been worth it . . I really am grateful to have had the opportunity to be a mum. It's the one thing I got right.

Anyone can have a go but to keep the global theme I tag:

The Ancient Sword

Fragments Treasures Memories
Blurb from the Burbs

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Breathe me . . .

I hate these . . I love these . . I hate these . . .this my friends, is a grey gum. One of many varieties of eucalypt that live on my block. One of over 60 on my five acres of paradise that continues to shed it's bark, leaves, gumnuts and sap every day, all day, all week, month and year . . .and this is where it all began . .

It's all getting a bit overwhelming. My Saturday's are like many other's Saturdays. I get up early, plonk around the blog. Have a chat with the Paduan on Skype and launch into a day of activity. Repetitive, never ending, monotonous activity.

I had a tanty today. A full blown screaming banshee, all swearing, door slamming bucket throwing tantrum. Living on five acres is wonderful if you can afford a hunk of spunk to maintain it but even with three of us (the bro is useless) it's a huge affair controlling things. Because we chose to live 'wild' and not manicure our garden. Frankly. It's a bloody mess.

I think I'm getting to old for this Saturday backbreaking work business. While he who would be a rock star is over at Kurnell on a photoshoot and she who would moonlight as a web designer shot over to discount eyewear to order new contact lenses (although she did clean her room and change her linen before going), I was left with the usual mountains of washing, cleaning, grubby windows and flyscreens, leaf blowing, cobweb dossing, weed infested bundle of shit to contend with and I'm not even talking about the speed dating centre for Wood Ducks that the great green greasy limpopo pond of a pool has become.. All would have been fine if the fucking blower had started first time.

You see, I've hurt my back. I'm stuffed if I know how. I believe as you get older and your muscles waste, the disks in your spine lose fluid and so lower back pain is common in older people! Well I'm not having that! I'm only 52 for fuck's sakes.

I've never had back problems in my life but it's a really dull bruised sciatica pain across my lower back that's making me irritable and less flexible than usual. Even a good lathering of Voltarin is not quite enough to dull the pain. Not that I normally cartwheel over to the washing line but it is about 50 metres away and carrying a few loads of wet towels and landscapers togs certainly made me twinge. I probably shouldn't have washed the floor either but having totally ignored housework since before Easter, it really had to be done.

So with house clean, sheets changed, washing hung, empties tossed and floors washed . . .I grab the leaf blower which my son has very kindly purloined as an integral part of his garden maintenance equipment. No problem with him borrowing it but it's now had the bejesus banjaxed out of it.

I bought it specially because it's easy to start, it has a left hand pull - perfect for a cacky hander like me - and a three stage choke. Not today . . the spark plug's wobbly, the choke is threatening to come loose from its moorings, the carby is wobbly, the pull is making a clunky splatty noise and the damn thing wouldn't start. So after a few delightful expletives that my neighbour probably heard from 500m away with earplugs in . . .the old girl did crank up. Fantastic . .I'm pootling along the driveway, all going well. Take my finger off the trigger for a nanosecond to check the mail box and the biatch conks out. No problem . . back up towards the house. A little more two-stroke and . . . then it began . . .after about 10 minutes of pulling, swearing, flooding I hit the roof, lost my bottle, had a hissy fit, chucked a maddy, did a wobbly, went off my nut, pulled the plug, chucked a narnie . . .went totally ballistic! Birds scattered, frogs stopped chirping, ducks flapped off in a panic, horses pricked their ears and the dog ran behind the shed.

I'm a bit embarrassed about it now. My niece is next door and afraid to come out of the house. Had the dog been nearer she'd have copped a thong up the arse as well. So I had to contend with slamming a few doors, screaming every profanity known to man - and a few I made up - except the c-bomb, even I have scruples - before hurling the bucket of dirty mop water about 5 metres up the garden. Man I've got an 'arm' when I'm angry! I should think about shot put.

Amazing how cathartic writing this down has been. . I've yelled, screamed, accused, threatened to toss both kids out - of course whilst neither were here - and after a nice cup of tea, a quick comment on a couple of blogs . . . I'm ready to do battle with the blower once again! Oooh me back!

PS it behaved the second time but just for good measure I nicked a glass of Adam's merlot and had it with a rather nice Leicester cheese for lunch. That'll teach him!

Fucking weeds . . . .next week they will feel the wrath of she who must not be fucked with! See, that word sometimes . .is the best medicine ever! "Oh blast!" just doesn't cut the mustard! Take a few deep breaths . .breathe . . breathe . . .

PS: This was all about me doing too much and insisting on doing it 'now' than others doing too little. The kids are fantastic in their help and support. I'd lose my bottle more often if they didn't help out!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday Fuckwit

Teenager paints giant willie on roof of family home

Rory McInnes, 18, climbed on to the flat roof of his parents' home and daubed the symbol using a tin of white paint, after watching a programme about Google Earth.

But parents Andy and Clare did not discover their son's rude artwork until a helicopter spotted it on top of their home near Hungerford, Berkshire in England.

The pilot called The Sun newspaper, which then contacted Mr McInnes to tell him.

Mr McInnes, 54, a company director, thought the newspaper was having a joke.

He said: "It's an April Fool's joke, right? There's no way there's a 60ft phallus on top of my house."

However, when he asked each of his four children if there was indeed the image of a phallus on their newly-completed roof, Rory owned up.

When Mr McInnes phoned his son, who is currently in Brazil on a gap year, the teenager said: "Oh, you've found it then!"

The boy's father appeared to take the prank in good humour.

But he said: "When Rory gets home he will be given a scrubbing brush and white spirit and he can go and scrub it off."

More of a funwit than a fuckwit . .because it's been a week of total fuckwittage and I need some laughter . . . and a far cry from the knobs my boss and Maloney used to draw on my lecture books years ago!

Erm . . M rated . . .but thankfully short . . .

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Quite a heavy week this week in terms of posts. I must bring some levity to the blog tomorrow but Theme Thursday beckons today and the topic is – Earth. What better opportunity to talk about the largest island continent on our little blue marble of a planet. And for the record, we're on the top of the globe!

Australia is the world’s largest island continent .. the sun shines differently down here. The ozone layer is thin and you burn to a crisp in an instant. . It occupies 7.7 million square kilometres and is the flattest and driest of continents (with the exception of Antarctica) anyone flying north to south from Darwin to Sydney will see little more than “Red shit!” and mulga brush. I swear we have more ‘red earth’ than the rest of earth!

There are rainforests . . .

. . . and vast plains . . .

. . . snowfields . . .

. . . desert in the centre . . .

. . .and fertile croplands . . .well when they're not beseiged by drought . .

. . . and about one third of the country lies in the tropics . . .

Australia has a coastline of 36,735km - if it were possible to drive non-stop along the entire coast at 60 km/h it would take about 24 days to complete the trip.

The continent is one of the oldest land masses - continental bedrock exposed by erosion is more than 3,000 million years old - and is the flattest of the continents because it lies near the centre of a tectonic plate. The average elevation is less than 300 metres, compared with the world’s mean of about 700 metres. The Australian Alps in the south east contain Australia’s highest ground, the highest point being Mount Kosciusko (2,228 metres). More than one-fifth of its land area is desert, more than two-thirds being classified as arid or semi-arid, unsuitable for settlement. The coldest regions are in the highlands and tablelands of Tasmania and the south-eastern corner of the mainland. The hottest temperature recorded was 53°C (127°F)at Cloncurry in Queensland in 1889. Australia is the only continent without current volcanic activity - the last eruption took place 1400 years ago at Mt. Gambier.

Our largest slice of the world economy is made through delving into the earth. We hold the largest demonstrated resources of lead, mineral sands, nickel, tantalum, uranium and zinc and are sixth in the world for cobalt, copper, gold, iron ore, lithium, manganese ore, rare earth oxides and gem/near gem diamonds.

The fruit of the earth has provided $500 billion to the Australian economy over the past 20 years (and Kevin Rudd has managed to spend it inside a year but that’s neither here nor there). The mining / mineral industry supports over 310,000 Australians. Farming the earth is another very important economic aspect of Australia. We are our own breadbasket and thanks to a diverse and varied climate, we can grow just about everything. The early colony was built on the sheep’s back and to this day farming of cattle, sheep and the growing of grain crops is an important part of the economy.

There are 154,472 farms in Australia - including those for whom farming is not their primary business. However, there are 137,969 farms solely dedicated to agricultural production. The gross value of Australian farm production (at farm-gate) totals $35.6 billion-a-year. The top three agricultural commodities produced nationally (ranked by gross $ value) are: Cattle and calves $8.0 billion Milk $3.2 billion Wheat $2.5 billion. We even export rice to land poor Japan!

That’s probably enough on the facts and figures but as you can see, so much of our GDP depends upon management of the earth and I use that term very loosely.

Whilst we should be eating kangaroos, emus and crocodiles (well some of us do) who are native, endemic and friendly to the ecosystems in which they live, we insist on digging, planting and introducing damaging cloven hoofed competitors to the natural landscape.

We open cut mine and are careless with regeneration after the mining’s done. We fell old growth forest to make wood chips for paper manufacture. We shift our beaches to unclog estuaries and we divert water to provide irrigation to crops.

We have forgotten the art of bush tucker although it is becoming more popular in kitchens over here and it’s not unusual to see three or four native ingredients blended in lieu of more traditional ones. quandong, kutjera, muntries, riberry, Davidson's plum, and finger lime. Native spices include lemon myrtle, mountain pepper, and aniseed myrtle and the most identifiable bushfood plant harvested and sold in large scale commercial quantities is the macadamia nut.

We look at this wide brown land and it's rich and fertile, mineral rich earth as a bottomless pit of opportunity . . . it’s not . . .and just wait until you get me started on ‘water' when that comes up as a theme!

Apologies to some. Slow download speed and a few busy evenings have kept me away from some blogs but I will catch up on the weekend . .promise!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


My apologies for the rather rushed effort. I've been mad at work and hit my download quota at home so it's not been easy getting to post. . . so for your Wednesday foray into the Madhouse . . .

The most common cause of jealousy, is Romantic Jealousy common of course when our boyfriends spend too much time scoping the blonde in the LBD or ou
r girlfs flirt outrageously with our best mate. Of course once you're married or in a relationship, you stop being jealous and argue about money!

Then there's that damaging work/power jealousy that affects people who are angry about a "missed" promotion, salary level or other work-related issue. It’s repercussions can be bitchiness or white-anting or seriously trying to damage the reputation of the person who has managed success at their expense. If they don’t make you redundant then best to move on in this case - you’ll just get fired eventually.

Then there's family jealousy, often posing as sibling rivalry. I’ve never been jealous of my siblings except perhaps their earning ability and my younger brother's ability to lose weight by eating no carbs for 8 weeks. I’ve been on the sticky end of their collective and individual jealousy on occasion.

Then there's 'friend jealousy' . . when you're jealous of someone else's popularity. I have been there, often and frequently. I was for a time, very jealous of my best friend. Much as I loved her. She was incredibly popular, totally blessed. . . Shes clever, beautiful,
talented. Slim, sporty, eloquent. We grew up together from being 15 years old. I met my husband and many of my friends through her. We went to university together and now we work together. She and her charmed life, while mine is so often spiralling out of control. That in itself made me incredibly jealous.

I look at her and the incredible amount of ‘luck’ and some degree of good timing and decision making that has left her with an intact family, happy marriage, a beautiful home, a secure income, lovely kids and apart from some sporadic health issues . . she and her life are perfect. I was very jealous for a long time. Even now, I feel uncomfortable mixing with some in ‘her crowd’ simply because of their wealth. These people are perfectly nice, perfectly ordinary self-made men and women but they’re just way over my budget and live in a different world. I really can’t afford a week on a Greek Island or a trip to Wimbledon. It’s very intimidating. For a long time I wanted all she had but recently I’ve realised that it’s all come at a cost it’s only a ‘perception’ of which I am jealous.

Friends and lovers alike avoid the pitfalls of jealousy by being honest with each other and avoiding a build-up of negative emotions. I think recently she and I are becoming much better at this even if we hear things we don’t particularly like about each other.

Sensitivity is vital to recognizing the cues that upset and worry other people. But on many levels, jealousy is a sign that one person cares about the other and values the relationship. In short, when jealousy is kept in the bounds of normal behavior it can be a good thing.

However, the mi
nute someone’s pet bunny is threatened . .

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Nobody Escapes . . .

Ive been tagged with a few memes but haven't got round to answering them for a while and big apologies because I feel very flattered to be tagged, there just aren't enough days in the week but I will answer them. So here's one from Ribbon over in Western Australia that I volunteered for actually and she prompted me so I feel guilty . .

1. If you were a colour what colour would that be?
Two colours . . blue wide as the sky and yellow because it's the colour of 'straylya and cheerful and bright . . just like me hehe! Actually they're very soothing colours in combination and my whole house interior is decorated in blue, yellow and white . .very sunny!

2. Why do you blog?
Deep down, I think we all rather like talking about ourselves or our feelings or our lives. For me it started more as a journal for my children (God knows why because they know everything about me including my PIN) but as a complete n00b, I didn't really understand the blog community, how to make a blog private etc. Then I browsed a bit, met a few people, comments started and before you know, I'm actually providing some entertainment and a forum for discussion. Plus I have a shit load of time on my hands now that my kids are grown, particularly in the evenings and telly's boring so . . why not! Blog on I say! Now, it's actually a kind of psychological lifeline I feel very connected to many people who visit. I have a few commenters who email and I'm really getting to know and enjoy the people who pop in here. Look out because one day I may knock on your door, bottle of Chardy in hand and ask you to show me around your neighbourhood!

3. Why do live where you live?
I live in Australia because we emigrated from England when I was 11 years old We were 10 pound POMs and I had little choice. I live in Sydney because that's just where we ended up. I live in Castle Hill because . . .it's what I know, close to my family and friends.

I live in this particular street because I was widowed at 30 with two small children and my parents suggested I build on their five acre block so that they could help with the kids, moral support and all that. Although my mother made it perfectly clear she was not going to be a 'carer', she enjoyed her golf and travelling too much but having them 'next door' so to speak would be handy. So after much family consultation, I decided it would be a pretty good idea. Nice place to raise kids, moral support, safe, loads of space.

After a couple of years, she was killed and so my poor inconsolable Dad and I lived together until 2004 when he also died. Now my brother and his family, or what's left of it (niece and nephew are interstate and overseas) live next door and we're waiting for a developer to rock up with a suitcase full of contracts and gold. Damn this economic downturn. In the meantime, I live about 50kms from the CBD in the heartland of the suburbs on a little five acre enclave with tall trees and beautiful birds. Two kids, two horses and a dog! It's not a bad life apart from the maintenance!

4. What would be your dream holiday?
I don't mind roughing it a bit so I have a world trip planned. No tours, no buses . .just a backpack and a few well chosen hostels and hotels. First . . Paris. I've never been there and I'll take the kids. They can then wonder where they like and I'll hit UK and Ireland, then across the US . . .visit some blogpals, maybe a quick respite in Maui or Chile before heading home. I could spend my retirement travelling if it wasn't for lack of funds.

5. What is your cultural backgroud?
I'm a caucasian English by birth, English father, Welsh mother - Naturalised Australian. I believe that if you emigrate to a country you should adopt it, warts and all so now I'm Dinky Die Aussie and have lived here for 39 years!

I'm going to carry the can on this one because I love learning more about you and the slice of life blogs so if you would like five interview questions . .let me know in the comments. They'll all be different and questions that I genuinely have about you . . are you up for it? C'mon now. Nobody escapes the Spanish inquisition . . .

You've Never Seen Anything Like It . . . Well you probably have . .but

Each year and after first placements in a variety of regional agricultural shows, the Royal Australian Agriculture Society runs the Sydney Easter Show! It's quite an event. I think something like State Fairs in the US. Full of exhibits, animals, fun rides, food, wine and performance.

I swore two years ago I wouldn't go again because of the heat and the crowds and the showbags and the crowds and the pong and the crowds but with little else to do on Good Friday and big kids begging, we hit the showbus and spent the best part of 11 hours with every bogun in Sydney.

Held at the former Olympic site the place was packed with that unique olfactory blend of animal poo, fairy floss and pluto pups. Every other person had a silly fluoro wig and a helium balloon. Children grizzled, youths showed off and the stroller army ploughed through everyone.

Generally we leave the fun park alone and this year didn't even venture near a dagwood dog but took our own picnic of wholemeal rolls and fruit boxes . . .OK we did succumb to some hot chips and barbecue sauce for tea! And I might have had a chocolate thick shake.

Colourful carousel

Copious crowds

Bobbing balloons

Educated equines

Colourful cows

Bucket boy

Boofuls babies . . .

Pacified pigs

Mollycoddled milkers

Fleet farriers

Pretty pussies!

Wubbly Woofas

Various Veg

Fab fruit

Amazing apples

Nasty knits

Reused and recycled

Deliciously decorated

Urban Utes

Twinkly twilight


Polo ponies

Rough riders

Motocross madness

Precision poise

Fiery finale

Captivating carousel

Knackered nutters